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were exerted to the highest pitch, for now you ur case required it: but you found all your most vus endeavors insufficient, and you were sensible without the assistance of a superior power, the k of religion could never be effected. Now you were reduced very low indeed. While you magined you could render yourselves safe by a reformation in your own power, you were not much alarmed at your condition, though you saw it bad. But 0! to feel yourselves dead in sin, and that you cannot help yourselves; to see yourselves in a state of condemnation, liable to execution every moment, and yet to find all your own endeavors utterly insufficient to relieve you; to be obliged, after all you had done, to lie at mercy, and confess that you were as deserving of everlasting punishment as ever the most notorious criminal was of the stroke of public justice ; this was a state of extreme dejection, terror, and anxiety indeed. The proud, selfconfident creature was never thoroughly mortified and humbled till now, when he is slain by the law, and entirely cut off from all hopes from himself.

And now, finding you could not save yourselves, you began to cast about you, and look out for another to save you: now you were more sensible than ever of the absolute need of Jesus; and you cried and reached after him, and stirred up yourselves to take hold of him. The gospel brought the free offer of him to your ears, and you would fain have accepted of him ; but here new difficulties arose. Alas! you did not think yourselves good enough to accept of him, and hence you took a great deal of fruitless pains to make yourselves better: you also found your hearts strangely averse to the gospelmethod of salvation, and, though a sense of your necessity made you try to work up yourselves to an approbation of it, yet you could not affectionately acquiesce in it, and cordially relish it.

And now, how melancholy was your situation! You were “shut up to the faith ; " Gal. iii. 23; there was no other possible way of escape, and yet, alas! you could not take this way: now you were ready to cry,

“I am cut off; my strength and my hope are perished from the Lord;” but, blessed be God, he did not leave you in this condition. Man's extremity of distress is

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the religion with which multitudes are' contented : with this they obtain a name that they live; but in the sight of God, and in reality, they are dead; and had you been suffered to rest here, according to your own desire, you would have been dead still.

But God, who is rich (O how inconceivably rich!) in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved you, resolved to carry on his work in you; and therefore, while you were flattering yourselves, and elated with a proud conceit of a happy change in your condition, he surprised you with a very different view of your case; he opened your eyes farther, and then you saw, you felt those things of which, till then, you had but little sense or apprehension ; such as the corruption of your hearts, the awful strictness of the divine law, your utter inability to yield perfect obedience, and the necessity of an inward change of the inclinations and relishes of your soul. These, and a great many other things of a like nature, broke in upon your minds with striking evidence and a kind of almighty energy; and now you saw you were still " dead in sin,” weak, indisposed, averse towards spiritual things, and “dead in law," condemned to everlasting death and misery by its righteous sentence: now you set about the duties of religion with more earnest. ness than ever ; now you prayed, you heard, and used the other means of grace as for your life, for you saw that your eternal life was indeed at stake; and now, when you put the matter to a thorough trial, you were more sensible than ever of your own weakness, and the difficulties in your way. “0! who would have thought my heart had been so depraved that it should thus fly off from God, and struggle, and reluctate against returning to him ?” Such was then your language. Alas! you found yourselves quite helpless, and all your efforts feeble and ineffectual : then you perceived yourselves really dead in sin, and that you must continue so to all eternity, unless quickened by a power infinitely superior to your own: not that you lay slothful and inactive at this time; no, never did you exert yourselves so vigorously in all your life, never did you besiege the throne of grace with such earnest importunity, never did you hear and read with such eager attention, or make such a vigorous resistance against sin and temptation: all your natural

powers were exerted to the highest pitch, for now you saw your case required it: but

you found all your most vigorous endeavors insufficient, and you were sensible that, without the assistance of a superior power, the work of religion could never be effected. Now you were reduced very low indeed. While

you imagined you could render yourselves safe by a reformation in your own power, you were not much alarmed at your condition, though you saw it bad. But O! to feel yourselves dead in sin, and that you cannot help yourselves; to see yourselves in a state of condemnation, liable to execution every moment, and yet to find all your own endeavors utterly insufficient to relieve you; to be obliged, after all you had done, to lie at mercy, and confess that you were as deserving of everlasting punishment as ever the most notorious criminal was of the stroke of public justice ; this was a state of extreme dejection, terror, and anxiety indeed. The proud, selfconfident creature was never thoroughly mortified and humbled till now, when he is slain by the law, and entirely cut off from all hopes from himself.

And now, finding you could not save yourselves, you began to cast about you, and look out for another to save you: now you were more sensible than ever of the absolute need of Jesus; and you cried and reached after him, and stirred up yourselves to take hold of him. The gospel brought the free offer of him to your ears, and you would fain have accepted of him; but here new difficulties arose. Alas! you did not think yourselves good enough to accept of him, and hence you took a great deal of fruitless pains to make yourselves better: you also found your hearts strangely averse to the gospelmethod of salvation, and, though a sense of your necessity made you try to work up yourselves to an approbation of it, yet you could not affectionately acquiesce in it, and cordially relish it.

And now, how melancholy, was your situation! You were shut

up to the faith ; Gal. iii. 23; there was no other possible way of escape, and yet, alas! you could

, not take this way: now you were ready to cry,

“I am cut off; my strength and my hope are perished from the Lord;” but, blessed be God, he did not leave you in this condition.

Man's extremity of distress is

God's opportunity for relief and salvation; and so you found it.

Now the process of preparatory operations is just come to a result. Now it is time for God to work, for nature has done her utmost, and has been found utterly insufficient; now it is proper a divine supernatural principle should be infused, for all the principles of nature have failed, and the proud sinner is obliged to own it, and stand still, and see the salvation of God. In this situation you wanted nothing but such a divine principle to make you living Christians indeed. These preparatives were like the taking away the stone from the sepulchre of Lazarus, which was a prelude of that almighty voice which called him from the dead. Now you appear to me like the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision in one stage of the operation. After there had been a noise, and a shaking among them, and the bones had come together, bone to his bone; I beheld, says he, and lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above ; but there was no breath in them ; Ezek. xxxvi. 8; this was all that was wanting to make them living men. In like manner you, at this time, had the external appearance of Christians, but you had no divine supernatural life in you; you were but the fair carcasses of Christians; your religion had a body completely formed, but it had no soul in it; and, had the holy Spirit now given over his work, you would have continued dead still.

But now the important crisis is come, when he who stood over the grave of Lazarus, and pronounced the life-restoring mandate, Lazarus, come forth! when he who breathed into Adam the breath of life, and made him a living soul; I say, now the crisis is come, when he will implant the principles of life in your souls; suddenly you feel the amazing change, and find you are acting from principles entirely new to you; for now your hearts that were wont to reluctate, and start back from God, rise to him with the strongest aspirations : now the way of salvation through Christ, which you could never relish before, appears all amiable and glorious, and captivates your whole souls. Holiness has lovely and powerful charms, which captivate you to the most wil. Jing obedience, notwithstanding your former disgust to it; and, though once you were enamored with sin, or

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disliked it only because you could not indulge it with impunity, it now appears to you a mere mass of corruption and deformity, an abominable thing, which you hate above all other things on earth or in hell. At this juncture you were animated with a new life in every faculty of your souls, and hereupon you felt the instincts, the appetites, the sympathies and antipathies of a new life, a divine life, justly styled by the apostle the life of God; the life of God in the soul of man. The pulse of sacred passions began to beat towards spiritual objects; the vital warmth of love spread itself through your whole frame ; you breathed out your desires and prayers before God; like a new-born infant you began to cry after him, and at times you have learned to lisp his name with filial endearment, and cry Abba Father ; you hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and as every kind of life must have its proper nourishment, so your spiritual life fed upon Christ, the living bread, and the sincere milk of his word. You also felt a new set of sensations; divine things now made deep and tender impressions upon you; the great realities of religion and eternity now affected you in a manner unknown before; you likewise found your souls actuated with life and vigor in the service of God, and in the duties you owed to mankind. This strange alteration no doubt filled

you with surprise and amazement, something like that of Adam when he found himself start into life out of his eternal non-existence. With these new sensations everything appeared to you in a quite different light, and you could not but wonder that

you had never perceived them in that manner before.

Thus, my dear brethren, when you were even dead in sin, God quickened you together with Christ. It is true, the principle of life might be very weak at first, like the life of a new-born infant, or a fætus just animated in the womb; nay, it may be but very weak still, and at times

; may languish, and seem just expiring in the agonies of death ; but, blessed be the quickening Spirit of Christ, since the happy hour of your resurrection you have never been, and you never will be to all eternity, what you once were,

“dead in trespasses and sins." Should I give you your own history since that time, it would be to this purpose, and you will discern many symptoms of

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