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sequently there is no place for his being perfeEted in love, to which that repentance is indispensably necessary.
12. Hence it may likewise appear, that there is no posssible danger in thus expecting full salvation. For suppose we were mistaken, suppose no such blessing ever was, or can be attained, yet we lose nothing : nay, that very expectation quickens us in using all the talents which God has given us; yea, in improving them all, so that when our Lord cometh, he will receive his own with increase.
13. But to return. Though it be allowed, That both this repentance and its fruits are necessary to full salvation, yet they are not necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in the same degree : not in the same degree ; for these fruits are only necessary conditionally, if there be time and opportunity for them, otherwise a man may be sanctified without them. But he cannot be sanctified without faith. Likewise let a man have ever so much of this repentance, or ever so many good works, yet all this does not at all avail: he is not sanctified till he believes. But the moment he believes, with or without those fruits, yea, with more or less of this repentance, he is sanctified. Not in the same sense ; for this repentance and these fruits are only remotely necessary, necessary in order to the continuance of his faith, as well as the increase of it: whereas faith is immediately and direEtly, necessary to sanctification. It remains, that faith is the only condition, which is immediately and proximately neces-. sary to sanctification.
14. “ But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, saved from sio and perfected in love?" It is a divine evidence and conviction, 1. That God hath promised it in the holy scripture. Till we are throughly satisfied of this, there is no moving one step further. And one would imagine, there needed not one word more, to satisfy a reasonable man of this, than the ancient promise, Then will I circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your :soul. How clearly does this express the being perfected in love ? How strongly imply the being saved from all sin? For as long as love takes up the whole heart, what room is there for sin therein ?
15. It is a divine evidence and conviction, secondly, That what God hath promised he is able to perform. Admitting therefore that with men it is impossible, to bring a clean thing ont of an unclean, to purify the heart from all sin, and to fill it with all holiness, yet this creates no difficulty in the case, seeing with God all things are possible. And surely no one ever imagined it was possible to any power less than that of the Almighty! But if God speaks, it shall be done. God saith, Let there be light ; and there is light.
16. It is, thirdly, a divine evidence and conviction that he is able and willing to do it now. And why not? Is not a moment to him, the same as a thousand years ? He cannot want more time to accomplish whatever is his will. And he cannot want or stay for any more worthiness or fitness in the persons he is pleased to honour. We may therefore boldly say, at any point of time, Now is the day of salvation. To-day, if ye will bear his voice, harden not
Behold! All things are now ready! Come unto the marriage!
17. To this confidence, That God is both able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more ; a divine evidence and conviction, That be doth it. In that hour it is done. God says to the inmost soul, According to thy failh, he it unto thee! Then the soul is pure from every spot of sin; it is clean from all unrighteousness. The' believer then experiences the deep meaning of those solemn words. “ If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
18. “But does God work this great work in the soul gradually or instantaneously?" Perhaps it may be gradually wrought in some : I mean, in this sense. They do not advert to the particular moment, wherein sin ceases to be. But it is infinitely desirable, were it the will of God, that it should be done instantaneously; that the Lord should destroy sin by the breath of his mouth, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And so he generally does, a plain fact, of which there is evidence enough to satisfy any unprejudiced person. Thou therefore look for it every moment. Look for it in the way above described ; in
all those good works whereunto thou art crealed anew in Christ Jesus. There is then no danger: you can be no worse, if you are no better for that expectation. For were you to be disappointed of your hope, still you lose nothing. But you shall not be disappointed of your hope: it will come, and will not tarry. Look for it then every day, every hour, every moment. Why not this hour, this moment ? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token
you may surely know, whether you seek it by faith or by works. If by works, you want something to be done first : before you are sanctified. You think, " I must first be or do thus or thus." Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are : and if as you are, then expect it now, It is of importance to observe, that there is an inseparable con nexion between these three points, expect it by faith, expect it as you are and expect it now ! - To deny one of them is to deny them all; to allow one, is to allow them all. Do you believe, we are sanctified by faith? Be true then to 'your principle ; and look for this blessing just as you are, neither better, nor worse; as a poor sinner, that has still nothing to plead, but Christ died. And if you look for it as you are, then expect it now. Stay for nothing: why should you ? Christ is ready. And he is all you want. He is waiting for you ; he is at the door! Let your inmost soul cry out,
si Come in, come in, thou heavenly guest !
“ Nor hence again remové :
“Be everlasting love."
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only
evil continually. 1. UTOW widely different is this from the fair pictures
of human nature, which men have drawn in all ágés! The writings of many of the ancients abound with gay descriptions of the dignity of man: whom some of them paint as having all virtue and happiness in his compo. sition, or at least, entirely in his power, without being beholden to any other being; yea, as self-sufficient, able to live on his own stock, and little inferior to God himself:
2. Nor have Heathens alone, men who were guided in their researches by little more than the dim light of reason, but many likewise of them that bear the name of Christ, and to whom are instrusted the oracles of God, spoke as magnificently concerning the nature of man, as if it were all innocence and perfection. Accounts of this kind have particularly abounded in the present century: and perhaps in no part of the world more, than in our own country. Here not a few persons of strong understanding as well as extensive learning, have employed their ute. most abilities to shew, what they termed, « The fair side of human nature.” And it must be acknowledged, that if their accounts of him be just, man is still but a little lower than the angels, or (as the words may be more literally rendered) a little less than God.
3. Is it any wonder, that these accounts are very readily received by the generality of men? For who is not easily persuaded to think favourably of himself? Accordingly writers of this kind are almost universally read, admired, applauded. And innumerable are the converts they have made, not only in the gay, but the learned world. So that it is now quite unfashionable to talk
otherwise, to say any thing to the disparagement of human nature : which is generally allowed, notwithstanding a few infirmities, to be very innocent, and wise, and virtuous.
4. But in the mean-time, what must we do with our bibles ; for they will never agree with this. These accounts, however pleasing to flesh and blood, are utterly irreconcileable with the scriptural. The scripture avers, that by one man's disobedience, all men were constituted sinners : that in Adam all died, spiritually died, lost the life and the image of God : that fallen, sinful Adam then begat a son in his own likeness : nor was it possible he should beget him in any other: for who can bring, a clean thing out of an unclean? That consequently we as well as other men were by nature, dead in trespasses and sins, without hope, without God in the world, and therefore children of wrath: that every man may say, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my mother conceive me: that there is no difference, in that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: of that glorious image of God, wherein man was originally created. And hence, when the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, he saw they were all gone out of the way, they were all together become abominable, there was none righteous, no not one, none that truly sought after God : just agreeable this, to what is declared by the Holy Ghost, in the words above recited, God saw when he looked down from heaven before, that the wickedness of man was great in the cartb: so great, that every imagination of the tboughts of his heart was only evil continually.
This is God's account of man: from which I shall take occasion, first, To shew what men were before the floud ; secondly, To enquire, Whether they are not the saine now? And, thirdly; To add some inferences.
I. 1. I am, first, By opening the words of the text, to shew, whal men were before the flood. And we may fully depend on the account here given. For God saw it, and he cannot be deceived. He saw that the wickedness of man was great. Not of this or that man; not of a few men only: not barely of the greater part, but of man in general, of men universally. The word includes the whole human race, every partaker of human naturę. 4 F 2