Billeder på siden

peace which

demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit'.”

Justification unto eternal life is a capital blessing of Christ's salvation, which includes not only a plenary remission of sin, and the acceptance of the penitent as a righteous character in Christ, but also a legal undisputed title to heaven ; which is accompanied with the bestowment of that “ passeth all understanding,” and those sweet inanifestations of Divine favour which the Saved enjoy, in communion with the “ God of their salvation".

Important and delightful as the privileges are which the believer enjoys on earth, yet they yield, in degree and perfection, to the future benefits of salvation, as much as the shadow does to the substance, or the sign to the thing signified by it.

5. In that heaven, for the enjoyments of which the salvation of Christ fits his people, there will be a perfection of holiness. The saints are imperfect in this life. They look for the completion of thegracious work begun in their souls, in that place where sin cannot enter. There, salvation, as to the great moral and religious change to be accomplished by it, will be thoroughly finished. Here there is a mixture of evil with good; of something that debases the best services of the most upright men. But there the saints will be absolutely free from all sinful emotions, and be confirmed in a state of righteousness, from which they will be in no danger of falling :" And there shall be no more curse : but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."

In heaven there will be, also, a perfection of hapRom. viii. 1. "Ps.lxxxix. 15-18. Rev. xxü. 3, 4.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

piness. In the courts of God below, the Christian sometimes catches a glimpse of heaven; but how soon does it recede from his eyes, and leave him to mourn for the glorious sight of which he has been so suddenly deprived ! A large portion of sorrow is mingled with the joy of good men on earth, which renders the measure of their happiness scanty and imperfect.

But, when all the ransomed throng are brought home to their glorified abodes in heaven, how greatly will their bliss be increased and refined ! They will then be continually receiving fresh accessions of a joy that is celestial, eternal, and satisfying. In that blest place, exempted for ever from sin and sorrow, they will receive the full accomplishment of those promises which, from the very nature of things, could but be partially fulfilled in this vale of tears. There, then, all that perfection of knowledge and holiness, and that fruition of heavenly pleasures, which Believers in the Church militant have so ardently sought, will be completely attained ; and the soul, possessed of the most enlarged capacities, will not have to regret the absence of any thing that can possibly contribute to its felicity

Blest day! when all the saved shall join in acclamations of praise to their Deliverer, whose smile will render them perpetually happy; and say, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests “.”

6. This salvation, so glorious in its effects, so rich in its present privileges, and beneficial in its final nim 1 Cor. ii. 9.

* Rev. v. 9-12.

[ocr errors]




consequences, has been wrought out for us by the Son of God, who gives it to whomsoever he will, without any reference to their personal guilt or deserts, His voluntary sacrifice of himself has purchased for us all spiritual blessings. Hence, he is said to be “ exalted with the right-hand of God, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sinso." Hence, he tenders salvation to every one who discovers his need of it, and wishes to obtain the blessing ; saying, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth P!" And, to encourage the application of penitent sinners, he declares, “ He that cometh to Me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst Yea, he remonstrates with men for rejecting the promised blessings of his Gospel, in order that thcy may gratify their insatiate desires after worldly vanities:-“ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, eome ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price? Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and coine unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David'.

7. Now, though salvation is thus freely and gratuitously proposed, and though all must be eternally lost and undone unless they accept of it, yet many do not see that they have any need of it, and, consequently, will not apply to Jesus for its benefits. o Acts v. 31.

p Isa. xlv. 22. 4 John vi. 35.

r Isa. ly. 1-4.

[ocr errors]

of ena

But, except the blessings of salvation are received and applied by faith, how can they really profit the soul? Can thirst be allayed, and hunger satisfied, without ineat and drink? Can the weary be refreshed without rest and sleep · Upon the same principle, how can the soul, which is dead in trespasses and sins, be ever made alive unto God, unless the Spirit of Truth quickens it for his service? How can “the conscience be purified from dead works to serve the living God,” unless the blood of Christ is sprinkled thereon for the purpose bling it to perform its peculiar offices? How can the enmity of our hearts to God be subdued and overcome, unless the love of Christ constrains us to live agreeably to his righteous will? How can our angry passions be controlled, unless the grace of Jesus reigns in our souls, to check their native violence ? In fine, by what means is the mind of fallen man to be renewed and spiritualized, except “it is begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead?”

Now, if such a change can be expected from a mere adinission of the Gospel, without an application of its truths to the heart and conscience producing a conformity thereto, then the profane and impenitent and unholy, whilst they continue such, may be saved, as well as the repentant and enlightened believer. But we are assured, from the word of God, “ that except we repent, and be converted by the Spirit of Christ, without doubt we shall perish everlastingly.”

8. Three things are indispensably necessary, to render our application to Christ, for salvation, successful : Penitence.-Our Lord must be sought with tears. • Heb. ix. 14.

Luke xiii. 1-5.

[ocr errors]

When we look on Him whom we have pierced by our sins, we should mourn". We should

We should approach Jesus with the deepest sorrow for our trangressions, which reach unto heaven. Christ loves the sighing of the contrite heart, and will save such as be of a broken spirit

Go, then, penitent sinner! and weep at the cross; and there Jesus will speak peace to your troubled soul

. He will say,“Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee

Faith, which exhibits in a proper light the evil and desert of sin, and the sufficiency of the Saviour's merits to justify the ungodly, and to rescue thein from eternal death, is requisite to give weight to our application. Approach Jesus, then, O conscious sinner! in a believing spirit. Possess a thorough persuasion of his ability to save thee from the curse of the law---the domination of sinthe torments of hell.

Our Saviour requires those who solicit any spiritual favour, or healing, or cure for their souls, to repose unbounded confidence in His power to relieve and help them. They who exercise unshaken faith in him receive the benefit which they implore; but those who do not believe are sent empty away

Love.- We must not come to our Divine Redeemer with enmity in our hearts against him or his Gospel ; for this would ensure our rejection. No, let us pray that our past aversion to Him may be turned into genuine affection, which is demonstrated by keeping his commandments. Draw nigh, then, to Christ, in admiration of the excellencies of his Divine nature, and of the great compassion which he manifested u Zech. xii. 10.

nu Psalm xxxiv, 18. * Luke vii. 47.

xx ib. i.53.

« ForrigeFortsæt »