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be exposed to extraordinary dangers; and there must be wonderful mercy in operation-mercy, which can be neither unnoticed nor refused without infinite peril.
The interesting details of my text will be brought under your consideration, after a general description of the duty enjoined in the precept,
“ Work out your own salvation."
Not enlarging, in the meantime, upon the well-established and soul-satisfying truth revealed in v. 13, I invite you to consider in the present Discourse,
I. The meaning of the word, "Salvation;"
II. The way of obtaining a right to salvation.
III. The “work” which your own salvation must give you, when you have obtained a right to it.
I. As to the word, “ salvation," - this word has become so familiar to our ears, that we are apt to think we know the meaning of it, when we have never considered the subject, and when, consequently, our notions may be essentially at fault.
The word salvation contains the idea of safety - but all safety is not salvation. In ordinary language, every one who is saved is safe, but every one who is safe is not saved. To have obtained salvation signifies to have been saved from some danger to which we were exposed. He, who has never been in danger, has continued safe, and if now in no danger, he is at present safe. But he is not a saved man; salvation has been no part of his need, and the offer of salvation would be unsuitable to him.
Salvation sets before you deliverance from actual danger and from impending destruction, -- and also the hand of the Lord causing and accomplishing deliverance--for “ salvation belongeth unto Jehovah."* It sometimes means providential deliverance from the death of the body — the word is thus used by Jonah, when he exclaims, “ Salvation is of the Lord,” after having testified, “ Thou hast brought up my life from corruption, Q Lord my God.”+ And so, when the Israelites were in danger of perishing either from the hands of the enemy in their rear, or amid the waves of the Red * Ps. ii. 8.
t Jonah, ii. 6.
Sea in their front, Moses foretold to them their deliverance from destruction in the words, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which He will show to you to-day."*
But the word is in my text, and more frequently, applied to the salvation OF THE SOUL. As you have been taught, and as, I trust, you always remember, your souls are yourselves. When you escape from the jaws of death, you can say that your breath, or your health, or your bodies are preserved. But when your souls, which can never die, are saved from spiritual ruin, then and then only yourselves are cared and provided for. Such salvation, and no other, deserves to be called your own salvation.
With regard to your souls, the proclamation, made by Christ's authority, is this : “ Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."+ And a petition, recorded for your imitation, occurs in the experience of the Psalmist, _“I called upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.”! The soul's salvation is not the soul's natural state. There can be no salvation for * Exod. xiv, 13. + Acts, ü, 21. | Ps. cxvi. 4. any soul except on the two suppositions:-Ist. That that soul is in actual danger of destruction. 2d. That this danger is so discovered and acknowledged by that soul as to lead to the call or petition to God for deliverance. Whoever desires salvation must ask God for it. If you never could see your danger, however secure your present condition may be, it at any rate is not salvation which suits you, or which belongs to you. You call for nothing, and you receive nothing.
It is necessary also to observe the kind of danger to which the soul is exposed. Too many persons do not actually think even of heaven as a final abode for the soul; all that ever crosses their thoughts is escape from hell as a place where something like bodily pain will torment them. But the soul, which is a spirit, is exposed to spiritual dangers; it is not a material framework which can be broken or crushed, nor is it a substantial fabric which can literally be consumed. The soul is exposed to the wrath of God; and the danger is the perpetual enduring of that wrath, and our treasuring up wrath through hardness and impenitence of heart. The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness, i.e. against sin. His anger is occasioned by the dominion which sin has over us. His anger inflicts punishment by abandoning us to the dominion of sin, both to sinful passions and to sinful society, with their horrible and heartrending effects. Thu danger is, that sin and its accompaniments should be fixed upon the soul to all eternity. The salvation of the soul is deliverance from those spiritual dangers. You must escape God's wrath and everlasting bondage to Satan, sin, and sinners.
Salvation in full possession cannot be experienced by any one until his soul is by God received into glory. So it is said that Christ “ will appear the second time without sin unto salvation;"* and, in the view of final and completely realised deliverance from sin, the Holy Ghost invites believers each day to the consideration, “ Now, our salvation is nearer than when we believed.”+
My text supplies an interim consideration. The perfect and heavenly experience of salvation is to will and to do of God's good pleasure perfectly; therefore to whatever degree you * Heb. ix. 28.
Rom. xiii. 11.