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Sermon XXXIV

SERMON XXXIV.

IN WHAT SENSE WE ABE JUSTIFIED BY THE MERITS OF CHRIST.

Rom. iii. 24.—" Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

There are several things affirmed in this text. One is, that the persons referred to—that is, Christians—are justified, or that there is a sense in which they are regarded as righteous. A second is, that this is done freelyBwpedv: that is, that it is not hy purchase or merit on our part, hut that it has on the part of God thefreencss of a gift. A third is, that it is hy the grace of God; that is, that it is regarded as a proof of his favour to be justified. A fourth, is, that this is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, or is in virtue of his merits.

In the previous discourses, I have endeavoured to show that man cannot justify himself, and that he has no claim of merit hefore God; but that there is in the Lord Jesus infinite merit, of such a nature that it may he made available to us. In the prosecution of this general suhject, it is proposed now to illustrate two points:—I. What is meant hy justification in the gospel; and, II. In what way we are justified by the merits of Christ.

I. What is meant by justification in the gospel ? My ohject here is to state what is the exact condition of a man who is justified. In what respect does he differ from what he was hefore ? What change has taken place in reference to him 1 How is he regarded hy his Maker differently from what he was before ? What new relation does he sustain to God, to his law, and to his plan of providential dealings? These, it will be seen, are important questions, which probably every one is disposed to ask who attentively considers this suhject. They are questions, also, on which serious mistakes are sometimes made, as well by those who attempt to explain the suhject, as hy individual Christians in reflecting on this new relation. A few remarks, showing what is not meant, and what is, will make the suhject clear.

(1.) It is not meant that a man who is justified on the gospelplan is justified in a legal sense. What it is to be so justified has been before explained. It is when a man is accused of a crime, and is able to vindicate himself, either by showing that he did not do the act charged on him, or that he had a right to do it. If he can do either of these things, or, which is the same thing, if the charge is not proved against him, he is acquitted by the law, or is held to be righteous in regard to the offence charged. I have endeavoured, in the former discourses, to show that in a legal sense man cannot be justified before God; and whatever may be thought of the argument in the case, it is certain that this is not the kind of justification described in the gospel. It is needful here to remark only, that Christ did not come to aid man in justifying himself in this sense. He did not come to take the part of the sinner against God, and to enable him to make out his cause. He did not come to be his advocate in the sense of assisting him in rebutting the charges made against him; in showing that the charges had been falsely laid; in explaining his conduct so that it might not appear to be wrong; or in offering palliations for admitted criminality. Whatever be the nature of the work which the Lord Jesus came to perform, and however he may aid us in our salvation, it is all done with the concession, on his part, that we are guilty to the full extent which the law charges on us.

(2.) It is not in any proper sense a legal transaction. Justification by the law is known only in one way—by perfect and uniform obedience. The law of God, in conformity with the general principle of law, knows no other mode. It makes no provision for the pardon or justification of those who violate it, any more than a human law does. The plan of justification in the gospel is a departure from the regular process of law ; and whatever inferences may follow from this, either against tho system or in favour of it, the fact is not to be denied. " But now," says the apostle Paul, " the righteousness of God without the law is manifested;" that is, the method of justification in a way different from that known in the law, Rom. iii. 21. All attempts to show that the plan of justification in the gospel is a legal transaction, or is in accordance with legal principles, have been signal failures ; and if there can be no other justification than that which is properly legal, the whole effort to be saved must be given up in despair.

(3.) Nor does it mean that the man who is justified ceases to be ill-deserving or guilty in the proper sense of the word. When a man is justified by law, he is declared to be not guilty or ill-deserving. But it is not so when a man is justified by the gospel. It is expressly said respecting this plan that,God "justifies the ungodly," Rom. iv. 5 : meaning that it is admitted they are ungodly at the time, or that they are personally guilty. The act of justification does not change the nature of the offence, or prove that to be right which is in itself wrong. Crime is what it is in its own nature, and is not modified by the manner in which he who commits it is treated. To pardon a man out of the penitentiary does not prove that the act of burglary or theft for which he was committed was innocent. To forgive a man under the gallows does not prove that he is not ill-deserving for the act of murder. To be led, from any consideration, to treat a man who has injured us as if he had not done it, does not prove that the act was not wrong ; or that he should not regard himself as blameworthy for having done it. Our kind treatment of him will not be likely in any degree to diminish his sense of his criminality; and the act of pardon with which an offender against God is met, when penitent, will not lessen his sense of his own guilt. God never comes in the act of justification to convince him that he has not done wrong, but to save him though it is admitted that he is a great sinner; and the consciousness that he is a sinner will attend him and humble him through life. He will lift up his eyes and his heart with thankfulness that he is a pardoned man; not with pride and self-complacency that he is an innocent man. He will have the spirit of the publican, not of the Pharisee. The publican that went down to his house justified would not go feeling that he was innocent; he would be filled with gratitude that so great a sinner might be forgiven.

