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with joy, for “ he that endureth unto the end shall be saved.' He hath confessed the Saviour upon the earth, and him will the Saviour confess and acknowledge, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Is not this a privilege worth contending for? Is not this an object worthy of our highest and holiest efforts ? Is not this a glory which throws all earthly distinctions into the shade? What are crowns and kingdoms when compared to this? Yet this honour, these privileges, shall be given to all his saints.
And ought not the solemn thought, that all mankind, whether Christians or heathens, whether lovers or despisers of the Saviour, shall be judged by him on that day, to animate us with an ardent desire to promote the best, the everlasting interest of our fellow-men? Let none of us say, “ Am I my brother's keeper ?" but let us ever remember, that if we be Christians in deed and in truth, we are not our own, but "
bought with a price,” that “none liveth to himself,” and that if the weakest and most unworthy among us, neglect to improve the opportunities which God is affording, for promoting the salvation of mankind, the blood of our brother, even his soul, will then be required at our hand.
Let all, therefore, who live and act under the belief of a judgment to come, be aroused to a vigorous activity in the great work of God's glory and man's salvation. The poorest, the most obscure Christian, has a talent, a trust committed to him, and can do something in forwarding the work of the Lord, the work of the Lord against the mighty; and however weak the agent, and however small the effort, if it be made in faith, and in obedience to the Divine command, according to the means and opportunities afforded, it shall not be forgotten or despised. A mite cast into the treasury of heaven, a cup of cold water given to a disciple, or a word spoken in season to those that are weary, shall not fail to obtain a gracious, a glorious reward, in the day when “ they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE.
J.&W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London,
GROUND OF SALVATION.
Among professing Christians there is too often found a total perversion of the true ground of salvation as derived from the Word of God. Some phrases and expressions perhaps they may employ, borrowed from Scripture, or a catechism early committed to memory, which seem to indicate an acquaintance with scriptural principles; but these, on further conversation, are too frequently discovered in their mouths, words without any distinct and intelligent meaning. If they speak of their faith, it is at least on their works they restnot as an evidence of their faith, which is the scriptural view of the subject, but as the means of their acceptance with God, as the labour by which they expect to earn a right to the happiness of heaven. A belief that they can obtain heaven by their own deservings, is deeply seated in their hearts, and to Christ crucified they look not as their substitute and propitiatory sacrifice, but as a mitigator of the sternness of the moral law, who, they vainly imagine, has diminished its obligations and its penalties, and thus brought a saving obedience to its acquirements, within reach of the fallen offspring of Adam. On this false doctrine they build all their hopes of salvation; and in what mazes of deception are they bewildered by this one fatal error!
When the unscriptural principle is once admitted that the law of God has, by virtue of the cross, been accommodated to human frailty, what an inlet is made to the loosest morality and the most presumptuous expectations! Of the extent of obedience necessary to salvation, each individual is thus left to judge from the view he entertains of his own ability to obey; and that ability again he estimates according to his actual performance; so that the standard of duty,
RELIANCE ON HUMAN MERIT FOR SALVATION. 3 instead of being held up in its native height, as that to which we ought constantly to aspire, without ever being able fully to reach, is brought down to the measure of every man's character; and the law of God, so exceeding broad and so absolutely perfect, is contracted and frittered away, till the most careless and worldly can compass its whole length and breadth in their daily rounds.
On being called to visit the sick-bed of a person of this description, he has been generally found self-satisfied, and at ease as to his spiritual condition, regardless though he might be of God and duty in his whole character and conduct, presenting thus the awful and pitiable spectacle of a man tottering blindfold and unconscious on the brink of a yawning gult, ready to devour him. When his condition as a sinner has been set before him, although he might own the truth of the general statement, he seems scarcely sensible of its practical application to himself, and if pressed as to particular sins, was sure to discover the unsoundness of his spiritual views, either by evading the subject altogether, or by palliating his transgressions with some qualifications and abatements ; or what was, perhaps, a more hopeless symptom still, by laying his delinquency to the charge of human frailty, and thus soothing his conscience with the persuasion that he was not worse than others. “ Yes, sir,” he would perhaps reply, “I confess myself a great sinner-we are all miserable sinners; but I trust in the Saviour of sinners, for my conscience does not charge me with any great and grievous transgressions; I have not been a thief, or a liar, or a drunkard, or a blasphemer; the sin of perjury, or of adultery, or of murder, does not lie on my soul; neither does my conscience accuse me of having been an undutiful son, or an unkind husband or father. I have regularly attended the worship of God, and have sometimes prayed to him in private; I have even occasionally read the Bible in my family, especially on the evenings of the Sabbath. I trust, therefore, that all is well with me, for I have a merciful God to deal with, who has sent his own Son to save sinners, such as I am.”
The exposure which is thus made of the utter want of all Christian knowledge, and spiritual experience, at the time when both are most required, is deeply afflicting; and were it not that a Christian minister must never despair-that even till the very striking of the twelfth hour he must hope, he might be induced to leave the wretched and deluded sufferer to his blinded judgment and seared conscience.
Is it by such deeds as these, my friends, that you can purchase a right to eternal happiness? Is it by a mere abstinence from gross and flagrant sins to which, it may be, you have never been strongly tempted, or from which, at all events, you have been deterred more by the fear of man than by the love of your God and Saviour; or is it by heartlessly walking the formal round of outward devotion, by giving the service of the lips, and withholding the inward worship of the spirit, that you hope to please God, and open the gate of heaven? You know it cannot be. And yet what better claims have you to offer ? More regular in the performance of duty, than at some former period of your life, you may have been; more sincere, more earnest, more pious; but after all, do not the very best services of the very best of you all, come infinitely short, and if your deeds of righteousness were weighed against your sins, would they not be as the small dust of the balance ? O then is it not vain-is it not impious to trust to these for acceptance and favour in the sight of that God “who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ?” Think
you that any efficacy can be added to the merits of the Saviour by such merits as yours? Suppose your sins were blotted out, and you stood to be judged only by the talents von had occupied—the opportunities you had improved - the piety you had cherished--the lessons you had dutifully learned under the discipline of Providence-let conscience say if even then your deeds of righteousness would deserve the blessing of heaven, or could indeed once be named along with the righteousness of Him in whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead. Even the holiness you possess is not the fruit of your own labour, it is the gift of God. What do you call your own, which you have not received ; and what have you received which you have not either neglected or misemployed ?
How different are the sentiments which Scripture puts into the hearts of those who freely and candidly devote themselves to its study!—how different the language which they employ, when they communicate with each other, or with their pastor, on the things which concern their everlasting peace! The death-bed of him whose understanding and heart have been subdued under the teaching of the Gospel, exhibits a scene at once humble and dignified, solemn, and full of peace! It is the consummation of a life spent not unprofitably in the school of God's providence; the last act of discipline to chasten the remaining corruptions of his