« ÎnapoiContinuați »
ously described in the Seriptures, shewing the inadequacy of language fully to express the doctrines of grace. Our Lord explains it at length in the 6th chapter of the Gospel by John, and he there employs no less than four different forms of ex. pression to set forth this action of faith.': These are, coming to him,--seeing him,- eating him, and believing in him. All these express substantially the same action ; yet the variety in which they exhibit it renders it more plain and intelligible. The sinner, naturally afar off, like the prodigal in a distant land, comes to Christ by faith, and receives his pardon and blessing; blinded by the love of sin, he has his eyes opened to discover the glory of Christ in his person and work, and he sees, hy faith, an inexhaustible fulness of grace in him, out of which he receives all that he needs ;--perishing with hunger, be learns that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” and, partaking of him, by faith, he receives a satisfying portion from day to day; naturally indisposed to the truth as it respects Christ, he is enlightened to apprehend it, and, exercising faith upon it, he receives Christ accordingly. In all these ways is faith explained in the Scriptures, as the action of the soul in which the sioner receives Christ. By it he receives the testimony that is borne to him there. Whatever views are given of his person and work, however exalted beyond any thing he could have conceived, he adopts and professes, knowing that they are communicated by the unerring Spirit. By it he receives him in all the offices which he proposes to bear to the Church ; as bis Prophet, who alone has authority or capacity to teach him; his Priest, who has presented himself a sacrifice in the sinner's room, and now lives, making intercession for him; and his King, who only has a rightful authority over him, and property in him. By it he receives the blessings which Christ has purchased for the sinner, the pardon of sin, the renewal of the heart in righteousness, acceptance with God, peace, strength, and every other fruit of the Spirit. By it he receives Christ himself. No language, short of this, fully expresses the operation of faith. And it is the current language of the Scriptures." Christ liveth in me,--that Christ may be formed in you,--that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in 18,5 in them, and thou in me, that they may be made pertéct in one!" The bride, in the day of her espousals, receives the bridegroom, not his smiles nor his gifts merely, but himself; and the sinner, wben by faith be receives Christ, obtains not merely his favour and his benefits, but himself. This is fbo reason why all the blessings which the sinner can receive are attendant upon faith. He receives Christ, and in and with him all things. " The husband is the head of the wife, even de Christ is the head of the Church; and he is the Saviour of die body-For wey are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. mo This is a greatynaysteryaa but I speak concerning Christ and the Church"'I Epbw/234-30-32
All things are yours, whether Paul on Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or thingasto come ;) all are yours;hand ye åre Christ's 91 and Christ is God's.” 1 Cor. iii. 21-28. The believer's portion is Christi and therefore do we say, that by faith (we receive Christ. . lie & IV." Faith in Jesus Christ is a saying grace, wbereby we receive and rest: upon him.". Nothing can be more natural than such a result from receiving Christ. 4-It is the attitude into which the soul is necessarily thrown, upon a just discor very and knowledge of Christ ; for ås the dinner will never trust in him until he knows him, no sooner is: he enabled to receive him as he is revealed to him in the Scriptures, than he will rest upon him. I receive a staff into my hand, and then rest upon it; the more feeble. I am, the more I need it; and as I am sensible of my infirmity, 80 will I rest upon my staff. The believer is a pilgrim, journeying along the path of life, and having received Christ, he rests upon him as his sup. port and staff. His confidence in him will ever be in exact proportion to his knowledge of him, and bence we are ad dressed, according to your faith so be it unto you?? Nor can any principle be more just and reasonable ;, for if in the exercise of faith there is a just knowledge of ourselves on the one hand, and of Christ on the other, there will besan utter distrust of ourselves, by which we shall be saved from many evils, and a corresponding dependence on him, whicb be will acknowledge, aud make the channel of many blessings. The sinner is enlightened to see that be is altogether destitute of any righteousness that can justify him before God; but he learns that “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” and, -receiving the testimony, he rests upon the righteousness of Christ. The believer is deeply sensible of his own weakness, but he knows that he is to live by the faith of the Son of God, whose grace - is sufficient for him, and on this grace he rests for power to conquer the end, mies of his soul, and strength to be faithful in the relations and duties of life. He is fully aware of his own ignorance and folly, but he knows that Christ is of God made unto bim wisdom, and he rests upon him for the teaching of bis Word and Spirit, and commits bimself implicitly to his guidance. He is often in doubt and darkness, but he is made acquainted with the promises of Christ, is assured that they are all Yea and Amen; and he rests upon bim for their fulfilment, sustained by the belief, that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. Tbere is no situation in wbich vbeh can be placed that Christ does noti furbish a resting place for ble seul. either in his person, or work, or word. And it is just as these are apprehended by faith, that he finds rest: J The Apón
