« PreviousContinue »
of his need of Christ, to beat him off from believe ing on Christ, is a dangerous device and temptation of the devil. But do thou repel it, saying, 0 enemy of my falvation, it is true, I do not know whether Christ represented me or not, in the eternal covenant; neither am I obliged nor concerned to know it, in order to my taking hold of that covenant: but one thing I know assuredly, namely, that the cove. nant, in the free promise of life and falvation, upon the ground of Christ's obedience and death allenar. ly, is held out to me, even to me, to be believed, trusted to, and rested upon, by me, even by me : and therefore I will believe, and lay hold on it; and, upon the infallible ground of the faithfulness of God in the promise, Whofoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life, I will assuredly conclude, that it shall be made out to me.
QUESTION. But are there 'no marks or figns whereby a poor finner may know himself to be one of those who were reprefented by Christ in the second covenant, and whose names he put in the bond of furetyship that he gave to his father from eternity? Answer. Yea, there are; but then they are such, as although the having of them will prove a man to have been represented by Jesus Christ in the eternal covenant; yet the want of them will not prove ą man not to have been represented therein, forasmuch as what one has not now, he may come to have afterwards. And, under this limitation, I offer these two marks of the thing in question.
Mark 1. A deliberate and cordial complacency in the covenant. As it was with the representative from eternity; so it is in time, in that matter, with the represented, when once by grace they become capable of personal confenting: there is a deliberate and cordial complacency in the covenant being proposed, Psalm xl. 7. Then said I-verse 8.--thy law is within my heart. The children of men discover
themselves to be Adam's natural feed, represented by him in the covenant of works, by the inclination and bent of their hearts towards that covenant. There is such a bias to that covenant hung upon the minds of men naturally, that Do and live, or Work and win, is the religion of all natural men, so far as they have any practical religion at all; and they cannot be brought off from it, but by the power of renewing grace. Even so the elect of God discover themselves to be Christ's spiritual seed, represented by him in the covenant of grace, by their deliberate and cordial complacency in this covenant. The heart touched with divine grace, says of it, This is all my sal. vation, and all my desire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. The new bias hung on their minds by renewing grace, carries them to a hearty approbation, relish, and liking of the new covenant held forth in the gospel: they are well pleased with the parties-contractors, the representative and the representation in it; the conditions and promises of it; the administrator, the administration, and order thereof. In a word, the covenant is in their eyes a faultless contrivance ; there is nothing in it they would have out, and there is nothing out of it they would have in. So there they cast anchor for their own souls. But it is not so with others: 1 Pet. ii. 7. Unto
you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner; ver. 8. and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.
Mark 2. The image of Christ begun to be drawn on the soul, together with a longing for the perfecting thereof; 1 Cor. xv. 48. As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. Ver. 49. And as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Likeas all whom Adam
represented, when he entered into the covenant of works in paradise, do afterwards, every one in his time, personate Adam, looking as like him as ever child was like a father, acting even as he acted, as I shewed elsewhere : so all whom Christ represented in the covenant of grace from eternity, do in time put on Christ, Gal. iii, 27. personating him, and representing him in another fense, namely, bearing his image, and walking even as he walked, 1 John ii. 6. It is a promise of the covenant to our Lord Jesus, Ifa. liii. 10. He mall see his seed, to wit, as one sees a new born babe. But do not others fo see them too? Yea, indeed they do. Satan and wicked men see them, as rebels and traitors do with grudge and hatred see a new born prince heir to the
The godly see them, as in that case the princesses do with a particular satisfaction fee their new born brother. But our Lord Jesus Christ him. self fees them, as the king, the father of the babe, does with a peculiar fatisfaction fee him as his own fon, and his own picture. Mean while, as Adam's children do not open out all at once what of old A. dam is in them, but by degrees as they grow up; but they are still longing for the perfection thereof, when they shall be grown men : fo. Christ's children are but imperfect in this life, as in the state of childhood ;' but they are longing to arrive at perfection, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, the principle of which they have in them, Eph. iv. 13.
Thus far of the first head, the Parties in the covenant of grace.
Η Ε Α D ΙΙ. The MAKING of the Covenant of Grace. Aving considered the parties in the covenant of grace, we come now to take a view of
the making of that covenant betwixt the parties contracting therein. And here we find ourselves at the fountain-head of the salvation of lost sinners, the origin and rise of the glorious plan, laid from eternity in the secret council of the ever-blessed Trinity, for remedy of man's misery. And this is a manifold my. stery, the several folds of which we are not able fully to discover. With God it was all one piece, if I may fo phrase it; for with him all things are together and at once; and not one thing before, and another after, as with us. Howbeit, we cannot conceive of it but in parcels; first one piece of the inystery, and then another; and that because of the weakness of our capacity, as we are creatures and much more, as we are creatures 'under spiritual darkness. Wherefore we must of necessity address ourselves to the consideration of it in parcels; but still remembering we are in the eternal mystery, transacted in the eter
decree of the holy Trinity all at once, by one eternal act of the divine will : in which, nevertheless, we are allowed to conceive a certain order, since otherwise we cannot take up the mystery.
We have already seen, that the Father, the partycontractor on Heaven's side, is in that matter to be considered as an offended; but purposing to manifest the glory of his mercy in the salvation of some of mankind lost; yet withal as a just God, who cannot but give sin a just recompence: and also, that Jesus Christ, the party-contractor on man's side, is to be considered therein as the last or second Adam, representative of a seed. Wherefore, first of all, we are to enquire, How Christ the Son of God be. came second Adam ? and then, How the covenant was made with him as such ? the former being as it were preliminary to the latter.
First, How Christ the Son of God became second Adam ? This we may take up in two things. 1. The Father willed and designed, that his own D 2
Son, the eternal Word, should, for the purpose of mercy toward mankind lost, take on their nature, and become man. He saw that facrifice and offering would not answer the case ; the debt was greater than to be paid at that rate; the redemption of fouls could not be managed but by a person of infinite dignity; wherefore, having purposed that the darling attribute of mercy should be illustrated in the case of lost mankind, he willed the human nature to be united in time to the divine nature, in the person of the Son.
And hereunto the Son, as the eternal Word, the second Person of the glorious Trinity, having no nearer relation to man than as his Sovereign Lord Creator, readily agreed: Heb. x. 5. Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared
-Verse 7. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of thy book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh, that all flesh might not perish : he consented to become man, to take into a personal union with him. self a human nature, to wit, a true body and a reafonable soul, according to the eternal destination of his Father. This was an instance of amazing condescension. The highest monarch's consent to lay aside his robes of majesty, to clothe himself with rags, and become a beggar, is not to be compared with it. Nay the highest angel's consent to become a worm, is not to be named in one day with the eternal Son of God, the Father's Equal, his consenting to be come man: for the distance between the divine na. ture and the human is infinite; whereas the distance between the angelic nature, and the nature of worms of the earth, is but finite.
Now, the effect of this was, that bereby the Son of God was constituted substantial Mediator, or Mediator in respect of nature, between God and uan. Being from eternity God equal with the Fa