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in compliance with the common mode of speaking, assert, that they are two distinct covenants : but yet
I would rather choose to call them two great branches of the same covenant; one whereof respects what Christ was to do and suffer, and the glory that he was to be afterwards possessed of; the other more immediately respects that salvation, which was to be treasured up in and applied by him to the elect; and therefore I cannot but think, that what is contained in this answer, that the covenant of grace was made with Christ, as the Head, and, in him, with the elect, as his seed, is a very unexceptionable explication of this doctrine.
VII. Since we frequently read, in scripture, of God's entering into covenant with man, and man with him, this is next to be explained, in such a way, as is consistent with the divine perfections, and, in order hereto, we have, in our entrance on this subject, enquired * into the grammatical sense of the word covenant, and the common acceptation thereof in scripture, when applied to any transaction between God and man, and have shewn, that, however, there may be stipulation and re-stipulation, and thereby a passing over of mutual rights, from one party concerned to the other, in covenants between man and man; yet that this cannot, consistently with the glory of God, and that infinite distance which there is between him and the creature, be applied to the covenant of grace, and have produced some scriptures to prove, that the main thing to be consi. dered therein, is God's promising the blessings that accompany salvation to his people.
Other scriptures might have been referred to, to the same purpose, in which, when God is said to make a covenant with his people, we read of nothing but promises of temporal, or spiritual privileges, which he would confer on them : thus, when he made a covenant with Abraham, he says, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt, unto the great river, the river Euphrates, Gen. xv. 18. and elsewhere he says, This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, I will put my law in their inward parts, (a) and write it in
* See Page 168. ante.
(a) We are not to suppose that they shall not teach every mon,&c. is designed to exclude all public and private, ministerial, family, and social instruction; for this is founded on the law of nature, and is enforced in the New Testament institution of a gospel-ministry to continue to the consummation of all things, (Matth. xxviii. 20. and Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13.) and in the obligation that it has laid upon Christian parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; (Eph. vi. 4.) as also in the directions that are given in this very epistle', chap. iii. 13. and x. 24, 25. to private Christians, to exhort one another daily, &c. This passage therefore must be taken, either in a comparative sense, as snch expressions often are: (See Isa xliii. 18. Jer. xxiü. 18. and Nat. ix. 13.) Or else VOL. II.
their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest of them; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. We might also consider the description hereof, as it is called, A covenant of promise, Eph. ii. 12. and they, who are interested herein, as called, The children of promise, Gal. iv. 28. Nevertheless, God has ordained, that, pursuant to this method of applying the promises of this covenant, none should have ground to expect to be made partakers thereof, but in such a way, as tends to set forth his infinite sovereignty, and unalienable right to obedience from his creatures, which they are bound to perform, not only as subjects, under a natural obligation to obey the divine law, but as those who are laid under a super-added engagement thereunto, by the grace of the covenant. This will prepare the way for what may be farther said, in order to our understanding the meaning of those scriptures, that speak of God's entering into a covenant with man, and man with him. Therefore let it be observed,
1. That when God entered into a covenant with Christ, as the Head of his elect, this included his entering into covenant with them ; as it is expressed in this answer; so that they have their respective concern therein in all things, excepting what relates to his character, as Mediator, Redeemer, Surety, and those peculiar branches of this covenant, which, as was before observed, belong only to himself, which some call the covenant of redemption, as distinct from the covenant of grace. From hence it may be observed, without any strain on the sense of words, that the same covenant that was made with him, was in that peculiar branch thereof that respected the elect, or the privileges that they were to receive from him, made with them. This is very agreeable to, and tends to explain that peculiar mode of speaking, often used by the apostle Paul, concerning believers being crucified with Christ, Gal. ii. 20. dead, Rom. vi. 8. buried, ver. 4. quickened or risen, Col. ii. 12. compared with chap. iii. 1. and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Fesus, Eph. ii. 6. as denoting their being made partakers, as his members, of the benefits arising from Christ's sufferings and glory, as really as though they had suffered, and were now actually glorified with him.
2. Since the covenant of grace is sometimes called a 'covenant of promise, for the reasons before-mentioned, wé may easily understand hereby, that God's entering into covenant with
with reference to that manner of teaching which was used, and rested in under the obscurities of the Old Testament dispensation, and the corrupt interpreta. tions of the Jeruish doctors; or both may be included.
his people, signifies his giving, or making known to them, those great and precious promises, that are contained therein, which have a more immediate reference to their salvation ; and, on the other hand, his keeping covenant with them, implies, his bestowing on them the blessings promised in it, which is otherwise called his remembering his holy covenant, Luke i. 72. or his performing the truth to facob, and the mercy to Abraham, which he had sworn unto them from the days of old, Micah. vii. 20. and it is sometimes called his shewing them his covenant, Psal. xxv. 14. not barely in a way of revelation, but special application of the blessings contained therein, and his bringing them into the bond of the covenant, Ezek. xx. 37. that is, engaging or obliging them to obedience, from the constraints of his love and grace, manifested in the promises of this covenant ; so that now they are doubly bound to be his, not only as he is their Creator and Sovereign, but as he has made them, by this federal transaction, the peculiar objects of his favour and grace.
3. When God is pleased, as he often does, to annex to this covenant a demand of faith, repentance, or any other graces, to be exercised by those, who may claim an interest in the blessings thereof, this is agreeable to that idea, which, as was before observed, is contained in this covenant, by which it is denominated an establishment, or divine appointment, or, as it is sometimes called, a statute, Numb. xviii. 19. Psal. l. 16. and this respects the connexion of those graces with salvation, and their indispensible obligation thereto, who hope to attain it. But this is rather a consequence of God's entering into covenant with them, than an antecedent condition, stipulated by him, which would infer a kind of suspense in him, whether he should fulfil his promise or no, till the conditions were performed. This is the principal thing we militate against, when we except against the use of the word stipulation, with relation hereunto; whereas, if nothing else were intended by this word, but the necessary connexion, which God has ordained, that there should be between the blessings promised, and the grace demanded in this covenant, as some, who use the word, understand nothing else by it; I would not contend about persons using, or laying aside an improper, and, I think, I may say, unscriptural mode of speaking.
Thus concerning the meaning of God's entering into covenant with man. We shall now proceed to the latter branch of this head, namely, what we are to understand by those scriptures that speak of man's entering into covenant with God : such a mode of speaking we have, when Moses says to the people, Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God, that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day, Deut. xxix. 10.-12. and it is said elsewhere, The people entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their hearts, and with all their soul, 2 Chron. xv. 12. and that, Fosiah made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes with all their heart, and with all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant, that were written in this book, and all the people stood to the covenant, 2 Kings xxiii. 3. This is a most solemn transaction, and includes in it the very essentials of practical religion ; therefore it is necessary for us to enquire, what we are to understand thereby; and, since scripture is the best interpreter of itself, and parallel texts give light to each other, we may observe what is said elsewhere, upon the like occasion, where God speaks of some that chuse the things that please him, love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, and take hold of his 'covenant, Isa. lvi. 4, 6. so that to enter into covenant, is to take hold of God's covenant; to embrace the blessings promised therein, as the apostle speaks of those who died in faith, not having received the promises, or the blessings promised, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, Heb. xi. 13. Again, as we receive the blessings of the covenant by faith, so to enter into covenant with God implies, a professed dedication of ourselves to a covenant-God, with a due sense of our obligation to yield that obedience, which we are engaged to thereby, or a declaration that we pretend not to lay claim to the blessings of the covenant, without being enabled, by his grace to comply with the demands thereof; and this is sometimes expressed, by swearing to the Lord, as it is said, Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, Isa. xlv. 23. As God, when he enters into a covenant with man, is sometimes said to swear to him, or to confirm his promise by his oath, upon which account the covenant of grace is sometimes · called his oath, as in one of the scriptures before-mentioned, and others that might have been referred to, Luke i. 72, 73. so, on the other hand, our entering into covenant with him, is our swearing fealty, as subjects do to their princes, whereby they own them to be their rightful governors, and themselves under an obligation to serve them.
This is farther explained, in that solemn transaction that passed between God and his people, in the close of the ministry and life of Moses, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. by which we may understand what is meant, in other places, by God's entering into covenant with them ; this is expressed by his avouching them to be his peculiar people, as he had promised them, and that they siould keep all his commandments ; q. d. he conferred this privilege upon them with that view, that they might reckon themselves under the highest obligation to be obedient to him ; and then
we have an explication of man's entering into covenant with God, when it is said, Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, that is, thou hast publicly declared, that thou art willing to be subject to him, as thy covenant-God, and expressed a ready inclination, pursuant hereunto, to walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice : this is such an entering into covenant, as is incumbent on all who expect the blessing thereof; and, if any one intends nothing more than this by restipulation, when he uses the word in explaining this doctrine, I will not contend with him ; but, since it is to use a word without its proper ideas, which others annex to it, I humbly conceive this doctrine may be better explained without it.
Quest. XXXII. How is the grace of God manifested in the
second covenant ? Answ. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant
in that he freely provideth, and offereth to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him ; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces, and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed to salvation.
called the covenant of grace, it is necessary for us to shew in what respects the grace of God is manifested therein; and, in order thereunto, we may observe,
1. That life and salvation, which are very comprehensive blessings, containing all that sinful creatures stand in need of, are promised herein. Hereby the grace of God is more eminently illustrated than it was in the first covenant ; in which though life was promised, yet there was no promise of salvation, or of the recovery of a forfeited life. This is only brought to light by the gospel, which contains a glorious discovery of the grace of this covenant : the blessings promised therein, are, grace here, and glory hereafter ; all which are contained in that promise, I will be a God to thee, that is, I will deal with thee in such a way, as that all my divine perfections shall contribute to thy happiness. And sometimes when God reveals himself as a covenantGod, he promises, as he did to Abraham, that he will be their shield, and their exceeding great reward, Gen. xv. 1. And there are other promises respecting the forgiveness of sin ; as when God says, I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for