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It should rivet our souls on this sure foundation, that God hath said it, and shall He not perform it? It should clear away the louring imagery of terror and distrust from the sinner's agitated bosom: And if the most characteristic peculiarity in the belief of Abraham was, that it was belief in the midst of staggering and appalling improbabilities-should not this just stimulate to the same belief the spirit of him, who, feeling that by nature he is in the hands of a God in whose sacred breast there exists a jealousy of all that is evil, is apt to view with incredulity the approaches of the same God when He prof. fers reconciliation even to the worst and most worthless offenders; and protests in their hearing, that, if they will only draw nigh in the name of Christ, He will forgive all and forget all?

attempting so feebly to illustrate, and which many regard as the jargon of a scholastic theology that is now exploded rise in all the characters of reality and truth before the eye of your now enlightened conscience; and gladly would you devolve the burden of your guilt on the head of the accepted sacrifice, that you may be rescued from the condemnation of those offences for which He was delivered, that you may be lightened of all that fearful endurance which He has borne.

And raised again for our justification.' We are not fond of that repulsive air which has doubtless been thrown around Christianity, by what some would call the barbarous terms and distinctions of schoolmen. But it will, we think, help to illustrate the truth of the matter before us, V. 25. The circumstance that is singled that we shortly advert to the theological out in this passage as the object of the phrases of a negative and positive justififaith of Christians, is that of God having cation. The former consists of an acquittal raised up Jesus from the dead. In other from guilt. By the latter a title is conparts of the Bible the resurrection of the ferred to the reward of righteousness. Saviour is stated to be the act of God the There are two ways in which God may Father; and, however much the import deal with you-either as a criminal in the of this may have escaped the notice of an way of vengeance, or as a loyal and obeordinary reader, it is pregnant with mean- dient subject in the way of reward. By ing of the weightiest importance. You your negative justification, you simply know that when the prison door is opened attain to the midway position of God letto a criminal, and that by the very autho- ting you alone. He does not lay upon you rity which lodged him there, it evinces the hand of retribution for your evil deeds; that the debt of his transgression has been but neither does He lay upon you the hand rendered; and that he now stands acquit- of retribution for any good deeds. You ted of all its penalties. It was not for His are kept out of hell, the place of penal own but for our offences that Jesus was suffering for the vicious. But you are not delivered unto the death, and that His preferred to heaven, the place of awarded body was consigned to the imprisonment glory and happiness for the virtuous. of the grave. And when an angel de- Now the conception is, that the Saviour scended from heaven and rolled back the accomplished our negative justification great stone from the door of the sepulchre, by bearing upon His own person the chasthis speaks to us that the justice of God tisement of our sins-He was delivered is satisfied, that the ransom of our iniqui- for our offences unto the death. But that ties has been paid, that Christ has render- to achieve our positive justification, He ed a full discharge of all that debt for did more than suffer, He obeyed. He acwhich He undertook as the great Surety cumulated as it were a stock of righteousbetween God and the sinners who believe ness, out of which He lavishes reward on in Him. And could we only humble you those whom He had before redeemed from into the conviction that you need the punishment. It was because He finished benefit of such a redeeming process- a great work that God highly exalted Him; could we only show you to yourselves as and from the place which He now occuthe helpless transgressors of a command-pies does He shed on His disciples a forement that cannot be trampled on with im- taste of heaven here, as the earnest and punity-could we thoroughly impress you the preparation for their inheritance herewith the principle that God is not to be after. He does something more than work mocked, and that the sanctions of that out their deliverance from the place of moral government which He wields over torment, and thus bring them to the neuthe universe He has thrown around Him tral and intermediate state of those who are not to be treated as things of no sig-are merely forgiven. He pours upon nificancy-could we reveal to you your them spiritual blessings; and, by stamptrue situation as the subjects of a law, ing upon them a celestial character, does that still pursues you with its exactions, He usher them even now into celestial while it demands reparation for all the joy-so as that, with their affections set indignities it has gotten at your hands-upon things above, they may already be Then would the topics which we are now said to dwell in heavenly places with

Christ Jesus our Lord: And thus while it was by His death, that He delivered them from the guilt of their offences-it is by His rising again, that He obtained for them the rewards of righteousness, the privileges of a completed justification.

