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till God make us deny ourselves, we never look to God in any thing, but fleshly felf-intereft alone doth rule us, and move all the wheels of our actions.
2. That the Lord bringeth our original fin, or wicked inclination, with all the actual fruits thereof, unto reckoning before his judg ment-feat; "For he fearcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, to "give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit "of his doings.'
Hence let every man reason thus :
"What God and my guilty confcience beareth witnefs of, I am "convinced that it is true.
"But God and my guilty confcience beareth witnefs, that my "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and "that all the imaginations of my heart, by nature, are only evil " continually.
"Therefore I am convinced that this is true." Thus a man may be convinced of fin by the law.
II. For convincing a man of righteoufness by the law, confider Gal. iii. 10.
AS many as are of the works of the law, are under the curfe: for it is written, Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Here the Apostle teacheth us three things:
1. That, by reafon of our natural finfulness, the impoffibility of any man's being juftified by the works of the law, is fo certain, that whofoever do feek juftification by the works of the law, are liable to the curfe of God for breaking of the law; "For as many as are of "the works of the law, are under the curfe," faith he.
2. That, unto the perfect fulfilling of the law, the keeping of one or two of the precepts, or doing of fome, or of all duties (if it were poffible) for a time, is not fufficient; for the law requireth, that "a man continue in all things which are written in the book of the "law to do them."
3. That, because no man can come up to this perfection, every by nature is under the curfe; for the law faith," Curfed is every one "that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of "the law to do them."
Now, to be under the curfe, comprehendeth all the difpleasure of God, with the danger of the breaking forth more and more of his wrath upon foul and body, both in this life, and after death perpe tually, if grace do not prevent the full execution thereof.
Hence let every man reason thus:
"Whofoever, according to the covenant of works, is liable to the "curfe of God, for breaking the law, times and ways out of num "ber, cannot be juftified, or find righteousness by works of the law.
"But I, (may every man fay), according to the covenant of works, am liable to the curfe of God, for breaking the law, times and ways out of number.
<< Therefore I cannot be justified, or have righteousness by the "works of the law."
Thus may a man be convinced of righteousness, that it is not to be had by his own works, or by the law.
III. For convincing a man of judgment by the law, confider 2 Theff. i. 7.
THE Lord Jefus fhall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, v. 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jefus Chrift: v. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting deftruction from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; v. 10. When he fhall come to be glorified in his faints, and to be admired in all them that believe.
Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jefus, who now offers to be Mediator for them who believe in him, fhall, at the last day, come armed with flaming fire, to judge, condemn, and deftroy all them who have not believed God, have not received the offer of grace made in the gospel, nor obeyed the doctrine thereof; but remain in their natural state, under the law or covenant of works.
Hence let every man reason thus:
"What the righteous Judge hath forewarned me shall be done "at the laft day, I am fure is just judgment.
"But the righteous Judge hath forwarned me, that if I do not be"lieve God in time, and obey not the doctrine of the gofpel, I fhall "be fecluded from his prefence and his glory, at the last day, and "be tormented in foul and body for ever.
"Therefore I am convinced that this is a juft judgment.
"And I have reafon to thank God heartily, who hath forewarned me to flee from the wrath which is to come."
Thus every man may be, by the law or covenant of works, convinced of judgment, if he fhall continue under the covenant of works, or fhall not obey the gofpel of our Lord Jefus.
IV. For convincing a man of fin, righteoufnefs, and judgment, by the gofpel.
AS for convincing a man of fin, and righteousness, and judgment by the gospel, or covenant of grace, he muft understand three things. 1. That not believing in Jefus Chrift, or refusing of the covenant of grace offered in him, is a greater and more dangerous fin than all other fins against the law; because the hearers of the gospel not believing in Chrift, do reject God's mercy in Chrift, the only way of freedom from fin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to God. 2. Next, He must understand, that perfect remiffion of fin, and true righteoufnefs, is to be had only by faith in Jefus; because God requireth no other conditions but faith; and teftifies from heaven, that he is well pleafed to justify finners upon this condition. 3. He muft understand, that upon righteoufnefs received by faith, judgment fhall follow, on the one hand, to the deftroying of the works of the devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work
of fanctification in him, with power: and that, upon refufing to take righteousness by faith in Jefus Chrift, judgment fhall follow, on the other hand, to the condemnation of the mifbeliever, and destroying of him with Satan and his fervants for ever.
For this end, let thefe paffages of fcripture, among many others, ferve to make the greatness of the fin of not believing in Chrift appear; or, to make the greatness of the fin of refufing of the covenant of grace offered to us, in the offering of Chrift unto us, let the fair offer of grace be looked upon as it is made, If. Iv. 3. Incline your ear, and come unto me, (faith the Lord): hear, and your foul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the fure mercies of David That is, If ye will believe me, and be reconciled to me, I will, by covenant, give unto you Chrift, and all faving graces in him: repeated Acts xiii. 34.
Again, confider, that this general offer in fubftance is equivalent to a fpecial offer made to every one in particular; as appeareth by the Apoftle's making ufe of it, Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Te Jefus Chrift, and thou shalt be faved, and thy houfe. The reafon of which offer is given, John iii. 16. For God fo loved the wor'd, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him, fhould not perish, but have everlasting life. Seeing then this great falvation is offered in the Lord Jefus, whofoever beliveth not in him, but looks for happiness fome other way, what doth he elfe but obferve lying vanities, and forfake his own mercy, which he might have had in Chrift? Jonah ii. 8. 9. What doth he elfe but blafpheme God in his heart? as it is faid, John v. 10. 11. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave 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 fin, Chrift teftifies, John xv. 22. If I had not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had fin: but now they have no clock for their fin. This may convince a man of the greatnefs of this fin of not believing in Chrift.
For convincing a man of righteousness to be had only by faith in Jefus Christ, confider how, Rom. x. 3. 4.
IT is faid, that the Jews being ignorant of God's righteoufness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not fubmitted themselves unto the righteoufnefs of God, (and fo they perished.) For Chrift is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. And Acts xiii. 39. By Chrift Jefus all that believe are juftified from all things, from which ye could not be juflified by the law of Mofes. And I John i. 7. The blood of Jefus Chrift his Son cleanfeth us from all fin.
For convincing a man of judgment, if a man embrace this righteoufnefs, confider 1 John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted, that he might defroy the works of the devil. And Heb. ix. 14. How much more fhall the blood of Chrift, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without fpot to God, purge your confcience from dead works, to ferve the living God?
But if a man embrace not this righteoufnefs, his doom is pronounced, John iii. 18. 19. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darknefs rather than light.
Hence let the penitent, defiring to believe, reason thus:
"What doth fuffice to convince all the elect in the world of the "greatness of the fin of not believing in Chrift, or refufing to flee "to him for relief from fins done against the law, and from wrath "due thereto; and what fufficeth to convince them, that righteouf"nefs and eternal life is to be had by faith in Jefus Chrift, or by "confenting to the covenant of grace in him; and what fufficeth to "convince them of judgment to be exercised by Chrift, for destroy"ing the works of the devil in a man, and fanctifying and faving all "that believe in him, may fuffice to convince me alfo.
"But what the Spirit hath faid, in these or other like fcriptures, "fufficeth to convince the elect world of the forefaid fin, and righte"oufnefs, and judgment.
"Therefore what the Spirit hath faid, in these and other like "fcriptures, ferveth to convince me thereof alfo."
Whereupon let the penitent defiring to believe, take with him words and fay heartily to the Lord, feeing thou fayft, feek ye my face, my foul anfwereth unto thee, thy face, Lord, will I feek: I have hearkened unto the offer of an everlasting covenant of all faving mercies to be had in Christ, and I do heartily embrace thy offer. Lord let it be a bargain; Lord, I believe; help my unbelief: Behold, I give myself to thee, to serve thee in all things for ever; and I hope thy right hand fball fave me; the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; forfake not the works of thine own hands.
Thus may a man be made an unfeigned believer in Christ.
For ftrengthening 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 fhall be fure of the foundness of their own faith and effectual calling, or made certain of their juftification and falvation, when they fee, that many, who profefs faith, are found to deceive themfelves; let us fee how every believer may be made ftrong in the faith, and fure of his own election and falvation upon folid grounds, by fure warrants, and true evidences of faith. To this end, among many other fcriptures, take thefe following.
1. For laying folid grounds of faith, confider 2 Pet. i. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election fure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
In which words, the Apostle teacheth us these four things, for help and dirction how to be made ftrong in the faith.
1. That fuch as believe in Chrift Jefus, and are fled to him for relief from fin and wrath, albeit they be weak in the faith, yet they 5 I
are indeed children of the fame Father with the Apostles; for fo he accounteth of them, while he calleth them brethren.
2. That albeit we be not fure, for the time, of our effectual calling and election, yet we may be made fure of both, if we ufe diligence; for this he prefuppofeth, faying, "Give diligence, to make your cal "ling and election fure.”
3. That we must not be difcouraged, when we fee many feeming believers prove rotten branches, and make defection; but we muit the rather take the better heed to ourfelves; "Wherefore the ra"ther, brethren," faith he "give all diligence."
4. That the way to be fare both of our effectual calling and election, is to make fure work of our faith, by laying the grounds of it folidly, and bringing forth the fruits of our faith in new obedience conftantly: "For if ye do these things," faith he, 66 ye thall never "fall;" understanding by these things, what he had faid of found faith, verf. 1. 2. 3. 4. and what he had faid of the bringing out of the fruits of faith. verf. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
To this fame purpose, confider Rom. viii. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Chrift Jefus, who walk not after the flefh, but after the fpirit. Verf. 2. For the law of the spirit of life, in Chrift Fefus, hath made me free from the law of fin and death. Verf 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God fending his own Son, in the likeness of finful flesh, and for fin condemned fin in the flesh: Verf. 4. That the righteoufnefs of the law might be fulfil led in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Wherein the Apoftle teacheth us thefe four things, for laying of the ground of faith folidly:
1. That every one is a true believer, who, in the fenfe of his fin, and fear of God's wrath, doth flee for full relief from both unto Jefus Chrift alone, as the only Mediator, and all-fufficient Redeemer of men; and, being fled to Chrift, doth ftrive againft his own flesh, or corrupt inclination of nature, and ftudieth to follow the rule of God's Spirit, fet down in his word: for the man, whom the Apostle doth here blefs as a true believer, is a man in Chrift Jefus, "who doth “not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
2. That all fuch perfons as are fled to Chrift, and do strive against fu, howfoever they may be poffibly exercised under the fenfe of wrath, and fear of condemnation, yet they are in no danger; for "there is no condemnation," faith he, "to them that are in Chrift "Jefus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
3. That albeit the apoftle himself, (brought in here for example's caufe), and all other true believers in Chrift, be by nature under the law of fin and death, or under the covenant of works, (called the law of fin and death, because it bindeth fin and death upon us, till Chrift fet us free;) yet the law of the fpirit of life in Chrift Jefus, or the covenant of grace, (fo called, because it doth enable and quicken a man to a fpiritual life through Chrift,) doth fet the Apostle, and all true believers, free from the covenant of works, or the law of fin and death; fo that every man may fay with him, "The