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courage and resolution, as well as all our precepts of philosophy. The power of custom is not able to train us up to this, nor the most exquisite rules of human education. Neither could I Paul ever attain hereto, notwithstanding all the advantages I enjoyed, so long as I was in the flesh, in my natural state, and pursued it only by fleshly, natural wisdom.

And yet surely, if any man could, Paul himself might have attained thereto by that wisdom; for we can hardly conceive any, who was more highly favoured with all the gifts both of nature and education. Besides his natural abilities, probably not inferior to those of any person then upon the earth, he had all the benefits of learning, studying at the univerity of Tarsus, afterwards brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a person of the greatest account both for knowledge and integrity, that was then in the whole Jewish nation. And he had all the possible advantages of a religious education, being a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, trained up in the very straitest sect or profession, distinguished from all others by a more eminent strictness. And herein he had“ profited above many others, “ who were his equals” in years, “ being more abundantly zealous” of whatever he thought would please

as touching the righteousness of the law blameless." But it could not be, that he should hereby attain this simplicity and godly sincerity. It was all but lost labour; in a deep, piercing sense of which he was at length constrained to cry out, The things which were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ : yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,” Phil. iii, 7, 8.

15. It could not be that ever he should attain to this, but by the “ excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ” our Lord; or,“ by the grace of God,”—another expression of nearly the same import. By“ the grace of God” is sometimes to be understood that free love, that unmerited mercy, by which I a sinner, through the merits of Christ, am now reconciled to God. But in this place it rather means that power of God the Holy Ghost, which “worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure." As soon as ever the grace of God in the former sense, his pardoning love, is manifested to our souls, the grace of God in the latter sense, the power of his Spirit, takes place therein. And now we can perform, through God, what to man was impossible. Now we can order our conversation aright. We can do all things in the light and power of that love, through Christ which strengtheneth us. now have“ the testimony of our conscience,” which we could never have by fleshly wisdom, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have our conversation in the world."

16. This is properly the ground of a Christian's joy. We may therefore readily conceive, how he that hath this testimony in himself rejoiceth evermore. My soul,” may he say, “doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour." I rejoice in him, who, of his own unmerited love, of his own free and tender mercy,“ hath called me into this state of salvation,” wherein, through his power, I now stand. I rejoice, because his Spirit beareth witness to my spirit, that I am bought with the blood of the Lamb; and that, believing in him, “I am a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” I rejoice, because the sense of God's love to me hath, by the same Spirit, wrought in me to love him, and to love for



all my

his sake every child of man, every soul that he hath made. I rejoice, because he gives me to feel in myself“ the mind that was in Christ;"simplicity, a single eye to him, in every motion of my heart; power always to fix the loving eye of my soul on him who “ loved me, and gave himself for me;" to aim at him alone, at his glorious will, in all I think, or speak, or do ;-purity, desiring nothing more but God; crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts ;"

setting my

affections on things above, not on things of the earth;"—holiness, a recovery of the image of God, a “renewal of soul after his likeness ;”—and godly sincerity, directing all my words and works, so as to conduce to his glory. In this I likewise rejoice, yea, and will rejoice, because my conscience beareth me witness in the Holy Ghost, by the light he continually pours in upon it, that I“ walk worthy of the vocation wherewith I am called ;" that I “ abstain from all appearance of evil,” fleeing from sin as from the face of a serpent; that as I have opportunity I do all possible good, in every kind, to all men; that I follow my Lord in all my steps, and do what is acceptable in his sight. I rejoice, because I both see and feel, through the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, that

works are wrought in him, yea, and that it is he who worketh all my works in me. I rejoice in seeing through the light of God, which shines in my heart, that I have power to walk in his ways, and that through his grace, I turn not therefrom to the right hand or to the left.

17. Such is the ground and the nature of that joy, whereby an adult Christian rejoiceth evermore. And from all this we may easily infer, first, That this is not a natural joy. It does not arise from any natural cause : not from any sudden flow of spirits. This may give a transient start of joy; but the Christian rejoiceth always. It cannot be owing to bodily health or ease; to strength and soundness of constitution ; for it is equally strong in sickness and pain; yea, perhaps far stronger than before. Many Christians have never experienced any joy, to be compared with that which then filled their soul, when the body was well nigh worn out with pain, or consumed away with pining sickness. Least of all can it be ascribed to outward prosperity, to the favour of men, or plenty of worldly goods; for then, chiefly, when their faith has been tried as with fire, by all manner of outward afflictions, have the children of God rejoiced in Him, whom unseen they loved even with joy unspeakable. And never surely did men rejoice like those, who were used as "the filth and offscouring of the world;" who wandered to and fro, being in want of all things; in hunger, in cold, in nakedness; who had trials, not only of " cruel mockings, but, “moreover of bonds and imprisonments;" yea, who, at last, "counted not their lives dear unto themselves, so they might finish their course with joy."

18. From the preceding considerations, we may, secondly, infer, That the joy of a Christian does not arise from any blindness of conscience, from his not being able to discern good from evil. So far from it, that he was an utter stranger to this joy, till the eyes of his understanding were opened ; that he knew it not, until he had spiritual senses, fitted to discern spiritual good and evil. And now the eye of his soul waxeth not dim: he was never so sharp sighted before: he has so quick a perception of the smallest things, as is quite amazing to the natural man. As a mote is visible in the sun beam, so to him who is walking in the light, in the beams of the uncreated Sun, every mote of sin is visible. Nor does he close the eyes of his conscience any more: that sleep is departed from him. His soul is always broad awake: no more slumber or folding of the hands to rest! He is always standing on the tower, and hearkening what his Lord will say concerning him; and always rejoicing in this very thing, in “ seeing Him that is invisible.”

19. Neither does the joy of the Christian arise, thirdly, from any dulness or callousness of conscience. A kind of joy, it is true, may arise from this, in those whose“ foolish hearts are darkened ;'' whose heart is callous, un feeling, dull of sense, and, consequently, without spiritual understanding Because of their senseless, un feeling hearts, they may rejoice even in committing sin; and this they may probably call liberty!

- which is indeed mere drunkenness of soul, a fatal numbness of spirit, the stupid insensibility of a seared conscience.

On the contrary, a Christian has the most exquisite sensibility ; such as he could not have conceived before. He never had such a tenderness of conscience as he has had since the love of God has reigned in his heart. And this also is his glory and joy, that God hath heard his daily prayer :

“Oh that my tender soul might fly

The first abhorr'd approach of ill;
Quick, as the apple of an eye,

The slightest touch of sin to feel." 20. To conclude: Christian joy is joy in obedience; joy in loving God and keeping his commandments : and yet not in keeping them as if we were thereby to fulfil the terms of the covenant of works; as if by any works or righteousness of ours, we were to procure pardon and acceptance with God. Not so: we are already pardoned and accepted, through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Not as if we were by our own obedience to procure life, life from the death of sin : this also we have already through the grace of God. Us“ hath he quickened, who were dead in sins ;' and now we are “ alive to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But we rejoice in walking according to the covenant of grace, in holy love and happy obedience. We rejoice in knowing that, “ being justified through his grace," we have " not received that grace of God in vain;" that God having freely (not for the sake of our willing or running, but through the blood of the Lamb) reconciled us to himself, we run, in the strength which he hath given us, the


of his commandments. He hath“ girded us with strength unto the war," and we gladly" fight the good fight of faith." We rejoice, through Him who liveth in our hearts by faith, to "lay hold of eternal life.” This is our rejoicing, that as our « Father worketh hitherto,” so (not by our own might or wisdom, but through the power of his Spirit, freely given in Christ Jesus) we also work the works of God. And may he work in us whatsoever is well pleasing in his sight! To whom be the praise for ever and ever!

It may easily be observed, that the preceding discourse describes the experience of those that are strong in faith : but hereby those that are weak in faith may be discouraged; to prevent which the following discourse may be of use.

SERMON XIII.-On Sin in Believers.

“ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," 2 Cor. v, 17.


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I. 1. Is there then sin in him that is in Christ? Does sin remain in one that believes in him ? Is there any sin in them that are born of God, or are they wholly delivered from it? Let no one imagine this to be a question of mere curiosity; or, that it is of little importance whether it be determined one way or the other. Rather it is a point of the utmost moment to every serious Christian; the resolving of which very nearly concerns both his present and eternal happiness.

