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client with great eloquence. A physician hath made himself master of his business, so that he can describe the nature of bodily diseases; he can enlarge upon the nature of medicine in general; and can speak, with great propriety and clearness, upon various subjects belonging to his profession, from the strength of his memory: But a man, who call* himself a minister of Christ, after all his learned studies, can do nothing of the kind. Take away his book, and you quite unfit him for his work;- he has nothing more to say. But we may safely conclude, upon the authority of God's own word, that such a one has run before he was sent, and is an intruder in the house of God. The Lord can never be at a lo.-,s for ministers, because he can make them, though man cannot. He hath the residue of the Spirit in his own hand, he can, and will, yea, and he does pour it forth whensoever, and wheresoever, and upon whomsoever he will: he always did, and always will, send by whom he will send. And to these he hath said for their comfort, "Lo I am with you always, even to the end." Gracious words indeed, and very full of comfort, as the faithful ministers of Christ can joyfully testify, to his glory.
When we seriously consider how much the salvation of mankind, and the prosperity of the church of God depends upon a lively, spiritual, heart-searching miniftry; we may justly wonder why the people of God do not more earnestly pray, that the Lord would pour out his Spirit and send forth faithful labourers into his vineyard, and why greater care has . not been taken to prevent unholy and unqualified men from intruding themselves into that sacred office. But here I am chieflv concerned for that body of people with whom I am connected, most devoutly praying that the Lord may raise up, qualify, and send forth, men full of faith and the Holy Ghost, to preach his word among them, and that his good pleasure may prosper in their hands.
We learn the same thing from the prayers which the Apostle offered up to God, that his end and design in the Gospel ministry might be fully answered. How fervently and devoutly did he pray for the Ephesians; "For this cause I bow my knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glorv, to be ftrengthened with might, by his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God."
If these words have any meaning, the Apostle prayed, that the people might experience a tull salvation; this will appear, if we consider the several parts of his prayer. He prays 1st. that the Lord would give them an increase of spiritual strength; lid. that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith. Now they were believers in Christ already, and therefore had experienced a work of grace upon their minds; but as the Appstle still prays thatChrist might dwell in iheir hearts, he must intend something higher than what they had as yet experienced. And does he not mean the same thing with our Lord, where he says, " It any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we' will come unto him and make our abode with him? As it is written, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." Illdly. He prays that they may be enabled fully to comprehend, (a- far as the human understanding would reach) the extent of the love of Christ; so that they might know the exceeding riches of his grace, and in how high a degree he would save them, And then, lastly, he prays, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God. If this petition was not in the Bible, we should not dare to use it, lest some good kind of people should charge us, not only with enthusiasm, but even with blasphemy. And it is a doubt with me, whether, if the most serious and circumspect person we could meet with, . was with the deepest humility to tell us, the Lord had fulfilled this petition in his mind, if some persons would not account him guilty of the highest degree of presumption and spiritual pride. But surely the Apostle himself believed, that the Lord would answer his prayer, else why did he offer it up to him? And those, who according to this prayer, are filled with all the fulness of God, may truly be said to be fully sanctified.
We learn the same thing from the Apostle's prayer for the Thessalonians. He had been exhorting them to " Rejoice (evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in every thing to give thanks." And lest any one then, (as many would now,) should say, "why this is impossible," he wisely adds; "For lthis is the will of God in Christ Jesus, concerning you." What is the will of God concerning us? That we should jejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks; and he who by the grace of God can do this,
may without doubt be said to be fully sanctified. If this is the will of God, will any serious Christian dare to say, that he will not accomplish his own design? Besides, if God calls us to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in every thing to give thanks, then he intends that we should do this in the present life, as it would be absurd, in the highest degree, to talk of praying without ceasing after we are dead. The Apostle devoutly prays, that the Lord would enable them to do this; "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." And it is very remarkable that he immediateJy adds these truly blessed words: "Faithful is he that hath promised, who also will do it." But what will he do? Is it not clear to a demonstration, that he will sanctify us throughout, body, soul, and spirit? H-e will fully answer the Apostle's prayer? No other meaning can be put upon the words, without putting a mamfest force upon them.
It is not to be supposed that I should quote all these particular passages of Holy Scripture, in one sermon, which might properly enough be quoted; nor to answer all the objections which some would bring against what has been already said: But are not the dving words of Moses descriptive of this very state of mind? "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; he shall thrust out the enemy before thee, and shall say, destroy. Israel shall then dwell in safety alone, the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn, and wine, also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the Lord, who is the shield of thy help, and the sword of thine excellency, and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shall tread upon their high places." However these words might be fulfilled when the Lord put them in possession of the promised land, yet surely they have a farther and a much high.er meaning; and from them we learn, into what an holy and happy state the God of love will bring all those, who give up themselves into his gracious hand.
But even supposing a person to be brought thus far, there is a one thing needful still, which he is called to follow after; namely, an increase of positive holiness; a growing up in all things into him, who is our living Head; according to the prayer of the Apostle Peter; "Now the God of all grace, who hath called us to his eternal glory, after that you have suffered awhile in the body, make you perfect, stablish, .strengthen, settle you." Here the man of God prays, that afyer the Lord had made them peifect, he would establish them in that state; for want of which, not a few, who had been brought into it, were but too soon moved fr«m their stedfastness. He prays that the Lord would strengthen and settle them; that he would so confirm, so root and ground them in this glorious liberty, that they might never be moved from it, but endure to the end, and be saved eternally.
If these things are so, the one thing needful for every enlightened or awakened person is redemption in the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins. To stop short of this, would be to stop short of Christ; and a person might as well think of being saved without Christ, and without the salvation which he purchased, as think of being saved wiihout experiencing redemption in his blood. If any one will say, But it is not tnough that I see and feel myself a lost and ruined sinner, that Christ hath accomplished the work of man's redemption, and that salvation is tf grace and not of works? Nay, I renounce all dependance upon my own works, and I only expect, desire, and hope to be saved by grace, thro'faith in Christ. All this is well, but it is not well enough. We must receive the Lord Jesus Christ, so as to experience the virtue and saving efficacy of his precious blood; nothing short of this will do. The guilt of sin must be taken away from the conscience, and the carnal mind must be changed, and nothing can do this for us but the blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, and the love of God shed abroad tn the heart. Let a person be made deeply sensible of this, and then let him seek it as the one thing needful; as if there was not another person in the whole world who wanted it, but himself. Let him look to Christ, and to Christ alone, for this blessing; yea, let him believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he shall experience it in his own soul. Let a person enjoy a pardon sealed upon his mind by the Holy Ghost, and then the one thing needful for him will be, the abiding witness of the Spirit of God, so that he may rise above all painful doubts and fears, and may be constantly enabled to rejoice in the God of his salvation. Let him fix his mind upon this one thing; let it be the prize at which he continually aims, the blessing for which he constantly prays, and the Lord will not withhold it from him, but will certainly grant him the desire of his heart.
But he th'at finds his soul to be established.in the loveot God, and can with an holy boldness constantly say, "Behold God is my salvation;" let him press after entire sanctification, after the full renewal ot his soul in righteousness, and holiness. And if he sees and- teels the necessity of this, and believes that it is the will ot God in Christ Jesus concerning him; if his whole soul is athirst lor this precious gift ot God; then let him know that deliverance is near. The Lord is not straitened lor time; it is the same thing 'with him to say to a lively, earnest believer, sensible of his inward depravity, and longing to be delivered from it; "I will, be thou clean," as to say to a pemtent sinner; "Thy sins are forgiven thee." He works like a God; he speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast; he offers us the blessing in the promise, and it can only be received by faith. Therefore, "now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Now lay hold upon, embrace and receive the promise, and the Holy Spirit will seal it upon your heart, and you shall enjoy the heavenly treasure.
David informs us, that as his desires were fixed upon one single object, so it was his determination to follow hard after it, to use every means in his power, in order to obtain that which appeared to him so desirable. From hence we may observe, that holy desire is always attended with diligent endeavour; i't puts us upon using the most likely means in our power, to attain that which we long to enjoy: But there are not a few, who exceedingly deceive themselves, and would deceive others also, if they would believe what they say. How many will tell us, "Why we desire to be saved as well as other people; we wish to go to heaven, and to be happy with God as much as any of you." But, at the same time, it is too evident to be denied, that these men are not walking in the way to heaven, but just the contrary. They take no pains to serve God; they are not using those means which it is absolutely necessary tor them to use, in order to get possession of that grace which must enable them to walk in the way, and fit them tor the enjoyment of heaven. Whatever they may think of themselves, it is certain that they neither desire to serve God, flor go to heaven. We never make those gross mistakes in temporal, that we do in spiritual things. Were we to meet a person upon the high-road, who would tell us he desires to go to such a particular town or city, when at the same time he has his back towards it, and ig travelling farther and farther from it: We labour, with all