Let us now, without leaving the Old Testament, turn to the Epistles of St. Paul, of whose doctrine the passage just referred to will prove to be but an ordinary specimen. St. Paul again and again speaks of our justification as being not from without but from within; from God indeed as its origin, but through our own hearts and minds, wills and powers. He attributes it to the influences of the Spirit working in us, and enabling us to perform that obedience to the Law, towards which by ourselves we could not take a single step. For instance, he describes the natural man after David's manner, as "born in sin and shapen in iniquity," as "brought into captivity," as having "a law of sin in his members," and bearing about with him "a body of death." And then he thanks God that in Christ he is delivered from this bondage; but how? by "the law of the Spirit of life making him free from the law of sin and death." "For," he continues, "what the Law," that is the External law, "could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us," not independent of us, but in us, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." [Rom. viii. 1-4.] Can words be stronger to prove that the righteousness of the Law is not abolished under the Gospel, is not fulfilled by Christ only, but by Him as the first-fruits of many brethren, by us in our degree after Him, that is, by Him in us, tending day by day towards that perfection which He manifested from the first? Can words more conclusively show that Gospel righteousness is obedience to the Law of God, wrought in us by the Holy Ghost? Can we desire a more exact counterpart to the language of the Psalms and Prophets already pointed out? Even if we could otherwise interpret St. Paul's language, which we cannot fairly, shall we be inconsistent enough to give one meaning to the word "righteousness" in the prayer of the Saints, another in the answer to them? one meaning to it in the Prophecy, another in the fulfilment? Shall we explain away the Apostle's language, of which "prophets and kings" had fixed the interpretation beforehand, and make the Epistles say the less, and the Psalms say the more?

Again, to the Corinthians: "Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart." God "hath enabled us to be ministers of the New Covenant; not of the Letter, but of the Spirit; for the Letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life."  Can words be clearer to show that, as the Letter or External Law is that which condemns us to death, so the Spirit, that is the Law written on the heart, or spiritual renovation, is that which justifies us?" [ Surely, if we may deny that the Spirit justifies, we may, for all St. Paul says, deny the Law condemns. But he continues more plainly: "But if the ministration of death" (or external Law) "was glorious ... how shall not the Ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? for if the ministration of {46} condemnation be glory, much more doth the Ministration of Righteousness exceed in glory." Is it not almost too clear to insist upon, that what is first called the ministration of the Spirit, is next called the ministration of righteousness; or, in other words, that the Spirit ministers righteousness, that is, justifies? to say, as some do, that righteousness here means mere sanctification, is but a gratuitous statement to avoid a difficulty; and being so very gratuitous, shows how great the difficulty is.

But this passage leads to a further remark; in it allusion is made to the tables of the Decalogue. No one can doubt that the giving of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai was the ministration of condemnation; the corresponding event then to this in the Gospel dispensation would seem to be the ministration of righteousness, or justification. Now what is it? What season in the history of the Gospel answers to the Feast of Weeks on which the giving of the Law was commemorated? The day of our Lord's Crucifixion? no; the day of Pentecost; but what was the great event at Pentecost? The coming of the Holy Ghost, to write the Divine Law in our hearts: that Law then so implanted is our justification.

It accords with this view of the subject that justification, or the imparting of righteousness, is not unfrequently mentioned as an act depending on our Lord's Resurrection, and therefore, according to the analogy of faith, more naturally connected with the Holy Ghost. For instance: "who" (our Lord) "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." [Rom. iv. 25; 1 Cor. xv. 17; Ps. lxxxv. 11; Hos. x. 12; Ps. lxviii. 18, 19, 35.] Again, in another Epistle, the Apostle says, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins;" which surely implies that justification is through the Spirit; for how was Christ's resurrection our deliverance from sin or our justification, unless it was so, as issuing in the mission of the Holy Ghost? And so in the Psalms: "Truth shall flourish out of the earth," Christ shall be raised in His human nature, "and righteousness hath looked down from heaven," that is, the Spirit shall descend, as our Homily explains it. And in Hosea, "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy;"—here, even without going further, is the doctrine of justifying obedience; but in what follows the gift of the Spirit is more distinctly implied; "Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you." With which may be compared the words of the Psalmist, "Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men: yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Praised be the Lord daily, even the God who helpeth us and poureth His benefits upon us ... He will give strength and power unto His people; blessed be God." Is not justification a gift? therefore it must be comprised in this mission of the Spirit. With these texts let such passages of Scripture be compared as the Hymn of Zacharias, in which the inspired speaker blesses God for having "visited and redeemed His people, as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began [Luke i. 63-77.]; to perform the mercy promised,"—"His holy covenant," and His "oath;" and then goes on to describe the benefit to consist in our "serving him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, before Him all the days of our life." Presently "the remission of sins" is mentioned, as if incidentally; which brings out still more strongly the meaning of the words which I have quoted, viz. that renovation is the real gift of the Gospel, and justification is implied or involved in it.