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T HE plain scope and end both of the Law
1 and Gospel is Love to God and man: Of this Love all men by nature are utterly deftitute, because of sin ; for sin is the perfect contrariety of love, and stands in direct opposition against it: nor is it possible that it should be ever restored to him by means of the law, for the law worketh wrath in the sinner's conscience, and ministers death to transgressors : But the Gospel is the ministration of the Spirit, and worketh life and peace, thro? Jesus CHRIST, to every one that believeth; H h 2
whose fruit is Love. Faith unfeigned, which is in Christ Jesus, and comes to us by the Gospel, whereby the conscience is made good, and the heart purifieci, produceth love both to God and man.To declare then and enforce this glorious truth on the hearers of Christ's Gospel, is the scope and express design of Christ's charge to his ministers; and ought to be the end of our preaching, for God is Love - The Gospel is nothing else but the good news of GOD's being reconciled, and at peace with man in Christ Jesus; or of salvation freely and completely given of God in Christ to every one that believeth : And the preaching of the Gospel is the setting forth, or publication of these glad tydings, according to the Holy Scriptures.—And whereas the Gospel declares the marvellous grace and love of God to man in CHRIST; the preaching of it is an instrument in the hand of the Spirit of begetting this divine love in our hearts, both towards God and towards man.
First; With respect to God :
The end of our preaching, and your hearing the Gospel is, that you may love God; and herein is that saying true, “ Love begets love”: But this it cannot rationally do, nor doth in the heart of any man, unless it
be be first discovered, and made known ; and therefore no man can love God until God hath manifested his love towards him: As it is written, We love bim because he first loved us. But whereas few men will allow themselves to be haters of God, it is necefsary to enquire by what infallible proofs and evidences our love to God is made known; and in examining every man's pretensions to this grace, the rule of our enquiry must be the Sacred Reo cords, whereby all men shall be judged at the last day. And from thence it is clear that a man's love to God is evidenced and made known only by good works; for this is the love of God, that we keep bis commandments * : And again he faith, he that doth good is of God. From hence the nature, necessity, and end of all good works with respect to God are made manifeft. - The nature of them is Love; which, in our actions, is expressed by doing his will. and keeping his commandments : There can be po love to God, where there is not a hearty desire, and willingness to do his pleasure; for mutual love is founded in likeness and agreement of mind and
will: If therefore in our wills we oppose, and are - not conformed to the will of God, there can be no
love towards him ; wherefore he faith, be that hatb my commandments, and keepeth them, be it is that
Livno - H h 3 . . Joveth
• 1 John v. 3.
loveth me; but be that loveth me not, keepeth not ne Sayings t: Thus the true Scriptural and only evidence of our having the love of God in us, is our doing his will in the practice of good works. They are also necessary in a Christian's life, not only as an evidence and proof of his being a true Christian, for faith, if it bath not works, is dead, being alone f ; but also for the believer's growth and establisoment in the grace of God, and the faith of Jesus: Wherefore he faith, every branch in me that beareth not fruit, bę taketh. away ; but every branch that beareth fruit, be purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit ll. The more good works any man doth from principles of faith and love towards God in Christ, the more he shall do; for the blessing of God is upon him continually. The Apostle assures us that the man who is not a forgetful hearer of the word, but a doer of the work, therein commanded, this man shall be blessed in his deed. By this blessing of the Lord upon the diligent labour of his hands, his soul shall be made rich in good works: The dross of carnal and worldly lusts shall be purged more and more, (whereby the foul is apt to be weakened and discouraged) and the love of righteousness and true holiness God will cause by his Spirit to encreale, and abound in him ex ceedingly. Thus, be shall be like a tree planted by
the + John xiv, 21, 24. James ii. 17. || John xv. 2.
the rivers of water, that bringetb forth fruit in bisseafon ; bis leaf also fall not wither, and what foever he doth ball prosper*.
It is therefore not only necessary that all believers should practise good works, but also abound therein, according to the commandment of God and our Saviour Jesus CHRIST; for in this way of obedience unto boliness, the blessing of God in CHRIST attends them in their daily walk, and makes their souls to prosper, and be in health ; and hence also their confidence of faith, and confolations of love in Christ Jesus, and assurance of hope thro’ the Spirit, are of God more abundant towards them, to the praise of his glory : But be that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off; he hath no abiding certainty of soul that he is called and chofen of God to inherit eternal glory; neither can he have it abiding in him, if he keep not the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
But let it be observed, that the End of good works, is not that we should thereby merit the favour of God, but to honor and glorify him on the earth : He hath saved and called us not alcording to our good works, but with an holy calling unto good works. By these we shew forth the H h 4
power • Pfal, i. 3.