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None but real Christians, exercised in the fpia ritual life, know the value or necessity of the promises of strength and affistance contained in the scriptures. The glory of their Redeemer's person, spoken of in so magnificent terms, both in the Old Testament and the New, is furveyed by them with the most exquilite delight. The power and efficacy of his administration, is to them a source of unspeakable comfort. Under him, as the Captain of their falvation, they " display « their banners," and go forth with undaunted courage to meet every opposing enemy, believing that they shall be “ more than conquerors thro' “ him that loved them." Among many others, fee the two following paffages : « O Zion, that " bringest good tidings, get thęę up into the « high mountain : o Jerusalem, that bringeit “ good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength: « lift it up, be not afraid : say unto the cities 56 of Judah, Behold your God. Behold, the Lord • God will come with strong hand, and his 6c arm shall rule for him : behold, his reward is 66 with him, and his work before him. He shall “ feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather " the lambs with his arm, and carry them in “ his bolom, and shall gently lead those that are 66 with young *-Fear thou not, for I am with as thee : be not dismayed, for I am thy God: • Ila. xl. 9, 10, IT.
« I will
“ I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, “ yea, I will uphold thee with the right-hand of “ my righteousness. Behold, all they that were " incented against thee, shall be ashamed and " confounded : they shall be as nothing, and " they that strive with thee, shall perish. Thou « fhalt leek them, and thalt not find them, even " them that contended with thee : they that es war against thee, shall be as nothing, and as " a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God " will hold thy right-hand, saying unto thee, " Fear not, I will help thee *.
. SECT. VII. How the Chriftian is governed in his daily conver
fation. REFORE concluding this chapter, I shall
speak a few words of the principles by which a believer is governed in his after obedience. On this the reader may oblerve, that a change in his whole character and conduct immediately and necessarily takes place. The love of God is "thed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost," and is the commanding principle of all his future actions. It constantly discovers its influence, except in so far as it is resisted and counteracied by the remaining struggles of that “ law in his “ members, which warreth against the law of
* 11. xli, 10, 11, 12, 13.
56 God in his mind.” By the discovery whiclr : he hath obtained of the real nature and infinite amiableness of God, his will is renewed; he approves the things that are excellent, and gets such an impression of the obligation of the law of -God, as cannot be afterwards effaced. So long however as he continues under a load of unforgiven guilt, and sees every perfection of God armed with terror against himself, there can be little else than slavish fear: but when he hears a gracious promife of pardon ; when on examining the evidence his doubt and uncertainty is removed; when he sees the righteous ground on which this forgiveness is built, he lays hold of it as his own, and is united to God by unfeigned love. This love, though weak in its measure, is, notwithstanding, perfect in its nature, and therefore powerful in its influence; being at once a love of esteem, of gratitude, and of defire.
The love of God is the first precept of the moral law, and the first duty of every intelligent creature; but it is easy to see, that unless our love is fixed upon the true God, it is spurious and unprofitable : and unless the true God is seen in " the face of Jesus Christ,” for any sinner to love him is imposible : but through the glorious gospel, the new nature is effectually produced, and cannot be produced in any other way. Ic
is Christ Jesus who reveals to us the true God, the knowledge of whom we had lost. “ No “ man hash seen God at any time; the only “ begotten Son, which is in the borom of the ~ Father, he hath declared him *.” It is he who makes our peace with God, whom we had offended by our transgressions ; for “ being jufti“ fied by faith, we have peace with God through o our Lord Jesus Christ +.” And it is he who reconcileth our minds to God, by discovering his mercy to us; so that he might well say of himself, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the “ life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by « me t."
I might easily shew, that the love of God is the source, the fum, and the perfection of høliness. All other duties naturally Aow from it; nay, all other duties are nothing else but the necessary expressions of it. But instead of entering into a particular detail, suffer me only to observe these two things ; First, That a believer is under the constant influence of gratitude to God; and, secondly, That this includes in it, and will tainly produce, the most sincere and fervent love to all his fellow-creatures.
1. A believer is under the constant influence of gratitude to God, and that not of a common kind. It is not merely thankfulness to a bounti.
* John i. 18. Rom. v. t. John xiv. 6.
ful and liberal benefactor, for mercies which have not been deserved, but a deep fense of obligation to a Saviour, who loved him, and washed him in his own blood from the guilt he had contracted; who saved him by his own death from the dreadful penalty which he had incurred. What the influence of this must be, we may gather from the words of the apoftle Paul, “ For " the love of Christ constraineth us; because we
thus judge, That if one died for all, then were " all dead; and that he died for all, that they " which live fhould not henceforth live unto « themselves, but unto him which died for them, "s and rose again.”
I cannot immediately drop this subject, but intreat the reader to observe how deeply a fense: - of redeeming love must be engraven on the heart
of every believer. On how many circumstances will he expatiate, which serve to magnify the grace of God, and point out the force of his own obligations ? The infinite greatness and glory of God, independent and all-fufficient, that he should have compassion on the guilty fina ner, and say, “ Deliver him from going down «s into the pit ; I have found a ransom." O, how piercing those rays of love, which could reach from the Godhead to man! To this he will never fail to add his own unworthiness big, numerous, aggravated, repeated provocations. He never loses fight of those fins which first com ·