Page images

Sure. Thus God in the Law commands, · Sanctify Tourselves, for it is I the Lord that

Sanctify Tou; as on the other hand we find his Saints praying God to do that, which they know to be their Duty to do them. selves, Wall me throughly from my Sins and cleanse me from my Wickedness, is the Prayer of One, tho' 'tis God's Command to All. Wash You, make you Clean, and Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye dye , O bouse of Israel, is God's Peremptory Command and Affe&ionate Expoltulation to the same People, in whose behalf the Prophet as Earnestly prays Turn Thou us, O Good Lord, and so fall we be turned. Which with innumerable loItances of the like Nature, every where to be met withall in Scripture, what do they teach us but that the same Work is sometimes apply'd to God and sometimes to Us, to signifie that as God by his preventing, and following, and allifting, and confirming Grace, is the first Author and last Finisher of every Holy Purpose and Righteous Work in Us ; so there is requir'd on Our part a Concurrence of Will and ready Obedience to the Motions and Suggestions of his Blessed Spirit, else thisGracel which meeting with an Obsequious Heart would be productive of every good work to our Endless Salvacion) might by perverseness and obstinacy be rendred fruitless and ineffectual, and at last for Our Unworthiness be wholly taken from Us, to Our Just and Endless Condem. nation. Hence it is that the Apostle fo earnestly beleeches the Corinthians that they Receive not the Grace of God in Vain, That he is so sollicitous in the Epistle to the Hebrews, That they look diligently Lest any Man fall from the Grace of God, which by a long and contemptuous Resistance of it, he both supposes to be possible,and aggravates the horrible guilt and unspeakable danger of fuch Contempt from the Impossibility of Repentance. For it is impossible for those who were once enlighten'd, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the Powers of the World to come ; if they fall fall away, to renew them to Repena tance. And if he that despised Moses's Law, dy'd without Mercy, of how much forer Punisl. ment shall be be thought worthy, who hath troden under foot the Son of God, and bath counted the Blood of the Covenant wherewith he was fanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of Grace..


But lastly, as Grace if not by us refifted, and despitefully us’d, is the first Cause and principal Worker of every Virtuous and holy Action in us, so it is Grace also that not only at prelent accepts, but finally re



wards what it self at first enabled us to per. form: O Lord, thou wilt ordain Peace for us, for thou also haft wrought all our Works in us, 'Traiah 26. 12.

And when we consider the glorious Re· ward laid up for us, we must here espe

cially be convinc'd and acknowledge, that We are sav'd by Grace. Not of Works certain. ly , lest any Man fould boast, as if so un, conceivable an Exaltation, as the Incomprehensible Glories of Eternal Life, could postbly be claim'd as Due upon the score of the Worth and Value of our most ex. cellent Performances. Heaven is our lohe. ritance, not our Purchase ; not our Purchase by Works, but our Inheritance by Adoption. The Doctrine of Merit , as taught in the Church of Rome, is so contradictory to Reason, as well as Scripture, that just to hint at the Absurdities of it, is to confute it. To make a Work Meritorious there Condi. tions are requir'd,

First, Thaç iç be not a Debt, for what Thanks is there for paying what was long before due ; Yet what Service is it poflible for the Holiest Creature to pay , which from his first Creation was not by a most just Title indispensibly due to his Creator ? all that we have, all that we are, is his by Erernal Right; and when we have pay'd all that we can pay, we have pay'd no more,


nay, not so much, as we owe; when we have done all that we can do, we muft own ourselves to be but unprofit able Servants.

2dly, That any Work may merit, it should confer some Good , fome Advantage to the Person towards whom it is perform’d. But con a Man be profit able to God? says holy Job; and again, If thou be righteous, what give't ibou him, or what receiveth he of thy hand ?

3dly, In order to merit of any person, the Services we present him with ought to be our Own, at least not His, to whom we present them: whereas it has been suf. ficiently before shown, that we have of ourselves no Ability to do any Good, that whatever of that kind we otter unto God, was first his Own Gift to us; and if it has any Value with him, it is because it pro. ceeded from him. Not only Heaven, but all the Graces that are necellary to purify and prepare us for it, we receive from Un. deserved Mercy; so that God, when he confers Eternity of Bliss upon Us, crowns not in Us Our Works, but his own Grace.

Athly, Where Merit is pretended, there ought to be some Proportion between the Service and the Reward ; but, alas ! who fees not the infinite Distance between that Eternal Weight of Glory, and the momentary and light Performances of the greatest Saint that ever liv'd upon Earth?


[ocr errors]


And here by the way I can't but take notice of that nice but false Diftin&tion. which they of the Church of Rome make use of. They will allow, that our Sins are forgiven, and we so far justify'd for the sole Merits of Christ, but that we are rewarded with Eternal Happiness, That, they say,mult be by our Own. But where is the Ground of this Difference, why must the Death of Christ, which made a full Sacisfaction for all Sin, be absolutely necessary, and the sole Cause of our being sav'd from Eternal Death; and the Life of Christ, which fulfillid all Righteousness, not be esteem'd equally necessary, and the sole Cause of our being admitted to Eternal Life ?

The astonishing Disproportion between the Work and the Recompence can be accounted for by nothing but Grace, nor obtain'd by any thing but by that same Grace, producing in us Gratitude and Love. For it is for Love that That glorious Recompence is laid up, which Eye has not seen, nor Ear heard, neither has it enter'd into the heart of Man to conceive what God has prepor'd for them that love Him. This is the lub. Itantial Reason of our Hope, and this un. measurable Inequality between the Service and the Reward no longer confounds our Understanding, or staggers our Belief. For tho’ our Works are really nothing worth,


« PreviousContinue »