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they will not take the Apostle's word for; that they are dead in trespasses and sins.
As the grace of God in Christ Jesus is the fund, and only fund, out of which the children of God are, or can be, provided in the proper supply 'of all their wants, and relieved from their numerous weaknesses and infirmities, one may easily fee; how the Christian walks in the Spirit. In general it is no more than exerting the proper actings of life, which we commonly call living, or employing the vital spirit to its proper purposes; as we may observe in our present life, which is indeed no more but à shadowy representation or image of that perfect and true life conveyed and maintained by the Spirit of Christ. And if we want a more particular view of it, we need only consider the promises of the Spirit, and the purposes which that unspeakable gift is designed to answer; and then it will appear, that in our present fituation, where we cannot have access to walk by fight, to walk in the Spirit is the fame thing as to walk in the faith of these declarations and promises; which faith the Apostle assures us, gives subsistence to things not seen, and clear evidence to
things hoped for, and thus presents them with the same certainty as if we saw them with our eyes, Heb. xi. 1.
In this light there is nothing left us to value ourselves upon, or to boast and glory in. By the grace of God we are what we are; and it is his Spirit that works all our works in us. Whatsoever therefore exceeds Paul's estimation of all that he had done, expressed in these words, “ yet not I, “but the grace of God, or Christ in me,” must be vain-glory, that is, valuing or boasting ourselves in what we have no title to. Our Lord speaks of honour that comes from men, and that which comes from God only. The first, however it is courted, 'valued, and even boasted of, can serve no other purposes but a present world; and in the opinion of one of the wisest of mere men, and who had tried it most thoroughly, is no more but vanity and vexation of spirit; and all the pains that is taken about it, is but labouring for the wind. It must be so in the fight of God, and all perfect fpirits, who are always of his mind; something rather more filly upon the main, than what we laugh at our children for: nor can there be any honour worth minding but what comes from God
only. But there is something in this vaina glory yet greatly worse: it is plainly robbing God, by intercepting and approprié ating to ourselves the honour which belongs to him, and that grace which he hath treasured up in his blessed Son for the provision of his children, and that Spirit whose peculiar business it is to convey it to them. I but just observe, that our tran lators recede somewhat from the Apostle's injunction, as he has left it. They construct it as if it was directed only as gainst the desire of vain-glory; but he says fimply, not vain-glorious, directing his caution against the thing itself, where* ever any degree of it is found.
The propriety, and even the necessity; of such a caution, appears further from what the Apostle joins with it; and which he connects to closely with it, that whereever this same vain-glory is found, provoking one another, and envying one another naturally follow, There is hardly any thing more provoking, than boasting of any advantage we have, or seem to have, over our neighbours; and, if there is any foundation for it, more ready to draw out envy. These are works of the flesh, which it
flands always ready to produce on any the flightest temptation. But of all others the heart of the vain-glorious man is ready to rise against every competitor, and especially such as may be deemed to deserve better than he; nor is there any cure but humility and lowliness of mind.
1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which
are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meeks ness; confidering thy self,' left thou also be tempted. 2. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3. For if a man think himself to be Something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4. But let every man prove his own work, and then fall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5. For every man shall bear his own burden. 6. Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth, in all good things. 7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that fball he also reap. 8. For hs that soweth to his flesh, fall of the flesh reap corruption : but he that soweth to the Spirit, fvall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9. And let us not be weary in well-doing : for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
T HE Apostle, in the close of the fore
going chapter, had given a generaļ mule, which, could it be stricțly adhered
to, would be abundantly fufficient to fecure all the particular duties of the Christian life: it is, that Christians should walk in the Spirit, as they live in the Spirit. By that Spirit the law of God, as he has given it, is written on the heart, and thus they become a law to themselves : for the Apostle John assures us, “ that he “who is born of God, doth not commit “ fin;" for this good reason, “ that the feed “ of God abides in him.” He is made for good works; and these are the only ones he finds his pleasure in. But the Apostle knew very well, that every man, even the best Christian, while abiding in these bodies of flesh, has a law in his members, warring against the law which is in the mind, and often carrying him captive. He knew likewise, that there was in every child of Adam a certain measure of vanity often founded in a notion of excellency, purely imaginary, which prompts them to claim a proportional share in the good opinion of those about them, the veTy thing he calls vain-glory; and which he knew was the occasion of all or most of the differences, especially of that envy which is the root of all evil. And could that be prevented, and men brought to a proper