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him, bis waters shall be sure : thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far off,' Isa. xxxiii. 16, 17. That prospect which they had by faith of the King of saints in his beauty and glory, though yet at a great distance, was their relief and their reward in their sincere obedience. And those who understand not the glory of this privilege of the new covenant, in the incarnation of the Son of God, or his exhibition in the flesh, wherein the depths of the counsels and wisdom of God in the way of grace, mercy and love, opened themselves unto the church, are strangers unto the things of God.
Thirdly, It was confirmed and ratified by the death and blood-shedding of Christ, and therefore included in it the whole work of his mediation. This is the spring of the life of the church; and until it was opened, great darkness was upon the minds of believers themselves. What peace, what assurance, what light, what joy, depend hereon, and proceed from it, no tongue can express.
Fourthly, All ordinances of worship do belong hereunto. What is the benefit of them, what are the advantages which believers receive by them, we must declare, when we come to consider that comparison that the apostle makes between them, and the carnal ordinances of the law, ch. ix. Whereas therefore all these things were contained in the new covenant, as here promised of God, it is evident how great was the concern of the saints under the Old Testament, to have it introduced, and how great also ours is in it, now it is established.
Fifthly, The Author or Maker of this covenant is expressed in the words, as also those with whom it was made. The first is included in the person of the verb, ' I will make:' ' I will make, saith the Lord. It is God himself that makes this covenant, and he takes it upon himself so to do. He is the principal party covenanting. I will make a covenant;' God hath made a covenant. Xe hath made with me an everlasting covenant.' And sundry things are we taught therein.
1. The freedom of this covenant, without respect unto any merit, worth or condignity in them with whom it is made. What God doth, he doth freely, er mera gratia et voluntate. There was no cause, without himself, for which he should make this covenant, or which should move him so to do. And this we are eminently taught in this place, where he expresseth no other occasion of his making this covenant, but the sins of the people in breaking that which he formerly made with them. And it is expressed on purpose to declare the free and sovereign grace, the goodness, love and mercy, which alone were the absolute springs of this covenant.
2. The wisdom of its contrivance. The making of any covenant, to be good and useful, depends solely on the wisdom and foresight of them by whom it is made. Hence men do of. ten make covenants, which they design for their good and advantage, but they are so ordered for want of wisdom and foresight, that they turn unto their hurt and ruin. But there was infinite wisdom in the constitution of this covenant, whence it is, and shall be, infinitely effective of all the blessed ends of it. And they are utterly unacquainted with it, who are not affected with a holy admiration of divine wisdom in its contrivance. A man might comfortably spend his life in the contemplation of it, and yet be far enough from finding out the Almighty in it unto perfection. Hence is it that it is so divine a mystery in all the parts of it, which the wisdom of the flesh cannot comprehend. Nor without a due consideration of the infinite wisdom of God in the contrivance of it, can we have any true or real conceptions about it: iraus ixas erti Binou, profane unsanctified minds, can have no insight into this effect of divine wisdom.
3. It was God alone who could prepare and provide a surety for this covenant; considering the necessity there was of a sure. ty in this covenant, seeing no covenant between God and man could be firm and stable without one, by reason of our weakness and mutability. And considering of what a nature this surety must be, even God and man in one person, it is evident that God himself alone must make this covenant. And the provision of this surety, doth contain in it the glorious manifestation of all the divine excellencies, beyond any act or work of God whatever.
4. There is in this covenant a sovereign law of divine worship, wherein the church is consummated, or brought into the most perfect estate, whereof in this world it is capable, and established for ever. This law could be given by God alone.
5. There is ascribed unto this covenant such an efficacy of grace, as nothing but Almighty power can make good and accomplish. The grace here mentioned in the promises of it, directs us immediately unto its author. For who else but God, can write the divine law in our hearts, and pardon all our sins ? The sanctification or renovation of our natures, and the justification of our persons, being promised herein, seeing infinite power and grace are required unto them, he alone must make this covenant, with whom all power and grace do dwell. God Hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God; also unto thee, O Lord, belongethi mercy,' Psal. lxii. 11, 12
6. The reward promised in this covenant, is God himself. 'I am thy reward.' And who but God can ordain himself to be our reward ?
Obs. IX. All the efficacy and glory of the new covenant, do originally arise from, and are resolved into, the Author and supreme Cause of it, which is God himself. And we might consider, unto the encouragement of our faith, and the strengthening of our consolation,
1. His infinite condescension in making and entering into covenant with poor, lost, fallen, sinful man. This no heart can fully conceive, no tongue can express ; only we live in hope to have yet a more clear prospect of it, and to have a holy admiration of it unto eternity.
