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Naked, come to thee for dress;
Here you see the believer had nothing to bring to recommend him to Christ. He simply clung to the cross of Christ,—that is, he depended on what Jesus had done and suffered alone for his salvation. He came just as he was, black, to be washed whitenaked, to be clothed-helpless, that the Lord might work in him to will and to do of his own good pleasure, or, in a word, take him in hand, do everything for him, and be a per. fect and complete Saviour to him.”
“I must confess this gives me some encouragement; but I am afraid lest I should deceive myself, and be found building on the sand at last.”
“There is no fear of that, if you build on Christ alone, for he is THE ROCK, and his work is perfect. But now listen to another, who had come to Christ, was believing in Christ, and fearlessly professed Christ. In many respects, he was a very different man to the former; but mark how their experi. ence on this point agreed. He is addressing the Saviour :
“«Other refuge bave I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is staid;
All my help from thee I bring;
With the shadow of thy wing.' Here you see the soul needs a refuge from the wrath to come, and it flies to Christ for that. It is helpless as a babe, and it hangs on Christ alone, to preserve, defend, and suc. cour it. It has no trust but in God, no help but what comes from Christ, no shelter but the wing of Christ. It needs, you see, everything, and it seeks for all in Christ.”
“But would a soul that really believes in Christ be harassed with doubts and fears as I am ?”
“ Many believers are.”
“ There are many reasons; in the case of some, they do not perceive that salvation is of grace, and of grace alone,—that is, that they are not saved on account of anything they do, or feel, or expect to do, but purely as a favour. Others do not understand that the Lord Jesus became a substitute for sin. ners, and as such did and suffered all that could be required of them in order to salva. tion; and that all that Jesus Christ did and suffered is placed to the account of all who are willing to be saved by him, and put their whole trust and confidence in him. Others think that they must look into themselves for a warrant to believe in Christ; and that unless they have experierced a certain
amount of conviction of sin, distress of mind, and trouble of soul, they are not at liberty to look to Christ, and expect a full salvation from him. Others, looking within themselves, instead of looking away from themselves to Christ, conclude that if they were authorised to hope in Christ, they should experience a deep sorrow for sin, an ardent thirst for holiness, and much peace and comfort; and that unless they find these things within themselves, they ought not to con. clude that Christ will save them. Once more, though this is not all the reasons, but many lay down a certain rule by which they expect God to work with them, and fix on certain marks and evidences as essential to their salvation; and not finding these in themselves, they are tossed about on the waves of uncertainty, and are filled with the most distressing doubts and fears."
“ What then would you advise me to do P”
“I would advise you to get rid of all your own religious notions as soon as you can, go to God's word as a little child, and pray ear. nestly for the teaching of the Holy Spirit to enable you to understand it, and beseech him also to bring it home with power to your heart. At the same time, take the eye off everything within you and about you, and fix it on the Lord Jesus Christ, as delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. Look at Jesus as taking the sinnor's nature, putting himself in the sinner's place, obeying thelaw in the sinner'sroom, and dying on the cross in the sinner's stead. Consider that Jesus died, and suffered all he did, on purpose that it may not be necessary for sinners to do it; that so they may be saved by grace, without the works of the law : and that having done and suffered all that is requisite to save sinners, in accordance with the law and justice of God, he is prepared-he is willing-yea, he is very de. sirous to save any siuner, and every sinner that is willing and desirous to be saved by him."
“But does not Christ object to save any one? Will he save all that desire to be sared by him P"
“He will. No one was ever heartily will. ing to be saved by Christ, but Christ saved that soul. No one ever desired to be saved by Christ, but Christ desired to save that soul, and did save it. There can be no doubt upon this point, for no one is willing to be saved by Christ, until the Holy Spirit has made him so. No one ever desired to be saved by Christ alone, until the Holy Spirit had generated that desire in the soul. "If, therefore, we can discover a willingness to be saved by grace, a desire to be saved only by Christ, we trace the work of the Holy Spirit; and wherever we can trace the work of the Holy Spirit, we are sure that there is the counterpart of that work in the Saviour's heart. If we are willing to be saved by him,
he was willing to save us first; and if we desire to be saved by Christ, it is just because Christ desired to save us."
"If, then, I am willing to be saved by free grace-if I really desire to be saved by Christ alone-may I conclude that the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in my heart při *“ You may.” “And what about professing Christ.”
“ Well, if you renounce self entirely in the matter of salvation, and depend on Christ alone-if you love the Lord's people, and wish to be numbered with them in life and in death-I should say, profess this. If you think proper, you may say, when you propose to make the profession, I do not profess to be fully assured of my everlasting safety ; but I do profess that I am looking to Jesus, hoping in Jesus, and trusting in Jesus alone. Or, ‘All I profess is, that I am a poor sinner, relying on the glorious Saviour, and trusting my everlasting all in his hands; and, this being the case, I wish to be baptized in his name, sit down at his table, and be numbered with his people, though the unworthiest of them all. This would be honest, and, I think, Scriptural ; and in doing so I doubt not but you would enjoy much peace; for, while we discard all idea of merit or desert, we find, with the Psalmist, that in keeping his commandments there is a great reward.'