ROMANS, v, 10.

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

ST. PAUL, who, by the way, is by far the most argumentative of all the apostles - and who, from being the most successful of them all, proves that argument is both a legitimate and a powerful weapon in the work of making Christians, sometimes undertakes to reason upon one set of premises, and then to demonstrate, how much more valid and irresistible is the conclusion which he tries to establish, when he is in actual possession of another and more favourable set of premises. in this way a great additional strength is made to accrue to his argument - and the "how much more" with which he finishes, causes it to come with greater power and assurance upon his readers - and it is this which gives him the advantage of what is well known, both in law and in logic, under the phrase of arqumentum a fortiore, or, an argument which affirms a thing to be true in adverse and unpromising circumstances, and therefore far more worthy of being held true in likelier circumstances. It is quite a familiar mode of reasoning in common discourse. If a neighbour be bound to sympathise with the distresses of an unfortunate family, how much more, when that neighbour is a relative. If I obtained an offer of friendship from a man in difficulties, how much more may I count upon it should he now be translated into a state of sufficiency and ease. If in the very heat of our quarrel, and under the discouragement of all my provoking insolence towards him, my enemy forbear the vengeance which he had the power to inflict, how much more, should the quarrel be made up, and I have been long in terms of reconciliation with him, may I feel myself secure from the effects of his indignation.

Such also is the argument of my text. There is one state of matters in which God sets forth a demonstration of friendship to the world; and this is compared with the present and actual state of matters, more favourable tlmn the former, and from which therefore, the friendship of God may be still more surely inferred, and still more firmly confided in. But it will be further seen, that in this short sentence of the apostle, there lies a compound argument which admits of being separated into distinct parts. There is a reference made to a twofold state of matters, which, by being resolved into its two particulars, brings out two accessions of strength to the conclusion of our apostle, which are independent of each other. He, in fact, holds forth a double claim upon our understanding, and we propose to view successively the two particulars of which it is made up.

There is first then a comparison made between one state of matters, and another state of matters which obtain in our earth - and there is at the same time a comparison made between one state of matters, and another state of matters which obtain in heaven - and from each of these there may be educed an argument for strengthening the assurance of every Christian, in that salvation which the gospel has made known to us.
Let us first look then to the two states upon earth; and this may be done either with a reference to this world's history, or it may be done with a reference to the personal history of every one man who is now a believer.

That point of time in the series of general history at which reconciliation was made, was when our Saviour said that it is finished, and gave up the ghost. God may be said to have then become reconciled to the world, in as far as He was ready to enter into agreement with all who drew nigh in the name of this great propitiation. Now think of the state of matters upon earth, previous to the time when reconciliation in this view was entered upon. Think of the strength of that moving principle in the bosom of the Deity, which so inclined Him towards a world then lying in the depths of ungodliness - and from one end to another of it, lifting the cry of rebellion against Him. There was no movement on the part of the world towards God - no returning sense of allegiance towards Him from whom they had revolted so deeply - no abatement of that profligacy which so rioted at large over a wide scene of lawless and thankless and careless abandonment - no mitigation of that foul and audacious insolence by which the throne of Heaven was assailed; and a spectacle so full of offence to the unfallen was held forth, of a whole province in arms against the lawful Monarch of creation. Had the world thrown down its weapons of disobedience - had a contrite and relenting spirit gone previously forth among its generations - had the light which even then glimmered in the veriest wilds of Paganism, just up to the strength and degree of its influence, told aright on the moral sensibilities of the deluded and licentious worshippers - had they, whose conscience was a law unto themselves, just acted and followed on as they might under the guidance of its compunctious visitations - had there been any thing like the forthgoing of a general desire, however faint, towards that unknown Being, the sense and impression of whom were never wholly obliterated - then it might have been less decisive of God's will for reconciliation, that He gave way to these returning demonstrations on the part of His alienated creatures, and reared a pathway of illumination by which sinners may draw nigh unto God.

But for God to have done this very thing, when these sinners were persisting. in the full spirit and determination of their unholy warfare - for Him to have done so, when, instead of any returning loyalty rising up, to Him like the incense of a sweet-smelling savour, the exhalations of idolatry and vice blackened the whole canopy of heaven, and ascended in a smoke of abomination before Him - for Him to have done so at the very time that all flesh had corrupted its ways, and when, either with or without the law of revelation, God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually - in these circumstances of deep and unalleviated provocation, and when God might have eased Him of His adversaries, by sweeping the whole of this moral nuisance away from the face of the universe which it deformed - for such a time to have been a time of love, when majesty seemed to call for some solemn vindication, but mercy could not let us go - Surely, if through such a barrier between God and the guilty, He, in the longings of His desire after them, forced a pathway of reconciliation, He never will turn himself away from any, who, cheered forward by His own entreaties, are walking upon that path. But if, when enemies He Himself found out an approach by which He might beckon them to enter into peace with Him, how much more, when they are so approaching, will He meet them with the light of His countenance, and bless them with the joys of His salvation.

