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hand, in the hand of a mediator. Hereon the promises are made unto him, and the fulness of grace is laid up in him, John i. 14. Col. i. 17-19. ii. 2. Eph. iii. 8. 2 Cor. i. 20, 21.
4. As he was the mediator of this covenant, God became his God, and he became the servant of God in a peculiar manner. For he stood before God in this covenant, as a public representative of all the elect. See our exposition of Heb. i. 5. 8. ii. 13. God is a God unto him in all the promises he received on the behalf of his mystical body; and he was his servant in the accomplishment of them, as the pleasure of the Lord was to prosper in his hand.
5. God being in this covenant a God and Father unto Christ, he became by virtue thereof our God and Father, John xx. 17. Heb. ii. 12, 13. And we became heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ; and his people, to yield him all sincere obedience. And these things may suffice briefly to declare the foundation of that covenant-relation which is here expressed. Wherefore,
Obs. XI. The Lord Christ, God and man, undertaking to be the mediator between God and man, and a surety on our behalf, is the spring and head of the new covenant, which is made and established with us in him.
Secondly, The nature of this covenant-relation, is expressed on the one side and the other; I will be unto them a God, and they shall be to me a people.'
1st, On the part of God it is, και εσομαι αυτοις εις Θίον, I will be unto them a God;' or, as it is elsewhere expressed, I will be their God.' And we must make a little inquiry into this unspeakable privilege, which eternity only will fully unfold.
1. The person speaking is included in the verb, xao troues, ' I will be;' I Jehovah who make this promise. And herein God proposeth unto our faith, all the glorious properties of his nature. “I who am that I am, Jehovah, goodness and being itself, and the cause of all being and goodness to others; infinitely wise, powerful, righteous, &c. I that am all this, and in all that I am, will be unto them a God. Here lies the eternal spring of the infinite treasures of the supplies of the church, here and for ever. Whatever God is in himself, whatever these properties of his nature extend to, in it all, God hath promised to be our God, Gen. xvii. 1. • I am God Almighty, walk before me.' Hence, to give establishment and security unto our faith, he hath in his word revealed himself by so many names, titles, properties, and that so frequently; in order that we may know him who is our God, what he is, and what he will be to us. And the knowledge of him as so revealing himself, is that which secures our confidence, faith, hope, fear and trust. The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble; and they that know thy name, will put their trust in thee, Psal. ix. 9, 10.
2. What he promiseth is, that he will be a God unto us. Now, although this compriseth absolutely every thing that is good, yet may the notion of being a God unto any, be referred unto two general heads. 1. An all-sufficient preserver; and 2. An all-sufficient rewarder: so himself declares the meaning of this expression, Gen. xvii. 1. xv. 1. I will be all this unto them, to whom I am a God in the way of preservation and recompence, Heb. xi. 6.
3. The declared rule and measure of God's actings towards us as our God, is the promises of the covenant both of mercy, grace, pardon, holiness, perseverance, protection, suceess, and spiritual victory in this world, and of eternal glory in the world to come. In and by all these things will he, in all that he is in himself, be a God unto those whom he takes into this covenant.
4. It is included in this part of the promise, that they who take him to be their God, they shall say, 'Thou art my God,' Hos. i. 23. and carry it towards him according to what infinite goodness, grace, mercy, power and faithfulness do require.
And we inay observe,
Obs. XII. As nothing less than God becoming our God, could relieve, help, and save us, so nothing more can be require ed thereunto. Obs. XIII
. The efficacy, security and glory of this covenant, depend originally on the nature of God, immediately and actually on the mediation of Christ. It is the covenant that God makes with us in him as the surety thereof.
Obs. XIV. It is from the engagement of the properties of the divine nature, that this covenant is ordered in all things and sure. Infinite wisdom hath provided it, and infinite power will make it effectual.
Obs. XV. As the grace of this covenant is inexpressible, so are the obligations it puts upon us unto obedience.
2dly, The relation of man unto God, is expressed in these words, και αυτοι έσονται και τις λαος, • and they shall be unto me a people, or, they shall be my people.' And two things are contained herein.
1. God's owning of them to be his in a peculiar manner, according to the tenor and promise of this covenant, and dealing with them accordingly. Ados migrovo 105, 1 Pet. ii. 5. 'a peculiar people. Let others take heed how they meddle with them, lest they entrench on God's propriety, Jer. ii. 3.
2. There is included in it that which is essentially required unto their being his people, namely, the profession of all subjection or obedience unto him, and all dependance upon him. Wherefore, this also belongs unto it, namely, their avouching this God to be their God, and their free engagement unto all that obedience, which in the covenant he requireth. For although this expression, And they shall be unto me a people,
seem only to denote an act of God's grace, assuming of them into that relation unto himself; yet it includes their avouching him to be their God, and their voluntary engagement of obedience unto him as their God. When he says, “ Ye are my people;' they also say, • Thou art my God, Hos. ii. 23. yet is it to be observed,
Obs. XVI. That God doth as well undertake for our being his people, as he doth for his being our God. And the promises contained in this verse, do principally aim at that end, namely, the making of us to be a people unto him.
Obs. XVII. Those whom God makes a covenant withal, are his in a peculiar manner. And the profession hereof is that which the world principally maligneth in them, and ever did so from the beginning. Ver. 11.-And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord:
for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. The second general promise, declaring the nature of the new covenant, is expressed in this verse. And the matter of it is set down, 1. Negatively, in opposition unto what was in use, and necessary under the first covenant. 2. Positively, in what should take place in the room of it, and be enjoyed under this new covenant, and by virtue of it.
First, In the former part we may observe,
1. The vehemency of the negation in the redoubling of the negative particle, sun, they shall by no means do so,' that shall not be the way and manner with them, whom God makes this covenant withal. · And this is designed to fix our minds on the consideration of the privilege which is enjoyed under the new covenant, and the greatness of it.
2. The thing thus denied, is teaching, dodušnoir, not absolutely, but as unto a certain way and manner of it. The negation is not universal as to teaching, but restrained unto a certain kind of it, which was in use, and necessary under the old covenant. And this necessity was either from God's institution, or from practice taken up among themselves, which must be inquired into
3. The subject matter of this teaching, or the matter to be taught, was the knowledge of God, gadi tov Kugsor, know the Lord. The whole knowledge of God prescribed in the law, is here intended. And this may be reduced unto two heads. 1. The knowing of him, and the taking him thereon to be God, to be God alone, which is the first command. 2. The knowledge of his mind and will, as to the obedience which the law required in all the institutions and precepts thereof; all the things which God revealed for their good, Deut. xxix. 29. : Revealed things belong unto us and to our children, that we may do all the words of this law.'
4. The manner of the teaching whose continuation is denied, is exemplified in a distribution into teachers, and them that are taught; έκαστος τον πλησιον, και έκαστος τον αδελφον, every man his neighbour, and every man his brother.' And herein, 1. The universality of the duty,'' every one,' is expressed; and therefore it was reciprocal. Every one was to teach, and every one was to be taught, wherein yet respect was to be had unto their several capacities. 2. The opportunity for the discharging of the duty, is also declared from the mutual relation of the teachers, and them that are taught: every one his neighbour and his brother.'
Secondly, The positive part of the promise consists of two parts.
1. The thing promised, which is the knowledge of God, Fartis sodnosov pes, they shall all know me.' And this is placed in opposition unto what is denied; "they shall not teach one another, saying, Know the Lord.' But this opposition is not as unto the act or duty of teaching, but as unto the effect, or saving knowledge itself. The principal efficient cause of our learning the knowledge of God under the new covenant, is included in this part of the promise. This is expressed in another prophet and promise, they shall be all taught of God.' And the observation hereof, will be of use unto us in the exposition of this text.
2. There is added the universality of the promise, with respect unto them with whom this covenant is made; ato peixgou αυτων έως μεγαλου αυτων, all of them from the least unto the greatest.' A proverbial speech, signifying the generality intended without exception, Jerem. viii. 10. • Every one, from the least unto the greatest, is given unto covetousness.'
This text hath been looked on as attended with great diffi. culty and much obscurity, which expositors generally rather conceal, than remove. For from the vehement denial of the use of that sort or kind of teaching, which was in use under the Old Testament, some have apprehended and contended, that all outward stated ways of instruction under the New Testament, are useless and forbidden. Hereon by some, all the ordinances of the church, the whole ministry and guidance of it, hath been rejected; which is in sum, that there is no such thing as a professing church in the world. But yet those who are thus minded, are no way able to advance their opinion, but by a direct contradiction unto this promise, in their own sense of it.
For they endeavour in what they do, to teach others their opinion, and that not in the way of a public ordinance, but every one his neighbour, which if any thing, is here denied in an especial manner.
And the truth is, that if all outward teaching be absolutely and universally forbidden, as it would quickly fill the world with darkness and brutish ignorance, so it any one should come to the knowledge of the sense of this,
or any other text of Scripture, it would be absolutely unlawful for him to communicate it unto others. For to say, Know the Lord,' or the mind of God in this text, either to neighbour or brother, would be forbidden. And of all kinds of teaching, that by a public ministry in the administration of the ordinances of the church, which alone is contended against from these words, seems least to be intended. For it is private, neighbourly, brotherly instruction only, that is expressed. Wherefore, if on a supposition of the prohibition of such outward instruction, any one shall go about to teach another, that the public ordinances of the church, are not to be allowed as a means of teaching under the New Testament, he directly falls under the prohibition here given in his own sense, and is guilty of the violation of it. Wherefore, these words must necessarily have another sense, as we shall see they have, in the exposition of them, and that plain and obvious.
Howbeit, some learned men have been so moved with this objection, as to affirm, that the accomplishment of this promise of the covenant, belongs unto heaven, and the state of glory. For therein alone, they say, we shall have no more need of teaching in any kind. But as this exposition is directly contrary unto the design of the apostle, as respecting the teaching of the new covenant and the testator thereof, when he intends only that of the old, and exalts the new above it; so there is no such difficulty in the words, as to force us to carry the interpretation of them into another world. Unto the right understanding of them, sundry things are to be observed.
1. That sundry things seem in the Scripture oft-times to be denied absolutely, as unto their nature and being, when indeed they are so only comparatively, with respect unto somewhat else which is preferred before them. Many instances might be given hereof. I shall direct only to one that is liable to no exception, Jerem. vii. 22, 23. I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices; but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, and walk in all the ways that I commanded you, that it may be well unto you." The Jews of that time, preferred the ceremonial worship by burnt-offerings and sacrifices, above all moral obedience, above the great duties of faith, love, righteousness and holiness. And not only so, but in 'a pretended diligent observance thereof, they countenanced themselves in an open neglect and contempt of moral obedience; placing all their confidence for acceptance with God in these other duties. To take them off from this vain ruining presumption, as God, by sundry other prophets, declared the utter insufficiency of these sacrifices and burnt-offerings by themselves, to render them acceptable unto him, and