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dom driven quite from me? Hab. iii. 17. 18. The great ground of the saints joy, and the objects of it, are beyond the reach of men, fo that they cannot take them from them.

3. Most groundless is the prejudice against religion, that it is a melancholy thing, Prov. iii. 17. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. None have such reason to rejoice as the believer has. If the poor wretched and condemned creature has more ground to rejoice, than he that is pardoned and enriched with his prince's favour; then the wicked has as much ground to rejoice as the believer who is justified by grace. O, if the ungodly saw their state; they would never rejoice; and if the godly saw theirs, they would never despond.

4. It is not God's allowance for his children to harden themselves in forrow, and refuse to be comforted; Phil. iv. 4. Rejoice in the Lord always : and again I say, Rejoice.. As it is uncomfortable to themselves, it is dishonouring to God, and is the fruit of unbelief.

5. O unconverted finners, let the joy of religion draw you to it. Come to Christ, in a way of believing on him, that ye may be justified. Close withi the way of holiness, in renouncing all known sin, and complying with all known duty, that ye may have this spiritual joy, 2 Cor. i. 12.

6. Lastly, Let the godly strive to attain this spiri. tual joy, and to maintain it, for God's honour, and their own comfort and usefulness.

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Of Increase of Grace, and Perseverance there

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PROVERBS ivó 18. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that

Shineth more and more unto the perfect day. HITHERTO we have spoken of the benefits

flowing from or accompanying the sense of justiVol. II.

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fication. I come now to speak of those that accom. puny or flow from the being of it, namely, increase of grace, and perseverance. In the text there is an elegant comparison of two things like to one another. Wherein we have,

1. The subjects of the comparison, The path of the just, and the shining light.

(1.) The subject compared, the path of the juft. The juit in the language of the Old Testament are those who are justified by faith, Hab. ij. 4. The jut Mall live by his faith. They are a travelling company, going towards Canaan ; they have a path or way wherein they go, and they make a progress in it. The word here used fignifies, (1.) The progress itself or course in the way, as Job vi. 13. The paths of their way are turned aside. 11. xxvi. 8. In the way of thy judgements, O Lord, have we waited for thee. :-(2.) The place or way through which one goes. The thing meant is the gracious and holy life of the juf.

(2.) The subject it is compared to; the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. It is compared to light, both because it is comfortable to themselves, and instructive, exciting to others, and honourable. It is not like the light of a meteor, that {hines a while and then disappears quickly; nor that of a candle, which burns and burns down till it wastes itself; but like the light of the sun, and not the evening-sun, that declineth, but the morning-fun, that with increasing brightness and heat advances to the meridian.

2. The points of the comparison. (1.) As that light is a growing light, shining more and more; so is the grace of God in a soul, going from one degree to another. (2.) As it does not go out, but grows on to the perfect day ; fo grace never dies out, but goes on till it be perfected in glory.

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Doct. Increase of grace, and perseverance, are benefits flowing from or accompanying justification.

I. Of Increase or Growth of Grace. Here I Mall shew, 1. That real grace doth increase or grow. 2. How a Christian grows in grace. 3. The causes of this growth. 4. The difference betwixt true and false growth. 5. Whether true grace grows always. 6. Lastly, Apply. FIRST, I am to shew that real grace doth increase or grow. This is evident from three things.

1. Scripture-testimony. Grace is a holy feed that springs and grows, Mark iv., 27. however little at firit like a grain of mustard seed, Matth. xiii. 31. 32. like leaven, ver. 33. God has promised it, Pfal. xcii. 12. Mal. iv. 2. But unto you that fear my name, foall

the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; ; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.

2. God has appointed a certain stature that his children shall grow to, Eph. iv, 13. This is the perfection of grace. Hence the Christian is firit a little child, then a young man, then a father, 1 John ii. 13. They walk, they run, they fly, they mount like eagles, 17.xl. ult.

3. This is the end of divine influences, If. xxvii. 3. & xliv. 3. 4. It is also the effect of divine ordinances, Eph. iv. 11. 12. It is the end of all the pains of the heavenly Husbandman on the plants of his vineyard.

SECONDLY, I shall shew how a Chriftian grows in grace. He grows four ways,

1. Inward, into Christ, as the branch doth into the stock, Eph. iv. 15. Cleaving to him, and knitting with him more firmly, his faith grows itronger, 2 Theil. i. 9; his love more vigorous, his hope firmer, his dependence clofer, &c. This is the spring of all o. ther Christian increase in grace.

2. Outward, in good works, in all the parts of a holy lite, piety towards God, and righteousness towards inen, Gen. xlix. 22. The growing Christian advances in the work of his falvation, Phil, ü, la in

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race. Helpint, as the branch and knitting the work of his generation, Acts xiii. 36. He goes on in the fruits of a holy life, for God's honour, his own good, and for the good and advantage of his fellow Christians, knowing that he is not born for him. self.

3. Upward, in a heavenly difpofition, Phil. iii. 20, The end of his journey that he is aiming at is the upper world; and as he is coming out of this world in action, so he is coming out of it in affection, Cant. viii. 5. He grows more heavenly in his desires, joys, delights, griefs, forrows, &c.

4. Lastly, Downward, in humility, self-denial, felf. loathing, resignation to the will of the Lord, &c. The more religion prevails, there are are always more of these graces, Job xlii. 5. 6. Psal. xxii. 6. 2 Cor. xii. II. . For the more grace there is, there is the more knowledge of God and one's self; which are two boundless depths, the one of glory, the other of fin.:

THIRDLY, I shall shew the causes of this


1. Union with Christ, John xv. 4. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine : 10 more can ye, except ye abide in me. He that is not united to Christ can never grow in grace, more than a branch that does not knit with the stock. But where the Lord takes hold of the soul by his Spirit, and the foul takes hold of Christ by faith, there is an union whereby they become members of Christ, and their growth is secured.

2. - Communion with Christ, John vi. 57. He that eateth me, even be Mall live by me. He is the fountain of the saints life, who gives it them, and more abun. dantly. He is the head of influences, by which they are made to increase in grace, as the sap from the root and stock makes the branches to grow. And this communion they have with him,

(1.) In ordinances public, private, and secret, so that they are made to grow by the fatness of his houle, Psal. xcii. "13. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, Mall flourish in the courts of our God. The word edifies them, If. lv. 10. 11. The faciaments strengthen and confirm them, as they did the eunuch, who went on his way rejoicing, Acts viii. 39. Prayer and other holy exercises profit them, to their spiritual increase. But all by the influences of his Spirit in them, If. xliv. 3. 4.

(2.) In providences. Mercies are blcared to them for this end, If. lxvi. 11. 12. Crosses, John xv. 2. E. very branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. And often have the people of God grown most under the weights of afflictions, But this also is by communion with Christ in them, Phil. i, 19. I know that this shall turn to my salvation through the supply of the Spirit of Jefils Christ.

FOURTH LY, I proceed to thew the difference betwixt true and false growth. As hypocrites may have seeming grace, though not real, so that seeming grace may grow, Matth. xiii. 5. There is a twofold difference.

1. True Christian growth is universal, Eph. iv. 15. False growth is only in some particular things. Thetrue Christian grows in all the parts of spiritual life pro: portionably; for all the graces of the Spirit are link: ed together, so that when one grows, they all grow. Such a difference there is betwixt them as betwixt a well-thriving child and a ricketty one. The former grows proportionably in all the parts, the body, legs, arms, &'c. The other grows 100, but grows not to; the head grows big, buć the body grows not. So the hypocrite may get more knowledge, but no more tenderness, holiness, &c. He is not outwardly, but inwardly cold as to the life of religion.

2. The hypocrite foon comes to a fland, the Chri, ftian goes on to perfection, Luke viji. 14. Phil. iii. 134 14. They have their ineature; and when they have come to that, they Itand like the door on the hinges : but the true Christian is going on, jabouring to be ho,

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