« PreviousContinue »
That your faith Should stand-in the power of God. And Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou sbalt be saved, Pfalm xxxvii. 40. He mall save them, because they trust in him. And ii. 12. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Acts xv. 11. We believe, that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved. This believing, or crediting the word, and trusting on the person of Christ, is that which of all things is fartheft removed from the nature of a work, according to the scripture-use of that word; and therefore is the most agreeable means of saving entrance into that covenant, which is of faith, that it might be by grace; not of works, lest any man jould boast.
A sinner, being by this believing on Christ united to him as the head of the covenant, is thereby perfonally entered in the covenant; fo as, in his right, to have a faving interest in the condition, promise, and privileges thereof, unto his eternal salvation : e. ven as becoming, through natural generation, chil.dren of Adam the head of the covenant of works, we are personally entered into that covenant; so as to be involved in the guilt of the breach of it, and laid under the curse thereof: Rom. v. 19. For as by one man's disobedience many were made finners: fo by the obedience of one mall many be made righteous, John X. 9. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he mall be saved. Eph. iii
, 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,
Upon this believing on the name of Christ, crediting and trusting in manner said before, do necessarily follow, an absolute consent to take him for our Husband, Head, and Lord, and God in him for our God; an unconditional resignation of ourselves unto him, soul and body, to be his only, wholly and for eyer; with an unlimited renunciation of all other for him: even as, in the case before put, upon the wo. man's believing the reality of the offer of the contract of marriage between the physician and her, and accordingly, that he will indeed be her husband, follows her confenting to take him for her husband, head, and lord, giving up herself unto him, and renouneing all other for him, absolutely, unconditionally, without limitation or reservation; the which The can never do, till once she believe that.
And thus, to the word of grace, the covenant offered and exhibited in the gospel, I will be to them.a God, and they shall be to me a people, the believing foul answereth, as an echo, My beloved is mine, and I am his, Cant. ii. 16.
2. Having understood the covenant aright, together with the way and manner of being personally and saving!y entered into it, examine yourself anent it impartially, as ever you would make sure work in this weighty matter. Inquire into your sense of your need of the covenant, your belief of it, and the disposition of your heart towards it. And upon these heads, pose yourself with these or the like questions.
“ In the first place, O my foul, do I verily be“ lieve, that I was lost, ruined, and undone in A. “ dam, by his breaking of the covenant of works : “ and that I have ruined myself more and more, by “ my actual transgressions? Do I believe, that I am
by nature wholly corrupt and sinful, averse to “ good, prone to evil, and justly laid under the “ curfe, binding me over to the revenging wrath of “ God for time and eternity? Am I convinced, that “ I am utterly unable to help myself, in whole or “ in part, out of this gulf of fin and misery into “ which I am plunged ; and that I must needs pe. “ rish under the guilt, dominion, and pollution of my sin, without being justified or fanctified, for
if I be not relieved by heaven's own hand. “ Next, O my soul, do I believe, that there is a
covenant of grace, for the relief of loft finners, e“ Itablished between God the Father, and his Son
« Jesus Christ as second Adam, wherein, upon con. “ dition of Christ's fulfilling all righteousness, as a “ public perfon, is promised eternal life to them, " that God in Christ will be their God, and they “ shall be his people? Do I believe, that this is the “ plan and device of heaven, for life and salvation “ to loft sinners, for making of them holy, and for “ making of them happy? Do I believe, that Jesus “ Christ hath, by his holy birth, righteous life, sa“ tisfactory death, and sufferings, performed that “ condition of the covenant, and thereby purchased “ and secured the benefit therein promised, for poor « finners? Then, do I indeed believe, that this co“ venant already fulfilled in its condition, and cer“ tainly to be fulfilled in its promise, is in Christ “ crucified, really offered and exhibited to me in “ the gospel: and that I am called to the fellowship " of it in him? And then, do I verily believe on « the name of Christ crucified, offered and exhibit. “ed to me, as the great High Priest, who by the " sacrifice of himself, hath' made the atonement, “ paid the ransom, and brought in everlasting righos teousness for poor sinners? That is to say, (1.) “ Can I credit his word of grace to me, that he “ with his righteousness will be mine, and, in him, “ God will be my God, and I shall be one of his
people? (2.) And, can I, as on a safe bottom, trust on him as my Saviour, that in him it shall be fo. unto me to my eternal life and falvation, to the making of me holy and happy?
“ Finally, O my soul, how do I like the cove. “ nant? Am I pleased with the frame of it, where. " by Christ was from eternity appointed, not only “ the Priest of the covenant, to fulfil the condition “ of it, but also the Prophet and the King thereof,
to administer it? And can I find in my heart to " acquiesce in that device for salvation, as all my “ falvation, and all my desire, for making me holy
“ 'and happy? Am I content to take Christ the Son “ of God, for my only Priest, Surety, Intercessor, " and Redeemer; and in him, the Father for my “ Father, and the holy Ghost for my Sanctifier ; “ God in Christ for my God? Am I willing wholly
to resign myself, foul and body, to him, to be “ faved by his blood alone, renouncing all confi“dence in my own righteousness, doings, and fuf
ferings ? Am I content to take him for my Head " and Husband ? Particularly, Am I content to take "" him for my alone Prophet, Oracle and Guide;
to resign, and give up myself wholly to him, to “ be taught, guided, and directed in all things, by " his word and Spirit; renouncing mine own wis
. “ dom, and the wisdom of this world ? Am I con“ tent to take him for my alone King and Lord;
to resign myself wholly, soul and body, unto * him, to be rescued by his power, from sin, death, “ the devil, and this present evil world, for to “ serve him for ever, and to be ruled by the will 6 of his command, as to my duty, and the will of “ his providence, as to my lot? And am I heartily
content to part with, and renounce every known “ fin, and particularly that which most easily besets
me; together with my own foolish will, and all “ other lords besides him; without reservation, and “ without exception against his cross? And am I “ really, as in his fight, willing to have discovered “ unto me, and upon discovery to part with every “ fin in me, that I know not ?"
Now,' howbeit all doubting as to fuch of these points, as are points of faith, and every the least degree of averfion to the consenting, resignation, and renunciation, is fin before the Lord, and needs to be purged away by the Redeemer's blood; yet they ought not to stop your proceeding, unless they be predominant over your belief and willingness in the matter : Mark ix. 24, Lord, I believe ; help thou mine unbelief. Gal. v. 17. The flesh lusteth against the spirit ;--so that ye cannot do the things that ye would, namely, in that perfection that ye fain would do them. But indeed, if they be predominant, keeping your mind and heart quite unsettled, and wavering like a wave of the sea, that hath nothing to fix it; one cannot advise proceeding in that case : for that would be to lye unto the Lord, with a witness: James i. 6. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the fea, driven with the wind, and toffed. Verse 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. Howbeit, a fincere belief and willingness in these points, may indeed waver like a ship at anchor, which is still held fast in the place, notwithstanding of all its wavering therein. 'And one may take hold of God's covenant of grace, unto salvation, even with a trembling hand.
3. Lastly, Having in your felf-examination satisfied your conscience as to these points, go unto God by prayer, and therein folemnly and in express words, take hold of the covenant. The which may be done in words to this purpose.
“ O Lord, the God and Father of our Lord Je“ sus Christ, I confess I am by nature a loft sinner
wholly corrupted, and laid under the curse, in A“ dam, thro’the breach of the covenant of works; “ and have ruined myself more and more by my “ actual transgressions innumerable. I am convin“ ced, and do acknowledge, that I am utterly un" able to help myself, in whole or in part, out of “ this gulf of sin and misery, into which I am plung. “ ed; and that it is beyond the reach of the whole “ creation to help me out of it: so that I must ine
vitably perish for ever, if thine own strong hand « do not make help to me.
“ But forasmuch as there is a covenant of grace “ for life and falvation to loft sinners, established “ between Thee and thine own Son, the Lord Je.
B b 2