Page images
[ocr errors]

with pollution, (no not in a single instance,) nor look upon a sinner except through a Mediator. What mean you to contend for the privilege of going to God without a Mediator ? to contend for the privilege of being pagans ? Hope a prayer may reach the mercy seat without going through Christ! -if this is not self-righteousness expange the word from the language. Further, a promise implies a reward. Now if the unregenerate are rewarded they are rewarded before they are pardoned. They receive tokens of favour while they remain objects of wrath. And for what are they rewarded? Not for the merits of Christ, for they have no part in Him; but for their own works,—works too which are indifferent or sinful. This is 66 confusion worse confounded." But charge not this upon the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation no such promise is found. “Ask and ye shall receive,” is indeed said to all ; but when you in

; quire the meaning of that condition, the answer is, “ ASK IN FAITH, NOTHING WAVERING." It is said indeed that the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;" but if you have yet to learn what violence is meant, an OldTestament saint shall tell you : “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee, so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as

:: silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures ;

[ocr errors]

then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” In short all the promises addressed to the unregenerate are summed up in either of the following texts : “ Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me WITH

, ALL YOUR HEART." << If thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him if thou seek Him with ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL."*

[ocr errors]

Deut. iv. 29. Prov. ii. 1-5. Jer, xxix. 13. Mat. xi, 12. John xvi. 24. James i. 6.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


This promise to Christ respecting His future kingdom is very emphatick. It can scarcely be tortured into any other meaning than that His pow. er should be effectually exerted to render His people willing to submit to His empire ; not indirectly by presenting to their view His miracles and the destruction of His enemies, and leaving the event to the casual operation of their self-determining power; but by a conquest of their wills or hearts through the efficacious influence of His Spirit.

In the last Lecture it was proved that Regeneration is an instantaneous change, from exclusive attachment to the creature, from supreme selfishness, from enmity against God, to universal love which fixes the heart supremely on Him; that there is no previous abatement of the enmity or approximation towards a right temper, the heart being

at one moment in full possession of its native selfishness and opposition, at the next moment in possession of a principle of supreme love to God, acquiring thus in an instant a temper which it never possessed before. Here is a phenomenon wholly unlike any other revolution in the moral or social world. How is it to be accounted for? Is it produced by the self-determining power of the human will, or by the power of God? If by God, is it brought about according to the stated operations of nature, or in a supernatural way? If in a supernatural way, is it wrought on account of any thing previously done by the sinner, or in any sense by his cooperation? These three questions will form the plan of the present Lecture.

I. Is this change produced by the self-determining power of the human will, or by the power of God ? Not by the self-determining power of the will, or heart, (both are included in the term as here used,) for the very last aet of the will or heart before the change was entirely hostile to God, and the first right aet evinces the change to be past. The will was an enemy in the last act before the act of love. Does then the foe instantly create the friend? Does an effort of enmity instantly produce love? Whenever did darkness create light, or death life? Is it credible that the will, while fully opposed to God, should contrive and accomplish so holy and so vast a change in a moment? None will pretend it. No man in his senses ever pleaded for the self-determining power who allowed the change to be so sudden

« PreviousContinue »