« EelmineJätka »
1. To begin with the first particular. Grace, in the scrip. ture, when it is ftiled - the grace of God, imports his favour, and kind affection to us. i
ift. The gospel preached to Jew and Gentile, is filed, the grace of God which brings falvation; the word of his grace which is able to build us up, and to give us an inheritance among them that are fanctified. This also muft be the import of the word when it is said, That the law came by Mofes, but grace and truth by Jefus Chrift: when the Apostles exhort their converts to continue in the grace of God: when they say, God confirmed the word of his grace by signs and wonders: when the gospel is filed the word of grace, and the gospel of grace. And this is probably the import of the word in many other places cited by Dr. Hammond, in bis note on Hcb. xiii. 9, where, faith he, they that believed through grace, Aas xviii. 27, are they that believed through the preaching of the gospel : and in this sense the grace of God is absolute : there being nothing either in Jew or Gentile which hath made thein worthy of this revelation, nor any condition required on their part that it might be preached to them. ' .
2dly. This grace which appeared to all men, was, in its design, and influence (where it was not obtruớcd by men's infidelity) daving grace. The calling of men by the preaching of it, is sometimes said 10 be the calling of them by grace; and avhen they' crabrace that call, the fiving them by grace: as · when it is said, By grace ye are fized: not of works. For seeing ihis is spoken to men yet alive, and so obliged to work out their falvation with fear and trembling; it cannot imean that they were finally saved; but only that they were cailed to a fate of salvation, enjoyed the micans, and were put in the way of salvation by grace. Hence the Apofle faith, lle hath Javed us, ihat is,' callet us with a holy calling; not according to our works, but the grace given us in Cirit Iefus. And to Pe fared by grace; is to be faved by the mercy and favour of God to us, according to picle words of the faine Apostle,
When the kindness and love of God our Saviour to man appeared; noi by works of righteousness which we have done (before faith) but by his mercy he faved us. And this grace is again absolute; it being purely of the mercy, and free grace of God that any nation is, by the preaching of the gospel to them, called to the knowledge of salvation by Chrift.
zdly. When men thus called embrace the gospel, and be. lieve in Christ, and so obtain the pardon of their fins, this allo is said to be done by grace; we being justified by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Jefus, and obtain the forgiveness of fins according to the riches of his gracr. And though this grace be not absolite, but conditional, we being justified by faith; yet finee that faith is not of ourselves, but is the gift of God, and it is of mere grace that this act of faith, which deserves nothing, is imbuted to us for righteoufness; it is certain that we are justified by the grace of God.
4thly, The gift of the Spirit, is in the fcripture stiled the grace of God, especially his extraordinary gifts. As when Sc. Pax faith, Having gifts differing, according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophesy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith, &c. To the Corinthians he speaks thus, I thank my God for the grace which is given io vok; fu that ye come behind the other Churches in no gift. And again Not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have had our conversation in the world; and more efpecially towards you. To the Ephefians thus, To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. And St. Peter speaketh thus, As every one hath received the gift, jo minifer the same one to another, as good pewards of the manifold grare of God. On which account they who fell off from the faith, after they had tasted of these gifts, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghoji, are said to have despised the spirit of grace.
II. But besides this calling of men to the profession of the Christian-faiths, and this vouchsafement of the gospel to the as a rule of life; it feems necessary to allert that God vouche,
safes some inward operations or assistance to incline them to what is good, and work conversion in them.
For were it otherwise, ist, Why is this spirit ftiled a quickening, or life giving spirit? Why is he said to strive with man? Why are wicked men said to resist the Holy Ghost? And why are they who are converted said to be born of the spirit, and to be enabled through the spirit, to mortify the deeds of the body? For how can he be said to strive with men, or they to relist his motions, if he makes no impresions on our spirits? How can he quicken, or work in us the new birth; or enable us to mortify the deeds of the body, without some vital energy, some renewing operations, or powerful alfistance to fubdue those motions of the flesh which lust against the fpirit ?
