« AnteriorContinuar »
the house of Israel after those days, faith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts. and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. The belief of these is more difficult ; but it is by them a soul can only be made happy, 2 Pet. i. 4. Therefore it is the truth or faithfulness of God in the promise of the gospel that is here meant: 'That is it we are to endeavour to bring the rising generation to.
Now, the promise of the gospel is held forth under the notion of God's truth, on these accounts.
1. In respect of the weight of the things pros mised therein. They are to great and weighty, that were not the infallible truth of God impawned for them, they could not be believed by sensible guilty creatures : 2 Pet. i. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.
Compared with Luke xxiv. 25. 26. Then Jesus Said unto them, o fools, and how of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? That the eternal Son of God should take on man's nature, and suffer the most ignominious death therein, for sinners, who could have believed on another than God's own testimony? That God freely gives eternal life in him to sinners, as i John V. Il. who otherwise could believe?
2. The foundation of believing it is in God only. A true believer receives the kingdom of God as a little child, Mark X. 15. 'on the mere testimony of his father. There is nothing in nature's light to bring us to the belief of the gospel. So faith is called the evidence of things not feen, Heb. *. I. The threatening of death in the law, a na
tural conscience prompts men to believe, Rom. i. ult. and ii. 15. But the promise of life in the golpel, depending allenarly cn revelation, the belief of it rests on the truth of God only : yca, nature rises up against it. The corrupt mind looks on it as foolishness, the corrupt will rejects it; the corrupt affections mufter themselves up againft it; and the natural conscience, the more it is awakened, the more hard it makes the belief of it. So the truth of God has all these to drive over, and pull down. Hence says the Apostle, 2 Cor. x. 4. 5. Tbe weapons of uur warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of Strong holds ; calling down imaginations, and every high thing that exgalteth itself against the knowledge af God, and bringing inta captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
3. In opposition to the falsehood, wanity, and lyos of the world, which finners naturally betake themselves to
in, The world (warms with lyes, and has always since Satan hatched the first lye in it. The things of the world are lyes, 1 John ii. 16.; the men of the world are lyars, Rom. iii. 4.; yea, the belt of them a lye, Pfal. lxii. There is no trusting of them, jer. xvii. 5. 6. 2dly, The world itself is one great lye, Eccl. i.
Its appearances are unfair and deceitful, it appears to vain man quite another thing than it is; its shadows appear substantial, and so eatch the unwary heart, Hof. xii. 1. 8. Yet it is that which is not, Prov. xxiit
. 5It is not what it seems to be. Its promises are false, it never performs them : the good things of it are always greater in expec
tation than fruition ; they difappoint; which is ly. ing in scripture-style, Hab. iii. 17.
Secondly, How one betakes himself unto God's truth, which is that we should aim to bring the rising generation to. It lies in these five things. .
1. In a conviction of the vanity of the world, and its deceitful lufts. Hence says David, Plal. cxix. 96. Thave seen an end of all perfection ; but thy commandment is exceeding broad. The false and vain world offers itself as a satisfying portion to the rising generation, as soon as reason begins to dawn in them. To the infant it makes its court by the last of the Aesh in meat and drink; to the child by that, and the pride of life in cloathing; and it is long ere they know there is any thing better than tkefe. To the youth it spreads out its all, the luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, and the pride of life ; and whatever notions of religion they may have in their heads, till gráce open their eyes, they will never truly fee any thing to be better. Now, we should labour to convince them of the vanity of the world, that it will never fatisfy, nor afford a 'rest to the heart; that its lusts are deceitful, and there is a ruining hook hid under that bait.
2. In renouncing of the world for a portion, and its lufts for our way," as being a broken reed, that will not only not bear our weight, but run through the hand that leans on it. Hence it is said, Jer. xvi. 19.-The Gentiles shall come into the Lord from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lyes, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit,
It is natural to mang and therefore to the rising generation, to stick by it, and not to give over the pursuit ; but after a thousand disappointments still to hope for better
from it, Il. lvii. 10. And the little experience youth has, makes them the more ready to do so. But- we should endeavour' to bring them to part with it, as a hopeless thing they will never mend themselves of, Pfal. iv. 2.
3. In believing that there is an upmaking portion held forth in the promise of the gospel. This is the finding of the treasure hid in the
field, Matth. xiii. 44. The carnal mind looks on the promise of the gospel but as idle tales; it is a treasure bid in a field, which men go over without noticing what is in it, because they see it not. But Christ is there, and in him the fulness of the Godhead, and with him all things, enough to satisfy the boundless desires of a soul. And could we bring the rising generation really to believe this, we would do a great thiøg.
4. In trusting to the promise of the gospel allenarly for life and happiness, and a rest to the heart, upon the ground of God's faithfulness. Here is the nature of faith, a betaking one's self unto God's truth, by trusting to him in his word of promise for all, Ruth ii. 12. It implies these three things. The foul seeing there is in the promise what is not in all the creation, enough to answer all its needs, and to make it compleatly happy,
ift, Believes its own common interest in the promise, that itself, as well as others, has access to claim it with all that is in it, and to rely on it as held out to him in particular to trust upon for his upmaking in time and eternity, Heb. iv. 1., 2. For no man can embrace the promise of the gospel, that does not first see himself warranted so to do. And the nature of the promise warrants all, 7ohn iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotien Son, that whosoever believeth in him, Mould not perish, but have everlasting life.
2dly, The man thereupon lays the weight of his happiness wholly on it, trufting that it shall be made out to him, and expecting all happiness from it. Thus he buys the field, takes possession of it, and the treasure hid therein, Matth. xiii. 44. This. is the embracing of the promise, Heb. xi. 13. as one takes an honest man's word for his security, rests there, and looks no further. So what trust was be fore placed in the vain world, is now placed in the promise.
3dly, The ground on which he bottoms this his trust in the promise, is not any thing in him
felf, but the truth and faithfulness of God, Tit. 1. 2. The man sees the promise is not yea and nay, as the promises of fickle men are ; but that it is the word of God which is lurer than heaven and earth, Hek. xi. 1 1. and yea in Christ, 2 Cor.i. 20. And to this trust we should labour to bring the rising genera. țion, which is to bring them unto a rest for their restless hearts, by bringing them to Christ, and by him to God. When we see hungry infants moving about with their mouths for something to fuck, natural affection teaches to set them on the breast: but as they grow up, ye might observe their hungry fouls moving up and down among the creatures for a fill, and fill restless because they cannot get it. It would be as great charity in that case, to endeavour to bring them to the breasts of divine consolations in the promise of the gospel,
5 lastly, In hoping and waiting for their happiness from the promise of the gospel. Hence says the ApoT 3