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We are his workmanship, says the same Apostle, created in Christ Jesus ứnto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The whole sixth of Romans is written to shew that the true end of the doctrine of grace is to sanctify men. What shall we say then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even su we also should walk in newness of wife, &c. Again, in his epistle to the Galatians, having strongly defended that gospel liberty which Jesus Christ has acquired by his blood for us, he prevents an abuse which might be made of it, by adding, Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh-Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other-Now the works of the flesh are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law: And they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. We must here repeat almost all the whole New Testament, if we would particularly mention all the passages which oblige us to good works, for the whole book enforces obedience. It is sufficient to speak of our Lord's divine and admirable words, Let your light so shine before men, that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father which is in heaven. Indeed, by a general view of the end for which Jesus Christ came into the world, you will see he came to destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil are principally two, sin and punishment. Let us not imagine that Jesus Christ came into the world to take away the punishment only, and to
leave sin triumphant; he came to destroy both. I will even venture to say, he came to destroy sin rather than sorrow. Suffering concerns only the creature: but sin concerns the Creator as well as the creature; it dishonours the one, and distresses the other. Punishment indeed makes man miserable, but at the same time it glorifies (livine justice: but sin is equally contrary to the glory of God and the dignity of man., The principal end of Christ's coming upon earth was to destroy sin. Is it likely, think ve, that Jesus Christ would have quitted his mansion of glory, and descended to this earth, to acquire an impunity for criminals, leaving them immersed in sensuality and sin? Is it likely that lie can hold communion with people in rebellion and profaneness? Is it possible for him, the holy Jesus, to join his spirit to our flesh, bis purity to our profanity, his holiness to our iniquities? This would be saying, he came to unite, things which cannot unite, and which are naturally and necessarily incompatible. One of the most imbittered enemies of our religion reproached the primitive Christians, that their Jesus came into the world to make the most horrible and dreadful societies; for (said he) he calls sinners, and not the righteous; so that the body he came to assemble is a body of profligates, separated from good people, amongst whom they were heretofore mixed; he, has rejected all the good, and collected all the bad in the world. False and cruel accusation! Origen, in the name of the whole church, solidly refuted it. “True, (says he) our Jesus came to call sinners; but it was to repentance: he assembles the wicked; but it is to convert them into new men, or rather to change them into angels. We come to him covetous, he makes us liberal; unjust and extortioners, and he makes us equitable; lascivious, and he makes us chaste; violent and passionate, and he makes us meek; impious and profane, and he makes us religious.” This is the true effect of communion with Jesus Christ; it transforms us into his image; and this transformation is so essential, that, if it does not appear in a man, we are obliged to conclude he is not in communion with this great Saviour. But besides that holiness, love, and equity, are inseparable from communion with Jesus Christ considered in himself I add, they are also from communion with our heavenly
Father, to which communion with Jesus Christ leads us. As he came into the world in the quality of a Mediator, he called men to himself only to unite them to God; for which reason he said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me: and elsevhere, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. But how is it possible that God should hold communion with people who live in sin? Thou art not a God (says the prophet) that hast pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee: The foolish shall 110t stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity. It is evident, then, that the religion of Jesus Christ, which brings us into communion with God, brings us also at the same time into true holiness, without which communion with God is not attainable. It is inconceivable, that while we remain immersed in sensuality and sin, we can be the temples of the Holy Ghost; as the Scripture says of true believers. Can the Holy Ghost dwell in a man without producing effects of his power and grace? Can he dwell idly in a man? Can he possess his heart and affections, and yet leave his affections enslaven to sin? It is with the Holy Spirit as with fire, which cannot be any where without heat; or, if you please, as the sun, which cannot be above the horizon without giving lighi; That which is born of the flesh is flesh, says our Saviour, and that which is born of ihe Spirit is Spirit. With the same view the Apostle tells the Romans, They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. It is, then, impossible to be a true Christian, or to have communion with Jesus Christ, unless we partake of his Spirit: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, says St. Paul, he is none of his. Because ye are sons, he says elsewhere, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, cry. ing bba, Father. From all which it clearly follows, that arı unsanctified man has not the Spirit of Christ, is not in communion with him, does not belong to his mystical body, is not a true believer, in a word, is not a real Christian. Holiness is an inseparable companion, und a
necessary effect of the Gospel, and it is also an infallible character or mark of a sound convert.
