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· must be wholly by free, undeserved, sovereign grace to him, while he receives this favour purely on the account of the righteousness of Christ. And he highly approves of it, and is greatly pleased that the Mediator has done and suffered so much to establish and honour the law, so as to become the end of the law for righteousness to him who believeth, and trusts in him in the character of " the Lord our righteousness."* Thus the believer is a friend to the law of God, and does not wish to be
saved in any way inconsistent with it. And by faith he is conformed to it, in the requirement of it, in a measure, and it is written on his heart. And he feels himself under indispensable obligation to perfect obedience to the law, as an unerring, excellent and perfect rule, and acknowledges that every thing in him, contrary to this law, and that does not come up to all that it requires, is inexcusable wickedness. And he looks to Christ and trusts in him to bring him to a perfect conformity to the law of God, as without that he cannot be completely happy, and in which, in a great measure, his salvation consists. At the same time he is watching and fighting against sin and Satan, and pressing forward after perfect holiness, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling.
Thus the law, both in the precepts and threatenings of it, is every way regarded, maintained and established, in the justification of sinners by faith in Christ, and is much more honoured than it could have been, had there been no Redeemer, and all transgressors of the law had perished, or had it never been transgressed.
On the Covenant of Grace.
THE covenant of grace, when understood in the most extensive sense, comprehends all the designs and transactions respecting the redemption of man by Jesus Christ, in opposition to the covenant of works, or law of works, under which man was first made ; and is the
. Jer. xxiji. 6.
same with the gospel, considered in its original, and the form in which it is administered, and the effects of it.- In this view, it comprehends the eternal purpose of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to redeem man, fixing the manner of it, and every thing that relates to it, and entering into a mutual agreement or covenant ; in which the part which each person should perform, as distinguished from the other, was fixed and voluntarily undertaken. The Father is represented in scripture, as first in this great affair, as giving and sending the Son to redeem man ; and determining the number and the individuals of the human race to be redeemed, and giving them to the Son, to redeem them, and promising that he should be upheld in this work, and carried through it, and be satisfied in his reward, and the salvation of those who were given to him. The Son agreed to all this, and undertook the part he was to act, saying, “ Lo, I come : I delight to do thy will
, O my God."
The Holy Spirit undertakes to do the great part assigned to him in this work, particularly as the agent by whom the application of redemption is made to the elect, by sanctifying them, and effecting a union between the Redeemer and them; and by dwelling in them forever, as the spirit of love and holiness. But this covenant transaction is more particularly and often mentioned, as taking place between the Father and the Son; though not excluding the Holy Spirit.
It is needless to recite the numerous passages of scripture which represent the matter in this light, and refer to this covenant, to him who is acquainted with his Bible. That such a covenant must take place between the persons of the adorable trinity, is certain from the divine decrees ; and necessarily implied in this one sentence of the apostle James, " known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world."* This covenant may be considered as including the whole of redemption of man, as every thing relating to it is hereby fixed, and they who are to be redeemed have redemption secured to them ; and the Mediator covenanted as the public head of his peoVOL. II.
12 Acts sy. 18.
ple, and their salvation was made sure ; and in this respect they are all included in this covenant. And this may be called a covenant of grace, as it is the effect and expression of sovereign love and grace, and is the foun, dation of all the favour and free grace which is to be given to the redeemed church to eternity, and comprehends it all,
But there is a covenant transaction, which takes place between God in Christ, and every believer, when the gospel is cordially embraced. This is often mentioned in scripture, and God is said to enter into covenant with men, and believers are said to be in covenant; and to make a covenant with him, and enter into covenant ; and lay hold of God's covenant, &c. This is a covenant distinct and different from that which has been men. tioned between the persons in the Trinity, or more expressly, between the Father and the Son; though this eternal covenant comprehends that made in time with believers, in the manner which has been mentioned. This distinction, therefore, must be made and kept in view, would we think and speak clearly and intelligibly on this subject. They who have been sensible of this, have distinguished them by different names, calling the first, the covenant of redemption, and the last, the covenant of grace, without designing hereby to exclude grace from the former, or to consider it as not comprehending the latter, in the sense above explained. But the difference consists partly in the different parties covenanting ; the former is between the divine persons of the Godhead, or the Father and the Son ; the latter between these di. vine persons, or God in Christ, and sinful nian : Partly, in the different promises and mutual engagements between the parties covenanting.
This may be illustrated in some measure, perhaps, by the following instance. The son of a great king, and the king himself, had compassion on a poor wretched woman, who had been guilty of a capital crime, and was condemned to be put to death ; and devised means to sa ve her, and bring her to the honour and happiness of being the wife of the son. In order to this, and to make it consistent with the laws of the kingdom, and the honour of the father and son, the latter must go through a scene of suffering and disgrace. The son willingly undertook this; and the father engaged to give him all the necessary assistance and support through the whole : And in consequence of his doing this, and as a proper reward for his virtue, to give him a place on his throne, and to cause the woman to consent to be his wife, though she was now a great enemy to him; and to grant to her a free pardon, and that the son should make her as rich, honourable and happy as he desired ; taking her into the nearest relation and union to himself. This agreement and covenant being made between the father and the son, the latter went through all the suffering and disgrace, which he had promised to do, and was receiv. ed to the power and honour which the father had promised.
The son being invested with authority and power to reclaim the woman, and bring her to consent to marry him, applied to her, and let her know all that had been done by him, in order to her being pardoned, and received to the greatest honour and happiness, upon
her consenting to be his wife ; and offered himself to her to be her friend and husband, and do all for her which she could want or desire, if she would consent to be his wife ; and give herself up to him to be thus related and united to him. The woman freely consented to the proposal of the prince, and accepted of his kind offer ; and relying on his faithfulness and goodness, engaged to do the duty of a wife to him. Thus a particular covenant was made and took place between them, by their mutual promises to each other.
When Christ, the Mediator, had finished the part as. signed to him, and which he had engaged in the covenant of redemption, in taking upon him the form of a servant, and becoming obedient unto death, he was raised from the dead, and exalted to the throne of the universe, and made head over all things to the church, as a reward for the great work which he had finished by his obedience and sufferings, by which he was openly approved and justified, as Mediator between God and man ; and power was given unto him over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as were given to him by the Father, *
John xyii. 2.
And he has ordered the gospel to be preached to men, declaring his character, works and designs, and publishing the way of salvation by him, and freely offering it to all who will accept of it, and promising that all who believe on him, giving themselves to him to be his dis. ciples and servants, shall be saved. This is the sum of the covenant of grace, as it is published and preached in the gospel of the grace of God: And every one who embraces it enters into this covenant; for this is the only condition on man's part; and by this, men are en, titled to all the promises of the covenant, and salvation is made sure to them.
The following things may be observed, concerning this covenant.
1. All the promised blessings and good things contained in this covenant are made sure to the believer on his first believing, and entering into covenant ; because one of the promises of this covenant, as proposed to men by God, is, that he who once believes and accepts of the offer made, shall persevere in his adherence to it, and never fall from it, so as to fail of the blessings of it. It is in this respect au everlasting covenant, as it ensures everlasting life, and can never fail, or be broken, by either party in covenant. This is the covenant described in the following words, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."* This is the covenant of which David speaks, as comprising the whole of his salvation, and all his desire.t The tenor of the covenant of grace is stated as follows: “ This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts : And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. 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. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more.”I
Jer. Xxxii. 40. + 2 Sam. xxiii, 5. * Heb. viü. 10, 11, 12