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inflicted on the believer by way of punishment. The sting of death is taken away by Christ, which is sin, and a very venemous sting it is, and death thus armed is to be feared; but when its sting is taken out of it, it is not to be dreaded. Any insect with a sting we are naturally afraid of, but if its sting is removed we have no fear of it, though it flies and buzzes about us; so in a view of death being unstung, the believer may sing and say, Death where is thy sting? and be fearless of it. — 2. Death to believers is a privilege and blessing; it has a place in their inventory of goods that belong unto them, death is yours; it is an happiness to thein, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; since they are by it delivered from all evils, from all outward amictions and inward troubles; from a body of sin and death, under which they now groan being burdened; from the world and its snares, and from Satan and his temptations; and therefore are more happy than living saints; besides they are with Christ, enjoying communion with hiin, and beholding his glory, which is much better than to be in the present state. — 3. Death, though it separates soul and body, and one friend from another, it does not separate from the love of God, but lets in to the more glorious discoveries and enjoyment of it. It is precious in the sight of the Lord, and therefore saints should not shrink at it themselves. – 4. It is but once, it is appointed for men once to die, and no inore; and it will soon be
over, and issue in an happy endless eternity; and when the body dies the soul does not, but immediately enters into a state of glory; death is the inlet into it, and the beginning of it; the birth-day of an eternal world of bliss : besides there will be a resurrection of the body, when it will be fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ, and will be raised in incorruption, in power, in glory, and a spiritual body; so the saints will be no losers but gainers by death, and therefore need not fear it: the resurrection of the body yields comfort in the view of death, and amidst present afflictions, as it did to Job, chap. xix. 25-27. - 5. Be it that death is an enemy, as it is contrary to nature, it is the last enemy that shall be destroyed; and when that is conquered, the victory will be complete over every enemy, sin, Satan, the world, death, and the grave. - 6. Besides these things which may serve to promote a fortitude of mind against the fear of death; it may be proper frequently to meditate upon it, to think of it as near at hand, and to make it familiar to us by saying as Job did, chap. xvii, 14. by considering it as going to our God and Father, to our home, to our Father's house; by going to bed and resting in it; and by sleeping, and that in the arms of Jesus.
IV. From whence this fortitude flows, and what the causes of it, may be next considered. It is not from nature but from grace, it is a gift of God; i: is he that gives strength and power to his people, not bodily strength only, but spiritual strength; it is he that girds them with strength, with an hoiy fortitude, and fills them with spiritual courage, and strengthens their hearts, and fortifice them against their spiritual enemies. -1. The efficient cause of christian fortitude of mind is God, Father, Son, and Spirit. God the Father is prayed unto for it, and he which stablishes saints in Chiist, gives them stability and firmness of mind is God, that is, God the Father: and it is Christ who bids them be of good cheer, to be strong and of good courage in the midst of tribulation, since he has overcome the world; and it is through him who strengthens them that they can do and suffer all things for his sake; and the Spirit of the Lord, as he rests as a Spirit of counsel and might on Christ the head, so on his members likewise ; and it is a grant of God, a free grace gift of his, that his people be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, Isai. xi. 2. Eph. iii. 16.
2. The word of God is the mearis of producing and increasing christian fortitude ; it is not only a part of the spiritual armour, called the sword of the Spirit, but having a place and abiding in the heart, fortifies it against spiritual enemies, and by it victory is gained over them, 1 John ii. 14. Rev, xii. 11. the precious promises contained in it, before hinted at, serve greatly to animate the saints, and to inspire them with fortitude anidst all surrounding evils. — 3. Such a temper and disposition of mind is attainable by faith, prayer, and waiting upon God. By faith men so eminent for fortitude of mind performed those heroic exploits we read of in Heb. xi. who by faith subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, and er.dured with such greatness of mind the many evils they did; and through constant prayer saints obtain a spirit of boldness both with God and before men; and by wiiting upon the Lord in religious exercises their spiritual strength and furtitude is renewed; hence the exhortation, Wait on the Lord, Psal. xxvii. 14. 4. The patterns of courage, the examples of fortitude in the saints who have gone before us, of the prophets, apostles, priinitive christians and martyrs in all ages, may be a means of promoting a like disposition, particularly that cloud of heroes before referred to; and above all Christ himself, the pattern of courage set before us, whom we are directed to look unto and consider, lest we be
weary and faint in our minds, Heb. xii. 1-3, 5. The love of God, and a sense of that, a persuasion of interest in it, and that nothing shall separate from it, çasts out fear, and inspires with fortitude against every enemy, Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39. 1 Jolın iv. 18.
Zeal is an ardour of mind, a fervent affection for some person or thing; with an indignation against every thing supposed to be pernicious and hurtful to it, As it is a divine grace, it is a vehement affection for God and his glory; an earnest study, by all proper means, to promote it; with a resentment of every thing that tends to obscure, let, and hinder it; it is hot, burning, flaming love, which cannot be quenched by water, nor drowned by floods, nor abated,
restrained, and stopped, by any difficulties in the way. It is sometimes used for that
strong affection God bears to his people, expressed by his earnest care of them, and indignation against their enemies, called, The zeal of the Lord of kosts, and his great jealousy, Isai. ix. 7. Zech. i. 14. and viii. 2. And times for a gracious disposition in man, which has God for its object, and is called Zeal towards God, an eager desire after his glory; and of which God is the author, and is called, A zeal of God, or a godly jealousy, 2 Cor. xi. 2. In treating of which I shall consider,
1. The various sorts and kinds of zeal; that it may be the better known, what is right and genuine. And,
1. There is a zeal of God, which is not according to knowledge, which the Jews had, as the apostle testifies, Rom. x. 2. and which lay in a zealous concern for the performance of legal duties, and in a studious attempt to set thein up, and establish them as a justifying righteousness before God; to the entire neglect and rejection of the righteousness of Christ. Which zeal of theirs, in this attempt arose.
1. From ignorance of the perfection of God's righteousness, which is displayed in all his ways and works, who is the Judge of the whole earth, and will do right; and will not clear the guilty without full satisfaction to his justice, nor justify any without a perfect righteousness; and his judgment of things is according to truth; and he cannot reckon an imperfect righteousness a perfect Cre; nor account that for righteousness which is none : to secure his honour und glory in this point, he has set forth Christ to be the propitiatory sacrifice 1. sin, thereby making satisfaction for it; To declare his righteousness: but of this the legal zealot is ignorant, and therefore takes a wrong course.
It arises fiom ignorance of the righteousness which God in the law requires ; the law is holy, just, and good, and requires a perfect righteousness; both as to the matter of it, and the manner of its performance ; all that the law has commanded must be done, and as it is commanded, or it is no righteousness, Deut. vi.
25. and the law is spiritual, and reaches to, and is concerned with the heart, the spirit, and the soul of man; it forbids sinful thoughts, inward lusts, and irregular affections, as well as the outward and grosser sins of life; it allows of no peccadillo's, or little sins, but condemns all; so extensive is the law, and such the spirituality of it; which the Pharisee being ignorant of, sets up his own righteousness as sufficient, and zealously endeavours to establish it; but it will be of no service, Matt. v. 19, 20. -- 3. This ignorant zeal arises from a want of knowledge of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel; which is no other than the righteousness of Christ, who is God as well as man: being ignorant of this, its excellency, fulness, and suitableness, men submit not unto it, but reject it, stumbling at the stumbling stone and rock of offence, - 4. It arises from ignorance of their own righteousness; the Spirit of God not having convinced them of it, how imperfect and polluted it is; how it is not answerable to the law of God; and how short it comes of its demands and requirements ;
and how insufficient it is to justify them before God; and whilst this is the case they are warmly attached to it, and zealous to establish it; but when they come to be made sensible of the imperfection and unprofitableness of it, they desire to be found in Christ, and in his righteousness, and not their own, Phil, iii. 9. -5. It arises from want of faith in Christ; being destitute of that, the zealots follow eagerly after righteousness, but do not attain it; Because they seek it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; now, what is not of faith is sin, and therefore zeal without faith cannot be right; zcal without faith in Christ, must be without knowledge, must be without the knowledge of Christ, and without the knowledge of God in Christ; and therefore cannot be well-pleasing and acceptable to God; nor is such a righteousness they are following after and endeavouring to establish, Wherefore, -6. Such a zealot goes çontrary to the will and way of God, in the justification of a sinner; and therefore his zeal must be a false one: the declared will of God is, that a man is not, and cannot, be justified in the sight of God by the deeds of the law; but that a man is justia fied by faith in the righteousness of Christ, without the deeds of the law; the way
and method God takes to justify men, is by grace, freely imputing righteousness, without works, unto them; by making and accounting them righteous, through the obedience and righteousness of his Son. And therefore it must be a blind, ignorant zeal, which sets up a man's post by God's post, and advances his own righteousness above that of Christ's.
