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Serm. attend to the Blessings than the Duties of : III. 'the Gospel, ---to God's Part of the new Co

venant, than to their own.

· Justification then is, in short, the free
Act of God, not making wicked Men righ-
teous by his Almighty Power, but reputing
Sinners as just by his infinite Mercy, and
treating them in that View, like the Objects
of his Love: It is his pardoning our Of-
fences and accepting our Persons out of pure
Grace and Goodness, through the alone Sa-
tisfaction of his dearly beloved Son, in whom
he is so well pleased, that he takes Pleasure
in none else, but for his Sake. Forgive-
'ness and Acceptance are the two Parts of
Justification ; as there is now no Condemna-
tion to them, which are in Christ Jesus (d),
so they who sometimes were far off, are
'made nigh, and have an Access unto the Fa-
ther (e). - Both these, indeed, with some
stand for the same Thing ; though, by the
more discerning they are judged to be dis-
tinct, and the one to contain the other, as
the greater the less. For accepting the Per-
son of the Sinner, certainly implies more
than pardoning his Sin: Every Enemy, who
is forgiven, being not of course, nor pre-

fently (d) Rom. viii. 1. (C) Ephef. ii. 13, 18.

fently accepted and admitted to Favour, as Serm.. a Friend.

. III.

This high Privilege of being pardoned and reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, is in the Text attributed to the Faith of Jesus Christ. But how our Apostle is here to be understood, the Misconception of others admonishes us more particularly to enquire.

The Christian Faith then justifies us, not by Means of its Efficiency. For this is appropriated to God alone; Justification is his peculiar Work : And as he has been pleased to reveal so much of his infinite Nature, as, to call for our firm Belief, that it subsists in Three Persons, so has he also taught us in his Word, that each Divine Person is concerned in this blessed Effect, as the proper Cause and Author of it.

That God the Father is the efficient Cause of Man's Justification, is a Point hardly questioned ; or if it were, might be unanswerably proved by the clear Testimony of holy Scripture : But not to be tedious, I shall instance out of many Places, only in one (f), It is God that justifieth; and H 3

that (f) Rom. viii. 33. i

SERM. that the Father is meant here, is evident from

III, his being distinguished, in what follows, from m the Son, who is be that condemneth? It is

Christ that died (8).

God the Son however is also represented both in the Old and the New Testament to be the efficient Cause or Author of our justifica: tion, and most properly, seeing he laid down his Life to purchase it, be made an End of Sin, and brought in everlasting Righteousness (b), in Respect whereof it was foretold of him, that he should justifie many (i). To which Prophecy the Gospel-Records do directly allude, when they set forth that the Son of Man çame to give his Life a RanSom for many (k). And yet more fully to the Point does St. Paul deļiver himself to the Jews at Antioch, that throub this Man (i. e. Christ Jesus) is preached unto you the Forgiveness of Sins, and by bim, all that believe are justified (1).

To the Holy Ghost likewise is this Work ascribed, and we ought to exclude the

Third Person of the adoreable Trinity from the Glory of it, no more than the Second, The same thar fanctifies, justifies too ac

cording () Rom. viii. 34: (b) Dan. ix. 24.

i) Ifai. liii. 11. (k) St. Matth. xx. 28. (!) Acts xii. 38, 39.

cording to St. Paul (m), and how can it Serm. be otherwise ? When these Divine Acts, III. though they stand divided in our Minds for the better apprehending them, are still in Fact so intimately united, that the one never takes place without the other. By him we are translated from our natural State of Enmity and Condemnation to a regenerate State of Pardon and Grace : This is the lowest Sense of our Saviour's Words to Nicodemus (n), Except a Man be born---of the Spirit, be cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, by whom je are sealed unto the Day of Redemption (0) and may depend on an honourable Acquițral at the last Judgment, unlefs ye imprudently deface the fair Impression,

· Thus the whole Godhead appears to be the principal efficient Cause of our Justification, consequently it may not in this Respect be attributed to Faith.

NEITHER is a Man justified thereby on the Score of its Meritoriousness. Faith has na more Merit in it, than Works, and it is the utmost Vanity to think it the Price of

hiş

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(m) 1 Cor, vi. 11, (0) Eph. iv. 30.

(n) St. Johın iii, 5.

.

Serm. his Justification. For this is constantly in-
III. culcated on us in holy Writ to be the All-

fufficient Sacrifice of Christ's Death. Fallen
Man had not, nor could have the least De-
sert in himself, whereon to ground a Claim
of Reconciliation with his offended Maker,
and he must have lain under the Guilt and
the Punishment of his Sin for ever, had not
the eternal Son of God appeared in our
Flesh, that he might be once offered to bear
the Sins of many (P). So that we have Peace
with God only through our Lord Jesus Christ
by whom we have received the Atonement (9).

Nor, moreover is Juftification transferred to us through Faith, as the Instrument of its Communication. For such are the two Christian Sacraments instituted by our blefsed Lord; wherein God condescends to strike at first and to ratify afterward a League of Amity with his sinful Creatures. And these folemn Ordinances of Baptism and the Eucharist, considered as fæderal Rites and on God's Part, fall under the Notior of Deeds, the former of Conveyance, th, latter of Renewalthough, as they are In." stances of Gospel Obedience on our Side, they may be fairly ranked among the Terms of the new Covenant.

BUT Prvah. ix. 28. 19). Rom. v. 1, 11,

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