ページの画像
PDF
ePub

and putting our trust in him for salvation. The Gospel tells us that he is anointed to be a Prince and a Saviour; that he hath undertaken our cause, and came to seek and to save the lost; that he died for our offences, and rose again for our justification ; that he saves all that come unto him, while the Father is well pleased with them for his righteousness sake. We receive these as faithful sayings, and count them worthy of all acceptation. But we do not rest here. Having come to the conviction of our sin and misery, having understood the saying character of the Gospel, and earnestly desired the knowledge of salvation, we cannot rest in uncertainty and suspense; we must come unto Jesus, saying, with respect to our need, “We perish;" with respect to his appointment of the Father to save sinners, “ Lord, we believe;" with respect to the sufficiency of his finished work on Calvary, to be a propitiation for all sin, “ Lord, we believe;" and with respect to his great love to sinners, and his divine willingness, as well as power to save them, expressing our consent, and saying, with the heart, “ Lord, we believe.” Then, if such be our faith as to the work and character of Jesus Christ, wherefore should we

not immediately build our hope there, and place our soul's confidence in him for all salvation ?

To the ear of faith it is as if we heard the Saviour saying to us, Will ye be reconciled to God, who gave his Son for your redemption? Will ye confide in me for strength and righteousness? Will ye commit to me the keeping of your souls? Will ye rely on my love, care, intercession, and liberality? To deliver you from sin, misery, and hell ; to comfort and prepare you for heaven, and to conduct you thither; for these things, and for all you need, will ye henceforth trust in me, as your Saviour and your Lord? The soul that is under the teachings of the Spirit heartily consents, closes with Christ, engages to give up self-dependence, and to renounce despair; and, rising by the power of the Spirit to an exercise of grace far above the vain-confidence of elated hypocrisy or delusion, the soul apprehends, and is apprehended of Christ; and knowing in whom we have believed, we know our interest in the blessings of salvation. We trust in Christ for them, and that is assurance enough to us of our interest in them. We cease from our wanderings, and abide in Christ; we cease from

doubt and fluctuation, to rest in Christ; we open our eyes to the grace of the Saviour ; we open our hearts, and with full reliance on it, confess to God—“Our eyes have seen thy salvation.” What was common before trust, becomes special and appropriated in trust; and in proportion to the simplicity and fulness with which Christ is received into the heart as the hope of glory, and the head of vital influence, will be our hope, and rest, and joy. Then, and never till then, do we live, yet not we, but Christ that liveth in us; and the life which we live is by the faith of the Son of God. This presupposes self-renunciation; for he who trusts in another, in a manner relinquishes himself, for the very act of trust elsewhere, amounts to a going away from our own resources, to rest in something that appears preferable. And he who has felt his own poverty, weakness, and debasement; who knows that in himself dwelleth no good thing, and perceives through illumination of the Spirit, the riches and the glory of Christ, will not long hesitate to renounce himself, and put on Christ with hearty consent, and entire ap. propriation. He sees in the Redeemer whatever may save, bless, and elevate the soul to glory; and believing the Gospel report touching his divine compassion, and the unsearchable riches of his grace, he begins the exercise of trust with a purpose never to relinquish his begun confidence ; and being found in Christ, as the branch is found in the vine, or as the members are joined to the head, the Spirit of God confirms the soul in grace, and seals the union for eternity.

But without enlarging on this part of the subject, we proceed,

III. To a thing much neglected, we fear, by many,- The duty of trusting in Christ. On contrasting the Christian character in the first ages, with Christianity as it is now commonly professed, there appears a wonderful difference in the article of trust. It was the first thing in the Apostle's day, now it is generally the last in order; and it is even thought an extraordinary attainment, and worthy of being published to the world almost in the style of a marvel, if a person in early life, or at an early stage of Christian experience, shall be brought, under the word of truth by means of the Gospel of salvation, to exercise undoubted trust in Christ.

Now, in preaching the Gospel, we have much to do to engage professing Christians to trust. But in those primitive times, an Apostle could take it for granted of a whole church that they all trusted. For in writing to the Ephesians, does Paul make a single allusion to their unbelief? or does he employ a single exhortation in the way of persuasion to believe ? or from beginning to end of his epistle, does he hint at such a thing as prevailing distrust ? · No; in those days, it seems, a profession of belief in the truth of Christianity, was invariably connected with a profession of trust in Christ; and Christian men no more thought of refusing to trust in the Saviour, than of denying the word of truth. And hence these Ephesians are addressed as men of unquestionable faith; and as soon as other believers are described as trusting in Christ, the Apostle could turn with confidence to them, and say,"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth.”

But now, is trust in Christ so commonly connected with the Christian profession, that when we see the one, we may infer the other : Or rather, is it not a frequent case, that a man shall go by a Christian name, and practise Christian duties, and receive

« 前へ次へ »