Imatges de pàgina
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that day, when the body of mankind shall be fummoned to give up their account to Christ Jefus our Lord. Then shall every true christian, that is, every one in whom the forementioned pre-requisites are found, partake of God's act of grace, by being acquitted or absolved, and fa difcharged from that punishment and condemnation to which their fins had juftly exposed, and the righteous law of God had bound them over. For the proof of this obfervation, see Ecclef. ii. 17. I said in mine beart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked. Chap. xii, 14. God fall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Acts X. 42. To testify that it was be which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. Chap. xvii. 31. Because he bath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he batb ordained. Rom. ii. 16. In the day when God Shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Chap. xiv. 10,12. We must all stand before the judgment-feat of Christ ---So then every one of us fball ġire an account of himself to God. 2 Tim. iv. i. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, wbo fall judge the quick and the dead.

1 Pet. iv. 5. Who shall give! account to him that is ready to judge the quick and dead. Here we see, that as God bath appointed a day in which be will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; so all persons, and all that they have done, shall pass under that trial; every work, every secret thing, whether good or evil, and all persons, both quick and dead, the righteous and the wicked, christians as well as others. For, saich, St. Paul to the christian Romans, we must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, every one of t. jall give an account of bimself to God. Matt. xxv, 32----34. Before him (viz. Christ) shall be gathered all nations, and be fall separate them one from ano-, ther, as a shepherd divideth his fibeep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on bis right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say to them on, bis right hand, corfiê ye blessed of my Father, inherits the kingdom prepared for you, &c. Verse 41. Then, sball be fay to ibem on the left hand, depart from me, je cursed, into everlafting fire; prepared for the devil ånd his angels. Verse 46. These hall go away into cuerlasting punishnient, but the righteous into life eternal. 2 Cor. v. 1o. We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in șis body, according to that he hath doné, whether it be good or bad. Rev. xx. 12, 13. I saw the dead, small and great, stand before. God, and the books were opened, and another book reas opened, which is the book of life ; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and bell gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged. every man according to their works. Here we sce that the result or iffure of the aforesaid general judgment is the acquisting or condemning of the persons brought to trial, according as their works have made them the suitable objects of God's favour or displeasure ; and consequently that the justification of a christian will then, and not till then, take place.

Thefe four I take to be the principal ingre. dients in a christian's justification. First, That it is wholly of grace, and not of debt. Secondly,

That the pre-requisites to, and which make christians the suitable objects of this favour are, repentance, faith in, and faithfulness to our Lord. Jesus Christ. Thirdly, The motive or argument with God, for bestowing this act of grace upon all true believers, is the obedience of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who as he became obe

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dicnt unto the death of the cross, so he hath obtained to be a prevailing intercessor for all obedient believers, and God vouchsafes to pardon and acquit them upon his account, and for his sake. Fourtbly, That this grace will be actually dispensed to all the suitable objects of it, at the great and general judgment.

The cafe being thus stated, and proved, from hence we learn, first, the needlessness of that great debate, viz. whether christians are justified by faith alone, or both by faith and works; for if by faith is meant a believing what God hath revealed, or, in other words, a believing in the person and message of the Messiah, which is commonly called christian faith, or an afsenting to the truth of the christian revelation ; and if by works is meant christian obediences or, in other words, the fincere practice of that unfeigned repentance, purity, piety, humility, justice, and charity, which is suitable to, and founded upon that belief, then it appears, from the foregoing observations, that. we are justified neither by faith nor works ; if by being justified by these, we mean, that these, or cither of these is the meritorious cause of that justification, because (as I have shewn) the christian is justified wholly of God's free grace, which excludes all merit in the person justified, when we use the word merit in its first and most proper sense, as is supposed here. But if, by being justified by these, we mean, that these, or either of these is pre-requisite to, and that which makes christians the suitable objects of this favour; then it appears, from what hath been already observ'd, that christians are justified both by faith and by works, because both faith and works are necessary to make men the suitable objects of this grace, the latter álways pre-supposing the former, tho’ it is not always a necetary confequence of it ; for tho'

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christian obedience always fupposes christian faith as its root, yet chriftian faith doth not always bring forth the fruit of christian obedience; and therefore, as St. James observes, chap. ii. 14. and to the end of that chapter, that a man may have faith alone without works ; so he likewise affires usy that faith alone doth not make us the suitable objects of the forementioned grace of justification, because both faith and works are necessary to that end.

I observe farther, that the faith, pre-requisite to the justification of a christiani, is the belief of those divine truths which God hath revealed to us in and by Chrift Jefus, and not a strong perfuasion in us that we are particularly elected, that God loves us with his special love, and that Christ died for us in particular, which fome nien mifcall justifying-faith : I fay, the faith which makes christians the suitable objects of God's grace of justification (when it is accompanied with christi-, an obedience or good works) is the former only, and not the latter ; because it is the former only, and not the latter of thefe, which can, in any propriety of speech, be called faith. For as in general, faith is an asient of the mind to the truth of a proposition revealed to us by another, so it is our assenting to those truths that God hath revealed, which is properly citine faith; and thesefore as God hath revealed the truths of the chriftian religion, but hath no where revealed, that any particular person is elected, or that he loves him with his special love, or that Christ died for him in particular, there being no such propofie tion to be found in any part of his revelation; so consequently it is the former only, and not the latter, which is divine faith, or that faith, whicit (when it is accompanied with christian obedience) disposes christians for the favour of justification.

Indeed,

Indeed, as God has promised his special love, &c. to all obedient believers, whoever can be sure, upon good grounds, that they are such obedient believers as God's promise is made to, may be sure that God loves them with his special love, &c. But then this assurance is, in no sense, divine faith, but only a rational and just conclusion drawn from its proper premises ; one of which premises is divine faith, or an afsenting to some truth revealed by God.

From this observation we may see the groundlessness of some mens confidence (which they call, a being strong in faith) for if they can work up

themselves to a strong persuasion that they are elected, that God loves them with his special love, and that Christ died for them in particular, then they conclude, that they have the faith of God's elect, or justifying faith ; and consequently, that they are in a safe condition, and that all is well. But as these men are persuaded of what God hath not revealed, and as that is not divine faith, so this persuasion, whether it be well or ill grounded, is of no manner of use to them, with respect to their justification ; because at the day of judgment, our Lord will deal with us according to what we really are, and not according to what we have confidently conceited ourselves to be. Every one, in whom the pre-requisites of faith and christian obedience are found, Christ will acquit at the day of trial, whether they think themselves the objects of this grace or not ; for, supposing such a man to be strongly persuaded that he is a reprobate, his persuasion doth not make him so; for his error, in this case, is not a defect of faith, but only an humble and groundless jealousy of himself, and therefore his error will make no alteration in his sentence. It may make his life uncomfortable to him here, but it will not affect

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