« PreviousContinue »
In a religious view, justifica- than pardon. Pardon, they justtion can have no other meaning ly observe, does nothing more than pardon. No sinner on earth than secure the sinner from puno can prove, that he is not guilty ; ishment. It does not imply any nor can the righteous Judge reward ; but justification, as pronounce, that the sinner is not used in the gospel, they supguilty.
pose, means something more When it is said of Christ, that than freedom from punishment, he justifieth the ungodly, it can even a positive reward. not be meant, that he pronounc This distinction is humbly eth the ungodly innocent. That conceived to be without founwould be a contradiction ; it dation. would be the same as to declare, It is true, indeed, that every that the ungodly are not ungod- justified person is, according to ly. The meaning must be, that the plan of grace revealed in the on condition of faith, he absolv- gospel, entitled to a glorious reeth from punishment, those, who ward ; and the same is true of have, by ungodliness, broken the every pardoned person. But law.
still neither pardon nor justifica, Redeemed saints, as they were tion, in itself considered, implies once sinners, will always know this. Pardon places a man just and remember, that they were where he was before he sinned, such. Without remembering and justification does no more. this, they cannot repeat the If, when pardoned, or justified, glorious song of heaven, He hath he receive a reward, it is owing washed us from our sins in his to that merciful constitution, unown blood. It is still more clear. der which he is placed, and to ly impossible, that God should the benefits of which, he, by forget what was once the char. pardon or justification, obtains acter of thosc, who are redeem- access, or is restored. ed. Still, their sins shall never A master, we will suppose, be brouglit against them, by way hires two servants. To one, on of punishment or reproach. No condition of good behaviour, he one shall, in this sense, lay any agrees to give food and raiment thing to the charge of God's for a year: to another, on the elect. He, who is justified, at same condition, he agrees to whatever time he dies, shall re give, for the same time, not only ceive no condemnation.
food and raiment, but a sum of That pardon and justification money. Both,
few are the same, appears from the months, are accused of misdelanguage of scripture. Paul, in
They are both tried, the fourth chapter of his epistle and both are justified. But to the Romans, treats particular. whether they shall be rewarded, ly of justification, and he repre- is not implied in their justificasents it to be the same thing as to tion, in itself considered, but de. have iniquities forgiven and sins pends on the previous agreement covered.
subsisting between them and It is the opinion of some emi. their master, to the benefits of nent divines, that justification which, they are hereby restored. has a more extensive influence. It is essential to Christian jus
tification, that the person, who is such a profession, if, on these all the subject of it, should be com- interesting subjects, our souls are pletely freed from the condem- habitually languid and indiffer.. nation of sin. His sins shall not ent? if the strength and fervour be matter of punishment at the of our affections are prostituted great day. Besides this, God will to objects infinitely inferior; to graciously bestow, on every such the pursuits of the world ; to the person, an everlasting reward. sordid gratifications of sense and In fine, we can fully subscribe to sin? Is not the God whom we the spirit and meaning of the profess to serve, the source, the venerable assembly of divines, sum, and the perfection of all that “ justification is an act of moral beauty and excellence ?: God's free grace, wherein he Let our thoughts and our im." pardoneth all our sins." The aginations take their widest consequence of which pardon range, and soar their highesti must be, that we receive no pun- flight, in order to select and comishment, and, of course, cannot bine whatever is calculated to be treated as guilty ; but shall excite our best and strongest be accepted, i. e. treated, as if affections; and will not a single righteous in his sight; and thro' ray of the character of Jehovax free mercy, all righteous per- infinitely surpass, and totally: sons will be rewarded.
