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faith only, in its correct sense, means that the merits of Christ received by faith, are the only meritorious cause of our justification; while repentance and good works, wrought through faith, and by the influences of the Divine Spirit, are conditions equally indispensible.
Great therefore is the error of those who insist on the doctrine of justification by faith only, in any sense which excludes the necessity of good works, as the indispensible conditions of salvation-who represent faith, not as the condition of salvation, but as the instrument by which the elect are inseparably united to Christ, and assured of their salvation. On their principles, it will be impossible consistently to maintain the necessity of good works; and the Antinomian doctrine, that since believers are saved only by faith in Christ, they are absolved from their obligation to the moral law, appears reasonable and correct.
In the important inquiry, brethren, whether ye are in a justified state, discard this dangerous doctrine. Cherish, indeed, as the only ground of your hopes, the merits and atonement of Jesus Christ; and by faith rely on these merits. But remember, that they are available to those only, who through faith abound in good works, who "add to their faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity."
My brethren, the mode by which they, to whom the Gospel is proclaimed, must be saved, is established in the text. They must receive the sacramental washing of baptism-they must be sanctified by the Spirit of God-by the merits of Christ received by faith, they are justified.
To every individual here present, the inquiries are infinitely important.-In the laver of regeneration, the sacrament of baptism, have ye symbolically been "washed" from your sins, receiving a title to that Divine Spirit, by which you may be cleansed from all iniquity, and serve God in newness of life? Have ye thus been purified and "sanctified by the Spirit of God"-sanctified in soul and body, redeemed from sin and established in holiness? Have ye acknowledged your baptismal engagements, and sought the manifold gifts of the blessed Comforter in "the laying on of hands?" Do you devoutly participate of that Holy Supper which commemorates, under the symbols of bread and wine, the sacrifice of Christ for your sins; and in which by faith his merits are applied to your souls for your justification, and his grace for your sanctification and comfort. 66 As ye have received of the Lord Jesus how ye ought to walk and to please God, is it your daily endeavour to abound more and more"-to exhibit all "the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace,
1 Thess. iv. 1.
long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance'?" If you are not thus sanctified, thus holy in your tempers, and in your lives, whatever may be your hopes of salvation, from a reliance on the merits of Christ, you are still in "the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." You are among the number of those who call the Saviour Lord, Lord, and do not his will -and his language to them will be-" Depart from me, I never knew you."
Oh-my brethren, how diligent should we be, lest we frustrate the grace of God, and fall short of our salvation.
But, if by that grace of God which is freely given to all men, you have in penitence and faith received the baptismal washing, the seal of baptism to your purification from sin; or, if having received in your infancy this sacramental washing, you have in sincerity assumed your baptismal engagements, and received renewed communications of grace, in "the laying on of hands ;" and if through the influences of the Divine Spirit conveyed and confirmed to you by the ordinances of the Church, you have been "sanctified," transformed by the renewing of your minds," daily mortifying the deeds of the body, abounding in every good word and work, and following after that "holiness, without which no man shall see
z Gal. v. 22, 23.
a Matt. xxv. 12.
the Lord ""-you are among the justified servants of God. His favour is your portion; and his grace your defence. If you "continue in this state of salvation to your live's end," growing in grace, in the knowledge, the love, and the service of your God and Saviour-you will be among the number of those who shall finally be savedwhom the Judge of all before the assembled universe, will pronounce blessed-whom "washed, justified, sanctified in his name and by his Spirit," he will advance to a kingdom that never shall be moved-a kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world-a kingdom of light and glory.
b Heb. xii. 14.
* Catechism of the Church.
24. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
THE Gospel presents the most sublime subjects on which the human mind can exercise its faculties. In the Divine persons of the Godhead; in their counselling from all eternity to save the human race; in their respective agencies in this glorious work; in the incarnation of the eternal