Слике страница

the spiritual seed of Abraham, and be for ever happy in the enjoyment of the better Canaan; when every earthly inheritance shall be no more found.


That believers are brought by the gospel into so happy a state, s turns af flictions into an occasion of joy. Ch. v. 1-10.



ET us now reflect on the benefits consequent on that faith which has been described, both to Jews and Gentiles. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord 2 Jesus Christ; by whom we have been introduced, by means of

faith, into that state of grace, in which we now stand, and boast 3 in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also glory 4 in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and 5 patience experience, and experience hope; and this hope doth not shame us, because the love of God is poured into our hearts by his Holy Spirit, which is given unto us.—. Now these privileges 6 and hopes are to be traced up to the death of Christ: For when we were yet weak, and unable to deliver ourselves from our guilt and 7 misery, Christ seasonably died in the stead of the ungodly. Now scarcely would one die in the stead of a righteous or just man; if perhaps in the stead of a good man, a benevolent and generous per8 son, one would even dare to die. But God hath recommended his love towards us, in that when we were yet sinners, Christ died 9 in our stead. Therefore much more being now justified by his 10 blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him. For if when we

were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, how much more being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.


With what extasies of holy joy may we justly survey these inestimable privileges, and blessed consequences of having embraced the gospel, and being justified by faith unfeigned! How great a happiness to have peace with God; with that omnipotent Being, who can at pleasure arm all nature against us, or for us! To have access to him by Jesus Christ, and daily converse with him as our Father in heaven! To rejoice in an assured hope of enjoying glory with Christ, in his presence; yea, of enjoying the God of glory: To see all afflictions not only disarmed, but turned into matter of Triumph, while tribulation worketh experience, patience and hope! So may all our tribulations work, and be they ever so severe, they will be reasons for our joy and praise. The pain of them will soon be over; the happy consequences of them will be as lasting as our immortal souls.

Let us endeavour to dilate our hearts, that we may receive the largest effusions of the love of God, to be shed abroad there. The love of God! That plant of paradise, which will spring up into eternal life. And to excite it, let us be daily meditating upon the rich wonders of redeeming love and grace; adoring that seasonable

interposition of divine mercy, that when we were weak and guilty creatures, when we lay for ever helpless under a sentence of everlasting condemnation, that is, when we appeared thus in the eyes of him who beholdeth things which are not as if they were, Christ died for us, and gave a token of his love even for the worst of sinners, which few among the children of men are willing to give, with respect to the most upright and benevolent of their brethren. Since the love of God comes thus recommended, let us cordially embrace it, and awaken all the powers of our souls to a diligent care to secure the happy fruits, that we may not receive the grace of God in vain.— If we do indeed experience in ourselves, not only that there is a foundation laid for our reconciliation, but that we are actually reconciled to God by the death of his Son, our hopes may rise high, that we shall much more obtain consummate salvation by his life. For surely it is infinitely more astonishing, that the Son of God should die to reconcile enemies, than that, having subdued their hearts by his dying love, and received them to friendship as the purchase of his blood, he should employ his recovered life and extensive authority for their protection, and complete salvation.


That the calamities brought by the first Adam on his seed, are gloriously repaired to all who by faith become interested in the second Adam. Ch v. 11, &c.



And not

N these divine principles do we rejoice in tribulation. only so, but we also boast in God, as our covenant God and Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom we have now received the reconciliation, and all the blessings of his friendship. 12 Therefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, [even] so death passed upon all men, unto which (i. e. death) 13 all have sinned. For until the time of giving the Law, as well as after it, sin was in the world, as appeared in the punishment of it 14 by death: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those, infants as well as others, who had not sinned in their own persons, according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who was 15 the figure of him who was to come. Yet the free gift of God under the gospel is not limited as was the offence. For if by the offence of one (viz. Adam) many died, much more hath the grace of God, and the gift which is granted by grace in one man, Jesus Christ, 16 abounded to many. And this in two respects: the gift is not merely as the ruin, by one that sinned: for the sentence of but one offence passed upon us to condernnation; but the gift of grace is

"And" here seems redundant. A. [It renders the sentence complete.] Or model, of the Messiah, in respect to the extent of his actions to all his seed.

17 effectual to justification from many offences*. Morcover, if by one man's offence death reigned by one over all his posterity, they who receive the abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall much more reign in life by one, even Jesus Christt. 18 Therefore as the consequence of one offence extended to all men, to condemnation; so also the consequence of one act of righteousness 19 extended to all men who embrace it, to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of one man many were constituted sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be constituted righteous. 20 But the law made a little or partial entrance, among a


number of mankind, for a few ages, that the offence might the more abound. Yet where sin abounded, grace hath superabounded: 21 that as sin had reigned in death, so grace might reign to eternal life, through righteousness, by Jesus Christ our Lord.


Let us daily remember our relation to God by Christ Jesus, and glory in this relation; saying frequently, "He is indeed our Father. This God, with all his adorable, unfathomable, immutable perfections, is our God: he will be our Guide unto death, and our portion for ever. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. What relation can be so honourable, what can afford such an unfailing spring of perpetual joy!"-Let us honour him in all his dispensations; even those which may appear the most mysterious. In this number we are undoubtedly to reckon his constituting Adam the covenant-head of his posterity, and involving our life or death in him; yea, adjusting the relation so, that our spiritual state should be greatly affected by his conduct, and we should by his transgression become the heirs, not only of death but of moral pollution, and ultimately by virtue of our descent from him, be shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin.

It is a consideration which must carry awe and solemnity, grief and lamentation, throughout all ages, that by one man sin entered into the world, and death made such a progress by the entrance of sin, as to pass upon all men in consequence of that act. O God, how terrible are thy judgments! and yet how rich thy compassion, in appointing the second Adam to repair the ruin and desolations of the first! Yea, more than to repair them; to deliver us from all our most aggravated transgressions, if we believe in him, and receive the gift of righteousness to cause us to reign in life by him! to bring us to a more exalted and secure happiness than Adam himself enjoyed in the day in which he was created, or than Eden, the garden of God, could afford !—Let us adore these super aboundings of divine grace,

* i. e. It not only delivers us from the sentence to which we were liable from our birth on account of Adam's sin, but from the more dreadful one brought on us by our many personal transgressions.

tie. Believers shall be brought by him to a more excellent life than that from which Adam fell, and which they lost in him.

This 18th v. is connected with the 12th, and all the intermediate verses are a parenthesis.

By the Law many things, before indifferent, became criminal, and the guilt of moral offences was aggravated.

and its reign unto eternal life. And let all our knowledge of the law of God, our distress under a sense of having broken it, and being thereby exposed to its condemning sentence, be considered as illustrating the riches of that grace whereby we are saved, and so animate us to returns of the humblest gratitude, and a persevering obedience. Amen.


That the gospel, far from dissolving our obligations to holiness, strongly increases them. Ch. vi. 1-14.



HAT shall we say then concerning the practical inferences to be drawn from this doctrine of justification by faith? Shall 2 we say, Let us continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! we who by profession and the most sacred engagements, are 3 dead to sin, how shall we yet live in it? What, know ye not, that as many of us as have been baptized into the faith of Jesus Christ, 4 have been baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him in baptism into his death, that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in new5 ness of life. For if we are made to grow together in the likeness of his death, so also shall we be in the likeness of his resurrection : 6 as we know this, that our old man, the whole system of our former corrupt dispositions, hath been crucified together with Christ, that so the body of sin might be enervated, that we might no longer 7 be in bondage to sin. For he that is thus dead with Christ, is set 8 at liberty from sin. And we believe, that if we be dead with 9 Christ, we shall also live with him as we know that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death no more reigneth 10 over him. For whereas he died, he died once for all as a sacrifice 11 for sin; and as he liveth, he liveth to God: so do ye also reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus 12 our Lord. Therefore let not sin reign in your mortal bodies, to 13 obey it in its licentious desires; neither present your members to

[ocr errors]

sin, as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members to God, as instru14 ments or weapons* of righteousness to fight his battles." Nor fear the tyranny of your former master; for sin shall not have dominion over you, as you are not under the law, but under grace.


Let our hearts rise with indignation at the thoughts of so ungrateful an abuse of the divine goodness, as to take encouragement from the aboundings of grace to continue in sin. Are not we likewise by profession dead to it? are not we bound by our baptismal vor, as the ancient Christians, to whom Paul addresses himself, were? Or has the use and purpose of baptism been since altered, so as to allow a covenant

*Or which in this sense has a beautiful propriety.

with sin, an agreement with hell, even to those who are listed under the banners of a Saviour? Is Christ then become the minister of sin, or "shall his death lose all its effect, while we profess to honour the solemn memorials of it? Recollecting that we are not under the law, but under grace, let so glorious a dispensation animate us to resolutions proportionably heroic; and may the remembrance of the death of the Son of God, in concurrence with that of his resurrection, engage us to walk in newness of life, if we desire another day to be planted into the likeness of that resurrection, and to rise victorious and triumphant from the grave.

No more let us return under the power of that spiritual death, from which Christ, at the price of his own life, hath delivered us; but let us live to God; solemnly presenting our bodies and our souls to him, to be honoured as the instruments of his service, and employing each of our members, according to its proper office, for his glory. We are alive from the dead, we are raised by a divine power, Let us therefore daily set ourselves, as in the presence of the God of our renewed lives, and account that time lost in which we are not acting from him. Without this, in vain do we know the vital truths of his gospel, in vain do we plead for them, and amuse ourselves with a sanguine hope of bearing the image of Christ in glory, if all these powerful arguments cannot now engage us to bear it in holiness.


The apostle urges on Christians that holiness to which the gospel obliges them. Ch. vi. 15, &c.




HAT then are we to infer? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid! Know ye not, that to whomsoever ye present yourselves as servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey; either of sin to death, 17 or of obedience to righteousness and life? But thanks be to God, that whereas you were once the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from the heart the model of doctrine into which ye were yet delivered, as into a mould, that you might be fashioned into a confor18 mity to it. And being thus made free, from sin, ye are become 19 the servants ef righteousness. I speak as a man, upon the common principles of equity, because of the weakness of your flesh, and the temptations arising from it. As ye have, while ignorant of the gospel, presented your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity of other kinds unto iniquity; so now present your mem20 bers servants of righteousness in order to universal holiness. For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 Consider therefore, what fruit did you then derive from those things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those 22 things is death. But now being set free from sin, and engaged to God as his servants, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the 23 end eternal life. For death is the wages of sin: but eternal life is the gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

« ПретходнаНастави »