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When thy triumphant armies fing
The honours of thy name,
With “ Glory to the Lamb !''
Then may I join the raptur'd lays,
And, with the blissful throng,
In an eternal song."
BEFORE we dismiss the doĉtrinal part of our sub
jeĉt, we shall briefly consider, What that life is, which the favour of God confers. In the explication of the terms of our text, we hinted, that natural life, spiritual life, and the life of comfort and happiness are all dependent on the divine favour. To amplify the subject a little more, we would proceed to say, That a life of justification originates in the fame glorious cause. A state of justification may be emphatically called a state of life. A man actually condemned, is legally dead. A full pardon gives him, in a law sense, a new
life. So in a spiritual respect, a juít, or justified person is said to live, and to live by faith.
The justification of a sinner before God is not by any works of his own ; but only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him, and received by faith. It is one of the most glorious trutlis revealed in the scriptures, and that which distinguishes the gospel fyftem from every other system of religion, that our divine Redeemer should become the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ; that he who knew no sin, should be made sin for us, should bear our sins in his own body on the tree, put them away by the sacrifice of himself, to the end that we, by his obedience unto death, might be made righteous.
On this divine plan, the merit of human works is cut off, and all boasting in ourselves entirely and for ever excluded. The justification of a finner in the fight of his Maker and his Judge, is not of debt but of grace, or free favour. “ We are juftified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” “The God of all grace, according to his abundant mercy, provided, appointed, and accepted the wonderful expedient, fo needful for poor, ruined, helpless finners, and so honourable to all his own attributes. - To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
por todo But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
The whole is the contrivance of infinite wisdom, and unbounded love. The poor finner, who cannot pay one mite, in order to satisfy divine justice for his multiplied offences, is set clear of every charge, and of all condemnation, upon his accepting of Christ by faith, as the Lord our righteousness. The faith itself, by which he receives him, is the free gift of God. Here is grace upon grace, or favour upon favour, all entirely and absolutely free: A poor
arrested debtor accounts it a great favour, if a friend will become furety for him, and still greater, if he will discharge all his debts, and set him perfećtly free. Jesus Christ, our great Surety, has done this for us, miserable offenders; so that who. soever believeth in him is justified from all things, and everlastingly accepted in the fight of God. " Who Niall lay any thing to the charge of God's elcat? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again. For as he died for our sins, he rose again for our justification. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, and, as a proof of their being so, walk not after the dech, but after the Spirit.” What astonishing fa
vour is this! Favour, in which is our life! What an admirable contrivance of rich and free grace! * A contrivance by which at once sin is exposed in all its hatefulness, condemned and punished, the justice of God is fully satisfied, the vivlations of his law more than repaired, its precepts infinitely honoured,
* 6. There is nothing in the law's sacred injunctionswhich Christ, as our Surety, did not perform, no. thing in its awful threatenings which he did not suftain. He fulfilled all its precepts, by an unspotted purity, of heart, and the most perfect integrity of life. He exhausted its whole curse when he hung upon
the erofs, abandoned by the Father, and a bleeding, victim for the fins of men. This obedience brings higher honour to the divine law, than it could have received from the uninterrupted duty of Adam, and all his pofterity, in all their generations.
May the blessed Spirit enable you to believe, that your fins are expiated through the death of Jesus Christ, that a righteousness is given you, by which you may have free and welcome access to God, the merit of which you may plead, for obtaining all the blessings of time and eternity! Will this alienate your aifections from your almighty Benefactor? Will this irritate evil concupiscence, or send you to carnal gratifications in quest of happiness? Quite the reverse. When this faith is wrought in your heart, nothing will be so powerful to produce holy love, and willing obedience; to exalt your desires, and enable you to overcome the world.
and the poor sinner, guilty, condemned, and utterly helpless in himself, accepted as righteous before the divine throne, and as completely justified as if he had never transgrefled. This is that wonderful
Multitudes of poor finners are held fast in the fatal snares of vice, by their ignorance of this sweet, consolatory truth. They find themselves deeply obnoxious to divine justice, and feel themselves strongly bound by the chains of sensuality. They think it is impossible to clear the enormous score of their guilt, impossible to deliver themselves from the confirmed lominion of fin. Therefore, like desperate debtors, they stifle
every serious thought, lest a consciousness of their long arrears, and a prospect of the dreadful reckoning, should torment them before the time.
But if they were informed, that the infinitely merciful Son of God has undertaken to redeem such undone and helpless finners; that he has thoroughly expiated the most horrid transgressions, and procured, even for ungodly wretches, all the needful supplies of strengthening grace; that, instead of being prohibited, they are invited to partake, freely to partake of these unspeakable blessings ;-were they acquainted with these glad tidings of the gospel, surely they would burft their chains, and spring to liberty. These truths, if once revealed in their hearts, would, of all considerations, be most effe&tual to make them free. The gracious Redeemer himself has said, Ye fall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Hervey's Theron and Afpafio, Dial. xiv.