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the whole soul. He that loveth father or mother more than Christ, is not worthy of him, (a) nor is justified by him. Faith accepts him för Saviour and Lord: for in both relations will he be received, or not at all. Faith not only acknowledges his sufferings, and accepts of pardon and glory, but acknowledges his sovereignty, and submits to his government and way of salvation.
§ 10. (6) As an essential part of the character of God's people, they now enter into' à cordial covenant with Christ. The sinner was never strictly, nor comfortably, in covenant with Christ till now. He is sure, by the free offers, that Christ consents; and now he cordially consents himself: and so the agreement is fully made.-With this covenant Christ delivers up himself in all comfortable relations to the sinner; and the sinner delivers up himself, to be saved and ruled by Christ. —Now the soul resolutely concludes, “ I have been blindly led by flesh and lust, by the world and the devil, too long, almost to my utter d'estruction; I will now be wholly at the disposal of my Lord, who hath bought me with his blood, and will bring me to his glory.”
11. (7) I add, that the people of God persevere in this covenant to the end. Though the believer may be tempted, yet he never disclaims his Lord, renounces his allegiance, nor repents of his covenant; nor can he properly be said to break that covenant, while that faith continues which is the condition of it. Indeed, those that have verbally covenanted, and not cordially, may tread under foot the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing. This perseverance is certain to true believers, while they believe; faith is made the condition of their salvation, yea, of their continued life and fruitfulness, and of the continuance of their justification, though not of their first justification itself.(y) But eternally blessed be that hand
(r) Matt. x. 17. (y) John xv. 446_9. viii. 31. Rev. č. 25,
26. iii. ii, 12. Col. i. 23. Rom. xi. 22.
of love, which hath drawn the free promise, and subscribed and sealed to that which ascertains us, both of the grace which is the condition, and the kingdom which on that condition is offered!
$ 12. Such are the essentials of this people of God. Not a full portraiture of them in all their excellencies, nor all the notes whereby they may be discerned. I beseech thee, Reader, as thou hast the hope of a Christian, or the reason of a man, judge thyself as one that must shortly be judged by a righteous God, and faithfully answer these question. I will not inquire whether thou remember the time or the order of these workings of the Spirit; there may be much uncertainty and mistake in that. If thou art sure they are wrought in thee, the matter is not so great though thou know not when or how thou camest by them. But carefully examine and inquire, hast thou been thoroughly convinced of a prevailing depravation through thy whole soul? and a prevailing wickedness through thy whole life? and how vile sin is? and that, by the covenant thou hast transgressed, the least sin deserves eternal death? Dost thou consent to the law, that it is true and righteous, and perceive thyself sentenced to this death by it? Hast thou seen the utter insufficiency of every creature, either to be itself thy happiness, or the means of removing this thy misery? Hast thou been convinced, that thy happiness is only in God, as the end; and in Christ, as the way to him; and that thou must be brought to God through Christ, or perish eternally? Hast thou seen an absolute necessity of thy enjoying Christ, and the full sufficiency in him to do for thee whatsoever thy case requires ? Hast thou discovered the excellency of this pearl, to be worth thy selling all to buy it? (2) Have thy convictions been like those of a man that thirsts, and not merely a change in opinion, produced by reading or education? Have both thy sin and misery been the abhorrence and hurden of thy soul? If thou couldest not weep, yet couldest
Hase or the
Christ, as appiness isery
st, as the uss is only in Godbou been convin
(3) Mat. xii. 46.
