« PreviousContinue »
the Son of God. We must daily live upon Jesus Christ, making him the object of our trust, for pardon of sin, acceptance with God, grace and Itrength to discharge duties and to overcome templations.
2. Renew repentance for your fins. Repentance is what God calls for in the gospel. A&t. xvii. 30. But now God commandeth all men, every where, to repent. The gospel is full of such commands. This duty of repen, tance, is to be kept up all our days. Our former fins should be confessed to God over and over again, and our repentance for them is to be renewed. Our souls should have them in remembrance, and be humbled for chem. David maintained a penitent sense of the sins of his youth, and befought God not to remember them against him, Psal. xxv. 7. And as for our daily fins and infirmities, we should daily mourn over them and be. wail them before the Lord. The work of repentance, is not the work of a day only ; but should be the work of our lives. As long as we live in this world, we fhall bave sin in us, and sin will be committed by us : and therefore as long as we live, we must be exercised in Țepentance toward God.
3. Keep up a course of cbedience to God. Thus God required of Abraham, to walk before him and to be perfeci, or upright, Gen. xvii. 1. that is, to yield sincere obedience to him. And this is what God calls his covenant people unto under the gospel. The sum of their duty is laid together in Tit. ii. 11, 12. The grace of God that bringeth salvation, bath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we jould live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. Wherefore,
1. Live foberly....-Be temperate and moderate, in the use of the good things of this world. Beware of excess in meats and drinks, so as to indispose and unfic for the duties of your general or particular callings. In this case, let your moderation be known to all men.---Learn to govern the passions well, and polless your vessels in fanctification and honour.
2. Live righteously..--Do justice to all men. Be ho. nest in all your dealings with others; doing to them as you would they sbould do to you.....Defraud and wrong no man ; and if you haye so done, see that you make reftitution, or else your unrighteousness abideth on you. And always speak the truth.
3. Live godlily. Endeavour to carry it towards God as you ought to do ; discharging all duties of religious worship, which he calls you unto. Pray daily to him in secret, as well as in the family. Read and meditate on his holy word. Conscientiously attend on all the ordinances and institutions of the Lord. Reverence his fanctuary, and fanctify his fabbath, and his name.
These are the duties owing to ourselves, to our neighbours, and to our God; which we must be careful to do, if we would prove ourselves such as keep covenang with God. Now the duties of both the tables of the law must be performed in the name of Christ ; done in faith. Our obedience must be the obedience of faith. And we must yield universal obedience to God; baving respect to all his commandments. And in fuch obedience we must be concerned to persevere, to the end of our days. If we are not constant in our obedience to God, we are not stedfast in his covenant.
USE 4. Of Confolation to all that are really interested in the covenant of grace, and keep covenant with God. Those that have heartily consented to take God for their God in Christ, and to give up themselves to God to be his servants, and so have entred into covenant with God through Jesus Christ, have abundant ground of comfort. They may from the covenant of grace gather consolation, and this in every condition.
1. It may comfort them under a sense of sinfulness. The first covenant afforded not the least confolation in case of sin. The least sin brought under the curse of that covenant, and doom'd man to death. It gave no call to repentance, nor promise of pardon. But now, the covenant of grace, as it contains precepts requiring
our faith and repentance, so it contains promises of forgiveness to the penitent, that fly for refuge to Jesus Christ, the great facrifice for sin. This is one article in the covenant, Heb. viii. 12. I will be inerciful to their unrighteousness, and their fins and iniquities will I remember no more. God covenants with us as a merciful and sin-pardoning God. If therefore we penitently bewail our sins, and betake ourselves to the mercy of God, through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, for pardon, we shall assuredly obtain pardon. This should comfort us under the sense of our many failings. Indeed, this mould not make us more bold to sin, or less affected for our sins; but it should keep us from sinking difcouragements under the sense of our lamented finfulness
2. Under afflictions. Those that are interested in the covenant of grace, are not exempted from affliccions. But the covenant of grace, administers abundant confolation to them under their afflictions. God has in that covenant, made such promises relating to the afflictions of his people, as may exceedingly comfort them in all their affiictions. He has promised, thereby to purge them and take away their iniquity, Ifai. xxvii. 9. He has promised, thereby to make them partakers of his holiness, Heb. xii. fo. He has promised, that all of them all work together for their eternal good, Rom. viii. 28. Now fuch fanctified afflictions, are indeed great mercies, and the event will clearly prove them to be so. And therefore God makes the chastning his peo- . ple an evidence of his love to them. Rev. iii. 19. When I love, I rebuke and chaften. Yea, he makes chastnings, rather a part of his promises, than of his threatnings. Psal. Ixxxix. 32. I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes ; not to do them burr, but to do them good, as a point of covenant-faithfulness. So that the covenant of grace, turns the curse of the covenant, as to the afflictive part of it, into a blessing co believers.
