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In handling of this weighty fubject, I deem it not neceffary to infist, to prove that there is a covenant of grace; the being of which is obvious from the texts and many other fcriptures, fuch 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 thefe fix heads; namely,
1. The parties in the covenant of
4. The administration of it.
5. The trial of a faving perfonal inbeing in it.
The PARTIES in the Covenant of Grace.
N all covenants, of whatsoever nature they be, whether covenants of abfolute promife, or conditional ones, there must needs be distinct parties: for howbeit one may decree, refolve, or purpose with himself, without another party; yet one's covenanting or bargaining, vowing or promifing, speaks an obligation thence arifing to another distinct party. Accordingly, in the covenant of grace there are three parties to be confidered; 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.
S it was in the covenant of works, in this point; fo it is likewife in the covenant of grace: the party upon the one fide, is God himself, and he only. There was no need of any other, to fee to the
interefts of heaven, in this covenant: and there was no other, when it was made, being made from eternity, 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 confidered perfonally or effentially, is not quite fo clear. Some divines think, that the Father, perfonally confidered, namely, as the first Person of the glorious Trinity, is the party-contractor on heaven's fide. Others, that God effentially confidered, that is, as Fa ther, Son, and holy Ghoft, is that party contractor. But, however we conceive of that matter, we are af fured from the holy oracles, That these three are one God; and judge, that, according to the fcripture, it may be fafely faid, that God effentially confidered, was the party-contractor in the perfon of the Father. Hereby it is owned, that the Son and holy Ghost have their part in the covenant, on heaven's fide, 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 fide.
And that, of the party-contractor on heaven's fide, we may conceive aright in this matter; these two things are, in the 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, in 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 time; for which caufe, the decree is faid 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 felf-fufficient needed neither man nor angel; but for the manifeftation of his own glory, he purpofed from eternity to
create them; and moreover, to enter into fuch a covenant with man, as one should therein represent the whole family; fovereign pleasure meanwhile taking another method with the angelic tribe; but withal purpofing to give both the one and the other a fufficient ability to ftand 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 alfo from eternity, to permit the firft man, the reprefentative of the whole family, to fall,' and fo to break the covenant, and involve himself and all his pofterity in ruins. It is evident from the spots. lefs holiness of God, and the nature of the thing, that the divine permiffion was not the cause of man's fall: and from the neceffary dependence of the creature upon the Creator, that without it he could not have fallen. But the fovereign Lord of the creatures permitted the fall of man, for his own holy ends, purpofing to bring about good from it.
Now, God, the party-contractor on heaven's fide in the covenant of grace, is to be confidered in that matter in a threefold view.
1. He is to be confidered in it as an offended God; offended with all the fins of all mankind, original and actual. Looking upon the children of men, the whole mafs of mankind appeared in the eye of his glory corrupt and lothfome, the very reverfe of his holinefs; he faw them all gone afide, altogether become filthy, none doing good, no not one, Pfal. xiv. 2, 3. In the first covenant, God contracted with man himself as a friend, without the interpofition of a mediator: but in the second covenant it was not so, and it could not be fo: for in it man was confidered as a fallen creature, a tranfgreffor 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 confidered herein as a God purpofing and decreeing from eternity to manifeft the glory of his free grace, love, and mercy, in the falvation of fome of mankind loft. Accordingly we are faid to be faved in time, according to his own purpose and grace given us in Chrift Fefus, before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. Without fuch a purpose of grace in God, there could never have been a covenant of grace. But the fovereign Lord of the creatures, overlooking the fallen angels, as to any purpose of mercy, entertained thoughts of love and peace towards fallen mankind, purpofing in himself, to make fome of them everlafting monuments of his free grace and mercy, partakers of life and falvation, and fo fet on foot the covenant of grace.
3. Laftly, Yet we are to confider him alfo in this matter as a juft God, who cannot but do right, give fin a juft 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 finners of mankind, the juftice of God interpofeth, pleading that mercy cannot be fhewn them, but upon terms agreeable to law and juftice. 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 fhew mercy in prejudice of it. Now, the juftice of God required, that the law which was violated, fhould be fully fatisfied, and the honour thereof repaired by fuffering and obedience: the former fuch as might fatisfy the penal fanction 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
could be accepted as a fufficient furety, fhould undertake for them, as a fecond Adam, coming in their room and ftead, as they lay ruined by the breach of the covenant of works.
Thus flood the impediments in the way of mercy to fallen man, quite infuperable to him, or any of his fellow-crcatures; and the covenant of grace was made, for removing thofe impediments out of the way, and that it might be the channel wherein the whole rich flood of faving mercy might flow freely, for the quickening, purging, fanctifying, and perfecting of loft finners of mankind, who were under the bands of death and the curfe, through the breach. of the first covenant by the first Adam.
From what is faid on this point, we may draw this Inference, to wit, That the redemption of the foul is precious. The falvation of loft finners was a greater work than the making of the world: the powerful Word commanded, and this laft was done, but the former was not to be compaffed, but with more ado.
II. Of the Party-contractor on Man's fide.
have feen, that upon one fide, in the covenant of grace, is God himself. Now, upon the other fide is JESUS CHRIST the Son of God, with his fpiritual 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 reafon for his name Immanuel, which being interpreted, is God with us, Matth. i. 23.
The party-contractor then with God, in the covenant of grace, is our Lord Jefus Chrift. He alone managed the interefts of men in this eternal bargain: for at the making of it none of them were in being; nor, if they had been, would they have been capable of affording any help.