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“ The law of God exact He shall fulfil
“The amiable moralist, the zealous servant of the law, the just and the benevolent, the monarch on the throne and the captive in the dungeon, the wise and the unlearned, the Pharisee and the multitude, the scribe and the wayfaring man, must eat the flesh of the Son of God, and drink his blood, or they have no life in them. Be the spiritual case of every individual what it may, Christ crucified fully and entirely meets it."-Buddicom's Christian Exodus.
If I could assure you that you are in the favour of God, and that there is an intimate and indissoluble amity between Him and your souls, and that you will certainly obtain heaven, on the ground of your Christian privileges, and of your amiable virtues and prompt discharge of your social duties, I might advance what would be very gratifying to you: but you are aware, from my preceding statements, that I am compelled to set before you a very different sort of doctrine. Among the all-important topics of religion, the corruption of man, redemption through Christ, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit, demand the most serious consideration that can be given them. I do not aim to put subjects before you with systematical formality. . Whatever may be our distinctions and refinements when we enter into particulars, the great and general truths on which we build are these that we are lost and depraved creatures that the Son of God is the only Redeemer-and that the Holy. Spirit is the only Sanctifier.
Redemption is grounded on our sinfulness, and on God's holiness and justice, love and mercy. It is, if I may speak so, love and mercy delivering man from sin in accordance with holiness and justice. If we were not sinners, corrupt and enslaved, offending and guilty, we should need no Redeemer. But we are sinful creatures in our nature, and transgressing creatures in our conduct: and hence we are unlike God, who is the Holy One; and we are under condemnation before Him as the righteous Governor of the world. What we need, therefore, is, pardon, justification, and the renewal of our nature. We need mercy, to forgive us : we need grace, to adorn our souls with holiness. Let man be pardoned; and this can only be done by such
means as God in His wisdom and goodness shall appoint: and let man be renewed after the image of God, so that he shall please Him in his thoughts, principles, affections, and conduct :-and then it is manifest that he is in a new state, and has a new nature. He stands before us in the blessed condition and attitude of a redeemed being of a real partaker of redemption.
The great object of the Bible is to reveal to us a Redeemer-God in Christ ; Him by whose work, by whose obedience unto death, by whose atoning sacrifice, and by whose Spirit, we may be pardoned and justified in a manner worthy of the just God, and may be made truly holy in the frame of our souls ; in our hearts and lives. From this Saviour we are called Christians : but surely the great point is, not to bear that august title ("the highest style of man”) in vain, but so to know Christ, as to be of the number of those who are washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
The true doctrine indisputably is, that we have salvation in Christ only. He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He “of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Salvation is His work for us, and the work of His Spirit in us. If we be justified, it is only “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” If we be pardoned, it is in Him“ redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness
of sins.” If we be renewed, it is through His Spirit working and dwelling within us. If we enjoy the favour of God here, and shall be advanced to His glorious presence hereafter, it proceeds from the redeeming work of Christ. Surely then we are under the highest obligations to Him as "the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him," and He ought to have a large place in our regard. But
you cannot be unacquainted with this fact that Christians in general have a strong aversion to hear much in conversation of Christ and of Him crucified. We may speak of God; of some of His adorable perfections, of His providence, and of His works ; and we shall be heard perhaps with delight and admiration. We may indeed speak of Christ; and provided we confine our remarks to His example and morals, we may escape censure, or even win praise. But the author of the sermon on the mount, is also the author of the valedictory discourse to the apostles. The sermon mount is not the whole of the Gospel. The exhibiting of a holy Example is very far from being ah that Christ has done for us. If, however, we speak of the person, of the sacrifice, of the righteousness, of the love, of the spiritual demands of the Saviour, we are not heard with satisfaction. Our hearers are uncomfortable: they are not at home: there is no chord in their hearts that vibrates in unison with our statements. They may confess that what
we say is good and true; but they do not enter into it; they have a secret aversion to it; and they are eager for the arrival of the moment when the topic shall be relinquished. Perhaps some of you, my young readers, are not strangers to that frame of spirit to which I have here adverted.
- There is naturally in the heart of man a strong aversion to the peculiar doctrines of the gospel. For instance, the doctrine of Justification is thus stated by our Church : “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works and deservings.” Aversion to this doctrine has caused the language in which it is here expressed, to be tortured in almost every possible manner, in order to make it convey any thing but its own plain, obvious, and scriptural sentiment.
This aversion obviously springs from the contrariety that exists between the gospel and corrupt human nature. We are proud, self-sufficient, full of self-complacency and self-admiration. But the gospel calls us to humility, self-debasement, and self-renunciation,-to the unfeigned and complete humiliation of ourselves before God as wretched creatures, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—as insolvent debtors, as guilty criminals, as lost and perishing beings. It calls us to accept all the blessings of redemption as the free gifts of God. But God's pure bounty does not please man's unhumbled spirit. He deems the acceptance of bless