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Saviour is general, extending as well to the Serm. Communications of Strength, as to those of IV. Light: So that the Operations of God's Spirit on our Hearts do by no Means exclude our most zealaus Endeavours, but rather enforce them; since his working in us will not excuse us, in Case of Negligence, from Blame and Punishment. And moreover, it is urged by our Apostle, in the Text, as a Motive to animate us in working also: Work out, says he, your own Salvation with Fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of his good Pleasure. His Grace is, indeed free, ---Man has no Claim of Right upon his Maker for it,---it is entirely of his good Pleasure, that he bestows it, and we can no more demand, than deserve it..
But if the Divine Influences did really supersede and render useless our Industry, St. Paul's Reasoning here would be altogether unaccountable ; and what he presses as an Argument, why we should work out our Salvation, would be the strongest Reason, why we need not. If God alone did transact the whole Affair, there could be no Occasion for any additional Labour from us, much less for our working with Fear and
SERM. Trembling. For what Cause has he to fear, IV. who cannot miscarry by his confident Secú
rity,---what Inducement' has he to tremble for his Salvation, who is persuaded, that it requires none of his Care' and Diligence to obtain it ?
If this were the Case, not only the Apostle's Arguing must be most absurd, but moreover the Commands, the Exhortations, the Promises and the Threatenings, which are to be met with throughout the Holy Scriptures, tending to move. Men to take Care of their eternal Interests, would be quite without Foundation. For to what Purpose can any of these serve, if God works absolutely, in Man, and there is no thing to be executed by Man himself?
By those Applications, which plainly suppose fome Power in human Nature to will and to do, God muft intend, if any thing be intended by them, to induce, not force, us to repent, and by Repentance, carry us on to Salvation. We find God commanding and exhorting by his Prophets in the Old Testament, and by his Apostles in the New. Thus by Isaiah (i), Wash ye, make
(i) Ifai. i, 16, 17.
you clean, put away the Evil of your Doings Serm. from before mine Eyes; cease to do Evil, IV. learn to do well :----By Jeremiah (k), O je rusalem, was thine Heart from Wickednefs, that thou mayest be saved : How long Mall thy vain Tboughts lodge within thae ?By St. Paul, Ibat ye put off concerning the farmer Conversation the old Man,---and that ge put an the new Man (l), and Stand fast in the Faith,quit you like Men, be strong (.m.),-and by St. James (12), Cleanse your Hands, ye Sinners, and purify Jour Hearts, ye double Minded. Now these and such other commands and Exhortations (as others nuilborless almost are to be met with both in the Legal and the Evangelical Books) imply, that they, to whom they are directed, must be able, not exclusive of the Divine-Grace, but by, a. competent-Measure: of it, without its uncontrouļable Impressions to yield Qbiedience to and comply with them. A Being of infinite Clemency; and Wisdom would not enjoint and invite Men to dos what he knew they were in no Degree, capable of doing; as this must be a manifest. Taken of. Cruelty, or Weakness: Nor would he require under the severest Penalties any of lais
Creatures (k»Jerem. iv: 14. (2) Ephef. ivi 22., 24.. (m) 1 Cor. xvi. 13, (12St. James ir. 8.
Serm. Creatures to undertake, what, if ever it was IV. performed, must be brought to pass wholly
That nothing can be our Duty, further than we are able to fulfil it, is most evident : No-body is obliged to that, which is impracticable. If Mankind, consequently, never had, nor will have, any Power within them to repent, believe and obey, it is ri
diculous, it is profane to imagine, that : God demands such religious Acts from
them, and will call on them to account strictly for their Behaviour in this Respect,--, will reward them, if approved, and punish them, if condemned.
: But that God expects our Submission to his Will, has been already shewn ; and why else has it been revealed to us? It is not Knowledge, but Practice; which is the End of his Precepts and Persuasions : And he has therefore enforced them with Promises and Threatenings, the most affecting, which can be applied to our Hopes and Fears, the more strongly to engage our Observance of them. The Result of all which must be, that we have Ability, more or less, 'to observe them, and that God's working in us can
not be in such an irresistible, absolute Man- Serm. ner, as to exclude our own. For were it IV. so; all Commands and Exhortations, all Promises and Threatening would be perfect. ly groundless : And what the Almighty would have done, he could, if he pleased, produce in us without them,
God's Power, indeed, would meet with no Obstruction here, were he disposed to exert it: However, as the Liberty of Man's Will, which we are all conscious of, would thus be quite taken away, and the Actions performed, be not properly ours, but God's; so muft we cease to be moral and accountable Creatures --- must be unqualified for Favour on the one Hand, undeserving of Punishment on the other. Upon the whole then, Reason and Religion firmly unite in these Conclusions, That, after God has done what is requisite on his Part, something still remains for Men to do in order to work out their Salvation ---that if they neglect their Duty and their Interest, it is not for want of Ability to prosecute both, but through Obstinacy and Perverseness ----and that God has given spiritual Strength sufficient unto every Man, would he but use it and improve the Talent of Gracé put