« PreviousContinue »
love of sin, but sets the man on work to fear God for his mercy, and to obey all his commandments, out of love to God, for his free gift of justification, by grace bestowed on him : For this is the end of the "law indeed,” whereby it obtaineth of a man more obedience than any other way. The fourth thing requisite to evidence true faith is, the keeping strait
communion with Christ, the fountain of all graces, and of all good works ; holden forth, John xv. 5.
I am the vine, ye are the branches : he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Wherein Christ, in a similitude from a vine-tree, teacheth us,
1. That by nature we are wild barren briers, till we be changed by coming unto Christ ; and that Christ is that noble vine-tree, having all life and sap of grace in himself, and able to change the nature of every one that cometh to him, and to communicate spirit and life to as many as shall believe in him : "I am the vine, (saith he,) and ye are the branches."
2. That Christ loveth to have believers so united unto him, as that they be not separated at any time by unbelief : and that there may be a mutual inhabitation of them in him, by faith and love ; and of him in them, by his word and Spirit; for he joineth these together, “ If ye abide in me, and I in you,” as things inseparable.
3. That except a man be ingrafted into Christ, and united to him by faith, he cannot do any the least good works of his own strength ; yea, except in as far as a man doth draw spirit and life from Christ by faith, the work which he doth is naughty and null in point of goodness in God's estimation : “For without me (saith he) ye can do “ nothing."
4. That this mutual inhabitation is the fountain and infallible cause of constant continuing and abounding in well-doing : For “ he that abideth in me, and in him, (saith her) the same beareth much
fruit.” Now, as our abiding in Christ presupposeth three things ; 1st, That we have heard the joyful sound of the gospel, making offer of Christ to us, who are lost sinners by the law : 2d, That we have heartily embraced the gracious offer of Christ ; 3d, That by receiving of him we are become the sons of God, John i. 12. and are incorporated into his mystical body, that he may dwell in us, as his temple, and we dwell in him, as in the residence of righteousness and life : so our abiding in Christ importeth other three things, (1.) An employing of Christ in all our addresses to God, and in all our undertakings of whatsoever piece of service to him. (2.) A contentedness with his sufficiency, without going out from him to seek righteousness, or life, or furniture in any case, in our own or any of the creature's worthiness. (3.) A fixedness in our believing in him, a fixedness in our employing and making use of him, and a fixedness in our contentment in him, and adhering to him, so that no allurement, no temptation of Satan or the world, no terror nor trouble, may be able to drive our spirits from firm adherence to him, or from the constant avowing of his truth, and obeying his commands, who hath loved us, and given himself for us; and in whom not only our life is laid up, but also the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily, by reason of the substantial and personal union of the divine and human nature in him.
Hence let every watchful believer, for strengthening himself in faith and obedience, reason after this manner :
" Whosoever doth daily employ Christ Jesus for cleansing his con“science and affections from the guiltiness and filthiness of sins
against the law, and for enabling him to give obedience to the law in love, he hath the evidence of true faith in himself : “But I (may every watchful believer say) do daily employ Jesus Christ for cleansing my conscience and affections from the guilti“ness and filthiness of sins against the law, and for enabling of me " to give obedience to the law in love :
Therefore I have the evidence of true faith in myself.” And hence also let the sleepy and sluggish believer reason, for his own upstirring, thus :
Whatsoever is necessary for giving evidence of true faith, I study " to do it, except I would deceive myself and perish :
“ But to employ Christ Jesus daily for cleansing of my conscience and affections from the guiltiness and filthiness of sins against the law, and for enabling me to give obedience to the law in love, is necessary for evidencing of true faith in me :
Therefore this I must study to do, except I would deceive myself “and perish.”
And, lastly, Seeing Christ himself hath pointed this forth, as an undoubted evidence of a man elected of God unto life, and given to Jesus Christ to be redeemed, “ if he come unto him," that is, close covenant, and keep communion with him, as he teacheth us, John vi. 37. saying, “ All that the Father hath given me shall come to me ; “and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out;" let every person, who doth not in earnest make use of Christ for remission of sin. and amendment of life, reason hence, and from the whole premises, after this manner, that his conscience may be awakened :
“ Whosoever is neither by the law, nor by the gospel, so convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, as to make him come to Christ, “and employ him daily for remission of sin, and amendment of life;
he wanteth not only all evidence of saving faith, but also all appearance of his election, so long as he remaineth in this condition : “But I (may every impenitent person say) am neither by the law nor gospel so convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, as to “make me come to Christ, and employ him daily for remission of “ sin, and amendment of life :
Therefore I want not only all evidence of saving faith, but also “ all appearance of my election, so long as I remain in this condition.”
CONFESSION OF FAITH
KIRK OF SCOTLAND :
WITH A DESIGNATION OF SUCH ACTS OF PARLIAMENT AS ARE EXPEDIENT FOR
JUSTIFYING THE UNION AFTER MENTIONED.
Josh. xxiv. 25. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them &
statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
2 Kings xi. 17. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and
the people, that they should be the Lord's people; between the king also and the people.
Isaiah xliv. 5. One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the
name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Isracle
Assembly at EDINBURGH, August 30. 1639. Sess. 23. Act ordaining, by Ecclesiastical Authority, the Subscription of the
CONFESSION OF FAITH AND COVENANT, with the ASSEMBLY'S Declaration.
VIIE General Assembly considering the great happiness which may joining of all in one and the same Covenant with God, with the king's Majesty, and amongst ourselves ; having, by our great oath, declared the uprightness and loyalty of our intentions in all our proceedings ; and having withal supplicated his Majesty's high Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majesty's honourable Privy Council, to enjoin, by act of council, all the lieges in time coming to subscribe the Confession of Faith and Covenant; which, as a testimony of our fidelity to God, and loyalty to our King, we have subscribed : And seeing his Majesty's high Commissioner, and the Lords of his Majesty's honourable Privy Council, have granted the desire of our supplication, ordaining, by civil authority, all his Majesty's lieges, in time coming, to subscribe the foresaid Covenant: that our union may be the more full and perfect, we, by our act and constitution ecclesiastical, do approve the foresaid Covenant in all the heads and clauses thereof; and ordain of new, linder all ecclesiastical censure, That all the masters of universities, colleges, and schools, all scholars at the passing of their degrees, all persons suspected of Papistry, or any other error; and finally, all the members of this kirk and kingdom, subscribe the same, with these words prefixed to their subscription, The Article of this Covenant, which was at the first subscription referred to the determination of the General Assembly, being determined; and thereby the five articles of Perth, the government of the kirk by bishops, the civil places and power of kirkinen, upon the reasons and grounds contained in the acts of the General Assembly, declared to be unlawful within this kirk; we subscribe according to the determination foresaid.” And ordain the Covenant, with this declaration, to be insert in the registers of the Assemblies of this kirk, general, provincial, and presbyterial, ad perpetuam rei memoriam. And in all humility supplicate his Majesty's high Commissioner, and the honourable estates of Parliament, by their authority, to ratify and enjoin the same, under all civil pains ; which will tend to the glory of God, preservation of religion, the King's Majesty's honour, and perfect peace of this kirk and kingdom.