Sermon 128. The Uses of the Law
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 19, 1857, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"Wherefore then serveth the law? "-Galatians 3:19.
THE APOSTLE, by a highly ingenious and powerful argument, had proved that the law was never intended by God for the justificationand salvation of man. He declares that God made a covenant of grace with Abraham long before the law was given on Mount Sinai;that Abraham was not present at Mount Sinai, and that, therefore, there could have been no alteration of the covenant madethere by his consent; that, moreover, Abraham's consent was never asked as to any alteration ofthe covenant, without which consent the covenant could not have been lawfully changed, and, besides that, that the covenantstands fast and firm, seeing it was made to Abraham's seed, as well as to Abraham himself. "This I say, that the covenant,that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, thatit should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave ittoAbraham by promise." Therefore, no inheritance and no salvation ever can be obtained by the law. Now, extremes are theerror of ignorance. Generally, when men believe one truth, they carry it so far as to deny another; and, very frequently,the assertion of a cardinal truth leads men to generalise on other particulars, and so to make falsehoods out of truth. Theobjection supposed may be worded thus: "You say, O Paul, that the law cannot justify; surely then the law is good for nothingat all;'Wherefore then serveth the law?' If it will not save a man, what is the good of it? If of itself it will never take aman to heaven, why was it written? Is it not a useless thing?" The apostle might have replied to his opponent with a sneer-hemust have said to him, "Oh, fool, and slow of heart to understand. Is it proved that a thing is utterly useless because itis not intended for every purpose in the world? Will you say that, because iron cannot be eaten, therefore, iron is not useful?Andbecause gold cannot be the food of man, will you, therefore, cast gold away, and call it worthless dross? Yet on yourfoolish supposition you must do so. For, because I have said the law cannot save, you have foolishly asked me what is theuse of it? and you foolishly suppose God's law is good for nothing, and can be of no value whatever." This objection is, generally,brought forward by two sorts of people. First, by mere cavillers who do not like the gospel, and wish to pick all sorts ofholes in it. They can tell us what they do not believe; but they do not tell us what they do believe. They would fightwith everybody's doctrines and sentiments, but they would be at a loss if they were asked to sit down and write their ownopinions. They do not seem to have got much further than the genius of the monkey, which can pull everything to pieces, butcan put nothing together. Then, on the other hand, there is the Antinomian, who says, "Yes, I know I am saved by grace alone;"andthen breaks the law-says, it is not binding on him, even as a rule of life; and asks, "Wherefore then serveth the law?"throwing it out of his door as an old piece of furniture only fit for the fire, because, forsooth, it is not adapted to savehis soul. Why, a thing may have many uses, if not a particular one. It is true that the law cannot save; and yet it is equallytrue that the law is one of the highest works of God, and is deserving of all reverence, and extremely useful when appliedbyGod to the purposes for which it was intended.
Yet, pardon me my friends, if I just observe that this is a very natural question, too. If you read the doctrine of the apostlePaul you find him declaring that the law condemns all mankind. Now, just let us for one single moment take a bird's eye viewof the works of the law in this world. Lo, I see, the law given upon Mount Sinai. The very hill doth quake with fear. Lightningsand thunders are the attendants of those dreadful syllables which make the hearts of Israel tomelt Sinai seemeth altogether on the smoke. The Lord came from Paran, and the Holy One from Mount Sinai; "He came withten thousand of his saints." Out of his mouth went a fiery law for them. It was a dread law even when it was given, and sincethen from that Mount of Sinai an awful lava of vengeance has run down, to deluge, to destroy, to burn, and to consume thewhole human race, if it had not been that Jesus Christ had stemmed its awful torrent, and bidden its waves of fire be still.If youcould see the world without Christ in it, simply under the law you would see a world in ruins, a world with God 8 blackseal put upon it, stamped and sealed for condemnation; you would see men, who, if they knew their condition, would have theirhands on their loins and be groaning all their days-you would see men and women condemned, lost, and ruined; and in the uttermostregions you would see the pit that is digged for the wicked, into which the whole earth must have been cast if the law hadits way, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Ay, beloved, the law is a great deluge which would have drownedthe world with worse than the water of Noah's flood, it is a great fire which would have burned the earth with a destructionworse than that which fell on Sodom, it is a stern angel with a sword, athirst for blood, and winged to slay; it is a greatdestroyer sweeping down the nations; it is the great messenger of God's vengeance sent into the world. Apart from the gospelof Jesus Christ, the law is nothing but the condemning voice of God thundering against mankind. "Wherefore then serveththe law?" seems a very natural question. Can the law be of any benefit to man? Can that Judge who puts on a black cap andcondemns us all this Lord Chief Justice Law, can he help in salvation? Yes, he did; and you shall see how he does it, if Godshall help us while we preach. "Wherefore then serveth the law?"
I. The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt. When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile,how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is soundasleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces onthe jagged rocks beneath, and nothingmore shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him-what shall be done! It is our position;we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminentdanger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger,discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us.The lawacts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men,though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, andhow utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law.
Instead, however, of treating this doctrinally, I shall treat it practically, and come home to each of your consciences. My,hearer, does not the law of God convince you of sin this morning? Under the hand of God's Spirit does it not make you feelthat you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look ye here, haveye not broken these ten commandments; even in the letter have ye not broken them? Who is there among youwho hath always honored his father and mother? Who is there among us who hath always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimesborne false witness against our neighbor? Is there one person here who has not made unto himself another God, and loved himself,or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you hath not coveted yourneighbour's house, or his man-servant, or his ox, or his ass? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the law; wehave all of us transgressed the commandments. And if we really understood these commandments, and felt that they condemnedus, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so of leading us to fly to Christ. But, my hearers,does not this law condemn you, because even if you should say you have not broken the letter of it, yet you have violatedthe spirit of it. What, though you have never killed, yet we are told, he that is angry with his brother is a murderer. Asanegro said once, "Sir, I thought me no kill-me innocent there; but when I heard that he that hateth his brother is a murderer,then me cry guilty, for me have killed twenty men before breakfast very often, for I have been angry with many of them veryoften." This law does not only mean what it says in words, but it has deep things hidden in its bowels. It says, "Thou shaltnot commit adultery," but it means, as Jesus has it, "He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adulterywith her already in his heart." It says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," it meaneth that weshould reverence God in every place, and have his fear before our eyes, and should always pay respect unto his ordinancesand evermore walk in his fear and love. Ay, my brethren, surely there is not one here so fool-hardy in self-righteousnessas to say, "I am innocent." The spirit of the law condemns us. And this is its useful property; it humbles us, makes us knowwe areguilty, and so are we led to receive the Saviour.
Mark this, moreover, my dear hearers, one breach of this law is enough to condemn us for ever. He that breaketh the law in one point is guilty of the whole. The law demands that we should obey every command, and oneof them broken, the whole of them are injured. It is like a vase of surpassing workmanship, in order to destroy it you neednot shiver it to atoms, make but the smallest fracture in it and you have destroyed its perfection. As it is a perfect lawwhichwe are commanded to obey, and to obey perfectly, make but one breach thereof and though we be ever so innocent we canhope for nothing from the lay; except the voice, "Ye are condemned, ye are condemned, ye are condemned." Under this aspectof the matter ought not the law to strip many of us of all our boasting? Who is there that shall rise in his place and say,"Lord, I thank thee I am not as other men are?" Surely there cannot be one among you who can go home and say, "I have tithedmint andcummin; I have kept all the commandments from my youth?" Nay, if this law be brought home to the conscience and the heartwe shall stand with the publican, saying, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." The only reason why a man thinks he is righteousis because he does not know the law. You think you have never broken it because you do not understand it. There are some ofyou most respectable people; you think you have been so good that you can go to heaven by your own works. You would notexactly say so, but you secretly think so; you have devoutly taken the sacrament, you have been mightily pious in attendingyour church or chapel regularly, you are good to the poor, generous and upright, and you say, "I shall be saved by my works."Nay, sir, look to the flame that Moses saw, and shrink, and tremble, and despair. The law can do nothing for us except condemnus. The utmost it can do is to whip us out of our boasted self-righteousness and drive us to Christ. It puts a burden onour backs and makes us ask Christ to take it off. It is like a lancet, it probes the wound. It is, to use a parable aswhen some dark cellar has not been opened for years and is full of all kinds of loathsome creatures, we may walk through itnot knowing they are there. But the law comes, takes the shutters down, lets light in, and then we discover what a vile heartwe have, and how unholy our lives have been; and, then, instead of boasting, we are made to fall on our faces and cry, "Lord,saveor I perish. Oh, save me for thy mercy's sake, or else I shall be cast away." Oh, ye self-righteous ones now present,who think yourselves so good that ye can mount to heaven by your works-blind horses, perpetually going round the mill andmaking not one inch of progress-do you think to take the law upon your shoulders as Sampson did the gates of Gaza? Do youimagine that you can perfectly keep this law of God? Will you dare to say, you have not broken it. Nay, surely, you will confess,thoughit be in but an under tone, "I have revolted." Then, this know: the law can do nothing for you in the matter of forgiveness.All it can do is just this: It can make you feel you are nothing at all; it can strip you; it can bruise you; it can killyou, but it can neither quicken, nor clothe, nor cleanse-it was never meant to do that. Oh, art thou this morning, my hearer,sad, because of sin? Dost thou feel that thou hast been guilty? Dost thou acknowledge thy transgression? Dost thou confessthywandering? Hear me, then, as God's ambassador, God hath mercy upon sinners. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.And though you have broken the law, he has kept it. Take his righteousness to be yours. Cast yourself upon him. Come to himnow, stripped and naked and take his robe as your covering, Come to him, black and filthy, and wash yourself in the fountainopened for sin and uncleanness; and then you shall know "wherefore then serveth the law?" That is the first point.
II. Now, the second. The law serves to slay all hope of salvation of a reformed life. Most men when they discover themselves to be guilty, avow that they will reform. They say, "I have been guilty and have deservedGod's wrath, but for the future I will seek to win a stock of merits which shall counterbalance all my old sins." In stepsthe law, puts its hand on the sinner's mouth, and says, "Stop, you cannot do that, it is impossible." I will show you howthe lawdoes this. It does it partly thus, by reminding the man that future obedience can be no atonement for past guilt. To use a common metaphor that the poor may thoroughly understand me, you have run up a score at your chop. Well, you cannotpay it. You go off to Mrs. Brown, your shopkeeper, and you say to her, "Well, I am sorry, ma'am, that through my husband beingout of work," and all that, "I know I shall never be able to pay you. It is a very great debt I owe you, but, if you pleasema'am, if you forgive me this debt I will never get into your debt any more; I will always pay for all I have." "Yes,"she would say, "but that will not square our accounts. If you do pay for all you have, it would be no more than you oughtto do. But what about the old bills? How are they to be receipted? They won't be receipted by all your fresh payments." Thatis just what men do towards God. "True," they say, "I have gone far astray I know; but then I won't do so any more." Ah, itwas timeyou threw away such child's talk. You do but manifest your rampant folly by such a hope. Can you wipe away your trangressionby future obedience? Ah, no. The old debt must be paid somehow. God's justice is inflexible, and the law tells you all yourrequirements can make no atonement for the past. You must have an atonement through Christ Jesus the Lord. "But," says theman, "I will try and be better, and then I think I shall have mercy given to me." Then the law steps in and says, "You aregoing to try and keep me, are you? Why, man, you cannot do it." Perfect obedience in the future is impossible. And the ten commandments are held up, and if any awakened sinner will but look at them, he will turn away and say, "It isimpossible for me to keep them." "Why, man, you say you will be obedient in the future. You have not been obedient in thepast, and there is no likelihood that you will keep God's commandments in time to come. You say you will avoid the evils ofthe past. Youcannot. 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good that are accustomed todo evil.'" But you say "I will take greater heed to my ways." "Sir, you will not; the temptation that overcame you yesterdaywill overcome you to-morrow. But, mark this, if you could, you could not win salvation by it." The law tells you that unlessyou perfectly obey you cannot be saved by your doings, it tells you that one sin will make a flaw in it all, that one transgressionwill spoil your whole obedience. It is a spotless garment that you must wear in heaven; it is only an unbroken law whichGod can accept. So, then, the law answers this purpose, to tell men that their acquirements, their amendings, and their doings,are of no use whatever in the matter of salvation. It is theirs to come to Christ, to get A new heart and a right spirit;to get the evangelical repentance which needeth not to be repented of, that so they may put their trust in Jesus and receivepardon through his blood. "Wherefore then serveth the law?" It serveth this purpose, as Luther hath it, the purpose ofa hammer. Luther, you know, is very strong on the subject of the law. He says, "For if any be not a murderer, an adulterer,a thief, and outwardly refrain from sin, as the Pharisee did, which is mentioned in the gospel, he would swear that he isrighteous, and therefore he conceiveth an opinion of righteousness, and presumeth of his good works and merits. Such a oneGod cannototherwise mollify and humble, that he may acknowledge his misery and damnation, but by the law, for that is the hammerof death, the thundering of hell, and the lightning of God's wrath, that beateth to powder the obstinate and senseless hypocrites.For as long as the opinion of righteousness abideth in man, so long there abideth also in him incomprehensible pride, presumption,security, hatred of God, contempt of his grace and mercy, ignorance of the promises and of Christ. The preaching offree remission of sins, through Christ, cannot enter into the heart of such a one, neither can he feel any taste or savorthereof; for that mighty rock and adamant wall, to wit, the opinion of righteousness, wherewith the heart is environed, dothresist it. Wherefore the law is that hammer, that fire, that mighty strong wind, and that terrible earthquake rending themountains, and breaking the rocks, (1 Kings 19:11-13) that is to say, the proud and obstinate hypocrites. Elijah, not being ableto abide these terrors of the law, which by these things are signified, covered his face with his mantle. Notwithstanding,when the tempest ceased, of which he was a beholder, there came a soft and a gracious wind, in the which the Lord was; butit behoved that the tempest of fire, of wind, and the earthquake should pass, before the Lord should reveal himself in thatgracious wind."
III. And now, a step further. You that know the grace of God can follow me in this next step. The law is intended to show man the misery which will, fall upon him through his sin. I speak from experience, though young I be, and many of you who hear me will hear this with ears of attention, because youhave felt the same. There was a time with me, when but young in years, I felt with much sorrow the evil of sin. My bones waxedold with my roaring all day long. Dayand night God's hand was heavy upon me. There was a time when he seared me with visions, and affrighted me by dreams;when by day I hungered for deliverance, for my soul fasted within me: I feared lest the very skies should fall upon me, andcrush my guilty soul. God's law had got hold upon me, and was strewing me my misery. If I slept at night I dreamed of thebottomless pit, and when I awoke I seemed to feel the misery I had dreamed. Up to God's house I went; my song was but a groan.To mychamber I retired, and there with tears and groans I offered up my prayer, without a hope and without a refuge. I couldthen say with David, "The owl is my partner and the bittern is my companion," for God's law was flogging me with its ten-thongedwhip, and then rubbing me with brine afterwards, so that I did shake and quiver with pain and anguish, and my soul chose stranglingrather than life, for I was exceeding sorrowful. Some of you have had the same. The law was sent on purpose to dothat. But, you will ask, "Why that misery?" I answer, that misery was sent for this reason: that I might then be madeto cry to Jesus. Our heavenly Father does not usually make us seek Jesus till he has whipped us clean out of all our confidence;he cannot make us in earnest after heaven till he has made us feel something of the intolerable tortures of an aching conscience,which has foretaste of hell. Do you not remember, my hearer, when you used to awake in the morning, and the first thingyou took up was Alleine's Alarm, or Baxter's Call to the Unconverted? Oh, those books, those books, in my childhood I read and devoured them when under a sense of guilt, but they were like sittingat the foot of Sinai. When I turned to Baxter, I found him saying some such things as these:-"Sinner, bethink thee, withinan hour thou mayest be in hell. Bethink thee; thou mayest soon be dying-death is even now gnawing at thy cheek. What wiltthou do when thou standest before the barof God without a Saviour? Wilt thou tell him thou hadst no time to spend on religion? Will not that empty excuse meltinto thin air? Oh, sinner, wilt thou, then, dare to insult thy Maker? Wilt thou, then, dare to scoff at him? Bethink thee;the flames of hell are hot and the wrath of God is heavy. Were thy bones of steel, and thy ribs of brass, thou mightest quiverwith fear. Oh, hadst thou the strength of a giant, thou couldst not wrestle with the Most High. What wilt thou do when heshalltear thee in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver thee? What wilt thou do when he shall fire off his ten great gunsat thee? The first commandment shall say, 'Crush him; he hath broken me!' The second shall say, 'Damn him; he hath brokenme!' The third shall say, 'A curse upon him; he hath broken me!' And so shall they all let fly upon thee; and thou withouta shelter, without a place to flee to, and without a hope." Ah! you have not forgotten the days when no hymn seemed suitableto youbut the one that began,
"Stoop down my soul that used to rise
Converse awhile with death
Think how a gasping mortal lies,
And pants away his breath."
"That awful day shall surely come,
The 'pointed hour makes haste,
When I must stand before my Judge,
And pass the solemn test."
Ay, that was why the law was sent-to convince us of sin, to make us shake and shiver before God. Oh! you that are self-righteous,let me speak to you this morning with just a word or two of terrible and burning earnestness. Remember, sirs, the day is comingwhen a crowd more vast than this shall be assembled on the plains of earth; when on a great white throne the Saviour, Judgeof men, shall sit. Now, he is come; the book is opened; the glory of heaven is displayed, richwith triumphant love, and burning with unquenchable vengeance; ten thousand angels are on either hand; and you are standingto be tried. Now, self-righteous man, tell me now that you went to church three times a day! Come, man, tell me now that youkept all the commandments! Tell me now that you are not guilty! Come before him with a receipt of your mint, and your anise,and your cummin! Come along with you! Where are you? Oh, you are fleeing. You are crying, "Rocks hide us; mountains on usfall." What are you after, man? Why, you were so fair on earth that none dare to speak to you; you were so good and socomely; why do you run away? Come, man, pluck up courage; come before thy Maker; tell him that thou wert honest, sober, excellent,and that thou deservest to be saved! Why dost thou delay to repeat thy boastings? Out with it-come, say it! No, you will not.I see you still flying, with shrieks, away from your Maker's presence. There will be none found to stand before him, then,in their own righteousness. But look! look! look! I see a man coming forward out of that motley throng; he marches forwardwith a steady step, and with a smiling eye. What! is there any man found who shall dare to approach the dread tribunal ofGod? What! is there one who dares to stand before his Maker? Yes, there is one; he comes forward, and he cries, "Who shalllay anything to the charge of God's elect?" Do you not shudder? Will not the mountains of wrath swallow him? Will not Godlaunchthat dreadful thunderbolt against him? No; listen while he confidently proceeds: "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christthat died; yea, rather, that hath risen again." And I see the right hand of God outstretched-"Come, ye blessed, enter thekingdom prepared for you." Now is fulfilled the verse which you once sweetly sang:-
"Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While, through thy blood, absolv'd I am
From sin's tremendous curse and shame."
IV. And now, my dear friends, I am afraid of wearying you; therefore, let me briefly hint at one other thought. "Whereforethen serveth the law." It was sent into the world to shew the value of a Saviour. Just as foils set off jewels, and as dark spots make bright tints more bright, so doth the law make Christ appear the fairerand more heavenly. I hear the law of God curse, but how harsh its voice. Jesus says, "come unto me;" oh, what music! all themore musicalafter the discord of the law. I see the law condemns; I behold Christ obeying it. Oh! how ponderous that price-when Iknow how weighty was the demand! I read the commandments, and I find them strict and awfully severe-oh! how holy must Christhave been to obey all these for me! Nothing makes me value my Saviour more than seeing the law condemn me. When I know thislaw stands in my way, and like a flaming cherubim will not let me enter paradise, then I can tell how sweetly precious mustJesusChrist's righteousness be, which is a passport to heaven, and gives me grace to enter there.
V. And, lastly, "Wherefore serveth the law." It was sent into the world to keep Christian men from self-righteousness. Christian men-do they ever get self-righteous? Yes, that they do. The best Christian man in the world will find it hard workto keep himself from boasting, and from being self-righteous. John Knox on his death-bed was attacked with self-righteousness.The last night of his life on earth, he slept some hours together, during which he uttered manydeep and heavy moans. Being asked why he moaned so deeply, he replied, "I have during my life sustained many assaultsof Satan; but at present he has assaulted me most fearfully, and put forth all his strength to make an end of me at once.The cunning Serpent has labored to persuade me, that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness by the faithful dischargeof my ministry. But blessed be God, who has enabled me to quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages as these:'Whathast thou that thou hast not received?' and, 'By the grace of God I am what I am.'" Yes, and each of us have felt thesame. I have often felt myself rather amused at some of my brethren, who have come to me, and said, "I trust the Lord willkeep you humble," when they themselves were not only as proud as they were high, but a few inches over. They have been mostsincere in prayer that I should be humble, unwittingly nursing their own pride by their own imaginary reputation for humility.I havelong since given up entreating people to be humble, because it naturally tends to make them proud. A man is apt to say,"Dear me, these people are afraid I shall be proud; I must have something to be proud of." Then we say to ourselves, "I willnot let them see it;" and we try to keep our pride down, but after all, are as proud as Lucifer within. I find that the proudestand most self-righteous people are those who do nothing at all, and have no shadow of presence for any opinion of their owngoodness. The old truth in the book of Job is true now. You know in the beginning of the book of Job it is said, "Theoxen were ploughing, and the asses were feeding beside them." That is generally the way in this world. The oxen are ploughingin the church-we have some who are laboring hard for Christ-and the asses are feeding beside them, on the finest livings andthe fattest of the land. These are the people who have so much to say about self-righteousness. What do they do? They do notdoenough to earn a living, and yet they think they are going to earn heaven. They sit down and fold their hands, and yetthey are so reverently righteous, because forsooth they sometimes dole out a little in charity. They do nothing, and yet boastof self-righteousness. And with Christian people it is the came. If God makes you laborious, and keeps you constantly engagedin his service, you are less likely to be proud of our self-righteousness than you are if you do nothing. But at all timesthere is a natural tendency to it. Therefore, God has written the law, that when we read it we may see our faults; thatwhen we look into it, as into a looking-glass, we may see the impurities in our flesh, and have reason to abhor ourselvesin sackcloth and ashes, and still cry to Jesus for mercy. Use the law in this fashion, and in no other.
And now, says one, "Sir, are there any here that you have been preaching at?" Yes, I like to preach at people. I do not believeit is of any avail to preach to people; preach right into them and right at them. I find in every circle a class, who say,in plain English, "Well, I am as good a father as is to be found in the parish, I am a good tradesman; I pay twenty shillingsin the pound; I am no Sir John Dean Paul; I go to church, or I go to chapel, and that is more thaneverybody does; I pay my subscriptions-I subscribe to the infirmary; I say my prayers; therefore, I believe I stand asgood a chance of heaven as anybody in the world." I do believe that three out of four of the people of London think somethingof that sort. Now, if that be the ground of your trust, you have a rotten hope; you have a plank to stand upon that will notbear your weight in the day of God's account As the Lord my God liveth, before whom I stand, "Unless your righteousness exceedthe righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." And if ye thinkthe best performance of your hands can save you, this know, that "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hathnot attained to the law of righteousness." Those who sought not after it have attained it. Wherefore? Because the one hathsought it by faith, the other hath sought it by the deeds of the law, where justification never was to be found. Hear, now,thegospel, men and women; down with that boasting form of your righteousness; away with your hopes, with all your truststhat spring from this-
"Could your tears for ever flow,
Could your zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone;
Christ must save, and save alone."
If ye would know how we must be saved, hear this-ye must come with nothing of your own to Christ. Christ has kept the law.You are to have his righteousness to be your righteousness. Christ has suffered in the stead of all who repent. His punishmentis to stand instead of your being punished. And through faith in the sanctification and atonement of Christ, you are to besaved. Come, then, ye weary and heavy laden, bruised and mangled by the Fall, come then, ye sinners,come, then, ye moralists, come, then, all ye that have broken God's law and feel it, leave your own trusts and come toJesus, he will take you in, give you a spotless robe of righteousness, and make you his for ever. "But how can I come?" saysone; "Must I go home and pray?" Nay, sir, nay. Where thou art standing now, thou mayest come to the cross. Oh, if thou knowestthyself to be a sinner, now-I beseech you, ere thy foot shall leave the floor on which thou standest-now, say this-
"Myself into thy arms I cast:
Lord, save my guilty soul at last."
Now, down with you, away with your self-righteousness. Look to me-look, now; say not, "Must I mount to heaven and bring Christdown?" "The word is nigh thee, on thy mouth and in thy heart; if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believewith thy heart, thou shalt be saved." Yes, thou-thou-thou. Oh! I bless God, we have heard of hundreds who have in this placebelieved on Christ. Some of the blackest of the human race have come to me but even lately, andtold me what God has done for them. Oh, that you, too, would now come to Jesus. Remember, he that believeth shall be saved,be his sins never so many; and he that believeth not, must perish, be his sins never so few. Oh, that the Holy Spirit wouldlead you to believe; so should ye escape the wrath to come? and have a place in paradise among the redeemed!