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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, upto God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himself so far as to ås. sume the human nature, of a soul and a body, unto personal union wich his divine nature, and submit himself to the law, as furety for them, and satisfy justice for them, by giving o-; bedience in their name, even unto the suffering of the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom and redeem them all from sin 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 apply. ing 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 redempti. on, 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 ordimances, and to defend them from their enemies.,
HEAD III. The outward means appointed to make the eleEt partakers of this cover I nant, and all the rest that are called to be inexcusable, Mat. xxii.
14. Many are called : THE outward means and ordinances for making men par
I takers of the covenant of grace, are so wisely dispensed, as the elect shall 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 finners, 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 unto the keeping of the covenant. And by prayer, he will have 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, ac· cording to the quality of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers.
II. The covenant of grace, fet down in the Old Testament before Christ came, and in the New since he came, is one and the same in substance, albeit different in outward administration: For the covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed with the facraments of circụmcision and the paschal-lamb, did set forth Christ's death to come, and the benefits purchased ihereby, under the shadow of bloody facrifices, and sundry ceremonies; but, fince Christ came, the covenant being sealed by the sacrameuts of baptism and the Lord's supper, doth
clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and glorioully ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people.
H E A D IV. The bleshings which are effe£tually conveyed by these means to the Lord's
elect, or chosen ones, Mat. xxii. 14. Many are called, but few are
chosen. DY these outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the re. D probate inexcusable, fo, in the power of his spirit, he applies unto the elect, effectually, all saving graces purchased to them in the covenant of redemption, and maketh a change in their persons. In particular, 1. He doth convert or regenerate them, by giving spiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for giving spiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives them faving faith, by making them, in the sense of deserved condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the covenant of grace, and to embrace Jesus Christ unfeignedly. 3. He gives them repentance, by making them, with godly sorrow, in the hatred of fin, and love of righteousnels, turn from all iniquity to the service of God. And, 4. He fan&tifies them, by making them go on and persevere in faith, and spiritual obedience to the law of God, manifested by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offereth occasion.
II. Together with this inward change of their persons, God changes also their state: for, so soon as they are brought by faith into the covenant of grace, 1. He justifies them, by imputing unto them that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the law, and the satisfaction also which upon the cross Christ gave unto justice in their name. 2. He reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were before enemies to God. 3. He adopts them, that they shall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all fpiritual pri. vileges of his fons. And last of all, after their warfare in this
life is ended, he perfects the holiness, and blessedness, first of their foul at their death, and then both of their souls and their bodies, being joyfully joined together again in the resurrection, at the day of his glorious coming to judgment, when all the wicked shall be sent away to hell, with Satan whom they have served: but Christ's own chosen and redeemed ones, true believers, students of holiness, fhall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification.
THE PRACTIÇAL Use of Saving KNOWLEDGE, Contained in Scripture, and holden forth briefly in the fore
said Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
H E chief general use of Christian doctrine is, to conI vince a man of fin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, John xvi. 8. partly by the law or covenant of works, that he may be humbled and become penitent; and partly by the gospel or covenant of grace, that he may become an unfeigned believer in Jesus Christ, and be strengthened in his faith upon solid grounds and warrants, and give evidence of the truth of his faith by good fruits, and so be saved.
The sum of the covenant of works, or of the law, is this, If thou do all that is commanded, and not fail in any point, thou shalt be saved: but if thou fail, thou halt die. Rom. x, 5. Gal. iii. 10, 12.
The sum of the gospel, or covenant of grace and reconciliation, is this, If thou flee from deserved wrath, to the true Redeemer Jesus Christ, (who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God through him) thou Malt not perish, but have eternal life. Rom. x. 8, 9, 11.
For convincing a man of fin, of righteousness, and of judgment by the law, or covenant of works, let these scripgures among many more be made use of.
I. For convincing a man of sin by the law, consider Jer. xvii.
THE heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. : Here the Lord teachèth these two things;
1. That the fountain of all our miscarriage, and actual finning against God, is in the heart, which comprehendeth the mind, will, affections, and all the powers of the soul, as they are corrupted and defiled with original fin; the mind being not only ignorant and uncapable of saving truth, but also full of error and enmity against God; and the will and affections being obstinately disobedient unto all God's directions, and bent toward that only which is evil: “ The heart (saith he) is
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;' yea, and unsearchably wicked, so that no man can know it; and Gen. yi. 5. 'Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is
only evil continually,' saith the Lord, whose testimony we must trust in this and all other matters; and experience also may teach us, that, till God make us deny ourselves, we never look to God in any thing, but fleshly self-interest alone doth rule us, and move all the wheels of our actions.
2. That the Lord bringeth our original fin, or wicked inclination, with all the actual fruits thereof, upto reckoning before his judgment-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 “iny heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wic“ ked; and that all the imaginations of my heart, by nature, S are only evil continually.