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of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Similarly, Romans, v. 18, "Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." St. Pauls tell us that this was the habitual object of his faith. See Phil. iii. 8 and 9, "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, that I may be found in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the Law, but that which through the faith of Christ." Nor was this the hope of the New Testament believers merely. See Jeremiah, xxiii. 6, where the Prophet, speaking of Christ, says, "This is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness." The Psalmist was perfectly acquainted with the same mode of justification; see Psalm Ixxi. 16, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of his righteousness, and of his only." Isaiah too regards it as the hope of the whole church; Isaiah, xl. 24, 25, "Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength—in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and glorified."
From these passages, it is clear that the legal obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ is imputed to the believer in the act of justification. But the sufferings of Christ, consisting of all those griefs, insults, and provocations, which he endured through life, and especially from the pains of body and sorrows of mind amid which he departed out of the world, are equally also imputed to the believer; that is to say, the Almighty Father regards the illustration of his holiness thus made, as if it had been made by the actual sufferings of the curse of his law in the person of sinners themselves. Isaiah, liii. "He was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement, whereby our peace was effected, was upon him and by his stripes we are healed; all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own war, and the Lord hath laid upon him, or caused to meet upon him, the iniquity of us all." Again, says St. Peter, "who himself bare our sins in his own body on the tree by whose stripes we arehealed;'' thus, then, is this two-fold righteousness of Christ, his legal obedience, rendered to the commandments of the holy law of God, and his passive obedience when he endured the penalty and curse of the law, are both imputed to the believer in the act of justification.
The passive righteousness of his sufferings is the atonement whereby his sins are blotted out, and the legal disobedience of Christ is by imputation, his positive righteousness whereby he receives a title to a happy immortality.
I promised, Thirdly, to. show, That
FAITH OR TRUST IN CHRIST IN THE BELIEVER IS, AS IT WERE, THE INSTRUMENT, WHEREBY THESE BENEFITS ARE
Received. There is no point respecting which it is more important to have distinct views than this; this importance is derived not merely from the nature of the subject, which is no less than that of our salvation, but also because a time is coming, when, either by affliction or death, our principles will be thoroughly tried and shaken, and in such times it is of great consolation to know on what ground we stand; the time of affliction of any kind is not favourable to the investigation of such subjects, our attention is so absorbed then in our immediate trial, as not to admit of being profitably directed to the study of religion, or we may be altogether disabled by the pressure of calamity, or by the shock of approaching death. Permit me then now briefly to offer you a few remarks, which may tend to administer stability of hope and comfort, whenever the hour may come.
Observe, then, thatjustification, orthe imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ by God, is a free donation of mercy. Rom. iii. 24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." It is as we have before seen, "to him that worketh not but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, that his faith is accounted unto him for righteousness;" "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us."
Observe next, that justification is received on the part of the believer by faith, which faith is also given him by the Holy Spirit of God. See Rom. iii. 28, Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. This doctrine pervades the Scriptures. By grace, or favour, or gratuitously, or for nothing ye are saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. For a proof that our church is in this respect also built upon the foundation of the Apostles, see the eleventh Article entitled, "Of the justification of man." We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. "Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort."
But now another most important question is, what is that faith In the merits of Christ whereby, as by an instrument, we are justified. How is it defined and distinguished, for unless we entertain right views respecting it, we can never possess it, and except we possess it, we can not be justified and saved. He that believeth in the Son of God hath life, and he that believeth not the Son hath not life. With regard to the nature of faith, it appears to me simply to be that act of the whole soul whereby a sinner, convinced of sin, goes wholly out of himself to rest upon God in Christ for mercy, pardon, life, righteousness, and salvation, with an entire acquiescence of heart. Hence, you frequently find set before us in Scripture, under the idea of receiving Christ—John, i. 12, "To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God;" so in a great number of passages un
belief is exhibited under the idea cf not receiving Christ. Faith then consists in receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is yet before us in the Gospel as our righteousness and atonement. Faith also is set forth in the Scriptures under the idea of looking to Christ. "Look unto me and be ye saved all ye ends of the earth ." the Redeemer also conveys the nature of faith under the same terms; "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
In both these instances the persons, directed to look unto the Lord, are represented in a lost state, when the inhabitants of the earth are directed to look to Christ, it necessarily follows, that they are in that condition. This is very strongly illustrated in the case of the Israelites. Bitten by the fiery serpents, numbers of the people perished, till at the command of God, they turned their eyes to a serpent of brass erected upon a pole, and straightway they recovered. Now, says the Redeemer, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not pe^ rish." Faith then is that act of the soul whereby they, who are hopeless, helpless, and lost in themselves, do in a way of expectation and trust seek for help and relief in Christ. In a similar manner, it is represented as coming to Christ. "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden." "Him that Cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." He who has been convinced of sin hath endured something of its burden and desires to flee from its guilt and power, when he hears the voice of Christ saying, "Come unto me, I will give you rest," and thus goes out of himself by a total renunciation of his own duties as a ground of hope, and betakes himself entirely to Christ for pardon of sin and for acceptation with God, does in the scriptural sense of the term, believe in Christ—he comes to Christ as to a chief corner stone, and is built up on him as on the foundation laid in Zion.
Again, faith is also expressed under the idea of flying for refuge—Heb. vi. 18, "Who have fled for refuge to the hope set before them." Hence, one of the ancients defined faith to be the flight of the soul unto Christ for deliverance from sin and misery. Such a man is convinced of his lost estate, and that if he abide therein he must perish ; that he possesses nothing in himself whereby he may be delivered from it—that he must betake himself to some one else for relief, and for this purpose he considers Christ and his work, as proposed to him in the Gospel. He is enabled to perceive that it is becoming the divine character, even infinitely honourable to Him, and he flieth to Him as to the hope set before him—he looks unto Christ and is saved—he runneth into the name, that is, the character of the Redeemer, and is safe. And it must be observed, that they, who thus apply by faith to the Son of God, do confess themselves to be pcor, lost, hopeless, desolate, and they do believe that in the Lord they have righteousness, strength, wisdom, and sanctification: thus is the nature of faith familiarly explained in the Scriptures.
Before I close this head, permit me, my brethren, to ask you, all and each, affectionately yet earnestly, do you think you possess this faith thus described. It is, I beg you to remember, by faith that you are justified, and by faith only : the question is not unimportant, not merely formal, but the mere asking you it once more, effects another change in your actual condition in the sight of God.
To those of you who do not yet feel that Christ is in the terms described, the foundation of your hope who feel still a great deficiency of faith, who are conscious merely of a sort of uneasy conviction of your need, but who have not yet entirely renounced all hope as arising from within yourselves, permit me to observe that faith is the gift of God. You may, it is true, use many subordinate means for obtaining it; you may read the Scriptures, meditate, hear sermons. This you should do, for faith cometh by hearing. Nevertheless, my brethren, place your primary reliance upon God for the communication of his grace. God is the father of lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men libe
rally, and upbraideth not. "If ye, being evil," said Jesus, "know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall my heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Be assured, that although every moral power within you, and almost every affection within you, feel as if scathed and powerless through the influence of sin, He knows the bitterness of your regret. He hears the feeble moan of your spirit lamenting that the spring of its love to Christ and God is dried up, and He will not withhold the communication of his grace, according to his promises; he will come down like the dew, and like showers upon the new-mown grass.
By way of Conclusion I shall consider the subject of justification through the imputed merits of Christ, as the source of joy, as the source of love, as the source of obedience.
First, let it be considered as the source of joy. Joy, you are aware, my brethren, is an emotion of the mind, consisting, in the highest degree, of complacency and exultation upon the discovery of some supposed benefit. We are familiar with the affection as it respects the concerns of life, may I hope that we are in some measure so as it respects the concerns of our souls and the views of eternity. These joys are as real, they rest upon objects as certain, as any of the tangible things around us. To you, then, who have by faith been enabled to discern, and to rest in the work of Christ thus exhibited in the Gospel, I would say, rejoice in the Lord; and, again, I say rejoice. You have found the pearl of great price which has enriched you for eternity; you have become possessed of durable riches, the contemplation andenjoyment of which, as you go along, shall be a well of peace, and a spring of consolation in the desert. The Almighty Father regards you as in his Son, and as possessing, by means of this union, the same moral beauty and fulness which he regards in Christ himself as mediator. You know he was sin for you, that you might become the righteousness of God in him; venture, then, upon the enjoyment of these truths, launch forth upon the depths of the divine promises made to all that trust in Christ. Adopt the language of the Church expressed by Isaiah, Ixi. 10. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." What, then, shall we say to these things if God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with Him, also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God—who also maketh intercession for us—who shall separate us?
Consider this subject as a source of love. In Luke, vii. we are told that Simon, the pharisee, when the Lord condescended to be his guest, censured him for permitting a poor outcast woman to come and to anoint him with ointment. Christ knew his thoughts, and said, "SimOD, I have somewhat to say to thee:" and he said, "Master, say on." "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors, the one owed him five hundred pence, the other fifty; and when they had nothing to pay he frankly forgave them all; tell me, which of them will love him most:" He replied, "I suppose he to whom he forgave most." Jesus answered, "thou hast well said." Here, the Redeemer teaching that forgiveness, confers peculiar obligation and awakens peculiar love, and that love is proportioned to the degree of guilt committed.
This just and solid principle may be applied with admirable effect to the subject before us. Here we behold a scheme suggested by the pure, unmerited love of the divine persons of the Godhead, undertaken prospectively before we were conscious of our need, accomplished by an inconceivable exertion of benevolence, even the degradation and sufferings of Christ, and
applied in the most absolutely free manner, justified freely, and terminating in the most glorious results. "Whom he justified them he sanctified —whom he santctified them he glorified." What instance of forgiveness can be compared for freeness, fullness, and extensiveness, to this? what subject, therefore, is replete with so many inducements to love? We love Him because He loved us: thither, then, my dear believing hearers, direct your view—regard this counsel of mercy— behold the character of God unveiled, and lo it is unmingled loveliness and compassion ; approach—possess it, for it is all thy own.
Lastly, contemplate this subject as the source of obedience: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." This is an universal argument, and never yet was found the human heart that could withstand it. The service of those whom we entirely love is perfect freedom, perfect enjoyment.
If we could be supposed perfectly to love God, to approve and delight in his character, our whole soul would be devoted to him in the most unceasing and universal obedience. Neither is there any source of real obedience but this. You may compel unwilling obedience of the body, as you may compel a slave; by menaces and sufferings you may procure the obedience of terror, arising out of a dread of consequences, but never will the heart obey—and this is the obedience God requires—till the love of God is shed abroad therein by the Holy Ghost.
Let, then, my dear hearers, your chief endeavour be to grow in the love of God, and to be made perfect in love to Him. For this purpose read your Bible, and you will there behold the divine character exhibited in the most attractive manner. "god is love." I love myself in that ineffable ocean of benevolence, God is love! My every fear is dissipated by that one word, God is love. From that one truth a light is diffused over the valley of the shadow of death, and gilds the prospects of eternity.
Lor.don: Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand; and Sold by all Booluellers in Town and Country.
Printed by l.ownrtei ami White, Crane Conn, PlMt Slree'.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. DR. BUSFEILD,
AT ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, WOOD STREET, MAY 22, 1831.
* Timothy, xi. 12.—" It is a faithful soying. For if we be dead with him weshall also lire with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us.
If the present world were the only one in which we have any interest—if confined within the limits of time, which may terminate any hour, we had nothing to expect beyond the tomb—if death were to be the end of all, and the soul were mortal like the body, alike to be consigned for ever to the dust— if the breath which God breathed into man were not an emanation from his Eternal Spirit, a living soul which will survive the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds, the Gospel which we are sent to preach would be a dead letter, and we should entirely despair of carrying on the work of conversion among our hearers, because the motives to holiness and virtue drawn from the consideration of future rewards and punishments would be void of life and energy. The ministers of religion might go forth in the might of argument, and the power of eloquence; but they would want the Spirit of God which alone can give the increase. When the most gifted successor of the Apostles should insist each hallowed day upon the deep things of God, and call His terrors to their aid, sinners and infidels might
laugh at their declamations, and call their doctrines romantic fables. Free from the apprehension of Divine judgment and human accountableness, they would tread in security the broad ways of ungodliness, and plunge without control into every sensual indulgence. But the still small voice of unbiased reason, and, in our solemn text, the louder and more certain voice of inspiration, infalliable as the Spirit that wrote it—point to an hereafter—a future world, big with horror and confusion to the hardened and remorseless sinner, against whom the gates of the blessed mansions will be shut; " If we deny the Son of God, the Son of God will deny us."
And if the wicked require judgments and threatnings to warn them of their danger, and snatch them from the flames of eternal indignation, so do the righteous stand in need of mercies and promises to smooth the rugged stages of mortality, and encourage them to go on passive and content towards the end of their sufferings and the crown of their rejoicing. Yes Christians— and here we all sail in the same frail bark, and have to pass through