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of a family, and the taint of blood ; but why should a good citizen, who did not design to commit treason, complain of it? It would be easy to avoid it, and his knowing the severity of the punishment should only make him the more cautious to do his duty to his country. Least of all, knowing what the penalty was, could he when he had betrayed his country set up a plea of innocence on the ground that the penalty was severe ? Without pursuing this reasoning any further, may it not be asked here whether it is not just as applicable to the government of God as to a human administration ?

V. There is but one other ground of defence, or self-justification, which the accused sinner can be supposed to set up: it is, that too great results are made to depend on the present life ; that life is too short, that our days are too few and fleeting, that our continuance here is too uncertain, that we are liable to be too suddenly called away, to make it proper to suspend so great interests on anything that we can do here. The accused sinner would take the ground that eternal consequences demand a longer probation, and that the longevity of the antediluvian patriarchs was a period quite circumscribed enough to make it proper to suspend so great interests upon life. Much might be said in reply to this, but reference might be made to the instances which occur in the life of an individual or in a state, where the most momentous and far-reaching results are made to depend on the action of a inoment. But without dwelling on the numerous illustrations which occur on that point, two remarks may be made in reply to this ground of defence. One is, that, as experience has in millions of cases shown, the time allotted to man is ample for a preparation for eternity. Countless hosts before the throne have found it so, and millions are on their way to join them, who find the period of probation abundant to enable them to prepare for heaven. That all others are not with them in the same blissful path is not because life is too short to enter it, but is to be traced to other causes,

Men require length of days to amass wealth, or to perfect their schemes of earthly aggrandisement, but the purposes of salvation do not need it. The giving of the heart to God in sincerity through Jesus Christ-an act which may be performed in the briefest period during which a moral agent lives--is enough to secure salvation. Wealth or honour could not be secured in so brief a period, but the salvation of the soul may. The other remark is, that this vindication is set up in circumstances which painfully demonstrate that it cannot be sincere. Not time enough to secure salvation! Too great interests suspended on this brief period of existence! Unreasonable to make eternal results depend on the fleeting hours of this short life! And fsom whom do these objections come? From those on whom the hours of life hang heavily, and “who are often wishing its different periods at an end;" from those who are impatient for some season of festivity or enjoyment to arrive, and who chide the slow-revolving wheels of time; from those whose days are weariness and sadness, for thej, have nothing to interest them, nothing to do; from those whose principal study is the art of killing time, and all whose plans have no other end; from those who waste the hours that might be consecrated to prayer in needless slumber, and from whose lips each morning, while they now are locked in repose, there might proceed the earnest breathing of a penitent heart that would ensure salvation ; from those who, over worthless or corrupting verse, or in the perusal of romances, or in day-dreams, or at the toilet, waste each day time enough to secure the redemption of the soul. From such lips and hearts, from those who live thus, and to whom life puts on these forms, assuredly the objection should not be heard, that too great results are made to depend on this short life, and that therefore they are blameless in neglecting God.

If these are correct views, then the sinner cannot justify himself. It has been shown that he cannot deny the reality of the facts charged on him, and the grounds of defence which the human heart is disposed to set up in self-vindication have been considered. It is not improper, at this stage of the argument, to make a personal appeal to my readers, and to ask them to look at the ground which we have gone over as a personal matter. To my mind it seems clear beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the position which has been taken is correct as an argument, and that it is clear that man can neither deny the truth of the charges alleged against him, nor vindicate himself for what he has done. But whatever may be thought of the argument, attempted as an argument, on one point there can be no difference of opinion that the conclusion which we have reached is in accordance with the Bible. That conclusion is, that the unpardoned sinner is a lost and ruined being ; that he is under condemnation ; that he is held to be guilty in the sight of God; that he is soon to be arraigned on charges involving the question of his eternal welfare ; and that unless he is in some way acquitted of those charges, they will sink him to ruin. The views which have been thus expressed lie at the foundation of the system of salvation by grace. They are such as when felt lead to the conviction of sin, and to that sense of helplessness which is preparatory to the reception of pardon and salvation by the grace of the gospel. If these views produced the effect they are fitted to work, they would leave the impression of guilt, helplessness, and danger on the mind of every one who is not converted and pardoned. Sooner or later every one will feel this. The sinner may be unwilling to admit the force of these arguments now; for no one, if he can help it, will be overwhelmed with the conviction of guilt, or have his mind unsettled and harassed by apprehensions of danger.

But not always can he put this subject far from him. He will lie down and die ; and there are sad feelings which the dying sinner has, when he reflects that his life has been spent in sin, and that he is dying under condemnation. He will, from the bed of death, look out tremblingly on the eternal world-on that shoreless and bottomless ocean on which he is about to be launched; and it will be sad to feel that he is about to enter that vast and fearful world an unpardoned sinner. He will tread his way up to the bar of a holy God; and little as he may be concerned about that now, it will be sad to tread that gloomy way alone, and to feel as he goes that he is under condemnation. He will stand and look on the burning throne of Deity, and on his final Judge; he will await, and with what an agony of emotion, the sentence that shall fall from his lips, sealing his eternal doom! Oh, how can he then be just with God? How vindicate his ways before him ? How stand there and justify his neglect of the Divine commands, his neglect of prayer, his neglect of the offers of mercy, his neglect of his own soul? How, then, can he show his Maker that it was right not to love him; not to pray to him; not to thank him; not to embrace his offers of mercy ? How can he show that it was right for him to live without hope and without God in the world? How can he be saved ?

SERMON XXXII.

MAN CANNOT MERIT SALVATION.

JOB xxxv. 5-8. “Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.”

THESE are the words of Elihu, who, though not inspired, has expressed a sentiment which the Spirit of inspiration has regarded it as important to preserve. The general idea is, that God is so great and independent that the conduct of men can neither injure mor profit him; that though man may be affected in his interests by the treatment which he receives from his fellow-men, no such treatment, whether good or evil, can affect the great and eternal God--the God that made the heavens, and that dwells in regions beyond the clouds, The evil conduct of man cannot mar His happiness, or otherwise injure Him; nor can man's acts of righteousness so benefit Him as to lay Him under obligation. “If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.” It is one part of this general sentiment only that I here design to illustrate-that our acts of righteousness cannot so profit God as to lay him under obligation to us.

In the two previous discourses I have endeavoured to prove that man cannot justify himself either by denying the facts charged on him, or by showing that he had a right to do as he has done. The inquiry at once presents itself, How then can he be saved? There are but two ways conceivable—one by his own merits, that is, that he somehow deserves to be saved; the other, by the merits of another or of others. If it be in the latter way, it must either be by the merits of Christ, or it must be because certain eminent saints have done more than was demanded of them, and that their merits, garnered up and deposited in certain hands, can be made over to others. It is not proposed to inquire now whether this latter method be in accordance with truth, but whether men can merit salvation for themselves. They can do it if their lives are such that they deserve to go to heaven, or if it would be wrong for God to punish them for ever, for “ God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment,” Job xxxiv. 12. The importance of this inquiry will be at once perceived; for the great mass of mankind are depending on their own righteousness for salvation, and the grand issue between Christianity and the world lies just in this point. There are two subjects of inquiry, which, if they can be made clear, will conduct to the truth in this case :-1. What is meant by merit? and, II. Can man merit heaven?

I. What is meant by merit? The word is in common use, and the common use is the correct one. We speak of merit when a man deserves a reward for something which he has done, or when it would be wrong to withhold it. He renders to him who employs him an equivalent, or what is of as much value as is paid him for liis services. Two or three simple illustrations will make the common use of the word plain, and show its bearing on the question before us.

You hire a day-labourer. You make a bargain with him at the outset; he complies with the terms on his part, and at night you pày him. He has earned, deserved, or merited that which you pay. He has been faithful to his part of the agreement, and the service which he has rendered is worth as much to you as the wages which you pay him. You could have done the work perhaps yourself, but you preferred to hire him, for you might yourself be more profitably or pleasantly employed. At all events, what he has done is worth to you all which you pay him, and it would be wrong on every consideration for you to withhold it. If you choose to give him anything more than was specified in the agreement, it would be a gratuity ; but that which you agreed to give him he has a right to demand, and you are not at liberty to withhold it. He has deserved or earned it, for he has rendered you a full equivalent, according to the terms of the contract.

A man enlists to defend his country as a soldier. It is supposed, in the contract which is made with him, that his service will be of equal value to his country with the pay which he receives. By fighting its battles; by guarding its sea-coasts, villages, towns, and hamlets ; by keeping its fields from being trod down by an enemy; by protecting the lives of aged men, helpless women, and children; and by defending the flag of the nation from insult, it is supposed that his services are worth full as much to the country as he receives in his pay. The pay is graduated in part by the

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