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free will, as experience proved (God having referved to himself the incommunicable property of being naturally unchangeable:) for many angels of their own accord fell by fin from their firft eftate, and be came devils. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, one of thefe devils fpeaking in a ferpent, did break the covenant of works, in eating the forbiden fruit; whereby they, and their pofterity, being in their loins, as branches in the root, and comprehended in the fame eovenant with them, became not only liable to eternal death, but also loft all ability to please God; yea, did become by nature enemies to God, and to all fpiritual good, and inclined only to evil continually. This is our original fin, the bitter root of all our actual tranfgreffions, in thought, word, and deed.
The remedy provided in Jefus Chrift for the elect by the ovenant of grace, Hof. xiii. 9. O Ifrael, thou haft destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.
Lbeit man, having brought himself into this woful condition, be neither able to help himfelf, nor willing to be helped by God out of it, but rather inclined to ly still unfenfible of it, till he perish; yet God, for the glory of his rich grace, hath revealed in his word a way to fave finners, to wit, by faith in Jefus Chrift, the eternal Son of God, by virtue of, and according to the tenor of the covenant of redemption, made and agreed upon between God the Father and God the Son, in the council of the Trinity, before the world began.
II. The fum of the covenant of redemption is this; God having freely chofen unto life, a certain number of loft mankind, for the glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the world began, unto God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himielf fo far as to aume the human nature, of a foul and a body, into perfonal union with his divine nature, and fubmit himself to the law, as furety for them; and fatisfy juftice for them, by giving obedience in their name, even unto the fuffering of the curfed death of the cross, he fhould ranfom and redeem them all from fin and death, and purchafe unto them righteoufnels and eternal life, with all faving graces leading thereunto, to be effectually, by means of his own appointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This condition the Son of God (who is Jefus Chrift our Lord) did accept before the world began, and in the fulness of time came into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, fubjected himfelt to the law, and compleatly paid the rantom on the crots: But by vertue of the forefaid bargain, made before the world began, he is in all ages, fince the fall of Adam, ftill upon the work of applying actually the purchased benefits unto the elect: And that he doth by way of entertaining a covenant of free grace and
reconciliation with them, through faith in himself; by which covenant, he makes over to every believer a right and interest to himself, and to all his bleffings.
III. For the accomplishment of this covenant of redemption, and making the elect partakers of the benefits thereof in the covenant of grace, Chrift Jefus was clad with the threefold office of a prophet, prieft, and king. Made a prophet, to reveal all faving knowledge to his people, and to perfuade them to believe and obey the fame; Made a prielt, to offer up himlelf a facrifice once for them all, and to interceed continually with the Father, for making their perions and fervices acceptable to him; Aud made a king, to tubdue them to himself, to feed and rule them by his own appointed ordinances, and to defend them from their enemies.
The outward means appointed to make the el-ft partakers of this covenant, and all the rift that are called to be inexcufable, Mat. xxii. 14: Many are called.
THE outward means and ordinances for making men partakers of be infallibly converted and faved by them: and the reprobate, among whom they are, not to be justly frumbled. The means are especially thefe four; 1. The word of God. 2. The facraments. 3 Kirkgovernment. 4. Prayer. 4. Prayer. In the word of God preached by fent meffengers, the Lord makes offer of grace to all finners, upon condition of faith in Jefus Chrift; and whofoever do confefs their fin, accept of Chrift offered, and fubmit themselves to his ordinances, he will have both them and their children received into the honour and privileges of the covenant of grace. By the facraments, God will have the covenant fealed for confirming the bargain, on the forefaid condition. By kirk-government, he will have them hedged in, and helped forward unto the keeping of the covenant. And by prayer, he will have his own glorious grace, promifed in the covenant, to be daily drawn forth, acknowledged, and employed. All which means are followed either really, or in profeffion only, according to the quality of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers.
II. The covenant of grace, fet down in the Old Testament before Chrift came, and in the New fince he came, is one and the fame in fubftance, albeit different in outward administration: For the cover nant in the Oid Teftament. being fealed with the facraments of circumcifion and the pafchal lamb, did fet forth Chrift's death to come, and the benefits purchased thereby, under the shadow of bloody facrifices, and fundry ceremonies: But fince Chrift came, the covenant be
ing fealed by the facraments of baptifm and the Lord's fupper, doth clearly hold Chrift already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people.
The blefings which are effectually conveyed by thefe means to the Lord's elect, or chofen ones, Matth xii. 14. Many are called, but few are chofen.
Y thefe outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the reprobate inexcufable, fo, in the power of his Spirit, he applies unto the e lect, effectually, all faving graces purchased to them in the covenant of redemption, and maketh a change in their perfons. In particular, 1. 'He doth convert or regenerate them, by giving fpiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for giving spiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives them laving faith, by making them, in the fenfe of deferved condem nation, to give their confent heartily to the covenant of grace, and to embrace Jefus Chrift unfeignedly. 3. He gives them repentance, by making them, with godly forrow, in the hatred of fin, and love of righteoufnefs, turn from all iniquity to the fervice of God. And, 4. He fanctifies them by making them go on and perfevere in faith, and fpiritual obedience to the law of God, manifefted by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offereth occafion.
II. Together with this inward change of their perfons, God changes alfo their ftate: for, fo foon as they are brought by faith into the covenant of grace, 1. He juftifies them, by imputing unto them that perfect obedience which Chrift gave to the law, and the fatisfaction allo which upon the cross Chrift gave unto justice in their name. 2. He reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were before enemies to God. 3. He adopts them, that they fhall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all fpiritual privi leges of his fons. And laft of all, after their warfare in this life is ended, he perfects the holiness, and bleffedness, first of their foul at their death, and then both of their fouls and their bodies, being joy. fully joined together again in the refurrection, at the day of his glori ous coming to judgment, when all the wicked fhall be fent away to hell, with Satan whom they have ferved:. but Chrift's own chofen and redeemed ones, true believers, ftudents of holineis, fhall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification.
The PRACTICAL USE of SAVING KNOWLEDGE,
Contained in Scripture, and holden forth briefly in the forefaid Confeffion of Faith and Catechifms.
THE HE chief general use of christian doctrine is, to convince a man of fin, and of righteoufnefs, and of judgment, John xvi. 8. partly by the law or covenant of works, that he may be humbled and become penitent; and partly by the gofpel or covenant of grace, that he may become an unfeigned believer in Jefus Chrift, and be ftrengthned in his faith upon folid grounds and warrants, and give evidence of the truth of his faith by good fruits, and fo be faved.
The fum of the covenant of works, or of the law, is this, If thou do all that is commanded, and not fail in any point, thou shalt be faved: but if thou fail, thou shalt die, Rom. x. 5. Gal. iii. 10, 12.' The fum of the gospel, or covenant of grace and reconciliation, is this, If thou flee from deferved wrath to the true Redeemer Jefus Christ,' (who is able to fave to the uttermost all that come to God thro' him) thou fhalt not perish, but have eternal life, Rom. x. 8, 9, 11.'
For convincing a man of fin, of righteousness, and of judgment by the law, or covenant of works, let thefe fcriptures among many more be made ufe of.
I. For convincing a man of fin by the law, confider Jer. xvii. 9, 10.
THE heart is deceitful above all things, and defperately wic
ked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Here the Lord teacheth thefe two things;
That the fountain of all our miscarriage, and actual finning against God, is in the heart, which comprehendeth the mind, will, af fections, and all the powers of the foul, as they are corrupted and defiled with original fin; the mind being not only ignorant and uncapable of faving truth, but alfo full of error and enmity againft God; and the will and affections being obftinately difobedient unto all God's directions, and beat toward that only which is evil: The heart (faith he) is deceitful above all things, and defperately wicked;' yea, and unfearchably wicked, fo that no man can know it; and Gen. vi. 5. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually,' faith the • Lord, whofe teftimony we must truft in this and all other matters; and experience alfo may teach us, that, till God make us deny our
felves, we never look to God in any thing, but flefhly 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 judgment 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 witness, that my "heart is deceitful above all things, and defperately wicked; and "that all the imaginations of my heart, by nature, are only evil conti "nually.
"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 righteoufnefs 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 '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 man by nature is under the curfe; for the law faith, Curied 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 displeasure 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 perpetually, if grace do not prevent the full execution thereof.
Hence let every man reafon thus;
"Whofoever, according to the covenant of works, is liable to the curfe of God, for breaking the law, times and ways out of number,