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morally helpless as it is guilty, and as much in need of grace to help as of mercy to pardon. The representation of these great first principles is made in the holy word, for the purpose of remove ing every false ground of hope, of inducing you to despair of your own sufficiency, and of inspiring you with the hope that all your sufficiency shall be of God. Thus emptied of yourself, you will be both prepared and concerned to be filled with God; his power shall then be exerted to work all your works in you. It may appear to some of you not unlike a paradox, to say, that when you are reduced to a state of desperation, as to yourself, you will then be nearest to hope, as it regards God; for you will find this the only proper state of mind for the reception of his promised and all-sufficient aid.
3. We may also call you to observe, that the blessed and happy result of salvation is pledged, by these infallible promises of God, to all who rest in them, and derive their entire support from them. Here is the object to which faith must direct its eye, the foundation on which faith is to build. It is exhibited so fully, clearly and graciously, for the purpose of inspiring your mind with confidence; and the very contemplation of it in a right spirit, as it is simply a matter of gracious revelation, will work faith in your heart; that faith will bring you into the enjoyment of the blessing; power shall be given you from God, and cause you to feel your heart warmed with the love which he displays in the gift of his Son, and in all his gracious influence upon your soul, to enable you to receive Christ as yours. You may not be able to perceive beforehand how these things should be ; but in submitting your soul to uem, in endeavouring to meditate humbly and
and to pray
devoutly upon them, you will become conscious of their wonderful power, and feel the divine energy they possess, in that only way by which they can be effectually known, even by experience. If, indeed, you are in earnest to enjoy that sound and saving conversion to God, to which it is the humble object of this treatise to direct you, then you will at once abandon all specious objections, and all idle notions of your own, and just go to the divine directory to be taught and formed, submitting your heart in all things to be guided by its dictates, and resolved to follow out the path it sets before
for that divine influence which it teaches to be indispensable : and, in all, resting upon the many gracious promises you will there find suited to every stage of your experience, and to every exigence of your soul. If you can indeed humble yourself to receive all as the free gift of grace, and if, in receiving the gift rightly, you can be content to be wrought upon by Him that “worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure,"'* then the joy of salvation shall be yours; “ The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ;"'and you shall feel yourselves the subjects of that transforming power of the Spirit, which will work mightily within, to the pulling down of the strong-holds of sin and Satan. You desire to know the momen
ous secret of “joy and peace in believing."! Is not this the great object you profess to seek? Is it not to be brought into this state of heart that you have long been labouring and striving? Is it not to attain this joyful and happy liberty that you have so often been asking, “What must I do to be * Phil. ii. 13.
† Phil. iv. 7. # Rom. xv. 13.
saved ?" Is it the great, commanding objectof your desire ; that which really appears to you the most desirable and the most important of all blessings ? Is it indeed that, for the possession of which you have sometimes thought you could gladly give up all, and in preference to which you know of nothing you could either esteem or value? O, then, this is the very blessing which God is willing to bestow; this is the very boon his promises hold forth to you; this is the gift, and the blessing, which he reproves you for not seeking, for not even accepting when offered: and if but once you are brought to an entire reliance upon his promise of grace, the blessing shall be yours. Nothing can prevent your possession and enjoyment of it, for it is sealed to each, to all that lay hold on the promise of eternal life. The Spirit takes of the Things of Christ to show them unto you.*
Let me, therefore, entreat you once more to think what inexpressible excellences meet in Him who is recommended to you as the only Saviour. ** What is there you could desire in a Saviour, that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Saviour to be otherwise than Christ is ! What excellency is there wanting ? What is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or what could you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in the person of Christ? Would
have your Saviour to be great and honourable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean person? And is not Christ a person honourable enough to be worthy that you should be dependent upon bim? Is he not a person high enough to be a
John xyi. 14.
pointed to so honourable a work as your salvation? Would you not only have a Saviour of high degree, but would you have him, notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low degree, that he might have experience of afflictions and trials, that he might learn, by the things that he had suffered, to pity them that suffer and are tempted? And has not Christ been made low enough for you? And has he not suffered enough? Would you not only have him possess experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to pity those that are in danger and afraid of it? This, Christ has had experience of; which experience gave him a greater sense of it a thousand times than you have, or than any man living has. Would you
have a Saviour to be one who is near to God, so that his mediation might be prevalent with him ? And can you desire him to be nearer to God than Christ is, who is his only begotten Son, of the same essence with the Father? And would you not only have him near to God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him?
And would you have him nearer to you than to be of the same nature, united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch to the vine, of the member to the head; yea, so as to be one
pirit ? For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him. Would you have a Saviour who has given some extraordinary testimony of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done as well as by what he says ? And can you think or conceive of greater things than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God, to
him human nature ? To be not only God, but man, thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for sinners to be a greater testimony of love to sinners, than merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has done ? And would you desire that a Saviour should suffer more than Christ has suf. fered for sinners ? What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Saviour?”
Then let me call you to reflect upon the happiness and peace which you will experience in feeling the Spirit bearing witness that Christ is yours and that you are his. There is one method, and but one, whereby these joys can ever be experienced by sinners. That is the way of faith. Other ways you have tried in vain. Now try this. Store up the word of promise in your heart; direct your
desires to the Spirit of grace; contemplate his gracious work with confidence and satisfaction, and cry unto Him, and say “Come, 6 divine Spirit, take away the heart of stone, and give me one of flesh !” And if you are still conscious, deeply conscious, that you do not yet feei his quickening influence, let your supplications be unceasingly and fervently renewed, wrestle in prayer till Christ be formed in your heart the hope of eternal glory. Faint not at delay; yield not to discouragement. The cause of such delay, and of such discouragement, is yet in yourself.