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excepted here? These terms are too general to admit of any exception as to sinners of mankind. 3. The ample powers given him as Administrator of the covenant. All power in heaven and in earth is granted to him, Matth. xxviii. 18. So there is none on earth accepted from his administering the covenant to them; the indemnity which the Father has put in the hands of his own Son to dispense, hath no accepted persons of mankind in it, but he is to dispense it to any of them all whom he will, John v. 21, 22. And it is remarkable, that upon this fulness of power committed to the Administrator of the covenant, the general offer of the gospel is founded, Mat. xi. 27, 28, and xxviii. 18, 19. All without exception are declared welcome to come and suck of these full breasts of the divine consolations contained in the covenant. - - 4. His executing of his commission in an unhampered manner, administering the covenant indifferently to any sinners of mankind; not this or that party of them, under this or the other denomination, but mankind in general, Prov. viii. 4. So the gospel in which the covenant is administered, is good tidings to all people, Luke ii. 10; and the gospelfeast is made unto all people, Isa. xxv. 6. Accordingly he gives his apostles commission in most ample terms, than which one cannot imagine more extensive, Mark xvi. 15. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” * 5. Consider to whem Christ stands related as a Saviour by office. He is the Saviour of the body only, Eph. v. 23. being considered as actually saving from sin and wrath. But considered as an official Saviour, he is the Saviour of the world, as he is expressly called, 1 John iv., 14. John iv. 42. And his salvation is called the ‘common salvation,” Jude 3. 6. Lastly, If it were not so, then there would be some of mankind-sinners excepted, for whom there would be no manner of warrant to believe in Christ, or take hold of the covenant, more than there is for devils: which is contrary to the scriptures, John iii. 16. Mark xvi. 15.” Use. Know ye then that our Lord Jesus is empowered to administer the covenant of grace to you, and each one of you. There is a Saviour provided for you, to whom you * The above particulars are more largely illustrated, ubi supre, under the title, Sin•ers of mankind the object of the administration of the covenant.
have a right, and to whom you may have access for life and salvation. Ye have heard much of the promised benefits of the covenant: let none say, they are excluded from them, On the contrary, whatever ye are or have been, your name is in Christ’s commission for administering the covenant: and ye must either take that covenant, or perish as despisers of it. SECONDLY, What are the ends of this administration, or the business thus put into Christ’s hand. 1. To bring sinners into the covenant personally and sa, vingly, Isa. xlix. 5. 2. When they are brought in, to be the sole manager of them, according to the covenant, till death, John v. 22. 3. To complete the happiness of his covenant-people, according to the covenant, in another world, Eph. v. 27. Col. i. 22. These are the ends of this administration committed to Jesus Christ; this is the work that he hath to do as Admini. strator of the covenant. And the putting it in his hand was a method of grace at once adapted to the glory of God the offended party, the comfort and safety of sinners who had given the offence, and the honour of the Mediator the glorious Peace maker *. THIRDLY, I come to consider the nature of this admini. stration. And hereof we may have a view, by observing Christ's relations to the covenant, in which he stands as Ad. ministrator of it. We have seen already, that Jesus Christ, as party-contractor on man's side in the covenant, became the Mediator of the covenant, both substantial and official; that with respect to the conditionary part of it, he became the kinsman Redeemer in the covenant, the Surety of the covenant, and the Priest, the atoning Priest thereof. It re. mains that we consider his relations to the covenant as he is Administrator of it, which respects the promissorypart there. of . And thus he bears a fivefold relation to the covenant, viz. the Trustee, the Testator, the Prophet, the King, and Intercessor of the covenant; each of which is a syllable of that name above every name, given him of the Fatherf. From what has been said of the administration of the covenant, we make the following inferences.
* See these particulars amplified, abi supra, under the title, The end, of the administration of the covenant.
f See all these relations illustrated, ubi supra, under their respective titles.
1. As the covenant is well ordered in itself, so it is well ordered in point of its administration; and so it is ordered in all things, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Many a good bargain is marred as to the success of it by mismanagement, through the unskilfulness and unfitness of him into whose hands it is committed, But the covenant is put into the hand of an infallible Administrator, perfectly fit to deal with all concerned therein, and so cannot miss yan issue agreeable to the design of it. Two things are of fatal consequence in such matters. (1.) Unskilfulness; and (2) Want of power and ability. Through either of these in the manager, a promising contrivance may be marred in the management of it. The administration of the covenant of grace is a matter that requires the utmost skill, considering the difficulty of the thing in itself, and the ill disposition sinners are of with relation to it. But Jesus Christ is infinitely wise, and nothing can escape his foresight or observation, Col. ii. 3. He knows well the fit times and seasons, and has “the tongue of the learned, that he should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary, Isa. l. 4. There are many adversaries, set to oppose and counteract the design of the glorious contrivance, the administration of which is put in his hand: the whole force of hell is banded against it. But he is sufficiently enabled to carry it on over the belly of them all; all power in heaven and in earth being given him. And therefore one may conclude, that when the mystery of God shall be finished, the issue will be found exactly to answer the eternal plan. ~ 2. While the covenant is administered to you, it is Jesus Christ himself with whom you have to do in that matter: he is the great Ambassador of heaven to you and each one of you, in this matter of the covenant, Heb. xii. 25. Ye would then look above ministers and ordinances unto himself, and regard them as persons and things by which Jesus Christ himself is treating with you, and regard him as your party with whom ye have to do. If ministers go beyond the bounds of their commission, ye may safely so far disregard what they say or do in that manner: but to fill your hearts with prejudices against them, on account of such and such faults ye espy in them, especially on the account of doing their duty, and so to make yourselves very easy as to the ordinances by them administered, and to slight these ordi
nances under pretence that ye can spend the time otherwise to as great advantage; this is but to look on them as divided in their ministration from Christ, and so to cheat your own souls, 2 Cor. v. 20. Luke x. 16. What God then has joined, it will be dangerous so to put asunder. If ye took Christ himself for the party dealing with you, as indeed he is, it would engage you to take good heed how ye entertain the administration of the covenant among you. 3. They who would partake of the covenant, must come to Christ by faith, Isa. lv. 3. for that effect. He has the administration of it in his hand; so it is from him we must get it, with all the benefits and privileges of it. The whole of it
- is in him; so uniting with him we have it, and only that
way we can have it. As is your interest in Christ, so is your interest in the covenant of grace: if he is yours in the way of special interest, your souls being married to him; then the privileges of the covenant are all yours, and the covenant is the security ye have for them, if ye are strangers to Christ, ye are strangers to the covenant of promise too, and so without hope and without God in the world. 4. Such as are personally entered into the covenant in a saving manner, and would improve the covenant for their daily needs, must still be coming to Christ for that end; since he is the Administrator of it, all the benefits of it are dispensed by his hand, John i. 16. So the life of a Christian comes to be a life of faith: forasmuch as the whole supply afforded them from heaven is benefits of the covenant, and the riches of the covenant are in Christ's hand as Administrator of it; and the way of believing in Christ is the way appointed for receiving them from him. So the more a Christian is in the exercise of faith, the more he employs the Administrator; and the more he lies about his hand, the more liberally he shares of the things of the covenant. 5. Sinners have abundant encouragement and security for their coming into the covenant, by believing in the Lord Jesus. We are not called to come to enter into a covenant with an unvailed God, the rays of whose glory in his holiness, justice and truth, and all his other perfections, might quite damp and dispirit the guilty creature; but as Christ as a second Adam has made the covenant with his Father, and fulfilled it in the whole of the condition thereof required on cur part; so it is put in his hand, who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, to administer it unto any of the family of Adam ; and in him we have the whole of it. Here all is ready for us, suited to our case. And we have his word of the gospel for our security, Matth. xxii. 4. and John vi. 37. And well may we trust him, believing the Son, believing his word, since the Father has trusted him with the whole administration of the covenant. 6. Lastly, There is no man who has the offer of Christ made him in the gospel, but if he continue in his sin, and die in it, he will perish with a witness, without all shadow of excuse, John xv. 22. The covenant is the contrivance of Heaven for salvation to lost sinners: in the administration of it, none are excluded from the benefit thereof; the net is spread out for even the worst of sinners, wherever the gospek comes. There is enough in the covenant for the worst of cases; the promises of it are made suitable to the sinner's case, both in respect of sin and of misery; so that whatever is their case, in the covenant there is a suitable cure. And that the sinner may at once lay hold on all, God has given Christ as the covenant to the people, making the embracing of Christ, the short and sure way for the sinner to have all. In him is lodged the quickening Spirit: so that by applying to him we may have life. They must then be left inexcusable who reject the offer of Christ, and will not come to him, that they may have life, John v. 40. And now having opened to you the doctrine of the covenant of grace, that covenant on which the salvation of our souls depends, in discoursing of the parties in it, the parts of it, and the administration of it, I shall shut up the discourse on this subject, with a twofold use of the whole. Use I. Of trial. Let every one put the question to him. self, What interest have I in this covenańt Are ye personally brought within the covenant of grace in a saving manner, or not : For your help in this inquiry, I shall offer you some marks or characters of those who by grace are personally instated through faith in the covenant of grace, before the Lord, under Christ the second Adam as their head. 1. They are such as have fled for refuge from the covemant of works to the covenant of grace, Heb. vi. 17, 18. 2. They are such as cordially approve of and acquiesce in the plan of the covenant, as suited to the honour of God, and to their case in particular, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.