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IŠAIAH 1. 10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obèyett
the voice of his fervant, that walkithin darkness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
I T AVING, in the former discourse, opened the :
U character and state of those who are called . upon, and exhorted to trust in the name of the Lord; and entered upon the second thing proposed; which was, to explain the duty of trust in God, and to point out its foundation ; and having in this view confidered the nature of absolute promises ; I proceed,
2. To consider the nature and use of conditional promises. These I am obliged, for greater :
distinctness, to divide into three different heads.
-1. There are promises made to persons of fuchi or such a character, or în fuch or fuch a state.-2. There are promises, the performance of which is suspended on our compliance with something previously required, as the condition of obtaining them.-3. There are promises, not only suspended on both the preceding terms, but upon the supposition of some circumstances in themselves uncertain, or to us unknown. Let us consider each of these with care and attention.
1. There are promises made to persons of such or such a character, or in such or such a state, which are therefore to be applied and refted on, according as the evidence of our being of this character, or in this state, is clear or ob . scure. In this I have particularly in view, the blessings of salvation, the pardon of fin, peace . with God, the spirit of sanctification, and a right to everlasting life. These all lie in an unbroken, chain, and inseparable connection, and might have been more briefly expressed, by an interest in Christ the Saviour, who is the author, fource". and sum of these bleflings; ' for all the promises
of God in him, are yea, and in him Amen,
to the glory of God by us. Let no judicious, attentive hearer be surprised or dissatisfied, that I have ranked these among conditional promises ; for you may observe that I have expressed myself thus, they are promises made to persons of such or such a character, or in such or such a
ftate. In this, they certainly differ from the promises properly absolute, mentioned above. It is far from my intention to do injury to that fundamental truth, that falvation is by grace. I esteem that doctrine which proceeds upon a selfrighteous system, to be contrary to the word of God, and most pernicious to the souls of men. There is nothing at all required in Scripture to be performed by us, as a purchasing or meriting condition. Every gracious act of the divine government, in our favour, is the fruit of the Redeemer's purchase, and every holy difpofition wrought in us is the effect of his Almighty grace. But it is certain at the same time, that in order to our accepting those blessings, we must be truly and deeply humbled, and see ourselves to be incapable and helpless. We must be unfeignedly willing to renounce all claim of merit, and accept. of salvation as it is offered in the Gospel ; that is, in its full extent, and in the free and fovereign manner of its communication. So far, surely, we must say, the promises, of the Gospel are conditional, or wholly pervert the word of God. I know of no promises then to the unbelieving and impenitent, unless you call that a promise, that they shall have' their portion in the lake of ' fire that burneth with brimstone ; and that the • smoke of their torment afcendeth up for ever 6 and ever.'
Hear it, my dear brethren ; it is the needy,. 5 thirsty, sensible foul, that is invited to come and
find rest. Ho! every one that thirfteth, come • ye to the waters; and he that hath no money ;
come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you reft. If any shall think fit further to say, that the very destination of the veffels of mercy, is of God's sovereign pleasure, that conviction itself is by a day of his power, and that faith which interests us in Christ's righteousness is his gift: I agree to the whole, but observe, that it is improperly introduced here. No use can possibly be made of the divine decree in the application of the promises. It is inverting the order of things. Can any man fay, I trust in the mercy of God, because I have been ordained to everlasting life ? No man can derive comfort from this, till by his effectual cala ling it is published, and begins to be accomplish, ed; and then he may look back with wonder and gratitude to that everlasting love, by which he was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Can you judge of the fruit of a tree by looking upon the root ? No, but you judge of the strength and deepness of the root, by the fulness of the fruit, and the vigour and verdure of the branches. From an improper mixture of what belongs to the secret will of God, and what' belongs to us, as our duty, much error and confusion arises.
Now, my brethren, as to the application of
these promises of pardon and peace, the humbled finner, the man among us, who walketh in darkness and hath no light,—who is burdened with a sense of guilt, and discouraged by the threatenings of the law, the accusations of conscience, and the pure and holy nature of God, who, perhaps has all this aggravated by 'distress and trouble, is called to trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God. He is invited to consider and rest on the extent of the call, the immutability of the promise, and the riches of divine grace. If he is so far from pleading any merit in himself, or being dissatisfied with the plan of salvation laid down in the Gofpel, that he is making every thing an argument against himself, and'dare not lay hold of, or appropriate so unspeakable a mercy: this is just the effect of distrust, and he is called, in the strongest manner, in the text, to trust in the name
of the Lord, and stay upon his God.' With how many gracious assurances for this purpose is the Scripture filled! John vi. 37; 'All that the • Father hath given me shall come to me, and
him that cometh unto me I will in no wife caft ' out.' Heb. vii. 25.'' Wherefore he is able
also to save them to the uttermost that come to * God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make in' terceffion for them.' Rev. xxii. 17.' And ' the Spirit and the bride say, come, And let • him that heareth fay, come. And let him " that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let