« PreviousContinue »
vering one who is a prifoner for debt. When the furety's payment of the debt is legally applied to the prifoner, by the judge sustaining it as clearing his debt; in the moment of that application, the prifoner is legally free; he is no more a prisoner in point of right, though ftill in the prifon, until at one fent by the judge, apply it to him really bypening the prifon-doors to him, and fetting him at liberty. Even fo the death of Chrift, and his refurrection confidered as the evidence of his complete fatisfaction, being legally applied by God the Judge, to a finner, upon his believing; they have an immediate effect on them, conftituting him in a happy relative state, in justification, and a new relation to God as his Friend, Father, and God,: fo that he is thereby freed, even from the dominion and pollution of fin, in point of right, as well as he is in fact freed from the guilt of it: he is by that application legally dead unto fin, and alive unto God: Rom. vi, 10. For in that he (to wit, Chrift) died, he died unto fin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. ver. 11. Likewife reckon ye alfo yourfelves to be dead indeed unto fin; but alive unto God through Jefus Christ our Lord. Now, the curfe which stood as a legal bar to fanctifying influences, in respect whereof the ftrength of fin is the law, I Cor. xv. 56. being thus quite removed by the legal application of the death and refurrection of Chrift to the believer; the Spirit doth really apply the fame death and refurrection to him, conforming him per-, fonally thereto, through the communication of grace to him, out of the fulness of grace in Chrift the head; without which there cannot be any fuch conformation, according to the stated method of grace revealed in the fcripture. And thus they have a mediate effect on him, conftituting him really and perfonally holy, in fanctification: Rom. viii. 2. For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath made
made me free from the law of fin and death. Col. ii. 12. Buried with him in baptifm, wherein alfo ye are rifen with him. 1 Cor. xii. 13. For by one Spirit are we all baptifed into one body. John xv. 4. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me. There was a double sprinkling of the blood of the facrifices, called the blood of the covenant, Exod. xxiv. First, it was fprinkled on the altar, for atonement and reconciliation with God for Ifrael, ver. 6. and next, it was fprinkled on the people, for their puri fication, ver. 8.; its purifying virtue flowing from its atoning virtue. Accordingly there is a double application or fprinkling of the blood of Chrift, thereby fignified: one, for our juftification and reconciliation with God; mentioned Heb. xii. 22. Ye ver. 24.- to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel, namely, in that it fpeaks for mercy and pardon, whereas Abel's fpoke for vengeance: and then another, for our fanctification; mentioned 1 Pet. i. 2. Through fanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jefus Chrift. And this is the only true fanctification of a finner, having a fpecial relation to Jefus Chrift and his Spirit.
Now, the branches of the promife of fanctification are manifold: for it spreads as wide as the commandments of the holy law, which, in the station it hath in the gofpel-covenant, are all turned into promises, Thus, whereas the command is, Know the Lord; the promife is, They shall all know me, faith the Lord, Jer. xxxi. 34. The command is, Come unto me, Matth. xi. 28.; and it is promifed, They fhall come, Pfal. xxii. 31. The command is, Love the Lord, Pfal. xxxi. 23.; it is promifed, The Lord will circumcife thine heart to love the Lord, Deut. xxx. 6. It is the command, Fear God, Pet. ii. 17.; and it is promifed, I will put my fear in their hearts, Jer.
xxxii. 40. We are commanded to be meek, humble, and lowly, Matth xi. 29.; and it is promifed, Ifa. xi. 6. The wolf fhall dwell with the lamb,-and a young child fhall lead them. And thus it is in all other cafes, the whole commandments of the law in this ftation being inlaid with the gofpel-promifes, as appears from Heb. viii. 10. I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
But the chief branches are these two; to wit, the promife of repentance, and the promife of actual grace and strength for all holy obedience.
1. One chief branch of the promise of fanctification, is the promise of repentance. Not that legal repentance, which goes before faving faith, being common to the elect and reprobate; but that evangelical repentance, which is defcribed in our Catechifms, the feeds of which are faid, in the Larger Catechifm, to be put into the heart in fanctification; and fo follows faving faith and juftification, in the order of nature: Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Then fhall ye remember your own evil ways, aud your doings that were not good, and fhall lothe yourselves in your own fight, for your iniquities. Pfal. xxii. 27. All the ends. of the world fhall remember and turn unto the Lord. Zech. xii. 10. They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him. The whole fpiritual feed were, by means of the breach of the first covenant, loft sheep, even as others. Adam left them as fo many waifs and ftrays, wandering on the mountains of vanity, ready to become a prey to the roaring lion, who goes about there, seeking whom he may devour: Ifa. liii. 6. All we like sheep have gone aftray: we have turned every one to his own way. All of them had loft the way, and none of them could find it again. They had gone away from God, and could not return. They had turned to him the back and not the face, and had become fo
inflexible, they could not turn about to him and to their duty. They had loft their eyes, and could not difcern the way to return to do good they had no knowledge, Jer. iv. 22. They had loft the power of their limbs, and could no more return, though they had known the way, than the Ethiopian can change his skin, or the leopard his fpots, chap. xiii. 23. And they had withal loft heart to return: God being to them an unatoned God, his face fet against them, they could not bear to approach him. So they ne ver could have turned, although they had been able; but each of them would have faid, There is no hope. No, for I have loved ftrangers, and after them will I go, Jer, ii. 25. Wherefore, had not the Mediator interpofed, they had wandered endlefly: had not Jefus Chrift taken the feperate cafe in hand, there had never been a returning finner of Adam's family, a true penitent, a heart kindly foftened in forrow for. fin, nor turning in hatred against fin as fin, more than there is among the fallen angels. But upon confideration of the fecond Adam's walking with God, the whole way of obedience to the law, which they went off from; having withal laid on him the iniquities of them all; there was made a promife of giving them repentance, that he should gather together in one, the children of God that were fcattered abroad, John xi. 52. In performance of which promife, after his afcenfion into heaven, it was found, that God had alfo to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, Acts xi. 18.
Now, when one is juftified, by faith, and new related to God, as his Friend, Father, and God, he is fanctified, and brought to true and evangelical repentance, according to this promife. Being come to Chrift by faith, he comes back unto God by him in repentance, Heb. vii. 25, Whence it is called repenttance toward God, which is the end whereunto faith toward our Lord Jefus Chrift is the means, Acts xx. 21. Then, and not till then, it is, that the heart is
fet a-going in true gofpel-repentance, pleafing to God and acceptable in his fight; according to the fcripture: Ezek. xvi. 62. And I will establish my covenant with thee: ver. 63. That thou mayft remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy fhame, when I am pacified towards thee. Chap. xx. 22. And ye fball know that I am the Lord, when I fall bring you into the land of Ifrael. ver. 43. And there fhall ye remember your ways,--and ye fhall lothe yourselves. Chap. xxxvi. 25. Then will I fprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean.verfe 26. A new heart alfo will I give you. ver. 28.-And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. ver. 31. Then fhall ye remember your own evil ways,-and fhall lothe yourfelves. For then it is, that the love of God to the foul, which lay hid before, doth fhine forth more or less clear: and being difcerned by faith accordingly, warms the heart of a finner with love to God again, according to that, I John iv. 19. We love him; because he firft loved us. And that love melts it into repentance for fin, as in the woman who, being forgiven much, loved much; and fhewed her love, by her washing our Saviour's feet with tears, Luke vii. 37, 38, 47. The hard heart is then laid on the foft bed of the love and free grace of God in Chrift; and the word of the law inlaid with the gofpel, falls on it, faying, "Break, for the Lord is gracious," Joel ii. 13. Rent your heart, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, and of great kindness. And this, like a hammer, breaketh the rock in pieces. The party, being as is before declared, renewed in the whole man, put into a ftate of death unto fin, and life unto righteoufnefs, the new nature vents itfelf in an ingenuous and thorough turning from fin unto God, in heart and life. By believing the finner returns unto God as a portion, wherein to reft: in repenting he returns unto God as a Lord and Mafter