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our fellow men-in trembling but thankful dependence upon our heavenly Father. It must be shown in doing justly, in loving mercy-and still, as sinful creatures, walking humbly with our God.

I trust indeed, that there is among us an improved sense of these things : but it were vain to deny, that there is still room for a further advance. May the grace of God be with us, and lead us earnestly to endeavour after this. He, who has given us the blessings we have, can alone give too the heart to appreciate them, and the mind to improve. Let us entreat his Holy Spirit to operate upon our hearts to this end; while we, under a deep and thankful sense of the advantages we enjoy, each in our respective stations, labour to improve to his glory the privileges, that are His gift. So that in that dread day, when we shall render up an account of the talents entrusted to us, it may be found not only, that the advantages we have had have been much every way, but also, that we are better too, than if we had had them not.

SERMON VIII.

THE FRUIT OF TRIBULATION.

Rom. v. 3, 4, 5.

AND NOT ONLY SO, BUT WE GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS ALSO:

KNOWING THAT TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE, AND PATIENCE EXPERIENCE, AND EXPERIENCE HOPE: AND HOPE MAKETH NOT ASHAMED, BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED

ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS GIVEN

UNTO US.

I TOOK occasion in a former discourse to point out the general line of argument followed by St. Paul in the earlier part of this his epistle to the Romans, in which it has been his object to establish by incontrovertible proof, and to bring home to the consciences of all his readers, the great truth, that the justification, whereby“ are accounted righteous before Godis not, and cannot be “

" for our own works or deservings,” but only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith 1."

On that occasion I followed his argument through the three first chapters, in which he lays open the

we

1 Art. xi.

lost state of all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike, by their transgressions of the law, proving them to have thereby justly incurred the sentence of condemnation by the righteous judgment of God: and then, having thus convicted them of sin, he proclaims the free offer of pardon and peace declared to all alike in the blood of the Redeemer,

even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe ?."

He then, in the fourth chapter, brings home the same truth in a more especial manner to the Jews, as exemplified in the history of their forefather Abraham; proving, that to him too belief in the promises of God was reckoned for righteousness : and that this took place antecedently to the rite of circumcision, which was thus, not the cause, but “the sign and seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had being yet uncircumcised 3.” Thus far then the Apostle has both by direct proof, and by reply to a supposed objection, cast

, down the hope built upon self-righteousness, and laid the foundation of a surer hope resting upon faith in Christ. Thus far has he endeavoured to teach those whom he addresses, to look for their justification solely to the atonement of that allsufficient Saviour,“ who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Having thus at the close of the fourth chapter established the doctrine of justification on this firm basis, St. Paul now proceeds in the one before us to enlarge upon its blessings, and to magnify the goodness of that gracious Saviour, in whom it is offered.

2 Rom. iii. 22.

3 iv. 11.

4 iv. 25.

And first he tells us that “ Being justified by faith we have peace with God”—thus calling to our minds the fact that in our natural condition we were in a state of alienation from and enmity to our Maker, which enmity it needed the intervention of the Redeemer to do away. But the effect of that intervention in procuring the pardon of past sin, and thus making us at peace with God, is not the whole amount of the benefits he bestows : for by Him too “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.The believer is not only pardoned, but is admitted as a favoured child of God to share in privileges and blessings, which belong to the children of God alone—this grace wherein we stand—this protecting care and love of God, which preserves us from the assaults of Satan: and those outward means and assistances, which are both the channels, by which the grace of God is conveyed to his servants, and also the signs and seals to them of its operation on their hearts. And besides these present privileges, which believers now enjoy, St. Paul further adds we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God—we look forward to the future and fuller manifestation of the glory of our Lord with that assured confidence, which enables us even now to rejoice in the anticipation of it.

Thus in the two first verses of this chapter, which are those immediately preceding my text, the Apostle lays down in their due order the blessings following from justification, viz. peace with God founded upon pardon for past sins-present privileges—future hopes.

But he well knew, that this declaration of Christian blessings would at once be met by cavils and questionings on the ground of Christian trials. He knew, that it would be said, You profess to have peace, but we see you exposed to even more troubles and distress than those around

you,

You profess to have the especial favour and protection of God, and yet you are tost and torn with manifold vexations. You profess to rejoice: but we see you in much sorrow and heaviness, and sorely tried with the troubles of life.

This is the objection the Apostle replies to in the words of my text. text. He says.

“And not only so”—not only have we peace, and privileges, and joy,—but even those things in our state, which seem to you most at variance with this, we count to make part of it. “ Not only so; but we glory in tribulations also : knowing that tribulation worketh patience : and patience experience : and experience

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