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shall stand sure, though rocks moulder into dust, and the mountains are removed out of their place; yea, when the sun shall fade away in its orb, and all the golden lamps of these lower heavens are extinguished, the sun of glory shall shine forth with undiminished radiancy: And if the work of rescue and deliverance cease, it will be only because danger, and misery shall no longer be known, and the very last of his enemies is completely subdued. Yet still his victorious energy shall continue the same, and it shall be as true of his power, as of his fidelity grace, that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever*.
I have thus endeavoured to shew you, what we are to understand by this phrase of Christ's being able to save to the uttermost. It implies the danger and misery of those to whom he is proposed as a Saviour;-and evidently expresses a power of working out a complete deliverance, and the continuance of that power throughout all generations.
I shall conclude this head, and the present discourse, with two very obvious reflections on what I have already deliveredHow great is that salvation which the Lord Jesus Christ hath wrought out for us!-and how much are we all concerned very seriously to enquire after it!
1. How great is that salvation, which the Lord Jesus Christ hath wrought out.
We have been taking a survey of many important branches of it; and is it not most evidently worthy of the title that the apostle gives it, when he stiles it, So great salvation+? So great indeed it is, that if we compare with it the most illustrious salvations which God wrought out for Israel of old, far from being eclipsed, it will rather be brightened by the comparison; and it will appear how justly he might say, I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviourt; none, that compared with me, deserves that important name.-It was a great salvation, which God wrought out for Israe by Moses, when he broke the power of Egypt by repeated blows; when he led the chosen tribes through the red sea, and through the desart, guided by the pillar of cloud and fire, and supplied by heavenly bread, and water streaming from the flinty rock. But the salvation of Christ is ten thousand times more important. A pious Israelite under the rod of an Egyptian oppressor might have risen in holy contemplation and devotion, from the brick-kiln or the
*Heb. xiii. 8.
+ Heb. ii. 3.
Isai. xliii, 11.
dungeon, to the presence of God as his Father, to a liberty of soul before him, which would have rendered his servitude happier than Pharaoh's royalty: Or should the sword of the tyrant have taken away his life, he would have found the stroke a blessed release, to a state of complete and eternal glory. But our souls, in this state of apostacy, were inslaved to satan, and to sin, we were incapable of spiritual pleasure, we were lost to all future hope; till Jesus appeared, and seasonably came to break the iron yoke of our fatal bondage; to conduct us by his spirit through all the perplexities and danger of the wilderness; and, in our way to the heavenly Canaan, to feed us with the true bread from heaven, and to give us that water of life, of which if a man drink, he shall Thirst no more*. Have we not infinite reason to say, this deliverer is Worthy of more glory than Moses+? It was a great salvation, that was wrought by Aaron, when the plague was broke out against Israel; when it was running through their ranks, and laying them, in a moment, in the dust of death; and that anointed priest of the Lord, by divine instigation, took a censer in his hand, and placing himself between the dead and the living, put a stop to the spreading destruction, and made an acceptable atonement for the sins of the people. But how much more prevalent is the atonement of Jesus, our great high-priest, who arose, and stood in the breach to turn away the wrath of God from us; the incense of whose intercession, not only like Aaron's, procures the reprieve of a mortal life, but the favour of God and eternal happiness? But neither Aaron nor Moses, completed the purposes of the divine favour to Israel his people; and it was in some respect a greater salvation than either of these, that Joshua effected, when he led them through Jordan, to the land of promise; when he vanquished the Kings of Canaan, and their armies; when he stopped the sun in its career, to give them light to pursue their conquest; till at last he divided the whole country to them, for an inheritance, even the Land flowing with milk and honey. But this was only a type of the true Joshua, who having himself conquered our enemies alone, and Trodden them down like grapes in the wine-press§, causes us to share in the fruit of his victory, by assigning us a settlement in A better country, that is, an heavenly.-Were I to speak of the succeeding salvations under their judges, and their kings, I should, by mentioning a succession of deliverances, intimate the comparative imperfection of each. In the land of their inheritance Israel sinned
John iv. 14. † Heb. îîi. 3. ‡ Numb. xvi. 47, 48, § Is. lxiii. 3, || Heb. xi. 164
against the Lord; and they were chastened there, and oppressed by one enemy after another; till, at length, the whole nation of them was dispossessed of it, and fell by the sword, or were carried into captivity. But it is the glory of Jesus, our great deliverer, to perfect his work; conducting his people to a world of everlasting security, from which they can never be expelled, and in which they shall never be molested.-Let then the rod of Moses, and the censer of Aaron, and the sword of Joshua, and the sceptre of David, bow to the superior glories of the cross of Christ, and be laid down in humble reverence at the footstool of his throne. And let our souls adore Jesus the almighty Saviour, and be daily more solicitous to secure an interest in that salvation, which he has introduced. Which leads me to add,
2. How important is it, that we all seriously enquire after this mighty Saviour!
You have all frequently heard of him. Let conscience say, whether you have diligently enquired into the credentials he brings, into the offer he makes, into your own concern in such proposals as these? I fear, many of you are conscious to yourselves, that you have neglected this great salvation. Unhappy creatures, how will you escape, if you persist in such a neglect!
Yet still, my friends, after all that is past, there will, if God continue our lives a few sabbaths longer, be another opportunity of reviewing these things at large. I am more fully to lay before you the proof that Christ Is able to save to the uttermost. the efficacy of his intercession for this blessed purpose, and the character of those who may expect this salvation from him. Let me bespeak the serious attention of all, and particularly of the younger part of my auditors. Let passion, and business, and every worldly vanity be silent; and let every one That hath an ear, hear what the Spirit is still saying to the churches*, what it is the very life of sinners to know, the duty of every faithful minister often to repeat, and the wisdom of the most established saints often to recollect.
* Rev. iii. 22.
POWER AND GRACE OF CHRIST.
Proofs of his Ability to Save.
Heb. vii. 25.-Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them.
HOUGH the nature of man be sadly degenerated, and we are Alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in us*; yet there are some remainders of human and social affection, which seem so wrought into the constitution of our soul, as to be as inseparable from us as our being. From hence the mind feels itself delighted with the survey of benevolent actions, no less necessarily, than the eye with the prospect, or the ear with the most harmonious music. Nor can it be merely a regard to our own interest, which adds a relish to such ac counts; for we delight to hear them, though the scene be laid in the most distant age or country. Nay, fictions of this kind have a secret charm, which it is not easy to resist, and the pleasure is real, where we know the occasion of it to be only imaginary.
But sure it may be said with the utmost propriety, that as Eye hath not seen, nor ear, by credible report, heard, so neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceivet any other display of benevolence and goodness, even comparable to that which the gospel presents. All the celebrated exploits of real, or fictitious heroes, are not worth the mention, when compared with those of the great Captain of our Salvation. Were we to contemplate it merely in idea, and to set aside all the evidences of it, and all the remembrance of our own concern in it; yet even then how delightful would the contemplation be! Behold the Son of God, a person to whom the mightiest potentate on earth, the most exalted angel in heaven is but as a worm, divesting himself of celestial glory, putting on him the form of a wretched mortal, and submitting to death in the most horrible shape! For what? to free some single nation from civil bondage? To + 1 Cor. ii, 9.
* Eph. iv. 18.
humble some proud tyrant of the earth? to restore an oppressed people to liberty and peace? or to form uncultivated savages to discipline, arts, and social life? These are great things for a man to do; these may render the name of a prince immortal; but the Lord of glory descends for nobler purposes; to conquer and destroy the tyrant of hell, to rescue from his cruel servitude an innumerable Multitude of all nations, and people, and kindreds, and tongues*; to form their groveling and degenerate minds to the most useful knowledge, to the noblest sentiments, and the most exalted pleasures; to bring them to the glorious liberty, and inestimable privileges of the children of God; and, finally, to fix them for ever in a state of honour and happiness, from whence they might look down with superior contempt on whatever earth can afford, most grateful to our senses, most amusing to our imaginations, most transporting to our passions.
I have already told you, that all this, and much more than this, is comprehended in the phrase of Christ's being able to save to the uttermost. But is all this only a pleasing dream, an agreeable amusement of thought? Is it only what our fancy may paint, and our hearts might wish? Is it a conjecture built on dark probabilities, or precarious reports? No; through the divine goodness we can say, that the proofs of this salvation are as convincing, as its design is amiable, and its blessings important. We proceed therefore,
Secondly, To prove the truth we have explained; or to shew you how evident it is, that the Lord Jesus Christ is able thus to save to the uttermost, and to complete the salvation of every believer, in every succeeding age of the church and
This is an evangelical mystery, which the deepest reach of human reason would not have been able to discover; and which when discovered, in this corrupt state, it is too unwilling to receive. Should I take the proof in its utmost extent, it would be necessary to divide it into two grand branches ;-first, to shew that the gospel revelation is true; and then,—that admitting its truth, the almighty power of Christ to save follows, by a most easy and necessary consequence.
The former of these is so extensive a subject, that I shall chuse to handle it apart+:-And to insist at present, on the latter, I hope it will not be thought an unreasonable thing, when addressing an auditory of professed christians, now to
* Rev. vii. 9.
+ Sermon viii, ix, x.