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to destroy him. He excited the jealousy of Herod to cut gospel. We leave it not to your choice whether you will him off in his infancy. He attempted to persuade him to accept the provisions of divine mercy or not. You may rehis own destruction. He arrayed against him the wholeject them indeed, but you will reject them to your eternal power of Jewish and Roman governors, so that in the ex- ruin. Brethren, Almighty God demands his own. He made pression of the apostles, “ against the holy child Jesus, both you not to be destroyed; he has bought you with an inestiHerod and Pontius Pilate and the rulers of Israel were mable price; he commands you to return to him and live ; gathered together." He finally succeeded, as he supposed, in and you will answer it before him in a solemn final judghis destruction, by nailing him to the cross. But still the ment, how you have received and improved the precious gospel triumphed; and the very death which was to show opportunity of salvation which he has so long allowed you. the weakness and falsehood of the professed Messiah, was his 2. The way in which you should receive it, not as the full and perfect triumph over the gates of hell, and his open word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of the Lord, spoiling of the principalities and powers of darkness. which worketh effectually in you that believe. The word of
Foiled and defeated in this attempt, the enemy has pur- God profits you not if it be not mixed with faith in them that sued the gospel in every succeeding age like a flood. He hear it. Listen to the gospel as a personal message to your raised the arm of temporal power and wealth, so that the most selves; hear it describe your necessities and offer you a full dreadful and bitter wasting of human lives was exhibited in and perfect remedy, with the humble acknowledgment of the persecution of the apostles and all successive preachers. your want, and a cordial embracing of the mercy proposed; But the gospel triumphed over power, and in the reign of appropriate with thankfulness the privileges which God ofConstantine seated itself upon the very throne of the perse- fers here to sinners, and learn to come with your whole heart cuting empire. Millions of lives have been sacrificed by to the fountain of blessedness and mercy which he has laid the enmity of Satan because they were Christians, and yet open. The Lord Jesus invites you in great kindness to reincreasing millions have risen up to supply their place. ceive his love. By his ministers he calls you, and by his
He has inspired the wisdom and genius of man to write spirit he strives with you, that you may not be permitted to down the religion of Jesus in the books of infidelity, so that destroy yourselves. Believe in him with your hearts, and it some of the mightiest efforts of the human mind which the shall be well with you; he will pardon your unrighteousness, world has ever seen have been displayed in hostility to the and your iniquities will he remember no more. He brings gospel. Age after age has furnished the same display; and you this day good tidings; he publishes to you peace and yet this despised gospel has triumphed over the arguments salvation. O let your thankful hearts rejoice that there is a and writings of infidelity, and still stands the monument of Saviour so worthy to be received, admired and loved, preGod's Almighty power, while the names and the former ex-sented to your embrace; and come unto him and he shall istence of many of these opposers, are known only by the give you rest. answers which Christian writers have made to them.
He has in different ages thrown corruptions and heresies in practice and doctrine into the body of the church; has raised up secret enemies in the very camp, until the word of God appeared almost buried under the wickedness of men. But the gospel has thrown off successively corruptions and here
LECTURE XVIII. sies, and still stands, after all these attempts, precisely the same living and life-giving truth, as when it was first re- THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL FROM THE SUBJECTS WHICH IT vealed.
PROCLAIMS. He has sent his agents and ministers to assume the Christian garb; to array themselves among the followers of Jesus, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringand thus to betray the cause which they professed to espouse. eth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings But though the tares have grown together with the wheat, of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God there have been continually succeeding harvests in which reigneth.—Isaiah 11. 7. they have been separated, and the gospel is still offered in its simplicity and purity to man, and embraced in its true charac- Such we have seen is the divine description of the minister by thousands, while these false pretenders and preachers ters of the gospel of Christ. Whether men justly appreciate have gone to their own place.
their office or not, they are sent as messengers of God's chief No species of opposition which could have been aroused blessing to a fallen world. Coming with intelligence of parhas been omitted. Every possible instrument has been don from on high, to the penitent and contrite their approach called in requisition, and every instrument in its highest pos- is welcomed, their feet are beautiful. God is pleased to put sible power; and yet over all, truth has prevailed. 'The high honour upon their office, and to show himself personally gospel has set its foot upon the necks of its enemies; and interested in the acceptance and respect which they receive. still triumphs, and still will triumph, until its full dominion But why are they thus styled beautiful ? Not for any has been attained.
personal merit or worth in themselves. They are infirm and Opposition probably was never stronger or more serious imperfect. Not for any dignity or power which they posthan in the present day. The truth is every where spoken sess or which they can exercise. They are like other men, against. The doctrines and ordinances of the gospel are re- altogether weak, sinful and unprofitable. God honours them, viled by thousands. Bitter terms of reproach are appended and they are welcomed by man, altogether on account of the to the names of those who maintain its truth, and the most message which they are commissioned to proclaim. This unfounded calumnies are circulated in reference to their message contains the highest possible benefit to man, and character and conduct; and yet the gospel establishes its reflects unceasing glory upon God. The text exhibits this throne in the very midst of those who hate it, and converts message at large, and introduces to your notice the subject of its enemies into friends.
the present discourse. Such triumphs reflect high honour upon the gospel of The glory of the gospel, arising from the intelligence which it Jesus, and show its glory in the method of its publica- communicates to man. tion. Men may raise insuperable difficulties, as they sup- 1. It brings "good tidings." This expression is a genepose; but beautiful in their triumphant march over all these ral designation of the revelation made by Jesus Christ. It mountains, are still the feet of those who publish the gospel is the title by which we know this glorious system, and of peace and preach glad tidings of good things.
which is thus called the gospel, because it is altogether a From this view of the glory of the gospel, we may learn, communication of good tidings to man.
1. That whatever men may think of the dispensation of The good tidings of the Christian system of truth involve the word, the rejection of the gospel is really a rejection of many particulars, adapted to all human circumstances and God himself. Whoever may proclaim to you this message conditions. It appoints every where to them that mourn, of grace, and however weakly and infirmly he may pro- to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, claim it, provided he be faithful, speaks the word of the the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. It speaks Lord; and he that despiseth, despiseth not man but God. in language of consolation to all who suffer, of security to From God himself to you is the word of this salvation sent; all who are in doubt, of encouragement to all who fear, and let all take heed that they receive not the grace of God of promise to all who seek for mercy. There is no condiin vain. In his name we demand the submission of your tion of man under the Providence of the God of Truth, for hearts to him. We offer you the fulness of mercy for per- which the gospel of Christ will not bring relief and comfort. ishing sinners, which is laid up in the Lord Jesus Christ; He cannot be placed under such circumstances as shall and by his authority require you to repent and believe the shut him out from security and hope, if he be willing to accept the offers which are here made. Whenever the sin- invites you to commit all your cares and ways to him in the ner is destroyed, he has destroyed himself, though God has assurance that he will be a friend and beloved to you forever. offered him abundant help.
Beside this relative peace between your souls and God, But the good tidings of the gospel may all be comprized the gospel publishes peace in the experience of your own in its one offer to man of universal pardon for sin. It exhib- hearts. When you receive by faith the Saviour whom it its a Saviour, who has accomplished in his own person a offers, and he is allowed to dwell in your hearts as your hope full salvation for the sinful posterity of Adam, and the riches of glory, there is then bestowed upon you the peace which of whose grace are truly unsearchable; and it offers simply passes understandîng. Your troubled and anxious minds through him, and in the acceptance of him, universal for- have rest. Tranquillity and assurance forever establish their giveness to those for whom he died. I say universal for- dominion in your souls. The accusations of guilt are hushed giveness, for not a single sinner is personally excepted from by divine testimonies of pardoning love. Your hope is fixed the offer which it makes. Whosoever will
, may come and calmly and surely upon the promises of God; and resting drink freely of the water of life: Jesus has offered himself thus in love for him, and in his love for you, you are filled once for all. And there is not a man living who can say with peace in believing through the power of his spirit. with truth, " for me there is no redemption, God has shut Peace is thus thrown over all the changes and prospects of me out of life.” No, brethren, we do injustice, great injus- mortal life. All things work together for good to those who tice, to the free and unbounded grace of God, if we suppose love God; and he keeps them in perfect peace whose mind that it is not honestly proposed to all, and proposed with a sin- is stayed on him. There is real worth, beloved brethren, cere desire on the part of its great author that all should in this gospel offer of peace to the sinner's soul, and you partake of it and live. Whatever theoretical difficulties will exhibit true wisdom in embracing it for your own commay be imagined in reconciling God's purposes of love fort in the present world, and your eternal joy in a world to defeated, with his unlimited and resistless power to do his come. God makes it his glory to pass by transgressions, will, we cannot lay the blame of man's destruction upon and gives glory to his gospel in constituting that the instruhim. Nor in searching through the whole catalogue of ment of proclaiming his riches of love to every sinner truly offenders against him, can we find one to whom we are repenting and believing in his Son. authorized to say, that no atonement has been made for him, 3. The gospel brings "good tidings of good.” It not only and no pardon is offered upon his return to God.
restores the sinner by the offer of free forgiveness to the This offer of forgiveness is universal in regard to the trans- condition of an innocent man, removing all penalty, and gressions of each individual. No sinner can be too guilty rescuing him from condemnation, but it adds also positive to be pardoned. No man can have fallen to a depth which and infinitely valuable benefits. It offers him in the rightis beyond the reach of Almighty grace. Is he the chief of eousness of God his Saviour everlasting life and glory. It sinners? Has no one ever passed beyond the limits of his bids him lift up his eyes and his hopes, for God hath protransgression? Then is the faithful saying true for him, vided for him such good things as pass man's understanding: that Christ Jesus came into the world for his salvation, and The present good which results from a cordial acceptance of is able to set him forth as a pattern of divine long suffering. the gospel is important, but it is partial. The following of All the offences of previous life are pardoned, when a sinner Christ may involve, with all the peace and comfort which embraces the provisions of grace in Christ Jesus; one act it promises, the endurance of much suffering and trial. The of divine mercy restores him to the favour of his God, and Christian may pass through many and great tribulations in removes forever all charge of guilt against his soul. It is entering into the kingdom of God. But the future good true that the sinner's forgiveness is dependant upon his return which is set before him is all-sufficient, and the final result to God. If he continue in a persevering rejection of the of his obedience will make abundant reparation for any conHoly Spirit, and determine to sin because grace abounds, flicts by which he must be tried. But what is this future he commits indeed a sin for which there is no forgiveness, good? What offers are made to be fulfilled in a world to either in this world, or in the world to come. None in this come? Continuing life to beings who deserve to die. Unworld, because he thus casts finally away the only possible ceasing enjoyment for those who merit only sufferings and means of pardon. None in the world to come, because all woes. Perfect acceptance with God, for rebels against him, exercise of pardon is confined to the present life. This sin with whom he was justly angry every day. Everlasting against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven, not because its honour and glory for those who have been degraded and guilt is too great, but because it is final impenitence; and destroyed by sin. The fellowship of Jesus and his saints, no impenitent sinner can be pardoned. But for all classes the society of all who are holy and perfect, the approbation and degrees of guilt, if the sinner truly repent and submit of the Ruler and Judge of all, for beings who were cast out himself to God, there is forgiveness offered in the gospel. in their sins ready to perish. Such is the good which the And thus the gospel is a message of good tidings to man, gospel offers. It is a spiritual and permanent good, which, bringing him back to God and restoring him again to the like its author, has no variableness nor shadow of changing. divine favour and love.
Such honour, such recompense have all his saints. 2. It “ publisheth peace.” The transgressions of men This everlasting provision of good answers all the rehave excited the just anger of God against them, have ex- proaches of the world, while it shows that the Christian, in posed them to necessary punishment, and made it the in-counting all things as loss for Christ, acts with wisdom and flexible rule of his government, that there should be no prudence, and that he lays up his treasure securely where peace to the wickėd. This is the relation in which by moth and rust do not corrupt, nor thieves break through to nature you stand to God; your souls are forfeited to his steal, and builds his house upon a rock which shall stand divine justice. Should he carry forward his anger against the assault of every tempest and abide firm forevermore. sin to final execution, and cast you all into everlasting ruin, It answers all the temptations of the world, while it preno one of you could have the right to complain. Your own sents more than a counterbalance for every sinful joy, and consciences would unite with his holy determinations, and excites a faith and hope which shall overcome every allureproclaim that God was just though he thus took vengeance. ment to transgression. It applies itself to all the changing You could make no offering to him which should purchase circumstances of life, bringing encouragement and treasure peace, or deserve the remission of the punishment denounced from God, wherever its possessor may be placed. It is so against sin. Under such circumstances the worth and glory satisfying, that its messenger is always welcome to those of the gospel are displayed. God has accomplished and who understand its worth. To the poor, the amicted, the proposes reconciliation, and his gospel declares it to you in sick, the dying, the glorious gospel brings good tidings of his name. It is an offer of peace altogether worthy of God; good. It takes man by the hand when all others forsake it compromises not the justice or integrity of his character, him. It can speak with power when all others are silent. but confirms and glorifies his whole government of man. And shows itself thus useful and desirable, however low and
Peace between yourselves and your Creator is thus desperate may be the condition of the individual to whom its proclaimed. You are allowed to come before him with your gracious offers come. prayers and offerings without fear. He looks upon you in 4. The gospel "publishes salvation.” It proclaims to the righteousness of his Son with acceptance and favour. every believer final security from the punishment of sin, and He invites you to become united to him in the spirit of new from the power of Satan. It encourages him with the assurand holy obedience, and to forget that there has been any ance of victory, even while he is in the midst of his warfare. separation between you in your experience of the future It bids him remember the Almighty power which is engaged manifestations of his love. The gospel exhibits the cha- upon his side, and under whatever circumstances of danger, racter of God to you under the most attractive aspect. It to be not faithless but believing. shows you that he is desirous to pardon and save you; and The salvation which the gospel offers is a salvation already finished and completed. Man is invited to partake of triumph finally and eternally, because Christ rules in those that which God has freely provided for him; and the great whom he has redeemed. office of the gospel is to publish to man this glorious salva- He reigns amidst the hosts of heaven, and Zion rejoices in tion, and to invite him to an enjoyment of the bounties which the prospect of reward which his dominion there ensures. have been thus prepared. This salvation it proclaims in ex- His presence constitutes the happiness and glory of his peohibiting an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin offered by God's ple. They look forward with delight to another world as an dear Son. It shows that the burden of human guilt was ac- everlasting home, because he is there. The single promise tually laid upon him, and that his death upon the cross was of recompense which the gospel makes is an enjoyment of borne as a required punishment in the sinner's stead. his favour and a dwelling together with him. In the hope
In such an exhibition of the death of Christ, it displays of this the believer's heart rejoices with joy unspeakable and a full and final atonement made to God for human transgress- full of glory; and having counted all things as loss for Christ's ions, and publishes salvation in the assurance that every sake, he looks forward with triumph to the day when he barrier which unexpiated guilt interposed to the acceptance shall be like him and see him as he is. Jesus reigns in of man has been thus removed. It proclaims this salvation heaven, and, therefore, for those who love him, heaven must in displaying the resurrection from the dead, and the subse-contain a desirable and ample reward. quent exaltation of the glorious Redeemer who had humbled Such is the glorious intelligence which the gospel brings himself even to this death upon the cross for man, and thus you; such are the communications which it makes to a world shows that Almighty power is enlisted in behalf of all who of sinners. It brings good tidings, it publishes peace, it come to him, and that he is able to save them unto the utter-brings good tidings of good, it publishes salvation, it demost, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. clares to Zion, thy God reigneth. These gracious communiWhile the gospel proclaims the united exercise of the power cations throw a glorious light over the whole message, and of God and the sufferings of man, in the person of Jesus constitute it, by their excellency, the glorious gospel of the Christ the Lord our righteousness, it publishes salvation in blessed God. a method which removes every difficulty and commends itself How important is the obligation which arises from such to the enlightened judgment of man as perfectly adequate to intelligence to constrain sinful men to accept with thankfulhis wants, and precisely suited to his condition as a guiltyness these heavenly offers! The immediate duty required of and helpless being.
you all is the reconciliation to God which the gospel proBut though it thus publishes to man a complete salvation, it poses, and for which it has made provision. All things are does not leave him to obtain for himself, and by his own power, ready for the return of sinners unto Christ, and I would bea personal interest in this salvation. It comes to him attended seech you, brethren, to welcome the ministers of reconciliaby the same Spirit who has proclaimed its intelligence to the tion, to receive the pardon which is offered, and to place world, as a personal gift to his soul, to enable him to see his yourselves under the dominion of this glorious and merciful dangers, and to take advantage of the mercies which are of- King. Kiss the Son in token of your cheerful submission to fered to his acceptance. It brings this Holy Spirit to dwell him, and let not his wrath be kindled against you, even but within his heart as a comforter and guide, to encourage and a little, lest you perish from the right way, and lose for ever to lead him in the path to life eternal. By the ministration the hopes which are offered you through his grace. of the Spirit, it applies to him the salvation which it pub- How important also is the obligation upon Christians to lishes abroad, and thus completes the gracious design of God press upon all others the acceptance of these messages of diof bringing the sinner from the power of Satan to himself and vine love! To you who have believed, the Lord has committed glory everlasting.
the treasure of his grace, that you may offer it to others. In your It displays the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost united conversation and your conduct, and in direct efforts to lead in the work of man's redemption; shows the office which sinners unto Christ, much influence is to be exerted to pubeach person of the Deity exercises to attain this end; and lish this salvation, and to spread abroad the knowledge of having proclaimed the whole scheme of grace, it publishes the truth. The worth of this glorious intelligence marks the as the result a full and eternal salvation to all who believe amount of your responsibility; and while it teaches you what the intelligence which it communicates.
