صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness; have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.' But, before a man can cordially receive. the salvation revealed in the gospel, every pretension to forgiveness, on the ground of human worthiness, must be entirely relinquished. To talk of pardoning one that is innocent, or of forgiving a debt that never was contracted, is absurd in the extreme : it is, therefore, a part of the Holy Spirit's work to convince the sinner that in his fesh dwelleth no good thing; that his own righteousness is as filthy rags, and that, if he expect to be justified before God, all he has ever esteemed gain, in reference to this grand affair, must be esteemed loss for Christ.

"Heaven,' says the very ingenious Spurstow,

, stands like a little mark in a wide field, where there are a thousand ways to err from it, and but one to hit it. Yea, though God hath said that there is but one sacrifice by which we can be perfected; but one blood by which we can be purified ; but one name by

which we can be saved ; yet how hardly are the best drawn to trust perfectly to the grace revealed, and to look from themselves to Christ, as the author and finisher of their blessedness? Seeing, therefore, Holy Father, that thou hast made the whole progress of salvation to be in Christ, and by Christ; election to be in him 1; adoption to be in him ; justification to be in him; sanctification to be in him; glorification to be in him ; grant that, whatever others do, I may never choose the light of reason, but the sun of righteousness to guide my feet into the paths of life ; and that, both in life and in death, I may say as that blessed martyr did, None but Christ, none but Christ!

While the awakened sinner surveys himself, he can meet with nothing but discou.' ragement. If he look within, he perceives that the heart in which he trusted, has turned him aside ; that it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and the fruitful source of all the evils committed in his life. If he advert to actions in which there was ap

parently nothing to blame, but rather every thing to praise, he finds, oą minute inspec. tion, enough to convince him that he imperceptibly sought his own honour, and not the honour that cometh from God only. He feels that he is inwardly defiled; he is convinced that all his duties have been shamefully defective ; he discovers nothing on which he can safely depend for pardon and acceptance. Like the unclean spirit, when dispossessed of his peaceful residence, he turns this way and that; seeking rest, but finding none : and the reason is obvious : he is looking for that in himself which is only to be found in Christ. Peace for a troubled conscience is not to be attained in this way ; nor will the trembling sinner ever experience the inestimable blessing, till his attention be called from himself to the cross-till, as a perishing wretch, he look to him that said, when referring to his own death, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.'

The inquiry of a soul, in this perplexed state, is-How the Judge of the world can,

consistently with the holiness of his nature, and the immutability of his truth in the threatenings, justify a sinner who, during his whole life, has paid little or no regard to either ? Now, in the cross of Christ, this question is explicitly answered—the whole mystery is completely developed. 'He that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shineth in the heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' The eye of faith discovers how God can be just, and the justifier of him that believeth. The just God and the Saviour are beheld with awful reverence and delightful astonishment! Tears of gratitude stream from the eyes of the adoring penitent: he looks upon him whom his sins have pierced, and mourns. * Surely,' he exclaims with the prophet, he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows-He was wounded for our transgressions ; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way ; and the Lord hath laid on him the ini.

quity of us all-God forbid that I should henceforth glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ--who loved me, and gave himself for me.'

In the cross of Christ, the loving kindness of God to man appears with meridian lustre. By this despised means of human happiness, and this only, the divine perfections are glorified, and the chief of sinners saved. Not, be it remembered, by works of righteousness which we have done ; for there is nothing we ever have done, or ever shall do, that can me. rit an interest in the divine favour. Suppose a character, among the apostate sons of Adam, in whom resides all the moral excellency that ever dignified human nature since the fall ; and, on the other hand, one in whom concentres all the moral evil committed since that, fatal period ; and it will be found on exami. nation that, in point of justification before God, they stand on a perfect level. The accumulated virtue of the former, if pleaded as that which might render him acceptable to his Judge, would avail nothing; nor would

« السابقةمتابعة »