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exertions to work out such a righteousness for ourselves as thing of your own, and desire to have him made unto you, all this, then it tells us, if we can find such a satisfaction and in all, your wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, such an obedience in any one who will be the surety for our and redemption; that throughout eternity you may glory in souls, its claims may be answered. But when the law the Lord alone. If you entertain the idea of earning any has thus put us upon looking out for a Saviour, we ask at thing by your own obedience, you will only come back to me once: Where can one be found who is capable of thus ful- and remain under my imprisonment, to be dealt with accordfilling its requisitions ? one who can bear infinite wrath, and ing to the terms which I have proposed. You must disclaim accomplish a spotless obedience? And above all, where shall all thought of this, and be content to be saved by grace alone, we find one who is ready to do this for us? A creature, to receive every thing from that fulness which is laid up in though he were an archangel, would sink under the everlast- Christ. This is a way of salvation, both suited to you, and ing wrath of God. Any creature would be himself as much honourable to God. It is suited to you, because it provides subject as we to the divine cominands, and therefore could for those who are ruined, every thing, as a free gift. It is only obey for himself. He would be bound to fulfil all that honourable to God, because, while it preserves my integrity the law has enjoined. He could do nothing beyond his ab- unviolated, it exalts and glorifies every perfection of the solute duty. He would therefore be in the end an unprofit- Deity. Flee then by the open door which is set before you. able servant. He could never obey for others, for he could Flee to the everlasting covenant which God the Son has esnot exceed what was due from himself; so that no created tablished by his own blood. Believe in him. Look to him being could become such a substitute as the law would ac- as the procuring cause of all your blessings. Be not discept. The only thing under such circumstances that could couraged by any conviction of your own unworthiness, but give the slightest hope to man, would be for God himself, go to him as the chief of sinners, that you may be made the the only being competent to answer the demand, to come as brightest monument of his grace. He came to call sinners the substitute for sinners; and in their nature to suffer and to repentance, to seek and to save that which was lost, to obey for them. Were this possible, there might indeed be a preach deliverance to the captives, and to set at liberty them hope, because the dignity of the sufferer would put a value on that were bound. The more deeply you feel your need of his sufferings sufficient to overbalance the eternal sufferings him, the more readily will he receive you to the arms of his of the whole world ; and the obedience paid by one who was mercy. He stands at the door and knocks. He calls to you, under no obligations to obey, would form a justifying righ- "Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I teousness sufficient for all the sinners of mankind. This will give you rest.' “ Though your sins be as scarlet, they would be sufficient, were it possible; but how can such a shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, thing be contemplated for a moment? Is it probable? Is it pos- they shall be as wool." " Whosoever cometh unto me, I sible? Possible or not, the law shuts us up to the attainment will by no meanis cast him out." of this or death. It says decidedly, “I can consent to no The law thus shows you, in your bondage, both the neceslower terms than these. Suppose such a plan to be sanc-sity that some way of salvation altogether by grace shall be tioned, approved and executed by the Almighty himself, laid open to you, and the method in which you must become then I can consent to the salvation of sinners; yea, I should interested in this gracious salvation when it is revealed. It not only consent, but highly approve of it, because the satis- tells you of the necessity of some Almighty substitute, and faction and obedience of the living God will glorify me in- of the dependant and suppliant manner in which you must finitely more than either the obedience or the condemnation of apply for his mercy, and appropriate his work to your souls. the whole human race. Let-such a plan as this be made and Thus it prepares you to hear and receive the revelation of executed by the Creator, and I agree that you shall be saved that great fact which constitutes the gospel, that such a subby it and receive weight of glory, which your own obe-stitute has been found ; that he has finished the work of redience never could have deserved. Let a door like this bedemption which was necessary, and having made all things opened to you, and I can hold you imprisoned no longer ; but ready for your salvation, invites every sinner to become a until it is so, you are still shut up under the impossibility of partaker of his mercy. In this way the law acts as a guide obtaining salvation.”
