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Christ Jesus; and there is no doubt but it is the same throne and the same person sitting on it, that was seen both by Ezekiel and the apostle John. As for his posture, he is represented as sitting upon the throne. This points at the perpetuity of his government, that he is in the quiet possession of it, it being for ever out of the power of his enemies to difturb his administration. We are told herę further, that his appearance upon the throne was like a Jasper and a Sardine stone. These stones being unknown to us, we shall not take up time in telling you what is said about them by naturalifts and some curious interpreters, only we are told, in short, the Jasper is a bright transparent stone, representing to the eye a variety of the most vivid or lively colours ; the Sardine is said to be red. The Scope is plainly this, to point out the admirable and inconceivable glory and excellency of an exalted Christ. Such is the brightness of the Father's glory shining in him, now when he is upon the throne, that all the precious things on earth put together, are but faint shadows and representations of his divine glory and excellency; The brightness of the Jasper and the redness of the Sardine stone are put together, to shew that he is white and red, white in his divine, red in his human nature, white in his holiness, red in his suffering; the bright and glorious perfections of God fining through the rent vail of his human nature, do as it were receive a tincture of red from the vail through which they are transmitted, Isa. Ixiii. 1. he is faid to be glorious, and yet red in his apparel, and his appearance in the midst of the throne is as it were of a Lamb pain, having the sprinkling of his blood about him, which was fhed upon mount
Calvary, Calvary, and which cries for better things than the blood of Abel.
But now I come to that part of John's vision, which I have principally in view, and that is the canopy
of state which covers the throne, and him that sat on it, in the close of the third verse. And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in hght like unto an emerald. Where again observe ift, The covering of the throne, it was very stately, like a rainbow., 2dly, The circuit of this covering, it was round about the throne. 3dly, The colour of it, it was like an Emerald.
Here I conceive there is a manifest allusion to God's covenant with Noah, Gen. viii. When God called back the waters of the deluge from off the face of the earth, he made a promise and bound himself by covenant, That be would never destroy the earth any more by water, and in token of his faithfulness in this matter he set his bow in the clouds. With allusion to this, God's throne of grace, or his mercy feat, from which all the
promises of the covenant do proceed, is said to be surrounded with a rainbow, to signify, that as God deals with his people in the way of a covenant ; so his faithfulness in that covenant is established in the very heavens, and this bow surrounding the throne is faid to be in colour like an emerald, that is, of a green colour, to signify that his covenant by virtue of the faithfulness of him that sits upon the throne, is ever the same, without any shadow of turning; the fashion of this world withers and passes away, but the word of the Lord, his word of grace and promise, it endures for ever.
The doctrine I take notice of from the words, is this, That God's covenant of grace, and his faith
fulness with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have 1 drawn thee. This love of God to loft finners, was altogether and absolutely free, free in opposition to merit, free in opposition to constraint ; it hath no other cause, but only the freedom of his own will, Eph. ii. 4. And as it is free, so it is superlatively great, love that passes knowledge, love which hath a height and depth, a breadth and length which can never be fathomed, or found out; it is distinguishing love that takes hold of man when it passed by angels that fell ; it fixed upon some of Adam's family, when it passed by others.
3. This covenant of grace in the original make and constitution of it, was transacted with Christ as a new covenant-head, a publick person representing all the spiritual seed which the Lord hath given him ; for, sirs, you must know, that since the fall of man, God never entered into any covenant with him directly and immediately, but only by the intervention of a surety and mediator. Hence in our larger catechism, in answer to that question, with whom was the covenant of grace made? The anfwer is, That it was made with Christ, and with the ele&t in bim as bis feed. Hence it is, that we read of Grace given us in Christ before the world began. In this covenant there are some things that relate particularly to Christ himself as surety and redeemer, and some things in it that relate to the members and seed of Christ; the Father having promised sufficient furniture and through-bearing to his Son, both for the purchase and application of our redemption, the Son not only undertakes to satisfy justice, to fulfil the law, to bruise the head of the old ferpent, but also by his spirit, which he would send into their hearts, to sprinkle them
with clear water, to take away the stony heart, to enlighten them, to justify them, to adopt and sanctify them, and at last to present them without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; and when all this comes to be revealed and set forth in a gospel dispensation, what is incumbent upon us, but to subscribe to this glorious transaction and plan of redemption that was laid by infinite wisdom? Thus I say the covenant of grace was originally transacted with Christ, and with us in him and through him; and they who either in print or pulpit ridicule or exclaim against this as a new scheme of doctrine, they do not ridicule us, but the doctrine asserted by the church of Scotland in her standards, which as it is founded upon the word, so we are bound by solemn covenant to cleave unto it.
4. Remark, That the revelation of this covenant of grace transacted with Christ before the world, was made very early to our first parents in paradise immediately after the fall, Gen. iii. 15. Tbe seed of the woman skall bruise the bead of the serpent, Here it was, that the grand secret which lay in the breast of God, did first break forth, when our first parents were waiting with a trembling heart every moment for the execution of the sentence of the broken covenant of works : Behold glad tidings of great joy are issued out from a throne of grace, namely, that in the fulness of time the Son of God was to take on the seed of the woman, and bruise the serpent's head, to destroy the devil, and his works, and redeem man from that gulph of misery into which he was plunged; this was the covenant of grace ;
and it is remarkable that in its first edition it came forth in a promise of Christ, this was enlarged and explained to Abraham, Mojes, David
and yet more fully opened after the Babylonish captivity by Jeremiah, Ezekiel and other prophets, till Christ himself actually came, in whom all the old testament types, prophecies and promises received their full accomplishment, and having by his death confirmed the covenant with many, the covenant of grace after his resurrection and exaltation came forth in its last and best edition : namely, in the form of a testament, having the two great facraments of baptism and the supper appended to it, as full and uncontested evidences of its being confirmed by his death. This glorious charter is now past the seal, and therefore faith may make use of it with boldness.
5. Remark, That this covenant of grace or testament of our Lord Jesus Christ may be viewed and considered in its dispensation or exhibition. God in his infinite wisdom, for reaching the great end and design of a covenant of grace, has appointed ordinances, the word, sacrament and prayer, and other proper means, by which the benefits of his death, and blessings of his covenant, may come to be actually applied to us; he has authorized ministers to dispense word and facraments, that by these, as through conduit-pipes, his grace and fulness may be communicated to us. And here it should be remembered, that the covenant of grace in the dispenfation and exhibition of it comes to every man's door. It is presented as the ground and foundation of faith in common to all the hearers of the gospel, elect and reprobate ; we call all and every one to take hold of God's covenant, and tell them,
is the word of this salvation sent; the promise, or covenant, is to you, to your feed, and to all that