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a great discovery also; he hath "devised means "that his banished be not expelled from him" for ever.
We are not, therefore, to pervert this doctrine into an excuse for sinning. To do so is but adding one invention more to all our former ones, to make our ruin more inevitable. And yet it may be feared that many do this, or something far too like to it. They will call themselves
wicked, and confess their sin, as far as words go, readily enough. Nay, they will not stop at a mere simple confession, but they will load themselves with all manner of upbraidings; they will declare themselves "the very chief of sinners;" words will scarce satisfy their self-reproaches.
But what then? Presently they will pause, and begin to consider the excuse-that "so are "all men sinners !-wickedness is bound up in the "heart of a man ;"-how could they then avoid it? A vain and presumptuous reliance on that holy name, which is indeed of power to save the world, but which will never save the hypocrite or unrepentant sinner, too naturally follows in the heart inclined to sin. And here it is that numbers, we may fear, halt, exclaiming, "Lord, Lord"!"
a 2 Sam. xiv. 14. Luke vi. 46. See, by and by, Serm. X.
while yet they keep the favourite sin, and never do the things which the Lord says.
Now, let us be on our most watchful guard against this ruinous delusion. This is most surely the abuse of the great doctrine of man's original corruption. Most true that doctrine is, if there be truth in any thing; most necessary is a just and proper sense of it (as said already) to our hearty acceptance of the Gospel. Again I say, we must confess ourselves unclean in God's sight;-weak, sinful, and corrupt creatures, unable of ourselves to help ourselves; needing an atonement; needing grace to guide us; needing every thing. All this is very true.
But then let us remember, that from the moment when we once arrive in earnest at the right confession, from that moment is the time to change, and straightway to begin to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling," because "it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do;" thus mercifully leading us, through this same sense of sin's most heavy yoke and burthen, to aspire to better things.
What! do we think that the calling ourselves 66 sinners," or even "the offscouring of all things," can do us any good, if that in fact be,
Phil. ii. 13.
after all, both the beginning and the ending of our faith? Do we conceive that He who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, can like us better for this title, or for being sinners, while we forget, or will not listen to that latter portion of the sentence which declares to us that Jesus Christ, although he did indeed "come to call
sinners," yet came to call them-" to repentance ?". Let us not deceive ourselves. "hath no need of the sinful man"." "The Lord "hateth all abomination, and they that fear "God love it not."
We may yet be renewed after the image and likeness of God, at least in the particulars above mentioned. Is not such likeness then to be desired, and aimed at, by us? The hope of recovering it is not to be smothered under indolent and insincere revilings of ourselves, leading to no profitable issue. Since we are well assured that our corrupt nature-be its corruption what it may when we are born-may be restored after the divine image, the case puts on another aspect. The very strongest motive instantly springs up to urge us unto holiness; and if this motive do not take effect, and bring forth fruit within us, all our discovery of evil in our nature d Ecclus. xv. 12, 13.
is only so much present self-torment, without benefit in store at all.
But we shall see this better, when we consider, separately, the use we ought to make of the important doctrine now examined. Meanwhile, may what has been already said subdue our hearts to humble thoughts, and set us upon watching carefully, like persons waiting in good earnest for their Lord to lead them onward in the right way!
MAN'S RESTORED CONDITION, AND ITS OBLI
2 CORINTHIANS V. 17.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
WITH every fresh returning season of our just remembrance of those " good tidings of great
joy," that "unto us is born a Saviour," the Church-our watchful guide and wise instructor, ever anxious to direct us in the right way, and ever ready with the words of truth and soberness-puts into our mouths this prayer; namely, that "God, who has given us his onlybegotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be miraculously born for our redemption, may grant, that we being regenerate, (begotten again to a lively hope, by our admission into the Christian covenant,) and made his children by adoption and grace, ("and if children, then heirs ;