ROMANS, v, 15-19.

"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenccs unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

We do feel that there is a considerable difficulty in this short passage; and the following is the only explanation that we are able to give of it. You will observe that in the 14th verse, the effect of Adam's sin in bringing death upon his posterity, is demonstrated by this circumstance that the sentence had full execution, even upon those who had not in their own persons sinned as he did. Death reigned even over them; and it made Adam to be the figure of Christ, that, what the one brought upon mankind by his disobedience, the other by his obedience did away.

But Christ did more than do away the sentence which lay upon mankind, because of the sin of Adam being imputed to them. This and no other sentence was all that could be inflicted on infants, or those who had not sinned actually. But, in addition to the guilt that we have by inheritance, there is also a guilt which all who live a few years in the world incur by practice. The one offence of Adam landed us in guilt; but the many offences of the heart and life of us all, have wofully accumulated that guilt: And we stand in need, not merely of as much grace as might redeem us from the forfeiture that was passed on time whole human family in consequence of the transgression of their first parent, but also of as much new grace as might redeem us front the curse and the condemnation of our own iniquities - as might redeem us not merely from time debt that has been entailed upon us, but from the additional debt that has been incurred by us.

And thus it is, that not as the offence so also is the gift. For the gift by Christ compensates for more evil, than the offence by Adam has entailed. Through that one offence the penalty of death passed upon many - even upon all whom Adam represented. But the grace of God, and the gift which emanated therefrom and was won for us by the one man Jesus Christ, greatly exceeds in its amount the recalment of this penalty front the many whom Christ represented. The condemnation we derive from Adam was passed upon us because of his one offence. The free gift of justification we receive from Christ, not merely reverses that condition of guilt in which Adam has placed us, but that still more aggravated condition of guilt in which we have been placed by the niultitude of our own offences. We obtain not only justification from the guilt of Adam's one offence, but justification from the guilt of our own many offences.

Such was the virulent mischief even of the one offence, that, through it and it alone, even when separated from all actual guilt as in the case of infants, death reigned in the world. There was more grace needed however, than would suffice merely to counteract this virulence - for greatly had it been aggravated by the abundance of actual iniquity among men; and for this there was an abundance, or as it might have been translated, a surplus of grace provided, so that while the effect of Adam' s single offence was to make death reign, greatly must the power of the restorative administered by the second Adam, exceed the malignity of the sin that has been transmitted to us by the first Adam - inasmuch as it heals not merely the hereditary, but all the superinduced diseases of our spiritual constitution; and causes those over whom death reigned, solely on account of Adam's guilt, to reign in life though for their own guilt well as Adam's they had rightfully to die.

This is all the length at which we can penetrate into this passage. We see affirmed in it the superiority of that good which Christ has done for us, oyer that evil which Adam has entailed upon us. We see in it enough to stop the mouth of any gainsayer, who complains that he has been made chargeable for a guilt which he never contracted - for we there see announced to us, not merely release from this one charge, but from all the additional charges which by our own wilful disobedience we have brought upon ourselves. The heir of a burdened property who curses the memory of his father and complains of the weight and hardship of the mortgages he has left behind him, ought in all justice to be appeased - when his father's friend, moved by regard to his family, not only offers to liquidate the debts that were transmitted to him by inheritance, but also the perhaps heavier debts of his own extravagance and folly. From the mouth of a wilful and obstinate sinner, may we often hear the reproach of God for the imputation of Adam's sin to his blameless and unoffending posterity; and were he indeed a blameless individual who was so dealt with, there might be reason for the outcry of felt and fancied injustice. But, seeing that in hardened impiety or at least in careless indifference he spends his days, living without God in the world and accumulating voluntarily upon his own head the very guilt against which he protests so loudly when laid upon him by the misconduct of another - this ought at least to mitigate a little the severity of his invective; and it ought wholly to disarm and to turn it, when a covering so ample is stretched forth, if he will only have it, both for the guilt at which he murmurs and for the guilt of his own misdoings.
Nor has he any right to protest against the share that has been assigned to hirn in the doom of Adam's disobedience, when, wilfully as he has aggravated that doom upon himself, there is a grace held out to him, and a gift by grace, which so nobly overpasses all the misery of man's unregenerate nature, and all its condemnation.

Perhaps there is a great deal more in this passage than we have been able to bring out of it. It is likely enough that the apostle may have had in his mind, the state of the redeemed when they are made to reign in life by Jesus Christ - as contrasted with what the state of man would have been had Adam persisted in innocency, and bequeathed all the privileges of innocence to a pure and untainted posterity. In this latter case, our species would have kept their place in God's unfallen creation, and maintained that position in the scale of order and dignity which was at first assigned to them; and, though lower than the angels, would at least have shone with an unpolluted though a humbler glory, and have either remained upon earth, or perhaps have been transplanted to heaven, with the insignia of all those virtues which they had kept untainted and entire upon their own characters. Now certain it is, that the redeemed in heaven will be made to recover all that personal worth and accomplishment which was lost by the fall, and, in point of moral lustre, will shine forth at least with all that original brightness in which humanity was formed; and in the songs of their joyful eternity, will there be ingredients of transport and of grateful emotion, which, but for a Redeemer to wash them from their sins in His blood, could never have been felt; and, what perhaps is more than all, they are invested with an order of merit which no prowess of archangel could ever win - they are clothed with a righteousness, purer than those heavens which are not clean in the sight of infinite and unspotted holiness - they are seen in the face of him who takes precedency over all that is created; and, besides being admitted into the honour of that more special and intimate relationship which subsists between the divine Messiah, and those who are the fruit and travail of his soul, it is indeed a wondrous distinction, that the Son of God, by descending to the fellowship of our nature, has ennobled and brought up the nature of man to a pre-eminence so singularly glorious.

Verses 18, 19.
" Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
The three last verses state the disparity between the two Adams, in respect of the amount of good and evil conveyed by them. The two before us state the similarity between them, in respect of the mode of conveyance of this good and this evil. They contain in fact the strength of the argument for the imputation of Adam's sin. As the condemnation of Adam comes to us, even so does the justification by Christ come to us. Now we know that the merit of the Saviour is ascribed to us - else no atonement for the past, and no renovatkm of heart or of life that is ever exemplified in this world for the future, will suffice for our acceptance with God. Even so then must the demerit of Adam have been ascribed to us. The analogy affirmed in these verses leads irresistibly to this conclusion. The judgment that we are guilty, is transferred to us from the actual guilt of the one representative - even as the judgment that we are righteous, is transferred to us from the actual righteousness of the other representative. We are sinners in virtue of one man's disobedience, independently of our own personal sins; and we are righteous in virtue of another's obedience, independently of our own personal qualifications. We do not say but that through Adam we become personally sinful - inheriting as we do his corrupt nature. Neither do we say but that through Christ we become personally holy - deriving out of His fulness, the very graces which adorned His own character. But, as it is at best a tainted holiness that we have on this side of death, we must have something more than it in which to appear before God ; and the righteousness of Christ reckoned unto us and rewarded in us, is that something. The something which corresponds to this in Adam, is his guilt reckoned unto us and punished in us - so that, to complete the analogy, as from him we get the infusion of his depravity, so from him also do we get the imputation of his demerit.

One may suppose from the 18th verse, that the number who are justified in Christ is equal to the number who are condemned in Adam; and that this comprehends the whole human race. But by the term ‘all,' we are merely to understand, all on the one hand who are in that relation to Adam, which infers the descent of his guilt upon them - and that is certainly the whole family of mankind; and thus ‘all' on the other hand, who are in that relation to Christ which infers the descent of His righteousness upon them - and that is only the family of believers. As in Adam, it is said, all die - even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But the ‘all' does not refer to the same body of people. The first who die in Adam, evidently refer to the whole human race. But the second who live in Christ are restricted by the apostle to those who are Christ s, and will be made alive by Him at His coming. All men have not faith, and all men therefore will not reign in life by Christ Jesus.

For any thing we know, the mediation of Christ may have affected, in a most essential way, the general state of humanity; and, by some mode unexplained and inexplicable, may it have bettered the condition of those who die in infancy, or who die in unreached heathenism; and aggravated the condition of none, but those who bring upon themselves the curse and the severity of a rejected gospel. But the matter which concerns you is, that, unless you receive Christ in time, you will never reign with him in eternity. You will not be admitted into the number of those all, who, though they comprehend the entire family of believers, do not comprehend any that obey not the gospel; and it is at your peril, if when the offer of an interest in the righteousness of Christ is placed within your reach, you turn in indifference away from it. And it is of vital importance for you to know, that the free gift, though it comes not upon you all in the way of absolute conveyance, it at least comes upon you all in the way of offer. It is yours if you will.theoffer is unto all and upon all who now hear us - though the thing offered is only unto all and upon all who believe. We ask each individual among you to isolate himself from the rest of the species - to conceive for a moment that he is the only sinner upon the face of the earth, that none but he stands in need of an atoning sacrifice, and none but he of an everlasting righteousness brought in by another and that might avail for his justification before God. Let him imagine, that for him the one and solitary offender, Christ came on the express errand to seek and to save - that for him He poured out his soul unto the death - that for him the costly apparatus of redemption was raised - that for him and for him alone, the Bible was written; and a messenger from heaven sent to entreat that he will enter into reconciliation with God, through that way of mediatorship which God in his love devised for the express accommodation of the missing wanderer, who had strayed, an outcast and an alien from the habitations of the unfallen And that it now turns upon his own choice, whether he will abide among the paths of destruction, or be readmitted to all the honours and felicities of the place from which he had departed.

There is nothing surely wanting to complete the warrant of such an individual, for entering into hope and happiness; and yet, ye hearers, it is positively not more complete than the warrant which each and which all of you have at this moment, you, individually to you, God is holding out this gift for your acceptance! You is He beseeching to come again into friendship with Him. With you is He expostulating the cause of your life and your death; and bidding you choose between the welcome offer of the one, and the sure alternative of the other if the offer is rejected. He is now parleying the matter with every hearer; and just as effectually, as if that hearer were the only creature in the world, to whom the errand of redemption was at all applicable. There is nothing in the multitude of hearers by whom you are surrounded, that should at all deaden the point of its sure and specific application to yourself. The message of the gospel does not suffer, in respect of its appropriateness to you, by the ranging abroad of its calls and its entreaties over the face of the whole congregation. The commission is to preach the gospel to every; and surely that is the same with preaching the gospel to each. It does not become less pointedly personal in its invitation, by its being made more widely diffusive. The dispersion of the gospel embassy over the face of the whole world, does not abate, by one single iota, either the loudness or the urgency of the knock which it is making at your door.

This is a property which no extension of the message can ever dissipate. It cannot be shipped off, either in whole or in part, by the missionary vessel which carries the news and the offers of salvation to other lands. Your minister speaks with no less authority, though thousands and thousands more are preaching at the same moment along with him. Your bible carries no less emphatic intimation to you, though bibles are circulating by millions over the mighty amplitudes of population that are on every side of you. God, through the medium of these conveyances, is holding out as distinct an overture to you, and pledging Himself to as distinct a fulfilment, as if you were the only sinner He had to deal with; and whether He beseeches you to be reconciled, or bids you come unto Christ on the faith that you will not be cast out, or invites you weary and heavy laden to cast your burden upon him and He will sustain it, or sets forth to you a propitiation and tells you that your reliance upon its efficacy is all that is needed to make it effectual to you - Be very sure that all this is addrest as especially to yourself, as if you heard it face to face by the lips of a special messenger from heaven - that God is bringing Himself as near, as if He named you by a voice from the skies - So that if you, arrested by all this power and closeness of application, shall venture your case on the calls and the promises of the gos pel, there is not one call that will not be followed up, nor one promise that will not be fully and perfectly accomplished.

The thing offered in this passage is, that you shall be instated in the righteousness of Christ. Let me crave your attention to the substantial meaning and effect of such an overture. The technicals of theology are so familiar to the ear, that they fail to arouse the understanding; and the thinking principle often lies in complete dormancy, while there is a kind of indolent satisfaction felt by the mind, at the utterance and the cadency of sounds to which it has been long accustomed. The proposal that Christ's righteousness shall become your righteousness in such a way, as that you will be honoured and rewarded and loved . and dealt with by God, just, as you would have been, had this righteousness been yielded in your own person and by your own performances - this, ye hearers, is the very jet and essence of the gospel; and could we only prevail on you to entertain the wondrous proposal and to close with it, like a man translated from beggary to some exalted order of merit that had been won for him by another, might you instantly be clothed in the glories of a high and splendid investiture - recognised by God Himself, and by all the subject ranks of His administration, as the occupiers of a dignity and a constitutional standing, to which all the homage due to worth and excellence and lofty prospects may rightfully be paid. You would become kings and priests unto God; and, like many of those sublimities of nature where the noblest effects often spring from the simplest of causes, is this princely elevation of guilty and degraded man brought about by the simple credence which he renders to the testimony of God respecting His Son - on which it is that he passes from death unto life, and according to his faith so is it done unto him.

This is the way of being translated into a condition of righteousness with God, and there is no other. We arc aware of the tendency of nature to try an other; and that, in the obstinate spirit of legality, it is her constant forth-putting to establish a righteousness of her own - an object, in the prosecution of which, she is ever sure, either to dissipate her strength in a fatigue that is unavailing, or at length to sink down into the repose of a formality that is altogether lifeless and unfruitful. This positively is not the way. The way is to lay your confident hold on the merit of Christ as your plea of acceptance with God. It is to take your determined stand on the basis of His obedience, all the rewards and all the reckonings of which are held out to you in the gospel. It is to go at once to the justification that Christ hath wrought out for all who believe in Him; and, entering upon that region which is lighted up by the Sun of righteousness, there to offer yourself to the notice of the Divinity, not in that tiny lustre which is created by the feeble sparks of your own kindling, but in that full irradiation which is caught from the beams of a luminary so glorious. God, to see to you with complacency, must see you not as shining in any native splendour of your own; but as shone upon by the splendour of Him who is full of grace and truth. It is only when surrounded with this element, that a holy God can regard you with cornplacency; and, to complete the triumphs of the gospel administration, it is only when breathing in this atmosphere, that you inhale the delights of an affectionate and confiding piety - that the soul breaks forth in the full triumph of her own emancipated powers, on the career of devoted and aspiring obedience - that life and happiness shed the very air of heaven around a believer's heart - and make the service of God, before a drudgery, its most congenial employment - Evincing, that, as to be in Christ is to have no condemnation, so to be in Christ is to become a new creature with whoni all old things are done away, and all things have become new.

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