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was a rich legacy left them, yet they undervalued the Testator's kindness, and would never come and claim it by faith. Hence the benefits of the aovenant of grace, even in respect of unbelievers, are called their own, namely in virtue of the right they have to them by the tenor of Christ's testament: Jonah ii. 8. They that observe lying vanities, forfake their own mercy. Accordingly, to the elder brother in the parable, Luke xv. the father faith, verse 31. Son, all that I have is thine. So chap. xvi. 12. If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who fhall give you that which is your own ? that is, the true riches, verse 11. And their ruin is lodged at the door of their unbelief, in not coming to Christ to receive them, John v. 4. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. Christ's promises in his testament are to mankind sinners, as the promise of Canaan was to the Ifraelites in Egypt, indefinitely, those not excepted whose carcases fell in the wilderness, Exod. vi. 6. Say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord.--verse 8. And I will bring you in unto the land concerning the which I did swear. Thus was there a promise left them of entering into the rest of Canaan: and those who believed it, got the possession accordingly; those who believed not, did lose it. And they fell short of it, not because it was not left to them, but because, though it was left to them, as well as to those that entered, yet they believed it not. So, fays the Apostle, They could not enter in because of unbelief, Heb. iii. 19. And this was no imputation on the faithfulness of God : for even in promises, as well as in covenants, there is a necessity of mutual consent unto the same thing; the party to whom the promise is made, his acceptance thereof being necessary to complete the obligation on the promiser to make it effectual: because none making a promise of a benefit to another, can in reason be thought either to bind himself thereby
to obtrude his benefit on the other against his will ; or yet to give up with it, as a thing to be abandoned by him at any rate. Now, to this very purpose the Apostle makes use of that case of the Israelites having the 'promise of Canaan left them, and yet coming short of it thro' unbelief, Heb. iv. 1. Let us therefore fear, left a promise being left us of entering into his reft, any of you should seem to come short of it. Verse 2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Compare Exod. iv. 9. And Mofes pake unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not.
Thirdly, it is to bc inquired, Who is the executor of the testament? In testaments among men, the testator and executor are always different persons : and it must needs be fo, because the teftator dying, cannot live again to see his will execute; therefore one or more, who live when he is gone, must be nominated for that purpose. But here that reason ceaseth. Jesus Christ could well be the executor of his own testament, and needed not to appoint any other to see to that matter, He was the Lord of life and death, and it was not poffible he should be holden of death, Acts iiet 24. Though he was really to die, to confirm his testament; yet he was quickly to rise again, for the effectuel execution thereof; accordingly the apostle observes, that he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, Rom. iv. 25. And he lives for ever
Even when he was in the grave, he was ca• pable of executing his testament, being God as well as man, having a life which could not be lost, no not for a moment ; namely, the divine life. And the executing of it then, when the human nature was in the state of death, was much the same as his executing of it before he had actually assumed the human nature at all.
And that Jesus Christ really is the executor of his own testament, appears from his being constitute by the Father Administrator of the covenant, to dispense the benefits thereof as great Steward of the house of Heaven: and from the acts of that his administration, both in this life, and in that which is to come : for he it is that hath in his hand the conferring of grace, both real and relative, on finners; and the conferring of glory on saints: the which are the executing of his testament, as well as the administering of the covenant; the former being subordinated to the latter. Mean while ir cannot be refused, that he executes it by his Spirit, and employs gospel ministers in the matter. Wherefore, whosoever would have any saving benefit by Christ's testament, or would partake of the legacies therein bequeathed, must come to himself to receive them; since he is the executor of his own testament. And therefore the constant call of the gospel to perishing sinners, is, to come to Christ for life and salvation; and the com. plaint on those who forsake their own mercy, is, that they will not come to him, John v. 40. And the whole life of believers must be a coming to him, 1 Pet. ii. 4. that is, a living by faith in him, Gal. ii. 20. whereby they may be daily receiving of the legacies, according to their exigencies.
Fourthly, In the last place, it is to be enquired, What are the legacies left in Chrift's testament, to poor finners of mankind, his only legatees? In the general, there is left to them therein what is sufficient to make them happy for time and eternity ; even all the benefits of the covenant to be received by faith. These are Christ himself, and all things in and with him, Rom. viii. 32. And the general clause of the testament is, According to your faith be it unto you, Matth. ix. 29. It being beyond our reach fully to reckon up the particulars, it shall suffice to point at a few things, as the comprehensive 23
legacies, left by Jesus Christ in his testament, to sinners of mankind indefinitely.
Legacy 1. His own complete righteousness, to cover us before the Lord; hence called the gift of righteousness, Rom. v. 17. as being made over to us in his testament, to be received by faith; in which sense it is said to be revealed unto faith, that is, to be believed or trusted on, and so received and put on, chap. i. 17. Dying persons are wont to leave suits of mourning to their poor friends : but our dying Saviour left to all his legatees, The garments of Salvation, the robe of righteousness, Isa. Ixi. 10.; beautiful garments, chap. lii. 1.; white raiment, Rev. ii. 18. as a fuit of rejoicing; for that, though he was dead, he is alive, and lives for evermore. Our fa. ther Adam left us naked, to our shame : yet need we not go naked, nor our shame be seen. For, by the second Adam's testament, fufficient cloathing is left to our father's broken family; even the robe of his own righteousness: and nothing remains, but that we receive it as his legacy to us, and puyiçon. A holy God cannot admit us into his presence in our spiritual nakedness: the law requires us to ap. 1 pear before him in unspotted holiness of nature, and perfect righteousness of life, as the condition of life; and withal, with a satisfaction to justice, by suffer. ing, because we have finned. But how can we make such an appearance before him? We can by no means put ourselves in such a condition, by any thing we can do or suffer. Yet is not our case hopeless. We have a good friend, the Lord Jesus Chrift, who hath left us by testament, the holiness of his nature, wherewith he was born; the righteousness of his life, even all the good works he wrought in obedience to the ten commandments, during his life on earth; and the satisfaction made by his death, and sufferings from the womb to the grave: he hath made all these one undivided gift of righteoufness,
and bequeathed the fame to us in his testament, to be received by faith. By means hereof, the most wretched sinners of us all may be beautified in the fight of a holy God, have wherewith to answer all the demands of the law for life, and obtain a full pardon and acceptance with God, as righteous in his light. How shall we escape, if, never claiming this legacy, we trample on the Teftator's kindness!
Legacy 2. His new-covenant interest in God, whereby to render us happy: Heb. viii. 10. I will be to them a God. Our father Adam left his whole family without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. This was an unspeakable loss, a ruining loss: all misery in time and eternity was wrapt up in it. It was a loss that could never have been compensed: and to us it was irrecoverable. But Jesus Christ hath recovered for us the lost covenant-interest in God, and bequeathed it to us in his teftament. This is a legacy full beyond our comprehension. Who can conceive fully what is in that, I will be your God? Surely all blesedness is in it, for time and eternity: Psal. cxliv. 15. Happy is the people, whose God is the Lord. Herein is left you peace, and reconciliation with God, John xiv. 27.; adoption into the family of God, 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17, 18.;, yea, that ye shall have God for your own God, your own heritage, in a jointheirship with Christ, Rom. viii. 17.; all the persons of the Godhead to be yours; the Father to be your Father, the Son your Saviour, the Holy Ghost your Sanctifier: and all the attributes of God to be eme ployed for your happiness. Nothing on Christ's part, nothing on God's part, stands between you and all this : nothing can make you come short of it but unbelief. That new.covenant interest in God is purchased by the blood of the everlasting covenant; it is given over unto Jesus as Administrator of the covenant; and he again hath made it over to you by testament. And what remains, but that ye come to