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by the transgressions of men. They could not explain how the Governor of all could, consistently with his character, pardon sin; but we know he is “just, and the justifier of the ungodly," inasmuch as he gave his own Son to die, the just for the unjust, that he might bring sinners to God.

It is possible there is some one here present who has been for a long time in great disquietude about his sins, and has anxiously inquired, What must I do to be saved? Our reply from this blessed book is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” He asks, “But how shall I for the future please God ? How shall I be kept from those evils which have already overtaken and wounded me, and well nigh slain me?" The answer is, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness :” “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the lowly;" and every humble inquirer after his mercy shall“ find grace to help him in the time of need.” What consolation it is thus to know what God mercifully bestows on the sinful children of men. Reason cannot help us to these discoveries. I love the right exercise of reason ; I delight in the study of God's works in nature; I am thankful for any hour of leisure which I can employ in such pursuits : but I feel that they cannot remove the burden that rests on my conscience as a sinner ; that they cannot help me in the conflict which I have to maintain every day with sin, temptation, and care; that they cannot cheer me in the hour of personal sickness, of relative affliction, of awful bereavement, and certain death: and, therefore, I would embrace the Gospel myself, while I commend to you as the solace of my own mind, and which, I earnestly pray, may be the consolation of yours.

This revelation not only speaks of what God requires, and what he bestows, but of what he designs. To an ordinary observer, the affairs of our world appear to be in a strange state of confusion; one empire rising and another falling; one system superseded by another, and one policy overthrown by another, and one generation following another; opinions, and nations, and generations battering together like the winds and the waves breaking upon the coast in turmoil and confusion. But the Bible teaches us to believe that God rides upon the whirlwind, and directs the storm: it is our mercy to know, that he controls all the contentions of the world, and makes all events to subserve the high purposes of his government. If sin could universally and finally triumph, God would be dethroned in the midst of the universe which he has made ; but we learn from this book, that it is his design, that as sin, with all its attendant miseries, has abounded, grace, with all its varied blessings, shall much more abound. We believe, assuredly believe, that the Christian religion, not as established by designing statesmen—not as administered by surpliced infidels-not as corrupted by mercenary professors; but as received by sincere believers, professed with simplicity, practised with sincerity, adorned by a holy, uniform, humble life, and diffused through all the private relations and public duties of life then we believe, that it shall extend its influence throughout every land, and transform society by its holy energy. It is delightful to realize what Christianity has already effected for mankind, even amidst all the hinderances with which its professed friends have impeded its course. Go back to that period which preceded its commencement, and see what a contrast human society presents now to its state then. And we anticipate the time, when the influence of Christianity shall be felt in every country, and when the world shall find its wretchedness ameliorated by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Christianity has abolished slavery in Europe, and in most of the European colonies, and is still grappling with that monster evil in America, and will continue to contend with it in all the forms it assumes till there shall not be a slave on our earth. Christianity has combated with war and crime, and has mitigated the cruelty of the one, and the magnitude of the other : too often, indeed, has its hallowed cause been made the occasion of war; but as the principles of the Prince of peace are understood and obeyed, men will learn to sing that anthem, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will to men."

Thus, brethren, we believe, therefore, from this holy volume, the word of God, that our heavenly Father designs to roll back the consequences of the curse, to restore the apostate children of men to his own image, and to receive them to an immortal state of blessedness, where “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;” and where “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

It is our duty to show, that the Christian religion is eminently reasonable ; but allow me to say, that I fear the difficulties which men generally urge on this subject, are rather the difficulties of the heart than of the head. I do not wish to indulge an ungenerous suspicion of any who may express their doubts respecting the divine authority of Christianity, nor to express an opinion on the moral conduct of those who oppose themselves to it, which might appear to be censorious. But I have had to meet with men who have urged infidel objections one after the other with plausible anxiety, and who have afterwards confessed to me, that they pleaded those objections to justify their lives and conduct, which were inconsistent with the religion which they opposed. Having had such disclosures made to us, we are warranted to caution you not to make the common-place objections of unbelievers a covert for your sins. Be sure that the simplest way of being reconciled to God is, to break off from wickedness : “Let the wicked man forsake his

way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

But conceiving that there may be those present who sincerely doubt, concerning the authority of the Christian revelation, I would beg them to remember, that this is the greatest subject on which the human mind can be engaged. In a few years what will property, health, honour, or connexions be to you? Nothing; the world passeth away, and the fashion thereof: but this subject will rise in importance when every thing else wastes away; and when friends, property, and prospects fade before your view, on the bed of sickness, and in the hour of death, then it will be seen that revelation alone can supply present support, or open the prospect of a blessed immortality. Let me entreat you, then, to seek after it now, and give its claims a prayerful, honest examination. Look to the Father of spirits, the fountain of life. He giveth grace to them that ask it: may you seek it and enjoy the blessing; and the praise shall be his. Amen.

286

THE CHARACTER DESCRIBED IN THE SEVENTH CHAPTER OF THE

ROMANS.

REV. J. LIEFCHILD,
BARBICAN CHAPEL, NOVEMBER 15, 1836.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my

members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."— ROMANS, vii. 22-25.

The great Christian duty of mortification of sin is but seldom entered into, either in the discussion of the pulpit or the study of the Christian. Yet how plainly are we urged to this. . “Mortify, therefore,” says the apostle, “your members which are upon the earth.” The “members” to be “mortified,” and which are “upon the earth,” are the dispositions and the affections of our corrupt nature, which being excited by, and operated upon, through the members of our bodies, are in a manner identified with them, and called by their name.

These affections and these dispositions are the root operating through the members of the body, and covering them with an evil produce. But the regenerate are the subjects of another root; or, to speak properly, this root in them is to be changed ; a new and vital sap circulates through all branches ; subduing, in a manner, the former produce, and covering them with another of a different kind. This produce is peculiarly of a spiritual character; there is nothing analogous to it in nature, but it is the case with every believer in the Gospel. Therefore you read so frequently in the New Testament of the “old” and the “new” man, of the “outward” and “inward” man, of the “flesh” and the “spirit.” “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die ; but if, through the spirit, ye do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live.” “ Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth.”

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speaks of himself. Those who were early enough to hear the chapter read—which, perhaps, it was important they should have been, to be reminded of its general tenor-may remember how, throughout the chapter, the apostle speaks in his own person, and of himself. “I was alive,” says he, “without the law once; but when the commandment came (with power), sin revived, and I died:” “The good that I would, I do not ; the evil that I would not, that I do :” “I am carnal, sold under sin :” “O) wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?” It is of himself that he speaks, but of himself as the representative of a certain class. He is not speaking here of what was peculiar to him of all individuals of the human race; but of what was peculiar in him in common with them who possessed a similar experience. The question is, To what stage of experience does he allude in reference to religion? There are two adverse opinions upon this point.

It is the opinion of several eminent commentators that he here refers to himself in an unconverted state, and that he is speaking of men in an unconverted state, and under the law, and of those natural notions and approbation which they have of what is good, though quite unable to follow it. They maintain that the language throughout this chapter would not suit any other than an unconverted man, inasmuch as in the conflict stated between sin and the law, sin is represented in every instance as getting the victory. They observe that none but an unconverted person could properly use this language: “ The good that I would I do not; the evil that I would not, that I do:” “ I am carnal (fleshly), sold under sin (its bond-slave):” “ Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” And with regard to the expressions of approbation of the law of God, and “ consenting to it that it is good;" they say that these are sentiments which have been uttered by heathen moralists themselves. They quote the poets, where one says that he had two souls, one that was inclined to good, and another that prevented him from following his intentions. Another exclaims in language often used, “I see the better, and approve it too; but follow the

And a third uses almost the very language of the apostle himself, when, after a strong complaint of this nature, he exclaims, “Who—where is he that shall deliver me?" It is the opinion, therefore, of several eminent commentators that the apostle is here referring to man under the law and in an unconverted state; in which opinion they have been joined by an American divine of great note, whose work is now circulating amongst us.

worse.”

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