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of his dear Son. They are born, not of blood, nor of the will of
66 the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” They are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath foreordained that they should walk in them.” When God enstamps his moral image on the elect, and sheds abroad his love in their hearts, he makes them godly, and actually separates them from the world. From that time, they are cru. cified unto the world, and the world to them. They do in their feelings come out from the world, and take the part of God against the world. They feel as God feels, and pursue what God pursues. They choose to be on the Lord's side, and sincerely desire to promote his glory. I may add,
4. The Lord's setting apart the godly further implies his fixing their situations in life. Thus God set apart Abram. He called him from the place of his nativity, from his relations and friends, and carried him where he had occasion for him. God set apart Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, from the rest of the world, in the same manner. But it is needless to mention particular instances in this case, since it is always true, that he determines the situations and circumstances of all the godly, so as best to answer the design of their separation from the world. He actually determines when and where, every godly person shall live and die. And though the godly cannot comprehend his wise and holy purposes in their various situations, yet they will finally see that they have reason to rejoice in all his disposals
. For every godly person will actually be, some way or other, instrumental in carrying into execution the great and good designs of God. He views the situations of the godly as of vastly more importance than they do themselves. He knows why he takes one here and another there, and makes him godly and fixes the bounds of his habitation in one place, rather than another. This leads me to show,
II. That God has set apart the godly from the rest of the world for his own use.
The godly are prepared for the active service of God; and he has always employed them in his active service. As he makes them godly for his use, so he uses them to carry on his great and gracious designs in the world. There are many ways in which he can employ them to advantage ; and he does employ them in all the ways in which they can be the most useful. In particular,
1. God has set apart the godly for keeping up his worship in the world. Ever since men became enemies to God, they have been averse to paying him that religious homage which is his due. They have not liked to retain God in their knowl. edge, and in order to forget him, have designedly neglected to call on his name. This has been the case in all ages. But God has meant to preserve his worship in this world, notwithstanding all the efforts of wicked men and evil spirits to destroy it. And for this purpose he has formed and set apart the godly from the rest of the world. The godly love to worship God, and take pleasure in drawing near to him, and pouring out their hearts before him, and doing honor to his great and holy name. They are fitted and disposed to keep up the worship of the one living and true God in a world that lies in wicked. ness. Accordingly, God has used them as instruments of maintaining his worship from age to age. Noah kept up the worship of God in the midst of the ungodly world. Abraham kept up the worship of God amidst an idolatrous world, and so did Isaac and Jacob. The Jewish nation maintained the worship of God, whilst all other nations walked after their vain imaginations and forsook the God that made them. In Baby. lon, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and other godly men, maintained the worship of the God of Israel. And since the gospel day, the godly have done the same service for God in the world. Had it not been for the godly, the worship of God would have long since ceased from one end of the earth to the other. But he has set apart a sufficient number of the godly in various places, to keep up the worship of himself, and to be instrumental in leading others humbly and devoutly to acknowledge their Creator.
2. God has set apart the godly to preserve pure and entire his religious institutions. Besides prayer, God has appointed other religious duties. Before the apostasy, he instituted the Sabbath, or set apart one day in seven, to be kept holy unto himself. After the apostasy, he appointed sacrifices. After sacrifices, he appointed circumcision. After circumcision, he appointed the passover. After the passover, he appointed baptism, and the Lord's supper. These positive institutions it has been the appropriate business of the godly to maintain. Adam and his family kept the Sabbath, and offered sacrifices. All the pious patriarchs till Noah offered sacrifices. Noah both before and after the flood offered sacrifices. When mankind were dispersed, and had lost the knowledge, and neglected the institutions of God, he set apart Abraham to keep them up; and this he did with singular faith, fortitude, and perseverance. His godly seed continued the practice, and walked in the steps of their father Abraham, until Christ appeared in the flesh. Then his sincere followers named his name, and supported his holy institutions. And ever since the spread of the gospel, the godly have kept up the ordinances of Christ, which will be their proper business to the end of the world. The ordinances of the gospel are to continue to the second coming of Christ, amidst all the revolutions of nations, and all the revivals and declensions of religion, till the whole number of the godly are called in, and the great scheme of man's redemption completed. To maintain these institutions is one purpose, for which God is here and there setting apart the godly from the world and for himself.
