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people zealous of good works. He has restored that holy dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under government of heaven which is the source of universal peace grace. When you were under the law, sin did have dominion and assurance, and died, and risen, and revived, that he might over you; but now that you have embraced the refuge of the be Lord both of the dead and the living. He will not rule in gospel, this dominion is broken, and you shall be holy, for I kindness over a world which still lies in wickedness, but has am holy. No higher honour could be put upon the requisipurchased for himself a church, an assembly of pardoned sin-tions of the law, than this constituting obedience to them one ners, that he might present it unto God, holy and without spot of the chief blessings of the gospel, in the promise that when or blemish. As he sees this sanctifying of men progress, he the full redemption of the people of Christ should be accomsees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied ; and, rejoicing|plished, they shall be all holy, and presented without blame over every ransomed sinner, whom he brings in triumph to before God. And nothing could more clearly show, that in the glories of the blessed, he presents each one to the Father, delivering our souls from the bondage and curse of the law, as the full accomplishments of his great design in pouring out the Redeemer never intended to open the door of transgresshis soul as an offering for sins, and consenting to be num-ion, to lead us to sin because grace abounded, or to set us bered among transgressors; “Behold here am I, and the fairly loose without law to God; but to give us the very obechildren whom thou hast given to me.". In the view of his dience which the law before demanded in vain, to increase own image impressed upon every glorified saint, and par- our obligations and motives to obey; and with new constraint tially upon every child of God on earth, he triumphs in that to bring us, so far as its governing power was concerned, result of his humiliation and death, which has plucked brands under the law to Christ. out of the fire, and brought rebels home from eternal condemna- 5. The governing power of the law over those who have tion to a lasting conformity to the law and the image of God. embraced the gospel, is displayed in the fact that Jesus has
3. The governing power of the law is displayed in the fact, made obedience to it the grand characteristic of his discithat the most important end for which we are delivered from ples. By this he certainly proves, that he never designed to the condemnation of the law is, that we may obey its pre-make void the law, as the believer's rule of conduct. cepts. Christ hath purchased us in our state of bondage, by this shall all men know that ye love me, if ye keep my comthe offering of himself, and bestowed freely upon us the mandments.' “ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I liberty of the gospel, so that we are no longer under the law, command you.” “By their fruits ye shall know them." as a violated dispensation, uttering condemnation and wrath, No professions of regard or devotion testify the sincerity but under grace. But we have not been made free that we of our love for Christ; no sufferings, though they amount may continue in sin. We have been liberated that we may to martyrdom for his sake, form an accurate indication of the obey the holy commands of God, in newness of spirit and state of our hearts before him, if a watchful pursuit of holiness life. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made of character and conduct be wanting. Our holy obedience to us free from the law of sin and death, or the gospel has de- the law, our supreme love to God, our universal love to men, livered us from the condemnation of the law, that what the law actuating us in all the relations of life, constitutes the only could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, or through possible evidence that we have been rescued from the conman's inability to obey God, in sending
his own Son in demnation of the
law, and made
free with spiritual and lasting the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, might do, that is, liberty. A man who has truly embraced the gospel, cannot but condemn sin in the flesh, for this great and important end, be an holy man; for the grace of God which has brought him that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, salvation, has visited his heart for this very purpose, that he who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. While might be taught and enabled to deny ungodliness and worldly under the law as a dispensation, we can never obey its holy lusts, and live soberly, righteously and godly in the world. and separating precepts; it can offer us no assistance or And the alternative is perfectly true, that he who is not thus strength; it can neither make us acceptable nor holy in the holy, and thus mortifying the body of sin, has never yielded sight
of God. It acts as a hard taskmaster, requiring us to his heart to the dominion and righteousness of Christ, or been make brick while it furnishes us with no straw. But when delivered from the law, which worketh wrath. There is no we have embraced the gospel, all the help is afforded us other proof of the existence and operations of the spirit of which we want; and we are then able to offer that obedience God within the heart; every thing is uncertain and unto the precepts of the law, which in our former condition we satisfying as an evidence of grace, but the love which fulfils were unable to present. And the great object for which we the law. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh have been thus set at liberty from condemnation is, that we with the affections and lusts. Against such there is no law. may be able to obey the precepts of the very law which has But, being bought with a price, they are delivered from the before held us in bondage and sin. There is a race to be run law in all its penalties; that in a holy obedience to God, they and a contest to be maintained. But it is vain to command may be, as their rule and evidence, under the law to Christ. the culprit in his dungeon, bound hand foot with chains,
6. The governing power of the law is displayed in that either to run or fight. Loose his fetters and open his prison- explanation of its precepts which the Saviour has recorded. doors, and then with propriety, and probably with success, you The constraint of the law, as a rule of life, he came not to may require him to contend and strive. Precisely so is it destroy, but to establish it in the obedience of his followers, with our connexion with the bondage of the law, and the as it was in the obedience of the holy angels, more durably liberty of the gospel. We are dead to the law, that we may live than even heaven and earth should stand. To this end ho unto God, and its power over us is cancelled and destroyed displayed the perfectness and spirituality of its character; he as the measure of our hope, that being united unto Christ showed that its precepts extended to the desires and purposes through whose sufferings we are freed, we might obey its of the heart; and while men had supposed that the regulaprecepts, and bring forth fruits unto God.
tion of the exterior conduct was all which could be required 4. The governing power of the law is remarkably exhibited of them, he insisted upon the necessity of attention and in the fact, that a holy obedience to its precepts is one of the watchfulness, to be directed to the feelings and thoughts. He most important promises of the gospel. It is announced re-taught that the conduct and character of men were desirable, peatedly in the Old Testament, that one great result of the according as they were conformed, in sincerity and holiness, publishing salvation in Jesus Christ, should be, that God to the will of God, who searches and knows the heart, and would put a new heart into his people, and renew a right that nothing which was merely external or partial, could be spirit within them; that he would cleanse them from all their of any avail while the spirit and life of true obedience, in uncleanness and sins, and put his Spirit within them, and the inward character was deficient. In this explanation and cause them to walk in his statutes and to keep his judgments extension of the precepts of the law, while he adopted it as to do them. When delivered from condemnation, we accept the rule by which his disciples were to be governed, he magthe unsearchable riches of grace which are laid up in Christ nified it and made it honourable. He testified to its excelJesus, this gracious promise is fulfilled. The disposition to lence and purity, and made it evident, that unto all generasin is taken away in proportion as we are sanctified; and we tions of his people, it was to be made the great standard of are set out upon a new course of obedience to the commands obedience and character. In his answer to the scribe who of God. In this aspect of the gospel system, the Christian's asked him which was the great commandment of the law, he personal holiness of character is exhibited as a privilege of displayed the extent of obedience which he required; and the gospel, and his obedience to the law is infallibly secured while Jewish teachers had looked chiefly to the outward chaby God's undertaking to work it in him and for him, by the racter, he demanded the cordial submission of the heart, in a good influences of the Holy Spirit. The solemn covenant spirit of universal devotion and love. which the Saviour makes with every sinner who receives These views show the perpetuity of the law, as a rule of him in his heart, as his hope of glory, is, sin shall not have conduct, and display the existence and extent of its governing power over those who have embraced the gospel. Perfect holiness of character is required of every Christian. To
LECTURE IX. this all-comprehensive and important end, the exertions of every Christian are to be directed ; and although we come in- THE EFFECT OF OBEDIENCE TO TÅE LAW UPON OUR SALVATION. finitely short of this, in our present course, we have no right to adopt an inferior standard. Feeble and worthless as we Blessed are they who do his commandments, that they may have a are in our highest efforts, and not, in any degree, expecting right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the acceptance on account of our obedience, no lower purpose city.-Rev. XXII. 14. must be set before us, than that we may be presented perfect in Christ Jesus, and have every thought of our hearts brought At the conclusion of this series of discourses upon the into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
divine law, I am brought to consider the effect which our I have thus endeavoured to display the governing power of obedience to the law has upon our everlasting salvation. the law over those who have embraced the gospel; or the fact, Everlasting salvation and happiness is the great object to that though set at liberty from the condemnation and penal- which the scriptures would lead our desires and exertions. ties of the law as a covenant, we are still as our rule of life, For the attainment of this, they would persuade us to forget under the law to Christ. The effect which our obedience to the things which are behind; to count all other things but the law has upon our personal salvation, will form the subject loss, and to be willing to sacrifice every thing which is seen of my next discourse.
and temporal. And now, let me intreat you, in enforcing the obligations. This everlasting portion of blessedness to which our attenof the law, not to attempt to lower its demands in any point tion is turned, the text places before us, under two separate of character. We have seen that as a covenant it recedes not figures, suggesting two distinct ideas. It speaks of it as from a tittle of its requirements. Its demands were to be dwelling in a city, presenting the idea of security; and as a perfectly fulfilled, and they were perfectly fulfilled in the partaking of a tree of life, presenting the image of perfect and work of the Lord Jesus. As your rule of life, its requisi- eternal enjoyment. tions are of equal extent. It enjoins you to attain a love for Blessed are they who may enter in through the gates into God, with your whole heart and strength, and to love others the city, for they shall be everlastingly protected and made as yourselves. You must propose no lower standard than secure; and blessed are they who have a right to the tree of this to govern you in your daily walk in life. Do not be sa- life, for they shall possess the means of everlasting enjoytisfied with the standard of the world. Do not be contented ment; and then, because these results are so desirable and with the performance of a mere round of outward duties, or a glorious, blessed are they who do his commandments, for few kind and charitable acts. You must die altogether unto these important privileges shall belong to them. sin, and live with your heart and spirit unto righteousness. The text thus presents us, as two general subjects of reMake it your object to have the whole body of sin within mark, the end which is to be attained, and the way through you mortified and subdued; to delight yourselves in the law which we are to attain it. of God, in the spirit of your mind, and to perfect holiness in 1. The great end and result of a Christian life, is the everhis fear. While the law is your rule, let Christ be your ex- lasting security and happiness of heaven; to enter through ample. Walk as he walked. Purify yourselves, as he is the gates into the city; and to have a right to, or power pure. Be as he was in the world. Let nothing satisfy your over, the tree of life. desires and determinations, short of absolute perfection, long- 1. The scriptures frequently speak of the future state of ing and labouring to be holy as God is holy, and to be perfect blessedness for the saints as an abode, or place of residence. as God is perfect.
Our Saviour calls it " the Father's house." St. Paul speaks Be willing servants and cheerful subjects of the precepts of it as “a city which hath foundations ;” and St. John styles of the law. Consider the obedience which God requires of it the “new Jerusalem.”. In the two last chapters of the you, to be perfect freedom, and run the way of his command- Revelation, the apostle dilates in a beautiful description of the ments, with enlarged and thankful hearts. Where this spirit whole appearance of this heavenly city. He speaks of its is, there is liberty and comfort, and the commands of a holy walls and gates and inhabitants, in expressions which are God appear in no degree grievous. Brethren, I speak to calculated to fill the mind with the most elevated and glorious them that know the law, and approve of it in the operations thoughts. He describes the character of those who are adof its power, which have been set before you. Let me be-mitted to its enjoyments, as pure and holy, without a spot. seech you to give yourselves up unreservedly to God. Those This description of a city is undoubtedly figurative, so far as who do not enter into your views, nor adopt your system, will its minute particulars are concerned. But whether the whole judge of you by the evident holiness of your characters and idea of a material abode and residence for the glorified people lives. Let them see in you what the real tendency of the of God, be a figurative representation, is more than I am able gospel is. On the character of professing Christians, the to say. The idea which is evidently suggested to us by the honour of God and his gospel much depends; and I would figure before us, is that of perfect security and everlastthat you should be wanting in nothing; that you should walking defence, and the entrance through its gates implies the worthy of your high vocation in every duty, and by abound-attainment of this security, in the regular and appointed ing in every virtue, and every praise, let it be seen that you method. have no wish to sin, because grace abounds, but are cheerfully The ransomed sinner, who has found this eternal shelter, and perseveringly under the law to Christ. There is no way was a guilty and condemned rebel. He fled from the avenger in which you can put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, of blood. The violated law uttered its awful denunciations and prove yourselves to be indeed the disciples of Christ, against him. Offended justice demanded the punishment of and be made the effectual instruments of doing good to others, his sin. The plain in which he was pursued afforded him no but by pressing onward unceasingly to attain the measure shelter. His own strength supplied no means of defence, of the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus.
and wearied and desponding, he was ready to perish, when And should there be any of my hearers who have looked the glad tidings of the gospel directed him to the city of rewith prejudice upon this subject, and regarded the law as se- fuge, and led him to run thither and be safe. Through the vere, and the gospel as licentious, under the display which door, by embracing the invitations of the Lord Jesus, he has now been made of them, I can only say that I have set sought and gained a blessed and eternal abode in this home before them life and death. I pray them to allow the law to of peace. He was again a pilgrim follower of Jesus, conhave, in its application by the Spirit, its proper influence to flicting with trials and difficulties; encompassed with eneconvince them of their sin; to show them their dangers; to mies, pressing forward through multiplied sorrows, but keeplead them to Christ, and then to govern them in a new and ing his hope steadfast to the end, and purified in all his trials, holy life. The blessed and abiding influence which it produ- he has found, at last, his perpetual home, in the new Jeruces upon one sinner, it may produce upon all, and if it harden salem, secured from every enemy, and delivered from every any in their sins, it is only because they pervert its operation trial forever. He has sought a heavenly country; a continuand reject the counsel of God against themselves.
ing city; a kingdom which cannot be removed ; and now, by grace, rescued from every difficulty, and supported through full obedience to divine commands, he has an everlasting security in the presence of God. After the views which we have taken of the sinner's necessities under the law, where he is without security, without protection, without comfort and without hope, we are prepared to adopt the full meaning and
expression of the text, blessed is he who can enter through But having released us from the bondage of the law, he the gates, into a city of everlasting righteousness and peace. demands of us, under the gospel, a perfect obedience also.
2. But this salvation is not only an abode of protection and I say he demands it; for being justified by him, we are no security: it is the enjoyment of lasting bliss. It is to have longer under the law, but under grace. The law does not a right to, or power over the tree of life. In the description demand, but Christ does. But the perfection of obedience which St. John gives of the city of God, he speaks of a pure which he requires, is a perfection of motive and principle, river of water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and and not a perfection of degree. It is a perfection which has the Lamb ; and on either side of the river was the tree of respect to all commandments, and aims at a glorifying of life, which bear twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit Jesus in a full obedience of all, though there may be necesevery month ; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing sary infirmity and deficiency characterizing the actual obeof the nations. This description presents an abundant source dience of each. It is a sincere and cordial devotion of the of heavenly enjoymeni. There is an abundance of fruit powers and faculties and affections of the whole man to yielded every month. There is a variety; twelve manner or the obedience of God's holy commandments, though all may kind of fruits. It is lasting, for it is a tree of life growing be in themselves weak and imperfect. upon the bank of a river of the water of life ; and even its The obedience accepted under the gospel is a china vase, leaves, that part of the tree which is generally fading and which is whole, without a break; and is therefore said to be useless, are for the healing of the nations. The glorified a perfect vase, although it may be small in size and inconChristian is stated to have power over this tree of life. It siderable in value and workmanship. The obedience debelongs to him, and he partakes of its enjoyments as his manded by the law is a vessel in itself of the highest own. In this image, I am not disposed to follow out the possible worth, and therefore perfect, because no power minute illustrations. But the whole presents the idea of could improve it or enhance its value. abiding enjoyment, and to have a right to the tree of life is Legal perfection is a perfection of degree. There can be to have a proper title to everlasting joys. The wants of a no increase of it, because there is no deficiency. Evangelisinner under condemnation, having no prospect but death, cal perfection is a perfection of particulars, a wholeness and and no source of comfort or lasting peace in himself, having unity of system. It is like the body of a perfect child; of lost by disobedience the right to any tree of life, and without which, though every member is diminutive, none is wanting; means to acquire it for himself, perishing in his want and So in this obedience, all precepts are regarded, and all wretchedness, form the contrast to this picture. Amidst the graces are cultivated, though each one be infantile and weak, vain and empty and fading gratifications of the present life, and in itself of no worth. blessed is the thought, that there is a tree of rich and abun- Such an obedience the gospel requires of every believer; dant life; and while all men are under the condemnation of having regard to every precept, and aiming constantly at sin, and without means of purchasing deliverance, blessed supreme perfection in each; willingly omitting, no comindeed is he who has received a right to this living tree; mand, passing over no duty, but governed by a single purwho
may look to the eternal enjoyments of heaven as his pose and desiring the glory of a single being; following own, and rejoice in the prospect of their being bestowed every commandment with an enlarged heart. This is a
perfect, whole, unbroken obedience, though weak and Under these two figures, the text presents to our consider-imperfect in the degree to which it is carried upon the ation the security and the enjoyment of heaven. None will earth. Such an obedience which consitutes the holiness of hesitate to unite in its expression, Blessed are they who a Christian character, is required in the text as the way shall be enabled to attain these in the sure and appointed through which we are to attain a power over the tree way which God has set before us; and, therefore, none can of life, and a right to enter through the gates into the city. refuse their cordial assent to the whole declaration of the The man who attempts to climb up some other way, and to text, “ Blessed are they who do his commandments; they separate the walk of holiness from the reward of peace, the may have a right to the tree of life, and enter in through the same is a thief and a robber. gates into the city."
2. But in what character is this obedience demanded ; II. This is the way through which we are to attain the bless-What effect will it produce upon our eternal salvation ? ings of eternal rest. While in its convincing and guiding Our obedience to the divine precepts is not required of us operations the law is to be our schoolmaster to bring us unto as the meritorious cause of our salvation. We are saved by Christ, that we may be justified by faith; in its governing grace. No obedience could save us but one which should power over our hearts and character by the sanctifying min-perfectly fulfil every demand of the law; and the only meritoistrations of the Holy Ghost, producing in us perfect holiness rious cause of our salvation is that obedience of Jesus which of character, it is to be our schoolmaster also to educate us has actually fulfilled the law, and which is offered to us as a for the glory of heaven, and render us meet to become par- free donation of the grace of God to those who are perishing takers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Perfect under the condemnation of their sins. This obedience has obedience to divine commandments, universal holiness of purchased a right to the tree of life, and a right of entrance character, is indispensably required under the gospel to the through the gates into the city; and having done this, Jeattainment of life eternal.
sus has become the author of eternal salvation to all that “ His commandments” in the text refer to all divine com- obey him. mands, particularly to those two which our Saviour selected 1. But though our own obedience is not the meritorious as the fulfilling of the law: supreme love to God, and uni- cause of our salvation, it is the indispensable antecedent and versal love to his creatures. It is by obedience to these preparation for its completion in glory; and is thus required commandments that the high privileges of the text are to be of us. This renders us meet or prepared to become parobtained; and the reverse of this is perfectly true, the man takers of the inheritance of the saints, as an adequate educawho does not obey them cannot attain the glories which are tion in the business of the world renders us meet to engage here presented.
in its duties, when, at the proper age, we are called to their 1. The obedience to the precepts of the law which the performance. The business of heaven is unqualified subgospel requires of every believer, is a perfect obedience; and mission to God; and for this, the increasing holiness of the it cannot, and does not, promise salvation to any man but in Christian on the earth educates and prepares him. They the way of a perfect obedience. Still the idea of perfection in who have lived and who die in the Lord, rest in the hour of obedience under the gospel is quite distinct from the idea of death from their earthly labours; but their works follow perfection in obedience under the law. This distinction I them, not only as the evidence of their character, but as the will make apparent.
commencement of that life of perfect obedience to the divine The law demanded an obedience for justification, perfect will and cordial rejoicing in the divine presence and glory, in in degree; so perfect in degree, that nothing was deficient which they are to be occupied for ever. And he who would and nothing could be added. This is the obedience which delight himself in the eternal contemplation of the majesty angels render. The original depravity of fallen beings vi- and glory of God, must not here be habituated to love darktiated such an obedience in the very outset, and the attemptness rather than light, because his deeds are evil. on their part to attain it, would have been to build a house 2. Perfect obedience is required of us under the gospel as a upon a quicksand, into the fathomless abyss of which each debt of gratitude to Christ, and an evidence of the reality of stone would sink as soon as it was laid. This obedience, Christian character. This real motive of Christian obediperfect in its degree, to which nothing could be added, an ence Jesus offers us when he says, if ye love me, not if ye obedience which was necessary to the sinner's justification, would purchase life eternal, keep my commandments. A real the great Substitute for sinners has rendered for them, and love for Christ will constrain us to live, not to ourselves, has thus entirely fulfilled the demands of the law. but for him who died and rose again to bring us unto God. For this end we have been bought with a price, that we may holiness of personal character; who are maturing in deep glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are his; and Je- and humble piety, and daily acquiring more of the blessed sus lays it upon us as the argument of friendship for him, and delightful spirit of the Redeemer of men. Hereby we that we follow his commandments in a life of holiness, and know that he dwelleth in us, by the Spirit which he hath keep ourselves from the power of the evil one. He would given us; and no evidence can truly convince us, that either bind us here by those cords of love which shall hold us we or others are preparing for everlasting glory, but the holy throughout eternity, and deal with us, not as vassals and and peaceful fruits of that spirit. Our confidence in hope, servants whom he can govern as he pleases, and who dare though it does not rest upon our own obedience, but upon not resist his will, but as the chosen friends and companions the perfect obedience of Christ, must rise or fall, in direct in whom he shall delight himself forever, and whose hearts proportion to the holiness and watchfulness of our own conhe would attach now to that holiness of character in which duct; and we shall certainly deceive ourselves, if, while we he desires them to shine, as the brightness of the firmament are not growing in grace, we comfort ourselves that we may and the stars forever and ever.
still rejoice in hope of the glory of God. The sinful and re3. This perfect obedience to divine commandments is re- bellious heart cannot escape the just judgment of God. To quired as the evidence of our title to the blessedness of the be with God, and to enjoy his presence, we must be brought people of God. “Lord, Lord,” may multitudes say at the into a state of subjection to his will, and learn to follow in gates through which the real disciple enters, “Open unto us; the steps of his holiness. While we are pressing forward we have prophesied in thy name, and eaten and drank in thy in the paths of obedience, though we are altogether infirm presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.” But the reply and imperfect in our character, yet if we are sincere and true to all such demands must be the same: “Not every one that in our purpose, we are preparing to enter through the gate saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of into the city, and Jesus, passing by all our infirmities and heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in weakness, while looking to the perfect desire and motive heaven.” The title to reward is the perfect obedience of Je- which has governed us, will be prepared to say, “Come, ye sus; but the evidence that this title has been conferred upon blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you us, is in the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit, by from the foundation of the world.” which we are sealed to the day of redemption. By no other But if this is the way to blessedness, and this the fair and testimony can the title be established ; and vain is the asser- reasonable prospect of those who are following after holiness, tion of a right to the tree of life, which, destitute of this evi- see the sad condition of all who are cherishing a spirit of redence, we are utterly unable to prove. By faith we are jus- bellion against God. While the renewed and humble Christified and made the heirs of the divine glory; but no man can tian enters through the gates into the city, against them the bring evidence of evangelical faith, who is destitute of evan-door is shut, and without the protection and comfort which gelical obedience. An unholy Christian is a contradiction that city gives, they are with odious and abominable beings, in terms; for as animal life can be in no method indicated, with whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie. God looks upon but by the motion and speech of the living being, no more them with no compassionate tenderness. Like reprobate can the spiritual life of the professed Christian be testified, silver, rejected from the fining pot; like tares bound in bunwithout the full result of its power in the outward holiness of dles for the fire, they are rejected forever, with no eye to his character.
pity, and no arm to save. The wages of sin is death; and 4. From this it is further evident, that perfect obedience of they who have sold themselves to be the servants of sin on the divine precepts is necessary to bring an assurance of the earth, must groan under the payment of their hire throughattainment of salvation to the heart. There is no possible out eternity. They have passed a life of enmity to the Almethod by which a voluntarily sinful man can attain an assu- mighty God; they have provoked against themselves the rance of rest. If he could be supposed to do it, it would be vengeance of the Most High; and rejecting the holy precepts obtaining conviction of the truth of that which, after all, is of his law as the rule of their life, they remain under the an absolute falsehood; for there is no rest to the wicked, fearful condemnation of that law, unpardoned and chained saith the Lord. If you can suppose a renewed man, a child down with everlasting despair. What can there be in the of God, to turn aside from following after holiness, and to en-pleasures of transgression which shall compensate the sinner ter upon the paths of disobedience, we affirm that that man is for such a result of his wasted life? How strange that Satan on the broad road to hell; all his righteousness shall not be should be able so to delude him with the prospect of security, mentioned in the day of his sin; but for his iniquity that he when the Almighty has declared that iniquity has no lurking hath committed, he shall die; and unless he be converted unto place in which it shall be concealed ? that though the sinner God, and renewed in holiness, in the whole character of his could dig into hell, thence should his hand take him; and soul, he shall be lost forever; for without holiness, no man though he could climb up to heaven, thence would he bring shall see the Lord.
him down; and neither the top of Carmel, nor the bottom of 5. From these demands for perfect obedience, as the in- the sea should afford protection to his soul? The present dispensable preparation for heaven, as a testimony of grati- discourse has placed before you the only path of safety. The tude to Christ, as an evidence of a right and title received return of your hearts to God, in a new and holy life, confrom him, and as the only ground of assurance to our own formed to the precepts of his sacred law. Blessed are you hearts, I may lastly remark that it is necessary, from the ab- when convinced of your guilt, you turn with desire to the solute command of God. This is the will of God, even divine commandments. Blessed are you while with a spirit your sanctification. He requires you to glorify him in those of sincerity and love you walk in the path of these comgood works which he hath before ordained, that you should mandments; for according to God's gracious promise you walk in them; all that he has desired, revealed, or enjoined, shall have power over the tree of life, and enter through the is for this single end, that he might make unholy and re-gates into the city. bellious men once more perfect in holiness, after his own image. For this his love has laboured. For this his grace has strove. For this his power has been extended; and to this great end the command of God, which cannot be turned aside, is directed, that they which believe be careful to maintain works of holiness; that they may stand according to
LECTURE X. that trial which shall say “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
In considering the effect which our own obedience produces upon our eternal salvation, we see the truth of the assertion The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was of the text; and more than this, the great truth that the gos- lost.—LUKE XIX. 10. pel of Jesus is designed, and operates to produce universal holiness, and universal peace in submission to God through- The Son of man is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an out the universe. In this method, the great object of Jesus appellation which he assumes to designate his voluntary to redeem the world from sin and to renew it in holiness, is humiliation for the sake of man. In his own eternal nature accomplished; and they who do his commandments, have, he was the Son of God, “ the brightness of the Father's through his grace, the right to dwell forever in the glory, and the express image of his person.". But being city of God, and to enjoy the benefits of the tree of eternal originally “in the form of God, and equal with God," he life.
took upon himself “the form of a servant, and was made in This interesting subject shows us who are the real candi- the likeness of men.” Then he became the Son of man, dates for eternal bliss. They are those who are growing in " was made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them
THE OBJECT OF THE GOSPEL.
that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption You are lost beneath a load which the arm of omnipotence of sons.
alone can heave off from you; and in this condition the gospel When this wonderful event took place, he came, in the comes to seek and to save you. expression of the text, from heaven to earth; from God to 2. The gospel finds you lost in the extremity of permen; from personal glory to personal humiliation and dis-sonal corruption and sinfulness. The depravity of your fallen tress; from the possession of inexhaustible life, to lay down nature is exceeding great, and it extends to every power of himself as a sacrifice for the sins of his creatures.
your mind, and to every affection of your heart. It is vain This coming of the Son of God, to be made the Son of to dispute about the words total depravity, which are often man, is the whole subject of the gospel. The writings of the used to express the state of man by nature. I mean, by my New Testament tell glad tidings, good news to fallen and assertion, that there is nothing in you by nature which is ruined sinners; and thus they preach the gospel, because not sinful, that your hearts are full of evil. Your understandthey reveal the fact of this mission of a mighty Saviour. ings are dark; your wills are perverse; your affections are
The word gospel means glad tidings; and the glad tidings sensual; your conscience is partial; your memory will not are, that there is an all-sufficient and glorious Redeemer, who, retain heavenly truths; your bodies are under the influence in the sacrifice of himself, has removed the necessity of eter- of a depraved mind; and every member, instead of being an nal death from the whole race of man.
instrument of holiness, is a willing servant to sin. And from That the Son of man has come, is the delightful intelli- the head to the foot, you are destitute of soundness or spiritual gence of the gospel. He has borne the necessities of sinners; health, and filled with unholiness and pollution. Through has made an end to sin for those who believe in him, and has your whole lives, and in your whole character there is not brought in an everlasting righteousness as the free gift of God one good thing. And if your everlasting salvation were ofto those who will receive it. And having done this, the gospel fered you upon the single condition of finding a thought or which he commands his ministers to preach, is simply the desire which was not sinful, in the whole compass of your intelligence of this grand fact. The sum and substance of all past existence, the requisition would defy your power in that we announce to man, in the name of Jesus Christ, is, compliance. There is none of you who hath done good, no, that “God hath made him to be sin for us, when he knew no not one. That there may be depravity beyond yours, none sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him;" will doubt; but that there is any thing but depravity in you and being reconciled to us through this one offering for sin, by nature, the word of God denies. Lost in this extreme of he calls upon us to be reconciled to him, and not to receive sinfulness, the object of the gospel is to seek and to save you. the grace of God in vain.
