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evil as you judge it to be? Can you conceive that such means would have been used for your recovery, if the state into which sin had brought you was not beyond measure terrible? Had no misery awaited you, or a misery only that was light and transient, do you suppose that God would have had recourse to such a method of delivering you from it; or that, after he has used such means to take away your sin, you incur no danger by holding it fast?. You may “ make a mock of sin,” if you please; but you will not think so lightly of it when you come to stand in the presence of your Judge. When the Lord Jesus Christ shall remind you of what he endured to deliver you from it, what will ye say to him? Will ye then make the foolish excuses that ye now do? No, verily: your mouths will then be shut: you will be amazed and confounded at your present folly and impiety: and it will be no consolation to you then that there are so many in the same condemnation with yourself. The antediluvian scoffers, when warned of the approaching deluge, thought it impossible that such a judgment should ever be inflicted; or consoled themselves, perhaps, that they should be in no worse plight than others. But when the deluge actually came, did they find their own terrors less appalling, or their sufferings less acute, because they were endured by others also ? Nor will ye in that day find the wrath of God a whit more tolerable because of the multitudes that shall bear it with you. Had the Saviour never come, you would have had to endure the wrath of God; but since he has come, and been despised and rejected by you, you shall have to bear 6 the wrath of the Lamb," even of that Lamb

“ crucified afresh k." and hell itself will be sevenfold more terrible, in consequence of the means which have been used to deliver you from it. Yes, the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrha will be light in comparison of yours! O that you were wise, and would consider this, ere it be too late!)

2. Ye who found your hopes of mercy on your own self-righteous endeavours

[What can ye think of yourselves, when ye recollect the principles which you yourselves acknowledge ? You know that Christ was manifested to take away your sins: how then do you presume to imagine, that you can remove them by any efforts of your own? Is there any such virtue in your own tears or almsdeeds, that you will rely on them, rather than on the atoning blood of Christ? Or is there any such strength in your own resolutions, that you will trust to them for the subduing of sin, rather than to the grace of our Lord Jesus

whom you

i Rev. vi. 16.

k Heb, vi. 6.

I Matt. x. 15.

Christ? Does it never strike you, that whilst you are entertaining such proud thoughts as these, you are thrusting the Lord Jesus Christ from his office, and virtually declaring, that, whatever he may be to others, he shall be no Saviour to you? Why will ye thus presume to set aside the very ends for which He came into the world? Why, when he has actually girded himself with the towel,

and presented himself before you, will you say with Peter, “ Thou shalt never wash my feet!” Know you not, that “ unless he wash you, you have no part with him m!" Be assured, he never came to make you your own saviours, but to offer you a free and full salvation. And if you will conceit yourselves to be “ rich and increased in goods, and in need of nothing, when you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” nothing reremains for you but to reap the bitter fruits of your pride and folly

--] 3. Ye who, whilst ye profess to believe in Christ, are walking unworthy of your holy profession

[I call on you also to consider this subject. You profess that the Lord Jesus Christ has borne your sins, and that you therefore expect that no condemnation shall come upon you. But do you think that he will be satisfied with performing half his office? Do you suppose that he will take away your sins as far as relates to their guilt, and leave them unmortified as it respects their power? This he never will do: and he declares to you that he never will. Only hear how strongly St. John speaks on this subject in the words following my text: “ Whosoever abideth in Christ, (as you profess to do,) sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doeth righteousness, (as you profess to do,) is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devilo." What now will ye say, who are still under the dominion of pride, envy, malice, wrath, and whose conduct in your families, instead of exhibiting the image of the Lord Jesus, and constraining all to admire the excellence of vital godliness, causes religion to stink in their nostrils ? What will ye say who have lewd hearts and licentious tongues? or ye who are covetous and worldly-minded, and who are in such bad repute for truth and honesty, that men would rather deal with a worldly character than with you? Ye may boast as ye will about the freeness and fulness of the Gospel salvation ; but ye shall never taste of it, unless ye put off the old man with his

m John xiii. 4, 8.
n Rev. ii. 16, 17. See also Rom. ix. 31, 32. and x. 3.

ver. 6-8.

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deeds, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness P."]

4. Ye who are bowed down with desponding fears

[I must not overlook you; for the text speaks powerfully to you also. In the habit of your minds you are saying, “ My sins are too great to be forgiven; or, my lusts are too strong to be subdued.” But is Christ unable to effect the work he has undertaken? Was he manifested to take away your sins, and has he proved incompetent to the task? Are we not told that “ the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse from all sin ?" And that “ his grace is sufficient" for all who trust in him? What then is there in your case that renders you an exception? Oh, do not so dishonour your adorable Saviour, as to doubt his sufficiency for the work that has been assigned him. Know that his blood is a sufficient “ propitiation, not for your sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world ;" and the weakest creature in the universe is authorized to say, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Put away then your unbelieving fears; and look to him to “ accomplish in you all the good pleasure of his goodness.” So shall you find that “he is able to save you to the uttermost;" and soon you shall join in that blessed song, “ To Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and our Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."]

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MMCCCCXLV. THE END OF CHRIST'S INCARNATION. 1 John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was mani

fested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. THE author of this epistle survived all the other Apostles; so that, long before his death, the professed followers of Christ had had ample opportunity of shewing what the effects of religious principle would be, after that the impulse of novelty should have ceased: in some the sacred fire would burn with undiminished ardour; but in others it would languish so as to leave room to doubt whether it were not altogether extinguished. Hence, in this General Epistle, St. John lays down a variety of marks, whereby men might judge of their state before God. In the chapter before us he shews the indispensable necessity of holiness, and the extreme danger of imagining ourselves in a state of acceptance with God, whilst destitute of his image on our souls: he shews this, as from other topics, so especially from this, that the indulgence of any sin counteracts the very end for which Christ came into the world; since “he was manifested on purpose to destroy the works of the devil.”

Let us inquire, I. What are those works which Christ came to

destroySatan, envious of the happiness of man in Paradise, endeavoured to bring him to the same state of guilt and misery to which he himself was reduced. How successful he was, it is needless now to mention: we all without exception experience in ourselves the sad effects of Adam's fall. Two things in particular that wicked fiend has introduced : 1. Sin

[This was unknown to man, till Satan invaded the peaceful regions of Paradise, and prevailed on Eve to eat of the forbidden tree. He questioned the prohibition itself, or at least the equity of it; and then, denying that any evil consequences would ensue, he urged the vast advantages that would be derived from transgressing the Divine injunction ; and thus “beguiled Eve by his subtilty." From that time he has practised upon others in a similar way, “ blinding their eyes 6," and putting all manner of wickedness into their hearts. It is at his instigation that all the children of disobedience execute their wicked purposes a: he, as their father, teaches them, and constrains them, as it were, to fulfil his will.

Even the godly he tempts, and labours to deceive by innumerable “wiles," and most subtle “ devices :" and,“ if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect."] 2. Death

[This also he introduced; for by sin came death, as its proper “wages,” and its necessary consequence. Satan had

a ver. 3—10.
c Luke xxii. 3. Acts v. 3.
e 1 Thess, iii. 5. 2 Cor. xi. 3:

b 2 Cor. iv. 4.
d Eph. ii. 2. and vi. 11, 12.

assured our first parents that “they should not die!" but in this he shewed himself “ the father of lies :” and by it he became "a murderer from the beginning!." The very instant they obeyed his voice, they died: temporal, spiritual, eternal death became their portion, and the portion of the whole human races : nor would any child of man have ever seen the face of God in peace, if the Lord Jesus Christ had not interposed to “ destroy this work of the devil.” As to the great mass of mankind, they are experiencing all the bitter effects of that first transgression : inheriting a corrupt nature, they follow the bent of their own inclinations, and rush on blindfold to everlasting perdition h. “The devil has taken them in his snare, and leads them captive at his willi.” Hence he is called Apollyon, and Abaddon, as being the great and universal destroyer.

Nor does he relinquish his endeavours to destroy even the best of men : “ he goes about, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he

may devour:" there are not any so holy, but he shoots his fiery darts" at them, and torments them with cruel buffetings', and desires to have them that he may sift them as wheat:” and, were he permitted, he would soon reduce even the soundest of men to chaff.]

Let us next inquire,
II. How he destroys them-

He came into the world, and “was manifested" in human flesh on purpose to destroy them: and he effects their destruction, 1. By the virtue of his sacrifice-

[The death of Christ was a true and proper atonement for sin; it was “a propitiation for the sins of the whole world :" and by it "he finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness m.” Nor has he merely cancelled our debt, or removed our obligation to punishment, but has “ abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light.” “On the cross he triumphed over all the principalities and powers of hell";" and, “ by death, overcame him that had the power of death, and delivered them, who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage." Yes, when our final victory over sin and death shall be celebrated in heaven, to this shall we ascribe it altogether; “ Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood p."]

John vjïi. 41, 44. & Rom. v. 12, 15-19. h Eccl. ix. 3. i 2 Tim. ii. 26, k Rev. ix. 11.

Eph. vi. 16. 2 Cor. xii. 7. m Dan. ix. 24. with ver. 5. n Col. ii. 15. o Heb. ii. 14.

p Rev, v. 9. VOL, XX.


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