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nishing the lustre of his transcendent mercy, by covering or extenuating the offence. Hence secure persons are easily satisfied, while true penitents make fupplication with strong crying and tears. They are often reconsidering the promise, and frequently questioning the ground on which their dependence has been placed. Hence allo secure persons feek eafe to themfelves from the remonItrances of conscience, by ftifling conviction, and offering excuses; but true penitents, by giving full force to the accusation, and pleading the benefit of the remiflion. To say all in a word, the one struggles hard to be found in. nocent, the other to obtain mercy.
4. From what hath been said, you may fee of how much moment it is to the Christian to keep clear views of the mercy of God, as well as of his own intereft in it. The moment he loses the comfortable sense of peace with God, his chariot-wheels are troubled, and he drives heavily. It makes his duty burdensome, and his trials insupportable. And no wonder, since he is not so far left of God as to return to the security of finners; and at the same time the source of his inward confolation is like a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed. For what end are the promises of God contained in scripture? why are they put into your hands ? why are they repeated in your ears? Why, but for preserving you in that peace which the world cannot give, and which, blessed be God, it cannot take away. How what your Saviour says John xvi. 33, “ These “ things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have
peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be “ of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
5. In the last place, You may fee from what hath been faid, in what way you may moft effectually, and most certainly, preserve your peace with God, viz. By the frequent exercise of penitence and confeffion. This will fhew
you the necessity of forgiveness from God. This will constrain you daily to seek for forgiveness from God. Be. ware of seeking or preserving peace by the extenuation of fin, or by stifling conviction. This may well lead you to sloth and security for a season, which lays the foundation of the bitterest repentance of all; but will never give -you the comfort of God's children. He that shutteth his eyes upon his own fins, shall never see the glory of di. vine mercy. Serious, voluntary, deliberate humiliation, is the true way of promoting both that steadliness in duty, and that peace with God, which ought to be the Chriftian's supreme desire. Whatever destroys self-sufficiency promotes the growth of true piety. The gospel is particularly directed to those that see their necessity. It brings comfort to the mourner, help to the miserable, and mer. cy to the guilty. It is a great mistake to think, that the contrition and penitence of the children of God is hurtful to their comfort, for it is the very foundation of it; according to that refreshing promise, with which I shall con., clude, If. lxi. 1, 2, 3. “The spirit of the Lord God " is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to
preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to " bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that
are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, 66 and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all " that mourn : to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, “ to give unto them beauty for afhes, the oil of joy for * mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heavi. “ ness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the " the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
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THE NATURE OF
S E R M O N.
I JOHN iii. 23.
And this is his commandment, that we should believe on
the name of his Son Jesus Christ.
E propose, in a little, to draw near to God in the
moft folemn act of Christian worship. With what humble folicitude ought we to enquire, whether we are truly intitled to this great privilege, or may hope for acceptance in this important duty. It is the most explicit, and the most public profeffion we can make of faith in the Redeemer's blood ; and therefore none can do it in a proper manner, but those who have indeed believed in the Redeemer's name.
Faith in Christ is the great foundation of our peace with God. It is the great principle of our fanctification. It is the great distinction between the heirs of glory and the heirs of hell : “For he that believeth, and is baptized, « shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damn" ed.” And therefore no subject can be of more importance in general, or more suited to our present employ. ment, than what is presented to us in the words of the text : This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of bis Son Jesus Christ.
In the context the apostle is speaking of the Christian's confidence or persuasion of his relation to God, ver. 20, 21,
« For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than " our heart and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart * condamn us not, then have we confidence towards
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him ; be“cause we keep his conimandments, and do those things " that are pleasing in his fight."
Having thus mentioned the commandments, he points out in the words now read, the great commandments of the gospel, in their order, And this is his commandment, Tbat we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as be gave us commandment. My purpose at this time is, to confine myself to the first of these ; and open, in as comprehensive and practical a manner as I am able, what it is to believe on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God; and having done fo, to make some practical improvement of the sub. ject; particularly, by pressing every hearer, in the most carnest manner, to obey this commandment of God,
1. In the first place, then, I am to explain what it is to believe on the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Many have been the controverfies raised and agitated on this subject, most of them unprofitable, and fame of them very hurtful, as tending to difquiet and perplex the minds of serious persons, and sometimes even to furnish an objection to the enemies of the gospel. I shall therefore avoid every thing of this kind, as in general undesirable, and at this time highly unleafonable ; and endeavor to lay it down in such a manner as I hope may be underftocd by the meanest real Christian, and may afford to every exercised foul inward consolation and peace with God..
For this purpose, I hope it will be fufficient to observe, that faith may be considered in two views; its object, and jis actings: It, The object of faith; that is to say, the
truths to be believed : 2dly, The actings of faith; or : What it is to believe these to the faving of the foula As to
tise objeèt of faith, it is thus expressed in our text, This is bis cominondment, 'That we should believe on the name of bis Şout fesus Christ. Christ Jesus, the Saviour, then, is