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s good pleasure to give you the kingdom;
ire is cae gift of God, in opposition to any merit ma -n. respect of his designation of him, who is jre. u K car Mediator, and purchaser of it; yet that na arc therefore obtain by his blood, for us 'eternal tilth, ix. 12. that he did not purchase us to Tit u. it or that the merit of Christ for us, and y dis grace « God unto us, are inconsistent, our catechist tfBsnt& aic oi prove. Of the reconciliation of God's pur^t sin jiwi pleasure, mentioned, Lukexii. 32. with the ^osKaui uni merit of the Mediator, I have spoken also at ^jgL Biiwrr
^ so briefly passed through this chapter, although i uai" « -in* of the most important heads of our religion, jjcv^g tae Iced assisting) I intend the full handling of jjg rxaxsK apposed in it, in a just treatise to that purpose.
nis of God: and of perfection of obedience, how attainable in this life.
"lyM^iftW 16th chapter in our catechist, is, of keeping st i^imn iarnt' and having an eye to the reward, ofper«**»« a *««** and godliness to be attained; and of de^p^^- tvaa n^hteousness and faith. What the man hath * •**»- t awse several heads, shall be considered in order, it- »ss ^(Msoou is,
v- A» the commandments possible to be kept? W Ifcss commandments are not grievous ; John v. 3. * v*» » <*sr, and my burden light; Matt. xi. 30.'
- we»a*e it is evident to every one, at the first view, g^ "set- ^ verv little relation between the question and » -*-»vc tfcereunto suggested. The inquiry is of our id poorer: the answer speaks to the nature of the God. It never came safe into the mind of the meaning of this question,'Are the comiible to be kepty is,«Is there an absolute imth« nature of the commands of God them
selves that they cannot be kept by any V Nor did ever any man say so, or can without the greatest blasphemy against God. But the question is, what power there is in man to keep those commandments of God; which certainly the texts insisted on by Mr. B. do not in the least give an answer unto.
2. He tells us not, in what state or condition he supposes that person to be, concerning whom the inquiry is made, whether he can possibly keep the commandments of God or no: whether he speaks of all men in general, or any man indefinitely, or restrainedly of believers. Nor,
3. Doth he inform us, what he intends by keeping the commands of God. Whether an exact, perfect, and every way complete keeping of them, up to the highest degree of all things, in all things, circumstances, and concernments of them: or whether the keeping of them in a universal sincerity, accepted before God, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, be intended. Nor,
4. What commandments they are, which he chiefly respects, and under what consideration: whether all the commands of the law of God as such; or whether the gospel commands of faith and love, which the places from whence he answers do respect. Nor,
5. What he means by the impossibility of keeping God's commands, which he intends to deny; that which is absolutely so from the nature of the thing itself, or that which is so only in some respect, with reference to some certain state and condition of man.
When we know in what sense the question is proposed, we shall be enabled to return an answer thereunto, which he that hath proposed it here, knew not how to do: in the meantime, to the thing itself intended, according to the light of the premised distinctions, we say that all the commandments of God, the whole law is excellent, precious, not grievous in itself, or its own nature, but admirably expressing the goodness, and kindness, and holiness of him that gave it, in relation to them to whom it was given, and can by no means be said, as from itself and upon its own account, to be impossible to be kept. Yet,
2. No unregenerate man can possibly keep, that is, hath in himself a power to keep any one of all the command
of God's commands. What is it now that Mr. B. opposes? Or what is that he asserts?
I suppose he declares his mind in his lesser catechism, chap. vii. Q. 1. where he proposes his question in the words of the ruler amongst the Jews; 'What good shall a man do that he may have eternal life?' An answer of it follows in that of our Saviour, Matt. xix. 17—19. 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
The intendment of this inquiry must be the'same with his that made it, as his argument in the whole is; or the answer of our Saviour, is no way suited thereunto. Now it is most evident, that the inquiry was made according to the principles of the Pharisees, who expected justification by the works of the law, according to the tenor of a covenant of works, to which presumption of theirs, our Saviour suits his answer: and seeing they sought to be justified, and saved, as it were, by the works of the law, to the law he sends them. This then being Mr. B.'s sense, wherein he affirms that it is possible to keep the commandments, so as for doing good, and keeping them, to enter into life, I shall only remit him, as our Saviour did the Pharisees to the law: but yet I shall withal pray, that our merciful Lord, would not leave him to the foolish choice of his own darkened heart, but in his due time, by the blood of the covenant, which yet he seems to despise, send him forth of the 'prison wherein is no water.'
'Q. 2. But though it be possible to keep the commandments, yet is it not enough, if we desire and endeavour to keep them; although we actually keep them not? And doth not God accept the will for the deed?
'A. 1 Cor. vii. 19. Matt. vii. 21. 24. 26. James i. M. Rom, ii. 10. John xiii. 17. Luke xi. 24. 2 Cor. v. 10. Matt. xvi. 27. Rev. xxii.21. Matt. xix. 18, 19. In all which places, there is mention of doing the will of God, of keeping the commandments of God.'
The aim of this question, is to take advantage at what hath been delivered by some, not as an ordinary rule for all men to walk by, but as an extraordinary relief for some in distress. When poor souls, bowed down under the sense of their own weakness and insufficiency for obedience, and the exceeding unsuitableness of their best performances to
; perfection of the law of God (things
.1-iMiTrt w> ^*s own P"110'?^8 t0 tne righteous-
amendments, yet is it lawful so to do that we
^djt » eternal life, and the heavenly inherit
* ^J^sk for honour, and glory, and immortality,
s it the tenor of the gospel that we should
~*_ectation 0f tne hope hereafter? and
, ai sotfer for the kingdom of God, and not
^i w mince that matter from the kingdom
-e the testimonies of Scripture to this