Book II

OI" THE INTERNAL ACTS AND WORKS OF GOD ; AND OF HIS DECREES IN GENERAL.

THE acts and works of God may be distinguished into internal and external. The external acts and works of God, are such as are done in time, visible to us, or known by us; as creation, providence, redemption, &c. His internal acts and ,vorks, which will be first considered, and are what were done in eternity, are commonly distinguished into personal and essential. Personal acts are such as are peculiar to each person. Essential acts are such as art common to them all, among these internal acts of the mind of God, are his purposes and decrees; and these are purposed in himself Eph. i. 9. sometimes they are called, the thoughts of his heart, Psal. xtxiii. 11. Sometimes the counsels of God, Isai. xxv. 1. and sometimes decrees, Dan. iv. 17. Zeph. ii. 2. sometimes they are expressed by preordination and predestination; so Christ is said to be foreordained before the foundation of the world, 1 Pet. i. 20, and men are said to be predestinated Eph. i. 5,11. Now concerning these may be observed,

I. The proof to be given of them, that there are decrees and purposes in God. The Sovereignty of God over all, and his independency, clearly shew, that whatever is done in timr, is according to his decrees in eternity ; if any thing comes to pass without the will of Gorl, Lam. iii. 37. how is he a sovereign, if any thing is by chance and fortune,or the mere effect of second causes, independent of the will of God, then he must be dependent on them; The immutability of God requires eternal decrees in him concerning every thing that is in time; for if any thing is done in time, that did not fall under his notice and will in eternity, this must be new to him, and produce a change in him ; or if an after-will in time arises in him, respecting any thing he would have done, which he willed not before, this argues a change in him. The knowledge of God, ■ clearly proves and establishes the decrees of God; Known unto God, are all his works from the beginning, or from eternity, Acts xv. 18. Once more the wisdom of God makes it necessary that there should be eternal purposes and decrees in him : can we imagine that the all,wise God, who builds all things, should go about them without preconcerted measures, and settled determinations concerning them who it wonder. fulin counsel, and excellent in working. Isai. xxviii. 29.

II. The extent of the decrees and purposes of God, deserve notice and consideration : and they reach to all things that come to pass in the world, from the beginning to the end of it. The, world and all things in it, Rev. iv. 11. The heavens, Psal. cxlviii. 6. The earth, 2 Pet. iii. v—10. Job xxxviiii. 10,11. The rain. Amos iv. 7, 8. The peopling of the world ; Deut. xxxii. 8. the people of Israel, Gen xv. 14. Exod. xv. 17. The church of God, in its different states, under the legal dispensation, Gal. Iv. 1, 2, and under the gospel dispensation. The persecutions and sufferings of the church of Christ tinder the ten Roman emperors, signified by ten days, Rev ii. JO. and under Rome papal, for a time, and times, and half a time ; even forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years. In short every thing respecting all the individuals of the world, that have been, are or shall be particularly, all that relate to the people of God, as well their spiritual and eternal, as temporal concerns, is settled

' and determined,

III. The properties of the purposes and decrees of God, may next be considered—As they are internal acts, they are i. immanent ones ; they are in God, and remain and abide in

him 2. They are eternal; as God himself is eternal, so are

they; for as some divines express it, God's decrees are him

self decreeing, and therefore if he is from everlasting to ever, lasting, they are so likewise. 3. The decrees of God are most free *' he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy," 4. They are most wise decrees, as the apostle expresses it, speaking of them " a depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God in them," Rom. xi. 33—5. They are immutable and unalterable : they are the mountains of Brass, out of which come forth the horses and chariots, the executioners of divine providence. Zech.vi. 1—8. 6. The decrees of God are always effectual; they cannot be frustrated or disannulled, or become of no effect; For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it ? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back ? Isai. xiv. 27.

OF THE SPECIAL DECREES OF GOD, RELAT. ING TO RATIONAL CREATURES, ANGELS, AND MEN ; AND PARTICULARLY OF ELECTION.

THE special decrees of God, respecting rational creatures, commonly go under the name of predestination ; this is usually considered as consisting of two parts, and including the two branches of election and reprobation, both with respect to angels and men ; for each of these have place in both. Angels ; some of them are called elect angels, 2 Tim. v. 21. others are said to be reserved in chains, 2 Petii. 4. Men; some of them are vessels of mercy ; and others are the rest that are left in, blindness, Rom. ix. 22, 23,1 shall begin with,

I. The election of angels; of this the scriptures speak but sparingly, and therefore the less is necessary to be said concerning it: there is a similarity between their election and the election of men ; though in some things there appears a little difference,—1. The election of angels, as well as of men, is of God: they are called the angels of God, Luke xii. 8, 9. 2. Their election, as that of men, lies in a distinction and separation from the rest of their species not only by their characters ; but by their state and condition. 3. in their election their were considered as on an equal foot with others not elected, as men are ; as men are considered, when chosen, as in the pure mass, having done neither good nor evil, so were angels; 4. their election, though it is not said to be made in Christ, as the election of men nor could it be made in him, considered as Mediator; yet they might be chosen in him, as they seem to be, as an Head of conservation; as an Head both of eminence to rule over them ; and of influence, to communicate grace and strength to them ; to confirm them in their state in which they are; for Christ is the head of nil principality and poultry Col. ii. 10. 3. Though the angels are not chosen to salvation as men are; as that signifies a deliverance from sin and misery; yet they are chosen to happiness, to communion with God now, whose face they ever behold; and to a confirmed state of holiness and impeccability.

II. The election of men to grace and glory, is next to be considered ; and it may be proper in the first place to take some notice of the election of Christ, as man and mediator ; Who is God's first and chief elect; and is, by way of eminency, called his elect; Behold my servant, ivhom Iuphild, mine elect in wk'm my soul delighleth, Isai. xlii. 1. and oftentimes the chosen of God, PsaU Ixxxix. 3. Luke xxiii. 35. 1 Pet. ii. .4. either,—1. It respects the choice of the human nature of Christ to the grace of union with him as the Son of God, Heb. x- 5. Psal. exxxix. 16. or,,—2. The character of elect, as given to Christ, respects the choice of him to his office as Mediator in which he was set up, and with which he was invested, and had the glory of it before the world began. He was first chosen and set up as an Head : and then his people were chosen, as members of him, 1 Pet. i. 18—20. Rom. iii. 25. Some are of opinion that this doctrine of election, admitting it to be true, should not be published, neither preached from the pulpit, nor handled in schools and academies, nor treated of in the writings of men; the reasons they give, are because it is a secret, and secret things belong to God ; and hecause'it tends to fill men's minds with doubts about their

salvation, and to bring them intb distress, dnd even into des* pair; and because some may make a bad use ot it to indulge* themselves in a sinful course of life, and argue, that if they are elected they shall be saved, let them live as they may, and so it opens a door to all licentiousness: but these reasons are frivolous and groundless; the doctrine of election is no secret, it is written as with a sunbeam in the sacred scriptures; a truly gracious man may know for himself his election of God, I Thess. i. 4, 5. The first question to be put to a man by himself, is not, -am I elected ? but, am I born again ? am I a new creature ? am I called by the grace of God, and truly con. verted ? If a man can arrive to satisfaction in this matter, he tan have no doubt about his election ; that then is a clear case and out of all question. If the apostle thought himself bound to give thanks to God for his choice of the Thessalonians to salvation ; how much more reason had he to bless the God and Father of Christ for his own election, as he does 2 Thess. ii. 13. Eph. i. 3,4. With what exultation and triumph may a believer in Christ take up those words of the apostle, and use mem with application to himself, Who shall lay any thing t» the c/targe of God's elect ? Rom. viii. 33. yea our Lord Jesus. Christ exhorts his disciples, rather to rejoice that their names) were written in heaven. Strange.' that this doctrine should Of itself dead to licentiousness, when the thing itself, contained in it, is the source of all holiness ; men are chosen, according to this doctrine, to be holy. How clearly and fully does the apostle Paul enlarge on this doctrine of election in Rom. ix. and xi. and in Eph. i. and 2 Thess. ii. and in other places ? and since it is so plentifully declared in the Bible, we need hot be ashamed of it, nor ought we to conceal it. I proceed then,

i. To observe the phrases by which it is expressed in scrip* tare. It is expressed by being ordained to eternal life, Actsf xiii. 48. As many as were ordained to eternal life believed—., Some, in order to evade the force and evidence of these words in favour of election, would have them rendered, As many at •were disposed for eternal life, believed; but this is not agreeable to the use of the word throughout the book of ihe Acts by the divine historian ; by our translators it is rendered determined 5n A. ts xv. 3. and appointed in chap. xxii. 10. and xxviii. 23. and here preordained, in the vulga'e Latin version, and by Arias Montanus ; besides, there are no good dispositions tor eternal life in men before faith; whatsoever is not of.faith, is sin ; and men, in a state of unbelief and unregeneracy, are foolish and disobedient. This act of God is also expressed by the names of persons being written in heaven, and in ihe Lamb's book of life, Luke x. 20. Heb. xii. 22. Phil. iv. 3. Rev. xiii. 8. But the more common phrases used concerning it, are those of being chosen and elected, fcph. i. 4. 2 Thess. n. 13. Rom. viii. 33. and xi, 7. The election treated of is not, ■-— 1. An election of a nation tn some external privileges, as ihe people of Israel, who were chosen of God to be a special people above all people on the face of the earth; as in Hom. ix. 4, S. but in the same context it is observed, that they were not all Israel, or God's fleet, n was only a remnant ot them that were of this sort, which should be eternally saved.—z. Nor of an election to offices ; as the sons of ihe house of Aaron were chosen to minister, in the office of priests, to the Lord ; and as Saul was chosen to be king over Israel ; and the twelve were chosen to be apostles of Christ; for there were many in the priest' ffice very bad men; and Saul behaved so ill, as to be rejected of God from being king, that is, from ihe kingdom being continued in his family ; and though Christ chose twelve to be his apostles. one of them was a devil.—3. Nor of an election of whole bodies and communities of men, under, the character of churches, to the enjoyment of the means of grace: Eph. i. 4. is no instance of this. Those who he says,' were chosen in Christ, were not the Ephesians only, but others also. The phrase of being chosen in Christ, is sometimes' used of a single person, and so is not appropriate to communities and churches, Rom. xvi. 13. When the apostle Peter •peaks of some he writes to as elect, according to the fore

knowledge of God, and as a chosen generation, 1 Pet. i. 2. and ii. 9 he dors not write to them, and speak ol them, as a church ; for he writes to strangers, scattered abroad in several countries—i. Nor is thib act of election under consideration, to be, understood of the effectual vocation of particular persons , though that is sometimes expressed by choosing men out of the world, 1 Cor i. 26, 27. the reason of wuich is, because vo. caiion is a certain fruit and effect of election, and is a sure and certain evidence of it; For whom God did predestinate, them he also called, Hom. iii. 30, But then election and vocation differ, as the cause and the effect, the tree and its fruit, a thing and the evidence of it. Bui—-5. This is to be understood of the choice of certain persons by God, from all eternity, to grace and glory, 2 Thess. ii. 13. This is the first link in the golden chain of man's salvation,

