« ElőzőTovább »
conclude that I have that faith which is the spea cial gift of God; and oh! let me ever adore and admire the infinite riches of his distinguishing grace that he has thus brought me out of darkness into his marvellous light, and made me an heir of complete and everlasting salvation.
who shall deliver me from this body of death.” It is this which convinces him that the just must live by faith, as well as the sinner become just by faith ; that he must still be accepted in the sight of God not for his own obedience, but for Christ's righteousness, as much as on the first moment of his coming to God for mercy.
The second Scripture Mark of Salvation.
JOHN I. 12.
But, as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God.
Q. II. Do I receive the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is represented in the gospel ?
$1. Do I receive him in all his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King? Do I see that I absolutely need him as a Prophet to instruct and teach me; as a Priest to atone for my sins, and intercede with God for me; as a King to rule in me and over me, to subdue all my corruptions in me, and all my enemies for me? Am I as heartily willing, and do I as readily submit to be taught and governed, as to be saved by him"? Is it a complete
* To be exactly as willing to be ruled by the Saviour's sceptre as to be saved by his cross, is only the feeling of certain moments. One or other of these desires usually predominates. In the commencement of religion, the sense of danger presses most heavily on the soul, and renders the interposition of mercy, to snatch from imminent perdition, most desirable to the alarmed mind. But when peace is obtained, and the Christian is conflicting with the hindrances to his own holiness and the Redeemer's honour, he usually feels most solicitude for sanctification. The holiness of the heaven to which Christ will bring his people, seems more dear to them than its safety or happiness. Every
salvation, a salvation from the reigning power of sin, as well as from its condemning guilt, I take him for, and hope and desire to enjoy by him? As a whole Christ, and considered in all his various characters, do I esteem him, rejoice in him, and bless God for him? Do I desire him, and do I take him to redeem me from all iniquity, as well as to deliver me from the wrath to come;' to sanctify me by his Spirit, as well as to justify me by his righteousness; to renew in me the divine image, as well as to restore me to the divine favour? Do I wish as earnestly to be conformed to his holy example, as to be interested in his invaluable merits? Do I most heartily desire him, thankfully embrace him, entirely depend upon him, as God exhibits him, as the necessity of my soul, which is ignorant and guilty, polluted and enslaved, requires him for wisdom and righteousness, for sanctification and redemption ?
§ 2. Do I receive him as my only Saviour? Do I see an all-sufficiency in his righteousness, as wrought out in his active and passive obedience, to answer all the demands of the holy law of God, and satisfy divine justice to the full? On this, and this alone, as having no other, and want
Christian is more delightfully impressed with the thought, that in heaven he shall never sin, than that he shall there enjoy himself and never drop from thence into hell.
ing no other righteousness, do I firmly rely, for my pardon and acceptance with God, and is it my only plea for eternal life? Have [ “no confidence in the flesh,” no hope in what I have been or done, sensible there has been so much amiss in my best tempers and my best services, that, instead of recommending me to the favour of God, I needed his pardon through Christ for the same? Do I see I have nothing to glory in, and do I desire to glory in nothing, “ save the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?” And am I sincerely pleased with, and do I joyfully acquiesce in the divine appointment, that Christ, having done all, suffered all, paid all, should have all the honour, and all the praise? Do I desire to be for ever on inount Sion, in his train, as purchased, justified, sanctified, glorified by him, and to stand there as an everlasting monument of his love, power, and grace? And do I now with pleasure think of bearing my grateful part with all the myriads of his redeemed ones in that sweetest song of gratitude, and love, and everlasting thankfulness', “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God by his blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing P?" :
• Rev. v. 12. p This last inquiry supposes a considerable degree of that assurance which these Marks were designed to afford. It is in proportion as hope preponderates that 8 3. Do I receive him, and do I esteem him as an invaluable treasure, as the pearl of great price, as all in alla ? Do I see the possession of all
pleasure is excited by the view of heaven : as far as fear of falling short of it prevails in the mind, a Christian will be distressed with the thought that he shall never yield to Christ eternal praise. Let the tirnid then put the question to themselves in two other forms. First, Leaving myself out of the question, does it appear to me the most delightful species of heaven that any can enjoy, to pour forth grateful adorations to the redeeming Lamb as worthy to receive blessing, and honour, and praise ? Secondly, Supposing that I were assured of arriving there, should I then feel the highest pleasure in the thought, not of the delights, but of the employments of heaven, not so much in being safe myself, as in contributing my part to give the highest eternal honours to Christ.
9 He that would be happy with Christ alone, can never be abandoned to eternal misery. That display of the Redeemer's excellence which eclipses the world, is enjoyed by those alone who are redeemed by him from the present evil world. But when the pious casuist asks,“ does this make me joyfully ready to forego every thing for him, and can I cheerfully suffer the loss of all things that I may win Christ,” he writes according to his own ardent devotion, losing sight of the doubtful Christian. Many excellent persons are afraid they could not suffer for Christ; not because they have not the perfect kind of love which would endure the day of trial by casting out the fear of death; but because they have been so habituated to censure themselves for want of due affection for Christ, that they ever suspect their own fidelity. To some delicate minds, particularly among Christian women, suffering, persecution, and death appear so formidable, that the prospect of them always excites a dread of apostacy. The height of his esteem for Christ as worthy of every sacrifice inay cause a believer to tremble, lest in the