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ther can be, because they are fpiritually difcerned; 1 Cor. 2. 14. Hence we find David often praying, that God would teach him his Statutes, and help him to know his Teftimonies; to open his Eyes, that he might behold the wondrous things of his Law. And here St. Paul prays for the Coloffians, that they may be filled with Knowledg, fo as to understand things aright, and to know the Truth as it is in Jefus.

Next, The Apoftle prays, that their Knowledg may be accompany'd with Wifdom, that is, with the Practice of what they know, which is a practical Knowledg in all Wif dom: An empty Notion of Divine Truths, that fwims only in the Brain, without finking into the Heart, and flowing into good Works, can be of no Ufe or Benefit to any; 'tis acting according to our Knowledg, that gives it all its Worth and Efficacy. And therefore St. James asks the Queftion, Who is a wife Man, and endowed with Knowledg among you? And then, by way of Anfwer, bids them to Shew out of a good Converfation his Works with Meekness of Wisdom; Jam. 3. 13. All true Chriftian Knowledg muft be attended with Practice, in which confifts true Wif dom; and without that, all Pretences to it do but betray the greater Folly.

Furthermore, the Apostle prays in their behalf for Spiritual Understanding; that is, for fuch an experimental Knowledg of the things of God, that they may find and feel within them the Truth of them: for Experience is the beft Knowledg, and they that, have that have the best Seal and Affurance of Divine Truths.

These things require and well deferve our most affectionate Prayers, join'd with our utmost Endeavours for the obtaining of them, both for our felves and others. Solomon, who beft knew the Worth and Way of attaining of them, hath will'd us to cry for Knowledg, and to lift up our voice for Understanding, to fearch for them as for Silver, and to dig for them as for hidden Treafure; Prov. 2. And being fuch precious and invaluable Bleffings, the Apoftle thought he could not do better for thefe Coloffians, than to pray, that they might be filled with the Knowledg of God in all Wisdom, and Spiritual Understanding. The first thing he here petitions for them,

The fecond is, that they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleafing; that is, either that they might walk as becometh the Servants of the Lord, in all Humility, Love,

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and Obedience to him; which things as they are pleafing to all earthly Masters, fo are they much more fo to our great Lord and Mafter in Heaven: or else, that they might walk worthy of the Gofpel of our Lord Jefus Chrift, which they had receiv'd, by fuiting their Lives to the Rules and Precepts of it, which is of all things most pleasing and acceptable to him: Otherwife, their embracing the Gospel would be fo far from pleafing, that it would the more incenfe and heighten his Displeasure; for better had it been (faith St. Peter) not to have known the Way of Righteousness, than after the knowing it, to turn away from the Holy Com mandment. And the fad Fate of Corazin, Bethfaida, and Capernaum, who had receiv'd the Gospel of Chrift, would be far heavier for their Contempt of it, than that of Tyre and Sydon, and other barbarous Countries that never heard it. For which the Apostle here prays for the Coloffians, that they might walk fo, that all their Ways may be pleasing unto God, which is a good Prayer for all Chriftians.

3ly, Another thing he prays for them, is, that they might be fruitful in every good Work, and increafing in the Knowledg of God. For Chriftianity confifts not in barren and empty Speculations, that like a wither'd Tree afford no Fruit, but in doing good Works; and like a fruitful Vine, or water'd Garden, brings forth Fruit in due season : nor doth it appear only in the Leaves and Bloffoms of a fpecious Profeffion, but in the real Fruits of an universal Righteoufnefs. Now the Fruits we are here directed to bring forth, are thofe of the Spirit, mention'd in Gal. 5. 22. in which all Chriftians fhould abound, for the fetting forth the Glory of God, and promoting their own Salvation. The Tree in the Gospel was cut down for bearing no Fruit; and they that are barren and unfruitful in the Knowledg of Chrift, will find the fame Fate, to be cut down and made the Fewel of everlafting Fire: which fhould make us, not only to pray, but endeavour to be fruitful in every. good Work.

4y, The Apoftle farther prays for thefe Coloffians, that they might be frengthned with all Might, according to his glorious Power, unto all Patience, and Long-fuffering, with Foyfulness; ver. 11. meaning, that they might be fupplied with that fpiritual Strength or Chriftian Fortitude, that might enable them to bear up under all the Afflictions and Perfecutions of this Life; not bafely fhrinking from the Crofs of Chrift, nor cowardly finking under it, but by the

Grace

Grace of God to be able to ftand in the evil Day, and having done all, to ftand; being arm'd with Patience and Long-fuffering, two of thofe Fruits of the Spirit, in which he would have them to abound; that being endu'd with Courage and the Power of God, they might defpife the Frowns of Men, and rather rejoice than faint under Tribulations.

Thefe are the things which the Apostle here pray'd for in the behalf of the Coloffians, and are indeed fit Matter for our Prayers in the behalf of all Chriftians.

Laftly, the Epiftle ends as it began, with giving thanks unto God the Father: withal mentioning another great and ineftimable Favour and Privilege conferr'd upon us, very neceffary to be explain'd and apply'd to us; and that is, His making us meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light: by which we are to understand his fitting of us here, for a bleft Eftate of endless Glory and Happinefs hereafter. Call'd here,

(1.) By the Name of an Inheritance, to fignify the Title we have to it, as purchas'd for us by Jefus Chrift; and the Tenure by which we hold it, which is not by a Term of Lives, or a Leafe of Years, but by Inheritance for ever. Hence 'tis fometimes ftil'd, A Kingdom that cannot be mov'd, and an everlasting Kingdom: At other times, an Inheritance, undefil'd, incorruptible, that never faileth or fadeth away; 1 Pet. 1.3. Again,

(2.) Tis call'd, the Inheritance of the Saints; to fignify the Perfons to whom it belongs, which is not to all, whether in the Church, or out of the Church; nor yet to thofe that live loofe, carelefs and wicked Lives in it; but only to the Saints, that is, to fuch as are admitted into Chrift's Holy Church, and continue true and faithful Members of it to their Lives end. For thefe it is, that there is laid up a Crown of Glory, which God the righteous Fudg mall give at the last day to all fuch as love and look for his Appearance. Moreover,

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(3.) 'Tis call'd the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, to fignify the Glory and Splendor of that happy State: For as Darkness is made to reprefent a State of Horror and endless Mifery, for which reafon Hell is defcrib'd to be a Place of black and eternal Darknefs, fo Light is fet to fignify a Condition of Joy and Bleffedness; and therefore Heaven is reprefented as a Place of bright and everfhining Light,

But

But are we made meet Partakers of this Inheritance of the Saints in Light? Why, that is by the Graces of God's Holy Spirit wrought in us, which alone can fit us for Glory. They that delight in the Deeds of Darkness are no ways qualify'd for this Inheritance of the Saints in Light; their Portion will be to inherit Darkness, and to be shut up in the black Abyfs of outer Darkness for evermore. 'Tis the Children of Light and of the Day that are alone qualify'd to inherit Light, and to inhabit for ever in the Regions of Blifs and Glory. What Concord hath Light with Darknefs, or what Fellowship hath the carnal and fenfual Mind with pure and refin'd Spirits? These things cannot agree or abide together, and confequently cannot be happy together.

Heaven is the Habitation of Holinefs, where no unholy Thing or Perfon can dwell; Without Holiness no Man can fee the Lord: and they that cannot fee him, can never be happy in enjoying him. Holiness is not only a Condition, but a neceffary Qualification for Happiness; and to be made meet Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints, we must be holy in all manner of Converfation and Godlinefs: for 'tis call'd the Inheritance among them that are fanctify'd; to fignify that no unfanctify'd Perfon can have any fhare in it. Again,

Heaven is the Region of Purity, where no Defilement enters; and to fit our felves to come there, we must cleanfe our felves from all Filthiness of Flesh, and perfect Holiness in the Fear of God. No unclean Perfon, or Whoremonger, or Adulterer, can be admitted into thofe undefil'd Regions; or if he could, he would find no Happiness there, where there is nothing to gratify his fenfual Defires: we cannot fee or enjoy God, unless we are like him; fo the Apoftle tells us, and he that hath this Hope, muft purify himself, even as he is pure; 1 John 3. 2, 3. Moreover,

Heaven is the Manfion of Peace and Love, there is no Difcord or Diffenfion there, but all the Inhabitants of those bleffed Regions confpire together in perfect Peace and Amity; they all agree in the Worship of their Maker, and join with one Heart and one Voice in their inceffant Hallelujahs. Now to be meet Partakers of these Joys, we must tune our Hearts to the fame Harmony of Peace and Concord, fubduing all that Pride, Paffion, and Prejudice, that lead to Contention, and labouring for thofe gracious Qualities and Difpofitions, that tend to the closest Union

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of Hearts and Minds. In a word, the Way to be made meet Partakers of this Heavenly Inheritance, is by the daily Exercifes of a Holy Life, and the conftant Practice of Religion and Vertue,

Thus I have confider'd the Matter of the Apoftle's Prayer and Praises in the behalf of the Coloffians, which we fee are chiefly for fpiritual Bleffings in heavenly Places in Chrift Fefus. And that may teach us to make the fame things the Subject of our Petitions and Thanksgivings, both for our felves and others.

Indeed Thankfulness is a Debt to be paid for all the Mercies we receive, temporal as well as fpiritual; our Food and Raiment are thank-worthy, and we are bid every day to ask for our daily Bread and the good things that relate to the Welfare of our Bodies here in this Life, exact from us a Tribute of Acknowledgment and Adoration. But the highest Acts of Gratitude are due for thofe fpiritual Bleffings that concern the Good of our Souls, and promote their eternal well-being in another World; fuch as the Means of Grace, and the Hopes of Glory, for both which we are to pray and praise God as well for others, aș qur felves.

This was the Apoftle's Precept and Practice, to which let us learn to conform our felves, having a Sympathy and Fellow-feeling of one another's Joys and Sorrows, and tendring as much as in us lies the Good and Welfare of one another; fo fhall we be made meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light; To which God of his infinite Mercy bring us all, &c,

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