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unto the day of redemption; properly speaking, the blood of Christ is the only seal of this testament, by which it is ratified and confirmed; and therefore called the blood of his covenant, and the blood of the new testament, Zech. ix. 11. Matt. xxvi. 28. Heb. xiii. 20.-7. To all wills there are commonly witnesses, and often three, and in some cases three are required. Now as God sware by himself, because he could sware by no greater; so because no other and properer witnesses could be had, to witness this will made in eternity, God himself, or the three divine Persons, became witnesses to it, the Three that bare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost, 1 John v. 7. Unless we choose to conceive of things in this manner; that as the Father, the first Person, gives the lead in all things in nature and in grace, and as he did in the council of peace, so in the covenant of grace, or in this testainent, he may be considered as the maker of the will, or testament, and the Son and Spirit as witnesses to it.
it. - 8. This will, or testament, is registered in the sacred writings, from thence the probat of it is to be taken; the public notaries, or amanuensis, that have copied it under a divine direction, are the prophets and apostles; hence the writings of the one are called the Old Testament, and the writings of the other the New Testament, the latter being the more clear, full, and cor. rect coy.
The covenant of grace having the nature of a testament, shews that there is no restipulation in it on the part of men; no more than there is a restipulation of legatees in a will; what is bequeathed to them being without their know"ledge and consent, and without any thing being required of them, to which they give their assent. The covenant of grace is properly a covenant to Christ, in which he restipulates; but a testament to his people, or a pure covenant of promise. Also it may be observed, that the legacies in this testament, are owing to the good will of the testator, and not to any merit in the legatees: For if they which are of the law be heirs, if they that seek eternal life by the works of
the law be heirs of grace and glory, then, says the apostle, faith is made void, 5 and the promise made of none effect, which declare it to be a free donation: and
so again, If the inheritance be of the lau', or to be obtained by the works of it, it is no more of promise; these will not consist with, but contradict one an. other; but God gave it to Abraham by promise; as he has done to all the legatees in his covenant or will; see Rom. iv. 14. Gal. iii. 18.
I. The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, may be considered as testator of the covenant of grace, as it is a will or testament, and which is plainly suggested in Heb. ix. 15–17. for,-1. Christ as God has an equal right to dispose of things as his divine Father, seeing all that the Father has are his; as all the perfections of deity, so all persons, and all things in nature, providence and grace ; particularly all the blessings of grace and glory. He is over all God blessed for ever, and all things are of him and owe their being to him, and are at his disposal; yea all things are delivered by the Father to hiin as mediator: and if the Spirit disposes of his gifts and graces, dividing them to every man severally as he will; the Son of God may be reasonably thought to have a power and
right to dispose of the blessings of his goodness to whosoever he pleases. 2. Nothing is disposed of in the covenant, or testament, without his counsel and consent; for though with respect to creatures, angels and men, it may be said of God, with whom took he counsel? yet with his Son, the Wonderful, Counseller, the Angel of the great council, he did; foi the counsel of peace was betweco them both, the Father and the Son, which respected the salvation of men, and the donation of grace and glory to them. —3. Nor was any thing given in covenant, or disposed of in the will and testament of God, but with respect to the death of Christ; all promises in covenant was on condition of Christ's making his soul an offering for sin, and of pouring out his soul unto death, Isai.liii. 10–12. all the blessings of grace bestowed on Old Testament-saints, as they were legacies in this testament, so they were given forth in virtue of the Hood of the covenant, which had a virtue that reached backward; Christ being the lamb slain froin the foundation of the world; and there is no blessing of grace in the covenant, but what is on account of the death of Christ the testator; redemption of transgressions, that were under both the first and second testaments, was by means of death; and without shedding of blood there was no remission under either dispensation ; and it is the death of Christ that secures from condemnation, as well as by it reconciliation is made.- 4. ever is given in this will, is given to Christ first, to be disposed of by him, so that he is the executor as well as the testator of it: he was set up as mediator
from everlasting; was prevented with the blessings of goodness, or had them first given to him; he was possessed of a fulness of grace, and grace was given to the elect in him before the world began; not only the blessings of grace were put into his hands to dispose of, but eternal life, foi he has power to give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given himn; whether this be considered
as an inhetitance which He, the Word of God's grace, the essential Woid, is able to give among them that are sanctified by faith in him; or as a kingdom prepared for them in the purposes of God, and which Christ gives a right unto, and a meetness for; vea he himself disposes of it in a testamentary way, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, dispose of it to you by will and testament, Luke xxii. 29. Wherefore,
II. The death of Christ is necessary to put this will in force, to give strength unto it, that it may be executed according to the design of the maker of it; for where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for
a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no-strength at alt, whilst the testator liveth, Heb. ix. 16, 17. It is not the death of any, only of the testator himself, that gives validity to his will, or renders it executable; and it is only the death of Christ that gives forth and strength unto, or ratifies and confirms the covenant of grace; not the death of slain sacrifices, for though by the blood and death of these the first testament was dedicated, ratified and confirmed in a typical way, as these were types of Christ in his blood-shed and death, Heb. ix. 19-22. yet the new testament is only, really, truly and proper
ly ra:ified and cofirmed by the death of Christ itself; and whereas the Father and the Spirit were jointly concerned with Christ in making this will or testament, it was not necessary that they should die, nor could they, since they never assumed a nature capable of dying; only it was necessary that one of the testators should assume a nature capable of death, and in it die to give force to this will; and infinite wisdoin judged it most proper and fitting that the Son of God should do it, who took upon him, not the nature of angels, who are incorporeal, immaterial and immortal spirits, and die not; but he became a partaker of flesh and blood, of human nature, that he might die and ratify the testament and will he has concerned in the making of; and this was necessary to give it strength and force: not as if it was alterable until the death of Christ, as the wills of men are until their death, which while they live as liable to be altered again and again; for the first thoughts of God always remain, and that to all generations; his mind is never turned, his counsel is immutable, and so his covenant and testament founded thereon is unalterable; 'nor that the inheritance bequeathed in this will could not be enjoyed before the death of Christ; this indeed is the case with respect to the wills of men, the legacies are not payable, nor estates bequeathed enjoyed, until the testator dies; but such is not only the certainty of Christ's death, and which with God was as if it was, before it really was, but such is the virtue and efficacy of it, that it reaches backward to the beginning of the world, as before observed: wherefore the Old Testament saints not only received the promise of eternal inheritance, but enjoyed it before the death of Christ, though in virtue of it, for they are said to inherit the promises, that is the things promised, Heb. ix. 15. and vi. 12. but the death of Christ was necessary to confirm the covenant or testament, that the legatees might appear to have a legal right to what was bequeathed to them, law and justice being satisfied thereby; so that no caveat could be put in against them, and no obstruction made to their claim of legacies, and their enjoyment of them; and no danger of this will being ever set aside. There is another concern and part which Christ has in the covenant, and that is the messenger of it, Mal. ïï. 1. but as that respects the administration of it, it will be considered in its proper place, after the fall of man.
OF THE CONCERN THE SPIRIT OF GOD HAS IN THE
COVENANT OF GRACE.
AVING considered the parts which the Father and the Son have taken in the covenant, the part which the holy Spirit has in it is next to be treated of, who was not a mere by-stander, spectator and witness of this solemn transaction, compact and agreeinent, between the Father and the Son, but was a party con
cerned in it.
I. The third person, the Spirit, gave his approbation of, and assent unto, every article in the covenant. – 1. In general, what respected the salvation of
he chosen ones; for that is the grand and principal article of the covenant; this, says David, speaking of the covenant, is all my salvation, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. that is, the whole of his salvation; all things relative to it were provided for in it, and secured by it; in the economy of which each person took his part; and that of the Spirit is sanctification; which makes meet for the enjoyment of complete and eternal salvation; hence called the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Pet. i. 2. And this clearly shews, that the Spirit approved of, and assented to the whole scheme of salvation, or of the thing itself in general; or otherwise he would never have taken a part in it; and as it was the purpose and will of God the Father to save men by his Son, and he appointed them to obtain salvation by him ; so the Son of God caine to seek and save men, being sent of God for that purpose; in which mission of him the Spirit joined; Now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me, Isai. xlviii. 16. which is a plain proof that he approved of, and assented to it, that the Son of God should be the Saviour of men; and whereas it was proper that the Son of God should assume human nature, and in it work out the salvation of men; and which was agreed upon between the Father and the Son; so it was approved of and assented to by the Spirit; as appears from his concern in the incarnation of Christ; for what was conceived in the virgin was of the Holy Ghost, Matt, i. 18, 20. and, and seeing it was necessary that the Saviour of men should suffer and die for them, to satisfy law and justice; and the divine Father enjoined his Son to lay down his life for them; to which command he became obedient; so the Spiiit declared his approbation of it, by testifying beforehand, in the prophets, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow; as well as was assisting to the human nature of Christ, in the sacrifice of himself; since it was through the eternal Spirit, he offered up himself without spot to God, 1 Pet. i. 11. Heb. ix. 14. Once more, as it was highly proper, that as Christ should be delivered to death for the offences of men, so that he should rise again for their justification; or otherwise, the whole affair of sal. vation would have miscarried; hence the Father in covenant enjoined his Son, as to lay down his life, so to take it up again; and which he did, and in which the Spirit was concerned; and which shewed his approbation of this closing part of the scheme of salvation by Christ; see Rom. i. 4. — 2. The Spirit of God approved of, and assented to all the promises in the covenant; there are many exceeding great and precious promises in the scriptures, which are transcribed from the covenant, and are all Yea, and Amen in Christ, and in which the Spirit has a concern; hence he is called the holy Spirit of promise, Eph. i. 13. indeed, he himself is the great promise of the covenant; promised both to Christ the Head and to his members, Matt. xii. 18. Isai. xlij. 1. and xliv. 3. Gal. iii. 14. and he is concerned in the application of every promise to the elect; it is he that remembers to them the word of promise, on which the Lord has sometimes caused them to hope; and it is he that opens the promise to them, instructs them in it, and shews them what is contained in it, the nature,
use, and suitableness of it; it is he that applies the promises to them at a proper season, when they are like apples of God in pictures of silver; and he it is that keeps up their faith and hope, as to the grand promise of eternal life; so that they, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness, by faith, John xiv. 26. Prov. xxv. 11. Gal. v. 5. by which it appears, that he approved of every promise of the covenant made in eternity, or he would never act the part he does, in the application of them in time. — 3. The blessed Spirit approved of, and
gave his assent to all the grants made to Christ, and to his people in the covenant, to the sure mercies of David, to the spiritual blessings wherewith the elect are blessed in heavenly places in Christ; for he takes of these in time, and shews them to the persons interested in them, and their interest therein, John xvi. 14. which he would not do, if he had not approved of the grants of these blessings to them, in the everlasting covenant; as for instance, the blessing of a justifying righteousness, to be wrought out by Christ, was provided in the covenant; and which being brought in, is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith : and besides the external revelation of it in the gospel, the Spirit of God brings near this righteousness, and sets it in the view of an awakened sinner, and shews him its suitableness, fulness, and excellency, works faith in him to receive it, and pronounces in his conscience his justification by it; hence it is said of such, that they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. vi. 11. Pardon of sin is another blessing of the covenant, through Christ, and the Spirit takes the blood of Christ, the blood of the covenant shed for the remission of sin, and sprinkles it on the conscience, and thereby speaks peace and pardon to it; saying, Son or daughter, be of good chear, thy sins are
e forgiven thee, Heb. viii. 12. and x. 22. and xii. 24. Adoption also, a blessing of grace, provided in the covenant, and which the Spirit bears witness to, and makes application of, and his sent down into the hearts of the covenant and adopted ones for that purpose, and is hence called the Spirit of adoption, 2 Cor. vi. 18. Gal. iv. 6. Rom. viii. 15, 16. In short, all the grace given to the elect in Christ, before the world began, all the things that are free • ly given them of God in the covenant, the Spirit in time makes known unto them, and declares and testifies their interests in them, 1 Cor. i. 12. and ii. 9-11. All which abundantly prove his approbation of, and assent unto every thing contained in the covenant of grace.
II. There are many things which the holy Spirit himself undertook and engaged in covenant to do; and nothing more strongly proves this than his doing them; for had he not agreed to do them, they would not have been done by him.
1. Some things he has done, as he agreed to do, with respect to Christ; he formed the human nature of Christ, in which he obeyed and suffered for the salvation of the elect; every individual of human nature is, indeed, made by him ; The Spirit of God hath made me, says Elihu, Job xxxiii. 4. but the individual of Christ's human nature, was fearfully and wonderfully made by him, as David, personating him, says he was, in secret, and curiously wrought in the