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with faith in them that heard it. This ordinarily réquires an outward means to work it by. But being wrought, it is the great inward means of communication betwixt Christ and the soul. This is the mean of entering us into the covenant, of repen tance, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, &c, It is the bucket whereby one draws the water,out of the wells of salvation; and the want of it in most that come to them, makes them go away without water:
3. Extraordinary means are whatsoever the Lord in his sovereign wisdom is pleased to make use of extraordinarily for conveying grace into the hearts of his elect, as he did a voice from heaven for the conversion of Paul, Acts ix, 4. 5: None can limit Tovereignty. He may use what means he will, and bring about his purposes of grace by means un known to us. What means the Lord makes use of in the case of elect idiots, such as are deaf and blind, and fo incapable of reading or hearing the word and yet may get grace and be saved, who can determine? Or perhaps he does it without means altogether. But,
3. The outward and ordinary means are the Lord's own ordinances, Rom. x. 14. 15. Haw then i Joall tley call on him in whom they have not believed? and how pall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall, they beur without a preacher? and bow shall they preach, except they be sent as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good thing've They are called outward, because they are fomething without ourselves; ordinary, because though ordind narily the Lord makes use of them for these holy: ends, yet he has not tied himself to them, but may work without them, as seems good in his fights Acts: ix. 4. 5. Now these are,
ul, In the general, all the ordinances of God without exception, which he has set up in bis church for that end, namely, the word, facraments, prayer,
church-communion or fellowship, Aets ii. 42. which being managed by mutual instruction, admonition, confolation, and watching over one another, are of great use to promote the falvation of fouls; church government, discipline, and cenfures, Matth. xviii. 17. religious fafting, 1 Cor. vii. 5. linging of pralms, Eph. v. 19. swearing by the name of God, when duly called thereto, Deut. vi. 13. and whatfoever are God's inftitutions in his church. | adly, The most special means of grace and falvation are the first three, the word, sacraments, and prayer, Acts ii. 42.
(1.) The word preached or read. This has been a well of salvation to many, and a means of grace, Acts iii 41. About three thousand fouls together drank of this well, and lived. It is the feed which the new creature is formed of; and though a despised ordinance, yet the great means of God's appointment for bringing finners into a state of grace, i Cor. i. 21. forecited.
(2.) The facraments, baptism and the Lord's fupper. In both, the people of God have drank to the salvation of their fouls, though they are not converting ordinances, but sealing ones, supposing the efficacy of the word to precede; as is evident in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts viii. 39. 1 Cor." X. 16.
(3.) Prayer, public, private, and secret. This is a very special means of grace, and a most ordinary way of communion betwixt Christ and a foul. So that one no sooner grows concerned about his foul, but he uses this means, a's did Saul, of whom it is said, Acts ix, 11. Behold, he prayeth. It is a means by which divine influences have flowed plentifully to many a soul, and none of the Lord's people can live without it.
III. I shall now fhew what makes any ordinance a mean of grace, a well of falvation, out of which one may in faith look to draw water for his soul, or get spiritual good by. : The Papists and church of England think human institution sufficient, else they had never made so many fignificant ceremonies and actions in religion, for which there is no divine warrant, as crossing in baptisın, kissing of the book in swearing, &c. In the use of which they think one has ground to expect good to one's foul. But all these, being but humin ordinances and inventions of men, are not means of grace, but of sinning; not wells of salvation, but broken cisterns that can hold no water; nay they are rather puddles that de. file the foul, instead of nourishing it. For,
1. No ordinance whatsoever can avail without a particular blessing; for the efficacy of ordinances is not natural, or from themselves. Now men cannot annex a blessing to their ordinances and institutions, to make them eifectual for the good of fouls, though both church and state join for it. And we have no ground to expect the Spirit's working with tools that are not of his own making. Therefore their inftitution is vain. and their use too, Matth. 9. In vain they do worsbip me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
2. Mens institutions or ordinances, in respect of God, are forbidden and condemned by the Lord's word, namely, in the second commandment. The want of a divine warrant is fufficient to condemn any thing of this fort, if it be never so likely in the eyes of human wisdom, Matth. xv. 9. juft quoted. See Jer. xxxii. 35. And they built the bigh places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech, which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination to cause Judah to fin. And they must needs be blafted inftitutions, fince the institution is an invading of Christ's royal prerogative, Matth. xxviii. 20. who has directed his fervants to teach his people to o serve all things whatsoever he hath commanded.
Mens use of them is not only useless, but worse, not only to no good purpose, but to ill purpose; for the using of them is will-worship, which is finning against the Lord, Col. ii. 20.-23. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world ; why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinancés, (Touch not, taste not, handle not : which all are to perish with the using), after the commandments and doétrines of men? Which things have indeed a few of wifdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. It provokęs God, and brings on wrath on the users of them, Hof. v. 11. 12. Ephrain is oppressed, and broken in judgement : because he willingly walked after the commindment. Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth: and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
That which makes any ordinance a means of grace or salvation, what one may justly look for good of to. his foul, is divine institution only, Matth. xxviii. 20! forecited : therefore the first question in all ordinances ought to be. Whose is this image and superscription? That appointment is to be found in the Lord's word, 1. viii. 20. "To the law and to the teslimony : if they fpeak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. That is sufficient to make the man of God perfect, 2 Tim. iii. 16. 17. and therefore contains the whole ordinances he is to meddle with for the salvation of himself or others. The inftitution of some ordurancés is more clear in the word than others; but whatever ordinance has divine warrant express or by good confequence, is a divine ordinance and means of grace. And to these his own ordinances the Lord has confined us, Deut. iv. 2. Ye fhall not add unto the word which I command jou, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ge may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
IV. proceed to consider to whom the Lord's ordinances are made effectual. VOL. 11.
1. Not to all who partake of them, Il. liii. 1. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? Many come to these wells who never taste of the water. I think it an unwarrantable ex. pression, that all God's ordinances do attain their end in the salvation or damaation of all that come under them; for damnation is not the end of any of God's ordinances, but falvation. And the scriptures adduced to prove it, viz. 18. lv. 10. 11. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give feed to the fower, and bread to the eater : Sofball my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it Shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 2 Cor. ii. 15. 16. For we are unto God a sweet favour of Christ, in them that are faved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other, the favour of life unto life: and who is sufficient for these things? will not prove it: for the former respects only God's end in fending his word, the other the event, but neither of them the end of the ordinance. Damnation is the effect or consequence of the contempt or misimprovement of ordinances, but by no means the end thereof.
2. But to all the elect they are effectual, unto whom they come, Acts xiii. 48. As many as were ordained to tternal life believed. John X. 26. Ye believe not, because ge are not of my fbeep. To the elect only they are effectual for their salvation, which is their end.
V. I am to shew whence the efficacy of ordinances proceeds. It does not proceed from any virtue in themselves, or in him that adminifters them, but from
the Spirit of the Lord working in them and by them, - 1 Cor. iii. 7. But this I shall speak to more largely in a posterior discourse.