Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
~ Jeremiah 1:5
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
~ Romans 9:16
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
~ 1 Peter 1:2
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
~ Acts 13:48
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
~ Romans 8:29-30
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
~ 2 Peter 1:5
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2 Peter 3:17
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
~ Hebrews 6:11
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
~ 2 Timothy 2:19
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
~ Philippians 2:12-13
A Treatise of Effectual Calling and Election, by Christopher Love.
A treatise of effectual calling and election In XVI sermons, on 2 Peter 1.10. Wherein a Christian may discern, whether yet he be effectually called and elected. And what course he ought to take that he may attain the assurance thereof. Preached by that faithfull servant of Christ, Mr. Christopher Love, late minister of Laurence Jury, London. 1655.
2 Pet. 1.10.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
THE Doctrine I am yet upon, is this, That Christians ought to put forth a great deal of diligence to make this sure to their soules, that they are effectually called by Jesus Christ. In the prosecution of which I have gone over many particulars, and answered some doubts, in reference to godly men who are effectually called. As first, in regard of some seeming defects they apprehend to be in the manner of their calling. Secondly, in the means of their calling. And thirdly, (which I am yet upon,) of some defects they apprehend about the concomitants that accompany those that are effectually called, of which I have spoken onely of one in particular, to wit, that they cannot call upon God in prayer; I now passe to the second.
Secondly, They apprehend that those that are effectually called, they have this to accompany their calling, that they are brought out of a state of ignorance into a state of knowledge, out of a state of darknesse into a state of light; hence they will urge this against themselves, 1 Pet. 2.9. Ye are to shew forth the praises of him, who hath call’d you out of darknesse into his marvellous light. And Acts 26.18. He sent forth his Word to call them from darkness to light, and from the Power of Satan unto God. Now saith the poor soul, Alas, I do not finde this concomitant to be in my heart, I do not finde this marvellous light the Scripture here speaks of, 2 Cor. 4.6. Alas, my heart is like a dungeon of darknesse, and like a house that hath no inlets, no windows to let in the Sun-shine of the Gospel upon it: and many times this gravelleth many a godly minde. Now to those that make this doubt, I shall onely speak two or three things to take it off.
First, to you that make this complaint, I would say this: that those that know most, they know but little in the mysteries of Jesus Christ; as you are not perfect in other graces, so you are not here perfect in knowledge; You know but in part. 1 Cor. 13.9. therefore you have no need to be discouraged at this.
Secondly, and more particularly, you that complain of ignorance; though you are ignorant, and cannot finde that marvellous light shine in your souls, which you exspect, yet if your ignorance have not these three ill qualities, you may rest confident your ignorance will never prove a damning sin unto you, but it may be consistent with your effectual calling; As
First, If your ignorance be not a stubborn and wilful ignorance. Secondly, If it be not a sottish and brutish ignorance. And thirdly, If it be not a fundamental ignorance.
First, If it be not a stubborn and wilful ignorance. Though you are ignorant, yet if you are willing to learn, and know the waies of God revealed in his Word, such an ignorance will never damn you: But when ignorance comes to be wilful, that a man doth not know, and he will not learn; a man is an ignorant man yet he thinks he knows more then all the Preachers can tell him; this is a sad sign you are not effectually called Hence you read, Prov. 1.22. How long, ye simple ones, will you love simplicity, &c? Godly people may be in a state of ignorancee but they love it not; therefore, 2 Pet. 3.5. the Scripture tells, us of wicked men, that they are wilfully ignorant. So that if your ignorance have not this bad quality in it, to be a stubborn and wilful ignorance, it may stand with your effectual calling.
Secondly, Provided that your ignorance be not a sottish and brutish ignorance; that is, that you do not so lie clouded in a state of darknesse, that you are uncapable to discerne the goodnesse of the Word, and uncapable to apprehend any thing that is taught you; that you are not like those, Jer. 4.22. My people have no understanding, they are a sottish people, wise to do evil, but to do good they have no understanding. Many men are ignorant men, yet not so sottishly ignorant, as not to be capable of learning; if you will teach him, he is willing to be instructed; but some men are so ignorant, they are not capable of learning; you may as well teach a block as them. Hence it is the Prophet complains Esa. 1.4. The Oxe knows his owne, and the Asse his Masters Crib, but Israel knows not the Lord his God.
Thirdly, In case your ignorance be not a fundamental ignorance, I mean such an ignorance, as not to know those necessary and fundamental points in the Word, that must be known, if ever you be saved; as about Jesus Christ and salvation, and justification by his blood, and faith in his Nave, &c. though you may be ignorant about circumstantials, yet if it be not in fundamentals your ignorance may be consistent with effectual calling. But now
Thirdly, If a godly man be satisfied in these two points, and thinks happily I may have the first concomitant to call upon God, and so evidence my effectual call; and then happily the second may not be wanting in me, that I do not lie under the state of a wilful sottish & fundamental ignorance. But alas saith he, I want a third concomitant that accompanies effectually calling, and that is; I finde in the Word, that they that are effectually called, they are brought into an Obediential frame of heart to all the wayes of God, that what ever God commands them to do, their hearts can readily obey, and this I finde, Rom. 1.5.6. God hath called them by his grace unto the obedience of faith. Now alas, saith a poore soul I finde a defect in this concomitant likewise, I cannot discern that I am called to an obedience flowing from faith as its principle, I cannot finde this frame of heart to be in me, and therefore I doubt of my effectual calling. This I shall labour to take off likewise.
First, When I say that obedience is a concomitant that will accompany one effectually called, I do not say nor intend it of obedience in the actings of it, but of obediential frame of spirit in the purposes of it. Many men may be effectually called, when they may not alwayes live in the acting of obedience to Christ, but every man effectually called hath an obedient frame of heart; that is, he hath purposes & intentions and resolutions to obey God, though he cannot act what he would do; he hath obedience in the habit, and obedience in his purposes and resolutions always attending him.
Secondly, you find in Scripture, that the strongest and ablest Christians who have done most for God, have sometimes been very defective in the Actings of obedience, that they could not do what they would do for God. And therfore Paul complaines, Rom. 7. The good that we would do, we cannot do. Paul himself that was a pillar in God’s house, yet he tels you, he could not go out in those Actings of obedience which in his heart he would do; & therefore if you would willingly do more then you do, God accepts of the little you do.
Thirdly, Though you can not put forth many Actings of obedience to God; where there is readinesse of mind and heart, God accepts the purposes of the mind for the Action it self, 2. Cor. 8.12. Where there is a willing mind; it is accepted of God, as if the deed were done. And thus much be spoken to the second case of conscience, why men effectually called do so much doubt of their own call.
Thirdly, seeing Christians must put forth diligence in making their calling sure; therefore now whereabouts must this diligence of ours be conversant? or in what Channel must our diligence run, that we might be sure of our effectual calling? This is a very material question; and in resolving of it▪ I shall answer it in these two generals.
First, if you would get assurance of your effectual calling, you must put forth diligence to remove those things that will hinder you in making sure your calling. And
Secondly, use diligence to set upon the practice of those duties that may further you in making this sure, that you are effectually called.
First, You must remove those things which do much hinder you from being assured, and those hinderance that are to be removed I shall comprize under six heads; As
First, you must use diligence to remove Melancholy from your Thoughts; This is a natural hinderance of assurance: Melancholy is a temper in man arising from a black blood running about the body, that doth naturaly occasion distrust and fear in mens mindes; this temper being in the body, doth work much upon the disposition of the soul. Now if your temper Melancholy, and so dispose you to distrust and fear, this will be a great stop to your having of the joyes and comforts of the Lord in your hearts, in assurance of his love. It is a note Perkins hath upon Nebuchadnezzar, when he ate grasse like a beast; he writing upon that place thinks, that Nebuchadnezzar was in a deep Melancholy, and that did so possesse him, that he could not tell whether he was a man or a beast, though saith he, he did not eat grasse, but his deep perplexity seazing upon him did make him think that he was from a man turned into a Beast. Beloved, Melancholy in a Christian, it will make him think himself an Hypocrite, when he is a Saint; and therefore take heed of a Melancholy, lumpish and sad temper; it is a very great hinderance to this grace of assurance. This I lay down only as a Natural remedy.
Secondly, A mind filled with worldly cares, and running into incumbring imployments in the world, this is a great hindrance of assurance. The cares of this life, Mat. 13.15. are compared to thorns: Now thornes they choake the seed, by drawing the juyce that is in the seed to themselves, and so the Corn doth not grow, where thorns spring. The cares of this life they are like thorns in this, they are of an attractive power to suck and draw the juyce of your spirits and comforts to themselves, so that you cannot have the juyce of your spirits in gathering your evidences for heaven; the more incumbred you are in the world, the lesse clear you will be touching the evidence of your everlasting condition; The cares of this life, they peirce the soul through with many sorrowes. Now when a man is pierced through with many sorrows, he is in a very unfit temper to be raised up in spiritual joy; the more you incumber your selves in the employments of this world, the lesse you will be in the comforts of heaven. I remember it was the speech of a Pope when he lay a dying, When I was a painful preaching Minister, then I had hopes of my salvation; when I came to be a Cardinal, I doubted of it: but when I came to be a Pope, I despaired of it; I was so entangled in the Affairs of this life: Beloved, so I may say to you, When you were but ordinarie Christians in the world, you were in a way to get assurance of your salvation, but since you have been taken up with the affairs of the world, it doth so distract your minde, that you may be in no composed temper to have any setlednesse of heart about your everlasting estate. It is the observation of Philosophers, that the Sun is eclipsed by the interposition of the Moon, the Moon coming between the Sun and our sight: Beloved, the Sun of your comforts comes to be eclipsed by the Moon, (which is made an Emblem of the world, Rev. 12.9.) Now if the Moon of the world comes between your comforts and you, it will miserably darken and eclipse your comforts to you. Nothing in the world doth so much impede your comfort in assurance, as incumbring and carking cares about the things of this world.
Thirdly, Take heed you do not harbour the guilt of any one known sin upon your conscience. Keeping of sin upon the conscience, is a great impediment to your inward comforts. You will never be assured while you do thus; and therefore if ever you would have assurance, remove this. It is an observation of Mr. Hildersham upon Psal. 51.12, 14. What doth David do, when he prayes for assurance? saying, Restore to me the joyes of thy salvation, establish me with thy free Spirit; Restore my comforts, and my evidences to me. And what course doth he take? Read verse 14. Deliver me from blood-guiltinesse, O Lord: As much as if he should say, All the while that sin lay upon conscience unrepented of, (as it did for nine monthes together) all that while David lost the joyes of the Spirit, and lost the comforts of Heaven; And therefore when he comes to renew his comforts, and restore his assurance, he doth with begging of God for assurance, beg of God also to deliver him from blood-guiltinesse; as knowing, that if this sin should be upon conscience unrepented of, and unpardoned, he should never have the joyes of God’s Spirit restored. Beloved, you will never have assurance of your effectual calling, till your consciences are freed from having sin upon them with approbation. It is an observation that Aristotle hath about earth-quakes, that they are occasioned by winde got into the Caverns and hollow places of the earth; which having no place for vent again, it makes rupturs, and overturns houses and mountains and all before it: Sin upon the conscience unrepented of, is like winde in the earth, it will make a heart quake there, that there shall not be that calmness, and quietnesse, and setlednesse of minde which there would be, were sin away. Hence we read, Isa. 33.14, The sinners in Sion are afraid, and fearfullness hath surprised the Hypocrite. The sinners are afraid; those who had guilt upon them, their sins bred terrour and fear; and hypocrites that are conscious to themselves of their own guilt, fearfulnesse surprizeth them, but the upright and sincere in heart were not so; To note that this is a great enemy to inward peace, and to assurance about your everlasting estate, if so be you harbour sin upon the conscience unrepented of. And it is just with God it should be so; because if you keep sin in your hearts, that will be ever jarring with Heaven, it is just with God to be at oddes with you.
Fourthly, Avoid the easting of your eye, in a way of dejection, upon others, who are more eminent in grace then you, and have got a precedency of you in the wayes of godlinesse. ‘Tis true indeed, a man that is given to spiritual pride, and self-conceitednesse touching his own goodnesse, it is fit that he should look upon those that have a precedency before him in grace, the more to humble him: But for a man that lies under trouble of minde, and doubtings touching his everlasting estate, that man should not look upon others more eminent then he in grace, because it will rather increase discomforts, then any way work assurance in you. If you look up-the glittering beames of the Sun shinning in its full strength, the more you look upon that orient and resplendent body, the more it will dazle your eyes, that you can behold but dimly things upon the earth: It is so with Christians; some Christians they shine like so many Suns in the firmament, their graces do so shine and sparkle, that if you look upon them, they will even dazle your eyes, and make you blinde, that you cannot see those small scantlings and sparks of grace that are in your own hearts. In case therefore you would get assurance, avoid the casting of your eye too much upon those that have a precedency in grace before you.
Fifthly, Take heed you make not sense and feeling the Touchstone to try your effectual calling by; sense and feeling will deceive you in the matters of your calling. I may allude to a passage in the book of Genesis: you know old Isaac was dimmesighted, and by reason of his old age, he ran into a…by feeling; He had Jacob by the hand, and by feeling thought it had been Esau. Beloved, many of us are dimmesighted in our comforts, and in our graces, and if we trust to feeling, we may be deceived as Isaac was. You may think when you have Jacob by the hand, I mean grace in the heart, that it is but an Esau, it is but a reprobate. Therefore take heed of making sense and feeling the Touchstone to try your calling by. A childe is born, yet knows not that it is born; lives yet knowes not that it lives; but those about it do: so a Christian may be born again, live the life of grace, and yet not be sensible of it.
Sixtly, Give diligence to remove this hinderance, to wit, Pride in your guifts, and dependance upon you graces. Pride and dependance, they are not onely murderers of comforts, but they murder our graces also; and if God sees you swell with pride, because you abound in grace, he will soon prick that swelling bladder. It is the observation of a Modern Divine, that exaltings of spirit after assurance attained, it will inevitably expose a Christian, either to great discomforts, or to great sins. Hence the Scripture makes mention, that pride of your gifts is not onely an enemy to the comfort, but an enemy to grace; not onely an enemy to the comforts from grace, but to the very having of grace. Hab. 2.4. If a mans heart be exalted, his spirit is not upright within him. James 4.6. God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. So that pride is not onely an enemy to your comforts, but to the very getting of grace likewise; when the branches of a Vine grow luxuriant, they shall have the pruning hook. And thus you have the first sort of helps laid down to you; In case you would get assurance, you must use diligence to avoid those things that may be a hinderance to you in getting assurance of your call.
Secondly, A second sort of helps in case you would get assurance, is to use diligence in the practice of those things that may be helps and furtherances to the obtaining of assurance about your effectual calling. And here I shall name onely six or seven particulars.
First Exalt arguments of faith against present feelings, If so be that you will once enter the lists to dispute with the devil, he will out-cavill you, and Non-plus you. The devil is a cunning Logician, and it is not safe, saith Dr. Preston, to argue with the devil; the devil will out-dispute, and out-argue you. It is a Christians work to exalt arguments of Faith against present feelings. In case you would get assurance, you are to do as Abraham the father of the faithful did, when he was to believe a thing that sense and reason would tell him should never come to passe; It is said of Abraham, Rom. 4.18, 19. That in hope he believed against hope. He would exalt faith against sense. And how was it? God promised Abraham a childe; reason and sense would have told Abraham, Abraham, thou art a hundred years old, thy wife ninety nine, her womb is barren, and it is not likely you should have children; but Abraham would not argue thus, but would exalt arguments of faith, and apply God’s Promises, and God’s Word, exalting these; Abraham did believe in hope against hope. Beloved, so must you: though you say you have barren womb, Grace is not likely to grow in you, and though you are old, and decrepit, and feeble Christians, yet advance arguments of faith from God’s love, and from God’s power, and from God’s Providence, and God’s Promises, and that’s the way to get your comforts clear and full. I may apply what Fox in his Acts and Monuments reports of a good woman, that was called before Bonner, and the rest in Queen Maries Reign that sate in Judgement about her Religion; they see her, though a poor and silly woman, yet keep firm to her principles, and would not deny her Religion. At length Bonner sent some learned Doctors to dispute with her, and argue the case about some points she held; they coming to see her she puts them off with this saying, Well, you are Scholars, and you come to dispute; I must needs tell you, I cannot dispute, but I can burn for my Religion. Beloved I would have you answer the devil thus. If he comes to outwit and cavill with you about your comforts, say you cannot dispute, but you can believe; you can lay your help on Jesus Christ, upon one that is mighty, and exalt arguments of faith, and this will much strengthen your comforts. Luke 8.42. There came a ruler to Jesus Christ, and besought him for his daughter that lay a dying: And while he was telling Christ this, there came another messenger after, him, Thy daughter is dead, trouble the man no farther: What saith Christ, hearing this? Fear not, onely believe. As if he should say, sense and reason would have told him it were a needlesse thing to beg of Christ for his daughter when she was dead; but saith Christ, Doe not stoop to sense and reason, Fear not, onely beleeve, and the work shall be done: So I say to you, Consult not with flesh and blood, but exalt arguments of faith against present feelings; and this is the way to get assurance of your comforts.
