Page images

3. That we must not be discouraged, when we see many seeming believers prove rotten branches, and make defection ; but we must the rather take the better heed to ourselves: “ Wherefore the rather, brethren, saith " he,) give all diligence.”

4. That the way to be sure both of our effectual calling and election, is to make sure work of our faith, by laying the grounds of it solidly, and bringing forth the fruits of our faith in new obedience constantly :

66 For if ye do these things, (saith he,) ye shall never fall;" understanding by these things, what he had said of sound faith, Ver. 1, 2, 3, 4. and what he had said of the bringing out of the fruits of faith, Ver. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

To this same purpose, consider Rom. viii. 1. There is Ý therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ

Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Ver. 2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Ver. 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; Ver. 4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Wherein the apostle teacheth us these four things, for laying of the ground of faith solidly:

1. That every one is a true believer, who, in the sense of his sin, and fear of God's wrath, doth flee for full relief from both unto Jesus Christ alone, as the only Mediator and allsufficient Redeemer of men ; and, being fled to Christ, doth strive against his own flesh, or corrupt inclination of nature, and studieth to follow the rule of God's Spirit, set down in his word: for the man, whom the apostle doth here bless as a true believer, is a man in Christ Jesus, “ who doth not “walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

2. That all such persons as are fled to Christ, and do strive against sin, howsoever they may be possibly exercised under the sense of wrath, and fear of condemnation, yet they are in no danger; for “ there is no condemnation

(saith he) to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
3. That albeit the apostle himself, (brought in here for


example’s cause,) and all other true believers in Christ, be by nature under the law of sin and death, or under the covenant of works, (called the law of sin and death, because it bindeth sin and death upon us, till Christ set us free ;) yet the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, or the covenant of grace, (so called, because it doth enable and quicken a man to a spiritual life through Christ,) doth set the apostle, and all true believers, free from the covenant of works, or the law of sin and death; so that every man may say with him, " The law of the Spirit of life," or the covenant of


6 hath made me free from the law of • sin and death,” or covenant of works.

4. That the fountain and first ground, from whence our freedom from the curse of the law doth flow, is the covenant of redemption, passed betwixt God and God the Son as incarnate, wherein Christ takes the curse of the law

upon him for sin, that the believer, who could not otherwise be delivered from the covenant of works, may be delivered from it. And this doctrine the apostle heldeth forth in these four branches: (1.) That it was utterly impossible for the law, or the covenant of works, to bring righteousness and life to a sinner, because it was weak. (2.) That this weakness and inability of the law, or covenant of works, is not the fault of the law, but the fault of sinful flesh, which is neither able to pay the penalty of sin, nor to give perfect obedience to the law, (presuppose bygone sins were forgiven :) “ The law

weak (saith he) through the flesh.” (3.) That the righteousness and salvation of sinners, which was impossible

to be brought about by the law, is brought to pass by sending God's own Son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, in whose flesh sin is condemned and punished, for making satisfaction in the behalf of the elect, that they might be set free. (4.) That by his means the law loseth nothing, because the righteousness of the law is best fulfilled this way; first, by Christ's giving perfect active obedience in our name unto it in all things; next, by his paying in our name the penalty, due to our sins in his death; and, lastly, by his working of sanctification in us, who are true believers, who strive to give new obedience unto the law, and “walk not after the is flesh, but after the Spirit.



[ocr errors]

FOR building our confidence upon this solid ground,

these four Warrants and special Motives to believe in
Christ may serve,
The first whereof is God's hearty invitation, holden forth,

Isa. lv, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money : come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price, Ver. 2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your "Labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Ver. 3. Incline your ear, and come unto me : hear, and your soul shall livē; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Ver. 4. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and com, mander to the people, &c.

Here (after setting down the precious ransom of our redemption by the sufferings of Christ, and the rich bless

ings purchased to us thereby, in the two former chapters ke the Lord, in this chapter,

1. Maketh open offer of Christ and his grace, by proclapain mation of a free and gracious market of righteousness and

salvation, to be had through Christ to every soul, without exception, that truly desires to be saved from sin and wrath : " Ho, every one that thirsteth,” saith he.

2. He inviteth all sinners, that for any reason stand at a distance with God, to come and take from him riches of grace, running in Christ as a river, to wash away sin, and to slocken wrathi : “ Come ye to the waters," saith he.

3. Lest any should stand aback, in the sense of his own sinfulness or unworthiness, and inability to do any good, the Lord calleth upon such persons in special, saying, “ He

that hath no money, come. 4. He craveth no more of his merchant, but that he be pleased with the wares offered, which are grace, and more grace; and that he heartily consent unto, and embrace this U 2


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


and life

& TC


made a

First David 2 xili.34.

i the hace gir


contentment, and fulness of spiritual pleasure, saying, "Lorc 460 The Practical Use of Saving Knowledge. offer of grace, that so he may close a bargain, and a formal covenant with God; “Come, buy without money,(saith he,) “come, eat:" that is, consent to have, and take unto you all saving graces; make the wares your own, possess them, and make use of all blessings in Christ; whatsoever maketh for your spiritual life and comfort, use and enjoy it freely, without paying any thing for it: “ Come, buy wine and “ milk without money, and without price,“ saith he.

5. Because the Lord knoweth how much we are inclined to seek righteousness and life by our own performances and satisfaction, to have righteousness and life as it were by the way of works, and how loath we are to embrace Christ Jesus, and to take life by way of free grace through Jesus Christ, upon the terms whereupon it is offered to us; therefore the Lord lovingly calls us off this our crooked and unhappy way with a gentle and timeous admonition, giving us to understand, that we shall but lose our labour in this our way: * Wherefore do ye spend your money (saith he) for that * which is not bread ? and your labour for that which 66 satisfieth not ?"

6. The Lord promiseth to us solid satisfaction in the way of betaking ourselves unto the grace of Christ, even true “ Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which

good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."

7. Because faith cometh by hearing, he calleth for audience unto the explication of the offer, and calleth for believing of, and listening unto the truth, which is able to beget the application of saving faith, and to draw the soul to trust in God: “ Incline your ear, and come unto me, saith he. To which end, the Lord promises, that this offer being received, shall quicken the dead sinner; and that, upon the welcoming of this offer, he will close the covenant of grace with the man that shall consent unto it, even an ina dissolvable covenant of perpetual reconciliation and peace: “ Hearken, and your soul shall live: and I will make an “ everlasting covenant with you." Which covenant, he declareth, shall be in substance the assignation, and the making over, of all the saving graces which David (whọ is Jesus Christ, Acts xii. 34.) hath bought for us in the


the red the Fat

make ti such

1481 Becau

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

covenant of redemption : “ I will make a covenant with

you, (saith he,) even the sure mercies of David.” By sure mercies, he means saving graces, such as are righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, adoption, sanctification, and glorification, and whatsoever belongs to godliness and life eternal.

8. To confirm and assure us of the real grant of these saving mercies, and to persuade us of the reality of the covenant betwixt God and the believer of this word, the Father hath made a fourfold gift of his eternal and only begotten Son:

First, To be incarnate and born for our sake, of the seed of David his type; for which cause he is called here, and Acts xiii

. 34. DAVID, the true and everlasting King of Israel. Thig, is the great gift of God to man, John iv. 10. And here, I have given him to be David, or born of David, to the people.

Secondly, He hath made a gift of Christ to be a witness to the people, both of the sure and saving mercies granted to the redeemed in the covenant of redemption; and also of the Father's willingness and purpose to apply them, and to make them fast in the covenant of reconciliation made with such as embrace the offer: “ I have given him (saith the

Lord bere) to be a witness to the people.” And truly be is a sufficient witness in this matter in many respects: 1st, Because he is one of the blessed Trinity, and party-contractor for us, in the covenant of redemption, before the world was. 2dly, He is by office, as Mediator, the Messenger of the covenant, and hath gotten commission to reveal it. 3dly, He began actually to reveal it in paradise, where he promised, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. Athly, He set forth his own death and sufferings, and the great benefits that should come thereby to us, in the types and figures of sacrifices and ceremonies before his coming. 5thly; He gave more and more light about this covenant, speaking by his Spirit, from age to age, in the holy prophets. 6thly, He came himself

, in the fulness of time, and did bear witness of all things belonging to this covenant, and of God's willing mind to take believers into it; partly, by uniting our nature in one person with the divine nature; partly, by preaching the good tidings of the covenant with his own mouth ; partly, by paying the price of redemption

« PreviousContinue »