“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” – Psalm 119:1
As God implanted in us affections of aversation to avoid what is evil; so affections of choice and pursuit, to follow after what is good. Well then, out of a principal of self-love, all would be happy; they would have good, and they would have it forever…
To ask whether men would be happy or not, is to ask whether they love themselves yea or nay; but whether holy, is another thing.
All would live forever; but when they must follow a despised Christ up and down in the world, and incur censures and dangers, they like none of that…
Heaven is a good place, but men must get to it with much difficulty; therefore they are loth to be at the cost. Men would be happy, with that kind happiness which is true happiness; but not in the way God propoundeth, being possessed with carnal fancies. It is counted a foolish thing to wait upon God in the midst of straits, conflicts, and temptations… More prejudices lie against the means than the end.
Till a hungry conscience be provided for, we cannot be happy… Nothing can give us solid peace, but what make us eternally happy.
That a poor godly man should who is counted the filth and off-scouring of all things, should be the only happy man; and that the great men of this world who have all things at will, should be poor, blind, miserable, and naked; is a paradox that will never enter into the heart of a natural man, that hath only the light of sense and carnal reason to judge of things, for to sight and reason it is nothing so.
Many times we are doctrinally right in point of blessedness, but not practically; we content ourselves with mere notion, but are not brought under the power of these truths; that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
If the law might be disannulled as to new creatures, then why doth the Spirit of God write it with such legible characters in their hearts? This is promised as the great blessing of the covenant of grace (Heb. viii, 10). Now that which the Spirit engraves upon the heart, would Christ come to deface and abolish?
To convince us of sin, to humble the heart, to reduce and bring men back to God, there is no rule for this but the law of God.
There is no escaping condemnation and the curse, if God should deal with us according to strict justice, and require an absolute undefiledness. Well then, this qualification must be understood in the sense of the second covenant; and what is that? sincerity of sanctification; when a man doth carefully endeavour to keep his garments unspotted from the world, and to approve himself to God… when he is humbled more for his pollutions, when he is always purging his heart, and doth endeavour to walk in the way of God; here is the undefiled in a Gospel sense.
He commandeth one thing as well as another, and conscience takes hold of all. To single out what pleaseth us, is to make ourselves God.
A hypocrite is best when he is taken in pieces; but a sincere man is best when he is taken altogether. A Christian is always like himself.
‘He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded’ (Prov. xiii, 13). Would you have blessings from God? fear the commandment. It is not he that fears wrath, punishment, inconviences, troubles of the world, molestations of the flesh; no, but he that dares not make bold with a commandment.
You will fail within a little while; then your poor, shiftless, naked souls must launch out into another world, and immediately come to God. How comfortable will it be then to have walked closely according to the line of obedience!
Our Lord hath made over a blessed inheritance to us upon Gospel terms, but we are full of prejudices, in that to keep close to the rule may bring trouble, and deprive us of many advantages of gain, and we think we shall never see good day more: but we are assured there is a great blessing goeth along with God’s yoke; and we having a promise of the enjoyment of God’s presence, where there ‘are pleasures for evermore,’ this should make us rouse up ourselves in the work of the Lord.