« PreviousContinue »
sinking under infirmities, his death and I have long been intia younger son was taken off by a mates. To a hint from his coldisease, so rapid in its progress league that he could not do
that his parents, though in the without him, he replied with neighbourhood, knew not that paternal tenderness, God will
he was sick till they heard that give you strength according to he was dead. At that awful your day ; only trust in him, moment, his colleague visited and he will support you under evo the father with a trembling ery trial. He never discovered heart, expecting to find him any impatience, except when overwhelmed with these compli- he told that he cated calamities : But he found better, and might possibly recovhim composed and submissive When reminded that he to a degree that convinced him was going to the companions of he had never known this man of his youth, he replied with emoGod before. From that time, tion, Yes, there is a precious comthe submission and piety of his pany of them ! O what a precious heart shone forth with increased company! When it was suggestloveliness ; his constitutional re- ed that the God, whom he had serve was in a measure gone, and long and faithfully served, would his conversation often breathed not forsake him in old age, he the tenderness and sweetness of answered with quickness and gospel humility and comfort. apparent uneasiness, that he had On the 2d day of April, the wife no faithfulness of his own to rely of his youth closed the long on; that a review of his life af. scene of her sufferings, with all forded him little satisfaction ; that the interesting tokens of child- it had been miserably polluted, like piety. He sustained the and that his only hope rested on shock, as he had done his other the atonement of Christ. He reafflictions, with submission and peatedly lamented, in strong patience. He had now nothing language, the imperfection of his to do but to make arrangements life, and discarded every hope for his own approaching dissolu- but that which the gospel affords. tion. He sent an affectionate It was said to him, a short and impressive farewel to his time before his death, “ You brethren of the presbytery ; he do not at any time find your distributed his volumes of ser- prospects clouded ?” He remons among his children, grand- plied, No, blessed be God ! children, and relatives ; and I have a steady hope. Always gave directions about his fune- patient, and always composed, ral. He never discovered any he sometimes appeared transsolicitude about death, ex- ported with Pisgah views. A cept an anxiety to be gone. I few evenings before his death, die slow ; I never expected to he was observed wrestling with die 80 slow, he would sometimes God for his release from the say. One day a friend suggest flesh. While he lay in the struged to him a hope that he might gles of death, he was asked whethyet be continued with his people, er he still enjoyed the light of and begged him not to despond. God's countenance. He lifted I have no despondency, said he ; his hands and eyes in a way of
strong affirmation. The last word He possessed a powerful and which he uttered was expressive scientific mind, with a most res of a desire that his friends tentive memory. He was wise would unite with him in prayer. and discerning, and had an ese A few minutes before he expire that could penetrate the charac. ed, he gave his hands to two of ters of men, and look through his friends as a farewel token, the connexion and consequences and expressed by signs a wish to of things.
of things. His apprehensions unite with them once more in were not quick, but unusually prayer. As the supplication was just. He possessed little fancy, making that God would release but a deep and solid judgment. him, and receive his departing His genius had no oncommon spirit, he extended both of his share of vivacity ; it held a statearms towards heaven at full ly and even course. It had no length, seemingly in the trans- wings ; but it stood like the ports of faith and desire. It was pillars of the earth. He never the last motion that he made. would have gathered laurels in His hands fell and moved no the paths of poetry i bat be more. That moment the diffi- would have filled with superior culty of his respiration ceased ; dignity the seat of justice. His he appeared perfectly at rest ; passions, like his understanding, and in five minutes breathed
were strong ; but ordinarily beld forth his soul, without a struggle, by strong restraints. With far into the bosom of his God. He less imagination than intellect, expired 37 minutes past seven he was no enthusiast in any o'clock, on Monday evening, the thing. He was never sanguine ; 20th of July, 1807, aged 73 years but cool, deliberate, and cautious, and 5 days.
to a degree that approached even Thus lived and thus died Doc
to timidity ; inclined rather to tor Alexander Macwhorter, af- contemplate the difficulties of an ter having served his people in enterprise, than to calculate on the gospel ministry 48 years. success. Great as he was, he
The aspect of Doct. Macwhor- was a man of most unaffected and ter was grave and venerable, and consummate modesty. It was stronyly expressive of the prop- impossible for a mind thus conerties of his mind. His deport- structed to be rash. He used to ment was affectionate, paternal, say that the second requisite in a and dignified ; calculated to in- minister of the gospel is prtispire respect and dependence, and dence ; and be possessed this to repelthe approach of presump- virtue, it may be said, almost to tuous familiarity : yet in conver- excess. sation he was pleasant, and often The furniture of his mind refacetious. At a great remove sembled its construction. Не from assumed importance and was more thoroughly rersed in supercilious airs, which never classical literature than in belles. were connected with such a lettres ; and loved the mathemind as bis, he was much of a matics better than Milton or gentleman, and an uncommon Pope. He was a proficient in instance of true dignity.
some of the Oriental languages.
He had looked into the Syriac, well the bearings of the subject. had made considerable progress Thoroughly versed in all the in the Hebrew, and was critical forms of presbyterial business, ly acquainted with the Greek and with a skill at management rareLatin. He was well furnished ly surpassed, he filled a great with theological and literary sci- space in the judicatories of the ence in general. He was a firm church. His voice was listened supporter of the great doctrines to with profound respect, and the of grace ; as his sermons, in counsels suggested by his supeprint, sufficiently attest.
rior wisdom, enlightened and But he never appeared in his swayed the public bodies to which might so perfectly as in a delib- he belonged. erative assembly ; especially The above Sketch is abridgwhen his cautious and penetrat- ed from Rev. Mr. Griffin's Fuing mind had leisure to examine neral Sermon.
It is thought best, with some omissions, to introduce the following performance in one connected form.
EDITORS. It is scarcely necessary to ob- are justified in the view of each serve, that the words condemna- other. When a person, accused tion and justification respect a of any crime, appears upon expreviously existing law, to which amination, to have conducted in all are obliged to conform. all respects consistently with jusWere there no rule in society to tice, he is said to be justified. regulate the conduct of men, we When a person, upon an imparshould never hear that any were tial trial by the law of God, is either condemned or justified; found to have conducted, in all and had not God given his intel- respects, agreeably to this law, ligent creatures a law which ihey he is justified, and that act of are bound to obey, they would God, by which he is pronounced. never have been either justified guiltless, is called justification. or condemned. It is by the ho- Had man continued holy, justifily law of God that we are ali to cation would never have been be tried, and according to our ap- used in any other sense, than the pearance on such
a trial, we one now mentioned. But, by must be either condemned or ac- disobedience, he rendered himquitted.
self odious in the sight of God, Tojustisy, in its original and pri- and forever extluded himself mary sense, means to pronounce from being justified in this guiltless. Thus God is justified sense. As all who are saved in the eyes of men, when his must be justified by God, under conduct appears to be wholly free a dispensation of mercy, the from injustice. Thus, also, men term justification assumes a dita Vol. III. No. 11, Ooo
ferent meaning. We may now is counted for righteousness." speak, not only of the justifica- To justify in a gospel sense tion of the law, but also of the is not to pronounce guiltless. justification of the gospel. And Though, when tried by the law, for a clear and correct undere men are found guilty, still in the standing of the doctrine under gospel there is hope. Under consideration, it is necessary that the gospel, sinners are considerwe carefully distinguish between ed and treated as innocent, art these different senses of the freed from condemnation, and term.
admitted to the favour of God. Justification by the law may Their justification, however, is be defined that act of God, which not on account of any worth or declares ail who have complied goodness in them. But God, with the requirements of his law, in his sovereign mercy, is pleasto be guiltless. On no other ed to take and regard those, condition than perfect obedience, who have no righteousness, in can God, in view of his holy such a manner, that the conselaw, pronounce any to be inno- quences will be the same, as if cent. In the sense now mention. they had righteousness. Those ed, the angels in heaven are jus- who are justified in a gospel tified before God. In this sense sense are as sure of eternal life, also, was Adam justified, till he as if they had always perfectly merited condemnation by eating obeyed the law. Hence it is obthe forbidden fruit. But after vious, that the justification of the this he could no longer be justi-, law, and the justification of the fied, but was considered in a gospel, are essentially different. state of condemnation by the The former is a justification of law, and subject to its full penal- the innocent, the latter a justifity. Thus we see, that, to be jus- cation of the guilty. tified by the law, perfect obedi- We may not, however, supence is indispensable.
pose that there is any contradicBut in the gospel, a plan of tion between the law and the justification is revealed, totally gospel. They are both in perdifferent from that of the law. fect consistency and harmony The justification by the gospel with each other. The law still is that act of God, which consid- remains in its full force. It is ers and treats those as innocent, as obligatory, as it was before the who are indeed guilty. It is a dispensation of the gospel was justification of the ungodly. introduced. Though God may Here, also, as under the law, now be just while he justifies the God is the supreme judge. But, ungodly, still sin is no less odious in mercy, he hath provided a in his view. In justifying the way, by which he may be just, sinner God does not in any reand yet the justifier of him that spect countenance sin, nor in believeth, though still guilty, any degree lessen its crimiand deserving, in strict justice, nality. On the contrary, can the full penalty of the law. Rom. there be any way conceived, in iv. 5.“ But to him that worketh which sin would appear an evil not, but believeth in him who of such magnitude, as it appears justifieth the ungodly, his faith when viewed in the light of the
In this light we see,
Present obedience, should we in the clearest manner, that no allow it to be even possible, canbeing but God, in the person of not put us in a state of justificaJesus Christ, could atone for sin. tion. Should we begin to day Hence in justifying the ungodly, to yield perfect obedience, and their criminality is not conceal- thus continue to fulfil the law, ed.
we should do no inore than our Enough has been said to show, immediate and indispensable duthat the term justification is used ty. The law required perfect in two senses in the scriptures; obedience from the beginning ; and from what has been remark- it now requires it, and always ed above, it is hoped that the will require it of all who are its true import of each will be cor- subjects. How then can the rectly understood. To be jus- sinner be justified? Could all tified in one of these senses, is his past actions be obliterated, necessary to salvation. It is his present obedience, allowing therefore of the utmost impor- it to be perfect, would indeed tance to know, in which of these be sufficient proof of his innosenses, justification may be ob- cence. But what is past cannot tained.
be recalled, nor will it be forgotThe law can never be abated, ten. For every thought, word, in any of its requirements. and action, whether good or evil, « Till heaven and earth pass, one we must render an account. All jot or one title shall in no wise our actions are registered to be pass from the law till all be ful- exhibited in one collective view, filled.” The law, as above ob- on that day, when we must stand served, knows of no justification, before the bar of God, to receive but on the ground of a perfect an adjudication for eternity. compliance with all its require. Present
Present obedience, therefore, ments. Obey, and live ; trans- cannot render him innocent, who gress, and die, is its unequivocal has once transgressed ; nor can language. Now what is the it in any measure diminish the state of mankind with respect to guilt of his past conduct. He is the law ? All have disobeyed, and must be condemned by the and all are exposed
law for every act of disobedience. alty.
Nor can the repentance of the But is it possible for those, sinner render it in any measure who are now in a state of con- consistent for God to justify him demnation by the law, to be jus- in view of the law. Repentance tified by it? To be justified, has no influence to exculpate the they must be proved to be inno- criminal, even in human judicacent. But can he, who is al- tories. When a criminal is arready known and acknowledged raigned, he is not asked by the to be guilty, be proved innocent? judge, whether he repents of Innocence and guilt are directly his conduct. And indeed should opposite in their natures. They he appear ever so penitent, it cannot be blended. He who is could have no influence to en once found to be guilty, can nev- his criminality, though it might er be innocent.
have great influence in exciting