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alone, and so he would have the whole glory of their salvation without any scruple. And there are some among us, who profess to believe, that no qualifications in the sinner, during his continuance in this life, are necessary, in any sense, to his salvation, and that the sufficiency of Christ's atonement secures the salvation of all mankind, and even obliges the Father to pardon and receive all into favor. But it is the design of this paper to shew, that according to the gospel, no man can be saved, unless he has real holiness of heart.
It will be acknowledged, by all who believe any thing of the gospel, that all mankind are sinners, for otherwise there could be no propriety in providing any atonement, as the ground of their acceptance with God. If Christ died for all, then were all dead. If men are not sinners, why is there any mention of a pardon? Where there is no offence, the offer of a pardon is abuse.
serves the wrath of God can have any claim in justice to his favor. To say that a sinner deserves to be pardoned is absurd; it is the same as to say, that he deserves better than to be treated as he deserves.
If men are sinners, as the redemption of Christ supposes, and the scriptures every where assert, then if any of them are justified, it must be matter of free grace; for God can be under no obligation to the sinner to grant him a pardon. The very idea that one deserves wrath, proves that it would be just to inflict it; and therefore, that justification must be an act of pure sovereign grace. It must therefore, depend on the mere good pleasure of God, whether any sinner shall be forgiven, whether he will save all or a part only, and what part, and what description of sinners. For certainly no one who de
Since, as has been stated, it is a matter of pure grace in God, to extend pardoning mercy to sinners, then it is his unquestionable prerogative to appoint all the circumstances of this salvation as he pleases, and to determine, among other things, whether he will limit the application of the atonement of Christ, to those who have personal holiness. We must then inquire, whether God has ever signified his pleasure on this subject, and this must decide whether holiness is necessary to justification with God; for it must be a matter of revelation. And if God has declared it his pleasure to receive only those, who have personal holiness, this should be esteemed sufficient evidence to us, that it is perfectly reasonable, because it is with him to do as he pleases with his grace. Proud man indeed, is unwilling to place implicit confidence in the decision of God on this subject; not so our blessed Redeemer, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
The holy scriptures have fully explained the will of God, on this subject. They teach us that he does not justify the impenitent, unbelieving and unholy: "Except ye repent, ye shall all perish. He that be
lieveth not shall be damned.Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." We are also assured that we shall be judged, and have our destiny decided, according to the deeds done here in the body, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. God has assured us also, that those who are holy shall be saved. "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." To these a multitude of similar assurances might be added from the scriptures. Indeed this is the language of all the motives, arising from rewards and punishments, which are exhibited in the scriptures. Thus the scriptures acquaint us, that it hath pleased God to justify.such, and only such, as have personal holiness; not because their holiness is in the least degree the meritorious ground of their justification; but because it hath seemed good in the sight of God, to dispense his mercies to such characters.
us the reasonableness of his conduct, and he hath, in particular, done this, in the matter under consideration. Some of these reasons, why God saves only such as have real holiness of heart, will now be noticed.
There is a great propriety in requiring repentance, faith and other holy acts of the soul, as necessary pre-requisites to a gracious pardon, because those who have these exercises, are prepared to spend their days, and employ their eternity, in his service and to his glory. They will respect his government, and exercise obedience, submission and attachment to Christ and his cause. And their holiness also, as it is the effect of the transforming power of the Holy Ghost upon their hearts, displays the glory and power of divine grace. But if men were pardoned, who were not, holy, but under the full dominion of sin, they would have no inclination to serve and honor God, but would remain in enmity against him. And certainly, there is a manifest impropriety in the pardon of such inveterate enemies to God.
It was an object with Christ, not only to save his people from wrath, but to save them from their sins. This end, is not attained by pardoning those who are unholy; they would be saved from nothing, but from the necessary execution of the holy law of God.
We are not, however, to suppose, that the Lord hath made holiness necessary to justification in a mere arbitrary manner; this would be an unworthy tho't of him. He never does any thing for no other reason than merely because he will do so, but he both wills and performs all his works because he discovers sufficient reasons why he should do them. Tho' it becomes us to place confidence in the propriety of all God's administrations, when the reasons of them are above our researches, because we have sufficient evidence of his wisdom, power and goodness; yet it hath pleased God, in many things, to shewernment?
There is also a propriety in confining justification to those who have personal holiness, bes cause no others are capable of enjoying the blessings of heaven. Can the unholy enjoy an holy God? Rebels enjoy govThe vicious and im
pious enjoy the society of the
licensed depravity. This surely is a sufficient reason to justify God, in refusing the unholy a pardon.
Should the most High justify a sinner, persisting in his sins, he would, by so doing, join with the sinner, in reproaching his own law, he would sink the respectability of his government, and would bring a stain on his own moral character; for who will regard his law if he disregards it himself? And who could conceive of infinite purity in one, who should give sinners such encouragements in wick
Such unsanctified creatures are not only incapable of the society of the holy, but are utterly unfit for it; they would be an
And there would be a mani-offence to the holy, if they were fest impropriety in receiving the admitted among them. They unholy into favor, because their would corrupt and embroil heavimpiety and wickedness afford en with their impieties and mathe same reason, why God lignity. These reasons, without should continue to abhor them, going into any further investiand make them the monuments gation of the subject, it is preof his wrath, as if they were not sumed, will be acknowledged supposed to be justified, for they sufficient to settle the matter, are not reformed. in every serious mind, that tho' If the unholy were pardoned, God does not justify the sinner, remaining in their total depra- on the credit of his own repen vity of heart, it would be attend-tance, faith and obedience, yet, ed with a consequence, which that God justifies such, and would indeed be matter of tri- only such, as by their own perumph to the wicked, but of in-sonal holiness, are made meet consolable affliction to the righ- to be partakers of the inheriteous. Christ would be a min- tance of the saints in lightister of sin, and the gospel, in- meet for the enjoyments, sociestead of being a doctrine accord- ty, service and happiness of ing to godliness, would be the heaven. only thing, which rebels would desire, to free them from all
Therefore, tho' men are not justified by virtue of their good
the restraints of conscience, theness, yet personal holiness is as terrors of the law, and the ap- indispensably necessary to jus-prehensions of the effects of di- tification by grace, as ever it vine justice. They might then was to justification by the works riot without fear, in every impi- of the law. Let the unholy ety and lust, which could please tremble. The gospel is a doc
trine according to godliness.- proof in favor of the religious Christ is a minister of holiness, duties of the table. and his salvation tends to promote and encourage every moral excellency of heart and life. God has in every thing, provided for his own glory, and for the happiness and respectability of his kingdom, in the plan and accomplishment of his grace and of his designs of mercy.
It is also evident from the preceding considerations, that God, in whose hands we are, does not himself suppose, that the sufficiency of Christ's atonement lays him under any obligations to the sinner, much less does it give men who remain impenitent and unbelieving, any encouragement to hope for mercy. Sanctification then must be our evidence of an interest in the blessings of the gospel. In a word, reader, thou must be born again. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Observations upon the religious duties of the common table.
II. Point out the reasonableness and benefit of them. And III. Give some directions for the right performance of them.
I. Let us attend to the scripture proof in favor of the religious duties of the table. By the religious duties of the table, we mean an open and visible acknowledgment of God by praying to him for his blessing and thanking him for his mercies, at our family and social meals.
HERE is no branch of religious worship too inconsiderable to merit our attention. There are various ways in which we are allowed to express our dependence upon God, and profit by drawing near unto him. Those religious duties which accompany our common meals are a part of the worship which we owe to Almighty God. A few thoughts on this subject may help to perfect the man of God, and furnish him more thoroughly to every good work.
It is proposed
1. To collect the scripture
Christ, our great pattern has set us an example of these duties. This he did in those miraculous meals, when he fed thousands with a few loaves; and also when he sat down at a common meal with the two disciples at Emmaus. In these instances, it is evident, that it was an open and not a secret duty. It was a duty in which they all united; yet Christ is said to perform it, because he led in the duty and was the mouth of the whole. That this duty was not to be confined to Christ himself, is evident from the example of his servant Paul, when on board the prison ship. "He took bread and gave thanks to God in presence of them all, and when he had broken it he began to eat." Paul's giving thanks was not done secretly with himself, as it would have been, had he been eating alone; but it was a meal in which they all united: therefore he gave thanks to God in presence of them all. The way in which the apostle attempted to reconcile the weak and strong believers to each other, in Rom. xiv. 6. was to remind them of a practice which was common at all their tables, whether they ate herbs or meat. The practice
was that of giving God thanks. The same practice seems to be alluded to 1 Cor. x. 30.—also 1 Tim. iv. 3, 4, 5.
The proof, which has now been adduced, is all collected from the new testament; but we need not doubt but that it was a duty, practised by the pious, before Christ came. There are the same reasons for the duty in every age. One or two passages now occur to my mind in the old testament, which ap
ceives a gift, it is then peculiarly suitable, that he should say to his benefactor, "I thank you for your liberality-you have been very good to take pity on such a miserable and undeserving object-I am greatly obligated to you-had it not been for your bounty, I must have suffered― I shall still be dependent, and though I am already deeply in debt to your generosity, I hope I shall still be remembered among the other poor, who are
pear to imply the duty now re-supplied from your fulness." A commended. "When thou hast beggar, whose tongue is not stiff, eaten, and art full, then thou who never, at the time of reshalt bless the Lord thy God,ceiving that bounty which feeds for the good land which he hath him, expresses any such sense given thee." Deut. viii. 10. of obligation to his earthly bene"For the people will not eat un- factor, we should suppose was a til he come, because he doth bless very ungrateful wretch. Withthe sacrifice, and afterwards they out gratitude in the heart, he eat that be bidden " 1 Sam. ix. might express it with his tongue; 13. Thanksgiving at our meals but when it is in the heart, out being made to appear clearly a of the abundance of the heart scriptural duty, we proceed the mouth will speak.
II. To show the reasonableness and benefit of the duty. If a duty can be learned from scripture command or example, we should practise it, whether we can see the good arising from it or not; but the duty now in question is not only pointed out in the bible, but is clearly our reasonable service, and is attended with beneficial consequences.
The reasonableness of the duty arises out of our entire dependence upon God. If we are entirely dependent, we ought to feel it; and since we have tongues, we ought to express it. Meal times are suitable seasons to express our dependence upon God. It is proper, that a poor beggar should always feel his dependence upon and obligation to his benefactor; and when he re
Those who love their dependence on God, and who feel thanktul to this great benefactor, will rejoice to take every suitable opportunity, to acknowledge that all their mercies flow from him. And what a suitable time. we have for this when we gather around the table of his bounty. Here we see our Creator opening his hand repeatedly to supply the wants of his dependent and unworthy creatures. All we see upon the table is of his own providing. The animals upon which we feed are his. The bread grew upon his earth. It was brought forward by the influence of his sun and by the rain which he caused to descend. But some man will say, It was I who sowed it, and I labored hard to gather it in.-True, but who made thee capable of sowing and