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or sanctification is more directly the object of it, than any manifestation of God's love and favour. This is the meat and drink that is the object of the spiritual appetite; John iv. 34. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Where we read in scripture of the desires, longings and thirstings of the saints, righteousness and God's laws are much more frequently mentioned, as the object of them, than any thing else. The saints desire the sincere milk of the word, not so much to testify God's love to them, as that they may grow thereby in holiness. I have shewn before, that holiness is that good which is the immediate object of a spiritual taste. But undoubtedly the same sweetness that is the chief object of a spiritual taste, is also the chief object of a spiritual appetite. Grace is the godly man's treasure; Is. xxxiii. 6. The fear of the Lord is his treasure. Godliness is the gain of which he is covetous, 1 Tim. vi. 6. Hypocrites long for discoveries, more for the present comfort of the discovery, and the high manifestation of God's love in it, than for any sanctifying influence of it. But neither a longing after great discoveries, or after great tastes of the love of God, nor longing to be in heaven, nor longing to die, are in any measure so distinguishing marks of true saints, as longing after a more holy heart, and living a more holy life.
Gracious and holy affections have their exercise and fruit in
I mean, they have that influence and power upon him who is the subject of them, that they cause that a practice, which is universally conformed to, and directed by Christian rules, should be the practice and business of his life.
This implies three things; 1. That his behaviour or practice in the world, be universally conformed to, and directed by Christian rules. 2. That he inakes' a business of such a holy practice above all things; that it be a business which he is chiefly engaged in, and devoted to, and pursues with highest earnestness and diligence: so that he may be said to make this practice of religion eminently his work and business.And, 3. That be persists in it to the end of life : so that it may be said, not only to be his business at certain seasons, the business of Sabbath-days, or certain extraordinary times, or
the business of a month, or a year, or of seven years, or his business under certain circumstances; but the business of his life ; it being that business which be perseveres in through all changes, and under all trials, as long as he lives. The necessity of each of these, in all true Christians, is most clearly and fully taught in the word of God.
1. It is necessary that men should be universally obedient*:
* " He that pretends to godliness, and turns aside to crooked ways, is an hypocrite: for those that are really godly, do live in a way of obedience; Psal. cxix. 1, 2, 3. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, that walk in the law of the Lord. They also do no iniquity. Luke i. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments of the Lord blameless. But such as live in ways of sin, are dissemblers : for all such will be rejected in the day of judgment; Matth. vii. 23. Depart from me ye that work iniquity. The like we have Luke xiii 27. If men live in a way of disobedience, they do not love God; for love will make men keep God's commandments ; 1 John v. 3. “ Herein is love, that we keep his command. menis : and his commandments are not grievous." Il men live in a way of disobedience, they have not a spirit of faith : for faith sanctifies men; Acts xxvi, 18. “ Sanctified by faith that is in me." If men live in a way of disobedience, they are not Christ's sheep; for his sheep hear his voice; John x. 27. Men that live in a way of disobedience are not born of God; 1 John ji 9. “He that is born of God, sinneth not.” Men that live in a way of disobedience are the servants of sin ; John viji. 34. “ He that commitreth sin, is the servant of sin," -- A course of external sin is an evidence of hypocrisy ; whether it be a sin of omission or commission.If men live in the neglect of known duties, or in the practice of known evils, that will be their condemnation ; let the sin be what it will; let it be profaneness, uncleanness, lying, or injustice.- If men allow themselves in malice, envy, wanton thoughts, profane thoughts, that will condemn them; though those corruptions do not break out in any scandalous way. These thoughts are an evidence of a rotien heart ; Tit. iii. 3. “ We ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and bating one another.” If a man allows himself, though he thinks be duth vot, in malice and envy, he is an hypocrite: though his conscience disallows it, yet if his heart allows it, he is no saint. Some make pretences to godliness, whereby they do not only deceive others, but (which is a great deal worse) deceive themselves also : but this will condemn them, that they live in a course of sin, and so must go with ungodly men; Psal. caxv. 5. “ As for such as turo aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord will lead them forth wilh the workers of iniquity.” If there be a great change in a man's carriage, and he be reformed in several particulars, yet if there be one evil way, the man is an ungodly man : where there is piety there is universal obedience. A man may have great infirmities, yet be a godly man. So it was with Lot, David, and Peter : but if he lives in a way of sin, he does not render his godliness only suspicious, but it is full evidence against him. Men that are godly have respect to all God's commandments, Psal. cxix. 6. There be a great many commands, and if there be one of them that a man has not respect unlo, he will be pot to shame another day, If a man lives in one evil way, he is not subject to God's authority : but then he lives in rebellion ; and that will take off all his pleas, and at once cut off all his pretences; and he will be condemngd in the day of judgment.-One way of sin is exception enough against the man's salvation. Though the sin that he lives in be but small: such persons will not be guilty of perjury, stealing, drunken. ness, fornication; they look upon them to be heinous things, and they are afraid of Ikem; but they do not a:uch matter it, if they oppress a litile in a bargain, is they commend a thing too much when they are about to sell it, if they break a promise,
1 Jobn iii. 3, &c. Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.--And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not : whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known himn.--He that doth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous : he that committeth sin, is of the devil. Chap. v. 18. We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not, but he that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. John xv. 14. Ve are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. James ii. 10. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. i Cor. vi. 9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, &c. shall inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. v. 19, 20. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like : of the
which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Which is as much as to say, they that do any sort of wickedness. Job xxxi. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity ? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to my hands, &c. Ezek. xxxiii. 15. If he walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity, he shall surely live. If one member only be corrupt, and we do not cut it off, it will carry the whole body to hell, Matth. v. 29, 30. Saul was commanded to slay all
if they spend the Sabbath onprofitably, if they neglect secret prayer, if they talk rudely and reproach others; they think these are but small things : if they can keep clear of great transgressions, they hope that God will not insist upoo small things.But indeed all the commands of God are established by divine authority; a small shot may kill a man, as well as a cannon bullet: a small leak may sink a ship. If a man lives in small sins, lhat shews he has no love to God, no sincere care to please and honour God. Little sins are of a damning nature, as well as great: if they do not deserve so much punishment as greater, yet they do deserve damnation. There is a contempt of God in all sius; Maith. v. 19. «He that shall break one of the Icast of these commands, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kiogdom of Gud." Prov. xix. 16. “He that keepeth the commandment, keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his way, shall die." If a man says, this is a great command, and so lays weight on it, and another is a little commandment, and so does not regard it, hut will allow himself to break it, he is in a perishing condition."-STODDARD'S Way to know sincerity and hypocrisy.
God's enemies, the Amalekites; and he slew all but Agag, and the saving him alive proved his ruin. Caleb and Joshua entered into God's promised rest, because they wholly followed the Lord, (Numb. xiv. 24. and xxxii. 11, 12. Deut. i. 36. Josh. xiv. 6, 8, 9, 14.) Naaman's hypocrisy appeared in thathowever he seemed to be greatly affected with gratitude to God for healing his leprosy, and engaged to serve him, yet—in one thing he desired to be excused. And Herod, though he feared John, observed him, heard him gladly, and did many things; yet was condemned, in that in one thing he would not hearken to him, even in parting with bis beloved Herodias. So that it is necessary that men should part with their dearest iniquities, which are as their right hand and right eyes; sins that most easily beset them, and to which they are most exposed by their natural inclinations, evil customs, or particular circumstances, as well as others. As Joseph would not make known himself to his brethren who had sold him, until Benjamin the beloved child of the family was delivered up; no more will Christ reveal his love to us, until we part with our dearest lusts, and until we are brought to comply with the most difficult duties, and those to which we have the greatest aversion.
And it is of importance to observe, that in order to a man's being universally obedient, his obedience must not only consist in negatives, or in universally avoiding wicked practices; but he must also be universal in the positives of religion. Sins of omission are as much breaches of God's commands, as sins of commission. Christ, in Matth. xxv. represents those on the left hand, as being condemned and cursed to everlasting fire, for sins of omission, I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat, &c. A man therefore cannot be said to be universally obedient, and of a Christian conversation, only because he is no thief, oppressor, fraudulent person, drunkard, tavernhaunter, whore-master, rioter, night-walker, nor unclean, profane in his language, slanderer, liar, furious, malicious, nor reviler. He is falsely said to be of a conversation becoming the gospel, who goes thus far, and no farther; but, in order to this, it is necessary that he should also be of a serious, religious, devout, humble, meek, forgiving, peaceful, respectful, condescending, benevolent, merciful, charitable and beneficent walk and conversation. Without such things as these, he does not obey the laws of Christ, laws that he and his apostles abundantly insist on, as of greatest importance and necessity.
2. In order to men's being true Christians, it is necessary that they prosecute the business of religion, and the service of God, with great earnestness and diligence, as the work to which they devote themselves, and make the main business of their lives. All Christ's peculiar people, not only do good works, but are zealous of good works, Tit. ii. 14. No man can
. do the service of two masters at once. They who are God's true servants, give up themselves to his service, and make it as it were their whole work, therein employing their whole bearts, and the chief of their strength; Phil. iii. 13. This one thing I do. Christians in their effectual calling, are not called to idleness, but to labour in God's vineyard, and spend their day in doing a great and laborious service. All true Christians comply with this call, (as is implied in its being an effectual call), and do the work of Christians; which is every where in the New Testament compared to those exercises, wherein men are wont to exert their strength with the greatest earnestness, as running, wrestling, fighting. All true Christians are good and faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, and fight the good fight of faith : for none but those who do so, ever lay hold on eternal life. Those who fight as those who beat the air, never win the crown of victory. They that run in a race, run all : but one wins the prize; and they that are slack and negligent in their course, do not so run, as that they may obtain. The kingdom of heaven is not to be taken but by violence. Without earnestness there is no getting along in that narrow way that leads to life, and so no arriving at that state of glorious life and happiness to which it leads. Without earnest labour, there is no ascending the steep and high bill of Zion; and so do arriving at the heavenly city on the top of it. Without a constant laboriousness, there is no stemming the swift stream in which we swim, so as ever to come to that fountain of water of life, that is at the head of it. There is need that we should watch and pray always, in order to our escaping those dreadful things that are coming on the ungodly, and our being counted worthy to stand before the Son of man. There is need of our putting on the whole armour of God, and doing all to stand, in order to our avoiding a total overthrow, and being utterly destroyed by the fiery darts of the devil. There is need that we should forget the things that are behind, and be reaching forth to the things that are before, and pressing towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, in order to our obtaining that prize. Slothfulness in the service of God, in his professed servants, is as damning, as open