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vious evidence of their justified state ? How can they rejoice in the favour of God, before they have good evidence of their intereft in it ? Without this, their joy is groundlefs, and is an evidence of nothing in the present cafe, but their willingnefs to deceive themfelves. With this, there is no need of joy for an evidence, of what is already confirmed by a much better witnefs. Itherefore conclude, that as the fcripture no where makes, and as the reafon and order of things no way allows joy and comfort to be evidences of our justified flate, we should fee to it, that we clear up our title to the divine favour by better evidence. And what other can we possibly find, but what I am now pleading for ? This, the apostle affures us, is the proper evidence, by which the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit fin ; and who/oever doth not righteaufneß, is not of God, I John iii. 9, 1 o. They therefore, who reject this evidence, would do well to confider, whose children they be, according to this determination of the apostle. Upon the whole then, our union to Chrift is fo far from affording the leaft plea for licentioufnefs, that it fhould be confidered as the strongest argument, and the most powerful incentive to an humble, penitent, watchful, holy, and heavenly life. Are we united to Christ ? Are we members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones ? Surely then we muft derive vital influences from fuch a fountain of fpiritual life; and be partakers of his holinefs. If we find not this blefied effect in fome degree, in vain are our pretences to an intereft in Chrift, or union to him. Are we united to Christ, and thereby made partakers of his inestimable benefits ? Surely then it concerns us to endeavour to live anfwerable to fo high a dignity, and fuch an honourable relation. Surely it concerns us to testify our gratitude to fuch an infinite benefaćtor, by living to the praife of the glory of his grace and love. With what abhorrence therefore should fuch licentious thoughts, as you have fuggested, be entertained by all the true difciples of the holy Jefus, as not fit to be fo much as once named among faints ! If you can have patience with me, I would briefly offer one argument more in favour of the doćłrine I have infiftedğupon; which muft recommend it as infinitely preferable in point of fafety, to either of the contrary ex
tremes. By aćting up to thefe principles of mine, you can be in no danger, as to the future and final event, fince you will be built upon Chrift Jefus the fure foundation of hope, and by grace derived from him, bring forth thofe fruits of holiness and righteoufnefs, which must end in eternal life. If the Arminians are right, you alfo are right. For you have the fame fincerity, the fame good works, which any of them may have to depend upon for justification and falvation. And it can be no prejudice to your falvation, that you obtained these in a way of dependence upon Christ only, as well as in a way of diligent aćtivity. Ifthe Antinomians are right you alfo are right. For you depend only upon Christ for righteoufnefs and strength, as well as they ; and it can no ways be injurious to you, that you have infifted upon the neceffity of holinefs, as the way leading to eternal life. But now to turn the tables, if they who plead for justification by works, are at laft found in a miftake : and inftead of building upon Chrift Jefus and the fovereign grace of God in him, are built upon the fand : or if they who disclaim the neceffity of holinefs are too late found in a miftake, and forted among the workers of iniquity, what will become of their hopes ! How dreadful will their difappointments be ! · That you may be found united to Chrift, and may be built up in faith and holinefs, with peace and comfort, unto God’s heavenly kingdom, is the earneft defire and prayer of, * - - : Sir, - - - :::::::: - Yours, ở c. LETTER XIX. Ġntaining particular Abvices and DrșEerions, for a close and comfortable WALK with GoD.
o shall weary me out, with the continual burthenfome * tasks you are impofing upon me.’ Indeed. Sir, you can no way gratify me more, than by putting it in my power to be any way ferviceable to your beft interefts. I fincerely thank you, that you are now giving me the fatisfaćtion of propofing o fome direćtions for a clofe walk * with God.’ It is an affair of the utmost confequence to myself, as well as to you ; an affair too little confidered, even by thofe of whom we muft hope the better things that accompany falvation ; and an affair, in which I have caufe with shame to confess, that my remifnefs has turned to my unfpeakable difadvantage. Let us then asin the prefence of God, refolve, by the affiftance of his Spirit and grace, not only to confult, but to practife fuch methods of piety, as may be likely means to fweeten the fatigues of life, prepare us to encounter the laft enemy, and give us a refreshing prospećt of our future inheritance. I shall endeavour (according tɔ your defire) to be plain, familiar and praćtical, in the di ećtions and counfels which I am now to lay before you. And here my advice to you is, 1. That you endeavour to obtain and maintain a deep impression of this important truth, that you have but one bufiness to do ; and that every affair and condućt of human life muft be calculated for, and subfervient to, that one great end of your being. God has made us for himself, to glorify and enjoy him. We are but pilgrims and firangers upon earth ; and have no continuing city There is another ftate before us, a state ofour everlafting refidence, a state where we muft be unfpeakably and inconceivably happy or miferable, to alleternity. Our whole work therefore is, to be prefsing towards the mark for the prize of our high calling; to be looking to, and preparing for, another and better country, even an heavenly. This, Ifay, is our whole bufiness; and thereforenot to be interprized as a fecondary concern ; not to be crowded nto a corner, to make room for more agreeable enterainments; nor to be attended only at our vacant hours» rhen difencumbered from our worldly bufiness and fenual gratifications. Tofear Godandkeep his commandments» the whole ofman. You will not fo far mifunderfland me». s to fuppofe, that Iam inculcating the necessity of a reclufe life, wholly taken up in devotion, wholly feparated from the common bufiness and society of the world. No! I am only recommending to you and to myself, a due fenfe, that we are under obligations, in point of duty and intereft, to ferve God, and thereby to promote our eternal welfare, as well at one time, as another; and as much in one bulinefs of life, as another ; as much in our fecular affairs, domestick concerns, company, and diversions, as in the special duties cf religion and devotion. Though these call for the more folemn engagement of the whole foul in their performance, being inmediately directed to God himself ; yet the other also arę to be done in obedience to God, and with an eye to his glory. So that we have but one bufiness; though we have a great many duties of various kinds belongIng to it. Refolve then, to engage in, and to endeavour to manage every affair of common life, out of duty to God, with a fpiritual frame of foul, and with a hearty defire therein to /bew yourself approved unto God. Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Confider therefore, that you have the fame God to deal with, the fame omniícient eye to obferve and remember your thoughts, views, affećtions, frames, language and behaviour, while converfant in the common affairs of life, as when upon your knees in your clofet or family, or in the publick worship of God’s houfe ; and that the fame upright views, the fame holy defires, the fame faith in Chrift, are necessary in the one, as in the other, if you would have them acceptable to God. 'This confideration duly imprefied, is the true philofopher’s ftone, that turns all to gold. This will make every thing ferve as a fresh gale, to waft us forward to our defired harbour. - |- 2. Be folemnly careful to attend upon all the ordinances of God, without any referve. Tfie duties and ordinances of religion belong to the way, which God has . appointed us to walk in, in order to our falvation; and we must be found in his way, as we would expećł his prefence and bleffing. Herein be therefore careful to have no referve. Let every duty, whether ofthe clofet, the family, or public worship, be diligently and constantiy maintained, each in its proper feafon. Live in the
omiffion of none of them; nor let any ordinary occurrence or excufe divert and put you by, when the proper feafon and opportunity calls for your attendance on them. You are under the fame obligations at all times, as at any time, to perform duty; and to obferve all duties, as to obferve any. For they are all required by the fame authority ; and to be performed to the fame objećt, and for the fame end. He therefore who lives in the wilful neglest of any known duty, does thereby turn his back upon God and his falvation. Herein then, the greatest care fhould be exercifed, that we may prove (or know and do) what is the good and perfećt, and acceptable will of God concerning us. You should also remember, that the duties of religious worship are to be performed to an omnifcient and heartfearching God ; a God who cannot be deceived, and will not be mocked; a God, who will bé fan&tified in all them that come nigh him, and who will highly refent our flattering him with our lips, and lying to him with our tongues, when our hearts are far from him. You should therefore be careful, by previous meditation, to obtain a lively fenfe of the infinite perfećtions of the glorious God to be worfhipped, of the nature and importance of the duty to be attended; and to have your affećtions inflamed and much engaged when you come into God’s immediate prefence, in any ordinance of religious worship. You should keep your heart with all diligence ; watch againft, and carefulły fupprefs every roving and wandering thought, endeavour to retain a lively impression of the divine prefence; and to keep up a devout fpiritual frame of foul, : in the performance of the worship of God. Our tranfaċlions with God, in the duties of religious worship, above all things call for the greatest ferioufnefs, watchfulnefs, and care. And all the pains we can take in this matter, will prove too little; we shall ftill have caufe to lament our great defests ; and to mourn after the pardon of the iniquity of our holy things, through the blood of Christ. 3. Remember, that as you lie at mercy, fo you have a mercy-feat to repair to ; and that you may fow in hope. It is very true, that we neither have nor can have any claim to the mercy of God, on account of any thing that we do or are able to do in religion. Not for your fakes do I this, faith the 1: God, be it known unto you. - d