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natural man, that is, every man by nature, receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God—they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.' (1 Cor. ii. 14.); and what is worse, the natural man hateth the light. As the thief and the adulterer dread the morning, so every sinner, being under the power of the prince of darkness, 'hateth the light, neither cometh be to the light, lest his (evil) deeds should be reproved.' John iii. 20. He shuns the light of God's word, lest he should see himself, and be filled with shame and painful conviction by the discovery of his sin. Now it was one principal end of Christ's coming from Heaven, to be the light of the world. He preachel recovery of sight to the blind ;—he opened the bodily eyes of some who were born blind, to shew that he could also open the eyes of the mind. He is to the soul of every believer, what the sun is to our bodily eyes. One great design of the gospel is, 'to open . men's eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.' Not that the word alone is sufficient for this
purpose, unicas accompanied by the power of the Spirit of God : 'He only, who conimanded the light to shine out of darkness, can shine into our minds,' so as to give us the true light.
Here let us stop a moment and enquire, What do we know of this? Is it so, that all men are born blind ? Have we been sensible of this ? We should think it a miserable thing to sit for several days, as the Egyptians once did, without the light of the sun. But our state by nature is far worse. It is a good thing to be sensible that this is our case : for, saith St. Paul, in the 18th verse of this chapter, “If any inan among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise ;' that is, if he seem to have a large stock of worldly wisdom, let him renounce it all as insufficient to lead him into gospel truth ; let him make Christ by his word and Spirit the foundation of all his wisdom ; and then, patiently endure to be called a Fool by the world. 0, let us be like that poor blind man, to whom Jesus said- What wouldest thou that I should du unto thee? Lord,' said he,' that I may receive
my sight!' Happy man! he prayed not in vain. Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.' Mark x. 52. So shall it be with us, if, like him, we cry, "Jesus, have mercy on us ! With this desire let us come to the preaching of the gospel ; and whenever we open our Bibles, let us pray, Lord, open thou our eyes, that we may see wonderful things in thy law.' We are next to show, that,
II. Jesus Christ is the foundation of all acceptance with God the Father.
All men are sinners. This is generally confessed ;but till Christ enlighten the mind of a sinner, he is not affected by it ;-He sees not the sinfulness of sin ;-He sees not the horrid impurity of hisl heart ;-He is not alarmed with the danger of his condition ;-He is not aware that the holiness, justice and truth of God are against him. But this is really his case : the law of God requires perfect love and sinless obedience ; or it puts the offender under the curse: for it is written Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.' You must continue, without intermission, in all things (not keeping nine commandinents, and breaking the tenth; and not keeping them all outwardly, and breaking them in thought) not only to purpose well, but to do them. And which of us has kept the law in this manner ? — who can say that he never offended in thought, word, or deed ? Certainly every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God,' who searcheth all hearts.
Now what is the consequence? The wages of sin is death.' God hath passed the decree, The soul that sinneth shall die. God is faithful and just to fulfil his decree ; and he is almighty to execute his sentence. What then can be done ? Is there no remedy ? Must sinful men sink for ever under divine wrath ? Two things must be done ;-Full satisfaction must be made to the holiness and justice of God for past offences; and our sinful nature must be renewed and made holy. But can man do these ? As soon might he create a new world. The natural man has neither the will, nor the power to renew and cleanse his nature. Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean,
I am pure from sin ? No man can say it truly. It is God's work. So David prayed, “ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me !! And until God create a clean heart, how can any thing clean proceed out of it ? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Who, in an impure nature, can do a pure action ? Who under the curse of the law, under a sentence of condemnation, can perform a meritorious service? It is impossible. The scripture has declared, • There is none righteous; no, not one;' and that' by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified.'
But what was impossible to man, is possible to God. Blessed be his name, he has, in infinite wisdom and love, devised a way for our acceptance-a way honourable to himself and easy for us.
He has sent his own Son into our world, in the likeness of sinful flesh; and by making him sin for us, he has condemned sin in the flesh, that we may be made the righteousness of God in bim. Jesus Christ was God and man in one person. By the divine and human natures united in him, what ever he did and suffered became truly divine and infinite. Our nature was wholly defiled and in pure. Christ came in a nature perfectly pure and spotless. In this nature he obeyed the whole law; he continued in all things written in the law to do them. He also humbled himself to suffer what we deserved to suffer for our disobedience. • He redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us.' And thus, as by one man's disobedience many were made siuners, even so, by the obedience of one, many are made righteous.' Being made perfect through obeying and suffering, he became the author of eternal salvation. He is now able to save sinners to the uttermost; he has the infinite merit of his obedience to atone for their disobedience; he has the infinite merit of his suffering to free them from suffering ; he died to save them froin the second death : he rose again, that they might arise to newness of life here in grace, and to life everlasting in glory ; and he now ever lives to make intercession, and act as Me. diator between God and man ; able and willing to plead the merit of his life and death for the acceptance of every sinner, who comes to God the Father through hina.
Thus is Jesus Christ the foundation of all our acceptance with God. Thus St. Paul speaks (Eph. i. 6), • To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.' Christ is the beloved of the Father, « his dear Son.' In him he is well pleased-pleased with his person—pleased with his atonement-it was a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour. And for his sake, he is well pleased with us, if we believe in him ; he accepts us in him, and loves us, as his dear children. This is being saved by grace. This secures all the glory to God; and is free grace, which, as praiseworthy and glorious, is magnified by men and angels.
In this way only have sinners been saved from the beginning. The Lord God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of those beasts they slew in sacrifice; and thus they were accepted through faith in the righteousness of the great sacrifice ; and not by their own righteousness, denoted by the fig-leaves with which they clothed themselves. It was faith in the promised Lamb of God, that rendered Abel and his offering more acceptable than Cain and his offering. Thus Abraham was justified, for he believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. This righteousness, St. Paul says, was witnessed by the law and the prophets even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe.'
And now, men and brethren, let it be asked-Is this our foundation ? Whatever we look to, hope in, or depend upon, for acceptance with God, that is our foundation. But it highly concerns us to know whether it be this true and solid foundation, this Rock of Ages,' or some other, which will fail us in the day of trial. Whatever our foundation be, if it be not Christ, it is wrong ; for our text says Other foundation can no man lay than Christ.'-Now, is any man building his hopes on his own works? Is he saying, “ I am not so great a sinner as some are-I do no harm-I do my best endeavours--I have a good heart-I say my prayers-I go to church-I am sorry
sins am charitable to the poor, and so on. Suffer me to ask-Is this Christ? All this is building on self. It discovers a
total ignorance of our sinful state by nature, and a total ignorance of the gospel which reveals the righteousness of Christ. Besides, if we could work out a righteousness of our own, then there was no occasion for Jesus, and he died in vain. O let us beware of stumbling, as the Jews did, at this stumbling-stone (Rom. ix. 32): for whoever seeks acceptance by the works of the law, stumbles against this rock, instead of building on it. And so St. Peter speaks, Unto you, who believe, he is precious :'-he is speaking of Christ as the precious corner-stone of the church; but, he adds, he is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.' 1 Peter ji. 7, 8. On the contrary, he makes it the true character of all believers, that they come to Christ the living stone, and are built upon him, a spiritual house.' And this leads us, in the next place to show, that,
III. Jesus Christ is the foundation of all holy obedi
Many persons are afraid that the doctrine of faith is contrary to good works : and some have said If we are not to be saved by good works, what occasion is there for them? We answer,
• Good works are the breath of faith. A living man breathes : and a true faith works. St. James speaks of pretended, or dead faith, and says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.' Works are the proper fruit and evidence of faith, and that which doth not produce them is false. But the right faith, that which comes to Christ as the foundation, and builds alone on him, is always fruitful. And so far is it from being true, that faith is contrary to good works, that we affirm, there can be no good works without faith. The scripture saith, “Without faith it is impossible to please God ;' and it declares, that Faith worketh by love;' and again, that it purifies the heart; and again, that it overcomes the world; not that Faith does all this by its own power, but as it unites us to Christ, and derives virtue from himand thus he is the foundation of all holy obedience.
Man, in his natural state, cannot perform any holy obedience. He wants both will and power, until his