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sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return; That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." Isaiah xlv. 22–25.
“Here the Son of God represents himself in all the glory of his divine person, and all the efficacy of his grace, as the object of Faith, and the author of salvation. Look unto me,' says he, wretched ruined transgressors, as the wounded Israelites looked unto the brazen serpent; look unto me, dying on the cross as your victim, and obeying the law as your surety. Not by your own strength or virtue, but by dependence on me be ye saved, cleansed from guilt, rescued from the power of sinful tempers, and reconciled to God.
“Do you ask, Who are invited to partake of this inestimable benefit? • All the ends of the earth.' People of every nation under heaven, of every station in life, of every condition, and of every character, not excepting the chief of sinners.
“Do you say, Is it possible that in this way, so short, so simple, merely by dependence on Jesus Christ, innumerable millions should be saved ? It is not only possible, but certain; • For I am God;' infinite in dignity and power, therefore all-sufficient, yea, omnipotent to save, to save all that come unto me, be their multitude ever so great, or their cases ever so desperate. “And besides me there is none other;' no person can take any share in this great transaction. Such is my compassionate invitation. And this my inviolable decree: I have not only spoken, but 'I have sworn by myself,' and all my incomprehensible excellencies: 'the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness;' that word which relates to the grandest of all subjects, and the most important of all interests, is planned, adjusted, and unalterably determined ; 'It shall not return,' neither be repealed by me, nor frustrated by any other. • To me every knee shall bow;' every soul of man that desires to inherit eternal life, shall submit to, and depend upon me; as an unworthy creature, as an obnoxious crimi
nal; he shall obtain the blessing wholly through my atonement. To me every tongue shall swear;' renouncing every other trust, they shall repose the confidence of their souls on me alone, and make public confession of this their Faith before the whole world : and this shall be the form of their oath, and the tenor of their heartfelt confession; each member of my church shall say, 'Surely,' it is most wonderful, yet a most faithful saying, extremely comfortable and equally certain ; Surely in the Lord,' the incarnate Jehovah alone, ' have I righteousness,'to expiate all my iniquities, and satisfy the law; and strength,' for an increasing improvement of heart, and sanctification of soul.
“To this sovereign decree the prophet, as it were, set to his seal; or else in a transport of joy he foretels the accomplishment of it: Yes, 'to him,' even to this great and gracious Redeemer, shall men come.' I see them flying as clouds for multitude, and as doves for speed. They believe the report of his gospel, and receive of his fulness. Whilst ‘all they that are incensed at him,' who cannot away with such absolute dependence upon him, nor bear his pure and holy government, 'shall be ashamed.' The figleaves of their own virtues and their own endowments shall neither adorn them for glory, nor screen them from wrath; but shall abandon them to vengeance, and cover them with double confusion. Whilst on the other hand all the seed of Israel,' every true believer “shall be justified in the Lord.
Against these persons no accusation shall be valid, no condemnation take place. Far from it; for so magnificent is the majesty, so surprisingly efficacious are the merits of the Saviour, that in him they shall not only confide, but glory;'not only be safe, but triumphant; able to challenge every adversary, and to defy every danger." *
Whether this text be considered with or without this comment, it plainly proves, that Jesus Christ is to be acknowledged as the only author of our salvation: It clearly marks the nature of true Faith to be a lively de
* For this explanation of the sacred text the reader is indebted to a manuscript of the late pious and exemplary Mr. Hervey. Since the first edition of this work, it has been inserted by Mr. Hervey in one of his printed Letters to the Rev. Mr. Wesley.
pendence on Christ, to receive out of his fulness grace
It shows, that to conceive any thing to be Faith short of such absolute and constant dependence on Jesus, is to degrade the importance of the Son of God to his church, and to obscure, if not abolish, his glory. To suppose
you have Faith, merely because you allow Jesus to have been no impostor in what he taught, or even because you grant his death to have been an atonement for sin, is to glorify him very little, in comparison of maintaining an uninterrupted dependence upon him. In the one case he appears as a common benefactor, to whose past generous deeds we have been much indebted; in the other, as our continual support, of whom we may triumphantly say, “ The Lord is my light and my life, whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid ?”
