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Minister. We have the most unquestionable authority in proof of it: for not only by a voice from heaven upon several occasions, while Jesus was upon earth, did the Father declare his complete approbation of his mission, and proclaim him for his only beloved Son, commending all to hear him; but an apostle informs us that so much the Father and the Son are one, in an eternal unity of essence, and the acts of the one are the acts of the other, that in that awful sacrifice of Jesus on the oross, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, 2 Cor. v. 19. So that however mysterious the whole of redemptionwork is in itself, yet we plainly perceive it occupied the joint agency of all the persons of the Godhead to fulfil; and that the Father is as ready to accept, as the Son to offer, and the Holy Ghost to apply the merits and death of Jesus for the salvation of sinners. And although to the person of the Redeemer we cannot perhaps help feeling greater confidence in approaching, because, from his taking upon him our nature, and being the appointed Mediator to his people, we look up to him as somewhat more immediately 'endeared to our flesh; yet never ought we the less to consider the tender love of the Father in giving such a Savior; and the gracious compassion of the Holy Ghost in applying his merits to our necessities, as equal objects of our highest affection, gratitude, and regard; and thankfully ascribe to all, that glory which is the just tribute due to a Being of such inconceivable perfections, who, though existing in a plurality of persons, is but one, and the same, infinite and eternal Jehovah.
Parishioner. Praised be God for such credences of his love!
Minister. And now I should hope that I have said enough, to prove to you the all-sufficiency and allsuitableness of the Savior to answer the utmost wants of his people under every particular. But in addition to these outward credences, there is one more of an inward nature, which, if I mistake not, the Lord, through his gracious benignity, hath given you, which cannot but fully satisfy, and is unanswerably great and conclusive.
Parishioner. Given me! I beg you to explain!
Minister. That I shall most readily.* You have seyeral times, in the course of our present conversation, expressed yourself to be a poor, helpless, self-condemned, and miserable sinner. Now, if you really feel what you say, and those expressions are the genuine sentiments of the heart; you have, what I call, a personal experience, that Jesus is an all-sufficient Savior, for he hath proved himself to be so to you, in fulfilling that promise he made his disciples before his departure, that if he went away, he would send to them the Holy Ghost, and who, when he was come, should reprove the world of sin, &c. Now that he has come upon you
is plain, for you are reproved and convinced of sin, and
your utterly lost state by reason of it; a circumstance which could not have been accomplished but from his power in the heart. This at once proves, therefore, to your own experience, that the Savior hath made a full satisfaction for sin, that the Father hath accepted it,
* The Reader is desired to give the closest attention to this observation.
and that the Holy Ghost is given in confirmation thereof; for it is said in scripture, that the Holy Ghost could not be given before that Jesus was glorified. But if you are convinced of sin, then is the Holy Ghost come; and if the Holy Ghost be come, then is Jesus glorified; and if Jesus be glorified, then hath the Father accepted the offering he made upon the cross for human guilt, and in testimony of it hath sent down the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I think this argument so plain, so clear, and so convincing and unanswerable, that I hope it will operate with its full power of persuasion in your heart. And let me add also, that as you have this real heartielt conviction of sin from this gracious operation of the blessed Spirit, and he hath led you thereby to see your own helplessness by reason of it, you have one of the strongest assurances therefrom, that he will also lead you to see and to seek the all-suitableness and all-sufficiency of Jesus to relieve; for the same power which convinces of sin, convinces no less of the righteousness of the Savior; and both concur to afford that inward testimony which the apostle speaks of, the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are born of God, Rom. viii. 16.
Parishioner. Praised be the riches of Divine grace. I think I begin to have some faint glimmering view of what you have been describing. May the Lord make it, like the light of the morning, which shineth more and more unto a perfect day!
Minister. Let me, for the present, dismiss der these impressions, and my prayers shall follow you, that the God of all grace, which hath given you to see your misery by reason of sin, may lead you to that
Lamb of God which alone can take it away. There is no want, or situation of distress, but what he is competent to relieve. He is an all-sufficient Savior, an almighty Savior, a most gracious Savior, and an everlasting Savior, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and as wil. ling as able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him. May the Lord grant you the same conviction, both of your misery and his ability, which the poor leper we read of in the Gospel had, when he came to Christ with that moving and earnest petition, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean: and you will find in Jesus the same power and readiness to relieve as he experienced; Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will, be thou clean, and immediately his leprosy was cleansed, Matt. viii. 23.
THREE GREAT POINTS IN RELIGION.
than when I last came. My mind was then greatly distressed indeed, with the weight and burden of sin; but the transporting views which you then opened before me, of the righteousness, and all-sufficiency of the Savior, with his gracious disposition to help poor sinners, have ever since comforted me. And if you can now as fully satisfy my mind, under the third particular you proposed, as through God's help you have in the former two: I mean how I shall be enabled to call Jesus
Savior in seeing my interest in him; you will have shewn yourself to be an able minister of the New Testament, and be justly entitled to my best thanks. I shall have cause VOL. III.
indeed to pray the Lord to recompense your labors of love, and to grant that, while watering others, you yourself may be watered with the richest consolations of Jesus.
Minister. The blessing you are in quest of, my Christian brother, like all others of a gracious nature, I hope you know, to be the sole gift of God. Jesus is | both the author and finisher of faith: and every good and every perfect gift cometh from him. But if the Lord, in his abundant mercy, hath begun the manifestation of his grace
every reason to hope, and to believe, that he will carry on and complete the work, until the day of his coming. For never did the gracious Master excite spiritual desires in the soul, but with an intention to gratify them. When he makes a poor sinner sensible of his burden of sin, it is, that he may come unto him and
find rest to his soul. When he creates a hungering and a thirsting in the soul, it is that all such may come unto him to be filled. May the Lord grant you but faith thus to come, and I am persuaded that he will not send you empty away. But let us re-assume the conversation where we left off at our last parting. I persuade myself that God by his Holy Spirit hath both convinced you of sin, and of the righteousness of the Savior; and under these impressions you are now coming to him in the language of the poor leper into the Gospel, crying out: Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean,
Parishioner. This sir, if I do not deceive myself, (which I trust I do not) is my present state. I am most awfully convinced of the leprous state of my sinful soul as it must appear before God. And I am as fully satisfied of the all-sufficiency of Jesus to cleanse me. I am convinced that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.