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say we.

ally administered from the foundation of the world, in the way of a promise. For as such it was consistent with that cové nant made with the people in Sinai. And the apostle proves expressly, that the renovation of it made to Abraham, was no way abrogated by the giving of the law, Gal. iii. 17. There was no interruption of its administration made by the introduction of the law. But he treats of such an establishment of the new covenant, as wherewith the old covenant made at Sinai was absolutely inconsistent, so that it was therefore to be removed out of the way. Wherefore he considers it here as it was actually completed, so as to bring along with it all the ordinances of worship which are proper to it, the dispensation of the Spirit in them, and all the spiritual privileges wherewith they are accompanied. It is now so brought in as to become the entire rule of the church's faith, obedience and worship in all things. This is the meaning of the word vivouo9stolar, established,'

But it is reduced into a fixed state of a law or ordinance. All the obedience required in it, all the worship appointed by it, all the privileges exhibited in it, and the grace administered with them, are all given for a statute, law and ordinance to the church. That which before lay hid in promises, in many things obscure, the principal mysteries of it being a secret hid in God himself, was now brought to light; and that covenant, which had invisibly in the way of a promise, put forth its efficacy under types and shadows, was now solemnly sealed, ratified and confirmed in the death and resurrection of Christ. It had before the confirmation of a promise, which is an oath; it had not the confirmation of a covenant, which is blood. That which before had no visible outward worship, proper and peculiar to it, is now made the only rule and instrument of worship to the whole church, nothing being to be admitted therein, but what belongs to it, and is appointed by it. This the apostle intends by vouo.Jernhau, the legal establishment of the new covenant, with all the ordinances of its worship. Hereon the other covenant was disannulled and removed, and not only the covenant itself, but all that system of sacred worship whereby it was administered. This was not done by the making of the covenant at first. Yea all this was superinduced into the covenant, as given out in a promise, and was consistent therewith. When the new covenant was given out only in the way of a promise, it did not introduce a worship and privileges expressive of it. Wherefore it was consistent with a form of worship, rites and ceremonies, and those composed into a yoke of bondage which belonged not to it. And as these being added after its giving, did not overthrow its nature as a promise, so they were inconsistent with it, when it was completed as a covenant. For then all the worship of the church was to proceed from it, and to be conformed to it. Then it was established. Hence it follows, in answer to the second difficulty, that as a promise, it was opposed to the covenant of works; as a covenant, it was opposed to that in Sinai. This legalizing, or authoritative establishment of the new covenant, and the worship thereunto belonging, did effect this alteration.

In the last place, the apostle tells us whereon this establishment was made, and that is sto xguirlooi stoerlence is, on better promises.' For the better understanding hereof, we must consider somewhat of the original and use of divine promises, in our relation to God. And we may observe,

First, That every covenant between God and man, must be founded on and resolved into promises. Hence essentially a promise and a covenant are all one, and God calls an absolute promise founded on an absolute decree, his covenant, Gen. ix. 11. And his purpose for the continuation of the course of nature to the end of the world he calls his covenant with day and night, Jer. xxxiii. 20. The being and essence of a divine covenant lies in the promise. Hence are they called the covenants of promise, Eph. ii. 12. Such as are founded on and consist in promises. And it is necessary that so it should be. For,

1. The nature of God who maketh these covenants requireth that so it should be. It becometh his greatness and goodness in all his voluntary transactions with his creatures, to propose that to them, wherein their advantage, their happiness and blessedness doth consist. We inquire not how God may deal with his ceatures as such ; what he may absolutely require of them on the account of his own being, his absolute essential excellencies, with their universal dependance on him. Who can express or limit the sovereignty of God over his creatures ? All the disputes about it are fond. We have no measures of what is infinite. May he not do with his own what he pleaseth? Are we not in his hands as clay in the hands of the potter? And whether he make or mar a vessel, who shall say to him, What doest thou ? He giveth no account of his maiters. But on supposition that he will condescend to enter into covenant with his creatures, and to come to agreement with them according to the terms of it, it becometh his greatness and goodness to give them promises as the foundation of it, wherein he proposeth to them the things wherein their blessedness and reward doth consist. For, Ist, Herein he proposeth himself to them as the eternal spring and fountain of all power and goodness. Had he treated with us merely by a law, he had therein only revealed his sovereign authority and holiness ; the one in giving of the law, the other in the nature of it. But in pro. inises he revealeth himself as the eternal spring of goodness and power. For the matter of all promises is somewhat that

is good ; and the communication of it depends on sovereign power. That God should so declare himself in his covenant, was absolutely necessary to direct and encourage the obedience of the covenanters. And he did so accordingly, Gen. xvii. 1. xv. 1. 2dly, Hereby he reserves the glory of the whole to himself. For although the terms of agreement which he proposeth between himself and us, be in their own nature holy, just and good, which sets forth his praise and glory, yet if there were not something on his part, which hath no antecedent respect to any goodness, obedience or desert in us, we should have wherein to glory in ourselves, which is inconsistent with the glory of God. But the matter of those promises wherein the covenant is founded, is free, undeserved, and without respect to any thing in us, whereby it may, in any sense, be procured. And so in the first covenant, which was given in a form of law, attended with a penal sanction, yet the foundation of it was in a promise of a free and undeserved reward, even of the eternal enjoyment of God, which no goodness or obedience in the creature could possibly merit the attainment of. So that if a nian should by virtue of any covenant be justified by works, though he might have whereof to glory before men, yet could he not glory before God, as the apostle declares, Rom. iv. 2. and that because the reward proposed in the promise, doth infinitely exceed the obedience performed.

