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"eneth," saith JESUS; "the flesh profiteth "nothing." "I will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you "for ever, even the Spirit of truth ;" who, according to St. Paul," will help our infir"mities, and make intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered;" by which also," we are strengthened with all "might, according to his glorious power, "unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness."
But, thirdly and lastly, the spiritual religion of the gospel effects that which the law was unable to do, in that it gives us a clear promise of everlasting happiness in heaven, if we have endeavoured to fulfil the duties of repentance, faith, and obedience, upon earth. Before life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel, mankind had no clear prospect beyond the grave: clouds and darkness hung over futurity.
Even among the Jews, the greatest part of them had no notions of another life after this; for they either thought not about it, or followed the opinion of those scribes, who said, that there was no resurrection, and denied the existence of angels or spirits. And as to the heathen world, almost all of them were plunged in the thickest darkness, on this very important subject. But, when
"the sun of righteousnes arose with healing "on his wings," a full discovery was made, to mankind, of heaven and hell, of a resurrection from the grave, and a future judg ment: "I am the resurrection and the life," saith the LORD; "he that believeth in me, "though he were dead, yet shall he live; "and he that believeth in me shall never "die." "The hour is coming, in the "which all that are in the graves shall "hear my voice, and shall come forth; "" they that have done good, unto the resur"rection of life; and they that have done "evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." And St. Paul has added these further particulars to the representation of CHRIST; telling us, how infinitely they shall be "bles"sed, who die in the LORD;" and who that Judge will be, who shall give eternal happiness to the good, and sentence the bad to everlasting destruction. "The trum
pet shall sound, and the dead shall be "raised, and we shall be changed; and "then corruption shall put on incorruption, "and this mortal shall be cloathed with "immortality; for we must all appear be"fore the judgment-seat of CHRIST, that "every one may receive the things done in "his body, according to that he hath done, "whether it be good or bad." These, my
brethren, are the blessed benefits, which that best gift of GOD to man, the gospel of JESUS CHRIST, Confers upon faithful christians; benefits, which the law of Moses could not bestow, for the letter killeth, but the "Spirit giveth life." They are offered to us graciously and freely; but certain conditions must be performed on our parts, in order to secure them. This, you must be sensible, is but reasonable; for no advantage ought to be expected, unless something be given in exchange for it. The husbandman cannot expect the fruits of harvest, unless he tills, manures, and sows his fields. The servant cannot expect his wages, unless he performs the business of his place. The labourer cannot expect his hire, unless he do the work for which he is employed. So stands the case between man and his Saviour. We must cultivate our talent; we must perform our business; we must fulfil our work; or we cannot be benefited by the blessings of his gospel. He has promised us peace here, and glory hereafter; but it is on the express conditions of repentance, faith, and obedience, to his commandments.
For the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.]
LUKE X. 37.
Go, and do thou likewise.
"HE little history told in the Gospel of
generally called a pa
rable, was probably a fact, which had happened at, or near, the time, when our blessed LORD related it; since, on many occasions, CHRIST appears to have instructed his hearers, by describing events that had lately occurred, or by referring to circumstances and scenes that were before their eyes. You will see, at least, as I go on to make remarks upon the several parts of this history, that it is very likely all the transactions mentioned in it had really their foundation in truth. The immediate cause of our Saviour relating this parable, was, a short conversa
tion which he had held with a certain lawyer, or teacher of the Jewish law, who asked him, what he should do to inherit eternal life. CHRIST referred him to the law of Moses, and enquired, what method that pointed out to him, of pleasing GOD. The Jewish doctor replied, that it enjoined him to love God above every thing; and to love his neighbour as himself. Our blessed Saviour knew that these two great points included all our duties to GOD and man; and therefore confirmed what he had said: "Thou hast answered right," replied he; "this do, and thou shalt live." The teacher of the law, however, "willing to "justify himself, said to JESUS, and who is
my neighbour?" He was not quite satisfied with CHRIST's general approbation of his answer, but wished it to be more particular; and hoped that he would explain the word neighbour, in the same sense in which he himself understood it, as including only people who dwelt near him, or were of the same nation, religion, or sect. He knew that he had thus far performed his duty to his neighbour; and flattered. himself, that CHRIST's explanation of the word would justify him in the sight of those who listened to the conversation; that is, make him appear in the light of a good and