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light, John iii. 21. They fay, That which I fee not, teach thou me, Job xxxiv. 32. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And fee if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting, Pfal. cxxxix. 23. 24.
And thus much fhall fuffice to have spoken on the fifth head, namely. The trial of a faving perfonal inbeing in the covenant of grace.
The WAY of INSTATING Sinners perfonally and favingly in the Covenant of Grace.
Y the marks and characters given it appears, that they are but few who are perfonally and favingly inftated in the covenant of grace, in comparison of those who are strangers to it: but we are allowed to offer it to ftrangers; to invite and call them who are without the covenant, to come into it, and fo to compel them to come in, Luke xiv. 23.. Here then are the glad tidings of the gofpel: there is a covenant, which was entered into from eternity between God and Chrift the fecond Adam; a covenant of grace, made in favour of finners of Adam's race, ruined by the breach of the covenant of works. In it there is full provifion for your falvation; to relieve you from all the ruining effects of the broken first covenant, and to render you completely happy. The condition of this covenant is indeed high; being screwed up to a pitch by the demands of the law and juftice: yet there is nothing on that part to difcourage you from the covenant: for your inability being foreseen from eternity, it was laid upon one that is mighty, to perform it; and now it is already performed and fulfilled to your hand by that mighty One Christ Jefus. Only, the promises remains to be ful
filled. So the burden of the condition is over withour you; and ye are called to the benefit of the promifes. And that ye may have the more clear access thereto, the administration of the covenant is put in> the hand of the fame Christ Jefus: and he is intrusted with all the 'promises, to fulfil them to finners. He hath begun to fulfil them to all who have taken hold of the covenant; and is ready to fulfil them to all who yet shall take hold thereof. For that end he hath made his teftament of these promises, and costituted finners of mankind his legatees; that whofoever of them will, may come, claim, and take the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17. The whole of the covenant is in him. In him is God, the party contractor on Heaven's fide, 2 Cor. v. 19. He himself is the party contractor on man's fide: and in him are all believers really, and all the elect legally and reprefentatively. In him is the condition of the covenant, and that as fulfilled: he is the Lord our righteoufnefs, Jer. xxiii. 6. In him are all the promifes yea, and amen, 2 Cor. i. 20. all meeting in him, as lines of a circle in their centre; and fure and stedfast, no ways liable to mifgive, as did the promise of the covenant of works in the first Adam. And he as a King hath emitted his royal proclamations, bearing, that whofoever will come unto him, and unite with him as head of the covenant, fhall be taken into it, and have a right to all the privileges thereof in him, and through him.
Thus the covenant is brought to you, and fet before you in the gofpel; fo that ye must needs be ei ther receivers or refufers of it. Refufe it not: that is dangerous beyond expreffion. Take hold of it; for it is your life. Sinners, ye are under the covenant of works, where there is no life, nor falvation for you but the door of the new-covenant is opened unto you; come, enter into it without delay. Flee, and make your cfcape out of the dominion of the
law, the covenant of works, ye were born under, and are living under: and what can no ways be done, but by your accepting and embracing this covenant offered to you in the gofpel; to the inftating of you perfonally in it, to all the purposes of life and falvation.
Sinners inftated in the covenant by Faith or Believing.
O clear your way into the covenant, it is neceffary to fhew, by what means it is that a finner embraceth and is inftated in it, effectually unto falvation. And this, in one word, is by faith or believing on Jefus Chrift: Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jefus Chrift, and thou shalt be faved. The covenant of grace is held forth in the gofpel unto you: God faith to every one of you, I will make an everlafting covenant with you, even the fure mercies of David: and to close the bargain with you, and state you perfonally in it, to all the intents and purposes of falvation, all that is required of you is to hear, that is, to believe; Hear, and your foul fhall live, Ifa. lv. 3. He that believeth is within the covenant of grace perfonally and favingly: he that believeth not, is ftill under the covenant of works, where the first Adam left him. Faith is the hand whereby one taketh hold of the covenant, figns it for himself, and clofeth the bargain for his own falvation. It is the mouth whereby finners confent to the covenant, that God becomes their God, and they his people. Al-' though while ye are without the covenant, the working of perfect obedience under the pain of the curfe is required of you; and more than that fuffering alfo, even to the fatisfaction of juftice; and both thefe, in virtue of the broken first covenant: and when ye are once brought within the covenant, obedience to all the ten commandments, and fuffering of the dif cipline of the covenant in cafe of your failures, are required of you, in virtue of the new covenant ye are
entered into: yet to enter you into the covenant, and inftate you in it unto falvation, nothing is required of you, but that ye believe on Chrift. Only believe, Mark v. 36. is the conftant doctrine of the gospel in this point. Do what you will, and believe not, you remain in a ftate of damnation: whatever is done, or not done by you, believe, and you are in a state of falvation. If you fhould fay it with your lips a thousand times over, that you accept of the covenant; if you should come under the most folemn and awful bond and engagement to be the Lord's, exprefly taking the fame upon you in prayer, or otherways; if you should write your covenant, and fubfcribe it with your hand; and should take the facrament of Christ's body and blood upon it, to confirm all: yet if you do not with the heart believe on Jefus Chrift, you embrace not the covenant, you miss the faving hold of it, and remain without the faving bond of it. And If you should this moment with the heart believe on Christ, having no access to speak, pray, write, or communicate: yet the moment you believe, you are perfonally and favingly inftated in the covenant, never to fall out of it through the ages of eternity; God is your God, and all the promises of the covenant are yours: though you had miffed the grip of the covenant ten thousand times before: in that cafe you have it firm and fure: Mark xvi. 16. He that believ eth and is baptized, fhall be faved: he that believeth not, fhall be damned.
And that believing on Chrift fhould be the appointed means of entering finners into the covenant of grace, is very agreeable to the nature and end of that great tranfaction. The which appears by these two confiderations following.
1. Hereby the grace of the covenant is preferved entire in the difpenfation of the covenant; and by that means the promise is made fure to all the feed, Rom. iv. 16. Faith is contradiftinguished to works,
297 as grace is to debt, chap. iv. 4, 5. If any work or doing of ours were that upon which we were inftated in the covenant, and got the right in the promifes; then the covenant, and benefit thereof would be of debt to us, contrary to the declared end and design of that method of favation, which is to exalt the free grace of God, and to cut off all boasting from us, Eph. ii. 8. 9. But the nature of faith's efficacy in the business is adopted to that end and defign of the covenant; inasmuch as it is a grace, not giving, but purely receiving; taking all freely from Chrift, without money, and without price, laying the ftrefs of the foul's acceptance with God, wholly on what Christ hath done and fuffered; and entirely renouncing all doings and fuffering of our own in that point. And thus the promise is fure to us: for whereas the plea of any work of ours would be a very uncertain one; faith's plea is ever fure and stedfast, as grounded allenarly on what Chrift hath wrought.
2. Hereby the finner's entering into the covenant is by uniting with Christ the reprefentative, with whom it was made as party-contractor; which is the scripture account of the matter, John x. 9. I am the door by me if any man enter in, he shall be faved: and fo the unity of the covenant, and the reprefentation in it, are preferved. If men entered into the covenant fome other way, as by their accepting (properly called) terms to them proposed, and promising for themselves the performance of them: in that cafe the representation in the covenant is marred; and there would be in effect as many covenants of grace, as there are perfons embracing it at different times: at least, Chrift's covenant would be one, and ours another distinct therefrom; the contrary of which is before evinced from the Scripture. But the covenant of grace being made with Chrift as fecond Adam, in the name of all fuch as fhould be his; it plainly follows, that the only way of one's entering per