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are out of frame, are either undue in their degree, or placed on undue objects. So that there is no soundness in thy soul ; but “from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot,” (to use the strong expression of the prophet,) there are only "wounds, and bruises, and putrefying
2. Such is the inbred corruption of thy heart, of thy very inmost nature. And what manner of branches canst thou expect to grow from such an evil root ? Hence springs unbelief; ever departing from the living God; saying, “Who is the Lord, that I should serve him? Tush! Thou, God, carest not for it:" hence independence; affecting to be like the Most High: hence pride, in all its forms; teaching thee to say, "I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing From this evil fountain flow forth the bitter streams of vanity, thirst of praise, ambition, covetousness, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Froin this arise anger, hatred, malice, revenge, envy, jealousy, evil surmisings: from this, all the foolish and hurtful lusts that now “pierce thee through with many sorrows,” and, if not timely prevented, will at length drown thy soul in everlasting perdition.
3. And what fruits can grow on such branches as these ? Only such as are bitter and evil continually. Of pride cometh contention, vain boasting, seeking and receiving praise of men, and so robbing God of that glory which he cannot give unto another : of the lust of the flesh, come gluttony or drunkenness, luxury or sensuality, fornication, uncleanness; variously defiling that body which was designed for a temple of the Holy Ghost: of unbelief, every evil word and work. But the time would fail, shouldest thou reckon up all; all the idle words thou hast spoken, provoking the Most High, grieving the Holy One of Israel; all the evil works thou hast done, either wholly evil in themselves, or at least not done to the glory of God. For thy actual sins are more than thou art able to express, more than the hairs of thy head. Who can number the sands of the sea, or the drops of rain, or thy iniquities?
4. And knowest thou not that “the wages of sin is death ?"- Death not only temporal, but eternal. “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die :" for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. It shall die the second death. This is the sentence, to " be punished” with never ending death, “with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Knowest thou not that every sinner, svoxos estan zewn T8 Tupos, not properly is in danger of hell fire; that expression is far too weak; but rather, is under the sentence of hell fire; doomed already, just dragging to execution. Thou art guilty of everlasting death. It is the just reward of thy inward and outward wickedness. It is just that the sentence should now take place. Dost thou see,
dost thou feel this? Art thou thoroughly convinced that thou deservest God's wrath and everlasting damnation ? Would God do thee no wrong, if he now commanded the earth to open, and swallow thee up ? If thou wert now to go down quick into the pit, into the fire that never shall be quenched ? If God hath given thee truly to repent, thou hast a deep sense that these things are so; and that it is of his mere mercy thou art not consumed, swept away from the face of the earth.
5. And what wilt thou do to appease the wrath of God, to atone for all thy sins, and to escape the punishment thou hast so justly deserved? Alas, thou canst do nothing: nothing that will in any wise Vol. I.
make amends to God for one evil work, or word, or thought. If thou couldest now do all things well, if from this very hour, till thy soul should return to God, thou couldest perform perfect, uninterrupted obedience, even this would not atone for what is past. The not increasing thy debt would not discharge it. It would still remain as great as ever. Yea, the present and future obedience of all the men upon earth, and all the angels in heaven, would never make satisfaction to the justice of God for one single sin. How vain, then, was the thought of atoning for thy own sins by any thing thou couldest do! It costeth far more to redeem one soul, than all mankind is able to pay. So that were there no other help for a guilty sinner, without doubt he must have perished everlastingly.
6. But suppose perfect obedience, for the time to come, could atone for the sins that are past, this would profit thee nothing; for thou art not able to perform it; no, not in any one point. Begin now: make the trial. Shake off that outward sin that so easily besetteth thee. Thou canst not. How then wilt thou change thy life from all evil to all good ? Indeed, it is impossible to be done, unless first thy heart be changed. For so long as the tree remains evil, it cannot bring forth good fruit. But art thou able to change thy own heart, from all sin to all holiness? To quicken a soul that is dead in sin, dead to God, and alive only to the world? No more than thou art able to quicken a dead body, to raise to life him that lieth in the grave. Yea, thou art not able to quicken thy soul in any degree, no more than to give any degree of life to the dead body. Thou canst do nothing, more or less, in this matter ; thou art utterly without strength. To be deeply sensible of this, how helpless thou art, as well as how guilty and how sinful, this is
repentance not to be repented of,” which is the forerunner of the kingdom of God.
