by David Dickson
"Many are called." Matt. 22.14
3a) The outward means and ordinances, for making men partakers of the covenant of grace, are so wisely dispensed, as that the elect shall be infallibly converted and saved by them; and the reprobate, among whom they are, not to be justly damned: The means are especially these four:
3a1) The word of God 3a2) The ordinances 3a3) Church 3a4) Prayer
In the word of God preached by sent messengers, the Lord makes offer of grace to all sinners, upon condition of faith in Jesus Christ; and whoever does confess their sin, accept Christ's offering, and submit themselves to his ordinances, he will have them received into the honour and privileges of the covenant of grace. By the ordinances, God will have the covenant sealed for confirming the bargain on the foresaid condition. By the Church, he will have them hedged in, and helped forward to the keeping of the covenant. And by prayer, he will have his own glorious grace, promised in the covenant, to be daily drawn forth, acknowledged, and employed. All these means are followed either really, or in profession only, according to the quality of the covenanters, as they are true or counterfeit believers.
3b) The covenant of grace, set down in the Old Testament before Christ came, and in the New since he came, is one and the same in substance, albeit different in outward administration: For the covenant in the Old Testament, being sealed with the ordinances of circumcision and the paschal lamb, did set forth Christ's death to come, and the benefits purchased by it, under the shadow of bloody sacrifices, and various ceremonies: but since Christ came, the covenant being sealed by the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper, does clearly hold forth Christ already crucified before our eyes, victorious over death and the grave, and gloriously ruling heaven and earth, for the good of his own people. 4. The blessings which are effectually conveyed by these means to the Lord's elect, or chosen ones.
"Many are called, but few are chosen." Matt 12.14.
4a) By those outward ordinances, as our Lord makes the reprobate inexcusable, so, by the power of his Spirit, he applies to the elect, effectually, all saving graces purchased to them in the covenant of redemption, and makes a change in their persons. In particular,
4a1) He does convert or regenerate them, by giving spiritual life to them, in opening their understandings, renewing their wills, affections, and faculties, for giving spiritual obedience to his commands.
4a2) He gives them saving faith, by making them, in the sense of deserved condemnation, to give their consent heartily to the covenant of grace, and to embrace Jesus Christ unfeignedly.
4a3) He gives them repentance, by making them, with godly sorrow, in the hatred of sin, and love of righteousness, turn from all iniquity to the service of God.
4a4) He sanctifies them, by making them go on and persevere in faith and spiritual obedience to the law of God, manifested by fruitfulness in all duties, and doing good works, as God offers occasion.
4b) Together with this inward change of their persons, God changes also their state: for, so soon as they are brought by faith into the covenant of grace,
4b1) He justifies them, by imputing to them that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the law, and the satisfaction also which upon the cross Christ gave to justice in their name.
4b2) He reconciles them, and makes them friends to God, who were before enemies of God.
4b3) He adopts them, that they shall be no more children of Satan, but children of God, enriched with all spiritual privileges of his sons.
4b4) And, last of all, after their warfare in this life is ended, he perfects the holiness and blessedness, first of their souls at their death, and then both of their souls and their bodies, being joyfully joined together again in the resurrection, at the day of his glorious coming to judgment, when all the wicked shall be sent away to hell, with Satan whom they have served: but Christ's own chosen and redeemed ones, true believers, students of holiness, shall remain with himself for ever, in the state of glorification.