ROMANS, vi, 3 - 7.

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."

VER. 3, 4. The original meaning of the word baptism is immersion, and though we regard it as a point of indifferency, whether the ordinance so named be performed in this way or by sprinkling - yet we doubt not, that the prevalent style of the administration in the apostle's days, was by an actual submerging of the whole body under water. We advert to this, for the purpose of throwing light on the analogy that is instituted in these verses. Jesus Christ by death underwent this sort of baptism - even immersion under the surface of the ground, whence He soon emerged again by His resurrection. We by being baptized into His death, are conceived to have made a similar translation - In the act of descending under the water of baptism to have resigned an old life, and in the act of ascending to emerge into a second or a new life - along the course of which it is our part to maintain a strenuous avoidance of that sin, which as good as expunged the being that we had formerly; and a strenuous prosecution of that holiness, which should begin with tile 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 up 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 is - shall 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 have 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 averted - shall 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 taken 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 apostle 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 circumastances, 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 upon it. 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 sinner, which had no such topic could have at, all been urged upon him. But we not enough to bring argument how- from without, whereby to assail the propensities of the human heart - that additional to the great outward transaction of Christ's atoning death, from which we have endeavoured to fetch a persuasive for turning from all iniquity - there must be also an inward operation upon every disciple, ere the persuasive can be so listened to as to be practically effectual: or, in other words, - as, through what Christ hath done for us we arc forensically dead unto sin, so, that we may be regarded as having already undergone the curse in Hirn - -so, there must also be a something done in us, a personal change wrought, a deadening process undergone whereby sin is no longer of power over us.

Now though this be the work of the Spirit - yet the Spirit accommodates His work to the nature of the subject upon which He is employed. He treats man as a rational and intelligent being. It is not by the resistlessness of a blind impulse, that He carries any given effect on the desires of the heart - but by making man see what is desirable, and then choose it, and then labour after it with all the strenuousness of a willing and purposing and acting creature. He does not become personally dead unto sin, or personally alive unto righteousness, but by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Yet this operation is not a simple fiat, by which the transition is brought about without the steps of such a process - as marks the judgment, and the feeling, and the conscience, and the various other mental faculties of him who is made to undergo this great regeneration. Agreeably to the language of our Shorter Catechism, though this be the work of God's Spirit - yet it is a work whereby He convinces and He enlightens the mind, and He renews the will, and He persuades to that which is right, and He enables for the performance of it.

Let us endeavour, if possible, to trace the succession of those moral influences, by which man under the gospel is conducted from the natural state of being alive to sin and to the world, to the state of being dead unto these things and alive unto God.

Ver. 5, 6.
Ye are planted together in the likeness of His death - By His death He bore the curse of a violated law and now it has no further charge against Him. He acquitted himself to the full of all its penalties; and now he is for ever exempted against any future reckoning with a creditor whom He has conclusivly set aside; and just because He has completely satisfied him. He is now that immortal Vine, who stands for ever secure and beyond the reach of any devouring blight om the now appeased enemy; and we who by faith are united with Him as so many branches, share in this blessed exemption along with Him. We have as good as had the sentence of death discharged upon us already. In Christ our propitiation we have rendererd the executor all his dues. In Him our Surety we have paid a debt, for which we can no longer be craved or reckoned with. And here we are like unto Christ, in that we are as secure from the visitation of the great penalty, as if we had borne it ourselves - in that as with Him the hour and the power of darkness have now passed away, and never again to go over Him; so we, just as if we had undergone the same trial and the same baptism, come forth acquitted of all our trespasses and the hand of the avenging adversary shall never reach us.

And as we thus share in His death, so shall we also share in His resurrection. From the humiliation of the grave, He arose to the heights of subhimest glory. By what He hath borne in our stead, we now stand as exempted from punishment as if we had borne it ourselves. By what He hath done of positive obedience in our stead, He hath not only been highly exalted in His own person; but He hath made us the partakers of His exaltation, to the rewards of which we shall be promoted as if we had rendered the obedience ourselves. And it is thus that we understand the being planted together with Him in the likeness of His death, and the being planted together with Him in the likeness of His resurrection.
The sixth verse we think ushers in the transition from the forensic to the personal. By being dead unto sin we understand that we are spoken of as in the condition of having already undergone the penalty of death, and so being acquitted of this great penal consequence of sin. We get into this condition, not by actually suffering the death; but, as it is expressed in the third verse, by being baptized unto the death of Christ, and so as in the fourth verse by being buried with Him in this baptism, and in the fifth verse planted together with him in the likeness of His death - All indicative of our being forensically dealt with on account of Christ's death, just as if we ourselves had undergone the suffering which for us He hath endured.

