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from Christ? O, that heart-piercing thought! Ask those holy souls, who are at any time bewailing an absent God, who walk in darkness, and see no light, though but a few days or hours; ask them, what it is to lose a sight and presence of Christ? See how they seek him sorrowing, and go mourning after him all the day long! And if it is so dreadful to lose the sensible presence of Christ, only for a day, what must it be to be banished from him to all eternity? But thus it must be, if Christ be not your righteousness. For God's justice must be satisfied; and unless Christ's righteousness is imputed and applied to you here, you must be satisfying the divine justice in hell torments eternally, hereafter. Nay, as I said before, Christ himself, the God of love, shall condemn you to that place of torment. And O, how cutting is that thought! Methinks I see poor, trembling, Christless wretches, standing before the bar of God, crying out “ Lord, if we must be damned, let some angel, or some archangel, pronounce the damnatory sentence." But all in vain. Christ himself shall pronounce the irrevocable sentence. Knowing, therefore, the terrors of the Lord, let me persuade you to close with Christ, and never rest, till you can say, the Lord our righteousness. Who knows but the Lord may have mercy on, nay, abundantly pardon you? Beg of God to give you faith; and if the Lord give you that, you will by it receive Christ, with his righteousness, and his all. You need not fear the greatness or number of your sins. For are you sinners ? So am I. Are you the chief of sinners ? So am I. Are you backsliding sinners ? So am I. And yet the Lord, (for ever adored be his rich, free, and sovereign grace) the Lord is my righteousness. Come, then, O young men, who (as I acted once myself) are playing the prodigal, and wandering away afar off from your heavenly Father's house, come home, come home, and leave your swine's trough --feed no longer on the husks of sensual delights. For Christ's sake, arise and come home! Your heavenly Father now calls you. See, yonder the best robe, even the righteousness of his dear Son awaits you. See it, view it again and again. Consider at how dear a rate it was purchased, even by the blood of God. Consider what great need you have of it. You are lost, undone, damned for ever, without it. Come then, poor, guilty prodigals, come home. Indeed, I will not, like the elder brother, be angry. No, I will rejoice with the angels in heaven. And oh, that God would now bow the heavens, and come down! “Descend, O Son of God, descend; and as thou hast shown in me such mercy, 0 let the blessed Spirit apply thy righteousness to some prodigals now before thee, and clothe their naked souls with thy best robe."
But I must speak a word to you, young maidens, as well as young men. I see many of you adorned, as to your bodies ; but are not your souls naked! Which of you can say, the Lord is my righteousness; which of you was ever solicitous to be dressed in this robe of invaluable price, and without which, you are no better than whited sepulchres in the sight of God? Let not then so many of you, young maidens, any longer forget your only ornament: Oh, seek for the Lord to be your righteousness or otherwise burning will soon be upon you instead of beauty!
And what shall I say to you of a middle age, you busy merchants, you cumbered Marthas, who with all your gettings, have not yet gotten the Lord to be your righteousness? Alas! what profit will there be of all your labor under the sun, if you do not secure this pearl of invaluable price? This one thing, so absolutely needful, that it can only stand you instead, when all other things shall be taken from you. Labor therefore no longer so anxiously for the meat which perisheth, but henceforward seek for the Lord to be your righteousness. A righteousness that will entitle you to life everlasting. I see also many hoary heads here, and perhaps the most of them cannot say, the Lord is my righteousness. O gray headed sinners, I could weep over you! Your gray hairs which ought to be your crown, and in which perhaps you glory, are now your shame. You know not that the Lord is your righteousness. Oh, haste then, haste, ye aged sinners, and seek an interest in redeeming love! Alas, you have one foot already in the grave. Your glass is just run out. Your sun is just going down, and it will set and leave you in an eternal darkness, unless the Lord be your righteousness! Flee then, oh, flee for your lives! Be not afraid. All things are possible with God. If you come, though it be at the eleventh hour, Christ Jesus will in nowise cast you out. Oh, seek then for the lord to be your righteousness, and beseech him to let you know how it is that a man may be born again when he is old! But I must not forget the lambs of the flock. To feed them was one of my Lord's last commands ; I know he will be angry with me, if I do not tell them, that the Lord may be their righteousness; and that of such is the kingdom of heaven. Come then, ye little children, come to Christ; the Lord Christ shall be your righteousness. Do not think that you are too young to be converted. Perhaps many of you may be nine or ten years old, and yet cannot say the Lord is our righteousness; which many have said, though younger than you. Come then, while you are young. Perhaps you may not live to be old. Do not stay for other people. If your fathers and mothers will not come to
Christ, do you come without them. Let children lead them, and show them how the Lord may be their righteousness. Our Lord Jesus loved little children. You are his Lambs. He bids me feed you. I pray God make you willing betimes to take the Lord for your righteousness.
Here then I could conclude, but I must not forget the poor negroes. No, I must not. Jesus Christ has died for them as well as others. Nor do I mention you last, because I despise your souls, but because I would wish what I have to say, to make the deeper impression upon your hearts. Oh that you would seek the Lord to be your righteousness! Who knows but he may be found of you. For in Jesus Christ there is neither male nor female, bond or free; even you may be the children of God, if you believe in Jesus. Did
you never read of the Eunuch belonging to the queen of Candace ?-a negro like yourselves. He believed - The Lord was his righteousness, he was baptized. Do you also believe, and you shall be saved. Christ Jesus is the same now, as he was yesterday, and will wash you in his own blood. Go home then, turn the words of the text into a prayer, and entreat the Lord to be your righteousness. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come quickly, into all our souls! Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen and Amen.
THE SEED OF THE WOMAN, AND THE SEED OF THE SERPENT.
GENESIS iii. 15.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
When I read to you these words, I may address you in the language of the holy angels, to the shepherds that were watching their flocks by night ; Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy. For this is the first promise that was made of a Savior to the apostate race of Adam. We generally look for Christ only in the New Testament; but Christianity, in one sense, is very nearly as old as the creation. It is wonderful to observe, how gradually God revealed his Son to mankind. He began with the promise in the text, and this the elect lived upon till the time of Abraham; to him God made further discoveries
of his eternal council concerning man's redemption. Afterwards, at sundry times, and in divers manners, God spake to the fathers by the prophets, till at length the Lord Jesus himself was manifested in the flesh, and came and Tabernacled amongst us.
This first promise must certainly be but dark to our first parents, in comparison of that light which we now enjoy. And yet, dark as it was, we may assure ourselves they built upon it their hopes of everlasting salvation, and by that faith were saved.
How they came to stand in need of this promise, and what is the extent and meaning of it, I intend, God willing, to make the subject matter of your present meditation.
The fall of man is written in too legible characters not to be understood : those that deny it, by their denying proove it. The very heathens confessed and bewailed it. They could see the streams of corruption running through the whole race of mankind, but could not trace them to the fountain head. Before God gave a revelation of his Son, man was a riddle to himself. And Moses unfolds more in this one chapter (out of which the text is taken) than all mankind could have been capable of finding out of themselves, though they had studied to all eternity.
In the foregoing chapter, he had given us a full account, how God spoke the world into being; and especially how he formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into him the breath of life, so that he became a living soul. A council of the Trinity was called concerning the formation of this lovely creature. The result of that council was, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his onon image, in the image of God created he him. Moses remarkably repeats the words, that we might take particular notice of our divine original. Never was so much expressed in so few words. None but a man inspired could have done
But it is remarkable, that though Moses mentions our being made in the image of God, yet he mentions it but twice, and that, as it were, in a transient manner, as though he would have said, “ Man was made in honor, God made him upright, in the image of God male and female created he them. But man so soon fell, and became like the beasts that perish, nay, like the devil himself, that it is scarce worth mentioning."
How soon man féll after he was created, is not told us, and therefore to fix any time, is to be wise above what is written. And, I think, they who suppose that man fell the same day in which he was made, have no sufficient ground for their opinion. The many things which are crowded together in the former chapter, such as the formation of Adam's
wife, his giving names to the beasts, and his being put into the garden which God had planted, I think require a longer space of time than a day to be transacted in. However, all agree in this, " Man stood not long." How long or how short a while, I will not take upon me to determine. It more concerns us to inquire how he came to fall from his steadfastness, and what was the rise and progress of the temptation which prevailed over him. The account given us in this chapter concerning it, is very full, and it may do us much service, under God, to make some remarks upon it.
Now the serpent, says the sacred historian, was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, and he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, he shall not eat of every tree of the garden!
Though this was a real serpent, yet he that spoke was no other than the devil ; from hence, perhaps, called the old serpent, because he took possession of the serpent when he came to beguile our first parents. The devil envied the happiness of man, who was made, as some think, to supply the place of fallen angels. God made man upright, and with full power to stand if he would. He was just, therefore, in suffering him to be tempted : if he fell he had no one to blame except himself. But how must Satan effect his fall? He cannot do it by his power, he attempts it therefore by policy. He takes possession of a serpent, which was more subtle than all the beasts of the field, which the Lord God had made ; so that men that are full of subtlety, but have no piety, are only machines for the devil to work upon, just as he pleases.
And he said unto the woman. Here is an instance of his subtlety. He says unto the woman, the weaker vessel, and when she was alone from her husband, and therefore was more liable to be overcome, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? These words are certainly spoken in answer to something which the devil either saw or heard. In all probability, the woman was now near the tree of knowledge of good and evil ; (for we shall find her, by and by, plucking an apple from it,) perhaps she might be looking at, and wondering what there was in that tree more than the others, that she and her husband should be forbidden to taste of it. Satan seeing this, and coveting to draw her into a parley with him, (for if the devil can persuade us not to resist, but to commune with him, he has gained a great point,) he says, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? The first thing he does, is to persuade her if possible, to entertain hard thoughts of God; this is his general way of dealing with God's children. “Yea," says he, “ hath God said, ye shall