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Lord. And thus the truth clear held forth to the conscience, as it tends to kill the false hopes of a self-deceived hypocrite; so it tends to awaken and encourage the true saint to such exercises of grace as may be plainly discernible, and lay a foundation for a full assurance. To conclude,
6. From what has been said, "the true state of the Christless sinner appears in a clear light." For, while we view the sinner, as under a law that requires sinless perfection under pain of eternal damnation, we may easily see how the case stands with him. He is under the curse ; be cannot obtain deliverance, by any works of righteousness, which he can do; he daily runs deeper into debt; he has no claim to any mercy, of any kind, temporal or spiritual; till he sees this to be his case, and heartily approves the law, by which he stands condemned, it is impossible he should see bis need of Christ, or approve of, or fall in with, the way of salvation by bim.
“ He is under the curse." For as many as are of the works of the law, i. e. of a disposition to trust in their own doings, (as all are, until through the law, they are become dead to the law,) are under the curse. And that as really as if Christ had never died. For Christ will profit them nothing, will be of no effect to them, as it is written, behold, I Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing a Christ is become of no effect unto you ; whosoever of you are justified by the luw, ye are fallen from grace. Not that circumcision, simply and in itself, proved them to have no interest in Christ, (for Paul circumcised Timothy)But if they were circumcised under a notion of recommending themselves to God by their duties, and obtaining the favour of God by their own righteousness, as was professedly the case with some of them, then it was a sufficient evidence of their temper, and of their state. They were of the works of the luw, and so under the curses. Wherefore, let it be observed, that aceording to St Paul, every self-righteous sinner is out of Christ, and every sinner out of Christ is under the curse. Being actually under a law which requires sinless perfection on paio of eternal damnation, he is by this law doomed to
d Gal. v. 2.
e Gal. v. 4.
of Acts xvi. 3.
5 Gal, iïi. 10.
eternal destruction. For they are debtors to do the whole lawh; and therefore the curse takes hold of them, if they fail in any one point. Therefore,
« The Christless sinner cannot obtain deliverance by any works of righteousness which he can do." Because nothing short of sinless perfection will entitle him to life. And it is too late for this. He has sinned already; and so is a lost creature; nor is there any hopes in his case, on account of any thing he can do; he is quite undone in himself; and his case hourly grows worse. For,
“ He continually runs deeper into debt.” As his sins are constantly multiplying, and his guilt increasing, and nothing done, in the least, to make amends; so he is constantly treasuring up wrathi.
“And he has no claim to any mercy of any kind, temporal or spiritual,” he can claim nothing by law; unless he had fulfilled the law. And he can claim nothing by Christ, unless he were in Christ. And so having no chain by law or Gospel, he has no right to any thing. No right to his life. That is forfeited, and all the good things of this world are forfeited. And his soul is forfeited. Yea, he is actaally under the sentence of condemnation. It is true, he is reprieved; but it is only of God's sovereign pleasure. He dies, he drops into hell, when God pleases. He has no claim to the day of grace, or means of grace, or to any help from God. Hell is his due ; he can claim nothing better. Hell is his present due, and he can claim no forbearance. In
every respect, he lies at God's sovereign mercy.
" When he sees this to be his case, and heartily approves the law by which he stands condemned;" then, and not till then, is there any door of hope, or any way of escape. But he is shut up under sin l: and bound down under wrath m. For until this, it is impossible he should understand, or believe, or approve of, or acquiesce in, the Gospel-way of life. Or trust in Christ, as therein set forth.
Unless he thus heartily approves of the law, he cannot un
ie Johu üi. 18.
h Gal. v. 3.
i Rom. ii. 5.
derstand the Gospel-way of life. For while it does not appear best, that sin should be so punished, he cannot understand why Christ died. He cannot understand what good end needed to be answered, or was answered, by his death.He cannot understand bis need of him, or what it is to believe on him. It is all hid from him". It is all profound darkness. And all the seeds of infidelity are in his heart.
He cannot really believe the Gospel to be from God. For while he does not see what ends need to be answered, it must appear incredible that the Son of God should become incarnate and die.
He cannot approve of the Gospel. For this would imply an hearty approbation of the law. If it does not appear reasonable, fit, and beautiful, that he should be punished as the law threatens; it cannot appear reasonable, fit, and beautiful, that the Son of God should bear the curse in his stead. If the law is too severe, it ought to be repealed.
Therefore, he cannot acquiesce, heartily acquiesce, in such way
of life. It does not suit his heart. He is not pleased with it.
And so he can have no genuine disposition to look to, and trust in Christ as set forth in the Gospel, the whole plan being virtually disliked, while it does not appear best, and a thing desirable, that sin should be punished with so great severity. Therefore he must remain in profound darkness, shut under sin, bound down under wrath, and in fearful expectations of everlasting destruction, until his uncircumcised heart is humbled ..
But no sooner is the sinner brought heartily to approve the law, under a sense of the infinite greatness and glory of God, so as sincerely to say, AMEN, to it; but every thing appears in a different light. The controversy is now at an end. The enmity is slain. The sinner, the rebel, is turned to be on God's side, is become a friend ; and even rejoices to see God's honour so effectually secured. And the Gospel is understood, believed, approved of, acquiesced in ; yea, with all his heart he complies with this way of life. Trusting in
* Matt. vi. 35.
o Lev. xxvi. 41.
Christ, as set forth to be a propitiation for sin, that God might be just, and yet justify and save sinners through bim P. In consequence of which, he is justified, hath peace with God, and rejoiceth in hope of the glory of God 4. And being now dead to sin, he can live no longer therein". For through the law he is dead to the laro, that he might live to God. And he is married to Christ, that he might bring forth fruit to God'. And being now a child of God, the spirit of adoption is sent forth into his heart, crying, Abba, Father u. And so he follows God as a dear child”. And from this day, and forward is kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvationy. Growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?. And all from the good pleasure of God's will, to the praise of the glory of his grace“. Amen.