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whom he is to obey. He turns from fin unto God coming back as a runaway servant to his master, returning to his place and duty in the family. And he returns with blushing and tears. He is filled with forrow and shame for offending a good and gracious God. His heart is turned against fin, in hatred of it he hates it not only as a hurtful thing, that would ruin him; but as a filthy and lothfome thing, that defiles him. He lothes it as the abominable thing that God hates: as the deformity of the foul, the very reverse of the glorious holiness of God expressed in his law. He lothes himself for it; calls himself fool and beaft, for his entertaining it; fmites on his breaft, as if he would bruife that breast it was bred in; and fmites on his thigh, as if he would break the legs that carried him in the way of it, Luke xv. 20, 21., and xviii. 13. Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. And he returns with full purpofe of and endeavour after new obedience; with a heart inclined to keep God's ftatutes always even unto the end, Pfal. cxix. 33.: and filled with carefulness in that point, vehement defire of it, and zeal for it, 2 Cor. vii. 11.
2. The other chief branch of the promise of fanctification, is the promise of actual grace and strength for all holy obedience; whereby one may be enabled acceptably to perform obedience, in all and every act of mortification or dying unto fin, and of living unto righteousness; to do every duty that is required of him, and to bear whatsoever affliction is laid upon him, Pfalm xxii. 30. A feed shall ferve him. Zech. X. 12. And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name. Hof. xiv. 9. The ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them. Ezek. xxxvi. 27. And I will caufe you to walk in my statutes, and ye fhall keep my judgments, and do them. And Deut. xxx. the root promife of fanctification, in circumcifing of the heart to love the Lord, is in the first place propofed, verfe 6.; and
then follow both the branches thereof together, to wit, the promise of repentance, and of actual grace for new obedience, verfe 6.; And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments. God planted Adam a noble vine, made him as a green tree full of fap, for bringing forth all fruits of holiness: but breaking the first cove nant, he and all mankind in him withered and died, under the curfe; upon which ensued an abfolute barrenness, that no fruit of holiness could be expect. ed from them more. But the fecond Adam having engaged to fatisfy the law, by bearing the curfe; there was thereupon made a promise of railing them up again to walk in newness of life. And it is performed in their habitual fanctification, wrought in them immediately upon their union with Chrift: for though fanctification doth in the order of nature follow juftification, and the new relation to God as a Friend, Father, and God; yet in respect of time, it is together and at once with them: in the fame moment that a finner is juftified, he is alfo fanctified. But even when we are habitually fanctified, through the habits of grace infufed into us by the Spirit; we are not of ourselves, that is to fay, merely upon that stock, without new communications of actual grace by the fame Spirit, able to bring forth any fruit of holiness; even of our gracious felves we can do nothing, as our Saviour teacheth, John xv. 4, 5. And the apostle profeffeth, in his own name, and in the name of all other gracious perfons, 2 Cor. iii. 4. And fuch trust have we through Christ to God-ward. ver. 5. Not that we are fufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves: but our fufficiency is of God. For (faith he, Philip. ii. 13.) it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do. And this is no more strange in the difpenfation of grace, than that, in nature, fresh feed fown in good ground, yet cannot fpring up, and bring forth fruit, without
warming and moistening influences from the heavens; or, that we have a power of natural motion, and yet cannot actually move a finger, without a common providential influence of the Spirit of God, in (or by) whom we live, and move, Acts xvi. 28. Wherefore the promife is extended, as we have faid, unto actual grace, and ftrength for the acts of holy obedience; and is fo made forthcoming to believers in their actual and progreffive fanctification.
And thus fuch a fufficient provifion and allowance of grace is made in the covenant for believers, as that it is poffible for them, even in this life, to perform obedience to the law of Chrift, the ten commandments, the eternal rule of righteousness, in all the parts thereof, acceptably: fo that there is no corruption fo ftrong, but one may get it acceptably mortified; nor does the Lord require any duty fo difficult, but one may get it acceptably done; nor is there any trial or affliction fo heavy, but one may get it acceptably born. If it had not been fo, our Lord would not have made doing whatsoever he commands, the diftinguishing mark of his friends, John xv. 14. The apoftle doth indeed deny, that we are fufficient of ourselves; but withal he teacheth, that there is a fufficiency for us of God, 2 Cor. iii. 5. So the Lord himfelf taught him, in his own cafe, chap. xii. 9. My grace is fufficient for thee. Without it were fo, Chrift's yoke could not be eafy, nor his burden light, Matth. vi. 30. Nay, they would be like the yoke and burden of the law as a covenant of works, grievous to be born, chap. xxiii. 4. But his commandments are not grievous, 1. Jonn v. 3. It was no vain boafting the Apoftle ufed, when he faid, I can do all things through Chrift which strengtheneth me, Philip. iv. 13. Nor was Epaphras out, in fuppofing that the Coloffian believers might ftand compleie in all the will of God, Col. iv. 12. David had God's own teftimony, as to fact in that matter, Acts
Acts. xii. 22. I have found David, a man after mine own heart, which fhall fulfil all my will.
This bears no prejudice to the doctrine of the imperfection of the obedience of the faints in this life, maintained by orthodox Divines against the Papists and other Perfectionifts; which, as it is abundantly evident from the holy fcriptures, hath alfo a concuring teftimony to the truth thereof, in the breasts of all the ferious godly, to whom it is given by the Spirit to difcern the holiness of God, the fpirituality of the law, and the corruption of their own nature. But I am perfuaded, that through the fleight of Satan, that doctrine is, as feveral other precious truths are, a stone of ftumbling to many, through their not adverting to the provifion and allowance of grace made in this promife of the covenant, and that by this means many a poor finner is fnared and ruined, and the hands of many faints weakned in the practice of holiness; to the great difadvantage of the caufe of holiness in the world.
To break that fnare, and fet this matter in a clear light, there are three things carefully to be diftinguished.
1. Distinguish between performing obedience, in all the parts thereof, and in all the degrees of these parts. The latter indeed no man can, at any rate, do in this life, James iii. 2. Ecclef. vii. 20. But the former every true believer may do, yea, and actually doth, fo far as thefe parts are known to him: as appears from the text above alledged. In confounding of these, there lies a fnare. "The best of men," fay crafty finners, "do in many things come fhort "of the obedience required of them: and but fo do "we." Now, that the faints do come short of the degrees of every part of obedience required of them, is very true: but that they come fhort of any of the parts themselves known to them, which is the cafe of the crafty finner feeking fhelter for his fin here,
is falfe. And herein the former do really distinguish themselves from the latter; as David fhewed himself of another make than Saul, by his fulfilling all God's will, in the feveral parts thereof, which Saul did not, Acts xiii. 22. It is here as in the cafe of a family, confifting of pliable children, and refractory fervants. The mafter of the family prefcribes feveral pieces of work to be done by them all: and his grown children, who have perfect fkill of their bufinefs, do them all exactly according to his mind; and thus glorified faints obey: the younger children, who are but learning to work, do, out of regard to their father's command, indeed put hand to every one of them, but they can do none of them exactly; even fo it is with the faints on earth: but refractory fervants put hand to fome of them, but quite neglect others of them; and this is the manner of the wicked and flothful fervant, who feeks fhelter here for his floth, and his partiality in obedience,
2. Diftinguish between performing obedience perfectly, and performing it acceptably. No man can perform obedience perfectly in this life, Philip. iii. 12.; but every true believer performs obedience acceptably: Acts x. 35. He that feareth him, and worketh righteoufnefs, is accepted with him. In confounding of these there is a fnare. The crafty finner faith, "There is none that performeth_obedience perfectly and I am fure I do many things, tho "indeed not all." Now, that true believers do not perform obedience perfectly, is very true; but that they do not perform it acceptably, which is the cafe of the crafty finner, as not univerfal, and therefore not fincere, in his obedience, is altogether falfe. They who are mafters, know very well how to make this distinction in their domeftic affairs. If a child, or pliable fervant, fhew a real good will to obey their orders, they will accept of their work, though it is not done, in every point, as they would