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Does not this include all doings, be they that sun which stands visibly before you of a moral or be they of a ceremonial-whatever glory may accrue to Him, character? And in the verses which im- who arrayed this luminary in his brightmediately precede this quotation from ness, and endowed you with that wonTitus, whether think you was the moral drous mechanism, which conveys the peror the ceremonial law most in the apostle's ception of it. There is no part of the head-when, in alleging the worthlessness glory of a gift, ascribed to the mendicant, of all the previous doings of his own con- who simply looks to it-whatever praise verts, he charged them with serving divers of generosity may be rendered to Him lusts and pleasures, and with living in who is the giver; or still more to Him who malice and envy-hateful and hating one hath conferred upon the hand its moving another? This distinction between the power, and upon the eye its seeing faculty. moral and ceremonial, is, in fact, a mere And even though the beggar should be device, for warding off a doctrine, by told to wait another day, and then to walk which alienated nature feels herself to be to some place of assignation, and there to pained and humbled and revolted, in all obtain the princely donation that was at ages of the world. It is an opiate, by length to elevate his family to a state of which she would fain regale the lingering independence-in awarding the renown sense that she so fondly retains of her that was due upon such a transaction, own sufficiency. It is laying hold of a would it not be the munificence of the twig, by which she may bear herself up, dispenser that was held, to be all in all; in her own favourite attitude of indepen- and who would ever think of lavishing one dence upon God; and gladly would she fraction of acknowledgment, either upon secure the reservation of some merit to the patience, or upon the exertion, or upon herself, and of some contributions out of the faith of him who was the subject of her own treasury, to the achievement of all this liberality? And be assured that her own justification. But this is a pro- in every way, there is just as little to boast pensity, to which the apostle grants no of on the part of him, who sees the truth quarter, and no indulgence whatever. of the gospel, or who labours to come Wherever it appears, he is sure to appear within sight of it, or who relies on its proin unsparing hostility against it; and mises after he perceives them to be true. never will your mind and the mind of the His faith, which has been aptly termed inspired teacher be at one, till, reduced to the hand of the mind, may apprehend the a sense of your own nothingness, and offered gift and may appropriate it; but leaning your whole weight on the suffi- there is just as little of moral praise to be ciency of another-you receive justifica- rendered on that account, as to the beggar tion as wholly of grace, and feel on this for laying hold of the offered alms. It is ground that every plea of boasting is with the man whom the gospel has reoverthrown. lieved of his debt, as it is with the man whom the gold of a generous benefactor has relieved of his. There is nothing in the shape of glory that is due at all to the receiver; and nothing could ever have conjured up such an imagination, but the delusive feeling that cleaves to nature of her own sufficiency. There is not one particle of honour due to the sinner in this affair; and all the blessing and honour and glory of it must be rendered Him, who, in the face of His manifold provocations, and when He might have illustrated both the power of His anger and the triumphs of His justice, gave way to the movements of a compassion that is infinite; and had with wisdom unsearchable, to find out a channel of conveyance-by which, in consistency with the glory of such attributes and with the principle of such a government as are unchangeable, He might call His strayed children back again to the arms of an offered reconciliation, and lavish on all who come the gifts of a free pardon in time and a full perfection of happiness through ternity.

We may here notice another shift, by which nature tries to ease herself of a conclusion so mortifying. She will at times allow justification to be of faith wholly; but then she will make a virtue of her faith. All the glorying that she would have associated with her obedience to the law, she would now transfer to her acquiescence in the gospel. The docility, and the attention, and the love of truth, and the preference of light to that darkness which they only choose whose deeds are evil-these confer, in her fond estimation, a merit upon believing; and here therefore would she make a last and a desperate stand, for the credit of a share in her own salvation.

If the verse under consideration be true, there must be an error in this imagination also. It leaves the sinner nothing to boast of at all; and should he continue to associate any glorying with his faith, then is he turning this faith to a purpose directly the reverse of that which the apostle intends by it.

There is no glory, you will allow, to yourself, in seeing with your eyes open

And to cut away all pretensions to glorying on the score of faith-the faith it

self is a gift. The gospel is like an offer | but he must also awaken his eye to the made to one who has a withered hand; perception of it. And let him who wants and power must go forth with the offer ere the faith cavil as he may, in the vain imthe hand can be extended to take hold of agination of a sufficiency that he would it. The capacity of simply laying hold still reserve for man in the matter of his of the covenant of peace, is as much a redemption-certain it is, that he who has grant, as is the covenant itself. The help- the faith, sees the hand of God both in less and the weary sinner, who has looked conferring it at the first, and in keeping so fruitlessly after the faith which is unto it up afterwards. And, thankful both for salvation, knows that the faculty of see- the splendour of his hopes, and for the ing with his mind, is just as necessary to faculty of seeing it, his is an unmixed sen him, as is the truth itself which is address- timent of humility and gratitude to the ed to it. He knows that it is not enough being, who has called him out of darkness for God to present him with an object; into the marvellous light of the gospel.

ROMANS iv, 1-8.

"What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were jus tified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."

observances, was necessary to perfect their acceptance with God. Paul pro fesses of himself, that he gloried not in the flesh; and, in enumerating the reasons which might have led him so to glory, he refers, not merely to his descent, but to his circumcision, and to his pharisaical zeal, and to his blamelessness in regard to the righteousness of the law. Abraham had rites and performances laid on him, and he was punctual in their observation; and the question is, What did Abraham procure by these services?

PAUL never forgets, in the course of this argument, that he is addressing himself to Jews; and, bred as he was in all their prejudices, he evinces a strong and a ready sense of the antipathies, that he would ever and anon be stirring up in their minds, by the doctrine on which he expatiated. He knew how much they all gloried in Abraham and how natural it was for them therefore to feel that Abraham had something to glory of in himself; and, as he urged that faith which excludes boasting, the case of the patriarch occurred to him; nor could he have se- Ver. 2. If by these services he was jus lected a better than that of one so emi-tified, he has whereof to glory, whereof nently the favourite of God as he was, for to boast himself. But no! his boasting illustrating the principle upon which God too must be excluded. He has nothing holds out friendship and acceptance to whereof to glory of before God.


Ver. 3. Genesis, XV., 6. This is said Ver. 1. The term flesh does not stand of Abraham, previous, by several years, related to the circumstance of Abraham to the institution of the great Jewish rite being our father. It does not mean what of circumcision. He was in favour with is it that Abraham, our father by earthly God, before this deed of obedience. He descent, hath found-but what is it that was dealt with by Jod as a righteous perAbraham our father hath found by his son, before this work of righteousness was natural or external performances. What- done by him. God had declared Himself ever can be done by the powers of nature, to be his reward; and by his trust in this can be done by the flesh. The outward declaration, did he become entitled to the observances of Judaism can be so done; reward. This conferred on it the characand thus the Mosaic law is termed by Paul ter of a gift. Otherwise it would have the law of a carnal commandment. In been the payment of a debt, as of wages the question he puts to the Galatians-rendered for services performed. "Having begun in the Spirit are ye now Ver. 4. It would not have been regard. made perfect by the flesh?" he is exposed as a gratuitous thing, but as a thing tulating with those who thought that the due.

rite of circumcision, one of the Jewish Ver. 5. Observe a few things here.

The man who has obtained justification | count of works done, either before or after may be looked upon as in possession of a the deed of conveyance has passed into title-deed, which secures to him a right to his hands. But no sooner does he lay God's favour. The question is, How comes hold of the deed, than he begins, and that he into possession of this title-deed? Did most strenuously, to qualify himself for he work for it, and thus receive it as a re- the possession-to translate himself into turn for his work? No, he did not work the kindred character of heaven-to wean for it; and thus it is that justification is to himself away from the sin and the sordidhim who worketh not-that is, he did ness of a world, which he no longer renothing antecedent to his justification to gards as his dwelling-place—and, with a bring this privilege down upon him; and foot which touches lightly that earth from it is a contradiction to allow that it is by which he is to ascend so soon into the doing anything subsequent to justification fields of eternal glory that are above him, that he secures this privilege, for it is se- to aspire after the virtues that are current cured already. He is now in possession there; and, by an active cultivation of his of it. He has not to work for the purpose heart, labour to prepare himself for a staof obtaining what he already has. And tion of happiness and honour among the neither did he work for it at the time that companies of the celestial. he had it not. He came to it not by doing We would further have you to remark, but by believing. His is like the case of that you must beware of having any such a man getting in a present the title to an view of faith, as will lead you to annex to estate. He did not work for it before it it the kind of merit or of claim or of glowas presented, and so get it as a reward. rying under the gospel, which are annexIt was a gift. He does not work for it af- ed to works under the law. This in fact ter it is presented, for it is his already. were just animating with a legal spirit, But you must remark here-though it is the whole phraseology and doctrine of the not in consideration of works done either gospel. It is God who justifies. He drew before or after the grant that the privilege up the title-deed, and he bestowed the was bestowed-yet that is not to say, but title-deed. It is ours, simply by laying that the person so privileged becomes a hold of it. The donor who grants a busy, diligent, ever-doing, and constantly- worldly estate to his friend, counts his working-man. When it is said that the friend to have right enough to the property faith of him who worketh not is counted by having received it. God who offers us for righteousness-it is meant, that he an inheritance of glory, counts us to have does not work for the purpose of obtain- right enough to the possession of it by our ing a right of acceptance, and that it is relying on the truth and the honesty of not upon the consideration of his works the offer. Under the law, obedience would that this rite has been conferred upon have been that personal thing in us which him. But it is not meant that such a per- stood connected with our right to eternal son works not for any purpose at all. life. Under the gospel, faith is that perTo recur to the case of him who has a sonal thing in us which stands connected gratuitous estate conferred upon him, he with this right; but just as the act of neither worked for the estate before he stretching forth his hand to the offered obtained it, nor for it after he has obtain-alms, is that personal doing of the mendied it. But from the very moment of his assured prospect of coming into the possession of it, may he have become most zealously diligent in the business of preparing himself for the enjoyment of all the advantages, and the discharge of all the obligations connected with this property. He may have put himself under the tuition of him who perhaps at one time possessed it, and do it thoroughly, and could instruct him how to make the most of it. He did not work for it; but now that he has got it he has been set most busily a-working, though not for a right to the property, yet all for matters connected with the property. He may forthwith enter on a very busy process of education, to render him meet for the society of those with whom he is now in kindred circumstances. And thus with the Christian, who by faith receives the gift of eternal life. It cannot be put down to the ac

