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" cannot be justified, or find righteoulnets by works of the law.
" But I may every man fay) according to the coveqant of works «• am liable to the curse of God, for breaking the law, times and ways
out of number.
“ Therefore I cannot be justified, or have righteousness by the « works of the law."
Thus may a man be convinced of righteousness, that is not to be had by his own works, or by the law. III, For convincing a man of judgment by the law, consider, 2 Theil.
i. 7. THE Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his migh
ty angels: Ver. 8. Inflaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Fiefus Christ : Ver. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and
from the glory of his power, Ver. io. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.
Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jesus, who now offers to be a Mediator for them who believe in him, shall, at the last day; come armed with faming 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 reafon thus;
" What the righteous Judge hath forewarded me, shall be done at * the last day, I am sure is juft judgment.
" But the righteous Judge hath forewarned me, that if I do not “ believe God in timc, and obey not the doctrine of the gospel, i fall “ be fecluded from his presence and his glory, at the last day, and be s tormented in soul and body for ever.
“ Therefore I am convinced that this is a just judgment.
“ And I have realon to thank God heartily, who hath forewarned « me to flee from the wrath which is to come.”
Thus every man may be, by the law or covenant of works, convinced of judgment, if he shall continue under the covenant of works, or shall not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. IV. For convincing a man of lio, righteousness, and judgment, bg the
s for convincing a man of sin, and righteousness, and judgment,
:hings; 1, That not believing in Jesus Christ, or refuting of the covepant of grace offered in him, is a greater and more dangerous Go, that all other fins against the law; because the hearers of the gospel, sot be lieving in Chrift, do reject God's mercy in Chrift, the only way of freedom from fin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to God. 2. Next, He must understand, that perfect remission of fin and true righteousoess, is to be had' only by faith in Jesus; because God requireth no other conditions but faith; and testifies from heaven that he is well pleased to justify fingers upon this condition. must understand, that upon righteousness received by faith ; judgment fhall follow, on the one hand, to the deltroying of the works of the devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work of fanctificati on in him, with power: and that, upon refusing to take righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, judgment shall follow, on the other hand, to the condemnation of the misbeliever, and destroying of him with Satan and his fervants for ever.
For this end, let these passages of fcripture, among many others, ferve to make the greatness of the fin of not believing in Christ appeat ; or, to make the greatness of the fin of refuling of the covenant of grace offered to us, in the offering of Christ unto us, let the fair offer of grace be looked upon as it is made. Ifa.lv. 2. Incline your ear, and come unto me, (faith the Lord) bear, and your soul ball live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. That is, if ye will believe me, and be reconciled to me, I will, by convenant, give unto you Christ, and all saving graces in him : repeated, Acts xiii. 34.
Again, consider, that this general offer in substance is equivalent to a special offer made to every one in particular; as appeareth by the apostles making use of it, Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house. The reason of which offer is given, Joho iii. 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in hun, should not perish
, but have everlasting life. Seeing then this great falvation is offered in the Lord Jesus, whosoever believeth not in him, but looks for happiness fome other way, what doch he else but obferve lying vanities, and forsake his own mercy, which he might have had in Chrift? Jonah ii. 8, 9. What doth he else but blafpheme God in his heart? as it is faid, 1 Joho v. 10. He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God hath given of bis Son: and this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in kis Son. And that no fin against the law is like unto this lin. Christ testifies. John xv. 22. If i had not come and sporen to them, they had not had fin; but now they have no cloak for their fin. This may code vince a man of the greatness of this fin of not believing in Christ. For convir.cing a man of righteousness to be had only by faith in Jesus Chrift, confider how, Rom. X. 3, 4.
is said, that the Jews, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and
going about to establish their own righteoulness, have not submitter! themselves unto the righteousness of God, (and so they perilhed) for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. And, Aets xiii. 39. By Christ Jesus all that believe are justified fron all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Mojes. Aod, i Johr i. 7. The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all fin.
For convincing a man of judgment, if a man embrace this righteoufa ness: consider, i John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted, that he might destroy the works of the devil. And, Heb. ix. 14. How much more sball the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
But, if a man embrace nor this righteousnels, his doom is pronounced, John iii. 18. He that believeth not is condemned already, because be hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of Goa. and this is the condemnation, tbat light is come into the world, and men loveth darkness rather than light.
Hence let the pepiteát, desiring to believe; reason thus ;
“ What doth luffice to convince all the elect in the world of the “ greatnels of the fin of not believing in Chrift, or refusing to “ Hee to him for relief from fios done against the law, and from s' wrath due thereto; aod what sufficeth to coovioce them, that righ.
“ teousness and eternal life is to be had by faith in Jesus Christ, or I « by consenting to the covenant of grace in him; and what fufficeth
“ to convince them of judgment to be exercised by Christ, for deltroy“ ing the works of the devil in a man, and faoctifying and saving all " that believe in him, may fuffice to convince me alfo.
