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all that are gone thither, or will find themselves deceived in the end. We need not then that poor shift for the pressing of holiness, and obedience upon men, to represent it to thein as the meriting cause of salvation. This is not at all to the purpose, seeing without it the necessity of holiness to salvation is pressing enough; for holiness is no less necessary to salvation, than if it were the me, riting cause of it, it is as inseparably tied to it in the purpose of God. And in the order of perform, ance, godliness is as certainly before salvation, as if salvation did wholly and altogether depend upon it, and were in point of justice deserved by it. Seeing then there is no other way to happiness but by holiness, no assurance of the love of God without it, take the Apostle's advice, study it, seek it, follow earnestly after holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.] ] It hath always been a civil custom amongst men, to season their intercourse with good wishes one for another; this the Apostles use in their epistles, in a spiritual divine way, suitable to their holy writings. It well becomes the messengers of grace and peace to wish both, and to make their salutation conform to the main scope and subject of their discourse. The Hebrew word of salutation we have here; peace; and that which is the spring both of this and all good things, in the other word of salutation used by the Greeks, grace. All right rejoicing, and prosperity, and happiness, flows from this source, and from this alone, and is sought elsewhere in vain.

In general, this is the character of a christian Spirit, to have a heart filled with blessing, with this sweet good-will and good-wishing to all, especially to those that are their brethren in the same profession of religion. And this charity is a precious balm, diffusing itself in the wise and seasonable expressions of it, upon fit occasions; and those expressions must be cordial and sincere, not like that you call court holy-water, in which there is nothing else but falshood, or vanity at the best. This manifests men to be the sons of blessing, and of the ever-blessed God, the Father of all blessing, when in his name they bless one another: yea, our Saviour's rule goes higher, to bless those that curse them, and urges it by that relation to God as their Father, that in this they may resemble him, that ye may be the children

, of your Father which is in Heaven.

But in a more eminent way, it is the duty of pastors to bless their people, not only by their public and solemn benediction, but by daily and instant prayers for them in secret. And the

And the great Father who seeth in secret will reward them openly.

They are to be ever both endeavouring and wishing their increase of knowledge and all spiritual grace, in which they have St. Paul a frequent pata tern.

They that are messengers of this grace, if they have experience of it, it is the oil of gladness that will dilate their heart, and make it large in love and spiritual desires for others, especially their own flocks.

Let us, 1. consider the matter of the Apostle's desire for them, grace and peace. 2. The measure of it, that it may be multiplied.

1st. The matter of the Apostle's desire, grace. We need not make a noise with the many schooldistinctions of grace, and describe in what sense it is here to be taken; for no doubt it is all såving grace to those dispersed brethren, so that in the largest notion that it can have that way, we may safely here take it.

What are preventing grace, assisting grace, working and co-working grace, (as we may admit these differences in a sound sense) but divers names of the same effectual saving grace, in relation to our different estate ? as the same sea receives different names from the different parts of the shore it beats upon. First it prevents and works; then it assists and prosecutes what it hath wrought, Heworketh in us to will and to do. But the whole sense of saving grace, I conceive, is comprehended in these two. 1. Grace in the fountain, that is the peculiar love and favour of God. 2. In the streams, the fruits of this love, (for it is not an empty, but a most rich and liberal love) viz. all the graces and spiritual blessings of God bestowed upon them, whom he hath freely chosen. The love of God in itself can neither diminish nor increase, but it is multiplied, or abounds in the manifestation and effects of it; so then, to desire grace to be multiplied to them, is to wish to them the living spring of it, that love that cannot be exhausted, but is ever flowing forth, and instead of abating, makes each day richer than another.

And this is that which should be the top and sum of christian desires, to have, or want any other thing indifferently.; but to be resolved and resolute in this, to seek a share in this grace, the free love of God, and the sure evidences of it within you, the fruit of holiness, and the graces of his Špirit. But the most of us are otherwise taken up: we will not be convinced, how basely and foolishly we are busied, though in the best and most respected employments of the world, so long as we neglect our noblest trade of growing rich in grace, and the comfortable enjoyment of the love of God.

Our Saviour tells us of one thing needful, importing that all other things are comparatively unnecessary, byeworks, and mere impertinencies; and yet in these we lavish out our short and uncertain time, we let the other stand by till we find leisure. Men who are altogether profane think not on it at all; some others possibly deceive themselves thus, and say, when I have done with such a business in which I am engaged, then I will sit down seriously to this, and bestow more time and pains on these things that are undeniably greater and better, and more worthy of it. But this is a slight that is in danger to undo us: what if we attain not to the end of that business, but end ourselves before it; or if we do not, yet some other business may step in after that,

While many

Oh then! say we, that must be dispatched also. Thus, by such delays, we may lose the present opportunity, and in the end our own souls.

Oh! be persuaded it deserves your diligence, and that without delay, to seek somewhat that may be constant enough to abide with you, and strong enough to uphold you in all conditions, and that is alone this free grace and love of God. While say, Who will shew us any good ? set you in with David in his choice, Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me, and this shall rejoice my heart more than the abundance of corn and wine?

This is that light that can break into the darkest dungeons, from which all other lights and comforts are shut out, and without this, all other enjoyments are, what the world would be, without the sun, nothing but darkness. Happy they who have this light of divine favour and grace shining into their souls; for by it they shall be led to that city, where the sun and moon are needless; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof".

Godliness is profitable for all things, saith the Apostle, having the promises of this life, and that which is to come; all other blessings are the attendants of grace, and follow upon it. This blessing that the Apostle here (and also St. Paul in his Epistles) joins with grace, was with the Jews of so large a sense, as to comprehend all that they could desire, when they wished peace, they meant all kind of good, all welfare and prosperity. And thus we may take it here, for all kind of peace; yea, and for all other blessings, but especially that spiritual peace, which is the proper fruit of grace, and doth so intrinsically flow from it.

We may and ought to wish to the church of God outward blessings, and particularly outward peace, as one of the greatest, so one of the most valuable favours of God: thus prayed the Psalmist', Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

9 Psal. iv. 6, 7. " Rev. xxi. 23. * Psal. cxxii. 7.

But that wisdom that doth what he will, by what means he will, and works one contrariety out of another, brings light out of darkness, good out of evils, can and doth turn tears and troubles to the advantage of his church; but certainly in itself, peace is more suitable to its increase, and if not abused, proves so too. As in the Apostolic times, it is said, the church had peace, and increased exceedingly. We ought also to wish for ecclesiastical peace to the church, that she may be free from dissensions and divisions.

These readily arise more or less, (as we see in all times) and haunt religion, and the reformation of it, as a malus genius. St. Paul had this to say to his Corinthians", though he had given them this testimony, that they were enriched in all utterance and knowledge, and were wanting in no gift; yet presently after*, I hear that there are divisions and contentions among you. The enemy had done this, as our Saviour speaks; and this enemy is no fool, for, by divine permission, he works to his own end very wisely : for there is not one thing that doth on all hands choak the seed of religion so much, as thorny debates and differences about itself. So in succeeding ages, and at the breaking forth of the light in Germany in Luther's time, multitudes of sects arose.

Profane men do not only stumble, but fall and break their necks upon these divisions.

We see (think they, and some of them possibly say it out) that they who mind religion most, cannot agree upon it, our easiest way is, not to embroil ourselves, not at all to be troubled with the business. Many are of Gallio's temper, they will care for none of those things. Thus these offences prove a mischief to the profane world, as our Saviour says,

Woe to the world because of offences. Then the erring side, that is taken with new

1 Asts ix, 31. " Chap. i. v. 5. I v, 13.

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