3. Under temptations from Satan. The covenant of grace does not exempt from temptation, any more than the covenant of works. Adain under that covenant might be tempted, and was tempied. So believers under the new covenant may be, yea, thall be, tempted. But then this is their comfort, no temptations shall prevail against them, so as to deprive them of the bleffedness made over in the covenant of grace: The temptations of satan did fucceed, to the utter overthrow of Adam, and the cutting him off from that life pro. mired in the first covenant. But his temptations Thall not have the like effect upon believers, under the cove, nant of grace. The gates of hell shall never prevail against them. Their covenant-God, who is on their fide, is stronger than that roaring lion, who seeks to devour them. He is wiser than that old serpent, who seeks to deceive and seduce them. He is more watchful over them, than their adversary the devil is watchful against them. God therefore will preserve them from the power, subtlety, and malice of satan. He will give to them a sufficiency of grace, whereby they shall be be enabled to resist ratan's temp:ations. 2 Cor. xii. g. Yea, God will 'ere long give them compleat victory over fatan. Rom. xvi. 20. The God of peace fall bruise fatan under your feet shortly.--- In the day of judgment; which haftneth apace, and will come fhorily, Satan shall be utterly crushed under their feet for evermore: Then they shall triumph over him, as being eternally got out of the reach of all his temptations.
4. Under the forethoughts of death. The covenant of grace, does not exempe believers from the stroke of death; buc die they may, yea, die they must. It is appointed to them once to die, Heb. ix. 27. Yet this may com: fort them, death shall not break the covenant between God and them. It is an everlasting covenant, which shall stand firm till death, and after death, through all ecer. nity. After the death of Abraham, Ifaac and Jacob, God declared himself to be their God. Exod. iii. 6. God said unto Mofes, I am the God of Abraham, the God
of of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Death did not disanul the covenant between God and them. Though they were dead, yet the covenant with them still lived. Other covenants, as between king and subjects, husband and wife, master and servants, are made void by death. But the covenant between God and his people cannot be destroyed by death. Nor does death deprive them, of the great and precious blessings, of the covenant of grace. Nay, it hands them over to the more full enjoyment of them, as to their souls. For at death their fpirits depart and go to be with Christ in heaven, which is better tban to abide bere. Phil. i. 23. There they are made perfectly blessed in the full and immediate enjoyment of God. They are as happy as they can be in their separate estate. And as for their bodies, death to them is but a seeping in Christ, i Theff. iv. 14. 'Tis but a resting in their graves, Isa. li. 2. And ere it be long Jesus Chrilt will come and awake them out of their sleep, and make them ever-living and most glorious bodies. And then shall they triumph over death, and fay, O death! where is thy sting ? O grave ! where is thy victory ? 1 Cor. xv. 55. So that death is gain to them that are interested in the covenant of grace. And therefore it is mentioned as one of the things which is the believer’s. I Cor. iii. 22. Death is yours. It is for their advantage, it is their friend. For them to die, is a great mercy to chem. Believers therefore have no cause co fear any evil, when they pass througb the valley of the soadow of death. The covenant of grace gives them all manner of security against any harm by death ; nay, assures them of greatest benefit by it.
When you come to the table of the Lord (the next Lord's-day) there you will be invited to behold the mediator of the new Covenant, dying for you, that he mighc take out the sting of death, left it should hurt you ; that he might sanctify deach, and make it a blessing to you ; that he might overcoine death, in order to your gaining victory over it. You will also come to that ordinance as a seal of the covenant of grace, to assure