But, if holiness be a necessary consequence of the gospel, it is no less true, that the gospel is an inexhausti. ble source of motives to holiness. I pass over its pre. cepts, and rules of conduct, which give us an idea of holiness in a mannner so lively, so beautiful, and so full of charms, that it alone is a powerful motive to obedience. Nor will I stop to observe, that the nature of vice is re. presented in the gospel so fully, and the horror of it so well described, that we must needs hold it in abhorrence. It shall be sufficient now to remark to you, and (if I may venture to say so) to make you feel by your own experience, that nothing can be conceived more powerful than the reasons by which the Christian religion enforces the necessary practice of good works. All its mysteries point at this. All the most grand, and most marvellous things it teachcth, regard this. All its doctrines are so many bonds, bonds the strongest, to bind our hearts to the obedience of faith; or, to use the language of St. Paul, they are so many weapons of war, mighty through God, to cast down imaginations and every high thing, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
The gospel consecrates to holy uses, even what the light of nature teacheth us—as, that God is our Creator, who at the beginning called us into existence by his power, and made us what we are that he is our preserver, who, by a perpetual influence, supports us, and prevents our falling back into non-entity--that it is his providence which governs the whole universe, particularly watches over us, and furnishes whatever his goodness and wisdom judge needful for us. What can more forcibly incline us to a practice of obedience than these important truths, if well considered? for what obligations have we to God, since he is our Creator, who gave us life and being! Ought not we to devote all to him, from whom we received all? And, if we owe him all, should not we be monsters rather than men to dishonour his creation, to insult his bounty, to rebel against his laws, though we have his glory always before our eyes? But, perhaps, creation may appear to you a distant benefit, which must needs have lost much of its value by the great
number of ages which have expired from the beginning of the world till now; or perhaps by the many years which have passed since your birth. Surely, were this the case, a favour which bestowed on us all we are, and all we have, however long since it was conferred, ought not to be forgotten on that account. But this is not true; for he who created man at the beginning, he who brought us into being, he it is who still preserves us, and whose influence is still necessary to our existence: should he suspend it but one moment, we should be no more. Every day, every moment, then, does God renew the favour; or, to speak more properly, every day, every moment he increases the number of his favours. David, speaking of the Messiah, says, Thou hast the dew of thy youth, from the womb of the morning:* And in another place, on a different subject, Day unto day uttereth speech, night unto night sheweth knowledge. But we may say of God's wonderful preservation of us, that our life, our motion, our being, come every morning, not from the womb of the morning, but from the immortal sources of the goodness and power of God. One of his favours uttereth speech to another, since the moments are not more closely joined together than his favours are. Yet, more than all this, he adds his providential care, he watches over us while we sleep, he thinks about us when we forget him, he defends and protects us when we do not see him, he nourishes and clothes our bodies, he furnishes matter for our thoughts and actions, he numbers the very hairs of our heads, and not one of them falls without him. O powerful motives to love and obe. dience! Shall it be said, that God preserves ungrateful and rebellious creatures, who do nothing but affront him? Shall it be said, his sun cheers us in the same manner as it does serpents and vipers, and that it influences us as it does envenomed dragons? Shall we keep none of his commandments, while he keeps each the least hair of our heads? Alas! shall we be such miserable wretches as to abuse his own benefits to his dishonour?
• " Si quis distinctius habere velit sensum verborum, ita resolvat, ex utero prodituram esse innumeram sobolem, sicuti ros ab aurora distillat.” Calv, in loc. Vol. I.