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äppointment was made ? Thus your whole case is put in his hand, with heart and good-will; and you trulý receive him as appointed for and offered to you.
3. This is resting on Christ alone for salvation, according to the scripture, Isa. xxvi. 3. Neither can one imagine what way a person can rest on a word, or a soul can rest upon à person, but by trusting them, or trusting in them. See 2 Chron. xxxii. 8. and xiv. 11. So I conclude, that this trust in Christ is that believing on him, by which the soul is united to Christ, and brought into the covenant in a saving manner: And for opening of it, consider the import of this trust:
(1.) It imports not only a willingness, but a sincere and earnest desire to be delivered from sin and wrath; a desire to be sanctified as well as to be justified; to be delivered from the reigning power, pollution, practice, and inbeing of sin, as well as from the guilt of it, Rom. vii. 24, 25. For it is a trusting on Christ; not for the half of his salvation, viz. salvation from wrath only, as many do who are by no means desirous to part with sin ; but for the whole of it, even salvation from sin too, the principal part thercof, Matth. i. 21: Faith is a believing with the heart and affection of the soul: The whole salvation of Christ is the be. lievet's choice: it is the end he desires to compass, and the trust of faith is exerted as the means to compass that end.
(2.) A renouncing of all confidence in all that is not Christ or in Christ, as to that matter particularly. Faith overturns self-cônfidence, law-confidence, and creature-con fidence, to build on à quite new ground, Phil. iii. 3. and Jer. xvi: 19. For it is a trusting in Christ and his righteousness wholly, a trusting or believing with all the heart, Prov. iii. 5. and Acts viii. 37. The believer is carried off the works of the law, to the blood of Jesus, for his justification ; and out of himself too, unto the Spirit of holiness, for sanctification; being persuaded that no doing or suffering of his own can procure to him the pardon of, or atone for the least piece of guilt ; and that he is not able truly to mortify one lust, more than to purge away the guilt of one sin, Matth. V. 3. and Isa. xlv. 24. Thus is the sandy foundation overturned, that the soul may build on Christ the Rock.
(3.) A hearty approbation of the plan of salvation according to the covenant, manifested in the gospel, as suited to the divine perfections, and to the case of sinners, and their VOL. I.
own case in particular, Matth. xi. 6. and i Cor. i. 23, 24. Without this, no man that knows what God is, what sin is, and what is the worth of his own soul, will ever venture his salvation upon it. One's trusting his salvation to Christ and his righteousness, speaks him to be well pleased therewith, as what one may safely trust to, and that in the sight of a holy just God. And this is that rejoicing in Christ Jesus which makes an illustrious piece of the believer's character, Phil. iii. 3. It implies,
[1.] An eyeing of Jesus Christ in this matter as a crucified Saviour, having fulfilled all righteousness, according to the stated condition of the covenant, 1 Cor. ii. 2. This is the view that faith takes of Christ, while the sinner stands trembling before a holy God, beholding him as lifted up on the cross, as the brazen serpent was on the pole in the wilderness, Isa. xlv. 22. So faith is called faith in his blood, Rom. iii. 25.; his righteousness whereof the shedding of his blood was the completing part, being the only spring of the believer's hope.
[2.] A real persuasion of the sufficiency of Christ's righteousness, to save sinners, and them in particular, from sin and wrath; to answer for them before a holy just God in the eye of his holy law, and procure for thein eternal holiness and happiness, Phil. iii. 9. There is no saving faith without this; Christ's ability must be believed, and that with application to your own case, Matth. ix. 28. And in order to this, faith fixes its view on Christ's righteousness, as the righteousness of God, and so of infinite value and efficacy, Phil. iii. 9. 1 John i. 7. The reason why the gospel, and no other doctrine whatever, is the power of God to the sale vation of sinners, is because therein is revealed the righteousness of God unto faith, Rom. i. 16, 17.; and that is the only righteousness suited to the divine perfections and the sinner's case.
[3.] An acquiescing in that way of salvation for themselves, Matth. xi. 6. The believer sees the sufficiency and safety of it, and he hath a cordial liking of it for the way of his salvation. The mystery of Christ is to him the power of God, and the wisdom of God, i Cor. i. 24. His soul pronounces them safe and blessed that are in it; he desires for his own part to be found in it, Phil. iii. 9. and is per. suaded he would be well, saved from sin and wrath, if he were in it.
: (4.) A betaking one's self unto Christ and his righteousness alone, for salvation from sin and wrath. This is done by this trusting on him and his righteousness wholly, Ruth ii. 12. The sinner believing that Christ is his Saviour and that his righteousness is made over to him by free gift, and withal that this his Saviour, with his righteousness, is sufficient to save him from sin and wrath, doth accordingly trust on Christ and his righteousness, for salvation from sin and wrath. : 5. Lastly, An affiance, confidence, or trust on Christ and his righteousness, that he will save us from sin and wrath, according to his promise. That faith is an affiance, confidence, or trust, is evident from the whole tenor of the holy scripture. So it is expressly called. Isa. xxvi. 3, 4. and I. 10. Psal. xxviii. 7. and cxviii. 8, 9. Heb. x. 35. And that it is a particular trust, viz. that Christ will save us, is evident from the nature of the thing: for he that trusts in a person for a thing, hath surely a persuasion of the same degree with the trust, that that person will do that thing for him. And hence, where the party trusted doth fail, the party trusting is confounded and ashamed, as being disappointed in that which he trusted he would do for him: and since the trust of faith is never disappointed, therefore it is observed, that the believer shall never be ashamed, Rom. x. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 6. 2 Tim. i. 12. ; which plainly imports the trust of faith in the Lord to be, that he will do for the sinner what he trusts him for, otherwise there would be no place for this shame in any case*.
SECONDLY, I come now to offer some motives to press the exhortation on sinners to enter personally into the covenant.
1. Being out of this covenant, ye are under the broken covenant of works, which makes your state a deplorable one. Some stand off from the gospel covenant, because they do not incline to come under a covenant with God. But, alas! they do not consider, that there never was nor will be a moment of their life wherein they were or are free from a covenant with God. Ye are born under the covenant of works, and the bond of that covenant is fast wreathed about
Some few enlargements in these particulars, with objections of serious exercised souls relative to the doctrine here laid down, and answers thereto may be seen, ubi se pra, under the title, The faith of the gospel instating in the covenant,
your necks, as long as ye are out of the covenant of grace : for the two covenants divide the whole world between them, Rom. vi. 14.; and there is no getting out of the bond of the first covenant, but by marrying with Christ, and so coming under the bond of the second, Rom. vii. 4. And of the broken covenant I may say, that it is strong to command, curse, condemn, and kill those under it, Gal. iii. 10. but absolutely barren as to the affording strength for duty, life, or salvation, Rom: viii. 3.
2. Ye are all' under the covenant of grace externally and by profession, as being baptised in the name of Christ, Gal. iii. 27. Why will ye not really be what you have professed to be, members of Christ, believing in him, within the bond of the covenant in a saving manner ? Why will ye ag. gravate your own condemnation, by professing to take hold of the covenant, and yet before the Lord keeping your necks out of that yoke ?
3. It is a most honourable coyenant. The parties in it confederate are God and his own Son Jesus Christ, and in him the general assembly of the first-born, whose narces are written in heaven. And seemeth it a small tủing to you to be confederated with these?
4. It is a most precious covenant, being a covenant in the blood of the Son of God, 1 Cor. xi. 25. It could not be purchased otherwise : heaven and earth, set at odds by the breaking of the first covenant, could not be united again at less expence. Slight it not.
5. It is a most advantageous covenant, and most suitable for you. It is most advantageous for time and for eternity, i Tím. iv. 8. There is no case you are or can be in, but there is a suitable help for it in the covenant. Yea, it is suited to your inability for the duties of it, not by loosing the bond of the holy commandments, but promising strength, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. and to your fickleness and native instability, John X. 28, 29.
6. It is freely offered to you, and every one of you, Rev. xxii. 17. Not only is there a warrant for your entering in, to it, but that warrant is intimated to you, and ye are invited, yea commanded, to come in, Luke xiv. 23. 1 John
7. Jesus Christ himself is appointed Administrator of it to you, Isa. Ixi. 1. Regard it for the sake of the glorious Ad. ministrator. He is Heaven's Ambassador to you, and every one of you, in the matter of this covenant : so that if ye refuse it, ye must refuse it at his hand.
8. He administers it to sinners very honourably, taking them to himself, that he may bring them into the covenant, admitting them into it by union with himself
. 9. Lastly, Without this covenant there is no salvation, Eph. ii. 12. Either ye must be in it, or perish for ever. When the first covenant was broken, there was a second made for the help of sinners ; if ye refuse the second, there is not a third. It is the last ship bound for Immanuel's land.
Wherefore let this be a time of your embracing the covenantį and ye that have embraced it before, renew your acceptance of it, that ye may get it sealed by the sacrament,
(1.) Stir up the faith of the law in your own souls, as a preparative to the faith of the gospel.
(2.) Set before you the promises of the gospel, and believe on Jesus Christ, in whom they are all yea and Amen.
(3.) Lastly, In solemn prayer to God, be as express and particular as may be in these things, and so solemnly enter into the covenant in express words before the Lord, Isaiah xliv. 5.
SECONDLY, and lastly, Let those who have personally entered into the covenant of grace, and are now by faith instated in it, walk worthy of the covenant, walk as becomes the covenant, Phil. i. 27. Look to the covenant which ye are taken into, and let your life and conversation be agreeable thereto.
1. Be holy in the whole of your life, 1 Pet. i. 15. Holiness is the great end of the covenant, next to the glory of God. It is the holy covenant ye are brought into; holiness goes through the whole of it, and the design of it was to make sinners holy. And ye must evidence the reality of your being in it by holiness, holiness of heart and life, Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. An unholy life, and an unsanctified heart in which sin rules and reigns, will be a decisive evidence of estrangedness from the covenant.
2. Turn not back to your former lusts in your state without the covenant, i Pet. i. 14. The men of the first covehant live, and cannot but live in their sins, because death domineers under that covenant; and living lusts feed on