« AnteriorContinuar »
as his alone ground of confidence before the Lord: for the covenant fhews not, nor allows any other; nothing fave Jefus Chrift and him crucified, 1 Cor. ii, 2. He hath some measure of confidence for life and falvation, upon that ground; whereby he is diftinguifhed from the defperate, faithlefs, and unbelieving and what confidence he hath for life and falvation, he hath upon that ground alone; whereby he is diftinguished from the prefumptuous formalifts, and hypocrites. And both these things are joined in the believer's character, Philip. iii. 3. And rejoice in Chrift Jefus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
VII. The promises of the covenant are a fatisfy ing portion to their hearts. They are indeed fenfible they have many wants; but then they fee as much in the covenant as would fupply them all; that they need not go to another door for fupply: they are perfuaded there is as much water in that well as would quench all their thirst, if they could but get the art of drawing it. Thus the covenant is all their falvation, and all their defire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. This discovery of the covenant is not owing to nature, but to that grace which fhews fo much worth in the one pearl, as makes a man content to fell all he hath to gain it, Matth. xiii. 46. But no man will come into the covenant, until once he get it for who will join himself to one in a marriage-covenant, or contract of fervice, with whom. he cannot fee how to live? Faith difcerns in the covenant not only a refuge, but a portion, Pfal. cxlii. 5. elfe the man would never come into it. And none who have once got this difcovery, will remain out of the covenant, Pfal. ix. 10. They that know thy name, will put their trust in thee. See John iv. 10. If the worth of the treafure hid in the field of the gospel, be perceived, all will go for the obtaining thereof, Matth. xiii. 44, 45.; all will be counted lofs and dung for the excellency of it, Philip. iii. 8.
Certainly the men of the world do not fee this in the covenant it is but an empty hungry thing in their blinded eyes. The covenant is, in the gospel, held out to them in the breadth and length thereof: but it does not take with them; it is far from being all their defire: after all, as if they had feen nothing that could fatisfy, they ftill cry, Who will fhew us any good? Pfal. iv. 6. The truth is, the heart of man can never fee enough in the covenant for to rest fatisfied with, till grace give it a new fet, and contract its endless defires: for that which the unrenewed heart is most fet upon, there is no provifion in the covenant for, but against it.
VIII. The Spirit of the covenant is in them: and that is another spirit than what the men of the world are acted by, Numb. xiv. 24. Ezek. xxxvi. 27. I will put my Spirit within you. The Spirit of Chrift is the Spirit of the covenant, purchafed by the blood of the covenant, lodged in the fulness thereof in Chrift the head of the covenant, and communicated in fome measure to all the covenant people. And that Spirit may be known by thefe threecharacters thereof.
1. The Spirit of the covenant is a spirit of holinefs. The great defign of the covenant, next to the glory of God, was the fanctification of finners, Luke i. 74, 75. All the lines of the covenant, from the firft of them unto the laft, meet in that as their cenThere is a difplay of exact justice, in the condition of the covenant; of rich grace and mercy, in the promises of it: of greatest faithfulness and power, in the administration of it; but holiness goes through the whole, and every the least part of it. Where. fore it is called the holy covenant, Dan. xi. 30. Who then can reafonably imagine, that the unholy are within this covenant? that the fervants of fin whether profane, or formalifts, ftrangers to the power of godlinefs, whom no bands of holiness will
hold, can be within the bond of the holy covenant? No, fure they are not; they have not the Spirit of the covenant. The Spirit of the covenant makes the covenanted initially holy; and to press towards the mark, to wrestle, long, grone, and pant for the perfection of holiness, Philip. iii. 14. It makes a vein of holiness run through their whole man; their whole life; their thoughts, their words, their actions; their dealings with God, and their dealings with men. The covenant was erected on purpose to deftroy the work of the devil: it was a confederacy entered into by the Father and the Son, for rooting fin out of the hearts and lives of the children of Adam; for restoring the divine image in them; and for bringing them again to a perfect conformity to the moral law of the ten commandments, from which they fell in Adam. For this end was the condition of it performed, the promises of it made, and. the administration thereof committed to the holy Jefus : 1 John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil. Wherefore, whofoever partake of the Spirit of the covenant, partake of the fpirit of holiness: Gal. v. 18. If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Verfe 16. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the luft of the flesh.
2. The Spirit of the covenant is an ingenious free Spirit, Pfalm li. 12. It is the fpirit of fons, not of flaves; of free men, not of bond men, Rom. viii. 15. There is fome obedience to the holy law given by unbelievers, the men of the firft covenant, as well as by believers, the men of the fecond covenant: and the eyes of the world can perceive no difference between the obedience of fome of the former fort, and of thofe of the latter fort; howbeit there is a vaft difference, which is feen by the all-feeing eye. Are thefe within the covenant praying perfons? So are many, who have no faving part nor lot in it, Ifa.
Iviii. 2. Are they men of temperance and sobriety, justice and honefty, candor and faithfulness, men of blameless lives? So are feveral others befides them, for all that any man can fee, Philip. iii. 6. Thus far they agree. But there is a vast difference of the spirit they are acted by, which makes a mighty odds in the manner and kind of their obedience. Unbelievers are acted by a spirit of bondage, suitable to their state of bondage under the covenant of woks, Gal. iv. 24, 25. A flavish fear and a servile ho◄ are the weights hung upon them by that covenant, caufing them to go: fin is avoided, duty performed, not out of love to God and holiness, but out of love to themselves. Believers are acted by the Spirit of adoption, fuitable to their state of adoption, under the covenant of grace, ver. 26. God is their Father; and they ferve him as fons, not as flaves, Mal. iii. 17. Chrift is their elder brother, who loved them, and gave himself for them; and his love constrains them, 2 Cor. v. 14. The holy Spirit dwells in them, hath quickened them, renewed them, making them partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. So fin is avoided as contrary to their new nature, duty purfued as agreeable to it. Their faith of the love of God in Chrift hath begotten in them love to God again, for a new principle of obedience, 1 Tim. i. 5. By faith they truft on Chrift, and on him alone for life and favation: and this at once undermines in them the flavish fear of hell, and the fervile hope of heaven; fo that these are fo far from being their only motives to obedience, that they cannot be their predominant motives; nay, they cannot be at all in them, but as enemies to their faith and love, 2 Tim. i. 7. 1 John iv. 18. Yet withal, it is to be remem bered, that it is not flavish for faints to fear God's fatherly anger, and thereby to be stirred up to duty, Pfalm cxix. 120. Heb. xi. 7.; nor to hold the way of duty, in hope of the enjoyment of God, in that
way, and the tokens of his favour, John xiv. 21. and in the end perfect happiness in heaven; all through Jefus Christ alone, i Cor. xv. 58. Our need of these things for incitements to duty, do indeed argue our childish ftate, for there will be no need of these fears and hopes in heaven; but by no means a flavish state. Neither is it at all flavish, to have the heart filled with a reverential fear and dread of God, upon the confideration of his tremenduous justice, and wrath in hell, against the miferable objects thereof; and to be stirred up to duty thereby, Matth. x. 28. Heb. xii. 28, 29. To look thereunto, and move away towards God in the way of duty, with fear and trembling, is very agreeble to the State of those who have by faith received a kingdom that cannot be moved; but are not yet afcended into heaven who are indeed drawn up out of the fearful depth; but are not as yet hauled up to the top of the rock, though the ftrong chain of the covenant is so about them, that they shall never fall down again. For in heaven the awe and reverence of God, on that score, will be perfect, Ifa. vi. 1, 2, 3. But it is flavish for faints, to fear their being caft into hell for fin; and fervile, to hope their obtaining heaven for their good works. And yet that flavish fear and fervile hope, may creep in upon the children of the second covenant, and move them to duty: because their faith is weak, much of the old Adam remains in them, and it is not eafy for them, though dead to the law in point of privilege, to be dead to it in point of practice. But thefe impure mixtures of selfishness in their duties will be humbling unto them: and they will loath themselves, for that they act not, in their obedience, with more of the free fpirit and fon-like difpofition. And their will in that cafe is accepted through Christ.
3. The Spirit of the covenant is a spirit of sympathy regulated by the covenant. There is a com