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II. From whence its worth may be collected. .
And III. The use that we may make of the whole. » 1. To tell
is. Grace in scripture most usually denotes these two things, namely, God's goodwill to us, and his good work in us.
1. His goodwill to us lost finners in and thro' his Son, and this as revealed and tendered to us in the gospel. We read that the grace of God bringeth salvation, Tit. ii
. 11. and that by grace we are saved, Eph. ii. 8. This grace of God, or his goodwill towards men, is the spring of all the blessings he bestows
them. 2. Grace denotes God's good work in us, in all his people, which is the fruit or effect of that goodwill which he had in his heart concerning them. Thus faith the apostle, speaking as a christian, Unto every one of us is grace given, &c. Ephef. iv. 7. And as Christ is head over all things to the church, of his fulness all that are recovered from a state of nature, have received, and grace for grace, John i. 16.
It is of grace in this sense, as a good work in us, that we are now enquiring about, what it is.
It is represented in fcripture under several characters, viz. as a new creation, as that by which we are born again, raised from the death of sin to newness of life ; as that by which we are effectually called, converted, and sanctified, &c. Upon which, a child of God so vastly differs from his former state, that every one of this number is stiled a new creature.
When the Spirit of God has been savingly at work, to the doing away all old things, and making all things new: when an holy light is shed
upon the mind, and a god-like temper and disposition is produced in the soul, bringing it to hate what God hates, and love and chuse what God loves ; to grieve upon the account of fin, and prize and rely upon Jesus Christ: when it is made careful to please God by doing his will, as the work of life, and prozote his glory as the end of life : when the man is led calmly to resign to the will of God, as wisest and best has his chief desires after him, his highest delight in him, and hath pleasing and joyful hopes of seeing and being for ever with him, as his portion and rest, this is grace. And if we could say no more, how valuable a thing does it appear to be ?
But to bring our hearts to be in love with it.
II. Let us enquire from whence its worth and excellency may be collected. Now
1. Grace in the friends of Christ may be said to be valuable and precious, as having so much of heaven in it. And if you ask, How? I answer,
It comes from heaven,
It will issue in it. (1.) Grace comes from heaven. Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, James i, 17. And grace in a special manner does fo. It is
God's own offspring, and every thing relating to it must be ascribed to God. The purpose
ose is kis, that any such favour should be bestowed on any of the children of men, the sinful progeny of an apostate 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 persons that are to be the subjects of this grace, and in whose hearts it is wrought, are of his own chusing, 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 respects faints are of God, begotten and born of him. It is God that sends his Son to bless his people, in turning away every one of them from their iniquities, Asts iii. 26. It is of God that any are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto such fanctification, i Cor. i: 30. Hence they are said to be God's workmanship, created in Christ Jefus unto good works, Eph. ii. 10. He blefieth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ; 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 speaks the Author to be God, and the soul that is the subject of it, designed for a better world and state. The finger of God may be read in it, and the renewed soul in which so much of
heaven is begun, hall have its final blessedness and portion there.
Believers are such 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 shall be owned to be so, another day. God is not afhamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city; and also prepared them for it, and made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. He that hath wrought us for the self-fame is God, who hath also given us the earnest of his Spirit. The excellency and greatness of what is done upon the faints confesseth a Deity ; aud what he has wrought within, points upward to the glory referved above.
Under this character Christ again and again commends his disciples 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 spirit, than the rest of the world, which is God's mark upon them, as designed for something higher, and something better with himself.
(3.) Grace tends to heaven. It is the duty, and in some measure the temper of such as are risen with Christ, to set their affections on things above, where Christ fitteth at the right hand of God: and whoever can look downward for his happiness, the Psalmist's language is what every gracious soul can make his own, it being expreslive of his desire and choice, As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisf
od, ed, when I awake, with thy likeness. Grace teaches those in whom it is, to expect and lay up their treasure in heaven; and where the treasure is, the heart will be also, aspiring after it, and pressing towards it, as their only quieting felicity and rest.
(4.) Grace will issue in heaven. The soul prepared and marked out for glory, and tending to it, shall, in the appointed season, be crowned with it. Grace here, is glory begun; and God will not forsake the work of his own hands, but perfect it in the day of Jesus Christ. The great preparations made above, and within, shall not be made in vain. For every soul, made partaker of grace,
there is a mansion made ready in glory. Our Lord, who came from heaven, and was well acquainted with it, assures us of this, and that this was the errand on which he ascended thither. In my Father's house are many manfions ; if it were not so, I would have told you : I go to prepare a place for you. And if 1 go away, and prepare a place for
I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also, John xiv. 2, 3 As many as follow him in the regeneration, shall be enthroned, and reign with him. The heavenly inheritance is reserved for them, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. This is the first thing that speaks the excel
grace, its having so much of heaven in it.
2. The necessity of grace is a further evidence of its value.