Imatges de pÓgina
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other branch of this repentance. I mean hereby two things: First, That they are no more now able of themselves to think one good thought, to form one good desire, to speak one good word, or do one good work, than before they were justified that they still have no kind or degree of strength of their own, no power either to do good or resist evil: no ability to conquer or even withstand the world, the devil, or their own evil nature. They can, it is certain, do all these things; but it is not by their own strength. They have power to overcome all these enemies; for "sin hath no more dominion over them." But it is not from nature, either in whole or in part: "it is the mere gift of God;" nor is it given all at once, as if they had a stock laid up for many years; but from moment to moment.

18. By this helplessness I mean, Secondly, An absolute inability to deliver ourselves from that guiltiness or desert of punishment whereof we are still conscious: yea, and an inability to remove, by all the grace we have, (to say nothing of our natural powers,) either the pride, self-will, love of the world, anger, and general proneness to "depart from God," which we experimentally know to remain in the heart, even of them that are regenerate; or the evil which, in spite of all our endeavours, cleaves to all our words and actions. Add to this, an utter inability wholly to avoid uncharitable, and much more, unprofitable conversation: and an inability to avoid sins of omission, or to supply the numberless defects we are convinced of, especially the want of love, and other right tempers, both to God and

man.

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19. If any man is not satisfied of this, if any believes that whoever is justified, is able to remove these sins out of his heart and life, let him make the experiment. Let him try whether, by the grace he has already received, he can expel pride, self-will, or inbred sin in general. Let him try, whether he can cleanse his words and actions from all mixtures of evil; whether he can avoid all uncharitable and unprofitable conversation, with all the sins of omission: and, Lastly, whether he can supply the numberless defects which

he still finds in himself. Let him not be discouraged by one or two experiments, but repeat the trial again and again. And the longer he tries, the more deeply will he be convinced of his utter helplessness in all these respects.

20. Indeed this is so evident a truth, that well nigh all the children of God, scattered abroad, however they differ in other points, yet generally agree in this, that although we may, "by the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body," resist and conquer both outward and inward sin, although we may weaken our enemies day by day, yet we cannot drive them out. By all the grace which is given at justification, we cannot extirpate them. Though we watch and pray ever so much, we cannot wholly cleanse either our hearts or hands. Most sure we cannot, till it shall please our Lord to speak to our hearts again, to speak the second time, Be clean. And then only "the leprosy is cleansed." Then only, the evil root, the carnal mind is destroyed, and inbred sin subsists no more. But if there be no such second change, if there be no instantaneous deliverance after justification, if there be none but a gradual work of God, (that there is a gradual work none denies), then we must be content as well as we can, to remain full of sin till death, and, if so, we must remain guilty till death, continually deserving punishment. For it is impossible the guilt or desert of punishment should be removed from us, as long as all this sin remains in our hearts, and cleaves to our words and actions. Nay, in rigorous justice, all we think, and speak, and act, continually increases it.

II. 1. In this sense we are to repent, after we are justified. And till we do so, we can go no farther. For, till we are sensible of our disease, it admits of no cure. But, supposing we do thus repent, then are we called to "believe the Gospel."

2. And this also is to be understood in a peculiar sense, different from that, wherein we believed in order to justification. Believe the "glad tidings of that great salvation," which God hath prepared for all people. Believe that he who is "the brightness of his Father's glory, the express

image of his person," is " able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God through him." He is able to save you from all the sin that still remains in your heart. He is able to save you from all the sin that cleaves to all your words and actions. He is able to save you from sins of omission, and to supply whatever is wanting in you. It is true, this is impossible with man; but with God-Man all things are possible. For what can be too hard for Him, who hath "all power in heaven and in earth?" Indeed his bare power to do this is not a sufficient foundation for our faith, that he will do it, that he will thus exert his power, unless he hath promised it. But this he has done; he has promised it over and over, in the strongest terms. He has given us these 66 exceeding great and precious promises," both in the Old and the New Testament. So we read in the Law, in the most ancient part of the Oracles of God, "The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul," Deut. xxx. 6. So in the Psalms, " He shall redeem Israel (the Israel of God) from all their sins." So in the Prophet: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you: And I will put my Spirit within you, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses," Ezek. xxxvi. 25, &c. So likewise in the New Testament: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people. And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us,-to perform the oath which he swore to our father Abraham. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, should serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life;" Luke i. 68, &c.

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3. You have therefore good reason to believe, he is not only able, but willing to do this, to "cleanse you from all your filthiness of flesh and spirit," to "save you from all your uncleannesses." This is the thing which you now long for; this is the faith which you particularly need, namely,

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that the Great Physician, the Lover of my Soul, is willing to make me clean. But is he willing to do this to-morrow or to-day? Let him answer for himself. "To-day, if ye will hear my voice, harden not your hearts:" if you put it off till to-morrow, you harden your hearts; you refuse to hear his voice. Believe therefore that he is willing to save you to-day. He is willing to save you now. "Behold, now is the accepted time." He now saith, "Be thou clean!" Only believe; and you also will immediately find, “All things are possible to him that believeth."

4. Continue to believe in him that loveth thee, and gave himself for thee, that bore all thy sins in his own body on the tree, and he saveth thee from all condemnation, by his blood continually applied. Thus it is that we continue in a justified state. And when we go on "from faith to faith," when we have faith to be cleansed from indwelling sin, to be saved from all our uncleannesses, we are likewise saved from all that guilt, that desert of punishment, which we felt before. So that then we may say, not only,

"Every moment, Lord, I want
The merit of thy death;"

But, likewise, in the full assurance of faith,

"Every moment, Lord, I have,
The merit of thy death!"

For, by that faith in his Life, Death, and Intercession for us, renewed from moment to moment, we are every whit clean, and there is not only now no condemnation for us, but no such desert of punishment as was before, the Lord cleansing both our hearts and lives.

5. By the same faith we feel the power of Christ every moment resting upon us, whereby alone we are what we are; whereby we are enabled to continue in spiritual life, and without which, notwithstanding all our present holiness, we should be devils the next moment. But as long as we retain our faith in him, we "draw water out of the wells of salvation." Leaning on our Beloved, even Christ in us the hope

of glory, who dwelleth in our hearts by faith, who likewise is ever interceding for us at the right hand of God, we receive help from him to think, and speak, and act what is acceptable in his sight. Thus does he "prevent them that believe in all their doings, and further them with his continual help, so that all their designs, conversations, and actions are begun, continued, and ended in him." Thus doth he "cleanse the thoughts of their hearts, by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, that they may perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his holy name."

6. Thus it is, that in the children of God, Repentance and Faith exactly answer each other. By Repentance we feel the sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to our words and actions. By Faith we receive the power of God in Christ, purifying our hearts and cleansing our hands. By Repentance we are still sensible that we deserve punishment for all our tempers, and words, and actions. By Faith we are conscious, that our Advocate with the Father is continually pleading for us, and thereby continually turning aside all condemnation and punishment from us. By Repentance we have an abiding conviction, that there is no help in us. By Faith we receive not only mercy, " but grace to help in every time of need." Repentance disclaims the very possibility of any other help. Faith accepts all the help we stand in need of, from Him that hath all power in heaven and earth. Repentance says, "Without him I can do nothing:" Faith says, "I can do all things through Christ strengthening me." Through him I can not only overcome, but expel all the enemies of my soul. Through bim I can "love the Lord my God, with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength:" Yea, and "walk in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of my life."

III. 1. From what has been said, we may easily learn the mischievousness of that opinion, that we are wholly sanctified when we are justified: that our hearts are then cleansed from all sin. It is true, we are then delivered, as was observed before, from the dominion of outward sin: and at the same time the power of inward sin is so broken,

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