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Whence it is evident, that they who truly love Chrift, do keep his Commandments; and chas they who live in Disobedience to them, do not fincerely love him, whatsoever they may profess; and they are not real Christians.
In John viii. 42. Jesus said to the Jews, If God were your Father, ye would love me : For I proceeded forth, and came from God. Therefore they who do not love Christ have not God for their Father, and are not real Christians,
I would further observe that real Christians, are Persons in Covenant with God. There is an holy Agreement, or Covenant between the great God and them: It is the way, the Almighty has infticuted of dealing with his beloved People: God made a Covenant with Noah. For it is said, God Spake unto Noah, and bis Sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your Seed after you; Gen. ix. 8, 9.
God also made a Covenant with Abrahamı. We read in Gen. xvii. 1, 2. that, The Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am ihe Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect, And I will make my Covenant between me, and thee.
Here are two Engagements in this solemn Covenant, viz.
1. God's gracious Promise to be Abraham's God, which implies the greatest Happiness and Honour, and also Abraham's Obligation to walk (or live) before God according to his Will, with Uprightness of Heart : 2. Abraham's Consent to walk as God required. And thus there was a mutual Agreement or Covenant between God and Abraham.
Frequent Mention is made throughout the Old Teftament of God's Covenant : David in a Plalm of thanksgiving, said, He is the Lord our God, bis Judgments are in all the Earth, be ye mindful alE
ways of bis Covenant : The Word which be bas commarded to a Thousand Generations, i Chron. xvi, 14, 15
In Pful. xxv. 15. It is said, The Secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and be will few them bis Covenant. He will make known to them, who are truly pious, some of his secret Purposes; and the Blessedness of their being in Covenant with him ; but unto the Wicked God faith, Wbat bas thou to do to declare my Stalutes, or that thou Jbouldest take my Covenant in Iky Mouth ? Pfal. I. 16.
Which plainly implies that the Wicked have no Interest in God's Covenant, and that he did not approve of their being Teachers of his Laws.
In Isaiah xlii. 5, 6. we read, Thus faith God the Lord, (that is to the Messiah) I the Lord bave called thee in Righteousness, and will hold thine Hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a Light of the Gentiles.
These Words import that God's Covenant with his people was intended to continue, not only till Christ came, but through the Times of the Gospel.
In Jer. xi. 1-4. It is written, The Word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying Hear, ye the Words of this Covenant, and speak unto the Men of Judab, and to the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and Say thou unto them, Thus faith the LORD God of Ifrael, cursed be the Man, that obeyeih not the Words of this Covenant, which I commanded your Fathers in the Day that I brought them forth out of the Land of Egypt, from the Iron Furnace, saying, Obey my voice and do them, according to all which I command you: So shall ye be my People, and I will be your God.
Hence do appear the mutual Engagements between God, and his People in the Holy CoveNANT, viz. on the People's Part, God commanded them to obey his Voice, and keep all his Commandments, and this the People consented, and promised to do.
They expressed to Moses their Consent, Exod. xxiv. 3. All the People an/wered with one Voice, and fa:d, All the Words which the Lord bath said will we do.
In ver, the 7th, we read. And be (i. e. Moses) to k the Book of ihe Covenant, and read in the Audience of the People, and they said; all that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient.
This Engagement the People entered into :
On the Part of God, he consented to, and by Promise agreed that they should be his People, and himseit would be their God.
It is likewise evident, that they who will not obey the Words of God's Covenant, and keep his Holy Commandments are Cursed.
God still deals with Men in the Way of a Covenant : Our glorious Redeemer is called by the Prophet Malachi, the Messenger of the Covenant, when he spake of the Messiah's Coming into the second Temple, Mal. iii. 1, where it is said, Behold I will send my Messenger, and he skall prepare the Wory before me ; and the Lord whom ye Seek hall sud denly come to bis Temple; even the Messenger of the Covenant whom ye delight in ; Bebold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hofts.
And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, he is declared to be the Mediator of the Covenant, (which under the Dispensation of the Gospel, is called a new Covenant, Hob. viii. 6. where the Apoftle says, But now bath be (thać is Chrift) obtained a more excellent Ministry, (that is better than the Ministry of Mofes,) by how much also he is the E 2
Mediator of a better Covenant, which was established upon better Promises.
In Heb. xiii. 20, 25. the Apostle says, now the God of Peace that brought again from the Dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the Blood of the everlasting Covenant, make you perfeet in every good Work to do bis Will, work. ing in you that which is well pleasing in bis Sight, through Jesus Chrift; 10. whom be Glory for ever, and ever Amen.
Hence is appears that the Covenant of which Christ is the Mediator is an everlasting Covenant, ratified, and made sure by the shedding of his precious Blood for us on the Cross.
And all real Christians do devote themselves to God in Covenant ; they desire to have the Lord for their God, their Lawgiver, their Portion and Happiness, and in the name of Christ give themselves to be his Servants; they desire to have Christ as the Mediator between God and them, they desire to have the Lord Jesus in all his Offices, and trust in him alone for all the Salvation they want; and they desire the Holy Spirit may dwell in them as a Sanctifier, and work in them both to will and to do, and to be always their Guide, and their Comforter.
Thus, they do consent to be the Lord, and to live according to his Holy Will.
And all the Promises of the Gospel, shew God's consent to be their God; and thus it appears, that there is a mutual Agreement, or Covenant between the Holy God, and all fincerę Christians,
There is another Thing to be observed as to seal Christians, true Believers and of the utmost Iinportance, viz. that they have the Holy Spirit dweling in them; they were born of the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit abideth in them.
The Predictions on Record in the Old Teftament are a solid Ground for the People of God under that Dispensation, and for all true Believers under the Gospel, for expecting the great Blessing and Dignity of having the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.
In Ezek. xxxvi. 27. The God of Truth says, I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my Statues, and ye shall keep my Judgments, and do them. A precious Promise! Which may comfort the Hearts of the Saints when they meet with Difficulties in the Way of their Duty; and may well encourage them when they meet with the Temptations, and Buffettings of the Devil.
And this great Blessing, the In-dwelling of God's Holy Spirit we should pray for it; and we are incouraged to do so, by the Words of our gracious Redeemer, in Luke xi. 13. where he says, If ye then being evil, know how to give good Gifts unto your Children : How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them ihat
ask him ?
'In John vii. 38, 39. Christ says, He that believeth on me, as the Scriptures batb said, out of his Belly shall flow Rivers of living Water. But this Spake be of the Spirit, which ihey that believe on bim should receive.
In John xiv. 17. the blessed Jesus, speaking of the Holy Ghost, says, Even the Spirit of Truth, whom the World cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth bim : But ye (said Christ to his Disciples) know him, for be dwelleth with you, and sball be in you.
In Gal. iii. 14. the Apostle says, That the Blefing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit (or the Spirit promised) sbrough Faith.