« EdellinenJatka »
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,
eternal, and promising him, in case of continụed obedience, life in its utmost extent. But, alas! man being in honour did not continue à 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.
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 cove
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 itsell, 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 awy alteration
nant 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 meroy 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 creatures cannot contract for themselves; and if another undertake not for them, they must perish; they cannot chuse an undertaker for themselves, I will chuse one for them, and I will make the covenant with my chosen,
2. On man's side is God's chosen, or chosen One, for the word of God is singularthe son the last Adam, Who else as fit to be undertaker on man's side; who else could have been the Father's choice for this vast undertaking? No angel nor man was capable for it but the mighty One, ver. 19 whom the Father points out to us as his chosen, Isa. xii. l. 3. The making of this covenant between the parties, I hare made a covenant reith my chosen One. The Father and the Son made this covenant betwixt them; the bargain was completed by mutual agreement. The terms were on both hands fixed, and the compact closed between them, before the objects of mercy existed, even as the covenant of works betwixt God and the first Adam was made, before we breathed in God's air. And therefore, by the by, ye would take notice, that in reference to covenanting with God, ye pretend not to make a covenant of your own, setting down such and such terms for life and salvation, which you will do. All that remains for us 'in that matter, is to take hold of God's covenant, Isa. lvi. 6. to believe the promise, approve cordially of the covenant, and consent to it for our part as agreed betwixt the Father and the second Adam; so shall ye evi. dence that ye are of those in whose name Christ stood consenting to the covenant. This is our making of a covenant mentioned Psal. l. 5.- that have made a covenant with me by or upon a sacrifice,' viz. by laying their hands, by faith, on the head of the sacrifice, thereupon cut down in their stead; and so transferring the guilt ceremonially on the sacrifice; 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.
The original calls it “cutting of a covenant,' or striking à covenant;' being a covenant by sacrifice, confirmed with blood; wherein the party contractor on man's side is both the priest and the sacrifice, the Father's wrath the fire that burnt it; and divine justice the sword that cutit down, Zech. xiii. 7. This is most lively represented, Gen. xv. 9. &c. Before I
go farther in the explication; I will speak a little to this observation, “That the foundation of all saving mercy to lost sinners is the covenant of grace, the covenant be. twixt the Father and the second Adam. To clear this, consider,
1. It is the foundation of the first saving mercy that a poor sinner meets with; and that is the first grace given to the dead soul, viz. spiritual life, the new heart, the first resurrection, by which the soul is enabled to believe and embrace Jesus Christ, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. This is saving inercy, Tit. iii. 5. According to his mercy he saved us by the