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Receiving God's Grace in Vain

Receiving God's Grace in Vain

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ROBERT WALKER



2 Cor. vi. 1.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you al-
sOf that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
BY ROBERT WALKER



2 Cor. vi. 1.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you al-
sOf that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 24, 2013
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08/09/2014

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RECEIVIG GOD'S GRACE I VAIBY ROBERT WALKER 2 Cor. vi. 1.We then, as workers together with him, beseech you al-sOf that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.OTHIG can be conceived more encouraging tocreatures, in our feeble and depraved situation, thanthose views of the Supreme Being disclosed by theApostle in the concluding part of the former chapter.There God is represented in the characters of conde-scension and grace, so perfectly suited to our necessi-tous and guilty condition, as must render him the objectof our supreme love and unreserved confidence.The first question that will always occur to an awa-kened sinner, hath been expressed by the prophet Mi-cah in these words: "Wherewith shall 1 come beforethe Lord, and bow myself before the High God?" Andthe only answer to this question, which an unenlighten-ed mind can suggest, hath also been expressed by thesame prophet, in the form of another question : " ShallI come before him with burnt- ofierings, with calves of an year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousandsof rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oil? Sliall 1 givemy first born for my transgression, the fruit of my bodyfor the sin of my soul?" A conscience alarmed with asense of guilt, naturally' represents the Most High ascloliied with terrible majesty, as a God of vengeance, astern unrelenting creditor, demanding payment even tothe uttermost farthing. And however the advocates for
 
SERMO LXXII. 467the li2;ht of nature may boast of their discoveries, it maybe pronounced impossible for unassisted reason, pro-ceeding on sound principles, to discover any meanswhereby guilty creatures can hope to satisfy the justice,or regain the friendship of their Maker. All our know-ledge, with regard to this subject, must flow from reve-lation alone. The sanctions of justice may indeed becomprehended by human reason ; but justice demandsinexorably the punishment of transgressors. Justice ad-mits no claim for the exercise of mercy. ay, more, mer-cy does not even come within the strict conception of legil administration, but is an act of pure prerogative,having no other measure than the will of the sovereign.*' And vviio knovveth the mind of the Lord, or who hathbeen his counsellor?" one else but the only begotteaSon, who is in the bosom of the Father, and hath de=dared him unto us : and this is the name whereby hehath made iiim known, God is love.What the Apostle says, (chapter v. verse 18.) has astronger signification than is commonly attended to.•'• All things are of God.'' It not only imports, that allthings owe their existence to God, and are the effects of his creating power; but farther, that all the motives toexercise that power are of himself likewise. He findsthem in his own perfect nature ; and every exerlion of power, whether for producing being or happiness to anyof his creatures, is the spontaneous act of his essentialgoodness and benignity. Why did God create a world?o other answer can be given to this question, but thatit was his sovereign pleasure so to do. o other rea-son, but the same sovereign pleasure can be assignedfor man's existence on earth, with all the honours con-ferred on him at his first creation. And now that manhath forfeited these honoursj and incurred the penalty
 
468 SERMO LXXII.annexed to his disobedience, whither shall he resort tofind an inducement for his Creator shewing him mercy?Can rebellion, outrageous unprovoked rebellion, fur-nish a motive to pity? Can deformity and pollution pre-sent any attractions of love? o; it is manifest, that af-ter all our researches, we must finally have recourse towhat God himself said to Moses of old, *' I will be gra-cious to whom I will be gracif)us, and will shew mercyon whom I will shew mercy." Upon this principle theApostle proceeds in the passage 1 have quoted : " Allthings are of God," saith he, '' who hath reconciled usto himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the mi-nistry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ,reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing theirtrespasses unto them." He it was who graciously sparedthose rebels whom his righteous vengeance might havecrushed; and who, instead of requiring the fruit of ourbody for the sin of our soul, withiield not his own Sonas the ransom of our transgressions, but gave him up tothe deatli for us, that we might live through iiim. Havingthus by his infinite wisdom, and self-moving goodness,opened a way for extending mercy to oilenders, consist-ent vv'ilh tiie honour of his perfections, he proceeds tocomplete the gracious plan, by sending forth some of theapostate race, as ambassadors for Christ, to beseech sin-ners in bis own name, and in Christ's stead, to be recon-ciled to God. Paul was one of these chosen instruments ;and accordini:;ly he styles himself, in t!ie text, '^3. workertogether with God," and in this character beseecheth theCorinthians, in the most earnest manner, " not to receivethe grace of God in vain."The same exhortation I now address to you, deem-ing it peculiarly seasonable, in the near view we haveof celebrating that solemn ordinance of our religion, in

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