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es, he carries it on until the day of Christ, and takes care constantly to grant them that aslistance and those influences by which he thoroughly and effectually worketh in them both to will and to do all those things whereby they work out their own salvation, and are prepared to dwell with Jesus Christ in his kingdom forever. They receive the Spirit of Christ when they first become Christians, to be in and dwell with them forever, by whom they are led, and who is the author of every holy exercise of heart which they have, and of all the good works they do, by which they go on in the way to heaven, and until they are made perfectly holy, They being interested in the promises of the covenant of grace, their salvation is made sure, and God is engaged by promise never to leave them or forsake them, but to lead them safely on to glory, and that he will keep them by his mighty power, through their faith, by which they shall work out their own salvation.

That God thus works in all true Chriftians to will and to do all they will and do in working out their own salvation, and that they are thus wholly dependent on him for every right motion and choice of heart, and for every good thing they do, is not only plainly affert. ed in the words of the text, which cannot be understood in any other sense than that which has been given of them, without straining and forcing them to speak an unnatural sense, but is abundantly confirmed by innumerable other passages of fcripture, which speak the same language, and affert the same thing; too many to be rehearsed here, and of which the careful, intelligent reader of the Bible cannot be ignorant. And this is expressly or implicitly acknowledged by all Christians in their prayers, however some profefling Christians may in their speculations, and even in the feelings and tenor of the exercises of their hearts, contradict it.

4. There appears to be some intended difference between willing and doing, when it said, God worketh in Christians both to will and to do. Stri&ly speaking, men are active in nothing but in the exercise of their

will, or in willing; and therefore do nothing else: yet the effects and consequences of the exertions of their willing, which by divine constitution are connected with their acts of will, and their voluntary exertions, they are said to do or to be done by them, and are considered as in some sense distinct from their volitions ; so that when their will is carried into full execution, they may be said to do what they willed, and so both to will and to do. And when any thing is willed, determined or chosen, which will cannot be immediately put into execution, but the act or event willed is future, and at a distance, when such a choice is executed and effected, the person thus willing has both willed and done the action or event. Thus, when a man wills and determines to attend public worship devoutly the next fabbath, or to visit one of his neighbours and to give him some falutary advice and exhortation, or to give something to the poor, he wills those things; but they are not yet done, till by a course of acts of will they actually take place and are effected; and then he hath both willed and done them. These observations may serve to shew the propriety of the distinction in the words before us between willing and doing, and what the distinction imports. The Apostle makes this fame distinction more than once. He says, “ To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not :” [Rom. vii. 18.] He found a strong desire and inclination to do many good things, and was hearty in willing them : but when he came to put what he willed into actual execution, he failed of coming up fully to what he willed, and felt the necessity that God fhould work in him both to will and to do; and that when he faithfully executed his own will it was owing to the effectual grace of God, working in him not only to will, but to do it. He, writing to the Corinthians respecting a collection for the poor, says to them, “ Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also :' [2 Gor. viii. 11.]

5. The words which are added, “Of his good pleafure,” remain yet to be explained. The meaning appears to be, that God worketh in men to will and to do as it pleases him, in the exercise of his sovereign good. ness, who hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. In the beginning of this work, he chooses whom he will to be the subjects of it, not being under obligation to any; who are all wholly gone out of the way, their hearts being set against God, and every thing which has the nature of holiness. God waits not to have them turn and will that which is right, for this they would never do, if left to themselves, whatever means are used, and motives set before them, to persuade them to it. He first begins, and gives them a new heart, and creates them in Christ Jesus unto good works, and works in them to will and to do. Thus, not by works of righteoufness which they had done (for they were dead in trespasses and fins, altogether rebellious) but according to his mercy, he saved them, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. And being thus made willing by the powerful operation of God on their hearts, according to his sovereign good pleafure; and having begun the good work, and they being brought into that covenant, according to which he has in his sovereign grace promised to carry it on till it is completed; he worketh in them to will and to do, fo as to insure and perfect their falvation, in that manner and degree which is according to his sovereign good pleasure.

The next thing proposed is,

IV. To consider the force of the argument by which the foregoing exhortation is urged, or the reason given why Christians should work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, introduced and denoted by the particle FOR. “For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure."

In order to set this in the true and best light, what has been before observed must be kept in view, viz. that the design and force of the exhortation is not mere.

ly

ly or chiefly to work out their own salvation, but to do this in a particular way and manner, with fear and trembling. They began to work out their own salvation when the Apostle was with them, and had made great progress in this work, after he had left them; and he now enjoins upon them to go on in this great work, with fear and trembling, with self diffidence, in a sense of their own insufficiency, and their conftant absolute dependence on God; with humility and poverty of {pirit, and all those feelings and exercises which are implied in this.

And he urges this upon them with this good and forcible reason, “ For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.” You have no sufficiency of your own to do or will any thing right, but are always and entirely dependent on God, who is the author of every choice and exertion by which

you are enabled to proceed in the Christian life, who is above all controul, and acts as an absolute fovereign in this matter. And without him you can do nothing

The sense of this passage of fcripture, as it has been now explained, may be expressed in the following words.

“My beloved fellow Christians, as you gave up your. selves to Jesus Christ, to obey and serve him, when I was present with you, and have since, in my absence, continued and made great advances in your obedience, I earnestly exhort you to go on in your Christian course with that holy fear and trembling which implies a sense of the difficulty, greatness and importance of the work which is before you, keeping in view the eternal happinefs and glory which the gospel fets before you, and the infinite evil that awaits all who come short, together with a constant conviction of your utter moral weakness, and insufficiency for this work, and your entire and constant dependence on God for his powerful aflır. tance in every step you take ; so that if he should leave you to yourselves you would certainly come fhort and

peristi. perish. Be on your constant guard against the least confidence and trust in yourselves; be not high minded, because you have been thus distinguished, and have continued in your obedience, making advances in the Christian life; but fear : be humble, and, in a constant fense of your own utter insufficiency, to do the least thing towards your falvation, of yourselves, put your whole trust in God at all times for his constant influence and help, by which alone you will be able to work out your own salvation. “ This caution and exhortation to go on in your

Chril tian course with this fear and trembling is proper and important, as it is natural to man to be high minded, and to trust in himself; and even Christians, through their remaining depravity, are in danger of a criminal degree of this, in a measure forgetting their own weakness and insufficiency and dependence on God, by which they greatly injure themselves; and because thus to fear and tremble is essential to the life of a Christian, and cannot be exercised in too high a degree: for the more a Christian has of this, the more beautiful and perfect is his character, and he will work out his own salvation with greater safety, strength and activity. And there is the highest reason and the strongest motive for Chris. tians to work out their own salvation with this fear and trembling, to which I am exhorting, because they are in fact thus entirely and always dependent on God for every right motion of their heart, and all they do in this work, as all they will and do is the effect of a di. vine operation effectually working in them both to will and do, and that of his sovereign good pleasure, and entirely independent of them.”

The Apostle exhorts them to maintain a humbling fenfe of their depravity, moral weakness, and utter insufficiency to the work in which they were engaged, and had made considerable progress, and their entire dependence on God for every right exercise of heart; to remember and realize that all they had attained to in the Christian life was to be ascribed to God working

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