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O F T H E
SUM Of SAVING KNOWLEDGE.
HEAD I. Our wosulcondition by nature.
II. The remedy provided in Christ Jesus.
III. The means provided in the covenant of grace.
IV. The blessings conveyed by these means.
The use of Saving Knowledge.
1. For convincing of fin by the law.
2. Of righteousness by the law.
3. Of judgment by the law.
For convincing of fin, righteousness andjudgment by thegospd*
Warrants and motives .to believe.
1. Cod's hearty invitation.
2. His earnest request to be reconciled.
3. His command, charging all to believe.
a. Much assurance of life given to believers, &c.
Evidences of true faith.
1. Conviction of the believer's obligation to keep the moral law.
2. That the believer pratlife the rules of godliness and righteousness.
3. That obedience to the law run in the right channel of faith in Christ.
4. The keeping ofstrait communion with Christ, the fountain of all gran
and good works. • For strengthning the believer in faith and obedience, by these evidences.
':. s U / . M
The sum of saving knowledge may be taken up in these sour heads; i. The woful condition wherein all men are by nature, through breaking of the covenant of works. i. The remedy provided for the elett in "Jesus Christ by the covenant of grace. 3. The means appointed to make them partakers of this covenant. 4. The blessings which are effectually conveyed unto the elecl by these means. Which four heads are set down each of them in some few propositions,
Qur vioful condition by nature, through breaking the covenant of -works, Hos. xiii. 9. 0 Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself. *
THE almighty and eternal God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons in the one and the fame undivided Godhead, equally infinite in all perfections, did, before time, most wisely decree, for his own glory, whatsoever cometh to pass in time; and doth most holily and infallibly execute all his decrees, without being partaker of the sin of any creature.
II. This God, in six days, made all things of nothing, very good in their own kind: in special, he made all the angels holy; aud he made our first parents, Adam and Eve, the root of mankind, both upright and able to keep the law written ifl their heart. Which law they were naturally bound to obey
E e 3 under
under pain of death; but God was not bound to reward their service, till he entered into a covenant or contract with them, and their posterity in them, to give them eternal life upon condition of perfect personal obedience; withal threatning death in case they should fail. This is the covenant of works.
III. Both angels and men were subject to the change of their own free-will, as experience proved (God having reserved to himself the incommunicable property of being naturally unchangeable:) for many angels of their own accord fell by fin from their first estate, and became devils. Our first parents, being enticee) by Satan, one of these devils speaking in a serpent, did break the covenant of works, in eating the forbidden fruit; whereby they, and their posterity being in their loins, as branches in the root, and comprehended in the fame covenant with them, became not only liable to eternal death, but also lost all ability to please God; yea, did become by nature enemies to God, and to all spiritual good, and inclined only to evil continually. This is our original sin, the bitter root of all our actual transgressions, in thought, word, and deed.
The remedy provided in Jesus Christ for the eletl by the covenant of< , grace, Hos. xiii. 9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.
Albeit man, having brought himself into this woful condition, be neither able to help himself, nor willing to be helped by God out of it, but rather inclined to ly still unsensible of it, till he perilh; yet God, for the glory of his rich grace, hath revealed in his word a way to save sinners, to wit, by faith in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, by virtue of, and according to, the tenor of the covenant of redemption, made and agreed upon between God the Father and God the Son, in the council of the Trinity, before the world began. II. The sum of the covenant of redemption is this; God *' '••»'■ having having freely chosen unto life, a certain number of loft mankind, for the glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the World began, unto God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himself so far as to assume the human nature, of a soul and a body, unto personal union with his divine nature, and submit himself to the law, as surety for them, and satisfy justice for them, by giving 0bedience in their name, even unto the suffering of the cursed death of the cross, he mould ransom and redeem them all from fin and death, and purchase unto them righteousness and eternal life, with all saving graces leading thereunto, to be effectually, by means of his own appointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This condition the Son of God (who is Jesus Christ our Lord) did accept before the world began, and in the fulness of time came into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected himself to the law, and compleatly paid the ransom on the cross: But by virtue of the foresaid bargain, made before the world began, he is in all ages, since the fall of Adam, still upon the work of applying actually the purchased benefits unto the elect: And that he doth by way of entertaining a covenant of free grace and reconciliation with them, through faith in himself; by which covenant, he makes over to every believer a right and interest to himself, and to all his blessings.
III. For the accomplishment of this covenant of redemption, and making the elect partakers of the benefits thereof in the covenant of grace, Christ Jesus was clad with the threefold office of a prophet, priest, and king. Made a prophet, to reveal all saving knowledge to his people, and to persuade them to believe and obey the same; made a priest, to offer up himself a sacrifice once for them all, and to interceed continually with the Father, for making their persons and services acceptable to him; and made a king, to subdue them to himself, to feed and rule them by his own appointed oidi■ances, and to defend them f rom their enemies.
E e 4 HEAD s
The outward means appointed to make the eletl partakers of this cove* nant, and all the rest that are called to be inexcusable, Mat. xxji. 14. Many are called:
THE outward means and ordinances for making men partakers of the covenant of grace, are so wisely dispensed, as the elect (hall be infallibly converted and saved by them; and the reprobate, among whom they are, not to be justly stumbled. The means are especially these tour; 1. The Word of God. 2. The sacraments. 3. Kirk-government. 4. Prayer. In the word of God preached by sent messengers, the Lord makes offer of grace to all sinners, upon condition of faith in Jesus Christ; and whosoever do confess their sin, accept of Christ offered, and submit themselves to his ordinances, he will have both them and their children received into the honour and privileges of the covenant of grace. By the sacraments, God will have the covenant sealed for confirming the bargain, on the foresaid condition. By kirk-government, he will have them hedged in, and helped forward imto the keeping of the covenant. And by prayer, he will ftave his own glorious grace, promised in the covenant, to be daily drawn forth, acknowledged, and employed. All which means are followed either really, or in profession only, according to the quality of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers.
II. The covenant of grace, set down in the Old Testament before Christ came, and in the New since he came, is one and the fame in substance, albeit different in outward administration: For the covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed with the sacraments of circumcision and the paschal lamb, did set forth Christ's death to come, and the benefits purchased thereby, under the fliadow of bloody sacrifices, and sundry ceremonies; but, since Christ came, the covenant being sealed by the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, doth