« PrécédentContinuer »
Containing Remarks on some parts of the Holy
Scriptures, by which Persons may know thenselves, whether they are fincere Christians, to whom the predi&ted Blessings do belong : And of their being in Covenant with God, and having the Holy Spirit dwelling in them : Likewise of the different Manner, in which the Holy Spirit bringeth Persons to be fincere Christians.
Shall now take Notice of some Parts of the Holy Scriptures from which we may know, who are real, serious Christians.
In Matt. x. 3. the Holy Jesus
says, Except je be converted, and become as little Children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: Therefore they who are not converted, and do not become as little Children, are not real, and serious Christians; because sincere Christians have many Promises, which are a solid Ground of Afsurance that they shall be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Another plain Conclusion may be added, viz. that therefore the Ministers of Christ, should explain, and prove the Necessity of that Converfion, which Chrif speaks of.
In John iii. 3, 5. Christ the glorious. Teacher, who came down from Heaven, says, Except a Man be born again be cannot see the Kingdom of God. Except a Man be born of Water, and of the Spirit, be cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Therefore they who are not born again, born of Water, and of the Spirit, are not to be reckoned fincere Christians.
And therefore the Ministers of Christ should explain the Nature, and preach the Necessity of being born again, according to our Saviour's Doctrine.
In 2 Cor. v. 17. It is said, If any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature, old Things are past away, behold all Things are become new. Therefore, they who are not new Creatures, they in whom the old Things are not palt away, and in whom all Things are not become new, are not serious, or real Christians : And therefore also the Ministers of Christ should explain, and preach the Doctrine of the new Creature, and of the paffing away of the old Things, and of the Nature, and Necessity of all Things becoming new.
True Christians are distinguished from others by their receiving Christ, and trusting in him, In John i. 12, It is said, But as many as received bim, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them, that believe on bis Name.
The Devils believe that Christ is the Saviour of Men, and believe what is related in the Gofpels of his Birth, of his Doctrines, Miracles, Sufferings, Death and Resurrection, but they do not receive Chrift; He was not offered to them:
True Believers receive him as their Saviour, and Prince, and consent to be subject to his Authority, and obedient to his Laws; and they trust in hini for his great Salvation.
St. Paul speaking of Christ, says, to the heathen Converts at Ephesus, In whom also, we bave obtained an Inberitance, being predestinated according to the Purpose of him, who worketh all Things after the Counsel of his own Will : That we (q. d. we Jews) should be to the Praise of his Glory, who first trusted in Chrift.
In whom ye (Gentiles) alsó trusted after that ye heard the Word of Trub, the Gospel of your Salvation : In whom also, after that ye believed ye were ; sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise. Eph. i. 11, 12, 13
True Believers, serious Christians, are distinguilhed by their Love to Christ, and their keeping his Commandments. Unto you therefore which believe, He, (that is Christ) is precious, says the Apostle, (1 Pet. ii. 7.) Therefore they to whom Christ is not precious, are not true Believers, or fincere Chriftians.
The fame Apostle speaking of Christ unto Believers, fays, Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with Yoy unspeakable and full of Glory. (1 Pet. 8. i.)
Divine Love with its happy Fruits, is the fulfilling of the Law.
In Deut. vi. 5. it is said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind.
So in Matt. xxii. 37. which implies that Gincere Love to God is essential to true Piety.
In John xiv. 21. the blessed Jesus said, He ibat bath my Commandments, and keepeth them, be it is that loveth me; and be that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him, and ver. 24. he says, He ibat lovesh me not, keepeth not any Sayings.
Whence it is evident, that they who truly love Chrift, do keep his Commandments; and that 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 jour Father, he 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 instituted 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, bebold, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your Seed after you ; Gen. ix. 8, 9.
God also made a Covenant with Abraham, 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 folemn 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 Testament of God's Covenant : David in a Psalm 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.