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CHAP. XVI.

Of Good Works.

1. Good Works are only such as God hath 259259 Mic. 6.8. Heb. 13 21.commanded in his Holy word; and not such as without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, 260260Mat. 15.9. Isa. 29.13.or upon any pretence of good intentions.

2. These good works, done in obedience to Gods commandments, are the fruits, and evidences 261261Jam. 2.18.22.of a true, and lively faith; and by them Believers manifest their 262262 Ps. 116.12,13.thankfullness, strengthen their 263263 1 Joh. 2 3.5. 2 Pet. 1.5-11.assurance, edifie their 264264Mat. 5.16.brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries and glorifie 2652651 Tim. 6.1. 1 Pet. 2.15. Phil. 1.11.God whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus 266266Eph. 2.10.thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end 267267 Rom. 6.22.eternal life.

3. Their ability to do good works, is not at all of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit 268268Joh. 15.4.6.of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an 2692692 Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.13.actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in 270270Phil. 2.12. Heb. 6.11 12. Isa. 64.7.stirring up the Grace of God that is in them.

4. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to superrogate, and to do more then God requires, as that 271271 Job 9.2 3. Gal. 5.17. Luk. 17.10.they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of Sin or Eternal Life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfie for the debt of our 272272 Rom. 3.20. Eph. 2.8,9. Rom. 4.6.former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his 273273Gal. 5.22,23.Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled 274274 Isa. 64.6. Ps. 143 2.and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot endure the severity of Gods judgement.

6. Yet notwithstanding the persons of Believers being accepted through Christ their good works also are accepted in 275275 Eph. 1.6. 1 Pet. 2.5.him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in Gods sight; but that he looking upon them in his Son is pleased to accept and reward that which is 276276 Mat. 25.21.23. Heb. 6.10.sincere although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

7. Works done by unregenerate men although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use, both to themselves and 277277 2 King. 10.30. 1 King. 21.27,29.others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by 278278 Gen. 4.5. Heb. 11 4.6.faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the 279279 1 Cor. 13.1.word, nor to a right end the 280280 Mat. 6.2.5.glory of God; they are therefore sinful and cannot please God; nor make a man meet to receive grace from 281281 Amos 5 21,22. Rom. 9.16. Tit. 3.5.God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and 282282 Job 21.14,15. Mat. 25.41,42,43.displeasing to God.


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