Imágenes de páginas
PDF

ral distance between God and you. Confider, whether while you are under the law, or covenant of works, you are capable not only to fulfil all its preceptive demands, and fo not further expose yourself to its curfes ; but also to do fomething towards making fatisfaction to God's justice for what you have already done ámifs, and to merit his favour. Or confider, whether you have any claim to God’s acceptance of your perfon upon Christ’s account, without an intereft in him, and whilft condemmed already by his own mouth, and under the wrath of God for your unbelief. Confider whether you can have any promife of acceptance to plead, while you remain under the curfe, both of the law and gofpel. Confider, whether an omnifcient and holy God can be either deluded or gratified with mere external fhews of religion, when he knows you have an heart in you that is far from him. Confider, whether you can ever make the cafe better, by all your endeavours to change your own heart, and to create yourself aħew in Christ Jefus, any more than you can produce a new world. Confider, whether you dare venture your etērnity upon this istue, that you fincerely do what you can to ferve God; and whether there be not fuch finful defests cleaving to your best perfermances, as may juftly condemn both you and thêm. Confider again, whether if you should do all you canin the fervice of God, you would do any thing that would either fully come up to the terms of the covenant of grace; or bear the leaft propôrtion to that falvation which the Gospel requires. Confider once more, whether the glorious God has not an absolute right -o difpofe of his own favours, just how, when, and where he pleafes; and whether he has not affured us, that he will bestow his everlasting mercy upon none but thofe who are really conformable to the terms of the covenant of grace. - . » Now, Sir, if you, while unregenerate, can neither make atonement for your paft fin and guilt, nor combe up to the demands of the law of nature; if you can neither pleafe God by your finful performances, nor im

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ing anything of the old score: if you have no claim to " acceptance on Christ’s account, without a special intereft in him : nør any claim to the benefits of the covenant of grace, till you aċtually comply with the terms of it : if both law and Gospel condemn you in your prefent state: and nothing but omnipotence can change your heart, and make your state better: if God be a fovereign donor of his own favours; and you can have no promife to plead, while you remain under the curfe and wrath of God, and a stranger to the covenants of promife; if even you yourfelfmuft allow all thefe things to be undoubted truths, it muft then be true, even to demonstration, that (while in fuch a state) you are capable of no qualifying condition of the divine favour; and had need therefore to feel that you lie at mercy. , , To conclude this head, if God himself may be be, lieved on in the cafe, he will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy ; and whom he will, he hardneth, Rom. ix. 18. "Tis not for our fakes, that he bestows grace upon us, but for his boly name’s fake, Ezek: xxxvi. 22, 3 r. He predestinates us unto the adoption of children by 7efus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praife of the glory of his grate, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved, Eph. i. 5, 6. He aćts in this cafe according to his own fovereign pleasure, as a potter that hath power over his clay, to make one vesèl to honour, and another to di/bonour; and we have no liberty to re; ly against God : it is infufferable arrogance for the thing formed to fly to him thatformedit, why haft thou made me thus ? Rom. ix. 2o, 21. Sir, as you yourfelf claim a fovereignty in the difpenfation of your favours, furely you won't dare to deny a like fovereignty ih the eternal God. Believe it, the glorious God is a føvereign benefaćłor; and he will be acknowledged as fuch, by all that ever partake of his faving mercy. And now I am prepared to shew you, that the confequence which you draw from this doćtrine, is unjuft; and even direċtly contrary to the improvement you ought to make of it. - And the reafon I offer for this, is, that a realizin belief of the truth before us direstly tends to bring : glory to God; and most fafety, comfort, and happinefs to yourfelf. It is easy to conceive how it conduceth

[ocr errors]

most to God’s glory, for us to confider him as the fountain and foundation of all grace and mercy; and to confider all the favours we enjoy or hope for, as flowing from the mere goodnefs of his natuře; and not from an motive or inđucement which we can poffibly lay before him. In this view of the cafe we do that honour to an infinite and eternal being, as to fuppofe him a felf existent, independent, and immutable fovereign : while, on the contrary, to imagine ourfelves capable by any thing we can do, to change his purpofes, engage his affećtions, or excite and move his compaffions towards us, is to conceive him to be altogether fuch an one as our/elves, liable to new impressions from our complaints or perfuasions, mutable in his affećtions, and dependant upon our duties for the exercife of his grace. And I leave it to you to judge, which of thefe apprehensions are most worthy of that God, who is infinitely exalted above us : and is without any variation or /badow of turning. I leave it likewife to you to judge, which principle is most likely to fubferve our bestinterefts, that which does moft honour, or that which does the most difhonour to God, If we apply this to the prefent cafe, I ask, In which way can we find most encouragement to feek or strive for mercy ? in which way have we the best prospećt of succefs ? by entertaining falfe and difhonourable conceptions of the divine being, and denying to God the glory which is due to his name ? or elfe bylying at the foot of a fovereign ; and thereby afcribing to him the infinite perfećtions of his excellent nature ? Though in this latter way, you can make no change in God, you will nevertheless have the evidence that he has made a change in you, and a comfortable prospećt, that by bringing you to a submission to his fovereignty, he has a defign of special favour to your foul. If we should yet further continue our view of this cafe, it will appear, that a fubmission, to the mere fovereign mercy of God is most conducive to your own comfort, fafety, and happinefs. This confideration is ajuí; foundation of comfort and hope, in that it obviates the darkness and difcouragements, that would otherwife arife from a fenfe of your guilt and unworthinefs, and from your impotence and unavoidable infirmity and im

