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the case of a poor creature forsaken of God! II. Thes. ii. 10,
PROMISED TO BELIEVERS, AND HOW FAITH INTERESTS US
V. To consider the promise of everlasting life, which is, in the gospel, made to true believers. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE.
In this ever lasting life is implied, 1. The everlasting love and
favor of God. Whereas, by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners, and judgment came upon all to condemnation, by virtue of the original constitution with Adam, (Rom. v. 18, 19,)--and whereas, by and according to the law of nature, the whole world stands guilty before God, (Rom. iii. 19,)-Now, by virtue of a new constitution, estaba lished by the God of heaven, the great Governor of the world, called the gospel, or covenant of grace, it is appointed, and, as
it were, confirmed by the broad seal of heaven, that any, whosoever they are, among all the guilty race of Adam, who fall in with this gospel-proposal, and venture their all upon this new plan....this new foundation....this precious corner-stone, Jesus Christ, the great Mediator between God and man, shall thenceforth stand free from that double condemnation, and be entitled unto the everlasting love and favor of God, the great Governor of the world. John iii. 18—Rom. v. 1, 2.... Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ : By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
2. The cther part of this everlasting life consists in and results from the everlasting indwelling of the holy spirit as a sanctifier. This, which Adam lost by the fall, is, upon our union with Christ, the second Adam, by virtue of this new constitution, restored, never to be lost any more. John vii. 38... He that believeth on me, as the scripture saith, out of his belly shall How rivers of living water. Ver. 39... This spake he of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: And therefore the gift of the holy ghost is, by the Apostles, (Acts ii. 38.) promised upon the condition of faith:* And, therefore, as God did, of old, dwell in the holy of holies in the Jewish temple, in the cloud of glory, so now, henceforth, does he dwell in the believer's heart by his holy spirit, as a vital prin. ciple and spring of divine life there... John xv. 1—5: And hence believers are called the temple of God...I. Cor. iii. 17. The spirit of God is said to dwell in them, (Rom. viii. 9)—to lead them, (ver. 14)--to give them an everlasting freedom from the power of sin, (ver. 2): so that sin shall not have dominion over
* From the nature of justifying faith, it is evident that regeneration must be prior to the first act of it; bu: although the sinner be regenerated by the gracious influences of the holy spirit before faith, yet it is after faith and union with Christ that the soul has a covenant-right to the indwelling of the holy spirit; which covenant-right lays a foundation for the indwelling of the holy spirit to be constant and everlasting; and this lays a foundation for an abiding principle and proper habit of grace: So that, although regeneration be before faith, yet a confirmed babit of grace is afier. It results from our union with Christ.... John xy. 1–5: And is in scripture promised upon the condition of faith.... John v. 24. and vii. 38.
them.... Rom. vi. 14: And the water (says Christ) which I will give you, shall be in you a well of water springing up into ever lasting life.... John iv. 14.
It is plain, from the whole tenor of the gospel, that the ever lasting love and favor of God, together with the everlasting in drvelling of the holy spirit as a sanctifier, which are the two great things which a poor sinner wants, are the two great things promised in the covenant of grace. St. Paul, having explained the nature of the gospel-way of salvation by free grace through Jesus Christ, and shown that faith is the only condition of the new covenant, in the four first chapters of his epistle to the Ro mans, proceeds to show the benefits accruing to believers. And first, they are justified, and have peace with God, (chap. v.) Secondly, they are delivered from the power of sin, (chap. vi.) And although they are, in this life, continually in a state of spiritual conflict and warfare, (chap. vii.) yet they are influenced, and led, and governed by the spirit of God, which dwells in them, (chap. viii.) And now all things shall work for their good, and they shall be brought to glory at last, (ver. 28-39.) So again, see both these summed up in Heb. viii. 10, 11, 12.... For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: And I will be to them a "God, and they shall be to me a people : Ard they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.Here is the everlasting indwelling of the holy spirit, together with what results therefrom: For I will be mercifu'unto their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remei. ber no more....ver. 12. And here is the everlasting love and favor of God.
