Of God’s Covenant with Man.
I. The distance between God and the creature is go great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.(a)
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works,(b) wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity,(c) upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.(d)
III. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,(e) commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved,(f) and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.(g)
IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a Testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.(h)
V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:(i) under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come:(k) which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,(l) by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called, the Old Testament.(m)
VI. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance,(n) was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:(o) which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet, in them, it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,(p) to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles;(q) and is called the New Testament.(r) There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.(s)
(n) Col. 2:17 .
(o) Matt. 28:19 , 20; I Cor. 11:23, 24, 25.
(p) Heb. 12:22 to 28; Jer. 31:33 , 34.
(q) Matt. 28:19 ; Eph. 2:15 , 16, 17, 18, 19.
(r) Luke 22:20 .
(s) Gal. 3:14 , 16; Rom 3:21 , 22, 23, 30; Ps. 32:1 with Rom. 4:3 , 6, 16, 17, 23, 24;Heb. 13:8 ; Acts 15:11.
Of Christ the Mediator.
I. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man;(a) the Prophet,(b) Priest,(c) and King,(d) the Head and Saviour of His Church,(e) the Heir of all things,(f) and Judge of the world:(g) unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,(h) and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.(i)
(a) Isa. 42:1 ; I Pet. 19, 20; John 3:16 ; I Tim. 2:5.
(b) Acts 3:22 .
(c) Heb. 5:5 , 6.
(d) Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33 .
(e) Eph. 5:23 .
(f) Heb. 1:2 .
(g) Acts 17:31 .
(h) John 17:6 ; Ps. 22:30, Isa. 53:10 .
(i) I Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4 , 5; I Cor. 1:30.
II. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,(k) with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin:(l) being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.(m) So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.(n) Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.(o)
(k) John 1:1 , 14; I John 5:20 ; Phil. 2:6 ; Gal. 4:4 .
(l) Heb. 2:14 , 16, 17; Heb. 4:15 .
(m) Luke 1:27 , 31, 35; Gal. 4:4 .
(n) Luke 1:35 ; Col. 2:9 ; Rom. 9:5 ; I Pet. 3:18; I Tim. 3:16.
(o) Rom. 1:3 , 4; I Tim. 2:5.
III. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure,(p) having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;(q) in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell;(r) to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,(s) He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a mediator and surety.(t) Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father,(u) who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.(w)
IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake;(x) which that He might discharge, He was made under the law,(y) and did perfectly fulfil it,(z) endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul,(a) and most painful sufferings in His body;(b) was crucified, and died;(c) was buried, and remained under the power of death; yet saw no corruption.(d) On the third day He arose from the dead,(e) with the same body in which He suffered,(f) with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of His Father,(g) making intercession,(h) and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.(i)
(x) Ps. 40:7, 8 with Heb. 10:5 to 10; John 10:18 ; Phil. 2:8.
(y) Gal. 4:4 .
(z) Matt. 3:15 ; Matt. 5:17 .
(a) Matt. 26:37 , 38; Luke 22:44 ; Matt. 27:46 .
(b) Matt. 26 , 27 chapters.
(c) Phil. 2:8 .
(d) Acts. 2:23, 24, 27; Acts 13:37 ; Rom. 6:9 .
(e) I Cor. 15:3, 4.
(f) John 20:25 , 27.
(g) Mark 16:19 .
(h) Rom. 8:34 ; Heb. 9:24 ; Heb. 7:25 .
(i) Rom. 14:9 , 10; Acts 1:11 ; Acts 10:42 ; Matt. 13:40 , 41, 42; Jude ver. 6; II Pet. 2:4.
V. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of His Father;(k) and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.(l)
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world: being yesterday and to-day the same, and forever.(m)
VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself:(n) yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.(o)
VIII. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, He doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same,(p) making intercession for them,(q) and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation,(r) effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit;(s) overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.(t)
(p) John 6:37 , 39; John 10:15 , 16.
(q) I John 2:1 , 2; Rom. 8:34 .
(r) John 15:13 , 15; Eph. 1:7 , 8, 9; John 17:6 .
(s) John 14:26 ; Heb. 12:2 ; II Cor. 4:13; Rom. 8:9 , 14; Rom. 15:18 , 19; John 17:17 .
(t) Ps. 110:1; I Cor. 15:25, 26; Mal. 4:2 , 3; Col. 2:15.
Of Free Will.
I. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil.(a)
II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good, and well pleasing to God;(b) but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.(c)
(b) Eccles. 7:29; Gen. 1:26.
(c) Gen. 2:16, 17; Gen. 3:6.
III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:(d) so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,(e) and dead in sin,(f) is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.(g)
IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He freeth him from his natural bondage under sin;(h) and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;(i) yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.(k)
V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone, in the state of glory only.(l)
Of Effectual Calling.
I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time effectually to call,(a) by His Word and Spirit,(b) out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ;(c) enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,(d) taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh;(e) renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power determining them to that which is good,(f) and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:(g) yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.(h)
(a) Rom. 8:30 ; Rom. 11:7 ; Eph. 1:10 , 11.
(b) II Thess. 2:13, 14; II Cor. 3:3, 6.
(c) Rom. 8:2 ; Eph. 2:1 , 2, 3, 4, 5; II Tim. 1:9, 10.
(d) Acts 26:18 ; I Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17 , 18.
(e) Ezek. 36:26 .
(f) Ezek. 11:19 ; Phil. 2:13 ; Deut. 30:6 ; Ezek. 36:27 .
(g) Eph. 1:19 ; John 6:44 , 45.
(h) Cant. 1:4; Ps. 110:3; John 6:37 ; Rom. 6:16 , 17, 18.
II. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man,(i) who is altogether passive therein, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,(k) he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.(l)
III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ through the Spirit,(m) who worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth:(n) so also, are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.(o)
IV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,(p) and may have some common operations of the Spirit,(q) yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:(r) much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess.(s) And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.(t)
(p) Matt. 22:14 .
(q) Matt. 7:22 ; Matt. 13:20 , 21; Heb. 6:4 , 5.
(r) John 6:64 , 65, 66; John 8:24 .
(s) Acts 4:12 ; John 14:6 ; Eph. 2:12 ; John 4:22 ; John 17:3.
(t) II John ver. 9, 10, 11; I Cor. 16:22; Gal. 1:6 , 7, 8.