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much as sin, because he knows nothing else can offend his Lord and his God, and therefore he would résist unto blood, striving against sin. He would rather die than sin. This fear of offending God influences his whole life and conversation, and keeps him continually watchful, that he may walk worthy of God, wlio hath called him unto his kingdom and glory.
Upon these two arguments we may rest the truth of the apostle's doctrine in my text. The law of faith excludes boasting, because it excludes all man's work and merit in his justification. His keeping of the moral law cannot in the least justify him before God, because after he has once broken it, it becomes to him the ministration of death and condemnation. In this state Christ finds the sinner guilty and condemned, under the curses of the broken law, miserable and helpless. He takes pity on his distress, and determines to save him. With a love truly divine and infinite he comes from bis eternal throne, appears in the likeness of sinful flesh, and God and man are -united in one Christ. This was necessary in order to his working out in our nature a divine and infinite righteousness for believers, against which law and justice might have no exception. He attained this righteousness by obeying the law, by suffering its pains and penalties, even unto death, and by being put into the prison of the grave. He was kept there three days, but it was not possible he should be holden any longer. On the third day he arose triumphant from the dead, and thereby demonstrated that law and justice had no farther demands upon him: for they had certainly received full satisfaction when they released him out of prison. The law was magnified infinitely by his obedience and sufferings, and it is made honourable whenever a sinner is brought to submit to be justified through the righteousness of Christ; because he then acknowledges the law to be holy, just, and good; allows himself to be justly condemned by it, and is convinced that no righteousness can save him, but what is infinitely perfect: such is the Redeemer's. The benefit of this he seeks, and when he receives it, and it is imputed unto him by faith, he then stands justified in the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, and has the Spirit of Christ to guide, strengthen and sanctify him. This good Spirit enlightens him to understand the law, to love it, and gives strength to keep it; and thus by his holy walking the law gets honour; so that the law of faith does not make void - the moral law, but establishes it both in the justification of a sinner, and also in the holy walk and conversation of a believer.
It is evident, then, that ever since the moral law was broken there has been but one way in which a sinner could be saved, and this was the law of faith, which stands established by the sovereign decree of the most high God. He has solemnly provided and enacted, that whoever would enter into life must believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Have you then, my brethren, kept this commandment and believed in him ? Apply this to your own hearts, and examine them strictly. Do you believe the record which God hath given of his Son ? If not, how do you expect to be saved ? Against God's will you cannot be saved. You cannot resist Omnipotence. And his will is, that you submit to the law of faith, and with the heart believe in righteousness. The moral law condemns you to death for sinning against it, and no tears or sorrow, no repentance or amendment can repair the injury you have done it, and therefore by it you cannot be saved. There re. mains then only the law of faith. This offers you a free pardon, and obliges you to accept of it, upon pain of dying in your sins. The offer is, “ he that believeth, shall be saved.” But O how dreadful is the sentence, which follows the kind offer he that believeth not, shall be damned !"
Perhaps some of you may be convinced of the necessity of believing, but you cannot see how faith in
the righteousness of another can gain you acceptance with God. You think, that your works and Christ's must go together to your justification. This is the opinion of too many among us, who will not submit to the righteousness of Christ, but will go about to establish their own righteousness along with his. Their mistake arises from their ignorance of the moral law; they know not its infinite holiness, and what its demands are; and from their ignorance of the gospel, which by the law of faith obliges the sinner to accept of that righteousness as a free gift, which is to satisfy all the demands of the moral law. Such a righteousness Christ has wrought out, and he offers it freely, and the sinner by accepting it receives justification to life. He is made alive to God, and then can act and work in spiritual duties, but before this he was dead legally and spiritually; dead under the sentence of the law, and dead to all motions and acts of spiritual life. While he lies in this state he can do no more than a dead corpse can; but by the gift of righteousness he is legally alive. The sentence of death is taken away, and he is freely pardoned; and then he becomes spiritually alive, and can perform the offices of spiritual life. Being made alive at the root, he produces the fair blossoms, and brings forth the ripe fruits of righteousness. But these fruits do not make him legally alive: they only evidence him to be so. They are the proper effects and consequences of his being spiritually alive, as the bringing forth the blossoms and fruit prove the tree to have life, but do not give it life. Oh! beware then, my brethren, of the dangerous mistake of making up a righteousness, which is to be your justification to life, partly with your own works and partly with Christ's. These two cannot stand together in your justification. The psalmist separates them entirely : “ I will make mention,” says he, "of thy righteousness, even thine only,” (Psal. lxxi. 16); and yet he had as much righteousness to make mention of as any of the old
testament saints. And the apostle, whose praise is in the gospel, for his labouring more abundantly than all the apostles, yet prayed to be “ found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."- Phil. iii. 9.
What ! shall we not do good works? will some say. Yes: work from life, but not for life. You cannot work any thing acceptably, until you, who were dead in trespasses and sins, be quickened; and when you are made alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, then walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good word and work. · This careful walking, my Christian brethren, is in a more especial manner incumbent upon you. You are called unto liberty, only use not your liberty for an occasion of sin: for you are still under the law to Christ. Although you are freed from its condemning power, yet it is still a rule for your life and conduct: because it is the holy, just, and good will of God, your reconciled Father, whom you love, and whom you are exceedingly desirous of pleasing. And it is the will of Christ, your Saviour, to whose image you want to be conformed, and in whose steps you would gladly tread. And it is the will of the Holy Spirit, who is your guide, your sanctifier and your strengthener. By him being led, you can take up your cross daily, mortifying sin, resisting the world's allurements, overcoming the temptations of Satan, and subluing the risings of your carnal minds against the moral law. Under the teachings of this good Spirit you will be led right, and under his influence you will be enabled to bring forth much fruit. Oh that this Spirit of the Lord may rest upon you, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, that you may always walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called ! May he help you to adorn the doctrine of God your Sa
viour in all things; and so to walk before him as to demonstrate publicly, that you do not make void the law by faith, but do perfectly establish it in its full force and vigour! Grant this, Holy Father, for Jesus Christ his sake, to whom, with thee, and the eternal Spirit, be equal honour, praise and worship, for ever and ever. Amen..