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conduct of christian professors, afford a sufficient reason for those multiplied cautions, which are given to the disciples of Christ in the book of God, that they indulge not any criminal passion in the least degree, without supposing that their final happiness depends on the steadiness of their walk, or on the goodness of their conversation. For our preseverance in faith and holiness depends on the excellency of our state ; as being in covenant with God, his adopted children, and the members of Christ; not upon our obedience and endeavours. Hence you may learn, believer, that as the enemies of your souls are inveterate, subtle, and powerful, and your spiritual frames inconstant, it is highly necessary you should live under a continual remembrance of those awakening considerations. What more advisable, what so necessary for you, as to walk circumspectly; to watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. A sense of your own weakness and insufficiency, should ever abide on your mind and appear in your conduct. As the corruption of nature is an enemy that is always near you, and always in you, while on earth; and as it is very strongly disposed to second every temptation from without; you should keep your heart with all diligence. Watch, diligently watch, over all its imaginations, motions, and tendencies. Consider whence they arise, and to what they incline, before you execute any of the purposes formed in it. For such is the superlative deceitfulness of the human heart, that he who trusteth in it is a fool; Prov. xxviii. 26. Jer. xvii. 9. Prov. iv. 23. ignorant of his danger, and unmindful of his best interests. This consideration should cause every child of God to
bend the suppliant knee, with the utmost frequency, humility, and fervour: to live, as it were, at the throne of grace; nor depart thence till far from the reach of danger.
Certain it is, that the more we see of the strength of our adversaries, and of the danger we are in from them, the more shall we exercise ourselves in fervent prayer.-Can you, O Christian, be cool and indifferent, be dull and careless, when the world, the flesh, and the devil, are your implacable and unwearied opposers ? Dare you indulge yourselves in carnal delights, or in a slothful profession, while the enemies of your peace and salvation are ever active and busy in seeking to compass your fall, your disgrace, and if possible your eternal ruin? Awake thou that sleepest! Mistake not the field of battle for a bed of rest. Be sober be vigilant.
Are there, notwithstanding the believer's weakness and the power of his enemies, such strong assurances given of his perseverance, complete victory, and final happiness ? then, though with fear and trembling he should often reflect on his own insufficiency, he may rely on a faithful God, as his unerring guide and invincible guard, with confidence and joy. The remembrance of that will be a constant motive to humility and watchfulness. The exercise of this will maintain peace and consolation of soul; will be an inexhaustible source of praise, in spite of all the attempts of inveterate malice in his most enraged foes. For the Almighty himself says, Fear not; I am thy shield, for ever to defend thee, and thy exceeding great reward, to render thee completely happy. While the eternal God is his refuge, and everlasting arms his support, there is no
occasion to fear. If God be for us, who can be against us?—When the gates of hell and the powers of earth united assail the believer, menacing destruction to both body and soul, then the name, the promises, the oath, and the attributes of Jehovah are a strong tower, an impregnable fortress; and conscious of his own inability to resist the enemy, he runneth into it and is safe from every attack, however crafty or violent. The righteous man, the real christian, dwelleth on high, out of the reach of every evil. His place of defence is the munitions of rocks; immoveable as their solid foundations, inaccessible as their lofty ridges. Nor shall the favoured inhabitants of this everlasting fortress ever be obliged to surrender for want of provisions. A fulness of living bread, and streams of living water, are united with invincible strength. For, it is added, Bread shall be given him, and his water shall be sure. He shall want neither nourishment nor protection; outward defence, nor inward comfort. Happy, then, thrice happy they that are under the Reign of Grace Every attribute of Deity is engaged to promote their felicity. All the eternal counsels terminate in their favour; and Providence, in the whole course of events respecting them, has a special regard to their advantage.—Thus divine grace appears and reigns in the perseverance of true believers. For grace provides the means necessary to it; grace applies them; and omnipotent grace crowns them with success, to its own eternal honour and praise,
Concerning the Person of Christ, by whom Grace Reigns.
THE Person of Christ, considered in connexion with his work, is a copious and exalted subject; infinitely deserving our most attentive regards. For his person is dignified with every excellency, divine and human; and his work includes every requisite for the complete salvation of our guilty souls.
The constitution of our Mediator's wonderful person was an effect of infinite wisdom, and a manifestation of boundless grace. The hypostatical union of his divine and human nature is a fact of the last importance to our hope of eternal happiness. For, by the personal union of these two natures, he is rendered capable of performing the work of a Mediator between God and man. If he had not possessed a nature inferior to that which is divine, he could neither have performed the obedience required, nor have suffered the penalty threatened by the holy law; both which were absolutely necessary to the salvation of sinners.
Nor was it sufficient merely to assume a created nature: for it was to be that which is common to men. The law being given to man, the obedience required by it, as the condition of life, was to be performed by man, a real, though sinless man, Because the wisdom and equity of the supreme Legislator could not have appeared in giving a law to our species, if it had never, so much as in one instance, been honoured with perfect obedience by any in our nature. As man was become a transgressor of the law, under its curse, and bound to suffer eternal misery; it was necessary that he who should undertake his deliverance, by victorious sufferings, should be himself a man. It would not have appeared agreeable, that a different nature from that which sinned should have suffered for sin. Had it pleased the infinite Sovereign to have saved the angels that fell, with reverence we may suppose, that it would have appeared suitable to divine wisdom, that their deliverer should have assumed the angelic nature. But as man, having lost his happiness, was the creature to be redeemed; and as humanity, having lost its excellence, was the nature to be restored; it was necessary that redemption, and this restoration, should be effected in the human nature. For, as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, brought under condemnation, and liable to eternal death; even so, by the disobedience of one man, Jesus Christ, must many be made righteous; be delivered from condemnation, and accepted to everlasting life. It was necessary also that the human nature of Christ, in which he was to accomplish our deliverance, should be derived from the common root and fountain of it in our first parents. For it does not appear suitable to answer the various purposes designed by the assumption of our nature, that it should be created immediately out of nothing ; nor yet that his body should be formed out of the dust