Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

ing a spotless righteousness, and freely pardoning a man's sins, the term righteous in the text intends' a principle of holiness wrought in the soul, called inherent righteousness, or a change of nature, by which principle the justified, pardoned sinner is made to die to sin, and to live unto God. The ground and foundation of both which acts, in the renewed soul, is the virtue and power of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, savingly applied by the Holy Ghost in the work of effectual calling. What things the holy God hates and forbids in the moral law, those the heart and soul of the justified and renewed sinner hates and strives against all his days. Those things which he positively commands, the heart is inwardly reconciled to and approves of as just, and good, and holy, endeavouring to the utmost of his power to regulate all his actions by the unerring rule of God's blessed word, Psalm cxix. 9, 105. Rom. vii. 12. This is to have the law of God written in the heart, according to Psalm xxxvii. 31, “ The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” Here is a plain character of a good and righteous man ; one who is not born so, but made so by God's most gracious acts passed on the person of the justified, pardoned, and renewed sinner, as already mentioned. And where God effects this great and wonderful change in and upon a poor, dead, guilty sinner, there doth he fulfil and make good the free and absolute promise of his gracious covenant, Jer. xxxi. 33; " But this shall be the

covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Wherewith agrees that promise in Ezek. xxxvi. 26. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of fleshr” Ver. 27, “ And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

Observe, reader, how full of emphasis the very words of God's covenant are to discover and

prove, that in the great work of begetting a soul to Christ, in the work of effectual calling, God, , whose work it is, excluding all subordinate agents as to efficiency, speaks and acts like an absolute sovereign, whose will and word are no way capable of frustration, or being vacated, by the power of second causes.

“ I will give you a new heart; I will put into you a new spirit; I will write my law in your

I will pardon all your iniquities; and I will be your God." And, as touching the sinners to whom these promises are made, the performance of these promises are not made to them on any condition whatsoever; as, if ye will prepare and dispose yourselves to convert and return to God; if ye will humble yourselves by fasting and prayer; if

ye

will confess and bewail your manifold rebellions against

inward parts;

1

the majesty of heaven; if ye will believe and repent; then all my promises shall be made good to you. But, as God saith positively I will do so and so to and for you, so he as positively engages for the sinner that he shall be made willing to become the Lord's, and to do whatever the Lord requires as duty and service, in the way of grateful acknowledgment for what the grace and irresistible power of God hath wrought in and done for him, a poor redeemed captive.

The methods, therefore, which too many preachers take in this day in pressing sinners to the works of mortification and strict living, as that which must entitle them to Christ and eternal life, are preposterous and damning; and their

persisting in thus doing, in such days of gospel light as London now enjoys, sufficiently marks them out for sons of the bondwoman, who act all they do, in a way of duty, from a spirit and principle altogether mercenary and legal.

These preachers, and all who adhere to their conditional covenant of working for life, may read their names and portions in Gal. iv. 30. Sons of the bondwoman they are styled by the Spirit of God. And the same Spirit which styles them so hath also pronounced their doom and sentence, which is to be excluded from all hopes of being saved, if the God whom they so ignorantly serve leave them to this servile, mercenary spirit. When I say that, besides the imputed righteousness of the Son of God put on the sinner

[ocr errors]

in justification, there is also communicated to him, and powerfully wrought in him, a principle of inherent righteousness, or gospel holiness, whereby the justified and renewed sinner is made to die unto sin, and to live unto God; I do not mean that such a sinner never more acts sin in thought, word, or deed, from the instant of such a change passed on him to the end of life; for to, hold or say so, I should both contradict the Spirit of God in the scriptures, and offend against the generation of God's children, Psalm lxxiii. 15. But my meaning is, that by that new nature, communicated in effectual calling, such a wound is given to the body of indwelling sin, as that the renewed soul can never more like or love sin, as before conversion it did. And although the justified and renewed soul be often foiled and wounded by repeated backslidings from God, yet cannot that usurping tyrant sin ever get possession of the believer's heart any more, so as to rule and reign there, as before effectual conversion it did, Rom. vi. 14. Gal. v. 24. i John iii. 9. Though, through the violence of temptation, and the remaining strength of indwelling corruption, the believer may fall into actual folly, to the grieving that Holy Spirit whereby he is sealed to the day of redemption; cloud his evidence for heaven; lay a foundation for God's chastisements on himself, &c. yet the heart within remains irreconcileably out with sin; neither can the believer by any means be wrought on to a loving or liking

it, either in heart or life. “ He that is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,” i John iii. 9. apapriav s toosi, Operam, not dat iniquitati. He makes not a trade of sin, or he commits not sin with full purpose of will and delight of heart. Time was when he could, and did; the remembrance of which sets him on renewed acts of repentance and self-loathing before God. But, since the powerful work of conversion hath passed upon him, indwelling sin hath lost, though not its defiling, yet its condemning and reigning power; strength is gone in the soul, by which means the believer hath forgotten his old trade of committing sin with greediness and delight. On this very account it is that the evangelical Dr. Thomas Goodwin hath the saying, “That when a true believer doth at any time act sin, he is at best but a bungler at sinning. He is herein like a tradesman, who was once skilful and expert at his trade, but through disuse or discontinuing his trade he becomes a mere bungler. Such a man can say, and that truly, I could shape and finish such a garment, or such a piece of work, as well as any person whatever, but indeed I have forgot my trade, and have now to seek it.

And is any thing more sure than that the man who is savingly regenerated must and will confess, to his own grief and shame, time was when I could curse, swear, be drunk, profane the name and sabbaths of God, &c. as eagerly, and with as

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »