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the divine compassion, and the cause of that compassion subsisted in the divine nature, salvation itself must be the fruit, not of strict equity, but of sovereign mercy.
Secondly, concerning the medium of salvation.“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;" and, in accordance with this gift, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” 2 Cor. v. 19. Further, this reconciliation was effected, not mediately by the mere fulfilment of the prophetical office, but immediately by the performance of priestly functions; for him “God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” Rom. iii. 25. Again, Christ is constituted not only a medium, but the only medium ; " for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time:” (1 Tim. ii. 6.) “neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts iv. 12. Nor are we to suppose that Christ's appointment to the office of mediator between a holy God and sinful creatures, could have resulted from any desert in man; for we are assured that “ he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, shall with him freely give us all things,” Rom. viii. 32. And not only is merit, but solicitation, on the part of man excluded; for Christ was “ delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Acts ii. 23. Hence it follows, from a consideration of the medium of salvation, that salvation itself originated in the sovereign wisdom and mercy of God.
Thirdly, concerning the state of salvation. 1st, In reference to this world—“Who hath saved us, and called with a boly calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Tim. i. 9. Thus it appears, that the state of salvation in which the people of God are placed in this world, is not merited by righteousness performed by them, either previously or subsequently to their enjoyment of the favour of God; but is the fruit of a gracious purpose formed before the foundation of the world; and consequently it must be traced not to the equity, but to the sovereignty of God. 2d, The state of salvation in reference to the future world—“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matth. Xxv. 34.
As the present state of salvation was effected through Jesus Christ, so also was the future; for Christ,“ being made perfect, became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.” Heb. v.9. And not only was Jesus appointed a priest to procure for, but a king to confer, salvation on his people; for they are represented as thus saying—“ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Rey. i. 6. Without doubt, therefore, the future, as well as the present, state of salvation has sprung from the sovereign exercise of divine love.
Fourthly, concerning the requirements of salvation, we observe that, although divine wisdom has suited their nature to the present condition of man, yet it will appear, that their appointment in the plan of salvation originated in the will of the supreme Being. 1st, Concerning repentance. The will of God has connected repentance with salvation as a prerequisite duty-" The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet. iii. 9. The same may be said of the authority of God, for “ God commandeth all men every where to repent." Acts xvii. 30. Finally, the appointment of repentance as a requirement in the work of salvation, is connected with the mediatorial office of Jesus Christ; for “him hath God exalted unto his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel.” Acts v. 31. From these passages it is evident, that how suitable soever repentance is to the present condition of man, its order in the work of salvation was appointed by an act of the divine sovereignty.
2nd, Faith in Jesus Christ is also a requirement of divine institution—“ whosoever believeth in him." There can be no doubt, that if Jesus Christ is the meritorious cause of salvation, the appointment of faith in him (that is, belief of the testimony concerning him, and a reception of the promises through him) exhibits the marks of divine wisdom and sovereign goodness. “Before faith came," says an apostle, “we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Gal. iii. 23. “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith.” Rom. iii. 27. “It is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Rom. iv. 16. We therefore come to the same conclusion in reference to faith as to repentance.
The third requirement is submission to the authority, and love to the person, of Jesus Christ. Ist, Concerning subunission to the authority of Christ. First, his own exhortation to his hearers—“Take my yoke upon you.” Matth. xi. 29. We have also the acknowledgment of the apostle Paul—“ Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ." 1 Cor. ix. 21. It is likewise represented as necessary to the enjoyment of a future state of happiness—“He became the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." Heb. v. 9. 2nd, Love to Jesus Christ will appear to be an appointed requirement, if we consider it as the principle of acceptable obedience--"If ye love me,
, keep my commandments;” (John xiv. 15.) as meeting a recompense—“ He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father;" (John xiv. 21.) and as exempting the subjects of it from a tremendous denunciation—“ If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha." I Cor. xvi. 22.
It follows therefore, from a review of the requirements of salvation, viz. repentance, faith, and obe
dience to Christ, that salvation itself originated in the sovereign mercy of God.
Fifthly, the privileges of salvation are such as denote a sovereign origin. Let us consider the following: 1st, Forgiveness of sins—“ Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.”_" In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Eph. i. 7. 2. Adoption into the family of God-For “ when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. iv. 5.
And as believers in Jesus Christ are adopted into the family of God, they consequently become “joint-heirs with Jesus Christ," and are entitled to an eternal inheritance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. “In whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Eph. i. 11. 3rd, Election out of the world by the regenerating and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit—"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath