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and the work of faith with power," 2 Thess. i. 11; insomuch that God should “purify his heart by faith," Acts xv. 9; would not the above commands be obeyed by such a man, seeing he hath “received grace [by Christ] for obedience to the faith?”. Rom. i. 5. Or, ' in other words, he hath been enabled to believe through grace; or, by God's gracious gift of faith, he is enabled to believe and obey the gospel.
Ahimaaz. Certainly the above commands are done, or obeyed, by such a man; because, as you say, he has received grace for obedience to the faith; and, if the grace of God doth not produce obedience to the doctrines of faith, what does ? John says, " This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” But the world always overcomes an unbeliever, and ever will. It is faith that purifies the heart; and he that is destitute of this grace is filled with guilt, enmity, and errors, and therefore as far from doing the commandments as Satan himself.
Cushi. Very true. Well, you find that all the law and the prophets hang on the hinge of love; but no man by his natural power can reach this hinge, because the carnal mind is enmity.” Now, suppose God should fulfil this promise to a man, namely, to circumcise his heart to love the Lord God with all his heart, and with all his soul, that he might live, Deut. xxx. 6; and enable a man to say, as John did, “ We love him because he first loved us;” and such a man doth in his heart love both God and his neighbour; would not such an one do the commandments, seeing
the scriptures declare that “ love worketh no ill to his - neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law ?”
And what says God of the faith of that man? Why, “ He that believes shall be saved.” And what says the Holy Ghost of the love of him? Why he says, “ He that loveth dwelleth in God, and God dwelleth in him."
If this be the truth of the matter, does not such a man do the commandments, when God himself works in him both inclination and motion; or, to speak in the dialect of scripture, " It is God that works in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure ?” Phil. ii. 13. And, if it be God's work in him, what has such a man to glory in but the grace of God? “ Faith is the gift of God," and the work of God: “ This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent,” John vi. 29. It is real faith in Jesus Christ, and pure love to God, that produce evangelical obedience: as it is written, “ The grace of God teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world,” Tit. ii. 12. Therefore we may conclude that whosoever does not attribute his obedience to the grace of God, robs God of the glory of his own work; and he that ascribes it to free-will and human power, deifies himself.
Ahimaaz. I am sweetly instructed, and abundantly satisfied, with your opinion of the text, it tallies so exactly with my own experience; nor do I believe that all the advocates for free-will and selfrighteousness upon earth could erase your evangelical sentiments from my judgment. I evidently see that it is the faithful man to whom the great reward is promised; and it is audacious pride in men to áttribute that glory to fleshly works which is due only. to the God of grace. The humble believer is preserved, while the lofty workmonger meets with his
just deserts. Well might the psalmist say,
6 o love the Lord, all ye his saints; for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer,” Psalm xxxi. 23. It is clear to me that your doctrine wisely secures the glory of our salvation to God, and affords comfort and establishment to his adopted children; and, if I am not much mistaken, the glory of God, and the salvation of his elect by Jesus Christ, was the ultimate end that God had in view when he created the world; and that end he still aims at in redeeming and reconciling sinners to himself; yea, his government of the world, as well as his works of creation and redemption, of providence and grace, was from the first the great and grand design of the Almighty; which will be accomplished when God displays “ the riches of his grace in glory by Jesus Christ.” Then shall be “ known by the church, to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, the manifold wisdom of God,” Eph. iii. 30.
Cushi. Now you speak like one of “ the true circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Phil. iii. 3. But in some things I think you savour so much of the old cask, that you are, like Moab,“ settled on your lees,” Jer. xlviii. 11.
Ahimaaz. Though you are not a professor of Greek or Hebrew, yet I find you are a very nice critic in “ the language of Canaan,” Isa. xix. 18.
Cushi. I have often heard of gentlemen who have endeavoured to pull me to pieces for a breach of grammar, which is but a breach of sense and sounds at most, and can only communicate a jargon to the ear; while such have made fifty breaches in divinity in one discourse, that minister destruction to the soul. Therefore an ungrammatical divine is ten thousand times better than an eloquent Deist, though he be dignified with the title of learned. The blessed Saviour never made one breach in divinity, though, according to our rules, he made one in ‘grammar, when he said, “ Before Abraham was I am,” John viii. 58.
But to return to our subject. The glory of all good works wrought in men ought to be attributed to God, from whom every good and every perfect gift cometh. Hence the real church of God owns, to the honour of her head, that the Lord had wrought all her works in her, Isa. xxvi. 12. For any part, I have narrowly observed the lives of God's elect, who appear to be sound in the truth, and called by grace; and, by what I can gather, they are the only workers unto the kingdom of God. I generally find them employed like their blessed Lord; sometimes weeping and carrying the cross; at other times employed in acts of charity to the utmost of their ability; sometimes at war with sore temptations, besetting sins, or spreading errors; at other times confounding the wise disputers of this world, who oppose the sovereignty of their Maker, and justify themselves; sometimes I find them at the work of self-examination; at other times citing themselves before the tribunal of God for some misdemeanor, fighting against the flesh, confessing their faults, justifying their God, imploring forgiveness, and seeking reconciliation with him, as the summit of all their happiness; sometimes I find them bemoaning the loss of their Lord, and earnestly seeking his face; at other times, with the state of some poor sinner on their minds, travelling in birth till Christ be formed in him;
sometimes with “ the high praises of God in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand,” Psalm cxlix. 6; at other times condoling the miserable, or weeping with them that weep; and sometimes holding forth the word of life," as good stewards of the manifold grace
of God," 1 Pet. iv. 10. In short, I never could apply the Lord's divine salutation of “ All hail,” (Matt. xxvii. 9) to any but to these; for such in the strictest sense of the word, may be called holy workfolks.
I have narrowly watched the vatious tribes of legal workers, who indeed seem at times to outrun the real saint in appearance; but, as the Lord says, “ There are last that shall be first, and first last; for many are called, but few chosen," Matt. xx. 16. While the self-righteous remain destitute of grace, whatever out' ward shew they make, God is not glorified in them; their principles are corrupt, their judgments filled with confusion; their motives are base (while destitute of the faith of God's elect) and self is the end. aimed at in all their shew of devotion: they expect to bring in God as a debtor to them, while, as the Lord says, all their works are to be seen of men. I have' often heard them abuse the sovereignty of God, and attribute tyranny to their Maker, whose judgment must be according to truth; at other times calling his decrees blasphemous, though they bring forth a .saving knowledge of God's mind and will, and make the barren heart of a sinner like a fruitful field; at other times, I find them abusing the testimony of God's servants, construing their words to a sense they never intended, and drawing conclusions that never entered their thoughts, in order to bring the grace of God into con