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eousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Paul says, that while he was a Pharisee, he was, in his own opinion, in respect to the righteousness of the law, blameless." There are multitudes at this day, who entertain the same views and hopes that Paul did, who are under the reigning power of a totally selfish and depraved heart. Such a heart renders their religious performances, altogether vile and odious in the view of an holy God, who will condemn and destroy them, unless they make them a new heart and a new spirit and turn from selfishness to holiness,
5. If God be perfectly holy, then sinners have no reason to desire preachers to lower down the terms of salvation, which he has proposed in the gospel. The terms, which he has proposed, require holiness of heart. The love he requires is holy love, the repentance he requires is holy repentance, the faith he requires is holy faith, the submission he requires is holy submission, and the obedience he requires is holy obedience. And he allows no substitute for holiness. Paul, who once thought, that he could obey and please God, without holy love, was thoroughly convinced of his fatal error and guilt and has stated it in the strongest terms.--“ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge ; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. By charity
here the apostle means pure holiness, or pure disinterested benevolence, which seeketh not its own. Without this, he says, men can do nothing pleasing to God or that will secure the salvation of their souls. But they all desire to be excused from exercising such holiness of heart and to substitute some external services in the room of it. And some preachers are willing to gratify them and lower down the essential conditions of the gospel. They tell them, that if they will only pay tithe of mint and annise, and cummin, they may safely omit the weighter matters of the law, justice, judgment and the love of God. But though this mode of preaching may please men for a while, yet it directly tends to destroy them forever. For God is a holy God; and without holiness no man can please him, nor be admitted into his holy kingdom, nor enjoy the blessedness of it. T'he deceiver and the deceived must become holy, or eternally perish.
6. If God be perfectly holy ; then all sinners may see in what consists their inability to embrace the gos
They often lament their impotence to comply with the terms of salvation and consider it as a great calamity. But if they would only look into their own hearts, they would see, that their impotence lies within themselves and arises solely from the selfish and sinful exercises of their own hearts; and that the terms of salvation are as low and easy as God could make them. He requires nothing but what they must have in order to be happy in this world and in the world to come. It is morally impossible to save them without that holiness, which consists in the free and voluntary exercise of holy love, which is impartial, universal and disinterested benevolence.
7. It appears from what has been said, that there can be no neuters in religion. Every person must either love holiness, or hate it ; and either love God, or hate him for his holiness ; and either desire to go to heaven, or refuse to go. Life and death are set before all ; and they are commanded to choose life, and condemned if they choose death. Sinners are in a critical and dangerous situation. They are in the hand of a holy God, who has a power and right to save, or destroy ; and none can take them out of his hand. Be not deceived; for God will not be mocked with any thing, in the place of a holy heart. To all sinners he says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
SINNERS VAINLY ATTEMPT TO DISSOLVE THEIR
PSALMS, 11. 3.- Let us break their bands asunder; and cast away their cords from us.
This psalm contains a prediction of Christ's coming to set up his spiritual kingdom in this world ; and of the opposition, that should be made to his holy and gracious design, by all characters and classes of men.
Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands ; and cast away their cords from us.” By the Lord's anointed, David here means Christ, which name properly signifies anointed. Accordingly, he again calls him anointed in the forty-fifth psalm.“ Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever : the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest iniquity, therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." The Father, Son and Holy Ghost were equally united and concerned in setting up the kingdom of Christ upon the earth. And therefore all the opposition of Jews and gentiles, of rulers and subjects, of high and low, was pointed against the one God in three persons. The reason, why sinners of all descriptions were united in opposing this holy spiritual kingdom, was because it came clothed with divine power and authority, which laid them under infinite bonds to return to God from whom they had revolted and to become reconciled to those bonds forever. The idea of being bound they could not endure ; and unitedly engaged to free themselves, if possible, from their obligations to God. They said in words and actions, “Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This is equally the spirit and language of sinners at the present day. They wish to break loose from God and throw off every divine restraint. The plain import of the text may be expressed in this general observation,
That sinners endeavor to free themselves from all obligations to God. I shall,
I. Show what obligations they are under to God;
II. Show that they endeavor to free themselves from such obligations; and,
III. Show that their endeavors will be in vain.
I. I am to show what obligations sinners are under to God.
These are of various kinds. 1. They are under natural obligations to God.... Their nature, as dependent creatures, forms an intimate connection between them and their maker. Their dependance is constant and absolute. They cannot exist a moment without the immediate exertion of divine power. When God brought them into being, he
gave them no power to preserve themselves in existence. They are no less dependent on God for preservation than they were for creation. This is true of all created beings. They have no self-supporting, or self-preserving power.
In God they live, and move, and have their being. There is precisely the same connection between God and all his creatures, as there