Saturday, May 24, 2008

Marks of heart-covenanters with God

John Willison

Examination. O communicants, try if ye be within this covenant; remember, if you be not you have no right to the seals of it; no right to sit down at the Lord’s table. "Let a man examine himself and so let him eat." And examine yourselves by these marks.
1. Know you any thing of a change of your state? Can you say, "Once I was a bond-slave to Satan, and an enemy to God: once I loved sin, and hated holiness: but now God hath opened my eyes, and humbled my heart for sin, and made me cast down the weapons of my rebellion at his feet: once I was at peace without Christ the Mediator; but now I see nothing but fire and wrath out of him: once I thought little of sin; but now I see it to be the most black and bloody thing in the world." Then this is a good sign.
2. If you be in covenant with God, you will certainly love God with your hearts, and love the Mediator, who brought you into the covenant. Can you say then with Peter, "Lord, thou that knowest all things, knowest that I love thee?" Lord, though I cannot hear, pray, praise, or communicate as I ought, yet thou knowest I love thee; yea, I love thee above all things. And though all the riches, honours, and pleasures of the world were in my offer or possession, and Christ would say, you must either part with these, or part with me; my heart would answer, Lord, abide thou with me, and let them all be gone.
3. Those that are in covenant with God, have certainly made choice of God, as their God and portion. Can you say you have done this, O doubting communicant? Though you cannot say that God hath chosen you, yet doth your heart truly choose him? And are you resolved never to be satisfied without him? And whatever offers be made to you, yet you will be put off with nothing besides God. Then this may give you comfort.
4. Can you say you have made a resignation of yourselves, and of all you have to God, and you resolve to renew it again this night in secret, and to-morrow before men and angels? Then it is a token for good. It may be, doubting soul, thou art afraid to say, Lord, thou art my God; but canst thou venture to say, "Lord, I am thine, I resolve to be thine, and thine only; I will not be mine own, I will not be the devil’s, I will not be the world’s, I will not be my lust’s; Lord, I am resolved to be no one’s but thine." Well, let this comfort you when other marks cannot. For if once you come the length to say, "Lord, I am thine," you may say in the next place, "Lord, thou art mine;" for the relation is always reciprocal: and this is the reasoning of the spouse, Cant. vi. 3, "I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine."
5. Are you mightily pleased with the contrivement and design of this covenant, which is to debase self; and exalt free grace? And would you desire heaven, though it were for no more than to stand eternal monuments of free grace, and join your note with the redeemed, eternally to cry, "Not unto us, not unto us, but to thee be the glory?"
And, Lastly, Are you inclined to perform covenanted-duties conscientiously, and that in a covenant-way, relying on covenant strength, and from a principle of love and gratitude to your covenanted God, and with an eye to glorify his name: then fear not to come forward to take the seal of the covenant, for you belong to it.