(Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest. part 9)

   2. When people are in hazard, and difficulties are present or 
foreseen, then it were good that they should send out their hearts after 
Him, and express their adherence unto Him for securing their own hearts. 
We find Joshua doing so, when He was to settle in the land of Canaan, in 
the midst of snares:--'Now therefore, fear the Lord, and serve Him in 
sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served 
on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And 
if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you 
will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the 
other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye 
dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people 
answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord to serve 
other gods; for the Lord our God, He it is that brought us up and our 
fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which 
did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way 
wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed; and the 
Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which 
dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our 
God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is 
an holy God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sin. If ye 
forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you 
hurt, and consume you, after that He has done you good. And the people 
said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto 
the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves, that ye have chosen you 
the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now, therefore 
put away (said he) the strange gods which are among you, and incline your 
heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, the 
Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey. So Joshua made a 
covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an 
ordinance in Shechem.' (Josh. 24.) So did David in his straits--'In the 
shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be 
overpast.' (Psa. 57: 1.) 
   3. When men apprehend God to be at a distance from them, and their 
soul to be under withering and decay, then it is safest heartily to close 
with Christ, and embrace Him by faith for the securing of the soul; and 
it were good to put it out of question by the expression of the thing. 
This is the ready way to draw sap from Christ the root, for recovering of 
the soul, and for establishing the heart before Him. The spouse, in the 
Song of Solomon, does so; thus asserting her interest in Him when in such 
a condition, professing and avowing Him to be her beloved. (Cant. 5.) 
   4. At the celebration of the Lord's Supper, men should thus cordially 
close with God in Christ, and speak and express so much; for 'that is a 
feast of love; and then and there we come under a solemn professing of 
closing with God in Christ personally and openly, and to receive the seal 
of it. It is, therefore, especially proper, at that time, to bring up 
both heart and tongue to second and answer our profession, apprehending 
God to be his, and at his disposal. 
   We shall not confine the Lord's people to times and seasons for this 
duty; the Lord may bind it upon them at His pleasure; only there is 
hazard, that by too frequent express covenanting with God, men turn too 
formal in it. Therefore, it is not so fit that people should ordinarily 
at full length renew that explicit transaction with God, but rather to 
declare unto God that they adhere unto the covenant made with Him, and 
that they do maintain and will never revoke nor recall the same; and 
withal, they may hint the sum of it, in laying claim unto God in Christ 
as their own God; and this they may do often, even in all their addresses 
to God. And probably this is the thing designed by the saints in their so 
ordinary practice in Scripture, whilst they assert their interest in God 
as their God and portion; and it is fit that men, in all their walk, hold 
their heart to the business, by heart-cleaving to God in Christ--'The 
life we live in the flesh should be by faith in the Son of God.' (Gal. 2: 
II.--The preparation needed 
As to the second thing, namely, what preparation is required of him who 
is expressly to transact with God here. Besides what we mentioned before, 
as previous to a man's closing with Christ Jesus, we only add, 1. That he 
who would explicitly bargain with God, must know, that to do so is 
warranted, and allowed by God, as we showed before. If this be wanting, a 
man cannot do it in faith, and so it will be sin unto him--'Whatsoever is 
not of faith is sin.' (Rom. 14: 23.) 2. Then man must labour to bring up 
his heart to the thing, that it do not belie the tongue; it will be a 
great mocking of God, so to 'draw near to Him with the lips, whilst the 
heart is far from Him.' (Isa. 29: 13.) 
III.--How the duty of covenanting is to be performed 
The third thing to be considered in this express verbal covenanting with 
God is, the way how it is to be performed and managed. And besides what 
was said before in heartclosing with Christ, I add here,-- 
   1. The man should do it confidently; not only believing that he is 
about his duty when he does it; but also, that God in Christ Jesus will 
accept his poor imperfect way of doing his duty: He does 'accept a man 
according to what he has, if there be a willing mind.' (2 Cor. 8: 12.) A 
mite is accepted, since it is 'all the poor woman's substance.' (Mark 12: 
44.) Yea, if it can be attained, the man should believe that the issue 
and consequence of this transacting shall prove comfortable, and all 
shall be well; and that God, who engageth for all in the covenant (since 
He has determined the man to this happy choice), will in some measure 
make him forthcoming, and will perfect what concerns him--'Faithful is He 
that calleth you, who also will do it.' (1 Thess. 5: 24.) If this 
confidence be wanting, the matter will be done with much fear and 
jealousy, if not worse: and will still prove a disquieting business to 
the man. 
