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been said to you, your mind is relieved of all anxiety concerning the payment of the bill.
So then, if a man in whom you have faith seriously j promises something .which he claims to be able to perform, you will accept what ho says as true; and if he seriously makes you a promise, you will certainly and confidently rely upon him to fulfil it.
And now let us apply this to the question of your salvation. I take it for granted that you believe the Bible to be the word of God, and consequently that it is true. Well, you read in this inspired book a great many historical statements concerning various nations and individuals. The impression produced by these statements will not greatly differ perhaps from that produced by reading accounts of similar providential dealings in the history of the United States, or of England, because you do not feel that you are personally and intimately affected by them.
But you also read that "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."* "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the jndgment."f "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."J If you really believe these solemn declarations, and feel your own sinfulness, the unavoidable result will be anxiety and fear.
In your distress you turn to other portions of the sacred Scriptures, and read, " This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."§ "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him. seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.'^f "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."** "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." jf "And him that conieth to me I will in no wise cast out." jj
There are many such precious invitations and assurances in the blessed word of God, setting forth the ability and the willingness of Christ to save sinners; nay, to save ytM
* Psa. ix. 17. t Heb. ix. 27. J Heb. x. 31.
§ 1 Tim. i. 15. |1 Heb. vii. 25. 1 1 John i. 7.
** Isa. lv. 1. ft Matt. xi. 28. tt John yi. 37.
even though you are the chief of sinners. You may be the chief of sinners, but you can be no worse; and it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that He came to save the vilest of the vile. Now, if you believe this, why are you not rejoicing in hope of the glory of God? If Jesus Christ came to save you, and declares that he can save you, and that he desires to save you, and that he will save you, provided you but trust him; surely you ought to believe him this very moment, and lift the song of praise for his amazing grace.
But you may say, "I do not know whether the Saviour means me; and although I desire to believe on him, I cannot tell whether I really believe, or whether I am deceived."
If this is the state of your mind, a question which I am about to ask may assist you in understanding Christ's feelings towards you, and your feelings towards him. I desire you to be entirely honest with yourself, to examine your heart thoroughly, and to answer the question truthfully and intelligently, since it may reveal your real condition, and I trust bring immediate peace to your anxious soul. Now, taking it for granted that you believe the Bible to be true, you also believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and that he appeared to his disciples on many occasions. After forty days he ascended into heaven in his own body—the body they had seen and handled while he was upon the earth. That body is somewhere in the universe at this present time and could be revealed to us, if he chose to manifest himself, just as it will be at his second coming.
Now, the question I wish to ask is this: Suppose he should suddenly appear before you while reading these words, and you knew it was Christ the Lord, just as you know your most intimate friend. Suppose he should raise his hand, and say with his own voice, " Son, daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee. I died that thoii niightest live. I am able to save, I am willing to save thee. I do not desire thy death. I am not indifferent to thy welfare. I have come from heaven to give thee personal assurance of my interest in thy happiness. Just as thou art, without waiting even one moment, I offer to save thee if thou wilt but trust me. I am to pronounce the destiny of all men, and I now promise that when thou shalt stand before my judgment seat, I will not say, Depart from me, but, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for thee from the foundation of the world."
If the Lord Jesus were to make such declarations as these directly to you, while standing visibly in your presence, and looking upon you, would you believe him? Would you be satisfied? Would you rely upon him to fulfil his promise? Are you so much in earnest about your salvation, that you would trust him at once, and be willing even now to become his disciple, asking nothing, wanting nothing beside his own divine word to impart a hope of final blessedness? Stop and think before reading further. Think seriously. I ask again, would 'you believe these promises if made personally to you by the gracious Eedeemer?
Oh, if you would, rejoice and be exceeding glad, for he does make these promises in his word, and he makes them as truly, as directly, as sincerely to you as though you were the only sinner on the earth, or as though he stood visibly in your presence. He hath said, "Whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have eternal life."