And we would even carry this style of interpreta tion to the first clause of the sixth verse; and understand by the old man being crucified with Him, that the sinner is now to be reckoned with, just as if, in his own person, he had sustained the adequate punishment of the guilt, for which Christ rendered the adequate expiation. And all this however for a posterior end - all this for a purpose specified in the remaining part of the verse now under consideration - all this for the achievement of such a personal change upon the believer, as that in him the body of sin might at length be altogether destroyed; and that henceforth, or from the moment of his becoming a believer, he might not serve sin. This tallies with another part of the Bible, where it is said that Christ gave himself up for us - suffered in our stead - died the death that legally impended over us, so that the sentence is as much over and away from us, as if it had been inflicted on our own persons - This He did for an end even posterior to that of our deliverance from condemnation - for an end analogous to the one stated in the verse before us - even that the body of sin might be destroyed, and that we should not serve sin; or, as we have it in the passage now referred to, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify us unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.

Now where it may be asked is the connection? How comes it that because we are partakers in the crucifixion of Christ, so that the law has no further severity to discharge upon us - how comes it that this should have any effect in destroying the body of sin, or in emancipating us from the service of sin? Whence is it that exoneration from the penalty, should lead to emancipation from the power? What is the hidden tie that conducts the believer from being forensically dead unto sin, to his being personally dead unto sin also? How is it that the fact of his being acquitted leads to the fact of his being sanctified? and what is the precise nature of that step which conducts from the pardon of a reconciled, to the purity of a regenerated creature?

There can be no doubt that the Spirit of God both originates and carries forward the whole of this process. He gives the faith which makes Christ's death as available for our deliverance from guilt, as if we had suffered the death in our own persons; and He causes the faith to germinate all those moral and spiritual influences, which bring about the personal transformation that we are enquiring of. But these He does, in a way that is agreeable to the principles of our rational nature; so that His agency does not supersede the question - how is it that a belief on our part, that we are so far partakers of the death of Christ as to partake in the deliverance which it hath wrought from the guilt of sin - how is it that this belief destroys the being of sin upon our persons, and releases us from that slavery in which nature is held to its allurements and its charms?

We apprehend one way of it, to be through the expulsive power of a new affection to dispossess an old one from the heart. You cannot destroy your love of sin, by a simple act of extermination. You cannot thus bid away from your bosom, one of its dearest and oldest favourites. Our moral nature abhors the vacuum that would be formed, by an old affection taking its departure from the chambers of the inner man, without any new affection to succeed it. The former favourite will retain his place and his ascendancy there, till he is supplanted by a new one, ready to take up his room, and to give the sensation of full and well-liked company - so as not to leave the heart in a state of dreary and woful abandonment. It is thus that the man who feels his only portion to be on earth, and that heaven is hopelessly beyond his reach, resigns himself to the full and undivided sway of earthly affections. He cannot bid them away from him. They cleave to him with a tenacity and a power of adherence, that nothing but the mastery of a new affection can possibly over come; and whence, if heaven is impregnably shut against him, whence can he fetch the instrument that will drive out the legion of earthly feelings and earthly desires and earthly idolatries, which now lord it over him, and have established the empire and tyranny of sin within the confines of his moral and spiritual nature?

Let it be his feeling that heaven is unattainable; and this will chill and discourage within him all longing for the enjoyments that are there - so that his love of the enjoyments which are here, will keep undisturbed possession of his soul and give the character and the colour of atheism to all its movements. He will live without God in the world; and never till the favour of God be made accessible to him - never till the joys of the upper Paradise are placed within his reach - never till the barrier be thrown down, which defends his approaches to the happy world that lies in the distant futurity away from him - never till then will the powers of the world that is to come carry it over the pleasures of the world that is present, and by which he is immediately surrounded. The old affections will cleave and keep their obstinate and undisputed hold, just because the proper engine is not brought into contact with the heart, and which can alone avail for the dispossession of them. They will not give way at a simple mandate from the chair of reason or philosophy; and nothing can expel them from the bosom - but the powerful and victorious rival-ship of new affections sent into the heart, from new objects placed within the grasp either of certain or of possible attainment.