2. It was also necessary on our part, that every divine covenant should be founded and established on promises. For there is no state wherein we may be taken into covenant with God, but it is supposed we are yet not arrived at that perfection and blessedness whereof our nature is capable, and which we cannot but desire. And therefore when we come to heaven, and the full enjoyment of God, there shall be no use of any covenant any more, seeing we shall be in eternal rest in the enjoyment of all the blessedness whereof our nature is capable, and shall immutably adhere to God without any farther expectation. But whilst we are in the way, we have still some parts, yea some principal parts of our blessedness to desire, expect and believe. So in the state of innocency, though it had all the perfection which a state of obedience according to a law was capable of, yet did not the blessedness of eternal rest, for which we were made, consist therein. Now whilst it is thus with us, we cannot but be desiring and looking out after that full and complete happiness, which our nature cannot come to rest without. This therefore renders it necessary, that there should be a promise of it given as the foundation of the covenant, without which we should want our principal encouragement to obedience. And much more must it be so in the state of sin and apostasy from God. For we are now not only most remote from our utmost happiness, but involved in a condition of misery, without a deliverance from which, we cannot be any ways induced to give ourselves up unto covenant obedience. Wherefore, unless in the covenant we are prevented with promises of deliverance from our present state, and the enjoyment of future blessedness, no covenant could be of use or advantage unto us.

3. It is necessary from the nature of a covenant. For every covenant that is proposed unto men, and accepted by them, requires somewhat to be performed on their part, otherwise it is no covenant. But where any thing is required of them that accept of the covenant, or to whom it is proposed, it doth suppose that somewhat be promised on the behalf of them by whom the covenant is proposed, as the foundation of its acceptance, and the reason of the duties required in it. All this appears most evia dently in the covenant of grace, which is here said to be established on promises; and that on two accounts. For,

First, At the same time that much is required of us in the way of duty and obedience, we are told in the Scripture, and find it by experience, that of ourselves we can do nothing. Where. fore, unless the precept of the covenant be founded in a promise of giving grace and spiritual strength unto us, whereby we may be enabled to perform those duties, the covenant can be of no benefit or advantage to us. And the want of this one consideration, that every covenant is founded in promises, and that the promises give life unto the precepts of it, hath perverted the minds of many to suppose an ability in ourselves of yielding obedience unto those precepts, without grace antecedently received to enable us thereunto, which overthrows the nature of the new covenant.

Secondly, As was observed, we are all actually guilty of sin before this covenant was made with us. Wherefore, unless there be a promise given of the pardon of sin, it is to no purpose to propose any new covenant terms 'unto us.

For the wages of sin is death ;' and we having sinned must die, whatever we do afterwards, unless our sins be pardoned. This therefore must be proposed unto us as the foundation of the covenant, or it will be of none effect. And herein lies the great difference between the promises of the covenant of works, and those of the covenant of grace. The first were only concerning things future, eternal life and blessedness upon the accomplishment of perfect obedience. Promises of present mercy and pardon it stood in need of none, it was not capable of. Nor had it any promises of giving more grace, or supplies of it; but man was wholly left unto what he had at first received. Hence the covenant was broken. But in the covenant of grace, all things are founded in promises of present mercy, and continual supplies of grace, as well as of future blessedness. Hence it becomes to be ordered in all things, and sure.' And this is the first thing that was to be declared, naniely, that every divine covenant is established on promises.

Secondly, These promises are said to be better promises. The other covenant had its promises peculiar to it, with respect whereunto this is said to be established on better promises. It was in. deed principally represented under a system of precepts, and those almost innumerable. But it had its promises also, into the nature whereof we shall immediately inquire. With respect therefore to them is the new covenant, whereof the Lord Christ was the mediator, said to be established on better promises. That it should be founded in promises, was necessary from its general nature as a covenant, and more necessary from its es-, pecial nature as a covenant of grace. These promises are said to be better promises' with respect to those of the old covenant, But this is so said as to include all other degrees of comparison. They are not only better than they, but they are positively good in themselves, and absolutely the best that God ever gave, or will give to the church. And what they are we must consider in our progress. And sundry things may be observed from these words.

Obs. VIII. There is infinite grace in every divine covenant, inasmuch as it is established on promises.—Infinite condescension it is in God, that he will enter into covenant with dust and ashes, with poor worms of the earth. And herein lies the spring of all grace, from whence all the streams of it do flow. And the first expression of it is in laying the foundation of it in some undeserved promises. And this was that which became the goodness and greatness of his nature, the means whereby we are brought to adhere to bim in faith, hope, trust and obedience, till we come to the enjoyment of him. For that is the use of promises, to keep us in adherence to God, as the first original and spring of all goodness, and the ultimate satisfactory reward of our souls, 2 Cor. vii. 1.

Obs, IX. The promises of the covenant of grace are better than those of any other covenant ; as for many other reasons, so especially because the grace of them prevents any condition or qualification on our part. I do not say the covenant of grace is absolute without conditions, if by conditions we intend the duties of obedience which God requireth of us in and by virtue of that covenant : but this I say, the principal promises thereof, are not in the first place remunerative of our obedience in the covenant, but efficaciously assumptive of us into covenant, and establishing or confirming in the covenant. The covenant of works had its promises, but they were all remunerative, respecting an antecedent obedience in us; (so were all those which were peculiar to the covenant of Sinai.) They were indeed also of grace, in that the reward did infinitely exceed the merit of our obedience. But yet they all supposed it, and the subject of Vol. VI.


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