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first Mover, moving all things Himself, from without Immovable; it unavoidably follows, that whatever can be properly said to move God, can be no Other than God himfelf. This is that Original Spring and Eternal Source of that Gracious Dispensation, which in time God was pleas’d to reveal to Mankind in the Adorable Mysterics of our Redemption, which is
zly, A second Acceptation of the Word in Scripture, wherein Grace is often taken for the Manifestation of Grace, that is the Gospel, the Covenant of Grace, the Grace which came by Jesus Christ, as St. John speaks, c. 1. V. 17: The Grace of God which has appear?d to all Men, bringing Salvation, as allo St. Paul, Tit. 2. II. ?
And this moft Glorious, as well as Gracious Display of the Divine Goodness, in the Means of Reconciliation teader'd to Mankind in the Gospel, as ic is the chiefest of all the Gifts of God, (for herein he gives us his Own Son, and if he spares not him, bow fall be not with him also freely give us all things) fo by us it may be juftly, esteemid, it must be look'd upon as a Gift, that has in it all the Qualities that can make à Gift super-eminently perfe&t. ' In a Gift there are three things to be conlider'd, The Giver, The Person to whom it is given, and che Manner of giving.
In the firft place then, He that gives, to do it in Sovereign Perfe&ion muit give of his own, and he must have also both Power and Will to give all that he can give, as far as the capacity of the Receiver is able to bear; He must therefore be Infinitely Good, that he may give with the greatest readiness of Will, and Infinitely Powerful, that he may give to the full extent of the Waots of the Receiver , and Sovereignly Independant, that he may give without hopes of Return, otherwise whatsoever is given would not be a Gift, but a Bargain...
2dly, That a Gift may be said to be in full Perfection, he to whom it is given muftMe. rit nothing from the Giver, for that were ra. ther the payment of a Debt, than bestowing of a Gift, if there were any Merit in the Receiver. He ought also to be in the extreamest need of what is given, or else he might be excusable if he flighted and refused theOffer.
Lastly, as to the Manạer of giving, That ought to be free, for whatsoever things are given by Compulsion, are not Gifts, but Spoils. And since as before was said, the Gift' must prevent all manner of Deserts, that it be not a Reward, it ought to precede also even the Hopes, or Desires, or Petitions of the Receiver, because by these means he may in some manner be laid to deserve.
All these Qualities concurring and eminently shining forth in the Covenant of Grace, tender'd to us in the Gospel, make it a Gift sovereigoly Perfect, perfect even as He Himself, the great Donor, is Perfect.
Especially, if we consider God's infinite Condescension in the favourable Terms propos’d to us in this Word of Reconciliation ;
in which, contrary to the extreme Rigour els of the Old Law, the Voice of which was, Du Do this and live, fail in the least Tittle and is dye, he is accounted Just in the Eyes of
God, not whose Righteousness is manifest, but whose sin is cover'd. He whose uni. form and serious and conscientious, tho' not absolute and unerring and finless Obedience, is for the sake of that perfect Righteousness of Christ approv'd by God, who knowing our Frame, and pitying our Weakness, is graciously pleas’d to accept of hearty
Endeavours instead of exact Performances, 5 Repentance instead of Innocence, and Sin
cerity instead of Perfection. And yet fur. ther, These Endeavours, and This Repen.
tance, and This Sincerity he does not only e accept of Us, but give to Us. For it had * not been sufficient to have contriv'd ro won.
derful a Method of Salvation, and to have e communicated to Mankind the Knowledge,
and offer'd to him the Advantage of ic by Jesus Christ, unless he had also endu'd him
from above, with a Power to lay hold of it, by enlightning his Understanding, and enflaming his Will, and so enabling him by Faith to embrace this Covenant, and by Obe. dience to falfill the Conditions of it.. · And this is another Acceptation of the Word, according to which, by Grace is ligoify'd that Divine Principle infus’d into our Souls by God's good Spirit, quickning us, and raising us from the Death of Sin, to the Life of Righteousness, that Participation of the Divine Nature, by which we are made conformable to the Divine Will. For of Our selves, alas! and from Our Own Nature, not only weaken'd bur deprav’d, we are not able to conceive one good Thought, much less to bring forth any righteous Work. It is from Grace alone preventing our Wishes, and stirring up our Wills, and working with those Wills when stirr'd up, that all holy Defires, all good Counsels, and all just Works do proceed. Nor only the Execution of the Hand, and the Contrivance of the Head, but the Preparation of the Heart is from the Lord, Prov. 16.1. The very first Dispolitions and Tendencies of our Minds towards God, the very Desire of Grace is from Grace, from his Spirit that worket b in us both to will and to do. So that it is but Justice upon every good Quality that we pofsefs, to inscribe what is here particularly said co Faith, This not of our felves, it is the Gift of God; and upon every good Action that we do , that of the same Apostle elsewhere, get not I, but the Grace of God that is in me. i Cor. 15. 10. But this Grace, tho'mighty to instruct, to help, to invite, to perswade, yet is not violent to force or compell either the Assent of the Understanding, or the Co-operation of the Will. The Grace of God like the Wisdom of God (as it is express'd in the Book of Wisdom) acts Fortiter fed Suaviter , Mightily yet Sweetly does She order all things, is Powerful but not Irrefiftible. It requires to be kindly entertain'd, and obsequioully comply'd with, and by repeated applicacions to the Throne of Grace diligently and incessantly to be pray'd for, that it may be continu'd to Us and encreas'd in Us. We must Ourselves Co-operate with it, and not think to be wholly. Passive, Una&tive, and Unconcern'd in the great Work of our Own Salvation. Because God is Powerful in Working in us and for us, this is so far from being a Reason why We should be Idle, and, leaving all to his mighty Operation, be utterly careless of Ourselves, that it is very justly urg'd by St. Paul, as a forcible Motive and strong Reason to the contrary. Work out your Own Salvation with Fear and Trembling , For it is God that Worketh in you both to will and to do according to his good Ples