But this argument may be looked to in another way. Instead of fixing our regards upon that point in the general history of the world, when the avenue was struck out between our species and their offended Lawgiver; and through the rent veil of a Saviour's flesh, a free and consecrated way of access was opened for the guiltiest of them all - let a believer in Christ fix his regards upon that passage in his own personal history at which he was drawn in his desires and in his confidence to this great Mediator, and entered upon the grace wherein he now stands, and gave up his evil heart of unbelief, and made his transition out of darkness to the marvellous light of the gospel. Let him compare what he was, when an alien from God, through wicked works of his own, with what he is when a humble but confiding expectant of God's mercy through the righteousness of another. Who translated him into the condition which he now occupies? Who put into his heart the faith of the gospel? Who awakened him from the dormancy and unconcern of nature? Who stirred up that restless but salutary alarm which at length issued in the secure feeling of reconciliation? There was a time of his past life when the whole doctrine of salvation was an offence to him; when its preaching was foolishness to his ears; when its phraseology tired and disgusted him; when, in light and lawless companionship, he put the warnings of religious counsel, and the urgency of menacing sermons away from his bosom - a time when the world was his all, and when he was wholly given over to the idolatry of its pursuits and pleasures and projects of aggrandizement - a time when his heart was unvisited with any permanent seriousness about God, of whom his conscience sometimes reminded him; but whom he soon dismissed from his earnest contemplation - a time when he may have occasionally heard of a judgment; but without one practical movement of his soul towards the task of preparation - a time when the overtures of peace met him on his way; but which he, in the impetuous prosecution of his own objects, utterly disregarded - a time when death plied him with its ever-recurring mementoes; but which he overlooking the short and summary arithmetic of the few little years that lay between him and the last messenger, placed so far on the back ground of his anticipation, that this earth, this passing and perishable earth - formed the scene of all his solieitudes.

Is there none here present who remembers such a time of his bygone history, and with such a character of alienation from God and from His Christ, as we have now given to it? And who, we ask, recalled him from this alienation? By whose guidance was he conducted to that demonstration either of the press or of the pulpit, which awakened him? Who sent that afflictive visitation to his door, which weaned his spirit from the world, and wooed it to the deathless friendships, and the ever-during felicities of heaven? Who made known to him the extent of his guilt, with the overpassing extent of the redemption that is provided for it? It was not he himself who originated the process of his own salvation. God might have abandoned him to his own courses; and said of him, as He has done of many others, " I will let him alone, since he will have it so ;" and given him up to that judicial blindness, under which the vast majority of the world are now sleeping in profoundest lethargy; and withheld altogether that light of the Spirit, which he had done so much to extinguish. But if, instead of all this, God kept by him in the midst of his thankless provocations; and, while he was yet a regardless enemy, made his designs of grace to bear upon him; and, throughout all the mazes of his checkered history, conducted him to the knowledge of Himself as a reconciling God; and so softened his heart with family bereavements, or so tore it from all its worldly dependencies by the disasters of business, or so shook it with frightful agitation by the terrors of the law, or so shone upon it with the light of His free Spirit, as made it glad to escape from the treachery of nature's joys and nature's promises, into a relying faith on the offers and assurances of the gospel

Why, just let him think of the time when God did so much for him - and then think of the impossibility that God will recede from him now; or that He will cease from the prosecution of that work in circumstances of earnest and desirous concurrence on the part of the believer, which He Himself begun in the circumstances either of his torpid unconcern, or of his active and haughty defiance. The God who moved towards him in his days of forgetfulness, will not move away from him in his days of hourly and habitual remembrance; and He who intercepted him in his career of rebellion, will not withdraw from him in his career of new obedience; and He who first knocked at the door of his conscience, and that too in a prayerless and thankless and regardless season of his history, will not - now that he prays in the name of Christ, and now that his heart is set upon salvation, and now that the doctrine of grace forms all his joy and all his dependence;
He who thus found him a distant and exiled rebel, will not abandon him now that his fellowship is with the Father and with the Son.

It is thus, that the believer may shield his misgiving heart from all its despondencies. It is thus, that the argument of the text goes to fortify his faith, and to perfect that which is lacking in it. It is thus that the 'how much more' of the apostle should cause him to abound more and more in the peace and the joy of believing - and should encourage every man who has laid hold on the hope set before us, to steady and confirm his hold stdl more tenaciously than before, so as to keep it fast and sure even unto the end. With a man who knows himself to be a believer, this argument is quite irresistible; and it will go to establish his faith, and to strengthen it, and to settle it, and to make it perfect. But it is possible for a man really to believe, and yet to be in ignorance for a time whether he does so or not; and it is possible for a man to be in earnest about his soul, and yet not to have received that truth which is unto salvation; and it is possible for hinu to be actuated by a strong general desire to be right, and yet to be walking among the elements of uncertainty; and it is possible for him to be looking to that quarter whence the truths of the gospel are offered to his contemplation, and yet not to have attained the distinct or satisfying perception of them - thoroughly engaged in the prosecution of his peace with God - determinedly bent on this object as the highest interest he can possibly aspire after - labouring after a settlement; and, under all the agonies of a fierce internal war, seeking and toiling and praying for his deliverance.

It is at the point of time when faith enters the heart, that reconciliation is entered upon - nor can we say of this man, that he is yet a believer, or, that he has passed from the condition of an enemy to that of a friend. And yet upon him the argument of the text should not be without its efficacy. It is such an argument as may be employed not merely to confirm the faith which already exists, but to help onto its formation that faith which is struggling for an establishment in the heart of an enquirer. It falls, no doubt, with fullest and most satisfying light upon the heart of a conscious believer and yet it may be addressed, and with pertinency too, to men under their first and earliest visitations of seriousness. For give me an acquaintance of whom I know nothing more than that his face is towards Zion - give me one arrested by a sense of guilt and of danger, and merely groping his way to a place of enlargement - give me a soul not in peace, but in perplexity, and in the midst of all those initial difficulties which beset the awakened sinner, ere Christ shall give him light - give me a labouring and heavy-laden sinner, haunted by the reflection, as if by an arrow sticking fast, that the mighty question of his eternity is yet unresolved.

There are many we fear amongst you to whom this tremendous uncertainty gives no concern - but give me one who has newly taken it up, and who, in the minghings of doubt and despondency, has not yet found his way to any consolation; and even with him may it be found, that the same reason which strengthens the hope of an advanced Christian, may well inspire the hope of im who has still his Christianity to find, and thus cast a cheering and a comforting influence on the very infancy of his progress. For if it was in behalf of a careless world that the costly apparatus of redemption was reared - if it was in the full front and audacity of their most determined rebellion that God laid the plan of reconciliation - if it was for the sake of men sunk in the very depths of ungodliness, that He constructed His overtures of peace, and sent forth His Son with them amongst our loathsome and polluted dwelling-places - if, to get at His strayed children, He had thus to find His way through all those elements of impiety and ungodliness, which are most abhorrent to the sanctity of His nature - Think you, that the God who made such an advancing movement towards the men whose faces were utterly away from Him - is this a God who will turn His own face away from the man who is moving towards God, and earnestly seeking after Him if haply he may find Him?

This argument obtains great additional force, when we look to the state of matters in heaven at the time that we upon earth were enemies; and compare it with the state of matters in heaven, now that we are actually reconciled, or are beginning to entertain the offers of reconciliation. Before the work of our redemption, Jesus Christ was in primeval glory; and though a place of mystery to us, it was a place of secure and ineffable enjoyment - insomuch, that the fondest prayer He could utter in the depths of His humiliation, was to be taken hack again to the Ancient of days, and there to be restored to the glory which He had with him before the world was. It was from the heights of celestial security and blessedness that He looked with an eye of pity on our sinful habitations - it was from a scene where beings of a holy nature surrounded Him, and the full homage of the Divinity was rendered to Him, and, in the ecstacics of his fellowship with God the Father, all was peace and purity and excellence - it was from this that He took His voluntary departure, and went out on His errand to seek and to save us. And it was not the parade of an unreal suffering that He had to encounter; but a deep and a dreadful endurance - it was not a triumphant promenade through this lower world, made easy over all its obstacles by the energies of His Godhead; but a conflict of toil and of strenuousness - it was not an egress from heaven on a journey brightened through all its stages by the hope of a smooth and gentle return; but it was such an exile from heaven as made His ascent and His readmittance there the fruit of a hardwon victory.

