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no!' Greater love than this hath no man, than that he lay down his life for his friend. But Jesus hath magnified his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners and consequently enemies to him, he nevertheless, died for us, so that beholding him bleeding and dying upon the cross, we may well exclaim,
With joy, with grief, that healing hand I see,
And by so doing he brought life and immortality to light, and purchased salvation for lost and ruined mankind. This brings me to the second particular,
How is he the author of eternal salvation to them who obey him?
In order to set this matter in a clear light, it will be necessary to observe, that when the Apostle speaks of eternal salvation, he no doubt includes that salvation from sin, which we must experience in the present world, in order to prepare us for the enjoyment of eternal salvation in the world to
Our Lord himself calls this eternal life. This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. If he calls that experimental knowledge of God eternal life, because it is the beginning of it, and our preparation for the enjoyment of it, so might the Apostle upon the same ground, call that salvation from sin, which every true believer enjoys in this life, eternal salva: tion.
Christ our Redeemer therefore may be considered as the author both of present and eternal salvation, seeing that he, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit; in infinite wisdom and boundless love, contrived that wonderful method of salvation made known to us in the gospel. Whoever seriously considers this, must be constrained to acknowledge that none but the infinitely wise and blessed God, could have found out this most astonishing way' to recover lost mankind from the rains of the fall. A way in which all the infinite perfections of God are wonderfully manifested, and sweetly harmonize.
His mercy and his love, his justice and holiness : His ha. tred 10 sin, and his pity and love to poor perishing sinners, are clearly displayed. The more attentively, we consider the plan of our salvation, the more clearly we shall see infinite wisdom, boundless mercy, and inconceivable love shining like the sun in his meridian glory, in every part of it. And
we may therefore say the same thing of it, which the Poet says on another occasion,
O yes! Endless scenes of wonder rise before our eyes, and shall continue to rise through everlasting ages, while we con. template the love of God in Christ Jesus to us, who had de, stroyed ourselves. Well may we sing,
When man was lost, love look'd about
To see what help in earth or sky,
The belp did in God's bosom lie. His wisdom invented, and his own right-hand and his holy arm executed the wonderous plan, and procured salvation for poor perishing sinners,
But Christ may more especially be termed the author of our salvation, because by his sufferings and death he hath procured salvation for us. For we are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver or gold whick perisheth, but with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a Lamb Without spot or blemish, slain from the foundation of the world, O yes! Our salvation, and every part of it, was bought with blood. If we are saved from that dreadful darkness which sin has brought upon our minds, it is because Christ the true light bath appeared, To lighten the Gentiles and ta be the glory of his people Israel. If we experience the peace of God in our conscience, it is because the Prince of peace hath not only appear'd in the world, but hath made peace for us by the blood of his cross. If divine grace hath been communi, cated to us, and if our minds have been renewed thereby, it is because our blessed Redeemer bath procured
the gift of the Holy Spirit for us, and hath fulfilled his gracious promise, and sent the Comforter down to visit us.
Christ may also be considered as the author of our salvation; as he by the power of his own blessed Spirit begins, carries on and fully accomplishes the whole work of grace in our souls. The band of our spiritual Zerubbabel lays the foundation of this work, he carries on, and fully completes the building, until the head stone is brought forth with shouting, crying, Grace, grace unto it : so that we shall
rejoice to be eternally indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. And shall therefore cheerfully and everlastingly sing, Unto him who hath loved us, and hath washed us from pur siņs in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God, unto him be glory and honour, dominion and praise for coer and ever, Amen.
Thirdly. What is that obedience which must be performed by those who shall be eternally saved by Christ. • Here it will be necessary to keep close to the word of God, and the more so, as many for want of understanding this, and such like passages of the holy Scriptures, have been led to seek death in the error of their ways. How many have impertinently said, ' (thinking that the Scriptures fully justi. fy'd them in so doing,] "Do not tell us of vour Doçirines of Grace, and of salvation by faith alone. We are too well acquainted with the word of God, and understand it too well, to be imposed upon by you in this particular. Does not out Lord say, Not every one who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but he who doeth the will of, my Father who is in heaven. " And does not St. John şay y the very same thing. Blessed are they who do his command. ments, that they may have a righi to eat of the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. And, say they, even St Paul, our favourite Apostle saith the very same thing, for he tells us that Christ is the author of eternal salva. tion only to thase who obey him,"
As it is impossible that the God of truth should contradict himself in that revelation which he has made to mankind in his holy word, it concerns us to search the Scriptures that we may kno y the truth, and be brought to experience it in our own miods. It has always been acknowledged that the Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, and that it is very often absolutely necessary, in order to find out what is the mind or will of God, to compare spiritual things with spiritual, or to compare one passage of holy scripture with another. If we do this in the present instance, we shall soon see that these people are dangerously mistaken.
The Apostle informs us, That by the works of the Law shall no Alesh living be justified. If there had been a Law, given, which could have given lifc, then righteousness, or salvation, should have been by the Løw,-—But he adds, If right cousness, or salvation, be by the Law, then Christ hath tastedo death in wain. Nay he solemnly declares, As many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse, as it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the book of the Law to do them. If these people are mistaken, and mistaken they most assuredly are, then what is that obe dience which the Apostle has in view?
I answer. The first part of this obedience is that true evangelical repentance which God himself hath made absoJutely necessary to salvation, it being expressly declared, Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perisk. From hence we may safely conclude, that there never was, a finally impenitent sinner eternally sayed, nor there never will. This will be acknowledged by all who profess to believe the Bible, without exception, except a few wild Anticomians.---Yet many of those who confess this, are strangers to the nature of true repentance. They think that Repentance is no more than an outward reformation of life and manners ;--that it is entirely in our own power, and we may repent and turn to God just when we will,- and when a person hath reformed his outward conduct, and lives in a regular, and, in what is pery improperly called a religious way, he has repented to all intents and purpoșeș,--and that neither God nor man can justly require any more of him. And many who believe this, most dangerously defer it till they are just about to leave this world, thinking that it will be quite sufficient, and will answer every valuable purpose to them, if they, only repent and turn to God a little before they die.
That třue Repentance will be attended with an outward reformation, is most certain, but that there may be an outward reformation when these is no true repentance is equally certaiq.
Repentance is an internal, rather than an external work,--a change of heart rather than a change of life:---a work wrought in us by the power of the divine Spirit, rather than a work of our own. Neither is Repentance a work in our own power, but is the gift of God, so the Apostle speaks, Him hath God eralted with his own right hand, to be a prince andą Saviour, to give Repentance and remission of sins unto Israél. "All this will be readily acknowledged by many, who nevertheless remain in an impenitent state of mind. “We well know" say they, " that repentance is absolutely necessary to salvation. That it is a work wrought in us by the holy Spirit of God, and that we cannot repent when we will, or by any power of our own, and therefore we must wait 'till it shall please God to give us repentance.
" All this is certainly true, 'but how, or after what manner do they wait? It is to be feared in a state of careless indifferency, like Solo. mon's sluggard. Folding their hands together, and crying little more sleep, a little more slumber.. Vainly thinking that a time will come, when God will work upon their minds in a more powerful, yea in an irresistible manner, so that they shall be constrained to seturn to him.
Whereas they ought to wait upon the Lord for repent, ance in fervent, and continued prayer, and in the careful and constant use of every means of Grace which he hath appointed ; firmly believing that as he expressly commands all men every where to repent, as a wise and infinitely grą. cions God, he is certainly willing to give that blessing to all those who are willing to receive it; as it would be absurd in the highest degree to suppose, that he would command ima possibilities.
But many there are who come under the same reproof which Stephen gave to his persecutors. Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers did, (even) so do ye. They s'ou against the light, quench good desires, suifle divine cons victions, and then say, “ They must wait 'rill God shall give them Repentance."-But let a person improve the light which shines into his mind, let him cherish every good desire kindled in his heart, and let him earnestly pray that the Lord would deepen the conviction wbich the Holy Spirit hath at any time wrought in bis mind, and he will soon find, by happy experience, that the Lord will not anly give bim repentance, but he will also be brought to the God of his salyation, and shall receive pardon and peace at his band.
2. A second part of this obedience is, that living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which God hath also made absolutely necessary to salvation. For this is the unchangeable decree of God, He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.
From hence then it appears ; that faith in Christ is abso, lutely necessary to salvation, and that a person continuing in unbelief to the end ; must needs perish for ever, the gates of everlasting salvation will be eternally shut against bim. All that acknowledge the Bible to be the word of God, must needs believe the truth of this. But then we shall find many people as great strangers to the nature of Gospel faith, as others are to ihe nature of true Repentance. For how many are led to suppose, that to believe in Christ is the easiest thing in the world, to believe is neither more nor less, than to acknowledge him to be the only Saviour of the World,