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ner, there remaineth also a rest to the people of God a. When the journey of life is ended, there will be an end to all the pains, fatigues, and dangers of it. We shall no more endure any of those miseries we have been describing, or be the sad spectators of the sorrows and sufferings of others. In that happy world there is not one aching heart, not one weeping eye, not one complaining tongue. As the stones that composed the temple at Jerusalem were hewn and prepared before they were brought thither, that the noise of a hammer might not be heard throughout the building; so the painful exercises of the present life, whereby good men are made meet for heaven, having had their full effect, will for ever cease, and no sound will be heard there but the voice of joy and gladness. And on the morning of the resurrection, the body, roused from the slumbers of the grave, and fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ, shall be re-united to the immortal spirit, and in that happy union enjoy uninterrupted health and vigour to all eternity.-We have now only to add, in order to complete our account of this salvation, that it is
3. A deliverance also from penal evil.
Indeed the evils just described may very properly be denominated penal, as they are the effects of sin, and the expressions of the just displeasure of heaven against them. But what I have here in view is, the punishment to be inflicted on the wicked in the world to come, and the joys prepared for the righteous among the blessed above. It is but a general account we can now give of these two states; a transient glance, however, at the one and the other will suffice to convince us, that the salvavation promised to them that believe, is infinitely great and glorious.
The Scriptures, in order to awaken the attention of mankind to their future and everlasting interests, have given us the most alarming description of the punishment prepared for the impenitent and ungodly. They assure us, that the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against them b;' that he will rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest upon them c;' that they shall be destroyed for ever d;' that they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and Deut. xxix. 20. c Psal. xl. 5, 6. d Psal. xxxvii. 38.
a Heb. iv. 9.
be filled with their own devices a;' that they shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt b;' that, not having brought forth good fruit, they shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire c;' that they shall be cast into outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth d;' and that they shall go away into everlasting punishment e.' These, and many other expressions of the like import, are meant to convey some idea to our minds of the extreme anguish of the damned; stript of all the comforts they here enjoyed and abused; shut up in the prison of hell, with spirits of the same fierce and malevolent dispositions as themselves; abandoned to the reproaches of their own self-accusing consciences; and oppressed with the most tremendous sense of the indignation of that great Being, whom they still continue to hate, but feel themselves utterly unable to resist. Who knoweth the power of thine anger, O Lord? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath f. But from all these miseries, the deplorable effects of impenitence and unbelief, our great Emmanuel saves us.
There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus g;' for he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us h.' But more than this
To the miseries we have been describing, are to be opposed the joys and triumphs of heaven. The Christian at death, freed from all moral pollution, and restored to his primitive rectitude, as we have shewn under a former head, is admitted into the immediate presence of God, and the glorious society of the blessed. There he is ever employed in contemplating the divine excellencies in all their perfection, in beholding the adorable Jesus, his Saviour and Friend, in all his mediatorial glory, and in conversing with an innumerable company of angels, and spirits of just men made perfect. And O, what tongue can describe, what imagination conceive, the transporting joys he feels resulting from the most intimate union with the great fountain of all good, and the most perfect sense of his favour and love impressed on his heart? In thy presence,' says David, 'is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore i.'
-Such then is the salvation promised to them that believe. O how should our hearts exult, while our ears are saluted with these blessed tidings!-guilt pardoned-innocence retrievedthe image of God restored-the powers of sin and death vanquished-soul and body made for ever happy and glorious-and all this effected at an expense that neither men nor angels can compute. But I forbear. Some notice must now be taken,
THIRDLY, Of the CONNEXION between faith and salvation. It is necessary, in order to our being saved, that we believe. Now this necessity arises out of the divine appointment, and the reason and nature of the thing.
1. It is the will of God, that those who are saved should believe.
His pleasure in this matter he has signified to us in language the most plain and decisive. God so loved the world, says our Lord to Nicodemus, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life a. And when he commands his apostles, as he was ascending up into heaven, to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he adds, He that believeth and is bap tized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned b. The authority of the blessed God to dictate to us in any case, is unquestionable; but more especially in a matter so interesting to us as this, and in which the riches of his mercy and love are so wonderfully displayed. Nor is it a mere arbitrary command, but the result of infinite wisdom and goodness, as we shall presently see. In the mean time, it is to be remarked of many temporal salvations recorded in the Bible, which were présages of that more glorious one we are discoursing of, that they who were to be benefited by these extraordinary interpositions of divine providence, were required to believe. When the Israelites approached the Red Sea, under the most tremendous apprehensions of the event-mountains rising on either side of them, and án enraged enemy in their rear, Moses commands them to stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord c, that is, to believe. When the brazen serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, for the healing those who had been bitten of the fiery-flying serpents, proclamation was made through the camp, that whoever
a John iii. 16.
b Mark xvi. 16.
e Exod. xiv. 13.
looked to it, that is, believed, should live a. And when Jehoshaphat led out his troops against a far more numerous hosť of enemies, assured that God would by a miraculous interposi→ tion subdue them, he commands the people, as Moses had done in the instance just mentioned, to stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord: adding, Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper b. Nor is it to be forgot, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when here on earth, required faith of them upon whose bodies he wrought miraculous cures ; which cures afforded a lively emblem, and an happy omen, of those more noble cures his gospel is adapted to effect on the souls of men.-But,
2. There is a fitness or suitableness in faith to the end of its appointment, so that the necessity of it arises out of the nature of the thing itself.
If God of his infinite merey is disposed to save us, and has assured us of this by a message from heaven, authenticated by the clearest evidence, it is no doubt our interest and duty to listen to the message, and give full credit to it. If he has sent no less a person than his own Son into the world to redeem us and make us happy, and if he possesses all necessary powers to accomplish that great and good design, it is surely most fit and reasonable that we should confide in him, and exercise all those regards towards him which his various characters and offices demand. No sober man who contemplates faith, accompanied with those dispositions and affections necessary to constitute a real Christian, can pronounce it an unreasonable and useless thing. But what I have here principally to observe is, that the great blessings of the gospel cannot be enjoyed without the medium of faith. It is true indeed, sin is atoned, Satan vanquished, and the gates of heaven opened to us, and all this by means we had no concern in devising or carrying into effect. But then the actual possession of the good thus procured for us, is as necessary as an equitable title to it. And how is that good to be possessed without a temper of heart suited to the enjoyment of it? And how is this temper to be acquired but by believing? Here I might shew you the concern which faith has in the conversion of a sinner to God, and in all those exercises of the a Num. xxi. 8, 9. b 2 Chron. xx. 17, 20.
mind and heart whereby he is gradually prepared for the heavenly blessedness; at the same time observing, that neither faith itself, nor any of those pious affections or good works which spring from it, have any meritorious influence on his salvation. But our present design will not allow us to enter any further into this subject.
Thus have we considered the nature of faith, described the salvation promised to it, and shewn the connection between the one and the other. Let us now return to the argument in the text.
Satan clearly perceiving the influence of faith in the great business of salvation, and well knowing too that faith comes by hearing, uses all those artifices mentioned in the former sermon to divert men's attention from the word, and to prevent its salutary effect upon their hearts. He catches it away, lest they should believe and be saved. As in the beginning he seduced our first parents from their allegiance to God, in order to deprive them of the happiness they enjoyed, so he now uses his utmost endeavour to counteract the measures devised for the salvation of their posterity. Glad would he be to precipitate the whole human race into the same abyss of darkness and misery with himself; and no means within his power will he leave untried in order to compass his malevolent purpose.
Suffer me then, O ye careless hearers of the word, to remind you a moment of the awful consequences of that impenitence and unbelief in which he wishes to confirm you, by all the arts he uses to dissuade you from attention and consideration.
If ye will oppose the clear evidence of the gospel, and shut your ears against its loud calls and gracious invitations; if ye will listen to the false reasonings of him who was a liar from the beginning, and reject the salutary admonitions of Christ and his apostles; if ye will tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing: and if ye will, notwithstanding all the remonstrances of reason and conscience, do despite unto the Spirit of grace—ye must endure the punishment due to such accumulated guilt and horrid ingratitude. There remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful lookingfor of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries a. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven,
a Heb. x. 26-31.