And now, seeing, by this new constitution...this covenant of grace, true believers are thus entitled to the everlasting love and favor of God, and to the everlasting indwelling of the holy spirit, as sanctifier, in the perfect enjoyment of both which, eternal life, in heaven, will consist ; hence, therefore, they are
said to have life, yea, to have eternal life, immediately upon their believing in Christ. I. John v. 12.... He that hath the Son, hath LIFE--Jonn in., 36.... He that believeth on the Son hath EVER. LASTING LIFE-John v. 24.... Hath EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from DEATH unto LIFE- Joha xvii. 3.... This is LIFE. ETERNAL, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Eternal life is begun in them, and heaven begins to dawn in their souls : And believers, being thus made the subjects of the everlasting love and favor of God, and of the everlasting indwelling of the holy spirit, are hence called the chile dren of God....John i. 12: For God loves them as children, and they love him as a Father : And this filial frame of spirit, whereby they are disposed to reverence, fear, love, trust in, and obey God as a Father....live upon him, and live to him as a Father ;-I say, this filial frame of spirit is called the spirit of adoption, in opposition to that servile frame of spirit they used to be under the bondage of, before faith, and before they had received the Holy Ghost. Rom. viii. 15.... For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,
And this filial frame of spirit being peculiar to believers.... that which none but believers have, and which yet is common to all believers; and this filial frame of spirit being that where. in believers bear the image of their heavenly Father, each one resembling the children of a King ; for they view things, according to their measure, as God does, and love what God loves, and make his interest their interest, and are taken up with the same designs ;-I say, this filial frame of spirit being such a peculiar and remarkable thing, and that wherein they so nearly resemble God, and being also the immediate product of the indwelling and influence of the holy spirit, therefore, in scripture, it is spoken of as the distinguishing badge of a true believer.... as a mark whereby God's children and Christ's sheep are to be known. This is what is called the seal of the spirit, in Eph. i. 13. And this seal is the witness, evidence, and proof which
the holy spirit gives to our consciences, that we are the children of God....Rom. viii, 16. This filial frame of spirit is what satisfies and assures the children of God. They feel the very temper of children towards God : They feel a heart to reverence and fear, love and honor him as a Father-a heart to go to himn....to trust in him....to be in subjection to him, and obey him as a Father : And by this they know they are his children.
Marvellous is the change which the poor sinner passes through in that awful hour of inexpressible solemnity, when he first comes into the awful presence of the dread Majesty of heaven and earth, through Jesus Christ, the glorious Mediator, venturing his all for ETERNITY upon this sure foundation. And now, from this time forward, he is quite another creature, under quite new circumstances : As when orphan children, left without a guardian or a guide, from running into riot and indulging themselves in all extravagances, are taken and brought into the family of a wise and good man, who makes them his children .... instills new principles and a new temper into them, and puts them under a new discipline, by which all things become new to them-so, here, from being without God and without hope in the world, and from running to eternal ruin, we are taken and brought into God's family.... have a new temper given to us.... have a new father, and are under a new government. God's fatherly eye is upon us every hour, and he is daily laboring to bring us up to his hand....to train us up to his mind....to make us such as he would have us be. He contrives, and takes all manner of ways, by his spirit, and by his providence, and by his word, to make us more serious, spiritual, and heavenly.... more humble, weaned from the world, and devoted to God. And thus he purgeth us, that we may bring forth more fruit..... John xv. 2: He enlightens...he leads...he teaches....he quickens...he strengthens....he comforts us.... Heb. viii. 10, 11, 12 Bai. 40, 31: When we want it, he instructs us...I. John 2. 27 --Famesi. 5: When we want it, he corrects us....Fleb. xii. 6: And when we need it, he encourages and comforts us...II. Cor.