Page images

being once opened, will flow for evermore, without interruption. The promise is infallibly fure, and cannot mifcarry: it is fure from the nature of God who made it: even from his infallible truth, and from his justice too in refpect of Christ, 2 Thess. i. 6, 7. Thus far of the fecond 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 covenanters, who being fallible, may break either the con dition, or the promife; in which cafe a penalty is annexed, to fecure the performance of the condition on the one fide, and of the promise on the other. Wherefore, fince 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 fide, on whom it lay to perform the promife 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 fide. In the fecond covenant, the Father and the Son abfolutely trusted each the other. Upon the credit of the Son, the Father received all the Old Testament faints into heaven, before the price of their redemption was paid and upon the credit of the Father, the Son, near feventeen 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 fuch, doth in no cafe ly upon them; Chrift having taken it intirely on himfelf, and accordingly performed it already. While they continue in their natural ftate, without Chrift, they are perfonally in the


And being once become believers in Chrift the promife of the covenant of grace ftands always intire to them, notwithstanding of all their failures; and must needs ftand fo, in virtue of the condition of the covenant already performed, and judicially fuftained, as performed by Jefus Chrift for them. And though they are fallible in refpect of their actions, as long as they are in this world; yet from the moment of their union with Chrift by faith, they are not fallible in refpect of their ftate: they can no more fall out of their ftate of grace, than the faints in heaven can. Hence, even in their cafe, there is no place for the curfe, or eternal wrath, the only penalty by which they should lose their right to the promise of the co venant. They are indeed liable to God's fatherly anger and chaftifements for their fins: but forafmuch as by these there is no intercifion of their right to the promife; and that they are not vindictive, but medicinal; they cannot be accounted a proper penalty of the covenant of grace, however they may be improperly fo called; but do daily belong to the promiffory part, and administration of the covenant, Pfalm Ixxxix. 39, 31, 32, 33, 34. Ifa. xxvii. 9. Heb. xii. 5, 6, 7. Where the condition of a covenant is fully performed, and legally fuftained as fuch, in favour of the party who is to receive the benefit promifed, it is evident there can be no more place for a proper penalty of the covenant on that fide and fo it is here, in the cafe of believers.

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


The ADMINISTRATION of the Covenant of Grace.


T remains now to confider the adminiftration of the covenant. And fince the falvation of finners


doth entirely depend on this covenant; and that all the difpenfations of God toward them, for carrying on and completing that gracious defign, are regulated according to it; and fince withal it is in itself a deepest fecret, being a compact entered into betwixt the Father and the Son, before the world began: it is altogether neceffary, that there be an adminiftration of it, whereby it may be rendered effectual to the end for which it was made. And hereof we will have a view, by confidering, 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.

I. Chrift 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 intrufted therewith. Wherefore the administration of the covenant was devolved upon no mere man nor angel, but on the Lord Jefus Chrift the fecond Adam: and he hath it by the cove nant itself, as a reward of his work. It was therein made over to him by promife; particularly, by the promife of a glorious exaltation, to be the Father's honorary fervant, prime minifter of heaven mentioned before, and now to be more fully and diftinctly unfolded. It was for this cause the laft Adam was made a quickening Spirit, as faith the text, I Cor. xv. 45. with which we shall compare the promise,

Ifa. xlix. 8. I will give thee for a covenant of the people.

Thefe are the Father's words to Chrift the fecond Adam, the great furety fervant, chosen to make reparation of the injury done to the honour of God by the fpiritual Ifrael, ver. 3.; the light of the Gentiles, ver. 6. which is none other but he, Luke ii. 32. Acts

xiii. 47.,; whofe appearing in the world made the ac ceptable time, the day of salvation, as in the preceed. ing part of this 8th verfe, 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 fubjoined to the promife of affiftance therein; I will preserve thee, (namely, in the courfe of thy obedience, doing and dying, fo that thou fhalt not be utterly fwallowed up of death, but fwim through thefe deepest waters safe ashore), and give thee for a covenant of the people; or fimply, of people. Not that Chrift was never given for a covenant of the people till he arofe from the dead; nay, he was fo given immediately after the fall, Gen. iii. 15. : but that it was always upon the view, and in confideration of his obedience and death he was fo given; and that he was at his refurrection and afcenfion folemnly invested with that office.

This giving, according to the fcripture-phrafeology, imports a divine conftitution or fettlement. So it is faid, verfe 6. I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayeft be my falvation unto the end of the earth; i. e. I will conftitute or fet thee for a light; even as God fet (Heb. gave) the fun 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 faid to give a head of captain, Numb. xiv. 4. Neh. ix. 17. Wherefore to give Chrift for a covenant of the people, is to conftitute 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 covenantrelation to God. This then fpeaks Jefus Chrift to be the ordinance of God for the reconciliation of finners to God, and their partaking of all the benefits of the covenant; even as the fun is the ordinance of heaven for light to the world, unto whofe light all 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 honour was secured to him in the promiffory part of the covenant, in confideration of his fulfilling the conditionary part thereof.

Now, that Chrift is by the authority of heaven constitute or made the covenant, imports these two things. (1.) He is conftitute administrator of the co. venant: as he had the burden of purchafing the promised benefits, fo he hath the honour of diftributing and conferring them on finners. This meaning of the phrafe appears from the following words, declaring the end of this conftitution; to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the defolate heritages; verse 9. That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth. See chap. xlii. 6, 7. (2.) The whole of the covenant is in him; fo that he that hath Christ, hath the cove. nant, the whole of the covenant; he that hath not Christ, hath no faving part nor lot in it. This is the native import of this unufual phrafe, 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 fpeak, loofened, that it could no more stand firm, until Chrift 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 ftand no longer, but be reduced to alhes. The faying concerning the facramental cup, This cup is the new teftament in my blood, 1 Cor. xi. 25. is fonewhat a kin to the expreffion in the text, and ferves to confirm the fenfe given of it. For it furely bears, (1.) That the facramental cup is the ministration of the new teftament to believing receivers; fo that receiving the one in faith, they receive the


« PreviousContinue »