DISPLAY OF GLORIOUS GRACE:
THE COVENANT OF PEACE OPENED.
IN FOURTEEN SERMONS
Lately Preached, in which the Errors of the present Day, about Reconciliation and Justification, are Detected.
By BENJAMIN KEACH.
PSAL. Lxxxix. 34.
My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my Lips.
Printed by S. Bridge, and Sold by Mary Fabian,
at Mercers-Chappel in Cheapside; and Joseph Collier,
at the Golden-Bible on London-Bridge, by the Gate;
and William Marshall, at the Bible in Newgate-street,
TO THE Unprejudiced Reader
AS I Preach not to please Men’s Ears, so but little regard ought to be had to the Scoffing Reflections of such Men, who contemn every thing of this kind, unless it consists of a Fancy-taking Modelation of empty Rhetoric, or a high Florid Stile, mixt with Wit, Learning, and Philosophical Notions. Sad it is to see that in Divine Matters, nay, in Preaching, Persons should affect New Modes and Fashions, (as to the shame of the present Generation, they do in respect of Garbs and Dresses:) I am not for Airy and Florid Orations in the Ministration of the Word of God, but for that plain Way of Preaching used by the Holy Apostles, and our Worthy Modern Divines. Besides, could I so Preach or Write, as is the Flesh-pleasing, Ear tickling A-la-mode of the Times, of such who study Words more than Matter, it would be utterly disliked by all such Pious Christians, for whose sake, and at whose Importunity these Sermons are published. The Holy Apostle (who though profoundly Learned) disclaims any Rhetorical Flourishes, or persuasive Oratory, but professes that his Speech and Preaching, was not with the Enticing Words of Man's Wisdom, but in the demonstration
of the Spirit, and with Power, 1 Cor. 2.4—I may say of some Men’s Orations, or Elocutions, as Plutarch speaks of the Nightingale, who was at first taken with his delicate Notes, but when he saw him said, Thou art a Voice and nothing else. But alas, since the Sacred Scripture it self can't escape some Men’s Censure, as if the Stile was rude and unpolished, (they being destitute of that Spirit which gave them forth;) What can I expect to meet with from such?
Reader, The great Joy that generally appeared amongst all People upon the Conclusion of the late Peace, put me upon Preaching on this Subject; and when I found so great a Number of Books Subscribed for, I thought I had a Call to Print and Publish them, which was the least of my Thoughts when I first entered upon this Work: And indeed I greatly fear, many will see their Expectation frustrated, (I mean such who did not hear the Sermons Preached, but only had some small account of them;) yet they knowing the Author, I may see cause to recall what I speak of my Fears. I must confess, divers Worthy and Learned Men have wrote most excellently upon the Covenant of Grace, yet perhaps hardly any in the Method here used, nor under the Notions of a Covenant of Peace— In some things thou wilt find that I do differ from many Learned Men, who make the Covenant of Redemption, a distinct Covenant from that of Peace and Reconciliation, yet I desire thee to read the tenth Sermon before thou judgest
who is in the right—By the Baxterian Party I expect to be called an Antinomian, for that hath been their Artifice of late, to expose the True Ancient Protestant Doctrine about Justification, &c. but others who are sound in the Faith, will (I am sure) acquit me of that Charge. My main design in all my Preaching (if I know my own Heart) is wholly to advance the Free Grace of God, through that Redemption which is in Jesus Christ, and utterly to abase the Creature, though it may seem a hard thing to keep in an even Line, and not fall into either Extreme: May be some may stumble at some Expressions about God's being Reconciled in Christ to the Elect whilst Sinners—But sure they can't think that I mean because he is reconciled in the Second Adam, that therefore he is actually Reconciled to any as they are considered in the First Adam, and abide under God's denounced Wrath and the Curse of the Law: I know I have been abused of late in Print, by some on the other Hand, but let all well weigh what I have said in my Medium betwixt two Extremes, and what is here said, and so receive Satisfaction [if in the Judgment of any I have missed the Truth in any material Case] I shall gladly receive Information from such, and readily embrace it upon the Evidence of Truth: For, I confess, I see but a little, and the Best know but in part—That which possibly may seem most distasteful, is the frequent repeating of some things; yet in so doing, I have followed the Directions of a very great Man, viz. That such
Things that are Emphatical, should be often repeated to fix the Matter the better on the Mind of the Hearer, or Reader. Besides, they come in occasionally upon different Heads: And I find the very same has been done by others, who are looked upon as Stars of the first Magnitude: See the Epistle to Dr. Manton's Fourth Volume, p. 8. where you have these Expressions, viz. Let it not offend thee that some things are repeated, which frequently happens in the Course of any Man's Ministry, when the same Subject has been formerly handled. Moreover one Reason of it might be, because of the different Times of my Preaching these Sermons; I being called oft to Preach upon other Subjects betwixt them; neither do I think any thing is unprofitably repeated, it being chiefly to Refute the New prevailing Errors about Justification.
Reader, Thou wilt find many of the Essential Points of the Christian Religion are handled in these Sermons, (though but weakly, according to that small Gift-received;) And also thou wilt see how unjustly I have been misrepresented in an Epistle to a certain Book lately Published—I do not say that thou hast all the Enlargements here Printed, as Delivered when these Sermons were Preached, especially in some of them, for if I had so done, the Book would have swelled too big, and indeed it exceeds now what I first proposed—
But to Conclude, If thou dost receive any Light, Spiritual Profit, or Advantage by thy perusing of these Sermons, let thy care be to return the Praise to the God of Truth, and with Charity to cover my Weaknesses, and forget me not in thy Prayers, who am now drawing towards the Period of my Labors and Days. —But, yet through God's Grace at present remain thy Servant in the Gospel for Christ's sake,
From my House at Horslydown, in Freeman's-Lane, this 12th of the 3d Month, called May 1689.
Reader, there are some Faults escaped the Press, which thou art desired to mend with thy Pen before thou readest.
PAg. 76. lin. 13. for Author read Orthodox. p. 10. l. 11. a Figure is false placed, and also a false Break, it should be 2. This Oath, &c. p. 114. l. 5. r. which the Law, &c. p. 119. l. 4. blot out thus, and l. 7. for win r. will, and l. 13. for Creatures r. Creature, p. 120, l. 26. for great r. greater, p. 152. l. 15. blot out the Father, p. 184. l. 29. blot out the, p. 184. in the Marginal Note for 'tis read this, p. 189. l. 17. there is a General Head left out, r. 2. In opposition to that of Works, and l. 18. blot out because; the next General Head is false also, for Fourthly r. Thirdly, and so for Fifthly r. Fourthly, &c. p. 287. l. 20. for his r. his Wrath, Wrath is left out.
THE TABLE OF The Chief Heads contained in this BOOK.
I. THE Occasion of the Author's Preaching upon this Subject, p. 1, 2, 3, 4.
II. The Text divided, and the Terms explained, p. 5, 6, 7, 8.
III. The Doctrine raised, and the General Method proposed, containing Six Heads, viz.
1. Eight Explanatory Propositions laid down by way of premise.
2. To open all the main Covenant Transactions concerning God's Reconciliation to Man, and Man's Reconciliation unto God.
3. Open the Nature of the Covenant.
4. To show what is given or granted to all Believers in the Covenant.
5. To open the excellent Nature of the Peace of the Covenant.
6. The general Application, p. 9.
I. Proposit. That God foresaw from Eternity that a Breach would arise between himself and Mankind, p. 9.
II. Prop. That this Covenant was entered into betwixt God the Father, and God the Son, in behalf of the Elect, p. 10.
III. Prop. That the Breach God foresaw would rise, would be very great, opened on Man's part in 4 Particulars; on God's part in 5 Particulars, p. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
IV. Prop. That the Breach was occasioned by Man's breaking the Law of his Creation, or the first Covenant, p. 14, 15, 16.
V. Prop. That there was none in Heaven or Earth that could make up this Breach save Jesus Christ, p. 16.
VI. Prop. God not irreconcilable, yet acts in a way of absolute Sovereignty, p. 17, 18, 19.
VII. Prop. That this Covenant alone proceeded from the Grace of God, p. 20.
VIII. Prop. That it also results from God's Mercy to such as were considered in Misery, p. 21
Secondly, The Covenant Transactions proposed to be opened, in 6 general Heads.
I. A Treaty held between God the Father and the Son about it.
II. An agreement between them in Eternity.
III. The Mediator of the Covenant chosen, viz. Jesus Christ.
IV. The Ratification of the Covenant.
V. The Proclamation, or Proclaiming this Peace.
VI. When this Peace did commence, and who are included in it, p. 23, 24.
Of the first of these, viz. the Treaty, p. 24, 25, 26
Christ our Covenanting-Party, or Representative in this Treaty; showing why he is called the Messenger of the Covenant, in 4 Respects, p. 25, 26.
Secondly, Why a Mediator was chosen, and the Necessity thereof, opened in 6 Particulars, p. 35, 36.
The Son of God did actually consent to answer all those Proposals made by the Father, p. 30.
Christ the Mediator must be God, he must be Man, he must be God-man, p. 38. to 42.
What a Mediator signifies, p. 45.
And how Christ was qualified; with his whole Work and Office, in 9 Partic. p. 41. 55.
Further opening Christ's Work as Mediator, in 5 particulars, which makes the whole 14, p. 57, 58, &c.
The Application, p. 62, 63, 64.
The Offices of Christ, King, Priest, and Prophet, &c. opened, p. 66. to 74.
The Baxterian Errors what, and also Answered; Christ paid our Debts as a Surety, and not as a Priest, p. 71.
Mr. Clark's Errors detected, a Grand Baxterian, p. 77. to 84.
The Suretiship of Christ opened in eight Things, p. 84, 85.
Two Grand Objections Answered, p. 90.
1. What Suretiship imports, p. 86. to 89.
2. Why Christ became our Surety, showed for 5 Reasons, p. 92.
3. What he was to do, as our Surety, showed in nine Particulars, p. 93. to 102.
4. Showing how his Suretiship differs from Suretiship among Men, in three things, p. 102, 103, 104.
A grand Objection answered, p. 103.
Our Debts are paid, and yet freely forgiven, showed in 7 Respects, p. 104, 105.
The Ratification of the Covenant, (1.) How between the Father and the Son, p. 109, 110.
(2.) By the Death of Christ, p. 111, 112.
Christ a Testator; what a Testator signifies, p. 111.
Showing why the Covenant comes under the Notion of a Testament, or Christ's Last Will, p. 112.
A Sevenfold use of Christ's Death, p. 113, to 116.
The Use, p. 117, &c.
1. The Proclamation of Peace, what.
2. Who God hath appointed to proclaim it.
3. The Nature of the Proclamation.
4. The Terms upon which it is proclaimed, p. 119, 120.
'Tis the Gospel, why it may be so called, opened in 10 Particulars, p. 120. to 125.
What a kind of Book the Gospel is, showed, in 7 Particulars, p. 125, 126.
The Use, p. 128, &c.
Who the Ambassadors of Peace are, viz. (1.) Christ himself the Chief. showed in 6 Particulars, p. 131, 132, 133.
Christ excellently qualified for an Ambassador, showed in 6 Particulars, p. 134.
(2.) Christ's Ministers are Subordinate Ambassadors; Six sorts of Preachers are none of Christ's Ambassadors, p. 135, 136.
Proving Christ's Ministers are his Ambassadors, and what their Work is, opened in 11 Particulars, p. 135. to 144.
Ambassadors when welcome, showed in 4 Respects, p. 137. to 140.
The Application, p. 146, &c.
The Nature of the Gospel, or Proclamation of Peace, p. 151.
1. What it declares, showed in five Particulars, p 152, 153.
2. What it proclaims, viz. Peace and good News by Jesus Christ, God in him being Reconciled, p. 155.
3. To be proclaimed to all Nations, p. 156.
4. Free Pardon for all Sins save that against the Holy Ghost, p. 157.
5. A Universal Proclamation.
An Objection, Did not Christ die for all, largely answered, p. 158, 159, &c.
Christ no Conditional Redeemer, p. 160, 161
Why the Proclamation runs so Universal, p. 164.
(6.) Showing on what Terms Peace is offered to Sinners, p. 164, 165, 166.
The Application, p. 167.
1. Showing the Date of the Covenant, or when it did commence, p. 170, 171.
2. And who comprehended in it.
3. The third general Head of Discourse, viz. The Nature of the Covenant opened.
I. Proving it is the Covenant of Grace, as well as of Redemption, p. 172, 173.
(1.) In it self. (2.) In opposition to the Covenant of Works, p. 175, 176.
The difference between the Covenant of Grace, and Covenant of Works, opened in 9 Particulars, p. 177, to 182.
II. 'Tis an absolute Covenant, showed in 5 Things, p. 182, to 185.
I. 'Tis a well ordered Covenant, showed in 5 Things, p. 190, 191.
II. 'Tis a Glorious Covenant, showed in 6 Things, p. 192, 193, 194.
III. 'Tis a full Covenant, showed in 10 Things, p. 194, to 198.
IV. 'Tis a seasonable Covenant, showed in 3 Things, p. 198.
(1.) As to the time when provided, before Man sinned.
(2.) As to the first revelation of it.
(3.) As to the time of the application of the Balm of it to a Convicted, or Wounded Sinner, p. 198, 199.
V. 'Tis a sure Covenant, showed in 6 Respects, p. 199, 200.
VI. Tis a Cov. of Peace, p. 201, to 203.
IX. 'Tis a tried Covenant, showed in 4 Respects, p. 206.
X. It is one entire Covenant, largely proving the Covenant of Redemption, and Covenant of Grace essentially one and the same Covenant, p. 207, to 222.
The Covenant of Peace a Covenant of greatest Consolation, p. 222.
Also an Everlasting Covenant, p. 223.
Showing the Gifts, Grants, and Privileges in the Covenant to Believers, p. 224.
1. God himself given as a Cov. Blessing, p. 225.
How God comes to be our God, negatively showed, in 3 Respects, p. 226.
Affirmatively, p. 227.
What an amazing Gift this is, showed in 9 Particulars, p. 228, to 236.
First, The Good in God's Communicable Attributes given and let out to us, p. 229, &c.
Secondly, The Son is given to Believers, p. 237
Thirdly, The Holy Spirit is given, all Grace is given, other Privileges given, p. 238, 239.
Believers are God's People by virtue of the Covenant, p. 240, 241.
1. In what respects called God's People, negatively in 3 respects, p. 242, 243.
In the Affirmative, in 7 respects, p. 243, &c.
2. What kind of People God's Covenant-People are, showed in 11 Partic. p. 246, to 252.
3. What a Blessing it is to be God's People, in 12 Particulars, p. 255, 256.
The Application, p. 256, 257.
This Peace opens a Free Trade to Heaven, p. 259.
Sin stop'd up or interrupted all Trade betwixt God and Man, what this implies showed, p. 259.
What meant by a Free Trade showed in 3 Things, p. 260, 261.
This Spiritual Trade is opened by the Peace made by Christ, p. 261.
We Trade by or through a River, viz. the Spirit, this River Christ opened, p. 262.
This Trade the best Trade, showed in 4 Respects. (1.) in the respect of the Subject these Merchandises enrich. (2.) In respect of the things Traded for. (3.) In respect of the Correspondent we Trade with, p. 263▪
4. In respect of the Terms upon which we Trade, p. 264.
(1.) In respect of the Subject, viz: the Soul, showed in 7 Things, p. 265, &c.
(2.) In respect of the Nature of the Things showed, in 8 Particulars, p. 268, &c.
5. In respect of Christ we Trade with, showed in 6 Things, p. 271, 272.
(1.) Christ makes great Returns, p. 272.
(2.) Sure Returns. (3.) Quick Returns. (4.) 'Tis a Free Trade without Money, p. 275.
The Application, p. 276.
All False Dealers will break, and why, showed in 6 Things, p. 277.
Who are Rich Traders, showed in 9 Things, p. 279, 280.
A Summary Account of what is requisite to God's being at Peace with Man, and Man with God, p. 281, &c.
The Nature of this Peace opened, in fourteen Particulars, p. 286, to 291.
The general Application, p. 293.
Christ the Covenant, or the Sum of the Covenant of Grace, showed in eight Respects, p. 293, to 296.
How to know we have actual Peace with God, showed in 8 Particular, p. 299. 300.
A needful Caution about the Elect being Reconciled to God in Christ whilst Sinners, p. 300, 301.
The Blessed State of Believers that possess Peace, or are in a State of Peace, p. 303, 304.
THE Covenant of Peace Opened:
In Several SERMONS.
ISA. Liv. x. Latter Part.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath Mercy on thee.
I Have promised some Brethren to Enter upon the Great Subject of Peace: Not to Treat of Peace with Men, but Peace with GOD; not National Peace, but Spiritual Peace; And that which partly put me upon the Thoughts hereof, was, To see, and hear what Great Joy there is among us in this Nation, and in other Kingdoms and States, upon account of the Peace lately concluded betwixt
the French King and the Confederate Princes.
I must confess National Peace is a great Blessing, when it is given in Mercy, and it is sanctified, and well improved by those Kingdoms and People that enjoy it But whether the Present Peace may be in Mercy (to the Nations) or in Judgment, I know not; Time must discover that: Alas!
What Peace can such expect, who continue in Rebellion against the GOD of Heaven and Earth? What Peace can such a People expect who are not humbled for those Sins and Abominations which caused the righteous and holy God to bring the Plague of War and Devastations upon them? When the Cause is not removed, what reason have we to think the Effect will cease? GOD may it is true, take off one Rod, and yet chasten us with another; if War and the Pestilence humble us not, Famine may be looked for. See what God speaks in Levit. 26.21. And if you walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring seven times more Plagues upon you, according to your sins; and ye shall eat the flesh of your Sons, and the flesh of your Daughters shall you eat, v. 29. A People may cry Peace, Peace! when sudden Destruction is just coming upon them. I may say of the Nations of the Earth, as Jehu said to Joram's Messenger, What hast thou to do with Peace? What Peace so long as the Whoredoms of thy Mother Jezzabel, and her Witchcrafts are so many? What Peace can such a Nation or People look for, long to continue, whilst their horrid Wickedness,
Prophaneness, cursed Oaths, Blasphemy, Drunkenness, Whoredom, Pride, Treachery, Cruelty, Covet ness, Heresies, Superstitions, and all manner of abominations abound amongst them? know this assuredly God's Anger is not yet turned away, but his hand is lifted up still. The Seven last Plagues will over a short time be poured forth; and whatsoever you may think of the present Peace, I fear worse things are near than what the Earth hath seen or felt yet; we are not fallen in such an Age as to expect any long time of Peace; No, No! God hath a fearful Controversy with the Kingdoms of the Earth; Babylon must fall, and Sion must rise, and Jesus Christ shall Reign and Possess his Visible Kingdom. And though Reverend Mr. Beverly, in some respect, hath acknowledged himself mistaken, yet the Church of God is greatly obliged to him for his elaborate Pains, in his careful searching out the Mystical Numbers, so as to know the time of the end of the Beasts Reign and Tyranny, and the passing away of the Second Wo. Moreover, I am persuaded he hath out-done all that went before him, and may be the World will see in a short space, that he was not much mistaken as to the Time.
Therefore it will be Wisdom in all to forbear too hard Censures of this Worthy Person: Let us wait to see what will be produced by Divine Providence between this and the end of the Year 1700. No doubt but amazing Revolutions are ready to break out in the Earth. God will overturn, overturn, overturn, till
he come whose right it is, viz. our Lord Jesus Christ, and it shall be given unto him.
Things look abroad as if we may expect a Religious War, and such an one doubtless, will be produced when God puts it into the hearts of the Ten Kings (or some of them) to hate the Whore. So that from the whole we may expect God will yet take Peace from the Earth, though blessed be his Name, we enjoy a little repose at this time. But what may such Princes and People expect, who having got Peace from abroad, continue, or raise an Open War against the Lord and his People at Home; nay, show their Rage and Malice (more since) in persecuting them than before. Oh! That all of us may be stirred up to cry to the Lord mightily for those poor People, and against their Enemies, as they are Foes and Opposers, and make War against the Lamb, and those that follow him: These things tend to cause me to conclude that the Present Peace in the European World may not last long.
My Brethren, Peace made between Kingdoms and Nations may soon be broken or removed: But there is a Peace which being made shall be lasting, and never be removed: And this brings me to the Words of my Text:
For the Mountains shall depart, and the Hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee
The Text containeth a most Gracious Promise, in which are Five Things to be considered.
I. Who it is that makes this Promise.
II. To whom the Promise is made.
III. What is contained in the Promise.
IV. The Spring or Rise of the Promise.
V. The Stability of the Promise.
I. It is GOD, the great God and Father of Mercy that makes this Promise; he that made and created us, see verse 5. For thy Maker is thy Husband, the Lord of Hosts is his Name, the God of the whole Earth shall he be called; A Promise of Peace from such a King is worth regard, and to be prized by all to whom it is made.
II. This Promise is made unto the Gentile Church, and therefore it wonderfully behooves us to consider it, and lay the matter to heart; some of those great Promises contained in the Writings of the Prophets, do peculiarly refer to the Jews, the Natural Seed of Abraham, but this wholly and particularly respecteth the Gentile Church, as you may see if you read v. 1. Sing O barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into Singing, and cry aloud thou that didst not travel. The Jewish People were in a Legal Covenant Married to the Lord, and many among them were spiritually espoused unto him, and brought forth blessed Fruit, the Church of Israel had a numerous Off-spring; but for a long Period of Time we poor Gentiles were passed by, God espoused us not; the Gentiles
were not Married, or taken into a Covenant Relation with God until the Times of the Gospel, and it was upon the Rejection, and casting off of the Jews, that they were grafted in, as Paul shows at large, Rom. 11.
Now the Reasons why the Gentile People are called, or excited here to Rejoice and Sing, may be these.
1. From what precedes in the 53d. Chapter, where mention is made of the Sufferings, Humiliation, and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely he hath born our Griefs, and carried our Sorrows, &c. ver. 4. He was wounded for our Transgressions, he was bruised for our Iniquities. For our Iniquities, that is, for all the Iniquities of Gods Elect, not only for them among the Jews, but them also amongst the Gentiles. Therefore, Sing O Barren, sing ye Poor Gentiles, for Jesus Christ Dyed for you, he bore your Transgressions.
2. Upon the Consideration of the Promise of the Father to Jesus Christ in respect of them as well as any other, Chap. 53.10. He shall see his Seed, or the Travel of his Soul, even them amongst the Gentiles, as well as them amongst the Jews; i. e. He shall see all them for whom he Died, brought into a Covenant Relation with himself, even Married to him, and his own gracious Image stamp upon them; they shall be called, he shall see them Converted, he shall enjoy them, and embrace them in his Arms, and they shall lie in his Bosom.
They are called upon to Sing (as I
conceive) in respect of that great and glorious Privilege of there being thus Married to Jesus Christ, who before had no Husband, For thy Maker is thy Husband.
3. From the Consideration, she is delivered from the shame of being Barren; see ver. 4. Cry aloud thou that didst not Travel, &c.
4. Upon the Consideration of her numerous off-spring; For more are the Children of the Desolate, than the Children of the Married Wife, saith the Lord, verse 1. Enlarge the Place of thy Tents, and let them stretch forth the Curtains, &c. verse 2. For thou shalt break forth on the Right Hand, and on the Left. This shows, that there should be a Multitude of the Gentiles Converted unto Jesus Christ; yea, a far greater number than of the Jews, which hath been made good in the Gospel Days, and will yet more abundantly in Times that now draw very near, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be brought in: But O! How barren is she now, that once was the Darling of Heaven, and the only Church and People of God? hardly one Jew to be found throughout the Earth that owns the true Messiah, or is a Believer, or a true Christian.
5. Because she shall never suffer shame any more, though for a short Time she was forsaken, and seemed not to be regarded by the Lord; but being now Espoused, she shall perpetually be Beloved, and enjoy Christs special Favor.
6. From the Consideration of the Covenant, that God has made with Christ’s for
them; For the Mountains shall depart, and the Hills be removed, but my Kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, &c.
This brings me to the next Thing.
III. Which is, that which is contained in the Promise, viz. Peace, Peace is a sweet Blessing, Peace with Men is highly esteemed; but this is Peace with God which is far better, and exceeds all kind of Peace whatsoever. Yea Peace by Virtue of a Covenant, a Covenant made by God himself, The Covenant of my Peace, saith the Lord.
IV. We have the Spring or Rise of this Promise, or the grand Motive that moved God to enter into this Covenant of Peace, or to make this Promise; viz. His Love and Mercy, Saith the Lord, that hath Mercy on thee. This shows, that the Covenant of Peace was founded for poor Creatures who were in Misery, or in a deplorable Condition, Man before his fall needed not Gods Mercy, he was the Object of Gods Love and Favor, but not of his Mercy: For Mercy extended to any Person, denotes he was in a forlorn and Miserable Condition before; and at that Time when Bowels of Pity and Compassion were moved towards him.
V. We have here also the Stability of the Promise, the Mountains that stand so fast shall, or may sooner depart, and the Hills be removed, than this Covenant of Peace can be broken or he removed; nay, and he that saith this, is the Lord, the faithful, and true
God, that cannot lie; but to make it yet more firm, he hath sworn to his Promise;* for as I have sworn that the Waters of Noah shall no more, go over the Earth, so have I sworn that I would not be Wrath with thee nor rebuke thee; that is, not to forsake her utterly.
So much shall suffice as to the Parts, and Explanation of the Words of our Text.
I shall only raise, and prosecute one Point of Doctrine from hence, viz.
Doct. That there is a Covenant of Peace made or agreed upon, and it stands firm on behalf of all Gods Elect.
In the speaking unto this Proposition, I shall take this Method following, viz.
1. Lay down eight Explanatory Propositions by way of Premise.
2. I shall endeavor to open the main or chief Transactions about the bringing in, and establish-of this Covenant of Peace
3. I shall open the Nature of this Covenant of Peace.
4. I shall show you what is contained, granted or given in this Covenant.
5. Show the Nature of the Peace comprehended in this Covenant.
6. Apply it.
Proposit. I. That God foresaw from Eternity, that Man would fall from that happy and blessed State in which he was Created; and that a fearful Breach would arise betwixt himself and Mankind. Thereby,
Had it not been thus, there would have been
no room, no need, no occasion for God to enter into a Covenant of Peace with his own blessed Son, in behalf of Mankind without a War foreseen, there could I say, be no occasion of a Covenant of Peace and Reconciliation.
II. Proposition, That this Covenant of Peace was entered into between the Father and the Son before the World began. Hence the Apostle saith, alluding to this Covenant, God hath saved us, and called us with an holy Calling, not according to our Works, but according to his own purpose and Grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the World began. Moreover, Our Lord Jesus saith, that he was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the Earth was. That is ordained, substituted, and anointed to be the great Representative and Covenanting-Head in behalf of all the Elect of GOD.
III. Proposition, That the Breach which God foresaw would arise, would be very great, or a most amazing or fearful Breach betwixt himself and lost Mankind, and that it was so might abundantly be demonstrated.
It was a Breach occasioned by Sin, God did not first fall out with us, or proclaim War against Mankind; but we first broke that League and Covenant of our Creation with God; Man rebelled against his Creator, casting off his Obedience and Allegiance, and subjected himself to Sin and the Devil, Lo this only have I found, that God hath made Man upright, but they have sought out many inventions. Though all the Wickedness that is in Man's Heart, that Deceit, Hypocrisies, and streams
of Filthiness that is there, Solomon, the Wisest of Men could not find out: Yet this he had discovered, viz. the Fountain of it, namely Original Sin; or what it was that first caused that Breach and War which is between God and all Unconverted Men, or all ungodly Ones in the World. And now, That it is a fearful Breach appeareth,
1. In that Man run away from God, and hid himself, And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy Voice in the Garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid my self. That God who was before the Object of his Love and Delight, was now become Terrible unto him because of his horrid Sin and Guilt which lay upon him.
2. It was an unreasonable act of Disobedience, and most horrid Rebellion, considering what God had done for Man, and how Great, Noble and Honorable God had made him; he formed Man in his own Image, and made him capable of enjoying sweet Fellowship and Communion with his Creator; he made him Lord and Governor of all things on Earth, and gave him a lovely, beautiful Spouse to be a sit help meet for him; he gave him power to stand in that happy Estate, tho he left him in a possibility of Falling to prove his Fidelity and Obedience to his Maker. But Man cast horrid Contempt upon God by his Unbelief. He disbelieved the true and faithful God, and believed the Devil, that Father of Lies, and so gave more Glory to Satan, than to his blessed and most rightful Sovereign.
3. The Dismal Nature of this Breach further appears on Man's part, by considering of that vile and abominable Enmity which is in the Hearts of all Mankind (who abide in that old Nature) against God as the effects of that first Sin, The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject unto the Law of God, neither indeed can be; he doth not say, it is an Enemy, but in the abstract, it is Enmity; an Enemy (as one observes) may be reconciled, but Enmity can never be reconciled: Man by this Sin came to be alienated in the highest degree from God, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God: And in another place, saith the same Apostle, And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
4. This still further appears, In that all Men naturally resist God and his good Spirit, they fight against God, Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your Fathers did, so do ye. Nay, they are called haters of God, The haters of God (saith David) should have submitted themselves. Ye have both hated me and my Father, saith our blessed Lord. What can render Sin more evil, or Man more vile than to be called a Hater of God, they are haters of God and despiteful; Their soul, saith the Lord, abhorred me, and my Soul loathed them. Moreover, They are said to be Condemners of God, they even dare God to his Face, and harden their Hearts against him, Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God?
He saith in his heart, thou wilt not require it; They fear him not, they atheistically deny his Providence, nay, his very being; or wish at least there was no God. And all this is the fruit and effect of Man's Rebellion or of his First Sin.
II. As this in part sets out the Nature of this fearful Breach by reason of Sin on Man's part; so also hereby God is become an Enemy to Man; and hence David saith, The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the Earth.
Some conceive by the Face of God here, is meant his Anger, because Anger discovers it self in the Face; others think by the Face of God in this place, is meant all his Attributes, his Justice, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, &c. are set against them.
2. GOD is said to abhor the ungodly, the wicked boasts of his hearts desire, and blesses the covetous whom the Lord abhors. This is an amazing Text, and enough to terrify all greedy Worldlings, or covetous Persons, and such that commend and bless them. True, all Sinners are abhorred upon the account of Sin, 'yet none more hated and abhorred than the covetous Person is, Covetousness is Idolatry.
3. It is said, That God is angry with the wicked every day, if he return not he will whet his Sword, he hath bent his bow, and made it ready, he hath also prepared for him the instruments of Death, he hath drawn his Sword, his Bow is bent, and his Arrows are on the string ready to shoot. Ah! Who is able to Encounter with such an
enemy, or to stand before his Indignation.
4. He hath laid all Mankind, as considered in the First Adam, under the Curse of the Law, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them; yea, the Elect themselves by Nature are Children of Wrath as well as others: All the World is become guilty before God; such is the Nature of the Breach through Man's Sin and Disobedience in breaking the Law of the First Covenant.
5. The Wrath of God abides upon all them that believe not: Brethren, the Sentence is past upon all the whole Race of Mankind, in the First Adam, even the Sentence of Everlasting Death: They are all condemned already, though the Sentence is not presently executed.
IV. Proposition: That the Breach betwixt God and Man, was occasioned by the violation of the First Covenant which God entered into with Adam, as the Common or Public Head and Representative of all Mankind; which Covenant was a Covenant of Works; I say, God gave a Law, or entered into a Covenant of Works with the First Adam and his Seed, and in that Covenant he gave himself to be our God, even upon the strict and severe condition of perfect Obedience, personally to be performed by Man himself, with that Divine Threatening of Death and Wrath if he broke the Covenant, In the Day thou eats thereof thou shalt surely die. Yet some may doubt (as one observes) whether this was a
Covenant of Works, because here is only a threatening of Death upon his Disobedience to this one positive Law.
Answ. (But as he well observes)
Man in his First Creation was under a Natural Obligation to universal compliance to the Will of God, and such was the Rectitude of his Nature, it imports an exact Conformity to the Divine Will, there being an inscription of the Divine Law upon Adam's heart, which partly still remains, or is written in the hearts of the very Gentiles (though much blur'd) which is that light which is in all, or that which we call The light of Nature.
Though evident it is that God afterwards more clearly and formally repeated this Law of Works to the People of Israel, it being written into Two Tables of Stone, though not given in that Ministration of it for Life, as before it was to Adam; yet as so given, it is by St. Paul frequently called the Old Covenant, and the Covenant of Works, which required perfect Obedience of all that were under it, to their Justification at God's Bar, and so made Sin appear exceeding sinful, and tended to aggravate Man's Guilt and Misery upon his Conscience, though the Design of God hereby was to discover unto Man how unable he was in his Fallen State to fulfill the Righteousness of God, that so that Law, together with the Types and Sacrifices, might be a Schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
Now in that Ministration of the First Covenant given to Israel when they came out of Egypt, there seemed to be a mutual Contract
and Stipulation betwixt God and them, God enjoined perfect, universal, and continual Obedience of them, and they promised and covenanted formally so to do.
2. Brethren! Pray consider, The First Covenant required Perfect Righteousness of Man as the condition of his Justification, &c. and that not enjoined by the Holy God as a simple act of his Sovereignty (as some conclude) but as it resulted from his Holiness, and the Rectitude of his Nature: It being inconsistent with the Justice, Holiness or Purity of God's Nature, to justify any Man who is not perfectly righteous, or wholly without sin, even in Thought, Word and Actions.
3. That Adam before the Fall had Power to answer this Covenant of perfect righteousness, and which he was obliged to do; yet had no Surety to engage to God for him.
4. Moreover, he breaking this Covenant (as you have already heard) he was utterly undone, and all his Off-spring in him, and his Credit being lost for ever with God, the Lord will not Treat with him any more, nor enter into any Terms of Peace without a Surety, and that too upon the Foundation of a better Covenant, or not at all.
V. Proposition. That there was none in Heaven nor Earth, I mean neither Men nor Angels, that could make up that Breach which Sin hath made between God and Man. And as no Man nor Angel could do it, so no Repentance, no Tears, though Tears of Blood, no Reformation, nor any Sacrifice, no not a Thousand Rams, nor Ten Thousand
Rivers of Oil, nor the fruit of the Body. I say, none of these could atone for the Sin of the Soul, or make our Peace with God. It is not enough for a Man to say, he will sin no more, for he hath sinned, and stands obliged to God to pay Ten Thousand Talents, and yet hath not one Farthing to repay; neither will God forgive one Rebel or any Debtor the least Mite, as a simple act of Mercy, but doth require a Full Satisfaction for the whole Debt. Moreover, Man is both a Debtor and a Criminal.
VI. Proposition, That God presented himself not as an irreconcilable Enemy, for though he be Just, yet he is gracious; Mercy and Goodness are a like glorious Attributes, or Properties of his Nature, as Justice, Holiness, &c. Yet the Display of his Favor, Love, Mercy and Goodness, ought to be considered with respect had to his absolute Sovereignty. He was, my Brethren, No more obliged to magnify his Mercy in a Surety and Savior to Mankind, than he was to the Fallen Angels; he had not been unjust if all Adam's Posterity had been cast into Hell, and not one Soul saved; as he is not unjust in throwing all the fallen Angels into Hell for ever, without affording one of them any Relief, Redemption, or hope of Recovery; neither is he obliged to save the whole Lump of Mankind, either in a way of Justice or Mercy, because he is pleased to save a remnant of them. God was at the liberty of his Will whether he would make this World or not; it was, I mean, the only Act of his
Sovereignty; its actual existence in time, was according to his absolute Decree and Purpose from Everlasting; and according to his absolute Sovereignty he governs and disposes of all things, and may do what he will with his own: All Nations tremble before him, whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive. The most High doth according to his Will in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what dost thou? So he hath mercy upon whom he will have mercy, and compassion on whom he will have compassion, and whom he will he hardened. He called Abraham, and revealed himself to him, and let the most of Mankind in his days remain ignorant of him as to Salvation by Jesus Christ: He also entered into a Covenant with the Seed of Abraham, and gave them his Laws and Ordinances, he did not do so to any other Nation: And in Gospel Times he called a few poor and illiterate Fishermen, and such like Persons, and let the Pharisees and Learned Rabbis remain under the power of Sin and Satan; and all this as the act of his own absolute Sovereignty, and Good Pleasure of his Will, as our Lord sheweth, At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to Babes: Even so Father for so it seemed good in thy sight.
So now, at this day, he sends the Gospel into one Nation, and not into another; and then also in such Nations where the Gospel
is Preached, it is but here and there clearly opened; Nay, and many who come under the powerful Ministration of the Gospel, have it only come unto them in Word, that which is the savor of life unto life to some, is the savor of Death unto Death to others. Now from whence is all this? but merely from the Sovereignty of God, or good pleasure of his Will, for It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
God's special Love and Election is not from any Man's willing, or running; it riseth not from Natural Powers improved, not from his Desires, Good Deeds, or Good Inclinations,* or from the fore-sight of his Faith and Obedience; but from and of God's mere Mercy, Sovereign Grace and Favor: The Truth is, to deny God to have the power of his own Free Act in dispensing his own Sovereign Bounty, is to Eclipse his Glory, and to render him to have less Sovereign Power than that which he hath given, and allowed to Mankind: May not a Man show his Favor and Goodness in redeeming a few Captives, out of a Multitude, who willfully brought themselves into Bondage, but he must redeem them all, or be unjust? Or cannot a Man give a bountiful Gift to One or Two poor Men in a Parish, but he must bestow like Bounty to all the Poor in the said Parish? Or, can't a King contrive and enter into a Covenant of Peace for a few Rebels that have (with a Multitude of others) taken up Arms against him, but he must be charged with Injustice,
because he did not extend like Favor in the said Covenant to them all; sure, no Man, in his right Senses, will deny him this Liberty: And now, Shall not GOD have like power to dispense his Sovereign Grace to whom he pleases, who is said to do all things according to the pleasure of his own Will, and eternal purpose in Jesus Christ?
Proposition VII. And from hence it appeareth, That the Covenant of Peace is the Covenant of Grace. For though the Covenant of Peace, in respect had to Christ, as our Mediator, Head and Surety, was upon the Condition of his Merits; yet as to the Design, End and Purpose of it, in respect of us, it was only an act of Pure Grace; hence said to be according to the good pleasure of his Will, Ephes. 1.5. And to the praise of the glory of his Grace, v. 6.
1. It was the Free Grace of God the Father to vouchsafe us a Substitute, a Savior, a Mediator of this Peace, and to Choose, Ordain and Appoint his own Son to be the Person, and to accept him in our stead. Oh! What Favor is this? God so loved the World, &c.
2. And it was the Free Grace of God the Son to engage himself to the Father, to enter into this Covenant to make our Peace; the Glory of Both Persons equally shine forth to the amazement of all in Heaven and Earth, the Counsel of Peace was between them both.
3. Nay, my Brethren, the Free and Rich Grace of God in this Covenant is to be adored, even as to the Main and Ultimate End and Design thereof, Not according to our
Works, but according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given to us in Christ before the World began. The whole Contrivance, Foundation and Rise of this Covenant of Peace, is of love and Grace; Neither do we receive any Grace from God in Time, but as it results from the Covenant of Peace made with us in Christ before all Time; But this I purpose to enlarge upon further when I come to open the nature of the Covenant.
Proposition VIII. And as the Covenant of Peace is the Covenant of Grace; so it results from God as an act of Infinite Mercy; It is therefore a merciful Covenant; it was not made with Man considered in his State of Innocence; for Man, as so considered, could not be the Object of God's Mercy; for though God appeared very good and gracious to us in our First Creation, and as we came out of his Hands, and that many ways; Yet such was our Happy State, that we stood then in no need of Mercy; for where Mercy is showed, it is to such that are in Misery; but before Man fell he knew no Misery, Pain or Sorrow; but when God first cast his Eyes upon us, and entered into this Covenant of Peace with his own Son for us, he saw us lie in our Blood, and fallen under his Divine Wrath and Anger; and this indeed the very name of the Covenant of Peace doth import: There was no need of Peace had there not been a War, or a fearful Breach between God and us; and that this Covenant results from God's great Mercy, read again my Text, Saith the Lord
that hath mercy on thee. God foresaw us cast out like a wretched Infant in the day of its Nativity, whose Navel was not cut, neither washed in Water, nor salted, nor swaddled at all; and what doth God say more, None Eye pitied thee to do any of these things for thee, but thou was cast out in the open Field, to the loathing of thy person in the day thou was born. This was the time of his Love, and also of his Pity and tender Mercy; And when I passed by thee I saw thee polluted in thine own blood, ver. 6. that is, when he was first concerned for us, in this Covenant of Peace, and entered into that holy Compact with his own Son: Behold, thy time was a time of love, and I spread my Skirt over, and covered thy nakedness; yea, and I swear unto thee, and entered into Covenant with thee, saith the Lord, and thou became mine. This was the time of God's entering into Covenant with his Elect, viz. it was with them in Christ, and what of this is actually accomplished on us in Time, in our own Persons, is but the execution of all that Grace, Pity and Mercy manifested to us in Christ from Eternity; he then showed his Eternal Purpose of Compassion towards his Chosen, and he then said in his blessed Covenant to them live.
I should now proceed to the next general Head, but shall say no more at this time.
ISA. Liv. x. the last part of the Verse.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant of Peace made and agreed on, and standeth firm in behalf of all the Elect of God.
The last Day we spoke to those Explanatory Propositions proposed to be opened by way of premise. And now to proceed to the next General Head.
Secondly, I shall endeavor to open the main or chief transactions about the bringing in this Covenant of Peace. There are my Brethren, Six Things to be considered in a Covenant of Peace among Men, and so also in and about this Covenant.
I. A Treaty, or a Solemn Consultation, or a Treating about the Terms of Peace.
II. An Agreement upon the Terms proposed.
III. Who the Mediator is of this Covenant of Peace, together with his Work and Office.
IV. The Ratification of the Covenant.
V. The Proclamation or proclaiming the Peace.
VI. The Time when the Peace shall commence, and who are included in it, and what is required
in order to their actual possession and enjoyment thereof.
My Brethren, These are the main things that are contained in, and about a Covenant of Peace among Men, as the chief Covenant Transactions; and my Purpose is to speak unto these Six things particularly: Though I grant there is some difference between a Covenant of Peace between Kingdoms and States among Men, and this Covenant; especially concerning the Work of the Glorious Mediator of this Covenant, and a Mediator of Peace concluded between Earthly Princes and States: As we, God assisting, shall make appear.
But to proceed:
I. Concerning the Treaty, or Treating about this Covenant. My Brethren, Commonly Princes and States appoint their Extraordinary Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries to Treat about the Terms upon which they design and are willing to conclude a Peace after a ruinous and destructive War: They do not Treat about it in their own Persons; but the Treaty of Peace in this Covenant was only between God the Father, and God the Son; Sinners then had no actual Being, or did not exist, and therefore could not send any Plenipotentiary to agitate Matters on their behalf.
It is true, Our Lord Jesus Christ is called The Messenger of the Covenant whom we delight in. He is indeed our Delegate, Messenger or Trustee; but the Father alone, and not we
Delegated that Office and Power to him, for us, and on our Behalf, out of his own Sovereign Grace and Goodness before the World began. This Name of Messenger of the Covenant doth.
1. Denote Christ's Dispensatory Employment, Work and Office, and his free and voluntary condescension to undertake in this Treaty, according to the Design, Purpose and Will of the Father, as our great Trustee, Ambassador, and Plenipotentiary. And
2. He may not only be called The Messenger of the Covenant, as our great Representative to Treat with the Father in Eternity, upon the Terms of our Peace; but also in his being sent from Heaven to Earth, actually to work about, and accomplish all things that were agreed on between them both; concerning the making of our Peace. He traveled from Heaven to Earth on this Errand, and to effect this blessed Work.
3. He may be so called, because he is the Messenger that published the Happy News of the Peace contained in this Covenant, in the clear and glorious Ministration of it: Hence it is said, it was first began to be spoken by the Lord. Our Lord Jesus is the great Apostle, and Chief Minister and Messenger of the New Covenant, a Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not Man.
4. He is the Messenger who doth interpret, open and explain all those dark and obscure Mysteries contained in the Covenant of Peace,
that were kept secret and hid from the beginning of the World; He is that Messenger, one of a thousand: All things (saith he) are delivered unto me of my Father; and no Man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any Man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. No Man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him: But no more as to this now.
1. I shall prove that there was a Covenant between God and Christ, or a blessed Treaty about our Peace before the World began, see Psalm 89. v. 3. I have made a Covenant with my chosen. God first chose his Son as the Representative, Covenanting Head and Surety of his Elect, and then Treated with him about the Terms of our Peace. It is said to be made with David, but no otherwise than as he was a Type of Christ. It is Jesus Christ who is the true David, My Mercy will I keep for him evermore, and my Covenant shall stand fast with him: Hence our Blessed Lord, it is said, was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.
2. Here are the two Covenanting Parties the Covenant of Peace is between them both: that is, between the Lord of Host, and the Man who is the Branch; betwixt them it was consulted, agreed to, or concluded, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the Earth was: that is, as the Covenant-Head of all God's Elect, or as Mediator and Peace-maker between God and them, and this setting up
that, clearly implies a Covenant or holy Compact that was between them both.
3. The consent of two Parties, or more, upon the Proposals made by the one Party, and the agreement of the other, tends to make a formal Covenant, so here was, my Brethren, a mutual re-stipulation betwixt God the Father and Christ about our Peace and Redemption.
For here were things commanded by the one, and agreed to be done in obedience by the other: In these Transactions the Father makes Proposals to the Son, and showed him what he will have him do, if ever our Peace succeed and is made. And
4. Moreover, Upon the doing of which many great Promises are made to Christ for the Merit or Desert of his Work, and to the Elect in him, out of mere Grace, for Christ's sake, or for his just deserving; hence our Lord saith he came to do the will of his Father, This is the Will of him that sent me, his Life as his Father commanded him; he knew it was according to the Eternal Compact, Purpose and Decree of his Father, unto which he consented; God the Father agreed to prepare the Son a Body, the Son consented to assume our Nature, or take that Body, Then said I, lo, I come to do thy Will O God! and in that body he was enjoined to die, I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again, this Commandment have I received of my Father. Also these Federal Transactions betwixt God the Father and Jesus Christ are
held forth in Isa. 53.10, 11, 12. He shall make his Soul an offering for Sin, this was that which Christ was obliged to do; and then we have the Promise of the Fathers to him, (1.) Of justifying of many. (2.) Of seeing his Seed, He shall see his Seed. (3.) That the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall have them all united to himself, pardoned, and saved forever. Again Isa. 42.6. The Covenanting Parties are mentioned, the Father saith, I. will give thee (that is, thee my Son) for a Covenant to the People. Here's the Father's Designation and first Sealing of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Mediatorial Office and Employment.
Moreover, Our Lord Jesus readily complied with the Father's Purpose and Will herein, The Lord God hath opened mine Ear, and I was not rebellious, I gave my Back to the Smiters, and my Cheeks to them that plucked off the Hair; I hid not my Face from shame and spitting. I gave consent thus to do, I readily yielded to my Father's Pleasure herein; and in the Fullness of Time he actually thus suffered to fulfill and answer the Terms of this Covenant.
I will declare the Decree, (or as Dr. Hammond reads it) the Covenant: that is, I will publish or manifest that which was agreed upon betwixt God the Father and me This my Brethren, was long kept secret, but it is now clearly revealed, The secrets of the Lord is with them that fear him and he will show them his Covenant. The Hebrew Word Decree, the Learned in that Language render Statute, Decree, Agreement, Pact, Covenant; the Word in non-Latin alphabet that
is here used (saith a Learned Author) is in the Scripture sometimes promiscuously, or synonymously used with the Word in non-Latin alphabet that is usually rendered Covenant; Covenant is taken either properly or figuratively. First Properly, for a mutual Contract, Compact or Agreement between two Parties, which differs from a Law which is without Obligation on the Lawgiver; and also from a single Promise which is without Stipulation. Covenant may be thus taken (as one Notes) i. e. in a proper sense when applied to the whole Covenant of Peace or Grace. between the Father and the Son, because there was a mutual Stipulation.
2. Figuratively, For a bare Promise; so it was to Noah, Gen. 9.9. and so the Covenant of Grace run to Abraham, viz. being no more than a free Promise of God; and thus we are to take the Word Covenant when it refers to us in Christ, for we receive no Covenant-Blessings upon any mutual Stipulation betwixt God and us, upon or from the Merit of our Work, but all upon the account of Free Grace, and of Christ's Covenant with God, and by virtue of that Federal Union we had then with him; for all things which we receive in Time, was promised to us in Christ from Eternity; therefore the Elect must federally be considered in Christ from everlasting: The Covenant of Peace with Christ, my Brethren, was not made simply for himself, but for the Elect; he merited that we might possess: True, all is to him of mere Desert and Merit; but to us in him, of mere Grace and Favor. So much as to the
first thing that was proposed to be opened, viz. That there was a Treaty or Treating between the Father and the Son about this blessed Covenant of Peace.
II. I shall show you more fully, That there was an Agreement upon the Terms. Or, That the Son of God did consent to what the Father proposed.
1. It is very evident from what hath been said, That God proposed Matters to his own Son; or what he must do to procure, and establish the Covenant of Peace; but let me add here one or two Scriptures more to show you that Christ consented unto those Proposals made by the Father, I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a light unto the Gentiles: to open blind eyes, to bring out the Prisoners from the Prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the Prison-House. And in Isa. 49.5, 6. it is said, And now saith the Lord that formed me from the Womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And my God shall be my strength: And he said it is a light thing that thou should be my Servant, to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, to restore the preserved of Israel, I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my Salvation to the ends of the Earth. These things all Expositors that are Orthodox agree were spoken by Jehovah to Jesus Christ, and do contain Proposals concerning the Covenant of Peace. And now
2. Let us in the next place consider of such Scriptures that prove that Christ did consent unto these Proposals. To this effect, see Prov. 8.22.23, 24. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his work of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before ever the Earth was. When there was no depths I was brought forth, when there was no Fountains abounding with Water, 30, 31. Then was I with him as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in the habitable part of the Earth, and my Delights were with the Sons of Men. As this Text proves the Eternity of the Son of God, who is the substantial, eternal Wisdom of God; so also it shows there was a voluntary and ready consent in our Lord to undertake in the Work of our Peace and Redemption, that he was set up and did agree to undertake, as our Mediator, to make our Peace with God; and also, that he took pleasure in his so engaging on our behalf; To this, let me add what David in the Person of Christ speaks, Sacrifice and Offerings thou didst not desire, mine ears hast thou opened; Burnt Offerings and Sin Offerings hast thou not required, then said I, lo I come to do thy Will O God. This place is cited by the Apostle, Wherefore when he cometh into the World he saith, Sacrifice and Offerings thou wouldst not, but a Body hast thou prepared me. In Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, lo I come, in the Volume of the Book it is written of me, to do thy Will, O God. Nothing can more fully show Christ's cheerful Consent;
What God the Father required, Jesus Christ yielded to do, which was, to make satisfaction for Sin, in his Body on the Tree, and so to make our Peace with the Eternal Jehovah.
I. Consider who the Persons transacting and treating with each other were, even God the Father, and God the Son; the Father stands upon satisfaction to his Law and Justice, or demands the whole Sum or Price of our Redemption, that so our Peace might be made, and Christ engaged to give it.
II. The business or grand Matter transacted, I say, betwixt them was our Peace and Reconciliation unto God, and so to recover all God's Elect from Sin, Wrath and Misery, and work about their Eternal Happiness; the Elect, though not then in Being, yet are here considered as fallen, wretched and forlorn Creatures.
III. That the Manner or Nature of these Transactions were federal, or in a Covenant-way, one Person mutually engaging and stipulating with the other: The Father stands upon the strict demands of Law and Justice, the Son consents to glorify the Father therein, and raise the honour of all the Divine Attributes, which in time he did do, I have glorified thee on Earth, I have finished the work thou gravest me to do. And now Father, glorify me with thine own Self. As if he should say, the Terms agreed upon, or thy Demands are done, therefore let me have my Reward, and let mine Elect be made one in us; Let me not only Personally be one with thee, but also Mystically
one, and so be glorified, as it is due to me, as the Hire or Reward of my Work.
IV. If any ask when this Covenant or holy Compact was made, I told you, and say again, it bears Date from Eternity, or before the World began, when we had (as I said before) no Existence but only in the Eternal Decree and Purpose of God. Moreover, Remember this Covenant was made with Christ for us, and in him with us, for all that Grace which is given to us in time, was promised unto us in Christ, nay given to us in Christ from Eternity, 2 Tim. 1.9. Tit. 1.1, 2, 3. as our Surety, Covenanting-Head, and blessed Representative.
As to the special and particular Articles agreed upon, on which the Covenant of Peace was made and concluded, I shall open them under the next Head of Discourse.
V. Commonly in all Treaties, or Covenants of Peace amongst Men, there is a Mediator chosen. So God chose a Mediator of this Covenant; yet his Work as Mediator, greatly differs from the Work and Office of all other Mediators, as I might make it appear: For Christ is not only Mediator of the Covenant, but Surety, Messenger and Testator of it also: And as he is considered Mediator, he is invested with a Threefold Office more particularly, which Offices he faithfully executed in order to the making our Peace with God, in reconciling God to us, and us to God, which I purpose to treat of and open in order.
The Work of our Mediator is not barely to see our Peace made, or to labor by Entreaty to bring each Party to Moderation, and pliable Terms, and to see every thing done according to the Preliminaries agreed upon; but the whole Work of making Peace is solely committed to our Lord Jesus Christ, not to see others do it, but he himself doth it all, even all that God requires on his part, and what is necessary to be done for us, in us, and by us also.
I. Let it be also considered, That God would not make any Covenant of Peace with us without a Mediator, without such a Mediator; and that Jesus Christ alone is the Mediator, is evident, There is one Mediator between God and Man, even the Man Christ Jesus. I say, God chose his Son to be the Mediator of this Covenant of Peace: and hence he is said to be given for a Covenant unto the People, that is, as some conceive, To be the Mediator thereof.
II. God the Father's Demands must be granted; he will not suffer his Just Right and Honour to be invaded, nor his Glory eclipsed, therefore was this Mediator chosen; besides the Sanction of his Holy Law must be preserved; Private Persons may forgive Offences, as they please; but the Just and Holy Governor of the World, will not, cannot pass by Offences till the end of Government be secured, that so his Holiness and Justice be not stained, nor his Law fall to the Ground: Hence one main Article proposed was, That the Mediator of our Peace do make full Satisfaction, and if he
doth not this, there could be no Covenant of Peace concluded; this therefore was the result of that Counsel of Peace held in Eternity.
III. There was I say, a necessity for the Son of God to be both Mediator and Surety of this Covenant: I do not say, that there was a necessity laid either upon the Father or the Son to enter into this Covenant of Peace for us: No, no! But if God will in a way of Free and Sovereign Grace enter into such a Covenant for Mankind, there was a Necessity for Christ to be the Mediator and Surety of it; I say, Necessity, so far as we can, or are able to conceive, in respect of this Matter.
1. Because God hath not revealed, or made known any other way by which our Peace could be made, but by a Mediator, I do not say, that God could not any other way make our Peace, but that he could not in regard of his own Honour (so far as it appeareth unto us. Moreover, if God hath not made known any other way, then there is no other way for us to obtain Peace with him: But no other way is made known.
2. There could be no other way, as we can conceive, because the breach that was between God and us, must be made up by a full satisfaction to the Law and Justice of God, God being Just as well as Gracious; and hence one end why Christ was made a propitiation through Faith in his blood, was To declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, v. 25. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be
just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, vers. 26. that is, That no wrong might be done to the Essential Purity of God's Nature, or Rectitude of his Will; nor yet to his immediate Justice, by which he cannot but hate Sin, and for it require a Satisfaction.
3. In regard of the Truth of God's Threatening pronounced against all Mankind in Adam, upon his Disobedience, legal Threatening are such, that they admit of no Pardon, without Satisfaction be made to the Justice and Holiness of God; and this was signified by all those Typical Sacrifices and Offerings under the Law; therefore in vindication of the Truth or Veracity of God, together with the Honour, Equity, and Sanction of the Law, there must be Satisfaction made, or no Peace with God, for fallen Mankind; and this could not be done but by such a Mediator as Jesus Christ is.
For that which could not be done by Men or Angels, nor as a simple Act of God's Mercy, without the Impeachment of his Holiness, Truth, and Justice, &c. could not be done at all: But no pardon, no Peace could be procured by Men nor Angels, nor as an absolute or simple Act of Mercy, without the Impeachment or eclipsing the Glory of the Attributes of God's Justice, Truth, and Holiness, &c. therefore it could not be so done at all.
4. To say God might have entered into a Covenant of Peace for us any other way than by the Mediator Jesus Christ, or through his Death and Atonement would (as one observes)
reflect upon his Love to his own dear Son: For why should the Son of God be made a Curse for us, or suffer the cursed Death of the Cross, to make our Peace, if Peace could be made any other way, without the least injury to the Justice, Law, or Holiness of God, &c. No doubt my Brethren, but that the Son of God had been spared, if he had foresaw that our Peace might have been made some other way.
Moreover, would it not then follow that there might have been two Ways to obtain Peace and Reconciliation with God, which is contrary to what our Blessed Lord says, No Man cometh to the Father but by me; that is, cannot come to have Peace with God any other way, but by me, by my Death, or through my Blood, nor without believing, or depending upon me: For thus it is with the adult.
5. There is no other way of Peace with God, and therefore a Necessity of Christ's Mediation; because without the shedding of Blood,* there is no Remission; no Pardon, and so no Peace; there could be no discharge from the guilt of Sin, no removal of the Punishment of Sin, nor any Purgation from the filth and pollution thereof, without the Blood of Christ be shed.
6. Because it is positively said, There is no other Name given under Heaven whereby we must be saved: If there is no other Name, Way, or Means given, but by Jesus Christ; then there is a Necessity that our Peace be made alone by him: But this is so, therefore there is a Necessity of Christ's Mediation.
In the next place we will enquire what is absolutely necessary for the Mediator of our Peace to do, or were Requisites in him, according to the Articles agreed on in this Covenant, to make our Peace with God.
1. A Mediator of this Covenant of Peace, must understand the Nature of that difference, or breach which was betwixt God and Man; and what Terms the Holy God, who is the Injured Party) stands upon; and must have granted him if ever our Peace be made; and who but Jesus Christ, who is God, knew this? It was he only that well knew what it was that could satisfy Infinite Justice: Had it been proposed either to Men or Angels to resolve this Question, i. e. By what Means shall fallen Man come to be reconciled to God, and God be righted as touching all that wrong Sin and Sinners have done him? What Answer think you could they have made? Alas! no mere created Being could resolve such a Question.
2. He that is the Mediator of this Covenant, or that maketh our Peace, must not only know what will do it, but also he must be able to answer all God's Demands, both in respect of his Law and Justice; and also be able to supply all our Wants and Necessities: He must seek the Honour of the Blessed God, and equally seek and be able to relieve poor Sinners; and none but Jesus Christ could do this, who is an indifferent Person, or one equally related unto both, he being both God and Man in one Person.
(1.) He being God, the the same Eternal God, he could not know what concerned the Glory of his Father; and therefore would not, could not eclipse his Glory.
(2.) And he being Man, he could not but sympathize with the poor Creature; and as being God he did not only know all our Wants, but he is able also to supply them. This brings me to the next particular.
III. The Mediator of this Covenant must therefore be every ways suitably qualified, or capacitated for this Work and Mediatorship; and to this end I say, he must be God; nay, God in our Nature, (for a mere Man could not satisfy Infinite Justice); his Obedience or Sufferings else could not therefore have been meritorious: For it was from the Union of the Divine Nature with the Humane, that put such a Worth or meritorious Efficacy in his Sacrifice.
I say, Jesus Christ our Mediator must be God,
1. Because those Evils which he was to expiate, could never be taken away by any Person that was not God, or whose Sacrifice or Atonement had not an infinite Worth and Satisfaction in it; because Sin is against the Infinite Majesty of Heaven.
2. Jesus Christ as Mediator must be God, because otherwise he could not sustain, or bear in his Body and Soul that great weight of Sin and Wrath laid upon him; for if but the guilt of one Sin was laid on any mere Man, it would sink him down to the lowest Hell; much more then would the weight of all the Sins of God's Elect have sunk down the Lord Jesus Christ,
when laid upon him, had he not been God, but a mere Man. How doth David cry out of the burden of his Sins? Mine Iniquities are gone over mine Head, as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. Nay, my Brethren, when our Sins were laid upon our Lord Jesus Christ, and he began to bear, and feel the weight of them, though he was God, how did he cry out? and he began to be sore amazed, and said, My Soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto Death: Tarry ye here and watch, and he went forward a little, and fell on the Ground: The weight of our Sins and Divine Wrath, brought him down to the Earth.
3. Christ our Mediator must be God, otherwise his Suffering, or the purchase of his Blood could not have merited all that Grace and Glory for all God's Elect, which indeed it did. Brethren there is a difference between a full Satisfaction or Payment of Debts, and a Price that is laid down not only to do that, but also to merit and purchase a Right to great Riches, high Privileges and Honour.
Now if Christ had only paid our Debts, or satisfied the Justice of God as to his vindictive Vengeance, though we thereby had been delivered from Hell, yet that Payment could not have raised us up to Heaven; no, it is through the Merits of that Infinite Price Christ laid down, that we come to be the Sons of God, and Heirs of Glory; and all this is through the Dignity of his Person, and infinite Value and Worth of his Purchase, as being God; and also as it was the Grant of God the Father to Christ, in the Covenant of Peace, as the result of those Transactions.
4. He must be God, because otherwise he could not have subdued, and overcome all his and our Enemies: What mere Man is able to wrestle with, and overcome Satan, and all the Powers of Darkness? Or how could he have prevailed against Death? Overcome and have subdued Death? I will ransom them from the Power of the Grave: I will redeem them from Death: O Death, I will be thy Plague; O Grave, I will be thy Destruction. And hence Christ says, Destroy this Temple, and in three Days I will raise it up again. This he could not have done except he had been the Eternal God. Now this is sometimes attributed to the whole Trinity, sometimes to the Father, sometimes to the Holy Ghost, so it is sometimes attributed to Jesus Christ, which shows, that the three Persons are all but the same God.
5. He must be God, in respect of his Work as Mediator in reference to Man; for he was obliged to quicken all God's Elect, (who in the first Adam were dead in Sins and Trespasses) and raise them from that Spiritual Death, and overcome the Power of Sin and Satan in them, as well as for them. This brings me to the next Thing.
II. Jesus Christ also as Mediator of Peace, must be Man.
1. He must be Man, because he must work out a Righteousness in the same Nature that had sinned, Man was obliged to keep the Law perfectly; and this must be done by Man, if ever he be Justified with God; (for God will in no wise clear the Guilty.) True, this is not required
in the Covenant of Peace to be done in the Person of every elect Sinner,' but in the Person of Christ, who is the Representative of every one of them. For as we were all made Sinners by one Man, as the Head and Representative of all his Seed, so we became Righteous by the complete and perfect Obedience of one Man, as the Head and Representative of all his Seed; for as the Law being broken by one Man, is imputed to all his Seed, so the Law being completely kept by one Man, Jesus Christ, is imputed to all his Seed: For as by one Man's Disobedience many were made Sinners; so by the Obedience of one, shall many be made Righteous. Moreover, Justice required that the same Nature that broke the Law, should keep the Law, though room for a Substitute, or Surety, was reserved in the Wisdom and Council of God.
2. Christ must be Man, because he must die; now God as God (I mean the Godhead) could not die; Man must die to satisfy offended Justice for the Breach of the Law; therefore Christ must be Man and die: And by Virtue of the Union of the Divine Nature with the Human Nature in his Person, the Death of Christ was a full Satisfaction to the Justice of God.
3. He must be one with us, or else how could his Obedience be imputed to us? For as our Sins was imputed to him, so his Righteousness is imputed to us.
4. He must be Man, that he might be a Merciful High-Priest, being touched with the feeling of our Infirmity, he must have access to both,
he was to deal with God for Man, and for God with Man.
Jesus Christ ought to be of the same Stock with those he Redeemed or Sanctified to God, of one Stock, of one Blood saith a worthy Author;
That by the Law of Propinquity of Blood, he might have right to redeem us; Goel the next of Kin, had an Obligation upon him to redeem his Brother's Land if Mortgaged: If thy Brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his Possession, and if any of his Kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his Brother sold.
So of Persons, If sold, after he is sold he may be redeemed again, one of his Brethren may redeem him: So Christ is called Goel, Job 19.25. For I know that my Redeemer lives: Christ is our Kinsman, not only true Man, but the Son of Man; true Man he might have been, if God had created him out of nothing, or he had brought his Substance from Heaven; but he is the Son of Man descended from the Loins of Adam, as we are, and so doth redeem us, not only Jure proprietatis, by virtue of his Interest as our Creator, but Jure propinquitatis, by virtue of Kindred, as one of the same Stock and Lineage, as the Son of David, as well as the Son of God, for Christ Jesus, of all the Kindred, was the only one that was free, and able to pay a Ransom for us.
5. He must be Man, as the said Author notes,
That we might find a Fountain of Holiness in our Nature, God hath poured out upon his
Human Nature, such a measure of Holiness, that he might be a common Fountain to all the Elect; of his Fullness have all we received, and Grace for Grace. Christ, as God-man, is the Fountain from whence we receive all Grace.
6. To give us a Pledge of that Tenderness of his Love and Compassion towards us; for he that is our Kinsman, Bone of our Bone, and Flesh of our Flesh, will not be strange to his own Flesh; especially since he is one that is so not by necessity of Nature, but by voluntary Choice and Assumption, we could not have such familiar and confident recourse to an Angel, or to one of another or different Nature from ours; this made Laban, though otherwise a churlish Man, kind to Jacob; Surely thou art my Bone and my Flesh.
III. Christ must be God and Man, if he be a fit Mediator betwixt God and Man; i.e. he must take our Nature into Union with his Godhead, and that
(1.) That we might mystically be united to God, or draw near to God, and so be raised up into a glorious and happy State; for the Spring or Foundation of our Happiness riseth from the Hypostatical Union of the two Natures in the Person of Christ; we had never been able to have drawn near to God, nor have been united mystically to God, had not there been such an Hypostatical Union of our Nature to the Divine Nature in Christ's Person; for that was the Spring, I say, and Foundation of our Union.
(2.) Moreover Christ must be God-man, because the Covenant of Peace was transacted with Christ, not as God, simply so considered, but as God-man, or as Mediator; and as so he struck Hands with God, Christ-God, (as one observes) could not be under the Law, nor represent Man, and take his Law-place; nor could the Godhead suffer, and pay the price of Blood, nor receive a Mission, and Mandates; Christ simply considered as God, could not be a Messenger, nor be sent, nor as God could there be Promises made to him, nor any Rewards given him, but as Mediator this was done.
(3.) Had Christ not been God-man, how could there been two Parties Covenanting with each other about making of our Peace: For Christ-God, the second Person, could not constitute a Party distinct from God, considered essentially one: I and my Father are one; but a Mediator is not a Mediator of one, but God is one: Therefore the Covenant of Peace was made with Christ as God-man, God in our Nature.
I shall now proceed to show you what a Mediator signifies, and so open the Work of Christ as Mediator.
1. A Mediator properly signifies a Midler, a middle Man, a Reconciler, or a Days Man that lays his Hands upon both, in non-Latin alphabet, one that interposes, to make up the Breach, or Difference that is between disagreeing Parties: Now Jesus Christ is a middle Person, and fit every ways to be a Mediator betwixt God and Man, he is at an equal distance, and equally drawing near to,
and a like related unto both, he being God and Man in one Person, he is a meet and a proper Reconciler of God to Man, and of Man to God. For there is one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus;* and for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Covenant, &c. For as he is God's Son, so also he is our Brother or Kinsman; and so the Right of Redemption falls upon him.
2. A Mediator must have a legal Call to this Office, or be authorized to manage this great Trust, as well as be every ways fitly qualified so to do, and must be allowed to undertake herein by the Injured Party. Now, my Brethren, Christ was Chosen, Called, Authorized, and Anointed by the Father to be Mediator, and willingly, as I have showed you, he accepted of this Work and Office.
He did actually interpose, or step in betwixt God and Man, and acted and executed the Mediator's Office, as a Days-man's part, in this Treaty of Peace, by the Appointment, Call, and Authority of God, God accepteth him for us to make our Peace; I have made my Covenant with my Chosen: He was chosen, Behold mine Elect—Again God saith, I have called thee in Righteousness, and will hold thy Hand, &c. God did with him strike Hands; with us, the Stipulation on our part was made by him. I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the People.
In Christ we were represented by mutual Agreement in those Covenant Transactions with his Father.
3. A Mediator must comply with the just demands of the wronged Party,* and do that which he requires, without which he will never make Peace.
Jesus Christ therefore must be Man, because the shedding of his Blood is absolutely necessary, in order to the making of our Peace the just Right of the offended Sovereign of Heaven and Earth, must be vindicated; and to this End the Son of God took our Nature upon him, that he might offer up, or Sacrifice that Body to the Justice of God, he laid down his Life, as the Father gave him Commandment, for he is our Peace, who hath made both one— And that he might reconcile both unto God, in one Body, by the Cross, having slain the Enmity thereby; and having made Peace by the Blood of his Cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself, &c.
4. A Mediator must be a Person that hath interest in both Parties, and be one whom both Parties may trust, being equally affected unto both, seeking to do all just right to one, and to relieve the offending Party, so far as he is capable to do it.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ hath interest in God, being his own Son, and one and the same God; and being Man he is nearly related unto as, God therefore can trust him as his most Faithful Servant; and God in Mercy and Infinite Love chose him as our Trustee, knowing that he would not, could not fail us; therefore he committed our Interest and Concernments of our Peace to him, we having no other Friend in Heaven nor Earth. And this, Brethren,
was before we had any Being, or were able to dispose of our Interest or Concernments.
5. A Mediator ought to be a Person that is a Well-wisher to Peace, or one that loves Peace, longs after it, there being nothing more acceptable to him than Peace.
Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace; not only a peaceable Prince, but the Prince of Peace, the only Person of Peace, or Peacemaker. Never did any Person give such clear, full, and undeniable Proofs, and Demonstrations of his being a Well-wisher to Peace, or a Lover of Peace, as Jesus Christ hath done. As,
I. Witness how freely he offered himself to the Father, in our behalf, to treat about, and yield to the terms of, and sign this Blessed Covenant of Peace.
II. Witness the Glory he was willing to leave, in order to his actual accomplishment thereof.
III. Witness the long Journey he took from Heaven to Earth, that he might reconcile God and Man.
IV. Witness his great Abasement, and wonderful Condescension for being in the For• of God, he thought it not Robbery to be equal with God: (not equal by a delegated Power from God for in Essence he is Co-equal, Co-essential, and Co-eternal with the Father,) but made himself of no Reputation, and took upon him the Form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful Man his Condescension was free, and voluntary, or unconstrained (unless it was by Love) he suffered
his Glory for a time to be eclipsed, yet he did not lay down the essential Form of God; no, that was impossible; but he assumed the Form of a Servant, by taking our Nature into Union with his Divine Nature, and all this to make our Peace.
V. Witness how desirous he was of Peace, by considering what in that Body he past through from first to last, that he might make Peace.
(1.) Consider his Bloody Agony: Divine Wrath touched his Soul, he sweat great Drops, (or congealed Clots) of Blood, though it was in a cold Night; he prayed, he feared, he cried with strong Crying and Tears, the Pangs of Hell took hold of him; no Man ever felt what he felt in his Soul; he poured forth his Soul to Death, or came under a Spiritual Death, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
(2.) Consider what an Ignominious Death he suffered; to be hanged on a Tree, was a Death which none but Slaves and notorious Malefactors endured, the Lord of Heaven and Earth suffered the Punishment of a vile and cursed Offender; and all this to make our Peace.
(3.) Consider how painful this Death was, my Brethren, it was not only a shameful and ignominious Death, but also a very painful and lingering Death; for from his Scourging by Pilot, to his giving up the Ghost (it is observed) it was six Hours, all which time he was in bitter Torture and Anguish, both in Soul and Body too; he suffered from Heaven, from Earth, and from Hell.
(4.) Consider it was also a cursed Death; He was made a Curse for us, as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a Tree; and all this to make our Peace.
(5.) Consider when this was done, even at such a time when Multitudes were come out of the Countries round about to Jerusalem, to keep the Feast; who, no doubt, had heard of the great Fame of Christ, and of his mighty Miracles, and longed (it is like) to see him; and now for them to behold this Person thus Mocked, Scourged, and Hanged on a Tree as a Miserable Wretch, must needs wound his tender Heart; but all this he bore to make our Peace, which abundantly proves he was inclined to Peace, willing to make our Peace, and appease God's Wrath.
(6.) Consider his most importunate Endeavors to bring poor Sinners to accept of that Peace which he hath made.
1. What Arguments doth he use.
2. How long he doth wait knocking at their Doors.
3. And what Repulses doth he daily meet withal and sustain, and what abominable Affronts doth he suffer from Unbelieving, and Hard-hearted Sinners: O how much is he for Peace!
VI. A Mediator must be of a yielding and condescending Spirit, one that can comply with each Party, not Self-willed, nor seeking his own Honour, &c.
Our Lord Jesus Christ condescended in every thing to do his Father's Will; nevertheless,
Not my Will, but thy Will be done; though he was a Son, yet learned he Obedience by the things that he suffered: He stuck at nothing; I did not withhold my Face from Shame and Spitting. No Mediator ever condescended as Christ did, He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own Glory, but he that seeketh his Glory that sent him, the same is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him: All his whole design in his working about our Redemption and Reconciliation, was to advance his Father's Glory; and he complied to do whatsoever was requisite in order thereto.
VII. A Mediator ought to be clothed with Power, (I mean not only with a legal Authority, for that I have spoken to already) but to be one that hath Ability, Wisdom, and Discretion to make up the Breach that is between Parties at variance; every one is not in a capacity to become a Mediator, were they called to that Office, for want of Ability.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ is mighty in Power; He is mighty to save.
(1.) He is every way capable to accomplish the Work of making Peace and Reconciliation with God: He is the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God. He is called God's Arm, and the Man of his Right Hand. Let thy Hand be upon the Man of thy Right Hand, upon the Son of Man, whom thou madest strong for thy self. Let thy Hand of Justice be upon him, take Satisfaction in him: Beloved, whatever Justice required, the Holiness of God required, the Veracity of God required, or the Law of God required; in order to our Peace, Christ is able
to answer all: I that speak in Righteousness, mighty to Save.
(2.) Moreover, whatsoever our deplorable Condition and Necessities do require, in order to our Peace and Restoration, he is able to answer it fully also.
1. He is able to encounter and overcome Satan; and as he hath done this in his own Person for us, so he also doth it in us; for naturally we were in Satan's Chains, even Captives to the Devil, the strong Man armed held us fast, but Christ being clothed with greater Power, hath delivered us out of Satan's Hands: He was Anointed to set at Liberty those that were bound.
2. He hath overcome Sin, or destroyed that Enemy:* This was part of his Work, i. e. To make an end of Sins, and to make Reconciliation for Iniquity, and to bring in everlasting Righteousness, &c.
That is, to make an end of Sin as to the Guilt, Condemning Power, and Punishment thereof; and at last he will make an end of the very Being of Sin also, in all his People.
3. To overcome the World: In the World ye shall have Tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the World. As he overcame the World in all its Snares, Temptations, Flatteries, and Frowns for us, so through him we shall overcome the World also. We overcome in him, and shall by him, or through his Aid and Assistance at last, and so sit down with him on his Throne.
4. He is able to open blind Eyes: This he was also Anointed to do, even not only to proclaim Liberty for the Captives, But the recovering of Sight to the Blind;* for we by Nature were all born Blind, and none but Christ can give us Sight, or open the Eyes of our Understanding.
5. He hath Power to raise the Dead, The Dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live: You hath he quickened that were dead in Sins and Trespasses: Not one Soul could receive any benefit by his Mediation, unless he had been clothed with power to raise dead Lazarus from the Grave. I mean every elect Sinner dead in Sin.
6. To change our Rebellious Hearts, or bow and bend our stubborn Wills, or to make the Unwilling Will willing, which he doth in the Day of his Power. And so to take away that Enmity that naturally was in our Hearts against God, or remove all our Vicious Habits, or that averseness that was in us to God, and to the things of God, or to Circumcise our Hearts to love the Lord our God, which could not be done by any but by one clothed with a creating Power, for it is he that forms the Image of God again in us.
7. To cloth the naked Soul, by putting on the Robe of his own Righteousness upon it.
8. To raise us up from the Dead at the last Day: I will ransom them from the Power of the Grave, I will redeem them from Death: O Death, I will be thy Plague; O Grave, I will be thy Destruction— Moreover
9. He is able not only to bring us to God, or into the Bonds of his Covenant, but also to keep us in a State of Peace, so that we shall not break Covenant with God any more for ever, so as to lose his, Love and Favor: And as Jesus Christ hath power to do this, so he also in this Covenant of Peace engaged to do it.
He is able, I say, and will do it: Brethren, shall he shed his Blood to make our Peace, and shall he not secure that Peace to us, or not preserve us in a State of Peace? I shall, before I have done, show you that he is not only Mediator, but Surety also of the Covenant of Peace, and he is bound or obliged to perform all these things, for all that are given unto him by the Father, and he will lose not one of them; we are the Preserved in Jesus Christ, as well as Called.
VIII. A Mediator is not only to bring one Party to Terms of Peace, but to reconcile both Parties if possible.
Jesus Christ is not only to reconcile God to Man, but also Man to God. A Mediator is not a Mediator of one, but God is one. God is the offended and injured Party, and Jesus Christ reconciled God by that Satisfaction he made to his Holy Law and Justice, but he hath another Work to do, which is to reconcile the Elect unto God: Some Men intimate, that although God on his part in Christ is reconciled, yet Man is to reconcile himself to God, or make his own Peace as well as he can, and that he is to enter into a Covenant himself with God, and labor to perform these things upon the pain of
Damnation, but this Gospel I understand not; I know no Covenant of Peace but that which Christ made with the Father; and it is his Work as Mediator to bring poor Sinners to accept of the Terms of Peace agreed on in order to their personal and actual Interest in the Blessings of the said Covenant, Christ must change the Sinners Heart by the infusing of his Spirit, and so unite the Soul to himself, by which means he brings the Sinner into the Bonds of the Covenant: The outward means is indeed the Preaching of the Gospel, but the inward and effectual means, is the efficacious Operations of the Holy Spirit; and he that saith it is in the Power of Man's Will to make his Peace, or to lay hold of the Covenant, takes the Work of Christ's Mediation out of his Hand, and the Crown from off his Head.
IX. A Mediator many times meets with great trouble, and Difficulties in undertaking to make Peace; and what trouble hath Jesus Christ met with? And what Sorrow hath he undergone from Devils, from Men, nay, and from Divine Justice, and incensed Wrath, when he put himself in our Law place? What Reproaches and Temptations did attend him? What Tears did he shed? What Anguish did he feel? And what a Bloody Agony did he pass under? And what a Painful und Shameful Death did he Die? And also what Opposition and Resistance, Scorn and Contempt doth he daily still meet with from Sinners? Oh! how averse are Men to accept of Peace and Reconciliation with God by Christ? Some contemn his Blood,
rendering it as an empty and carnal thing, and think to obtain Peace by another Christ; a Christ within, even by the Law or Light in their Hearts: Others by a new Law, or by their Faith and Sincere Obedience.—Moreover, some value the League they have made with Sin, Hell, and Death, and will not nullify that, but esteem that Covenant before and above this Covenant of Peace, made between the Father and Son, and confirmed by Christ's Blood. But I can proceed no further at this time.
Further opening the Work of Christ as Mediator:
Together with the Exercise of his Offices, as King, Priest, Prophet, Surety,
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
THE Doctrine I have raised from these Words, is this, viz.
Doct. That there is a Covenant of Peace, made or agreed upon, and stands firm in behalf of all God's Elect.
I am, my Brethren, upon the Work and Office of Christ, as Mediator of this Covenant of Peace; I have gone through an Induction of Nine Particulars, and shall now proceed:
X. A Mediator ought to be endowed with much Patience and Long-suffering for Peace sake, either from the one or the other Party.
Now, my Brethren, Jesus Christ, the Mediator of Peace in this Covenant, hath showed wonderful Patience, he endured the Anger and Wrath of God; the Father smote him, and hid his Face from him, he spared not his own Son. And he was also despised and rejected of Men, yet bore it all patiently; He was oppressed and afflicted, and yet opened not his Mouth; who when he was reviled, he reviled not again, but committed himself to him that judges righteously.
XI. A Mediator must be undaunted, and very courageous, and not tired nor wearied out.
Jesus Christ, my Brethren, is full of Courage; He shall not fail nor be discouraged, until he hath set Judgment in the Earth.
Though his Work was heavy and amazing which he was to do, yet he fainted not; God the Father having promised to uphold him, I will uphold thee; indeed it was impossible that he should want courage who was the Mighty God, the
Lord that fainteth not, neither is weary, he hath the fullness of the Godhead dwelling Bodily in him, I that speak in Righteousness mighty to save: He never fainted under his Burden so as to cast it off, but faithfully finished the Work his Father gave him to do; It is finished, and he bowed his Head and gave up the Ghost.
XII. A Mediator must be of a mollifying Temper, endeavoring to bring both Parties to terms of Peace, the one not to stand up to the uttermost rigor of Justice further than is absolute requisite, nor the other to remain stubborn and obstinate.
Now Jesus Christ the Mediator of this Covenant of Peace in this infinitely excelled all that ever undertook such an Office.
1. How Mollifying was his Temper towards God? True, he well knew God could not in point of Justice, considering his Infinite Holiness, Rectitude of his Nature, and the Sanction of his Law, abate any thing; no, not one Farthing of the whole Debt, but must have full Satisfaction; yet Christ brought the Majesty of God to accept of his Mediation and Suretiship for us; and O how did God condescend to him herein, who might have vigorously exacted a full Satisfaction from the Sinner himself, and not to have admitted of a Substitute for him! But the Blessed Mediator prevails with God to accept of Payment from his Hands instead of a Personal Satisfaction made by the Sinner; God yields to Jesus Christ, and accepts of Payment or Satisfaction from his Hands; not in our Persons, but in the Person of his Son as Mediator;
for though the Father might make the first Proposal of this to his Son, yet 'tis by Christ's Undertaking that God is pacified, &c. He was made a Curse for us, therefore as by the Offence of one Judgment came upon all Men to Condemnation, so by the Righteousness of one, the Free-gift came upon all Men unto Justification of Life. For as by one Man's Disobedience many were made Sinners; so by the Obedience of one shall many be made Righteous. As Adam brought us into Debt, and made us obnoxious to Divine Wrath, so Jesus Christ hath paid our Debts by his active Obedience to God's Law, and by bearing that Wrath on his Soul and Body which our Sins had brought upon us;* For the Transgressions of my People was be stricken.
2. See how the Mediator prevails with God, for instead of God's demanding an inherent Righteousness, a Righteousness wrought out in our Persons; he accepts of an Imputed Righteousness wrought out in the Person of his own Son in our Nature as Mediator, Who of God is made unto us, Wisdom and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption—In the Lord, shall one say, have I Righteousness and Strength.
And then on the other side.
(1.) Christ is of a mollifying Temper towards Man, for he brings Man that he might partake of the Blessings of Peace, to forego or give up all his own Righteousness as good for nothing; nay, to account it as Dung in point of Justification at God's Bar, or when it is compared to the Righteousness of God in
Christ, and instead of seeking Justification by our own Righteousness, or by our Faith and sincere Obedience, utterly to renounce it, and to submit to the Righteousness of God, That we may be Justified freely by his Grace, through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
(2.) Not to work to be Justified, not to repent or love God to be Justified, But to work not, but believe in him that Justifies the ungodly.
(3.) Not to work for Life, but from Life, i. e. from a Principle of Life wrought in the Soul, not to change one Work or Act of the Creature in Justification to another Work or Act of the Creature; I mean not to renounce all Works of the Law in point of Justification, and to include Gospel-works, or Faith and Obedience as part of our Justifying Righteousness before God; no, no, but to exclude all manner of Works, Faith and Obedience whatsoever, and to rest upon Christ alone, or on his Righteousness exclusive of all the Creature doth, or can do.
(4.) And though the Soul sees he is already Justified, and accepted in the Beloved, and for ever delivered from Wrath and Condemnation; yet to live a Holy Life and renounce all Sin and Iniquity from a Principle of Faith; and because Sin is so hateful unto God, and so abominable in his Sight, and because Christ is his Lord, therefore to do all things whatsoever he commandeth him, and all this in Love to Christ, not to seek his Acceptance and Justification by the Worth of his Faith and Obedience, but in
Christ, and to account himself an unprofitable Servant, when he hath done all that Christ hath commanded him.
(5.) Christ never leaves his Elect, until he hath brought them to these Terms.
XIII. A Mediator whose Mediation is rejected, after long Patience, leaves the Offended and Obstinate Person to the Severity of that Law he hath broke, and under the Sentence thereof.
So, my Brethren, will the Lord Jesus Christ, after long Patience, and Forbearance, leave all Obstinate, Rebellious, and Unbelieving Sinners, to the Severity of the Law of God which they have broken, and to the Wrath and Vengeance of God; He that believeth not, is Condemned already. All are condemned in the first Adam, and their Condemnation will be aggravated upon them, because they reject the Offers of Peace, or the Mediation of Jesus Christ, and believe not in him; and indeed all Men would do this, was not Infinite Love showed, and Power put forth towards some according to God's Eternal Purpose in Election.
XIV. A Mediator leaves no liberty of an Appeal after he hath passed the definitive Sentence. Moreover, it is some times left to him also to pass that Sentence.
So, my Brethren, the Lord Christ at the last Day will leave no room for any Sinner to appeal to any other Court or Person, there will be no relief; for God the Father hath committed all Judgment to the Son; he will therefore pass the definitive Sentence against all Mankind
in the Day of Judgment; For the Father Judges no Man, but hath committed all Judgment to the Son: All Judgment in the Administration of the Mediatory Kingdom, is given to Jesus Christ, and in and by the Son will God Judge the World: Because he hath appointed a Day in the which he will Judge the World in Righteousness, by that Man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all Men in that he hath raised him from the Dead. The Mediator of this Peace shall Judge all Men, he shall execute Judgment, because he is the Son of Man; and this God will do, That all Men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father: Which shows, that the same Honour and Divine Worship is due to Christ, that is due to God the Father, he being the very same Eternal God. So much at present as to Christ's Work, as Mediator of this Covenant of Peace. And now let me apply this, before I proceed to the next thing, which is the Suretiship of Christ.
1. We infer from hence, that Sin is exceeding sinful: O what Evil is there in Sin! That nothing can atone for it, nor make our Peace, but the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ the Mediator.
It is not his bare Pleading, but it must be done by his bleeding or dying for us, or in our stead: And O how great was that Breach, which nothing could make up, but such a Bloody Sacrifice!
2. We also infer from hence, that God's Love to us in Christ is an amazing and wonderful Love, our Peace shall be made, though it cost God the Blood of his own dear and beloved Son; God so loved the World, How was that? Who can conceive of the greatness of it? Even so as he gave his only begotten Son to die for us, even for his Enemies: God commended his Love towards us in that, while we were yet Sinners Christ died for us; for when we were Enemies we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son: Not that God was only reconcilable, but by that Sacrifice God was reconciled; our Faith doth not reconcile God to us, but we thereby receive the Atonement, or the Blessing of Peace and Reconciliation.
3. We infer likewise from hence, that the Love of Jesus Christ was wonderful, and his Condescension exceeding great: What, did God take our Nature into Union with himself? What, is the Lord of Heaven and Earth Born of a Woman? The Ancient of Days became a Child of a Day old? He that was in the Form of God, found in the Form of a Servant; Shall God purchase his Church with his own Blood? This is amazing to think upon.
4. We infer from hence also, how wonderfully God hath hereby exalted and magnified Man: Christ is a Man, truly Man, though God as well as Man; he that is God, is a Man: Forasmuch as the Children are made Partakers of Flesh and Blood, he also himself took part of the same; and by this means we are nearly related to God, he is our Kinsman, the nearest of Kin
had under the Law the Right of Redemption, to raise up Seed to the Dead: Christ is our Kinsman, our Brother, and by this means the Inheritance (even God) and all he hath) is settled on the whole Heavenly Family, or on all his Seed, or Elect: What can exalt Man more than this? O what greater Honour could be conferred on our Nature then, for the Son of God to assume it into Personal Union with the Godhead!
(1.) Hereby we are made near to God, even nearer than the Holy Angels; Verily he took not on him the Nature of Angels, but the Seed of Abraham. Angels are not the Spouse of Christ; they are not Bone of his Bone, and Flesh of his Flesh, but Christ is flesh of our Flesh and Bone of our Bone; and hereby also we have a nearer Union with God than Adam had in Innocence; nay, as I said, nearer than the Angels have; for Believers are Christ's Mystical Body, Christ is the Head of the Church; For both he that Sanctifieth, and they who are Sanctified, are all of one; for which Cause he is not ashamed to call them Brethren.
(2.) Our Nature hereby (as one observes) is the Storehouse or Treasury of all that good which God intends to dispense to Men and Angels. Moreover, Angels and Men Worship God in our Nature, that is, Jesus Christ, God-man: And how astonishing is this?
(3) Moreover, God in our Nature shall be the Judge of Men and Angels; the Man Christ is God's Equal, God's Fellow. And,
(4.) What Dignity and Honor is it then to be espoused to such a Prince?
(5.) This speaks great comfort to Believers; Christ who is Mediator, is near unto God, and as near unto us, the Father hath Called, Chosen, Anointed and Accepted of him in our behalf; he can sympathize with us, he knows our Infirmities, and he hath always God's Ear, and God's Heart, and represents us, and our Cause to the Father.
Exhortation. Sinners, Will not you accept of Peace?
1. Shall such a Mediator make your Peace; nay, die to make your Peace with God, and shall any refuse to accept of that Peace which he hath made.
2. The Terms are not hard but easy; it is to believe in him, to trust in him, to believe he hath made your Peace, or that God in him is reconciled; 'tis to sue out your Pardon through Faith in his Blood.
Take a few Motives to stir you up thus to do.
1. Consider that you cannot have Peace with God any other ways,* There is no other Name given under Heaven whereby you can be saved.
2. That whosoever cometh to him, receives him, believeth in him, resteth upon him, shall not Perish, but have Everlasting Life.
3. Consider how able he is to save; He is able to save all that come to God by him, and to save them to the uttermost, though they are never
such great Sinners, abominable Sinners, propane Sinners.
4. Consider the Necessity of the Application of his Blood, or of that Atonement which he hath made; He that Believeth not, shall be Damned, if ye believe not that I am he; that is, (that I am the only Messiah, the only Mediator, the only Savior, and that I am able to save you) Ye shall die in your Sins.
5. Consider the woeful Condition of such that reject Jesus Christ, or lay not hold on his Strength, or that slight his Mediation, or that think to find Peace some other way; some think to have Peace by the Law, by the Moral Law, either as it is written in the two Tables, or as it is written in the Hearts of all Men, or by the Light of their own Natural Conscience, others by a new Law, turning the Gospel into a Law, and so bring in (and seek to establish) their own Righteousness.
Alas, If there had been a Law (as Paul shows) that could have given Life, then Christ is dead in vain. These cast great Contempt upon the Mediation of Jesus Christ; nay, strive to frustrate the grand Design of God, in contriving our Salvation by his Son Jesus Christ, which was to magnify his own Free Grace alone, and to abase the Creature, that no Man might boast, or glory in himself, but that all might be ashamed, and confounded for ever.
Question. What Offices doth Jesus Christ exercise as he is Mediator.
1 Answ. I answer: Divines generally assert, That he exercises a threefold Office, and this
every one ought to know, and also the Work of Christ in respect had unto each Office, or what peculiarly relates to his Priestly Office, and what to his Kingly Office, and what to his Prophetical Office, &c. A little to each of these.
1. He is a Priest, and as a Priest he is the Propitiation for our Sins; he hath satisfied Justice by a condign Price, the Price of the Blood of him who is God, he paid our Debts to the last Farthing; as a Priest he laid down the atoning Sacrifice, and thereby quenched the Flames of God's Divine Wrath and Vengeance, which other ways would have fed on us to an endless Eternity.
2. And as a Priest he intercedes now in Heaven, that all those for whom he died may be called, and have the Merits of his Blood applied to their Souls; and that all that are called, and do believe, may have all that Grace which they need bestowed upon them, to help them to resist Temptations, and to be supported under all Trials and Afflictions, and be enabled to perform all Holy Duties, and have all their Sins pardoned. If any Man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; he presents his Righteousness, the Deserts, Merits, and Satisfaction of his Blood, for Remission of all their Sins, neither can Sin be charged at any time upon any Believer, as to that Vindictive Wrath which is due to it, because he pleads the Satisfaction of his own Blood as their full Discharge from the Guilt and Punishment thereof for ever; for otherwise
Justified Persons might again come under Condemnation, which they cannot; For there is now no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, &c. And thus was Christ a Priest; i. e. On Earth he eminently Sacrificed and Offered up himself to God; How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without Spot to God, purge your Consciences from dead Works, to serve the Living God.
And in Heaven also he eminently intercedes for us, Seeing he ever lives to make Intercession for them; and that his Atonement might be efficacious to us, He now appears in the Presence of God for us; therefore it is said, That We are come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the Blood of sprinkling, that speaketh bitter things than the Blood of Abel. Come to Jesus, &c. that is, to a clearer knowledge of his Work and Office: Sirs, all Christ's Satisfaction and Priesthood would be ineffectual for our good, if he did not continue in the exercise of it in Heaven by his Intercession; for it is by virtue of his Intercession that all his Merits are applied to us; for if when we were Enemies we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, or God was reconciled to us, (for it is that, which the Holy Ghost intends;) much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his Life; the design of this Office therefore was to make our Peace, or our Reconciliation to God by a Price paid, and to apply that Atonement that it might be effectual, and continued unto us for ever: Christ doth not reconcile God to us as a King, but as a Priest, and it is not done by what
he works in us, but by what he hath done for us.
II. As Christ is a Priest, so also he is a King: He is, I say, invested with Kingly Authority, as he is Mediator; Yet have I set my King upon my Holy Hill of Sion. His Kingdom (as one observes) is not Regnum natural, which he hath as God, co-essential with the Father, but Regnum Oeconomicum, which he hath by Donation and unction from his Father, it is given to him as Mediator. Moreover, his Power as King is very great, He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the only Potentate.
1. King over Sin, which as a Tyrant hath long Reigned.
2. King over Devils, and all the Powers of Darkness.
3. King over Death, that King of Terrors; the Keys of Hell and Death are given to him.
4. King of Saints, (he being the Universal Head of the Church) and King of Nations.
5. Nay, he hath Kingly Power and Headship over the Holy Angels; He is the Head of Principalities and Powers; yea, his Power is over all Creatures, God hath put all things under his Feet.
His Kingship and Authority is therefore Universal, All Power is given to me in Heaven and Earth.
And hence, There is nothing which he (as Mediator God-man) cannot do.
Now the Work of Christ as King.
1. Is to subdue all our Enemies for us, which indeed he hath effectually already done, Sin, the World, Devils, and Death, being all brought under his Feet.
2. To give us Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances; for as he is Mediator, he is our Law-giver, but he doth not give us Laws that by our Obedience to them our Peace should be made, and we be Justified: In this Sense Christ is no Law-giver; no, to make our Peace that appertains partly to his Priestly Office, (as I have showed you before) and partly to his Suretiship, for so he paid both our Debt of perfect Obedience, and our Penal Debt also, and merited all Grace and Glory for us; for though Christ is a Priest, yet he is more than a Priest, viz, a Surety also) but he gives us Laws as we are his Free-born Subjects, whom he Redeemed by his Blood, that we might know how to Honour, and Live under him that died for us and rose again.
3. His Work as King is to govern his Church, and every Member thereof; moreover, his Laws in the New Testament do contain, all those Rules for the Constitution of a Gospel-Church, and also all the Rules of the Government and Discipline thereof.
4. Christ's Work and Office as King is to subdue all the Elect unto himself; I mean, to work Grace in them, and to change their Hearts, and vanquish the Power of Sin, and Satan, for this is, and must be done by that Almighty Power which he exerts by his Spirit in their Souls, and so takes possession of them as King and Supreme
Ruler, whom as a Priest he purchased by his Blood; and all this as he is Mediator of this Covenant of Peace, That Christ may dwell in our Hearts by Faith, or sway the Scepter there.
5. Moreover, Christ as King, will exercise his Kingly Office, in taking to him his great Authority and Regal Power, and Reign over all the Earth: For his Right is, Ask of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thy Inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy Possession: Thou shalt break them in pieces like a Potters Vessel— The Kingdoms of this World, are become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall Reign for ever and ever: And of the increase of his Government, there shall be no end upon the Throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Justice and with Judgment, from henceforth and for ever.
All the Kingdoms under the whole Heavens, shall be given unto him, And he shall possess the Gates of his Enemies—This will be made good more fully and visibly upon the going off of the Fourth-Monarchy, and upon the passing away of the second Woe, or Mahomet Power, and downfall of the Beast, and Mystery Babylon, which is now at the very Door, when Christ will save his Church from all her Enemies.
III. Christ as Mediator is a Prophet; A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your Brethren like unto me: He as Prophet, is the Minister of the New Covenant, or the chief and great Ambassador of Peace, the chief Shepherd of the Sheep, and Bishop of our Souls.
His Work as a Prophet.
1. Is to reveal the Will, Purpose, Counsel, and Design of God unto his Chosen; and this he did in the Days of his Flesh in his own, and in his Apostles Ministration revealing, That Mystery that was hid from Ages and Generations —He was indeed a Teacher that came from God, as Nichodemus saith, My Doctrine (saith he) is not mine, but the Father's that sent me; For I have not spoken of my self, but the Father which sent me gave me Commandment what I should say, and what I should speak; denoting that he received his Mission, his Doctrine, and his Authority to Preach from the Father as he is Mediator.
As a Prophet he gives the knowledge of Salvation to his People, for without his Divine Revelation, Mankind could not arrive to the knowledge of it; for the Light that is in Man naturally reveals nothing of the Mystery of Redemption, of the Covenant of Peace, and Mediation of Jesus Christ.
2. Nor can any savingly know this, but as Christ reveals it by his Spirit, as the great Prophet and Teacher of the Church; No Man knows the Son but the Father, neither knows any Man the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. No Man knows the Essence of the Father, or hath a perfect knowledge of the Godhead; nor do they know the Councils, Purposes, and Dispensations of the Father of his saving of Men by Jesus Christ, except Jesus Christ reveals these Mysteries to them; all true and saving knowledge of God,
is in and through Christ as a Prophet.
But as Christ doth not Atone for our Sins as a King, but as a Priest, so he doth not give forth Laws, &c. as a Priest, but as a King; nor doth he teach, instruct, or reveal God, and Salvation to us simply as a Priest or King, but as a Prophet; besides there are some things about the Covenant of Peace, which he doth not simply as a King, Priest, nor Prophet, but as simply considered a Mediator, Surety, and Testator, &c.
I would therefore desire Mr. Sam. Clark, for all his Confidence, to consider of his great mistake in his late Treaty, doth it follow (should it be granted) because Christ's Active Obedience doth not properly belong neither to his Kingly, his Priestly, nor to his Prophetical Office, that therefore his Active Obedience to God's Law, or Active Righteousness is no part of the matter of our Justification before God, for may not some things be done by Christ, as Mediator, or as Surety, or Testator, that doth not properly relate to either of his other three Offices; for evident it is, that the whole of Christ's Work in this Covenant of Peace, doth not strictly belong to these threefold Offices; therefore the Scripture gives an account of other Offices besides these, which he exercises.
But I will proceed a little further to open the Offices of Christ in the Covenant of Peace: And,
I. Of the Necessity of his exercising of these Offices as Mediator.
1. Of his Priestly Office, it was absolutely necessary that he should be a Priest, and that in our Nature, because he was to answer the Types under the Law, the Priests of the Law that were ceremonially Sanctified, and were to Sanctify others, were of the same Nature with the People.
And since they offered Sacrifices up to God, it also behoved him to offer up the Antitypical, Real, and Wrath-appeasing Sacrifice And
2. Forasmuch that we were Slaves and Captives of Sin, and Satan, being in Chains and Fetters by such Enemies that none could redeem us out of their Hands, but one clothed with Almighty and Infinite Power.
It behoved Jesus Christ to be a King, who is invested with God-like Power and Authority, upon this Account.
And since it was the Father's good Pleasure to exalt and magnify him with the sole Government of the World, and of the Church, it was necessary he should be Constituted, and Invested with Kingly Authority likewise.
3. And since we were ignorant of God, and under deep alienation from God, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the Life of God, through the ignorance in them, because of the blindness of their Hearts: It behoved Jesus Christ to be a Prophet; yea, such a Prophet that can not only teach the Knowing, and Understanding Heart, but can give Knowledge to the Heart which is without Understanding; and seeing we were blind and ignorant
of the way of Salvation, it behoved him that was to make our Peace, to bring us to the knowledge of that Peace and Reconciliation he hath made.
Moreover, we were dead, therefore he must quicken us; we were Enemies, therefore he must reconcile us to God, as well as God to us, we were Impotent, and could not come to the Father, therefore he, as a Kingly-Prophet, must draw us; the Father draws us by Jesus Christ to himself; also we were in Debt, and Divine Justice will be satisfied, and will not abate us one Farthing, therefore Christ must be our Surety to engage, and also actually pay all our Debts, in respect of the Preceptory and Penal parts thereof; for we owed Perfect Obedience unto God, as well as Punishment.
Also he was to confirm the Covenant of Peace by his Blood, and make his Last Will and Testament, and bequeath many Legacies to all the Legatees; therefore it was necessary that he should be a Testator; yea, the Testator of the New Testament, or Covenant.—Furthermore, we were Sick, therefore it behoved him to be appointed our Physician, we were as Sheep gone astray, therefore he is our Shepherd.
II. As to the End and Excellencies of Christ's Offices, I have lately opened them in a late Treatise upon Jacob's Ladder, to which I shall direct you; but know this, the whole design and purport of all his Offices are, that he might effectually be empowered with all things necessary, in respect had to the Glory and Honour
of God, and for our good, and to give us interest in all the Blessings of the Covenant of Peace.
Objection. 'Tis objected, That Christ did not suffer for Sinners as a common Person, Head, and Representative of all the Elect, or their Surety, but did all merely as a Mediator, or as one endeavoring to compose the Difference betwixt God and Sinners.
1 I answer, Sad it is to see how in these Perilous Days Men are degenerated from the Apostolic Doctrine in this most important case, and oppose all our Author’s Protestant Writers. They deny Christ to be a Common Person, Head, Representative, and Surety, &c. but that he, as Mediator, hath by his Death merited a new and mild Law of Grace, i. e. of Faith and Sincere Obedience, and hath made a Compensation to the Justice of God, and Law of Works, and so removed the Law of perfect Obedience, or abolished it for ever. So that now God deals with us not according to the strict Law of perfect Obedience, but according to this New Law, i. e. on easier Conditions, viz. such that believe and sincerely obey, shall be Justified even so far as they do Obey, and are Sanctified. Not that Christ's Obedience to the Law, or that his Active and Passive Obedience imputed to us, and our trusting in him according to the Free Promise of God, is the immediate and sole cause of Pardon, by virtue of Christ's Satisfaction; but that though Christ hath made God a means for Legal Righteousness, having satisfied that Law, and took it away; yet our
Obedience to this New Law according to these Men, is our Evangelical Righteousness, whereby we fulfil the Gospel, and that our Obedience is the Condition of our Justification before God: Thus Mr. Baxter, Mr. Williams, Mr. Clark of Wickham, and many others.
And thus is Popery revived amongst us, and Justification by Works asserted by these Law and Work-mongers, for I cannot call them Gospel-Ministers; true, they affirm that Christ died for our good, but not in our stead; the Doctrine we maintain, is, that he died for our good; But how for our good? Even so, that he suffered as our Head and Representative in our stead or room, the Just for the unjust, or the Surety for the Principal, or for the Sinner; and this according to the Terms agreed upon in the Covenant of Peace, (and not simply for our good any otherwise) God being in his own Nature Just, as well as Gracious, could not without Wrong, or Injury to his Justice, Holiness, and the Sanction of his Law Acquit, Justify, and Pardon any Sinner, without a full Satisfaction to both Law, and Justice, and this must either be done by us, or by our Surety for us.
2. We affirm, that the Law of Perfect Obedience results from the Holiness, Purity, and Rectitude of God's Nature; and therefore it stands as a perpetual Law, and can never be abolished as a Rule of Life, tho it be taken away as it required perfect Obedience of us, or as a Law of Works to be fulfilled and satisfied for in our own Persons in point of Justification.
Do we then make void the Law through Faith? God forbid? Yea, we establish the Law; because by Christ we attain a perfect Righteousness, being interested in his most compleat and perfect Obedience to the Moral Law, and by his Spirit to live in more exact Conformity thereunto: My Brethren, Is it not our Duty still, and as much as ever it was, To love the Lord our God with all our Hearts, with all our Souls, and with all our Strength, and our Neighbour as our selves; not only sincerely, but perfectly; nay, to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect: Tho we are not able to do this, yet the Moral Law still remains, and requires us thus to do; true, we shall not be Damned for want of this perfect Obedienc, because Christ hath in our Nature, and stead, kept the Law perfectly for us; and so he is the end of the Law in respect of Righteousness to all that believe.
Christ did not come to engage, or undertake as a Mediator, that we should perfectly in our own Persons, keep the Moral Law, and so be Justified in God's Sight; nor did he come to undertake that we should sincerely keep any other Law to that end; much less, leave us to the exercise of our Natural, or Spiritual Abilities, to keep such a Law, as the Condition of our Justification, and Acceptation with God; but he came to procure for us such a Righteousness by his own Obedience and Suffering, that the Holiness, Justice, and Law of God doth require of us if we are Justified with God, for what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the Flesh, God sent forth his Son, &c. Tis
a hard case, my Brethren, that these degenerate Presbyterians, or any pretending to be Gospel-Preachers, should deny Christ to be a Common Head and Surety for the Elect; for he that dies in the stead and room of others, is by the consent of the Law-giver substituted in their Law place, and so takes upon him the Capacity of a Surety, Representative, or common Person, undertaking to do, and suffer what others should, but these Men deny this Relation or Capacity of Christ as a Surety, in this Sense, and therefore deny he obeyed and died in our stead. And from hence it follows also that Christ did not do that for us, which our own Perfect Obedience did do, whilst Man stood, and would have done, had he not sinned, i. e. Justified him, or have given him a Title to Life.
3. Moreover, if Christ was not put in our Law place, as our Representative and Surety, Why was he made of a Woman, and made under the Law? Was it not that the Law might reach him?
(1.) As to its commanding Power as our Surety, to pay the Debt of Perfect Obedience thereunto.
(2.) And as a Sinner, in a Law Sense, to die, or be made Sin for us, (that is by Imputation;) for had not he been under the Law, the Law could not have reached him in either sense, i. e. either to do or suffer, and had not he took our Law place upon him, we could not have been the better; for what could his taking our Nature on him have profited us, had he not been substituted in our room? But as we were obliged by the Law, Justice, and Holiness
of God, to keep the Law perfectly, so he was made under the Law to keep it for us, and as we were sinful Men, and liable to the Just Sentence of the Law for our Violation of it, so he was made under the Law, and as our Representative and Surety, to die and to satisfie Divine Justice for our Transgressions that were against it.
He was made under the Law, i. e. under the Preceptory part of it, to fulfil and establish that; he satisfied for that part of the Law. He was under the Law, as being liable to the Punishment, or Penalty of the Law, that he might answer and fulfil that, and for ever deliver us from the Punishment thereof, and all this as our Surety standing in our Law place.
Reproof. This may tend severely to reprehend those new and erroneous Notions that so prevail amongst us, concerning Christ's Work and Office as Mediator; we say, and prove that by Christ's Active and Perfect Obedience to the Law, we are justified and delivered from Wrath and Condemnation, or that by Christ's Righteousness imputed, Believers are perfectly Justified, and freed from the Curse of the Law, and are certainly entitled to Eternal Life.
1. But our new Work-mongers assert, That our Justification or Right to Life, depends wholly upon our Obedience (to the Gospel as a Law) as the Condition to which it is promised: Therefore (as one observes) it puts us into a Condition of Life imperfect, and subject to change, as Obedience it
self is, and that we are not perfectly Justified till our Obedience is perfected: Thus Mr. Clark of High-Wickham, and others. Take Mr. Clark's Words, viz. Our Justification at present, while we are in this World, is but Partial, Imperfect, and Incomplete.
Ans. Now, say I, this confounds Justification, with Sanctification; and as I have told him, then it also follows that Believers are partly justified, and partly condemned, i. e. we are not acquitted from the guilt of all Sin, whilst in this World, and so Christ's Dove is not undefiled: Lord, what an Age do we live in!
2. We say, that we are made Partakers of Christ's Righteousness, and the Benefits of it, by our Union with him through the Spirit, by which means Faith is wrought in us, by which we apprehend him; and we say, that Faith is an Instrument whereby we receive him, Faith only Justifying us objectively, i. e. It is not Faith, but Jesus Christ that Faith takes hold of, that doth Justify us in the Sight of God.
But they say, That Faith in its whole Latitude, is our believing and obeying the Gospel; that is, Faith and all the Fruits thereof, or Faith and Obedience, (or, if you please, Faith and Gospel-Works:) For Mr. Clark says,
That Justification by Works, springing from Faith, is Justification by Faith, in this Sense.
Again, they say, That we are made Partakers of the Benefits of Christ, he having purchased this Grant or Law, i. e. That they that do obey him to the end, shall be saved; that is, Our Obedience doth both Justify us and Save us.
Answ. The Vanity of which, and how erroneous it is, we have showed some time since.
3. They say, Christ hath merited a New Law, or easier Terms and Conditions, that our Faith, Obedience, and Good Works may Justify, and Save us; but what saith Paul, All boasting is excluded; not legal boasting only, but all boasting, and cause of boasting, but by their New Law boasting is let in. Moreover, he says, If it be of Grace, it is not of Works; and if it be of Works, it is not of Grace; or else Grace is no more Grace, and Works no more Works. Brethren, Works cannot mix with Free Grace; they are directly contrary to each other in their Nature; besides, these Men forget that we are Justified alone by the Obedience and Righteousness of one,* (even as we were made Sinners by the Disobedience of one) and that is by the Righteousness of Christ imputed to us; for it was by the Disobedience of Adam, as imputed to us, that we became Sinners.
In a word, Christ hath wrought out a Righteousness for us, which is put upon us, or accounted, or imputed to us, and not that Christ merited a Law, that a Justifying Righteousness might be wrought out in us, or by us, in conforming to that New Law; Who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption: Not only that his Righteousness, is the Meritorious Cause of our Justification, as Mr. Clark affirms, p. 104. but the Material Cause thereof, or that by which we are Justified, no other Righteousness
but his which is perfect, being pleadable at God's Bar.
4. We say, That Justification of a Sinner, is the acceptance of his Person, or the pronouncing him Just and Righteous in God's Sight, through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ, whereby he hath a full Right and Title to Eternal Life.
They say, That Justification is nothing else but the pardon of Sin, i. e. the not executing the Punishment of Sin due by the Law of Works, and an acceptance of a Man so long as he performeth the New Condition of Sincere Obedience.
For the Lord's sake, and for your Souls sake, beware of those Men, and their new and strange Doctrine; for it appears, Salvation must be a Debt, and not wholly of Grace, if what they say were true; because it is granted upon our fulfilling of the Conditions required, which are indeed not light, but weighty and difficult Conditions, as Faith, Regeneration, and Perseverance, even Mr. Dan. William's Baptismal Covenant, which all they who do not fulfil it, he says, shall be damned; the Violating of that Covenant, being, as he affirms, the Damning Sin: And this so far as I can see, is that which is their Covenant of Grace; not that Christ engaged for us to the Father, to do all for us, and in us in the Covenant of Redemption, even to reconcile God to us, and us to God; no, but that that was a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace, which was to make way for us to enter into a Conditional Covenant of Grace, i. e. of Faith, Good Works, or Gospel-Obedience.
Which Error and Mistake, I purpose, God willing, to refute before I leave my Text, and prove the Covenant of Peace is but one entire Covenant with that of Redemption.
Comfort and Consolation, if, my Brethren, it is as you have heard that Jesus Christ, as a Mediator, is equally interested in both Parties, then what Comfort is here for Believers.
1. We have no ground to suspect him of partiality; he will not fail us, because he is so dearly and nearly related to us; and also considering what he hath done and suffered for us: And for their sakes I sanctify my self, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth.
2. Consider his Ability, not only to reconcile us to God, but to continue us in that reconciled State, we may depend upon his Power; For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that Day.
3. Considering his Love, and Faithfulness towards us, in the Exercise of his Work and Office; Faithful is he that calleth you, and also he will do it.
4. With what boldness also may we come to God by him? Seeing we have such a great High-Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God.
Having therefore, Brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus.
This, I say, may encourage us to make our humble Supplications to God with boldness, since we have such a Mediator between God and us, the Man Christ Jesus.
Wherein the Suretiship of Christ is opened.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant made, or agreed on, and stands firm in the behalf of all God's Elect.
I am, my Brethren, a speaking concerning those Transactions betwixt God the Father, and God the Son, before the World began, about the bringing in, and establishing of the Covenant of our Peace; in which Transactions I have shewed you the Son of God was chosen Mediator, considered as God-man, and as to that Office of his, we have spoken distinctly; but as he is Mediator, so you have heard he is Surety of the Covenant of Peace, and so more than a meer, or simple Mediator.
And since the Covenant of Peace so much depends upon the Suretiship of Christ; I shall here,
I. Shew what Surety doth import, or open this Relation.
II. Shew why Christ came under this Relation.
III. Shew what Christ was to do, and we were to receive as Christ's our Surety.
IV. Shew how his Suretiship differs from Suretiship among Men.
V. Apply it.
1. A Surety is one that undertakes for others, wherein they are defective, really, or in Reputation, in Latin, Sponsor fide jussor; a Surety is one that engages to make Satisfaction for one, or more, or engages for others: Thus Ruben became Surety to his Father Jacob, Gen. 43.9. to bring Benjamin again; and Paul for Onesimus, Philem. 18, 19. If he hath wronged thee, or owes thee ought, put that on mine Account; I Paul have written it with my own Hand, I will pay it: In this Sense we take Christ to be a Surety.
(1.) It signifies likewise to give a Pledge, Isa. 36.8. 2 Kings 18.23.3.
(2.) Also to strike Hands, Prov. 22.26.
Thus Christ is our Surety, i. e. he struck Hands with God for us in this Covenant.
I say, a Surety is one that undertakes for one or more Persons whose Credit is gone, or is not good; one not to be Trusted, or whose Faithfulness, or Ability is suspected.
Now, my Brethren, when Man had broken the Law of the first Covenant, his Credit was gone or lost for ever; God would not enter into Covenant any more with him without a Surety, he knowing that Man's Inability and
Unfaithfulness in his Fallen Estate; therefore was graciously pleased to provide for us, or in our behalf, a Sponsor, or Surety; By so much was Jesus made a Surety of a better Covenant: As Christ engaged to God for us, to satisfy for our Sins, and to bring us into a State of Grace, and Peace with God, and preserve us in that State to the end, and to give Security to the Covenant of Peace, which he is a Surety of, he is call'd a Surety: And as he gives all good things, and Divine Blessings to us, he is called a Testator; for a Testator denotes one dying, making his Last Will and Testament firm, and bequeathing Legacies to his Friends; some I know would not have Christ be a Surety of that Covenant that was made betwixt God the Father and himself, (which they call the Covenant of Redemption) but of the Covenant of Grace made with us, but I know no ground for such a distinction (as I shall hereafter prove;) my Brethren, evident it is, that had not our Mediator engaged in this Covenant of Peace and Redemption for us, there had been no Covenant nor Peace for us at all, because all dependeth on Christ's Suretiship, or on Christ's Obligation to the Father for us; nor did God ever manifest more rich Grace to us, than he did in providing of such a Surety for Man. And hence God saith (speaking of the Covenant of Grace;) My Mercy will I keep for him for ever, and my Covenant shall stand fast with him: I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the People; one able to perform and do all his Pleasure, one
that he can trust, who neither wants Ability nor Faithfulness.
3. A Surety commonly engages for one Party, even for him whose Credit is suspected, or who being poor, the Creditor will not, nor cannot Trust him; the Lord Jesus is only a Surety for us unto God, not for God to us, for God had no need for any to engage, or be a Surety for him, he never failed any of his Creatures, he broke not his Covenant with Man, but Man with him; Because they continued not in my Covenant, I regarded them not, saith the Lord. Therefore God will not Treat, nor Trade with Man any more without such a Mediator, and Surety as Christ is; therefore I am not of his Opinion that saith,
That the Suretiship of Christ was, that Sinners might be induced to give God Credit, and that he might have a Responsal Party to deal with;
for this is to cast Contempt upon the Holy, and Faithful God, as if he is not to be Trusted in, without he gives us good Security, that he will not fail, nor deceive us.
4. The end of Suretiship among Men, is to give Stability and Security in case of Bonds or Covenants, &c. that such Bonds or Covenants may be firm and sure; and to this end did Christ become the Surety of this Covenant of Peace, Grace, and Redemption. My Brethren, this Covenant depends upon the Suretiship of Jesus Christ, upon whose Undertakings and Security God Promised and Covenanted with him, to be our God again, and to give to us all that good which was in his Heart, to
bestow upon his Elect from everlasting.
There being such things requisite to be done in order hereunto, which God well knew we were not able to perform, i. e. the Satisfaction of his Justice, or Payment of all our Debts, and Victory over all our Enemies, and that this Covenant might not be broken, as the first was. My Covenant shall stand fast in him.
5. Suretiship imports, that the Obligation be free and voluntary, for the Law forces none to be a Surety, or to engage for others.
My Brethren, tho God chose Jesus Christ to be the Surety of this Covenant for us, yet Christ as a most free and voluntary act on his part, undertook that Office, for that Law we had broke, laid no Obligation on him, nor was he under any necessity of Nature to undertake herein, because he was the Son of God, but it is ascribed wholly to his Infinite Love and Goodness, and as a Sovereign Act of his own Free Grace, to undertake for Man, and not for Angels, and also only for some of the lost Sons of Adam, and not for all: No Man taketh my Life from me, but I lay it down freely; I have power to lay it dnwn, and I have power to take it up again. Lo, I come in the Volume of the Book, it is written of me to do thy Will, O God.
6. Suretiship imports not only a voluntary Obligation for others, or for another: but also Union of Parties, or Assumption of the Condition of that Person or Debtor: In a Law sence it denotes a Federal, or Law Union, the Surety and the Debtor are but one
Party; yet not so, but that it is the Surety that pays; it is his Money, and not the Debtors.
My Brethren, Christ, by vertue of his Suretiship, did not only take our Sins upon him, but our Nature, and put himself in our Law-place, he took our Condition upon him: He was made of a Woman, made under the Law to redeem them.
Object. I know it is objected, If Christ and the Elect are but one Party, and that his Righteousness be ours, i. e. imputed to us, or that he did, and suffered all in our stead, then we are our own Saviors; we are Mediators, as having a Mediator's Righteousness.
Ans. This (as one well observes) follows not; for they may as well argue the Debtor is the Surety, because his Surety's Payment is accepted for him.
Object. Again they object, If Christ our Surety and we are one, and that his Righteousness is ours, then we are as Righteous as Christ.
Ans. They may as well affirm the Bankrupt is as rich as his Surety, because his Surety pays his Debts.
7. A Surety doth not only engage for Debtors, but also sometimes for Criminals.
Those that Christ became Surety for in the Covenant of Peace, to Reconcile to God, and to Redeem from Sin and Hell, were Criminals, and not only Debtors; we all deserved Death, and were under the Sentence thereof.
The Evangelists render the Words, Sins, and Debts promiscuously, as Luke 11.4. compared
with Matth. 6.12. the Laws of some Countries admit of a Surety for a Criminal; i. e. that one Man shall die for another: Thus did Christ obey the Law for us, and die for us: He was made a Curse for us—Gave himself for us— His Life a Ransom for us—The Just for the unjust— Made Sin for us: All proves he was a Surety for Condemned Criminals, and so died in our stead, to satisfy the Law, and Justice of God; What the Law could not do—God sent his own Son; i. e. we could not keep it perfectly, nor satisfy for the breach of it; therefore Christ died not only nostro bono, for our good and profit, as the Socinians, and our Work-Mongers say, but nostra vice, in our room, he died for his Church, for his Elect, as he died not for the Holy Angels, yet he died for their good, and for the whole Creation in some sense; he is the Head, and Confirmer of the Angels; is instead, the Sufferings of the Saints are for the good of the Church, but they are not substituted to obey and die in the stead of others: A Surety to obey and die for others, as one hath abundantly proved, is to obey and die in their stead or room.
8. A Surety having paid all, and fully satisfied for Debtors; it follows, that neither the Creditor, nor the Law can exact Satisfaction of the Debtors, and also that the Debtors for whom Satisfaction is made, shall be delivered out of Prison, and be actually discharged and acquitted according to the Time and Terms agreed on between the Creditor, and the Surety.
God will not, cannot in point of Justice and Righteousness exact Satisfaction of any Sinners, for whom Christ became a Surety, and hath satisfied; for i. e. they cannot suffer in Hell, but shall all in due time be actually discharged and acquitted, and the Law Sentence taken off of them: For no sooner are their Eyes opened, or are illuminated by the Spirit, but they plead, that their Surety hath paid all for them; he hath paid their Debt of perfect Obedience, and hath also born all that Vindictive Wrath and Vengeance that was due to them for their Sins; Who was delivered for our Offences, and was raised again for our Justification: The Lord laid on him the Iniquities of us all.
II. Why did-Christ become a Surety for us, and put his Hand to the Covenant?
1. Because his Love and Bowels were such to God's Elect, his Love constrained him thus to do.
2. Because he would readily comply with his Father's Will, Design, and Purpose herein, which was to exalt his Infinite Grace and Divine Goodness to Mankind.
3. It was to raise the Honour, or cause all the Divine Attributes to shine forth in their equal Glory, and meet together in his Work and Undertakings as Mediator and Suretiship, in sweet harmony.
4. Because he would magnify God's Law, and make it honorable: But more of this hereafter.
5. Because he knew God would not otherwise enter into a Covenant of Peace, to save
lost Sinners, Man being weak, and unable to answer what both Law and Justice required, in order to our Peace and Reconciliation with God: Whatsoever the Law exacted on us, he engaged and condescended to do as our Surety; he promised and struck Hands to satisfy whatsoever the Law, I say, could demand of God's Elect. See Heb. 9.15. Rom. 3.25. Heb. 10.5, 7.
III. What was Christ to do, and we receive by vertue of his Mediation and Suretiship?
First, Whatsoever Christ as Mediator Covenanted with the Father to do, that he considered as the Surety of the said Covenant engaged to perform.
1. To vindicate the Honour of God in all the Perfections of his Nature, particularly to preserve the Justice and Veracity of God, and Sanction of his Holy Law.
2. He engaged as the Surety of the Covenant, to restore to Man, or to all God's Elect, that Righteousness which Man lost, that as we were made Sinners by Adam's Disobedience, so by his Obedience we should all be made Righteous; that as the Sin of the first Adam was imputed to our Condemnation, so his Righteousness, as our Covenanting Head, might be imputed to all his Seed, and all this according to the Contrivance of God's Infinite Wisdom, and to answer the Design, Purpose, and Proposal of God the Father, in the Council of Peace.
3. And seeing Man was a Rebel, and in Arms against God, and filled with Rage and
Madness, and having Enmity in his Mind against God, Being alienated from the Life of God: Jesus Christ, as our Surety, engaged to change the Hearts of all he undertook for, and bring them to accept of Terms of Peace, through the Blood of his Cross; I say, he engaged to God to bring home all that were given to him. Hence he says, Them I must bring, and they shall hear my Voice: He must bring them because of the Covenant he had made with God the Father; and upon the Consideration of that Obligation, he laid himself under, as their Surety. He must Circumcise our Hearts to love the Lord our God; for Christ also hath once suffered for Sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
From hence it appears, that Christ by virtue of these Articles of Peace, as our Surety, engaged to open Blind Eyes, and to bring the Prisoners out of the Prison-house, and to set at liberty those that were bound; or by the Blood of his Covenant, to send the Prisoners out of the Pit, where there was no water; for this was agreed should be the Effects of his Undertakings: See Zech. 9.11. Luke 4.18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath Anointed me to Preach the Gospel to the Poor; he hath sent me to heal the Broken-hearted, to Preach Deliverance to the Captives, and recovering of Sight to the Blind, and to set at liberty them that were bruised. He engaged to take away the Heart of Stone, and to give us a Heart of Flesh, to give a new Heart for this the Father promised in the Covenant, and what he promised Christ engaged to do
for us; for without Almighty Power this cannot be done; He works all our Works in us and for us: He engaged to subdue Satan, and divest him, that strong Man Armed of all his Power.
In a word, Christ as the Surety of this Covenant, engaged to Renovate our Hearts, Regenerate our Souls, or to Create the Image of God again in us; And that from his Fullness, we should all receive Grace for Grace: And, indeed, to this end it pleased the Father, that in him should all Fullness dwell.
4. Jesus Christ as our Surety, engaged to make good another Article in this Covenant, which was to preserve all his People in a State of Grace, not only to bring us into a State of Grace, but to preserve us in the State, or to preserve Grace as a Vital Principle in our Souls.
That as all the Promises of God are made to us in Christ, so Christ hath engaged that we should persevere in Grace and Holiness, and that we shall never finally depart from God any more; He that hath begun a good Work in you, will perform it to the Day of Christ. It is not said, he will finish it, but he will perform it, which denotes his Covenant; as when a Faithful Man hath engaged to do a piece of Work, we say, he will perform it; He shall bring forth Judgment unto Victory.
1. He will according to his Promise and Covenant, strengthen our Faith, and increase it.
2. Subdue our Iniquities; He will subdue our Iniquities, thou wilt cast all their Sins into the Depths of the Sea, thou wilt perform thy Truth to Jacob.
3. To support and succour us under all Temptations, thus he hath promised, and he is Faithful, therefore will do it, 1. Cor. 10.13. No Temptation hath befallen you, but such that is common to Men, and God is Faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, &c.
4. To comfort us in all our Sorrows; I will not leave you Comfortless, &c.
5. To help us under all our Afflictions, Reproaches, Losses, and Persecutions, all these are Covenant Blessings, and therefore promised to us.
6. To enable us to perform acceptably all Holy Duties; for without him we can do nothing.
7. To make us Fruitful, and so to abide unto the end; I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you go and bring forth Fruit, and that your Fruit should remain, the Righteous shall flourish like a Palm-tree: Those that are planted in the House of the Lord, shall flourish in the Courts of our God, they shall still bring forth Fruit in Old Age, they shall be fat and flourishing. And all this God hath promised to us by vertue of Christ's undertaking as our Surety for us.
For the Grace by which all this is done, was promised first to Christ; he is filled full of Grace, as our Head of Influence: And he hath engaged to God for us to act, and influence
us with that Grace which he so received, which he doth perform in what measure and manner he pleaseth, through or by virtue of that Union we have with him, and by the constant communication of fresh Supplies from himself; Therefore it is added, To shew that the Lord is upright, and that there is no unrighteousness in him.
Brethren, pray consider this well, that all Grace and Spiritual Blessing whatsoever which we receive, is all promised to us by God the Father, and made good to us through Christ's Mediation, and Undertakings, as our Surety: For all the Promises of God in him, are Yea, and in him, Amen, unto the Glory of God the Father. I say, that that Mutual Covenant betwixt God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, makes all Covenant Blessings and Promises sure to us; all Promises are from the Father, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit
Christ received the Spirit without measure, upon his Covenanting with the Father, and he engaged to send the Spirit to be the Almighty Agent to do all things for us; for as he purchased the Spirit for us, so he hath asked it of the Father, and still (as our Surety and Advocate) he intercedes with the Father for us, that we may receive a Gracious Measure thereof; I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter.
The Father upon Christ's Suretiship promised to him, that his Spirit shall never depart from him, nor his Seed: As for me, this is my Covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit
that is upon thee, and my Words which I have put into thy Mouth, shall not depart out of thy Mouth, nor out of the Mouth of thy Seed, nor out of the Mouth of thy Seeds Seed, from henceforth and for ever.
8. Christ hath engaged to confirm us to the end; this he undertook as our Surety, it was God's Promise to him, He shall see his Seed: This was promised to him upon what he was to do, and suffer; and Christ, I say, hath engaged as our Surety to confirm us;* Who shall confirm you to the end? God is Faithful, by whom ye were called unto the Fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus Christ, by vertue of this Covenant, was to have many Companions, or fellow Heirs of Glory, and God's calling us, is the first Foundation Act in God, of performance of this Covenant with Christ, and to us in him: The Father is as much bound and obliged to keep us, as Christ is; because of that Price he hath received for us by Christ, which he accepted of in this Covenant of Peace.
9. Christ was obliged, as our Surety, not to lose one of them, which the Father gave him; And this is the Father's Will that sent me,* That of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last Day. This is as if our Lord should have said, The Father's Will and Covenant made with me is, That I should not lose one of his Elect.
The Father (as one observes) promised three things to the Son in this Covenant, upon what he was to do and suffer.
1. His Assistance.
2. That he should have a Seed which he should see.
3. He promised Eternal Glory to him, and to all them in him.
I. His Assistance; The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the Spirit of Wisdom, and understanding; the Spirit of Counsel, and Might; the Spirit of Knowledge, and of the Fear of the Lord.
Behold my Servant that I uphold, mine Elect in whom my Soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: Well, and what hath Christ engaged to do? He shall bring forth Judgment to the Gentiles.
A bruised Reed shall he not break; and the smoaking Flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth Judgment unto Truth.
I, the Lord, have called thee in Righteousness, and will uphold thine Hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a Light of the Gentiles: That is, for the Surety of my Covenant.
To open Blind eyes, &c. He shall feed in the Strength of the Lord, in the Majesty of the Name of the Lord his God: Christ was to plead these Promises; He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my Salvation.
II. God promised him a Seed.
1. A Numerous Seed; As the Dew of the Morning in abundance upon the Flowers and Plants; fear not for I am with thee, I will bring thy Seed from the East, and gather thee from the West.
I will say to the North, Give up; and to the South, Keep not back: Bring my Sons from afar, and my Daughters from the Ends of the Earth.
2. A Perpetual Seed, or a Seed that shall endure for ever; His Seed will I make to endure for ever, and his Throne as the Days of Heaven— My Covenant will I not break, &c.
III. The Father promised him great Glory, and an Eternal Kingdom; Ask of me, I will give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy Possession; behold my Servant he shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled and made very high— I will divide him a Portion with the Great, and he shall divide the Spoil with the Strong, because he poured out his Soul unto Death. All Power is given to me in Heaven and Earth. He shall strike through Kings, in the Day of his Wrath.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the Angels for the suffering of Death, Crowned with Glory and Honour—And he shall bring all his to Glory too: For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many Sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through Sufferings. As this was promised by the Father to him, and to us in him, so he as our Surety engaged to bring it to pass, or to make it good unto us.
Object. If Jesus Christ entered into Bonds for us, and that by virtue of the Sanction of the Law of Works, was obliged, as our Surety, to suffer for
our Sins, doth it not follow, that he was Surety of the Covenant of Works? And how then is it said▪ He was Surety of a better Covenant?
1 Answ. Tho Christ was obliged, as our Surety, to fulfil the Covenant of Works, or of perfect Obedience; yet he was not Surety of the Covenant of Works, because he did not undertake, that we should perfectly keep the Law in our own Persons, which he must have done, had he been Surety of the Law of Works, but that he would keep that Law for us; and therefore it was another and better Covenant.
2. The Covenant of Works was made betwixt God and Man, without a Surety; the Covenant of Grace is made betwixt God the Father, and Jesus Christ as our Surety for us; therefore another and better Covenant.
These Men plead for a Covenant of Grace made betwixt God and us, distinct from the Covenant of Redemption; in which, Christ, as our Surety, engaged that we shall keep the New Law of Faith, and sincere Obedience; Christ having abolished the Law of perfect Obedience, and merited this mild Law, &c.
1 Answ. Tho the Law as a Covenant of Works, Do this and Live, is taken away; yet as a Law, or Rule of perfect Obedience, it remains for ever: As the Reverend Mr. Cross, hath fully proved.
2. As to their New Law, it brings in Justification by Works; and such Works too, that are attended with Sin, or Imperfections; and therefore their Doctrine is to be abhorred.
See Mr. Clark's New Book; but more of this hereafter.
IV. I shall shew that Christ's Suretiship greatly differs from Suretiship among Men.
1. A Surety among Men, is not of the Creditor's, but of the Debtor's procurement.
But the Surety of the Covenant of Peace, was of God's procurement, who is Man's Creditor, or rather offended Creator; God as an Act of Infinite Wisdom, Love, and Mercy, found him; I have found a Ransom. Moreover, the Father Chose him, Called him, and Anointed him to be the Mediator and Surety of this Covenant, as hath been fully proved: Therefore it doth not follow, that so soon as our Surety struck Hands, or just when he laid down the Price, all God's Elect must actually be acquited.
For should a Creditor find a Surety for the Debtor, all must confess it is in his choice how and when the Debtor should be actually acquited. Moreover, 'tis evident, that we had no actual Existence when Christ struck Hands for us; besides, it was for such that he foresaw would fall under Sin, Wrath, and Condemnation, and Christ did not become a Surety to keep the Elect from falling under Wrath, and the Sentence of Death, but to recover them out of that State; Justification presupposes we were once Charged and Condemned.
2. A Surety and Debtor among Men, both enter into the same Bond, and the Debtor is looked upon the principal Bondsman.
But Christ's single Bond, in this Covenant, is accepted for all; here is a Change of Persons, God leaves out our Names, and puts in Christ's Name, that the Debt, Satisfaction, and Curse might fall upon him alone. See Dr. Goodwin: He was made Sin for us—Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us; he was wounded for our Transgressions—And now Jesus Christ here by putting his Name unto this Bond, is become the principal Debtor, and is wholly obliged to pay, and satisfy for all the Sins of God's Elect; his Suretiship hath swallowed up the offending Debtors Obligation, to satisfy Law and Justice.
Object. Doth it not then follow, we need not be concerned to keep or fulfil the Law?
Answ. We are not to be concerned to keep the Law to that end Christ kept it, i. e. not to be Justified by it, for so it is removed; but the Moral Law, as a perfect Rule of Righteousness, obligeth us to perpetual Obedience, it being so unchangable a Law.
3. Among Men, when the Surety makes a full satisfaction for Debtors, the said Debtors cannot be said to receive their Release, or Discharge, as an Act of Grace and Favor, but as an Act of Justice only. But Jesus Christ, in the Covenant of Peace, makes full Satisfaction for us, and yet we receive our Release and Discharge as an Act of Grace and Favor alone.
1. In that God and not we found the Surety, which was an Act of his own Sovereign Grace, he being wholly at Liberty, whether he would save Man, or not.
So that our Discharge through the Satisfaction of Christ, must needs primarily and originally flow out of pure Grace, Favor, Love and Pity of God to us.
Had Man found the Surety, it had been otherwise.
2. Because the Surety being the only begotten Son of God, it is a farther Demonstration of Infinite Love and Favor to us, in that God should substitute him in our stead, and dispence with the rigorous Action of Satisfaction from us, and take it from our Surety, as put in our Law-place.
3. Because God, that he might work about our Discharge, in a way of Grace and Mercy, to the Honour of his Justice, &c. made his own Son a Sacrifice for our Sins.
4. Because that Interest we have in that Redemption, Pardon, Peace, and Reconciliation by Christ's Undertakings, is freely bestowed on us, as an Act of God's Sovereign Grace and Goodness, for as Christ purchased all Grace for us, so as an Act of God's Favor, and Christ's Purchase and Merits, he gives us the Spirit and Faith, in order to our actual Interest in all Covenant Blessings; so that altho it all is in a way of Justice as to Christ, yet it is all in a way of Mercy and Free-Grace as to us.
5. In that God accepted of Christ as a Surety for us who deserved no Pity, we having wilfully forefeited our vast Inheritance, and were become his Vile Enemies, and rebels against him.
6. Because Christ became our Surety, from whom he could expect no after Recompence, or Satisfaction for that vast Sum he laid down for us, he never expected any Recompence from us for the Debt paid.
7. Because we are not only pardoned, and have Peace, but by Christ's Undertaking, are raised to great Honour: And O what Grace, Love, and Divine Goodness is here!
I Admiration. What hath God done? Christ done for us? What Love is this?
1. Christ knew before he became our Surety, that the whole Payment would fall upon him, and yet struck Hands.
2. O! what Exemption and discharge have we hereby from the Law and Justice of God? The Law, as our Husband, is dead, and we dead to that; that Cruel Husband has no more Power over us, though as a Law, or Rule of Righteousness, it still commands us, yet it cannot Kill us, Curse us, nor Condemn us to Eternal Burning.
3. Bless God for Jesus Christ our Surety: What a sweet Covenant is this, that we are brought into? How sure are all Covenant Mercies? What Riches, Glory, and Power is in Christ the Mediator? As thou hast given him Power over all Flesh, that he should give Eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him. We are in Christ's Hand, and none can pluck us out.
