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faith brings with it entire remission of sins, of all sin, however deep, a free, absolute, and plenary remission. Whosoever believeth in him, shall thereupon instantly receive remission of sins. The Lord hath laid on his own son the iniquity of us all; and to the man, who believes on him for remission and salvation, it shall no more be imputed. He is justified freely through the divine mercy without the deeds of the law.
We have now therefore, my brethren, advanced one stage further in the progress of our inquiries. Last Sunday it was shewn, that the atonement of Jesus Christ is a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Nevertheless, as it is too plain, that on the last day there will still be found many, to whose salvation that wonderful sacrifice will not have proved effectual, it still remained a serious and critical question, how we might secure ourselves an interest in the merit of the saviour : and this question has now been answered from the concurrent testimony of all the prophets and apostles, attributing this honour to faith. Moreover the nature and character of that faith have been pointed out to you; and you have seen, that, while it presupposes a right, though still an imperfect, state of the affections and desires, its direct tendency is to withdraw the hope of a sinner from any delusive expectation of being able to save himself from the ruin, in which his sins have involved him, and to fix them on the saviour. And this very disposition of the heart is a holy quality. It is a return of the affections to their proper object, a commencement of that renewal in the spirit of our minds, by which we again learn to love the lord, our God, not with a stinted and penurious gratitude, but with all our mind, all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength.
Thus is the doctrine of justification by grace through faith a most wholesome doctrine, being, as our article declares of it, very full of comfort, yet without giving countenance to licentiousness. It is very full of comfort, because he, who is thus justified, has peace with God, and is no longer troubled with those distressing terrors, which otherwise the consciousness of having broken the pure law of a holy God might justly produce. It is also far from encouraging licentiousness, because the faith, which carries with it remission of sins, is always accompanied with repentance, and is itself exercised in relying on the grace and power of Jesus Christ to deliver. us from those motions of sin in our members, the strength of which is previously felt and deplored.
The consequence is, that a person, who has arrived at this point in the paths of true religion, cannot possibly halt there, and be at ease: for what is it, that has brought him thus far He has felt the malignity and odiousness of sin, and repented of it. He has discovered, that the law of God is altogether holy and just and good; and he confides in the promise of the saviour to enable him eventually to conform to it: and shall he now turn back from the course he has begun ? That would imply, that his repentance was insincere, and his faith consequently unwarranted.
On the contrary, having entered upon a career of resistance to
sin, and having met with an almighty auxiliary, he will have every encouragement to proceed, until he shall obtain the victory through him, which strengtheneth him. In fact he, which hath begun a good work in him, will not fail to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Having begun by pardoning his iniquity, he will further enable him to subdue it. Having first justified him freely by the imputation of his own righteousness, he will next sanctify him gradually by the communication of his own spirit. But into this second branch of the christian life, the work of sanctification by the holy spirit, it is my intention to enter in the evening.
In the mean time let me put this question to your consciences ! Are your minds set upon righteousness, O ye congregation? If not, you want the very first element in religious sincerity and practice. But, if they be, then am I authorized to preach unto you Jesus Christ, as that only saviour, in whom you may safely confide: for to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
1 Corinthians iii. 16, 17.
Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and
that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy : for the temple of God is holy ; which temple ye are.
THERE are two leading graces, which may be said to comprehend all, that is essential to the life of a christian, while he remains in this scene of his pilgrimage ; and they are first justification, and secondly sanctification. The first of these was the subject of our discussion this morning. The second remains for our examination now. The two together form the whole of that life of the inner man, or of that life of Christ in the soul, to adopt the