eclipse the whole? Is such a LEIGHTON. Being as this to be treated with
coldness and indifference? Or ought our whole souls to be ab. sorbed in the contemplation, love
and praise of his transcendent ex. (Continued from p. 12, & concluded.) cellencies? But let us consider,"
for a moment, a subject stilt We have already offered some more calculated, if possible, to! thoughts on the nature and dis
home to bosoms. tinguishing properties of Chris- Let us meditate on the unparı tian zeai, viewed both in a per- alleled benevolence and comsonal and more general sense. passion of the REDEEMER. A few remarks will now be add < Should we suppose," says one,' ed, tending to illustrate its im- “ all the love of all the men that portance and obligations,
ever were, or shall be on this First. We must be zealous earth, and all the love of the anChristians, or we are neither con- gels in heaven, united in one sistent nor real Christians. The heart, it would be but a cold heart, very profession of Christianity to that which was pierced with is a profession that our hearts the soldier's spear.”* And let it are devoted to God, and engaged be remembered that this love, in his cause; that with vigorous thus intense and matchless, is and ardent affection, we have the love of a God to a creature. embraced the divine glory, the It is the love of INFINUTE PURIInterests of truth and holiness, Ty to a creature most polluted and and the immortal good of our fellow-creatures, as our object. Now See MacLAURIN's Sermon on with what consistency can we make glorying in the cross of Christ.
ON CHRISTIAN ZEAL.
ill-deserving. What returns then accomplished, but with much ap: are due from a creature thus un. plication and engagedness of worthy, and thus favoured, lan. mind, and many a painful, stren. guage must be inadequate to ex uous exertion. Or to vary the press; nor can the niost exalted metaphor, we have engaged, on mind fully conceive. But sure- entering the Christian life, in a ly they must be something tar warfare. Our enemies are nu. removed from indifference and merous, subtle, maliguant, pow. apathy. If then our hearts are erful and persevering. Some of habitually cold to the Saviour; them are on earth, and others in if they take little interest in hell. And alas! we have traitors those vast and momentous ob- in our own bosoms, who are but jects, for which he appeared in too ready tu espouse their inter. fesh, and toiled, and died, our ests, and betray us into their guilt inust be great indeed. And hands. Now in what manner where, in this case, is our relig- may we rationally hope to termi. jon? It is a dream ; a nonentity. nate such a warfare as this, with We may have a name to live ; success and honour? Can it be but in reality, we are dead. We done with folded arms? Can it be may have the form of godline88 ; done in the indulgence of indo. but the power the animating soul, lence and ease ? No, certainly. is wanting. We may have con This is not to be soldiers. It is fident hopes of peace and bles- impossible that heaven can ever sedness hereafter ; but like the be oblained in this way. Every hopes of the hypocrite, they will power and faculty within us perish. We may be in high es must be summoned to the con. ieem with fallible men, and the fict. We must be engaged, and world may resound with the in earnest, we must be active and fame of our piety ; but in the diligent, we must be all fervour eye of Heaven, we are nothing. and animation ; or we shall lose
Again; the difficulties of re the victory. This is not said to ligion demand our zeal. What cherish a vain confidence in hu, ever superficial thinkers, and endeavours. They are those unacquainted with their nothing, but as the grace of God own hearts may imagine, it is excites and crowns them. And no common nor easy thing to be if we are the real possessors of a Christian. He who best knows this grace, it will infallibly influ. what is in man, and what Chris ence us to all these endeavours. tianity means, has told us that Nor can we ever lay hold on eter. the very entrance of this religion nal life, unless we thus strenuis strait ; and has therefore bidously fight the good fight of faith. us strive or agonize, if we would Farther, to excite our zeal, let not miss of it. But not only is us consider a moment how enthere a strait gate, but a narrow gaged and active men are in purway: nor have the rdifficulties suits infinitely inferior to those ceased when we have once enter- of religion. The world around ed. Indeed, they have but us is a scene of anxiety and hur. commenced. We have a per- ry, of labour and contrivance, of plexing, toilsome journey before deep-laid schemes and strenuous us; a journey which cannot be pursuits. Most men are full of
activity, solicitude and zeal. argument like this, to convince And to what point does all this sinners of its incalculable worth, tend? To the acquisition of ob- and bring them to a stand in jects, which perish in the using, their thoughtless career. They and to which, in a very few can resist the evidence of the years at most, they will be as in. car; they can harden themdifferent as the earth on which selves against sermons, prayers they tread. Shall these phan- and counsels; bul what is visible toms of wealth and pleasure be carries its own demonstration pursued with such avidity, be with it. The example of a congrasped with such ardour; and sistent and fervent Christian carshall religion, that pearl of price, ries with it a kind of irresistible that glorious and eternal reality, persuasion. Would we wish to be treated with comparative list see a reformation in the world lessness and indifference? Shall around us ? A reforınation must those, who profess to be engag- begin with the children of God; ed in the service of the God of and much have they to reform. heaven, be the only torpid and O Christians! you have too ofinactive persons in the world? ten and too long wounded the Shall those alone be careless and cause of your blessed Master by cold-hearted, who hope they your coldness, sloth and inconhave been redeemed by the sistency. Is it not time that blood of the benevolent Jesus? you should begin to lament, Shall the interests of an immor- with tenderness and humility, tal soul, destined to happiness or the pernicious effects of such a misery supreme, be the only ob- spirit and conduct ; and earnestject which excites little concern? ly endeavour to remove them, Shall those, who claim to be the by exhibiting something which only thorough believers of the all must see to be the reverse ? word of God, set the example to Finally, consider the glorious the world, of practically treating rewards which await the sincere heaven and hell as mere chimeras followers of Jesus. Raise your and delusions? How astonishing, eyes above this earthly scene, to how lamentable must this be! the celestial mansions. Behold
Farther, fet Christians be ex there an innumerable company, cited to zeal by all the regard of angels, and of saints now glothey have for the honour of rified, but once partakers in the God, and the good of their fel same depravity, in the same low men. Would they wish all toils, difficulties and temptations around them to know that with which you are now besei. Be. they serve a generous Master, bold Abel, Enoch, and Noali; and that the service carries its Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Beowa reward in its bosom? Then hold the faithful prophets of Jelet them be all animation and Hovah, and the holy apostles of diligence in their work. Would our divine Redeemer. All their they wish to let a careless world pious labours are crowned. All see what religion is ; how real, their toils and sufferings are forhow lovely, how sublime, how gotten and lost in the full and happy? Then let them live it beatific vision of divine glory. with spirit and consistency. No Yet they forget not their fellow,
saints on earth. See this glori- ions. The one is, that all believ. ous cloud of witnesses, bending ers possess it, and receive the from their celestial heights, lo fulfilment of the promise here watch, to stimulate and encou made. When those, who hold rage our progress heavenward. this opinion, are asked how it Do they not seem to assure us can be said, that pious prayers are that the conflict will soon be always answered, they reply ; past, and the victory won ; and that pious prayers are offered that all the toils and tribulations with submission : certain blesof the present scene are not sings are prayed for, with this worthy to be compared with the reserve, If they can be conferglory, which shall be revealed ? red consistently with God's perShall not such contemplations fect designs. When the bles. fire our cold hearts, and revive sing prayed for can be granted our dying resolutions ? Shall we consistently with divine wisdom, not blush to indulge the hope of it always is : therefore every piheaven hereafter, and yet live ous prayer is answered. here like the children of this Whatever truth there may be world ? Let us chide our slug- in these remarks, it is not that gish spirits, that they are so truth, which our Saviour meant backward to seize a celestial to convey in the place under con. prize, and wear an immortal sideration. Luke has recorded crown. Let us mourn
the his words thus; Whosoever shall months and years we have lost ; say to this mountain, Be thou rethe sloth and negligence we moved, and be thou cast into the have so long indulged. And sea ; and shall not doubt in his let the thought constrain us to heart, but shall believe, that the greatest activity and dili- those things, which he saith, shall gence in future. Let us cherish come to pass : he shall have a noble ambition to walk worthi- whatsoever he saith. Here it is ex. ly our high profession and pressly said, that the thing asked, hopes. May God himself in-though very extraordinary, shall spire our hearts with every holy be granted. The language is resolution ! May the Giver of all such, as we cannot suppose, good impart to our minds that would have been used, if the sacred flame of love and zeal, meaning had been any thing less, which his own Spirit alone can
The faith here required must, enkindle, and which shall never it is conceived, be a miraculous be extinguished ,
Z faith ; i. e. a faith, which enables
its possessor to work miracles.
It is the faith which Peter had, INQUIRY AS TO THE MEANING when he said to the cripple at OF MATT. XXI. 22.
the beautiful gate ;“ In the name And all things whatsoever ye shall
of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and
walk." ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
The character of Peter and CONCERNING the faith here
the credit of Christianity dependmentioned, there are two opin- event with these words : he
ed on the coincidence of the * The parallel place in Mark is ch. would not, therefore, have utter: xi. 23, 24.
ed them without full assurance