to the gospel, as a schoolmaster to bring you unto Christ. Thus the law acts as a guide to bring us unto Christ, by
3. The law further manifests its guiding power by showing awakening our expectations, and putting us upon the inquiry you how you must maintain an interest in his redemption. for a Saviour competent for our wants. It prepares our minds " That we might be justified by faith.” The great want of to hear the glad tidings of the gospel, and to look with a rebel sinner, who is under the condemnation of the law, is amazement and thankfulness into its glorious revelations. It of a justification before God. The idea of justification, inprepares us to rejoice in the faithful sayings, that “God was cludes in it a pardon for past transgressions which shall remanifest in the flesh;" “ made in all things like unto us, sin store the sinner to the condition of an innocent man, though only excepted;" that "he hath borne our sins, in his own a man without merit; and a title or right to future blessedness body, on the tree,” and become obedient unto death,” and and reward which must arise, and can only arise from a perbeen raised for our justification,” that he might “ become fect obedience to the commands of God. the Lord our Righteousness," and that we might be found in him, In order that a sinner may be justified, the law shows this having the righteousness of God, by faith in Jesus Christ. twofold righteousness to be necessary. He must have this By leading our minds to look altogether to this quarter for a to present before God. Now to be justified by words, would way of escape from the captivity in which we are held, the require that we, ourselves, had personally accomplished this law becomes a guide to Christ, and when this door of grace righteousness of satisfaction and obedience which is deis opened, and the light of eternal day shines into our prisons, manded. If this could be done, we should have whereof to we are ready to arise and follow the herald of peace and se- glory; we should be independent of every other being; curity with the utmost gladness and speed.
heaven would be ours by legal right; there could be no room 2. Again, the law acts as our guide to Christ, by showing for the exercise of grace, nor could God justly deny what us how we must go to him to obtain an interest in his re-we fairly deserved by our own obedience. The law, in the demption. It exhibits to us our real character and condition, exercise of its convincing power, shows the impossibility of showing us that we are, in fact, sold under sin, in a state of this ground of hope. But still our condition is not changed; entire bondage, without any thing to offer for our own re- our want is the same; we must be justified, or we must be demption, and without ability to do any thing for our own condemned. If we cannot be justified by works, is there
It holds up plainly to us the great truth, that our any other way in which we can attain this desired end? Yes. salvation must be all of grace, the fruit of overflowing com- The law brings us unto Christ that we may be justified hy passion, having no reference to any worth in us in our state of faith. To be justified, or to be pardoned and rewarded by captivity, or to any thing we shall do for our Deliverer, after faith, does not mean that faith is received in the place of a our release. When this door of faith is opened to us, and perfect obedience, and is itself regarded as a sufficient righChrist calls us to the liberty of the gospel, the law tells us, teousness. Faith is not the matter or reason of our justificawith fidelity, you must not attempt to recommend yourselves tion. But it is the instrument or means which conveys to us to him by any works whatever. You must arise and go to and makes our own, the perfect righteousness of our Great him ignorant, that you may be enlightened ; guilty, that you Surety, a righteousness which more than answers every demay be pardoned ; polluted, that you may be purified ; en- mand of the law of God. How then does the law guide us slaved, that you may receive a free and full redemption. You to this justification? Why, it says to us, “ You must have must carry nothing to him but your wants and miseries, a perfect satisfaction of my penalties, and a perfect obedience and expect nothing from him but as the result of his own of my precepts, or you cannot be justified. This satisfaction and previous purposes
of grace, and the free gift of God, for his obedience you can never accomplish for yourselves; therefore, sake. You must renounce, and count as worthless, every by the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified. Í
can never save you, either in whole, or in part. Cease, therefore, throughout the host the joyful tidings, that whosoever would to look to me for that which I can never bestow upon you. But look upon it should be saved. The opportunity was gladly while you can never obtain this end for yourselves, there is embraced by multitudes who were perishing, and the promise one who has done every thing for you. He has a righteous- was fulfilled to them. This day is this transaction renewed ness to be bestowed freely upon you, perfectly commensurate in the midst of a congregation of dying sinners. You are with my demands. Procure his righteonsness to be imputed all perishing from the wounds of sin. There is not a creato you, to be made yours. Obtain a title to his obedience, ture in the universe who can render you the least assistance which he is ready to give you without money and without towards a recovery from your condition of ruin. But the price, and you will be able to present to God all that I can Lord Jesus Christ is set forth openly among you, as cruciask, and be fully and eternally justified before him. Believe fied for your sins; and the law itself directs your hearts to in him, and this perfect righteousness of his shall be made him, as the great appointed way for your salvation. This yours forever. You well know how a branch receives every hour would this instructor bring your souls to him, that they thing from the stock into which it has been engrafted; pre- may be justified by faith. As Moses lifted up the serpent in cisely thus must you