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simply in the law character, to which circumstance I shall elsewhere allude.
ILLUSTRATION. We have already seen that St. Paul was under the necessity of giving up all his hope and dependance for justification by the works of the law, the reason of which we may consider as an illustration, in part, of the foregoing subject.
Ist. The law could not reasonably be expected to answer a purpose for which it was not given; and it is evident, that it was not given for the purpose of giving life, or that mankind should obtain justification by it. See Gal. iii. 21. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid : for if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." Rom. iii
. 20. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
2d. If the ministration of the law had been justification and life, it must have taken the ground of the gospel ministration, and rendered the cross vain. See Gal. ï. 21. “ I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Gal. iii. 18. • For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God
it to Abraham bý promise. 3d. As the law entered because of transgression, and that the offence might abound, it worked wrath, and was a ministration of death. Gal. iji. 19. 6 Wherefore then serveth the law ? it was added because of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.". Rom. iv. 14, 15. ".For if they which are of the law be
Heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression.” 2d Cor. ii. 7, 8. 6 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious ?"
4th. From the preceding considerations, it is reasonable that we draw the following conclusion. If the law was a ministration of death, and could not give life, then surely it does not come within its province to deprive us of a life which it had no power to give. Hence the apostle's argument. Gal. iii. 17. “And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."
The righteousness of faith with which the ransomed church of Christ is clothed and justified, is represented by FINE LINEN CLEAN AND WHITE; by WHITE ROBES, clothing of wrought gold, A RAIMENT
See Rev. xix. 8. 6 And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. ii. 5. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” Psalm xlv. 13, 14. “The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle work.” This righteousness of God is the free gift of his grace, and is manifested for
OF NEEDLE WORK.
the justification of the sinner unto life. See Rom. jii. 21, 22, &c. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace," &c.
Where is boasting, then ? It is excluded. By what law ? Of works ? No, but by the law of faith.
PARABLE X. “ Neither do men put new wine into old bottles : else the
bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the boitles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
MAT, ix, 17. With these words did Jesus close his answer to the disciples of John. On this part of his answer we find matter for the following notes:
1st. The disciples of John and the Pharisees standing in the law, or legal righteousness, not being made new by faith in Christ, are represented by old bottles.
2d. That, standing in that character, they were no more fit to receive the spirit of the gospel, than old bottles were to receive new wine.
3d. That, by becoming new creatures by the all renovating power of him who saith, Behold, I make all things new, they might be prepared meet vessels to receive the wine of Christ's kingdom, even the spirit of divine animation which cheereth the heart of God and man.
II.LUSTRATION. The doctrine and necessity of the new birth is rendered plain and evident by the following scriptures. St. John ini. 3. “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Verse 5, “ Jesus answered, verily, verily, 1 say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." That this new birth is a work not of the will nor power of the sinner, but of the spirit of God, is not only seen by the above quotation, but also fully proved by the following: St. John i. 13. “ Which were born, pot of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, por of the will of man, but of God.” Faith, which is the medium through which this grace is communicated and wrought in the soul, is also the gift and work of God. Eph. ii.
“ For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any man should boast.” 2d Thes. i. 11. 6 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” The necessity of the new birth is ackuiowledged by Christian professors in general, but, at the same time, placed on ground which renders it ascribable to the will of the creature, and thereby rendered precarious and uncertain. By so doing, the necessity of the new birth has been used as an argument to prove that mankind, in general, will be forever excluded from the kingdom of God, on the supposition that all men will never be born again. I say on the suPPOSITION, for surely there is no scripture
authority to prove that all men will not be born again.
It would seem more reasonable to argue, from the NECESSITY of the new birth, as follows:
1st. As it is impossible for any one to enter into the kingdom of God except he be born of the water and of the spirit, if it were the will of God that all men should be saved, it must then be his will that all men should be born again,
2d. As has been shown, this being born again is of the will of God, and not of the will of man. Therefore there can be no more uncertainty, as to the event, than there is of the accomplishment of the will of God, which St. Paul says, is, that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.
3d. No reason can be rendered why God should not use all the means which he sees necessary for the accomplishment of his will.
4th. From the foregoing considerations it is reasonable to conclude that the necessity of the new birth ought to be used as evidence to prove its certainty; for if it be a matter of infinite importance, and effectible only by the will of God, to argue that it will not be accomplished, is as unfavorable to the divine character as it is injurious to mankind.