« PreviousContinue »
Introduction to the Covenant of Grace. I. When the covenant of works was thus broken by the sin of man, and abrogated by the just judgment of God, wretched man was cast headlong into the deepest gulf of ruin, whence there could be no escape. For listening to the solicitation of the devil, and giving way to bis
own reasonings, he, in a most violent manner, withdrew himself from God, that he might be at his own disposal ; and (like the prodigal son, Luke xv. 12.) throwing off his rightfal subordination to God, sold and enslava ed himself to the devil
. All which were acts of the highest injustice': for man had no right thus to dispose of himself; por the devil to accept of what was Gods. Yet God considering that by this rash and unjust action man was justly punished, did, by his righteous judgment, ratify all this for his further punishment, gave him up to himself as the most wretched and foolish of masters; and to sin, as a cruel tyrant, which would continually force him to every abominable practice.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowdge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those
things wbich are not convenient," Rom. i. 28. He also “
gave them up, unto vile affections," verse 26; that so they might
receive that recompense which was meet,” verse 27. In fine, he delivered them up as slaves to the devil, to be “ taken captive by him at his will, 2 Tim. ü. 26. And all this according to that most equitable law; "of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought into bondage," 2 Pet. ü. 19.
II. Moreover, when a man was no longer in covenant with God, he then became “ without God and without hope in the world,” Eph. ii
. 12. For it was impossible for him to devise any method, becoming God, whereby, consistently with divine truth, justice, and holiness, he could be reconciled with God, and return again to his favour. The law of sin was also just, by which man was enslaved to sin, to the dominion and condemnation of it, and given up to the devil as his tormentor. In which sense he is said to be not only the captive of the devil, of the strong man, mentioned Matt. xii. 29. ; but also the lawful captive, Isa. xlix. 24. For he had the power of death, Heb. ii. 14. and that by the law, 1 Cor. xv. 56 the strength of sin is the law. Nor could man contrive any way, whereby sin, which condemned, by the most equitable law, could itself be justly condemned by God.
III. But it pleased God, according to the riches of his unsearchable wisdom, to lay this breach of the legal covenant as a foundation for his stupendous works; for he took occasion to set up a new covenant of grace; in which he might much more clearly display the inestimable treasures of his all-sufficiency, than if every thing had gone well, with man according to the first covenant: and thus he discovered what seemed to surpass all belief and comprehension, that God, who is true, just, and holy, could, without any diminution to,
, này rather with a much more illustrious display of, his adorable perfections, become the God and Salvation of the sinner : for be found out that admirable way to reconcile the strictest vindictive justice with the most condescending mercy. So that the one should be no obstruction to the other. For so illustriqus an exercise of these perfections, there could have been no place under the covenant of works.
IV. If therefore any thing ought to be accounted worthy If bur most attentive congideration, certainly it is the cover nant of grace, of which we now atteinpt to treat. Here the way is pointed out to a Paradise far preferable to the earthly, and to a more certain and stable felicity, than that from which, Adam fell. Here a new hope shines upon, ruined mor
tals, which ought to be the more acceptable, the more unexpect ed it comes. Here conditions are offered to which eternal sal vation is annexed; conditions, not to be performed again by us, which might throw the mind into despondency: bat by him who would not part with his life before he had truly said, it is finished. Here with the brightest splendor, shine forth the wonderful perfections of our God, his wisdom, power, truth, justice, holiness, goodness, philanthropy, or good will to man, mercy, and what tongue can rehearse them all? Never before displayed on a more august theatre, to the admiration of all who behold them. Whoever therefore loves his own salvation, whoever longs to delight himself in the contemplation of the divine perfections, he must come hither, and deeply engage in holy meditations on the covenant of grace, which I think may not improperly be thus defined :
V. The covenant of grace is a compact or agreement between God and the elect sinner; God on his part declaring his free good-will concerning eternal salvation, and every thing relative thereto, freely to be given to those in covenant, by, and for the mediator Christ; and man on his part consenting to that good will by a sincere faith..
Of the Covenant between God the Father and the son. 1. In order the more thoroughly to understand the nature of the covenant of grace, two things are above all to be distinctly considered. 1st. The covenant which intervenies between God the Father and Christ the Mediator. Adly. That testamentory disposition, by which God bestows by an immutable covenant, eternal salvation, and every thing relative thereto, upon the elect. The former agreement is between God and the Media. tor: the latter, between God and the elect: This last pre-sup poses the first, and is founded upon it.
II. When I speak of the compact between the Father and the Son, I thereby understand the will of the Father, giving the Son to be the Head and Redeemer of the elect; and the will of the Son, presenting himself ae a Sponsor or Surety for them; in all which the nature of a compact and agreement
pists. The scriptures represent the Father, in the econoof our salvation, as demanding the obedience of the
even unto death; and upon condition of that obedience, omising him in his turn that name which is above every
name, even that he should be the head of the elect in glory : but the Son, as presenting himself to do the will of the Father, acquiescing in that pronise, and in fine, requiring, by virtue of the compact, the kingdom and glory promised to bim. When we have clearly demonstrated all these particulars from scripture, it cannot, on any pretence be denied, that there is a compact between the Father and the Son, which is the foundation of our salvation. But let us proceed distinctly 1st. By producing such places of scripture, as speak only in general, but yet expressly of this compact. 2dly. By more fully unfolding the particulars which complete or constitute this compact
. 3dly. By invincibly proving the same from the nature of the Sacraments, which Christ also made
III. Christ himself speaks of this compact, in express Luke xxii. 29. and I engage by covenant unto you a kingdom, as my Father. hath engaged by covenant unto me. In which words the Lord Jesus says, that, by virtue of some covenant or disposition, he obtains a kingdom, as we also obtain it by virtue of the same.
IV. And, Heb. vii. 22. where he is said to be a surety of a better covenant or testament. But he is called the surety of a testament, not principally on this account, because he engages to us for God and his promises, or, because he engages for us, that we shall obey; as Moses intervened as a surety between God and the Israelites, Exod. xix.'3–8. For, by how much Christ was greater than Moses, in so much he was also a surety, in a more excellent manner. His suretiship, consists, in this, that he himself undertook to perform that condition, without which, consistently with the justice of God, the grace and promises of God could not reach unto us; but being once performed, they were infallibly to come to the children of the covenant: unless then we would make void the suretiship of Christ, and gratify the Socinians, the very worst perverters of scripture, it is necessary, we conceive of some covenant, the conditions of which Christ took upon himself ; engaging in our name with the Father, to perform them for us; and that, having performed them, he might engage to us for the Father, that we should certainly have grace and glory bestowed upon us.
V. Moreover, Gal. iii. 17. Paul mentions a certain covenant, or testament, that was confirmed before of God in Christ. Where the contracting parties are, on one side 6 on the other Christ; and the agreement between both is ra