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God's own offspring, and every thing relating to it must be afcribed to God.
The purpofe is his, that ofe is kis, that any fuch favour fhould be bestowed on any of the children of men, the finful progeny of an apoftate head: the mediator by whom grace is purchased, and in whom, as our head of recovery, it is treasured up, is of his own appointing: the perfons that are to be the fubjects of this grace, and in whose hearts it is wrought, are of his own chufing, and this from everlasting: and the actual implanting of grace, in the first principles and habits, and all its after-growth, is owing to the operation of his own Spirit. In these refpects faints are of God, begotten and born of him. It is God that fends his Son to bless his people, in turning away every one of them from their iniquities, Acts iii. 26. It is of God that any are in Chrift Jefus, who of God is made unto fuch fanctification, I Cor. i. 30. Hence they are faid to be God's workmanship, created in Chrift Jefus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. He bleffeth us with all spiritual bleffings in heavenly places in Chrift; according as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Grace comes from heaven.
(2.) It marks out for heaven. So great is the change made where grace is communicated, as fpeaks the Author to be God, and the foul that is the fubject of it, defigned for a better world and state. The finger of God may be read in it, and the renewed foul in which so much of
heaven is begun, fhall have its final bleffedness and portion there.
Believers are fuch of whom the world is not worthy; and however they may be disvalued among men, they are honourable in the fight of God, and in the most folemn manner fhall be owned to be fo, another day. God is not afhamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city; and alfo prepared them for it, and made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the faints in light. He that hath wrought us for the felf-fame is God, who hath alfo given us the earnest of his Spirit. The excellency and greatnefs of what is done upon the faints confeffeth a Deity; aud what he has wrought within, points upward to the glory referved above.
Under this character Chrift again and again commends his difciples to his Father, They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, John xvii, 14. They are of another, a more excellent fpirit, than the reft of the world, which is God's mark upon them, as defigned for fomething higher, and fomething better with himself.
(3.) Grace tends to heaven. It is the duty, and in fome measure the temper of fuch as are rifen with Chrift, to fet their affections on things above, where Chrift fitteth at the right hand of God and whoever can look downward for his happiness, the Pfalmift's language is what every gracious foul can make his own, it being expreffive of his defire and choice, As for me, I fhall behold thy face in righteousness: I fhall be fatisf
ed, when I awake, with thy likeness. Grace teaches thofe in whom it is, to expect and lay up their treasure in heaven; and where the treasure is, the heart will be alfo, afpiring after it, and preffing towards it, as their only quieting felicity and reft.
(4.) Grace will iffue in heaven. The foul prepared and marked out for glory, and tending to it, fhall, in the appointed feafon, be crowned with it. Grace here, is glory begun; and God will not forfake the work of his own hands, but perfect it in the day of Jefus Chrift. The great preparations made above, and within, shall not be made in vain. For every foul, made partaker of grace, there is a manfion made ready in glory. Our Lord, who came from heaven, and was well acquainted with it, affures us of this, and that this was the errand on which he afcended thither. In my Father's house are many manfions; if it were not fo, I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you. And if 1 go away, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be alfo, John xiv. 2, 3. As many as follow him in the regeneration, fhall be enthroned, and reign with him. The heavenly inheritance is referved for them, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto falvation.
This is the first thing that speaks the excellency of grace, its having fo much of heaven in
2. The neceffity of grace is a further evidence of its value.
Without grace we cannot please God upon earth, nor be admitted to the enjoyment of him in heaven; as into the New Jerufalem there entereth nothing that defileth. Without grace we are unfit for the work of life, and must be eternally miserable at the end of it; as hell is the doleful refidence awaiting gracelefs fouls. Nothing can supply the want of grace, or ftand us in ftead without it. This is the principal thing, and whatever else we can gain that leaves us deftitute of this, we are notwithstanding loft.
It is grace that crowns all outward mercies, and speaks and makes them mercies indeed; and nothing but this can fweeten afflictions, and make our heaviest croffes light. The foul that no grace, has no intereft in Chrift, and fo no hope of pardon or juftification thro' him; for they that are pardoned in his blood, are fuch as are alfo fanctified by his fpirit. God indeed, is faid to justify the ungodly, but not those that continue fo: if any man be in Chrift, he is a new creature. Whatever claim others may make to him from external profeffion, it will avail them nothing for he will fay to the workers of iniquity, Depart from me, I know you not. They that are without grace, are unlike to God, loathfome in his fight, under the dominion of fin, led captive by Satan, veffels of wrath fitted for destruction, and in danger every moment of being fealed up under it.
This is the deplorable ftate of all by nature: If any are fet free, it must be by grace. So neceffary is this to all that are faved, that to make way for it, the Son of God affumed our nature,
and submitted to the bitterest sufferings and death. He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works: as by the nature of the thing, as well as the conftitution of heaven, impure fouls cannot fee or be happy in an holy God. The heirs of heaven muft first become the excellent of the earth, or they can never come there. Likenefs and love to God are abfolutely neceffary to all that would dwell with him. God is light, and dwells in it, and unconverted finners are darkness; and what communion hath light with darkness? To be in heaven is to be with Chrift; but graceless fouls are enemies to him: and what concord hath Chrift with Belial? In a word, without regeneration there is no falvation. Sanctification is neceffary to heaven, and an effential qualification for entering into it. Our Lord over and over, in the most folemn manner declares this: Verily, verily, I fay unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot fee the kingdom of God, John iii.
If that which is abfolutely neceffary be valuable, grace is fo.
3. The excellency of grace may be argued, from the happy diftinction it makes in them. As it diftinguishes those in whom it is wrought, From fallen angels,
From the rest of mankind, and
From their former felves.
(1.) From fallen angels. With whatever moral amiable qualities and perfections they were at firft endowed, upon their leaving their own ha