Page images

Serm. of human Nature, and affirm that of it in II. one, which is true only in the other. That

it is agreeable to our rational Constitution to discern and pursue the Duties of Piety, Justice, Charity, Sobriety, and all Righteousness, cannot indeed be questioned, without questioning at the same Time the essential Difference between Virtue and Vice, and the moral Agency of Man. However, that it is also agreeable to our depraved Nature to rebel against our Creator,---to delight in Injustice and Oppression, and making our Fellow-Creatures wretched, ---and to be enslaved by many furious and headstrong Appetites, cannot be more truly disputed, without contradicting our own Feeling and Observation, and the Attestation of God himself.


As there was a primitive Integrity in Man, the Origin of true Liberty, which he might have preserved inviolate, fo is there 'most surely a derived Principle of Defilement fixed within him, which he can no more subdue, than vindicate. This is that Law in our Members, by which Sin rules in our Hearts with an Influence superior to the Law of God. It displays itself in its full Vigour without Grace, and struggles for the Ascendant under it. It is most


opposite to the infinite Purity of the Su- SERM. preme Being, and makes the human Nature II. hateful to the Divine, as it is debauch'd thereby in its inmost Composition,---is carried off in a full Career towards Transgression,---and lain often under the Neceflity of offending ; which, though not of that Sort, whereby the material or brutal World is forced to act, is yet fuch, as was never known to fail in any Instance, but of him, who was the Son of God, as well as the Son of Man,--who came into the World on purpose to ransom us from the all-commanding Power of Sin,---to restore us to our lost Capacity of Obedience, and to atone for the Defects of it in the Penitent and Reformed.

Should we, concealing our Disease, reject the offered Remedy, and doubt of this ultimate End of Christ's taking our Nature upon him, we must be utterly unworthy of the beneficial Effects of it. To entertain a Notion, that there is no Need of a Redeemer---shews a Mind unhappily blinded by Error, and is a remarkable Production of that original Taint, which Men are so very backward to acknowledge. It aims at overturning Foundations, and indisputably takes its Rise from a Denial of the most funda

E 2


SERM, mental Article of the Christian Faith. For II. if they, who are in this way of Thinking,

would modestly attribute to their Saviour that Perfection, which he certainly enjoys, they would not be tempted to arrogate to themselves that Perfection, which they notoriously want.

It being then but too manifest, that Man is subject to the uncontroulable Dominion of Sin, and reduced to great Viciousness of Soul, as well as Wretchedness of Body; let us trace up the Evil to the Spring-head, and we shall find it deriving its Source as high up almost as his very Existence,--let us search for the Occasion of the Ransom, we stand in the utmost Need of, and we must look for it as far back, as the Disobedience of our first-formed Parents, and for the Intention to grant it a vast deal further ; since, known unto God are all his Works, and all his Purposes, even from Eternity.

They, who cannot persuade themselves to relish the Scripture Account of that most enormous Offence, which has entailed Impurity and Misery on the whole Race of Adam, hould re-examine what Grounds they have


for their Dinike ; and why they conclude the Serm. Relation to be void of Truth, and all no bet. II. ter than mere Allegory and Fable. Cannot a ww real Occurrence be described in figurative Expressions? Or, is the History not to be credited, because it is concise, because it does not gratify their Curiosity in all its Circumstances, though it plainly asserts the Fact, it treats of? Such incredulous Persons should consider, that the whole Plan of Revelation is founded upon this Event ;---it is alluded to in every Part of the Old Testament, and is the Master-key to open the Drift and Meaning of the most stupendous Incidents in the New.

If Christ Jesus suffered in the Manner and Measure, we are assured, he did, there must be some very substantial Cause for it. It could not be for his own Demerit, as he had not the least Shadow of Guilt ; who did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his Mouth (0) or if wicked Men could be moved by Envy and Malice to destroy the most righteous and benificent Person, that ever lived, how came they to be able to perpetrate their Villainy ? His Innocence exempted him from suffering justly, and his Omnipotence defended him from being punished wrongfully, without E 3

his (0) 1 St, Pet. ii, 22.

Serm his own voluntary Confent. He declares, that II. be had Power to lay down bis Life and to V take it again (D). But that his Enemies

had none over him, except it were given them from above (9), and he could on Application to his heavenly Father obtain á numerous angelic Host for his Rescue and Defence (r). Yet he declined this Exertion of his Divine Authority, and of his own Accord calmly submitted himself to Infamy, to Torture, and to Death.

Now what could be the Inducement to all this? What Motive suitable to such amazing Humiliation can be thought of, if the Necessities of lost Man did not loudly call for this Display of infinitely condescending Goodness, in order to his Recovery? The Greatness of the Ransom should be an ir

refragable Proof to us, that the Captivity : was heavy and real,---the Value of the

Atonement a most powerful Evidence of the extreme Guilt; nor can there be fo bafe and monstrous an Instance of Ingratitude, as to disown our having been by Nature in a State of Misery and Slavery, rather than confess the Payment of the Price of our Redemption.

But (0) St. John X. 18. . (9) St. John xix. 11. (r) St. Matth. xxvi. 53.

« EelmineJätka »