2dly. Why else is it expressly said, God works in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure? For sure he cannot properly be said, iveplexx xai noise ér pis, to ocł and work within us, who worketh nothing in us? How doth the word itself, when heard or read, work on us, but by making impressions on our minds ? And shall that be denied to God himself, which we allow to his word? Or shall he not be believed when he saith, he worketh in us both to will and to do?
3dly. Doth it not seem unreasonable to deny that influence to God and his good Spirit, to incline men to goodness, which generally is, and must, according to the scripture, be allowed to the evil spirit, tempting men to wickedness? Now though this evil spirit cannot lay us under a necessity of doing wickedly, yet is he represented in the scripture as the great tempter to sin; which he can only be by raising some ideas in our brain which excite, dispose and inove us, as our own thoughts, or inward sentiments, at other times are wont to do, io what is evil. He also is stiled, that fpirit, which, inepler, works inwardly in the children of disobedience: which words seem plainly to import some inward energy of Satan to excite them to this disobedience. Seeing then, stronger is he that is in us, than he that is in the world, i. e. that good spirit who dwells in pious men, is more powerful in them than Satan is in wicked men, we must allow this good spirit, inpleie to work inwardly in the children of disobedience, as Satan is allowed to work in his own children. Moreover the evil spirit is represented as a lying Spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets : he moved David to number the people: he entered into Judas: he filled the heart of Ananias to lie to the Holy Ghoft: all which things cannot be accounted for without allowing hinn some power to work upon the minds of those persons, so as to raise within them some such ideas as would excite and stir them up to the performance of those actions, When therefore, in like manner, God is said, to put a new Spirit, and to put his fpirit within us, to create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us, to put his fear, and law in our hearts; to circumcise, and convert the heart: if he,
by his spirit, raiseth no good motions or ideas in us, which · may dispose us to his fear, and by attention to them may
convert and cleanse our hearts ; if he vouchsafes to us no inward illuminations, by attending to which we may discern the wondrous things of his law : what can these words or metaphors import ? Seeing the heart is purified by an inward change which renders it averse from fin, and sets the affections, desires and inclinations of the soul against it: seeing the deeds of the flesh are only mortified by such a renovation of the mind as makes us to discern the pernicious effects and dreadful consequences of living still according to our fleshly appetites : and so begets a dread and hatred of them, a resolution to forsake them, a vehement desire to be freed from them, a sincere endeavour to resist the motions of the flesh, and a care that we do not for the future yield obedience to it in the luftings of in. If there be no rénovation wrought in us by the aslistance and co-operation of the spirit, how can we porfibly conceive that God should put in us a new spirit? creute
in is a chaleurt? re 5 a Tig t ? circamise and (nort the heart? or gut kas jer into it; if his good fpirit works cochirg on our mind and affections, and consequently, upon our will, to make this change within us?
(To be continued.]
There kuth no timp!ation taken you, but fach as is common to
man. And God is fa thful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that yo are able : but will with the temciation also make a way to ejcape, that ye may be able to bear it. .
1. IN the foregoing part of the chapter the Apostle has been
reciting on the one hand, the unparalleled mercies of God to the Israelites; and on the other, the unparalleled ingra. titude of that disobedient and gainsaying people. And all these things, as the Apostle observes, were written for our confumple: that we might take warning from them, so as to avoid their grievous sins, and escape their terrible punishment. He then adds that folemn and important caution, Let him that Thinketh h» flandeth, take heed If he fall.
2. But if we observe these words attentively, will there not appear a considerable difficulty in them, Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed left he fall? If a man only thinks he jlands, he is in no danger of falling. It is not possible that any one should fall, if he only thinks he fands. The same difficulty occurs, according to our translation in those wellknown words of our Lord, (the importance of which we may calily learn, from their being repeated in the gospel no less than eight times) To him that hath shall be given ; but from