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toms contrary to their laws, as Romans.” And they so far incensed both the people and the magistrates, that Paul, and Silas one of his fellow-labourers, “ were beaten, and

thrust into prison.” But there being in the night an earthquake which was plainly miraculous, the prison being shaken, the doors opened, and the fetters of all the prisoners loosed, whilst yet no one escaped; the keeper of the prison, who before had heard somewhat of Paul and Silas, and had some general notion of their doctrine, now terrified, and perceiving this extraordinary event to be a divine interposition in their favour, put to his prisoners, with solicitude, and with respect and esteem, hoping for a full and satisfactory answer, that momentous question : “ Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?"

We need not, I think, hesitate to understand this question in the most comprehensive sense. This person could not be ignorant of the general principles of religion, so far as usually known by heathen people, living in the politer cities of Greece, and the Roman empire, who all had some notions of a future state. Moreover, Paul and his fellow-labourers had been some time at Philippi. And the young woman before mentioned had followed theni in the streets of the city, many, that is, several days, crying aloud : “ These men are servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.” When therefore the keeper of the prison says: “ Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?the question cannot be reckoned less important for the meaning, than that put to our Saviour by the young man among the Jews, related in the gospels : - What shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life " Matt. xix. 16; and Mark x. 17. And it is put, as it seems, with a better temper than that The answer to that inquiry is in the text.

6 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved :" that is, • Believe in Jesus Christ as a divine teacher, and receive * the doctrine taught by him, and you will know how you may be saved. Observe and follow the precepts and rules of that doctrine, and you will obtain salvation.'

The former may be thought the primary and most obvious meaning of the words; but the latter is also implied. The question is: “ What must I do to be saved ?" The answer is: “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That is, you will know what you ought to do in order to obtain salvation; you will have all the means of salvation, every thing requisite for your direction and assistance. Consequently, if you observe and follow the





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rules contained in the religion of Jesus Christ, you will be saved.

There are therefore three things to be spoken to. First, the direction here given: “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Secondly, the benefit proposed and annexed thereto: “ And thou shalt be saved.. Thirdly, the connection between faith in Jesus Christ and salvation, with the evidence of it.

I. In the first place I should show, what is meant by “ believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

One thing plainly implied is, believing him to be a divine teacher sent from God; and that he is the Christ, or the Messiah, the great person spoken of by the prophets, and whom God had promised to send. This we may learn by comparing some texts in the gospels.

In the sixteenth of St. Matthew is an account, how our Lord asked the disciples concerning the opinions which men had of him, and then their own. And when Peter answered, for himself, and the rest : “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;" he commended him, and declared him blessed.

Again, John vi. 68, 69, “ Peter answered, and said, Lord, to whom should we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe, and are sure, that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." John xi. 37, Martha says: “ Yea, Lord, I believe that

“ thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." And at ver. 41, 42, of the same chapter, our Lord having, at the grave of Lazarus, addressed a particular thanksgiving to the Father, adds: “ And I know that thou hearest me always; but because of the people that stand by, I said it; that they might believe that thou didst send me.”

John xvi. 30, the disciples say: “ By this we believe, that thou camest forth from God.” And in the following chapter, our Lord, in his prayer and thanksgiving to the Father, says: “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” And of the disciples he says: ver. 8, “ They have surely known, that I came out from thee; and have believed, that thou didst send me."

John vi. 28, 29, “ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God ? Jesus answered, and said unto them, This is the work of God, that


believe on him whom he hath sent.”

And it is often taken notice in the gospels, that many believed on Jesus, but the pharisees believed not; that is,


they did not receive him as a prophet, or the great prophet that was to come into the world.

2. Another thing, included in faith in Christ, is believing his words, receiving the doctrine taught by him, or believing the christian religion.

This is so closely connected with the foregoing particular, that they seem to be both one and the same; and certainly are inseparable. He who believes, that Jesus is sent of God, and the Christ, must believe that his words are true. However, I presume, it is not amiss to observe this distinctly.

Our Lord, who, as before shown, often speaks of believing in him “ whom God had sent,” does also frequently speak of believing, or receiving his words. For be had a doctrine. He was a prophet, or a teacher sent from God. And receiving his doctrine is believing in him. What it was, we perceive from the history of bis life, written by the evangelists. In general, it was, Repent. Or, Repent, and beJieve the gospel. And to such as received, and obeyed that doctrine, he promised everlasting life.

John vii. 16, 17, “ Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but bis that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John xiv. 24, “ The word, which you hear, is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” Many of the Jews could not receive his words, because of their prevailing prejudices, and carnal affections. Of the disciples' he says: " I have given unto them the words wbich thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have believed that thou didst send me," John xvii. 8. Again he says: “ The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," chap. vi. 63. And because be had the “ words of eternal life," ver. 68, the disciples believed in him, and determined to abide with him. And knowing the truth and importance of the doctrine taught by him, he declares: “ Whosoever shall be ashamed of me

, and my words, [now,] of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” Mark viï. 30.

Believing in Christ is often expressed by coming to him. John v. 40, “ Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life,” And Matt. xi. 28, 29, “ Come unto me, all ye that labour

, and are heavy laden—-take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” The meaning of which can be no other, than that men should become his

disciples, submit themselves to his instructions, and embrace the doctrine taught by him with divine authority.

They who believed in Jesus, as sent from God, and received his doctrine as a rule of life, became his disciples; a word that includes all his followers in general, and is equivalent to believers; though the twelve, whom he also named apostles, are sometimes called his disciples, by way of eminence and distinction. But in the general, all who owned him for their master in things of religion, are his disciples. As the disciples of Moses, or Plato, or Aristotle, are such as take them for their masters, and receive their scheme of religion, or philosophy, as true; so it is here, as we perceive from the style of the Gospels, in many places. “ And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples; and of them he chose twelve, whom he named apostles," Luke vi. 13. Joseph of Arimathea is called a “ disciple of Jesus :" Matt. xxvii. 57; John xix. 38; that is, he was one who believed in him as a great prophet, eren the Messialı, and received his doctrine as true, and from heaven. In the debate between the Jewish rulers, and the man born blind, whom our Lord had miraculously healed, after many inquiries and answers, they said to him again : “ What did he unto thee? how opened be tby eyes? He answered them; I have told you, and ye did not hear. Wherefore would ye hear it again! Will

ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said ; Thou art his disciple, but we are Moses's disciples," John ix. 26–28. And long before this : " The disciples of John, and of the Pharisees, fast; but thy disciples fast not,” Mark ii. 18.

That word is often used in the Acts as equivalent to believer. “ In those days when the number of the disciples

. was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them," ch, vi. 1, 2. “ And the word of the Lord increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly,” ver. 7,

66 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha,” ch. ix. 36. Ananias, at Damascus, by whom Paul was baptized, is said to

a disciple,” ch. ix. 10. Mnason is called “ an old disciple,”, ch, xxi. 16. I allege but one place more.

6. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Autioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples," or believers, were first called christians at Antioch," ch. xi. 26.

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This then is faith in Jesus Christ. To believe in him is to receive him as a divine teacher, and his doctrine as true; or to embrace the religion of Christ, and become his disciples and followers.

But then two things are here supposed ; First, that men be instructed in the things concerning the Lord Jesus, or be taught his doctrine. And secondly, that they attend to it, and understand it. As St. Paul says: “ How shall they believe in him, of whom they had not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher ?” Rom. x. 14. So here. They said : “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house." And doubtless he attended diligently. It is true of him, which is said of Lydia. “ She heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things that were spoken of Paul,” Acts xvi. 14.

For this reason, that men might know the will of God, our Lord went over the “ cities” and 66 villages” of the land of Israel, Matt. ix. 35; Mark vi. 6, 56; Luke xiii. 22; preaching the doctrine of the kingdom, laying hold of every opportunity, and affecting occurrence, to excite attention : calling to men, to hearken and understand, speaking in a familiar manner, sometimes using well contrived parables and similitudes, teaching the word to all sorts of men, as they were able to bear it, in their synagogues, at the temple, at the houses of Pharisees, when they made entertainments, and much company was present.

For this end he set forth the twelve, and the seventy, to go over the land of Israel, and prepare men for him; and afterwards he enlarged the commission of the twelve, “ to go and teach all nations.”

II. In the next place we are to consider the benefit proposed to them who believe in Jesus: “ And thou shalt be saved;" or, you shall know what you ought to do in order to be saved; and if you observe it, you will obtain salvation.

This is evidently the design of the words, as they stand here in connection. And it is confirmed by other texts. Cornelius, at Cæsarea, was directed by an angel, “ who should tell him words, whereby he and all his house should be saved," Acts xi. 14. Our Lord tells the Jews; “ These things I say, that ye might be saved,” John v. 34. Zachariab prophesying over John the Baptist says: “ Thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation, by the remission of their sins,

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