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if any soul die in its fin by our silence, then we bring the blood of fouls upon our own heads, and hazard our own souls. We are obliged, by the manifestation of the truth, to commend ourselves to consciences; and if the more we love, the less we are loved, then God will require it at your hands. But whether you will hear, or whether you forbear, we must, as we shall give answer to the great Shepherd of the sheep, deal plainly with you. Consider but that one scripture, Lev. xix. 17. and ye will see reproof to be an act of great love, and that the neglect of it in God's account is hatred : “ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart. Thou shalt in any ways rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer fin upon him ;” last clause inay be rendered, That thou bear not fin for him. Now, if you follow these advices, and if there be a single eye to God, and close dependence upon him, both in minister and people, mutual love and helpfulness, and a joint endeavour to promote the great design of the ministry, the glory of God in our own salvation, then our labour shall not be in vain, but shall be bleñed with increase, and God, even our God, shall bless us.
or, as the
GREAT CONCERN OF SALVATION.
A DISCOVERY OF MAN'S NATURAL STATE ; OR, THE
GUILTY SINNER CONVICTED.
Rom. iii. 23.--- For all have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God.
THOEVER considers his present condition, will foon
see, that his great business and chief.concern lies in three important inquiries : “ What have I done?'" Jer. viii. Ó. “ What shall I do to be faved ?" A& xvi. 30.
" What shall I render to the Lord ?" Psal. cxvi. 12. The answer of the first will make way for the second, and that will give occasion for the third.
Though wise men have busied their heads, and toiled themfelves with wearifome inquiries after happiness; yet none of thein could ever give men a satisfying answer to any one of these three queries. But what they by their wisdom could not do, that God, in his infinite wisdom and unparalleled goodness has done, to the satisfaction of all rational inquirers, in the scriptures of truth.
If it be inquired, What have we done ? our text an. fwers, All men have finned, and come short of the glory of God. If the question be put, What Shall we do to be sa
ved ? look Acts xvi. 31. and there we are bid i believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and we shall be saved.” In fine, if we ask, "What we shall render to the Lord for his inatchless and unparalleled favour to us, we may turn to Pfal. cxvi 13. and there we are told what to do, “ I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” And much to the same purpose is that of the prophet, Micah vi. 8. " He hath Niewed thee, o man what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
The great concernment of gospel-ministers lies in the second inquiry. It is our principal buailiefs to persuade pien and women to believe on the name of the Lort Jelus Christ, to commend our blefied. Maker to poor inners. But fince we come not to call the righteous but timers to repentance, it is neceffary we lay the foundation in a dira covery of man's natural state. Before we offer Christ, we Niall show you need him : before we tender mercy, we snall endeavour to represent your misery : before you be called to repentance, we shall thew you are finners, who Stand in need of repentance. And upon this account we have made choice of the words now read, which do offer a fair occasion for a discovery of your fin, and of your misery on that account.
We shall not spend time in considering the connection of the words, which may perhaps afterwards fall more convenienily in our way.
The text is a general assertion, in which all stand convicted of ; and concluded under fin: for,
The persons to whom sin is attributed, are not some single persons, to a seclusion of others, but all mankind. It is not some degenerate wretches in the heathen world; but all, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, high and low, who have finned and coine short of the glory of God.
It is not asserted of thein, that they may sin, that they are fallible, and if artfully plied by a temptation, may be taken off their feet; but that they all are already involved in the guilt of sin, and have thereby cone sort of the glory of God. The original word, which is here rendered come short, is emphatical ; it properly signifies to fall
flort of the inark ove aims at, or to fall behind in a race, whereby the prize is lost. Man in his first estate was in a fair way for glory : power he had to run the race, and the devil had no power to stop him in it; he had not such weights as we now are clogged with, and yet he fell fhort of the glory of Gods i.e. he lost that glory in the enjoyment of God, which he had so good a prospect of; he lost the image of God, which was his glory, given him of God, with all the consequential advantages of it.
We need not draw any do&rine from the words ; they themselves do express that which we design to infiit upon.
Doct. " That all men and women, descending from
Adam in an ordinary way, have finned, and thereby come short of the glory of God.”
This doctrine, standing so clear in the words, fupercedes any further proof ; and therefore we shall not spend time in producing other fcriptures asserting the same thing.
Before we apply this trutlı, we shall,
I. Premise a few propositions for clearing the way to the further explication of this great and momentous truth.
II. We fball inquire what sin formerly implies,
V. Shew what is implied in this expreflion, Come fort of the glory of God.
VI. Whence it is that all have sinned, and thereby come Short of the glory of God.
Now each of these in order. And,
1. We shall premise a few propositions for clearing the way to what we further design in the explication of this truth. The
if Proposition we offer to you is, That God is the absolute and independent Sovereign of the world. Men do often usurp an absolute power over their subjects, and claim a blind and unlimited obedience; but they had need take heed they do not invade God's right, and that which is his sovereign prerogative. He, and he only, is absolute Lord and King of the earth, as the Plalmist sings in
Psal. xlvii. 2. “ The Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.” And indeed he alone is fit to manage so great a province ; forasmuch as there is
none among the gods like unto him, neither are there any works like unto his,” Pfal. 1xxxvi. 8. His claim is founded upon the excellency of his nature, Jer. 2.6.7. “For asmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord, thou art great, and tiny name is great in might, who would not fear thee, O King of nations? For to tice doth it apper. tain, forasmuch as there is none like unto thee:” And upon bis creation of all things, “ The Lord is a great King above all gods. The sea is his, and lie made it,” Psal. xcv. 3. 5.
“ O Jacob and Ifrael, thou art my servant, I have formed thee, thou art my servant, O Israel,” lia. xliv. 21. In fine, his preservation of all things, and the manifold mercies he loads his creatures with, do give him the noblest title to absolute dominion; and his 3 lorious perfections of wisdom, power, holiness, and justice, do not only fit bin for it, but make his sway desirable to ail who understand their own interest.
2d, Take this propofition, God the absolute Sovereign of the world has prescribed laws to all his creatures, by which he governs them. Not to speak of these laws which he has give en to the inanimate part of the creation, he has prelcribed men their work, he has given them bis laws, wliereby they are indispen Gibly obliged to live. “ There is one Lawgirer, who is able to save and destroy," James i. 12. “ The Lord is Judge, King, and Lawgiver,” Ila. xxxiii. 22. We are not in any thing left altogether arbitrary. He who has said to the sea, “ Hitherto shalt thou come, and no fare ther," has dealt so likewise with man; he has limited him on every hand by his holy laws, the incontestible statutes of heaven. We are obliged to eat, drink, Neep, converse, and do every thing by rule: God has set 113 our bounds as to all these thing, and thither should we come, and no fur. ther. Indeed, these limits God has set us are not such as he sets to the waves of the tumultuous sea: no, he deals with us in a way suited to our nature; he has set such limits as none can pass, till they act in dire&t contradiation to their very natures, till they abandon a due consideration of that wherein their greatest and chiefest interest lies; as will appear plain enough from that which we offer, in the