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so certain, that whosoever do seek justification by the works harga
2. That, unto the perfect fulfilling of the law, the keep. te dist
3. That, because no man can come up to this perfection, every man by nature is under the curse; for the law saith, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things « which are written in the book of the law to do them."
Now, to be under the curse, comprehendeth all the dis-
Hence let every man reason thus :
“ But I, (may every man say,) according to the cores
“ Therefore I cannot be justified, or have righteous-
, that it , is not to be had by his own works, or by the law.
III. For convincing a man of judgment by the law, co
sider 2 Thess. i. 7,
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, Ver. 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrisi : Ver. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the
glory of his power ; Ver. 10. When he shall come to be glori. fied 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 Mediator for them who believe in him, shall, at the last day, come armed with flaming 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 reason thus : “ What the righteous Judge hath forewarned me shall “ be done at the last day, I am sure is just judgment:
" But the righteous Judge hath forewarned me, that if 5 I do not believe God in time, and obey not the doctrine “ of the gospel, I shall be secluded from his presence and “ his glory at the last day, and be tormented in soul and
body for ever : “ Therefore I am convinced that this is a just judgment:
* And I have reason to thank God heartily, who hath 66 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 Jesús.
IV. For convincing a man of sin, righteousness, and judg
ment, by the gospel.
As for convincing a man of sin, and righteousness, and judgment, by the gospel, or covenant of grace, he must understand three things: 1. That not believing in Jesus Christ, or refusing of the covenant of grace offered in him, is á greater and more dangerous sin than all other sins against the law; because the hearers of the gospel, not believing in Christ, do reject God's mercy in Christ, the only way of freedom from sin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to God. 2. Next, He must understand, that perfect remission of sin, and true righteousness, is to be had only by faith in Jesus; because God requireth no other conditions but faith; and testifies from heaven, that he iswell pleased to justify sin
ners upon this condition. 3. He must understand that upon righteousness received by faith, judgment shall follow, on the one hand, to the destroying of the works of the devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work of sanctification 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 servants for ever.
For this end, let these passages of scripture, among many others, serve to make the greatness of the sin of not believing in Christ appear; or, to make the greatness of the sin of refusing 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, Isa. lv. 3. Incline your ear, and come unto me, (saith the Lord:) hear, and your soul shall 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 covenant, 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 apostle's 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, John iii. 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. Seeing then this great salvation is offered in the Lord Jesus, whosoever believeth not in him, but looks for happiness some other way, what doth he else but observe lying vanities, and forsake his own mercy, which he might have had
in Christ? Jonah ii. 8, 9. What doth he else but blaspheme God in his heart? as it is said, 1 John v. 10, 11. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life: and this life is in his Son. And that no sin against the law is like unto this sin, Christ testifies, John xv. 22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. This may convince a man of the greatness of this sin of not believing in Christ.
For convincing a man of righteousness to be had only by
faith in Jesus Christ, consider how, Rom. x. 3, 4.
It is said, that the Jews, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, (and so they perished.) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Ånd Acts xiii. 39. By Christ Jesus all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified
by the law of Moses. And 1 John i. 7. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
For convincing a man of judgment, if a man embrace this righteousness, consider 1 John iii. 8. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. And Heb. ix. 14. How much more shall 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 not this righteousness, his doom is pronounced, John iii. 18, 19. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.
Hence let the penitent, desiring to believe, reason thus:
“ What doth suffice to convince all the elect in the world " of the greatness of the sin of not believing in Christ, or
refusing to flee to him for relief from sins done against “ the law, and from wrath due thereto; and what sufficeth "to convince them that righteousness and eternal life is to “ be had by faith in Jesus Christ, or by consenting to the covenant of
in him; and what sufficeth to convince “them of judgment to be exercised by Christ, for destroying “ the works of the devil in a man, and sanctifying and saving « all that believe in him, may suffice to convince me also
“ But what the Spirit hath said, in these or other like
scriptures, sufficeth to convince the elect world of the “foresaid sin, and righteousness, and judgment :
“ Therefore what the Spirit hath said, in these and other " like scriptures, serveth to convince me thereof also.”
Whereupon let the penitent desiring to believe take with him words, and say heartily to the Lord, seeing thou sayest, Seek ye my face ; my soul answereth unto thee, Thy face
, Lord, will I seek. I have hearkened unto the offer of an everlasting covenant 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 shall save me : the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Thus may a man be made an unfeigned believer in Christ.
For strengthening the man's faith who hath agreed unto
the covenant of grace.
BECAUSE many true believers are weak, and do much doubt if ever they shall be sure of the soundness of their own faith and effectual calling, or made certain of their justification and salvation, when they see that many, who profess faith, are found to deceive themselves ; let us see how every believer may be made strong in the faith, and sure of his own election and salvation upon solid 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. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: 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 same Father with the apostles, for so he accounteth 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.