And here we may remark, that by the simple bestowment of holiness upon His people, does He in fact infuse into their spirits the great and essential element of heaven's blessedness. It is a mistake to think, that it is either the splendour or the music of paradise, which makes it a place of rejoicing. It is because righteousness will flourish there, that rapture will be felt there. It is because heaven is the abode of purity, that it is also an abode of peace and pleasantness. It is because every heart thrills with benevolence, that in every heart there is beatitude unspeakable. It is love to God that calls forth halleluiahs of ecstacy which ring eternally in heaven. In a word, it is not an animal but a spiritual festival, which is preparing for us in the mansions above; and in these mansions below, a foretaste is felt by those, who, through patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and immortality and honour. The real disciples of the Saviour on earth, can testify, that if they had holiness enough they would have happiness enough; and a still more affecting testimony to the truth, that the atmosphere of goodness is of itself an atmosphere of gladness and of light, may be seen in the mental wretchedness of those who mourn some deadly overthrow from that purity of heart which at one time guarded and adorned them-who have fallen from peace, and that simply because they have fallen from principle and feel in their bosoms the agonies of hell, and that without another instrument of vengeance to pursue them than a sense of their own native and inherent worthlessness.

The following is the paraphrase of this short passage.

Now it was not for the mere sake of Abraham that righteousness was reckoned to him because of his faith-but for us also, to whom it shall be reckoned, if we believe on Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead-who was delivered up unto the death as an atonement for our offences; and was then raised that He might confer upon us the fruits of His own achievement, the rewards of His own obedience.'

We have little more than time to remark, that the faith of Christians, is as little an inert or merely speculative principle, as the faith of Abraham-that it is followed up by a practical movement just as his was, and has its footsteps just as ais had that if the outset of his was

marked by a violent separation fron. all the habits and attachments of nature, the outset of ours is marked by a separation from our old tastes and our old tenden cies in every way as violent-that if in the progress of his he had to obey the requirement which laid upon the sacrifice of his dearest possessions upon earth, in the progress of ours we may be called upon to cut off a right hand or to pluck out a right eye-that if he was bidden to wander afar from the scenes of his infancy, and to abandon all the endearments of his wonted society; so also we, without having to describe one mile of locomotion, are bidden to enter upon a new spiritual region, and by so doing, to be deserted by the congeniality and approbation of all our ungodly friends and all our worldly companionships. In a word, the faith of Christianity, like the faith of the patriarch, is not a mere metaphysical notion-neither are the blessings of Christianity a reward for the soundness of it The faith both of the one and of the other is just such a practical sense of the reality of unseen and eternal things, as leads us to go in actual quest of them according to a prescribed course; and, in so doing, to renounce present things whatever be the force and whatever be the urgency of their allurements. The faith that was in the patriarch's heart, originated such doings in the history of his life, as declared plainly that he sought a country. And our faith is nothing, it is but the breath of an empty profession, but the utterance of a worthless orthodoxy, if it be not followed up by such measures and such movements as plainly declare that immortality is the goal to which we are tending

that the world is but the narrow foreground of that perspective which is lying at our feet and, with the eye stretching forward to the magnificent region beyond it, that we are actually keeping on the strait but single path which conducts to this distant heaven, though set at every footstep with thorns, and hemmed on the right and on the left with difficulties innumerable.

Go forth with this text upon actual society, and make a survey of that mighty throng that move upon our streets, and frequent in thousands our market places

behold every individual in the busy and anxious pursuit of some object which lies in the distance away from him-meet him at any one hour of his history, and ascertain if possible whether the thing on which his heart is lavishing all its desirousness be placed on this or on the other side of death: And if, in every instance, the character of the occupation shall plainly declare that the region of sense which is near engrossex every feeling, and that th

region of spirit which is distant is not in all his thoughts-then, if faith, instead of a barren dogma, be indeed the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen on this very day might not the question and complaint of our Saviour be preferred, verily, when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith upon the earth?'

It just occurs to us before we are done, that we may gather from the history of Abraham, and that by no very circuitous process of inference, the efficacy of affliction in promoting the conversion of a soul to God. For any thing that appears, he, at the call of Heaven, left a happy home, and a smiling circle of relationship, and a prosperous establishment, and a neighbourhood that esteemed him. This added to the violence of the separation. But conceive that, previous to the call, his family had been wrested from him by death; or that his wealth had gone by misfortune into dissipation; or that that most grievous of all misfortunes had befallen him, he had incurred disgrace by some violent departure from rectitude then the ties which bound him to the place of his nativity had been broken;

and, instead of a painful banishment. he would have felt it as a refuge and a hiding place to have gone a solitary wanderer from the place of his nativity. And in like manner may affliction loosen even now the bonds that attach us to the world; and that love of it which is opposite to the love of the Father, may receive a death-blow from some great and unlooked-for calamity; and the heart, bereaved of all its wonted objects, may now gladly close with the solicitations of that voice which speaketh from heaven, and would woo us to the abiding glories of eternity; and we may now find it easier to give up our disengaged attachments unto God-seeing that it has pleased Him, by the infliction of His chastening hand, to sever away from them all those objects on which they wont so fondly to expatiate; and thus it is, that, from the awful visitations of death or poverty or any other dreadful overthrow from some eminence which at one time was occupied, there may at length, after a dark and brooding period of many agitations, emerge the light of new-born prospects; there may at length spring up the peaceable fruit of righteousness.


