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former Acquaintance deride them, and now all pious Persons, who know any thing of them rejoice in their Conversion. Such a Convert may say,
"When God revealed his gracious Name,
And chang'd my sinful State,
The Grace appear'd so great.
The World beheld the glorious Change,
And did his Hand confess,
And fung surprizing Grace.
Great is the Work, my Neighbours cry'd,
Great is the Work, my Heart reply'd,
Watt's Psalms, Psal. 126.
And how thankful are such Converts, for the holy and happy Change of their Condition, and thankful even for the Afflictions which were the Means of it: Such a Christian can say,
Father, I bless thy chast'ning Hand;
Foolish and vile, I went astray,
Watt's Psalms, Psal. no.'
On the Predictions, of the great Blessings, which in this Life are bestowed on every Believer; viz. JustiJication, Adoption, and SanRification; Blessings absolutely necessary to the Safety, the Comfort, and Happiness of every Man; and which import a great Variety of Benefits; even Afflictions art intended as a Means to promote the Holiness, and the future Happiness of Christians; and likewise of Predictions, encouraging Backsliders to return unto God.
Shall now proceed more particularly to consider those Predictions of the Blessings, which are given to sincere Christians in this Life; but must observe that there are no Predictions of Immunity to them from Troubles in. this World, but several of Afflictions in this Life, which therefore they should expect.
It is said, Man that is born of a Woman *is of few Days, and full of Trouble. Job xiv. i.
And it is said, Psal. xxxiv. 19. Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous, but it is there foretold, that the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Our blessed Saviour foretold to his Disciples,' that Troubles would besal them; for in John xvi. 32. he said to them, In ^ the World ye fiall have Tribulation.
In Heb. xii. 6. it is said, Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, - and scourges h every Son whom he re~ ceiveth, and ver. 8. But if ye be without chastisement* whereof all are Partakers, then arc ye Bastards, and not Sons.
Yet notwithstanding all the Troubles and Afflictions, which true Believers meet with in this Life, it will appear from the Predictions of Blessings relating to them, that they are truly happy, and the only Persons that are so in this World, as well as in the next: Particularly from the following.
I. Prediction. Justification is one of the Blessings purchased by Christ, and revealed in his Gospel, and is that Act of God by whjch he accepts of a Sinner as righteous in his Sight, and forgives all his Sins, and becomes reconciled to him: And this Act of Divine Grace is predicted; It is foretold that they should be justified, and pardoned.
In Isa. xlv. 25. it is said, In the Lord (that is, . the Lord Jesus Christ) shall all the Seed of Israel be justified, and /hall glory, that is, all the spiritual Seed, all who truly believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, shall be justified in him by Faith; and in Isa. liii. n. it is said, By his Knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many, for he shall bear their Iniquities. (i. e. the Punishment, which their Iniquities de'erved.)
In Acts xiii. 39. it is said, By him, all that believe are justified from all Things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.
The Apostle Paul says, Rom. v. 1. Being justified by Faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ; and ver. 9. Being justified by his Bloody we shall be saved from Wratb through hinti
In Tit. iii. 7. That being justified by his Grace, ive should be made Heirs, according to the Hope of eternal Life.
It appears from the Texts now cited,
1. That Men are justified by Faith: And therefore as soon as Sinners truly believe in Christ, they are justified.
2. That no Persons are justified by a Course of evangelical Obedience persisted in till their Death; for if Justification was to be obtained in that Way, Men could not be justified and their Sins pardoned, till that Course of Obedience should be compleated; and till then, they would remain under Condemnation by God's Law, and destitute of the Pardon of their Sins, and of a solid Ground for Peace and Comfort in their Consciences.
Miserable Comforters are they who preach such Doctrine; but the Gospel assures us that we are justified by Faith* that is, as soon as we believe.
3. That they who believe have the Paxdon of their Sins, a Discharge from Condemnation, Peace with God, and are made Heirs of God.
There is therefore now no Condemnation to them• which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom, viii, \.
The Prediction of the Blessing of Justification to them who believe, and the Accomplishment of it, shews that sincere Christians are brought into a very happy Condition.
Before their Faith in Christ, they were under a dreadful Sentence of Condemnation to everlasting Punishments and Miseries: Not one of their numberless Sins was pardoned; but the wretched Persons were Objects of God's Wrath and Curse, G and and they were obnoxious to the Pains of Hell for ever, till they believe.
They that remain in a State of Unbelief, and of wilful Disobedience to the Holy, and good God, do remain in a miserable Condition! A Condition, miserable beyond Expression, and beyond Thought; and no Honours, no Dignities, in this World, no stately Houses, no great Estates, no large Possessions, nor Heaps of Riches, nor all the Pleasures of Sense, can render their Condition better.
In the Midst of the greatest; Affluence of earthly Felicities, they are but condemned Malesactors in the Sight of God; and the Lord the Judge of all, may unexpectedly fend Death the Executioner to take them away, and remove them to be among the Devils, who are reserved in Chains under Darkness against the Judgment of the great Day.
But as soon as any Sinner by a Faith unfeigned closes with Christ, be he high or low, or rich, or poor, he is immediately freed from the Guilt of all his Sins; the Sentence of his Condemnation is cancelled; all his Iniquities are forgiven; the Holy, and offended God is at Peace with him, and reconciled to him, and he is justified - in his Sight.
But how is it, that a Sinner is justified?
This indeed is a Question, and a Question of the Utmost Moment; and the Gospel answers it. • That it is by Faith; by Faith as the Instrument, or Means, and by Faith alone.
St. Paul says, not by Works of Righteousness, which we have done. Titus iii. 5.
Therefore by the Deeds of the Law, there shall no Flesh be justified in his Sight, (that is in the Sight of God,) for by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin, Rom. iii. zo. as if he had said, No