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was the stay of the souls of the faithful till Abraham's time: then it was more clearly discovered in the promise given to him, Gen. xxii. 18.“ In thy seed shall all the nations of the carth be blessed.'. The ceremonial law, and the pro. phecies of Christ, pointed out very fully. And thus be lievers under the Old Testament built their faith ot mercy on it. And since that time it has been most clearly and fully discovered in the gospel; and so the New Testament church have raised their faith of mercy on it,
Use I. Behold here the freeness of saving mercy. There is a fountain of mercy opened to sinful creatures; and it was not only provided for them without any merit of theirs, but without so much as any application made by them for it, Rom. xi. 34. A covenant of grace is made betwixt the Father and his own Son as party-contractor on man's side, who doth this for their salvation while they knew nothing about the matter. Here is rich and free grace,
2. It is a vain thing to remain about the ruins of the old building, whịch stood on the covenant of works, and to expect mercy, life, or salvation there, Gal. ii. 16. Man is not justified by the works of the law. It is evident, that inan must have mercy now, else he is ruined for ever, with: out any possible outgate from his misery, If the building of mercy could have been without a new foundation, why was it laid, and laid so deep? But a new foundation was not laid in vain, but because it was necessary that it should be. Therefore expect no mercy in the way of the first covenant, Mount Sinai shews only thunders and lightnings
, the voice of the trumpet waxing louder and louder, and
the voice of words, which sinners are not able to bear, · There is no voice of mercy and grace but from mount Zion.
3. What a wretched disposition in man's nature is it, to be so much addicted to the way of the covenant of works? God saw that there was no hope for fallen man that way; therefore he made a new covenant to build mercy upon. But fallen man will not see it, but still aims to make a shift for himself that way. Our father Adam was well housed indeed in the first building, if he had managed well: but it was by his sin laid in ruins. Yet his sinful children still abide about these ruins, building cottages to themselves of the ruins, seeking righteousness as it were by the works
of the law, Rom. ix. 32. and pretending to repair it for themselves. The Jews were never more addicted to the temple, than mankind naturally is to that building on the first covenant. The Jews, after their temple had been laid in ruins, never to be rebuilt, did notwithstanding, in the days of Julian the apostate, attempt to rebuild it; and ceased not, till by an earthquake which shook the old foun. dation, and turned all down to the ground, and by fire from heaven which burnt all their tools, they were forced to forbear. Thus it fares with men with respect to the building on the old covenant; they will never give it over, nor cry for a Mediator in earnest, till mount Sinai, where they work, be all on fire about them. O the mischief of this practice! They thereby affront the wisdom of God, which found out this new way; they despise the grace, free love, and mercy of it; they' trample upon the great salvation brought about by it, Heb. ii. 3. And withal they fight against their own interest ; will not enter by the door that is opened for them, but-hang about the door that is closed, and shall never be opened to them, and so perish. Thus they forsake their own mercy,' Jonah ii. 8.
4. Lastly, Quit the old covenant, then, and take hold of the new, that you may be personally entered into it. This you may do by taking hold of Christ, in the way of believing; for he is given for a covenant of the people, Isa. xlii. 6. So the proposal of the covenant is made to you, İsa. Iv. 3. And thus shåll ye be lodged in the building of sav. ing mercy; and mercy shall be built up to you for ever. But if you do not take hold of this covenant, ye are off the foundation of mercy, and can look for none of it. But to proceed in the explication of our texts :
4. The nature of the covenant made betwixt these glorious parties. Concerning which we may gather from the texts,
(1.) The design of it, viz. life, the most valuable interest of mankind. The last Adam was made a quickening spirit, viz. to give life, life in perfection, to dead sinners, dead legally, and dead morally,
(2.) The persons for whom this life was designed, the elect, I have made a covenant with my chosen. Christ is the head elect, or head of the company chosen to life. In one and the same decree, the Father chose Christ to be the head,
and them to be the members. Hence we are said to be ? chosen in him,' Eph. i. 4.
(3.) The representation. As in the first covenant Adam, the party contractor on man's side, was a representative, representing and sustaining the persons of all his natural seed; so in this covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ, the party contractor and undertaker on man's side, is a representa. tive, representing and sustaining the persons of all his spi. ritual seed. This appears from his being designed the second Adam, who was a type of him, Rom. v. 14. As the first Adam, representing all his seed in the covenant of works, brought sin and death on them; so Christ, repre, senting all his seed in the covenant of grace, brought righte. ousness and life to them.
(4.) The condition of the covenant laid on the elect's re. presentative, to be performed by him in their name and stead. He was to be the last Adam, to take upon him man's nature, to clothe himself with our flesh, and therein to go through with what the first Adam had stuck in ; that is, to fulfil the covenant, by yielding perfect obedience to it, and suffering the penalty thereof in their room.
