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of God : that we may experience a complete deliverance from them?
If it should be asked, How or when shall we be delivered from the remains of our original depravity ? I answer : When; by the Spirit of God, we are clearly convinced of the absolute necessity of being meet for the inheritance of the saints in light ; or, of being made holy. When, by the same spirit we are made to see and feel the plague of our own hearts
; as to be weary of it, and sincerely desirous to be delivered from it. When we see, that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us ; and, accordingly, seek this invaluable blessing with our whole heart. And above all when by the hand of faith we can lay hold of the promise of God, which offers this great salvation unto us.
May not the Ministers of Christ, upon scriptural ground, say to such a person: Behold now is the accepted time ; behold now is the day of salvation ! If thou canst believe thou shalt see the salvation of God. If we are saved by grace, through faith, can any thing more be wanting than, á deep conviction of our want of this blessing, and an earnest desire to receive it, in God's own way,
his terms. We should then simply look unto Jesus, who is both the Author and Finisher or Perfecter of our faith ; that, by the power of his spirit, he may accomplish his own design. Hath not the infinitely wise and blessed God appointed faith as the grand medium, whereby he will convey all the riches of his grace to the minds of those, who in sincerity and uprightness of heart walk before him? Is not this his unchangeable
decree : "He that believeth shall be saved ?" Hath he not expressly declared : “According to thy faith, so be it done unto thee ?”. Do we not learn from these words, that in pro portion to our faith he will communicate the riches of his grace unto us ? And hath he not told us himself, “That all things are possible to him that believeth ?” Were not the ancient worthies, in some degree, sensible of the truth of our Lord's words, of whom it is said: “Who, by faith, obtainer promises ?" And ought not we, who live under the much clearer light of the gospel, and who have, experienced the power of faith already, in putting us in possession of that mea
which we enjoy, to be much more convinced that, according to the measure or degree of our faith, the pro mises of God shall be realized unto us? If, when we first believed, the promise of pardon or forgiveness was sealed upon our hearts ; or what is exactly the same thing, if we were ena
bled to lay hold upon the promise of forgiveness by the hand of faith, a pardon was sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Ghost ; may we not also be fully satisfied, that when we can lay hold upon, or embrace " the promise which holds out full salvation unto us, the Lord will certainly make it good. Is it possible for us to find out a more excellent way to obtain full salvation, than that which infinite wisdom hath taught us ? Surely not. Then if viewing the promises of God, we simply look unto our all-sufficient Saviour, that he, by the power of his Spirit may accomplish his own design, we may
have boldness to enter into the holiest, by a single but powerful act of faith, in his all-saving name. “Look unto me, and be saved,” is the word of the Lord to the believer, as well as to him who is only coming to Christ ; and we know that by looking to Him we shall be changed into his lovely image. “My son, give me thy heart,” is the word of Him, who hath pleasure in the prosperity of them who fear his sacred name. Then surely it does not require any considerable length of time for us to obey the kind command, and to surrender up our whole soul to Him, who hath redeemed us unto God by his own precious blood. Through the power of his Spirit, we may lay hold upon the hope set before us, in one single moment; and he will say unto us, as well as unto the poor leper : "I will, be thou clean :” and every root of bitterness shall be destroyed for ever.
Well might the prophet add, They bring us good tidings of good. O yes, of the greatest good that God himself can bestow, or that we are capable of receiving at his hand: they inform us of the pearl of great price, of the treasure hid in the gospel field, the gold tried in the fire; of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The more attentively we consider the gracious designs of God, and the more fully we understand the nature of those spiritual blessings which we are called to enjoy, the more we shall be satisfied, that the Lord intends to put us in possession of every good thing, which has a tendency to make us holy and happy at the same time. Whatever is highly esteemed by man, or tends to exalt him in this life, God graciously bestows upon those who love him, in a spintual way. Men in general, who know not God, can think of nothing more to be desired than riches, honour, and pleasure ; and if a person be so happy as to attain them all, he must be at the height of his wishes. Is it riches, then, that the man so earnestly desires, and so constantly seeks after ? Does he glory
in his name.
consequence of this, a divine tranquillity, an heavenly sereni: ty, will spring up in his mind, which is properly called, the peace of God. As peace is made between God and man, by the meritorious sufferings and death of our divine Saviour; lo peace is.proclaimed in the finner's conscience, when he is enabled to believe with his heart unto righteousness, or unto justification, as the apoftle declares, 2. The ministers of Christ are sent to publish salvation in
The falvation which the gospel offers to us may properly be considered as consisting of iwo grand branches., First, our free and full justification, through faith in the blood of the Lamb; implying a complete deliverance from all contracted guilt and condemnation, which we have considered already : and, secondly, the sanctification of all the powers and faculties of our soul ; or the renewal of the whole man, in righteousness, in the image of God, in which we were originally created. This great and blessed change we are now come to consider.
That it was the design of our Redeemer to restore us 10 the image, as well as to the favour of God, evidently appears from every part of the New Testament ; and as he instituted the gospel ministry, in order that the end of his sufferings and death might be fully answered, it follows of course, that his faithtul ministers will, according to the text, publish salvation in his name, ihat we may obtain a lot among the sanctified.
As the apostle affures us, that "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might fanctify and cleanse it with the walhing of water by the word ; that he might prefent it to himlelt, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish :" so lie clearly points out the several stages of this great work, and shews us how the God of love ac complishes his own design. In the seventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, he shews us the state of a fallen sin. ner, made acquainted with the state of his own mind, and earnestly longing for deliverance. He represents him “as being carnal and fold under sin,” being in a state of miserable bon. dage, and utterly unable to conquer the evil propensities of his degenerate mind; and, therefore, earnefly crying to the Lord for deliverance. "O wretched man that I ain! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” The glorious Deliverer immediately appears in view :'I thank God ihrough. Jesus Christ our Lord. Here we have the state, as well as
the painful exercise, which a penitent finner mult pass through distinctly described : but how strange must it appear to a well informed-mind, that any one should suppose, that the apostle is here describing the state of a Chriftian believer'; and yet more strange, that he is describing his own state, considered as an aged and full-grown Christian ! Surely the same person cannot be brought into the marvellous light and glorious liberty of the sors of God, and yet remain carnal and sold under sin ! All the art of man can never reconcile the apostle to himself, if he is considered as speaking of the same Person both in the seventh and in the eighth chapters of this excellent Epiftle.
In the sixth, as well as in the eighth chapter, he describes the state of one, who, through faith in Christ, hath obtain. ed deliverance from that state of bondage before described; deliverance from all contracted guilt : there is now no condemnation to him, as he is interested in Christ Jesus : and more especially delivered from the reigning power of fin, by the renewing or sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. "The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (faith the apolile) hath made me free from ihe law of fin and death.” Čertainly he must be understood, as speaking of that law or power of sin, which he had to paintully felt, and bitterly complained of, in the preceding chapter. “How shall we believers in Chrift) who are dead io fin, live any longer therein.” But can that man be dead to fin, who still complains that it hath such power and dominion over him, that when he would do good, evil is so powerfully present with him that he is overcome thereby.' Is it possible for one and the same perfon to say: "To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not ;" and, at the same time, declare : "I can do all things through Chrift who strengthens me." Can it be said of the fame persons at the same time : "Buc now being made free from fin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit onto holiness, and the end everlasting life ;" and notwithstanding this, they may still say : “The good that I would, I do not ; but the evil which I would not, that I do! At what a diftance from such an unscriptural and absurd opinion must the apostle have been, when he tells us, “That what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, by fending his own Son, in the likeness of lintul flesh, and for fin condemned fin in the flesh : (and that his express defign in so doing was) "That the righteousness of the law mighe be fulfiled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the fpi
in having obtained the end of his pursuits ? Alas ! wherein are these to be compared with the endowments of the mind, the riches of divine mercy and grace! The understanding is enriched with the highest wisdom, and with the most useful knowledge ; the conscience is possessed of the peace of God, which passeth all understanding; the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; and all the fruits of the Spirit are planted in the mind : the man has a sacred treasure in his earthen vessel, of inestimable value : yea God himself is his portion ; and he lives in friendship, and enjoys communion and fellowship with Him! Is it honour that the man so highly values, and
spares neither pains nor cost in order to obtain the end of his wishes ? O how short-lived, and how very uncertain, iş this ! What a inere bubble upon the water is the highest degree of honour which any man can possibly attain, when compared with the honour which cometh of God! To be received into the favour, and to be called the Friend of God! What right-honourable or right-reverend title can be compared to this! To be adopted into the family of the Prince of all the Kings upon earth, and to be called a Son of God. What nobility of birth, or grandeur of parentage, can equal this ! To have the angels of God ministering unto us, and attending us all the way to heaven ; and to be already united to the Church of the First-born; the holy, happy, glorified spirits of just men made perfect! Supposing, like poor Adonijah, we had fifty men, in the richest Jiveries, to run before, or to attend us ; What a mere trifle would this be, in comparison of the other ! And could we dress ourselves in purple and scarlet, and the finest linen; yea, in all the shining colours of the rainbow ; how empty and vain would all this be, when compared with being clothed with the garments of salvation, with the robe of righteousness, being adorned with all the graces and virtues which constitute the Christian character, which render us useful in our generation, make ụs a blessing to society, and enable us to glorify God upon earth, till we enjoy him for ever in heaven, when time with us shall be no more! But is it pleasure which
appears to any one more desirable than anything besides? How uncertam, and inexpressibly light and trifling, is this! The laughter, or "pleasure of the wicked (saith David) is like the crackling of thorns under a pot.” And Solomon, the wisest of men, having made trial of every thing his heart éould wish for, short of God, writes upon all created good, "Vanity and vexation of spirit ;" and adds, “I said of laughter