cant that stands connected with his possession of the money received by him. Any other view of faith than that which excludes boasting, must be altogether unscriptural; and will mislead the enquirer; and may involve his mind in much darkness, and in very serious difficulties. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Öf faith. It is of faith that it might be by grace-not that it might be a thing of merit, but a thing of freeness-a present. Ye are saved by grace through faith. Conceive it a question, whether a dwelling-house is enlightened by a candle from within, or by an open window. The answer may justly enough be that it is by the window-and yet the window does not enlighten the house. It is the sun which enlightens it. The window is a mere opening for the transmission of that which is from without. Christ hath wrought out a righteous

ness for us that is freely offered to us of God. By faith we discern the reality of this offer; and all that it does is to strike out, as it were, an avenue of conveyance, by which the righteousness of another passes to us; and through faith are we saved by this righteousness.

Ver. 6-8. They are Jewish authorities which Paul makes use of, when he wants to school down Jewish antipathies-thus meeting his countrymen on their own ground; and never better pleased than when, on the maxim of all things to all men, he can reconcile them to a doctrine which they hate, by quoting in favour of it a testimony which they revere. Take sin in its most comprehensive sense, as including in it both the sin of omission and the sin of performance; and then the opposite to this, or sinlessness, will imply, not only that there has been no performance of what is wrong, but no omission of what is right. In this sense sinlessness is not a mere negation, but is fully equivalent to righteousness; and not to impute sin, is tantamount to the imputation of righteousness. It is clear that the righteousness thus imputed, which the Psalmist refers to, was a righteousness without works-that is, without such works as could at all pretend to the character, or to any of the claims of righteousness. For what were the works of those who had this righteousness imputed to them! They were iniquities which had been forgiven, and sins which had been covered.

| he hath nothing to glory of before God. And what saith the Scripture about this? Not that Abraham obeyed, and his obedience was counted; but Abraham believed God, and his belief was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh and getteth reward for it, reward is not a favour; but the payment of what is due. But it is to him who worketh not for a right to acceptance, but believeth on Him who offereth this acceptance and justifieth the ungodly, that his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of him to whom God reckoneth a righteousness without works-saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are so hidden from remembrance, that they are no longer mentioned. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not reckon the guilt of his sin.'

The first lesson we draw from this passage is one which we have often urged in your hearing; but aware of the difference that there is between the work of urging a principle for the moral purpose of influencing the heart, and the work of urging a principle for the purpose of informing and rectifying the judgment—we do not feel it so much a vain repetition to come over and over the same thing, for the one of these purposes, as for the other of them. To say what is thoroughly apprehended already, and that for the purpose of informing the mind, were tiresome and inapplicable; but to say what, when present to the view of the understanding, is fitted to work a spiritual impression, is said for the purpose of stirring up the mind. And this may be done, not in the way of presenting it with novelties; but the mind may be so stirred up in the way of remembrance. And this, by the way, suggests to us a very useful test of distinction, between one set of hearers and another, which may be turned by you all into a matter of self-application. The hearer, whose main relish it is to regale his intellect, will, in his appetite for what is original and argumentative and variegated, nause

There are certain technical terms in theology which are used so currently, that they fail to impress their own meaning on the thinking principle. The term impute' is one of them. It may hold forth a revelation of its plain sense to youwhen it is barely mentioned that the term impute in the 6th verse, is the same in the original with what is employed in that verse of Philemon where Paul says, "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account? To impute righteousness to a man without works, is simply to put righteousness down to his account-though he has not per-ate, as tasteless and fatiguing, the constant formed the works of righteousness. The following is the paraphrase of the passage:

recurrence of the few but all-impressive simplicities of the gospel. The hearer, whose ruling desire it is to refresh and to What shall we make then of our fa- edify the spiritual life, will no more feel ther Abraham; and how shall we esti- distaste to the nourishment that he has almate the amount of what he procured by ready taken in for the good of the soul, those works of obedience which he ren- than to the nourishment that he has aldered, and are still required of us by a ready and often taken in for the food of law that lays such things upon us as we the body. The desire for the sincere milk are naturally able to perform? For if of the word, is not desire for amusement Abraham did procure justification to him- that he may gratify a thirst for speculaself by these works, he hath something to tion-but a desire for aliment, that he may glory of-though we have just now af-grow thereby. And thus it is, that what firmed that all glorying is excluded. Our may be felt as unsufferable sameness by affirmation nevertheless stands good, for him who roams with delight from one

prospect and one eminence to another in the scholarship of Christianity, may in fact be the staple commodity of a daily and most wholesome ministration to him who, seeking like Paul for the practical objects of an acceptance and a righteousness with God, like him counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of the Saviour; and like him is determined to know nothing, but Jesus Christ and him crucified.

term, we denominate his conversion-God is not the being whose moral and judicial authority is practically recognized in any of these virtues, and he has nothing to glory of before God.

It is thus we should like to convince the good man of this world of his wickedness, and to warn him that the plaudits of the world's admiration here may be followed up by shame and everlasting contempt hereafter. In this visible and earthly scene, we are surrounded with human beings, all of whom are satisfied if they see in us of their own likeness; and, should we attain the average character of society, the general and collective voice of society will suffer us to pass. Meanwhile, and till God be pleased to manifest Himself, we see not God; and, not till the revelation of his likeness is made to us, do we see our deficiency from that image of unspotted holiness-to be restored to which is the great purpose of the dispensation we sit under: and thus, in spiritual blindness and spiritual insensibility, do the children of alienated nature spend their days-lifting an unabashed front and bearing a confident pretension in society, even as the patriarch Job challenged the accusation of his friends and protested innocence and kindness and dignity before them; but who, when God Himself met his awakened eye, and brought the overpowering lustre of His attributes to bear upon him, said of Him whom he had only before heard of by the hearing of the ear, that, now he saw Him with the seeing of the eye, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and in ashes.

Let us not therefore be prevented from detaining you a few moments longer, by the doctrine, that, however much the most perfect of the species may have to glory of in the eye of his fellows, he has nothing to glory of before God. The apostle affirms this of Abraham, a patriarch whose virtues had canonized him in the hearts of all his descendants; and who from the heights of a very remote antiquity, still stands forth to the people of this distant age, as the most venerably attired in the worth and piety and all the primitive and sterling virtues of the older dispensation. As to his piety, of this we have no document at all, till after the time when God met him-till after that point in his history, which Paul assigns as the period of his justification by faith-till after he walked in friendship with the God who found him out an alien of nature; and stretching forth to him the hand of acceptance, shed a grace and a glory over the whole of his subsequent pilgrimage in the world. "Now if thou didst receive it, wherefore shouldest thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" It is this question of the apostle, which, among the varied graces and accomplishments of a Christian, perpetuates his humility, as the garb and the accompaniment of them ail. 66 Nevertheless not me, but the grace of God that is in me," is the great principle of explanation, which applies to every virtue that springs and grows and expands into luxuriance and beauty on the charac-fore does man persist in a security most ter of man, after his conversion; and so ruinous. There may be some transient keeps him humble amid all the heights of suspicion of a hurt, but a gentle alarm progressive excellence to which he is con- may be hushed by a gentle application; ducted. Certain it is, that it is not till after and therefore the hurt, in the language of this period; that he acquires the right the prophet, is healed but slightly. Peace principle, or can make any right advances when there is no peace forms the fatal in the path of godliness; and that, what-lethargy of a world lying in wickedness ever he had antecedently-whether of affection to parents, or of patriotic regard to country, or of mild and winning affability to neighbourhood, or of upright duty in the walks either of public or relative life to society around him, or of all that which calls forth the voice of man to testify in behalf of the virtues that are useful and agreeable to man-certain it is, that with every human being, prior to that great transaction in his history which, in the face of all the ridicule excited by the

This is the sore evil under which humanity labours. It is sunk in ungodliness, while blindness hinders the seeing of it. The magnitude of the guilt is unfelt; and therefore does man persist in a most treacherous complacency. The magnitude of the danger is unseen, and there

-a peace which we should like to break up, by setting in prospect before you now the dread realities of a future world; but a peace, which, with the vast majority we fear is never broken up, till these realities have encompassed them by their presence

even the sound of the last trumpet, and the appearance of celestial visitors in the sky, and all the elements in commotion, and an innumerable multitude of newrisen men whose eyes have just opened on a firmament which lowers prematurally

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