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writings, such as this; “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity; I am nothing.' This was the righteousness with which Paul desired to appear before the tribunal of God, when he says that I may be found "not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
I might go on, did time permit, to show why it was that the reformers Calvin and his associates, who were the principal authors of our present Creeds, extracted this doctrine with such infinite labour from the Scriptures, and then maintained it so strenuously. I might show you that it was to oppose what they thought the great error of the church of Rome, the doctrine of supererogation, or the accumulation of a fund of good works if we may so speak, in the Catholic church, by virtue of which they pardoned sins and sold indulgences. The reformers thought, if they could establish the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and of course the worthlessness of good works, their adversaries would be entirely prostrated and the abuse of indulgences would be cut up by the roots. But in opposing one error, we have seen, as it often happens they fell into its opposite and erred as much the other way. "Ye see then, how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”—1 Tim. i. 15.
The subject which is to occupy our attention this evening, is the most important which can engage the mind of man, salvation, deliverance from evil and the attainment of everlasting felicity. This is a theme more interesting, if possible, than those we have hitherto discussed. The topics we have already considered have been connected with the highest and the deepest objects which can be explored by the human mind. We have contemplated the nature and attributes of the eternal One. We have traced him in his works, in his providence, in his revelation, in his purposes. We have looked into his dealings with the human race, in the state of nature, and under the discipline of a supernatural dispensation. We have attempted to investigate the moral nature and constitution of man, as to its endowments, its powers and capacities. We have contemplated the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ, in his nature and office, in the purpose and design of his mission.
We are now to consider the practical bearing of all these subjects upon us, our condition, our prospects, our happiness. In short, we are to consider of what benefit all these things can be to man. We are to consider the subject of salvation, deliverance from present and future evil, and the attainment of present and future felicity. This is a subject which must be deeply interesting to every one who hears me this night. In every bosom now before me there burns an unquenchable thirst for happiness, and an unconquerable aversion to suffering. There is too in each one a strong desire, an expectation of immortality. Existence then is to each of you an endless, an interminable prospect. Your only, your all-absorbing inquiry must be, how this interminable existence is to be passed; in a state of happiness or of suffering.
You have already had experience of both enjoy. ment and suffering. And the necessary result of that experience is, that you desire in future to escape as much suffering, and obtain as much happiness as you can. But the sufferings you have already endured, divide themselves into two kinds, those which were unavoidable, and those which might have been avoided; those which have arisen from natural causes, such as toil, care, bereavement, and those which have arisen from misconduct, feeling, speaking, and acting wrong, contrary to your own convictions of right. These two classes comprehend all the evils we have already felt, or ever can feel. They, of course, are the
only ones we can ever fear. These two classes of evils are still further distinguished by this circumstance, one of them necessarily injures the mind, the soul, the other does not. External and unavoidable evils, such as toil, care, pain, sickness, bereavement, do not injure the mind, they sometimes improve it. When they are over, the mind recovers from them, and is often the better and happier from having experienced them. The other species of evil wrong-doing, is pure, unmixed evil. It injures the mind. It not only destroys happiness, but it pollutes and degrades the soul. Its evil does not cease with the act, nor with its immediate outward effects. When these are over its bad consequences still remain in the soul, a feeling of shame, degradation, self-reproach, and illdesert, and a diminished capacity for happiness, from any source whatever. Among these bad consequences may be enumerated the greater liability to do wrong again, whenever temptation is presented, and thus to involve the soul still further in suffering and guilt. There is this further distinction between them, outward evils must perish with the body, and therefore cease at death; moral evil, wrong doing, produces its effects upon the soul itself, resides in the soul, and of course must go with it wherever it goes and abide with it wherever it abides.
Again, a great amount of outward evil may be brought on, and actually is produced by wrong doing. Much of natural evil is produced by moral
evil. It would be amazing to see, were the whole connection of causes and effects revealed to our view, what a vast proportion of the outward miseries of mankind are brought upon themselves by their own and each other's misconduct.
What a large amount of the poverty under which the multitude of mankind continually groan, is brought upon them by idleness, extravagance and vice, and then what an amount of vice this very poverty reproduces. How many of the diseases and pains of men are induced by intemperance and excess. How much of the social disquiet which afflicts and disturbs society, arises from bad and ill-governed passions, from wrong desires, pursuits, and principles. In short, sin is the great, the radical, the all comprehending evil of this world. Deliver mankind from sin, from its commission and of course from its consequences, and what a glorious world we might have! The whole present condition and future prospects of man would be bright and cheering.
We said that the class of moral evils were avoid. able. They are avoidable because they depend on the will, the voluntary conduct of men. This then is the only salvation of which man is capable, the salvation from moral evil, from sin. Of no other salvation is he capable, because all other evils depend not on his will, or on his conduct. They are for wise and benevolent purposes, the allotment of God. No innocence of life, no virtue of character can save a man from them. “The creature was