Secondly, Keep conscience clear, that no sin be harboured there, and you are in the way to get your comforts full. God, saith David, will speak peace to his people, but they must not returne unto folly. As if he should say, though God doth speak peace, and assure you of your pardon and salvation; yet if you return to sin, God can tell how to break your peace, and turn his smiles into frowns and angry looks. Take heed of sin, and keep your conscience clear, and thats the way to have peace setled in thine heart. Job 11.14, 15. If iniquity be in thy hand, put it far away, and let not wickednesse dwell in thy Tabernacle. What follows? and then shalt thou lift up thy face before God without spot, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear. A strange expression, That if you will keep sin far away, then you shall be stedfast before God, and not fear; that is, you shall not be exposed to those fears and doubts and anxieties which other men are exposed to. Heb. 10.22. Let us draw neer to God with an upright heart, in full assurance of faith. Now what shall a man doe to come to God in full assurance? Mark the next words, Draw nigh to God in full assurance of faith, having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Here is the way, if you are sprinkled from an evil conscience, you may be bold to come to God in full assurance. Whereas, alas, if thy conscience tell thee thou art a Whoremaster, and thou art a deceiver, and a liar, and loose liver, thou canst not come with full assurance; thou mayest come in presumption indeed, but not with the assurance of faith: and therfore keep a conscience clear from harbouring guilt upon it, and that’s the way to have the heart full of joy.
Thirdly, Be diligent in keeping company with the most godly experienced Christians where you live, this is a very special way to encrease your comforts. Ye read an excellent passage, 2 Cor. 1.4. We are comforted of God, saith the Apostle, that we might comfort others with the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God. Godly Christians they will comfort you with the same comforts wherewith they themselves are comforted. If we are comforted, it is for your consolation. Godly men, if they have any inward comfort from God, they will impart their experiences to you, and tell you as David did, Psal. 66.16. What God hath done for their soul. There is no way better then this, to keep in communion with godly and knowing Christians. Mr. Bradford that famous Martyr, who was in prison about his profession of Christ, the story saith, he lay a long time under trouble of minde, and horrour of conscience, that he could not finde a real and clear evidence of his effectual calling: there came many men to him, and could not settle him. Yet a poor Weaver, an ancient and experienced Christian, that did usually accompany Mr. Bradford in prison, by his frequent communion with this poor man, he got more inward comfort then ever he got all his life before. Beloved, this I speak to you to make you the more to study the the worth of godly society, and the more you are conversant with Christians that live in the enjoyment of the light of God’s countenance, and in the assurance of his favour all the day long, the more you are in the ready way to encrease your comforts and assurance.
Fourthly, Submit thy selfe to the approbation of others, and be willing to have them passe a verdict upon thee. When thou art asleep or in a swoun, then thou canst not tell thy self what thou dost, but others must tell thee; So it may fall out with the godly; they may be in such a spiritual swoun, that they are not fit judges of their own condition; in this case submit to the judgment of others, they may see grace in thee, when thou thy self canst not see it; so Mr. Throgmorton was comforted by the testimony of a company of godly Ministers.
