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of many millions of men, and must in himself be an equivalent for the whole world.
And with respect to the second point, the discovery of a condition which should provide for the renovation of the sinner's character, one can see that the actual efficacy of this merciful arrangement might be made dependent on the cultivation of a state of mind out of which a new life would certainly grow.
6. Thus looked at hypothetically, it is perceptible that the case is not absolutely intractable ; what is wanted being some one of wisdom and power enough to devise and execute the requisite means. How far this work transcends human wisdom and power we need not say ; but, happily, we know how all these difficulties have been met and overcome in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the doctrine of salvation through faith in his name.
See what he is as a substitute for our guilty race. First, he is “ one chosen out of the people," “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.” Next, he is without spot; the "seed of the woman,” indeed, but, even as to his human nature, “the Son of God.” Then, his life was as perfect as his nature was pure, and his entire obedience without a flaw. While, in the last place, his true divinity gives to his person a glory, and to all his doings and sufferings a value, which surpasses the salvation of a thousand worlds. The substitute is therefore found.
And now for the condition on which his substitution shall be made available, a condition to unite the claims of grace and holiness; to make salvation as free as our lost estate requires, and as purifying as the government of God demands. Behold it in the proclamation of salvation by faith! Now faith in this connection may be explained as an act of acquiescence in, or of submission to, God's method of mercy. It is the simple acceptance of that which is simply given. Salvation cannot be more free. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And the acceptance of God's mercy thus exercised is the first fruit of a state of mind entirely new, and certainly productive of a holy life. If the enemy were not changed to a friend, God's method of mercy never would have been submitted to; and if the enemy is turned to a friend, the fruits of friendship will assuredly follow in their season.
It is in this manner, then, that “Christ is of God made unto us righteousness.” Under a system of government by law, we as transgressors are liable to condemnation ; and our happiness cannot be secured but by our becoming legally righteous, which in our own persons is impossible. God then, in his infinite mercy, places his own Son in our room, to be dealt with as though he had committed our sins, while we shall be dealt with as though we had wrought his righteousness. This arrangement being made, Christ is sent forth into the world; by his obedience unto death he magnifies the law and makes it honourable ; he bears our sins in his own body on the tree, and redeems us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Thus God makes him to be sin (treats him as a sinner) for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God (treated as righteous by God) in him. This righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all and upon all them that believe.*
Let us now endeavour to make some practical improvement of the subject.
1. How necessary it is to the appreciation, and even to the understanding, of Gospel privileges, that we should distinctly feel, and deeply realise, the antecedent misery to which they correspond! What can we know about Christ as our righteousness, unless we know also, and feel too, our condition under the obligation and the curse of the law ? Vague and obscure views on this point have a tendency to vitiate or enfeeble the whole of experimental religion, and in all probability they lie at the root of much of its practical instability. Let the reader ask himself-Do I know and feel my condition as a
* Isaiah xlii. 21; 1 Peter ii. 24 ; Gal. ii. 13; 2 Cor. v. 21; Rom. iii. 22,
creature_under government by law? Do I know and feel my condition as a sinner-under the curse of law? Do I know and feel my need as a breaker of law-not of pardon merely, but of righteousness ?
2. After the view we have taken, how clearly and simply the way of salvation shows itself! If with any fitting anxiety we ask the question, “What must I do to be saved?” we see at once what the reply cannot be. It will not answer our need to say, Pray to God, for he is merciful; for what we want is righteousness. It will not answer our need to say, Improve your morals and attend to your religious duties; for what we want is righteousness. Nothing can answer our need till we see “the righteousness of God,” or God's way of making us righteous; and then there is nothing to be done but to bow to it, and accept it. O sinner, lost and helpless ! behold “the righteousness of God”! In what manner does your heart respond to it? Do you shrink from it in pride, or turn aside in self-righteous confidence? Will you prefer to trust in prayers, in tears, in names, in ceremonies, in deeds of virtue or of charity ? Or with yielding heart do you rather say with an apostle, “What things were gain to me, those I count loss for Christ. "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law but the righteousness which is of God by faith”? (Phil. iii. 7-9).
