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which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy :m so he that scandalizeth his brother, or the church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended ;n who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.0
OF GOOD WORKS.
Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy word,1 and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.b
is godly pray unto thee, in a time when thou mayest be found; surely m the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
m Prov.*xviii. 13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper : but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 1 John i. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
n James v. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Luke xvii. 3, 4. Take heed to yourselves ; If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him. Josh. vii. 19. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord, God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. (Psal. It', throughout.)
o 2. Cor. ii. 8. Wherefore 1 beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards him.
I. a Micah vi. 8. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Rom. xii. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Heb. xiii. 21. Make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
b Mat. xv. 9. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Isa. xxix. 13. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their moulh, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart fair1' from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men 1 Pet. i. 18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed witl corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation o
II. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith :c and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,11 strengthen their assurance,*5 edify their brethren/ adorn the profession of the gospel,e stop the mouths of the
ceived by tradition from your fathers. Rom. x. 2. For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. John xvi. 2. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth God service. 1 Sam. xv. 21 to 23. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord, thy God, in Gilral. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witeheraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry: because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
II. c James ii. 18, 22. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
d Psal. cxvi. 12, 13. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. 1 Pet. ii. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
e 1 John ii. 3, 5. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 2 Pet. i. 5 to 10. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ. But ha that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see far off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
/ 2 Cor. ix. 2. For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. Mat. v. 16. Lot your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.
g Tit. ii. 5, 9, 10, 11,12. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to aU men; teachmg us, that denyadversaries,11 and glorify God,' whose worfcmnn'l.ip they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto;1 that having their fiuit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal life'
III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ"1 And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to woik in them to will and to do of his good pleasure :n yet are they not hereupon lo grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spiiit; but they outfit to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.0
ing ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should lire soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. 1 Tim. vi. 1. Let as many servants as arc under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour; that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
h 1 Pet. ii. 15. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
i 1 Pet. ii. 12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentilos: that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works, which they shalt behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Phil. i. 11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. John xv. 8. Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.
k Eph. ii. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I Rom. vi. 22. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your frmt unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
III. m John xv. 4, 5, 6. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
n Phil. ii. 13. For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil. iv. 13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 2 Cor. iii. 5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God.
o Phil. ii. 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. Heb. vi. 11,
IV. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height, which is possible in this life, are so far from bemg able to supercrogate and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.P
V. We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sin ;il but when we have done all we can, we
12. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. 2 Pet. i. 3, 5, 10,11. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your taitli virtue; and to virtue knowledge. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: ibr if ye do these things ye shall „.«-never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Isa. lxiv. 7. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee : for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us because of our iniquities. 2 Tim. i.6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands. Acts xxvi. 6, 7. And now I stand, and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers ; Unto which promise our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night, hope to come; for which hope•r sake, king Agrippa, 1 am accused of the Jews. Jude 20, 21. Hut ye, beloved, budding up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love oi God, looking for the mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
IV. p Luke xvii. 10. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Neh. xiii. 22. And I commanded the Lerites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. Job ix. 2,3. I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. Oal. v. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
V. q Rom. iii. 20 Therefore, by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom. iv. 2, 4, 6. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. Now, to him that worketh is the reward not reckened of grace, but of debt. Even as David also
hare done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants ;r and because, as they are good, they proceed from bis Spirit;' and, as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.1
VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him,v not as though they were in this life wholiy un
describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom (rod impnlcfth righteousness without Works. Eph.ii. 8, 1). For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. Tit. iii. 5 to 7. Not byworks of righteousness which we have done, but according to hi? mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost: which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should bo made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Rom. viii. 18. Fof I recken, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be nompared irith the glory which shall be revealed in us. Psal. xvi. 2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: my goodness extendeth not to thee. Job xxii. 2, 3. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure to the Ahnighty that thou art righteous; or M%Lb gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect? Job xxxv. 7, 8. It thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what roceiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
r Luke xvii. 10. (See letter^) in this chapter.)
* Gal. v. 22, 23. But the frmt of the Spirit is love, joy, poace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
I Isa. Ixiv. 6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Gal. v. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Rom. vii. 15,18. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. I know, that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will, is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not Psal. cxtiii. 2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psal. exxx. 3. If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand f
VI. v Eph. i. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. 1 Pet. ii. 5. Yc also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ. Exod. xxviii. 38. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the hoty things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts: and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.. Gpn. iv. 4. And Abel, he also" brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of tiw fat