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earth, by those who are partakers of this faith. For thus saiti the Apostle to the believers at Ephesus, and in them to the believers of all ages, not ye shall be, (though that also is true,) but " ye are saved through faith.”
2. Ye are saved (to comprise all in one word) from sin. This is the salvation which is through faith. This is that great salvation foretold by the Angel, before God brought his Firstbegotten into the world : “ Thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins.” Aud neither here, nor in other parts of Holy Writ, is there any limitation or restriction. All his people, or, as it is elsewhere expressed, “all that believe in bim,” he will save from all their sins ; from original and actual, past and present sin, “of the flesh and of the spirit.” Through faith that is in bim, they are saved both from the guilt and from the power of it.
: 3. First from the guilt of all past sin : for, whereas all the world is guilty before God, insomuch, that should be “be extreme to mark what is done amiss, there is none that could abide it ;” and whereas, “by the Law is ” only “the knowledge of sin,” but lio deliverance from it, so that, “by fulfilling the deeds of the Law, no fleshi can be justified in his sight;” now, “the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is manifested unto all that believe.” Now, “they are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” “Him God hath set forth to be a Propitiation, through faith in his blood; to declare his righteousness for (or by the remission of the sins that are past.” Now bath Christ taken away “the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us." He hath “ blotted out the handwriting that was against us, taking it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” “ There is, therefore, no condemnation now, to them which” believe in Christ Jesus.
4. And being saved from guilt, they are saved from fear. Not indeed from a filial fear of offending ; but, from all servile fear; from that fear which hath torment; from fear of punishment; from fear of the wrath of God, whom they now no longer regard as a severe Master, but as an indulgent Father. “ They have not received again the Spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry Abba, Father : the Spirit itself also bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God.” They are also sared from the fear, though not from the possibility, of falling away from the grace of God, and coming short of the great and precious promises : they are
“sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, which is the earnest of their inheritance.” (Eph. i. 13.) Thus bave they “ peacc with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. They rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, through the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them.” And bereby they are persuaded, (though perhaps not at all times, nor with the same fulness of persuasion,) that “peither death, uor life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
5. Again, through this faith they are saved from the power of sin, as well as from the guilt of it. So the Apostle declares, “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not.” (1 Jobn iii. 5, &c.) Again, “ Little children, let no man deceive you. He that committeth sin is of the Devil. Whosoever believeth, is born of God. And whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Once more, “We know, that whosoever is born of God sinneth not: but he that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (V. 18.)
6. He that is, by faith, born of God, sinneth not, 1, by any habitual sin; for all habitual sin, is sin reigning : but sin cannot reign in any that believeth. Nor, 2, by any wilful sin, for his Will, while he abideth in the faith, is utterly set against all sin, and abhorreth it as deadly poison. Nor, 3, by any sinful desire; for he continually desireth the holy and perfect will of God; and any tendency to an unholy desire, he, by the grace of God, stifleth in the birth. Nor, 4, doth he sin by infirmities, whether in act, word, or thought: for his infirmities have no concurrence of his will; and without this they are not properly sins. Thus, “He that is born of God doth not commit sin.” And though he cannot say, he hath not sinned, yet, now" hc sinneth not.”
7. This then is the salvation which is through Faith, even in the present world: a salvation from sin, and the consequences of sin, both often expressed in the word Justification; which, taken in the largest sense, implies, a deliverance from guilt and punishment, by the Atonement of Christ actually applied to the soul of the sinner now believing on him, and a deliverance from the whole body of sin, through Christ, formed in his heart. So that he who is thus justified, or saved by faith, is indeed born again. He is born again of the Spirit unto a new life, “which is hid with Christ in God.” “He is a new creature: old things are passed away: all things in him are become new.” And as a new-born babe he gladly receives the adonov, “sincere milk of the word, and grows thereby;” going on in the might of the Lord bis God, from faith to faith, from grace to grace, until at length, he comes unto “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
III. The first usual Objection to this is,
1. That to preach Salvation, or Justification, by faith only, is to preach against Holiness and good Works. To which a short auswer might be given: It would be so, if we spake, as some do, of a faith which was separate from these: but we speak of a faith which is not so, but necessarily productive of all good works and all holiness.
