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in mercy accepted us as his servants in the Gospel, and supported us in our work; we faint not, are not discouraged, do not defift from the glorious enterprize : But have renounced the hidden things of difhonesty, whatever a person has need to hide or be ashamed of; not walking in craftinefs, not making use of guile, fraud or low cunning, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, not corrupting it with impure mixtures of our own, (as vintners sometimes mix their wines with baser liquors,) not adding to it, diminishing from it, nor striving to accommodate it to the taste of our hearers: but by mani. festation of the truth, by speaking the whole truth clearly and plainly, commending ourselves to every may conscience, appealing to the consciences of finnérs for the truth of what we say, or rather address. ing ourselves to their consciences, aiming principally to convince and awaken these; and all this: in the fight of God, knowing he is a witness to our behaviour in his work, and will shortly call us to give an account, and therefore deliring to approve ourselves to him.
3. But if, notwithstanding the excellency of the dectrine we teach, and the plain, clear, and powerful manner in which we deliver ourselves, our gospel alfo (for so it should be translated), as well as the law, be hid, (zex a hermostov, veiled or concealed, as the face of Mofes by the veil, to which he alludes) " it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, left the light of the glorious gospel of Chrift should shine unto them. The Jews in general were ignorant of the law, and their ignorance was attended with the most fatal confequences; yet still they might have been saved by becoming acquainted with the gospel; but if they were strangers to the gospel also, there was no remedy for them, but they were lost without hope of
recovery. The same is affirmed concerning all mankind in general, as well as the Jews in particular. If any child of man, to whom the gospel is plainly and powerfully preached, (for what have we to do to judge those. to whom it is not preached ?) still remain ignorant of its nature, disobedient to its commands and unexperienced in its privileges and blessings, the Apostle pronounces in the most express terms that he is loji, loft now, and in the way to be loft for ever.
4. Surely then it highly concerns us to whom this gospel is preached, thoroughly to understand it and experience its efficacy, and to be well assured that we do fo: Surely if we are wise we shall not rest in an uncertainty here, shall not satisfy ourselves with any thing short of a clear assurance that we are savingly acquainted with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.-Now with a view to assist you in this important matter, I beg your candid and serious attention while I enquire into
1. The Nature and Design of the Gospel..
And first, I am to enquire into the Nature and Design of the Gospel of Christ.
1. It is well known that the Greek word which we translate gospel, means "good news,” or “glad tidings." Such the gospel undoubtedly is to every child of man; glad tidings of great joy unto all people. Such all account it to be who are rightly informed concerning it, who know its worth and their want of it. For it is tidings of eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, health to the fick; tidings of light to them that fit in darkness, of strength to such as are weak and helpless, of liberty to those found in misery and iron, and of pardon and life to persons
condemned to die. In other words, it is tidings of forgiveness of sins, of holiness, and of heaven, to such as are notoriously guilty, utterly depraved, and altogether hell-deserving ; tidings of the highest honour and most consummate happiness to persons sunk into the greatest depth of infamy and wretchedness. In the gospel we learn that God “ hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of David his servant ;-salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us ; that we might ferve him without fear ini righteousness and holiness before him all the days of our life *." In short, by the gofpel glory is brought to God in the highest, peace is proclaimed upon earth, and the goodwill of heaven is manifested to men; for it discovers to us a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, divinely appointed and fufficiently qualified to rescue fallen man from fin and misery, and reinftate him in the favour and image of God.
2. But I must be a little more particular, The whole gospel proceeds on this supposition that mankind are in a fallen state, that they have lost the favour and image of God, and are by nature ignorant, finful, guilty and helpless : is that there is none that understandeth, that all have finned, and come short of the glory of God, that the whole world are guilty before God, and that we are all without strength 7.” On this foundation the gofpel is built: Take away this and it has nothing to fupport it. Deny the fall of man, his original de. pravity, the one fource of all his actual transgres-, fions, and you deny the whole gospel of Chrift, all thar deserves the name of gospel or glad tidings. For sure to deny that we are fick, is to deny we have any need of a physician ; and if we are not
* Luke i. 68-75.
† Rom. iii. 11-23 and v. 6,
guilty and condemned, he dces but insult us who offers us a pardon. Let then the secret infidels of our day speak out; let them tell us in plain terms that they disbelieve the gospel of Christ ; let them openly avow their sentiments and reject Christianity altogether. This would be acting a far more honourable part (and they too are men of honour!) than under colour of friendship and with profes. sions of regard, slyly to stab it in the dark, and cowardly to endeavour that in secret which they dare not attempt openly,
3. Taking it for granted then, that mankind are lost, the gospel proposes their restoration. It is exactly suited to our case: it is just such a dispenfation as we want: it is a remedy every way adequate to our disease. It offers us all that we loft in Adam, and much more than . we , ever had. It thews us how we may escape, fin, and death, and hell, and how we may recover holiness and heaven, the favour and image of God here, and the enjoyment of his glory for ever hereafter.
4. But all this will appear more manifest if we consider, a little, the short but full account the apostle has given us of che gospel in the preceding chapter, where he compares it with the law. Vet. 9: he calls the Law, the ministration of condennation, and the gospel the ministration of righteoul nefs. By the law there, he principally means the moral law, which alone was written and engraven on stones, ver. 7. and this he calls the ministration of condemnation, because it condemns mankind for their violation of it. Had we observed and kept it in all points, at all times, and in all respects, perfectly, universally and constantly, instead of condemning, it would have acquitted and rewarded us : For the law faith, He that doeth these things shall live by them*.
* Rom. X. 5.
But because we have all violated it in one or more points, (and he that offends, tho' only in one point, is guilty of all *,) therefore it condemns us all. And hence the apostle declares, As many as are of the works of the law, (or feek to be justified by them), are under the curse, for it is written, Gursed is every one, that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
5. Such is the condition of all men by nature, All having finned and come short of the glory of God, all are guilty before God, children of wrath, and under fentence of condemnation to the second death, the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. And the law, considered in itself, in its precepts and penalties, knows no mercy, but denounces judgment without mercy.
It provides no way of escape. But the gospel does: it is a ministration of righteousnefs: it thews us how we may be pardoned and accepted consistently with the justice and truth of God; how we may be delivered from the curse of the law, and yet the authority of it be preserved inviolate. Therein the “day spring from on high hath visite ed us, to give lighé to us who fat in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet'into the way of peacet. For therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faithf, Gud's method of justifying finners by faith in the righteousness of Christ. Therein we learn that “God made Chrift fin (or a sin-offering) for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him t;" that God « hath set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness (both justice and mercy) for the remission of fins that are parts: that « Chrift hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us l.” Hence it is * Jam, ii. 11. † Luke i. 78. # Rom. i. 17. Fom. iii, 25. l Gal. iii. 13.
+ 2 Cor. y. 21: