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lemnity of the themselves srace, for
would I discourage any serious souls, from taking hold of God's covenant of grace, for eternal life and falvation to themselves, with all the awful fo. lemnity of the most. express words, yea and of writing and subscribing it with their hands: which is commonly called perfonal covenanting. But I would have all to beware of a practical corrupting, of the covenant of grace, by making covenants of their own, upon such and such terms, which they will fulfil for life and salvation. The carnal Jews mistaking the design of the giving of the law, did fo corrupt the covenant of grace: looking for life and salvation, not for the sake of the promisect feed alone, but for their obedience, such as it was, to the moral and ceremonial laws. And thus many, thinking that eternal salvation is proposed to them, in the word, upon the condition of faith,' repent : ance, and sincere obedience to God's law, do consent to these terms, and solemnly undertake to perforin them; just binding themselves to such and such duties, that God may save their souls : and so they make their covenant. And while they can persuade then.. selves, that they perform their part of the covenant, they look' for life and salvation thereupon. This doth quite overturn the nature of the covenant of grace ; for to him that worketh, the reward'ij het reckoned of grace, but of debt, Rom. iv. 4. and if it be of works, then it is no more grace, chap. xi. 6. , : The finfulness of this practice is great, as overlooking Christ, the great undertaker and party contractor by the appointment of the Father; and putting themselves in his room, to do and work for them. . selves for life. And the danger of ic must needs be great, as laying a foundation to bear the weight,... of cheir falvation, which divine wisdom faw to be quite unable to bear it. The issue whereof must be, that such covenanters, Sall lie down in forrow. So the apostle determines, Gal, V. 4. Cbrift is become
of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Our part then, in this case, is only to take hold of God's covenant made already, and offered and ex. hibited to us in the gospel. This hold is taken by faith; which is, in fcripture-account, the hand of the soul, John i. 22. So the original expression plainly carries it, Isa. Ivi. 4, 6. That fasten in my covenant. In which phraseology, the correlate word hand (ex. pressed Gen. xxi. 18.) is understood; 9.d. That faften [their hand] in my covenant; that is to say, “ Who " by the hand of faith take fast hold of my covenant;" as Adonijah did of the horns of the altar, í Kingsi. 50. wherein the same manner of the expression is used. And this you do, by taking hold of Christ in the free promise of the gospel; believing that he is held forth to you in particular, confiding and trusting in him as your Saviour, for your salvation from fin and - wrath, upon the ground of God's faithfulness in the
promife, that whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life, for he is given for a covenant to you, Isa. xlix. 8.; and to receive him, is to believe on his name, John i. 12. .
This is our making a covenant with God by sacri. fice, which is mentioned, Pfalm. 1. 5. The original expression is, That cut my covenant upon a sacrifice; namely, by laying their hands in faith on the head of the facrifice, thereupon cut down in their stead : and so ceremonially transferring their guilt on the facrifice; but really and spiritually, approving of the device of salvation by a crucified Saviour, and falling in with it as the method of salvation for them. In this way of covenanting, the free grace of the covenant is preserved pure and entire; for to him that worketh not, hut believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness, Rom. iv. 5. Here the honour of sole undertaker and party contractor in the covenant, is according to the
spiritualed saviouot for the the
Father's appointment, left to Christ the one that is mighty, Psalm lxxxix 19. Here the second Adam builds the temple, without our laying one stone therein in our own persons ; even as the first Adam laid it in ruins, without our pulling down of one None of it in our persons : and Christ bears the personal glory of the reparation, even as Adam the personal blame of the ruin, Zech. vi. 13. And at this rate, the soul doth in time, for her own part, give her solemn' approbation of the covenant made from eternity, and a personal consent to what Christ from everlasting consented to in her name ; even as the princess married by proxy in her childhood, ratifies all when she is come to age, by receiving her husband. Likeas all Adam's children, as such, taking salvation to heart, and therefore covenanting with God, do in effect repeat the covenant of works made with Adam their representative; so all the sea cond Adam's seed, as such, taking salvation to