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with seriousness and impartiality, whether this doth not appear to be a scripture doctrine from the very face of the revelation, and the uniform strain of the word of God.
Doth not the method of salvation by Je-. sus Christ, necessarily suppose the whole human race to be in a state of guilt, pollution, and weakness? Do not the promises of taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of flesh, plainly imply, that these works are peculiar to God, and that man is unable to do such great things for himself? Would God command us to pray to him for these inestimable bleslings, if we were, able to procure them by our own wisdom and strength ? nay, would it not be a mocking of God, to apply to him for that which we are already possessed of, or may acquire when we choose, without his interpofition or aid? Besides, are we not told, that" every “ good and perfect gift is from above, and u cometh down from the Father of lights ?” Is not our fanctification every where attributed to the Spirit of God? and are not the saints denominated “ God's workmanship,
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“ created in Christ Jesus unto good works, “ which God hath before ordained, that
they should walk in them?”—Are not. “ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, “ goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," expressly said to be “ the fruits of the Spi“ rit?” nay, are we not told, that it is
God who worketh in us to will, and to “ do of his good pleafure "Surely, my brethren, if we judge of the Scriptures by the same rules that we judge of any
other book; nay, 'unless we suppose that they were artfully contrived to mislead us; we must be sensible, that the absolute necessity of fupernatural grace, is not only clearly afserted in Scripture, but that this doctrine is fo intimately connected with all the other parts of divine revelat on, that the whole must stand or fall with it.
This is further confirmed by the concurring testimony of all the faints of whose experiences, in the spiritual life, we have any accounts recorded in Scripture. They all join in the moft humiliating acknowledgements of their guilt, pollution, and weakness ; disclaiming the praise of any
good thing that was in them, and ascribing the undivided glory of all that they possefsed, or hoped to enjoy, to the free unmerited grace
of God. How pathetically did David bewail the corruption of his nature, (Psal. li. 5.)! “ Behold, I was shapen in ini
quity, and in sin did my mother conceive
me,' And what a deep sense did he express of his inability to cleanse or purify himself, when he addressed God in such terms as these, verse 10.! “ Create in me a ii clean heart, O God, and renew a right “ fpirit within me." But lest any should be fo injurious as to suspect that David might have spoken after this manner, to apologise for his criminal conduct in the matter of Uriah, which gave occasion to that Psalm ; let us hear what the Apostle Paul faith of himself, whose character is not liable to any such objection, Rom. vii. 18. et. feq. "I “ know, that in me (that is, in my flesh) “ dwelleth no good thing: for to will is “ present with me; but how to perform that “ which is good, I find not. I find then a “ law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the
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“ law of God, after the inward man. Bue " I see another law in my members, war
ring against the law of my mind, and
bringing me into captivity to the law of “ fin, which is in my members." Upon which he cries out, “ O wretched man that “ I am, who shall deliver me from the body “ of this death!”-Here then is one, who was not behind the very chief Apostles ; who, before his conversion, lived a Pharifee, and afterwards could say at the bar of the Jewish Sanhedrim, “ I have lived in all
good conscience before God unto this
day:" who, conscious of the grace he had received, expresfed himself thus in the presence of Agrippa, “ I would to God, that
not only thou, but also all that hear me “ this day, were both almost and altogether “ such as I am, except these bonds." Yet this chosen vessel ingenuously confesseth his natural depravity, mourns over the remainders of a body of fin, and ascribes those eminent gifts and graces with which his foul was so remarkably enriched, to God, and to him alone, saying, (1 Cor. xv. 10.) By the grace of God I am what I am :
i and his grace which was bestowed upon
me, was not in vain; but I laboured more
abundantly than they all: yet not I, but “ the grace of God which was with me.”. Now what should have induced Paul to speak after this manner, if it had not been true? Surely this was not the way to make a figure in the world. Had that been his aim, it would have answered his purpose far better, to have represented his high attainments as the fruit of his own labour and diligence, rather than a mere alms to which he had no previous title. Surely, nothing but a regard to truth could have drawn from him fuch humble repeated acknowledgements ; and therefore his testimony is altogether beyond exception.
exception. And when I add, that he wrote under the immediate direction and influence of the Spirit of God, we are furnished with the most convincing evidence of the absolute necessity of divine grace, for beginning and carrying forward a work of fanctification in the foul of an apostate creature.
They whose religion lies wholly in spes culation, who have acquired a refined fy