Imatges de pàgina
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(or as a debt) least any man should boast. This is likewife farther prov'd, from all thofe texts where in God is faid to pardon and to forgive fins, as in Matt. vi. 14. If you forgive men their trefpaffes, your heavenly Father will alfo forgive you. Eph. iv. 32, Forgiving one another, even as God, for Chrift's fake, bath forgiven you. 1 John i. 9. If we confefs our fins, be is faithful and just to forgive us our fins, and to cleanfe us from all unrighteoufnefs. Chap. ii. 12. I bave written unto you, little children, because your fins are forgiven you, for his name's fake. From all which I think it is abundantly evident that chriftians have no right, founded in innocency, to claim an acquitment at God's bar, feeing they are tranfgreffors of his law; but their acquit ment is founded wholly upon the merciful goodnefs of God the lawgiver, who gives them their discharge wholly of his free grace.

I obferve, fecondly, that as the justification of a chriftian is wholly of grace, and not of debt, fo there is something pre-requifite which makes the chriftian the fuitable object of this favour of juftification, viz. repentance, and faith; not that this pre-requifite is a meritorious caufe of that justification, for them it would be of debt, and not of grace; but only that it difpofes him (in whom it is found) and makes him a fuitable object for this grace to be exercised upon. By repentance, I understand an awakening fenfe of the evil nature, and the dreadful confequences of fin; a conviction of our own guilt; a deep forrow, humiliation or pain of mind, that we have done amifs; a confeffion of our folly, and an actual forfaking it. By faith I understand two things, first, faith in Chrift that is, a believing or being perfwaded, upon rational grounds, that he is the true Meffiah, the only begotten, and the most beloved Son of God, the anointed Lord and Saviour of mankind; and that

that the glad tidings which he published to the world are true, viz. that God is in and by him reconciling finful mankind to himself. Secondly, Faithfulness to him, that is, an honeft profeffion of his name and truth; an humble and dutiful fubmiffion to his kingdom and government, a patient bearing of his crofs, and a perfevering in hope of the heavenly inheritance. For the proof of this obfervation, fee Luke xiii. 3. 5. Exceps ye repent, ye shall all likewife perish. Mark xvi. 16. He that believes not fhall be damned. John viii. 24, Except ye believe that I am be, ye shall die in your fins, Heb. xii. 14. Follow peace with all men, and boliness without which no man fhall fee the Lord. In thefe texts the foregoing obfervation is prov'd negatively, by proving that where repentance and faith are wanting, the person which is deftitute of them will be condemned, and confequently will not be justified.

Note, When I fay, where faith is wanting, I mean fuch a want, as arifes from a refufing to attend to the evidences, upon which faith, in the prefent cafe is founded; and not fuch a want, as arifes from an incapacity of affenting, for want of that evidence. And when I confider faith as a pre-requifite to juftification, I do not confider' it barely as an act of affent, but as it is a principle of action, and a foundation of that repentance and reformation, which renders men the suitable and proper objects of God's mercy.

For a pofitive proof of the foregoing obfervation, fee Mark i. 15. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand repent ye, and believe the gospel. Chap. vi. 12. They went out and preached, that men fhould repent. John xx. 31. These things are written that ye might believe that Jefus is the Christ, the Son of God. Acts xx. 21. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance to

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wards Ged, and faith towards our Lord Jefus Chrift. Rom. xv. 18. For I will not dare to speak of any of thofe things which Chrift bath not wrought by me, ta make the Gentiles obedient, both in word and deed. James i. 22. Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own felves. In these texts we fee the forementioned pre-requifites are neceffary. Again, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, fhall be faved. Luke xxiv. 47. That repentance and remiffion of fins fhould be preached in his name. John iii. 16. God fo loved the world, that be gave his only begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him fhould not perish, but have everlasting life. Chap. xiii. 17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Chap. xx. 31. These are written, that ye might believe that Jefus is the Chrift, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life thro' his name. Acts xi. 18. Then bath God alfo unto the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. 2 Cor. vii. 10. Godly forrow worketh repentance unto falvation, not to be repented of. Heb. x. 39. We are not of them which draw back unto perdition, but of them which believe, to the faving of the foul. Rev. ii. 10. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Here we see that repentance, faith in, and faithfulness to Jefus Chrift, have the benefit of juftification annexed to them. Upon the whole, I think it is abundantly evident that repentance and faith are pre-requifites to, and make chriftians the fuitable objects of the forementioned favour of juftification.

I obferve, thirdly, that as the christian's juftification is wholly of grace, arifing from the merciful goodness of God, the lawgiver; fo this fa your is vouchfafed to obedient believers upon the account, and for the fake of Chrift Jefus our Lord, who hath used his intereft to obtain this favour for them at God's hand. Chrift fo recommended

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commended himself to his Father's love, in un dertaking the cause of finners, and in profecuting the work of their redemption (from fin and fatan) with fincerity and faithfulness, even unto the death of the crofs; that his father hath, as a reward of that undertaking, not only raised him from the dead, and exalted him at his right. hand, and fet him to be their Lord and governour; but also he accepts of his mediation and interceffion for them, and pardons them upon his account, and for his fake, and gives him authority to acquit them at the day of trial; fo that they are faid to be juftified by Chrift, not only as he is appointed by his Father actually to ac quit them at the day of judgment, but also as they are juftified by his obedience unto death, both as that obedience is a prevailing argument with chriftians to exercife that faith and obedience which make them the fuitable objects of this grace; and alfo as it is a prevailing argument with God to bestow this favour of juftification upon all true believers. For the proof of this obfervation, fee John x. 17, 18. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. This commandment I have received of my Father.Phil. ii. 8, 9. He bumbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also batk bigbly exalted him. Heb. xii. 2. Who for the joy that was fet before him, endured the cross, defpifing the flame, and is fet down at the right hand of the throne of God. Here we fee that Christ's humble obedience unto death recommended him to his Father's love, and was the ground of his exaltation at God's right hand. Rom. viii. 34. Who is be that condemneth? it is Christ that died, yea, rather that is rifen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh interceffion for us. Heb.

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vii. 25. Wherefore he is able alfo to fave to the ut→ termoft thofe that come unto God by him, seeing he ever Liveth to make interceffon for them. Chap. ix. 24. Christ is not entered into the holy place made with bands: but into heaven itself, now to appear in the prefence of God for us. Eph. iv. 32. Forgiving one another, even as God, for Chrift's fake, bath forgiven you. i John ii. 12. I write unto you, little children, because your fins are forgiven you; for his (viz. Chrift's) name fake. Here we fee, that Chrift's interceffion is available for the juftification of all true believers; and confequently, that tho' their juftification is wholly of grace, and not of debt, yet it is vouchfafed, upon the account, and for the fake of Christ Jefus our Lord, who ufes his intereft to obtain this favour for them at God's hand. And this St. Paul declares. Rom. iii. 24. That as they were freely juftified by God's grace; fo it was through the redemption that was in Jefus Christ. This is plainly the cafe, as it is reprefented in the fcriptures; though, I think, we ought not to understand it so strictly, as that God would have heen abfolutely implacable to penitent returning finners, had not his refentment been abated, by the mediation and interceffion of another in their behalf, fuch a propofition being injurious to truth, and to the moral character of our heavenly Father; it being equally as wrong, in the nature of the thing, and thereby would be as much an imperfection in God, for him to withbold his mercy from thofe, who are the fuitable and proper objects of it, except interceffion be made to him in their behalf, as it would be for him to be prevailed upon, by an interceffor, to fhew mercy to thofe, who are not the proper objects of it. Again,

I obferve, fourthly, that this favour of justification will be vouchfafed to all true believers at

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