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of the titles of the Psalms. I trust all men.” We may be unskilled in what has been said will be sufficient many other points of Christian knowto vindicate our translators from the ledge: but none of us are so ignocharges advanced against them, of rant as not to know this; and oh! incompetence and unfairness.
It that none were so thoughtless as would be too much to expect per- not to lay it to heart ! fection in any work in which frail
Now if there be a judgment to man is concerned. But we have come, it is of infinite consequence reason to be thankful to Divine that we should ascertain by what Providence, that the revered volume rule we are to be judged. to which we look for instruction, law is the knowledge of sin :" for guidance, for consolation, for cannot therefore tell whether we animation in our Christian warfare, shall be condemned or acquitted, conveys to us so faithfully the sense unless we understand the nature of of the divine original; that its faults that law under which we are placed. are comparatively few and unim- The heathen, who have the law of portant; that its general correctness nature written in their hearts, their and excellence have received the conscience accusing or excusing powerful sanction of our ablest Bi- them when they break or fulfil its blical critics; and that the few per- rules, will be judged according to sons who have accused the transla- that law. The Jew, who had the tors of ignorance and gross mistakes, law of the Ten Commandments, and have generally proved, by the inac- also the precepts of the Mosaic cecuracy of their own criticisms, their remonies, will be judged according incompetence to form a correct to his clearer knowledge of God's judgment on the subject.
will. We also, who have the law of CLERICUS CORNUBIENSIS. God plainly laid down for us in
Scripture, shall be judged by the strict but equitable rules of his re
vealed word; for “ to whom much FAMILY SERMONS.—No. CLXXV. is given, of him shall much be reRom. iii. 20.-By the Law is the quired.” knowledge of sin.
Have we then ever seriously THERE are, in Scripture, some thought what the law of God dethings hard to be understood, and mands of us? If we have not, we which have given rise to many con- are in danger of deceiving ourselves troversies in the church of Christ; by thinking the requirements of that but all the essential doctrines and law less than they really are. We precepts of religion are plain and may not, perhaps, be aware how simple,and carry conviction to every great are our offences, for want of mind that is not wilfully shut against having measured them by the right their reception. No person who standard. If the rules by which we thinks seriously, with the Scriptures are accustomed to try our own conin his hand, can doubt, for instance, duct are defective, or less strict than that we are dependent and accoun- the law by which we shall hereafter table creatures, who must be judged be judged, our knowledge of sin at the last day, according to the is imperfect and delusive. Many deeds done in the body, whether things may appear trifles to us, they be good or whether they be which will not be found to be trifles evil. This is a truth we all acknow. when the law of God is known. ledge. We know, without a sha. Nor will our want of consideration dow of doubt, that a time is coming of it make our offence the less, when “God will judge the world in where the opportunity for considerighteousness by that man—Christration is given to us. It is as much Jesus—whom he hath ordained ; of our duty to endeavour to learn what which he hath given assurance unto God requires of us, as to endeavour to obey his requirements. With a God : let us now consider wheview then to assist you in seriously ther we have not all grievously reflecting on this subject, I shall broken this law.–But is there any begin with, First, pointing out the one whose conscience does not innature of the law by which our stantly plead guilty to the charge ? knowledge of sin will be judged of; Is there any one who can look into Secondly, shew how greatly we have his own heart, or examine his own broken that law ; Thirdly, the pe- conduct, and not be convinced of nalty due to our disobedience ; and, the truth of that scriptural declaraFourthly, the means of pardon re- tion, that “all have sinned, and come vealed to us in the Gospel.
short of the glory of God.” SupFirst, let us inquire into the na- posing that we have been mercifully ture of that law under which we are restrained from acts of gross vice, placed by our Creator.–Our self- still “the carnal mind is enmity love is too apt to blind us on this against God; it is not subject to the point, and to represent to us either law of God, neither indeed can be." that the commands of God are far The principle of true love to God, less strict and spiritual than in truth that is, to God as he is represented they are; or that God is too lenient in the Scriptures, is not natural to the to enforce them, or to punish us for heart of man since the fall of Adam. the breach of them. But our self- And how stands the fact, even with love is not the rule of God's con- regard to his positive precepts ? If duct. To know his will we must we proceed to compare our lives resort to the declaration of it in with the Ten Commandments, comScripture, where it is plainly re- prehending under each of them, not vealed for our guidance. And what only the outward act, but our inmost does Scripture teach us on this sub- intentions, and our secret wishes, ject ? Does it not demand a full, what is the result ? We disclaim the perfect, and continual devotion to thought of worshipping “gods of the service of our Creator? that we wood and stone, which are no gods;" should love him with all our heart and we have no temptation so to do; and soul and mind and strength ? but have we sanctified the true God that we should pass our whole lives in our hearts ? Are there no evil in entire obedience to his commands? thoughts or practices which draw Does it not further require that we us away from his service? Are not should love our neighbour, that is, too many of us living “without God all our fellow-creatures, as in the world ?” In how many hearts, selves ? Did not our blessed Lord in how many families, is his worship himself clearly explain, and strongly entirely neglected? And even in enforce, these two great precepts our professed devotions, what a of duty; describing the purity, the mockery do we often offer to him, extent, and the spirituality of God's drawing nigh to him with our lips law, as relating not merely to the while our hearts are far from him ! conduct, but penetrating to the mo- Again, how often do we take his tive, the secret principle, the very holy name in vain in our very thoughts and intents of the heart ? prayers and praises, owing to our Human laws take cognizance only want of reverence for his Glorious of the outward act, and its effects Majesty, and our forgetfulness even upon society ; but God "requireth of his presence! How often do we truth in the inward parts :” he says, break his Sabbaths in spirit, at the “My son, give me thy heart;" and very time, perhaps, when we are the exacted measure of our obe- keeping them in appearance ; thinkdience to him is, that “we should ing our own thoughts, speaking our continue in all things written in the own words, doing our own pleabook of the law to do them." sure, and wishing both the day and
Secondly. Such is the law of its sacred duties at an end! And,
with regard to the second table of so great as the displeasure of an inthe Law, how innumerable are our finitely wise and powerful being, deficiencies in the affection, the who is able to cast both body and gentleness, the forbearance, the dis- soul into hell? “It is a fearful interested services, which we owe thing to fall into the hands of the to our fellow-creatures ! Have we living God." “ Who can stand in uniformly given due honour to pa- his sight when once he is angry?" rents, and to whomsoever honour is It is no trifling evil to remain under due ? Have we never committed his awful frown, even in the present murder in our hearts, by being an- world ; to have his fearful judgments gry without a cause; by unkind or laid upon us during our short-lived revengeful wishes; or by conduct existence here. But what is this to calculated to stir up ill-will and con- his never-ending displeasure in the tention ? Have all our thoughts, world to come; where “the worm words, and actions been marked by dieth not, and the fire is not quenchChristian purity? If we have not ed;" where there is “weeping, and been guilty of gross theft, have we wailing, and gnashing of teeth ;" never been unjust in our gains ; or
where “the smoke of their torment taken advantage of the ignorance ascendeth up for ever and ever?" or easy disposition of others; or in- And what will doubtless be among jured an employer by eye-service, or the bitterest ingredients in that by a wasteful or negligent spirit; everlasting cup of displeasure will be or a friend or parent, by not con- the tormenting reflection that this scientiously improving the advan- unspeakable infliction was amply tages which they have laboured to deserved ; that it might have been procure for us? If we have never avoided ; that God waited to be borne false testimony before a ma- gracious, and willed not the death gistrate, yet have we never in any of the sinner, but rather that he other way injured our neighbour's should repent and live. character, by unjust or overcharged Fourthly. This last consideration representations, or by publishing his leads us to the remaining point profaults with a sinful satisfaction ? posed for our present inquiry; namely, And lastly, have we never indulged the way of pardon and deliveranee those selfish and covetous desires, revealed to us in the Gospel. We which, if ripened into act, would have seen the strict and holy chahave caused the actual transgression racter of God's law: we have fur. of those very commands which we ther considered our numerous transare most ready to boast of having gressions of it; and the awful pekept?
nalty annexed to our disobedience. Thirdly, having thus broken the Upon none of these points can there law of God, it follows that we are be any room for doubt or hesitation. all concluded under sin; and it greatly We may not indeed approve of the concerns us to inquire in the next Divine proceeding; but our disapproplace, what is the penalty due to our bation will not reverse it. The law disobedience? And here again God and the penalty are plainly declared is not without a witness in our hearts. in God's word; and though heaven In the darkest ages of heathenism, and earth shall pass away not one conscience proclaimed “the judg- jot or tittle of that word shall fail. ment of God, that they who do The great question then which it such things” as are contrary to his behoves us to ask is “What must I law “are worthy of death.” A law do to be saved ;" how may a guilty, always supposes a penalty for the perishing transgressor escape the breach of its enactments; and the judgment of his Creator ? And penalty for breaking the law of our here, blessed be God, Christianity Creator is his righteous displeasure. has not left us in the dark. It is And what penalty can be conceived the record of God to a sinful world,
teaching us how He can be “just ious to obtain them? Do we feel and yet the justifier of him that be- our need of them? Have we that lieveth in Jesus,” and this notwith knowledge of our sinfulness which standing innumerable past sins and a right view of God's law is intended remaining imperfections. “ By the to unfold ? Do we acknowledge deeds of the law,” whether moral or our guilt and wretchedness; and are ceremonial, for in this respect both we seriously inquiring the way of stand on the same footing, “there salvation ? If so, how seasonable, shall no flesh be justified in God's how applicable to our case, are the sight; for by the la is the know- promises of God made to the beledge of sin. But now the righ
But now the righ- lieving penitent in Christ Jesus ! teousness of God without the law is The injunctions of the Divine law manifested; even the righteousness are not lowered; but an atonement of God which is by the faith of Jesus has been made for our breach of Christ, unto all and upon all them them; and, what is of great importhat believe ; (for there is no diffe- tance for us ever to remember, the rence, for all have sinned and come Holy Spirit is promised to give us a short of the glory of God ;) being new heart to love and obey themjustified freely by his grace, through not indeed perfectly in this state of the redemption that is in Christ sin and imperfection, but with a Jesus; whom God hath set forth to constantly growing desire and enbe a propitiation, through faith in deavour. Now here is the great his blood, to declare his righteous- point for strict personal inquiry. ness for the remission of sins.” Such Are we thus made “the workmanis the Apostle Paul's description of ship of God, created in Christ Jesus the way of salvation, in the verses unto good works, which God hath which follow the text. We have before ordained that we should walk seen that we cannot be justified be- in them?” Let us not deceive ourfore God, on the condition of human selves by supposing that a mere merit; but “ Christ hath redeemed bạrren belief in the atonement of us from the curse of the law by Christ will justify us. No: we must being made a curse for us.” “ He have a new heart; a heart purified hath taken away sin by the sacrifice by the Holy Spirit, and made the of himself.” Hence “ there is now temple of God.
« Christ was mano condemnation to them that are nifested to destroy the works of in Christ Jesus ;” and the instru- the devil :" in vain therefore do we ment by which we are engrafted into call ourselves the disciples of Christ, him is faith. “It is of faith, that it if we do those works, or delight might be by grace ;” that is by free in them. Christ “redeemed us, favour ; “not of works lest any man that we might serve him in holiness should boast.”
and righteousness all the days of The way, then, of pardon and our life;" useless and deceptive acceptance with God is open to us therefore is our professed trust in through the blood of a Mediator. him, if our character does not attest But have we availed ourselves of that we are his servants. It is as this inestimable privilege? God, much the effect of the Gospel, on his part, has promised forgiveness wherever rightly received, to produce of sin, and adoption into his family, a hatred to sin, as of the Law to give and peace with himself; and the the knowledge of it. The Law gift of his Holy Spirit; and his love teaches us what is our duty : the shed abroad in the heart ; and his Gospel engrafted in our hearts by renewing and sanctifying grace; faith teaches us to love it. There and an eternal inheritance in hea. is therefore no opening made for an ven? But have we resorted to him unholy life, by the free offer of grace for these blessings ? Are we even and pardon in Christ Jesus; for with sensible of their importance, or anx- this gift is inseparably connected a Christ. OBSery. No. 259.
renewal of heart. The faith that sake of the impartiality of the narjustifies us, also purifies us. No rative; and the mention of them sooner are we engrafted into Christ thus becomes a collateral witness Jesus, than we derive strength and for the authenticity and truth of the vigour from him to bring forth fruit sacred writings. In some cases also to his glory. So long as we con- the record has been highly useful tinue opposed to God's law, we to deeply dejected penitents, as a have no authority to take to our- preservative against despair ; and, selves the privileges of his Gospel. above all, the sufferings which arose The very test of our being dead to from these delinquencies, and the the Law, as a covenant of works, is subsequent bitter remorse and our earnest desire and endeavour to humble exemplary life of the relive according to it as a rule of life. penting offenders (which the obThe Christian's exception from its jectors usually forget to notice), penalty, does not disincline him to are of the strongest and most direct obey its precepts: on the contrary, moral utility. One of our Homilies the more he grows in grace and very strikingly mentions the followin the knowledge of his Lord and ing instructions to be derived from Saviour Jesus Christ,” the more these humbling narratives.does he love the way of God's como “ These, and such like, in God's mandments, and endeavour to walk book, are not written that we should worthy of the high vocation to which or may do the like, following their he is called. And unless such be examples; or that we ought to think our character, vain are our hopes, that God did allow every of these and worthless all our professions. things in those men; but we ought
rather to believe and to judge that Noah, in his drunkenness, offended
God highly; Lot committed horrible Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. incest. We ought, then, to learn by Among the methods which the op. them this profitable lesson; that, if posers of religion have employed to so godly men as they were, which disparage the sacred Scriptures, one otherwise felt inwardly God's Holy of the most painful to a truly Chris. Spirit inflaming their heårts with the tian mind has been the insidious fear and love of God, could not by and overcharged exhibition of the their own strength keep themselves sinful actions
of otherwise eminently from committing horrible sin, but holy men. With this disingenuous did so grievously fall, that without object in view, narratives are at the God's great mercy they had perished present moment in baneful circula- everlastingly, how much more ought tion, detailing, with most unfair and we then, miserable wretches, which injurious comments, the awful lapses have no feeling of God within us at of David and other Scripture cha- all, continually to fear, not only racters; and it is to be feared that that we may fall as they did, but this artful mode of attacking all also be overcome and drowned in that is sacred and venerable has sin, which they were not; and so, not been without its effect. To by considering their fall, take the every serious and considerate reader better occasion to acknowledge our sufficient reasons will readily pre- own infirmity and weakness, and sent themselves, to shew the wis- therefore more earnestly to call unto dom of God in causing the occa- Almighty God, with hearty prayer sionally evil deeds of otherwise incessantly,for his grace to strengthgood men to be left on record. In en us and to defend us from all evil? the first place, they are mentioned And though, through infirmity, we with strong disapprobation express- chance at any time to fall, yet we ed or implied. Again; they were may, by hearty repentance and true necessary to be recorded for the faith, speedily rise again, and not