ROMANS V, 1, 2.

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

To be justified here, is not to be made this epistle, we are said to be justified by righteous, but to be counted righteous. grace. It was in love to the world, that To be justified by faith, expresses to us the whole scheme of another righteousthe way in which an imputed righteousness was devised, and executed, and offered ness is made ours. Faith is that act of the recipient, by which he lays hold of this privilege. It contributes no more to the merit that is reckoned to us, than the hand of the beggar adds any portion to the alms that are conferred upon him. When we look to the righteousness that is made ours by faith, it is well to go altogether out of ourselves, and not to mix up any one personal ingredient whether of obeying or of believing with it. The imagination of a merit in faith, brings us back to legal ground again, and exposes us to legal distrust and disquietude. In the exercise of faith, the believer's eye looks out on a cheering and a comforting spectacle; and from the object of its external contemplation, does it fetch homeward all the encouragement which it is fitted to convey. In a former verse of

to man as his plea both of acquittal and of reward before the God whom he had offended. In another place of the New Testament, we read of being justified by Christ-even by Him who brought in that righteousness which is unto all, and upon all who believe. One should look out to that which forms the ground and the matter of our justification; and when we read here that we are justified by faith, one should understand that faith is simply the instrument by which we lay hold of this great privilege—not the light itself, but the window through which it passes-the channel of transmission upon our persons, by which there is attached to them the merit of the righteousness which another has wrought, and of the obedience which another has rendered.

'We have peace with God.' There are

two senses in which this expression may | no power of self-examination is required be understood. It may signify that peace to ascertain the existence of them. I which is brought about by a transition in could much more readily, for example, the mind of the Godhead, and in virtue of find an answer to the question, what the which He is appeased towards us. He emotions of my heart are, if there be any ceases from that wrath against the sinner, depth or tenderness in them at all, than 1 which only abideth on those who believe could answer the question what the nonot; and from an enemy, He, in consider- tions of my understanding are; and wheation of a righteousness which He lays to ther they amount to a belief, or stop short our account after we have accepted it by at a mere imagination. A state or a profaith, becometh a friend. Or it may sig- cess of the intellect, is far more apt to nify that state which is brought about by elude the inward discernment of man, a transition in our minds; and in virtue than a state or a process of sensible imof which we cease from our apprehension pression, which announces its own reality of God's wrath against us-not, we think, to him in spite of himself. And thus it is, a dissolving of our enmity against Him, that it may be a very difficult thing to but a subsiding of our terrors because of find whether faith be in me, by taking a Him-rest from the agitations of conscious direct look at the state of the understandguilt, now washed away-rest from the ing-while it may not be difficult to find, forebodings of anticipated vengeance, now whether peace be in me, or love be in me, borne by Him on whom the chastisement or a principle of zealous obedience be in of our peace was laid. This we conceive me all of these making themselves known, to be the true meaning of peace with God as it were, by the touch of a distinct and in the verse before us. The whole pas- vigorous sensation. And hence the test sage, for several verses, looks to be a nar- of the principle may be far more readily rative of the personal experience of be- come at than the principle itself. The lievers of their rejoicing, and of their foliage and the blossoms may stand more hoping, and of their glorying. The sub- obviously revealed to the eye of the inner ject of the peace that is spoken of in this man, than the germ from which they verse is the mind of believers-a peace originate; and what our Saviour says of felt by them, no doubt, because they his followers is true of the faith by which now judge that God is pacified towards they are actuated, that by its fruits ye them; but still a peace, the proper resi- shall know it. dence of which is in their own bosoms, that now have ceased from their fears of the Lawgiver, and are at rest.

Peace in this sense of it then, being the effect of faith, affords a test for the reality of this latter principle. Some perhaps may think that this could be still more directly ascertained, if, instead of looking at the test, we looked immediately to the principle itself. By casting an immediate regard upon one's own bosom, we may learn whether peace is there or not. But by casting the same inward regard, might not we directly learn whether faith is there or not? If it be as competent for the eye of consciousness to discern the faith that is in the mind, as to discern there the peace that is but the effect of faith-might | not we, without having recourse to marks or evidences at all, just lay as it were our immediate finding upon the principle that we want to ascertain; and come at once to the assurance that faith is in me, because I am conscious it is in me?

