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intended to ferve in the univerfal kingdom of God, is to be an everlasting monument, that a rational creature who has once departed from its innocence, and obedience to its Creator, never can again return to the fame ftate, but by his own almighty power and fovereign grace. Upon the whole, from this faint view of the plan of redemption, as lying open to the attention of principalities and powers, we may fay with the apostle Paul, Rom. ii. 33. "O the depth of the riches both of the wifdom and knowledge of "God! how unfearchable are his judgments, and his "ways paft finding out!"
I proceed now to conclude the fubject, by fome prac tical improvement of what has been faid. And,
1. What you have heard will contribute, I hope, by the divine bleffing, to fhew the guilt of those who defpife the gofpel, and ferve to remove the offence of the cross. It required no fmall measure of fortitude in the apostle Paul, to declare that he was not "afhamed of the cross of Chrift," which at its firft publication was " to the Jews a ftumbling "block, and to the Greeks foolifhnefs." The doctrine of the cross, in its fimplicity and purity, has been matter of offence in every fucceeding age, to men of proud and worldly minds. God knows, there are not wanting many at this time, who treat the doctrine of the cross, and falvation by grace, with as much contempt and infolence as they dare. Nor is it at all impoffible, that there may be fome among you who are infected with thefe poisonous and deftructive principles. Be perfuaded, O deluded foul! that "the weaknefs of God is ftronger than man," and "that the wifdom of man is foolishnefs with God." This glorious and gracious plan hath the approbation and admiration of angels, though it hath the contempt of finners. It aftonished the angels, therefore no wonder though it fhould aftonifh us. You will perhaps fay, It is indeed aftonishing above measure; it teaches me to believe an incarnate God, a suffering Saviour, the innocent punished, and the guilty forgiven. It is attended with fo many furprising circumftances, that I cannot help faying, How can these things be? But as Samfon faid in his riddle,
Out of the eater came forth meat, out of the ftrong came
* forth fweetness;" fo out of the fuggeftions of your corrupt minds, I would derive fome evidence of the truth.. A cunningly devised fable would be dreffed by the deceiver in a manner fuited to the human tafte; but this doctrine hath not upon it any of the marks of human wisdom. I do not think if it had not been revealed, that it could have entered into any human mind; and therefore we may justly fay, "Salvation belongeth unto God." It is because he is God, and not man, that we, the children of men," are not confumed."
2. You may learn, from what has been faid, the encouragement that is given to finners to return to God through Chrift. The very circumftances that are most aftonishing and admirable in this great difpenfation, are the undeserved love and unexpected condefcenfion of God to guilty and miferable finners. I know that the inward and effectual call can only be given by the Holy Ghost ; but I know also, that "faith cometh by hearing, and hear"ing by the word of God." Therefore, in expectation of the bleffing of him who "hath the hearts of all men in "his hand, and turneth them howfoever he will," I proclaim in the hearing of every finner within these walls, "that God fo loved the world, that he gave his only be
gotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him might not "perish, but might have everlasting life." I repeat the univerfal call, that "him that cometh to him, he will in "no wife caft out." Are there not many in this house under the power of fin, and the curfe of a broken law? Nay, who is there that is not condemned by these important words, which you will find Gal. iii. 10. "Curfed is 66 every one that continueth not in all things which are "written in the book of the law to do them." This fentence stands uncancelled against all who are not reconciled to God by faith in Chrift Jefus. Is the application difficult? Ye flaves of fin, drunkards, fwearers, profane and lafcivious jefters, envious and malicious flanderers, retainers of unjust gain, and all without exception who are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, ye fhall be flain all of you; "as a bowing wall fhall ye be, and as a tottering fence." Remember the mifery of those who VOL. I. 3 U
die in an unconverted ftate: "It is a fearful thing to fall "into the hands of the living God. Who can abide with "devouring fire? Who can dwell with everlasting burn"ings?" Admire the infinite grace of God through our Lord Jefus Chrift, and admire the infinite wifdom of God that hath laid help for you upon one who is "mighty to fave." May I not fay, that, on this folemn occafion, your Saviour fpeaks to you, not only in his word, but from his crofs? See the juftice of God in the cross of Chrift, and thence learn the evil of fin. See the power and wrath of God in the crofs of Chrift, and tremble at your own ftate. See the matchlefs love of God in the cross of Chrift, and be perfuaded to return to him with weeping, with fupplication, and with mourning. Let the eye of faith be pointed at the dying Saviour, and fay unto him, "O almighty fufferer, look down, look down from
thy triumphant infamy, pity and pierce this hard heart "with a fenfe of guilt and mifery. Thou haft faid, that "when thou fhouldft be lifted up from the earth, thou "wouldft draw all men unto thee: let this promife be ful"filled to my experience. Draw me, we will run after thee. "Lord, take away my complicated guilt; Lord, renew "and pacify my unfanctified affections, form me for thy"felf, that I may ferve thee here, and afterwards see thee as thou art!"
