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all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and with all thy mind If one de. gree of that love required by the law, be wanting; if each part of thy obedience be not fcrewed up to the greatest height commanded; that want is a breach of the law, and fo leaves thee ftill under the curfe. One may bring as many buckets of water to a houfe that is on fire, as he is able to carry, and yet it may be confumed; and will be fo, if he bring not as many as will quench the fire. Even fo, although thou shouldft do what thou art able, in keeping the commands; if thou fail in the leaft degree of obedience which the law enjoins, thou art certainly ruined for ever; unless thou take hold of Chrift, renouncing all thy righteoufnefs as filthy rags. See Rom. x. 5 Gal. iii. 10. Lastly, It must be perpetual, as the man Chrift's obedience was, who always did the things that pleafed the Father; for the tenor of the law is, Cufed is he that continueth not in all things written in the law, to do them. Hence, tho' Adam's obedience was for a while abfolutely perfect; yet because at length he tripped in one point, viz. in eating the forbidden fruit, he fell under the curfe of the law. If one fhould live a dutiful fubject to his prince, till the clofe of his days, and then confpire against him; he muft die for his treafon. Even fo, tho' thou fhouldit, all the time of thy life, live in perfec& obedience to the law of God; and only, at the hour of death, entertain a vain thought, or pronounce an idle word: that idle word, or vain thought, would blot out all thy former righteoufnefs, and ruin thee; namely, in this way, in which thou art feeking to recover thy felf.

Now fuch is the obedience thou must perform, if thou wouldst recover thyself in the way of the law. But tho' thou fhouldft thus obey the law ftakes thee down in the ftate of wrath, till another demand of it be fatisfied, viz.

SECONDLY, Thou must pay what thou oweft. It is undeniable thou art a finner; and whatever thou mayeft be in time to come, justice must be satisfied for thy fin already committed. The honour of the law must be maintained, by thy fuffering the denounced wrath. It may be thon haft changed thy courfe of life, or art now refolved to do it, and fet about the keeping of the commands of God: but what haft thou done, or what wilt thou do, with the old debt? Your obedience to God, tho' it were perfect, is a debt due to him, for the time wherein it is performed; and can no more fatisfy for former fins, than a tenant's paying the current year's rent, can fatisfy the mafter for all bygones. Can the paying of new debts acquit a man from old accounts? Nay, deceive not yourselves, you will find the fe laid up in ftore with God, and fealed up among his treafures, Deut. xxxii. 34 It remains then, that either thou muft bear that wrath, to which, for thy fin, thou art liable, according to the law; or elfe, thou must acknowledge thou canst not bear it, and thereupon have recourse to the furety, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me now afk thee, art thou able to fatisfy the juftice of God? Canft thou pay thy own debt? Surely not: for, feeing he is an infinite God, whom thou haft offended; the


punishment, being fuited to the quality of the offence, must be infinite: But fo it is, thy punishment, or fufferings for fin, cannot be infinite in value, feeing thou art a finite creature: therefore they must be infinite in duration or continuance; that is, they must be eternal. And fo all thy fufferings in this world, are but an earneft of what thou muft fuffer in the world to come,

Now, finner, if thou canst answer thefe demands, thou mayît recover thyself in the way of the law. But art thou not conscious of thy inability to do any of these things, much more to do them all? Yet if thou do not all, thou doft nothing. Turn then to what course of life thou wilt, thou art ftill in a ftate of wrath. Screw up thy obedience to the greatest height thou canft; fuffer what God lays upon thee, yea add, if thou wilt to the burden, and walk under all, without the leaft impatience: yet all this will not fatisfy the demands of the law; and therefore thou art still a ruined creature. Alas! finner, what art thou doing, while thou ftriveft to help thy felf; but doft not receive and unite with Jefus Chrift? Thou art labouring in the fire, wearying thy felf for very vanity; labouring to enter into heaven by the door, which Adam's fin fo bolted, as neither he, nor any of his loft pofterity can ever enter by it. Doft thou not fee the flaming fword of juftice keeping thee off from the tree of life? Doft thou not hear the law denouncing a curfe on thee for all thou art doing; even for thy obedience, thy prayers, thy tears, thy reformation of life, &c. because being under the law's dominion, thy beft works are not fo good, as it requires them to be, under the pain of the curfe? Believe it, firs, if you live and die out of Chrift, without being actually united to him as the second Adam, a life-giving Spirit, and without coming under the covert of his atoning blood; though you should do the utmost that any man on earth can do, in keeping the commands of GOD, ye thall never fee the face of GOD in peace. If you thould from this moment, bid an eternal farewel to this world's joy, and all the affairs thereof; and henceforth bufy yourselves with nothing, but the falvation of your fouls: if you fhould go into fome wildernefs, live upon the grafs of the field, and be companions of dragons and cwls: if you should retire to fome dark cavern of the earth, and weep there for your fins, until ye have wept yourselves blind, yea, wept out all the moisture of your body; if ye fhould confefs with your tongue, until it cleave to the roof of your mouth; pray, till your knees grow hard as horns; faft, till your body become like a skeleton; and after all this, give it to be burnt, the word is gone out of the Lord's mouth in righteousness, and cannot return; you fhould perish for ever, notwithstanding of all this, as not being in Chrift, John xiv. 6. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. Actsiv. 12. Neither is there falvation in any other. Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth not, fhall be damned. Object. But God is a merciful God, and he knows we are not able to answer his demands: we hope therefore to be faved, if we do as well as we can, and keep the commands as well as we are able.



