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to justify God in this matter. To quarrel with God about it, and to rage like a wild bull in a net, will but fix you the more in it. Humifiation of foul, before the Lord, is neceffary for an escape. God will not fell deliverance, but freely gives it to thofe, who see themfives altogether unworthy of his favour. Lastly, Turn your eyes, 0 prifoners of hope, towards the Lord Jefus Chrift; and embrace him as he offereth himself, in the gospel. There is no falvation in any other, Acts iv. 12. God is a confuming fire; ye are children of wrath; if the Mediator interpofe not betwixt him and you, ye are undone for ever If ye would be fafe, come under his fhadow: one drop of that wrath cannot fall there, for he delivereth us from the wrath to come, 1 Theff. i. 10. Accept of him in his covenant, wherein he offereth himself to thee: and fo thou fhalt, as the captive woman, redeem thy life, by marrying the Conqueror. His blood will quench that fire of wrath, which burns against thee: in the white raiment of his righte ousness thou shalt be fafe; for no ftorm of wrath can pierce it.

II. I fhall drop a few words to the faints.

First, Remember, that at that time, (namely, when ye were in your natural ftate) ye,were without Chrift having no hope, and without God in the world Call to mind that ftate, ye were in formerly; and review the mifery of it There are five memorials, I may thence give in to the whole affembly of the faints, who are no more children of wrath: but heirs of God, and joint heirs with Chrift, tho' as yet in their minority. (1) Remember, that in the day our Lord took you by the hand, ye were in no better condition than others? O what moved him to take you, when he past by your neighbours! he found you children of wrath, even as others; but he did not leave you fo. He came into the common prifon, where you lay in your fetters, even as others; and from amongst the multitude of condemned malefactors, he picked out you, commanded your fetters to be taken off, put a pardon in your hand, and brought you into the glorious liberty of the children of God; while he left others in the devil's fetters. (2) Remember there was nothing in you to engage him to love you, in the day he first appeared for your deliverance Ye were children of wrath, even as others, fit for hell, and altogether unfit for heaven: yet the King brought you into the palace: the King's Son made love to you a condemned criminal, and efpoufed you to himself, on the day in which ye might have had been led forth to execution. Even fo, Father, for fo it feemeth good in thy fight, Matth ix. 26. (3) Remember, ye were fitter to be lothed than loved in that day. Wonder, that when he faw you in your blood, he looked not at you with abhorrence, and paffed by you. Wonder that ever fuch a time could be a time of love, Ezek xvi 8 (4) Remember, ye are decked with borrowed feathers. It is his comelinefs, which is upon you, ver. 14. It was he that took off your prifon-garments, and clothed you with robes of righteoufnefs, garments of falvation: garments wherewith ye are arrayed as the lilies, which toil not, neither do they fpin. He took the chains froin off your

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arms, the rope from about your neck; put you in fuch a drefs as ye might be fit for the court of heaven, even to eat at the King's table. (5.) Remember your faults this day; as Pharaoh's butler, who had forgotten Jofeph. Mind how you have forgotten, and how unkindly you have treated him, who remembred you in your low eftate. Is this your kindness to your friend? In the day of your deliverance, did y ye think, ye could have thus requited him, your Lord?

Secondly, Pity the children of wrath, the world that lies in wickednefs. Can ye be unconcerned for them, ye who were once in the fame condition? Ye have got afhore indeed, but your fellows are yet in hazard of perishing; and will not ye make them all poffible help for their deliverance? What they are, ye fometimes were. This may draw pity from you, and engage you to use all means for their recovery. See Tit. iii. 1, 2, 3.

Thirdly, Admire that matchless love, which brought you out of the ftate of wrath Chrift's love was active love, he loved thy foul from the pit of corruption. It was no eafy work to purchase the life of the condemned finner? but he gave his life for thy life. He gave his precious blood to quench that flame of wrath, which otherwife would' have burnt thee up. Men get the best view of the ftars, from the bottom of a deep pit: from this pit of mifery into which thou waft caft by the first Adam, thou mayft get the best view of the Sun of righteoufnefs, in all its dimenfions. He is the fecond Adam, who took thee out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay How broad were the skirts of that love, which covered fuch a multitude of fins! behold the length of it, reaching from everlasting to everlasting, Pfal. ciii 17. The depth of it, going fo low as to deliver thee from the lowest hell, Pfal. lxxxvi. 13. The height of it, in raifing thee up to fit in heavenly places, Eph. ii. 6

Fourthly, Be hunble, carry low fails, walk foftly all your years: Be not proud of your gifts, graces, privileges, or attainments: but remember ye were children of wrath, even as others. The peacock walks flowly, hangs down his ftarry feathers, while he looks to his black feet. Look ye to the hole of the pit, whence ye are digged, and walk humbly as it becomes free grace's debtors.

