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are not so much to look to the object, of saith, or the; thing to be believed, as to the reason of saith, and thej ground of it, namely, God's testimony; Ke says .it;, his truth and veracity is at the stake to give us securityj it is the great word of the great God. It is not the greatness of a Demise that draws our saith, but the sidelity of the promisor; nay, the greater the promise is, the more will we doubt of it, unless there be a; ground for believing it. If a man of undoubted integrity come and tell you never so great things that he is to do for you, and give to you, the greatness of the things promised is not the reason of your believing him; nay, the greater the/ are, the surther will .you be from believing: but the reason of your believing is, because the man is honest and able, and a person of intire credit, whom you can trust. Even so it is here; there is a great thing proposed to our saith, that Christ, the Sent of God, is engaged for our complete salvation; and upon this ground he promises in the context, " I will be your God, and ye mall be my people.-' But, the greater it is, the surther are we from believing it; and theresore we must have a reason for our saith: wejlj }t is here, the God of truth says it, and we are to take it upon the testimony of the God that cannot lie. When Abraham was llrong in the saith, and against hope believed in hope, was it the greatness of the promise that supported his saith, or the reasonableness of-it! No, no; his body and Sarah's both were dead: but he considered the veracity and ability of the God that promised; "He was sully persuaded, that he that had promised, was able to perform," Rom. iv. 21. When Moses was sent to Israel in Egypt, to tell them that the set time was come, that they were to be delivered from their Egyptian-thraldom and bondage, and to be brought to a land flowing with milk and honey: here is a great promise: but 0? says Moses, " How will they believe this?" Why, says God, " Go tell them, I ^ hath sent you;" even the God of beings,, that can give being to what I say. I was known to their foresathers by the name, Lord Gop Almighty; because I did mightily fpf them, viz. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: and now I
am frst come to accomplish my promise that I made tofhem concerning their seed; theresore I will be known now to tliem by the name, I Am That I Am. I have alt Baing in myself from eternity, and can give a being lo my promise. Here is a good ground for their saith. If we look not to this ground, the greatness of the promise will overset our saith, while the man says, O! it is too good news to be true? It is too great for me! and so we reason ourselves out of our saith: But, O! fee who says it, and that it is the word of Jehovah, and here is sirm footing for your saith.
V. The Fisth thing proposed, was the Application of this doctrine, in some Inserences; Is it so, that Christ, the eternal Son of God, did thus cordially engage himself to approach unto God in the work and business of our redemption! Then hence we may inser the following particulars: We may see,
I. The greatness of our ruin by nature, and the sad ease that mankind is in; that not one of all the pofterity of Adam can or dare approach unto God, or come under engagements for this end. If we do, we engage ourselves to what is impossible- to perform, and we approach to a siery tribunal, where we are doomed to eternal death, unless we come under the wings of this glorious Engager and Approacher to God. This God will rfiew no regard to any personal bond or engagement of ours: for our personal credit is cracked and broken, not only originally in Adam, by the violation ef the covenant of works, but actually in our own persons: we never kept a word that we promised to God; we never kept our engagements to God one day to an end: and theresore God will not trust; us. I am sar from disallowing of personal covenanting and engaging, when it is put in its due place; that is, after a man hath once closed with Christ, •as the principal Engager; and then vows, through his grace, and under the covert of his engagement, from gratitude, to serve the Lord, and walk in his ways: but for all other kinds of engagements, let us know, that God will take none of eur bonds without a cautioner. And we are blind, is we do not see that our credit is cracked: look to our national engagements; our Covenants, National and Solemn League; and sure our national credit is cracked and broken: never a nation was more solemnly engaged to God, and yet never any national engagement was more solemnly broken and buried; the credit of our ministers and people, of our nation and church, are sunk into the depth of desection, division, error, security, and carnal compliances. And whereas our foresathers transmitted to us their posterity, precious truths, and pure Consessions of Faith, worthy of the name of Resormers; how are we like to transmit to our posterity a world os trash and lumber, instead of precious treasure? While, among other things, old Resormation principles and doctrines are like to be carried down to succeeding generations after us, under the tash of wildness, new schemes, and Antinomian-cant*.
* This affair may be seen cleared up, Vol. I. Ser. IV. p. 232. Ser. XX. p. 175. the whole of Ser. XX [II,—XXVII. particularly p. 304, 305. Although among the many peculiarly important and singularly interesting doctrines of Christianity there is scarce atlV that liath a greater tendency to promote holiness, than the believer's being freed from the law as a covenant, in point of justisication, in virtue of the meritorious obedience of Christ in his room; yet, in regard this doctrine is eminently calculated to advance the glory of God, in the Bianif.station of the freedom of his grace, and to debase the creature, ill levelling pride and self-considence, there is hardly any that is more spurned at than this, in the age we live in, and by none more than the self-sufficient Legalist, who prides himself in, and vaunts mightily of his legal righteousness: and so (peaks, writes,'and reasons against the Scripture-doctrine of free justisication through the merits of Christ: yea, so much is he in conceit with his legal turn of mind, and external conformity to tlie law, that he sticks at nothing that he thinks will bring a reproach upon his opponents; and theresore, let their abilities be never so great, and their character never so high, he is determined to calumniate their name, and depreciate their reputation: for this purpose he hesitates at nothing he imagines will gain his end: and hence we sind, that introducers of new schemes iu Divinity, disturbers of the peace of the church, enemies to holiness, friends to licentiousness, advancersof Antinomianism, and what not, arc the usual epithets and appellations we meet with conferred upon them. But what period of the church produced more eminent divines, greater lovers of our Reformation-principles, truer patrons of genuine piety, more shining examples of true holiness, greater promoters of external purity, and stronger opposers of licentiouihess, than the friends to
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And as we ought to be humbled this day, for the breach of our National Covenant and Solemn League; so we may see what»is necessary, in , order to the reviving of a Covenanted Work cf Resormation, and of our Solemn Engagements, even that the generation be brought to acquaintance with Christ, as the sirst and foremost Engager in their room; and then, that, under the acceptable covert of his engagement, they come under obligations, through his grace, to approach unto God, by returning to him and to their duty. O that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation' in the knowledge of Christ, were poured out for this end! However, as our national engagem.nts are sadly broken, so look to your baptismal engagements, your communion engagements, and all your other particular engagements to duty; add see, that as our national, so our personal credit is cracked; for an evil heart of unbelies causes your departure from the living God, every hour cf the day. And this is such an universal disease, that there is not one of Adam's race t!i3t God can now trust, without a cautioner, nor allow to approach to him, without a mids-man.
2. Hence see the glorious excellency of Christ, and the sussiciency of this wondersul Engager for his people, in that he was able to approach to an offended God, and able to stand there in the sinner's stead, and to plead for.their good; able to stand the trial of inssinite holiness and impartial justice, and, where nothing, was to be forgiven, was able to satisfy all that the law and justice could demand, and to sinish every thing that \vas necessary to be done, in reserence to man's salvation, and the work of redemption. O see his glory! see his glory! O glorious Engager, glorious Approacher! Behold his glory, and the glory of God in
the Marrow-doctripe, of dying to the lav/, in point os justification, in order to living unti God in point of sanSlification were, wlio were, and still are thus impeached?—But they being fully persuaded, tlat this is a doctrine agreeable to the inspired Writings, and peculiarly calculated to promote holiness, [Gal.il. 19. Titus ii. Hrl2.] they bore all this unjust calumny and desamation patiently, accounting it their greatest honour to suffer reproach, for the truth's fake.
him! If you see any thing of this glory to captivate you, then, " The God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in your hearts, to give you the light of the knowledge of his glory, in the sace of Jesus Christ."
3. Hence see what is the gospel-way os a sinner's engaging to duty, and approaching to God: Why, it is just to take on with this Engager, and so to engage under him; and to take on with tuis bleued Approacher, and to approach to Gad in him. In the old covenant of works, man got a slock of created grace in his own hand; and is he mis-fpent his stock, and became bankrupt, he was to answer for himself; he had no surety or cautioner to stand up for him, or to pay his debt, or to approach to God for him: but the covenant of grace is better ordered than so,, and theresore called a better testament, whereof Christ is the Mediator, in whose hand the principal stock is; and whatever small measure of grace believers have bestowed upon them, yet their stock can never be spent, and they can never break, or become liable to a law-pursuit, for the Cautioner keeps them and their stock both; and he being the Engager, they may engage to do any thing, yea, all things, upon this score ; " I can do all things, through Christ strengthening me:" and he being the leading Approacher to God, they may approach to God with boldness, when he goes besore them; "We have boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus." Here then is a test of right engagements; you cannot be trusted, is you engage alone; you must match with one that can make, good your engagements. In your common affairs in the world, you know that no man will take a person's bond or engagement for a sum os money; for example, is he know the person to be insolvent, that can never make payment, but rather is always taking on more and more debt; but is that person, be he never so poor himself, will provide you a sussicient cautioner, that will give his bond of suretimip-for him, then you will accept of the person's bond under this cautionry; because, though the principal, whom you have good ground to suspect, should break the next
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