(i.) Justification in the gospel does not mean mere pardon. It has been supposed by many that this is all that is denoted hy it. But there are insuperable objections to this opinion. One is, that it is a departure from the common use of language. When a man who has been sentenced to the penitentiary is pardoned before the term of his sentence is expired, we never think of saying that he is justified. The offence is forgiven, and the penalty is remitted; but the use of the word justify in his case would convey a very different idea from the word pardon. Another objection is, that the sacred writers have so carefully and so constantly used the word "justify." If mere pardon or forgiveness were all that is intended, it is difficult to see why another word has been constantly employed, and a word so different in its signification. And another objection is, that mere forgiveness is not all which the case seems to demand. There was required a reinstating in the favour of God; a restoration to forfeited immunities and privileges; and a purpose in regard to future treatment which is not necessarily involved in the word pardon. It may be conceived that, in cases of pardon for high offences, there would be required, in order to meet all the circumstances of the ease, not only a remission of the penalty, but a distinct act restoring to the offender or his family his title, his hereditary honours, and his place in civil relations. The pardon of Lord Bacon would not have restored him at once to the bench, nor the forgiveness of Raleigh to his station in the court of Elizabeth. In the case of a sinner against God, pardon respects mainly the past; justification, the purpose of God in reference to the future. Forgiveness remits past crimes; justification respects the purpose of God to treat the offender as if he had not sinned : and though these may be simultaneous, yet they maybe separated in conception as distinct things. The one forgives the past; the other reinstates the offender in the lost favour of God.

(5.) It is not meant that in the act of justification the merits of the Lord Jesus become so transferred to us that they can be regarded as literally ours, or that his righteousness is in any proper sense our own. This is not true, and cannot be made to be true. Moral character is not capable of being transferred from one individual to another; and however the benefits of what one does may be conveyed to another, it will always be true that the character of an individual is what it is in itself. It will always be true that Christ, and not we, obeyed perfectly the law of God; that Christ, and not his people, died on the cross; and that tho merit of his life and death is strictly his, and not theirs. It will always be true, also, that they violated the law of God, that their characters were sinful, and that they deserved not the mercy of God. No man can really believe that the moral character of one individual can be transferred to another, and no one should charge the Bible with inculcating any such doctrine, either with respect to the effect of Adam's transgression on his posterity, or the righteousness of the Redeemer in the salvation of his people.

(6.) We are prepared now to remark positively, that justification on the gospel-plan denotes a purpose on the part of God to treat a sinner as if he mere righteous. It implies an intention not to punish him for his sins ; not to regard him as any longer under condemnation; not to treat him as an alien, an apostate, and an outcast;—but to regard and treat him iu the future in all his important relations as if he had never sinned. It involves the purpose to shield him from the condemning sentence of the law, and the wrath that shall come upon the guilty; to admit him to the fellowship of unfallen beings; to regard him as entitled to all the privileges of a child of God, as if he had not fallen; to throw around him the regis of the Divine protection and favour to the end of the present life, and then to admit him to immortal life in heaven. These things would have been his if he had not fallen; and these things are now made his in virtue of the merits of the Redeemer. In all his great relations, in all the most permanent and important things that affect him, he is, and is to he, as if he had not sinned. The main evils of the apostacy in his case are arrested, and it is the Divine purpose to regard and to treat him as a child of God.

