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his further ends. As the Redeemer he is become Lord of ourselves, and of all we have ; and he is made the Sovereign Ruler of all, having full power to relax the law that cursed, and to deal with the world on terms of grace.
(5.) Accordingly he hath kept off the stroke of the rigorous justice of God, and hindered the strict execution of the law of works, and giveth still abundance of forfeited mercies to the sinful world, keeping them from deserved torments, while he is treating them on terms of life.
(6.) He hath made a universal deed of gift, of Christ and life to all the world, on condition that they will but accept the offer; 1 John v. 10-12. John i. 11, 12. iii. 16—19. In this testament, or promise, or act of oblivion, the sins of all the world are conditionally pardoned, and they are conditionally justified and reconciled to God.
(7.) He hath given apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to proclaim this act of grace to the world, commanding them to go into all the world, and preach this Gospel to every creature, and promise salvation to all that by faith will become his true disciples; Mark xvi. 16. Matt. xxviii. 20.22. So that their promulgation is universal.
(8.) Though his servants have most lamentably neglected their duty, and have not gone abroad in the world, to divulge the Gospel according to his will ; imagining that this work had been proper to the apostles ; and though the nations have sinfully neglected a due inquiry after this blessed light, yet hath he not left himself among them without witness, but hath given thenı some dawning of the day, or some moonlight in the reflections of evangelical truth, who have not seen the sun itself. Much mercy they have had notwithstanding their transgressions ; and while they served devils, they have been provided for by God, " in whom they live, and move, and have their being;” “ doing them good, and giving them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness ;” and this to teach them, “ that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of them;" Acts xiv. 17. xvii. 27, 28. “ And that which may be known of God, is manifest among them, for God hath shewed it to them; for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God
head : so that they are without excuse;" Rom. i. 19, 20. By experience they may find, that God dealeth not now in rigor of justice, but on terms of grace, and that sin is not now unpardonable; and they should know that the “goodness of God leadeth men to repentance ;" Rom. ii. 4.
(9.) As the Gospel conditionally pardoneth all their sins, and offereth them everlasting life, so it containeth the clearest reasons and most effectual motives, to persuade them to accept the offer. It affordeth them most excellent precepts and instructions, and exhortations, and other helps to bring them to a willingness, that salvation may be theirs.
(10.) To which also is added abundance of outward, providential helps, to further the working of the Gospel ; as seasonable afflictions and mercies of divers sorts.
(11.) And with these is usually concurrent some inward motions, and assistance of the Holy Ghost; as knocking at the door, where he is not yet let in, and entertained.
(12.) And by their presence in the visible church, even the ungodly have many benefits in the ordinances, and instructions, and examples of the saints. All these (besides a resurrection) are the common effects of general redemption, and not appropriated to the elect.
Besides which there are others that the elect only do receive. As (1.) God is pleased by effectual grace to draw them to his Son, and make the Gospel successful to their conversion, insuperably teaching and changing them by his Spirit, and causing them to repent, and believe in Christ, and to perform the conditions of his forementioned promises. That love that brought the Lord on earth, that clothed him with flesh, that lifted him up upon the cross, doth stream forth in his season into the hearts of his elect, and toucheth them with a changing power, and winneth them to his Father and himself, and droppeth into them those heavenly principles, which will grow up in them to everlasting life.
(2.) Hereupon the soul believing in Christ is united to him, as a member of his body, even of his true catholic church; and Christ is become the Head, the Husband, the Lord, the Saviour of that soul in a special sort. Christ himself is first given to us in these relations; and from him as our Head, his following benefits are conveyed. “He that
hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life ; for this life is in the Son ;" 1 John v. 11, 12. He
is the vine, and we are the branches, and out of him we can do nothing; John xv. 1, 2.5. As it was not we that purchased our own salvation, so it is not we, but Christ, that must have the keeping, and dispensing of the purchased benefits. ' “ For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell, and that he should be the Head over all things to his church,” that it might by communication become his fullness; Col. i. 19. Ephes. i. 22, 23. He is our treasury, and from him we must have our continual supplies; for “ with him the Father will give us all things ;" Rom. viii. 32. And thus Christ will “dwell in our hearts by faith ;" Ephes. iii. 17. and set up the kingdom of God within us.
(3.) Hereupon we have the pardon of all our sins ; not only as to the temporal punishment, nor only as to the bestowing of 'temporal mercies, or common helps of creatures, and providences ; for this is but a “winking at the days of our ignorance," (Acts xvii. 30.) in comparison of the pardon which afterward we receive. Nor is it only a conditional, or offered pardon; but it is an actual remission of the eternal, and of all the destructive, punishment. And thus we are justified from all that might be charged on us from the law, and accepted, and used as just by God.
There is a kind of forgiveness that was promised to the sacrificers ; Lev. iv. 20. 26. 31. 35. 10. 13. 16. 18. vi. 7. Numb. 28.
But as that was upon Christ's account, so it extended not to the pardon of the eternal punishment to any but true believers. He that was once crucified, “is exalted by God's right hand, a prince, and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins;" Acts v. 31. “Through this man is preached the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses;” Acts xiii. 38, 39. When our eyes are open, and we are turned from darkness to light, and from the
of satan unto God,” we then “receive remission of our sins ;” Acts xxvi, 18.
" delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of Christ; in him we have then redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins;" Col. i. 13, 14. And blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered, to whom the Lord imputeth not sin;" Rom. iy. 7. And now “ who shall condemn us? It is God
When we are
that justifieth us : for there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" Rom. viii. 1. 33, 34.
(4.) With this benefit doth concur, our reconciliation to God, and our adoption; by which we are made his sons, and God is pleased to own us as our Father. For being one with Christ the Son of God, we are sons by him. For“ to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name ;" Johni. 12. This is the wonderful love that the Father hath bestowed on those that were his enemies; that they should not only be reconciled to him by the death of his Son, but also be called the sons of God; Rom. v. 10. 1 John iii. 1. For he hath “ chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved ;" Ephes. i. 4–6. O what an unspeakable mercy is it to have the blessed God, whom we had so oft offended, to become our reconciled Father in Christ! For it is not an empty title that he assumeth; but he hath more abundant love to us, and tenderness of our welfare, than any title can make us understand.
(5.) And hereupon it doth immediately follow, that we have a right to the blessed inheritance of his sons, and are certain heirs of his heavenly kingdom ; Col.i. 12. For if “sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ;" Rom. viii. 17. Being saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and justified by grace through Jesus Christ, we are made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life;" Tit. iii. 5-7. Being begotten again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us ;" 1 Pet.i. 3, 4.
(6.) Withal, the Holy Ghost is given to us, not only to close us at first with Christ, but to take up his abode in us, as his temples, and to be the agent and life of Christ within us, and to do his work, and maintain his interest, and cleanse us of all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and sanctify us throughout, and to strive against, and conquer the flesh, and to keep
us by divine power through faith unto salvation ; 1 Cor. vi. 19. Gal. v. 17. 22. 2 Cor. vi. 1. 1 Pet. i.5. For“ because we are sons, God sendeth forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" Gal. iv. 6. This Spirit of adoption which we receive doth bear witness with our spirits, that we are the sons of God ;" Rom. viii. 15, 16. For “ if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is
, none of his;" Rom. viii. 9. By this Spirit is the spirit of the world cast out of us; the spirit of pride, and of blindness, and of delusion, and hardheartedness, and of sensuality, and malice, and hypocrisy are cast out. By this is God's image imprinted on our souls ; we are conformed to his blessed
we are made partakers of the Divine nature, being holy, as God is holy; Col. iii. 10. 2 Pet. i. 4. 1 Pet. i. 16.
, Hereby also we are fitted for the service of God, to which before we were undisposed and unfit. O what an ease is it to the soul, to be free from so much of the burden of sin. What an honour is it to have the Spirit of God within us, and to have a nature so truly heavenly and divine? How can it
go ill with him that hath “ God dwelling in him, and that dwells in God?" 1 John iv. 15.
(7.) Another of our precious benefits by Christ, is, that we shall be actually employed in the special and nearest service of God, that on earth is to be performed. Let diseased souls desire idleness; and swinish sinners take pleasure in the mire, and feed like ravenous beasts on carrion, or as dogs on dung. But the saints will ever rejoice in God, and take it for the most blessed life on earth, when they can do him the greatest service. Let his enemies that hate his service be weary of it, as if it were a toil or drudgery; but his children will desire no sweeter work. They never think themselves so well as when they are most serviceable to their blessed Lord, though at the greatest cost and labour to the flesh. So sweet is God's service, that the more of it we can do, the more is our pleasure, and honour, and content. Other work spendeth strength; but this increaseth it. Other work must have recreation intermixed, but this is itself the most delightful recreation. Other service is undertaken for the love of the wages, but this is undertaken for the love of the master, and the work, and is wages itself to them that go through with it. For other service is but a means, and that to some inferior end; but this is a means,