Page images

yourselves: be humbled for them, bụt not dejected : this is Christ's work as well as that : that work is finished, and so will this be.

4. Is Christ's work of redemption a complete and finished work ? How excellent and comfortable is the method of salvation by faith! Surely the way of believing is the most excellent way in which a poor sinner can approach God; for it brings before him a complete, entire, perfect righteousness; which must be most honorable to God, as well as most comfortable to the soul that draws nigh to him. Oh how complete, finished, and perfect is the righteousness of Christ! the searching eye of the holy and jealous God can find no defect in it. Let God or conscience look upon it; turn it every way; view it on every side; thoroughly weigh and examine it; it will appear a pure, a perfect work, containing in it whatsoever is necessary for the reconciling of an angry God, or calming the distressed and perplexed soul. How pleasing then, and acceptable to God, must be that faith which presents so complete and excellent an atonement to him! Hence the acting of our faith upon Christ for righteousness, the approaches of faith to God with such an acceptable present, is called the work of God; " This is the work of God that


be. lieve.” John, 6:29. One act of faith pleases him more than if you should toil all your lives at the task of obedience to the law. As it is more for God's honor and thy comfort to pay all thou owest him at one payment, in one full sum, than to be paying by very small degrees, and never be able to make full payment, or see the bond cancelled; so this perfect work alone produces perfect peace.

5. Did Christ work, and work out all that God gave him to do, till he had finished his work? How necessary, then, is a laborious working life to all that call themselves christians! The life of Christ, you see, was a la.

[ocr errors]

borious life. Shall he work, and we slumber and sleep? Oh work, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2:12.

Will any one say, But if Christ's work was complete, we may sit still ? If he finished the work, nothing remains for us to do?

I answer. Nothing of that work which Christ did remains for you to do, but there is other work for you

to do; yea, store of work lying upon your hands. You must work as well as Christ, though not for the same ends Christ did. He wrought all his life long, to work out a righteousness to justify you before God. But

you must work to obey the commands of Christ, into whose right you are come by redemption: you must work to testify your thankfulness to Christ, for the work he finished for you: you must work, to glorify God by your obedience ;


your light so shine before men. For these, and divers other such ends and reasons, your life must be a working life. May God preserve all his people from the gross and vile opinions of antinomian libertines, who cry up grace and decry obedience.

Reader, bę thou a follower of Christ, imitate thy pattern; yea, let me persuade thee, as ever thou hopest to prove thine interest in him, imitate him in such particulars as these that follow :

Christ began early to work for God; he employed the morning of his life, even the very beginning of it:

How is it (said he to his parents, when he was but a child about twelve years old) that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business ?" Reader, if the morning of thy life be not gone, Oh devote it to the work of God as Christ did : if it be, ply thy work the closer in the afternoon of thy life.

As Christ began early, so he followed his work closely; he was early up, and he wrought hard, so hard, that "he forgat to eat bread.” John, 4 : 31, 32. So zealous was he in his Father's work, that his friends thought he was beside himself. Mark, 3:21. So zealous, that the zeal of God's house" consumed him.

Christ often thought upon the shortness of his time, and wrought diligently because he knew his workingtime would be but little. " I must work the works of Him that sent me whilst it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.” John, 9:4. Oh in this be like Christ : rouse your heart to diligence. If a man have much to write, and is almost at the end of his paper,

he will put much matter in a little room.

He did much work for God in a very silent manner: he labored diligently, but did not spoil his work, when he had wrought it, by vain ostentation. When he had expressed his charity in acts of mercy and bounty to men, he would humbly seal up the glory of it with this charge, " See


tell no man.” Matt. 8:4. He affected no popular air. Oh imitate your pattern; work hard for God, and let not pride blow upon it, when you have done. It is difficult for a man to do much, and not value himself too much for it.

Christ carried on his work for God resolvedly: no discouragements could beat him off, though never any work met more from first to last. How did scribes and pharisees, Jews, Gentiles, yea, devils set upon him, by persecutions, and reproaches, violent oppositions, and subtle temptations; yet, he goes on with his Father's work: he is deaf to all discouragements. So it was foretold of him, "He shall not fail, nor be discouraged.” Isa. 42:4. Oh that more of this spirit of Christ were in his people : Oh that, in the strength of love to Christ, and zeal for the glory of God, you may pour out your hearts in his service, and, like a river, sweep down all discouragements before you.

He continued working while he continued living : his life and labor ended together : he fainted not in his work : nay, the greatest work he did in this world, was his last. Oh be like Christ in this, be not weary of welldoing: give not over the work of God, while you can move hand or tongue to promote it, and see that your last works be more than your first. Oh let the motions of your soul after God be, as all natural motions are, swiftest when nearest the centre. Say not it is enough, whilst there is any capacity of doing more for God. In these things, christians, be like your Saviour.

6. Did Christ finish his work? Look to it, christians, that ye also finish your work which God hath given you to do ;

you may with comfort say,

when death approaches, as Christ said, "I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do; and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self.” John, 17: 4. Christ had a work committed to him, and he finished it: you have a work also committed to you: Oh see that you may be able to say, It is finished, when your time is ended : Oh work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; and, that I may persuade you to it, I beseech you lay to heart these considerations:

If your work be not done before you die, it can never be done. "There is no work, nor knowledge, nor device in the grave, whither thou goest.” Eccl. 9: 5, 10. They that


down to the pit cannot celebrate the name of God. Isa. 38: 18. Death binds up the hand from working any more; strikes dumb the tongue that it can speak no more. The body, which is the soul's instrument to work by, is broken and thrown aside: the soul itself presented immediately before the Lord, to give an account of all its works. The night cometh ; make haste and finish your work.

If you finish not your work, the season of mercy, as well as the season of working, will be over at death.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

* Si dixisti sufficit, periisti. If thou once say it is enough; thou art lost.

Do not think, you that have neglected Christ all your lives, you that could never be persuaded to a laborious holy life, that ever your cries and entreaties shall prevail with God for mercy, when your season is past. No, it is too late : " Will God hear his cry, when trouble cometh


him ?" Job, 27:9. The season of merey is then over; as the tree falls, so it lies; then he that is holy shall be holy still, and he that is filthy shall be filthy still. Alas, poor souls, you come too late ; " The Master of the house is risen up, and the door is shut.” Luke, 13 : 25. The season is over : happy had it been if ye had known the day of your visitation.

If your work be not finished when you come to die, you can never finish your lives with comfort. He that hath not finished his work with care, can never finish his course with joy. Oh what a dismal case is that soul in, that finds itself surprised by death unprepared! To lie shivering upon the brink of the grave, saying, Lord, what will become of me! Oh I cannot, I dare not die ! For the poor soul to shrink back into the body, and cry, Oh, it were better for me to do any thing than die ! Oh, I dare not go before the awful judgment-seat. If I had in season made Christ sure, I could then die with peace. Lord, what shall I do? How dost thou like this, reader? Will this be a comfortable close? When one asked a christian that spent six hours every day in private devotion, why he did so ? He answered, Oh, I must die, I must die. Well then, look to it that you finish your work as Christ also did his.

« PreviousContinue »