Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” And there is not only the supply itself, but there is also provision for putting the sinner in possession of it, in such a way as to promote the believer's highest happiness, and at the same time both to honour God and his holy law, and exalt his free grace. If we have faith, we shall see the truth of all this; and seeing we must approve and choose it.

Second. Consider also the nature of the approbation which faith gives to the Gospel. Approbation always implies knowledge. Before we approve of the Gospel plan of salvation, we must see it in a supernatural light. It will never be approved when viewed with a carnal eye; to the carnal eye of one, it is a stumbling-block; to that of another, foolish

God must “command the light to shine out of darkness, and shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The heart of one who has faith will also be satisfied with God's design to save his own people, to save them in such a way that they can have no share in the glory of their salvation, and to have all the

ness.

glory ascribed to his own blessed name. Nothing but a work of grace in the heart can make a man stoop so low as that the Lord above shall be exalted. This approbation, moreover, includes the satisfaction of the heart with all the means of divine appointment for accomplishing the divine purposes. And, lastly, faith adheres with entire satisfaction to the Gospel plan of salvation, preferring it above all other ways; and this last is the act of faith which gives a sure title to all the benefits of Christ.

Third. Consider, too, the manner in which faith approves of the plan of salvation. Faith views it as a plan worthy of infinite wisdom. While justice seems to demand the sinner's death, mercy demands his life; but in Christ, justice and mercy are both fully satisfied, the sinner is saved, and the honour of God and his law fully maintained. Faith views this plan as full of love and goodness. “God is love;" and in no way is this love so signally manifested as in the death of Christ for the salvation of sinners. 6 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." “ But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Faith views this plan as

SO

highly honourable to all parts of the divine law. The obedience of Christ to it was the highest honour it could receive; and it was a glorious testimony of the authority of God, of his wisdom, goodness, and purity in framing the law. And if Christ honoured the law by the obedience of his life, no less did he honour its sanction by enduring its penalty. Faith also views this plan as full of peace. The Gospel is a mission of

peace, and. faith regards it. The law has nothing to demand. If it require perfect obedience, then Christ has fulfilled all righteousness, and so is become the end of the law for righteousness for every one who believes. If it demand the penalty, Christ has been obedient unto death; and in raising him from the dead, God declared his satisfaction with the work of his Son. And when God justifies, conscience is satisfied, and the soul finds peace. Lastly, faith views this plan as affording complete security to sinners. It was devised by infinite wisdom, it has the promise of him whose word is eternal truth, that salvation is sure to the penitent and believing soul, and almighty power is pledged to carry the plan into execution. Hence there is security.

Fourth. Faith will discover its approbation

of this plan, even in the midst of temptation. In every difficulty the believing soul flees to the Saviour. The burden of guilt, the perplexities of temptation, the fears of death and judgment, are all relieved in the plan of salvation. And if temptation at any time produce self-reliance, or any false reliance, the soul soon discovers the mistake, and, dissatisfied with itself, finds its only satisfaction in Jesus Christ. In conformity to the Gospel is heartfelt delight. There is a refreshing sweetness in it, which is known only to the believing soul. And if the believer: be harassed at all with doubts and fears, they are not about the suffi. ciency of the way, but whether he be really in

that way.

II. A second mark of saving faith is, that wherever it exists, it manifests itself by approving the whole law of God, as holy, just, spiritual, and good. An unbeliever may approve of some of the commands of God. Any one may approve of such precepts as are not aimed at his own besetting sins. But faith alone can say that none of the commands are grievous. The spiritual mind can delight in the law of God;" but “the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The spiritual mind contemplates with delight that inward

change which produces a desire of conformity to the whole of the divine law. The believer is born again, of water and of the Spirit; he is “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works." And if every believer be not sure that he has been created anew in Christ, yet he must be in some measure conscious of it, or he can have no evidence of saving faith.

First. The believer manifests his approbation of the divine law by cherishing the desire to be conformed to it. By regeneration we are made “partakers of the divine nature ;' and the effect of this new nature will be, in a greater or less degree, to produce inclinations to obedience; and the inclination itself will be pleasant to the soul; hence it will be cherished. The effect of obedience is always pleasant to the believer. “Great peace have all they that love thy law."

Second. The believer discovers approbation of the law of God, by his delight in seeing others conformed to it. He is pleased with holiness, wherever it is found. If he cannot see himself conformed to the divine law as he could wish, he is pleased with seeing others so; and looks

upon

them as the excellent of the earth. Third. The believer never entertains dislike to God's law, when he is under the greatest

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »