Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of Converfation, i Pet, i. I5. None therefore have any Grounds to flatter themselves with the Drt am of a regenerate State, while they indulge themselves' in any sinlul Way, or live in the Neglect of good works, whatever Experiences they may pretend to, or whatever Joys and Comforts they may entertain. This w are to affirm confantly, that they which believe in God, must be. and will be, careful to maintain good Works, 1it- iii. 8. T hough good Works are not the fountain andEoundatian of a renewed Nature, they are always the Streams that flow from that Fountain, aed the Superstructure.upon that Foundation. ThcT they do not sanctify us, they are the natural and necessary Actings and Operations of a sanctisied Heart. An unholy Lise gives the Lie to our Profession of an holy State; and insers on ut the jus t Denomination of Liars, I John, ii 4. — It defeats all Pretensions to effectual Calling; it contradicts the very End of Conversion ; and is contrary to the unalterable Tendency of the new' Nature. Grace is .given for Exercise; and is a vital, operative Principle. We shall therefore receive the Grace of God in vain, if the Principle be not exerted in agreeable Practice.

2. Good Works are necessary, as they belong to the Way leading to Heaven, and are preparative for the Posseflion of it. They are so necessary in this Respect, that it is certain, that no Man who has the Opportunity aster his Conversion for a Lise of good Works, will ever get to Heaven in any other Way. Without Holinefs no Man shall fee the Lord, Heb. xii. 14.—We must not only enter in at the frait Gate, but walk in the narrow Way which leadeih unto Life. Christ is the supreme and comprehensive Way; but Holinefs is a subordinate and subservient Way. Neither do any walk in

Christ

m

Christ unless they walk before him in true Holinefs, —They who would hope for Heaven hereaster, must have it begun in their Souls here. Their Hearts must be in some Measure consormed to the divine Nature and Will, that they may be attempered and qualisied for the Enjoyments and Employments of the Heavenly World. How could such Men sind Comfort and Pleasure in the eternal Service of God, to whom his Service here is ungratesul and burdensome? None therefore are in the Way to Heaven, but they who by a Lise of Holiness are preparing and labouring aster a Meetnefs to be Partakers of an Inheritance among the Saints in Light. There is nothing more certain, than that a Lise of Sin and Impiety, Sloth and Irreligion, leads down to the Chambers of Death : And it is therefore equally certain, that Christ Jesus leads none to Heaven in that Road. It is true indeed, that we may be in the Way to Heaven, while compassed with many Insirmities, while groaning under much Deadness aud Formality in Duty, while liable to many involuntary Surprizes into Sin, while greatly desective in our religious Attainments, and in our Conduct, both towards God and Man. But they have not this Hope, who live in the wilsul Neglect of known Duty, who deliberately indulge themselves in known Ways of sinning against God, who roll any Iniquity as a sweet Morsel under their Tongue; or live in an allowed Violation of the Laws of Righteousness, Charity, and Peace towards Men. If any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if any Man have the Spirit of Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit in him will be Love, Joy, Peace, Longfuffering, Centlenefs, Goodnefs, Faith, Meeknefs, Temperance j and they w/10 live in the Spirit nuill alfo walk in the E e 3 Spirit, Spirit. We must, by a patient Continuance in well doing, feek for Glory, Honour, and Immortality, if J we would inherit eternal 'Life.

3. Good Works are necessary as Acts of Obedience to God's Commands, and a just Acknowledgement of bis Dominion over us.—By Right of Creation the blesled God has an unalienable Claim to Homage and Honour from us. By the immutable Laws of our very being and Nature, as his Creatures and Dependants, we are under Bonds of Subjection and Obedience to him. The Grace of the Guspel does not cancel those natural Obligations, or lessen the Force of them. Christ came not to destroy the Lutv; not do -we rliake void the Law through Faith, but rather establish' it. T he great God has not laid down his Right of Sovereignty and Dominion over us, by affording us a Medium of Reconciliation to himself, and a Title to eternal H ipp-ness; but rather has that Way laid us under surther and stronger Obligations to Obedience. Our Freedom from the Curses and fevere Demand? of the- moral Law, as a Covenant of Lise, is so sar from freeing us of our Duty towards it as a Rule of Practice, or excusing us from a caresul Observance of its Precepts, that the^/9rious Liberty we are made Partakers of, is given us for this very End, that we may ferve God -without Fear, in Holinefs and Righteoufnefs before him, all the Days of our Lives. Though the moral Law be presented to us now under some different Respects and Considerations, from what it was originally, yet the same Law remains the Rule of Obedience, consirmed and ensorced (as such)by the Gofpel itfttf. Whence it follows, that to live a carelels, sinsul, sensual, worldly Lise, in the Neglect of our Duty towards God and our Neighbour and ourselves, is

more »ore aggravated Rebellion against God, than the fame Lite of Impiety would have been under the Covenant of Works. For now a Lise of Impiety is not only a Violation of the Precepts of the Laiu, but of the Gospel too. And the greater Discoveries God has been pleased to make of his glorious Persections ; the greater Manisestations he has made of bis Goodness and Mercy, the greater are our Obligations to Obedience, and consequently the greater will be our Rebellion, as well as Ingratitude, if we continue disobedient. We are therefore to consider, that instead of God's suspending his Right of Dominion, or abating our Obligations to Obedience, under the present Dispensation of Gofpel light and Love, he requires and expects of us greater Watchsulness and Care to please and honour him, greater Purity and Holiness, than under the more legal and impersect Dispensation of Mofes. It is undoubtedly true, thut thofe Sins and Impersections, which were consistent with a State of Grace, under the Mosaic Dispensation, are not so now under the Christian Dispensation; wherein not only we have more Light and Knowledge, but Christians indeed do obtain more purifying and quickening Insluences of the Spirit, than they then ordinarily did. There is therefore no Room to extenuate our Falls into Sin, by the Examp es of the Jewisj Saints. For though that Ministration was glorious, yet the Miniftration of the Spirit b mere glorious, has a Glory that vastly excelleth. (i Cor. lii. 8, 9, 10.) By the Beholding of which Glory of ike Lord -we are changed into the same Image,Jrom Glory to Glory. (Ver. 18.) Our enjoying the Promises of the Gofpel lays us under the strongest and most indispensible Obligations, to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the tle/h and Spirit, and to ffficl Holiness in the Fear of God. Cor. vii. i, E e 3 —GcJ -—-Gid forbid, that any of us fhould continue in Sin, that Grace may abound; or turn the Grace ef God into Lafcivioufnefs. This would determine us to be ungodly Men who deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jefus Christ. (Jude 4.) Thence it is, that the Disobedience of Gofpel-sinners will bring upon them the greatest and most dreadsul Damnation. See Heb. x. 29.

4. Good Works are necessary, as Expressions of our Gratitude to God for all his Goodness to us, more especially, for Gofpel-Grace and most especially for the gracious Influences of his blessed Spirit.— -Impossible it is for us to have any due Conception, how great our Debt of Gratitude is to our insinite Benesactor. He has made us, and not line ourfelves, his Hands have framed and fashioned Its round about. He has preserved us through innumerable Difficulties and Dangers; and all our Lives continually followed us with Loving-kindness and tender Mercies. He has made this mighty Globe for our Use, with all its amazing Variety of furniture, sitted to supply us with whatever is necessary, convenient, comfortable or delightsul. He has distinguished us from very much the greatest Part of our sellow Creatures, by the Abundance of our Enjoyments, and the Greatness of our Privileges.

, And if all these, and the innumerable other Instances of the inexpressible Kindness and Goodness of God to us, be not sufficient to excite our Gratitude, and to attract our Affections to such an insinite Fountain of Benevolence, yet certainly our Redemption by Jesus Christ, our Enjoyment of Gospel-Ordinances, our Advantages to live to God in this World, and to be eternally happy in the Enjoyment of him in the suture State of everlasting Light and Love, are enough to carry our Minds beyond Admiration, and even, to overwhelm them

« AnteriorContinuar »