And as to the peace of our text, which is stated there to be a consequence of faith-it surely cannot be denied, but by those who never felt what the remorse and the restlessness and the other raging elements of a sinner's bosom are, that the consequence is far more obvious than the cause. The mind that has been tost and tempest-driven by the pursuing sense of its own worthlessness, should ever these unhappy agitations sink into a calm, will surely feel the transition and instantly recognise it. When an outward storm has spent its fury, and the last breath of it has died away into silence, the ear cannot be more sensible of the difference-than the inner man is, when the wild war of turbulence and disorder in his own heart, is at length wrought off to its final termination. The man may grope for ever among the dark and brooding imagery of his own spirit, and never once be able to detect there that principle of faith, which may tell him that though he suffers now he will Now let it be remarked, that there are be safe in eternity. But should this uncertain states and habitudes of the soul, seen visitor actually enter with him, and which are far more palpable than others work the effect that is here ascribed to it, to the eye of conscience-certain affec- and put an end to that sore vengeance of tions, which give a far more powerful discipline with which God had exercised intimation of their presence, and can there- him, and again restore the light of that fore be much more easily and imme-countenance which either looked to him diately recognized-certain feelings of so in wrath or was mantled in darknessfresh and sensible a character, that almost should he now feel at peace from those

V. 2. The single word also may convince us, that the privilege spoken of in the second verse, is distinct from and ad

terrors that so recently had made him | hath shined in the hearts of those who be afraid; and the God that loured judgmenteve, to give them the light of the knowupon his soul, now put on a face of be- ledge of the glory of God in the face of nignity, and bid this unhappy outcast Jesus Christ; and they who believe not again look up to Him and rejoice-should and are lost, are blinded by the god of this the guilt which so agonised him be sprin- world, lest the light of the glorious gospel kled over with the blood of atonement, of Christ, who is the image of God, should, and he again be translated into the sun- shine unto them.' shine of conscious acceptance with the Being whose chastening hand had well nigh overwhelmed him-We repeat it, that though faith in itself may elude the explor-ditional to the privilege spoken of in the ing eye of him, who finds the search that he is making through the recesses of his moral constitution to be not more fatiguing than it is fruitless-yet faith as the harbinger of peace may manifest at once its reality, by an effect so powerful and so precious.

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This may serve perhaps to illustrate the right attitude for a penitent in quest of comfort, under the burden of convictions which distress or terrify him. He may at length fetch it from without—but he never will fetch it primarily or directly from within. The children of Israel might have as soon been healed by looking downwardly upon their wounds, rather than upwardly to the brazen serpent, as the conscience-striken sinner will find relief from any one object that can meet his eye, in that abyss of darkness and distemper to which he has turned his own labouring bosom. He is where he ought to be, when lying low in the depths of humiliation; but never will he attain to rest or to recovery, till led to the psalmist's prayerOut of the depths do I cry unto thee, O Lord.' It is not from the trouble that is below, but from the truth that is above, that he will catch the sun-beam which is to gladden and to revive him. It is not by looking to himself, but by looking unto Jesus and that peace with God which he never can arrive at through the medium of so dark a contemplation as his own character-that peace the tidings of which he never will read, among the lineaments of his own turpitude and deformity-the peace to which no exercise of penitential feeling, though prolonged in sorrow and bitterness to the end of his days, will ever of itself conduct him-the peace with God, which, through himself or through any penance of his own inflicting, he never will secure, can only come in sure and abundant visitation upon his heart, through the channel of our text, when it is peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 'Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved.' Like as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,

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first. The grace wherein we stand is something more than peace with God. We understand it to signify God's positive kindness or favour to us. You may have no wrath against a man, whom at the same time you have no feeling of positive goodwill to. You are at peace with him, though not in friendship with him. It is a great deal that God ceases to be offended with us, and is now to inflict upon us no penalty. But it is still more that God should become pleased with us, and is now to pour blessings upon our heads. It is a mighty deliverance to our own feelings, when our apprehensions are quieted; and we have nothing to fear. But it is a still higher condition to be preferred to, when our hopes are awakened; and we rejoice in the sense of God's regard to us now, and in the prospect of His glory hereafter. It is additional to our peace in believing, that we also have joy in believing. There is something here that will remind you of what has been already said of negative and positive justification. It was in dying, that Christ pacified the Lawgiver. It was in rising again, that He obtained, as the reward of His obedience, the favour of God, in behalf of all those for whom He now liveth to make intercession, and from these two verses, the distinction to which we have already adverted receives another illustration.

The following is a paraphrase of these two verses.

'Therefore having righteousness laid to our account because we have faith, we enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also it is that we have obtained admittance through our faith, into that state of favour with God wherein we stand here, and rejoice in the hope of His glory hereafter.'

The only remaining topic that occurs to us from this short but comprehensive passage, is that glory of God which is hereafter to be revealed. The Apostle Peter speaks of believers being begotten again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that passeth not away, and is reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto a salvation,

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