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It is a redemption from the greatest evils, sin, and the wrath of God;--of the greatest benefits, peace with God, pardon, and eternal life; performed by the greatest of persons, the Son of God; and could be performed by no lesser one, being above the reach of angels and men ;-purchased by the paying of the greatest ransom, the blood of God.
Mot. 2. Some are made partakers of it. So says the text, The door of the treasure-house is opened to some, and they are brought in, and do partake of it. There have been before you, who have been dying of their wounds, as ye are now, and by the application of it they have been recovered, i Cor. vi. 11. Up then, and put in for a share in this glorious redemption.
Mot. 3. Ye need it as well as others, Eph. ii. 3. Are not ye as well as others naturally justice's prisoners, Satan's cap. tives, and sin's slaves ? Ye cannot deliver yourselves more than others could ; ye must perish in the pit, if ye be not partakers of this redemption. And ye are not able to bear the weight of wrath more than others. Olet not your need prompt you on to it!
Mot. 4. It is in your offer this day. Our Lord is crying to you by the gospel, Turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee,' Zech. ix. 12. The physician is come to your bed-sides, offering you his never-failing medicines. All the benefits of Christ's purchase are offered to you. They cost him dear, but he offers them freely, though the price of blood to him : Isa. lv. 1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.
Mot. 5. You will have no saving benefit by it, if it be not applied to you, John viii. 24. What will it avail you, that Christ died for the sins of his people, if ye have no interest in his death? ye must die for your own sins, and bear your own burden for evermore. There is a physician indeed; but what will ye be the better, if ye do not employ him? What though he get his directions in the gospel? If ye do not make use of the remedy, ye will die of your disease.
Mot. 6. Nay, it will be worse for you than if there had been no redemption purchased, Heb. ii. 3. · How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?' Matth. xi. 24. It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom (says Christ to Capernaum) in the day of judgment, than for thee.' It will ag. gravate your coudemnation, that there was a ransom paid, and it was in your power, but ye slighted it. O how fearful is the slight given to the price of blood, the blood of the Son of God! The Mediator's vengeance will pursue such. And it will gnaw the consciences of such as a thousand worms at last, that they slighted the same.
Mot. 7. Lastly, It will not always be in your offer, Luke xiv. 24, 25. Behold, now is the day of salvation. The time comes when the market of free grace will be over, and if one would ever so fain have it, they shall not get it. Therefore delay not. Ye know not but it may be out of your reach to-morrow; for ye have no reason to boast of tomorrow, as ye know not what a day may bring forth.
2dly, As ever ye would have the redemption purchased by Christ applied to you, and would not mar that application.
1. Beware of that treatment of the Spirit, which has a tendency thereto, yea, and leads the way to the great transgression. And beware of,
Ist. Resisting the Spirit, Acts vii. 51. but rather fall in with him in his operations. To stave off convictions, and guard against awakenings out of a state of sin, to sin over the belly of light, and inward checks, and to go on obstinately in sin, in opposition to calls to repentance, is to resist the Spirit. And that is most dangerous, as dangerous as for the sick man to resist the physician that would apply healing plaisters to his sores, and so fight against his own welfare.
2dly, Quenching the Spirit, i Thess. v. 19. Sometimes this holy fire begins to burn, and ye may find the heat of it: O then take heed, as one who is upon the point of cure, that ye do not mar it! Do not cast water on this fire to drown it out, by sinning against light, putting out your convictions out of your hearts and heads, by sinning with a strong hand, or filling up your thoughts with worldly business, drowning them by sinful pleasures, &c. Withdraw not fuel from this fire, by neglecting the motions and operations of the Spirit. Do not smother it, by not giving them vent in prayer, and supplication, and confession before God, or in consulting with his servants in cases wherein ye need particular direction. O, why will ye ruin yourselves, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life?
3dly, Greiving the Spirit, Eph. iv.. 30. Even believers themselves have need of the Spirit for carrying on this work of application of Christ's redemption. And they are in hazard of retarding and interrupting it, by their grieving the Spirit by gross sins, which in a special manner defile the conscience, or by sins, though smaller in their nature, yet attended with great aggravations, or by not valuing and esteeming the Spirit's graces, comforts, influences, and ordinances. These things provoke the Spirit to withdraw; and so the work lies behind, the application of the redemption is not advanced.
4thly, Vexing the Spirit, Isa. Isiïi. 10. It is true, the Spirit of the Lord is not subject to passions; for these are incon. sistent with the infinite happiness of God; and so he cannot properly be grieved or vexed, nor disturbed. But men are said to vex the Spirit, when they treat him so as would vex one capable of vexation. This is done by often falling into the same sins, Numb. xiv. 22. especially falling into them again after a person has been convinced of the evil of them, confessed, mourned for them, and resolved against them; and much more when, besides all this, they have smarted for them. This is the great trial of divine patience, a tempting of God, and puts men in great hazard of being given up of God, Numb. xiv. 27.
Lastly, Blaspheming the Spirit in his operations. This is done by mocking at religion, or the work of the Spirit of the Lord, in others : A dangerous business, as these young blas. phemers felt, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. • And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel : and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Goup, thou bald-head, Go up, thou bald-head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord : and there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. Or by fathering the operations of the Spirit in ourselves or others, on some other cause, as when religion is counted folly, soul-exercise melancholy or distraction, and communion with God delusion. Thus the Spirit, as the Spirit of regeneration and of prayer, is often blasphemed.
2. As ever ye would have the redemp:ion purchased by Christ applied to you, labour to get the Spirit ; make it
your business to get him to dwell in you, and work in you. Lay out yourselves to be his habitation. Consider,
Mot. i. Ye are by nature without the Spirit, Jude 19. therefore ye have need to seek him. The highest principle of acting in you is your own spirit, which is so corrupted that it can do nothing truly good, John xv. 5. And being without the Spirit, ye are without God in the world, and therefore without hope, while ye are so.
Mot. 2. Ye can have no saving benefit by Christ but by the Spirit. Ye can have no interest in Christ without him, Rom. viii. 9. and no access to God through Christ, but by him, Eph. ii. 18. While ye have not the Spirit, the redemp. tion is indeed purchased, but, alas ! it is not applied to you. Christ has died, but you have no interest in him, no saving benefit by him. There is a full treasure of grace in Christ, but, alas! ye want the key to open it. The bridegroom stands ready to receive you, but there is none to bring the bride to him, and she cannot go her alone. .. i
Mot. 3. Without the Spirit ye are spiritually dead in sin, John vi. 63. When the soul is away, the body is dead; and when the Spirit is away, the soul is dead. The man cannot move in God's way, cannot perform one duty acceptably; for nothing is so but what is done in the Spirit, John iv. 24. Hence all ordinances and providences are lost on such an one; for he is like a dead tree, to which spring and winter are alike. Hence,
Mot. 4. Without the Spirit ye are undone for ever; without the Spirit, without Christ, Rom. viii. 9. without Christ, without God; and without God, without hope; therefore aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,' Eph. ii. 12. The dead corpse may be kept a while; but when there are no hopes of the returning of the soul, it is buried in a grave: so without the Spirit ye may be kept a while, through God's patience ; but the end will be, to be cast into the pit, and buried out of God's sight.
Mot. last. If ye get the Spirit, ye are made up for ever. For he is the leading benefit of Christ's purchase, which all the rest infallibly follow, Zech. xii, 10. When the Spirit comes, life comes, that shall never fail, John iv. 14. He will unite you to Christ, and then all is yours. He will en. lighten, quicken, renew and sanctify you, subdue your cor
ruptions, give grace, actuate and increase it, change you from glory to glory, and raise up your bodies at the last day to glory, Rom. viii. 11.
I shall conclude all with a few directions.
1. Pray earnestly for the Spirit, Luke xi. 13. God has made a promise of the Spirit, and gives that as a ground of your prayer for him, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, 37. ' A new Spirit will I put within you.I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them. And although God regard not prayer as performed by one without the Spirit, yet he regards it as a means and ordinance of his own appointment, whereby the Spirit is conveyed into the hearts of his elect.
2. Wait and look for the Spirit in all ordinances of his appointment, Isa. xxxii. ult. They that would have the wind blow upon them, go out into the open air; though they cannot raise it, they wait where it blows, John ifi. 8. Especially the preaching of the gospel is to be attended diligently for this end, 2 Cor. iii. 8. The man that had lain many years at the pool, at length saw the time that the angel moved the waters.
3. Lastly, Give up yourselves to the Spirit, Jer. xxxi. 18. Lay yourselves down at his feet, to be enlightened, quickened, and sanctified by him. Open the door of your hearts to receive him. And when the least good motion is found kindled in your hearts, cherish it as a tender bud of heaven; nourish the spark, and it will increase into a flame.
OF UNION WITH CHRIST. 1 CORINTHIANS xii, 13--For by one Spirit are we all baptized
into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. THE apostle in the preceding verse having asserted, that
1 Christ 'mystical, 1. e. Christ and believers, are one, making but one mystical body, in the words of the text does at once explain and confirm the same from the two sacraments of the New Testament, baptism, and the Lord's supper.
1. From the sacrament of baptism, where he shews us the blessed union made. And here consider, ..