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tions; and, by his wisdom and power, guarding them against all their enemies whatsoever.
Hence he, who hath closed bargain with God, may strength. en his faith, by reasoning after this manner:
“ Whosoever' doth heartily receive the offer of free grace, " made here to finners, thirsting for righteousness and salva
tion; unto him, by an everlasting covenant, belongeth Chrift, "* the true David, with all his sure and saving mercies.
“ But I (may the weak believer say) do heartily receive the “ offer of free grace made here to finners, thirsting for righ$6 teousness and salvation.
“ Therefore unto me, by an everlasting covenant, belong(eth Christ Jesus, with all his sure and saving mercies.”
The second warrant and special motive to embrace Chrift,
and believe in him, is the earnest request that God makech to us to be reconciled to him in Christ, holden forth, 2 Cor. v. verses 14, 19, 20, 21.
GOD was in Christ réconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Ver. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Chrift, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Ver. 21. For he hath made him to be fin for us, who knew no fin, that we might be made the righteoufness of God in him.
Wherein the apostle teacherh us these nine doctrines; First, That the elect world, or world of redeemed souls, are by nature in the estate of enmity against God: This is presupposed in the word reconciliation; for reconciliation, or renewing of friendship, cannot be, except betwixt those that have been at enmity.
Second, That in all the time bypast, ance the fall of Adam, Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God, as Mediator, and the Father in him, hath been about the making friendship (by þis Word and Spirit) betwixt himself and the elect world;
God, faith he, was in Christ reconciling the world to him• self.'
Third, That the way of reconciliation was in all ages one and the same in substance, viz. by forgiving the sins of them, who do acknowledge their fins and their enmity against God, and do seek reconciliation and remission of sins in Chrift; • For God, faith he, was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,' by way of not imputing their trespasses unto them.'
Fourth, That the end and scope of the gospel, and whole word of God, is threefold; 1. It serveth to make people senfible of their fins, and of their enmity against God, and of their danger, if they should stand out, and not fear God's difpleasure. 2. The word of God serveth to make men acquainted with the course, which God hath prepared, for making friendship with him through Christ, viz. that if men shall acknowledge the enmity, and shall be content to enter into a covenant of friendship with God, through Christ, then God will be content to be reconciled with them freely. 3. The word of God serveth to teach men how to carry themselves towards God, as friends, after they are reconciled to him, viz, to be loth to sin against him, and to strive heartily to obey his commandments: and therefore the word of God here is called the word of reconciliation, because it teacheth us what need we have of reconciliation, and how to make it, and how to keep the reconciliation or friendlhip, being made with God through Christ.
Fifth, That albeit the hearing, believing and obeying of this word, doth belong to all those to whom this gospel doth come; yet the office of preaching of it, with authority, belongeth to none, but to such only as God doth call to his ministry, and sendeth out with commislion for this work. This the apostle holdeth forth, ver. 18. in these words, . He bath committed to us the word of reconciliation.' Sixth, That the ministers of the gospel fhould behave them
selves as Christ's messengers, and should closely follow their commission set down in the word, Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. and, when they do so, they should be received by the people as ambassadors from God; for here the apostle, in all their names, faith, “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God • did beseech you by us.'
Seventh, That ministers, in all earnestness of affections, should deal with people to acknowledge their lins, and their natural enmity against God, more and more seriously; and to consent to the covenant of grace and embassage of Christ more and more heartily; and to evidence more and more clearly their reconciliation, by a holy carriage before God. This he holdeth forth, when he faith, · We pray you be reconciled ' to God.'
Eight, That, in the ministers affectionate dealing with the people, the people should consider that they have to do with God and Christ, requesting them by the ministers to be reconciled: now, there cannot be a greater inducement to break a finners hard heart, than God's making request to him for friendship; for when it became us, who have done so many wrongs to God, to seek friendship of God, he preventeth us: and (O wonder of wonders!) he requesteth us to be content to be reconciled to him; and therefore most fearful wrath must abide them who do set light by this request, and do not yield when they hear ministers with commission, saying, “We
are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be
reconciled to • God.'
Ninth, To make it appear, how it cometh to pass that the covenant of reconciliation should be so easily made up
betwixt God and a humble finner fleeing to Christ, the apostle leads us unto the cause of it, holden forth in the covenant of redemption, the sum whereof is this; " It is agreed betwixt God " and the Mediator Jesus Christ the Son of God, surety for " the redeemed, as parties-contracters, that the fins of the re
“ deemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, and he both “ condemued and put to death for them, upon this very con“ dition, that whosoever heartily consents unto the covenant “ of reconciliation offered through Christ, shall, by the im• putation of his obedience unto them, be justified and hold
en righteous before God; for God hath made Christ," who knew no fin, to be fin for us, faith the apostle, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Hence may a weak believer strengthen his faith, by reasoning from this ground after this manner;
“ He that, upon the loving request of God and Christ, " made to him by the mouth of ministers (having commission " to that effe&t) hath embraced the offer of perpetual recon« ciliation through Christ, and doth purpose, by God's grace, “ as a reconciled person, to strive against sin, and to serve God “ to his power constantly, may be as sure to have righteous“ ness and eternal life given to him, for the obedience of “ Christ imputed to him, as it is sure that Christ was con“demned and put to death for the fins of the redeemed im“ puted to him.
" But I (may the weak believer say) upon the loving request of God and Chrift, made to me by the mouth of his “ ministers, have embraced the offer of perpetual reconcilia“ tion through Christ, and do purpose, by God's grace, as a “ reconciled perfon, to strive against fin, and to serve God to
my power constantly.
*« Therefore I may be as sure to have righteousness and “ eternal life given to me, for the obedience of Christ impur“ ed to me, as it is sure that Christ was condemned and put
to death for the sins of the redeemed imputed to him.”
The third warrant and special motive to believe in Christ,
is the strait and awful command of God, charging all the hearers of the gospel to approach to Christ, in the order set down by him, and to believe in him; holden forth, 1 John iii. 23.
THIS is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Wherein the apostle giveth us to understand these five doc
1. That if any man shall not be taken with the sweet invitation of God, nor with the humble and loving request of God, made to him to be reconciled, he shall find he hach to do with the sovereign authority of the highest Majesty; ' for • this is his commandment, that we believe in him,' saith he.
2. That if any man look upon this commandment, as he hath looked heretofore upon the neglected commandments of the law; he must consider that this is a command of the gospel, posterior to the law, given for making use of the remedy of all fins; which, if it be disobeyed, there is no other command to follow but this, ' Go, ye cursed, into the everlasting · fire of hell: For this is his commandment, the obedience of which is most pleasant in his fight, V. 22. and without which it is impoflible to please him, Heb. xi. 6. 3:
That every one, who heareth the gospel, must make conscience of the duty of lively faith in Christ: the weak believer must not think it presumption to do what is commanded. The person inclined to defperation must take up himself, and think upon obedience unto this sweet and saving command. The strong believer must dip yet more in the sense of his need he hath of Jesus Christ, and more and more grow in the obedience of this command; yea, the most impenitent, profane and wicked person must not thurst out himself, or be thurst out by others, from orderly aiming at this duty, how desperate soever his condition seem to be; for he that com