« PreviousContinue »
duty: but the children of the covenant have an in. fallible teacher, whom they may consult in all cases, and of whom they may learn how to steer their course in every point; and the meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will be teach his way, Psal. xxv.9.
The darkness brought on mankind by lin, nothing but the grace of the new covenant can effectually dispel. The true light is a benefit of that covenant, purchased by the blood of Christ; and lodged with him among the rest of the benefits of his great trust: and he hath the dispensing of it, as the great Prophet of the covenant. To him then must we have our recourse for light in all cases, whether we be under the midnight darkness of a natural state, or under the twilight-darkness of the present imperfection of a state of grace: yea, in the mid-day light of glory, the Lamb is the light of the heavenly city, Rev. xxi. 23 And thus Christ is the Prophet of the covenant.
IV. Christ the King of the Covenant. The Covenant of grace is a matter of fo vast im. portance, both to the honour of God, and the good of souls; and of such a diffusive and general concern to mankind, that the administration thereof required one invested with kingly power and authority for that effect. And the disposition of the parties, objects of the administration, together with the nature of the thing itself, which concerns the inner man chiefly, and the disposal of the choicest of Heaven's favours, at once laid aside the greatest of men, and the higheft of angels, as no more fit to bear that office, than to produce another world out of nothing. Wherefore the Father's choice in that matter natively fell on his own Son, the second Adam: and he was made King of the covenant.
God, as Greator of the world, is King of the same, by an original, underived right: and lo he hath the
fupreme power over it, of which he can no more divest himself, than of his being. This is the essential kingdom, common to the three Persons in the glorious Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost.
But the kingdom of the covenant, whereof we fpeak, is a derived, delegated one, which the Mediator Christ holds of his Father by the tenor of the covenant, for the administration thereof; as is de. clared, Pfalm ii. 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy bill of Zion. Now, the great design of that administration, is, to gather together finners of man. kind into one body, under the bond of the covenant; and to make them happy, in the enjoyment of the privileges thereof, in grace and glory: the which body, the church, is the kingdom of the covenant, a kingdoin that was to be won, and raised out of the rebel world of mankind, lying in wickedness; and whereof Christ was, by his Father, constitute the alone King and Head.
In fubferviency to this kingdom, the kingdom of providence throughout the world was also commit, ted to him, being made the head over all things to the church, which is his body, Epb. i. 22, 23. he was appointed to rule, not only over his willing subjects, but in the midst of his enemies, Pfalm cx. 2. The management of the wheel of providence, throughout the whole world, was put into the hand of Zion's King. Into the fame hand that the Father hath com. mitted the government of the church, he hath also committed the government of the world; for there is no exception. The Father hath committed all judge ment unto the Son, John v. 22. All power in heaven and in earth, Matth. xxviii. 18. So he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, Rev. xvii. 14. and by him kings reign--princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth, Prov. viii. 15, 16. This head. Thip over the world was neceffagy to his adminiR2
stration of the covenant, as Head of the church; ne. cessary for compassing the ends thereof. Being vested therewith, he sets up and pulls down, in the world, as he fees meet for the great purposes of the covenant; and of what use this is, in the administration thereof, may be learned from Isa. xliii. 14. For your Sake (namely, for the sake of the church) I have fent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans. Verse 15. I am your King. Thus the King and Head of the church manageth all things by his providence, as well without as within the church; though in a very different manner, because in a very different relation, as to his own people, and to strangers. The which was typified in David, who for the benefit of his own kingdom, the kingdom of Israel was made the head of the Heathen, Psalm xviii. 43. For David fmote the Philistines, and subdued them, 2 Sam. viii. I. and the Moabites, verse 2. and the Syrians, verse 6. and all they of Edom became David's servants, verse 14. And David reigned over all Ifrael, and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people,
Now, the chief acts of Christ's administration of the covenant, as he is King thereof, are these.
1. His appointing ordinances of his kingdom, both for bringing of finners personally into the covenant, and for confirming and strengthening the covenanted; as also officers of his kingdom, to administer these ordinances in his name and authority. Both the one and the other were different, under the Old Testament, and under the New ; which hath made two different forms of external administration of the covenant ; the old, which is passed away, and the new, that will continue to the end of the world : but both were from the same authority, and for compassing the same great designs of the covenant, agrees able to the different times for which they were ape
pointed; and are all of them to be found in the scrip tures of the Old and New testament, the book of the manner of the kingdom. It was the same Lord Jesus, the angel of the covenant which spake to Moses in the mount Sinai, Acts vii. 38. who instituted the new testament church and ordinances, and gave Some apostles, and
some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, Eph iv. 11, 12. The saviour, King, and Lawgiver of the church, are one, Ifa. xxxiii. 22. The Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will save us.
2. Emitting his royal proclamation into the world, by the hand of his messengers in the gospel; bearing, that whosoever will come unto him, and unite with him as the head of the covenant, by faith, shall be readily received into it, and have a right to all the privileges thereof, in him: Mark xvi. 15. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Verse 16. He that believeth and bapa tized, Jall be saved. Therein the covenant is published, and offered in his name to every sinner of mankind unto whose ears this voice reacheth ; and they are called, commanded, and charged to come into it, and submit to his royal scepter. His call and offer is their warrant to come: his command obligeth them, that they cannot refuse but in rebellion and disobedience against his royal authority. The promises are set before them indefinitely, that whosoever will, may, by believing, apply them to themselves. The kings proclamation meddles not with the secrets of the eternal election, to reveal them. But the promises of the covenant, infallibly to be accomplished in fome, are, in Christ's testament, as indorsed to finners of mankind indefinitely, to be fulfilled unto all and every one who shall by faith embrace them : and the proclamation makes lawful intimation of the testament. This intimation is the appointed R 3
means of begetting faith, and of bringing finners into the covenant thereby; for faith cometh by hear. ing, Rom. x. 17. And it is made effectual to fome, by the Spirit, through the grace of the covenant fe. cured by promise for them.
And hence it is, that the promise being thus administered to all promiscuously, there is an use of conditional phrases in the administration thereof; though in the covenant itself there are no conditions, properly so called, but what were fulfilled by Jefus Christ in his own person. The word of the cove. pant coming with a like warrant to the elect and the non-elect; to them who certainly will believe, and to them who will continue in their unbelief; the ad. ministering of it equally to both in the gospel-proclamation, must needs be by proposing the promises indefinitely as to persons; the which must at length be resolved into conditional phrases. So it is proclaimed in the ears of all, I will betrothe thee unto me, and,' I will be to them a God. And one believes and applies the fame; and he is thereupon united to Christ and instated in the covenant to all faving purposes; another, who hath as good a revealed warrant to believe as rhe former, yet believes not; and fo comes short of the promise. Now, to speak alike to thofe who will thus differently entertain the words of the covenant,' it follows of course to refolve them into fuch expressions as thefe, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; and He that believeth fall'be saved, he tbat believeth not Mall be damned. Mean while the covenant itself is a different thing from the form of the external administration of it.
3. Effectually subduing the elect to himself, thro the power of his Spirit fo managing the word, that it operates on them like a sword, piercing their souls, conquering their natural averfion and obstinacy, and making them willing to yield, and embrace the co