Page images
[ocr errors]

If we consider Mankind in their pure Na. turals, and as without Chrift Jesus, this plainly was their Case. They did believe a Supreme God; and their Reason, it is likely, would tell them, that God was Good and Merciful. But yet this Reason could discover no more than God's general Goodness to them that all along endeavoured to please and approve themselves to Him. But as for his Willingness to pardon and forgive Sinners, especially those that had offended him, by very grievous Crimes, or lived in a long habitual Course of Wickedness; this they could not conclude from their Reason. Nay, if they did reason as they justly might, they might rather be inclined to believe that he would not pardon such Criminals. For as their Reason told: them, that God was Good; so the fame Reafon told them that he was Just, and had an infinite Regard to the Honour and Reputation of his Laws: Which Laws, their own Confciences told them, they had heinously transgressed; nor had they any Thing wherewith to compensate or make Satisfaction for the Transgression of them: And therefore what could they expect from so Just a God, but to undergo the Punishment they had deserved?,

This was a very uncomfortable Reasoning; and yet such a one it was, as there was no Answer to be given to, in the State of Nature; and therefore in what a melancholy Condition were Mankind all the while? What Encouragement had they seriously to set upon the "Amendment of their wicked Lives? Or,



if they did, what Fruit, what Comfort coold they promise to themselves by such an Amendment ?

But, blessed be God, that hath removed us out of these Uncertainties; Blessed be God, that hath given us the greatest Assurance that is pollible, of his Love and Kindness to the greatest of Sinners; and consequently laid the greatest Obligation upon all Mankind, to turn from their Evil Ways.

He hath sent his Son, his only Son, into the World, on purpose to assure us of his good Will to us; to give a Demonstration of the unfeigned Love and Kindnefs that he bears to every Soul of the Sons of Adam, that he would nut bave any of them perish, but that they fhould all come to the Knowledge of the Truth, and be faved. This Son of his doth moft Solemnly, in the Name of his Father, proclaim Pardon and Remission of Sins to every one that should believe in Him. There is no Sinner excepted; even the Oldest, the Greatest, the most Enor, mous of Sinners, if they will come in, and fubmit to the Yoke of Jesus Christ, have his certain Promise.that they shall be received.

And left any one should fear the Divine Justice, upon Account that there is no Satisfa. Etion made to it for his Sins; our Lord hath taken care to remove that Objection : For he, by the unvaluable Merits of his Person, and the free unconstrained Offering up of Himself to an Ignominious Death upon the Crofs, on the Behalf of Mankind, hath made a full, compleat and entire Satisfaction to


God's Justice for all the Sins of the World, from the Beginning to the End thereof.

So that now every one hath free Access to God, and a Right to his Favour through the Blood of Jesus Christ. And though we have been never so bad, never so unworthy ; yet if we have but the Hearts to forsake our Sins, and come to Jesus Christ, we shall as certainly obtain the Acceptance, and the Love of our Heavenly Father, as if we had been Innocent, and never sinned at all.

Nay, God is not only willing to receive us, but he earnestly begs and sollicits us to take his Mercy. And so pleased he is at the Return of a Sinner, that our Saviour has told us, There is Foy in Heaven over such a one. Nay, more Joy among the Angels over a Sinner that repenteth; than over Ninety-nine just Persons that need no Repentance.

O how welcome ought this News to be to os! How transported should we be at the infinite Kindness of God manifested to us by our Saviour! O praised be God, for his astonishing Love. For ever adored be our Lord Je. sus, that has made a Propitiation for us by his Blood. O let us for ever kiss and hug the precious unvaluable Scriptures of the New Testament, if there was nothing else in them but that faithful Saying, that Saying, worthy of all Men to be received, That Jesus Christ came into the World to save Sinners ; to save you, and me, and all Sinners, even the greatest of Sinners.

0! who is there that is in his Wits, would chuse to be out of the Christian Dispensation;


or be left to the Methods of Nature and Philo. soply, for the attaining their Happiness, as some loose People among us do sometimes talk ! Were the natural Talents of Mankind ex. alted far above what they either are, or ever have been; yet I would value that one Saying, That Jesus Christ came into the World to fave Sinners, more than all the Notions, and Speculations of Reason and Philofophy. I would desire to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I would, with the Apoftle, count all Things as Loß, nay, as Dung, in Comparison of the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jefus my Saviour; and that I may be found in him, not having my own Righteousneß, which is by Na. ture, but that Righteousnes, which is by the Faith of Jesus Christ, who gave himself for me. And thus much of Christ's appearing to put away Sin, in the first Notion of that Expression.

But, Secondly, Christ appeared to prest away Sin in another Sense: That is to say, to de stroy the Power and Dominion of it from amongst Men; to abolish it, so as that it should not henceforth reign in our mortal Bodies. To free us from Sin, as the Apostle Ipeaks, that is, to enable us to lead Holy and Vertuous Lives. So that whereas Mankind heretofore yielded their Members Servants to Uncleannes, and to Iniquity unto Iniquity; so they fbould now yield their Meme bers Servants to Righteousneß unto Holines.

Thus to put away Sin, was as principal an End of Christ's Coming, as the other before. mentioned; Nay, perhaps, more principal: For the other, in true Realoning, may be said


to be wholly in order to this. Certain it is, unless this End be attained, the other will fignifie nothing to us; for we are not capable of any Benefit from that Remission of Sin which was purchased for us by Christ, until our Sins be put away by Repentance, and we become holy Persons by the Change and Renewal of our Natures.

Never therefore let us deceive ourfelves; though Christ hath actually put away all the Sins of the World in the former Sense, by his Sarisfa&tion; that is to say, hath procured the Pardon of them; hath caken away the Sting of them, so as that they shall not be deadly to any : Yet all this is upon Supposition, that the Strength of them be take away in us; that they have no Dominion over us ; that we mortifie them in all our Members; that we daily die to them, and live a Life of Righteousness. All that Christ merited or purchased for the World, will not do us the least Good, unless we be made conformable to him in his Death and Resurrection, by our dying to Sin, and living to Righteousness.

And 'in Truth, if we will mind it, the putting away Sin in this Sense of it, hath as great Weight laid upon it in Scripture, and is as often assigned for the great End and Business of Christ's Appearance, as the other.

St. John tells us plainly, that for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil.

And St. Paul likewise tells us, that he therefore gave himself for us, that he might redeem us


« PreviousContinue »