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their Maker and rightful Lord, had become the bond slaves of the enemy of God and man; and were led captive by him at his will. Recollect that this deplorable state was not one, like that of the Hebrews in Egypt, into which we had fallen by our misfortune only-It was one in which our own guilt had placed us; but from which no efforts of our own could deliver us; had we even been disposed to make efforts for that purpose. But it was not a small part of our misery, that, wretched as our condition was, we liked it well. We were rebels against Jehovah, and slaves to Satan, and were pleased with our chains. We needed both a provision for the pardon of our guilt, and for rendering us willing to accept the pardon, when it should be at our offer-willing to receive deliverance, when the way of deliverance should be prepared and open. This, precious youth, was your situation and mine, as viewed in our natural state, and without a Redeemer. And what has the Redeemer done to bring us out of this state, and to render us heirs of "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away ?" He has come from heaven to earth, humbled himself to assume our nature, expiated our guilt by a life of suffering, terminating in the cursed death of the cross. "We were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold-but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Thus was a way opened to bring us out of our prison house, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. But alas! as has been stated, man, infatuated as well as enslaved by sin, had no disposition or inclination to be freed from his bondage; and would in fact never have been delivered, if the Redeemer had not done even more than pay the price of redemption. If the Saviour had not ascended to heaven, and sent the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to ap
ply the benefits of his work to the souls of his people, and make them "a willing people in the day of his power," not one of them would have come to him to receive his benefits. No-having conquered their enemies, he had still to subdue them to himself, by the influences of his Spirit-To draw them sweetly by the cords of love; to unite themto identify them, with himself, that all the privileges and all the possessions of the sons of God might be ensured to them; that happiness, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor of which the heart of man hath ever conceived, might become theirs, in virtue of their vital union with himself. Of this inestimable spiritual deliverance, the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt-their being brought from under the tyranny of Pharaoh, and the cruel slavery of their task-masters there, by the mighty power and outstretched arm of Jehovah, was indeed a fit and striking type, and yet it was but a very small matter, in the comparison.
Recollecting then that it was God our Redeemer, that it was "Immanuel, God with us," who from the top of Sinai delivered the ten commandments, as a Moral law, for the guidance of man in the performance of his duty-recollecting that it was he who loved his people with a love that was stronger than death; that it was he who gave his life for theirs; that it was he who raised them from being heirs of hell to be the heirs of heaven-recollecting that he it was, who gave us all these precepts; and that he gave them, not less with a view to our own best interest, than as a test of our obedience and attachment to himself-let any one say, whether the conclusion of our Catechism be not well and strongly made, that "because the Lord is our God and Redeemer, THEREFORE we bound to keep all his commandments."
I am particularly solicitous, my young friends, now that we are en
tering on the consideration of the Moral law of God, that you should take that view of it which has just been given; and that you should keep it in mind, through the whole of the ensuing lectures on the precepts of the decalogue. If you will consider God, in the character of your Redeemer, as delivering these commandments, they will come with the most powerful appeals to your hearts and consciences, and you will, at the same time, view an obedience to them in its true light -not as something that will merit heaven, but only as the proof and evidence of real, cordial love to the holy law of God, and of your discipleship, as the sincere followers of him who has redeemed you. Do you not perceive that the very notion and name of a Redeemer, implies that you were captives to sin and Satan? And if so, and you had nothing to pay, and must owe your deliverance entirely to him, ought he not to have the glory of the whole? Suppose your obedience, henceforth to the end of life, could be perfect, would that cancel your former debt? Would you not still owe ten thousand talents to the law and justice of God, for your past transgressions? But this supposition is never realized. No mere man, since the fall, ever did, or ever will, obey the law of God perfectly, in this life; and therefore will need constant pardon for the imperfection of his present obedience, as well as for his previously aggravated and accumulated guilt. See, then, that you must be indebted to the boundless grace of God in the Redeemer, for the whole of your salvation. Yet this ought not to diminish, but
tion which Christ hath wrought out, for all who believe in him. If it had not been a good, reasonable, equitable, and holy law in itself, he would surely never have consented to be made under it, to obey it perfectly, and to bear its penalty to the utmost. But if the law is good and excellent in itself, all who love goodness and excellence must love this law; and if they love it, they will try to the utmost to obey it; for it is a gross absurdity to pretend to love a law which we allow ourselves to disregard and violate. The very nature of a law implies the demand of obedience; and if we love the demand of obedience, we shall assuredly render obedience. This obedience, moreover, in the present instance, is the appointed expression of our gratitude and love to Christ. This is his own test-" If ye love me, keep my commandments." Thus you see that if you are right-minded, you will strive to walk by the moral law as a rule of life, both because you love it for its own excellence, and because this is to be the proof of your gratitude and love to your Saviour: And this is what is called evangelical obedience, and new obedience-an obedience rendered from the new principle of love-not from the slavish principle of fear, nor the mercenary principle of purchasing or meriting heaven. May the Spirit of all grace incline us all to such an obedience, to all the commandments of God our Redeemer; and to his name shall be all the praise, both now and evermore-Amen.
CATION BY FAITH.
greatly to increase, your sense of THE GOSPEL DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFIobligation to obey his commandments? The inherent excellence, and indispensable obligation of the moral law of God contained in the ten commandments, is no where so clearly and strikingly seen, as in the whole process of that redemp
Translated for the Christian Advocate, from the Archives du Christianisme. (Continued from vol. VI. page 543.) That we are justified before God by faith only, the express declarations of the word of God incontest
ably prove. Besides the passages which we have already quoted, we add a few others, directly to the point. "Abraham believed, and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness (Rom. iv. 3); The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. i. 16); Whosoever believes in Jesus Christ hath everlasting life." (John iii. 16.) If the Saviour commended the centurion who requested the cure of his servant; the woman who was bowed down under a grievous infirmity for eighteen years; the Canaanitish woman who persevered in her prayers, was it not on account of their faith? If he opened the eyes of the two blind men who had implored his compassion, was it not in saying to them, "According to your faith be it unto you," (Matt. ix. 29) Why did he not say to them, Be it unto you according to your works? When Peter began to sink in the waters, Jesus called him a man "of little faith." "All things are possible to them that believe." (Matt. xvii. 20.) "What must I do to be saved ?" said the Philippian jailer. "Believe," answered Paul and Silas, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." "I am the door," says Jesus, "by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
Although these passages furnish the strongest evidence, still nothing is more repugnant to the pride of the human heart, than the truth to which they testify-that we are freely justified by faith; and it appears to this proud heart a shame, not to bring something to God, in payment for the salvation which he bestows. But the sinner must lay aside this foolish self-conceit, in order that he may solicit the grace of God as a pure gift, of which he is, in every point of view, unworthy. "The righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, is unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference, since all
have sinned, and are wholly destitute of the glory of God. We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has appointed to be a propitiatory victim, through faith in his blood. Where is matter of boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Is it by the law of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. iii. 22, 28.) "We know that à man is not justified by the works of the law, but SOLELY by faith in Jesus Christ." (Gal. ii. 16.)* Even setting the Scriptures entirely aside, it is impossible to support the tenet, that our merits are of any account in the remission of our sins. But although our works are of no account in our justification, yet they ought to be the necessary fruits, the immediate consequences of it, as a testimony before men and to ourselves, that we are justified before God. It is in this sense that Paul declares to us, that "we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works," (Eph. ii. 10); and that "with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. x. 10.) It is for this reason that our Lord requires, that our "light shine before inen; that they, seeing our good works, may glorify our Father who is in heaven;" and that his apostle exhorts us to "be followers of God as dear children." "Good works," says Augustine, "do not go before him that is to be justified, but they follow him who is justified." Opera bona non præcedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum.
"Good works," says St. Clement, "follow knowledge as the shadow
*The above passages are rendered according to the French Protestant Version, (the Genevan); but the word SOLELY, (seulement) which M. Blanc makes emphatical, has no word corresponding to it in the original.—TR.
follows the body." The Holy Spirit teaches us, that "those who die in the Lord are blessed, because their works do follow them." (Rev. xiv. 13.) Although our good works are the natural fruits of our faith, yet God does not, in all cases, call upon us to give external evidence of our justification; as witness the penitent thief upon the cross, and all those who sincerely embrace Christ as their Saviour, in the hour of death.*
This simple exposition of our faith, wholly based upon the Holy Scriptures, will be deemed sufficient to repel the calumnious reproach which our adversaries often bring against us, and which the enemies of the gospel formerly brought against Paul, in the first century of Christianity, that we open a door to licentiousness, .and despise good works. "Ah!" says Morus, "would to God we were as holy as our doctrine is scriptural! Would to God that we could make the same reply to them by our works, that we do by our words, and that our conduct were as Christian as our confession of faith!"