receive from him the blessings which the wilderness, even so hath the Son of man been lifted up, he offers. You must, by faith, abide in him, and you shall that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have be freely accepted before God. The law thus unalterably de- eternal life. Behold the eternal Son of God, lifted up upon manding a perfect fulfilment of all its requisitions, before a the cross, bearing the burden of your sins, bruised for your sinner can be justified, and at the same time pointing to the iniquities, made a curse under the law, for your souls. Hear Lord Jesus Christ, whose everlasting righteousness is to be his gracious invitations: “Look upon me and be ye saved, imputed to us, and made ours by the instrumentality of faith, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none becomes our schoolmaster, or guide, to lead us unto Christ, else.” “There is no Saviour besides me.” Hear the law that we may be justified by faith ; and when, in the accept- and the gospel uniting in one annunciation to you: “Believe ance of the tidings of the gospel, this faith has come to our in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.". souls as the instrument of our attaining an acceptable right- that believe in him shall be justified from all things.”. “In eousness, the law sets us entirely at liberty; we are no longer the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and glory. under a schoolmaster; we are no longer in bondage; but be- O, throw away your garments of self-righteousness and come ing justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our to him. Come miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, Lord Jesus Christ, and the law of the spirit of life in Christ and lay yourselves down before his feet, to find a free salvaJesus, or the gospel which brings the spirit of life to our tion. "Fly from all dependance upon yourselves. Shake off souls, has made us free from the law of sin and death; the all the weights that false instructions and false views would law which could give no knowledge but sin, and pay no hang about you, and ask for a free redemption by the grace of wages but death, and we are to stand fast in the liberty God, through the blood of the Lord Jesus; and while the law wherewith Christ hath made us free.
utters unavoidable denunciations, and makes impossible deAnd now, that you have seen the guiding power of the mards, let them lead you to that gracious Saviour who has law, and heard the instructions which this schoolmaster gives, wrought out an everlasting righteousness, and bringing it for let me intreat you to take him as your guide to life. There your acceptance, asks to be received into your hearts, as your are other teachers who will speak to you in far milder terins, hope of glory, and your only source of peace and consolaand accommodate their statements much more to your carnal tion. minds. They will tell you of the value of your good works, of the mercy of God, of the lowered terms of obedience which the Saviour has introduced; but I beseech you, listen not to them; they will deceive you to your eternal ruin. A dependance, however partial, upon your own obedience, will destroy your souls. For, establish whatever standard you
LECTURE VII. may, and try yourselves by it, and you will find that your own system concludes you under sin. Which of you has, from his earliest youth, acted up fully to the light which he has enjoyed, and done every thing which he knew, or believed Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that beto be required of him? Nay, which of you would dare to lieveth.-ROMANS X. 4. stand by this trial, and allow his everlasting destiny to be determined by it, for even a single day of his life? There The subject which this text presents to you, is the most imare many not able to endure sound doctrine, who will deceive portant one which can be offered to the view of a congregayou by such hopes as this, and persuade you that your salvation of sinful beings. It embraces the whole grand system tion must, after all, be in part by your own works. Such de- of man's redemption It comes to you as rebels against God, lusions are fatal beyond expression. There is no salvation under the condemning sentence of his law, exposed to his to be derived, in any degree, from your own obedience. The fiery and everlasting indignation, and utterly unable to find a utmost attainments in personal holiness which you may ac- ransom for your own souls; and addressing you under this quire, are of no value in the estimation of the law. They character, it announces the glad and glorious intelligence, can purchase nothing from God. Nay, so far are you from that there is one, in whom for you, all fülness dwells, one obtaining salvation by your own holiness, that you have no who has fulfilled every demand upon your souls, and wrought holiness of character until you have renounced this vain out for you an everlasting and all-sufficient righteousness. ground of hope, and fled to Christ as your only refuge, that After the views which we have taken of the convincing, you may be justified because found in him. All your possi- condemning and guiding power of the divine law, after the ble obedience to God results from this vital union with terrors which we have seen to be denounced against us, and Christ, in which you are justified. Before you are thus ac- the demands which we have seen to have been made upon cepted, there is not a single aspect of your character which us by this violated dispensation, it will be refreshing and does not exhibit rebellion against God. You never do or can satisfactory to us to meditate upon the glorious truth of a obey until salvation has visited your souls, in your cordial full and free redemption from its curse, and its power to aceeptance of the Lord our righteousness; and then you are destroy. In my last discourse, I considered the operation accepted before God, not with the least reference to any thing which the law had to lead us unto Christ, for a free justificain yourselves, but solely because he has paid the penalty, and tion through his blood. The present subject comes in an fulfilled the precepts of the law for you.
immediate succession to that, as it presents the real ground 0, that God may be graciously pleased to impress these and foundation of our acceptance before the throne of God, truths upon your minds! to open your hearts to receive the and the actual object of a living Christian faith : “ Christ things which are spoken in the word of truth ! Your na- the end of the law for righteousness to every one that betural state is one of utter ruin. Your condition was fairly re- lieveth.” In my remarks upon this important subject, every presented in the case of the Israelites, bitten by the fiery ser- word should be adequate to the vastness of the theme; and pents. You are incapable of restoring yourselves to health, I desire to look with intenseness of dependance to the or of finding a healing balm throughout the universe. Death enlightening Spirit of God to guide me in what I may say, is sweeping you off, in swift succession, and, alas ! whither is and to enable you to attend to, receive, and understand the it bearing you? What is to be the result of your rebellion ? things which may be spoken, agreeably to the holy word and But why? Is there no remedy? In the case referred to, will of Almighty God. see the remedy. Let Moses be your guide to Christ. By In considering the present text, three subjects are suggested God's command he erected the brazen serpent, and proclaimed for reflection and inquiry.
CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I. What Jesus Christ did, as man's Redeemer, for which cumstances and character, and the illustrations which they he may be called the end of the law.
furnished of the method of his personal obedience, have been II. For what object was he thus the end of the law ? all accomplished. These types and shadows, exhibited in
III. For whom is he thus the end of the law, and who are correspondence with the Saviour's work, are still useful, as benefitted by his redemption ?
illustrating the nature of his redemption. They deserve It will be readily perceived that these three inquiries will always to be studied and considered, for his sake. But he is suggest most important topics of remark, and express my their full and single end, and they cannot carry the mind beviews in reference to some cardinal but controverted points yond the parts and progress of his glorious dispensation. of divine truth.
The ordinances and institutions of the law of ceremonies I. We will inquire in what sense Jesus Christ is “the end are fulfilled in him. He is the Great High Priest; the only of the
sacrifice; the true paschal lamb. He has opened the one real The word which is Itere translated end, presents to us two fountain for sin and for uncleanness, and while God could distinct ideas. It signifies both the object which was de- not accept sacrifices and burnt offerings, or have pleasure in signed, and the object which has been accomplished. Christ them for their own sake, he has come, in a body which was was the end of the law in both these senses. He was the prepared for him, to do the will of God, and to sanctify forgrand object to which the law pointed, and to which it was ever those who are accepted in him. Having thus fulfilled designed to lead, and he has been the fulfilment of all that the objects and design of all the ceremonial observances of the law required. He was the end to be attained by the law, the law, he has abolished them forever. That which is perand in the finishing of his work of love, he has been the end fect has come, and that which was in part is done away. and accomplishment of all the law's demands. These two All the shadows of a salvation approaching for man have past points we will separately consider.
by in the arrival of this salvation in the fulness of its light 1. The full redemption accomplished by the Lord Jesus and power; and Christ having come, and offered himself Christ, was the grand end to which the law was to lead, and without spot to God, to obtain eternal redemption for us, has the object in view in the publication of the law. Under become the end and fulfilment of all that this law of ordiwhatever sense you may consider the word law, you will find nances designed. the entire truth of this assertion.
Of all the requisitions of the moral law he is also the end. Jesus Christ was the grand object of all the rites and cere- He has fully obeyed its precepts, and endured its penalty. monies of the Jewish dispensation. Every sacrifice offered While the law required a perfect and spotless righteousness, with fire from the time of Abel, pointed to him, and had no an obedience which should be, in the minutest point, altomeaning or efficiency, except as the faith of the offerer Jaid gether unblameable, Jesus has rendered the utmost of its dehold of this great sacrifice, by which sin was to be put away, mands; and because his nature was so high and dignified, in the latter ages of the world. The purifications and wash- and he was under no obligation to obey the law, but was perings of the ceremonial law, the construction of the taberna- fectly voluntary in his conformity to it, his obedience magcle and temple, and the thousand ordinances among the Isra- nified it and made it honourable. The law claimed the utelites, which in themselves appeared so unmeaning and most love to God, and universal benevolence to his creatures. useless, were all designed to lead their minds forward to him This love Jesus rendered, and thus his obedience was an enin whom all righteousness should be fulfilled. They were tire fulfilment of the law. the shadows of the really good things which were to be re- But it cannot fail to be remarked by a reader of observavealed in the incarnation of the Son of God. They made tion, that while Jesus thus perfectly fulfilled the law, so nothing perfect, for they were themselves entirely imperfect that it had no claim upon him in the shape of a penalty, even and incomplete, without that key to their design, furnished for the most trifling deficiency, he was still dealt with and by the actual redemption accomplished in Jesus Christ. He punished as an entire criminal. He received the full punwas the single object to which they led, and without him they ishment of transgression, and died under the condemnation of are, in themselves, entirely inexplicable. The whole of the the violated law. He furnished the only possible instance in Mosaic ritual was appointed, not of itself to be the imme- which the same being shall perfectly conform to the precepts diate means of salvation to any individual, but to point uni- of the law, and yet sustain the curse of an universal violaversal attention to him that should come as the single author tion. And while a being who has never sinned may fulfil and source of life eternal unto sinners. For this purpose it the preceptive part of the law, and a being who has sinned was established, and to this end its consistent and proper ope- may bear the penalty and curse of the law, he alone could ration guided all.
make them both the matter of experience, and thus become Christ was also the great object of the moral law. The the end of all that the law demanded of any created being. publication of this divine law to fallen beings, whether in the It is in this aspect that he is presented as the substitute age of the patriarchs, or by the ministration of Moses, was for sinners. All that he did, he did for them. Every part not designed to open in it a way of life for sinners. Its of his life formed a portion of his actual obedience in their object was directly the reverse; it invited none, but it faith-behalf; and every suffering which he passed was a part of fully warned all. By showing, in the spiritual purity of its that death which he had voluntarily undertaken for them. required obedience, the impossibility that any sinner should The hour in which he became a subjected being, he began comply with its terms, it invited all to look forward to some his voluntary and unconstrained humiliation; and from that other source for salvation. It was added, or proclaimed anew hour every moment of his life was a part of his one great to man, from time to time, because of transgressions; to con- offering for the transgressions of his creatures. The twovince men of their sin fand danger, until the seed should fold demand which the law made, he accomplished; and his come, in whom all the promises were to meet and be fulfilled. infinitely exalted character and rank added such dignity and To constrain sinners to look forward to the great Redeemer worth to his obedience and sufferings, that they were reawho was promised, was one most important object in the pro- sonably accepted as of more value, and more honourable, than clamation of the law; and in the accomplishment of this pur- would have been the personal submission of the whole hupose, it caused him to be the desire of all nations, and to be man race. The divine law made no demands, and can make welcomed by those in all nations who waited for consolation no demand, which this high Redeemer did not adequately from on high, as an unspeakable gift and blessing to all. answer, so that though his obedience did not abolish the law
In this sense Christ was the end to be attained, both of as a rule of life for his followers, it did provide for them, the law of ceremonies, and the law of moral obedience. They in answer to its demands, a perfect righteousness; and he are unintelligible without him, and as their requisitions and was for them the end or fulfilment of the law, so far as it reordinances are read and considered in the Old Testament, he garded any claims which, as a distinct dispensation, the law must be borne constantly upon the mind as the great object in could have against them. whom they were all designed to meet and become effectual ; It is under these two senses that Christ may be called the and with the light which is thrown back upon them from his end of the law, as he was the great object to whoin the law redemption, they have a meaning and force, which without was designed to lead, and as he has been the accomplishment him they must want entirely.
of every thing which the law required. 2. Christ is the end of the law, in the actual accomplish- II. 'Í'he text further declares the purpose for which the ment of all the law demands.
Saviour thus became the end of the law: it was for “righWhile all the shadows and ceremonies of the Jewish reli-teousness." gion were designed to lead to him, he has fulfilled them all, It could be for no other purpose. Righteousness comrendered them unnecessary in their obligation, and set them prises the whole circle of the law's demands, and the whole aside forever. The types of the old scriptures are all an- extent of the sinner's wants. swered in him. The predictions which they gave of his cir- The law could ask for nothing but a righteousness which should be a satisfaction of its penalties, and a fulfilment of perfect satisfaction was made, it is trifling to speak of limitaits precepts. When this righteousness, this perfect con- tions to its sufficiency or its offers. The whole world may formity to its claims was found, the law was satisfied, it be saved in as perfect consistence with the character and could go no further.
government of God, as a single transgressor. The way is The sinner under the condemnation of the law, wanted perfectly opened, for the exercise of grace to all; and there nothing but a righteousness which should be sufficient to an- is not a barrier left, but in man's voluntary and determined swer the requisitions of the law which held him in bondage. enmity to the God that made him, to the universal salvation Whenever and wherever he could find this adequate righte- of this fallen family. ousness, his release and liberty were made secure to him But while there is this perfect sufficiency and unlimited forever.
invitation in the work of substitution which Christ has finThe violation of the law formed the whole necessity for an ished, the result of the case is the simple one announced in atonement and expiation for sin, because sin is the trans- the text. He becomes a personal righteousness only to those gression of the law. Accordingly, when a Saviour was who believe. There is abundant provision, and it is honfound who agreed to become the sinner's substitute, his me-estly offered to every sinner; but it is applied for individual diation would have been unavailing, unless he could furnish salvation only to those who accept it in faith. While the this righteousness, which was the sinner's single want. It law was unsatisfied, the holiness and faithfulness of God was the relation in which the transgressor stood to the di- could allow no offer of salvation. The atonement of Christ vine law, which made his need for a priest and sacrifice; has respect singly to this difficulty, and nders the exercise and when that priest and sacrifice appeared, it must have of pardoning grace consistent with the divine character, and been to sustain the same relation to the law in which the sin-honourable to the divine government. If no atonement had ner had been placed, or the mediation would have come short been made for sin, men could not be required to believe, for of the necessity. That he might obtain a righteousness suf-there would have been no Saviour for them if they should. ficient for his wants, was the sinner's only need for a Sa- But now nothing prevents the pardon of all but the want of viour and substitute. Of course, all that this Saviour did as that evangelical faith which shall appropriate to the sinner the surety for the sinner, must have been designed to accom- the provided righteousness. Any man may be pardoned plish and provide for him the perfect righteousness which who will accept with faith the offered atonement. The his condition of condemnation and despair rendered indis- way is open, and equally open to all. The proffers of pardon pensable.
are made with the same sincerity and kindness to every sinThe Saviour came to release the sinner from the bondage ner to whom the gospel is preached; and he who does not of the law, and to bestow upon him freely, by his grace, the accept them, and consequence remains unpardoned, must inheritance of life which had been forfeited by disobedience. remember that nothing is in his way but his own impenitence The law could not agree to this release until its demands and want of faith. He is condemned singly and wholly, bewere fully answered. Every thing, therefore, which the cause he loves darkness rather than light. Redeemer did or suffered, was designed to make up and When any sinner can be led to accept with faith Christ finish this everlasting righteousness which the case re- as the end of the law for his righteousness, every obstacle quired. His labours and instructions, and miracles, his which the justice of God and his own perverted heart interpains of body and agonies and darkness of mind, all his acts posed to his salvation, has been removed ; and he is acof obedience and all his deprivations and sorrows, united cepted, crowned with full redemption, and saved with an themselves for this single end, that he might be the Lord our everlasting salvation. Righteousness, and able to save unto the uttermost those How glorious and consistent is that scheme of salvation who should come unto God through him. In him there is which is presented in the gospel! Jesus, an Almighty Sanow provided the infinite treasure of merit which the sinner viour, all in all. The gospel takes us just where it finds us, needs. We are to stand complete in him; and while the in a state of ruin and sin, condemned by the law of God Father could say of him as the evidence of the greatness of to everlasting perdition, and utterly incapable of procuring his own love, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well justification by our own righteousness. In this miserable pleased,” the law could proclaim in view of the perfect-condition, it announces to us a Saviour divinely great and ness of his work, “This is a righteousness which meets my glorious, divinely excellent and lovely, assuming our nature utmost claims."
to become an expiation for our sins, revealing to us the way The satisfaction which the Saviour made to the law was of reconciliation to God, and inviting us to enter into it and perfect and entire. He answered every claim which it could be saved. The acceptance of this expiation it announces make for obedience or suffering; and thus he accomplished from the mouth of God himself; and the simple terms upon a perfect righteousness, for righteousness is nothing but per- which we may be reconciled to God, by believing in Christ fect conformity to the law.
and being found in him, it discloses with exact precision and Bat this righteousness which he attained by being thus perfect clearness. The one demand which it makes upon us, the end of the law, could not be for himself. The law had is the submission of our hearts to Christ, because with the no claims upon him; his obedience and his sufferings were heart man believeth unto righteousness. equally and entirely voluntary; and all that he did, he did as How desirable is that vital principle of faith which shall the substitute for sinners. When he became the end of the seek and find a permanent refuge for the sinner in the bosom of law, he was in possession of a spotless righteousness. But Jesus. The cause of every sincere believer is safe in the for whom was this righteousness? The text answers this hands of God. Christ has been the end of the law for him, question : "He is the end of the law for righteousness to and there is no condemnation to him while he is in Christ every one that believeth ;” and thus presents us with our Jesus! He has chosen the good part, which shall never be third subject of remark.
taken away from him. The Saviour who has begun to beIII. There is no distinction among the whole human friend him in this infinite concern, will never leave him nor family as it regards the condemnation under which the vio- forsake him. All the steps of a good man are ordered by the lated law has placed them. Without reference to any acquired Lord. Though he fall, he shall rise again; and his mercy varieties of character or degrees in guilt, by natural inheritance, God will not utterly take from him. In the seed which is every man born into the world is under a curse, and under an sown in his heart there is a blessing, the beginning of life equal curse, for sin against God. This is the relation in immortal. Cold and wintry as is the climate beneath which which the whole race of men stand towards God; con- it has sprung; unkind and barren as is the soil in which it demned under his righteous judgment, and exposed to grows ; doubtful and fading as its progress often appears, it his everlasting wrath. In becoming the end of the law for cannot die. The hand which planted it will cultivate it with a world thus universally guilty, the Saviour has provided unceasing care, and will soon remove it to a happier region, a remedy in every respect equal to the want. It was to where it will flourish, and blossom, and bear fruit for ever; satisfy the law, and to render the salvation of men consistent and the satisfied law will rejoice in the triumphs of grace with the character of God, that an atonement was required, which have brought the ransomed soul to eternal glory. and a Saviour offered. This Jesus has done ; and the righ- And O how awful is their condition who voluntarily reject teousness which he possesses as the world's Redeemer, is this Saviour, in whose atonement and sufficiency God desufficient for all, is designed for all, and is honestly offered clares himself well pleased! The law condemned them, for to all the children of wrath and sin. The satisfaction to the their original apostacy, to everlasting ruin. To the guilt of law, which was indispensable to render the forgiveness of a this apostacy, unatoned, unrepented of, and therefore remainsingle sinner consistent with the character of God, was ing in all its enormity, they add a second condemnation: the equally sufficient for the whole world. Before the law was peculiar guilt of rejecting the singular and amazing efforts of thus satisfied, not an individual could be pardoned. After this the goodness of God to bring them back to holiness and life.
In what manner men can more effectually despise the divine The text describes the exact condition of the justified and character, affront the divine goodness, and expose themselves accepted man. He has been delivered from the condemnae to inevitable destruction, no mind can conceive. No other tion of the law. It has no penalties to demand of him. He offer can be so kind, no other blessing is so great, no other is free from all its denunciations; but he has been placed display of the character of God so lovely. The ingratitude, under new obligations to obedience, and has new motives therefore, of the sinner refusing the righteousness of Christ leading him to acquire a perfect holiness of life and characis wonderful, his guilt incomprehensible. If, then, the righ- ter. He is not a lawless man, not without law or any rule teous scarcely be saved, where shall these unbelieving and of obedience to God, but under the law to Christ, who has ungodly sinners appear? If it be a fearful thing for all men, perpetuated and confirmed upon him every divine commandfor heathens and Mahommedans, to fall into the hands of the ment; and taught him, that thus only can love to a Saviour living God, what must it be for those men to whom Christ is be exhibited, by obedience to divine commandments. offered freely, daily and always; who sit, from the cradle to. The sinner who has embraced the gospel of Jesus, is restthe grave, under the noonday light of the gospel, and basking his whole hope of justification upon the perfect righteousthrough life in the beams of the sun of righteousness ? Beness of the Lord. He does not expect to earn a single hour assured, the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of of peace or glory by his own holiness of character. The their temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of obedience in which he trusts for his salvation, was finished judgment, to be punished.
long since; and he does not hope to add an iota of merit to that great offering which has been once for all made for his soul ; but yet, as his rule of character, the law has dominion over him so long as he liveth. Its governing power con
strains him unceasingly in his exertions, to bring forth fruits LECTURE VIII.
of holiness unto God. He is bought with a price, that he
may glorify God in his body and spirit, which are his; and THE GOVERNING POWER OF THE LAW.
is in the expression of the text, “under the law to Christ."
1. The law displays this governing power over the ChrisBeing not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.—1 Co- tian, by setting before him the unalterable standard to which RINTHIANS, IX. 21.
he must be conformed. As a rule of individual character, the
law of God is holy and perfect. It is the transcript of the I enter with much pleasure upon the subject now before character and perfections of the Creator. A conformity to its me, because I am aware that many of my hearers have felt precepts is an attainment of the image of God. After this anxious lest my arguments, to which your attention has been image every Christian is to be progressively renewed, until previously called, should be supposed to set the obligations he is holy, as God is holy. The one principle which fulfils of the law altogether aside. We have considered the divine the law is love. When with our whole heart and strength, we law as a spiritual system of requirements, convincing the love the Lord our God; and with a principle of universal sinner of his guilt and danger and weakness, condemning benevolence we love every creature as ourselves; this printhe impenitent under the perpetual burden of unpardoned ciple will lead to the performance of the duties of every posguilt, guiding the awakened sinner to the mercy offered in sible relation in life. This requisition of entire and unlimited Jesus Christ, who has been the end of all its demands, as the love was laid upon us by the Creator, as it is laid upon every sinner's righteousness; and we are now brought to the fourth creature which he hath formed. No change of circumstances and last aspect of this holy system, in its governing power could ever alter the holy and perfect standard which divine over those who have embraced the gospel, or fled from the wisdom has thus placed before every created being. Whatterror of its denunciations to the shelter offered in the full ever station we should occupy in the scale of being, it must salvation of Christ.
be our indispensable duty to love God with all our hearts, It has been my wish to state as clearly as possible, the and our neighbour as ourselves. Nor can this obligation be great truth, that our own obedience has not the least influ- set aside without authorizing men to despoil themselves of ence upon our justification before God. We are accepted the image of God, and to rob him of the glory which belongs solely for the perfect obedience of the Redeemer. In such to him. When we have embraced in a new heart the mercies plain statements of the doctrine of the Bible, many in our of the gospel, and are under the law to Christ, the constraint day, as in the apostles' time, are ready to think that the ne- of this obligation of universal love is increased by all the cessity of obedience has been destroyed, and that our system high motives which the redemption of the Lord Jesus has set is one which tends to overthrow a proper watchfulness in before us. No being in the universe, not an angel in heaven, personal character. To relieve all such fears, and to shield is placed under the law of love, with such a weight of obligathe truth from such unreasonable and improper imputations, tion as a sinner ransomed by the blood of Christ. This perI am now to show the use and obligation of the law as a fect standard of obedience is set before us, and our great object rule of personal conduct to the true believer.
is, in a conformity to its precepts, through the power of the The expression of St. Paul in the text furnishes a proper Holy Ghost, to be renewed after the image of God, from day introduction. His anxiety to win souls to Christ, led him to to day. And though we are forgiven and accepted in Christ conform, so far as it was consistent with his duty, to the ha- Jesus, the governing power of the law still controls us, by bits and prejudices of all among whom he ministered. He presenting the only standard to which we are required to asserted his entire liberty from the impositions of all men, become conformed. and yet he voluntarily submitted to the views of all, that he 2. One great object of the redemption of the gospel was, might gain the more. In preaching to the Jews, he became that we might be governed by the precepts of the law. The a Jew in his outward conformity to unimportant ordinances; Lord Jesus had in view the holiness and obedience of his and while they considered themselves under the ceremonial people in all that he did and suffered for them. He did not obligations of the law, he refused not to submit to them also, come merely to rescue us from death, but to deliver us from that he might win their attention to the liberty which was the bondage of sin. This design was given as the reason of presented in the gospel. And on the other hand, while he the name by which he was called : “ He shall be called Jesus, preached to those who had never received the law, he be because he shall save his people from their sins.” The great came in his disregard of ceremonial observances, without law object declared in the hymn of Zacharias, for which God had also, that he might gain those who were thus without the raised up a horn of salvation, and remembered his holy covelaw. This varying compliance with the feelings of men did not nant, and the oath which he sware unto Abraham, was, that show that he had no regard to the divine authority, or that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might he felt himself to be without law to God. He claimed the serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before privilege of disregarding only that which had been fulfilled and him all the days of our life. To have merely delivered a abrogated. The moral precepts of the Almighty laid upon race of rebels from the ruin which they deserved, would have his conscience with their full power; nay, his embracing the been but a partial object. The great design was to bring hopes and promises of the gospel, had increased their au- back these rebels to a state of obedience and love; to take thority upon his heart; he was " under the law to Christ,” away the spirit of hostility which had governed them, and who had given him a still higher standard of obedience and thus to restore harmony and peace to a disordered universe; still more powerful motives to lead him to obey; and the to stop the breach which the waters of contention had made, doctrine of salvation in Jesus which he preached to men, and to bring all conflicting feelings and purposes into one in though built upon his perfect satisfaction of the demands of Christ Jesus. This St. Paul declares was the great object the law, did not make void its authority as a rule of charac- for which the Redeemer gave himself for us, that he might ter, but tended still the more to establish and confirm it. redeem us from all inquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar