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St. Peter says:
you stand at the bar of God when this very book shall be opened for your trial, and your secret murmurings or ungodly speeches against it stare you in the face, with all your other sins ? To whom will you go then for the words of eternal life; to God Almighty? Hear what
« God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.' At the proud he looketh afar off,' says David ; yea, he frowned Satan into hell for his pride ; and what greater pride can there be in people that are born in sin, and children of wrath by nature, as you and I are, than to oppose the plain word of God, and to absolve ourselves when the Lord condemns us, instead of gleading guilty, and going to Christ now for life and salvation ? Will you go to him in the hour of death? Do you think he will give you heaven then for having trampled his doctrine under foot ? Will he take you in, who fight against bis word, when he shuts out the foolish virgins who assented to all that it contains ? Or shall we go in that awful day to our good works for salvation ? Our good works! I should be glad to know which they are ? Our oaths and curses, our threats and passions, our whoredom and drunkenness, our filthy talking and jesting, our vain and covetous practices, our lying and slandering, our breaking the Sabbath, and making sport of those who want to fear the Lord, our keeping away from the house of God's worship when others resort to it, and our openly refusing to walk with a crucified Saviour when the sacred mystery of his dying love is celebrated at the altar,-are these our good works? Will these save us ? Having been guilty of such things, shall we ever dream of salvation by our works ? When thieves are saved from the gallows by the robbery they have committed, we may fancy to be såved from hell by the works we have done. When the Pharisee shall go justified to his house, we may hope to be pardoned on account of our good deeds. And when the Pope shall have turned Christ out of heaven, and the Epistles of St. Paul out of the Bible, we may dissent from Peter in the text, and instead of saying with him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words
of eternal life ;' we may say with all Deists, “ Lord, we need not go to thee, for we have the words of eternal life at our command; our endeavours, works, and righte. ousness will save us; the Pope has shown us this door, and though thou tellest us thou art the door, yet we are determined to go in at our own door.” This I do not speak, my brethren, to set you against good works, but to shew you the need of coming to Christ first, that the tree may be made good before you can do works good in the sight of God. • Make the tree good,' says our Lord, and then the fruit shall be good ;' till then,
bring forth fruits meet for repentance;' and when you stand in the Lord by faith, when you are grafted in Christ, when God has given you the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, take St. Paul's advice, (1 Cor. xv. 58,) • Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord : forasmuch as you know that,' though your labour would be in vain in yourselves, yet it is not in yain in the Lord.'
But I would hope that many of you, instead of find. ing these sayings false and hard, find them true and just; and that were our Lord to say unto you, as he did to the twelve, “Will ye also go away?' you would answer, as well as Peter, “. Lord, to whom should we go ?' God is a consuming fire out of thee ; angels and saints, bishops and priests, books and ordinances, good works and endeavours cannot save, for thou alone, O Christ, hast the words of everlasting life.” But can you say this from your heart as well as with your lips ? Are you entirely reconciled ? Are you really well pleased with God's way of saving sinners through faith alone in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ ? Do you renounce the Devil and all his works; yea, and all dependence upon your own works ? Can you, with St. Paul, desire to be found in Christ, not having your own righteousness, but that which is through faith in his blood ? Are you determined to glory only in the Lord ; to rejoice in nothing so much as in the cross of Jesus your Lord, which is to crucify the world unto you, and you unto the world ? Though all men should go back to the world, and walk no more with Christ in the way of the regeneration, are you resolved (the Lord being your helper) to follow Christ and his word, and to stand to your Bible even unto death? If this is the case, rejoice, you dearly beloved of the Lord ; the good work is begun in your souls ; you are already called out of the world. “ Marvel not, then,' says St. John, “if the world hate you ;' it hated, it forsook, it crucified your Lord and Master before you, and so it will do by the servant in a measure. Oh, bear your cross with patience ; your Saviour who bore it first comes to meet you with a crown of righteousness, and a crown of glory. O faint not in the mean time; faint not in this day of reproach, scandal, temptation, and darkness. You see many who call themselves disciples, and churchmen, exclaiming against the plain doctrine of Christ and of our Church, and refusing to walk with our Reformers in the narrow path pointed out in the word of God, and in our Articles and Homilies. But 0, follow not a mul. titude in the broad way ; choose rather with Moses, to endure affliction and reproach with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures and smiles of the world for
Take the good part of Mary, take the good part of Peter, and though all the world should not only forsake Christ, but also rise up in arms against you for cleaving to his word, stand to the text.-In you there is nothing but sin, death, and damnation, says our Church. ' In me, that is in my flesh, (says Paul himself,) dwelleth no good thing.' Up then with the Apostle ; not only renounce with him all other saviours, but go, this moment go, to him whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour for you. Say not only, • To whom shall we go ?,' but go directly, with all your sins, with all your misery, to your dying Saviour. Tell him, “ Lord, thou hast the words of everlasting life : Speak them in my soul.” Give him no rest till he say to you, as he did to David, “I am thy salvation ;' till he give you the blessing which he gave to the thief upon the cross, to Zaccheus upon the tree, to Nathanael under the fig-tree, to the harlot that wept behind him, to the
woman who touched the hem of his garment, to the returning prodigal, to the penitent publican in the tem. ple. Fear not; only believe ; one grain of the faith of the centurion will remove all your sins upon Christ, who took them away upon the cross.
Hear what David says, • As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him ; as far as the East is from the West, so far has he put our sins from us.' Look up then, believe, and live. Does not the Lord even now speak the word, that, going justified to your houses through the blood of the everlasting Covenant, you may praise and serve him without fear, all the
Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
John v. 40.
Last Sunday I shewed, that Christ has an indubi. table right to call us to receive spiritual and eternal life at his hands ; because, having stood as our Surety, he has fully satisfied Divine justice, and exactly answered the demands of the Divine law: So that now he is the Author of eternal salvation to all those that seek it through his merits. I expostulated next, with the con. vinced and awakened sinners; answering their most common objections, for putting off their coming to Jesus Christ for life. But as time did not permit me to do such an important subject justice, I shall to-day, by the grace of God, shew more particularly, upon what terms Christ gives life to those that come unto him:Describe four classes of sinners who will not come to Christ, that they might have life :-Prove, by some unanswerable arguments, that unbelief (or not coming to Christ for life) is the most abominable and damning of all sins ;—and then I shall conclude, by exhorting those who are guilty of it, to arise, and go to their Saviour for pardon and life. And, in the mean time, may the power of Divine grace, and the virtue of Jesus's name, be so present to wound and to heal our souls, as to make us willing and able to come to him now, that henceforth we may live to the glory of him who died for us!
I. I am to shew upon what terms Christ gives life unto those that come to him.
To come to Christ that we may have life, is, in general, to believe in him only for salvation. It is to pass through faith, from a state of nature unto a state of