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This is felicity which all the wealth of the Indies cannot procure. This is honour, which all the crowned heads in the world cannot confer. The Lord of hosts hath purposed to stain the pride of all other glory, but this honour shall never be laid in the dust.* What a shade it casts on every secular distinction, when forced to feel how very fleeting it is! How encouraging to reflect on the durable and exalted happiness of the sons of God! Christianity! it is thine to ennoble the human mind, and to make it really great. Grace! it is thine to raise the poor from the dunghill, and the needy out of the dust. Thine it is, to number them among the princes of heaven, and to seat them on thrones of glory.
And now, reader, what is your character? You very probably, call yourself a Christian. If so in reality, you are a child of God, and an adopted heir of immortal glory. Do you know then by experience, what are the privileges attendant on such a state, and connected with such a character? If not, you bear the name in vain. So far from being a Christian, you -are—how shall I speak it? will you believe it? can pride forgive it? you are an enemy to God, and a child of the devil. For these two characters, the children of God, and the children of the serpent, include all mankind. Consider, then, where to class yourself, and what is your proper name.
Are you a believer? a child of God by adoption, and an heir of eternal riches ? Be careful to act agreeably to your high character and exalted privileges. Let the children of this world satisfy their
* M“Ewen's Essays, vol. ii. p. 309, 310, 311, 312.
little minds, and be captivated by the low enjoy. ments and perishing vanities of the present state; but you should disdain to act upon their principles or to be governed by their maxims. The riches of the world, which engross the cares of the covetous; its honours, that are so earnestly pursued by the ambitious; and its various pleasures, in which the sensualist delights, you should be far from desiring. Why should you be discontented at the want of that which, though enjoyed in all its fulness, could not make you happy ? Equally far should you be from performing religious duties on the same principles, and with the same views, as the legal mo. ralist and selish Pharisee; which generally are, either the applause of men, or their own acceptance with God. That is the most abominable hypocrisy in the sight of Him who searches the heart, and stands abhorred by every generous mind; this is a criminal usurpation of the office of Christ, and the highest dishonour to his undertaking. For it proceeds on a supposition, that the work of the Lord is either not perfect in itself, or not free for the sinner. The former basely reflects on his power, or faithfulness; and the latter on his grace: both which are equally far from honouring the adored Redeemer, under his cheering and sacred character, Jesus. The children of light should act from the most generous motives, and for the sublimest end. Love to their heavenly Father, and gratitude to the bleeding Saviour, should ever be the fruitful source of their obedience; and the glory of God, the exalted end.
Are you an heir of the kingdom? You should be careful to preserve a steady conduct in the .church of God, and in the world. Not only to be
zealous for your Father's honour, as we vulgarly say, by fits and starts, but maintain a uniform behaviour through the whole of your conduct. Endeavour to make it appear that you are a diligent servant, as well as a dignified son of God. Your practice should be, as much as possible, agreeably to your holy profession and your glorious hope. Remember, that as your gracious Father and loving Husband, your glorious relatives and bright inheritance, are all in heaven; there also should be your heart, and your conversation. For though you are an heir of a Kingdom, it is not of this world; and though you are in, you are not of the world. Nor will you have any reason to be surprised, or ashamed, if the world should hate you. Whatsoever things are true; whatsoever things are honest, grave or venerable; whatsoever things are pure ; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, the children of God undoubtedly ought, above all others, to think on these things. For no man can free himself from the odious charge of being a dishonour to Christ, and a reproach to his christian profession, if he live under the dominion of sin, and be a servant of Satan. Such a person, whatever speculative knowledge he may have of the doctrine of grace, or whatever his professions of love to it may be : is destitute of the faith of the gospel, an enemy to the cross of Christ; is a stumbling block in the way of young converts, and, leaving the world in this condition, will feel a severer vengeance, will fall under a double damnation to all eternity.
Of grace, as it reigns in our Sanctification.
Haying treated upon that relative change, which takes place in the state of God's people, in justifcation and adoption; I now proceed to consider that real change, which is begun in sanctification, and made perfect in glory. This real change is absolutely requisite. For though Christ is proclaimed in the gospel, as cntirely free for the sinner; and though we are considered as ungodly, when the obedience of the righteous Jesus is imputed to us for our justification before God; yet before we can enter the mansions of immortal purity, we must be sanctified. Christ, indeed, finds his people entirely destitute of holiness, and of every desire after it; but he does not leave them in that state. He produces in them a sincere love to God, and a real pleasure in his ways. Hence they are called, a holy nation. As holiness is the health of the soul, and the beauty of a rational nature; as it is the brightest ornament of the church of God, and essential to true blessedness; so, in a Treatise on Reigning Grace, it must by no means be overlooked ? for we may assure ourselves that Grace reigns in it.
The vast importance of sanctification, and the rank it holds in the dispensaijon of grace, appear from hence. It is the end of our eternal election
a capital promise, and a distinguished blessing, of the covenant of grace, a precious fruit of redemption by the blood of Jesus—the design of God in regeneration—the primary intention of justification --the scope of adoption-and absolutely necessary to glorification. So that in the sanctification of a sinner, the great design of all the divine operations, respecting that most glorious of all works, REDEMPTION, are united.
Sanctification, therefore, may be justly denominated a capital part of our salvation; and is much more properly so termed, than a condition of it. For to be delivered from that bondage to sin and Satan, under which we all naturally lie, and to be renewed after the image of God, must certainly be esteemed a great deliverance and a valuable blessing. Now, in the enjoyment of that deliverance, and in the participation of this blessing, consists the very essence of sanctification. Hence the word is used to signify, That work of divine grace, by which those that are called and justified are rencued after the image of God.— The effect of this glorious work is true holiness : or a conformity to the moral perfections of the Deity. In other words, love to God, and delight in him, as the chief good. The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart. So to love the supreme Being, is directly contrary to the bias of corrupt nature. For natural depravity radically consists in our aversion to God, which manifests itself in ten thousand various ways; so the essence of true holiness consists in love to God. This heavenly affection is the fruitful source of all obedience to Him, and of all delight in Him, both here and hereafter. Nor is it only the true source