« PreviousContinue »
al strokes, such as disertion, God's hiding his face from them, withdrawing the light of his countenance, their losing some measure of their graces and comforts, woundings of spirit, horrors of consci. ence, whereby they may be brought to the very brink of despair : so that, howbeit the casting them into hell is not within the compass of the discipline of the covenant, yet the casting a kind of hell into them, making them to roar by reason of disqueitness of heart, Pfal. xxxviii. 8. is within the compass of it. And, what is worse than any of all these, it comprehends their being harrassed with horrid temptations, and set up as marks for Satan's fiery darts, Eph. vi. 16. the hardening of their hearts, lfa. Ixiii. 17. and their being. suffered to fall into one sin, and that a grofs sin too, for the punishment of another, as in the case of David and Peter. All these things are within the compass of the discipline of the covenant; and believers are particularly and directly threatened with them, in the case of their disobedience to move them to beware of it : yea, and they are often inflicted by Zion's King on his beloved subjects, that, by these marks of his difpleasure against their fin, he may correct them, make fin bitter to them, and stir them up to repentance and watchfulness. And the worst of them all, even the very hardening of their hearts, and the punishing of one sin with another, are, by the sovereign grace of the covenant, made effectúal for these holy ends: the which grace opening the heart in renewed repentance, godly forrow for fin breaks forth the more forcibly, as waters do which have been long dammed up. Thus these bitter waters, running in the channel of the covenant, become healing waters: these sharp swords are, by the covenant, beaten into plough-shares; and these piercing spears, into pruning-hooks. Of this discipline of the covenant, all the subjects of Christ in this world do partake ; and they must be
under it, till they arrive at perfection in the other, world, Heb. xii. 6, 7, 8.
4thly, He gives them the pardons of the covenant; the pardoning of crimes committed-against the laws of God, being one of the royal prerogatives of Zion's King, whom God hath exalted to be a Prince and a
Saviour, for to give repentance to Ifrael and for. giveness of lins, Acts v. 31. He gives them the first
pardon, removing the guilt of revenging wrath, in their justification : and he gives them also the subse. quent pardons, removing the guilt of fatherly anger, upon their renewing the actings of faith and repenta ance, as was observed before. The Father having committed all judgment unto the Son, he hath the dispensing of Heaven's favours, according to the method and order of the covenant ; and they are not only conferred for his sake, but by his hand.
5thly, He affords them the defence of the covenant, while in this life they are amongst their enemies, Psalm lxxxix. 18. For the Lord is our defence : and the holy One of Israel is our King. Satan is their enemy, a malicious, fubtil, and powerful enemy : but Christ is their friend, and takes them under his protection. He loves them dearly, as the purchase of his own blood, the members of his own mystical body, and bearing his Father's image: he is infinitely wise, and can outshoot the devil in his own bow: and he is the stronger man, who can bind the strong man. The world joins issue with Satan in opposing them; but shall not prevail to ruin them, neither by force nor fraud : for greater is he, than the god of this world and all his dominion, 1 John iv. 4. re are of God, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Their worst enemies are within them, namely, the remains of corruption, which, in the depth of sovereign wifdoin are not expelled during this life; but left for their exercise and trial, and for the discovery of the
power of the grace of their King. And he manifefts his power, in keeping alive in them the fpunk of ho. ly fire, in the midst of an ocean of corruption; and causing it to make head against the fame, until it quite dry it up: Rom. vii. 14. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! Verse 25. I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has all their enemies in chains, that they can act no further against him than he fees meet to permit: and at his pleasure he restrains them, bounding them hy his power, as to the kind, degree, and continu. ance of their attacks, Psalm 1xxvi. 10. The remaind. er of wrath shalt thou reftrain.
Lastly, He authoritatively completes the happiness of the covenant in them. He purchased it for them as a Priest ; he reveals it to them as a Prophet : but as a King, he doth, in the way of authority, put them in full possession thereof, Matth. XXV. 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Gome, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And by the same authority he will pass fentence against his and their enemies, having fully conquered them, ver. 41. And so he will complete for ever the peace of his covenant-fubjeéts.
Thus far of Christ's administration of the cove. nant, as he is King thereof.
V. Christ the Interceffor of the Covenant. As for performing the condition of the covenant, Jesus Christ became the Priest, namely, the sacrificing priest of it, as hath been said in the due place : so, for the administration of the covenant, he became the interceffor, namely, the interceeding priest of it. Christ's intercession did not take its place in the making of the covenant. The love and grace of God made the motion for a new covenant freely: and the breach betwixt God and finners was of another na
ture, than to be made up by a simple intercession : the which might have moved mercy, but could not have satisfied justice, that requiring a facrifice for fin, could not be satisfied by pleading, but by pay. ing a ransom: Heb. ix. 22. Without Medding of blood is no remiffion. Neither doth Christ's facrificing take its place in the administration of the covenant: there is no need of any new facrificing there; For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are fanctified, chap. X. 14. But his faerificing natively took its place in the making of the covenant, and, fulfilling the condition thereof; and his intercession, in the administration of the covenant, and fulfilling the promises of it. Accordingly, for the administra. tion of the covenant, he is the Interceffor thereof : Rom. viii. 34. It is Christ that died, yea ratber, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh interceffton for us.
And indeed there was need of an intercessor for that effect ; since an infinitely holy God, and sinful - creatures, could neither come together into a state of peace, nor continue in it, with the safety of God's honour, without an intercessor. Wherefore Jesus Christ being appointed thereto, is, in that character, entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the prefence of God for us, Heb. ix. 24. to manage the busi. ness of the covenant for our behoof; willing the merit of his facrifice to be applied to all those in whose room and stead he died, and that for all the intents and purposes of the covenant in their favours, ac cording to the method laid down and stated therein. And this his interceffion is always effectual, as he himself testifieth, saying unto his father, John xi. 42. I knew that thou heareft me always. Whence it appears, that the object of it is not of equal latitude with the object of the administration of the covenant, and of his acting in the other relations belonging to that administration; but that it is restricted unto
those whom he, as second Adam, represented in the eternal transaction. And this is very agreeable to the nature of the divine contrivance for the falvation of sinners; in which the eternal purpose hath made a difference of persons, according to sovereign will and pleasure: this being, as it were, one clause in the constitution of the administration, peculiarly in fa. vour of the objets of electing love. So the Inter, ceffor himself teacheih us, John xvii. 9. I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me. Verse 20. For them which shall believe on me. Verse 24. Father, I will that they also whom thou haft given me, be with me where I am.
Now, Christ administers the covenant as Intercerfor thereof, these following ways chiefly.
1. Effectually procuring, by his interest in heaven, the actual inbringing of his elect, at the time appoint.' ed, into a covenant state of union, communion, peace, and favour with God: John xvii. 29. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which Jhall believe on me through their word: verse 21. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us. They are by nature in a state of enmity with God, even as others : but through Christ's intercession the peace is made between Heaven and them. He purchased it for them by the blood of his facrifice; it was promised to him in the covenant on that score ; and by his intercession he actually obtains it unto them. His intercession is the spring that puts all the wheels in motion, that are set a going, in the time of loves, for bringing one out of the state of nature, into a state of
grace. Providence manageth favourably towards the conversion of the man; the word powerfully af. fects him, while on others it falls like rain on a rock, running off as falt as it comes on ; the business of eternal salvation is closely laid to heart with him; the law doth its office upon him, and fo doth the gospel