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and fruits meet for repentance, and amendment of life ; he had not given sufficient testimony to the world of his love to holiness and righteousness, and ot his hatred of fin and iniquity. The Apostle tells us, that God in the justification of a sinner declares his righteousness: But should he justify men upon other terms, this would not declare his righteousness and love of holiness, but rather an indifferency, whether men were good and righteous or not. For a. bare assent to the truth of the gospel, without the fruits of holiness and obedience, is not a living, but a dead faith, and so far from being acceptable to God, that it is an affront to him ; and a confident reliance upon Christ for salvation, while we continue in our sins, is not a justifying faith, but a bold and impudent presumption upon the mercy of God, and the merits of our Saviour ; who indeed justifies the ungodly, that is, those that have been so, but not those that continue so. And if God should. pardon sinners, and reward them with- eternal life, upon arty other terms than upon our becoming new creatures, than upon such a faith as is made perfect by charity, that is, by keeping the commandments of God; this would be so far from declaring his righteousness, and being a testimony of his hatred and displeasure against sin, that it would give the greatest countenance and encouragement to it imaginable.
Secondly, It is likewise very reasonable, that such a faith, that makes us new creatures, and: is persecuted by charity, and keeping the commandments of God, should be the condition of justification^- in order to the qualifying of us for the pardon of our sins, and the reward of eternal life ; that is, for the favour of God, and for the enjoyment of him. To forgive men upon other terms, were to give countenance and encouragement to perpetual rebellion, and disobedience. That man is not fit to be forgiven,- who is so far from being sorry for his fault, that he goes on to offend ; he i? utterly incapable of mercy, who is not sensible th.it he hath done amiss, and resolved to amend. No Prince ever thought a rebellious subject capable of pardon upon lower terms than these.
It is in the nature of the thing unfit that an obstinate offender should have any mercy or favour shewn
And as without repentance and resolution of better obedience, we are unfit for forgiveness, so much more for a reward : As we cannot expect God'* favour, so we are incapable of the enjoyment of him without holiness. Holiness is the image of God, and makes us like to him ; and till we be like him, we cannot fee him, we can have no enjoyment of him. All delightful comrnunion and agreeable society is founded in a similitude of disposition and manners, and therefore so long as we are unlike to God in the temper and disposition of our minds, and in the actions and course of our fves, neither can God take pleasure in us, nor we in him, but there will be a perpetual jarring and discord between him and us; and tho' we were in heaven, and seated in the place of the blessed, yet we should not, nay we could not be happy; because we should want the necessary materials and ingredients of happiness. For it is with the soul in this respect, as it is with the body; though ali things be easy without us, and no cruelty be exercised upon us, to give torment and vexation to us, yet if we be inwardly diseased, we may have pain and anguish enough, we may be as it were upon the rack, and feel as great torment from the inward disorder of our humours, as if we were tortured from without. So it is with the soul. Sin and vice are internal diseases, which do naturally create trouble and discontent; and nothing but diversion, and the variety of objects and pleasures which entertain men in this world,- hinders a wicked man from being out of his wits, whenever he reflects upon himself; for all the irregular appetites and passions, lust, and mar lice, and revenge, are so many furies within us; and though there were no Devil to torment us, yet the disorder of our own minds, and the horrors of a guilty conscience would be a hell to us, and make us extremely miserable in the very regions of happiness. So that it is necessary that our faith should be made persetf by charity, and that we should hecome
new new creatures , not only from the arbitrary constitution and appointment of God, but from the nature and reason of the thing; because nothing but this can dispose us for that blessedness, which God hath promised to us, and prepared for us. Faith considered abstractly from the fruits of holiness and obedience, of goodness and charity, will bring no man into the favour of God. All the excellency of faith is, that it is the principle of a good life, and furnisheth us with the best motives and arguments thereto, the promises and threatnsngs of the gospelj and therefore in heaven, when we come to sight and enjoyment, faith and hope shall cease, but cha* rity never faileth ; for if it should, heaven would cease to be heaven to us, because it is the very frame and temper of happiness; and if this disposition be not wrought in us in this world, we shall be altogether incapable of the felicity of the other.