Christ has done and suffered to open the way of salvation, it 5. The gospel " saith unto Zion,” to the people of God, impresses upon you how much you should be willing to do " thy God reigneth.”
and to suffer to make this way plain and profitable to others. This personal designation of God as connected with his Let no effort be spared which can be made effectual to bring people, shows us that Emanuel, God manifest in the flesh, men from the darkness of their sins, to the light of the glory is especially referred to. Of him, the righteous are by the of God which is seen in Jesus Christ. same prophet represented as saying, “ Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us.” The God of Zion is an incarnate God, our "great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."
The gospel declares his reign, his everlasting dominion as God over all, blessed for ever. It proclaims his exaltation
LECTURE XIX. as head over all things for the church, as LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS, making his enemies his footstool. It declares
THE GOSPEL MAGNIFYING THE LAW. this reign of Christ as joyful intelligence to his people, assuring them that their cause is safe under his extensive and The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake, he will magresistless dominion.
nify the law and make it honourable.-ISAIAH XLII. 21. He reigns in the government of the present world, ordering all things according to the counsels of his own will, and con- The connexion of the different divine revelations with each straining all beings and all events, to promote his glory and other, forms an important subject for our consideration in the good of his people. In this assurance Zion rejoices in closing this series of lectures. the prospect of a final victory for his truth, and fears not that Faithfulness and immutability are attributes inseparable his cause is safe, whatever may be the assaults of the ungodly. from the divine character. With God, there is no variableHowever men may fill the earth with confusion and sin, he ness, nor shadow of turning. He illustrates the unchangerides upon the whiriwind and the storm, and makes the clouds ableness of his own nature by contrasting with it the transithe dust of his feet. He brings light out of darkness, and tory existence of the most splendid of all his works. Like a makes crooked things straight. And he will accomplish his vesture and a garment, they are to change, and to be folded purpose of the universal dominion of righteousness and peace up, but he is the same for ever, his years have no end. among men, through whatever opposition and conflict he This immutability of his character and purposes he addnces must pass to gain the end.
as the reason of all his forbearance towards those who have He reigns in the heart of every redeemed sinner, and will disobeyed his commands. “I am Jehovah, I change not, keep each one, therefore, to the enjoyment of his eternal glory. therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed," and again, “ Í In this intelligence, too, his people rejoice; they have put will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not reon the Lord Jesus Christ, and they stand complete in him. turn to destroy Ephraim, for I am God, and not man." Whatever may be the temptations of sin, and the difficulties The same unchangeable character, is asserted in the New of obedience while he reigns in their hearts, they shall be Testament to be the attribute of God manifest in the flesh. made more than conquerors through his divine power. The “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day and forever.”' world shall be overcome, Satan shall be bruised under their And Jesus says of his own revelation, “heaven and earth feet, self shall be crucified and destroyed, and grace shall shall pass away; but my word shall not pass away.”.
This immutability appertains to all the divine purposes Neither the gospel then, nor any other dispensation from and plans. He is from everlasting to everlasting, One God. God, can make
void or annul this law,-because whatever is He does not change the purposes which he forms; nor is he revealed or commanded by him, becomes from that moment frustrated in the accomplishment of his own designs. a part of his law; and comes to man with the same authority
The connexion of this attribute with our text, will become which has attended all previous revelations. immediately apparent.
They cannot be inconsistent with the law, because God canGod has made successive revelations to men, and has placed not deny himself; he is always the same, and changes not, nor them by these revelations under distinct dispensations of go-can his purposes contradict each other. vernment. Now are not these dispensations contrary the one 2. The gospel is a free offer of salvation to man under the to the other ? and is not the divine immutability compromised condemnation of the law, it was designed as a remedy for exand destroyed in the various declarations which he has thus isting evil, and was intended to restore the transgressor of successively made?
the law to his former situation of security and peace. It This is the important subject or thought which I would makes its gracious proposal of salvation, through the sufferpresent before you at this time.
ings of a divine substitute; it is the annunciation of a Saviour, Is the law against the promises of God? or do we make who has assumed the sinner's place, and rendered for him thó void the law, through faith? To each of these demands the obedience and satisfaction which the divine law required. apostle returns the same answer, “God forbid," and asserts It is not, then, a system which has originated from another the same fact, that the law and the gospel are designed not being than the one who gave man his law, and which was to destroy, but to confirm and establish each other. intended in its operation to set aside that law : but one which
Our text declares, that God was perfectly satisfied with has flowed from the divine lawgiver himself, to restore the that everlasting righteousness which the Messiah has brought violated majesty of his own government, and to provide for in, under the gospel; and that in the acceptance of this right- man that satisfaction to the law, without which he could eousness for man, he would magnify the law, and make it never have been saved. honourable.
The intelligence of the gospel was first revealed to man The honour which the grace of the gospel reflects upon the di- after his transgression, as his all-sufficient remedy. It provivine law is the subject here presented to you.
ded salvation for him, and offers it to him freely as a lost In remarking upon this subject:
creature. But it does not and cannot give him salvation, in I. Our first object must be to recall the distinct and clear opposition to the demands of the law; it first satisfies the law, views which we have already taken of the law and the gos- and makes it perfectly whole, and then freely and fully justipel. And then,
fies and saves the sinner whom it had condemned. II. To consider the assertion of the text, that the righteous- Here then is no opposition, but a perfect unity of action, ness of the gospel magnifies and makes honourable the and mutual agreement: As if a creditor should imprison his law.
debtor for default in payment, and another individual should 1. We must first recall the clear views which we have come forward voluntarily to discharge the claim and set the taken of what the law and gospel are.
prisoner at liberty, the latter could not be said to be opposed 1. The law of God, is simply the revealed will of the on this ground to the former, or in any way to deny or deCreator. It was first made known, when the first creature stroy the legal justice of the claim which he thus discharwas formed. It required in every creature unqualified sub-ged, but both would unite in releasing the man whose debt mission to the Creator's will, whenever and however that had thus been paid; so while the law of God held man in will should be proclaimed. By all the angels in heaven who bondage, as a transgressor of its precepts, and the gospel delight to do their maker's will, it is fully obeyed. It was provides a full discharge of the penalty, and bids the rancommunicated to man at his creation, requiring from him somed soul go and sin no more, it does not on this account simply this entire submission to God, and fixing the trial of show itself opposed to the law's demande. It honours the his obedience upon a sing and comparatively unimportant of the law by satisfying it fully, and in no degree precept. It was revealed anew to the Israelites upon annuls it. Mount Sinai, with many additional particulars, some of The same divine being has given the law as the rule for which were entirely national and local. It is as much binding all his creatures, and the gospel as the hope for fallen man. upon every soul, under the gospel, as it was before Jesus ap- In both these dispensations he is the same, and there is in him peared as the Saviour of men.
no shadow of turning. This law governs throughout the universe. It will govern When he first created man, he placed him under his law, forever. There can be no creature exempted from obedience as he had done all other beings, and when man transgressed to it; nor can its authority ever be annulled. While the the law and sinned against him, and of necessity was conCreator reigns, every created being will be bound to submit demned by the law, then he revealed his gracious purpose to unconditionally to his will, which is his law, however and save him in perfect consistence with the majesty of his own whenever that will shall be published.
law, and provided and offered a righteousness in the Lord JeSo soon as any being disobeys this law, he comes imme- sus, with which he was well pleased, and which would magdiately under condemnation, and is at once a lost and ruined nify the law, and make it honourable. being: He is without protection and without hope. God is II. We now proceed to consider the assertion of the text: turned against him, and none can be on his side.
That the righteousness of the gospel does magnify the law, Thus it was with the angels that sinned. Thus it was and make it honourable. with Adam, and thus it is with every man born into the This part of our subject deserves peculiar consideration. world. None of us are keepers of the law. And therefore In preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus, we offer a free and the whole family of man have come under the curse, and full salvation to those whom the law condemns, and that to every man living is condemned by the divine law, as a trans- be obtained simply by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In gressor against God.
such a system we appear to many to set aside the claims of Let it be further remembered that this law cannot be set the law, and still more so, when we further state that the law aside or annulled. It demands an obedience and satisfaction cannot justify any man; that it is not to be observed with any adequate to its own character, and it will not release from view to obtaining justification by it; that we must not so much condemnation any transgressor who does not produce them. as lean upon it in the slighest degree, and that our placing If no such obedience and satisfaction can be obtained by sin- the smallest dependence upon it will invalidate our whole ners, whether men or angels, no fallen being can be restored interest in the system of the gospel. In these assertions, we or saved.
are supposed to be Antinomians in our principles, and our This is the view which we have taken of the divine law. doctrines are thought to be subversive of moral obligations. It is not the Jewish law, nor the command given to Adam It will be remembered that the apostle Paul was obliged particularly. It is the original, divine will of God, requiring to contend with the very same difficulties, and that his docsimply unqualified submission in his creatures under all the trines were obnoxious to the very same reproach, and against circumstances which he shall see fit to place them.
this reproach he was compelled to vindicate himself in reIt was made known in some precepts to Adam, and in peated instances. others to the Israelites, and in others still by the Lord Jesus. But what is the real ground which we occupy in this matSo far as now revealed, it is contained in the Scriptures, which ter? The you will remember requires perfect obedience are given by inspiration of God. It may be made known in to all its commandments. It denounces a curse against every new precepts, to the creatures of God, throughout eternity: one who shall violate them in the smallest degree. Now it and to whatever labour or duty God shall ever direct,—this is manifest, that every man living has violated them in ten universal law will require unconditional obedience. thousand instances, and is consequently obnoxious to the
heaviest judgments. And yet, in preaching the glad tidings Thus the Lord Jesus honoured the justice of the law, and of the gospel, we say to those who believe in Jesus Christ, its faithful character, in submitting both to obey and to suffer that they have nothing to fear, for there is no condemnation for man, under its requisitions. to them that are in Christ Jesus. Do we in this system of 3. The gospel honours the law in the acknowledgment of preaching set aside the law, or act in contrariety to its estab- guilt which it requires every sinner to make, on whom it beIished principles ?
stows a pardon. The honour which Jesus gave it, is but a This is the point before us. In reply, we say, by no means; part of that which it receives. The gospel offers mercy to we establish, and confirm, and honour the law, to the utmost man in a method which requires him to acknowledge the juspossible extent. We announce a salvation which God has tice of his condemnation under the law, before he can receive provided, and in which he is well pleased; which satisfies it. Every one who asks for pardon, must confess himself a every legal demand, makes the sinner perfectly secure, and, sinner ready to perish. He must not only declare in words, at the same time, infinitely glorifies the majesty and charac- but feel it also deeply in his conscience, that he deserves to ter of God.
be cast into outer darkness, amidst weeping and gnashing of 1. The gospel honours and magnifies the law in the volun- teeth, and if God should avow that he had no pleasure in him, tary obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ.
and should refuse for ever to accept him, it would be just and It would have been honoured by the personal obedience of right. He must go to Christ, as one who feels himself exman, had he continued upright, as it is by the obedience of posed to imminent and awful danger, and cry to him for merthe pure spirits of heaven. In the universal submission to cy, as a cast-away sinking into destruction everlasting. He God, which is there displayed, the cheerfulness with which is to plead nothing for himself, but the full satisfaction which all unite to glorify the divine Creator, and the love and com- the obedience and sufferings of the Lord Jesus have made to munion which is maintained among themselves, the purity the demands of the law, and must found his whole hope upon and glory of the divine law, are unceasingly beheld. Had the perfectly sufficient and honourable offering which was man remained in his first estate, such would have been the thus made. 'He must not desire that the demands of the law character of earth; and here, in all the intercourse of men should be lessened even for his salvation. But while he feels with each other, the perfect law of God would have been the condemned, and acknowledges himself to be condemned, he controlling principle. This obedience would have magnified must still proclaim that the commandment which destroys the law, and displayed its wrath. But the voluntary sub- him is just and good. He must acknowledge, that without mission of God the Son to its commands, has magnified it a righteousness which fully answers the demands of the law, far more highly. He over whom it had no control, and whose he cannot be, and ought not to be, accepted before God. And will constituted the law itself, yielded himself to be command. while he laments his own inability ever to render this righteed by the law, for those who were under its condemnation. ousness, he must plead the merit of his incarnate God, as all His perfect obedience to every precept, is the righteousness his salvation and all his desire. Thus, in the very entrance with which God declares himself well pleased. As man, he on the way of salvation, the gospel provides for the honouring fulfilled every command; from childhood to death he was and magnifying of the law, in the acknowledgments which constituted under the law: he thus wrought out a spotless the sinner makes. It will save none who do not feel and will righteousness, by which the majesty of the law is perfectly not confess this guilt and danger under a previous condemnasustained, while the subjects of its condemnation are released tion. There must be a deep humiliation for sin, and convicand set at liberty.
tion of his lost estate in the sinner's mind, before he can obNow, how can the law be more glorified, or set upon higher tain pardon in Jesus, and receive the gracious blessings which ground, in the view of the intelligent universe, than by this the gospel offers. Where this state of mind is found, and the voluntary humiliation of God himself? With what authority sinner comes to plead the obedience of his Saviour for himand sanction must it have pressed itself home, upon the self, the Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, in the law is magnified and made honourable. No precept has heavenly places, when they beheld such regard paid to it by been set aside, and no principle has been overturned. The the Creator himself! The personal obedience of Jesus hon-sinner acknowledges the justice of God in his condemnation, ours the purity and holiness of the law from its undefiled and while he sues for the exercise of mercy in his forgiveness. spotless character, showing how holy must be that law which And God is consistent with himself, in hearing and answerwas made the rule of such perfection in one who was govern- ing the penitent's supplication. ed by it. The same obedience also honoured the majesty and 4. The gospel honours the law in the new obedience, authority of the law, because it was the voluntary submission through which it leads every one whom it has pardoned. It of a being so elevated and glorious, over whom it could have allows none to sin, because grace abounds; but forgives all had no necessary control.
who seek for pardon, that, as the result of their forgiveness, 2. The gospel honours the law, in the voluntary sufferings they may serve God in newness of life, and walk according of the Lord Jesus Christ.
to his holy will. It is true, the man who has embraced its The righteousness which the law required was not only a offers of pardon does not expect that he shall perfectly obey righteousness of obedience to its precepts, but of satisfaction the commands of God; still less does he expect by any such also for past transgressions. Had the law been violated, and obedience to commend himself to the favour of God. But he the transgression remained unpunished, its authority would has in his heart as a divine gift, the love of holiness, and the have been utterly overthrown; instead of being
magnified and desire for holiness; he approves of the precepts of the law in made honourable, it would have been dishonoured and des- his inner man; he has the law written upon his heart, and the pised. Had the transgressors of the law all been punished, grace of God, which has brought him salvation, teaches him it would have been honoured, and the Creator would have to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, been seen to be a being glorious in holiness and justice. righteously, and godly, in this present world. His whole ef
But it is far more highly magnified, when the mighty God fort and object in regard to himself is, that he may perfect himself consents to bear its penalties, rather than it should be holiness in the fear of God, and walk in all the commanddespised. The sufferings which he sustained were a satis- ments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Thus the law faction to the violated law. They were the wrath of God is magnified and made honourable in his experience and in his against sin. How far they were the same which sinners un-character. He has been made free from guilt, that he may pardoned must sustain for themselves, and how far they were be a servant to holiness, and delivered by the gospel from the only
a full equivalent for their sufferings, we cannot precisely condemnation of the law, that he may obey and honour it in determine.
its precepts; and while he is accepted solely for the righteousThe bodily suffering, the darkness of mind, and the violent ness sake of God his Saviour, his whole life is an exertion to death which the Lord endured, were certainly parts of that be holy as he is holy. express penalty which the law had denounced against trans- Under these four aspects of the work of the Saviour for the gression. While the hatred of God, and the unquenchable sinner, and of the Spirit in the sinner, we see how perfectly despair which are also parts of the sinner's own punishment, united are these two holy systems from God, and that the lawere not found in Christ. This question it is not necessary ter one has established and honoured in a high degree, the one for us to decide. The infinite dignity, and the infinite capacity previously revealed. The views which I have given you of of the Saviour, affixed a worth and an extent to his sufferings, these dispensations in the discourses which have now been which made them an equivalent for man. They answered the bronght to a conclusion, and the outlines of which I have here demands of the law. They made it whole and honourable, recalled, have exhibited this perfect agreement between the and thus opened a way for the salvation of a single sinner, divine revelations, as well as the everlasting benefit which or for all sinners, as one or all should accept the offers of sal- arises from them for man, and the glory which they bring to vation.