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repentance, and living faith in Christ, could wipe
them all away.
Remember this, and may you derive all the comfort which you need, and which was intended for you, from the sacred and consoling name of JESUS; for he was so called because he should
save his people from their sins.” “And the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost!”
THE BELIEVER's UNION WITH CHRIST.
ROMANS xiv. 7, 8. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
A Few words will be sufficient to explain how these most important christian maxims are connected with the passage in which they occur.
There was a dispute among the Jewish and the Gentile converts about the necessity of observing certain Mosaic ordinances. The Jews who embraced christianity, in general retained so strong a prejudice in favour of those ceremonies which they had been taught to esteem as essential parts of religion, that they could not easily be brought to understand the nature of their christian liberty in this respect, but considered them to be still binding, even upon the disciples of the gospel, whether Gentiles or Jews. In this respect, the Gentiles, on the other hand, not being in this respect under the influence of early habit and education, did not feel any obligation to obey the ceremonial part of the Mosaic law, and resisted the attempt of those who would impose such a burthen upon them, and ridiculed and condemned them for being themselves such slaves to those outward ordinances of an abolished dispensation. St. Paul endeavours to appease this unbecoming and unchristian strife ; and in this chapter (which wholly refers to this subject) he has given us an admirable example of the discretion and moderation which should be used in all religious discussions, more particularly about matters that are not essential to salvation.
St. Paul had no doubt in his own mind, that all those ordinances might now be dispensed with, but he intimates that it is a matter of no importance whether they be observed or not, so long as every man is fully persuaded of the propriety of his own practice, and acts solely with a view to the will of God. On this account he would have neither party despise or condemn the other, but each allow the other to obey their own conscien
tious conviction. He tells them that they are not accountable to one another for their conduct, that Christ is the master of all, and that by his judgment they must stand or fall. And he signifies that in a matter of this kind, when the thing is in itself unimportant, every one must do what he believes to be right; and that it is the acting according to this belief, or contrary to it, that makes the thing lawful or sinful.
You must not however, my brethren, extend this judgment too far. You must not apply it to any of the “great and weightier matters of the law.” You must not suppose that a perverted and misinformed conscience, can sanction or excuse any moral transgressions. The time was when those who killed the followers of Christ, thought they were doing God service; their conscience ought not to have been so ignorant. St. Paul himself preaches this doctrine to you;although he verily “thought with himself that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth; ” when he persecuted the christians, he“ did it ignorantly in unbelief,” and in fact (according to his own account after his conversion) he had always laboured to keep a conscience void of offence; but notwithstanding, he never forgave himself for his wickedness in opposing the gospel. He was “the least of the