Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

being once opened, will flow for evernaore, without interruption. The promise is infallibly fure, and cannot miscarry: it is sure from the nature of God who made it: even from his infallible truth, and from his justice too in respect of Christ, 2 Thess. i. 6, 7.

Thus far of the second part of the covenant, namely, the promissory part.

No proper Penalty of the Covenant of Grace. A penalty is no effential part of a proper covenant. It is but accidental only, arising not from the nature of a covenant, but from the nature of the covenant. ers, who being fallible, may break either the con. dition, or the promise ; in which case a penalty is annexed, to secure the performance of the condition on the one side, and of the promise on the other. Wherefore, since the party contracting on man's fide, on whom it lay to perform the condition of this covenant, was infallible; as was the party contract. ing on heaven's side, on whom it lay to perform the promise of it: there was no place at all for a penalty thereof, properly fo called ; as there was none in the first covenant, but upon one side. In the se. cond covenant, the Father and the Son absolutely trusted each the other. Upon the credit of the Son, the Father received all the Old Testament saints into heaven, before the price of their redemption was paid ; and upon the credit of the Father, the Son, near seventeen hundred years ago, paid the full price of the redemption of the elect, while vast multitudes of them were not as yet born into the world, and many of them are not even to this day.

It is true, the parties contracted for, are fallible : but then the performing of the condition of this covenant, as such, doth in no case ly upon them; Chrift having taken it intirely on himself, and accordingly performed it already. While they continue in their natural state, without Christ, they are personally in

the

And being once become believers in Chrift the promise of the covenant of grace stands always. intire to them, notwithstanding of all their failures, and must needs stand fo, in virtue of the condition of the co.. venant already performed, and judicially sustained, as performed by Jesus Christ for them. And though they are fallible in respect of their actions, as long as they are in this world; yet from the moment of their union with Christ by faith, they are not fallible in respect of their fate : they can no more fall out of their state of grace, than the saints in heaven can. Hence, even in their case, there is no place for the curse, or eternal wrath, the only penalty by which they should lose their right to the promise of the coa yenant. They are indeed liable to God's fatherly anger and chastisements for their fins : but forasmuch as by these there is no intercision of their right to the promise; and that they are not viņdictive, but medicinal; they cannot be accounted a proper penalty of the covenant of grace, however they may be improperly so called; but do daily belong to the promifsory part, and administration of the covenanr, Plalm Ixxxix. 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. Ila. xxvii. 9. Heb. xii. 5, 6, 7. Where the condition of a covenant is fully performed, and legally fustained as such, in favour of the party who is to receive the benefit promised, it is evident there can be no more place for a proper penalty of the covenant on that lide: and so it is here, in the case of believers.

And thus we have dispatched the third head, namely, The parts of the covenant.

HEAD IV. The ADMINISTRATION of the Covenant of

Grace. I Tremains now to consider the administration of

doth

S

doth entirely depend on this covenant; and that all the difpenfations of God toward them, for carrying on and completing that gracious design, are regulated according to it; and since withal it is in itself a deepest secret, being a compact entered into betwixt the Father and the Son, before the world began: it is altogether necessary, that there be an administration of it, whereby it may be rendered effectual to the end for which it was made. And hereof we will have a view, by considering, 1. The party on whom the administration of the covenant is devolved; 2. The object of the administration ; 3. The ends of it; and 4. The nature of it. Of all which in order.

1. Christ the Administrator of the Covenant. UCH is the nature of the thing, the weight and

importance of this administration, that none who was not fit to be a party-contractor in the covenant, could be meet to be intrusted therewith. Wherefore the administration of the covenant was devolved upon no mere man nor angel, but' on the Lord Jesus Christ the second Adam: and he hath it by the cove• nant itself, as a reward of his work. It was therein made over to him by promise ; particularly, by the promise of a glorious exaltation, to be the Father's 1 honorary servant, prime minister of heaven menti

oned before, and now to be more fully and distinctly unfolded. It was for this cause the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit, as faith the text, 1 Cor. xv. 45. with which we shall compare the promise, Ifa. xlix. 8. I will give thee for a covenant of the

people. 'These are the Father's words to Christ the second : Adam, the great furety servant, chosen to make re

paration of the injury done to the honour of God by the spiritual Israel, ver. 3.; the light of the Gentiles, ver. 6. which is none other but he, Luke ii. 32. Afts

1

xiii. 47.; whose appearing in the world made the acceptable time, the day of salvation, as in the preceeding part of this 8th verse, compared with 2 Cor. vi. 2. And they are a promise made to him of a reward of his work, in fulfilling of the condition of the covenant by his obedience and death: for they are immediately subjoined to the promise of assistance there. in; I will preserve thee, (namely, in the course of thy obedience, doing and dying, so that thou shalt not be utterly swallowed up of death, but swim through these deepest waters safe afhöre), and give . thee for a covenant of the people; or simply, of people. Not that Christ was never given for a covenant of the people till he arose from the dead ; nay, he was so given immediately after the fall, Gen. iii. 15.: but that it was always upon the view, and in consideration of his obedience and death he was so given; and that he was at his resurrection and ascension folemnly invested with that office.

This giving, according to the scripture-phraseology, imports a divine constitution or settlement. So it is faid, verse 6. I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth; i. e. I will constitute or set thee for a light; even as God set (Heb. gave) the sun and moon in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth, Gen. 1. 17. Thus the people making or appointing a captain, are said to give a head of captain, Numb. xiv. 4. Neh. ix. 17. Wherefore to give Christ for a covenant of the people, is to confti. tute or make him the covenant, whereby the people, any people, Jews or Gentiles, may become God's people, and receive all the benefits of that covenanta relation to God. This then speaks Jesus Christ to be the ordinance of God for the reconciliation of sinners to God, and their partaking of all the benefits of the covenant ; even as the sun is the ordinance of hea. ven for light to the world, unto whole - light all'

have

O 2

have free access; though in the mean time it doth not enlighten the blind, nor those who will needs live in darkness, because they hate the light. This ho. nour was secured to him in the promissory part of the covenant, in confideration of his fulfilling the conditionary part thereof.

Now, that Christ is by the authority of heaven constitute or made the covenant, imports these two things. (1.) He is constitute administrator of the co. venant: as he had the burden of purchasing the promised benefits, so he hath the honour of distributing and conferring them on sinners. This meaning of the phrase appears from the following words, declaring the end of this constitution ; to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the defolate heritages; verse 9. That thou mayest fay to the prisoners, Go forth. See chap. xlii. 6, 7. (2.) The whole of the covenant is in him; so that he that hath Christ, hath the covenant, the whole of the covenant; he that hath noc Christ, hath no saving part nor lot in it. This is the native import of this unusual phrase, occurring only here and chap. xlii 6. and is confirmed by the following words, to establish the earth. A covenant is an establishing thing. When the first covenant was broken, the foundations of the earth were, fo to speak, loosened, that it could no more stand firm, until Christ was given for a covenant, to establish it again: he bore up the pillars thereof, in virtue of the new covenant in himself. And if his administration of the covenant were once at an end on the earth, the earth shall stand no longer, but be reduced to alhes. The laying concerning the facramental cup, This cup is the new testament in my blood, i Cor. xi. 25. is lovnewhat a kin to the expression in the text, and serves to confirm the sense given of it. For it surely bears, (1.) That the facra inental cup is the ministration of the new testament to believing recei. Vers; so that receiving the one in faith, they receive

the

« PredošláPokračovať »