ii. The npxt thing to be considered is, by whom election is made, and in whom it is made; it is made by God, and it is made in Christ. 1 li is made by God, as the efficient cause of it; God, who is a sovereign being, and has a right to do what he will with his own ; shall he be denied that which ever• man thinks he has a right unto and does ? Do not kings choose their own ministers; masters their servants ; and every man his own favourites, friends, and companions ? And may nof God choose whom he pleases to communion with him, both here and hereafter ; or to grace and glory ? He does this, and therefore it is called election of God ; of which God is the efficient cause, 1 Thess. i. 4, and the persons chosen are called God's elect, Rom, viii. 33. Luke xviii. 7. This act is, for the most part, ascribed to God the Father, Eph. i. 3,4. Sometimes it is asi ribed to Christ, and he takes it to himself, J speak not of ijou all; I know whom I have chosen, John xiii. 18. Nor is the blessed Spirit to be excluded ; for since he has a place in the decree of the means, he must have a concern with the Father and the Son in the act itself, as the efficient cause of it. This being the act of God, it is for ever; unchaigea, able and irrevocable. 2. This act is made in Christ, accord* ing as he bath chosen us in him, Eph. i. 4. Election does not find men in Christ, but puts them there ; an open and secret being in Christ, differ in this, that the one is in time, and but a littler while ago, the other from eternity ; the one is the evi. oence ol the other ; / knew a man in Christ above fourteen yttrsago, says the apostle, 2 Cor. xii. 2. meaning himself; one saint may be in Christ, before another; Salute Andronicus and Juntawho alio were in Christ before me, says the same apostle, Hom. xvi. f. they being called and converted before he was ; but with respect to electing grace, one is not before another.

in. The objects of election are to be next enquired after, who are men; for with such only is now our concern; God does not choose propositions, but persons ; not characters, but men, nakedly and abstractly considered ; and these not all men, but some, as the nature of election, and the very sense of the word suggests : as in effectual vocation, the fruit and evidence of it, men are taken out of the world, so in election, they are distinguished from others ; as in redemption men are redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation ; so in election they are chosen out of the same ; election and redemption are of the same persons, and are commensurate to each other ; the number of the chosen ones is not con. fined to any particular nation; for God is the God both of the Jews and of the Gentiles ; these are but few in comparison, of the men of the world, though considered absolutely by themselves, they are a great multitude, which no man can number, Luke xii. 32. Kev. vii. 9. And here is the proper place to discuss that question, Whether men were considered, in the mind of God, in the decree of election, as fallen or unfallen ; as in the corrupt mass, through the fall; or in the pure mass of creatureship, previous to it; and as to be created ? Some that think that the latter, so considered, were the objects of election are called Supralapsarians. And in this wiy of considering the decrees of God, they think they sufficiently obviate and remove the slanderous calumny cast upon them, with respect to the other branch of predestination, which leaves men in the same state when others are chosen, and that for the glory of God. Which calumny is, that according to them, God made man to damn him ; whereas, according to their real sentiments, God decreed to make man. and made man, neither to damn him nor save him, but for his own glory ; which end is answered in them, some way or another. Again, they argue that the end is first in view, before the means : now as the glory of God is the last in execution, it must be the first in intention ; and they add to this, that if God first decreed to create man, and suffer him to fall, and then, out of the fall chose some to grace and glory ; he must decree to create man without an end, which is to make God to do what no wise man would; they think also that this way of conceiving and speaking of these things best expresses the sovereignty of God in them; as declared in the ninth of the Romans. The objector to the sovereign decrees of God is brought in saying. Why does he yet find fault? who hath resisted his will f The answer to it is taken from the sovereign power of the potter over his clav. and this way of reasoning is thought to suit better with the instance of Jacob and Esau, the children being not yet born, and having done neither good nor evil, that the purposes of God, according to election, might stand, than with supposing persons considered in predestination, as already created, and in the corrupt mass: Beza remarks that if ths apostle had considered mankind as corrupted, he would not have said, that some vessels were made to honour, and some to dishonour; but rather, that seeing all the vessels would be fit for dishonour, some were left in that dishonour; and others translated from nishonour to honour. They observe, that elect angels, could not be considered in the corrupt mass, when chosen; since they never fell, and therefore it is most reasonable, that as they,. so those angels that were not chosen, were considered in the same pure mass of creatureship ; so in like manner men ; tb which they add the human nature of Christ, which is the object of election to a greater dignity than that of angels and men, could not be con* sidered in the corrupt mass, since it fell not in Adam, nor iitrer came into any corrupt state; and yet it was chosen out of the people, Psal. lxxxix. 19. and consequently the people out of whom it was chosen, must be considered as yet not (alien and corrupt. On the other hand, those who are called bublapsarians, and are for men being considered as created und fallen, in the decree of election, urge John xv. 19 / ham, tboyou out of the world. Now the world is full of wickedness. They further observe, that the elect are called vessels of mercy ; which supposes them to have been miserable. It is also said, that men are chosen in Christ as Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour ; which implies, that an offence is given and taken, and reconciliation is to be made. It is moreover, taken notice of, that the transitus in scripture, is not from election to creation, but to vocation, justification, adoption, sanctification, and salvation. But, can vocation be supposed without creation ? It is thought that this way of considering men as fallen, in the decree of election, is more mild and gentle than the other, and best accounts for the justice of God ; since all are in the corrupt mass, it cannot be unjust in him to choose some out of jt to undeserved happine^B; and to leave others in it, who pt rish justly in it for their sins. These are some of the principal arguments used on both sides; the difference is not great, both agree in the main and material things in the doctrine of election ; as—1. That it is personal and particular. 2. That it is absolute and unconditional. 3, That it is wholly owing to the will and pleasure of God. 4. That both elect and nonelect are upon an equal foot in the decree of predestination. 5. .That it is an eternal act in God, and not temporal; or which commenced not in time, but from all eternity; for it is not the opinion of the Sublapsarians, that God passed the de. cree of election after men were actually created und fallen; only that they were considered in the divine mind, from all Eternity, in the decree of election, as if thev were created and fallen. Calvin was for the corrupt mass; Beza, who was a co-pastor, with him in the church at Geneva, and h'ra successor, was for tit pure mass ; and yet they lived in great peace, love, and harmony. The Contra-remonstraws in Holland, ulien Armini.mism first appeared among them, were not agreed in this point; but they both united against the common adversary, the Armenians. Dr. Twiss, who was as great a Supralapsarian as perhaps ever was, confesses that it was only apex logic'i s,»pornt in logic ; an 1 that the difference only lay in the ord. ring and arrang ing h ' decrees of God : and, for my own part, i think both may k. pken in.

iv." The date of election is next to be considered. And eer' in it is, that it Was before men were born ; The children no'being yet bornthat 'he purport.'J'Godaccording to election, might stand, Kom. ix. 11. Jer. i. 5. And this also is before the new birth, or before calling ; for calling is the fruit and effect of. election; the apostle says of the Thessalonians, God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation, 2 Thess. ii.. 13. nt.tfrom the beginning of the preaching of the gospel to them ; for that may be preached among a people, but not to their profit, Htb. iv. 2. 2 Cor. ii. 16. Nor from the beginning of their conversion ; for that, is the effect and evidence of election, Rom. viii. 30. see 2 Tim. i. 9. Nor is this phrase ' from rhe beginning, to be understood from the beginning of time, or from the creation ; as in John viii. 44. This choice of men to holiness and happiness, was made in Christ; before the f undation of the world, Eph. i. 4. The book of life of the lamb, was written as early, Rev. xiii. 8. and xvii.8. That this act of election is an eternal act, or from eternity, may be con. clu'led, 1. From the foreknowledge of God, which is eternal. Now men are elected according to the fore-knowledge of God; and " whom he did foreknow he did predestinate," 1 Pet. i. 2. Kom. viii. 29. 2. The eternity of election may be coaduded from the love of God to his people ; for it is to that it is owing; electio prasupponit delectionem, election presupposes love, 2 Thess. ii. 13. Now the love of God is an everlasting fove. 3. It may be argued from the covenant of graces which

is an everlasting covenant, from everlasting to everlasting, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 5. This appears from the earl) preparation of grace and glory : grace was given them in Christ before the world was, 2 Tim. i. 9. 6. From the nature of the decrees of God in general, it must appear that this is eternal: man's salvation by Christ, it is according to the eternal purpose, which he purposedin Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph. iii. y—11.

v. The impulsive, or moving causes of this act in Cod, were not,—1. The good works of men ; for this act passed in eternity, before any works were done; Hom. ix. 11. Good works are what God has pre-ordained, that his chosen ones should walk in them. Eph ii. 10. and therefore the election of the one, and the pre-ordination of the other, must be previous to them; and they not the cause of either; the same cannot be both cause and effect, with respect to the same things, Moreover, God does not proceed according to men's works; nor are they the moving causes to him, in other acts of his grace; as not in the mission of his son, 1 John iv 10. nor in vocation^ 2 Tim. i. 9. nor in justification, Rom. iii. 20, 28, nor in the whole of salvation, Tit. iii. 5. Eph» ii. 8, 9. and so riot in this first step to salvation, election ; for then it would hot be of grace, 2. Neither is the holiness of men, whether in principle or in practice, or both, the moving cause of election to eternal life; it is an end to which men are chosen ; he hath cMsin us in him—-that ri>e should be holy, Eph. i. 4. the sanctification of God's elect is the object of God's decree; is the thing decreed, and so cannot be the cause of the decree. 3. Nor is faith the moving cause of election ; the one is in time, the other in eternity, it is a consequence that follows upon it, and is insured by it: As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed, Acts xiii. 48. if faith is the moving cause of election, men might be said rather to choose God and Christ, at least first, than they to choose him ; whereas our Lord says, Tie have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. John xv. 16. 4. Nor is perseverance in faith, holiness, and good works, the moving cause of election; but the effect of it, and what is en

surcd by it. The truth of all this might be illustrated and confirmed by the case of infants dying in infancy; who' as soon as they are in ti.e world, almost are taken out of it. Now such a number as they are, can never be thought to be brought into being in vain, God is and will be glorified in them: now though their election is a secret to us, and unrevealed ; it may be reasonably supposed, yea in a judgment of charity it may rather be concluded, that they are all chosen, than that none are, but the election of them cannot be owing to their faith, holiness, obedience, good works, and perseverance, or to the foresight of these things, which do not appear in them.

vi. The means fixed in the decree of election, for the execution of it, or in order to bring about the end intended, are the mediation of Christ, and redemption by him, the sanctlfication of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.

vn. The ends settled in the decree of election are both subordinate and ultimate ; the subordinate ones have indeed the nature of means with respect to the ultimate one. So God is said to predestinate them to be conformed to the image of his Son, to be made like unto him, to the adoption of children, Eph. i. 5. to be holy and without blame, Eph. i. 4. to obedience and good works 1 Pet. i. 2. to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. v. 9. to eternal life, Acts xiii. 48. Now all these ends, are subordinate ones to the grand and ulti mate end of all, the glory of God ; the praise of the glory of his grace, Eph. i. 4—^-6.

