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fum of all the promises therein, to finners; namely, the promise of life eternal: that is the order of the words in the original. The covenant is a covenant of life, defigned for reftoring dead finners to life: and fo the promife of it is a promife of life: And that life is eternal. 2. The date of this promife, before the world began. While as yet time was not, and the foundation of the world was not laid, it was made, and eternal life thereby fecured to the elect. 3. The parties concerned in it. The maker of the promife was God that cannot lie; whofe promife therefore must needs take effect. And by fpecial appropriation, it was the Father; it was he that made it: verfe 24. Te alfo fhall continue in the Son, and in the Father. Verfe 25. And this is the promife that he hath promifed us, &c. The party it was made to, is (1.) and chiefly, Jefus Chrift, the fecond Adam, head of the covenant: for there is no neceffity to recede from the proper fignification of the word here ufed, which is promifing, to a catachreftical one, to wit, purposing; fince the promises were made to Chrift, Gal. iii. 16. And he really was before the world began, and confequently then capable of hav ing a promife made to him. (2.) The elect in him. He hath promifed us, namely, us legally in him before the world began; that is, the elect who apply and plead the promise then, when they believe.
And hence arifeth this truth, viz. The great and "comprehenfive promise to Chrift's fpiritual feed, in "the covenant, is the promife of life eternal, made "from eternity to Chrift, and to them in him."
For opening of this promife of the covenant, we fhall view it (1.) more generally, (2.) more particularly.
I. In the general, it fpeaks two things, to wit, all true happiness, and the everlastingness of that happiness.
First, It comprehends, as the matter thereof, all true happiness. For life is ufed for happiness in the holy language, 1 Sam. xxv. 6. So John iv. 5o. And it is so used in the style of both covenants: Rom. x. 5. The man that doth those things, shall live (i. e. be happy) by them. Hab. ii. 4. The juft fhall live (i. e. 'be happy) by his faith. The damned have a life in hell that will last for ever: but, in the ftyle of the holy Ghost, they never fee life, they are deprived of eternal life; because their life is not a happy life, but a miferable one. It is evident from the writings of the prophets and apostles, that the death threatened in the covenant of works, comprehended all mifery, in this world, and in the world to come; and, confequently, that the life therein promifed, comprehended all happiness in time and eternity. Forafmuch then as the life promised in the covenant of grace, was defigned for the retriving the lofs finners fuftained by the fall; it must needs, in its comprehenfion, go as wide as the death which thereby they became liable unto. From all which we conclude, that God, in promifing life to the elect in Christ, hath promised them all happiness; which accordingly goes under the name of life fimply inthe fcripture, John v. 12. He that hath the Son hath life. And thus the covenant life extends to all welfare of the whole man, and to all the means by which it is compaffed.
1. The covenant life extends to all welfare of the whole man, foul and body; the latter, as well as the former. And therefore from the covenant our Lord proves the refurrection of the body against the Sadducees, Matth. xxii. 31, 32. Though the foul is the principal part, it is not the only part, therein provided for. In virtue of the covenant, the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body; as well as the foul is for him, and he for it, 1 Cor. vi. 13. As the body had its fhare in the death threatened in the
firft covenant, fo it hath, and fhall have its share in the life promised in the fecond. Since the price of the Redeemer's blood was paid for the bodies of his people, in his fulfilling the condition of the covenant: the life fecured in the promife, muft extend to them, as well as to their fouls.
2. It extends to all the means by which that wel. fare is to be compaffed, begun, advanced, and per fected, Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things prefent, or things to come; all are yours, 1 Cor. iii. 22. For the fecuring of the benefit itfelf by promife, fecures all the means by which it is to be brought about. Hence the covenant defcends even to the bread and the water, neceffary for the fupport of natural life, Ifa. xxxiii. 16.
Secondly, The promise comprehends the everlast ingness of that happiness. It is not only life that is promifed, but life eternal, life for evermore, Pfalm cxxxiii. 3.; which, from the moment it is given, fhall never be extinguished, through the ages of time and eternity. In the ftyle of the fcripture, eternal life is not restricted to the state of glory in heaven. But the life communicated to a finner, in the first moment of his union with Chrift, is eternal: it is the eternal life promifed in the covenant, according to the fcripture, John iii. 36. He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life. See chap. v. 24. 1 John v. 11, 12. Hence, from the promise of the covenant, The juft fhall live by faith, the apoftle proves the perfeverance of the faints, Heb. x. 38. A plain evidence, that perfeverance in grace, in this our state of imperfection, is a part of the eternal life promifed in the covenant, as well as heaven's happiness. And thus the covenant-life extends to that which now is, and that which is to come, I Tim. iv. 8.
1. It extends to the life that now is in the world. And this is that eternal life begun in the several
parts thereof, with refpect both to foul and body. If men measure happiness by the smiles and frowns of common providence, no man indeed can be counted happy before death. But the facred oracles teach us to take our measures of it another way, to wit, by a perfonal faving intereft in the covenant; and do pronounce them happy whofe God is the Lord, what-ever be between them and the grave, Pfal. cxliv. 15. So there is promised in the covenant, happiness begun in this life, both as to foul and body; the happinefs of the way to the kingdom; falvation happily begun, and infallibly to be carried on.
2. It extends to the life that is to come in the other world. And that is the fame eternal life confummated and perfected, in respect both of foul and body, in heaven. There the promife of the covenant is to receive its full accomplishment; of which believers now have the earneft, which is not only a part of the things promifed, but an affurance of the whole.
II. For a more particular view of the promise of eternal life to the elect, it may be confidered in three periods: (1.) Before their union with Christ; (2.) From their union with Chrift, until death; and (3.) From death, through eternity. Of the operation of the promises, in the first and the last of these periods, we know but little; and indeed not much of it, in the middle period. For it is like a river iffuing from a hidden fpring, and running far under ground; then rifing above ground, and running on, till it go forth into the ocean. The hidden spring from whence the promise of eternal life to the elect iffueth forth, is God's free grace, which was given us in Christ Jefus, before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9, It runs underground, undifcerhible even to the parties themselves, till the moment of their union with Christ in effectual calling; then rifing, it runs on, as it were, above ground, in visible streams, until death;
and thereafter, it runs full and perfpicuous through the ages of eternity. We fhall take a view of the great lines of the promife, in thefe its feveral periods.
F we confider the promife of eternal life to the e lect, as ftanding in the covenant, and as accomplifhed to them, and having its effect on them, before their union with Chrift, we may perceive two great lines in it; namely, a promife of their prefervation, and a promife of the Spirit. Of which in order.
I. The Promife of Prefervation.
The promise of eternal life to the elect, in the covenant, comprehends a promife of their prefervation, till the happy moment of their fpiritual marriage with Jefus Chrift, wherein they fhall be fet led in a state of grace: Ezek. xvi. 6. And when I paff ed by thee, and faw thee polluted in thine own blood, I faid unto thee when thou waft in thy blood. Live. Heb. I faid to thee, Live in thy blood; as the feveral approven verfions do read it. In this illuftrious paffage of fcripture is fhewed, under the fimilitude of an expofed or out-caft infant, the natural ftate and wretched condition in which God found Ifrael, and finds all the elect; the former being a type of the latter. There is a twofold paffing by this wretched out-caft, and thefe are two very diftant times, intimated by the holy Ghoft. The firft, on the day fhe was born and caft out, verfe 4, 5, 6. The fecond, after fhe was grown, and become marriageable; at what time the was actually married, verfe 7, 8. The former refers to the time of the elect's coming into the world, in their natural ftate, not only as born into it, but as beginning to act in it as ra