« PoprzedniaDalej »
negligent about securing the grace which can deliver you from it? Will
Will you still prefer a state of guilt and condeínnation, to the being justified by Christ, and being inade partakers of heavenly felicity? If so, you must die under the curse already passed on you. In such a case, your sentence, 'though awful beyond imagination, cannot be considered unjust. But if sorrow for your iniquities should lead you to throw yourselves at the feet of the cross, and to found your hopes of justification on the righteous obedience of Jesus Christ, then you will be absolved from all your offences, you will pass from death unto life, and finally triumph with the redeemed in the enjoyment of unceasing happiness.
Bear in mind, then, thoughtless sinner, that you have an important cause shortly to be tried at the bar of God, which will issue in your eternal misery or happiness. You must be either cast or acquitted in judgment. Can you rest while you are entirely ignorant whether the Judge Immortal will absolve or condemn you ?
Examine the ground and reason of the hope which is in you. A mistake about the way of salvation will be attended with inevitable ruin. See to it, that you build, for acceptance with God,“upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone"." Repentance for past offences, and faith in the blood of Jesus, will put you in possession of present forgiveness, and a hope full of immortality. “Justified by the righteousness of your Saviour, and sanctified by the grace of his spirit, you will thus be presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy mm; and then you will sincerely join with the angelic throng in * Eph. ii. 20.
pm Jude v.24.
singing an anthem of praise to your glorious deliverer ; “saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that jvas slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing": .. 10. Self-righteous persons, who seek to establish a claim to the Divine favour by their own sinful and imperfect deeds, do, in effect, dishonour Christ, and pour contempt on his sacrifice. You can never be saved in a way different from the redeemed people of God. They disclaim all idea of merit, and attribute their salvation solely to the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. You must renounce all confidence in your own works, or you will perish for want of Christ's righteousness to cover your innumerable sins.
Will you, then, obstinately adhere to a system that must destroy you? Will you, at length, appear before God, clothed in the defiled garment of your own sinful works, or be vested with the unspotted robe of the Saviour's incomparable holinesso? In 'the former, your guilt and laypocrisy will be clearly seen; and punished, at the day of reckoning: in the latter, you will appear holy and undefiled, and be adınitted, through its merits, to the joys of the kingdom of heaven.
11. Let those who have already fled for refuge to Jesus, and have obtained justification through his blood, be filled with admiration of the matchless love of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. When you lay under sentence of condemnation and death, God pitied you in your low estate, forgave your sins, adopted you into his family, and now treats you as
" Rev, v. 12. no Isa. xxviii. 20. lvii. 12.
beloved children, for whom he has in reserve the most substantial blessedness.
Now you are pardoned, “go, and sin no more. Henceforth let it be your ambition to glorify God, “ who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;" "for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantlyinto the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ P.
P 2 Pet. i. 11.
ON THE NECESSITY OF HOLINESS AND GOOD WORKS, AS
AN EVIDENCE OF A GENUINE FAITH.
Heb. xii. 14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord. It was affirmed by one of the most enlightened Heathen moralists, that if men would but contemplate the native excellency of virtue, they would be so strongly attracted by its resistless charms, as to feel the most vehement desires to walk agreeably to its dictates. This assertion may look plausible enough as a speculation, but it is falsified by matter of fact.
Virtue of the most exalted kind, without any thing weak or erroneous to debase it, was powerfully embodied in the life and actions of Jesus Christ : but so far was the exhibition from exciting general admiration, that the Jews, provoked by the virtuous exampleof Christ, because it condemned their wicked lives, took every method to vilify and degrade it; and, at length, their hatred ran so high, that they put the Lord of Glory himself to a cruel death, in whom such an assemblage of moral excellencies was found as never adorned the conduct of any merely human being
And, perhaps, the reason why the Gospel, în all its glorious efficacy to save sinners, is so cominonly overlooked or despised, is the exceeding sanctity of its precepts, which does not comport with the corrupt maxims and practice of the unrighteous. “This is the condemnation, that lightis come into theworld, and men love darkoess rather than light, because their deeds are evil." Yet, it is unreasonable to expect that the requisitions of God's word are to be lowered, to suit the carnal taste of degenerate men.
The Gospel enjoins duties which are of perpetual obligation: it requires, of all who would enter heaven, devout affections, and a holy and pious life. It will be in vain, then, for any man to indulge a hope of happiness beyond the grave, if he does not "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world b.”
1. That holiness, and those good works which Christians cherish, as evidences of the genuine nature of their faith in Christ, and as manifestations of their love towards God, are called by different names.
At one time they are styled “ fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.?
Good works are often comprehended under the abstract term of holiness,which signifies, not only every righteous disposition, but also the whole of that religious obedience which a believer is enabled to perform, through the gracious assistance of the Holy Ghost. They are, moreover, called “the fruits of the Spirit,” because they are the result of his operations on the heart. “The fruit of the Spirit
a John iii. 19-22. Titus ii. 11-13. • Phil. i. 11.
is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"." By good works, as the expression occurs in Scripture, must be understood those pleasing fruits which are produced by ' the grace of God, in conformity to his will and cominand. They are found in none but real believers ; whose hearts being renewed by the Spirit, and a principle of holiness being implanted therein, “ they alone walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy (as the exclusive cause of such happiness), they attain to everlasting felicity dd."
2. Of course, then, the best actions of an unregenerate man, however useful they may be in promoting the temporal welfare of society, are nevertheless imperfect and sinful. They are not to be confounded with that holiness of life and purity of heart which the Gospel demands ; because they do not spring from those Christian principles (faith and love) which are necessary to render them acceptable, but from a regard to worldly reputation and advantage.
The law of God, which is the standard by which every human action must be judged, does not approve of any works as good, in a religious sense, which do not originate from right motives, and are not done with regard to some proper end. Those actions which are destitute of these qualifications, however they may glitter in the eye of men, are viewed only as splendid abominations by God, who “looketh not on the outward appearance, but on the heart ee”
3. How then is that holiness to be obtained which
Gal.v. 22–24. dd Article 17. de 1 Sam. xvi. 7,
e Article13. Rom. xiv. 23.