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may claim teaching of him who is appointed master of a free school in that place; as those of a congregation may claim preaching of their own minister; and as the wounded in battle may claim healing of their own physician, who has a commission to be physician to their regiment. “For we testify, that the Father sent the Son Saviour of the world."
3. Sinners living in their sins, pining away, and about to perish eternally in them, are without excuse. For “we testify, that the Father has sent the Son Saviour of the world :" John xv. 22. “ If I had not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.” Sinners are destroyed with their living and raging lusts, they are run down with them as with running sores, their souls are bleeding to death with them as with mortal wounds: in this case they hold on over the belly of their convictions; and they say, they cannot help it. One cannot help his swearing ; another his sensuality; another his pride, passion, covetousness, gross ignorance, his old corrupt unrenewed heart. But the truth is, ye will not have it helped, John v. 40. “ Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” If ye cannot help it, ye have a Saviour who can help it, and would certainly help it if ye would employ him. Know it of a truth, if any of you shall perish, and if ye go on in your sins ye shall perish, ye shall not perish for want of a Saviour. At the tribunal of God, the devils may say, we could not be saved from our sins; for there was no Saviour appointed for us : the pagans may say, we could not be saved; for though we were within the compass of the Saviour's commission, yet we never heard of it, it was never intimated to us. But what will ye have to say, that ye are not saved from your sins; when your Saviour shall sit judge upon you, and condemn you, to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, for that ye would have none of him, nor his salvation ; ye would not be saved from your sins, would not put your case in his hand; though he had his Father's commission to be Saviour of the world, and your Saviour, and it was read to you, ye would not receive him as your Saviour, but would rather die in your sins than employ him?
4. Believers themselves may be ashamed and confounded, for that iniquity prevails so against them. Alas! it is a sad sign the Saviour is little employed among us. Little living by faith, makes little holiness of life. O look to that sin that so easily besets you, that has so often wrecked your soul's case : believe you have a Saviour for it, and employ him.
USE II. For trial.
viour ; whether or not he has saved you. Think not that Christ puts off his saving of sinners till they come to heaven: true, they are not completely saved till they b3 there ; but if your salvation by Christ is not begun here, you shall never get there: Tit. iii. 5. 6. 7. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour: that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." And ye have no right before the Lord to his table, if he has not been a Saviour to you actually and eventually, in having saved you from sin and wrath initially, though not completely: for if it is not so, it is an evidence you have not received him as your Saviour; for no sooner is he employed by a sinner but he begins to save that sinner.
Mark 1. If Christ has really begun to save you, ye will have the saved man's thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God. If a drowning man were pulled alive out of a water, or a filthy stinking puddle; and standing at the side of it, looking to it after that gliff; what would be his thoughts of that water, that puddle, where he was once over head and ears, and almost gone? Such will be your thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God. Ye will have awful and reverend thoughts of the wrath of God above all awful things : Heb. xii. 28. 29.“ Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.” For our God is a consuming fire.” Matth. x. 28. “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the son) : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Of all terrors it will be to you the most terrible. Those in the state of wrath, they are either so as they have lost their senses in it; they know not where they are, they are dreaming of some pleasant place; and so they go on peacefully in their sinis, undisturbed with thoughts of wrath : or else they have some terrible apprehensions of it; but there is something more terrible ; and therefore they will rather sin than suffer the hardships attending duty, yea attending mortification : or else their heart is fire-hot with the terror of the wrath of God, and in the meantime, at least, key-cold of love and child-like affection to the God whose wrath it is. But the saved soul looks on it as of all things the most awful, but in the meantime with a child-like reverence of and affection to that God whose wrath it is.
Mark 2. Ye will have a transcendent esteem of and love to your Saviour, 1 Pet. ii. 7. “Unto yon which believe he is precious." His conscience-purifying blood, his soul-sanctifying Spirit, will be more valuable to you than a thousand worlds. Yo will desire them above all things, pant and long after them, and aye more and more of them : and in comparison of them, all the world will be but trifles in your eyes, which ye would be content to part with to gain them: Matth. xiii. 46. “ The merchantman when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Luke xiv. 26. “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Phil. iii. 8, 9. “ Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but duug that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
Mark 3. Lastly, Ye will be groaning under the remains of the disease of sin ye are saved from ; your conscience will witness ye
would fain be wholly rid of it, Rom. vii. 24.“O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death !" Your souls will be longing for the complete salvation; that the enemies you see to-day, ye may see no more for ever; that yo may get a complete victory over all your corruptions : Rom. viii. 23. “We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Receive the Lord Jesus, then, O sinners, in that character wherein his Father sent him, as the Saviour of the world, and your Saviour. Ye are lost in your sins, and lost ander the wrath of God, and the curse of the law; come to him for his whole salvation. Employ him, put your case in his hand as your Saviour by the Father's appointment; and slight him no more.
Motive 1. Consider you need a Saviour. Your disease of sin will ruin
you, if ye be not saved from it. The guilt of it will stake you down under wrath, and the wrath of God will sink you into hell. And while sin keeps its dominion over you, be sure the guilt is not removed : Matth. ix. 12. “ They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Gen. ii. 17. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”
Motive 2. There is no Saviour besides Christ, Acts iv. 12. “Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” All others are physicians of no value. All your own endeavours will not save yon, nor any thing any creature can do for you.
Motive 3. He is able to save you, Heb. vii. 25. “He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him.” Whatever be your case, there is infinite merit in his blood to take away the deepest guilt, 1 John i. 7. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” There is an infinite efficacy of his Spirit to sanctify the most unholy, 1 Cor. vi. 11. " And such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” If ye doubt it, ye dishonour Christ, and his Father who sent him, Psal. lxxxix, 19. “ Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.”
Motive 4. He is willing to save you, Rev. xxii. 17. " And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, Come, And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." The only thing wanting is your willingness to be saved, Jer. xiii. 27. “Wo unto thee, 0 Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be ?" There is no fear of being rejected if ye come, John vi. 37. “ Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." He has taken on him the office of Saviour of the world, and he cannot refuse the business of it.
Motive 5. Lastly, Ye must either receive him as your Saviour from sin and wrath, according to his commission from heaven; or ye will be, and be held refusers of him for your Saviour, after his Father has nominated and commissioned him for that effect. Consider how ye will answer that before the judgment-seat.
Question. How shall I receive him, and employ him? Answer. By faith, by believing on him. Being convinced of your sin and cursed state, and desiring to be saved from both, believe Christ is your Saviour by his Father's appointment; and so wholly trust on him as a crucified Saviour, for his whole salvation, on the ground of God's faithfulness in his word.
THE NECESSITY OF SELF-DENIAL.
A Sermon preached, on a sacramental occasion, at Galashiels.
LUKE ix. 23. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
They that are rash and indeliberate in their setting away after Christ among his followers, vill readily be found to break away from him again, and desert him, ere they come to the end of the course. Therefore our Lord Jesus fairly intimates here how he is to be followed of all that would come to the end of the course with him; that men may count the cost ere they begin to build ; and lay their account with what they are to expect in his company, in the way to the kingdom. And in the words there is,
1. The case which this intimation refers to, “ If any man will come after me.” It is not the case of coming to Christ, as if none might come to him, or believe on him, till once they have denied themselves, and taken up their cross daily: for as none can come after Christ in the sense of the text, till once they have come to him; so none shall ever be able to reach these things, till once they have believed on him. But it is the case of coming after Christ; which is more than following him; and consists of two parts. (1.) Following him in the way to the kingdom, upon which one is set by believing. This part of it our Lord points at, Luke xiv. 26, “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple;" as it is plainly imported in the expression. (2.) Coming in at his back into the kingdom; as the term to which Christ with his followers was moving: where he being set down, they also come in after him, and in his right. And this part of it is expressed, ver. 24, “ For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it : but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
2. What is necessary to that case, to one's following Christ in the way to, and coming in at his back into the kingdom of heaven. Two things are necessary thereto. (1.) Self-denial; " Let him deny himself,” otherwise he will not follow me in the way to the kingdom : for I deny myself, Rom. xv. 3, “ For even Christ pleased not