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But this is not all. We discover in this instance an admirable proof of the renewing and restorative character of the Gospel remedy. One of the fundamental doctrines of that Gospel is—that man, as a sinner, must be made the subject of a divine change in his principles and actions, in order to his becoming meet for a future inheritance in heaven : “ Ye must be born again.” That change she experienced. Truly might it be said of her, that she became a new creature ir Christ Jesus.* And thus it will ever be, where, by divine grace, the soul receives Jesus as its only refuge. The love of Christ will constrain-will induce to delight in his will, and to follow in his footsteps. While the dependence of the soul for acceptance in the sight of God is simply and exclusively on the blood and righteousness of the Divine Redeemer, the desire of the heart will be to manifest the sincerity of its love in holiness of life. Such is the natural result of the Holy Spirit's operation. He enforces the claims of " the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world;"—he excites to corresponding emotions—he turns the soul to God-he restores the image of God, which had been defaced by the fall. “ Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
And that which concerns us personally to know is, that the same grace is offered to all, and will be denied to none, who seek it: so that there is not an individual, who, on perusing these pages, may feel that he is a stranger to the power of divine grace,
may not share in the great blessings of which the subject of this narrative was made a partaker. Reader, the promises of God's word are directed to you in all their fulness and faithfulness : “Whatsoever you shall ask the Father," says the Saviour,“ in my name, he will give it you." + The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. I “ For this cause,” the apostle Paul affirms, “ I, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, obtained mercy ; that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."S # 2 Cor. v. 17. to John xvi. 23. # Rom. i. 16.
§ 1 Tim. i. 13, 16.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
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THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“This is the name whereby he (Christ] shall be called, The LORD
OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."-Jeremiah xxiii. 6.
“ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.” This is the conclusion of a long argument, by a man who once cherished totally different sentiments; but was enlightened, by Christ's shining upon him from heaven, not only to see the way
of salvation himself, but “to open the eyes” of others. He, therefore, wrote largely on the method of justification, or acceptance with God; for, in the New Testament, this doctrine takes up more room than any other. This shows, first, the importance of learning this truth (and what can be more important than to answer the question, “ How can man be just with God ?"), by which the redemption of Christ attains its end in our salvation; and next, the difficulty men find in understanding this, since so much instruction and argument shows that we are slow to receive the truth. For, though it is very simple, it is so entirely a discovery from heaven, and so remote from every thing that we should have thought of, that its very simplicity makes us overlook it; and, in spite of all that God has said to the contrary, we are ready to fancy we must do some great thing, to justify ourselves by our goodness in obeying the law. But if God has said so much to teach us the way in which he has chosen to accept us sinners as though we were righteous, we are bound to learn it, and shall be condemned if we reject it for a way of our own; for “where much is given, much is required.”
Let us, then, endeavour to have clear ideas of what we are talking about, when we use the word justification, or to justify, which we so frequently find in Scripture; for this is often confounded with something else, which, though important, and in its place necessary, is a totally different thing; but, being mixed up with the other, is mistaken for it, and so confusion is created and the mind is bewildered. Sanctification, or holiness of heart and life, is the thing that is often confounded with justification. But there is an essential difference between the two; and unless we learn to keep them distinct, we shall never acquire justification: and unless we obtain this first, we shall never obtain sanctification.
Justification is our entire acquittal from all the guilt and condemnation of sin, and the acceptance of our persons, as righteous in God's sight, and entitled to eternal life. The difference between this and sanctification, which consists in making our character and life holy, may be learnt by means of a comparison. Suppose a person to have committed crimes -treason, or murder--and to be lying in the condemned cell under sentence of death: this is one clear, distinct, and fatal cause of ruin, which needs a grand remedy to save him from death. But suppose he has also caught the jail fever, which threatens his life, and has also contracted the spirit, and temper, and habits of thieves and murderers in the jail: this is another cause of ruin and death, from which he needs to be delivered.
Now these two causes of ruin, being very different, require different remedies ; and which should come first ? Would you think a physician should be sent to heal him, and a friend to reform his mind and manners, leaving him under the guilt of his crime, for which, after all, he might be executed ? Would you not say, 'No; if the sovereign intend deliverance for him, a free pardon will be given him at once, that he may have life and liberty, leave the infected jail and its wicked company, and at the same time be put under a course of medicine and instruction, to heal his diseases and cure his character, that he may enjoy and improve the forfeited life which has been so graciously restored. But oh! send him at once a royal pardon, and let him know that he is restored to life and liberty. Now this pardon of the guilt of sin, and restoration to life and liberty, is called justification; which is the first blessing we must receive through Christ, and all other blessings will follow.
Having thus given a general idea of the state of fallen man, and the nature of his justification, let us try to unfold this blessing more fully, and afterwards show the way in which God bestows it on men.
Justification, then, means our acceptance as just in God's sight. This includes blotting out all our former sins-securing us against all future condemnation-giving us a title to eternal life-and, we might add, the very pledge and commencement of a happy life in peace with God.
The pardon of all our sins, which exposed us to eternal death, is the first part of justification; for a man cannot be considered just or right in God's sight, while the guilt of sin, which exposes him to wrath, lies upon his soul. Therefore the apostle says, “ David describeth the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered : blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” In justification, God blots out every sin of heart and life by a free and full pardon; so that we are “ justified by Christ's blood,” because it cleanses from all sin. Oh! happy moment! Oh! blessed is the man whom God justifies freely !
The next blessing is security from future condemnation. If this were not granted, were we forgiven all past sins, we not only might, but should, the next day, nay the next moment, forfeit all the benefit by new sins, which deserve condemnation; and so the blessing would be nullified, by being rendered momentary. But God does not save us by halves : his work is perfect; and therefore the Scripture says, “ There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; they have passed from death to life, and shall never come into condemnation." For though “there is not a just man upon earth that sinneth not,” and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves ;" yet God never condemns those whom he has justified; though he will chasten them for sin, “as a father the child in whom he delighteth."
The next blessing which justification includes is a title to eternal life in heaven. For the apostle, when instructing us on this subject, says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God:" for when God forgives our past sins, which exposed us to eternal death, he does not leave us to acquire, by our own obedience, a right to eternal life; but grants us this freely. Mark how clearly he puts the case—“ The wages of sin is death ;” and then he does not say, as men would have expected, The wages of obedience is eternal life; but, “ The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. vi. 23.) They who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. v. 17.) So, when the guilt of sin is forgiven, and the gates of hell, which yawned to receive us, are closed; the gift of life eternal is granted, and the gates of heaven are opened. The thief on the cross was assured that he should be that day with Christ in Paradise. Oh! happy heirs of heaven! heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ!
At the same moment, reconciliation and peace with God, and hope and joy are granted; but this change in our temper, and