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this their sacrifices would not have been accepted. Johor the Baptist preached repentance as preparative to the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth. Jesus Christ himself sent his seventy disciples with the same commission. The Apostles went through the land of Judea, preaching at the same time “repentance towards God, and faith through the Lord Jesus Christ." Those who are invited to Christ, are supposed to be "weary and heavy laden.” And men will no more apply to him by faith for salvation, without a humbling sense of their sins, than they would go to a physician for help, without any consciousness of disease or danger.
IV. On the other hand, we must also observe, that our repentance does not supersede the necessity of faith. Still the great effect takes place, through our faith in Christ. God has indeed ordained, that the death of Christ should be the propitiation for sin, “that he may be just and yet the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Yet he requires of man the exercise of faith, whereby we receive the atonement and take the benefit of it for ourselves. As it would not have been sufficient for the cure of the wounded Israelite, that the serpent was lifted up, or that he repented of his rebellion, had he remained in his tent and refused to look upon the remedy; even so, “whosoever believeth in Christ, is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
V. I presume not even to attempt any explanation of the reasons which induced the Almighty to choose this particular mode for the dispensation of his mercy to sinners. It becomes us rather, humbly to acknowledge our ignorance, and adore the depth both of the wisdom and goodness of God. He has ordained it, and let us be satisfied and thankful. Let us not say with Naaman, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? I thought, surely he would have come out to me, and waved his
hand over me.” Rather let us thus reverently embrace the mercy of God, without desiring to search into his hidden councils. We are permitted, however, to discover some reasons which prove the propriety of such a mode of dispensing mercy. It manifests exceedingly the grace of God, by shewing that our salvation is to be ascribed to that grace alone. Boasting is thus entirely excluded. And who can say whether it may not be suited to the Divine purity and justice to confer salvation on man, only by subjecting him to the deepest humiliation, by constraining hiın to feel his own entire inability to save himself, and thus compelling him to ascribe bis salvation solely to the Divine mercy? He who has in this manner obtained the remission of his sins, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, has no better ground to boast of his merit, than the wounded Israelite had to extol his own skill when he was healed merely from looking to the brazen serpent. Let me add also, that as there might have been some great impropriety in the unconditional forgiveness of sinners, so had the conditions of salvation been our own obedience, or the sincerity of our repentance, no one would have been saved. But this dispensation holds out great encouragement to such weak and unworthy sinners as we are. We may say as the servants of Naaman, “If the prophet had bid thee to do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather, then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
My fellow-sinners, God has provided a Saviour, even Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son. He has exalted him in the world, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Without shedding of blood there was no remission of sin under the Law; and under the Gospel it is only granted through the blood of Christ shed upon the cross. therefore looking to this great Object of the Gospel, for salvation, and to this only? Are you truly sorry for your sin, and humbled before God on account of your unworthiness? Without this, the remedy which God
has provided is useless: it cannot be received—you will not-you cannot come to Christ. But if you are really humbled for sin, are you then putting your trust not in your own resolutions, not in your future obedience, not even in the motives and affections which you derive from the Gospel, but in that great Sacrifice offered upon the cross? Are you directing your view to it; relying upon it; joyfully believing the record that that God has given, thankfully receiving it as his inestimable gift, and daily walking with God, through the hope with which the death of Christ inspires us? Objections, indeed, you may expect to rise in your minds against this way of salvation. It is not at once that we discover our own weakness, and the unworthiness even of our best deeds. It is not at once that the glory of Christ, given for sinners, appears the principal object in our view. Yet let me exhort you to seek after a clearer discovery of your own state, and of the efficacy of that sacrifice for sin which your Saviour has offered. Thus may you be led to a firmer faith in Christ. It is his death which we preach to you, as the hope, the only hope for sinners. It is bis death which we are now about to commemorate, as the object of a Christian's hope, in the symbols of it set before us. Look therefore to that, with the expectation of virtue to be derived from it, able to heal your soul and to restore to it the favour and blessing of God and eternal life. Thus may Christ dwell in your hearts by faith, and your hope be founded upon the Rock of ages!
THE NATURE OF HUMAN CORRUPTION.
Rom. viii. 7.
The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
IT is related of the old men amongst the Jews, who had been witnesses to the grandeur and excellence of the temple built by Solomon, that, when on their return from Babylon they saw the inferiority of it as rebuilt by Nehemiah and Ezra, they lifted up their voices and wept. How much more cause have we for sorrow, if we consider the original state of man, the living temple of the Lord, created in righteousness and true holiness, worthy of the Divine Architect, and fit for an habitation of God; and compare this with that state of ruin into which it has now fallen—with the marks of sin, corruption, misery, and death, which are every where stamped upon it!
Sin came into the world by the transgression of Adam: “by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners.” The children of Adam were born in the same corrupt state into which he had fallen; all of them were heirs of the same miseries, and exposed to the same dreadful consequences of sin which had followed his transgression. Such, then, is the state of every man now born into the world. He possesses a nature which, according to the words of the Article of our Church, is “very far gone from original righteousness,”—a nature which is even enmity against God, and which, till renewed by Divine influence, is not, and cannot be, subject to the law of God. We might be induced, by this representation of our state, to pray for that operation of the Holy Spirit which alone can cleanse us from the defilement of our sin.
In considering the subject of my text, three poiots present themselves to our inquiry.
I. What is meant by the term carnal mind.
II. In what sense we are to understand the carnal mind to be at enmity with God.
III. What proofs of this we experience in ourselves, or see in others.
1. What we are to understand by the term carnal or fleshly mind.
We may observe, that the terms flesh and spirit are generally in Scripture opposed to each other; and the Spirit, when that opposition is expressed, evidently means, not merely the soul of man, as distinguished from the body, but the spiritual frame of mind which is wrought in the believer through the influence of the Holy Ghost. And therefore the flesh, which is opposed to it, must signify the state of man by nature; as he is, when left to himself, without such Divine power or agency exerted upon him.
In this sense, the whole context leads us to interpret the passage. “I hey that are after the flesh," says the Apostle, “do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit:" i.e. Those who are merely in a natural state regard only the things belonging to the body, and to this life; but they that are spiritual, or renewed in