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port temper here.” What can elevate and rejoice the soul, if it be unaffected with the highest manifestations of eternal love ? In the death of Christ, the power, wisdom, justice, and mercy of God shine forth in full, unclouded splendour. What language can with due force express the tender and lively emotions which spring up in the Christian's breast, as he silently muses on the delightful subject of redeeming love? O God! what is man, that thou art mindful of him! Thou didst not even spare thine own Son, but freely deliveredst him up for us all. Who am I, that such a price should be paid for my ransom ! “ It was not with silver and gold, and corruptible things, that my soul was redeemed ; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and spot.” Why, blessed and adorable Saviour, didst thou look in compassion on me, a worthless worm, a vile apostate, a hell-deserving rebel! O how is my soul lost in admiration and delight, when I contemplate this mystery! May thy love ever glow in my heart, and thy praise on my tongue! May I wholly live to thee, who hast "died for me!
2. Christ is precious to believers, on account of the sufficiency of his righteousness for their salvation.
When the question is asked, “ How shall a man be justified before God?”. We may answer,
It must either be by personal obedience, or by an interest in the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ. If a man be justified by his personal obedience, that obedience must be a strict and perfect conformity to all the commands of God through the whole course of life. The divine law is the only unerring, inflexible standard of moral rectitude. It extends not merely to actions and words, but takes cognizance of the thoughts and purposes of the heart. Covetousness is idolatry; a wanton look is adultery; and unseasonable anger is murder, in the eye of the law. It makes no allowances or abatement in compliance with the wish of the sinner. “ But he that offendeth in the one point is guilty of all. Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” Who, on this ground, can wait with confidence for the decision of the great Judge? Who can say, I have fulfilled the commands of God in their whole extent, without a single failure ? Paul, by the most conclusive reasoning, demonstrates the vanity of such self-righteous pleas. “That no man is justified by the law in the sightof God, is evident, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” And surely it is a contradiction to say, that the same thing, which convicts us as transgressors, can justify us.
Besides, justification by : personal obedience would make void the whole plan of the Gospel, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. " To him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Rom. iv, 5. But to make it matter of claim, as a debt rather than a free gift, is to open a door for boasting, which is said to be wholly excluded.
We are told, that “ by Christ, all who believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. : The prophet Jeremiah, speaking of the Saviour, to show at once his proper divinity, and the relation in which he stands to us, says, “ This is the name by which he shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness." Can we conceive of a title, or designation, more full of pleasing 'encourage-ment'? “ Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. Isa. xiv, 24, 25. ,
The Scripture method of justification is often called the righteousness of God, to denote its origin, excellency, and sufficiency. " But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets ; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference.” That our acceptance with God is in virtue of an interest in
the adorable Redeemer's merits, is indisputably evident, for, “ As, by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners ; so, by the obedience of one, many are made righteous.” Thus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth : and on this account is esteemed peculiarly precious.
When the prodigal had tasted the bitterness of his folly, what lively transports filled his bosom, at the time he was received back to his father's arms, stripped of his vile raiment, clothed with the best robes, and freely welcomed to a happy feast. This instructive parable may serve to illustrate the state of the penitent returning sinner. When he comes to himself, he is smitten with remorse, and covered with shame. The filthy rags of his own righteousness are at once cast off, and he is invested in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. O how does the believer triumph in the unspeakable honour thus put upon him ! He can adopt as his own the language of the prophet, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me in garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."
The condemned criminal has abundant cause to exult, when his generous sovereign at once grants him a full pardon, and restores him to that favour which his crimes had justly forfeited.
But how much greater reason hath the believer to rejoice, that the sentence of a broken law is cancelled, and the whole weight of that punishment removed, which would have sunk him into endless despair.There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” This privilege may animate us to set all enemies in earth and hell at defiance; and exclaim, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died.” Now, my reader, do you renounce every ground of selfrighteous trust, to stand accepted in the beloved ? Do you earnestly wish and pray to be found at last in him, “not having your own righteousness, but that which is by the faith of Jesus Christ?" How can you sufficiently value and honour Him, whose blood cleanses, and whose righteousness clothes your guilty, perishing soul? To you he is, and ever must be precious.
3. Christ is peculiarly precious to believers on account of the prevalence of his intercession.
In virtue of the exalted Mediator's intercession, we enjoy free access to the throne of grace, and the abiding influence of the Holy Spirit. Aaron, the Jewish high priest, entered once a year, on the great day of atonement, into the Holy of Holies, with the blood of sprinkling. He bore the names of the twelve tribes engraven upon his