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the threatened curse. This the scripture calls, 171799837128, “to enter into covenant with the Lord," Deut. xxix. 12. « and to enter into a curse and an oath, Neh. 1. 29. lo this curse (Paul calls it, 2 Cor. ix. 18. ówonogia, professed sube jection) conscience presents itself a witness, that God's sepulation or covenant is just, and that this method of coming to the enjoyment of God is highly becoming and that there is no other way of obtaining the promise. And herice the evils which God threatens to the transgressors of the covenant, are called “the curses of the covenant," Deut xxix. 21. which mau on consenting to the covenant, voluntarily makes himself obnoxious to. The effect of this curse on the man who stands not to the covenant, is called the vengeance of the covenant," Lev. xxvi. 25. The form of a stipulation, or acceptance, we have, Psal. xxvii. 8. “ When thou saidest, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Where the voluntary astipulation or acceptance, answers to the stipulation or covenant, made in the name of God by conscience, his minister.
XIII. Man, upon the proposal of this covenant, could not without guilt, refuse giving this astipulation or acceptance. 1st. In virtue of the law, which universally binds him, humbly to accept every thing proposed by God: to whom it is the essential duty of every rational creature to be subject in every respect. Zdly. On account of the high sovereigoity of God, who may dispose of his own benefits, and appoint the condition of enjoying them with a supreme authority, and without being accountable to any: and at the same time enjoin man, to strive for the attainment of the blessings offered, on the condition prescribed. And hence this covenant, as subsisting between parties infinitely unequal, assumes the nature of those, which the Greeks called Injunctions, or cooenants from commands; of which Grotius speaks in his Jus. Bell. and Pacis, lib. ii. c. 15. $ 6. Hence it is, that Paul translates, the words of Moses, Exod. xxiv. 8. behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you," thus, Heb. ix. 20.: “this is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you." It is not left to dian to accept or reject at pleasure God's covenant. Man is commanded to accept it, and to press after the attainment of the promises in the way pointed out by the covenant. Not to desire the promises, is to refuse the goodness of God. To reject the precepts is to refuse the sovereignty and holiness of God; and not to submit to the sanction, is to deny God's justice. And therefore the apostle affirms of the covenant of
[BOOK 1. God, that it is rengia Serntas reduced to the form of a law, Heb. vüz 6. by which man is obliged to an acceptance. Sdly: It follows from that love, which man naturally owes to himself, and by which he is carried to the chief good; for enjoying which there remains no method beside the condition prescribe ed by God. Athly. Man's very conscience dictates, that this covenant is in all its parts highly equitable. What can be framed even by thought itself more equitable, than that man, esteeming God as his chief good, should seek his happiness in him, and rejoice at the offer of that goodness? Should cheerfully receive the law, which is a transcript of the divine holia ness, as the rule of his nature and actions? In fine, should sabo mit bis guilty bead to the most just vengeance of heaven, should be happen to make light of this promise, and violate the law? From which it follows, that man was not at liberty to reject God's covenant.
xiv. God, by this covenant, acquires no new vight over man; which, if we duly consider the matter, neither is, nor can be founded on any benefit of God, or misdemeanor of many as Arminius argues: nor in any thing without God; the principal or alone foundation of it being the sovereign majesty of the most high God. Because God is the blessed, and selfsufficient Being, therefore he is the only potentate, these two being joined together by Paul, 1 Tim. vi. 15. Nor can God's power and right over the creatures, be diminished or increased by any thing extrinsic to God. A thing which ought to be deemed unworthy of his sovereignty and independence of which we shall soon treat more fully: Only God, in this covenant, shews what right he has over man.
But mad, upon his accepting the covenant, and performing the condition, does acquire some right to demand of God the promise ; for God. has, by his promises, made himself a debtor to man Or, to speak in a manner more becoming God, he was pleased to: make bis performing his promises, a debt due to himself, to bis goodness, justice, and veracity. And to man in covenant, and continuing stedfast to it, he granted the right of expect ing and requiring, that God should satisfy the demands of his goodness, justice, and truth, by the performance of the promises. And thus to man as stipulating, or consenting to the covenant, God says that he will be his God," Deut. xxvi. 17. That
“ " . is, he will give him full liberty to glory in God; as his God, and to expect from him, that he will become to man, in covenant with him, what he is to himself, even a fountain of consummate happiness.
XV. In scripture, we find two covenants of God with man:
The Covenant of Works, otherwise called the Covenant of Nature, or the Legal ;, and the Covenant of Grace. The apostle teacheth us this distinction, Rom. in. 87. where be mentions the law of works, and the law of faith; by the law of works, understanding that doctrine which points out the way in which, by means of works, salvation is obtained; and by the law of faith, that doctrine which directs by faith to ob tain salvation. The form of the covenant of works is, “ the man which doth those things shall live by them," Rom. 1. 5. That of the covenant of grace is, “whosoever believeth in him, shall not be ashamed," ib. ver. 11. These covenants agree, Ist. That in both, the contracting parties are the same, God and man. 2dly. In both, the same promise of eternal life, consisting in the immediate fruition of God. 3dly. The condition of both is the same, viz. perfect obedience to the law. Nor would it have been worthy of God to admit man to a blessed communion with him, but in the way of unspotted holiness. 4thly. In both, the same end, the glory of the most unspotted goodness of God. But in these following particu: lars they differ. Ist. The character or relation of God and man, in the covenant of works, is different from what it is in the covenant of
In the former God treats as the supreme law-giver, and the chief good, rejoicing to make his innocent creature a partaker of his happiness. In the latter, as infinitely merciful, adjudging life to the elect sinper consistent with his wisdom and justice. 2dly. In the covenant of works there was no mediator: in that of grace, there is the
, mediator Christ Jesus. 3dly. In the covenant of works, the condition of perfect obedience was required, to be performed by man himself, who had consented to it. In that of grace, the same condition is proposed, as to be, or as already performed, by a mediator. And in this substitution of the person, consists the principal and essential difference of the covenants. 4thly. In the covenant of works, man is considered as working, and the reward to be given as of debt; and therefore man's glorying is not excluded, but he may glory as a faithful servant may do upon the right discharge of bis duty, and may claim the reward promised to his working. In the covenant of grace, man in himself ungodly is considered in the covenant, as believing; and eternal life is considered as the merit of the mediator, and as given to man out of free grace, which excludes all boasting, besides the glorying of the believing sinner in God, as his merciful Saviour, 5thly. In the covenant of works, something is required of man as a condition, which performied entitles him to the reward. The covenant
of grace, with respect to us, consists of the absolute promises of God, in which the mediator, the life to be obtained by him, the faith by which we may be made partakers of him, and of the benefits purchased by him, and the perseverance in that faith ; in a word, the whole of salvation, and all the requisites to it, are absolutely promised. 6thly. The special end of the covenant of works, was the manifestation of the holiness, goodness, and justice of God, conspicuous in the most perfect law, most liberal promise, and in that recompense of reward, to be given to those, who seek him with their whole heart. The special end of the covenant of grace is, the praise of the glory of his grace, Epb. i. 6. and the revelation of his unsearchable and manifold wisdom: which divine perf ons shine forth with lustre in the gift of a mediator, by whom the sinner is admitted to complete salvation, without any dishonour to the holiness, justice, and truth of God. There is also a demonstration of the all-sufficiency of God, by which not only man, but even a sinner, which is more surprising, may be restored to union and communion with God. But all this will be more fully explained in what follows.
Of the Contracting Parties in the Covenant of Works. 1. We begin with the consideration of the covenant of works, otherwise called, of the law and of nature ; because prescribed by the law, requiring works as the condition, and founded upon, and coeval with nature. This covenant is an agreement between God and Adam, formed after the image of God, as the head and root, or representative of the whole human race; by which God promised eternal life and happiness to him, if he yielded obedience to all his commands; threatening him with death if he failed but in the least point: and Adam accepted this condition. To this purpose are these two sentences, afterwards inculcated, on the repetition of the law, Lev. xviii. 5. and Deut. xxvii. 26.
II. The better to understand this subject, these four things are to be explained. Ist. The contracting parties. 2dly. The condition prescribed. 3dly. The promises." 4thly. The threatening
III. The contracting parties here, are God and Adam.. God, as sovereign and supreme Lord, prescribing with absolute power, what he judges equitable: as goodness itself, or
the chief good, promising communion with himself, in which man's principal happiness lies, while obeying, and * doing what is well-pleasing to him :" as justice itself
, or sovereignly just, threatening death to the rebel. Adam sustained a twofold relation. Ist. As man. 2dly. As head and root, or representative of mankind. In the former relation, he was a rational creature, and under the law to God, innocent, created after the divine image, and endued with sufficient powers to fulfil all righteousness. All these things are presupposed in man, to render him a fit object for God to enter into covenant with.
IV. Man therefore, just from the hands of bis Maker, had a soul shining with rays of a divine light, and adorned with the brightest wisdom; whereby he was not only perfectly master of the nature of created things, but was delighted with the contemplation of the supreme and increated truth, the eyes of his understanding being constantly fixed on the per, fections of his God; from the consideration of which he ga thered, by the justest reasoning, what was equitable and just, what worthy of God and of himself. He also had the purest holiness of will, acquiescing in God as the supreme truth, revering him as the most dread majesty, loving him as the chief and only good; and, for the sake of God, holding dear whatever his mind, divinely taught, pointed out as grateful, and like to, and expressive of his perfections: in fine, whatever contributed to the acquiring an intimate and immediate union with him; delighting in the communion of his God; which was now allowed him, panting after further communion, raising himself thereto by the creatures, as 80 many scales or steps; and finally setting forth the praises of his most unspotted holiness as the most perfect pattern, according to which he was to frame both himself and his actions to the utmost. This is, as Elibu significantly expresses it, Job xxxiv. 9. “delighting himself with God." This rectitude of the soul was accompanied with a most regular temperature of the whole body, all whose members, as instruments of righteousness, presented themselves ready and active at the first intimation of his holy will. Nor was it becoming God to form a rational creature for any other purpose thap bis own glory; which such a creature, unless wise and holy, could neither perceive nor celebrate, as shining forth in the other works of God; destitute of this light, and deprived of this endument, what could it prove but the reproach of his Creator, and every way unfit to answer the end of his creation. All these particulars the wisest of kings, Eccles. vii. 29. has thrown together with