Vni. The blessings and benefits flowing from election are many, indeed all spiritual blessings. 1. Vocation, Rom. viii. 30. 2 Tim. i. 9.—2. Faith and holiness, 3. Communion with God, Psal. lxv. 4. 4. Justification, Rom. viii. 33. 5. Adoption, Heb. ii. 13.14. Johnxi. 52. 6. Glorification, Rom. viii. 30.

ix. The several properties of election may be gathered, from what has been said of it; as,—1. That it is eternal; 2. It is free and sovereign, Rom. ix. 18.—23. 3. It is abso«

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lute and unconditional; Rom. i x. 11.—4. It is complete and perfect. 5. It is immutable and irrevocable, G. It is special and particular, 7. Election may be known; for to whomsoever the blessings of grace are applied, they must be the elect of God, Rom. viii. 30. There are many things objected to this doctrine of election; but since it is so clear and plain from scripture, and is written a^ with a sun-beam in it, all objections to it must be mere cavil. It is urged, that God is said to be good to all, and his tender mercies over all his works, Psal. cxlv. 9.; but this is to be understood not of his special grace, but of his providential goodness, which extends to the elect and non-elect, the evil and the good, the just and the unjust, Matt. v. 45. It is observed, that Christ says he was sent not to condemn the world, but that the world through him may be saved, and therefore not some only but all; but to understand this of all the individuals in the world is not true, because all are trot saved ; and so this end of Christ's mission, so understood, is not answered. Nor is 1 Tim. ii. 4. any objection to this doctrine, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth ; for all men are not eventually saved: but the sense is, either, that all that are saved, God wills to be saved ; or that it is his will that men of all sorts and of all nations, Jews and gentiles, should be saved; which agrees with the context 1,2,7

OF THE DECREE OF REJECTION, OF SOME ANGELS, AND OF SOME MEN.

The doctrine of rejecting some angels and some men From the divine favour, is spoken of but sparingly in scripture, yet clearly and plainly ; though chiefly left to be concluded from that of election.

I. The rejection of some of the angels, which consists of two parts :—1. A non-election, or pretention of them, a passing over them or passing by them, when others were chosen. To some angels God decreed to give, and did give grace to confirm them in the state in which they were created; the

others were left to the mutability of their will, which is that weakness and folly the angels were chargeable with in their creation-state, Job iv. 18. hence of their own free-will they sinned and fell, and left their habitation, 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6. 2. The appointment of them to wrath and damnation .r in this they were viewed as sinful, fallen creatures ; this decree is meant by their being reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day, Jude 6. 2 Pet. ii. 4.

II. The decree concerning the rejection of some of the sons of men. We can hear and read of the non-election and rejection of angels, and of their pre-ordination to condemnation and wrath, with very little emotion of the mind: but if any thing of this kind is hinted at, with respect to any of the apostate sons of Adam, presently there is an outcry against it; and all the above things are suggested. What is the reason of this difference ? It can be only this, that the latter comes nearer home, it is partiality to ourselves, our nature and race, to which this is owing. But to goon—i. I shall prove thatthere is a non-election. Our Lord says, / speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen, John xiii. 18. As election is signified by the writing of names in the book of life, non-election is expressed byjiot writing the names of some there. Pretention is God's passing by some men, when he chose others: and in this act, or part of the decree, men are considered as in the pure mass of creatureship. Preordination of men to condemnation for sin; and is what is spoken of in Jude 4. There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation ; who are described by the following characters, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into laciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and, or even our Lord Jesus Christ. The casting of the fury of God's wrath, in all the dreadful instances of it, is called, the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him of God, Job xxi. 30. and xx. 23—29. and this is the sense of Prov. xvi. 4. for the meaning of the text is not, nor is it our sense of it, as some misrepresent it, as if God made man to damn him ; we say no such thing, nor does the text; our sentiment is, that Gtd made man neither to da nn nor save him ; but he made h n !or his own glory, and he will be glorified in him, in one way or another.

OF THE ETERNAL UNION OF THE ELECT OF GOD UNTO HIM.

The union of God's elect unto him, their adoption by him, justification before him, and acceptance with him, being eternal, internal and immanent acts in God; I know not where bitter o place them, than next to the decree of election, I shall consider the union of the elect to God, as it is in its original, and as an eternal immanent act in God. This bond ol union is indissoluble by the joint power of men and devils. The love of Christ to the elect, is as early as that of his Father's love to him and them, and which, it seems, was a love of complacency and delight; for before the world was his delights were with the sons of men, John xv. 9. Now of this union there are several branches, or which are so many illustrations and confirmations of it, and all in eternity ; as, i. An election, union in Christ: this flows from the love of God, see Thess. ii. 13. Election gives a being in Christ, how they can be said to have a being in Christ, and yet have no union to him, I cannot conceive, it. There is a conjugal union between Christ and the elect, which also flows from love, and commenced in eternity. Though the open marriage-relation between Christ and particular persons, takes place at conversion, and the more public notification of it will be when the marriage of the Lamb shall come. Yet the secret act of bc,trothing was in eternity: so Christ is said to be the husband of the Gentile church before she was in actual being, Isai. liv. 5. nt. There is a federal union between Christ and the elect, and they have acovenant-subsistance in him as their head and representative. The covenant was made with Christ not as a single person, but as a common head; hence he is said to be the figure or type of him that was to come, Rom. v. 14. so the covenant of grace was made with Christ as the federal head of his spiritual offspring; and for this reason a parallel is run between them in Rom. v. and 1 Cor xv. as if they had been the onlv two men in the world, the one called the first and the other the second man. iv. There is a legal union between Christ and the elect, the bond of which is his suretyship for them, flowing from his strong love and affection to them. In this respet Christ and they are one in the eye of the law, as the bondsman and debtor are one in a legal sense ; so that if one of them pays the debt bound for, it is the same as if the other did.

OF OTHER ACTS OF GOD, PARTICULARLY ADOPTION AND JUSTIFICATION.

I Shall here treat of these doctrines as internal and immanent acts, taken up in the mind of God from eternity, and which abide in his will; in which they have their compleat esse, or being, as eternal election has. I shall begin,

I. With Adoption, which is no other than his will to adopt the chosen ones, which is his adoption of them. This agrees with the sense of the word adoplo, from whence adoption comes, which is compounded of ad co, and opto to choose ; so that by this option, or choice of his they become so. The Greek word for adoption throughout the New Testament, signifies putting among the children; the phrase used by God, Jer. iii. 19. i. It did not begin in time, but commenced from eternity. 1. It is an act that does not first take place at believing; indeed the saints are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, openly and manifestatively, Gal. iii. 26. but then it is not faith that makes them children, but what makes them appear to be so. 2. Adoption does not first commence at regeneration; adoption and regeneration are two distinct blessings. 3. The act of adoption is previous to any work of the Spirit of God upon the hearts of his people ; Because ye are sons, sons already, sons by adopting grace ; God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, to cry Abba Father, Gal. iv. 6. Bom. viii. 14—16.—4. Divine adoption took place before any work of Christ was wrought in time ; for though th« nature Christ assumed was what was in common to all mankind, jet he assumed it with a peculiar view to the children of God, Isai. ix. 6. Heb. ii. 14, 16. and in consequence they must be the children of God before Christ suffered and died. 11. Adoption is an act of God's free grace from all eternity.—1. The elect of God are frequently spo ken of as given to Christ, and as coming to him by faith, which is the certain fruit and consequence of that gift; see John xvii. 2—24 and vi. 37. Now they were given to Christ in the relation of children, and therefore must be children so early; Behold, 7, and my children which God hath given me Heb. ii. 13. 2. They were espoused to Christ in eternity; as has been shewn in the preceding chapter; espoused to the Son of God, they became sons and daughters of the Lord God almighty, the King of kings.— 3. They were taken by him into the covenant of his grace as children, see Isai. ix. 6. and liii. 10. 4. Predestination to the adoption of children, is mentioned along with election, as of the same date with it, Eph. i. 4, 5. All these in time, and to eternity, serve only to open and expand the original act of God's will, in appointing and constituting them his sons in an eternity past.

II. Justification is an act of God's grace, flowing from his sovereign good will and pleasure: Tit. iii. 7. Rom. iii. 24. it is by many divines distinguished into active and passive. Active justification is the act of God; it is God that justifies. Passive justification is the act of God, terminating on the conscience of a believer. It is not of this I shall now treat, but of the former; which is an act internal and eternal, taken up in the divine mind from eternity, i. It does not begin to take place in time, or at believing, but is antecedent to any act of faith. — 1. Faith is not the cause, but an effect of justification ; not the moving cause, that is the free grace of God, Rom. iii. 24. nor the efficient cause, Rom viii. 33. nor the meritorious cause, that is the obedience and blood of Christ, Rom v. 9,19. nor even the instrumental cause ; for, as Mr. Baxter himself argues, " If faith is the instrument of our justification^ it is the instrument either of God or man: not of man, for justificatioa is God's act; he is the sole Justifier, Rom. iil. 26. man doth not justify himself: nor of God, for it is not God that believes." Agreeably to this are the reasonings and assertions of Twisse, Macovius,and others. 2. Faith is the evidence and manifestation of justification, and therefore justification must be before it; Faith is the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1. but it is not the evidence of that which as yet is not. The righteousness of God, is revealed from faith to faith, Komi. 17. and therefore must be before it is revealed, 3. Faith adds nothing to the esse, only to the bene esse of justification ; for though we believe not, yet he abides faithful. But* —4. Justification is the object, and faith the act, that is conversant with it; what the eye is to the body, that faith is to the Sjui. Christ's righteousness, is compared to a robe or garment; but then as a garment must be wrought, before it is put on, so must the justifying righteousness of Christ be, before it can be put on by faith. 5. All the elect of God were justified in Christ, their Head and Representative, when he rose from the dead; hence when he rose, they rose with him ; and when he was justified, they were justified in him ; for he was deliveredfortheir offences,andwas raisedagain for their jus* tification, Rom. iv. 25. see 1 Tim. iii. 16. and this is the sense and judgment of many sound and learned divines: as, Sand. ford, Dr.Goodwin, the learned Amesius, Hoornbeck, Witsius and others. n. Justification is not only before faith, but it is from eternity: as may be concluded,—1. From,eternal election ; Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? it is God that justifies, by electing grace men were put into Christ, and were considered as in him before the foundation of the world; and if they were considered as in him, they must be considered as righteous or unrighteous ; not surely as unrighteous, uu justified, and in a state of condemnation; for there is no condemnation to them which arc in Christ, Rom. viii. 1. and therefore must be considered as righteous, and so justified: 2. Justification may well be considered as a branch of election ; Wherein; he hath made us accepted in the behved, Eph. i. 6. What is this acceptance, but justification in him? 3. justification is a spiritual blessing none will deny ; and if the elect were blessed with all .spiritual blessings, then with this, " We may say, says Dr. Goodwin, of all spiritual bless, ings in Christ, what is said of Christ, thai his goings forth are from everlasting! 4. Christ became a Surety for his people hom everlasting ; and it is a rule that will hold good, as Macovius observes, " that as soon as one becomes a surety for another, the other is immediately freed, if the surety be accepted ;" 5. the everlasting transaction, the same excellent writer thinks, is imported in 2 Cor. v. 19. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself r.ot imputing their trespasses unto them And the very learned Witsius is of opinion, " that this act of God may be called, the general justification of the elect." 6. It was the will of God from everlasting, not to punish sin in. the persons of his elect, but to punish it in the person of Christ, no new will can arise in God ; if it was the eternal will of God not to punish sin in his people, but in his Son, then they were eternally discharged, 7. It deserves regard and attention, ihat the saints under the Old Testament, were justified by the same righteousness of Christ, as those under the New, and that before the sacrifice was offered up, the satisfaction given, and the everlasting righteousness brought in. Now if God could, and actually did, justify some, three or four thousand years before the righteousness of Christ was actually brought out J why not from eternity ? If there is no difficulty in conceiving of the one, there can be none in conceiving of the other. There are many objections made to this truth ; some are so trifling as to deserve no notice ; a few of the more principal ones I shall briefly answer and chiefly those made, for the most part, by the learned Turretine. i. It is objected that men cannot be justified before they exist; they must be; before thev can be justified : I answer whatever is in this objection, lies as strongly against eternal election, as against eternal justification. " Justification is a moral act, which does not re

quire the existence of the subject together with it: but it \i enough that it shall exist some time or other." 2. It is farther objected, that if God s elect are justified from eternity, then they were not only justified before they themselves existed, but before any sin was committed by them : and it seems absurd that men should be justified from sins before they were committed, or any charge of them brought against them. But it is no more absurd to say, that God's elect were justified from their sins before they were committed, than it is to say* that they were imputed to Christ, and he died for them, and made satisfaction for them before committed ; which is most certainly true of all those that live, since the coming and death of Christ: such that believe the doctrines of the imputation of sin to Christ, and bf his satisfaction for it, ought never to make this objection ; and if they do they ought to be fully content with the answer. The charge bf sin is not first made when brought to the conscience of an awakened sinner; justice brought the charge against all the elect, in the eternal transactions between the Father and the Son. 3. It is urged that strictly and accurately speaking, it cannot be said that justification is eternal, because the decree of justification is one thing, and justification itself another: wherefore, though the decree of justification is eternal, and precedes faith, that itself is in time and follows it. To which it may be answered that his decree, or will to justify them, is the justification of them; as that is an immanent act in God 3 which has its complete essence in his will, as election has. Was justification, as the Papists say, by an infusion of Inherent righteousness in men* there would be some strength in the objection ; but this is not the case, and therefore there is none in it. 4. It is observed, that the apostle, reckoning up in order, the benefits which flow from the love of God to the elect, in his famous chain of salvation, sets vocation before justification, as something antecedent to it, Rom. viii. 30. from whence it is concluded, that vocation is in order of time, before justification. To which I reply, that the order of things in scripture is frequently htu

verted. The Jews have a saying, that there is nothing prior and posterior in the law. Vocation is sometimes placed before election, 2 Pet. i. 10. on the other hand, salvation is placed before vocation, 2 Tim. i. 9. Justification as a transient act, and declarative, follows vocation ; but as an immanent act in God, it goes before it. 5. It is affirmed, that those various passages of scripture, where we are said to be justified through faith; shew that faith is something prerequisite to justification, which cannot be said if justification was from eternity. To which the answer is, that those scriptures which speak of justification, through and by faith, do not militate against,nor disprove justification before faith ; the one being an immanent act in God: the other a transient declarative act, terminating on the conscience of the believer: and this being observed, obviates another objection, that if justification is before faith, then faith is needless and useless. It is not so ; it is of use to receive the blessings of justification, and to enjoy the comfort of it. 6. It is asserted, that justification cannot be from eternity, but only in time, when a man actually believes and repents; otherwise it would follow, that he who is justified, abides in death, 1 John iii. 14. and is of the devil, 8. and in a state of damnation, Gal. v. 21. To remove this seeming difficulty, let it be observed, that the elect of God may be considered under two different heads Adam and Christ; and as related to two covenants at one and the same time. It is no contradiction to say; that the elect of God, as in Adam, and according to the covenant of works ; are under the sentence of condemnation; and that as in Christ, and according to the covenant of grace, they are justified. Jesus Christ was the object of his Father's love and wrath at the same time: as the son of God, he was always the object of his love; as the Surety of his people, bearing their sins, and suffering for them, he was the object of his wrath, Psal. Ixxxix. 38, 7. It is urged what the apostle says, 1 Cor. vi. 11. Now ye are justified; as if they were not justified before; but the word now is not in the test; and was it, they might be in foro Dei in the court of God; yet not in/cro ccnscienti*, in their own consciences? the sentence of justification which will be pronounced before men and angels, at the general judgment, are only so many repetitions, or renewed declarations, of that grand original sentence of it, conceived in the mind of God from all eternity.

OF THE EVERLASTING COUNCIL CONCERNING THE SALVATION OF MEN.

Having treated of the internal and immanent acts in the divine mind, and which are eternal; I shall consider the operations and transactions, among the three divine persons when alone, before the world began, or any creature was in being. I shall begin with the council of God, held between the three divine persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, concerning the affair of man's salvation before the world was. And it will be proper to enquire,

I. In what sense, council, consultation, and deliberation, can be ascribed to God, and,—1. This is not to be understood as expressive of his being at a loss in forming the scheme of salvation. Want of knowledge is often the cause with men, and therefore they deliberate with themselves, and consult with others ; but it is not so with God. 2. Consultation in him is not in order to gain more knowledge; for his understanding is infinite, see Prov. xi. 14 and xxvii. 9. Nor,—,

3. Does a council held between the three divine persons suppose any inequality between them ; usually indeed with men, in matters of moment and difficulty, persons supposed to be of superior abilities are consulted, and vheir judgment taken ; as Ahitophel by David : but this is not to be supposed here.—«.

4. Nor is consultation in God continued, carried on, and protracted to any length, as it often is with men! counsel with him is as quick as thought, yea, it is no other than his thought, and therefore they go together, Psal. xxxiii. 11. When consultation about the salvation of man is ascribed to God, it is intended to express the importance of it; to set forth the wisdom, pf God displayed herein. - This being the effect of a council bciween the three divine persons, shews their unanimity in it, J.i. yi. 8. lsai. xivni. 16. These things being observed, I shall endeavour,

II. To give some proof that there was a council between

(he divine persons concerning the salvation of men -1. An

argument in favour oi this may be drawn from the purpose of God, whose purposes are called his counsels, Isai. xxv. 1. 2. It appears there was a consultation held about the salvation pf men from the gosptl, which is called the counsel of God, Acts xx. 27. and the wisdom of God, 1 Cor. ii. 6. 3. It may be concluded, from the consultation, concerning the formation pf man, thus expressed, And God mid. Let ut moke man in our jmm:e. If there was a consultation of the divine Persons about the malting of man at first, then much more about the redemption and salvation of him. Bui,—4. What would put this patter out of all doubt, is the sense of a passage in Zech. vi. 13. And the council of peace shall be between them both: some, indeed, interpret it of the Kingly and Priestly offices meeting in Christ. Rather by the counsel of peace may be meant the gospel, Eph. ii. 17. but there is another sense of them, embraced hy learned men, to whose judgment I pay a great deference; such as Heidegger, De Dieu, Cocceius, Witsius, Dr. Owen, and others, that this respects the council concerning the peace and reconciliation in eternity, between Jehovah and the Branch, between the Father and the Son, jvho in time was to become man. 5. That there has been such a transaction between the Father and the Son, which with propriety enough may be called the counsel of peace, we have sufficient warrant from 2 Cor. v. 19. God was in Christ reconciling the woridunto himself, not imputing their trespasses. God was in Christ, or with Christ, consulting, contriving and planning the schi me, not to impute their sins unto them, but fo Chiist. I proceed,

III To observe, that the three divine Persons, Father, Son, anu Spirit, and they onty, were concerned in this council.— 1. Not angels, for they were not then in being.—2. Nor were men a party in this council: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor ? Rom. xi. 34. for these also were not then in being. None but the blessed Three in One were of this council, and fit to be of it; the thing consulted about was nodus Deo vindice dignus, worthy only of God—1. Jehovah the Father, the first person in order of nature, though not of time, may reasonably be supposed to give the lead in this affair.—2. Jehovah the Son himself says, Council is mine, and sound wisdom, Prov. i. 20. he is called the Wonderful Counsellor, Isai. ix. 6. the angel of the great council. —3. The holy Spirit had a concern in this council, Eph. i. 17. 1 Cor. xii. 8. Never was sur.h a council held as this, between such persons, and on such a momentous and interesting affair. Which,

IV. Is the subject next to be considered more particularly and distinctly. The affair consulted about, was not the salvation of men merely, but who should be the Saviour, or be the author of this salvation. The case stands thus : it was in Jehovah the Father's thoughts, to save men by his Son ; he, in his infinite wisdom, saw he was the fittest person for this work, and, in his own mind, chose him to it; and this is meant by laying help on one that is mighty ; finding David his servant, Psal. lxxxix. 19, 20, he moved it to his son, who readily agreed to it, and said, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God, Heb. x. 7. The pleasure and satisfaction the three divine persons had in this affair, thus advised to, consulted, and ap. proved of, is most clearly to be seen and observed at our Lord's baptism, Matt. iii. 16, 17. This transaction may, with great propriety, be called the council of peace ; and which issued in a covenant of peace, next to be considered.

OF THE EVERLASTING COVENANT OF GRACE.

For the better understanding these federal transactions before the world was, it may be proper to consider,

I. The etymology and signification of the words used for covenant in the writings oSthe Old and New Testament, by which it will appear with what propriety these transactions may be called a covenant. The Hebrew word for covenant is Berith, which by different persons is derived from different roots. There are a set of men called Hutchinsonians lately risen up, who derive the word from Barar, which s'gnifies, to parify; and because the word we translate make, which usually goes along with covenant, signifies to cut off, they con- % tend, that it should be rendered, cut off the Purifier, by whom they understand the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, though it will be allowed, that Christ is sometimes called a Refiner and Purifier, Mai. iii. 3. yet not by any word or name derived from this root; nor is it likely that a Purifier, or he that purifies, should be expressed by a noun feminine, as Berith is. The word Berith, covenant, may rather be derived, as it more commonly is, either from Bara ; which, in the first sense of the word, signifies to create ; a covenant being made with man, as soon almost as he was created, which covenant he transgressed, Hos. vi. 7. the sum and substance of which lies in those words, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. Gen. iii. 15. The word, in a secondary sense, may signify, to order or dispose of things ; as in creation things were disposed and put in an orderly manner, and with this may agree the words used of a covenant in the New Testament, which signify, a disposing of things in a covenant or testamentary way. It is observed by some, that the same Hebrew word, in another conjugation, signifies to cut in pieces and divide, and they think that a covenant has itsr.ame from hence, because it was usual at making covenants, to slay creatures for sacrifice, and cut them in pieces, and lay them by each other, and the covenanters to pass between them ; of which rite see Gen. xv. 9, 10,17. Jer. xxxiv. 18. to which way of making a covenant by sacrifice, the allusion may be in Psal. 1. 5. Or the word may be derived from Barah, which, among other things, signifies to eat food ; it being usual, when covenants were made and confirmed, for the parlies covenanting, to eat and feast together; as did Abimelech and Isaac, Laban and

Jacob, Gen. xxvi. 30. and xxxi. 46. and it may be observed, that the'Lord's supper, which is a feast, is a commemoration of the ratification of the covenant of grace, by the blood of Christ, and wherein and whereby the faith of God's people is strengthened and confirmed, as to their interest in it. But, after all, it may be best to derive the word from this root, as it signifies also to select and choose, and which well agrees with a covenant, into which persons, of their own will and choice enter. The word used in the New Testament for covenant, is diatheke, by which word the Septuagint interpreters almost always translate the Hebrew word berith in the Old. We shall see the use of the word in this sense hereafter. It may not be improper to observe,

II. In what sense the word covenant is used in scripture, which may serve to lead into the nature of it. And—1. It is sometimes used for an ordinance, precept, and command; so the order for giving the heave-offerings to the sons of Aaron, is called a covenant of salt, Numb, xviii. 19. the law for releasing servants has the name of a covenant, Jer. xxxiv. 13, 14. and the Ten Commands are called a covenant, Deut. iv. 13. for whatsoever God enjoins men, they are under an obligation to observe, nor have they right to refuse obedience to it; and, indeed, the covenant of works made with Adam, was much of the same nature.—2. A covenant, when ascribed to God, is often nothing more than a mere promise; This is my covenant with thenj, saith the Lord, my Spirit that is upon thee, &c. Isai. lix. 21. hence we read of covenants of promise, or promissory covenants, Eph. ii. 12. This is the promise that he hath promised us, the grand comprehensive promise, even eternai life, i John ii. 25. and which is absolute and unconditional. And so—3. We often read of covenants of God only on one side; of this kind is his covenant of the day and of the night, Jer. xxxiii. 20. which is no other than a promise that these should always continue, without requiring any condition on the part of the creature, Gen. viii. 22. and the covenant he made with Noah and his posterity, and with every living creature, with which latter especially, there could be no restipulation, Gen. tx. 9—17- But—4. A covenant properly made between man and man, is by stipulation and restipulation, in which they make mutual promises, or conditions, to be performed by them ; whether to maintain friendship among themselves, and to strengthen themselves against their common enemies, or to do mutual service to each other, and to their respective posterities; such was the confederacy between Abraham, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre ; and the covenant between Abimelech and Isaac, and between David and Jonathan, Gen. xiv. 13. and xxvi. 12. 1 Sam. xx. 15, 16, 42. and xxiii. 18. Now—Si Such a covenant, properly speaking, cannot be made between God and man ; for what can man restipulate with God. But,'—6. The covenant of grace made between God and Christ, and with the elect in him, as their Head and Representative, is a proper covenant, consisting of stipulation and restipulation ; God the Father in it stipulates with his Son, that he shall do such and such work and service ; and Christ the Son of God restipulates and agrees to do all that is proposed and prescribed, and, upon performance, expects and claims the fulfilment of the promises ; see Isai. xlix. 1—6. and liii. 10—42. Psal. xl. 6—8. John xvii. 4, 5.

IIL The names and epithets given to this federal transaction, or covenant of grace, between the Father and Son, both in the scriptures and among men, may deserve some notice, since they may help to give a better and clearer idea of this transaction—1. It is called, a covenant of life, Mai. ii. 5. Christ asked life of his Father for them in this covenant, and he gave it to him, even length of days for ever and ever : see Tit. i. 2. 2 Tim. i. 1. Psal. xxi. 4.—-2. It is called a covenant of peace, Mai. ii. 5. because that was a principal article considered in it; it was fixed that the Son of God, in human nature, should be the Peace-Maker.—3. It is commonly called by men, the covenant of grace ; and properly enough, since it entirely flows from, and has its foundation in the grace of God: the matter, sum, and substance of it is grace; and the ultimate end and design of it is the glory of the grace of God* *—.i. It is by some divines called the covenant of redemption, and very truly, because the redemption of God's elect is a principal article in it; as it was proposed to the Redeemer^ so it was promised him, that upon the condition of giving himself, the redemption and ransom-price for the elect, they should be delivered from all their sins, see Isai. xlix. 3. and lix. 20. But then—^5. This covenant is the same with the covenant of grace ; some divines, indeed, make them distinct covenants ; the covenant of redemption, they say, was made with Christ in eternity ; the covenant of grace with the elect, or with believers, in time ; but this is very wrongly saidi there is but one covenant of grace, and not two, in which the Head and Members, the Redeemer and the persons to be redeemed, are concerned*

IV. The contracting parties concerned in this covenant; are next to be considered more particularly and distinctly» This covenant is commonly represented as if it was only between the Father and the Son ; but I see not why the holy Spirit should be excluded, I think there are some traces, and some footsteps of all the three Persons, as concerned in it, in the dispensation and manifestation of this covenant to the people of Israel, Hag. ii. 4, 5. However, as in all covenants the contracting parties are,—> 1. Distinct from each other, so in this ; a covenant is not of one, 2» As they are distinct Peri sons, so they have distinct acts of will; for though their nature and essence is but one, which is common to them all and so their will but one, yet there are distinct acts of this will, put forth by and peculiar to each distinct Person as the holy Spirit dispenses his gifts and grace, the blessings of this covenant, severally as he will, 1 Cor. xii. 11. 3. These contracting Parties entered into covenant freely atld voluntarily, of their own choice, as all covenanters do, or should, So it is in this everlasting covenant the Parties were at entire liberty to enter or not into it i the Father was under no necessity, nor under any obligation to save men: nor was the Son compelled to enter into this covenant; bv\ knowing his Fa's will, voluntarily engaged in it, and said, Lo I come to do thy will: and as the Spirit freely bestows his grace, and the gifts of it in time, so he freely engaged to do in the covenant in eternity. 4. What they agreed in covenant, was what was in their power to perform; if one man enters into a covenant with another, and agrees to do what is not in his power, and which he knows it is not, when he enters into covenant, this is a fraud and an imposition on him, with whom he covenants ; and in course the covenant is null and void* 5. As in all covenants, however the persons covenanting may be equal in other respects, yet in covenanting there is an inequality and subordination; hence the Father, the first Person and Party contracting, is called by his Son, his Lord and his God, a phrase always expressive of covenant-relation; see Psal. xvi. 2. and xxii. 1. and xl. 8. and xlv. 7. John xx. 17. and the Son, the second Person and Party contracting is called by the Father his servant; Thou art my Servant &o Isai. xlix 3. hence the Father is said to be greater than he, John xiv. 28. not merely on account of his human nature, about which there could be no difficulty in admitting it; but with respect to his covenant.relation to him, and the office-capacity he has taken and sustains in it : and the Spirit, the third person and contracting Party, he is said to be sent both by the Father and the Son, 6. As in all covenants some advantages are proposed unto, and expected by all parties concerned, so in this ; as God's end in all things, in nature, providence, and grace is his own glory, so it is in this covenant, even the glory of Father Son, and Spirit; which must be understood, not of any addition unto, or increase of their essential glory, but of the manifestation of it.

OF THE PART WHICH THE FATHER TAKES IN THE COVENANT.

THE several parts which each contracting Party take ia this covenant, are next to be considered. The Father, the first person in the Trinity, takes the first place, and gives the lead in this covenant. AH things are of God, that is, of God the Father; he planned the reconciliation of men in council, and proposed it in covenant, let us

I. Consider the work he proposed to Christ, which is the great and only condition of the covenant, and which he prescribed and enjoined him to do; which was,—1. To take the cire and charge of the chosen ones; these, he put into his hands, the injunction was that he should lane nothing, no part of them, not even their dust in their graves, but should raise it 'up again at the last day, John vi. 39. that Christ, in a covenantway, by his own consent, was laid under such an obligation appears from his own.account, both from what he says in his intercessory prayer ; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, John xvii. 12. and from what he will say at the last day, when they are all brought in; Behold I and the children which God hath given me, Heb. ii. 13. 2. Whereas these same Persons made his care and charge, would fall in Adam, with the rest of mankind, he proposed, and enjoined it as his will, that he should redeem them ; this work, is expressed by various phrases, in Isai. xlix. 5, 6. as by bringing Jacob again to him ; and also this work of Christ is expressed by raising vp the tribes of Jacob ; and by restoring the preserved of Israel, 3. In order to this, the Father proposed to the Son to assume human nature, in the fulness of time; A body hast thou prepared me, Heb. x. 5. for it is by this will, or the doing of it, that we are sanctified through the ojfefing of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, Heb. x. 5—10. 4. Another branch of the work assigned to Christ, in the covenant, by his Father, and to which he agreed, was to obey the law in the room and stead of his people: so with respect to his pro. phetic office Christ says, The Father 7vbich sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak

whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father sciidunta

me, so I speak, John xiii. 49, 50. And with respect to his priesdy office, his laying down his life for his people ; I hive power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again; t,kk cunmandment have I received of my Father, John x. 18. sec tha:... xiv. 31. And with respect to nib Kingly office; 1 will declare the decree ; Psal. 2. 5. Another part of the work proposed to him, and enjoined him by his Father, was to suffer the penalty of the law, death ; which must be endured, either by the sinner himself, the transgressor of the law, or by his Surety, Gen. ii. }7. hence Christ says, speaking of laying down his life for the sheep, This ctmmandment have I received of my Father, John x. 18, and hence his sufferings are called, the cup which his Father had given him, John xviii. 11. Matt. xx. VZ. the blood of Christ is called therefore, the blood of the everlasting covenant, Heb. ix. 15—17. and xiii. 20. 6. \Yiien the Faiher signified in covenant, his dislike of the continuance of legal sacrifices; he strongly suggested it was his will that his Son should become a sacrifice; and it was by his will, that b,is covenant.people are sanctified through the offering up of the body of Christ, Heb. x. 5^10, Isai. I'm. 10— 12. And,—7. Farther, it was the will of the Father in the covenant, that Christ should hereby make atonement; this was the work which was assigned him in covenant, and is marked out in prophecy for him to do; namely, to finiih the transgression, to make an end of sin, and to mate reconciliation for iniquity Dan. ix. 24. 8. In close connection with the former, his work assigned him in covenant was, to bring in everlasting righteousness, for the justification of the elect; hence the church of old could say, Surely in the Lard have I righteousness and strength, Isai. xlii, 6. Lastly, The work which the Father proposed and prescribed to the Son was, to feed the feck ofslaughter; to which he replied / will feed the fock of slaughter ; even all the elect of God, Zech. xi. 4, 7.

