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ful state than they that think it is better with them: for it is not a thorough awakening, if the person thinks that awakening to be enough. Such people should take heed of this sin, lest they frustrate the grace of God : for there are two things that they are especially endangered by.
[1.] By the force of this conviction they set about duty, and that pretty warmly; and these are lovely things in the eyes of poor creatures that never knew before what praying and reading the word of God were; but when once their consciences come to be awakened, they begin to get alone, and cry to the Lord. Now, when the soul is in this case, it had peed take great heed of this sin of frustrating the grace of God. How many poor awakened sinners are there that have made a pillow to sleep to hell upon with their own duties and performances, as if it were by the righteousness of the law ! And thus they do not submit to the righteousness of God in Christ, nor do they attain to the rest that remains for the people of God. Rom. x. 3. Heb. iv. 9.
[2.] If they do not sit down upon their duties, then, on the other hand, they are ape to be quite discouraged, and to give up all for lost. An awakened conscience, if it be thoroughly awakened, is upon the point of despair; and the point of despair is the point of ruin, or the point of salvation, as God pleases to issue it. It is the turning point.--When the poor sinner's conscience is awakened to see its lost and undone condition, in that case he is just on the point of winning or losing for evermore. If the man hearkens to God, and gives glory to his grace, by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, the bargain is made for evermore: but if the poor sinner turns aside, and stops in any thing short of this, then either the disease grows greater, or else a hardness comes in the room of it, that is worse than the disease itself. That is the first exhortation :--Have a great care of this sin of frustrating the grace of God.---And, to that end,
(2.) Give the grace of God a hearty welcome. There is .no other way to prevent the sin of frustrating the grace of God, but by receiving and welcoming it. Welcome the grace of God for your work : but not for the devil's work. A! God's work, that which God craves of you ; all that you
may give to the grace of God to do for you ; all the work that you have to do with God, that you may give to the grace of God to do for you ; only do not set the grice of God to do the devil's wo:k, that is sinning ; turning the grace
of God into wantonness. The grace of God will do every thing for us, but the devil's work. And, if I may so say, he hath a great deal of the spirit of the devil in him; that will give so precious a thing as the grace of Goci to do the devil's work. Aye, but how shall we receive the grace of God ? I answer, three ways. 1st, Doubt not your need of it. 2dly, Do not delay your accepting it. 3dly, Do not question your title to it.
(1.) Doubt not your need of it. If the Lord hath a mind to save you, I know very well there will be no great need of this caution. Every sinner that God saves effectually, is' a person that not only thinks he is needy of the grace of God, but he thinks he is more needy of it than any body else in the world ; that if there was any such man in the world, that could be saved without grace, he was the farthest from such a one : that if there was any man in the world that needed more grace than ordinary, he was the man.
(2.) Do not delay your accepting of grace whensoever it is Tevealed to you. Whensoever you have the offer of the grace of God, whensoever you are about the means of grace,
labour to get this grace itself, Heb. iii. 7. Therefore the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts You may not hear his voice to-morrow; hardness of heart grows mightily by delays.
(3.) Do not question your title to it. I mean this, make no doubt but that it is as lawful and as allowable in God's sight for you to lay hold on the saving grace of God, as ever it any sinner in the world. I do not mean that
graceless people shoull presently think that they have a title to the grace of God; for no man hath a title to it till he receives it. But this I say, the offer of the grace of God, in the gospel, gives fair warning and liberty for every one to embrace it. He that will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17. And that which is thus freely offered, and freely given, should be thankfully welcomed, and thankfully received, when it is enjoyed.
Gal. ii. 21.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righledusness come by
the law, then Christ is dead in vain. WHEN I first entered on these words, I told you what the scope of the apostle was in this epistle: he is here bringing forth arguments against that error that the Galatian churches were plagued with; and arguments for that truth of the gospel that he had planted amongst them, and taught them : the truth was this, That the righteousness of a sinner for justification was only in Christ. The error of the Galatians lay in this, That something of the righteousness of the law was to be 'mixed therewith. My text contains two arguments against this error, drawn from a common natural head of arguing against error, by the absurdities that necessarily flow from it. Now there are two grand absurdities that flow from this doctrine of the law in point of justification.- 1st, That it frustrates the grace of God.--2dly, That it makes Christ's death to be in vain: and two more abominable things cannot be well thought of; and people have great need to fear, and to take heed of any doctrine that hath any tendency to either of them. The first of these the apostle expresses in his own person; I do not frustrate the grace of God. And here he speaks like a believer, and not like a minister nor an apostle ; so he discourses from ver. 16. speaking of himself and the rest of the godly, like ordinary believers, that betook themselves to this way of relief by Christ's righteousness alone. I proposed four observations to speak to.
