Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the enormous 'guilt of the latter, simply considered, be an obstacle to the bestowment of grace and of glory.

Moral rectitude in all its forms, we ought; nevertheless, to admire, and studiously endeavour to cultivate. A disregard of this, where final, renders eternal happiness impossible, and condemnation absolutely necessary. That virtuous actions are praiseworthy in the sight of men, and, in a comparative view, in the sight of God, is certain; but that these actions, however numerous, or however splendid, are of no use in the affair of justification is demonstrable: and it is this grand fact, and this only, that abolishes, in a religious view, all human distinctions; that exalts the riches of sovereign grace ; opens a door of hope for the guilty; and effectually secures all the glory of salvation to our adorable Immanuel.

That Christ is the only author of salvation, must never be forgotten. It may be said, in reference to all he did as surety of the church, as well as to the complete conquest of his enemies; ' Of the people, there was none with him: there was none to help, none to uphold: therefore his own arm brought salv,ation.' The work of redemption was assigned to him in the everlasting covenant; it was what he then voluntarily undertook to perform, and what, as mediator, he came to execute in the state of his humiliation on earth. By perfect . conformity of heart and of life to the moral law; by suffering on the cross the dreadful penalty annexed to transgression; the stupendous undertaking was accomplished. That it was complete in all its parts we can have no doubt, because to this the divine Jesus bore unequivocal testimony when, in the agonies of death, he cried, 'It is finished; and gave up the ghost.' As, therefore, he had no copartner, no assistant in the work, we are not to imagine that he will give his glory to another. He that glorieth must glory in the Lord only. 'We are not saved, says an apostle, by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saveth us, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.'

The apostle, Paul, who made these assertions, and who laboured much in all his preaching and writings to establish the sovereignty of grace, is, in this affair, extremely tenacious of the honour of his Master. 'Who, he asks, maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?' Sinners are not 'called according to their works, but according to God's purpose and grace, given them in Christ Jesus before the world began.' Salvation is of grace; and if by grace, then, he adds, ' it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more of grace: otherwise work is no more work.' On this

important subject, however, I cannot now enlarge: it shall, therefore, be resumed in my next.

I am yours, &c.

ir

LETTER H.

What is all righteousness that men devise,
What, but a sordid bargain for the skies?
But Christ as soon will abdicate his own.
As stoop from heaven to 6ell the proud a throne.

COWPER.

That good works can have no place in the justification of a sinner before God, was asserted in my last: want of leisure, however, prevented me from attempting to vindicate that assertion. I shall now, therefore, in pursuance of my promise, transmit my thoughts on this highly interesting subject.

Good works, performed by the apostate sons of Adam, have no intrinsick merit. .The best performances of the most eminent saint are imperfect. They fall vastly short, both in motive and in practice, of what the moral law, which is the rule of duty, invariably requires: and can therefore have no influence

« AnteriorContinuar »