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hear indeed; and admire or object, as their notions are sanctioned or opposed: but if Christ be "the "author of eternal salvation to those," and those alone, who obey him ;" and if all they be his enemies, "who will not have him to reign over them;" such persons will as certainly perish as any description of sinners whatsoever. Nay, a partial obedience, which interferes not with their inclinations or interests, does not warrant them to expect a more favourable doom: "for he that keepeth "the whole law and offendeth in one point is guilty " of all." According to the law itself a man is condemned for a single transgression; and, according to the gospel, he who habitually commits. one known sin, is adjudged a hypocrite and un believer. If this were not so, Herod might have retained Herodias; nor would it be necessary for us to part with the right hand or the right eye which causes us to offend.

Whether we consider revelation as intended to reconcile us to God, to make known to us the way of peace, to be the means of our renewal to holiness, to prepare us for glorifying God on earth, to fit us for enjoying his love in heaven, or to teach us to do good among men and serve our generation: it is evident that hearing without practising fails entirely of accomplishing any one of these purposes. This is so obvious in itself, and so constantly inculcated in every part of scripture, that it would be almost incredible that any man should be deceived by so palpable a cheat, were it not most lamentably common: nor can this fact be accounted for, but by allowing that "the heart

"is deceitful above all things, and desperately "wicked."-We consider,

III. The nature and sources of that fatal selfdeception into which numbers are in this respect betrayed.


It is observable that the apostle does not here warn us against the artifices of "Satan transformed "into an angel of light," or those of "his minis "ters transformed into the ministers of righteous"ness." These indeed will never be wanting in subtle endeavours to beguile the souls of the "simple" yet they can fatally deceive none who' are not disposed to deceive themselves.—It may also be remarked, that such persons seldom impose on other men. The ministers of Christ "stand "in doubt of them;" nay, are often fully convinced of their awful delusion, and, with tears of affection, risk their displeasure by trying to undeceive them but such endeavours are generally ascribed to harshness, prejudice, or calumny. They seldom deceive consistent Christians, as they may discover by the shyness and reserve of their conduct; while frankness and cordiality mark their social inter ourse with more approved characters. Nay, the people of the world can commonly distinguish really pious and upright believers from mere speculating professors. Many of them court the society of such self-deceivers,' while they fear meeting with persons of eminent sanctity: they can endure any creed, provided men's example sanction their spirit and conduct: and, as such professors "are of the world, there"fore the world loveth them," while it hates those

whom Christ hath chosen out of the world. There are, however, men that make no great pretensions to religion, who respect such as are consistently pious yet they join with those who honour them by their hatred, in heartily despising him who is a hearer of the word, and not a doer.

But let us consider some of the methods by which such men deceive themselves. The sacred scriptures ascribe the salvation of sinners wholly to grace, or free unmerited mercy; and declare that none of our own righteousness has contributed, or can contribute, to procure the inestimable blessing: now, some general notions of this fundamental truth help numbers to deceive themselves. Not considering salvation in its extensive meaning, as comprising the whole of our reconciliation to God and recovery to holiness: but confining their thoughts merely to pardon and justification, they infer that good works must, in all respects be excluded from our views of the gospel. It is indeed most true, that "we are justified freely by "the grace of God, through the redemption that "is in Christ Jesus:" but it is equally true, that the will and power to perform real good works is an essential part of our salvation. By grace "are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works "lest any man should boast. For we are his work"manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, " which God hath before ordained, that we should "walk in them." "The grace of God, which "bringeth salvation, teacheth us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live

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soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present "world."

This is the uniform language of the New Testament; and it is most evidently rational: for the renewal of a fallen creature to holiness is as needful, important, and unmerited a favour, as pardon and the gift of righteousness by faith: but, for want of attending to this, numbers take occasion from the doctrines of grace to deceive themselves. Indeed many use unscriptural expressions, which are extremely liable to misconstruction; and give a disproportionate statement of the truth: yet it must also be allowed, that the very words of scripture may in this manner be perverted. Thus Peter observed, concerning the writings of his beloved brother Paul, that "in them were some things "hard to be understood, which they that were "unlearned and unstable wrested, as they did the "other scriptures, to their own destruction."2

By faith alone,

The language of the sacred writers concerning faith is likewise most decided: "He that believeth "and is baptized shall be saved; and he that be"lieveth not shall be damned." and by no other operation of the mind or action of the life, can the sinner be made partaker of the righteousness and redemption of Christ. But, while numbers presumptuously use language diametrically opposite to that of holy writ, there are many who deceive themselves by a misapprehension of the scriptural doctrine. Various arguments have convinced them that certain opinions are


Eph. ii. 8-10. Tit. ii. 11-14.

22 Pet. iii. 16.

rtue, and they dispute earnestly for them. Surely, say they, we believe; and, if we believe, we have all things in Christ, "who of God is made to us "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and re

demption." Hence they conclude that practice should only be insisted upon in general terms; and, while secular motives restrain them from scandalous immoralities, they imagine that all is well, and that nothing further is required. But they do not duly consider the difference between dead and living faith: and that justifying faith works by love, purifies the heart, overcomes the world, and produces unreserved and zealous obedience. And, while they give peculiar attention to St. Paul's argument concerning justification by faith, they overlook the account he gives of the holy fruits produced by faith; especially in the conduct of Abraham and Moses, and other ancient believers, as stated in the eleventh chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews.

The word of God gives us abundant reason to expect that the true believer's experience will confirm and attest the sincerity of his faith. "He "that believeth on the Son of God hath the wit"ness in himself:" "Having believed, ye were "scaled with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is "the earnest of our inheritance." "The day "dawn and the day-star shall arise in your hearts." The meaning of these scriptures, and many others to the same effect, is very important; and teaches us that the real disciples of Christ experience such effects in their own souls, from believing the doc

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