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itself and its God, sees something still wanting in itself, and to be enjoyed in him, which makes it that it cannot be at rest, but is still springing up into him, till it come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of its Lord. In this holy, loving, longing, striving, active temper, we find the great Apostle : “ Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And by how much the more of divine grace any soul hath drunk in, the more thirsty is it after much more.

5. The active spirit of true religion, where it is powerfully seated in the minds of men, will not suffer them to settle into a love of this animal life, nor indeed suffer them to be content to live for ever in such a kind of body as this; and that soul is in a degree lazy and slothful, that doth not desire to depart and be with his Lord.

The godly soul eyeing God as his perfect and full happiness, and finding that his being in the body doth separate him from God, keeps him in a poor and imperfect state, and hinders his blissful communion with the highest good, groans within itself, with the Apostle, that “mortality were swallowed up of life.”

I know not how much, but I think he hath not very much of God, neither sight of him, nor love of him, that could be content to abide for ever in this imperfect,

our

mixed, low state, and never be perfected in the full enjoyment of him. And it seems, that they in whom the love of God is rightly predominant, potent, flourishing, do also look earnestly “ for the mercy

of Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," as without doubt they ought to do: “ What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God!"

Let this suffice by way of general reprehension.

2. More particularly, the consideration of the active nature of true religion may well serve to correct a mistake about that noble grace of faith.

How dishonourably do some speak of this excellent and powerful grace, when they make it to be a slothful, passive thing, an idle kind of waiting, or a melancholic sitting still; where, in deed and in truth, it is

Be not mistaken in so high and eminent a grace: true faith doth not only accept the imputed righteousness of Christ for justification, but by a lively dependence upon God, drinks in divine influences, and eagerly draws in grace, and virtue, and life, from the fountain of grace, for its more perfect sanctification: and for this cause, I think, a purifying virtue is ascribed to it, Acts xv. 9. Faith is not a lazy, languid thing, content to wait for salvation till the world to come ; but it is even now gasping after it, and accomplishing it too in a way of mortification, self-denial, and growing up in God: it is not content to be a candidate waiting for life and happiness, but is actually drawing down heaven into the soul, attracting God to itself, sucking in participations of divine grace and image into the soul: its

life and power.

motto is that of the famous painter, “No day without a line :" it longs to find some divine lineament, some line of God's image drawn upon the soul daily. Faith is a giving grace, as well as receiving ; it gives up the whole soul to God, and is troubled that it can give him no more; it binds over the soul afresh to God eyery day, and is troubled that it can bind it no faster, nor closer to him. The believing soul is wearied because of murderers, murdering loves, lusts, cares, earthly pleasures, and calls mightily upon Christ, to come and take vengeance upon them : it is wearied because of those robbers that are daily stealing away precious time and affections from God, which are due unto him, and calls upon Christ, to come and scourge these thieves, these buyers and sellers out of his own temple. In a word, the godly soul is active, and faith is the very life and action of the soul itself.

Lastly, Let me exhort all Christians from hence to be zealous, to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, and longing after him: “Stir

up
the
grace

of God that is in you :" quench not, that is, blow up, inflame the Spirit of God in you. Awake, Christian soul, out of thy lethargy, and rejoice, as the sun, to run the race that is set before thee, and, as a mighty man refreshed with wine, to fight thy spiritual battles against the armies of uncircumcised, profane, and earthly concupiscences, love, and passions. Eye God as your centre, the enjoyment of him as the happiness, and full conformity to him as the perfection, of your souls; and then say, Awake, arise, O my soul, and hide not thy hand in thy bosom, but throw thyself into the very heart and bosom of God; lay hold upon eternal life. Again, observe how all things in the world pursue their several perfections with unwearied and impatient longings, and say, Come, my soul, and do thou likewise. Converse not with God, so much under the notion of a lawgiver, but as with love itself; nor with his commands, as having authority in them, but as having goodness, and life, and sweetness in them. Again, consider your poverty as creatures, and how utterly impossible it is for you to be happy in yourselves, and say, Arise, O my soul, from off this weak and tottering foundation, and build thyself upon God; cease pinching thyself within the straits of self-sufficiencies, and come, stretch thyself upon infinite goodness and fulness. Again, pore not upon your attainments; do not sit brooding upon your present accomplishments, but forget the things that are behind, and say, Awake, O my soul; there is yet infinitely much more in God; pursue after him for it, till thou hast gotten as much as a created being is capable to receive of the divine nature. In a word, take heed you live not by the lowest examples, (which thing keeps many in a dwindling state all their days) but by the highest : read over the spouse's temper, “sick of love;" David's temper, “ waiting for God more than they that watch for the morningbreaking in heart for the longing that he had to the Lord,” and say, Arise, O my soul, and live as high as the highest; it is no fault to desire to be as good, as holy, as happy as an angel of God.

65 And thus, O my soul, open thy mouth wide, and God hath premised to fill thee !"

CHAPTER VI.

That religion is a lasting and persevering principle in the

souls of men. The grounds of this perseverance assigned ; first, negatively, it doth not arise from the absolute impossibility of losing of grace in the creature, nor from the strength of man's free-will. Secondly, af. firmatively, the grace of election cannot fail. The grace of justification is neither suspended nor violated : the covenant of grace is everlasting : the Mediator of this covenant lives for ever : the promises of it immutable ; the righteousness brought in by the Messiah everlasting. An objection answered concerning a regenerate man's willing his own apostacy.

An objection answered, drawn

from the falls of saints in Scripture. A discovery of counterfeit religion, and the shameful apostacy of false professors. An encouragement to all holy diligence, from the consideration of this doctrine.

I come now to the third property of true religion contained in these words, and that is, the perseverance of it. And here the foundation of my following discourse shall be this proposition,

“ True religion is a lasting and persevering principle in the souls of good men." It is said of the hypocritical Jews, that their goodness was as the “ early dew, that soon passes away." But that principle of goodness which God planteth in the souls of his people, is compared to a well of water, evermore sending forth fresh streams, and incessantly springing up towards God himself. Our Saviour compares hypocritical professors to “seed sown upon stony

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