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his blood, and the Spirit of God bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. Faith, therefore, is still the root of all, of present as well as future salvation. Still we must say to every sinner, "Relieve in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved:" thou shalt be saved now, that thou mayest be saved for ever; saved on earth, that thou mayest be saved in heaven. Believe in Him, and thy faith will work by love. Thou wilt love the Lord thy God, because he hath loved thee: thou will love thy neighbour as thyself: And then it will be thy glory and joy, to exert and increase this love; not barely by abstaining from what is contrary thereto, from every unkind thought, word, and action, but by showing all that kindness to every man, which thou wouklest he should show unto thee.
UPON OUR LORD S SERMON ON THE
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad
is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there
be which go thereat: "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matt. vii.
1. Our Lord, having warned us of the dangers which easily beset us at our first entrance upon real Religion, the liinderances which naturally arise from within, from the wickedness of our own hearts; now proceeds to apprise us of the hinderances from without, particularly ill example and ill advice. By one or the other of these, thousands, who once ran well, have drawn back unto perdition ;—yea, many of those who were not novice3 in religion, who had made some progress in righteousness. His caution, therefore, against these he presses upon us with all possible earnestness, and repeats again and again, in variety of expressions, lest by any means we should let it slip. Thus, effectually to guard us against the former, " Enter ye in," saith he,/'at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it:" To secure us from the latter, "Beware," saith he, "of false Prophets." We shall, at present, consider the former only.
2. "Enter ye in," saith our blessed Lord, "at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
3. In these words we may observe, First, The inseparable Properties of the Way to Hell: "Wide is the gate, broad the way, that leadcth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: " Secondly, The inseparable Properties of the Way to Heaven : " Strait is that gate, and few there be that find it:" Thirdly, A serious Exhortation grounded thereon, " Enter ye in at the strait gate."
1. 1. We may observCj First, the inseparable Properties of the Way to Hell: " Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."
2. Wide indeed is the gate, and broad the way, that leadeth to destruction! For sin is the gate of hell, and wickedness the way to destruction. And how wide a gate is that of sin! How broad is the way of wickedness! The " commandment" of God "is exceeding broad ;" as extending not only to all our actions, but to every word which goeth out of our lips, yea, every thought that rises in our heart. And sin is equally broad with the commandment, seeing any breach of flic commandment is sin. Yea, rather, it is a thousand times broader; since there is only one way of keeping the commandment; for we do not properly keep it, unless both the thing done, th» manner of doing it, and all the other circumstances are light: but there are a thousand ways of breaking every commandment; so that this gate is wide indeed.
3. To consider this a little more particularly: How wide do those parent-sins extend, from which all the rest derive their being ;—that carnal mind which is enmity against God, pride of heart, self-will, and love of the world! Can we fix any bounds to them? Do they not diffuse themselves through all our thoughts, and mingle with all our tempers? Are they not the leaven which leavens, more or less, the whole mass of our affections? May we not, on a close and faithful examination of ourselves, perceive these roots of bitterness continually springing up. infecting all our words, and tainting all our actions? And how innumerable an offspring do they bring forth, in every age and nation! Even enough to cover the whole earth with darkness and cruel habitations.
4. O who is able to reckon up their accursed fruits; to count all the sins, whether against God or our neighbour, not which imagination might paint, but which may be matter of daily melancholy experience? Nor need we. range over all the earth to find them. Survey any one kingdom, any single country, or city, or town; and how plenteous is this harvest! And let it not be one of those which arc still overspread with Mahometan or Pagan darkness; but of thdse which name the name of Christ, which profess to see the light of his glorious Gospel. Go no farther than the kingdom to which we belong, the city wherein we are now. We call ourselves Christians; yea, and that of the purest sort: we are Protestants; Reformed Christians! But, alas! who shall carry on the reformation of our opinions into our hearts and lives? Is there not a cause? For how innumerable are our sins;—and those of the deepest dye f Do not the grossest abominations, of every kind, abound among us from day to day? Do not sins of every sort cover the land, as the waters cover the sea? Who can count them? Rather go and count the drops of rain, or the sands on the seashore. So " wide is the gate," so "broad is the way, that lcadeth to destruction."
5. "And many there be who go in at" that gate; many who walk in that way;—almost as many as go in at the gate of death, as sink into the chambers of the grave. For it cannot be denied, (though neither can we acknowledge it but with shame and sorrow of heart,) that even in this, which is called a Christian country, the generality of every age and sex, of every profession and employment, of every rank and degree, high ant] low, rich and poor, are walking in the way of destruction. The far greater part of the inhabitants of this city, to this day, live in sin; in some palpable, habitual, known transgression of the law they profess to observe; yea, in some outward transgression, some gross, visible kind of ungodliness or unrighteousness, some open violation of their duty, either to God or man. These then, none can deny, are all in the way that lcadeth to destruction. Add to these, those who have a name indeed that they live, but were never yet alive to God; those that outwardly appear fair to men, but are inwardly full of all uncieanncss; full of pride, or vanity; of anger, or revenge; of ambition, or covetousness; lovers of themselves, lovers -of the world, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. These, indeed, may be highly esteemed of men; but they are an abomination to the Lord. And how greatly will these saints of the world swell the number of the children of hell! Yea, add all, whatever they be in other respects, whether U»ey have more or less of the form of godliness, who " being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness" as the ground of their reconciliation to God and acceptance with him, of consequence have noC "submitted themselves unto the righteousness which is of God" by faith. Now, all these things joined together in one,
how terribly true is our Lord's assertion, " Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadcth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat!"
6. Nor does this only concern the vulgar herd,—the poor, base, stupid part of mankind. Men of eminence in the world, men who have many fields and yoke of oxen, do not desire to be excused from this. On the contrary, "many wise men after the flesh," according to the human methods of judging, "many mighty," in power, in courage, in riches, many " noble are called ; " called into the broad way, by the world, the flesh, and the Devil; and they are not disobedient to that calling. Yea, the higher they are raised in fortune and power, the deeper do they sink into wickedness. The more blessings they have received from God, the more sins do they commit; using their honour or riches, their learning or wisdom, not as means of working out their salvation, but rather of excelling in vice, and so insuring their own destruction!
II. 1. And the very reason why many of these go on so securely in the broad way, is, because it is broad; not considering that this is the inseparable property of the way to destruction. "Many there be," saith our Lord, "which go in thereat;" for the very reason why they should flee from it; even " because strait is the gate, and narrow the way, that leadcth unto life, and few there be that find it."
2. This is an inseparable property of the Way to Heaven. So narrow is the way that lcadeth unto life, unto life everlasting,—so strait the gate,—that nothing unclean, nothing unholy, can enter. No sinner can pass through that gate, until he is saved from all his sins. Not only from his outward sins; from his evil "conversation received by tradition from his fathers." It will not suffice, that he haul) " ceased to do evil," and " learned to do wi ll : " he must not only be saved from all sinful actions, and from all evil and useless discourse; but inwardly c hanged, thoroughly renewed in the spirit of his mind: otherwise he cannot pass through the gate of life, he cannot enter into glory.
3. For, "narrow is the way that leadcth unto life;" the way of universal holiness. Narrow indeed is the way of poverty of spirit ; the way of holy mourning; I iie way of meekness; and that of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Narrow is the way of mercifulness; of love unfeigned; the way of purity of heart; of doing good unto all men; and of gladly suffering evil, all manner of evil, for righteousness' sake.
1. " And few there be that lind it." Alas! How few