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done, whether it be good or bad.” Then men's calling Christ Lord, will be tried by their doing or not doing the things that he says. And what will men then say to the question in the text, “ Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" and to that qnestion, “How camest thou in hither, not having a wedding-garment?"
II. I come now to a word of Application.
First, Let me examine into this matter, and ask and put it to every one's conscience before the Lord, Why call ye Christ Lord, and do not the things that he says? You are rational creatures; ye will not allow that you are fools, that bave no reason for what you do, or not do. Therefore " produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob, Is. xli. 21. What is your plea ? Is it,
1. We are saved by faith, and not by good works? ANSWER. I have answered that already, that though the weight of our acceptance with God, lies not on good works, yet the weight of our evidence does. I add, that though we are not saved by, yet we are saved to, good works and obedience : Eph. ii. 10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them, 1 Pet. i. 2, “ Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” &c. So if you are not brought to do what Christ says, you are not saved. But perhaps you will insist, and say, 0. but we will be saved after death. ANSWER. If ye be not saved while ye are in life, ye will never be saved after death. The notion of salvation began after death, is unknown to the Bible: Eph. ii. 8, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God,” 2 Tim. i. 9, “Who have saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began,” Tit. iii. 5, “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.”
2. We have no strength in ourselves. ANSWER. That also I have answered at large. If the law came to you with its commands without the gospel, there would be something in this, though not so much but the law would overthrow it; as in the case of pagans, Rom. ii. 12, “For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law.” But since the gospel comes with the law, telling you there is ability for it in Christ, which you may have by faith; your
plea is rejected, and you are condemned, not only for not doing what Christ says, but for refusing strength to do it with.
3. We do several things, and there is no body but has failings. ANSWER. Ye may do many things, as Herod, Mark vi. 20 : but if ye set not yourselves to do all the parts of Christ's will known to you, without reserve, ye do nothing : James ii. 10, “For wbosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Sound believers fail of degrees, but not of the parts: Psal. cxix. 6, David said “I have respect anto all thy commandments,” Acts xiii. 22, “I have found David the son of Jesse ; a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."
4. God is merciful, and Christ is our gracious Saviour; we trust he will not be severe on us for our sins. ANSWER. That is a trust in God and Christ, not upon his word, but over the belly of his word ; so that either it must fail and disappoint you, or God's truth must fail: Heb. xii. 14, “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” Psal. cxxv. 5, “ As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity,” “ But his confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors,” Job xviii. 14. Is that the use ye have for the mercy of God ? Psal. cxxx. 4. and for the grace of Christ ? See the character of such, Jude 4, " There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into laciviousness, and denying the only. Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
5. What needs all that strictness of life in our case : we are neither ministers nor elders, to bave any character of that sort to support? Answer. It is evident, that many take a liberty in sinful practices from this; practices which they would condemn in them, though they allow them in themselves. Ministers and elders antender and loose in their life and practice, shall bear their judgment, as betrayers of the cause of religion to an ungodly world. But it will be no comfort to you to go to hell with unholy ministers and elders. And therefore ye must either take the strait way with godly and tender ministers and elders to heaven; or else, in the first place, find out in your Bible, where the strait way to heaven is only for ministers and elders, but there is a wide way to it for others. Ye must seek another Bible for it; for this mentions but one strait way to heaven, for you and them both: Matt. vii. 13. 14. “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” But if ye belong to Christ, ye bear a character as venerable as that of a minister: ye are priests, 1. Pet. ii. 9. Rev. i. 6. Heb. xii. 23. If ye say, Ye are not so much as professors : ANSWER. Are ye Christians or not? If ye. be, set yourselves to answer that profession, and no more is required of you; or else why do ye profess so much?
6. Lastly, But we hope to repent, reform, and find mercy, ere we die ANSWER. When? The young when they grow old, and the old when they come to a death-bed. And who has secured you that ye shall see another day? Not God, I am sure : Heb. iii. 7. “The Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice.” And
ye should be old, and get a death-bed to lie in a while, how know ye that
ye will get grace to repent? Truly it is not God's ordinary way: Job. xx. 11. “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust."
Secondly, Let me expostulate this matter with you, how ye come to call Christ Lord, and do not the things that he says.
1. Do ye think that religion is just a matter of form and fair shew, to say prayers, and come to the kirk on the sabbath, &c. not carrying it through the whole of your walk? If ye do, ye will shew yourselves void of it, 2. Tim. iii. 5. Gal, vi. 12. Is. lviii. 5, 6, 7.
