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able. He that committeth sin, is of the devil; and only he that doth righteousness, is righteous* : Nor bath the grace of God ever savingly appeared to that man, through whatever uncommon scenes of thought he may have passed, who is not effectually Taught by it to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godlyt. But it will by no means follow from thence, that wherever there is a sober and virtuous conduct, such a soul is passed from death to life. If the whole of the gospel be wrapt up in the rules of morality, then is Christ dead in vain; or, at least, it is in vain that the notices of his death are published to us. Beware, I intreat you, of so pernicious an error. I think myself obliged more earnestly to caution you against it, because, while the devil is attempting, on the one hand, to engage some, under the specious pretences of an evangelical spirit, to Turn the grace of God into wantonnesst; he seems to be insnaring others, by extolling the virtue which he hates, in order to lead them into a neglect of Christ, and his righteousness, and all the peculiarities of the gospel scheme of salvation ; so that it is difficult on the whole to say, which of these devices is most destructive to the souls of men.
From my heart I rejoice to think, there are so many amongst you, my young friends, whose character in life is fair and unblemished. You escape the grosser pollutions of the world; you abhor brutal intemperance ; you scorn the mean artifices of deceit, and renounce the hidden things of dishonestys; you honour your parents and subordinate governors; you treat the ministers of Christ with respect and esteem; you are affable and courteous in your behaviour to all: And, on this account, we behold you and love you ; we hope, and conclude, you are Not far from the kingdom of heavenl. But, alas, if things rest here, you will never enter into it. All these things had the young man in the gospel observed from his youth; and many of you have seen, in a very large and beautiful representation, how lovely a youth was then perishing in sin** He lacked one thing; and the lack of that was the ruin of his soul, as it will be of yours, if you are destitute of it.
I know, that they are especially in danger of being deceived here, who converse frequently with persons of an abandoned character; or who have themselves reformed some gross irregularities, to which they were once addicted. Comparing themselves with others, or with themselves in a more licentious and corrupt state, they pronounce a favourable sentence, and conclude they are safe and happy : But let me intreat you, my friends, that you would rather compare your hearts and lives with that perfect law of God, which cannot be repealed ; weigh yourselves in that balance, and see whether you are not found wanting there. Review even the upright conduct of these days of your reformation, and then say, whether there be such a redundancy of merit in them as will not only answer present demands, but atone for your past offences too. You will soon be confounded on such a review. You will soon acknowledge, on an impartial examination, that the bed is shorter than a man can stretch himself upon, and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in* ; that neither you, nor Any living can be justified by the works of the lawt.
* 1 John iii. 7, 8. || Mark xii. 34. Ser. VII. VIII.
+ Tit. ii. 11, 12.
Mark x. 20.
Jude, ver. 4. § 2 Cor. iv, 2. ** Dr. Watts's Works, New Edit. Vol. L * Isa. xxviii, 20. || Gal. i. 13.
I will conclude this head with observing, that the instance of the blessed apostle St. Paul serves well to illustrate and confirm our discourse, in each of the particulars I have now mentioned.—Had the privileges of birth and education been a sufficient security, Paul had been secure before his conversion to christianity ; for he was Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, which had net like the rest, revolted from the house of David ; and by his mother's side, as well as his father's, an Hebrew of the Hebrewst.-If the most exalted regularity in religious notions, or the strictest formality in the externals of worship, could have secured a man, Paul had been secure; for he was, as touching the law, a Pharisee ; he lived according to the rigour of that sect, and, both with respect to doctrines and ceremonies, was Exceedingly zealous of the tradition of the fathersø. If a transport of passion in the cause of God could have secured a man, Paul had been secure ; for, concerning zeal, or with regard to that, he persecuted the church, and wasted it beyond measurell.–And lastly, if morality of behaviour could have done it, Paul had been secure; for, Touching the righteousness which as by the law, he was blameless. In these things, he was once so weak, and so wretched as to place a great deal of confidence ; but when he was illuminated, and called by divine grace, he assures us, that what things were gain unto him before, those he counted loss for Christ, i. e. he most entirely renounced all dependence upon them: Yea doubtless, says he, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: which naturally leads me to the second general, where
I Phil, iii. 5.
Gal. i. 14.
+ Rom. jii. 20.
II. I am to consider, what will be a solid foundation for hope and joy, when all these precarious dependences fail.
This is, with the utmost propriety, expressed in the text by, Christ formed in the soul ; which is exactly parallel to that phrase in Colossians, Christ in you the hope of glory*, which is there mentioned as an epitome of the gospel, the riches of the glory of the mystery preached among the gentiles. When Paul could see, that the Galatians were brought to this, the pangs of his labouring mind would be ended, and joy and confidence would succeed: which is plainly intimated in the words of the text : And when you, my dear charge, are brought to it, parents and ministers rejoice over you, and you will have an everlasting spring of hope and joy, a solid foundation, on which to build for eternity.
Permit me therefore, a little more particularly to ex-" plain it to you ; and let me intreat you to turn your thoughts inward, that you may judge, whether you have been experimentally acquainted with the temper and change, which I shall now describe, as signified by this remarkable expression in the text, Christ formed in you.
Now, I think, it implies these three things :- That" some apprehensions of Christ have taken hold of the heart ;-that the man is brought to an explicit choice of him ; and deliberately enters into covenant with him ;—and that, in consequence of both these, something of the temper and spirit of Christ is, by divine grace wrought in his soul. I will touch on each of
time will not allow me to manage them in so copious and particular a manner as they well deserve. 1. To have Christ formed in the soul supposes, that some serious
apprehensions of Christ have taken hold of the heart.
It evidently implies, that the external revelation of bim hath not only been admitted as a speculative truth, but attended to as a matter of the highest concern. Previous to the forming of Christ in the soul, there must be a conviction, that we are naturally without Christ, and that, in consequence of this,
Col. i. 27.
we are in a most unhappy condition. And this conviction must strike deep upon the heart; for till the evil of sin be felt, what can make the news of a Saviour welcome ? since, as he himself has declared, The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick*. The man in whose heart Christ is formed, has seen himself condemned by God's righteous law; has seen himself equally unable to answer its demands, or to bear up under the execution of its penalties. And feeling this to be no light mat. ter, but the very life of his soul, he has then been engaged, with the greatest seriousness and earnestness, to cry out, Woe is me, for I am undonet! Oh, What shall I do to be savedi? I before told you, there may be these convictions and awaken. ings, where Christ is never formed in the soul; and I now add, that the degree of them may be various, according to the various tempers and circumstances of different persons: But it is most evident that something of this kind must make way for the Redeemer's entrance, who comes to seek and to save that which was lostş: to bind up the broken-hearted|l; and to give rest to the weary and heavy-laden. And I rather insist on this, because I am fully persuaded, that slight thoughts of sin, and of the misery of our natural estate by it, have been the principal cause of all the infidelity of the present age, and are daily ruining a multitude of souls. 2. The formation of Christ in the soul doth farther imply an
explicit choice of him, and a deliberate entering into covenant with him.
When such a soul hears of a Redeemer, and of the way of salvation by him, exhibited in scripture, it cordially approves the scheme, as entirely worthy of its divine author; and though corrupt nature raises up a thousand proud thoughts, in a vain and ungrateful rebellion against it, yet they are, by almighty grace, subdued and brought into captivity**. The man really sees such suitableness, and such an amiableness, in the blessed Jesus, under the character in which the gospel reveals him, that he judges him to be The pearl of great price, and as God has laid him as the foundation stone, he is in that view, inconceivably precious to himtt. Far from contenting himself with applauding this plan, as regular, beautiful, and magnificent in general, the true believer is solicitous, that he may have his own share in this edifice of mercy; and that, Coming to Christ,
* Mat. ix. 12.
Isa. Ixi. 1.
+ Isa. vi. 5. | Acts xvi. 30.
Mat. xi. 28, 29. ** 2 Cor. x. 5.
Luke xix. 10. # 1 Pet, ii. 6.
as a living stone, he himself may be one of those, who shall, on him, be Built up for an habitation of God through the Spirit*. When he considers the Lord Jesus represented as Standing at the door and knockingt, it is with pleasure that he hears his voice, and opens to him, and as Zaccheus did Receives him joyfullyi. He regards him as A nail fastened in a sure places; on which he can joyfully fix all his eternal hopes, infinitely important as he sees them to be. And while he thus anchors his soul on the righteousness, the atone.nent, and the intercession of a Redeemer, he humbly bows to his authority, as his Lord and his Godll. It is his desire to seat him on the throne of his heart, and, as it were, to put into his hand the sceptre and the sword, that all the powers of nature may be governed,
all the corruptions of it destroyed by him. In a word, as he knows that Christ was given for a covenant to the people, he deliberately sets his seal to that covenant, thereby devoting himself to Christ, and, through him, to the Father. Such are his views, his purposes, and his engagements; and by divine grace he is enabled to be faithful to them. Which leads me to add, 3. When Christ is formed in any soul, something of the temper
and character of the blessed Jesus is by divine grace wrought there.
I might with ease multiply scriptures in proof of the absolute necessity of this ; but it is so obvious, that you must yourselves know, how expressly it is required. You know, how plainly St. Paul has told us, that If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his**: and where this Spirit resides, Christ dwells in the hearttt. The Same mind, or temper, is in such an one, as was also in Christ Jesustf; and as he professeth to abide in him, it is his care so to walk, as Christ also walked$$. On which account the true christian is said to have Put on Christ||ll in allusion to the hebrew phrase, of being clothed with any temper or affection, that greatly prevails, or governs in the soulgi.
It is a very pleasing, as well as useful employment, to trace the lineaments of the temper and conduct of Christ in
* Eph. ii. 22. + Rev. iii. 20. I Luke xix. 6.
$ Isa. xxii. 23. 11 John XX. 28. Isa, xlix. 8. 1. Rom. viii. 9.
tt Eph. iï. 17. 11 Phil. ii. 5. $S 1 John ii. 6. Oll Gal. iii. 27.
99 Thus we read of being clothed with righteousness, Job xxix. 14. Psal. CXXXÏ. 9. With humility, 1 Pet. v. 5. With zeal, Isa, lix. 17. With cursing, Psal. cix. 18. With shame, Psal. cxxxii, 18, &c.