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there in these words ! Study them, O my soul, that by them thy faith may be established, and they may do thee good, like a medicine.
Thou art afraid of falling away: but the blessed Trinity have undertaken to hold thee up, and their covenant engagements are to be the ground of thy believing, that they will fulfil what they have promised. Observe and adore the goodness of God; see, how he meets thy doubts and answers thine objections. “ oath for confirmation is among men an end of all “ strife: wherein God willing more abundantly to “shew to the heirs of promise the immutability of his « counsel confirmed it by an oath : that by two im“ mutable things, in which it was impossible for God “ to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have “ fled for refuge” to Jesus. Thy faith should run parallel with this promise, and should safely trust as far as it warrants thee : now it gives thee sufficient reason to conclude, that thy state before God is immutable, and that he has determined thou shalt not fall away and perish: for observe
Secondly, his design in the covenant. He knew thy frame, thine infirmities, and thy temptations, and therefore he provided the covenant, and promised the blessings of it upon oath, for thy sake-to end ALL strife in thy conscience--and to give thee strong consolation. This was his mind and will. He revealed it for thee, to settle thy heart in believing, and to administer to thee great comfort. Weigh attentively each of these particulars, and then say, what more could have been done to satisfy thee of thine immutable persevering
But thou thinkest, « Such trials as thine are uncommon, and perhaps not provided for in the cove
nant, and therefore it can be no disparagement to “ the divine faithfulness if thou shouldest fall away.” How can this be, since the everlasting covenant is OPDERED IN ALL THINGS, and on the part of God is absolutely sune-nothing that concerns thee is left out of it-not a single hair of thy head-thy trials are all appointed and ordered, and the end also which they are to answer.
Perhaps from the clear evidence of the divine record thou art convinced of the covenant of God to save the heirs of promise, and of his engaging to keep them that they shall never perish, but thou art afraid thou art not in the covenant, nor an heir of promise. From whence arise thy fears ? From scripture ? No. All scripture is on thy side. Hast thou not fled, as a poor sinner, to Jesus for refuge ? Hast thou not acknowledged his divine nature, and his all-sufficient work? And though thou art now tempted to doubt, yet some faith is still fighting against unbelief? These are covenant blessings. O look up then to Jesus—why not thy Jesus? But however look to him-keep looking on-and he will give thee reason to be ashamed of thy doubts and fears.
But the Lord hides himself from me, and therefore I fear I am not in his favour. This objection is answered in the charter of grace-I WILL NOT TURN AWAY FROM DOING THEE GOOD.
He has hid his face, and thou art troubled: this trouble is for good. It should put thee upon enquiring into the reason of God's hiding himself. It should humble thee, and should exercise thy faith upon such a scripture as this
“ For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth 66 and smote him, I hid me, and was wroth, and he “ went on frowardly in the way of his heart: I have
ways and will heal him, I will lead him also " and will restore comforts to him and to his mourners." Although he hid himself, yet he had love to his people -although he smote them, yet it was a fatherly correction. But
Thou fearest, God not only hides his face, but has also quite forsaken thee: He may, as to thy sense and feeling, but not as to his own purpose, which changeth not.
Hear how he speaks to thee, and silences thy doubts" For a small moment have I forsaken
" thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee: in a “ little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, “ but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on " thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” How gracious is thy God! What infinite mercy is it, that he should give thee such promises, so suited to the trials of thy faith to preserve thee under them, and to bring thee out of them! Read carefully, over and over again, these promises : and may every reading of them disperse the cloud of unbelief, until thy soul be enlivened with the light of the Lord's loving countenance.
But perhaps thou art in a worse case, as to thine own apprehension : 66 thou thinkest God is incensed
against me and justly-he has cast me off, and I can
expect no more favour at his hand: once indeed I “ thought he loved me, but I have fallen into a great “ sin-and old, besetting sin-my conscience accuses
of committing it against light and convictione it is a foul black spot, such as is not to be found upon
the children of God." Thou art fallen : and wilt thou lie there, and not be raised up again? Thou art under guilt : And wilt thou nurse it, and add sin to sin ? Aggravate the sinfulness of thy fall as much as thou wilt, yet thou canst not be truly humbled for it, but by returning to God, and by trusting in the plenteous redemption, that is in Christ Jesus. Then thy heart will be softened and melted into love, for grace will have its due honour, and thou wilt see what the scripture says of thy case in its divine truth and majesty. Thou wilt feel thyself exactly what the word of God says of thee-a fallen sinful creature--in thee (that is in thy flesh) dwelleth no good thing—so that there is not any sin, but thou art capable of falling into it through the strength of temptation. So long as thou art in the body, the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; in this conflict thou mayest fall, but the covenant secures thee from perishing: Abraham the father of the faithful fell--the friend of God fell into the same
sin again and again. Moses fell: so did David. Pe-
Consider then, O my soul, the rich abounding, superabounding grace of thy God in making such a provision for raising thee up, when fallen into sin. He intended the promises in the covenant should be the means of thy recovery, as they give thee good ground
still to trust in a covenant God, and in his immutable counsel and oath. O lie not then in guilt. Rest not in unbelief. Give not place to the devil. The Lord has put words into thy mouth, may he help thee in the faith of thy heart to take them up and say—“ Rejoice “ not agaist me, O mine enemy, when I fall, I shall “ arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a “ light unto me: I will bear the indignation of the “ Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he
plead my cause, and execute judgment for me; he “ will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold “ his righteousness.” If the Lord open to thee the rich treasury of his grace in this scripture, and enable thee to depend on the ample security here given for raising thee from thy fall, then consider in the
Third place, the express promises made in the covenant, that the believer shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. These promises are not conditional, made to the believer upon certain terms, as if upon doing his part God would do his also; for he does not stand by his own will, or strength, or faithfulness-he does not hold out to the end by his own diligence and watchfulness in means
or receive the crown of glory as the merited reward of any works of righteousness done by him. The promises are all of free dependent on man's will, but on God's: not yea and nay, but of absolutely certain fulfilment. They were all made in the covenant to Christ the head, and are already made good to Christ, as the head, for the use of his members--- For all the promises of God are in “ him, yea, and in him, Amen." He was given for the covenant of his people, and as such, he undertook to do all their works for them, and in them, and therefore all the promised blessings of the covenant are laid up in his fulness-“ in him they are yea”-and laid up, as the head has the fulness of the senses for the use of his members“ in him they are, Amen." He communicates the promised blessings freely, not conditionally; by believing, and not for working“ Therefore (says.