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than while his whole soul was vigorously wrestling with God in prayer. God is ever ready to reward those, who call upon him in sincerity, with the pecu liar manifestations of his love. And this is certainly an animating motive to pray without ceasing and without fainting.

Let them consider, in the third place, that humble, fervent, constant prayer will give them life and spirit in the performance of all other duties. They will meditate, they will read the word of God, they will hear the gospel preached, they will attend divine ordinances, they will pursue their secular concerns, and converse with their fellow men, very much in the same manner, in which they call upon God. If they maintain a daily intercourse with the Deity, and sincerely implore his gracious presence and assistance, they will find themselves ready to every good work, and exhibit an amiable example of virtue and piety to all around them. They will most certainly live as they pray.

In the last place, let them seriously consider that constancy, sincerity, and fervency in prayer, will be the best means to prepare them for dying. It is the natural tendency of this duty to inspire the mind with clear and realizing views of invisible and divine objects. It is principally by prayer, that saints familiarize the scenes, which lie beyond the grave, and prepare for an easy and joyful transition out of time into eternity. Hence we find the ancient patriarchs spent their last moments in prayer. The last words of David were employed in thanksgiving and praise. Stephen died calling upon God. And the great Redeemer expired in the act of praying. Those, who live prayerfully, are prepared to die prayerfully. And who would not wish to leave this world, and appear before God, in a praying frame?




Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE apostle having, in the preceding chapters, established the doctrine of justification by faith alone through the atonement of Christ, proceeds to draw a just and important inference from it in the text."Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justification places all, who cordially believe in Christ, in a new, a safe, and a happy situation. There is, howev er, no small difficulty in reconciling this, with some other equally plain and important truths of the gospel. But all this difficulty, perhaps, may be entirely removed, by exhibiting the doctrine of justification in a just and scriptural light. In attempting to do this, it is proposed,

I. To describe true believers.

II. To consider what is meant by their being justi fied.


III. To consider how they are justified.

IV. To consider when they are justified.

V. To consider the terms upon which they are jus tified.

I. I am to describe true believers. These are persons, who have been brought out of a state of nature into a state of grace. All men are by nature morally depraved, and entirely destitute of the least degree of true love to God. They are completely under the

dominion of a carnal mind, which is enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. They deserve nothing better from the hand of God whom they have hated and disobeyed, than eternal death, the proper wages of sin. Now, all true believers have been awakened to see themselves in this guilty and perishing condition, and brought to accept the punishment of their iniquities, and to ascribe rightcousness to God, should he see fit to cast them off forever. They have been made willing to renounce all self-dependence and self-righteousness, and to rely alone upon the atonement of Christ for pardoning mercy in the sight of God. They have believed the record which God has given of his Son, and fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them in the gospel. Christ has appeared to them precious, and their hearts have been united to him, as the branches are united to the vine. This has been owing to a divine operation upon their hearts. The apostle John represents those who have believed in the name of Christ, as "being born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." "He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in the hearts of all true believers, to give them the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ." None ever become true believers, until they have been renewed in the spirit of their mind, and have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. But though God has begun a good work in their hearts, yet he carries it on gradually, and never makes them perfectly holy in this life. Paul acknowledged that he had not attained to perfect holiness, but when he would do good evil was present with him. His moral imperfections deeply affected him, and caused him to

cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Though true believers have been reconciled to God, and God has been reconciled to them; yet they offend him every day, and every day deserve the marks of his holy displeasure.

II. We are next to consider what is meant by their justification. The apostle asserts, that "being justified by faith, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justification is a term taken from the practice of civil courts, in acquitting or releasing from punishment those, who are found innocent of the charges alleged against them. But this term is not to be understood precisely in the same sense, when applied to the justification of believers. Though God releases them from punishment, yet he does not declare them innocent. He views them as actually guilty of transgressing his holy law, and as deserving to suffer the full penalty of it; but nevertheless for Christ's sake, he releases them from suffering the just punishment of their iniquities. So that justification, in a gospel sense, signifies no more nor less, than the pardon or remission of sin. What is called justification, in the New Testament, is more commonly called forgiveness in the Old. Under the Law, God is said to forgive or pardon true penitents; but under the Gospel, he is said either to forgive, or to justify them, which signifies the same thing. Christ usually told those who repented and believed, that "their sins were forgiven." Peter said to the three thousand that were awakened on the day of Pentecost, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Paul commonly used justification and forgiveness as synony. mous terms. Speaking of believers in the third of


Romans, he says, "Being justified freely by his through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins." And he addressed the Jews at Antioch in similar terms. "Be it known to you, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." These and many other passages of Scripture plainly teach us, that the justification of believers is the same thing as their forgiveness, through the atonement of Christ.

III. We are to consider how God justifies, pardons, or forgives true believers.

The assembly of Divines say, "Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, &c." But have we any evidence, that he does, or says any thing, when he justifies or pardons believers? Do they see any thing done, or hear any thing said when they are justified? Or is there any reason to suppose, that God puts forth any act or makes any declaration, at the time of their justification? But if he does neither of these things, we have still to inquire how or in what manner, he justifies believers. To this question a plain and satisfactory answer may be given. God justifies all true believers by WILL. He has formed, and written, and published his last Will and Testament concerning mankind; in which he pardons all true believers, and makes them heirs of salvation, but totally disinherits and banishes from his kingdom all the finally impenitent and unbelieving. As it is by Will, that parents give future legacies to their children, while they are young, and even before they are born; so it is by Will, that God

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