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Anf. (1.) Though thou art able to do many things, thou art not able to do one thing aright: thou canst do nothing acceptable to God, being out of Chrift, John xv. 5. Without me je can do nothing An un renewed man, as thou art, can do nothing but fin; as we have already evinced. Thy best actions are fin, and fo they increase thy debt to juftice; how then can it be expected they fhould leffen it? (2) If God fhould offer to fave men upor condition that they did all they could do, in obedience to his commands: we have ground to think, that these who would betake themselves to that way, fhould never be faved. For where is the man, that does as well as he can? Who fees not many falfe fteps he has made, which he might have evited? There are fo many things to be done, fo many temptations to carry us out of the road of duty, and our nature is so very apt to be fet on fire of hell; that we would furely fail even in fome point, that is within the compass of our natural abilities. But (3.) Though thou fhouldft do all thou art able to do, in vain doft thou hope to be saved in that way. What word of God is this hope of thine founded on? It is neither founded on law nor gofpel, and therefore it is but a delufion. It is not founded on the gofpel; for the gofpel leads the foul out of itself, to Jefus Chrift for all: and it establisheth the law, Rom. iii. 31. whereas this hope of yours cannot be eftablished, but on the ruin of the law, which God will magnify and make honourable. And hence it appears, that it is not founded on the law neither. When God fet Aaam a working for happiness to himself, and his pofterity, perfect obedience was the condition required of him; and a curfe was denounced in case of difobedience. The law being broken by him, he and his pofterity were fubjected to the penalty, for fin committed; and withal ftill bound to perfect obedience: for it is abfurd to think that man's finning and fuffering for his fin, fhould free him from his duty of obedience to his Creator. When Chrift came in the room of the elect, to purchase their falvation, the fame were the terms. Juftice had the elect under arreft: if he minds to deliver them, the terms are known. He muft fatisfy for their fin, by fuffering the punishment due to it; he muit do what they cannot do, viz. obey the law perfectly, and fo fulfil all righteoufnefs. Accordingly, all this he did, and fo became the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Rom. x. 4. And now dost thou think. God will abate of these terms to thee, when his own Son got no abatement of them? Expect it not, though thou shouldit beg it with tears of blood; for if they prevailed, they behoved to prevail against the truth, juftice and honour of God, Gal. iii. 10. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. Ver. 22. And the law is not of faith, but the man that doth them, fhall live in them It is true, that God is merciful: he cannot but be merciful, unless he fave you in a way that is neither confiftent with his law nor gofpel? Hath not his goodness and mercy fufficiently appeared, in fending the Son of his love, to do what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the



Afh? He has provided help for them that cannot help themselves but thou, infenfible of thine own weakness, wilt needs think to recover thyfelf by thine own works; while thou art no more able to do it, than to remove mountains of brass out of their place.

Wherefore I conclude thou art utterly unable to recover thyself, by the way of works, or of the law. O that thou wouldst conclude the fame concerning thy self!

II. Let us try next, what the finner can do to recover himself, in the way of the gofpel: It is likely, thou thinkeft, that howbeit thou canft not do all, by thyself alone; yet Jefus Chrift offering thee help, thou canft of thyfelf embrace it, and ufe it to thy recovery. But, O finner, be convinced of thine abfolute need of the grace of Chrift, for truly there is help offered, but thou canst not accept of it: there is a rope caft out to hale fhip wrecked finners to land; but alas! they have no hands to catch hold of it. They are like infants expofed in the open field, that must starve, tho' their food be lying by them, unless one put it into their mouths. To convince natural men of this, let it be confidered,

First, That although Chrift is offered in the gospel, yet they cannot believe in him. Saving faith is the faith of God's elect; the fpecial gift of God to them, wrought in them by his Spirit. Salvation is offered to them that will believe in Chrift; but how can ye believe? John v. 44. It is offered to these that will come to Chrift; but no man can come unto him, except the Father draw him. It is offered to them that will look to him, as lifted up on the pole of the gospel, Ifa xiv 22. but the natural man is fpiritually blind, Rev iii. 17. and as to the things of the Spirit of God, he cannot know them, for they are fpiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. Nay, whofoever will, he is welcome; let him come, Rev. xxii. 17. But there must be a day of power on the finner, before he will be willing, Pfal cx. 3.

Secondly, Man naturally has nothing, wherewithal to improve, to his recovery, the help brought in by the gospel. He is caft away in a state of wrath, but is bound hand and foot, so that he cannot lay hold of the cords of love, thrown out to him in the gofpei. The most skilful artificer cannot work without inftruments, nor can the most cunning musician play well on an inftrument that is out of tune. How can one believe, how can he repent, whofe understanding is darkhefs, Eph. v 8 whofe heart is a ftony heart, inflexible, infenfible, Ezek xxxvi. 26. whole affections are wholly difordered and dftempered; who is averfe to good, and bent to evil? The arms of natural abilities are too fhort to reach fupernatural help: hence those who most excel in them, are oft times most eftranged from fpiritual things, Matth. xi. 24 Thou haft hid thefe things from the wife and prudent. Thirdly, Man cannot work a faving change on himfelf: but fo changed he must be, elfe he can neither believe nor repent, nor ever fee heaven No action can be without a fuitable principle. Believing, repenting, and the like, are the product of the new nature; and can

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never be produced by the old corrupt nature. Now, what can the natural man do in this ma ter? He must be regenerate, begotten again into a lively hope: but as the child cannot be active in his own-generation; fo a man cannot be active. but paffive only, in his own regene ration. The heart is thut against Chrift: man cannot open it, only God can do it by his grace, Ats xvi. 14. He is dead in fin: he muft be quickned, railed out of his grave: who can do this but God himself? Eph. ii. 1,5. Nay, he must be created in Chrift Jefus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. Thefe are works of omnipotency, and can be done by no lefs power.

Fourthly, Man, in his depraved state, is under an utter inability to do any thing truly good, as was cleared before at large: how then can he obey the gofpel? His nature is the very reverse of the golpel: how can he, of himfelf, fall in with that device of falvation, and accept the offered remedy? The corruption of man's nature infallibly concludes his utter inability to recover himfelf any manner of way: and whofo is convinced of the one, muft needs admit the other; for they stand and fall together. Were all the purchase of Chrift offered to the unregenerate man, for one good thought, he cannot command it, 2 Cor. iii. 5. Not that we are fufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourfelves. Were it offered on condition of a good word, yet how can ye, being evil, fpeak good things? Matth. xii. 35. Nay, were it left to yourselves, to chufe what is eafieft; Chrift himself tells you, John xv. 5. Without me, ye can do nothing.

Lafily, The natural man cannot but refift the Lord, offering to help him; howbeit that refistance is infallibly overcome in the elect, by converting grace. Can the ftony heart chufe but refift the stroke? There is not only an inability, but an enmity and obftinacy in man's will by nature. God knows, natural man, (whether thou knoweft it or not) that thou art obftinate, and thy neck is an iron finew, and thy brow brafs, Ifa. xlviii. 4. and cannot be overcome, but by him, who hath broken the gates of brafs, and cut the bars of iron in funder. Hence is there fuch hard work in converting a finner. Sometimes he seems to be caught in the net of the gofpel; yet quickly he flips away again. The hook catcheth hold of him: but he ftruggles, till getting free of it, he makes away with a bleeding wound. When good hopes are conceived of him, by thefe that travel in birth, for the forming of of Chrift in him; there is oft-times nothing brought forth but wind. The deceitful heart makes many a fhift to avoid a Saviour, and to cheat the man of his eternal happinefs. Thus the natural man lies funk in a state of fin and wrath, utterly unable to recover himself.

Object. (1.) If we be under an utter inability to do any good, how can God require us to do it? Anf. God making man upright, Ecclef. vii. 29. gave him a power to do every thing he should require of him: this power, man loft by his own fault. We were bound to ferve God, and to do whatfoever he commanded us, as being his creatures; and alfo, we were under the fuperadded tye of a covenant, for that


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