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When we were without strength, (athenon) strength: x less, deititute of all spiritual power whereby to per
form any thing pleasing or acceptable to God: Matchless mercy that in this enfeebled state the Lord should favourably look upon us; for a talent of power he had deposited in our hands, and had right to expect his own with usury ; justly there'. fore might he have said, since we had only not improved his talent, not only hid it in a napkin' to present to him his own; but had unfaithfully squandered it away) take this (not only unprofitable, but) wicked and faithless servant, and cast him into outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. But that God should look upon us in this state, should entertain kind thoughts of love, yea should commend his love to us ; is god-like and marvellous beyond all conception ; such undeserved goodness man could never have expected, if God had not revealed it. While we were yet finners, (amartolon) a
crooked and perverse generation that made a trade mother of finning, finned without remorse, and continued
therein, as if we had come into the world for no other end, and to do no other work. It does not appear that we had begun to abate our speed, or lose our relish for sin when God commended his I love towards us, and made manifeft his mercy ; but while yet we resolutely kept the field, and stood in arms against the God of heaven and earth; while yet we violated his laws, and fighted his mercy, cast his reproofs behind our backs and fhui our ears against him ; yet even then, (mirabile dietu) wonderful goodness ! God made manifest his love, and spared not his co-equal and co-eternal Son. Sin not only transforms the soul,
and defaces the divine image impressed thereon; but also is in it's very nature opposite and contrary to the immaculate purity of the divine being; nor it is possible that God in his holy nature can be reconciled thereto. * Now it must be acknowledged to be a work highly becoming the wisdom, the goodness, and the love of God; to make a way for the salvation of the sinner, yet manifeft his displeasure against sin, in such wise, that his holiness and justice cannot be impeached; but he can be juli, yet justify the ungodly. If when we were enemies, What might we justly have expected as the reward of our rebellion ? What less than that the Lord Should swear in his wrath, they fall not enter into my reft. We were enemies, but the Lord of hosts had nothing to fear from us, for we were without ftrengtb. Nor reconciled, had he any thing to hope from us, for we were finners, and had an enmity in our nature to all that was good.
This is the wretched state of man, when the mercy of God first moved towards him. He is not a man pofseft of power, by which he performs many virtuous acts, but enfeebled in all his faculties, a valetudinarian in spiritual exercises, a sinner, a stubborn offender in life, and an enemy to God and godliness in his heart.
Now all that is effected in us, for our strengthening, pardon, and reconciliation, is by Christ's dying for us; and is therefore by the apostle opposed to each of these. Were we without strength ? Christ died for the iingodly, not for righteous per fons pretending a claim to heaven for the sake of their own virtues as such; but for ungodly finners; that hereby they might become righteous,
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may the Redeemer say in words vod. v. 25, “ surely a bloody spouse
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Let the poor tren
Door trembling finner, who in his own fon is on the verge of the bottomless who like the publican in the temple stands # and scarce dare lift his eyes towards ng Isay, let such poor difconfolate creatures,
Come useful lessons of instruction from the bfervations already made on this precious fcrip.
afar off, and heaven; I say, le
ift, God's love to sinners is free and undeserved; and the whole world when arraigned at God's bar is brought in guilty, not one excepted, for, all have finned, and come fort of the glory of God, and there is none righteons, no not one. Rom. iii. 10—23. Now if there be salvation for any, why not for you as soon as any other ? For there is no difference. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is as freely preached to you, as ever it was to those who hearing and believing it, are now in glory; and it is proposed to you on the same terms, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved. The faints in glory, of whom the sacred pen-man of this precious passage is not the least, (in heaven, although such he accounted himself to be on earth) were once numbered amongst those ungod
ly, ver. 6, for whom the Saviour died; and says the divine writer, while we were yet finners. Jesus Christ did not postpone his purposed death untill these had left their fins and become righteous ; but he shed his precious blood, to obtain that grace, whereby their hearts should be renewed, and they be made righteous. You complain that you are yet weak, that your lives have been wicked, and your hearts to this moment are hard and unbelieving. All this you see is no bar to the love of God in Christ Jefus ; if God had not loved finners while yet they were such, and in rich mercy undertaken to recover them from that state by a way worthy of himself, they must have remained sinners to all eternity, and suffered the punishment due to fin. There is not in this or any age of the world a trembling finner whom the Lord does not look to in love, nor one that is bowed down and contrite in heart, with whom Jehovah himself does not dwell.
2dly. Christ's agonizing and painful death has fully accomplished the purposes of heavenly love. He, the Redeemer of his people came not on a fool's errand, nor spilt his precious blood in vain. The price was great, glorious, wonderful. The precious blood of the Son of God, as of a Lamb with out blemish and without spot. What could it not effect? It was the price of pardon, we had sinned, the Saviour suffered; he died the death we finners had deserved. Pardon therefore is purchased, the price, the inconceivably great and immense price is paid. Settle the comfortable truth there. fore in your hearts; there needs no second payment, for there's no after claim. The law wants nothing more, stern juftice is appeased, and the M
glori. and have a rightful claim to glory for the sake of Christ's merits. Were we finners ? Cbrift died for us, not for us as faints, holy persons, for such we were not ; but for finners, that they might be saints. Were we enemies? We are reconciled by the death of bis Son. All our blessings there. fore are the price of blood, all spiritual comforts are conveyed to us through the vehicle of blood. Well may the Redeemer say in words like those, Exod. v. 25, “ surely a bloody spouse “ art thou to me.”
Let the poor trembling finner, who in his own apprehension is on the verge of the bottomless pit, and who like the publican in the temple stands afar off, and scarce dare lift his eyes towards heaven; I say, let such poor disconfolate creatures, learn some useful lessons of instruction from the observations already made on this precious scrip. ture.
ift, God's love to finners is free and undeservo ed ; and the whole world when arraigned at God's bar is brought in guilty, not one excepted, for, all have finned, and come sort of the glory of God, and there is none righteons, no not one. Rom. iii. 10-23. Now if there be salvation for any, why not for you as soon as any other ? For there is no difference. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is as freely preached to you, as ever it was to those who hearing and believing it, are now in glory; and it is proposed to you on the same terms, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved. The faints in glory, of whom the sacred pen-man of this precious passage is not the least, (in heaven, although such he accounted himself to be on earth) were once numbered amongft those ungod