perfestion in the fervice of God. What hope could you find from your duties; when after your best endeavours» you would fee fo much deadnefs, formality, and hypocrify, in your higheft attainments ? What hope from your reformations ; when you find fo much fin and corruption gaining ground against all your good purposes and refolutions ? What hope from your affećmions, when fo much hardnefs of heart, worldly-mindednefs, fenfuality, and carnal difpofitions are feparating between God and you ? Can you quiet your foul by impofing upon an omnifcient God, with your vain fhews and flattering. pretences ? No, Sir, if you have any true difcovery of your own heart, thefe confiderations must continually perplex and distress your foul, with distraćting fears and defpondencies, as long as you are thus compaffing youtfelf about with fparks of your own kindling. For thefe defećts and imperfećtions will certainly accompany your best refolutions, endeavours and attainments. But then, on the other hand, if you lie at mercy, and fubmit to God as the fovereign difpofer of his own favours, yout have good grounds of encouragement and hope. Are your fins great, and greatly aggravated ? The mercy of God exceeds them all. Have you no agreeable qualifi- . cations, to recommend you to the favour of God? Multitudes of others have found mercy, who had no better qualifications than you have. Have you no fpecial promife to depend upon, as belonging to you, while in an unconverted state ? Yet is it not fufficient, that you have gracious encouragement to leave all in the hands of that niercy, which infinitely exceeds your highest apprehenfions or imaginations ? Are you incapable to come up to the terms of grace, proposed in the gospel ? Therc is yet hope in God’s omnipotent mercy, that he will work in you both to will and to do, of his own good plea/ure. He has done it for thousands of finners no better, . than you. - - * * * Now: Sir, look around you ; and fee what refuge you. can possibly betake yourself to. You are in the hands · of justice ; and which way can you make your escape ? . If you, attempt to fly :, you perish ; but if you fly to hims there is hope. He is fovereign in the donation of his favours ; you have therefore as good a prof

[ocr errors]

pećt of obtaining falvation (in the ufe ofappointed means)
as any unregenerate perfon in the world. Your defećts
and demerits need not be any difcouragement : for his
mercy triumphs over the guilt and unworthiness of the
greatest finners. Is it therefore not your greatest fafety
to lie at his foot, in the way of his appointments, where
there is a blefied hope fet before you ? In this way you
have the infinite mercy of God, the gracious encou-
ragements of the gospel, the glorious fuccess of fo many
thousands who have tried this method, to animate your
diligence and hope. And there is no other way in
which you have any encouragement to expećł renewing
grace, and pardoning, faving mercy.
Since you wholly depend upon God’s free fovereign
mercy, you should ufe the more diligent and earnest
application, in all the ways of his appointment, that you
may obtain it. Since you must obtain mercy of God,
or perish; O with what diligence and importunity, with
what ardour of foul, should you address the throne of
grace, for deliverance from your guilt and danger ? Since
in a way of fovereignty, God is pleased to bestow his
fpecial grace, with an intereft in his Son and his great
falvation, at what time ond by what means it shali seem
best in his fight, you should therefore at alt times, andin
the ufe of all the means of grace, be feeking the Lord
while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near.
Can it be thought just reafoning, that becaufe you

[ocr errors]

help you, it's therefore in vain to apply to him for help?
That becaufe you have no claim to his.favour, but lye
at his mercy, you will not therefore feek mercy at his
hands? Does not this, at the first view, appear contrary
to all the methods of reafoning we should ufe in any
other cafe ? Can you promife yourfelfcomfort, from fuch
reafonings, and fuch conclufions as thefe, in your last
expiring moments, when your foul is entering upon its
eternal and unchangeable state ?
* But you objeći, “ If God infovereignty defigns mercy
* for us, we fhall obtain it, whether we feek, or no : and
* if not, it’s in vain to strive.” To this it's fufficient
anfwer, that God never does in fovereignty appoint fal-
tion for any, in the final wilful neglect of Gospel-

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »