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satisfaction, with such joy to themselves, as well as such fervour towards God, as no thoughts can conceive, nor is it possible for us, by any words, to express the greatness of it. 1 Cor. ii. 9. Compare Isa. lxiv. 4. Cor. As it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Isaiah, lxiv. 4. For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath' prepared for him that wait el h for him.
Proofs Subjoined.—"l Cor. xv. 42, &c. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. Phil. iii. 21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto, his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 1 John, iii. 2. Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. Rev. xxi. 4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Psalm xvi. 11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
OF THE GOSPEL OBEDIENCE.
Of Obedience in General.
1. Q. What was the third thing which your Godfathers and Godmothers promised for you at your baptism?
A. That J should keep God's holy will and commandment, and walk in the same all the days of my life.
2. Q. Do you account it to be necessary for you herein also to fulfil what they promised for you?
A. I do; and that so necessary that I cannot be saved without it.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.—Matt. vii. 21, 24, &c. Not every one that suith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock. xix. 17, 18. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commumdments. He sailh unto him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness; honour thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
3. Q. Do you then expect to be saved by virtue of your own good works?
A. God forbid: on the contrary, I am persuaded that when I shall have done all that I can, I shall be but an unprofitable servant. Luke, xvii. 10. But, however, I must sincerely endeavour, what in me lies, to keep God's commandments; and then I am assured that God will reward me, not according to my deserts, but according to his own mercy and promises to us in Jesus Christ.
4. Q. Are you able, of yourself, by your own natural strength, to keep God's commandments?
A. No, 'I am not: for in me, that is to say, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Rom. vii. 18. It is the grace of God, which must work in me, both to will, and to do, according to his good pleasure. Phil. ii. 13.
5. Q. Being thus assisted by the holy spirit, can you perfectly keep God's commandments?
A. JVo, I cannot, nor will it ever be possible for me, in this life, to do it. 11 must serve God sincerely, with all my heart; bI must serve him zealously, with all my strength; CI must go as far as I can, and as the measure of the grace, which he is pleased to allow me, will enable me to do, towards perfection: but to discharge a. perfect, that is to say, an unsinning obedience, to God's commandments; this neither I can, nor did ever any one else but he, who was God as well as man, do it. For, in many things we offend all. James, iii. 2. And, if we say, that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John, i. 8.
Proofs Subjoined.—'Matt. xxii. 37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. b Matt. v. 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father, which is in heaven, is perfect. xix. 21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have pleasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
c 2 Cor. vii. 11. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! xiii. 9. For we are glad when we are weak and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. Col. i. 28. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom: that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 1 Pet. v. 10. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
6. Q. Will not this undervalue the grace of the Holy Ghost, by which we are sanctified?
A. Not at all: forasmuch as I ascribe to that the glory of all the good I do; and take to myself the shame of whatsoever is evil or defective in me.
7. Q. What think you of those of the church of Rome, who, notwithstanding this, talk of works of supererogation; and thereby pretend not only perfectly to keep God's commandments, but to do even more than God required them to have done?
A. I think that they neither understand themselves nor their duty: it being certain that the measure of our duty is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength: beyond which, as it is not possible for any man to go, so neither is there any one that can justly say, he has ever, for any long time together, absolutely come up to the utmost height of it.
Proofs Subjoined.—Matt. xxii. 37. Comp. Deut. x. 12. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Deut. And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.
8. Q. Seeing then our obedience cannot be brought to perfection in this life; what is that obedience which God does now require of us, in order to our salvation?
A. It is the obedience of an honest, humble, sincere heart: such as leads us, in the first place, to an universal obedience of all God s commandments. Secondly, to a hearty endeavour to come up to as perfect a discharge of our duty, according to the measures of them, as our present condition will admit of. And that, thirdly, with constancy and perseverance, unto our lives' end. Matt. x. 22. He that endureth to the end shall be saved. 1 Cor. i. 8. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. i. 13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Heb. x. 38, 39. If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back