• Ist, That the grace of God shines gloriously in the justifying of a sinner through the righteousness of Christ: and this I have spoke to.
2dly, That frustrating the grace of God is a great and horrible sin; for so it is expressed by the apostle, I do not frustrate the grace of God. As if he should have said, “ Blessed « be God, I am not in that road; I am not one that frustrates
“ the grace of God; I am saved by it.” How the grace of God is frustrated, and how great the sin is, I spoke to the last day. The revelation of the grace of God, and the tender of it, and the urging of it, may be frustrated, and is by many : but the grace itself, in its powerful conveyance by the Holy Ghost on the hearts of men, always reaches its end. The grace of God is irresistible in its closest powerful application : this I also spoke to; and would only add a word or two further about the greatness of this sin of seeking righteousness by the law, and thereby frustrating the grace of God.
(1.) This is a sin that but few in the world can commit. The greatest part of them that go to hell cannot commit this sin; they never frustrated the
of God. Indeed all that are finally guilty of it go to hell; but all that go to hell are not guilty of this sin. The greatest part of the world never frustrated the grace of God, for they never heard of it; and, therefore, our Lord pronounces a Woe against Capernaum, against Chorazin and Bethsaida, and tells them that they were in a worse case than Sodom and Gomorrah, than Tyre and Sidon, Matt. xi. 21, &c. because the grace of God was never offered them as it was to the others.--Sirs, let me tell you, the worst quarters in hell are for those persons that are nearest to Christ, and yet not inhim by faith; of all sinners such drop deepest into the pit.
(2.) The devils are not guilty of this sin. There is not a devil in hell, nor out of it, that is so guilty of this sin of frustrating the grace of God, as thousands of professors in London are. The devils are haters of the grace of God; but the
grace of God was never tendered to them: they only hate the grace of God as it is tendered to men, and envy it; but the grace of God was never offered to the devils. The way of preserving the holy angels, and the way of justice to the damned spirits, proclaim greatly the wonderful privilege that we have in the gospel. The holy angels are kept, and they received grace, for the election of grace fell on them : they are called the elect angels.
When that great apostacy was in the upper house, all the reprobate angels, fell of their own accord, and all the elect ang Is stood: and that election of grace towards angels ran through Jesus Christ, who was to
be their preserving head. There is something that looks like this in the word of God.
But recovering grace to angels was never given ; the angels that stood had preserving grace given them, to keep them in their first station, but the angels that fell had no recovering grace given them. Christ took not on him, saith the apostle, the nature of angels, but was born of the seed of Abraham. And thence it came to pass, that the devils themselves are not guilty of this sin of frustrating the grace of God. Surely then people had need to take great heed that they be not guilty of a worse sin than that which the devils can commit. There is no creature that hath frustrated the grace of God, but that creature that hath the offer of the grace of God.
(3.) Frustrating the grace of God is a sin that none that are in hell are guilty of. All that are finally guilty of it on earth are sent to hell, but none that are in hell are guilty of it; for when once that last sentence is executed upon
them, the door of
and mercy is for ever shut upon them. So that it is the gospel-sinner only who can frustrate the grace of God, who is guilty of that sin; and that but a small part of the world are guilty of it; that the devils in hell are not guilty of it, that all the damned in hell are not guilty of it, though they rage and roar, and blaspheme; and all sorts of wickedness we may well conclude to be in their miserable state; but frustrating the grace of God is a sin not to be found in hell, because grace enters not there.-So much shall serve for this second point of doctrine, That it is a horrible sin to frustrate the grace of God. I come now to speak to the next doctrine.
3dly, To seek righteousness by the works of the law, is to frustrate the grace of God: for this is the scope of the apostle's argument. It is to shew that there is no righteousness to be had by the law : and this is one argument that he proves it by, I do not, saith he, frustrate the grace of God. It is, as if he should have said, “ If I sought righteousness by the « works of the law, I should frustrate the grace of God; but “I do not seek righteousness by the law, for I am dead to the « law, and therefore I do not frustrate the grace of God." There are two things under this doctrine that I would speak