« PreviousContinue »
is, to the Happiness of Heaven. But if we do not so improve them,
we shall, notwithstanding our present Privileges, be shut out, or denied · Access to Life, and Happiness.
177. Mat. xxv. 14— 31; Here the same Dispensation is explained, by the Comparison of “ a Man travelling into a far Country; who called his own Servants, and delivered unto them his Goods: And unto one he gave five Talents, and to another two, and to another one; He that had received five Talents- traded and made them other five. And likewise he that had two gained other two. But he that had received one, went and digged in the Earth, and hid his Lord's Money. After a long Time the Lord of those Servants cometh, and reckons with them.” Ver. 21, “ His Lord said unto him, that had gained five Talents, and also to him, that had gained two, IVell done, good and faithful Servant, thou
haft been faithful in a few Things, I will make thee Lord over many * Things; enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord. But unto him, that had - bid his Talent in the Earth, his Lord said, Thou wicked and pothful Ser
vant, &c. And caft ye the unprofitable Servant into outer Darkness; there s shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth.” In this Parable, our Lord
is the Man who travelled into the far Country, Heaven. His own Ser
vants are the whole Body of Christians. And it is our present great PriDovilege, that we are his Servants, and have received. Talents; that is, va
rious Capacities, Means, and Advantages. These Talents are the Gift of free Grace, being our Lord's Money, and not merited by any Works, or Obedience of ours. But, having received these Talents, we are obliged to employ and improve them. For at the last Day, when our Lord shall come, he will enquire how we have used them; and then,
the Servant, who has done well, shall be honoured and exalted.. But the Ft Nothful Servant, who hath done nothing, or very ill, shall be condemned, - To the same Purpose also is the Parable of the Pounds, Luke xix.
178. Mat. xxv. 32, to the End; “ When the Son of Man shall come in his Glory, before him shall be gathered all Nations; and he shall separate then one from another, as a Shepherd divides his Sheep from the Goats,” &c. Observe well; the two foregoing Parables, of the Virgins and Talents, refer plainly to the Church, or to such as are in the Kingdom of Heaven, or to those who are Christ's own Servants, in a peculiar Sense; and shew, upon what Terms they are favoured with Church Privileges. But this Parable of the Sheep and Goats refers to all Mankind, to all Nations; and shows, how Christ will deal in Judgment with the whole World; thofe that are not, as well as those that are, in the Church. Now, though this Parable is not for our present Purpose, yet we may from thence learn, (1.) That all Mankind without Exception have a Rule of Duty. (2.) That all Men will be judged at the last Day, in Reference to their present Conduct. (3.)
That then it will appear, there have been righteous Men among all Nations. (4.) That a righteous Man in any Nation, Christian or Pagan, is one of Christ's Brethren, Ver. 40.- (5.) That righteous Men, in all Nations, Christians or Pagans, are blessed of God, and shall be received into his Kingdom, Ver. 34. (6.) That the finally Wicked and Im
bierent perception Day
peninent in all Nations, Christians as well as Pagans, are cursed of God, and shall go into everlasting-Fire, Ver. 41.]
179. John xv. 1--46; “ I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. I am the Vine, ye are the Branches  Every Branch in me that beareth not Fruit he taketh away: And every Branch that beareth Fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more Fruit. Now you are clean [Ephef. v. 26. 125.] through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the Branch cannot bear Fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine: No more can 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 severed from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is caft forth as a Branch, and is withered; and Men gather them, and cast them into the Fire, and they are burned.” Ver. 8, “ Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much Fruit, so shall ye be my Disciples." Ver. 9, “ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you : Continue ye in my Love. If ye keep my Com- ; mandnients, ye shall continue in my Love." Here Chrift, (that is to say, the Church, or the Christian Community, which is planted upon, and professes the Faith and Doctrine of the Gospel, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 27.) is the Vine, and particular Members of the Church are the Branches; who are clean through the Doctrine which Christ has taught us. This is our present great Privilege, and the Effeet of Christ's Love. But this will not secure our final Salvation. In order to that, we must bring forth Fruit,, and continue in Christ's Love, by keeping his Commandments: Other. wise, we shall be taken away, and like useless withered Branches, caft into the Fire,
CH A P. X.
Gospel Privileges, &c. the Means of restoring true Religion, and Motion
to a good and virtuous Life. Proved to be so from the Apostolic Writings. 180. T ROM thefe Discourses and Parables of our Blelled
I Lord, we may gather the Truth of the Particulars laid down (169). Which Particulars we shall now prove more largely from the Apostolic Writings. And, that it may be done, as clearly and briefly as the Thing will allow, I shall use the following Abbre. viations; namely, [Prior State,] which fignifies that the Texts, which follow, prove the State they were in, before their Converhon to Christianity. Anteced.] Signifies, that the following Texts speak of Antecedent Love, or Mercies. Reajon.] The Texts, which give the Reafon, or Cause of those Mercies; namely, the Grace of God., Duty:] The Texts which shew the Duties, to which we are obliged by the Antecedent Mercies. Conleg.) The Texts, which speak of the Blessings, in this or the other World, which fhall be given in confe
quence of the right Improvement of those Mercies. Suppos.] Texts, which suppose, or affirm, that Christians, favoured with Antecedent Mercies, may be, or actually are, wicked Abusers of them. Account.] Texts, which prove our Accountableness to God, for the Improvement or Non-Improvement of those Mercies. Threat.) Texts, which threaten final Perdition to wicked Christians, who abuse Antecedent Mercies.
181. Paul, the apostle, writes to all the Christians at Rome, without distinction, as being “called  of Jesus Christ, beloved of God, (140) called saints; (127) as justified by faith, and having peace with God; as standing in the grace of the gospel,” Chap. v. 1. 2; as “ alive  from the dead," Chap. vi. 13, &c. [Duty] Chap. vi. 4, 12, &c. ii Walk in newness of life. Let not fin reign in your mortal body. Yield yourselves unto God.” Chap. xii. 1, &c. “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies  of God, that ye present your bodies a living facrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Account, ] Chap. xiv. 10, 12, “ We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. -- Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Sup.) xiii. 11, 12, 13, 14, ~" It is high time to awake out of sleep; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness;
let us not walk in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wan. tonness, in ftrife and envying.--Make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lufts thereof." viii. 13, « For if ye live after the flesh, [Threat.] ye shall die hereafter: I But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the Deeds of the Body, (Cons.) ye shall live."
I. II. CORINTHIANS.
182. Both these Epistles were wrote to the same Persons.
Prior State.] The body of Christians at Corinth had been idolatrous Gentiles, Chap. xii. 2; “ Ye know that ye were Gentiles carried away Unto those dumb Idols, even as ye were led.”
183. Anteced.] But after their conversion to Christianity (1 Cor. i. 2. 2 Cor. i. 1.) they were “the church of God, (133) fanctified (124) in Christ Jesus, called (97) saints.” (127) Ver. 4, "The grace (142] of God was given them by Jesus Chrift ;" Ver. 5, 6, 7, They were enriched with the miraculous gifts of the Spirit; (xiv. 18, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.”) Ver. 9, “ They were called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ;" Ver. 10, 11, &c. (X. 14,) The apostle frequently owns them for his brethren, dearly beloved; Ver. 18, They were among the faved , in opposition to the infidel Gentiles, who were lost; Ver. 30, “ Of him are  ye in Christ Jesus." Chap. iii. 9, “ Ye are God's husbandry,  ye are God's building" . Ver. 16, (2 Cor. vi, 16.) “ Ye are the temple (128)
Meldste añolmoxawy, ge foall bereafter die; nieaning, in the world that is to come. VOL. III Bb,
of God.” Ver. 23, “ Ye are Christ's.” Chap. v. 7, “Ye are unleavened," (that is, with regard to the state into which they were put by the Gospel, according to the profession, principles, means, blessings, end and design of which they were unleavened, or purged from all wickedness] Chap. vi. 11, “ Ye are wasbed, (125)* ye are fančtified,  ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God." Ver. 15, “ Your bodies are the members of Christ.” Ver. 19, “ Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in,” or among, "you" [in it's miraculous gifts and operations.] Ver. 20, « Ye are bought  with a price." Chap. vii. 14, “ Your children are not unclean,  but koly."  Ver. 23, “Ye are bought  with a price." Chap. x. 17, They were “all partakers of that one bread” in the Lord's supper. xii. 13, “By one spirit they were all baptized into one body.” Ver. 27, They were of the body of Christ, and members in particular.” xv, 1, They had “received the gospel, and stood in it.” 2 Cor, vi, 17, 18. vii, 1, They had the promise of God's being their father,  and they his fons and daugh. ters; that is, God was their father, and they his sons and daughters; for they had in pofleflion the grant, or promise, of this honourable relation.
All these blessings, and happy relations, are affirmed of the whole body of the Corinthian Christians, without exception, or ditinction.
184. Reafon.] 1 Cor. i. 4, " The grace  of God was given them by Jesus Christ.”
185. Duty.] The foregoing bieslings and privileges will appear to be motives to virtue and obedience, if we consider the following paffages. I Cor. y. 7, 8, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, + that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our paffover is facrifced for us. Therefore let us keep the feast (of a Christian life] not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sucerity and truth.” vi. 18, 19, 20, “ Flee for. nication.- Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghoit, and ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” ix, 24— 27, “They which run in a race, run all, but one receives the prize. Șo run (in the Christian course] that ye may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things: Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: So fight I, not. as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: Left by any meanis, when I have preached to others, I myself
" Ye are washed," is here of the same import with“ pnrged from lus old fins," 2 Pet, i. 9. And ii. 22, “the fow that was avashed, " is an apotiae Christian. The Jewish church is laid to be called, when it was borri, Ezek. xvi. 4, 9.
I Though, according to the profession, principles, means, bleffings, end and design of the gospel, they were unleavened, or washed, purged and fanétified, yet the Apostle here supposes there was among them the old, heathenish leaven of malice and wickedness, which it was their duty to purge out. This is clearly explained in Ezek. xxiv. 13, “Because I have purged thee, [by the instructions, means and motives afforded for that purpose,) and thou wait not purged by a' due improvement of them,] thou shalt not be purged from thy filthineis any more, till I have caused my fury to pass upon thee."
hould be a cast-away," or reprobate. fiv. 16, “I beseech you be ye the fol lowers of me." xv. 58, “My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” || xvi. 13, 14, “ Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done in charity.” 2 Cor. V. 15; “ Chrift died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth (after they have embraced Christianity ) live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.". vi. !, “ We beseech you also that we receive not the grace of God in vain.”* vời. i, “ Having therefore these promises
[that Paul was not cast away, or reprobate, but was, at that time, of the “rema nant according to the election of Grace," Rom. xi, 1, 5. And yet, had he: not kept under his body, &c. notwithstanding his gifts and preaching, as an apolle, he would have become a cast-away, or reprobate, in the day of judga mont.
il The Corinthians had received the gospel and stood in it. (1 Cor. xv. 1.) Which gospel, as appears from the whole chapter, was this; that Christ will. raise us from the dead, and give us eternal life. And this gospel is a motive to engage us to be “ftedfast and uomoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as we know that our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”
* It is worth our while to observe ; that in 2 Cor. v. 20, 21, vi. 1, 2, 3. the. apoftle gives us a specimen of the apostolic manner of address to two different forts of people. i. To the unconverted Gentiles. 3. To those who had als. ready embraced Christianity.
1. That he speaks to the unbelieving Gentiles in Chap. v. 20, 21, is evia dent; because he is speaking of God's reconciling the world to himself by Christ, Ver. 19, “ To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto, himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us," apoilles, " the word of reconciliation.” The world, or this world, commonly, if not always, in the apostolic writing, when applied to the men that are in the world, fignifies the unconverted Heathens. See, particularly, Cor. v. 10, 11o. xi. 32. And, reconcile, [x270W.%.10w] when spoken of the world, lignifies, changing men from Heathenisin, to the faith of the gospel. Rom. v. 10, * For if when we," Christians, “ were enemies," idolatrous Gentiles, “we were reconciled," or changed “ to God by the death of his son: much more being now actually reconciled, we shall be finally saved by his life.” Consequently, he could not, as our translators suppose, address the Christians at Corinth, when he faith, Ver. 20, “ Now then we are anbassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech (you] by us; we pray [you] in Christ's stead be, ve reconciled unto God." Our translators have inserted (you] twice in this . Perfe; as if the apostle was speaking to the Corinthians : but (you] is not in. the original Greek, and the Corinthians, to whom he writes, were already reconciled to God; or changed from Heathenism to the faith of the gospel, they had “ received the grace of God," Chap. vi. !. And therefore in this Verse he gives a specimen of their manner of preaching to the unconverted, unreconciled Gentiles. “ Now then we are ainbassadors on the behalf of Christ, as though God did beseech," 'or intreat, “ by us, we pray,” we beg, "on the behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled, (or changed from your enmity and idolatry,) unto God." In such language the apostles addressed, and intreated the Gentile world. He adds, Ver. 21, the grand argument which they urged to ioforce this intreaty : “ For he," God," has made him to be fin for us who knew no fin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." As if he had said, “ God by a surprising scheme of wisdom and mercy apВъ2