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repose entire confidence in his merits, and in the fulfilment of his promises. Faith in the Lord Jesus is one of the most prominent conditions of justification and salvation. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Ye believe in God, believe also in me." By this last text of scripture it appears that Christ designed to convey an idea that there was the same ground for believing in him, that there was for believing in God.
If Christ be divine, it is suitable that we should make him the Object of our faith, it is safe to make him the Object of our confidence and trust, it is his just due that we should view and honor him as the Author of salvation. There is no caution given, in the scriptures, lest we should love the Lord Jesus too much; repose too much confidence in his merits; or ascribe too much honor to his name. He testified that he had all authority in heaven and in earth; and he proved that it was his prerogative to forgive sins. Such a Being is a proper object of faith. Such a being is competent to make a sacrifice for sin, and to justify rebellious subjects on his own conditions.
If Jesus Christ be merely a finite being, deputized and commissioned of God to be a priest; to make an offering for sin, to be a Mediator and Savior, he must receive his qualifications from him, who appointed him to these high and important offices. If this be true, why does faith terminate in this dependent agent? Why
is not intimation given that he is but an instrument, by which God operates; that faith and confidence must not be reposed absolutely in him; but must extend ultimately to God? Why is not the divine prerogative guarded with greater circumspection; and why is not a barrier raised with such visible discrimination, that it would naturally prevent people from giving God's glory to another. Christ said, "ye believe in God, believe also in me." This language naturally conveys an idea, that belief in Christ was no less important than belief in God. When Christ was at meat in a Pharisee's house, a certain woman, who was a sinner, came and stood behind him weeping, washed his feet with tears, kissed them, anointed and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Jesus said unto her, "Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." In view of her conduct toward Christ there can be no doubt that her faith was in him; and it appears equally evident that it was on the ground of this faith he forgave and saved her. Jesus said unto Thomas, "because thou hast seen me thou hast believed, blessed are they, that have not seen, and yet have believed." John the Baptist taught the necessity and importance of faith in Christ. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life." Christ expressed the same sentiment when he said, "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." The apostles attached the same importance to faith in the Son of God. When the keeper of the prison inquired of Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, their reply was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." The apostles taught, that justification was by faith in the Son of God. When the scriptures attach such an importance to faith in Christ, it seems unreasonable to believe that he is only a 'created being. God has sent prophets, apostles, and other holy men into the world, who have died martyrs for the cause of religion. He hath sent angels also to minister to
those, who are heirs of salvation. Of what avail would it be to trust in them? Or what connexion would there be between faith in them and salvation? The same undoubtedly, that there would be between faith in Christ and salvation, if he were not superior to one of them. If the Son be but a finite being, the ground of faith in his name appears to be greatly weakened; confidence in his merits appears to be presumption; and justification by faith in his name seems to cast the divine Sovereign into the back ground in the scheme of redemption. But admit the divinity of Christ and his union with the Father, and christian faith begins and terminates in Deity; confidence in the Savior is well founded; and justification, founded on faith in the merits of Christ, is consistent with the validity of the divine law.
The doctrine of the Trinity is intimately connected with the doctrine of saints' perseverance. If the contracting parties in the work of redemption be divine, each is able to perform, and will faithfully perform his stipulated part. The Son agreed to come into the world to do the will of his Father. It was the Father's will to lay upon him the iniquity of us all. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief." In view of this suffering, he said in prayer to the Father, "not as I will, but as thou wilt.". At another time he said, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." He did and suffered according to contract, which was the will of the Father. As a recompense for what he did and suffered, he was to see his seed. He was to see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. He was to receive the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Christ declared that the Father had given him some of the human race, "I have manifested thy name unto the men, which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me. I
pray not for the world, but for them, which thou hast given me.
Those, who are given to Christ are his, not by gift only; but they will be his by faith in him, and by union with him. "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me." When they are renewed by the Holy Spirit, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, and are brought into his kingdom, they are truly his people; and he has then received his stipulated recompense. These constitute his kingdom; he has authority to rule over them, and he is their King. If he be divine, he is competent to this degree of sovereignty. He is able to keep his subjects under his dominion. The same Spirit which he sent to bring them into subjection to his authority, he is able to send for the purpose of guiding and supporting them in the ways of truth and obedience. If the Holy Spirit be divine, he is able to perform this part of the work. He is able to carry on the work of sanctification in the heart, till it is perfected. He is not only able, but he will do it. "He, which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." With his gracious operations believers are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Christ has expressed his ability to keep his subjects from apostasy. He saith, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand," John 10:28. "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those, that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, (i. e. but the son of perdition, not being given to me, is lost) that the scripture might be fulfilled,” John 17:12. "Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none,” John 18:9. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them," Heb. 7:25. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with
exceeding joy," Jude 24. These texts appear to prove that Jesus Christ is able, and that he actually does save believers from final apostasy. It is admitted that Christ performs this work by sending the Holy Spirit, and by intercession with the Father. But what created being has authority to send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of believers to comfort and to stablish them? What created being has invariable prevalence with God in behalf of transgressors?
If Jesus Christ save his people from their sins, there appears to be evidence that he is divine. Those, who are renewed, are renewed by divine power. They are born of the Spirit; they are born of God. They are created in (or through) Christ Jesus unto good works. It requires no less power to preserve spiritual life in the soul, than it did at first to originate There is nothing in renewed humanity, which secures it from declension. If the parents of the human race apostatized from God, and lost their primitive dignity and purity, there is nothing in human nature, partially sanctified, which will secure it from final apostasy. As the Lord Jesus keeps his people so that none of them will be lost, there seems to be clear evidence that his power is divine.
The Son of God possesses all authority over his mediatorial kingdom. He is King of saints. But what is this extent of authority, if his power be not commensurate with it? If his power be finite, his kingdom appears to be less secure, than if his power were infinite. It appears that his subjects could not have perfect confidence in him. If they look to him for that divine influence, which is necessary to keep them from declension, what assurance can a finite being give, that he can command the operations of God's Spirit to guide and support them? Should he attempt to sustain them by his own power, the work would be disproportionate to his ability. Other power might be as great as his, and counteract all his operations. Or it might be greater than his, and subvert his whole