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knowledge is fully confirmed by the Promise to Abraham, and very copiously by the repeated Predictions of the Prophets, in Relation to our Lord's Work, and particularly to his Death, with the End and Design of it.
166. Again; it is to be noted, that all the fore-mentioned Mercy and Love, Privileges and Bleflings, are granted and confirmed to the Christian Church, under the Sanction of a Covenant ;  which is a Grant or Donation of Blessings confirmed by a proper Authority. The Gospel Covenant is established by the Promise and Oath of God, and ratified by the Blood of Christ, as a Pledge and Assurance, that it is a Reality, and will certainly be made good. Matt. xxvi. 28, « This is my Blood in the New Testament,” or Covenant. Luke xxii. 20,“ This Cup is the New Testament,” Covenant, « in my Blood.” 2 Cor. ii. 6, “ Made us able Ministers of the New Testament,” Covenant. Heb. vii. 22,— « Jesus made a Surety of a better Testament.” Heb. viii. 6, “ He is the Mediator of a better Covenant established upon better Promises." viii. 8. ix. 15. xii. 24. xiii. 20. — Here Obf. i. Jesus is the Surety [Eyyuos] Sponsor; and Mediator (Mecitný ll] of the New Covenant, as he is the great Agent appointed of God to negociate, transact, secure, and execute all the Blessings, which are conferred by this Covenant. Obf. 2. That as the Covenant is a Donation or Grant of Blessings, hence it is, that the Promise, or Promises, is sometimes put for the Covenant; as Gal. iii. 17, -" The Covenant that was confirmed before, to Abraham, of God in Christ the Law, which was 430 Years after, cannot disanul, that it should make the Promise of none Effect. For if the Inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise : But God gave it to Abraham by Promife.” And so Ver. 19. Again, Ver. 21, “Is the Law then against the Promise of God?" Ver. 22. Obr. 3. That the Gofpel Covenant was included in that made with Abraham, Gen. xvii. 1, &c. xxii. 16, 17, 18. As appears from Gal. iii. 17, and from Heb. vi. 13, « When God made Promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he fware by himself,” &c. Ver. 17, “ He confirmed [exesoiTwT!), he mediator’d] it by an Oath: That by two immutable Things," the Promise and Oath of God, "we (Christians] might have strong Consolation, who have fled for Refuge to lay hold on the Hope set before us."
167. But what should carefully and specially be observed, is this; that the Gospel-Constitution is a Scheme, and the most perfect and effectual Scheme for restoring true Religion, and for promoting Virtue and Happiness, that the World hath ever yet seen.  Upon professed Faith in Christ Men of all Nations were adınitted into the Church, Family, Kingdom and Covenant of God by Baptism ; were all numbered among the justified, regenerate or born again: fanctified, saved, chofen, called, Saints, and Beloved; were all
ediator ware by himmile, to AbrahGal. ii. 197 aham, Gen. Mut the Gof
11 This is the only Place where our Lord is called a Surety, szos, or Sponsor; not our Sponsor, or Surety; but the Sponsor of the Covenant. Now a Sponsor is one, who undertakes for the Performance of a Promise. A Mediaator, likewise, secures the Accomplishment of promised Blessings. Thus (ac. cording to the Apostle, Heb. vi. 17.) God made his own Oath the Mediator of the Promise to Abraham. EJECITIUCEY Oeuw, he mediator's it, that is, tecure the Accomplishment of it, by an Oath,
course we are to us thout Respof them, or,
of the Flock, Church, House, Vine and Vineyard of God; and were intitled to the Ordinances and Privileges of the Church; had exceeding great and precious Promises, given unto them, especially that of entering into the Rest of Heaven. And in all these Blessings and Honours we are certainly very happy, as they are the Things which are freely given to us of God,” i Cor. ii. 12. But because these Things are freely given, without Respect to any Obedience, or Righteousness of ours prior to the Donation of them, is our Obedience and personal Righteousness therefore unnecessary ? Or, are we, on Account of Benefits already received, secure of the Favour and Blessing of God in a future World, and for ever? By no Means.
168. To explain this important Point more clearly, I shall proceed as before, [65, &c.] and shew that these Privileges and Blessings, given in general to the Christian Church, are antecedent Blessings, given indeed freely, without any Respect to the prior Obedience of the Gentile World, before they were taken into the Church ; but intended to be Motives to the most upright Obedience for the future, after they were joined to the Family and Kingdom of God. Which Effect if they produce, then our Election, and Calling, our Redemption, Adoption, &c. are made good: Then we work out our own Salvation; and become so intitled to all the Blessings promised in the Covenant, that they shall be, not only a present Advantage, but secured to us finally, and for ever. Upon which Account I shall call them confequent Blessings; because they are secured to us, and made ours for ever, only in consequence of our Obedience. But, on the other Hand, if the antecedent Blessings do not produce Obedience to the Will of God; if we, his chosen People and Children, do not obey the Laws and Rules of the Gospel; then, as well as any other wicked Persons, we may expect “Tribulation and Wrath ;' then we forfeit all our Privileges: And all our Honours and Relations to God, all the Favour and Promises given freely to us, are of no Avail; we "receive the Grace of God in vain,” and everlasting Death will certainly be our wretched Portion.
169. That this is the great End of the Dispensation of God's Grace to the Christian Church ; namely, to engage us to Duty and Obedience; or, that it is a Scheme for promoting Virtue and true Religion, is clear from every part of the New Testament, and requires a large and particular Proof: Not because the Thing in itself is difficult or intricate ; but because it is of great Importance to the right UnderItanding of the Gospel, and the Apostolic Writings; and serves to explain several Points, which stand in close Relation to it. As particuJarly; that all the fore-mentioned Privileges belong to all professed Christians, even to those that shall perish eternally.  For,
1. If the Apostles affirm them of all Christians to whom they write; 2. If they declare some of those Christians, who were favoured with
those Privileges, to be wicked, or suppose they might be wicked; 3. If they declare those Privileges, are conferred by mere Grace,
without Regard to prior Works of Righteousness; 4. If they plainly intimate those Privileges are conferred in order to produce true Holiness;
5. If they exhort all to use them to that Purpose, as they will an
swer it to God at the last Day; 6. If they declare they shall perish, if they do not improve them to
the purifying their Hearts, and the right ordering of their Converfations; then it must be true, that these Privileges belong to all Christians, and are intended to induce them to an holy Life. And the Truth of all those Six Particulars will sufficiently appear, if we attend to the following Examination of the Gospels and Epistles.
MAT. V, VI, VIIth Chapters, LUKE VI. 20, &c.
170. Here our blessed Lord instructs his Disciples in that Temper of Mind, and in those Rules of Action, which alone would qualify them for final Salvation, and without due Regard to which, he allures them, they should perish eternally. Observe; he addresses them as his Disciples, Mat. v. 1, 2. Luke vi. 20. He considers them as "the Salt of the Earth,” Mat. v. 13; as “the Light of the World,” Ver. 14. They owned him for their Lord, Luke vi. 46; they came to him, Ver. 47 ; they heard his Sayings, Mat, vii. 24, 26; and God was their Father, Mat. vi. 1, 4, 6, 9, &c.-- These were their prefent Privileges, by which they were obliged to various Duties; which Duties he supposes they might neglect, and then, notwithstanding their Privileges, they would be cast off in the future World. Mat. v. 13, “ Ye are the Salt of the Earth : But if the Salt have lost its Savour, wherewith shall it be falted ? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under Foot of Men.” Mat. v. 14, " Ye are the Light of the World ;' Ver. 16,“ Let your Light Mine before Men.” Luke vi. 46, “ And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the Things which I say ?” Ver: 47, &c. “ Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my Sayings, and doth them, - is like a Man which built an House, and laid the Foundation on a Rock, &c. But he that heareth and doth not, is like a Man, that without an Foundation built an House,
against which the Stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the Ruin of that House was great."
171. And that this is our Lord's Sense, and a general Rule, he clearly deciares in this same Discourse, Mat. vii. 21, 22, 23, “ Not every one that faith unto me, [in this present World] Lord, Lord, [ profesing Relation to me) Thall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven at the last Day: But he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will fay to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name, and in thy Name have cast out Devils? And in thy Name have done many wonderful Works? (Luke xiii. 26, “ We have eaten and drunk in thy Presence, and thou hast taught in our Streets.”') And then will I profess unto them, I never knew* you: Depart from me, ye that work Iniquity.” Here our Lord evidently supposes, that the Enjoyment of very high Privle leges, at present, is consistent with working Iniquity; and affirms, that
* For the Senfe of knew, see Note upon Rom, viii. 27.
if we are Workers of Iniquity, how great soever our present Privileges are, we shall be rejected in the Day of Judgment,
172. Mat, viii. 11, 12; “Many shall come from the East and West, and Ihall fit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven: But the Children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer Darkness: There shall be Weeping and Ğnalhing of Teeth."---- This refers to the final issue of Things; For outer Darkness, and Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, are, in all other Places, spoken of the final Punishment of wicked Men in the Day of Judgment.” See Mat. xiii. 42, 50. xxii. 13. xxiv. 51. xxv. 30. — Luke xiii. 28. And in this last Place the Expressions and Sentiments are nearly the same, as in the Passage under Consideration. For thus it runs; Ver. 27, “He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me all ye Workers of Iniquity. There shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, when ye (who now profess Relation to me, Ver. 26.] shall see Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the East and the West, and from the North and the South, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God." Therefore both these Places (Mat. viii. 11, 12, and Luke xiii. 28, however the latter, without Dispute] refer to the final Issue of Things; and plainly fignify, that though we now are the Children of the Kingdom of God, or belong to the Body of his People in this present World, which is our great Privilege, and the Effect of God's mere Grace, yet it is very possible we may, in the World to come, be cast out of God's Kingdom into outer Darkness; while many, who do not at present belong to his Kingdom, shall hereafter be admitted into it.
173. Mat. xiii. 47, 48, 49; “ Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Net that was cast into the Sea, and gathered of every Kind. Which, when it was full, they drew to the Shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into Vesiels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the End of the World: The Angels shall come forth, and sever the Wicked from among the Just; and Thall cast them into the Furnace of Fire,” &c. ~ Here it is supposed, that the present Kingdom of God consists of Bad and Good, Wicked and just. A wicked Person may be a Member, and enjoy the Privileges of the Kingdom of God in this World: But if he continues finally wicked, he shall, notwithstanding his present Privileges, " in the End of the World,” at the last Day, be cait into Perdition.
174. Mat. xx. 1- 17; “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Man that is an Housholder, which went out early in the Morning to hire Labourers into his Vineyard. So when Even was come, the Lord of the Vineyard said unto his Steward, call the Labourers, and give them their Hire,” &c. The Vineyard is the Church; Jews and Christians are the Labourers taken into it. This is their preient Privilege, granted by Grace, without Respect to antecedent Works. But, now we are taken into the Vineyard, we fhall not receive our Hire at Even, (that is, in the Day of Judgment) unless we have done the Work of the Vineyard.
175. Mat. xxii. 2- 15, “ The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a eertain King (God) who made a Marriage for his Sun, [our Lord) and
sent forth his Servants to call them (the Jews] who were [before] bidden to the Wedding, (and now were called a second Time;] and they would not come. Then faith he to his Servants, the Wedding is ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy: Goye therefore into the Highways (among the Gentiles] and as many as ye thall find call to the Mar. riage. So those Servants went out into the High-ways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both Bad and Good: And the Wedding was furnished with Guests. And when the King came in to see the Guests, he saw there a Man which had not on a Wedding-garment: Apd he faith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a Wedding garment? and he was speechless.” Ver. 13, “ Then faid the King to the Servants, bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer Darkness: There shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth.”- Hence it is evident, both bad and good, those who had, and those who had not, the Wedding.garment, were taken out of the common World, into the Christian Church, or King. dom of Heaven; or were called to the Feast and admitted to it without Respect to their former State of Idolatry and Wickedneks. But at the last Day, when the King shall come to inspect the Guests, (for the King's Coming in to see the Guests is at the Day of Judgment; as appears from the Punishment inflicted, Ver. 13.) if any be found without the Wedding-garment, or, not having acquired the Habits of Virtue and Holiness, by improving the Privileges and Blesings of the Kingdom of Heaven, notwithstanding his present Advantages and Honours, in being admitted to the Feast, or taken into the Church, be Ball be " taken away, and cast into outer Darkness.”
176. Mat. xxv. 1- 14; “ Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten Virgins, which took their Lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were Wile, and five were Foolifo. They that were Foolish took their Lamps, and took no Oil with them! But the Wise took Oil in their Vessels. While the Bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept, (namely, in Death. This represents their State between Death and the Resurrection.] And at Midnight there was a Cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. Then all these Virgins arose (at the Resurrection and trimmed their Lamps. And the Foolish said unto the Wise, give us of your Oil, for our Lamps are gone out. But the Wife answered, not lo;— but go ye- and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy the Bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the Marriage, and the Door was hut. Afterward came also the other Virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the Day nor the Hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." It is evident, this Parable points at the final Issue of
Things. The ten Virgins represent all the Members of the Church, or Kingdom of Heaven in this World. Our being in that Kingdom, and having the Lamps put into our Hands, and enjoying the Opportunity of procuring Oil, represent our present Privileges, or the Means we enjoy of purifying our Nature. And these are freely given us by the Grace of God, without Respect to our prior Works. But having received them, it is our present Duty to improve them to our Sanctification. Which if we do, we hall be admitted to the Marriage; that
the Bridegrootte Foolish took their Lamp While the Brideg