« ZurückWeiter »
unto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgment in his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered being made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul; and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead; yet saw no corruption; on the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which he also ascended into heaven; and there sitteth on the right hand of his father making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
11. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him. Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ, till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof was communicated to the-elect in all ages successively, from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head; and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world: being the same yesterday, and to-day and forever.
Christ in the work of the mediation acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated to the other nature.
Toall those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply, and communicate the same; making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by' his Spirit; revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mystery of salvation; persuading them to believe, and obey; governing their hearts by his word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his Almighty power, and wisdom: in such manner and ways, as are most consonant to his wonderful, and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them, to procure it.
12. This office of Mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the Church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof transferred from him to any other. This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office, to reconcile us,
present us acceptable unto God; and in respect of our averseness, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue, and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom.
13. Of Free Will. God hath indued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.
Man in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power, to will, and to do, that which was good, and well pleasing to God; but yet was mutable, so that he might fall from it.
Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath whully lost all ability of will, to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, be ing altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone, enables him freely to will, and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that, by reason of his remaining corruptions, he doth not perfectly nor only will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.
14. Of Efectual Calling. Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in bis appointed and accepted time effectually to call by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, co-working with his special grace; the creature being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
15. Of Justification. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons, as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone: not by imputing faith itself the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness, but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passiye obedience in his death, for their whole and sole righteousness; they receiving, and resting on him, and his righteousness by faith; which they have not of themselves: it is the gift of God,
Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did by the sacrifice of himself, in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, makė a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for any thing in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the. exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fulness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them.
16. Of Adoption. All those that are justified, God vouchsafed in and for the sake of hisonly Son, Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of Adoption; by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of Children of God; have this name put upon them, receive the Spirit of Adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him, as by a Father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation,
17. Of Sanctification. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, laving a new heart and a new spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection; are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by his word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof, are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened, and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war: the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. In which war, al.. though the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength, from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ, as head and king, in his word hath prescribed to them.
18. Of Faith. The
grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts. and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word; by which also,
and by the administration of Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, prayer and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. By faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the word, for the authority of God himself; and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings, and all things in the world: as it bears forth the glory of God and his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fulness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations; and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed, and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thercof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God, for this life, and that which is to come: but the principal acts of saving faith, hath immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone, for justification, sanctification and eternal life.
This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak, or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it, different in the kind, or nature of it, (as is all saving grace) from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many, to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.
19. Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation, Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometimes lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling, giveth them repentance unto life. Whereas there is none that doth good, and sinneth not, and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into greater sins and provocations, God hath in the covenant grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling, be' renewed through repentance unto salvation,
20. Of Good Works. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentions. These good works, done in obedience to Gods commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and living faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have in the end eternal life,
Their ability to do good works are not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, be sides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereunto to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can never profit, nor satisfy, for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because they are good, they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.
Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God's sight; but that he looked upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them, they may be things which God commands and of good use, both to themselves and others; yet because they proceeded not from a heart parified by faith nor done in a right manner according to the word, nor to right end the glory of God, they are sinful, and cannot please God nor make a man meet to receive grace from God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing to God,
21. Of the Perseverance of the Saints. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, (whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality) and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon: notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God, may for a time be clouded, and obscured from them, yet it is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the Book of Life from all eternity.
This perseverance of the saints, depends not upon their own free will,