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own case? Why will you attend to every thing before you attend to the one thing needful ? Peter's sin and guilt did not exceed yours. He had less light than you, and stronger temptations to resist. O, that some voice might arouse you. O, that one look from the Lord of Glory might melt your heart—0, that you might think of your sins, and go out and weep bitterly!

SERMON XXII.

Salvation by Grace.

EPHESIANS II. 8.

BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH ; AND THAT NOT OF

YOURSELVES; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.

of man,

To be saved, is to be pardoned, reconciled to God, and sanctified by his Spirit. It is in every important respect the same momentous event to the whole family

however diversified in character and condition. The bible discloses but one way of salvation only to all, whether their lot be cast amidst the darkness and impurity of pagan superstition, or amidst the light and refinement of christian communities. They are all, by the same means, delivered from essentially the same moral state. This is a state of ruinous apostacy-of deadness in trespasses and sins; and the means of their deliverance are BY GRACE, THROUGH FAITH, AND THAT NOT OF THEMSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.

Man's salvation, then, is by grace alone. To illustrate and apply this sentiment of the text, is the design of the present discourse.

The term grace as here used, and when spoken of in relation to God, denotes his undeserved favor or kindness in the redemption and salvation of men. It is in its nature free, distinguishing, and efficacious. It is free, as its subjects have no merits, and can make no that oppose

its

recompense. It is discriminating, or special, as it extends to some persons and not to others. It is efficacious, as it triumphs over the elements of human depravity,

sway. It is evident from the representations which the scripture uniformly gives of the original state of man, that he cannot save himself. The very circumstance which renders the salvation of the gospel necessary, and to which it is exclusively adapted, is a state of entire helplessness. A helplessness however, which is voluntary, and which consists wholly in the indisposition of the heart. The disorder itself creates an unwillingness to be cured. While man has a remedy within his reach, his very malady extinguishes the disposition to apply it. He lies in ruins which have crushed all desire to arise in his original comeliness and glory. He has accumulated a debt which he can never pay.

He is involved in guilt from which he cannot deliver himself. He has nothing to wash away the stains of moral defilement contracted by transgression. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Who can say, I have made my heart clean? I am pure from my sin? Men may invest themselves in the unseemly attire of their own righteousness, but who thus arrayed would dare approach the bar of infinite justice and purity? There may be those who expect by the efficacy of their own unaided discipline, to reach the world of glory, but will any see the kingdom of heaven except they be born again? No! the dead will not live again by the spontaneous revival of inherent energies. Children of wrath cannot create themselves heirs of glory. Nor can they who are sold under sin, redeem themselves from the oppressive bondage.

Equally impotent and unavailing must be the combined efforts of all finite power, to save man.

The mysterious agency of ministering spirits extends not to the transformation of the human heart. They have no new creating efficacy to communicate. Not all the unsinning myriads of heaven, have merits to atone for the sin of one soul. None of them can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him. Much as it augments their joy to witness one returning penitent, it is not theirs to give repentance. They are sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salration, but they cannot save. Privileged as they are, to dwell in the unclouded presence of the Eternal, they have no power to raise rebels to the grandeur of their pure and blessed elevation. So deeply buried in sin, and guilt, and ruin, is fallen man, and so omnipotent is the power

which alone can raise him from this state, that the language of the poet may be applied to him in this sense with all the propriety and impressiveness of truth

" An angel's arm can't snatch him from this grave

Legions of angels can't confine him there." Now the same circumstance which renders human salvation too mighty a work to be achieved by human efforts; and which sinks man too low to be reached by finite power, takes from him all merit, and instead of leaving him with any claim to the divine interposition, renders him most justly deserving the perpetual frowns of his displeasure. Had man never experienced the disastrous effects of the apostacy—had he never ceased to be entirely holy and happy, as then he would have had nothing which he had not first received, and as each successive moment of his being would have yielded him the full amount of happiness he had deserved, he could have had no claims upon God for a perpetuity of this blessed state.

How much less can a fallen creature, who has never ceased to sin, deserve a restoration to a state of purity and bliss! So that man is not only unable to save himself, and beyond the reach of deliverance from any created hand, but he is wholly undeserving salvation from that Infinite One who alone is mighly to save. If he is ever saved, therefore, it must be purely by the unmerited and spontaneous goodness of the Almighty.

It will appear obvious to all who give a moment's attention to the subject, that under the perfect government of Jehovah, every good which any of his intelligent creatures enjoy, must flow immediately from his unmerited favor. It is his grace which preserves sinless beings in purity and blessednesss. It is his grace which keeps a world of impenitent sinners from the world of unmingled woe and suffering. It is his grace which showers down upon man with a seemingly indiscriminate profusion, the gifts of nature and of providence. It is his grace which opens to millions of the human family the treasures of revealed truth—which sheds upon them the light of christianity—which points out to them the way of salvation. But this is a common bestowment. It has no peculiar, no discriminating efficacy. As it respects man, it has no necessary and decisive influence beyond the present life. In a word, it is not that grace which saves the soul. Although in the divine economy it may stand connected with the dispensation of such grace, yet this connexion is by no means invariable. Millions are the subjects of the one, who never experience the other. It is not sufficient that grace has contrived and pointed out a way of safety for man—a disposition to walk in it must be given. It is not enough, that the word of salvation has been sent to him—his heart must be opened to receive it. In vain the true light shines around him, while he loves darkness rather than light. So that if the counsels and works of him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working, could be defective or incomplete, the grace which originated the scheme of redemption before the world began, might have existed, without delivering from sin and guilt, and maturing for glory, one of our fallen race. The plan of salvation with the magnificent system of means, might have been -Jesus might have suffered his gospel have been

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