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ly, freely giving that grace whereby my laws shall be implanted in the minds of men.
To shew in general, before we proceed to the nature of this work, so far as is necessary unto the exposition of the words, we may here consider what was observed in the third place, namely, what it is that is thus promised to be communicated, and so carry it on with us unto the other clause of this promise.
That which is to be put into this spiritual receptacle, is in those words, Tås voules uix, my laws,' in the plural number. Expositors inquire what laws are here intended, whether the moral law only, or others also. But there is no need of such inquiry. There is a metonymy of the subject and effect in the words. It is that knowledge of the mind and will of God, which is revealed in the law, and taught by it, which is promised. The laws of God therefore are here taken largely, for the whole revelation of the mind and will of God. So doth 77710 originally signify doctrine or instruction. By what way or revelation soever God makes known himself and his will unto us, requiring our obedience therein, it is all coinprised in that expression, my laws.
From these things, we may easily discern the nature of that grace, which is contained in this first branch of the first promise of the covenant. And this is the effectual operation of his Spirit, in the renovation and saving illumination of our minds, whereby they are habitually made conformable unto the whole law of God, that is, the rule and the law of our obedi. ence in the new covenant, and enabled unto all acts and duties that are required of us. And this is the first grace promised and communicated unto us by virtue of this covenant, as it was necessary that so it should be. For, 1. The mind is the principal seat of all spiritual obedience. 2. The proper and pecuJiar actings of the mind in discerning, knowing, judging, must go before the actings of the will and affections, much more before all outward practices. 3. The depravation of the mind is such by blindness, darkness, vanity and enmity, that nothing can inflame our souls, or make an entrance towards the reparation of our natures, but an internal, spiritual, saving operation of grace upon the mind. 4. Faith itself is principally'ingenerated by an infusion of saving light into the mind, 2 Cor. iv. 4. 6. So,
Obs. VII. All the beginnings and entrances into the saving knowledge of God, and thereon of obedience unto him, are ef fects of the grace of the covenant.
Secondly, The second part of this first promise of the covenant, is expressed in these words, και επι καρδιας αυτων επιγραψω "UT85, and will write them upon their hearts,' which is that which renders the former part actually effectual. Expositors generally observe, that respect is had herein unto the giving of
the law on Mount Sinai, that is, in the first covenant. For then the law, that is the ten words, was written in tables of stone. And although the original tables were broken by Moses when the people had broken the covenant, yet would not God alter that dispensation, nor write his laws any other way, but commanded new tables of stone to be made, and wrote them therein. And this was done, not so much to secure the outward letter of them, as to represent the hardness of the hearts of the people unto whom they were given. God did not, God would not, by virtue of that covenant, otherwise dispose of his law. And the event that ensued hereon, was, that they brake these laws, and abode not in obedience. This event God promiseth to obviate and prevent under the new covenant, and that by writing these laws now in our hearts, which he wrote before only in tables of stone ; that is, he will effectually work that obedience in us which the law doth require, for he worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.' The heart, as distinguished from the mind, compriseth the will and the affections, and they are compared unto the tables wherein the letter of the law was engraven. For as by that writing and engraving, the tables received the impression of the letters and words, wherein the law was contained, which they did firmly retain and represent, so as that although they were stones still in their nature, yet were they nothing but the law in their use; so by the grace of the new covenant, there is a durable impression of the law of God on the wills and affections of men, whereby they answer it, represent it, comply with it, and have a living principle of it abiding in them.' Wherefore, as this work must necessarily consist of two parts, namely, the removal out of the heart of whatever is contrary unto the law of God, and the implanting of principles of obedience thereinto; so it comes under a double description or denomination in the Scripture. For sometimes it is called a 'taking away of the heart of stone,' or ' circumcising of the heart;' and sometimes the giving of an heart of flesh, the writing of the law in our hearts,' which is the renovation of our natures into the image of God in righteousness and the holiness of truth. Wherefore in this promise, the whole of our sanctification, in its beginning and progress, in its work upon our whole souls, and all their faculties, is comprised. And we may observe,
Obs. VIII. The work of grace in the new covenant passeth on the whole soul in all its faculties, powers and affections, unto their change and renovation. The whole was corrupted, and the whole must be renewed. The image of God was originally in and upon the whole, and on the loss of it the whole was depraved ; see 1 Thess. v. 23. Obs. IX. To take away the necessity and efficacy of renew
ing, changing, sanctifying grace, consisting in an internal, efficacious operation of the principles, habits and acts of internal grace and obedience, is plainly to overthrow and reject the new covenant.
Obs. X. We bring nothing to the new covenant but our hearts, as tables to be written in, with the sense of the insufficiency of the precepts and promises of the law, with respect to our own ability to comply with them.
Thirdly, The last thing in the words, is the relation that ensues hereon between God and his people: Και εσομαι αυτοις εις Θεον, και αυτοι εσονται μοι εις λαον, “I will be unto them a God, and they shall be my people.' This is indeed a distinct promise by itself, summarily comprising all the blessings and privileges of the covenant. And it is placed in the centre of the account given of the whole, as that from whence all the grace of it doth spring, wherein all the blessings of it do consist, and whereby they are secured. Howbeit, in this place it is peculiarly mentioned, as that which hath its foundation in the foregoing promise. For this relation, which implies mutual acquiescency in each other, could not be, and never would have been, if the minds and hearts of them who are to be taken into it were not changed and renewed. For neither could God approve of, and rest in his love towards them, while they were enemies unto him in the depravation of their natures, nor could they find rest or satisfaction in God, whom they neither knew nor loved.
This is the general expression of any covenant-relation between God and men ; ' He will be unto them a God, and they shall be a people unto him.' And it is frequently made use of with respect unto the first covenant, which yet was disannulled. God owned the people therein for his peculiar portion, and they avouched him to be their God alone.
Nor can this be spoken of God and any people, but on the ground of an especial covenant. It is true, God is the God of all the
world, and all people are his, yea, he is a God unto them all. For as he made them, so he sustains, rules, and governs them in all things, by his power and providence. But with respect hereunto, God doth not freely promise that he will be a God unto any, nor can so do. For his power over all, and his rule of all things, is essential and natural unto him, so as it cannot otherwise be. Wherefore, as thus declared, it is a peculiar expression of an especial covenant relation. And the nature of it is to be expounded by the nature and properties of that covenant which it doth respect.
Two things we must therefore consider, to discover the nature of this relation. 1. The foundation of it. 2. The mutual actings in it by virtue of this relation.
First, Unto the manifestation of the foundation of it, some things must be premised.
1. Upon the entrance of sin, there continued no such covenant relation between God and man, as that by virtue thereof he should be their God, and they should be his people. God continued still in the full enjoyment of his sovereignty over men, which no sin, nor rebellion, nor apostasy of man, could in the least impeach. And man continued under an obligation unto dependance on God, and subjection unto his will in all things. For these cannot be separated from his nature and being, until final judgment be executed, after which God rules over them only by power, without any respect unto their wills or obedience. But that especial relation of mutual interest, by virtue of the first covenant, ceased between them.
2. God would not enter into any other covenant with sinful fallen man, to be a God unto them, and to take them to be a peculiar people unto him immediately in their own persons, nor was it consistent with his wisdom and goodness so to do. For if man was not stedfast in God's covenant, but brake and disannulled it when he was sinless and upright, only created with a possibility of defection, what expectations could there be that, now he was fallen, and his nature wholly depraved, any new covenant should be of use unto the glory of God, or advantage of man? To enter into a new covenant, that must necessarily be broken, unto the aggravation of the misery of man, became not the wisdom and goodness of God. If it be said, God might have made a new covenant immediately with man, in such a manner as to secure their future obedience, and to make it firm and stable; I answer, it would not have become the divine wisdom and goodness, to have dealt better with men after their rebellion and apostasy than before, namely on their own account. He did, in our first creation, communicate unto our nature all that grace, and all those privileges, with which in his wisdom he thought meet to endow it, and all that was necessary to make them who were partakers of it everlastingly blessed. To suppose that on its own account alone, he would immediately collate more grace upon our nature, is to suppose him singularly well pleased with our sin and rebellion. This then God would not do. Wherefore,
3. God provided in the first place that there should be a me. diator, a sponsor, an undertaker, with whom alone he would treat about a new covenant, and so establish it. For there were, in the contrivance of his grace and wisdom concerning it, many things necessary unto it, that could no otherwise be enacted and accomplished. Nay, there was not any one thing, in all the good which he designed unto mankind in this covenant, in a way of love, grace and mercy, that could be communicated unto them, so as that his honour and glory might be advanced thereby, without the consideration of this mediator, and what he undertook to do. Nor could mankind have yielded any of
that obedience unto God, which he would require of them, without the interposition of this mediator on their behalf. It was therefore with him that God first made this covenant.
How it was needful that this mediator should be God and man in one person ; how he came to undertake for us, and in our stead; what was the especial covenant between God and him, as unto the work which he undertook personally to perform; have, according unto our poor weak measure and dark apprehension of these heavenly things, been declared at large in our Exercitations on this Epistle, and yet more fully in our Discourse of the mystery and glory of the Person of Christ. Wherefore, as unto this new covenant, it was first made with Jesus Christ, the surety of it and undertaker in it. For,
1. God neither would, nor, salvd justitiá, sapientia et honore, could, treat immediately with sinful rebellious men on terms of grace for the future, until satisfaction was undertaken to be made for sins past, or such as should afterwards fall out. This was done by Christ alone, who was therefore the *ету of this covenant, and all the grace of it; see 2 Cor. v. 10, 20. Gal. ii. 13, 14. Rom. iii. 25.
2. No restipulation of obedience unto God could be made by man, that might be a ground of entering into a covenant, intended to be firm and stable. For whereas we had broken our first covenant-engagement with God, in our best condition, we were not likely, of ourselves, to make good a new engagement of a higher nature than the former. Who will take the word or the security of a bankrupt for thousands, who is known not to be worth one farthing ; especially if he have wasted a former estate in luxury and riot, continuing an open slave to the same lusts ? wherefore it was absolutely necessary, that in this covenant there should be a surety to undertake for our answering and firm standing unto the terms of it. Without this, the event of this new covenant, which God would make as a singu. lar effect of his wisdom and grace, would neither have been glory to him, nor advantage to us.
3. That grace, which was to be the spring of all the blessings of this covenant unto the glory of God, and salvation of the church, was to be deposited in some safe hand, for the accomplishment of these ends. In the first covenant, God at once committed unto man that whole stock of
which was necessary to enable him unto the obedience of it. And the grace of reward which he was to receive upon the performance of it, God reserved absolutely in his own hand; yea, so as that perhaps man did not fully understand what it was. But all was lost at once, that was committed unto our keeping, so as that nothing at all was left to give us the least relief as unto any new endeavours. Wherefore God will now secure all the good things of this covenant, both as to grace and glory, in a third