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posible abatement; nor acquit the offender, without suffering the penalty due to the offence. Should the finner, deprived of the light and comforts of God's spirit, be for ever banished from his blissful presence, and shut up in the dark and disinal regions of the bottomless pit; he would suffer no more than what the law he had violated sentenced him to; and as it is impossible that he could for ever lie in hell, and yet be saved ; so it is equally impossible, that a guilty sinner, obnoxious to eternal death by the righteous sentence of the law, should do any thing to procure, or merit his own falvation. In short, our case and condition is this, we are guilty creatures and no kind of punishment, how ever exquisite; no duration of that punishment however long, can make us otherwise ; for as eternity knows no bound, and infinity has nolimitations; so that holy and inflexible law, which condemns the offender toeternal sufferings can never sayit is enough.
Again, could it be supposed, (which is absurd,) yet I say, could it be fupposed, that a sinner was justly exempt from suffering, as the desert of fin and that he stood on a like footing with Adam, in respect to a covenant do (or do not) and live, (which I must again observe is absurd to suppose, for the scripture knows of no covenant existing since Adam sinned in paradise, but the covenant of grace) yet one night venture to affirm, that on such condition no flesh would be saved. These following reasons will make it plain. Adam had many advantages of standing in his perfect state, and of obeying the law of God, whch we have not, for first, He had a perfect nature, all the powers and faculties of his foul, and all the members and organs of his body, like a curious and D 2
well wrought machine, when first coming from the hands of the artist; were in perfect regularity, and subserved each other in pleasing harmony, and sweet concord. This is alluded to in those scripture partages, wherein the perfection of that nature is begun to be restored by the power of renovating grace; if any man be in Cbrist be is a new creature, put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness and truth. 2. Cor. v. 17. Fph. iv. 24. &c. But with us it is the very reverse, the economical state of our souls and bodies, is somewhat like the anarchical state of Ifrael, when every man did that which was right in his own eyes; our passions are stiff and unruly, the understanding dark, the will obstinate, and the affections vitiated. The streams of corruption which proceed from the depraved and corrupt nature, and Aow with greater, or less rapidity from every unrenewed heart are awfully described by the great apostle in these words, the works of the fielh are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, berefies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; on which description, it will be sufficient to ob. serve, that the fruit makes fully manifest the quality of the tree. 2d. Adam lived under the finiles of his maker; the light of whose countenance fills the heart with gladness, and animates the soul to chearful obedience; but we are estranged from the womb, the intervening clouds of sin, have hid from us the light of his blessed countenance, and left us to droop under the most defponding discouragements ; the law, with unabat
ing rigor as the egyptian task-masters, exacts the full tale of perfect obedience, yet gives us no Itrength to perform it ; this is alluded to Rom. viii. 3. what the law could not do, namely, give life and salvation, in that it was weak through the flesh, through the imperfection, and impotency of nature ; that did Jesus Christ by the facrifice of himself. 3d. When Adam first came from the hands of God, he naturally loved God, this was the law of his nature written and engraven on his heart; but we, conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity, have an enmity against God; and if not in words, yet in our ways and actions say with the haughty prince, who is the Lord, that I Should obey bis voice. Now as the substance of that law, by which we could have any claim to salvation, consists in love to God, with all the soul, mind, and strength, the task is equally easy for us, to change our nature, as fulfill this righteous law. 4th, When Adam was placed in the garden of Eden, although he had a secret enemy, that was contriving, his ruin ; yet was he exempt from that innumerable multitude of snares and temptations, that his pofterity have to cope with. He had none of those deadly struggles, with a hard and unbelieving heart, foolish and hurtful desires, which often make the christian hero
groan, and greatly agonize for viétory; and before which, the unrenewed by grace are impetuously driven as before a swell of mighty waters. In our lapsed condition, we are each considered apart as a leaky vessel at sea in a storm, whose affrighted mariners are every moment expecting to sink like lead into the bottom of the raging deep ; but when considered, as in society, our condition
is much more dangerous, by the additional dan ger of being dalhed to pieces one against another. 5th, The same law that was given to Adam in his perfect state, and on which the federal law was founded; continues to us, as extensive in it's demands, as rigorous in it's exactions, and as inflexible in it's nature, under all our weaknefres, wants, and difficulties, as it was to him when fraught with every qualification adequate to the extensive precept.
And is it poflible we should yet imagine that we can do something to deserve the divine favour? Can we yet think to build a Babel whose top shall reach to heaven? No, we are empty pitchers ; we are enfeebled treatures ; yea we are guilty hell-deserving creatures. May we have an ear open to instruction, and an heart made wife to understand, what the evangelical prophet would have us learn in those words;
wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which fatisfieth not? He here, would call our attention froin the broken cisterns of creature-comfort, to the full and overflowing fountain of uncreated goodness ; and from listening to the delufive overtures of flesh and blood, to lend our willing ears to the infallible teachings of his blef
Seeing therefore, that salvation is not attainable, no nor even damnation avoidable, by our own works, what abundant reason have we to bless God for Jesus Christ our redeemer, surety, and Saviour ! What hopes could our guilty parents entertain, when arraigned at God's impartial bar, that the sentence should not be executed in it's utmolt severity ? How'unexpected therefore must
that mercy be, that was manifested in the serpent's curse, and how full of consolation, the promise couched in the deceiver's doom! it, (hu,) be the redeemer of his people from the curse and death their fin deserved; the everlasting Son of the Father, the first and last, Jehovah, blessed for ever ; in the fullness of time shall lay aside his glory, and assuming the human nature shall be born, the feed of the woman, whom thou hast seduced, and bali bruise thy head, shall deliver his lambs from thy voracious jaws, despoil thee of the power thou art permitted to possess, and drag thee conquered at his chariot wheels.
But it is now time for me to draw towards a conclusion, leit I should intrude too much upon your time, and weary out your patience. Are we then by nature children of wrath, guilty and obnoxious finners ? Let us then as such, humble ourselves under the mighty hand of our justly offended maker. Let us take to ourselves the shame that our sins have deserved, and let us give to the justice of God, the glory that is due in punishing the offenders and to his mercy and grace, the glory that is due in justifying, and saving the guilty.
The consequence of this doctrine is, that our falvation is left wholly in the hands of God, and none can be saved if this doctrine be true, but they must owe their salvation intirely to him, And who needs be ashamed of this consequence ? Good old Jacob was not, when he said, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord, emphatically thine ; nor was the king of Israel when in like words, he said, I have longed for thy salvation. Tor the power to save poor hell deserving finners, is