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surely was there a more striking display of the Lord's strength being perfected in weakness, or of his loving-kindness and tender mercy, than in the interesting case we have been dwelling upon. When we call to mind the dread she had frequently evinced of a conflict in death, the astonishment she always expressed to hear that any one could speak at such a time, and the hope she had often expressed, "of not being called upon to endure much pain," (pain she had never in all her former dangerous illnesses suffered) when death really drew near, only makes us wonder more at the gentle, peaceful manner in which she was permitted to 'fall asleep in Jesus.' Oh, what
encouragement to those who are looking to the same omnipotent arm for strength, and who, though
probably sometimes harassed with the same fears as was the subject of this narrative, may hope that the Lord will be to them 66 a present help in time of need," and that dying grace will be bestowed in a dying hour. May the Eternal Spirit teach us all to profit, and enable us to press towards the mark of the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Dear Mrs. O. had informed me of her intended residence, and of all her plans, and in a letter written to me just one month before her death, she thus expressed herself. "I expect to get into my house after Christmas; it is ready and looks very comfortable. pray that I may not be without the true support from the Living Fountain, and that I may find I am not alone in the wilderness."
A SERMON, PREACHED
BEFORE BEFORE HER GRACIOUS
QUEEN DOWAGER, BY THE REV. JOHN JOHNSTONE, M.A.,
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."ROMANS iii. 28.
Diffundit se justificationis doctrina
He first urges the universal extent and awful magnitude of our apostacy from God; d the fearful
per totum theologiæ corpus, et prout depravity of every one of us; the
fundamenta hic, vel bene, vel male, jacta sunt, eo universum ædificium vel solidius angustiusque ascendit, vel male statuminatum fœdam minitatur ruinam.Wits. de Fod. Dei,, iii. 8. ̧
power and exceeding sinfulness of sin; the holiness and severity of
the law; and the deplorable helplessness and misery of our condition. He then unfolds to us the free and complete salvation that there is in Christ; he shows us that jus▾ tification is entirely an act of the freest grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; that it is utterly opposed to all human works and merits, of every kind and in every degree; that its object is to manifest the glorious perfections of Almighty God, and to secure the salvation of souls; that it exalts the Saviour, and effectually humbles the believer; and therefore he concludes that a man can alone find pardon of sin and acceptance with God, by truly embracing this plan of salvation; and that he never can by seeking to merit eternal life through any doings of his own.
This is manifestly the scope of the apostle's argument. But the doctrine of justification through the righteousness of Jesus Christ is not confined to this epistle. It is the chief subject of the epistle to the Galatians; it is the leading doctrine in the epistle to the Hebrews for thousands of years it was set forth in a variety of types and figures, all leading the believer to Jesus Christ; and it shines as the grand and fundamental truth of the Gospel from every portion of the word of God.
This doctrine has ever been a stumbling-block to the self-righteous, and highly offensive to carnal reason; and various methods have been from time to time devised, to soothe the pride and to uphold the dignity and self-sufficiency of fallen *Now the question is not
whether holiness be necessary to the Christian character: we know that holiness is necessary, for 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Christian holiness, however, is the consequence of pardon and acceptance with God through Jesus Christ, but not the ground and reason why the sinner is pardoned and accepted. The real question is, Whether the sinner is justified and accepted by God, solely on account of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to him by grace and received by faith: or, whether some righteousness and works of our own are not also necessary to be added to the work of Christ, to insure our justification in the sight of God? The word of God repeatedly excludes all our works and merits of every kind from having the slightest share in our justification. It declares that the "preaching, which would unite any works or merits of ours with the glorious and all-sufficient merits of the Redeemer, is another gospel, which indeed is not another, for it is no gospel at all. It pronounces that the preachers of such doctrines are accursed; yea, though an apostle or an angel from heaven, let him be accursed: and that the hearers too, who are thus beguiled of the truth as it is in Jesus, depart from grace, and that to them the death of Christ is of no effect.
saries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming, that we tread all Christian virtues under our feet, because we teach that faith alone justifieth. — Hooker, Serm. ii. sec. 31.
