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SERMON XCIII.....Dr. DEWITT.
SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE OF SAVING FAITH.
THE CONVICTION OF SINNERS AT THE JUDGMENT.
THE PROBABILITY OF PERDITION INZERRED FROM PRESENT IMPENITENCE.
LXXXII. Rev. DR. EDWARDS.
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1 JQAn, ii. 20.-But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know
This was said to a company of real Christians. They had united in a church, and covenanted to obey God. But in this church, as in perhaps every other, there were some who were Christians only in name. At the time the apostle wrote, they were assailed with dangerous errors, and some had actually apostatized. But the apostle, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, declared, that the persons who had apostatized never were real Christians. • They went out from us; but they were not of us. Had they been of us (that is, real Christians), no doubt they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Their apostacy, therefore, instead of proving that real Christians would ever apostatize, only proved that merely nominal Christians would ; while it was reasonable to expect, that real Christians would not; for, said he, “ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.'
An unction is a figurative expression, and refers to the manner in which the priests of old, and sometimes the prophets and kings, were set apart for their office. They were anointed with oil, in token of being endued with the Holy Spirit. The sign is here used for the thing signified: an unction, for the teaching of the Holy Ghost. Real Christians have this teaching : “Ye have an unction.” The effect is knowledge : “ and ye know all things." All things, in this place, means the things in question; the things about which the apostle was writing, and which he had before preached : the great truths of the Gospel.
The doctrine of the text then is, that REAL CHRISTIANS ARE TAUGHT BY THE Holy Ghost THE GREAT TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL.
This teaching consists, however, not in revealing to them these truths directly from heaven ; but in leading them rightly to apprehend, and suitably to
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feel the force of the truths as revealed in the Bible. He shows them, in the use of means, what the truths of the Bible are; and leads them to feel their force. Thus it is written, “ They shall be all taught of God.” 6. The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.”
I would now invite you to attend to this divine teaching ; and to witness its effects upon the hearts and lives of men.
I. God has revealed, that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;" that “the carnal mind is enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed can be.”
This truth is doubted by some, by others is denied; but the Holy Ghost teaches real Christians that it is a fact. By being made acquainted with themselves, they are convinced that their hearts were deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; that they were carnal, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed could be, while they continued in that state. They have found that they loved themselves and the world more than God; and by comparing this with his requirement, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” they have found, that it was enmity against him. It was serving the ereature; and they could not serve two masters. They must "love the one, and hate the other; or hold to the one and despise the other;" they could not serve God and mammon." And when they found, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, that they did serve one, they felt that they were in fact opposed to the other. Hence, instead of boasting of the goodness of their own hearts, or the moral excellence of human nature; they cried, “ Wo is me, I am undone." They were, in their own view, as they were in the view of God, lost. And when He who came to seek and to save, was seen dying for all, they felt that “all were dead.” They feel so still. The doctrine of human depravity, as revealed in the Bible, appears to them a reality; and it appears to be as universal and entire, as God represents.
II. God has revealed that this is a state of guilt and of ruin. “ Thou hast destroyed thyself.” “ The wages of sin death." “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” This is also doubted by some, and by others is denied. But the Holy Ghost teaches real Christians, that they have “ loved darkness rather than light;" that their deeds have been evil; that they have sinned against heaven and before God. They feel that they deserve to perish; and that unless they are, through grace, delivered from sin, they must perish. Hence, instead of crying, Peace, peace, and trying to cast the blame of their wickedness upon Adam, or upon God, they take it to themselves; and they feel that it belongs to them. • Father, I have sinned.” Lord, I am vile." " Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.”
III. God has revealed, that without a change, a great moral change, which he calls “ being born again,” no man can be saved. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” Real Christians know this also to be a fact. The Holy Ghost, by means of the truth, has given them such a view of themselves and of God, that they no longer marvel that men must be born again. “ 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Men have carnal minds, which are “ enmity against God.” And what can enmity against God do in heaven? Into that place entereth “ nothing that defileth.” But