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resting on him, he doth in and through him receive all this. More particularly, the persons for whom this rest is designed, are a holy people; given to Christ as their Redeemer; born again; deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, the vanity of the creature, and the all-sufficiency of Christ; their will is renewed; they engage themselves to Christ in covenant; and they persevere in their engagements to the end.
52. (1) The persons for whom this rest is designed, whom the text calls the people of God, are chosen of God before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love.(k) That they are but a small part of mankind, is too apparent in scripture and experience. They are the little flock, to whom it is their Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom.() Fewer they are than the world imagines; yet not so few as some drooping spirits think, who are suspicious that God is unwilling to be their God, when they know themselves willing to be his people.
3. (2) These persons are given of God to his Son, to be by him redeemed from their lost state, and advanced to this glory. God hath given all things to his Son. “God hath given him power over all Alesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him.”(m) The Father hath given him all who repent and believe. The difference is clearly expressed by the apostle; “ He hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”(n) And though Christ is, in some sense, a ransom for all,(o) yet not in that special manner as for his people.
4. (3) One great qualification of these persons is, that they are born again.(p) To be the people of God without regeneration, is as impossible as to be the children of men without generation. Seeing we are born God's enemies, we must be new-born his sons, or else remain enemies still. The greatest re
(k) Ephes. i. 4, 5. (1) Luke xii. 32. (m) John xvii. 2. (n) Ephes. i. 22. (0) 1 Tim. ü. 6. (p) John iï. 3.
given him axpressed by the gave him
formation of life that can be attained to, without this new life wrought in the soul, may procure our farther delusion, but never our salvation. .
§ 5. (4) This new life in the people of God discovers itself by conviction, or a deep sense of divine things. As for instance-They are convinced of the evil of sin. The sinner is made to know and fe'l, that the sin, which was his delight, is a more loai hsome thing than a toad or serpent, and a greater evil than plague or famine; being a breach of the righteous Jaw of the most high God, dishonourable to him, and destructive to the sinner. Now the sinner no more hears the reproof of sin as words of course; but the mention of his sin speaks to his very heart, and yet he is contented you should show him the worst. He was wont to marvel, what made men keep up such a stir against sin, what harın it was for a man to take a little forbidden pleasure; he saw no such heinousness in it, that Christ must needs die for it, and a christless world be eternally tormented in hell. Now the case is altered: God hath opened his eyes to see the inexpressible vileness in sin.
5. They are convinced of their own misery by reason of sin. They who before read the threats of God's law, as men do the story of foreign wars, now find it their own story, and perceive they read their own doom, as if they found their own names written in the curse, or heard the law say, as Nathan, Thou art the man.(9) The wrath of God seemed to him before but as a storm to a man in a dry house, or as the pains of the sick to the healthful stander-by; but now he finds the disease is his own, and feels himself a condemned man, that he is dead and damned in point of law, and that nothing was wanting but mere execution to make him absolutely and irrecoverably miserable. This is a work of the Spirit, wrought in some measure in all the regenerate. - How should he come to Christ for pardon, that did not first find himself guilty, and condemned? or for life, that never found himself spiritually dead? The whole need not
(g) 2 Sam. xïi. 7.
à physician, but they that are sick.(r) The discovery of the remedy, as soon as the misery, must needs prevent a great part of the trouble. And perhaps the joyful apprehensions of mercy may make the sense of misery sooner forgotten.
7. They are also convinced of the creature's val nity and insufficiency. Every man is naturally: an idolater. Our hearts turned from God in our first fall, and ever since the creature hath been our god. This is the grand sin of nature. Every unregenerate man ascribes to the creature divine prerogatives, and allows it the highest room in his soul; or if he is convinced of misery, he flies to it as his saviour. Indeed, God and his Christ shall be called Lord and Saviour; but the real expectation is from the creature, and the work of God is laid upon it. Pleasure, profit, and honour, are the natural man's trinity, and his carnal self is these in unity. It was our first sin, to aspire to be as gods; and it is the greatest sin, that is propagated in our nature from generation to generation. When God should guide is, we guide fourselves; when he should be our sovereign, we rule ourselves; the laws which he gives us we find fault with, and would correct; and if we had the making of them, we would have made them otherwise; when he should take care of us, (and must, or we perish,) we will take care for ourselves; when we should depend on him in daily receivings, we had rather have our portion in our own hands; when we should submit to his providence, we usually quarrel at it, and think we could make a better disposal than God hath made.- When we should study and love, trust and honour God, we study and love, trust and honour our carnal selves. Instead of God, we would have all men's eyes and dependence on us, and all men's thanks returned to us, and would gladly be the only men on earth extolled and admired by all. Thus we are naturally our own idols. But down falls this Dagon, when God does once renew the soul. It is the chief design of that great work, to
(r) Luke v. 31.
bring the heart back to God himself. He convinceth the sinner, that the creature can neither be his God, to make him happy, nor his Christ, to recover him from his misery, and restore him to God, who is his happiness. God does this, not only by his word, but by providence also. This is the reason why.affliction so frequently concurs in the work of conversion. Arguments which speak to the quick, will force a hearing, when the most powerful words are slighted, If a sinner made his credit his god, and God shall cast him into the lowest disgrace; or bring hini, who idolized his riches, into a condition wherein they cannot help him; or cause them to take wing, and fly away; what a help is here to this work of conviction! If a man made pleasure his god, whatsoever a roving eye, a curious ear, a greedy appetite, or a lustful heart, could desire, and God should take these from him, or turn them into gall and wormwood, what a · help is here to conviction! When God shall cast a man into languishing sickness, and inflict wounds on his heart, and stir up against him his own conscience, and then, as it were, say to him, “ Try it your credit, riches, or pleasure, can help you. Can they heal your wounded conscience? can they now support your tottering tabernacle? can they keep your departing soul in your body? or save you from mine everlasting wrath? or redeem your soul from eternal flames ? Cry aloud to them, and see now whether these will be to you instead of God and his Christ." O how this works now with the sinner! Sense acknowledges the truth, and even the flesh is convinced of the creature's vanity, and our very deceiver is undeceived.
§ 9. The people of God are likewise convinced of the absolute necessity, the full sufficiency, and perfect excellency, of Jesus Christ. As a inan in famine is convinced of the necessity of food; or a man that had heard or read his sentence of condemnation, of the absolute necessity of pardon; or a man that lies in prison for debt, is convinced of his need of a surety to discharge it. Now the sinner feels an insupport
able burden upon him, and sees there is none but Christ can take it off. He perceives the law proclaims him a rebel, and none but Christ can make his peace. He is as a man pursued by a lion, that must perish, if he finds not a present sanctuary. He is now brought to this dilemma; either he must have Christ to justify him, or be eternally condemned; have Christ to save him, or burn in hell for ever; have Christ to bring him to God, or be shut out of his presence everlastingly. And no wonder if he cry, as the martyr, “ None but Christ, none but Christ.” Not gold, but bread, will satisfy the hungry; nor any thing but parilon will comfort the condemned. All things are counted but dung now, that he may win Christ ; and what was gain, he counts loss for Christ.(s) As the sinner sees his misery, and the inability of himself and all things to relieve him, so he perceives there is no saving mercy out of Christ. He sees, though the creature cannot, and himself cannot, yet Christ can. Though the fig-leaves of our own unrighteous righteousness are too short to cover our nakedness, yet the righteousness of Christ is large enough. Ours is disproportionate to the justice of the law, but Christ's extends to every tittle. If he intercede, there is no denial; such is the dignity of his person and the value of his merits, that the Father grants all he desires.Before, the sinner knew Christ's excellency, as a blind man knows the light of the sun; but now, as one that beholds its glory.
69. (5) After this deep conviction, the will discovers also its change. As for instance-The sin which the understanding pronounces evil, the will turns from with abhorrence. Not that the sensitive appetite is changed, or any way made to abhor its objeet: but when it would prevail against reason, and carry us to sin against God, instead of scripture being the rule, and reason the master, and sense the servant; this disorder and evil the will abhors.—The misery also
(s) Phil. iii. 7, 8.