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the Lawgiver? Will you venture all your hopes upon the delusive imagination that sin has no guilt, or, if it has, no ill consequences ? Or must God, instead of condemning sin, condemn himself, and give up the purity and holiness of his nature, by leaving it unpunished ? Let the disputer of this world consult his reason in the case, and try the strength of it where it may be of use to him. He has no objection to the love of God, though perhaps he would never have thought of it, if the Gospel had not told him that it is the first and great commandment. But then, what must he think of a Being who, in his own opinion, is regardless of truth and justice? or how can he make such a supposition the ground of his love of him? And, on the other hand, how can he love God under a sense of guilt unremoved, and just apprehension of his displeasure ? So far reason accompanies us; but then here it leaves us all at once terribly embarrassed, and incapable of giving ease to our own minds by any certain or probable conclusion concerning the hopefulness of our state. One ray of light from above, in this perplexity, is worth a world. Tell me how sin can be pardoned in such a way as to augment, instead of diminishing, our dread and hatred of it; tell me how guilt can be cancelled without defrauding infinite justice of its rights, or how the sinner can be restored to the friend ship of God without injury to any of his perfections, and hope will spring up in the soul; reason



be satisfied with a method of reconciliation which it could not contrive; and in proportion as it is understood and believed, religion, will have its end, and God be restored to the possession of our hearts.

It is no small advantage in favour of Christianity, that, all things considered, the nature of God, the demerit of sin, and the necessity of a pardon, we cannot help wishing it to be true. It must be owned, that a divine assurance in the case, to encourage our hope, promote our amendment, and be the ground of our love, is far better than weak surmises of a will in God to receive all to mercy, without regard to justice, or the extirpation of sin ; a supposition which is attended with infinite difficulties, and must for ever leave us in a state of uncertainty in a matter of the greatest moment to our peace.

And though the greatness of the person,

the God-Man, by whom our relief is conveyed, and reconciliation effected, is magnified by some into a formidable objection against the truth of the Gospel, we presume to say, it is the beauty and glory of it, and grand support of the whole; the clearest demonstration of the infinite evil of sin, of God's hatred of it, and will to punish it; the most awakening call to mankind to forsake it, the strongest proof of his love, and the surest foundation of trust in him. If a · sacrifice of atonement was wanted, where could we have found one in all nature of sufficient value to purge our sins, satisfy the divine justice, bear the whole

, weight of our guilt, and pay the full price of our redemption, but that of God's appointing? What other would not have been liable to more objections, and less capable of quieting all our fears? And if it should be said, that his appointment would have made any of sufficient value, this is more than we know, and need not be afraid to deny. What we suppose God has done, is the best proof of what ought to be done. But if we should allow it not to be absolutely necessary, still it must be granted, that nothing could have afforded us so strong a conviction of the misery of our condition in sin, and the glory of divine mercy, or have been so powerful a means of promoting our conversion to God in love, the essence of holiness, as the great dignity of the Mediator, and the stupendous method of our deliverance.

But what I would chiefly observe is, the precise nature of that faith which has such effects ascribed to it in the aforementioned text; which denominates the conscience good or clean in the sight of God, and at ease in itself, purifies the heart, and brings on a gracious habit of love. It is not only assent to the Bible, as a divine revelation; it is not, principally, the belief of a future state, as therein brought to light and inculcated, with a prevailing regard to things invisible. The first of these is necessary in order to faith; the latter is the consequence of it, an excellent


part of it, or faith in exercise ; but neither one, nor both of them together, will bring out St. Paul's conclusion, or be the ground of that love which is the end of the commandment. "I believe the Gospel revelation; I believe a future state, and that I must be a new man to attain to the happiness of it; therefore I love God and man.' This is not the argument; the premises do not necessarily, or but remotely, lead to the conclusion. No; but

No; but · God has made all his goodness pass before me, in the forgiveness of my sins, and receiving me to a covenant of life; Christ loved me, and gave himself for me; therefore I can, and do love. This is sense, this is nature; here is a powerful call to the soul; in this way of reasoning all is clear, and one thing follows and supports another. And therefore the precious faith of the Gospel, its peculiarity, and great distinction, as an efficacious principle of holiness in love, as far as human agency can be concerned, is, and must be, what our church defines it,—“ a lively sense of God's mercies in Christ;" (Church Catechism); a sure trust and confidence in God's merciful promises, to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ; whereof doth follow a loving heart to obey his commandments.” (Homilies, 3d part of the sermon of salvation.)

It is also worthy of observation, that as this golden chain of divine truth, wherein one link depends upon another, is necessary for all, so

it is alike suited to the understandings and capacities of all. As it is alike wanted by all, so it speaks with equal force and conviction to all, by speaking to the heart. It requires no depth of learning, or extraordinary subtlety, to comprehend it; but is a plain appeal to the common state of man, and what one may be as sensible of as another. The remission of sins by faith, and from thence peace in the conscience, sweetly engaging to inward' purity, and disposing for obedience in love -- this is such a method of

relief, as every man may know and experience within himself to be suitable to his case; the cure of a wound which he feels; and which all, having the same nature, must feel alike, and be led by this feeling, as they are in other cases, to seek a remedy. Propose any other method of cure, go to the schools of the learned, explain their systems, employ all their eloquence, use all their authority, and what have you done for the bulk of mankind ? But let a few illiterate persons, by divine commission, carry this Gospel into all lands — “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them”—and the heart of man, whether rich or poor, simple or learned, will echo to the sound, and every string of it be touched with the offer of such love. In the name of the God of love, and in pity to mankind, let it be fully declared to all! Let us rise up as one man against all sacrilegious attempts, whether of


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