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not the bare belief of this mystery, not all the invocations of Lord, Lord; not the preaching or doing wonderful things in his name, can avail us any thing, unless we also do the will and obey the commands of our Father, which is in heaven. Obedience and a good life are required of us under the law of grace, as well as under the law of nature; only with this dif ference, that repentance will be accepted under this law, through faith in the merits of our Redeemer, instead of that perfect obedience, which the law of nature required: and our faith is so far from weakening the cause of virtue and morality, as some have impiously fancied, that it encourages and promotes it, in the highest manner possible. For surely the greater obligation we are under to God for the pardon of our sins, the more we ought, on the one hand, to fly and abhor them, and on the other, to love and adore him; which will naturally lead us to a life of purity and holiness.
Did God then suffer his Son to come into the world, to lead a persecuted life, and suffer an ignominious death, that he might atone for our transgressions; and can we sufficiently admire this great condescension ? Can the purest saint upon earth presume to think, that he has made an equal return to God for this vast obligation ? Q 3
Are all the good acts we are capable of performing, any more than our reasonable service; and was not that obedience due to God before our Tedemption, for our creation, for our daily preservation and support? But that we are redeemed from misery, and restored to the happiness we had forfeited, are additional blessings, and altogether acts of divine grace and bounty. Ought we not, therefore, to make the most grateful acknowledgments for these benefits received, which our best services can never repay? And which way can we make a proper acknowledgment for these benefits, but by ascribing the purchase of them not to our own, but the merits of Christ, aud by doing such works, as will make our faith in those merits be imputed to us for righteousness? Did it require so great an atonement as the sacrifice of the Son of God, to expiate our sins: How ought our abhorrence and aversion to those sins to rise in proportion? How ought we to dread violating those laws, to the breach of which eternal death is annexed for the penalty; and how thankful ought we to be to God, who has given us the means to escape it? Since then, as far as reason can judge, we have no assurance of the pardon of our sins, without believing in the merits of a crucified Saviour, let us reverence and adore this great mystery of our redemption, and hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. And, since faith without works is dead, let us carefully maintain and defend the honour of our profession, by virtue and good works, by “holding * the mystery of faith in a pure conscience,”
SERMON: XXXVII. :
Psalm cxviii. $. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put any
confidence in man.
nan. ; . i .
VET how unwilling are the greater part of
I mankind to seek for this support against the evils of life, and how ready are they to seek for other methods of warding off the misfortunes to which they are liable.
So many are the changes and chances of this mortal life, so grievous the difficulties and dangers we are destined to encounter in this vale of tears, that the unsupported weakness of human nature must ever find itself unable to sustain them. Hence it is, that in times of distress and affic tion all men naturally flee for help, and endeavour to seek refuge from the evils that surround them. Nor are the supports on which they de pend less various, than the miseries from which I. $