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till God make us deny ourselves, we never look to God in any thing, but fleshly felf-interest alone doth rule us, and move all the wheels of our actions.
2. That the Lord bringeth our original sin, or wicked inclination, with all the actual fruits thereof, unto reckoning before his judg: ment-feat; “ For he searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins, to “ give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit ~ of his doings."
Hence let every man reason thus:
“ What God and my guilty conscience beareth witness of, I am “ convinced that it is true.
“ But God and my guilty conscience beareth witness, that my “ heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and " that all the imaginations of my heart, by nature, are only evil “ continually.
« Therefore I am convinced that this is true.” Thus a man may be convinced of fin by the law,
II. For convincing a man of righteousness by the law, confider Gal. iii. io.
AS many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Here the Apostle teacheth us three things :
1. That, by reason of our natural sinfulness, the impossibility of any man's being justified by the works of the law, is so certain, that whosoever do feck justification by the works of the law, are liable to the curse of God for breaking of the law; “ For as many as are of “ the works of the law, are under the curse,” saith he.
2. That, unto the perfect fulfilling of the law, the keeping of one or two of the precepts, or doing of fome, or of all duties (if it were possible) for a time, is not fufficient; for the law requireth, that “a « man continue in all things which are written in the book of the " law to do them.”
3. That, because no man can come up to this perfection, every man by nature is under the curse ; for the law faith, “Cursed is every one “ that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of " the law to do them.”
Now, to be under the curse, comprehendeth all the difpleasure of God, with the danger of the breaking forth more and more of his wrath
upon soul and body, both in this life, and after death perper tually, if grace do not prevent the full execution thereof.
Hence let every man reason thus :
“ Whosoever, according to the covenant of works, is liable to the " curse of God, for breaking the law, times and ways out of num. “ ber, cannot be justified, or find righteousness by works of the law.
“ But I, (may every man fay), according to the covenant of works, am liable to the curse of God, for breaking the law, times and ways out of number.
« Therefore I cannot be justified, or have righteousness by the 6 works of the law.”.
Thus may a man be convinced of righteousness, that it is not to be had by his own works, or by the law. III. For convincing a man of judgment by the law, consider 2 Theff:
from heaven with his mighty angels, v. 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ': v. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power ; v. 10. When he shall come to be giorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.
Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jesus, who now offers to be Mediator for them who believe in him, shall, at the last day, come armed with flaming fire, to judge, condemn, and destroy all them who have not believed God, have not received the offer of grace
made in the gospel, nor obeyed the doctrine thereof; but remain in their natural state, under the law or covenant of works.
Hence let every man reason thus :
“ What the righteous Judge hath forewarned me shall be done “ at the last day, I am sure is just judgment.
“ But the righteous Judge hath forwarned me, that if I do not be" lieve God in time, and obey not the doctrine of the gofpel, I shall “ be secluded from his presence and his glory, at the last day, and « be tormented in soul and body for ever.
“ Therefore I am convinced that this is a just judgment. “ And I have reason to thank God heartily, who hath forewarned me to flee from the wrath'which is to come.
Thus every man may be, by the law or covenant of works, convinced of judgment, if he shall continue under the covenant of works, or shall not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. IV. For convincing a man of fin, righteoufness, and judgment, by the
AS for convincing a man of sin, and righteousness, and judgment by the gospel, or covenant of grace, he must understand three things. 1. That not believing in Jesus Christ, or refusing of the covenant of grace offered in him, is a greater and more dangerous sin than all other fins against the law; because the hearers of the gospel not believing in Chrift, do reject God's mercy in Chrift, the only way of freedom from sin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to
2. Next, He must understand, that perfect remission of fin, and true righteousness, is to be had only by faith in Jesus ; because God requireth no other conditions but faith; and testifies from heaven, that he is well pleased to justify sinners upon this condition. 3. He must understand, that upon righteousness received by faith, judgment shall follow, on the one hand, to the destroying of the works of the devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work
of fanctification in him, with power : and that, upon refusing to take righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, judgment shall follow, on the other hand, to the condemnation of the misbeliever, and destroying of him with Satan and his servants for ever.
For this end, let these pafiages of fcripture, among many others, serve to make the greatness of the fin of not believing in Chrift appear; or, to make the greatness of the fin of refusing of the cove
grace offered to us, in the offering of Christ unto us, let the fair offer of grace be looked upon as it is made, Il. lv. 3: Incline your ear, and come unto me, (faith the Lord): hear, and your foul Mall live, and I will make an everlasiing covenant with you, even the fure mercies
That is, If ye will believe me, and be reconciled to me, I will, by covenant, give unto you Chrift, and all faving graces in hin: repeated Acts xiii. 34.
Again, consider, that this general offer in substance is equivalent to a special offer made to every one in particular; as appeareth by the Apostle's making use of it, Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jefits Christ, ant thou shalt be suved, and thy house. The reason of which offer is given, John üi. 16. For God so loved the world,
gave ly begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, mould not perish, but have everlasting life. Seeing then this great salvation is offered in the Lord Jesus, whosoever beliveth not in him, but looks for happiness some other way, what doth he else but obferve lying vanities, and forsake his own mercy, which he might have had in Chrift? Jonah ii. 8. 9. What doth he else but blafpheme God in his heart? as it is faid, 1 John v. 10. II. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he belicveth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life: and i his life is in his Son. And that no sin against the law is like unto this sin, Christ testifies, John Xv. 22. If I had not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had fin : but now they have no clock for their fin. This may convince a man of the greatness of this sin of not believing in Christ. For convincing a man of righteousness to be had only by faith in Jesus
Christ, consider how, Rom. X. 3. 4.
IT is faid, that the Jews being ignorant of God's righteoufness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, and so they periihed.) For Christ is the end of the law for righ:eaufness to every one that believeth. And Acts xiii.
39. By Christ Jefus all that believe are justified from all things, fron which ye could
not be juli ified by the law of Mofes. And 1 John i. 7. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all fin.
For convincing a man of judgment, if a man embrace this righteousness, consider 1 John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. And Heb. ix. 14. How much more fall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
But if a man embrace not this righteousness, his doon is pronounced, John üü. 18. 19. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he bath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. Hence let the penitent, defiring to believe, reason thus :
« What doth fuffice to convince all the elect in the world of the " greatness of the fin of not believing in Chrift, or refusing to flee
to him for relief from fins done against the law, and from wrath “ due thereto; and what fufficeth to convince them, that righteous“ ness and eternal life is to be had by faith in Jesus Christ, or by “ consenting to the covenant of grace in him; and what fufficeth to “ convince them of judgment to be exercised by Christ, for destroy“ ing the works of the devil in a man, and fanctifying and faving all “ that believe in him, may fuffice to convince me alfo.
“ But what the Spirit hath faid, in these or other like fcriptures, “ sufficeth to convince the elect world of the foresaid fin, and righte« ousness, and judgment.
“ Therefore what the Spirit hath faid, in these and other like “ fcriptures, serveth to convince me thereof also.”
Whereupon let the penitent defiring to believe, take with him words and say heartily to the Lord, seeing thou fayst, seek ye my face, my foul answereth unto thee, thy face, Lord, will I seek: I have hearkened unto the offer of an everlasting covenant of all saving mercies to be had in Christ, and I do heartily embrace thy offer. Lord let it be a bargain; Lord, I believe; help my unbelief: Behold, I give myself to thee, to serve thee in all things for ever ; and I hope thy right hand fall jave me; the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Thus may a man be made an unfeigned believer in Christ.
For strengthening the man's faith, who hath agreed unto the cove
nant of grace.
BECAUSE many true believers are weak, and do much doubt if e. ver they shall be sure of the foundness of their own faith and effectual calling, or made certain of their justification and salvation, when they fee, that many, who profefs faith, are found to deceive themselves; let us fee how every believer may be made strong in the faith, and sure of his own election and falvation upon solid grounds, by fure warrants, and true evidences of faith. To this end, among many other fcriptures, take these following.
1. For laying solid grounds of faith, consider 2 Pet. i. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election fure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall
. In which words, the Apostle teacheth us these four things, for help and dirccion how to be made strong in the faith.
1. That such as believe in Christ Jesus, and are fled to him for relief from sin and wrath, albeit they be weak in the faith, yet they
are indeed children of the fame Father with the Apostles ; for fo he accounteth of them, while he calleth them brethren.
2. That albeit we be not sure, for the time, of our effectual calling and election, yet we may be made fure of both, if we ufe diligence; for this he presupposeth, saying, “ Give diligence to make your cal. “ ling and election sure.”
3. That we must not be discouraged, when we fee many fecming believers prove rotten branches, and make defection; but we muit the rather take the better heed to ourfelves; “Wherefore the ra“? ther, brethren,” faith he “ give all diligence.”
4. That the way to be fare both of our effectual calling and election, is to make sure work of our faith, by laying the grounds of it solidly, and bringing forth the fruits of our faith in new obedienice constantly : “ For if ye do these things,” saith he, “ye thall never “ fall ;' understanding by these things, what he had faid of found faith, verf. 1. 2. 3. 4. and what he had faid of the bringing out of the fruits of faith. verf. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
To this fame purpose, consider Rom. viii. 1. There is therefore now no condemnátion to them which are in Chrift Jefus, who walk not after the files, but after the spirit. Verf. 2. For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jefus, hath made me free from the law of fin and death. Verf 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of fixful flesh, and for fin condemned Jin in the filesh: Verf. 4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Wherein the Apostle teacheth us thefe four things, for laying of the ground of faith folidly:
1. That every one is a true believer, who, in the sense of his fin, and fear of God's wrath, doth flee for full relief from both unto Jefus Christ alone, as the only Mediator, and all-fufficient Redeemer of men; and, being fted to Chrift, doth strive againft his owit fleth, or corrupt inclination of nature, and studieth to follow the rule of God's Spirit
, set down in his word: for the man, whom the Apostle doth here bless as a true believer, is a man in Christ Jefus, or who doth “.not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”'
2. That all such persons as are fled to Chrift, and do strive against sw, howsoever they may be poflibly exercised under the feife of wrath, and fear of condemnation, yet they are in no danger ; for o there is no condemnation,” faith he, “ to them that are in Chrift “ Jefus, who walk not after the fleth, but after the Spirit.”
ž. That albeit the apostle himself, (brought in here for example's cause), and all other true believers in Christ, be by nature under the law of fin and death, or under the covenant of works, (called the law of fun and death, because it bindeth fin and death upon us, till Christ fet us free;) yet the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jefus, or the covenant of grace, (so called, because it doth enable and quicken a man to a spiritual life through Christ,) doth set the Apostle, and all true believers, free from the covena of works, or the law of fim and death; so that every man may fay with him, “ The