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at the name, yet all that are partakers of the heavenly calling, are holy brethren; there is no medium, all persons either bear the character of saints or brutes, are like angels or like devils; and this holiness must be according to the scripture rule; there must be grace in the heart, and holiness in the life, according to the pattern; "Be ye holy, for I am holy;"† as he is holy, not by a parity but sincerity, not by equality but integrity; you must have a personal holiness, or have no personal happiness, for there shall in no wise enter into heaven any thing that defileth.
And that holiness, or sanctification doth chiefly consist in covenanting with God, is plain from the notion of the word which signifies a separation of a person or thing, from a common to a sacred use, or a consecration or dedication to God,‡ which is nothing else but this covenanting; Psal. iv. 3, "But know ye that the Lord hath set apart the man that is godly for himself;" which imports both parts of sanctification, namely, a mortification or dying to sin, and vivification or living to God. "Sanctification," saith a great divine, "is no less than for a man to be brought to an entire resignation of his will to the will of God, and to live in the offering up of his soul continually in the flames of love, as a whole burnt-offering to Christ :" this, this is the true covenanting of which I am treating. "Every devoted thing," saith the scripture," is most holy unto the Lord;" || if you be sanctified by the Spirit, and have dedicated yourselves to God, according to God's institution, you have rightly covenanted with him, and so are saints or sanctified; but without this no saintship.
Heb. iii. 1.
+1 Pet. i. 16.
TP ab usu communi ad divinum separatus.
Joel. i. 14.
That which marries a soul to God is necessary to saintship.
But this personal covenanting marries the soul to God.
Therefore this covenanting with God is necessary to saintship.
The major is clear; the soul's marriage to God or Christ is, in the scripture language, a periphrasis or manner of expression to describe a real saint, or a believer; the scriptures are copious, "I will betroth thee unto me for ever;"* and this is an exemplifying of the covenant before mentioned; "Thy maker is thy husband, and I am married to thee, saith the Lord;"+ the paranymphs or wooers for Christ are gospel ministers, who entreat sinners to enter into this engagement, and rejoice as friends of the bridegroom when they perceive it likely to go on; then as a young man marries a virgin, so do the church's sons marry church members to Jesus Christ, so Paul espoused the believing Corinthians to one husband; the terms of this contract or conjugal bond are: thou shalt be for me alone, and not for another, and take me in all states and conditions, deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow me; this is true saintship.§ Our Lord marries none but those who have been divorced from a former husband; they are dead to the law who are married to Christ; none but saints are married to Christ, he makes them so, though he does not find them so, see Eph. v. 25-28.
That personal covenanting marrieth the soul to God, is plain, for marriage is a mutual consent declared be
Hos. ii. 19. ver. 18, 20.
+ Prov. ix. 3.
§ Hos. iii. 3. VOL. IV.
John iii. 29.
+ Isa. liv. 5. || Isa. lxii. 5. Rev. xiv. 4.
Jer. iii. 12, 14. 2 Cor. xi. 2.
Rom. vii. 4.
fore witnesses, whereby the parties accept of each other as man and wife, and give up themselves to each other in that near relation; thus do God and the believing soul. God declares his free consent in the scriptures, and now the convert is made truly willing, and personally owns God, and manifests his consent; thus the engagement is made. This mutual surrender or delivering of themselves to one another, is the substance of this covenant marriage, for covenanting is so essential to marriage, that it is called the covenant of God;* and from thence results that reciprocal right or title, that married persons have to the bodies or estates of each other, called in scripture power or privilege, more than any other persons have or can have ;t the case is so here, and it is expressed in the covenant with Abraham, and so with all his seed, Gen. xvii. 7, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee-to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed for ever;" that is, on God's part. "I am thine," saith David, Psal. cxix. 94; there is the soul's part in this marriage; and still there is a mutual profession of this relation after this marriage covenant is formed-thou art my God, saith the saint; thou art my child, subject, servant, saith God to the soul; Isa. xliii. 1, "Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob-I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine," these words are so full and emphatical, (saith Mr. Weemse, that the Jews write these two short words LI ATTA, thou art mine, as a motto upon their rings, and about their gates, as the sum of the whole covenant, and comprehending all the promises; and it is worth our observing, that when God betroths his people to himself, by making a covenant with them, he
* Prov. ii. 17. Mal. ii. 11, 14. + 1 Cor. vii. 4. ovoιáhel. Weemse's Exp. of moral law, p. 26.
.tu mihi לי אתה ?
then makes a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, Hos. ii. 18, 19. The influences of heaven, fruitfulness of the earth, nourishment by corn, wine, and oil, are happy consequences of this marriage covenant, or blessed contract; yea, all the attributes of God, the offices of Christ, and operations of the Holy Spirit, are made over to the covenant soul for its good; the ground of all is, that God saith, "I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people, and they shall say, Thou art my God," see ver. 23, And is not this marriage covenant necessary to saintship? is it not necessary that God should be our God? Then this personal covenanting is needful.
The tenth and last argument I shall produce is this:— That which qualifies persons for receiving gospel privileges, is necessary to constitute a saint.
But personal covenanting with God qualifies persons for receiving gospel privileges.
Therefore personal covenanting is necessary to constitute a saint.
The truth of the first proposition is evident; for if saintship is necessary to give a right to partake of gospel privileges, so, that which qualifies persons for receiving them, is necessary to constitute a saint. By gospel privileges I mean justification, adoption, reconciliation, communion with God, hearing of prayers, eternal salvation; these make children's bread, and which is not to be given to dogs; it is true, dogs may be about the table, and some crumbs may fall to them, such as being baptized, externally called, having communion with God's people, enjoying outward ordinances, but none enjoy the aforesaid saving benefits but real saints, none can expect to receive legacies, but such as are qualified according to the last will of the testator; so it would be insufferable presumption to challenge a
share in spiritual comforts without suitable dispositions. It is true, no man can produce those qualifications of himself, nor may we expect to bring them as a price to procure acceptance; but divine grace chains together graces and privileges, duties and dignities. Our Lord is a prince to give repentance to those; to whom he is a Saviour to give remission of sins;* only true believers are justified, none but the sanctified are saved, there are some things that accompany salvation,† that is, some sincere qualifications that proceed from special grace, and end in eternal glory; and though these merit not heaven, yet they render persons meet for that heavenly inheritance; this is called worthiness, "they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy;"|| this is to be understood in an evangelical sense. Holiness capacitates for the exercise of grace, and gives actual possession of, and comfort in gospel privileges; the habit and state give an hereditary right: the drawing forth of those habits in act gives an aptitude and fitness for a due improvement of these privileges.
With respect to the minor, that covenanting with God qualifies the soul to receive gospel privileges: what is covenanting but a returning to God by faith and repentance? A heart devoted to God, and accepting of God, is a soul entitled to the favour of God: faith is an accepting or receiving of God and Christ, “to as many as received him, he gives power, right or privilege,
ovolav, to become the sons of God, and so to partake of the benefits of filiation. Abraham's advantages were by promise, that is, by compact or covenant, and so are the privileges that appertain to Abraham's spiritual seed; he that hath the tree hath right to all the fruit growing on that tree; "so he that hath the Son
+ Col. i. 12.
Acts v. 31. xii. 39. xxvi. 18.
+ Heb. vi. 9