thou heartily groan under the insupportable weight of both? Hast thou renounced all thy own righteousness? Hast thou turned thy idols out of thy heart, so that the creature hath no more the sovereignty, but is now a servant to God and Christ? Dost thou accept of Christ as thy'only Saviour, and expect thy justification, recovery, and glory, from him alone? Are his laws the most powerful commanders of thy life and soul! Do they ordinarily prevail against the commands of the flesh, and against the greatest interest of thy credit, profit, pleasure, or life? Has Christ the highest room in thy heart and affections, so that, though thou canst not love him as thou wouldest, yet nothing else is loved so much ?-Hast thou to this end made a hearty covenant with him, and delivered up thyself to him? Is it thy utmost care and watchful endeavour, that thou mayest be found faithful in this covenant; and though thou fall into sin, yet wouldest not renounce thy bargain, nor change thy Lord, nor give up thyself to any other government for all the world ?-If this be truly the case, thou art one of the people of God in my text; and as sure as the promise of God is true, this blessed rest remains for thee. Only see thou abide in Christ,(a) and endure to the end;(6) for if any man draw back, his soul shall have no pleasure in him.(c)-But if no such work be found within thee; whatever thy deceived heart may think, or how strong soever thy false hopes may be; thou wilt find to thy cost, except thorough conversion prevent it, that the rest of the saints belongs not to thee. O that thou wert wise, that thou wouldest understand this, that thou wouldest consider thy latter end!"(d) that yet while thy soul is in thy body, and a price in thy hand,(e) and opportunity and hope before thee, thine ears may be open and thy heart yield to the persuasions of God, that so thou mightest rest among
(a) John xv. 4.
(6) Matt. xxiv. 13.
(c) Heb. x. 38.
his people, and enjoy the inheritance of the saints in light!(S)
13. That this rést shall be enjoyed by the people of God, is a truth which the scripture, if its testimony be further needed, clearly asserts in a variety of ways. As for instance, “ God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city."(g) They are styled vessels of mercy, afore prepared unto glory.(h) In Christ they have obtained the earnest of an inheritance. Who can bereave the Christian of that rest, which is designed for them of God? -Scripture tells us, they are redeemed to this rest. « By the blood of Jesus we have boldness to enter into the holiest;") either that enter means by faith and prayer here, or by full possession hereafter.Therefore the saints in heaven sing a new song'unto Him who has “ redeemed them to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them kings and priests unto God.(k) Either Christ then must lose his blood and sufferings, and never see the travail of his soul, or else there remaineth a rest to the people of God.-In scripture this rest is promised to them. As the firmament with stars, so are the sacred pages bespangled with these divine engagements. Christ says, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.(1) I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom;"(m) &c. &C. All the means of grace, the operations of the Spirit upon the soul, and gracious actings of the saints, every command to repent and believe, to fast and pray, to knock and seek, to strive and labour, to run and fight, prove that tliere remains a rest for the people of God. The Spirit would never kindle in us such strong desires after heaven, such love to Jesus Christ, if we should not receive what we desire
(f) Col. i. 12. (g) Heb. xi. 16.
(h) Rom. ix. 23. V Luke xü: 32.
and love. He that " guides our feet into the way of peace," (1) will undoubtedly bring us to the end of peace.-How nearly are the means and end conjoin, ed!“ The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”(@) They that “ follow Christ in the regeneration, shall sit upon thrones of glory.”(p) Scripture assures us, that the saints have the beginnings, foretastes, earnests, and seals, of this rest here. “ The kingdom of God is within them.(a) Though they have not seen Christ, yet loving him, and believing in him, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls, (r) They rejoice in hope of the glory of God," (6 And does God seal them with thạt Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of their inheritance, and will he deny the full possession ?(t)-The scripture also mentions, by name, those who have entered into this rest; as Enoch, Abraham, Lazarus, the thief that was crucified with Christ, &e. And if there be a rest for these, sure there is a rest for all believers, But it is vain to heap up scripture proofs, seeing it is the very end of scripture to be a guide to lead us to this blessed state, and to be the charter and grant by which we hold all our title to it. I do
i t with or 14. Scripture not only proves, that this rest remains for the people of God, but also that it remains for none but them; so that the rest of the world shall have no part in it“ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.(u) Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.(w) No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor coyetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God () The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.(y) They all shall be damned, (m) Luke j. 79. (0) Matt. xi. 12. (p) Matt. xix, 28. (9) Luke xvii. 21. (r) i Pet. i, 8, 9. (s) Rom, v. 2. © Ephes. i. 18, 14. (u) Heb. xii. 14. (w) John iï. 3, 36 (r) Ephes. v, 5. (4) Psalm ix, 17.