ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Thus every man may be, by the law or covenant of works, convinced of judgment, if he shall continue under the cove. nant of works, or shall not obey the gospel of our Lord Jefus.

IV. For convincing a man of 'sin, righteousness, and judg.

ment, by the gospel.

AS for convincing a man of sin, and righteousness and judgment, by the gospel or covenant of grace, he must understand three things; 1. That not believing in Jesus Christ, or refusing of the covenant of grace offered in him, is a greater and more dangerous sin, than all other fins against the law; because the hearers of the gospel, not believing in Christ, do reject God's mercy in Christ, the only way of freedom from sin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to God. 2. Next, He must understand, that perfect remission of fin, and true righteousness, is to be had only by faith in Jesus; because God requireth no other conditions but faith; and testifies from heaven, that he is well pleased to justify sinners upon this condition. 3. He must understand, that upon righteousness received by faith, judgment shall follow, on the one hand, to the destroying of the works of the devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work of sanctification in him, with power: and that, upon refusing to take righteoufness by faith in Jesus Christ, judgment shall follow, on the other hand, to the condemnation of the misbeliever, and destroying of him with Satan and his servants for ever.

For this end, let these passages of scripture, among many others, serve to make the greatness of the fin of not believing in Christ appear; or, to make the greatness of the sig of refuling of the covenant of grace offered to us, in the offering of Christ unto us, let the fair offer of grace be looked upon as it is made, Isa. lv. 2. 'Incline your ear, and come unto me,

(faith the Lord) hear, and your soul shall live; and I will • make an everlasting covenant with you, even the surę mercies of David.' That is, If ye will believe me, and be re

conciled

conciled to me, I will, by covenant, give unto you Chrift, and all faving graces in him: repeated, A&s xiii. 34.

Again, consider, that this general offer in substance is equivalent to a special offer made to every one in particular; as appeareth by the apostles making use of it, Acts xvi. 31. • Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved • and thy house. The reason of which offer is given, John iii. 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only

begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not

perish, but have everlasting life.' Seeing then this great salvation is offered in the Lord Jesus, whosoever believeth not in him, but looks for happiness some other way, What doth he else but observe lying vanities, and forsake his own mercy, which he might have had in Christ? Jonah ii. 8, 9. What doth he else but blafpheme God in his heart? as it faid, 1 John v. 10. He that believeth not God, hath made • him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God • hath given of his Son: and this is the record, that God hath

given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. And that no fin against the law is like unto this sin, Christ testifies, Joho xv. 22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they · had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin.' This may convince a man of the greatness of this lin of not believing in Christ.

For convincing a man of righteousness to be had only by faith

in Jesus Christ, consider how, Rom. x. 3, 4.

IT is said, that the Jews, ' being ignorant of God's righ• teousness, and going about to establih their own righteouf

ness, have not fubmitted themselves unto the righteousness • of God, (and so they perished) for Christ is the end of the

law for righteousness to every one that believeth. And, Acts 'xiii. 39. By Christ Jesus all that believe are justified from • all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law ' of Mofes. And, 1 John i. 7. The blood of Jesus Christ, hiş Son, cleanseth us from all fin.'

For

For convincing a man of judgment, if a man embrace this righteousness: consider, 1 John iii. 8. ' For this purpose the • Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works

of the devil. And, Heb. ix. 14. How much more shall the · blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered • himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from · dead works, to serve the living God?'

-But, if a man embrace not this righteousness, his doom is pronounced, John iii. 18. · He chat believeth not is condem' ned already, because he hath not believed in the name of

the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemna• tion, that light is come into the world, and men loved darknefs rather than light.'

Hence let the penitent, desiring to believe, reason thus; " What doth suffice to convince all the elect in the word " of the greatness of the sin of not believing in Christ, or ti

fusing to flee to him for relief from sins done against the " law, and from wrath due thereto; and what sufficech to “ convince them, that righteousness and eternal life is to be “ had by faith in Jesus Christ, or by consenting to the core

grace in him; and what fufficeth to convince them of judgment to be exercised by Christ, for destroying the “ works of the devil in a man, and fan&tifying and saving all " that believe in him, may suffice to convince me alfo.

“ But what the spirit hath said, in these or other like scrip“ tures, fufficeth to convince the elect world of the forefaid

fin, and righteousness, and judgment.

“ Therefore what the Spirit hath said, in these and other " like scriptures, serveth to convince me thereof also.”

Whereupon let the penitent defiring to believe, take with him words, and say heartily to the Lord, seeing thou sayest

, Seek ye my face, my soul answereth unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek: I have hearkened unto the offer of an everlasting covenant of all saving mercies to be had in Christ, and I do heartily embrace thy offer. Lord, let it be a bargain; Lord, I

belicos,

nant of

believe, help my unbelief: Behold, I give myself to thee, to serve thee in all things for ever; and I hope, thy right hand fall fave me; the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Thus may a man be made an unfeigned believer in Christ.

[ocr errors]

For strengthning the man's faith, who hath agreed unto the

covenant of grace.

BECAUSE many true believers are weak, and do much doubt if ever they shall be sure of the soundness of their own faith and effectual calling, or made certain of their justification and falvation, when they fee, that many, who profess faith, are found to deceive themselves; let us see how every believer may be made strong in the faith, and sure of his own election and falvation upon solid grounds, by sure warrants, and true evidences of faith. To this end, among many other scriptures, take these following.

1. For laying solid grounds of faith, consider 2 Pet. i. 10.

Wherefore the rather, brethren,' give diligence to make sure your calling and election: for if ye do these things, ye Thall never fall.

In which words, the apostle teacheth us these four things, for help and direction, how to be made strong in the faith.

1. That such as believe in Christ Jesus, and are fled to him for relief from sin and wrath, albeit they be weak in the faith, yet they are indeed children of the same Father with the apostles; for so he accounteth of them, while he calleth them brethren.

2. That, albeit we be not sure, for the time, of our effectual calling and election, yet we may be made sure of both, if we use diligence; for this he presupposeth, saying, 'Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.'

3. That we must not be discouraged, when we see many seeming believers prove rotten branches, and make defection; Ff

buc

but we must the rather take the better heed to ourselves, · Wherefore the rather, brethren, faith he, give all diligence.'

4. That the way to be sure both of our effectual calling and election, is to make sure work of our faith, by laying the grounds of it solidly, and bringing forth the fruits of our faith in new obedience constantly: 'For if we do these things, faith • he, ye shall never fall;' understanding, by these things, what he had faid of found faith, verses 1, 2, 3, 4. and what he had faid of the bringing out of the fruits of faith, verses 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

To this fame purpose, consider, Rom. viii. 1.. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Chrift Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. ver. 2. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath ! made me free from the law of fin and death. ver. 3. For · what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the

flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of fioful • flesh, and for fin condemned fin in the flesh. ver. 4. That : the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who * walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.'

Wherein the apostle teacheth us these four things, for laying of the ground of faith solidly;

-1. That every one is a true believer, who, in the sense of his fin, and fear of God's wrath, doth flee for full relief from both unto Jesus Christ alone, as the only Mediator, and allfufficient Redeemer of men; and, being filed to Christ, doth strive against his own flesh, or corrupt inclination of nature, and studieth to follow the rule of God's Spirit, set down in his word: for the man, whom the apostle doth here bless as a true believer, is a man in Christ Jesus, "who doth not walk after the flesh, but after the spirit.'

2. That all such persons as are fled to Christ, and do strive against sin, howsoever they may be possibly exercised under the sense of wrath and fear of condemnation, yet they are in no danger; for, there is no condemnation (faith he) to them

that

« 前へ次へ »