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of God: that we may experience a complete deliverance t'rom 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 note 'is the day of salvation! If thou- canst believe thou shall see the salvation of God. If we are saved by grace> through faith, can any thing more be wanting than, a deep conviction of our want of this blessing, and an earnest desire to receive it, in God's own way, and upon his own 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 tl,e 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 shnll 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 proportion to our faith he will communicate the riches of his grace unto us? And hath he not told us himself, "That all things arc possible to him that believeth ?" Were not the ancient worthies, in some degree, sensible of the truth of our JLord's words, of whom it is said: "Who, by faith, obtained promises,?" And ought not we, who live under the much clearer light of the gospel, and who have experienced the .power of taith already, in putting us in possession of that measure of grace which we enjoy, to be much more convinced that, according to the measure or degree of our faith, the pro tnises of God shall be realized unto us? Ifj 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 enabled
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 put full salvation unto us, the Lord will certainly make it good. Is it possible for us to lind 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 de»ign, 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, ;md 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: thev 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 sputtual way. Men in general, who know not God, can think tif nothing more to be desired than riches, honour, and pleasure; and it a person be so happy as to attain them all, he irmst be at the height of his wishes. Is it riches, then, that (he man so earnestly desires, and so constantly seeks after ? Does he glory
in sohfequerlce of this, a divine tranquillity, an heavenly ferenity, will fpiing up in his inind, which is properly called, the peace of God. As peace is made between God and man, by the meritorious fufferings and death of our divine Saviour ;fo peace is.proclaimed in the finner's confcicnce, when he is enabled to believe with his heart unto righteousnefs, or unto juftification, as the apoflle declares.
2. The ministers of Chrift are sent to publifh falvation in his name. The falvation which the gofpel offers to us may properly be confidered as confifting of two grand branches. Firft, our free and full justification, through faith in the blood of the Lamb ; implying a complete deliverance from all contrafted guilt and condemnation; which we have considered already: and, fecondly, the fanctification-of all the powers and faculties of our foul ; or the renewal of the whole man, in righteoufnefs, in the image of God, in which we were originally created. This great and bleffed change we are now come to consider. ;;
That it was the design of our Redeemer to reflore us to the image, as well as to the favour ot God, evidently appears from every part of the New Teftament ; and as he inftituted the gospel miniftry, in order that the end of his fufferings and death might be fully anfwered, it follows of courfe, that his faithful ministers will, according'to the text, publifh falvation in his name, that we may obtain a lot among the fanctified.
As the apoftle affures us, that "Chrift loved the church, and gave himfelt for it, that he might fanftify and cleanfe it with the wafhing of water by the word; that he might prefent it to himfelf, a glorious church, not having fpot, or wrinkle, or any fuch thing, but that it fhould be holy and without blemilh :" fp lie clearly points out the feveral flages 6f this great work, and mews us how the God of love ac* tomplifhes his own defign. In the fcventh chapter of his Epiftle to the Romans, he mews us the ftate ot a fallen fin. her, made acquainted with the state of his own mind, and earnefily longing for deliverance. He reprefents him "as being carnal and fold under fin," being in a ftate of miferable bondage, and utterly unable to conquer the evil propensities of his degeneiate mind; and, therelore, earneflly crying to the Lord for deliverance. "O wretched man that I am ! who (hall deliver me Irom the body of this death ?" The glorious Deliverer immediately appears in view : ''I thank God ihi ough. Jefus Chrift our Lord." Here we have the ftate, as well as
the painful exercise, which a penitent (inner mud pifs through' diftin&ly defcribed : but how ftrange muft it appear to a well informed-mind, that any one fhould fuppofe, that the apolHe is here defciibing the ftate of a Chnitian believer; and yet more ftrange, that he is defcribing his own flate, confidered as an aged and full-grown Chriftian ! Surely ihe fame perfon cannot be brought into the marvellous light and glorious liberty of the for.s of God, and yet remain carnal and fold under fin! All the art ot man can never reconcile the apodle to himfelf, if he is confidered as fpeaking of the f^me Perfon both in the feventh and in the eighth chapters of this excellent Epiftle.
In the sixth, as well as in the eighth chapter, he describes the ftate of one, who, through faith in Chrift, hath obtained deliverance from that ftate of bondage before defcribed ; deliverance from all contracted guilt: there is now no condemnation to him, as he is imereftcd in Chrift Jesus: and moce efpecially delivered from ihe reigning power ot fin, by the renewing or fanftifying influences of the Holy Spirit. "The law of the Spirit of Life in Chrift Jesus (faith the apottle) hath made me free from the law ot fin and death." Certainly he muft be underftood, as fpeaking of that law or power of fin, which he had fo painfully felt, and bitterly complained of, in-the preceding chapter. "How fhall we (believers in Chrift) who are dead to fin, live any longer therein." But can that man be dead to fin, who Hill complains that it hath fuch power and dominion over him, that when he would do good, evil is fo powerfully prefent with him that he is overcome thereby. Is it poflible for one and the fame perfon to fay : "To will is prefent with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not;" and, at the fame time,declare: "I can do all things through Chrift who ftrengih?ns me." Can it be faid of the fame perfons at the fame time : "But now being made free from fin, and become the fervants of God, ye have your fruit nnto holinefs, and the end everlafting life ;" and notwithftanding this, they may ftill fay : "The good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do' At what a diftance from fuch an unfcriptural and abfurd opinion muft the apostle have been, when he tells us, "That what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flefh, God did, by fending his own Son, in the likenefs of finful flefli, and for fin condemned fin in the flefh : (and that his exprefs defign in fo doing was) "That the righteoufnefs of the law might be fulfiled in us, who walk not after the flefh, but after the fpi
. Ss rit."
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 Gqd 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 h« lives in friendship, and enjoys communion and fe!ld\vship with Him! Is it honour that the man so highly values, and spares neither pains nor cost in order to ob.tajn the end of his wishes ? O how short-lived, and how very uncertain, is this! What a mere 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 \ve 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 us 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 any thing besides I How uncertaiu,-,and inexpressibly light and trifling, is this! The laughter, or "pleasure of the wicked (saith David) is like the crackSng of thorns under a pot." And Solomon, the wisest of men, having made trial of every thing his heart could wish for, sSort of God, writes upon all created good, ''Vanity and \txntion of spirit :" and adds, "I said of lauuhtei '