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forth to the uttermost: he could have created more worlds, and he might have made more of each sort of creatures, and these far more beautiful and glorious than they are; but, in the work of redemption, Christ's infinite power is extended to the uttermost: his person was infinite, and his sufferings were infinite; one proportionable to the other. His omnipotency as our Redeemer is far more glorious, than his omnipotency as our Creator. Christ first gives the honour of his all-sufficiency to this end, that, for his undertaking so great an employment as the accomplishment ot'the work of our redemption, we might honour him in his own person, as we honour the Father in his: John v. 23. Certainly, there is good reason why we should ascribe htfnour to hini, Gtimh/vtiSm we receive salvation.
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is Christ an All-sufficient Saviour? WHY DO WE THEN RELY
UPON THAT, WHICH IS ALTOGETHER INSUFFICIENT?
What the Prophet said, in another case, 2 Kings i. 6, 1. Is it....because there is'ua God in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Baalzehub, the god of Ekron? the same may I say: Is it :because there is none deputed to be a Saviour, because there is none appointed, none able to save, that men betake themselves to false refuges? to broken reeds, that are so far from supporting, that .certainly they will both betray and wound them? It is a strange folly, that most men are guilty of, that, when God hath provided them a Saviour to their hands, one that is able to save to the uttermost, yet, with a great deal of toil and labour, they seek to set up other saviours of their own: as if it were just reason to distrust the mercy of God, because they have deserved his wrath. There is not one here, who has not hopes of heaven arid a blessed eternity;' %nd something we all rely Upon, as
-sufficient to heart us up in it. If I should go first to one, and then to another, and put the question, " Do you hope to be suVed?" where sits the person, that will not shew his strong
^'opes; and almost disdain that such a question shouWbe asked tfrirnf'" Yes," would every one say : " we have all gdodhopes;
,and,' though the most perish and few are saved, yet we have all hHfjes that we are of the number of those few." -We're bttrthe grduntls and reasons of men's hopes made visible,' we should
'fiiid^ that that, which they most support themselves opdh, isr'tro
- .IJI ..K'V
better than that mentioned in the book of Job, to say of gold, Thou art my hope; and of the fine gold, Tlunt art my confidence. 1. Some trust presumptuously to the Mercy of God to be saved.
And this is the plea of many ignorant persons: here, it may be, it is a secret to those who can pretend more knowledge in the mysteries of salvation, that God is merciful and gracious, and that the world is but scared out of their wits, when we represent God in such furious shapes as if he were all vengeance! his mercy is infinite; and who would not hope? It is true: but his justice and severity are as infinite as his mercy: why then dost thou not fear? Must God remit the attribute of his mercy, if he doth not save thee? Why thou thyself judgest he is infinite in mercy, though he hath condemned thousands of others. "But we will never believe, that that God, which made us, will destroy us.'* If this be all, know that the devils have as good a plea as this: were not they the workmanship of God? were not they more glorious creatures than thou art? and he, that spared not the, angels which fell, will least of all spare thee: doth not the Prophet direct us against this plea, Isa. xxvii. II? It is a people of no understanding: therefore, he, (hut made than, will not save them; and he, that formed them, will not shew them mercy.
Quest. "But how can it consist with the goodness of God, to punish momentary sins? Those, that are but as a flashr and gone in the twinkling of an eye, how can he punish with everlasting destruction?"
Ans. It is true, the act of sin is momentary and transient j but yet there is something in sin, that is permanent and eternal: and that ariseth from the guilt of it. God doth not punish for the act of sin, that is past and gone; but for the guilt of it, that remains: the black guilt of that sin, which was epmmitted a hundred years ago, remains still upon the souls of the damned; and therefore God justly punisbeth them and will do so eferpa,Hy; because all their eternity of sufferings can never, sajis/y 7the offended justice of the divine majesty. These U^pes, tijerefflife, are all vain. . . , ', '- .'. :-/. , , :, .• ., .-;n
2. Some trust to their own Righteousness: and set up their own good works and duties for their All-sufficient ,Savio|ur.
There is nothing harder than to persuade rnetyto Jook beyond
themselves for life. As they.have been thsi^ojvn^esfvpjer^sp
they would fain be their own saviours; ,Rnd;yfit<#b«*tis ibis, but.
a delusory sottishness ?.fend.ithose***iiftjd4ifi»i beaten.(ojfj fr^
. -.j. '. t'.v/i or yd !.' ..£&iluh iut ,/ Jiid; yjod no \ Jon relying upon their own righteousness, who have the fewest good works. But this is a weak ground of hope, which men venture their souls upon for eternal happiness. It is observable, that the hope of a hypocrite is compared to a spider's web: Job. 8. 14: spiders' webs, you know, are spun out of their own bowels: when the spider hath made its web with much pains, and set itself in the midst of it, it is but a weak and defenceless thing, easy to be swept away -: so is it with these vain hopes of sinners; they are spurt'out of their own bowels, out of their good works and righteousness, and, when they set up themselves in the midst of them, expecting to catch heaven in their web, they will find it but a weak and indefensible' thing: for conviction of sin" will break this web; if not, death and judgment will, and then the sinner will unexpectedly drop into hell. Now from the consideration of all this, it'greatly concerns us not to trust to or relytipon our ownj but Christ's righteousness, lest we fall into condemnation. ,
"CHrist hath done Two things for us as our Saviour:.! ' ,'. ,v v. "\' '. He hath made a full Satisfaction and Expiatibrtof the -.i.-\-.1 .. Guilt of our sms. .'. .i
. He hath procured Acceptation of our Persons and Per
'' '.'--- '. formances with God. , •j -, - ',.«': ,"
Now if we trust to our own righteousness for either of these,
we make that our Saviour, and not Christ. ,-, .i'. i,i-j'
Examine yourselves now; and search what it is, that'you
propound to yourselves when you perform duties towardsObd.
'JD6ftbne of'you perform duties to this end, that-thereby you Wiay' 'bfe,i freed from the Guilt of sin., and pay down a price for ytiur formed transgressions? When you commit sin,-many times,1 'do riot:you 'think.- you will make amends to God by the next?grayer' and confession, and bemoaning of yourselves for it? TJiat'"wmdh ftVem rely upon for the satisfying of their consciences, they'$siy upoWforthe satisfying of divine justice.. Now when c*bnyeie^e&;-giWs-vesbd and angry, what are the methods that men use to quiet it? If they can but reckon up the number of their woodworks and duties, they value them, instead of/the blood ofJCbristM'^'iii-"/-. ,--,'.' 'i'-'i >.i.:;:'. ,'. ...' ..,. 1..,,..,; ,:.-,i f'^f^noWb^^ybti-i-ety upOfiiyftu^bwn^righteousness and good Svo«4i^,W^W*cU!'fr'Aceept!itk>rr with God? For mark, upon what ace^oWt! ifhe*'hope/their duties sball'be accepted, upon the same tftfey llc^e^h^ise-ftiefeyhalVfeeoaC'Cep'ted.' Put it to the trial: do not you hope that your duties *hall be accepted for their own sake? True it is, you pray that God would hear and answer you for Christ's sake: but yet the generality of men rest upon the excellency of their prayer to make them acceptable; for consider, have you not different hopes of the acceptation of your duties, upon your different performance of them? If your hearts are sometimes drawn out in prayer and mightily enlarged, do not you rise up and say with full confidence, that your prayers are accepted with God as a sweet savour? but, at other times, when your hearts are more dead and flat, and your prayers hang heavy upon your lips, when you can but groan and chatter, then you conclude you are afraid that God doth not regard that prayer nor accept of it. This is an evidence, that you measure the acceptance of your duties, by the worth and excellency of them: the one is dull and sluggish, and that you give over as lost and vain; the other vigorous and sprightful, and you doubt not but that pierceth heaven, and obtaineth audience with God: never thinking of the intercession of Christ, which alone can make them acceptable. If this be the end which men make of performing their duties, to make them their Christs, and rely upon them for salvation; though it be a means to. it, yet it is insufficient of itself to obtain it.
Is Christ an All-sufficient Saviour, able to save to the uttermost? LET US THEN BE PERSUADED TO COME TO HIM, TO ACCEPT HIM FOR OUR SAVIOUR.
Were I now to press you to some hard and difficult duty, to the exercise of self-denial and mortification, to be willing to lay clown your lives for Christ, I might rationally suspect that these exhortations should be rejected; unless they came with great power, strong arguments, and prevalent motives: but, when it is only to accept of that Christ who hath laid down his life for you, and of that salvation which he hath laid up for you and tenders to you; certainly, such an exhortation as this carries argument and motive enough in itself to prevail. But, because men are wedded to their own sins, and because they are resolved against their own happiness, 1 shall lay down some considerations, which, if they do not persuade them to close with Christ, may at least convince them how unreasonably they put away salvation from themselves.
1. Consider, that you all stand in most absolute need of an Allsufficient Saviour.
You are lost, beyond all the power and skill of men and angels to recover you; and God protests that he will save you no other way but by Christ: Acts iv. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name given under heaven. There is no choice for you, but either Christ, or eternal damnation; either the Son of God, or the Wrath of God. You are all under guilt, and there is no other way of satisfaction to divine justice, but either his blood or yours. You now hear these things; and, possibly, slight them: but that day and hour are coming, and will not tarry, when death shall snatch you away to judgment; and when you shall lift up those hands at the great bar, with which you thrust away salvation from you. That Christ, whom you have scorned and contemned, as a merciful Saviour; you will then tremble at, as a most severe and just Judge.
2. Consider, If you now come in to Christ, he is willing and ready to receive you.
He himself tells you so: John vi. 37. Those, that come to me, I will in no wise cast out. Indeed, all-sufficiency to save, without willingness, serves only to increase the anguish of our ruin and destruction. But this may be for our comfort, that Christ hath no more power in his hand to save us, than willingness in his heart. It is not indeed Christ's power, that despairing souls use to object against; but his will. "We know," say such, " that Christ is able to save'us: but how know we that he is willing?" Truly, his all-sufficiency gives us good security of his will. Path Christ left the bosom of his Father, hath he undergone no less than infinite wrath and sufferings, and all for this end, that he may be an All-sufficient Saviour? and shall we yet doubt, after all this, whether he is willing to save us or not? Certainly, if it stood Christ in so much to procure to himself ability to save, we have no reason to doubt, that, since he hath obtained that ability, he should now want a will to do it. Therefore, since Christ was appointed by the Father to save sinners, and since he was fitted with an all-sufficient power to effect salvation, and since this all-sufficiency wants not willingness, be persuaded to accept of him; and be as willing to be saved by him, as he is willing to save you.