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their souls, as worms do on the dead body. But under the covenant of
grace, life reigns; and the soul being thereby restored to life, will cast off these, Col. iii. 7, 8. Beware of backsliding and apostasy. It is dangerous to the last degree, Luke ix. 62. “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.' That is the way hypocrites pull off their mask, 1 John ii. 19. Remember Lot's wife. But true believers shall be saved from it, Heb. x. 38, 39. “ Now the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.' Wherefore, ' hearken, O daughter, and consider and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy Father's house,' Psal. xlv. 10.
3. Mix not again with the world lying in wickedness, but carry yourselves as a separate company, under a new covenant, and a new head, Acts ii. 40. Save yourselves from this untoward generation.' If ye are really brought into the covenant, ye are come out from among them: shew that it is so, by your keeping at a distance from them. The grace of the covenant secures it as to all true believers, Psal. xii. 7. And,
(1.) Chuse not their company, Psal. xxvi. 4, 5. It is dangerous as a pest-house, 1 Cor. xv. 34. Many of the -truly godly have been wounded in their soul and conscience deeply thereby; witness Peter in the high priest's hall. Many who have had very fair appearances once a-day, have been ruined by ill company, Prov. xiii. 20. A Companion of fools shall be destroyed. There is no eviting it altogether in this life, 1 Cor. v. 10. But take heed ye have God's call, and then may ye expect the divine protection. Why will ye chuse their company? they are not going your way.
(2.) Conform not to their way, Rom. xii. 2. Ye have declared yourselves of a different, yea, a contrary society; why then will ye do as they do? To walk according to the course of this world, speaks one to be a child of wrath, not a child of the covenant. Being come into the covenant, your privilege is beyond others: it is expected then that ye should do more than others, who have not your privilege, Matth. v. 47. The privilege is very singular, ye must then be singular in your walk, in comparison of the world lying
in wickedness, though you should be wondered at, Zechi. iii. 8. 1 Pet. i. 4.
4. Remember that ye are no more your own, but the Lord's by covenant, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. God has offered his covenant unto you, ye have entered into it: so ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Let this be an answer to the teinptations that ye will meet with ; say to them as Jephthah did to his daughter, Judges xi. 35. • I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.' If others say, their tongues and themselves are their own, and they have no Lord over them, ye cannot say it: for if you have come into the covenant, ye have said, as Isa. xliv. 5. 'I am the Lord's.' And if you are his, ye must be for him only, wholly, and for ever.
5. Espouse the interests of the covenant, saying, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,' Matt. vi. 10. Have common friends and enemies with the God of the covenant, Psal. xvi. 2, 3. and cxix. 21. Your own interest is in it, and if it be really so, the interest of Christ's kingdom in the world will be yours, and ye wil? fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh, as the adversaries of the covenant. They are very low in the world at this day, and in this land; though the nation is under the bond of solemn covenants to God, that bond is little regarded, backslidings are multiplied, and the generation is dealing treacherously with a witness. If ye have embraced the covenant of grace for your own souls, it will natively produce a well tempered concern for the covenanted refor. mation of yourselves and the land.
6. Pursue earnestly the ends of the covenant. These are the destruction of sin, and the service of the Lord, Luke i. 74. Christ came “to destroy the works of the devil;' hold hand to this end of the covenant in yourselves and others. Study mortification of your own lusts in the first place : labour to break the power of sin in others, according as ye have opportunity, and to weaken Satan's interest in the place wherein you live. Serve the Lord diligently in the duties of inward worship, and in the duties of morality, first and second table duties : and as ye have access, stir up one another thereto.
7. Lastly, In all ye do, act as under the influence of this covenant, and not of the covenant of works. Be evangelical in all your duties, and the whole strain of your conversation, The covenant is a covenant of grace: let the grace, mercy, and love of the covenant, be your great motives to obedience, 2 Cor. v. 14. To pretend to embrace the covenant of grace, and in the mean time to serve the Lord as bondmen, just for feat of punishment and hope of reward, is to run back to the old covenant.
More particularly, walk wortliy,
1. Of the parties in the covenant, Col. i. 10. Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. The confederates in the covenant of grace, which ye are taken into, are the most glorious and honourable parties that ever entered into a covenant together ; even God and his own Son the second Adam, under whom believers come in as members under the head. View the glory and majesty of these parties, the infinite wisdom, love, and grace to poor sinners, wherewith this transaction was managed from eternity s and consider yourselves as taken into the same covenant with thens, and ye must see that ye have need to take heed to walk worthy of such confederates. And,
1st: Gratitude obliges to this. Should not the poor sinful creature, considering itself taken into the communion of God and his Son's covenant, look on himself as highly honoured, beyond whatever he could have expected ? i John i. 3. and ought he not thereupon to be careful to walk worthy of that honourable society? to carry as becomes that honourable character?
2dly, The unsuitable walking of those taken into the covenant reflects dishonour on the glorious parties into whose covenant he is taken; Rom. ii. 24. While men give up their names to Christ, and yet walk in the way of sin, they bring up an ill report on the ways of God, and cause the graceless world to blaspheme the glorious name. Then,
(1.) Study to walk so as to be followers of God, Eph. v.i. Labour to imitate him in all his imitable perfections. He is your God, and ye are his people, if ye are really within the covenant; and surely a people will strive to conform to the nature and will of their God. Be compassionate and merciful to those in misery, ready to do good to all as ye have access, yea even to your very enemies: so shall ye prove yourselves children of the God of the covenant, Matth. v. 44, 45.
(2.) Conform yourselves to the example of the Head of the covenant. They to whom Christ's death brings salvation, will follow the example he left us in his life, i John ii. 6.
He hath left us an example that we should follow his steps.' He has writ a fair copy of a life for our imitation, John xiii. 15, and will have his people learn of him, Mat. xi. 29. We are apt to follow examples in things suited to our nature. Christ's example is every whit perfect, and no other is so: and what example should have more influence on the members than that of the Head ?
(8.) Labour to maintain actual communion and fellowship with God in Christ, Cant. iii. 5. The covenant puts men in a state of communion with God, 1 John. i. 3. That is a great privilege; but oftimes much misimproved by God's own children, who fall secure and indisposed for converse with God, Cant: v. 3. į grieve the Spirit, and sa provoke him to depart; regard some iniquity in their heart, and so mar the course of influences, and their own access to God.
(4.) Be heavenly in your frame and walk, Phil. il. 20. God is in heaven, your head Christ is in heaven; and your treasure is there: why should not your heart be there too? The due frame of a communicant, that has taken hold of the covenant is set down, Cant. ül. 6. • Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, and all powders of the metchant! And it is sad to see those who are in the covenant grovelling among the dust of this earth, like those that are without; to see the heavenly seed like the seed of the ser. pent. Set your affections then on things above, and not on things on the earth.
Lastly, Let it be your greatest care to please God, to give content to the heart of Christ, Col. i. 10. It should be your great question, "What shall I render to the Lord ?' Let the love of the Father and the Son influence you to this manner of walking. And let God's displeasure be to you the most horrible thing, that you would rather venture on the displeasure of the whole world than his.
2. Walk answerable to the parts of the covenant. And,
1st, To the condition of the covenant performed by Jesus Christ, viz. his fulfilling a!l righteousness, in his being born holy, living holy, satisfying justice by his death and sufferings, to procure you the promises of the covenant. And, Vol. 1.
(1.) Let the stress of your acceptance with God all along lie upon that, and that only; Phil. iii. 3. Whatever to obtain from God, whether for time or eternity, let all your confidence for it be laid on that ground only. Whatever you go to seek from God, whatever service you offer to God, or do for him, let it be laid on that altar, as ever ye would have it accepted, Col. iï. 17. It is not only when our duties are ill performed, but when they are best done, that we must place our confidence here: for our best duties will otherwise be unacceptable.
(2.) Walk humbly as debtors to free grace, 1 Tim. i. 15. Look to the rock whence ye were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence ye were dug. See Ezek. xvi. Remember, whatever be your attainments, gifts, or graces, ye are decked with borrowed feathers: be not proud of them. The condition on which any promise is performed to you, you could never perform : the price of the least mercy you could not pay. Only Jesus Christ has set up the poor bankrupt again.
(3.) Walk in love Eph. v. 2. Walk in love' to God in Jesus Christ. This is the fulfilling of the law: and there is the greatest reason for it, both from what he is in himself, and what he is to us. One flame is fit to kindle another. Such love was never seen among creatures, as God has shewn to man; and shall it not inflame our hearts? Walk in love to one another, and in love to mankind,
(4.) Walk thankfully. The whole life of a Christian should be a life of thankfulness, 1 Pet. ii. 9. Eternal life is won by Christ's fulfilling the condition of the covenant; it is received in the first-fruits of it, and possessed in Christ the head, by faith. What then remains but to express our thankfulness in a well-ordered life, for the unspeakable free gift?
2dly, To the promises of the covenant; they are great and precious,' 2 Pet. i. 4. Happy are they that have them for their security, and all that are within the covenant have
(1.) Live upon them, let your souls feed on them, and account them the great stock ye have to trust to, Psal. cxix. 162. This must be done by believing them, and that with application. However little you have in hand, ye bave a full covenant of promises, which are Heaven's bills and bonds, that make a good stock. And so reckon, that though ye