Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1. God from eternity decreed the creation of man after his own image, and the making of the covenant with him. This whole dispensation was before the Eternal Mind, in all the parts and apurtenances thereof, though, by reason of making that covenant with a creature, it could not actually take place but in time, Acts xv. 18. 2. He also from eternity decreed to permit man to fall, and so to break that covenant, and thereby to involve him. self and all his posterity in ruin. This fall he permitted for his own holy ends, purposing to bring about good from it, 3. God is to be considered in this covenant as an offended God, offended with all the sins of all mankind, original and actual. In the first covenant God contracted with man as with a friend, without the interposition of a mediator: but in the second covenant it was not nor could be so; for man is considered in it as a fallen creature, a transgressor of the law, an enemy to God; and it is a covenant of reconciliation and peace, for those who had been at war with heaven. 4. Yet he is to be considered as a God purposing and decreeing from eternity to manifest the glory of his mercy, free love and grace, in the salvation of some of the lost race of Adam, Eph. iii. 10, 11. Without such a purpose of grace in God; there had never been a covenant of grace. 5. Notwithstanding we are to consider him in this matter as a just God, who cannot but do right, give sin a just recompense, and magnify his holy law and make it honourable. Upon the motion, then, of extending mercy to any of mankind, the justice of God interposeth, and pleads that mercy cannot be shewn, but upon terms agreeable to law and justice. And it was not agreeable either to the nature of God, or to his truth in his word, to shew mercy in prejudice of his exact justice, if a throne of grace is to be erected, it must not be set on the ruins of the justice of God. And therefore justice required, (1.) That the law which was violated be fully satisfied, and the honour thereof repaired, by suffering and obedience, the former such as may satisfy the sanction of the law and the latter the commanding part thereof, And this the sinners must either do for themselves, or another in their room, who can be accepted as sufficient surety. . . (2.) That since it was man that sinned, it must be man also who must suffer and obey, that one nature may not sin, and another be put to suffering for it.

Thus lay the impediments in the way of mercy to fallen man, and who could have removed them but God himself? Man could not here have acted for himself; his ability to obey was lost; and ability to suffer what was due to him for his sin, so as to exhaust it, and deliver himself, he never had. , Angels were not able to bear the burden; their finite natures could not have born so as to bear off infinite wrath. Therefore, 6. Lastly, The Father pitches upon his own Son for this work, as one able to make way for mercy over all difficulties, and remove the impediments lying in the way of its egress, Psal. lxxxix. 19. He was able for the work as being the Father's Fellow, Zech. xiii. 7.; his equal, Phil. ii. 6, and so one of infinite power and dignity. And here four things are to be considered. - r (1.) The Father designed that his own Son, the eternal Word, should, for this purpose of mercy, take on man's nature, and become man, Heb. x. 5. He saw that sacrifice and offering would not answer the case, that the debt was greater than to be paid so easily, and the work greater than to be managed by a person of less dignity. Wherefore, that the darling attribute of mercy might not for ever remain vailed, he wills that the human nature be united to the divine in the person of his own Son. , (2.) He chuseth him to be the head of the election, being one thus in the decree of God raised up from among the people, Psal. lxxxix. 19.; and to be the last Adam, the federal head and representative of such as sovereign pleasure should pitch upon to be vessels of mercy, and enrol in the book of life, that they might have a head who was both God and man, Eph. i. 22. . (3.) He designed a certain number as it were by name to be the constituent members of that body chosen to life, whereof he was the designed head, and gave them to him for that end, Phil. iv. 3. John. xvii. 9. They were a chosen company, whom sovereign grace selected from among the rest, on a purpose of love, and gave to Christ, the last Adam; for a seed, John xvii. 6.: therefore they are said to be chosen in him, Eph. i. 4. (4.) The Father proposed to him, as the last Adam, the conditions and terms of the new covenant, treating with the elect in him as with all mankind in the first covenant. Now, Wol. I. Z z

he has found one who is able to answer for the lost company, and treats with him in their name, for life and salvation to them, in a suitableness to the honour of law and justice. Inf. 1. The redemption of the soul is precious. The salvation of sinners was a work greater than the making of the world. The powerful Word commanded, and the last was done: but much more was to be done ere a sinner could be saved from wrath. 2. Think not that Christ is more willing to save you than the Father is. The will of Christ, his Father, and Spirit, is one. And one person of the glorious Trinity cannot be less willing to help poor sinners, that another is. Which should incite and encourage you to come to God by Christ. 3. Behold the matchless love of the Father to lost sinners of Adam's race, 1 John iii. 1. The whole contrivance sprung from his free grace, shewing itself in greatest measure and exceeding riches of grace, Eph. ii. 7. Man lay in the utmost misery before him; a most miserable creature, needing help, but making no application to him for it, Rom. xi. 34. ; a sinful creature, having nothing in him to provoke liking, but loathing; a criminal, upon whom justice demanded vengeance; one whose debt no creature was able to undertake for; therefore he gave his own Son, a gift of grace without a parallel. SECONDLY, Upon the other side is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with the elect, his spiritual seed, Heb. ii. 13.; the former as the party-contractor and undertaker, the latter as the party contracted and undertaken for: which is a good reason for his name Immanuel, Matth. i. 23. The party-contractor then in this covenant with God is our Lord Jesus Christ. He managed the interests of men in this eternal bargain, and there were none of that party with him to help him, nor capable to do it. And he acted in a twofold capacity towards the making of this covenant, as the eternal Word, and the second Adam. First, As the eternal Word, having no nearer relation to man than as his Creator, and sovereign Lord, John i. 1, 2, 3. Our Lord Jesus Christ is now our near kinsman, the elder brother of the Family of mankind, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; but from the beginning it was not so. He was from eternity the only begotten Son of God, and by voluntary dispensation only, for the relief of fallen man he

became man, and so was allied to the house of Adam: Here let us consider what our Lord Jesus did as the eternal Word in this covenant, viz. his consenting to it, and the ef. fect of that consent. 1. Let us consider what our Lord Jesus did as the eternal Word in making of this covenant. He consented to the proposals made by his Father, in order to the erecting of a new covenant with lost sinners of Adam's race. God saw there was a necessity of a new bargain for the salvation of any of them; that the old covenant would not answer his purpose of mercy; and that this covenant could not be made, unless his own Son became the head of it. Hereto the Son of God, for the glory of his Father, and the salvation of sinners, readily agreed; and gave his consent. 1st, That he should become man, by taking into a personal union with himself a holy human nature, according to the eternal destination of his Father, Heb. x. 5, 6, 7. He consents to be incarnate, that all flesh might not perish; . which was accordingly fulfilled in time, John i. 14. The two families of heaven and earth were at war, and no peace could take place betwixt them but through a Mediator. And where could a fit Mediator be found, a day’s-man meet to interpose betwixt such parties, who would not either be too high or too low, in respect of one of the parties at variance? Man or angel would have been too low in respect of God; and an unvailed God would have been too high in respect of sinful man. Wherefore the Son of God, that he might be a fit Mediator betwixt the parties, as he was by his eternal generation high enough, in respect of God, so he consents to become low enough in respect of man, by a temporal generation of a woman. 2dly, That he should be a second Adam, a head and representative of the chosen company, sustaining their persons, and acting in their name, Psal. xl. 6, 7. “Mine 'ears hast thou opened, or ‘bored,’ as Exod. xxi. 6; thereby intimating his consent to be the Father's servant for ever, in the work of man's salvation. It was evident the breach betwixt God and man was greater than to be taken away by a mere intermessenger, which should go betwixt the parties, and so reconcile them with bare words. There could not be a covenant of peace betwixt God and sinners, without a reparation of damages done to the honour of God, and without Z z 2

[ocr errors]

honouring of his holy law by an exact obedience as his subjects: and both of these were quite beyond their reach. The Son of God, beholding the strait sinners were brought to, while they could neither do for themselves, nor any in all the creation could afford them help, saith, “Lo, I come; I am content to take their place, and put myself in their room. as a second Adam. Thus was the foundation of the covenant laid, by the Father's proposal, and the consent of his Son thereto, as the eternal Word. 2. Let us consider the effect of this consent of the eternal Word. He was thereby constituted Mediator betwixt God and man, as God-man in one person, 1 Tim. ii. 5. Having had the Father's call thereto, and that call being accepted by his own consent, he was thereby established the great Mediator betwixt God and man, for making and keeping the designed peace between heaven and earth; through whom, and in whom, as a public person, God might enter into a new covenant with sinners of Adam's race. Thus also was he constituted the second Adam, and representative of all the elect, with whom the Father might treat as one answer. ing for them. And was constituted Mediator or Midsman betwixt God and sinners in two respects. 1st, He was constituted Mediator in respect of his natures. He was a substantial Mediator, as partaking of the nature of both parties. He was God equal with the Father from all eternity, and so stood related to heaven: he was designed to be man from eternity, and so stood related to earth. In this divine constitution four things are to be considered. (1.) That he should be a real man, having a true body, and a reasonable soul, and not be so in appearance only, Heb. ii. 14. that so he might be capable to suffer, since without shedding of blood was no remission; and the divine nature could not suffer. (3.) That that body of his should not be made of nothing, nor of any thing but what belongs to Adam's family, Psal lxxxix., 19. Gal. iv. 4; that so he might indeed be one of the family of Adam, Luke iii. ult; a brother of those in whose name he was to act, Heb. ii. 11. and so the same nature that sinned might suffer. . (4.) That that human nature should be united to his di. vine nature in the way of a personal union, John i. 4; the

« ZurückWeiter »