4. We shall forever abide in this Covenant; our Surety hath engaged to keep us, that we shall never break Covenant with God any more, so as to lose our Inheritance.
5. How easie hath God made the Terms of Peace as to us, since Christ is obliged to work all our Works in us, as well as for us?
II. What Good News is here for broken Sinners, who lie Condemned by the Covenant of Works?
O sue out your Pardon, by taking hold of Christ.
III. Reproof. How doth this again tend to reprove such that turn the Gospel-Covenant, or Covenant of Peace, into a Law, with the Sanction of Rewards for Obedience, and Threatnings for Disobedience; denying that Christ stood in our Law-place, to do and suffer for us, or to keep the Law of perfect Righteousness, in point of Justification, and to die in our stead?
Why will Men stand upon their own Legs? —Proud Man would fain live of himself, or have whereof to Glory, but not before God, or in Christ Jesus; he would have God take his Copper, and refuse his own most pure Gold.
Why will they seek Relief other ways than by the Surety and Mediator of the Covenant?
Can our Imperfect Righteousness, or Sinful Duties Justify us at God's Bar? Will they dare to plead it at Death.
IV. Trial. Is Grace given to you? Have you Union with Christ? Have you a new Heart? Do you truly and savingly know the Lord? Then you are brought into the Bonds of the Covenant of Peace.
V. Consolation. If you are once in Covenant, you are for ever in Covenant, and all Covenant-Blessing, even all things that are therein promised to Christ, as your Surety shall be given to you.
But no more at this time.
And with this I conclude the Second Thing, under the Second General Head, viz. That the Terms proposed in the Covenant of Peace betwixt the Father and the Son, were agreed to, and of Christ's Work, as Mediator and Surety therein, I have endeavoured to clear to the Weakest Capacity.
Containing the Ratification, or Confirmation of the Covenant of Peace; showing, how, and by what, and when it was confirmed; also how proclaimed, and what the Proclamation is.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord
that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant made, or agreed on, and stands firm in the behalf of all God's Elect.
I have showed you First, That in a Covenant of Peace there is a treating betwixt the Covenanting Parties about the Terms upon which it is made: And accordingly in order to the making, or bringing in of this Covenant, you have heard that there was a treating between the Father, and the Son before the World began.
Secondly, That in such a Covenant, the Terms proposed are agreed unto by both Parties; so I have showed you it was here; and also that the Mediator of the Covenant of Peace is Jesus Christ, who was also the Surety thereof;
whose Work, both as he is Mediator and Surety, we have opened.
Thirdly, I shall now proceed to the next thing, which is the Ratification, or Confirmation of the Covenant.
My Brethren, there was a twofold Confirmation of the Covenant.
I. It was confirmed by God in Christ, and this was, as I conceive, in that Council of Peace that was held in Eternity betwixt them both: True, among Men this is called, The Signing of the Articles of Peace; but there was a full Confirmation of this Covenant, when it was Agreed on, and Signed, and that by both Parties.
1. The Father Confirmed it to Christ, and to all the Elect in him, by his Oath;* I have made a Covenant with my Chosen, I have sworn unto David my Servant: By David is meant Jesus Christ; and I see no reason to doubt, but that this Oath of God the Father to the Son, as Mediator of our Peace, passed to him before the World began; Once have I sworn by my Holiness, that I will not lye unto David.
My Brethren, when God concluded this Covenant of Peace with Jesus Christ, he made a Promise to him of performing all things which he agreed unto; and evident it is, that this was before the World began; In hope of Eternal Life, which God that cannot lye promised, before the World began. And as it was promised then to Christ, as the Head and Representative of all the Elect, on their behalf; so there is the same Parity of Reason to believe, that
then the Oath of God passed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to us in him also; and now this Promise and Oath of God to Christ, gives not only Solemnity, but also firm and sure Stability to this Covenant (1.) He added his Oath to his Promise (saith our late Annotator on the Holy Bible) to make,* and prove it to be Immutable: Hence Christ, it is said, was made a Priest by an Oath, not after the Order of Aaron:
(2.) But after the Order of Melchisedic. This Oath is said to be sworn once, which Word and Phrase (saith he) implies the Completeness, Certainty, and Irrevocableness of the thing.
(3.) God swore by his Holiness; What is more Sacred? By which God is seldom known to speak, or to swear; therefore nothing can more fully confirm this Covenant to Christ, and to us in him.
(4.) Jesus Christ then confirmed also the Covenant on his part; on our behalf, by his putting his Hand in our stead, and to stand in our Law-place for us, as you have heard: This, my Brethren, was more than a bare Signing and Sealing the Covenant of Peace. But—
II. There is yet a farther Ratification, and Confirmation of the Covenant of Peace, as also there is among Men.
1. It was agreed betwixt God the Father, and the Son as Mediator, that this Covenant should come under another Acceptation, i. e. as the Last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ: True, it was not only Christ's Will, or Christ's
Covenant and Testament, but the Father's Will and Covenant also: Hence the Testament is called, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him; that is, a Mediator: Yet Christ is the Testator, or he that is to dispose of all those rich Legacies which the Father by him, as Mediator, designed to bestow on all his Elect, it is called his Covenant, Testament, or Last Will.
And now, since the New Covenant was to come under this Character, viz. Christ's Last Will and Testament; there was a Necessity (for many other Reasons) that the Covenant should be Confirmed and Ratified by his Death. The Greek Word is, DiathemenoV, Berith. A Testament is the Sentence, or Declaration of our last Will of what we would have done after our Death; now this Testament contains all the Blessings, Grants, and Privileges agreed unto and given to Christ, as Mediator of the Covenant of Peace, and more properly it denotes Christ's giving them forth as one Dying, to confirm the Covenant.
1. A Testator signifies a Disposer; one that makes his Last Will and Testament, who hath Goods to bestow, and Persons to give them unto.
2. It denotes, that a Dying Person, who to confirm his Will and Testament; there is a Necessity of his Death, and thus Christ as a Testator, died by virtue of those Covenant Transactions betwixt God the Father and himself on the behalf of God's Elect; Where a
Testament is, there must also of necessity be the Death of the Testator.
3. It also denotes, that he the Testator hath, or is Invested with some Estate, and hath a proper Right to dispose of it; Jesus Christ in this Covenant had all the Riches of Grace and Glory given to him as Mediator. See John 13.3. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his Hands, &c.
4. Moreover it denotes, that whatsoever he gives as a Testator is of mere Grace, or of the Good Pleasure of his Will.
5. Also it gives a Just Right to all such (to whom he bequeaths any Legacies) to what is given, so that such may sue out for them as their own.
Furthermore it imports the Revelation and Declaration of his Will, Love, and Affections to all his Relations and Friends: So did Jesus Christ, in his Last Will and Testament, reveal his Will, Love, and rich Bounty to all God'• Elect.
Now the Design of God and Christ herein, was.
1. To give, or super add a new Title to all Believers (as one well observes) of all Covenant Blessings, that we might have all manner of Security imaginable to the Inheritance.
2. Also to show the Absolute Freeness of the Conveyance of all Covenant Grants, and Blessings to Believers.
3. And more directly to the purpose in hand, Jesus Christ came under this Relation to ratify and confirm the Covenant of Peace, and
our sure Right and Title to all Blessings contained therein; Though it be but a Man's Testament, yet if it be confirmed, no Man disannulled, or addeth thereunto: The Covenant was in force even from the Beginning; and all God's Elect who lived under the Old Testament Dispensation, received the Grace and Blessings thereof, through Faith in Christ's Death, who they knew would come in the fullness of time, and by his Blood confirm this Covenant: The Father, indeed, trusted the Son upon His Holy Compact or Covenant with Him, upon the account of what He was to do, and suffer in time. Pray, Brethren, observe, That the Death of Christ, is the great and sure Ratification and Confirmation of the Covenant of Peace. It is a Confirmation of such Validity, that it is made unalterable, and cannot be disannulled.
To proceed, there are, Beloved, seven or eight things to be considered in the Death of Christ.
I. The Death of Christ put an end to, or abrogated the Old Covenant; He took away the first, that he might establish the second— Having abolished in his Flesh the Enmity, even the Law of Commandments contained in Ordinances for to make in himself of twain, one New Man, so making Peace: The first Will, or Covenant is made void by the second, i. e. by the Last Will and Testament; nor is the Ceremonial Law only abolished, but the Moral Law as a Covenant of Works, Do this and Live; not as it is a Law requiring perfect Obedience on
Righteousness, but as to the Tenure, or Terms of it.
Not, my Brethren, but that all Believers, who lived under the Old Testament, were saved by the Covenant of Grace, Christ was to establish, as I said before: Yet was not the Old Covenant actually taken away till Christ died, the latter Covenant is called an Everlasting Covenant; not, I say again, that the first, as to Righteousness, is ceased, or disannulled; no, but as a Covenant of Works, requiring perfect Righteousness of us in our own Persons, if ever we are Justified in God's Sight; but that the perfect Obedience which Law required of us is transmitted to another Head, i. e. the Christ Jesus, who having answered all its Demands in point of Obedience and Righteousness, so that He is the end of the Law, as touching Righteousness, to every one that believeth: Insomuch that the Law cannot Curse, nor any more Condemn them that are in Christ Jesus.
II. Christ's Death (as well as his Active Obedience to the Law) was the Condition on his part for us, upon which God the Father entered into this Covenant of Peace, on our behalf; therefore had not Christ died, all that believed before he came had perished, but neither of these were possible.
III. The Death of Christ, was the Price of our Redemption, by this vast Sum we were Redeemed: Ye are not your own, you are bought with a Price. Not our own observe.
1. We were sold under Sin, and were in bondage to the Law and Justice of God.
2. There was a treating about the Price of our Redemption, and the Terms were agreed to, which was, That Christ must die; For as much as ye know that ye were not Redeemed with corruptible things, as Silver and Gold, &c. but with the Precious Blood of Christ—Who verily was fore-ordained before the Foundation of the World; or was delivered up according to the Compact, or Result in the Covenant of Peace, (to Redeem us from Wrath and Hell,) held in Eternity between the Father and Himself.
3. The Time also when this should be done, was also then agreed on; that is, when Christ should die; But when the fullness of Time came, God sent forth his own Son in the likeness of sinful Flesh—To Redeem them that were under the Law, &c.
IV. The Death of Christ was that Price by which all Grace is purchased for us; for though we have all Covenant Grants, and Blessings freely given to us, or merely of God's Free Grace, yet Faith, a New Heart, Regeneration, Repentance, Pardon, and Peace, and all other Grace, and Blessings here, and Glory hereafter were all purchased for us by the Death of Christ; for as you heard Christ did more than pay our Debts.
V. Christ's Death was the Pacifying, or Atoning Sacrifice, his Precious Blood quenched the Fire of God's Wrath, and so it is the only way by which we come to be delivered from Hell: Our Jonah was cast over-board to
make a Calm, and caused the Storm of Divine Vengeance to cease.
VI. And more directly to our present Purpose; I say again, the Death of Christ was to ratify and confirm the Covenant.
VII. Moreover, the Death of Christ was not only to confirm the Covenant of Peace it self, but to confirm all Covenant Grants, Covenant Blessings, and Covenant Promises also; for had not the Testator died, none could sue for any Legacy therein bequeathed to them.
Furthermore, also the Holy Ghost is appointed to be the Executioner of this Covenant; or, of the Last Will and Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ:* How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself to God; Purge your Consciences from Dead Works, to serve the true living God. It is the same Spirit of Jesus that offered up his Body, that applies his Blood, and makes it efficacious to us, and puts us into the Possession of the Inheritance purchased for us.
And for this Cause He is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of Death, that they which are called, might receive the Promise of the Eternal Inheritance; That is, through his Intercession, and the Agency of the Holy Spirit, the Effects of His Sacrifice might become effectual to all the Elect, viz. to their Justification, Vocation, Sanctification, and Glorification.
If the Will of Man had been left, or substituted to be the Executioner of Christ's Last Will and Testament, not one Soul might have been saved, or if otherwise, yet all the Glory
would not have then redown'd to Jesus Christ, but one great part thereof to the Creature.
But thus it is not left, 'Tis not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth: No, no, it is wholly committed to the Blessed Agency of the Holy Ghost; who doth, and must bow, and bend the Will of Man unto God: But more of this hereafter.
My Brethren, It is very remarkable what Knowledge some of the Ancient Jews had of the Messiah.
Rabbi Hadars, (as I find him quoted by a Worthy Divine) speaks thus, viz. God treating with the Messiah, said, Righteous Messiah, Those who are hid in thee, are such, whose Sins in time shall bring thee to Grief; thy Ears shall hear Reproaches, thy Tongue cleave to the Roof of thy Mouth, thou shalt be wearied with Sorrows.
The Messiah answered; Lord of the World, I joyfully take them upon me, and Charge my self with their Torment, but upon this Condition, that thou shalt quicken the Dead; God, saith this Rabbi, granted him this, and from that time the Messiah charged himself with all kinds of Torments.
I. From hence we may infer what horrid Evil there is in Unbelief, or the Shamefulness of Unbelief, and O what Ignorance there is in Men, of this Covenant Agreement; God is pacified
and reconciled, but Sinners will not believe it, and from hence retain frightful Thoughts of God.
2. We infer, That our Salvation stands upon a sure and certain Foundation, and that the Elect shall be saved.
(1.) They are the Seed of Christ, and are given to him, though never so unworthy in themselves.
(2) In regard of the firmness of the Covenant of Peace, you hear how, and by what it is confirmed.
(3.) In regard Jesus Christ hath done his Suffering Work, his Bleeding Work, his Dying Work, confirming his Covenant, and he is bound to do all the rest in us and for us, and the Spirit is the Executor, Christ, though he died, is alive, and dies no more; and therefore can, and will see his own Will fully executed.
(4.) Because God hath link'd in this Covenant his own Glory and our Good together.
II. Contemplate on the Love of your dying Friend; Shall the King Immortal become a dying Testator?
O search into this Will to find your Names, and see what vast Legacies are bequeathed therein to you! Moreover, you see that your Right to Grace and Glory is a Testamentary Right, the Covenant betwixt God and Christ is turned into a Testament between him and you; My Peace I leave with you: He hath paid dear for it.
III. Sinners, will you by Unbelief make void (if it were possible) this Covenant, or not sue out by Christ's Blood your Pardon, but think to get it some other ways, Sirs, all saving Grace is comprehended in this Covenant.
IV. What are all Earthly Legacies to those Christ hath left in his Last Will and Testament—
V. Terror. Let all such tremble that turn Christ's Last Will and Testament into a Law of Works, or into a Conditional Covenant, or that give the Glory to their Faith, to their Obedience, or to the Creature, and let all such fear likewise that venture to alter any thing contained in Christ's Last Will and Testament.
Lastly, Do not forget your dying Friend; O keep up his Remembrance in those Holy Signs of his Death and Suffering which he hath left in his word, This do in remembrance of me.
I shall now proceed to the next thing proposed under this General Head.
Fourthly, After a Covenant of Peace is ratified and confirmed, it is proclaimed, and so it is here also; this is the next thing, God assisting, I shall speak to.—And now, as Peace among Men is commonly published by a Proclamation, so hath God graciously ordered this Peace to be published by a Proclamation. Also,
And in speaking to this I shall:
1. Show you what is the Proclamation of this Peace.
2. Who they are that God hath authorized to Proclaim it.
3. Open the Nature of the Proclamation.
4. Open the Terms upon which it is proclaimed.
The Proclamation of this Peace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Hence the Gospel is called, The Word of Reconciliation, and the Gospel of Peace.
I. Because the Gospel only shows us how Reconciliation is made between an offended God, and offending Creatures; and no other ways is this revealed, or made known to Men.
II. Because God, my Brethren, is hereby declared to be reconciled or pacified towards Sinners, even in Jesus Christ; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself, not imputing their Trespasses unto them. Some would have this extend to all the World universally, but then all would be saved; for if all were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, they shall much more be saved by his Life; for so Paul argues in respect of all them that God by the Death of his Son,* was reconciled to; For if when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life. If God gave us the great Gift, he will much more give the lesser Gift, i. e. Faith and Perseverance; compare this with Rom. 8.32. My Brethren, 'tis the same [All,] or World that Christ promised that he would draw to him, and that he takes away the Sin of.* Moreover, if he had reconciled the whole World to God,* he would have prayed for the whole World, but that he saith he did not, yet he prayed for all he died for.
III. Because the Gospel discovers the Meritorious Cause, or Foundation of our Reconciliation, viz. the Death of Christ, this was that Sacrifice that turned away God's Anger, and Vindictive Wrath and Vengeance; He saw the Travel of his Soul and was satisfied.*
IV. Because the Gospel contains mutual Reconciliation, not only an account of God's Reconciliation to us, but also our Reconciliation to him, which is through the receiving the Atonement, God is reconciled in Christ, by his Wrath-appeasing Sacrifice; but the Gospel shows, that Sinners are not actually reconciled to God, until they are by the Spirit united to Christ, and believe in him, having that Natural Enmity removed,* that is in their Hearts against God.
V. The Gospel is the instrumental means, through the Spirits Operations of the Sinner's Reconciliation to God;* We pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God. It is called the Power of God to Salvation, because therein the Righteousness of God is revealed, Vers. 17. It is, my Brethren, an Instrument of his Power, or a powerful means ordained of God to this purpose, it having an excellent and efficacious Influence attending it through the Spirit where it is proclaimed and received. My Brethren, Faith, Regeneration, Conversion, or Holiness, do not reconcile us to God; no, no, nothing doth that but the Blood of Christ.
And this I might make appear,
1. Because our Reconciliation on God's part is by the Death of Christ; For when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son. Hence we are said to be Justified by his Blood; that is, Meritoriously, yet Materially it is by his Active, as well as his Passive Obedience.
2. Because our Reconciliation on God's part, I mean his being Reconciled to us, is antecedent to Faith, Regeneration, &c. your Faith doth not make your Peace, though it be an Instrument by which you receive that Atonement that Christ hath made,
3. Faith, &c. is an effect of our Reconciliation, that we may be actually acquitted, and saved from Sin and Wrath in our own Persons, and have it evidenced to our own Consciences; it is our receiving that of Christ, which he received for us upon his Discharge, as our Head, and Surety; Much more being now Justified by his Blood, we shall be saved through him: Therefore Christs Blood must be the appeasing Sacrifice that delivers us from the Wrath we lay under.
4. Nay, my Brethren, Justification is the Effects of Reconciliation; for had not Christ satisfied Divine Justice for us, we had not been pronounced Just, or Righteous in him; the Prisoner is acquitted as the Effects of the Payment of his Debts, his believing his Debts are paid, and the Law and justice satisfied, doth not pay his Debts; though a Sinner is not in his own Person actually discharged, until he doth believe, or leastwise in his own Conscience.
True, Jesus Christ, as Mediator, doth both these; i. e. he pays our Debts, and knocks off our Chains; he makes the Atonement, and sprinkles the Blood upon our Consciences by his Spirit; if Reconciliation was the bending of our Hearts to God, to believe in him, and love him, why should Faith and Sanctification be laid down as the End and Effect of this Reconciliation: Yet now hath he reconciled in the Body of his Flesh, through Death, to present you Holy and unreprovable in his Sight.
VI. A Proclamation discovers, or reveals who they are that shall receive the Blessings of that Peace which is made, and upon what Terms.
So, my Brethren, the Gospel makes known who they are that are comprehended in that Peace our Lord Jesus Christ had made, viz. all that God hath Elected, or Chosen in Him, or all his Seed, or all that the Father hath given to him, or, if you please, all that do believe in him; and also it shows upon what Terms, viz. wholly of mere Grace and Favor; By Grace ye are saved through Faith, and that not of your selves, it is the Gift of God, not of Works, least any Man should boast, not by any Act of the Creature, not by his Faith and sincere Obedience nor by Works of Righteousness that we have done, either in Obedience to Law or Gospel: See Rom. 11.6, the Terms are without Money, and without Price.
VII. Some Proclamations proclaim Peace; so, my Brethren, the Gospel Proclaims our Peace with
God: Peace, Peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh; It proclaims Liberty to the Captives, &c. Hence our Lord saith to his Disciples; That which ye have spoken in the Ear, shall be proclaimed on the House Top — And came and preached Peace, (or proclaimed Peace) to you which were afar off, and to them that are nigh. And hence the Gospel also comes so to be called; for what is Gospel, but glad Tidings, good News, Peace on Earth, good Will to Men! It is called, the Joyful Sound, Blessed is the People that know the Joyful Sound, &c. Not they that only hear it, but that know it, it is that which when known and received, pacifies a Wounded Conscience.
VIII. A Proclamation of Peace and Pardon, is that which a Self-condemned Traitor takes hold of, and presently submits himself with Tears, and falls down at his Sovereign's Feet, being broken to Pieces at the Thoughts of his Prince's Clemency, and Free Pardon. Also it gives an Assurance to all such of Pardon and Peace.
So, my Brethren, the Gospel is that which Sin-convicted, and Self-condemned Sinners, and Stubborn Rebels against God, takes hold of; and it is this that breaks and melts their hard Hearts, What hear that their Peace is made, and God reconciled? Nay, and that he has Sacrificed his own Son to this very end, this breaks the Heart of Stone, and brings the Rebel to lay down his Arms, and to take hold of Pardon. And it gives to each poor Sinner also, an assurance of Mercy, he brings the
Proclamation as it were to God, and pleads his Pardon, Where the Word of a King is, there is Power: The King's Word and Promise, (saith the Soul) is passed in his Proclamation, that I shall have Free Pardon, and here it is.
IX. A Proclamation is Written, nay Printed, that it may be read, and known of all Men; so God, in his Providence, hath caused his Gospel to be Printed, that it may be read and known to all to whom it is sent; it was first Written as Holy Men speak, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; and since it has been Printed also.
X. A Proclamation is set up in the Marketplace, or in some Public place, so is the Gospel publicly made known; Wisdom cruet without, she uttered her Voice in the Streets, in the chief Place, in the Concourse, in the opening of the Gates, in the City she uttered her Voice, see Prov. 8.1. It is, and shall be made known to all Nations, to their Joy and Comfort, and for their Obedience of Faith. — But let me note here some Disparities.
1. Proclamations are not put into a Book, I say, I think that is not usually done, to be kept for after Times upon Record, but the Gospel, or good News to Sinners, or this Proclamation, is put into a Book, for all succeeding Ages, and Generations to know and understand.
(1.) This Book, Brethren, is wholly by Inspiration given out to remain as a Witness of God's Eternal Love, and Christ's Eternal Love, and Favor.
(2.) There is a Blessing pronounced to him that reads, and that understands this Book.
(3.) It is a Book ratified and confirmed by Miracles.
(4.) A Book that all Holy and good Books point to, Moses points to this Book, the Prophets point to this Book, and all Divine Writers point to this Book.
(5.) It is a Book of all Truth, and no Errors.
(6.) A Book that all Good Books, Holy Books were taken out of.
(7.) A Book kept and preserved by Almighty Power, in spite of Rome, Hell, and Devils.
But let me add one thing more here, viz. That there were different ways of proclaiming this News of Peace, by Jesus Christ.
1. It was first proclaimed to Adam, upon his Fall, by the Promise of the Seed of the Woman.
2. To Abraham it was proclaimed in these Words, i. e. In thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be Blessed.
Thus Paul saith, God Preached the Gospel to Abraham, to Jacob by the coming of Shiloh. To Moses, by a Prophet that God would raise up of their Brethren, like unto him; and by Types and Sacrifices. To David, by a Promise of a Son to Sit upon his Throne, and by a Covenant made with him, as a Type of Christ. To the Prophets many ways very clearly.
But in the New Testament Times more fully and clearer then ever; before it was hid, as it were, but the Vision is now opened, and hidden things, things long kept secret, are plainly revealed; We behold with open Face: Many Prophets, and Kings, desired to see and hear what we see and hear, but saw, and heard them not.
3. A Proclamation doth not usually contain the Sum of all the Articles of Peace, nor give an Account of all the Gifts, Grants, Blessings, and Privileges thereof. But this Proclamation, i. e. the Gospel doth publish and make known to all the World, the Sum of all the Articles of this Covenant of Peace; together with all the great Gifts, Grants, Blessings, and Privileges thereof: In the Gospel we read of the Council, Compact, and Eternal Purpose of God, concerning of all those Covenant Transactions that were betwixt the Father and the Son from Eternity, which were hid, or kept secret until this Proclamation came forth.
4. A Proclamation of Peace doth not particularly give an account of all the horrid Crimes and Offenders that are by virtue thereof, freely pardoned upon their coming in; for such a Proclamation is rather put out by a Prince to reclaim Stubborn Rebels, in which their Names are inserted; but this Proclamation, i.e. the Gospel, proclaims Free Pardon for all manner of Sins, Iniquities, and Transgressions; and to all the vilest Traitors, Enemies and Rebels against the Eternal God; as to all Swearers, Liars, Drunkards, Harlots, Whoremongers,
or Adulterers, Idolaters, Effeminate Persons, Abusers of themselves with Mankind, Proud Persons, Covetous Backsliders, Thieves, Extortionists, Malicious Persons, Murderers, Back-biters, Blasphemers, Sorcerers, ye all manner of Sinners have Free Pardon offered to them upon their coming in, and laying hold of Jesus Christ; and none are excepted but such who have sinned against the Holy Ghost.
1. Bless God for the Gospel, that ever this Proclamation came to your Ears, Peace is proclaimed to you this Day, to you Sinners! What do you say? Do you resolve to throw down your Arms and come in? 'Tis no matter what kind of Rebels you have been: Here's a Pardon for all Sins and Blasphemy (in this Proclamation) committed against the Father and Son, and but one sort of Sinners are excluded, and but one Sin, i. e. the Sin against the Holy Ghost.
Is not this Good News? Do you believe it? And is it in your Hearts to take hold of the Promises of the Gospel? What Answer shall I return to him that sent me.
II. This informs us of the Necessity of Revealed Religion, I mean of the Gospel; for without this Proclamation had been published, the way of Peace could not be known, or without such a way of Revelation.
1. For the Moral Law written in the two Tables, reveals nothing of this Peace made by Jesus Christ.
2. The Law or Light within all Mankind, reveals nothing of it, though that convicts of Sin, yet it reveals nothing of a Savior.
The Moral Law and Light, in all, discovers a God, but no Christ, no Mediator: What doth the Pagan World know of this Covenant of Peace? Or of this Mediator, or of this Proclamation? What will those Arch Heretics say to this, who Talk of the Light within, and boldly affirm, That they should have known by a Christ within, as much as they do now, if the Word had never been written; But why then do not the poor Indians, and Pagans know it, who have the same Light in them? And why can't they tell us, What those other things are that Jesus Christ did, that are not written? Believe them not: These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing, ye might have Life through his Name: These Heretics deny not only the Christ of God, but the only Rule of our Faith and Practice also.
3. Certainly here is good News to you Sinners who hear me this Day; I am appointed by the Lord to proclaim Peace to you in this Place; and do assure you, in the Name of my Great Lord and Master Jesus Christ, that if you come in, and i. e. believe in him, ye shall have Eternal Life, though you have been long Enemies to God, ye Stout-hearted, and far from Righteousness, or though never so Vile and Notorious Sinners, Grace, Pardon, and Peace is offered freely to you this Day, Without Money,
and without Price; i. e. without any Previous Qualifications, or any thing required of you, 'tis all freely tendered, upon your Believing; upon your Espousing of Jesus Christ all the Blessings of the Covenant of Peace are yours. Whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely.
Wherein is showed who are the Ambassadors of Peace, or who are appointed to Proclaim, or Preach the Gospel of Peace.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
I AM upon the Second General Head, first proposed to be opened, viz. to clear up the main Covenant Transactions, about the bringing in, and Establishment of the Covenant of Peace.
1. I have passed through those Eight Explanatory Propositions.
2. The Second I have been some time upon, i. e. the Covenant Transactions.
I. I showed you there was a treating about it between the Father and the Son, as our Head and Representative, before the World began.
II. That the Terms of our Peace were then by them both agreed on, and that Jesus Christ was chosen Mediator and Surety of the Covenant
III. That this Covenant is confirmed.
IV. And that it is Proclaimed.
Here I told you, that I should do four Things.
1. Show you what the Proclamation is; this we did the last Day.
2. Show you who are the Ambassadors of Peace.
3. Open the Nature of the Proclamation.
4 Show you upon what Terms Peace is offered, or proclaimed.
Secondly, My Business is to show you now who they are that God hath appointed, empowered, or authorized to be the Ambassadors of his Peace.
I. The Great and Chief Ambassador of this Peace, is the Lord Jesus Christ; and from hence he is called the Messenger of the Covenant; The Lord whom ye seek,* shall suddenly come to his Temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant. All Expositors agree, that this is meant of Christ; yea, (as one observes) both Christian and Jewish Interpreters; and the same Author also shows from the Hebrew, that a
Messenger signifies an Ambassador, Messengers, i. e. Ambassadors of Peace. My Brethren, I showed you, that Jesus Christ considered as Mediator, was our great Plenipotentiary, representing us, and treating with God for us, in that Council of Peace held betwixt them both.
1. He was authorized and approved of by the Father, to Treat about it, and Conclude the Peace upon such Terms that the Father proposed to him on our behalf; As thou hast given him power over all Flesh, that he should give Eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him —I was set up from Everlasting, &c.
2. He only was able to make our Peace, not only capable to treat about it, but as the Grand Ambassador, to answer all the Just Demands of the Holy and abused Majesty of Heaven, in order finally to conclude it.
3. He was sent from Heaven to Earth, actually to do this; and from thence, as I conceive, he bears the Name or Title of Messenger, or Ambassador. The Father sent my Brethren, Christ as Mediator; The Father that sent me, is with me: God so loved the World, that he sent his only Begotten Son.
4. He was the first that Published or Preached the Gospel of Peace, Which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, &c. First, As to the full and clear Promulgation of it; some conceive this may refer to his publishing of it to our first Parents after the Fall; yet I rather conclude, it refers to his Ministry in his own Person, whose Doctrine was confirmed with
Signs and Wonders; The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath appointed me to Preach good Tidings unto the Meek.
Moreover he is called, A Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not Man: This Work refers to his Prophetical Office.
5. He only knows the Counsel of God, or the whole Covenant Transactions between the Father and himself, and therefore could best reveal them, or make them known to us; nor can we know or understand the Mysteries of God, the Mysteries of the Covenant, and Gospel, but by this Interpreter, Who is one among a Thousand: Neither knoweth any Man the Father, save the Son, and he, to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. He only is the Ambassador that can make the People to hear and understand; I have given them the Words that thou gravest me: He hath the Tongue of the Learned, he was God's Great Ambassador whilst he was on Earth, to make known the Joyful News of Peace and Reconciliation, purchased by his own Blood, and that gives Success to his Servants whom he employs.
6. Without the Exercise of this his Office, as a Prophet, Minister, or Ambassador, he could not perfect his Work as Mediator, for it is hereby he reconciles us to God; by speaking to our Hearts, by enlightening our Understandings, bowing our Wills, and renovating our Souls. Moreover, all other Ambassadors labor in vain, if he works not, labors not with them.
7. He hath all the excellent Properties of a Messenger, or of an Ambassador of Peace.
1. A regular Call, or Authority, this he received from the Father.
2. Wisdom, He excels in Wisdom and Knowledge, he is the Wisdom of God,—and in him is hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge; never Man-spake like him.
3. Faithfulness, He was Faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses; and as Faithful to us, witness his Death, and also his continual Intercession now in Heaven.
4. Lowly, and of a Condescending Spirit; How did he abase himself to become God's Servant, that is his own Eternal Son; nay, our Servant, he came to serve us, and was as one that served, while here on Earth.
5. Active and Diligent, It is my Meat and Drink to do the Will of him that sent me.
6. Swift and Speedy, How much Work did he do in three Years and a half? For Swiftness he is compared to an Hart, or young Roe.
But no more as to this.
II. Jesus Christ hath substituted, ordained, or appointed others under him, for him, and in his stead to be his Ambassadors of this Peace:
Quest. Who are they?
1 Answ. Negatively, they are not the Holy Angels, though it is true, the Angels brought the Good News of his Arrival, or first coming into the World, and also proclaimed Glory to God on high, on Earth Peace, Good Will to Men: Yet these he hath not appointed to be his Ambassadors of Peace: No, no, they are Men, or Gospel-Ministers.
2. Yet Negatively, they are not all which are called Gospel-Ministers.
1. Some are Legal Ministers, Preachers of a Law, who know not what they say, nor what they affirm, yet not Preachers only of Moses Law, but of a New Law, turning the Gospel, or Free Promise of God, and Eternal Life (to such that believe in Jesus) into a Law of Imperfect Faith, and Sincere Obedience, as the Matter and Condition of Justification before God; and indeed they seem to violate the Perfect Law of God, as if that was abolished, and a new Law, or Rule of Obedience procured by Christ's Merits in its room.
2. Not such that only Preach Good Manners, or Morality, though Christ's Ministers Preach this; yet to Preach this, is not to Preach Christ and Peace to lost Sinners; neither is this the great Doctrine contained in their Mission, but Christ only, and him Crucified.
3. Not such that are Ministers of Man's making, that come to their Ministry as Men come to Trades, who perhaps never knew Christ themselves, or were ever Converted: Can such be Christ's Ministers?
4. Not such that Preach the Moral Law, as it is written in Men’s Hearts, or that call the Light or Law that is in all Men, the true Christ of God; no, these are Deceivers, and Satan in them hath transformed himself into an Angel of Light.
5. Not such that deny the Godhead of Christ and his atoning Sacrifice, or that Satisfaction he gave to the Law and Justice of God.
6. Not such that deny his Humanity, or affirm, that he took not Flesh of the Virgin, being neither true God of his Father's Substance, nor true and real Man of the Substance of his Mother.
II. Affirmatively, they are such that Christ hath Regenerated, and graciously Qualified, by giving them Grace and Ministerial Gifts, and are also authorized by him, to proclaim the Covenant of Peace. Let me open this a little.
Every Ambassador must have a Regular Mission, or be Authorized, or Empowered, before he can be employed in that high Place and Trust: And so it is here, How shall they Preach except they be sent? That is, duly, or authoritatively, and to the Profit of the People. And,
1. They ought to be Converted Persons; and also to be Members of some true Church or Churches of Jesus Christ, and Baptized Persons; for Christ himself, until he was Baptized, did not enter upon the Work of his Ministry.
2. They must pass the Probation of that Church, with whom they are Members, and receive a Regular Call from them to Preach God's Word.
3. Moreover, they that are regularly called and authorized, and every ways complete and orderly Ambassadors, must be Ordained by Prayer and Imposition of Hands, by the Eldership.
III. An Ambassador is a Person of Eminency and Honour in his Prince's Sight, they represent their Prince's Person; so is Christ's true
and faithful Minister; he is one that Christ confers great Dignity and Honour upon, though many of Christ's true Ministers have but little Honour from Men, nor are they accounted Honorable Ones by the World, but they are notwithstanding, Stars in Christ's Right Hand, and are called Angels of the Churches. Yet what saith Paul? You see your Calling, Brethren, how that not many Wise Men after the Flesh, not many Mighty, not many Noble are called: But God hath chosen the Foolish things, &c. and base things of the World, and things despised: That is, Persons of no Esteem in the Eyes of the World, yet they represent Christ's Person, which is no small Dignity.
IV. Some Ambassadors are Ambassadors of Peace, to persuade Enemies to accept of Terms of Peace, and to lay down their Arms, &c. The Ministers of Christ are Ambassadors of Peace, not to reconcile God to Men, but Men to God; Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Man naturally is in a State of Enmity against God; and this way, through the Workings of the Holy Spirit by the Word, they come to be reconciled unto God.
V. An Ambassador of Peace is a Joyful Messenger, so are the true Ministers of Jesus Christ: How beautiful upon the Mountains, are the Feet of him that bringeth good Tidings, that publisheth Peace, that bringeth good Tidings of Good, that publisheth Salvation, &c.
1. An Ambassador is a welcome Messenger,
if he comes with Tidings of Peace from a formidable and powerful Prince, whose Arms are irresistible, or whose force is unconquerable, and hath also been justly incensed, enraged, and stirred up to Wrath. My Brethren, the Consideration of this renders the Ambassadors of Christ, most Joyful, and Welcome Messengers, where they come and proclaim Peace, because the great God is an irresistible Enemy, Who is a Match for him?
And he is also justly incensed and stirred up to Wrath, by all Ungodly Persons: God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, the Lord revengeth and is furious, the Lord will take Vengeance on his Adversaries, and he reserveth Wrath for his Enemies—The Mountains quake at him, the Hills melt, and the Earth is burnt at his Presence, the World, and all that dwell therein:* Who can stand before his Indignation? And who can abide the fierceness of his Anger? He is an amazing Warriour, he can shake the Heavens by his Voice, And cause the Mountains to tremble before him; with God is terrible Majesty, he is the Lord mighty in Battel: He causeth the Earth to fear, and the Inhabitants thereof to melt away, so that the Men of might cannot find their Hands: He can make Empe|rors as Stubble to his Bow, and mighty Kings as Chaff before the Whirlwind: He makes Beelzebub, with his Black Guards, to quiver and fly into Darkness to hide themselves: He cuts off the Spirit of Princes, and Triumphs over the greatest and proudest Monarchs: Alexander, Pompey, Caesar, and Tamberlain, have all yielded to this Invincible Conqueror;
and so shall in a short time the Proud and Haughty Tyrant Lewis le Grand: If God shows but his Finger on the Wall, he makes proud Belshazzar to quake; nay, he can employ Inanimate Creatures to terrifie and destroy Pharoah and his mighty Hosts. O how joyful then must those Tidings be, to hear that such a King, such an Enemy is reconciled to us?
2. An Ambassador of Peace, is welcome to a People who lie under heavy Burdens, or are in fearful Bondage, Slavery, and Misery, and have no power to save, or relieve themselves; for such, I say, to hear of Liberty, or of a Proclamation of Peace declaring their Freedom, and that for ever, who had once been a Free People, but lost it; this renders such an Ambassador welcome indeed!
Now this is the State of all Mankind: What Slaves? What Vassals of Sin and Satan are all Ungodly Mortals? Their Eyes put out, their Robes rent from them, their Souls wounded, and nothing but loathsome Sores from the Crown of their Head, to the Sole of their Feet; and fed with nothing but Ashes, Chaff, Husks, and Gravel Stones, and laid under the Sentence of Death, being Cursed by God, or by his Holy Law, and Condemned to be Burnt alive, or to lie in Everlasting Flames ever dying, and yet can never die. O! How welcome is the News an Ambassador of Christ brings to such a People, who see this is their State, and yet are by him delivered!
3. An Ambassador of Peace is welcome, if he comes to offer Peace from a Prince that is
Faithful, and true to his Word and Covenant; and one that can give good Security as to what he agrees to, or Covenants to perform.
Now the Ministers, or Ambassadors of Christ, come from the Faithful God of Heaven and Earth, who never did, nor can fail in his Covenant nor Promises, to any Person, or People; He is Faithful, and cannot deny, i. e. He can as soon cease to be God, as cease to be True and Faithful: Hence all Covenant-Blessings come to be so firm and sure;* In hope of Eternal Life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the World began: Besides, he hath given good Security, even his own Oath, he hath Sworn to his Covenant by his Holiness, &c.
4. An Ambassador is welcome, if he comes to offer Peace on easier Terms.—Now
The Terms upon which God offers Peace, you have heard, are very easy; true, on his part, our Peace was made on hard Terms, it was by the Blood of his own Son: Had he said you shall have Peace upon a Sacrifice of a Thousand Rams, or Ten Thousand Rivers of Oil, that might seem hard; or if you would Offer your First-born in Sacrifice, or run your Knife into his Throat, and let out his Hearts Blood, you would think those hard Terms; but it is not your First-born, but his First-born, whose Blood must be let out to make your Peace; you are but to look to him,* trust in Christ: Hear and your Souls shall live.
What though Faith will launch the Plague Sore, and let out all the Filth and Corruptions of your Polluted Hearts; will a Man think that
is a Cure on too hard Terms? Sirs, the Spirit will cause you to vomit up that Poison that you have taken down; But is that too hard to save the Life of your Immortal Souls? Is it hard to tell a Man he must give up the Traitor he has harbored in his House? If he would have the King's Pardon, or possess that Peace purchased by the Blood of his own Dear Son.
VI. That Love and Respect People show to an Ambassador, a Prince looks upon, as showed to himself, because the Ambassador represents his Person, and that Contempt which is showed to his Ambassador, he takes as cast on himself.
So Jesus Christ takes the Honour, Love, and Respect which is showed to his Faithful Ministers, as if it was showed to him, and the same Dishonor done to them, as if it was done to himself; He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despises you despises me.
VII. An Ambassador is to do his uttermost, in order to accomplish his Embassy, and to bring the King's Enemies to accept of Peace.
So are Christ's Ministers, they are to pray, to entreat, to beseech Sinners to be reconciled to God; We pray you in Christ's stead, &c. Paul besought them with Tears, Faithful Ministers are willing to spend their Lives to win Souls to Christ, yea, to die upon the spot to save one poor Sinner; Knowing the Terror of the Lord,* we persuade Men. Our Great Master thought not his Blood too dear to make our Peace, and shall Ministers think their Strength, their
Lives, their Blood too much, that so they might see the Travel of Christ's Soul; I mean, Sinners reconciled unto God, or Christ's Blood by Faith sprinkled on their Hearts: Many like the Minister's Dignity, but few like their Work and Duty. My Brethren, it is a great Trust that is committed to them.
1. The Charge of the Souls of Men that are more worth than all the World, is committed to them.
2. The wonderful Worth of Gospel Verities, Truth is a rich Treasure; We have this Treasure in Earthen Vessels, this is committed to them.
3. 'Tis the Embassy of that Peace which was made by the Blood of the Son of God, that is committed to them.
4. The Charge of the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own Blood, is committed to them.
VIII. An Ambassador is to keep close or exactly to his Instructions, or to the Words of his Commission, not to add to it, alter it, or diminish from it, on pain of incurring his Prince's highest Displeasure; so must Christ's Ambassadors keep close to their Commission; Add thou not to his Word, least he reprove thee, and thou art found a Liar; they must deliver their whole Message: There is a Curse pronounced to him that adds or diminished.
1. They must in all things exalt Jesus Christ, or seek the Honour alone of their Blessed Sovereign: The whole of their Work is to magnified Christ, exalt Christ; To Preach Christ the
Lord, and themselves but Servants for Jesus sake.
Not magnify the Creature, nor set the Crown on the Head of the Will of Man; but throw the Creature down at Christ's Feet, and to Teach all Men, to account all Things done by them, or in them, in comparison of Christ, but Dung, or Dogs Meat, for thus did Paul.
2. They are to preach nothing to be Christ's Ordinance, but what he hath instituted, or positively appointed in the New Testament, or Word of God, they must look into their Commission, Matt. 28.18, 19, 20.
IX. An Ambassador, if his Sovereign sees he cannot succeed in his Work, or that Rebels will not have Peace, nor lay down their Arms, whilst the White Flag of Mercy is put out; he orders him to proclaim War, and puts forth the Bloody Flag; and nothing but War, Slaughter, and utter Ruin follows: So when Christ sees that his Ministers cannot prevail with Rebellious Sinners, but that they remain Obstinate and Obdurate, rejecting Peace upon the Terms of this Covenant, or will not believe to be saved, but seek their Peace some other way, or continue in their Sins and Unbelief; he orders them to shake off the Dust of their Feet as a Witness against them, and so to proclaim War, and such will fall into the Hands of Divine Wrath and Vengeance, and Christ will at the last Day say, Bring out those mine Enemies, who would not that I should Reign over them, and slay them before my Face. Hence, Wrath came on the Jews to the uttermost:
And saith Paul, Lo, we leave you, and turn to the Gentiles.
X. When an Ambassador is called Home, it is a sign the Patience of his Prince is worn out, and that he will wait on his Enemies no longer.
What may thou then think, O London! Tremble, tremble! for how many Faithful Ambassadors in thee, hath God called Home very lately? Thy Day of Grace, thou may fear, draws to an end.
XI. An Ambassador must give an account of his Ambassage to his Prince.
So Christ likewise will call all his Ministers to give an account to him, how they have succeeded in their Work; they must all appear before the Judgment-Seat of Christ; and happy will such be, who have been Faithful in all things unto him, and have won many Souls to the Lord Jesus Christ, and have their Accounts to give with Joy.
My Brethren, there are one or two Disparities concerning the Work of other Ambassadors, and the Ambassadors of Christ.
1. Other Ambassadors are empowered, to make Peace betwixt States and Kingdoms, or betwixt one Prince and another that are at variance, they are not employed only to proclaim Peace, but to make Peace; but this Christ's Ambassadors are not empowered to do, for no Men, nor Angels could make Peace betwixt God and Man; all the Wisdom and Power of Men and Angels failed here; should the Angels have combined together to have given up all their Riches, Treasures, and their
very Beings to God's Justice, they could not have made up that Breach; or should all the Kings and Emperors of the World have agreed to part with all their Treasures, Kingdoms, and Crowns, but to have redeemed one Sinner from Wrath and Divine Vengeance; nay, to pay off the Debts but of the least Sinner in the World, it would have been contemned by the Holy and Just God.
Or, should all the Saints that ever lived, have offered up all their Graces, Gifts, Righteousness, &c. to have satisfied for the smallest Debt any Sinner owed to God, it would have signified nothing.
Alas, all that Angels have, Men have, or the Saints have, is none of their own, they owe all they have, and are, to God; therefore can spare nothing of it for others to satisfy God's Justice: There was none could make our Peace but Jesus Christ; and Christ's Ministers are therefore to proclaim that Peace which is already made, and endeavor to persuade Sinners to accept of it on those Terms offered to them, that they may be reconciled to God.
2. Princes do not meet together to make Peace in their own Persons, but send their Ambassadors (who are Men of less Dignity than themselves) to do it, though they receive their Instructions from their Masters; but God and Jesus Christ treated about our Peace in their own Persons, and Christ, as Mediator, made this Peace for us (who as God, is equal with God the Father) as well as he is he Chief and Grand Ambassador, to declare or proclaim it.
1. This informs us what a high value we should have of the Gospel, since it brings such Blessed News and Tidings to our Ears: O! How do poor People that have suffered by a long and desolating War, who have been ruined thereby, rejoice to hear Peace proclaimed; they know not how to express their Joy, and yet know not how long it may be before War may break out again; but here is Peace proclaimed, Peace with God, Soul-Peace; Everlasting Peace, Peace that shall never be broken with such who are actually brought into the Bonds of this Covenant; The Covenant of my Peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord that hath Mercy on thee: Therefore here is infinite cause of Joy and Gladness, this is the sounding the Great Jubilee; all Bond-men now have liberty proclaimed, and they shall all be set free that take hold of the Covenant; the Great Jubilee was proclaimed and celebrated with Music, Triumph, and all Expressions of Joy.
Now what was that a Type of, but of the Proclamation of Peace in the Gospel? Hence, the Gospel it is called, The Joyful Sound: Is not here cause of Joy? Where are your Hearts? Do they not (as it were) leap in you with ravishing Joy?
2. This informs us also of the great and absolute necessity of Preaching the Gospel, because this way only is Peace made known to us, and also how it came to be made.
3. This likewise informs us of that great Dignity God hath conferred upon his Faithful Ministers, they represent the Person of Jesus Christ: O what greater Honour than this can be conferred on Men?
4. Moreover, this Title should procure an high and honorable esteem of Ministers, (Pastors are called Angels of the Churches) especially such whom they have been Instruments to bring to accept of Peace, should highly value them. Besides, this is also necessary in respect of the good success of their Ambassage; though it is true, People are too subject to make Misconstructions what a Minister may speak upon this account; as if he herein rather sought his own Honour (than in magnifying his Office to befriend the Gospel, and to advance the Honour of his Great Master Jesus Christ) and therefore perhaps he is under a Temptation to forbear. Men, for want of Charity, being so ready to interpret it as a Fruit of a Minister's Pride, and of that Ambition or Affection they have of some outward Grandeur, and Worldly Pomp, which they design to gain by such a magnificent Title: The Apostle himself was sensible of this, but yet would not desist (though they might count it his Folly) he doth magnify his Office, 1 Cor. 4.5. Let Men so account of us as Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of God; and that they judge nothing before the time.
5. It also may inform us what need there is, that Churches take care to choose such to be Pastors, that are Sober, Grave, and Humble Men, and not Novices, Young and inexperienced
Persons, Least being lifted up with Pride, they fall into the Condemnation of the Devil; who fell by his Pride, and is ready to tempt others to fall by the same Sin.
6. And O! with what trembling should this Work be undertaken, 'tis a mighty Trust, and Woe to them that seek themselves, and not the Honour of God and Jesus Christ herein.
Object. But some may perhaps say, If Christ will have Ambassadors to treat with Sinners, why doth he not use the Holy Angels, or choose them to this High Office.
1 Answ. It is not his Pleasure so to do; the Apostle gives one reason for it; We have this Treasure in Earthen Vessels. Wherefore? That the Excellency of the Power might be of God, and not of us. And hence, he has not chosen many Wise and Noble among Men, That no Flesh should glory in his Presence; i. e. Christ's Ambassadors, or Ministers, being Men, they have the advantage many Ways above Angels. (1.) They are concerned themselves in the Message they bring, which the Angels are not: What greater Argument to press a Man to Care and Faithfulness, than when his own Interest is concerned in the matter. (2.) Men have a more deep sense arising in their own Hearts upon the account of the Temptations they themselves are subject to. (3.) Because the Sufferings and Troubles that Ministers often meet with for Christ and the Gospel sake, are great Advantages to their Brethren, and others to whom they Preach; had the Holy Angels been the Ambassadors of this Peace, they could
not have been exposed to those Trials, and Reproaches, nor have Sealed to the Truth of their Doctrine with their Blood, they cannot die. (4.) Because the Presence of an Angel might terrified us, their Glory is so great; or, may be it might create Doubts in us, whether it be a good Angel, or not.
7. This also shows, that Ministers have received a Special Commission how and what to Preach, and what Ordinance to Administer; and also that they have a Regular Call to this Office; How shall they Preach, except they be sent?
2ly. Exhortation. Sinners be ye exhorted, and fully persuaded to hearken to Christ's Ambassadors, and carefully to receive their Message.
1. To accept of Terms of Peace by closing with Christ, by believing in him.
2. To consider the Time allowed you, is this present time; Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the Day of Salvation.
3. To consider the Danger of rejecting, neglecting, or refusing Peace and Salvation by Jesus Christ: How shall we escape,* if we neglect so great Salvation? Know, O Sinners, that Ministers set Life and Death before you; Hear, and your Souls shall live;* but he that Believes not, shall be Damned.* He that Believes hath Everlasting Life, but he that Believeth not, shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God abides on him.
What do you say, Sinners? Will you strive to take hold of Jesus Christ? Believe in him,
cry to him for Faith, resolve to lay down your Arms: What Answer shall I return to my Great Master? Do not make a Pause, but speedily come to a Resolution, your Lives are uncertain.
Lastly, This severely reproves all that cast Affronts or Contempt through Pride, Envy, or Prejudice upon any one of Christ's Ambassadors, or that abase, deride, or raise up evil Reports on him, Christ takes it all as done to himself; also it reproves such, who account them as their Brethren, and show them no more respect than to others, may be not so much, but slight and despise them, and hardly speak Friendly to them; not considering the Place and Office they are in. But no more at this time.
Showing the Nature of the Proclamation of the Gospel,
and the Terms thereof.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant of Peace, made or agreed on, and stands firm in the behalf of all God's Elect.
We showed you that this Peace is proclaimed.
1. What the Proclamation is?
2. Who the Ambassadors are that Christ hath appointed to proclaim it. I shall now proceed to the next thing under this Head.
3. I shall open the Nature of this Proclamation. And then,
4. Show you the Terms upon which Peace is offered.
Would you know what is contained in this Proclamation?
First, Then know it contains a clear and full Declaration of all those Covenant Transactions between the Father and the Son, about
the Restoration of lost Sinners before the World began;* the Gospel reveals those Mysteries that were hid from Ages and Generations: It is called,* The Revelation of the Mysteries which were kept secret since the World began: Not only that Mystery that the Gentiles should be Fellow Heirs of the Inheritance, but the Mystery of the Covenant, Purpose, and Design of God; and also of the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Intercession of Jesus Christ. I say, it contains the Revelation of the Mystery of these things, and not only the History of them.
I. It reveals that Infinite Love, Mercy, Grace, and Goodness of God 〈◊〉 to lost and undone Sinners, which astonishes the very Angels of God to behold;* To make all Men see what is the Fellowship of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the World hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent, that now unto the Principalities and Powers in Heavenly places, might be known by the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God. The Good Angels are not Teachers of these Mysteries, but Learners and Admirers of them; the Gospel is to them as a Mirror, or Looking glass, to behold and contemplate the Divine Wisdom of God in every appearance of it, but especially in this the last and great Revelation thereof.
II. It reveals the great Love of God the Father.* In this was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son that we might live through him: That he
might die to raise us to Life; to be Crowned with Thorns, that we might be Crowned with Glory; to be made a Curse for us, that we might be made the Blessing of God in him; there could be no higher demonstration of God's Love than this is.
III. It reveals the Love of Christ, which hath a Breadth, a Length, a Depth,* and a Height in it, and passes Knowledge; Is it not an amazing Declaration, or Revelation of the Infinite Love of Jesus Christ our Lord? Who though he was God, should condescend to die for such vile Rebels, and wretched Sinners as we were; Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his Life for us, from that near and intimate Union between the Divine and Humane Nature in the Person of Christ: Christ's Life is here called the Life of God, as elsewhere his Blood is called the Blood of God. God is said to purchase the Church with his own Blood.
IV. This Proclamation is a Declaration, or a Revelation that God in Christ is reconciled to his Elect; that is, the Price is paid, though the Blood may not be yet sprinkled: When we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son: Through the Blood of his Cross, God is satisfied, and his Wrath is appeased, that the Atonement is made fully, perfectly and for ever; by one Sacrifice he hath perfected for ever them that we Sanctified.
V. It doth not only declare, but also proclaim this Peace, and Reconciliation; Deliverance is proclaimed to the Captives; The Lord hath Anointed me to Preach good Tidings to the
Meek, he hath sent me to bind up the Broken-hearted, to proclaim Liberty to the Captives, and the opening the Prison to them that are bound—To proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord, &c. or the Year of the Great Jubilee: The Sinner is told, his Debts are paid, requiring him to believe this; nay, Proclamation is made of Free Pardon, to all that believe, That they shall not perish, but have Everlasting Life; and that God hath received the uttermost Farthing of our vast Debt, and that Christ hath received a Discharge, as our Surety for all the Elect; and that he hath not done what he did in part, or by halves, but that it is fully, wholly, and completely done, and that for ever; our Faith adding nothing to that Satisfaction: The Gospel doth not proclaim a Conditional Peace, or Reconciliation, or that God is only reconcilable; so that if the Sinner performs his part, God will be fully reconciled; that is, if the Sinner repents, believes is Regenerated, or answers the Rule of the Promise, as some speak. I know no such Conditional Gospel, or Proclamation; but those Conditions which Jesus Christ was to perform, which was not only to reconcile God to us, but us also to God: Can that be the Condition of Life on our part which Christ hath engaged in the Covenant to do? viz. to bring us into a State of Peace; Them I must bring—Nay, God hath promised to give us a new Heart, and put a new Spirit into us. Moreover, Christ is exalted to be a Prince, and a Savior, to give Repentance to Israel, and Remission of Sins.
My Brethren, observe, that the Salvation by Christ was antecedent to our Faith, and both were to be performed for us by our Surety; that is, he was as much obliged to give us Faith, or by his Spirit to apply his Blood, as to pour it forth upon the Cross for us; though he has ordained the Preaching of the Gospel as an Instrument in and by the Spirit, to work it in our Souls.
Secondly, This Proclamation, it is an Universal Proclamation.
1. Peace and glad Tidings is to be preached or proclaimed to all the World; Go ye therefore into all the World,* and Preach the Gospel to every Creature. What is this Gospel? why Peace by Jesus Christ, or that God is reconciled, his Justice satisfied, and his Wrath appeased by the Sacrifice and Obedience of his Son, that being the meritorious, or procuring Cause thereof, and Christ requires them, commanded them to believe this? Believe what? Why that God in Christ, through his Death, was reconciled to us when we were Ungodly;* not that God will be reconciled, and appeased, if we Repent, Believe, are Regenerated, and Baptized, &c. That which remains to be done, (which he will also begin and perform for all the Elect) is the Sinners believing what Jesus Christ hath done; 'tis to receive the Atonement, or to stretch out the Hand of Faith; to receive the Pardon procured by Christ's Blood; not that any Sinner can believe, until the Spirit as a Vital Agent, infuses Grace into him; the Seed must be sown before the Fruit can appear:
Christ gives the Sinner Grace that he may be reconciled unto God, as God in him is reconciled: See Paul's Word, And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the Ministry of Reconciliation, vers. 18. to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself; not imputing their Trespasses unto them, and hath committed to us the Word of Reconciliation, vers. 19. Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled unto God: God, by the Blood of his Son, was reconciled to us, (that being the Meritorious Price, or Atoning Sacrifice) and by the Spirit his Blood is actually applied and made effectual, or efficacious unto us, to our Reconciliation to God; We pray you be ye reconciled, &c. that is, we pray you to receive the Atonement Christ hath made, or believe the Record God hath given of his Son; i. e. believe there is Life in him, that God is satisfied in him, and reconciled in him: if this, my Brethren, be not the Nature of the Gospel, or of this Blessed Proclamation, I profess, I know not what it is.
II. And as Peace is Universally to be proclaimed to all Nations, or in all Parts of the World, whither God, by his Providence, is pleased to send the Gospel.
So also, in respect to all sorts of Sins, and Sinners, i. e. Pardon is proclaimed of all kind of Sins, and free Forgiveness and Peace in Christ, is offered to all manner of Sinners, Rebels, and Traitors to God, whatsoever they
are, not one Sin excepted, save only, the Sin against the Holy Ghost; in some Proclamations, or Acts of Indemnity, many Crimes are excepted, as Murder, High-Treason, Felony, and the like, but it is not so here; for whosoever they are, though never such horrid Blasphemers, haters of God, Traitors to him, and Rebels against him, if they come in, and accept of Peace, and lay hold of the King's Grace, humbly believing in Jesus Christ, or throwing themselves at his Feet, all their Treasons, Murders, Felonies, Blasphemy, Adultery, Drunkenness, Swearing, Idolatry, Heresies, Sodomy, Incest, Beggary, Covetousness, Lying, Thieving, Back-biting, Cheating, Backsliding, or whatever else they have done, all shall be forgiven, forgotten, and passed by for ever, as I told you before; yea, though they have done all the evil things as they could,* Will he reserve his Anger for ever, will he keep it to the end; behold thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest: Though this People had committed Adultery, Idolatry, and had rejected the True God, and worshipped Idols, and dealt most treacherously with the God of Heaven and Earth; yet see what the Lord says;* Go and proclaim these Words towards the North, and say, Return thou Backsliding Israel, saith the Lord: That is, Believe, plead your Pardon in and by the Blood of my Son, and I will not cause mine Anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep Anger for ever: God out of Christ, is a consuming Fire, but in him a reconciled God; only acknowledge thine Iniquity.
What Proclamation can be more free, or universal than this is?
Object. If Christ is to be offered to all, or Peace proclaimed unto all, is there then not universal Redemption purchased by him?
1 Answ. Redemption is a Word that denotes Persons were in Slavery, or Bondage, for whom a Price is paid, and they therefore are set at Liberty: Suppose Ten Men were Slaves in Algiers, and a Thousand Pound was paid down to Redeem them all, and yet but four were actually Redeemed, is it true to say all the Ten were Redeemed?
So here, Is it true to say, That the Redemption by Christ is Universal, when the greatest part of the World were never Redeemed, but remain under the Power of Sin and Satan? That Redemption which is by Jesus Christ, is from Sin, from the Guilt, Power, and Punishment thereof: And are all Men in the World thus Redeemed? 'Tis not a Redemption only from the Curse of the Law, and Wrath of God, but also form all Iniquity; Who gave himself for us, that he might Redeem us from all Iniquity, and purified unto himself a peculiar People, zealous of Good Works: And are all thus Redeemed?
2. If Christ laid down his Life to Redeem every Man and Woman in the World, hath he his whole Purchase? A Man would think himself cheated, or strangely deceived, that laid down a Thousand Pounds to Redeem Ten Men, when he finds there are not above Three or Four indeed actually Redeemed; this renders Christ's Blood spilt in vain for the greatest
part for whom it was shed, or whom he intended to Redeem thereby, and so he is deceived, or disappointed.
3. There can be no Universal Redemption, unless Christ were a Universal Redeemer, but Christ is not a Universal Redeemer, Millions of Souls are left under the Power of Sin, and dominion of Satan.
4. Will a Man lay down Ten Thousand Pounds, to purchase such or such an Estate, and will he refuse to part with Ten Pounds to take up that Estate to make it sure to himself?
Brethren, the Gift of Christ for us, i. e. his laying down his Life is far the greater Gift; and will he do this, and not give the Gospel to many Nations, nor Faith to believe and receive him, and yet died for them all? See how Paul argues, Rom. 5.10. Chap. 8.32.
5. Or would Jesus Christ die for the whole World, and yet refuse to pray for them, that they may all be saved? See Joh. 17.9. The Reprobate World he prayed not for; yet he prayed for all that should be saved:* Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their Words; that World, Christ is a Propitiation for their Sins; or had made their Peace with God, for he died for—Even that World which he takes away the Sins of, he died for, and that All which he draws to himself by his Spirit, he died for on the Cross, he takes away the Sin of the World by bearing it himself, or by satisfying for the Sins thereof; He was made Sin for us, that knew no Sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in
him: He made a Plenary Satisfaction to the Justice of God, for the Sins of this whole World, and obtained plenary Remission and Grace by his Blood, that we might be Redeemed from a vain Conversation: The Elect, before Calling, are as much the World as any others; yea, and the best part of it too. Moreover, by A Metonymy [All] is put for a part, frequently in the Scripture. God so loved the World, that he gave his only Begotten Son; that is, God so loved Sinful Mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, That whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting Life.
Object. We do not plead for an absolute universal Redemption, but for a Conditional one; that is, so that if all Repent, act Faith, are Regenerated, obey Christ, and are Holy and continue so to the End, they shall be saved.
Answ. Is this Gospel? Doth the Proclamation of Peace run thus?
1. I argue then that Christ is but a Conditional Redeemer, and hath only made a Conditional Peace; i. e. he made our Peace, and paid our Debts upon this Condition, viz. That we Repent, change our own Hearts, or are Regenerated, and get Faith, and sincere Obedience, and continue Holy and Obedient to the end.
2. Moreover, this Notion of a Conditional Peace, and Redemption, renders our Salvation not to be of God's Free Grace alone, through that Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, but that we procure our Peace, or make it with God our selves, with our own Money, i. e. by
our Repentance, Faith, Holiness, and final Perseverance; and that Christ only merited or purchased this Grant, that our Money, i. e. our Faith, Obedience, &c. should go for good Coin in Heaven, and procure our Justification, Peace, and Eternal Life for us—And thus the Glory that we are saved would not belong to God and Jesus Christ alone; true, that we might be saved, we may thank God and Christ; God, by the Death of his Son, is made reconcilable, but that we are saved, we may thank our selves, Christ doing no more for us that are saved, than he did for them that perish—but only we had more Wit and Care than they had; i. e. for by improving our common Grace, God was obliged to give us his Special Grace.
3. After this Notion Christ might be, or might not be a Redeemer at all; our Peace might, or might not be made with God, because it wholly depends upon the Will of Man, Man's Will determines the Issue of the whole matter, not that Christ undertook to how our Wills, or reconcile us to God; no, but that we our selves must Answer the Condition of Repentance, Faith, Obedience, &c. or else all that Christ hath done is lost, and comes to nothing; and why might not all refuse to do this as well as some, who never will believe, &c.
Christ shall be a Redeemer, and make our Peace if we please; this puts a Bar to the Purchaser (as one observes) a Man can't in any good sense be called a Redeemer of such Persons out of Slavery, till the Persons perform
those Conditions, upon which he laid down the Price: As for Example, (saith he) I lay down an Hundred Pounds for the Redemption of a Person in Slavery, upon this Condition, that he yield to serve me Seven Years after; I must have his Consent before I can Redeem him; and therefore upon these Conditions I am certainly suspended from being a Redeemer; nay, and am no Redeemer of such Persons, if they refuse the Terms:
So that for Christ to be an Universal Redeemer, is a Contradiction; for it is to be a Redeemer of all, if they please, but can be a Redeemer of none but of such that consented to the Terms proposed.
4. Besides, this casteth horrid Reproach upon the Son of God, as if he had done some great thing for us, in dying and making our Peace; when indeed, according to this Notion, he doth but deceive poor Creatures; for he has made their Peace and Redeemed them if they will but get out of Satan's Hands, and break his Chains and Bonds in pieces, and raise themselves from the Dead, and change their own Hearts, &c. whereas he knew we were no more able to do this, than to create a new World.
Therefore, Brethren, pray observe; we affirm, that whatsoever Conditions were agreed upon in the Covenant of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ undertook to do and perform them all, both for us, and also in us; I will give them a new Heart, I will take away the Stony Heart, and I will give them a Heart of Flesh, I will put my Fear into their Hearts, and they shall not depart from me. I will Circumcise their
Hearts to love the Lord their God—He that hath begun a good Work in you,* will perform it to the Day of Christ, who were born not of Flesh,* nor of Blood, nor of the Will of Man, but of God. To believe is our Duty, but 'tis Christ that gives us Grace and Power so to do; and this Grace was also purchased for us by his Blood;* He is exalted at God's Right Hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give Repentance, &c. And Faith also is the Gift of God, Eph. 2.8.
5. Moreover, Who can believe that Christ would shed his Blood for such whom he knew would never answer those Conditions that these Men speak of? besides, they being Conditions out of their power to perform.
6. Moreover I might argue thus, i. e. If Christ died for all, he intended to save all, but he never intended to save all, therefore he died not for all: Who shall frustrate his Purpose, or Intention?
7. That Purchase of Peace and Remission of Sins that leaves many Man under a certainty to be Damned, is not to be esteemed a Redemption at all.
8. Moreover, Christ's Death and Resurrection shall have its full and proper Effects, for whom, or in whose stead he died: See Joh. 12.23, 24.
9. If there be the same Eternal and Unchangeable Cause of the Price of the Redemption, as of the Application to the same Persons, then whosoever his Blood was shed for, shall have the Virtue thereof applied to them; whatsoever is not efficient is not sufficient
to attain the End thereof: See a late Treatise.
Object. If this be so, why is the Proclamation so universal?
1 Answ. Because no sort of Sins, nor Sinners by Name, are excepted, or exempted: Who can say, he was not included in this Covenant of Peace to whom the Gospel comes?
2. Because Ministers know not but that every one to whom they Preach, may be comprehended in this Covenant, or in the Election of Grace.
3. Because if any sort of Sinners were excepted, unless God should discover them by Name, who were included, Multitudes might utterly despair.
4. The Proclamation doth not run to all otherwise than thus, viz. He that Believeth, he that comes to Christ, &c. or that believes the Record God hath given of his Son, or that receives the Atonement, or believes the Testimony of the Gospel: See Mark 16.16. Joh. 3.36.
This brings me to the next thing.
Fourthly, What are the Terms upon which Peace is offered and proclaimed?
The Terms on which Peace is proclaimed, run thus, viz.
1. That whosoever it is that believeth, shall be saved:* True, if Faith was not the Gift of God, but the Condition agreed on, as required of the Creature by his own power to act and exercise, it would not only be hard, but impossible, because Faith must be wrought in our
Hearts by the same Power that raised Christ from the Dead; but he that calls dead Lazarus to rise from the Dead, is able to quicken, and by his commanding Voice, to raise the Soul, dead in Sins and Trespasses: The Gospel in the Hand of the Spirit is a mighty Instrument of Christ's Power in the begetting or working of Faith in poor Sinners.
2. The Proclamation runs to him that thirsts: Oh, every one that thirsteth come to the Waters, &c. Jesus stood up and cried, If any Man thirst, let him come to me and drink: This thirsting may refer to thirsting after Happiness, desiring to be saved; yet others think it is a Thirst begotten in the Soul by the Spirit; from the sight and sense of the Excellencies that Sinners see in Christ, and the Necessity of him, they desire and thirst after him, Faith draws Virtue from Christ, but the Branch cannot draw Sap from the Root, until it is grafted into the Stock; Faith is the Fruit of the Spirit, therefore the Seed must be first sown in our Hearts: And this originally proceeds from our federal Union with Christ, in the Covenant of Peace. And Secondly, by our Mystical Union with him by the Spirit; for it is hereby Faith is wrought; Can any thing but evil Fruit grow out of a wild and evil Stock, and Root? all Works before Grace, are Dead Works, and profit us not.
3. The Terms are to look to Christ; Look to me and be saved, all ye Ends of the Earth: This is all one with Believing; the Israelites that were stung with Fiery Serpents, were to look to
the Brazen Serpent; so Christ is lifted up, that whosoever looketh to him, or that believeth on him, should not perish, but have Everlasting Life.
4. 'Tis made to all them that come to Christ; Come to me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, &c. All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me; and he that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.
5. It runs to every one that hears, but it is to such that hear Christ's Voice; Hear, and your Souls shall live: The Dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God. It is also to every one that will, and whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely. Whosoever God hath inclined their Will, or made willing to accept of Peace by Jesus Christ: If any Soul believes in Christ, thirsteth for Christ, looketh to Christ, or cometh to Christ, and yet Christ rejected him, then charge him with Injustice: But where lives that Man, though he was never so Vile and Ungodly that did thus, but he found Mercy? O see how Free and Universal the Proclamation is!
Object. 'Tis not so Free, but unbelief puts in a Bar.
Answ. A Sinful State is no Bar to the Power of God; for what though some believe not, shall their unbelief make the Faith of God of none Effect? God forbid.
Object. But Men must be humbled first, before they come, and they must renounce their Idols, &c.
Answ. Grace only humbles; They shall look to me, whom they pierced, and shall mourn: But God first pours upon them the Spirit of Grace, before they can thus look, or mourn: See Zech. 12.10. all previous Qualifications before Grace, are abominable to God, because the State of the Soul is such; and all such things that proceed not from Faith, God abhorreth; 'tis but a working for Life, and not from Life; Is the Improvement of Common Grace, the Condition-Condition of getting Special? No surely.
1 Infer. From hence we may infer, That in the Covenant of Peace, the Promises of God are Absolute; and that this Absoluteness implies, that all the Conditions that are required on the Creature's part, Grace is promised to them to perform them on God's part, Who works in us to will and to do of his own good Pleasure.
2. This Proclamation is not so Universal, but that it wholly dependeth upon God's Sovereign Pleasure, who shall reap the Benefit of it: 'Tis sent to one Nation, and not to another; God is not obliged to send it to all Kingdoms and Nations, nor to all in that Nation whither he is pleased to send it; but if Christ died for all, I mean in the stead of all. to satisfy Divine Justice for every individual Person, then he would be Unjust in not sending the Gospel to them all—But he must Call all, and be sure he would give all the lesser Gifts, as well as the greater, viz. the Gospel and
Faith, &c. to all, as well as his Son to die for them all, and not let them perish in their Sins and Unbelief, for whom Christ died; for without Faith all Adult Persons must perish; And how shall they believe on him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a Preacher?
3. This Proclamation offers Free Pardon of all Sins, both past, present, and to come, to all that believe in Jesus Christ: And therefore a final Deliverance from the Curse of the Law, and the Wrath of God, Rom. 8.1.
4. Free Justification by Christ alone, is therein offered also.
5. With a Supply of all Grace to the End, to all them that are in Jesus Christ, Phil. 4.19.
6. It proclaims God to be our Father, and we his Sons and Daughters, upon receiving Jesus Christ.
7. Moreover, where any Elect Sinners are, or dwell, thither the Proclamation shall, and must go, to bring them all into the Bonds of the Covenant.
8. And also whosoever receive this welcome News, shall be saved from Hell, and be Crowned with Glory in Heaven for ever and ever.
9. O Bless God for the Gospel! for the News of Peace, and you Sinners see that you attend upon the Preaching of the Word of Reconciliation, for this way he has ordained to work Faith in you: O! Cry to him to pour out his Spirit and help you to believe; never rest until you have got a Heart, a Will to take of the Water of Life.
10. Terror. But tremble you that reject these Tidings, this Grace, for such that finally do so, shall never have a share of that Peace Christ hath made by his Blood, for on such the Wrath of God abides, and will for ever.—Moreover, he will also make it appear, that Man's Destruction is of themselves, though their help is only in him. Dread, least God gives you up to blindness of Mind, and hardness of Heart; nay, leave you also to Temporal Plagues and Judgments, as he dealt by the Jews of old.
11. Comfort. Moreover, here is Comfort to Believers who have heard, and do know the Joyful Sound.
1. They have Interest in this Peace, and have a Title to Heaven by Christ's Righteousness alone.
2. It is also a sign they were beloved from Everlasting, because drawn to Christ,* or were Elected before time, because called in time; therefore let all such praise the Holy God. To whom be Glory now and forever, Amen.
Showing when the Covenant did Commence; also the Nature of the Covenant opened.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant of Peace, made or agreed on, and stands firm in the behalf of all God's Elect.
The next thing under the General Head I am upon, I shall as it were but mention, which is the Sixth thing proposed, viz.
Quest. When did the Covenant of Peace Commence, and who are included in it, and what is required in order to their actual Possession of the Peace, and Blessings thereof?
1. The Covenant was made in Eternity, but the time of its first Commencement, was after our first Parents had violated the Law of the first Covenant.
2. But it did not so fully commence in the actual dispensation thereof, until Christ put an end to the Covenant of Works; then it was
(as you have heard) established; He took away the first, that he might establish the second.
II. As to those who were included in it; they were all the Elect, or all the Seed of Christ, or all that he, as a public Head, represented, and no more. True, the whole World receives many external Blessings by virtue of it, (for the Elect sake;) for Jesus Christ is their Great Landlord, and Glorious Sovereign. The World is upheld by a new Title, i. e. from Christ as Mediator; for had not he interposed between God and it, the whole visible Fabric doubtless had been dissolved, and the whole Race of Mankind lost forever.
III. That which is required, in order to actual Interest in, and Possession of the Sacred Blessings of this Covenant, and the Peace thereof, is Union with Christ: I will cause you to pass under the Rod, and bring you into the Bonds of the Covenant. Under the Rod, God brings Sinners under Convictions, that wounds like a Rod, and makes them pass under the Yoke, i.e. he Marries them to his Son, and so brings them into the Covenant. Sinners, by Faith, take hold of this Covenant, and Christ being given to them, they also give themselves to him, to be his, and no more their own, but the Lords; they take God to be their God, and Christ to be their Savior, and so come to possess the Blessings of the Covenant, and the Peace thereof.
But no more as to this, I shall proceed to the third General Head.
Thirdly, My Business and Work is now to open the Nature of the Covenant of Peace.
1. I shall, God assisting, show you what a kind of Covenant it is, or explain the Properties of it.
2. Apply it.
I. The Covenant of Peace, is the Covenant of Grace: But pray observe, that the Covenant of Peace may be considered as twofold, or a mixed Covenant.
1. As it refers to Christ, or to his part, and Work therein; and as thus it was a Conditional Covenant, Christ receives all for us, wholly upon the account of his own Desert, or Merits.
2. But whatsoever we receive by virtue of this Covenant, it is wholly in a way of Free Grace and Favor, through his Merits, or through that Redemption we have by his Blood: But take it either ways, 'tis of Grace.
First, As to the Rise, Spring, or Efficient Cause thereof, it was God's Infinite Love, and Free Grace to his Elect: This moved the Father to send his Son to be our Mediator, and to accept of him as our Surety, to do, and suffer for us, and in our stead. I have before showed, God was no more obliged to enter into a Covenant of Peace with Christ for us, or any of Adam's Off-spring, than he was to reconcile himself to the Fallen Angels, for they were his Creatures, and more glorious in their first Creation than Mankind were. The Surety of the Covenant was alone of God's finding, he procured him;* He hath devised means that his
Banished might not for ever be expelled from him; For the Lord hath ransomed Jacob, and he sent Jesus: What could be an Act of higher, or greater Grace and Favor, than for God to vouchsafe, or provide such a Mediator and Surety for his Enemies? One so Great, Glorious, Worthy, and Able, and one so willing to undertake to make our Peace, and bring us again home to God.
Secondly, And then as to us, this Covenant God entered into with Christ for us, must needs be of God's Free Grace: For as I have before hinted,
I. It was not of Constraint, I mean, there was no Necessity laid on God, or Jesus Christ thus to Love, Redeem, and Save us in respect of Motive; there was nothing in Man I say, that could move the Affections of God thus to do; and much less was there any thing in us, in respect of Merit; we deserved no such Love, either absolutely, or comparatively, because we were not only undeserving, but an ill-deserving; nay, Hell deserving Creatures, being Rebels to God, Vile, Contemptible, and Base Creatures, even as loathsome as filthy Worms: What is Man, that thou art mindful of him?* What is his Deformity, his Pollution, his Filthiness? And O! What Cursed Enmity was there in our Carnal Mind? Yea, how much like to the Devil were we by Nature?
II. In that God hath manifested his Love and Mercy to so many, this shows his Infinite Grace to us-ward.
Object. May be you will say, Why not to more? Nay, Why not to all?
Answ. I answer, Why to so many? Nay, why to any at all? Or, Why to such that are called? Why to us, and not rather to those that are lost? We being all naturally as vile and as bad as they; nay, perhaps there are some Sinners in Hell, that were not so bad as some of us once were, which he has magnified his Sovereign Grace and Favor unto.
III. The Covenant of Peace is alone of God's Free Grace, because, as our Peace was made without us, not purchased by our Money, nor by any thing done by us; so the Promise of our having interest in the Blessings of this Peace, or the Application of the Blood of Atonement, are not Conditional Promises.
I say, not on Conditional Promises, depending upon the corrupt and depraved Will of Man to perform, but they are alone free and absolute;* I will put my Law in their inward part, and write it in their Heart; and will be their God, and they shall be my People; they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest; I will forgive their Iniquity, and will remember their Sins no more—I will sprinkle clean Water upon them:* I will give them a new Heart; I will take away the Stone out of their Heart, and will give them a Heart of Flesh—Are these Promises made upon any Conditions to be performed by the Creature, or on previous Qualifications to prepare us for Grace; no, they are all free Promises, I will, and they shall; God it is that opens our Eyes, that works Faith in us, that makes us willing
to accept of that Peace he has made for us: By the Blood of thy Covenant I have sent out the Prisoners out of the Pit, wherein there was no Water. My Brethren, the Covenant of Peace from hence appears to be the Covenant of Grace, it was with Christ for us on hard Conditions, but to us in him, only by way of Free Promise.
IV. That this Covenant is the Covenant of Grace, appears not only because it is wholly, or alone of Grace that we are brought into the Covenant, but also because by God's Free Grace we are kept in this Covenant, or preserved in a State of Peace with God unto the end: They shall not depart from me; my Sheep hear my Voice, and they follow me, and I give unto them Eternal Life—and they shall never perish.
V. But to proceed, 'Tis the Covenant of Grace in opposition to the Law, the Inheritance is not of the Law. (1.) For if they which are of the Law be Heirs, Faith is made void, and the Promise made of none effect. Again, saith Paul, For if the Inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise, but God gave it to Abraham by Promise. What is the Inheritance but God himself, in the Covenant, &c. and this is not by our Obedience to the Law, but by Christ's Obedience thereto: 'Tis not, my Brethren, by our Obedience to any Law, not to the Gospel as a Law, for that would tend as much to make the Promise of God void, as the other: For had there been a Law given that could have given Life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law; —And then also Christ is dead in vain, Gal. 2.21.
(2.) In opposition to any after-Service which we could do, in order to make God, or Christ, any Compensation, or Return, by way of Gratitude for making our Peace, sometimes Men show great Favor to the Poor in Distress, and pay their Debts upon the Condition that they shall Work it out, or make a Compensation that way; but so it is not here, for when we have done all we can do, we are but unprofitable Servants: Can Man profit God? Whoever gave any thing unto him?
VI. The Covenant of Peace is wholly of Grace to us, because we are Quickened, Justified, Called, Pardoned, Regenerated, Adopted, have Faith, a new Heart, Repentance, Sanctification, and all things else whatsoever, by Virtue of this Covenant, in a way of Free Grace, or all is freely given to us of God.
Let me give you two or three Reasons of this.
1. Because God will have all the Honour to himself of our Salvation, he alone will have the Glory, and abase the Creature.
2. Because his Design herein is to Exalt and Magnify his own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. That Man might have no cause left him to boast nor Sacrifice to his own Drag, But that he that glories should glory in the Lord.
4. Because God will have the Covenant of Peace to be sure to all the Seed, i. e. to all his People; but if it were not of Grace alone, it would not be sure, but an Uncertain and Mutable
Covenant, or on such Conditions that might, or might not be performed.
Secondly, I shall show you, that the Covenant of Peace, is the Covenant of Grace as compared with, or in opposition to the Covenant of Works: My purpose herein is to show you the vast difference betwixt the Covenant of Grace, and the Covenant of Works.
I. The Covenant of Works was made with Man, or betwixt God and the first Adam: Adam was set up as the common Head, or Representative of all his Seed, and he was obliged to perform all the Conditions in his own Person in that Covenant.
But the Covenant of Grace primarily was made with our Lord Jesus Christ, or betwixt God the Father, and God the Son as Mediator, in the Name and behalf of all God's Elect, he being set up from Everlasting, as their Covenanting Head.
II. The Covenant of Works was made with Man, without a Surety; Adam, in his own Person, for himself, and for all his Seed, being obliged to perform perfect Obedience, or live and sin not; yet had he none to engage to God, or to undertake for him that he should thus do: But the Covenant of Grace and Reconciliation was made solely upon the undertaking or Suretiship of our Lord Jesus Christ; true, he was obliged to perform perfect Obedience to the same Holy Law of God, which Adam (and we in him) was required to do; yet it is said, That Christ was made a Surety of a better Covenant; and that not only in respect of the Promises thereof,
which are better Promises, but also in regard of the Oath of God, which renders this Covenant firm, together with Christ's Ability, and Faithfulness to perform all the Conditions thereof, and it being a full and free Covenant, and also ratified by the Death of Christ.
III. The Covenant of Works was a Conditional Covenant, as made with Adam: It was made upon mutual Restipulation between God and him; and in the second Addition of the said Covenant to the whole House of Israel, God promised them, that upon their keeping this Covenant of perfect Obedience, he would be their God, and they should be his People, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me; and if thou keep my Laws, and obey my Voice, then thou shalt be a peculiar People unto me. And this also they Undertook, Promised, and Covenanted to do; All that the Lord our God speak unto thee, we will hear it, and do it. But what saith the Lord to them? O that there was such an Heart in them! He knew well their great Inability and Averseness to do whatsoever he required.
But the Covenant of Grace is an absolute Covenant as to us; as I have, and shall further show you by and by.
IV. The Covenant of Works, though it required perfect Obedience, Personally to be performed by the Creature; yet it gave no strength to perform what it commanded.
1. But in the Covenant of Peace whatsoever God's Law required of us to our Justification in his Sight, Christ covenanted and performed it
for us, and we in him. Hence the Apostle saith, That the Righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us: In us, Christ and Believers are here represented but as one Person; because what he did, we are said to do in him; Paul can't refer in this place to our inherent Sanctification, for so no Believer can fulfill the Law, because his best Works and Sanctification are imperfect.
2. Moreover, whatsoever Duties God requires of us as to our actual Justification, in our own Consciences, and as to our Sanctification-also, he hath promised to give us his Spirit to perform and work in us.
1. He commands us to Believe—and he hath promised to give us Faith so to do;* For Faith is not of our selves, it is the Gift of God, to you it is given not only to believe, &c.
2. He hath commanded us to make us a new Heart, and he hath promised to give us a new Heart, and to put a new Spirit into us.
3. He commands us to love him, &c. and he hath promised to Circumcise our Hearts so to do, &c.
V. The Covenant of Works laid all that broke it under God's denounced Wrath and Curse, and admitted of no Mercy, of no Forgiveness, Heb. 10.28.
In the Covenant of Grace, Christ hath born that Wrath and Curse; He hath Redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us: No doubt but under the Law he that was Hanged on a Tree, was not made a Curse only Politically, but also Typically, as signifying
that Curse Christ should be made on the behalf of the Elect.
And by being made a Curse for us, he bore the Punishment due to us for our Sins, and satisfied Divine Justice; so that all our Sins, who do believe in Jesus,* are in the Covenant of Grace forgiven forever.
VI. The Covenant of Works, as to the Tenure of it runs thus, i. e. Do this and live; but the Covenant of Grace runs thus in the Tenure of it, i. e. Believe and be saved; Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
The One puts Men upon working, or doing for Life; the other puts them upon believing, and working from Life. The first promises Rewards for the Creatures Obedience, and threatens Wrath and Death for the Creatures Disobedience.
The second promises Rewards of Grace to Believers, for what Christ hath done, or through his Merits; and threatens Wrath for not believing, or for non-receiving of Free Justification through Christ's Obedience, or for refusing the only Remedy, or for neglecting that great Salvation purchased and merited by the Lord Jesus.
VII. The Covenant of Works represents God an Angry God, an Incensed Judge, or as a Consuming Fire.
But the Covenant of Grace represents God in Christ, a Reconciled Father; This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Fury is not in me: There is no Fury in God, no Wrath,
no Condemnation to any that believe, or that are in Jesus Christ.
VIII. The Covenant of Works consisted all in Precepts, in Commands which were partly Moral, and partly Ceremonial; the latter being numerous, some speak of more than three Hundred Precepts that were enjoined on the People; for though the Ceremonial Law shadowed the Gospel, yet Paul counts it part of the first Covenant: See Heb. 9.1. Yet I deny not, but that there was much Grace held forth in it.
But the Covenant of Grace, as to us, consists only of Free Promises. Hence the Elect are called, The Children of the Promise—unto Abraham, and his Seed, were the Promises made: Now we Brethren, as Isaac was, are Children of the Promise. And hence the Covenant of Grace is called, The Covenants of Promise.
Note, 'Tis called Covenants, in respect of the divers Revelations, or Declarations of it, as to Adam, Abraham, David, &c. and as revealed in the Gospel, though it is but one and the same Covenant: True, it may differ in some Accidents, but in Substance it was the same, viz. Jesus Christ promised, and Free Justification through him, Is the Law against the Promises? That is, Is the Law, as given in Mount Sinai against the Covenant of Grace? No, but given in Subservience thereunto; or as leading to it by discovering the Evil of Sin, and the absolute Necessity of Christ's perfect Obedience thereunto in our stead.
IX. The first Covenant required perfect Obedience to the Law in every Man's own Person,
in respect to their Justification at God's Bar, by which means, through Man's Weakness, and Inability to perform it, 'tis called, The Killing Letter; The Letter kills—for Sin taking occasion by the Commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me— Sin revived, and I dyed: That is, as to any hope of Life by the Law.
But the Covenant of Grace admits of a Substitute, or of a Surety, to keep the Law for us; and God accepted of his Obedience and Suffering as imputed to us, to our free Discharge and Justification in his Sight: And hence the Gospel is called, The Ministration of the Spirit, and Life.
Thus the Covenant of Peace, is the Covenant of Grace.
(1.) As considered in it self.
(2.) Comparatively, or in opposition to the first Covenant, or Covenant of Works.
Thirdly, The Covenant of Peace, is the Covenant of Grace, appears in that 'tis an absolute Covenant.
I. It is not made on Conditions to be performed by us, i. e. which being performed, gives us a Right unto the Reward promised thereupon; because our Right and Title to Heaven, is only by the Righteousness of Christ through his perfect Obedience to the Law, &c.
The Nature of the Covenant of Grace (saith a Worthy Divine) is Absolute, or a Covenant of Promise, notwithstanding all the Conditionality contained therein. (1.) In respect of the Original Proposer of this Covenant, it came from the Free and Absolute Will, Grace, and Purpose of the Father, 1 Tim. 1.9.
The Covenant of Peace was not purchased by Christ; I mean, the Covenant it self, though the Blessings in it were Christ's Purchase. (2.)
The Covenant is Free and Absolute as to the Elect Personally considered; because the whole of the Federal Conditions lay upon their Head, as undertaking for them.
II. If we consider the Covenant (saith he) in respect to its Application, or its being actually applied to the Elect in time; this is done absolutely in God's bestowing Grace, and the Gifts of the Promise to dead Creatures (or to Sinners, as Sinners.) In whom (as saith our Worthy Author) there is an absolute Impossibility of performing the least entitling Act to the Promise. There can be nothing freer than Life to a dead Creature; neither doth Life give a Title to Action, but it is the Principle of Action.
III. All the Promises of the Covenant in the Promulgation of it, in its Original Nature, and as respecting us, expresses the Tenor of it as most Free and Absolute: Thus it was to Adam, to Abraham, to David; and to us; I will be your God, and you shall be my People: It is not you shall have Peace upon the Condition that you do this or that, ye shall be Pardon’s, or then be Justified; No, but quite otherwise; But he that worketh not, but believeth on him that Justifieth the ungodly: 'Tis not by our Obedience, or Duties, but by the Promises that we partake
of the Divine Nature. 2 Pet. 1.4. &c. All is given absolutely of Free Grace. True, there are in the Covenant, Conditions of Connection; if a Man believes, he shall be saved; But who gives that Faith? Is it not God? Pray observe that Jesus Christ hath made our Peace, and Faith to receive the Atonement is given as an absolute Promise: Is not the Spirit so given? And pray, doth not God give the Spirit, before Faith can be exerted by us? Is not Faith the Fruit of the Spirit? And doth not the Fruit proceed from the Seed, and the Act flow from the Habit?
Brethren, beware of them that Preach Peace to you, upon a Conditional Covenant; the Condition they speak of, is your Repentance, Faith, Regeneration, and Obedience.
And alas, who is able to perform these hard Conditions? Besides, this is to turn the Covenant of Grace, into a Covenant of Works; you must work for Justification and Peace, if you will have it; nay, and you shall be no further Justified, nor have Peace, than you are Sanctified, if you believe these Men’s Gospel.
But we say that Peace is made, and God hath promised that he will give the Spirit, even pour it out upon Sinners; he first pours out the Spirit of Grace, and then the Sinners believe or look to him whom they pierced, and receive the Blessing of Peace, or have the Manifestation of it to their Consciences. There is no Condition (saith Reverend Cotton) before
Faith, but a Condition of Misery, a lost Condition: These Men render God like Pharaoh's Taskmasters, who would have their Tale of Brick, but find the Israelites no straw.
They will not have Sinners to have Peace, without doing that for it, which indeed no Man is able to do; But O! let poor lost Souls look up to Christ, wait on him, attend on his Word, cry to him who hath received Gifts for the Rebellious also, i. e. the Gift of the Spirit, the Gift, (or rather) the Grace of Faith, the Gift of Righteousness.
Will you have a Righteousness wrought out of your own Bowels, or by doing, or have none at all? Will you be saved by Works, and not by Grace? But to proceed.
5. The Absoluteness of the Covenant (saith this Author) appears as to us, in that all the Federal, Entitling Conditions contained in it, are found in another, i. e. in Christ, and not in us, neither wrought in us, nor by us; for,* whatsoever is wrought in us, is of Free Grace.
My Brethren, Doth a Child contribute any thing to its own Formation in the Womb? Alas, What is in us before we are Born again? And of his own Will begat he us, &c.
Object. But doth not the Gospel require Faith and Repentance, as the Condition of Justification, and Eternal Life?
1 Answ. I told you but even now, there are Conditions of Connection by way of order and dependence of things one upon another:
As in Logic (saith the same Reverend Divine) if a Creature be a Man, he is a Rational Creature; or if God be the first Cause, he is the Creator of all things: And in this sense (saith he) Creation is a Condition of Salvation; if a Man be Saved, he must be Created: So if a Man believe he shall be Saved, believing is a Condition of Connection, a State of Grace is thus a Condition to a State of Glory, by way of Connection in the Promise; but one is not the Federal Condition of another, but both come in as the Gift of Grace; in this sense the Covenant contains all the Conditions of Order and Dependence in the Exhibition and Performance; the hearing the Word is the Condition of Faith, but hearing is not a Federal Condition; so the giving the Spirit is the Condition of Union to Christ and Faith, and Faith the Condition of receiving of Pardon, and living in Holiness and the giving of Pardon the Condition of receiving it, and Holiness the Condition of seeing God, and of having Eternal Happiness; but these kind of Conditions are not Federal Entitling Conditions to the Promise, but are contained in the Promise, and denote the Connection and Dependence of one promised Benefit upon another.
2. God requires Faith and Repentance of them that shall be saved; but (1.) Not that the Creature can do either of these of himself, but to show he will work Faith and Repentance in all whom he will save, or as he hath ordained the End, so he hath also ordained the Means.
(2.) But not that either of these are procuring, or Federal Conditions of the Covenant blessings, or of Salvation, because all the Graces of the Spirit are contained in the Covenant as part of it; therefore, neither Faith, Repentance, Regeneration, as the Creatures Part or Work, can be Conditions of it.
These Men call Faith, &c. such a Condition, that the Mercies granted are suspended till we perform the Condition. It is therefore, saith he, no more than an Act of ours. True, we have a good Bargain, as a Man that gives but Twenty Guineas of his own, Purchases an Hundred Pounds per Annum.
Brethren, (as our Author observes) We must distinguish of the Ministry of Reconciliation, in respect of the Letter of it, and the Spirit of it, 1 Cor. 3.6. in the Letter of it, or mere external Dispensation it kills, because the Sinner looks upon all these Conditions of dependence, Federal Conditions, but the Spirit in its Ministry is absolute, according to the Original Contract, and the fullest Discovery in its highest freedom; therefore the Apostle says, The Spirit gives Life. The believing Corinthians, are said to be the Epistle of Christ, written and transcribed from the Original-Covenant Contract; Not with Ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Therefore:
From hence we must distinguish between the Covenant in its Absolute Tenure, and the Ministry thereof, which is Conditionally dispensed, according to the Connection, Order, and Dependence of good Things contained
in the Promise to a mixed People: The Effects of the Ministry will either soften or harden, it will either work effectually by the Ministry of the Spirit, according to the Nature of an Absolute Promise, and unto such it becomes a Savoir of Life, unto Life, or else it works only in the Letter, and unto such it Kills, or is a Savoir of Death unto Death, or an Aggravation of Death and Condemnation: But all its Divine Efficacy is according to the Purpose, Will, and Good Pleasure of God. But having occasionally spoken much before of the Absoluteness of the Covenant, I shall say no more, but Conclude at this Time.
Further opening the Nature of the Covenant of Peace; that 'tis a well-ordered Covenant, a Glorious Covenant, a Full Covenant,
a Seasonable Covenant. &c.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed,
saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
Doct. THAT there is a Covenant of Peace, made or agreed on, and stands firm in the behalf of all God's Elect.
I am, my Brethren, upon the Third General Head of Discourse, which is to open the Nature of the Covenant of Peace.
1. I showed you it is the Covenant of Grace. And that as considered in it self.
2. It is an Absolute Covenant.
Fourthly, To proceed: It is a well-ordered Covenant; See 2 Sam. 23.5. Yet he hath made with me, an Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure, &c.
I. This Covenant is well-ordered in all things in respect of the Revelation, and Manifestation of all the Perfections, and Glory of the Three Divine Persons in the Godhead.
1. The Perfections, Work, and Glory of God the Father shines forth, and is displayed in this Covenant.
2. The Perfections, Work, and Glory of God the Son, shines forth, and is displayed herein also.
3. The Perfections, Work, and Glory of God the Holy Ghost shines forth, and is displayed in it likewise, as hath been showed.
II. This Covenant is well ordered in all Things respecting the Manifestation, or Revelation of the Perfections, and Glory of all the Divine Attributes of God, and as they also in this Covenant appear to meet together in Sweet Harmony.
III. This Covenant is well ordered in all things, to the utter Overthrowing, Defeating, and Destroying for ever the Design, Devices, Works, and Kingdom of the Devil; For to this End was the Son of God manifested.
IV. This Covenant is well ordered in all things to magnify the Sanction and Honour of the Holy Law of God, in that rather then the Law shall fall to the Ground, or be violated, or rendered contemptible in God's Saving lost Sinners, the Son of God comes and takes our
Nature on him, and yields Perfect Obedience to it; and to greaten its Glory, he died the Cursed Death of the Cross, to answer the Just Punishment it doth denounce upon Mankind, for the Breach thereof. Moreover,
V. This Covenant is well ordered in all things for our Good, both in respect of Grace here, and Glory hereafter; or in respect of what by it we are delivered from, and of those high Privileges, Dignities, and of that Unchangeable and Eternal Honour we are raised up unto hereby: But because I have lately upon another Text spoken unto these Things largely in two Sermons on the Covenant, I shall not add any thing further on this Account.
Fifthly, It is a Glorious Covenant.
I. It must needs be a Glorious Covenant in respect had to the Time when it was made, or entered into, between the Father and the Son; and this was, as you have heard, before the World began, even in Eternity, 2 Tim. 1.9. Tit. 1.2.
Hence Jesus Christ 'tis said was a Lamb slain before the Foundation of the World, Rev. 13.8. and what Pilate, and the People of Israel, and the Gentiles, did to him, was whatsoever God's Hand and his Counsel determined before to be done, Act. 4.28.
Certainly that Covenant that was so early, even from Everlasting, contrived by the Sublime Wisdom of God, and entered into between such Glorious Persons as the Father and the Son, must be a most Glorious Covenant; and this, I say, in respect to the Time when, and to the Persons who entered into it, certainly it must be some great Thing that is contained in this Covenant that was so early, and by the Eternal God concluded upon.
II. It must needs be a Glorious Covenant, in regard that there was also a Council held about it in Eternity, for it was made as the Result of a Great and Glorious Council; Him, being delivered by the Determinate Council and Fore-knowledge of God, ye have taken, and by Wicked Hands ye have Crucified and Slain.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then agreed, That the Second Person should assume the Nature of Man, and die to make our Peace; though 'tis true elsewhere it is said.
The Counsel of Peace was between them both, viz. the Father and the Son; yet since it is ascribed to God without distinction of Persons, and also seeing the Holy Ghost hath his part in this Covenant to act and do, in order to the actual and complete Accomplishment of the whole Transactions agreed on in that Glorious Council, I see no reason to exclude the Holy Ghost from being concerned therein.
Moreover let us consider the great Things Consulted about in that Glorious Council.
1. It was how God might be Just, or Magnify his Justice, and yet be Gracious, and Magnify
his Mercy, and Infinite Love and Goodness; or how God might preserve his own Honour, and yet become our Redeemer.
2. How Sin might be punished, and the Odious Nature, and Infinite Evil that is in it, be exposed, and yet the guilty Sinner be acquitted.
III. It is a Glorious Covenant, because in it there is a display of God's Highest, and most Glorious Wisdom; the Gospel contains the Manifestation of God's Hidden Wisdom, and the Wisdom of God in a Mystery; nay, Paul calls it a Glorious Mystery, To whom God would make known what is the Riches of the Glory of this Mystery. There is much of the Wisdom of God seen in his Works of Creation and Providence; yea, and there is also great Mysteries hid in those Works of God, but the Chiefest and most Glorious Wisdom of God is manifested in the Work and Covenant of Man's Redemption; Without Controversy, great is the Mystery of Godliness; God manifested in the Flesh, the Word was made Flesh. This is the Wonderment of the Holy Angels, and 'tis marvelous indeed, how an Infinite Nature should be Personally united to a Finite Nature, so as to make but one Person: What Wisdom of God is here displayed? O who can search out the depth of this Mystery?
IV. It must needs be a Glorious Covenant in respect of that display of God's Glorious Love therein; God so loved the World, that no Created Beings can conceive of it, neither Men nor Angels.
And so I might speak of the Glory of his Justice, Power, Holiness, &c. which amazingly shine forth herein.
V. Also in that this Covenant sets forth the Glory, Beauty, and Personal Excellencies of Jesus Christ.
1. In respect of his Person, as God-Man.
2. In respect of his Offices, of which I have already spoken.
VI. It is a Glorious Covenant in respect of those Things which we are hereby delivered from, and are also invested with, and raised up to possess—Is not that a Glorious Covenant, by the Blessings of which, Sinners are delivered from Sin, which is the greatest Evil; and that brings them out of a State of Death, Wrath, the Curse, and Condemnation? And that which also gives them, through the Application thereof, an Interest in God, the chiefest Good; or which restores God to them to be their God forever? Consider what Glorious Gifts and Privileges are given and granted in this Covenant? Is not that a Glorious Covenant in which God is given, Christ is given to the Soul? (But this I shall open more largely under the next Head.) But O! what Glorious Privileges are contained herein, as granted to all true Believers? Moreover, What Glorious Grace is by this Covenant procured for all the Elect? And what a Crown and Kingdom do they hereby obtain a true Title unto.
Sixthly, The Covenant of Peace is a full Covenant; there is nothing wanting in it,
either respecting the Glory of God, or our Good and Eternal Happiness.
I. It is a full Covenant in respect of Satisfaction, Merit and Righteousness; my Brethren, neither Divine Justice, nor the Law of God can require any more than what Christ hath by his Active, and Passive Obedience paid: God saith, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness, denoting that fullness of Righteousness that is in him as Mediator.
What is fuller of light than the Sun? And who is fuller of Righteousness than Jesus Christ? And as the Sun communicates its Light to all the Earth, even so Christ communicates his Righteousness to all the Elect; i. e. His Righteousness is imputed to all that Believe: (not the Effects of his Righteousness) but his Active and Passive Obedience, is the Material cause of our Justification, and the Imputation of it, is the formal cause thereof, and from him by the Spirit an Inherent Righteousness is also infused into the whole Body (to whom he is a Head of Influence) to their Sanctification.
II. This Covenant is a full Covenant; because, in it, or in Christ (who is the Sum of the Covenant) there is a fullness of Sufficiency: and in the application of it by the Spirit, There is a fullness of Efficacy to all the Elect, He is the Head of the Body, the Church, the Fullness of him that filleth all in all.
Christ makes the Covenant Effectual or Efficacious to all his Members, filling all who believe,
with all grace by the Spirit, leaving not one believing Soul empty of what is truly good. Doth the Soul want light? Christ will give it; He is the Light of the Gentiles: The Light of the World. Doth he want Liberty? Christ releases the Captives. Doth he need Rest? Christ gives the weary and heavy laden rest: In a word, Christ in the Covenant is Food to the Hungry, Cloths to the Naked, Strength to the Weak, Health to the Sick, Courage to the Faint-hearted, Succor to the Tempted, Beauty to the Deformed, Riches to the Poor, Peace to the Troubled, Life to the Dead Christ is all in this Covenant.
III. It is a Full Covenant; because it answers not only all the wants of the Soul, but of the Body also: He will give meat to them that fear him, he is ever mindful of his Covenant.
Meat to the Soul, and Meat to the Body. Also, Trust in the Lord and do good, and so shalt thou dwell in the Land, and verily thou shalt be fed. All things both for the Body and Soul, which God sees is good for us we shall have; he will give Grace and Glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly: But yet, we must not be the Judges of what is good, but leave it to God. We may think that is good for us which he may see to be hurtful.
IV. It is a Full Covenant; because in it there is the Mediators Fullness Communicated to all such that are united to him as the effects thereof, 'tis not a Creature-Fullness that is in Christ; no, but the Fullness of God: For it
pleased the Father that in him all Fullness should dwell;* — in him dwelleth the Fullness of the God-head Bodily: The Fullness of the God-head dwells as truly in the Son, as in the Father; and of his Fullness do all Believers partake, Of his Fullness all we receive,* and Grace for Grace.
1. Therefore in this Covenant, we do not only receive Light, but the Fullness of Light.
2. Not only Life, but the Fullness of Life, because Christ is our Life whom we receive in this Covenant.
3. Not only Strength, but the Fullness of Strength; The Lord is the Strength of my heart, and my Portion forever.
4. Not only Pardon of Sin, but Fullness of Pardon; or, the Fullest Pardon, complete Pardon.
5. Not only Righteousness, but the Fullness of Righteousness; perfect and complete Righteousness, and you are complete in him.
6 Not only Peace, but the Fullness of Peace; Peace that passes all understanding.
7. Not only Beauty, but the Fullness of Beauty; for it was perfect,* thro' my Comeliness which I put upon thee, saith the Lord God.
8. Not only knowledge, but the Fullness of knowledge; And ye also are Full of all goodness, filled with all knowledge, &c.
The parts may be weak, yet where Christ dwells or hath taken possession of the heart, there the Soul hath a Fullness of Spiritual knowledge: Our Vessels may be full though' but small. And
9. Not only Joy, but the Fullness of Joy;
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Again, he saith, Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full; 'tis called, unspeakable joy, and full of Glory.
10. Lastly, And not only Glory, but the Fullness of Glory; for the Fullness of the Glory of Heaven is contained in this Covenant, or the perfect and full enjoyment of God, even the Beatificial - Vision.
Seventhly. It is a seasonable Covenant.
I. In respect of God's early contrivance and making of it for us with Christ; it was provided (my Brethren) before Man sinned, or ready against the very time of need: Poor Adam when he had sinned knew nothing of it. But God provided the Plaister before we received the Wound; he provided us a Physician, before we were Sick; or a Savior in this Covenant, before we had sinned; had not this Covenant been made before with Christ for us, we had been lost no doubt for ever that very moment Man fell, every thing being Beautiful in its time, or proper season. 'Tis
II. A seasonable Covenant, in respect of the Revelation or Manifestation of it; even just as Adam had sinned, and when Divine Justice was ready to lift up his direful Ax of Divine Vengeance: How seasonable is it for a poor condemned Criminal to hear of a Pardon, just when he is brought to the place of Execution; and the Halter is put about his Neck, or the Ax lifted up to Cut off his Head?
III. It is a seasonable Covenant, in respect
to the application of the blessings thereof to a poor Sinner.
1. 'Tis by the Spirit applied, when the sinner sees he is Condemned, being under the sense of Sin, Wrath and Condemnation, beholding himself just dropping into Hell; then this Covenant is opened, and the blessing of free Justification, and Pardon is applied.
2. When the Soul and Conscience of a sinner is wounded, and his wounds bleed; then is the Balm of the Covenant applied to heal him.
3. When the Sinner sees he is pursued by the Avenger of Blood, and sees no way to escape, then his Eyes are opened and he is directed to fly to the City of refuge; the way being made plain and easy, and the Holy Spirit directs the Soul to Christ, and cries Refuge, Refuge.
4. When the Sinner sees he is so sick that he can't live, even then the Physician provided in the Covenant comes immediately and pours in his Oil and Wine, When I passed by and saw thee polluted in thy Blood, I said unto thee live — Ye I swore unto thee, and entered into Covenant with thee saith the Lord, and thou becomes mine.
Eighthly. It is a Sure Covenant: Ordered in all things and sure. — Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your Souls shall live, and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you even the sure mercies of David.
I. It is a sure Covenant, because it is made with such a Surety as Jesus Christ is, it is
not made primarily with us, but with Christ for us, and with us in him; the sure mercies of David: That is our Lord Jesus Christ, he is the true Antitypical David. Sure, because they are Mercies granted to us thro' Christ's suretiship; and when a Sinner is brought into the bands of the Covenant, God is said to make this Covenant with him, i. e. he actually entering then thro' Christ into Covenant with God; but our standing then in it, is upon the account of Christ's Covenant with the Father for us.
II. It is a Sure Covenant, because it stands upon the absolute purpose and unchangeable Decree and Counsel of God. My Mercy will I keep with him, and my Covenant shall stand fast with him.— My Covenant will I not break nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth. Hence, the absolute Decrees of God, are compared to mountains of Brass, Zach. 6.1. Denoting how unmovable, steady and unchangeable his Counsels are; nay, Though' the Mountains should depart, and the Hills be removed, yet saith the Lord, my loving kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, &c. All Covenant-Mercies are according to God's Eternal purpose, which be purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: The Covenant stands not only as the act of God's Eternal Wisdom, but as his Eternal Decree and Purpose before all Worlds.
III. The Covenant of Peace is sure, because the witness of the Holy Ghost confirms it.
1. The Spirit of God was a witness to the Covenant when it was made.
2. Moreover it was confirmed in the promulgation of it by the Holy Ghost, by wonderful Miracles; for what served all those Miracles more clearly for, than to confirm the Authority of the Mediator, and the verity and stability of the Gospel Covenant?
IV. Furthermore, The Covenant was (as you heard) confirmed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, therefore it is a sure Covenant.
V. The Covenant is sure; because it is confirmed by the Promise and Oath of God:* Once have I sworn by my Holiness that I will not lye to David, — his Seed shall endure for ever, and his Throne as the Sun before me. This is as the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the Earth, so have I sworn that I will not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee; compared with Heb. 6.13, 16, 17, 18.
VI. It is a Sure Covenant to all Gods Elect; because the Execution of it is put into Christ's own hands, he is the Executioner of his own Will and Testament, for though Christ was dead yet he is alive;* I am he that lives and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Christ sees his last Will and Testament fully executed by his Spirit.
Ninthly, It is a Covenant of Peace, this is the Name that is given to it in my Text, which also shows it is of an excellent and precious nature.
I. 'Tis a Covenant of Peace with God, God
is hereby reconciled to us, and we to him, and that for ever.
II. Hereby we come also to have peace in our own Souls, or peace of Conscience; nor indeed can we ever have true peace any other ways: For, can your repentance give you peace of Conscience? Can Tears of Blood appease Divine Wrath, or satisfy Divine Justice? Can Reformation of life give you Peace, or your inherent Sanctification, or pious and religious duties? Do you fetch your peace from thence? If you do, your peace will be turned into trouble and anguish of Spirit; or can your lively and spiritual Frame give you true and lasting peace? I affirm 'tis a false peace that is simply grounded on a lively and Spiritual Frame or disposition of Heart, for there can be no true peace of Conscience but by Jesus Christ;* thro' the Blood of the everlasting Covenant. He is our peace, &c. He will speak peace to his People. — Not as the World gives, give I unto you. Dare a Man plead his Faith or good Duties to Justify him, and so from thence fetch his peace and comfort; alas! What unrighteousness cleaves to our righteousness, what doubting attend our Faith, and what wanderings of heart attend us in our best Duties; nay, may we not find some Hypocrisies in us also, though in the main we are sincere; our peace is only had in Christ.
III. 'Tis only by the peace made by Christ, as is revealed in this Covenant, that a poor wounded despairing and distressed Soul comes to have peace. I once cited a passage
out of Dr. Owen, being pious Anselem's directions to a poor tempted Soul on a Death-Bed, let me repeat it here once again.
Minister, Dost thou believe, thou canst not be saved but by the Death of Christ.
'Sick-man, Yes, I do so believe.
Minister, Then let it be said unto thee, go, and whilst thy Soul abides in thee, and put all thy confidence in Christ's death alone, place thy trust in no other thing; commit thy self wholly to Christ's death, cover thy self wholly with his death, wrap thy self wholly in his death: and if God would judge thee, say, Lord I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thy Judgment, and no other ways will I contend with thee: And if he shall say unto thee, thou art a sinner, say I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins; and if he shall say unto thee, that thou deserves Damnation; say, Lord I put the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between thee and all my sins, and I offer his Merits for my own, which I should have, and have not: If he shall say, that he is Angry with thee; say, Lord I place the death of Christ between me and thine Anger.
O Sinner, here is thy relief, it is in the Blood of the Covenant, it is Christ's death under all Fears, Temptations, Despair and Anguish of Soul, here is peace even under the accusations of thy own Conscience and Satan's temptations, even in Life and at the hour of Death: O Blessed Covenant of Peace! Who
is it that is just a going to God's Tribunal, that dares to plead what he hath done, or is wrought in him? alas, all hands will be weak all hearts faint, and all self-confidence will fail them: This Covenant is therefore all our Hope, our Peace, and all our Salvation, and in it there is indeed a Salve for every Sore.
1. Sinner take hold of this Covenant and though thou art an Eunuch, i. e. a poor dead, barren and fruitless Soul, yet if thou taking hold of God's Covenant, or canst but get Faith to take hold of Christ, God will give thee a Name in his House better than that of Sons and Daughters.
2. Saints do you fix your eyes also upon this Covenant, to plead the Blood and Merits of Christ in this Covenant? Rest alone upon the Lord Jesus and on the Faithfulness of God, in his promises in this Covenant, for• though thou knows nothing of thy self, yet thou art not thereby Justified; nor can thy self condemn thee if thou art in Christ, for though art perfect in him, touching thy Justification before the Throne of God.
3. With what comfort then mast thou Believer take the Sacrament as a Token the Covenant-blessings: Yea, thou take in as a pledge from God, that all his wrath over in Christ, and that Divine Justice is satisfied towards thee in Christ, and that all the Sins are for ever pardoned, that God is the
Father, Jesus Christ is thy Savior, and Heaven is thy Inheritance, but here I shall Conclude at this time.
Showing the Covenant of Peace, is a tried Covenant;
that it is but one Entire Covenant, viz.
That the Covenant of Grace and Redemption, are not Two distinct Covenants as some lately affirm, but only one
and the same Covenant:
That it’s a Covenant full of the Strongest consolation,
and lastly an Everlasting Covenant.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
I AM upon the opening the nature of the Covenant of Peace, or to show you what kind of Covenant it is, I have passed thro
an Induction of Nine Particulars already; shall proceed.
Tenthly, It is a Tried Covenant.
I. All the faithful Children of God venture their Souls and their Salvation upon it, and never failed any one of them; Adam no doubt ventured his Soul and Salvation thereon, did Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the Holy Patriarchs, and all the Holy Prophets, and the Apostles of Jesus Christ together with all the Saints both in the times of the Old and New Testament, and they all found it, having tried it, a Sure Covenant.
II. Multitudes of Souls departed this Life are already made Perfect in Heaven, by the Grace and Blessings thereof, they find it to their own unspeakable Joy and Comfort a sum and happy Covenant: For it was by the Merits and Righteousness of Jesus Christ, or blood of the Everlasting Covenant, they are all go to Heaven.
III. Never did any person venture Soul upon Jesus Christ, by virtue of this Covenant, by Believing truly on him; but found it a Firm and saving Covenant: how many have tried and found it so to be.
IV. Satan that great enemy of Believers and of the Souls of Men, hath often tried and endeavored to shake the hopes of Believers, and break this Covenant; but adds to his shame and confusion sees that he cannot break the bonds thereof.
Eleventhly, It is one entire Covenant, i. e. the Covenant that was made with Christ from Eternity, is the Covenant of Peace and reconciliation, or the Covenant of Grace; as well as of Redemption. For,
1. Was it not made with him as our Covenanting Head, and so in him with all God's elect and for them? Some of late times would have this Covenant to be a Covenant of Redemption, and not the Covenant of Grace and Reconciliation; but a distinct Covenant, and so plead for Two Covenants, besides the covenant of Works, which we read no where of in the Holy Scriptures
2. Was it not wholly of the Free Grace of God; yea, and the highest Act and Demonstration thereof, that he was pleased to enter into that Covenant with his own Son, as our Surety and Mediator?
3. Was not all the good which we receive in time promised to us in Christ before the World began? See Tit. 1.2. Nay, was not all grace given Federally to us in Christ in that Covenant? See 2. Tim. 1.9. Who hath saved us and called us, not according to our works but according to his own purpose, and Grace that as given to us in Christ before the World began.
4. Was it not that Covenant that was made betwixt the Father and the Son, that Christ was made the Mediator and Surety of, and Confirmed by his death? and did not he undertake to Die for all Gods Elect when the Fullness of time was come? Or was not God
in Christ, in and by virtue of that Covenant from everlasting a reconciling the World to himself? And if so, Was not the Covenant made with Christ of Redemption, a Covenant of Peace, and Reconciliation also? Was it not representatively made then for us in Christ, and actually made with us by Application; and that it might be thus Applied to us in time, did not Christ engage to see it done for us before time in that Holy Covenant then agreed on?
5. Is there any one Promise, one Blessing, or one Privilege that we received which was not Primarily granted to Christ for us in that Covenant, viz. That our Acceptation should be in Christ, that our Justification should be in him, and our Sanctification should be in and by him, &c?
6. Was not the Covenant of Redemption made with Christ as a Public Person, a Second Adam: And if so, was it not made in him with all his Seed?
Take here what a Reverend Author hath Asserted in this case.
That Scripture, Isa 53.10, 11, 12. Is (saith he) a place wherein this Covenant is clearly described between the Father and the Son, and it holds forth the Covenant of Grace fully & clearly, yea the promise of all Grace and Benefits that are contained in the said Covenant of Grace. And the Apostle tells us expressly, that this Covenant agreement was the Will, by which Will we are Sanctified, thro the Offering the Body of Jesus once for all.
— He further argues,
2. That Covenant that contains in it the whole matter and form in Conditions and Promises of the Covenant of Grace, doth not Essentially differ from it; but the Covenant of Redemption doth contain in it the Conditions and Promises of Grace, yea, all things that pertain to Life and Godliness: And it contains in it all conditions upon which we may be partakers of any Promises, i. e. Christ's Person, Offices, Sacrifice, Righteousness active and passive; there's no Covenant condition of Atonement, Propitiation or Satisfaction unto the Justice of God: But it is here, Christ is the great fulfiller of the Law and satisfier of it; and he is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
3. From the veiled dispensation of the Covenant of Grace (saith he) before the coming of Christ, their Sacrifices and Ceremonial Administration held forth in a Figure, that it was made with Christ and confirmed in him as the great Offering and Atonement; Christ is there exemplified and set forth as the fullness of the Covenant of Grace, both in respect of Promises and Conditions.
4. When we plead (saith he) for any thing of the Covenant of Grace, it is the Promises of Life made to us in Christ, as Yea, and Amen; and to us in him, in respect of obtaining and performing to us.
5. Our Justifying acts of Faith are fixed on
Christ as the Sum of the Covenant of Grace, as satisfying for our Sins; and as to whom the Promises were made, and the great things promised, as the Fountain and Meritorious cause of all Blessings: He is given to us as the Covenant.
6 There is (saith he) all Grace to be had in this Covenant, Frustra sit per plura quod fieri potest per pauciora. There is no Grace but is given forth and received by us, by the Covenant between the Father and the Son, the gift of the Spirit, the Grace of Faith, Justification by his Blood; by him came all Grace, yea, all other supposed Grace that came not from the Father, and through Christ is no Grace, and will not profit us.
7. Where the Covenanters Conditions and Promises are all from Free Grace and Love to us, there's a Covenant of Grace; but in that Covenant they call a distinct Covenant of Redemption, the Covenanters, the Conditions and Promises are all of Free grace and Love to us; God the Father from his Free grace and Love to us called his Son to this Undertaking and Covenanting with him; God the Son in our Persons (or in our behalf) from his Love and Free grace Covenanted with the Father, he came and freely offered himself to perform the Covenant Conditions; the condition of this Covenant, in all mediatorial perfections and performances, is freely promised and bestowed upon us; the promise of Eternal life.
All Grace and Glory are promised, and given in this Covenant: that is a Covenant of Grace, wherein God is to us a God of all Grace.
8. If the Covenant of Redemption be not the Covenant of Grace, then there is more Covenants than the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace for Life and Salvation; but there is no more Covenants for Life and Salvation, but that of Works, and that of Grace, the Minor I think hardly any will deny — If Church Covenants be alleged they add nothing to this Grand Covenant, but are the accomplishments of the promises thereof to whom it doth belong, it being promised that they shall be Gods People; in this Covenant Christ stipulates and we in him as we did in the first Adam, then; And when we stipulate being moved thereunto from the grace of the Promise, and enter personally into this Covenant, embracing that Covenant which was made for us in Christ, 'tis called a laying hold of it: it is solemnly also owned, professed and restipulated to, when we enter into Church Fellowship: the repeating and restipulating, and renewing of the same Covenant may be without changing the Covenant: For we find God often repeating this Covenant, and renewing it with his people in Revelation and Establishment, as with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, &c. yet it was the same Covenant: So are Gods Children excited and encouraged thereunto from the Free-grace of the said Covenant. Thus this Author.
1. Now let me add one or two arguments more to what this worthy Author hath said, viz. If the Covenant of Redemption, be not the Covenant of Grace, or Covenant of Peace and Reconciliation, which God calls his Covenant; The Covenant of my Peace shall not be removed saith the Lord: Then it will follow, that our Peace is made with God, or God is reconciled to us by a Covenant of Grace, which we enter into with him, which Covenant Christ Merited for us in his performing the Covenant of Redemption; and if it be so, how is it Paul saith God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself?
Indeed as far as I can see, this notion of two distinct Covenants of Redemption and of Grace, seems to be defended of late, on purpose to favor the grand Errors of our new Methodists viz. In the Covenant of Redemption, say they, Christ made God amends for our breach of the Law of perfect obedience, by himself alone, and for himself only, that so he might be a fit Mediator, and Merit a new Law of Faith and sincere Obedience; (for their Covenant of Grace is a Law of Obedience) which Law or Covenant he Confirmed by his Death. So that now God, say they, enters into a Covenant with mankind, and if they perform the Conditions of it, or so far as they do, so far they shall be justified, and shall have Eternal life provided they continue unto the end; and thus (as before I have hinted) Christ is our legal righteousness in the Covenant of Redemption, he fulfilled the Law of Works, or the strict
Law of perfect Obedience: by giving God a satisfying recompense, And so he hath abolished the Law of perfect obedience; but our Faith, Inherent-righteousness, Gospel-holiness and Sincere obedience, is our Evangelical Righteousness; or that which justifies us at Gods Bar or in his sight: Now this dangerous Error, I say, seems to follow the allowing of two distinct Covenants.
2. There is no distinction between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace; because Redemption presupposes Peace and Reconciliation, and not only God’s Reconciliation to us, but our reconciliation to him; for Redemption is not from the Curse of the Law and Wrath of God only, but also from Sin, or a vain Conversation, and out of the Power and Kingdom of Satan, which Christ (by his Blood as poured forth, and in applying it) undertook to do in the Covenant of Peace; which is called Christ's Covenant. As for thee by the blood of thy Covenant, I have sent forth the Prisoners out of the Pit, wherein there was no water.
Answ. Had God only entered into Covenant with Christ, as a single Person and for himself, there had been no need of a surety; but since he entered into that Covenant as a public person, and that for broken and fallen
mankind, whom God regarded not, their Credit being for ever gone; there was a necessity of Christ's suretyship in that said Covenant, in respect had to those things, which Christ was to do for us, and also work in us; which he then engaged to the Father to perform, and if the Covenant of Redemption from Sin and Wrath was not confirmed by the Blood of that Covenant, one grand part of our safety and security is gone for ever.
My Brethren, Our Lord Jesus Christ when he first entered into the Covenant with the Father, agreed to be the Mediator and Surety thereof; also evident it is, that there are some Transactions where suretiship is required, which a Surety must undertake to do, and readily agree unto; even all such things which the Creditor requires and the nature of the Covenant calls for: So that there are some things that peculiarly belong to him as surety, even so and in like manner it was here about the complete accomplishment of the Covenant of Grace entered into between the Father and the Son in behalf of the Elect. Yet all the good we receive through the applicatory part of the said Covenant, are but the effects, fruits or product of the same Covenant as it was made with Christ for us, as our Surety—Also among Men those things and Covenant Transactions betwixt the Creditor and the Surety which peculiarly appertain to him to perform and answer (though the poor debtor nevertheless is mainly concerned therein) they being such things that must be performed
by the Surety for him, or the Debtor can have no benefit by it; yet the free grants to the Debtor in the said Covenant upon the Surety’s engagement is never called a distinct Covenant in it self, but (as I said before) 'tis one and the same Covenant, our Covenant therefore is but a branch of Christ's Covenant with God the Father, in which he engaged to Spouse and Marry us to himself for ever: Therefore I know not what these Men’s nice distinctions signifies, unless it be to amuse the world, or except it be for the worse purpose just now hinted.
Brethren, The distinction lies not in two distinct Covenants Essentially differing from each other, but in the distinct parts of the said one entire Covenant.
I. One part as it refers to Christ, viz. he is the Surety and we the Debtors whom he engaged for; his money and not ours pays all, and makes satisfaction to God. Christ is the Redeemer in this Covenant, and we the Redeemed. Christ is the Savior, and we the Saved.
II. That part that appertains to Christ was upon conditions of what he was to do and suffer, he hath obtained all for us wholly by Desert and Merit, and we have all, every way of mere grace and favor particularly in the applicatory part thereof: Moreover, let it be noted that there is a difference in respect of the time of the making of the Covenant, and of the Revelation, Execution and Application thereof.
Christ in the Covenant first Articled with the Father to be Mediator and Surety, &c. and in the execution of the Covenant actually discharges those Offices, and all things that appertains to them, one thing being his bringing of us home to God, or into the bonds of his Covenant.
Moreover, Take here what the Reverend Assembly of Divines have said about the Covenant of Grace, viz. Q. 30.
Doth God leave mankind to perish in a state of Sin and Misery?
God doth not leave all mankind to perish in a state of Sin and Misery, into which they fell by the Breach of the first Covenant, called the Covenant of works; but of his mere love and Mercy delivered his Elect out of it, and brunet them into a state of Salvation, by the second Covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Grace.
Q. 31. With whom was the Covenant of Grace made?
Answ. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the Elect as his Seed: Thus that Learned Assembly.
From hence it doth appear, that this opinion of two distinct Covenants was not received by that Assembly; they own but two Covenants i. e. that of Works and that of Grace, and I am sure the Scriptures bear witness of no other Covenant of Redemption, but that of Grace and Reconciliation, which includes Redemption and all Covenant-Blessings. My Brethren, That very Covenant made between the Father
and the Son, was hidden or kept secret as to the clear manifestation of it till Christ came, and then it was manifested, and the clear revelation of it is in the Gospel, which shows how God manifested the grace of this Covenant by offering Pardon and Peace to sinners, by revealing of Christ who is called the Covenant, and offering him to them for Life and Salvation; so that this Covenant contains all Grace, Mercy and Redemption.
Moreover, Remarkable it is to see how that Learned Person that wrote the Book called The Ark of the Covenant, (who too boldly asserts the Covenant of Redemption a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace) doth in divers places contradict himself herein, take some of his words, viz.
So that I take (saith he) the meaning of these words, This is my Covenant with them, my Spirit that is upon thee, &c. to be, This is my Covenant that I have made with thee upon their account, and for their behoof; or the Covenant that I have made with them: to wit, virtually when I Covenanted with thee, and made promises to thee for their behoof.
He confessed that the Covenant of was made with Christ primarily, and representatively, and with the Elect in him; and all promises of Grace was made to us in Christ in that Covenant: And what do we say more? but this is to overthrow his own Notion of two distinct Covenants.
Nay, the same Author confessed, that the grand thing he argues for, is to prove, that
there is nothing spoken of Christ's Seed, as parties with whom God deals in this Covenant, and upon whom he layeth any Commands.
Answ. We say so too, Christ is only the Covenanting party for us, and on our behalf; and all the doing and suffering work is laid upon him, he is substituted Mediator, Surety, Savior and Redeemer; 'tis enough we were to be the Saved, and Accepted and Justified in and by his Obedience and Merits: Moreover, all Commands concerning us are given to us from God in Christ as Mediator, but not to bring us into the Covenant, but as being his Redeemed People, as he is our King, we ought to obey and serve him.
Again, he saith, In this Covenant Christ received his Offices, Employment, Trust, Powers and Authority. A great truth! (and in the next place he says) Christ is Lord Mediator of the new Covenant, &c.
Answ. Is not the New Covenant the Covenant of Grace, this they Confess; and he affirms Christ was chosen Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, let me infer upon him viz.
If Jesus Christ in that Covenant he entered in with the Father, was constituted Mediator of the New Covenant, and he is Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, How can that Covenant be distinct, or Essentially differ from the Covenant of Grace?
Moreover, 'tis observable how this great Author, and Reverend Charnock differ one with the other, yet both assert the Covenants are distinct
This Man says, that Christ was surety of the Covenant of Redemption; the other denies it, and says,
The Covenant of Redemption had no surety, but the Father and the Son took each other’s words.
True, we say none was a surety for Christ to God in this Covenant, nor for God to us; but Christ in this Covenant was our surety to God, he undertook on our behalf; one says Christ is Mediator (King, Priest and Prophet) of the Covenant of Redemption:
The other says Christ is Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, but not the Mediator of the Covenant of Redemption.
The mistake, I humbly conceive, lies in this, viz. They distinguish not between Christ's part and work in the Covenant as our Covenanting head, and the Blessings we receive as the effects of his Mediation.
But again, our Scottish Author saith,
Christ is the Covenant of Grace comprehensively, he is the very compound, or there is an abridgment of the Covenant; in the Mediators Person, there is the little sum, or the whole Covenant—Consider this, how the Parties Articles, Mutual Stipulations, Promises, Proportion, and Blessings of the Covenant, are all some way abridged in Christ, and summed up in his Person.
1. Christ is all the Parties of the Covenant of Grace, or rather both the Parties are comprehended in the Mediator's Person; he is both the Parties in three respects. (1.) Because of the Union of the two Natures
in his Blessed Person, he is God-Man, God made manifest in the Flesh. (2.) Because the Person who is Mediator, is upon both sides of the Covenant, as being one with the Father and Holy Ghost, he is on God's part, Joh. 5.7. 2 Cor. 9.13. And as he is one with us, he is on our side, Heb. 2.11.13. For both he that Sanctifieth, and they that are Sanctified, are all of one—(3.) He is not only upon both sides of the Covenant, but he contracts for both the Parties.
2. Christ obtains the Consent of both Parties, p. 459.
3. The everlastingness of the Covenant is comprised in Christ, he is God everlasting, yea, an everlasting Mediator, and he was set up from everlasting, p. 462.
Now these things being granted by our Author, what cause he hath to affirm, That the Covenant of Redemption, and that of Grace, are two distinct Covenants, I will leave to all Men’s Considerations.
But further, to confute this Notion, take what another Reverend Writer hath written on this Subject.
The Covenant of Grace was made and established not only with us, but jointly with Jesus Christ, and with us in him; so that both are but one and the same Covenant: For the great Transactions with Jesus, yea, even the giving and sending of him, and his accepting the Office of a Redeemer, and undertaking for us, are all of Grace, as well as what is promised to us through him; therefore the Covenant of
Grace must take in all that conduced (otherwise than a mere Decree) to our Restoration, and eternal Salvation.
1. There is (saith he) no Scripture Evidence for making these to be two Covenants, (one of Redemption with Christ, and another of Grace and Reconciliation made with us) that distinction which some use, is improper, for the Parts are coincident, seeing that which was made with him, was of mere Grace also, Joh. 3.16. and it is promised, that he should be given for a Covenant, Isa. 42.6. therefore it's of Grace we are Redeemed by him, 2 Tim. 1.9. There was Grace before the World was, and that must needs be in the Covenant as with Jesus Christ, which was for reconciling the World to the Father, 2 Cor. 5.18, 19. Col. 1.20, 21. It is true Christ only is our Redeemer and Surety, not we in our own Persons; and Christ hath some peculiar Precepts and Promises appropriated to him, which are not afforded to us in the same manner and degree; yet this hindreth not the Oneness of the Covenant with him and us.
2. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as a public Person, a second Adam, and therefore with all his Seed in him.
3. All in the Covenant as with us, is undertaken for, and promised in the Covenant between the Father and the Son, and so together make but one Covenant.
4. All Covenant Blessings are primarily granted to Christ: Thus this Great and Worthy Person. See also the Everlasting Covenant: A Sweet Cordial for Drooping Souls, p. 10. to 18.
But because in my two Sermons Preached and Published on the Everlasting Covenant, I have answered the Reverend Mr. S. C's Eight Arguments, to prove the Covenant of Redemption a distinct Covenant, I shall refer the Reader to that small Tract, and say no more to this at this time.
Twelfthly, The Covenant of Grace, is a Covenant of Consolation, of strong Consolation.
1. Considering what is contained in it, and also the Nature of it.
2. In that it is all our Hope and Salvation, all the Water of Life flows down to us through this Covenant.
3. In that also it affords us Comfort in all Times, States and Conditions, both in Life, and at the Hour of Death; and this was that which was David's Dying,* or Sick-bed Cordial. For Consider,
Art thou afflicted, or tempted? Look into this Covenant; His Seed will I make to endure for ever: If his Children forsake my Law— then will I visit their Transgressions with the Rod,* &c. but my loving Kindness I will not take away, from him nor suffer my Faithfulness to fail. See 1 Cor. 10.13. Or,
Art thou Backslidden from God? See what God saith; I will heal their Backslidings, and love them freely.
Do thy Sins grieve thee? thy Soul? Look into the Covenant; I will be merciful to their Transgressions, and their Sins and Iniquities I will remember no more. Or,
Art thou deserted? God is faithful, he remembers his Covenant, he will return again.
Dost fear thou shalt some time or another depart from God? Read the Covenant Promises; I will put my fear in their Hearts, and they shall not depart from me.
Dost thou fear thou shalt suffer want, yea, want Bread? See the Covenant;* He will give Grace and Glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.—If therefore there be any Consolation in Christ, if any Comfort of Love, if any Fellowship of the Spirit, if any Bowels and Mercies, 'tis all in this Covenant.
Lastly, It is an everlasting Covenant; He hath made with me an everlasting Covenant: As it was made from everlasting, so it will abide to everlasting; 'tis compared to God's Covenant of the Day and Night, Jer. 33: 20. Thus saith the Lord, If my Covenant of the Day and Night, and that there should not be Day and Night, then may also my Covenant be broken with David my Servant. Covenant Love is everlasting Love, Christ's Covenanting Obligation was an everlasting Obligation, Covenant Espousals are everlasting Espousals;* I will betroth thee to me for ever: Covenant Redemption is eternal Redemption, and Covenant Salvation is an everlasting Salvation; Israel
shall be saved in the Lord,* with an everlasting Salvation—But my Salvation shall be for ever.
Showing what is contained in the Covenant of Grace, or what the Gifts, Grants, and Privileges which are Vouchsafed to all Comprehended therein.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
My Brethren, I shall now proceed to the next thing.
Fourthly, The Fourth General Head proposed, was to show you what is contained in the Covenant of Grace; I mean the Gifts, Grants, and Glorious Privileges vouchsafed to all those Persons that are comprehended therein.
The First and chief Gift which is given in this Covenant, is God himself; and in speaking to this,
1. I shall, God assisting, show you how God comes to be our God in this Covenant.
2. Show you what this of having God to be our God doth import.
3. I shall show you what a wonderful Gift, Grant, and Privilege this is.
I. My Brethren, how Man had God to be his God at first in the Covenant of Works, I shall not speak of here; 'tis evident that by breaking the first Covenant, he lost God, or that Blessed Covenant Relation he stood in to him.
But now we have a new Title, God is ours again, and on better and more sure Basis, viz. upon the account of Christ's Mediation and Satisfaction—I will be your God, compared with Jer. 32.38. Cap. 24.7. and 30.31.33. Now that these Promises refer to the Covenant of Grace, See Heb. 8.8, 9, 10. And finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the Days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and the House of Judeth, ver. 8. Not according to the Covenant that I made with their Fathers, in the Day when I took them by the Hand to lead them out of the Land of Egypt: Because they continued not in my Covenant, and I regarded them not, v. 9. For this is the Covenant, &c.—I will put my Laws in their Mind, and write them in their Hearts, and I will be to them a God, &c. This being (as I said) the great and chiefest Gift,
and Grant in the Covenant, I shall proceed to show how God comes in this Covenant to be our God.
1. Originally and Primarily by virtue of that Covenant made with Christ, as our Head and Representative, thus he became our God; I ascend to my Father, and to your Father, to my God, and to your God.
2. By his own free Donation; through that Atonement Christ hath made, God gives himself to us to be our God.
3. Nay, by what ways Soever we become God's People, by the same ways he becomes our God; as I shall have occasion to show you afterwards.
Secondly, What doth this import for God to be our God?
1. Negatively, not merely our God by Creation, for so he is the God of the Fallen-Angels, and the God of all ungodly Reprobates in the World, they are his Creatures, or were made by him.
2. It doth not imply his being our God as he was the God of the whole House of Israel, which was by virtue of a Legal, and Typical Covenant; for though in that Covenant he was their God, and an Husband to them, yet for all that, for their Disobedience he cast them off, and utterly rejected them, and now they are so no more his People, that Covenant and Covenant Relation, being quite dissolved and removed for ever: Therefore it follows, that was not the Covenant of Grace, into which all the Natural Seed of Abraham, as such, were
taken; the Covenant of Grace can never be removed.
3. Neither is he our God simply by an external or visible Profession, or by virtue of our own external Personal Covenanting with him, for many of these God will disown and be ashamed to be called their God; 'tis one thing to have the Christian Name, and profess the Christian Religion, and another thing to have a saving interest in God; Men may in this sense be in Christ, and yet as withered Branches be cut off and cast into the Fire.
But in the Affirmative.
I. God is our God in this Covenant by way of special interest, it denotes our peculiar Relation to God. (1.) As a Father is related to his Children, whom he either hath begotten, or adopted, even so God in this Covenant is our God and Father. (2.) Or, as a Husband is related to that Woman whom he hath in his most endeared Affections Espoused, and Married to himself. (3.) Or as an Heir is related to an Estate, or an Inheritance which was purchased for him, and made sure to him for ever. (4.) Or as a Redeemer, hath an interest in such Persons whom he hath redeemed for himself, and bought and purchased for his own Service, and to be for him and not for another.
Thirdly, I shall endeavor to show you what an amazing Blessing this Grant, or Gift in the Covenant of Peace is, i. e. for God to be our God.
I. It is a choice and precious Blessing for God to give himself to us according to that Grant to Christ in the Covenant, because it is a clear Demonstration of his Special, Peculiar, and Eternal Love and Election: No Man can say he was beloved from everlasting, till he is effectually called; 'tis not a Man's having great Riches, Honors, Pleasures, Sweet Relations, Wealth, Health, and Prosperity; no, but 'tis his having Saving Grace: To kiss the King's Hand is a great Favor, but it is a far greater Token of Special Love to be made his Queen, and Royal Consort, and to lie in his Bosom: O! what can be a greater evidence of Divine Love and Goodness, than for God to give himself to us to be our God in the nearest Relation that a Creature is capable of, or can be brought into with his Glorious Creator, and Blessed Redeemer; For this God to be our God, our Portion, the Lot of our Inheritance, our Shield, and our exceeding great Reward, who were once his Enemies and mere Vassals of Sin and Satan: What Tongue is able to express this Love, or Heart to conceive how great it is?
II. It is an amazing Privilege, Grant, and Blessing, because God cannot give a greater Gift than this is: My Brethren, Is there any thing in Heaven, or Earth greater or better than God himself? What hath God to bestow that excels himself? God (as I may speak with Reverence) looked round about on all things he had in Heaven and Earth, and saw nothing good enough to impart to his Elect
and Beloved ones; and therefore gave himself to them, who comprehends and infinitely excels all Excellencies in both Worlds: Now is the Fountain of the great Depths broken up, and Mercy and Divine Goodness flows down like a mighty River: O! what Thoughts of Love and Bounty was in the Heart of God to us, when he entered into this Covenant of Peace, with Jesus Christ for us? What make a Deed of Gift of himself to us? And on such a sure Foundation too? Be amazed O ye Heavens! One Smile of God's Face, is better than all the World; which made David say, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? And there is none on Earth that I desire besides thee.
III. Because when God gives himself to a poor Sinner, he gives all he is, and all he has, so far as it is communicable to Creatures; Fear not Abraham, I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward. My Brethren, all that Good that is contained in the communicable Attributes of God, are in this Covenant made over by a Deed of Gift to every Believer, as I briefly shall show you.
I. Divine Goodness, this is let out to all true Believers, the Goodness of God is given to them, not only laid up for them that fear his Name, but also it is imparted to them; and this of all the Attributes of God, seems to be the sweetest, it is one of the choice perfection of his Nature, and that which renders God to be the Object of our Love, Joy, and Delight: As he is a great and just God, he is the Object of our Fear, and as he is a Faithful
God, he is the Object of our Trust, but as he is a Good God he is the Object of our Affections; God is good; There is none good but one, and that is God; nothing that is good, truly good, but what is derived from God, the loss of God only made Man miserable; and the Damned being for ever deprived of God, is that which makes them eternally miserable; And Sinners having interest in God, in the Goodness of God, this only tends to make them happy.
Quest. What a Good is God?
Answ. Goodness in God may be considered under a twofold Consideration.
I. The Perfection and Excellency of the Being of God, I mean his Essential Goodness, this cannot be imparted to Creatures.
II. His Communicative Goodness, or that which God hath wrought out, laid up, and which he lets forth to Believers;* O how great is thy Goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee? Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the Children of Men—The Earth is full of the Goodness of the Lord: I will make all my Goodness pass before thee, &c. My Excellency, or my Glory. This is that which we call the declarative Goodness of God.
1. God is Absolutely Good in the Perfection of his Being, he is independently Good, there is nothing wanting in him, no defection, he subsistent in and of himself, he needeth not us, and there can be no addition made to his Goodness to make it more than it is.
2. God is originally and essentially Good, not only good, but Goodness it self; Goodness in Creatures is an accessary Quality, or a Created, or Superadded Gift, but Goodness in God, is not a Quality, but 'tis his Essence; he can as soon cease to be God, as cease to be Good; as a Vessel of pure Gold, the Matter is pure Gold, it self gives luster to it; but Brass gilt with Gold is another thing: So my Brethren, a Saint is one thing, and his Grace, his Righteousness is another thing. The Fallen Angels are God's Creatures still, they retain their Beings, but their Holiness they retain not, that is gone: God is the First Good, the Original Good, and Essentially Good.
3. God is infinitely Good, Goodness in Creatures is small, and but little, but in God there is an Ocean of Goodness; it is bankless, boundless, bottomless, our Goodness is like a drop of Water out of the Ocean; — nay, there is a greater disproportion between that Goodness which is in God, and that which is in Saints, than there is between the Main Ocean and one small drop of Water, or between a Beam of Light let into a Room, and the Sun it self.
4. God is Immutably and unchangeably Good, as Goodness in God cannot be augmented, so it cannot be diminished, he cannot change or loose his Goodness, no not the least degree thereof; I am God I change not—He is the same Yesterday, to Day, and for ever: God made Man good and upright, but he long abode not so; all things in the first Creation are subject
to change, but so is not the Blessed God and Creator.
5. God is universally Good, we may have Health and no Beauty, Learning but no Grace, Wisdom but no Power; Men may be Great and not Good, Rich but not Virtuous, &c. but all Perfections and Excellencies meet in the Blessed God; he is a Sun, a Shield, Wisdom, Love, Mercy, Power, Holiness,. Faithfulness, Grace, Mercy, Glory, &c.
6. God is an unmixt Good, there is no Condition of poor Mortals, but hath in this Life its Mixtures; Honey yet some Gall, Grace yet some Sin, Strength yet some Weakness, Light yet some Darkness, Wisdom yet some Folly; but in God there is infinite and unmixt Goodness, whatsoever is good, all good, and that without any mixture.
7. God is a Soul-enriching Good, a Soul-suitable, a Soul-satisfying Good, and a Soul-fattening Good; Eat ye that which is good, and let your Soul delight it self in Fatness: Why will you spend your Money for that which is not Bread, and your Labor for that which satisfied not? There is enough in God to satisfy the Holy Angels, much more smaller Vessels; this Good Satisfies and not Surfeits; it satisfies the Soul, the Precious and Immortal Soul; neither can any Thing, or Person do this but God himself alone; They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fate things of thy House, and thou shalt make them drink of Rivers of thy Pleasure; for with thee is the Fountain of Life: God made the Soul for himself, it is fitted for him; therefore
Creatures cannot satisfy it, God alone is the Adequate Object to it; 'tis Spiritual, and its Constitution is such, if it enjoy not God, 'tis restless, disquieted, and like Noah's Dove, it finds no resting place till it returns to the true Ark; Return to thy Rest, O my Soul, (saith David) take up thy dwelling in God, trust in him.
8. God is a Delicious Good, a Soul-ravishing Good, he is an eternal Spring of Joy and Delight, and in this Covenant he displays his transcendent Glory and Perfections to his Creatures, who by the Spirit discern the Heavenly Beauty, and are made Partakers of the Divine Nature, which so endears them to the Divine Being, that they are at times transported with Joy, his Glory shining in them; there is nothing requisite to entire Blessedness, but it is in God, which Goodness powerfully allures and engage the Affections of every true Believer, who is in the exercise of Faith and Love; so that they at some Seasons are filled with unspeakable Comfort.
9. God, it appears from hence, is a Superlative Good, he is far better than any thing we can conceive of, he is Man's only summum bonum; Who would weigh a Feather against a Mountain.
10. God is a Communicative Good,* this Crowns all; Why did he enter into a Covenant of Peace, and provide such a Mediator, but to let out, as through a Conduit Pipe, his Infinite Goodness to us? Herein we see how his Heart wrought from Eternity; it is an
opening and an unfolding of his Bowels, which lay secretly yearning in him; this brings Life and Immortality to light, in the Revelation thereof, here is an immense Flood of Bounty and rich Goodness flowing down to Mankind, which shows the Excellency and Amiableness of his Nature most honorable to himself, and a perfect Pattern of Goodness unto Men, that so we may Adore and Worship him with Love and Delight.
Lastly, God is an Eternal Good, all Earthly Good will fail, it lasteth but for a moment, but God and his Goodness endures forever; Why boasteth thou thy self in mischief, O mighty Man? The Goodness of God endures continually. His Love, Mercy, and Goodness to his People is not fading and inconstant, but everlasting and unchangeable; the Love of God will eternally be running and flowing forth, so that our Joy, Peace and Satisfaction will never end, our Portion wastes not, it will never be spent, God is an Eternal Reward.
II. As Divine Goodness is that Man's who hath God to be his God, so is Divine Strength his also to support, uphold, and strengthen all that are his People;* My Flesh and my Heart faileth, but God is the Strength of my Heart, and my Portion for ever: When God becomes our God, he is our Shield, and our exceeding great Reward, our Rest, our Fortress, our High Tower, &c. when God made that Promise to Abraham, it is as if he should say, I and all my Attributes are thine, for thy Use and Benefit; my Power is thine, my Arm is thine;
Fear not Abraham, I am God All-sufficient; and I will from thence communicate all things to thee that thou needs; thou shalt have Me, my Goodness, my Power, and my Love for thy Portion;* Jehovah is my Strength and my Song, he also is become my Salvation.
III. Gods Mercies is theirs also, he is not only a God of Mercy, but a Believer (that has God to be his God) may say with David of God's Mercy, my Mercy,* The God of my Mercy shall prevent me; the Mercy of God is ours, to spare and pity us; that is, we have interest in the Mercy of God, however great, or good and lasting it is, it is ours, his Mercy shall be let out to us, flow down to us: And O! what a Sweet Blessing is this?
IV. Moreover, Divine Wisdom is ours, if God be our God, to conduct, lead, counsel, and guide us, and to order and dispose of all things for our good.
V. Also the Riches and glorious Bounty of God is our Wealth, if we have the Person, or are Married to the Person, we have the Portion, a Believer hath interest in all the Riches of God's Grace and Glory.
VI. The Care and Faithfulness of God is ours to preserve and keep us; to whom should Faithfulness be manifested, but to such that are in Covenant, and to whom all Promises are made; if God be our God, his Faithfulness will preserve us; Who should a Father care for, but for his own dear Children, as well as love and pity them? Casting all your Care upon him, for he Cares for you.
VII. His Love is ours, (who is the God of Love) if he is our God, that is, we are the Objects of his most choice Affections, his Love is ours to delight and comfort us. Hence he is said to delight in his People, and to rejoice over them, as a young Man rejoiced over his Bride.
VIII. His Justice is ours to acquit us, to discharge us, and to plead for us as well as his Mercy: and to pronounce us Righteous in his Son, and for ever pardoned; He is Just and Righteous to forgive.
IX. And his unchangeableness also will prevent us from being consumed, that's our Security: O see what a Blessing and high Privilege it is to have God to be our God in Covenant? When Jehoshaphat had made a Covenant with Ahab, see how he expresses himself; i. e. There is a League between us, therefore my Horses are thy Horses, and my People are thy People: And so it is between God and us, his Strength is our Strength, and his Armies our Armies, we have interest in all God has, there is an offensive and defensive League between God and us; his Angels are all ready to engage in our just Cause, and fight for us, and against our Enemies: If we implore God's Aid, will he, think you, break his Covenant? God forbid. Moreover, his Special Providence is ours, if he be our God; I will guide thee by mine Eye — Hast thou not made an Hedge about him, and about all he hath? Job 1.10.
Thirdly, There is one thing more that ought to be minded (that is) in this Covenant, all the Holy Attributes are united together, as a mighty Army on our side, in Christ they all sweetly harmonize, Mercy and Truth are met together, Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other. But having spoken to this already, I shall add no more to it now. See Dr. Bates's Harmony of the Divine Attributes.
Fourthly, He that hath God to be his God in this Covenant, hath him to be his God for ever, he shall never lose God any more, every Believer hath an everlasting Interest in, and a Title to the ever Blessed God; This God is our God for ever and ever, and he will be our Guide even unto Death: This Grant will never be revoked by the Giver, nor can it be forfeited by the Receiver; you have heard how sure and firm the Covenant is, by which we hold the Inheritance; he is our Father, our Friend, our Portion, our Strength, our Help, our Riches, our Honour, and our God for ever.
Secondly, Jesus Christ is given to all Believers in this Covenant, this is a glorious Gift, or Grant: O! how great and how comprehensive is this Gift? God is not our God till Christ is ours: O! consider; every Saint may say with Thomas, My Lord and my God: Christ is not only a Savior, but a Believer may say, my Savior; he is not only a Redeemer, but my Redeemer; not only the Life of the World, but my Life: When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, &c. Christ is not only
Light, but our Light; and not only a Peacemaker, but our Peace; He is our Peace that hath made both one: He is not only a Bridegroom, but our Bridegroom; my Beloved is mine, not only a Physician, but our Physician; and not only a Shepherd, but our Shepherd; The Lord is my Shepherd, yea, and our King, our Priest, our Prophet; he is our Righteousness, our Strength, our Food, our Cloths, our Foundation; who of God is made to us Wisdom and Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. In a word, Christ in this Covenant is all in all;* Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, Circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scything, Bond nor Free, but Christ is all and in all.
Thirdly, The next great Gift that is given in this Covenant, is the Holy Ghost, Isa. 59.21. the Holy Spirit is given to unite us to Christ, to quicken us, to illuminate our Minds, and to renovate our Soul, to be our Guide, our Comforter, and to dwell in us for ever, and to seal all Covenant Blessings to us.
Fourthly, All Grace is given in this Covenant, Faith, Repentance, a pure Heart, Love, Hope, Humility, Patience, Charity, Temperance, Meekness, &c. But to every one of us is given Grace according to the measure of the Gift of Christ; and not only Grace, but all Spiritual Gifts also, yea, Sanctified Gifts; thus many great Gifts are given.
Fifthly, Consider what other Grand Blessings and Privileges, are also given and granted, by virtue of this Covenant, viz. (1.) Adoption, to as many as received him to them gave
he power to become the Sons of God. (2.) Righteousness and Justification from all things. (3.) Sanctification. (4.) Pardon of all Sins, and that for ever, and not only forgiven for ever, but they also are forgotten for ever. (5.) Peace. (6.) Communion with the Father and the Son (7.) Godly Zeal. (8.) Spiritual Strength and Courage. (9.) All Ordinances are given, yea, Fat and Green Pastures, Bread and Water of Life. (10.) The Ministers of Christ are given; Whether Paul, or Apostles, or Cephas, or the World, or Life, or Death, or things present, or things to come, all is yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's: They have a Right and Title to all things that are good. (11.) All the Promises of God, are given in the Covenant; Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious Promises: Promises that suit every State and Condition that we are, or may be in; great as to their Quantity, and precious as to their Quality; All the Promises of God are in him, yea, and in him, Amen, unto the Glory of God the Father. Moreover, all Gospel Ordinances are given. (12.) Yea, a Right to Eternal Life also is given and granted to all in this Covenant, even a Crown of Glory that fades not away; a Kingdom, a Crown, and a Throne is given; To him will I grant to sit with me in my Throne. (13.) Final Perseverance is given by this Covenant. Lastly, A Free Trade to Heaven is granted, or free access to the Father: But to this I shall more largely and distinctly speak at another time.
O stand and Wonder! O what Gifts, Grants, Blessings, and Privileges are procured in the Covenant of Peace? Happy are they that are taken into it: But I shall go no farther at this time.
Showing that as God in the Covenant of Peace is our God, so we also are his People, opening what this denotes; i. e. our being God's People. (2.) How this appears to be a Covenant Privilege. And (3.) Also what a Wonderful Blessing it is.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
THE last Day I showed you what wonderful Gifts, Grants, Blessings, and Privileges are contained in the Covenant of Peace; particularly, that God gives himself, and his Son Jesus Christ to all that are brought into it; he has promised to be our God, &c. But to proceed.
There is yet one great Blessing, which is included in the former, viz. That as God gives himself to be our God, so he hath promised we shall be his People; this Grant and Privilege is in the Covenant; And I will be their God, and they shall be my People, compared with Heb. 8.10. And I will be a God to them, and they shall be a People unto me.
First, Let me by way of premise Note here four or five Things.
1. That this is a most gracious, high, and sublime Privilege, (viz.) God to be our God is the first; and this is comprehended in it also as the second, and next in order to be esteemed by us, i. e. we shall be his People.
2. That this is granted only as an Act of God's Free Grace and Sovereign Goodness, through Jesus Christ: Brethren, it is not upon Condition of our doing this or that, that we procure this Blessing 'tis not, as the Promise run to the People of Israel under the first Covenant: But 'tis an absolute Promise if there is any such in all the Word of God; I will be your God, and you shall be my People. Men nor Devils, Ungodly Relations, our own evil Hearts, nor our great Unworthiness shall ever hinder us from being God's People.
3. That God's giving himself to us, is the Spring, the Cause and Reason why we become his People; we have not God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, because we are Believers, or Penitent Persons, but he first gives himself his Spirit, &c.
God first gives himself in working of Faith (saith Reverend Cotton) before Faith can be there.
Therefore Faith is called, The Fruit of the Spirit; Man is passive in Regeneration, or in God's infusing the first Principle, Root, or Habit of Faith, and of all Grace in him.
4. This implies, that we were once not actually God's People (notwithstanding the Design and Purpose of Grace that was in his Heart concerning us;*) I will call them my People, which were not my People; and her Beloved, that was not Beloved; that is, that were not actually his People, nor owned and acknowledged so to be, we lost this Relation to God by the Fall: when God ceased to be our God, by way of Special interest, we ceased to be his People.
5. They shall be my People; this denotes the certainty of their Special Vocation, and of our being his People for ever; He shall see his Seed, all that the Father hath given to me shall come unto me; that is, they shall believe in me, &c. Now in speaking unto this Promise, Grant, and Privilege.
1. I shall first show you in what Respect, or Consideration we may be said to be God's People.
2. Show you what kind of People God's Covenant People are; I mean such that are actually owned to be his People.
3. Show you what a great Blessing this is.
4. Apply both these great Privileges together.
I shall wave several Acceptations, by which a People may be called God's People, that
I may directly come to the Business in Hand.
1. We may be said to be God's People, and he our God decretively, or by virtue of God's Eternal Election; God chose Christ as our Head, and all the Elect in him: See our Lord's Words; Other Sheep have I that are not of this Fold, them I must bring: He calls them his Sheep, and yet then they were ungodly and unbelieving ones: So he said to Paul, I have much People in this City; they were his People decretively, though not actually his at that time.
2. The Elect were God's People Federally, or by virtue of that Holy Covenant made betwixt the Father and the Son (as I hinted before) and now that this Relation also arises from those Covenant Transactions, is most evident; for Jesus Christ struck Hands with the Father, in behalf of all God's Elect, to procure this Privilege: But a little further to open this, pray consider that there is a Federal Union and Relation, as when the Father of a Young Man, and the Father, or Guardian of a Young Damsel shall mutually agree and Covenant, that they two shall be Man and Wife; even thus God the Father and God the Son Agreed and Covenanted in behalf of all the Elect: Christ was, as I may say, their Guardian, yea, and also he Covenanted to Espouse and Marry them to himself for ever, and God the Father gave the Elect to Christ in this Covenant. Moreover, herein he had the advantage of others; for may be such a
Young Man, as before mentioned, might not Love the Person his Father Covenanted with her Guardian to be his Wife, or he might not be able to obtain her Affections, but Christ's Love was set upon his intended Spouse from everlasting, and also he knew how to gain our Love, and unite our Hearts to himself, and that by shedding his Love abroad in our Hearts by the Holy Ghost, Rom. 5.5. The Love of Christ, hath in it a Physical Operation.
And thus, my Brethren, by Covenant, and the free donation of the Father, we become God's People, or in a remote sense, were thus brought into this Blessed Relation to him; Thine they were (that is, by Election) and thou gavest them me.
Again he saith, I pray not for the World, but for them that thou hast given me, for they are thine.
4. The Elect are God's People by virtue of Christ's Purchase, he bought them with his own Blood; Ye are not your own, for you are bought with a price, &c. and it was that they might be a peculiar People unto God: Hence the Apostle saith, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all Iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar People zealous of Good Works; or a famous or principal People, as the Greek Word renders it. Without this Price had been laid down, we had never been brought into this Relation unto God.
5. They are God's People by Renovation, or Regeneration, Of his own Will begat he us by the Word of Truth.
6. By Conquest also Believers are brought into this Relation, God hath subdued them unto himself, he has by his Victorious Grace overcome them, and this way they are made his Liege People, and he becomes their God and Sovereign, as having rescued them out of the Hands of Sin and Satan, those cruel Tyrants, whose Slaves, Subjects, and Servants they were before: Christ has set them free, or made them a free People indeed, to and for himself.
7. The Elect are actually the Lord's People, by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, or by virtue of their Mystical union with Christ by the Spirit, which is the Bond of this Union on Christ's part; and by this means we come to chose Jesus Christ as the only Object of our Affection, and Blessed Bridegroom of our Souls; and also hereby we take God to be our God, and thus we are actually and personally brought into this Relation to him, in which sense, and in respect of these and the two last things mentioned, we were not his People before; for notwithstanding the Covenant Agreement of Parents, or a Marriage by Proxy, betwixt great Persons, yet they must after that actually and personally be Married together, before they can enjoy each other, or properly be said to be Man and Wife: And so, my Brethren, it is here, for notwithstanding the Decree and Purpose of God, and his eternal Compact and Donation; and also notwithstanding the Purchase of Christ, yet till by the Spirit we are united to Christ, and do believe in
him, close in and embrace him, and enter into an actual Covenant with God in and by Jesus Christ, we cannot be said to be properly God's People; for before this we were the Children of Wrath, and the Slaves of Sin and Satan: But so much to the first thing proposed.
Secondly, I shall endeavor to show you what a kind of People these are that are thus brought into Covenant with God.
I. They that are God's peculiar People, have renounced all other Lords from having any claim to them, or interest in them.
1. They have broke that Covenant which they had made with Sin, that Union is dissolved, their Love to Sin is gone for ever; I do not say the Being of Sin in them is gone; no, Sin will be in their Hearts, and in their Conversations too, but it is not in their Affections; they approve not of it, they regard it not; The Evil which I hate, that do I, saith Paul; I have vain Thoughts, saith David; to love Sin is worse than to commit it, and to hate Sin is better than to leave it; a Good Man may commit Sin, and yet loath it, and a wicked Man may leave Sin and yet love it; Ye that love the Lord hate Evil: Ye do so, or else you are none of God's People, i. e. it is your Character, and also your Duty.
2. They have renounced the Love of this World, they are dead, nay, Crucified to the World, they that are God's peculiar People have not only Crucified the Flesh, or are become dead to Sin, but have Crucified the World also; But God
forbid that I should Glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the World is Crucified unto me, and I unto the World. The World careth not for them, and they care not for the World, they are dead to the Honors, Pleasures, and Riches of the World; Moses contemned all the Glory of Pharaoh's Court, yea, all the Pleasures of Sin and Riches of Egypt; and so do all God's sincere People contemn this World: If any Man love the World, the love of the Father is not in him.
3. They that are God's peculiar People, are become dead to the Law, to that cruel Husband, and to all their own Righteousness, accounting it but Dung, or a dead Carcass, or Dogs-meat in comparison of Christ; Ye also are become dead to the Law by the Body of Christ, &c. The Union with that Husband is dissolved, they seek not Life and Justification by the Law, or are not in love with Self-Righteousness, but dead to it, whilst others make an Idol of it, and trust in it.
4. They have renounced themselves also, and confess they are not their own, but that their Souls, their Bodies, their Substance, their Graces, their Gifts, their Time, their Strength, their Lips, and their Lives are all the Lord's, and for him; for as all that God hath which is communicable is theirs, or freely imparted to them, and for them; so all they are and have, they account it is the Lord's, they being but only Stewards of all they have and do possess: Shall such think that they are the Lord's who live to themselves, seek themselves, or only
bring forth Fruit (like empty Vines) to themselves? No, they that are the Lord's People, esteem all they have to be his, and for his Service, and are willing to render it up to him when he calls for it. Nay, they have given God their Hearts, not their Lips only, or their Tongues, nor their Ears, nor their Substance, but their Hearts also; My Son give me thy Heart. God complains of some that drew near to him with their Lips, and sate before him as his People sate, and with their Tongues showed much kindness, but (saith he) their Hearts went after their Covetousness, after the World, these God's Soul abhors, and he will not own them to be his People: Some give their Hearts to Pleasures, to strange Women, and to Vanity, and to mere Folly, and others give their Hearts to Riches, but God's Covenant-People give their Hearts to him, not a part of the Heart, but their whole Heart; they love the Lord their God with all their Hearts, with all their Souls, and with all their Strength: Others have their Hearts divided between God and the World, between God and their Lusts; but such that love not God with their whole Heart, hate him, for the lesser Love is accounted Hatred in Scripture.
II. They that are God's peculiar Covenant-People, are Begotten and Born of God, for they this way (as you heard) become his Children; there are none, my Brethren, that are the Lord's People by Adoption, but they are his also by Regeneration; they have his Image
formed in them, they are like to their Father in Holiness, Heavenliness, in Humility, Mercy, Meekness, Love, Goodness, Charity, &c. they partake of the Divine Nature, every one resembles the Son or Daughter of a King; Then said he unto Zeba and Zalmunna, What manner of Men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they, each one resembled the Children of a King: They are nobly descended, they have sublime Spirits, Holy Hearts, Desires, Aims and Ends in all they do; they are not mere Dunghil-rakers, like the Men of the World, but far excel all others; The Righteous is more excellent than his Neighbor, he has an excellent Spirit, Life, and Principles in him.
III. They that are God's Covenant-People, Trust in him as their God, as well as Love him as their God; all People trust in their God, though it be a God of Gold, or Silver; a Worldly Man's strong Confidence is his Wealth, he makes Gold his Hope: So they that have God to be their God, trust in him, depend upon him; They that know thy Name, will put their Trust in thee: They trust in the True and Living God, God is their Hope their Confidence, they rely upon his Power, his Mercy, his Love, his Faithfulness, his Covenant, and on his Blessed Promises, and this at all times, in Afflictions, Desertion, Temptations, &c. and when called to any hard Service: in Prosperity, and in Adversity, in times of Want and Necessities, and in Times of Fullness; in Life, and also at the Hour of Death: This
tends, my Brethren, to the Glory of God, and by this they show what a value and esteem they put upon God. How often does David say, he trusted in the Lord, and because God was his God, O my God, I trust in thee. Job says,* Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: Though they see not, feel not, or have no sensible Comfort, or Relief, yet can and will trust in God, though God hides his Face, or they walk in Darkness, and have no Light.
IV. God's peculiar People highly love, value, and prize the Lord Jesus Christ: They can say with David, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? Neither is there any on Earth that I desire besides thee. They have tasted how good the Lord is, and beholding his Beauty can say, He is the chiefest among Ten Thousand; they live upon Christ, fetch all their Comfort, and Hope of Salvation from him, and rejoice in him alone; Serving God in Spirit, and have no Confidence in the Flesh. Moreover, when they have done all things that Christ hath commanded, they look upon themselves Unprofitable Servants, they live in him, to him, and by him; their living in him shows Christ is their Life, their living to him shows Christ is their ultimate End, their living by him shows Christ is their Strength; they receive the Spirit, and so live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit; they bring up the bottom of their Lives to the top of their Light, they do not only know what is to be done, but do what they know; the Darkness of Carnal Professors will be the blackest, because their Light seemed to be the clearest,
but these are better inwardly in substance, than outwardly in appearance; in a word, they are as much in love with the Employment of Holiness, as with the Enjoyment of Happiness, or to be Holy here, as well as Happy hereafter, or to live to God on Earth, as well as with him in Heaven.
V. God's Covenant-People ascribe all the Glory to him, and take all the Shame to themselves; Both Riches and Honour come of thee; the Power, the Glory, and the Victory is thine, and of thine own have I given thee. Luther was contented to be counted a Devil, so that Christ might be exalted; others make their End their God, but these make their God their End:
The Glory of God (saith one) should be the Golden-Butt at which all our Arrows of Duties are shot; the only way to be Crowned in Heaven, is to cast our Crowns at Christ's Feet on Earth.
VI. God's Covenant-People can say, there is nothing which they enjoy, that is of any worth, without God be enjoyed with it: Therefore they know to want God is the greatest Evil, and to enjoy God is the greatest Good; if God be withdrawn, all their Comfort is gone; 'tis Day when we have him, but 'tis Night when we want him: What is Health and no God? Riches and no God? Pleasures and no God, Honors and no God? Relations, Wives, Children, Friends, and no God? A little will do with God; nay* if we have nothing besides him, we have enough, nay all; but if we have all other things and no interest in God, we have nothing.
VII. They that are God's peculiar People, are a Holy People, a Heavenly People, a Humble People; To this Man will I look that is Poor and of a Contrite Heart, and that trembles at my Word. God resisteth the Proud, but gives Grace to the Humble—Be ye Holy for I am Holy. My People shall be willing in the Day of my Power, in the Beauty of Holiness, &c.
VII. They are an Obedient People, they walk in God's Ways and keep his Precepts; For all People will walk every one of them in the Name of his God, and we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. They yield Universal Obedience to God, or do whatsoever Christ says, and that too because they love him; and also they are constant in their Obedience, they keep God's Precepts always even to the end.
IX. They are an Upright People, a Sincere People, Sincere in their Obedience; Surely they are my People, Children that will not lie; not Children of Deceit, or Falsehood, but Faithful, and Upright in Heart: They are called, The Assembly of the upright; that is, Sincere Worshipers of God, Israelites indeed, in whom is no Guile, no Falsehood, or no reigning Hypocrisies. Moreover, they are called, The Generation of the upright, Men of clean Hearts, and Undefiled in the way, or Perfect ones, i. e. they want no Essential thing of True Christians.
X. God's Gospel Covenant-People are an United People, being constituted or incorporated into a Church State, according to the
Institution of Christ in the New Testament, being separated from the World in Worship, and all Evil Traditions, Customs, &c. Worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth, giving themselves up one to another; keeping all the Ordinances of Christ as they were once delivered to the Saints, owning the Holy Scriptures to be the only Rule of their Faith and Practice, having regular and ordained Officers, viz. both Pastors and Deacons, and walking in Love, and watching over one another as becometh Saints.
XI. Lastly, The peculiar People of God, love all the Children of God, even such that differ from them in some things that are Circumstantials, they love as Christ loves; As they love him that begat, so they love them also (and all them) that are begotten of him: If God was your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth, and came from God (saith our Saviour) he that loves the Father, will love the Child so far as he resembleth the Father: By this shall all Men know ye are my Disciples if you love one another—He that loveth not his Brother, abides in Death: And this is a sign that they are passed from Death to Life. Brethren, this Love is not in Word and in Tongue, but in Deed and in Truth also: How doth it appear you love your Wife, your Children? Even so let it appear you love all the People of God, i. e. let nothing be too dear to part with for their sakes, speak well of them, and do much for them, and bear them always upon your Hearts, when you are at the Throne
of Grace: If you would approve your selves to be God's People, this being so, what shall we think then of him that hates any one of the Children of God, or bears Malice in his Heart against him, and reproaches him.
Thirdly, I shall show you what a great Blessing and Privilege this is.
1. Can there be a greater Privilege than to be made God's own peculiar People? For hereby God is their Father, and they his Children. (1.) He loves them as his Children. (2.) He Feeds them as his Children. (3.) He Cloths them as his Children. (4.) He Teaches them as his Children. (5.) He Pities them as his Children, Isa. 63.9, 10. (6.) He Guides, Leads, and Protecteth them as his Children. (7.) He Chastens them in Love as his Children, Heb. 12 5, 6, 7. (8.) And lays up for them also as his own Children; If Children then Heirs,* Heirs of God, and joynt Heirs with Christ—
O! what an Honour is it to be the Sons and Daughters of God? 2 Cor. 6.16. Of the Great God, the King of Heaven and Earth? Nay, to be Begotten and Born of him, Joh. 1.12, 13.
2. They have the Privilege to dwell in his House; nay, to dwell with God, and to walk with God, and to have Communion with him, 1 Joh. 3. Moreover,
3. Their Enemies are God's Enemies, and their Friends are God's Friends, the Angels that are God's Servants, are their Servants, and are sent to Minister unto them, &c.
4. They are Espoused by Jesus Christ; they
are the Jewels of his Heart, Mal. 3.17. or his chiefest Treasure.
5. God will never leave them, nor forsake them. And,
6. All things shall work together for their good.*
7. And he will Crown them at last with Glory and Immortality.
Question. What Assurance hath God given that they shall be his People for ever?
1 Answ. Because his Love is Eternal, or Unchangeable, his Love is their Security; nothing can separate them from the Love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. The Decree and eternal Election of God, is their Security.
3. Because the Mercy of God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord, endures for ever.
4. Because the Goodness of God endures also for ever.
5. Because his Covenant and Faithfulness can never fail, in which they are made his People.
6. Because he hath put his fear into their Hearts, that they shall not depart from him.
7. The Promise and Oath of God, is their Security.
8. They are Justified and Pardoned for ever.
9. Christ's Suretiship is their Security, they are put into his Hand, and none can pluck them out: (These Things have been fully opened already as you have heard.)
10. The Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Intercession of Jesus Christ, is their Security.
11. Their Union with Christ, which is an indissolvable Union, is their Security.
12. The Inhabitation of the Holy Ghost is their Security, it remains, and shall remain in all true Believers for ever; they have it as a Principle of eternal Life; and as an Earnest, Witness, Pledge, and Seal of Glory to come unto them.
Infer. O the Wonder of Divine Goodness! How amazingly doth it flow forth in this Covenant to sinful Mankind? (As one Notes) Herein we may see the Scheme and Model of his Thoughts, the Method of his Councils, and Treaties of Man's Recovery: Behold the Motions of his Goodness in its descent to Earth, and ascent to Heaven, carrying at last the Creature with it, to the wearing a Crown upon its Head: Here is a Medicine provided before the Disease, a Pardon for Traitors before the Rebellion broke out.
2. We infer from hence, That the Christian Religion, Revealed Religion, excels all Religions, in that it shows the way of Peace with God.
3. What greater Demonstrations of Love, of Infinite Love could God give? What give himself to us? What hath he more, all Happiness is comprehended in God?
4. Behold the Excellency of Faith, as it applies Christ, and takes hold of him, and gives Peace to a Poor, Troubled, and Wounded
Spirit; and also see what sure footing, and firm foundation there is for Faith in this Covenant.
5. Moreover, from hence you may see the strength and sufficiency of Christ in all the Concerns of his Mediation, together with his Excellencies; How precious is he who is made all in all things to us?
6. Reproof. But how doth this reprehend their Folly and Ignorance, who affirm that Believers, yea, Justified Persons, may finally and totally fall away and perish? How are such here detected?
Terror. It may also be for Terror to such, who think they are God's People, and yet are Unbelieving, and Prophane Persons, they glory they are Christians, born of Christian Parents; nay, Protestants, and know the Articles of their Religion (and were Baptized, as they call Sprinkling) but are Swearers, Drunkards, unclean Persons, Proud, and Covetous ones, &c. Alas, what will their Religion signifiy? You hear who are God's People, and what kind of People they are.
7. It also shows you the Necessity of Regeneration and Union with Christ, and that you must renounce all for his sake, that was once gain to you, or you must perish for ever.
8. Lastly, What Comfort is here for all drooping Believers, weak in Faith? What in Covenant with God, and yet fear? What are you put into Christ's Hand, and yet doubt? Has God given you such Security that your Persons are accepted, your Sins pardoned for
ever, and yet hang down your Heads? All is yours, whether you know it or not; God is yours, Christ is yours, Pardon is yours, Peace is yours, Strength in Weakness is yours, Succour in Temptation, &c. Life is yours, Death is yours, i. e. for your good, Death that is so great an Evil, and so dreaded by the Wicked, is yours—that is your great Gain, yea, a mighty Blessing to you: Bread is yours, Bread for your Souls, and Bread for your Bodies, even all that God sees good for you, is yours.
Showing what a Glorious Trade is opened to Heaven for poor Sinners by the Covenant of Peace.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
I Am upon the Fourth General Head of Discourse; Namely, to show you what is given,
granted, or vouchsafed to all those that are brought into Covenant with God.
I have passed through an Induction of twelve Particulars, upon this account.
Thirteenthly, The last Privilege, or Blessing that is hereby procured and granted, which I shall speak to now, is that of a Free Trade to Heaven: This, you know, is one of the great and chiefest Blessings that follows a Peace made between Princes and States on Earth.
I. War stops up, or interrupts all Trade and Commerce betwixt those Kingdoms and States that are at War one with another, (the sad and bitter Effects of this we in this Nation have lately felt, by means of the late War, which now is happily ended;) even so, my Brethren, all Spiritual Trade and Commerce betwixt God and Man, was stopped, and utterly interrupted by that fearful War, which was occasioned by our Sin and Rebellion against God in the first Adam; The Flaming Sword that turned every way, was a Token of this: Poor Man could not now make any approach to God, no Trading to Heaven any more for Mankind, until his Peace is made, or procured.
1. God will not admit Sinners to receive any of his Special, Spiritual, Saving, and Soul-enriching Commodities, though through his great Bounty and Goodness he doth give forth common Gifts, or Earthly good things to his Enemies.
2. Nor will God receive of Man any thing that he hath, or can do, or offer to him, until
his Peace is made, and his Person accepted in his sight, for Sinners Hearts being departed from God, their very Prayers, and all their Services are Abomination unto him, and hateful in his Sight: So that all ways of Blessed Intercourse betwixt God and Man, were stopped up, and the Streams of that River, by which all Spiritual Blessings must come to them, are stayed, viz. the Holy Spirit: besides Thieves, Pirates, and Robbers were let out upon them, I mean Satan, and all the Powers of Darkness; and thus was Mankind brought to utter Beggery, for all their original Riches, or Righteousness, and Blessed Treasure was utterly consumed by means of that first Act of Rebellion; nor was there any ways left to Mankind to get one Penny to help or relieve themselves in their Necessity.
But no sooner was there News brought of this Covenant of Peace, or it was published to our first Parents in that Promise; The Seed of the Woman shall bruise the Serpent's Head.
But there was a Free Trade opened again for all Believers, though it was then but darkly discovered. Now in speaking unto this great Grant, Blessing, and Privilege, I shall endeavour to do four things.
1. Show you what I mean by this Free and Open Trade to Heaven.
2. Prove that this Privilege is granted as the Effects of the Covenant of Peace.
3. Show you that this is the best Trade or Traffick in all the Earth, viz. our Spiritual Trading to Heaven by Jesus Christ.
4. Apply it.
1. By this Trade or Traffick to Heaven, I mean, our free Intercourse or Access to the Father.
2. God's free and kind distribution, or giving forth the best of Heaven unto us, when we come or approach unto him by Jesus Christ, or in this new and living way, and that to the enriching of our Souls; not only, my Brethren, barely to supply our Wants, and pinching Necessities, but also to the making of us very Rich and Great.
3. I mean by it, God's Gracious Acceptance of our Persons, Duties, and all our Holy and Spiritual Performances, or Services, which is no small Favor and Blessing, but one of the greatest we can partake of; for this must always be premised, that God will never accept of any Man's Duties, till he first accepts of his Person; for thus he first accepts of Abel; that is, of his Person, The Lord had a Respect unto Abel, and to his Offering; he offered his Offering in Faith, he was a Believer, and God accepted of his Person in Christ, and so he doth of the Persons of all True Believers, Wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved—in whom we are united and made Members of his Body, and it is in him that God looks upon us.
Secondly, I shall endeavor to prove, that this Trade, or Blessing of free Access unto God, is the Effects of the Peace made by Jesus Christ.
1. The Navigable River, by which we Trade to Heaven, by virtue of this Peace, is opened, viz. the Holy Spirit is poured forth; This is that
River that makes glad the City of God, &c. and this it doth not only, in that it supplies God's People, or his Holy City with Water to drink, (which is indeed Water of Life) but also in that it is by it we Trade to Heaven, all our Spiritual Trade and Traffick, is in and through this River: Our Trade, my Brethren, is a Trade of Merchandise—For the Merchandise of it, is better than the Merchandise of Silver, and the Gain thereof than fine Gold. Now this River proceeds from the Throne of God, and the Lamb, and that this River is opened by the Sacrifice of Christ, or by that Peace he hath made: See Acts 2.31. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all Witnesses—Therefore being by the Right Hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father, the Promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear, Vers. 32.
Moreover, Jesus Christ promised the Spirit to his Disciples upon his Ascention, and this Promise he graciously made good; Therefore (saith the Apostle) being Justified by Faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by Faith into this Grace, &c. Again he saith, And came and Preached Peace to you that were a far off, &c. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father; that is, through the Mediator and Peace-maker, who hath reconciled us to God: We are now admitted or introduced into the presence of the Father, and this with boldness; In whom we have Boldness and Access with Confidence, by the Faith of him: And
this not only in Prayer, but also in all Holy Fellowship, Commerce, and Heavenly Communion; Having therefore, Brethren, Boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus: It was the Blood of Christ that opened this Trade, or procured this Access to Heaven for us, By a new and living way,* which he hath consecrated for us through the Veil, that is to say, his Flesh. Hence our Blessed Lord saith, I am the Way, no Man cometh to the Father but by me. Except this River had been opened, we could never have Traded to Heaven, and that this is done by Jesus Christ, or by the Peace which he hath made, I have thus fully proved.
Thirdly, I shall show you that this is the best Trade, or there is no Trade like unto it in all the World.
1. Because the Word of God declares it so to be;* The Merchandise hereof is better than the Merchandise of Silver, and the Gain thereof than fine Gold. Now what Merchandise of this World, do Men account to excel that of Silver and fine Gold? But Spiritual Merchandise the great God declares, is better than these, or whatsoever else you can think, or speak of. Now this I shall further endeavor to make appear in this Method following.
1. In respect of the Subject, these Merchandises enrich.
2. In respect of the Nature of the Things Traded in, or for.
3. In respect of that Blessed Correspondent, who manages all our Affairs in Heaven, and that makes us Returns of all we venture.
4. In respect of the Terms upon which we Trade.
5. I shall apply the whole—I shall speak briefly to each of these.
First, The Subject that these Merchandises enrich is the Soul, the Precious and Immortal Soul of Man, which all other Trades and Merchandise cannot in the least degree relieve the Wants of, much less enrich; but these Heavenly Merchandises doth this.
1. It is hereby the Soul of a Believer, or a Spiritual Merchant, comes to have God again; God to be his God, yea, a God in Covenant with him, and to be his Portion for ever (as you have heard.) 'Tis through Jesus Christ, or by the Peace he hath made, that this Blessing is obtained; God is hereby our Father, and Christ is our Savior, and the Spirit is our Sanctifier; whosoever will venture out by Faith, and Trade in these Seas, or on this Voyage, shall obtain a sure Interest in Christ, and in God through Jesus Christ for ever.
2. Because this Trade answers all the Necessities of the Soul, or all its Wants; My God shall supply all your need, according to his Riches in Glory by Christ Jesus: Graciously, nay, Gloriously, or according to his own Fullness, or rich Mercy, or Riches in Glory. Nay,
3. Not only supply the Needs of our Souls, but these Merchandises tend to enrich the Soul with Grace; yea, with all Grace. This Trade, or this Merchandise, puts a Crown better than that of Gold on its Head, and Chains about
its Neck; They shall be an Ornament of Grace unto thy Head, and Chains about thy Neck. This, my Brethren, makes the Soul amiable and honourable in the sight of God, and all good Men; A meek and quiet Spirit is in the sight of God of great price. No other Ornaments are of any worth in the esteem of God, but are hateful to him when the Creature is lifted up with Pride thereby. What are the Curled Locks, and Chains of Gold, and Glistering Robes in the sight of God? Poor Lazarus was far more lovely before his Eyes.
4. Because these Merchandises enrich the Soul with Choice and Blessed Experiences. Hence David saith, The Law of thy Mouth, is better to me than Thousands of Gold and Silver. And again he saith (speaking of his Experiences) Thou hast put Gladness into my Heart, more than in the time when their Corn and Wine increased. One Day in thy Courts, is better than a Thousand— And from hence it is that he cries out, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? Neither is there any on Earth I desire besides thee.
Again, saith he, O taste and see how good the Lord is: He is so Good, yea, so Precious, so Sweet in his Love and Favor, that I am not able to express it, (as if he should say) Therefore pray taste your selves, and then by experience you will find it to be as I say: Solomon also found by experience, this was the best Trade; Wisdom is better than Gold, and to get understanding, rather to be chosen than Silver— Yea, better than Rubies; all things that may be desired, are not to be compared to it. Solomon
had the experience of all other Things, he had Riches in abundance, Honors beyond all Men on Earth, and Pleasures of all sorts, and such Wisdom also, which no mere Man ever attained to, yet he cries out, Vanity of Vanity, all things are Vanity: Doubtless God might let him try the Nature of all Worldly good, or whatsoever the Heart of Man could desire, that by him all Men might know, even by his Experience, the emptiness and vanity of them; no Man ever decried the Vanity of all things under the Sun, more than he did—And in the close of all, by that experience he had, how doth he commend Spiritual Things, or the Merchandise of Wisdom, i e. the Love and Favor of God in Christ, or our Lord Jesus Christ himself, whom he sets forth under the Name of Wisdom. Moreover, Moses chose rather to Trade in these rich and rare Commodities than in all the Treasures and Glories of Egypt, or of Pharaoh's Court; nay, he esteemed the Reproaches of Christ greater Riches, or much better than all the Riches and Treasures of Egypt, or all the Pleasures of Sin for a Season.
Also you may take Paul's Experiences on this account: What says he? But what things were Gain to me, those things I counted Loss for Christ; yea, doubtless I account all things but loss for the excellency of the Knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but Dung, that I may win Christ. In his Judgment all things in comparison of Christ were but as Dung, or Dogs-meat. O! that every Soul that
hears me this Day, would but endeavor to play such a Game as Paul did, or get such Experiences as he had.
5. By this Trade also, the Soul is enriched with all the Promises of God, precious Promises, exceeding great and precious Promises; Whereby are given unto us, exceeding great and precious Promises: Whereby, that is through the Knowledge of God in Christ; That by these ye may be Partakers of the Divine Nature. Those Promises by which we partake of the Nature, or Image of God, must needs greatly enrich the Soul, it is by and through them we attain to an Impress of the Divine Nature, or Divine Qualities and Dispositions, as Knowledge, Righteousness, Mercy, Goodness, Holiness, &c. They are full Promises, suitable Promises, suited to every Condition, and seasonable Promises, and also sure and certain Promises.
6. Because this Trade enriches both the Soul and Body too, they that drive this Trade in a right manner shall have their vile Body changed and made in likeness to Christ's Glorious Body, and be Crowned with Glory for evermore.
7. This Trade, through Faith in Jesus Christ, gives the Soul full Satisfaction, it fills it with Joy and Comfort; for as hereby we come to have a likeness to God, so also to have Communion with God and Jesus Christ, it is therefore a most sweet and honorable Calling; it makes us happy while we live, and happy at Death also: Thus, in respect of the Subject,
these Merchandises do enrich, it appears it is the best Trade in all the Earth.
Secondly, This will further appear, by considering of the Nature of the things about which the Soul Spiritually Trades.
I. They are Things of great Worth, Riches, or of an Inestimable Value. This appears,
1. In respect of the great Price by which they were bought, which was the Blood of Jesus Christ, they cost an Infinite Sum of rich Treasure, 1 Pet. 1.18, 19. Who would not highly account of Things bought with such a Price, and part with all things for them, as Paul did? The Merchant-Man sold all he had, and bought the Pearl of great Price; The Redemption of the Soul is precious, &c. That which is most costly, is commonly most preferred. My Brethren, Jesus Christ did not over-buy them, he never repented that he laid down so great a Price to purchase them for us. O costly Ware! (saith one) O dear bought Goods! For which the Pearl of great Price went. Will you not value those things highly which the Son of God bought with his own Heart's Blood?
2. They are Heavenly Things, Heavenly Riches: What are the Nature of all Earthly Things to Heavenly Things? Alas, God gives the Things of this World to his Enemies, to such that hate him: What said Luther of all the Turkish Empire, It was but a Crust that God casts to a Dog. Brethren, we shall never ful|ly know the Worth and Nature of Heavenly Things till we come to Heaven.
3. They are Incorruptible Things, (and Things
that Thieves can't steal) and Things that corrupt not, perish not, they are not the worse for keeping, their Nature changes not, all other things perish in the using; and as our Lord shows, Moth and Rust corrupteth them: But God is unchangeable, and Christ is the same Yesterday to Day, and for ever:* The Word of God is incorruptible, which lives and abides for ever.
4. They are unsearchable Riches, no finding out perfectly either the Quality, or Quantity of this vast Mine of rich Treasure, To me who am less than the least of all Saints, is this Grace given: That I should Preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable Riches of Christ: What are the Spanish Gold Mines, or the Riches of Mexico or Potosi, to Christ's Riches. Mines of Gold may be exhausted, or such that have those Mines may be poor, as the Spaniard is. Brethren, Millions of Millions live upon Christ, yet his Treasure is full, the Riches of Christ are permanent, abiding Riches, With me are durable Riches and Righteousness.
5. The Riches procured by this Covenant in this Trade, are not only Soul-satisfying, but also Soul fattening Riches; Eat that which is good, and let your Soul delight it self in fatness: These were those Riches that satisfied Divine Justice, and appeased Divine Wrath, and that quiets a guilty and wounded Conscience; they fill the Soul, fatten the Soul;* They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy House, and thou shalt make them drink of the Rivers of thy Pleasures—They shall be fat and flourishing, &c.
6. They are certain Riches, the Riches of this World are called uncertain Riches, they make themselves Wings and fly away: Besides, they will not avail in the Day of Wrath, they will stand in no stead then, nor any ways profit the Wretched Sinner at Death, nor in the Judgment Day—But Godliness is profitable for all things, 'tis great gain, every ways profitable, at all times, in all States, and profitable to the Soul and Body too.
7. The Things that Believers Trade in, are the best Things of Heaven, the best Things of God, he has no better Things to bestow, as you have heard, all good is comprehended in these Riches; and hence these Things are only given to his own People, to his Beloved ones, as a Pledge of his Eternal and Special Favor in Christ. What exceeds himself? His Son, his Spirit, his Love, his Grace, his Peace, Peace with God, Peace of Conscience, and Joy in the Holy Ghost, and Eternal Happiness in Heaven?
8. They are Eternal Things; The Things that are seen are Temporal, but the Things that are not seen, they are Eternal. These are Everlasting Wares, you shall carry them out of the World with you; These things have I spoken, that my Joy might remain in you, and that your Joy might be full. O! what a Trade by this Peace is opened to Believers?
Thirdly, This is the best Trade in respect of our Blessed Correspondent whom we Trade with, or who manages all our Affairs at the Court of Heaven; namely, Jesus Christ.
I. Consider that the Father hath put the Management of all our Affairs into Christ's Hands as our great Trustee: Moreover every true Believer has committed himself and all his Concerns to Jesus Christ; The Poor committed himself unto thee.
II. Consider his Power, he is the King of Heaven and Earth, All Power is given to me in Heaven and Earth, he is the Mighty God, this made Paul say, For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that Day. I have committed my self to him, my Soul to him, my Life, and all I have, and hope to receive, to him; and I doubt not of his Power and Ability to keep it.
III. Consider of his Faithfulness, other Correspondents oftentimes deceive and prove unfaithful Stewards, but Jesus Christ is Faithful, he never failed any one poor Soul that truly trusted in him; God is Faithful, and Christ is called, A Faithful High Priest, &c.
IV. Consider of that great Price he gave for all those Things which we Trade with him for: Moreover, and that he bought them for us, and has opened a Blessed and sure way of Conveyance of them; and besides, he hath obliged himself by Covenant to give them down to us as we need them.
V. Consider of that Relation Believers stand in to him, and of his Infinite Love and Affections to them; he Trades, or Intercedes for his Friends, (for such he ransomed with his own Blood) for his Spouse whom he hath betrothed to himself for ever.
VI. Consider what Returns he makes, some venture much, and that which is great in worth, but hardly sometimes have returns of the full intrinsic value again, but thus doth not Jesus Christ deal with us.
First, Christ makes great and vast Returns.
1. To appoint them that mourn in Sion, to give them Beauty for Ashes: Beauty, especially Spiritual Beauty is a precious Thing, but what are Ashes worth? What are our Duties? Our Fasting, and Prayer and Humiliations? Why, of no more worth then a little Ashes? Yet here is Beauty returned for Ashes; yea, Beauty on the Soul, Glorious Beauty!
2. And the Oil of Joy for Mourning; we mourn and weep for our Sins; well, and pray what are a few Tears good for? Are these of any worth in themselves? No certainly: Yet Christ makes returns of the Oil of Joy for this Mourning, or in lieu of these Tears, even the Holy Spirit which fills the Soul with Joy and Comfort.
3. And the Garment of praise, for the Spirit of Heaviness: Christ approves of Sadness of Heart that rises from that Sense we have of that Unworthiness that is in us, and of that Dishonour which is done to him; But how little Worth is there in this Heaviness, as in it self? But he returns the Garment of praise; i. e. he cloaths the Soul in Beautiful Garments; all these Expressions show, that whatsoever we receive is in a way of Free Grace, and that there is no Worth in our Duties; and also
that Christ in a way of Grace, will make Blessed Returns: My Brethren, Rewards of mere Grace are far greater than those of Debt, as I have often told you. But further.
4. He that gives, or ventures a Cup of cold Water to a Disciple, in the Name of a Disciple, shall not lose his Reward. This is a small thing indeed, yet here is a great Return for this, when given to a right Object, and to a right End; and if he that gives, or ventures a Cup of cold Water, has such Returns, what shall he have that ventures his All, yea, his very Life?
5. And every one that hath forsaken Houses, or Brethren, or Sisters, or Father and Mother, or Wife, or Children, or Lands for my Name sake, shall receive an hundred fold, now at this time— and in the World to come Eternal Life. An hundred fold is a wonderful Return, as when a Man that ventures one Pound to Sea, to India, or to any other place, and receives a Hundred Pounds in lieu of it, 'tis a mighty Return; but this is more in Quantity, and better in Quality, and that in this Life; an Hundred fold here, and a Crown of Glory in the Life to come: Who would not Trade with such a Correspondent, or not enter into such a Calling? Will you not this Day become Spiritual Merchants? What do you say?
II. He will fill our Treasures, and that with Riches and Honors, yea, with durable Riches and Righteousness: That I may cause them that love me to inherit Substance, and I will fill their Treasures.
III. He hath promised to return Glory in Heaven, for Sufferings on Earth; For I reckon the Sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us: Let us weigh one against the other, and see what a vast difference there is:* For our light Afflictions that are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory.
But did I say these Returns are for what we venture? No, no; not for, but in venturing, in keeping Christ's Precepts, there is an exceeding great Reward: For all Returns are in a way of Free Grace, 'tis a Free Trade.
1. Without Money, and without Price, without Money or Monies worth. We Trade for nothing, receive nothing for what we had, or give for it as you have heard.
'Tis true, Buying denotes our parting with something that is our own, that we may have that we want: But what is ours which we must part with? Is it of any worth? We must (1.) Part with all our Sins, Evil Courses, Evil Habits, and old Companions. (2.) With our old Hopes of Heaven. (3.) Our own Righteousness in respect of Trust and Dependence: And what is that but filthy Rags? We have nothing to part with but cursed Filth and Pollution.
2. Sirs, whatsoever you have which is good, it is his own; Of thine own have we given thee, saith David. 'Tis true, we must give him the Glory of our External and Internal Riches; Gifts, Grace, Righteousness, but this is but to give him what is his own; If thou art Righteous,
what givest thou him? Or what receiveth he at thine Hand?
3. He gave us Grace from whence our Tears of Sorrow proceeded: Christ Reaps nothing but what he first Sowed; it was his Grace, His Spirit that broke our Hearts; it was his Spirit that created Faith, Love, Hope, Humility, &c. in us; we only Trade with Christ's Money.
Secondly, Christ makes sure Returns, certain Returns.
1. They that Sow in Tears, shall Reap in Joy. Again he saith, Your Labor shall not be in vain in the Lord.
2. Christ is our great Insurer, he keeps an Insuring Office in Heaven, and hath engaged his Faithfulness and Holiness to make us sure and certain Returns; you shall not go forth Weeping,* but he assures you that you shall return Rejoicing, and bring your Sheaves with you.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ makes quick Returns.
1. Nay, we sometimes meet with Returns (when 'tis in our Hearts to Trade with him) before we venture out in Trading; Before they call, I will answer; and whilst they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Object. But sometimes we do not presently receive what we ask of God in Christ's Name.
1 Ans. God answers us sometimes, though not in that manner, or in that thing we request of him, yet he gives us that which he sees is better for us.
2. He gives us always quickly, or right early, that is, when he sees the Fruit is ripe and good
for us, or in the proper Season; unripe Fruit is not good, 'tis hurtful you know.
3. When we are fit to receive the Mercy desired, and know how to improve it to his Glory and our Profit, then we shall have it; and would you have it sooner?
4. He may forbear sometimes to give us what we ask,* because we ask amiss, or to try our Faith, Love, Patience, &c. but God must be Judge, and not we, of what is best for us, and of the time when given to us also.
1. Bless Christ for the Covenant of Peace, upon the account it opens such a happy Trade, or procures for us such free access to God.
2. We infer that Sinners are woefully blind, that so few will study this Trade, they will not Trade to Heaven, nor deal in Spiritual Things.
(1.) Satan has blinded their Minds. And
(2.) The World is got into their Hearts; they are for present Things, for sensual Things, sensual Pleasures, Profits, Honors.
(3.) They know not the way how to Trade, Christ is the Way, but they know him not; they will Trade in forbidden Goods, even with their own Money, &c. They think by their Tears, by their Repentance, by their own Faith, Righteousness and Obedience, to procure all things they want, even both Justification, and Eternal Life.
3. Train up your Children in this Trade, labor to instruct them into the Knowledge of
Jesus Christ, bring them up in the Way that they should go.
4. This also reproves such that grow weary of this Holy Calling, or that decay, or waste their Stock, and grow poorer and poorer every Day. (1.) The Price of Heavenly Commodities are fallen in their Esteem, Prayer, Reading, Meditation, Christian Converse, Church Communion, Peace with God, and Peace of Conscience too is but of little worth now with them. (2.) Their Faith is low, their Love to Christ, his Truth and People is decayed, their heat of Zeal is gone. (3.) They are but little at Home, do not watch their own Hearts, or are more abroad to find faults in others, and spying the Moat that is in their Brother's Eye.
Quest. Can't Men Break, that follow this Trade?
Answ. False Traders, false Professors may; nay, will Break, and come to nothing. (1.) They Set up without a Stock; I mean, without true Saving Grace. (2.) They Trade with their own Money, or have Confidence in the Flesh, and trust in their own Strength, which had almost undone Peter. (3.) They are far in Debt, and see not the way of coming out; they do not see that all their Debts are paid by Jesus Christ. (4.) They Trade not alone in Christ's Name, nor are they strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus. (5.) They look one way and Row another, look Heavenward, but their Hearts are Earthly. (6.) They prize Earthly Riches above Heavenly Things; so
that 'tis no wonder if these Break, but no true Christian, I have proved, can ever Break, or be Undone.
5. Be exhorted to Trade for Heaven, and to buy of Christ; Buy of me Gold tried in the Fire, &c.—Buy the Truth and Sell it not: Do not only Cheapen his Wares, but resolve to buy: Do you not love Gold? O! Buy presently, you hear how, without Money: What, are all Things here free? And yet do you not like the Terms? Alas, Proud Man would fain pay for all he has, this Plague reigns amongst those of this Generation.
Directions to Trade to Heaven.
(1.) Trade with God by Christ, make use of this Blessed Correspondent, come to God by him, or you will get nothing, obtain nothing; Hitherto you have asked nothing in my Name; and therefore received no more.
(2.) Know and be assured, that by the Peace Christ has made, you may freely Trade and come to God, but be sure see, that 'tis in Faith you come to him, or you will never speed; plead the absolute Promises.
(3.) Observe the Motions of the Spirit, Mariners set out with the Wind and Tide, so must you, The Wind blows where it listeth: God's Spirit will not always strive with Men.
(4.) Mind the Exchange-time, Merchants will not fail here: O! see you do not neglect God's Public Worship; no, lose not one Opportunity, if it be possible; one Neglect in this case had almost ruined Thomas:
When Ministers Preach, you ought to hear; nay, you must hear.
(5.) Be sure you keep up Closet Prayer, much of this Spiritual Trade lies in this Duty; also you must labor to pray in Faith, and also fervently, cold Prayers will never prevail with God.
(6.) Keep up your Acquaintance with Jesus Christ, you that are Believers see to this; and you that are Sinners see that you get Union with him, Acquaint thy self with him, and be at Peace, thereby good shall come to thee; without Union there can be no Communion with Christ: Brethren, here is great Complaint of Badness of Trade, may be 'tis a Judgment, because this Trade is slighted, or so much neglected: O! remember this is your general Calling, and it must have the perferance, whatever business is neglected, this must not: How did God blast the Jews in Trading, because his House lay waste? They minded not this Trade. Also know the more you venture the greater Returns you will have, the more you do or suffer for Christ, the greater your Reward of Grace will be; They that turn many to Righteousness, shall shine as the Stars for evermore: There are no doubt degrees of Glory in Heaven.
Quest. Who are Rich Traders, Rich Christians?
Answ. All Believers are rich, yet some are richer than others, richer in Faith, Love, and Holiness than others.
(1.) They that can Trust most, are rich Dealers, the Poor you know can't Trust, they live upon their Labor, so some too much fetch their Comforts
from their liveliness in Duties, and lively Frames, or from their own Labor, but this is not to live by Faith, but such are rich that can Trust, or Believe, though they with Thomas see and feel not. (2.) Such that are rich live high, they keep a Noble Table; I mean, eat the fat and drink the sweet of the Ordinances and of the Promises; and also they dwell above, they dwell on high, or enjoy Blessed Communion with the Father and the Son. (3.) They that are Spiritually poor, poor in their own Eyes, are rich; I know thy Poverty, but thou art Rich. (4.) Such that are more Heavenly than others, are the richest Saints. (5.) Such that are most rich in good Works. (6.) Such that can best bear Burdens, when Taxes or Burdens are laid on poor Men, they can't bear them, but the Rich can. (7.) Commonly the Rich are envied; so Satan and wicked Men envy such Christians that are most rich, Thieves seldom beset a poor Man's House; the more thou art tempted, O Soul! the greater sign it is that thou art rich. (8.) Rich Men feed others, they feed the Poor; so such that are rich in Grace, and Experiences, feed other Christians; The Lips of the Righteous feed many. (9.) The Rich are better clothed and adorned than others; so rich Believers are more Holy, more Humble, Meek and Lowly than others are: But I cannot enlarge on these Things, but must leave what I have said to the Blessing of God.
Opening the Nature of the Peace made by
virtue of this Covenant.
ISA. Liv. x.
Neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord
that hath mercy on thee.
I AM this Day to conclude with this great Subject: The last Thing I told you, that I should do, was to open the Nature of that Peace, which is made by virtue of this Covenant: The Method I shall take in speaking unto this, shall be,
First, To give you a short Summary Account of what we have said, as to what is requisite to this Peace with God, &c.
Secondly, Show you the Nature of this Peace.
Thirdly, Apply the whole we have said on this Subject.
First, I have showed you that Jesus Christ alone,* is the great Peacemaker between God and Man.
I. You have heard that we can have no Peace with God, until he is Reconciled, and this Christ has done; God in Christ is Reconciled, his Justice is satisfied, and his Wrath by Christ's Obedience and Sacrifice is appeased.
II. Sinners must also (we have showed you) be Reconciled to God; We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye Reconciled to God.
Though Sinners Peace may be made with God, by Jesus Christ, yet that Peace may not be accepted of by them, or they may not be reconciled to him; true, we have proved that Jesus Christ undertook to do both these for all God's Elect; (as hath again and again been hinted.)
1. You have heard that Christ died on the Cross, so making Peace by satisfying Divine Justice.
2. He also, as our Blessed High-Priest, sprinkles that Blood upon our Consciences, I mean, applies the virtue of it to our Souls: By the first Act he removes all Obstacles out of God's way, and by the second he removes all Obstacles out of the Sinner's way; so that the Reconciliation becomes Mutual.
Now that which is requisite on the Sinner's part, in order to Peace and Reconciliation to God.
1. Is that his Eyes be opened to see his wretched State and Condition by Nature, i. e. that he is a Sinner, an Enemy to God, a Rebel; yea, a Cursed and Condemned Creature in the first Adam— Yet,
2. That God in Christ is well pleased (or as I have shown) is reconciled by his Wrath-appeasing Sacrifice, as the Way, Means, or Meritorious Cause thereof; and that that Enmity which is naturally in the Sinner's Heart, must be removed also.
3. He must believe, or come to Christ, resting alone upon him for Justification, Pardon, Peace, and Eternal Life; being convinced there is no other way to obtain these Blessings but by him only.
4. And the Grace of God being thus poured forth upon the Soul by the Spirit, Faith is wrought in him to look to Jesus Christ; and so seeing and admiring the rich Bounty, Pardon, and Unwordable Clemency of his offended and provoked Sovereign, this works Repentance, or Godly Sorrow for Sin in every such Person; by which means he mourns, and is more or less in great bitterness of Spirit, in beholding how hateful Sin is to God, and also what Sorrows his Sins brought upon his Blessed Savior.
Hence, it is called, A mourning for him, Zech. 12.10. For saith the Soul, now I see that my Sins Crucified my dear Lord, and let out his Hearts Blood; and thus was my Peace made.
5. Upon this the Believing and Sin-loathing Sinner resolves to lay down his Arms, and never any more to fight against God. Shall I (saith he) thus receive a Free Pardon of all my by-past Treasons, Sins, and Rebellion against my most Gracious Sovereign, refuse to lay down my Arms?—Shall I continue in Sin, because Grace has abounded, God forbid? Brethren, if Grace be infused into the Sinner's Heart, it will Teach him to deny all ungodliness, and Worldly Lusts: And not only to deny it, to leave it, but also to loath it; it changes the Mind: yet Repentance is not the Condition
of Peace with God, but an effect of it, or of Christ's Merit, a Broken Heart being one Promise in the Covenant.
6. A Sinner hath not, cannot, have actual interest in the Blessings of this Covenant, or have Peace in his own Soul, without Union with Christ, which is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and Faith of the Operation of God first of all, whereby it is, that the Soul is transplanted out of the first Adam, that dead stock into the second Adam that quickening Spirit. Moreover, know that the Real and Relative Change is at one and the same time; and certainly all that deny that there is a Change of State, as well as a Change of Heart, err exceedingly.
(1.) Because the Word of God positively declares, That by Nature the Elect are Children of Wrath, as well as others; therefore more than under Wrath in their own Conscience; for in their own Consciences they may not apprehend they are the Children of Wrath before they believe;) Faith also must be somewhat more than an Evidence, the Soul having that in its actual possession, which it had not before.
(2.) Because they that believe, God says, Are passed from Death to Life; that is, from a State of Death and Condemnation, into a State of Life and Justification: See Joh. 5.24. 1 Joh. 3.14.
(3.) Because the Holy Spirit in Convictions, represents the state of an Elect Sinner to himself, to be before Grace wretched and miserable, who is a true and faithful Witness, and cannot lie. Brethren, as the first Adam, and all
in him were Condemned by the pronunciation of the Sentence of the Holy God in Paradise; so the second Adam, or all his, or all in him, are for ever Justified: And as whilst we remain in the first Adam, his first Sin is imputed to us, so not till we are in Christ is his Righteousness to our actual and personal Justification imputed to us, though I grant Federally and Representatively in Christ it was imputed before to all the Elect; yet 'tis through the reception of Grace, or the infusion of the Spirit, whereby Faith is wrought, that the Soul receives the Atonement, and comes actually possessed with the Blessing of Peace; The God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace in believing—There is no Peace to the Wicked, saith my God: And this because they have not an actual Interest in Christ—Where the Spirit of Christ is, there is liberty, and therefore Peace, and in none else.—
7. And thus the Sinner is brought to God, (and comes to be taken into the Covenant of Grace) the which the Spirit doth renew and confirm in his Baptism, Rom. 6.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. and which is further renewed and confirmed to him in the Holy Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, which is a Sign or Pledge of the New Covenant, in or by Christ's Blood. Hence called, The New Covenant in his Blood.
8. Moreover let it be noted, That a Man may be in a State of Grace and Peace, and yet not know it; all that have Faith, or do believe, do not know they have Faith, or believe, but have Doubts about it, 1 Joh. 5.13. all enjoy
not what they have in possession; therefore true Faith, as to the Essence thereof, cannot be a simple Evidence to the Soul of what it hath, nor a full Persuasion that Christ is mine and I am his; for if so, then he that has not this Evidence, or Assurance, is no true Believer, or if he lose it, he loses the very Essence of Faith, and so ceases to be a Believer. Moreover, it would then follow, that there are no weak Believers, or Babes in Christ, for every Babe must be a Strong Man, were it thus: For is not he a strong Christian that has a clear Evidence of his Justification, and a full assurance of Eternal Life?
9. There is no steady and full Enjoyment of this Spiritual Peace, without keeping up and maintaining a War against Sin; also this War is maintained by every Faculty; the whole Soul being united in carrying it on, and also against every Sin. Moreover it is a War in which the Soul by the Spirit prevails; Sin shall not have Dominion over you, &c. 'Tis a resolute War, or carried on with uttermost Revenge against Sin, and likewise always, even to the end of our Days; and if called to it, to resist unto Blood, striving against Sin. All, my Brethren, that have Peace with God, or are Reconciled to him, are at War with Sin, Satan, and the World, resolving never to be Reconciled to these Enemies, or be at Peace with one Sin whilst they live.
10. Our Peace, as to the degree of it, as in our selves is, and will be according to that degree or measure of our Faith we have, a
weak and doubting Believer, hath but little Peace in his own Conscience, he being too subject to ground his Peace on his good and lively Frame, or to judge of his Justification by the degrees of his Sanctification, or inherent Holiness, though the State of the weakest Christian, is as safe as the strongest, yet he has not that Peace and Comfort others have. But no more as to this,
Secondly, I shall open the Nature of this Peace.
1. It is Peace with God, the Mighty God, God is hereby become our Friend, all Enmity or Wrath in God against the Soul is gone for ever, and all Enmity that was in the Soul against God, is removed or taken away also, there being a Mutual Peace and Reconciliation; I do not say God can no more be offended with the Soul, but if he be, yet he will not be provoked to Wrath, or to let out his against such a Person any more for ever.
2. All the acting’s of God towards his People, are in Love, though the poor Believer, perhaps, cannot see it thus, but fears the contrary: My Brethren, God receives us into his entire Affections, and lets out his Love and Bowels towards us, and acts always towards us as a tender Father to his Children.
3 We hereby enter actually into a League with God, God takes the Soul into an everlasting Covenant of Peace, and the Soul also takes God to be his God in the same Everlasting Covenant, as you have heard, which Covenant all the Powers of Hell and Darkness can never
break or violate, the Peace and Union with Christ in this Covenant, is indissolvable; The Covenant of my Peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord: Though we may sin, yet God will blot them all out, Sin, nor Satan, nor the World, nor Life, nor Death, neither any thing else can separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; their Sins and Iniquities I will remember no more: All the Attributes of God are for us, and no Accusation of Satan, can provoke God against us, so as to become our Enemy: True, Sin or Satan may spoil the sensible Peace and Comfort of our Souls, but they cannot spoil our Peace with God, or break our Union.
4. It is Soul-Peace, Spiritual Peace: O! how great, how sweet, and precious is that Peace? Earthly Peace, National Peace, Congregational Peace, and Family Peace are good and to be prized: But what is any kind of Peace to true Spiritual Soul Peace? As no Trouble, no Sorrow is like Soul-Trouble, so no Peace is to be compared to Soul-Peace; Great Peace have they that love thy Law, and nothing shall offend them.
5. Such have Peace also with the Holy Angels; the Angels of God are at Peace with them that God is at Peace with, they are hereby become our Friends, and take our part, and fight for us, and against the Devil our grand Enemy; they War against the Evil Angels, who hate and envy us; And they Minister unto them that shall be Heirs of Salvation; nay, the Angels of God encamp round about them that fear
him. They also War against our external Enemies: yea, against all Gods Enemies, and our Enemies, and fight for our Friends.
6. 'Tis such a Peace that reconciles a Man to himself: Before a Man's Heart was divided, one Faculty was set against another, the understanding, perhaps, was enlightened, and the Will opposed the understanding, also Conscience perhaps terrified the Man, because he sinned against the Light and Dictates thereof; a Man's Judgment, (like Balaam's may declare for God, and cry out; How goodly are thy Tents,* O Jacob? And thy Tabernacles, O Israel?) But his Love and Affections may run out after the Wages of unrighteousness, as Balaam's did: A Man before Grace Wars against himself, but Grace unites all the Faculties of the Soul, and sets them all against Sin, and on God's side; all inward Tumults now cease, nothing is a greater sign of true Conversion, my Brethren, than this; i. e. when the whole Heart is united to God and Godliness.
7. It is a wonderful, or inconceivable Peace; it passed all Understanding;* The Peace of God that passed all understanding, shall keep your Hearts and Minds through Christ Jesus. This may not simply refer to Peace of Conscience, but to that Peace made with God by Jesus Christ, we cannot conceive of the Excellent Nature thereof; nay, that which is received and inwardly enjoyed, is inexpressible at some times; Nothing shall offend such who possess it —It is called Joy, unspeakable, and full of Glory.
8. It is perfect Peace; Thou wilt keep him in perfect Peace, whose Mind is stayed upon thee, because he trusteth in thee. It is the same as to its Nature, with that Peace the Saints possess in Heaven, it is Heavenly Peace.
9. It is Peace joined with Joy in the Holy Ghost: It is thus when this Peace rules in the Heart, or a Believer possesses it in the highest Decree.
10. It is a Peace that opens a Blessed Trade to Heaven: Hereby as you have heard we have free access to the Father, Heaven is opened, by this Peace, and Christ's Treasures of Grace and Glory are free to all Believers, to all Spiritual Merchants, and Holy Traders; but you must set out with full Sails of Faith, and with a sweet Gale of the Spirit, and then you will return well freighted, your Ship shall be leaden with the rich Merchandise of Heaven, being filled with Peace, Joy, and Consolation.
11. It is a Peace that opens the way to Communion with God: Hereby we come to have the Honour to walk with God, as Enoch did Three Hundred Years;* Can two walk together except they are agreed? Can they friendly converse, and have Communion together until then? No, surely: Hereby we also come to dwell with God and Jesus Christ;* nay, and to sit with Christ in Heavenly Places; Christ and Believers daily visit one another, yea, and God opens hereby his Secrets to us, and we have also the Sweet Kisses of Christ's Mouth, and are Embraced by him, and lie as it were in his Bosom. Moreover, God is hereby become our Refuge, our
Defence, our Protector, our Guard, and only Safety in the Day of Trouble.
12. It is that great Legacy Christ bequeathed to all his Disciple; My Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give to you, &c. 'Tis Peace the World knows not of, can neither give it, nor take it away.
13. 'Tis Everlasting Peace, Peace like a River, and it will abide to Eternal Ages; nay, and it will increase and be much greater, but never cease, read my Text.
14. To Sum up all: All sorts of Peace are comprehended in this Peace. (1.) Peace with God. (2.) Peace of Conscience. (3.) Peace with Angels. (4.) Peace with your selves. (5.) Peace with Saints, (Jews and Gentiles by this Peace were made both one) that is, all the Elect among them. (6.) Congregational Peace, Christ purchased this Peace, and requires us to possess it: Have Salt in your selves, and be at Peace one with another: And O how lovely a thing is this. (7.) Family Peace, relative Peace; before Grace, may be the Husband and Wife lived in War with each other; and the Parents and Children, and Masters and Servants, might quarrel with one another, but Grace reconciles all together in Love. True, Christ says, He came not to bring Peace, but a Sword; that is, he foresaw this would be the effect of his coming, and where he is received and one is Converted, and the other not, the Unconverted raises oftentimes War, but when that Person is changed, and has Peace with God, that War ceases also. (8.) National and External
Peace is comprehended in this Peace likewise; all Nations shall have Peace, as the Effect of the Covenant of Peace; yea, and all the Saints shall be united together in Love, and sweet Concord, and though this is not yet fulfilled yet, Christ's Kingdom is at the Door, and it will be a Peaceable Kingdom, the Church shall then have outward and inward Peace like a River; He will also make Wars to cease, to the Ends of the Earth—Of his Government and Peace there shall be no end—And they shall beat their Swords into Plow-shares, and their Spears into Pruning Hooks.
Nation shall not lift up Sword against Nation, neither shall they learn War any more. O be ready! Look out, for those happy Days are very nigh. Read the Words after my Text, Vers. 13, 14, 15. And all thy Children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the Peace of thy Children, vers. 13. In Righteousness shalt thou be established, and thou shalt be far from Oppression; thou shalt not fear, and from Terror, for it shall not come near thee, vers. 14 Compare this with Isa. 66.10, 11, 12, 13. I will extend Peace to her like a River, and the Glory of the Gentiles like a flowing Stream. Brethren, Babylon must fall before these Prophesies are fulfilled: O cry therefore to God to hasten his Judgments upon that Bloody Whore, that Scion’s Glory and Peace may be manifested, and all Sightings and Sorrow fly away: And then these Words shall be fulfilled, viz. And the Work of Righteousness shall be Peace, and the Effects of Righteousness, Quietness, and Assurance for ever; and my People
shall dwell in a Peaceable Habitation, and in sure Dwellings, and in quiet resting Places, Isa. 32.17, 18.
I. From hence we may infer, that there is a great Mystery in Reconciliation, yea, and we may well stand and admire the Wisdom and Goodness of God, in respect of that Peace we receive in and by Jesus Christ.
II. We may infer also from hence, that God the Father is the principal Author and Spring of this Reconciliation, or way of our Peace; he was the Contriver, and first Mover in those Acts, whereby the first Foundation-Stone was laid; God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself—All things are of God, &c. that is, of God the Father, and through Jesus Christ, &c. It is to raise his Glory, as well as the Glory of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit; therefore let him primarily have the Honour of our Peace and Salvation. O how did Love and Bowels move towards us in the Heart of God the Father from everlasting?
III. Exhort. Also be exhorted to prize and highly esteem of the Lord Jesus Christ, from what you have heard concerning the Covenant; because Christ is the Sum of the Covenant; I will give thee for a Covenant to the People.
1. Christ is originally and fundamentally the Covenant, saith a Worthy Writer, he is the Original Root, out of which this Covenant
sprang, and he is the Foundation upon which it is grounded;*Behold, I say, in Zion, for a Foundation, a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious corner Stone, a sure Foundation, &c.
God fixt his Eye on Christ, and entered into Covenant with him, he is the Foundation Stone of this Covenant; had there not been a Mediator found, there had been no Covenant of Peace ever made, nor any Redemption for poor Sinners.
2. When it was first revealed, it was expressed by his Person, viz. The Seed of the Woman, nothing else is mentioned there, yet this contains the first Revelation of this Covenant to Fallen Man: And what was the Covenant of Grace as revealed to Abraham, but Jesus Christ; In thy Seed shall all the Kindreds of the Earth be Blessed. Thus Christ is represented as the Sum of the Covenant.
3. Christ is the Covenant primarily (as the same Author notes) and by Propriety; As Fire is hot for it self, and all things hot for it, and by participation: With Christ the Covenant was made as the chief Party; with Believers it was made in Subordination to him; with him it was made at first Hand, with us at second Hand.
Now, Brethren, this certainly is true, therefore all Promises were made first to Christ, and first fulfilled to him, and all Acts of God's Love terminate first upon him, and come to us through him, Who has made us accepted in the Beloved: Had not God's Love been fixt first on him as Mediator, it had never run out to us; all Blessings-Blessings
are in him; Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus. Christ, as our Head, is the Repository, or Seat of all Divine Blessings. Christ is the Jewel, the Riches, or the Sum of all things in the Covenant, as Life, Righteousness, Pardon, Peace, &c. And he that receives this Jewel, receives all things with him. From hence he is compared to a Cluster of Camphire.
4. Jesus Christ (saith the same Author) is the Covenant eminently, because he is the chief Blessing of the Covenant; there is not such another Promise in all the Bundle of Promises contained in the Covenant; If thou knowest the Gift of God, &c.
Christ is the Gift of God; yet certainly our Author forgot that God the Father, and the Holy Ghost are given as well as Christ in the Covenant; but when Christ is given, God the Father and the Holy Spirit is given; He that has the Son, has the Father also: All other things in the Covenant are (saith he) but as the Garnish of this Jewel.
5. Christ is the Covenant virtually, he is the just value of all the Bargain; he is of as much worth, as all that is promised: If you would know the worth of the Covenant, consider the worth of Jesus Christ. Moreover, my Brethren, they that have Christ, have all that is promised in the Covenant.
6. Jesus Christ purchased all that good which is in the Covenant; when we say, God
is our God, we must say, he is our God in Christ, or by Christ, or through his Redemption and Procurement.
7. Christ is the Covenant comprehensively, or summarily; he is the very Compound or Abridgment of the Covenant; he is the whole Covenant by way of Stipulation on our part, &c.
8. Jesus Christ is the only way of Conveyance of all Covenant Blessings, through whom we receive all we need, or that is Communicated unto us. Moreover, the Tender of the Covenant, and Interest in it, is contained in the free Tender of Christ, and Interest in him: Get Christ, be but in Christ, and thou art in the Covenant. Sirs, when God gives Christ to a Sinner, the whole Covenant is performed to that Person, and he that receives not Jesus Christ, shall never have one saving Benefit or Blessing thereof. And thus may Christ be called the Covenant—But
IV. From hence also we may infer the wonderful worth that there is in the Blood of Christ—It is not only precious Blood in respect had unto his Person whose Blood it is, viz. the Eternal Son of God; but also in respect of that Atonement it hath made, and that Wrath it has appeased, and that Peace it has procured, and in regard of those Infinite Blessings and Privileges it hath merited for us, and that precious Soul it Sanctifies. O prize this Blood! What will become of them that contemn and slight this Blood—and the Virtue and Efficacy that is in it? Or account
it as the Blood of another Man, or as an unholy and unprofitable thing, it had been better for such if they had never been Born.
V. We may moreover from hence see the absolute necessity there is of the Work and Office of the Holy Spirit, in order to the Application of the Blood of the Covenant, and all Covenant Blessings unto us: The Holy Ghost deserves (my Brethren) equal Glory with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit must plant Grace in our Hearts, or be a Vital Principle in the Soul; it is he which infuses sacred Habits, from whence all Vital Acts proceed; by the Spirit we come to have the root of the matter in us, from whence all Spiritual Fruit flows; 'tis the Spirit that draws us to Christ, that unites our Souls to him, without it the Death of Christ profits no Man, it is he which sprinkles his Blood on our Consciences. O let our Mediations swim in the unlimited Ocean of Love and Divine Goodness, and magnify all the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.
VI. We may furthermore learn from hence to see what absolute necessity there is of the Revelation of this Mystery through the Word or Holy Gospel, what signifies all Natural Religion, doth naturally light in Man, discover any thing of our Redemption and Reconciliation by Jesus Christ: And from hence let us be moved to abhor those New and Cursed Notions, which at this Day so much prevail, which tend to raze the very Foundation of the true Christian Religion; for such
that contemn all revealed Religion, contemn the Christian Religion. From hence also
VII. We may perceive the Necessity of True and Saving Faith, and likewise the Excellency thereof; no Man is possessed of this Peace that has not the Faith of God's Elect.
He that believeth not, is Condemned already— and shall be Damned, unless he believes in Jesus Christ: Also you may hereby see what a strong ground here is for our Faith and Comfort. From hence also we may see the Cause why the Holy Angels pry into this Mystery; this Love and Grace of God to Mankind, they bow down to look into these things, yea, look with admiration; And shall not we admire it, who are more especially concerned herein?
IX. Sinners be exhorted (from the Considerations of the whole) to labor and strive to receive Jesus Christ—(And let such of you who think and hope you have received him, try your selves by what you have heard;) O, be exhorted to know in this your Day the things which belong to your Peace, before they are hid from your Eyes, Luke 19.42.
X. Believers, see that you labor after a strong Faith in Christ, and in the Covenant; for the measure of your Peace, will be according to the measure and degree of your Faith. O get a great Faith, and then your Peace will not be little, but like a River, yea, wonderfully abound in you.
XI. Tryal. Let all that hear me this Day, try themselves, examine themselves, whether they have Peace with God, or not? Take a few Rules to try your selves.
1. Are you at War with Sin?* Is Sin cast out of your Love and Affections? Is there an unreconcilable opposition made in you against all Sin? And as it is Sin, do you loath and hate it, because it is hateful to God, and hath exposed your Blessed Savior to so much Pain, Shame, Sorrow and Suffering, even to let out his most Precious Blood?
2. Do you mourn for Sin, because it caused such Cursed Enmity in your Hearts against God, causing your Souls to rebel against him, yea, to hate and despise him in your Hearts?
3. Are you reconciled to the Ways of God, even to the strictest Acts and Duties of Holiness? Do you love the Word of God because of its Purity?
4. Do you love all the People of God, and are you Reconciled to those, (who may in many things differ from you?) Do you pray for them, and hate all Bitterness; and forbear all Reproachful Language and Sensorious Reflections? Dare any reproach and speak against their Father's Children? Thou sitest and speakest against thy Brother, and slandrest thine own Mothers Son. It is thy deliberate Practice and Business (as if God should say) thus to do: 'Tis to be feared, that such are not at Peace with God, that are not at Peace with all the Children of God:* He that saith he is in the Light, and hateth his Brother, is in Darkness until now— We know that we are passed from Death unto Life, because we love the Brethren; he that loveth not his Brother abided in Death. Therefore let such tremble
that are not at Peace with all those who have Peace with God.
5. Do you mourn for such whom you love, even for your Brethren, your Kinsfolk, your Neighbors that are not yet Reconciled unto him? See Rom. 9.1, 2.
6. Do you Love, Esteem, and highly Respect and Honour the Ambassadors of Peace, and cannot endure to hear them reviled and unjustly slandered and spoken against?
7. Have you Peace in your own Consciences, and Peace in your Families? And do you live peaceably in the Church of God? And also strive as much as in you is, to be at Peace with all Men?
8. Do you long for the Peace of Jerusalem, and pray for her Peace, for that Peace which is promised to her in the last Days?
Christ hath purchased Universal Peace for his Church; not only internal Peace, but external Peace also, not only Peace within, but Peace without; not only Peace with God, but Peace with Men also, and the Day is near he will give his People Entire and Universal Peace.
Caution. Let none mistake me in any thing I have delivered in any of these Sermons about God's being Reconciled in Christ, &c. so as to think he is at Peace, Reconciled, and well pleased with the Elect, whilst they remain in a State of Enmity against him, being vile and notorious Sinners: God can't but hate Sin wherever it is, and loath the unrenewed. Sinner, when he looks upon them as
in the first Adam, or as in their Filthiness, for as such he hates and loathes them, but as he looks upon any Persons in Christ, so he loves them, and is at Peace, and well pleased with them; God sees not as Man sees, for he sees a Man Condemned and Justified at one and the same time; nay, as being in this World, and yet as being in the World to come, but whatever sight of Things, or of Persons God hath, or how we are looked upon and Justified in his sight in Christ, is one thing, and what the State of Persons are (or what Things and Persons may be said to be) as they actually are, or when they actually exist, (or in a proper Sense and Acceptation) is another thing; for it is ridiculous to say, That a Man in a proper Sense is actually or personally Condemned and Justified, Dead and yet Alive at one and the same time, or is in the first Adam, and yet in the second, or in a State of Wrath, and yet in a State of Grace, at one and the same moment: Nay, and dangerous it is for any to say, that a wicked Man whilst he is so, is an Object of God's Delight, or that such a Person is actually Justified, and that God is at Peace, and well pleased with him, it being so directly contrary to the Testimony of God's Word, and the Witness of the Divine Spirit. The Sum therefore of what I say and mean is this: When I say God in Christ is Reconciled to Sinners, viz. God having chosen his Elect in Christ from Eternity, was Reconciled to them in him as the Way and Means of the Procurement of their Peace, or of their Recovery out
of the Fall, or out of their lapsed State foreseen by him; but to say he was actually reconciled to them, personally considered from Eternity, or from the Death of Christ, seems absurd and improper: For how could he be said to be Reconciled to this or that Person, before that Person had any personal Existences, or Being; or if they had a Being, yet were Enemies to him, and loathsome Wretches, and under his denounced Wrath, and Curse, and in which State they remain before they are actually united to Christ, or are effectually called—Yet take notice that that which actually reconciles the Holy God to us is Christ's Satisfaction alone, to which there can be no Addition made by any Collateral Work wrought in us, and done by us. We should therefore distinguish between a Federal, a Virtual, and a Representative union, and Justification, and an Actual union, and Personal Justification. For from hence, perhaps, the Mistake may arise: The Scripture every where declared, that God is an Enemy, or an Adversary to all Unconverted Persons; nay, and that he hates all the Workers of Iniquity, and Ministers declare and preach the same thing, and the Holy Ghost in Convictions represents the State of the Soul to be deplorable before effectual Calling: There is it is evident a Relative Change, passing on the Soul by the Spirit, as well as a Real Change.
Consolation. In the last place (and to close with all I shall say) What ground of Comfort and Consolation to Believers is here?
1. Your Sins are fully and for ever expiated, When he had by himself purged our Sins, sate down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on high; that is, he hath removed the Guilt, Stain, and Punishment of Sin by his Satisfaction and Merits, so as God may be Just as well as Gracious in Pardoning and Justifying of us that believe in Jesus.
2. All Accusations of Sin, the Law, Satan, and our own Consciences, shall be silenced and answered by the Intercession of Christ: He doth and will out-plead them all.
3. All your Wants shall be richly supplied, all your Graces strengthened, and all your Enemies are and shall be Overcome, Conquered, and Vanquished for ever.
4. You are brought to God, and Reconciled to him in his own way, in a sure way; Comfort ye my People, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,* And cry unto her that her Warfare is accomplished, and her Iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's Hands double for all her Sins. War is for ever ceased betwixt God and you, and as God has received by Christ double Satisfaction (as it were, For where Sin abounded, Grace hath much more abounded:) So you have and shall receive hereby double at his Hands, viz. not only a Discharge from Sin and Wrath in Hell, but also Eternal Life and Glory in Heaven.
5. All your Afflictions (and whatsoever else) shall work together for your good.
6. You stand firmer, and more sure in His Covenant, than Adam stood in Paradise before he fell.
1. Your Peace is increasing, The Path of the Just is as a shining Light that shines more and more to the perfect Day: And not only your Personal Peace, or Peace of your Souls, but the Peace of all God's Israel also. O how great will that Peace be in the latter Days, when God delivers his People from all their external Enemies, and Troubles, and also unites them altogether to serve him with one consent.
2. You shall have Peace not only while you live, but also when you die; Mark the Perfect Man, behold the upright, the latter End of that Man is Peace—He shall enter into Peace, they shall rest in their Beds, &c.
3. You shall be found in Peace at the Great Day, when the Lord Jesus shall appear; Be diligent, that ye may he found of him in Peace, without spot and blameless: That is, give diligence to make it evident to your own Consciences, that you are in Christ, or are sincere Christians, that so the Peace of God may rule in your Hearts by the Holy Ghost.
4. Lastly, None can deprive you of this Peace and Joy, or take it away from you; Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give unto you, not as the World gives give I unto you: Let not your Hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid—Your Hearts shall rejoice, and your Joy no Man takes from you.
Therefore be of good cheer, for though you have many things that trouble you, and Satan may greatly disquiet your Minds, yet lift up your Heads and Hearts—My Brethren, I shall conclude all with the words of the Apostle; The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your Feet shortly: The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.