The apostle concludes that a man is justified by believing in Jesus, without the deeds of the law. That is, some say, without the deeds of the ceremonial, not without the deeds of the moral law. But the word of God has no such limitation, nor can any interpretation be more contradictory to the design of the whole epistle. For, 1. The apostle is expressly treating of that law, by which is the knowledge and conviction of sin: which is evidently not the ceremonial, but the moral law. I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 2. The apostle is speaking of the whole world: of 'Gentiles, who had nothing to do with the ceremonial law, as well as Jews. The law which he intends, is that law which is written in the heart of every man; which "stops every mouth, and pronounces every man, both Jew and Gentile, guilty of the transgression of it in the sight of God. This, then, can be no other than the moral law. 3. The objection which the apostle 'supposes will be made to this doctrine, has evidently nothing to do with the ceremonial law. The objection is, not that the neglect of the ceremonial law will lead to licentiousness, but that if our own good works are not the ground of our acceptance with God, we shall cease to regard them as necessary, and then live in sin. He exclaims against the absurdity of this ob
jection, its inconsistency with the believer's character and hopes, and declares it to be impossible. 4. The example which St. Paul gives of justification without the works of that law which he intends, is that of Abraham, who lived four hundred years before the giving of the ceremonial law. Some again maintain that the apostle refers only to works done before conversion, and not to those of a regenerate state. But they are good works which the apostle excludes. Now none of the works of unbelievers are good works. They are not only not good, but positively sinful, since they spring not from grace and faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. He then would not so labour to exclude such works from having any share in our justification. By the deeds and works of the law nothing else can be intended than good works of every kind, wrought by believers through the aids of grace: and it is repeatedly declared in the most solemn manner, that such works are altogether inefficient to our salvation. Therefore we conclude that a man is pardoned and accepted by God simply by believing in Jesus Christ. That works of every kind are utterly excluded from any share in our justification, whether they are the works of the ceremonial or of the moral law: that to this end they are all alike inadequate, whether done in a state of nature, or in a state of grace. The ground of the sinner's acceptance with God is not in himself: it is not in any state of his heart, nor in the highest excellency of his life, nor in the most punctual
observance of religious ordinances : but simply and solely in the cross and righteousness of Jesus Christ. In the sight of God, all are placed without distinction on the same level. All are addressed in the same terms, as sinners, as guilty, condemned and perishing sinners. All are commanded at once a to forsake every sin, to believe in Jesus as their Saviour, and to live without reserve to the glory of God. O, then let us for ever cast away all confidence in any works or merits of our own. Let us consider well * the awful purity and holiness, the glory and majesty of that God, before whom each of us must soon appear: and sensible of our innumerable transgressions, our deep pollution and utter unworthiness, let us seek salvation in that only way which the grace, and love, and wisdom of God has been pleased to provide. We still urge the importance and indispensible necessity of holiness and good works of every kind. We still affirm that it is the believer's duty and desire to obey the whole will of God, and to live to his glory and to hate sin as polluting to himself, and abominable to his God. The most specious pretensions to a sense of pardoning love and to acceptance with God through Jesus Christ, without inward holiness and obedience to his commands, are but empty and vain. He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But yet it is of the utmost importance that we assign to our good works only that which is given to them of God. If we look upon them as making amends for sin, or as procuring us acceptance in the sight of God, they spring, not from Christian
c Gal, vi. 14. e Exod. xv. 11.
d Mark i. 15. f 1 John ii. 4.
humility, nor from a broken and contrite spirit, but from self-righteousness and pride. They are then hateful to God: they stand in the way of the glory of his grace they dishonour Christ, and they proceed not from the working of the Holy Spirit.
The disposition to put our own works, in some form or another, into the foundation of our expectations of forgiveness, and our hopes of eternal life, is universal: it is scarcely to be eradicated from the mind of man. And until the proud
heart has been broken with an acute sense of its own pollution and guilt, it will not humbly and solely rest for salvation upon the sufferings and meritorious obedience of another: nor will it embrace and rejoice in that leading and glorious gospel truth, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Cordially to renounce all the merits of our own works, whilst our aim is with heart and life to devote ourselves to the service and glory of God; and to rely with simple and lively faith solely upon Jesus Christ, is a work so great, and so opposed to the mind of man, as only to proceed from the Spirit of God. However, it is a state of mind which is the invariable result of the gracious operations of the Holy Ghost.
ashes. If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me: if say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. m Abraham is the instance which the inspired apostle adduces to show that a man is justified by faith, and not by works. David implores-"Enter not into judgment with thy servant for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. He has no works, no worthiness to offer to conciliate the favour of his Judge, he only prays for mercy; and • describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying-Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not im
pute sin. The prophet Isaiah
trembles at the manifestation of the holiness and majesty of God; and, sensible of his own defilements, exclaims in language of terror and humiliation, P Woe is me for I am undone : because I am a man of unclean lips. Nor were his fears removed, until a seraph applied to him a type and pledge of that, by which our iniquity is taken away, and our sin purged. The writings of the apostle Paul abound with the most direct and conclusive passages. And when he speaks of his own hopes of acceptance with God, the sums up his Jewish privileges, his numerous sufferings, his apostolic labours, and his Christian graces, and renounces and rejects them all: "that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness
which is of God by faith." Such then were the views and expectations of those, whose faith we are exhorted to follow, considering the end of their conversation: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Is it then safe, or scriptural, for us to trust to our defective duties, and to our imperfect services, for the salvation of our souls? Ah no, let us rather labour to know ourselves: let us rather pray for that work of grace, when we are brought to remember our own evil ways, and our doings that were not good: and to loathe ourselves in our own sight for our iniquities, and for our abominations. Let us rather, as chief of sinners, cast ourselves at the feet of Christ, and look upon pardon and eternal life, not as the reward of merit, but as the freest gift of grace, through the wonderful and rich display of peculiar love.
They all therefore were glorified and magnified, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness that they themselves wrought, but through his will. And we also, being called by the same will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, nor knowledge, nor piety, nor the works which we have done in the holiness of our hearts; but by that faith by which Almighty God has justified all from the beginning to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
If we inquire into the doctrine of the Church of England on this