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it will derive a higher degree of glory from the deliverance of those who, from the depths of self-despair, call on Him for help.
We urge, at the conclusion of the petition, our usual plea: for indeed we have no other which we can substitute in its stead. The name and merit of " Jesus Christ our Saviour" are our only grounds of confidence. It is only as we keep Him in our view, and the expiatory punishment which was inflicted on Him, that we can hope for deliverance; for it is only “ through Jesus Christ our Saviour” that the name of God can be glorified in our salvation. To hope for salvation independently of Christ, is to build our expectation on a supposition that God will degrade the character of His own moral government, and affix an eternal disgrace to the perfection of His nature. In short, it involves the absurdity of thinking that God may undeify Himself to save us from perdition. The impossibility of this needs no demonstration.
We conclude with a doxology which, while it ascribes glory to the Triune Jehovah, is corroborative of our faith in presenting our petition. For if - Jesus Christ our Saviour ever liveth” to intercede for us, if He “reigneth world without “ end,” all power in heaven and in earth being committed to Him, if He be “ with the Father “ and the Holy Ghost, one God," one in will as in essence, what comfortable inferences may we draw from these considerations! Then His blood must be infinitely meritorious—His grace almighty; then the Father and the Holy Ghost are equally concerned in, and engaged for, our eternal salvation, with Him who died for us.And « if God be for us, who shall be against 66 us??
THE SUNDAY CALLED SEXAGESIMA, OR THE
SECOND SUNDAY BEFORE LENT.
O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do ; mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HRISTIANITY is distinguished from all
other systems of religion by the proposal which it makes of a vicarious righteousness, and by a prohibition of any reliance on the personal obedience of its disciples. It is their character, that they “ worship God in the Spirit, rejoice “ in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in “ the flesh.” Various have been the schemes which fallen man has devised for the purpose of recommending himself to God; but widely as these have diverged from each other in many respects, they have all concurred in one central point, viz. self-righteousness. Herein the Pagan, the Turk, the Infidel, the Heretic, the modern Jew, and the Papist, all meet, notwithstanding the diversity of their opinions, rites and ceremonies, and their mutual antipathy to each other. Into this vortex all mankind rush to their destruction, except the few persons who are taught of God.
As the real Christian is distinguished from all other persons by his hopes and fears, his desires and aversions, his joys and sorrows, so especially by his confidence. It is placed exclusively on Divine mercy through Jesus Christ. This trait of his character creates an essential difference,
not only between him and the worldling who, unconcerned about futurity, is Jabouring for the meat that perisheth, while that which endureth unto everlasting life is totally forgotten; but also between him and the self-justiciary, who, like the pharisee of old, trusts in himself that he is righteous. If mankind be compared to an equilateral triangle, whose base rests on the earth, while one of its angles points heavenwards, the careless and the self-righteous form the base, and though distant from each other, both cleave to the earth; while the real disciples of Christ, equi-distant from both the other classes, aspire to heaven, depending for acceptance with God on the alone merit of Jesus Christ their Lord.
That the genuine members of the church of England are thus distinguished, appears from the collect which has been recited, and which contains, A solemn appeal to Divine Omniscience—and An earnest prayer to Divine Omnipotence.
“ Trust," in our collect, means the confidence of the heart in relation to the favour of God and everlasting salvation. The object therefore, concerning which the appeal is made, is of the highest importance. If a man place his fortune on bad securities, and they fail, he knows the worst of his imprudence. The loss may
indeed be severely felt for some days or years to come; but the moment will soon arrive when the bankrupt and the most prosperous merchant will be on an exact level. The loss of a man's property may be retrieved; or, if not, “a man's life - consisteth not in the abundance of the things “ which he possesseth.” If I intrust my life, when I am sick, in the hands of an unskilful Physician, and death ensue, the mischief which
is done relates only to “ a vapour that passeth
away and cometh not again;" for such is our present state of existence. If I embark myself and property on board a leaky ship and all should sink together, the loss sustained is of small consequence, compared with the loss of the soul. “ For what is a man profited, if he 'gain the whole world and lose his own soul; “ or what shall a man give in exchange for his “ soul?” This therefore is the deposit of value, concerping which too much care cannot be manifested in the examination of securities on which its safety is reposed, and in scrutinizing the character and ability of the trustee to whom it is confided. He is “ a wise man, who builds his house upon a rock: for when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon that house, it will not fall, because it is founded upon a rock. But he is a foolish man, who builds his house upon the sand: for when the rains descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon that house, it will fall, and great will be the fall of it.”
The appeal, therefore, which is made in our collect, is extremely solemn on account of its subject. But our idea of its solemnity will be heightened, when we consider to whom it is addressed, It is an appeal to Omniscience. “ O Lord God, thou seest that we put not our “ trust in any thing that we do." Divine cognizance extends to the inmost recesses of our souls. For “ all things are naked and open to “ the eyes of Him with whom we bave to do.” Let the reader consult the cxxxixth Psalm, and then review this appeal to God. It is moreover made in the house of God, at the time of solemn. worship, in the presence of many witnesses very extensive.
visible and invisible. O how heinous is the sin of hypocrisy under such circumstances. Let the reader consider himself as solemnly “charged “ before God and the elect angels,” and the congregation of the faithful, to “ speak the “ truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the “ truth."
That ground of false confidence which our collect teaches us to disclaim, is It includes not only all extrinsical human works, but moreover all the inward emotions of the soul, not excepting those which are kindled and excited by Divine grace. We comprehend in this avowal not only the habits and acts of our unregenerate and unconverted state, but those also of our regenerate and converted state.
We “put not our trust in any thing that we do.” The exercise of repentance, faith and love, as well as the outward acts of piety and charity which we may have performed, are herein excluded from any share of our confidence in the great business of justification before God.
That the language which our church here teaches us to use is strictly proper, and that we ought not to “put our trust in any thing “ that we do,” is very certain. For the Scriptures speak explicitly and positively on the subject, ascribing our acceptance with God to the . obedience of Christ only. To quote all the passages which bear directly or indirectly on this point, would oblige us to transcribe a great part of the New Testament; for it forms its principal theme. But a full persuasion of its truth is so important, that a reference must be made to a few. Let the latter part of the third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans be read with attention, and it will leave no doubt on the awakened