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Hence it is evident, that as it is the gospel of reigning grace, under the agency of the divine Spirit, which produces true holiness in the heart, and furnishes the Christian with such excellent and multiplied motives to abound in obedience, this glorious truth is absolutely necessary to reform the world-necessary to be known, experimentally known, that we may please God, or answer any valuable purposes in a holy conversation. For the gospel only can furnish us with such principles and motives to obedience as will cause us to take delight in it. When we know the truth as it is in Jesus, then, and not till then, 'the ways of wisdom will be ways of pleasantness' to us. Then faith will work by love to God and our neighbour.

Be it, therefore, your concern, believer, to keep in view the many engaging inducements to holiness with which the book of God abounds, and urges upon you, always considering it your indispensable duty and proper business to glorify God by an holy, heavenly, and useful conversation. Remember you are not your own; you are bought with a price;' your whole person is the Lord's. And as nothing is a more powerful persuasive to holiness than the consideration of the love of Christ and the glory of God manifested in the atonement made on the cross, let that be the subject of your frequent meditation. For the cross, and the work finished upon it, exhibit the brightest view of the divine perfections. Endeavour, then, to obtain clearer views of Jehovah's glory, and of your reconciliation to him by Jesus Christ; and you will have a greater abhorrence of all sin, and be more abased in your own eyes. Contemplate the bitter sufferings which Jesus underwent, not only for your good, but in your stead, and you will be pained at the heart for your past transgressions and present corruptions.* The more you are acquainted with that divine philanthropy which was manifested in the redemption of your soul from the pit of destruction, the more will it constrain you to love and adore, to live and to glorify the Lord Re

*Zech. xii. 10.

deemer.* For as the love of God, displayed in the Mediator, proclaimed in the gospel, and experienced by faith, is that which first fixes our affections on him; so the more we view it, the more will our love be heightened. And as love to God is a principle of universal obedience, consequently the more it is heightened, the more will it influence our minds and conduct in every respect. Thus grace, that very grace which provided and brings salvation, is the master which teaches, the motive which induces, and the sovereign in the heart of a believer that sweetly constrains him to deny himself, and to walk in the ways of holiness.†

CHAP. IX.

Concerning the Necessity and Usefulness of Holiness and good Works.

HAVING Considered the nature of sanctification, the character and state of those happy souls who enjoy the blessing, the way in which they come to possess it, and the many cogent motives used by the Holy Spirit to engage believers in the pursuit of holiness, and the practice of virtue, I shall now proceed to show the necessity of holiness, and the various important purposes which are answered by the performance of good works.

The love of God, being implanted in the heart of a sinner in regeneration, fits the soul for spiritual communion with the great object of all religious worship, in his ordinances, and with his people in the church below; and for an higher and more perfect communion with him and his saints in the world of glory. In this fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, with which believers are indulged in the present state, and in that more noble and intimate fellowship with God enjoyed by the spirits of the just made perfect above, true happiness consists, both in time * 2 Cor. v. 14. + Tit. ii. 11, 12.

and in eternity. But the unregenerate heart, the unsanctified soul, is absolutely incapable of such refined delights. They can neither be desired nor relished by it. While a man continues in his natural state, at enmity with God, and in love with sin, he neither has, nor can have, any real pleasure in approaching his Maker in any way. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed.' Hence it is that our Lord says, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' With whom the apostle agrees when he so confidently affirms, 'Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.'*

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That holiness which the scripture so expressly requires in order to the enjoyment of God, is possessed by every one that is born from above, and in a justified state. For every subject of regenerating grace loves God. The love of God being a principle of holiness, and the source of all acceptable obedience, none can enjoy it, and not be possessed of holiness, real holiness, in some degree. Yea, we may venture to assert, that whoever loves the infinitely Amiable, is possessed of all that holiness, in the principle, that shall at any time flourish and adorn his future conversation, or shine in him to all eternity. Such an one, therefore, must not only have a title to heaven, but also a meetness for it.

Some professors, who espouse the notion of sinless perfection, and look upon themselves as uncommon friends to the interests of holiness, talk, indeed, of persons being in a regenerate and justified state, while they are yet unsanctified; consequently quite incapable of having communion with God in his ordinances here, entirely unfit for the sublime enjoyments of the heavenly world hereafter; and therefore, if they leave the present state in such a situation, everlasting misery must be their portion. But as the doctrine of sinless perfection in this life is a bold contradiction to the testimony of God, and opposite to all Christian experience, so this imagination is

* John iii. 3. Heb. xii. 14.

equally false and uncomfortable. For either they mean the same things by the terms regenerate and justified, which the scripture does, or they do not. If not, what they say is nothing at all to the purpose, and therefore unworthy of a moment's regard, whatever may be their meaning. But if, by these expressions, they intend the same things which the Holy Spirit does in the volume of infallibility, then it is evident, from the tenor of divine revelation, that they labour under a great mistake. For what is intended by the justification of a sinner, but a declaration of the eternal Judge, pronouncing a person righteous according to law, and freed from every charge? What is implied in the regeneration of a sinner, but a communication of a spiritual life, and the restoration of the image of God in man? Now, is it possible that a person should be regenerate and justified, that he should stand clear in the eye of the law, and be viewed by Omniscience as possessed of spiritual life, and bearing his Maker's image, while he is yet unsanctified, and has no meetness for glory? There is no such flaw in the blessing of justification, nor any such imperfection in the state of a regenerate person, as to leave him at such a distance from the enjoyment of the eternal inheritance. We are not, in order of time, first renewed by the Spirit of truth, and justified by an imputed righteousness, in virtue of which we are entitled to glory; while yet we remain entirely destitute of holiness, or a capacity of enjoying eternal bliss, for which we must labour and strive, in hopes to attain it at some future period. For, being freed from the curse of the law, and entitled to all blessedness, we are the members of Christin a new state, and live in a new life-possessed both of a right to glory, and a meetness for it at the same time, though not by the same means.

As holiness of heart is absolutely necessary to communion with God, and the enjoyment of him, so holiness of conduct, or an external conformity to the divine revealed will, is highly useful, and answers

various valuable purposes in the Christian life; the principal of which I would now consider.

By obedience to the commands of God, we evince the sincerity of our holy profession. By this our faith is declared genuine in the sight of men, who have no other way to conclude that it is unfeigned, but by our works; and whoever pretends to believe in Jesus, and does not walk in good works, his faith is worthless, barren, and dead.* By a good conversation, in which our light shines before men, we edify our brethren, silence opposers, and preserve the gospel from those reproaches which would otherwise be cast upon it, as a licentious doctrine.† An exemplary conduct in a Christian professor has often been owned of God, and made happily useful in convincing the ignorant, and removing their prejudices against the truth, so as to make them impartial inquirers after it; and, frequently, of winning them over to an approbation of it. By walking in the paths of duty, we also express our gratitude to God for his benefits, and glorify his holy name, which is the great end of all obedience.§

Once more: The works of faith and labours of love which believers perform, will be remembered by Jesus, the Judge, at the last and great day of accountsthose especially which are done to the poor despised members of Christ, and for his sake. These will be mentioned at that awful time as fruits and evidences of their union with Christ, and love to him. Then they will distinguish the real Christian from the open profligate and mere formalist, from all who were punctual in the performance of a round of duties which cost them nothing-which raised their religious character among men, and exposed them to no shame or suffering-but exceedingly backward to part with their unrighteous Mammon for the support of the cause of God, or to assist the poor and the persecuted members of Christ. These are the principal of those

* James ii. 18. Eph. ii. 10. 1 Pet. ii. 12. iii. 1.

1 Pet. ii. 15, and iii. 16. 1 Cor. vi. 3. Matt. xxv. 34-46.

§ 1 John xv. 8.

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