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them tell us in plain terms that they disbelieve the gospel of Christ; let them openly avow their sentiments, and reject Christianity altogether. This would be acting a far more honourable part, (and they too are men of honour !) than under colour of friendship, and with professions of regard, slily to stab it in the dark, and cowardly to endeavour that in secret which they dare not attempt openly.

3. Taking it for granted, then, that mankind are lost, the gospel proposes their restoration. It is exactly suited to our case: it is just such a dispensation as we want: it is a remedy every way adequate to our disease. It offers us all that we lost in Adam, and much more than we ever had. It shows us how we may escape sin, and death, and hell; and how we may recover holiness and heaven, the favour and image of God here, and the enjoyment of his glory for ever hereafter.

4. But all this will appear more manifest, if we consider, a little, the short but full account the apostle has given us of the gospel in the preceding chapter, where he compares it with the law. Ver. 9, he calls the law, the ministration of condemnation, and the gospel the ministration of righteousness. By the law there, he principally means the moral law, which alone was written and engraven on stones, ver. 7. and this he ca}ls the ministration of condemnation, because it condemns mankind for their violation of it. Had we observed and kept it in all points, at all times, and in all respects, perfectly, universally, and constantly, instead of condemning, it would have acquitted and rewarded ús: For the law saith, He that doeth these things, shall live by them. * But because we have all violated in one or more points, (and he that offends, though only in one point, is guilty of all,t) therefore it condemns us all. And hence the apostle declares, As many as are of the works of the law, (or seek to be justified by them,) are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

5. Such is the condition of all men by nature. All having sinned and come short of the glory of God, all are guilty before God, children of wrath, and under sentence of condemnation to the second death, the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. And the law, considered in itself, in its precepts and penalties, knows no mercy, but denounces judgment without mercy. It provides no way of escape. But the gospel does : it is a ministration of righteousness :

* Rom. x. 5.

+ Jam. ij. 10.

it shows us how we may be pardoned and accepted consistently with the justice and truth of God; how we may be delivered from the curse of the law, and yet the authority of it be preserved inviolate. Therein the “ day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to us who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”* For therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. God's method of justifying sinners by faith in the righteousness of Christ. Therein we learn that “God made Christ sin (or a sin-offering) for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him:"! that God “ hath set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness (both justice and mercy) for the remission of sins that are past : that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."|| Hence it is, that, notwithstanding our guilt and impotence, we may be "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that there is in Jesus ;" yea, God can “ be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;" he can pardon and accept the sinner, without any impeachment of his divine perfections, or any derogation from the authority of his holy law. ..

6. On this ground it is, that the gospel offers us a free, full, and universal pardon for all our past offences. It assures us,

that “ God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and that he hath committed to his apostles the word of reconciliation.”q They, therefore, according to the commission Christ had given them, beseeching sinners to be reconciled to God, not only preached repentance, but also remission of sins in his name among all nations : In his name they offered, and that to all without exception,

* Pardon for infipite offence? and pardon

By means that speak its value infinite!
A pardon bought with blood! with blood divine!
With blood divine of him we made our foe!
Persisted to provoke ! tho' woo'd and aw'd,
Blest and chastis'd, yet flagrant rebels still!"

And in order to the enjoyment of this pardon, they required no thing of mankind but repentance towards God, and faith, living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, both which they represented as the

* Luke i. 78,

§ 2 Rom. iii. 35

+ Rom. i. 17.
|| Gal. iii, 13.

12 Cor. v. 21.

2 Cor. v. 19.

gifts of God. For, with the prophets they bore witness that if we "draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to us !** and that “ whosoever believeth in Christ, doth receive the forgiveness of sins; yea, that by him all who believe are justified from all things.”+ Thus we see it is clearly revealed and expressly declared in the gospel, that because of what Christ hath done, and suffered, the moment we truly believe on him, (viz. with a penitent and loving heart,) “God is merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and iniquities he remembers no more.” He treats us as though we had never offend. ed, accepts us through the Beloved into the number of his children, and we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, even the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

7. This leads me to speak of another principal blessing of the gospel, concerning which also we are informed in the former chapter, where, ver. 7, the apostle calls the law the ministration of death, and (ver. 8.) the gospel the ministration of the Spirit. He calls the law the ministration of death, not only because it condemned wilful transgressors to temporal death, and condemns us all to the second death ; but also because in consequence of our violation of it we are deprived of union with God, in which our spiritual life as much consists, as our natural life in the union of soul and body: Our sins have separated between us and our God; we are alienated from the life of God, and of consequence are spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins.

8. To illustrate this a little. No sooner has the soul left the body than natural life is at an end. The body has no longer any sensibility of pleasure or pain. It has no longer any sensation : it has eyes, but sees not, ears, but hears not. It has no longer any power; it cannot move, or act, or make resistance, but may be dragged hither and thither at will. It is helpless, tends to putrefaction, and is only fit to be removed out of the sight of the living, to whom it is now become loathsome and abominable.-In like manner, no sooner has God left the soul than spiritual life is at an end. The soul has no longer any sensibility of sin, its evil nature and dreadful tendency, any conscious grief when overtaken by it, or joy when preserved from it. It has no longer (if I may 50 speak) any spiritual sensation : it sees not by faith him that is invisible, hears not the voice of Christ, nor feels the powers of the world to come. In other words, it has no saving knowledge in divine things ; God, and the things of God, are concealed from it. It has no longer any power; it cannot move one step heavenward,

* James iv. 8.

+ Acts xiii. 39.

Gal. ii. 14.

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ceive grace

perform any thing properly good, nor resist and conquer temptation; but the devil, the world, and the flesh, drag it hither and thither, at pleasure and uncontrolled. It is helpless, corrupted by sin, filthy and polluted, and only fit to be removed out of the sight (as it were) of an holy God, to whom it is now become abominable, and buried in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

9. In this condition the moral law leaves mankind. Considered in itself as a covenant of works, it points us to no remedy, but rather pronounces us incurable, and our case desperate. Not so the

gospel ; it is a ministration of the Spirit. It informs us of, and offers to the Holy Spirit of, God, whose office it is to restore our souls to spiritual life, and heal all the diseases which by sin we have contracted. Therein we are told that when Christ “ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, he received gifts for men, even for the rebellious; that the Lord God might dwell among them;"* that in him “ all fulness dwells, and that out of his fulness, we may re

for
grace.”

Therein we are informed of the “ saving grace of God appearing to all men," and of the true light enlightening every man that cometh into the world.” | And we are assured, if we do not quench this light and reject this grace, it shall be imparted more and more, to guide, renew, and comfort us. For in the gospel Christ offers “ to baptize us with the Holy Ghost and with fire ;” to “live in us, that we may live also ;” to “ quicken us, and raise us up, and make us sit together with himself in heavenly places." He promises, if we will come to him and drink, out of our belly," (figuratively speaking) “ shall flow rivers of living water;" such abundance of spiritual life shall we possess, that it shall overflow (as it were) for the quickening and refreshment of others ;-yea, he assures us, (if we ask) he will give us living water, and that water shall be in us a well of water springing up to life eternal." Now "all this he speaks of the Spirit which they who believe on him do receive,” that Spirit which is offered in the gospel, and which, accompanying its truths when delivered, renders them the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

10. By this Spirit we are again united to God, and put in possession of spiritual life. Our eyes are opened, and we see the dreadful situation we are in by nature and practice; we discover the ruin that hangs over our guilty heads, and threatens to bury us gifts of God. For, with the prophets they bore witness that if we " draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to us !"* and that “ whosoever believeth in Christ, doth receive the forgiveness of sins; yea, that by him all who believe are justified from all things."'t Thus, we see it is clearly revealed and expressly declared in the gospel, that because of what Christ hath done and suffered, the moment we truly believe on him, (viz. with a penitent and loving heart, “God is merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and iniquities he remembers no more.” He treats us as though we had never offend. ed, accepts us through the Beloved into the number of his children, and we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, f even the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

* Psal. fxviii. 18. Eph. iv. 8.

ŞJohn vii. 37, 38.

† John i. 16. | Tit. ii. 11. , John i.9.

| John iv. 10, 14.

7. This leads me to speak of another principal blessing of the gospel, concerning which also we are informed in the former chapter, where, ver, 7, the apostle calls the law the ministration of death, and (ver. 8.) the gospel the ministration of the Spirit. He calls the law the ministration of death, not only because it condemned wilful transgressors to temporal death, and condemns us all to the second death; but also because in consequence of our violation of it we are deprived of union with God, in which our spiritual life as much consists, as our natural life in the union of soul and body: Our sins have separated between us and our God; we are alienated from the life of God, and of consequence are spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins.

8. To illustrate this a little. No sooner has the soul left the body than natural life is at an end. The body has no longer any sensibility of pleasure or pain. It has no longer any sensation : it has eyes, but sees not, ears,

but hears not. It has no longer any power; it cannot move, or act, or make resistance, but may be dragged hither and thither at will. It is helpless, tends to putrefaction, and is only fit to be removed out of the sight of the living, to whom it is now become loathsome and abominable. In like manner, no sooner has God left the soul than spiritual life is at an end. The soul has no longer any sensibility of sin, its evil nature and dreadful tendency, any conscious grief when overtaken by it, or joy when preserved from it. It has no longer (if I may so speak) any spiritual sensation : it sees not by faith him that is invisible, hears not the voice of Christ, nor feels the powers of the world to come. In other words, it has no saving knowledge in divine things ; God, and the things of God, are concealed from it. It has no longer any power; it cannot move one step heavenward,

* James iv. 8.

+ Acts -xjï. 39.

# Gal. ii. 14.

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