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godliness; Ver. 7. And to godliness, brotherly-kindness ; and
to brotherly-kindness, charity. Wer. 8. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be bar
ren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord jesus Christ.
Wherein, 1. The apostle teacheth believers, for evidencing of precious faith in themselves, to endeavour to add to their faith seven other sister graces. The first is Virtue, or the active exercise and practice of all moral duties, that so faith may not be idle, but put forth itself in work. The second is Knowledge, which serves to furnish faith with information of the truth to be believed, and to furnish virtue with direction what duties are to be done, and how to go about them prudently. The third is Temperance, which serveth to moderate the use of all pleasant things, that a man be not clogged there with, nor made unfit for any duty whereto he is called. The fourth is Patience, which serveth to moderate a man's affections, when he meeteth with any difficulty or unpleasant thing ; that he neither weary for pains required in well-doing, nor faint when the Lord chastiseth him, nor murmur when he crosseth him. The fifth is Godliness, which may keep him up in all the exercises of religion, inward and outward; whereby he may be furnished from God, for all other duties which he hath to do. The sixth is Brotherly-kindness, which keepeth estimation of, and affection to, all the household of faith, and to the image of God in. every one wheresoever it is seen. The seventh is Love, which keepeth the heart in readiness to do good to all men, whatsoever they be, upon all occasions which God shall. offer.
2. Albeit it be true, that there is much corruption and infirmity in the godly ; yet the apostle will have men uprightly endeavouring, and doing their best, as they are able, to join all these graces one to another, and to grow in the measure of exercising them : “Giving all diligence, (saith he,) add “to your faith,” &c. - o
* 8. He assureth all professed believers, that as they shall,
profit in the obedience of this direction, so they shall profitably prove the soundness of their own faith ; and, if they want these graces, that they shall be found blind deceivers of themselves, Ver. 9.
The third thing requisite to evidence true faith is, that
The Practical Use of Saving Knowledge. 539
obedience to the law run in the right channel, that is, through faith in Christ, &c. holden forth, 1 Tim, i. 5.
NOW the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
Wherein the apostle teacheth these seven doctrines: 1. That the obedience of the law must flow from love, and love from a pure heart, and a pure heart from a good
conscience, and a good conscience from faith unfeigned :
this he makes the only right channel of good works: “The “ end of the law is love,” &c.
2. That the end of the law is not, that men may be justified by their obedience of it, as the Jewish doctors did
falsely teach; for it is impossible that sinners can be jus
tified by the law, who, for every transgression, are condemned by the law ; “For the end of the law is (not such “ as the Jewish doctors taught, but) love, out of a pure “ heart,” &c. - - 3. That the true end of the law, preached unto the people, is, that they, by the law, being made to see their deserved condemnation, should flee to Christ unfeignedly, to be justified by faith in him; so saith the text, while it maketh love to flow through faith in Christ. 4. That no man can set himself in love to obey the law, excepting as far as his conscience is quieted by faith, or is seeking to be quieted in Christ; for “the end of the law is “love, out of a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.” 5. That feigned faith goeth to Christ without reckoning with the law, and so wants an errand; but unfeigned faith reckoneth with the law, and is forced to flee for refuge unto Christ, as the end of the law for righteousness, so often as it finds itself guilty for breaking of the law : “For the end “ of the law is faith unfeigned.” 6. That the fruits of love may come forth in act particularly, it is necessary that the heart be brought to the hatred of all sin and uncleanness, and to a stedfast purpose to follow all holiness universally : “For the end of the law is love, “out of a pure heart.” 7. That unfeigned faith is able to make the conscience good, and the heart pure, and the man lovingly obedient to the law; for when Christ's blood is seen by faith to quièt justice, then the conscience becometh quiet also, and will not suffer the heart to entertain the love of sin, but sets the maz on work to fear God for his mercy, and to obey all his commandments, out of love to God, for his free gift of justification, by grace bestowed on him : “For this is the end of the “ law indeed,” whereby it obtaineth of a man more obedi.
ence than any other way.
The fourth thing requisite to evidence true faith is, the £eeping strait communion with Christ, the fountain of all graces, and of all good works; holden forth Yohn xv. 5,
I am the vine, ye are the branches ; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bring eth forth much fruit : for without me ye can do nothing.
