Immagini della pagina

and he will inform you, 1 John v. io. that every one who believeth not the record that God hath given of his Son, maketh him a liar. This is a repetition of the first tranfgression, with peculiar circumstances of aggravation. Unbelief was the root of Adam's fin: for had he truly believed that the threatening was to be executed, he would not have dared to incur the penalty. And can it be less criminal to charge God with falsehood in a profession of kindness, than in a threatening of displeasure ? Nay, is it not a worfe species of deceit, to flatter with delusive hopes, than to frighten with unreal terrors ? and yet an unbeliever of gofpelgrace doth in effect charge God with this very species of deceit; and that not only in the face of the strongest repeated declarations of good-will, but against every kind of confirmation that the most diftruftful sufpicion could require or devise, Adam had no other restraint but a naked threatening : he had feen no exertion of punitive justice; every thing around him was expressive of the perfect goodness of its author; and there was no precedent or example of the


penalty with which the prohibition was enforced. But what have we in support of the gospel-record ? or rather, let me ask, What addition could be made to the evidence already afforded us, that it is faithful and true? We have the promise of God, confirmed by his oath; we have the gift of his own Son to be the propitiation for our sins; we are not only permitted, but invited, nay commanded, to come to the Saviour, with this most endearing declaration, that such as come to him fhall in no wise be rejected or cast out by him. And shall not this accumulated, this fuperabundant evidence deter us from the presumption of calling God a liar? or rather, shall it not produce in us, that full assurance of faith, with which the Apostle exhorteth us to draw near to God by the blood of Jesus ?

The third qualification, expressed in these words, having our hearts Sprinkled from an evil conscience, is an advance upon the other two, and implies a personal application of the blood of Christ to ourselves: for it is shis alone 'that, as we read verse 14. of the preceding chapter, can purge the conscience


from dead works, and vanquish thofe fears of wrath, which, by representing God as an implacable enemy, drive us from his presence, and render him an object of terror and averfion, rather than of desire and love.

This personal application of the blood of sprinkling, is too commonly considered in the light of a privilege, rather than as a duty. And a privilege it surely is; but such a privilege as we are strictly bound in duty to make use of: For this, faith the Apostle John, is the command of God, that we should believe on the name of bis Son Jesus Chrift; which certainly includes more than a general persuasion, however full and assured, that Jesus is a necessary and sufficient Saviour. It can mean no less, than that they to whom the command is given, should believe on the name of Christ for themselves, and put their trust in him, as one who is both willing and able to save them in particular.

But the question may be put, and it hath been put by many, How am I to know that cbis obliging command is addressed to me ? It might fuffice for an answer, to desire those who ask the question, to turn over to that part of Scripture where the words I have just now quoted are recorded, 1 John iii. 23. There it is written, “ This is his command“ ment, that we should believe on the name “ of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one ano" ther, as he gave us commandment. ”

Now, no body doubts, that the last of these precepts extends to him ; and


the same authority which enjoins mutual love, commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus Chrift; and the Apostle, you fee, unites them both in one sentence. How comes it, then, that any should make a difference between the two, in point either of extent or obligation, or limit the one commandment any more than the other?

But as this is a difficulty with which the truly serious only are apt to be distressed, I must not stop here, but beg them to consider, whether it would not be more reason

able to put the question in this form, How - do I know, or rather, What ground can I

find to fufpect, that the commandinent to believe on the Saviour doth not extend to


me? It is undeniable, that none of the human race are excepted by name; the invitation or call is addressed to men indefinitely ; “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, « all the ends of the earth.”-“ Unto you, « O men, I call, and my voice is to the fons « of men.” Say, then, my friends, under what fatal denomination can you find

yourfelves excluded from the fountain opened for (in and for uncleanness? Surely not as finners; for this denomination is common to all men, and “ Christ came not to call the “ righteous, but sinners to repentance:" this was his very errand, to feek and to save 6 that which was lost.” Neither can it be as great finners; for Paul testifies, that Christ came to íave the c ief of nners. « blood cleanseth from all n;" and many examples are recorded of the most infamous transgressors, who have been washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Much less then can it be as deeply-convinced and self-condemning inners; for under this denomination you are ex essly invited to have recourse to him : 66 Come unto me, all


6 His

« IndietroContinua »