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cur Lord. Here it is plain, that eternal SERM. life is not represented as the wages eousness, as death is said to be the
of sin, but it is a gift, a free gift of God through Jesus Christ. The servants of God, all men are by nature, as the dependent creatures of his hands, and amenable to his holy laws, so far as they are made known; but we who have been baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the servants of God, through JESUS CHRIST; or rather, (for so are we ennobled by his redemption of us), even the beirs of God, and joint beirs with Christ. Here then we ought to find the spring and principle of all our good actions: with steady faith we must fix our eyes on our Redeemer, who has set us free from sin, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life. Our good works are a debt due to God under all circumstances whatsoever ; at all events, we are bound to fulfil his commandments; but under the operation of a true Christian faith, our good works become a badge of our profession ; signs of our loyalty to the Saviour of the world;
SERM. claiming no reward on their own account, XIV: but yet serving to recommend us to him
who died for us, and so far putting us in the way of the gift of eternal life, which he has promised to all such as love him, and keep his commandments. Now though it is not to be supposed, but that, in the case of those who have not received the good tidings of Christ's covenant, good works will in some way or other operate to their advantage in the world to come independent of any faith in Christ; yet good works, springing from a love and confidence in our blessed Lord, may well be expected to stand higher in his regard. Our blessed Lord laid down his life for us, and called upon us to follow him. For his sake boldly to withstand temptations; to resist the world, the flesh, and the devil; to mortify our fleshly lusts that war against our souls; and to glory in his cross and passion. Here is a hope afforded us far beyond the common desert of good moral actions ; by this call of our blessed Lord we are enlisted under his banners, and if we prove ourselves worthy of our high calling, we shall inherit the
promises. Good works then, without any SERM.
. regard to the merciful interposition of our blessed Saviour, may possibly obtain for us the wages due to them ; but good works, proceeding from a sound faith and confidence in Christ, may obtain for us something far greater than the just measure of wages, for we shall be saved and advanced through grace; and that not of ourselves, not as wages earned, but it will be the gift of God. And now possibly I was but right, when I said at the beginning of this discourse, that this great and noble principle was often overlooked and neglected. Do you regulate your actions by a just sense of all that your Saviour and Redeemer has done for you? Do your right
? eous acts spring from a high and noble sense of gratitude to him who laid down his life for you, or do you only think to compass the joys of heaven as a just recompence of your good deeds? Beware of such a mistake. The joys of heaven are transcendent, far exceeding any thing our actions here below can merit. When we shall liave done all we are commanded to do, we shall still be but “ unprofitable ser
SERM.“ vants" to the Lord who bought us. As XIV. he cannot be benefited by our good deeds,
he is under no obligation to reward us for them; nevertheless, of his own free will, he has indeed promised us most great and glorious rewards, which, through faith in his name, faith working by. love, and made perfect through obedience, we may finally attain to. But when I said that this great and efficacious motive, this operating sense of our Redeemer's goodness towards us, was often overlooked and neglected, I observed also that it was sometimes made too much of. This may sound strange. Can our sense of God's goodness to us through Jesus Christ, be ever made too much of? be ever carried too far? Yes, experience teaches us that it may be ; for some, too eager to put their whole trust in the merits and mediation of Christ, neglect all outward acts of righteousness. They think Jesus Christ has not only done much, but every thing for them : that by his righteousness we shall be saved without any righteousness of our own. That his blood will wash away all sins, and that by mere faith in his name they shall be saved. This is going very much too far.
The merits of SERM. Christ will be applied to those, not who XIV. only call upon his name, through faith in his name, but who in remembrance of his cross and passion shall be careful to do what is required of them, to the “working “ out of their own salvation with fear and
trembling.” When he requires faith, he does not require that assured confidence, that shall set us above all danger of falling, but that faith which shall be proved by our works; that faith that shall purify our hearts from every evil thought; that faith which is connected with charity, with the love of God and the love of our neighbour. For though we cannot indeed make too much or think too highly of the death of Christ, as an atonement and forfeit paid for our sins; yet we shall sadly err, not considering the Scriptures, if we think that Christ came into the world to save sinners, continuing in their sins; he came to pay a ransom for us, that we might be redeemed from the punishment due to sin in our own bodies, but he came also, as preparatory to this future and final redemption,