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SE R M O N X.
Of Working out our Salvation.
Phil. ii. 12, 13.
Work out your own Salvation with
both to will and to do, of his good
N the Beginning of this Chapter, the Serm. Apostle exhorts the Philippians, to prac- X. tise those two cardinal Duties of the
Christian Religion, Love and Humility; which, as they are essentially necessary to the Being of a Christian, so are they Qualifications requisite for the obtaining of all other Virtues and Graces. And after he hath used many pathetical Exhortations to encourage the Philippians to be Ver. 2. like-minded, having the same Love, being
Serm. of one Accord, of one Mind; and to let all X. Things be done in Lowliness of Mind, each
vesteeming others better than themselves; he Ver. 3. adds the moft strong and powerful Mo
tive, the Example of our Blessed Saviour,
that perfect Pattern of holy Living and Ver. 5. Dying: -Let this Mind be in you, which was Ver. 6. also in Christ Jefus, who, being in the Form
of God, thought it no Robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no Reputation, and took upon bim the Form of a Ser
vant, and was made in the Likeness of Men: Ver. 8, And being found in Fashion as a Man, be
kumbled bimself, and became obedient unto Ver. 9. Death, even the Death of the Cross. Where
fore God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a Name, which is above every Ver. 10. Name: That at the Name of Jesus every Knee
should bow, of Things in Heaven and Things in Earth, and Things under the Earth, and that
every Tongue should confefs, that Jesus Vir. 11. Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Fa
ther. And then it presently follows, Ver. 12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always
obeyed, not as in my Presence only, but now much more in my Absence, work out your own Salvation with Fear and Trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of bis good Pleasure.
When God graciously enables us both SERM. to will and to do what is good, what X. Encouragement is this for us to persevere in the Paths of Virtue ? And, when our eternal Welfare is at Stake, shall we not, with Fear and Trembling, endeavour to secure our never-ending Happiness ?
For the better understanding the Words of my Text, it will be necessary to explain these following Particulars :
I. What is meant by Salvation.
us, both to will and to do, of his good
I. WHAT is here meant by Salvation. Now Salvation imports such a State of Life, as gives us good Grounds to hope, that we are reconciled to God in this Life, and live under his Favour and Protection, and shall be for ever happy in the World to come; for though it is generally restrained in the holy Writ, to denote our Happiness in a future State, yet is it sometimes taken in a more large Sense, and comprehends
SERM. our comfortable Condition here, as well
X. as hereafter ; which is to be obtained only mby yielding Obedience to the Commands
of God, leading our Lives according to those Precepts laid down in the Holy Gospel, by breaking off our evil Customs and Habits, and by cleansing ourselves from Filthiness, both of Flesh and Spirit, which alone will give us good Grounds to hope, that we shall escape the Punishment of them in the Life to come. This is that State of Salvation mentioned in the Text, which brings me to fhew,
II. What is meant by Working out our own Salvation: Now this implies, That we make use of all those natural Powers which God has furnished us withal, and call in the supernatural Affistance of God's Grace, to enable us to mortify our corrupt Nature, and to subdue every Thing which exalts itself against the Scepter of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and to bring into Subjection every Thought of our Minds ; the Word in the Original is, Kategyétele, which signifies to finish and make perfect what is begun, for the Work of Regeneration is not wrought all
a sudden, but by Degrees ; no Man can leave the Paths of Wickedness, and arrive at the highest Pitch of Religion in an
Instant ; it is a Business of Time and La-SERM. bour, to become a Christian indeed. The X. Man's Judgment must first be convinced ; and he must take up a serious and solemn Resolution; this must be put in Practice, and, then, by Degrees, he will
get over his corrupt Nature, and plant in his Soul the contrary Habits of Holiness and Virtue ; and these Habits will every Day gather Strength, till he comes to be rooted and grounded in the Love and Fear of God, and to take Pleasure and Delight in the Service of his Maker. And in order to compass this, it is necessary that we employ all the Faculties of our Souls, all the Powers of our Body; that we hufband our Time well, and lay hold of every Opportunity which presents itself to set forward this difficult, but absolutely necessary Task. To work out our own Salvation, then, implies, that we go on from one Degree of Grace to another, and endeavour to be as good as possibly we can be ; that we add to our Faith, Virtue ; to Virtue, Knowledge ; to Knowledge, Temperance; to Temperance, Patience ; to Patience, Godliness; to Godliness, brotherly Kindness ; and, to brotherly Kindness, Charity.