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Jason hath received ; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar, saying, that there is another King, one Jesus.

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SERMON XVI.

CONVERTING MERCY A PLEDGE OF PERSEVERING

GRACE.

ROMANS, v. 10. For if when we were Enemies, we

were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life.

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SERMON XVII.

ON THE SIN OF SWEARING.

MATTHEW, v. 35. But I say unto you, Swear not at all.

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SERMON XVIII.

THE BLESSINGS OF REDEMPTION.

Luke, i. 68, 69. Blessedbe the Lord God of Israel, LUKE for He hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of Salvation for us, in the House of his Servant David.

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SERMON XIX.

A RIGHT STATE OF HEART DESCRIBED AND

ENFORCED.

Acts, vii. 21. Thou hast neither part nor lot in

vüi this Matter : for thy Heart is not right in the Sight of God.

312 SERMON XX.

IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTING ON OUR NATURAL

STATE OF GUILT AND CORRUPTION.

Isaiah, li. l. Hearken unto me, ye that follow after

Righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the Rock whence ye are hewn, and to the Hole of the Pit, whence ye are digged.

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ROMANS, ii. 28, 29. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly;

neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The rite of circumcision was one of the sacraments of the Jewish church. It was appointed by God as the ceremony of admission into that religion. No one was allowed to partake of its ordinances and privileges, till he had first submitted to this rite, and indeed the severest threatenings

; were denounced on all who should refuse to comply with it. When our Saviour therefore came into the world, being born under the (Jewish) law, he submitted to this divinely-appointed ordinance; because in every thing it becaine Him“ to fulfil all righteous

VOL. FV.

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ness,” and in every respect to act as men, whose nature He had assumed, were required to act.

With respect to the design and object of the sacrament of circumcision, St. Paul tells us in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that it was both a sign and a seal. It was a sign to represent and teach ; a seal to ratify and confirm. What it ratified and confirmed was the covenant of grace.

. It was a “ seal of the righteousness of faith.” It conveyed and secured to those, who rightly received it, and complied with the purpose of the institution, a personal interest in all the spiritual promises contained in the covenant made by God with Abraham ; the chief of which were pardon of sin, peace with God, and a title to eternal life, through the merits and mediation of the promised and expected Saviour. - What this ordinance represented and taught, was the corruption of our nature and the necessity of that inward mortification of sin, and of that renewal of our heart to holiness, which is so indispensable a requisite in true religion; and which St. Paul calls, “ the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh.” * Without this inward circumcision of the heart the outward circumcision of the body was of no use. Nor did this sacrament really seal the spiritual promises to any but to those, who were thus made partakers of the spiritual change, which was signified by it. This is the truth which St. Paul expressly asserts in the text, and he had great reason for asserting it. For the Jews were prone to rest in the

* Col. ii. 4.

outward ceremony, while they utterly neglected the inward grace, and to suppose that they were interested in the privileges of the covenant merely because they bore about them the external badge of it. This was a necessary consequence of the depravity of our nature, which always leads men to substitute the form of religion for the power of it, and to prefer ceremonial services to spiritual duties. It was the boast of the Jews that they were the Children of Abraham, the Heirs of the promises, the Temple of the Lord: while at the same time they were utterly destitute of that faith and holiness, which such a profession implied. They trusted that because they were circumcised, they were the favourites of Heaven; while at the same time they were altogether strangers to that disposition of heart, to which alone the promises were given, and the favour of Heaven was limited. To correct these mistaken notions, and to lead his countrymen to a juster and more spiritual view of the subject, the Apostle here declares that “ He is not a Jew, which

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