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clearly hold forth Chrift already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people.
The blefings which are effectually conveyed by thefe means to the Lord's elect, or chofen ones, Mat. xxii. 14. Many are called, but few are chosen.
Y these outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the re
probate inexcufable, fo, in the power of his fpirit, he applies unto the elect, effectually, all faving graces purchased to them in the covenant of redemption, and maketh a change in their perfons. In particular, 1. He doth convert or regenerate them, by giving fpiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for giving fpiritual obedience to his commands. 2. He gives them faving faith, by making them, in the fenfe of deferved condemnation, to give their confent heartily to the covenant of grace, and to embrace Jefus Chrift unfeignedly. 3. He gives them repentance, by making them, with godly forrow, in the hatred of fin, and love of righteoufnets, turn from all iniquity to the fervice of God. And, 4. He fanctifies them, by making them go on and perfevere in faith, and fpiritual obedience to the law of God, manifefted by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offereth occafion.
II. Together with this inward change of their perfons, God changes alfo their ftate: for, fo foon as they are brought by faith into the covenant of grace, 1. He juftifies them, by imputing unto them that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the law, and the fatisfaction alfo 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 spiritual privileges of his fons. And laft of all, after their warfare in this
life is ended, he perfects the holinefs, and blessedness, first of their foul at their death, and then both of their fouls and their bodies, being joyfully joined together again in the refurrection, at the day of his glorious coming to judgment, when all the wicked fhall be fent away to hell, with Satan whom they have ferved: but Chrift's own chofen and redeemed ones, true believers, ftudents of holinefs, fhall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification.
PRACTICAL USE of SAVING KNOWLedge,
Contained in Scripture, and holden forth briefly in the forefaid Confeffion of Faith and Catechifms.
HE chief general use of Christian doctrine is, to convince 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 ftrengthened in his faith upon folid grounds and warrants, and give evidence of the truth of his faith by good fruits, and fo be faved.
The fum 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 faved: but if thou fail, thou shalt die. Rom. x. 5. Gal. iii. 10, I 2.
The fum of the gofpel, or covenant of grace and reconciliation, is this, If thou flee from deferved wrath, to the true Redeemer Jefus Chrift, (who is able to fave to the uttermost all that come to God through him) thou shalt not perish, but have eternal life. Rom. x. 8, 9, 1I.
For convincing a man of fin, of righteoufnefs, and of judgment by the law, or covenant of works, let these scriptures among many more be made use of.
I. For convincing a man of fin by the law, confider Jer. xvii.
THE heart is deceitful above all things, and defperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord fearch 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 teacheth 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 foul, as they are corrupted and defiled with original fin; the mind being not only ignorant and uncapable of faving truth, but also full of error and enmity against God; and the will and affections being obftinately difobedient unto all God's directions, and bent toward that only which is evil: The heart (faith he) is ' deceitful above all things, and defperately wicked;' yea, and unfearchably wicked, fo that no man can know it; and Gen. vi. 5. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is
only evil continually,' faith the Lord, whofe teftimony we must trust in this and all other matters; and experience also may teach us, that, till God make us deny ourfelves, 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, unto reckoning before his judgment-feat; For he fearcheth 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 confcience beareth witness of, "I am convinced that it is true.
"But God and my guilty confcience beareth witness, that my heart is deceitful above all things, and defperately wic-' " ked; 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. 10.
AS many as are of the works of the law, are under the curfe: for it is written, curfed 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 reafon of our natural finfulness, the impoffibility of any man's being juftified by the works of the law, is fo certain, that whofoever do feek juftification by the works of the law, are liable to the curfe of God for breaking of the law; For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curfe,' faith 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 poffible) 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 curfe; for the law faith, • Curfed 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 curfe, comprehendeth all the difpleasure of God, with the danger of the breaking forth more and more of his wrath upon foul and body, both in this life, and after death perpetually, if grace do not prevent the full execution thereof.
Hence let every man reafon thus;
"Whosoever, according to the covenant of works, is liable "to the curfe of God, for breaking the law, times and ways "out of number, cannot be justified, or find righteousness by "work of the law."
"But I (may every man fay) according to the covenant of "works am liable to the curfe of God, for breaking the law, "times and ways out of number.
"Therefore I cannot be juftified, or have righteousness by the 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, confider 2 Theff. i. 7.
THE Lord Jefus fhall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels: verfe 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jefus Chrift: verse 9. Who shall be punished with everlafting deftruction from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; verse 10. When he hall come to be glorified in his faints, and to be admired in all them that believe.
Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jefus, who now offers to be a Mediator for them who believe in him, fhall, 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 forwarned me, shall be "done at the laft day, I am fure is just judgment.
"But the righteous Judge hath forwarned me, that if I "do not believe God in time, and obey not the doctrine of "the gospel, I fhall be fecluded from his prefence and his glory, at the last day, and be tormented in foul and body ❝ for ever.
"Therefore I am convinced that this is a juft judgment. "And I have reafon to thank God heartily, who hath "forewarned me to flee from the wrath which is to come."