heart, and therefore covenanting with God, do in effect repeat the covenant of grace made with Christ their representative. In the making of the covenant be. fore the world began, the Father proposed to Christ as second Adam, their head and representative, that he should take burden upon him for them, and be their Kinsman-redeemer, their surety for their debt of punishment and duty, and their priest; and Christ consented thereto from eternity. Amen, for my part, says the elect sout in time, in the covenanting day: it is infinitely well ordered : I am a lost finner, a debtor to divine justice, a guilty creature ; he is, with my whole heart and soul, My Kinsman-redeemer, My Surety, My Priest : my part of the punishment incurred, and of the duty owing, is a vast and exceeding great part of that debt; but my soul is well content of, and rests in that method of paying it : 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, (Heb. He hath put to me an
everlasting covenant )--this is all my salvation, and all my defire. The Father said to Christ as their representative, for thy so doing and suffering, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Amen, said Christ from eternity ; Allmine are thine, John xvij. 10. Amen, for my part, says the elect soul in the tinie of personal covenanting. This heart of mine must have some God, I must belong to one or other; and too long have I been for another : but now, timber of the house, and stones of the wall, bear witness, my soul is content with, consents to, and rests in this method of disposing of me; name. ly that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be my God in Christ, and I one of his people from henceforth and for ever.
This manner of covenanting is inconsistent with a purpose or desire of continuing in sin: even as one's conimitting himself for cure into the hands of a physician who cures infallibly, is inconsistent with a desire to keep his disease hanging about him. Christ being made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor i. 30. it neceslarily carries along with it, a taking of Christ for a Prophet, and a King, and Lord unto us; as such a one doth necessarily yield himself to the physician's management. In it one joins himself to Christ as his covenant head, who also is the administrator of the covenant; and fo subjects himself to his teaching and government. And it is such a way of covenansing, as 110 profane perfon, nor hypocrite, continuing fo, e, ver did or can fall in with. For (1.) it speaks a heart content to part with all fin, well pleased with Christ's whole salvation, whereof the principle part is to save his people from their fins, Matth. i. 21.; whereas un: found covenanters are always offended with some one thing or other in Christ, chap. xi. 6. (2.) It speaks
a sou] carried out of all confidence in itself, its own - working and doing for life and salvation, and bote
falle fatis is at others Pation, nor in hi ho hath
tomed only upon Christ's doing and suffering for that end. And thus, such a covenanter, being poor in Spirit, Matth. v. 3. and rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no confidence in the flesh, Philip. iii. 3. is distinguished from the presumptuous hypocrite, whose confidence for life and salvation is ever upon his own doing and working, either in whole or in part; as also from the despairing unbeliever, who hath no confidence, neither in Christ, nor in himself, that he shall have life and salvation, however he may be.' lieve firmly that others shall. So this faith, this covenanting, is quite another thing, than either the false faith of the presumptuous profane, and presumptuous hypocrite, or the no-faith of the desperate, or the wavering doubter, who can never fix in greater or lesser measure of confidence in Christ, for salvation to himself: James i. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth, is like a wave of the fea, driven with the wind, and toled. Verse 7. For let not that man think that he Thall receive any thing of the Lord.
If any think this to be an easy way of believing or covenanting, either they mistake it, or they try it not. To believe upon some ground we see in ourselves, is very natural; but to believe merely upon a
ground in another, namely, 'righteousness in Chrift, · and faithfulness in God, while all in ourselves tends to make us despair, is above the reach of nature. A conscience thoroughly awakened, will convince a sinner, that it is a matter of greatest difficulty.
Inf. 2. Justifying faith, though it receives Christ' in all his offices as Prophet, Priest, and King; yet as it enters us personally into the covenant, and justifies, it eyes him in his priestly office particularly ; namely, as the great High-priest, who hath made atonement for sin, by the sacrifice of him.self; as the Surety who undertook and completed the payment of the debt of punishment and duty; and as the KinfE 4 :