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sole operation of his own secret power, by such instruments or means, as he in his wisdom and sovereignty is pleased to employ.
The work once begun, gradually, and sometimes indeed rapidly, increases. The blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear, are of a longer or shorter period in their growth, as the principle is weaker or stronger; for there are mysteries in grace, as well as in nature.
But in both kingdoms, the work is of God. He begins, carries on, and completes the vast design. All originates in his will, and all shall terminate in his glory
His language is: “I am God, and besides me there is no Saviour." “ In the Lord, all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.”
Yet man is a responsible creature, a moral agent.
In this work of grace, God does not force, but inclines the heart to seek him. He does not compel the sinner with reluctant steps, to enter in at the strait gate; but by enlightening his mind, and touching his heart, he sweetly constrains him to enter in that he may be saved.
His refusing to submit to the yoke of Jesus, and to accept of mercy on Gospel terms, is altogether the fruit and effect of his own depraved heart; and will justly be punished, if persisted in, with everlasting destruction. Thus all the praise of our salvation is due to God alone, whilst all the guilt and final misery flowing from our transgressions chargeable solely upon ourselves.
Men may now argue, and dispute, and cavil, about the truths of revelation, but a day is fast approaching, when“ every mouth that is now opened against him, God will condemn.” In that tremendous day of just judgment, the guilty conscience will speak in loudest thunder to the self-convicted soul : whilst notes of praise will for ever ascend from hearts re
newed by sovereign grace, to the fountain fo eternal love.
We sin and forget the sin. But God remembers all our wickedness. Awful, awakening thought Every impure imagination, every unhallowed affec tion, every sinful purpose, though unripened into action, every secret, and to men unknown iniquity is remembered by that omniscient God, who will judge the secrets of men's hearts by Jesus Christ; and strictly render to every man according to his works.
0! what a day will that be, which tears away the mask of hypocrisy from the face of sin; which rolls away the whitened stone from off the loathsome sepulchre ; which discloses the impure chambers of imagery, and discovers all the hidden evils of a heart once admired, but now abhorred by an assembled world of saints and angels.
In that day the wicked will bewail in bitter reproaches their forgetfulness of God, and their love of sin ; but this bitterness of soul being utterly destitute of every gracious feeling, will only increase the sharpness of their torment, and give additional strength to the sting of that worm which never dies !
Thus their self-reproaches and hatred of God will be commensurate with eternity. Hating Godhating themselves—and hating the dreadful fiends who torment them, they will be wretched beyond all conception for ever and ever!
Happy are they who receive the truth as little children. Lord, give me right views of the truth, as it is in Jesus; and right feelings and affections towards thee, who art the God of my life and of my salvation.
Put thy fear into my heart, that I may not depart from thee. : Fill me with a reverential awe of thy holy name. Let me never pry into the wiselyconcealed purposes of thy grace, but ever remember
and practically regard this important declaration of Moses : “ The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed, belong unto us, and our children for ever, that we may Do all the words of this law."
When I hear a sinner boasting
Then, methinks, this man's a stranger
Did he once but feel the workings
Satan would not let him conquer,
'Tis the traitor lodg'd within us,
Inbred evils-dread corruptions,
Man would still resist the blessings,
0! how matchlesss is this mercy !
XX. ON TWO COMMON ERRORS.
There are two fatal errors, which, it is to be feared, abound amongst professing Christians. The one, which considers divine grace as disrobed of its glory, by insisting upon the necessity of human endeavours in the great work of salvation. The other, which declares as injurious to morality, the stress that is laid upon the absolute necessity of divine grace to the production of every thing that is spiritually good in man.
The truth embraces both these propositions : viz. the absolute need of divine grace, without which
nothing is holy;" and the absolute necessity of human endeavours, since God“ worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Though salvation be all of grace, yet God is pleased to work by means. A Paul must plant, an Apollos water, whilst God giveth the increase. The husbandman deposits his seed in the ground, yet God alone can crown his labours with an abundant harvest.
To depend upon the divine blessing, without using the means which Infinite Wisdom has appointed, is enthusiasm. To use the means appointed, without an entire dependence upon the promised blessing, is impiety.
If a father, for instance, should pray for the conversion of his children, and yet suffer them to run wild, without presenting one check to evil, under the impression that the Almighty in his good time will save them, if they are to be saved ; and that if they are not amongst the elect, no blame can attach to him, should they finally perish : would he not by such erroneous views of the plan of salvation, be actually aiding the cause of Satan, and the destruction of his unhappy offspring, under the false notion of glorifying the sovereignty of God, and the freeness of divine grace?
So, on the other hand, if a father should endeavour to train up his children in virtuous habits, and be anxious to guard them against the seductions of the world : and yet draw all his hopes of success from his own exertions, and parental instructions, without once feeling the force of that all-important declaration of the Saviour, 66 Without me, ye can do nothing :" would he not by such conduct manifest great impiety; and might not the Almighty withhold his spiritual blessing, to shew how easily he can blight the most powerful human endeavours
To trust God with all our hearts, in the diligent use of the appointed means, is the path which Infinite Wisdom has marked out for man, as a moral agent. To be enabled to do this in a right spirit is the work of divine grace, and the way to obtain the divine blessing.
The Bible, whilst it reveals the utter inability of man to do any thing that is good, by any natural power
of his own; addresses him as a creature endued with rational powers, and of high responsibilities. Hence the sacred volume abounds with exhortations to diligence, motives to obedience, and promises of grace and strength both to do and suffer the holy will of God.
Spiritual pride and spiritual sloth are alike condemned. He who says, “I will not," and he who says, "I cannot,” may be equally under the influence of a bad spirit. The latter, which has a shew of humility, may spring from spiritual sloth, as the former does from spiritual pride. When grace really enlightens the mind, and affects the heart, the sinner, though deeply conscious of his utter inability to save himself, dare not make this an excuse for continuing in sin. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he cries mightily to God through Christ, for deliverance from the guilt and power of sin; and is