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turning. When the glorious God treats with us,
as if he were a Partaker of human Affections and Passions, this is in mere Condescension to our Weakness; we being incapable to behold him as he is. Surely it is not to lead us into Apprehensions, that be is altogether fuch an one as ourfelves. Our Business therefore is, to come to Christ, and learn of hint, to bow our Necks to his Yoke, to Aogood Works from Faith in Christ, and out of Love and Obedience to him; and in that Way to hope in God for Mercy, for Christ's Sake, and for his own Sake, and not for ours. We are to obey him as a gracious Sovereign; and to hope in him as the sovereign Author and Donor of his own Favours. We are to hope in his Mercy; not because we can allure him to the Exercise of it, or recommend ourselves to him by any Thing we can do ; but because he is infinite in Goodnefs, and delight et h in Mercy. The Gifts and Calling of God are "without Repentance. Rom. xi. »o.
I may add, we are not to do good Works with a View 10 qualify us for our Reception of Christ by Faith,ox for our Interest in him.—Multitudes seem most dangerously to deceive their Souls in this Matter. It is but too cemmon a Case for Men to quiet their Consciences, and to entertain Hopes of Salvation, from Apprehenf ans, that they endeavour to be found in a Way of Duty, they endeavour to mortify their Lusts,and to live a holy Lise; and therefore, though guilty of many Desects, both in their Duties and Conversations, they hope God ,will accept them upon Christ's Account, that the Merits of Christ will make up the Desects, of their Performances, and his Blood cleanse them from
the Guilt of their Sins. If they should sall into
some more gross and enormous Sin, or grow careless and remiss in Duty, they will then perhaps fall into a Panic, and terrify themselves with Apprehensions, that Christ will not accept such as they are; but when they have reformed their Conduct, their Fears blow over, and they revive their Hopes, fhat they shall yet obta:n Mercy for Christ's Sake. A^id what is the natural Language of ali this, but that they fhall obtain an 1 merest in Christ by their good Works; and when they have done their Pirt, he will do the rest, will ma e up the Derects of their Attainments, and give such a Value to their •sincere (though impersect) Obedience, that this shall recommend them to the Favour and Acceptance of God?—As though the glorious Redeemer undertook our Ransom, for no other End, than to render our desicient Duties meritorious, and our -Sins innocent and inofsensive.—This legal and felfrighteous Principle seems generally to obtain with the careless carnal World. And when Sinners come under Conviction of their Guilt and Danger, they are yet influenced by the fame legal Disposition, though it appear in another Form. What distressing Fears and Terrors do they usually agonize under! How impossible is it to give them any sensible View of the Hope that is Jet before them! But what stands in the Way ? Their Sins are great, their Hearts are bard, their Duties formal and hypocritical, their Corruptions prevalent, that they cannot think Christ will accept such as they are ; and therefore they dare not venture their Souls and their eternal Interests upon him.—Were the Cafe otherwise, could they subdue these stubborn Hearts, could they get a Victory over these Corruptions, sanctify these depraved Afsections, and be more spiritual in their Duties; or, in other Words, could they themselves begin their own Salvation; then they could depend upon Christ to carry on the Work in their Souls j. and then they could hope, D d 3 that that God would accept them for Christ's Sake. *
But all this is to substitute our own Righteousness in the Place and Stead o( the Righteousness of Christ: or, at best, to divide the Work of our Salvation between Christ and ourselves.
Will you bear with me, Sir, if I am forced to express my E'ears, that you are yet under too great Remainders of this unhappy Disposition I rejoice in your Recovery from your late dangerous Mistake. I cannot but hope, that you have chofen the good Part, nihich shall not be taken from you.— But what mean the frequent Returns of your desponding Hours: Whence do your Hopes and Fears .bear Proportion to your present Frames? What occasions thofe many dark Apprehensions, not only that you have not yet an Interest in Christ; but that you shall never attain to it ?—I intreat you to consider, that Christ came to save Sinners; and that we must come to him and trust in him as Sinners, having no valuable Qualification of oor own to intitle us to his Favour, nothing but (jjur Guilt and Pollution and his Sufficiency to plead yior*o'ur Acceptance with and Interest in him.—Tn pfopor-' tion as you look to your own Qualifications 'to recommend you to Christ, fo sar you practically make a l'aviour of your good Works and reject the Terms of Salvation by Jesus Christ.——As it is certain, that you can have no good Works which are acceptable to God for any saving Purpofes.. till you have Faith in Christ; so it is also certain, that you need not seek for any in order to your chearsul Trust in him and Dependence upon him, to justify you by his Righteousness, to sanctify you by his Spirit, and to make you an Heir according to the Hope of eternal Lise.—The Gofpel brings glorious Tidings of Salvation to perishing Sinners. It exempts and excludes none who will come to Christ
'or Lise, who will come to him as lost Sinners, unler a Sense of their Guilt and Unworthiness; who rill buy of him Wine and Milk, without Money mil without Price; and who will take theWater of Li/e freely; be thei r Sins ever so great, his Blood will ieanse them from all their Sins; be their Hearts ever '0 hard, hewill take away their Hearts of Stone, and rive them Hearts qfFlesh; be they ever so destitute of any gracious Qualification, of his Fulness theyshall receive, even Grace for Grace. Whatever their Case be, they may sasely trust in him, as the Author of eternal Salvation.—But this, alas! is the Misery and Ruin of Multitudes, who are pretending to seek Salvation by Christ, that they are for dividing the Work of their Salvation between him and them; and by fubstracting the Honour of their Salvation from him, who will do all or nothing for them, though they follow aster the Law of Righteousness, they don't obtain it; because they seek it, not by Faith, but as it uiere by the Works of the Law.—-Here then you see, that good Works have no Place at all. We are to look after no recommending Qualifications for an Interest in Christ; but to come to him guilty and miserable as we are, that he may be all and in all, be all to us, and do all in us and for us. He came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance, Mat. ix. 13.
I must surther add, that we are not to do good Works, in Expectation that we fhall by them obtain little to the suture Inheritance.—Heaven is a purchased Possession. Our Title to it, our Qualification for it, our Perseverance in the Way that leads thither, and our eternal Enjoyment of the glorious Inheritance, are all purchased'by the Blood of Christ. In all these Respects Christ Jesus is our Hope; and When werejoice in Hope of the Glory of God, we must Ttjoict in Ghrijl Jesus, having no Confidence in the Flesh. It cannot be too deeply imprefled upon our Hearts, that it is not A/Works ofRighteousness which we have dune, hut of his Mercy that God favetb us. It is mere Mercy in the eternal Contrivance of our Salvation by Christ; mercMercy in his Incarnation, Humiliation, Obedience and Sufferings for us; mere .Mercy in the Application of his Redemption to our Souls; mere Mercy, that we are kept by the Power of God, through Faith to Salvation; and mere Mercy, that Christ will at last present us faultless before the Throne of God, with exceeding Joy. It is to the Praife of the Glory of his Grace, wherein we are made accepted in the Beloved.—Oatgood Works cannot have any Share in purchasing our Title to this Salvation: They cannot make Atonement for our Sins; because the Iniquity of our most holy Things stands in Need of Atonement: They cannot give us a Covenant-right to Mercy; because we are antecedently Sinners, and obnoxious to the Curses of the broken Law: They cannot make us meet for Salvation; because by their Impersections they still leave us open to the Curse, and because they cannot sanctify our Nature, and give us new Hearts i Nor can they give us any Claim to the special Influences of the Spirit of God; because then our Sanctification would be of Debt, and not of Grace. What then can they do? No more, than to bring us to the Foot of a sovereign God; to wait upon him in the Way of his Appointments, that he would work in us both to will and to do of his good. Pleasure.
You will remember, that I am here speaking of our being intitled to Salvation by our good Works, and not of their Usesulness to our spiritual and eternal Welsare. In the former Sense, they must be utterly disclaimed; and all our Righteousnesses esteem«d but as filthy Rags; as I have particularly fhewn