We have nothing but the facts of revelation to guide or to inform us; and yet from a these we most assuredly gather, that the Saviour, in stepping down from the elevation of His past eternity, incurred a substantial degradation - that when He wrapped Himself in the humanity of our nature, He put on the whole of its infirmities and its sorrows - that, for the joy which He renounced, He became acquainted with grief, and a grief too, commensurate to the whole burden of our world s atonement - that the hidings of His Father's countenance were terrifying to His soul; and when the offended justice of the Godhead was laid upon His person, it required the whole strength of the Godhead to sustain it. What mean the agonies of the garden? What mean the bitter cries and cornplainings of abandonment upon the cross? What mineaneth the prayer that the cup might pass away from Him; and the struggle of a lofty resolution with the agonies of a mighty and unknown distress; and the evident symptoms of a great and toilsome achievement throughout the whole progress of this undertaking angels; and looking down from their eminencies, as on a field of contest, where a great Captain had to put forth the travailling of His strength, and to spoil principalities and powers, and to make a show of them openly? Was there nothing in all this, do you think, but the mockery of a humiliation that was never felt - the mockery of a pain that was never suffered - the mockery of a battle that was never fought?

No, be assured that there was, on that day, a real vindication of God's insulted majesty. On that day there was the real transference of an avenging hand, from the heads of the guilty to the head of the innocent. On that day one man died for the people, and there was an actual laying on of the iniquities of us all. It was a war of strength and of suffering in highest possible aggravation, because the war of elements which were infinite. The wrath which millions should have borne, was all of it discharged. Nor do we estimate aright what we owe of love and obligation to the Saviour, till we believe, that the whole of that fury, which if poured out upon the world, would have served its guilty generations through eternity - that all of it was poured into the cup of expiation. A more adequate sense of this might not only serve to awaken the gratitude which slumbers within us, and is dead - it might also, through the aid of the argument in our text, awaken and assure our confidence. If when we were enemies, Christ ventured on an enterprise so painful - if when loathsome outcasts from the sacred territory of heaven, He left the abode of His Father, and exchanged love, and adoration, and congenial felicity among angels, for the hatred and persecution of men - if when the agonies of the coming vengeance were still before Him, and the dark and dreary vale of suffering had yet to be entered upon, and He had to pass under the infiictions of that sword which the Eternal God awakened against His fellow, and He had still to give Himself up to a death equivalent in the amount of its soreness to the devouring fire, and the everlasting burnings, which but for Him believers would have borne - if, when all this had yet to be travelled through, He nevertheless, in His compassionate longing for the souls of men, went forth upon the errand of winning them to Himself, - let us just look to the state of matters then, and compare it with the state of matters now.

Christ has there ascended on the wings of victory; and He is now sitting at God's right hand, amid all the purchased triumphs of His obedience; and the toil, and the conflict, and the agony, are now over; and from that throne of mediatorship to which He has been exalted, is it His present office to welcome the approaches of all who come, and to save to the uttermost all who put their trust in Him. And is it possible, we would ask, is it possible that He who died to atone, now that He lives, will not live to make intercession for us? Can the love for men which bore Him through a mighty and a painful sacrifice, not be strong enough to carry Him onwards in peace and in triumph to its final consummation? Will He now abandon that work which His own hands have so laboriously reared ? - or leave the cause for which He has already sustained the weight of such an endurance, in the embryo and unfinished state of an abortive undertaking? Will He cast away from Him the spoils of that victory for which He bled; and how can it be imagined for a moment, but by such dark and misgiving hearts as ours, that He whose love for a thankless world carried Him through the heat and the severity of a contest that is now ended, will ever, with the cold and forbidding glance of an altered countenance, spurn an enquiring world away from Him?

The death of a crucified Saviour, when beheld under such a view, is the firm stepping-stone to confidence in a risen Saviour. You may learn from it, that His desire and your salvation are most thoroughly at one. Of His good-will to have you into heaven, He has given the strongest pledge and demonstration, by consecrating, with His own blood, a way of access, through which sinners may draw nigh. And now that, as our forerunner, He is already there - now that He has gone up again to the place from which He arose - now that, to the very place which He left to die, and that, that the barrier to its entrance from our world may be moved away, He has ascended alive and in glory, without another death to endure, for death has no nmore the dominion over Him - will ever He do any thing to close that entrance which it has cost Him so much to open? Will He thus throw away the toil and the travail of His own soul, and reduce to impotency that apparatus of reconciliation which He Himself has reared, and at an expense too, equal to the penance of many millions through eternity? What He died to begin, will He not now live to carry forward; and will not the love which could force a way through the grave to its accomplishments -now that it has reached the summit of triumph and of elevation which He at present occupies, burst forth and around the field of that mighty enterprise, which was begun in deepest suffering, and will end in full and finished glory?

This is a good argument in all the stages of a man's Christianity. Whether he has found, or is only seeking - whether he be in a state of faith, or in a state of enquiry - whether a believer, like Paul and many of the disciples that he was addressing, or an earnest and convinced sinner groping the way of deliverance, and labouring to be at rest - There may be made to emanate from the present circumstances of our Saviour, and the position that He now occupies, an argument either to perpetuate the confidence where it is, or to inspire it where it is not. If when an enemy I was reconciled, and that too by His death - if He laid down His life to remove an obstacle in the way of my salvation, how much more, now that He has taken it up, will He not accomplish that salvation. It is just fulfilling His own desire. It is just prospering forward the very cause that His heart is set upon. It is just following out the faculties which He Himself has opened; and marching onward in glorious procession, to the consummation of those triumphs for which He had to struggle His way through a season of difficulties that are now over. It is thus that the believer reasons himself into a steadier assurance than before; and peace may be made to flow through his heart like a mighty river; and, resting on the foundation of Christ, he comes to feel himself in a sure and wealthy place; and the good- will of the Saviour rises into an undoubted axiom - so as to chase away all his distrust, and cause him to delight himself greatly in the riches of his present grace, and in the brightening certainty of his coming salvation.

And this view of the matter is not only fitted to heighten the confidence that is already formed - but also to originate the confidence that needs to be inspired. It places the herald of salvation on a secure and lofty vantage-ground, it seals and authenticates the offer with which he is entrusted; and with which he may go round among the guiltiest of this world's population. It enables him to say, that for guilt even in the season of its most proud and unrepentant defiance, did Christ give Himself up unto the death; and that to guilt even in this state of hardihood, Christ in prosecution of His own work has commissioned him to go with the overtures of purchased mercy - and should the guilt which has stood its ground against the threatenings of power, feel softened and arrested by pity's preventing call, may the preacher of forgiveness affirm, in His Master's name, that He, who for the chief of sinners bowed Himself down unto the sacrifice, will not now, that He has arisen a Prince and a Saviour, stamp a nullity upon that contest, the triumph of which is awaiting Him; but the bitterness of which has passed away. He will not turn with indifference and distaste from that very fruit which He Himself has fought for. But if for guilt in its full impenitency, He dyed His gar ments, and waded through the arena of contest and of blood - then should the nmost abandoned of her children begin a contrite movement towards Him, it is not He who will either break the prop for which He feels, or quench his infant aspiration. He will look to him as the travail of His own soul, and in him He will be satisfied.

We know not what the measure of the sinfulness is of any who now hears us. But we know, that however foul his depravity, and however deep the crimson dye of his manifold iniquities may be, the measure of the gospel warrant reaches even unto him. It was to make an inroad on the territory of Satan, and reclaim from it a kingdom unto Himself, that Christ died, and we speak to the farthest off in guilt and alienation amongst you - take the overture of peace that is now brought to your door, and you will add to that kingdom which He came to establish, and take away from that kingdom which He came to destroy.
The freeness of this gospel has the honour of Him who liveth and was dead for its guarantee. The security of the sinner and the glory of the Saviour are at one. And, with the spirit of a monarch who had to fight his way to the dominion which was rightfully his own, will He hail the returning allegiance of every rebel, as a new accession to His triumphs, as another trophy to the might and the glory of His great undertaking.

