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are saved, through faith ; and that not of ourselves : it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast ?" Hast thou received the faithful saying, as the whole foundation of thy hope," that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ?" Hast thou learned what that meaneth, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ? I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep?" Art thou (he that heareth, let him understand !) lost, dead, damned already ? Dost thou know thy deserts ? Dost thou feel thy wants ? Art thou poor in spirit ? Mourning for God, and refusing to be comforted? Is the prodigal come to himself, and well content to be therefore thought beside himself, by those who are still feeding upon the husks which he hath left? Art thou willing to live godly in Christ Jesus ? And dost thou therefore suffer persecution ? Do
all manner of evil against thee falsely, for the Son of man's sake? 13. Oh that in all these questions ye may hear the voice that wakes the dead; and feel that hammer of the word, which breaketh the rocks in pieces ! “If ye will hear his voice to day, while it is called to day, harden not your hearts.” Now, awake, thou that sleepest in spiritual death, that thou sleep not in death eternal! Feel thy lost estate, and arise from the dead. Leave thine old companions in sin and death. Follow thou Jesus, and let the dead bury their dead. “Save thyself from this untoward generation.” “Come out from among them, and be thou separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and the Lord shall receive thee." “ Christ shall give thee light.
III. i. This promise, I come, lastly, to explain. And how encouraging a consideration is this, that whosoever thou art who obeyest his call, thou canst not seek his face in vain! If thou even now awakest and arisest from the dead, he hath bound himself to give thee light. The Lord shall give thee grace and glory; the light of his grace here, and the light of his glory when thou receivest the crown that fadeth
Thy light shall break forth as the morning, and thy dark ness be as the noon day.” “God, who commandeth the light to shine out of darkness, shall shine in thy heart; to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” “On them that fear the Lord shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings." And in that day it shall be said unto thee, “ Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." For Christ shall reveal himself in thee: and he is the true light.
2. God is light, and will give himself to every awakened sinner, that waiteth for him: and thou shalt then be a temple of the living God, and Christ shall “ dwell in thy heart by faith :" and,“ being rooted and grounded in love, thou shalt be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of that love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that thou mayest be filled with all the fullness of God.”
3. Ye see your calling, brethren. We are called to be “ a habitation of God through his Spirit;" and through his Spirit dwelling in us, to be saints here, and partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. So exceeding great are the promises which are given unto us, actually given unto us who believe! For by faith we“ receive, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God,” the sum of all the promises, “that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
4 The Spirit of Christ is that great gift of God, which, at gundry
times, and in divers manners, he hath promised to man, and hath fully bestowed, since the time that Christ was glorified. Those promises before made to the fathers, he hath thus fulfilled : “ I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes,” Ezek. xxxvi, 27. “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring,” Isaiah xliv, 3.
5. Ye may all be living witnesses of these things; of remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” “Who among you is there, that feareth the Lord, and yet walketh in darkness, and hath no light ?" I ask thee, in the name of Jesus, believest thou that his arm is not shortened at all? That he is still mighty to save ? That he is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever ? That he hath now power on earth to forgive sins ? "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven." God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven thee. Receive this,“not as the word of man; but as it is, indeed, the word of God ;" and thou art justified freely through faith. Thou shalt be sanctified also through faith which is in Jesus, and shalt set to thy seal, even thine, that “God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."
6. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you; and suffer ye the word of exhortation, even from one the least esteemed in the church. Your conscience beareth you witness in the Holy Ghost, that these things are so, if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “This is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” This experimental knowledge, and this alone, is true Christianity. He is a Christian who hath received the Spirit of Christ. He is not a Christian who hath not received him. Neither is it possible to have received him, and not know it." For, at that day,” (when he cometh, saith our Lord,)“ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in and I in you.” This is that Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” John xiv, 17.).
