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wrath, and exposed to the “vengeance of eterso nal fire.” The justice of God peremptorily demanded satisfaction, and His truth bound Him to fulfil His awful threatenings. Such was the state of mankind independent of the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was an impossibility of averting "the wrath to come” by any sufferings or obedience of our own. It was not therefore without the most urgent necessity that Christ interposed. He did not become incarnate, live and die, for the purpose of effecting what might have been effected without His aid. We were without strength, when Christ died so for the ungodly,"-utterly destitute of ability to make atonement for sin, or to render ourselves acceptable to God. Legal sacrifices were inefficient, for “it was not possible that the “ blood of bulls and of goats should take away 5 sin.” No tears, no sorrows, nó penances

Cof the transgressor could avail to expiate his guilt, because the requisition of the law was perfect obedience, and no provision was made in it for a commutation of its claim. The vicarious obedience of an angel, if an angel could have been found who would have undertaken our cause, must have failed of accomplishing the work of redemption; for the evil of sin, as an offence against God, is too heinous to be removed by the sufferings of a creature, and whatever creature can perform for God is due on his own account, and can therefore have no superfluous merit to be imputed to another.

Our case therefore was desperate without Christ. Every ray of hope which the human mind receives must be reflected on it from the atoning cross. We profess to be Protestants, and as such to believe that “ there is one Mediator between

“ God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” But are we sincere in this profession? Is there not reason to fear that some, while in name they renounce the errors of popery, in fact embrace its most obnoxious tenets ?*

Let the humble believer in Jesus, after reading this brief statement of man's desperate condition in consequence of sin, recal to his mind “the

wormwood and the gall.” Let him anew prostrate himself before the cross of Christ with devout ascriptions of praise. And let the unbeliever, who is either careless about salvation, or trusts in his own righteousness, consider his present state, and tremble at the sight of the burning lake.

Justification, in the theological sense of the word, is the sentence of acquittal from guilt incurred and wrath denounced, and a restoration to the forfeited favour of God. In both these views of the subject our justification is the fruit of our Lord's obedience unto death. There are indeed some modern Divines who rob Christ of half His glory, and the sinner's hope of half if not the whole of its basis. For they teach that the work of Christ has only removed the guilt of sin, and then left the pardoned criminal to procure by his own obedience a title to eternal glory. But this mutilated view of justification may be opposed both by positive texts of Scripture and

* Let the reader compare the tenets of Popery on the subject of justification as they are stated by Hooker, (vol. iii. p. 434, &c. Oxford edit. of his works) with the creed of many modern Protestants, and he will be struck with the coincidence. It would be a happy circumstance for the church of England, if the works of this eminent Divine were more generally known.


positive declarations of our church.* For Christ is “the righteousness of all them that truly do "believe in Him. He for them paid their ran

som by His death. He for them fulfilled the “ law in His life. So that now in Him and by

Him every true Christian man may be called a « fulfiller of the law, forasmuch as that which “their infirmity lacked, Christ's justice hath sup“plied”+—not by way of supplement to something of our own, but to the exclusion of all personal righteousness whatever.

“ Justification" then consists of these two “ parts, remission and acceptance.

We have " them both joined together, Eph. i. 6, 7. He “ hath made us accepted in the Beloved, in whom “ we have redemption through His blood, even “the forgiveness of sins. Remission of sins takes

away our liableness to death; acceptation of “our persons gives us a title unto life. Now to 4 be free from our obnoxiousness to death, and • instated in a right to eternal life, these two “ constitute a perfect justification. For to be " acceptable of God in Christ is no other than for “God, through the righteousness and obedience s of Christ imputed to us, to own and acknow“ledge us to have a right to heaven. And there“ fore we have mention of a pardon and an inhe“ ritance together in St. Paul's commission to his * ministry, (Acts xxvi. 18.) that they may “ receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance “ among them that are sanctified. It is not there"fore, O soul, a bare negative righteousness

* See Hooker, vol, iii. 436, 437, quoted p. 172 of this volume.

+ See the Homily of Salvation, in which the mode of justification is stated with the greatest accuracy.

" that God intends thee in the pardon of thy sins; “it is not merely to remove the curse and wrath

thy sins have deserved (though that alone can

never sufficiently be admired); but the same “ hand that plucks thee out of hell by pardon, “ lifts thee up to heaven by what He gives thee

together with thy pardon, even a right and ti“ tle to a blessed and glorious inheritance. Thy

pardon thou hast from the passive obedience of s Christ in His sufferings. A right to heaven " thou hast through the active obedience of Christ "in fulfilling all righteousness. And through - both hast thou obtained a complete justification; “ God looked upon thee as innocent through the “ satisfaction of His Son, and as worthy through His obedience, both which are made thine by « faith."*

Blessed be God, that such a change of state as that which hath been described is possible to be obtained that it is certain to him who seeks it aright—that every believer in Jesus is actually brought into it. He is “ passed from death unto “ life.” Whatever may be comprehended under the term death was naturally his portion, his present and eternal portion. But so great is the transition which he hath experienced, that all this is abolished; and whatever is included in the term life is now, and shall eternally be, his rich and glorious inheritance. How strange is it that this all-important subject should be uninteresting to any of the guilty sons of Adam!—that this sweet theme should want attractions for fallen man! that it should be considered as a needless speculation in Divinity!—that dissertations on morality should be preferred to the gospel of Jesus Christ!

* Bishop Hopkins on the Lord's Prayer, page 92.

-nay, that opposition should be raised against the gratuitous nature of the salvation which is revealed, and that attempts should be made to depreciate its riches, and to rob it of its glorious peculiarities !--Do I know how I may be accepted with God, and do I enjoy the inestimable benefit?

How gross an insult to the understanding and feelings of a capital convict would a discourse on the nature of his duty, the estates he once possessed, and the honour to which he had been intitled, prove! Equally galling to the conscious mind are lectures on morality, the duties and rewards of the covenant of works, while the attainder of the Divine law rests on it with an insupportable weight, and no method of justification is proposed that is adapted to its state. Blessed be God, that justification by faith in the vicarious sufferings and obedience of a Divine Surety is the grand topic both of the Bible and of our church! Both lay their foundation in the merit of the Redeemer, and then build thereon a superstructure of personal obedience. In both salvation by grace and the necessary effects of faith are so clearly stated, that every important mistake must arise either from gross inattention or wilful per


That justification is the act of God, as our collect has stated it to be, needs no proof. For the creditor only can remit the debt which is due to him, and may appoint his own terms. Now as the whole human race is in a state of bankruptcy, surely it becomes us to inquire what those terms of remission are which the great Creditor has revealed. Indifference to the subject is an insult to His Majesty, and a high aggravation of our guilt. What, then, does the gospel, the law of faith, the directory of life, say on the momentous

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