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it has been a hard struggle, and, for some time, I remember, it was continually forced into my mind, Curse God and die, and I kept on, for fear I should do so, saying, bless God, bless God, as fast as I could utter it.
How often have I wished, in that cruel bondage with poor Jonah, that I might die, saying it were better for me to die than live; for I thought damnation must be my portion, yet at times I felt a secret hope, that the Lord would have mercy upon me. I should judge I said these words of Hart's hundreds of times :
“ Law and terrors do but harden,
All the while they work alone;
Soon dissolves a heart of stone."
And making these words a prayer to the Lord :
“ Nothing but thy blood, O Jesus,
Can relieve me from my smart;
Nothing else can melt my heart.
And also the words of the psalmist : “Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people ; 0 visit me with thy salvation,” &c.
3rdly. We are the Lord's by the right of redemption; he being our near kinsman, yea, our next kinsman, therefore the right of redemption belonged to him, and to him only, for no man could redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, for the redemption of the soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever,
and it would have ceased in our experience, my beloved, had not our blessed kinsman Redeemer purchased our lost inheritance, which is sweetly set forth in the book of Ruth, in the character of Boaz, for we read he was a mighty man of wealth, and who so mighty in wealth as our spiritual Boaz; for all in heaven above, and earth beneath, are his. The gold and silver, and the cattle upon a thousand hills ; and all is ours in him : for, as the Apostle observes, “ For all things are yours; things present or things to come, all are yours. And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.” And this blessed Godman Mediator would not be in rest till he had accomplished all that concerned us: for we read, “ He rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth ; and his delights were with the sons of men.” And again : “ Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, mine ears hast thou opened (or digged); burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required.” “ Then said I, Lo! I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Our blessed Boaz not only redeemed our lost inheritance, but purchased our persons, both soul and body, as Boaz did Ruth; but a much higher price did our Jesus give for us; it has no more comparison than a drop to the ocean. Boaz purchased his wife with money, but our Boaz with his own heart's blood : which we have to consider in the next head of our text.
4thly. We are the purchase of his blood. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain
conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. We find the Apostle Paul, addressing the elders of the church of Ephesus, saith, “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. We have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being polluted from head to foot.” “There is no soundness in my bones,” saith one of old, “because of my sin," and surely we feel as the Psalmist describes it, “Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar ! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace; I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” Our mercy is, we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law of works? Nay: but by the law of faith; for surely we can do nothing to merit the favor of God, having
“ Basely sinned against his love,
Exception none can boast;
Will prize forgiveness most.”
“ But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life; but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement, giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” I now pass on to the next head.
5th]y. The conquest of his grace. “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Therefore, it is through no inherent holiness, or power of the creature, but of sovereign, free, eternal grace alone
“ Salvation's of God,
The effect of free grace,
Before the world was.”
Surely we, by nature, are far off from God, by wicked works, having no desire for God or the knowledge of his ways, seeing no form or comeliness in Christ whereby he is to be desired, appearing to us as a root out of a dry ground; but when he is pleased by sovereign grace and irresistible power to convince us that we are sinners, both by original sin and actual transgression, that he beholdeth the proud afar off, but giveth grace unto the humble, we then come to him by humble prayer and supplication, with, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” crying out, unclean, unclean, and feeling there is no soundness in us; and, like the poor woman, having spent all, done all that we could, having our wisdom baffled, our strength turned to weakness, our purposes frustrated, and all our supposed righteousness made to appear as filthy rags, we then come: “If I may but touch the hem of his garment I shall be made whole.” That poor soul then comes with a may be faith, and says: “Lord, if thou canst do anything, help us ;” sometimes saying, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief, remove it out of the way, dear Lord.” There is faith in the heart of that poor soul towards our Lord Jesus Christ, for he believes that he is, that is, he is God, and able to do what he has promised; and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him, and I really believe, that poor soul, of all others, is most afraid of his own heart, crying out with David : “Search me, O God, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, (discover it unto me,) and lead me in the way everlasting.” He is afraid there is some Achan in the camp, some lurking evil, feeling his heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and appeals to a heart-searching and rein-trying