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as good as expunged the being that we had formerly; and a strenuous prosecution of that holiness, which should begin with the first moment that we were ushered into our present being, and be perpetuated and make progress toward the perfection of full and ripened immortality.
• Baptized into his death’or regarding ourselves as if like Him we had actually been slain and buried, and like Him brought forth anew and made alive again, before that God who for our sins had swept us beyond the circle of His favoured creation. This would have been had not Christ died; and though He by pouring out His soul for us, has kept us in the favour that else would have been forfeited and that for ever-yet the argument is the same, if prevented from going down into the pit, as if after being cast headlong into it for our sins we had again been extricated therefrom. How shall we whom sin had at that time blotted out from the family of life, now that we are readmitted, again indulge in it? How shall we run counter to those holy antipathies of the divine nature, of the strength and irreconcilableness of which we already in our own persons have had so fell a manifestation? How shall we, rescued from destruction, again welcome to our embraces the destroyer?—or, living anew under the eye of that God who could not endure the presence of sin and so consigned it to the exile of death everlasting, shall we live again in that very course which made our former existence so offensive to Him and so incompatible with the whole spirit and design of His government ? Has He changed His taste or His character? or makes it any difference to the argument, that a Mediator interposed and took upon Himself the whole weight of that avenging arm, which was lifted
for our extermination? Is not the exhibition of God's hatred and hostility to sin just as impressive, that the stroke of jealousy fell upon the head of His own Son, as it would have been, had it fallen on the guilty millions, whom this mighty Captain shielded from the vindictive discharge that else would have overwhelmed us? And whether these billows of wrath have all been broken on the Rock of our Salvation; or first made to pass over us, we had again been summoned from the depth and caused to emerge anew into the sunshine of God's reconciled countenance-does it not equally prove that He, the everlasting enemy of sin, will, in any new economy that He may institute, still evince it to be that hateful thing for which He has no taste, and can have no toleration ?
So much for the application of the phrase ' dead unto sin,' when understood forensically. We trust that however imperfectly we may have illustrated this part of the argument, you have been made to perceive that there is in it the force and the
power of a most impressive consideration; and, whether you have seized
upon it or not, be at least very sure of this—that, such is the fact of the matter, there is no indulgence for sin under the dispensation of the gospel
. It is a restorative dispensation, by which you are alike kept from the penalty of sin and cured of its polluting virulence.
It restores you to the favour of God, but it restores you not to the liberty of sinning; and the argument where
with we would arm and fortify the principles of all who now feel themselves alive in Christ Jesus isshall we continue in that hateful thing which would have brought me to the death, had not my Saviour, for my deliverance and preservation, bowed down His head unto the sacrifice ?
We have already tried to set forth in your hearing the forensic interpretation, that might be given of the phrase "dead unto sin’-dead for sin—not that the sentence was inflicted, but that the sentence was pronounced; and the argument why they should not continue in sin, is as strongly applicable to those who are delivered from a doom that was impending, as to those who are recalled from a doom that was actually executed. There were a most direct force in the consideration should a revived criminal press it upon his moral feelings- , how can I recur to that which is so odious in the sight of my country's government, that I had to suffer a death for it, from which I, by a miracle perhaps of mercy, have been restored? And it ought to be as powerful a consideration with a reprieved criminal, whose sentence has been suspended, and perhaps by the intercession of a Mediator been finally withdrawn. The recurrence to that which brought down the sentence, were just as monstrous a violence done to the whole spirit and object of the administration under which I live, in the one case as in the other; and be assured that there were the very same violence done to the spirit of Heaven's administration should those who are redeemed from death under the economy of the gospel, live in that which had sunk them under so fearful a condemnation. For sin we were ready to die. For sin we would hava died had not Christ interposed, and undergone in His own person that shedding of blood without which remission is impossible. The demonstration given of God's antipathies to the power and existence of sin in His kingdom, is as strong by the falling of the deadly blow upon the head of a Mediator, as if it had fallen direct on the head of those He died for. And shall we from whom the stroke of vengeance has been avertedshall we who are still in life but virtually in a life from the dead-shall we who in Christ may so read what but for Him would have happened to ourselves, as to be baptized into His death and to be planted together in the likeness of it-shall we, kept from falling into the abyss of condemnation, and therefore as good as if summoned again from its depths on the platform of God's favoured and rejoicing family—continue in that hateful thing, which but for Christ would have destroyed us, and of God's abhorrence to which the atoning death of Christ gives so awful and impressive a manifestation?
But while we have thus insisted on the forensic interpretation of the phrase "dead unto sin '—yet let us not forbear to urge the personal sense of it, as implying such a deadness of affection to sin, such an extinction of the old sensibility to its allurements and its pleasures, as that it has ceased from its wonted power of ascendancy over the heart and character of him who was formerly its slave. We think that this sense too was in the mind of the apostle; and that he speedily takes it up in the prosecution of his argument. But we are rather induced to believe, that he starts his argument with the phrase understood forensically—that out of the premises already established he gathers an immediate and very powerful dissuasive against the continuance of the believer in sin-that, without assuming as yet any revolution of desire on his part, he plies him with a question which ought by its moral influence to work such a revolution, and a question too that emanates direct from the truth about which the apóstle had just been previously employed, even that Christ died for us; or, in other words, that we, under a rightful sentence of death, had yet been suffered to live by the transference of the doom upon the person of another. And shall we in these circumstances, persist in doing the very thing that had brought that doom upon us?-a very pertinent question most assuredly at this stage of his reasoning; and a question, which, did it tell with the impression it ought on the heart of a disciple, would lead him to abjure sin; and so from the thought that he was dead unto it forensically, would it conduct him to the reality of being dead unto it actually and habitually and personally.
But you will surely perceive that, to bring about this effect, something more is necessary than merely to address to the corrupt mind of man some new moral suasion that had never been brought to bear
We are not aware that it lies within the influence of any argument, to deaden the appetites of nature for that which is sinful. It is true, that, in consequence of what Christ hath done, a new topic and a new suggestion can be offered to the