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many eras, which I doubt not they will remember to eternity.
1st. Salvation is given them immediately on their believing in Christ. Being thereby united to him, they are justified; having all their trespasses forgiven them, and as heirs entitled to the kingdom of glory. The bar of the legal curse being thus removed, they are also sanctified more and more. United to the great Vine, his vital influences flow in copiously upon them. Being sons, they walk no more in the rags of their natural state. Though some of these are still upon them, they are not their garments. No, they are clothed in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, Psalm cx. 3. Soon as the day of grace dawns, soon as they are born again, they are adorned with garments of glory and of beauty. Being the children of a king, they are not left to sit as on a dunghill. They are allowed access to their Father, such as the world cannot know. And thus they are trained up for still greater things to be given them at the se cond period, viz. death. Though during this life, their relative state was perfect, yet not their real. Though perfectly justified, they were not perfectly sanctified. But at their death, their souls are made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory. Now they get more of the great salvation than ever. Formerly they had their spots, but now they have none. Though clean, yet they still needed to wash their feet, John xiii. 10. But now they are perfect, being the spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. xii. 23. The childish state being done, they henceforth act in a manly manner. They run no more after toys, are no more ready to deviate from the path of duty, but keep their appointed course, as the sun does his. No more do they experience the frowns of an angry Father, or smart under the lashes of his rod. Perfect holiness, immediate and uninterrupted vision are their bliss. But still there is one part of the man lying in a low inactive state, viz. the body in the grave. For its partnership in their bliss they cannot
but be ardent: not being happy in their whole man, till it be re-united to the soul, be also a partaker of glory. And this last part of the great salvation is given at the third period, viz. the resurrection. During all that happiness to which the soul was admitted in the intermediate state, the body was in the low, the lonely and the loathsome grave. The ark, so to speak, was in the land of the Philistines, in the enemy's territories. But in the morning of the resurrection it is brought back with glory and triumph. Then the body so lately the prey of worms, or the sport of warring winds, shall be made partaker of the salvation which is in Jesus Christ, with eternal glory, 2 Tim. ii. 19. As at death every moral infirmity was removed from the soul, so at the resurrection shall every natural infirmity be from the body. And now the believer in his whole man shall obtain all the promised salvation: all that salvation for which he trusted in Christ, and to which he had been brought by such remarkable steps.
These three periods are the most memorable to the saints. They are the three notable days mentioned in scripture. The day of power, the day of death, and the day of judgment. In the first, Christ enters the soul by his Holy Spirit; in the second, he receives it unto himself; and in the third, he brings the whole man into a state of consummate glory. The first is the day of espousals; the second, the private homebringing of the bride by friendly angels; and the third, her public reception by the bridegroom himself. In some the space between the first and second period is shorter, in others longer, as seems good to the God of all grace. And the space betwixt the second and the third period is shortening daily. Grace does that in a few hours with some, to which it takes many years in others. So in the case of the thief on the cross, the day of power, and the day of death wonderfully coincided. That day he believed, he also entered into glory. Amazing speed! He was in the three different states of nature, grace and glory, in one day. At
morn he knew not Christ, at noon he clave to him on the cross, and ere night he was with him in paradise, Luke xxiii. 43. We who now die in Christ have a short lodging in the grave, compared with the Old Testament saints. Believers at Christ's second coming shall not die at all. They shall not know a gloomy grave. And supposing the last elect vessel to believe at the last day only, and not before, how soon shall he obtain perfect salvation! Having received Christ into his heart, he shall anon be raised in his whole man to a seat at his right hand. His iniquity shall be removed, and his salvation perfected, in one day. So much for the properties of the salvation promised to believers.
Let us next take a view of its various parts. And in the
1st Place, Such as believe in Christ are saved from the law as a covenant of works. He "was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law," Gal. iv. 4, 5. And soon as sinners are helped to believe in him, they obtain that part of salvation. As he is now no more under the law in its federal form, neither are such as believe in him. He and they are but one mystical body. Therefore if the Head be free, so must the members. Though it does not follow, if he be on the throne, so are they in their own person. Neither does it follow, that, if follow, that, if upon his being delivered from the law, believers are also delivered from it therefore when he was under it, they were personally under it too. The surety may be incarcerate, while the principal debtor is not. But the former being liberated in consequence of the full payment, the lat ter cannot be confined, especially as he pleads that payment. It is therefore certain, as Christ is risen, that such as believe in him are delivered from the law as a covenant of works. They are delivered from its commanding, its condemning, and its irritating power.
1st, From its commanding power. It has no au
thority over them. Christ being subjected to its precept in the days of his flesh, they are set free from it. Its mouth is shut in their case; it has nothing to demand from them, the Surety having paid all. To subject believers to the commanding power of the covenant of works, is in effect to bring them under its condemning. For if it can command, it can surely condemn for disobedience. Its commands when disobeyed, must be followed with punishment; otherwise they may be broken with impunity. And thus the law will not only be weak to justify, weak through the flesh, Rom. viii. 3. but weak in itself to condemn its transgressors. But it is not so with the covenant of works. Wherever it has a mouth to speak to a man, it has a heavy hand to punish him, if he will not hear. These two cannot be divided. But such as are believers, are saved from both. For,
2dly. They are not under the condemning power of the law. Sinners as they are in themselves, he in whom they believe, was made sin for them, 2 Cor. v. 21. "He was wounded for their trangressions, he was bruised for their iniquities; and the chastisement of their peace was upon him," Isaiah liii. 5. Therefore as God is just, they shall not come into condemnation. The law having condemned their Surety, cannot condemn them too. Its awful thunders may sound in their ear, but its fire shall not seize or singe a hair of their head. No: for they are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. vi. 14. Yea,
3dly. They are not under the irritating power of the law. Such a power it has over unbelievers. It does not irritate in itself; but in virtue of the reigning corruption. In them sin takes occasion by the commandment, Rom. vii. 11. and rages the more, like the untractable horse impatient of the bridle. It is enough to corrupt man to see what the law forbids, and that, that he will follow and work with all greediness. The commandment coming, sin revives, instead of being restrained, Rom. vii. 9. Mournful situation indeed! But from it believers are sayed. The law coming from
a Mediator's hand, and being all inlaid with grace, has sweet effects in them. They count it holy, and just, and good: and hence delight in it, after the inward man, Rom. vii. 12, 22. Thus, believers in Christ are wholly and altogether set free from the law as a covenant of works: set free both from its commanding, and its condemning power. It cannot speak a word to them, nor lay a hand on them. The law does not, like a whirlwind, raise the dust of their corruption, but accompanied as with the rain of gospel-grace, it washeth it away.
2dly. Such as believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, are saved from sin. Being by faith united unto him, they partake of his salvation. And one chief part thereof, consists in deliverance from sin, To save, in this manner is making good his name; "For thou shalt call his name Jesus, said the angel, for he shall save his people from their sins," Matt. i. 21. To be in sin, and to be in Christ are incompatible. Man is conceived in sin, Psalm li. 5. Born in sin, and lives in sin, aye and until he believe in Christ. Hence that awful threatening, John viii, 21, 24. that unbelievers shall die in their sins, But soon as a man is united unto Christ, he is no more in his sins, according to scripture-reckoning; though sin still remain in him. So we are taught to reason from that saying, 1 Cor. xv. 17. "If Christ be not risen, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." Hence, it unde niably follows, If he be risen, our faith is not vain; we are not now in our sins. The sinner trusting in a living Saviour, is saved from sin, and that in a fourfold sense, viz. from its guilt, its filth, its being, and its effects.
1st. The believer is saved from the guilt of sin, this follows immediately on his believing. Guilt is the ob ligation to condign punishment. But by believing in Christ, this obligation is cancelled. The man passeth from a state of legal death into a similar state of life, John v. 24. All his trespasses are forgiven, Col. ii. 13. All his sins are covered, Rom. iv. 7. effectually