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IS

BOUND

CORDIALLY

TO RECEIVE AND

under his government. These remarks are easily applied; and it is no less easy to perceive, that every sinner has not only a warrant thus to receive Christ, but, that it is his great sin, if he receive him not.

II. EVERY MAN
APPROVE WHATEVER GOD REVEALS.

It may be presuined, that, if God reveal any thing to men, it will be accompanied with such evidence of its being what it is, that no upright mind can continue to doubt of it. He that is of God, heareth God's words.

It will be allowed, by those with whom I am now reasoning, that no man is justifiable in disbelieving the truth of the gospel, or in positively rejecting it: but then it is supposed, that a belief of the gospel is not saving faith; and that, though a positive rejection of divine truth is sinful, yet a spiritual reception of it is not a duty. I hope it has been made to appear, in the former part of this piece, that a real belief of the doctrine of Christ is saving faith, and includes such a cordial acquiescence in the way of salvation, as has the promise of eternal life. But, be this as it may, whether the belief of the gospel be allowed to include a cordial acquiescence in God's way of salvation, or not, such an acquiescence will be allowed to include saving faith. « Acting faith,” says Mr. Brine, “is no other than suitable thoughts of Christ, and a hearty choice of him as God's appointed way of salvation.”* If, therefore, it can be proved, that a cordial approbation of God's way of saving sinners is the duty of every one, it will amount to proving the same thing of saving faith.

I allow, there is a difficulty in this part of the work; but it is that which attends the proof of a truth which is nearly self-evident. Who could suppose, that Mr. Brine, after such an acknowledgment concerning faith, could doubt of its being the duty of all mankind ? Ought we not, if we think of Christ at all, to think suitably of him ? and are we justifiable in entertaining low and unsuitable thoughts of him? Is it not a matter of complaint, that the ungodly Jews saw no form nor comeliness in him, nor beauty, that they should desire him? And with respect to an hearty choice of him, as God's appoint

* Johnson's Mistakes Noted and Rectified, p. 34.

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ed way of salvation, if it be not the duty of sinners to choose him, it is their duty to refuse him, or to desire to be accepted of God by the works of their hands, in preference to him? Mr. Brine would censure men for this. So does Mr. Wayman. Speaking of self-righteous unbelievers, he says, “ They plainly declare, that Christ is not all and in all to them, but that he comes in but at second-hand; and their regard is more unto themselves, and their dependence more upon their own doings, than upon the Mighty One upon whom God hath laid our help.”* But, why thus complain of sinners for their not choosing Christ, if they be under no obligation to do so? Is there no sin in the invention of the various false schemes of religion, with which the Christian world abounds, to the exclusion of Christ? Why, then, are heresies reckoned among the works of the flesh ?t If we are not obliged to think suitably of Christ, and to choose him whom the Lord and all good men have chosen, there can be no evil in these things : for where no law is, there is no transgression.

“ A hearty choice of God's appointed way of salvation," is the same thing as falling in with its grand designs. Now, the grand designs of the salvation of Christ are, the glory of God, the abasement of the sinner, and the destruction of his sins. It is God's manifest purpose, in saving sinners, to save them in this way: and can any sinner be excused from cordially acquiescing in it? If any man properly regard the character of God, he must be willing that he should be glorified : if he knew his own unworthiness, as he ought to know it, he must also be willing to occupy that place which the gospel-way of salvation assigns him; and, if he be not wickedly wedded to his lusts, he must be willing to sacrifice them at the foot of the cross.

He

may be averse from each of these, and, while an unbeliever, is so: but he will not be able to acquit himself of guilt; and it is to be lamented, that any who sustain the character of Christian ministers should be employed in labouring to acquit him.

If a way of salvation were provided, which did not provide for the glory of God; which did not abase, but flatter the sinner; and which did not require him to sacrifice his lusts ;

* Further Inquiry, p. 160.

† Gal. v. 20.

he would feel no want of power to embrace it. Nominal Christians, and mere professors, in all ages, have shown themselves able to believe any thing but the truth.

Thus it was with the carnal Jews, and thus our Lord plainly told them :

-I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not : If another shall come in his own name, hiî ye will receive. Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin ? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God, heareth God's words : ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God." This is the true source of the innumerable false schemes of religion in the world, and the true reason why the gospel is not universally embraced.

Unbelievers are described as disallowing of him who is chosen of God and precious.t Now, either to allow or disallow, supposes a claim. Christ claims to be the whole foundation of a sinner's hope; and God claims, on his behalf, that he be treated as the head of the corner. But the heart of unbelievers cannot allow of the claim. The Jewish builders set him at naught; and every self-righteous heart follows their example. God, to express his displeasure at this conduct, assures them, that their unbelief shall affect none but themselves; it shall not deprive the Saviour of his honours : for the stone which they refuse, notwithstanding their opposition, shall become the head of the corner. What can be made of all this, but that they ought to have allowed him the place which he so justly claimed, and to have chosen him whom the Lord had chosen? On no other ground could the scripture censure them as it does; and on no other principle could they be characterized as disobedient: for all disobedience consists in a breach of duty.

Believers, on the other hand, are described as thinking highly of Christ; reckoning themselves unworthy to unloose the latchet of his shoes, or that he should come under their roof; treating his gospel as worthy of all acceptation, and counting all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of him. They are of the same mind with the blessed above, who sing his praise, saying with a loud voice, WOR

* John v. 43. viji. 45-47.

| 1 Peter ii. 4-7,

THY is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. In fine, they are of the same mind with God himself: him whom God has chosen, they choose ; and he that is precious in his sight, is precious in theirs.* And do they overestimate his character? Is he not worthy of all the honour they ascribe to him; of all the affection they exercise towards him; and that, whether he actually receive it, or not? If all the angels had been of the mind of Satan, and all the saints of the spirit of the unbelieving Israelites, who were not gathered; yet would he have been glorious in the eyes of the Lord. The belief or unbelief of creatures makes no difference as to his worthiness, or their obligation to ascribe it to him.

It is allowed by all, except the grossest Antinomians, that every man is obliged to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength ; and this, notwithstanding the depravity of his nature. But to love God with all the heart, is to love him in every character in which he has made himself known ; and, more especially, in those wherein his moral excellencies appear with the brightest lustre. The same law that obliged Adam, in innocence, to love God in all his perfections, as displayed in the works of creation, obliged Moses and Israel to love him in all the glorious displays of himself in his wonderful works of providence, of which they were witnesses. And the same law, that obliged them to love him in those discoveries of himself, obliges us to love him in other discoveries, by which he has since more gloriously appeared, as saving sinners through the death of his Son. To 'suppose, that we are obliged to love God as manifesting himself in the works of creation and providence, but not in the work of redemption; is to suppose, that, in the highest and most glorious display of himself, he deserves no regard. The same perfections, which

appear

in all his other works, and render him lovely,

, appear in this with a ten-fold lustre : to be obliged to Jove him on acccount of the one, and not of the other, is not a little extraordinary.

Mark i. 7. 1 Tim. i. 15. Phil. iii. 8. Rey, y. 12. 1. Peter Ži. 47:

VOL.

GLORY

As these things cannot be separated in point of obligation, so neither can they in fact. He that loves God for any excellency, as manifested in one form, must, of necessity, love him for that excellency, let it be manifested in what form it may; and the brighter the display, the stronger will be his love. This remark is verified in the holy angels.' At first, they loved their Maker, for what they saw in his works of creation. They saw him lay the foundation of the earth, and they SHOUTED FOR JOY. In process of time, they witnessed the glorious displays of his moral charactor in the government of the world which he had made; and now their love increases. On every new occasion, they cry, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD OF HOSTS : THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS

At length, they beheld an event, to the accomplishment of which all former events were subservient ; they saw the Messiah born in Bethlehem. And now their love rises still higher. As though heaven could not contain them on such an occasion, they resort to the place, and contemplate the good that should arise to the moral system, bursting forth into a song : GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN. All this was but the natural operation of love to God; and, from the same principle, they took delight in attending the Redeemer through his life, strengthening him in his sufferings, watching at his tomb, conducting him to glory, and looking into the mysteries of redemption. With a heart like theirs, is it possible to conceive, that we should continue impenitent or unbelieving? If, in our circumstances, we possessed that love to God by which they were influenced, it would melt us into holy lamentation for having sinned against him. If the gospel-invitation to partake of the water of life once sounded in our ears, we should in stantly imbibe it. Instead of making light of it, and preferring our farms and our merchandise before it, we should embrace it with our whole heart. Let any creature be affected towards God as the holy angels are, and if he had a thousand souls to be saved, and the invitation extended to every one that is willing, he would not hesitate a moment, whether he should rely on his salvation. It is owing to a want of love to God, that any man continues impenitent or unbelieving. This was plain

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