Page images

of your Judge ? that you are acknowledged rebels, pardoned only through the mercy of your Sovereign ? that you are confessed sinners, redeemed only by the merits of Christ? There is no ground for boasting here; it is altogether excluded. Besides, you cannot of yourselves acquire that holiness; it must be wrought in you by the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, without which you will labour in vain.

Is it a matter of boast then, that you are weak, and impotent creatures ? that you are unable to help yourselves, and dependent upon God for every thing? that you cannot think, and act aright, without his grace going before, and accompanying you ? Here is much cause for humility; none for pride or boasting; and you may learn, from experience and observation, that the best Christian is always the most humble.

Beware then that you do not abuse the doctrine of God's grace, on the one hand, by thinking that it dispenses with a life of practical piety, nor the doctrine of the necessity of holiness, on the other, by supposing that it makes you your own Saviour: but let each produce its proper effects ; join both together, and let the one produce humility, the other diligence in your spiritual warfare; and while you labour earnestly to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," at the same time, ascribe not the smallest merit to yourselves, but give all praise and glory to God, that he designs to consider you worthy of his favour, for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.



St. JOHN VII. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself

In a late discourse,* I set before you some of the strong proofs, with which we are furnished, of the truth of our holy religion. My arguments on that occasion, were briefly these--First, I asserted that the wonderful works, which Christ is said to have performed, could only have been done by one, who was possessed of divine power; and that God would certainly not have granted such power to any man, for the purpose of giving weight and authority to mere falsehood and deceit. Both of these assertions, I am sure you will allow to be true. The question then was, did Christ really perform those extraordinary things ? The answer is enough to satisfy any one: several persons, who went about the world preaching the doctrines which they had received from him, declared that they saw the facts with their own eyes; persons too, who were so far from having any interest in propagating such stories, if false, that, on the contrary, they sacrificed every thing; they gave up their quiet and peaceable occupations; they deserted their native country, their homes, their families, their friends; they underwent all sorts of troubles and inconveniences; they exposed themselves to ill usage, to mockery, to persecution, to death itself, and maintained to the very last, that their account was true. They could gain nothing, they lost every thing, of worldly comfort; and still they persisted obstinately in the same story, that He, from whom they had learnt their new religion, confirmed it by a series of the most astonishing miracles, and that after He had been put to death, he rose again from the grave, conversed with them for many days, and finally, in their very presence, was taken up into Heaven. They actually suffered death, I repeat, rather than deny the truth of this account. If you will not believe them, never believe man more; for no

*. Sermon iv.

« PreviousContinue »