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Christian Redemption.

Christian Redemption.

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


Romans, vii. 24.

wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death ?
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


Romans, vii. 24.

wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death ?

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 19, 2013
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CHRISTIA REDEMPTIO.BY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.Romans, vii. 24.wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from thebody of this death ?The thing here described St. Paul has, to use hisown words on a similar occasion, " transferred tohimself in a figure for our sakes : " that is, he hasapplied to his own case what is in fact a generaltruth, referring not to himself particularly, but toall men. There is a time in every man's life, pro-bably a great many times, in which he ought tofeel what St. Paul expresses in the text ; it maybe that he does not feel so, but that is because heis not aware of, or impressed by, his own real con-dition ; and if he does not feel it himself, so muchthe less is the likelihood of his being deliveredfrom it. There is a time, or times, in the lives of all of us, when we ought to feel what St. PaulSERMO V. 51expresses : let us consider, each for himself, whetherthis present time be one of them.The time when the text is applicable to any onewould seem to be a very sad one : for the languageis that of great unhappiness. The words, whethertaken as in our translation, or whether they mightbe more properly rendered, " Who shall deliver mefrom this body of death ? " — " this state, which isone of mere destruction," — describes a great mi-sery ; they suppose a man to be bound down to
 
ruin, and with no prospect of escaping from it.And when we look back a little to inquire what ismeaut by a man being thus hopelessly lost, theexplanation is very striking; for we find it to be,that " when he would do good, evil was presentwith him." From whatever reason, his good resolu-tions were always being overcome by the presenceof temptation: the purpose of his heart in themorning was, " I will do good this day ;" but thewitness of his conscience in the evening alwaystells him, " Thou hast done evil." So it appears,according to St. Paul, that every one whose goodpurposes so end in nothing, is bound, like a pri-soner, in a state of certain destruction ; and maywell bemoan his fate, and ask, " who will deliverhim ?"The peculiarity in St. Paul's view of such aman's case is in the strength of his impression asto its misery. o doubt our common sense tellse 252 SERMO V.us, that resolving without doing is worth little ;still, in points of morals, men's feelings are in-clined to persuade them that there is more goodin resolving well, than evil in not doing well ; theytake more credit for wishing to do good, thanshame at finding that all the time evil is presentwith them. The fact is a curious one, and showsplainly how low is the standard of merit which weare naturally inclined to set ourselves. It seems agreat thing even to resolve to do well, becausethere are so many who do not so much as this;who do evil without scruple, or who live on care-lessly, never taking the pains to ask themselves
 
whether they are living well or no. Compared,therefore, with this large portion of the humanrace, those who do examine themselves, who dothink of their evil or careless life with regret, andwho resolve to mend it, appear to be persons of positive excellence. So it is, that comparing our-selves with ourselves we are not wise. But theApostle Paul compares those who resolve to mendtheir lives not with those who do not resolve atall, but with those who both resolve and do ac-cordingly. It is very true that the light soil in theparable, where the seed did spring up, though onlyfor a short time, was better than the hard way-side, where it never sprung up at all. And so,after long walking on the stones and shingle of thesea-beach, the commonest weeds, the mere thistles,SERMO V. 53and briers, and reeds, which cover the first pieceof ground out of the reach of the waters, appearrefreshing by the contrast. But when comparedwith the soil which yields fruit for man's life, theground that produces only thorns and briers isaccursed, and to be burned ; and so the state of him who resolves to do good, but finds evil presentwith him, when compared with the state of Christ'sredeemed people, is justly called by the Apostlea condition of death.ow there are, probably, a great many personswho have, from time to time, been impressed moreor less strongly with a sense of their own evil,who have been much struck with religious lan-guage, and whose minds have been opened, in amanner, to a new world, by being made acquaintedwith their relations to God. This impression hasbeen often insisted on with great earnestness ; it

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