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SERMON IX. Obedience enforced by the Gospel.
[From Mr. KettleWELL.]
MATTH.i. part of verse 21. -Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for be
Shall save his people from their fins. ' CINCE all men, who make any preS tence to fobriety and religion, pro
fess themselves most earnestly desirous of salvation; and the great errand of our blessed Lord into the world was to purchase it, and make a tender of it to them: it may well seem strange to us, as once it did to the apostles, that yet for all this, it is to be feared, there are but few in comparison who shall be saved.
For a great number of the Christian world, it is to be feared, are impenitently wicked; they live all their days in a course of fin, and die without amendment; and such
men, the scripture assures us, in the last judgement will not be forgiven. So that, notwithstanding all our talk about falvajion, many perfons have but very little, or no thare in it: It is but seldom found, though it be often talked of; and many are as far from it, as if the gospel had never come abroad to bring them to it.
Now one chief reason, why so many persons do at last miss of salvation, after they have put forth such eager defires, and spent such zealous pains upon it, is, because they mistake its nature, and underfand not truly wherein it doth confist. They take it to be fomething else than what it is, and fo are apt usually to hope well of it, and to think they have attained to it ; when, alas, they are as yet in a loft ftate, and at a very great distance from it. For although that falvation which Chrift dearly purchased, and which the gospel comes to promote in us, be a salvation from fin; yet that which men usually speak of, and expect by him, is nothing lefs.
They think to be pardoned without obedience; and to be saved from punishment, whilft they persevere - in the practice of their fins.
For if we come to the most profligate finner, although it be upon his death-bed, when he is going out of the world with all his fins, and unmortified affections about him; yet even he, who is thus loft in fin, will still talk of his Saviour Chrift, and hopes to be saved by him notwithftanding.
To prevent or redress such dangerous mistakes, in a matter of fo high moment; I intend, in discoursing upon these words; to represent to you, what that falvation is, which Christ hath purchased for us.
To save, is to deliver from evil and danger; and may be extended to as many evils, as men may be delivered from. Thus every where in David's Psalms, the deliverance of the righteous out of afflictions and troubles, is called his falvation. And Gideon is said to have saved Ifrael, when he rescued them out of the hands of the Midianites.
· Now as for those evils, which Christ came to save us from, in our deliverance from which consisteth our Christian salvation; they are not the temporal evils and afflictions of this life. His kingdom was not of this world; nor is his protection always from the evils of it. He himself was a man of sorrows, and his followers must expect to be like him, and to live under persecutions.But they are our fins; and consequent upon them, those eternal punishments which are due unto us for them. Upon these accounts it is, that he is Christ the Saviour; He shall be called Jesus, or a Saviour, faith the angel in my text, because he mall save his people from their fins. . As for the deliverance from eternal death and hell torments, which are the punishment that is due unto our sins; this Christ hath undoubtedly purchased for all those that are his. There remains no condemnation, saith the apostle, to them that are in Christ Jesus; but they are passed over from death unto life. God who should in anger exact those punishments, is réconciled to them by the death of his Son; so that now they are no longer under his severity as an offended Lord, but can look upon him as their patron and protector.
And this deliverance, from the worm of conscience and pangs of foul, from the eternal pains of hell and the horrors of darkness, we are generally apt to think to be a deliverance indeed, and such as we have all great need of; for who is willing to live with everlasting burnings ? Theré is no man who thinks upon hell, but he earnestly desires to be secured from it; and therefore there are few or none, who will not make some profession, and perform fome outward and èaly acts of religion, that thereby they may quiet their own consciences, with some confidence, although never so groundless, of their share in this falvation.
Buť then, as for those other evils which Chrift came to fade us from, namely, our fins'; men' are not usually so fully persuaded of their illness, nor think they have any great need to be saved from them. For Vol. IV, M