Page images

the covenant, upon the condition of it, as hath been already evinced; and in virtue of the promises of the covenant, they are produced in the elect; therefore they cannot be the condition of the cove nant. And elect infants are faved, tho' they are neither capable of believing nor of obeying: howbeit, the condition of the covenant muft needs be performed, either by themfelves who are faved, or elfe by another in their ftead. Therefore Chrift's 14 fulfilling all righteoufnefs, which is the only obedience performed in their ftead, muft be the alone proper condition of the covenant.

5. Laftly, The covenant of grace doth fo exclude our boafting, as the covenant of works did not. This is clear from Rom. iii. 27. Where is boafting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. But if any deed or work of ours be the condition of the covenant of grace, in whole or in part, our boafting is not excluded, bur hath place therein, as in the covenant of works; the difference being at moft but in point of degrees : for, according to the fcripture, it is working, or fulfilling the condition of a covenant, that gives the ground of boafting; forafmuch as to bim that worketh, the reward is reckoned of debt: and life being of or by works in the covenant of works, though not in the way of proper merit, but in the way of paction or compact only, this gave men the ground of boafting in that covenant, according to the fcripture. Therefore, fo far as life and falvation are of or by any work or deed of ours, as fulfilling the condition of the covenant of grace, our boafting is not excluded, but hath place therein as in the covenant of works. Wherefore, fince the covenant of grace is fo framed, as to leave no ground for our boafting, no work or deed of ours, but Chrift's fulfilling all righteoufnefs, even that alone, is the condition of the covenant of grace: and our life and falvation are neither

neither of works, nor by works, as fulfilling the con dition of the covenant: Tit. iii. 5. Not by works of righteoufnefs, which we have done, but according to his mercy he faved us. Eph. ii. 9. Not of works, left any man should boast.

God forbid we should go about to juftle faith and obedience out of the covenant of grace! Those who do fo in principle or practice, will thereby justle themselves out of the kingdom of heaven: Matth. v. 19. Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and fhall teach men fo, he shall be called the leaft in the kingdom of heaven; that is, he fhall be treated as he treated that one of these commandments, he fhall be judged unworthy of the fellowship of that kingdom. Faith is neceffary favingly to intereft us in Jefus Chrift the head of the covenant: and none can attain to eternal happiness, without actual believing, who are fubjects capable of it: nor can any attain it without the Spirit of faith indwelling inthem. Obedience is neceffary, as the chief fubordinate end of the covenant, being that whereby God hath his glory he defigned therein; and without obedience begun here, none who are fubjects capable of it, can fee heaven. But withal it is neceffary, that they be kept in the place and station affigned them in the covenant by the Father and the Son from eternity. By faith we perfonally embrace the cove. nant, consent to, and reft in the condition of the covenant fulfilled by Chrift; and fo are justified and brought into a state of falvation: John x. 9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. Compare John i. 12. and ii. 16. and xiv. 6. By evangelical repentance and gofpel obedience, we testify our thankfulness to God, and evidence the truth of our faith, and our being within the covenant: Pet. ii. 9. Ye are a chofen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that tye fhould fhew forth the praises of him who hath called

called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: ver. 10. Which in time paft were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Compare Rom. vi. 13. and xii. 1, 2. 1 Cor. vi. 20.

This the prophet taught the Jewish church of old, Mic. vi. 8. He hath fhewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee; but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? In the 6th verfe a moft important queftion is put, concerning the acceptance of a finner with God, how it may be obtained, wherewith Shall I come before the Lord? and feveral coftly expedients for that purpofe are propofed by the finner, even to the giving of the fruit of his body for the fin of his foul, ver. 6. 7. But the prophet anfwers that queftion in a word, tacitly upbraiding them with grofs ftupidity, in their groping for the wall in broad day-light, even as in the night: He hath shewed thee, O man what is good, that is, what is goodly, valuable and acceptable, in the fight of God, for that purpose, even for a finner's obtaining pardon and acceptance with God; namely, the Meffias, Jefus Chrift facrificed for finners. This was what God had all along, by his prophets, and by the whole ceremonial law, pointed out to them, and fet before them, as the good for that purpofe, that they might by faith look thereunto, and be faved, Ifa. xlv. 22. And in the style of the Holy Ghoft, Chrift crucified is elsewhere fpoken of under the fame notion: 2 Chron. xxx. 18. The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth his heart to feek God. Orig. Jehovah the good make atonement for, &c. Pfalm lxxxv. 12. The Lord fhall give thee that which is good; or, fhall give the good. Compare John iv. 10. If thou kneweft the gift of God, and who it is. Ifa. lv. 2. Eat ye that which is good. Compare John vi. 55. My flesh is meat indeed. Job xxxiv. 4. Let us know among our felves

ourfelves what is good. Ver. 5. For Fob hath faid I am righteous. Now, being thus accepted of God, what doth he require of thee in point of gratitude, but to do justly, as one accepted not without a righteousness answering the demands of justice and judg ment; and to love mercy, as one who hath obtained mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God, as one who is free grace's debtor? In the fame manner of expreffion doth Mofes addrefs himself to the people fecured of the poffeffion of Canaan by the oath of God, and being just to enter upon it. Deut. x. II, 12. And now, Ifrael, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, &c.? namely, in point of gratitude, for his giving thee that good land.

Infer. From what is faid it appears, that your life and falvation entirely depend on your fpecial intereft in Chrift's righteoufnefs. If ye are poffeffed of it, your falvation is fecure; if not, falvation is far from you. If you were never fo full of your own righteoufnefs, works, doings, and fufferings, all is but filthy rags in this cafe, and cannot give you a right or title to life and altho' you can fee nothing of your own in yourselves, which you can lean to before the Lord, yet if the righteoufnefs of Chrift is yours in poffeffion, by faith, your life and falvation are firm as a rock.

Cafe, How then fhall I know that Chrift's righteoufnefs is indeed mine in poffeffion? Anf. The Lord himself gives a diftinguishing character of fuch happy poffeffors, Ifa. li. 7. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteoufnefs, the people in whofe heart is my law. They that know righteoufnefs, are, in the ftyle of the fcripture, those whofe it is, agreeable to the phrafe, Matth. xxv. 12. I know you not, q. d. Ye are none of mine, I acknowledge you not as mine. So this character confifts of two parts. (1.) They are fuch as acknowledge Chrift's righteoufiefs as their only righteoufnefs in the fight of God, and look to it alone for

life and falvation, renouncing all their own righte oufnefs: Ifa. liii. 11. By his knowledge fhall my righteous fervant juftify many; that is, by the know. ledge or acknowledgment of him, which is by faith. (2.) They have the law of God in their hearts. The righteous people, righteous by faith, are a holy people. They make confcience of internal obedience; for the holy law rules within them, even there whither no eye reacheth, but the eyes of God and their own confciences. So they are diftinguished from hypocrites, who are like unto whited fepulchres, beauti ful outward, but within full of all uncleanness. They make confcience of external obedience too; for as the candle burning within the lanthorn will shine through it, fo the law of God ruling in the heart, cannot miss to rule in the life and converfation too; Mat, vi. 22. If therefore thine eye be fingle, thy whole body shall be full of light. And fo they are diftinguished from the profane, whofe unholy lives declare them to have neither part nor lot in this righteoufnefs: Pfalm xxiv. 3, 4. Who shall ftand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands. And the law is not only in their minds by its light, to drive them to obedience; as in the cafe of legalifts, who work like flaves; but it is in their heart and affections, difcovering to their fouls the beauty of holinefs; and fo drawing them to all obedience, and causing them to work like fons to a father. Their hearts are reconciled to the purity of the holy law, and they delight in it after the inward man, Rom. vii. 22. and would fain reach a full conformity unto it, faying from the heart, that my ways were directed to keep thy ftatutes! Pfalm cxix. 5.

Secondly, To unfold that righteousness, the fulfilling of which was made the condition of the covenant of grace, we shall view it in the feveral parts thereof. That righteousness, forafmuch as it was to be fulfilled in the room and ftead of finners, was and


« PreviousContinue »