Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We have access, through Christ, by faith, into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Believers are as absolutely established in the divine favour and love, as if they were justified by the deeds of the law. Final remission of sins and eternal salvation, are as fully secured to them, as if their ill.desert were wholly done away, or as if they had even a merit of condignity and the Almighty were actually their infinite debtor. Hence another apostle is very bold, and saith, “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not that, on account of our confessions, or on any other account, we justly deserve to be forgiven. Deserved forgiveness is no forgiveness at all. The meaning can only be, that God will infallibly be just and true to his word. A faithful and just man will fulfil his promises, however gratuitous the things promised: how much more He who " is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent?" But; if his bare word were not enough, as the apostle observes, he hath added his oath, that by two immuta. ble things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. if we believe in God, and believe also in Christ, come boldly (though as humble beggars) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sixthly, and lastly. Hence we should learn to love mercy, as well as to walk humbly with our God.

Had we the righteousness of Christ, as a perfect cloke for all our sins, so as to have no occasion for any

We may,

forgiveness, it might more reasonably be expected that we should be unforgiving. Did we need no mercy, it would not be so very strange should we show none. But, my brethren, how far otherwise is the case with every one of us? Do we hope we are justified in the sight of a holy God? Be it so, it is freely by his grace, even through the redemption that is in Jesus. If I jus. tify myself, says holy Job, mine own mouth shall condemn me : if I say I an perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. And indeed, as the same pious man demands, How should man be just with God ? By imputation it hath been supposed he might; but we have now seen that even through the atonement and righteousness of Christ, we can have no plea of not guilty : And personally we cannot surely stand in judgment, should he contend with us, nor answer himn ons of a thousand.

Shall we then be strict to mark, and severe to revenge the trivial injuries or affronts we may receive from our fellow creatures. Read, Christians, the striking parable of the ten thousand talents and the hundred pence ; read, and tremble at the awful application of that parable. Remember that most reasonable exhortation of the apostle, which speaketh unto you as unto justified sinners ; Eph. iv. 23. " And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven

you."

The Law in all respects satisfied by our Sav

iour, in regard to those only who belong to him ; or, None but Believers saved, thro' the all-sufficient Satisfaction of Christ.

A SERMON, DELIVERED AT WALLINGFORD,

CONNECTICUT, WITH A VIEW TO THE UNIVERSALISTS,

BY JOHN SMALLEY, D. D.

ROMANS x. 4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to

every one that believeth.

The capital argument of many who maintain that every one who believeth not shall be saved, we have particularly considered.

That salvation is not a matter of just debt, on account of the redemption of Christ, hath been shown, it is presumed, beyond dispute.This then being supposed a settled point, that God is at liberty to have mercy on whom he will have mercy; it remains that we must have recourse to the revela. tion of his sovereign will in his holy word, as the only way to determine, whether all, or only a part of mankind, shall be saved.

Nothing can be concluded from the universal benerolence of God, unless we knew, as he does, what would be for the greatest universal good. At first thought it may perhaps be imagined, that if it be only consistent with justice for God to give grace and salvation to all men, his infinite goodness must necessarily incline him to save all. But it ought to be remembered, that the operations of infinite goodness are ever under the direction of infinite wisdom. God will give eternal life to every rebel creature, however deserving of eternal death, if it be best; otherwise he will not. Its being at his sovereign option whether to do a thing or not, by no means make it certain what he will think proper to do. He was no more obliged in justice lo permit any sin or misery ever to take place, than he is now to permit some to be forever sinful and miserable. From his goodness and power, we should have been ready to conclude he would have prevented the former, as we now are that he will prevent the latter, “ His thoughts are not our thoughts. How unscarchable are his judgments," says the apostle, “and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord ? or who hath been his counsellor ?" Were our understanding infinite, we might be able to judge, with great certainty, what he will think proper to do, on all occasions : but this not being quite the case, all conjectures respecting his determination, from what appears most desirable to us, must be very precarious. From his perfecrions we may be certain, in general, that he will ever do that which is wisest and best ; but what is wisest and best, on the large scale of his universal adminis. tration, he alone can be supposed a competent judge.

Not leaning, then, to our own understanding, in a matter so evidently too high for us, let us, with unbias

« AnteriorContinuar »