« PreviousContinue »
indispensibly necessary to practical and experimental religion. The design of knowledge is action. It is not sufficient that Christians believe there is a God, and receive the truths which he has revealed, they must also live to him. Those who believe the gospel should view it as the “ doctrine according to godliness," “and be careful to maintain good works." Unless such fruits are produced, the truth is not savingly believed. To promote the design of truth, in the life and practice of religion, and to prevent professors from resting in mere speculation, induced the Author to enlarge more on the practical part.
In transcribing these Discourses for the press, some liberty has been taken. The substance of the originals, in some instances, has been given. In some of the Discourses various remarks and illustrations have been added in transcribing them. The reader will readily notice the same sentiment again occurring, and perhaps the same practical remark from a different doctrine. This was unavoidable on account of the long intervals between the delivery of the different subjects. The same remarks from different doctrines will not be without advantage, as it will tend to show, more extensively, the influence which truth ought to have on the believer's practice, and will afford him a more enlarged discovery of the source of his consolation.
The Author commits these Discourses, imperfect as they are, to Him for whose service they were delivered, with fervent prayers that their publication may, through his blessing, promote the knowledge of the truth, and impress the minds of men with a sense of its importance; encourage and establish the faith of his people; and prove the happy means of reviving the power of godliness and the practice of religion,
Psalm xlv. 11.-He is thy Lord, and worship thou lim.
PAGE. Advantages resulting to the Church from Christ's Lordship,
292 Psal. xlv. 11.-He is thy Lord, and worship thou him.
DISCOURSE VIII. Sin considered as committed against God When : this consideration suitably affects the mind illustrated,
342 Gen. xxxix. 9.-How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
against God suitably affects the mind farther il:
385 Gen. xxxix. 9.—How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
DISCOURSE X. On the nature and excellence of the love of God to his people,
429 Zeph. iii. 17.-He will rest in his love DISCOURSE X1.
ST On God's resting in his love, and prosecuting the designs, of it towards his people,
462 ZEPH. ii. 17.-He will rest in his love
DISCOURSE XII. The use and end of the law to sinners,
499 Rom. iii. 20. By the law is the knowledge of sin.
supplies to believers, John i. 16.--And of his fulness have all we received, and
grace for grace.
trary. Two things may be different, yet harmonise; but if they are, in their very natures, opposite, they can never agree. If the opposition between the divine holiness and sin, is necessary, no agreement can ever take place; but if the opposition is merely indifferent, then it will follow, that there might have been no opposition; for what is indifferent may either be or not be: It will also follow, that God may cease to hate sin, and even approve and command it, and reward it instead of punishing it. He might at least have willed this. But the supposition would, at once, destroy all moral excellence in God.
The punishment of sin must be resolved into that opposition, which is between the divine holiness and it. Here it can be seen in its true light. In things naturally opposite, there is a natural and necessary tendency to destroy each other: thus water extinguishes fire, and fire evaporates water. Sin, in its very nature, is an attack upon God. It aims at his holiness, his authority, his felicity, his very existence. The infinite excellence of God, and the imbecility of the creature, prevent the effect from taking place; but this does not alter the nature of sin. God's opposition to sini disposes him, no less necessarily, to destroy or punish the sinner, whose soul, in all its faculties, maintains an implacable opposition to him. Punishment is the only proper way in which God opposes it. The opposition of his nature to it appears in the law, as prohibiting it, and in the sanction of the law, as threatening it; but as he does not oppose it by preventing the commission of it, his opposition must lie chiefly in punishing it. Thus punishment is purely the expression of God's holiness, upon the sinner, in its opposition to sin: or it is God's acting towards the sinner, according to the di&tates of
his holiness. In this light did Joshua represent God to Israel. “ Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” Josh. xxiv. 19. If he is jealous of his holiness and will not pardon; he will display that perfection in opposition to it, and not pardon it: there is no medium.
Divine holiness shines forth, with peculiar lustre, in the sufferings of Christ. Sustaining the character of our surety, our obligation to punishment was transferred to him, in terms of the law; that sin might be punished in his person, and our pardon secured. This did not alter the nature of sin, nor render it less the object of the divine hatred; rather, through this medium, its malignity appeared in a more striking light, and the opposition of divine holiness to it was more gloriously displayed. Could Jehovah, who is holiness itself, have overlooked sin, in any case, he would certainly have done it in the case of his own well-beloved Son. But the salvation of sinners could not, consistently with the honour of divine holiness, be otherwise accomplished. Jesus himself, when enduring his agonizing sufferings, resolves them into the holiness of God, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?-But thou art holy." Psalm xxii. 1-3. The pressure of divine wrath, and the inexpressible agony of his soul, impelled him to cry out; yet he did not consider his sufferings as incompatible with divine holiness; but rather as an occasion of a more glorious display of it; because, by these sufferings, it obtained the destruction of sin, so opposite to it, which it could never have obtained in the punishment of the transgressor. Holi. ness will be displayed, in its opposition to sin, in the