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pear that the finally impenitent never had one right affection, nor one good intention, in the whole course of their lives. And when this appears, the whole universe must approve of Christ, in dooming them all to endless destruction.
6. We learn from what has been said, why the divine law, when it comes to the conscience, revives the guilt and destroys the hope of every sinner. Many sinners are so strict in their external conduct, and so serious and devout in their religious services, that they not only pacify their consciences, but even entertain high hopes of the favor of God and the enjoyment of heaven. But this is owing to their ignorance of the nature and extent of the divine law, and of the total corruption of their hearts. Whenever, therefore, the divine law is set home upon their consciences, it discovers the enmity of their hearts, and destroys all their hopes of heaven. This Paul found to be the case by his own experience. "I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death: For sin taking occasion by the commandment deceived me, and by it slew me." Paul, before his conversion, was a man of a fair moral character, and zealous in the religion of his sect. His hopes of heaven were high, and he had no doubt of being a sincere friend to God. But when the commandment came, it discovered his heart and destroyed his hopes of the divine favor. He felt himself to be a poor, miserable, guilty sinner. He found that in him, that is in his carnal mind, there dwelt no good thing. He was fully convinced, that he had always acted from a carnal, selfish heart, which was unfriendly to God, and which justly deserved his ever, lasting displeasure. And if it be true, that sinners al
ways act from a carnal heart, which the law of God forbids; then the law of God, when it comes home to the conscience, must necessarily condemn them for all their thoughts, words and actions. And when they
feel this conviction, there is nothing, which can keep them from complete despair, but a belief, that a holy, gracious and sovereign God can subdue their enmity and save them, in spite of their hearts.
7. We learn from what has been said, that it is the immediate duty of sinners to become reconciled to God. This is their first and most important duty. Their reading and praying, their seeking and striving, and every thing they do, will be displeasing to God, until they become heartily reconciled to his holy and amiable character. God is not only supremely glorious and excellent in his own nature; but he has al ways treated sinners with the greatest kindness and tenderness. He has never said any thing in his word, nor done any thing in his providence, which has ever given them any just ground for their disaffection. And, therefore, he solemnly calls upon them to impeach a single instance of his conduct, if they can. "Hear ye now what the Lord saith: Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unlo thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me." Since sinners have always hated God without a cause, it is their immediate duty to renounce their groundless enmity, and become reconciled to their kind and gracious Creator. Hence the sacred teachers unitedly exhort them to immediate holiness and reconciliation of heart to God. Isaiah says, "Let
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Ezekiel says, "Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die?" And the Apostle Paul calls upon the enemies of God, in the most solemn and endearing manner, to become immediately friendly to him. "Now then we are embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God." Amen.
ON THE SPECIAL AND IRRESISTIBLE GRACE OF GOD IN THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS.
PSALM CX, 3.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.
THE great scheme of our redemption was concerted, by the sacred Trinity, before the foundation of the world. The Father and Son mutually agreed, in the early days of eternity, to perform distinct parts, in carrying into execution this gracious design. The Son engaged to become incarnate, and lay down his life in the room of sinners. And the Father engaged to give the Son a certain number of the human race, as a reward for his sufferings and death. It is, therefore, in reference to this original covenant between the Father and the Son, that the former says to the latter in the text, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." These words naturally suggest this plain truth to our present consideration:
That God is able, by an act of his power, to make those willing to be saved, whom he has given to Christ. In illustrating this subject, I shall endeavor to make it appear,
I. That God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ.
II. That they are naturally unwilling to be saved. And yet,
III. That God is able, by an act of his power, to make them willing.
I. I am to make it appear, that God has given a certain number of mankind to Christ.
The evangelical Prophet, speaking of the suffering Savior, expressly declares, "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travel
of his soul, and shall be satisfied." Agreeably to this and to other similar promises, Christ himself declares in the tenth of John, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." For these, in distinction from others, Christ prays in particular, just before his death. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am." This portion of mankind the Apostle Paul often mentions, under various appellations. He calls them the fulness of Christ, the body of Christ, and the members of Christ. He represents them as originally predestinated to perfect holiness and future glory. "We know, says he, that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren, Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also