2. Do ye not mock the Lord Christ by this, and, like Judas, betray him with a kiss, Matt. xxvi. 49. But “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” Gal. vi. 7.
3. Have ye no regard to the honour of Christ? If he is your Lord and ye expect salvation by bim, what hearts have ye that cannot be moved thereby, to live to his praise, and be useful for him in the world? They who have no use for holy walking, after salvation is secured by Christ, are surely far from salvation.
4. Is not the cause of Christ and religion much the worse of you? Rom. ii. 24. “For the name of God is blasphemed through you." Do
ye call him Lord, that ye may have the more access to affront and dishonour him ? Do ye join yourselves to the church and kingdom of Christ, that ye may by such compliance advance the interests of Satan's kingdom ?
5. Has Christ's character as a Lord no weight on your consciences ? Do
ye think it is a mere empty title? You will find it otherwise : Mal. 1. 6. “If I be a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of Hosts.” Luke xix. 27. “ But those mine enemies which would that I should reign over them, bring bither and slay them before me.”
6. Lastly, How will we answer it at the great day? If ye think it is long to that, it will be longer after, that it will sit in your consciences and guaw, that you called him Lord, and did not the things that he said : and it may be a very short while, that it might be in your power to get things put in better case for that day.
I shall conclude with a few advices.
1. Examine yourselves, and search out your sins sincerely, as in the sight of God: Hag. i. 7. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways. Look into the several parts and periods of your life, and see how they have been led. Look into your public and private walk; into your relations, how ye have carried as a husband, wife, &c.; into both tables of the law, how ye have behaved towards God, and towards man; into your sins of omission and comission, your secret sins that are hid from the eyes of the world, the sin that is your particular bias. Look into your heart-sins : and trace up all to the sin of your nature.
2. Seeing yourself a sinful, ruined creature, solemnly take hold of the covenant of grace, personally entering into it by embracing Christ offered to you in the gospel, trusting in him as your Saviour, for bis whole salvation from sin, and from wrath, on the ground of God's faithfulness in the promise; thus going to Christ for your sanctification, as well as justification; to purge you from the filth as well as the guilt of sin, 1 Cor. i. 30, receiving and eying him in all his offices.
3. Lastly, Lay down an honest purpose and resolution, in the faith of the grace and strength in Christ Jesus, offered and exhibited to you in the gospel, and provided in the covenant, to comply henceforth with the whole will of Christ declared to you in bis word, without exception or reserve; to subject your souls wholly to the authority of his word, to comply with every duty therein made known to you, and to fight against every sin there discovered to you. So shall you call him Lord, and he call you his servants, Acts xi. 23; Psal. cxix. 112.
THE INSEPARABLE CONNECTION BETWEEN A SINNER'S HAVING
PART WITH CHRIST, AND BEING WASHED BY HIM: OR, THE MYSTERY OF SANCTIFICATION BY CHRIST, OPENED UP.
Several sermons, preached at Ettrick, in the year 1728.
N. B. The first Sermon was preached immediately before the celebration of the
Lord's Supper, August 18, 1728 ; and the others on some subsequent Lord's days.
Joan xiji. 8.
If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
THESE words are Christ's answer to Peter refusing to let Christ wash his feet. No doubt it was a kind of modesty, reverence, and humility, that put Peter on this peremptory refusal of Christ's astonishing kind offer. But all is not gold that glitters. There is much of this bastard humility in the world, whereby people refuse Christ's offers, and put them away from them, with a very good grace, and great respect to the Lord Christ, as they think. Christ comes to sinners in the gospel, and offers to wash them from their pollution : But will they offer a foul defiled soul to God Almighty, the infinitely holy Saviour, to be washed by him? No; they think they know more of their own sinfulness and unworthiness, and of Christ's greatness and holiness, than that comes to. And so they affront him, under a pretence of honouring him.
There are three characters of this false humility.
1. It condemns the generation of the righteous, who came all to Christ, at his command, to be washed by him, receiving it with admiration of his condescension. The other disciples, no doubt, were struck with amazement at Christ's coming to wash their feet : but true humility took Christ's will for law and right, and makes them silently yield themselves to the Lord. But Peter's behaviour condemns them, as rude and disrespectful, vers. 5, 6, “After that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
2. It keeps Christ at a distance, and so proceeds not from faith, but unbelief, ver. 6. No doubt, when Christ stretched out his hand to wash Peter's feet, he drew them in quickly to him; and shewed by his deeds, as well as his words, that he had no mind that Christ's