II. On condition of Christ's engaging to do the above work proposed and prescribed to him, the Father promised in the covenant many things; some to him personally, and others to the elect, whom he personated and represented, i. Some things to himself, respecting his work, assistance in it, &c. a glory pn {he nature in which he should do it, the honourable offices, he should be invested with in it, and the numerous offspring he should have. i. As the work assigned him was to be done in human nature, which needed qualifications for it, support under it, and encouragement of success : all this was promised him, the Spirit should be put upou him, as a Spirit of wisdom, and of the fear of God, Isai. xi. I, a, without measure, Psal. xlv. 7. and that whereas the human nature, in which this work was to be done, would be attended with weakness, with all the sinless infirmities of human nature; God promised to strengthen him, and accordingly, he was the Man of his right hand, Psal. lxxxix. 21. so that he failed not, nor was he discouraged or broken, Isai. xlii. 1,4.2. As he was to do and suffer much in his human nature, so it was promised him, that he should have a very great glory conferred on him in that nature the prophecies of the old Testament, which are founded on covenant-engagements, speak, as of the sufferings of Christ, so of the glory that should follow, Isai. xlix. 5. Luke xxiv. 26. particularly it was promised him, that though he should die and be laid in the grave, yet that he should not lie so long as to see corruption, but be raised again the third day, as also, that he should ascend to heaven, and receive gifts for men, Psal. lxviii. 18. Moreover, it was promised him, that in human nature he should sit at the right hand of God ; a glory and honour which none of the angels was ever admitted to; angels, authorities, and powers being made subject unto him! Psal. ex. 1. Heb. i. 13. In a word, it was promised him in covenant, that God would divide him a portion with the great; and that he should divide the spoil with the strong, 3. As an encouragement to Christ to engage in the above work proposed to him, in covenant, it was promised him, that he should be invested with, and sustain several honourable offices which he should execute in human nature ; as that he should be the great prophet of the church ; not only the minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to the Jews, but be for a light of the Gentiles; Isai. xlii. 6. and xlix. 6. It was also promised, and swore to by an oath in covenant, that he should be a Priest; an honour which no man takes to himself, but he that is called to it, as was Aaron ; even Christ glorified not himself, to be called an High Priest; but his Father, Psal. ex. 4. Heb. v. 4. 5. Likewise, that he should be King of Zion, of saints, over his church and people, and have a kingdom very large, from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth ; of which government, and the increase of it, there should be no end ; a dispensatory kingdom, bfsides that of nature and providence. Once more, God has appointed him in covenant to be the Judge of quick and dead; and has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man whom he has ordained, Acts. x. 42. and xvii. 31. 4. In consequence of fulfilling the condition of the covenant, engaging to do, and doing the above work proposed in it; it was promised to Christ, that he should see his seed, and prolong his days, Isai. liii. 10. that is, that he should have a spiritual offspring, he should be an everlasting Father to them, and they be his everlasting children he was bid to ask of his Father in covenant, and he would give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession ; which accordingly he asked, and has, and is well pleased with his portion, Isai. ix. 6. Psal. xxii. 30. all power in heaven and in earth is given unto him, so that he can order and appoint whatsoever he pleases for the good of his people, Eph. i. 22. John xvii. 2, it. There are other things which God the Father promisedin covenant, respecting, the persons for whom Christ was a Covenantee, And,—i. It was promised, that upon Christ's engaging in, and performing the work of redemption, they should be delivered out of that state of misery sin brought them into, even out of the pit wherein is no water, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Zech. ix. 11. 2. That upon the faithful discharge of his office, as a Serv ant, particularly in bearing the sins of his people, they should De openly justified and acquitted, Isai. liii. 11. 3. That all their iniquities should be forgiven them, for Christ's sake, and their sins and trans

gressions be remembered no more. This is a special and particular article in the covenant, to which all the prophets bear witness, Jer. xxxi. 34. Acts x. 43. 4. that they should be openly adopted, and declared the children of God, and be dealt with es such ; that God should be their God, their Father, their Portion and inheritance. Jer. xxxii. 38. 5. that they should be regenerated, and be made willing in the day of his power upon them, to be saved by him, and to serve him, Deut. xxxi. 6. 6. that they should have knowledge of God, as their covenant-God and Father; even the least, as well as the greatest, be all taught of God, as his children, Jer. xxxi. 34. So that repentance and faith are not terms and conditions of the covenant, but are free grace-gifts granted, and blessings of grace promised in the covenant, and are as sure to the covenant people, as any other blessings whatever, Acts. xi. 18. 7. It is another promise in this covenant that the law * of God should be put into their inward parts, and written on their hearts, Jer. xxxi. 33. 8. It is further promised by the Lord, in this covenant, that whereas they are weak and unable to do any thing spiritually good of themselves, that he will put his Spirit within them. 9. Another article in this covenant, respecting the chosen and covenant-people, is, that they shall persevere in grace, in faith, and holiness to the end; this is absolutely promised in it, and the faithfulness of God is engaged to perform it; I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me, Jer. xxxi. 40. 10. Glory, as well as grace, is promised in this covenant; This is the promise that he haspromisedvs, even eternal life, Tit. i. 2.

OF THE PART THE SON OF GOD HAS TAKEN IN THE COVENANT. ,

The part which the son of God takes, and the place and office he has in the covenant of grace, are next to be considered. Christ has so great a concern in the covenant, that he is said to be the covenant itself: I will give thee for a Covenant of the people, Isai. xlii. 6. he is the first and the last in it, ihe sum and substance of it; he is everj thing, All in All in it; all the blessings of it are the sure mercies of him, who is Lia. vid, and David's Son. He is the representative-Head of his people in it; he is the Mediator, Surety, Testator, and Messenger of itf of all which, more particularly and distinctly hereafter. At present I shall only observe Christ's assent to his , Father's proposals, which is fully expressed in Psal. xl. 6-^8. Heb. x. 5—10. )

OF CHRIST, AS THE COVENANT HEAD OF THE ELECT.

Cheist is often said to be the Head of the church { not of any particular congregation of saints, in this or any other part of the world ; but of the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, Eph. i. 22, 23. and v. 23. he is that to them as a natural head is to a natural body, and the members of it ; which is of the same nature with it, superior to it, communicates life, sense, and motion to it, as well as overlooks and protects it ; such an head of influence is Christ to the Church, Eph. iv. 15, 16. he is an Head in a political sense, as a captain.general is head of his army, and a king is head of his subjects, Judg. x. 11. Hos. i. 11. and in an economical sense, as the husband is the head of the wife, and a father the head of his children, and a master the head of his servants, and cf his whole family, Numb, i. 4. Eph. v. 23, 24. Isai. ix. 6. Besides these, he is the representative-head of his church; all that he engaged to do and suffer, was not only on their account, but in their name and stead ; and all that he received, promises and blessings, were not only for them, but he received them as personating them. Thus,—1. Christ was considered in election ; he was chosen a Head, and his people as members in him, Eph. i. 4. 2. Such a relation Christ stood in to them in the covenant, that was made, not with him alone, but with all the elect of God, considered in him as their head

and representative ; hence we read of the covenant that was confirmed before God in Christ; when as yet they had not an actual being, only a representative one in Christ, Gal. iii. 17. 3 The promises of grace and glory, made to the elect of God, in covenant, were made to them, as considered in Christ their head and representative: hence the promise of life is said to be in him, 2 Tim. i.l. and indeed, all the promises are Yea and Amen in him, 2 Cor. i. 20. 4. All the blessings of grace, and grants of them in the covenant of grace, were not in actual being, but only had a representative one in Christ their head ; hence grace is said to be given them in Christ Jesus be. fore the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. 5. Christ, in the everlasting covenant, engaged in the name of his people, to obey and suffer in their stead ; not as a single individual of human nature, and for himself, but as the federal Head of his people, as representing them ; That so the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, Rom. viii. 4. insomuch that they may be truly said to suffer with him ; they were all gathered together, recollected in one Head, and are said to be crucified with him, Eph. i. 10. 6. When he rose from the dead, he rose not as a private Person, but as a public Person, Eph* ii. 5, 6. Yea, Christ is also gone to heaven, not only as the Forerunner of his people, but as their Head and Representative : and hence they are said to be made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 6. 7. The federal headship of Christ, may be argued and concluded from Adam being a federal head and representative of all his natural offspring; in which he was the figure of him that was to come, that is Christ; for it was in that chiefly, if not solely, that he was a figure of Christ, Rom. v. 14. Now as Christ stands in the relation of an head to the elect,he has all things delivered into his hands; in honour to him, and in love both to him and them, and for their good, Matt. xi. 27. and therefore their persons, gracd and glory, must be safe in him ; the covenant, and all its blessings and promisses, are sure in him, the Head and Represe** tat ive of his people in it.

OF CHRIST, AS THE MEDIATOR OF THE
COVENANT.

Another relation, or office, which Christ bears in the covenant, is that of Mediator; three times in the epistle to the Hebrews is he called the Mediator of the new, or better covenant or testament, chap. viii. 6. and ix. 15. and xii. 24. The apostle Paul asserts, that there is me Mediator between Godund men, the man Christ jfesus, 1 Tim. ii. 5. Both Jews and Gentiles have a notion of a Mediator ; the Jews call the Messiah the Mediator, or middle one ; Philo the Jew, speaks of the most ancient word of God, as a middle Person between God and men, not unbegotten as God, nor begotten as man, but the middle of the extremes, one between both. The Persians call their God Mithras, a Mediator; and the Daemons with the heathens, seem to be, according to them, mediators between the superior gods and men ; but we have a more sure word of prophecy to direct us in this matter; Christ is the one and only Mediator. It will be proper to enquire.

