February, 2012


26 Feb 2012, by

An exposition of Romans 5:1-11.

“By justification we mean that judicial act of God by which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, he declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but to be restored to his favor. Or, to give an alternative definition from which all metaphor is excluded: Justification is the reversal of God’s attitude toward the sinner, because of the sinner’s new relation to Christ. God did condemn; he now acquits. He did repel; he now admits to favor.” — A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology.

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The Earthen Vessel is a 19th century magazine promoting the values of Strict and Particular Baptist Churches. Its 21 volumes comprise the complete set of monthly publications extending over a 20 year period (1845-65). The magazine was printed in London by the following publishers: (1) James Paul, 1846-55; (2) Banks, 1848-55, 1857-65; (3) Houlston & Stoneman, 1855-6; (4) Patridge, 1856-8; G. J. Stevenson, 1859, 1862, 1864-5. The editor was Charles Waters Banks and by 1859 its circulation had reached to more than 8,000. The content included a variety of materials including theological essays, devotional articles, sermons, anecdotes, poetry . . .

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The few lines now sent were written after visiting two poor distressed aged females, who lived in a garret in Doctor’s Commons, and who complained much of the roughness of the path through which they were called to pass. On my second visit I read these verses to them, which, from their own statement, was made a blessing to them. They have long since been called into an eternal world, and though poor and destitute in this world, in temporal matters, they were rich in faith, and I have no doubt they are now singing the high praises of a covenant God—where all sorrow and sighing, is for ever done away.

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Grace! What a great word is this! The eternal favor of the Eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without fluctuation, variation or change; in which divine favor, God’s people everlastingly stand; nor can sin, death or hell, get them out. And when this great and glorious gift is bestowed on its elect objects, instead of tending to what is called Antinomianism, it leads to soul-as­tonishment; clothes its unworthy recipient with humility; bringing him, or her, to wonder why, or wherefore, God should have been thus gracious to them while so many are passed by.

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“Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh him glad.”—Prov. 12:25

I believe all natural men are the subject of heaviness in the heart, and sadness of heart, at times, to a greater or less degree, produced by disappointment and vexation, blasted hopes and blighted affections; and I believe that all natural men are, at times the subjects of gladness, produced by worldly ad­vantages, prosperous circumstances, and smiling prospects; but the diversity of feel­ing expressed . . .

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