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SERM. make it their own personal act, but only they two; yet XXX.
seeing all mankind were to proceed from them, and were at that time in their loins, hence all were concluded under the same sin, and as much obnoxious to the punishment threatened, as if they had done it every one in his own person.
The first covenant being thus broken, God was pleased to enter into another, established upon better promises ; whereby Adam himself, and all mankind, might escape the death they had incurred, and live for ever, unless it was every one's own personal fault. For which purpose, the same day that the first Adam fell, God was pleased to set up another Adam, His Only-begotten Son, to take the nature of man into His own Divine person, as fully and wholly as it was in the first; and in it, to suffer the death which He had threatened, and so recover mankind into their first estate of life and happiness, upon that easy condition of believing aright in Him for it. And that they might have firm ground to do so, He Himself was pleased to make the promise, as He had made the threatening before, with His
own mouth, saying to the serpent that had beguiled the Gen. 3. 15. woman, and by her the man too, “I will put enmity between
thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Rev.12.9.] Where, by the serpent, we are to understand the said old
serpent the Devil; by the seed of the woman, we are to understand Christ, who was born of a woman, only without a man. This seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head; his upper part, where his life, his subtlety, and his
strength lay, and so deprive him of his sting, destroy his [Acts 26. works, and turn man again from the power of Satan unto John 8. God: but the seed of the serpent, they who are of their
father the Devil, shall bruise Christ's heel, His lower part, the human nature that they shall put to death; but they shall bruise only one heel, and therefore the other being still whole, He shall rise again, and so overcome the Devil, and rescue man from his power and tyranny.
This was the first draught of the new covenant, which was afterwards more fully exemplified, explained, and ratified to Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the children of Israel, by Prophets raised up among them all along for that pur
pose, until the seed of the woman should be actually born, or Christ should actually take the nature of man upon Him. At which time God saith, by His Prophet Jeremiah," that [ch.31.33.] He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel :" not as if it was not made before, for it had been the new covenant all along; but as it was first made with mankind in general, it was now renewed, and more clearly revealed to the children of Israel in a more particular manner, because Christ was to be born of one of their kindred, and so they were more nearly related in blood to Him as man, than the rest of mankind are. To them therefore God was pleased to give a more full and plain description of this new covenant, than He did to others, till after Christ, in whom it was established, was actually come into the world, and so the promise was actually performed. And this He did by Jer. 31. 33, His foresaid Prophet.
This therefore is that better covenant, of which Christ is 11, 12. said to be “the Mediator,” and “the Surety;” because He ch. 7. 22. took upon Him to see it exactly performed on both parts, so as to reconcile God to men, and men to God, according to the tenure of this covenant, which is the proper notion and office of a Mediator. But for this purpose, it was first necessary that He should suffer that death which God had threatened to Adam and all mankind, in case they did not obey His commandments; otherwise God's Word would not be fulfilled, nor His justice satisfied. And therefore this was one article of the covenant, that the seed of the serpent should bruise His heel, or put His lower part, His human nature, to death ; which Christ therefore undertook, even to suffer death in the nature, and so in the stead of mankind, and by that means to be “a propitiation for the sins of the (1 John 2. world :" upon which account He is said to be our Priest,“) and our “ High-Priest.” But it was necessary also, that Heb. 8. 1, according to the other clause in the covenant, He should“ bruise the serpent's head, destroy the works of the Devil, overcome his power, and so enable men, notwithstanding all the opposition that he could make against it, to keep all the commandments of God as entirely and sincerely as they in their fallen and imperfect state could do it; and to make up the defects of theirs, by His own most perfect and Divine
1. 8. 6.
SERM. obedience to the whole law: so that God might be satisfied
for the dishonour He had received by their breaking His law, and likewise might have perfect obedience, for the future, performed to it. For the attaining of which end, Christ undertook also to reveal the whole will of God to mankind, that they might know what to do, and likewise to give them power to do it; and so to be our Prophet, and our King, as well as Priest: in the execution of which three offices, the whole work of His Mediatorship consisted. And therefore He began to execute them from the beginning, and will continue to do so to the end of the world, that all
mankind might have the benefit of His Mediation; who, as Heb. 13. 8. the Apostle saith, “ Is the same yesterday, and to-day, and
for ever.” Hence therefore, that we may fully understand what Christ, as our Mediator, hath done, or still does for us, we must consider each of these three offices which He undertook for our sakes. We shall begin with His Priesthood: the priest's office, ye know, was to offer sacrifices to God, and by them to make atonement for the sins of the people. Now this Christ did, by offering up Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind : in this it is that His Mediation is founded, and by this it is made effectual; and therefore the Apostle having said in my text, “ There is one Mediator between God and man,” he adds in the next verse, “who gave Himself a ransom for all;” or, as the words ó ôous fautòv, may be rendered, having given Himself a ransom; it being by this especially, that He mediates with God for us. But here are two things more to be observed : first, that the word 'Avrimurgov signifies such a ransom as is given instead of the thing ransomed, as head for head, goods for goods, life for life; and so it imports, that Christ gave His life instead of ours, suffering that death in our nature, which we were otherwise bound to have suffered in our own persons : and, secondly, that He did this for all, or instead of all; and, by consequence, for Adam himself, and all mankind from the
beginning, as well as to the end of the world; and therefore Apoc. 13. 8. is called, “ The Lamb slain from the foundation of the
world;" that is, from the time that the first promise of it, or the new covenant, before spoken of, was made. Then Christ undertook to pay this ransom, by dying in the stead of mankind; which therefore took place immediately, as much as if had been then done. As it is in other ransoms; when a slave or captive, as suppose in Turkey, is to be redeemed, if his ransom be agreed upon, and security given for the payment of it, the captive is immediately set at liberty, although the ransom be not paid in a month, or perhaps some years after: how much more in this case, where the Son of God Himself had engaged His word, that He would, at the time agreed upon, die for the sins of the world, and so pay the full price for man's Redemption? That was every way as good and effectual, as if He had died that very moment: And so, from that time forward, Adam, and his whole posterity, were capable of being redeemed by the blood of Christ (if they would but lay hold of it), although it was not actually shed till many years after.
But how then comes it to pass, that all men are not redeemed by it? The reason is, because they will not believe it. For we must observe, that this new covenant was made by way of promise; but what God promiseth, we are bound to believe, otherwise we make Him a liar : and therefore it was sufficiently implied in the covenant itself, that the condition required on our parts, is to believe it; and we are fully assured of it by Christ Himself, laying the whole stress of our Redemption, by Him, upon our believing in Him; as where He saith, That “ God so loved the world, that He John 3. 16. gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “He ver. 18. that believeth on Him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already.” “He that believeth Mark 16.16. and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And so all along in the Gospel. Wherefore, they who do not believe in Christ, and depend upon Him to be their Mediator and Saviour, they do not perform the easy condition, the easiest that could be required on their parts in the covenant, and therefore cannot possibly receive any benefit by it: neither is there any reason they should, seeing they will not take God's Word, nor believe what He, who cannot lie, hath said ; and so destroy themselves again, as their first parents did, by their unbelief.
Seeing therefore, that although Christ hath paid a suffi
SERM. cient price for the Redemption of mankind, yet, nevertheless, XXX.
the application of it to particular persons, depends upon their believing in Him for it; hence He hath taken care all along, to put men in mind of Him, and His death for them, that so they might act their faith in Him. From the beginning of the world He appointed bloody sacrifices to be offered, to foreshew and typify that which He was to offer for them. And when He was to offer up Himself, and so put an end to all those typical sacrifices, He, the very night before He did it, instituted a Sacrament, to shew it forth, and continue the remembrance of it to the end of the world; that mankind might always have Him evidently set forth as crucified before their eyes, and so might always look upon Him as their Mediator, and believe and trust on Him, to reconcile Almighty God, their Maker to them: for which He is so fully qualified, by the great propitiation which He hath made for their sins in His own blood. By virtue whereof, He still continues our High-Priest, making intercession with the Father in Heaven for us; which was typified in the old Law, by the High-Priest's carrying the blood of the sacrifice he had offered once a year into the Holy of
Holies, and with it making atonement there for the sins of Heb. 9. 24. the people. But, as the Apostle observes, “ Christ is not
entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." There He now is, in that very body which He offered up for us. In it He appears before God, not for Himself, but for us; and therefore, if we do but believe on Him, and apply ourselves to God, by Him, as we ought, we shall find, by our own experience,
the truth of what we have now heard, even that He is a Heb. 7. 25. most effectual Mediator for us, “ able to save to the utter
most, all that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Christ having thus, by giving Himself a ransom for all, made full atonement and propitiation for the sins of the whole world, God, for His sake, is so gracious, propitious, and merciful to mankind, as to pardon and forgive the sins we have committed against Him, so soon as we repent of them, so as never to exact of us the punishment which was