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November, one thousand seven hundred and three, thirty-three years ago: On the account of which, a day of humiliation was appointed by public authority, January the nineteenth following. It is not easy to say, what disasters and calamities it brought with it here, and in other parts of Europe; how
of Europe; how many edifices, of a larger and leffer size, were thrown down, in cities, towns and villages; what devastacions were made, in parks, gardens and inclosures; how much shipping, of greater and smaller bulk, were destroyed; and, what is of all most awful, what multitudes of fouls, at once, launched into an endless eternity. To give a detail of the several particulars of these things would be long and tedious, and in a great measure needless, after so many narratives have been printed, and so many discourses published; among the most valuable of which number, must be allowed to stand a discourse, preached in this place, and on this occasion, fince made public by my predecessor, Mr Benjamin Stinton '.
Ic is remarkable, that on this very day, seven years ago, a considerable storm of wind arose; which blew much about the same time this did, in its greatest fury, we now commemorate. I have reason to believe, that there is one k here present, who was cast away in it, and remarkably delivered, after having been exposed to the most imminent danger. I doubt not, but such an one retains a sense of the mercy, and thankfully acknowledges the goodness of God, and the kind interposure of divine providence, in his favour. I shall close all with a word of exhortation.
Let us adore the perfections, and observe the operations of Father, Son, and Spirit, in the government and management of the winds and seas. The concern, that the Father of Christ has herein, is not contested; nor need there be any hesitation about the Son, when the instance, now attended to, is carefully considered; nor should there be any about the holy Ghost, when it is obferved, that the heavens were, at first, garnished by him, and he moved upon the face of the waters, and brought the present earth into the form and order, in which it has since appeared : Besides, his extraordinary gifts bestowed upon the apostles, on the day of pentecost, came down upon them with a rushing, mighty wind': And the common, or ordinary operations of his grace, in the souls of men, are compared to the wind : The wind blowerb where it listeth, and thou bearest the found thereof, but canft not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goetb; so is every one that is born of the Spiritm. Let us also take notice of the providences of God, and not let them lie neglected by us, or buried in oblivion; we should make every proper use of them ourselves, and transmit them to posterity : Whofo is wife, and will observe these things, even they fall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord". Doubtless, with such a view, Mr Taylor, who, whilft he lived, was a member of the church which meets in this place, laid a foundation for the annual oblervation of this day. Again, in a view of the awful difpensations of providence, let us humble ourselves before God, since these shew the mighty hand of the Lord; let us stand in awe of his righteous judgments. How soon, and how easy, can he make this large and populous city, and the whole kingdom, an heap of rubbish ? Sanctify the Lord of Hosts, make him your fear, and your dread. To conclude, in a view of all our sins and tranfgreffions, and of all that wrath and ruin they expose us to, let us take fanctuary in Christ; who is a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a sadow from the beat, when the blast of the terrible ones, fin, law, and justice, is as a storm against the wallo.
5 Preached November 27, 1973. -k Mr Robert Inger, à member of the church of Christ, at Horslydown, under my care, who was caft away on the Goodwin Sands, November 27, 1729, in the Endeavour, homeward bound from Virginia ; who, with the whole ship's crew, in all seventeen, together with one passenger, and a pilot, were saved in a small pinnace, after they had been some hours exposed to the wind and sea, being taken up by a Deal vessel.
1 Acts ii. .
John iji. 8.
The Law established by the Gospel.
Reverend Mr Wilson's Meeting-House in Goodman's-Fields.
ROMANS III. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith ? God forbid; yea,
we establish the law.
HAT vice and immorality, disobedience to the laws of God, and men,
prevail among us; and that practical religion and powerful godliness greatly decline, will be acknowledged by every serious, thoughtful, and conlidering christian ; but what are the springs and sources of this sad scene of things,
or to what all this is to be ascribed, is not so generally agreed; in this men differ.
The opposers of the doctrines of grace attribute it, at least, in part, to that scheme of truths which we justly esteem the gospel of Christ; nor can they think there is any reason to expect, that moral virtue and practical religion will rise and gain ground among us, so long as this is the subject of our ministrations. “ They fpare not to charge the whole with a tendency to licentiousness, to open “ the door to libertinism, and give men a loose to live at pleasure, in all man“ ner of impiety. Particularly the doctrine of justification by the righteous“ ness of Christ, imputed by God the Father, and received by faith, is branded “ with this infamous character. It is suggested, that if this doctrine is true, “ the law is made void, obedience to it becomes unnecessary, and good works “ are insignificant things; and that it can be of no other use than to discourage “ good men in the performance of duty, and to encourage bad men in a course " of wickedness.” To remove this charge and imputation is my view in reading thele words unto you.
The design of the apostle, in this epistle, is to set in a full and clear light, the doctrine of juftification; in which he first proves that all mankind, Jews and Gentiles, are finners, are under fin', the pollution, guilt and power of it; and fo are arraigned, accused and convicted by the law, as transgreffors; which law pronounces the whole world guilty before God, stops the mouth of every man, and puts all to silence; so that they have nothing to say in vindication of themselves, or why judgment should not be given against them, and be executed on them : . whence it must most clearly follow, That no man can be justified in the light of God by the law, by the deeds of it, or by any obedience of sinful man unto it. The apostle goes on to Thew, that the matter of juftification, or that by which a finner is justified, is the righteousness of God"; a righteousness in which Jehovah, Facher, Son and Spirit, are concerned. God the Father sent his Son to work it out, and bring it in; he has approved and accepted of it, and graciously imputes it to all the elect.. The Son of God is the author of it, who is our Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature, God and man in one Person, God over all, blessed for ever. Hence it has chat fulness, fufficiency, and virtue to justify all to whose account it is placed; which the righteousness of a mere creature could never do. The holy Spirit of God discovers this righteousness to a poor, fenfible finner, brings it near to him ; sees it before him ; works faith in him to lay hold upon it, and receive it, and pronounces him justified by it in the court of conscience. This righteousness, the apostle says', is manifested without the law, that is, in the gospel; in which it is revealed from faith to faith; though it is witnessed, a testimony Vol. I. ... D d d .
• Ibid. 21, 22.
6 Ibid. 21.
is bore to it, both by the law and the prophets; and that it is unto all, applied unto all, and upon all, put upon all as a robe of righteousness, even upon all that believe ; for there is no difference"; that is among men, among Jews or Gentiles; no distinction made between righteous men and finners, or between fome, being greater, others lesser finners; for all have finned, and come fort of the glory of Godes are through fin depraved, and are defticute of the glorious image of God, that rectitude and uprightness of nature, in which man was created; and therefore stand in need of the justifying righteousness of Christ, by which they must be justified, if at all. The same inspired writer proceeds to observe, that the impulsive and moving cause of justification, is the free grace of God, being justified freely by his grace'. Grace moved Jehovah, the Father, to resolve upon the justification of his elect. Grace see his thoughts at work ; employed his infinite wisdom to find out a way whereby chese, though they should fall into sin, might be just with God. Grace put him upon ordaining, calling, engaging, and sending his Son to fulfil all righteousness in their room and stead; and it was grace in him to accept of it, for and on the behalf of them; and to impute it to them, who, in themselves, were finners and ungodly. The grace
and love of the Son greatly appear in his voluntary engagement to be the surety and substitute of his people, in his readiness to do the will of God, in his chearful coming down from heaven about this work, and in the gracious manner in which he wrought out and brought in an everlasting righteousness. The grace of the Spirit is abundantly manifest in the revelation and application of the justifying righteousness of Christ to a poor, sinful, unworthy creature, and in bestowing faith as a free gift upon him, to apprehend and embrace it as his
The meritorious or procuring cause of justification, is placed in the redemption which is in Chriß Jesus; whom God, in his infinite wisdom, and of his free rich grace, bath set forth or fore-ordained, to be a propitiation, to satisfy. divine justice, by being an expiatory facrifice for sin, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remiffion of fins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, adds the apostle, at this time, his righteousness, that he might be justs that is, appear to be juft, and the justifier of bim wbich believeth in Jesus 8. So that by this wise and happy scheme, both the grace and justice of God wonderfully agree in the justification of a poor sinner, and are thereby greatly glorified. From the whole, the apostle deduces several inferences and conclusions; as that upon this scheme, there is no room nor reason for boasting in the creature; and asks ", Where is boasting then? it is excluded; by what law? of works? nay, but by the law of faith, that is, the doctrine of faith, and particularly the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness; as also that a man is justified, or whoever is justified, is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law; that God is the God both of Jews and Gentiles; and that there is but one way and method he makes use of in justifying of either, and that is, by faith and through faitb; phrases which are synonymous, and expreffive of one and the same thing; and then, in the words of our text, removes an objection which he easily saw would be raised against the doctrine he had advanced, Do we then make void the law through faith?
d Rom. jii. 22.
• Ibid. ver.23.
f Ibid. ver.24.
& Ver. 25, 26.
Ver. 27. od 2
There were some who thought they did make void the law by the doctrine of faith : This was an objection common in the mouths of the Jew's, and had been often leveled against the ministry of Christ and his apostles; and therefore the apostle Paul could be no ftranger to it. Our Lord himself was traduced by the ignorant and ill-natured men of that generation in which he lived, as an Antinomian, both in doctrine and practice; as one in doctrine, which is evident, from those words of his in his own defence; Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Whence it is clear, that some had entertained such thoughts of him, that he came to destroy the law, and imagined that he did make it null and void by his doctrine and ministry; and that they charged him with being one in practice, is certain from the account he gives of their calumny and detraction, when he says, The Son of man came eating and drinking; and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and finners; but wisdom is jusified of her children. Now if they called the Master of the houshold so, it is no wonder that they of his houshold, his disciples and followers, should be treated in the same opprobrious manner. Accordingly, when Stephen, being filled with the holy Ghost, difputed with the Jews concerning the Messiah and the gospel-state, and they were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spake ; they suborned, and set up false witnesses, who said and swore, that he ceased not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law'. When the apostle Paul returned unto Jerusalem, after he had travelled over a large part of the Gentile world, preaching the gospel of the grace of God with great success; James, a fellow-apostle, observed to him how many thousands of the Jews there were which believed in Jesus, and yet were all zealous of the law, and strenuous advocates for it; who had been informed that he had said many things among the Gentiles, contrary to Moses and his law, which were highly displeasing to them; and therefore he put him upon a method to conciliate himself to their affections; which method did not succeed according to desire and expectation : for the Jews having observed one Trophimus, an Ephesian, with him, whom they supposed
hé i Mact, xi, 19.
Acts vi. 13.
1 Matt. Y. 17