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it is mean, and when it is poor. Aye, but for the same person to desire a better, and pray for a better, and to pray earnestly for a better, and yet be contented with his condition though it be never so mean: this is much. Thus it is with the saints, a child of God, being in a mean condition, he desires a better; he prays to God for a better, and he prays earnestly to God for a better ; and yet he is contented with his condition though it be never so mean : pray, and pray earnestly, and yet contented with his condition, though it be never so mean. Thus, my beloved, oh, there is a mystery, there is a mystery in every piece of godliness: and you look not upon things under the mysterious notion, and you say, It is no great matter that is in the life of such an one. Oh, but if you would look upon things under this notion, and consider the mystery of godliness, and every piece thereof, you would lift up your hands, and say, Oh! surely he that hath the least measure of gospel grace, hath abundance of grace: he that hath but the least degree of grace, hath abundance of grace; of Christ's fulness. Now under the New Testament we have received not sparingly, not scantly, but grace for grace, and abundance of grace: he that hath but the least measure, hath received much, hath received abundance.
Some few things by way of application, and so I have done.
1. If it be so, then why should any of God's people vilify, and degrade, and lower the gift of God, wherewithal they are enriched through Jesus Christ? Would you take it as fair dealing from a child that is estated in great lands by his father, if he should say, My father indeed was pleased to bestow a great estate upon my brother, but he hath given little or nothing to me: he hath bestowed great means upon such a sister, but he hath given little or nothing to me ? This were not fair dealing. And is this fair dealing with your God and with your Father, when you shall say, Aye, there is such a godly man, the Lord hath given him a great estate of the gospel, but little or nothing to me: and there is such a woman, such a sister, the Lord hath done much for her soul, but, oh! little or nothing for me? Beloved, there is no small sin, because committed against the great God; there is no blessing small, because received from the great God: but of
all blessings, gospel blessing is the greatest. Hath the Lord, therefore, man or woman, given thee any gospel grace, the grace of Jesus Christ? He hath given thee much: that which thou lookest upon as little, it is much in the eye of heaven. Wherefore, now, let not the eunuch say, oh, let not the eunuch say, I am a dry tree, any longer, Take heed how you degrade, and vilify, and lower the grace of God, wherewithal you are enriched through Jesus Christ.
II. If there be such abundance of grace, even grace for grace; abundance of grace given unto the saints and people of God under the New Testament: behold, then, what great sinners professors are! yea, the sins of God's own people! The more light and knowledge a man hath, if he sin, the greater is his sin. The more beams of grace fall upon a man's heart, the more he is able to discern the motes that are there, and so may avoid them: and sinning, he sins the more. The more grace
and the more mercy a man sins against, the greater is his sin, because free grace and mercy are the remedy. The more strength a man hath to stand, the greater is his sin if he fall: as it was with Adam, he had strength to stand, and yet he fell. I say, the more strength a man hath to stand, the greater is his sin if he fall. Now, beloved, ye have heard what abundance of grace is discovered, exhibited, communicated unto all the saints under the New Testament; unto all the people of God. Oh! how great are their sins when they fall. The Lord was quick with many that sinned in the Old Testament; and will he not be quick with professors now, that know more, that have more grace, more grace discovered now? Many, when they sin, they excuse themselves, and they say, True, indeed, I have thus and thus sinned; but David did so: I have sinned, I have done thus and thus; but Samson did so: I have committed this or that sin; but Noah did so. Aye, but we have more light, we have more grace discovered ordinarily among us now, than ordinarily among them in the Old Testament: we have more grace discovered, more abundance of grace communicated
And therefore, as the apostle concludes from it, we ought the more abundantly to take heed : “ For if they escaped not without a recompence of reward that sinned against the law of Moses; what shall become of those that sin against the word of Christ, the Son of God?” Professors ! all you
that are the people of God, take heed how you sin; take heed how you tamper with your sins: grace hath abounded! you have received much : and therefore if you sin, this is that that will make your sins out of measure sinful : take heed what you do.
III. But, in the third place, if there be such an abundance of grace communicated now, unto all the people of God under the New Testament; what a mighty encouragement is here to all, good and bad : I say, a mighty encouragement to all, to all those that hear me this day, good and bad.
Bad: an encouragement to those that are bad, to those that are wicked: therefore they should come in unto Jesus Christ; he will not send your souls away empty; there is a fulness in Jesus Christ, and those that come unto him shall be filled by him. He does not only give grace, but he gives abundance of grace : who would not come unto Jesus Christ, that he may be filled by Christ? Mark, is there an abundance of grace to be had from Christ, and wilt thou have none, drunkard? Is there such abundance of grace to be had in Christ, and wilt thou have none, wanton? Unclean heart, wilt thou have none? Swearer, sabbath-breaker, wilt thou have none? The Lord persuade your hearts to come in unto Jesus Christ. I tell you, you will have more from him than you expect. The prodigal looked but for bread at his father's house, and he met with a fatted calf, and with a ring, and with the best garment: you shall have more than you looked for; it is a mighty encouragement. Oh, you that never thought of returning unto Jesus Christ, come in now unto Jesus Christ, that you may have abundance of grace from him. I have done, only this: Here is also encouragement unto all that are godly, and therefore they should labour to be rich in grace. Shall Jesus Christ do much for you, and will you do little for him? Shall you receive abundance from him, and will you not do abundance for him? Labour, oh! labour all you servants of God to abound in the work of the Lord, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God in Christ; that
you may be filled with all the fruits of righteousness; that you may be strengthened with all might in the inner man: you have received much, you have had abundance; he that hath the least grace, hath abundance : if thou hast but the least
gospel grace, thou hast abundance. Brethren, grace hath abounded! Oh! let us abound in grace, abound in faith, and abound in patience, and abound in meekness, sweetness, and love towards one another, and towards all the saints. You have received much; can you go to heaven with doing little? God expects much from you. I conclude, therefore, with the exhortation of the apostle : “ As you have received the Lord Jesus Christ: walk in him ; always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord,” Col. i. 6.
And thus much for the first thing that is here intended.
SERMON V. " And of his fulness have all we received, even grace for grace.”
JOHN 1. 16. Ye heard, the last day, that three things were contained in this last clause, “ Even grace for grace," as it stands in relation to the former part of the verse.
First of all, it notes an abundance of grace: even grace for grace; that is, abundance of grace. The saints and people of God, under the New Testament, do receive abundance
from Jesus Christ. Secondly, it notes also thus much: That all grace is from Jesus Christ. That whatsoever grace the saints have, they have it from Jesus Christ. Grace for grace, says Austin, that is, grace in order to grace: God gives the former grace, says he, to prepare for the after grace. Whether the former or the latter rain; whether the former or the latter grace, it it all from Christ. Whatsoever grace the saints have, they have it from Christ.
This suits with the phrase of Job still: “ Skin for skin,” that is, all a man's skin. So it is explained by the following words: “Skin for skin, even all that a man hath will he give for his life,” Job ii. 4. So here, “ Of his fulness have all we received, even grace for grace:" that is all grace: whatsoever grace we have, we have it from Jesus Christ.
And this also suits with the scope of the place: the scope
of the place is, to exalt Jesus Christ above them that came before him, above Moses. Therefore, says he, at the next verse, “ For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” John i. 17. Though the law were given by Moses, yet, notwithstanding, grace, the chief, that is from Christ.
Now grace, the word grace here in the 17th verse, must be understood of all grace : “ The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth :" that is all grace. And this verse being brought in as a reason of the former, surely, therefore, this must needs be the meaning also of the former. Thus all grace is from Jesus Christ! whatsoever grace the saints have, they have it from Jesus Christ. This is the argument that I intend, God willing, to speak unto at this time.
Grace sometimes is taken for the favour of God. Sometimes it is taken for God's assistance. Sometimes it is taken for holiness : either in the habit, or in the act. Sometimes it is taken for gifts.
Sometimes the word grace is used for an office in the church. Whatsoever it be, which way soever you take it ; all grace is from Christ; whatsoever grace the saints have, they have it from Jesus Christ.
This, now, will appear, if you consider the insufficiency of nature, and the all-sufficiency of Christ.
As for the insufficiency of nature, you know what the apostle says, “ We are not able, as of ourselves, to think a good thought; but all our sufficiency is of God,” i Cor. iii. 5. And if you look into this ist chapter of John, you find that those that are regenerate, and born again; it is said concerning them, at the 13th verse, “that they are not born of bloods," in the plural number; your English hath it, blood, in the singular number : “You are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Some there are, and were, that thought themselves to be the children of God, because they came of godly parents, because of their bloods, because of their education : so the Jews : “ We are the children of Abraham.” Some there are, and were, that think themselves the children of God because of some legal workings and monkish devotions : all those legalities under the gospel are called flesh. Some there are that think themselves the children of God, because of some more