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,highest well grounded confidence of their salvation, will have the greatest sense of the evil implied in perihing forever.
5. A belief and sense of the infinite greatness, power and terrible majesty of God, and a correspondent conviction of their own littleness and nothingness in his iight, impressing an awe of his displeasure, and dread of finning against him, is implied in fear and trembling. This fenfe and feeling will increase, as Christians grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, whatever evidence and assurance they may have of the favour and love of God.
6. The Chriftian works out his own falvation with fear and trembling, while he constantly views and feels the dangers with which he is surrounded, by which he is liable to fall and perish, and against which he has no Atrength and security in himself; that he is always surrounded by innumerable hosts of invisible, subtil, potent enemies, who are seeking his eternal ruin, and doing all they can to prevent his falvation ; while he has no more power or skill in himself to resist or escape their rage, and destruction by them, than an infant has to conquer a roaring lion.
This is the representation which Christ himself gives of the state and circumstances of a Christian, while in this world. He speaks to every Christian of which his church is composed in the following language : “ Look unto me from the lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards :" [Solomon's Song, iv. 8.] He speaks to his church, and to every believer of which it is composed, as dwelling among lions, even in their dens, continually exposed to be devoured by them; and in the midst of leopards, beasts of prey, who conceal themselves in thickets and on trees, from which they suddenly dart themselves, seize and devour men as they pass : denoting that they are in such a dangerous state in this world, and continually exposed to be destroyed by powerful, invisible enemies, which is fully represented by persons lying in the dens of hungry, devouring lions, or on
mountains Haunted by léopards, every moment exposed to be destroyed by them, having nothing to defend themselves from them. He calls to them to look to: him as their only refuge and deliverer, letting them know their dangerous, helpless situation, and that in him alone their help is found.
7. This is attended with a constant and increasing view and sense of the dangerous enemies which they have within themselves, consisting in their moral depravity and evil propensities; that if Christ should leave them to themselves, they should immediately turn his enemies, and join with the devil, and be on his side and eípouse his caufe in opposition to Jesus Christ, and final. ly fall with him into eternal destruction.
8. Fear and trembling is not only confiftent with, but necessarily implies, a humble and constant dependence on Jesus Chrift alone for grace and strength to follow him through all these dangers and difficulties, leaning on his almighty arm, his infinite wisdom, goodnefs, truth and faithfulness, for pardon of their fins through his atonement, and deliverance from moral de. pravity; for power and skill to restrain and conquer their own lusts, and escape everlasting destruction ; trusting in him to work in them both to will and to do all that is implied in their working out their own salvation. This, and all which has been mentioned in the above particulars, is implied in fear and trembling; in that humility and saving faith by which the Chriftian lives, and works out his own salvation. By this he becomes strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. His grace is sufficient for him, and by it he
9. As every Christian is coming vastly short in his duty in every thing which he does, and is constantly guilty of much fin, fo lie is in danger of unthought of deviations from his duty, and by temptations to fall into particular grofs fins, against which he has no security by the promises of the covenant of grace'; and to escape these he depends upon the sovereign will of God, whe
worketh in him both to will and to do, of his oton good pleasure. This is the ground of a constant dread of every fin of omission or cominiffion, and continual care and watching against all fin, and fear of displeasing God, fo as to leave him to commit some particular fin, in a trembling sense of his own weakness, and the certainty that he shall not avoid it unless God be pleased to prevent it, by working in him to will and do the contrary. With this view and feeling the Christian ought daily to walk while he is working out his own salvation, however affured he may be that he shall not fall away finally and miss of salvation. And this is implied in the fear and trembling recommended in the text,
While Chriftians are working out their own falvation with fear and trembling, they are fenfible and acknowledge that by their own works, and the utmost they can do, they do not in the least recommend them. selves to God, as deserving any favour on this account; but are infinitely ill deserving as finners, for which all they do makes not the least atonement, and so much depravity and fin constantly attends them in all they will and do, that they are continually adding to their guilt and ill desert. They therefore utterly renounce all dependence on their own righteousness, and trust wholly to the atonement and righteousness of Jesus Christ for the pardon of their fins, and for all the favour and bleffings they want and hope for, willing and rejoicing to receive all this purely for the sake of his atonement and worthiness, while they are considered in them. felves as infinitely unworthy of the least favour, and deferving of endlefs destruction. This view of themselves, and cordial acknowledgment of it, is agreeable to truth, and effential to Christian humility, while they live by faith on Jesus Christ, and walk humbly with God.” Thys the Christian faith (it is the constant language of his heart) 5* In the Lord have I righteousness and strength;": strength to work out my own salvation, and righteoulnefs to recommend me to pardon and the favour of God. In the exercise of this fear and trembling the
apostle Paul renounced all dependence on his own works, defiring to be found in Christ, not having any righteoulness of his own, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Such only are of a contrite and humble spirit, who tremble at the word of God; constantly flying for refuge from the wrath to come, and laying hold on the hope set before them in Christ Jesus. He who trufts to himself that he is righteous, and attempts to recommend himself to God, or thinks he deferveth any favour for his own works, exerciseth that pride and felf confidence which excludes fear and trembling, and is contrary to · living by faith.
What has been now said, in the description of fear and trembling, may be in a partial and imperfect manner represented by the following fimilitude.
A person finds himself in the midst of a hideous forest and thicket, in which are unpassable mountains, swamps and dreadful precipices; he himself is fick unto death, and not able to walk a ftep, while he sees himself surrounded by hungry lions, and innumerable other beasts of
prey, threatening to rush upon him and devour him. And on consideration he finds he has brought himself into this dangerous, wretched state by his own inexcusable folly, and that his disorders and weakness are really his own fault; that he has greatly abused the Lord and owner of the territory in which he is, and all things in it; that he might therefore justly in his displeafure deliver him to the tormentors, and to be miserably devoured by the fierce beasts of prey. While he is in this fitu. ation, giving himself up to despair, as wholly lost and doomed to inevitable destruction, the great personage, the owner of the forest and all that it contained, appears to him, and tells him that though he had abused him, and had ruined himself, by his own inexcusable folly, yet he was ready to forgive him, and was able and disposed to cure him of his disorders, and give him strength to walk, and to extricate him from the evil and dangerous Atate in which he was, and make him happy in the
most agreeable circumstances. Upon this he stretched out his hand, and bid him take hold of it, and he should be safely led out of this horrid place. The poor man felt an invisible energy accompanying this proposal and command, by which he was strengthened and willing to lay falt hold of the nobleman's hand, and to trust wholly in him as his deliverer, pleafed to be wholly dependent on him for all the good he wanted, having in himself not the least fufficiency to help himself, and being utterly unworthy of the favour now offered to him, firmly believing the truth and ability of his patron to accomplish all he had promised.
The nobleman told him, that though he depended wholly on him for all his strength to act and walk, and every volition to exert himself in order to escape the dangers
of this wilderness, refist the wild beasts, pass through the swamps and miry marshes, afcend the steep mountains, and stand firm on the brink and fide of dreadful precipices, and arrive to the promised land ; yet he must be active, and work out this his falvation in the exercise of his own care and constant labour; he must resist the beasts of prey, and by his watchfulness and exertions in every ftep of the dangerous, difficult way he had to go, he must persevere in his work, and in obedience to him, till he should bring him to a place of safety and rest; that, in a sense of his own insufficiency to will or do any thing in this travel in order to his salvation, and his total and constant dependence on his patron, for disposition and strength to will and do, and persevere in the work before him, he must keep his eye upon him, and place all his trust in him, keeping hold of his hand, or of a strong cord which should be fastened to himself, his patron, and always be in his reach, when his hand was not. And in this way he thould be carried safely on to the land of promise.
Thus the poor man set out, confiding in the power, truth and faithfulness of his patron, and disclaiming all confidence in himself; continuing his course through hideous swamps, and over high and steep mountains,