3. God sets apart the godly to be keepers of his sacred Oracles. These are not agreeable to the corrupt hearts of men; and they would have been long since destroyed, had it not been for the care and faithfulness of the godly in preserving the sacred books of divine inspiration. These were first intrusted to the care of God's ancient people, who, amidst all their other departures from God, never gave up his written Revelation. It was their peculiar privilege to enjoy and preserve the sacred writings. The apostle demands, "What advantage hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision ? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." This sacred deposit the Jewish church handed down to the Christian. And the Christian church have been the happy means of preserving the sacred volume to the present day. It is still the duty and privilege of the godly to keep the word of God for him, until its contents have completely answered all the purposes for which they were designed. The Bible will never be safe in any other hands but those of the godly. And they may yet find it extremely difficult to keep it uninjured from the hands of those who wish to corrupt and destroy it. But since God is able to raise up guardians of his holy word, we may confidently expect that he will, somewhere or another, set apart the godly to perform this important service for him. If the godly should cease in one place or nation, yet they shall continue in some other place or nation; and as long as they continue, it will be their duty and privilege to keep sacred the sacred books of divine inspiration.
4. God has set apart the godly, to exhibit the beauty and reality of true religion before the eyes of all mankind. God means to teach men by example as well as precept. And he raises up the godly, gives them his own spirit, and adorns them with the beauties of holiness, to show the world of the ungodly the excellency of that religion, which he has revealed, and required them to embrace and practise. God does not, however, set apart the godly as perfect examples. He has told
6 Ye are a
the world, that "there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth
Paul exhorts Christians to " walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called ;” and to "adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things.” And to the godly at Philippi he says, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The exemplary conduct of the primitive Christians excited tho admiration of the heathen world, and extorted confessions from them highly honorable to Christianity. Their example often proved the means of awakening and converting infidels to the Christian religion. And the bright example of the godly still tends to produce the same happy effects.
5. God sets apart the godly to promote his cause in the world. He makes use of instruments for this
and the godly are his only proper, free, voluntary instruments. Other men are only passive, undesigning instruments; but the godly
are his free, voluntary, active agents in building up his kingdom. In the history of the divine conduct, we find many godly persons, who have been signal instruments in the hand of God, of promoting the cause of religion. Seth, Enoch, and Noah; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses, Joshua, and Caleb; Samuel, David, and Solomon; and many others who might be mentioned, were active and faithful workers with God in preserving and promoting religion in the world. And all the godly are useful in this respect. By their prayers, by their instructions, by their examples, as well as by their interests and influence, they do much to build up the kingdom of God. Paul calls Aquila and Priscilla his helpers. All the godly help to carry on the work of God. This they wish may prosper, and spread; and their wishes are accompanied by their exertions. As they have opportunity and ability, they unite in their hearts to promote that cause of God, which involves their own good and the good of all holy beings. They choose to be on the Lord's side, and serve him and their generation according to his will.
6. God has set apart the godly, to be the monuments of his mercy in the view of the whole intelligent creation. For this he originally elected them to eternal life. So says the apostle, “Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Again, “ To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by
, the church,” that is, by the godly, “the manifold wisdom of God.” And again, “ Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor ? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?" These passages plainly declare, that God forms and sets apart the godly to be monuments of his mercy, and to exhibit his manifold wisdom and astonishing grace before the eyes of the whole intelligent universe. And at the same time these vessels of his mercy are to be forever actively employed in celebrating the riches of his grace, in forming and setting them apart from the rest of mankind, for himself. Accordingly, the godly in heaven are represented as constantly engaged in celebrating the praises of God, for the great and marvellous things he has done in carrying on