Imatges de pàgina
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(or as a debt ) least any man sould boast. This is likewise farther prov'd, from all those texts where in God is faid to pardon and to forgive sins, as in Matt. vi. 14. If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will alfo forgive you. Eph. iv. 32, Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ'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 cleanse us from all unrighteousness

. Chap. il. 12. I bave written unto you, little children, because your fins are forgiven you, for his name's sake. From all which I think it is abundantly evident, that christians have no right, founded in innocency, to claim an acquitment at God's bar, feeing they are transgressors of his law, but their acquitment is founded wholly upon the merciful goodness of God the lawgiver, who gives them their discharge wholly of his free grace.

I observe, secondly, that as the justification of 'a christian is wholly of grace, and not of debt, fo there is something pre-requisite which makes the christian the suitable object of this favour of justification, viz. repentance, and faith; not that this pre-requisite is a meritorious cause of that justifi, Cation, for them it would be of debt, and not of grace; but only that it disposes him ( in whom it is found) and makes him a suitable object for this grace to be exercised upon. By repentance, I understand an awakening sense of the evil nature, and the dreadful consequences of sin; a conviction ofour own guilt; a deep forrow, humiliation or pain of mind, that we have done amiss; a confession of our folly, and an actual forfaking it. By faith I understand two things, first, faith in Chrift that is, a believing or being perswaded, upon ra-, tional grounds, that he is the true Messiah, the only begotten, and the most beloved Son of God, she anointed Lord and Saviour of mankind; and

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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 honest profession of his name and truth; an humble and dutiful fubmission to his kingdom and government, a patient bearing of his cross, and a persevering in hope of the heavenly inheritance. For the proof of this observation, fee Luke xiii. 3. 5. Exceps ye repent, ye shall all likewise perilh. Mark xvi. 16. He that believes not fall 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 holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. In these texts the foregoing observation is prov'd negatively, by proving that where repentance and faith are wanting, the person which is destitute of them will be condemned, and consequently will not be justified.

Note, When I say, where faith is wanting, I mean such a want, as arises from a refusing to attend to the evidences, upon which faith, in the prefent case is founded; and not such a want, as arises from an incapacity of affenting, for wane of that evidence. And when I consider faith as a pre-requisite to justification, I do not consider ir 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 positive proof of the foregoing observation, see 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 cvent out and preached, that men should repent. John xx. 31. These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Chrift, the Son of God. Acts xx. 21. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Grecks, repentance 10

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wards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. xv, 18. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ 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 bearers only, deceiving your own selves. "In these texts we see the forementioned pre-requisites are necessary. Again, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, hall be saved.

Luke xxiv. 47. That repentance and remifsion of fins fhould be preached in his name. Johniü. 16. God so loved the world, ihat he gave his only begotten Son, that wbosoever beTieveth in him should 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 Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life thro his name. Acts xi. 18. Then batb God elfo unto the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. 2 Cor. vii. 10. Godly forrow worketh repentance unto Salvation, 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 saving of the soul. Rev. ï. 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 Jesus Christ, have the benefit of justificacion annexed to them. Upon the whole, I think it is abundantly evident that repentance and faith are pre-requisites to, and make christians the suitable objects of the forementioned favour of justification.

I observe, thirdly, that as the christian's justification is wholly of grace, arising from the merçiful goodness of God, the lawgiver; so this fa pour is youchsafed to obedient believers upon the account, and for the sake of Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath used his interest to obtain this favour for them at God's hand. Chrift fo re

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commended himself to his Father's love, in une dertaking the cause of finners, and in prosecuting the work of their redemption (from sin and facan) with sincerity and faithfulness, even unto the death of the cross ; 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 said to be justified by Chrift, not only as he is appointed by his Father actually to acquit them at the day of judgment, but also as they are justified 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 suitable objects of this, grace ; and also as it is a prevailing argument with God to bestow this favour of justification upon all true believers. For the proof of this obfervation, see fobr x. 17, 18. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. This commandment I bave received of my Fether. - Phil. ii. 8, 9. He bumbled himself, and becane cbedient unte death, even the death of the cross ; wherefore God also hath bigbly exalted him. Heb. xii. 2. Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the name, and is set 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 he that condemnneth ? it is Christ that died, yea, rother that is risen again, wobo is even at the right hand of God, she also maketh interceflion for us. Heb. vji. 25. Wherefore be is able also to fave to the uta termost those that come unto God by him, seeing be ever liveth to make intercefon for them. Chap. ix. 24. Christ is not entered into the holy place made with bands mi-but into heaven itself, noza to appear in the presence of God for us. Eph. iv. 32. For. giving one another, even as God, for Chrift's fake, batb forgiven you. i John ii. 12. I write unta you, little children, because your fins are forgiven: you ; for his (viz. Christ's) name fake. Here we fee, that Chrift's interceshon is available for the juftification of all true believers; and consequently, that tho' their juftification is wholly of grace, and not of debt, yet it is vouchsafed, upon the account, and for the sake of Christ Jesus our Lord, who ufes his interest 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 ; so it was through the redemption that was in fcus Christ

. This is plainly the case, as it is represented in the scriptures ; though, i think, we ought not to understand it so strietly, as. that God would have heen absolutely implacable to penitent returning finners, had not his resentment been abated, by the mediation and intercesfion of another in their behalf, such a proposition 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 imperfeliion in God, for him to with bold his mercy from those, who are the suitable and proper objects of it, except intercession be made to him in their behalf, as it would be for him to be prevailed upon, by an interceffor, to fhew mercy to those, who are not the proper objects of it. Again,

I observe, fourthly, that this favour of justification will be vouchsafed to all true believers ar

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