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. 4. This is what the scriptures call true holiness, in opposition to ceremonial, negative, or the spurious holiness which is preached up in the present day, and adorns the feigned hypocrites, who make it to consist in an external reformation, decent carriage, affected speech, a demure appearance, head notions, feigned faith, voluntary humility, and dissembled love; which swell the carnal mind with pride, and then they say, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou." "These," says God, "are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day," Isai. lxv. 5. 4. A preacher of the gospel is, or should be, a good steward of the manifold grace of God, 1 Pet. iv. 10. He is a partaker of the sovereign love of God, which is the fountain of all grace; he has obtained the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God's grace, Ephes. i. 7. He is justified freely by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Rom. iii. 24. He is an heir of the grace of life, 1 Pet. iii. 7; is regenerated by the Spirit of grace; and this grace is abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. i. 14. He enjoys the reigning power of divine grace, which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, Rom. v. 21. And obtains everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 2 Thess. ii. 16. And this grace works and labours in him mightily, and never sends forth a stinking savour, except it be in the nostrils of hypocrites. "I laboured more alwndantly than they all," says Paul; "yet not, I, but the grace of God which was with me." Pardoning grace makes him pure, and justifying grace makes him bold. The grace of life keeps him lively; the grace of love constrains hkn; the grace of faith keeps him at a point, and makes. him positive and consistent with himself, and his gospel is yea and amen. He knows he runs at a certainty, and fights sure of victory; for his faith overcomes the world. The grace of patience enables him to bear his cross, and to bear up under all the reproach that is cast upon him. The grace of meekness gives vent to the troubles of his heart when it is overcharged with grief. The grace of peace keeps him in friendship both with God and conscience; and the more kind his God appears the more he loaths himself. This clothes him with the grace of humility, and hides pride from his eyes when he has done his best; while the grace of hope adds spurs»to his diligence, and keeps him in expectation of the great reward of inheritance when he has fought the good fight. finished his course, and kept the faith. And sure I am that God is not unrighteous to forget our work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. i. 3.
5. The gospel is the ministration of the Spirit, which exceeds all the glory of the law. "But, if the ministration of death written and engraven in stones was glorious, shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For, if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious," <2 Cor. iii. 7, 8, 11. The Holy Spirit's work is to convince us of sin, and to wound us by cutting reproofs for it, by the application of God's word, which is the Spirit's sword. He quickens us to make us feel the reproofs which he gives, which sink deep, and make us lay our sins to heart. He enlightens us to see our sins in the glass of God's holy law, and sets them in order before our face. He testifies of Christ, and sets him before the sinner in the gospel, as evidently crucified for him. He takes of the things of Christ, and exhibits them to the enlightened understanding; and works faith in the heart, to apply him with all his saving benefits, and with all his glorious fulness; and having enabled us to believe in him and receive him, he makes our sonship manifest, and enables us to claim it with the fullest assurance; yea, he himself cries, Abba, Father, and bears his witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. He applies the promises and the promised blessings. He helps our infirmities at a throne of grace, and makes us approach with fortitude and fervour, with faith and affection. He lets us know the things that are fieely given us of God; and furnishes the mouth with petitions, pleas, and arguments, taken from the word of truth. He sheds abroad God's love in the heart, and excites our love to God. He leads us into the mysteries of Christ's kingdom, and into God's foreknowledge and absolute choice of us in Christ Jesus before the world began. He shows us God's secret counsel and covenant, his good-will of purpose and of promise. He puts on the imputed righteousness of Christ, and sanctifies us internally, by spreading his glorious beams and holy influences throughout the whole soul, adorning every faculty with his glorious train and treasure of divine grace; and this from a dear Redeemer's fulnessDivine power bows and bends the will; life and peace possess the heavenly mind; glorious light shines in the understanding; truth dwells richly in the judgment; the love of God engrosses and captivates the affections; while conscience is charmed with the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel, Heb. xii. 24. He increases the work of faith, and makes the soul abound in hope. He strengthens us by his might in the inner man, and seals the soul with the full assurance of faith up to the day of redemption, while he himself, abiding in the heart, is the earnest of the future inheritance. He prepares the heart, unseals the Bible, and creates the fruit of the lip, making grace to rise in the soul like a springing well, and the words of wisdom like a flowing brook. Now either this is the gospel or it is not; and, if it be, where is it, where does it appear? I see but little of it.
The religion of our day stands in an outside shew in the flesh. There is much talk and noise about holiness; and where the most of this noise is, even there the worst of beings oft assemble, to meet their companions in wickedness. Nor would I part with one single chastisement of my covenant God and Father for all the holiness that such divines could describe in a thousand years.
The fame that has spread itself in our days is not the power of God in the salvation of men: but consists in the arrogant pretensions of a presumptuous boy to convert the Jewish nation; in renewing the pagan world with noodles and idiots; working the minds of uninformed people up into enthusiastic and fanatic phrensies; in collecting money for purchasing organs and bagpipes; charming souls with wind music; keeping an audience together by the cunning craft of Tubal Cain, and hiring young men and women without any grace in their hearts to charm this audience when gathered together, and to make melody to the preacher. And these things entertain and keep the people in perpetual motion, so that they shall neither attend to God or conscience. But should any thing of the power of godliness appear, it is traduced for antinomianism; and, if any man, who believes with his heart unto righteousness, presume to make confession with his mouth unto salvation, he is reprobated as a deceiver, and as an enemy to all laws, human and divine. These are some of the weapons of their warfare, and this is the generation work of the present day. And it is well if the God of this world be not the author and finisher of all this faith.