In placing him in this glorious point of view before the eyes of our mind, the New Testament perfectly concurs with the Old. Thus St. Paul and St. Peter represent the Faith of the Christian church to be such a personal dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as subsists between the foundation of a lofty temple and its several parts, which continually bear their whole weight upon it, Eph. ii. 21.-1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.-They again explain this dependence by the union of the members of the body with the head, Ephes. iv. 15, 16; whilst Jesus himself compares it to the union of the branches with the vine. But none of these scriptural representations can be supposed to be used even with the justness and accuracy common to human writers, unless by Faith in the only begotten Son of God, be meant an abiding heart-felt dependence on him for daily salvation, influences, and blessings.
It would be superfluous to add more Scripture evidence on this head; but it is of the highest importance that you examine yourself, where the stress of your dependence for the good of your soul is placed. To what source are you looking for pardon and strength, comfort and sanctification? To your own good purposes and endeavours, to your own prayers, meditations, and good qualities; or, through them all, to that inexhaustible treasury which God has provided for poor, helpless, guilty men, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ? Blessed is your condition if
you have this testimony in your conscience; that, acknowledging your own natural ignorance and blindness, you call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to enlighten your mind, to make his way plain before you, and to give you a strong and distinct perception of the great things concerning your eternal
Blessed is your condition if feeling your utter incapacity to procure the favour of God by the best of your duties, reformations, or performances, and confounded in your own sight for your great defects, you build all your hope of acceptance with God upon what Christ has done and suffered for you. Blessed is your condition, if afflicted by the exceeding vileness of your corrupt affections, and longing for victory over them, for a more spiritual mind, and for a farther progress in love, both to God and man, you depend upon
the renewing, sanctifying grace of Christ, to work this divine change within you. This is to believe in the only begotten Son of God without partiality and without hypocrisy. This the word of God pronounces to be that dependence on Christ which shall never be confounded. May the Giver of every good and perfect gift create in your soul this unfeigned Faith, if you have it not already; and if you have, may he confirm and increase it still more abundantly.*
ON THE FOUNDATION OF DEPENDENCE ON CHRIST FOR
The same gracious and holy God, who planned the method of recovering lost sinners through the Lord Jesus Christ, has not only required, by his express command, Faith in Him; but, from the first entrance of sin into the world, he has been manifesting to the world, in various ways and in the fullest manner, the character and glory of the Redeemer, and the safety of all who depend upon him in sincerity and truth.
This testimony, which God has given of his only begotten Son, is the solid, rational, and immoveable foundation of Christian faith; and so amply does it display the completeness of his salvation, that, as I purpose to prove, there is no part of our dreadful disease and misery as sinners, for which there is not a sufficient remedy in the perfections he possesses, and in the offices he sustains for the salvation of his church.
* See the 5th Prayer.
To illustrate this; every man, it has been shewn above, is chargeable with the guilt of sin against his Creator, and of course stands exposed to the curse of God's violated law, and to the pains of eternal punishment. Let us see, then, what properties there are in the Lord Jesus Christ, sufficient to render him, in this case, the object of our affiance. What a sufficient warrant to justify our firm dependence on him, as the propitiation for our sins, in the sight of a holy sin-avenging God.
The answer which the divine record returns to this momentous inquiry, is sufficient to dispel every doubt, and to impart strong consolation to the most guilty soul that earnestly seeks for acceptance with its Maker. For it expressly declares, that this Jesus, on whom you are to depend, is one in nature and essence with God; that “his goings forth" (that is his existence) “ have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah v. 2. That to his almighty power, the earth owes all its prolific virtue, and that variety of fruits which it produces for the service of men ; that from the worm which crawls unnoticed by us on the surface of the ground, up to the brightest angel before the throne of glory, the Redeemer formed them what they are, and still preserves them in their being: for, “In the beginning--the Word was with God, and the Word was God.-All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made,” John i. 1-3.“For by him all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist,” Col. i. 16, 17.
-On account of this original and eternal glory, when the Redeemer is brought into the world, to be a sacrifice for sin, though he was no more in appearance than a weeping babe; though born, like the child of some vagabond, in a stable, and laid in a manger; even at this moment the