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pleased with sin, no not in his own people, but most of all hates it in them, it cannot be that any man in this life should fully come up to Christ's example in this ; yet may we come on so far towards it, as that not only in our immediate addresses to God, but in the general course of our lives, we may come to please God. Tbus Enoch and Noah walked with God, i. e. in their general course they walked so as to please God, and approve themselves in his sight : thus the meanest of actions, if done by us unto the Lord, as the servants of Christ, bave a promise of acceptance and reward, Col. iii. 22, 23, 24.
Quest. II. How may we come, in our measure, to be followers of Christ, in this to do always those things that please God?
Ans. In order to this, there is something necessary, with reference, 1st, To our persons ; 2dly, To our principles ; 3dly, To our practices.
1st, With reference to our persons. And here it is necessary, 1. That there be an al. teration of our natures by renewing grace, for they that are in the flesh cannot please God, Rom. viii. 8.
These wild vines must needs bring forth sour grapes, Isa. v. 4. The fruit that they bear (how specious and fair soever to the eye) is evil fruit, Matt. vii. 16. Where there is not a good treasure of grace in the heart, a man cannot in his actions bring forth good things, Matt. xii. 33.
Many enlightened sinners think by reading and praying, and forsaking some gross and
foul sins, to pacify God, and set all right.Mistaken souls, let me uodeceive you. You begin at the wrong end; your first and greatest care must be to get your hearts and natures changed, and renewed by the power of converting grace : you labour in vain at the streams, while the fountain of corruption in the heart remains in its strength : you must not think it is with you, as it is with a ruin. ous house, where the mending of here and there a little, will make up all again ; but the old building must be quite taken down, and the foundation-stone laid a new in a sound repentance from dead works, anil thorough con-." version unto God. Till this be done, you must know, that God hath no pleasure in you, neither will accept an offering at your hand, Mal. ii. 10, as he doth from those that are friends.
2. That there be the acceptation of your persons through faith in Jesus Christ. For in him alone it is that God is well pleased, Matt. iii. last. So that without faith interest. ing us in him, it is impossible to please God, Heb. xi. 6.
For the better understanding both these particulars, know that there are two attributes of God, to which you must bear a conformity, or else you cannot please him.
(1.) The holiness of God : For he is not a God that hath pleasure in iniquity; he heareth no sinner: the foolish shall not stand in his sight: he hateth all the workers of iniquity, Ps. v. 4, 5. John ix. 31. God can no more take pleasure in the unsanctified, than we in swine or serpents.
(2.) 'The justice of God: For he will by no means clear the guilty, Ex. xxxiv.7.Could we have inherent holiness in us, in our unpardoned state ; yet justice could not but be infinitely offended, wbile guilt lieth unremoved, as you may see in Christ; for though he were perfectly holy, yet being under the guilt of our sins imputed to him, the severity of God's justice broke out against him,
Now, man being naturally an offence both. to the holiness and justice of God, there must. of necessity pass upon bim, in order to his pleasing God, this two-fold change.
(1.) The real change of sanctification. I call this a real change ; because by this there is a real change ensuing, of new qualifications and dispositions, making him of proud, hum. ble ; of carnal, spiritual and heavenly, &c.
(2.) The relative change of justification. I call this a relative change, because there is not a real change in a man's nature, but in his condition, making him to stand in a new relation to the law, with reference to which he was before guilty and condemned; but now the law pronounces the same man clear and acquitted ; and this not for any righteousness infused in him, but for the satisfaction and payment of another laid down for him ; satisfaction there must be, and righteousness must be tendered, or else God cans not be at peace. We have noihing to pay, Luke vii. 42. Oh sinner! away to Christ. for it; hide thee in the clifts of that rock, run
to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. Appear not before God, but in the robe of Christ's righteousness. He sends you to Jesus, as he did them to Job, chap. xlii. 8. Go to my servant Job, he shall pray for you, him will I accept. Get out of yourselves :: flee to Uhrist, labour to be found in him, else all your endeavours in rinsing and washing yourselves, will be to no effect.
2dly, With reference to our principles. And here it is necessary that some corrupt principles be unlearned, and some hoby principles be received and retained.
18t. Some corrupt principles must be un. learned. As, 1. That it is enough if we serve God on the Lord's day, and we may serve ourselves all the rest of the week.-Though God hath reserved one day in seven wholly for his immediate service, which is therefore in a peculiar sense called the Lord's! day; yet we must know that every day is bis, and that he hath not allowed us one hour nor> inch of time, but only for his service. Indeed he hath service of more sorts than one, but we must know that the bueness of our ordi. nary affairs, if rightly done, is a serving of the Lord Christ, Col. iii. 24. God is as tru. ly served by you in the working day's labor, as the Sabbath-day's rest, if you do it in a right manner, and to holy ends...
There is a generation whose religion is but a Sunday's religion, which they put on and off with their Sunday's clothes, and then they think God is fairly served for the week'; al.. thongh God knows, that little they do then is. but poorly done either. Never think God accepts it at thy hands, when thou livest six days to the world and thyself, for one that thou spendest for him. This shews thee to be under the unmortified power of self-lovey and not to be the Lord's, for none of us liv. eth to himself, Rom. xiv. 7. You must re. member that you are but to learn upon the Sabbath how to serve God all the week, and not to think when the Lord's day is ended, his work is done.
2. That if God be served morning and evening, it is enough, though we serve ourselves the rest of the day. God must be served eve. ry day, and all the day, Prov. xxiii. 17. You must be serving him not only in your fasts, but at your meals; not only on your knees; but in your callings.
Some think, that if they keep up religious duties they may do what they list at other times ; that if they be intemperate, lascivious, unrighteous, it is but to make even again with God at night, and all will be well : like the whore in the Proverbis, that having made her offering, was presently ready for new wickedness, Prov. vii. 14, as if she had paid off the old score, and might now boldly run upon a new.
Others think, that though they may not serve the devil at any time, yet, giving God his dues morning and evening, they may serve themselves the rest of the time. But in vain do they lay claim to God, who live more to themselves than they do to him. This will be found horrible sacrilege,' to put off God