« AnteriorContinuar »
as her God and Savionr, as much as any one of us: Salvation is not then in her, though it is in the fruit of her womb.
5. Shall we go to angels or departed saints? Behold, angels are the servants of those who shall be heirs of salvation, so far from being their saviours; (Heb. i. 14;) and as to dead saints, they can absolutely do nothing for us,- for a living dog,' says Solomon, is better than a
dead lion.' If saints could save us, it would be rather living saints than dead ones. It is well for the Virgin Mary and the saints, that they know nothing of the prayers which poor superstitious Christians address to them: If they knew of them, the very thought of such a piece of idolatry committed upon them, to the horrible contempt of Christ the only Mediator, would damp all the joy in heaven.
6. To whom shall we go then? Shall we go to the writings of the dead, to books of piety and devotion, or to the scriptures themselves? Alas! life is not in the letter: Thousands of wicked men have written and read very good books: Good books and the scriptures are of infinite use in showing us the way of life, but still they are not the way; and when all the Bibles and libraries in the world shall be burnt up with the world itself, Christ the Way will stand, and, as he is the living Way, he will live for ever a mighty Saviour to all that come to God through him. Search the Scriptures,' said he to the Jews, for in them you think to have life, and they are they which testify of me.' (John v. 39.) The grand use, then, of all good books, and of the scriptures themselves, is to bear witness of Christ.
7. Shall we make a saviour of our church-walls, steeple, and belis? Shall we cry up the church! the church! as the Pharisees cried up the temple! the temple! Far be such a superstitious, such a worse than Popish notion from us :-This building has no more in it that can contribute to our salvation than the synagogue out of which they cast our Saviour and his apostles. If there was any thing in any one building
in the world more than in another, it was in the temple of Jerusalem, an eminent type of Christ, honoured several times by his bodily as well as spiritual presence; And yet one stone is not left upon another on the spot that bore the consecrated walls. But, blessed be God, the living temple of Christ's body, that was destroyed for three days, is now built up again, and stands for ever at the right hand of God; and in that temple it is, that the holy Catholic Church worships God night and day, in spirit and in truth. Vile drunkards, abominable swearers, filthy whoremongers, covetous extortioners, lying cheats, profane sabbath-breakers, all sorts of sons and daughters of darkness, resort at times within these walls, and remain unsaved from their wickedness. Salvation is not, then, within the walls of any one place of worship in the world, unless Christ manifest himself there as he does not to the world.
but not to
8. Where shall we go then? Shall we go out of this wicked world, and retire into a wilderness or a nunnery, as thousands do in the Church of Rome? No; salvation is in neither, out of Christ. Whom did Christ find in the wilderness but the Tempter? Whom do Monks and Nuns find in convents but the Tempter, and corrupt nature, worse than the Tempter? Shall we go to our closet? Yes, to seek Christ there, make our closet a saviour, as too many do? go to the Lord's table? Yes, to seek Christ there, but not to make the ordinance a saviour as the Roman Catholics do, and too many who call themselves Protestants. The Pharisee, because he rested in his devotions, and sought not Christ in them, was made more the child of hell by his fasting and prayer: And when Judas received the sop, he received the seal of his destruction, the Devil entering into him, instead of God's good Spirit. Therefore, ordinances help not, out of Christ.
9. To whom shall we go then? Will you give me leave to put off for a moment the character of a preacher of Christ's righteousness, such as I desire to be found among you, and to put on that of a fashionable preacher,
Will you permit me to
you, to prophesy deceit ?'
prophesy smooth things to Well, then, I say,—“ O
man, you ask, with St. Peter, to whom you shall go for salvation? To whom but to yourself, to your own endeavours? Do your best, O man: Fulfil all relative and religious duties: Be honest, and go to church, wrong no man, murder nobody, be courteous and civil to all: And if those good works do not take you quite up to heaven, then Christ will lend you a hand at the last." -This is, my Brethren, the diabolical scheme which prevails almost every where, in opposition to the Bible and the doctrine of our church; this is the masterpiece of Satan; this is nothing but Deism refined, nothing but Heathenish morality gilt over with the name of Christianity. This overturns the cross of Christ, and makes man his own saviour in part, if not in whole; this tramples under foot the glorious robe of Christ's righteousness, to exalt the filthy rags of man's own righteousness; this sets at nought the blood of Christ, the Spirit of God, and the operations of divine grace upon the hearts of men. This supersedes the fundamental doctrines of the fall in Adam, and the new birth in Jesus Christ. This, instead of ascribing salvation to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever, impiously ascribes it to free will and Pharisaical morality. And what is this but saying, "I will remain in myself for salvation; I have the words of everlasting life;"-than which there can be no greater blasphemy; for it is the very quintessence of Luciferian pride. This is the wolf in sheep's clothing, which destroys the lambs of the Lord by thousands: This is the detestable doctrine which Paul overturns, and curses, with the preachers of it, in his Epistle to the Galatians; Though an angel from heaven,' says he, (i. 8,) preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.' And what is that gospel, but that which is contained in the text, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of everlasting life.' Yes, O thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, we are dead, lost, damned for ever, withou
thee! Our souls, like Noah's dove, cannot find whereon to fix themselves in all the creation: Thou alone art the true, the living ark, built by the living God, to save souls alive. There is neither health nor life in us; but thou hast the words of eternal health and life. Ah, Lord, speak them to thy servants, and we shall be whole! Restore thou them that are penitent. Lord, save, or we perish! O Lord, make speed to save us; O Lord, make haste to deliver us!-This is the language of Peter, of our church, and of every penitent sinner: May it be that of all our hearts, till the Lord shall have turned our prayer into praise !
Here, Brethren, I would conclude this head, did not I think it will be agreeable to you to have the contents of it supported by some plain scriptures, showing that there is no safety, no salvation, but in Christ, and that he, and he alone, has the words of everlasting life. Moses and Feter, speaking of him, say, Your God shall raise unto you a prophet from among your bre thren, and whosoever will not hear that prophet, [receive his doctrine, ] shall be cut off from among the people,' that is to say, cut off from God's people, and consigned to outer darkness. (Acts iii. 22.) Peter tells the Jews that Jesus Christ is the stone which is set at nought by the builders, but is nevertheless the head of the corner,' that which supports the whole building of each believer's salvation. Neither is there salvation in any other,' adds he, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.' (Chap. iv. 12.) In the next chapter, (verse 31,) the same apostle declares, that God has exalted Jesus Christ with his right hand to be a Frince and a Saviour, and to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.' And elsewhere, (Acts x. 43,) he says, "To him give all the Prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.' The 3d chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans may be looked upon as a short comment upon the text: Part of it runs thus: Every mouth must be stopped,' says the apostle, and all the world become guilty before
God; therefore, by the deeds of the law,' by what a man can do in obedience to the law, shall no flesh be justified. But now the righteousness of God,' or God's way of saving sinners, is manifested' in the gospel, 'by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all that believe, for there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God: So that all must be justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood for the remission of the sins that are past.' By these scriptures, not to quote any more, you see, my brethren, that if we remain in ourselves, in our sins or self-righteousness, or that if we go to any other person or means but to the eternal Son of God, through all such means we have not the least chance to escape endless ruin; and that if we go to him with all our sins and guilt, with all our misery and help. lessness, he has the words of eternal life; he can and will speak peace, pardon, and heaven into our souls, and then from his kingdom of grace translate us into his kingdom of glory. Having thus shewed what offended many of the disciples of our Lord, so that they walked no more with him; and having proved that Peter spoke the fundamental truth of the Gospel when he said, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life;' I shall conclude by an application of what has been delivered.
Some of you are ready to find fault with us for telling and proving to you, that every natural man, every unconverted person, is in a damnable state, yea, is condemned already: You think this is a monstrous doctrine, not fit to be mentioned in a pulpit. What! Is that which is so plainly laid down in the Bible monstrous, and not fit to be mentioned in the pulpit? Well, then, the Bible is not fit to be read in the desk. Oh, my brethren, how is it that you are yet without understanding in this point? How is it you cannot see that your hard thoughts or hard speeches fall not upon us, but upon that sacred book, and upon the holy, just, glorious, and eternal God, who sent it to you from heaven? And how will