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The Sum of Saving Knowledge may be taken up in these four heads: 1. The woful condition wherein all men are by nature, through breaking of the covenant of works. 2. The remedy provided for the elect in Jefus Chrift by the covenant of grace. 3. The means appointed to make them partakers of this covenant. 4. The bleffings which are effectually conveyed unto the elect by these means.-Which four heads are fet down each of them in fome few propofitions.
H E A D I.
Our woful condition by nature, through breaking the covenant of works. Hof. xiii. 9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.
I. HE Almighty and eternal God, the Father, the Son, and the
one, and undivided Godhead, equally infinite in all perfections, did, before time, moft wifely decree, for his own glory, whatfoever cometh to pafs in time; and doth most holily and infallibly execute all his decrees, without being partaker of the fin of any creature.
II. This God, in fix days, made all things of nothing, very good in their own kind: In fpecial, he made all the Angels holy; and he made our first parents, Adam and Eve, the root of mankind, both upright and able to keep the law written in their heart. Which law they were naturally bound to obey under pain of death; but God was not bound to reward their fervice, till he entered into a covenant or contract with them, and their posterity in them, to give them eternal life, upon condition of perfect perfonal obedience; withal, threatening death, in case they should fail. This is the covenant of works.
III. Both angels and men were fubject to the change of their own 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 became devils. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, one of these devils fpeaking in a ferpent, did break the covenant of works, in 3 H
cating the forbidden fruit; whereby they, and their pofterity, being in their loins, as branches in the root, and comprehended in the fame covenant with them, became not only liable to eternal death, but alfo 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.
H E A D II.
The remedy provided in Jefus Chrift for the elect by the covenant 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 himself, nor willing to be helped by God out of it, but rather inclined to lie ftill, infenfible of it, till he perith; yet God, for the glory of his rich grace, hath revealed in his word a way to fave finners, viz. 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 himself so far as to affume the human nature, of a foul and a body, unto perfonal union with his divine nature, and fubmit himfelf 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 purchase unto them righteoufnefs 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 Christ 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 himself to the law, and completely paid the ranfom on the crofs: But by virtue 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 intereft 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 Prophet, Priest, 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 Prieft, to offer up himself a facrifice once for them all, and
HE A D III.
The outward means appointed to make the elect partakers of this covenant,
HE outward means and ordinances for making men parta-
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 covenant in the Old Testament, being fealed with the facraments of circumcifion and the pafchal lamb, did set forth Chrift's death to come, and the benefits purchased thereby, under the fhadow of bloody facrifices, and fundry ceremonies: but fince Chrift came, the covenant being fealed by the facraments of baptifm and the Lord's fupper, doth clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people.
effectually conveyed by thefe means to the Lord's Matth. xxii. 14. Many are called, but few are
The blefings which are elect, or chofen ones. chofen.
I. Y thefe outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the reprobate
power of his fpirit,
the elect, 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 fpiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives them faving faith, by making them, in the fenfe of deferved condemnation, 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 also their state: 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 alfo which upon the cross Chrift gave unto justice in their name. 2. He reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were be, fore enemies to God. 3. He adopts them, that they fhall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all fpiritual privileges of his fons. And, laft of all, after their warfare in this life is ended, he perfects the holiness and bleffednefs, firft of their foul at their death, and then both of their fouls and their bodies, be ing joyfully joined together again in the refurrection, at the day of his glorious coming to judgment, when all the wicked fhall be fent a way to hell, with Satan whom they have served: but Chrift's own chofen and redeemed ones, true believers, ftudents of holinefs, fhall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification,
PRACTICAL USE of SAVING KNOWLEDGE,
Contained in Scripture, and holden forth briefly in the forefaid Confeffion of Faith and Catechifins.
HE chief general ufe of Chriftian doctrine is, to convince a man of fin, and of righteousness, 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 ftrengthened 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 fhalt 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 "Chrift, (who is able to fave to the uttermoft all that come to God "through him,) thou shalt not perish, but have eternal life, Rom. x. 8. 9. II.
For convincing a man of fin, of righteoufnefs, 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 wicked, whe tan know it? I the Lord fearch 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 these two things:
1. That the fountain of all our mifcarriage, and actual finning against God, is in the heart, which comprehendeth the mind, will, affections, 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 against God; and the will and affections being obftinately difobedient unto all God's directions, and bent 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 trat in this and all other matters; and experience alfo may teach us, that,