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Again, Christians may be till we all come in the unity of pressed to live godly in Christ the faith and of the knowledge Jesus, from the purpose for of the Son of God, unto a perwhich they were chosen in Christ, fect man, unto the measure of from the grand design of his the stature of the fulness of death, of their effectual calling Christ.* Shall we in these and of the gospel, to make them views, live in a loose, careless holy in heart and life. They manner? Can we be willing to were all chosen in Christ, to be counteract the design of our elecconformed to his image, and to tion, of the death of Christ, of be holy and without blame be- our effectual calling, and of the fore him. And whom he did gospel ? Can any true Chrisforeknow, he also did predesti- tian do this ? Certainly he cannate, to be conformed to the im-not. Who eyer does it has an age of his Son.* According as evidence in him that he is an he hạth chosen us in him, from hypocrite, and that he hath no the foundation of the world; that part, nor inheritance among
the we should be holy and without saints. How should these conblame before him in love. The siderations awaken all our condeath of Christ was for the same cern to walk worthy of the vopurpose, the sanctification of the cation wherewith we are called, church: That the saints might and, like the apostle, forgetting perfect holiness in the fear of the things which are behind, to God. It is written, Christ gave press toward the mark for the himself for us, that he might re- prize of our high calling of God deem us from all iniquity, and in Christ Jesus? purify unto himself a peculiar Further, the glory of God, people zealous of good works. the honor of Christianity, and Even as Christ loved the church the salvation of our fellow men
himself for it; that he are highly concerned in the inmight sanctify and cleanse it offensive and holy walking of with the washing of water by professors. Nothing so dishonthe word, that he might present ors God, injures the cause of it unto himself a glorious church, Christianity, opens the mouths not having spot, or wrinkle or of infidels and blasphemers aany such thing; but that it gainst God and our holy relishould be holy and without blem- gion, and puts such a stumbling ish.|| Christians are also called block in the way of men's beto be holy. Who hath saved us lieving, as the loose, unholy and called us with an holy call. walking of professing Christians. ing. S The grand design of the This furnisheth infidels with one gospel, as it respects the saints, of their most artful and plausible is their sanctification. For this arguments against the religion its teachers, ordinary and extra- of Jesus. Loose and scandalous ordinary, were given ; for the professors are some of the most perfecting of the saints, for the grievous enemies of Christ and edifying of the body of Christ, the gospel. They are the Ju
dases, who, in his own visible * Rom. viii. 29. † Ephes. i. 4.
family, betray him and his dear. || Ephes. v. 25, 26, 27. 2 Tim. i, 9.
Ephes. iv. 11, 12, 13.
est interests. The apostle Paul these therefore be to persuade therefore, in his day, testified a- us to live wholly to God ? He
gainst them, even weeping, that admits his people into covenant | they were the enemies of the with him, that they might cleave
cross of Christ, and that their end unto him, and be unto him for a is destruction.* The unholy lives name, and for a praise, and for a of those who have prosessed the glory. He hath commanded Christian religion, have proba- that we conduct ourselves in such bly done more dishonor to the a manner, as that he may in all Saviour, and been a greater in- things be glorified : That whethjury to the church than all the er we eat, or drink, or whatsoevbloody persecutions which have er we do, we do all to the glory been raised against it. Can any of God.|| Jesus Christ humbled of us be willing to act this un- 1 himself unto death that his Fagrateful, perfidious part, and to ther might be glorified, and sinbe brought forth at last to the ners saved. This was the lanperdition of ungodly men ? guage of his heart when his soul
On the other hand, when pro- was troubled, and sorrowful unto fessors live godly in Christ Je-death, Father, glorify thyself, sus, it does great honor to God He chose rather to suffer the and to the gospel, and puts a agonies of the garden, the shamewonderful beauty upon, the ful and cursed death of the cross, churches. Hence our Saviour than that his Father should not hath testified, Herein is my Fa- be glorified, and than that lost ther grorified, that ye bear much men should not be saved. Can fruit.† This shows the excel- we be his unless the same spirit lency of religion, that it is heav- be in us ? Can we be his disci. enly and divine. Its effects on ples if we regard not his glory, individuals and on society in their the honor of his gospel and the piety, righteousness, sobriety, advancement of his kingdom ? humility, peaceableness, and in These lie near the heart of God whatever is lovely and of good and our Lord Jesus Christ. report, show that its author is They are of great consideration God, and bring the highest hon- with all those who keep cove, or to him. It gives others con- nant with God. Let me then, viction of the truth of the gos- dear brethren, plead with you, pel, and causes them, while the the honor of the Redeemer, his light of true Christians shines glorious example, the honor and before them, to glorify our Fa- advancement of Christianity, the ther who is in heaven. The encouragement, edification and self-denial, patience, fortitude comfort of your brethren in and holy lives of the apostles, Christ, and the conviction and anu primitive Christians was one salvation of those who believe of the principal external means, not, to engage you in a most in their day, of bringing men to strict, zealous and persevering the belief of the truth. It is still walk with God. Suffer me to equally important and necessa- plead with you all the solemn ry, to promote the same end. and weighty considerations sugWhat powerful motives should gested in these papers on covenanting, and keeping covenant ples? who walked with God in with God.
* l'hil. Ži. 18, 19. + John xy. 8.
# Jer. xiii. 11. } 1 Pet. iv. 11.
times of great and general wickAnd what shall I say more ?edness ; and whom he delivered Shall I plead with you the hap- and honored above all the men py effect which this would have who have lived upon the earth. upon our churches ? That it Shall I mention Phinehas who would cause them to look forth was zealous for the Lord, and to as the morning ; make them suppress the wickedness of his beautiful as Tirzah and comely people, and that it was counted as Jerusalem : That this would unto him for righteousness unto engage
the presence of God with all generations for ever more ?* them, to comfort, edify and pro- And that God hath not only set tect them? When the spices of these examples before us, for the churches, and of the Chris- our encouragement and imitatian garden flow out, then their tion in the worst times ; but that Beloved comes into his garden he hath made exceedingly great and eats his pleasant fruit. Then and precious promises to all shall we know, when we follow those who will walk with him in on to know the Lord : Then his those dark and evil days? That going forth will be prepared as to those, who feared him and the morning: Then will he come thought upon his name, at a time unto us as the rain ; as the latter of uncommon infidelity and liand former rain unto the earth. centiousness, among his ancient He will give us great refresh- people, he promised, That a ment and joy in his ordinances, book of remembrance should be secret, private and public. Shall written before him, for them? I mention how in this way you That they should be unto him, will assure your hearts before as his peculiar treasure, and that God? The light, peace and tri- he would spare them, in the day amph it will give you in the hour that he maketh up his jewels, as of death ? Shall I plead with you a man spareth his own son that the degeneracy of the times ? serveth him?t. That he promisthat error is coming in like a ed unto the few names in Sardis, flood ? that iniquity abounds, who had not defiled their garand the love of many waxeth ments, that they should walk cold ?- The necessity which with him in white; and that he there is of good people's arising declared them to be worthy ? and standing in the gap, and These some of those making up the hedge ?-The weighty considerations, of those special duty of all Christians act- endearing and forcible examples, ing in character, as the salt of which God hath set before us, the earth and the light of the to engage our fidelity in his serworld, to prevent total corruption vice. By these he commands and darkness ? Shall I plead with us, pleads with and presseth us you the peculiar honor of faith-to keep covenant with him. And fulness to God and our covenant do not our hearts, in contemplaengagements, in times of great tion of them, burn within us? Is and general corruption ? Shall I not our zeal enkindled, and are name unto you Enoch, Noah, Lot and Elijah, Daniel and the
* Psalm cỏi. 30, 31. three children, as your exam
Malachi iii. 16, 17.
not our resolutions invigorated ? | the Spirit, if any bowels and merShall we not, deeply impressed cies, let us, I beseech you, fulfil and impelled by their united en- the joy of the apostles and of all ergy, lay aside every weight and good men, by being like minded, the sin which doth so easily be- to perform these duties, having set us, and run with patience the the same love, being of one acrace which is set before us, look-cord, of one mind, observing all ing unto Jesus the author and things whatsoever Jesus hath finisher of our faith? As we commanded us. Amen. have received him, shall we not walk in him, rooted and established in the faith, as we have been taught, abounding therein Thoughts on Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. with thanksgiving? Shall we
NO. I. not watch and pray always ;
“ FOR it is impossible for praying with all prayer and sup- those, who have been once enplication, in the spirit, with all lightened, and have tasted the perseverance and supplication heavenly gift, and were made for all saints ? Shall we not partakers of the Holy Ghost, wrestle with God, that the spirit And have tasted the good word of primitive Christianity may be of God, and the powers of the poured out upon all our church- world to come, If they shall fall es, and upon their pastors ? That away, to renew them again unwe and all our brethren may to repentance, seeing they crumaintain a more close and hum- cify to themselves the Son of ble walk with God? That this God afresh, and put him to address might be succeeded to open shame." this happy effect on ourselves and others ? Shall we not strive TEN of different religious
more and more in sentiments, do not agree grace, and in the knowledge of in their interpretation of this our Lord and Saviour Jesus i passage of scripture ; nor indeed Christ ?- To excel in the reli- | do ail those who harmonize, as gion of the closet, of the family to the general scheme of docand of the house of God; and in trines, contained in the word of the constant, cheerful discharge God. Among those who mainof all relative duties? Shall we tain, that all true saints will pernot exhort one another daily, severe to final salvation, there and consider one another to pro- are two different constructions. voke unto love and good works? Some believe, that, by being enShall we not do these duties so lightened, tasting the heavenly much the more as time flies gift, &c. the apostle meant to away, and as we see the day of express only such things, as may death and judgment approach- be experienced, by natural men; ing? Shall we not from this and that falling away, in which time shake off all slothfulness they are said to crucify to themand be fervent in spirit serving selves the Son of God afresh, the Lord ?
must be taken to mean the unDear brethren, if there be any pardonable sin. It is believed consolation in Christ, if any com- by others, that the apostle is fort of love, if any fellowship of here speaking of the distinguishing experiences of real saints ; | the truth, there remaineth no more and for some important purpose, sacrifice for sin. This sinning which accords with this interpre- wilfully is explained, ver. 29, by tation. I shall offer a few re- having done despite unto the Spir. marks on the former interpreta-it of grace. But if this be the tion, and then attempt to main- thing intended, in the passage tain the latter:
under consideration, it is diffiIt will probably be agreed, on cult to account for its being exall hands, according to the ex-pressed by the idea of falling press tenor of the words, that away ; though this, in its confalling away, in the sense here sequences, must imply crucifyintended, is a sin, for which ing the Son of God afresh, and there is no repentance, nor for putting him to an open shame. giveness. But the point in ques- Falling away, even in this sort, tion is, whether this be the sin does not comport with the examunto death, spoken of by St. John, ple referred to by Christ, from and which Christ tells us, shall which we are to learn the peculnever be forgiven. This sin he iar nature, and circumstances of has defined, with great precis- the sin, which is unto death. It ion, so as to render it distinguish- does not appear that those who able from all other sins, in the blasphemed the Holy Ghost, by gospel according to Matt. xii. ascribing the casting out of dev31, 32, “ Wherefore I say unto ils, by Christ, to the agency of you, all manner of sin and blas- Beelzebub, were chargeable with phemy shall be forgiven unto falling away, and crucifying the men; but the blasphemy against Son of God afresh; however the Holy Ghost shall not be for- they sinned wilfully, and did given unto men. And whoso- despite unto the Spirit of grace. ever shall speak a word against They too had received the knowthe Son of man, it shall be for- ledge of the truth, from the pergiven : but whosoever shall sonal ministry of Christ, in such speak against the Holy Ghost, sort, as to have been convinced, it shall not be forgiven him, nei- that he was the Messiah, and ther in this world, nor in the that he cast out devils, by the world to come.”
Spirit of God. It does not apThe sin here described is pear, however, that they had kloubtless that of which the experienced any thing more Scribes and Pharisees were than this. In their case, thereguilty, on this occasion, when fore, there was no falling away, ascribing the miracles which They had nothing previously, Christ wrought, and particular- from which they could have ly his casting out devils, to the fallen. The idea, therefore, that, agency of Beelzebub, the prince in order to committing the unof devils. This they proba- pardonable sin, men must be parbly did, not only through the takers of the Holy Ghost, otherstrength of malice and opposition wise than to be understandingto Christ, but against a full con- ly convinced of his divine exisviction of their own consciences. tence and operations, is not supThis agrees with Heb. X. 26. ported by any evidence from the For if we sin, wilfully, after that word of God. Hence Paul, in we have received the knowledge of the madness with which he opVOL, V. NO. 12.