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to suffering and affliction as other men ; but the bitterness, the curse, is 'removed; he traces the hand of love in all his afflictions; there is something sweet in every bitter cup!' And in another world, at the bar of God, the believer will stand acquitted by 'the justifying righteousness of Jesus Christ; he will be owned as a child, and heir, and eternal blessing shall rest upon him. Such is the scriptural statement of the redemption from the curse of the law, which has been effected by Christ; and happy is it for us that the promises of God in him are thus interwoven in our excellent service, so that every penitent believer may find it speaking the language of his wants and necessities, his hopes and anticipations. .
In conclusion, we are aware that it may excite the surprise of some, that we should labour to prove that the church of England in her services, and the Bible in its sacred pages, exhibit the merits, atonement, and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, as the sole ground of our acceptance with God. They may coneeive that no professed Christian ever doubted this great fundamental point, and that it is therefore wholly unnecessary to establish it. But indeed, the truth is far otherwise; as there are many who know not the deceitfulness of their own hearts and the true nature of sin, so there are many who do not rightly understand, nor properly value the atoning sacrifice of Christ. Some do not receive the doctrine of the Godhead of the Saviour ; but we trust, that it has been shown that the Bible and the church of England do so; and truly awful is their state who withhold their homage from their incarnate God! Others conceive that Christ died for all, and therefore that all, or nearly all the nominal Christian world, will be saved ; without considering that the condemnation of every one who hears the gospel, and calls himself by the name of Christ, will be increased a hundred fold if he do not repent and believe it in his heart. Some imagine that it is enough to say that we believe in Christ, or indeed to believe in him historically, and in his doctrines theoretically; but the scriptural, and only saving faith, is that which “worketh by love,” and produces affection for Christ in the heart, and obedience to him in the life. Not a few conceive of the atonement of Christ, that they are to do their best, and that his sacrifice will supply their deficiencies, and palliate their errors; being ignorant that they can of themselves do nothing, and that a lively faith in Christ is the only acceptable motive of holy living; that they must first believe, and then obey, and that then their best and holiest services must be presented through the blood of Christ, or they will be unacceptable to God. Examine yourselves, my brethren, I beseech you, and inquire whether you are really believers in Jesus Christ. You may attend all the outward ordinances of his church; you
may partake of the bread and wine at the Lord's supper, and still not feed on him by faith, or be united to him in the covenant of grace. Try yourself by these tests : Have you ever mourned over sin, and felt its burthen? Have you ever earnestly fled to Jesus Christ for pardon, and anxiously prayed for mercy through his merits? Has a sense of his love and mercy constrained you to obedience of heart and life? Has your faith overcome the world, made you deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and is it leading you, as a stranger and pilgrim upon earth, to seek a better country? If not, you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, you are not in a safe state. My brethren, the apostle declares that faith is the gift of God; he freely gives it; seek it, I beseech you, at his hands, and he who giveth liberally and upbraideth not will not refuse it. May it please God to give us all conviction of sin, true repentance, and a lively faith in his great mercies in Christ Jesus !
“ And he said unto them, Have ye received the
Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost !"
Having endeavoured in the preceding discourses to exhibit to your view, as well from the oracles of God as from the rituals of our church, the great fundamental truth, that every man must approach the Almighty in the character of a fallen sinner, confiding in the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, we are now arrived at a subject of infinite importance, and one that is fatally overlooked, viz. THE CHARACTER AND OFFICES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
As the promise of the Messiah was the great distinguishing feature of the Jewish dispensation, so the promise of