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text to speak in their favour: and it has been their misfortune to be confirmed in their savage sentiment by the opinion of good St. Augustine, who understood it as authorizing and even requiring the propagation of Christianity, and the suppression of erroneous opinions, by the terrors of the secular power. In answer to this, I might observe, that we often find the word here rendered compel,“ used in such a mild sense, as to signify only a compulsion by argument and entreaty. But it is sufficient to observe, that it is evident Christ never commissioned his apostles, nor did they ever pretend to propagate his religion, like Mahomet, with a sword in their hand, but by dint of evidence, and the power of the Holy Spirit :—and, indeed, no other arms were fit to propagate a rational religion. The terrors of the secular arm may scare men into the profession of a religion, but they have no tendency to enlighten the understanding, or produce a real faith; and therefore they are fitted only to make hypocrites, but can never make one genuine, rational Christian. The weapons of the apostolic warfare, which were so mighty through God, were miracles, reasoning, entreaty, and the love of a crucified Saviour; and these were adapted to the nature of the human mind, to subdue it without violence, and sweetly captivate every thought into obedience to Christ.
These weapons, as far as they may be used in our age, I would try upon you. I would compel you to come in,
So Μatt. xiv. 22, and Mark vi. 45, ηνάγκασεν ο Ιησους τους μαθητές αυτού éußival, Jesus compelled or constrained his disciples to go into a ship. St. Paul, in his reproof to St. Peter, Gal. ii. 14, tells him, “ Why dost thou compel or constrain [avayxášers] the Gentiles to act as do the Jews i" In which places, the word signiffes to compel, not by violence, but by command, persuasion, or example. And in this sense, men are, and ought to be, compelled to embrace the gospel. Thus Tertullian, Qui studerit intelligere, cogetur, et credere.
by considerations so weighty and affecting, that they must prevail, unless reason, gratitude, and every generous principle be entirely lost within you. By the consideration of your own extreme, perishing necessity; by the consideration of the freeness, the fulness, and sufficiency of the blessings offered; by the dread authority, by the mercy and love of the God that made you, and who is your constant Benefactor; by the meekness and gentleness of Christ; by the labours and toils of his life; by the agonies of his death; by his repeated injunctions, and by his melting invitations; by the operation of the Holy Spirit upon your hearts, and by the warnings of your own consciences; by the eternal joys of heaven, and the eternal pains of hell; by these considerations, and by every thing sacred, important, and dear to you, I exhort, I entreat, I charge, I adjure you, I would compel you to come in. Come in, that these rich provisions may not be lost for want of partakers, and that God's house may be completely furnished with guests. As yet there is room; as yet the guests are invited; as yet the door is not shut. The number of those who shall enjoy this great salvation is not yet made up. But, ere long, the ministry of the gospel will be withdrawn, the servants be recalled, and no longer be sent to search for you. The door of heaven will be shut against all the workers of iniquity. Therefore, now is the time to come in.
I shall only urge, as another persuasive, the awful denunciation that concludes my text; I say unto you, none of those men who were bidden, and refused the invitation, shall so much as taste of my supper; that is, none who now refuse to receive the blessings of the gospel, as they are offered, shall ever enjoy any of them; but must consume away a miserable eternity in the want of all that is good and happy.
THE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION, AND THE NATURE AND
CONCERN OF FAITH IN IT.
Rom. 1. 16, 17.-For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. [Or, therein is the righteousness of God by faith revealed to faith.']
HOWEVER little the gospel of Christ is esteemed in the world, it is certainly the most gracious and important dispensation of God towards the sons of men, or else our Bible is mere extravagance and fable; for the Bible speaks of it with the highest encomiums, and the sacred writers are often in transports when they mention it. It is called the gospel of the grace of God, Acts xx. 24; the gospel of salvation, Eph. i. 13; the glorious gospel, or, the gospel of the glory oft Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 4; the gospel of peace, Eph. vi. 15; nay, its very name has something endearing in the sound, [Evaryè dcov,] good tidings, joyful news. It is the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1 Cor. ii. 7; the mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations, Col. i. 26; the ministration of the Spirit, and of righteousness, which far exceeds all former dispensations in glory. 2 Cor. iïi. 8, 9. And it is represented as the only scheme for the salvation of sinners. When the wisdom of the * Doddridge in loc.
Η Ευαγγελίου της δόξης του Χριστού.
world had used its utmost efforts in vain, it pleased God, by the despised preaching of this humble gospel, to save them that believe. 1 Cor. i. 21. In my text it is called “the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, whether Jew or Gentile.” St. Paul, though the humblest man that ever lived, declares he would not be ashamed of professing and preaching the gospel of Christ, even in Rome, the metropolis of the world, the seat of learning, politeness, and grandeur. He represents it as a catholicon, a universal remedy, equally adapted to Jews and Greeks, to the posterity of Abraham, and to the numerous Gentile nations, and equally needed by them all.
Now this must be all extravagance and ostentatious parade, unless there be something peculiarly glorious and endearing in the gospel. It must certainly give the most illustrious display of the divine perfections; it must be the most grand contrivance of infinite wisdom; the most rich and amazing exertion of unbounded goodness; and particularly, it must bear the most favourable aspect upon the guilty sons of men, and be the best, nay, the only scheme for their salvation. And what are the glorious peculiarities, what are the endearing recommendations of this gospel? One of them, in which we are nearly interested, strikes our eyes in my text, “ For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Here let us inquire into the meaning of the expressions, and point out the connection.
The righteousness of God has generally one uniform signification in the writings of St. Paul; and by it he means that righteousness, upon the account of which a sinner is justified; that righteousness for the sake of which his sins are forgiven, and he is restored to the divine favour : in short, it is our only justifying righteousness. It may be called the righteousness of God, to distinguish it from
our own personal righteousness; it is the righteousness of God, a complete, perfect, divine, and God-like righteousness, and not the mean, imperfect, scanty righteousness of sinful, guilty men. So it seems to be taken, Rom. x. 3. “Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God;" where the righteousness of God is directly opposed to, and distinguished from, their own righteousness.
The various descriptions of this righteousness, and of justification by it, which we find in the apostolic writings, may assist us to understand the nature of it; and, there
proper for me to lay them before you in one view. It is frequently called the righteousness of Christ; and it is said to consist in his obedience; by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, Rom. v. 19. Now obedience consists in the strict observance of a law; and, consequently, the obedience of Christ, which is our justifying righteousness, consists in his obedience to the law of God. Hence he is said to be “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Rom. x. 4, 5. To be justified by his righteousness is the same thing as to be justified by his blood, Rom. v. 9; to be reconciled to God by his death, &c., ver. 10. From whence we may learn, that the sufferings of Christ are a principal part of this righteousness; or, that he not only obeyed the precept, but also endured the penalty of the divine law in our stead; and that it is only on this account we can be justified.
This righteousness is called the righteousness of God without the law, Rom. iii. 21; an imputed righteousness without works, Rom. iv. 6. And it is plain, from the whole tenor of this epistle, and that to the Galatians, that the righteousness by which we are justified, is entirely different from our own obedience to the law: and hence