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heart, and overcomes the world, and he that hath this hope in Christ, purifeth himself, even as he is pure. true faith unites the foul to, Chrift, as the branch is united to the vine; and thereby enables the man to bring forth much fruit. The true believer hates every falfe way ; he mourns over, and watches, ftrives, and prays against all the corruptions of his nature, and all theimperfećtions of his heart and life. There is no known fin, which he indulges himself in ; no known duty, which he willingly negleûts ; no difficulty, which can deter him from following Christ; no temptation, which can allure him from endeavouring a conformity to the whole will of God. Not as tho’ he had already attained, or were already perfest. He has daily caufe to lament his defećts : but yet he can truly fay, that he desights in the law of the Lord, after the inwardman ; and accordingly endeavours in every ftation and relation, in all his condućł both to God and man, as well in fecret as openly, to live a life of conformity to God, în all the duties he requires of him. And wherein he cannot attaini, he is yet prefsing towards perfestion, and groaning after a further progrefs in holinefs, even in all infiances, without referve ; nor yet fatisfied without a final perfeverance, to crown his fincerity. But on the other hand, the obedience of an unfincere professor is very partial, defećtive, temporary ; and but a matter of force and conftraint upon the appetites and affećtions. If with Herod he reforms and does many things, he yet retains his Herodias, fome darling corruption unmortified ; or leaves fome unpleafant duty neglected. Orif, by the lafhes of anawaken’d conscience, he is driven for a time to a more general reformation from all known fin, and to outward attendance upon all known duty, he finds no inward complacency in it; and therefore is like a dull horfe, that will be kept on his way no longer than he feels a spur in his fide. Here then is a confpicuous difference between a true and a falfe believer. The one has a principle of holinefs, a delight in it, and an earneft and continuing defire after further proficiency in the divine life. The other ains only at fo much holinefs as he thinks will fave him out ofhell, but cares : nothing more ; and what 2
he has, is excited by fear, or conftrained by force, contrary to the natural tendency and bias of his foul. In fine, the one makes it the endeavour of his life, to approve himself to a pure, holy, and omnifcient God. The other rests in endeavours to quiet his confcience, and to filence his clamours and accusations. 5. A faving faith works by love to God and man : but a dead faith always falls short of both. The apostle aflures, that if we have all faith, so that we could remove znountains, and have not charity, we are nothing. Faith worketh by love ; and the true believer keeps him/elf in the love of God, looking to the mercy of the Lord 7efus Christ for eternal life. He delights in contemplating the glorious perfećtions of the divine nature. His meditatiɔns upon God are fweet, and the thoughts of him precious to his foul. He values the favour of God as life, and his loving kindnefs as better than life. If he can have the glorious. God for his portion, and live in the light of his countenance, he can be content with ftraits, difficulties, trials, and afflićtions here in the world. He takes peculiar pleasure in the ordinances of God, and all the appointed means of a near approach into his fpecial prefence; and he is especially pleafed, when favoured with fenfible communion with God. Though he can’t always walk fo near to God, and find fuch fenfible delightin him ; yet he laments his absence, when he withdraws ; heavily complains of his own deadnefs, worldlinefs, fenfuality, which separates betweện God and his foul ; and can find no true reft or fatisfaćtion, till he return to God, and God to him. This is at leaft the ordinary courfe and tenour of the believer’s life: and ifat any time he should be fo left of God as to grow forgetful of him, and have any continuing prevalence of a dead carnal worldly frame in his foul, this darkens the evidence of his state, robs him of his comfortand peace, and will at length put him upon vigorous and aćtive endeavours for obtaining a revival of his languishing graces, by a fresh fupply of the Spirit of Jefus Christ. Thus, the true believer hath the love of God dwelling in him; and from the fame principle, he likewife loves his neighbour as himself. He maintains a life of justice, mecknefs, kindnefs, and beneficence towards all men,
bears injuries, is ready to forgive, entertains the best opinion of men’s state and aĉtions, that the cafe will allow ; and endeavours to live in the exercife of love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentleneß, goodneß, faithfulnefis meekneß. And as he thus maintains a love of benevo: lence to all men, he has in a fpecial manner a love of complacence towards thofe who bear the marks of the divine image. Thefe he delights in, on account of their being (or at leaft appearing to be) the children of God: He loves them for their heavenly Father’s fake, as well as for those gracious qualifications, which make the righteous more excellent than his neighbour. He loves thé company of the faints. Thefe are the excellent, in whom is all his delight. He loves their piety; and studies an imitation of them, wherein they follow Christ; and ftudies to equal (if not excel) them in their highest improvements in religion. He loves their perfons; and hopes to join with them in the eternal praifes of God.
This is the real and genuine charaĉter of every true believer: while the highest åttainments of a dead faith do fall short of every part of this defcription. The falfè professor may imagine, that he has fomething of the lovëof God in him: but upon a just view of the cafe it will appear, that it is only to an idol, the creature of his own imagination. If he feems to love God under an apprehenfion of his goodnefs and mercy, he yet dreads him on account of his justice, and has an inward averfion to his purity and holiness; fo that the objećt of his love is an imaginary being, of infinite goodness and mercy, without either justice or holiness. If from the alarms of confciençe, or fome emotions of his natural affećtions, he may take foine pleasure in religious exerciles, this pleasure is short and tranfient, like the principle from whence it flows; he foon returns to carełeffnefs and forgetfulnefs of God, and has his affećtions quickly engaged in worldly and fenfual purfuits. And however he may deceive himself in any supposed progress ih religion, he can never fatisfy his foul with having God for his portion. . He can never in course keep up a life offpiritual-mindednefs, and delight in God, and in a way of obedience to him, and communion with him.
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The fame defests are likewife found in the unfound believer with respect to his love to his neighbour. If he be not (as its too commonly found) unjust and deceitful, wrathful, and contentious, hard-hearted and unkind, bitter and cenforious, revengeful and implacable, yet he never loves the children of God as fuch. Whatever love he may have to any fuch from fpecial intimate acquaintance, or from their being in the fame cause, party, or perfuafion with himself (which is indeed no more than the exercife of felf-love or felf efteem) he never loves the image of Christ in every fedt or party, in whom he finds it, nor can he love a conformity to the children of God in the holinefs of their hearts and lives. Here then you fee an apparent difference in these two forts ofbelievers. The one loves God above all things: and indeed he that does not love him with a fupreme love, does not love him as God; and confequently does not love him at all. But the other feeks the favour of God, from no other motive but fear of his difpleasure, or fome defire of happinefs ; and not from fenfe of the excellency of his glorious perfećtions, and the blefied. - nefs of an intereft in his favour. The one loves what God loves; hates what he hates; and loves and esteems himself but in proportion to his conformity unto God. 'The other retains his delight in his lufts and idols; and repairs to God becaufe he durft not do otherwife. The one, like God himself, takes pleafure in doing good to all men; and takes special delight in all without distinction, who are partakers of the divine nature. The other
Left I should weary out your patience, I shall just mention but this one particular more.
6. A faving faith humbles the foul, and makes i: low and vile in its own eyes: whereas a dead faith tends to exalt the mind with vain apprehenfions of, or endea: vours after, fome fufficiency or excellency of its own. The true believer has a deep fenfe of the greatness and aggravations of his fins, Ioathes himself on account of them ; and adores the Patience and long-fustering di
to fuch aguilty polluted creature as he is. Though the true believer lives in the exercife of that charity towards others, which thinketh no evil, but believeth all things, and hopeth all things : yet he always finds occafion to condemn himself, and to cenfure his own inward affections, and outward performances, religious duties, and moral condućt; and therefore cannot but efteem others better than himself. In fhort, the true believer always, while in this tabernacle, groans being burdened. He finds occasions of a renewed repentance every day : he every day finds new cause to complain of hirmfelf; and new caufe to commit a finful and unworthy foul to the mere mercy of God in Christ. - On the contrary, a dead faith always either puffs tip the vain mind with a haughty pleafing apprehension of its own attainments, makes it cenforious and uncharitable, and infpires it with that proud Pharifaical language, I thank God, I am not as other men : , or elfe from the fame haughty principle, either leaves the foul fecure and easy, in its good defigns and purposes of future repentance ; or impatient and desponding, through want of thofe good qualifications which it fuppofes necessary. I think I need not enlarge upon this distinétion; it is fo apparent and manifest, and the charaĉters fo eafy to be known. ' ’ · An 3 now, Sir, to fum up the whole in a fhort and easy view. If you have good evidence of a faving faith in Chrift, you muft have fuch a fenfible impression of the truth of the gospel, as makes you feel the importance of your eternal concerns, and your neceffity of an inte- rest in Christ; and puts your foul upon tarnestand aĉtive