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3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much (K) prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the (L) regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, (M) pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ, as Head and King, in his Word hath prescribed to them.
(K) Rom. vii. 23.-But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
(L) Rom. vi. 14.-For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
(M) Eph. iv. 15, 16.—But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 2 Cor. iii. 18.-But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Chap. vii. 1.-Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
OF SAVING FAITH.
1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their sculs, is the work of the Spirit of Christ (A) in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the (B)Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased (c) and strengthened.
(A) 2 Cor. iv. 13.-We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak Eph. ii. 8.-For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
(B Rom. x. 14, 17.-How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(c) Luke xvii. 5.-And the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 1 Pet. ii. 2.-As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Acts xx. 32.-And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an iuheritance among all them which are sanctified.
2. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true (D) whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency therein (E) above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fulness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations; and so is enabled to (F) cast his soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the (G) commands, trembling at the
(H) threatenings, and embracing the (1) promises of God for this life and that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving and resting upon (K) him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
(D) Acts xxiv. 14-But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.
(E) Ps. xix. 7. 8, 9, 10.-The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, en ightening the eyes: The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Ps. cxix. 72.-The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
(F) 2 Tim. i. 12.-For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
(G) John xv. 14.-Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
(H) Isa. lxvi. 2.-For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
(1) Heb. xi. 13.-These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
(K) John i. 12.-But as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Acts xvi. 31.-And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house Gal. ii. 20.-I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Acts xv. 11.-But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
3. This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak (L) or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith (M) and common grace of temporary believers; and, therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets (N) the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full (o) assurance through Christ, who is both the author (P) and finisher of our faith.
(L) Heb. v. 13, 14.-For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Matt. vi. 30.-Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O, ye of little faith? Rom. iv. 19, 20.- And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.
(M) 2 Pet. i. 1.-Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
(N) Eph. vi. 16.-Above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 1 John v. 4, 5.-For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
(0) Heb. vi. 11, 12.-And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Col. ii. 2.
OF REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE AND SALVATION.
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
(P) Heb. xii. 2.-Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
OF REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE AND SALVATION.
1. Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having (4) sometimes lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.
(A) Tit. iii. 2, 3, 4, 5.-To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 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.
2. Whereas there is none that doth good and sinneth (B) not, and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations; God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling (c) be renewed through repentance unto salvation.
(B) Eccles. vii. 20.-For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
(c) Luke xxii. 31, 32.-And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
3. This saving repentance is an (D) evangelical grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, (E) praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to (F) walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.
(D) Zech. xii. 10. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Acts xi. 18.-When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
(E) Ezek. xxxvi. 31.-Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 2 Cor. vii. 11.-For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
(F) Ps. cxix. 6.-Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. Ps. cxix. 128.-Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
4. As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof, so it is every man's duty to repent of his (G) particular known sins particularly.
(G) Luke xix. 8.-And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him four fold. 1 Tim. i. 13, 15.-Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
5. Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation, that although there is no sin so small but it deserves (H) damnation, yet there is no sin so great that it shall bring damnation on them that (1) repent, which makes the constant preaching of repentance
(H) Rom. vi. 23.-For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(1) Isa. i. 16, 17.-Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless. plead for the widow. Chap. lv.7.-Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
OF GOOD WORKS.
1. Good works are only such as God hath (A) commanded in his Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, (B) or upon any pretence of good intentions.
(A) Mic. vi. 8.-He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Heb. xiii. 21.-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.
(B) Matt. xv. 9.-But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Isa. xxix. 13.-Wherefore the Lord saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.
2. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences (c) of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their (D) thankfulness, strengthen their (E) assurance, edify their (F) brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify (G) God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus (H) thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end (1) eternal life.
(c) James ii. 18, 22.-Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect. (D) Ps. cxvi. 12, 13.-What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
(E) 1 John ii. 3, 5.-And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 2 Pet. i. 5-11.-And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and had forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
(F) Matt. v. 16.-Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(G) 1 Tim. vi. 1.-Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 1 Pet. ii. 15.-For so is the will of God that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Phile. i. 11.-Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.
(H) Eph. ii. 10.-For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(1) Rom. vi. 22.-But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
3. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit (K) of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an (L) actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they ought to be diligent in (M) stirring up the grace of God that is in them,
(K) John xv. 4, 5.-Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.
(L) 2 Cor. iii. 5.-Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. Phile. i. 13.-Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel.
(M) Phil. ii. 12.-Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Heb. vi. 11, 12.-And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto the end; That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Isa. lxiv. 7.-And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
4. 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 (N) they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
(N) Job ix. 2, 3.-I know it is so of a truth; but how should a 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. 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.