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Now, such is the obedience thou must performi, if thou wouldt recover thyself in the way of the Law.l. But tho’ thou shouldft thus obey, the Law takes thee down in the state of wrath, till another demand of it be satisfied, viz.

SECONDLY, Thou mult pay what thou owest. It is un. deniable thou art a finner; and whatever thou mayelt be ia' time to come, justice must be satisfied for thy lin already committed. The honour of the Law must be maintained, by thý suffering the denounced wrath. It may be thou hast changed thy course of life, or are now resolved to do it, and fet about the keeping of the Commands of God: but what halt thou done, or what wilt thou do, with the old debt? Your obedience 10 God, tho' it were perfect, is a debt due to him, for the time wherein it is performed; and can 110 more fatisfy for former fins, than a tenant's paying the curreot year's rent can fatisfy the matter for all bygones. Can the paying of new debts acquit a man from old accounts ? Nay, deceive not yourselves, you will find the be laid up in store with God, and, “Sealed up among his treasures,” Deut. xxxii. 34.' It remains then, that either thou must bear that wrath, to which, for thy fin, thou art liable, according to the Law: or else, thou must acknowledge thou canst not bear it, and thereupon have recourse to the Surety, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me now ask thee, art thou able to satisfy the justice of God? Canft thou pay thy own debt ? Surely not: for, seeing he is an infinite God, whom thou hat offended, the punishinent, being suited to the quality of the ofence, must be infinite. But so it is, thy punihment or fula" fering for sin cannot be infinite in value, seeing thou art a finite creature :: therefore they must be infinite ia duration or cootinuance; that is, they must be eternal. And so all thy suffer. ings in this world, are but an carnett of what thou must suffer in the world to come.

Now, finner, if thou cans answer these demands, thou mayest. recover thyself in the way of the Law. But art thou not cone scious of thy inability to do any of these things, much more to do them all? Yet if ihou do oor all, thou dost nothing. Tura then to what course of life thou wilt, thou art still in a state of wratin Screw up thy obedience to the greatest height thou cat; fuffer what God lays upon thee, yea add, if thou wilt, to the burden and walk under all, without the least impatience : yet ail this will not satisfy the demands of the law; and therefore thou art still a ruined creatore. Alas! finger, what art thou doing, while thou trivet' to help thyself; but doft not


receive and unite with Jesus Chrift? Thou art labouring in the fire, wearying thyself' for very vanity; labouring to enter into heaven by the door, which Adam's fin so bolted, as neither he, nor any of his loft pofterity, can ever enter by it. Doit thou not see the flaming Sword of Justice keepirg thee off from the Tree of Life? Dost thou not hear the Law denouncing a curse on, thee for all thou art doing, even for thy obedience, tby prayers, thy tears, thy reformation of life, &c. because, being under the Law's dominion, thy belt works are not so good as it requires them to be, under the pain of the curse ? Believe it, firs, if you live and die out of Christ, without being actually united to him as the second Adam, a life-giving Spirit, and without coming under the covert of his atoning blood : though ye should do the utmost that any man on earth can do, in keeping the Commands of God, ye shall never see the fáce of God in


If y

you should, from this moment, bid an eternal farewel to this world's. joy, and all the affairs thereof; and henceforth busy "yourselves with nothing but the falvation of

fouls : if


go into some wilderness, Jive upon the grass of the field, and be companions to dragons and owls : if you should retire to some dark cavern of the carth, and weep there for your fins, until ye have wept yourselves blind, yea wept out all the moisture of your body; if ye should confess with your tongue, until it cleare so the roof of your mouth; pray,


grow hard as horns ; fast, till your body become like a skeleton ; and after all this, give it to be burnt, the word is gone out of the Lord's mouth in righteousness, and cannot reçurn; you should perish for ever, not with Ganding of all this, as not being in Chrift, Joho xiv. 6. “ No man cometh unto the Father but by me." Ads iv. 12.“ Neither is there salvation in any other." Mark. xvi. 416. He that believeth not, shall be damned.”'

Object. But God is a merciful God, and he knows we are not able to answer his demands : we hope therefore to be saved, if we do as well as we can, and keep the Commands as well as we are able. Aos. (1.). Though thou art able to do many things, thou are not able to do one thing aright: thou canst do nothing acceptable to God, being out of Christ, John xv. 5. ** Without me ye can do nothing."

An unrenewed man, as thou art, can do nothing but fin ; we have already evinced. Thy belt a&tions are fin, and so they increase thy debt to justice ; how then can it be expected they should leffen ic? (2.) If God should offer to lave men upon condition that they did all they could do, in obedience to his Commands; we have ground to


that way.

think that there who would betake themselves to that Thould never be saved. For where is the man, ihat does as well as he can? Who fees not many falle steps he has mats, which he might have evited ? There are so many things to be done, so many temptations to carty us out of the road of duty, and our nature is so very apt to be set on kre of hell, that we would surely fail, even in fome point, that is wiibin the compafs of our natural abilities. But (3.) Though thou shouldelt de all thou art able to do, in vain. dolt thou hope to be saved in