   2. It should be done holily. It is called 'the holy covenant' (Luke 1: 
72); 'the sure mercies (or holy things) of David.' (Acts 13: 34.) Here it 
were fitting that what is done in this express transacting with God 
should not be done cursorily and by the bye, but in some special address 
unto God; the thing should be spoken unto the Lord--'I cried unto Thee, O 
Lord; I said; thou art my refuge and my portion.' (Psa. 142: 5.) It is 
proper, in so great a business, that a portion of time were set apart for 
confession and supplication before God; yea, also, the person so 
transacting with God should labour to have high apprehensions of God's 
greatness and sovereignty--'Thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none 
like unto Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee.' (2 Sam. 7: 22.) 
Although He thus humble himself to behold things in heaven and earth; and 
these high and holy thoughts of Him will and should be attended with 
debasing and humbling thoughts of self, although admitted to this high 
dignity--'Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord: and he said, 
Who am I, O Lord God; and what is my house that Thou hast brought me 
hitherto?' (2 Sam. 7: 18.) It is no small thing to be allied unto, and 
with, the great God of heaven and His Son Christ; as David speaketh, when 
King Saul did offer his daughter to him. (2 Sam. 18: 22.) Yea, further, 
there should be special guarding and watching that the heart keep 
spiritual in transacting with God. There is great reason for this holy 
way of performing the duty, for men are ready to mistake themselves, and 
to think of the Lord according to their own fancy, and to turn carnal in 
the business, since it is a marriage transaction held out in all the 
ordinal expressions of love, as in the Song of Solomon. (Isa. 62: 5; 
Zeph. 3: 17.) 
IV.--What should follow this solemn act 
   The fourth thing we shall speak a word unto is, What should follow 
upon this express verbal covenanting with God. I say, besides that union 
and communion with God in Christ, following upon believing, if a man 
explicitly by word transact with God-- 
   1. He should thenceforth be singularly careful to abide close with 
God, in all manner of conversation; for, if a man thenceforth do anything 
unsuitable, he does falsify his word before God, which will stick much in 
his conscience, and prove a snare. If a man henceforth forsake God, and 
take on him to dispose of himself, since he is not his own, and has 
opened his mouth unto the Lord, he makes inquiry after vows, and 
devoureth that which is holy. (Prov. 20: 25.) 
   2. He who so transacteth with God should hold steadfast that 
determination and conclusion. It is a shame for a man whose heart has 
closed with God, and whose mouth has ratified and confirmed it solemnly 
before Him, to contradict himself again, and to admit anything to the 
contrary; he ought boldly to maintain the thing against every enemy. 
   Then, let me entreat you, who desire to be established in the matter 
of your interest in God, that, with all convenience, you set apart a 
portion of time for prayer before God, and labouring to work up your 
heart to seriousness, affection, and the faith of the duty to make a 
covenant, and to transact with God by express word, after this manner:-- 
   'O Lord, I am a lost and fallen creature by nature, and by innumerable 
actual transgressions, which I do confess particularly before Thee this 
day: and although, being born within the visible church, I was from the 
womb in covenant with Thee, and had the same sealed to me in baptism; 
yet, for a long time, I have lived without God in the world, senseless 
and ignorant of my obligation by virtue of that covenant. Thou hast at 
length discovered to me, and impressed upon my heart, my miserable state 
in myself, and hast made manifest unto my heart the satisfying remedy. 
Thou hast provided by Christ Jesus, offering the same freely unto me, 
upon condition that I would accept of the same, and would close with Thee 
as my God in Christ, warranting and commanding me, upon my utmost peril, 
to accept of this offer, and to flee unto Christ Jesus; yea, to my 
apprehension, now Thou hast sovereignly determined my heart, and formed 
it for Christ Jesus, leading it out after Him in the offers of the 
gospel, causing me to approach unto the living God, to close so with Him 
and to acquiesce in His offer, without any known guile. And that I may 
come up to that establishment of spirit in this matter, which should be 
to my comfort, and the praise of Thy glorious grace; therefore, I am here 
this day to put that matter out of question by express words before Thee, 
according to Thy will. And now I, unworthy as I am, do declare, that I 
believe that Christ Jesus, who was slain at Jerusalem, was the Son of 
God, and the Saviour of the world. I do believe that record, that there 
is life eternal for men in Him, and in Him only. I do this day in my 
heart approve and acquiesce in that device of saving sinners by Him, and 
do intrust my soul unto Him. I do accept of reconciliation with God 
through Him, and do close with Thee as my God in Him. I choose Him in all 
that He is, and all that may follow Him, and do resign up myself, and 
what I am, or have, unto Thee; desiring to be divorced from everything 
hateful unto Thee, and that without exception, or reservation, or 
anything inconsistent within my knowledge, or any intended reversion. 
Here I give the hand to Thee, and do take all things about me witnesses, 
that I, whatever I be, or have hitherto been, do accept of God's offer of 
peace through Christ; and do make a sure covenant with Thee this day, 
never to be reversed, hoping that Thou wilt make all things forthcoming, 
both on Thy part and mine, seriously begging, as I desire to be saved, 
that my corruptions may be subdued, and my neck brought under Thy sweet 
yoke in all things, and my heart made cheerfully to acquiesce in 
whatsoever Thou dost unto me, or with me, in order to these ends. Now, 
glory be unto Thee, O Father, who devised such a salvation, and gave the 
Son to accomplish it: Glory be to Christ Jesus, who, at so dear a rate, 
did purchase the outletting of that love from the Father's bosom, and 
through whom alone this access is granted, and in whom I am reconciled 
unto God, and honorably united unto Him, and am no more an enemy or 
stranger: Glory to the Holy Ghost, who did alarm me when I was destroying 
myself, and who did not only convince me of my danger, but did also open 
my eyes to behold the remedy provided in Christ; yea, and did persuade 
and determine my wicked heart to fall in love with Christ, as the 
enriching treasure; and this day does teach me how to covenant with God, 
and how to appropriate to myself all the sure mercies of David, and 
blessings of Abraham, and to secure to myself the favour and friendship 
of God for ever. Now, with my soul, heart, head, and whole man, as I can, 
I do acquiesce in my choice this day, henceforth resolving not to be my 
own, but Thine; and that the care of whatsoever concerns me shall be on 
Thee, as my Head and Lord, protesting humbly, that failings on my part 
(against which I resolve, Thou knowest) shall not make void this 
covenant; for so hast Thou said, which I intend not to abuse, but so much 
the more to cleave close unto Thee, and I must have liberty to renew, 
ratify, and draw extracts of this transaction, as often as shall be 
needful. Now, I know Thy consent to this bargain stands recorded in 
Scripture, so that I need no new signification of it; and I, having 
accepted of Thy offer upon Thine own terms, will henceforth wait for what 
is good, and for Thy salvation in the end. As Thou art faithful, pardon 
what is amiss in my way of doing the thing, and accept me in my Lord 
Jesus Christ, in whom only I desire pardon. And in testimony hereof, I 
set to my seal that God is true, in declaring Him a competent Savior.' 
   Let people covenant with God in fewer or more words, as the Lord shall 
dispose them--for we intend no exact form of words for any person--only 
it were fitting that men should before the Lord acknowledge their lost 
state in themselves, and the relief that is by Christ; and that they do 
declare that they accept of the same as it is offered in the gospel, and 
do thankfully rest satisfied with it, intrusting themselves henceforth 
wholly unto God, to be saved in His way, for which they wait according to 
His faithfulness. 
   If men would heartily and sincerely do this, it might, through the 
Lord's b1essing, help to establish them against many fears and 
jealousies; and they might date some good thing from this day and hour, 
which might prove comfortable unto them when they fall in the dark 
afterwards, and even when many failings do stare them in the face, 
perhaps at the hour of death--'These be the last words of David: although 
my house be not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting 
covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, 
and all my desire.' (2 Sam. 23: 5.) It is much if a man can appeal unto 
God, and say, Thou knowest there was a day and an hour when in such a 
place I did accept of peace through Christ, and did deliver up my heart 
to Thee, to write on it Thy whole law without exception; heaven and earth 
are witnesses of it--'Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou 
hast caused me to hope.' (Psa. 119: 49.) 
X.--A want of proper feeling considered as an obstacle in the way of 
Object. I dare not venture to speak such words unto God, because I find 
not my heart coming up full length in affection and seriousness; so I 
should but lie unto God in transacting so with Him. 
   Ans. It is to be regretted that men's hearts do not, with intensity of 
desire and affection, embrace and welcome that blessed offer and portion. 
Yet, for answer to this objection, remember, 1. That in those to whom the 
Lord gives the new heart, forming Christ in them, the whole heart is not 
renewed; there is 'flesh and spirit lusting against each other, the one 
contrary unto the other, so that a man can neither do the good or evil he 
would do,' with full strength. (Gal. 5: 17.) It is well if there be a 
good part of the heart going out after Christ, desiring to close with Him 
on His own terms. 
   2. That there is often a rational love in the heart unto Christ Jesus, 
expressing itself by a respect to His commandments--'This is the love of 
God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not 
grievous' (1 John 5: 3); when there is not a sensible prevailing love 
which maketh the soul sick--'I am sick of love.' (Cant. 2: 5.) Men must 
not always expect to find this. I say, then, although somewhat in your 
heart drawn back, yet if you can say that you are convinced of your lost 
state without Him, that you want a righteousness to cover your guilt, and 
that you want strength to stand out against sin, or to do what is 
pleasing before God, and that you also see fulness in Him; in both these 
respects, if you dare say that somewhat within your heart would fain 
embrace Him upon His own terms, and would have both righteousness for 
justification, and strength in order to sanctification; and that what is 
within you contradicting this, is in some measure your burden and your 
bondage--if it be so, your heart is brought up a tolerable length; go on 
to the business, and determine the matter by covenanting with God, and 
say with your mouth, 'That you have both righteousness and strength in 
the Lord,' as He has sworn you shall do--'I have sworn by myself, the 
word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That 
unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one 
say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men 
come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed.' (Isa. 45: 
23, 24.) It is according to Scripture to say unto God, I believe, when 
much unbelief is in me and the heart is divided in the case 'Lord, I 
believe, help Thou mine unbelief.' (Mark 9: 24.) Withal show unto God how 
matters are in your heart, so that you may be without guile before Him, 
concealing nothing from Him; and put your heart as it is in His hand, to 
write His law on it, according to the covenant: for that is the thing He 
seeks of men, that they deliver up their heart to Him, that He may stamp 
it with His whole will, without exception; and if you can heartily 
consent unto that, judging Christ's blood a sufficient ransom and 
satisfaction for man's transgression, you may go and expressly strike a 
covenant with God, for your heart and affection is already engaged. 
XI.--The fear of backsliding a hindrance 
Object. I dare not so covenant with God lest I break with Him; yea, I 
persuade myself, that if such a temptation did offer, so and so 
circumstantiated, I should fall before it: therefore, to transact so with 
God whilst I foresee such a thing, were but to aggravate my condemnation. 
   Ans. 1. You have already entered into covenant with God, as you are a 
member of His visible Church; and what is now pressed upon you is, that 
you more heartily, sincerely, particularly, and expressly covenant and 
transact with Him: you are already obliged heartily to close with God in 
Christ: and if you do it in heart, I hope the hazard is no greater by 
saying that you do so, or have done so. 
   2. What will you do if you decline sincerely closing with God in 
Christ, and do not accept of His peace as it is offered? You have no 
other way of salvation; either you must do this or perish for ever: and 
if you do it with your heart, you may also say it with your tongue. 
   3. If people may be afraid of covenanting with God lest they should 
afterwards transgress, then not one man should covenant with God; for 
surely every one will transgress afterwards, if they live any length of 
time after the transaction; and we know no way like this to secure men 
from falling; for if you covenant honestly with Him, He engageth, beside 
the new heart, to put His fear and law therein, to give His Spirit to 
cause you to walk in His way. And when you covenant with God, you deliver 
up yourself unto Him to be sanctified and made conformable to His will. 
It is rather a giving up of yourself to be led in His way, in all things, 
and kept from every evil way, than any formal engagement on your part to 
keep His way, and to hold off from evil: so that you need not be afraid 
of the covenant, the language whereof is, 'Wilt thou not be made clean?' 
(Jer. 13: 27.) And all that shun to join in covenant with God, do thereby 
declare that they desire not to be made clean. 
   4. As it is hard for any to say confidently they shall transgress, if 
such a temptation did offer, so and so circumstantiated, because that men 
may think that either God will keep a temptation out of their way, or 
will not suffer them to be tempted above what they are able to bear, or 
give to them a way of escape--'God is our refuge and strength, a very 
present help in trouble.' (Psa. 46: 1.) 'There has no temptation taken 
you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not 
suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to bear; but will with 
the temptation also make a wsy to escape, that ye may be able to bear it' 
(1 Cor. 10: 13); so the question is not, what I may do afterwards, but 
what I now resolve to do. If my heart charge me presently with any deceit 
or resolution to transgress, I must lay aside that deceit before I 
covenant with God; but if my heart charge me with no such purpose, yea, I 
dare say I resolve against every transgression; and although I think I 
shall fall before such and such temptation, yet that thought floweth not 
from any allowed and approved resolution to do so, but from a knowledge 
of my own corruption, and of what I have done to provoke God to desert 
me: but the Lord knows I resolve not to transgress, nor do I approve any 
secret inclination of my heart to such a sin, but would reckon it my 
singular mercy to be kept from sin in such a case; and I judge myself a 
wretched man, because of such a body of death within me, which threatens 
to make me transgress; in that case I say, My heart does not condemn me, 
therefore, I may and ought to have confidence before God. (1 John 3: 21.) 
If this then be the case, I say to thee, although thou shouldst 
afterwards fail many ways, and so perhaps hereby draw upon thyself sad 
temporal strokes, and lose for a season many expressions of His love, yet 
there is an 'Advocate with the Father' to plead thy pardon (1 John 2: 1); 
who has satisfied for our breaches--'He was wounded for our 
transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of 
our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like 
sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the 
Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all' (Isa. 53: 5, 6.) And for His 
sake God resolves to hold fast the covenant with men after their 
transgression--'If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My 
judgments; if they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments: 
nevertheless My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor 
suffer My faithfulness to fail: my covenant will I not break, nor alter 
the thing that is gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness.' 
(Psa. 89: 30-37.) Else how could He be said 'to betroth us to Himself for 
ever?' (Hos. 2: 19, 20.) And how could the covenant be called 
'everlasting, ordered in all things and sure,' if there were not ground 
of comfort in it, 'even when our house is not so with God?' (2 Sam. 23: 
   Yea, it were no better than the covenant of works, if those who enter 
into it with God could so depart from Him again, as to make it void unto 
themselves, and to put themselves into a worse condition than they were 
in before they made it--'And I will make an everlasting covenant with 
them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good' (Jer. 32: 
40)--compared with Heb. 8: 6, 'But now has He obtained a more excellent 
ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which 
was established upon better promises.' 'The Lord hateth putting away.' 
(Mal. 2: 16.) No honest heart will stumble at this, but will rather be 
strengthened thereby in duty--'I will heal their backsliding, I will love 
them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. Who is wise, and he 
shall understand these things: prudent, and he shall know them. For the 
ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them.' (Hos. 14: 
9.) For other ties and bonds, besides the fear of divorce, and punishment 
by death, do oblige the ingenuous wife unto duty; so here men will 'fear 
the Lord and His goodness.' (Hos. 3: 5.) 
XII.--Objection arising from past fruitlessness considered 
Object. I have at the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and on some other 
occasions, covenanted expressly and verbally with God; but my 
fruitlessness in His ways, and the renewed jealousies of my gracious 
state, make me question, if ever I transacted with God in sincerity, and 
I think I can do it no otherwise than I have done it. 
   Ans. 1. Men are not to expect fruitfulness according to their desire, 
nor full assurance of God's favour immediately after they have fled unto 
Christ, and expressly transacted with God in Him; these things will keep 
a man at work all his days. The saints had their failings and 
shortcomings, yea, and backsliding, with many fits of dangerous unbelief, 
after they had very seriously and sincerely, and expressly closed with 
God, as their God in Christ. 