He might commission an angel to convey to you the assurances of his power to save, and of his tender concern for your soul; he might engrave the declarations of his grace upon tables of stone for your special benefit; he might write his invitations in a letter, and send them in that form; but what would be the use of all this, when he has already addressed you, and addressed you personally, in his glorious gospel? If you believe not his earnest and solemn words found in the Bible, neither would you "be persuaded though one rose from the dead."*
Faith, then, in the first place, is to believe that what Jesus Christ says in his word is true; and in the second place it is to rely upon him to fulfil his promise to save your soul.
It is, therefore, as simple and easy to exercise faith in Christ, as it is to believe an earthly friend, or as it is to trust in an earthly friend to do what he says he will do. Nay, it ought to be far easier, because an earthly friend may change, or may be unable to execute his purpose; but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,"t and "doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants * Luke xvi. 31. t Heb. xiii. 8. | of the earth; and there is none that can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?"* When He who is "mighty to save "f offers to deliver you from sin and hell, there should be on your part a prompt and heartfelt acceptance of the offer, and a calm, unshaken reliance upon him to secure your salvation.
You are not to make yourself worthy of the offer in any respect, or in any degree; for self-righteousness is at the bottom of all these efforts " to get fit to come," and pride is at the bottom of all this apparent humility that keeps the soul away from the Eedeemer. There is no promise in the Bible to those who are good enough to come; for "they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." J There is no promise for to-morrow; but, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.'^
Several years ago, a missionary among the Indians was visited by a proud and powerful chief, who had been deeply convicted of sin by the Spirit of God. The savage, though trembling under a sense of his guilt, was unwilling to take the water of life freely, and hence offered his wampum to avert the dreaded punishment. The man of God shook his head, and said, "No, Christ cannot accept such a sacrifice." The Indian went away, but, unable to rest beneath the frowns of his Maker, came back and offered his rifle, and the skins he had taken in hunting. The missionary again said, "No, Christ cannot accept such a sacrifice." The wretched sinner withdrew; but the Spirit gave him no peace, and he returned once more to offer his wigwam, his wife, his children, and all that he had, if he could only find pardon and eternal life. The missionary was compelled to say, "No, Christ cannot accept such a sacrifice." The chief stood for a moment, with his head bowed, as if on the verge of despair, and then raising his streaming eyes to heaven, his heart poured itself forth in a cry of unreserved surrender and consecration, "Here, Lord, take poor Indian himself."
Yes, this is the position to which you must come, if you would experience the joy of pardoned sin, and " the peace of God which passeth all understanding."|| You must give up your pride, and your efforts to make yourself better,
* Dan. iv. 35. t Isa» Ixiii- 1. J Matt. ix. 12.
§ 2 Cor. vi. 2. || Phil. iv. 7.
and committing your guilty soul and all its interests into the hands of Christ, exclaim from the heart,
"But drops of grief can ne'er repay
"Wherever you may be while reading these words, at home or ahroad, standing or sitting, in health or in sickness, now, just now, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe that he came to save you, believe that he is able to save you, believe that he is willing to save you, believe that he offers to save you, and at once, without delay, without doubt, without hesitation, trust in him to do what he promises to do; and I tell you, heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than your soul shall be lost.
You have nothing to do with the past, you have nothing to do with the future, you have nothing to do with the secret things of God, you have nothing to do with false professors of religion. All you have to do now is with Christ. Do not let Satan divert your attention from the one precious thought that the compassionate Saviour is standing, as it were, before you, and offering to pardon you just as you are, and this very moment. Only believe that he is making this offer, and take him at his word, and faith will be to you "the substance," the ground, or confident expectation of "things hoped for," and "the evidence," or clear proof and demonstration "of things not seen."* Then shall you, through the Holy Spirit, obtain the peace for which you sigh, and the love which you desire to feel, and other graces and joys which spring out of this act of childlike faith as naturally as a stream springs from its fountainhead. Then shall you be able to testify, that it is no hard task which the Saviour requires, when he asks sinful men to believe on him, for "the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise: Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above ;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." j
* Heb. xi. 1. t Rom. x. G-13.