Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Things are become new: 'new Companions, new Conversation, new Peace and Joy in believing, 2 Cor. v. 14, 16, 17. Consequently the Desire of their Heart is towards him, and they cry out with the Spouse, to him whom their Soul loveth; “Where doft thou make thy Flock to rest at Noon?” not only from Sinai's Thunder,' and the Curses on Mount Ebal, but from the Frowns and Sneers of the ungodly World, the Deceit of Sin, and the Snares of the Devil. “ For why hould I turn afide from the Flocks of thy Companions ?" Cant. 1.7. Thus by Faith they offer unto the Lord, like Abel, a Free-will offering, more excellent than Cain, or the faithlefs Generation, Heb. xi.

4.

But the Unconverted, not having tafted that the Lord is gracious, i Peter ii. 3. nor received a Testimony that they are in the Covenant of Grace, and the Objects of divine Love ; they generally murmur, and stigmatize the Doctrine of Predestination, and say, “ It brings Dishonour to God, by making him the Author of Sin which malicious Charge is false and blasphemous ! may we convince fuch by the Armour of Righteousnefs and the Word of Truth. God made Man upright at forst, and have ing pronounced him very good, appointed him Lord of the Creation; and placed him in the Garden of Eden.' And the Lord commanded the Man, fáying, “ Of every Tree of the Garden thou mayeft freely eae : but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it ; for in the Day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," Gen. ii. 16, 17. Adam was now a free Agent, and had Power to obey his Maker's Will; the Devil could not ruin him without his Consent : and although God knew he would fall, yet God laid no Constraint on him to disobey, nor infused evil Habits into him, God can not tempt to evil. But Satan envied

Man's

Man's Happiness, and beguiled Eve, and Adam hearkened to the Voice of his Wife, and then eat of the forbidden Fruit; which ruined himself, and hıs Posterity for ever.' So here we find that the Devil, who rebelled in Heaven, and caused War there, was the first moving Cause of Man's Difobedience in Paradife. And therefore Satan is the Author of Sin, and God is justified in his Sayings, and overcomes when he is judged, Rom. iii 4. God declares himself a Saviour, but proves Men guilty of their own Destruction. “ O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy Help," ifa. xly. 21. Hof. xiii. 9.

« Thou hast sold thyself (to be a Bond-Nave to the Devil, &c.) for nought, but thou fhalt be redeemed without Money ;" thy Poverty hall not debar thee from Salvation, Isa. lii. 3. God in Christ is the Author of eternal Life, unto all them that obey (or submit to believe in) him, Heb.

. 9. Christ himself faith, “ The Son of Man came not to destroy, but to save,” Luke ix. 56. And whereas “ out of the Mouth of two or three Witnefses every word must be established,” Matt. xviii. 16. “ Therefore let God be true, and every (contentious) Man a Liar," Rom. iii. 4.

WE thank tbee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and

Earth, for disclosing thy Will to thy Church below, informing us, that whatsoever Things are revealed in boly Scripture belong to us and to our Children for ever, but fecret Things belong to God, Deut. xxix. 29, Grant, O Lord, that what has been proved by the Authority of thy boly Word, might be blesed to thy People; and strengthen the Faith of thine Elect, that ibey might walk more comfortably through this Valley of Tears. And may we all through Faith join with Saint Paul, and say, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Cbrijt, who bath blessed us with all R 2

Spiritual

spiritual Blessings in heavenly Places in Chrift: de cording as be kath chosen us in him, before the Foun. dation of the World ; that we pould be holy, and without Blame before bim in Love," Amen, Eph. i. 3, 4.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SECT. VIII. Good Works, which are the Fruits of Faith, are

acceptable to God; but Works done before Fath are not pleasant unto him. The true Church judgeth the Wicked on Earth. A variety of

Diversions, which the World call innocent . Pleasure, but the Scriptures call it Vice, and i as juch it will be proved in the Day of Judgment.

asistir

30 La

ET us next observe, that unconverted Men,

-attending to hunian Reason, and adhering to natural Religion, do suppose and believe that'-Men are and ought to be saved by their own good Works. Such Doctrine might be orthodox before Adam fell, büt fince, it is antichriftian. And revealed Religion by Scripture teaches us better, and thews us a more excellent Way.“ By Grace are we saved, through Faith (faith the Scripture) and that not of ourselves, it is the Gift of God: not of Works, left any Man should boast,”. Eph. ii. 8, 9. And whereas Faith is the Gift of God, without Faith it is impossible to please him, Heb. xi. 6. ".For whatsoever is not of Faith is Sin," Rom. xiv. 23, Faith "looks to Chrift, and in him, Persons and Performances are accepted: therefore good Works

which

[ocr errors]

Ghost, when the Soul is

which are the Fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot be performed by an unregenerated Man, not justified by Faith, and therefore, not at Peace with God, Rom. v. 1. And confequently his best Works are not acceptable to God, (as all the good Works of the Faithful are) neither can they fave his Soul, or administer true Comfort in a Day of Trouble. But good Works which are acceptable to God, and follow after Justification, are the Fruits of that Faith which is given by the Holy alive unto-Salvation, Gal. v. 226 - And, although, Men are not to be saved by their Works; as the Apostle-fays, " By the Works of the Law no Flesh

can be justified," Gal. ii. 16.' yet, fhall: Men be 3

judged according to their Works, Rev. xxi 13. And all those who through Faith have done good Works from a Principle of Love to Christ, and to pronote his Glory on Earth, will be approved by him as méet for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, Colli 12. Therefore they having done good, shall go into everlasting Life, John v. 29.

While the Fearful and Unbelieving, who are afraid of the Cross, though they have done many good Works in the Sight of Men; yet it being for līnister Ends, like theirs who faid, "Wherefore have we fasted, and thou takest nó Notice of us,Ta. Iviii. 3. They expected to be rewarded for what they did; or dreaded Punishment in case tot Neglect : 'therefore, their Works, 'though good and commendable in themselves, yet being done in a legal Spirit, or through (lavish Fear, will not be accepted of God, for want of Faith. And such Men, not being jurtified, nor fanctified, shall consequently be fentenced by the Judge of the Whole Earth, as' unmeer and unworthy to partake of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, who are sanctified through Faith

in Christ Jesus, A&t. xxvi. 18. And therefore muft have their Portion in the Lake of Fire and second Death, Rev. xxi. 18. And a natural Man, by arguing that he might be saved by the Light of Nature, if industriously inproved, without the Teaching of the Spirit, or Inspiration of the Holy Ghost, bewrays his own Ignorance, and proves that he never had any divine Revelation, as a Love-Token from God and therefore understandeth not spiritu-' al Things, they being spiritually discerned, i Cor. ii. 14. This I know by Experience, as foon as the Spirit of Truth convinces of Sin, (which lies in the Heart of every Unbeliever ) Men immediately strive to keep the whole Law of God as a Condition of Life ; but they strive in vain, their Babel Tower, or their Wall with untempered Mortar fhall fall; they may endeavour to believe also, but still mis. carry, for Man can no more believe (without In{piracion) than he can reach the Stars. They may betake themselves to Prayer, pray oft, pray long. and pray fervent, and yet Guilt remains, 'till at length their Strength and Heart fail, and they begin to sink into Despair. Such was my Case, and then in the Depth of Misery was obliged to cry for God's Mercy, Deep calling to 'Deep, I was convinced of my Weakness and Ignorance, and faw by God's Word that to be carnally minded was Death; but to be spiritually minded was Life and Peace, Rom. viii. 6. And I being carnal, and the Law of God spiritual; I therefore could see no Way to escape the Damnation of Hell: 'till, in the Midtt of my very great Extremity, the Lord was pleased to make it his opportunity, and breathed on my dead Soul, and comforted ine by revealing his Son in my Heart, Gal. i. 16. And by beholding him to be a compleat Saviour, I began to entertain the Hope of Glory, Col. i. 27. Know therefore that

the

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »