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dependence on God for all, and in each of those ways, of having all of him, through him, and in him, it is repugnant to the design and tenor of the gospel, and robs it of that which God accounts its lustre and glory. 3. Hence we may learn a reason why faith is that by which we come to have an interest in this redemption; for there is included in the nature of faith, a sensibleness and acknowledgment of this absolute dependence on God in this affair. It is very fit that it should be required of all, in order to their having the benefit of this redemption, that they should be sensible of, and acknowledge their dependence on God for it. It is by this means that God hath contrived to glorify himself in redemption ; and it is fit that God should at least have this glory of those that are the subjects of this redemption, and have the benefit of it. Faith is a sensibleness of what is real in the work of redemption ; and as we do really wholly depend on God, so the soul that believes doth entirely depend on God for all salvation, in its own sense and act. Faith abases men, and exalts God, it gives all the glory of redemption to God alone. It is necessary in order to saving faith, that man should be emptied of himself, that he should be sensible that he is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Humility is a great ingredient of true faith : He that truly receives redemption, receives it as a little child. Mark x. 15. “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” It is the delight of a believing soul to abase itself and exalt God alone : That is the language of it. Psalm czv. 1. Not unto us, “O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give glory.” 4. Let us be exhorted to exalt God alone, and ascribe to him all the glory of redemption, Let us endeavor to obtain, and increase in a sensibleness of our great dependence on God, to have our eye to him alone, to mortify a selfdependent, and selfrighteous disposition. Man is naturally exceeding prone to be exalting himself and depending on his own power or goodness, as though he were he from whom he must
expect happiness, and to have respect to enjoyments alien from God and his Spirit, as those in which happiness is to be found. And this doctrine should teach us to exalt God alone, as by trust and reliance, so by praise. Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord. Hath any man hope that he is converted, and sanctified, and that his mind is endowed with true excellency and spiritual beauty, and his sins forgiven, and he received into God's favor, and exalted to the honor and blessedness of being his child, and an heir of eternal life; let him give God all the glory; who alone makes him to differ from the worst of men in this world, or the miserablestof the damned in hell. Hath any man much comfort and strong hope of eternal life, let not his hope lift him up, but dispose him the more to abase himself, and reflect on his own exceeding unwerthiness of such a favor, and to exalt God alone. Is any man eminent in holiness, and abundant in good works, let him take nothing of the glory of it to himself, but ascribe it to him whose “workmanship we are, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
DEUTERONOMY xxxii. 35.
-------- Trrel R FOOT SHALL SLIDE IN DUE TIME........
I N this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, that were God's visible people, and lived under means of grace ; and that notwithstanding all God's wonderful works that he had wrought towards that people, yet remained, as is expressed verse 28, void of counsel, having no understanding in them ; and that, under all the cultivations of heaven, brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. The expression that I have chosen for my text, Their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things relating to the punishment and destruction that these wicked Israelites were exposed to. 1. That they were always exposed to destruction ; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction's coming upon them, being represented by their foot's sliding.
* Preached at Enfield, July 8, 1741, at a time of great awakenings ; and attended with remarkable impressions on many of the hearers.
The same is expressed, Psalm lxxiii. 18 “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places ; thou castedst them down inte destruction.” 2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning : Which is also expressed in that Psalm lxxiii. 18, 19. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment : 3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down. 4. That the reason why they are not fallen already, and do not fall now, is only that God’s appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction ; as he that stands in such slippery declining ground on the edge of a pit that he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost. The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this, “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one Imoment. The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.
488 SINNERS IN THE HANDS
1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men's hands cannot be strong when God rises up: The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, that has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God's enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces: They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or lage quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that anything hangsby; thus easy is it for Cod, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down 2 2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God's using his power at any moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, “Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?” Luke xiii. 7. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God's mere will, that holds it back. 3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation te hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John iii. 18.