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in Christ, without becoming new creatures. Their carnal mind, which is perfect selfishness, cannot be new modified or moulded into benevolence, by any exterior means or motives. Though under some circumstances, they may hate the world, which they once loved, and love God, whom they once hated, without a change of heart; yet their love and hatred will arise from the same mercenary motives, which are entirely sinful. Sinners are continually turning their attention and their affections from one object to another; but their love and their hatred continue to be of the same selfish nature. The careless sinner fixes his whole attention and affection upon the world; but when he is awakened from his stupidity, he turns his whole attention from the world to God, whom he hates for the same reason, that he before loved the world. Whatever sinners love and hate, they love and hate from selfish motives; and consequently no change of objects, motives, or circumstances, has the least tendency to change the nature of their affections. So that nothing short of a divine influence upon their hearts, can turn them from selfishness to benevolence, or from sin to holiness, without which they cannot see the kingdom of God.
5. If sinners love themselves because they are themselves, which is selfish and sinful; then after they experience a saving change from selfishness to benevolence, they love themselves in a manner totally different from what they did before. They love themselves in the same manner that God loves them. He loves them impartially, according to their characters and capacities. And they love themselves impartially, according to their characters and capacities. He values their interest no more, nor less than it is worth. And they value their own interest no more, nor less than it
is worth. Moses valued his interest less than the interest of all the Israelites. Paul valued his salvation less than the salvation of his whole nation. Moses and Paul loved themselves as disinterestedly, as they loved their fellow men. Many have imagined, that it is impossible for men to love themselves from any other motives, than selfish motives; and of consequence, that it is impossible for them to love others better than themselves. But this is a false and dangerous opinion. Just so far as men become holy or benevolent, they cease to love themselves selfishly; and so far as they cease to love themselves selfishly, they love their fellow men impartially; and so far as they love them impartially, they will not fail to love some more, as well as less, than themselves. Good men have no right to be selfish in the least degree; but they have a right to value their own temporal and eternal interest, according to its worth, and no more. And their goodness always leads them to form this just opinion, and to exercise this impartial affection, in respect to themselves. It is true, indeed, that when sinners become saints, they do not become perfectly holy and free from selfishness; but as soon as they shall arrive at the state of moral perfection, there will not remain the least tincture of selfishness in their hearts.
Finally, it appears from this discourse, that it is highly necessary to explain and inculcate the total selfishness of sinners. They never will believe, that they are totally depraved, until they see wherein total depravity consists. They are very apt to think, that their intellectual powers are as good as those of other men, and that they sometimes, at least, employ them in as amiable and virtuous a manner. This leads them to disbelieve and deny the doctrine of total depravity. But let them be taught, that total depravity consists in
total selfishness, which is a free and voluntary exercise, that belongs to the heart and not to the understanding, and they can no longer disbelieve, or deny that they are totally depraved. For they must know from their own experience, that selfishness has reigned in their hearts, and constantly led them to regard their own good, more than the good of others, or the glory of God. And as soon as they are convinced of the total selfishness of their hearts, they will be equally convinced of their total depravity. This shows the importance of explaining and inculcating the entire selfishness of sinners. There is no other truth so directly calculated to fasten conviction on their conscience, and to throw them into the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. As soon as they come to realize, that they have always acted from mean, mercenary motives, in all they have done for God, for themselves, and for others, their former goodness, and their former hopes built upon it, entirely vanish, and they see no ground of dependence, but only the undeserved and unpromised mercy of God. This was the case of Paul under a realizing sense of his total selfishness. When the divine law was brought home to his conscience, his sins revived and the ground of his hope gave way. For he realized, that he had always been governed by mere selfish motives in all his conduct, which was expressly forbidden, by the precept, "Thou shalt not covet;" that is, "thou shalt not feel, nor express the least degree of selfishness." It is in vain to preach about total deprav ity, without explaining it; for nothing will convince sinners, that they are totally depraved, until they are made to see and feel the total selfishness of their hearts. This Christ knew, and therefore, not only taught total depravity, but made it appear to be total selfishness. It is not the name, but the thing signified by total
depravity, that will carry conviction to stupid, selfrighteous, and self deceived sinners. Upon this subject, it is impossible to be too plain and explicit. It is necessary, to teach sinners the nature and criminality of selfishness, not only to convince them of their guilt and danger, but also to convince them of their immediate and indispensable obligation to perform every duty, which God has required them to perform. As soon as they see and feel, that they are totally selfish, they cannot help seeing and feeling, that they have no excuse for the neglect of duty, but are under immediate and indispensable obligations, "to turn from all their transgressions; to make them a new heart and a new spirit; to repent and believe the gospel; and to walk in newness of life." When they clearly see and sensibly feel, that all their depravity and criminality consists in their free and voluntary exercises of selfishness, they can no longer plead it as an excuse for impenitence and unbelief, because they know, that it depends upon their own choice, whether they shall love, or hate God; whether they shall continue in, or cease from sin; whether they shall accept, or reject the offers of mercy; and whether they shall be saved, or lost. They feel the whole authority of the law and of the gospel, binding them to turn and live, while they realize, that their depravity is not their calamity, but their guilt. And when the preachers of the gospel have thus shown sinners the plague of their own hearts, they may with propriety and force address them in the language of the apostles, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God."
THE ORDER OF GRACIOUS EXERCISES IN THE
GALATIANS V, 6.
But faith which worketh by love.
PAUL was surprized that the churches of Galatia, which he had been instrumental in planting, should so soon be led into great and dangerous errours, by false teachers. "I marvel, says he, that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert he gospel of Christ. But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." The apostle had taught these christians, that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, and that his atonement is the only foundation of pardon and acceptance in the sight of God. But the false teachers denied the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and taught the doctrine of justification by the deeds of the law. This he represents as a fatal errour. "For, says he, if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." And he goes on to say, "I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law: ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;