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poor creature into covenant with himself. And especially will this be manifest, if we consider the ends of it, and why it is that God thus deals with man. Now these are no other than that man might serve him aright, be blessed by him, and be brought unto the everlasting enjoyment of him, all unto his glory. These are the ends of every covenant that God takes us into with himself. And these are the whole of man. No more is required of us in a way of duty; no more can be required by us to make us blessed and happy, but what is contained in them. That we might live to God, be accepted with him, and come to the eternal fruition of him, is the whole of man, all that we were made for, or are capable of; and these are the ends of every covenant that God makes with men; being all comprised in that solemn word, that'he will be their God, and they shall be his people.'
Secondly, This being the nature, this the end of a covenant, there must be some great and important cause, to change, alter, and abrogate a covenant once made and established, to lay aside one covenant, and to enter into another. And yet this the apostle says expressly that God had done, Heb. viii. 13. and proves it, because himself calls that which he promised a new covenant, which undeniably confirms · two things. First, That the other was become old; and secondly, That being become so, it was changed, altered, and removed. I know the apostle speaks immediately of the old administration of the covenant under the Old Testament of Mosaical institutions : but he doth so with reference unto that revival which in it was given to the first covenant made with Adam. For in the giving of the law, and the curse wherewith it was accompanied, which were immixed with that administration of the covenant, there was a solemn revival and representation of the first covenant, and its sanction, whereby it had life and power given it to keep the people in bondage all their days. And the end of the abolition or taking away of the legal administration of the covenant, was merely to take out of God's dealing with his people, all use and remembrance of the first covenant. As was said therefore, to take away, disannul, and change a covenant so made, ratified, and established betwixt God and man, is a matter that must be resolved into some cogent,
important, and indispensable cause. And this will the more evidently appear, if we consider,
1. In general, that the first covenant was good, holy, righteous, and equal. It was such as became God to make, and was every way the happiness of the creature to accept of. We need no other argument to prove it holy and good, than this, that God made it. It was the effect of infinite holiness, wisdom, righteousness, goodness, and grace. And therefore in itself was it every way perfect ; for so are all the works of God. Besides, it was such as man, when through his own fault he cannot obtain any good by it, and must perish everlastingly by virtue of the curse of it; yet cannot but subscribe unto its righteousness and holiness. The law was the rule of it, therein is the tenor of it contained. Now, saith the apostle, whatever becomes of the sin, and the sinner, 'the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good;' Rom. vii. 12. Holy in itself, and its own nature, as being the order and constitution of the most holy God. Just and equal with reference unto us; such as we have no reason to complain of, or repine against the authority of it, and the terms of it are most righteous. And not only so, but it is good also, that which notwithstanding the appearance of rigour and severity which it is accompanied withal, had in it an exceeding mixture of goodness and grace, both in the obedience constituted in it, and the reward annexed unto it; as might be more fully manifested, were that our present work.
2. In particular it was good, holy, and righteous, in all the commands of it, in the obedience which it required. And two things there were that rendered it exceeding righteous, in reference unto its precepts or commands. First, That they were all suited unto the principles of the nature of man created by God, and in the regular acting whereof consisted his perfection. God in the first covenant required nothing of man, prescribed nothing unto him, but what there was a principle for the doing and accomplishing of it ingrafted and implanted on his nature ; which rendered all those commands equal, holy, and good. For what need any man complain of that which requires nothing of him, but what he is from his own frame and principles inclined unto? Secondly, All the commands of it were proportionate unto
the strength and ability of them to whom they were given. God in that covenant required nothing of any man, but what he had before enabled him to perform; nothing above his strength, or beyond his power: and thence was it also righteous. Secondly, It was exceeding good, holy, and righteous, upon the account of its promises and rewards. •Do this,' saith the covenant; this which thou art able to do, which the principles of thy nature are fitted for, and inclined unto. Well, what shall be the issue thereof? Why,
do this and live;' life is promised 'unto obedience, apd that such a life, as both for the present and future condition of the creature, was accompanied with every thing that was needful to make it blessed and happy. Yea, this life having in it the eternal enjoyment of God, God himself as a reward, was exceedingly above whatever the obedience of man could require as due, or have any reason, on any other account, but merely of the goodness of God to expect.
Thirdly, There was provision in that covenant for the preservation and manifestation of the glory of God, whatever was the event on the part of man. This was provided for in the wisdom and righteousness of God. Did man continue in his obedience, and fulfil the terms of the covenant; all things were laid in subserviency to the eternal glory of God in his reward. Herein would he for ever have manifested and exalted the glory of his holiness, power, faithfulness, righteousness, and goodness. As an almighty creator and preserver, as a faithful God, and righteous rewarder would he have been glorified. On supposition on the other side, that man by sin and rebellion should trangress the terms and tenor of this covenant, yet God had made provision that no detriment unto his glory should ensue thereon. For by the constitution of a punishment proportionable in his justice unto that sin and demerit, he had provided that the glory of his holiness, righteousness, and veracity in his threatenings should be exalted, and that to all eternity. God would have lost no more glory and honour by the sin of man, than by the sin of angels, which in his infinite wisdom and righteousness is become a great theatre of his eternal glory. For he is no less excellent in his greatness and severity, than in his goodness and power.
Wherefore we may now return unto our former inquiry. All things being thus excellently and admirably disposed in infinite wisdom and holiness in this covenant, the whole duty and blessedness of man being fully provided for, and the glory of God absolutely secured upon all events, what was the reason that God left not all things to stand or fall according to the terms of it? Wherefore doth he reject and lay aside this covenant, and promise to make another, and do so accordingly? Certain it is, that he might have continued it with a blessed security to his own glory; and he makes “all things for himself, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
God himself shews what was the only and sole reason of this dispensation, Heb. viii. 7–13. The sum of it is this. Notwithstanding the blessed constitution of the first covenant, yet there was no provision for the pardon of sin, no room or place for forgiveness in it; but on supposition that man sinned, he was in that covenant left remediless. God had not in it revealed that there was any such thing as forgiveness with him; nor had any sinner the least hope or grounds of expectation from thence of any such thing in him. Die he must and perish, and that without remedy or recovery. Now, saith God, this must not be. Mercy, goodness, grace, require another state of things. This covenant will not manifest them; their effects will not be communicated to poor sinners by it. Hence, saith he, it is faulty; that is, defective, I will not lose the glory of them, nor shall sinners be unrelieved by them. And, therefore, although I may strictly tie up all mankind unto the terms of this; yet, I will make another covenant with them, wherein they shall know and find, that there is forgiveness with me, that they may fear me. -
Now next to the blood of Christ, whereby this covenant was ratified and confirmed, this is the greatest evidence that can possibly be given, that there is forgiveness with God. To what end else doth God make this great alteration in the effects of his will, in his way of dealing with mankind? As forgiveness of sin is expressly contained in the tenor and words of the covenant, so set it aside, and it will be of no more use or advantage than the former. For as this covenant is made directly with sinners, nor was there any one in the world, when God made it that was not a sinner, nor is it of use unto any but sinners, so is forgiveness of sins the very life of it. Hence we may see two things: first, The greatness of forgiveness, that we may learn to value it; and, secondly, The certainty of it, that we may learn to believe it. First, The greatness of it. God would not do so great a thing as that mentioned, but for a great, the greatest end. Had it not been a matter of the greatestimportance unto the glory of God, and the good of the souls of men, God would not for the sake of it, have laid aside one covenant, and made another. We may evidently see how the heart of God was set upon it, how his nature and will were engaged in it. All this was done that we might be pardoned. The old glorious fabric of obedience and rewards shall be taken down to the ground, that a new one may be erected for the honour and glory of forgiveness. God forbid that we should have slight thoughts of that which was so strangely and wonderfully brought forth, wherein God had as it were embarked his great glory. Shall all this be done for our sakes, and shall we undervalue it, or disesteem it? God forbid. God could, if I may so say, more easily have made a new world of innocent creatures, and have governed them by the old covenant, than have established this new one for the salvation of poor sinmers; but then where had been the glory of forgiveness? It could never have been known, that there was forgiveness with him. The old covenant could not have been preserved, and sinners pardoned. Wherefore God chose rather to leave the covenant, than sinners unrelieved, than grace unexalted, and pardon unexercised. Prize it, as you prize your souls, and give glory unto God for it, as all those that believe will do unto eternity. Secondly, For the security of it, that we may believe it. What greater can be given 2 God deceiveth no man, no more than he is deceived. And what could God, that cannot lie, do more to give us satisfaction herein than he hath done? Would you be made partakers of this forgiveness? Go unto God, spread before him this whole matter; plead with him that he himself hath so far laid aside the first covenant, of his own gracious will as to make a new one; and that merely because it had no forgiveness in it. This he hath made on