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knowledge is fully confirmed by the Promise to Abraham, and very copiously by the repeated Predictions of the Prophets, in Relation to our Lord's Work, and particularly to his Death, with the End and Design of it.

166. Again; it is to be noted, that all the fore-mentioned Mercy and Love, Privileges and Blessings, are granted and confirmed to the Christian Church, under the Sanction of à Covenant; (63) which is a Grant or Donation of Blessings confirmed by a proper Authority. The Gospel Covenant is established by the Promise and Oath of God, and ratified by the Blood of Christ, as a Pledge and Afiurance, that it is a Reality, and will certainly be made good. Matt. xxvi. 28, “ This is my Blood in the New Testament," or Covenant. Luke xxii. 20, “ This Cup is the New Testament," Covenant, « in my Blood.” 2 Cor. ii. 6, “ Made us able Ministers of the New Testament," Covenant. Heb. vč. 22, « Jesus made a Surety of a better Testament.” Heb. viii. 6, “ He is the Mediator | of a better Covenant established upon better Promises.” viii. 8. ix. 15. xii. 24. xiii. 20.--Here Obf. 1. Jesus is the Surety [Eyyuas] Sponsor, ! and Mediator (Moritns Il] of the New Covenant, as he is the great Agent appointed of God to negociate, tranfact, secure, and execute all the Blessings, which are conferred by this Covenant. Obf. 2. That as the Covenant is a Donation or Grant of Blessings, hence it is, that the Promise, or Promises, is sometimes put for the Covenant; as Gal. iii. 17, The Covenant that was confirmed before, to Abraham, of God in Christ the Law, which was 430 Years after, cannot ditanul, that it should make the Promise of none Effect. For if the Inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise : But God gave it to Abraham by Promise.Ani so Ver. 19. Again, Ver. 21, “ Is the Law then against the Promise of God?” Ver. 22. Obl. 3. That the Gospel Covenant was included in that made with Abraham, Gen. xvii. 1, &c. xxii. 16, 17, 18. As appears from Gal. iii. 17, and from Heb. vi. 13, " When God made Promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” &c. Ver. 17, “ He confirmed [EMETITFUGIT, he mediator’d] it by an Oath: That by two immutable Things,” the Promise and Oath of God, “we [Christians] might have strong Consolation, who have fled for Refuge to lay hold on the Hope set before us."

167. But what should carefully and specially be observed, is this ; that the Gospel-Conftitution is a Scheme, and the most perfect and effectual Scheme for restoring true Religion, and for promoting Virtue and Happiness, that the World hath ever yet feen. [64] Upon profefied Faith in Christ Men of all Nations were admitted irrio the Church, Family, Kingdom and Covenant of God by Baptism; were all numbered among the justified, regenerate or born again, fanctified, saved, chosen, called, Saints, and Beloved; were all

of

1! This is the only Place where our Lord is called a Surety, Eyyvos, or Sponsor; not our Sponsor, or Surety; but the Sponsor of the Covenant. Now a Sponsor is one, who undertakes for the Performance of a Promise. A Mediaator, likewise, fecures the Accomplishment of promised Blessings. Thus (according to the Apostle, Heb. vi. 17.) God made his own Oath the Mediator of the Promise to Abraham. EusOITEVCEV Ogxw, he mediator’d it, that is, secured the Accomplishment of it, by an Oath.

of the Flock, Church, House, Vine and Vineyard of God; and were intitled to the Ordinances and Privileges of the Church; had exceeding great and precious Promises, given unto them, especially that of entering into the Rest of Heaven. And in all these Blessings and Honours we are certainly

very happy, as they are " the Things which are freely given to us of God,” i Cor. ii. 12. But because these Things are freely given, without Respect to any Obedience, or Righteousness of ours prior to the Donation of them, is our Obedience and personal Righteousness therefore unnecessary ? Or, are we, on Account of Benests already received, fecure of the Favour and Blessing of God in a future World, and for ever? By no Means.

168. To explain this important Point more clearly, I shall proceed as before, [65, &c.] and shew that these Privileges and Blessings, given in general to the Christian Church, are antecedent Bleslings, given indeed freely, without any Respect to the prior Obedience of the Gentile World, before they were taken into the Church ; but intended to be Motives to the most upright Obedience for the future, after they were joined to the Family and Kingdom of God. Which Effect if they produce, then our Election, and Calling, our Redemption, Adoption, &c. are made good: Then we work out our own Salvation; and become so intitled to all the Blessings promised in the Covenant, that they shall be, not only a present Advantage, but secured to us finally, and for ever. Upon which Account I shall call them consequent Blessings; because they are secured to us, and made ours for ever, only in consequence of our Obedience. But, on the other Hand, if the antecedent Blessings do not produce Obedience to the Will of God; if we, his chosen People and Children, do not obey the Laws and Rules of the Gospel; then, as well as any other wicked Persons, we may expect “Tribulation and Wrath ;" then we forfeit all our Privileges: And all our Honours and Relations to God, all the Favour and Promises given freely to us, are of no Avail; we 6 receive the Grace of God in vain,” and everlasting Death will certainly be our wretched Portion.

169. That this is the great End of the Dispensation of God's Grace to the Christian Church; namely, to engage us to Duty and Obedience; or, that it is a Scheme for promoting Virtue and true Religion, is clear from every part of the New Testament, and requires a large and particular Proof: Not because the Thing in itself is difficult or intricate ; but because it is of great Importance to the right Understanding of the Gospel, and the Apostolic Writings; and serves to explain several Points, which stand in close Relation to it. As particularly; that all the fore-mentioned Privileges belong to all professed Christians, even to those that shall perish eternally. [138] For,

1. If the Apostles affirm them of all Christians to whom they write; 2. If they declare some of those Chriftians, who were favoured with

those Privileges, to be wicked, or suppose they might be wicked; 3. If they declare those Privileges, are conferred by mere Grace,

without Regard to prior Works of Righteousness ; 4. If they plainly intimate those Privileges are conferred in order to produce true Holiness;

2

5. If

5. If they exhort all to use them to that Purpose, as they will an

swer it to God at the last Day; 6. If they declare they snall perish, if they do not improve them to

the purifying their Hearts, and the right ordering of their Converdations; then it must be true, that these Privileges belong to all Christians, and are intended to induce them to an holy Life. And the Truth of all those Six Particulars will sufficiently appear, if we attend to the following Examination of the Gospels and Epifties.

MAT. V, VI, VIIth Chapters, LUKE VI. 20, &c.

" the

to

v. 13,

170. Here our blessed Lord instructs his Disciples in that Temper of Mind, and in those Rules of Action, which alone would quality them for final Salvation, and without due Regard to which, he allures them, they should perish eternally. Observe; he addrelles them as his Disciples, Mat. v. 1, 2. Luke vi. 20. He considers them as Salt of the Earth,” Mat. v. 13; as “the Light of the World," Ver. 14. They owned him for their Lord, Luke vi. 46; they came him, Ver. 47 ; they heard his Savings, Mat. vii. 24, 26; and God was their Father, Mat. vi. 1, 4, 6, 9, &c. These were their prefert Privileges, by which they were obliged to various Duties; which Duties he supposes they might neglect, and then, notwithitanding their Privileges, they would be cast off in the future World. Mar.

6 Ye are the Salt of the Earth : But if the Salt have lost its Savour, wherewith thall it be falted ? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under Foot of Men.” Mat. v. 14, « Ye are the Light of the World ;" Ver. 16, « Let your Light thine before Men.” Luke vi. 46, “And why call ye nie Lord, Lord, and do not the Things which I fay?" Ver. 47, &c. " Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my Sayings, and doth them, is like a Man which built an Houle-ani laid the Foundation on a Rock, &c. But he that heareth and doth not, is like a Man, that without an Foundation built an House,

against which the Stream did beat vehemently, and immediately ic fell, and the Ruin of that House was great.”'

171. And that this is our Lord's Sense, and a general Rule, he clearly declares in this famc Discourse, Mat. vii. 21, 22, 23, “Not every one that faith unto ine, [in this present World] Lord, Lord, I profesting Relation to me) shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven at the last Day:] But he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will fay to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name, and in thy Name have cast out Devils ? And in thy Name have done many wonderful Works? (Luke xiij. 26, “ We have eaten and drunk in thy Presence, and thou hast taught in our Streets.") And then will I profess unto them, I never knew * you: Depart from me, ye that work Iniquity.” Here our Lord evidently supposes, that the Enjoyment of very high Privi. teges, at present, is consistent with working Iniquity; and atlirms, that

if

* For the Sense of know, le Note upon Rom. viii. 27.

if we are Workers of Iniquity, how great soever our present Privileges are, we shall be rejected in the Day of Judgment.

172. Mat. viii. 11, 12 ; Many shall come from the East and West, and shall fit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven : But the Children of the Kingdom ihall be cast out into outer Darknefs: There shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth."---This refers to the final issue of Things: For outer Darkness, and Weeping and Gnathing of Teeth, are, in all other Places, spoken of the final Punishment of wicked Men in the Day of Judgment." See Mat, xiii. 42, 50. xxii. 13. xxiv. 51. xxv. 30.-Luke xiii. 28. And in this last Place the Expressions and Sentiments are nearly the same, as in the Passage under Confideration. For thus it runs; Ver. 27, “He shall fay, I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me all ye Workers of Iniquity. There shall be Weeping and Gnathing of Teeth, when ye (who now profess Relation to me, Ver. 26.] shall see Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the East and the West, and from the North and the South, and hall sit down in the Kingdom of God.” Therefore both these Places (Mat. viii. 11, 12, and Luke xiii. 28, however the latter, without Dispute] refer to the final Issue of Things; and plainly fignify, that though we now are the Children of the Kingdom of God, or belong to the Body of his people in this present World, which is our great Privilege, and the Effect of God's mere Grace, vet it is very possible we may, in the World to come, be cast out of God's Kingdom into outer Darkness; while many, who do not at present belong to his Kingdom, fall hereafter be admitted into it.

173. Mat. xiii. 47, 48, 49; “ Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Net that was cast into the Sea, and gathered of every

Kind. Which, when it was full, they drew to the Shore, and fat down, and gathered the good into Vetiels, but cast the bad away. So fhall it be at the End of the World: The Angels shall come forth, and fever the Wicked from among the Yu/t; and thall cast them into the Furnace of Fire,” &c. Here it is supposed, that the present Kingdom of God consists of Bai and Good, Wicked and u. A wicked Person inay be a Member, and enjoy the Privileges of the Kingdom of God in this World: But if he continues finally wicked, he thail, notwithanding his present Privileges, “ in the End of the World," at the last Day, be cast into Perdition.

174. Mat. XXI-17; “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Man that is an Houtholder, which went out early in the Morning to hire Labourers into his Vineyard. So when Even was coine, the Lord of the Vineyard said unto his Steward, call the labourers, and give them their Hire,” &c.---The Vineyard is the Church; Jows and Christians are the Labourers taken into it. This is their pretent Privilege, granted by Grace, without Relpect to antecedent It'orts. But now taken into the Vineyard, we shall not receive our Hire at Even, (that is, in the Day of Judgment) unicís we have done the 1Pork of the Vineyard.

175. Mat. xxii, 2--15, “ The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain King (God) who made a Alarriae lor his Son, (our Lord? and

fent

We are

fent forth his Servants to call them (the Jews] who were [before] bidden to the Wedding, (and now were called a second Time ;) and they would not come. Then faith he to his Servants, the Wedding is ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy: Go ye therefore into the Highways (among the Gentiles] and as many as ye shall find call to the Marriage. So those Servants went out into the High-ways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both Bad and Good: And the Wedding was furnished with Guests. And when the King came in to see the Guests, he saw there a Man which had not on a Wedding-garment: And he faith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a Wedding-garment ? and he was fpeechless.” Ver. 13, “ Then faid the King to the Servants, bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer Darkness: There shall be Weeping and Gnathing of Teeth.” --Hence it is evident, bosh bad and good, those who had, and those who had not, the Wedding garment, were taken out of the common World, into the Christian Church, or King, dom of Heaven; or were called to the Feast and admitted to it, without Respect to their former State of Idolatry and Wickedness

. But at the last Day, when the King shall come to inspect the Guests, (for the King's Coming in to see the Guests is at the Day of Judg. ment; as appears from the Punishment inflicted, Ver. 13.) if any be found without the Wedding-garment, or, not having acquired the Habits of Virtue and Holiness, by improving the Privileges and blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven, notwithstanding his present Advantages and Honours, in being admitted to the Feast, or taken into the Church, he shall be “ taken away, and cast into outer Darkness.”

176. Mat. xxv. 1-14; “ Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten Virgins, which took their Lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were Wife, and five were Foolish. They that were Foolish took their Lamps, and took no Oil with them: But the Wise took Oil in their Vessels. While the Bridegroom tarried they all fiumbered and ilept, (namely, in Death. This represents their State between Death and the Resurrection.] And at Midnight there was a Cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. Then all these Virgins arose (at the Resurrection) and trimmed their Lamps. And the Foolish said unto the Wise, give us of your Oil, for our Lamps are gone out. But the Wife answered, not so;

—but go ye- and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy the Bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the Marriage, and the Door was fhut. Afterward came also the other Virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the Day nor the Hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."--It is evident, this Darable points at the final Issue of Things. The ten Virgins represent all the Members of the Church, or Kingdom of Heaven in this World. Our being in that Kingdom, and having the Lamps put into our Hands, and enjoying the Opportunity of procuring Oil, represent our present Privileges, or the Means we enjoy of purifying our Nature. And these are freely given us by the Grace of God, without Respect to our prior Works. But having received them, it is our present Duty to improve them to our Sancti fication. Which if we do, we shall be admitted to the Marriage; that

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