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fully abstaining from all evil, using every means of grace, at every opportunity, and doing all possible good to all men yet a man may go thus far, may do all this, and be but an heathen still. They know this religion is too superficial. It is but as it were skin deep. Therefore it is not Christianity; for that lies in the heart: it is, Worshipping God in spirit and in truth. It is no other than "the Kingdom of God within us :" it is "the Life of God" in the soul of man: it is "the mind which was in Christ Jesus:" it is ❝righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.'
6. Besides, they see that be this religion shallower or deeper, it does not stand on the right foundation: Since "other foundation" for true religion "can no man lay, than that which is laid, even Christ Jesus:" since no one can have the mind which was in Christ, till he is justified by his blood; till he is forgiven and reconciled to God, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ. And none can be justified, they are well assured, but by faith, even faith alone: seeing "to him (only) that believeth in God who justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteous
7. What evasion now? What way could Satan take to make all this Light of none effect? What could be done when that grand truth, "By grace ye are saved through faith," was more and more generally received? What indeed, but to persuade the very men who had received it, to "turn the Grace of God into lasciviousness?" To this end Simon Magus appeared again, and taught "That Christ had done, as well as suffered all: That his righteousness being imputed to us, we need none of our own: That seeing there was so much righteousness and holiness in Him, there needs no more in us: That to think we have any, or to desire or seek any, is to renounce Christ: That from the beginning to the end of salvation, all is in Christ, nothing in man; and that those who teach otherwise are legal preachers, and know nothing of the gospel."
8. This is indeed " A Blow at the Root," the root of all holiness, all true religion. Hereby Christ is "Stabbed in
the House of his Friends," of those who make the largest professions of loving and honouring Him; the whole design of his death, namely, "to destroy the works of the devil," being overthrown at a stroke. For wherever this doctrine is cordially received, it leaves no place for holiness. It demolishes it from top to bottom; it destroys both root and branch. It effectually tears up all desire of it, all endeavour after it. It forbids all such exhortations as might excite those desires, or awaken those endeavours. Nay, it makes men afraid of personal holiness, afraid of cherishing any thought of it, or motion toward it, lest they should deny the faith, and reject Christ and his righteousness. So that instead of being "zealous of good works," they are a stink in their nostrils. And they are infinitely more afraid of the works of God, than of the works of the devil.
9. Here is wisdom! Though not the wisdom of the saints, but wisdom from beneath. Here is the master-piece of Satan farther than this he cannot go. Men are holy without a grain of holiness in them! Holy in Christ, however unholy in themselves: they are in Christ, without one jot of the mind that was in Christ. In Christ, though their nature is whole in them. They are "complete in Him,” though they are in themselves as proud, as vain, as covetous, as passionate as ever it is enough. They may be unrighteous still, seeing Christ has " fulfilled all righteousness."
10. O ye simple ones, "how long will ye love simplicity?" How long will ye "seek death in the error of your life?" "Know ye not," whoever teacheth you otherwise, "that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" "Be not deceived:" although there are many who lie in wait to deceive, and that under the fair pretence of exalting Christ: a pretence which the more easily steals upon you, because to you "He is precious." But as the Lord liveth," Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." Such indeed" were some of you. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, as well as
justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." You are really changed: You are not only accounted, but actually made righteous. "The law," the inward power, "of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, hath made you free," really, actually free, "from the law (or power) of sin and death." This is liberty, true gospel liberty, experienced by every believer: not freedom from the law of God, or the works of God, but from the law of sin, and the works of the devil. See that ye "stand fast” in this real, not imaginary “liberty, wherewith Christ hath made you free." And take heed ye be not "intangled again," by means of these vain boasters, " in the yoke" of that vile "bondage" to sin, from which ye are now clean escaped. I testify unto you, that if you still continue in sin, Christ shall profit you nothing: That Christ is no Saviour to you, unless he saves you from your sips; and that unless it purify your heart, faith shall profit you nothing. O when will ye understand, that to oppose either inward or outward holiness, under colour of exalting Christ, is directly to act the part of Judas, to "betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Repent, repent! lest He cut you in sunder with the two-edged sword that cometh out of his mouth! It is you yourselves that, by opposing the very end of his coming into the world, are "crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to an open shame." It is you that by expecting to see the Lord without holiness, through the righteousness of Christ, "make the blood of the covenant an unholy thing," keeping those unholy that so trust in it.
O beware! for evil is before you! If those who name not the Name of Christ, and die in their sins shall be punished seven-fold, surely you who thus make Christ "a minister of sin," shall be punished seventy and seven fold, What! make Christ destroy his own kingdom! Make Christ a factor for Satan! Set Christ against holiness! Talk of Christ as "saving his people in their sins !" It is no better than to say, He saves them from the guilt, and not from the power of sin. Will you make the righteousness of Christ such a cover for the unrighteousness of man?
So that by this mean the unrighteous of every kind shall inherit the Kingdom of God!-Stop! Consider! What are you doing? You did run well. Who hath bewitched you? Who hath corrupted you from the simplicity of Christ, from the purity of the gospel? You did know, "He that believeth is horn of God:" and "whosoever is born of God sinneth not:" but while "he keepeth himself, that wicked one toucheth him not." O come back to the true, the pure, the old gospel! That which ye received in the beginning. Come back to Christ, who died to make you an holy people, "zealous of good works." "Remember from whence you are fallen, and repent and do the first works." Your "Father worketh hitherto:" do ye work; else your faith is vain. For "wilt thou know, O vain," O empty "man, that faith without works is dead ?" Wilt thou know, that "though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing ?" Wilt thou know, that all the blood and righteousness of Christ, unless that "mind be in thee which was in" Him, and thou likewise "walk as Christ walked," will only increase thy damnation? "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about strife of words, whereof come railings, evil surmisings; perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth." Be no longer afraid of the strongest exhortations either to inward or outward holiness. Hereby God the Father is glorified, and God the Son truly exalted. Do not stupidly and senselessly call this legal, a silly, unmeaning word. Be not afraid of being "under the law of God," but of being "under the law of sin." Love the strictest preaching best, that which most searches the heart, and shews you wherein you are unlike Christ; and that which presses you most to love Him with all your heart, and serve Him with all your strength.
11. Suffer me to warn you of another silly, unmeaning word; Do not say, I can do nothing. If so, then you know
nothing of Christ: Then you have no faith. For if you have, if you believe, then you "can do all things," through Christ who strengtheneth you. You can love Him, and keep his commandments: and to you his "commandments are not grievous:" Grievous, to them that believe! Far from it. They are the joy of your heart. Shew then your love to Christ, by keeping his commandments, by walking in all his ordinances blameless. Honour Christ, by obeying Him with all your might, by serving Him with all your strength. Glorify Christ by imitating Christ in all things, by walking as He walked. Keep to Christ, by keeping in all his ways. Trust in Christ, to live and reign in your heart. Have confidence in Christ, that He will fulfil in you all his great and precious promises, that he will work in you all the good pleasure of his goodness, and all the work of faith with power. Cleave to Christ, till his blood have cleansed you from all pride, all anger, all evil desire. Let Christ do all! Let Him that has done all for you, do all in you. Exalt Christ, as a Prince, to give repentance: a Saviour, both to give remission of sins, and to create in you a new heart, to renew a right spirit within you. This is the gospel, the pure, genuine gospel; glad tidings of great salvation. Not the new, but the old, the everlasting gospel: the gospel, not of Simon Magus, but of JESUS CHRIST.
The GOD and FATHER of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, give you, "according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: That, being rooted and grounded in love, ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and heighth; and to know that love of Christ, which surpasseth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of GOD!"