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REVELATION XXII. 17.
and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Though water be highly valuable, it is obtained without any expense. Hence in the holy scriptures, the blessings of the gospel are often compared to water. These bles. sings, though they be of the greatest value, are freely offered to sinners. By the prophet Isaiah, God says, “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money. Come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” In the text the same blessings are offered in the same manner.
« Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” These words afford for our consideration this impor. tant doctrine : To every one, who will accept the blessings of the gospel, they are freely given.
To illustrate this doctrine it may be observed,
1. That through the atonement, God can bestow the blessings of the gospel upon sin
ners freely. The law threatens eternal death to every sinner.
But the Lord Jesus Christ, by his death on the cross, has made an atonement for sin. And now God can, consistently with his truth and justice, release from the punishment which is threatened in the law, ev. ery person who avails himself of Christ's death. For“ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” God
“be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." In the wondrous scheme of redemption through Jesus Christ,“ mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace embrace' each other.” Truth consents to have mercy bestowed upon sinners, to whom wrath was threatened. And righteousness consents to offer peace to the enemies of all righteousness. Since Christ, by his death, has made an atonement for the sin of the world, God can, consistently with his perfections, and his righteous government, freely bestow upon sinners the blessings of the gospel.
2. God is glorified in bestowing the blessings of the gospel freely upon sinners. The wisdom, power and goodness of God shine, with infinite glory, in the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ. To the saints at Rome, the apostle writes, “ I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salva. tion to every one that believeth.” And unto the church at Corinth,“ We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them
who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Again, it is written, “ To the intent, that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the mani. fold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The goodness of God, as well as his wisdom and power, is displayed in the redemption of sinners. "In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” The truth, the justice, and the power of God, would have been gloriously displayed, had he inflicted on the whole human race the curse of the law. But the goodness of God moved him to desire a way, in which he might forgive and save sinners from eternal death. Such a way his wis. dom enabled him to devise, and his power enabled him to execute. And now all the perfections of God appear very glorious in the sal, vation of sinners. At the Saviour's birth, a multitude of the heavenly host praised God; saying, “ Glory to God in the highest ; and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Since God is glorified in bestowing the blessings of the gospel upon sinners freely, these blessings may be freely given.
3. In the holy scriptures it is plainly asserted, that the blessings of the gospel are freely bestowed upon every one, who is saved. Ac. cording to the scriptures the salvation of sin.
ners, from the foundation to the top-stone, is through the free grace of God. God freely gave his beloved Son to die on the cross to make an atonement for the sin of the world. Of his free mercy he offers salvation to sinners. He appoints and maintains the means of instruction and salvation. By the Holy Spirit, who works in a free and sovereign manner, the ministry of the gospel is made effectual to the conviction, conversion and sanctification of sin.
The Psalmist says to the Lord Jesus Christ, “ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive ; thou hast received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." It is said of Christ, “ Him. hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins,' To the saints at Ephesus it is written, “For by grace are ye saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” The apostle says in his epistle to Titus, “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regene. ration and renewing of the Holy Spirit ; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” The Saviour, the Holy Spirit, and all the fruits and benefits of the Spirit, are the gift of God. From the plainest declarations of the holy scriptures, it is therefore evident, that the salvation of sinners through the gospel of Jesus Christ, is wholly of grace; and
is consequently upon all who are saved it is freely cly bestowed.
4. Sinners have nothing to give for the blesdo sings of the gospel. All creatures have receiv. TS. ed their existence from God, and on him they
are wholly dependent. They are the property it, of God. They are bound to exert all their he strength in his service. They, who perfectly he keep all the commandments of God, do no1- thing but what they ought to do. Therefore us by their obedience they lay God under no obu ligation to bestow upon themselves the least fa1
God is bound to reward such creatures as s keep the law, not on account of the merit of
their obedience, but on account of his own i promises, by which he binds himself in the cove enant of works. The holy angels, who have
served God with all their strength, during their whole existence, have no claim upon God, on account of their obedience. God is in no degree indebted even to the holy angels for their services. They have done nothing but what
he justly demanded, and what they were bound 3
to do. “ Who hath first given to the Lord
and it shall be recompensed unto him again ? 7 For of him, and through him, and to him, are t all things."
What then can the children of men offer to procure favors from God? What merit can they plead ? They have broken the law of God, and are indebted to divine justice ten thousand talents, nor can they make the least satisfaction for their transgressions. For, should a sinner now become perfectly holy, and