It is important to remark, that in these statements it is not designed to affirm that in all respects the act of justification places a man in precisely the same situation in which he would have heen if he had not sinned. It is, indeed, designed to teach that in the direct Divine dealings with him he will he regarded and treated as if he were personally righteous. But why, then, it will be asked, does he suffer and die ? Why is he fiot removed to heaven, as Enoch and Elijah were, without seeing death 1 Why does the justified man ever pass through severe bodily trials, like Job or Hezekiah; or experience the evils of poverty and want, like Lazarus; or why is he called to part with beloved children, or to be thrown into prison, or to lie down in the sorrows of the most painful form of death, as thousands have already done, and as the children of God now often do 1

It is necessary to make such exceptions or qualifications as these in explaining the nature of justification. Though justified, man is not in fact treated in this world in all respects as he would have been if he had not sinned. In the life to come he will be. But nothing is plainer than that in the present life things occur in reference to the treatment of those who are justified, which would not have occurred if man had not sinned, and which will not occur in heaven. Poverty, sickness, bereavement, death, and kindred evils, come upon the righteous and the wicked, the saint and the sinner, the man who is justified and the man who is not. These evils are indeed softened and mitigated by religion, and may be among the means by which the justified man is better prepared for heaven; but still they exist as evils, and are to be regarded as among the fruits of sin not removed by the act of justification, and as furnishing the exceptions or qualifications alluded to when it is said that in this life the justified man is not treated in all respects as if he had not sinned. The reasons why the evils of sin are not entirely arrested by the act of justification, and why the believer is not treated in this life in all respects as if he had not sinned, seem to be principally two:—(a) One is, that it is not the nature of religion to arrest or change the operation of physical laws. It will have an indirect and gradual effect in checking some of those laws,but to have made that effect direct and immediate would have required a constant miracle. It is not the design of religion to restoro health or property which has been wasted by dissipation; to check the results of vice in those who have been led astray by evil example, or to stay the effects of a life of guilt on our physical frame. A life of virtue will ultimately do much to accomplish this ; but to do it at once would require the physical power of a miracle. For the same reason, to be justified does not save from temporal death, from death in accordance with the laws of our physical being. No one can doubt that God could have saved us from this, but it would be easy to suggest reasons why it has not been done, (i) Another reason why the act of justification does not secure the same treatment in all respects here as if man had never sinned, is that he who is justified, and who is at heart a true believer, is often in circumstances where he needs the discipline of the hand of God. He is not at once made perfect; and his imperfections, his wanderings, his neglect of duty, his worldliness, often demand the interposition of God for his own good in a way which would neither be necessary nor proper in the case of one who had never sinned. Hence, if the Christian sins, he may be recalled even by stripes. Hence he comes under the regular physical laws of the Divine administration in the world. Hence he is sick or bereaved. Hence, like other men, he may be cut off by the pestilence, may be swallowed up in the promiscuous ruins of an earthquake, or lie down on a bed of long and lingering disease, and die. Here, he is subject to the physical laws of our being, and to the administration of a wise discipline; in the world to come, he will be treated altogether as if he had never sinned. No distinction will be made between him and unfallen beings, nor will there be any such remembrance of his own former guilt as that he shall occupy a less elevated position, or have less ready access to the throne than if he had never been a transgressor.

II. It was proposed, in the second place, to show how justification is accomplished through the merits of Christ,—or how his merits become available to us for this purpose. It is not uncommon to say, in explaining this, that His " righteousness is imputed to us," or that it becomes ours. But as this language, to many minds, does not convey a very definite conception, and as, to other minds, it often conveys erroneous impressions, and seems to bo irreconcileable with the common notions of men about moral character, it is necessary to explain in what sense we become justified by the merits of Christ. Perhaps in doing this, also, it may be shown that so far from being contrary to the common notions of men about what is right and proper, it is in fact but carrying out, on the most elevated scale possible, what is practically occurring every day in the common relations and transactions of life. It is to be observed, then,

(1.) That we are often benefited by what others have done. The meaning is, that what they have done is of the same advantage to us, for certain ends, as if we had done it ourselves. A rase or two taken from familiar transactions will illustrate what is meant, and help to a proper explanation of the subject. Tate the case of a father and a son. The reputation of the one is often a passport or recommendation to the other, of very great value, as he enters on life. The son has as yet no known character, no acquaintance with the world, no credit. The father has all these. He is widely known as a man of virtue; he has an extensive and honoured circle of acquaintance ; he has ample credit in the business in which he is engaged. Now while it is ■true that this character and credit belong to the father as his own, and cannot be literally transferred to the son, it is also true that, for certain purposes, it may be made to answer the same ends for the latter as if it were his own. Unless, by his own misconduct, he shall forfeit the advantage which he might derive from it, it will be a passport to him in starting on his career; it will go before him, preparing many hearts to greet him with kindness; it will obtain for him the confidence of others ; it may be the means of securing for him many a friend and helper when calamities come, even when his father lies in the grave. While it will always be true that all the merit aud the credit appertain to his father, and while, whatever may be his own subsequent worth, he will cherish a deep and abiding impression of that, it is also true that, for certain purposes, he could have derived no higher advantages in the case if the character and the credit had been his own. It would not indeed to all intents and purposes be the same, but there are great and valuable ends in his passage through the world which, could be no better secured if all this had been his own. The influence of his lather's name and character, unless he forfeits the advantage, will attend him far on, perhaps entirely through, the journey of life.

Take another common case. A young man embarks in business without capital. He has acquired already, it may be, a character for industry, talent, aud honesty; but he has no means by which he can commence the enterprise of his life. What he wauts now is credit. If he had that, he would be sure of success. But he has none as yet of his own. He has had no opportunity to make himself known, so as to secure the extensive confidence of his fellow-men. You have had such an opportuni ty, and have reaped its result. To a certain extent, and for certain purposes, you allow him to make use of your name. You endorse his papers, and agree to bo responsible for ,him. Now this to him, in the case referred to, is of just as much value as though the credit attached to your name were his. It will he, in the particular matter referred to, worth as much to him as though he himself had earned all the influence attached to that name, and secured by a long aud upright life the credit which it conveys. There will be indeed, in other respects, important points of difference, but not in the immediate use which he designs to make of the name. He will have a very lively sense of the truth that he himself has not this credit, that he is unknown, and that he is under the deepest obligations to you. He will never so far mistake the matter as to suppose that your moral character is transferred to him, or that he can regard it as in any proper sense his own; but he will consider that it is available for just the purposes for which he wants it. It is all he needs to secure the grand object of his life, and is as good to him as if it were his own.

Further: if we would look over society we should find that this arrangement prevails everywhere, and that we are indebted to it every day. It may be doubted whether we live a single hour, or execute a single plan of life, without being more or less indebted to it. It is an influence diffused around us like the air we breathe, or the sun which shines on our way; or it is like the tissues of the human frame, where each part derives benefits in its functions from the numerous other parts with which it is more or less closely interwoven. It enters into the very texture of society, that we avail ourselves of the toils, the sacrifices, the virtues, and the honoured names of those with whom we are connected. No man acquires a reputation for virtue who does not do much to benefit his children and friends in this way ; and one of the chief stimulants to effort in parents is, that they may place their children on as high vantage-ground as possible when they embark on life. That youth enters on life under great disadvantages who cannot encircle himself with this influence, and who is constrained to " cut his way" to respectability or to wealth alone. As a matter of fact, however, there are few that do this. The name and influence of a father or a friend, a letter of commendation from those who are known and loved, will be a passport to us in distant climes and among strangers; will meet us with its benign influence on the Rhine or the Ganges; will help us when we should otherwise fall into the hands of freebooters in a foreign land, or when we should otherwise sink under poverty and want; or on a distant shore will raise up for us a friend on the bed of death. He enters life under the best auspices who can avail himself most of this, without sacrificing his independence, or being a sycophant or parasite; and he is the most foolish aud ungrateful of mankind who would willingly renounce all this advantage, and choose to weather the storms of life, and make his wav through the world friendless and alone.

(2.) The second remark in explaining the way in which we are justified by the merits of Christ is, that there are two methods by which we avail ourselves of the benefit accruing from the character and virtues of others. The one is, by natural relationship. This occurs in the case of a child, who, as a matter of course, derives advantage from the industry, the character, and the credit of a parent. The other is, by an arrangement made for that end. Instances of this latter kind occur everywhere. The case of an adopted child is one—a case where there is no natural relation, and no natural claim, but where one chooses, for any reasons, that the child of another should be received into his family, and treated as if ha were his own. It occurs not unfrequently in the case of a matrimonial alliance, where the one party makes use of the name and influence and rank of the other, and on that account has a degree of respect to which otherwise there would be no claim. It occurs in the cases already referred to, where the use of a name is conceded. The name of the missionary Schwartz was thus the means of saving from starvation the whole of a British garrison; and many a man owes his subsequent elevation in life to assistance furnished him at the outset. Cases have arisen where the signet or the ring of a prince has been placed in the hand of another, conveying to him, if danger should befall him, all the influence and security which would be possessed by the owner himself; nor is it very uncommon to give a carte blanche to a friend to be filled up at pleasure.

