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serve God for ever with all his strength, he would do no more than his duty. He would make no atonement for the least of his past transgressions. But sinners, while impenitent, are wholly destitute of what is pleasing to God. Their hearts are full of wickedness, and all: their actions are wholly sinful. They are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind,
, and naked. Their poverty and misery will continue and increase until they come to Christ, and receive the blessings of the gospel. But, for these blessings they have nothing to give. It is certain then, that the blessings of the gospel must be freely given to sinners, or they can never be enjoyed.
5. All mankind are guilty creatures. That every one of the human race is a sinner, and that every sinner deserves the curse of the law, we are most plainly taught in the holy scrip
On these facts the whole gospel is founded. Now, if all mankind are justly condemned to endless punishment, the salvation of sinners, and all the blessings they ever enjoy, must be freely given. 6 For the wages of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The apostle, having proved the wickedness and ill desert of all mankind, draws the following inference : « Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” He then declares the way of justification through Jesus Christ. He says, “For all have sinned and
come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” If mankind be guilty creatures, it is impossible that they should be saved, but through grace. Since all have sinned and deserve the curse of the law, the blessings of the gospel must be freely given to every one, who is saved from eternal death, which is the wages of sin.
1. Since the blessings of the gospel are freely given, it is evident that morality avails nothing towards obtaining these blessings. There are many persons, who think very highly of their moral conduct, and fondly imagine that their morality will ensure to themselves the favor of God. Though they may profess to depend upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus for salvation, yet such a dependence is merely professed. It is not realized. The words and the actions, the views and the feelings, of such persons, prove that their hope of salvation is founded entirely upon their morality. If they cver feel the least need of divine mercy, they suppose that their morality affords a firm claim upon God for his favor. But if the blessings of the gospel are freely given, they are never bestowed upon any persons on account of their moral conduct. Should the most moral man that ever lived, plead his morality for the purpose of obtaining the favor of God, how would God treat his plea ? He would inform
him, that it is not by works of righteousness, which men have done, but according to his mercy, that any of the sinful and guilty
race of Adam are received into his favor, and saved from endless wrath. It is written,
It is written, “ A man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. No one, who is acquainted with the holy scriptures, needs to be informed that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a distinguishing and fundamental doctrine of the gospel. The apostle writes to the churches of Galatia, “ Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.” By placing dependence on their own works for salvation, they rejected the gospel of the grace of God. And the gospel is now rejected by every person, who expects to obtain salvation, in the least, on account of his morality. If a person cannot claim eternal life as the reward of his morality, and as what God is bound in justice to bestow, then morality avails nothing towards obtaining the favor of God. The favor of God must be obtained by works, or through grace. “ And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work.” Now the salvation of the gospel is, wholly of grace and not of works in the least. “ As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse." Moral sinners, as well as other sinners, are condemned by the law to endless perdition. There is the same place of torment prepared and appointed for moral and immoral sinners, who continue impenitent. And for moral and immoral sinners, there is the same way of justifi. cation and salvation. However moral a person may be, he must perish unless he wholly renounce his morality, and depend entirely upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. For whoever perceives that the blessings of the gospel are freely given, will at once perceive that morality avails nothing towards obtaining these blessings.
2. If the blessings of the gospel are freely bestowed, then God is not induced to grant these blessings, by the religious performances of impenitent sinners. The impenitent may be not only moral in their external conduct, but also abundant in their religious performances. The Pharisee could say, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess.” Paul before his conversion taught according to the perfect law of the fathers, and was zealous towards God.” After the strictest sect of their religion, he lived a Pharisee. Touching the righteousness, which is in the law, he was blameless. Others as well as Paul have been zealous and abundant
in their religious performances while impenitent, and have flattered themselves that they were in a state of peace and safety. White- . field says in one of his sermons, " I know by sad experience wliat it is to be lulled asleep with a false peace. Long was I lulled asleep. Long did I think myself a Christian, when I knew nothing of the Lord Jesus Christ. I used to fast twice a week.
I used to pray sometimes nine times a day. I used to receive the sacrament constantly, every Lord's day.. And
yet I knew nothing of Jesus Christ in my heart. I knew not I must be new creature. I knew nothing of inward religion in my soul."
" He was afterwards convinced, that all these performances were as filthy rags, and that they could avail nothing towards obtaining the favor of God. To the Scribes and Pharisees, the Lord Jesus Christ said, notwithstanding all their religious performances, “ Woe unto you,
Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited 'sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful without, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. Even so ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” By the apostle the Holy Spirit 'plainly and decisively condemns all the performances of the impenitent. He says, “ The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh can. not please God.” It ought to be considered