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the fulness of thy redeeming me- acts of saving faith, in which the rit, gifts and graces, if I be but believing sinner receives Christ willing to receive them without his Saviour. I thought, too, that the money and without price! And am subject would be best illustrated I not willing, yea, intensely desi- by a short description of the exerrous to receive them thus! Search- cises themselves. Such exercises, er of hearts, see if I deceive not my- or rather, such as my description self-see all the powers of my soul does not reach, and indeed no lanbowing in humble and adoring guage can adequately express, thankfulness, to accept thy offer. many a believer has known, on his I receive it, just as thou dost prof- first coming, in a saving manner, to fer it. I receive thee, O my gracious Christ Jesus; and often afterward, condescending Redeemer! in all thy in his spiritual intercourse with precious offices, as my prophet, his Saviour. Yet you are to obpriest, and king. I receive thy aton- serve and carefully remember, ing sacrifice as the full expiation of that these high exercises, however all my crimson and scarlet sins. I desirable, are not essential to the receive thy finished righteousness actings of saving faith. They have, to be upon me, as my justifying I doubt not, been but little known righteousness, to satisfy all the de- by some of the most sincere, deepmands of thy law, and to ensure me ly sanctified, and exemplary Chrisan acquittal as guiltless, before the tians. Religious sensibilities, of bar of God. I receive it as my title all kinds, depend, not a little, on to eternal life. I receive thy Spi- constitutional make, habits of rit to lead me into all truth, and thought, and methods of educato sanctify me in all my pow- tion, as well as on the sovereign
I receive thee as my holy, and special communications of diand rightful Sovereign, to give me vine grace-God adapts the disthy laws as the rule of my duty in pensations of his Spirit, in a meaall things; to reign in my soul, to sure, to our natural temperament, conquer its corruptions, and sub- and the allotments of his providue it wholly to thyself; to protect dence, awarded by himself, to each me from all my spiritual enemies; of his own people. What is essential to order my whole lot in life; to to these actings of saving faith is, make thy grace sufficient for me a complete rejection of all our own at all times; to sustain me in the righteousnesses as filthy rags; an trying hour of death; to own me entire willingness to make the Saas thine in judgment, at the great viour the all and all of our souls, in day; and to make me a partaker, the matter of our salvation; a wellwith all thy redeemed people, of pleasedness—an unspeakable prethe eternal and ineffable bliss of ference to be saved by the impuheaven. 0 astonishing, over- tation of Christ's righteousness, whelming grace! O condescen- rather than in any other way; and sion and love unutterable! that an actual, hearty, fiducial reliance such blessings should be conferred on his finished work, as the en
a wretched, polluted, hello, tire ground of our acceptance with deserving worm of dust! But God-accompanied with strong
' such, o God!' is thy own plan of desires for the sanctification of the mercy; such thy way of getting soul, deliverance from all sin, and glory to thyself; and to thee be all conformity of heart and life to the the glory and the praise, forever whole law of God. and forever, amen and amen. In our Shorter Catechism there My dear youth, I could not feel is scarcely a redundant word; and contented to give you merely a dry therefore it is reasonable to believe and doctrina description of those that its framers did not consider
the terms, receiving and resting on fade away. Darkness and doubt Christ, as entirely synonymous. succeed; and perhaps the genuineThey have, indeed, a closely re- ness of all that has been experilated, yet a somewhat different enced is questioned; till a fresh meaning. Those who truly receive gracious visitation, a renewed liveChrist Jesus, always, in some mea- ly exercise of faith, restores consure, rest upon him; yet resting up- fidence, and hope, and peace. In on him implies not only a continu- such fluctuations of elevation and ance of the acts by which he is re- depression, too many real Chrisceived, but a firmness and stability tians pass a great part, and some of faith, and a perseverance in its ex- perhaps, the whole of their lives. ercise,which is something addition. They live, as it has been well said, al to what takes place at first. “As entirely on their frames and feelye have therefore received Christ ings. This ought not to be so. Jesus the Lord,” says the Apostle Such believers can hardly be said Paul, “so walk ye in him; rooted to rest on Christ alone. They rest, and built up in hini, and stablish- so far as they have rest, too much ed in the faith, as ye have been at least, on the present state of taught, abounding therein with their own minds. It is equally, thanksgiving.” The excellent com- my dear youth, the duty and the mentary of Scott on these words privilege of a child of God, to is as follows: “As they (the Co- aim at knowing that he is onelossians] had by faith received knowing it on good evidence, and Christ Jesus to be their Saviour, such as cannot be easily taken according to the several offices from him, or be greatly obscured. which he sustained for the be- This is to be done by searching nefit of his church, let them con- the scriptures to ascertain the tinue in habitual dependance on reality of his gracious state, and him, and obedience to him; let by much prayer for the illuminathem seek all their wisdom, tion and guidance of the Spirit of strength, hope, holiness, and com- grace and truth; and thus getting fort from him, and aim in all to see satisfactorily that he is realthings to serve and glorify him. ly interested in the covenant of Thus being rooted in him, as trees grace, and made one with Christ. in a fruitful soil, and builded upon Then, rest on him alone will take him as a house upon a firm foun. place. Frames and feelings may dation; and being established by vary greatly, as they almost invaliving faith in him, according to riably do, but the soul that is the doctrine which they had been thus brought to rest on the rock taught; they would abound more Christ Jesus, may see the waves and and more in faith, and proceed in billows of distress or temptation their course with fervent thanks- breaking around him, and at times giving to God for all his benefits.” seeming to go over him, and yet,
When believers obtain their first though perhaps somewhat shaken release from the bondage of sin and partially alarmed, he will not and fear, by those lively views and be moved away from his steadfastactings of faith which you have ness. His anchor is cast within heard described, they are ready to the veil, and he will ride out every think that their difficulties and storm, without shipwreck, and conflicts are terminated forever- with but little loss. But, my bethat their mountain now stands loved youth, this happy state of strong, and that they shall never be Christian steadfastness of a good moved. Yet rarely indeed, if ever, hope through grace-of an abiding are those high expectations real- sense of the spirit of adoptionized. The vivid views of faith is not tk be reached without much
inquiry, much self-examination, have done it in fact, and perhaps real industry in the divine life, true repeated it a thousand times; but and frequent communion with they have doubts and fears in reGod, a tender and conscientious gard to this fact, from which they Christian walk, and a diligent use hardly ever get free. It is also of all the appointed means of grace. unquestionably true, that many Need I ask, is not the attainment of real Christians have seasons in such a state, worth all the pains that which they have such clear views can be taken to secure it? Yes, un- of the glorious plan of redemption, questionably; and if it were made and such a freedom to trust thema distinct object of the Christian's selves unreservedly into the hands aim, and the proper means to of Christ, that while those seasons reach it were faithfully employed,' last, all their doubts and fears vait would be realized a thousand nish—they can say, for the present, times, where it is now seen in a that “they know in whom they single instance.
have believed, and are persuaded The question is frequently asked that he is able to keep that which is assurance of the essence of they have committed to him.” faith? to which I must return a And yet, at other times, these very brief answer, before leaving this persons shall be almost ready to part of the subject.
condemn themselves as entirely The scriptures certainly make graceless. Nothing but those rea clear distinction between a weak fex acts heretofore described, and and a strong faith; and hence Pic- getting to understand and rely on têt has well remarked, that assure the unchanging nature of the coance is rather the perfection of venant of grace, can prove a remefaith than its essence. He asks, dy to these alternations of faith how does any one become assured and unbelief, of hope and despondof the forgiveness of his sins, or ency. It must also be remarked, of his gracious state? It is, he that those who have once, and peranswers, only by finding, on a care. haps long, possessed a good hope ful examination, that he has a ge- through grace, may lose it for a nuine justifying faith. Then, cer- season, through remissness in duty, tainly, he remarks, the faith which the prevalence of corruption, fallexisted before this examination ing into some gross sin, the viotook place, was a genuine faith, and lence of Satanic injections, the ocyet not accompanied by assurance. currence of bodily melancholy, or The truth undoubtedly is, that there the withholding of those divine are many humble and diffident, but communications which were once sincere believers, who seem never experienced-for some reason not to have any thing that can be call. perceptible at the time, if ever ed the assurance of faith, or hope, understood in the present life. and this simply and solely because Watchfulness, prayer, a sense of they do not, or cannot, make our dependance on God, and great a right estimate of their own care not to grieve the Holy Spirit, mental acts or exercises. They are the important duties taught and have not a doubt of the all-suffi- enforced, by the possibility of losing ciency of Christ, not a doubt of that blessed confidence toward God, the sincerity and freeness of his which is indeed the light of life offers, and not a doubt that whoso- a possession for which there can ever truly receives and rests on be no equivalent, no possible comChrist, will assuredly be saved. pensation. All that they doubt is, whether 4. I am to mention, and it must they have, for themselves, truly re- be very briefly, some of the conseceived and rested upon him. They quences, fruits, or effects, of saving
faith. The first of these is—the ty boon; the crown is placed soledestruction which faith effects of ly on the Saviour's head, and the all self-righteousness, and the giv- believing sinner lies at his feet, to ing of the entire glory of our sal- be sprinkled from all uncleanness vation to the rich and free grace by his atoning blood, to be clothed of God. There is scarcely a point with the spotless robe of his rightwhich the great apostle of the gen- eousness, to be sanctified by his tiles labours more, or on which he Holy Spirit, and thus, through his dwells more at large, than that our unmingled and superabounding salvation is all of grace through grace, to be made meet for the infaith; that all ground of boasting, heritance of the saints in light. and all works, and all personal 2. It will ever be found, as one righteousness of every kind, are of the precious fruits or effects of excluded utterly in the work of a true justifying faith, that it both justification, which he attributes comforts and invigorates the besolely to the grace of faith. The lieving soul. That complete reconclusion which he draws from nunciation of all self-righteousness his long argument on this subject, which has just been stated, and in his epistle to the Romans, and which is taught in all that you have on which he afterwards dilates heard on this subject, never leaves most impressively, is in these the believer in an abject and forlorn words (Rom. v. 1.]: "Therefore, be- situation. The renunciation which ing justified by faith, we have peace he makes is never constrained, or with God through our Lord Jesus mingled with reluctance. It is Christ." Now, as faith itself is a made most willingly, and from a work-a mental exercise in the full perception and deep convicmind of the believer-it may be, tion, that it is demanded by reason and has been objected, that here is and equity, as well as by the di. a work which is concerned in our vine requisition: and now, having justification. Concerned we ad- taken his proper place—having mit that it is; but only instrumen- become emptied of himself-he is tally, we affirm; and that it will be prepared to receive from the fulabsolutely impossible to reconcile ness of Christ, grace for gracethe apostle with himself, if we al- to be filled with all joy and peace low to faith itself, even the small- in believing. In place of the filthy est degree of meritorious desertrags of his own righteousness, he in the matter of justification. I now perceives-and 0 how he have elsewhere had occasion to re- wonders while he perceives!-that mark, that faith in its best acts is, he is arrayed in the righteousness like every other grace, imperfect of his redeeming God. Instead of and therefore that the very act of that proud self-gratulation, which faith by which a believer is justi- used to be excited by some fancied fied, needs pardon for its imper- merit of his own, he is now made fection, instead of being entitled to rejoice “ with a joy that is exto a reward for its exercise. The ceeding great and full of glory," simple truth is, that by an act by the views which he is enabled of faith, which, although imper- by the good Spirit of the Lord, to fect, finds acceptance through the take of his interest in the infinite merits of that Saviour to whom it merits of his blessed Saviour; and looks, he is received or appropri- in feeling the love of God shed ated as a free and glorious gift abroad in his heart, producing conof God's transcendant grace; eve
solations unutterable, and somery duty, as well as every sin, is re- times affording a prelibation of the nounced as having any claim to felicity of heaven. My dear young the honour of deserving this migh- friends, I am not delivering to you the fictions of fancy, or truths guilty and perishing world; and merely speculative. No, verily; when the Saviour's dying love, they are truths both solid and prac- prayer for his enemies with his extical. Every exercised Christian piring breath, and his command will cheerfully testify, that the to love the brethren, to forgive as highest happiness he ever knows we hope to be forgiven, and to do on earth, is when he is most emp- good to all men as opportunity tied of himself, and drinks most offers, are, by faith, brought home freely and largely from the foun- to the believer's heart; and never tain of his Redeemer's plenitude. is humility so perfect, so unafHe will tell you, too, with the fected, and so amiable, as when apostle Paul, that " when he is in the bright visions of faith the weak, then is he strong.” That Christian sees the condescension he never attempts duty with so of his Redeemer, drinks most much alacrity, nor performs it largely into his spirit, and desires with so much vigour and so much most earnestly to walk in his foo:effect, as when feeling most his steps. own insufficiency, he goes to its "Show me thy faith by thy discharge, leaning most sensibly works,” said the apostle James. on his Saviour-trusting in his Genuine faith will always abide strength for the performance, and this test; nay, just in proportion looking to his power to crown his as faith is pure and vigorous, will efforts with success.
the believer be ready to every 3. One of the consequences of a good word and work. I have no true justifying faith, will always be time at present to illustrate this by seen in its tendency to increase argument; but facts are better every other Christian grace, and than arguments. In whom, I ask, to render the believer fruitful in have been seen, the best and brightholiness, and in all good works. est, and most lovely examples, of Faith may be called the foundation all social and relative duties? In grace. It is alone in the work none, I affirm without hesitation of justification; but it is never or reserve-in none have they ever alone in the soul where it exists, been observed to cluster more conbut is always associated with spicuously, or to shine more begenuine repentance, a lively hope, nignantly, than in the decided adà fervent love, and a deep hu- vocates and practical exhibitors of mility; and its natural tendency this very doctrine of justification to increase all these graces is ob- solely by faith, through the rightvious. Never is repentance so eousness of Christ. To the names evangelical and so tender, as when of Howard and Thornton, I could faith takes her clearest look at the add very many, both of the living desert of sin in the cross of Christ, and the dead; but observe them and secs its enormity and its par- for yourselves, my dear youth, don in a single view; never can both in your reading and in your hope be so lively and cheering as intercourse with the world; and when faith lays her firmest hold may the Spirit of all grace add on the Saviour's unfailing cove- you to the number of those nant; never can love to God, and who, through the influence of the love to man be so pure and active, faith which you have heard deas when faith brings into view all scribed, shall adorn the doctrine the loveliness of Jehovah's attri. of God our Saviour in all things. butes, and especially the love of Amen. God in the gift of his son to a