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The common objection of cavillers here obr trudes itself, Is not this the dangerous doctrine of salvation by faith only? Would to God that they who thus idly speak would conceive rightly of their guilt, corruption and danger! If they saw. themselves on the brink of everlasting perdition, where they all are by nature, they would no longer think of their works as meriting favor, or purchasing an interest in Christ, but would
cry, Save Lord, or I perish; they would then see that if pardon be not by faith only, they are lost. They suppose we lay stress on faith in contradistinction to other good works, whereas it is only an act of the mind whereby it gives up all hopes founded on itself, and reposes on the mercy of God in Christ. May the sinner after this live as he wiil, or does he wish such a thing? Perish the thought! There is such a word as gratitude in his vocabulary: Knowing why Christ came, it is his business to become more holy from day to day; and for this
purpose the Spirit of God is given him. But we are unwilling to pass the time in answering objections. It is a disgrace to human nature that any should be found quarrelling with that way of salvation which has originated solely in the transcending mercy of God. Yet so it is: how many in the world never understand or believe it is the savor of death unto death to them* Many others there are who have indeed no objections to make, but love sin too well to forsake it for Christ. O think
* 2 Cor. ii, 16.
ROMANS V, 20, 21. Where sin abounded, grace did much more
abound; That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
The subjects which St. Paul treats of in his Epistles are so purely matters of Revelation, and his mode of illustrating and confirming them so much out of the beaten track, that often it requires no common attention to discern his purpose, or to follow where he leads. But in this chapter, his object is evident. Whether we have strength of mind, or not, to comprehend his reasoning, we may take the conclusion to ourselves and thank God: for one more sweet and consolatory, was never yet heard upon our earth. Here let us observe, that inferiority to others in intellect, shall not be any loss to us in eternity: The philosopher reasons about the rain, and finds out the cause of it another cannot reason at all, but shares
in the benefit notwithstanding. In the study of Revelation some are delighted with a series of truths, the order and connection of which, they see and follow; others are contented to be carried in the dark, knowing that they shall alight at last on a place where they are sure of their ground.
In this chapter, a comparison is instituted between the miseries entailed on us by Adam, and the benefits obtained through Christ. It is shewn that as death entered into the world by sin, so it passed upon all men by sin: not their own sin indced, for though there was such a thing as sin in the world from the time of Adam, till the giving of the Law by Moses, it could not be imputed to the sinner while there was no Law: for if there be no rule, there can be no transgression of a rule-nevertheless death reigned all that time, seizing all as it did Adam. Now as death must be a penalty due to sin, of what sin was it the punishment but of Adam's? Correspondent to all this is the salvation by Christ. As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made right
This is St. Paul's own statement of the doctrines of imputed sin, and imputed right
The Law, he adds, was given that the offence might abound-the rule was given that the obliquity of men's actions might appear: but where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound, in order that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might Grace reign through
righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ
Let us First, consider the reign of Sin Secondly, the reign of Grace.
I. From the fall of Adam we must date the commencement of the reign of sin. The instant it was admitted into the world, it assumed sovereignty; and to such a dreadful extent has it succeeded in establishing its empire, that there is not a human being which it does not claim as its subject, from the instant of its birth: nor are its claims disputed. All yield themselves at first quietly to its government; and the greater part are zealous in supporting its cause, when any symptoms of discontent appear in others. This has been the state of things from age to age. Men differ from one another in country and complexion, in civilization, temper and habit: but all have this prominent feature in their character, that they are devoted to sin. The most untutored have learned to do the work of this master; and the most correct have not unlearned it. Men quarrel and fight about forms of government, but they never attempt to dispute the authority of sin. It is absolute despotism, and yet the most high spirited submit without a mur
So firmly is its authority fixed, that while the institutions of men have fallen into decay, and their cities and empires been swept away, sin has not lost its power and strength. Conquerors have risen up and overturned governments: but they never shook the empire of sin. Philosophers have professed to be disaffected—they wrote and gave lectures-they collected followers and made a great shew of doing something for men, of breaking their fetters and setting them at liberty: yet nothing was done: and no wonder, for there is no reason to believe that the sages were warm in the cause. They were more anxious to diminish its influence in the world, than eject it from their own hearts. However wide spreading the dominion of sin may be, its power is as much felt by each individual, as if it were all concentrated against him. A servant stands more in awe of his master than of the king of the country, at least he is more often reminded of his subjection to the one than to the other. Sin therefore, completes its tyranny by seizing, and possessing for its own use, every member of the body, and every faculty of the soul, and making them serve and obey. Many times in the next chapter this is intimated: Ye were the servants of sin; Ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and iniquity, unto iniquity, Again, it appears from the twelfth verse, that sin naturally reigns in our mortal body, and we obey it. It is to little purpose to urge the number of benevolent actions which natural men do, as if in some things they were not under the influence of sin, because it must be recollected that every defect is sin. There is no standard of right and wrong existing, but the Law of God, and that requires perfection. Measured by that rule therefore, imperfection