(3.) It only remains now, in view of these illustrations, to make a third remark, in explanation of the way in which we are justified through the merits of Christ. The gospel-plan is, that we are permitted to avail ourselves of his abounding merits, so that wo may be treated as if those merits were our own. It is not that His merits are transferred to us, or that his moral character or righteousness becomes properly ours, or that we cease to deserve punishment, or that an apology is made for our sins, or that Christ takes our part against justice; but that his merits are so ample, his life and death have accomplished so much, and his work has been so meritorious, that we may, by a suitable connexion with him, be regarded and treated as if we were truly righteous before God, so that " God can be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;" just and true, " while he justifies the ungodly."

This connexion between the Saviour and those who are benefited by his merits is not a natural connexion, for no such relation by nature subsists as would entitle any one to be regarded and treated as righteous on his account; but it is a relation which is constituted entirely by faith. The influence of faith in forming it, and in makiug it proper that they who are united to him should bo treated as righteous, will be explained hereafter. It is sufficient now to remark, that the relation which is sustained is one that is formed, not one that exists by nature. It is formed by a personal union of the soul to Christ, and by the gracious concession on his part, in accordance with the Divine arrangement, that we may avail ourselves of his infinite and inexhaustible merits, so that we may be treated as if they were our own. There are two additional thoughts which may be suggested to illustrate this :—

(a) The one is, that his merit is inexhaustible. There is no diminution or exhaustion of the merit of his work by the numbers that avail themselves of it. This makes the plan of redemption wholly different from anything which occurs among men. A man of the widest credit and highest standing may be conceived to allow his name to be so often used by those who have no claim to it, or who turn out to be worthless and abuse his claim, as to exhaust his credit and make his name good for nothing. Not so the Saviour. No numbers that apply exhaust his credit, or diminish at all the merit of that blood by which they are saved. That blood is as efficacious now, and that holy name of our Advocate is as much honoured in heaven now, as when the first sinner was justified, and when the gates of glory were first thrown open to receive a ransomed soul.

(b) The other remark is, that the Lord Jesus becomes the Surety that the universe shall suffer no wrong by our being admitted to heaven. So far as we are concerned, he pledges himself to meet all the claims of the law and of justice upon us. That is, he becomes the Surety, that, under this arrangement, as great good shall result to the universe from our being saved as would be attained by our punishment for ever. By such punishment, nothing would have been gained in regard to the honour of the law, the truth of God, and the interests of justice, which are not secured under the present arrangement by the substituted sorrows of the Son of God in making the atonement. Thus he becomes the " Surety of a better covenant" (Heb. vii. 22), and stands before the universe as the public pledge that no harm is done to any interest of truth and justice by the admission of one who is an acknowledged sinner into heaven; Thus the publican was j ustified; thus Paul, the persecutor and blasphemer, " won Christ and was found in him, not having his own righteousness, which was of the law, but that which was through the faith of Christ" (Phil. iii. 8, 9); and thus multitudes of the profane and the sensual, by believing on Christ, have entered heaven and been blessed. There stands the Great Advocate, not for their sins, but for them , and there stands the security that no injury shall be done by treating even suck sinners for ever as if they were righteous, and that all that law or justice could ask, all that could be secured either by their own personal perfect obedience, or by their enduring the eternal penalty of the law, has been secured by his holy life and meritorious death. When, therefore, they enter heaven, it is not over prostrated law; over an humbled government ; over disregarded threateninga ; by a changeful policy ; or by partiality in the administration; it is because their Great Surety has himself secured the honour of the law, and because in their conscious destitution of merit he has enough for them all. His name is the guarantee to justice and to God; his inexhaustible merits, the reason why they may be treated as if his righteousness were their own.

This is what is properly meant by imputation. The true doctrine implies no transfer of moral character; no infusion of righteousness into the soul; no physical identity between the Redeemer and his people ; no such charging of their sins to him as that he became in any proper sense a sinner, or deserved to be put to death,—nothing but the purpose on the part of God, in virtue of what he has done, to treat those who are themselves guilty as if they were righteous. " By that righteousness being imputed to us," says President Edwards, " is meant no other than this, that the righteousness of Christ is accepted for us, and admitted instead of that perfect inherent righteousness which ought to be in ourselves. Christ's perfect obedience shall be reckoned to our account, so that we shall have the benefit of it, as though we had performed it ourselves." *

I have thus submitted to you some views on perhaps the most important subject of religion. They pertain to that great doctrine which separates Christianity from every other system of religion, and to the answer which Christianity furnishes to the question, asked with so much solicitude in every age, " How shall man be justified with God?" The answer is, that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." It is this doctrine which divides the religion of the gospel from other systems; which makes it what it is; which gives it whatever influence or power it has in speaking peace to the troubled conscience, and bidding the spirit that is captive under sin go free. It is this which will enable man to appear * Works, vol. v. p. 394.

before his final Judge justified, not by any miserable attempt to deny the fact that he is a sinner, to apologize for his errors and follies, and found a claim to favour on such apology, to substitute an external morality for that holiness of heart which the law of God requires, or to present as a ground of acceptance the vain oblation of outward forms.

I have endeavoured also to show, that though this method of justification is entirely peculiar to Christianity, and separates it from all other religious systems, yet that it accords with principles prevailing everywhere in society, and on which men act every day and in every land. It is the embodiment and concentration of these principles, and shows their operation on the highest scale possible. Thus, as already remarked, in matters pertaining to this life, we owe to tbe name, and standing, and credit of others, an introduction to tbe world, facilities for doing business, valued frieuds who may succour us in trouble :—and on substantially the same principles, though on an infinitely higher scale, we owe to the merits of another—the Son of God—an introduction to the Divine favour; the friendship of angelic beings; the peace of pardon; the calmness of the Christian death; a passport to heaven, and tbe crown incorruptible beyond the grave. Whatever of joy or peace, of honour or favour, we shall have in the long ages of eternity, is to be traced to the operation, on the highest scale possible, of this principle—that we may be benefited by the sacrifice and toils, the name and merit, the righteousness and sufferings of Another.

In common affairs we do not disregard or undervalue this. Those who enter on life regard it as a felicitous circumstance in their condition, if they may go forth with such passports and commendations to the esteem of the world. That young man would justly regard himself as destitute of every manly and generous feeling, as well as every principle of self-respect, who should discard and spurn this advantage, and prefer to go forth to the world without the commendation or the patronage of a single friend. We are going to a more important theatre of being than is this narrow world. We shall soon pass beyond its outer bounds, and move through other regions. We are to go up and meet our Maker ; to enter on a mode of existence that shall have no end ; to be associated with orders of beings now to us unknown;— and there are great interests at stake, compared with which all the concerns of earth are trifles. We go to a royal court—the court of heaven—where we have no claim or right to appear. We go up to obtain, if admitted there, the favour of a Being whose law we have violated, and whose displeasure we have incurred. We go where we ran tako no wealth with us; and whore, if we could, it would avail nothing;—where we shall he disrobed of all in a graceful exterior, or in fascinating manners, that may commend us to others here ; and where, if it should accompany us, it would be valueless;—where the namo of a father, or the powerful influence of a friend that might recommend us to the favour of men, would bo of no avail;—where no earthly thing on which we here rely as a passport to others could be a commendation. But there is One in human flesh that dwells there. He once lived among men. He was most holy, and lovely, and pure ; but He died. He rose from tho tomb, and the everlasting gates were opened, and He entered his native skies. To the very interior of the court of heaven, to tho sacred seat of Deity, to the throne itself He has been admitted, and is seated thero. With all that heaven He is familiar, for He ia there at home. With all its streets of gold, with all its far-distant mansions, with all its many departments fitted up for the abodes of tho blessed, He is familiar. His powerful aid He proffers us in our sin and ignorance and helplessness, and assures us of his willingness that we should plead his name, and make mention of his merits as if they were our own, as a reason why we should bo welcome there. In heaven, his plea has never been denied; the claim of his merits has never been dishonoured. Shall we refuse his offer ? Shall we spurn his name ? Shall we turn away from that Friend, and Advocate, and Patron, and go there friendless and alone? Shall we seek to commend ourselves to a holy God by our own doings, and to stand there in our own attempts to vindicate our ways 1 Shall we spurn tho robes of salvation which ho profl■ers, so white, so pure, so full and flowing, and gird ourselves with the rags of our own righteousness?—How you, my hearers, may feel on this point, I know not. But for one, I, who expect to stand soon before that holy throne of Deity, desire to have some better righteousness than any which I have been ablo to work out myself. I wish to have something which I may plead in the place of that which I have failed to render. I would have some better passport to the skies than can bo furnished by my poor prayers and services in the cause of God. I must have some Friend there whose name is all-prevalent, whose petition is never denied, and about acceptance through whose merits thero cannot be the shadow of a doubt.