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Christian brethren, you never could rest until you savingly knew Christ; and through faith in him alone can you continue to rest from unprofitable toils under the load of wrath.
Search yourselves my hearers, for if you have not these feelings, in your minds, and these operations of will which have been de. soribed, you have no saving faith on the Son of God. Blessed are all they who believe with the heart ; whose judgments and whose -emotions in relation to Christ are of the right kind, for God promises them heaven.
May we all be thus blessed, O thou Author and Finisher of saving faith. AMEN.
THE CHARACTER AND CONFIDENCE OF A
BELIEVER. “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” ROMANS X. 11.
THE passion of shame is peculiarly painful to us. It cause$ the heart's blood to mantle the chcek; renders vision no longer
grateful; turns away the face ; and depresses the head in wretchedness. We instinctively desire self-possession and approbation. Who could endure confusion of face for a single day, and be uracquainted with agony? Who of delicate sensibility could be made to suffer shame in the circle of his acquaintance for an hour and not feel constrained to pray, from some motive, with the psalmist,“O Lord, put me not to shame :'* “let me never be put to confusion ?”f The prophet Ezra couples “confusion of face," with the sword and captivity; and considers it a punishment procured by iniquity.
SHAME is one constituent part of the torment of hell. “The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”
In Daniel we read, that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."'S
Who shall escape this misery of perpetual self-condemnation? Who shall dwell at peace, when devils deride, and Jehovah laughs at the calamity, or mocks the fear, of the wicked ?
Our text furnishes an answer. ever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed.” The person referred to, as the object of faith,
* Psalm cxix. 31. + Fşalm lxxi. 1. | Prov, iii. 35. § Dan. xii. 2.
# Prov, i, 26.
is our Lord Jesus Christ. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. And the scripture saith, 'whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." The believer in Jesus Christ shall never be left to confusion of face. He shall never be confounded : no, not before men: no, not before angels : no, neither in this life, nor at the judgment seat, nor in the eternal world. Instead of confusion the believer shall have CONFIDENCE, instead of shame, glory; instead of blushes, the effulgence of stars, and a participation of the splendors of the Godhead.
Who, then, is a believer? and whence his, assurance against confusion and contempt? Suffer me to exhibit, I. The character of a believer; and II. His security against shame.
Faith ever produces such other mental and external actions as cannot fail to distinguish the possessor from those who are destitute of it. The character als the believer may
be marily comprehended in four particulars.
He receives the doctrines, appropriates to himself the atonement, partakes of the disposition, and imitates the example of Christ. Any one in whom these things unite may
is such an operation as the Spirit of Christ enables and persuades us to perform. All those means, which are used by God to produce the operation of faith in the mind of a sinner, are called the secondary, or instrumental, causes of our believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. At the head of these secondary causes we place REGENERATION, or that free, sovereign, and gracious act of Almighty God, which quickens one who was before absolutely dead to spiritual things. In regeneration God commences a new life in a sinner, or so operates upon him, that he
subsen quently have the functions of a new, a holy creature. Before regeneration a man cannot believe to the saving of his soul, any more than before his existence as a natural man he could believe the testimony of his neighbour, “ Ye must be born again,” that ye may be. lieve on the only begotten Son of God, and may have life through his name.
In an unrenewed man there is neither spiritual dis. cernment, judgment, feeling nor activity.. Let a man be renewed, or let Jehovah commence a spiritual life in him, and then he
This regeneration is ordinarily performed by God through the instrumental agency of the gospel; for “we are born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God." 1 Peter i. 23. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”
James i. 18. Subsequently to regeneration, in the order of nature, there is something, necessary to the act of believing on the Lord Jesus. It is spiritual perception, which is commonly called knowledge ; hence it is written, “this is eternal life to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Before we can, as spiritual men, know any thing, we must be born of God; and before we can believe any thing, we must know something, or have that operation of the mind which is called perception. Hence I do not hesitate to assert, that prior to the act of believing on the Lord Jesus, there must be in our minds such a perception of our own sinfulness and misery, and of the meaning of the terms Jesus Christ, the Saviour, as are essential to the intelligent belief of the proposition, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. One who did not perceive or know, as a renewed person perceives and knows, what is meant by the terms of the proposition, Christ, SAVE, and SINNERS, might believe the proposition to be true, but could not believe as a gracious person, and in the sense of the gospel, the truth contained in the proposition.
We must know what the testimony of God concerning the Saviour is, before we can receive the truth contained in that testimony for our salvation. The communication of this knowledge is commonly called the " divine illumination of