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he comes in glory, with his holy angels. He will speak to us in language that will cause our hearts to exult with joy through the boundless ages of eternity; "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the king"dom prepared for you from the foundation of the "world."

SERMON XV.

On the Salvation offered in the Gospel.

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PHILIPPIANS ii. 12, 18..

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: for it is · God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

THE Holy Scriptures universally represent faith as the source of every Christian virtue, and ascribe all sorts of wickedness to an evil heart of unbelief. Were we thoroughly convinced that the awful doctrines of divine revelation are true, this conviction must necessarily have a powerful influence upon our behaviour. If we sincerely believe that man is now in a fallen, degenerate condition; that the Son of God, with unparalleled condescension and love, came to redeem him from this state of sin and misery; that our existence in this transitory world is only preparatory to an unchangeable eternity; that we are accountable and immortal creatures; and that all the present dispensations of Providence have respect to our future welfare-if we heartily believe these momentous truths, will not the natural consequence be, that in every stage of our

Christian progress we shall walk circumspectly, and make it the great business of life to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?

The heedlessness of thought, and dissipation of manners, which so generally prevail among nominal Christians, must be, to every truly considerate person, matter of equal surprise and concern. Is it, indeed, true that we are animated by immortal souls? Do heedless sinners run upon the brink of a precipice, where the first false step which they make may plunge them into everlasting misery? Is it necessary even for the Christian who thinks he stands in the utmost security, to be continually admonished to take heed lest he fall? Surely, then, the injunction of the holy apostle cannot be too frequently inculcated-" with "fear and trembling, work out the salvation of your "immortal souls."

The words of the text naturally lead our attention to four very important inquiries.

I. The nature of that salvation which is offered to us in the Gospel;

II. In what sense it may be said, that it is to be worked out by us;

III. The disposition of mind with which this work

is to be performed-" with fear and trembling;" IV. The encouragement which we have to proceed

with alacrity under all difficulties and dangers, since God worketh in us both to will and to do. The Gospel of our blessed Redeemer provides the means of salvation from all the sad effects of the original transgression of the divine law.

1. It offers to save us from ignorance, by affording the most clear and comprehensive precepts with respect

to our duty in this world, and the most positive declarations relative to our destination in a future state of existence. Christ is, therefore, with the utmost propriety, called "a Light to lighten the Gentiles;" and with equal reason it is said, "that life and immortality "were brought to light by the Gospel."

2. This wonderful scheme of mercy proposes to save us from the dreadful penalty which was denounced against sin. The justice of God demanded satisfaction for his violated law. The Redeemer of sinners interposed, and satisfied every demand. He offered an adequate atonement for the sins of mankind. He became an effectual Mediator between a holy God and his polluted creatures. So that we may now exclaim with exulting hearts, "Who is he that con"demneth? The curse of the law is now taken away: "its condemning power is destroyed by being nailed "to the cross. Through the atoning blood of Christ, "we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins."

3. The salvation offered in the Gospel was designed to rescue us from the tyrannical power of sin. This grace of God teacheth us to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts; not to permit sin any longer to have dominion over us, but to become a holy nation, a peculiar people unto God. He who nameth the name of Christ, is most indispensably required to depart from iniquity.

4. But, the salvation which is now proposed to our hopes and wishes, is not confined to the narrow limits of this mortal life. It is extended to the world of spirits; to the regions of immortality: it looks forward to eternity. It is a salvation from misery, represented in Scripture under images the most alarming to human VOL. II.

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nature; from the worm that never dies, and the fire that is never quenched; from the unutterable wretchedness that is prepared for the devil and his angels. Well, therefore, is it called by the apostle, a great salvation; and, of infinite moment is the question, "How shall we escape if we neglect it"-how shall we escape the just imputation of folly, ingratitude, and presumption? But this leads us to inquire in the

Second place, in what sense it may be said to be "worked out by us." And here, a necessary distinction is to be made between the terms redemption and salvation. All mankind have been redeemed by the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ. He has tasted death for every man: he has paid a ransom for all. But, although our redemption is accomplished, our final salvation is suspended on certain conditions. Sufficient provision has been made to save us from ignorance. But still, we may refuse to receive instruction; wisdom may utter her voice in the streets, and the simple ones may nevertheless love simplicity; we may set at nought the wisest counsel of God.

Through the intercession of Jesus Christ, repentance and remission of sins are now to be preached to all people. But if impious transgressors harden their hearts in iniquity, the atonement is of no avail to them. The burden of guilt remains. They refuse to repent; and, consequently, their iniquities are not forgiven. The grace of God is sufficient for us. The aid of his Holy Spirit is freely offered, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But, if we do despite to his holy suggestions, we shall not escape from the pollutions of this wicked world.

We are now in a state of probation, where it is

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