3. How complete and blessed is the provision which Divine mercy has made for our need! As breakers of law we want a righteousness, and behold, God in adequate compassion has provided one-a righteousness which he himself has devised, which his well-beloved Son has wrought, and which his government in its most solemn transactions will own. How completely, whatever may have been our guilt, are our relations with the Divine government reduced to order and peace! The law, once so angry, demands no more. No longer do we hear thunders of wrath, or charges of transgression. “Who is he that condemneth ? It is God that justifieth” (Rom. viii. 32). In the midst of God's holy universe we stand not charged with sin, for“ Christ is of God made unto us righteousness.”
4. How distinguished is our privilege as believers in Jesus! O! it had been much if, like holy angels, we could have walked in clean garments, in garments which had never received a stain ; but it is more-infinitely more-to be arrayed in the robe of Jesus' righteousness. So bright a garment angels never wore ; and with adoring love should rebellious mortals wear the righteousness of an incarnate God!
5. How lively should be our gratitude! When we look at the love thus shown to us, and try with our poor thoughts to measure it, we soon find that it passeth knowledge ; but, at least, in the little measure in which it can be known, it should be influential. Does not the consideration of it waken our hearts to thankfulness? What are we going to be, to do, for Him who hath redeemed us from the curge of the law, having been made a curse for us ! Alas! our indolence and apathy! shall they not be crucified at his Cross! Shall we accept so vast a gift, and make no return?
" In vain our mortal voices strive
To speak compassion so divira;
Consider too, dear reader, that out of your very possession of righteousness by Christ springs an obligation of great weight to holiness of life. Your submission to God's method of mercy implies that your heart is no longer at enmity with him, but is reconciled at once to him and to his government. Your faith in Christ is be first expression of your reconciled spirit; but, aserredly, it ought not to be, and it cannot be, the last. It cannot stand by itself, but must be the starting point of a new course of holy living. You must not, cannot, resume your former course of rebellion ; you will rather endeavour to be holy, as God is holy. Herein, indeed, will be the critical test of your faith, which is no faith, but a name only, if it do not purify your heart, and regulate your lite. O happy one, to whom "Christ is of God made righteousness,' see to it that you have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but that you perfect holiness in the fear of God !
THE RELATIONS AND DUTIES OF THE CHURCH TO THE
BY THE REV. JAMES MURSELL.
(Continued from our last Number.) . We have already consumed too much church to feel that the duty is his own. time in arguing in support of a claim to Indeed it does appear to us, that one of the the justice and force of which, we are con most essential requisites for the more effivinced, brethren, your hearts and con cient working of our churches, is the arcussciences will at once respond. We proceed ing in the breast of every member of those to indicate, with great simplicity and churches of a vivid, practical, constraining brevity, some of the modes in which, as consciousness of individual responsibility. appears to us, this claim may be met; Suffer us, then, dear friends, in relation to some of the methods which are open to the matter in hand, to urge each one of you, for the promotion of the spiritual you, without waiting for any special apgood of those who meet with you from pointment or direction from the church, Sabbath to Sabbath, but who still remain though careful, of course, to act in harmony strangers to God, and to his love as re with its general spirit and order, to give vealed in Jesus Christ. It is, of course, himself to this work. Look round and see impossible to prescribe specific plans of what good there is for you to do, and then action which shall be found applicable to take the means which appear to you best all cases ; we can only supply a few general adapted to accomplish it. Remember you hints which may assist those who desire to never can in reality, whatever you inay do be useful in this manner to form such plans | in fancy, transfer to any other shoulders of action for themselves.
than your own the obligation which God And, first of all, it seems to us to be of has laid upon you. Reflect that you will much importance that the responsibility in be judged at last, not as a member of this this matter should be felt by each member church or of that, but as an individual serto rest upon himself individually, and not vant of the Redeemer. transferred to the Church in its collective | It is essential, moreover, to your hearty capacity. There is no subterfuge by which engagement in the course of usefulness to our slothful hearts more frequently or more which we invite you, that you vividly realise effectually evade the pressure of personal | the condition of those for whom we would obligation, than by losing the sense of our enlist your solicitudes and your efforts. individuality in the idea of the aggregate However firmly we believe the representabody with which we are associated, -by tions which Scripture gives of the state and viewing ourselves only as parts of a greater destiny of the impenitent, it is hard, with whole. The familiar adage that " what is anything like fulness of conviction, to apply everybody's business is nobody's," is true these general declarations to particular in spiritual as in temporal things. It is cases. It is terrible to think of those whom quite possible to prove to demonstration, we are accustomed to meet in the ordinary that the adoption of such and such a course intercourse of life, and especially of those is the duty of the church, without neces who sit side by side with us in the house sarily leading this or that member of the l of God, as in very deed the enemies of Christ, and standing beneath the impend. | the Sabbath, which has been erased by the ing doom of everlasting woe. The noble | hard friction of worldly associations, might, or amiable qualities which may adorn their under God, have been deepened and rencharacter, and win our affection and esteem, dered permanent, if some solicitous friend increase the difficulty of the realisation. had been near to whisper. the word which And yet such realisation is necessary, if we should recal the truth before it had quite would advance to their help with souls faded from the memory, and bring it back stirred to anxiety in any degree adequate in all its freshness upon the heart. The to the awfulness of the position in which exhortation, moreover, of the preacher they stand ; if the note of warning which often fails to reach any individual conwe uplift is to thrill with a pathos and a science, because it is addressed, at stated power at all proportioned to the reality of seasons, to many ears. The counsel spoken Their peril. Seek, brethren, to have every in private, however else it may be frusillusion dispelled which hides the truth trated, cannot be thus evaded. Even the from your view, and to see things as they more personal admonition uttered by a really are, that your heart may yearn over minister may be warded off by the sugthe wanderers with a pity which shall echo gestion that it is uttered merely in the disthe plaintive and passionate ejaculation of charge of his professional duties. No such the prophet, “O that mine head were insinuation can turn the point of the apwaters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, | peal which falls from your lips. Again, that I might weep day and night for the dear friends, we press the reflection upon slain of the daughter of my people.".
you; the responsibility is your own, is inThere is scarcely any feeling which oper alienable, is one from which you cannot ates more powerfully in holding back the shrink without incurring heavy personal members of churches from such efforts as guilt, and doing serious detriment to the we are recommending, than the vague no cause of Christ. tion that these labours belong to the special And do not satisfy your conscience on function of the ministry, rather than to the this matter, and deem that you have met duty of every professing Christian. This all the requirements of Christian duty, befeeling is not, indeed, often clearly con cause you are engaged in one or other of the fessed to the heart that cherishes it—is not more ordinary provinces of religious effort. placed distinctly and in form before the One person, for example, is a Sundaymind-else its fallacy would be too obvious school teacher, another is employed in the for delusion. But may we not put it to distribution of tracts, while a third acts as you, Christian friends, whether the minister the agent of a society which seeks to supis not practically regarded too much as the ply the wants, and lighten the woes, of the representative, the proxy, in a word, of the poor and the afflicted. And the temptachurch, for the accomplishment of its mis tion is to feel that, in fulfilling the engagesion in the conversion of men ? You sit ment thus undertaken, you are doing all and listen to the appeals which are uttered that can be demanded at your hands. And from the pulpit, and the desire glows yet surely, brethren, this is not so, unless warmly in your breast that those appeals may you can deliberately render a satisfactory be carried by the power of the Spirit to the answer to the inquiry—Is there not more hearers' hearts, and made the means of con that I might do and ought to do, on the vincing them of sin, and leading them to the most sober estimate of my opportunities Saviour. But in how many instances have and obligations ? Let us not be suspected you endeavoured to second those appeals of depreciating either of the modes of useby your own personal labour, by the word fulness to which we have referred. Entered of friendly exhortation addressed in private | upon and carried out as they should be, to any of those whom you know to need it ? | with conscientious and prayerful diligence, Doubtless the public ministry of the word and fervent consecration of spirit, we beis God's chief and chosen instrument for lieve them to be among the mightiest and the achievement of his gracious designs in most beneficent instrumentalities wielded the salvation of men. But it was never by the Churcb. And it is well, we think, intended to supersede the obligation or the that each should select some one field of necessity of private effort. Nay, it needs Christian exertion to the occupancy of such effort to perfect its own efficiency. which he may devote his principal energy Many an impression made upon a pre and attention. All we desire to insist upon viously thoughtless heart by the address of is this, that no such engagement should be suffered to stand instead of a hearty readi- ! ders the attention, is but trifling ; but far ness to respond to the calls of Christian from trifling may be its effect on him who obligation in general, or allowed to lull receives it. It is something, and not a litconscience into compliance with your neg. tle, to have established a medium of interlect of such other opportunities of useful course with those whom you desire to ness as may ever and anon be opened be benefit, to have claimed them as your fore you. It is not, surely, for those whom friends, and to have awakened in their the love of Christ constrains, to say, hearts the response which the proof and “Here, or there, we will set the limit of offer of friendship seldom fails to elicit. It the service we are bound to render to Himis, at least, a first step, a valuable opening who has redeemed us;" but rather, in of the way for further and more direct penitence and humility, to confess, “When efforts as future opportunities may arise. we have done all, we are unprofitable ser Much may be done, too, and especially vants, we have done but that which it was by the younger members of the church, by our duty to do."
cultivating the acquaintance and intimacy As to specific modes of effecting the ob of those of their own age in the congregaject we are commending, our space will tion. Of course we are not counselling the admit only of a few rapid hints, which we youthful Christian to select his chosen commust leave to be expanded and improved panions, the friends of his heart and life, by your own meditation. It may appear a from among the thoughtless and ungodly. small matter to name, in such a connection, Christian prudence and principle will the aecordance of frank and friendly re readily suggest the necessary limitations of cognition to those with whom we are thus our advice. But it is surely lawful and frequently, and amidst such hallowed asso laudable for the disciple of Christ to endeaciations, brought irto contact; and yet we vour to attract the friendship, and win the deem it well worthy of being ranked confidence, of those who are yet undecided amongst our means of doing good. Surely for God, with a view to improve, as opporit ought not to be that those who constantly tunity occurs, the intercourse arising from frequent the same house of prayer should such an association, to the spiritual good of regard each other as strangers, standing the person with whom it is formed. formally aloof from one another, waiting The really solicitous heart, moreover, till some further introduction permits their will be vigilant in seeking, and quick in deintercourse. It is a shame to us that this tecting, the buds of spiritual promise, the state of mutual estrangement so largely indications of anxiety or thoughtfulness, in prevails in our religious assemblies. The | those to whom it desires to do good. The arbitrary prescriptions of etiquette may frequent presence at the prayer-meeting of comport well enough with the constitution one not previously often there; the fixed of worldly society, but, in the name of the attention and the serious mien beneath the freedom and generosity of the Gospel, let preaching of the truth, where such characthem not be suffered to usurp dominion in teristics have not appeared before ;-these, the Church, to freeze into formality the and such as these, are signs which the obcommunion of saints, and to hamper the servant friend will not fail to mark, which movements of Christian benevolence! The he will hail as furnishing the opportunity effort which the cordial shake of the hand he has longed for, and will hasten to imand the word or smile of greeting, at the prove, lest, unfostered and untended, they door of the sanctuary, or in the more casual prove but “ as the morning cloud” and meeting of the week, costs to him who ren- | pass away like “ the early dew.”
(To be concluded in our next Number.)