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“ law of the spirit of life," or the covenant of grace,
" hath made me free from the law of fun and death,” or covenant of works. 4. That the fountain and first ground, from whence our freedom from the curse of the law doth flow, is the covenant of redemption, past betwixt God and God the Son as incärnate, wherein Christ takes the curse of the law upon him for sin, that the believer, who could not otherwise be delivered from the covenant of works, may be delivered from it. And this doctrine the Apostle holdeth forth in these four branches: (1.) That it was utterly impoffible for the law, or the covenant of works, to bring righteousness and life to a sinner, because it was weak. (2.) That this weakness and inability of the law, or covenant of works, is not the fault of the law, but the fault of sinful flesh, which is neither able to pay the penalty of sin, nor to give perfect obedience to the law, (presuppose bygone sins were forgiven:) “The law was weak,” faith he, “through the flesh.” (3.) That the righteousness and salvation of finners, which was impoflible to be brought about by the law, is brought to pass by sending God's own Son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, in whose fesh sin is condemned and punished, for making satisfaction in the behalf of the elect, that they might be set free. (4.) That, by his means, the law loseth nothing, because the righteousness of the law is best fulfilled this way: first, by Christ's giving perfect active obedience in our name unto it in all things : next, by his paying in our name the penalty
(due to our fins) in his death: And lastly, by luis working of sancti fication in us, who are true believers, who ftrive to give new obedi
ence unto the law, and “ walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
TO BELIEV E.
OR building our confidence upon this folid ground, these four warrants and special motives to believe in Chrift
serve. The first whereof is God's hearty invitation, holden forth, If. lv. 1. 2. 3:,4. 5.
Ho, every one that thirfieth, come se to the waters, and he that bath no money ; come je, buy and eat, jea, come, buy evine and milk without money, and without price. Vers. 2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread and gour labour for that which fatisficth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your foul delight itself in fatness. Verf. 3. Incline your ear, and come unto me : hear, and your foul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Verf. 4. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people, &c.
Here (after setting down the precious ransom of our redemption by the sufferings of Christ, and the rich blessings purchased to us thereby, in the two former chapters) the Lord, in this chapter,
1. Maketh open offer of Christ and his grace, by proclamation of a free and gracious market of righteousness and salvation, to be had through Christ to every soul, without exception, that truly desires to be saved from sin and wrath: “ Ho, every one that thirsteth,” faith he.
2. He inviteth all finners, that for any reason stand at distance with God, to come and take from him riches of grace, running in Christ as a river, to wash away sin, and to locken wrath: “ Come ye to the waters,” saith he.
any should stand aback, in the sense of his own sinfulness or unworthiness, and inability to do any good, the Lord calleth upon such persons in special, saying, “ He that hath no money, come.”
4. He craveth no more of his merchant, but that he be pleased with the wares offered, which are grace, and more grace; and that he heartily confent unto, and embrace this offer of grace, that fo he inay close a bargain, and a formal covenant with God; « Come, buy “ without money,” faith he, “come, eat:" That is, consent to have, and take unto you all saving graces; make the wares your own, possels them, and make use of all blessings in Chrift; whatsoever maketh for your fpiritual life and comfort, use and enjoy it freely, without paying any thing for it: “Come, buy wine and milk with out money,
and without price,” faith he. 5. Because the Lord knoweth how much we are inclined to feek righteousness and life by our own performances and satisfaction, to have righteousness and life as it were by the way of works; and how loth we are to embrace Christ Jesus, and to take life by way of free grace through Jesus Chrift, upon the terms whereupon it is offered to us: Therefore the Lord lovingly calls us off this our crooked and unhappy way, with a gentle and timeous admonition, giving us to understand, that we Thall but lose our labour in this our way: " Wherefore do ye spend your money (faith he) for that which is “ not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?"
6. The Lord promiseth to us folid fatisfaction, in the way of betaking ourselves unto the grace of Christ, even true contentment, and fulness of spiritual pleasure, saying, “ Hearken diligently unto “ me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your foul delight itself « in fatness.”
