« PreviousContinue »
allo in its turn : and thefe things cease not, until he is brought into a new state, and is become a new creature. Whence did all this take its rife? Why, the man had an unknown friend in the court of heaven, who fpoke for him to the King: and all this.is the fruit of that intercession made for him.
2. Appearing for them, and in their name taking poffeffion of heaven, and all the other benefits of the covenant, which they have a right to, in virtue of their new covenaat state: Eph. ii. 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us fit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Heb. vi. 20. Wbither the forerunner is for us entered. That moment where in a; finner enters into the covenant by believing, he hath a right to all; for if children then heirs, Rom. viii. 17. Howbeit, in the case of most of the chil. dren of God, the poffeffion seems to be delayed long after that time. But it is to be considered, that pofseflion 'may not only be taken by a man in his own person, but also in the person of another : thus one may by his attorney take posseffion of an estate which he never saw ; and a minor, hy his re. presentative, may be possessed of what is not as yet meet to give him into his own hand. So, howbeit the believer's possession of all in his own person is indeed delayed; yet in this respect it is not delayed one moment after his believing in Jesus Chrift: for his Intercessor acts for him in the matter, What should hinder this manner of poffession one moment, after believing? For the covenant of promises is an undoubted right; the finner, though on earth, doth by faith plead it before God in heaven; and Christ is there, as his representative and interceflor, to take poffeffion in his name.
Wherefore every believer shall justly reckon himself
, though having nothing, yet poleffing all things, 2 Cor. vi. 10. and complete in him, Col. ii. 10. 3. Maintaining the peace between God and them $
while they are here in this world. Having purchased their peace with Heaven by the facrifice of himself, and by his intercession brought them into a state of peace,
he doth not leave it to themselves to maintain it. If it were so, it would soon be at an end. There are so many failures on their part, while they are compassed with the body of sin, that their own con. sciences have wherewith to accuse them every day: and the devil is an incessant accufer of the brethren: but Christ intercedes for them, to the preventing always a total rupture betwixt Heaven and them; however they may for their fins fall under God's fa. therly displeasure: upon the ground of his fatisfaction for them, he answereth all accusations against them, and makes up all emerging differences between them and their covenanted God: 1 John iii. i. If a ny man fin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: ver. 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins. Hereupon the Apostle triumphs over all their accusers, Rom. viii. 33. Who fball lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth : verfe 33. Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died, who also maketh interceffion for
Wherefore their state of peace with God is in. violably maintained; though, for their correction, they may indeed lose the light and sense of it for a time. Having once become their friend in Christ, he may indeed severely chastise them for their faults, but he never becomes their enemy again, even in the way of legal enmity, far less in the way of real enmity, Rom. viii. 1. Ifa. liv. 9.
4. Procuring them access to God, and acceptance with him, notwithstanding of their imperfections, while in this life. Saints on earth never want business in the court of heaven. Yet being finful, they are in themselves unfit to come into the presence of
But the Intercessor of the covenant introduceth them, procuring them access by his intereft
in the court: For through him we have an access by one Spirit unto the Father, Eph. ii. 18. And by his means they are allowed access with boldness, chap. iii. 12. He makes their persons accepted, notwithstanding of the sinfulness cleaving to them: they are accepted in the beloved, chap. i. 6. And in him they have an altar that sanctifies their gifts, Heb. xiii. 10. So that their spiritual facrifices, howbeit they want not their blemishes, yet are acceptable to God by Je. Jus Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 5. Their prayers made in faith, though smelling rank of the remains of the corrup. tion of nature, yet being perfumed by the Intercerfor with the incense of his merit, are accepted in heaven, and have gracious returns made them, Rev. viii. 3. Their doing services, and their suffering fervices, which however costly, could not be accepted for their own worth, because imperfect, are through his intercession accepted, as being washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, chap. vii. 14.
5. Lastly, Obtaining their admittance into heaven, in the due time; and continuing their state of perfect happiness there for ever and ever: John xvii. 24. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me; be with me where I am. Our Lord Jesus Christ was by his Father, constituted a priest for ever, Pfalm cx. 4. Nevertheless, after his having once offered up himself a sacrifice on the cross, he offered no more facrifice. Therefore he must be, not a facrificing priest for ever, but an interceding priest, as the ApoItle explains it, Heb. vii. 25. He ever liveth to make interceffion for them. Now, the Spirits of just men being made perfect immediately after death, there is no more imperfection about their souls morally con. sidered, Heb. xii. 23 : and after the resurrection, there will be no more imperfection about their bodies neither, 1 Cor. xv. 54. The effect then of Christ's intercession for ever, must be the everlasting continu. ation of their happy state; their Intercessor eternally
willing willing the continuance of the fame, on the ground of the eternal redemption obtained for them, by the facrifice of himself. The infinite merit of his facri. fice will be eternally presented before God in the ho. ly place, while he shall appear there in our nature continually: and this will be the everlasting security for the continuation of the saints happiness. The which happiness issuing from the merit of his facri. ficc as their Priest, will be communicated unto them by him as their Prophet and their King: for these his offices will never be laid aside. As he is a priest for ever, fo of his kingdom there shall be no end, Luke i. 33. and the Lamb shall be the light of the heaven. ly city, Rev. xxi. 23. ; the faints communion with God there, being still in and through the Mediator, in a manner agreeable to their state of perfection, chap. vi. 7.
And these are the chief acts of his administration of the covenant, as Interceffor thereof.
Thus far of the fourth head, namely, the administration of the covenant.
HEAD V. The Trial of a saving personal Inbeing in
the Covenant of Grace.
E have now opened the doctrine of the co
venant of grace, in treating of the parties
in it, the making of it, the parts of it, and the administration thereof: it remains to make some practical improvement of the whole, in this and the following head.
If one seriously consider the covenant of grace, as that on which the salvation of our souls depends, he can hardly miss to put the question to himself, What interest have I in that covenant ? There is no queftion but you have a common interest in it, by which
you are fufficiently warranted to come into it: but that you may have, and yet perilh; for even chil. dren of the kingdom Mall be cast out into utter darkness, Matth. viii. 12. But the question is, Whether ye have a faving interest in it, being actually come into it, or not? the covenant is indeed brought unto you, in the ordinances of the gospel : but are you brought into the covenant, united with the head thereof, Christ Jesus? It hath been administred to you; but have you by faith taken hold of it? You have received the facrament of baptism, the real of the covenant, in the right of your parents; but have you personally embraced the covenant in sincerity? The two covenants, of works, and of grace, divide the whole world between them; every man is under one of the two; and no man can be under both at one and the same time, in respect of his state before the Lord, Rom. vi. 14. Under the first cove. nant stands a numerous party, in the first Adam, head of that broken covenant, deriving fin, death, and the curse from him: under the second covenant stands a party in the second Adam, head of that fulfilled covenant, deriving life and falvation from him. These parties will be judged, each according to the covenant they are under: fo the former will be condemncd, in virtue of the curse of the covenant in which they are ; and the latter will be eternally faved, in virtue of the promise of life in the covenant wherein they are. In the mean while, there is access for those of the first covenant to leave this party and covenant, and to join the party in the second covenant: but death will block up that access. Wherefore it is the interest of the one, as well as of the other, to know which party and covenant they belong to. And for trial hereof, I offer the following marks, figos, or characters of those who are favingly and personally within the covenant of grace. I. They are such as have fled for refuge from the