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not inherit the kingdom of God.' The true godly may make gross slips ; but if they be habitually gross in their lives, there is no difference betwixt Christ's sheep and the devil's goats. [2.] They are tender with respect to sins of common infirmity, making conscience of words and action, as Paul did, Acts xxiv. 16. • Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. What others count light, they will count great : even these as burdens to them, which they groan under, and as iron fetters they would fain be freed of, Rom. vii. 24.
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?'
2dly, Turning to God. By faith man returns to God as a portion, by repentance as a Lord and Master, like a runaway servant. And he returns,
(1.) To God himself. Sinners departing from God, dislike not only their service, but their Master, Luke xix. 14. But returning they are disposed to love him and like him as a Master
(2.) To his duty to God, Acts ix. 6. to the practice of every known duty, and spirituality in duty. This is new obedience, which a penitent turns to, [1.] In full purpose, Psal. cxix. 106. no. more doubting whether to fall in with it or not, or delaying or putting it off any more. [2.] In sin. cere endeavours, Acts xxiv. 6. *
Inf. 1. An impenitent heart is a sad sign of a lost state, Rom. ii. 5. While thou livest so, thou art far from God; and if thou die so, thou art lost for ever.
2. That repentance which is not evangelical and true, is little worth. You must have more than Judah's repentance, if ever you see heaven.
3. To pretend to repentance, and never forsake sin, is vain.
4. To leave sin, and not take up the contrary duties, is not repentance.
5. Go to the Lord by faith for the repentance.
A large and particular account of the nature, author, neceflity, &c. of repentance, may be seen in several discourses in a volume of the author's fermons, first published in 1756, which were preached only two or three years before he delivered this discourse; which may partly account for the brevity of it.
OF CHRIST'S ORDINANCES IN GEXERAL.
Isa. xii. 3.—Therefore with joy shall ye draw walcr out of the
wells of salvation.
THIS song looks to the days of the gospel, wherein Christ
are carried through the world in the gospel, and it is communicated to Jews and Gentiles through the means of grace. Here we have,
1. A benefit to be had in the church, water, i. e. gospel grace, the benefits of Christ's redemption, as suitable to needy, fainting souls, as water to the thirsty. See John iv. 14. and vii. 37. 2. The
of its communication to poor sinners. It is to be drawn out of the wells of salvation. These are gospel-ordinances, the wells in this valley of Baca for the life of souls, and refreshment of spiritual travellers. All the elect capable to draw, do draw out of them. This is the sense, whether the allusion be to the wells in the wilderness for the Israelites, or to the Jews fetching water out of the spring of Siloam at the feast of tabernacles in the night, with inirth and music, to the temple, and pouring it on the altar.
The text furnishes this doctrine.
Doct. The Lord's ordinances are the wells of salvation to
the elect. Or, “The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are, his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.'
Here I shall shew, I. What is understood by a means of salvation. II. What are these means of salvation. III. What makes any ordinance a mean of grace. IV. To whom are the Lord's ordinances made effectual. V. Whence their efficacy proceeds. VI. Deduce an inference or two.
1. I am to shew, what is understood by a means of salvation. It is that by and through which the Lord Jesus doth by his Spirit convey grace and salvation into a soul. That is a mean or mids betwixt the Lord and the soul, which he uses for communication of grace from himself to the soul, 1 Cor. i. 21. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' Chap. ïï. 5. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but mini. sters by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?' The which may be used with expectation of good thereby. These means are some of them outward, some inward; some ordinary, others extraordinary.
II. I come now to shew, what these means of salvation are. 1. The inward means is faith, Heb. iv. 2.
Unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' This ordinarily requires an outward means to work it by. But being wrought, it is the great inward means of communication betwixt Christ and the soul. This is the mean of entering us into the covenant, of repentance, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, &c. It is the bucket whereby one draws the water out of the wells of salvation; and the want of it in most that come to them, makes them go away without water.