But, amid all this latitude of call and of invitation, let me press upon you that alternative character of the gospel, to which we have often adverted. We have tried to make knoxvn to you, how its encouragements rise the one above the other to him who moves towards it. But it has its corresponding terrors and severities, which also rise the one above the other to him who moves away from it. If the transgressor will not be recalled by the invitation which we have now made known to him, he will be rivetted thereby into deeper and more hopeless condemnation. If the offer of peace be not entertained by him; then, in the very proportion of its largeness and generosity, will the provocation be of his insulting treatment in having rejected it. Out of the mouth of the Son of man there cometh a two-edged sword. There is pardon free as the light of heaven to all who will. There is wrath, accumulated and irretrievable wrath, to all who will not. " Kiss the Son, therefore, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: blessed only are they who put their trust in him."
It is the most delusive of all calculations to put off the acceptance of the gospel, because of its freeness; and because it is free at all times; and because the present you think may be the time of your unconcern and liberty, and some distant future be the time of your return through that door which will still be open for you. The door of Christ's mediatorship is ever open, till death put its unchangeable seal upon your eternity. But the door of your own heart, if you are not receiving Him, is shut at this moment; and every day is it fixing and fastening more closely; and long ere death summon you away, may it at length settle immovably upon its hinges; and the voice of him who standeth without and knocketh, may be unheard by the spiritual ear; and, therefore, you are not made to feel too much, though you feel as earnestly as if now or never was the alternative on which you were suspended. It is not enough, that the word of God, compared to a hammer, be weighty and powerful. The material on which it works must be capable of an impression.

It is not enough, that there be a free and forcible application. There must be a willing subject. You are unwilling now, and therefore it is that conversion does not follow. To-morrow, the probability is, that you will be still more unwilling - and therefore, though the application be the same, the conversion is still at a greater distance away from you. And thus, while the application continues the same, the subject hardens; and a good result is ever becoming more and more unlikely; and thus may it go on till you arrive, upon the bed of your last sickness, at the confines of eternity; and what, we would ask, is the kind of willingness that comes upon you then Willing to escape the pain of hell - this you are now, but yet not willing to be a Christian. Willing that the fire and your bodily sensations be kept at a distance from each other - this you are now, for who of you at present would thrust his hand among the flamesl Willing that the frame of your animal sensibilities shall meet with nothing to wound or to torture it - thiis is willingness of which the lower animals, incapable of religion, are yet as capable as yourself. You will be as willing then for deliverance from material torments as you can be now; but there is a willingness which you want now, and which, in all likelihood will then be still more beyond the reach of your attainment. If the free gospel do not meet with your willingness now to accept and to submit to it, neither may it then. And we know not, my brethren, what has been your experience in death-beds; but sure we are, that both among the agonies of mortal disease, and the terrors of the malefactors cell, Christ may be offered, and the offer be sadly and sullenly put away. The free proclamation is heard without one accompanying charm; and the man who refused to lay hold of it through life, finds that, in the impotency of his expiring grasp, he cannot apprehend it. And oh, if you but knew how often the word of faith may fall from the minister, and the work of faith be left undone upon the dying man - never would you so postpone the purposes of seriousness, or look forward to the last week of your abode upon earth as to the convenient season for winding up the concerns of a neglected eternity.
If you look attentively to the text, you will find, that there is something more than a shade of difference between being reconciled and being saved. Reconciliation is spoken of as an event that has already happened - salvation as an event that is to come. The one event may lead to the other; but there is a real distinction between them. It is true, that the salvation instanced in the preceding verse, is salvation from wrath. But it is the wrath which is incurred by those who have sinned wilfully, after they had come to the knowledge of the truth - " when there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."

Jesus Christ will save us from this by saving us from sin. He who hath reconciled us by His death, will, by His life, accomplish for us this salvation. Reconciliation is not salvation - it is only the portal to it. Justification is not the end of Christ's coming - it is only the means to an ultimate attainment. By His death He pacified the Lawgiver. By His life He purifies the sinner. The one work is finished. The other is not so, but is only going on unto perfection. And this is the secret of that unwillingness which we have already touched upon. There is a willingness that God would lift off from their persons the hand of an avenger. But there is not a willingness that Christ would lay upon their persons the hand of a sanctifier. The motive for Him to apprehend them is to make them holy. But they care not to apprehend that for which they are apprehended. They see not that the use of the new dispensation, is for them to be restored to the image they have lost, and, for this purpose to be purged from their old sins. This is the point on which they are in darkness; "and they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil." They are at all times willing for the reward without the service but they are not willing for the reward and the service together. The willingness for the one they always have. But the willingness for both they never have. They have it not to-day; and it is not the operation of time that will put it in them to-morrow. Nor will disease put it in. Nor will age put it in. Nor will the tokens of death put it in. Nor will the near and terrific view of eternity put it in. It may call out into a livelier sensation than before a willingness for the reward. But it will neither inspire a taste nor a willingness for the service. A distaste for God and godliness, as it was the reigning and paramount principle of his life, so it may be the reigning and paramount principle of his death-bed. As it envenomed every breath which he drew, so it may envenom his last - and the spirit going forth to the God who gave it, with all the enmity that it ever had, God will deal with it as an enemy.
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