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your sin ?
chased for you, what will you do then ? Will you keep
Will you continue to rebel against such goodness? Will not the love which has done such great things for you kindle one spark of love to the Author of it your own breasts ?
It cannot be: you would think it great baseness to be ungrateful to the person who had saved your life, and scorn any man who should charge you with it. And if Christ, who, by the will of God, became a curse for you, to deliver you from the curse of the law, and to save you from the everlasting destruction of soul and body, has no tie upon you, no love, no gratitude, no obedience from you, it is evident at once that you set no value upon what he has done, if you can be supposed to believe it at all, and, whatever you pretend, · have no experience of a work of grace. .
your som, your peace, your life; and if you are his, the curses of God can no more fall upon you than they can now upon him : but a bleeding, dying soul, and a proud, stubborn heart, are ill matched ; and if you will not come to him in humility, as lost and ruined in yourselves for pardon and deliverance, and with desire to have the strength of sin subdued in you, he will not be mocked; he knows what is in your hearts, and that you come to him with a lie in your mouths when you call him your Saviour. Therefore know your condition ; believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that ye may be saved; make proof of your faith and knowledge.
Know your condition. Know that you are fallen creatures, sinners against God, condemned and helpless, and that if you have not been stirred up to seek mercy from the Lord, sin with its curse lieth at your door. I do not pretend to say what measure of trouble for sin is necessary. It may be more or less, as God pleases; and he knows best how to suit himself to every one's
A little of it may be as effectual in some, to bring
them to the acknowledgment of the truth, and a change of their state, as a great deal of it in others; but such a sense of the danger and misery of sin, and of the greatness of their own, there must be in all, as is sufficient to bring them in repentance before God, and make deliverance from it welcome.
And when you are thus prepared for your remedy, fear not to take it. Take, it without delay, the very moment you know you want it, and do not stand poring upon your sins, to keep you from it. There is but one way of dealing with them, one cure for them, one method of giving ease to the conscience; and that is not any thing you can do. The word of your peace is, “ believe in Christ.” Believe that he only could take away the guilt and curse of your sin, and that he has done it; for one of these without the other will give no relief to your souls. It can signify nothing to you that Christ is the Saviour of sinners, or that all the world is saved by him, if you do not trust in the grace and merit of his death for yourselves, worship God, and do all your works in the faith and comfort of it.
There is a pretty figure, or speaking picture, of the deliverance he has wrought for us, in a passage of
, Leviticus, chap. xiv. When any man's plague of leprosy was healed, and he was to be cleansed by the priest, two live birds were to be brought; one of which was to be killed, and the living bird dipt in the blood of it, and then let fly, to signify the escape of a sinner from a worse plague than that of leprosy. And many other ceremonies the Jews had by divine appointment, to foreshow and be figures of atonement by the blood of Christ. But we have great reason to be thankful that we live at a time when Christ, the substance of them all, is come, and the Spirit given to testify of him, and work faith in us; for they were but dark preaching in comparison of the light of the New Testament. Receive it, and rejoice in it; and when you are convinced of sin, and looking out for help, never be so much your own enemy as to doubt of God's will to receive you to an interest in Christ, till you can show the place of Scripture where you are excluded by name. I say, do not thus wrong your own souls; but when you are so far truly awakened as to say, “what shall I do to be saved ?” take the answer of Scripture into your hearts, “ believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Acts, xvi. 31. Think greatly of the power of Christ, the riches of his grace, and will to save you ; think how urgent your case is, what a curse is lying upon you if Christ does not take it off, what mercy is offered you, how you are invited and commanded to accept of it, and that your not accepting it in faith and thankfulness to God, is one of the greatest sins you can be guilty of; and this, with the blessing of God upon your prayers,
will put an end to all your unbelieving fears. Sin is frightful when it rises up before the conscience in all its guilt and odiousness; and too many are apt to plead for months and years against their relief, as if their sin was too great to be forgiven; but that one saying is a full answer to all their doubts, “ if God be for us, who can be against us?”
? The Lord establish you in the Gospel of his grace, and enable every one of you to say joyfully for yourselyes, “ blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
Finally, make full proof of your faith and knowledge of Christ to yourselves and others.
Let the mercy, which saves, rule you.
You must not think for the world that you belong to Christ, if you do not sincerely
, purpose and endeavour, as God shall enable you, to live unto him. We could not remove the curse from ourselves by payment to justice ; that is Christ's work,
and not ours; and it is a vain thought in any man to suppose he can atone for his sins by any works of his
But if Christ has done it for us, and saved us from the wrath of God by his death, surely we have great obligations to him, and should be ready to do any thing at his bidding; especially, as he requires nothing of us but what is for our good, what he himself calls our full joy, and would make us all as happy as we can be in this world, if it was universally put in practice. Meekness and lowliness, patience and forgiveness of injuries, not in word only, but from the heart, sobriety and purity, diligence and faithfulness in our callings, quietness in our families, truth and uprightness in our dealings, love of God and man, these are the works of faith, and the pleasant fruits of the Spirit, and would make the earth a paradise.
Let us, then, attend to the voice which came from heaven, “ this is my beloved Son, hear him;" as we shall, if we love him, and truly believe that he is our Saviour from sin, death, and hell. If our faith is a true spiritual work, beginning in repentance, sorrow for sin, and a sense of our being undone by it, and then casting us upon Christ for help and deliverance, it will carry us on to obedience: it will make us devout worshippers of God in public and private, pure in heart, and holy in all manner of conversation. And without this we can have no other proof to give of our being in a state of salvation. Faith we must have, and make it our refuge against the curse of the law; but St. James will say to us, in agreement with all Scripture, “ show it by ihy works." We may value ourselves upon our baptism, Christian name, and the slight performance of some outward acts of religion; but without a life of godliness, honesty, sobriety, diligence, peaceableness, and brotherly kindness, we know not what it is to be Christians, we are no better than baptized heathens, and must not persuade ourselves that
we are in the way to heaven. The word of God which abideth for ever is, “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord ;” and we are renewed unto holiness when we unfeignedly receive all his commands, and keep close to him in prayer for strength to do his will. So believe and so do, and then faith hath its perfect work, and you may say boldly on the warrant of all Scripture, “ there is
no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. xv. 56, 57. .
Nothing can be more distressing to the soul than the apprehension of God's displeasure, and the fear of being given up to it without remedy, after death. And if God is just, and man is sinful, there is but too much ground for that fear; every one's conscience must be haunted with it more or less, and relief from it will be desirable and welcome, in proportion to the burden we feel, and the judgment we dread. It is therefore a delightful employment to those who are awakened to a sense of their condition in sin, and seeking after deliverance from it, to search the Scripture, in order to know as exactly as possible by what means, and in what way, they are restored to the favour of God, and the hope of eternal life. And when the eyes of their understanding are en
. lightened, to see the salvation therein revealed; the fulness and excellence of it, how great it is in itself, and how suitable to the wants of perishing sinpers, they receive it thankfully at the hands of God, endeavour to