« AnteriorContinua »
clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people.
HEAD IV. The blesings which are effectually conveyed by these means to the Lord's
elect, or chosen ones, Mat. xxii. 14. Many are called, but few are chosen. Y these outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the re
probate inexcusable, fo, in the power of his fpirit, he applies unto the elect, effectually, all saving graces purchased to them in the covenant of redemption, and maketh a change in their persons. In particular, 1. He doth convert or regenerate them, by giving spiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for giving spiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives them saving faith, by making them, in the sense of deserved condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the covenant of grace, and to embrace Jesus Christ unfeignedly. 3. He gives them repentance, by making them, with godly sorrow, in the hatred of sin, and love of righteousnels, turn from all iniquity to the service of God. And, 4. He fan&tifies them, by making them go on and persevere in faith, and spiritual obedience to the law of God, manifested by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offereth occasion.
II. Together with this inward change of their persons, God changes also their state: for, so soon as they are brought by faith into the covenant of grace, 1. He justifies them, by imputing unto them that perfect obedience which Christ
gave to the law, and the satisfaction also which upon the cross Christ gave unto justice in their name. 2. He reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were before enemies to God. 3. He adopts them, that they shall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all spiritual pripileges of his sons. And last of all, after their warfare in this
life is ended, he perfects the holiness, and blessedness, first of their foul at their death, and then both of their souls and their bodies, being joyfully joined together again in the resurrection, at the day of his glorious coming to judgment, when all the wicked shall be sent away to hell, with Saran whom they have served: but Christ's own chosen and redeemed ones, true believers, students of holiness, shall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification.
PRACTIÇAL Use of SAVING KNOWLEDGE, Contained in Scripture, and holden forth briefly in the fore
said Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
HE chief general use of Christian doctrine is, to con
vince a man of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, John xvi. 8. partly by the law or covenant of works, that he may be humbled and become penitent; and partly by the gospel or covenant of grace, that he may become an unfeigned believer in Jesus Christ, and be strengthened in his faith
upon solid grounds and warrants, and give evidence of the truth of his faith by good fruits, and so be saved.
The sum of the covenant of works, or of the law, is this, If thou do all that is commanded, and not fail in any point, thou Malt be saved: but if thou fail, thou falt die. Rom. X. 5. Gal. iii. 10, I 2.
The sum of the gospel, or covenant of grace and reconciliation, is this, If thou flee from deserved wrath, to the true Redeemer Jesus Christ, (who is able to fave to the uttermost all that come to God through him) thou halt not perish, but have eternal life. Rom. x. 8, 9, 11.
For convincing a man of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment by the law, or covenant of works, let these scriptures among many more be made use of,
I. For convincing a man of sin by the law, consider Jer. xvii.
THE heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Here the Lord teacheth these two things; 1. That the fountain of all our miscarriage, and actual finning against God, is in the heart, which comprehendeth the mind, will, affections, and all the powers of the soul, as they are corrupted and defiled with original fin; the mind being not only ignorant and uncapable of saving truth, but also full of error and enmity against God; and the will and affections being obftinately disobedient unto all God's directions, and bent toward that only which is evil: “The heart (faith he) is • deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;' yea, and unsearchably wicked, so that no man can know it; and Gen. yi. 5. ' Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is
only evil continually,' saith the Lord, whose testimony we must trust in this and all other matters; and experience also may teach us, that, till God make us deny ourselves, we never look to God in any thing, but fleshly self-interest alone doth rule us, and move all the wheels of our actions.
2. That the Lord bringeth our original sin, or wicked inclination, with all the actual fruits thereof, unto reckoning before his judgment-seat; ' For he searcheth the heart, and • triéth the reins, to give every man-according to his ways, ! and according to the fruit of his doings.
Hence let every man reason thus; “ What God and my guilty conscience beareth witness of, “ I am convinced that it is true.
“ But God and my guilty conscience beareth witness, that my heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and that all the imaginations of my heart, by nature, are only evil continually.
“Therefore I am convinced that this is true.”
II. For convincing a man of righteousness by the law, confi
der Gal. iii. io.
AS many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, cursed is every one that continueth net in jall things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.
Here the apostle teacheth us three things; 1. That, by reason of our natural sinfulness, the impoflibility of any man's being justified by the works of the law, is fo certain, that whosoever do seek justification by the works of the law, are liable to the curse of God for breaking of the law; ' Fòr as many as are of the works of the law, are under • the curse,' faith he..
2. That unto the perfe&t fulfilling of the law, the keeping of one or two of the precepts, or doing of some, or of all duties (if it were possible) for a time, is not sufficient; for the law requireth, that ' a man continue in all things which are • written in the book of the law, to do them.'
3. That, because no man can come up to this perfection, every man by nature is under the curse; for the law faith, • Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.'
Now, to be under the curse, comprehendeth all the displeasure of God, with the danger of the breaking forth more and more of his wrath upon soul and body, both in this life, and after death perpetually, if grace do not prevent the full execution thereof.
Hence let every man reason thus; ". Whosoever, according to the covenant of works, is liable ! “ to the curse of God, for breaking the law, times and ways “ out of number, cannot be justified, or find righteousness by ** work of the law.”
." But I (may every man fay) according to the covenant of " works am liable to the curse of God, for breaking the law, " times and ways out of number.
“ Therefore I cannot be justified, or have righteoufness " by the works of the law.'
Thus may a man be convinced of righteousness, that it is not to be had by his own works, or by the law.
III. For convincing a man of judgment by the law, consider
2 Thess. i. 7.
THE Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels : verse 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrift: verse 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; verse 10. When he shall come to be glorified in his faints, and to be admired in all them that believe.
Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jesus, who now offers to be a Mediator for them who believe in him, shall, at the last day, come armed with flaming fire, to judge, condemn, and destroy all them who have not believed God, have not received the offer of grace made in the gospel, nor obeyed the doctrine thereof; but remain in their natural state, under the law or covenant of works.
Hence let every man reason thus; “ What the righteous Judge hath forwarned me, shall be “ done at the last day, I am sure is just judgment.
“ But the righteous Judge hath forwarned me, that if I “ do not believe God in time, and obey not the doctrine of “ the gospel, I shall be secluded from his presence and his
glory, at the last day, and be tormented in soul and body
u for ever.
« Therefore I am convinced that this is a just judgment.
56 And I have reason to thank God heartily, wbo hath “ forewarned me to flee from the wrath which is to come.”