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are accepted, and graciously rewarded by God. But unbelievers, whatever their attainments are, have no part in Christ, and therefore, if they are accepted, it must be without the interposition of a mediator, or through some other mediator than the man Christ Jesus. If there be another Jesus besides him whom Paul preached, through whom your services can come before God with acceptance, you may hope to procure some title to the grace of God by your exertionsundertheinfluenceofconscience,without faith in Christ. If there is no advocate with the Father but Jesus Christ the righteous, expect not the acceptance of your per. sons and services, but through the faith of him.
5. The nature of that faith by which we receive salvation, is a plain evidence that we cannot claim the favor of God on account of any of our attainments, before we believe.
Whatever disputes and janglings may be found among Christians about the nature of faith in Christ, one thing is abundantly evident from the place assigned to it in our salvation, that it receives the blessings of Christ as a free gift conferred upon us by divine mercy, without any claim upon God on account of any thing in ourselves. Call to your remembrance an important text, quoted a little ago," Every mouth is stopped by the law, and the whole world guilty be.
foundatever disputents, beford on accou:
fore God; therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight." How then can any man be justified before God? “Freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitia. tion through faith in his blood.”. Faith in the blood of Christ must then include a renunciation of all works in the believer, as the cause of his justification. It is the act of a sinner, who has nothing of his own to plead why he should not undergo the awful sentence of the law which denounces the curse of God against him.* The law of faith is contrasted by the apostle with the law of works. The one, he says, allows, and the other excludes boasting. The one teaches men to look for the reward as a debt, and not as a gift of grace; the other teaches them to believe on him that justifies the ungodly by a righteousness without works. Rom. iii. 19, 23, 24, 27, iv. 5.
What is the ground of your faith in Christ? Is it any thing in yourselves ? Is it not the word of grace, in which salvation is exhibited, brought near, and offered to the ungodly? If your faith is founded upon something in yourselves, do you not trust in the flesh? “ But we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Abraham himself, the great pattern
Y OF GRACE
148 on the SOVEREIGNTY OF Grace of our faith, found nothing in himself of which he might glory before God. His seed must walk in the steps of his faith. This faith must claim nothing for them as a debt due to themselves. “It is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end that the pro. mise might be sure to all the seed.”
When the Galatian churches were perverted by false teachers, they were far from wishing to have nothing more to do with Jesus Christ the Saviour, or with the grace that came to men by the revelation of Jesus Christ. But they were made to believe that they could not be justified by Christ, unless they performed certain works prescribed by the law, which, in conjunction with the righteousness of Christ, would ensure their salvation. But what says the apostle?
Who bath bewitched you, O foolish Galatians, that ye should not obey the truth? Are yeso foolish! having begin in the Spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?” .
True faith cleaves to Christ alone. It trusts not in itself, nor in any works that go before, or follow it, but in the work inished by Christ. It buys his gold and fine raiment, his milk and his honey, without money and without price. It brings nothing to him, but receives every thing from him, that all the glory of our salvation may be attributed to him alone.. It heartily assents to the declaration of a promising God. “ Not for your sakes do I this. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel."
6. It is evident, from experience, that many fall not to rise again, who once discovered great concern about their salva. tion. Balaam at one time, would not go beyond the commandment of the Lord to speak a single word; and yet, at another time, he gave counsel to Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Many, at the last day, will have much to say of their attainments, who are found to have been workers of iniquity, Matt. vii. 21, 22. We cannot have forgotten what is said in the parable of the sower concerning the stony ground and the thorny ground hearers, Matt. xiii, or what Peter says concerning men who have escaped the corruption that is in the world, through the knowlege of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and yet are again entangled and overcome. 2 Peter ii. 20.
Will then some of the ungodly have reason to complain at the last day, that they had done every thing possible to be done in their circumstances, and yet come short of heav. en? It is sufficient to say, in answer to this question, that the day of judgment is the day of the revelation of the righteous judg. ment of God. It will then be found that
ont of God aron of the richent is the men's destruction was of themselves, and that the reason why the hearers of the gospel, who continued in unbelief were not saved, was that which Christ himself assigns, “ Ye would not come unto me, that ye might have life.” They could not repent, because they would not. Whatever impression the truth made upon their consciences, they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. If they had truly hungered and thirsted after righteousness, they would have received the blessing from the Lord.
Who will be able to say at that day that he did what he could to obtain salvation, and was disappointed ? Where is the man to be found, of whom it can be said that he does every thing that man can do to please God, in a suitableness to his condition, whether he is regenerate or unregenerate.
It may perhaps be said of some, even of the unregenerate, that they make every religious exertion which can be reasonably hoped for from men in their condition. What we have said of such persons is, that they cannot procure for themselves, by their exer. tions, a title to divine mercy. We have not said that God will never have mercy upon them, for all the objects of divine mercy are persons that have no claim upon it. Those who seek to enter in and are not ac' ble, meet with no injustice. They seek pot as they ought to seek. God fuifils ev.