« AnteriorContinuar »
containing a disposition of the benefits of the covenant, in favour of poor finners, Gen. ïïi. 15. and typically went in under that weight of wrath, which was pressing down all : and so he
established the earth again. In this form it was, that they of the first ages of the world had the testament. But it was repeated and renewed to Abraham, to whom the promises were made, Gal. iii. 16. comprehended under the name of the covenants or testaments of promise, Eph. ii. 12. As also to Ifrael in the wilderness, whom Moses sprinkled with blood, saying, This is the blood of the testament, Heb. ix. 19, 20. And this was Christ's old teftament, upon which all that believed, from Adam to Christ, built their faith, and hope of obraining the legacies left therein ; though it was upwards of four thousand years, from the first making of the testament, unto the death of the Teftator, by which the new testament was confirmed.
Now, the Apostle faith, that a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth, Heb. ix. 17. Was Christ's testament then of no force all that time? Yea, it was of force; and that by means of a pre• confirmation, being confirmed before, Gal. iii. 17. The confirmation of a testament, in the sense of the holy Scripture, is by the death of the testator, as the Apostle, in the forecited text, teacherh the Hebrews. And in scripture-reckoning, there was a twofold death of the Testator here : one typical, a• nother real. In respect of the former of these, Christ was the Lamb Nain from the foundation of the world, Rom. xiii. 8. having died typically in the facrifices then offered, Gen. iii. 21. and thereafter all along under the Old Testament. And by that death of the Testator, was the pre-confirmation of the testament: so that from the day it was first made, it was of force, for the legatees obtaining the legacies therein
be. copy wherein
bequeathed; forasmuch as it was then also confirmed. Wherefore the Apostle obferves, that, in full confiftency with that known maxim anent teftaments, Heb. ix. 17. above cited. Neither the first testament was dedicated without blood, verfe 18. What the Apostle means by the dedication of the testament will be plain, if it is considered, that what our verfion of the Bible calls dedication, is, in the scriptureuse of words fo rendered therein, nothing else but an entering on, or a first, or new using of a person, or thing, to what they were designed for: infomuch that the very dedication of the temple was no more but that, as appears by comparing 2 Chron. v. 13. Chap. vi. and vii. 1. with 4, 5. Wherefore, by the dedication of the testament, must be meant the legatees beginning to claim and obtain their legacies, upon the testament. And this, the Apostle faith, was not done without the testament's being confirm: ed by blood, or death: the which, though really the blood or death of beasts facrificed, yet, according to the Apostle's reasoning, were reckoned the blood or death of the Testator, they being sacrificed as types of him.
And hence it appears, that whatever have been the different circumstances wherewith the testament in different periods hath been vested; the Old and New Testament, nuncupative and written, are for substance but the One Testament of Jesus Christ the fame yesterday, and to day, and for ever, Heb. xiii. 8. having the same force and effect for full remission of fin and eternal falvation, legacies claimed an obtained by faith, in virtue of the testament, Acts xv. 11. Rom. iv. 13.: only, what was first declared by word of mouth; the fame was thereafter written. The legacies at first bequeathed in general comprehensive terms, were afterward particularly nominated: and in the New Testament they are more clearJy expressed than in the Old. The former was a
copy of the testament, fitted for the time before the Teftator really died; the latter, fitted for all times thereafter, to the end of the world ; and therefore no other copy is to be accepted after it.
Secondly, It is to be inquired, Who are the legatees, the parties in whofe favour the testament was made, and who may, in the method of the tela. ment,
claim and obtain the legacies therein bequeath. ed? Christ's making his teftament being the founda, mental act of his administration of the covenant, as we have already seen; the legatees in the testament must needs be the same as the objects of his adminiftration of the covenant, that is to say, Sinners of mankind indefinitely: for if Christ is authorised by the Father to administer the covenant to mankind. finners indefinitely: and hath accordingly made his testament for that effect, surely none can be except ed out of the testament, that are not excepted out of his administration. Therefore the apostle lays down, for the foundation of faith to those who had even imbrued their hands in the blood of the Lord of glory, their interest in the promise, Acts ii. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. To whomsoever then the gospel comes, we may warrantably say, the promise is to you, and to you,
you; even the promise of the testament: and ye have access to claim it by faith, as your own legacy, your own mercy, Jonas ii. 8. And all the arguments aduced on the head of the object of Christ's administration, which need not to be repeated herę, do prove this.
And it is most agreeable to the nature of the thing. In Christ's testament, the legatees are not expressed by their names, as in testaments where the teftator hath his children and friends about him, to whom he leaves his legacies: but it is here as in the cale,
every one of
wherein some of the children or friends of the testator are not come into the world at the time of the making of the testament; who must therefore have their legacies left to them under fome general designation. Multitudes, multitudes of Christ's legatees were not born when he died ; and multitudes of them have not to this day feen the sun : nay, when Christ first made his testament, there were but two persons in the world. Therefore the legatees have been expressed in it under a general designation, as those of such a family. Now, this general designa. tion of the legatees in Christ's testament, is not actual believers, that is such as have already believed: for actual believing is the legatees claiming of the legacies left them, whereby they are put in possession thereof; the which claim mult of necessity have a foundation in the testament prior unto it. And indeed the testament is the ground of faith. Therefore it was inade before there was one actual believ. er in the world, being made in Paradife, and there recited in the hearing of our guilty first parents, who upon the hearing of it, Gen. iii. 15. believed, and fo were put in possession of their legacies. And thus will it be to the end of the world : faith will come by hearing of the testament, Rom. X. 17. Gal. iii. 2.
Neither is it the elect: for howbeit in them only is the testament effectual, yet it is not to them only the legacies are left; they are not the only persons in whose favour the testament was made. For election being a secret not to be known by us, until once we believe, cannot be the ground and warrant of believing, or embracing the testament, and claiming the legacies. Besides, at that rare unbelievers continuing so to the end, could not be juftly reckoned refusers and fighters of Christ's testament, as having no portion nor concern in it, more than fallen angels. But the general designation of the legatees in Christ's testament, is mankind-finners in
definitely: to those of the family. of Adam are the legacies left, to be claimed and possessed of them by faith : Prov. viii. 4. Unto
men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. Rev. xxii. 17. Whofoever will, let him take the water of life freely. John iv. 37. Him that cometh to me, I will in ne wise cast out.
Put the case, that a rich man should, for the love and favour he bears to a particular family, leave his substance to them by testament, to be divided among them: in this case it is evident, that however numerous that family be, all and every one of them are this man's legatees, howbeit their names are not particularly expressed in the testament; and they need no more to clear their claim, eacı to his share of the legacy, but that they are of that family. And upon the executor's making lawful intimation to that family, that, such a testament being made in favour of them, they come, claim, and get their legacies, in the method of the testament: it is manifest, that all of them, who accordingly come and make their claim, as members of that family, wili obtain a Thare of the legacy: but in case there be any of them, who will not come and make any claim thereto, they will justly lose the benefit thereof, and may die of want for all the legacy that was left to them in that testament. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made such a restament: the lost family of Adam, is the family constitute his legatees: and the gospel is the lawful intimation made to them, to come to the executor and receive their legacies All that believe get the legacy: all unbelievers lose it, and perish under the want thereof; and they perish without all excuse. They cannot pretend, that there was nothing left them by the. Testator ; which is the tale of the fal. len angels : nor yet, that it was not intimate unto them ; which is the case of those that never heard the gospel. But they perish, because, howbeit there