Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

of the second covenant in his preface, concerning caring for the soul, fays he, “ This second covenant was made with Adam, and us in him, presently after the fall, and is briefly "contained in these words, Gen. iii. 15. where God declares, 16 • The feed of the woman Mall break the serpent's head;' 6 and this was made up, as the first was, of some mercies to “ be afforded by God, and some duties to be performed by

us." This is exceeding false divinity : for these words are not fpoken to Adam; they are directed only to the serpent. Adam and Eve ftood by as criminals, and God could not treat with them, because they had broken his covenant. And it is fo far from being a covenant wherein " fome mercies are to “be afforded by God, and some 'duties to be performed by us," that here is not a word looking that way; it is only a declaration of a free gift of falvation through Jesus Christ our LORD. God the Father and God the Son had entered into a covenant concerning the salvation of the elect from all eternity, wherein God the Father promised, That, if the Son would offer his soul a facrifice for fin, he should fee his feed. Now this is an open revelation of this secret covenant, and therefore God speaks in the moft positive terms, “ It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The first Adam, God had treated with before ; he proved false : God therefore, to fecure the second covenant from being broken, puts it into the hands of the second Adam, the LORD from heaven. Adam, after the fall, stood no longer as our reprefentative; he and Eve were only private persons, as we are, and were only to lay hold on the declaration of mercy contained in this promife by faith, (as they really did) and by that they were faved. I do not say but we are to believe and obey, if we are everlastingly faved. Faith and obedience are conditions, if we only mean that they in order go before our falvation; but I deny that these are proposed by God to Adam, or that God treats with him in this promise, as he did before the fall under the covenant of works. For how could that bey when Adam and Eve were now prisoners at the bar, without ftrength to perform any conditions at all? The truth is this: God, as a reward of CARIST's fufferings, promised to give the elect faith and repentance, in order to bring them to eternal life ; and both thes, and every thing else neceffary for their everlasting happiness, are infallibly secured to them in this promile; as Mr. Boston, an excellent Scots divine, clearly shews, in a book entitled, 66 A view of the covenant of “ grace.”

This is by no means an unnecessary distinction; it is a matter of great importance : for want of knowing this, people have been so long milled. They have been taught that they muít do so and so, as though they were under a covenant of works, and then for DOING this, they should be saved. Whereas, on the contrary, people should be taught, That the LORD JESUS was the second Adam, with whom the Father entered into covenant for fallen man; That they can now do nothing of or for themselves, and should therefore come to God, beseeching him to give them faith, by which they shall be enabled to lay hold on the righteousness of CHRIST ; and that faith they will then shew forth by their works, out of love and gratitude to the ever-blessed Jesus, their most glorious Redeemer, for what he has done for their souls. This is a consistent fcriptural scheme : without holding this, we must run into one of those two bad extremes ; I mean, Antinomianism on the one hand, or Arminianism on the other : from both which may the good Lord deliver us!

But to proceed : By the seed of the woman, we are here to understand the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who, though very God of very God, was, for us men and our salvation, to have a a body prepared for him by the Holy Ghost, and to be born of a woman who never knew man, and by his obedience and death make an atonement for man's transgression, and bring in an everlasting righteousness, work in them a new nature, and thereby bruise the serpent's head, i. e. destroy his power and dominion over them. By the serpent's seed, we are to une derstand the devil and all his children, who are permitted by God to tempt and lift his children. But, blefied be God, he can reach no further than our heel.

It is not to be doubted but Adam and Eve understood this promile in this fenfe ; for it is plain, in the latter part of the chapter, facrifices were instituted. From whence should those skins come, but from beasts Nain for sacrifice, of which God made them coats? We find Abel, as well as Cain, offering facrifice in the next chapter : and the Apostle tells us, he did it by faith, no doubt in this promise. And Eve, when Cain was born, said, “ I have gotten a man from the LORD;" or (as Mr. Henry observes, it may be rendered)," I have gotten a mans---the Lord, the promifed Messiah.” Some further suppose, that Eve was the firft believer; and therefore they tranDate it thus, ' The seed, (not of the, but) of this woman :" which magnifies the grace of God so much the more, that she, who was firft in the transgression, should be the first partaker of redemption. Adam believed also, and was saved for unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make coats of fking, and cloathed them : which was a remarkable type of their being clothed with the righteousness of our Lord Jesus CHRIST.

This promise was literally fulfilled in the person of our "Lord Jesus CHRIST. Satan bruised his heel, when he tempted him for forty days together in the wilderness: he bruised his heel, when he raised up strong persecution against him during the time of his public ministry : he in an especial manner bruised his heel, when our LORD complained, that his foul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and he sweat great drops of blood falling upon the ground, in the garden: He bruised his heel, when he put it into the heart of Judas to betray him : and he bruised him yet most of all, when his emissaries nailed him to an accurred tree, and our LOŘd' cried but, “ My God, my God, why haft thou forsaken me ?" Yet, in all this, the blessed JÉSUS; the feed of the woman, bruiled Satan's accursed head : for, in that he was tempted, he was able to succour those that are tempted. By his stripes we are healed. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. By dying, he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. He thereby spoiled principalities and powers, and made a few of them openly, triumphing over them uport the cross.

This promise has been fulfilled in the elect of God; confidered collectively, as well before, as since the coming of our Lord in the fielh: for they may be called, the feed of the woman. Marvel not, that all who will live godly in CHRIST Jesus, muft fuffer persecution. In this promise, there is an eternal enmity put between the feed of the woman, and the feed of the serpent ; so that those that are born after the flesh, cannot but perfecute those that are born after the spirit. This Vol. V. B

enmitý enmity thewed itself, soon after this promise was revealed, in Cain's bruising the heel of Abel : it continued in the church through all ages before CHRIST came in the flesh, as the history of the Bible, and the with chapter of the Hebrews, plainly fhew. It raged exceedingly after our Lord's afcenfion; witness the Acts of the Apostles, and the History of the Primitive Christians. It now rages, and will continue to rage and shew itself, in a greater or less degree, to the end of time. But let not this dismay us; for in all this, the feed of the woman is more than conqueror, and bruises the serpent's head. Thus the Israelites, the more they were oppressed, the more they increased. Thus it was with the Apostles; thus it was with their immediate followers. So that Tertullian compares the church in his time to a mowed field; the more frequently it is cut, the more it grows. The blood of the

martyrs was always the seed of the church. And I have often fat down with wonder and delight, and admired how God has made the very schemes which his enemies contrived, in order to binder, become the moft effectual means to propagate his gospel. The devil has had so little success in persecution, that if I did not know that he and his children, according to this verse, could not but perfecute, I should think he would count it his strength to fit still. What did he get by perfecuting the martyrs in Queen Mary's time? Was not the grace of God exceedingly glorified in their support? What did he get by perfecuting the good old Puritans? Did it not prove the peopling of New-England? Or, to come nearer our own times, what has he got by putting us out of the fynagogues?' Hath not the word of God, since that, mightily prevailed? My dear hearers, you must excuse me for enlarging on this head ; God fills my soul generally, when I come to this topic. I can fay with Luther, “ If it were not for per“ fecution, I should not understand the scripture." If Satan should be yet suffered to bruise my heel further, and his fervants Mould thrust me into prison, I doubt not, but even that would only tend to the more effectual bruifing of his head. I remember a saying of the then Lord Chancellor to the pious Bradford : “ Thou hast done more hurt, said he, by thy ex“ hortations in private in prison, than thou didft in preaching “ before thou waft put in,” or words to this effect. The promise of the text is my daily support; “I will put enmity be

tween

tween thy feed and her feed; it fhall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Further : this promise is also fulfilled, not only in the church in general, but in every individual believer in 'particular. In every believer there are two feeds, the seed of the woman, and the seed of the ferpent'; the Aesh lufting against the {pirit, and the spirit against the flesh. It is with the believer, when quickened with grace in his heart, as it was with Res bekab, when she had conceived Efau and Jacob in her womb; the felt a struggling, and began to be uneasy ; “ If it be so, fays she, why am I thus ?” Thus grace and nature ftruggle (if I may so speak) in the womb of a believer's heart : but, as it was there faid, “ The elder shall serve the younger ;” so it is here, --grace in the end shall get the better of nátúre the feed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. Many of you that have believed in CHRIST, perhaps may find some particular corruption yet strong, so strong, that you are sometimes Teady to cry out with David, I shall fall one day by the hand of Saul.But, fear not, the promise in the'text insures the perseverance and victory of believers over fin, Satan, death, and hell. What if indwelling corruption does yet' remain, and the seed of the serpent bruise your heel, in vexing and difturbing your righteous fouls? Fear not, though faint, yet purfue : you shall yet bruise the serpent's head. Christ hath died for you; and yet a little while, and he will send death to destroy the very being of fin in you. Which brings me

To lhew the most extensive manner in which the promise of the text shall be fulfilled, viz. at the final judgment, when the LORD Jesus shall present the elect to his Father, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, glorified both in body and foul,

Then Ihall the feed of the woman give the last and fatal blow, in bruising the serpent's head. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, and all his accursed seed, shall then be cast out, and never suffered to disturb the seed of the woman any more. Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, and fit with CHRIST on thrones in majesty on high.

Let us, therefore, not be weary of well-doing; for we shall reap an eternal harvest of comfort, if we faint not. Dare, dare, my dear brethren in CHRIST, to follow the Captain of your salyation, who was made perfect through sufferings. The

feed

[ocr errors]

B 2

« AnteriorContinuar »