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if any good were practicable to him, for which he was sure never to be the better himself, either in this world or in the next, he would not decline it ; because he loves God, and man, and holiness. Nor would he, in his better judgment, commit sin, if he could possibly be assured that he should in no way suffer by it; because he abhors all sin as the greatest of evils. “How shall we who are " dead to sin live any longer therein ?”] “His “ seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, be“ cause he is born of God.”2 A tender mother will not decline the most self-denying attention to her darling child, merely because she does not expect to receive wages for her labour and trouble, as a hireling nurse would do : nor would she injure it, even if she could be assured of escaping all punishment. Love would suffice in both cases. A servant works for his hire, and a slave from fear of punishment; both alike from mere self-love, even when they dislike their master and their work; and commonly they will do no more than is necessary for this selfish purpose : but a dutiful affectionate son will labour with alacrity, from love to his father, and because he accounts his father's interest, credit, or comfort, in some respects, his own : nor will he need to be deterred, by fear of punishment, from doing those things which he knows would grieve and displease his kind and honoured parent.—This is the precise difference between “ the spirit of bondage ” and “the spirit of adoption :” now Christians,“ have “ not received the spirit of bondage again to fear,
" Rom. vi. 2.
? 1 John iii. 9.
“ but the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, “ Abba, Father :” and thus, by producing filial confidence, reverence, and love,“ the Spirit him“self witnesses with their spirits, that they are " the sons of God.” Under this sacred constraining influence, the question is not, “How much must I do, to escape punishment, or to obtain salvation?' but “ What can I render to the Lord for « all his benefits ?” What can I further do to glorify God my Father, and to adorn and recommend the gospel of my beloved Saviour: In what way can I do most good for his sake, to his brethren and my brethren, after his admired example? or how promote the best interests of mankind, even of mine enemies and persecutors? “ Here 6 am I, send me.” 'Employ me, O my gracious Lord and Father, in whatever way thou seest good; and I shall count every.“ labour of love," which thou wilt enable me to perform, an additional favour conferred on me.'-This was David's judgment and feeling, when he brake forth in these words : “ Now therefore, O Lord my God, “ we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. “ But who am I, and what is my people, that we “ should be able to offer so willingly after this “sort ? For all things come of thee, and of thine “ own have we given thee.") Beyond doubt, this is the spirit with which the blessed inhabitants of heaven “ serve God day and night ;” and find that service their liberty and pleasure : and how can they be “ meet to be partakers of the inheri“ tance of the saints in light," who have not, in a
"1 Chron. xxix. 13-18.
measure, the same mainspring of activity, and who are not capable of delighting in the same employments and services here on earth?
The scripture, in exhorting believers to good works, by no means exclusively addresses their selflove, in any form, but the higher principle of love to God and man. “Let your light so shine before “ men, that they may see your good works, and “ glorify your Father which is in heaven.” I “ Teach “ the young women to be sober, to love their own “ husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, “chaste, keepers at home, obedient to their own “husbands; that the word of God be not blas“phemed.” “ Sound speech that cannot be con“ demned ; that he who is of the contrary part “ may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of “ you.” “Exhort servants to be obedient to their “own masters, and to please them well in all things, “ not answering again, not purloining, but shew“ing all good fidelity: that they may adorn the “ doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” 2 “That with well doing ye may put to silence the “ ignorance of foolish men.” “ That, whereas “they speak against you as evil-doers, they may “ by your good works, which they shall behold, “ glorify God in the day of visitation.” “That, “ whereas they speak evil of you, as evil doers, they “ may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good “ conversation in Christ.”3 No doubt a gracious recompense is frequently connected with exhortation to duties, especially such as are peculiarly
· Matt. v. 16.
? Tit. ii. 5, 8, 10. : 1 Pet.ü. 12, 15.- iii. 16.
self-denying ; and our faith must be shewn by our works, in order that it may be approved to be living and genuine ; but the general style of scriptural exhortation, especially in the New Testament, proposes motives taken from the honour of the gospel, the glory of God, the love of Christ, love of the brethren, and good will to mankind at large; rather than from any thing immediately connected with the salvation of the persons exhorted; except where some doubt is intimated, that they are in danger of deceiving themselves. And it is thus, that the exhortations of the apostles are stamped evangelically, and distinguished from heathen morality.
'I can shew a man that by faith without works "lived, and came to heaven : but without faith 'never man had life. The thief that was hanged when Christ suffered did believe only, and the most merciful God justified him. And, because 'no man shall say again that he lacked time to do 'good works, for else he would have done them ; 'truth it is, and I will not contend therein: but “this I will surely affirm, that faith only saved him. If he had lived, and not regarded faith and the works thereof, he should have lost his salvation again.'
Only faith saved the thief upon the cross, and only faith saves any man; for the will and the power of doing good works are a part of his salvation. “His name shall be called Jesus, for he
Quotation from Chrysostom, in Hom. of Good Works, Part 1. Ref. 157.
“shall save his people from their sins."1 “By grace “are ye saved, through faith. “We are his work“manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, " which God hath before ordained that we should “ walk in them.”2 Thus they are necessary to salvation; for salvation would be wholly incomplete without them, or at least without the disposition to love and perform them. If salvation from wrath and guilt could be separated from salvation from sin, the person thus saved would to eternity bear the image of the devil, be utterly incapable of happiness, and in himself very miserable, though exposed to no positive punishment.—It may pass, in a general discourse, to speak of the thief upon the cross as saved without works; but, in fact, his faith was shewn by his works in a highly satisfactory manner. “He confessed Christ before men,” even when he hung upon the cross, surrounded with insulting enemies, and forsaken by his disciples. “ With the heart man believeth unto righ“ teousness, and with the mouth confession is made “ unto salvation.” 3.—He humbly acknowledged that he deserved the excruciating death, which he was suffering: “We indeed justly:" and this was an indication of deep repentance, and patient submission to the will of God.--He declared that Jesus “ had done nothing amiss : " and, if so, then he was “ Christ the Son of the living God.”—He rebuked his fellow sufferer, and expostulated with him, as “ not fearing God," even when suffering death for his crimes ; which was an act of zeal for
Matt. i. 21.
* Eph. ii. 8, 10.