Wherein Christ, in a similitude from a vine-tree, teach. eth us, 1. That by nature we are wild barren briers, still we be changed by coming unto Christ; and that Christ is that no. ble vine-tree, having all life and sap of grace in himself, and able to change the nature of every one that cometh to him, and to communicate spirit and life to as many as shall believe in him : “I am the vine, (saith he,) and ye are the “ branches.” 2. That Christ loveth to have believers so united unto him, as that they be not separated at any time by unbelief: and that there may be a mutual inhabitation of them in him, by faith and love; and of him in them, by his word and Spirit; for he joineth these together, “If ye abide in me, “ and I in you,” as things inseparable. 3. That except a man be ingrafted into Christ, and united to him by faith, he cannot do any the least good works of his own strength ; yea, except in as far as a man doth draw spirit and life from Christ by faith, the work which he doth is naughty and null in point of goodness in God's estimation : “For without me (saith he) ye can do “nothing.” 4. That this mutual inhabitation is the fountain and infallible cause of constant continuing and abounding in welldoing : For “he that abideth in me, and I in him, (saith “he.) the same beareth much fruit.” Now, as our abiding in Christ presupposeth three things ; 1st, That we have heard the joyful sound of the gospel, making offer of Christ
to us, who are lost sinners by the law ; 2d, That we have heartily embraced the gracious offer of Christ; 3d, That by o receiving of him we are become the sons of God, John i. 12. and are incorporated into his mystical body, that he may dwell in us, as his temple, and we dwell in him, as in the residence of righteousness and life: so our abiding in Christ importeth other three things, (1.) An employing of Christ in all our addresses to God, and in all our undertakings of , whatsoever piece of service to him. (2.) A contentedness with his sufficiency, without going out from him to seek righteousness, or life, or furniture in any case, in our owu or any of the creature’s worthiness. (3.) A fixedness in our believing in him, a fixedness in our employing and making use of him, and a fixedness in our contentment in him, and adhering to him, so that no allurement, no temptation of Satan or the world, no terror nor trouble, may be able to drive our spirits from firm adherence to him, or from the col:stant o avowing of his truth, and obeying his commands, who hath , loved us, and given himself for us ; and in whom not only , our life is laid up, but also the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily, by reason of the substantial and personal union of , the divine and human nature in him. Hence let every watchful believer, for strengthening himself in faith and obedience, reason after this manner: “Whosoever doth daily employ Christ Jesus for cleans“ing his conscience and affections from the guiltiness and “filthiness of sins against the law, and for enabling him to “give obedience to the law in love, he hath the evidence of “true faith in himself: “But I (may every watchful believer say) do daily em... “ploy Jesus Christ for cleansing my conscience and affec“tions from the guiltiness and filthiness of sins against the “law, and for enabling of me to give obedience to the law “ in love : “Therefore I have the evidence of true faith in myself.”
And hence also let the sleepy and sluggish believer reason, for his own upstirring, thus: “Whatsoever is necessary for giving evidence of true “faith, I study to do it, except I would deceive myself and “ perish: - “But to employ Christ go daily for cleansing of my - - - Z . - * ,
“conscience and affections from the guiltiness and filthiness “of sins against the law, and for enabling me to give obe“dience to the law in love, is necessary for evidencing of true “faith in me : “Therefore this I must study to do, except I would de“ceive myself, and perish.”
And, lastly, Seeing Christ himself hath pointed this forth, as an undoubted evidence of a man elected of God unto life, and given to Jesus Christ to be redeemed, “if he come “unto him,” that is, close covenant, and keep communion with him, as he teacheth us, John vi. 37. saying, “ All that “ the Father hath given me shall come to me; and him that “ cometh to me I will in no wise cast out;” let every person, who doth not in earnest make use of Christ for remission of sin, and amendment of life, reason hence, and from the whole premises, after this manner, that his conscience may be awakened : - -
“Whosoever is neither by the law, nor by the gospel, so “convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, as to make “him come to Christ, and employ him daily for remission of “sin, and amendment of life; he wanteth not only all evi. “dence of saving faith, but also all appearance of his elec“tion, so long as he remaineth in this condition:
“But I (may every impenitent person say) am neither by “the law nor gospel so convinced of sin, righteousness, and “judgment, as to make me come to Christ, and employ him “daily for remission of sin, and amendment of life:
“Therefore I want not only all evidence of saving faith, “but also all appearance of my election, so long as I remain * in this condition.”
FINIS. - . . .