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be any authority in God's high command, if any thing inviting in a Saviour's aspect and offer, if any thing alluring in the Spirit's motions, if any value in time, if any gain in godliness, if any joys in heaven, if any torments in hell, finally, if thou hast any love to thine own soul, I beseech by every one, I beseech thee by all of these, 66 Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,”
NATURE OF SAVING FAITH.
Acts xvi. 31.
and thou shall be saved.
HAVING spoken at large concerning faith in Jesus, we come now to the second thing proposed in the me. thod, viz. To speak of the salvation promised to the believer. “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
In discoursing on this salvation, we intend two things.
1. To speak concerning its properties.
II. To take a view of its various parts.
First we are to mention its properties.
And in the first place. It is a purchased salvation, purchased by him in whom we are called to believe. Though by nature the Son of God, he became a man, yea, a servant, to purchase salvation to the sons of men. They having forfeited all right to glory, in that condition they had still continued, had not Christ made the purchase. From the infusion of spiritual life into the dead soul, to their sitting at Christ's right hand, all, all is a purchased possession, Eph. i. 14.
Not a drop of salvation but cost the Saviour's heart a groan. Sinners were not only poor, and therefore unable to buy their bliss, but they themselves were as debtors in the hands of justice, and therefore to be bought back. Accordingly there was a double purchase, viz. of persons and of things. One mighty price was given for them both. The Redeemer gave himself, Tit. ii. 14.; he made his soul an offering, Isa. liji. 10.; allowed his body to be broken, and his blood to be shed, Matt. xxvi. 26.-28.; gave his back to the smiters, and his cheek to them that plucked off the hair: and hid not his face from shame and spitting, Isa. 1. 6. A high priced salvation indeed! Corruptible things, as silver and gold, were of no'. value here. Thousands of rams, ten thousands of rivers of oil could not pacify nor please. Torrents of tears would have been ineffectual. In vain had men sacrificed their firstborn for their transgression. In vain had they offered the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul, Mic. vi. 7. Adam and all his sons were too poor to give an adequate price. Nay, angels themselves could not. The redemption of one sinner would have beggared them all. The price of salvation was too high for the whole creation. It was a God that was offended, and none but a God could satisfy for the offence, and purchase the forfeited inheritance. God purchased his church with his own blood, Acts xx. 28. The Son laid down his life for the sheep, John X. 15. His life, his precious life, was the price of our salvation. If we are forgiven, it is through his blood, Eph. i. 7. If we are cleansed, it is in his own blood, 1 John i. 7. If we have boldness to enter into the holiest, it is by the blood of Jesus, Heb. x. 19. Thus the salvation promised to a believer is purchased.
2dly. It is a great salvation, and no marvel, since the price was so. It is expressly called the great salvation, Heb. ii. 3. Great in its author, great in its
price, great in its recipient subject, great in respect of the evils from which it saves, great in regard of the privileges it conveys.* It is not a petty deliverance from some temporary evil; but so great that nothing can equal it. Like that love from which it sprung, it passcth knowledge. It is exceeding abundant above all that we can ask or think. Great was the salvation which Israel saw at the Red Sea, Exod. xiv. 13, 31. But it was only a type of this, as the Egyptian bond. age was of Satan's tyranny. The wonder-working rod of Moses was not comparable to that of the Redeemer's strength; that, with which he smites the wicked; that under which his redeemed are made to pass, when brought into the bond of the covenant. This salvation is great as it respects the whole man, the subject saved. Great was the disease, incurable, except by the Balm of Gilead, and the great Physician there. Not the body only, but the soul first and chiefly was all overrun with most malignant maladies: maladies not to be mastered by any thing less than the Physician's own blood. A wounded spirit who can bear?
And I may say who can cure, but the God and Father of spirits? Such our diseases that angels could not devise a medicine, no more than they could pay our debt. But the salvation promised brings a balm for every sore. If the conscience be defiled, it can purge it; if loaden with guilt, it can throw off the burden. It opens the blinded eye, unstops the deafest ear, heals the withered hand, makes the lame to leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing. It brings from a fearful pit, it raiseth to a lofty throne. Such a great salvation is it.
3dly. The salvation promised to such as believe, is free. This is no way inconsistent with the first particular, wherein we spoke of its purchase. For though purchased by Christ, it is altogether free to us. Dear as he paid for it, we give nothing. He purchased it from God, that we might have nothing to do but to
take it, to take it freely. Its high price and its absolute freedom are most consistent, serving at once to declare the justice, and to enhance the grace of God. So the apostle teacheth, Rom. iii. 22, 24. All who believe, are justified freely by grace, through the re. demption that is in Christ Jesus Christ's redemption and the Father's grace, how beautifully do they meet in one great end, the salvation of sinners! The Fa. ther proposed high conditions to the Son, that he might give all freely unto us. What cost him his life and his blood, is offered to us “ without money and without price,” Isaiah lv. l. The gospel offer runs, " Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17. O what a blessed market this! An empty purse, as one says, need not make a bashful merchant. No matter what we be or have been, what we "have or have not; none of these things affect our right to the offered salvation. If we be but willing to be saved, we shall. “ Whosoever will, let him take.” And what can be freer than this? It is not whosoever hath such and such laudable qualifications, but“ whosoever will, let him take.” If a man be willing, the bargain, so to speak, is made, salvation is his own. It is not, he may take upon this condition, or upon that. No; whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. That faith which is necessary to interest us in Christ and his salvation, is most consistent with its freedom. Faith is not a giving any thing for a Saviour and his salvation, it is only the taking or receiving them. By taking him we are savingly interested in it. There is no obtaining it, but by taking him; inasmuch as it is in him. But does this obscure the freedom of salvation? By no ineans. In taking Christ, in resting on him for salvation, we take the greater before we get the less. For true it is, that a person is more excellent than a thing; the Son of God is more than all his purchased benefits; as the worthy bridegroom is preferable in himself to all his estate, howev. er extensive. Instead of diminishing, it greatly magnifies the bounty of a king, that he offers not a pardon