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tional creatures; the latter, to the time prefixed in the eternal purpose, when by means of the law in the hands of the spirit of bondage, their breasts, as it were, are fashioned, in the work of conviction; upon which enfues their fpirtual marriage with Chrift. But how is the out-caft preferved in the interval, that she perisheth not in her wretched condition? Why; though no hand was laid upon her, yea a word was spoken, which fecured her life in a cafe naturally deadly. At the first paffing by her, in the day fhe was born and cast out, God said to her, Live in thy blood: that is, " Notwithstanding that "thou art lying in the open field, in thy blood, thy "navel not dreffed, fo that, according to the course "of nature, thy blood and fpirits muft quickly fail, "and this thy birth-day must be thy dying day; yet "I fay unto thee, LIVE: thou shalt not die in that "condition, but grow up in it, being preserved till "the happy moment of the defigned marriage." And this is the promise of the elect's prefervation in their natural state: And it hath two great branches; one refpecting their natural life; another refpecting their spiritual death. The
Firft is a promise of the continuation of their na• tural life, till fuch time as they be made partakers of life in Chrift Fefus. God has faid it; they shall live, though in the blood of their natural, ftate. So it is not poffible they fhould die before that time, whatever dangers they are brought into; even though a thousand should fall at their fide, and ten thousand at their right hand; for, by the promife of the covenant, there is an unfeen guard about them, to defend them. It is in virtue hereof, that all along during the time they are in that state, they are preferved, whether in the womb, or coming out of it, or in all the dangers of infancy, childhood, youth, or whatsoever age they arrive at therein. This is it that, fo long as they are unconverted, doth fo often bring them back
back from the gates of death; returning them in fafety, when either by diseases, or other accidents, they are past hope in their own eyes, and in the eyes of friends and phyficians. Though the elect thief was, in his natural state, nailed to the cross; yet death had no power to come at him, fo as to feparate his foul from his body, till fuch time as he was once united to Chrift by faith, and made partaker of a new life in him. The,
Second is a promise of keeping the grave-stone from off them in their spiritual death The grave ftone is the fin against the Holy Ghoft, the unpardonable fin; which, on whomfoever it is laid, makes their cafe, from that moment, irrecoverable, that thenceforth they can never rife from fpiritual death to life: Mark iii. 29. He that fhall blafpheme against the Holy Ghoft, hath NEVER forgiveness. But although the elect in their natural state, being dead in fin as well as others, may, through the activity of reigning and raging lufts, fo rot in their graves, as to be most abominable in the eyes of God and all good men; yet, because of the promise of the covenant, it is not poffible that that grave-stone should be laid on them. There is an invifible guard set on their fouls, as well as on their bodies: and fo it is infallibly prevented, as may be learned from that expreffion of our Saviour, Matth. xxiv. 24. Infomuch that (if it were poffible) they fhall deceive the very elect. While they are Satan's captives, he may drive them to a prodigious pitch of wickednefs. So did he with Manasseh, and Paul: but, as far as he had carried them, he could not carry them forward that step.
This promife of the elect's preservation, as it is with the rest founded on the obedience and death of Chrift; whereby eternal life was purchased for them, and confequently these benefits in particular, failing which they will be ruined for ever: fo it is akin to, and feems to be grafted upon the promife of afK 3 fiftance
fiftance made to Chrift in the covenant; by which a divine fupport was infured to him, during all the time the fins of the elect, and the wrath of God for them, fhould lie upon him. And at this rate, the cafe of the Head, and of the members, was jointly provided for in the covenant.
II. The Promife of the Spirit.
The promife of eternal life to the elect, compre hends alfo a promife of the Spirit of life to be communicated to them, and each one of them, at the nick of time prefixed in their cafes refpectively, in the eternal council: that is, the time appointed to be the time of love, the dawning of the day of grace to them, however long and dark their night may be. This promife is found, Ifa. xliv. 3. I will pour my Spirit upon thy feed. Ezek. xxxvi. 27. I will put my pirit within you. The elect of God being, even as the reft of mankind, dead in fin, through the breach of the first covenant, could not be recovered, but through a communication of the fpirit of life to them; but that fpirit they could not have from an un-atoned God. Wherefore, in the covenant, Christ undertook to fulfill all righteousness in their name, thereby to purchase the Spirit for them: upon which was made the promife of the Spirit, the leading fruit of Chrift's purchase; called therefore the Father's promife by way of eminency, Luke xxiv 49. In token hereof the great outpouring of the Spirit was at Chrift's afcenfion; when he, as our great High Prieft, carried in the blood of his facrifice into the inost holy place not made with hands, Acts ii. For as the fire which was fet to the incenfe on the golden altar, the altar of incenfe, was brought from off the brazen altar, the altar of burnt-offering, in the court of the temple, fo the Spirit which caufeth dead finners to live, iffueth from the cross of Chrift, who Juffered without the gate.
Now, of the promife of the Spirit there are two chief branches; namely, the promise of spiritual moral life, and the promise of faith.
1. The promife of fpiritual moral life, in virtue whereof the foul morally dead in fin, is raised to life again, through the spirit of life communicated unto it from heaven. This is the beginning, the very first of the eternal life itself promifed in the covenant. It is the lighting of the facred lamp of fpiritual life in the foul, which can never be extinguished again, but burns for evermore thereafter. This promife we have, Ifa. xxvi. 19. Thy dead men fhall live. And it belongs to the promise of the Spirit; as appears from Ezek. xxxvii. 14. And fhall put my Spi-. rit in you, and ye shall live.
The effect of it is the quickening of the dead foul, by the Spirit of Chrift paffively received: Eph. ii. 5. When we were dead in fins (God, ver. 4.) hath quickened us. This is the fame with the renewing in effectual calling, whereby we are enabled to embrace Jefus Chrift, mentioned in our Shorter Catechifm on that question. And it is fitly called by fome divines, the first regeneration, agreeable to the style of the holy fcripture: John i. 12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the fons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ver. 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Sinners in their natural state lie dead, lifelefs, and moveless; they can no more believe in Chrift, nor repent than a dead man can speak or walk: but, in virtue of the promise, the Spirit of life from Chrift Jesus, at the time appointed, enters into the dead foul, and quickens it; fo that it is no more morally dead, but alive, having new fpiritual powers put into it, that were loft by Adam's fall.
2. The other chief branch of the promise of the Spirit, is the promise of faith to wit, that Chrift's
fpiritual feed fhall believe in him, come unto him, and receive him by faith: Pfalm cx. 3. Thy people fhall be willing in the day of thy power; and Pfalm xxii. 31. They fhall come. God hath promifed, that upon the shedding of the blood of his Son, for the fatisfaction of justice, there fhall fpring up in the earth, after that coftly watering, a plentiful feed to the fatisfying of his foul, Ifa. liii. 10. And therefore, whoever they be that believe not, all those who were reprefented in the covenant, fhall infallibly be brought to believe, as our Lord himself, upon the credit of this promife, doth declare, John vi. 37. All that the Father giveth me, fhall come to me. Now, this alfo belongs to the promife of the Spirit; who is therefore called the Spirit of faith, 2 Cor. iv. 13. as being the principal efficient caufe thereof, Zech. xii. 10.
The effect of this promife is actual believing, pro›duced by the quickening Spirit in the foul, immediately out of the fpiritual life given to it by the communication of himself thereto: John v. 25. The dead Shall hear the voice of the Son of God, compared with Chap. i. 12, 13. 2 Cor. iv. 13. As receiving Chrift paffively, the finner that was fpiritually dead is quickened; fo being quickened, he receives Chrift actively. Chrift comes into the dead foul by his Spirit ; and fo he is paffively received; even as one, having a power to raife the dead, coming into a houfe, where there is none but a dead man; none to open the door to him, none to defire him to come in, nor to welcome him. But Chrift being thus received, or come in, the dead foul is quickened, and by faith embraceth him; even as the reftorer of the dead man to life, would immediately be embraced by him, and receive a thoufand welcomes from him, who had heard his voice and lived. When Chrift in the womb of his mother, entered into the houfe of Zacharias, and the faluted Elifabeth the mother of John the Baptift, he, the Babe in Elifabeth's womb, leaped as