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to die to atone for the sins of men. All sERM.
XII. this, you will say, we are very ready to do; the wonderful works which he did, and the angelic doctrines which he taught, speak for him; we acknowledge him to have been the Messiah, the son of the Most High! So far it is well; but there is yet more in believing in Jesus, and it will be well indeed, if you can answer with equal readiness to what remains : believing in Jesus comprehends likewise a conviction of the goodness and importance of the lessons which he taught, and not only this, but the uniform and settled practice of them; without obedience to his commands, our faith in his divinity will be of no effect, our professions of it, however frequently repeated, will be merely solemn mockeries! it will be a lame, an impotent, a deficient faith, it will not be a faith unto salvation.
And here the other part of Christ's character comes to be considered, that of King;
SERM. he came to rule as well as to save us; we XII.
must accept him in both characters, or in neither; if we refuse to be his subjects, his coming will have availed us nothing; if we will not be obedient to his laws, we shall not be entitled to his protection. Allegiance and protection are reciprocal, even between earthly monarchs and their subjects; where a man disowns the authority of the prince, he forfeits all pretensions to his care, he becomes an outlaw, and, of course, can claim no benefit from the government which he despises; how much more then must this be the case with him, who sets at nought the precepts of the son of the most high God! and yet, I fear, there are too many, who are willing enough to accept Christ as their Saviour, but cannot bring themselves to receive him as their King; who would gladly appropriate to themselves the glorious privileges which belong to his disciples, but cannot
be prevailed on to comply with the essential SER M.
XII. conditions. Examine the scriptures, and you will find them uniformly asserting, that the virtues of a good life are the only terms on which we can claim to ourselves
the merits of our Lord's death.
the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and Christ himself, began their preaching in the same manner: Repent ye, or rather, “ reform ye, for the kingdom of heaven is “ at hand;" as if they had said, Break off your sins, and turn yourselves to a life of righteousness, that
ye may be ready to receive the gospel, and may become proper objects of its privileges. Our Saviour, in the course of his ministry, commands his disciples to be exemplary in good works: " Let your light so shine before men, that
they may see your good works, and glo" rify your Father, which is in heaven." In the same discourse he says, Except your " righteousness (that is, your practice of
SERM. “ what is right) shall exceed the righteousXII.
ness of the scribes and pharisees, ye “ shall, in no case, enter into the kingdom “ of heaven.” And to this effect you will find the constant language both of our Lord and his apostles. Nor indeed could it in reason be otherwise; eternal life was originally meant for those only, who had no taint or infection of sin whatever, for God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; therefore, after the fall of Adam, and the consequent degeneracy of his posterity, all mankind became obnoxious to the wrath of God, and had he not mercifully found out a way to reconcile them to himself, they could never have hoped to become objects of his favour. He, however, out of his boundless. benevolence, did find out a way, he sent his only son upon earth to die for them. But, can it be thought that he intended, by so doing, to leave them en. tirely under the dominion of their vicious
passions ? Can it be thought, that from SERM.
XII. that time it was his design to bestow eternal happiness upon them, without any exertions of their own whatever? that they who, in a state of nature, were only to be accepted on perfect obedience, in a state of grace had nothing to do but to sit down, to eat, to drink, and to be merry ;-to be as wicked as passion transported, or temptation invited them ? The very idea is a derogation from the purity of God.
The original law given to man was Obey and live, transgress and die;' by the Christian law, the severity of this first law is mitigated; but to whom is it mitigated ? not to those who continue in their transgressions until their death, but to those, who by a timely repentance establish themselves in such habits, as may appcase the displeasure of the Almighty, and render them fit companions for the blessed saints above. Without the acquisition of virtuous