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strive with the potsherds of the thought it plainly revealed, that earth ; but woe unto him that God did, from the beginning, striveth with his Maker. choose to salvation, all those who
Let these considerations per- will be saved, through sanctifisuade unbelievers to avoid the cation of the Spirit and belief of terrors of divine wrath, and com- the truth :--that all those, and fort, encourage and animate the those only, whom he hath thus people of God in faithi and holi- chosen, will be effectually called ness; and may they have more and finally saved ; whilst all othperfect confidence in him whomers will continue in sin, and lic God hath sanctified and sent in- down in sorrow. to the world, and whom he hath But of later years, whilst the acknowledged with such aston- doctrine of God's sovereignty ishing evidence.
and eternal decrees is admitted FIDUCIUS, and strongly asserted, it has been
urgerl, that upon the plan of limited, in opposition to universal
salvation, there can be no ground, The Gospel Warrant for Faith in no foundation, or warrant, for Christ.
any sinner to believe in Christ,
unless he first knows that he is A principal design of the fol- one of the happy number, whom lowing piece is to show, That God hath chosen to salvation. there is sufficient ground, foun- For if he is not of that number, dation, or warrant, for any and but one that God knows will per: every sinner, where the gospel ish, it is said, there is absolutely is published, to believe in Christ, no foundation or warrant for him even upon the supposition, that to believe. For faith don't create numbers of the human race will its own object, or make the finally perish.
truth which is believed, by be
lieving it when it was not true. T has been the general opin. There can therefore be no war
that a part of mankind, and even gospel is preached, to believe in a part of those where the gospel Christ, unless it be already true, is preached, will die in their sins, that every one is to be and cerin impenitence and unbelief, and tainly will be saved. Yet every abide for ever under the wrath one to whom the gospelis preachof God. It has been thought, ed, is commanded to believe on that the scriptures teach this in the Son of God: and the apostle so plain and express a manner, John says expressly, “ He that that it cannot be doubted, cono believeth not God hath made sistently with admitting the him a lyar ; because he believeth truth and divine authority of not the record that God gave of those sacred writings.
his Son. And this is the record, It has, moreover, been gener- that God hath given to ús eternal ally believed, that God from the life ; and this life is in his Son.” beginning knew who would be- But if some are not chosen to lieve and be saved, and who salvation and never will be saved, would die in their sins and per- instead of making God a lyar by ish for ever. And many have not believing, they would make
him so, if they should believe. I numerous and full, that I shall only refer to a few of them, without rehearsing the words, John iii. 14, 15. Rom. iii. 25, 26. and x. 4.
There is, therefore, no way to make the scriptures consistent, and to discover a ground or warrant for every one to believe, but by admitting that all are to be saved that God doth really intend, and hath absolutely determined or decreed, and will certainly effect, the salvation of all 'mankind. After this manner is
2. It is equally plain from the scriptures, that all, wherever the gospel is preached, are called upon to believe in Christ-to be reconciled to God, with a promise of salvation, in case of com
the salvation of all men attempt-pliance, Mark xvi. 15, 16. Acts iii. 19. and xvi. 31. and xx. 21. 2 Cor. v. 20, 21. But,
ed to be proved.
3. The faith called for from every one, and to which the promise of salvation is annexed, con
not in believing that we in particular shall certainly be saved, but in believing with the heart, that God hath raised Christ from the dead. Rom. x.
But is this indeed the case, that there is no ground or warrant for any one to believe in Christ, unless he knows that he in particular is chosen to salva-sists tion; or, which amounts to the same, that all mankind are so chosen, and will be saved? Do not the scriptures exhibit a sufficient foundation and good war-9, rant for any and every one to believe on the Son of God, even though they teach, that many will die in their sins? This, surely, is an enquiry worthy of our most careful and serious attention. Wherefore, let it be observed,
10. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.'
The fact, that God hath raised Christ from the dead, with what is implied in it and proved by it, is the object of a true saving gospel faith. He who, with the heart, believes this fact in its full import, or gives full credit to and cordially entertains the truths imported in this fact, believeth unto righteousness, and will be saved.
1. It is plainly revealed that Christ has, by the Father's appointment and his own consent, been lifted up on the cross, an atoning sacrifice for the sins of men to the end that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but have eternal life. He hath also been raised from the dead, as a proof that he hath made an atonement for sin, and brought in a righteousness, to the acceptance and entire satisfaction of the Father; and that God, therefore, can consistently forgive and save every one that believeth in him, whoever and how many soever they be.
The scripture proofs of this and the next proposition are so VOL. V. No. 10.
He who, in the scriptural sense, believes the resurrection of Christ, gives full credit to the scripture account of the fact in its connections. He, therefore, believes that although Jesus was put to death by the hands of men, yet that he was delivered by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God-that his death was designed both by the X X
in the sight of God, and submitting to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and returning to God through him.
Father and by himself, and designed to make an atonement for the sins of men; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Of Here, then, is exhibited an course, believing, in the scrip-ample ground for faith in the tural sense of the terms, that Son of God-a sufficient warrant God hath raised the Lord Jesus for any and every one, to whom from the dead, implies a firm be- the gospel is published, to belief of the principal things im- lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ. ported or signified, declared and He is presented to view as hav proved, by his resurrection; ing made a complete atonement particularly, that God owned and for sin and wrought a perfect approved him in the character in righteousness; so that God can which he professed to act-that be just and justify all who beas he professed to be, so he in lieve in him; and of which he fact is the Christ, the Son of the hath given the most unexcepliving God that whatever he tionable evidence by raising him said, is divinely true-that he from the dead. He, therefore, hath answered the end, for which now commandeth all men every he obeyed and suffered-that he where to repent-to believe on hath wrought a complete right- his Son Jesus Christ-to be reeousness for the justification of conciled to him. And the faith all who believe, and made a full required essentially consists in atonement for all their sins, to believing this fact, that God hath the acceptance and entire satis- raised Christ from the dead, with faction of God the Father-that a hearty concurrence in its plain he is the end of the law for right- and obvious import, according eousness to every one that believ- to the scripture account of it. eth-that God is ready and willing, for his sake, to pardon and save all who come unto him by Jesus Christ. And believing these truths with the heart implies believing them with a heart corresponding, consenting and agreeing to them. Hence, believing with the heart the resurrection of Christ, implies, or is inseparably connected with, believing the great truths import
Christ spake of himself as the
ed in his resurrection, with pen-antitype of the serpent which itent acknowledgment of sin Moses lifted up. What if God, with cordial approbation of God's when he ordered Moses to make character and law-renouncing and place on a pole the brazen all dependence on any thing dis-serpent, and declared that every bitten Israelite, when he looked on it, should live, had perfectly known, that they would hold the idea of obtaining a cure in that way, in such scorn and con
tinct from the righteousness of Christ for acceptance with God, and trusting only in the virtue of that divine righteousness, as amply sufficient for our justification
Where, or on what account, then, is there any difficulty in the way of any one's believing to the saving of his soul? Certainly, there is none, on account of any deficiency in the revealed object of faith; nor on account of any defect in the ground or warrant for such faith; but simply, in the blindness and perverseness of the sinner's heart.
tempt, that no one would, of his Perhaps it will be said, The own accord, or unless secretly record which we are required to influenced by his Spirit, ever believe is this, viz. “ That God cast his eyes upon the serpent of hath given to us eternal life ; and brass? Would that have made this life is in his Son." Very any alteration as to the ground true. Therefore the apostle imand warrant, which there really mediately adds, “ He that hath was, for any and every one of the Son hath life ; and he that them to look upon it in expecta- hath not the Son of God hath tion of receiving a cure? None not life.” So it might be said, at all.
The record which God gave
the What if, in that case, God Israelites was, that he had prohad determined effectually to in- vided them a remedy for the bite cline a number of them to be of the fiery serpents; and this hold the serpent and live, and to remedy was in the serpent of leave the rest to take their own brass. Therefore, he that beway, and abide the consequen-held the serpent of brass lived ; ces? Would that have made any but if any beheld it not they died. alteration as to the reality of a God's providing them a remedy sufficient warrant for every one in the brazen serpent did not to behold and live ? None at all. make them personally partakers Further: what if God had plain- of a cure, unless they beheld it: ly revealed his determination ef- And his giving us eternal life in fectually to dispose some to look his Son don't make us personaland live, and told them explicit- ly partakers of eternal life, unly that a number of them would less we believe on his Son, or derive no benefit from the bra- receive him by faith. zen serpent, but would die of their wounds by the fiery ser- 1. What an infinite mercy is pents, through their own folly | it, that Christ has been lifted up and perverseness? Would that on the cross, and is now exalted have altered the case, as to the in heaven, that whosoever beground and warrant for every | lieveth in him should not perish, one to look on the serpent of but have eternal life ? brass in full confidence of a cure? Was it not a great mercy to Evidently, not at all. So in the the bitten Israelites, that such a case before us. Neither the in- remedy was provided for them, disposition of sinful men to be as the brazen serpent proved ? lieve on the Son of God, to look May we not well presume that unto him and be saved ; nor they esteemed it so ? And had God's purpose to remove the every Israelite been stung by the indisposition of some, and to in- fiery serpents, and seen no way cline their hearts to believe, and to avoid that death which the to leave others to their own cho- mortal poison would soon prosen way ; nor the revelation of duce, unless some powerful remthis his purpose ;-neither of edy, of which they were ignothese makes any alteration, as to rant, was speedily applied, how the reality of sufficient ground great and general may we preand good warrant for every one sume the joy would have been, to whom the gospel is revealed, upon the erection of the serpent to believe and be saved.
of brass, at the sight of which
they were informed by God, that | ness and salvation proposed to they should live? them. Wherefore, let all take But we are all infected with warning, and flee for refuge to the more dreadful poison of sin. lay hold on the hope set before This would have inevitably issu- us. ed in our death, our eternal misery, if Christ had not been lifted up. But now, whosoever believ eth in him will not perish, but shall have eternal life. The connection between seeing the serpent of brass and living, was not more certain than is the connection between believing on Christ and enjoying eternal life. How great then, how infinite, is the mercy displayed towards us! How great the cause for joy and praise to God!
'HE direct, literal meaning of the words is, That God drove Adam with his wife out of the garden of Eden, in which he had placed them before their fall, and set at the east of the garden a guard of angels with a flaming sword which turned evhave slighted the remedy provi-ery way, to render it impossible ded for them, and to have refus- for them to return into the gar ed or neglected to look on the den, and obtain access to the tree brazen serpent? Thus, and more of life. so, is it for us, to slight and neglect the crucified Saviour, or to expect salvation by him without believing on him. For we have no more reason to expect salvation by Christ without believing on him, than the bitten Israelites had, to expect a cure by the brazen serpent without looking upon it.
Thoughts on Genesis iii. 24.
"So he drove out the man ; and he placed, at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
2. What folly and madness, and aggravated wickedness is it, to make light of Christ-to slight and neglect him to refuse to come unto him for life! How foolish and wicked would it have been for the bitten Israelites, to
This transaction of the Deity was very significant and expressive, and doubtless recorded for our instruction. And to contribute a little towards explaining its import, it may be observed,
3. If sinners perish from under the light of the gospel, how evident will it be, that their per
1. God's transactions, with Adam, when he put him in the garden, contained, at least, an implicit promise of life upon condition of perfect obedience. Gen. ii. 16, 17. " And the Lord God commanded the man, saydition will be owing to their owning, Of every tree of the garden voluntary neglect or contempt thou mayest freely eat; but of of the sovereign remedy which the tree of the knowledge of good God hath provided and revealed? and evil thou shalt not eat of it: That they will perish through for in, the day that thou eatest their own fault, committed after thereof thou shalt surely die." they were in a state of condemnation and had a way of forgive
By these words death was presented to Adam's view, as the