2. His wisdom, goodness and grace, in the nature of that covenant which he hath condescended to make and enter into. The first covenant he made with us in Adam, which we brake, was in itself good, holy, righteous and just ; it must be so, because it was also made by him. But there was no provision made in it, absolutely to preserve us from that woful disobedience and transgression which would make it void, and frustrate all the holy and blessed ends of it. Nor was God obliged so to preserve us, having furnished us with a sufficiency of ability for our own preservation, so as we could no way fall, but by a wil. ful apostasy from him. But this covenant is of such a nature, that the grace administered in it shall effectually preserve all the covenanters unto the end, and secure unto them all the benefits of it. For,
3. His power and faithfulness are engaged unto the accomplishment of all the promises of it. And these promises do contain every thing that is spiritually and eternally good or desirable upto us. • Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!' How glorious art thou in the ways of thy grace towards poor sinful creatures, who had destroyed themselves! And,
4. He hath made no created good, but himself only, to be our reward.
The persons with whom this covenant is made, are also expressed: the house of Israel, and the house of Judah.' Long before the giving of this promise, that people were divided into two parts. The one of them, in way of distinction from the other, retained the name of Israel. These were the ten tribes which fell off from the house of David, under the conduct of Ephraim, whence they are often also in the prophets called by that name. The other, consisting of the tribe of Judah, properly so called, with that of Benjamin and the greatest part of Levi, took the name of Judah; and with them, both the promise and the church remained in a peculiar manner. But whereas they all originally sprang from Abraham, who received the promise and sign of circumcision for them all, and because they were all equally in their forefather brought into the bond of the old covenant, they are here mentioned distinctly, that pone of the seed of Abraham might be excluded from the tenVol. VI.
der of this covenant. Unto the whole seed of Abraham according to the flesh it was, that the terms and grace of this covenant were first to be offered. So Peter tells thein in his first sermon, that the promise was unto them, and to their children who were there present, that is, the house of Judah, and to them that are afar off, that is, the house of Israel in their dispersions, Acts ii. 39. So again he expresseth the order of the dispensation of this covenant with respect to the promise made to Abraham, Acts iii. 25, 26. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed: unto you first, God having raised his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you;' namely, in the preaching of the gospel. So our apostle, in bis sermon unto them, affirmed that it was necessary that the word should be first spoken unto them, Acts xiii. 46. And this was all the privilege that was now left unto them. For the partition wall was now broken down, and all obstacles against the Gentiles taken out of the way. Wherefore this house of Israel, and of Judah, may be considered
First, As that people were the whole entire posterity of Abraham.
Secondly, As they were typical, and mystically significant of the whole church of God. Hence alone it is that the promises of grace under the Old Testament are given unto the church under those names, because they were types of them who should really and effectually be made partakers of them.
In the first sense, God made this covenant with them, and this on sundry accounts.
1. Because He, in and through whom alone it was to be established and made effectual, was to be brought forth amongst them of the seed of Abraham, as the apostle plainly declares, Acts iii. 25.
2. Because all things that belonged unto the ratification of it, were to be transacted amongst them.
3. Because in the outward dispensation of it, the terms and grace of it was first in the counsel of God to be tendered unto them.
4. Because by them, by the ministry of men of their posterity, the dispensation of it was to be carried unto all nations, as they were to be blessed in the seed of Abraham ; which was done by the apostles and other disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.' So the law of the Redeemer went forth from Sion. By this means the covenant was confirmed with many of them for one week, before the calling of the Gentiles, Dan. ix. 27. And because these things belonged equally unto them all, mention is made distinctly of the house of Israel, and the house of Judah. For the house of Judah was, at the time of the giving of this promise, in the sole possession of all the privileges of the old covenant, Israel having cut themselves off by their revolt from the house of David,
and for their sins being also cast out amongst the heathen. But God, to declare that the covenant he designed, had no respect unto those carnal privileges which were then in the possession of Judah alone, but only to the promise made unto Abraham, equals all his seed with respect unto the mercy of this covenant.
In the second sense, the whole church of elect believers, is intended under these denominations, being typified by them. These are they alone, being of twain, namely, Jews and Gentiles made one, with whom the covenant is really made and eş. tablished, and unto whom the grace of it is actually communi. cated. For all those with whom this covenant is made, shall as really have the law of God written in their hearts, and their sins pardoned, according unto the promise of it, as the people of old were brought into the land of Canaan, by virtue of the covenant made with Abraham. These are the true Israel and Judah prevailing with God, and confessing unto his name.
Obs. X. The covenant of grace in Christ, is made only with the Israel of God, the church of the elect.--For by the making of this covenant with any, the effectual communication of the grace of it unto them, is principally intended. Nor can that covenant be said to be made absolutely with any, but those whose sins are pardoned by virtue thereof, and in whose hearts the law of God is written, which are the express promises of it. And it was with respect unto those of this sort among that people, that the covenant was promised to be made with them. See Rom. ix. 2433. xi. 7. But in respect of the outward dispensation of the covenant, it is extended beyond the effectual communication of the grace of it. And in respect thereunto, did the privilege of the carnal seed of Abraham lie.
Obs. XI. Those who are first and most advanced as to out. ward privileges, are oftentimes last and least advantaged by the grace and mercy of them.-Thus was it with these two houses of Israel and Judah. They had the privilege and pre-eminence above all nations of the world, as unto the first tender, and all the benefits of the outward dispensation of the covenant; yet, though the number of them was as the sand of the sea, a remnant only was saved. They came behind the nations of the world as unto the grace of it. And this by reason of their unbelief, and the abuse of the privileges granted unto them, Let not those, therefore, who now enjoy the
greatest privileges, be high-minded, but fear.
The manner of making this covenant, is expressed by duitko 2.50w, perficiam, consummabo, I will perfect, or consummate.' In the Hebrew it is only 31, pangam, feriam, I will