I. In what sense Christ is the mediator of the covenant; not as Moses, who stood between God and the people of Israel, to stew them the word of the Lord, Dcut. v. 5. Christ indeed is the revealer and declarer of his Father's mind ; but this more properly belongs to him as the angel or messenger of the covenant, as he is called in Mai. iii 2. than the Mediator of it. Christ is a mediator of reconciliation; such an one as interposes between two parties at variance, in order to bring them together, and in some way or other reconcile them to each other. A mediator is not of one, of one party ; for where there is but one party, there can be no difference, and so no need of a mediator ; but God is one, he is of one party, the offended parry, and man is the other, the offending party; and Christ is the mediator between them boih to bring them together: he is the antitype of Jacob's ladder, that reaches both and joins them together. And so Suidas a learned Grecian, Interprets the word for mediator, by a peace-maker- Christ,

acts the part of a mediator, by proposing to his Father to make satisfaction for the offence committed, and so appease injured justice. Christ is a mediator of reconciliation in a way of satisfaction. Reconciliation supposes a former state of friendship, a breach of that friendship, and a renewal of it ; or a bringing into open friendship again. Man in a state of inno. cence was in a state of friendship ; but man being in this honour abode not, he was driven out of his paradisaical Eden; and appeared to be, as all his posterity are, not only at a distance from God, and alienation to him, but enmity against him, as the carnal mind of man is ; and in this state the elect of God was considered, when Christ undertook in covenant to be the mediator of reconciliation for them ; and in this condition he found them, when he came to make actual reconciliation for them ; you that were sometimes a'.enatedand enemiesin your mind by wicked works, now hath he reconciled, Gol. i. 21. It should be observed, that the elect of God are considered in the covenant of grace as fallen creatures; and that Christ being a mediator of reconciliation and satisfaction for them, supposes them such. In the covenant of work. there was no mediator; nor is there any mediator for angels, none was provided, nor admitted, for the fallen angels, they were not spared ; and the good angels needed not any, having never sinned. Nor is this reconciliation, Christ is the Mediator of, as thus stated, any contradiction to the everlasting love of God. David had the strongest affection for his son Absalom as can well be imagined ; Absalom committed a very henious offence, murdered his brother Amnon, David's first-born, and heir to his crown; he fled from justice, and from his father's wrath : Joab became a mediator between them, first by means of the woman of Tekoah, and then in his own person, and succeeded so far as to obtain leave that the young man be called from his exile ; nevertheless, David would not admit him into his presence until two years after ; yet all this while the heart of David was towards his son, It was owing to the good will and free favour pf

God, that a Mediator was admitted for sinful men ; and it appeared siill greater, in providing one to bs a Mediator of reconciliation for them, as made by the blood, sufferings, and death of Christ. Reconciliation is the principal branch of Christ's office in the covenant as Mediator. Another follows, namely: his intercession,or advocacy, which precedes upon reconciliation or satisfaction made: If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins, 1 John. ii. 1,2. He is the angel of God's presence, who always appears there for his people, and ever lives to make intercession for them ; he is first the Mediator of reconciliation, and then of intercession. He is the medium of acceptance, both of persons and services, which are only accepted in the Beloved, and become accepta. ble through his prevalent mediation and intercession ; and he is the medium of conveyance of all the blessings of the covenant of grace. The next thing to be considered is,

II. The fitness of Christ for hr; work and office, as the Mediator of the covenant; as Dr. Goodwin expresses it, the suit pf trespass was commenced, and ran in the name of the Father, of the first Person for the rest; it seems more in character that the Son should mediate with the Father, than the Faiher with the Son; but the principal fitness of Christ for his office, as Mediator, at least fur the execution of it, lies in tht union of the t\yo natures, human and divine; as he partakes of both natures, he has an interest in, and a concern for both ; he is fit to be a Mediator between God and man. r. It was requisite that he should be man.—.1. That he might be related to those he was a Mediator of; that he might be their brother, their near kinsman, their God, according to the law, Lev. xxv. 48, 49.—2. That sin might be satisfied for, and reconciliation be made for it, in the same nature which sinned; at the same individuals that sinned were not to suffer; it seems reasonable that an individual of that nature should, in their room, Gen. ii. 17.—3. It was proper that the Mediator should b« capable of obeying the law, broken bv the sin of man : as a divine Person could not be subject to the law; had ie assumed the angelic nature, that would not have been capable of obeying all the precepts of the law, which are required of men; hence Christ was made of a woman, that he might be made under the law, Gal. iv. 4. Rom. v. 19.—4. It was meet the mediator should be man, that he might be capable of suffering death ; as God he could not die, and had he assumed the na ure of an angel, that is incapable of dying; yet the penalty of the law, death, was necessary to make reconciliation; it was proper Christ should have somewhat to offer; peace was to be made by blood, and therefore a nature must be assumed capable of shedding blood, see Heb. ii. 10—15. and v. 9. and viii. 3.—5. It was fit the mediator should be man, that he might be a merciful, as well as a faithful High-Priest, have a fellow-feeling with his people, and sympathize with them under all their temptations, and succour and relieve them, from love and affection to them, as their friend and brother, Heb. ii. 17, 18.—6. It was necessary that he should be holy and righteous, free from all sin, original and actual, that he might offer himself without spot to God, Heb. vii. 26, and ix. 14. N. It was not enough to be truly man, and an innocent person ; he must be more than a man, to be a mediator between God and man; it was requisite, therefore, that he should be God as well as man.—'1. That he might be able to draw nigh to God, and treat with him about terms of peace ; all which a mere man could not do; and therefore it is with wonder said, Who is this that engaged his heart to ap. proach unto me, saith the Lord? Jer. xxx. 21. : none but Jehovah's fellow could or dared to do this.—2. That he might give virtue and value to his obedience and sufferings. Being God as well as man, his righteousness is the righteousness of God, and so sufficient to justify all that believe in him, and them from all their sins; and his blood is the blood of the Son of God, and so cleanses from all sin, and is a proper atonement for it.—rBeing Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour, it naturally and necessarily leads men to put their trust and confidence in him; whereas, if he were a mere man, and not God, this would entail a curse upon them ;for cursed is the man that trusteth in man, andmakelb hisflesh his arm, Jer. xvii. 5. It is his deity that is the foundation of worship, God will not give his glory to another, Isai. xlii. 8.

Nor is it any objection to his being a mediator, as to his divine nature, that then the Father and the Spirit would be mediators too, the divine nature being common to them all; since it is not in the divine nature, essentially considered, but as it subsists in the second Person, the Son of God, that Christ is Mediator, and performs his office : to exercise this office in it, is no lessening and degrading of his Person, since it is a glory that none but a divine Person is fit to bear. Supposing a rebellion in a nation, against the king of it, and this king should have a son, who is heir to his throne, and so must be equally offended with the rebels as his father, and yet should take upon him to be a mediator between his father and the rebels, and make peace between them ; where would be the impropriet• of it, though he himself, with the father, is the party offended ?

The mediation of Christ thus stated, meets with and militates against two errors ; one, of those, who say he is only a mediator as to his human nature ; and that of others, who assert him to be only a mediator as to his divine nature. Most certain it is, that there are several acts and works of Christ, as mediator, in which both natures manifestly appear, and are concerned; not to make mention of the incarnation itself. In the obedience of Christ both natures are to be perceived ; not only the human nature, in his being obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ; but the divine nature also; or otherwise, where is the wonder, that though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered, Heb. v. 8. In the act of laying down his life for men, both natures appear ; the human nature, which is passive in it, and is the life laid down ; the divine nature, or the divine Person of Christ, who is active in it, and laid down his life of himself; and both are to be observed in his taking of it up again ; his human nature, in

hi« body being raised from the dead ; his divine nature or person, in raising it up of himself. To observe no more, the redemption and purchase of his people, is a plain proof of both natures being concerned in his work. The purchase price is his precious blood, his blood as man ; but what gave virtue to that blood, is, that it was the blood of him that is God as well as man ; and therefore God is said to purchase the church with his own blood, Acts xx. 28. ni. It was not only requisite anj necessary, that the Mediator should be God and man, but that he should be both in one Person ; or, rather, that the human nature should be taken up, and united to, and subsist in the person of the Son of God. What he assumed was not a person, but a nature, and is called a thing, nature, seed, Luke 1. 35. Heb ii- 16 had it been a person, there would be two persons in Christ, and so two mediators, contrary to the express words of scripture, 1 Tim. ii. 5. These two natures being in personal union, the works and actions of either, though distinct and peculiar to each, yet belong to the whole Person, and are predicated of it; Hence it may be observed, that Christ is described in one nature, by qualities, works, and actions, which belong to him in the other, and is what divines call a communication of idioms, or properties ; thus the Lord of glory is said to be crucified; God is said to purchase the church with his blood; and the Son of man is said to be in heaven, while he was here on earth, 1 Cor. ii. 8. Acts xx. 28. John iii. 13. nor is it any objection that two natures should influence one and the same action, the soul and body of man, united together, concur in the performance of the same action, whether good or bad. I shall enquire,

III. How Christ came to be the mediator of the covenant, even the mediator of reconciliation in it; this affair bf gan with God the Father; All things are of God, that is, the Father, as appears by what follows, Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. I was set up from everlasting, Prov. viii. 23. says Christ; that is, by his divine Father; and God not only set him up but set him forth, Rum. v. 25.

and declared him in prophecy to be the Prince of peace; the Mediator acted as su h, throughout the whole old testamentdispcus.uion: he exercised his several offices then : his Pro. phetic office, by making known to Adam the covenant of grace, immediately after his fall ; his Kingh office, in gathermg, governing, and protecting his church, and his Priestly office, through the virtue of his blood reaching backward to the foundation of the world, and therefore said to be the Lamb slain so early, Rev. xiii. 8. the actual existence of Christ's human nature from eternity, was not necessary to his being a Mediator of the covenant; it was enough that he agreed in covenant, to be man in time. Some parts ot his wotk did not require the actual existence of the human nature ; he could draw nigh to God,' as Jehovah's fellow without it. It only remains now.

IV. To shew what a Mediator Christ is, the excellency of him as such. 1. He is the one and only Mediator; There is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus; the papists plead for other mediators, angels and saints departed: and distinguish between a Mediator of redemption, and a mediator of intercession ; the former, they own, is peculiar to Christ, the latter common to angels and saints; but there is no Mediator of intercession, but who is a Mediator of redemption and reconciliation. The instances produced are in. sufficient, and respect either the uncreated angel, Jesus Christ himself, Zech. i. 12. Rev. viii. 3. or saints, ministers, and members of churches in the present state, and not as departed, Rev. v. 8. and if, Rev. vi. 9. is to be understood of departed spirits, it is only an instance of prayer for themselves, and not for others. 2. Christ is a Mediator of men only, not of angels ; good angels need not any, and as for evil angels, none is provided nor admitted, as before observed. The persons for whom Christ acted as a Mediator, by means of death, for the redemption of their transgressions, were such as were called, and received the promise of the eternal inheritance, Heb. ix. 15.—3. Yet he is the Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles;

and therefore both have access to God through' the one Mediator, Christ, Rom. ix. 23, 24. and iii. 29, 30. 4. Christ is Mediator both lor old and new testament-saintb ; there is but one Mediator for both; he is the Foundation of the apostles and prophets. 5. Christ is a prevalent Mediator, his mediation is always effectual; as for his prayers they are always heard; I knew that thou hear est me ahvays, Jonn xi. 42. 6. Christ is an everlasting Mediator, he has an unchangeable priesthood, and he ever lives to make intercession ; and when his mediatorial kingdom will be completed, and there will be no need of him, either as a Mediator of reconciliation or intercession, at least in the manner he has been, and now is Christ may be the medium of the glory and happiness of his people to all eternity.

OF CHRIST AS THE SURETY OF THE
COVENANT.

