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to the natural rainbow, and improve the faithfulness of God in his promise as a security against an universal deluge ; so every soul that hears the gospel is allowed to look to the rainbow of the covenant of grace, and improve it as a security thro’ the satisfaction of Christ against the deluge of divine wrath due to him for sin.
Queft. What is it that may warrant and encourage a loft finner by faith to lay hold on the faithfulness of God engaged in his rainbow of the covenant that is about his throne?
Anf. God commands you to lay hold on his covenant, 1 John iii. 23. This is bis commandment, that you believe in the name of bis fon Jesus Christ. Now when God bids you believe in Christ he bids you believe in him by virtue of the covenant of grace, or by virtue of the free promise of life thro’ Christ to perishing finners. O essay it in the strength of him that commands you; the very first command, as I was saying, warrants you, yea, obligeth you to have a God in Christ, and none other, as your God. Now this command is to all and every one, and if it were not so, it would needs follow that there are fome, in whom unbelief were no fin; for where there is no law, there can be no tranfgrefsion: But depend upon it, firs, that unbelief is your fin, and the great sin upon which the sentence of condemnation will run against you at the great day; and if unbelief be your sin, then it is your indispensible duty by the command of God to believe in Christ, or to trust in him for falvation, by virtue of his faithfulness engaged in the bow of the covenant that is about the throne of grace.
2. Let the extent of the rainbow encourage and warrant you to come within it. The natural rainbow reaches from one end of the heaven to the other: But O firs, the grace of God in a covenant of grace is much wider and larger, for it reaches forth its arms to clasp every creature in its bosom. Mark xvi. 16. The voice of a God of grace, is to men and the fons of men to take hold of his covenant, to improve his faithfulness in the rainbow against this the deluge of his wrath. Ifa. lv. 1. Ho, every one that thirsieth come to the waters: and be that báth no money : Let him come. O why do you spend ycur money for that which is not bread? and jour labour for that which profiteth not?
3. The rainbow of the covenant is pointed towards you in particular, and if you will but look to it, you will see the end of it coming close to your very hand. Aets ii. 39. The promise is to you and your feed, and to all that are afár off; to you is the word of this falvation sent. Art thou a sinner, far away, like the prodigal ? Well, see the rainbow about the throne pointing to you. Ifa. Ivii. 19. I create the fruit of the lips; peace, peace to him that is afar off. So Asts ii. 38. Art thou a polluted sinner, black like the Ethiopian, spotted like the leopard? Well, see the rainbow of the covenant pointing out its grace to you, Pfal.lxviii. 13. Though thou hast lien among the pots, yet thou shalt be as the wings of a dove. Art thou sinking under the load of sin, as a burden heavier than thou can bear? Well, see the bow of the covenant reaching grace and mercy to help thee. Caft thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee. In a word, whatever be thy condition, if on this side of hell, thou wilt find till the bow of God's covenant stretching out . M m 2
its hand to thee, and accommodating itfelf to thy condition and circumstance. Although the arch of the bow be high, yet it stoops down to every man: though the throne be high and lifted up, and he that sits on it be exalted, yet the bow that is about his throne bows itself down to thy very hand, that thou may climb up to Christ by it in a way of believing: And therefore say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend to heaven, to bring Cbrift down from above ? or, Who Mall descend to the deep, to bring him up from the dead? for the word is nigb thee, even in thy mouth, and in tby beart, that is the word of faith which we preach, Rom. x. 6,
4. It is most pleasing to him that fits on the throne of grace to see a loft finner come within the circuit of his rainbow for safety. You cannot do a thing that is so pleasing to God as to believe in Christ by virtue of the covenant. John vi. 28. This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom be hath sent. He speaks as if this were the only work; and indeed it is fo much the only work of a sinner, that without it, it is impossible to please him; and with it every thing ye do is pleasing, your persons and your sacrifices are accepted upon his altar.“ O firs, will you not do a thing that is so pleasing to him that made you, him that preserves you, him that provides for you, him that shed the blood of his heart to redeem you? Never was the fond breast of a tender-hearted mother more glad to be fucked, than the Lord is to see a sinner come within the bow of his covenant for grace and mercy to help in time of need.
5. The nature of the throne, and the nature of the rainbow, invites and encourages your faith and trust. The throne is of the nature with the rainbow, the throne is a throne of grace, and the covenant a covenant of grace. What sort of a throne is a throne of grace? It is a throne for beggars, divors and bankrupts to come to, that they may get whatsoever they want freely; it is, a throne that stands by outgiving, by giving liberally to all without upbraiding. What sort of a covenant is a covenant of grace? The very name of it tells you what is its nature; a covenant of grace can be nothing else but an absolute free grant of all the riches of grace that lie about the throne of grace. If any thing were required of us as a condition of our taking or receiving the blessings of the covenant, it would that moment cease to be a covenant of grace. But, say you, is not faith the condition of the covenant? Answer, I will be loath to condemn that way of speaking, because worthy men have used it, and do use it in a sound sense : But, firs, I would have you to remember that when it is called a condition, all that such worthy learned men mean by it, is only this, that you can have no saving benefit or advantage by Christ unless he be received ; you can have no benefit by God's covenant or promise, unless you believe the promise to be true, and believe it with application to your own souls. Faith is just such a condition as shews the inseparable connection between one thing and another: As if you should say to a beggar there is your alms on the condition that you take it; there is meat on the condition you eat it; there is a good bond for a sum of money, on condition that you trust him M m 3
· that granted it. Or, if I should say to one, thou
shalt have the benefit of the light of the sun, on condition thou open thine eyes to see it. Or the ground will bear you, on condition you lay your weight upon it: Now such a condition of the covenant of grace is faith; it is just a taking what is freely given without money and price : and let it be remembered that itself is one of the blessings proinised in this covenant. Now, I say, let the nature.of the throne, and the nature of the rainbow of the covenant en. courage and warrant you to come and trust in a God of grace. I make but a supposition, that a great and rich king should erect a throne in the open field, and emit a proclamation for all beggars, bankrupts, and people in want and straits to come to his throne, and they shall get whatever they needed: O what a gathering would there be! With what confidence would needy people flock thither, and ask what they wanted, especially if the king had sworn by his life that they should be served? Well, this is the very case: The throne of grace is a throne only for the needy, for rich folk are sent empty away, and the bow about the throne is just the faithfulness of God engaged in a free promise, that come to him who will, he will in no wise cast them out. O then take the advantage, and trust his promise, and you have the thing promised, for his promise is as good as payment.
6. Will you but take a view of the name of him that fits upon the throne within the rainbow, and let that encourage your faith, hope and expectation. O firs, they that know his name will put their trust in him ; his name that fits on the throne is a strong tower, to which the finner may flee, and to which