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IV. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height, which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.P
V. We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sin ;9 but when we have done all we can, we
12. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence,
IV. p Luke xvii. 10. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants : we have done that which was our duty to do. Neh, xiii. 22. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. Job ix. 2, 3. I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. Gal. v. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
V. Rom. iii, 20 Therefore, by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight : for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom. iv. 2, 4, 6. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. Now, to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. Even as David also
have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants ; and because, as they are good, they proceed from bis Spirit ;' and, as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.t
V1. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him," not as though they were in this life wholiy un
describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God impuloh righteousness without works. Eph. ii. 8, 9. For by grace are ye sav. ed, through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. Tit. iii. 5 to 7. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost : which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. "Rom. viii. 18. For I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Psal. xvi. 2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: my goodness extendeth not to thee. Job xxii. 2, 3. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any, pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous; or gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect? Job xxxv. 7, 8. If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
Luke xvii. 10. (See letter p in this chapter.) s Gal. v. 22, 23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
t Isa. Ixiv. 6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our right. eousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our inis quities, like the wind, have taken us away. Gal. v. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things thai ye would. Rom. vii. 15, 18. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; bat what I hate, that do I. I know, that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. Psal. cxliii. 2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psal. cxxx. 3.. If thou, Lörd, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand ?
VI. o Eph. i. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. i Pet. ii. 5. Yc also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ. Exod. xxviii. 38. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts: and it shall be always upon his fore. head, that they may be accepted before the Lord. Gen. iv. 4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat
blameable and unreproveable in God's sight; w but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although, for the matter of them, they may be things, which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others :Y yet, because they proceed not from an beart purified by faith ;z nor are done in a right manner, according to the thereof : and the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering. With Heb. xi. 4. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sa crifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead, yet speaketh.
w Job ix. 20. If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me : if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Psal. cxliii. 2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant : for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
c Heb. xiii. 20, 21. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Cor. viii. 12. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. Heb. vi. 10. F'or God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Mat. xxv. 21, 23. His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant ; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
vil. y 2 Kings x. 30, 31. And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast donc unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed
to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel, with all his heart : for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. 1 Kings xxi. 27, 29. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upore his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly: Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me ? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house. Phil. i. 15, 16, 18. Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy and strife ; and some also of good will : the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. What then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
7 Gen. iy. 5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
word ; a nor to a right end, the glory of God ;b they are, therefore, sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sioful, and displeasing unto God.d
And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. With Heb. xi. 4. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead, yet speaketh. Heb. xi. 6, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
a 1 Cor. xiii. 3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it protiteth me nothing. Ísa. i. 12. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts ?
b Mat. vi. 2, 5, 16. Therefore, when thou dost thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance : for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
c Hag. ii. 14. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands, and that which they offer there is unclean. Tit. i. 15. Unto the pure all things are puro; but unto them that are defiled, and unbelieving, is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Amos v. 21, 22. I hate, I despise your feast-days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burntofferings, and your meat-offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. * Hos. i. 4. And the Lord said unto him, Call liis name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. Rom. ix. 16. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. Tit. iii. 5. Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
a Psal. xiv. 4. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge ? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. Psal. xxxvi. 3. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. Job. xxi, 14, 15. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have if we pray unto him? Mat. xxv. 41, 42, 43, 45. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me pot in i naked, and yo clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye
OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effece ually called and sanctitied by his Sprit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace ; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.a
II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God, the Father ; b upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Cbrist ;c the abiding of the Spi. visited me not. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say un. to you, in as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Mat. xxiii. 23. Wo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ; for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
I. a Phil. i. 6. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. i. 10, Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure : for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. John x. 28, 29. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck then out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all: and none is able to phuck them out of my Father's hand. 1 John iii. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in Lim : and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 Pet. i. 5, 9. Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last tiine. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
II. b 2 Tim. ii. 18. 19. Who concerning the truth have erred, saying, that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of somne. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the namo of Christ depart from iniquity. Jer. xxxi. 3. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore withi loving kindness have ! drawn thee.
c Heb. x. 10, 14. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all
. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Heb. xiii. 20,21. Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight,