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it has not taught us our duty completely, we add to it fome new rules of conduct; or thinking its motives infufficient, we tack to them fome fictions of our own fancy; we corrupt the pure religion, which God has taught us; and, while we profess to serve him, we worship our graven images. To fome in the apoftle's days the gofpel was too myfterious, in its more grand and fublime doctrines, for their proud reafon to receive. The refurrection of the dead feemed a thing incredible and Chrift crucified for the fins of men was foolishness. To others it was too plain and fimple, and they would not truft it without the addition of the favorite ceremonies of their old religion. Hence St. Paul's caution to the Corinthians, am jealous over you with a godly jealoufy; for I have efpoufed you unto one hufband, that I may prepare you as a chafte virgin to Chrift; but I fear, left your minds fhould be corrupted from the fimplicity that is in him." The fame caution he gives to the Coloffians; "As ye have received Chrift Jefus the Lord, fo walk ye in him. Beware left any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceits, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Chrift; for ye are complete in him."

If we acknowledge one God, we are to yield ourselves to his whole fervice. When we have offended him, we muft regain his favour be repentance, and continue in his favour by obedience. In our repentance we muft renounce every falfe way; in our obedience we must have refpect to all his commandments. A repentance with a referve in favour of fome known fins; and an obedience with exceptions againft certain plain duties, is like the reformation of the Samaritans, who feared God, and retained their idolatry. He who

indulges one favorite iniquity, though he discard every other, is not a penitent; and he who offends in one point, though he obey the reft of the law, is not a faint.

Again. The gofpel teaches us, that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men, and no man can come to the Father, but by himthat his atonement and righteoufnefs is the only ground of our pardon and acceptance, and on this ground our faith and hope must rest. "There is falvation in no other, and there is no other name given under heaven among men, whereby they must be faved." "We are justified by faith in Chrift, without the deeds of the law;" for this requires perfection, and accepts of nothing lefs. We must therefore "glory in Chrift Jefus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

But how many, while they pretend to believe in Chrift, place a dependence on fome other way of falvation? Many of the Jews, as we have already obferved, inftead of fubmitting themselves to the righteousness of God through faith, went about to eftablish a righteousness of their own. They allowed that Chrift was a Saviour; but they imagined, that they could not be faved by him without an obfervance of the ceremonial law. They thought, that without this appendage, the gofpel-fcheme would be defective. Their religion refembled that of the Samaritans, who, in conjunction with the true God, worshipped gods of their own.

Of much the fame nature is the religion of thofe, who rely on their own righteousness, in conjunction with that of the Redeemer, as the ground of their acceptance with God. I fay, as the ground of their acceptance; for I am not now fpeaking of the terms and conditions of acceptance. Thefe Z z


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muft undoubtedly be fome internal and perfonal qualifications.

Chrift came into the world to fave finners-not to fave the innocent and righteous. If we are not finners, we have no need of his interpofition; our innocence-our righteoufnefs will fecure us. But it must be such a righteousness, as God's law demands, a final continuance in all things written in the law to do them. If we come fhort of this, we have finned. If we have finned, we deferve death. And if we deserve death for our evil works, we cannot deferve deliverance from it for our good works. However perfect our future works may be, they are but our reasonable service, and therefore can never cancel paft guilt.

"Chrift has redeemed us from the curfe of the law, being made a curfe for us." Our acceptance therefore is grounded wholly on what he has done; not at all on what we have done. The remiffion of fins that are paft is by faith in Christ's blood, not by reliance on our own future obedience. A finner wholly reformed and perfectly o bedient in future, if fuch a character were to be found, would not, indeed, continue to accumulate his guilt and demerit; for no man will be punished for fins which he never committed; but then he would not extinguish the guilt already contracted by the fins which he had committed. We must therefore depend wholly on the atonement of Chrift-not at all on perfonal recommendations, as the proper ground of our pardon and acceptance.

Works of holiness and obedience are required in the gospel, as necessary to, but not meritorious of falvation. They are only the conditions of, and qualifications for future happiness-not the grand confideration on which God is pleased to fhew us

mercy and release us from paft guilt; for it is only through Chrift that our beft works are accepted; and it is only through him that we obtain grace for the performance of fuch works as can be accepted. "By grace we are faved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, left any man should boaft; for we ale his workmanship, created in Chrift Jefus to good works, which God hath ordained, that we should walk in them."

We must not imagine, that we may be accepted on easier terms-on a more flight and partial repentance than fome others; or that we ftand fairer than they for acceptance on the fame terms, because we are not yet fo great finners as they are, or because we have done fome duties which they neglect. For whatever different degrees of guilt there may be in different finners, repentance is in all the indifpenfable condition of pardon; and true repentance, though attended with fome variety of circumftances, is fubftantially the fame in all who are subjects of it. It is a turning of the heart and life from fin to God. We must not imagine, that there are certain eminent fervices to be performed, or certain rounds of duty to be run, before we can truft the righteousness of Chrift to juftify us, or before we may feek his grace to fanctify us; for the righteousness of God through the faith of Chrift is unto all that believe, and there is no difference. He who is athirft is invited to come to Chrift for the grace of the Spirit; and the Spirit itself by its inward motions, repeats the invitation, and fays, "Come."

Pardon is offered to all finners, fmall and great, young and old, upon the fame terms. In this respect there is no difference. The fame God is rich in mercy to all who call on him. The blood

of Christ can wash out the deepeft guilt. He came to fave the chief of finners. Grace abounds to the humble penitent, how much foever fin has abounded. No finner is accepted, but in a way of repentance toward God and faith toward' Chrift; and in this way none is rejected.

We cannot be too zealous of good works, nor lay too much stress upon them, while we regard them in their place, as duties required, as fruits of faith, as expreffions of love, as conditions of a reward, and as evidences of fincerity. But if we put them in the place of that which the Redeemer has done if we rely upon them as the ground of our acceptance, and the great confideration on which God forgives our fins-if we imagine they give us a claim on his justice for an exemption from punishment, and for the bestowment of a reward-if we think he would deal cruelly with us to reject us from his favour after we have done fo much for him; we then go about to establish a righteousness of our own in aid of Chrift's righteoufness; we are corrupted from the fimplicity that is in Chrift; we mar the virtue of all our works by our pride and self-confidence; and we imitate the religion of thofe, who feared the Lord, and ferved their graven images.

The finner, awakened to a conviction of his fins and a sense of his guilt, is not to wait, until he has made himself better, before he ventures to apply to the mercy of God in Chrift for relief, as if there were not worthiness enough in Chrift to recommend, nor grace enough in God to regard a creature fo vile, as he finds himself at prefent; but he muft, immediately and without delay, hope and feek for the divine influence to renew and fanctify him, and for the divine mercy to pardon and fave him, through that Redeemer who died

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