Images de page

19. 20. "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am cru"cified with Chrift: nevertheless I live; yet "not I, but Chrift liveth in me: and the life "which I now live in the flesh, I live by the "faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and 66 gave himself for me." That this motive will have the most powerful influence on the believer's conduct, is evident both from reafon and experience. No principle takes a fafter hold of the human heart than gratitude for favours received. If the mercies be cordially accepted, and highly esteemed, which is certainly the cafe here, nothing can withstand its influence. It reconciles the heart to the most difficult duties; nay, it even difpofes the believer to court the opportunity of making fome fignal facrifice, in teftimony of his attachment. Love fincere and fervent overcomes all difficulties; or rather indeed it changes their nature, and makes labour and fuffering a fource of delight and fatisfaction. Let but the Saviour's interest or honour feem to be concerned, and the believer, who feels how much he is indebted to him, will chearfully embrace the call, and fet no bounds to his compliance. This fhows how much beauty and force there is in our Lord's manner of recommending love and compaffion to our fellowcreatures, Matth. xxv. 40. "And the King "fhall anfwer, and fay unto them, Verily I fay "unto you, In as much as ye have done it un"to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

But to what pur


pofe do I dwell upon this fubject? for a sense of redeeming love is not only the most powerful motive to every other duty, but is itself the poffeffion and exercise of the firft duty of the moral law, as well as the fum and fubftance of evangelical holinefs, viz. the love of God. The first fin, by which our nature fell, was a diftrust of and departure from God; and the malignity of every fin we continue to commit, confifts in giving that room in the heart to fomething elfe, which is due only to God. A fenfe of redeeming love, therefore, expels the enemy, and makes up the breach, as thereby the love of God is bed abroad in our hearts.

3. You may fee, from what has been faid, the neceffity of a particular application of the truths of the gofpel to ourfelves, and the reliance of every believer upon them as the foundation of his own hope. I have fometimes had occafion to obferve to you, that it is very doubtful, whether any perfon can fo much as approve in his judgement the truths of the gofpel, till he perceive his own interest in them, and their neceffity to his peace. Certain it is, the world that lieth in wickednefs generally defpifes them. However, I fhall admit as a thing poffible, that a bad man may, either by imitation, or the power of outward evidence, embrace the gospel as a system of truth. But furely the love of Christ can neither be a fource of comfort, nor a principle of obedience, unlefs he confider it as terminating upon himfelf. Without this, the whole is general, cold,,

[blocks in formation]

and uninteresting. But when he confiders, not only the certainty of the truth, but the extent of the invitation, and can fay, with Thomas, My Lord, and my God, then indeed the ties are laid upon him; then indeed he begins to feel their conftraining power; then he not only con. templates the glory of God in the grace of redemption, but chearfully and unfeignedly confecrates himself to the fervice of his Redeemer. This leads me, in the

4th and laft place, to invite every finner in this affembly to accept of Chrift as his Saviour, and to rely upon him as he is offered in the gofpel. To the fecure and infenfible, I know it is in vain to fpeak. But if you fee your own danger, what fhould hinder your belief and reliance on the Saviour? If you either need or defire deliverance, what with-holds your acceptance of it, when it is not only freely offered to you, but earnestly urged upon you? Can you doubt the teftimony of the Amen, the faithful and true witnefs? The bleffings of his purchase belong not to one people or family, but to every nation under heaven. The commiffion of those who bear his meffage is unlimited : Mark xvi. 15. "Go ye into all the world, and preach, the go"fpel to every creature." They are offered, not only to the virtuous, the decent, and regular, but to the chief of finners: 1 Tim. i. 15. "This is a faithful faying, and worthy of all ac"ceptation, That Chrift Jefus came into the "world to fave finners; of whom I am chief.” Whoever heareth these glad tidings, he diflonoureth

noureth God, he poureth contempt on his Saviour's love, and he wrongeth his own foul, if he does not receive confolation from them. Be not hindered by what you fee in yourselves, unlefs you are in love with fin, and afraid of being divorced from it. The gofpel is preached to finners. It does not expect to find them, but it is intended to make them, holy. A deep and inward fense of your own unworthiness, unless it is prevented by the deceiver, fhould only make you more highly esteem the grace of the gofpel, and more willingly depend on your Redeemer's love..

I conclude with the invitation which he himfelf gives to the weary finner, Matth. xi. 28. 29. 30. "Come unto me, all ye that labour, and "are heavy laden, and I will give you reft. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; "for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye "fhall find reft unto your fouls. For my yoke "is eafy, and my burden is light."

[blocks in formation]



Redemption the fubject of admiration to the angels.

I PETER i. 12. laft claufe.

Which things the angels defire to look into.


Action Sermon.

Y brethren, A ferious and attentive mind, on perusing the facred volume, can hardly help being often ftruck both with the fentiments and language of the infpired writers on the fubject of redemption. With what a deep veneration of foul, with what warmth of affection, with what tranfports of adoring thankfulnefs do they speak of the plan laid by divine wifdom, for the falvation of loft finners, by the erofs of Chrift! A perfon poffeffed only of understanding and tafte, may admire these fallies of holy fervour, for the elevation of thought, and boldness of expreffion, which a man's being in good earneft on an interesting fubject doth naturally inspire. But happy, happy, and only happy, that foul who from an inward approbation can receive, relish, and apply thofe glorious things that are spoken of the name, character, and undertaking of the Saviour of finners. You may obferve, that there are two different fubjects, in general, on which the writers


« PrécédentContinuer »