Page images

ousness in our behalf, “ God is just, and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus.”

But, as our justification does not supersede our obligation to live soberly, and righteously, and godly : “ as we are called” in the gospel “ to be holy in all manner of conversation;" therefore the mediation of Christ, as our prophet, to teach us the will of God, is necessary and effectual for this purpose. Accordingly we are taught all the duties necessary for our salvation, both by his own instructions, and the precepts delivered by his inspired Apostles. The scriptures contain every truth requisite to direct our conduct uprightly in the present world, and teach us how to qualify ourselves for happiness in the world to come. They are the instructions of him, whose understanding is infinite, who knows what we must believe and do in order to salvation. To whom then, can we come or go, but unto him, alone; He has the words of everlasting life.

Moreover, his office of intercessor at the right hand of God is of the most powerful efficacy in procuring all the blessings of salvation of which we stand in need. is ever seated at the right hand of God, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to his people, and the remission of their sins;" his intercession is always prevalent in our behalf; whatsoever he asketh of the Father for

promoting our welfare is granted ; and whatever prayers we present to God in his name are accepted and answered.

This plan of appointing our Saviour an advocate for us in the court of heaven, displays both the goodness and holiness of God in a remarkable manner : his goodness, inasmuch as we his guilty creatures are thereby emboldened to approach the throne of grace through the mediation of his well-beloved Son whom he heareth always, and for whose sake he will receive our requests; and his holiness, inasmuch as we are thereby reminded of our sinfulness, and unworthiness, because God will not suffer us to ask any thing as of ourselves, but in the name of a Mediator. As our Saviour is therefore appointed the medium through whom we have access to God, we are taught to offer up all our prayers in his name, and to expect every blessing

" He

of which we stand in need only for his sake.

« Whatsoever,” says our Saviour, " ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, that your joy may be full.”

As our Lord is not only our intercessor with the Father, but also our spiritual king, whom God hath invested with authority to prescribe laws for our conduct, to govern us in this world, and judge us in the world to come, the expediency of this mediatorial office also, will appear from the following considerations. As he is man as well as God, he knows and sympathizes with the perverted state of human nature, and will make all due allowance for those infirmities and occasional deviations from duty, of which the best and most sincere are often guilty. As he is well acquainted with our incapacity to adhere to rectitude, without some special and powerful assistance to strengthen us with might in the inner man, therefore he commissions the Holy Ghost to dwell in our hearts, and by his secret influences to inspire us with good purposes, and resolutions, to suggest to us such motives as may enable us to maintain our integrity; and to invigorate us for the attainment of greater degrees of holiness, till we arrive at the measure of the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus.

If we persevere in the paths of righteousness, he secures and protects us as a faithful sovereign, by making all things work together for our good, blessing us with such prosperity and happiness as may be conducive to our welfare, and assuring us of his favour and loving-kindness, by making his Spirit witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. But, if we renounce his authority and will not have him reign over us, if, instead of regulating our conduct by his laws, we will rather submit to the slavery of our lusts and passions, and follow after the devices of our own evil hearts : he will in the course of his providence punish us with the loss of his we receive such a recompense of our wickedness ás is meet.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is well fitted to govern us as our king, inasmuch as he knows what degree of virtue or vice each of his subjects possesses, what human nature is capable of performing and resisting, and therefore can apportion the respective claims of each to reward or punishment. More especially is he qualified to act as our judge in passing sentence upon us according to our works. As he knows the frailties of our nature, he will not be severe to work iniquity against us, if it proceeds rather from accidental circumstances than confirmed depravity; and as he is ever ready to help our infirmities if we earnestly implore the aid of divine grace, and endeavour to maintain our integrity :- But he will not shew mercy to our incorrigible impenitence. Both the righteous and the wicked will be constrained to own the rectitude of his procedure, when he cometh to judge his saints in righteousness, and the people with equity; and every one will receive a sentence of approbation or condemnation according to his works.

It remains now to exhibit very shortly,
IV. The practical improvement of the subject.

As he is appointed our Mediator, by whom every blessing is communicated from God to us, therefore we should always have recourse to his interposition in our behalf, whenever we supplicate any thing of which we stand in need. We need not expect to receive any good and perfect gift from the Father of lights, but through the interposition of his own Son : nay, it is the highest impiety to venture to approach the divine Majesty, unless we are made accepted in the beloved : for “ no man cometh to the Father, but by him."- When, therefore, we offer up our religious services to the Most High, it must be in the name of Christ, if we would have them efficacious. When we pray for the pardon of sin, it must be for the sake of what our Mediator has done and suffered on our behalf to reconcile us unto God: when we supplicate for grace to help us, it must be because Christ hath procured and pro

mised the Holy Spirit to them who ask him: when we implore the protection of divine providence to lead and guide us while we live, it must be because Christ is head over all things to his church; and when we beg to be made partakers of the heavenly inheritance, it must be because Christ hath gone to prepare mansions for his people, that where he is, there they may be also, even to behold his glory

But, let us remember that we need never entertain the hopes of such blessed privileges, by his merits and intercession, unless we submit to be taught by him as our prophet, and obey him as our king. We must therefore believe all the doctrines which he hath revealed as the foundation of our religious and moral principles; and receive all the precepts which he hath delivered as the rule of our conduct. For he will not be a Priest to atone for our guilt, unless we forsake it, as he came into the world for the express purpose of saving his people from their sins, not while they continue in them: he came to expiate our past offences, that for the future we might be zealous of good works. Neither will he intercede for us as an advo, cate, unless we study to keep his commandments : for he is become the author of eternal salvation only to those who obey him. Let us therefore in all our religious services, “ look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith : who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

I 3




TITUS III. 5, 6. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

HAVING in the preceding discourse explained wherein the salvation accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ consists, I proceed to illustrate the manner in which we become pártakers of the spiritual blessings annexed to it by the covenant of redemption. These belong only to persons of a certain character, whom the scripture denominates believers, penitents, and saints, from the different progress they have made in the Christian life. Accordingly, we are required to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that we may be saved; to repent and be converted that our sins may be forgiven us; and to be sanctified in soul, body, and spirit, if we would be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. But as we are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, living without God in the world, indisposed to accept of Christ as our Saviour, or to act in obedience to his laws, hence the dispensation of the gospel is adapted to renew us in the spirit of our minds, and intended to create us again unto good works, that we should walk in them. For this purpose, a divine energy is imparted to our souls, by which our understandings are enabled to esteem religion as the one thing need

« PreviousContinue »