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gion. They work, in short, not as the presumptuous hope of a mere exemption from pui nishment would work on an earthly and unrenewed mind, but as a scriptural expectation of spiritual blessings operates on a new and heavenly nature. They work therefore not as an opiate to stupify, but as a medicine to restore. And all this they do, not by a mere natural process, but by the gracious appointment of God, that through his mercy and the power of his Spirit, the cordial belief and reception of them should lead to purity here, and end in heaven hereafter.
But why do I enter into these details upon a point which every true Christian feels in his constant observation and experience? If ever he has done any thing for God, it has been by means of the promises.' If ever he has mortified his passions or cultivated a temper of universal holiness, it has been by the grace of the Gospel. If ever he has escaped from the corruption which is in the world through lust, and be-. come in a measure partaker of the divine nature, it has been by faith in the power and love of his Saviour. If ever he hopes to hold on in his path of obedience and to reach the bliss of heaven, it is by looking constantly to the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is of grace. Sanctification, as well as justification, flow from the stupendous sacrifice of the cross of Christi
It is in the exertion of his persevering endeavours indeed, that holiness is communicated; but these endeavours, severed from the almighty operations of the Spirit, which gave them birth, would prove unavailing. He can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth him; whilst without him he can do nothing. It is in this way and no other, that he is enabled to add, as our Apostle goes on to state in the verses following the text, to his faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness;, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. It is thus that he is enabled to make his calling and election sure, and that at last an entrance is ministered unto him abundantly into the everlas ing kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
After these statements, it will be sufficient; in closing the whole discourse, to notice THE TEST
FURNISHES OF OUR STATE BEFORE GOD.
We learn from this important passage that, to be true Christians, we must escape the corruption of the world—must be partakers of the divine nature-must account the promises of God to be erceeding great and precious. This is obvious. And yet how many are there who call themselves by the name of Christ, and yet have
never done, nor ever thought, or intended to do, any one of these things! They love the world in which they live, even as others. They make provision for the flesh, that they may fulfil the lusts thereof. Of any change of heart and nature, they are utterly ignorant ; or if they have heard of it, they undervalue or despise it. The preciousness of the promises sounds enthusiastic and extravagant in their ears, although such texts as that we are considering, serve to restrain their open avowal of the sentiment. Their religion, such as it is, is quite consistent with the supreme love of earthly things; it easily amalgamates with the common pursuits and -passions of mankind, it embraces not the necessity of a divine nature, it meddles not with the promises of grace; these are a dead letter, uninteresting, perplexing, obscure.
Let such persons be reminded by the text of their extreme danger. Let them know that, before they can enter heaven, they must be delivered from the world, must renounce the corruptions which reign over them by lust, must be born again, and created anew in Christ Jesus, must seek for salvation by the great and precious promises of the Gospel, must discover and feel their need of the blessings they unfold, must esteem them more than gold, yea than much fine gold, and must live a holy life by the grace wbich dictated them. If there be a word of
truth,' says a good writer, in all the Scriptures, unconverted sinners, dying such, will be mise, rable to eternity.' If men will put a general notion of God's mercy, in the place of his promises; if they will substitute a form of godliness for a divine nature; and a mere decency and good order before others, for an escape from the corruption which is in the world through lust, they must perish. It cannot be otherwise. The word of God expressly makes the declaration...
But I would rather hope that such may in some measure be convinced of their perilous state by what has been advanced. I trust you begin to feel that you cannot be saved as you
This is an important step. Draw nigh then to God, and submit yourselves to the terms of the Gospel. When you begin seriously, to desire the holy salvation which God has revealed, his exceeding great and precious promises may be considered as addressed to you. You come within the scope of them. The lowest and most feeble desires after true religion will, derive encouragement from them. God delight. eth in mercy. He abundantly pardons. He has no pleasure in the death of a sinner. He promises his Holy Spirit to all who ask him. He solemnly declares that he that seeks shall find, and that to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. He expressly promises that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved... He
bids us take with us words and turn unto him; and we are assured that he marks and observes the first emotions of penitence and prayer.
Let then these declarations guide you to his footstool. The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Christ Jesus may be given to them that believe. If you see this promise to be exceeding great and precious, an important point is already gained. To feel the value of the promises, is an evidence of spiritual life. If you begin to know that you need a new heart, and that without a divine nature you can never get to heaven: this proves that the Spirit of God is at work in your mind. If you discern the corruption which lust and disobedience have occasioned in the world, and earnestly desire to escape from it lest you should be involved in destruction : this clearly indicates that you have already within you
the seed of those dispositions to which the promises are made. Go on in the strength of these promises; use them ; implore of God to fulfil them to you as your necessities, while engaged in the pursuit of pardon and grace, require. You shall not seek in vain. He is faithful that hath promised. Whilst the other parts of Scripture will teach you the fall of man, the dealings of God with his church, the offices of Christ and the nature of his kingdom, the evil of sin, the scheme of redeinption, the