What word of God is this hope of thine founded on? It is neither founded on Law nor Gospel, and therefore it is but a delusion. It is not founded on the Gospel, for the Gospel leads the soul out of itself, to Jesus Christ for all: and it s establisheth the law,” Rom. iii. 31. whereas this hope of yours cannot be established, but on the ruin of the Law, which God will « magnify and make honourable.” And bence ic appears, that it is not founded on the Law neither. When God fet Adam a-working for happiness to himself and his pofterity, perfect obedience was the condition required of him; and a Curse was den nced in case of disobedience. The Law being broken by him, he and his posterity were subject to the penalty, for fio comm tted ; and withal still bound to perfect obedience: for it is absurd to think that man's linning and suffering for his fin, should free him from his duty of obedience io his Creator: When Christ came in the room of the elect, to purchase their salvation, the fame were the terms. Justice had the elect under arrest: if he minds to deliver them, the cerms are knowo. He must satisfy fo: their fin, "by fuffering the punishment due to it; he munt do what they cannot do, to wit, Obey the Law perfectly, and so fulsi all righteousness. Accordingly, all this he did, and so became “ the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth," Rom. x. 4. And, now, dost thou think, God will abate of these terms to thee, when his own Son goi no abatement of them? Expect is not, tho' thou thouidst being it with tears of blood : for if they prevailed, they behoved to prevail against the truth, justice and honour of God, Galini 10. “ Cursed is every one that continuelh not in all things which are written in the book of ibe Law, to do them." Verse 22. " And the Law is not of faith, but the man that dorn them shall live in them.” It is crue, that God is werciful: he cannot but be merciful, unless he fave you i.: a way that is neither confiftent with his Law nor Gospel. Hath not his goodness and mercy fuficiently appeared, in sending the Son of his love, to do

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« what the Law could not do, io that it was weak through the felh?” He has provided help for them that cannot help thein., felves: but thou, infenfble of thine own weakness, wilt needs think to recorer thyself by thine owu works; while shou art no more able to do it, than to remove mountains of brass out of their place.

Wherefore. I conclude thou art yerly unable to recover thyfell, by the way of Worksý or of the Law. O that thou Wild conclude the same concerning glyself!

II. Let us ery next, what the super can do to recover him, felf

, in the way of the Gospel: It is likely, thou thinkest, that howbeit thou canst not do all, by thyself alone; yet Jesus Christ offering thee help, thou canst of thyself embrace it, and use it to thy recovery. But, o linger, be convinced of thine ab, folute need of the grace of Christ, tori

, there is help offered, but thou caoit not accept of it: there is a rope çalt out to hale' thip-wrecked fioners to land: but, alas! they have no hands to catch hold of it. They are like infants exposed in the open field, that must starve,, tho their food be lying by them, unless enę put it into their mouths. To convince natural men of this, ler it be considered ;

First, That although Cbrift is offered in the Gospel, yet they cannot believe in him, Saving faith is the faith of God's elect; the special gift of God to them, wrought in them by his Spirit. Salvation is offered to them that will believe in Christ, but "how can ye believe ?" John y. 44. It is offered to them that will look to him, as lifted up on the pole of the gospel, Ila. xiv.:22. But the matural man is fpiritually blind, Rev. iii. 17. And as to the things of the Spirit of God, he cannot know them, for they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii, 14 Nay, whosoever will, he is welcome : let him come, Rev. xxii. 17. But there must be a day of power on the fioner, before the Will be willing, Pfal. cx.. 3.

SECONDLY, Man naturally has nothing, wherewithal to improve, to his recovery, the help brought in by the Gospel. He is cast away in a state of wrati; bur is bound hand and fout, so that he cannot lay liold of the cords of love, thrown out to him in the Gospel. The mort skilful artificer cannot work without instruments ; nor can the most cunning mufician play well on an infirument that is out of rune.

How can one believe, bow can he repent, whose under/tanding is darkness, Eph v. 8. whose heart is a stony heart, inflexible, insensible, Ezek xxxvi. 26. whose affections are wholly disordered and


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distempered ; who is averse to good, and bent to evil? The arms of natural abilities are too thort to reach supernatural help: hence those who most excel in them, are oft-times njoft estranged from spiritual things, Math xi. 24. “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudeor."

THIRDLY, Man cannot work a faving change on himself: but fo changed he 'must be, elle he can either believe nor repent, nor ever fee heaven. No action can be without a suitable principle. Believing, repenting, and the like, are the product of the new nature; and can never be produced by the old corrupt nature. Now, what can the natural map do in this matter? He must be regenerate," begotten again into a lively hope : but as the child cannot be active in his own generation; so a man cannot be active, but paflive only, in his own regeneration. The heart is thut against Chrift; man cannot open it, only God can do it by grace, Acts xvi. 14. Heis dead in fin : he must be quickened, raised out of his grave: who can do this but God himself? Eph. ii. 1, 5. Nay, he must be “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Eph. ii. 10. These are works of omnipotency, and can be done by no less power.

FOURTHLY, Man, in his depraved state, is under ån utter inability to do any thing truly good, as was cleared before at large : how then can be obey the Gospel? His nature is the very reverse of the Gospel : how can he, of bimself; fall in with that device of salvation, and accepi the offered remedy? The corruption of man's nature infallibly concludes his utter inabi. lity to recover himself any manner of way: and whoso is, convinced of the one, muft needs admit the other; for they {tand and fall together. Were all the purchase of Christ offered to the unregenerate man, for one good thought, be cannot command it, 2 Cor. iii, 5. “ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves.” Were it offered on condition of a good word, yet, " how can ye, being evil, speak good things ?”' Matth. xii. 35. Nay, were it left to yourselves io chuse what is eafi: it, Christ himself tells you, John xv. 5: “ Without me ye can do nothing."

LASTLY, The natural man cannot but relift the Lord, offering to help him: howbeit that resistance is infallibly overcome in the elect, by converting grace. Can the stony heart chule bur resist the firoke? There is not only an io abiliiy, but an enmity and obstinacy in man's Will by nature. God knows, natural

man, (whether thou knowest it or not) that “thou



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