3. The gospel finds you lost in a state of enmity to God. Thus understood, the text proclaims the object and purpose The natural mind of every man is enmity against God. In of the gospel; the design upon which the Son of man came some it may break forth into more open acts of hostility than into the world, and for which he consented to be numbered in others. But it is not less really enmity to God, where with the transgressors. “ The Son of man is come to seek it is cloaked with a fair exterior, and shut up under false and to save that which was lost. The text thus fully intro- professions of indifference or friendship. I mean to say, that duces to your notice the subject of the present discourse, there is a direct hostility between the mind of God and the which is, the object of the gospel.
mind of every unconverted sinner. They pursue opposite This object is here declared simply to be, “ to seek and to and entirely inconsistent ends; while one is gathering, the save that which was lost. The mission of the Son of God con- other is labouring to scatter abroad. Many may not be constitutes the subject of the gospel; and the design of that mis-scious of distinct purposes of opposition to the will of God; sion is to save the lost.
many may deny that they have such. The reason is, simply, In discussing the important subject which is thus presented either that they do not stop to consider what the will of God to us, I shall best display it to your minds by following the is, or that they have formed such erroneous views of his language of the text; and,
character that they have made him altogether such an one as First, State the condition in which the gospel finds you; themselves. To a God of perfect holiness, a God who canand,
not abide transgression, a God who will by no means clear Secondly, The means which it has provided for your de- the guilty, there is not an unrenewed sinner upon the earth liverance from that condition.
who is not an enemy. Your whole course of character and 1. The condition in which the gospel finds the whole race conduct, in an unconverted state, is operating to thwart the of men is exhibited in the text by a single word. They are divine purposes in the redemption of the world, to make in“lost.” And in reference to them it has but a single object, iquity abound, when he would make an end of sin, and to which is, " to seek and to save" them.
divert from Jesus the heart which he would bring home to It needs no argument here to prove that you are not now his dominion. And thus, by these wicked works, you prove by nature, what God designed you to be. He formed man yourselves the enemies of God. upright; and now that man has fallen, he would restore you 4. The gospel finds you lost in a state of utter inability to to a more permanent uprightness than that in which he was return to God, or to restore to yourselves the divine image formed at first. It is, however, absolutely indispensable that and favour. So far are you from being able to recommend you should understand the state to which transgression has yourselves to God, that every imagination of the thoughts of reduced you. You must see yourselves as you are in fact; your heart is only evil continually: God alone can enable for a conviction of your wants and dangers, and an humble you to will or to do any thing that is good. You have not sense of your great alienation from God, lies at the root of a wish of your own to be reconciled to God. Your disposiall true religion; is indispensable to your acceptance of the tions and affections are so entirely averted from him, and you gospel.
love darkness and sin so much better than you love light and 1. The gospel finds you lost under a burden of inconceiva- holiness, that you have no natural desire to be brought to a ble guilt. Every precept of the divine law testifies against knowledge of yourselves or to a knowledge of God. This you. There is not a duty required of you which has not aversion of your minds forms an utter incapacity of yourselves been left undone. There is not a transgression prohibited, in to return to God; and were there no other power to operate which, by thought and purpose, if not in word and act, you in the conversion of your souls but the determining power have not engaged.' You were born in sin; and from the of your own wills, Ezekiel might as well preach to the dry birth you have gone astray. One transgression would have bones as we preach the gospel unto you. Still more beyond exposed you to eternal ruin; and you have multiplied your your power is it to restore to yourselves the divine favour transgressions as the sand of the sea. Every hour of your and image which have been lost by sin. This is a path which life, because spent in rebellion against God, is a record of no human wisdom hath ever trodden, and no mortal eye could condemnation; and there is not a single hour, which, if you ever discern. And except as the result of God's unsearchawere tried by it, would not sink you into unutterable despair. ble riches of grace, all possibility of reconciliation to him Your guilt is, therefore, inconceivable: for until you have would cease for ever. So far as it regards a way to render written down every sinful purpose and feeling of your lives, God merciful to the sinner's soul, or to bring this soul back and marked the recompense of everlasting condemuation as to God, though the united wisdom of all creatures should be its proper desert, and then have added up the sum of all these collected to decide upon the method, the gospel finds you innumerable purposes, and taken the amount of condemna- utterly lost, and must seek and save you as you are. tion which will result from your estimate, you have attained This is the condition in which the gospel finds you by no just measure of your guilt. It is high as heaven; what nature. You are lost under a load of intolerable guilt, in the can you know? It is deep as hell; what can you do? It is extremity of sinfulness and corruption, in the enmity of your ntterly beyond the power of your minds to comprehend the hearts to God, and in an utter inability to restore yourselves extent of actual guilt which lies upon every one of your souls. to his favour.