"Just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."—Romans 3:26
"Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."—1 John 1:9
When the soul is seriously impressed with the conviction of its guilt, when terror and alarm get hold upon it concerning the inevitable consequences of its sin, the soul is afraid of God. It dreads at that time every attribute of divinity. But most of all the sinner is afraid of God's justice. "Ah," saith he to himself, "God is a just God; and if so, how can he pardon my sins? for my iniquities cry aloud for punishment, and my transgressions demand that his right hand should smite me low. How can I be saved? Were God unjust, he might forgive: but, alas! he is not so, he is severely just. 'He layeth justice to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.' He is the judge of all the earth, and he must do right. How then can I escape from his righteous wrath which must be stirred up against me?" Let us be assured that the sinner is quite right in the conviction that there is here a great difficulty. The justice of God is in itself a great barrier to the salvation of sinners. There is no possibility for that barrier to be surmounted, nor even for it to be removed except by one means, which shall this day be proclaimed unto you through the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is true that God is just. Let old Sodom tell you how God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon man's iniquity. Let a drowning world tell you how God lifted the sluices of the fountains of the great deep, and bade the bubbling waters spring up and swallow up man alive. Let the earth tell you; for she opened her mouth when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against God. Let the buried cities of Nineveh, and the tattered relics of Tyre and Sidon, tell you that God is just, and will by no means spare the guilty. And direst of all, let hell's bottomless lake declare what is the awful vengeance of God against the sins of man. Let the sighs, and groans, and moans, and shrieks of spirits condemned of God, rise in your ears, and bear witness that he is a God who will not spare the guilty, who will not wink at iniquity, transgression, and sin, but who will have vengeance upon every rebel, and will give justice its full satisfaction for every offence.
The sinner is right in his conviction that God is just, and he is moreover right in the inference which follows from it, that because God is just his sin must be punished. Ah, sinner, if God punish not thy sin, he has ceased to be what he has always been—the severely just, the inflexibly righteous. Never has there been a sin pardoned, absolutely and without atonement, since the world began. There has never been an offense yet remitted by the great Judge of heaven, until the law has received the fullest vindication. You are right, O convicted sinner, that such shall be the case even to the end. Every transgression shall have its just recompense of reward. For every offence there shall be its stroke, and for every iniquity there shall be its doom. "Ah," now says the sinner, "then I am shut out of heaven. If God be just and he must punish sin, then what can I do? Justice, like some dark angel, strides across the road of mercy, and with his sword drawn, athirst for blood and winged to slay, he strides across my path, and threatens to drive me backwards over the precipice of death into the ever-burning lake." Sinner, thou art right; it is even so. Except through the gospel which I am about to preach to thee, justice is thine antagonist, thy lawful, irresistible, and insatiable enemy. It cannot suffer thee to enter heaven, for thou hast sinned; and punished that sin must be, avenged that transgression must be, as long as God is God—the holy and the just.
Is it possible, then, that the sinner cannot be saved? This is the great riddle of the law, and the grand discovery of the gospel. Wonder ye heavens! be astonished O earth! that very justice which stood in the sinner's way and prevented his being pardoned, has been by the gospel of Christ appeased; by the rich atonement offered upon Calvary, justice is satisfied, has sheathed its sword, and has now not a word to say against the pardon of the penitent. Nay, more, that justice once so angry, whose brow was lightning, and whose voice was thunder, has now become the sinner's advocate, and itself with its mighty voice pleads with God, that whosoever confesses his sin should be pardoned and be cleansed from all unrighteousness.
The business of this morning shall be to show, in the first place, according to the first text, how justice is no longer the sinner's enemy—"God is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth;" and then, in the second place, that justice has become the sinner's advocate, and that "God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
But here let me utter a caution; I shall speak this morning, only to those who feel their guilt, and who are ready to confess their sin. For to those who still love sin, and will not acknowledge their guilt, there is no promise of mercy or pardon. For them there remains nothing but the fearful looking for of judgment. "He that being often reproved hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." The soul that neglects this great salvation cannot escape; there is no door of escape provided for it. Unless the Lord has now brought us to feel our need of mercy, has compelled us to confess that unless he gives us mercy we must righteously perish, and unless, moreover, he has made us willing now to be saved on any terms, so that we may be saved at all, this gospel which I am about to preach is not ours. But if we be convinced of sin and are now trembling before the thunders of God's wrath, every word that I am now about to speak will be full of encouragement and consolation to you.
I. First, then, HOW HAS JUSTICE BEEN PUT ASIDE? or rather, HOW HAS IT BEEN SO SATISFIED THAT IT NO LONGER STANDS IN THE WAY OF GOD'S JUSTIFYING THE SINNER?
The one answer to that is, Justice has been satisfied through the substitution of our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When man sinned the law demanded that man must be punished. The first offense of man was committed by Adam, who was the representative of the entire race. When God would punish sin, in his own infinite mind he thought of the blessed expedient, not of punishing his people, but of punishing their representative, the covenant head, the second Adam. It was by one man, the first man, that sin entered into the world, and death by sin. It was by another man, the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, it was by him that this sin was borne; by him its punishment was endured; by him the whole wrath of heaven was suffered. And through that second representative of manhood, Jesus, the second Adam, God is now able and willing to forgive the vilest of the vile, and justify even the ungodly, and he is able to do so without the slightest violation of his justice. For, mark, when Jesus Christ the Son of God suffered on the tree, he did not suffer for himself. He had no sin, either natural or actual. He had done nothing whatever that could bring him under the ban of heaven, or subject his holy soul and his perfect body to grief and pain. When he suffered it was as a substitute. He died—"the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." Had his sorrows been personally deserved they would have had no efficacy in them. But inasmuch as for sins not his own he died to atone; inasmuch as he was punished, not for any guilt that he had done or could do, but for the guilt incurred by others, there was a merit and an efficacy in all that he suffered, by which the law was satisfied, and God is able to forgive.
Let us show very briefly how fully the law is satisfied.
1. Note first the dignity of the victim who offered himself up to divine justice. Man had sinned; the law required the punishment of manhood. But Jesus, the eternal Son of God, "very God of very God," who had been hymned through eternal ages by joyous angels, who had been the favourite of his Father's court, exalted high above principalities and powers, and every name that is named, he himself condescended to become man; was born of the Virgin Mary; was cradled in a manger; lived a life of suffering, and at last died a death of agony. If you will but think of the wondrous person whom Jesus was—as very God of very God, king of angels, creator, preserver, Lord of all—I think you will see that in his sufferings, the law received a greater vindication than it could have done even in the sufferings of all the men that have ever lived or ever could live. If God had consumed the whole human race, if all the worlds that float in ether had been sacrificed as one mighty holocaust to the vengeance of the law, it would not have been so well vindicated as when Jesus died. For the deaths of all men and all angels would have been but the deaths and sufferings of creatures; but when Jesus died, the Creator himself underwent the pang, it was the divine preserver of the world hanging on the cross. There is such dignity in the Godhead, that all it does is marvellous and infinite in its merit; and when he stooped to suffer, when he bowed his awful head, cast aside his diadem of stars to have his brow girt about with thorns; when his hands that once swayed the sceptre of all worlds were nailed to the tree; when his feet that erst had pressed the clouds, when these were fastened to the wood, then did the law receive an honour such as it never could have received if a whole universe in one devouring conflagration had blazed and burned for ever.
2. In the next place, just pause and think of the relationship which Jesus Christ had towards the great judge of all the earth, and then you will see again that the law must have been fully satisfied thereby. We hear of Brutus that he was the most inflexible of law-givers; that when he sat upon the bench he knew no distinction of persons. Imagine dragged before Brutus many of the noblest Roman senators, convicted of crime: he condemns them, and without mercy they are rent away by the lictors to their doom. You would admire certainly all this justice of Brutus. But suppose Brutus' own son brought before him—and such was the case—imagine the father sitting on the judgment-bench and declaring that he knew no distinction whatever, even of his own children. Conceive that son tried and condemned out of his father's own mouth. See him tied up before his father's own eyes, while, as the inflexible judge, that father bids the lictor lay on the rod, and afterwards cries, "Take him away and use the axe!" See you not here how he loves his country better than his son, and he loves justice better than either. "Now," says the world, "Brutus is just indeed." Now, if God had condemned each of us one by one, or the whole race in a mass, there would certainly have been a vindication of his justice. But lo! his own son takes upon him the sins of the world, and he comes before his Father's presence. He is not guilty in himself, but the sins of man are laid upon his shoulders. The Father condemns his Son; he gives him up to the Roman rod; he gives him up to Jewish mockery, to military scorn, and to priestly arrogance. He delivers up his Son to the executioner, and bids him nail him to the tree; and as if that were not enough, since the creature had not power of itself to give forth all the vengeance of God upon its own substitute, God himself smites his Son. Are you staggered at such an expression? It is scriptural. Read in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and there you have the proof thereof: —"It pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief." When the whip had gone round to every hand, when the betrayer had smitten him, when Pilate and Herod, and Jew and Gentile, had each laid on the stroke, it was seen that human arm was not powerful enough to execute the full vengeance: then did the Father take his sword, and cry, "Awake! O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow," and he smote him sternly, as if he had been his enemy, as if he were a common culprit, as if he were the worst of criminals—he smote him again and again, till that awful shriek was forced from the lips of the dying substitute, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,"—my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Surely, when God smites his Son, and such a Son, when God smites his only begotten and well-beloved, then Justice has more than its due, more than itself could ask, Christ himself did freely give!
3. Furthermore, if you will please for a moment to consider how terrible were the agonies of Christ, which, mark you, he endured in the room, the place, the stead of all poor penitent sinners, of all those who confess their sins and believe in him; I say, when you mark these agonies, you will readily see why Justice does not stand in the sinner's way. Doth Justice come to thee this morning, and say, "Sinner, thou hast sinned, I will punish thee?" Answer thus—"Justice, thou hast punished all my sins. All I ought to have suffered has been suffered by my substitute, Jesus. It is true that in myself I owe thee a debt greater than I can pay, but it is true that in Christ I owe thee nothing; for all I did owe is paid, every farthing of it; the utmost drachm has been counted down; not a doit remains that is due from me to thee, O thou avenging justice of God." But if Justice still accuse, and conscience clamour, go thou and take Justice with thee to Gethsemane, and stand there with it: —see that man so oppressed with grief, that all his head, his hair, his garments bloody be. Sin was a press—a vice which forced his blood from every vein, and wrapped him in a sheet of his own blood. Dost see that man there! canst hear his groans, his cries, his earnest intercessions, his strong crying and tears! canst mark that clotted sweat as it crimsons the frozen soil, strong enough to unloose the curse! dost see him in the desperate agony of his spirit, crushed, broken, bruised beneath the feet of the Justice in the olive press of God! Justice, is not that enough? will not that content thee? In a whole hell there is not so much dignity of vengeance as there is in the garden of Gethsemane. Art thou not yet satisfied? Come, Justice, to the hall of Pilate. Seest thou that man arraigned, accused, charged with sedition and with blasphemy! See him taken to the guard-room, spat upon, buffetted with hands, crowned with thorns, robed in mockery, and insulted with a reed for a sceptre. I say, Justice, seest thou that man, and dost thou know that he is "God over all blessed for ever?" and yet he endureth all this to satisfy thy demands! Art thou not content with that? Dost thou still frown? Let me show thee this man on the pavement. He is stripped. Stand, Justice, and listen to those stripes, those bloody scourges, and as they fall upon his devoted back and plough deep furrows there, dost thou see thong-full after thong-full of his quivering flesh torn from his poor bare back! Art not content yet, Justice? Then what will satisfy thee? "Nothing," says Justice, "but his death." Come thou with me, then thou canst see that feeble man hurried through the streets! Seest thou him driven to the top of Calvary, hurled on his back, nailed to the transverse wood? Oh, Justice, canst thou see his dislocated bones, now that his cross is lifted up? Stand with me, O Justice, see him as he weeps, and sighs, and cries; see his soul-agonies! Canst thou read that tale of terror which is veiled in that flesh and blood? Come, listen Justice, whilst thou hearest him cry, "I thirst," and whilst thou seest the burning fever devouring him, till he is dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst! And lastly, O Justice, dost thou see him bow his head, and die? "Yes," saith Justice, "and I am satisfied; I have nothing that I can ask more; I am fully content; my uttermost demands are more than satisfied."
And am I not content, too? Guilty though I am and vile, can I not plead that this bloody sacrifice is enough to satisfy God's demands against me? Oh, yes, I trust I can,
"My faith doth lay its hand,
On that dear head of thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And here confess my sin."
Jesus, I believe that they sufferings were for me; and I believe that they are more than enough to satisfy for all my sins. By faith I cast myself at the foot of thy cross and cling to it. This is my only hope, my shelter, and my shield. It cannot be, that God can smite me now. Justice itself prevents, for when Justice once is satisfied it were injustice if it should ask for more. Now, is it not clear enough to the eye of every one, whose soul has been aroused, that Justice stands no longer in the way of the sinner's pardon? God can be just, and yet the justifier. He has punished Christ, why should he punish twice for one offence? Christ has died for all his people's sins, and if thou art in the covenant, thou art one of Christ's people. Damned thou canst not be. Suffer for thy sins thou canst not. Until God can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died. "Away goes universal redemption," says one. Yes, away it goes, indeed. I am sure there is nothing about that in the Word of God. A redemption that does not redeem is not worth my preaching, or your hearing, Christ redeemed every soul that is saved; no more, and no less. Every spirit that shall be seen in heaven Christ bought. If he had redeemed those in hell, they never could have come there. He has bought his people with his blood, and they alone shall he bring with him. "But who are they?" says one. Thou art one, if thou believest. Thou art one if thou repentest of thy sin. If thou wilt now take Christ to be thy all in all, then thou art one of his; for the covenant must prove a lie, and God must be unjust, and justice must become unrighteousness, and love must become cruelty, and the cross must become a fiction, ere thou canst be condemned if thou trustest in Jesus.
This is the way in which Justice ceases to be the enemy of souls.
II. The second text says that not only can God be just, but it says something more: it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, if I understand this text, it means this: that IT IS AN ACT OF JUSTICE ON GOD'S PART TO FORGIVE THE SINNER WHO MAKES A CONFESSION OF HIS SIN TO GOD. Mark! not that the sinner deserves forgiveness: that can never be. Sin can never merit anything but punishment, and repentance is no atonement for sin. Not that God is bound from any necessity of his nature to forgive every one that repents, because repentance has not in itself sufficient efficacy and power to merit forgiveness at the hand of God. Yet, nevertheless, it is a truth that, because God is just, he must forgive every sinner who confesses his sin. And if he did not—and mark, it is a bold thing to say, but it is warranted by the text—if a sinner should be led truly and solemnly to make confession of his sins and cast himself on Christ, if God did not forgive him, then he were not the God that he is represented to be in the Word of God: he were a God unjust, and that may God forbid, such a thing must not, cannot be. But how, then, is it that Justice itself actually demands that every soul that repents should be pardoned? It is so. The same Justice that just now stood with a fiery sword in his hand, like the cherubim of old keeping the way of the tree of life, now goes hand in hand with the sinner. "Sinner," he says, "I will go with thee. When thou goest to plead for pardon I will go and plead for thee. Once I spoke against thee: but now I am so satisfied with what Christ has done, that I will go with thee and plead for thee. I will change my language I will not say a word to oppose thy pardon, but I will go with thee and demand it. It is but an act of justice that God should now forgive." And the sinner goes up with Justice, and what has Justice got to say? Why, it says this: "God must forgive the repenting sinner, if he be just, according to his promise." A God who could break his promise were unjust. We do not believe in men who tell us lies. I have known some of so gentle a disposition, that they could never say "No;" if they were asked to do a thing they have said, "Yes." But they have never earned a character for it, when they have said "Yes," and afterwards did not fulfil. It is not so with God. He is no tender-hearted being who promises more than he can perform, and no forgetful one who promises what afterwards shall slip from his memory. Every word which God utters shall be fulfilled, whether it be decree, threatening, or promise. Sinner! go to God with a promise in your hand. —"Lord thou hast said, 'He that confesseth his sin, and forsaketh it, shall find mercy.' I confess my sin, and I forsake it: Lord, give me mercy!" Don't doubt but that God will give it you. You have his own pledge in your hand; you have his own bond in your keeping. Take that pledge and that bond before his throne of mercy, and that bond never shall be cancelled till it has been honoured. You shall see that promise fulfilled to the uttermost letter, though your sin be never so black. Suppose the promise you take should be this. "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." "But," says the Law, "thou art one of the greatest sinners that ever lived." "Ay, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and I claim the fulfillment of it." "No, but thou hast been a blasphemer." "I know it, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and blasphemer though I am, I claim the promise." "But thou hast been a thief, thou hast deceived thy neighbour, and thou hast robbed men." "I have, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise case out;' I come, and I claim the promise. It does not say anything at all about character in the promise: it says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and if I be black as the devil, nevertheless God is true, and I claim the promise. I confess all that can be said against me. Will God be untrue, and send a seeking soul away with a promise unfulfilled? Never!" "But," says one, "you have lived many years in this way; your conscience has often checked you, and you have resisted conscience often: it is too late now." "But I have the promise, 'Him that cometh,'—there is no time stipulated in it—'Him that cometh;' I come, and O God, thou canst not break the promise!" Challenge God by faith, and you will see that he will be as good as his word to you. Though you are worse than words can tell, God, I repeat it, as long as he is just, must honour his own promise. Go and confess your sin, trust in Christ, and you shall find pardon.
But, again, not only did God make the promise, but according to the text man has been induced to act upon it; and, therefore, this becomes a double bond upon the justice of God. Suppose you made a promise to any man, that if such a thing was done, you would do something else, and suppose that man were to do something quite contrary to his own nature, quite abhorent to himself; but he did it nevertheless, because he expected to get great blessings thereby, do you mean to say you would tempt a man to do that, and put him to vast expense, and care and trouble, and then turn round and say? "There I shall have nothing to do with that promise: I only promised to make you do so-and-so, now, I will not fulfil my engagement." Why the man would turn about and call you base to make a promise to lead him to do something and then not fulfil your promise. Now, God has said, "If we confess our sins and trust in Christ, we shall have mercy." You have done it; you have made the most abject and sincere confession, and you do declare that you have no trust but the blood and righteousness of Christ. Now, on the faith of the promise you have been led into this state. Do you imagine when God has brought you through much pain and agony of mind to repent of sin, to give up self-righteousness, and rely on Christ, he will afterwards turn round and tell you he did not mean what he said? It cannot be—it cannot be. Suppose, now you were about to engage a man to be your servant, and you say to him, renounce such a situation, give that up; come and take a house in the neighbourhood where I live, and I will take you to be my servant." Suppose he does it, and you then say, "I am glad for your own sake that you have left your master, still I will not take you." What would he say to you? He would say, "I gave up my situation on the faith of your promise, and now, you break it." Ah! but it never can be said of Almighty God, that, if a sinner acted on the faith of his promise, then that promise was not kept. God ceases to be God when he ceases to have mercy upon the soul who seeks pardon through the blood of Christ. No, he is a just God, "Faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
One more aspect of this case. God's justice demands that the sinner should be forgiven if he seeks mercy, for this reason: Christ died on purpose to secure pardon for every seeking soul. Now, I hold it to be an axiom, a self-evident truth, that whatever Christ died for he will have. I cannot believe that when he paid to his Father the price of blood, and groans and tears, he bought something which the Father will not give him. Now, Christ died to purchase the pardon of sin for all those who believe on him, and do you suppose that the Father will rob him of that which he has bought so dearly? No, God were untrue to his own Son, he would break his oath to his well-beloved and only begotten Son, if he were not to give pardon, peace, and purity to every soul that comes to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Oh, I would that I could preach it as with a tongue of thunder everywhere, God is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth. God is just to forgive us our sins, if we confess them; just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
III. Now, to close. I must just enter into some little EXPLANATION OF THE TWO GREAT DUTIES THAT ARE TAUGHT IN THE TWO TEXTS. The first duty is faith—"believeth in Christ;" the second text is confession—"if we confess our sins."
I will begin with confession first. Expect not that God will forgive you until you confess; not in the general confession of a prayer book, but in the particular confession of your own inmost heart. You are not to confess to a priest or a man, unless you have offended against him. In that respect, if you have been an offender against any man, be at peace with him and ask his pardon for aught you have done against him. It is a proof of a noble mind when you can ask pardon of another for having done amiss. Whenever grace comes into the heart it will lead you to make amends for any injury which you have done either by word or deed to any of your fellow-men; and you cannot expect that you shall be forgiven of God until you have forgiven men, and have been ready to make peace with those who are now your enemies. That is a beautiful trait in the character of a true Christian. I have heard of Mr. John Wesley, that he was attended in most of his journeyings by one who loved him very much, and was willing, I believe, to have died for him. Still he was a man of a very stubborn and obstinate disposition, and Mr. Wesley was not perhaps the very kindest man at all times. Upon one occasion he said to this man, "Joseph, take these letters to the post." "I will take them after preaching, sir." "Take them now, Joseph," said Mr. Wesley. "I wish to hear you preach, sir; and there will be sufficient time for the post after service." "I insist upon your going now, Joseph." "I will not go at present" "You won't!" "No, sir." "Then you and I must part," said Mr. Wesley. "Very good, sir." The good men slept over it. Both were early risers. At four o'clock the next morning, the refractory helper was accosted with, "Joseph, have you considered what I said—that we must part?" "Yes, sir." "And must we part?" "please yourself, sir." "Will you ask my pardon, Joseph?" "No, sir." "You won't?" "No, sir." "Then I will ask yours, Joseph!" Poor Joseph was instantly melted, and they were at once reconciled. When once the grace of God has entered the heart, a man ought to be ready to seek forgiveness for an injury done to another. There is nothing wrong in a man confessing an offense against a fellow-man, and asking pardon for the wrong he has done him. It you have done aught, then, against any man, leave thy gift before the altar, and go and make peace with him, and then come and make peace with God. You are to make confession of your sin to God. Let that be humble and sincere. You cannot mention every offense, but do not hide one. If you hide one it will be a millstone round your neck to sink you into the lowest hell. Confess that you are vile in your nature, evil in your practice, that in you there is no good thing. Lie as low as ever you can at the footstool of divine grace, and confess that you are a wretch undone unless God have mercy upon you.
Then, the next duty is faith. Whilst thou art lying there in the dust turn thine eye to Christ and say. "Black as I am, and hell-deserving as I confess myself to be, I believe that Jesus Christ died for the penitent; and inasmuch as he died, he died that the penitent might not die. I believe thy merits to be great; I believe thy blood to be efficacious; and more than that, I risk my eternal salvation—and yet it is no risk—I venture my eternal salvation upon the merit of thy blood. Jesus, I cannot save myself. Cast the skirts of thy blood-red atonement over me. Come, take me in thine arms; come, wrap me in thy crimson vest, and tell me I am thine. I will trust in nothing else but thee. Nothing I can do or ever did shall be my dependence. I rely simply and entirely upon thy mighty cross, upon which thou didst die for sinners."
My dear hearers, as to any probability of your being lost after such a confession and such a faith, I assure you there is neither possibility nor probability thereof. You are saved; you are saved in time, you are saved in eternity. Your sins are forgiven; your iniquities are all put away. In this life you shall be fed, and blessed and kept. Remaining sin within you shall be overcome and conquered; and you shall see his face at the last in glory everlasting, when he shall come in the glory of his Father, and all his holy angels with him. "Whosoever believeth on the Son of God hath eternal life, and shall never come into condemnation." "He that believeth on the Lord Jesus and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned."
And now in conclusion, I have tried to tell out simply and plainly the story of how God's justice is satisfied, and has become the sinners friend, and I look for fruit, for where the gospel is simply preached it is never preached in vain. Only let us go home and pray now, that we may know the Saviour. Let us pray that others may know him too. If you are convinced of sin, my dear friends, do not lose a moment. Go to your chamber as soon as you get home, shut to your door, go alone to Jesus, and there repeat your confession, and once more affirm your faith in Christ; and you shall have that peace with God which the world cannot give, and which the world cannot take away. Your troubled conscience shalt find rest: your feet shall be on a rock; and a new song shall be in your mouth, even praise for evermore.
"From whence this fear and unbelief? —
Hast thou, O Father, put to grief
Thy spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin,
Which, Lord, was charged on thee?
Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If shelter'd in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood?
If thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely, in my room, endured
The whole of wrath divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand, —
First, at my bleeding Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.
Turn, then, my soul unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty:
Trust in his efficacious blood;
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee."