Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ing in Christ and grace for all that we enjoy and hope for. This is the business of faith ; this is the very nature of that Christian virtue, to disclaim all self-sufficiency, and receive all from mere mercy; and therefore it is appointed to be the means of our justification under the gospel; therefore it is said so often in scripture, that we are justified by faith, that divipe grace may have all the glory; Rom. iv. 16. Therefore it is of faitli, that it miglit be of grace. We are ignorant and foolish, and must derive wisdom from Christ: We are guilty, and must receive righteousness from him: We are unholy, he is the spring of our sanctification : We are captives and slaves to sin and Satan, and we must have redemption from him: He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, that no flesh might glory in his presence, but he that glories, must glory in ihe Lord; I Cor. i. 29, 30.

Man, innocent man, had power and righteousness, and life put into his own hands; but the first Adam grew vain in his selfsufficiency, and he foolishly sinned, and lost it all: Therefore God, in order to our recovery, would put power, and righteousness, and life into the hands of another, even his own Son, the second Adam, that we might go out of ourselves, and seek it all from another hand. Now faith, or trust, is the proper act of the soul, to express our own emptiness, and our dependance on another for all.

This is the language of faith,“ Lord, I am a sinful and guilty creature; I have no righteousness, no merit, to recommend me to thy favour ; I have no power to change my unholy nature, and rectify the criminal disorders of my soul; I am unable to subdue the sins that dwell in me, or practise the required duties of holiness; I deserve condemnation and death, and I am by nature walking in the way to hell: helpless and hopeless for ever in myself, but in thy rich grace is all my hope: I rejoice in the discoveries of thy mercy; I come at the call of thy gospel, upon the bended knees of my soul I accept of the proposals of thy grace; I give up myself to thy power and mercy, as it is revealed in Jesus Christ, thy Son, that I may be saved from sin and hell. To me belongs nothing but shame and confusion of face; I renounce for ever all self-sufficiency, and if ever I am saved, thy grace

shall have all the glory. Now when a poor humbled sinner is brought thus far, and receives the salvation of God in this lowly posture of soul, the great God has obtained a good part of his designs in the gospel upon him ; self is humbled, grace is glorified, and the sinner is saved by faith.

V. Heaven is made up of believers. The whole number of the sa ed were once sinners, and obtained salvation by faith.

The holy angels indeed never sinned, and yet whether thcir confirmed state of holiness and glory is not secured to them by trust or dependance on Christ, may be a reasonable enquiry; for all things in heaven and earth are said to be gathered together, and reconciled in him; Eph. i. 10. Col. i. 20. But this we are sure of, that not one of all the race of Adam hath been restored to the love of God, or raised to heaven, by their own works but all by faith. It is sovereign and glorious grace that has saved them all, and that by the gospel too, in the various editions of it, from the promise in Eden, till the full discovery of grace at the day of pentecost after the ascension of Christ.

O it is a pleasing entertainment of soul to send our thoughts forward to the last great day, or to send them upward to the courts of heaven and glory, and to hear how the millions of redeemed sinners shout and sing to the honour of divine grace ? How all that happy world of believers assist the melody, and dwell upon the delightful sound. -“ Not unto us, O God our Father, not unto us, but to thine own name, and to thy mercy be all our honours paid through the ages of eternity. We were a race of guilty and perishing rebels, who had sinned against thy majesty, and ruined our own souls : We lay upon the borders of death and hell without help, and without hope: We could do nothing to procure thy love, nor merit any thing by the best of our works : But thou last called us to believe thy gospel, to trust in thy grace, and to lay down the arms of our rebellion, and to receive the . blessings of salvation by faith : We have nothing to boast of, for we are mere receivere: Thou hast put forth thine almighty arm, and hast made thy gospel the instrument of thy power to save us; and while we feel and taste the complete salvation, thy power and thy mercy shall have all the praise.

Not unto us, O Lord Jesus our Saviour, not unto us is any honour due; but to thy condescending love; to thy compassion and death shall our honours be paid, and our acknowledgments made for help. We saw ourselves helpless, and were directed to thee for ever: We trusted in thee, and thou hast saved us : it is thy sufferings that have procured our pardon; it is by faith in thy blood we find an atonement; it is through thy righteousness that we are justified and accepted of God, and made partakers of these heavenly glories that shine all around us. All our sacred comforts, our excellencies, and our joys are thine. Pride is hidden from our eyes for ever, and boasting is banished from all our tongues : It is thou hast fulfilled the law : it is thou hast suffered the curse; it is thou hast purchased, and promised, and bestowed the blessing. We believed thy word, we received thy grace, and behold, we, dying sinners, are raised to life, and advanced to glory. There is not a soul of us but delights to join in these sublime anthems of worship; Horthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing: Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever." Amen,

IIYMN FOR SERMON XVIII.

Faith the Way to Salration.

NOT by the laws of innocence
Can Adam's sons arrive at heaven;
New works can give us no pretence
To have our ancient sios forgiveo.

Lord, I believe thy heavenly word,
Fain would I have my soul renew'd :
I mourn for sin, and trust the Lord,
To have it pardon'd and subdu'd.

Not the best deeds that we have done, O may thy grace its power display, Can make a wounded conscience whole : Let guilt and death no longer reign: Paith is the grace, and faith alone, Save me in thine appointed way, That flies to Christ, and saves the soul. I Nor let my humble faith be vaip.

SERMON XIX.

None Excluded from Hope.

Rou. i. 16.—'The Gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation

to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. WE have seen the gospel of Christ vindicated in the former discourses on this text, and the glorious doctrines of it guarded against the various reproaches of an unbelieving world : We have heard what a powerful instrument it is in the hand of God for the salvation of perishing sinners. We have been taught the way to partake of this salvation, and that is by believing; and we

have learned what influence our faith has in this sacred concernment. I proceed now to the last thing which I proposed, and that is to shew the wide extent of this blessing of the gospel; for it brings salvation to every one that believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Where the word Greek is used in opposition to the Barbarian, as it is in the fourteenth verse before my text, it signifies the learned part of mankind, as distinguished from those that are unlearned; the Greeks being the most famous among the nations for wisdom, knowledge, or learning in that day : But when this same word stands in opposition to the Jew, as it does here in my text, then it includes all the heathen world, so that when the apostle says, the gospel brings salvation both to the Jew and the Greek, he shews the extent of this benefit to all mankind that hear and receive it.

It may be worth our while to spend a few hints upon the order in which the apostle represents the communication of this blessing, viz. to the Jew first, and then to the Greek or Gentile.

When he describes, in the second chapter of this epistle, the terms or conditions of the covenant of works, he sets mankind in the same order ; he pronounces indignation and wrath upon every soul that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jex first, and also to the Gentile. So when he declares the blessings of the covenant of grace or the gospel, he brings the salvation first upon the Jews, and then upon tlie Gentile nations : And one reason of it may be this, that the Jews having been favoured with an earlier and inore express discovery of the nature and will of God than the heathens, they scem to stand fajrest for the par

ticipation of divine blessings and that, even by the law of works, if life and righteousness could have been obtained by it, as well as by the covenant of grace, or law of faith. But if they abuse their knowledge, and their sacred advantages, to the neglect of God and godliness, faith and works, they justly fall under a more severe condemnation every way, because their guilt is greater.

But there may be some special reasons given why God thought it proper, in the course of his providence, to send the notice of this salvation by Jesus Christ among the Jews, before he sent it to the Gentile world.

I. The Jews were the chosen people of God, the sons and daughters of Abraham, his friend, the first favourites of heaven, considered as a family and a nation : and as he first preached to them the purity and perfection of his law, whence they might discover their own sin and misery, so he published his gospel of grace by Jesus Christ first among them, and sent his Son with the messages of peace and forgiveness first to their nation. The great God thought it becoming his equity to publish his abounding mercy first toward them, amongst whom he first published his law, to shew them their guilt and misery through the abounding of sin : “ By the law is the knowledge of sin; and where sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded;" Rom. iü.

and v.

II. The Jews had this same gospel preached to them many ages before in types and emblems, in sacred ceremonies and dark prophecies. Now it was fit, that the types and prophecies should be explained and the grace contained therein revealed first to them ; for hereby the gospel obtained a great confirmation, and established its own truth, when it appeared in all the parts of it so exactly answerable to the ancient figures, and to the predictions of many hundred years. It was fit that the Messiah should appear among them first, where his character and picture had been drawn for many ages before, that so he might be known and distinguished whensoever he should visit the world. It was fit that his doctrine should be first published in plain language, where it had been long written and spoken in metaphors. Thus the gospel went forth first from Jerusalem, that it might be preached and proclaimed with more glorious evidence among the rest of the nations.

III. Jesus Christ, who is the subject and substance of the gospel, was himself a Jew, of the seed of Abraham, of the nation of Israel. He was born, he lived, he died amongst them. All the great affairs of his birth, his life, his ministry, his death and resurrection, were transacted in their country, and in the midst of them. It was fit the benefit thereof should be first offered to them.

« ForrigeFortsæt »