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he ever lives to make a most prevalent intercession for them; of which, as the apostle elsewhere more largely states it*, the intercession of the high-priest before the mercy-seat, on the solemn day of atonement, was but a very imperfect type,
It will be the business of several succeeding discourses on these words,
1. To consider what we are to understand by Christ's being able to save to the uttermost.
II. To prove that he is really so,
III. To consider the particular argument for it, which the apostle draws from his ever living to make intercession for them, And
IV. To state the character of those who may expect salvation from him, which is here expressed by their coming to God
You see the copiousness of the subject we are entering upon. I shall endeavour in the prosecution of it, to lay before you the genuine doctrine of the gospel on these various and important heads, with plainness and seriousness. And I humbly implore the influence of the divine spirit, to Open mine eyes, that I may behold the wonders contained in his word t; and to open your ears so to hear them, and your heart so to embrace them, that every soul here present may be an eternal monument of Christ's being able to save to the uttermost, and may for ever live to receive the fruits of that intercession, which our blessed High-priest is ever living to make. Amen,
First, I am to consider what we are to understand by Christ's being able to save to the uttermost.
For clearing up this matter, I would only offer these three
“ That those, to whom he is proposed as a Saviour, are,
* Heb. ix. 7. & seq.
| Psal. cxix, 18.
at large, that in scripture, as well as in ordinary speech, to save and to deliver, are words of the same import. Jesus shall save his people from their sins *; and he Delivers us from the wrath to comet.
It is a most obvious remark, but so necessary, as not to be lightly dismissed, that The whole have no need of a physician, but they who are sicks; and the secure have no need of a Saviour, but they who are in danger. And as the apostle argues, that If Christ died for all; then were all deads, all were in a state of death, or they would not have needed such an expiatory sacrifice; so we may assure ourselves, that if Christ is to be offered to all as a Saviour, then were all in a state of ruin. And if he is Of God to be made unto us wisdon, und righteousness, and sanctification, and redemptionil, then are we without him destitute of all these, foolish and guilty, polluted and inslaved, condemned and perishing.
This is expressly asserted in a variety of scriptures, largely and laboriously proved in the three first chapters of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, and generally acknowledged by all who pretend to believe the gospel ; as indeed it must be, if they would not in the most notorious manner contradict themselves. Yet, alas, how little is it felt! We see it in the indolence of men's lives; we see it in the air of indifference with which the tidings of salvation are commonly received. The greater part of mankind are soothed into an insensibility of their danger; they are amused with the dreams of sensual pleasure, with the vain rovings of a gay imagination, and the fond expectation of a thousand satisfactions, which they never have found, and never will find in life. And hence it comes to pass, that they hear not the thunder of God's law, loud and dreadful as it is ; nor see the flaming sword of his vengeance, stretched out against them, and just ready to give them the mortal blow. And probably it is the case of several among you. Perhaps many of you may find, even on the most transient reflection, that you were never alarmed with a sense of your danger, nor saw yourselves perishing without a Saviour: But if it be so, give me leave to proclaim it aloud, with all the earnestness which is suited to a matter of life and death, that it is time, High time for you, immediately to awake out of sleeps; for you nod on the brink of a precipice, and there is but a hand's-breadth between you and eternal ruin.
In the name of God, Sirs, and as you love your own souls,
* Mat. i. 21.
+1 Thess. i. 10.
Mat. ix. 12.
Rom. xiii. 11.
rouse up your stupified senses, and open those drowsy eyes. Look into the holy law of God, and read over the records of conscience; and see the agreement, or rather the dreadful disagreement, and contrariety between them : Such a contrariety, that one wonld almost think, you imagined that the commands of God were given to tell you, what you should not do, rather than what you should ; and dare you imagine, that the eternal God, with all his almighty power, and all his unspotted holiness, will look with indifference on the violation of his law, merely because you have the boldness to violate it with indifference? Do you think he had no meaning, or that it was not a meaning full of terror, when he told the Israelites of old, that if they presumed thus to walk contrary to him, they should Be cursed in the city, and cursed in the field, cursed in the fruit of their body, and in the fruit of their ground, cursed in their coming in, and cursed in their going out *; nay, that A fire should be kindled in his anger, that should burn even unto the lowest hell; that should consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountainst ? Think you The scripture speaks in vaint, when it says such terrible things as these? Or will you say, these things were only spoken to the Jews of old? Can you imagine, that sins committed in the land of Canaan, some thousands of years ago, should provoke the eyes of God's holiness, and kindle the flames of his wrath ; and that he should wink at crimes committed in the present age, and in Britain ; while we have higher advantages to know our duty, and stronger engagements to perform it, than even that favourite nation of Israel had ? I appeal to your consciences, sinners, whether this thought has even the lightest degree of probability in it. And if it has not, then surely here is danger and horror, in all their most frightful forms. To see the drawn sword of an inexorable enemy, waved round your defenceless head or pointed at your naked breast ; or to see this building all in flames, and yourselves surrounded beyond a possibility of escape,
prospect to terminate there, were a danger at which a man might justly smile, and stand collected and composed, when compared with that into which sin has brought you, and in which the gospel finds you.
And it is a terrible aggravation, that without divine assistance this danger is inevitable. We can neither vindicate our conduct, nor atone for our offences ; we can neither avoid, nor endure the punishment, should God lay Justice to the line, and
* Deut. xxvüi, 16-19.
+ Deut, xxxii. 22.
| Jam. iv. 5.
righteousness to the plummet*. All our soul is enfeebled, and all our nature corrupted ; and he must be a great stranger to himself as well as to the rest of mankind, who will not acknowledge with the apostle, that when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for ust. This is apparently the doctrine of the gospel : and as the fore-runner of Christ made way for him, by declaring that men were by their sin in danger of the Wrath to come, and that the are of divine judgment was laid to the root of the treest; so I think it is our duty, as we tender the honour of our Redeemer, and the salvation of your souls, often to be reminding you of these things; and the words of the text so naturally imply them, that I am persuaded you cannot think them a digression.
. But I add, 2. When it is said, that Christ is able to save to the uttermost,
it must express “ a power of working out complete deliverance for his people.”
So some judicious commentators descant upon these words, and I think with a great deal of reason," he is able to save in the most perfect manner, so that nothing shall be wanting to complete the salvations." And this is a thought of so great importance to our joy and peace in believing, that I will farther illustrate it by the mention of various particulars, which are evidently comprehended in complete salvation. But I shall only touch on them now, because some of them are to be resumed at large under the second general.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is able “ completely to answer the demands of justice, and thereby to save us from the curse of the law.”-It was indeed impossible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins, but we may easily believe, that The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself a spotless sacrifice to God, should avail to that blessed purpose, and be accepted as an infinitely valuable and adequate satisfaction. Justly may we conclude, that the offended Deity is now rendered propitious, and that by faith in the Redeemer we may be Justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses**. Here is a door of hope opened, not only to those, who have escaped the grosser pollutions which are in the world through lust, and maintained a fair and honourable character for the decency and morality of their behaviour, but even for the Chief of sinners*. Iniquities that have been ds scarlet, may be made white as snow, and those that have been red as crimson, may be as woolt.
* Isa xxviii. 17.
Rom. v. 6.
* Mat. iii. 7, 10. § Ess to Woches Perfectè sive ad perfectam æternamque fælicitatem adducere. Estius. Prorsus, vel absolutissimè, ita ut nihil ad eam salutem possit amplius desiderari. Beza, in loc. | Heb. x. 4.
g Heb, ix, 14. ** Acts xü, 39.
The almighty power of Christ, as a Saviour, extends to the " sanctification of our natures,' as well as to the justification of our persons before God. For he is Made of God unto us, not only righteousness, but sanctification, in order to his being made complete redemptioni. When our own most vigorous efforts fail us, and prove too feeble to break those cords in sunder, by which we are naturally inslaved and disgraced ; when we find that to attempt a reformation of our corrupt habits and exorbitant passions, is but as if The Ethiopian should labour to change his skin, or the leopard his spotsg; by The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, we may be made free from the law of sin and deathl, and be formed by his grace to such a tenper, as may render our souls a delightful habitation for a holy God. As by his healing touch in the days of his flesh, he removed an inveterate leprosy, which no human methods of cure could reach; so can he diffuse purity and health throughout all the soul, if he put forth his gracious hand, and say, to the most polluted and degenerate creature, I will ; be thou clean. Again,
The Lord Jesus Christ is able to save his people, “ from all the artifice and power of the prince of darkness.”—If that crooked serpent attempt to insinuate himself into the hearts of Christ's people by the most artful methods, he can trace all his winding ways; and as All the treasures of divine wisdom are hid in hin**, he knows how to turn all the most wily practices of this experienced deceiver into his own confusion; to direct every laboured stratagem, and from the most dangerous snares to teach such useful lessons of holy prudence, as shall tend to the future security, as well as the immediate delirerance of his servants. Or should satan put on the form of a roaring lion, to throw their souls into a trembling horror, it shall appear in this respect as in others, that The Lion of the tribe of Judah prevailstt. He who has Spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly on the crossit, will still assert the conquest he has gained. And it shall appear,
# I Tim. i. 15.
f. Isa, i. 18.
11 Cor. i. 30.
Mat. vüi. 3. #1 Coł. ii, 15.