3. From what hath been faid upon this fubject, you may examine your title to partake of the holy ordinance of the Lord's fupper; or, in other words, your right to the favor of God, and to eternal life. No difpofition more fuitable, none more neceffary, at a communion-table, than a grateful and admiring fenfe of redeeming love, Not only the profane blafphemer, or the fcornful defpifer, is unfit to fit down at this feaft, but the felf-righteous formalift who never faw himself undone. It is true indeed, that when angels themfelves are put to a ftand, all our thoughts muft foon be loft and fwallowed up. But, my brethren, do you defire to look into it? Do you feel a fenfible pleasure and delight in this facred employment? Do you, in fome measure, fee the glory of divine grace, though you are not able to measure its dimenfions? There
is no fubject so obscure and unintelligible to thofe who are ftrangers to the power of religion, as the myftery of redeeming love; no fubject fo odious and diftafteful to those whofe minds are formed upon the maxims of the world, as the doctrine of falvation by grace. Christ upon a crofs, Chrift upon a throne, Chrift the believer's rock and refuge, the fource of his firength, and the fource of his comfort, they are neither able to relifh nor com-, prehend. All the warm expreflions of gratitude and attachment, which are unspeakably fweet and ravibing to a ferious foul, appear to them in the light of entbufalm and vifionary folly. But as many as it hath pleafed God to bless with an inward and perfonal conviction of their loft ftate by nature, will fee the greateft beauty in this plan of falvation, and will rather rejoice, than fhrink, at fharing with their Redeemer himfelf the contempt of the world. They will fay, with the apoftle Paul, Cal, vi. 14. "God forbid that I fhould glory, fave in the cross of our "Lord Jefus Chrift." There is a beautiful oppofition ftated by the fame apostle, between a believer's understanding the love of Christ, and yet being unable to fearch it to the bottom, in the following paffage, Eph. iii. 17, 18, 19. "That Chrift may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye
being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to com. "prehend with all faints, what is the breadth, and length, "and depth, and height; and to know the love of Chrift, "which paffeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with "all the fulnefs of God."
4. In the last place, From what has been faid, learn what is your moft proper employment at the Lord's table. Adore and contemplate the riches of redeeming grace, that great theme which "the angels defire to look into." Think, with humble amazement, on the boundless mercy of God, which reached even to you, and with the higheft thankfulness on the honor to which you are admitted, of receiving the fenfible pledges of his love. Dwell on this impenetrable myftery of "Immanuel God with us--"God manifefted in the flefh." Think on this awful proof of divine juftice and holinefs, the wrath of God poured out upon his own Son. Think on the perfection of that
atonement which is made for the fins of the world. Rejoice in the fulness of that Saviour who is now made "head over all things to the church;" and draw, by faith, from his fulness, every neceffary fupply to yourselves: and as you are now to commemorate his death, with a view to his fecond coming, think on that "day of fal"vation," when he fhall come "to be glorified in his faints, "and admired in all them that believe;" when you fhall enter in triumph into the holieft of all, where no doubt the mystery of redemption shall be more fully discovered; when faints and angels fhall jointly fing that new fong, Rev. v. 12. "Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to re"ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and "honor, and glory, and bleffing;" when the whole plan of divine grace fhall be completed and clofed, and the mediatorial kingdom itself brought to a period; for "then "cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the "kingdom to God, even the Father;" when confirmed angels, and redeemed finners, when the whole hoft of heaven shall unite in one acclamation, "Hallelujah; for "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."