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. 13. - 18. 225 12. On this distinction between Christ personal and Christ mystical, a name they have given the whole body of Christians united under him their head, many learn-' ed men conclude positively, that it is in this last fense, and not the other common one, that the Apostle says, that one feed was Christ. And thus they very ingeniously make him say, that though Abraham had many children, the promise was only to his fpiritual seed, such as are his children by, faith: and of these there are not two feeds, one by the law, and another by the gospel; but, as he says, verf. 28. they are all one in Christ: which they think best anfwers his views in this place.
But besides what was already observed of the plain construction of the Apostle's words as they stand, he appears to havę had another view, of at least as great moment, and which is either loft or greatly . obscured in this construction; namely, that in the whole affair of redemption, from the beginning to the completement of it, Christ so stands between God and the body of Christians in the quality of me- diator, or great priest-interceffor, that they can have no dealings with God, nor God
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with them, and particularly that they can receive no blessing from God, but through his hands. By him he made the worlds in the first creation, and the government of it is upon his shoulders; all power in heaven and earth, and all judgement, are committed to him. How then can it be otherwise in the new creation? To him the grant and promise of the blessing was given : he performs the terms on which it proceeded, by his obedience to the death :' the fullness of the blessing is lodged in his hand, with absolute powers to raise the dead, and to quicken whom he will: in one word, he stands at the head of mankind in relation to the spiritual and eternal world, in all respects but the event, as the first man, who the Apostle says was his figure, did with respect to this earthly perishing one. “ He has the so words of eternal life;" and in his right only it is to be had, and held by faith in him; that work of God, by which only the righteousness of God can be had. .
Could we make out distinctly, and with certainty, the right meaning of the Apostle's words verf. 17. which stands thus in our translation, The covenant confirmed before of
iii. 13. - 18. 227 God in Chrift, the point would be fully cleared. We have said enough before of the covenant. The Apostle puts it beyond dispute, that it was the promise made to Abraham, and his one feed, who, he says, was Christ. On this he founds what he fays here, These promises were confirmed. The word expresses the strongest security, as comprehending everything necessary to give the fullest force and authority. And it could not be otherwise, when God was the ratifier,whose single word gives all the firmness that can be imagined: for our Lord has told us, that “heaven “ and earth may pass away; but the least “jot or tittle of his word cannot, until “ the whole be fulfilled,” Matth. v. 18. But there was still a greater solemnity, indeed the greatest that can be imagined, which we find the Apostle applying to this very purpose, Heb. vi. 17. 18. that he confirmed it by an oath, as we find it, Gen. xxii. 16. The fame Apostle makes use of another word, Heb. viii. 6. speaking of that didahun, of which Christ, the Great Priest, is the mediator and surety, that it was established on better promises. But the word he uses is peculiarly significant, viz. that the bet
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ter promises he speaks of were put into such an authoritative form, as to have all the force of a law, so as the grant might be pleaded, and must be sustained in the highest court before the great judge.
The place the Apostle assigns to Christ in this folemn ratification is somewhat doubtful, as the sense of the particle is by which he expresses it, which may be rendered either in, as our translators do, or to him. The last is rather the most natural, and seems to be greatly favoured by what he had just said of the promises being made to him as the one feed; and thus sets forth to us that solemn transaction we have so often had recourse to; as indeed it is what one may call the key to the system of grace; namely, the Father's appointing the kingdom to his beloved Son, Luke xxii. 29. And thus the deed is completely finished; the right and property is, and from the time (if we may call it time) that the grant was made, has been in his hands; nay, and the blessing itself, eternal life, in the utmost extent of it. And thus our translators sense of the particle eis comes in, and unites with the other, the promises are confirmed in Christ, i. e. as the
Apostle says, they are in him yea, and in “him amen.”
And hence the justness and strength of the Apostle's reasoning appears with great evidence. The law could not reduce or disannul an unalterable deed, ratified in such an express and folemn manner, as left no power in heaven or earth the least permission to alter any the least point of it. And thus his conclusion comes out fully proved, that as God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise, the law could not put it on any other footing. His words are strong to the purpose. The word he uses does not signify simple giving, that may be done in a conditional way, which might put it on the fame bottom with a law, with promises annexed to the duties injoined. But the word signifies giving freely, and of mere love and favour; which leaves nothing to the person in whose favour the gift is made, but to receive it with gratitude and thankfulness. And thus it stood then, after the law was given; and thus it stands still, and will stand to the end of the world, after all the attempts have been made, to substitute a law or covenant of man's devising in its room.