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one point, this righteousness is at an end. For the law condemns all who do not perform uninterrupted as well as perfect obedience. So that according to the sentence of this, for him who hath once sinned, in any degree, there remaineth only a fearful looking for of fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries of God.

5. Is it not then the very foolishness of folly, for fallen man to seek life by this righteousness ? For man, who was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did his mother conceive him: man who is by nature all earthly, sensual, devilish, altogether corrupt and abominable : in whom, till he find grace, dwelleih 910 good thing ; nay, who cannot of himself think one good thought! Who is indeed all sin, a mere lump of ungodliness, and who commits sin in every breath he draws; whose actual transgressions, in word and deed, are more in number than the hairs of his head ! What stupidity, what senselessness must it be for such an unclean, guilty, hielpless worm as this, to dream of seeking acceptance by bis own righteousness, of living by the righteousness which is of the law?

6. Now whatsoever considerations prove the folly of trusting in the righteousness which is of the law, prove equally, the wisdom of submitting to the righteousness which is of God by faith. This were easy to be shewn with regard to each of the preceding considerations. But to wave this, the wisdom of the first step hereto, the disclaiming our own righteousness, plainly appears from hence, That it is adiing according to truth, to the real nature of things. For what is it more, than to acknowledge with our heart as well as lips; the truie state wherein we are ? To acknowledge that we bring with us into the world a corrupt, sin

; more corrupt indeed than we can easily conceived

find words to express ? Tliat hereby we are prone to all that is evil, and averse from all that is good; that we are full of pride, self-will, unruly passions, foolish desires, vile and inordinate affections ; lovers of the world, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God! That our lives have been no better than our hearts, but many ways ungodly and unholy; insomuch that our actual sins, both in word and deed, have been as the stars of heaven for multitude: That, on all these accounts, we are displeasing to him, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and deserve nothing from him but indignation, and

wrath

1

wrathi, and death, the due wages of sin ! That we cannot by any of our righteousness

, (for indeed we have none at all) nor by any of our works (for they are as the tree from which they grow, appease the wrath of Ged, or avert the punishment we have justly deserved ; Yea, that, if left to ourselves, we shall only wax worse and worse, sink deeper and deeper into sin, offend God more and more, both with our evil works, and with the cvil tempers of our carnal mind, till we fill up the measure of our iniquities, and bring upon ourselves swift destruction ! And is not this the very state wherein by nature we are? To acknowledge this then, both with our heart and lips, that is, to disclaim our own righteousness, the righteousness which is of the law, is to act according to the real nature of things, and consequently is an instance of true wisdom,

7. The wisdom of submitting to the righteousness of faith, appears farther from this consideration, That it is the righteousness of God: I mean here, It is that method of reconciliation with God, which hath been chose and established by God himself, not only as he is the God of wisdom, but as he is the sovereign Lord of heaven and carth, and of every creature which he hath made. Now as it is not meet for man to say unto God, What dost thou? As none who is not utterly void of understanding, will contend with one that is mightier than he, with him whose kingdom'ruleth over all; so it is true wisdom, it is a mark of sound understanding, to acquiesce in whatever he hath chosen, to say in this, as in all things, “ It is the Lord; Let him do what seemeth him good."

8. It may be farther considered. That it was of mere grace, of free love, of undeserved mercy, that God hath vouchsafed to sinful man, any way of reconciliation with himself, that we were not cut away from his hand, and utterly blotted out of his remembrance. Therefore, whatever method he is pleased to appoint, of his tender mercy, of his unmerited goodness, whereby his enemies, who have 80 deeply revolted from him, so long and obstinately rebelled against him, may still find favour in his sight, it is doubtless our wisdom to accept with all thankfulness.

9. Tò mention but one consideration more. It is wisdom to aim at the best end by the best means. Now the best end which any creature can pursue, is happiness

in

in God. And the best end a fallen creature can pursue is, The recovery of the favour and image of God, But the best, indeed the only means under heaven given to man, whereby he may regain the favour of God, which is better than life itself, or the image of God, which is the true life of the soul, is the submitting to the righteousness which is of faith, the believing in the only begotten Son of God.

