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and on the edge of dreadful precipices, when by lofing his hold or taking one wrong step he fhould fall and be dafhed in pieces in a moment, unless prevented by his guide, making use of the ftrong cord when his patron was out of fight. Thus he went on in the exercise of conftant care and watchfulness, and inceffant exertion, taking heed that every step of his fhould be according to the direction of his leader; and found that the efforts which he made to refift the wild beafts of prey, which continually fought to devour him, were effectual to make them fly from him, and thus he kept himself from their deadly touch. And the farther he went, he became more afraid of difpleafing his guide, who was fo worthy, kind and condescending; and increased in a fenfe of his danger if left to himself, and the certainty and dreadfulness of the deftruction which would in that cafe await him; confiding altogether in the power, wifdom, truth and goodness of his patron. He fometimes in a measure forgot his own weakness, and conftant dependence on his patron, and attempted to ftand and walk in his own ftrength; but this always coft him dear; for when he thought thus to ftand, he certainly fell, and it proved the occafion of thame and humiliation. And he made many wrong steps, which he knew was offenfive to his patron, which filled him with fhame and pain, and ferved to increase felf-abhorrence and diffidence in himfelf. Thus he went on through all the difficulties and dangers of the way, in fear and trembling, increafing in felf-diffidence and humility, and in his humble dependence and truft in his able, faithful patron, till he came to the promised land of fafety and reft, where he is to live a happy and endless life.
From the whole which has been faid in the defcription of fear and trembling, the refult is, that it confifts moft effentially in Chriftian humility and poverty of fpirit, in a fenfe of their own weaknefs, and infufficiency to work out their own falvation, and a humble truft in God for his conftant, powerful energy on their hearts, difpofing and prompting them effectually to will and to
do all that they muft will and do in order to be faved; together with all thofe views and exercises which are implied in this, according to the various objects in their fight, and the circumftances with which they are at tended. This is effential to the life of all Christians, and to the exercife of every Chriftian grace; and the more they have of this, the ftronger and more beautiful Chriftians they are. Thus the apoftle Paul worked out his own falvation with fear and trembling, while confident and affured of the favour and love of God, and of eternal life. He felt himself to be nothing but weaknefs, while he was frong in the Lord; to be less than the leaft of all faints, and that he was nothing, and the chief of finners. He felt that all his fufficiency was of God; that by his grace working effectually in him, he was what he was, and did what he did in the Chriftian life. Well might he then recommend this fear and trembling to all Chriftians, as effential to their character, without which all their attempts to work out their own falvation would be in vain, and end in fad difappointment.
And if this Apoftle did work out his falvation with fear and trembling, then the greatest and most affured Chriftian does not get beyond or above this; but the more he has of it, the greater is his ftrength and excellence. This has been in fome measure kept in view through the whole of this description of fear and trembling. And the Chriftian who has not an affurance of his falvation, but at times is in great doubts whether he be a real Chriftian or not; though he may differ in fome refpects in his views, feelings and exercifes from the affured Chriftian, yet he is working out his falvation with this fame fear and trembling which the affured Christian has, while he is attended with many doubts and fears, which perfect, or a more ftrong love would caft out.
From the foregoing view of fear and trembling, it appears to confift in a difpofition and exercifes of heart which are in direct oppofition to a felf-righteous fpirit,
or a trust and confidence in ourselves, relying on our own ftrength and fufficiency to work out our own falvation, depending on this as a righteousness to recommend to divine favour. They who are of this difpofition depend on themselves to move first, and fet themfelves to work out their own falvation, hoping for all the favour they think they want, as the confequence of their thus working, and out of regard to it. This evil difpofition, which is contrary to the nature of Chriftian exercises, our Saviour fets in a clear and ftriking light in the character and conduct of the pharifee, who applies to God in a confidence in his own fufficiency and righteousness, trufting in himself that he is righteous, valuing himself on his own fuppofed good character, and defpifing others. The publican is an instance of humble fear and trembling.
Phil. ii. 12, 13. Work out your own falvation with fear and trembling: for it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleafure.
III.HE next thing propofed is, to confider and show what is the meaning of God's working in Chriftians both to will and to do of his good pleasure. This may be done by attending to the following parti
1. Working in men to will and to do, muft intend more than affording them external means and advantages, and urging them by external motives to will and to do; for this cannot with any propriety be called working in them, when all that is fuppofed to be done is done out of them and externally. Some have fuppofed this to be all the meaning of thefe words; not because
because it is the natural meaning of them, for it is a forced meaning; but because they think man needs no more to be done for him in order to his working out his own falvation, and that any thing more, and an immediate operation on the will, is inconfiftent with his liberty, and his actions being his own, or really virtu ous. But the abfurdity of all this has been often fully fhewn, and will appear before this fubject is finished. It is fufficient to obferve here, that to fay that an opera tion on the human heart which effectually influences men to will and to do, that is, to act voluntarily, and confequently freely, is inconfiftent with their acting voluntarily, and willing and doing any thing in the exercise of all the liberty which can in nature exift or be conceived of, is inconfiftent with human liberty, is as flat and palpable a contradiction as can be made. If to work in men fo as effectually to prevent their willing and doing in any particular inftance, be inconfiftent with their having or exercifing any freedom in that inftance; then working in them fo as effectually to make them will and do in that inftance, or any other, is to promote their liberty, and cause them to act freely. And to fay that what men do voluntarily is not in all cafes their own act and deed, is to fay that men are not capable of doing any thing which is their own act; for they can do nothing but what they do voluntarily, and the ftronger and the more forcibly the motives are impreffed on their minds to induce them to will and act, the more freely they act, and the more fenfibly are their choice and actions their own, and the more virtuous they are, if agreeable to the truth.
2. This does not mean any divine operation on man, which refpects his willing and doing, of which willing and doing is not the certain confequence, and which therefore is confiftent with his not willing and doing. For any divine operation in man, of which his willing and doing is not the cffect, is not working in him to will and to do; becaufe, notwithstanding fuch opera tion, he is left fort of willing and doing. To work in
men to will and to do, is to do that which is effectual to produce the will and the deed, fo that there is a certain connection between the former and the latter. And this is the import of the original word here tranflated worketh. It fignifies, to operate with energy, and effectually to accomplish the end, and produce the willing and doing.
That working in men to will which leaves them short of willing, is the fame with working in them to will, if they will, which is talking most abfurdly. Men are always able to will, if they will, and need no fpecial affiftance or influence on them to will what they will, or if they will, which is the fame. If men are willing, or do will, they have no need of any operation or affiftance to make them willing; for this they have already by the fuppofition; for they at all times can will, if they will. There can therefore be no fuch operation; and any fuppofed affiftance or working in them which leaves them not actually willing or doing is not working in them to will and to do.
3. God worketh in Chriftians to will and to do, by giving them the powerful influences of his Spirit, without which they would neither will nor do thofe things by which they work out their own falvation, and which are effectual to caufe them to will and do them; there being a certain and infallible connection of one with the other.
Men are naturally, while wholly deftitute of fuch influences, not only entirely deftitute of all inclination to every thing that is truly virtuous and holy, but their hearts or wills are obftinately fet in them to do evil, and they run swiftly on with all their hearts towards deftruction; and they go on in this courfe until God changes their hearts, by taking away the heart of stone, the obftinate, rebellious heart, and giving them a new heart, a humble, obedient heart, and thus makes them. willing to obey him, in the day of his power, or by his omnipotent energy on their hearts. And when he has begun this great and good work in any whom he pleaf