A Beacon to the Society of Friends/Sermon XI
Christ the Redeemer.
"See then the mercy of a gracious God. Does he ask pay for our transgressions? Here now is another sad notion, that Almighty God, who is possessed of perfect purity and perfect love, cannot forgive our sins without we pay some ransom. What a wretched idea!—Some will say, that the Almighty cannot forgive our sins unless some one comes and pays the debt for us." p. 260.
See under Ser. VIII. Ex. 3.
Cannot man believe that which he does not understand?
"I would not preach any thing which the people could not understand; for no man can believe that which he cannot understand." p. 296—Ser. XII.
To refute this false and absurd notion, it might be sufficient to adduce the union of soul and body in our own persons, which all believe, but none can comprehend. But neither doth the natural man comprehend the things of the spirit, because they are spiritually discerned. Is he, therefore, not to have the Gospel preached to him? Whilst it is the duty of a minister of Jesus Christ to "preach the word," he should always bear in remembrance, that it is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit to convince of sin—to open the understanding, as well as to sanctify the heart. Paul may plant, and Apollos water; but it is God who giveth the increase.—"So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7.
No salvation but by Christ.
"Now this is religion enough for me. It completes the work of our salvation: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God, so as to live under his will and direction, humbled under a sense of ourupon him." p. 267.
It is earnestly to be desired, that few readers will join in this impious conclusion with regard to themselves. We here see God's salvation rejected, although all the concerns of the never dying soul are suspended upon it. The pride of being wise above that which is written, setting up a light within above the revelation of the Spirit of God by holy Scripture, has led, step by step, into the deadly gulf of Deism. Alas! that any should be so deluded into self-sufficiency, as to fancy that without a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they can do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, and by that means complete the work of their salvation. They enter not by the only door,—how then do they come into the sheep fold? They lay not a stone upon the only foundation,—how then can they build for heaven? The selfish, hard, proud, heart of man, must be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, before there will be any tendency to justice, mercy, or humility, in the true sense of the words; and we have before shown, that the indwelling of the Spirit is consequent upon believing in Christ. And miserable are they who place their hope of salvation on any other ground, than that of the one offering for sin by Jesus Christ. Unless, then, we have repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, we have no sufficient motive to obedience, because by no other means can the affections be engaged to keep the holy law of God.
"If I sin, then thou markest me; and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity." Job, x. 14.
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Jno. xiv. 6.
"I am the door: by me, if any man enter in,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Jno. x. 9.
"He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." Jno. x. 1.
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw
|him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Jno. vi. 44.
"No man can come to me, except it were given unto him of my Father." Jno. vi. 65.
"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 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. 11, 12.
"To him give all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins." Acts, x. 43.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jno. iii. 16.