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SUM OF SAVING KNOWLEDGE.
HEAD I. Our woful condition by nature.
II. The remedy provided in Christ Jesus.
The use of Saving Knowledge.
1. For convincing of sin by the law.
For convincing of fin, righteousness and judgment by the gospd.
Warrants and motives to believe.
1. God's hearty invitation,
Evidences of true faith.
1. Conviction of the believer's obligation to keep the moral law. 2. That the believer practise the rules of godliness and righteousness. 3. That obedience to the law run in the right channel of faith in Chrift. 4. The keeping of Atrait communion with Christ, the fountain of all grace
and good works. For strengthning the believer in faith and obedience, by these evidences.
The sum of saving knowledge may be taken up in these four
heads; 1. The woful condition wherein all men are by nature, through breaking of the covenant of works. , 2. The remedy provided for the elect in Jesus Christ by the covenant of grace. 3. The means appointed to make them partakers of this covenant. 4. The blessings which are effectually conveyed unto the ele&t by these means. Which four beads are set down'each of them in some few propositions.
Η Ε Α D Ι. Our woful condition by nature, through breaking the covenant of works,
Hof. xiii. 9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.
HE almighty and eternal God, the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons in the one and the same undivided Godhead, equally infinite in all perfections, did, before time, most wisely decree, for his own glory, whatsoever cometh to pass in time; and doth most kolily and infallibly execute all his decrees, without being partaker of the sin of any creature.
II. This God, in six days, made all things of nothing, very good in their own kind: in special, he made all the angels holy; and he made our first parents, Adam and Eve, the root of mankind, both upright and able to keep the law written in their heart. Which law they were naturally bound to obey
under pain of death; but God was not bound to reward their service, till he entered into a covenant or contract with them, and their posterity in them, to give them eternal life upon condition of perfect personal obedience; withal threatning death in case they should fail. This is the covenant of works.
III. Both angels and men were subject to the change of their own free-will, as experience proved (God having reserved to himself the incommunicable property of being naturally unchangeable:) for many angels of their own accord fell by sin from their first estate, and became devils. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, one of these devils speaking in a serpent, did break the covenant of works, in eating the forbidden fruit; whereby they, and their posterity being in their loins, as branches in the root, and comprehended in the same covenant with them, became not only liable to eternal death, but also lost all ability to please God; yea, did become by nature enemies to God, and to all spiritual good, and inclined only to evil continually. This is our original fin, the bitter root of all our actual transgressions, in thought, word, and deed.
H E A D II. The remedy provided in Jesus Christ for the elect by the covenant of
grace, Hof. xiii. 9. O Ifrael, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help. Lbeit man, having brought himself into this woful con
dition, be neither able to help himself, nor willing to be helped by God out of it, but rather inclined to ly still unsensible of it, till he perish; yet God, for the glory of his rich grace, hath revealed in his word a way to save finners, to wit, by faith in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, by virtue of, and according to, the tenor of the covenant of redemption, made and agreed upon between God the Father and God the Son, in the council of the Trinity, before the world began. II. The sum of the covenant of redemption is this; God
having freely chosen unto life, a certain number of loft mankind, for the glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the world began, unto God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himself so far as to àssume the human nature, of a soul and a body, unto personal union with his divine nature, and submit himself to the law, as furety for them, and satisfy justice for them, by giving obedience in their name, even unto the suffering of the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom and redeem them all from sin and death, and purchase unto them righteousness and eternal life, with all saving graces leading thereunto, to be effectually, by means of his own appointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This condition the Son of God (who is Jesus Christ our Lord) did accept before the world began, and in the fulness of time came into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected himself to the law, and compleatly paid the ransom on the cross: But by virtue of the foresaid bargain, made before the world began, he is in all ages, since the fall of Adam, still upon the work of applying actually the purchased benefits unto the elect: And that he doth by way of entertaining a covenant of free grace and reconciliation with them, through faith in himself; by which covenant, he makes over to every believer a right and interest to himfelf, and to all his blessings.
III. For the accomplishment of this covenant of redempti. on, and making the elect partakers of the benefits thereof in the covenant of grace, Christ Jesus was clad with the threefold office of a prophet, priest, and king. Made a prophet, to reveal all saving knowledge to his people, and to persuade them to believe and obey the fame; made a priest, to offer up himself a sacrifice once for them all, and to interceed continually with the Father, for making their persons and services acceptable to him; and made a king, to subdue them to himself, to feed and rule them by his own appointed ordinances, and to defend them from their enemies.
nant, and all the rest that are called to be inexcusable, Mat, xxü.
takers of the covenant of grace, are so wisely dispenfed, as the elect shall be infallibly converted and saved by them; and the reprobate, among whom they are, not to be justly stumbled. The means are especially these tour; 1. The word of God. 2. The sacraments. 3. Kirk-government. 4. Prayer. In the word of God preached by sent messengers, the Lord makes offer of grace to all finners, upon condition of faith in Jesus Christ; and whosoever do confess their sia, accept of Christ offered, and submit themselves to his ordinances, he will have both them and their children received into the honour and privileges of the covenant of grace. By the sacraments, God will have the covenant sealed for confirming the bargain, on the foresaid condition. By kirk-government, he will have them hedged in, and helped forward ụnto the keeping of the covenant. And by prayer, he will have his own glorious grace, promised in the covenant, to be daily drawn forth, acknowledged, and employed. All which means are followed either really, or in profession only, according to the quality of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers.
II. The covenant of grace, set down in the Old Testament before Christ came, and in the New Gince he came, is one and the same in substance, albeit different in outward administration: For the covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed with the sacraments of circụmcision and the paschal-lamb, did set forth Christ's death to come, and the benefits purchased ihereby, under the shadow of bloody facrifices, and sundry ceremonies; but, fince Christ came, the covenant being realed by the facraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, dotk