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resignation and patience of Isaac, why do we not adore the patience and humility of him, who was “led as a lambto the slaughter, and wholike a sheep dumb before her shearers, opened not his mouth?” Let us rejoice in this view of the infinite love of God, and let us learn to acquire that confidence which the words of the apostle express : that spared not his own Son, but delivered him
up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?"
Thus have we considered the transaction before us, in its reference both to the patriarch himself, and to the Saviour whose death it prefigured. But before we conclude, let us mark the effects of faith as recorded in this history, and also the illustration which it affords of the doctrine of justification.
It is expressly recorded, that “ Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Now we are taught by our church to define justification as the “ being accounted righteous before God.” How, then, or by what means, or for what cause, are we thus accounted? Can our own works be the meritorious cause of our justification ? To him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But where is the man that can claim a reward of God, as a matter of debt and strict equity? If to offend in one point of the law condemns the sinner, then it is impossible that subsequent obedience to that
law in every other point, can ever atone for that transgression.
But the apostle Paul identifies the language of David with this spoken concerning Abraham : “Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven, and whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not sin.” But this reconciliation of the sinner to God, this covering of iniquity, is the effect of the mediation of Christ, and the sacrifice of his death. were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.” “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” This is the precise doctrine of our church in her article: “ We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings.” Faith is not considered as the meritorious cause, but only as the means by which we appropriate to ourselves the blessings of redemption. But it will be said, by thus enforcing the efficacy of faith, we exclude the works of holiness. As meritorious causes of our justification we do exclude them. But what saith the Scripture ? • Faith without works is dead, being alone.” Let us refer to the case of Abraham. St. James asserts, that "faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.” What was the principle upon which his obedience was grounded, if not a principle of faith? What led him to leave his home
and his connexions, to sojourn in a strange land, and to hold fast his hope, during the protracted fulfilment of the promise of a son? What induced him to give up that son when God required the sacrifice ? What nerved his arm to take the knife, to slay the son whom he loved ? Are not these the works of obedience springing from a holy faith? Was the faith of Abraham an active principle, or a mere unprofitable and vain speculation? Ye who deny the efficacy of faith, tell me where are the principles and motives drawn from your resources, that can lead to deeds of such unreserved obedience, or can support under trials of such alarming difficulty ? The feelings of honour, of affection, of generosity, of pride, what are they? Ye who have learned to exercise faith in the Son of God, ye who have submitted to the teaching of God's holy Spirit, and have received that faith as the gift of him who alone can grant it, contemplate what it has effected. In all your conduct, take the faith and obedience of Abraham for your example. In all your trials, let your confidence in God be, like his, unshaken. Trials may arise : the beloved child must be given up; the right hand cut off; the right eye plucked out; but he who demands these sacrifices, if such they can be called, should they stand in the way of our eternal welfare, regards you with kindness, and not with anger ; he has purposes of love, which the result of these trials
will reveal ; like Abraham, you may go up to the mount in difficulty and distress; but it is written, “ The Lord will provide.” Like him, you shall be favoured with more complete views of
your God and your Saviour ; like him you shall return rejoicing in the assurance of the promises of God; and the blessings of his covenant being confirmed by the immutability of an oath, you may have sure confidence and good hope in him, that you shall not lose your inheritance, nor fail of your reward.
THE PARALYTIC HEALED.
MARK ii. 8-11.
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his
spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk ? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
It is impossible to consider the conduct of the Jewish rulers towards our Saviour, without being indignant at their bigotry and hardness of heart. That the miracles which he wrought failed to convince them of the truth of his claims, is not, however, surprising, when we remark, how utterly at variance with their preconceived