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lowing passages: “Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt; therefore, it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Rom. iv. 4, 16. “ For by grace are ye saved; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Epb. ii. 8, 9. " Who hath saved us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.” 2 Tim. i. 9.
As the word mercy, in its primary signification, bas relation to some creature, either actually in a suffering state, or obnoxious to it; so grace, in its proper and strict sense, always presupposes unworthiness in its object. Hence, whenever any thing valuable is communicated, the communication of it cannot be of grace, any furtber than the person on whom it is conferred is considered as unworthy, by him who confers it. For, so far as any degree of worth appears, the province of grace ceases, and that of equity
Grace and worthiness, therefore, cannot be connected in the same act, and for the same end. The one must necessarily give place to the other; according to that very remarkable text: “ If by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” Rom. xi, 6. From the apostle's reasoning it is evident, that whatever is of works, is not of grace at
and that whatever is of grace, is not of works in any degree. In Paul's view of things, work and grace are essentially opposite, and equally irreconcileable, as light and darkness.
That grace, therefore, about which we treat, may be thus defined : It is the eternal and absolutely free favour of God, manifested in the vouchsafement of spiritual and eternal blessings to the unwor. thy. What those blessings are, we shall endeavour to show in the subsequent pages. Meanwhile, be it observed, that, according to this definition, the grace of God is eternal ; agreeable to the import of those reviving words: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” Jer. xxxi. 3. It is infinitely rich and divinely free; entirely detached from all supposition of human worth, and absolutely independent of any such thing as human goodness. This is the eternal origin, this the glorious basis, of our salvation. Hence it proceeds and is carried or to perfection. Grace shines through
the whole. For, as an elegant writer observes, it is not like a fringe of gold, bordering the garment; not like an embroidery of gold, decorating the robe; but, like the mercy-seat of the ancient tabernacle, which was gold-pure gold-all gold throughout. Booth.
Pray, let me ask, what is the exact meaning of Grace?
The first and principal meaning, that which I have all along bad my eye upon, in our present conference, is the favour and kindness of God; infinitely rich and infinitely free.
Stop, (said a fifth) these notes forbear,
(3rd Link.) We bave made it appear, (at least to my own ideas) from the preceding authorities, that God did make choice of a church and people out of the ruins of the fall, and passed upon them an act of free grace; for when man fell, he in fact revolted from his rightful sovereign, and became the subject of another prince, “the prince of the power of the air;” as Truth itself once said, “ Ye are of your father, the devil;" born in his kingdom, bred up under his government, and by nature addicted to his laws.
To extricate the elect out of this thraldom, it became necessary that the Son of God (to wbom they were given by the Father from all eternity) should redeem them, and that by laying down his life, as a satisfaction to the broken Law, in their room and stead.
He with his whole posterity must die ;
AND SILENCE WAS IN HEAVEN. But, as the decree had passed the great seal of Heaven, that all should not be lost; that a people should be saved, to adore bis free and distinguishing grace for ever-behold, the Son of God steps forward, and is represented by Milton as saying
Father, thy word is past; man shall find grace;
The speediest of thy winged messengers,
Well pleased. ON ME LET DEATH WREAK ALL ITS BAGE. The following passages, among many others, serve to show that death and the powers of darkness actually did wreak all their rage upon the Son of God, in the completion of this his stupendous une dertaking
1, a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they who see me, laugh me to scorn, &c. and shake the bead, saying, He trusted in the Lord that be would save him: let him deliver him, seeing he trusted in bim, &c. The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet, &c. They parted my garment amongst them, and cast lots for my vesture. Psal. xxij. 6, 7, 8, 16, 18. Matt. xxvij. 39–43. Psal. cix. 25.
False witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. Psal. xxvii, 12. Matt. xxvi, 60, 61,
For thy sake I have borne reproach; shame bath covered my face: I am become a stranger to my brethren, an alien unto my mother's children: for the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproacbes of them who reproached thee are fallen upon me, &c. Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heariness, &c. They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Psal. Ixix. 7, 8, 9, 20, 21, Matt. xxvii. 34.
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them wbo
plucked off the hair : I hid not my face from shame and spitting, Isa. 1. 6. Matt, xxvi, 67, 68. Job xvi. 10.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, &c. Surely he hath borne our grief, and garried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon bim, and with his stripes we are healed, &c. We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid the iniquity of us all upon him. He was oppressed, he was afflicted, &c. he was taken from prison and from judgment, &c. he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was be stricken. He made his grave with the wicked, &c. It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, &c. He shall bear their iniquities, &c. He hath poured out his soul unto death ; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isa, liii. 3–12. Psal. cxvi. 3. Luke xxii. 37. Matt. xxvii. 38.
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? &c. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel ? &c. I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was done with me. Isa. Ixii, 1-3.
What are these wounds in thine bands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, &c. Zech, xii. 6,7. Matt. xxvi. 31, 47-49.
, From that time forth began Jesus to show, &c. how that he must suffer many things of the elders, &c. and be killed, &c. Matt. xvi. 21-23.
Likewise also shall the Son of man suffer of them, &c. The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill bim. Matt. xvii. 12, 22, 23. Acts iii. 13, 15.
The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, &c. and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver