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      Joseph Fuller, the nephew of Andrew Fuller, was eighteen years old when he died. His uncle, wrote a moving tribute to Joseph and provided this sermon sketch.

Sketch of a Sermon by Joseph Fuller, No 3.
The Baptist Magazine, 1813

By the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous. Romans v. 19.

      For the last two weeks our minds have been chiefly occupied in contemplating our fallen state, we have viewed the awful corruption of our nature, we have marked its extent, and beheld the confusion and mischief it has introduced into our world. We have traced it to its origin in Eden, and dropped a tear over that awful transaction which

"Brought sin into the world and all our woe."
      From the view of our fallen state we would now rum our eyes to the means of our recovery; from the source of our pollution, we would look with joy and gratitude to the fountain that's opened for sin and uncleanness; from the causes of our misery to the medium of our salvation. And this indeed is the true use which ought to be made of these awful subjects, all that is said on them being intended to lead us to Christ, to shew us our need of him, and to manifest the suitability of the gospel plan of salvation to our situation and circumstances.

      These different subjects are frequently connected in the sacred scriptures, nor should they be separated in our preaching, it is in vain for us to exhibit the remedy to such as are ignorant of the disease, it is equally vain to point out the disease without directing to the remedy.

      In the verse to which your attention is directed both are exhibited, the one we. considered last week from its first clause, to the other we are now called by its conclusion. "For as by otw man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Two things will be considered

      I. The obedience which Christ performed, and

      II. Its happy consequences.

      I. We are to consider the obedience which Christ performed; and this we may view in two respects: active and passive. By all the precepts of the divine law were fulfilled, and most illustriously displayed in his holy walk; by the other all its demands were satisfied in his excruciating sufferings and death. Both these were necessary to the accomplishment of the great work which he had undertaken. By the one the law itself is declared holy, just and good; by the other the awful sanction of the law is justified, and sin declared worthy of all that punishment it threatens. I'y the one the holiness and reasonableness of the divine law are acknowledged and asserted; by the other the justice of the divine Being is displayed, and his hatred to sin manifested in the most illustrious manner.

      This obedience was absolutely perfect; no error, no deficiency, no flaw is found in any part of it. Though he was in all points tempted like unto us, still he was without sin. Vain were all the temptations of Satan, vain all the efforts of earth and hell to draw or drive him from his obedience, or induce him to relinquish the great work which he had undertaken. The law of God was written on his heart, it occupied his whole soul, and animated his whole life. In him the law itself was animated and embodied, in his whole life he honoured it, and by his death be sealed it This obedience was altogether voluntary, "Lo I come, in the volume of thy book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God." was his language. For this he voluntarily assumed our nature, took upon him the form of a servant, was made of woman, made under the law; that so he might exhibit it in his life and glorify it in his death. He voluntarily submitted to all the excruciating suffering which he endured. Nor was his determination less deliberate than free; not only did he voluntarily just enter on his work, but fie as voluntarily pursued it, nor even in the full prospect of all his sufferings would he abandon it. The voluntariness of his obedience is frequently intimated in the scriptures, and dwelt upon as peculiarly worthy of notice; so St. Paul, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich:" and again in another place, "Let that mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and look upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

      The dignity of his nature stamped infinite value on his obedience and sufferings, conferred infinite honour on the law which he obeyed, and under which he suffered; and gave infinite force to die declaration which was thereby made of the holiness of the law, and die exceeding sinfulness of sin. This obedience was perfectly satisfactory to his heavenly Father; by it all the ends of justice were secured, all the demands of the law satisfied, its purity displayed, its honour secured, its authority vindicated and enforced. By it God was enabled to shew mercy to sinners without any injury to his honour or justice. With this obedience therefore God was well pleased; as a testimony of its acceptance he raised him from the dead, and as a reward for his services, "God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the father." In consideration of this obedience God looks again in mercy upon sinners, and justifies them through the merits of his Sou. But this leads us to our second particular.

      II. The happy consequences of this obedience - "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." It is almost needless to inform any of my hearers, that the term "righteous" here made use of, does not refer to personal holiness, but to justification, this being the subject of which the apostle was discoursing through the whole of the chapter. It is true that personal holiness also, with every other blessing, flows to us through the obedience of Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; this however is not the truth contained in our text, which may properly be rendered "by the obedience of one shall many be justified," constituted just, acquitted, freed from condemnation, delivered from the consequences of sin. It would be almost impossible in one discourse to enumerate, much less to enlarge upon, all the blessings included under the term justification; some of the principal only may be noticed. By this we receive the pardon of our sins, deliverance from eternal misery, the just punishment of our offences, the acceptance of our persons and services with God, restoration to the divine favour is immediately included, and lastly, a title to eternal life, and the enjoyment of God for ever.

      .And now my friends let me enquire, or rather let. me request you to ask yourselves, to what are you looking for this blessing, on what are you depending for justification in the sight of God: Many are trusting to their own supposed good works, hoping by these to make amends for their sins, recommend themselves to the divine favour, and purchase eternal life. This however, is a dangerous ground to rest upon, were our obedience ever so perfect, it would be no more than is our reasonable service, and could not therefore in any wise atone for past transgression; but our obedience is full of imperfection, and instead of procuring our acceptance, requires itself the atonement of Christ for it to appear with acceptance before God. Others, acknowledging the deficiency of their own works, yet would attribute to them some share at least in their justification with God, making the reward partly of grace, partly of works; but this idea is utterly rejected by the apostle, who declares, Romans ii. 6. That "if of grace then it is no more works, otherwise grace is no more grace."

      Christ therefore, and Christ only, must have the merit of your salvation, if you are saved at all, his obedience, alone, if you are justified at all, must be the ground of your justification. Rejecting every other hope, therefore, cast yourself entirely on him; "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved."


[From The Baptist Magazine, London, December 1813, pp.483-486. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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