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views of the gospel, and receive it with cordial affection? Reason and experience answer in the negative. What says the gospel to sinners? You are saved by grace, through mere favour and mercy, not by the covenant of works, lest any man should boast like the pharisee. Eph. ii. 8. Now, ye decent formalists, ye fond admirers of your own virtue, are you not utterly disqualified to seek and accept a pardon in a gospel way? For your seeking it upon the footing of mere mercy, implies an acknowledgment, that you deserve the ruin threatened against sinners. And suppose a pardon were granted you, before you sciousness of your sad deserts, you could not receive it as an act of mere grace, but only as a reward justly bestowed upon you for the merit of your works. is plain then, that according to the gospel plan, none can be fit subjects of salvation, but those who are truly sensible of their condemnation.
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16. But as the grace of God in Christ, is the original and properly meritorious cause of our salvation: So the grand instrumental cause of it is faith on our part. Through faith are ye saved, says St. Paul. Now if to have faith in Christ, is habitually to lift up our hearts to him, with an humble and yet cheerful confidence, seeking in him all our wisdom, righteousness, and strength, as being our instructing prophet, atoning priest, and protecting king; it is evident that till we awake to a sight of our fallen state, we cannot believe, nor consequently be saved. O ye that never were sensible of your spiritual blindness, can you with sincerity take Jesus for your guide, and desire his Spirit to lead you into all truth? Does not David's prayer, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may see the wonderful things of thy law;" appear to you needless, if not fanatical? And is not the Redeemer's prophetic office thrown away upon such sons of wisdom as you are?
Have you a greater value for Jesus than they. O ve just men, who have no sensible need of heart-felt repentance, and whose breasts were never dilated by
one sigh, under a due sense of your guilt and condemnation? Can you, without hypocrisy, apply to him as the High Priest of the guilty, claim him as the advocate of the condemned, or fly to him as the Sa viour of the lost? Impossible! Ye fondly hope ye never were lost, ye were always "good livers, good believers, good churchmen;" ye "need not make so much ado" about an interest in the blood of the new covenant.
And ye, who flushed with the conceit of your native strength, wonder at the weakeness of those, that continually bow to the sceptre of Jesus's grace for protection and power; can you without a smile of pity hear him say "Without me ye can do nothing." it possible that you should sincerely implore the exertion of his royal power, for victory over sins, which you suppose yourselves able to conquer: and for the restoration of a nature, with the goodness of which you are already so well satisfied? Your reason loudly answers, No: Therefore, till you see yourselves corrupt, impotent creatures, you will openly neglect the Redeemer, give to your aggravated sins the name of" human frailties," and trust to your bafiled, and yet boasted endeavours. Self-deception! Art thou not of all impostors the most common and dangerous, because the least suspected?
To sum up and close these important remarks : Look at those who, in mystic Babylon, are not truly sensible of their total fall from God, and you will see them setting their own reason above the holy scriptures; and their works in competition with the infinitely meritorious sacrifice of Christ. Inquire into their principles, and you will discover that they either openly explode as enthusiastical, or slightly receive as unnecessary, the doctrines of salvation by faith in Christ, and regeneration by the Spirit of God. Examine their conduct, and you will find they all commit sin, and receive the mark of the beast secretly in
their right hand, or openly in their foreheads. Rev. xiii. 16. Sort them and you will have two bands, the one of sceptics and the other of formalists, who, though at as great enmity between themselves, as Pilate and Herod, are like them made friends together by jointly deriding and condemning Jesus in his living members,
And if with the candle of the Lord you search the Jerusalem of professing christians, you will perceive that the want of an heart-felt humbling knowledge of their natural depravity, gives birth to the double-mindedness of hypocrites, and the miscarriages or apostacy of those, who once distinguished themselves in the evangelical race: You will easily trace back to the same corrupt source, the seemingly opposite errors of the loose antinomian, and the pharisaic legalist, those spiritual thieves, by whom the sincere christian is perpetually reviled and in short, you will be convinced, that if you set your eyes upon a man, who is not yet deeply conscious of his corrupt and lost estate, or whose consciousness of it has worn away, you behold either a trifler in religion, a dead-hearted pharisee, a sly hypocrite, a loose antinomian, a self-conceited formalist, a scoffing infidel, or a wretched apostate.
You see, reader, what a train of fatal consequences result from rejecting, or not properly receiving, the doctrine demonstrated in these sheets; and now that you may cordially embrace it, permit me to enumerate the
Springing from an affecting knowledge of our fallen and lost estate.
No sooner is the disease rightly known, than the neglected Jesus, who is both our gracious physician and powerful remedy, is properly valued, and ardently sought; All that thus seek, find; and all that find him, find saving health, eternal life, and heaven.
Bear your testimony with me, ye children of Abraham and of God, who see the brightness of a gospel day and rejoice. Say, What made you first wishfully look to the hills, whence your salvation is come, and fervently desire to behold the sin-dispelling beams of the Sun of Righteousness? Was it not the deep, dismal night of our fallen nature, which you happily discovered, when awaking from the sleep of sin, you first saw the delusive dreams of life, as they appear to the dying? What was the desire of nations to you till you felt yourselves lost sinners? Alas! Nothing: Perhaps less than nothing; an object of disgust or scorn. When the pearl of great price was presented to you, did you regard it more, than the vilest of brutes, an oriental pearl? And, as if it had not been enough to look at it with disdain, were not some of you ready to turn again and rend, after the example of snarling animals, those who affectionately made you the invaluable offer? Matt. vii. 6.
But when the storm that shook mount Sinai, overtook your careless souls, and ye saw yourselves sinking into an abyss of misery; did ye not cry out, and say as the alarmed disciples, with an unknown energy of desire, Save Lord or we perish? And when conscious of your lost estate, ye began to believe, that he came to seek and to save that which was lost; how dear, how precious was he to you in all his offices? How glad were you to take guilty, weeping Magdalen's place, and wait for a pardon at your High Priest's feet? How importunate in saying to your king, as the helpless widow; Lord, avenge me of mine adversary, my evil heart of unbelief! How earnest, how unwearied in your applications to your prophet, for heavenly light and wisdom! The incessant prayer of blind Bartimeus was then yours, and so was the gracious answer which the Lord returned to him: You received your spiritual sight. And Oh! what saw you then? The sacred book unsealed! Your sins blotted out as a cloud! The glory of God shining in the face of Jesus
Christ; and "the kingdom of heaven opened to all believers!",
Then, and not till then, you could say from the heart, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief, 1 Tim. i. 15. Then you could cry out with his first disciples: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! 1 John iii. 1. We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, whom having not seen we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls. Gal. iii. 26. 1 Pet. i. 8. We trusted in him and are helped: Therefore our heart danceth for joy, and in our song will we praise him. Psal. xxviii. 8. To him that hath loved us, and washed us, from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Rev. i. 5.
And this will also be your triumphant song, attentive reader, if deeply conscious of your lost estate, you spread your guilt and misery before him, who came to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and to comfort all that mourn, by giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Isa. Ixi. 1. Your sorrow it is true may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning, the joy of God's salvation, and the pardon of your sins. Having much forgiven you, you will then love much and admire in proportion the riches of divine wisdom, goodness, justice, and power, that so graciously contrived, and so wonderfully executed the plan of your redemption. You will be ravished in experiencing, that a condemned sinner can, not only escape impending ruin, but enter into present possession of a spiritual paradise, where peace