(5.) The promise of the covenant, to be performed on that condition by the God of truth. This is implied in these words, I have made a covenant with my chosen : i. e.
: I have engaged for such and such benefits, and have bound myself by solemn promise to my chosen, on condi. tion of what I have required of him.' This promise contains whatever is necessary for the complete happiness of the mystical body, grace and glory.
5. Lastly, There is one thing more specially to be considered, according to these texts, belonging to the nature of this covenant, viz. that the party contractor on man's side is the administrator of the covenant: The last Adam was made a quickening spirit. As Christ was God, he could not fail in the performance of his engagement; and therefore God took hiş single bond for sufficient security; and thereupon he was made administrator of the covenant, Matth. xxviii. 18. He entered on this office at the beginning, and intimated the covenant to fallen Adam in paradise, Gen. iii. 15. and will continue in that office till the last elect soul be brought in. The treasure put into his hand is the promises of the covenant, which are the reward of his own obedience and
death, Col. í. 9. Hence he bequeaths all the promised benefits by testament, and lives to be the executor of it. There is a fulness of the Spirit lodged in him, to be communicated to the elect dead in sins; and he is made a life-giving head unto them, John i. 4. Eternal life was lodged in him, 1 John v. 11.; and it is communicated by him, John xvii. 2. as the great trustee and steward of heaven. In the faith of this, Adam called his wife Life, or an Enlivener, Gen. iii. 20. No wonder he should be called the covenant itself, Isa. xlii. 6: since he is the head of the covenant, unto whom the elect are joined unto God in covenant, the condition of the covenant was performed by him, and the Father has
the promises of the covenant in his hand. This is good news to men, that the promised life is in the hands of the Mediator, who is of our flesh and bone.
The doctrine arising from the two texts, thus compared and explained, is,
Doct. The covenant of grace for life and salvation to ruined sinners, was made with Christ the second Adam, and he constituted Administrator thereof.'
In handling this important subject; I shall consider,
I. I am to consider the parties in the covenant of grace. And these are the party'contractor on heaven's side, the party contractor on man's side and the party contracted or undertaken for
FIRST, Upon the one side is God himself, and God only, as in the covenant of works. As the covenant was made from eternity, there was no other, and no occasion for any other, to see to the interests of heaven in this transaction. I thinkthat God essentially considered was the party contractor in the person of the Father, Tit. i. 2. Eph i. 3. Hereby the Son and the Holy Ghost have their part in the covenant on heaven's side, as the party offended; and in the mean time a peculiar agency in this great work is attributed to the Father on that side, as there is unto the Son on ́man's side. And that we may have some distinct view of God in this character in the covenant of grace, we must consider the following
1. God from eternity decreed the creation of man after his own image, and the making of the covenant with him. This whole dispensation was before the Eternal Mind, in all the parts and apurtenances thereof, though, by reason of making that covenant with a creature, it could not actually take place but in time, Acts xv: 18. 2. He also from eternity decreed to perinit man to fall
, and so to break that covenant, and thereby to involve bimself and all his posterity in ruin. This fall he permitted for his own holy ends, purposing to bring about good from it.
3. God is to be considered in this covenant as an offended God, offended with all the sins of all mankind, original and actual. In the first covenant God contracted with man as with a friend, without the interposition of a mediator: but in the second covenant it was not nor could be so; for man is considered in it as a fallen creature, a transgressor of the law, an enemy to God; and it is a covenant of reconciliation and peace, for those who had been at war with heaven.
4. Yet he is to be considered as a God purposing and decreeing from eternity to manifest the glory of his mercy, free love and grace, in the salvation of some of the lost race of Adam, Eph. iii. 10, 11. Without such a purpose
grace in God, there had never been a covenant of grace.
5. Notwithstanding we are to consider him in this matter as a just God, who cannot but do right, give sin a just tecompense, and magnify his holy law and make it honourable. Upon the motion, then, of extending mercy to any of inankind, the justice of God interposetli, and pleads that mercy cannot be shewn, but upon terms agreeable to law and justice. And it was not agreeable either to the nature of God; or to his truth in his word, to shew mercy in prejudice of his exact justice, if a throne of grace is to be erected, it must not be set on the ruins of the justice of God. And therefore justice required,
(1.) That the law which was violated be fully satisfied, and the honour thereof repaired, by suffering and obedience, the former such as may satisfy the sanction of the law and the latter the commanding part thereof. And this the sinners must either do for themselves, or another in their room, who can be accepted as suficient suretý.
(2.) That since it was man that sinned, it must be man also who must suffer and obey, that one nature may not sin, and another be put to suffering for it.