« PreviousContinue »
Slips and Failings, provided we be careful, S ER M to the utmost of our Power, to keep his Com-u mandments.
So that to know Cbrif, in the Apostle's Sense, is not only to know that Christ is the Advocate, and Propitiation for the Sins of all that repent ; but to know also assuredly, that if we persevere in the State we are in, he is our Advocate, and our Propitiation : that we are of the happy Number of those for whom he prays and intercedes, and of those whom, in Consequence of his Interceffion, his Father looks upon as interested in him, as Members of him, united WITH him, and in him. And so the Apostle several Times explains himself in this very Epistle: In the Verse next but one to my Text Hereby (faith he) know we that we are in bim, ver. 5. And so in the next Chapter He that keepeth the Commandments dwelleth in Chrift, and Christ in bim: And hereby we know that he abidetb in us, by the Spirit which be bath given us, Ch. iii. 24. And so again in the 4th Chapter Hereby know we, that we dwell in him, and be in us, because be bath given us of bis Spirit, Ch.iv. 13. By the Communication and Influence of which Holy Spirit, we shall farther know that we are
SER M. BORN of bim : Which is another Phrase that
St. John uses to express this State : Born of him, Ch. ii. 29. i.e. of Christ, and born of GOD : Whose Seed, he assures us, remainetb in every one that is so born, to preserve bim from Sin, Ch. iii. 9. and to be a perpetual Spring and Principle within him, of a new, holy and spiritual Life : Agreeable to what another Apostle faith, If any Man be in Chrift, he is a new Creature, 2 Cor. V. 17. 1. e. A Man who truly believes in Christ, and has his Spirit, renounces all the carnal Deeds of the old Man, and lives up to that new Evangelical Law, which Christ introduced, which is the only Test whereby we can know that we know Christ, that we are born of him, and abide in him * : As will appear from my
• The Reverend Mr. Whitefield in his Sermon on this Text (viz. 2 Cor. v. 17) makes it one of his principal Heads, to Thew"
Why we must be new Creatures ere [i.e. before) we “ can be in Chrift, or in order to be rightly in Chrift." Whereas it is obvious that St. Paul means, that a Man's becoming a new Creature, is a necessary Effeet of his being in Chrift; and consequently that he must be in Chrift, before he can be a new Creature. If a Man could new create himself, or become a new Creature by his own Strength, before he was in Chrif; he would be tempted to believe, he had but little need of Christ afterwards. Mr. Whitefield's Arguments on this Head could not sure be suggested by the Holy Ghof, because the Holy Ghof
II. SECOND Head, under which I am to SERM.
VI. enquire, what Means the Apostle prescribes for the attaining such Knowledge. And That my Text exprefly tells us, is Keeping the Commandments : Hereby we do KNOW, or are sure, that we know him, IF WE KEEP AIS COMMANDMENTS.
? But to speak distinctly to this ad Head, I
First, Who may be said in the Apostle's
Secondly, What Asurance or Certainty the
First I shall enquire, Who may be said to
SERM. shall live by them, Rom. x. 5. yet who is the
Man, and wbere is he to be found, that ever
This is a Question
And therefore, a few Verses before my Text, St. Jobn warns us, that if we say that we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us, Ch. i. 8. And again, if we say, that we have not finned, we make GOD a Liar, and bis Word is not in us, ver. 10. From all which it follows, that an absolute and perfe&t Obedience to God's Laws is not attainable in this Life : But that the best of Men, although they indulge not themselves in any Habit of Sin ; yet sometimes offend, both in doing what they ought not, and also in omitting to do what they ought. And even the best Actions of the best Man alive have, it is to be feared, some Allay of Infirmities and Imperfections in
All this is confessedly true : And yet St. SERM. John, in this very Epistle, as plainly tells us. that He that committeth Sin, is of the Devil : But that whosoever is born of GOD, doth not commit Sin; for his Seed (the Seed of God] remaineth in bim; and he cannot fin, because be is born of GOD, Ch. iii. 8, 9. And again, We know that whosoever is born of GOD finneth not'; but that be who is begotten of GOD keepetb himself, and that Wicked One touchetb him not, Ch. v. 18. From all which it follows, on the other Hand, that there is some Measure or Degree of Holiness and Obedience by which the Children of GOD are manifeft, as the Apostle speaks, from the Children of the Devil, Ch. iii. 10. And what that Measure or Degree is, is necessary to be shewn. :: Now there are three very obvious Qualifications or Requisites with which such Obedience must necesarily be attended : And with which when attended, we may humbly trust, it will amount to that keeping the Commandments of God, which St. Jobn means. And to each of these I shall speak as briefly as I can.
In the first place it must be fincere, proceeding from the Heart. For this is necessary, even to the satisfying our selves, that our Ob