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natures, and on his ascension into heaven was shed abroad upon the world to prepare mankind for the gospel, and to enable them to profit by it. Whence it follows, that as we have nothing that we have not received, to look upon our good actions as wrought by our own strength, or as at all meritorious of reward, or even as free from imperfection, is, not only to rob God of the glory due to his grace, but to show evidently that we know nothing of ourselves as yet as we ought to know it—of the true condition of human nature as fallen and depraved, and of what God hath done to raise it, and revive his image upon it, and bring it back to himself. And this is confirmed to us both by observation and experience. For those who contend for the morality of their lives as meritorious of salvation, and rest their hope of hereafter on this sandy foundation, are generally such persons as, though not in direct opposition to the gospel, are yet not professors of religion, or, if they chance to be so, are such for reasons distinct from any saving conviction of their own danger because of personal sin, or from any realizing view of Christ as the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth. The knowledge of the fact as revealed, may bring men to assent in terms to Christ in all his offices as set forth in the gospel ; but nothing short of a deep sense of their own personal guilt and danger by reason of sin, such as can be wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit alone, and that in the Lord only have we righteousness and strength, can bring them to renounce themselves, their poor, broken, impure, and imperfect works, earnestly desiring to win Christ and to be found in him ; not having their own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ whom God hath made to be sin for us, that we might he made the righteousness of God in him. This we know to be perfect, and, therefore, acceptable before God; our own we know to be imperfect, and, therefore, not to be trusted to in so serious a concern as the loss or salvation of our souls. That it must be perfect and complete, lacking nothing, the text teaches us, inasmuch as even the sacrifice through which mercy reaches the sinner was required to be spotless. Him who knew no sin hath God made to be sin for us. He can accept nothing polluted or imperfect. Hence we see the danger of trusting to our own righteousness, the absolute necessity of an interest in Christ, the Lord our righteousness; and the depth of that wisi'om which hath provided for fallen creatures a righteousness, in which to see God and live. Hence also it is called in Scripture the righteousness of God, because it is perfect, and of bis institution, ordination, and appointment, and that which alone he will accept from the sinner for justification of life; and it is called the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, because it is received and applied only by faith in Christ as the procuring cause.

Hence we learn, III. Thirdly, that we can secure an interest in the satisfaction made to the divine justice by the death of Christ no other. wise than by so receiving the testimony God hath given of his Son as to believe and obey the gospel.

That Gan, intending to redeem fallen creatures, should make known to them both the method and the conditions of his mercy, is not to be disputed without involving an absurdity. And, admitting we are redeemed, the only inquiry which befits and can be useful to those who are the objects of redemption, is, by what method and on what conditions is it effected. Now we all profess to believe, in one sense or another, that God has interposed by his Son to turn away the sad consequences of sin and rebellion from his guilty creatures; and had we no gospel, no revelation, or was it hard to come at, and difficult to understand, sure I am we should consider it a great hardship, but should be much more intent than we now are to find out all that related to it. But surely we might reflect that the ease and readiness with which we can come at the knowledge of what most concerns us, will serve to deepen the guilt of remaining ignorant of or unaffected by so gracious a proof of God's good will and tender love to. wards us as is displayed in the gospel of Christ. Now let me ask this congregation of Christian people, suppose their eternal salvation was this moment to be decided according to the care and attention with which each one had endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the Scriptures as the revealed will of God, how many of those now present would reap any advantage from such an offer ? I make these remarks and put this question, my hearers, in the hope it may startle the neglecters

of God's word, and convince them how vain it is to expect religious benefit if they take no pains to become religious, that it may rouse them to consider carefully what it is, and the interest they have in making it their own. For so sure as God hath spoken to us by his Son, my brethren, and we are to be judged by the word thus spoken, so sure is it, that if we do not seek we shall not find ; so sure is it, that if the value of our immortal souls does not interest us, so as to inquire, and that earnestly too, what must we do to be saved, we never can be saved. For it is not that the salvation or damnation of thousands of such worlds as this can in any way affect Almighty God, he is infinitely beyond such considerations, and hath no need of the sinful man; but it is of his essential and undeserved goodness, and for our advantage, that all the wonders of his redeeming love have been wrought and made known; so that the sin of ingratitude is added to that of disobedience, in all who fail to search the Scriptures and satisfy themselves respecting the great truths of our holy religion. The testimony which God hath given of his Son is so direct, and at the same time so consonant with his dignity and the nature of his office as the instructer, propitiation, and Saviour of sinners, as at once to draw the attention and deserve the most serious consideration of those who are favoured with it; while the unspeakable interests dependent on its reception or rejection are calculated to secure that accurate investigation which accountable beings might fairly be supposed to make. Yet notwithstanding all this, on no other subject is so much carelessness manifested, on no other do men so generally content themselves with acknowledgment in the gross and disregard in the particulars ; satisfied with the mere cursory knowledge of the facts, without considering the bearing those facts have on their present and future welfare. But, my brethren and hearers, the mere knowledge of the gospel, though in itself an advantage, and one to be accounted for, is no otherwise effectual than as it is improved in our practice. The testimony God hath given of his Son, is to assure us that we may safely trust our souls to his saving power. To reject or neglect this testimony is to make God a liar, and to bar our

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selves out from any entrance of religion into our souls.

For to as many as receive him, and to them only, does he give the power or privilege to become the sons of God. While we content ourselves, then, with the mere knowledge of the gospel, without becoming the disciples of Christ by an open profession of him as our only Saviour, or making such profession without obeying the laws and rules of his kingdom, we deceive ourselves if we expect any benefit from his death. For,

IV. Fourthly, to those only who thus receive and apply it, is this wonderful appointment of God, set forth in the text, made effectual to salvation.

That a gracious God, in bringing salvation to sinners should have so appointed as to make the whole dependant on another, and not on the sinners themselves, is a stumbling block to the wisdom of the world. But we may be sure, from its being thus ordered, that it is not only most consonant with the perfections and dignity of God, as the supreme governor of the universe, but the best and the wisest, also, for those for whom it is provided. And the reason of thus providing for us through the righteousness of another, is plain and convincing, even to our poor apprehensions. For, says the apostle, what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. The law of the Lord is perfect; but whence could fallen creatures, with faculties impaired and depraved, fulfil its holy conditions, even say that no previous condemnation was to be removed to make room for a new trial; and the goodness of God is as eminently displayed in providing a particular method for bestowing his favour upon us, as if he did it without any such particular provision. The question is not in how many or what other ways the omnipotence of Go! could have saved sinners, but according to what method and upon what conditions has he done it. This is all that concerns us in the first place; as humble, thankful acceptance, and diligent observance of the means appointed, is what concerns us in the next place. For we may be perfectly sure, that God having condescended to mark out a way for the attainment of heaven, that and that alone can bring us thither. Vain and ruinous, therefore, is the expectation that the gospel will profit us, unless we take care to profit by the grace it brings us ; and miserable and dreadful the disappointment of those who consider so little the mercy and wisdom of God, in making him who knew 10 sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, as never to have taken one step towards securing the advantages so freely offered us in Christ Jesus. No, not even so much as professing the religion he taught, or observing the ordinances he has commanded. Oh! to how many thousands, if they continue thus, will that merciful Saviour, who was content to be made sin for them, have to say in the great day of eternity-I never knew you ! Lori), were we not born under thy gospel, baptized in thy name, and knew we not thee always as the Saviour of sinners, may they say. But, alas ! what will they answer to such replies as these, my careless, unconverted hearers -Have ye kept your baptismal vow? Were you saved from sin when in the world ? Did you obey the precepts and example I left with you? Did you ever openly confess me before men ? How often have I been set forth before your eyes, evidently crucified for you, and you have turned your backs upon my body broken and blood shed to buy your souls ? LORD, we trusted in thy mercy. And hath not mercy and warning waited upon you twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years; but now the door of mercy is shut. I am no longer a Saviour, but a Judge. Ye would not be made holy in your day of grace, ye cannot he made happy in eternity. Depart ye cursed to the portion ye have chosen. O that God may be pleased to sanctify his truth to your hearts, and that that merciful Saviour, whom you now slight may yet intercede for you and lengthen your day of grace, and give you to perceive and to seek after the things which make for your peace before they are for ever hid from your eyes.

And, dear brethren, let us ever bear in mind the high purpose for which God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us the holy and merciful design with which he gave himself for us

-the gracious end of all the ordinances and commandments of our LORD, that our lives may be answerable to the hope we profess;

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