" But what the Spirit hath faid, in these or other like scriptures, “ fufficeth to convince the elect world of the foresaid fin, and righteu ousness, and judgment.
“ Therefore what the spirit hath said, in these and other like scips " tures, ferveth to convince me thereof also.”
Whereupon let the penitent desiring to believe, take with him words, and lay heartily to the Lord, seeing thou fayelt, Seck ye my face, my soul anfwereth unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek: I have hearkened unto the offer of an everlasting covedani of all saving mercies to be had in Christ, and I do heartily embrace thy offer. Lord, let it be a bargain; Lord, I believe, help my unbelief : Behold, I give myself to thee, to serve thee in all things for ever; and I hope, thy right hand soall save me; the Lord will perfect that which concernetli me; thy mercy, O Lord endureth for ever; forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Thus may a man be made an unfeigoed believer in Christ. For strengthening the man's faith, who hath agreed unto the covenant
they shall be sure of the foundness of their own faith and effectual calling, or made certain of their juftification and falvation, when they fee, that many, who profess faith, are found to deceive themselves; let us see how every believer may be made strong in the faith, and fure of his owo election and falvation upon folid grounds, by sure warrants, and true evidences of faith. To this end, among many other scriptures, take these following.
1. For laying solid grounds of faith, consider 2 Pet. i. 1o.
Wherefore the racher, brethren, give diligence to make sure your calling and electioa: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.
In which words, the apostle teacheth us these four things, for help and direction, how to be made strong in the faith.
1. That such as believe in Christ Jesus, and are fled to him for relief from sin and wrath, albeit they be weak in the faith, yet they are indeed children of the fame Father with the apostles; for so he ac counteth of them, while he calleth them brethren.
2. That, albeit we be not sure, for the time of our effectual calling and election, yet we may be made sure of both, if we use diligence; for this he presupposeth, saying, Give diligence to make your calling • and election sure.'
3. That we must not be discouraged, when we see many seeming believers prove rotten branches, and make defection; but we mult she ' rather take the better heed to ourselves, " Wherefore the rather, brethren,' faith be, give all diligence.'
4. That the way to be sure both of our effectual calling aod election, is to make fure work of our faith, by laying the grounds of it solidly, and bringing forth the fruits of our faith in new obedience constantly : ' For if ye do these things,' saith he, ye Mall never fall;' understanding, by these things,' what he had faid of found faith, verses 1, 2, 3, 4, and what he had said of the bringing out of the fruits of faith, verres 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
To this fame purpose, confider, Rom. viii. 1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that 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 lin • and death. Ver. 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was 'weak through the flesh, God fending his own Son in the likenes of " sinful flesh, and for fin condemned fin in the flesh.' Ver. 4. That
• the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk dot • after the flesh, but after the Spirit.'
Whereią the apostle teacheth us these four things, for laying of the ground of faith folidly;
1. That every one is a true believer, who, in the sense of his fin, and fear of God's wrath, doth flee tor full relief from both unto Jesus Chiilt alone, as the only Mediator, and all-lufficient Redeemer of me, and, being fled to Christ, doth strive against his own ficth, or corrupt inclination of nature, and studieth to follow the rule of God's Spirit, fet 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 perlons as are Aed to Christ, and do strive again iz fin, howsoever they may be poslibly exercifed under the senle of wrath and fear of condemnation, yet they are in no danger ; for, there is
no condemnation,' faith he, 'to them that are in Chrift Jesus, who • walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.'
3. That, albeit the apost'e himself brought ia here for example's cause, and all other true believers io Christ, be by nature under the law of fin and death, or under the covenant of works (called the law of sin and death, because it bindeth Sin and death upon us, vill Ghrift let us free) yet the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, of the covenant of grace, (so called, because it doth enable and quicken a man to a spio ritual life through Christ) doth set the apostle, and all true believes, free from the covenant of works, or the law of lia and death; fo that every man may fay with him, · The law of ihe spirit of life,' or the covenant of
grace, hath made me free from the law of lia and death, or covenant of works.
4. That the fountain and first ground, from whence our freedom from the curle of the law doth flow, is the covenant of redemption, past betwixt God, and God the Son as incarnate, wherein Christ takes the curse of the law upon him for fin, that the believer, who could not otherwise be delivered from the covenant of works, may be delivered from it. And this doctrine the apostle holdeth forth in these four branches : (1.) That it was utterly impossible for the law, or the covenant of works, to bring righteoulness and life to a fioner, 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 finful flesh, which is neither able to pay the penalty of fin, rior to give per fect obedience to the law (preluppole bygone fins were forgiven ;) • The law was weak, faith he, through the fielh.' (3.) That the righteousness and salvation of fioners, which was impossible to be brought about by the law, is brought to pass by fending God's oun Son, Jesus Christ, in the field, in whole felh sin is condenined and punished, for making satisfaction in the behalf of the elect, thar they might be set free. (4.) That, by his means, the law loseth nothin's