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years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.'
The righteousness of faith with which the ransomed church of Christ is clothed and justified, is represented by FINE LINEN CLEAN AND WHITE; by WHITE ROBES clothing of wrought gold, A RAIMEnt of needle work. See Rev. xix, 8: And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.' iii, 5: 'He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. Psalm xlv, 13, 14: The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle work.' This righteousness of God is the free gift of his grace, and is manifested for the justification of the sinner unto life. See Rom. iii, 21, 22, &c. : 'But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace,' &c.
'Where is boasting, then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.'
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runeth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.' Matt. ix, 17.
WITH these words did Jesus close his answer to the disciples of John. On this part of his answer we find matter for the following notes:
1. That the disciples of John and the Pharisees standing in the law, or legal righteousness, not being made new by faith in Christ, are represented by old bottles.
2. That, standing in that character, they were no more fit to receive the spirit of the gospel, than old bottles were to receive new wine.
3. That, by becoming new creatures by the all renovating power of him who saith, Behold, I make all things new, they might be prepared meet vessels to receive the wine of Christ's kingdom, even the spirit of divine animation, which cheereth the heart of God and
The doctrine and necessity of the new birth is rendered plain and evident by the following scriptures. St John iii, 3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Verse 5,' Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' That this new birth is a work not of the will nor power of the sinner, but of the spirit of God, is not only seen by the above quotation, but also fully proved by the following. St John i, 13: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' Faith, which is the medium through which this grace is communicated and wrought in the soul, is also the gift and work of God. Eph. ii, 8, 9: For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.' 2 Thes. i, 11: Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.' The necessity of the new birth is acknowledge by Christian professors in general, but, at the same time, placed on ground which renders it ascribable to the will of the creature, and thereby rendered precarious and uncertain. By so doing, the necessity of the new birth has been used as an argument to prove that mankind, in general, will be forever excluded from the kingdom of God, on the supposition that all men will never be born again. I say on the SUPPOSITION; for surely there is no scripture authority to prove that all men will not be born again.
It would seem more reasonable to argue, from the NECESSITY of the new birth, as follows:
1. As it is impossible for any one to enter into the kingdom of God except he be born of the water and of the spirit, if it were the will of God that all men should be saved, it must then be his will that all men should be born again.
2. As has been shown, this being born again is of the will of God, and not of the will of man. Therefore there can be no more uncertainty, as to the event, than there is of the accomplishment of the will of God, which St Paul says, is, that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.
3. No reason can be rendered why God should not use all the means which he sees necessary for the accomplishment of his will.
4. From the foregoing considerations it is reasonable to conclude that the necessity of the new birth ought
to be used as evidence to prove its certainty; for if it be a matter of infinite importance, and to be effected only by the will of God, to argue that it will not be accomplished, is as unfavorable to the divine character as it is injurious to mankind.
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax, shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.'-Matt. xii, 20.
ST MATTHEW having given an account of some precautions which Christ made use of in order that the people at large might not know him ; quotes the above passage from Isaiah, as being fulfilled by Christ. See Isaiah xlii, 1, &c.
The house of Israel is here represented by the similitude of a bruised reed, by which is meant the low condition in which Christ found it when he came. The prophet looked forward from his day, and beholding the house of Israel in a low state of servitude, represented it by a bruised reed, and then prophesied of the Messiah and his coming, and said he would not break what little strength it retained,(which was then only in the sceptre of Judah, or staff, or reed of his tribeship,) untill he had fulfilled the law and made it honorable. which I understand by his sending forth judgment unto victory. The continuance of Judah's sceptre until the coming of Shiloh, was spoken of by Jacob, See Gen. xlix, 10. It was to continue until Shiloh should come, after which it was broken: Observe, the bruis
ed reed was not to be broken, nor the smoking flax quenched, until judgment was sent forth unto victory; which intimates that the reed would then be broken and the flax quenched. Flax is extremely combustible, and quickly consumed by fire, and as it smokes a little after the fire has passed it, before it is entirely gone; so the house of Israel is represented as almost wholly exhausted of its strength, and dying like the wick of a candle after the blaze is extinguished; but it should not be entirely quenched until righteousness should gain the victory over sin. Then was Judah's sceptre broken, and the light, strength and glory of the legal dispensation vanished forever.
It is remarkable that notwithstanding the low condition of the Jews, and their servitude under the Roman yoke, yet they were preserved, and retained their ecclesiastical order until they had an opportunity to exercise that power in fulfilling the scripture prophecies concerning the Messiah. Had the sceptre departed from Judah, or a lawgiver from between his feet, before Shiloh came, and that people had been broken up and dispersed as they were immediately afterwards, they would not have been in a situation to fulfill all that the prophets had written concerning Christ; they could not have said, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die.
If we duly consider that all the other tribes of the children of Israel had become extinct before the coming of Shiloh, and even that of Judah was reduced to contemptible weakness, yet preserved for the fulfillment