2. Extraordinary means are whatsoever the Lord in his sovereign wisdom is pleased to make use of extraordinarily for conveying grace into the hearts of his elect, as he did a voice from heaven for the conversion of Paul, Acts ix. iv. 5. None can limit sovereignty. He may use what means he will, and bring about his purposes of grace by ineans unknown to us. What means the Lord makes use of in the case of elect idiots, such as are deaf or blind, and so incapable of reading or hearing the word, and yet may get grace and be saved, who can determine? Or perhaps he does it without means altogether. But,
3. The outward and ordinary means are the Lord's own ordinances, Rom. x. 14, 15. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall Vol. III,
they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent ? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! They are called outward, because they are something without ourselves; ordinary, because though ordinarily the Lord makes use of them for these holy ends, yet he has not tied himself to them, but may work without them, as seems good in his sight, Acts ix. 4, 5. Now these are,
1st, In the general, all the ordinances of God without exception, which he has set up in his church for that end, namely, the word, sacraments, prayer, church-communion or fellowship, Acts ii. 42; which being managed by mutual instruction, admonition, consolation, and watching over one another, are of great use to promote the salvation of souls; church-government, discipline, and censures, Matth. xviii
. 17; religious fasting, 1 Cor. vii. 5; singing of psalms, Eph. v. 19; swearing by the name of God, when duly called thereto, Deut, vi. 13; and whatsoever are God's institutions in his church.
2dly, The most special means of grace and salvation are the first three, the word, sacraments, and prayer, Acts ii. 42. : (1.) The word preached or read. This has been a well of salvation to many, and a means of grace, Acts ii. 41. About three thousand souls together drank of this well, and lived. It is the seed which the new creature is formed of; and though a despised ordinance, yet the great means of God's appointment for bringing sinners into a state of grace, 1 Cor. i. 21. forecited.
(2.) The sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper. In both, the people of God have drank to the salvation of their souls, though they are not converting ordinances, but sealing ones, suppos ng the efficacy of the word to precede ; as is evident in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts viii. 39. 1 Cor. x. 16. (3.) Prayer, public, private, and secret.
This is a very special means
means of grace, and a most ordinary way of commu: nion betwixt Christ and a soul. So that one no sooner grows concerned about his soul, but he uses this means, as Saul did, of whom it is said, Acts ix. 11. Behold, he prayeth.' It is a means by which divine influences have flowed plentifully to many a soul, and none of the Lord's people can live without it.
III. I shall now shew, what makes any ordinance a mean of
grace, a well of salvation, out of which one may in faith look to draw water for his soul, or get spiritual good by. The Papists and church of England think human institution sufficient, else they had never made so many significant ceremonies and actions in religion, for which there is no divine warrant, as crossing in baptism, kissing of the book in swear. ing, &c. In the use of which they think one has ground to expect good to one's soul ; but all these, being but human ordinances and inventions of men, are not ineans of
grace, but of sinning; not wells of salvation, but broken cisterns, that can gold no water; nay, they are rather puddles, that defile the soul, instead of nourishing it. For,
1. No ordinance whatsoever can avail without a particular blessing; for the efficacy of ordinances is riot natural, or from themselves. Now, men cannot annex a blessing to their ordinances and institutions, to make them effectual for the good of souls, though both church and state join for it. And we have no ground to expect the Spirit's working with tools that are not of his own making. Therefore their institution is vain, and their use too, Matth. xv. 9. . In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'
2. Men's institutions or ordinances, in respect of God, are forbidden and condemned by the Lord's word, namely, in the second commandment. The want of a divine war: rant is sufficient to condemn any thing of this sort, if it be never so likely in the eyes of human wisdom, Matth. xv. 9. just quoted. See Jer. xxxii. 35. . And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass thro’ the fire unto Molech, which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. And they must needs be blasted institutions, since the institution is an invading of Christ's royal prerogative, Matth. xxviii. 20; who has directed his servants to teach his people to observe all things whatsoever he hath commanded.' 3. Men's use of them is not only useless, but worse, not