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shadow of death, and our danger dreadful as the gloom and torments of hell?"
“ Shocking doctrine .!" says the self-conceited moralist, as he rises from his chair full of indignation, and ready to throw aside the arguments he cannot answer. Reader, if you are the man, remember that this is au appeal to reason, and not to passion; to matter of fact, and not to your vitiated taste for pleasing error. You may cry out at the sight of a sh a cof
a grave, “ Shocking objects !” but your loudest exclamations will not lessen the awful reality, hy which many have happily been shocked into a timely consideration of, and preparation for, approaching death.
“But this doctrine,” you still urge, “ drives people to despair."-Yes, to a despair of being saved by their own merits and righteousness; and this is as reasonable in a siuner who comes to the Saviour, as despairing to swim across the sea is rational in a passenger that takes ship. Our church, far from speaking against it, says, that “ sinners should be dismayed at God's rightful justice, and should despair indeed, as touching any hope that may be in themselves.” (Homily on Falling from God: Part II.)
A just despair of ourselves is widely different from a despair of God's mercy, and Christ's willingness to save the chief of sinners, who fly to him for refuge. This horrible sin, this black crime of Judas, springs rather from a sullen, obstinate rejection of the remedy, than, as some vainly suppose, from a clear knowledge of the disease : And that none may commit it, Christ's ministers take particular care not to preach the law without the gospel, and the fall without the recovery: No sooner have they opened the wound of sin, festering in the sinner's conscience, than they pour in the balm of divine promises, and make gracious offers of a free pardon, and full salvation, by the compassionate Redeemer, who came to justify the ungodly,' and to save the lost.
And indeed those only, who see their sin and misery, will cordially embrace the gospel ; for common sense dictates, that none care for the king's mercy, but those
who know they are guilty, condemned criminals. How excessively unreasonable is it then to object, that the preaching of man's corrupt and lost estate drives people to despair of divine mercy, when it is absolutely the only means of showing them their need of it, and making them gladly accept it upon God's own terms !
Leaving therefore that trite objection to the unthinking vulgar, once more, judicious reader, summon all your rational powers : And, after imploring help from on high to use them aright, say, whether these last arguments do not prove, that no Christian can deny the complete fall of mankind, without renouncing the capital doctrines of his own religion; overturning the very foundation of the gospel, which he professes to receive; staining the glory of the Redeemer, whom he pretends to honour; and impiously taking from his crown, wisdom, truth, and charity, the three jewels that are its brightest ornaments.-Sum up then all that has been advanced concerning the afflictive dealings of God's Providence with mankind, and the base conduct, or wicked temper of mankind towards God, one another, and themselves. — Declare, if all the arguments laid before you, and cleared from the thickest clouds of objections that might obscure them, do not cast more light upon the black subject of our depravity, than is sufficient to show that it is a melancholy truth. And finally pronounce, whether the doctrine of our corrupt and lost estate, stated in the words of the sacred writers, and of our pious Reformers, is not rationally demonstrated, and established upon the firmest basis in the world, Matter of Fact, and the dictates of Common Sense.
When a doctrine has been clearly demonstrated, the truths that necessarily spring from it cannot reasonably be rejected. Let then common sense decide, whether the following consequences do not necessarily result from the doctrine of the fall, established in the preceding parts of this Treatise.
1. INFERENCE. If we are by nature in a corrupt and lost estate, the grand business of ministers is to rouse our drowsy consciences, and waru as of our imminent danger: It behoves them to 'cry aloud and spare not, to lift up their voice like a trumpet,' and 'shew us our transgressious and our sins :' Nor are they to desist from this unpleasing part of their office, till we 'awake to righteousness,' and ‘lay hold on the hope set before us.'
If preachers, under pretence of peace and good-nature, let the wouud fester in the conscience of their hearers, to avoid the thankless office of probing it to the bottom : If, for fear of giving them pain by a tinsely amputation, they let them die of a mortification : Or if
they heal the hurt of the daughter of God's people slightly, saying Peace! Peace! when there is no peace;' they imitate those sycophants of old, who, for fear of displeasing the rich and offending the great, 'preached smooth things and prophesied deceit.'
