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nal life upon the account of it; imagining there is none the King of kings will delight to honour in the other world as himself, who enjoys so large a portion of this; this is a bad hope. There is the hope of the man that is only upon principles in which he has been brought up; who hopes upon the faith of others, his natural descent, or being born of such and such parents, and his religious education ; this is a bad hope. There is the hope of the moralist and legalist; who hopes he Niall inherit eternal life because of the good things he has done; because of his moral life and actions, and his works of righteousness in obedience 'to the law; whereas by these no man can be justified, and so not saved, or ever enter into the kingdom of heaven; this is a bad hope. There is the hope of the hypocrite, who hopes for heaven because of his profession of religion and subjection to ordinances, and going through a round of duties in a formal manner, and with a mere outward low; this is a bad hope ; it is like the spider's web, and will be as the giving up of the Ghost, and be of no avail; even though fuch may have gained a name among men to be holy and good, when God takes away
their souls. And there is the hope of the profane finner, for such have their hope ; and they hope for salvation through the absolute mercy of God; they fancy if they have but time to say at last, “ Lord have mercy on us,” all will be well; this is a bad hope; for there is no mercy for finners, but through the blood, righteousness, and facrifice of Christ. But the hope we have been treating of is a good one, and may be so called,
ist, Because it is laid upon a good foundation; not upon the absolute mercy of God; not upon the merit of the creature; not upon any outward acts of righteousness; not upon civility, morality, or an external profession of religion ; all which are sandy foundations to build an hope of eternal happiness upon : buc upon the person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ ; upon the perfon of Christ, who is God over all blessed for ever, and is able to save to the uttermost, who is the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, and Christ our bope, and in us the hope of glory; upon his blood, which cleanses from all fin, and was shed for the remission of it; upon his righteousness, which justifies from all sin, and gives a right and title to eternal life; and upon his facrifice, by which sin is finished and made an end of, and reconciliation is made for it.
2dly, Because not only the author of it is good, who from it is called the God of hope', but because the objects of it are good things; it is of good things to come, and the best things are reserved till last; now the saints have their evil things, their forrows and amfictions, but hereafter they shall have their good things. Christ is come an high priest of good things to come unto his people; and these good things are laid up for them, and shall be enjoyed by them; and hope is waiting for them: And the hoping christian knows them to be good by the forecastes and pledges he has had of them; such as a sight of God in Christ; communion with Father, Son, and Spirit; fellowship with angels and glorified saints ; perfect knowledge, holiness, and pleasure.
f Rom. XV.13
3dly, Because it is in its nature and effects good: Ic is called a lively hope, or a living one 8 ; because it has not only for its subject a living man in a spiritual fense ;, and for its foundation, not dead works, but a living Christ; and for its object, eternal life; but because it is of a quickening, exhilarating, and chearing nature ; and because it is attended with living works of righteousness; for as faith without works is dead, so is hope likewise; and because it always continues, and is sometimes in lively exercise, when other graces are not so lively: It is also said to be of a purifying nature ; every man that haih thi hope in bin, purifieth himself even as he is pure"; and which it no other ways does than as it deals with the pure and spotless righteousness of Christ, and with his precious blood, which purges the conscience from dead works.
4thly, Because of its great usefulness : It is that to the foul an anchor is to a fhip when becalmed, or in danger through rocks and sholes; ic preserves and keeps ic steady; and is therefore said to be as an anchor of the foul, Jure and stedfafti: And it serves the same use and purpose as an heliner does to the head; and therefore the hope of salvation is said to be for an helmet"; this grace preferves the head and heart of a christian from bad principles in perilous cimes; for he can give into none that strike at the foundation of his hope ; it is an erecter of his head, and keeps it above water in times of trouble, inward and outward; and it covers his head in the day of batrle, between him and his spiritual enemies; this he will never give up. This grace is of fingular use under afflictive dispensations of providence; the believer rejoices. in hope of the glory of God, even in tribulations; knowing that tribulation workerb patience, and patience, experience, and experience bope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost, which is given unto us!: And it is of eminent fervice in the hour of death; for when the wicked is driven away in bis wickedness, like a beaft to hell, the righteous hath bope in his death"; of rifing again at the last day, and in the mean while of being in the arms of Jesus, and of being happy with him ; and therefore can look upon death and eternity with pleasure. Yca, chis grace is of fo much importance and usefulness, that even falvation is ascribed unto it, we are saved by hope"; not by it, as the efficient cause of salvation, for there is no other author or efficient cause of salvation but Christ; but by it as a means of coming to, and enjoying the salvation Christ has wrought out: As we are saved by Grace through faith, in like manner we are
saved & 1 Pet. i. 3.
1 John iii. 3.
i Heb. vi. 19. ko Thess. v. 8. i Rom, v. 2-5. m Prov. xiv. 32.
* Rom. viii. 24.
f Rom. XV. 13.
saved through hope ; being begotten unto it, we are kept through it, till we receive the end of it, the salvation of our souls; wherefore upon the whole, it mult be good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord !
There is a sort of people risen up among us of la:e, who fneer at this phrase, a good bope through grace, not considering that it is a fcriptural one; and reprefent such who have attained to nothing higher, as in the lower form and ciais of christians, if they deserve that name; and suggest, that persons may have chis and everlastingly perish : but let us not regard what these flighty people say; let us attend to what the scriptures say, to what our text says concerning it; which fpeaks of it as of God, as a gift of his; ascribes it to his grace; represents it as a fruit of the love of God and Christ; joins it with everlasting consolation ; and mentions it as a blessing of grace, which the apostles themselves, whom God had set in the first place in the church, in the highest office in it, were poffeffed of, and were thankful for: Let us attend to what a solid saint on a dying bed says of a good hope through groce; what his sentiments, his notions of it are; and such an one, I mean a folid saint, was our deceased friend, whose death is the occasion of this discourse; as must be allowed by all that knew him, who are capable of judging of a spiritual man. At ту
first visit to him after he had took to his bed, upon inquiring into the spiritual estate and frame of his soul, he told me, he had a good hope through grace; and added, if I may but go out of the world with a good bope through grace, it will be more to me than all the exultations and joys some perfons speak of; that is enough, I am content, or words to this purpose ; and subjoined, that if any thing Mould be said of him after his decease, meaning in this public way, he desired it might be from this passage of scripture, we have been considering. It pleased God to favour him with a religious educacion, to bless him with an early conversion, and to cast him betimes under a gospel ministry; by which means his judgment was formed, fixed, and established in gospel principles, in the doctrines of grace, of which he had a clear discerning: And as he had a retentive memory, he treasured up in it the quintessence and flower of gospel discourses, and the pithy sayings and sententious expressions he had heard or read in them ; which, together with that large stock and fund of gracious experience of the love of God to his own soul, abundantly furnished him with rich materials for spiritual discourse; and which made his conversation very pleasant, profitable, and instructive; he being able to speak of divine things in very apt words, with great freedom, propriety, and pertinence. The frame of his soul was generally spiritual and heavenly, and so habituated he was to spiritual things, and so much given to the contemplation of them, and medication upon them, that in the midst of worldly business, and even upon the Exchange, when he met with a proper person, would at once enter into a christian conversation about such things, which lay warm upon his heart, he had been lately hearing or meditating upon; which shews the bias and bent of his mind. And as he was indulged with a large measure of grace, so he had great afflictions to try and exercise that grace ; which afflictions he bore with uncommon patience, feldom making mention of them, especially in a way of complaint ; and never murmuring at the dispensations of God; but taking all kindly at his hand, as coming from a loving Father, and designed and overruled for his spiritual good, profit, and advantage. He was remarkable for his humility, he was clothed with it, that ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the fight of God of great price. His outward conversation in the world was exemplary, and as became the gospel of Christ, and was ornamental to it. He was many years a worshipper with us in this assembly; but became a member of this church buc of late : We promised ourselves a great deal of usefulness from him in our church-itate ; but God has took him away, and he is joined to better company, and is employed in higher service: he was very comfortable in his soul, throughout his last illness ; his faith was kept steady, ever looking to Jesus, in whom he knew all his salvation lay. He has left to you, his dear children, a shining example both in civil and religious life; may you tread in his steps ; let it be your great concern to know your father's God, to worship, fear, and follow him; so he who has been his God, will shew himself to be yours, and be your God and guide even unto death. May we all learn something from this provi. dence, and from this discourse occasioned by it; and it becomes us,
when o Lam. ii. 16.
1. To inquire whether we have any hope of good things to come, and what that hope is; whether it be a good one or a bad one.
If it is founded on any thing short of Christ, it is a bad one; if it is upon the creature and creature-acts, it will be of no avail; if it is through works, and not through grace, we hope for heaven and happiness, it will prove a vain hope : But if it is founded upon what Christ is unto us; what he has done for us ; and what he is in us; it is a good one, and will anfwer some good purposes in life and death : And then if we are satisfied we have such an hope, it becomes us,
2. To bless God for it; fince he is the donor and author of it: It is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; and we should ascribe ic not to nature, not to the reasonings of our minds, the power and freedom of our wills, but to the grace of God: We might have been left to black despair, and to sink into hell under the weight of guilt ; 'there might have been nothing but a fearful looking for of wrath and fiery indignation, which our sins deserved; but God has dealt graciously with us, he has given us a good hope through grace. Wherefore it becomes u3,
3. To continue in the use of this grace; to pray for the holy Spirit of God to cause us to abound in it; and to enable us to hold fast the rejoicing of ie firm unto the end ; to gird up the loins of our minds, and hope for future grace and eternal glory; and to go on hoping, believing, loving, until hope is exchanged for fruition, faith for vision, and love is in its highest exercise.
S E R M O N.. XXVIII* Occasioned by the Death of the Rev. Mr A ARON SPURRIER, fate Pastor
of a Church of CHRIST at Limeboufe. Preached Sept. 17, 1749.
PHILIPPIANS I. 23:
-Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.
BOUT Iwo years ago I stood in this place, and delivered a discourse at A
the ordination of your late pastor, and now I am here at his dying request to preach his funeral sermon; a sudden change, a quick alteration this! He has foon done his work, run out his race, and finished his course, and is entered into. the joy of his Lord; and what remains for you to do, is to take notice of the providence, and make a right use of it; and now to actend to the words read, the subject of the following discourse, which are part of an epistle sent to the church at Philippi by the apostle Paul, when he was a prisoner at Rome.
And after the inscription of it; and description of the church, its officers and members, and various expressions of respect unto them and peritions for them, the apostle gives an account of his bonds, and the usefulness of them for the spread of the gospel, and the encouragement of gospel-ministers.: and though some did not preach Christ from right ends, and with right views, as others did, it was a pleasure to the apostle that he was however preached ; and he was persuaded, that the ill designed him in their ministry would be for his good, and Christ would be magnified in him in life and death: chat continuance in life would be for the glory of Christ, and the good of his interest, and his death also would be gain both to Christ and himself:
And this made it difficult with him, which to chuse, life or death, since he could not well say in which way Christ would be most magnified in him, whether by
• This Sermon was never before printed.