1. In opposition to the doctrine we maintain, the following passages from the apostle James are cited. "Abraham was justified by works; by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James ii. 21, 24.) Here let it be observed, that so far from setting the sacred writers to contradict one another; we are under the necessity of acknowledging that the apostles Paul and James were directed by the same spirit, and intended to declare the same faith. When Paul says that faith justifies us, he speaks of a living faith, which "works by love;"
and in this respect, James perfectly agrees with him, when he maintains that "the faith which is without works, is dead." The former exhorts sinners to be reconciled to God, by faith in Christ Jesus; the latter speaks of pretended Christians, who imagine that because they have a historical knowledge of the Holy Scriptures [and a name to live,] they shall be able to enter into eternal life. In this sad state of foolish security, he makes them observe that such a faith is superficial, fruitless, and ineffectual to salvation. If they, to whom James addressed himself, had really possessed the faith, of which Paul spoke, he would not have required them to "show their faith by their works," for this would have been useless. He says not, though a man have faith, but "though a man say he hath faith;" which proves that he speaks by concession, not intending to say that hypocrites, wordy Christians, (chretiens de paroles) have faith. Such persons have a false faith, which the devils also possess, and which will only render them more culpable in the eyes of Him who cursed the barren fig-tree. This apostle does not deny that the faith of Abraham "was imputed to him for righteousness," (v. 23); but addressing himself to men who pretend to have the faith of Abraham, and who, slumbering in criminal inactivity, give no external proof of their faith, he reminds them that this holy patriarch perfected his faith, by a prompt obedience; and that his works evidently justified him before men, showing that he had believed God, and had confided in his promises.
2. It is moreover objected, that the works which Paul excludes from justification, are ceremonial works only. We reply, that it was impossible Abraham could be justified by the ceremonial law, because it was not given to the Jewish people until four hundred years afterwards. The apostle intends the moral, as
well as the ceremonial law, since he speaks of "the law which gives the knowledge of sin," (Rom. iii. 20,) and affirms it to be that by which every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may become guilty before God." He treats of all kinds of works, whether under the natural or revealed law, as may be seen by consulting Rom. iv. 1, 6, and xi. 6; 2 Tim. i. 19; Tit. iii. 5.
From the doctrine of justification by faith, it results that we render due homage to God, by acknowledging him alone to be righteous. Has he not "first loved us? What have we that we have not received" of his mercy? And "if we have received, why should we glory, as if we had not received? Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things." The proud man, who would enter into heaven by his own works, sins against the justice and mercy of God. He sins against his justice, in presuming to offer empty, ineffectual satisfaction; against his mercy, in thinking that he needs it not. The saints in paradise cry with a loud voice, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and blessing." "God forbid that I should glory," says Paul," save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus our conscience is truly peaceful, because our salvation is not the work of man, and because we lean not on the feeble arm of flesh, but on the infinite mercy of God. Where," says Bernard, "where shall the fainting find true, steady, and assured repose, unless in the sufferings of our Saviour? I rest there with so much the more assurance, because he is powerful to save. me. The world around me rages to trouble me, my own body persecutes me, Satan lays snares to surprise me; but I shall not fall, for I am supported by a solid and unshaken rock. I have sinned, I have even committed great sins; they trouble my conscience: but they shall not VOL VII.-Ch. Adv.
overwhelm it, when I call to remembrance the sufferings of the Lord-Wherefore my merit is the Lord's mercy. While the Lord is rich in mercy, I am not poor in merits; and as the mercies of the Lord are great, my merits also are abundant. Shall I proclaim my own righteousness?-But, Lord, I remember thy righteousness, which is mine; for the Father has given thee to be my righteousness." “I glory not in my works," says Ambrose, "but I glory in Jesus Christ; I glory not as if I were righteous, and free from sin, but I glory that I have been redeemed, and that my sins are pardoned. I glory not that I have been serviceable to any one, but because Christ is my advocate with the Father, because for me his blood has been shed, and for me he has suffered death."
O Lord, our God, make our souls experience the delightful sweetness of this faith, which is a gift of thy bounty, and without which it is impossible to please thee (Eph. ii. 8; Heb. xi. 6)!
For the Christian Advocate. THE CHRISTIAN'S REMEMBER ME. "This do in remembrance of me.”—Luke xxii. 19,
In mercy, Jesus condescends
Communion sweet to hold
My Saviour's pledge I see ;-
In these provisions of his board,
The hallowed bread and wine, I view the sufferings of my Lord, And see his glories shine:
O, how propitious he appears,
With grace divinely free;
Yes-tho' the crimes in memory rise
Which pierced my Saviour's side, I'll look, when Justice vengeance cries, To Jesus crucified :