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is comfort indeed: they, who build not on these foundations, are certainly, like Job's friends, miserable comforters. It is memorable what the reverend Voetius, Disput. ä. p. 754. relates of John Frederic, duke of Saxony, who acquainted Luther that George, duke of Saxony, comforted his son John, in the agonies of death, with the righteousness of faith, desiring him to look to Christ alone, and disclaim his own merits and the invocation of saints. And when the wife of the aforesaid John (who was sister to Philip landgrave of Hesse) asked duke George, why these things were not thus publicly taught, made answer, o daughter, such things are to be said to the dying only. O the force of truth, breaking forth even from the breasts of those who are set against it.
LXXXIII. 4thly. This doctrine is exceedingly powerful to promote godliness.' 1. Because it lays, as a foundation, .a submissive humility of soul, presuming nothing of itself, without which there is no holiness that deserves the name. 2. Because we teach, that no faith justifies, but what is the fruitful parent of good works. And can any one really believe, that he, who is himself a most unworthy sinner, is, without any merit of his own, received into the favour of God, delivered from the expectation of hell, and favoured with the hope of a blessed eternity, and not, in every respect, and by all means be obedient to so benevolent a Lord? Can he be lieve, that God the Father spared not bis own Son, that he might spare this slave: that God the Son bore so many things grievous to mention and hard to suffer, that he might procure pardon for the guilty, and a right to life: that God, the Holy Ghost, should enter his heart, as the messenger and earnest of so great a happiness, and love those so ardently, who had no love for him ? Can be then provoke the Father by disobedience ? Trample on the Son by his wickedness, and profane his blood ? Can he grieve the Spirit the Comforter ? Indeed, such a one knows not what faith is, who imagines, that it consists in a strong persuasion destitute of good works. 3dly. Because it teacheth a sublime pitch of holiness, by which a person, laying aside every mercenary affection, can love God and virtue for itself, direct every thing to the glory of God alone, and securely trust bim with the free reward of his works. Here now we appeal to the conscience of our adversaries, which is the safer way, whether that which we point out to our people, or what they would have theirs to walk in? We both agree, that without good works none shall be saved. Now whether is it safer to say, Do good works, with a presumption of merit; or, do them with all diligence and energy of soul; because you cannot be saved without them: yet, having done all, own thyself to be an unprofitable servant, and look for heaven as a free gift. If works merit nothing, doubtless he offends God who boasts of his merits. But if they de serve anything, yet I, though performing them diligently, dare pot arrugace auy thing to myself from merit: of what de triment, pray, will that bumility, be? We conclude, that a doctrine, whose advantages are so many, and so considerable, cannot but be true.
Of Spiritual Peace. 1. RECONCILIATION stands in close connection with justification, the consummation of which is a spiritual, holy, and bless ed peace : “ therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ," Rom. v. 1. • II. This peace is “ a mutual concord between God and the sinner, who is justified by faith ; so that the heart of God is carried out towards man, and in like manner, the heart of man towards God, by a delightful inclination of friendship." God thus addresses the church, when reconciled to him ; thou shalt no more be termed forsaken, neither shall thy land be any more termed desolate : but thou shalt be called, Hephzi-bah (my delight), and thy land, Beulah (married): for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married," Isa. Ixii. 4. And the church in her turn, replies, “I will love thet, O Lord, my strength," Psal. xviii. 1.
III. This blessed peace presupposes that unhappy and destructive war, which the inconsiderate sinner had raised between God and himself ; concerning wbich the prophet says, “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you," Isa. lix. 2. By sin man lost the favour and friendship of God, and incurred his righteous hatred and displeasure, which is revealed
« from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men," Rom. i. 18. and is threatened by the curse of the law, Deut. xxvii. 26. felt in the conscience, which trembles at every voice of God, Gen. ïï. 8. and is the bitter source of all that anguish, which is the forerunner of eternal destruction. .And on the other hand, man is carried out to a dreadful hatred of God, Rom. i. 30. After sin became his delight, he became an enemy to all holiness, and consequently a most bitter enemy to God, because he is the most unspotted holi ness. Whatever wisdom he has, it is enmity against God, Rom. viü. 7. He hath joined himself to the devil
, under whose banner he fights against God." He stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Al! mighty: he runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his buoklers," Job xv. 25, 26. If any thing is propounded to him out
of the law
of God, he the more bold. ly acts contrary to it, Rom. vü. 8. Whenever he feels the effects of divine indignation, he with the most reproachful words, reviles the most holy justice of God, Isa. viii. 21. And almost goes so far as to wish, that either there was no God, or that he did not punish sin. The first of these tends to destroy the existence of God; the other his holiness, without which (horrid to think !) he would be a wicked spirit. But seeing God is greater than man, Job xxxiii. 12. this war dan, not but
fatal to man. “God is wise in heart, and mighty in strength ; who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered ?" Job ix. th
1 IV. In this very grievous war, all hopes of an umiting peace 'seem to be entirely cut off. For it cannot be devised, in what manner, either God can be reconciled to man, or man to God. The holiness of God does not suffer" him to allow the singer communion with himself, Jest he should seem to be like him, Psal. 1. 21. The justice of God demands punishment, Rom. i. 32. The truth of God threatene death; Gen. iii. 3. And it is on no account to be expected, that God would make a peace in favour of man who despises him, to the prejudice of any of his own perfections : for he cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. ä. 18. And man on his part is no less averse to peace, for though he will find nothing but ruin in this war, and all mander of good in this peace, yet he is so infatuated, so much an enemy to himself, that he madly hardens himself to his own destruction. Being subjected to the power of sin and Satan, he freely and fully serveth them. These blind the eyes of his understanding, “lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them," 2 Cor. iv. 4. And so lead him captive at their will, that he neither can, nor dare think in what manner he may recover himself
, out of the snare of the devil, and be reconciled to God, 2 Tim. ii. 26.
V. But God, “ whose understanding there is no searching óut," Isa. xl. 28. was able to find out a method and way, whereby all these dificulties could be surmounted. For he
hath & Sot, who being given to be the mediator and surety, made satisfaction to his holiness, justice, and veracity, and thus on his part God is reconciled, 2 Cor. v. 19. Moreover that Son has a Spirit far more powerful than the infernal spirit, who by his turning and inclining efficacy, can expel the hatred of God out of our hearts, and shed abroad the love of God there. To whose guidance and influence, if man gives himself up, that blessed peace will be soon procured of which we are now to treat."
VI. Hence it appears, that the rise and beginning of this peace is from God; accordingly it is called the peace of God; and God himself the God of peace, Phil. iv. 7, 9. The Father bath established the counsel of peace, Zech. vi. 13. And therefore it is ascribed to him as the original of it, that “ having made peace, he reconciled all things unto himself," Col. i. 20. The Son hath executed that counsel of peace, and by shedding his precious blood, removed all obstructions, and actually obtained for the elect the grace and favour of his Father, which was long before designed for them. Pe therefore calls this his own peace; and declares that he gives it, John xiv: 27. nay he is called the Prince of peace, Isa. xi. 5. and king of peace, prefigured by Melchizedek, Heb. vii. 2. and the peace, Mich. v. 5. and our peace, Eph. ii. 14. The Holy Spirit, the messenger of so great a happiness, like Noah's dove with an olive-branch, flies at the appointed mo ment of grace to the elect, and effectually offers and brings bome to them the peace decreed by the Father, and purchased by Christ: Hence peace is said to be by the Holy G..ost, Rom. xiv. 17.
VII. The fountain of this peace, and the first cause of it, can be nothing but the infinite mercy and philanthropy of God: and this is the reason why the apostles in their epistles wishing peace to believers, usually set grace before it, as the spring of that peace. Which is the more evident, because as there was nothing in man, that could invite God to make peace with him, (for, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Rom. v. 10.) so in like manner, God, who is all sufficient to himself for all happiness, could gain nothing by this peace. The whole advantage thereof redounds to man: the glory of so great a work is due to God alone.
VIII. Man surely ought not to hear the least report of this peace, without being directly carried with the greatest vigour of soul, to obtain it for himself. And though he should be obliged to go to the utmost end of the earth, for instruc
tion in the manner how to procure it, he should undertake the journey with the utmost diligence and readiness. But: behold the incredible benevolence of the Deity, who not only in his word, sufficiently instructs men in the excellency of 80 great a blessing, but also fully informs them in what manner they may enjoy it; by putting the word of reconciliation in the mouth of his servants, 2 Cor. V. 29. I create the fruit of the lips, peace to bim that is afar off and to him that is near, saith the Lord,” Isa. lvï. 19. But this is not all, for he also is the first who sends ambassadors to men to offer peace. Would it not have been inestimable grace if, after many and solicitous entreaties, he had suffered himself to be at length prevailed upon by us as Herod, who with difficulty granted peace to the Tyrians after their most ear. nest requests ? Acts xii. 20. But he not only freely offers, but also solicits and affectiorately entreats and beseeches men by his ambassadors, that they would not refuse to be reconciled to him, 2 Cor. v. 20. And though his tremendous majesty has been often scornfully despised, and though he has for a long time addressed himself to their ears by his most alluring invita tions, and all to no purpose, yet he does not desist, but again and again presses, over and over urges that affair of peace, and compels, with so much gentleness, the most obstinate to partake of his friendship and love, Luke xiv. 23. Such is the infinite goodness of the Supreme Being !
Pet qaro IX. But he does not stop here, for as the word of grace, though preached in the most pathetic manner, actually draws none, without the secret operation of the Spirit of God, so he graciously bestows that Spirit on man; who at length opens the eyes of the understanding, that wretched men may see, how bad their case is, while they continue in that dread. ful hostility, and on the other hand, what superabundant hapo piness, the peace so often tendered, will bring along with it. He tames the wild and savage hearts, and sabdues them to the obedience of God and of Christ; first he strikes them to the heart with a view of their sins, and with some sense of divine indignation ; upon this he presents them with some distant hope of obtaining peace; after this, he declares with greater earnestness the loving kindness of God to the trembling soul; and then excites the greatest longings after the enjoyment of it, and thus, by little and little, he disposes the inmost powers of the soul, to hate whatever is contrary to God, to declare war against his enemies, submissively to entreat his 3 favour, cheerfully to accept of it when actually offered, and : give themselves up, without reserve, to be governed by the