Now the death of Christ is the breaking down of the else insuperable barrier. It has fetched other objects from afar, and placed them within the attainment of sinful man, and presented them to his free choice, and brought the delights of eternity to his very door - so that, if he just have faith to perceive them, he is brought into the very condition, that, by the bias of his moral and sentient nature, is most favourable to the extinction of old appetites, and that just by the intruding and dispossessing power of a new one.

The things that are above now lie at his door for acceptance, and are urgently soliciting admittance within the repositories of his heart, and we may now bid him set his whole affection on the things that are above - which if he does, like the rod of Aaron, it will swallow up all his subordinate and earthly desires; and he will henceforth cease to set his affections upon the things that are beneath. Let him just by faith look upon himself as crucified with Christ; and then he will have got over that wall of separation, which stood between him and a joyful immortality. That spiritual and everlasting death, which is the natural doom of every sinner, is now as good as traversed, and got over by him - for, in the person of his dying Saviour with whom he stands associated in the whole power and effect of his atonement, he has already borne the whole weight of this condemnation ; and there is now nothing between him and that heaven, all the felicities and glories of which have now entered into competition with the world and its evanescent gratifications - And it is thus that the world is disarmed of its power of sinful temptation.

It is thus that the cross of Christ crucifies the world unto you, and you into the world. it is thus that sin receives its death-blow, by its old mastery over the heart being dethroned and done away, through the still more commanding mastery of other affections, which it is now competent for man to have, because the objects of them are now placed within the reach of his attainment. It is thus that the cross of Christ, by the same mighty and decisive stroke wherewith it has moved the curse of sin away from us, also moves away the power and the love of sin from over us. And we no longer mind earthly things, just because better things are now within our offer, and our conversation is in heaven - whence we also look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.

And this is in perfect analogy with other and most familiar exhibitions of our nature, in the scenes of business and ordinary affairs. Let us just conceive a man embarked, with full and earnest ambition, on some humble walk of retail merchandise - whose mind is wholly taken up through the year, with the petty fluctuations that are taking place in prices and profits and customers; but who nevertheless is regaled by the annual examination of particulars at the end of it, with the view of some snug addition to his old accumulations. You can figure how the heart of such a man, may be engrossed with the play of all those anxieties and feelings and mental appetites, which are incidental to such a condition - how wedded he is to his own little concern - how watchful of the turns and movements that may affect its prosperity - and, withal, how complacently he cherishes the anticipation of that decent competency, which forms the all that he has learned to aspire after. You must see how impossible it were to detach the affections of this individual from the objects and the interests of this his favourite course, by a simple demonstration of their vanity; and with what moral tenacity he would cleave to the pursuits of his present gainfulness; and what a mighty and peculiar force were necessary, to disengage him from the operations of that counter over which there was unceasingly kept up the most agreeable play that was within the reach of his ever arriving at. But just suppose, that, in some way or other, this reach were greatly extended; and, either some splendid property, or some sublime walk of high and hopeful adventure, were placed within his attainment; and the visions of a far more glorious affluence were to pour a light into his mind, which greatly overpassed and so eclipsed all the fairness of those homelier prospects that he wont to indulge in - Is it not clear to all your discernments that the old affection which he could never get rid of by simple annihilation, will come to be annihilated, and that simply by giving place to the new one - that the field of employment from which no force could have torn him, he now willingly abandons, and that just for the more alluring field on which he has been invited to enter - that the meaner ambition has now disappeared from his bosom, and just because the loftier ambition has overborne it - that the game in which he aspired after hundreds is now given over, and just because a likelier game of many thousands has enticed him away from it - that the worship he formerly rendered to an idol of brass is now renounced, and just because seduced from it by the superior fascination of that worship which he is now rendering to an idol of gold!

Do not you see from this, how it is that the higher idolatry has superseded the lower; and also how it is, that both idolatries are to be extinguished - how it is that if we had only faith to realise the magnificence of eternity, and to believe that through the death of Christ the portal was now opened to its blessedness and its glory, that this would deaden all our worldliness together - Not merely laying one species of earthly ambition, by the lighting up of another; but disposing of all by the paramount importance of an object, that greatly surpassed all, and so absorbed all. Does not this throw explanation on the mystery of sin being slain in its influences, simply by a believing view on our part of sin slain in its curse and condemnation; and how, after all, the mighty instrument for achieving our deliverance from the power of things seen and sensible, is our confidence in the efficacy of that death which has opened up fur us access to things eternal - so as to make this the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith?

And this illustration, by the way, may help to show how the gospel can do what the law cannot do. Were the humble trafficker asked to purchase for himself some place of occupancy and lucrative partnership on that higher course, where merchants are called princes, and are held to be the honourable of the earth - it is likely that the consciousness of utter inability for thie enterprise, would cheek all his ambitious tendencies within the sphere that he already moved in, and lead him to lavish as before every energy and affection that belonged to him on the scene of his present hopes and present anxieties. But, instead of the place being sold, were the place given to him - were he freely and gratuitously offered admission to it with all the flattery of its thriving channels and splendid anticipations - there were then a moving power to disenchant him from all his present affections, in the things held forth to him as a present, which it never had when held forth to himn in the shape of a bargain, to the terms of which his means were totally and hopelessly inadequate.

And, in like manner, should any child of this world that is amongst us, have heaven set forth to him as the reward of that obedience on which heaven could look with complacency - there were a sense of in competency for the task, which would lead him to place this spiritual region at an impracticable distance away from him; and, with the feeling that earth was his alone portion, would he still grovel as before among the pursuits and the pleasures of that scene of carnality, on which he all along had been wont to expatiate. But let heaven, instead of being exposed as the purchase of his merit, be set before him as a present to his necessities - instead of the law bidding him acquire it by his doings, let the gospel bid him receive it as a gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord - in a word, instead of holding it forth to him for a price to be paid by himself, let it be held forth to him as the fruit of that price which the Saviour hath already rendered, by a death in the whole power and value of which he is freely invited to partake - then will it be seen, that, the firmer his trust, the faster will be the practical hold that the unseen world takes of his heart, and the more powerful its controlling influence over the whole of his habits and his history. The faith in a free pardon, which some might apprehend would rivet him to sin, has just the effect of disenchanting him from that territory of sense where its wiles and its entanglements are laid. The stronger the faith is, in the nearness and certainty of the coming of heaven - the fuller is the access into the believer's soul, of a taste for heaven's joys, and an impulse towards heaven's services. It is the very thing which reaches that exterminating blow, whereby the body of sin or the being of sin is destroyed; and the man is dispossessed of the tyranny wherewith it had lorded over him, and now ceases to be its slave - just because the death of Christ has opened for him the gates of everlasting blessedness, and his heart transformed from the present evil world is conformed to the delights and the doings of the upper paradise.

We are far from having touched on all the principles, which come into living and actual play within the believer's heart; and by which he is conducted from the state of being crucified with Christ forensically, to the state of being crucified with him personally - so that he dies unto the power of sin; and, through the Spirit, mortifies the deeds done in his body; and finally crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts. But let it here be remarked, that, in the bringing of this about, there is a strong likeness, in point of moral history and example, between Christ and His faithful disciple. There is a real analogy between the death for sin undergone by the former, and the mortification unto the power of sin that is undergone by the latter. There is a similarity between the spiritual exercise, which conducted the Saviour to that victory which He achieved over the world in dying for its salvation; and that spiritual exercise, which conducts the believer to the victory which he achieves over the world, in dying unto the sinfulness of its earthly affections. The one for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross; and the other for the same joy, now set freely and gratuitously before him, endures the cross that is laid by the gospel on nature's inclinations. The one made a voluntary renunciation of all that was in the world, on leaving it; and the other makes the same voluntary renunciation, in transferring his love to that God, the love of whom is opposed to the love of the world.

We mistake the nature of Christ's work upon earth, if we think not that He had to struggle with the fascination of this world's pleasures, and the seducing influence of this world's glories - for the God of this world had power to try Him though not to prevail over him; and in all respects was He tempted like as we are. From His infancy to his death, was there a contest of strenuousness and suffering and self-denial; amid all, that lIe might win the victory over a world that plied him with its countless idolatries. And as was the Master so is the servant. We have to follow Him in the steps of this holy warfare. The cross is little counted upon in these days of soft and silken professorship; and smooth indeed is that pilgrimage, through which many are looking forward to the triumphs of a coming eternity. But let us not deceive ourselves. There is a process of crucifixion that must be gone through, not upon the flesh as with the Saviour, but through the affections of the flesh. There must be a striving against sin, if not unto the death of the body, at least unto the death of its dearest and most darling appetites. There must be a winding up of the purposes and energies of the spiritual power, to that pitch of resistance against the sinfulness of nature, which wound up the soul of our Redeemer to the resolute giving up of Himself unto the sacrifice. And though the death unto sin, and the baptism into that death, and the being planted with Christ in the likeness of it, and the being planted with Hun, have been here understood and reasoned upon forensically - yet our faith in this understanding of it, has not wrought its genuine effect upon us, unless we are dying unto the power of sin in our affections; and are purifying ourselves in the waters of spiritual baptism; and are daily likening unto Christ, in that superiority over the world which led him to surrender it; and are inflicting the violence of crucifixion on all that is sinful in the propensities of nature - So as that we are not merely judicially dealt with as if in our own persons we had suffered and died - but really and historically, in these persons, do we share with Christ in the fellowship of his sufferings and in a conformity to His death.

Ver. 7.
Here again I would understand a forensic death - this death we are counted to have suffered in Christ as a penalty for sin, the death which releases us from all further charge and reckoning because of sin - the death which as effectually shields us from the further infiictions of severity from the unrelenting exactor, as the dying of the slave secures his escape from the cruelties of that tyrant, beyond whose reach he now is situated. The connection between the master and the servant ceases with the payment of wages; and when death, the wages of sin, is rendered to the sinner, the final settlement is made, and they become free the one from the other. Now it is true that these bitter wages of sin were inflicted not upon us but upon Christ; but for us He sustained them, and we are in as exempt a condition from any further reckoning on account of sin, as if the adjustment had been made with us the principals, instead of being made with Christ the surety - or as if we had borne the whole punishment - or as if death, which is the fruit of sin, had been actually laid upon us.
Now it is very clear how this should rightfully free us from the punishment; but how should it also free us from the power? We have already unfolded one way, in which deliverance from the former heads to deliverance from the latter; and the text suggests another way of it. Sin is here represented in the light of a tyrant, and the sinner as his slave. But let it be remembered, that there is a personal and a living tyrant, from whose cruel and malignant breast the whole mischief of sin has emanted upon our world - one with whom the extension of sin is a matter of power and of policy - one whose dearest ambition is concerned in the warfare, that is now going forward between the principles of light and of darkness - one whose heart is set upon the object of bringing men under the dominion of sin, and who finds his full and final gratification in the execution of the curse which it afterwards entails upon them. The errand upon which the Saviour came, was to destroy the works of the devil; and you all perceive how, by His death upon the cross, He lifted the curse and the punishment of sin at least away from all who believe on Him, and how they who by faith are dead in Him are freed at least from condemnation. They have been extricated from the tyrant's grasp, in as far as death and the power of death are concerned. He has no further claim upon them, as the subjects of that infernal kingdom, where he is to hold the reign of terror and of vengeance through-out all eternity; and where, in addition to the penal torments wherewith he shall exercise his unhappy victims, the agency of their own sinful passions will lay a heavy burden on the misery that overweighs them. It is not enough adverted to - how much sin is its own punishment - how much, by the very mechanism of our sentient nature, wretchedness and wickedness are allied the one with the other - how inherently and how essentially suffering and moral evil are ever found in company - that there is an essential bitterness in sin itself, independently of any arbitrary infliction which in the shape of fire or of any material chastisement may be laid upon it in hell - and that this is just as true of sin under the gospel as under the law.

The new economy under which we live has not so altered the character or the constitution of things, as that goodness shall not of itself be a matter of enjoyment, and as that sin shall not of itself be matter of anguish and tribulation. The gospel has not changed the bitter into a sweet. It has not given a new set of properties to the affections of our immoral nature. It has not infused the feeling of solemn and sacred delight into the affection of ungodliness. it has not given the character of a sweet and tranquil emotion to the affection of anger. It has not associated the transports of angelic love, with the attraction of malignity. Though you should be delivered by the death of Christ from time penal sufferings, that attached to these evil principles in the heart - yet there are other sufferings, that spring imnmediatehy and necessarily from the very exercise of the principles themselves; and from which you cannot be delivered, but by the utter extirpation of the principles. In other words, you are not freed from the tyrant who lords it over sinners by a mere release from the penalty of disobedience. lIe is not disarmed of all his power to make you wretched, by your legal deliverance from inmprisonment in the future hell. If sin is still permitted to reign in your heart,he can establish a lien there, that were enough to embittcr your whole eternity. And, in order that the death of Christ and your participation in that death shall give you complete freedom from the great tyrant and adversary of our species, he must be dethroned from his power over your present desires, as well as from his power over your future destiny.

Sinful affections will always be painful affections. And your deliverance is wrought, not by changing the quality of these affections, not by turning the painful into the pleasurable, but by ridding you of the affections altogether. And we repeat, that, if by being dead in Christ we are freed from Satan, this cannot be fully accomplished but by our being in the language of time text freed from sin - from sin, not merely disarmed of its curse, but from sin disarmed of its power and finally destroyed in its existence.

This unfolds to us another way, in which the death of Christ, and our fellowship therewith, may be brought to bear on the practical object of so withstanding the assaults of temptation, as that sin shall not have the dominion over us. It is not a matter of fancy, but a matter of most distinct scriptural revelation, that these assaults are conducted by a living and personal and withal most actively vicious and vindictive adversary, who is altogether intent on the object of retaining as entire and unbroken a moral ascendancy as he can possibly achieve over our species. You know how it is, that, by death Christ hath destroyed him who has the power of death, that is the devil - how He stood to have all wreaked upon Himself, which could be rightfully inflicted upon us because of our disobedience - how, after this, we, who partake in the benefits of His death, may challenge an exemption from the cruel mastery of him who wont to maintain a resistless and unquestioned sway over the propensities of our fallen nature - how, in the very moment of conflict with his enticements and his wiles, this challenge may be made; and he, giving way to the force of it, will desist from his unholy enterprise of seducing us away from the new obedience of the gospel.

Upon every occasion of exposure to the fascinations of moral evil, may we go through the spiritual exercise of asserting our freedom from the power of him, who arms these fascinations with all their influence; and, strongly confident in the plea, that, by the death of Christ and our death in Him, Satan has virtually done his worst upon us, and already expended that power wherewith he wont to hold us in bondage - why it is no vain imagination that such a plea, if faithfully pressed against him in the hour of spiritual conflict, will surely prevail over him; and he, retiring a vanquished foe from the field of warfare, will leave us freed from the power of sin as we are freed from its curse and its condemnation.

It has been rightly said that we think not enough of those higher agencies which are concerned in the doings and the difficulties and the whole discipline of our preparation for eternity. We are apt to look on the conflict in which we are involved, as a mere contest with flesh and blood - when in fact it is a contest with principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. We should know the might of our adversaries, that we may go rightly armed to the battle. And be assured that the death of Christ, is not a more effectual shield against the power that would drag you to the place of condemnation; than it is against the power, that would now so lord it over the affections of your heart, as to perpetuate the reign of sin within you, and make you as effectually the slaves as before of those evil desires and principles which war against the soul. Christ hath spoiled the great adversary of all his power. He hath left him no claim of ascendancy whatever over those who believe in Him. It is true, that, in the mysterious struggle which took place between him and the prince of darkness, there was a sting put forth which pierced Him even unto the death; but, in the very act of being so pierced, the sting was plucked away, and Satan is now bereft of all his power to hurt those who are buried with Christ in baptism, and have been planted together with him in His likeness.

He did not merely disarm him of his power to scourge you, and leave untouched his power to seduce you. It was an entire dethronement that He effected of the God of this world; and what you have distinctly to do, my brethren, in the heat and urgency of your besetting temptations, is to set up your death unto sin in Christ, as your defence against the further authority of sin over you - is to interpose the plea of His atonement between you and the attempts of the great adversary - is to affirm, in opposition to all his devices, that he can no more compel your services than a tyrant or a task-master can compel services from a dead slave. It is not possible, my brethren, that Satan, thus withstood and thus striven against, shall prevail over you. The man who, rivetting all his confidence in the death of Christ, has become partaker of all its immunities and of all its holy influences, will not only find peace from the guilt of sin, but protection from its tyranny. Thus you will not only be to him a barrier from the abyss of its coming vengeance; but it will be to him a panoply of defence against its present ascendancy over his soul. The sure way to put Satan to flight, is to resist him steadfast in this faith, which will be to him who exercises it, a shield to quench all the fiery darts of the adversary.

We are aware of the charges of strange and mystical and imaginary, to which this representation, however scriptural it may be, exposes us. But we ask on the one hand, those who have often been defeated by the power of temptation - whether they ever recollect in a single instance, that the death of Christ believed and regarded and made use of in the way now explained, was a weapon put forth in the contest with sin; and we ask, on the other hand, those who did make use of this weapon - whether it ever failed them in their honest and faithful attempts to resist the instigations of evil? We apprehend that the testimonies of both, will stamp an experimental, as well as a scriptural soundness, upon the affirmation of my text, that he who by faith in the death of Christ is freed from the condemnation of sin, has also an instrument in his possession, which has only to be plied and kept in habitual exercise, that he may habitually be free from its power.
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