« AnteriorContinuar »
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 ?
(3.) 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. z 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. iil. 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 merchant!' 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 serpent. Set your affections then on things above, and not on
, things on the earth.
Lastly, Let it be yout 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 all 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. I.
(1.) Let the stress of your acceptance with God all along lie upon that, and that only; Phil. iii. 3. Whatever you look 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. iii. 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
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 them so.
(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 have nothing, yet ye possess all things, viz. in Christ; ye have them in the promise, Col. ii. 10. · Ye are complete in him.'
(2.) Resolutely set about every duty in the faith of the pro, mise. It will be too hardy to venture on the least without it; and the hardest and most difficult may be ventured on with it, 2 Tim. ii. 1. God calls his people to no duty, but what the covenant has furniture for in the promise. And in the faith of it the weak is made strong, and without it the proud helpers stoop.
(3.) Resist temptations in the faith of the promise. The least of them is able to lay us by, if the Lord do not stand by us: the shock of the most violent of them may be endured, and one come off safe, if encountered in the faith of the promise, Eph. vi. 16. It is the promise in the hand of faith that keeps the tempted safe, and makes his resistance successful.
(4.) Bear crosses, trials, and afflictions, in the faith of the promise, Psal. xxvii. 13. There is no getting forward to heaven, but by the way of the cross: these deep waters must needs be swimmed through ; but the faith of the promise will bear up the head, and keep from sinking. It will bring in comfort from the covenant, when other streams are dried.
Lastly, Die in the faith of the promise, Heb. xi. 13. That is the last battle to be fought: and then the time draws near of the full accomplishment of the promise to the Lord's people; and that is a special season of exercising faith on the promises.
3dly, and lastly, Walk suitably to the administration of the covenant, which is a most happy one, as being lodged by the Father in Christ's hand. And,
(1.) Go to Christ for all you need. To whom should we go but to him, since he is Administrator of the covenant, and all is in his hand? Whether you need light, life, strength, or whatsoever is necessary for time or eternity, go to him for it.
(2.) Be obedient to his laws, the laws of the covenant. If he administers the covenant to you effectually to your salvation, he is your King and Lord, and ye must receive the law at his mouth, Psal. cxix. 6. (3.) Submit to the discipline of the covenant, If ye meet with crosses, afflictions, and trials, take them kindly, blessing God that they are not curses, effects of revenging wrath.
(4.) Believe that all ye meet with is well ordered. It is So, for it is the product of the wisdom of the great Admi. nistrator of the covenant.
(5.) Lastly, Do your endeavour amongst all, as ye have access, to advance the covenant; that those who are without, may be brought in; and that those who are within, may be edified. For Christ is to administer the covenant to who soever of mankind sinners will receive it.
Thus, by the mercy of God, I have travelled through this subject, the covenant of
and laid before you the principal things relating to it; having formerly treated of the covenant of works. In the first covenant, see your misery; in this see the remedy, and apply it by believing You have here had the mystery of salvation by Christ opened up at large. May the Lord himself open your understandings to understand it, and your hearts to receive it; and save you from slighting it: for so it will be a witness against you.
OF CHRIST THE ONLY REDEEMER OF GOD'S ELECT.
GAL. iy. 4, 5.-When the fulness of the time was come, God
sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
E are now to speak of the Mediator of the new co
venant, Jesus Christ, and to consider our Redeemer in his person, offices, and states. As to the first of these, it is plainly taught in the text.
In the former chapter, and in the first part of this, the apostle insists upon the church's freedom from the Mosaic dispensation, which was a very toilsome and burderisome service. This he illustrates by the similitude of a pupil and his tutors, ver. 1, 2. and then he applies it in the following verse, (1.) To the church's bondage under the Old Testament dispensation, when she was in her infant state, kept in subjection under that rigid and strict administration, which served for a rudiment, whereby she was instructed for the