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rogate to yourselves the honor of the greatest thing that ever God himself did. You seem not only sufficient to perform divine works, but such is your pride and vanity, that you are not content without taking upon you to do the very greatest work that ever God himself wrought. You see, by what has been said, how God has subordinated all his other works to this of redemption. God's works of providence are greater than those of creation; and all his works of providence, from the beginning of the generations of men, were in order to make way for the purchasing of redemption. To take on yourself to work out redemption, is a greater thing than if you had taken it upon you to create a world. What a figure you would make, if you should seriously attempt to create a world; or, decking yourself with majesty, should pretend to speak the word of power, and call a universe out of nothing, intending to go on in order, and say, " Let there be light; let there be a firmament,” &c. But then consider, that in attempting to work out redemption for yourself
, you attempt a greater thing than this, and are serious in it, and will not be dissuaded from it. You strive in it, are full of the thought that you are sufficient for it, and big with hopes of accomplishing it.
You take upon you to do the very greatest and most difficult part of this work, to purchase redemption. Christ could accomplish other parts of this work without cost; but this part cost him his life, as well as innumerable pains and labors. Yet this is that part which self-righteous persons go about to accomplish for themselves. If all the angels in heaven had been sufficient for this work, would God have set himself to effect such things as he did in or. der to it? and would he ever have sent his own Son, the Creator of angels, into the world, to have done and suffered such things ?
What self-righteous persons take to themselves, is the same work that Christ was engaged in when he was in his agony and bloody sweat, and when he died on the cross, which was the greatest thing that ever the eyes of angels beheld. Great as it is, they imagine they can do the same that Christ accomplished by it
. Their self-righteousness does in effect charge Christ's offering up himself in these sufferings as the greatest instance of folly that ever men or angels saw, instead of being the most glorious display of the divine wisdom and grace.
Yea, selfrighteousness makes all that Christ did through the whole course of his life, all that he said and suffered, and his incarnation itself, and not only so, but all that God had been doing in the great dispensations of his providence from the beginning of the world to that time, as nothing but a scene of the most wild, extreme, and transcendent folly.
Is it any wonder, then, that a self-righteous spirit is so represented in Scripture, and spoken of, as
that which is most fatal to the souls of men ? And is it any wonder that Christ is represented in Scripture as being so provoked with the Pharisees and others, who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and were proud of their goodness, and thought that their own performances were a valuable price of God's favor and love?
Let persons hence be warned against a selfrighteous spirit
. You that are seeking salvation, and taking pains in religion, take heed that you do not trust in what you do. Harbor no such thoughts, Redemption.
that God now, seeing how much you are reformed, how you are sometimes affected, will be pacified towards
and will not be so angry for your former sins;
that you shall gain on him by such things, and draw his heart to show you mercy; or at least that God ought to accept of what you do, so as to be inclined by it in some measure to forgive you, and have mercy on you. If you entertain the thought that God is obliged to do it, and does not act justly if he refuse to regard your prayers and pains; if you quarrel with God, and complain of him for not doing it, this shows what your opinion is of your own righteousness—that it is a valuable price of salvation, and ought to be accepted of God as such. Such complaining of God, and quar. reling with him, for not taking more notice of your righteousness, plainly shows that you are guilty of the arrogance of thinking yourself sufficient to offer the price of your own salvation.
III. What has been said on this subject, affords matter of reproof to those who carelessly neglect the salvation of Christ. These live a senseless kind of life, neglect the business of religion and their own souls, not taking any course to get an interest in Christ, or what he has done and suffered, or any part in that glorious salvation he has purchased. They have their minds taken up about the gains of the world, or the vanities and pleasures of youth, make light of what they hear of Christ's salvation, and at present do not so much as seek after it. Lei me here apply myself to you in some expostulatory interrogations.
1. Shall so many prophets, and kings, and righteous men, have had their minds so much taken up
with the prospect that the purchase of salvation was to be wrought out in ages long after their death; and will you neglect it when actually accomplished ! You have heard what great account the church in all ages made of the future redemption of Christ; how joyfully they expected it, how they spoke of it, how they studied and searched into these things, how they sung joyful songs, and had their hearts greatly engaged about it, though they did not expect that it would be accomplished till many ages after their death. 1 Pet. 1: 10–12. How much did Isaiah and Daniel, and other prophets, speak concerning this redemption! and how much were their hearts engaged, and their attention and study fixed upon it! How was David's mind absorbed in this subject ! he declared that it was all his salvation, and all his desire. 2 Sam. 23 : 5. How did he employ his voice and harp in celebrating it, and the glorious display of divine grace therein exhibited !-and all this, though they beheld it not as yet accomplished, but saw that it was to be brought to pass so long a time after their day. And before this, how did Abraham and the other patriarchs rejoice in the prospect of Christ's day, and the redemption which he was to purchase! And even the saints before the flood were affected and elated in the expectation of this glorious event, though it was then so long future, and was so faintly and obscurely revealed to them.
Now these things are declared to you as actually fulfilled. The church now has seen accomplished all those great things of which they so joyfully prophesied; and you are abundantly shown how Those things were accomplished. Matt. 13 : 17.
" Verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” And yet, when these things are thus abundantly set before you as already accomplished, how light do you make of them! How unconcerned are you about them, following other things, and not so much as feeling any interest in them! Indeed your sin is extremely aggravated in the sight of God. God has put you under great advantages for your eternal salvation, far greater than those saints of old enjoyed. He has put you under a more glorious dispensation ; has given you a more clear revelation of Christ and his salvation; and yet you neglect all these advantages, and go on in a careless course of life, as though nothing had been done, no such proposals and offers had been made you.
2. Have the angels been so engaged about this salvation by Christ ever since the fall of man, though they are not immediately concerned in it, and will you, who need it, and have it offered to you, be so careless about it? You have heard how the angels at first were subjected to Christ as Mediator, and how they have all along been ministering spirits to him in this work. In all the great dispensations of which
have heard from the beginning of the world, they have been active and as a flame of fire, being most diligently employed as ministering spirits to minister to Christ in this great work of man's redemption. And when Christ came, how engaged were their minds! They came to Zacharias, to inform him of the coming of Christ's forerunner. They came to the Virgin Mary, to inform her of