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your tempers and desires suitable to your high calling? Are all your words like unto those which come out of the mouth of God? Is there in all your actions, dignity and love? A greatness which words cannot express, which can flow only from a heart full of God; and yet consistent with the character of “ man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm!”
6. Ye venerable men, who are more especially called to form the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the shades of ignorance and error, and train them up to be wise unto salvation, are you“ filled with the Holy Ghost ?” With all those “ fruits of the Spirit,” which your important office so indispensably requires ? Is your heart whole with God? Full of love and zeal to set up his kingdom on earth ? Do you continually remind those under your care, that the one rational end of all our studies, is to know, love, and serve " the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ?" Do you inculcate upon them day by day, that love alone never faileth ; (whereas, whether there be tongues, they shall fail, or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away ;) and that without love, all learning is but splendid ignorance, pompous folly, vexation of spirit? Has all you teach an actual tendency to the love of God. and of all mankind for his sake? Have you an eye to this end in whatever you prescribe, touching the kind, the manner, and the measure of their studies; desiring and labouring that, wherever the lot of these young soldiers of Christ is cast, they may be so many burning and shining lights, adorning the gospel of Christ in all things ? And permit me to ask, Do you put forth all your strength in the vast work you have undertaken? Do you labour herein with all your might? Exerting every faculty of your soul ? Using every talent which God hath lent you, and that to the uttermost of your power ?
7. Let it not be said, that I speak here, as if all under your care were intended to be clergymen. Not so: I only speak as if they were all intended to be Christians. But what example is set them by us who enjoy the beneficence of our forefathers ? by fellows, students, scholars ; more especially those who are of some rank and eminence? Do ye, brethren, abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in lowliness of mind, in self denial and mortification, in seriousness and composure of spirit, in patience, meekness, sobriety, temperance; and in unwearied, restless endeavours to do good in every kind unto all men, to relieve their outward wants, and to bring their souls to the true knowledge and love of God ? Is this the general character of fellows of colleges ? I fear it is not. Rather, have not pride and haughtiness of spirit, impatience and peevishness, sloth and indolence, gluttony and sensuality, and even proverbial uselessness, been objected to us, perhaps not always by our enemies, nor wholly without ground? Oh that God would roll away this reproach from us, that the very memory of it might perish for ever!
8. Many of us are more immediately consecrated to God, called to minister in holy things. Are we then patterns to the rest, “in word. in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faitii, in purity ?” 2 Cor. iv, 2. Is there written on our forehead and on our heart, “ Holiness to the Lord ?" From what motives did we enter upon this office? Was it indeed with a single eye“ to serve God, trusting that we were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon us this ministration, for the promoting of his glory, and the cdifying of his people ?" And have we “ clearly determined, by God's grace, to give ourselves wholly to this office ?" Do we forsake and set aside, as much as in us lies, all worldly cares and studies? Do we apply ourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all our cares and studies this way? Are we apt to teach ? Are we taught of God, that we may be able to teach others also ? Do we know God? Do we know Jesus Christ? Hath “ God revealed his Son in us?” And hath he made us able ministers of the new covenant ?" Where then are the “seals of our apostleship ?". Who, that were dead in trespasses and sins, have been quickened by our word? Have we a burning zeal to save souls from death, so that for their sake we often forget even to eat our bread? Do we speak plain," by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God ?” 2 Cor. iv, 2. Are we dead to the world and the things of the world,“ laying up all our treasure in heaven ?" Do we lord over God's heritage ? Or are we the least, the servants of all ? When we bear the reproach of Christ, does it sit heavy upon us? Or do we rejoice therein ? When we are smitten on the one cheek, do we resent it? Are we impatient of affronts ? Or do we turn the other also ; not resisting the evil, but overcoming evil with good ? Have we a bitter zeal, inciting us to strive sharply and passionately with them that are out of the way ? Or is our zeal the flame of love, so as to direct all our words with sweetness, lowliness, and meekness of wisdom ?
9. Once more, What shall we say concerning the youth of this place! Have you either the form or the power of Christian godliness? Are you humble, teachable, advisable; or stubborn, self willed, heady, and high minded? Are you obedient to your superiors as to parents? Or do you despise those to whom you owe the tenderest reverence ? Are you diligent in your easy business, pursuing your studies with all your strength ? Do you redeem the time, crowding as much work into every day as it can contain ? Rather, are ye not conscious to yourselves, that you waste away day after day, either in reading what has no tendency to Christianity, or in gaming, or in-you know not what? Are you better managers of your fortune than of your time? Do you, out of principle, take care to owe no man any thing? Do you“remember the sabbath day to keep it holy;" to spend it in the more immediate worship of God? When you are in his house, do you consider that God is there? Do you behave," as seeing him that is invisible ?” Do you know how to “possess your bodies in sanctification and honour ? Are not drunkenness and uncleanness found among you? Yea, are there not of you who “glory in their shame ?” Do not many of you“ take the name of God in vain,” perhaps habitually, without either remorse or fear? Yea, are there not a multitude of you that are forsworn ? I fear, a swiftly increasing multitude. Be not surprised, brethren. Before God and this congregation, I own myself to have been of the number, solemnly swearing to observe all those customs, which I then knew nothing of; and those statutes, which I did not so much as read over, either then, or for some years after. What is perjury, if this is not? But if it be, oh what a weight of sin, yea, sin of no common dye, lieth upon us ! And doth not the Most High regard it ?.
10. May it not be one of the consequences of this, that so many of you are a generation of triflers; triflers with God, with one another
and with your own souls ? For, how few of you spend, from one week to another, a single hour in private prayer! How few have any thought of God in the general tenor of your conversation! Who of you is, in any degree, acquainted with the work of his Spirit, his supernatural work in the souls of men ? Can you tear, unless now and then, in a church, any talk of the Holy Ghost? Would not you take it for granted, if one began such a conversation, that it was either hypocrisy or enthusiasm ? În the name of the Lord God Almighty, I ask, What religion are you of ? Even the talk of Christianity, ye cannot, will not bear. Oh, my brethren! what a Christian city is this! “It is time for thee, Lord, to lay to thine hand !”
11. For, indeed, what probability, what possibility rather, (speaking after the manner of men,) is there that Christianity, scriptural Christianity, should be again the religion of this place ? That all orders of men among us should speak and live as men “filled with the Holy Ghost ?" By whom should this Christianity be restored ? By those of you that are in authority? Are you convinced then that this is scriptural Christianity? Are you desirous it should be restored? And do ye not count your fortune, liberty, life, dear unto yourselves, so ye may be instrumental in the restoring of it? But, suppose ye have this desire, who hath any power proportioned to the effect ? Perhaps some of you have made a few faint attempts, but with how small success! Shali Christianity then be restored by young, unknown, inconsiderable men? I know not whether ye yourselves could suffer it. Would not some of you cry out, “ Young man, in so doing thou reproachest us ?" But there is no danger of your being put to the proof; so hath iniquity overspread us like a flood. Whom then shall God send? The famine, the pestilence, (the last messengers of ūod to a guilty land, or the sword? The armies of the Romish aliens to reform us into our first love ? Nay, “ rather let us fall into thy hand, oh Lord, and let us not fall into the hand of man.”
Lord, save, or we perish! Take us out of the mire that we sink not! Oh help us against these enemies! for vain is the help of man. Unto thee all things are possible. According to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and preserve us in the manner that seemeth to thee good ; not as we will, but as thou wilt!
SERMON V.—Justification by Faith.
" To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness," Rom. iv, 5.
1. How a sinner may be justified before God, the Lord and Judge of all, is a question of no common importance to every child of man. It contains the foundation of all our hope, inasmuch as while we are at ennity with God, there can be no true peace, no solid joy, either in time or in eternity. What peace can there be, while our own heart condemns us ; and much more, He that is a greater than our heart and knoweth all things ?” What solid joy, either in this world or that to come, while “the wrath of God abideth on us ?"
2. And yet how little hath this important question been understood ! What confused notions have many had concerning it! Indeed, not only confused, but often utterly false; contrary to the truth, as light to darkness; notions absolutely inconsistent with the oracles of God, and with the whole analogy of faith. And hence, erring concerning the very foundation, they could not possibly build thereon ; at least, not “gold, silver, or precious stones,” which would endure when tried as by fire; but only " hay and stubble," neither acceptable to God, hor profitable to man.
3. In order to do justice, as far as in me lies, to the vast importance of the subject, to save those that seek the truth in sincerity from“ vain jangling and strife of words,” to clear the confusedness of thought into which so many have already been led thereby, and to give them true and just conceptions of this great mystery of godliness, I shall endeavour to show,
First, What is the general ground of this whole doctrine of justification:
Secondly, What justification is :
I. I am first to show, What is the general ground of this whole doctrine of justification.
1. In the image of God was man made, holy as he that created him is holy; merciful as the Author of all is merciful; perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect. As God is love, so man dwelling in love, dwelt in God, and God in hin. God made him to be an “image of his own eternity,” an incorruptible picture of the God of glory. He was accordingly pure, as God is pure, from every spot of sin. He knew not evil in any kind or degree, but was inwardly and outwardly sinless and undefiled. He“ loved the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his mind, and soul, and strength."
2. To man thus upright and perfect, God gave a perfect law, to which he required full and perfect obedience. He required full obedience in every point, and this to be performed without any intermission, from the moment man became a living soul, till the time of his trial should be ended. No allowance was made for any falling short. As, indeed, there was no need of any; man being altogether equal to the task assigned, and thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.
3. To the entire law of love which was written in his heart, (against which, perhaps, he could not sin directly,) it seemed good to the sovereign wisdom of God to superadd one positive law : “ Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree that groweth in the midst of the garden;" annexing that penalty thereto, “ In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
4. Such then was the state of man in paradise. By the free, unmerited love of God, he was holy and happy : he knew, loved, enjoyed God, which is, in substance, life everlasting. And in this life of love he was to continue for ever, if he continued to obey God in all things; but, if he disobeyed in any, he was to forfeit all. “In that day,” said God, " thou shalt surely die." · 5. Man did disobey God. He“ ate of the tree, of which God commanded him, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it.” And, in that day he
was condemned by the righteous judgment of God. Then also the sentence, whereof he was warned before, began to take place upon himn. For, the moment he tasted that fruit he died. His soul died, was separated from God; separate from whom the soul has no more life than the body has when separate from the soul. His body, likewise, became corruptible and mortal ; so that death then took hold on this also. And being already dead in spirit, dead to God, dead in sin, he hastened on to death everlasting; to the destruction both of body and soul, in the fire never to be quenched.
6. Thus " by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. And so death passed upon all men,” as being contained in him who was the common father and representative of us all. Thus, “ through the offence of one,” all are dead, dead to God, dead in sin, dwelling in a corruptible, mortal body, shortly to be dissolved, and under the sentence of death eternal. For as," by one man's disobedience,” all “ were made sinners ;' so, by that offence of one,“ judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” Rom. v, 12, &c.
7. In this state we were, even all mankind, when“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the fulness of time he was made man, another common head of mankind, a second general parent and representative of the whole human race. And as such it was that “ he bore our griefs," " the Lord laying upon him the iniquities of us all.” Then was he "wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.” “ He made his soul an offering for sin :" he poured out his blood for the transgressors : he“ bare our sins in his own brydy on the tree,” that by his stripes we might be healed : and by that one oblation of himself, once offered, he hath redeemed me and all mankind; having thereby “made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.”
8. In consideration of this, that the Son of God hath “ tasted death for every man,” God hath now “reconciled the world to himself, not imputing to them their former trespasses.” And thus, "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 justi fication.” So that for the sake of his well beloved Son of what he hath done and suffered for us, God now vouchsafes, on one only condition, (which himself also enables us to perform,) both to remit the punishment due to our sins, to reinstate us in his favour, and to restore our dead souls to spiritual life, as the earnest of life eternal.
9. This, therefore, is the general ground of the whole doctrine of justification. By the sin of the first Adam, who was not only the father, but likewise the representative, of us all, we all fell short of the favour of God; we all became children of wrath; or, as the apostle expresses it,“ judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the second Adam, as the representative of us all, God is so far reconciled to all the world, that he hath given them a new covenant; the plain condition whereof being once fulfilled, "there is no more condemnation” for us, but “ we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.”
II. 1. But what is it to be justified ? What is justification ? This was the second thing which I proposed to show. And it is evident, from