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would I discourage any serious fouls, from taking hold of God's covenant of grace, for eternal life and falvation to themselves, with all the awful folemnity of the most express words, yea and of writing and subscribing it with their hands: which is commonly called personal covenanting. But I would have all to beware of a practical corrupting, of the covenant of grace, by making covenants of their own, upon such and such terms, which they will fulfil for life and salvation. The carnal Jews miftaking the design of the giving of the law, did fo corrupt the covenant of grace: looking for life and salvation, not for the sake of the promised feed alone, but for their obedience, such as it was, to the moral and ceremonial laws. And thus many, thinking that eternal salvation is proposed to them in the word, upon the condition of faith,' repentance, and sincere obedience to God's law, do consent to these terms, and folemnly undertake to perforin them; just binding themselves to such and such duties, that God may save their fouls : and so they make their covenant. And while they can persuade then... selves, that they perform their part of the covenant, they look' for life and salvation thereupon. This doth quite overturn the nature of the covenant of grace ; for to him that worketh, the reward' i; not reckoned of grace, but of debt, Rom. iv. 4. and if it be of works, then it is no more grace, chap. xi. 6. The finfulness of this practice is great, as overlooking Christ, the great undertaker and party contractor by the appointment of the Father ; and putting themselves in his room, to do and work for them. felves for life. And the danger of it must needs be great, as laying a foundation to bear the weight of their falvation, which divine wisdom faw to be quite unable to bear it. The issue whereof must be, that such covenanters, mall lie down in forrow. So the apostle determines, Gal, V. 4. Christ is become
of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Our part then, in this case, is only to take hold of God's covenant made already, and offered and exhibited to us in the gospel. This hold is taken by faith; which is, in scripture-account, the hand of the foul, John i. 22. So the original expression plainly carries it, Ifa. Ivi. 4, 6. That fasten in my covenant. In which phraseology, the correlate word hand (expressed Gen. xxi. 18.) is understood; 9. d. That faften [their hand] in my covenant; that is to say, “Who * by the hand of faith take fast hold of my covenant;" as Adonijah did of the horns of the altar, 1 Kingsi. 50. wherein the same manner of the expression is used. And this you do, by taking hold of Christ in the free promise of the gospel; believing that he is held forth to you in particular, confiding and trusting in him as your Saviour, for your salvation from fin and wrath, upon the ground of God's faithfulness in the promise, that whofoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life, for he is given for a covenant to you, Isa. xlix. 8.; and to receive him, is to believe on his name, John i. 12.
This is our making a covenant with God by sacrifice, which is mentioned, Psalm 1. 5. The original expression is, That cut my covenant upon a sacrifice; namely, by laying their hands in faith on the head of the facrifice, thereupon cut down in their stead : and so ceremonially transferring their guilt on the facrifice; but really and spiritually, approving of the device of salvation by a crucified Saviour, and falling in with ir as the method of salvation for them. In this way of covenanting, the free grace of the covenant is preserved pure and entire; for to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness, Rom. iv. 5. Here the honour of fole undertaker and party contractor in the covenant, is according to the
Father's appointment, left to Christ the one that is mighty, Psalm lxxxix 19. Here the second Adam builds the temple, without our laying one stone therein in our own persons ; even as the first Adam laid it in ruins, without our pulling down of one stone of it in our persons: and Christ bears the personal glory of the reparation, even as Adam the personal blame of the ruin, Zech. vi. 13. And at this rate, the soul doth in time, for her own part, give her solemn' approbation of the covenant inade from eternity, and a personal consent to what Christ froin everlasting consented to in her name ; even as the princess married by proxy in her childhood, ratifies all when she is come to age, by receiving her husband. Likeas all Adam's children, as such, taking falvation to heart, and therefore covenanting with God, do in effect repeat the covenant of works made with Adam their representative; so all the second Adam's feed, as such, taking salvation to heart, and therefore covenanting with God, do in effect repeat the covenant of grace made with Christ their representative. In the making of the covenant be. fore the world began, the Father proposed to Christ as fecond Adam, their head and representative, that he should take burden upon him for them, and be their Kinsman-redeemer, their surety for their debe of punishment and duty, and their priest; and Christ confented thereto from eternity. Amen, for my part, says the elect soul in time, in the covenanting day: it is infinitely well ordered : I am a loft sinner, a debtor to divine justice, a guilty creature ; he is, with my whole heart and soul, my Kin/man-redeemer, My Surety, my Priest: my part of the punishment incurred, and of the duty owing, is a vaft and exceeding great part of that debt; but my soul is well content of, and rests in that method of paying it : 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, (Heb. He hath put to me an
everlasting covenant )--this is all my salvation, and all my desire. The Father said to Christ as their representative, for thy so doing and suffering, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Amen, said Christ from eternity ; All'mine are thine, John xvii. 10. Amen, for my part, says the elect soul in the time of personal covenanting. This heart of mine must have some God, I must belong to one or other; and too long have I been for another : but now, timber of the house, and stones of the wall, bear witness, my soul is content with, consents to, and rests in this method of disposing of me; name. ly that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be my God in Christ, and I one of his people from henceforth and for ever.
This manner of covenanting is inconsistent with a purpose or defire of continuing in fin: even as one's conimitting himself for cure into the hands of a physician who cures infallibly, is inconsistent with a kefire to keep his disease hanging about him. Christ being made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, fanétification, and redemption, 1 Cor 1. 30. it necessarily carries along with it, a taking of Christ for a Prophet, and a King, and Lord unto us; as such a one doth necessarily yield himself to the physician's management. In it one joins hin self to Christ as his covenant head, who also is the administrator of the covenant; and so subjects him felf to his teaching and government. And it is such a way of covenanting, as no profane perfon, nor hypocrite, continuing fo, e. ver did or can fall in with. For (1.) it speaks a heart content to part with all fin, well pleased with Christ's whole salvation, whereof the principle part is to save his people from their fins, Matth. i. 21., whereas un: found covenanters are always offended with some one thing or other in Christ, chap. xi. 6. (2.) It speaks a foul carried out of all confidence in itself, its own working and doing for life and salvation, and bottomed only upon Christ's doing and suffering for that end. And thus, such a covenanter, being poor ir spirit, Matth. v. 3. and rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no.confidence in the flesh, Philip, iii. 3. is distinguished from the presumptuous hypocrite, whose confidence for life and salvation is ever upon his own doing and working, either in whole or in part; as also from the despairing unbeliever, who hath no confidence, neither in Chrift, nor in himself, that he shall have life and salvation, however he may be. ' lieve firmly that others shall. So this faith, this covenanting, is quite another thing, than either the false faith of the presumptuous profane, and presumptuous hypocrite, or the no-faith of the desperate, or the wavering doubter, who can never fix in greater or lesser' measure of confidence in Christ, for salvation to himself: James i. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering ; for he tbat wavereth, is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind, and tofed. Verse 7. For let not that man think that he Jhall receive any thing of the Lord.
If any think this to be an easy way of believing or covenanting, either they mistake it, or they try it not. To believe upon some ground we see in our. selves, is very natural; but to believe merely upon a ground in another, namely, 'righteousness in Christ, and faithfulness in God, while all in ourselves tends to make us despair, is above the reach of nature. A conscience thoroughly awakened, will convince a finner, that it is a matter of greatest difficulty.
Inf. 2. Juftifying faith, though it receives Chrift in all his offices as Prophet, Priest, and King; yet as it enters us personally into the covenant, and justifies, it eyes him in his priestly office particularly; namely, as the great High-priest, who hath made atonement for sin, by the facrifice of himself; as the Surety who undertook and completed the payment of the debt of punishment and duty; and as the Kinf.