« PreviousContinue »
HOW TO ATTAIN UNTO A SAVING INTER
EST IN CHRIST.
HAVING, in the former part of this treatise, put every man's ftate to trial, it now remains that in this following part, we give advice to those, who neither can nor dare lay claim to the marks formerly mentioned.
QUESTION 11.... What Mall they do who want the marks of
a true and saving interest in christ already spoken of,
and neither can nor dare pretend unto them? ANSWER....If men miss in themselves the marks of a fav
ing interest in Christ, spoken of before, then it is their duty and of all that hear this gospel, personally and heartily to close with God's device of saving finners by Christ Jesus, and this shall secure their state.
Chapter 1. Some Things premised for the Information of those who
are more Ignorant.
FOR the better understanding of this we
shall premise some things for information of those who are more ignorant, and then speak more directly to the thing. . As for the things to be premised :
1st. The Lord did, at the beginning, out of his bounty, make a covenant with man in Adam, and did enable man to abide in that covenant: God hath made man upright ;" but man, by eating of that forbidden fruit,
did break that covenant : “ They, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant," and made it void for ever : “ By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his fight;" and involved himself into all misery thereby : “ As by one man fin entered into the world, and death by fin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have finned."
2dly. The Lord did most freely, from everlasting, purpose and intend to save men another way, viz. by Christ Jesus, and the covenant of grace, in which he intended reconcilement with the elect through Christ Jefus, God and man, born of a woman in due time, to make this agreement effectual. And this device of fatisfying his own justice, and saving of the elect by Christ, he did at first intimate to our parents in Paradise, where he saith, " That the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.” And the Lord hath in all generations made this known to his church,
3dly. The Lord hath in all ages covenanted to be the reconciled God of all these, who by their subjection to his ordinances did profess their satisfaction with this device, and oblige themselves to acquiesce in the same, and to seek salvation by Christ Jesus, as God doth offer him in the gospel ; so all the people of Israel are called the Lord's people, and are said to avouch him to be their God, and he doth avouch them to be his people : Yea, the Lord doth also engage himself to be the God of the feed and children of those who do so fubject themselves to his ordinances. The covenant is said to be made between God and all the people, young and old, present and not present that day; and all are appointed to come under fome feal of that covenant, as was enjoined to Abraham : Not only was it so in the Old Testament, but it is so in the New Testament also. The Lord makes offer of himself to be our God in Christ Jesus; and the people profeffing their satisfaction in that offer, and in testimony thereof subjecting themselves unto the ordinances, they are reckoned a covenanted people, and
are joined unto his church in thoufands, receiving a seal of the covenant, without any further particular previous trial : “ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Chrift, for the remission of fins. Then they that gladly received the word were baptised; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand fouls."
4thly. Many do deal treacherously with God in this covenant s “ Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues ; for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." And although they profess their estimation of Christ the Saviour, and their heart fatisfaction with that device of saving finners by him,and having the image of God restored by him in them : yet their heart is not right with God, and they do content themselves with an empty title of being in a sealed covenant with God; " Abraham is our father," say they. For although the Lord obligeth every man, who profefTeth his fatisfaction with Christ Jesus, the devised ransom, to be cordial and sincere herein : and only to these who are so doth he make out the spiritual promises of the covenant, they only being “ privileged to be the fons of God who do really receive Christ,” yet the Lord doth permit many to profess their closing with him in Christ, both in the Old and New Testament, whilst their heart is not engaged : and he doth admit them to be members of his church, granting unto them the use of ordinances, and many other external mercies and privileges denied unto the heathen, who are not in covenant with him.
5thly. Although the greater part of the people do foolishly fancy, that they have closed with God in Christ Jesus sincerely and heartily; or, at least, they do, without any ground or warrant, promise a new heart to themselves before they depart this life ; yet there be but very few who do really and cordially close with God in . Christ Jesus, as he is offered in the gospel ; and so
there be but very few faved; as is clear, “ Strait is ihe gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be who find it." “ Many are called, but few are chosen.” If people would believe this, it might help to alarm them.
6thly. Although none at all do cordially close with God in Christ Jesus, and acquiesce in that ransom found out by God, except only fuch as are elected; " But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded :" and whose hearts the Lord doth sovereignly determine to that blessed choice; 6 No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him ;" yet the Lord hath left it as a duty upon people who hear this gospel, to close with his offer of falvation through Christ Jesus, as if it were in their power to do it: and the Lord, through these commands and exhortations, wherein he obligeh men to the thing, doth convey life and strength to the elect, and doth therein convey the new heart unto them, which pointeth kindly towards this new device of saving finners, and towards Christ in his covenant relations; or, it is the Lord's mind, in these commands and invitations, to put people on fome duty, with which he useth to concur for accomplifhing that business between him and them : so then, it is a coming on our part, and yet a drawing on his part, John vi. 44 ; it is a drawing on his part, and a running on our part, Cant. i. 4 ; it is an approaching on our part,
chusing and causing to approach on his part," Pfal. Ixv. 4: it is a believing or receiving on our part, Föhn i. 12, and yet “it is given us to believe,"
and yet a
Phil, i, 29.
What it is to close with God's Device of saving Sinners by Christ Jesus, and that it is a necesary Duty.
AVING premised these things, I say If men miss in themselves the marks of a saving interest in Chrift, spoken of in the former part of the treatise ; then for securing their state, they are obliged, with all diligence, personally and heartily to accept of and close with God's device of saving finners by Christ Jesus, held out in the gospel.
In handling of this, we shall, ift Shew what it is to accept of and close with that noble invention. 2dly, We fall fhew that it is the necessary duty of those who would be in favor with God, and secure their souls. 3dly, What is previously required of those who perform this duty. 4ihly, What are the qualifications and properties of this duty, if rightly managed. 5'hly, What be the native consequences of it, if it be performed aright.
As for the first, What it is to close with God's device of saving finners by Christ Jesus, held out in the gospel. Here we must remember, as we shewed before, that at first God willed man to abide in his favour, by holding fast his first integrity in which he was created; but man by his transgression loft God's favour, made void that covenant of works, and put himself in an utter incapacity to regain the Lord's friendship, which he had lost by his fin, and to rescue himself from the curse and wrath now due to him for the same, or any way to procure his own salvation : but the Lord freely hath manifested another way of repairing man's lost estate, viz. by sending his Son Christ Jesus in the flesh, to fatisfy his justice for the fins of the elect, and to restore in them his image now defaced, and to bring them unto glory; and he hath made open proclamation in the