You see then what it is that must recommend us to the favour of God; the real renovation of our hearts and lives, aster the image of him that created us. This must be repaired in us, before ever we can hope to be restored to the grace and favour of God, or to be capable of the reward of eternal life. And what could God have done more reasonable, than to make these very things the terms of our salvation, which are the necefiary causes and means- of it > How could he have dealt more mercifully and kindly with us, than to appoint that to be the condition of our happiness, which is the only qualification that can make us capable of it!
I will conclude alt with that excellent passage in the wisdom of Solomon, chap. vi. 17, 18. The very true beginning of wisdom is the desire of discipline, and the care os discipline is love, and love is the keeping of her laws, and taking heed to her laws h the ajfurance of incorruption. The sum of what I have said upon this argument amounts to this, that upon the terms of the gospel we can have no hope of the forgiveness of our sins, and eternal salvation.unless our nature be renewed, and the image of God;which is defaced by sin, be repaired in us, and we be created in Christ unto good works; That no faith will avail to our justification and acceptance with God, but that which is made perfect by charity, that is, by fulfilling of the law, and keeping the commandments of God ; by sincere obedience and holiness of life, which notwithstanding the unavoidable imperfection of it in this stare, will nevertheless be accepted with God, through the merits of' our blessed Saviour, who hath loved us, and washed us from our fins in his own blood. Tt whom be glory for ever. Amen.
The danger of all known sin, both frora the light of nature and revelation^
Rom. i. i8, r$, Tor the wrath of God is revealed from heaven ugainst all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest vn them, for God hath fotwtd it unto them.
The first sermon on this text.
IN the beginning of this chapter, the Apostse de* clares that he was particularly designed and appointed by God to preach the gospel to the world, and that he was not ashamed of his ministry,. notwithstanding all the reproach and persecution it was attended withal, and notwithstanding the slight and undervaluing. opinion which the world had of the doctrine which he preached, it being to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks fooliflmess; for tho' this might reflect some disparagement upon it in the the esteem of sensual and carnal men, yet to 'liose who weighed things impartially, and considered he excellent ead and design of the Christian do-trine, and .he
force and efficacy of it to that end, it will appear to be an instrument admirably fitted by the wisdom.of God, for the reformaiion and salvation of mankind.
And therefore he tells us, ver. 16. that how much soever it was despised by that ignorant and inconsiderate age, he wat not ashamed ofthe gospel of Christ; because it is the power of God unto salvation, to every em that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; that is, the doctrine of the gospel sincerely believed and embraced, is a most proper and powerful means, designed by God for the salvation of makind; not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles.
The revelations which God had formerly made,' were chiefly restrained to the Jewish nation; but this great and last revelation of the gospel, was equally calculated for the benefit and advantage of all mankind. The gospel indeed was first preached to the Jews, and from thence published to the whole world; and as this doctrine was designed for the general benefit of mankind, so it was very likely to be effectual to that end, being an instrument equally fitted for the salvation of the whole world, Gentiles as Well as Jews; it is the power of God to salvation, to every one that believes, to the Jew first, and also t* the Greek.
And to shew the efficacy of it, he instanceth in two things, which render it so powerful and effectual a means for the salvation of mankind:
First, Because therein the grace and mercy of God, in the justification of a sinner, and declaring him righteous, is so clearly revealed, ver. 17. lor therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from faith to faith : as it is written, The just shall live by faith. This is very obscurely exprest, but the meaning of this text will be very much cleared, by comparing it with another in the third chapter ot this epistle, ver. 20, at, Zt., Vc. where the Apostle speaks more fully and exprefly of the way of our justification by the faith of Jesus Christ, that is, by the belief of the gospel. He asserts at the ioth verse, that by the