« PreviousContinue »
all bis ways, knows his downfitting and his uprising, and understands even his thoughts long before ; He that in earneft believes this, will not dare, in the innermost Recesses of his Heart to harbour
any evil Thought, much less to commit any wicked Act, tho’under cover of the deepest Secrecy, and impollible to be found out by any Mortal Sight, but will demean himself as ever in the Presence of his Judge, nor presume to affront him to his Face, and as the Prophet (peaks, provoke the Eyes of his Glory.
He that believes, that the only way to Happiness is the Way of Holiness; That the Pure in Heart shall see God, but that where He is, No unclean thing Jhall enter there; having this Fear of being excluded for ever from the Beatifick Presence, will cleanse himself from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, and having this Hope in him of seeing God as he is, will purify himself even as he is pure.
Again, He that believes and considers the Corruption and Impotence of his natural Condition, and the Design of Christ's coming into the World: What he has already done and what he is still doing for him : How that Himself, and every Man, is by Nature a Child of Wrath, that Sin reigns in his mortal Body, that he lyes under a Bondage from which he cannot redeem, a Guilt from which he cannot acquit himself: That no
Flesh is justify'd in the Sight of God; Who. soever, I say, doth believe this concerning Himself, and on the other Side concerning Chrift, That for this End was be born, and for this Cause came be into the World that he might fave Sinners, That the World thró Him might be fau'd; That to this End, and to this End only, He came down from Heayen; This was the End of his Conversation upon Earth, His Life and Doctrine, His Preaching and Example; This was the End of his Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Sellion at the Right Hand of God; That by the Sufferings of his Life, and the Ineftimable Value of his Blood, the World might be justify'd and redeem'd from the Guilt of their Sins, and rescu'd from the Miseries of the World to come; And that by the Operation of his Doctrine and Example, and the Power of his Intercession the World might be fanctify'd, deliver'd from the Dominion of Sin, purify'd and
id to be admitted to the Vision of the mott Holy God, and Fruition of the Life to come: I say, the Man that firmly, and ftedfastly, and actually believes these things, will not (nay indeed cannot) negle&t se great Salvation: That He will not trample upon
the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, or · despise the Spirit of Grace, or crucify afresh the Lord of Glory, and put him to an open
Shame; But that for his continual Cleansing from his past Transgressions, he will daily resort to the Fountain which Chrift has opend for Sin, and for Uncleanness, Zech. 13. 1. offering and presenting his Head and his Heart (his Mind and Affections) to the Blood of Sprinkling; and that for the obtaining of preventing and following Grace to preserve him from lapsing for the time to come, he will throw himself daily at the Feet of that High-Priest, who is sensible of his Infirmities, and who sits at God's Right Hand making Interceflion for him, and with Sighs and unutterable Groans he will implore the Afliftance of that Spirit, which helpeth our Infirmities; And that continuing and persevering in this Course (by the Grace of God, which never failech them that seek him) he will certainly conform himself to the Commands of Chrift, and compose himself to his Example, till at length he be transform'd into his Image; He will add to his Faith, Virtue ; and to Virtue, Knowledge ; and to Knowledge, Temperance; and to Temperance, Patience; and to Patience, Godlineß ; and to Godlines, brotherly Kindnes; and to brotherly Kindnes, Charity; He will go on from Strength, to Strength, until he appear before God
I say, that whoever he is that from his Heart believes all these things, such a Man
by by denying Ungodliness and Worldly Lufts, and Living Soberly, and Righteously, and Godly in this present World, will work out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling; and in the End of bis Days, will certainly and infallibly receive the end of bis Hopes, even the Salvation of his Soul.
And this I think sufficient both to make good the Assertion of St Paul in my Text, That ye are Sav'd through Faith, and also to shew in what manner, and by what means Faith conduces to so blessed an Effect. Namely by presenting to our Hopes and Fears the great Springs of all Human Actions, Arguments of such amazing Concern and infinite Moment, as duly weigh’d, and seriously attended to, muft by a kind of Moral Neceflity ser all our Endeavours on work to the producing such an Obedience, as God for the sake of Christ, Believ'd in and Obey’d, will graciously accept, and Crown with Everlasting Life.
By all which, it plainly appears what Justifying Faith, the Faith thro' which ye are Sav'd is, Namely, a Faith working by Love; A Sound, Real, and Steady Belief of those Sacred Truths, which are not matter of bare Speculation only, but of such a Nature in themselves, and of so great Concern to us, as being once clearly known and firmly assented to, muft needs carry us out to
Action; without which the Knowledge or Belief of them is of no worth, it is unacceptable to God, it is unprofitable to Men, it is Dead, For as the Body without the Soul is Dead, fo Faith without Works is Dead also. James 2. 26.
Which brings me to the last Propofition to be handled, namely Good Works, to which we are Created in Christ Jefus, and which God hath ordain'd that we should Walk in.
III. And of these every Minister of the Gospel, as well as Titus to whom the charge was particularly given by St Paul, is oblig'd to affirm constantly, that they who have Believ'd in God be careful to maintain them. In obedience to which Apoftolical Injunction, we are bold to lay it down for an uncontestable Truth, That Good Works, tho' not of so meritorious a dignity, that we shall be Sav'd for them, yet are of such absolute necessity that we shall not be Sav'd without them. • The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, is with great probability conceiv'd by Learned Men, to be One of the Chief of thole things which St Peter points at in his Brother Paul's Epifles, as hard to be understood, which they that were Unlearned and Unstable Wrested to to their own Destruction. For even while the Apostles were yet alive, there arose Men