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philosophers improved right reason,* by study and virtuous living; but as there is something of this description engraven on man's heart by nature, and continues there, if not obliterated by vicious practices, as,

1. That there is a supreme Being, Lord and giver of all, author of all good, benefactor to all creatures, judge of the rational and intellectual world. Reason tells man, he hath not his being of himself, but is indebted to, and dependant on a first cause, that is God only.

2. That God can be but one, for the first cause doth eminently comprise all its effects, and yet must be more excellent than the effects; this can be no less than infinite, and there cannot be two infinites, so there is but one God, which Socrates asserted, and died for maintaining

3. That some worship and service is due to this one infinite Being, or God, for immediate obligation doth naturally result from this relation betwixt the maker and the creature.

4. That this supreme Being is man's chief good and utmost end, and must be chosen as such, and that man is to dedicate himself freely to him, in order to the discharge of his duty, and enjoyment of felicity in him, and that all this is most highly rational; for what can be more natural, than that the rivers run into that ocean from whence they had their rise? and that the laden boughs should bend down to the earth, by which the tree is nourished ? much more in such a voluntary agent as man is; nature will prompt this portion of gratitude, to bring back a man's self into the bosom of that God from whom he had his being, both to please and enjoy him: this is the first, most necessary, and excellent service of God, presenting ourselves to God.

Λόγον ορθόν.

. VOL. IV.

which the apostle calls reasonable service ;* for it is most agreeable to the rational principles of natural religion. Supposing that there is a God, it follows by undeniable consequence, that intelligent spirits should devote themselves to God by humble adoration of him, ardent love to him, reliance on him, obedience to him, expectation of rewards from him, aspiring to be like him, to have the fruition of him, and acting in every thing for his honour and glory; and all this cannot be done by proxy, because the relation is their own, and so the obligation lies on themselves, which they cannot devolve upon others; and what is this but the personal covenanting which I am describing ? This is the first and most irrefragable argument, and cannot be resisted by any but him who hath divested himself of man, and may be justly branded as a brute and traitor to the universe, and God of nature.

The second argument is thus framed :

That which is essentially necessary in the practical part of christianity is required to saintship.

But personal covenanting with God is essentially necessary in the practical part of christianity.

Therefore personal covenanting with God is absolutely and indispensably required to real saintship.

I need not stand long to prove the first proposition, for the owning of the christian religion doth denominate a man to be a Christian; and to be a Christian is all one as to be a saint, for these are synonymous phrases. Sometimes professors of the christian religion are called brethren, elsewhere faithful, likewise believers, + disciples, and they were called Christians first at Antioch, the word xonuatioai, which is used, critics say,|| imports * Rom. xii. 1. of Acts v. 14.

Acts xi. 26. || 'Exonuárioev kavròv, i. e. adscripsit se dominationis juri vel privilegiis et immunitatibus.

committing authority to some to impose names, rules, terms, and accordingly devoting a man's self to his rules of government, and consequently enjoying the privileges and immunities thereto annexed. Thus the Christian, who is truly worthy of that honourable title, doth indeed own the Lord Jesus as the absolute Lord and Sovereign of his church, the great Legislator, and committeth, resigneth, and devoteth himself to him, to be taught, ruled, and ordered by him; and such as as these are elsewhere said to be sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. * To be a Christian then is to own the revealed principles of the christian religion, to devote a man's self to God, to be a sincere follower of Christ, and to resolve upon, and to perform universal, cordial, and constant obedience to his commands: thus the several sects of philosophers were called Pythagoreans, Platonists, Aristotelians, Epicureans, because they embraced the systems of particular philosophers, to whom they subjected themselves as their masters and leaders; but no man on earth is to be called father, rabbi or master, to make him absolute lord of conscience, but Christ alone. +

And for the minor, it is apparent that personal covenanting with God is absolutely, essentially and indispensably necessary in the practical part of christianity; that is, that no man can be a right Christian, and can enjoy the privileges purchased by Christ, except he bind himself to God by personal covenant. The christian religion contains propositions or truths to be believed, precepts or duties to be practised, promises or rewards to be enjoyed; all these are linked together by an indissoluble bond. It is in vain to expect the benefits, without a due performance of the conditions. Privileges offered require a disposition capable of reception, 1 Cor. i. 2.

+ Matt. xxiii. 8-10.

and personal appropriation. The sum of the gospel consists in these things :-namely, in general, that God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,* that is, when God and man were set at a distance by sin, the righteous God being engaged to avenge himself on rebel-man, Christ the Son of God, a person of infinite worth, did interpose as mediator, took upon him human nature, endured sufferings of infinite weight, to free sinners from infinite wrath, and to restore them to eternal favour with God, and immediate enjoyment of him in heaven; and all this tendered to man in the most taking manner, upon easy and honourable terms, with the greatest security imaginable, and with threats of greatest severity to such as reject this kindness. This is the sum and substance of our Christian religion, and surely doth imply man's voluntary casting down his weapons, submitting to God's terms, and so coming. to be at peace and friendship with God in God's way: and what is this but personal covenanting? God's willingness is fully declared in the holy Scriptures, if man unfeignedly consent, the agreement is made. This covenanting then is the life and marrow of religion, so far as concerns particular souls, for no man breathing can expect any share in a general pardon, except his name be found inserted in the instrument conveying it. The whole tenor of the gospel imports thus much. A conditional grant requires the performance of the condition, in order to the enjoyment of privileges : but of this before.

The third argument is derived from the nature and necessity of faith; and thus I argue:

That which includeth the fundamental grace of faith, is necessary to the constitution of a saint.

But personal covenanting includeth the grace of faith, saving, justifying faith.

• 2 Cor. v. 20.

Therefore personal covenanting is necessary to the being or constitution of a saint.

The major is clear of itself, that faith is a fundamental grace, and absolutely necessary to the being or constituting of a saint. Faith towards God is one of the principles of the doctrine of Christ, or the word of the beginning of Christ ; it unites the soul to him, “ Christ dwells in the heart by faith, ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and without faith it is impossible to please God;" it is as impossible to be a saint without faith, as to be a man without a soul, for faith purifies the heart, it sanctifies, it justifies, faith saveth, I mean such a faith as worketh by love.* The whole tenor of the gospel proves this, that there is no saintship without faith.

And that personal covenanting implieth and includeth this grace of faith is as clear; for what is believing but accepting Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, and our God in Christ, and receiving Jesus Christ as prophet, priest, and king ?+ and a dedicating or devoting of ourselves wholly to God to be ruled and guided by him, and saved in his own way ? Faith is not only an assent of the understanding to divine truths, that is too low, nor is it an assurance that Christ died for me, that is too high a description of it; but it is a consent of the will, embracing Christ in a promise, and so justifies and saves, whether as an instrument apprehending Christ, or as a condition of the covenant, or both, I dispute not; all agree in the necessity, most in the nature of true justifying faith, which is to make particular application and personal appropriation of Christ, and the good things of the gospel. Faith doth

Acts

• Heb. vi. 1.

Eph. iii. 17. Gal. iii. 26. Heb. xi. 6. xv. 9.

xxvi. 18. Rom. iv. 5. Eph. ii. 8. Gal. v. 6. + Jobn i. 12.

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