This cruel gentleness, this soft barbarity, is attended with the most pernicious consequences, and will deserva edly meet with the most dreadful punishment. sinners warning from me," says the Lord to every minister : “When I say to the wicked,' the auconverted, " Thou shalt surely die ; and thou givest him not warn ing, he shall die in his iniquity,' in his unconverted
state ; • but his blood will I require at thy hand.' (See Matt. xviii. 3; Ezek. iii. 18, and xiii. 10.)
II. INFERENCE. If we are naturally depraved and condemned creatures, self-righteousness and pride are the most absnrd and monstrous of all our sins. The deepest repentance and profoundest humility become us : To neglect them, is to stumble at the very threshold of true religion ; and to ridicule them, is to pour con., tempt upon reason, revelation, and the first operations, of divine grace upon a sinner's heart.
III, INFERENCE. If the corruption of mankind is uuiversal, inveterate, and amazingly powerful, no mere creature can deliver them from it. They must remain unrestored; or they must have an almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, unwearied, infinitely patient Saviour ; willing, day and night, to attend to the wants, and public or secret applications of millions of wretched souls; and able to give them immediate assistance throughout the world, in all their various trials, temptations and conflicts, both in life and in death. Is the most exalted creature sufficient for these things ?
When such a vast body as mankind, spread over all the earth for thousands of years, made up of numerous nations, all of which consist of inultitudes of individuals, each of whom has the springs of all his faculties and powers enfeebled, disordered, or broken :-When such an immense body as this is to be restored to the image of the infinitely holy, glorious, and blessed God; commor seuse dictates, that the amazing task can be performed by no other than the original Artist, the great Searcher of hearts, the omnipotent Creator of mankind.
Heuce it appears, that, notwithstanding the cavils of Arius, the Saviour is 'GOD OVER ALL, blessed for ever; all things were made by him, he upholds all things by the word of his power;' and erery believer may adore him, and say, with the wondering apostle, when the light of faith shone into his benighted soul, My Lord and my God!' Vol. I.
IV. INFERENCE. If our guilt is immense, it cannot he expiated without a sacrifice of an intinite dignity : Hence we discover the mistake of Heathens and carnal Jews, who trusted in the sacrifices of beasts ; the error of Deists, Mahometans, and Socinians, who see no need of any expiatory sacrifice ; and the amazing presumption of too many Christians, who repose a considerable part of their confidence in the proper merit of their works ; instead of placing it entirely in the inf. nitely meritorious sacrifice of the immaculate Lamb of God, humbly acknowledging, that all the gracious rewardableness of the best works of faith is derived from his precious blood and original merit.
V. INFERENCE. If our spiritual maladies are both numerous and mortal, it is evident we cannot recover the spiritual health, that we enjoyed in our first parents, but by the powerful help of our heavenly Physician, the Second Adam. How absurd is it then to say, that we are saved or recovered by doing good works, without the quickening grace of a Saviour !
A wretched beggar is lame both in his hands and feet; an officious man, instead of taking him to a person famous for his skill in relieving such objects of distress, assures him, that the only way of getting well is to run on errands for his prince, and work for his fellow-beggars. You justly wonder at the cruelty and folly of such a director; but you have much more reason to be asto. nished at the conduct of those miserable empirics, who direct poor, blind, lame sinners, labouring under a complication of spiritual disorders, and sick even unto eternal death, to save themselves merely by serving God, and doing good to their neighbours ; as if they needed neither repentance towards God, nor faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, nor yet free grace, to enable them to repent, believe, and serve God acceptably.
How much more rational is the evangelical method of salvation! We are saved,' says the apostle, we are restored to saving health, and a spiritual activity to serve God aud our neighbour, not by works, not of