   2. Many do look for fruitfulness in their walk, and establishment of 
faith, from their own sincerity in transacting with God, rather than from 
the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. They fix their hearts on their own honesty 
and resolutions, and not in the blessed root, Christ Jesus, without whom 
we can do nothing, and are vanity altogether in our best estate. Men 
should remember, that one piece of grace cannot produce any degree of 
grace: Further, nothing can work grace but the arm of JEHOVAH; and if men 
would lean upon Christ, and covenant with Him as their duty absolutely, 
whatsoever may be the consequence, at least looking only to Him for the 
suitable fruit, it would fare better with them. God pleaseth not that men 
should retake themselves unto Christ, and covenant with Him for a season 
until they see if such fruit and establishment shall follow, purposing to 
disclaim their interest in him and the covenant, if such and such fruit 
does not appear within such a length of time. This is to put the ways of 
God to trial, and is very displeasing unto Him. Men must absolutely close 
with Christ, and covenant with Him, resolving to maintain these things as 
their duty, and a ready way to reach fruit, whatever shall follow 
thereupon; they having a testimony within them, that they seriously 
design conformity to His revealed will in all things; and that they have 
closed covenant with Him for the same end, as well as to be saved 
   3. Men should be sparing to bring in question their sincerity in 
transacting with God unless they can prove the same, or have great 
presumptions for it. If you can discover any deceit or guile in your 
transacting with Him, you are obliged to disclaim and rectify it, and to 
transact with God honestly, and. without guile: but if you know nothing 
of your deceit or guile in the day you did transact with Him; yea, if you 
can say that you did appeal unto God in that day and that you dealt 
honestly with Him, and intended not to deceive; and did entreat Him, 
according to his faithfulness, to search and try if there was any 
crookedness in your way, and to discover it unto you, and heal it-- 
'Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and 
see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting' 
(Psa. 139: 23, 24); and that afterwards you 'came to the light, that your 
deeds might be manifest' (John 3: 20, 21); and if you can say, that God's 
answers from His words to you, in so far as you could understand, were 
answers of peace, and confirmations of your sincerity; yea, further, if 
you dare say, that if, upon life and death, you were again to transact 
with Him, you can do it no other way, nor intend more sincerity and 
seriousness than before; then I dare say unto thee in the Lord's name, 
thou ought not to question thy sincerity in transacting with God, but to 
'have confidence before God, since thy heart does not condemn thee' (1 
John 3: 21); and thou art bound to believe that 'God dealeth uprightly 
with the upright man, and with the pure does show himself pure.' (Psa 28: 
25, 26.) If a man intend honestly, God will not suffer him to beguile 
himself; yea, the Lord suffereth no man to deceive Himself, unless the 
man intend to deceive both God and man. 
   4. Therefore impute your unfruitfulness to your unwatchfulness and 
your unbelief, and impute your want of full assurance unto an evil heart 
of unbelief, helped by Satan to act against the glorious free grace of 
God: and charge not these things to the want of sincerity in your closing 
with Christ. And resolve henceforth to abide close by the root, and you 
shall bring forth much fruit; and by much fruit you lay yourselves open 
to the witness of God's Spirit, which will testify with your spirit that 
you have sincerely and honestly closed with God, and that the rest of 
your works are wrought in God, and approved of Him; and so the witness of 
the Spirit and the water, joining with the blood, whereupon you are to 
lay the weight of your soul and conscience, and where alone you are to 
sink the curses of the law due unto you for all your sins and failings in 
your best things. These three do agree in one, namely, that this is the 
way of life and peace, and that you have interest therein, and so you 
come to quietness and full assurance--'Abide in me, and I in you; as the 
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more 
can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he 
that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for 
without me ye can do nothing.' (John 15: 4, 5.) 'He that has my 
commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that 
loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will 
manifest myself to him. If a man love me he will keep my words; and my 
Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with 
him.' (John 14: 21, 23.) 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit that we are the children of God.' (Rom. 8: 10.) 'There are three 
that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and 
these three agree in one.' (1 John 5: 8.) 
   O blessed bargain of the new covenant, and thrice blessed Mediator of 
the same! Let him ride prosperously and subdue nations and languages, and 
gather in all His jewels, that honourable company of the firstborn, that 
stately troop of kings and priests, whose glory it shall be to have 
washed their garments in the blood of that spotless Lamb, and whose 
happiness shall continually flourish in following Him whithersoever He 
goes, and in being in the immediate company of the Ancient of days, one 
sight of whose face shall make them in a manner forget that ever they 
were on the earth. Oh, if I could persuade men to believe that these 
things are not yea and nay, and to make haste towards Him, who hasteth to 
judge the world, and to call men to an account, especially concerning 
their improvement of this gospel. 'Even so, come Lord Jesus.' 
Conclusion--The whole Treatise resumed in a Few Questions and Answers 
Quest. 1. What is the great business a man has to do in this world? 
Ans. To make sure a saving interest in Christ Jesus, and to walk suitably 
Q. 2. Have not all the members of the visible church a saving interest in 
A. No, verily; yea, but a very few of them have it. 
Q. 3. How shall I know if I have a saving interest in Him? 
A. Ordinarily the Lord prepareth His own way in the soul by a work of 
humiliation, and discovereth a man's sin and misery to him, and 
exerciseth Him so therewith, that He longs for the physician Christ 
Q. 4. How shall I know if I have got a competent discovery of my sin and 
A. A competent sight of it makes a man take salvation to heart above 
anything in this world: it maketh him disclaim all relief in himself, 
seen in his best things: it maketh Christ who is the Redeemer, very 
precious to the soul: it makes a man stand in awe to sin afterwards, and 
makes him content to be saved upon any terms God pleases. 
Q. 5. By what other ways may I discern a saving interest in him? 
A. By the going out of the heart seriously and affectionately towards 
Him, as He is held out in the gospel; and this is faith or believing. 
Q. 6. How shall I know if my heart goes out after Him aright, and that my 
faith is true saving faith? 
A. Where the heart goes out aright after Him in true and saving faith, 
the soul is pleased with Christ alone above all things, and is pleased 
with Him in all Him three offices, to rule and instruct as well as to 
save; and is content to cleave unto Him, whatsoever inconveniences may 
Q. 7. What other mark of a saving interest in Christ can you give me? 
A. He that is in Christ savingly, is a new creature; He is graciously 
changed and renewed in some measure, in the whole man, and in all his 
ways pointing towards all the known commands of God. 
Q. 8. What if I find sin now and then prevailing over me? 
A. Although every sin deserves everlasting vengeance, yet, if you be 
afflicted for your failings, confess them with shame of face unto God, 
resolving to strive against them honestly henceforth, and see unto Christ 
for pardon, you shall obtain mercy, and your interest stands sure. 
Q. 9. What shall the man do who cannot lay claim to Christ Jesus nor any 
of those marks spoken of it? 
A. Let him not take rest until he make sure unto himself a saving 
interest in Christ. 
Q. 10. What way can a man make sure an interest in Christ, who never had 
a saving interest in Him hitherto? 
A. He must take his sins to heart, and his great hazard thereby, and he 
must take to heart God's offer of pardon and peace through Christ Jesus, 
and heartily close with God's offer by retaking himself unto Christ, the 
blessed refuge. 
Q. 11. What if my sins be singularly heinous, and great beyond ordinary? 
A. Whatsoever thy sins be, if thou wilt close with Christ Jesus by faith, 
thou shalt never enter into condemnation. 
Q. 12. Is faith in Christ only required of men? 
A. Faith is the only condition upon which God does offer peace and pardon 
unto men; but be assured, faith, if it be true and saving, will not be 
alone in the soul, but will be attended with true repentance, and a 
thankful study of conformity to God's image. 
Q. 13 How shall I be sure that my heart does accept of God's offer, and 
does close with Christ Jesus? 
A. Go make a covenant expressly, and by word speak the thing unto God. 
Q. 14 What way shall I do that? 
A. Set apart some portion of time, and, having considered your own lost 
estate, and the remedy offered by Christ Jesus, work up your heart to be 
pleased and close with that offer, and say unto God expressly that you do 
accept of that offer, and of Him to be your God in Christ; and do give up 
yourself to Him to be saved in His way, without reservation or exception 
in any case; and that you henceforth will wait for salvation in the way 
He has appointed. 
Q. 15 What if I break with God afterwards? 
A. You must resolve in His strength not to break, and watch over your own 
ways, and put your heart in His hand to keep it and if you break, you 
must confess it unto God, and judge yourself for it, and flee to the 
Advocate for pardon, and resolve to do so no more: and this you must do 
as often as you fail. 
Q. 16 How shall I come to full assurance of my interest in Christ, so 
that it may be beyond controversy? 
A. Learn to lay your weight upon the blood of Christ, and study purity 
and holiness in all manner of conversation: and pray for the witness of 
God's Spirit to join with the blood and the water; and His testimony 
added unto these will establish you in the faith of an interest in 
Q. 17. What is the consequence of such closing with God in Christ by 
heart and mouth? 
A. Union and communion with God, all good here and His blessed fellowship 
in heaven forever afterwards. 

Q. 18. What if I slight all these things, and do not lay them to heart to 
put them in practice? 
A. The Lord comes with His angels, in flaming fire, to render vengeance 
to them who obey not His gospel; and thy judgment shall be greater than 
that of Sodom and Gomorrah; and so much the greater that thou hast read 
this Treatise, for it shall be a witness against thee in that day. 

The end 

(...end, Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest)

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