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committed one actual transgression; and through the fear of death the greatest part of mankind are all their life-time subject to bondage. A king of terrors death is, and the terrors of this tyrant spring from various quarters.
First from God. Death is God's awful sentence, which entered upon the commission of sin. “ The day thou eatest, dying, thou shalt die.”
2. From a violated law. The moral law is the ministration of death, 2 Cor. iii. 7.
3. From Satan, the head and ringleader of all the apostasy from God, whether in heaven or earth, among angels or men.
Christ came to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, Heb. ii. 14.
4. From temporal death, the just doom of God. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Heb. ix. 27.
5. From a consciousness of sin and fear, guilt and shame; “ The sting of death is sin.”
6. From the dreadful curse of the most righteous Judge, which will be the decisive sentence of the grand Assize. “ He that believeth not shall be damned.”
7. From the execution of that sentence, which is an abiding sense of divine indignation, “ Depart from me, ye cursed.” And this is an eternal banishment from the favour, the glory, and the presence of the living God into endless darkness and misery, torment and wo, where sin and death will ever reign. The terrors of death rise out of
all these different branches, and a most fearful army they are, to a poor awakened sinner.
But there is another little secret sovereign, that reigns over this king and all his terrors, though he is but little known in the world; and that is the hidden man of the heart, the new man of grace.
“ That, as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” God's 'love is opposed to Satan's malice, Christ to Satan himself, grace to sin, and eternal life to endless death.
The grace of life, which came by Jesus Christ, is intended to root up, and root out, death in all its branches. I say in all its branches; for even temporal death is turned into a sleep in Jesus, where the grace of God hath reigned and ruled. “Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and iinmortality to light through the gospel,” 2 Tim. i. 10.
1. Pardoning grace removes the guilt of sin, that the sting of death should not kill.
“O death, where is thy sting!"
2. Justifying grace removes the destroying power of sin, so that it shall not be imputed. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.”
3. Regenerating grace gives us a new birth, and makes us new creatures; so that it shall be no inore I, but sin that dwelleth in me.
4. Implanted grace counteracts the tyranny of sin, that it shall not have dominion over them that are under grace. " He will subdue our iniquities,” Mich. vii. 19.
5. And the spirit of grace will change our vile bodies at the resurrection moruing; so that sin in us shall never more have a being. " Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written;" but never till then; “And in that day, there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts,” Zech. xiv. 21. But my
hardest task is to discover the beginnings of this divine life, which by the Spirit is breathed into the souls of all God's elect; and that which makes it so difficult is, the many alarms, awakenings, woundings, convictions, illuminations, reformations, external gifts, spiritual abilities, miraculous assurances of faith, fiery zeal, apparent fervor, transient hope, soft passions, transporting joys, surprising strength, and a multitude of words, or the most fluent gifts of utterance. And yet it is often seen that the whole of this surprising crop, at a long run, amounts to just nothing at all. “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath,” Matth. xiii. 12. Now that which makes the difference between these two sorts of serrants, is life. Christ came that his sheep might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. He therefore that hath the life of grace in his soul, to him shall
be given, and he shall have more abundance, for the grace of life abounds: but he that hath not the life of grace, but merely an external gift, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. And this God often discovers to his children, both in preachers and professors, as clear as the sun at noon day.
Christ takes his children down into the garden of nuts, Song. vi. 11. And the way to this garden is hid from the eyes of all living; it is, “A path which no fowl knoweth." “ Confidence in an unfaithful man, in time of trouble, is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint,” Prov. xxv. 19. A foot out of joint can never walk in this path; nor can a broken tooth crack one nut that grows in Christ's garden.
One of these nuts is, “He that believeth shall not make haste.” The coming sinner, like the blind man that Christ healed, keeps all his faith in himself; nor can he act it, nor does he go forth in the exercise of it, except when Christ visits him, or when the Lord shines upon him, or some promise comes home with power to him, or the Holy Spirit moves him by godly sorrow, humility, meekness, life, or love: his faith always moves in concert with the Spirit's operation, and with the light of the Lord's countenance. But the unquickened professor suddenly springs up: he hears the word, and anon with joy receives it; and so endures for a while, but, having not root, he withers away, Matt. xiii. 6.
2. The sinner that the Holy Spirit quickens is sure to take the lowest room in God's house; his debased mind will not be pressing into the holy of holies, nor into the sanctuary among the priests, nor into the king's gallery with the spouse, nor into the inner court among the real worshippers; but into the outer court of the Gentiles, and even beneath the beasts that perish, putting his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope, Lam. iii. 29. I mean by this, his humble state of mind. Nor can all the world raise his heart out of this debased state till the word of the Lord comes, “ Friend, go up higher.” But into this humility of heart, and self-loathing in the sight of God, which sets the self-condemned sinner at such a distance in his own apprehensions from the Almighty, the aspiring professor cannot descend: he aims at higher things; for, as his faith springs up without root, so his claim upon God is presumptuous, and his approaches to himn bold, daring, and arrogant: and he aims at the presence and approbation of God at his first setting off; but God drives him back, while he draws the other on. Hence it is said that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble,” James iv. 6.
3. The soul, that is under the first teaching of God's Spirit, is so sensible of the plague and sore of his own heart, and so ashamed of his own innumerable misdeeds, that he is not desirous of vain glory, but esteems every believer better than himself, Phil. ii. 3. But the hypocrite never