2. But it may be of use to consider it more at large; especially since it is no new objection, but as old as St. Paul's time: for even then it was asked, “Do we not make void the Law through Faith?” We answer, first, All who preach not Faith, do manifestly make void the Law; either directly and grossly by liinitations and comments, that eat out all the spirit of the text; or, indirectly, by not pointing out the only means whereby it is possible to perform it. Whereas, secondly, “We establish the Law," both by showing its full extent and spiritual meaning; and by calling all to that living way, whereby “the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in them.” These, while they trust in the blood of Christ alone, use all the ordinances which he hath appointed, do all the “good works which he had before prepared that they should walk therein," and enjoy and manifest all holy and heavenly tempers, even the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.
3. But does not preaching this faith lead men into pride ? We answer, Accidentally it may: therefore ought every believer to be carnestly cautioned, in the words of the great Apostle, “Because of unbelief, the first branches were broken oil; and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God! On them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” And while he continues therein, he will remember those words of St. Paul, foresccing and answering this very
objection, (Rom, iii. 27,) “Where iş boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law? Of Works? Nay, but by the Law of Faith. If a man were justified by his works, he would have whereof to glory.” But there is no glorying for him “that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly.” (Rom. iv.5.) To the same effect are the words both preceding and following the text: (Eph. ii. 4, &c.:) “God, who is rich in mercy, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved,) that he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For, by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves.” Of yourselves cometh neither your faith nor your salvation : “ It is the gift of God;”. the free, undeserved gift; the faith through which ye are saved, as well as the salvation, which he of his own good pleasure, bis mere favour, annexes thereto. That ye believe, is one instance of his grace; that believing ye are saved, another, “ Not of works, lest any man should boast.” For all our works, all our righteousness, which were before our believing, merited nothing of God but condemnation. So far were they from deserving fạith, which therefore, whencver given, is not of works. Neither is salvation of the works we do when we believe: for it is then God that worketh in us : and, therefore, that he giveth us a reward for what he himself worketh, only commendeth the riches of his mercy, but leaveth us nothing whereof to glory.
4. However, may not the speaking thus of the mercy of Gou, as saving or justifying freely by faith only, encourage men in sin ? Indeed it may and will : many will “continue in sin that grace may abound:” But their blood is upon their own head. The goodness of God ought to lead them to repentance; and so it will those who are sincere of heart. When they know there is yet forgiveness with him, they will cry aloud that he would blot out their sins also, through faith which is in Jesus. And if they earnestly cry and faint not; if they seek him in all the means he hath appointed; if they refuse to be comforted till he come; “he will come and will not tarry. And he can do much work in a short time. Many are the examples, in the Acts of the Apostles, of God's shedding abroad this faith in men's hearts, even like lightning falling from heaven. So in the same hour that Paul and Silas began to preach, the jailor “repented, believed, and was baptized :" as were three thousand, by St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, who all repented and believed at his first preaching. And blessed be God, there are now many living proofs that he is still “mighty to save.”
5. Yet to the same truth, placed in another view, a quite contrary objection is made: “If a man cannot be saved by all that he can do, this will drive men to despair." True, to despair of being saved by their own works, their own merits, or righteousness. And so it ought; for none can trust in the merits of Christ, till he has utterly renounced his own. He that “gocth about to establish his own righteousness,” cannot receive the righteousness of God. The righteousness which is of faith cannot be given him while he trusteth in that which is of the law.
6. But this, it is said, is an uncomfortable doctrine. The Devil spoke like himself, that is, without either truth or shame, when he dared to suggest to men that it is such. It is the only comfortable onc, it is very full of comfort,” to all selfdestroyed, self-condemned sinners. That “whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed: that the same Lord orer all, is rich unto all that call upon him : " Here is comfort, high as heaven, stronger than death! What! Mercy for all ? For Zaccheus, a public robber? For Mary Magdalene, a common harlot ? Metbiubis I hear one say, Then I, even I, may hope for mercy! And so thou mayest, thou afflicted one, whom none hath comforted ! God will not cast out thy prayer. Nay, perhaps he may say the next hour, “Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;” so forgiven, that they shall reign over thee no more; yea, and that “the Holy Spirit shall bear witness with thy spirit that thou art a child of God.” O glad tidings! Tidings of great joy, which are sent unto all people ! “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters : Come ye, and buy, without money and without price.” Whatsoever your sins be, “though red, like crimson,” though more than the hairs of your head, “return ye unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon you; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
7. When no more objections occur, then we are simply told, that salvation by faith only ought not to be preached as the first doctrine, or, at least, not to be preached to all. But what saith the Holy Ghost?“ Other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, cven Jesus Christ.” So then,