Imatges de pÓgina

that we need no longer follow, or be led by it. But it is by no means true, that inward sin is then totally destroyed, that the root of pride, self-will, 'anger, love of the world, is then taken out of the heart, or that the carnal mind and the heart bent to backsliding are entirely extirpated. And to suppose the contrary, is not, as some may think, an innocent, harmless mistake. No: it does immense harm: it entirely blocks up the way to any farther change: for it is manifest, "They that are whole do not need a physician, but they that are sick." If therefore we think we are quite made whole already, there is no room to seek any farther healing. On this supposition it is absurd to expect a farther deliverance from sin, whether gradual or instantaneous.

2. On the contrary, a deep conviction that we are not yet whole, that our hearts are not fully purified, that there is yet in us a "carnal mind," which is still in its nature "enmity against God;" that a whole body of sin remains in our heart, weakened indeed, but not destroyed, shews beyond all possibility of doubt, the absolute necessity of a farther change. We allow, that at the very moment of justification, we are born again: in that instant we experience that inward change, from "darkness into marvellous light;" from the image of the brute and the devil, into the image of God; from the earthly, sensual, devilish mind, to the mind which was in Christ Jesus. But are we then entirely changed? Are we wholly transformed into the image of him that created us? Far from it: we still retain a depth of sin and it is the consciousness of this, which constrains us to groan for a full deliverance, to him that is mighty to save. Hence it is, that those believers who are not convinced of the deep corruptions of their hearts, or but slightly, and as it were notionally convinced, have little concern about entire Sanctification. They may possibly hold the opinion, that such a thing is to be, either at death, or some time, they know not when, previously thereto. But they have no great uneasiness for the want of it, and no great hunger or thirst after it. They cannot, until they know themselves better, until they repent in the sense above described, until God unveils the inbred

monster's face, and shews them the real state of their souls. Then only, when they feel the burden, will they groan for deliverance from it. Then, and not till then, will they cry out, in the agony of their soul,

"Break off the yoke of inbred sin,
And fully set my spirit free!
I cannot rest, till pure within;
Till I am wholly lost in thee!"

3. We may learn from hence, Secondly, That a deep conviction of our demerit, after we are accepted, (which, in one sense, may be termed guilt,) is absolutely necessary, in order to our seeing the true value of the atoning blood; in order to our feeling that we need this as much, after we are justified, as ever we did before. Without this conviction we cannot but account the blood of the covenant as a common thing, something which we have not now any great need of, seeing all our past sins are blotted out. Yea, but if both our hearts and lives are thus unclean, there is a kind of guilt which we are contracting every moment, and which, of consequence, would every moment expose us to fresh condemnation, but that

"He ever lives above,

For us to intercede,

His all-redeeming love,

His precious blood to plead."

It is this Repentance, and the Faith intimately connected with it, which are expressed in those strong lines,

"I sin in every breath I draw,
Nor do thy will, nor keep thy law,
On earth as angels do above:
But still the fountain open stands,

Washes my feet, my heart, my hands,
Till I am perfected in love.


4. We may observe, Thirdly, a deep conviction of our utter helplessness, of our total inability to retain any thing

we have received, much more to deliver ourselves from the world of iniquity remaining both in our hearts and lives, teaches us truly to live upon Christ by faith, not only as our Priest, but as our King. Hereby we are brought to " magnify him," indeed, to "give him all the glory of his grace," to make him a whole Christ, an entire Saviour, and truly to "set the crown upon his head." These excellent words, as they have been frequently used, have little or no meaning. But they are fulfilled in a strong and deep sense, when we thus, as it were, go out of ourselves, in order to be swallowed up in him; when we sink into nothing, that he may be all in all. Then his almighty grace, having abolished 66 every high thing which exalteth itself against him," every temper, and thought, and word, and work, " is brought to the obedience of Christ."

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Preached at the Assizes held before the Honourable Sir Edward Clive, Knight, one of the Judges of his Majesty's Court of Common-Pleas: in St. Paul's Church, Bedford, on Friday, March 10, 1758.

ROMANS xiv. 10.

"We shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ."

1. HOW many circumstances concur, to raise the awfulness of the present solemnity! The general concourse of the people of every age, sex, rank, and condition of life, willingly or unwillingly gathered together, not only from the neighbouring, but from distant parts: criminals, speedily to be brought forth, and having no way to escape: officers, waiting at their various posts, to execute the orders which shall be given and the Representative of our gracious Sovereign, whom we so highly reverence and honour. The occasion likewise of this assembly, adds not a little to the solemnity of it: to hear and determine causes of every kind, some of which are of the most important nature: on which ' depends no less than life or death; death that uncovers the face of eternity! It was, doubtless, in order to increase the serious sense of these things, and not in the minds of the vulgar only, that the wisdom of our forefathers did not dis

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dain to appoint even several minute circumstances of this solemnity. For these also, by means of the eye or ear, may more deeply affect the heart. And when viewed in this light, trumpets, staves, apparel, are no longer trifling or insignificant, but subservient, in their kind and degree, to the most valuable ends of society.

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2. But, as awful as this solemnity is, one far more awful is at hand. For yet, a little while, and "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." "For, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." And in that day, "every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

3. Had all men a deep sense of this, how effectually would it secure the interests of society! For what more forcible motive can be conceived, to the practice of genuine morality: to a steady pursuit of solid virtue? And an uniform walking in justice, mercy, and truth? What could strengthen our hands in all that is good, and deter us from all evil, like a strong conviction of this," the Judge standeth at the door:" and we are shortly to "stand before him?"

4. It may not therefore be improper, or unsuitable to the design of the present assembly, to consider,

I. The chief circumstances which will precede our standing before the Judgment-Seat of Christ :

II. The judgment itself: And,

III. A few of the circumstances which will follow it.

I. Let us, in the first place, consider the chief circumstances which will precede our standing before the judgment seat of Christ.

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And, First, “God will shew signs in the earth beneath;"* particularly he will" arise to shake terribly the earth. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be re

*Acts ii. 10.

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