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nify the God of all consolation, who, having delivered up his own Son for us all, with him also freely gives us all things, consequently the richest mines of gospel grace. And giving vent to the just transports of thy grateful heart, cry out with the beloved disciple, Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God!....Unto him who thus loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Concerning the evangelical harmony that subsists between living faith and loving obedience.
THE mystery of our salvation is thus opened by St. Paul. By grace are ye saved, through faith which worketh by love. This apostolic declaration subdivides itself into the following propositions, which, on account of their clearness and importance, may, with propriety, be called Gospel-axioms. (1.) Ye are saved by grace. (2.) Ye are saved through a faith which works by love. These propositions, like two adamantine pillars, support the whole doctrine of Christ, concerning faith and works; grace and rewardableness; or mercy on God's part, and obedience on our own....A doctrine, which, though clear as the day, has nevertheless been so obscured by endless controversies, that thousands of protestants and papists know it in its purity no more.
According to the first of these axioms, all that go to heaven, give divine grace the glory of their salvation; because they are all saved by mere favour, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. And according to the second axiom, all that go to hell, are obliged to clear divine justice, because they are condemned merely for their avoidable unbelief, and obstinate disobedience. Upon this evangelical plan the righteous are graciously rewarded, and the unrighteous justly punished: The doctrines of God's mercy, in giving grace for Christ's sake, and of man's faithfulness in using it by Christ's help, sweetly co
incide; and from their blessed union springs the just proportion of every part of the gospel.
These axioms are so strongly maintained, and so frequently alluded to by the sacred writers, that whoever rejects either the one or the other, might as well reject one half of the bible. Attentively consider them asunder, and your unprejudiced reason will perceive their equity. Impartially compare them together, and instead of finding them incompatible, (as some prepossessed persons would persuade us they are) you will see, that they harmonize in so exquisite a manner, as to answer the most excellent ends in the world.
To give you an idea of their working in the breast of believers, permit me to compare them to those two opposite, and yet consantaneous motions of the heart, which anatomists call diastole and systole. The one forcibly dilates, the other powerfully contracts, that noble part of the human body; and both together, by means seemingly contrary, cause the circulation of the blood, and diffuse vital powers through all the animal frame....Just so passive faith, and active love....The one perpetually receives favours from God, the other perpetually bestows them upon man; and thus, by continually performing their contrary (not contradictory) offices, they make spiriual life circulate through the believer's soul, and enable him to diffuse kindness and good works, throughout the social body of which he is a member.
From the animal, pass we to the planetary world; and we shall see another striking emblem of the harmonious opposition, which subsists between the two gospel-axioms. There we eminently discover the centripetal and the centrifugal force. Though opposed to each other, they are nevertheless so admirably joined together, that from their exquisite combination, results the harmonious dance of the spheres ; I mean the circular motions of the planets around the sun, and around each other....Such is the wonderful
effects of evangelical promises, and legal precepts, when they meet in a due proportion, in an upright heart. The promises which are all wrapped up in the first gospel-axiom, powerfully draw believers to Christ, who is the Sun of Righteousness, and the centre of the christian system: The precepts, which the second axiom necessarily supposes, drive them forward in the straight line of duty. Being thus delightfully attracted, and powerfully impelled, like planets of a different magnitude, in the firmament of the church, believers rapidly move in the orb of evangelical obedience, where the original light of Christ warmly shines into their own souls, and their borrow- . ed light mildly gleams upon their fellow-mortals.
If ever you saw a person thus swiftly and evenly moving in the immense circle of a religious and social duty; freely receiving all from his God, and freely imparting all to his neighbour; you have seen one of the stars in the Lord's right-hand....you have seen one, who practically holds the two gospel-axioms....one, who believes as a sinner, and works as a believer.... one, in whose heart the doctrines of faith and works, free grace and free obedience, divine faithfulness and human fidelity, are justly balanced....one, who keeps at an equal distance from the dreadful rocks, upon which antinomian believers, and anti-christian workers, are daily cast away....In a word, you have seen an adult christian, a man who adorns the doctrine of Christ our Saviour in all things.
If the two gospel-axioms are of such importance, that the health and vigour of every christian, flow from the proper union of their power in his heart; is it not deplorable to see so many people every where rising against them? Self-conceited moralists violently attack the first axiom; and self-humbled solifidians will give the second no quarter. Those opposed assailants have all, I grant, a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for the former know not, that they rob God of his glory; and the latter do not con