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In handling of this weighty subject, I deem it not necessary to insist, to prove that there is a covenant of grace; the being of which is obvious from the texts and many other scriptures, such as Ifa. xlii. 6. xlix. 8 and liv. 10. Heb. viii. 6. and xiii 20. But the following account of it shall be ranged under these fix heads; namely,
1. The parties in the covenant of grace. 2. The making of that covenant. 3. The parts of it. 4. The administration of it. 5. The trial of a saving personal inbeing in it. 6. The way of instating finners personally and
savingly in it.
HEAD I. The Parties in the Covenant of Grace.
N all covenants, of whatsoever nature they be, whether covenants of absolute promise, or con
ditional ones, there must needs be distinct parties: for howbeit one may decree, resolve, or purpose with himself, without another party; yet one's covenanting or bargaining, vowing or promising, speaks an obligation thence ariling to another distinct party. Accordingly, in the covenant of grace there
are three parties to be considered; 1. The party contractor on Heaven's fide; 2. The party-contractor on man's fide ; ' and 3. The party contracted and undertaken for of which in order, And,
I. Of the Party contractor on Heaven's fide.
so it is likewise in the covenant of grace: the party upon the one lide, is God himself, and he only. There was no need of any other, to fee to the
interests of heaven, in this covenant; and there was no other, when it was made, being made from e. ternity, before the world began, Tit. i. 2. This is plain from the words of the covenant, I will be their God, Jer. xxxi. 33.
But, whether God is herein to be considered per. fonally or essentially, is not quite fo clear. Some divines think, that the Father, personally considered, namely, as the first Person of the glorious Trinity, is the party-contractor on iseaven's side. 0. thers, that God essentially considered, that is, as Fa. ther, Son, and holy Ghoft, is that party contractor. But, however we conceive of that matter, we are afsured from the holy oracles, That these three are one God; and judge, that, according to the scripture, it may be safely said, that God essentially considered, was the party.contractor in the person of the Father. Hereby it is owned, that the Son and holy Ghost have their part in the covenant, on heaven's side, as the party offended by man's fin: and, in the mean time, a peculiar agency, in this great work of power and authority, on that fide, is attributed to the Fa. ther : as there is unto the Son, on man's 'lide.
And that, of the party.contractor on heaven's side, we may conceive aright in this matter ; these two things are, in Ahe first place, to be taken notice of. 1. He, from all eternity, decreed the creation of man after his own image, and the making of the covenant of works with him, jo time. All things, brought forth in time, lay from eternity in the womb of God's decree; in virtue whereof, they have their being in rime; for which cause, the decree is said to bring forth, as a woman doth a child, Zeph. ii. 22. And the creation of angels and men, with the providence about them, made many lines in the volume of the fealed book of the decrees. God self-sufficient needed neither man nor angel; but for the manifeftation of his own glory, he purposed from eternity to
create them; and moreover, to enter into such a covenant with man, as one should therein represent the whole family; sovereign pleasure meanwhile taking another method with the angelic tribe ; but withal purposing to give both the one and the other a fufficient ability to stand in their integrity, if they would. Thus, from eternity, the covenant of works, in all the parts and appurtenances thereof, was before the eternal mind; though being made with a mere man, it could not actually be entered into, till once man was created. But, Known unto God are all his works. from the beginning of the world, Acts xv. 18. 2. He decreed allo from eternity, to permit the first man, the representative of the whole family, to fall,' and so to break the covenant, and involve himself and all his posterity in ruins. It is evident from the spots less holiness of God, and the nature of the thing, that the divine permission was not the cause of man's fall: and from the necessary dependence of the creature upon the Greator, that without it he could not have fallen. But the sovereign Lord of the creatures permitted the fall of man, for his own holy ends, purposing to bring about good from it.
Now, God, the party-contractor on heaven's fide in the covenant of grace, is to be considered in that matter in a threefold view.
1. He is to be considered in it as an offended God; offended with all the sins of all mankind, original and actual. Looking upon the children of men, the whole mass of mankind appeared in the eye of his glory corrupt and lothfome, the very reverse of his holiness; he faw them all gone afide, altogether become filthy, none doing good, no not one, Psal. xiv. 2, 3. In the first covenant, God contracted with man himself as a friend, without the interposition of a mediator : but in the second covenant it was not so, and it could not be fo: for in it man was considered as a fallen creature, a transgressor of the law, and an
enemy to God; and it is a covenant of reconciliation, a covenant of peace for those who had been at war with Heaven.
2. But withal God is to be considered herein as a God purposing and decreeing from eternity to manifest the glory of his free grace, love, and mercy, in the salvation of some of mankind lost. Accordingly we are said to be saved in time, according to his own purpose and grace given us in Christ Jefus, before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. Without such a purpose of grace in God, there could never have been a covenant of grace. But the sovereign Lord of the creatures, overlooking the fallen angels, as to any purpose of mercy, entertained thoughts of love and peace towards fallen mankind, purposing in himself, to make some of them everlasting monuments of his free grace and mercy, partakers of life and salvation, and so set on foot the covenant of
3. Lastly, Yet we are to consider him also in this matter as a just God, who cannot but do right, give sin a just recompence, and magnify his holy law, and make it honourable, Gen. xviii
. 25. Heb. ii. 2. Ifa. xlii. 21. Upon the motion for extending mercy to sinners of mankind, the justice of God interposeth, pleading that mercy cannot be shewn them, but upon terms agreeable to law and justice. And indeed it was neither agreeable to the nature of God, nor to his truth in his word, to erect a throne of grace on the ruins of his exact justice, nor to shew mercy in prejudice of it. Now, the justice of God required, that the law which was violated, should be ful. ly satisfied, and the honour thereof repaired by suffering and obedience : the former such as might fatisfy the penal sanction of the law, and the latter the commanding part of it. The which being quite beyond the reach of the finners themselves, they behoved to die without mercy, unless another, who
could be accepted as a fufficient surety, should undertake for them, as a fecond Adam, coming in their room and stead, as they lay ruined by the breach of the covenant of works.
Thus food the impediments in the way of mercy to fallen man, 'quite insuperable to him, or any of his fellow.crcatures; and the covenant of grace was made, for removing those impediments out of the way, and that it might be the channel wherein the whole rich flood of saving mercy might flow freely, for the quickening, purging, sanctifying, and perfecting of loft finners of mankind, who were under the bands of death and the curse, through the breach of the first covenant by the first Adam.
From what is said on this point, we may draw this Inference, to wit, That the redemption of the foul is precious. The salvation of lost finners was a greater work than the making of the world : the powerful Word commanded, and this last was done, but the former was not to be compassed, but with more ado,
II. Of the Party-contraclor on Man's fide. WE,
have seen, that upon one side, in the cove.
nant of grace, is God himself. Now, upon the other side is Jesus Christ the Son of God, with his spiritual feed, Heb. ii. 13. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me: 'the former, as the party-contractor and undertaker; the latter, as the party contracted and undertaken for; A good reason for his name Immanuel, which being interpret. ed, is God with us, Matth. i. 23.
The party.contractor then with God, in the covenant of grace, is our Lord Jesus Christ. He alone managed the interests of men in this eternal bargain: for at the making of it none of them were in being; nor, if they liad been, would they have been capable of affording any help,