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bclieves that all human wisdom was embodied in the Westminster assembly of divines ; or whether he thinks that the ministry exists only in three orders. All these will be comparative trifles. The grand matter is, that the lost and guilty soul is justified by the blood of the “everlasting covenant;" and this settles everything that is truly valuable in his view in regard to the salvation of the soul. Such a system, it is clear, must be essentially liberal. It cannot be a system which will be primarily concerned in “ questions and strifes of words” about the externals of religion. It will recognise in every man, who has ever felt the efficacy of the blood of Christ, a Christian brother. It will regard all men by nature as essentially on the same level in reference to salvation. There will be, in the matter of religion, no favoured class, no holy order ; none by nature nearer heaven than others, and none who shall have a right to prescribe to others what they are to believe or to do. One point, one grand doctrine distinguishes them,—no matter of what sect, or country, or complexion they may be,—that they are redeemed by the blood of the same Saviour. They are of the same family. They have the same rights in the kingdom of grace. No one has a right, in virtue of blood, or name, or connexion with outward forms of religion, to claim a superior nearness to heaven; nor, if the soul is justified by the blood of Jesus, has any believer the right or the disposition to withhold the name of Christian, or to say that a soul thus justified is left to “ the uncovenanted mercies of God."
The doctrine which has been considered constitutes the peculiarity of the Protestant religion. Protestantism began in the restoration of the doctrine of justification by faith. This, more than anything else, distinguishes the system. All there is of Protestantism that is of value, is in this doctrine; and all that we have of liberality in religion, and freedom from persecution, and purity of doctrine, is to be traced to this.
The whole discussion on the doctrine of justification may be closed by a personal appeal. There are but two ways conceivable in which you can be saved. One is, on the ground of your own righteousness; the other is, on the ground of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus. There is no middle way. The grand question, then, and one in which every individual has the deepest interest, is, What is the ground of your reliance ? On which of these do you depend, when you think of being admitted to hearen ? If you rely on the former,—on your own righteousness,—it must be either because you can disprove the facts which are charged on you as sin ; or because, if the facts are undeniable,
you will be able to vindicate your conduct before the bar of the Almighty. Here, then, it may be solemnly asked, whether you are willing to rest your soul's interests on such a foundation ? Are you prepared to abide the issue of such a trial ?' Can you calmly look forward to such an investigation of your life before God's bar, and feel secure when you think how tremendous the interests of the soul that are at stake? Are you prepared to go up to meet your Maker with the feeling that your only hope there is self-vindication ? I AM NOT. I turn to the other system which I have endeavoured to set before you. I look away from all that I have done, the miserable rags of my own righteousness,—to the white robe of salvation wrought out by my great Redeemer, and seek to wrap that robe around my guilty soul; and I feel that, if justified by faith in his blood, I shall be safe.
A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall;'
My Saviour and my all.