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is there any worth or merit on ours, to incline him to do it. We are at bed but his creatures, the work of his hands. The highest homage and worship we can give is unquestionably due to God, When therefore we have done all we can, we have done nothing but our duty, and are but unprositable servants. Where is boasting then? Where is merit? No flesh must glory in the presence of God, for he alone makes us to disfer. Now'if we have received it, shall we glory as if we had not received it? But, farther, if we take a view of human nature in its present fallen and corrupted state, is we consider how lame and imperfect our purest services are, fo far from imagining we merit any thing at the hand of God, must we not acknowledge that we st;ind in need of pardon, and humbly refolve to lay our hand upon our mouth, ascribing every good thing either in us, or done by us, to the fovereign and free grnce of God, who will have mer<ry on whom he will have mercy?
We stiall now conclude with a few reflections.
1. Is the agency of the Holy Spirit fo abfolutely necessary, in order to our conversion and progress in religion ? how deeply impressed should we be with the conviction of our own weakness and insufsiciency! Without the aids of divine grace, we can do nothing. Whatever profession we may make, whatever moral duties-we may practise, if we are destitute of the spirit, all is but folemn show, a mere empty form, which can neither be acceptable to God, nor prositable to ourselves. Let us not then rest any longer in a course of dead and liseless obedience; but, sensible of our own inability to do any thing pleasing to God, let us earnestly implore the gift of the Holy Spirit, as the Great Author of regeneration, and every degree of ncreasing holiness.
2. Does the Holy Spirit begin and carry on the good work within us? Let us cheersully resign ourselves
; to to his influence and direction. Let us be deeply persuaded, that his gracious operations on the mind, are not only real, but of the highest importance, and not give place to unbelieving thoughts, or prosane insinuations, as if they were the sancies of a warm distempered brain, or the delusions of Satan. But, under a steady conviction of his ability and readiness to help us; let us sirmly depend on his grace in the performance of every duty, and in opposition to every sin. Let us; be deeply -humbled and grieved, when at any time we have grieved the Spirit of God, and treated Him unworthily. And under his powersul influences, let us cleanse ourselves from all silthiness of the flesh and spirit, and persect holiness in the sear of God.
3. Is it owing to the sovereign and free grace of God, that he works in any to will and to do I Let such as are inwardly sanctisied by the Spirit, acknowledge their obligations to God, and ascribe to Him the praise. It is owing to Him, that you are not left to perish with the workers of iniquity; but singled out from the rest of mankind, as the objects of his distinguishing love. Adore divine grace, therefore, that has made you to disser, and snatched you as brands pluckt out of the burning; and let the overslowings of a thanksul heart break forth in the language of David, " I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with "all my heart, and I will glorify thy name for ever"more; for great is thy mercy towards me; thou "hast redeemed my foul from the lowest hell."
THI NATURE AND OBLIGATIONS OF RELIGIOUS CONCERN.
Lords What wilt thou have me to do?
THESE are the words of Saul, that famous convert to the Christian faith. He had formerly been engaged in persecuting the followers of Jesus, with the most unrelenting sury; and fo zealous was he in the prosecution of this undertaking, that he seems not only to have laid aside that gentleness of manners, which might have been expected from one of his education, but even that pity for perfons in distress, which is fo natural to the heart of man. Thus, in various places of the Acts, and particularly in the preceding context, we sind him threatening vengeance and flaughter against the disciples of the Lord, without the least regard to innocence of lise, •or tenderness of age: And now he had obtained a commission from the chief priest, to go as far as Damascus, in quest of the Christians, and to bring such •f them as he found there, bound to Jerufalem.
But, let us adore the riches, and the fovereignty of Divine grace. In his way thither, Jesus, the injured Redeemer, appears, and diffuses round him a brightness exceeding that of the sun; on perceiving which, Saul fell prostrate to the ground, and heard a voice from heaven calling to him, " Saul, Saul, Whyper"secutest thou me?" The surious persecutor is now, indeed, melted and subdued; he who, but a little before, waged an impious war against the followers of Jesus, is now laid at the foot of the cross, and might justly have been singled out as a monument of vengeance. But God, who has compassion on the ignorant, designed him as a vessel of mercy, as a glorious instrument in preaching that faith, which he once endeavoured to destroy. This day of his astonifliment, was in the noblest sense the day of his birth;for now, in the midst of his cruelty, he is awakened and convinced; aud, prostrating himself before that Jesus whom he persecuted, submissively exclaims in the words of the text,—" Lord, What wilt thou havft "me to do i"
"And he, trembling and astonished, faid, Lord, "Lord, What wilt thou have me to do?" Words which express, in the most lively manner, that concern and uneasiness which Saul had now upon his mind, —a concern, not for the obtaining of wealth and honour, or any of those trifling pleasures, which the men of the world pursue with such assiduity and ardour, but for his precious and immortal foul; an earnest care and folicitude, how to be delivered from that guilt, and to escape that danger which he had incurred.
From the temper and present circumstances of the awakened apostle, we" shalt take occasion, through Divine assistance, First, To explain that concern for the falvation of the foul, which is here exemplisied in the conduct: of Saul: Secondly, Show yoir the fources from which it springs: Thirdly, We shall 2 D 3 sudcavoux endeavour to awaken you to fome such serious concern, by a few arguments addressed to your consideration: And, Fourthly, Conclude with a sew directions to such as are in fome measure awakened, and made to cry out with the apostle in the text, " Lord, what "wilt thou have me to do r"—We propose, C
I. To explain that concern for the falvation of the foul, which is here exemplisied in the conduct of Saul.
i. It implies in it, a deep and affecting sense of guilt. By the falvation of the foul, we mean, deliverance from the wrath to come, from eternal death and destruction. Now,- wherever a real concern for this prevails, there must necessarily be an inward fense or conviction of our being liable to it; for it is absolutely impossible, that we can ever desire to be delivered from any evil or danger, till we think ourselves exposed to it. But the wrath to come, everlasting misery and destruction, is an evil to which all of us have become subject. 'Whatever our condition may be in other respects, however great and distinguished among men, yet we are guilty and rebellious; we have broken the laws of our Creator, and rendered ourselves obnoxious to eternal death. Now, the sinner who is really awakened, not only assents to this as a matter unquestionably true, but his heart is deeply affected with it. He not only believes himself guilty and polluted, odious to persect purity, and liable every moment to avenging justice; but he has an humbling and inward conviction of it, which sills him with the deepest forrow and remorse. Of this, •we have a very striking instance in the penitent Psal-mist. "Thine arrows," fays he, " stick fast irr-me, "and thy hand presseth me fore. There is no found"ness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither "is there any rest in my bones because of my sin: "for mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a ** heavy burthen, they are too heavy for me." In