7. The world cannot receive him, but utterly reject the promise of the Father, contradicting and blaspheming. But every spirit which confesseth not this, is not of God. Yea, “this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come into the world, and even now it is in the world." He is antichrist whosoever denies the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or that the indwelling Spirit of God is the common privilege of all believers, the blessing of the gospel, the unspeakable gift, the universal promise, the criterion of a real Christian.
8. It nothing helps them to say, “We do not deny the assistance of God's Spirit; but only this inspiration, this receiving the Holy Ghost, and being sensible of it. It is only this feeling of the Spirit, this being moved by the Spirit, or filled with it, which we deny to have any place in sound religion." But, in only denying this, you deny the whole Scriptures; the whole truth, and promise, and testimony of God.
9. Our own excellent church knows nothing of this devilish distinction; but speaks plainly of “ feeling the Spirit of Christ ;'* of being “moved by the Holy Ghost,"+ and knowing and “ feeling there is no other name than that of Jesus," I whereby we can receive life and sal
* Art. 17. vt Office of consecrating priests. Visitation of the sick.
vation. She teaches us all to pray for the “inspiration of the Holy Spirit ;** yea, that we may be filled with the Holy Ghost.”+ Nay, and every presbyter of hers professes to receive the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands. Therefore to deny any of these, is, in effect, to renounce the church of England, as well as the whole Christian revelation.
10. But “the wisdom of God” was always " foolishness with men.” No marvel, then, that the great mystery of the gospel should be now also“ hid from the wise and prudent," as well as in the days of old; that it should be almost universally denied, ridiculed, and exploded, as mere frenzy; and that all who dare avow it still, are branded with the names of madmen and enthusiasts! This is that falling away which was to come: that general apostasy of all orders and degrees of men, which we even now find to have overspread the earth. Run to and fro in the streets of Jerusalem, and see if ye can find a man,” a man that loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, and serveth him with all his strength. How does our own land mourn (that we look no farther) under the overflowings of ungodliness! What villanies of every kind are committed day by day; yea, too often with impunity, by those who sin with a high hand, and glory in their shame! Who can reckon up the oaths, curses, profaneness, blasphemies; the lying, slandering, evil speaking ; the sabbath breaking, gluttony, drunkenness, revenge ; the whoredoms, adulteries, and various uncleanness; the frauds, injustice, oppression, extortion, which overspread our land as a flood ?
11. And even among those who have kept themselves pure from these grosser abominations; how much anger and pride, how much sloth and idleness, how much softness and effeminacy, how much luxury and self-indulgence, how much covetousness and ambition, how much thirst of praise, how much love of the world, how much fear of man is to be found ! Meanwhile, how little of true religion! For, where is he that loveth either God or his neighbour, as he hath given us commandment? On the one hand are those who have not so much as the form of godliness ; on the other, those who have the form only: there stands the open, there the painted sepulchre. So that in very deed, whosoever were earnestly to behold any public gathering together of the people, (I fear those in our churches are not to be excepted,) might easily perceive, “that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees :" the one having almost as little concern about religion, as if there were “no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit;" and the other, making it a mere lifeless form, a dull round of external performances, without either true faith, or the love of God, or joy in the Holy Ghost !
12. Would to God I could except us of this place! “ Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God, for you is, that ye may be saved”. from this overflowing of ungodliness, and that here may its proud waves be stayed! But is it so indeed ? God knoweth, yea, and our own consciences, it is not. Ye have not kept yourselves pure. Corrupt are we also and abominable ; and few are there that understand any more ; few that worship God in spirit and in truth.
a generation that set not our hearts aright, and whose spirit cleaveth not steadfastly unto God :" he hath appointed us indeed to be “the salt of the earth;
We too are
* Collect before the Holy Communion. + Order of Confirmation.
but if the salt hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing ; but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
13. And “Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this ?" Yea, we know not how soon he may say to the sword, “Sword, go through this land !" He hath given us long space to repent. He lets us alone this
year but he warns and awakens us by thunder. His judgments are abroad in the earth. And we have all reason to expect the heaviest of all, even that he “should come unto us quickly and remove our candlestick out of its place, except we repent and do the first works ;” unless we return to the principles of the reformation, the truth and simplicity of the gospel. Perhaps we are now resisting the last effort of divine grace to save us. Perhaps we have well nigh“ filled up the measure of our iniquities,” by rejecting the counsel of God against ourselves, and casting out his messengers.
14. Oh God." in the midst of wrath remember mercy !" Be glorified in our reformation, not in our destruction! Let us hear the rod, and him that appointed it! Now that thy “ judgments are abroad in the earth, let the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness !” 15. My brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of sleep; before
great trumpet of the Lord be blown,” and our land become a field of blood. Oh may we speedily see the things that make for our peace, before they are hid from our eyes ! “Turn thou us, oh good Lord, and let thine anger cease from us. Oh Lord, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine;" and cause us to know " the time of our visitation." " Help us, oh God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name! Oh deliver us, and be merciful to our sins, for thy name's sake! And so we will not go back from thee: Oh let us live, and we shall call upon thy name. Turn us again, oh Lord God of hosts! Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.”
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
SERMON IV.-Scriptural Christianity.
Preached at St. Mary's, Oxford, before the University, on August 24, 1744. “Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the
sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head," Ezek. xxxii, 4.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” Acts iv, 31.
1. The same expression occurs in the second chapter, where we read, “When the day of pentecost was fully come, they were all," (the apostles, with the women, and the mother of Jesus, and his brethren,)" with one accord, in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. And there appeared unto them Vol. I.
cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost :” One immediate effect thereof was, “ They began to speak with other tongues ;” insomuch, that both the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the other strangers who together, when this was noised abroad, heard them speak, in their several tongues, the wonderful works of God," Acts ii, 1-6.
2. In this chapter we read, that when the apostles and brethren had been praying, and praising God," the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts iv, 31. Not that we find any visible appearance here, such as had been in the former instance: nor are we informed that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were then given to all or any of them; such as the "gift of healing, of working other miracles, of prophecy, of discerning spirits, the speaking with divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues," I Cor. xii, 9, 10.
3. Whether these gifts of the Holy Ghost were designed to remain in the church throughout all ages, and whether or no they will be restored at the nearer approach of the “ restitution of all things,” are questions which it is not needful to decide. But it is needful to observe this, that, even in the infancy of the church, God divided them with a sparing hand. Were all even then prophets? Were all workers of miracles ! Had all the gifts of healing ? Did all speak with tongues ? No, in no wise. Perhaps not one in a thousand. Probably none but the teachers in the church, and only some of them, 1 Cor. xii, 28–30. It was, therefore, for a more excellent purpose than this, that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
4. It was to give them (what none can deny to be essential to all Christians in all ages) the mind which was in Christ, those holy fruits of the Spirit, which whosoever hath not, is none of his ; to fill them with “ love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness," Gal. v, 22–24; to endue them with faith, (perhaps it might be rendered,
fidelity,) with meekness and temperance; to enable them to crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts, its passions and desires, and, in consequence of that inward change, to fulfil all outward righteousness, to “walk as Christ also walked," " in the work of faith, in the patience of hope, the labour of love," 1 Thess. i, 3.
5. Without busying ourselves then in curious, needless inquiries, touching those extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, let us take a nearer view of these his ordinary fruits, which we are assured will remain throughout all ages ;-of that great work of God among the children of men, which we are used to express by one word, Christianity; not as it implies a set of opinions, a system of doctrines, but as it refers to men's hearts and lives. And this Christianity it may be useful to consider under three distinct views :
I. As beginning to exist in individuals :
I design to close these considerations with a plain practical application.
I. 1. And first, let us consider Christianity in its rise, as beginning to exist in individuals.
Suppose, hen, one of those who heard the apostle Peter preaching