11. There is a mistaken zeal of the glory of God; and for it.
1. When that is opposed which is right, under a false notion of its being cons trary to the glory of God; as when Joshua requested of Moses to forbid the young men prophesying in the camp; as being neither, as he thought, for the glory of God, nor to the honour of Moses; and when the priests and scribes were sore displeased at the children in the temple, crying Hosanna to the Son of David; and when they exclaimed against the works of Christ done on the Sabbath-day, as if contrary to the honour of the Sabbath, and the sanctification of it, and so to the glory of God in it; and such was the indiscreet zeal of Peret, i in chiding Christ for saying he must suffer many things, as if it was injurious to his honour and glory; when all these things were right. — 2. When that which is not for the glory of God, is wrongly thought to be so, and is zealously pursued as such: this is a mistaken zeal; as was the zeal of the idolatrous Gentiles for their idols, and idol-worship; and of the Papists, for their warship of images, angels, and saints departed, and for many other things; and of the Jews, for the traditions of the elders, of which the apostle Paul was very zeal. ous, before conversion; and of the believing Jews, who were zealous for contie nuing the ceremonies at the law, though abrogated, Gal. i. 14. Acts xxi. 20.
3 3. When ways and methods improper are taken to defend and promote the glory of God; as when the disciples, in their zeal for the honour of Christ were for having fire come down from heaven upon those who had shown some disrespect to Christ; and when Peter, in his preposterous zeal, drew his sword
in defence of his Master, and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant; for which both the one and the other were rebuked by Christ.
II. There is a superstitious zeal, such as was in Baal's worshippers, who cut themselves with knives and lancets, whilst calling upon him; and in all idolaters using a multitude of superstitious rites, of which they are extremely zealous; particularly in the Athenians, who were wholly given to idolatry, and whose city was full of idols; of whom the apostle says, that he perceived that they were in all things too superstitious; and therefore, lest they should le at all defective in the objects of their worship, they erected an altar to an una known God, that they might be sure to comprehend all; and in the Jews, who were zealous of the traditions of the fathers, and were superstitiously careful that they did not eat with unwashen hands, and of the washing of their cups and pots, &c.
iv. There is a persecuting zeal, under a pretence of the glory of God; so Saul, before his conversion, says of himself; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; that is, he shewed his zeal, as he thought, for the glory of God, when he persecuted the church of Christ, and made havock of it; and he seems to have respect to this when he tells the Jews that he was zealous towards God,
ye all are this day; so the devout and honourable women, whom the Je:vs stirred up to persecute the apostles, were, no doubt, under the influence of such a false zeal; imagining, that what they did was for the glory of God, and the honour of religion.
v. There is an hypocritical zeal for God; as in Jehu, when he said, Come with me, and see niy zeal for the Lord; when, at the same time, he took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord, nor did he depart from the sins of Jeroboam; for though he destroyed the images of Baal, he worshipped the calves at Dan and Bethel: and in the scribes and Pharisees, who brought the woman taken in adultery to Christ, under a pretence of a great regard to the law; and yet were guilty of like sins and others : and in Judas, who pretended regard to the poor when he only sought to gratify his covetousness: and in the Pharisees, who made a shew of great zeal for piety, by their long prayers, when they only sought to devour widows houses by that means.
vi. There is a contentious zeal; which often gives great trouble to christian coinmunities: of men of such a spirit the apostle speaks when he says, If any man seems to be contentious, about trivial matters, things indifferent, and of no moment, we have no such custom, nor the churches of God; nor should such be indulged: this sort of zeal is oftentimes no other than a mere logomachy, a striving about words to no profit; it is a contention about foolish and unlearned questions, which gender strifes; and at best about things curious and useless; whereas true zeal is always employed about the more solid and substantial doctrines of the gospel, and the ordinances of Christ.
vu. Sometimes it is only a temporary passion; a Aash of zeal, and continues Bot; so Joash, whilst Jehoiada the Priest lived, did what was right, and shewed