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we were endeavouring to do, there will no flesh be justified.
And thus it is true that our faith in Christ alone justifies : our faith in His death once, in His life evermore: our faith in Him as redemption, and as sanctification; our faith in Him as every thing, in ourselves as nothing; our faith in Him leading to union with Him, that so being His members truly we shall be with Him and in Him evermore. So that if at any time in our mortal life, sin is besetting us, if we are walking sluggishly and coldly, not united to Christ, and therefore not to God in Christ, if earthly passions are strong within us, feelings of the flesh leading to works of the flesh, what language should be held out to us, what should we be told to do? Shall we be told to work God's holy law, to pray for his Holy Spirit, that we may be enabled to keep His commandments? Or shall we be told to believe that Christ has died for us? or shall we not rather be told to believe in Christ as in Him who died and rose again, and is alive for evermore; in Him whose death is indeed our sure warrant of confidence that God has forgiven and will forgive even to the end, but whose life is no less mighty to our salvation than His death, whose life must absorb our life, His strength wholly supplant our weakness, who calls us to Him to be one with Him in heart and soul, who will give us all that we need; even
as He was in the days of His flesh, eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, food to the hungry, strength to the weak, deliverance to him possessed with devils, and life to the dead? But if we ask again," Are we so one with Him as to be heirs of His salvation, to be with Him for evermore, are our thoughts as His thoughts, is our heart as His heart;” or “are we aliens, has our faith failed, and are we left to our own strength which is nothing;" in one word, "Are we Christ's or are we our own?” Surely there are cases where the answer cannot be doubtful for a moment; we are the one or the other quite certainly. Doubtful cases there are in great numbers, infinitely doubtful, and they must be so to the judgment of others, perhaps also doubtful to our own. Our feeling is, “ Lord, we believe, help Thou our unbelief;" but whether
” ' the belief or the unbelief predominate we know not. And what human power can solve this doubt, and are not such cases as these the very cases which need that great day of Christ's own judgment, when He will determine whether hope or fear anticipated most truly, whether we were His, or His enemies? But if we are impatient of this suspense, and long to be answered,—and truly we do well to long for an answer, for there is great danger that at whatever moment or portion of our lives we ourselves were doubtful whether we were Christ's or no, that at that time Christ sees that
we are not His—if, therefore, we do long for the assurance of faith that we are Christ's even now, and for the assurance of hope that we shall be His through His Spirit even to the day of Jesus Christ; is not the true thing to be said to us no other than this, “ Draw near unto Christ, come unto Him, and He will give you rest; believe, and you will be saved ?" It is not by a painful counting up of duties undone, and sins committed, and by a resolving ever so earnestly to be more careful in all these things for the time to come, that we can be saved; by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. Much less is it by a fond trust in that which is utterly worthless ; outward rites and ceremonies, or the belonging to what is in such a sense most falsely called Christ's holy church. We must belong to Christ's church through Him, to that church which will be His for ever, not to Him through His church.
If the church by its constant teaching, by the living example of its members, speaks to us aloud to cling unto Christ as our only salvation, then the church does its part as a faithful witness to its Lord; but if it says to us, “ Rest in me, trust in my ordinances, labour to do my works, abide in me, and as I am Christ's so shall ye be Christ's,” then this is no voice of Christ's faithful spouse, but of the adulteress who has gone like her sister of old after her idols, who has left her Lord herself, and would fain tempt us
to leave Him too. Salvation is not there; no, nor in even the most faithful church which ever followed its Lord, but in Him only. Let us go to Him for salvation, to be one with Him, to share in His Spirit, and by His power to be delivered from sin, and to walk in holiness. But not to us or to our works belongs the victory. It is His only who by His death purchased for Himself the heirs of death, that they might become heirs of glory; and by His life has put into them a new life, that they might be His, because they were possessed by His Spirit. It is His victory, and our part in it is this only, that by our faith we gave ourselves up to His working, trusting in no other help than His, and so suffered Him to work out His own salvation in us.
March 6, 1842.
(PREACHED ON PALM SUNDAY.)
St. LUKE, xxiii. 35.
And the people stood beholding.
It was our Lord upon the cross whom they were beholding, and they who so beheld Him were the mixed multitude which, with all sorts of feelings, poured out of the walls of Jerusalem to see the spectacle. And so it is still; Christ is crucified among us daily, and the people stand beholding.
They stand beholding, an infinite variety of persons with an infinite variety of feelings, even as the multitude who then stood around His cross. There was His mother, and there was His beloved disciple; there was the centurion; there were the women of His acquaintance, and the women of Jerusalem generally; there were the Roman