7. If to this lively conviction of thy inward and outward sins, of thy utter guiltiness and helplessness, there be added suitable affections, sorrow of heart, for having despised thy own mercies,-remorse, and self condemnation, having
thy mouth stopped, -shame to lift up thine eyes to heaven,-fear of the wrath of God abiding on thec, of his curse hanging over thy head, and of the fiery indignation ready to devour those who forget God, and obey not our Lord Jesus Christ,
,-earnest desire to escape from that indignation, to cease from evil, and learn to do well ;—then I say unto thee, in the name of the Lord, “ Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” One step more, and thou shalt enter in. Thou dost repent. Now," believe the gospel.”
8. The gospel, (that is, good tidings, good news for guilty, helpiess sinners,) in the largest sense of the word, means, the whole revelation made to men by Jesus Christ; and sometimes the whole account of what our Lord did and suffered, while he tabernacled among men. The substance of all is, “ Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners :" or,“ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life:” or," He was bruised for our transgressions; he was wounded for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
9. Believe" this, and the kingdom of God is thine. By faith thou attainest the promise. "Ile pardoneth and absolveth all that truly
repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel.” As soon as ever God hath spoken to thy heart, "Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee," his kingdom comes : thou hast “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
10. Only beware thou do not deceive thy own soul, with regard to the nature of this faith. It is not, as some have fondly conceived, a bare assent to the truth of the Bible, of the articles of our creed, or of all that is contained in the Old and New Testament. The devils believe this, as well as I or thou! And yet they are devils still. But it is, over and above this, a sure trust in the inercy of God, through Christ Jesus. It is a confidence in a pardoning God. It is a divine evidence or conviction, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their former trespasses ;” and, in particular, that the Son of God hath loved me, and given himself for me, and that I, even I, am now reconciled to God by the blood of the cross.
11. Dost thou thus believe? Then the peace of God is in thy heart, and sorrowing and sighing flee away. Thou art no longer in doubt of the love of God; it is clear as the noonday sun. Thou criest out, “My song shall be always of the loving kindness of the Lord : with my mouth will I ever be telling of thy truth, from one generation to another. Thou art no longer afraid of hell, or death, or him that had once the power of death, the devil; no, nor painfully afraid of God himself; only thou hast a tender, filial fear of offending him. Dost thou believe ? Then thy“ soul doth magnify the Lord,” and thy “spirit rejoiceth in God thy Saviour.” Thou rejoicest in that thou hast “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Thou rejoicest in that
spirit of adoption," which crieth in thy heart, “Abba, Father!” Thou rejoicest in a " hope full of immortality;" in reaching forth unto the "mark of the prize of thy high calling;” in an earnest expectation of all the good things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
12. Dost thou now believe ? Then the love of God is now shed abroad in thy heart. Thou lovest him, because he first loved us. And, because thou lovest God, thou lovest thy brother also. And, being filled with “ love, peace, joy,” thou art also filled with “long suffering, gentleness, fidelity, goodness, meekness, temperance,” and all the other fruits of the same Spirit; in a word, with whatever dispositions are holy, are heavenly, or divine. For while thou beholdest with open, uncovered face, (the veil being now taken away,) "the glory of the Lord,” his glorious love, and the glorious image wherein thou wast created, thou art “changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.”
13. This repentance, this faith, this peace, joy, love, this change from glory to glory, is what the wisdom of the world has voted to be madness, mere enthusiasm, utter distraction. But thou, oh man of God, regard them not; be thou moved by none of these things. Thou knowest in whom thou hast believed. See that no man take thy crown. Whereunto thou hast already attained, hold fast, and follow, till thou attain all the great and precious promises. And thou who hast not yet known him, let not vain men make thee ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Be thou in nothing terrified by those who speak evil of the things which they know not. God will soon turn thy heaviness into joy. Oh let not thy hands hang down. Yet a little longer, and he will take away
thy fears, and give thee the spirit of a sound mind. He is nigh" that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that rose again, who is even now at the right hand of God, making intercession” for thee.
Now cast thyself on the Lamb of God, with all thy sins, how many soever they be; and "an entrance shall (now] be ministered unto thee into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ !"