Laftly, Be wholly for your Lord. Every wife is obliged to be dutiful to her husband; but double ties lie upon her who was taken from a prifon or a dunghill. If your Lord has delivered you from wrath, ye ought, upon that very account, to be wholly his to act for him, to fuffer for him, and to do whatever he calls you to. The faints haye no reason to complain of their lot in the world, whatever it be. Well may they bear the crofs for him, by whom the curfe was born away from them. Well may they bear the wrath of men, in his cause, who has freed them from the wrath of God; and chearfully go to a fire for him, by whom hell-fire is quenched to them. Soul and body, and all thou hadst in the world, were fometimes under wrath: he has removed that wrath, thall not all these be at his fervice? That


thy foul is not overwhelmed with the wrath of God, is owing purely to Jefus Chrift; and shall it not then be a temple for his Spirit? That thy heart is not filled with horror and defpair, is owing to him only; to whom then should it be devoted but to him alone? That thine eyes are not blinded with the smoak of the pit, thy hands are not fettered with chains of darkness, thy tongue is not broiling in the fire of hell, and thy feet are not ftanding in that lake that burns with fire and brimftone, is owing purely to Jefus Chrift; and fhall not these eyes be employed for him, thefe hands act for him, that tongue fpeak for him, and these feet speedily run his errands? To him who believes that he was a child of wrath, even as others, but is now delivered by the bleffed Jefus; nothing will appear too much, to do or fuffer for his deliverer, when he has a fair call to it.

III. To conclude with a word to all; let no man think lightly of fin, which lays the finner open to the wrath of God. Let not the fin of our nature, which wreaths the yoke of God's wrath, so early, about our necks, feem a fmall thing in our eyes. Fear the Lord, be cause of his dreadful wrath. Tremble at the thought of fin, against which God has fuch fiery indignation. Look on his wrath, and tand. in awe, and fin not. Do you think this is to prefs you to flavish fear? If it were fo, one had better be a flave to God with a trembling heart; than a free man to the devil, with a feared confcience and a heart of adamant. But it is not fo, you may love him, and thus fear him too; yea, ye ought to do it, though ye were faints of the firit magnitude. See Pfal. cxix. 10. Matth. x. 28. Luke xii. 5. Heb. xii 28, 29. Altho' ye have paft the gulf of wrath, being in Jefus Chrift, yet it is but reasonable, your hearts fhiver, when ye look back to it. Your fin ftill deferves wrath even as the fins of others: and it would be terrible to be in a fiery furnace; altho' by a miracle, we were fo fenced against it, as that it could not harm us.


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Man's utter Inability to recover himself.


For when we were yet without ftrength, in due time Chrift died for the ungodly:

JOHN vi. 44. No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath fent me, draw him.

WE now a rieth

7E have now had a view of the total corruption of man's nature, and that load of wrath which lies on him, that gulph of mifery he is plunged into in his natural state. But there's one part of his mifery that deferves particular confideration; namely, his utter inabi lity to recover himself, the knowledge of which is neceffary for the


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due humiliation of a finner. What I defign here is, only to propofe a few things, whereby to convince the unregenerate man of this his inability; that he may fee an abfolute need of Chrift, and of the power of his grace.

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As a man that is fallen into a pit, cannot be fupposed to help himfelf out of it, but by one of two ways; either by doing all himself alone, or taking hold of, and iraproving the help offered him by others: fo an unconverted man cannot be fuppofed to help himfelf out of that ftate, but either in the way of the law, or covenant of warks, by doing all himself without Chrift: or elfe in the way of the gospel, or cove nant of grace, by exerting his own ftrength to lay hold upon, and to make ufe of the help offered him by a Saviour. But alas! the unconverted man is dead in the pit, and cannot help himself, either of thefe ways. Not the first way: for the first text tells us, that when our Lord came to help us, we were without ftrength, unable to recover ourfelves. We were ungodly; therefore under a burden of guilt and wrath; yet without ftrength, unable to ftand under it; and unable to throw it off, or get from under it: fo that all mankind had undoubtedly perished, had not Chrift died for the ungodly, and brought help to them who could never have recovered themfelves. But when Christ comes, and offereth help to finners, cannot they take it? Cannot they improve help when it comes to their hands? No, the fecond text tells us, they cannot: No man can come unto me, (i. e. believe in me, John vi. 35) except the Father draw him. This is a drawing which enables them to come, who till then could not come; and therefore could not help themselves, by improving the help offered It is a drawing, which is always effectual; for it can be no less than hearing and learning of the Father, which whofo partakes of, cometh to Christ, ver 25 Therefore, it is not drawing in the way of mere moral fuafion, which may be, yea, and always is ineffectual: but it is draw. ing by mighty power, Ephef. i. 19 abfolutely neceffary for them that have no power in themselves, to come and take hold of the offered help.

Hearken then, O unregenerate nian, and be convinced, that as thou art in a moft miferable state by nature; fo thou art utterly unable to recover thyfelf, any manner of way. Thou art ruined; and what way wilt thou go to work, to recover thyfelf? Which of these two ways wilt thou chufe? Wilt thou try it alone? Or wilt thou make use of help? Wilt thou fall on the way of works, or on the way of the gofpel? I know very well, thou wilt not fo much as try the way of the gofpel, till once thou haft found the recovery impracticable, in the way of the law. Therefore we fhall begin, where corrupt nature teaches men to begin, viz. at the way of the law of works.

I. Sinner, I would have thee believe that thy working will never effect it. Work and do thy beft; thou fhalt never be able to work thy felf out of this ftate of corruption, and wrath. Thou must have Chrift, elfe thou shalt perish eternally. It is only Christ in you, can be the hope of glory. But if thou wilt needs try it; then I muft lay


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before thee, from the unalterable word of the living God, two things which thou nuft do for thyfelf. And if thou canft do them; it mult be yielded, that thou art able to recover thyfelf; but if not, then thou canft do nothing this way, for thy recovery.

FIRST, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, Matth. xix. 17. That is, if thou wilt by doing, enter into life, then perfectly keep the ten commands. For the scope of these words is, to beat down the pride of man's heart; and to let him see the abfolute need of a Saviour, from the impoffibility of keeping the law. The anfwer is given, fuitable to the address. Our Lord checks him for his compliment, Good Mafter, ver. 16. telling him, There is none good, but One, that is God, ver. 17. As if he had faid, you think yourself a good man, and me another? but where goodness is fpoken of, men and angels may vail their faces before the good God. And as to his question, wherein he discovered his legal difpofition, Chrift does not anfwer him, faying, Blieve and thou shalt be faved; that would not have been fo feafonable in the cafe of one, who thought he could do well enough for himself, if he but knew, what good things he should do; but, fuitable to the humour the man wasin, he bid him keep the commandments; keep them nicely and accurately, as thofe that watch malefactors in prifon, left any of them efcape, and their life go for their's, See then, O unregenerate man, what cant thou do in this matter; for if thou wilt recover thyfelf in this way, thou must perfectly keep the commandments of God..

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And, (1.) Thy obedience must be perfect, in respect of the principle of it; that is, thy foul, the principle of action, must be perfectly pure, and altogether without fin. For the law requires all moral perfection; not only actual, but habitual, and fo condemns original fin, impurity of nature, as well as of actions. Now, if thou canft bring this to pafs; thou fhalt be able to answer that queftion of Solomon's, fo, as never one of Adam's pofterity could yet answer it, Prov. xx. 9. Who can fay, I have made my heart clean? But if thou canst not, the very want of this perfection is a fin; and fo lays thee open to the curfe, and cuts thee off from life. Yea, it makes all thine actions, even thy beft actions finful, for who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Job xiv. 4. And doft thou think by fin, to help thy felf out of fin and mifery? (2.) Thy obedience muft alfo be perfect in parts. It must be as broad as the whole law of God: if thou lackeft one thing, thou art undone; for the law denounceth the curfe on him that continueth not in every thing written therein, Gal. iii. 10. Thou must give internal and external obedience to the whole law; keep all the commands, in heart and life. If thou breakeft any one of them, that will infure thy ruin. A vain thought, or idle word, will still thut thee up under the curfe. (3.) It must be perfect in refpect of degrees; as was the obedience of Adam, while he ftood in his innocence. This the law requires, and will accept of no lefs, Mat. xxii. 37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with al!

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