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u might be known by the church the manifold wildom of “ God."* How much more must the interested believer, with peculiar complacency, approve and adore it? But, above all, if that love and mercy which reigus through the whole is glorious to God, inust it not be delightful to the Christian? God is love ; and his tender mercies are over all his other works; but creating and preserving goodness are shaded and eclipsed by redeeming love. It is the theme of the praises of heaven, where Christ, as the object of worship, is represented as appearing " like a Lamb that " had been flain.”
2. Believers have peace of conscience through Christ, as their redemption through his blood serves for their own humiliation and self-abasement, for the manifestation of the evil of fin, and the vileness and unworthiness of the fina ner. Nothing could be so well contrived as the doctrine of the cross, in its purity and simplicity, to sain the pride of all human glory. We are particularly called to deny ourselves, and to derive our worth and strength from our Redeemer, in whom “ it hath pleased the Father, that all “ fulness should dwell,” and from whose fulness all his disciples must " receive, and grace for grace.” No hope of mercy but through him. “ I am the way, and the truth, " and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by “ me.”+ “ Neither is there salvation in any other : for " there is none other name under heaven given among " men, whereby we must be saved.” No access to the throne of grace or acceptance in worship, but through him: " In whom we have access with boldness and confidence, " through the faith of him.ll And whatsoever ye do in 6 word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, " giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”q No hope of stability in duty, of usefulness, or holiness of conversation, but by the continued exercise of faith in him. " Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear " fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can
* Eph. iii. 10.
1 Eph. iii. 12.
† John xiv. 6. Alls iv. !2.
Col. iii. 17.
4 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."'*
Hard sayings and humbling doctrine indeed! But this is appeasing to the conscience; for as conscience condemns us as guilty and undeserving, this condemnation is ratifi. ed in every particular by the gospel. These very circumstances in this doctrine, which provoke the hatred, or invite the contempt of worldly men, do but so much the mòre endear it to the convinced soul; and he says from the heart, “ It is highly just and reasonable that God alone “ should be exalted, and that he, through our Redeemer, • should have the whole praise of our recovery and falva« tion.” Agreeably to this it will be found, that the apos. tles, in celebrating the grace of God, feldom omit an ex. press condemnation of themselves, and a renunciation of all merit of their own, which indeed in every passage on this subject is manifestly implied: "For by grace ye are “ faved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is “ the gift of God: not of works, left any man should boaft: "" for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus un. “ to good works, which God hath before ordained that we " should walk in them. Whereof I was made a minister, « according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me, ... by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who .“ am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, “ that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearcha“ ble riches of Christ.”I
3. Believers have peace from the challenges of an evil conscience, through Christ, as they have an absolute as. surance of being delivered from the power of fin, and ef. fectually enabled to glorify him with their souls and with their bodies, which are his. This must be the most earnest defire of every convinced finner. He breathes after deliverance from the bondage of fin : the more he hath felt the weight of his chains, the more he longs to be free. This is inseparable from genuine convictions, on the principles above laid down. How much must it contribute to
* John xy. 4, 5. † Eph. ii. 8, 9, 10. Eph. iii. 7, 8.
compose the conscience, to know that this desire shall certainly be accomplished ? However nuch cause he may have to condemn himself for his past provocations, or to dread the weakness of his own resolutions of future amendment, he knows and trusts in the power of his Redeemer. He knows that henceforth he shall not serve sin, that its dominion shall be gradually broken through life, and en. tirely destroyed at death. As the end of Christ's coming was to glorify his heavenly Father, he knows that the glosy of God cannot be promoted by leaving the finner under the bondage of corruption, and therefore that he fhall be purified, and made meet to be a “ partaker of the inhe* ritance of the saints in light.”
If we look with care and attention into the New Teslament, we shall perceive that there is a close and mutual connexion between our justification and fanctification, and that both are represented as the fruit of our Redeem. er's purchase : “ There is therefore now no condemnaution to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after “ the flesh but after the Spirit : for the law of the Spirit " of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law 6 of fin and death: for what the law could not do, in " that it was weak through the flesh, God fending his own “ Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemn. « ed sin in the flesh.”* All the blessings of salvation are represented as following one another in a continued chain. or feries, not one link of which can poflibly be broken : “ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to « be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might “ be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, “ whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and “ whom he called, then he also justified; and whom he " justified, them he also glorified.”+ There is a cleansing and purifying virtue in the blood of Christ, as well as an infinite value in the way of purchase and atonement: " For if the blood of bulls, and of goats, and the ashes of “ an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the pu“ rifying of the flesh ; how much more shall the blood of “ Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself
* Rom. viii. 1, 2, 3. † Rom. viii, 29, 30.
he first born, destinate, themnified; and
« without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead 66 works to serve the living God ?"*
None but real Christians, exercised in the spiritual life, know the value or necessity of the promises of strength and aslistance contained in the scriptures. The glory of their Redeemer's person, spoken of in so magnificent terms, both in the Old Testament and the New, is surveyed by them with the most exquisite delight. The power and efficacy of his administration is, to them, a source of un. speakable comfort. Under him, as the Captain of their salvation, they “ display their banners,” and go forth with undaunted courage to meet every opposing enemy, believing that they shall be “more than conquerors through “ him that loved them.” Among many others, see the two following passages : “ O Zion that bringest good “ tidings, get thee up into the high mountain : 0 Jerusa“ lem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with “ strength, lift it up, be not afraid : say unto the cities “ of Judah, Behold your God. Behold, the Lord God " will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for “him : behold, his reward is with him, and his work be. “fore him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he “ shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in “ his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with “ young.t-Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not “ disınayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee,
yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the “ right-hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that “ were incensed against thee, shall be ashamed and con. “ founded : they shall be as nothing, and they that strive “ with thee, shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and “ fhalt not find them, even then that contended with “ thee : they that war against thee, shall be as nothing, “ and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God will " hold thy right-hand, laying unto thee, Fear not, I will “ help thee.” I
* Heb. ix. 13, 14. + If. xl. 9, 10, 11.
11. xli. 10, 11, 12, 13. SECT. - VII..
How the Christian is governed in his daily conversation.
D EFORE concluding this chapter, I shall speak a few
D words of the principles by which a believer is governed in his after obedience. On this the reader may observe, that a change in his whole character and conduct, immediately and necessarily takes place. The love of God is “ shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost," and is the commanding principle of all his future actions. It constantly discovers its influence, except in so far as it is refilled and counteracted by the remaining struggles of that “law in his members, which warreth against the law “ oi God in his mind.” By the discovery which he hath obtained of the real nature and infinite amiableness of God, his will is renewed ; he approves the things that are excellent, and gets such an impression of the obligation of the law of God, as cannot be afterwards effaced. So long, however, as he continues under a load of unforgiven guilt, and sees every perfection of God armed with terror against himself, there can be little else than flavith fear : but when he hears a gracious promise of pardon; when on examin. ing the evidence, his doubt and uncertainty is removed ; when he sees the righteous ground on which this forgiveness is built, he lays hold of it as his own, and is united to God by unfeigned love. This love, though weak in its measure, is, notwithstanding, perfect in its nature, and therefore powerful in its influence; being at once a love of esteem, of gratitude, and of desire...
The love of God is the first precept of the moral law, and the first duty of every intelligent creature ; but it is easy to fee, that unless our love is fixed upon the true God, it is spurious and unprofitable : and unless the true God is seen in “the face of Jesus Christ,” for any finner to love him is impoffible : but through the glorious gospel, the new nature is effectually produced, and cannot be produced in any other way. It is Christ Jesus who reveals to us the true God, the knowledge of whom we had lolt. * No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten