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personally into it, must be by becoming his, standing related to the head of the covenant as our head : and it is by faith, and no work, nor consent of ours differing from faith, that we are united to him, and become members of his body, Eph. iii. 17. How do we all enter personally into the covenant of works, so as to partake of the curse in it? Is it not through our becoming, by natural generation, branches of the first Adam the reprefentative in that coyenant ? Hereby every one of us is personally entered and in. stated in that covenant, before we are capable to approve or disapprove of the fame, to consent to it, or dissent from it. Even so we enter personally into the covenant of grace, so as to partake of the benefits in it, by our becoming branches of the second Adam the representative therein ; and that is thro' faith, in subjects capable of actual believing. It is by being ingrafted into Christ we come to partake of the covenant and benefits thereof. And hence it is that infants, not capable of actual believing, nor of knowing what the covenant is, yet having the Spirit of faith, are personally entered into it, and instated in it; forasmuch as that Spirit of faith is effectual in them, to a real uniting them with Christ. Hereunto agrees God's giving Christ for a covenant, that in him people may have the covenant, and all the benefits thereof. As God, in making of the covenant, took Christ for all, for the condition and for the parties to receive the promises; he being a Second Adam : fo finners, in accepting and embracing of the covenant, are to take him for all; the whole of the covenant, the parties and parts of it too being in him, forasmuch as he is God as well as man, second Adam.
And thus it appears, that uniting with Christ the head of the covenant, is a sinner's formal entering into the covenant: the which uniting with him, being by faith on him, it is evident, that it is by believe
- ing on Christ a sinner embraceth, enters into, and is
inftated in the covenant unto salvation. Wherefore reach Christ by faith, and ye reach the covenant: if ye mifs him, ye miss the covenant, in point of life and salvation. But here ariseth a weighty question, to wit,
Quest. What is that believing, by which one unites with Jesus Christ, and to enters into the covenant of grace? Ans. The clearing of this point being so necessary to direct finners in their way into the covenant, for their eternal salvation : we shall, for what now remains, address ourselves to the consideration thereof only..?
And to begin with, the word, by which the holy Ghost expresseth what we call believing, whether in the Old or New Testament; whosoever shall duly consider the import of it, in the scripture-use there. of, will find, that it is just trusting, trusting a word, person, or thing. ' And hence the scripture-phrases of believing 'to, and believing in, that is, trusting to, and trusting in; the former phrases, however unusual with us in conversation, yet ordinary, both in the Old and New Testament, according to the originals. It is the trusting a word, as to a report, Ifa. liii. 1. In his word, Pfal. cvi. 12. It is the trusting a person : fo, in the stile of the holy Ghost, the Ifraelites believed in the Lord, and in Moses his servant, Exod. xiv. 35. He believed not in his fervants, Job iv. 18. that is, as we read it, He put rio trust in them. And it is, the trusting a thing too: so in the same stile, Job xxxix. 12. Wilt thou believe in him (to wit, the unicorn) that he will bring home thy feed ? i. e. Wilt thou trust in him, that he will do it? Deut. xxviii. 6. Thou shalt not believe in thy life : that is, as we read it, Thou shalt have none assurance in thy life ; no trust in it, because no certainty about it. The phraseology is the same in the New Testament, as being brought into it from
the Old, only in a different language. 'And taking the meaning of the holy Ghost in this matter from the words which he teacheth, as we are directed, 1 Cor. ii. 13. We conclude. That faith or believing, so expressed by him in the scripture, is in the gene. ral, TRUSTING, the trusting of a word, and of a perfon and thing, held forth in that word. .
Now, there is a twofold word to be believed or trusted of all those who would enter into the covenant of grace in a saving manner: namely, the word of the law, and the word of the gospel. The believing of the former, is a faith of the the law ; the believing of the latter, a faith of the gospel : of which in order.
A Faith of the Law preparatory for the Covenant. THE faith of the law is not indeed saving faith:
1 for the law is the word and administration of condemnadon, and not of righteousness; as speak. ing nothing of a Saviour, an atonement, or an im. puted righteousness, 2 Cor. iii. 9. Nevertheless, it is a necessary antecedent thereof, according to the stated order of the dispensation of the covenant. The faith of the law is like the hearing of the strong. wind, the feeling of the earthquake, and seeing of fire; in which though the Lord was not, yet they served to prepare to hearkening to the fill small voice in which he was, 1 Kings xix. 11, 12. Accordingly, the faith of the law is the work of the Spirit of God, as well as the faving faith of the gospel : though wrought in a different manner. The former he works as a spirit of bondage, convincing of sin and misery, by the law, Rom. viii: 15. with John xvi 8. The latter he works as a quickening spirit, enlightening the soul in the knowledge of Christ, by the gospel, 2 Cor. iii. 17. 18..
Whosoever then would enter into the covenant of grace, must in the first place have a faith of the law: for which caust, it is necessary, that the law, as well
as the gospel, be preached unto sinners, And that faith of the law consists in a belief of these three things.
1. By it a man believes that he is a finner: The holy law pronounceth him guilty : and he believes the report of the law concerning himself in particular; his heavy and sorrowful heart, by this faith, echoing to the voice of the law, guilty, guilty ! Rom. iii. 19. The which faith rests not on the testimony of man, whether spoken or written; but is a divine faith, founded upon the testimony of God, in his holy law, demonstrated by the spirit of bondage, to be the voice of the eternal God, and the voice of that God to him in particular. And thus he believes, (1.) That his life and conversation is finful, difpleasing and hateful in the fight of a holy God, according to the divine testimony, Rom. iii. 12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doth good, no not one. He is convinced, that he is gone out of the way of God, and walking in the way of destruction; that the number of his errors of omission and commission he cannot understand; and that all his righteousnesses, as well as his unrighteousnesses, are as filthy rags before the Lord. (2.) That his heart is full of mischief and iniquity, according to the di.. vine testimony, Jer. xvii. 9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. The law hineth into the heart, discovers divers lusts there, which he little noticed before; and pressing the unholy heart, irritates them; and thus such a mystery of iniquity within his breast opens to his view, as he could never before believe to have been there. Rom. vii. 9. I was alive without the law once : but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (3.) That his nature is quite corrupted, as one dead in trespasses and fins, according to the divine testimony, Eph. ii. 1. To the verdict of the law, IVho can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Job
xiv. 4. bis soul, by this faith, echoes back, unclean, unclean ! I was Mapen in iniquity, and in. fin did my mother conceive me. He is conceived, his disease is hereditary and natural; and that therefore his nature must be renewed : that otherwise, he not only does no good, but can do no good. In all these respects, he believes himself to be an object loathsome in the light of God; loathsome in his nature, heart, and life.
2. By it a man believes, that he is a loft and undone finner, under the curse of the law; liable to vengeance, according to the divine testimony, Gal. ijt. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. He can no more look upon the curse as some strange thing, belonging only to some monsters of wickedness, and not to him: for the Spirit of the Lord, as a spirit of bondage, applies it closely to him; as if he said, Thou art the man. And, like one under fentence of death pronounced against him, he grones out his belief of it, under the pressure thereof, Luke xv. 17. I perish..
3. Lastly, By it a man believes his utter inability to recover himself. He believes that he cannot, by any doings or sufferings of his remove the curle of the law from off him; according to the divine testi. mony of our being without strength in that point, Rom. v. 6.; nor change his own mature, heart, and life, so as to render them acceptable to God; according to the infallible testimony, Jer. xiii. 23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil. He is, in his own eyes, as in the light of God, a spiritually dead man; legally dead, and morally dead, as the Apostle testifies of himself in that case, Rom. vii. 9.
This is the faith of the law. And the effect of it is a legal repentance, whereby a finner is broken and