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hath wrought you for the self same thing is God, who hath also given you the earnest of the Spirit, until the redemption of the purchased inheritance, unto his own glory.” Great, infinitely great are your obligations to Jehovah the Spirit for what you already experience, and what yet remains for you in prospect. Once, christians, ye were blind, ignorant of God, of Jesus, of your own spiritual and everlasting interests, but now “ you see ; the eyes of your understanding are enlightened to know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints : once you were afar off, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise,” but are now brought nigh “ by the blood of Jesus Christ; brought nigh” by a relation which shall never, never be broken: once you were dead, under sentence of condemnation, groaning beneath a weight of guilt which might sink a world to hell, but are now legally alive, are completely accepted through the righteousness of Jesus the surety, and unalienably entitled to the inheritance of heaven. Could you only conceive the ten thousandth part of what has been freely forgiven you, or the mercies which are laid up for you in store, you could do nothing but wonder and adore; your hearts must be all gratitude, and your lips must constantly overflow with the melody of thanksgiving. « Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy na
tion, a peculiar people ; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Depend each day and hour, and in every appointed means, on the gracious Spirit for perfecting that good work which he has already begun. As he is the author he must also be the finisher of your spiritual life and consolation: Aspire after greater conformity to God as your chief glory, and after ihe more intimate, uniform fellowship of his love as your pre-eminent joy. Amidst all the afllictions of earth be looking forward, with confident expectation, to the blessedness and the glories of the heavenly world.
To Father, Son, and Spirit, who, moved by the richest grace, begin and perfect our salvation, be ascribed by every heir of this salvation “glory in the highest now and for ever."- AMEN.
SERMON V. Reconciliation with God unattainable by hu
ROMANS III, 10. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall
no flesh be justified in his sight.
THIS verse is properly an inference drawn from the preceding verses. The apostle had been confirming the doctrine of
human corruption ; he had been proving that it was universal, extending to all mankind, to each individual whether male or female, in every period of time, and every nation under heaven. “ There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God;" he argues that this corruption was universal, extending not only to mankind in general, but to all the thoughts, the words, the actions of each individual; “their throat is an open sepulchre,” like a medium through which the abominations of the corrupted heart issue forth; “ with their tongues they have used deceit ; the poison of asps is under their lips ; there is no fear of God before their eyes;" he afterwards exhibits the fearful consequences of this corruption, that we are thereby involved in guilt, and exposed to destruction, and shut up, like a criminal already tried and convicted, without any excuse or apology. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and that the whole world may become guilty before God.”
In the verse which has been read for our present consideration, the apostle sums up the argument, and asserts that salvation is altogether unattainable by any righteousness of our own. “ Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ;” “ formerly,” as if he had said, “I have proved that all the world is become guilty before God; now I assert that they cans
not, by any services which they perform, atone for that guilt, or secure themselves from future condemnation.”
The law, so frequently mentioned in this and the other epistles of Paul, sometimes signifies the ceremonial institutions ; that system of worship which was divinely communicated to Moses, and constituted, in a certain sense, the gospel of that dispensation. It is therefore declared, the law, that is, the ceremonial law “is a shadow of good things to come,” all the rites, and ceremonies, and sacrifices then existing were of a typical nature; they respected something afterwards to be realized in the death and resurrection of Messiah the glorious antitype ; it is called upon another occasion a “schoolmaster leading us to Christ;" the various washings, which the spiritual worshipers then used by divine institution, and the various sacrifices which they offered up, all directed “to the lamb of God;" they all pointed the eye of the believing Israelite to something in the undertaking or offices of Jesus Jehovah, who
appeared in the fulness of time, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” This ceremonial law was done away by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the shadows of the evening evanish at the appearance of the rising sun. But the law mentioned in our text is much more comprehensive in its nature ; it is that moral law which was concreated with man; which was written on his conscience and his heart by the finger of the
living God, and is binding upon men in all countries and ages. “By the deeds of this law,” by all that obedience which we may attempt to render, we cannot “be justified in the sight” of Jehovah. The design of the apostle is evidently to cut off the sinner from all hopes of salvation by his personal righteousness or attainments; it is to shew that neither the heathen, by improving the light of nature which they enjoy, nor we by all our external advantages, living under a written revelation of the divine will, neither they nor we can possibly recommend ourselves to the favor of the Eternal ; we cannot by all our performances, however sincerely rendered, secure justification now, or everlasting life hereafter. In order the more effectually to level each high towering imagination of the creature, the apostle is inost explicit, there shall NO FLESH ; he extinguishes every ray of hope from every son and daughter of Adam by their own works; he stops equally from all boasting the mouth of the splendid, vain glorious moralist, and the debased, profligate debauchee ; he shews that the expectations of both, for acceptance with God on the foundation of merit, are alike vain and delusive.
Your attention was lately directed to the alarming situation of man by nature: It was proved by the highest possible evidence, the testimony of God himself, that all are naturally children of wrath, that this curse was incurred by the disobedience of Adam