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riches of his nature, and make all his goodness pass before him, by proposing to him a method of recovering all he had lost, by giving him an assurance of pardon, and being received to grace and favour, as if he had never sinned, through faith in a Redeemer. The seed of the woman was promised to bruise the serpent's head; to destroy and break in pieces the dominion which the devil, that crooked serpent, had gotten over the whole race of mankind, by the disobedience and rebellion of their first parents : he was to be our Immanuel, God again with us and in us, to carry us safely through all the stages of our return to God; to purge out our inbred corruptions; to set up the kingdom of heaven in our souls; to bring in everlasting righteousness, and make us meet to be

partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. And “ to as many as receive him" in faith, and love, and full conviction of their own weakness and wretched unworthiness, “ he gives power to become the sons of God;” entering as deeply into their nature as sin had done, and raising up again in them the life and nature of heaven, healing them in his blood, comforting them with his presence, and purifying them by his Spirit.

And as the Bible thus discovers to us the deep ground of our fall, and offers us redemption from it, and calls us to come out of it, so it informs us that if ever we are possessed of our primitive integrity, it must be the gift of God. To stand in the order and will of God; to be in subjection to the Father of our spirits; to receive all his commands with the undisputing simplicity of little children; to love him with all the heart; to delight in him, and long to enjoy him, and forsake all for him: this is as much above the power as it is contrary to the nature of man in his present condition. And whoever thinks he can master his corruptions in his own strength, and restore himself to a capacity of doing the will of God from the heart, I am confident either never tried, or else he takes a false measure of his state and nature, and brings down his duty to so small a matter, as any man may do, but God will never accept. No! When the awakened soul begins to ask itself, “ Can these dry bones live ?” it answers at once, “ Lord God, thou knowest.” It finds by its own experience, and repeated fruitless endeavours after holiness, that our regeneration is the work of an almighty power, and that we can no more restore the image of God to ourselves, now we have lost it, than we could have made ourselves in it at the first; and, therefore, it casts itself wholly upon God, condemned and helpless, praying incessantly 'for deliverance, and doing all it does in religion to prepare itself for the divine operations. And this, indeed, is a hopeful time, and a happy entrance upon the Gospel state, and “blessed are they who thus hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" with the very thing they hunger and thirst after ; with righteousness they shall go on from strength to strength, and from one degree of goodness to another, rejoicing in their progress, as the surest mark of their adoption and acceptance to a share of that perfect righteousness which is treasured up for believers in Christ, and imparted to all those who, by faith, become living members of his body.

But this humility – this self-contempt — this patient waiting for the kingdom of God -- this loving faithful obedient spirit — this devotion of the whole man to God

this aspiring after inward holiness by the power of the Holy Ghost -- does it meet with fair treatment and a favourable reception in the world ? Is it common for men to bid God speed to them who are looking out for a change of their state, and resolve to enter upon a Christian course? To assist them in their resolutions, and pray for grace to imitate them? This would be supposing

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human nature to be what it is not inclined to real goodness, and well pleased to see it prosper in the world. And, accordingly, here is a warning given us, which is more fully expressed in other parts of sacred Scripture ; that all such as should endeavour to become more amiable in themselves, and more acceptable to God, by approaching to his nature as near as they could, would be liable at all times to be hated and persecuted by men: not only by the inconsiderate, profligate part of the species, who are ready for any mischief, and from whom no better is to be expected, but by men pretending to religion and the fear of God, and challenging to themselves as high a place in his favour as any, and therefore disdaining to be thought defective, and showing their ill-will to those who would convince them of it, by contempt, calumny, and all manner of ill usage.

Let us, therefore, now see what religion is in the hands of these men. It is the religion of doing no harm. It is, moreover, the religion of doing acts of kindness, generosity, and charity, in proportion to our abilities, and attending regularly upon divine ordinances. And whoever keeps clear of scandalous open sinning, and at the same time maintains a fair character in the world, and preserves a decency in the worship of God, and more especially if he shows a zeal for it, passes in common esteem for a righteous man. And to offer to unsettle such a one,- to put him upon considering the temper of his heart, and examining the ground he stands on; to hint that possibly all may not be well within ; that nothing is more common than self-deceit; that the religion of the Bible is different from what it is taken for; and that more goes to the being a Christian than is generally imagined; I say, to call, such as these, who are not grossly faulty, and have, moreover, the appearance of many good qualities, to selfexamination, would be thought morose and uncharitable.



Perhaps there are not many who ever thought of or desired any other kind of righteousness;- and to talk of any other as necessary to salvation, is censured as running into needless extremes -- as being righteous over muchis branded with the hateful names of fanaticism and enthusiasm : but, nevertheless, it lies upon my conscience, and I should be false to my office among you, if I did not endeavour to bring you to the knowledge of the truth, and to warn you against a mistake, which, according to the letter of Scripture, I think to be dangerous ; and the more so as it has the general opinion of the world, natural corruption, and the pride of our hearts, on its side.

Now, in the first place, do not think I stand here to vilify civility of manners 'or a fair carriage in the world, and especially any kind or degree of usefulness. It is the business of all religion to inculcate, improve, and enforce all the virtues that are necessary to the wellbeing of society. And the more of religion always the more of these. And for any man who is wanting in them to pretend to religion, is an affront to common sense, and the height of impudence.

And it is, moreover, the peculiar glory and great excellence of the Christian religion, that it recommends “ whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, lovely, and of good report,” to the esteem and love of mankind, and contains the best method of bringing us to the practice of them. Buri, on the other hand, it is urged that religion goes farther than the regulation of the outward man; that there may be a fair show of outward decency, regularity, and sobriety; a peaceable innocent behaviour; a general Tegard to justice and the law of kindness in our dealings with others; and a strict observation of the outward offices of religion, without any true religion in the heart. Thus far we may go for the sake of ease, convenience, and reputation ; and thus far the heathens could go by the bare light of nature. I wish I could not say that many of them exceeded the generality of those who call themselves Christians, in their lives and conversation. And certain it is, that if the other world was out of the question, and there was no God to bring us to judgment for our actions, it would be ten thousand times better, on all accounts, to be true and just in our dealings, orderly, quiet, and inoffensive in our whole behaviour, than the contrary. But, dear brethren, this is not going to the root of the matter. This is not the religion of the Bible. As yet we are upon the false bottom of our natures. We pretend to build our hopes of salvation upon the Scripture; and yet this is flesh, and not spirit; and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

One would think that the sacred Scriptures had said enough to decide this point, to bring men to a knowledge of themselves, to convince them of the vanity and insufficiency of all merely human righteousness, and to prevail with them to look out for something better; for are we not there told, that when men are called upon to partake of the blessings of the Gospel, one may go to his farm, and another to his merchandise, and beg to be excused; that they may not be unjust, extortioners, and adulterers; that they may fast twice in the week, and be so very honest as to pay tithes of all they possess, and yet not be justified, i. e. in the favour of God; that they may justify themselves before men (which they cannot do without a fair show of something that looks like goodness), and yet be abominable in the sight of God? and certainly they are so, whatever they may think of themselves, or how highly soever they may be esteemed by others, if they settle with the weight of their souls and the strength of their affections upon the world ;---if they are ignorant of that body of death they carry about with

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