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Third. Saving faith, or believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, implies some knowledge of the Gospel offer of Christ. It must be known that Christ and his benefits are offered freely. We must also know on what terms the offer is made. The followers of Christ are “the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Here are the terms; we must utterly abandon all confidence in the flesh; we must know that our prayers and tears cannot atone for our sin, or merit salvation ; we are to rejoice in the Lord; we are to glory in him alone. We must serve God in the way of his own appointment, and in the strength of that Spirit, whose benefits Christ has purchased for the believer.
Fourth. Faith implies that the heart ac.cepts of these terms. Strictly speaking, this is faith, and the things above mentioned are prerequisites and accompaniments of faith. To accept of these terms, or to receive Christ, implies three things. First. It implies a renunciation of all dependence on other things for salvation. Hence believers are said to have no confidence in the flesh ; that is, they expect no relief from things upon which cor
rupt nature is prone to rely. " Assur shal. not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, , Ye are our gods.” “Truly in vain is salvation looked for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains."
“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." To whom can we go but to the Lord, who has the words of eternal life? Second. It includes the assent of the will to the terms of the Gospel, as good and desirable. Seek not salvation from that which cannot save, have no confidence in the flesh, take freely whatever you need, and freely use what you receive; these are the terms; who that is not blind can refuse them? We can conceive nothing more reagonable, favourable, encouraging, and condescending than this. The terms are indeed worthy of the love, mercy, and wisdom of God. Third. It implies that the soul rests on Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Faith fixes on him alone. It has tried other things, and found them wanting. With confidence it rejoices and glories in Jesus Christ. It points the wounded conscience to a bleeding Saviour, and the accusing voice is hushed. In the robe of a Saviour's righteousness, the
believer finds a shelter from the thunders of Sinai, and his furniture for every good word and work.
SECTION VI. Import of Salvation.—I. Salvation implies three things. First. It implies deliverance from wrath. Sin deserves wrath ; the jailer felt that it did ; and therefore he fled for refuge, like one who runs for shelter, when the thundering clouds portend the near approach of a tempest. What must I do?
6 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Second. It implies a title to eternal life. The awakened man desires happiness; but how to secure it, he does not know. He fears that he shall never obtain it; this makes him quake, and inquire what he must do. The answer is, as before, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” He who believes God's record of his Son, assents that God is true. 66 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life." Third. It implies a full possession of eternal life. What must I do? asks the trembling sinner. How can I secure the promised possession? 6. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Thus you
will be “ kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation;" “receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of
souls.” II. Salvation has many important properties. A few will be described. First. It is a great salvation. “ How shall we escape, if we neg. lect so great salvation.” It is a great salvation in regard to its contrivance. There was
salvation of the church is to be seen " the manifold wisdom of God.” Before the fall, divine mercy and grace had not been glorified. On every feature of creation, infinite wisdom and power were legible. Moral perfection was copied out in the nature of angels and the souls of men. It might then be seen, that God was transcendently glorious, holy, good, and bountiful; but we cannot trace the footsteps of mercy, till the world had been defaced by sin. Justice plunged the rebel angels into the pit of darkness ; but in that transaction, mercy was not unveiled. Indeed, in reference to man, the door seemed closed against it by the threatening, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Here, then, both in the justice which condemns, and the mercy which spares, we may see that salvation is great in reference to its plan. What could be
more worthy of the Lawgiver, than to show that his law was suited to the ends of government, and to the honour of the Governor ? The obedience of the Son of God proclaims, that it is man's honour to obey; the peace which flows from obedience, proves it to be for his interest; and pain, the consequence of sin, shows that no charge can be sustained against the laws and ways of God.
What more suitable to him who had undertaken to protect his subjects, than to give proof that he could defeat the crafty plots, and crush the force of enemies? All this is conspicuously done in the salvation of the church. In the plan of salvation, God completed to us the exhibition of his attributes, honoured his law, and exposed the folly and weakness of his great enemy. And this also shows that, in reference to its author, salvation is great.
All the persons of the glorious Trinity have their office in the work. The first proposal of it is from the love of the Father, the accomplishment of it is by the Son, and the application of it is by the Holy Spirit. The Son takes the “form of a servant,” becomes the obedient and suffering victim, the vicarious offering for the sins of his people, and purchases redemption and all its blessings, not with silver and gold, which for such a purpose