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light, John-iii. 21. They say, That which I see not, teach ihou me, Job xxxiv. 32. Search me, o God, and know my heart: fry me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting, Pfal. cxxxix. 23. 24.
And thus much shall suffice to have spoken on the fifth head, namely. The trial of a saving personal inbeing in the covenant of grace.
H E A D VI.
The Way of INSTATING Sinners personally
and savingly in the Covenant of Grace. Y the marks and characters given it appears,
that they are but few who are personally and
savingly instated in the covenant of grace, in comparison of those who are strangers to it: but we are allowed to offer it to strangers; to invite and call them who are without the covenant, to come into it, and so to compel them to come in, Luke xiv. 23. Here then are the glad tidings of the gospel: there is a covenant, which was entered into from eternity between God and Christ the second Adam ; a covenant of
made in favour of sinners of Adam's race, ruined by the breach of the covenant of works. In it there is full provision for your salvation; to relieve you from all the ruining effects of the broken first covenant, and to render you completely happy. The condition of this covenant is indeed high; being screwed up to a pitch by the demands of the law and justice: yet there is nothing on that part to discourage you from the covenant: for your inability being foreseen from eternity, it was laid upon one that is mighty, to perform it; and now it is already performed and fulfilled to your hand by that mighty One Christ Jesus. Only, the promises remains to be ful. T3
filled. So the burden of the condition is over withour you ; and ye are called to the benefit of the promises.' And that ye may have the more clear access Thereto, the administration of the covenant is put in.
the hand of the same Christ Jesus: and he is in. trusted with all the promises, to fulfil them to fin
He hath begun to fulfil them to all who have taken hold of the covenant; and is ready to fulfil them to all who yet shall take hold thereof. For that end he hath made his testament of these promises, and costituted finners of mankind bis legatees; that whosoever of them will, may come, claim, and take the water of life freely, Rev. xxii, 17. The whole of the covenant is in him. In him-is God, the pare ty contractor on Heaven's side, 2 Cor. v. 19. He himself is the party contractor on man's side: and in hins are all believers really, and all the elect legally and representatively. In him is the condition of the covenant, and that as fulfilled : he is the Lord our righteoufnejs, Jer. xxiii. 6. In him are all the promises yea, and amen, 2 Cor. i. 20. all meeting in him, as lines of a circle in their centre; and fure and Itedfast, no ways liable to misgive, as did the promise of the covenant of works in the first Adam. And he as a King hath emitted his royal proclamations, bearing, that whosoever will come unto him, and unite with him as head of the covenant, shall be taken into it, and have a right to all the privilèges thereof in him, and through him.
Thus the covenant is brought to you, and set before you in the gospel ; so that ye must needs be either receivers or refusers of it. Refuse it not: that is dangerous beyond expression. Take hold of it; for it is your life. Sinners, ye are under the covenant of works, where there is no life, nor salvation for „you : but the door of the new.covenant is opened unto you; come, enter into it without delay.
Flee, and make your escape out of the dominion of the
law, the covenant of works, ye were born under, and are living unders and what can no ways be done, but by your accepting and embracing this covenant offered to you in the gospel; to the instating of you perfonally in it, to all the purposes of life and salvation.
Sinners instated in the covenant by Faith or Believing.
10 clear your way into the covenant, it is neces.
sary to shew, by what means it is that a finner embraceth and is instated in it, effectually unto fal. vation. And this, in one word, is by faith or believing on Jesus Chrift: Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. The covenant of grace is held forth in the gospel unto you: God faith to every one of you, I will make an ever. lasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David : and to close the bargain with you, and state you personally in it, to all the intents and purposes of falvation, all that is required of you is to hear, that is, to believe; Hear, and your foul shall live, Ifa. lv. 3. He that believeth is within the covenant of grace personally and savingly: he that believeth not, is still under the covenant of works, where the first Adam left him. Faith is the hand whereby one taketh hold of the covenant, signs it for himself, and closeth the bargain for his own Glvation. It is the mouth whereby finners consent to the covenant, that God becomes their God, and they his people. Although while ye are without the covenant, the working of perfect obedience under the pain of the curse is required of you; and more than that fuffering also, even to the fatisfaction of justice; and both these, in virtue of the broken first covenant : and when ye are once brought within the covenant, obedience to all the ten commandments, d suffering of the discipline of the covenant in cale of your failures, are required of you, in virtue of the new covenant ye are
entered into: yet to enter you into the covenant, and instạte you in it unto salvation, nothing is required of you, but that ye believe on Christ. Only believe, Mark v. 36. is the constant doctrine of the gospel in this point. Do what you will, and believe not, you remain in a state of damnation : whatever is done, or not done by you, believe, and you are in a state of salvation. If you should say it with your lips a thousand times over, that you accept of the covenant; if you should come under tlie most folemn and awful bond and engagement to be the Lord's, exprelly taking the same upon you in prayer, or otherways; if you should write your covenant, and subscribe it with your hand, and should take the facrament of Christ's body and blood upon it, to confirm all : yet if you do not with the heart believe on Jesus Christ, you embrace not the covenant, you miss the saving hold of it, and remain without the saving bond of it. And if
you should this moment with the heart believe on Christ, having no access to speak, pray, write, or communicate: yet the moment you believe, you are personally and savingly instated in the covenant, never to fall out of it through the ages of eternity; God is your God, and all the promises of the covenant are yours: though you had missed the grip of the covenant ten thousand times before : in that case you have it firm and sure: Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: he that believeth not, Mall be damned.
And that believing on Christ should be the appointed means of entering sinners into the covenant of grace, is very agreeable to the nature and end of that great transaction. The which appears by these two considerations following.
1. Hereby the grace of the covenant is preserved entire in the dispensation of the covenant; and by that means the promise is made fure to all the feed, Rom. iv. 16. Faith is contradistinguished to works,
as grace is to debt, chap. iv, 4, 5. If any work or doing of ours were that upon which we were instated in the covenant, and got the right in the promi. ses; then the covenant, and benefit thereof would be of debt to us, contrary to the declared end and design of that method of favation, which is to exalt the free grace of God, and to cut off all boasting from us, Eph. ii. 8. 9. But the nature of faith's efficacy. in the business is adopted to that end and design of the covenant; inasmuch as it is a grace, not giving, but purely receiving ; taking all freely from Chrift, without money, and without price, laying the stress of the soul's acceptance with God, wholly on what Christ hath done and suffered; and entirely renouncing all doings and suffering of our own in that point. And thus the promise is sure to us : for whereas the plea of any work of ours would be a very uncertain one; faith's plea is ever sure and stedfast, as grounded allenarly on what Christ hath wrought.
2. Hereby the finner's entering into the covenant is by uniting with Christ the representative, with whom it was made as party-contractor ; which is the scripture account of the matter, John X. 9. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he fball be saved : and so the unity of the covenant, and the representa. tion in it, are preserved. If men entered into the covenant some other way, as by their accepting Spro. perly called) terms to them proposed, and promising for themselves the performance of them: in that case the representation in the covenant is marred; and there would be in effect as many covenants of grace, as there are persons embracing it at different times: at least, Christ's covenant would be one, and ours another distinct therefrom ; the contrary of which 'is before evinced from the Scripture. But the covenant of grace being made with Christ as fecond Adam," in the name of all such as should be his; it plainly follows, that the only way of one's entering