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gogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you,
will think he doth God service," &c. It was his mind, to tell them the worst, as well as the best.
6. It was the Father's mind, that Christ should come and publish the Father's peace, and his peace to them amidst all their tribulations : see and compare John xiv. 27. with xvi. 33. It is another sort of peace than that of the world, which is a sinful and carnal peace, whereas this is holy; that is a crazy, brittle peace, whereas this is abiding : that, an outward peace from outward things; this, from inward and spiritual things; that, outward objectively; this, inward subjectivly, solid heart peace, Phil
. iv. 7. the peace of God; that a peace that is soon off, indeed; but this, like that in Ps. cxix. 165. “ Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." Lovers of the truth are least liable to offence : many take offence where none is given ; thus Christ himself was a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence: he was to the Jews a stumbling-block: they were offended at his person and doctrine; “ Because, I said, except you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you cannot have life, &c. Doth this offend you ?”. When men are offended at the word of God, it argues little love to the word; for, “ Great peace have they that love thy word, and nothing shall offend them.” This divine peace is the part of the mind of God that Christ hath to discover to his disciples. God is the God of peace; and all things that God hath, Christ hath to give; therefore says, “ My peace I leave to you: in me ye shall have peace.”
I shall only add a word in general to all. Let none go away from this occasion, complaining, and saying, There was nothing to spare for them ; for, behold, before you go, I will give you something that is worth a thousand worlds, and that is an offer of Christ, and all things in him, that can make your soul happy for ever, even all the unsearchable riches of Christ: he is courting you, and commending himself to you, in these words, “ All things that the Father bath are mine :" there is therefore nothing to hinder your matching and marrying with the Son of God;
od ; " All things are ready, come to the marriage; Mat. xxii. 4. The Father loveth the Son, and bath given all things to him," and hath made him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and all things for your use, that you may receive and welcome him : he wants nothing, for he hath all things ready: and if you say, you are not ready, for you want all things; you want faith, repentance, love, and every grace ; your want is no excuse, but a reason why you must come to him for all things you want; you will never share of them nor find them, but where they are; if you come not to him, you must want for ever, and live and die cursed in the want of all things. O may your ears be opened to hear the voice of Christ, saying, " Come to me; whosoever will let him come, and take the waters of life freely :" that is, of all good things that I have to give; for, “ All things that the Father hath are mine."
TRUE LOVERS of GOD highly privileged : Or, The Great Comfort of BELIEVERS in the Co-operation of All things for their Good*.
Rom. viii. 28.
We know, that all things work together for good to them that love
God, and are the called according to his purpose.
This chapter is like a string of pearls, every one of them more precious than another: if we might loose the string, and single out this one from among the rest, to take a particular view thereof, we may find an immense worth and preciousness in it. The whole of this chapter is consolatory ; and holds forth some special grounds
* This Sermon was preached at Glasgow, on Monday, October 4th, 1747, being a thanksgiving day, after the celebration of the sa, crament of the Lord's supper there.
of consolation for supporting justified and sanctified ones against all evil whatsoever. We may take up the substance of the chapter in four heads.
1. We have comfort against the condemning sentence of the law, in the beginning of the chapter, to the fifth
Such as have union with Christ, have no reason to fear the dreadful sentence of the minatory part of the law.
2. We have comfort against indwelling sin, that adheres even to them that are justified and sanctified ; for, it shall never hinder the indwelling of the Spirit here, nor the glorious resurrection of the body at the last day, nor the eternal happiness of both 'soul and body; from the fifth to the seventeenth verse.
3. There is comfort against all afflictions, crosses, and tribulations in this world; from verse seventeenth to the thirty-third.
4. Not only comfort against all adversity, but against all adversaries whatsoever, and against all charges and challenges, insomuch, that believers are brought in triumphing in the God that justifies, so as none can lay any thing to their charge.
The chapter begins with no condemnation to the believer; and it ends with no separation from Christ : and, to be sure, the top stone has a solid foundation ; for, nothing can be more certain than this. That there is no condemnation to them, as to whom there is no separation from Christ.
This text is one of the pearls of the third part of this chapter ; and it contains a sum of the believer's comforts. There are two things especially that hinder the comfort and consolation of a Christian; the one is sin, the head of the serpent; and the other is affliction, the tail of the serpent: against which the apostle brings a sovereign remedy, taken from the providence of God, which is the daily executor of his purpose, “ Working all things according to the counsel of his will," and making them the means to help forward the happy end ; nothing shall hinder, but rather every thing shall promote their spiritual good and eternal happiness, * All things shall work together for good to them that
love God, to them that are the called according to bis purpose.
The words contain two general parts. We have, 1. A divine consolation, encouragement, and privilege ; “ We know that all things work together for good.” 2. A due limitation or restriction, specifying the objects to whom this comfort pertains : it is to them that love God and are the called according to his purpose.
1. We have a divine consolation, or great privilege, asserted; wherein you may observe four things most comfortable and remarkable. (1.) A blessed end pro. posed, namely, Good; spiritual and eternal good.-(2.) The plentiful means for accomplishing this end, namely, all things. Here is a general including all particulars.(3.) The barmonious intluence that these ineans have for reaching this end, they work; and they work together in a wonderful harmony.(4.) The certain evidence hereof, “ We know it," says the apostle, both by faith and experience, “That all things work together for good to them that love God.". The operation of the Spirit, in helping the infirmities of the saints, of which the apostle was just now speaking, is not more certain, than this wonderful dispensation of providence ; for it is emphatically asserted, in connexion with that and the other great truths here delivered ; and “ We know, that all things work together for good to them that love God."
2. We have a due limitation, or restriction : or, if you will, a specification of the objects to 'whom this comfort pertains, to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose. And here also four things may be observed. (1.) The cardinal grace by which the believing child of God is described, namely, love. (2.) The glorious object on whom this love is terminate, namely, God. Every believer is a lover; and the principal object of his love, is a God in Christ. (8.) The immediate root and spring of this love, and that is calling; they are called, viz. effectually, and so have Christ formed in them, and are new creatures. (4.) The eternal foundation of this call, and that is the di. vine purpose ; they are called according to bis purpose, and this purpose of God, as the foundation of effectual calling, is more clearly explained in the following verses, 29, 30. “ Whom he did foreknow, them also he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of bis Son. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." There is, therefore, here a remarkable chain in answering this question, Who they are to whom all things shall work together for good? Why, it is the elect.-But, How shall we know who are elect? Why, they are effectually called in time. But how shall we know who are effectually called? Why, even by their love to God: we may know eternal election by vocation; and effectual vocation, by our internal affection toward God in Christ.
Observe in general, “ That God's free love and gra“ cious purpose, is fertile and productive of many pre“ cious fruits.” Why, on this root grows the blessing of effectual calling, wherein the seed of all grace is sown, whence love particularly springs; insomuch, that our love to God, if it be true and genuine, is the fruit of God's everlasting love to us. On this root also grows the co-operation of all things for our good; insomuch, that it may well be said of believers in Christ, and lovers of God, All things are yours. The God that made all things had no other design in doing so, but his own glory, and the good of his friends and lovers. O! how fruitful is his free love and gracious purpose ? I might here relate to you some of the special fruits of his love; but I proceed to the doctrine I mainly intend. OBSERV. That it is the comfortable privilege of all
God's loving children, that “ All things shall work together for their good.” The method we propose, for handling this important subject, as the Lord shall be pleased to assist, is the following * 1. To inquire what'we are to understand by this note
of universality, ALL THINGS? II. What is this Good that all things shall work ?
that God's lovers may know what they are to Jook for