7. use faith cometh by hearing, he calleth for audience unto the explication of the offer, and calleth for þelieving of, and listening unto the truth, which is able to beget the application of faving faith, and to draw the soul to trust in God: “Incline your ear, and “ come unto me,” faith he. To which end, the Lord-promises, that this offer being received, shall quicken the dead sinner; and that, upon the welcoming of this offer, he will close the covenant of grace with the man that fhall consent unto it, even an indissolvable covenant of perpetual reconciliation and peace : “Hearken, and your “ fou shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you." Which covenant, he declareth, shall be in substance the affignation
, and the making over, of all the saving graces which David (who is Jesus Christ, Acts xiii. 34.) hath bought for us in the covenant of res
demption: “I will make a covenant with you,” faith he, " the sure mercies of David. By sure mercies, he means saving graces, such as are righteoufness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, adoption, fanctification, and glorification, and whatsoever belongs to godliness and life eternal.
8. To confirm and affure us of the real grant of these faving mer. cies, and to persuade us of the reality of the covenant betwixt God and the believer of this word, the Father hath made a fourfold gift of his eternal and only begotten Son :
First, To be incarnate and born for our fake, of the feed of David his type ; for which cause he is called here, and Acts xiii. 34. DAVID, the true and everlasting King of Ifrael. This is the great gift of God to man, Jolin iv. 10. And here, I have given him to be David, or born of David, to the people.
Secondly, He hath made a gift of Christ to be a witness to the people, both of the sure and saving mercies granted to the redeemed in the covenant of redemption; and also of the Father's willingness and pupose to apply them, and to make them fast in the covenant of reconciliation, made with such as embrace the offer: “I “ have given him ” (faith the Lord here).“ to be a witness to the
people.” And truly he is a sufficient witness in this inatter, in many respects : 1/1, Because he is one of the blefled Trinity, and party-contracter for us, in the covenant of redemption, before the world was. 2dly, He is by office, as Mediator, the Meslenger of the covenant, and hath gotten commission to reveal it. 3dly, He began actually to reveal it in Paradise, where he promised, that the feed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. 4thly, He set forth his own death and sufferings, and the great benefits that should come thereby to us, in the types and figures of facrifices and ceremonies before his coming. 5thly, He gave more and more light about this co+ venant, speaking by his Spirit, from age to age, in the holy Prophets. 6thly, He came himself, in the fulness of time, and did bear witness of all things belonging to this covenant, and of God's willing mind to take believers into it ; partly by uniting our nature in one person with the divine nature ; partly by preaching the good tidings of the covenant with his own mouth; partly by paying the price of redemption on the cross; and partly by dealing still with the people, from the beginning to this day, to draw in, and to hold in the redeemed in this covenant.
Thirdly, God hath made a gift of Christ, as a leader to the people, to bring us through all difficulties, all afflictions and temptations, unto life, by this covenant: And he it is, and no other, who doth indeed lead his own unto the covenant ; and, in the covenant, all the way on unto falvation : 1. By the direction of his word and Spirit. 2. By the example of his own life, in faith and obedience, even to the death of the cross. 3. By his powerful working, bearing his redeemed ones in his arms, and causing them to lean on him, while they go up through the wilderness.
Fourthly, God hath made a gift of Christ unto his people, as a com, mander : which office he faithfully exerciseh, by giving to his kirk
and people, laws and ordinances, pastors and governors, and all neceffary officers ; by keeping courts and assemblies among them, to see that his laws be obeyed ; subduing, by his word, Spirit, and discip. fine, his peoples corruptions; and, by his wisdom and power, guard. ing them against all their enemies whatsoever.
Hence he who hath closed bargain with God, may strengthen his faith, by reasoning after this manner :
" Whosoever doth heartily receive the offer of free grace, made “ here to finners, thirsting for righteousness and falvation ; unto “ him, by an everlasting covenant, belongeth Chrift, the true David, “ with all his fure and laving mercies.
“ But I (inay the weak believer fay) do heartily receive the offer “ of free grace made here to finners, thirsting for righteousness and 46 salvation.
“ Therefore unto me, by an everlafingcovenant, belongeth Christ “ Jefus, with all his fure and saving mercies."
The second warrant and special mctive to embrace Christ, and be.
lieve in him, is the ecrnest request that God maketh to us to be reconciled to him in Chrift, holden forth, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20, 21.
God was in Chrift, reconciling the world unto him?!, not imputing their trespalles unto them ; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliati. on. Verf. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Chrisi, as though God did befeech zou by us : we pray you in Chrifi's Read, be je reconciled # God.' Verl. 21. For he hath made him to be fin for 1., who knew no fim; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Wherein the Apostle teacheth us these nine doctrines: • First, That the elect world, or world of redeemed fouls, are by nature in the eftate of enmity against God: This is presupposed in the word reconciliation ; for reconciliation, or renewing of friendship, cannot be, except betwixt those that have been at enmity.
Second, That in all the time bypast, since the fall of Adam, Chrift Jesus, the eternal Son of God, as Mediator, and the Father in him, hath been about the making friendship (by his word and Spirit) hetwixt himself and the elect world : “God,” faith he, i reconciling the world to himself.”
Third, That the way of reconciliation was in all ages one and the fame in fubftance, viz. by forgiving the fins of them, who do acknowledge their fins and their enmity against God, and do seek re
. conciliation and remission of sins in Chrift: “ For God,” faith he, “ was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” by way of “ not “ imputing their trespalles unto them.”
Fourth, That the end and scope of the gospel, and whole word of God, is threefold: 1. It ferveth to make people sensible of their fins
, and of their enmity against Cod, and of their danger, if they flould Itand out, and not fear God's difpleasure. 2. The word of God ferveth to inake men acquainted with the course which God hath pres pared for making friendship with them through Christ, viz. That if men thall ácknowledge the enmity and fhall be content to enter into
a' covenant of friendship with God, through Chrift, then God will be content to be reconciled with them freely. 3. The word of God serveth to teach men how to carry themselves towards God, as friends, after they are reconciled to him, viz. to be loth to sin against him, and to trive heartily to obey his commandments: and therefore the word of God here is called the word of reconciliation, because it teacheth us what need we have of reconciliation, and how to make it, and how to keep the reconciliation or friendfhip, being made with God through Chrift.
Fifth, That albeit the hearing, believing, and obeying of this word, doth belong to all thofe to whom this goipel doth come ; yet the office of preaching of it, with authority, belongeth to none, but to fuch only as God doth call to his ministry, and fendeth out with commiffion for this work. This the Apostle holdeth forth, verf. 19. in these words, “ He hath committed to us the word of reconciliation."
Sixth, That the ministers of the gospel fhould behave themfelves as Christ's messengers, and should closely follow their conımission set down in the word, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20..and, when they do fo, they should be received by the people as Ambafiadors from God; for here the Apostle, in all their names, faith,“ We are Ambassadors for “ Christ, as though God did befeech you by us."
Seventh, That ministers, in all earneftnefs of affections, should deal with people to acknowledge their fitis, and their natural enmity against God, more and more seriously; and to confent to the covenant of grace and embalage of Christ more and more heartily; and to evidence more and more clearly their reconciliation, by a holy carriage before God. This he holdeth forth, when he faith, “ We
pray you be reconciled to God.”
Eight, That in the ministers affectionate dealing with the people, the people fhould consider that they have to do with God and Chrift, requesting'them, by the ministers, to be reconciled : Now, there canó not be a greater inducement to break a fumer's hard heart, than God's making a request to him for friendship; for when it became us, who have done so many wrongs to God, to seek friendship of God, he preventeth us: and (o wonder of wonders !) he requesteth is to be content to be reconciled to him ; and therefore moft fearful wrath must abide them who do fet light by this request, and do not ield when they hear ministers with commifiion, faying, “ We are
ambaffadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Ninth, To inake it appear, how it cometh to pass that the coveant of reconciliation should be fo easily made up betwixt God and humble finner fleeing to Chriit, the Apostle leads us unto the cause
it, holden forth in the covenant of redemption, the sum whereof this : “ It is agreed betwixt God and the Mediator Jesus Chiist the Son of God, furety for the redeemed, as parties-contracters, that the fins of the redeemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, and he both condemned and put to death for them, upon this
very condition, that whosoever heartily confents unto the covenant of reconciliation offered through Chrift, shall, by the amputation of