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to himself, he is a wretched sinner and under a curse, being a child of wrath by nature, even as others. As he is divorced from his own righteousness, and submits to the righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, so also he ceases from his own wis. dom. He does good actions; for good works are the fruit which he naturally produces since he was grafted into Christ; but he TRUSTS not in them at all for acceptance with God. He deliberates and ponders on his ways; but he Trusts only in the Lord, who directeth his steps, for a happy issue in all his affairs. In himself he is blind as well as guilty; and Christ is his wisdom as well as righteousness. His happiness is that better and enduring substance laid up in heaven, bought for him at the price of the blood of his Redeemer; and to this happiness he received a sure title, as soon as he received him for his Saviour.
As he expects no great comfort here upon earth; and as the world, the flesh, and the devil are against him, he is obliged to exercise patience, till the coming of his Lord to take him, soul and body, into this state of perfect happiness. Though here he is burdened with various evils, and though often by reason of the voice of his groaning his bones cleave to his skin*, still he waits in patient hope : for it is his triumph and boast that his future bliss is of a perfect and enduring nature; sure also and certain; dependant on the grace of God in Christ; a bliss,
- for the obtaining of which the promise and the Oath of God are engaged.
It is not any thing of a worldly nature that he 'expects to make him happy. Worldly things are
* See Psalm cii. 5.
unsatisfying at best; and this world itself, with the works thereof, will one day be burnt up. Nor does he seek the favour of God by his own worthiness. Those, who do so, may now, in much ignorance, boast of their works, and fancy they will be as admirable in the sight of God as they are in their
The Believer knows that a day is coming when“ all the proud shall be as stubble," and when“ depart, ye cursed,” will be the dreadful sound in the ears of all who build their hopes of acceptance on any foundation but Jesus Christ alone. The Believer knows also that, as to himself, he has not one work to plead before God; for sin mixes with all he does. Nevertheless his crown of glory is sure, because the righteousness on which he builds is completed; for he has obtained precious faith in the righteousness of his God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. As therefore, the future bliss, which he looks for is perfect, certain, and everlasting, well may he wait for it patiently; because, as the Text says, “ it will surely come, it
, will not tarry.” And what great matter is it to wait for an eternal happiness, during a few years,
may be, of affliction and trouble.
The great hinderance of patience is pride. Therefore“ his soul, which is lifted up, is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith,” which gives all the praise to the Saviour. The man himself is humbled, as a sinner deserving no mercy. Thankfully does he accept the inexpressible kindness of his Saviour; and being thus disposed, why should he deem it any great hardship to wait patiently some little time for the accomplishment of the promises ! Moreover, it pleases the Lord, to favour him, during the interval of his spiritual warfare on earth, with frequent consolations--earnests of the happiness to be hereafter enjoyed,--and always to uphold him with his support.
But this also, it must ever be remembered, enters into the idea of the life of faith, namely, that heavenly things themselves are what he aims at, and the happy end he has in view. Thence he is animated to run the ways of patience and of holiness which lead to it.
On Christ he leans, as his all, every step of the road; for so far he lives a life of faith, and no farther. It is a great thing, to live as seeing the God man, trusting in, and loving him, above all things. Those that think faith in Christ easy to be acquired, show they know not what it is, nor what Christ is, nor what they themselves are. To believe in Christ is the rarest and the highest attainment of man. He, who does so, lives by a dependance on a power out of himself, and loves God and his neighbour as himself. Yet not he, “but Christ liveth in him.” Divine grace can bring us to this life, the sweetest life of any on earth; and they that seek it shall find it, as well as the eternal life in heaven.
Thus, if justifying faith be considered in its nature and exercise, it includes, involves, or is connected with, every grace and virtue you can conceive. We have seen in it humility, patience, thankfulness, love, wisdom, spiritual mortification, heavenly-minded
The just man, living by faith, lives as man ought to do: And none but he lives comfortably, wisely, or safely.
1. Where then, O men of this world, whose portion is in this life, where is your wisdom, what is your employment, what is the great concern that
affections? I will not spend time in telling you, what you will own to be true, that neither riches nor pleasure can make you happy. Your poor
souls are covered with all the evils of the FALL, and one door of escape, one house of healing and refuge, one Physician only is there for you. This
. Lord Jesus Christ calls on you to come to him, and he will restore you to a divine life. Come and put your trust under the shadow of his wings. This life of faith has present pleasures. It has actual enjoyments often; and it has always the certain hope of future glory. Do not linger because you are not yet fit. You will never possess any good qualities, pleasing in the view of God and his Christ, till
you believe in him.
ye mourning penitents, who are weary of the bondage of sin; and who find, by bitter experience, that ye cannot speak peace to yourselves by all the duties in which ye labour, set yourselves seriously to learn the life of faith in Jesus. Say, “Why art thou so cast down, O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? Put thy trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, who is the help of my countenance and my God.”
I have the word of his grace in Jesus to rely on. I will the Lord, thou art my hope, and my strong hold, my God, in him will I trust.” What I see not, he will show and teach me. Let me only be patiently stayed on him.
He delighteth in mercy so much, that his only Son died for me when I was an enemy to him. The blood of Christ can cleanse from all sin. Grace abounds much more than sin hath abounded. - This is the true God and eternal life. He rejects not me, but gives me as good a warrant
to make use of him as a Saviour, as any other poor sinner that applies to him. Let me not then refuse the proffered mercies of a gracious God; and while I plead nothing but the blood of Christ for my redemption at the throne of grace, let me wait in patient, yet firm expectation, that I shall one day join the happy number of those who cry, “thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” Confirmed believers,—you see that by faith it is Be moderate in
desires and expectations in this world. If you look for perfect bliss here, you look for it in vain. While you live here you must carry the Cross daily, and deny yourselves, and follow Jesus Christ. “ Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” If you see the triumphing of the wicked, and the oppression of the righteous, remember the time of both is short. Take heed of disgracing the best of causes by murmuring against God, by envying, or by recompensing evil for evil. These things are expressly forbidden in Scripture. Patience and prayer are the duties to which you are called ; and good for evil is the return to be made by you for oppression and injustice. You will have time enough, in a happy eternity, to triumph and rejoice; whereas s the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.”