Imagens da página

Having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And them also he saw among others, gone away from their pasture, wandering as waifs and strays, a prey to every devourer; but, in order to their being fought out, and returned, and kept in safety for ever, the new covenant was entered into with another shepherd, even our Lord Jesus Chrift: and they are put under his hand, as the shepherd of Israel. In Adam's representation in the covenant of works, the party represented was considered as an upright seed, Eccles. vii. 29.: bur in Christ's reprefentation in the covenant of grace, the party represented was conddered as a corrupt sinful mass, , laden with guilt, under the wrath of God and curse of the law. And who would have represented such a company, putting himself in their room and stead ? But free love engaged our Lord Jesus to it. So the holy One of God represented wretched sinners; the beloved of the Father represented the cursed company.

2. They were considered also as utterly unable to help themselves, in whole or in part; as being with qut strength, Rom. v. 6. They were debtors, but quite unable to pay off one farthing of the debt: they were criminals, but quite unable to bear their own punishment, to the satisfaction of justice: had it lain on them to have paid the debt, or born the punishment, they behoved to have funk under the load for ever. So it was necessary they should have one to represent them, raking burden on him for them all.

3. Lastly, They were considered withal as the objects of eternal, sovereign, and free love, given to Christ by his Father. The Father loved them, John xvii. 23. and therefore gave them to Christ, verse 6. The Son loved them, Eph. v. 2. ; and accepting of the gift, represented them in the covenant, as a fa. ther his own children, Isa. ix. 6. His name Mall be called-The everlasting Father. Compare Heb. ii. 13. Behold, I, and the children which God hath given me,


It was owing to his free love, and mere good pleasure, that they, and not others in the same condemnation, by the breach of the first covenant, were re. presented and contracted for by Jesus Christ, in the second; that their names were put in the eternal contract, while the names of others were left out. They were his Father's choice, and his own choice; so he became their representative.

From what is said concerning the party represented and contracted for, we make the following inferences. | Inf. 1. There is a sovereign freedom of the love of God appearing in the second covenant, the covenant of grace. And it appears especially in two things. (1.) In that there was a love towards fallen man, and not towards fallen angels, Tit. iii. 4. whereby it came to pass, that men, and not devils, were taken hold of, represented and contracted for by Jesus Christ, in the covenant, Heb. ii. 16. Doubtless he could have contracted for the one, as well as for the other : but sovereignty passed by fallen angels, and caught hold of men ; howbeit the former were, in their own nature, the more worthy and excellent creatures. But in all the dispensation of grace, there is no respect to creature-worth ; all is owing to the mere good pleasure of God, who hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. (2.) It appears in that there was an electing love of men; whereby it came to pass, that some men, and not all men, were represented and contracted for in the covenant. All men were a. like by nature ; and there was nothing in one more than in another, to recommend him; but free love pitched on objects altogether unlovely; and fovereign love pitches on some such objects, passing by others of the same condition; Even fo, Father, for so it seemed good in thy fight, Matth. xi. 26. The vetřels of honour, and vessels of dishonour, are both made of the fame sinful lump: a mystery that must be


resolved into fovereign will and pleasure, Rom. ix.

21, Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? But fay not, that this disparageth the federal representation of the second Adam, that he represented only some of mankind, whereas the first Adam represented all mankind. For as it is more to be surety for a vast sum, for one man who neither hath, nor can have any thing at all where. withal to pay his debt, than to be surety for a hundred fuch as have abundance of their own; so it was more for Jesus Christ to contract and undertake for one finner, than for Adam to contract for a righ. And itill it holds true, that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, Rom. v. 20. for it is more by far to save one, than to ruin many. Mean while, those represented by Christ in the fecond covenant, are a great multitude, which no man could number, Rev. vii. 9. even as the stars of hea. ven, Gen. xv. 5. Rom. iv. 18

Inf. 2. There is no universal redemption, nor universal atonement. Jesus Christ died not for all and every individual person of mankind; but for the elect only. The contrary doctrine may consist with the opinion which holds the covenant of redemption, and the covenant of grace, to be two distinct covenants; the former made with Christ, and the latter with believers; the condition of the one undertaken and performed by him, the condition of the other undertaken and performed by us. Accordingly that opinion concerning the covenant, is readily embraced by Universalists of different denominations. But that doctrine is utterly inconsistent with this account of the covenant, which doth at once overthrow universal redemption or atonement, together with the federal conditionality of our holiness and good works, in the covenant of grace. For if the covenant of grace Avas made with Christ as a representative, and the elect

only only were the party represented by him in it; then surely the conditions of the covenant, his doing and dying were accomplished for them only; and he died for no other: As when one hath entered into a bond of süretyship, his payment of that bond can never be reckoned a payment of their debt, whose names were not in the bond, and whom he was not surety for.

Inf. 3. and last. Whoever they be that reject the covenant of grace offered to them in the gospel, and fo perish; all God's elect shall infallibly be entered personally into it, and be saved. Likeas all those whom Adam represented in the covenant of works, have been, are, or shall be brought personally into that covenant, and sin and death pass, upon them, Rom. v. 12.; even so all those whom Christ reprefented in the covenant of grace, have been, are, or thall be brought personally into this covenant, and partake of righteousness and life, verse 18, 19. Our Lord Jesus has fulfilled the conditions of the covenant for them whom he represented; and it would neither be suitable to the justice of God, nor to the wisdom of Christ the party contracting with him, that he sould represent, contract, and fulfil the conditions, for any who shall never enjoy the benefit of the contract. Wherefore, since there are who, by a purpose of God that cannot be frustrated, shall without peradventure, be brought personally into this covenant; and ye who hear the gospel, having the means for compassing that end used towards you, do stand as fair for it as any ; this may encourage you to come to Christ, and take hold of the covenant. Bestir yourselves therefore, o finners, to take hold of the covenant of grace, which is offered to you in the gospel ; and come ye to Christ by faith, thereby winding yourselves personally into the bond of this covenant, and the communion thereof.

OBJECTION. But I fear I am none of those whom Christ represented in the covenant of grace; how then can I take hold of it by believing? ANSWER. Though your name were the first name that the Lamb wrote down in his book of life; yet you nor no man can know, that it is there at all, until that you have by believing taken hold of the covenant. 2 Pet. i. 10. Make your calling and election sure ; but first your calling, and then your election. And, on the other hand, though you were a monster of all manner of wickedness, and had all the desperate marks of a caft-away about you, except that one only, the sin against the holy Ghost, you nor no man can know that you were not represented in the covenant: Matth. xii. 31. All manner of sin and blaf phemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Wherefore that matter is an absolute secret to you, which, in this case, you are not to meddle to determine in : for the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed, belong unto us, Deut. xxix. 29. Neither does your warrant to believe, and to lay hold on the covenant, any manner of way depend on it: for the reprobate have as good and fair a revealed warrant to believe, and take hold of the covenant of grace as the elect have, else they could not be condemned for unbe. Jief, and not taking hold of the covenant. Be what you' will, since you are certainly a sinner of mankind, your warrant is uncontestable, according to the word : For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life, John iii. 16. This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, 1 John iii. 23. Wherefore believe ye, and take hold of the covenant for yourselves ; so shall you know your election, and your representation in the covenánt, by the effects thereof. This difficulty cast in the way of a finner sensible



« AnteriorContinuar »