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shall not be cloathed again with its original glory, until the rain surrection.
But enough of these conjectures : it is time we should proceed to consider the nature and conditions of the Covenant of works, and produce the scripture authorities, that such a cove.. nant did really exist.
As to the nature of this covenant entered into between the Creator and his creature, it inust always be remembered to be very different in many respects from covenants entered into be. tween man and man. A covenant agreed upon between men for mutual offices to be performed, and mutual benefits to be received, always supposes an equality in the parties simply or in some degree; that they have it in their power to perform the reciprocal good offices, and that they are not under obligation to the pere formance of them without such a bargain or agreement ; but certainly no covenant of such a nature can possibly take place between God and man ; because there is no equality or proportion between them, that neither the blessings God promises by covenant, nor the offices or duties which man is held to perform, can. be of any reciprocal advantage, or of any benefit or utility to God. “ Can man be profitable to his Maker, or can his good“ness extend to the Most High ?" Because also, man without. any covenant is obliged to perfect and holy obedience to the dia vine will ; and he is likewise wholly dependent upon God for all strength and ability for the performance of every good thing. Yet the great Supreme, in the superabundance of his goodness and condescension to his creatures, hath been pleased of his love and good pleasure to deal with them in the way of covenant. Indeed, God might have justly demanded perfect obedience of man as his Creator, without any promise of reward, but that he might temperate his sovereign dominion with the highest goodness, he entered into covenant with him, which should consist of a promise of reward on his part, and the performance of perfect obedi
ence on the part of the creature man. Thus Jehovah, at the same time, shews forth his almnighty power, and demonstrates the exceeding greatness of his beneficence and love to him. Hereby 'he ensures communion with himself, and happiness to man, and binds kim to himself by the strong and endearing bond of mutual affection and mutual obligation. Thus God binds himself to man, and engages to confer upon himn immortality and interminable felicity upon the condition of stedfast fidelity and unfailing obedience.
This is the nature of the covenant which God made with man at his first creation, which is sometimes called the covenant of nature, a legal covenant, or more usually the covenant of workse It is stiled the covenant of nature, not by reason of a natural mutual obligation, of which no such thing can passibly take place between God and man, but because when man was primitively formed, there was founded in his nature sufficient righteousness and strength to perform his Maker's commandments. It is called a legal covenant, because the condition of it, on the part of man, was to conform to the law of nature, 'which was originally inscribed upon his heart. And the covenant of works, because it was by holy works, or by perfect persevering obedience, he was to fulfill all righteousness, and be entitled to the reward of eternal life.
Now, that God made a covenant of this sort with man in his primitive state of rectitude, niay be abundantly established from various passages of sacred scripture, of which, at present, I shall only select a few.
• This may be argued from the words of our text. “And the
“ Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the :“garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of knowlecge of "good and evil, thou mayest not eat of it, for in the day that " thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” As Adam was under a law, the sanction of which was mortality or death, in case
of transgression, and there was a sign and seal annexed to it, to wit, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which he was by no means to eat, otherwise he should loose all his glory, immortality, righteousness, holiness and felicity, and immediately become mortal in the utmost extent of the threatning ; so it is cert tain on the other hand, that God also gave him a covenant of life, promising him that if he eat not of the forbidden fruit, he should be established and confirmed in all his glory, dominion, and happiness forever. There was another tree also in the midst of the garden, which was appointed a sign and seal of this part of the covenant, called the tree of life. He was to partake of the one as a seal of bis confirmation in bliss and immortality, and avoid the other as the sure source of perfect destruction. Hence, after his folly, wickedness and disobedience, God would not suffer him to taste of the tree of life. “ Lest he should put forth his hand ls and take of the tree of life, and live forever, he is expelled from “ the garden of perfect pleasure and felicity. So God drove out “the man." These things clearly show, that there was a covenant entered into between God and man at his first creation.
This is further evident, froin a covenant of works being repeatedly inentioned by Moses, in other parts of his writings. “ He that doeth these things shall live in them.” This covenant is often referred to by St. Paul in his epistles, when he says, “ The man that doth the commands shall live by them." This he also denominates the law of righteousness, which entitles a man to the promise of life, and it is called, “ The command“ment of the law, which was ordained to life.”
That God made a covenant with Adain at his first formation, we are assured of by the prophet Hosea, when he declares,“ They " like men have transgressed the covenant.” In the original it is, “ Thiey like Adam have transgressed the covenant.” And if it had been thus translated, the sense would have been more clear, and the idea more accurately expressed. This must administer conviction to every mind, that Adam was under a covenant of blessedness and life, as well as under a law which threatened a curse and death. The great difference between a law and cové. pant is, that the former menaces with a penalty every transgression of it but the latter, promises remuneration in case of an exact obedience. Where there is nothing but pure precept and penalty, that is a law-but where there is a compensation annexed for the observation of the precept, there is a covenant. Perfect law rewards nột, but punishes the disobedient; but a covenant always promises and remunerates those who fulfil the conditions of it. Adain, for his transgression, had death inflicted on him according to law-but if he had continued obedient, he would have been recompensed with life, glory, felicity, and immortality.
But the grand difficulty in this matter of covenant, is God's selecting Adam and constituting him head and representative of all his posterity, and as he conducted, so should be their fate. This is a matter which has employed the abilities and pens of the great and learned for many ages, and it would be highly absurd and improper, for any one to thrust himself into the seat of judgment, as thousands and tens of thousands have done, wherefore, I shall only lay before you in the briefest manner, what appears to me the scriptural representation upon this subject. And this representation, after a long and close investigation, irresistably decides to my mind, that in the covenant of works, Adam was the head and representative of all his posterity. I have not time to produce the arguments from the nature and reason of things, or existing circumstances, on this occasion, but only mention the scripture texts in favor of it.
We are soon informed that Adam propagated his posterity, not in the image and likeness of God, in which he himself was created, but in his own sinful likeness and image, without righteousness, and without holiness, destitute of external glory and internal goodness. “ He begat a son in his own likeness, after “ his own image.” And thus all his posterity have propagated their offspring sinful and mortal, down to the present day. This
#slows that he was the head and representative of all his progeny.
In the book of Job, the same thing seems to be expressed :66. What is man that he should be clean, or the son of man that he 6. should be righteous ? Who can bring a clean thing out of an "" unclean ? Not one.” The Psalmist David .also declares the
same matter in the afflicting language of lamentation. “Behold -" I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive “me.” These things demonstrate that a degeneracy and sinful corruption was conveyed from one generation to another; and the same must have descended from Adam, and therefore, that he was the head and representative of the whole race.
Arguments innumerable night be drawn from the most emia -nent Jewish writers, in support of this doctrine, of which I shall only quote this one froin the second book of Esdras. “O thou, 66 Adam, .what hast thou done? For though it was thou that * sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but we all that come of thee.”
But the apostle Paul establishes this doctrine beyond all rational contradiction. Hearken to what he affirms in various places. * As by one man's sin death entered into the world, and death by
sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. By " the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemna“tion. By one man's disobedience many were made sinners. * Through the offence of one many are dead. Death reigned "froni Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after “ the similitude of Adam's transgression,” that is, infants who had not committed actual sin. But there would be no end of producing authorities to evince the absolute certainty of this important truth, that Adam was taken into covenant by God as the federal head and representative of all his posterity, or of all mankind. As he should conduct himself, so it should fare with them. If he should behave well and be obedient, they would be all happy, holy, and glorious forever ; if he should conduct amiss and transgress, then all must suffer the penalty of the broken cove. pant, all inust die.