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of the very nature of the case. . --This
be illustrated by a familiar example. Were we informed that a poor stranger in a foreign land had been found heir of an immensely rich estate, we would hear and believe it with indifference. But were intelligence, which we could not doubt, brought to us that we ourselves were discovered to be heirs of it; how differently would we be affected with this belief? We would receive the evidence with deep interest and lively joy.—Somewhat analogous to this is the case with respect to the belief of the gospel. While we are in unbelief, we hear of others who have found Christ, the pearl of great price, and we are little concerned. But when we ourselves are brought to believe in him, and have found him as our enriching portion, we are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. We then truly account the message of the gospel “like cold water to a thirsty soul, or good news from a far country.” Gladly do we flee to Christ as our refuge from coming wrath ; and most willingly do we put our trust in him for pardon, justification, and eternal life. Esteeming him allprecious—infinitely precious, we cordially receive him into the throne of our heart, and unreservedly devote ourselves to his service.
In fine, faith in Christ, when unfeigned, is always operative. It is not an empty name,
-a dead and unprofitable profession. “It works by love;"_love to God the Father, for the unspeakable gift of his Son; to Christ, for the matchless display of his condescension and grace; to the Holy Spirit, for apply
ing the blessings of salvation; to all the professing and approved disciples of Jesus; and to his blessed word, his hallowed day, and the institutions of his house. “It overcometh the world;" rises superior to its terrors and allurements; spurns its ill-gotten riches and honours, and forbidden pleasures; and refuses to adopt its pernicious maxims, and to follow its contaminating fashions. It purifies the heart; frees it from the secret love of sin; makes it hate vain thoughts and imaginations, and produces a fixed desire after holy and heavenly meditations. It is productive of good works,-excites all who are partakers of it, from reverence to the authority of the Lawgiver, and concern for his honour, to run in the way of his commandments, and to abound in the fruits of righteousness. Nor is any faith worthy of this name, unless it be productive of these effects. “ As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
9. Give yourself no rest till you have ground to conclude that you are truly a believer in Christ. To attain this is the principal design of your being. If you come short of it, better far would it have been for you,
had never been called into existence. Let no pains, therefore, be accounted too great, to have your mind deeply impressed with this conviction; and for this purpose, patiently and frequently review all the foregoing sections of this chapter. Meditate frequently on your guilty and condemned condition, as a sinner chargeable with innumerable transgressions, and all these crowned with
unbelief. Think of the peculiar danger of continuing in this state, till God in righteous judgment may give you up, and leave you in obduracy and impenitence. Consider how ineffably terrible your final punishment shall be, should death overtake you in your present state, and hurry you into the presence of a justly offended and Almighty Judge. Often look at the wonderful exhibition of mercy which the gospel presents to your view; and reflect on that stupendous love of God which induced him to give up his only begotten Son to ignominy, suffering, and death, rather than leave our rebellious world to perish. Contemplate the grace and condescension of Christ, “ who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of
and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Be assured that there is no salvation for you in any other but Christ, and that either you must be saved by him, or suffer the eternal damnation of hell. Often meditate on the almighty power of Christ to save to the uttermost; and his willingness to deliver
from ruin, and to raise you to the dignity and happiness of a son of God, and an heir of glory. And frequently listen to his gracious and affectionate calls and entreaties addressed to sinners, to believe in his name, and to put their trust in him for pardon and life.—By these means you will see
Philip. ii. 6-8.
what it is you are required to believe, both with respect to yourself and concerning the glorious Redeemer. And, humbled to the dust, under the consciousness of the guilty aversion of your heart to comply with Heaven's call, look up as a helpless and perishing transgressor to the Holy Spirit, to destroy this opposition, and to make you willing in the day of his power. Cry to him, with earnest and persevering prayer, to illuminate your darkened mind, and to enable you to view these truths in all their native importance. Fervently beseech him “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, to shine into your heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." Nor desist from this work till you have obtained your suit, and are enabled to say, « I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Different opinions concerning assurance of salvation.-1. It has been attained by many.-2. The sacred scriptures exhort us to seek it, and encourage us to expect it.—3. The Bible furnishes us with numerous marks of Christian character to aid us in arriving at the knowledge of our state. 4. The Holy Spirit witnesses with the hearts of God's children respecting their interest in Christ.-5. Assurance is not inseparably connected with faith in Christ, and therefore not a common attainment of genuine believers.-6. None but saints of eminent holiness can ordinarily reach it.7. After it is obtained, for a season it may be obscured or lost.-8. As it may be obtained by every believer, so none should rest satisfied without diligently seeking it.
In the chapter preceding the last, it was affirmed, that all who possess the evidences of a gracious state which are there delineated, have ground to believe that they are the regenerated children of God. To be assured of this, is one of the highest attainments which
Christian can reach, while a sojourner on earth. As, however, many false representations of what is called, the Doctrine of Assurance, are very prevalent, and those who have not carefully studied the subject, may be in danger of being misled by
may be of advantage to some readers to exhibit here a short view of its scriptural nature.
Assurance of salvation, or a man's undoubting belief that he is savingly interested in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a doctrine respecting which professed Christians have long entertained opinions widely different.