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willing to enter into covenant with God, cannot be fincere in his confeffion of fin and mourning over it, whatever he may pretend.
For the right managing of this duty of personal covenanting, these three following advices are offered.
1. See that you understand, and rightly take up the covenant, the covenant of grace, together with the way and manner of a sinner's personal entering into it, and being instated in it unto salvation; the which are to be learned from the holy scripture alone, as being revealed in it only. Mistakes and misapprehensions of these things may be of very bad confequence in the practice of this duty: for which cause men ought earnestly to pray, that God would, by his own word and Spirit Mew them his covenant, according to the promise, Psal. xxv, 14.
According to the scripture, the covenant, namely, the covenant of grace for life and salvation, is not left unto you to make, in whole nor in part, by proposing and condescending on terms thereof, as a party-contractor : it is made already, compleately made and concluded in all the articles thereof, whether conditionary or promissory; and that between God the party.contractor on Heaven's side, and Christ as Mediator and second Adam, the partycontractor on loft man's side. And it is registered in the sacred records, the holy scripture. And you are invited unto the fellow ship of it, Pfal. lxxxix. 3. I have made a covenant with my chofen, David my fervant, 1 Cor. xv. 45. The last Adam. 1 John i. 3. That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship with us : and truly our fellow
hip is with the Father, and with bis Son Jesus Christ.
The condition of it is, Christ's fulfilling all righteousness in the name of his spiritual seed, Matth. iii. 15. Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. This righteousness was stated from the broken cove
nant of works; and that in three things, namely, perfect holiness of nature, righteousness of life, and satisfaction for fin: all which Christ did fulál, in his being born perfectly holy, living perfectly righteous, and making compleat fatisfaction by his death and sufferings. And thus the condition of the covenant, on which is founded the right and claim to the promises of it, is fulfilled already to your hand.
The promise of it, respecting lost sinners, is the promise of eternal life in its full latitude, comprehending all things neceffary to make a finner holy and happy: that God in Christ will be their God, and they shall be his people, Tit. i. 2. In hope of eternal
life, which God that cannat lye, promised before the world began.
Heb, viii. 10. This is the covenant ; -I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And it is begun to be fulfilled to all who have taken hold of the covenant ; and is ready to be fulfilled unto all, who yet shall take hold thereof.
This covenant is the plan laid by infinite wife dom for the salvation of lost finners ; upon which they may safely venture themselves, for time and e. ternity, as upon a bottom infallibly fure, Ifa. lv. 3. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, (Heb. I will cut to you an everlasting covenant), even the sure mercies of David, 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. We preach Cbrift, -Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. It is heaven's device for repairing the loss we sur tained by Adam's fall, whereby we become unholy and miserable, lying in ignorance which we could not cure, under guilt and the curse which we could not remove, and under bondage to sin and Satan which we could not break, ver. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and fanctification, and redemption.
The great design of it, is to exalt the free grace of God, in the falvation of Sinners; to shew there. in the exceeding riches of his grace to them, in
Chrift. It is a plan laid for cutting off all ground of boasting from the creature ; to make Christ all, and the creature nothing in its own salvation, as being indebted to free grace for the whole thereof
, Eph.i. 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace. Chap. ii. 7. That he might fbew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus
. Ver. 9. Not of works, left any man Mould boast. It 'is much like unto a contract of marriage, devised and drawn by a wealthy and wise physician, of his own proper motion alone, between himself and a poor woman, drowned in debt, weak and witless, and withal over-run with lothsome fores, rendering her incapable to do any thing, whether for her own relief, or for his service; and this upon a design to have her wholly indebted to him for her relief, the payment of her debt, the management of her person, and her recovery for action and business.
This covenant is offered and exhibited to you in the gospel, as really as that contrect drawn and signed by the physician, would be offered and exhibited to the woman, if he should come and present it to her; for her acceptance: Rom. x. 6. Say not in thine heart, Who shall afcend into heaven (that is, to bring Christ down from above): Ver. 7. Or, who shall de scend into the deep? (that is to bring up Christ again from the dead.) Ver. 8. But what faith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart : that is the word of faith which we preach. So that the righteousness of Christ, to wit, the holiness of nature wherewith he was born, and which he retained unspotted till death, the righteousness of his life
, and his fatisfaction made by his sufferings, is in that word freely offered and exhibited to you, as the ful. filled condition of the covenant, being therein reveals ed unto faith, Rom. i. 17. Gr.; as alfo, the promise of eternal life
, as the promise of the covenant to be fulfilled, being therein left you, Heb. iv. 1.
Hence it appears that the duty of personal covenanting is much mistaken and mismanaged, where the party apprehending that God, in the word, declares himself willing to be his God, upon certain terms to be by him performed, different from accepting God's full and free covenant of promise, does accordingly make a covenant with God, folemnly taking him for his God upon these terms: promising and vowing, that if God will be his God, pardon his fins, be at peace with him, and save his foul, he will, for his part, be one of his people, and faithfully serve him all the days of his life, watching against all known sin, and performing every known duty. This is just as if the woman, in the case before put, should tell him who offers her the contract, that ihe is content to take him for her husband, upon certain terms; particularly, that if he will be her. husband, and do the duty of a husband to her, she will, for her part, be a faithful wife to him, all the days of her life, doing all that she is able to do for paying off her debt, managing herself and his household to the belt of her skill, and taking all pains on her fores, to make her lovely in his eyes : the which being quite contrary to the design and end of that unusual kind of contract, which is, to have the wife wholly indebted to the husband for all, doth alter the nature of the proposal, and would quite mar the surprising match, which was in a fair way to be carried on.
But likeas in that case nothing remains for the woman to do, to intitle her to the benefit of the contract, but believing it to be a real and ferious, not a ludicrous deed, to sign her acceptance; which signing with the hand is necessary, because her beJief of the reality of the offered contract, and trusting to it accordingly, being inward acts of the foul, cannot be known among men, but by a proper external signí even fo all that remains for you, to in
state you savingly in God's covenant of grace, offer. ed and exhibited to you in the gospel, is to take hold of it, Ifa. Ivi. 4.
And to the end that, in your aiming to take hold of the covenant, you may not be at a loss, fearing that you may miss any part or parts thereof, lying scattered through the blessed Bible ; know, that Jesus Christ, the second Adam, head of the covenant, is by his Father given for a covenant to you, Ifa. xlix. 8. So that you have the whole covenant in him ; and you take hold of it, by taking hold of him offered and exhibited to you in the free promise of the gospel.
And this is done by faith, or believing on his name, according to John i. 12. As many as received bim, to them gave, he power to become the fons of God, even to them that believe on his name, Wherefore, by believing on the name of Christ, we take hold on the covenant, and are instated in it unto salvation. And, God hath made believing to be the means of instating finners personally and savingly in the covenant, in confonancy with the great design and end thereof, declared in the word, and of which before: Rom. iv. 16. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace. Chap. iii. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law ? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.
Now, to believe on the name of Christ, is to be. lieve or credit the free promise of the gospel with application to yourself, and accordingly to trust on him as the Saviour of the world and your Saviour, in whom God will be your God, and you shall be one of his people, unto your salvation from sin and from wrath : Mark i. 15. Believe the gospel. Gal. iii. 2. The hearing of faith. Theff. i. 5. Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy Ghost, and in much asurance. i Gor. ii. 4. In demonstration of the spirit, and of power :