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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 every 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 morning→→→ breaking 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. “And thus, O my soul, open thy mouth wide, and God hath promised to fill thee !"
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, affirmatively, 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
ground," that springs up indeed, but soon withers away, but this well of water, which is in the sincere godly soul, springs up into everlasting life; it springs and is never dried up; "it is a spring of water, whose waters fail not," or lies not, as it is expressed by the Prophet, Isa. lviii. 11. or if you look upon it under the metaphor of oil, as it is sometimes expressed in Scripture, then it is truly that oil that faileth not, whereof the widow of Sarepta's cruise of oil was but a scant resemblance. Amongst other texts which the learned Dr. Arrowsmith brings to prove the infallibility of the perseverance of saints, this saying of our Saviour's, which is the subject of my whole discourse, is one; who also quoteth Theophylact for the same opinion, namely, the perseverance of this principle, yea, and somewhat more, even the growth and multiplication of it. To the same purpose the same excellent author quoteth John x. 27, 28. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." In which words our Saviour strongly asserteth the certain glorification of his elect, by using a verb of the present tense, "I give unto them eternal life;" he will as certainly give it them, as if they had it already; except the words do imply that they have it already, namely, the beginnings of it, even in this life and if so, then the words do yet more strongly assert the doctrine of perseverance; for how can that life be called eternal, which may be ended? In the same words, he seemeth purposely to prevent fears, and before-hand to answer objections, by securing
them both from internal and external enemies; "they shall never perish," namely, of their own accord ; "neither shall any pluck them out of my hand:" for the word in the original is such as doth secure them from the power of devils as well as men; and what is said of the church in general, is also certain concerning every true member of it in particular; "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Christ hath not only chosen and ordained his people that they should be holy, but also that they should persevere in holiness; not only that they should bring forth good fruits, but that their "fruits should remain." Hence they are said to be "born again of incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever." And he that is born of God, is said to have the seed of God in him, and remaining in him, and so remaining in him as that he shall never again commit sin, that is, shall not become any more ungodly, 1 John iii. 9. To all which may be added that strong and strengthening text, "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord:" which one text doth excellently assert both those high and comfortable doctrines of assurance and perseverance; and they are worthy to be honoured in the church of God, who have vindicated it from the corrupt glosses and cavils of the Papists, who have endeavoured to rob Christians of the sweetness which may be drawn out of that pregnant honey-comb. In a word, let the holy Psalmist's experience of the supporting virtue of