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was a rich legacy left them, yet they undervalued the Teftator's kindness, and would never come and claim it by faith. Hence the benefits of the Govenant of grace, even in respect of unbelievers, are called their own, namely in virtue of the right they have to them by the tenor of Chrift's teftament: Jonah ii. 8. They that obferve lying vanities, forfake their own mercy. Accordingly, to the elder brother in the parable, Luke xv. the father faith, verfe 31. Son, all that I have is thine. So chap. xvi. 12. If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who fhall give you that which is your own? that is, the true riches, verfe 11. And their ruin is lodged at the door of their unbelief, in not coming to Chrift to receive them, John v. 4. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. Chrift's promises in his teftament are to mankind finners, as the promise of Canaan was to the Ifraelites in Egypt, indefinitely, thofe not excepted whofe carcafes fell in the wildernefs, Exod. vi. 6. Say unto the children of Ifrael, I am the Lord.-verfe 8. And I will bring you in unto the land concerning the which I did fwear. Thus was there a promife left them of entering into the rest of Canaan: and those who believed it, got the poffeffion accordingly; thofe who believed not, did lofe it. And they fell short of it, not because it was not left to them; but because, though it was left to them, as well as to those that entered, yet they believed it not. So, fays the Apostle, They could not enter in because of unbelief, Heb. iii. 19. And this was no imputation on the faithfulness of God: for even in promises, as well as in covenants, there is a neceffity of mutual confent unto the fame thing; the party to whom the promife is made, his acceptance thereof being neceffary to complete the obligation on the promifer to make it effectual: because none making a promife of a benefit to another, can in reafon be thought either to bind himself thereby
to obtrude his benefit on the other against his will; or yet to give up with it, as a thing to be abandoned by him at any rate. Now, to this very purpose the Apostle makes use of that cafe of the Ifraelites having the promife of Canaan left them, and yet coming short of it thro' unbelief, Heb. iv. 1. Let us therefore fear, left a promife being left us of entering into his reft, any of you should feem to come short of it. Verse 2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Compare Exod. iv. 9. And Mofes fpake unto the children of Ifrael: but they hearkened not.
Thirdly, It is to be inquired, Who is the executor of the testament? In teftaments among men, the teftator and executor are always different perfons: and it must needs be fo, because the teftator dying, cannot live again to fee his will execute; therefore one or more, who live when he is gone, must be nominated for that purpose. But here that reason ceafeth. Jefus Chrift could well be the executor of his own teftament, and needed not to appoint any other to fee to that matter. He was the Lord of life and death, and it was not poffible he should be holden of death, Acts in 24. Though he was really to die, to confirm his testament; yet he was quickly to rife again, for the effectual execution thereof: accordingly the apoftle obferves, that he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our juftification, Rom. iv. 25. And he lives for evermore. Even when he was in the grave, he was capable of executing his testament, being God as well as man, having a life which could not be loft, no not for a moment; namely, the divine life. And the executing of it then, when the human nature was in the ftate of death, was much the fame as his executing of it before he had actually affumed the Human nature at all.
And that Jefus Chrift really is the executor of his own teftament, appears from his being conftitute by the Father Adminiftrator of the covenant, to dispense the benefits thereof as great Steward of the house of Heaven and from the acts of that his adminiftration, both in this life, and in that which is to come: for he it is that hath in his hand the conferring of grace, both real and relative, on finners; and the conferring of glory on faints: the which are the executing of his testament, as well as the administering of the covenant; the former being fubordinated to the latter. Mean while it cannot be refused, that he executes it by his Spirit, and employs gospel minifters in the matter. Wherefore, whofoever would have any faving benefit by Chrift's teftament, or would partake of the legacies therein bequeathed, must come to himself to receive them; fince he is the executor of his own teftament. And therefore the conftant call of the gospel to perishing finners, is, to come to Christ for life and falvation; and the complaint on those who forfake their own mercy, is, that they will not come to him, John v. 40. And the whole life of believers must be a coming to him,
Pet. ii. 4. that is, a living by faith in him, Gal. ii. 20. whereby they may be daily receiving of the legacies, according to their exigencies.
Fourthly, In the laft place, it is to be enquired, What are the legacies left in Chrift's teftament, to poor finners of mankind, his only legatees? In the general, there is left to them therein what is fufficient to make them happy for time and eternity; even all the benefits of the covenant to be received by faith. These are Chrift himself, and all things in and with him, Rom. viii. 32. And the general clause of the teftament is, According to your faith be it unto you, Matth. ix. 29. It being beyond our reach fully to reckon up the particulars, it fhall fuffice to point at a few things, as the comprehensive
legacies, left by Jefus Chrift in his teftament, to finners of mankind indefinitely.
Legacy 1. His own complete righteoufnefs, to cover us before the Lord; hence called the gift of righteousness, Rom. v. 17. as being made over to us in his teftament, to be received by faith; in which fense it is faid to be revealed unto faith, that is, to be believed or trusted on, and fo received and put on, chap. i. 17. Dying perfons are wont to leave fuits of mourning to their poor friends: but our dying Saviour left to all his legatees, The garments of falvation, the robe of righteousness, Ifa. Ixi. 10.; beautiful garments, chap. lii. 1.; white raiment, Rev. iii. 18. as a fuit of rejoicing; for that, though he was dead, he is alive, and lives for evermore. Our father Adam left us naked, to our fhame: yet need we not go naked, nor our fhame be feen. For, by the fecond Adam's teftament, fufficient cloathing is left to our father's broken family; even the robe of his own righteoufnefs: and nothing remains, but that we receive it as his legacy to us, and puriton. A holy God cannot admit us into his prefence in our fpiritual nakednefs: the law requires us to ap pear before him in unfpotted holinefs of nature, and perfect righteoufiefs of life, as the condition of life; and withal, with a fatisfaction to juftice, by fuffering, because we have finned. But how can we make fuch an appearance before him? We can by no means put ourselves in fuch a condition, by any thing we can do or fuffer. Yet is not our cafe hopelefs. We have a good friend, the Lord Jefus Christ, who hath left us by teftament, the holiness of his nature, wherewith he was born; the righteoufnefs of his life, even all the good works he wrought in obedience to the ten commandments, during his life on earth; and the fatisfaction made by his death, and fufferings from the womb to the grave: he hath made all these one undivided gift of righteoufnefs, and
and bequeathed the fame to us in his teftament, to be received by faith. By means hereof, the most wretched finners of us all may be beautified in the fight of a holy God, have wherewith to answer all the demands of the law for life, and obtain a full pardon and acceptance with God, as righteous in his fight. How fhall we escape, if, never claiming this legacy, we trample on the Teftator's kindness!
Legacy 2. His new-covenant interest in God, whereby to render us happy: Heb. viii. 10. I will be to them a God. Our father Adam left his whole family without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. This was an unfpeakable loss, a ruining lofs: all mifery in time and eternity was wrapt up in it. It was a loss that could never have been compenfed: and to us it was irrecoverable. But Jefus Chrift hath recovered for us the loft covenant-intereft in God, and bequeathed it to us in his teftament. This is a legacy full beyond our comprehenfion. Who can conceive fully what is in that, I will be your God? Surely all bleffedness is in it, for time and eternity: Pfal. cxliv. 15. Happy is the people, whofe God is the Lord. Herein is left you peace, and reconciliation with God, John xiv. 27.; adoption into the family of God, 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17, 18.;, yea, that ye fhall have God for your own God, your own heritage, in a jointheirship with Chrift, Rom. viii. 17.; all the perfons of the Godhead to be yours; the Father to be your Father, the Son your Saviour, the Holy Ghost your Sanctifier: and all the attributes of God to be employed for your happiness. Nothing on Chrift's part, nothing on God's part, ftands between you and all this: nothing can make you come short of it but unbelief. That new covenant interest in God is purchafed by the blood of the everlasting covenant; it is given over unto Jefus as Adminiftrator of the covenant; and he again hath made it over to you by testament. And what remains, but that ye come to