David Black.

Sermons on important subjects online

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Phil. iii. 9.

And he found in liim, not having mint
own righteousness, which is of the law,
but that which is through the faith
of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God hi/ faith.

1 HE Apostle Paul, the author of this e-
pistle, was, in many respects, a remarkable
instance of the power of converting grace.
His views, his sentiments, his dispositions,
were so entirely changed, that it might just-
ly be said of him, after his conversion, that
he became a ne-Av man. Before this period,


he was a Pharisee of distinguished emi-
nence. He was brought up at the feet of
Gamahel, and taught according to the per-*
feet manner of the law of the fathers. And
not only did he enjoy every religious privi-
lege peculiar to a Jew, but his conduct, so
far as it came under the observation of his
fellow-creatures, was blameless and unex-
ceptioriable. If any other man^ says he,
(\er. 4 — 6.) thinketli he hath whereof he
might trust in the flesh, I more. Circwii'
eised the eight day — of the stock of Israel,
' — of the tribe of lieiijamiih — an Hebrew of
the Hebrews — as touching the law, a Pha-
risee — concerning zeal, persecuting the
church — touching the rightcousjiess which
is in the law, blameless.

Such was the character of Paul before his
conversion ; a character^ some may think,
which could not fail to be well-pleasing in
the sight of God. But attend more narrowly
to the account we have given of it, and you
Mill perceive a most essential defect. With
all his boasted privileges and attainments, he
was labouring to establish a righteousu€S$


of his own, not subinitting to the righte-
ousjiess of God. He was a stranger to the
purity and spirituality of the divine law,
and therefore unacquainted with the deceit-
fulness and desperate wickedness of his own
heart. I was alive without the larsD once,
says he, hut when the commandment came,
when it was brought home to my con-
science in all its power and spirituality, sin,
which before lay undiscovered, rct/Vfeii, and
as to all hope of acceptance with God, on
account of my own personal righteousness,
I died. Hence he adds in the context,
that what things were counted gain to him,
those he counted loss for Christ, (ver. 7-)
The religious privileges M^hich he had en-
joyed were valuable in themselves, the obe-
dience which he had performed to the law
of God, so far as it went, might be sincere,
and worthy of commendation from men, but
when his mind was enlightened in the know-
ledge of the gospel, he was convinced of the
utter insufficiency of either of these, to re-

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Online LibraryDavid BlackSermons on important subjects → online text (page 10 of 23)