tle Paul, la one of the most trying extremities of life, could say, “I know whom I have believed, aod I am persuaded he is able to keep that. wbich have committed unto him against that day." He received Christ and rested upon bim, op bis power, which nothing could withstand; his love, which could gever be exhausted ; and his faithfulness, which could never fail. The same is the legitimate exercise of faith still, receiving Christ and resting upon him. And hence the triumphant language of Paul, in Rom. viii. 33-39. "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth'; who is be that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? (As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through bim that loved usia For I am persuaded, that neither death, por life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, por things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Vo.“ Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon bim alone." The term alone is introduced here with much wisdom and propriety, both for ins struction and warning: It is not easy to be persuaded to trust in Cbrist alone; and this is true with respect to every part of our salvation, our justification and sanctification alike. For justification, nothing can be of any avail but the righteousness of Christ; but how prone are we to join our own along with it. It is usually after many struggles of unbelief, that the soul is broken off from refuges of lies, and induced to commit itself to the finished work of Christ. It is the breaking down of the most’ rampant sinful propensity in man, his spirit of selfrighteousness. And even the justified believer, who lives by faith, finds it hard to renounce confidence in the flesh, for the promotion of his sanctification. He is continually tempted to stand by his own strength, and walk by his own wisdom. Hence arise the numberless errors into wbich he is betrayed, and the grievous falls that dishonour his life. It is the office ofi faith to keep him dependant on Christ alone. ' And O! where it attains to this exercise, how blessed are the results. Resting on the perfect righteousness of Christ alone for acceptance, bis 18oal is satisfied; like Paul, he can say, "being justified by faith; we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christes And trusting in his grace alone, for a life of boliness, he is guided by his Spirit in answer to prayer, is susi tained by his power, in every duty and difficulty, and enabled,
like Paul, to say, "I will glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Just as he rests upon Christ alone, is he happy and holy. That is the true secret of peace of mind and godliness of life. And to discover it, and aet upon it, is the province
, , VI. “ Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation. eise it expresses the concurrence of the believer io the groat design of the Gospel dispensation to deliver men from their sins. His first and absorbing object, when he is awakened to a sense of bis condition, no doubty, is to escape from the pup. ishment of sin, and be flies to Christ, by faith, as a refuge from the wrath of God. But he does not seek safety, and continue to cherish the love and practice of siu. He receives Christ and rests upon bim, not merely that he may be delivered from the condemnation into which he is brought, but that he may be restored to holiness. It is written, thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Ps. cx. 3. That day of power is wben Christ, by his Spirit, implants the principle of faith, and regenerates the soul; and in that day, and by that means, the sinner is made willing to abandon the service of Sátan, and exercise obedience to Jesus Christ. It is written again, his name shall be called Jesus, because he shall sare his people from their sins.” Mat. i. 21. By his blood be redeemed them, when they lay in their sins; and by his power be redeems them, when he delivers them from their sius. In this, as well as in deliverence from guilt, the blessedness of his salvation consists. “ God, baviog raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Acts iii. 26. The actual bestowment of the blessing consisted in the emancipation from the sin. Would God bless the drunkard ? He does so by forgiving his sin, and making him sober. Or the dishonest man?
It is by instilling a principle of rectitude at the same time that bis guilt is re mitted. Or the man of unsubdued temper? It is by giving a new spirit, while the blood of Christ cleanses his iniquity. Salvation is the work of Christ, and faith is its appropriation and realization. This principle in the sinner meets that pura pose in the Saviour. By it be acquiesces in all the desigua ofi the Gospel And, while he receives Christ, and rests upon bim, it is for salvation, that his guilt may be cancelled and wik sia purged, and that he may live no louger to the lusts of meg, but to the will of God. Heartily does he acquiesce in the gentia meny the time past of our life may sufice us wrought to life redeemed, embracing these two ideas, Rev. i. 5, 6, is, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priestor unto God and his Father; to him be gloryo and dominouifor ever and ever. Amen,"
179 VIIFaith in Jesus Christ via la saving grace, whereby
offered to us in the Gospel." The rule by which faith is rem , ,
Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom, x. 17. It is thence we derive that kuowledge of Christ which induces us, at first, to trust iu him, and it is there we must continue to learn of him, for all the future'exercises of the divine life. In all his views of Christ, the believer is guided by the testimony of the Scriptures; and his faith is simply ati acquiescence in whatever is there revealed, respecting him. Faith in the sinner meets the testimony of the Spirit in the Word.' Christ is proclaimed to be the Saviour of Sinners. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance, the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,--this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' Faith receives these testimonies, and rests upon Christ, according to them. The man is sensible he is a sinner,—he perceives it is to sinners the mission of Christi is addressed, --- that is enough for him,--the Word is his war rant, and he comes to Christ for salvation. Again, Christ is proclaimed as the free gift of God to men. « 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.” I he man is con scious he has nothing to recommend him, but he perceives that nothing is required; and, receiving Christ, according to the Word, he trusts in him for salvation. Farther, Christ is proclaimed as made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption to all who will believe in him. so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but might have everlasting life." Accordingly, he believes. Faith is the band, which he extends to receive Christ,-it is the channel through which he is brought into the soul-it is the means by wbiebisan union with him is formed. Finally, Christ is proclaimed to be present in his word and ordinances. In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” And it is the legitimate exercise of faith to wait upon him there, and expect and receive the blessings promised and needed. At the same time, commands are joined with these proclamations of the Saviobr, and it is the province of faith to acquiesce in