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mise is made, not to him that worketh; not to him that is less vile than his neighbour, but to faith—to the man, whatever be his character or his conduct, who believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly'—to him that shall 'confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and that shall believe in his heart that God hath raised him from the dead. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.' Whosoever, therefore, shall thus believe, and thus confess, shall, as the scripture hath said, undoubtedly be saved.
We are apt to forget, or perhaps do not properly consider, that salvation originated in the sovereign pleasure of God—that it is a blessing which might, or might not have been conferred on the apostate sons of Adam: that the forgiveness of sin is not in any way connected with the moral qualifications they possess, or the duties they perform, but solely with the work and worth of .his own Son, on whom they have no claim, and which, as a gift, is graciously bestowed on the absolutely unworT
thy—not as meriting mercy, but as deservingeternal ruin. It should also be remembered, that whatever is said concerning this salvation, is to be cordially believed on divine testimony, without the concurrent evidence of our senses; because it is an affair with which they are not conversant—of which they can take no cognizance. The inestimable blessing must also be regarded as allsufficient for the purposes intended, and as the only means by which eternal happiness can be enjoyed—as free for sinners, without exception of character, and as infallibly connected with faith. He, therefore, that shall see the plague of his own heart— that shall acknowledge it to be deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked—who shall contemplate a life spent in gratifying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life—who shall feel his accumulated guilt as a load that might justly sink him into endless perdition—and who, notwithstanding these apparent discouragements, shall believe with his heart the record, 'that God hath given to us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son— that he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification—that his blood cleanseth from all sin—that his righteousness justifieth from all iniquity:' who shall gladly receive the cheering testimony, and confide in that testimony, in defiance of all the accusations of conscience, the suggestions of Satan, the frowns or the smiles of the world— is strong in faith, giving glory to God—lays hold on eternal life, and shyJl undoubtedly be saved.
'For what is evangelical faith, says the very excellent and judicious Booth, but the receiving of Christ and his righteousness? Or, in other words, a dependence on Jesus only for eternal salvation? A dependence upon him as allsufficient to save the most guilty; as everyway suitable to supply the wants of the most needy; and absolutely free for the vilest of sinners. The divine Redeemer and his finished work being the object of faith, and the report of the gospel its warrant and ground, to believe is to trust entirely and without reserve on the faithful word which God hath spoken, and on the perfect work which Christ hath wrought. Such is the faith of God's elect: and happy, thrice happy they that are interested in this divine righteousness, and have received the atonement! All such are pronounced righteous by the eternal Judge. There is nothing to be laid to their charge. They are acquitted with honour to all the perfections of Deity, and everlastingly free from condemnation. Their sins, though ever so numerous or ever so hateful, being purged away by atoning blood; and their souls being vested with that most excellent robe, the Redeemer's righteousness; they are without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. They are presented by their great Representative, in the body of his flesh, through death, holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in the sight of Omniscience. They are fair as the purest wool; whiter than the virgin snow—The work and worthiness of the Lord Redeemer give them acceptance with infinite Majesty and dignity before the angels of light. Works of every law, in every sense, as performed by man, are entirely excluded from having any concern in our acceptance with God. Since,
therefore, it is in Christ only, as our head, representative and surety, that we are or can be justified; he alone should have the glory. He is infinitely worthy to have the unrivalled honour.—Let the sinner, then, the ungodly wretch, trust in the obedience of the dying Jesus, as being absolutely sufficient to justify him, without any good works or duties; without any good habits or qualities, however performed or acquired; and eternal truth hath declared for his encouragement, that he shall not be disappointed.'
One reason why we are so perplexed with
doubts and fears respecting the safety of our
state, is the weakness of our faith. We look
more to our sins than to the Saviour: and by
imagining that they are too many and too
great to be pardoned, depreciate his allsuffi
cient atonement. We are not aware, perhaps,
that by this conduct we are in fact saying, in
opposition to scripture and experience, that
the blood of Christ doth not cleanse from all
sin—that his righteousness doth not justify
from all iniquity—that he is not able to save