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But, since this is so necessary a subject to be insisted on, we shall offer some arguments to prove it. Some have thought that it might be proved from Hos. vi. 7. which they choose to render, They, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant; from whence they conclude, that Adam was under a covenant; and so they suppose that the word Adam is taken for the proper name of our first parent, as it is probable it is elsewhere, viz. when Job says, if I covered my transgressions, as Adam, Job xxxi. 33. alluding to those trifling excuses which Adam made, to palliate his sin, immediately after his fall, Gen. iii. 12. And there are some expositors who conclude, that this is no improbable sense of this text:* yet I would not lay much stress on it; because the words may be rendered as they are in our translation, They, like men, &c. q. d. according to the custom of vain man, they have transgressed the covenant; or, they are no better than the rest of mankind, who are disposed to break covenant with God. In the same sense the apostle uses the words, when reproving the Corinthians, he says, Are ye not carnal, and walk as men, 1 Cor. iii. 3.
Therefore, passing this by, let us enquire, whether it may not, in some measure, be proved from that scripture, which is often brought for this purpose, In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17. from whence it is argued, that, if man had retained his integrity, he would have been made partaker of the heavenly blessedness. Many, indeed, are so far from thinking this an argument to prove this matter, that they bring it as an objection against it, as though God had given man hereby to understand, that he was not, pursuant to the nature of a covenant, to expect any farther degree of happiness than what he was already possessed of; but, agreeably to the sanction of a law, death was to be inflicted, in case of disobedience; and life, that is, the state in which he was created, should be continued, as long as he retained his integrity. As when a legislator threatens his subjects with death, in case they are guilty of rebellion, nothing can be inferred from thence, but that, if they do not rebel, they shall be continued in the quiet possession of what they had a natural right to, as subjects, and not that they should be advanced to a higher degree of dignity. This sense of the text, indeed, enervates the force of the argument, taken from it, to prove, that man was under a covenant. But yet i would not wholly give it up, as containing in it nothing to support the argument we are defending. For this threatening was denounced, not only to signify God's will to punish sin, or the certain event that should follow upon
• Vid. Grot. in Hos vi. 7. Mihi latina hæc interpretatio non displicet, tit sensus hic sit ; sicut Adam, quia pactum meum violavit, expulsus est ex Hedene ; ita æquun est ex sua terra expelli.
it, but as a motive to obedience; and therefore it includes in it a promise of life, in case he retained his integrity.
The question therefore is; what is meant by this life? or, whether it has any respect to the heavenly blessedness : In answer to which, I see no reason to conclude but that it has; since that is so often unterstood by the word life in scripture : thus it is said, Hear and your soul shall live, Isa. lv. 3. and, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, Matt. xix. 17. and in many other places; therefore why should not life, in this place, be taken in the same sense ? So, on the other hand, when death is threatened, in several scriptures it implies a privation of the heavenly blessedness, and not barely a loss of those blessings, which we are actually possessed of.
Moreover, Adam could not but know God to be the Fountain of blessedness, otherwise he would have been very defective in knowledge ; and, when he looked into himself, he would find that he was capable of a greater degree of blessedness, than he did at present enjoy, and (which was yet more) he had a desire thereof implanted in his very nature. Now what can be inferred from hence, but that he would conclude that God, who gave him these enlarged desires, after some farther degree of happiness arising from communion with him, would give him to ex; ect it, in case he retained that holiness, which was implanted in his nature?
But, that it may farther appear that our first parents were given to expect a greater degree of happiness, and consequently that the dispensation, that they were under, was properly federal, let it be considered ; that the advantages which Christ came into the world to procure for his people, which are promised to them, in the second covenant, are, for substance, * the same with those which man would have enjoyed, had he not fallen ; for he came to seek and to save that which was lost, and to procure the recovery of forfeited blessings. But Christ came into the world to purchase eternal life for them; therefore this would have been enjoyed, if there had been no need of purchasing it, viz. if man had retained his integrity.
The apostle, speaking of the end of Christ's coming into the world, observes, Gal. iii. 13, 14. not only, that it was to redeem us from the curse, or the condemning sentence of the law, but that his redeemed ones might be made partakers of the blessing of Abraham, which was a very comprehensive one, including in it, that God would be his God, his shield, and exceeding great reward, Gen. xvii. 7. compared with chap. XV.
When I speak of the advantages being, for substance the same, it is supposed, that there are some circumstances of glory, in which that salvation that was purchased by Christ, differs from that happiness whick Adam would have been possessed af, had he persisted in his integrity.
1. and the same apostle elsewhere speaks of Christ's having redeemed them thai were under the law, that is, the curse of the violated law, or covenant, that we might receive the adoption of sons, Gal. iv. 4, 5. that is, that we might be made partakers of all the privileges of God's children, which certainly inciude in them eternal life.
Again, there is another scripture that farther supports this argument, taken from Rom. viii. 3, 4. What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful fiesh, and, for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us; which is as though he should say, according to the tenor of the first covenant, eternal life was not to be expected, since it was become weak, or could not give it, because man could not yield perfect obedience, which was the condition thereof: But God's sending his own Son to perform this obedience for us, was an expedient for our attaining that life, which we could not otherwise have enjoyed. This seems to be the general scope and design of the apostle in this text; and it is agreeable to the sense of many other scriptures, that speak of the advantages that believers attain by Christ's death, as compared with the disadvantages which man sustained by Adam's fall; therefore it follows, that, had Adam stood, he, and all his pos. terity, would have attained eternal life.
Thus we have endeavoured to prove, that God entered into covenant with Adam, inasmuch as he was given to expect, that, if he had yielded perfect obedience, he should have been possessed of the heavenly blessedness. But supposing this be not allowed of, and the arguments brought to prove it are reckoned inconclusive, it would be sufficient to our present purpose, and would argue the dispensation that Adam was under to be that of a covenant, if God had only promised him the grace of confirmation, and not to transplant him from the earthly to the heavenly paradise ; for such a privilege as this, which would have rendered his fall impossible, would have contained so advantageous a circumstance attending the state in which he was, as would have plainly proved the dispensation he was under to be federal. Therefore, before we dismiss this head, we shall endeavour to make that appear, and consider,
1. That to be confirmed in a state of holiness and happiness, was necessary to render that state of blessedness, in which he was created compleat; for whatever advantages he was possessed of, it would have been a great allay to them to consider, that it was possible for him to lose them, or through any act of inadvertency, in complying with a temptation to fall, and ruin himself for ever. If the saints in heaven, who are ad
vanced to a greater degree of blessedness, were not confirmed in it; if it was possible for them to lose, or fall from it, it would render their joy incomplete; much more would the happiness of Adam have been so, if he had been to have continued for ever, without this privilege.
2. If he had not had ground to expect the grace of confirmation in holiness and happiness, upon his yielding perfect obedience, then this perfect obedience, could not, in any respect, in propriety of speaking, be said to have been conditional, unless you suppose it a condition of the blessings which he was then possessed of; which seems not so agreeable to the idea contained in the word condition, which is considered as a motive to excite obedience, taken from some blessing, which would be consequent thereupon. But, if this be not allowed to have sufficient weight in it, let me add, 3. That it is agreeable to, and tends
very much to advance the glory of the divine goodness, for God not to leave an innocent creature in a state of perpetual uncertainty, as to the continuance of his holiness and happiness; which he would have done, had he not promised him the grace of confirmation, whereby he would, by his immediate interposure, have prevented every thing that might have occasioned his fail.
4. This may be farther argued, from the method of God's dealing with other sinless creatures, whom he designed to make completely blessed, and so monuments of his abundant goodness. Thus he dealt with the holy angels, and thus he will deal with his saints, in another world; the former are, the other shall be, when arrived there, confirmed in holiness and happiness; and why should we suppose, that the goodness of God should be less glorified towards man at first, had he retained his integrity. Moreover, this will farther appear, if we consider,
5. That the dispensation of providence, which Adam was under, seems to carry in it the nature of a state of probation. If he was a probationer, it must either be for the heavenly glory, or, at least, for a farther degree of happiness, containing in it this grace of confirmation, which is the least that can be supposed, if there were any promise given him; and, if all other dispensations of providence, towards man, contain so many great and precious promises in them, as it is certain they do; can we suppose that man, in his state of innocency, had no promise given him? And, if he had, then I cannot but conclude, that God entered into covenant with him, which was the thing to be proved.
Object. 1. The apostle, in some of the scriptures but now referred to calls the dispensation, that Adam was under, a law; therefore we have no ground to call it a covenant.
Answ. It is true, it is often called a law; but let it be considered, that it had two ideas included in it, which are not opposite to, or inconsistent with each other, namely, that of a law, and a covenant. As man was under a natural and indispensable obligation to yield perfect obedience, and was liable to eternal death, in case of disobedience, it had in it the form and sanction of a law; and this is not inconsistent with any thing that has been before suggested, in which we have endeavoured to maintain, that, besides this, there was something added to it that contained the nature of a covenant, which is all that we pretend to prove; and therefore the dispensation may justly take its denomination from one or the other idea, provided, when one is mentioned, the other be not excluded. If we call it a law, it was such a law, as had a promise of super-added blessedness annexed to it; or if we, on the other hand, call it a covenant, it had, notwithstanding, the obligation of a law, since it was made with a subject, who was bound, without regard to his arbitrary choice in this matter, to fulfil the demands thereof.
Object. 2. It is farther objected, against what has been said concerning man's having a promise of the heavenly blessedness given him, upon condition of obedience, that this is a privilege peculiarly adapted to the gospel-dispensation ; and that our Saviour was the first that made it known to the world, as the apostle says, that life and immortality is brought to light through the gospel, and made manifest, by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Tiin. i. 10. and therefore it was not made known by the law, and consequentiy there was no promise thereof made to Adam in innocency; and the apostle says elsewhere, that the way into the holiest of all, that is, into heaven, was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing, till Christ came, who obtained eternal redemption for us, Heb. ix. 8, 11, 12. From whence they argue, that we have no reason to conclude that Adam had any promise, or expectation, founded thereon, of the heavenly blessedness; and consequently the argument taken from thence to prove, that the dispensation he was under, was that of a covenant, is not conclusive.
Answ. It seems very strange, that any should infer, from the scriptures mentioned in the objection, that eternal life was altogether unknown in the world till Christ came into it, inasmuch as the meaning of those scriptures is plainly this : in the former of them, when the apostle speaks of life and immortali. ty as brought to light by the gospel, nothing else can be intended, but that this is more fully revealed by the gospel, than it was before; or, that Christ revealed this as a purchased possession, in which respect it could not be revealed before. And, if this be opposed to the revelation given to Adam of life and Vol. II,