III. 1. Whosoever therefore thou art who desirest to be forgiven and reconciled to the favour of God; Do not say in thy heart, “ [ must first do this ; I must first conquer every sin ; break off every every evil word and work, and do all good to all meu : Or, I must first go to church, receive the Lord's supper, hear more sermons, and' say more prayers.” Alas, my brother, thou art clean gone out of the way. Thou art still ignorant of the righteousness of God, and art sceking to establish thy own righteousness, as the ground of thy reconciliation. Knowest thou not, that thou canst do nothing but sin, till thou art reconciled to God? Wherefore then dost thou say, I must do this and this first, and then I shall believe. Nay, but First Believe. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the propriation for thy sins. Let this good foundation first be laid; and then' thou shalt do all things well.

2. Neither say in thy heart, “ I cannot be accepted yet, because I am not good enough.Who is good enough? Who ever was? To merit acceptance at God's hands! Was ever any child of Adana good enough for this? Or will any', till the consummation of all things? And as for thee, thou art not good at all.: There.dwelleth in thee no good thing. And thou never wilt be, till thou believe in Jesus. Rather thou wilt find thyself worse and worse. But is there any need of being worse, in order to be accepted ?: Art thou not had enough already ? Indeed thou art, and that God knoweth. And thou thyself canst not deny it. Then delay not. All things are now ready. Arise, and wash away thy sins.

The fountain is open. Now is the time to wash thee white, in the blood of the Lamb. Now he shall purge thee as with hyssop, and thou shalt be clean; he shall wash thee, and thou shalt be' whiter than

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3. Do not saya “ But I am not contrite enough : I am not sensible enough of my

sins.” I know it. I would to God, thou wert more sensible of them, more contrite a thousand fold than thou art. But do not stay for this. It may be God will make thee so, not before thou believest; but by believing. It may be, thou wilt not weep much, till thou loves much, because thou hast had much forgiven. In the mean time, look unto Jesus. Behold how he loveth thee! What could he, have done more for: thee, Which he hath not done. " O Lamb of God, was ever pain,

Was ever love like thine!:) Look stedfastly upon him, till he looks on thee, and breaks thy hard heart. Then shall thy head be waters, and thy eyes fountains of tears.

4. Nor yet do thou say, “I must do something more before I come to Christ. I grant; supposing thy Lord should delay his coming, it were meet and right to wait for his appearing, in doing so far as thou hast power, whatsoever he hath commanded thee. But there is no necessity for making such a supposition. How knowest thou that he will delay ? Perhaps he will appear, as the day-spring from on high, before the morning-light. O do not set him á time. Expect him every hour. Now he is nigh! Even at the door!

5. And to what end wouldst thou wait for more sincerity, before thy sins are blotted out? To make thee more worthy of the grace of God? Alas, thou art still establishing thy own righteousness. He will have mercy, not because thou art worthy of it, but because his compassion fails not : Not because thou art righteous; but because Jesus Christ hath atoned for thy sins.

Again, if there be any thing good in sincerity, why dost thou expect it, before thou hast faith ? Seeing faith itself is the only root of whatever is really good and holy.

Above all, How long wilt thou forget, That whatsoever thou dost, or whatsoever thou hast, before thy sins are forgiven thee, it avails nothing with God, toward the procuring of thy forgiveness ? Yea, and that it must all be cast behind thy back, trampled under foot, made no account of, or thou wilt never find favour in God's sight; because until then thou canst not ask it, as a mere sinner, guilty, lost, undone, having nothing to

plead

plead, nothing to offer to God, but only the merits of his well-beloved Son, who loved thee, and gave himself for thee. .. 6. To conclude. Whosoever thou art, O man, who hast the sentence of death in thyself, who feelest thyself a condemned sinner, and hast the wrath of God abiding on thee : Unto thee saith the Lord, not, Do this : perfectly obey all my cominands and live: But,, '. Bez lieve in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. The word of faith is nigh unto thee;?! Now, at this in stant, in the present moment, and in thy present state, sinrer as thou art, just as thou art, believe the gospel : And I will be merciful unto thy unrighteousness, and thy iniquities will I remember no more."

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THE KINGDOM OF GOD is AT HAND: REPENT YE, AND

BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

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THE
HESE words naturally lead us to consider,

1. The nature of true religion, here termed by our Lord, The kingdom of God, which, saith he, is at hand: and

II. The way thereto, which he points out in those words, Repent ye, and believe the gospel.

1.1. We are, first, to consider, The nature of true religion, here termed by our Lord, The kingdom of God. The same expression the great apostle uses in his epistle to the Romans, where he likewise explains his Lord's words, saying, The kingdom of God is not meat and drink : but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Chap. xiv. 17.

2. The kingdom of God, or true religion, is not meat anu? drink. It is well known, that not only the unconvert

ed

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