Fifthly, live in the dayly improvement of grace, and that’s the way to get assurance. And this meanes the Holy Ghost layes down in the Chapter out of which my Text is taken, Adde grace to grace. And I remember that Beza upon this Text doth write, that in the Greek Translations these words are put in, Give diligence by good works to make your calling sure: whether it be so or no, I cannot affirm, but this I am sure of, and the context will clearly prove it, that the way to make your calling sure, is to adde grace to grace. For after the Apostle had spoken of adding grace to grace, he comes in with this, Give diligence to make your calling sure: Implying, that the more you live in the actings of grace, the more you shall live in the enjoyment of comforts. Isa. 32.17. The works of righteousness shall be peace. Not the habit, but the work; if you act righteousnesse, and live in the workings and thrivings in grace, this shall be peace, and the effect of it quietnesse and assurance for ever. So John 16.24. The more you pray, the more you encrease your joy. So that the more you live in the improvement of grace, the more likely way you are in to get assurance.
Sixthly, If you would get assurance, spend more time in strengthening your evidences for heaven, then in questioning of them. It is the great fault of many Christians, they will spend much time in questioning and not in strengthening their comforts. They will reason themselves into unbeliefe, and say, Lord, why should I beleeve? why should I take hold of a promise, that am so unholy and so unmortified a creature? And so by this they reason themselves to such a passe, that they dare not lay hold upon Christ; whereas it should be your work to reason your selves into Christ as much as you can. Labour to strengthen your comforts, and reason thus, Why should I not beleeve in Christ? Thus David did, Psal. 42. Why art thou troubled O my soule, and why art thou cast down within me? Is not the mercy of God more then sin in the creature? Is not there free grace where there is guilt? Are not there pardoning mercies, where condemnation is deserved? you should reason up your comforts, rather then reason them down, and spend more time in strengthening, then in questioning of them. You would count him a very unwise man, that hath a Leafe of much land, and he himselfe shall create scruples and doubts, and shall use no meanes to make his Title good: And truly many Christians are as unwise for heaven; they have, as I may say, good bond and seal that God will bring them to heaven, and yet they will question, and cavil themselves into unbeliefe. Beloved, this should not be, but you ought rather to strengthen your comforts, then question them.
Seventhly, Be diligent in the earnest study of the Covenant of grace: Beloved, all a Christians doubts arise from ignorance of the Covenant of grace. And here that I may speak a little to it, I beseech you follow me, study the Covenant of grace; which if you do, you shall discern five particular props in it to bear up your hearts against discomforts, and to strengthen you in a way of assurance touching your effectuall call.
First, the Covenant of works it commands perfect obedience upon pain of damnation; but the Covenant of grace doth command and accept of imperfect obedience, if it be sincere: there’s your first prop.
Secondly, the Covenant of works is not contented with good desires, unlesse there be good works; the Covenant of grace áccepts the good will and good desires; when the deed is wanting, and is content with the will for the deed.
Thirdly, the Covenant of works doth require that you should obey the will of God perfectly in your own person; the Covenant of grace requires onely that you obey in the person of Christ; so Christ obeys for you, it is accepted, though you do not.
Fourthly, the Covenant of works requires you to obey the whole will of God by your own strength; the Covenant of grace accepts of it, though not our own strength, but the strength of Christ be put forth in doing any spiritual action.
Fifthly, the Covenant of works requires the performance of the condition, before it gives the Promise; As, Do this and live; you cannot live, saith the covenant of works, without you doe this: but the covenant of grace, it first tenders the Promise, and then requires the condition: Bids you first take Christ, and first believe, and then shew forth the effects of faith. First, lay hold upon the promise, and then hold forth and practice the condition of that Promise. First believe, and then take Christ, though thou art unworthy, and a wretched creature, if after taking of him thou wilt be consciencious to practice those obligations that lies upon thee, and I will accept thee. Now would you lay these to your heart, to study that vast difference between the Covenant of works, and the Covenant of grace, doubtlesse these would be great props for your inward comforts.