Page images

Not only did God thus declare his approbation of the eminent services of his beloved Son, but promised to reward them with an immense degree of glory. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"."

Besides the homage of the whole creation, the Mediator was to derive exquisite satisfaction from beholding the fruits of his victory over sin, death, and hell, in the redemption of an innumerable multitude of sinners of every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue". "Ask of me; and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession P." "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities".

It was this recompence, so glorious in its results, that animated the benevolent Saviour "to endure the cross, and despise the shame'."

Now, the promise of an everlasting kingdom to Christ, as a reward for his voluntary obedience, was partly fulfilled, when "he ascended on high, led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea even for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them "." But the completion of it was

"Phil. ii. 9-11. Isa. liii. 10,11.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

more conspicuous on the day of Pentecost, and afterwards, when thousands were converted to the Christian faith by the labours of the Apostles, and Christianity everywhere triumphed over the idolatry and superstition of the Pagan world. And now fresh gems are every day added to his Mediatorial crown; which will continue to receive new accessions of lustre, until all the ransomed throng shall assemble round his throne, to unite in songs of praise to his glorious name.

2. The covenant of grace which God has made with men, is intimately connected with, and founded on, the covenant between the Father and the Son, which has been briefly touched upon. I shall now speak more largely on the nature, conditions, provisions, promises, and threatenings, of the Covenant of Grace, or the dispensation of the Gospel.

It may be thus defined :-The covenant of grace is an agreement between God and men, respecting their restoration from the Fall, to the enjoyment of his favour: God declaring his purpose to bestow everlasting salvation, and every thing relative thereto, upon those who truly covenant with him in Christ; and men consenting to and accepting of the goodwill of God, by a sincere faith and repentance.

Intimations of the new covenant were given to Adam, directly after the Fall, in the first promise of a Saviour: "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." Afterwards, it was more explicitly revealed to Abraham: "I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their ge nerations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God * Gen. iii. 15.

[ocr errors]

unto thee, and thy seed after thee"." And, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed *.

[ocr errors]

The Ceremonial Law given on Mount Sinaï was designed to shadow forth the Gospel Covenant of Grace; and all its sacrifices and ordinances pointed to Christ, whose death on the cross was the substance and accomplishment of them **.

Nor does the moral law supersede the covenant, which was confirmed before of God in Christ, so as to make its promises of none effect'. It was intended rather to subserve the Gospel, to which it sends men for acceptance with their Maker " All the Prophets, more or less, make allusions to the new covenant, as the source from whence redemption flows to man2. Not to mention any other, we will cite the dying words of David: "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."

The covenant of grace widely differs in its constitution from the Law. The covenant of works is founded on God's authority over his creatures, and their obligation to obey him. The reward in this case is not purely "of grace, but of debt;" as none can obtain heaven by the law, who do not merit it by a perfect obedience.

The covenant of grace, on the other hand, is founded on the mercy of God, and all its provisions are free and gratuitous. Its blessings are conferred, through Christ, upon whomsoever God sees fit;

"Gen. xvii. 7.
Gal. iii. 15.
2 Sam. xxiii. 5.

* ib. xxii. 18.
Jy Gal. iii. 21-27.

** Heb. ix. 1–28.
Acts x. 43.

[ocr errors]

though, at the same time, they are offered to all who seek them in the appointed way.

Thus the Law grants no favour, but to them that entitle themselves to it by a spotless obedience, which no man can perform; whilst the Gospel freely offers to us its benefits, as the purchase of Christ's merits. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters! and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price!"

The covenant of grace then affords the only hope of salvation to guilty man. For this reason, it is called " a new and living way, which God hath consecrated for us. And having an High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a full assurance of faith," that we may partake of its important advantages.

3. This covenant proposes certain terms, or conditions, as means whereby its blessings are enjoyed: and these are," repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." The necessity of these graces is clear, if the nature of God, and the situation of man, are considered. The Lord is holy; but we are polluted from the womb: our transgressions against Him are many. How, then, can we expect to please him, unless we repent of our misdeeds; and give full evidence of it, by abhorring and forsaking them? Accordingly, we find Jehovah, in the Old Testament, frequently exhorting those, who have any desire to obtain his covenant blessings, to a hearty sorrow for, and a total putting away of, their sins: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord,

Isai. lv. 1.
Acts xx. 21.

Heb. x. 20-23.

and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon".'

[ocr errors]

John, who came to prepare the way of our Lord before him, preached the baptism of repentance. And Jesus Christ opened his high commission, by saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel."

Nor is faith less necessary than repentance, for the purpose of investing sinners with the privileges of the new covenant. "Without faith, it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him"."

4. The covenant of grace abounds with promises suited to the wants of fallen creatures. It proposes to admit the penitent to the enjoyment of a present and future salvation. In this life, it grants full remission of sins: "Blessed is he, whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile"." It confers justification gratuitously upon them that are saved: “Being justified freely by his grace It engages to bestow grace, according to the various exigencies of the spiritual life". It gives, moreover, the sweetest peace; allows us to hold communion with God'; and affords us an earnest of the heavenly inheritance".


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The covenant equally provides for the future salvation and glory of all the faithful in Christ Jesus: My sheep hear my voice; and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »