« PreviousContinue »
with his righteousness and eternal life, and Christ of fers himself to you accordingly; surely the effect of that appointment and offer must be, that they are indeed yours, to be used by you, as your own, for your falvation. If you believe that appointment of the Father, and the Son's offer, you must needs believe this : for if they be real, and not ludicrous deeds, they certainly convey to you a right to Christ, his righteousness and falvation; so that, in virtue of them, there must be yours, to be warrantably claimed and used by you as your own, for the purposes of salvation. It is not doubted, but mens deeds of gift, and their offers, real and not ludierous, do convey such a right to the parties in favour of whoin they are made. If a friend of yours, having a sum of money lying in a neighbour's hand, 1hould, especially by a deed of writing under his own hand, appoint and ordain that sum a gift to you, to relieve you out of a certain strait ; you would make no question but you might go and claim it, and take it up: if, having the sum in his own hand, he thould offer it to you as a gift, you would make no question but you might take it to you ; and, in both cases, use it as your own by your friend's appointment or offer. And shall not the Father's ordinance and ap. pointment, and Christ's offer, be as efficacious? Why then will you not believe this its efficacy? Why will ye noi believe, that Christ with his righteousness and eternal life are yours?
Truly, the believing hereof is the very next step to the soul's uniting with Christ: and therefore it is proposed to the finner, as the nearest means to bring him close unto God in Chrisi, Hof. xiv. I. Returi anto the Lord thy God: he is thy God, thou haA a right to him, return, come even to him, take poffeffion of him as thine own God. Accordingly, the finner coming to him by faith, comes on this very ground, Jer. iii. 22. Behold, we come unto thee,
for thou art the Lord our God. Verse 23. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. As Hagar's eyes were seasonably opened to fee she had a well by her, when she had given up her son for dead; so when the sinner lies in his death's wounds from the law, in a work of conviction, the spirit of faith opens his eyes, by means of the glorious gospel, in a work of saving illumination, so that he sees he hath a-Saviour, a righteousness, and salvation. And then he presently apprehends or grips the fame as his own. Thus the prodigal first believed that he had yet a father, and a father's house, where there was enough and to spare, and then ariseth and goeth to him, Luke xv. 17, 18.
OBJECT. 1. If it be true that Christ is my Saviour, that his righteousnefs, and eternal life in him, are mine; then I may be easy, I'll certainly be saved without any more ado. Ans. That is but a cavil, best suiting those who being indifferent about Christ and salvation, think it not worth their pains seriously to consider such things. One truly weighted with the matter, and duly considering, being once brought to believe this, would rather say, Then, since “ Christ is really my Saviour, his righteousness and " eternal life mine; I will take him to me, I will « receive and rest on him as my Saviour, I will rely " on his righteousness, and look for eternal life in “ him; why should I be lost for ever, since I have
a full Saviour ? Why should I go naked, since I “ have a complete righteousness made over to me " by Heaven's gift? Why should I die, when I have “ eternal life in Christ ?” Put the case, you did see a man at the point of starving for want of bread; and, out of kindness and pity to him, you should appoint and ordain meat for him, out of your own store, for preservation of his life; and withal thould carry it to him, and set it before 'him, saying, Ha, there is meat I and my father have ordained for you, cat, and welcome. If that man Mould say, Oh! I may not take it, for it is not mine own: would you not tell him, that your gift, appointment, and offer of it to him, makes it his, so that with a good conScience, he may freely eat it as his own bread ? But should he then reply, and say, Why then, if it is inine, without any more ado I am secured from Starving; I need not at all be at pains to take and eat it ; would you not reckon him either mad, or hut jesting with you, not sensible of his hazard of starving? The application is obvious.
It is aot meat's being one's own, so that he may use it freely as such, that will keep him from starving: he must take and eat it, and so use it as his own, if he would have that benefit by it. Even so it is not Christ's being yours, with his righteousness and salvation, that will save you: you must take possession of him, and make use of him as your own, for salvation, if you would be actually saved by him. There is a wide difference betwixt a thing's being ours in fimple right thereto, and its being ours in poffeffion. It is in the former way only that Christ is yours before uniting with him : and if you do not improve that, by receiving him and taking possession, you will perish erernally for all it : Heb. iv, 1. Let us therefore fear, iest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Luke xvi. 22. If ye have not been faithful in that which is another, man's, who hall give you that which is your own?
OBJECT. 2. But Christ a Saviour, his perfect, righteousness, and eternal life, are things so exceeding great and precious, and I am so very sinful and unworthy, that it is mighty hard for me to believe they are mine. Ans. Yea, here indeed lies a great difficulty of believing; when once a finner's eyes are opened, to see the transcendent excellency of Christ, the exceeding finfulness of fin, and his own utter unworthinels : a difficulty not to be sur inounted, but
by the effectual operation of the Spirit of faith, cauring one to believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Eph. i. 19. But for your help, consider they are yours by mere free gift; which is so far from requiring any worth in the creature, that it excludes all respect thereto. Christ himself is the Father's gift to you, John iv. ro. and vi. 32. His righteousness is a gift too, Rom. v, 17. And fo is eternal life in him, 1 John v. 11. Now, what is freer than a gift ? and then, howbeit they are indeed a gift far beyond whatever you could have expected, yet they are not too great for an infinite God to give. In making of this gift, he acted not according to the dignity of the party in whose favour it was made; but according to himself, his own greatness and majesty. Mean while, though the gift is quite above your dignity, yet it is no more than what your need required. If less could have answered your necessity, there is no ground to think, a crucified Chrift, the Son of God, would have been prepared for you. If you do but suppose it, you mar that expression of matchless love, John ii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave bis only begotten Son. Wherefore argue with yourself in this manner : “ The gift is indeed “ unspeakable, but no less can serve my need ; if " Chrißt be not mine, I must perilh: since therefore “ God hath said it, that he hath given me Christ; “ and the gift is not above him to give, and no “ ļess can serve my turn; I must and will believe " that he is mine, with his righteousness and falva« tion.”
IV. The Faith of particular Trust for Salvation.
Finally, You must wholly trust on him as your Sa. viour, and in his righteousness as made over to you: and that for his whole salvation to you in particular, upon the ground of God's faithfulness in his word.
And this is that saving faith, or believing on Chrift Jesus, by which a sinner is united to him, and personally entered within the covenant of grace unto Salvation : Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Pfalm ii. 12. Kiss the Son les he be angry, and ye perifh-; blessed are all they that put their trust in him. And Pfalm xxxvii. 40. He mall save them, because they trust in him. Rom. xv. 12. In him shall the Gentiles truf. Compare Isa. xi. 10. Rom. i. 17. Therein is the righteoufness of God revealed from faith to faith; or, Therein is the righteousness of God by faith, revealed unto faith, to wit, to be believed or trusted on. See Philip. ii. 9. Gal. ii. 16. We have believed in Jesus Chrift, that we might be justified. Acts xv. 11. We believe, that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved. Thess. ii. 13. Te received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God. 1 Cor. ii. 5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. This, according to the scripture, is a sinner's receiving and resting upon Christ for salvation, as faving faith is defined in our Catechism: and this is indeed believing, and nothing but believing, according to the scriptural use of that word. : 1. I say, this is the scriptural receiving and resting on Christ. It is the receiving of him in the fense of the holy scripture : John i. 12. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the fons of God, even to them that believe on his name : where the receiving of Christ is explained by believe ing on his name. God hath appointed Christ Savi. our of the world, and your Saviour. You hear the fame published in the gospel ; and you accordingly believe that he is your Saviour by his Father's appointinent, and his own offer: hereupon you trust on him, and on him alone, for salvation, and all that you need for your salvation. Is not this a receiving