2. And yet I do not know that ever it was controverted in the primitive church. Indeed there was no room for disputing concerning it,

Christians were agreed. And so far as I have ever observed, the whole body of ancient Christians, who have left us any thing in writing, declare with one voice, that even believers in Christ, till they are “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might,” have need to "wrestle with flesh and blood," with an evil nature, as well as “ with principalities and powers."

3. And herein our own church (as indeed in most points) exactly copies after the primitive; declaring in her ninth article, “Original sin is the corruption of the nature of every man, whereby man is in his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth contrary to the spirit. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek agovnua dagxos, is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnatio for them that believe, yet this lust hath of itself the nature of sin.”

4. The same testimony is given by all other churches; not only by the Greek and Romish church, but by every reformed church in Europe, of whatever denomination. Indeed some of these seem to carry the thing too far; so describing the corruption of heart in a believer, as scarce to allow that he has dominion over it, but rather is in bondage thereto; and, by this means, they leave hardly any distinction between a believer and an unbeliever.

5. To avoid this extreme, many well meaning men, particularly those under the direction of the late Count Zinzendorf, ran into another ; affirming, that "all true believers are not only saved from the dominion of sin, but from the being of inward as well as outward sin, so that it no longer remains in them.” And from them, about twenty years ago, many of our countrymen imbibed the same opinion, that even the corruption is no more, in those who believe in Christ.

6. It is true that, when the Germans were pressed upon this head, they soon allowed, (many of then at least,) that“ sin did still remain in the flesh, but not in the heart of a believer :" and after a time, when the absurdity of this was shown, they fairly gave up the point; allowing that sin did still remain, though not reign, in him that is born of God.

7. But the English, who had received it from them, (some directly, some at second or third hand,) were not so easily prevailed upon to part with a favourite opinion : and even when the generality of them were convinced it was utterly indefensible, a few could not be persuaded to give it up, but maintain it to this day.

II. 1. For the sake of those who really fear God, and desire to know “ the truth as it is in Jesus," it may not be amiss to consider the point with calmness and impartiality. In doing this, I use indifferently the words regenerate, justified, or believers; since, though they have not precisely the same meaning, (the first implying an inward, actual change, the second a relative one, and the third, the means whereby both the one and the other arc wrought) yet they come to one and the same thing; as every one that believes, is both justified and born of God.

2. By sin, I here understand inward sin; any sinful temper, passion, or affection; such as pride, self will, love of the world, in any kind or degree ; such as lust, anger, peevishness; any disposition contrary to the mind which was in Christ.

3. The question is not concerning outward sin : whether a child of God commit sin or no. We all agree and earnestly maintain, “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” We agree,“ Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” Neither do we now inquire, whether inward sin will always remain in the children of God; whether sin will continue in the soul, as long as it continues in the body: nor yet do we inquire, whether a justified person may relapse either into inward or outward sin; but simply this, Is a justified or regenerate man freed from all sin as soon as he is justified ? Is there then no sin in his heart ?—nor ever after, unless he fall from grace ?

4. We allow that the state of a justified person is inexpressibly great and glorious. He is born again, “not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” He is a child of God, a member of Christ, an heir of the kingdom of heaven. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keepeth his heart and mind in Christ Jesus. His very body is a temple of the Holy Ghost,” and a “ habitation of God through the Spirit.” He is “created anew in Christ Jesus :” he is washed, he is sanctified. His heart is purified by faith; he is cleansed “from the corruption that is in the world;" " the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto him.” And so long as he “walketh in love,” (which he may always do,) he worships God in spirit and in truth. He keepeth the commandments of God, and doeth those things that are pleasing in his sight; so exercising himself as to “have a conscience void of offence, towards God and towards man;" and he has power both over outward and inward sin, even from the moment he is justified.

III. 1. But was he not then freed from all sin, so that there is no sin in his heart? I cannot say this; I cannot believe it; because St. Paul says the contrary. He is speaking to believers, and describing the state of believers in general, when he says, “ The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: these are contrary the one to the other,” Gal. v, 17. Nothing can be more express. The apostle here directly affirnis that the flesh, evil nature, opposes the Spirit, even in believers; that even in the regenerate, there are two principles, contrary the one to the other.”

2. Again: when he writes to the believers at Corinth, to those who were sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. i, 2, he says, “I, brethren, could not speak unto you, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife, are ye not carnal ?" ch. iii, ver. 1-3. Now here the apostle

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