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fury it upheld me,” Isa. Ixiii. 3, 5. “ Is Christ divided ? Was Paul crucified for you?" &c. 1 Cor. i. 13. This work of bearing sin, as a surety for sinners, was so inconceivably great, that I am very bold in affirming, that had the virgin Mary, that capital idol of the Romish synagogue, with all the other saints whom the papists join with her as coadjutors or fellow-helpers to make her mediation and intercession in heaven the more successful, joined with her in lying under the weight of the sins of God's elect, it would have sunk her, and them too, into the nethermost hell; yea, and all the angels in heaven, had they been under that load.
It never yet belonged to any to be a mediator of intercession but to him that was a mediator of redemption. These two constitutive parts of a complete mediator must never be parted: they are both in Christ, and in none other in heaven or earth, Isa. liii. 12, with the scriptures already quoted. To which I add a third reason, viz. Because neither the virgin Mary, nor any other saints or angels, were ever nominated or appointed to that high and most sacred office by God the Father. This is Christ's right, excluding all others, and that by the privilege of his birth; “ I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee,” &c. Psal. ii. 7,.8... To this great office he was anointed and set apart by the declared and sacred oath of him who cannot lie
or change; “The Lord hath sworn, and will not re-pent; thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek,” Psal. cx. 4. Neither of these things can be said of the virgin Mary, or any mere creature, without horrid lying and blasphemy against the glorious and ever-blessed Trinity.
Branch the Second. Learn hence how near a-kin to popery such be, who, notwithstanding they declare against popery, lay the stress of their hope of obtaining any mercy on their own worse than threadbare performances.
Such persons sacrifice to their own drag, Hab. i. 16. Their own deep humiliations, their
prayers, their fastings, their alms deeds, something of their own qualifications, must claim the honour of
procuring the favour and kindness God shews them; or at least be brought in collaterally with Christ's merits, as the procuring cause of the mercy they receive. How do these kind of professors extol and advance the honour and dignity of the Lord Jesus Christ!
These, instead of running to shelter themselves under the shadow of this apple tree, namely, the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ, run to the false covering of their own qualifications, ascribing their success unto them, not to Christ. How little differing from downright papists are these ? Isa. XXX. 1.
O how hard a thing is self-denial! for a man to do duty, and not to trust to it! for a Christian
to be all in Christ, and nothing in himself, in point of merit and trust, to obtain the good he wants !
These are as great strangers to the grace of the gospel, and will in the end be found as far from the kingdom of heaven as those papists from whom they separate; being no better than those foolish virgins in Matt. xxv, who, for want of the oil of grace in their hearts, were shut out of heaven. He that is a christian in truth, as he devolves the whole concerns of his life and salvation on the Lord Jesus Christ, to be secured by him alone, and in his own way; so he ascribes the praise of every blessing he receives, for soul and body, to Christ the Son of God, not excluding God the Father and the Holy Ghost. Such a soul knows it to be high sacrilege to ascribe any part of the praise of his salvation to any but God.
" Not unto' us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name, give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake,” Psal. cxv. l. “ For my name's sake will I defer mine anger; and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off," Isa. xlviii. 9. “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel! Ezek. xxxvi. 32. To which I will only add that of our Saviour: “So likewise ye, when ye have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do,” Luke xvii, 10. In the scriptures now quoted it is most plain and con
spicuous to any who are not either judicially or wilfully blind, that all occasion is taken away from saved sinners of ever boasting of any worth or goodness of their own in the sight of a holy God, Ephes. ii. 9.
Branch the Third. See and learn hence what little cause or reason any true believers have to be dismayed or discouraged at any difficulties which lie in their way of duty to God.
He who sits, by faith and humble dependance, under the shadow of this Almighty Redeemer and all-sufficient Saviour, needs not fear though all the world were up in arms against him: for most certain it is, the word of God and rooted experience assure me of it, that Christ will either blast and confound all the crafty policy and strength of the believer's enemies, that they shall not be able to touch him so as to spoil him; or else he will endue the believer with an heroic spirit of fortitude and heavenly courage, whereby he shall be enabled to suffer patiently and constantly for the cause of God; which is unspeakably better, and every way more eligible, to that believer who would give an evidence of his faith in, and his love to, the person and cause of his beloved Jesus; “ I, even I, am he that comforteth you. Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die; and the son of man that shall be made as the grass ?” Isa. li. 12. “ Fear not, for I have redeemed thee: I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passeth through the
waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee,” Isa. xliii. 2, 3.
Branch the Fourth. Learn hence the reason why the most potent and subtle adversaries of true believers are not able to prevail against them so as to ruin them. Evey sound believer who sits under the shadow of Christ is built upon that rock which can neither be moved by the blast of the most raging persecutors' threats and accusations, nor yet pierced by the most poisoned arrows their envy and malice can shoot at him.
The storms may blow, and the waters of all kind of afflictions may flow at such a boisterous rate, as may cause all beholders, yea, the believer himself, to think and conclude that God is become his enemy, and that his utter overthrow is designed by God; and yet the believer shall be safe, and come off victor and conqueror at last.
A right, sound-hearted believer, when surrounded with the billows and waves of the most amazing tribulations, may be likened to Noah's ark. Though he may be edged in with afflictions as the ark was with water, both from below and from above at the same time, yet shall he be kept from sinking, as the ark was. “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace," Psal. xxxvii. 37. Of the true believer it is said, “He that toucheth you, toucheth