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covenant of works; that have come into the covenant of the second Adam, as refugees from the covenant of the first Adam. For that is the character of the heirs of promise, Heb, vi. 17, 18. Though time was, when they lived at ease within the dominion of the covenant of the law; yet God hath set fire to their nefts there, that they have found themselves un. able to dwell any longer within the boundaries of that covenant. Mount Sinai hath been altogether on a smoke round about them, and the trumpet of the curse of the law hath waxed louder and louder, till it made them to hear it on the side of their righteoulness and best works, where they were deafeft; and it hath caused them exceedingly to fear and quake, as a curse denounced against them in particular: Rom. vii. 9. When the commandment came, fin revived, and 1 died. It hath chased them from all the starting. holes about that mountain, and Jeft no place within the bounds of that covenant safe to them: not only has it chased them out of their profane courses, but also out of all confidence in their good works and duties of whatfoever kind; to Hee for their life into the covenant of free grace, as the player into the city of refuge: what things were gain to them, counting these loss for Christ, Philip. iii. 7.
II. They are fuch as cordially approve of and acquiefce in the plan of the covenant, as suited to the honour of God, and to their case in particular ; looking upon it as well ordered in all things, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Whosoever duly considers the corruption brought into man's nature by the fall, will plainly perceive, that the method of salvation laid down in the covenant grace, is the very
reverse of the inclination of corrupt human nature; fo that nothing less than the powerful efficacy of divine grace can bring a foul unto a cordial approbation of it, and acquiescence in it: wherefore our Lord pronounceth them blessed, wbofoever Mall not be offended in him, Mattb. xi. 6.
Natural men may indeed shape the covenant, in their own apprehensions, into such a form, as they may have a very good liking of it. They may
apprehend it as a covenant designed to make men easy and happy; while in the mean time it allows them, at least in some instances, to be unholy: as a covenant wherein, through Christ's means, they may obtain acceptance with God by their good works, notwithstand. ing of their ill works. But in all this they are in love with a creature of their own fancy, not with God's covenant of
Let the covenant be set before them in the light of the holy Scripture, and viewed by them in that light; they will be sure to dislike it, and pick holes in it. Let the design of the covenant be fairly discovered, as being to exalt God's free grace on the ruins of all excellency left with man; to make Christ all, and man nothing in his own salvation ; the proud heart cannot away with that, cannot submit to the righteousness of God, Rom. x. 3. The efficacy of it, in working out sin, separating between the soul and its dearest lusts, once fairly appearing; natural men fee from it, as if one cried unto them, There is death in the pot. Let them seriously enter into the thought, how it is fuited to the honour of God, and the divine perfections, and how it is suited to their real safety before him ; and they cannot see how it is so. To the Jews wisdom it is a stumblingblock, a device inconsistent with the divine perfection; the Grecian learning pronounceth it foolishness, a method of salvation unsafe to be trusted to : only the eye of faith discovers it to be the power of God, and the wisdom of God; safe for guilty creatures,
and honourable for a holy God, i Cor. i. 23, 24.
III. Upon the discovery of the covenant to them, as made from eternity between God and the second Adam, and offered to them in the gospel ; they will fatisfy themselves, in their covenanting, with heaven's draught of it, so far as they understand : and they
will not go about to add unto it, nor to diminish from it; but will stand to the terms of God and Christ's making, Acts ix. 6. Lord, what wilt thou bave me to do? They will put a blank in the Lord's hand, for their part; as content of all within the compass of the covenant, without putting in their exception, or defiring amendments and alterations to be made in their favour. They are content of the laws of the Covenant, as well as of the privileges of it; of the discipline of the covenant, as well as of the rewards of it; of the condition of the covenant as fulfilled by Christ alone, as well as the promises of it to be fulfilled to them; and of the promise of fanctification, as well as of the promise of justification and glorification. Hence the covenant, as revealed in the gospel, is by the holy Ghost called a hearing, Ira. liv. 1. marg, that is, a thing to be heard and received by faith, as a voice is received and heard by the ear, according to that, chap. lv. 3. Hear, and your soul fball live. It is the natural difpofition of mankind, to speak rather than to hear : for we are inore ready to declare our own will by speaking, than to receive the will of another by hearing. Wherefore the gospel being the declaration of the will of God for our salvation, only to be heard and received by faith, and therefore called the hearing of faith, Gal. iii, 2. there is need of the power of grace, to subdue the heart to the hearing thereof, and to stop the mouth from making proposals of our own in that matter.
IV. The love of God in Christ is habitually predo. minant in them: Prov. viii. 17. I love ihem that love
Great was the love to them appearing in the covenant. The parties contractors about them acted therein from a principle of free, and yet greates love. From thence sprung the first motion for a coyenant of life and salvation unto theni': thence it was the Father was content to give his own Son for them;
the Son was well pleased to become man, and fuffer death for them; the Holy Spirit to take them for his habitation, to quicken, fančtify, and perfect them. The love of God produced the proposal of the great and precious promises in their favour, upon terms · consistent with his justice ; Christ as second Adam, out of love to them, accepted of these terms. And when the eternal transaction was, in the gospel, by the demonstration of the Spirit, opened and brought home to their fouls ; this love thone forth to them, so as they believed it. And that believed love of God in Christ kindled in their fouls a superlative love to him again: 1 John iv. 19. We love him, because he first loved us. And therefore, although that their love is not always alike vigorous, but hath its waxings and waneings according to the increase and decreafe of their faith ; yet, since their faith never altogether fails, Luke xxii. 32. it never fails altogether neither, from the moment that it is kindled in their hearts. And it is an active principal in them, constraining them to obedience, 2 Cor. V, 14. giving the chief room in their heart and affection to God in Christ, that their soul faith, whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee, Pfal lxxiii. 25. It makes it to be their greatest care to please him, and to be accepted of him, 2 Cor. v. 9.; and their greatest fear, to stir him up or offend him, Cant. iii. 5. It makes duty agreeable to them, as a matter of choice: 1 John v. 3. This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments : and his commandments are not grievous. And it renders the remains of fin, the body of this death, a heavy bur. den they long to be delivered from, Rom. vii. 24.
V. Jesus Christ the head of the covenant, is their head with their own consent. With heart and goodwill they have taken him for their head, for all the purposes of the covenant; and they stand to it, not to alter, if the choice were to make a thousand times.
Those unto whom the Father from eternity chose Chrift for a head, do, in the day of their converfion, by faith approve the choice, making it over again personally for themselves: whence they are said to appoint themselves one head, Hor i. 11. And as often as they reiterate their acts of faith, which they must live by, they do upon the matter reiterate their choice. Being sensible of what they suffered by the miscarriage of Adam their first head, Christ is pre. cious to them as a second Adam. They came into the covenant, and abide also in it, under his wings allenarly; expecting no benefit of it, nor by it, but through him. And they have taken him as their head for government, as well as their head for nourishment and support. They have delivered up themselves un. to him, to be ruled by him, as well as to be saved by him ; to be governed by his laws, and not by their own lusts, as well as to be saved by his grace, and not by their own works.
VI. The condition of the covenant fulfilled by Jesus Christ, is the alone ground of their confidence before the Lord, as to acceptance with him, or any benefit of the covenant they look to partake of. A crucified Saviour is the foundation laid in Zion, for finners to build on ; and believing on him is the soul's building upon it, i Pet iii. 6. If men build on another foundation, they build on the sand, and their confidence shall be rooted out : If, being driven off from all other foundations, they build not on this neither, they must needs perish as the chaff which the wind driveth away. To believe, or build on Christ's righteousness by him fulfilled, can import no less than one's trusting on it for his salvation. Whether this trust be strong or weak, it must be: elle faith is not, building on Christ is not; but the soul is kept in a state of wavering, in opposition to the laying of it by faith on Christ, James i. 6. Now, he that is within the covenant, takes Christ's righteousness