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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 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 sovereign 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 chose 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, without 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, ho 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 chase hand over head, and act by more will without reason and understanding. An infinite wisdom
is far from such a kind of procedure. But the reason 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 treasure of wisdom ; and not only that, but a depth and vastness of these riches of wisdom ; 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 ourselves 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 men's 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. where, 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 man with God about that 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, O man, 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 men's 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 shows them 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 believe. 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 judgment aright concerning the success of the gospel. The gospel and the ministrations thereof are designed for the bringing 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.- I have made a covenant with
God 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 eternal, and promising him, in case of continued obedience, life in its utmost extent. But, alas ! man being in honour did not continue a night, but foully revolted from the obedience and allegiance he owed to his mighty Creator and bountiful Sovereign. Thus his misery was originally owing to the breaking of the covenant of works; and in that dismal state he and all his descendants had remained for ever, if God, in the wonderful depths of his amazing love and grace, had not from all eternity devised a method of recovery, by entering into a covenant with his own Son as second Adam, head and representative of those destinated by sovereign pleasure to be heirs of salvation. Thus fallen man's recovery, from the first to the last step thereof, is entirely owing to the fulfilling of that covenant entered into betwixt the Father and the Son from eternal ages, and in it the whole mystery of our salvation lies. And this covenant I shall endeavour, through divine assistance, briefly to open up unto you, from the texts now read.
The transcriber and preparer of the copy of this work for the press thinks it necessary 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. ii. 9. 10. • King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon,' &c. 2. From Isa. xlii. 6, 7. I will give thee for a covenant of the people,' &c. 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 preserved; and of both compared together the following discourse is an abridgement. 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, A View of the Covenant of Grace from the Sacred Records, &c. which he prepared for the press in his lifetime, though it was not published till 1734, two years after his death. In this abridgement there are several references made to that book, where the particulars discoursed of are amplified and more largely illustrated; and to prevent the immoderate extention of this work, of two places, viz. in the promissory part of the covenant and the characters Christ sustains as Administrator thereof, no abridgement is made, but the reader referred to the printed treatise. It is supposed, that the reader, in perusing this part of the work, will consult the treatise itself, at the several places referred to. It is proper also to take notice, that several particulars in this discourse, particularly in the introduction and in the application are not to be found in the said treatise, and are here given verbatim from the MSS. without any alteration.
In the verse preceding the first text, there is mention made of a building of mercy, which presupposes miserable ruins, and denotes that this building is intended for the benefit of an elect world ruined by Adam's fall. Free grace and love set on foot this building for them, every stone in which, from the lowest to the highest, is mercy to them: from top to bottom, from the foundation.stone to the top-stone, all is free and rich mercy to them. And the ground of this glorious building is God's covenant with his chosen, I have made a covenant with my chosen. In which and the second text four things are to be considered.
1. The foundation on which the building of mercy stands : a covenant, a divine covenant, a sure covenant. The first building for man's happiness, was a building of goodness, bounty, and liberality; but not of mercy, for man was not in misery when it was reared up: it was founded on a covenant too, the covenant of works made with the first Adam. This building soon fell in ruins; for being made with man, liable to change, his foot slipt, the covenant was broken, and the building tumbled down in an instant; there was no more safe dwelling there for Adam or his race, though most of them are still seeking shelter about the ruins of this first building, and will not come to the building of mercy. But this covenant is another, and of a different nature; the covenant of eternal life and salvation for poor sinners, the spiritual seed of the head of the covenant, to be given them in the way of free grace and mercy, and in which they are freed from the curse of the law and the wrath of God. The revelation and offer of this covenant unto the sons of men is called the gospel, announcing the glad tidings of life and salvation to ruined sinners.
2. The parties contractors in this covenant, I and my chosen, the last Adam. Both heaven and earth were concerned in this covenant; for it was a covenant of peace between them, at variance through sin. And accordingly the interests of both are consulted by the parties contractors.
(1.) On heaven's side is God himself, the party proposer, I have made a covenant with my chosen. Though he was the party offended, yet the motion for a covenant comes from him. The Father of Mercies beholding a lost world, his bowels of mercy yearn towards the objects that his sovereign pleasure pitches upon; and that mercy seeks a vent for itself, that it may be shown to the miserable. But justice stands in the way of its egress, unless a method be found to satisfy its claim, in order to pave a passage for the free efflux of mercy. Then saith the Father. The first covenant will not answer the purpose; another expedient must be fallen upon. The lost