SERMON VIII.- The First fruits of the Spirit. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Rom. viii, 1.
1. By " them which are in Christ Jesus,” St. Paul evidently means, those who truly believe in him ; those who,“ being justified by faith, have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." They who thus believe do no longer“ walk after the flesh,” no longer follow the motions of corrupt nature, but “after the Spirit;" both their thoughts, words, and works, are under the direction of the blessed Spirit of God.
2. “ There is therefore now no condemnation to" these. There is no condemnation to them from God; for he hath justified them“ freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus." He hath forgiven all their iniquities, and blotted out all their sins. And there is no condemnation to them from within ; for they “ have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that they might know the things which are freely given to them of God," 1 Cor. ii, 12; which Spirit“ beareth witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God.” And to this is added the testimony of their conscience, " that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, they have had their conversation in the world, 2 Cor. i, 12.
3. But because this scripture has been so frequently misunderstood, and that in so dangerous a manner; because such multitudes of “unlearned and uns
(οι αμαθεις και αςηρικτοι, men untaught of God, and consequently unestablished in the truth which is after godliness,) have wrested it to their own destruction; I propose to show, clearly as I can., first, Who those are "which are in Christ Jesus, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit:" and, secondly, How"there is no condemnation to” these. I shall conclude with some practical inferences.
I. 1. First I am to show, Who those are that “are in Christ Jesus." And are they not those who believe in his name? Those who are “ found in him, not having their own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by faith ?'' These, who" have redemption through his blood," are properly said to be in Him. For they dwell in Christ, and Christ in them. They are joined unto the Lord in one Spirit. They are ingrafted into Him as branches into the vine. They are united as members to their Head, in a manner which words cannot express, nor could it before enter into their hearts to conceive.
2. Now “whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not;"
.'" walketh not after the flesh.” The flesh, in the usual language of St. Paul, signifies corrupt nature. In this sense he uses the word, writing to the Galatians, “ The works of the flesh are manifest,” Gal. v, 19; and a little before, “ Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust (or desire) of the flesh,” ch. v, 16. To prove which, namely, that those who“ walk by the Spirit, do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh,” he immediately adds, “ For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; and the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, (for these are contrary to each other,) that ye may not do the things which ye would." So the words are literally translated; (ivat un και αν θελησε, ταυτα, ποιητε») not “So that ye cannot do the things that ye would ;" as if the flesh overcame the Spirit: a translation which hath not only nothing to do with the original text of the apostle, but likewise makes his whole argument nothing worth; yea, asserts just the reverse of what he is proving.
3. They who are of Christ, who abide in him, " have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." They abstain from all those works of the flesh; from “adultery and fornication;" from " uncleanness and lasciviousness ;" from " idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance;" from "ennulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings;" from every design, and word, and work, to which the corruption of nature leads. Although they feel the root of bitterness in themselves, yet are they endued with power from on high, to trample it continually under foot, so that it cannot“ spring up to trouble them;" insomuch, that every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives them fresh occasion of praise, of crying out “Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
4. They now " walk after the Spirit,” both in their hearts and lives. They are taughtof him to love God and their neighbour, with a love which is as “ a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” And by him they are led into every holy desire, into every divine and heavenly temper, till every thought which arises in their heart is holiness unto the Lord.
5. They who “walk after the Spirit,” are also led by him into all holiness of conversation. Their“ speech is always in grace, seasoned with salt :" with the love and fear of God. “No corrupt communication comes out of their mouth, but only that which is good;" that which is “to the use of edifying ;” which is "meet to minister grace to the hearers.” And herein likewise do they exercise themselves day and night, to do only the things which please God; in all their outward behaviour to follow Him, “who left us an example that we might tread in his steps;" in all their intercourse with their neighbour to walk in justice, mercy, and truth; and “whatsoever they do,” in every circumstance of life, to “ do all to the glory of God."
6. These are they who indeed “walk after the Spirit.” Being filled with faith and with the Holy Ghost, they possess in their hearts, and show forth in their lives, in the whole course of their words and actions, the genuine fruits of the Spirit of God, namely, “ love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance," and whatsoever else is lovely or praiseworthy. They " adorn in all things the gospel of God our Saviour;" and give full proof to all mankind, that they are indeed actuated by the same Spirit, “ which raised up
Jesus from the dead"