Page images

implore the free remission of them-as much occasion to say, God be merciful to us sinners, as if we were not justified at all, The blood of atonement only gives us access to the mercy-seat. Let then all our feelings and all our thoughts, as well as our addresses to a holy God, be agreeable to this humiliating doctrine of our being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. God thus estab lished his covenant with us, that we may remember, and be confounded, and never open our mouths any more for our shame, when, in this way, he is pacified towards us for all that we have done.

Fifthly. From what hath been said, we learn, nevertheless, that believers have as firm ground for hope and confidence in God, as if their justification were a matter of absolute debt. The new covenant is as everlasting, as well ordered in all things, and as sure, as if it were not at all a covenant of grace. The gospel plan of acceptance unto eternal life, is calculated, not in the least to mar our comfort, only to mortify our pride.

[ocr errors]

We have seen that there is no want of absolute promises to insure grace and glory, to all true believers in Jesus Christ. "All the promises in him are yea, and in him amen, unto the glory of God." And we know, says the same apostle, "that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor


things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have acgrace wherein cess, through Christ, by faith, into this we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Believers are as absolutely established in the divine favour and love, as if they were justified by the deeds of the law. Final remission of sins and eternal salvation, are as fully secured to them, as if their ill-desert were wholly done away, or as if they had even a merit of condignity and the Almighty were actually their infinite debtor. Hence another apostle is very bold, and saith, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Not that, on account of our confessions, or on any other account, we justly deserve to be forgiven Deserved forgiveness is no forgiveness at all. The meaning can only be, that God will infallibly be just and true to his word. A faithful and just man will fulfil his promises, however gratuitous the things promised: how much more He who "is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent?" But, if his bare word were not enough, as the apostle observes, he hath added his oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for reWe may, fuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. if we believe in God, and believe also in Christ, come boldly (though as humble beggars) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sixthly, and lastly. Hence we should learn to love mercy, as well as to walk humbly with our God.

Had we the righteousness of Christ, as a perfect cloke for all our sins, so as to have no occasion for any

forgiveness, it might more reasonably be expected that we should be unforgiving. Did we need no mercy, it would not be so very strange should we show none. But, my brethren, how far otherwise is the case with every one of us? Do we hope we are justified in the sight of a holy God? Be it so, it is freely by his grace, even through the redemption that is in Jesus. If I justify myself, says holy Job, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. And indeed, as the same pious man demands, How should man be just with God? By imputation it hath been supposed he might; but we have now seen that even through the atonement and righteousness of Christ, we can have no plea of not guilty : And personally we cannot surely stand in judgment, should he contend with us, nor answer him one of a thousand.

Shall we then be strict to mark, and severe to revenge the trivial injuries or affronts we may receive from our fellow creatures. Read, Christians, the striking parable of the ten thousand talents and the hundred pence; read, and tremble at the awful application of that parable. Remember that most reasonable exhortation of the apostle, which speaketh unto you as unto justified sinners; Eph. iv. 23. "And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.”

[ocr errors]

The Law in all respects satisfied by our Sav

iour, in regard to those only who belong to him; or, None but Believers saved, thro' the all-sufficient Satisfaction of Christ.




None but Believers saved, through the allsufficient Satisfaction of Christ.

ROMANS x. 4.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth.

THE capital argument of many who maintain that

every one who believeth not shall be saved, we have particularly considered. That salvation is not à matter of just debt, on account of the redemption of Christ, hath been shown, it is presumed, beyond dispute.This then being supposed a settled point, that God is at liberty to have mercy on whom he will have mercy ; it remains that we must have recourse to the revelation of his sovereign will in his holy word, as the only way to determine, whether all, or only a part of mankind, shall be saved.

« PreviousContinue »