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words, by which we are justified. Plainly it is not a faith which indolently terminates in a belief that Christ died for us; or which intrusively assumes to itself the office of applying to its own needs the justifying grace of the atonement. "It is God that justifieth." All that faith does at the outset, in man's justification, is to receive God's sovereign gift. By our baptism we were grafted into the mystical body of Christ, which is justified through His oblation of Himself: that is, we were accounted righteous in Him-we were justified. By faith we hold fast the gift which we have received; and justifying faith conforms us to the self-sacrifice of Christ. Therefore St. Paul "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."" And this is the meaning of his words, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me:"3 and also of other like passages, where he speaks of our being made partakers of the cross of Christ. Justifying faith, then, is the trust of a willing heart, offered up
1 Rom. viii. 33.
2 Rom. xii. 1.
3 Gal. ii. 20.
in obedience to God: it is His will working in us, knitting us to Himself. Perhaps in no way is the danger of a merely speculative or passive faith more exhibited than in this view; and nothing is more certain than that many, who are far removed from antinomianism in doctrine, and even hold it in abhorrence, are in danger of acquiescing in a merely passive faith: such persons, I mean, as those who live pure lives, but without self-denial; who are of a religious mind, but at peace with the world; who hold correct doctrine, but lives out of all analogy with the realities of the cross. The faith of such persons may be called merely passive; because, while it fails to constrain them to acts of self-oblation, after the example of Christ's living sacrifice, it rests itself upon a knowledge that His dying on the cross was an offering in their behalf. And hence it is we find oftentimes the most strongly expressed reliance on the death of Christian persons of a very unmortified habit of life. Men of a self-indulgent character, who live in ease and softness, taking their fill of the world's good thingsof its wealth, popularity, and honours-who love high places, and delicate society, and refined pleasures, are often heard to speak with a confidence and a self-possession of the justifying power of a faith which would seem to be in no way distin
guishable from a knowledge that Christ died for us, and a self-persuasion that, by an act of their own minds, they apply His death to their own justification. Again; it is a dubious and untrusty faith, (howsoever clear be the knowledge that Christ's death is our atonement), which is reconcileable with an ambitious life, or with a joy at succeeding or being elevated in the world, or with a watchfulness for opportunities and occasions of advancement. It is hard to believe that such men are free from strong choices, and purposes framed according to the bias of their own will, or that they are dead to the world, and partakers of the self-denial of Christ. We have need of much misgiving, when we can bear to be followed, caressed, and listened to by the world from which we are redeemed. Our faith, if we would endure unto the end, must be stern, unyielding, and severe. It must bear the impress of His passion, and make us seek the signs of our justification in the sharper tokens of His cross.
2. The next inference I will draw is this: we may thus learn what is the true point of sight from which to look at all the trials of life. We hear people perpetually lamenting, uttering passionate expressions of grief at visitations which, they say, have come on them unlooked for, and stunned
them by their suddenness: one has lost his possessions, another his health, another his powers of sight or hearing, another "the desire of his eyes," parents, children, husbands, wives, friends; each sorrowing for their own, and all alike viewing their affliction from the narrow point of their own isolated being they seem to be hostile invasions of their peace; mutilations of the integrity of their lot; untimely disruptions of their fondest ties, and the like. Much as we speak of violent deviations of nature from her laws, and of the mysterious agencies of devastating powers; so we talk of the destruction of a fortune, the breaking up of our happiness, the wreck of our hopes. Now all this loose and faithless language arises from our not recognising the great law to which all these are to be referred. It is no more than this: that God is disposing of what has been offered up to Him. in sacrifice as, for instance, when a father or mother bewails the taking away of a child, have they not forgotten that he was not their own? Did they not offer him at the font? Did not God proWhat has He done
mise to receive their oblation? more than take them at their word? They prayed that He would make their child to be His "own child by adoption:" and He has not only heard, but fulfilled their prayer. Have they not perpetually,
since that day, asked for him the kingdom of heaven, even as the mother of Zebedee's children came and besought that her two sons might sit, the one on His right hand, and the other on His left, in His kingdom? and, like them, they knew not what they asked: they were desiring a high blessing, awful in its height; for which, if granted, they may have to go sorrowing because God has heard their prayer, and a sword has pierced through their own soul also. In an especial manner this seems true of the death of infants. They were offered up to Him, and He took them to Himself. So that they be His, who dare lament that He has chosen the place where they shall stand and minister before Him? Little, it may be, the glad mother thought, as she stood beside the font, what she was then doing; little did she forecast what was to come, or read the meaning of her own acts and prayers. And so, likewise, when any true servants of Christ are taken away, what is it but a token of His favourable acceptance of their self-oblation? They have been His from baptism, and He has granted them a long season of tarrying in this outer court of His temple. But now, at length, the time is come; and when we see them "bow the head, and give up the ghost," is it not our slowness of heart that makes even our eyes also to be holden, so as not