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covenant of works; that have come into the covenant of the second Adam, as refugees from the covenant of the firft Adam. For that is the character of the heirs of promife, Heb. vi. 17, 18. Though time was, when they lived at ease within the dominion of the covenant of the law; yet God hath fet fire to their nefts there, that they have found themselves unable to dwell any longer within the boundaries of that covenant. Mount Sinai hath been altogether on a fmoke round about them, and the trumpet of the curfe of the law hath waxed louder and louder, till it made them to hear it on the fide of their righteoufnefs and best works, where they were deafeft; and it hath caused them exceedingly to fear and quake, as a curfe denounced against them in particular: Rom. vii. 9. When the commandment came, fin revived, and I died. It hath chafed them from all the ftartingholes about that mountain, and left no place within the bounds of that covenant fafe to them: not only has it chafed them out of their profane courfes, but alfo out of all confidence in their good works and duties of whatfoever kind; to flee for their life into the covenant of free grace, as the flayer into the city of refuge: what things were gain to them, counting thefe lofs for Chrift, Philip. iii. 7.
II. They are fuch as cordially approve of and acquiefce in the plan of the covenant, as fuited to the honour of God, and to their cafe in particular; looking upon it as well ordered in all things, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Whofoever duly confiders the corruption brought into man's nature by the fall, will plainly perceive, that the method of falvation laid down in the covenant of 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 acquiefcence in it: wherefore our Lord pronounceth them blessed, whosoever shall not be offended in him, Matth. xi. 6.
Natural men may indeed shape the covenant, in their own apprehenfions, into fuch 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 Chrift's means, they may obtain acceptance with God by their good works, notwithstanding 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 grace. Let the covenant be fet before them in the light of the holy Scripture, and viewed by them in that light; they will be fure to diflike it, and pick holes in it. Let the defign 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 falvation ; the proud heart cannot away with that, cannot fubmit to the righteoufnefs of God, Rom. x. 3. The efficacy of it, in working out fin, feparating between the foul and its deareft lufts, once fairly appearing; natural men flee 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 fuited to their real fafety before him; and they cannot fee how it is fo. To the Jews wisdom it is a stumblingblock, a device inconfiftent with the divine perfection; the Grecian learning pronounceth it foolishness, a method of falvation unfafe to be trufted to: only the eye of faith difcovers 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 fecond Adam, and offered to them in the gofpel; they will fatisfy themselves, in their covenanting, with heaven's draught of it, fo 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 compafs 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 difcipline of the covenant, as well as of the rewards of it; of the condition of the covenant as fulfilled by Chrift 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, Ifa. liii. 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 foul fhall live. It is the natural difpofition of mankind, to speak rather than to hear for we are more 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 falvation, 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 fubdue the heart to the hearing thereof, and to stop the mouth from making propofals of our own in that
IV. The love of God in Chrift is habitually predominant in them: Prov. viii. 17. I love them that love me. Great was the love to them appearing in the covenant. The parties contractors about them acted therein from a principle of free, and yet greatest love. From thence fprung the first motion for a covenant of life and falvation unto them: 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, fanctify, and perfect them. The love of God produced the propofal of the great and precious promifes in their favour, upon terms confiftent with his juftice; Chrift as fecond Adam, out of love to them, accepted of thefe terms. And when the eternal tranfaction was, in the gofpel, by the demonftration of the Spirit, opened and brought home to their fouls; this love fhone forth to them, fo as they believed it. And that believed love of God in Chrift kindled in their fouls a fuperlative love to him again: 1 John iv. 19. We love him, because he firft 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, fince 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, conftraining them to obedience, 2 Cor. v. 14. giving the chief room in their heart and affection to God in Christ, that their foul faith, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I defire befide 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 ftir 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. Jefus Chrift the head of the covenant, is their bead with their own confent. With heart and goodwill they have taken him for their head, for all the purposes of the covenant; and they ftand to it, not to alter, if the choice were to make a thousand times.
Thofe unto whom the Father from eternity chofe Chrift for a head, do, in the day of their converfion, by faith approve the choice, making it over again perfonally for themselves: whence they are faid to appoint themselves one head, Hof 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 fenfible of what they fuffered by the mifcarriage of Adam their firft head, Chrift is precious to them as a fecond 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 fupport. They have delivered up themselves unto him, to be ruled by him, as well as to be faved by him; to be governed by his laws, and not by their own lufts, as well as to be faved by his grace, and not by their own works.
VI. The condition of the covenant fulfilled by Jefus Chrift, 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 foul's building upon it, 1 Pet iii. 6. If men build on another foundation, they build on the fand, and their confidence shall be rooted out: If, being driven off from all other foundations, they build not on this neither, they must needs perifh 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 falvation. Whether this trust be strong or weak, it must be: elfe faith is not, building on Christ is not; but the foul is kept in a state of wavering, in oppofition to the staying of it by faith on Chrift, James i. 6. Now, he that is within the covenant, takes Chrift's righteousness