Page images

these is no doing; therefore we may sit Rill, and do nothing, ekber in the matter of our fal vat ion- work, or generation work, either in perfonal or public work. Why, here is a delufion, here is enthusiafm, to make the Spirit the Tuic of faith and duty, and not the word of God. When God fpake to Mofes at the Red Sea, faying, " Speak to the people that they goi forward." What! go forward, might- unbelief fay, into the fea, and be all drowned \ Nay, stay till we fee the water divided. No, fiys God, "Speak to the people that they go .forward:" and in going forward at the word and call of God, making his call and word the rule of faith and duty, in this way they were to sind the fea divided before them. To wait upon God's working, either outwardly or inwardly, without anfwering the call of his word, and going forward in the way of duty, is to wait without a warrant; it is a delusion, a tempting of God. You are to mint at believing the word of faivation fent to you. The people we call Quakers fay, they ought not to pray till the Spirit move them, making the inward motions of the Spirit, and not the word of God, the rule of duty. Thus it is no wonder that they be mifled by a delusive fpirit; for the word of God is the fword of the Spirit, and though we cannot sight without the Spirit, yet the Spirit will not sight for thofe, or with thofe, that will not take his fword in their hand; though we can do nothing without the Spirit, yet the Spirit will do nothing without the word. But if oncewe take the fword of the Spirit in our hand, I mean, take the word for our rule, and mint at duty, and at the work of believing, which is the work of God, according to the direction of the word of God; then, and not till then, are you to expect God will work powerfully;; for out of hisownroad he will not, namely, it you turn away your ear from hearing his word, or if he do, he will bring you to this road before he do any thing more. Here alfo fee an an antidote against all, or most of all the errors of the age wherein we live. Here is an antidote against all practical error, against all profanity, loofenefs, and luxury, whoredom, and debauchery, that have been long running down, like a mighty stream, through all ranks of perfons* from the throne to the dunghill, in every corner of the land. What would re mead thefe evils? Even the receiving of this falvation that is fent in the gofpel to us. Unbelief in rejecting this falvation, which is a falvation from all sin as well aa mifery; this unbelief in flighting the Saviour and falvation, is the root of all the loofenefs and profanity in the age. Men do not fee this root that lies hid under ground. Here is an antidote against the deifm of the age. Why do men undervalue the fcriptures, and deny the necessity af divine fupernatural

natural revelation? Even because they reject the word of salvation, they do not see that the gospel only is the word of salvation, and that there is no salvation but in the faith of h; but the faith of this word would cure the deism of the age. Here is an antidote against Arminianism -, for salvation coma not of the free will of man, but of the free grace of God in i word of salvation sent to us. Here is an antidote agak'i Arianis.n. Would any soul deny the supreme deity of Cbrii, and his proper divinity, if they believed, that with him are the words of ettrnal life, and that a word from his mouiii L> s word of salvation? Is. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye lived, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there isnont else." Here is an antidote against Antinomianism ; for br til; salvation we are not saved to sin and to wickedness, and ore'; the law of God; but saved from sin and wickedness. Tie gospel being a word of complete salvation, the grace of God therein appears to all men, teaching effectively what the law does perceptively, namely, to deny ungodliness and woildij lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present evil world. Here is an antidote against legalifm, or Neonomianifm, as some call it, which turns the gospel to a n<« law, and the covenant of grace, as it were, to a covenant oi works. This text and doctrine shews, that we are not favec: by a work, but by a word; not by any work of ours, but by a word sent from God to us, even a tuord os salvation: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us," Tit. iii. 5. See 2 Tim. i. 9. Here also is an antidote against ignorant preachers of the gospel, that confound the marks of faith with the grounds of faith, or the evidences of faith with the warrant of faith, or the condition of the covenant with the qualities of the covenanted, a if the gospel call were only to saints, or to sinners so and (o qualified; and so, leveling men in to themselves for a ground of faith, initead of leading them out of themselves to Christ, exhibited to them in a word of salvation sent to them. The gospel method of salvation is the reverse of all the legal schfoies in the world. The legal strain supposes always some goo& quality about the sinner, before he be allowed to meddle with the word of salvation, and so shuts the door of the g^p-h which it pretends to open. But the gospel strain bring* >t>J word of salvation freely to every sinner's door, and suppo'fJ him 'o be destitute of al! good qualities whatsoever, and ia><* no room to any sinner to fcy, I am not allowed to come in

"]thly, Kence fee how much it concerns all and everyone, to try and examine wliat entertainment they have given tbc word of salvation that is sent to them. Have you received itt or not, in a saving way?

i. Have you received it as the word of God, the word by way of eminency, the word of God in Christ, i Thess. ii. 13. and received it not as the word of man, of this or that man; but, as it is in truth, the word of God? &c.

2.-Have you received it as a word of falvation, or as a faithful faying, and worthy of all acceptation, both as a truth and as a good ? This reception of it fuppofes a view you have of your being a lost sinner welcoming a Saviour.

3. Have you received it as the word of this falvation, a prefent falvation, a particular falvation ? This particular falvation from sin and wrath that you need, this near falvation; "I bring near my righteoufnefs to the stout-hearted, and far from righteoufnefs; my falvation shall not tarry," If. xlvi. 12. 13. thi« great falvation, this purchafed falvation, this promifed falvation, this ossered falvation, prefently ossered. Faith sixes upon fomething prefent. You need not fay, Rom. x. 6—8. . "Who will afcend to heaven, &c. the word is nigh," &c. Again,

4. Have you received it as a fent falvation, as God's fend, as God's gift, fent by the hand of his ambassadors, fent freely and fovereignly, without your feeking after it, fent out of the storehoufe of divine grace.

5. Have you received it as fent to sinners, to sinners in general? For here is glad tidings of great joy .to" all people. "Upon this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto alt people a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees," &c. If.xxvi.6.

6. Have you received it as fent unto you in particular? To you, sinners, fays the general difpenfation: To thee, sinner, in particular, fays the particular osser: " Whofoever will, let him come." Hast thou then received it, as fent to thee, though a guilty sinner; to thee, though a vile sinner? Halt thou entertained it with a me,- me, of particular application, faying, Here is an osser to me, a gift to me, a promife from heaven to me? Hast thou found thyfelf called by name, and faid, I am warranted to take hold of Christ, and the falvation he brings with him, in this word of falvation; and even fo I take him at his word, "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief?" Have you hereupon found the virtue of this word, as a word of falvation, faving you from your doubts and fears, faving you from your bonds and fetters, faving you from your helplefs and hopelefs condition, and making you to hope for complete falvation from sin and mifery? Have you found falvation begun in the faith of the word of falvation, and being begotten to a lively hope thereby? And does this hop? begin ro purify your heart, and this faith begin to work by love to G»iiI, and hatred of sin, and of youiieit for sin? And is your

Vol. III. 4 £ continual

continual recourse to this word of salvation, or to the promise os God in Christ, for all your salvation?

8fÆ/y,Hence see what matteT of joy and praise believers hart, who have been determined thus to entertain the word of salvation; for when the word of salvation is received through grace, then the work of salvation is begun: and you need be in no uneasiness now, though you be called to wort out tk work of your salvation with fear and trembling; because it % God that workt th in you both to will and to do. He that hath begun the good work in you, will perfect it unto the das of the Lord. The word of salvation may be unto thee, 0 believer, the word of consolation all the days of your life: fat it is a word of salvation, not only from the sinful state and miserable state you was in, but it is a word of salvation also bringing the good news of salivation in every case; saWatioa from the devil, the world, and the flesh; salvation and deliverance from the hands of all your enemies -, salvation from the sting of death, salvation from the terror of judgement, falration from the curse of the law, and from the guilt of all your sins; salvation not only from all evil, but salvation to eternal life; for the word of salvation you have received aud entertained through grace, contains all the words of eternal life. The word of salvation is the word of life for you, when under deadnese, and the word of liberty for you, when under bondage; a word of rest for you, when under weariness -, a word of relief for you, when under distress of whatsoever fort. It is a word of salvation confirmed with the oaths of Goc\ "• That by two immutable tilings, in which it is impoffibl: for God to lie, they might have strong consolation, who hare fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them."

Q.'A/y, Hence see matter for terror to those that neglect this great salvation that is sent to them by this word. " How shall they escape who neglect so great a salvation," and a salvation come so near to them? O sinner, it is a salvation sent to your house, and will you reject it? salvation sent to your soul; a word of salvation sent to your hand to receive it, and will you rcjtct it? a word of salvation sent to your ear, saying, •* But hear, and your soul shall live:" A word of salvaticn sent to your heart, and by it God is knocking at the door of your heart: O will you refuse him that speaketh from heaven? See Heb. xii. 25. If you will not hear God's word of grace in the gospel, saying, M To you is the word of this salvation sent;" you mult lay your account to hear his word or wrath in the law, saying, yea, swearing in his wTath, that you shall not enter into his rest. If you have no fear of God, as it is in the verse where my text lies; if you shall never he


perfuaded to fear the Lord, and his goodnefs manifested in the word of falvation fent to you, you must lay your account to fear the Lord and his wrath, manifested in the word of condemnation, which the law pronounces against them that believe not the gofpel, John iii. 18. "He that bclieveth not is condemned already."' And there is no efcaping this fentence of condemnation, but by receiving the word of falvation.

xothly, Hence fee how much it is the interest of everyone to receive, and entertain, and welcome this word of falvation. "O hear, that your fouls may live." Hear the joyful found of falvation, O lost perifhing finner, before the door of mercy be fhut, and the day of grace be over. Confider,

1. What fort of a falvation is ossered to you. It is a fpiritual falvation, the falvation of the immortal foul. "What fhall a man prosit, though he gain the whole world, if he lofe his own foul?" If you would not lofe and ruin your fouls, O receive the word of falvation. It is a costly falvation, it comes running in the channel of the blood of Christ. It is brought to your hand, and free to you, however dear bought by the Redeemer. You have nothing to pay for it; the price of it is paid already ; the condition is fulsilled. It is a complete falvation, falvation from every thing you need to be faved from; falvation from unbelief, enmity, atheifm, heart-hardnefs, heart-deadnefs, and every thing that you make an objection against receiving of this falvation. You fay you cannot believe, you cannot repent ; but would you be faved from your unbelief and impenitence? This, and all the other branches of falvation is fent to you, when the word of falvation is fent. Will you welcome a Saviour to fave you from all, to be wifdom, and righteoufnefs, and fanctisication, and redemption, and all to you? It is an everlasting falvation. Would you be happy after death, and have an eternity of happinefs? Life and immortality is brought to light by this word of falvation. O poor dying finner, consider what an everalasting falvation this is.

2. Consider what need thou hast of this falvation. Thou hast a dark mind, and needest falvation from that darknefs and ignorance. Thou hast a guilty confcience, and needest falvation from that guilt. Thou hast a hard heart, and needest falvation from that hardnefs. Thou hast a powerful and strong corruption, and needest falvation from that. Thou hast a corrupt nature, and needest falvation from that. Thou hast many heart-plagues, and needest falvation from thefe plagues, and healing. Behold all this falvation, and insinitely more, comes with the word of falvation; no falvation thou needest is excepted. Thy need is great, death is at hand, judgement at


. -

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »