Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Christ; in the preface he proclaims himself to be our God; and in the first commandment we are bound to take this God to be our God; and in the second he gives us a double reason or motive to obey: “For I the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, I show mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” And in the fifth commandment he gives a promise of long life in Canaan, which is either to be looked at, as a type of heaven, or literally, for a prosperous condition here on earth; but howsoever it is by virtue of the covenant, and as a testimony of God's love. Now, all these promises are made in Christ: God is not our God but in and through Jesus Christ: God will not show mercy unto thousands, nor unto one of all the thousands of his saints, but as they are in Jesus Christ; God will not give us long life here, or eternal life hereafter, but in, for, and through the Lord Jesus Christ: what if Moses writ not down the word Christ; yet certainly Moses wrote of Christ: his words imply Christ, as Christ himself told the Jews, “ Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for Moses wrote of me," John 5:46. And as Philip told Nathanael, “ We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth,” John 1:45. Surely Christ was, if not the only subject, yet the only scope of all the writings of Moses; and therefore in the law itself, you see we find something of Christ.

3. In the exposition of the law, as Moses gives it here and there, wo find something of Christ. Yea, if we observe it, Moses brought something more to the expression of Christ, and the covenant of grace, than ever was before: in the first promise it was revealed, That Christ should be the seed of the woman; in the second manifestation of the promise it was revealed, That Christ should be the seed of Abraham; but in Moses' writings, and in Moses' time we learn more expressly, That Christ should be both God and man: Or that God was to be incarnate, and to have his conversation amongst men: the promise runs thus, “And I will dwell among the chil. dren of Israel, and will be their God, and they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell amongst them; I am the Lord their God," Exod. 29:45,46. The same promise is renewed or repeated, “And I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you, and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people,” Lev. 26:11,12. This promise was punctually fulfilled when Christ was incarnate, for then was “the Word made flesh, and dwelt among us,” John 1:14. Or if it be referred to the habitation of God by his Spirit amongst the spiritual seed of Abraham, then it implies the incarnation of Christ, because that was to go before the plentiful habitation of Christ's Spirit in the saints. Again, Moses writing of Christ “ The Lord thy God (saith he) will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken,” Deut. 18:15. Wag not this a plain expression? Peter, in his sermon to the Jews, preached Jesus Christ, and he tells the Jews, that this “ Jesus Christ was preached unto them before:" when before? Even in Moses' time; and for proof he cites this very text, “ For Moses truly said unto the fathers, À prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you," Acts 3:20.22.

4. In the confirmation of the law, we find something of Christ. It was confirmed by seals and sacrifices, &c. What were all these but a type of Christ? In the former expression of the covenant we found the seal of cir. cumcision, but now it pleased God to add unto the former another seal for the confirmation of their faith, of the passover; and was not this a type of

Christ, the immaculate Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world? Again in his manifestation, Moses brought in the priesthood, as a settled ordinance to offer sacrifices for the people: and was not this a type of Christ, our true and unchangeable high priest? I have sometimes seen the articles of a believing Jew's creed, collected out of Moses' law; as thus, “I believe that the Messiah should die to make satisfaction for sin:" this they saw in their continued bloody sacrifices; and their deliverance from Egypt by the death of a lamh, taught them no less. 2. “I believe, that he shall not die for his own sins, but for the sins of others;” this they might easily observe in every sacrifice, when (according to their law) they saw the most harmless birds and beasts were offered. 3. “I believe, to be saved by laying hold on his merits.” This they might gather by laying their right hand on the head of every beast that they brought to be offered up, and by laying hold on the horns of the altar, being a sanctuary, or refuge from pursuing vengeance. Thus we might go on: no question the death and resurrection of Christ, the priesthood and kingdom of Christ, were prefigured and typified by the sacrifices, and brazen serpent; and the priesthood of Aaron, and the kingdom of Israel: and I cannot but think, That the godly spiritual Jews understood this very well; and that these did not rest in sacrifices or sacraments, but that by faith they did really enjoy Christ in every of them.

5. In the intention of God's giving the law we find something of Christ. The very end of God in holding forth the law was, That upon the sense of our impossibility to keep it, and of our danger to break it, we should desire earnestly, and seek diligently for Jesus Christ. To this purpose saith the apostle, “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Christ is the end of the law, i.e. Christ is the end of intention; God, by giving so holy a law, and by requiring such perfect obedience, he would thereby humble and debase the Israelites, so that they should more earnestly fly to Christ. In this sense, “ The law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith;": a schoolmaster (you know) doth not only whip or correct, but also teach and direct: so the law doth not only threaten and curse, if the work be not done, but it shows where power and help are to be had, viz. from the Lord Jesus Christ; if this be so, how much to blame are they that, under pretence of free grace and Christ, cry down the law? Rather let us cry it up, and this is the wav to set up free grace and Christ. Surely he that discovers his defects by the perfect rule of the law, and whose soul is im. bittered and humbled because of these defects, he must needs prize Christ, desire Christ, advance Christ in his thoughts, above all men in the world.

And thus far of the covenant of promise, as it was manifested from Mo. ses to David.

Sect. V. Of the Covenant of Promise, as manifested to David. The next breaking forth of this gracious covenant was to David; and in this manifestation appears yet more of Christ; the expression of it is chiefly in these words, “ Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure,” 2 Sam. 23:5. For the right understanding of this we shall examine these particulars:

1. Who is the author of this covenant?
2. To whom is the covenant made!
3. What is this, that the covenant is said to be made?

4. How is the covenant ordered!
5. Wherein is the covenant sure?
6. Whether is Christ more clearly manifested in this breaking forth

of the covenant, than in any of the former? 1. Who is the author of this covenant? David says, “ He hath made it:" He, i.e. God the rock of Israel, the everlasting rock; “ The rock of their salvation," Psalm 62:2. "The rock of their strength," Psalın 62:7. “ The strength of their heart," Psalın 73:26. “The rock of their refuge,' Psal. 94:22. “Their strength and their Redeemer," Psalm 19:14. The Psalmist is frequent and ordinary in this style, to show that God is the mighty, stable, and immutable foundation and defence of all the faithful, who fly to him, and will trust in him: he is such a rock as will not shrink or fail his creatures; man is unstable, but he is God and not man, who is the author of this covenant.

2. To whom is the covenant made? why, saith David, “ He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, i. e. Either with Christ the antitype, or else with David himself, the type of Christ. To the former sense we have spoken elsewhere; the latter I suppose more genuine; the covenant in. deed was first made with Christ, and then with David as a member of Je. sus Christ. Some are wholly for a covenant betwixt God and Christ; and they deny any such thing as a covenant betwixt God and man; but are not the testimonies express? “ Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant which the Lord hath made with you,” Deut. 4:23. “And I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, Jer. 31:31. And by name do we not see God covenanting with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob, Gen. 17:7, Gen. 26:2, Gen. 35:12, Lev. 26; 42. And here do we not see God covenanting with Da. vid? “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David; and once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David: And the Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it.” Psalm 89:31.35, and 132:11. O take heed of such doctrines as tend unto liberty and licentiousness! the covenant God makes with us binds us faster to God; and if there be no covenant betwixt God and us, it opens a gap to the looseness of our spirits: for how should we be charged with unfaithfulness unto God, if we have not at all entered into a covenant with God?

3. What is this that the covenant is said to be made? This holds forth to us the freeness of God's entering into covenant with us: I will make my “ covenant between me and thee, (saith God;) for I will give my cove. nant, I will dispose my covenant between me and thee," Gen. 17:2. So it is in the original. And elsewhere it is plain, “Behold I give unto him my covenant of peace,” Numb. 25:12. When God makes a cov. enant, then he gives the covenant of his grace unto all that he takes into covenant with him: “ The Lord set his love upon you (saith Moses to Is. rael) to take you into covenant with him, not because ye were more in number than other people, but because he loved you, and chose your fa. thers,” Deut. 7:7,8. As noting out the freeness of his love towards them: He loved them, why? he loved them, because he loved them. This free. ness of his grace, in giving a covenant, may appear in these particu. lars. As,

1. In that God is the first that seeks after us, to draw us into covenant with him; we seek not him, but he seeks us; we choose not him, but he chooseth us; “He loved us first," 1 John 4:19. I am found of them that

songht me not; I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name," Isa. 65:1.

2. In that there is nothing in us, to draw God into a covenant with us. Many a man seeks first after the unmarried virgin: but then there is beauty, or there is dowry, or there is something or other, which draws on the man; but there is no such thing in us; this made David say, when he heard of God's covenant with him and his, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my father's house that thou hast brought me hitherto!-And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” 2 Sam. 7:18,19. q. d. O Lord God, thou dealest sainiliarly with me, as a man dealeth with man; or as it is elsewhere, “Thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree," 1 Chron. 17:17. It would make any soul cry out, that deeply weighs the freeness of this covenant, “Lord what is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him!” Psal. 6:4.

3. In that there is enough in us to keep off the Lord from ever-owning us. We are as contrary to God as darkness to light, or as evil is to good; “The carnal mind is enmity against God, (saith the apostle) it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. 8:7. We are a crooked generation, that cannot abide the straight ways of the Lord; our whole nature is sinful and corrupt before him; and for the most part, when we are most averse and backward, and have least thought of ever seeking after him, then it is that he seeks us to take us unto himself. Thus the Lord called Saul, when he was persecuting, and raging, and breathing out slaughter against the Lord, and against his saints; and thus the Lord called those Jews, that mocked the apostles, wben they spake divers languages, “these men are full of new wine,” Acts 2:13. Ay, but the next word that they speak, is, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do?” verse 37. O the free and unexpected grace of our God!

4. In that we are by nature no better than others, that are without God, “and without covenant,” Eph. 2:12. What makes the difference betwixt us and them, but this free grace of God? Is there any reason in us, why one is taken into a covenant and another is not? Nay, I will tell you a wonder: so it pleaseth the Lord, that sometimes God chooseth the worst, and leaves those that are better than they. We read that publicans and harlots were taken in, and the righteous generation, which justified themselves, and were justified by others, were passed by: surely God respects none for any thing in them, his design is, that the freeness of his grace might be seen in those whom he takes to himself. Hence the apostle, God chooseth the foolish things of this world, and the weak things of this world, base and despised things, while in the mean time he passeth by “the wise and mighty,” i Cor. 1:27,28,29, and things of high esteem, that all men might see it is the grace of God, and not any thing in man, by which we are taken into covenant with him.

5. How is the covenant said to be ordered? The word ordered will help us in the answer. It sets out to us a marshalling, and fit laying of things together, in opposition to disorder and confusion. The Septuagint renders it (etoimasas) which signifies marshalled, disposed, prepared, set forth, as an army in comely order; the same word is in Judges 20:22. “And the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array.” As we see in the army, every one is set in rank and file, so is every thing in this covenant, ranked, disposed, ordered, that it stands at best advantage to receive and repel the enemy. A poor Christian that hath a troubled spirii, sers himself against free grace, and this everlasting

covenant; he raiseth thousands of objections against it: but now the covenant is ordered, it stands like a marshalled army to receive him and repel him. Come, let us see a little how it is “ ordered in all things.” I shall instance only in these particulars. As,

1. It is well ordered in respect of the root out of which it grew: this · (say divines) was the infinite sovereignty, and wisdom, and mercy of God.

i. It was founded in God's sovereignty; he had a right to do what he would with his fallen creatures: he might damn or save whom he pleased; “ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel to honor, and another unto dishonor?” Rom. 9:21. 2. It was founded in wisdom; the covenant of grace was a result of counsel; it was no rash act, but a deliberate act with infinite wisdom; God being the sovereign of all his creatures, and seeing mankind in a perishing condition, be determined within bimself deliberately to make such a covenant of peace, first with Christ, and then with all the elect in Christ. 3. It was founded in mercy, i. e. in the goodness of God flowing out freely to one in misery; for mercy, we may say, is made up of these two acts: 1. There must be an object of misery. 2. There must be a free efflux of goodness on that object. Now the covenant of grace is founded on both these: As, 1. There was an object of misery, lest man, wretched man, undone by sin. And, 2. There was an efflux of God's goodness, his very bowels moved within him, and they could not hold, “ I have loved thee with an everlasting love, (saith God) therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee,” Jer. 31:3. Surely this was well ordered; a perplexed soul may have its spirit up in arms against the covenant of grace: O cries the soul in its sad condition, I am miserable! I shall not live, but die; my sins will damn me! I am lost for ever! Why, but see how the covenant is ordered in respect of the root or rise; it stands like a well marshalled army to receive, and to repel those doubts: As, 1. God acted in a way of sovereignty, and cannot God save thee if he will? 2. God acted in a way of wisdom, and though thou seest no way but one with thee, death and damnation; yet cannot infinite wisdom contrive another way? 3. God acted in a way of mercy, and “ O thou afflicted, tossed, with tempests, and not comforted,” Isa. 54:11, is not infinite mercy above all thy misery? Why, see, see, poor soul, how the covenant repels all thy oppositions in respect of its rise.

2. It is well ordered in respect of the persons interested in it from all eternity; and they are God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son: as for the saints elect, they were not then; and therefore the covenant could not be immediately struck with them. Now there was great need of this order; for should the covenant have been made betwixt God the Father and the elect from all eternity, and that immediately, a troubled soul would have opposed it thus; 1. If it was from all eternity, how then shall I be capable of it? Alas! my being was not so long since. 2. If it were made with me immediately, then I had some part to perform of mine own power and strength; but, alas! I have failed and can do nothing. O but now the cov. enant is a well-ordered covenant in these respects: for, 1. Christ had a be. ing from all eternity, and thou, as an elect vesssel, hadst thy being in him, as he was thy head. 2. Christ is able to perform the covenant, and being contractor, it lies upon his score to satisfy his Father; he that first made the bargain must look to fulfil it; and for thy part, if thou dost any thing it must be through him; “ Without me ye can do nothing," John 15:5. Why, see now, see how the covenant repels all thy oppositions, in respect

« AnteriorContinuar »