« EelmineJätka »
SERM. would but exasperate him to become more V. 'their Enemy. For a Sinner cannot demand,
nor deserve Forgiveness : It is the free Act of the Divine Bounty; the Deity alone is the Dispenser of it, and Man the Receiver : Shall we then dare to prescribe . Articles to him, and scorn to be forgiven but in our own Way ?
It is in and through Baptism, as the stated Channel and Instrument of Conveyance, that we must look to meet with Remission of Sins ; this is the Deed, whereon is grounded our Christian Claim to it, and in which, as in a Contract, a Title is made over to us in this first Step to God's Favour, the sure Pledge of all his other Bles
sings, if no Obstacle intervene on our Side. :. And this being the Purport of the new Co
venant according to the express Words of holy Scripture, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Remision of Sins (n), and arise and be baptized, and wash away thy Sins (o). It undeniably follows, that the
Sons of God, and none but they, who are - made so by the washing of Regeneration, have - a confirmed Right to this Privilege of Pardon.
WHAT(*) A&s ii. 38. (0) Acts xxii. 16.
Serm. WHATEVER others may find, or any cha- . v: ritably think, that they shall find, it is what none can with a fulness of Assurance promise them, nor can they confidently promise it to themselves. And the Situation of those, who are begotten again to a lively Hope, is as much better than theirs, who are left to their doubtful Surmisings, as the highest Certainty in the most momentous Affair is preferable to a bare Possibility of Success. .
But we must, after all, distinguish between such as are now under an unavoidable Necesity of being excluded from the Family of God, and such as prophanely despise the Privilege of being his adopted Sons. The Case of the first is truly compassionable, and tho' they have no formal Grant of Pardon made over to them, yet do they seem to be fit Objects of that unbounded Mercy, which is over all God's Works. However the last can have no Pretence to that Favour, which they rudely push from them, when offered, and, instead of seeking to be justified in God's Way, persist in the most barefaced Opposition to it, and in doing Despite to the Spirit of Grace (P). I N 3
THIS (P2 Heb. X. 29.
Serm. V. This carries us on to another Privilege w of the Sons of God: Who, as they are born
not only of Water, but also of the Spirit, have a new Principle of Holiness infused into them,---have Nourishment supplied for their spiritual Growth,---are transformed by the renewing of their Minds (9), ---and are empowered, if they are not miserably deficient in their Endeavours, to continue blameless unto the End, and advance to Manhood in that filial State, into which they are afresh born.
They are sanctified through the Holy Ghost at first more imperfectly by the Baptismal Consecration, and afterwards more compleatly by a vital proper Holiness. He is their Guide and their Instructor, their Comforter and their Perfecter ; he leads them into all Truth, not by affording any new Inspirations, but by enlightening their Minds to know and embrace the old, the written Dictates of the Divine Will once delivered to the Saints (r), and he enables them to obey the Truth, not by any forcible Impulses, which may be felt, but by an Operation gentle and imperceivable ; though very manifest in the Effects; when the Children of
God (9) Rom. xii 2.
(v) St. Jude iži,
God produce the Fruit of the Spirit in all SERM. Goodness, and Righteousness, and Truth (s), V. when through the Influence of the same blersed Spirit they abound in Hope, and are filled with all foy and Peace in believing (t),--are strengthened . with Might in the inner Man, and are rooted and grounded in Love (u).
These Scripture-expressions however ought to be understood in a qualified Sense, left they should incline to that delusive Enthufiasm, which sober Reason abhors, or to that fécure Presumption, which true Religion condemns. It is a dreadful Mistake, to think, that the Holy Spirit acts in, and with the Faithful' by an impetuous and allcommanding Violence, or that he doth all those great Things for the Sons of God by vehemently overbearing their Choice and Judgment. He leads, but he does not drive ; they are at Liberty to follow him in the direct Path to Glory, or to withdraw from under his Guidance, and relinquish their own Happiness : And this is too often the Event, in some for a Time, in others for ever.
That the Regenerate should be liable frequently to transgress, is by no Means ftrange during the present Season of their Trial : For without such a Power, where would their Probation be? But it is their further Privilege not to be immediately lost, as soon as they go astray : They are sought after like wandering Sheep by their Shepterd,---are invited and aflifted to come back into the Fold;---are kindly received on their Repentance and Amendment ---and have an Atonement always ready to be applied on the Return to their Duty ; which they never fail of finding, if they are careful to look for it in the appointed Place and Manner, i. e. if they prepare themselves to feast on Christ's Merits in one Sacrament, as they have been cloathed with them in the other, and fpiritually eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink bis Blood (x), thereby partaking of the excellent Fruits and Benefits of his Sacrifice : For then they have eternal Life, and he will raise them up at the left Dey (y), ..
The Sons of God are not only baptized into @ne Body, but are made to drink into
. . onę (*) St. John vi. 53. 6:2. V, 54.