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that obedience that springs from it is both cheer. ful and extensive. A servant may be awed by fear, or induced by the promise of a reward, to obey his master; but there is a great difference between such obedience and that which springs from love. In the former case, he lias no true satisfaction in obeying, but wishes his task was ended; in the latter, there is real pleasure. The servant loves his master, and therefore he loves to please him: his obedience is no task or drudgery, for his heart is in it; and while he pleases his master, he gratifies himself. It is thus with believers : the love they have to the Lord Jesus Christ makes them willing to do and suffer his will; and where this evidence is wanting, love should be suspected.
3. Obedience is necessary on account of the men of the world. Of this the apostle speaks in the context; and exhortations of the same import are numerous in the word of God; such is the following: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. These wprds were immediately spoken to the disciples, of whom all manner of evil was falsely said. Christ exhorts them to free themselves from these unjust reflections, by a holy and unblameable conduct; and so to.make it evident, that the doctrines they preached were in no sense unfriendly to morality : for while they preached the gospel, and were careful to maintain good works, they left no room for any to insinuate that they made void the law; on the contrary, their good example might have a tendency to lead their very enemies to think favourably of the sentiments they taught, secing that
under their influence their practice was unblameable. On the same account, modern Christians should be careful to regulate their conduct by the most excellent maxims of Jesus Christ : thus will they adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour ; and they who are of the contrary part will be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of them.
4. Christ taught his disciples the necessity of obedience, that God might be glorified. Herein is
my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye
be my disciples. The glory of God should be a leading point with the Christian ; he should keep it in view as the ultimate end of all his actions, and readily do or suffer any thing by which God may be glorified. And seeing this end is answer. ed, by having his fruit unto holiness, how should the consideration of it excite him to give all diligence, to add to his 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-kinda : ness, charity. And at the same time that God is glorified, by his bearing much fruit, he appears to be a disciple indeed. So shall ye be my disciples, i. e. so shall it be made manifest : for their fruitfulness does not “constitute them disciples, but makes it appear that they are so; just as good fruit does not make the tree good (the tree is first good, and therefore it brings forth good fruit) but shews it to be good.” So men are known to be the real followers of Jesus Christ, by abounding in the fruits of righteousness.
5. Though the plan of redemption was so laid, that the sinner should be justified through the blood of Jesus, without the deeds of the law; the
Lord had respect unto obedience, and effectually secured it. To this men are chosen, redeemed, and called.
(1.) They were chosen to holiness here, as much as to happiness hereafter. That very purpose of the Eternal Mind that appointed them to obtain salvation, did also determine that they should be an obedient people. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. With which agree the following words: Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience. In these passages it is evident beyond a reasonable contradiction, that the heirs of promise are chosen to holiness here, or to a life of obedience to their Divine Master : it is therefore necessary.
Corollary. How evidently do they misrepresent the doctrine of election, who say, “ If we are elected we may live as we please," seeing the elect are appointed to be a holy people.
(2.) It was one great design of Christ in redemption, that the redeemed by his blood should be holy. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
(3.) For the same purpose they are effectually called by the Spirit of God. For we are his work. manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. And it is the character of those who are openly in Christ by conversion, that they are now creatures : old things pass away, and behold, all things beconic now.
Thus we see that God the Father appointed his people to holiness; Jesus Christ redeemed them, that they might be holy; and they are called unto holiness by the Divine Spirit : they are a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
6. Let it be farther observed, that the Lord hath wisely connected the Christian's growth in grace, and his consolation, with his obedience. If he desires to enjoy, as doubtless he does, the consolation that there is in Christ, then he must walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. This is the divinely appointed method of nearness to God, and in which only the believer can expect to have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ; hence such sacred promises as the following: They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles : they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. Seek, and ye shall find. "And Christ said unto his disciples, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Here he promises, as in many other passages, that he would be with and bless those who wait upon him, or seek him in the ways which he hath appointed; and which the faithful in Christ Jesus have often experienced : for the Lord meeteth him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteousness; those that remember him in his ways. Neither hath he ever said to the seed of Jacob, Seck ye me in vain. It is therefore necessary that the Christian be diligent in his course of obedience, if he would enjoy the comforts of the gospel.
7. The glory to be revealed is promised only to such as shall persevere to the end. He that
shall endure to the end shall be saved. This is the grand encouragement to believers,, under mani. fold temptations. Their trials shall have an end; and then such as shall have finally persevered shall receive a crown of life. Not that we are to suppose that our perseverance in duty gives a right to eternal life ; no; this is founded on the Re. deemer's obedience and sufferings : but it characterizes those who are the heirs of this inheritance. There are many, who once made a very showy profession, and did run well for a time; but having no root in themselves, endured for a while : for when tribulation or persecution arose because of the word, they were offended. Thus their proper character was discovered. Of such it may be said, They went out from us, but they were not of us ; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us : but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. On the contrary, such as persevere to the end answer the character given to those who shall forever inherit the promises ; and the word is plain, that none but such shall be saved. It therefore becomes all men professing godliness, to be diligent, that they may be found of Christ in peace, without spot, and blameless. For in the present circumstances, there are many things that unite to excite the Christian's fear. He has a law in his members, a tempting devil, and an alluring world;: three very potent adversaries. It becomes him continually to watch and pray, lest he should fall from his own stedfastness.
8. In fine, the love of Christ lays the believer under a most agreeable necessity to continue in his obedience. No obligation more binding than