Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

reconciled. Now, there cannot be a greater inducement to
break a sioner's hard heart, than God's making a request to
him for friendship; for when it became us, who have done
so many wrongs to God, to seek friendship of God, he pre-
venteth us : and (0 wonder of wonders !) he requesteth as
to be content to be reconciled to him ; and therefore most
fearful wrath must abide them who do set light by this re-
quest, and do not yield when they hear ministers with com-
'mission, saying, “ We are ambassadors for Christ, as though
« God did beseech you by us : we pray you, in Christ's
"stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

9. To make it appear how it cometh to pass that the covenant of reconciliation should be so easily made up betwist God and a humble sinner fleeing to Christ, the apostle leads us unto the cause of it, holden forth in the covenant of re. demption, the sum whereof is this : “ It is agreed betwix " God and the Mediator Jesus Christ the Son of God, sure. "ty for the redeemed, as parties-contractors, that the sias ." of the redeemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, 566 and he both condemned and put to death for them, upoo 66 this very condition, that whoso ver heartily consents unto " the covenant of reconciliation, offered through Christ, shall 6 by the imputation of his obedience unto them, he justified 66 and holden righteous before God; for God hath made “ Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, saith the apos- tle, that we might be made the righteousness of God in

him:

Hence may a weak believer strengthen his faith, by reasoning from this ground after this manner:

“ He that, upon the loving request of God and Christ, “made to him by the mouth of ministers, (having commis. “sion to that effect,) hath embraced the offer of perpetual ".reconciliation through Christ, and doth purpose, by God's

grace, as a reconciled person, to strive against sin, and to s serve God to his power constantly, may be as sure to have

righteousness and eternal life given to him, for the obedi

ence of Christ imputed to him, as it is sure that Christ was He condemned and put to death for the sins of the redeemed

imputed to him :
“ But I (may the weak believer say) upon the loving re-
quest of God and Christ, made to me by the mouth of his

ministers, have embraced the offer of perpetual reconcilia

tion through Christ, and do purpose, by God's grace, as a se reconciled person, to strive against sin, and to serve God,

to my power constantly :

“ Therefore I may be as sure to have righteousness and 46. eternal life given to me, for the obedience of Christ

imputed to me, as it is sure that Christ was condemned:

and put to death for the sins of the redeeined imputed to * him.”

The third Warrant and special Motive to believe in Christ,

is the strait and awful command of God charging all the hearers of the gospel to approach to Christ in the order set down by him, and to believe in him ; holden forth, 1 John iii. 23.

THIS is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he :( gave us commandment.

Wherein the apostle giveth us to understand these five is doctrines :

1. That if any man shall not be taken with the sweet inviCitation of God, nor with the humble and loving request of ki God, made to him to be reconciled, he shall find he hath to li do with the sovereign authority of the highest majesty ; for " this is his commandment, that we believe in him," saith he. ,,2. That if any man look upon this commandment as he hath looked heretofore upon the neglected commandments of the law, he must consider that this is a command of the

gospel, posterior to the law, given for making use of the e remedy of all sios; which, if it be disobeyed, there is no me other command to follow but this, “ Go, ye cursed, into the G “ everlasting fre of hell ;" for this is bis commande

ment;" the obedience of which is most pleasant in his bbw sight, Ver. 22. and without which it is impossible to please bei him, Heb, xi. 6.

3. That every one who heareth the gospel, must make conscience of the duty of lively faith in Christ; the weak believer inust not think it presumption to do what is commanded ; the person inclined to desperation must take up himself, and think upon obedience unto this sweet and saving

[ocr errors]

command; the strong believer must dip yet more in the sense of his need he hath of Jesus Christ, and more and more grow in the obedience of this command ; yea, the most impenitent, profane, and wicked person must not thrust out himself, or be thrust out by others, from orderly aiming at this duty, how desperate soever his condition seem to be; for he that commands all men to believe in Christ, doth ehereby command all men to believe that they are damped and lost without Christ: he thereby commands all men to ackoowledge their sins, and their need of Christ, and in ef. fect commands all men to repent, that they may believe in him. And whosoever do refuse to repent of their bygone sins, are guilty of disobedience to this command, given to all hearers, but especially to thuse that are within the visible church : for “ this is his commandment, that we u should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ," saith he.

4. That he who obeyeth this commandment hath built bis salvation on a solid ground : for, 1st, He hath found the promised Messiah, completely furnished with all perfections into the perfect execution of the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King ; for he is that Christ in whom the man doth believe. 2d, He hath embraced a Saviour, who is able to save to the uttermost, yea, and who doth effectually save every one that cometh to God through him ; for he is Jesus, the true Saviour of his people from their sins. 3d, He that obeyeth this command hath buih his salvation on the Rock, that is, on the Son of God, to whom it is no robbery to be called equal to the Father, and who is worthy to be the ob ject of saving faith, and of spiritual worship : " for this is “his command, (saith he,) that we believe in the name of

his Son Jesus Christ."

5. That he who hath believed on Jesus Christ, though he be freed from the curse of the law, is not freed from the command and obedience of the law, but tied thereunto by a Bew obligation, and a new command from Christ; which new command from Christ importeth help to obey the command : unto which command from Christ, the Father addeth his authority and command also ; for “this is his command. * ment, (saith John,) that we believe on the name of his « Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he hath com "manded us." The first part of which command, enjoin

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ing belief in him, necessarily implieth love to God, and so obedience to the first table ; for believing in God, and lov. ing God, are inseparable ; and the second part of the command enjoineth love to our neighbour, (especially to the household of faith,) and so obedience to the second table of. the law.

Hence may a weak believer strengthen himself, by reasoning from this ground after this manner :

Whosoever, in the sense of his own sinfulness, and fear 4 of God's wrath, at the command of God, is filed to Jesus “ Christ, the only remedy of sin and misery, and hath en“ gaged his heart to the obedience of the law of love, “ his faith is not presumptuous or dead, but true and saving 66 faith :

“ But I (may the weak believer say,) in the sense of my

own sinfulness, and fear of God's wrath, am fled to Jesus " Christ, the only remedy of sin and misery, and have en

gaged my heart to the obedience of the law of love :

su Therefore my faith is not a presumptuous and dead hy " faith, but true and saving faith.”

[ocr errors]

The fourth Warrant and special Motive to believe in

Christ, is much assurance of life given, in case men shall ku

obey the command of believing; and a fearful certification of destruction, in case they obey not; holded forth John iii. 35.

THE Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. Ver. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath ever

lasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see # life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Wherein are holden forth to us these five following doctrines :

1. That the Father is well satisfied with the undertakings 2014 of the Son, entered Redeemer and Surety, to pay the ran

som of believers, and to perfect them in holiness and salva

tion : " the Father loveth the Son,” saith he; viz. as he to standeth Mediator in our name, undertaking to perfect our

redemption in all points : The Father loveth him, that is,

doth heartily accept his offer to do the work, and is well of

pleased with him : his soul delighteth in him, and resteth upon him, and maketh him, in this his office, the “recep

[ocr errors]

10!

“ tacle of love, and grace, and good will,” to be conveyed by him to believers in hiin.

2. That, for fulfilling of the covenant of redemption, the Father hath given to the Son (as he standeth in the capacity of the Mediator, or as he is God incarnate, the Word made flesh) all authority in heaven and earth, all furniture of the riches of grace, and of spirit and life, with all power and ability, which the union of the divine nature with the human, or which the fulness of the Godhead dwelling substantially in his human nature, or which the indivisible all-sufficiency and omnipotency of the inseparable, every where present Trinity doth import, or the work of redemption can require : “ The Father (saith he) hạth given all things into " The Son's hand,” to wit, for accomplishing his work.

3. Great assurance of life is holden forth to all who shall heartily receive Christ, and the offer of the covenant of grace and reconciliation through him : “He that believeth 5 on the Son (saith he) hath everlasting life ;" for it is made fast unto him, 1st, In God's purpose and irrevocable, decree, as the believer is a man elected to life. 2nd, By effectual calling of him unto life by God, who, as he is faithful, so will he do it. 3rd, By promise and everlasting covenant, sworn by, God, to give the believer strong conso. lation in life and death, upon immutable grounds. 4th, By a pawn and infeftment under the great seal of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, so oft as the believer shall come to receive the symbols and pledges of life. 5th, In Christ, the fountain and head of life, who is entered in possession, as attorney for believers ; in whom our life is so laid up, that it cannot be taken away. 6th, By begun possession of spiritual life and regeneration, and a kingdom consisting in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, erected within the believer, as earnest of the full possession of ever. lasting life.

4. A fearful certification is given, if a man receive not the doctrine concerning righteousness and eternal life to be had by Jesus Christ : “ He that believeth not the Son, " shall not see life,” that is, pot so much as understand what it meaneth.

* 5. He further certifieth, that if a man receive not the doctrine of the Son of God, he shall be burdened twice with the wrath of God; once, as a born rebel by nature, he shall bear

« PreviousContinue »