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all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 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 screwed up to the greatest height commanded ; that want is a breach of the law, and to leaves thee ftill under the curse. One may bring as many tackets of water to a house that is on fire, as he is able to carry, and yet it may be consumed ; and will be so, if he bring not as many as will quench the fire. Even so, al. though thou shouldst do what thou art able, in keeping the commands; if thou fail in the least degree of obedience which the law enjoins, thou art certainly ruined for ever; unless thou take hold of Christ, renouncing all thy righteousness as filthy rags. See Rom. X. 5 Gal. iii. 10. Lajily, li must be perpetual, as the man Christ's obedience was, who always did the things that pleased the Father ; for the tenor of the law is, Cui sed is he that continueth not in all thing's written in the law, to do them. Hence, tho' Adam's obedience was for a while absolutely perfect; yet because at length he tripped in one point, viz. in eating the forbidden fruit, he fell under the curse of the law. If one should live a dutiful subject to his prince, till the close of his days, and then conspire against him ; he must die for his treason. Even so, tho' thou shouldīt, all the time of thy life, live in perfed 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 righteousness, and ruin thee; namely, in this way, in which thou art seeking to recover thyself.

Now such is the obedience thou must perform, if thou wouldīt recover thyself in the way of the law. But tho’ thou shouldit thus obey: the law (takes thee down in the state of wrath, till another demand of it be satisfied, viz.

SECONDLY, Thou must pdy what thou owest. It is undeniable thou are a sinner; and whatever thou mayest be in time to conne, justice must be satisfied for thy fin already committed. The honour of the law must be maintained, by thy suffering the denoumced wrath.

be thou hast changed thy course of life, or art now resolved to do it, and set about the keeping of the commands of God: but what halt thou done, or what wilt thou do, with the old debt? Your obedience to God, cho' it were perfect, is a debt due to him, for the time wherein it is performed; and can no more satisfy for former fins, than a tenant's paying the current year's rent, can satisfy the master for all bygones. Can the 'paying of new debts acquit a man from old accounts? Nay, deceive not yourselves, you will find these laid up in store with God, and sealed up among his treasures, Deut. xxxii

. 34 It remains then, that either thou mult bear that wrath, to which, for thy sin, thou art liable, according to the law; or else, thou must acknowledge thou canst not bear it, and thereupon have recourse to the surety, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me now ask thee, art thon able to satisfy the justice of God? Canst thou pay thy own debt? Surely not: for, seeing he is an infinite God, whoin thou hast offended; the

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

Now, sinner, if thou canst answer these 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 still in a Itate of wrath. Screw up thy obedience to the greatest height thou canst; suffer what God lays upon thee, yea add, if thou wilt to the burden, and walk under all, without the least impatience : yet all this will not satisfy the demands of the law; and therefore thou art still a ruined creature.

Alas! finner, what art thou doing, while thou strivest to help tny self; but doft not receive and unite with Jesus Christ? Thou art labouring in the fire, wearying thyself for very vanity ; labouring to enter into heaven by the door, which Adam's fin so bolted, as neither he, nor any of his lost pofterity 'can ever enter by it. Dost thou not see the flaming sword of justice keeping thee off from the tree of life? Dost thou not hear the law denouncing a curse on thee for all thou art doing ; even for thy obedience, thy prayers, thy tears, thy reforination of life, &c. because being under the law's dominion, thy best works are not so good, as it requires them to be, under the pain of the curse? Believe it, sirs, if you live and die out of Christ, without being actually united to him as the second Adam, a 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 see 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 busy yourselves with nothing, but the salvation of your souls: if you should go into fome wildernefs, live upon the grass of the field, and be companions of dragons and & wls: if you should retire to some dark cavern of the earth, and weep there for your sins, until ye have wept yourselves blind, yea, wept out all the moisture of your body; if ye should confess 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 Should 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 salvation in any other. Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth not, shall 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 saved, 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 are able to do many things, thou art not able to do one thing aright: thou canst do nothing acceptable to God be ing out of Christ, John xv. 5. Without me je can do nothing An unia Tenewed man, as thou art, can do nothing but fin; as we have already evinced. Thy best actions are fin, and so they increase thy debt to justice; how then can it be expected they should leffen it? (2.) If God should offer to save 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, should never be saved. For where is the man, that does as well as he can? Who sees not many false steps he has made, which he might have evited? There are so many things to be done, so many temptations to carry us ou of the road of duty, and our nature is so very apt to be set on fire of hell; that we would surely fail, even in some point, that is within the compass of our natural abilities. But (3.) Though thou shouldīt 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 gospel, and therefore it is but a delusion. It is not founded on the gospel; for the gospel leads the soul out of itself, to Jesus Christ för all: and it establisaeth the law, Rom. iii. 31. whereas this hope of yours cannot be established, 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 fer Aaam a working for happiness to himself, and his posterity, perfect obedience was the condition required of him ; and a curfe was de nounced in case of disobedience. The law being broken by him, he and his posterity were fubjected to the penalty, for fin committed ; and wichal still bound to perfect obedience: for it is absurd to think that man’s sinning and suffering for his lin, should free him from his duty of obedience to his Creator. When Cirist came in the room of the elect, to purchase their salvation, the same were the terms. Justice had the elect under arreft: if he minds to deliver them, the terms are known. He must fatisfy for their sin, by fuffering the punishment due to it; he muit do what they cannot do, viz. obey the law perfectly, and fo fulfil all righteousness. Accordingly, all this he did, and so 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, justice and honour of God, Gal. iii. 10. Cursed 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 thut doth them, shall live in them. It is true, that God is merciful : he cannot but be merciful, unless he save you in a way that is neither consistent with his law nor gospel? Hath not his goodness and mercy fufficiently appeared, in sending the Son of his love, to do what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the


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ftesh? He has provided help for them that cannot help themselves : but thou, insensible of thine own weakness, wilt needs think to recover thyself by thine own works; while thou art no more able to do it, than to remove inountains 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. Othat thou wouldit conclude the same concerning thyself!

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

First, That although Christ is offered in the gospel, yet they cannot believe in him. Saving faith is the faith of God's elect; the special gift of God to them, wrought in them by his Spirit. Salvation is offered to them that will believe in Christ; but how can ye

believe? John v. 44. It is offered to these that will come to Christ; 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 spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. Nay, whosoever will, he is welcome; let him come, Rev. xxi. 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 cast 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 gospei. The most skilful artificer cannot work without inftruments, nor can the molt cunning musician play well on an instrument that is out of tune. How can one believe, how can he repent, whose understanding is darkness, Eph. v 8 whose heart is a stony heart, inflexible, insensible, Ezel xxxvi. 26. whose affections are wholly disordered and ditempered; who is averse to good, and bent to evil? The arins of natural abilities are too short to reach fupernatural help: hence those who most excel in them, are oft times most estranged froin spiritual things, Matth. xi. 24. Thou hast hid these things from th: wife and prudent.

Thirdly, Man cannot work a saving change on himself: but fo changed he must be, else he can neither believe nor repent, nor ever see heaven No action can be without a suitable principle. Believing repenting, and the like, are the product of she new naturc; and can 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 hipe: but as the child cannot be active in his own.genera tion; so a man cannot be active. brit paflive only, in his own regene. ration. The heart is thut against Christ: man cannot open it, only God can do it by his grace, Ats xvi. 14. He is dead in lin: he must be quickned, railed out of his grave: who can do this but God himself? Eph. ii. 1,5. Nay, he must be created in Christ Jelus un/o good works, Eph. ii. 10. These are works of omnipotency, and can be done by no less 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 gospel? His nature is the very reverse of the golpel: how can he, of himself, fall in with that device of salvation, and accept the offered remedy? The corruption of man's nature infallibly concludes his utter inability to recover himself any manner of way: and wholo is convinced of the one, must needs admit the other; for they stand and fall together. Were all the purchase of Christ regenerate man, for one good thought, he cannot command it, 2 Cor. ii.

5. Nat that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of our. felves. Were it offered on condition of a good word, yet how can ye, being evil, sprak good things? Matth. xii. 35. Nay, were it "left to yourselves, to chuse what is easiest; Christ himself tells you, John xv. 5. Without me, ye can do nothing.

Lafily, The natural man cannot but resist the Lord, offering to help him ; howbeit that resistance is infallibly overcome in the elect, by converting grace. Can the stony heart chute but resist the stroke? There is not only an inability, but an eninity and obstinacy 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 brass, Isa. xlviii. 4. and cannot be overcome, but by him, who hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in funder. Hence is there such hard work in converting a sinner. Sometimes he seems to be caught in the net of the gospel; yet quickly he flips away again. The hook catcheth hold of bim: but he struggles, till getting free of it, he makes away with a bleeding wound. When good hopes are conceived of him, by these that cravel in birth, for the forming of of Christ in him; there is oft-times nothing brought forth but wind. The deceitful heart makes many a shift to avoid a Saviour, and to cheat the man of his eternal happiness. Thus the natural man lies funk in a state of sin 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? inf. God making man upright, Ecclef. vii. 29. gave him a power to do every thing he should require of hini: this power, man loft by his own fault. We were bound to serve God, and to do whatsoever he cominanded us, as being his creatures; and also, we were under the superadded tye of a covenant, for that


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