Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

in taking upon him our nature, that he might appear a more compassionate instructer, and teach us, not only by his plain and powerful precepts, but by his familiar and blessed example, we are penetrated with emotions of affection and gratitude, like those which the beloved disciple must have felt, when he reclined on the bosom of his Divine Master, and drank in the instructions of his lips.

The law of Christ, as Jehovah our Lawgiver, is thus enforced by the united influence of the sentiments of fear and love. We fear to offend a Lawgiver, who, as JEHOVAH, searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins of the children of men; who penetrates through the darkness of night, and will bring into judgment every secret thing; and who is able to destroy forever both soul and body. The lively emotions of affection prompt us to yield a cheerful and devoted obedience to him, who, the eternal Son, JEHOVAH, yet took upon him our frail and miserable nature, to suffer and to die, that we might live forever.

CHRIST, therefore, becomes the righteousness of his people by subjecting them to a holy and spiritual law; and they, who, through faith, have received him as their Mediator, are bound to acknowledge him as their Lawgiver, and submit to his authority, in order that the dominion of sin may be subdued, and the reign of grace and holiness supremely established in their hearts.

This leads me to consider the third respect in which CHRIST becomes our righteousness

III. As our ALMIGHTY Sanctifier -who impresses on our hearts the obligations of the divine law, and enables us to obey it..

The purpose of our merciful and gracious God in our redemptionwould be but imperfectly answered by releasing us from the guilt of our sins, and subjecting us to a more holy and spiritual law.. Deliverance from the guilt of our sins is the consequence of our earnest desire to be released from their dominion. But this blessed work is hereafter to be accomplished. The holiness and spirituality of the law to which we are subjected would, through the frailty and corruption of our nature, only multiply and aggravate our transgressions, and thus minister to our heavier condemnation. To our final justification, therefore, it is absolutely necessary that provision be made for releasing us from the dominion of sin, and for renovating and changing our hearts, that we may be able to serve God in newness of spirit, and in holiness of life. CHRIST acts not only as Mediator, granting to us forgiveness; as Lawgiver, subjecting us to a law of duty; but as an Almighty Sanctifier, writing this law on our minds, and imbuing us with its holy spirit and virtues. By the operations of that blessed Comforter which he promised, and sent unto his Church, he performs this work of sanctification in the hearts of believers. They are “chosen," saith the apostle, “ unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit.” They are sanctified by the SPIRIT of God.

It is thus, by the agency of the Spirit, that Christ completes his character as our Righteousness;" enlightening our understandings, to discern the purity and excellence of his law; placing our affections upon it, as our supreme good ; inclining our wills to a conformity with its holy precepts; giving us a clean heart and a right spirit; and creating us anew unto good works. The divine image being thus restored to our souls, we become the objects of God's favor, and are prepared for his blissful presence. In infinite mercy he grants this Holy Spirit to our earnest prayers, and to our devout participation of the ordinances of his Church, his mystical body. In the use of these means, his unchanging promise seals to us the influences of bis SPIRIT, so that we abound in every good word and work, in the fruits of righteousness, meekness, and truth. Thus is complete provision made for our release from the bondage of sin, and our being reinstated in all the graces and virtues of the divine image.

It is the divinity of Christ which gives Almighty energy to his agency as our Sanctifier. Redeemed from the bondage of sin, renewed in all holy graces, guided in the way of God's law and in the works of his commandments, by the Almighty agency of “ JEHOVAH our Righteousness," our own perverse and wilful rebellion alone can frustrate our sanctification, and our eternal restoration to the favor of God.

Behold now, my brethren, in what respects Christ may be considered as “the LORD our Righteousness," as our divine Mediator, he makes a perfect atonement for our sins, and grants to us forgiveness, as our divine Lawgiver, he subjects us to his evangelical law, which inculcates universal holiness. As our Almighty Sanctifier, he releases us from the bondage of sin, and grants us grace strictly and universally to obey his holy precepts.

Let us then learn

1. To ascribe our salvation to the free and unmerited grace of God.

JEHOVAH is “our Righteousness." In our fallen state, no arm but his could save us. Our wilful transgressions separated us from the favor of God, and rendered us obnoxious to his justice. Depraved and guilty, we c uld neither make propitiation for the past, nor secure our obedience for the future. So incapable is man, independently of the grace of Jehovah his Righteousness, of any effectual efforts towards his salvation, that his deplorable condition is designated by the emphatic language "dead in trespasses and sins.” Even of the law of God, in its spiritual nature and full extent, unrenewed man is ignorant; for it is an inspired declaration, " The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither indeed can he, because they are spiritually discerned." While he is thus “ alienated from the life of God," and an “enemy to God through wicked works,” it would be folly to suppose that of himself he would break the chains of his bondage, and, renouncing the sins to which, prompted by nature, he is riveted by babit, seek those divine virtues which he has hated and shunned.

No-JEHOVAH alone is our Righteousness. An Almighty Redeemer only could expiate our sins, enlighten us in the knowledge and will of God, and sanctify our corrupt souls. All the means of our justification are the work of a divine power. These gracious means were furnished, not only without any agency of man, but when he was in rebellion against the merciful God, whose purpose it was to save him. “When we were enemies,” saith the apostle, “GOD reconciled us to himself.” Let then "every mouth be stopped, and the whole world confess itself guilty in the sight of God. Let the sinner learn that the first step in his salvation is to humble himself as guilty and helpless, and adoring the unsearchable riches of God's grace, who hath pro

VOL. II.-8

vided the means of his justification, to glory in the “LORD his Righteousness."

2. But while we humbly acknowledge and adore the free grace of God in our salvation, let us remember that there are qualifcations on our part.

The Savior is, indeed, plenteous in redemption; but he dispenses his mercies as Mediator only to those who come unto him. As a Lawgiver, he is infinitely perfect—but he enlightens in the knowledge of that law only the sincere and humble, who seek to know his will. As a Sanctifier, he is Almighty—but he grants his Spirit only in the use of those means which he has enjoined, and the rebellious and obstinate may resist, and quench his holy inspirations. There is salvation in no other but in CHRIST, JEHOVah our Righteousness.

Would we then, my brethren, secure an interest in him, the only and all-sufficient Savior, let us go unto him, confessing our lost and miserable state, and casting ourselves on his infinite mercy and power as our Mediator. Blind as we are, by nature, to the excellence of divine truth, and indisposed to spiritual things, let us seek his illuminations, and submit ourselves to his authority, as our supreme and righteous Lawgiver. Corrupt and depraved as we are in our natural condition, let us implore his renovating grace as our Almighty Sanctifier, and attend on those ordinances of his Church, which are the means of conveying it. Thus let us seek the Savior, and we shall find him full of grace and truth the LORD our Righteousness.

Blessed JEsus-be it unto us according to thy word. Pardon, enlighten, sanctify, and finally save us that through the ages of eternity we may ascribe unto thee, JEHOVAH our Righteousness, with the FATHER and the Holy Ghost, all power, majesty, and dominion, for ever. Amen.

REBELLION AGAINST GOD:

A Sermon

BY THE REV. THOMAS W. COIT,
RECTOR OF CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS.

Isaiah i. 2.-" Hear O heavens! and give ear O earth! for the LORD hath spoken: I have

nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."

REBELLION is defined to be “an open and avowed renunciation of the authority of the government to which one owes allegiance.” It is considered to imply a bitterer hostility than the violence of menaces of any foreign foe, since such a foe may have some equitable grounds for his opposition, and in any case breaks no bond of fealty. A rebel, by the very title which is applied to him, is supposed to resist where he ought to obey, and to injure where he ought to reverence. His crime, therefore, is considered the highest, perhaps, which can be perpetrated, and also the most excuseless.

If rebellion against a human government be thus criminal, by parity of reason, rebellion against the government of Heaven must be even atrocious. Yet the prophet declares, without preface to introduce, or qualification to soften, that the Israelites were rebels against their benignant Maker.

And, my hearers, had he made a similar averment, not with respect to you only, but to all transgressors, of every name and age, I am constrained to believe that his language would be literally true. In other words, I am constrained to believe that all sin partakes of the nature of rebellion. It is freely acknowledged that this is an idea, mortifying, repulsive, and even awful. It is freely acknowledged that the man who can utter it without pain, is destitute of all correct apprehensions concerning his own wants and exposures, and all genuine sympathy for the wants and exposures of his fellow-creatures. It is acknowledged, also, with equal freedom, that he who can utter it with feelings of triumph or denunciation, is actuated by a spirit scarcely less than diabolical.

At the same time it is maintained that, if it be true, it is of great,

« PoprzedniaDalej »