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keth the execution of the law, should procure the abrogation of it, as that should supplant and undermine the law, for the alone prevention of which the law was made. How could it be expected, that men should fear and tremble before God, when they should find themselves more scared than hurt by his threatenings against sin?
(4.) The truth and veracity of God required a satisfaction for sin. The word had gone out of God's mouth, ' In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,' and again it is said, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.' Now, this sentence was immutable, and the word that had gone out of his mouth must stand. Had God violated his trath by dispensing with the punishment threatened, he had rendered himself an unfit object of trust; he had exposed all the promises or threatenings which he should have made after man's impunity, to the mockery and contempt of the offender, and excluded his word from any credit with man for the future. And therefore God's word could not fall to the ground without an accomplishment. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but his word shall stand firm. He will be true to his threatenings, though thousands and millions should perish:
2. As satisfaction to justice was necessary, and that which God insisted upon, so the elect could not give it themselves, neither was there any creature in heaven or earth that could do it for them. Heaven and earth were at an infinite loss to find out a ransom for their souls. We may apply to this purpose what we have, Isa. Ixiii. 5. 'I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold.' This is the desperate anci forlorn condition of the elect by nature as well as others.
3. God pitched upon Christ in his infinite grace and wisdom as the fittest person for managing this grand design. Hence it is said, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty.' And the apostle saith, he hath set him forth to be a propitiation for sin.' On this account he is called his servant whom he hath chosen, and his elect in whom his soul de lighteth.' God speaks to thein, as Job xxxiii. 24. Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.?
4. Christ accepted the office of a Redeemer, and engaged to make his soul an offering for sin. He cheerfully under
took this work in that eternal transaction that was between the Father and him. He was content to stand in the elect's room, and to submit himself to the terrible strokes of vindictive justice. He is brought in by the Psalmist offering himself as a Surety in their stead, Psal. xl. 6, 7. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, &c. Then said I, Lo, I come.' &c. He willingly yielded to all the conditions requisite for the accomplishment of our redemption. He was content to take a body, that he might be capable to suffer. The debt could not be paid, nor the articles of the covenant performed, but in the human nature. He was therefore to have a nature capable of and prepared for sufferings. Hence it is said, Heb. x. 5. Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not; but a body hast thou prepared me. It behoved him to have. a body to suffer that which was represented by these legal sacrifices wherein God took no pleasure. And he took a body of flesh, surrounded with the infirmities of our fallen nature, sin only excepted. He condescended to lay aside the robes of his glory, to make himself of no reputation, to take upon him the form of a servant, and be found in the likeness of men.
5. Christ satisfied offended justice in the room of the elect, and purchased eternal redemption for them. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,' Phil. ii. 8. This was the prime article in the covenant of grace,
When he shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed,' Isa, liii. 10. God required this sacrifice exclusive of all others in the first treaty. Sacrifice and burnt
• offerings thou wouldst not; in them thou hadst no pleasure: then said I, Lo, I come,' &c. These sacrifices were entirely
I useless for the satisfaction of justice, though fit to prefigure the grand sacrifice that God intended. It was by the death of Christ alone that redemption was purchased for men, Rom. v. 10, Eph. ii. 13. Col. i. 21. And when he was upon the cross, he cried, “It is finished;' that is, the work of redemption is accomplished ; I have done all that was appointed for me to do; the articles on my part are now fulfilled; there remain no more deaths for me to suffer.
Thus the elect are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Behold here the freedom and glory of soverign grace, which is the sole cause why God did not leave all mankind
to perish in the state of sin and misery, as he did the fallen angels. He was no more obliged to the one than the other. Why did he chuse any of the fallen race of men to grace and glory? It was his mere good pleasure to pitch on some, and pass by others. · He could have been without them all, with out any spot either on his happiness or justice; but out of his mere good pleasure he pitched his love on a select number, in whom he will display the invincible efficacy of his sovereign grace, and thereby bring them to the fruition of glory. This proceeds from his absolute sovereignty. Justice or injustice comes not into consideration here. If he had pleased, he might have made all the objects of his love; and if he had pleased he might have chosen none, but have suffered Adam and all his numerous offspring to sink eternally into the pit of perdition. It was in his supreme power to have left all mankind under the rack of his justice; and, by the same right of dominion, he may pick out some men from the common mass, and lay aside others to bear the punishment of their crimes. There is no cause in the creature but all in God. It must be resolved into his sovereign will
. So it is said, Rom ix. 15, 16. He saith to Moses, I will have mercy, on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. And yet God did not will without
' wisdom. He did not chuse hand over head, and act by mere will without reason and understanding. An infinite wisdom is far from such a kind of procedure. But the rea. son of God's proceedings is inscrutable to us, unless we could understand God as well as he understands himself. The rays of his infinite wisdom are too bright and dazzling for our weak and shallow capacities. The apostle acknowledges not only a wisdom in his proceeding, but riches and a trea. sure of wisdom; and not only that, but a depth and vastness of these riches of wisdoin ; but was wholly incapable to give a scheme and inventory of it. Hence he cries out, Rom. xi. 33, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !' Let us humbly adore the divine sovereignty. We should cast oŭrselves down at God's feet, with a full resignation of ourselves to his sovereign pleasure. This is a more becoming carriage in a Christian, than contentious endeavours to measure God by our line.
2. This doctrine should stop mens murmurings and silence all their pleadings with or against God. O what strivings are there sometimes in the hearts of men about God's absolute sovereignty in electing some and rejecting others? The apostle insists much upon this in Rom. ix. wliere, having represented the Lord speaking thus by Moses, ver. 15. 'I will have mercy, on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion ;' he presently prevents an objection, or the strife of inan with God about ihat saying, ver. 19. “ Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will ?" This is man's plea against the sovereign will of God. But what saith the Lord by the apostle to such a pleader? We have his reproof of him for an answer, in ver. 20. • Nay but, Oman, who art thou that repliest against God? shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? The apostle brings in this argument as to man's eternal state, He must not strive with God about that. He must not say, Why doth God find fault with man ? His absolute power in his reason why he disposeth thus or thus of thee, or any other man. He will give thee no account why it is so; but his own will to have it so. He may chuse some for the glory of his rich, free, and sovereign grace, and leave others to perish in their sins for the glory of his power and justice. This should stop mens mouths, and make them sit down quietly under all God's dealings.
3. This is ground of humility and admiration to the elect of God, and lets them see to what they owe the difference that is between them and others, even to free grace. Those who are passed by were as eligible as those that were chosen. Though God hath dignified them, and raised them to be heirs of glory, yet they were heirs of wrath, and no better than others by nature, Eph. ii. 3. Well may they say with David in another case, Lord, what am I, or what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?? All were in the same corrupt mass, and nothing but free grace · made the difference between the elected and the non-elected.
4. Then the elect shall not persist in their infidelity and natural state, but shall all be effectually called and brought in to Christ. Whatever good things God hath purposed for them shall surely be conferred upon and wrought in them by the irresistible efficacy of his powerful grace. God's counsel shall stand and he will do all his pleasure.
5. Then people may know that they are elected. Hence is that exhortation, 2 Pet. i. 10. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.' Though we cannot break in at the first hand upon the secrets of God, yet if we do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, receive him as our only Saviour, and submit to him as our Lord and Sovereign, we may know that we are elected, seeing the elect and they only are brought to belieye. Others may be elected, but they cannot know it till they actually believe,
6. The Lord will never cast off his elect people. He that chose them from eternity, while he saw no good in them, will not afterwards cast them off, God's decree of election is the best security they can have for life and salvation, and a foundation that standeth absolutely sure. Whatever faults and follies they may be guilty of, yet the Lord will never cast them off. They shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
7. Lastly, This doctrine may teach us to form our judgement aright concerning the success of the gospel, The gospel and the ministrations thereof are designed for the bring.
in of God's chosen ones. All never did nor ever will believe: but one thing is sure, that all who are ordained to eternal life shall believe and obey the gospel, Rom. xi. 7,
OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE.
Psal. Ixxxix. 3.—1 have made a covenant with my chosen, 1 Cor. xv. 45.—The last Adam was made a quickening spirik
OD made man upright, and entered into a covenant
with him, forbidding him to eat of a certain tree in the garden of Eden, on pain of death, natural, spiritual, and
The transcriber and preparer of the copy of this work for the press thinks it ne cessary to inform the reader, that Mr Boston, at three different periods of ministry, preached on the covenant of grace, from as many different texts. 1. From Cant. iii. 9. 10. King Solomon made himself a charigt of the wood of Lebanon,' &e. 2. From Isa. xlii. 6, 7. ' I will give thee for a covenant of the people,' &ç. 3. From the two texts fronting this discourse. The first of these cannot now be found, after the strictest search among his papers. The two' last are preser ved ; and of both compared together the following discourse is an abridgment. To have inserted either of them entire, would have swelled this work to a size far exceeding the limits proposed. Neither was it at all necessary, as the public has long been in possession of that valuable piece of our author's entitled, 4 View of the Covenant of Grace from the Sacred Records, &s,