Page images

he gave his only begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life." In the fulness of time he was made man-another common head of mankind,-a second general parent and representative of the human race. And as such it was, that "he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows;" the Lord laying upon him the iniquities of us all. Then was "he wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities." "He made his soul an offering for sin." He poured out his blood for the transgressors. "He bore our sins, in his own body, on the tree, that by his stripes we might be healed;" and by that one oblation of himself once offered, he hath made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. And in consideration of this, that the Son of God hath tasted death for every man, God hath now reconciled the world unto himself. And thus, as "by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification." So that for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour-for the sake of

what he hath done and suffered-God now vouchsafes, on only one condition, which he himself also enables us to perform, both to remit the punishment due to our sins, and to reinstate us in his favour; to restore our dead souls to spiritual life, as the earnest of life everlasting. All the blessings therefore we enjoy, all that we hope for, in time and in eternity, are given wholly and solely for the sake of what Christ hath done and suffered as the only meritorious or procuring cause of our salvation.

We now proceed to our second proposition, viz. to show that as Christ is the only procuring cause of our salvation, so faith producing obedience, hath been in all ages since the fall, the only method of obtaining the favour of God.

We have seen, that by the sin of the first Adam, who was not only the father, but likewise the representative of mankind, we all fell short of the favour of God; we all became children of wrath, or as the Apostle expresses it, “judgment came upon all men to condemnation:" even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the second Adam, who is Christ our Saviour,

as our representative, God is so far reconciled to the world, that he hath given them a new covenant, the condition whereof being once fulfilled, "there is no more condemnation for us; but we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." Mankind, therefore, since the fall, stand in a totally different relation to God from that in which they were placed at their creation. At their creation they were placed under a covenant of works, the condition of which was, "Do this and live." Since the fall they are placed under a covenant of grace or mercy, the condition of which is, Believe and live." Faith, therefore, is the instrumental cause of our salvation; the only means of obtaining an interest in Christ, who is the procuring or meritorious cause: and that this hath been the case in all ages, will clearly appear by referring to the scriptures.


No sooner had man revolted from his Maker, than in the midst of judgment God remembered mercy; the first intimation of which was given in that promise, that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head." "And I

will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" which promise, as it relates to our Saviour, may be considered as including the three following particulars :

First, His incarnation-that he should be the "seed of the woman.'

[ocr errors]

Secondly, His sufferings and death; alluded to in Satan bruising his heel; that is, his human nature: and

Thirdly, His victory over sin and Satan, shadowed forth in the promise that Christ should "bruise his head;" that is, should destroy his power and overthrow his kingdom.

Here then was the dawning of the gospel

day, which, though at the first obscure, increased in light and brightness till the Sun of Righteousness arose, with healing in his wings; and by faith in this promise-which was renewed to Abraham, was shadowed forth by the institutions of Moses, and still more clearly made known by David and the prophets that followed our first parents, the patriarchs, the prophets, and all who waited for the consola


tion of Israel were doubtless saved. clearly appears, from what the apostle declares in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, where, after having given a definition of faith, he proceeds to illustrate its efficacy by the example of the most eminent saints, from Abel to the close of the Old Testament dispensation of whom the apostle saith, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims upon the earth." But the testimony of our Saviour is, if possible, still more clear. "Abraham," saith our Saviour, in the eighth chapter of St. John, at the 56th verse, 'rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad :" and again in the tenth chapter of Saint Luke, at the 24th verse, he declares, that many prophets and kings desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." It is scarcely necessary to remark, that it could only be by faith in the promises respecting our Saviour, that Abraham



« PreviousContinue »