« PreviousContinue »
David's, Pfal. xxx. 5. Into thine hand I commit my Spirit; thereby intimating, that the reception of the fouls of his dying people into the hands of the Father, depends on the reception of his foul into them. For his foul was, in virtue of the covenant, fo received, as a public foul, reprefenting the fouls of the whole feed; whence David, fpeaking of Chrift, faith, Thou wilt not leave my foul in hell, Pfal. xvi. 10. with Acts ii. 31. Wherefore in the promife of receiving Chrift's foul, was comprehended a promife of receiving the fouls of all his myftical members.
2. There is a promife of tranfporting them, foul , and body, into heaven, there to be ever with the. Lord; which is to be accomplished unto them at the laft day: Dan. xii. 2. And many of them that fleep in the duft of the earth fhall awake, fome to everlafting life, and fome to fhame and ever lafting contempt. verfe 3. And they that be wife, fhall fhine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many unto righteoufnefs, (or rather they that do righteously, of the many) as the ftars for ever and ever. Whereas the many mentioned, verfe 2. and comprehending all, are there divided into two forts, in refpect of their future ftate in the event of the refurrection: the happy part being the first sort of them, is defigned verfe 3. from their prefent ftate in this life, the wife, and they that do righteously; that is, in New Testament language, the righteous, Matth. xiii. 43. and they that have done good, John v. 29. in oppofition to the foolish, and they that have done evil. Thofe having come forth, unto the refurrection of life, John v. 29. fhall fhine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the ftars for ever and ever: yea, they fhall fhine forth as the fun, in the kingdom of their Father, Matth. xiii. 43. This is the higheft pinacle of the faints hopes; wherein they, in their whole man, fhall have the whole of eternal life in its perfections. Man had a conditional pro
mife hereof, in the covenant of works; but the condition being broken, the benefit promised was loft ; heaven's gates were fhut against Adam and all his natural feed. Howbeit Chrift the fecond Adam, having undertaken to fulfil the condition of the fecond covenant, which was ftated from an exact confideration of the demands that the broken first covenant had on his fpiritual feed; there was a new promise of it made in their favour; and it abfolute. And to his fulfilling of that condition, both the making and performing of this promife are owing allenarly. None other's works but his could ever have availed to reduce the forfeiture, and purchase a new right: and his works do it fo effectually, that they fecure the putting all his feed in actual poffeffion of the purchased inheritance; fo that they shall reign in life by one Jefus Chrift, Rom. v. 17.
This is the promife of the covenant, which is the laft of all in performing; as being the confummation of all the reft, not to be accomplished until the myftery of God be finished. The Old Teftament faints died in the faith of it; and it is not as yet performed to them: nay, the New Teftament faints have died, and still muft die, in the faith of it; not hav ing it performed to them neither, till it be at once accomplished to the whole feed together, at the end of the world. Thus this promise remains to be an unfeen object of faith to the church militant; and to the church triumphant too, whose flesh must rest in hope till that day, Pfal. xvi. 9. But because the term prefixed for performing thereof, is in, the depth of fovereign wifdom, for reafons becoming the divine perfections, set at such a distance; there have been fome fignal pledges given of it, to confirm the church's faith in the cafe. Such was the tranflating of Enoch, foul and body, into heaven, in the patriarchal period; Elias, in the time of the law; and our bleffed Saviour in the time of the gofpel.
This promife is grafted upon the promise of a glorious exaltation made to Chrift; by which was fecured to him his afcenfion, in foul and body, into heaven, and etering into his glory: Luke xxiv. 26. Ought not Chrift to have fuffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Both thefe were neceffary in refpect of the covenant: his fuffering was neceffary, in refpect of the condition thereof, which behoved to be fulfilled by him; and his entering into his glory was neceffary, in refpect of the promise thereof, which behoved to be fulfilled unto him. Now, Christ afcended and entered into glory as a public perfon, as a forerunner entering for us, Heb. vi. 20. And therefore the promife, in virtue of which he afcended and entered into it, comprehends the afcenfion and glory of all his myftical members, who are therefore faid to fit together in heavenly places, in Chrift Jefus, Eph. ii. 6. And then, and not till then, will the promife be perfectly fulfilled to him, when all the myftical members are perfonally there, together with their head; when the whole feed, perfectly recovered from death, fhall reign there, together with him, in life, for evermore.
And this fhall fuffice to have been faid here of the promise of eternal life, in the last period thereof.
INFERENCE from the Promife of Eternal Life.
Thus we have opened the promife of eternal life to the elect, with the effects thereof on them, in its feveral periods; to wit, before their union with Chrift; and then, from their union with Chrift until death; and finally, from their death, through eternity: the whole fpringing out of the promises peculiar to Chrift himfelf. For as thefe laft were fulfilled, in preferving the root of Jeffe, notwithstanding of the various changes that family did undergo, in which it was often in hazard of extinction, until fuch time as Chrift fprang out of it, as a root out of a dry ground,
Ifa. xi. 1, 10. and liii. 2.; and then, in carrying him up, and carrying him through in his work, notwithftanding of the load of imputed fin that lay upon him, and the opposition he met with from the world, and the powers of hell engaged against him, Isa. xlix. 8. and I. 7, 8, 9.: and finally, in raising him from the dead, taking him up into heaven, and glorifying him there for ever and ever, 1 Tim. iii. 16. Even fo the promise of eternal life to the elect, included therein, is fulfilled, in preferving them in their unconverted ftate, till fuch time as they are united to Chrift by faith and then, in carrying them up, and carrying them through, in favour and communion with God, during the whole time of their continuance in this world, notwithstanding all the oppofition from the devil, the world, and the flesh: and laftly, in raising them up at the last day, and receiving them, foul and body, into heaven, there to be ever with the Lord. And now, from the whole of what hath been faid on that point, we deduce the following Inference, to wit, That all the benefits of the covenant of grace bestowed, or to be bestowed on finners, are the fure mercies of David, Ifa. lv. 3. This may be taken up in these three things following.
1. They are all of them mercies, pure mercies without respect to any worthinefs in the receivers. They are all free-grace gifts; for the covenant is to us a covenant of grace, from the first to the last: Eph. ii. 7. That in the ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Chrift Jefus. Ver. 8. For by grace are ye faved thro' faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. The receiving of believers into glory, is, after all their working, as much of free grace, as the quickening of them, when be ing dead in fin, they could do no good work at all. They have their faith and their works, their grace and their glory, their temporal and their eternal
good things all of them equally of free grace: for they are all fecured to them in, and flow from the promise of the covenant made before the world bes gan; and are founded on a ground which they had no manner of hand in the laying of.
2. They all are the mercies of David, that is, of Jefus Chrift the Son of David. His obedience and death are the alone channel wherein the free grace of the covenant runs, bringing along with it all thofe mercies, Eph. ii. 7. It is to the holiness of his nature, the righteoufnefs of his life, and the fatisfaction made by his death, they are all owing: for upon thefe alone, and upon nothing in us, whether before or after converfion, is the promife of eternal life founded. Our believing through grace, while others continue in unbelief; our feeing God in glory, while others are caft into utter darkness; the bread we eat, and the water we drink, in this life, together with the hidden manna we shall eat of, and the rivers of pleasures we shall drink of, in heaven; are all equally the purchase of our Redeemer's blood.
3. Lastly, They are all of them fure mercies. What of them the faints have already got, they could not have miffed of; and what of them they have not as yet received, is as fure as if they had it in hand, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. David perceived that the Lord bad confirmed him king over Ifrael; and that upon this ground, for his kingdom was lift up on high, i Chron. xiv. 2. Now, Saul's kingdom was lift up on high too: and yet he loft it. But David had his kingdom by the covenant; Saul, not fo: hence the former feeing the promise begin to be accomplished, rightly concluded, that it should hold on till it was fully performed; notwithstanding that the latter fell from his excellency. Uncovenanted mercies are tottering mercies; but the covenant mercies are fure. The former may flow plentifully for a while, and yet at length be quite dried up for ever; but the fpring of the latter