The Greek word for surety is used but once throughout the whole new Testament, Heb. vii. 22. the word is derived either from engus, near, because a surety draws nigh to one on behalf of another; thus Christ drew nigh to his Father, and becathe a Surety to him for them, Jer. xxx. 21. or rather it is derived from gnion which signifies the hand; because when one becomes a surety, he strikes hands with him ; a rite much used in suretyship, and is often put for it, and used as synonymous ; see Prov. vi. 1. and xvii. 18. and xxii. 26. The Hebrew word for surety, in the Old Testament, Gen. xliii. 9has the signification of mixing, because* as Stockius observes, in suretyship persons are so mixed among themselves, and joined together, that the one is thereby bound to the other. It may be proper to consider,

I. In what sense Christ is the surety of the covenant. 1. He is not the Surety for his Father, to his people, engaging that the promises made by him in covenant shall be fulfilled ; which is the Socinian sense of Christ's suretyship. Such is the faithfulness of God that has promised, that there needs no surety for mm; his faithfulness is sufficient, which he will not suffer to fail. Besides, though Christ is equal with his Father, is Jehovai.'s fellow, and has all the perfections of Deity in him, yet he is not greater than he; he cannot give a greater security than the word and oath of God; it is with an ill grace these men advance such a notion; since they make Christ to be bul a mere man ; and what dependence can there be upon him, Jf.r. xvii. 5. what greater security is it possible that a mere man should give, than what the promise of God itself gives ? Nor, n. Is Christ in such sense a Surety, as civilians call a fidejussor, or such a surety that is jointly engaged with a debtor, for the payment of a debt. 1. He is not a mere accessory to the obligation of his people for payment of their debts ; he and they are not engaged in one joint-bond for payment ; he has taken their whole debt upon himself, as the apostle Paul did in the case of Onesimus. 2. Nor was any such condition made in his suretyship-engagements for his people, that they should pay if they were able. God the Father knew full well, that it was impossible for them, in their circumstances, ever to pay. Nor is such a supposition to be made, that Christ might desert his suretyship, withdraw himself fromjt; for from the instant he became a Surety for his people, he became a Servant to his Father, and he called and reckoned him as such ; Thau art my servant, O Israel; behold my servant whom I uphold, Isai. xlix. 3. 4. Nor is it to be supposed, that Christ might not fulfil his suretyship-engagements, or not make satisfaction, as might be expected; since if he did not, it must be either for want of will, or want of power i not of will, since the persons he became a surety for, he bore the strongest affection to; nor for want of power, since, as a divine Person, he is the mighty God; as Mediator, haB all power in heaven and in earth. II. Christ is in such sense a Surety, as civilians call an expromissor, one that promises out and out, absolutely engages to pay another's debt; takes anothers obligation, and transfers it to himself, and by this act dissolves the former obligation, and

enters into a new one, which civilians call novation; though they do not in every thing tally; for the civil law neither describes nor admits such a surety among men as Christ is; who so substituted himself in the room and stead of sinners, as to suffer punishment in soul and body for them; but in some things there is an agreement. 1.,Christ, by his suretyship, has taken the whole debt of his people upon himself. God the Father expected satisfaction of Christ, and said, deliver them from going down to the pit; Ihavtfound a Ransom, Job xxxiii. 24. 2, When Christ became a Surety for his people their sins were no longer imputed to them, but were imputed to Christ, were placed to his account, 2 Cor. v. 19. Isai. liii, 6. for,—3. The old testament-saints were really freed front guilt, condemnation, and death, before the actual payment was made bv Christ thtir Surety: yea, they were received into heaven, and actaatly glorified, before the suretyship-engage*

ments of Christ were fulfilled, Isai. xliii. 25. Heb. xi. 1J io.

4. It is certain that the old testament-saints had knowledge of die mediatorial engagements of Christ, and prayed and pleaded for the application of the benefits of them to them, Job, xix. 25. Psal. cxix. 122. Isai. xxxviii. 14. And now from this suretyship of Christ arise both the imputation of sin to Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness to his people ; this is the ground and foundation of both, and on which the priestly office of Christ stands, and in virtue of which it is exercised, 2 Cor. v. 21. Heb. vii. 20—22. I proceed,

II. To consider what Christ as a Surety, engaged to do, i. He engaged to pay the dehts of his people, and satisfy for the wrong done by them; this may be illustrated by the instance of the apostle Paul engaging for Onesimus, -f he bath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on my account; / Paul, have written it with mine own hand, J will repay it Philem. 18, 19. as debts oblige to payment, so sins to punishment; but Christ bemg an infinite Person. As God, was able to pay off those debts, and answered for those sins, and engaged to do H, and has done it. There is a twofold debt paid by

Christ, as the Surety of his people ; the one is a debt of obedience to the law of God ; and the other is a debt of punishment, incurred through failure of obedience in them by paying both these debts, the whole righteousness of the law is fulfilled in his people. n. Another thing which Christ as a Surety engaged to do, was to bring all the elect safe to glory; this may be illustrated by Judah's suretyship for Benjamin; thus expressed to his father, / will be surety for him; of my hand shall thou require him ; if I bring him not unto thee, and set, him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever, Gen. xliii. 9. And thus Christ became a Surety to his Father, for his beloved Benjamins. Christ engaged to bring his people to his Father; this was the work proposed to him, and which he agreed to do ; to bring Jacob again to him, and to restore the preserved of Israel, Isai. xlix. 5, 6. to redeem them from all iniquity, and bring them safe to his Father in heaven.

OF CHRIST AS THE TESTATOR OF THE
COVENANT.

The covenant of grace is called a testament, in allusion to the last will and testament of men. And—1. Because it is the will of God, himself, and not another. A man's will or testament ought to be voluntary, or otherwise it is not his own will. The covenant, or testament of God, is of his own making, without any influence from another. 2. As a will consists of various legacies to various persons, so does the covenant of grace ; some to Christ, Psal. ii. 8. and xvi. 6. as my Father"hath appointed unto me a kingdom, says he, Luke xxii. 29. in a testamentary-way, as the word there used signifies. Other legacies are for the brethren of Christ, among whom he is the first born, and so appointed principal heir. 3. In wills, what a mar. disposes of, is, or should be, his own ; no man has a power to dispose, nor ought to dispose of, what is another's, or not his own; or otherwise, his will is a void will, and such bequests void bequests. All the blessings of goodness, the Lord has a sovereign right to dispose of as he pleases; It it not lawful for me, says the Testatpr of the covenant, to do what I will with mine own ? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? Matt. xx. 15. 4. This will or testament of Jehovah, is an ancient one, it was made in eternity, before the world began, i Tim. i. 9. it is sometimes called a new testament, because newly published ; a new and fresh copy of it has been delivered out to the heirs of promise. 5. It is a will or testament that is unalterable; Though it be but a man's covenant, or testament, yet if it be confirmed by his own hand-writing and seal, and especially by his death, no man disannulleth or a.ideth thereunto, Gal. iii. 15. The legacies in it are the sure mercies of Oavid. 6. Testaments, or wills, are generally sealed, as well as signed: the seals of God's will or testament are not the ordinances ; circumcision was no seal of the covenant of grace, nor is baptism, which is falsely said to come in the room of it; nor the ordinance of the Lord's supper: but the seals are the holy Spirit of God, and the blood of Christ: properly speaking, the blood of Christ is the only seal of this testament, and therefore called the blood of his covenant, Zech ix. 11. Matt. xxvi. 28. Heb. xiii. 20. T. To all wills there are commonly witnesses, and often three, and in some cases three are required. God himself, or the three divine Persons, became witnesses to it, the Three that bare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost, 1 John v. T. 8. This will, or testament, is registered in the sacred writings, from thence the probat of it is to be taken ; the public notaries, or amanuenses, that have copied it under a divine direction, are the prophets and apostles ; hence the writings of the one are called the Old Testament, and the writings of the other the New Testament, the latter being the more clear, full, and correct copy. The covenant of grace having the nature of a testament, shews that there is no' astipulation in it on the part of men ; no more than there is a restipulation of legatees in a will. Also it may be observed, that the legacies in this testament, are owing to the good will of the testator, and not to any merit in the legatees : For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effict; If the inheritance be of the law, or to be obtained by the works of it, It is no more of prom, ise; see Rom. iv. 14. Gal. iii. 18. Now

I. The Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ, may be considered as testator of the covenant of grace, as it is a will or testament, and which is plainly suggested in Heb. ix. 15—17. for,—1. Christ as God has an equal right to dispose of .hings as his divine Father, seeing till that the Father has are his.—

2. Nothing is disposed of in the covenant, or testament, without his counsel and consent; for the counsel of peace was be. tween them both, the Father and the Son, which respected the salvation of men, and the donation of grace and glory to them,

3. Nor was any thing given in covenant, or disposed of in the will and testament of God, but with respect to the death of Christ; all promises in covenant was on condition of Christ's making his soul an offering for sin, and of pouring out his soul unto death, Isai. liii. 10—12. 4. Whatever is given in this will, is given to Christ first: I appoint unto you a kingdom, dispose of it to you by will and testament, Luke xxii.29. Wherefore.

II. The death of Christ is necessary to put this will in force to give strength unto it, that it may be executed according to the design of the maker of it; for where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator ;for a testament it of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all, whilst the testator liveth, Heb. ix. 16, 17. It is not the death of any, only of the testator himself, that gives validity to his will, or renders it executable; the death of Christ was necessary to confirm the covenant or testament, that the legatees might appear to have a legal right to what was bequeathed to them, law and justice being satisfied thereby; so that no caveat could be put in against them, and no obstructions made to their claim of legacies, and their enjoyment of them ; and no danger of this will being ever set aside there is another concern and part which Christ has in the covenant, and that is the messenger of it, Mai. iii. 1. but as that respects the administration of it, it will be considered in its proper place, after the fall of man.

OF THE CONCERN THE SPIRIT OF GOD
HAS IN THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

Tee holv Spirit was not a mere by-stander and witness of this solemn transaction, but was a party concerned in it.

I. The third person, the Spirit, gave his approbation of, and assent unto, every article in the covenant.—1. In general, what respected the salvation of the chosen ones: each Person took his part, and that of the Spirit is sanctification ; hence called the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Pet. i. 2. The Spirit approved of the whole scheme of salvation; or otherwise he would never have taken a part in it; the Son of God came to seek and save men, being sent of God for that purpose ; in which mission of him the Spirit joined; Now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath tent me, Isai. xlviii. 16. Whereas it was proper that the Son of God should assume human nature ; it was approved of, and assented to by the Spirit; as appears from his concern in the incarnation of Christ; for what was conceived in the virgin was tin Holy Ghost, Matt. i. 18,20. Seeing it was necessary that the Saviour of men should suffer and die ; the Spirit declared his approbation of it, by testifying beforehand in the prophets, the suffering* of Christ and the glory that shouldfollcw; it was through the eternal Spirit, he offered up himself without spot to God, 1 Pet. i. 11. Heb. ix. 14. 2. The Spirit of God approved of, and assented to all the promises in the covenant; hence he is called the holy Spirit of promise, Eph. i. 13. indeed, he himself is the great promise of the covenant; promised both to Christ the Head and to his members, Matt. xii. 18. Isai. xlii. 1. and xliv. 3. Gal. iii. 14. he is concerned in the application of every promise to the elect: so that they, through the Spirit, wait fcr the hope of righteousness, by faith, John xiv. 26. Gal. v. 5. 3. The blessed Spirit approved of, and gave his assent to all the grants made to Christ, and his people in the covenant; for he iakes of these in time, and shews them to the persona interested in them, and their interest therein, John xvi. 14. They are jitstified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, 1 Cor. vi. 11. the Spirit takes the bloou of Christ, and sprinkles it on the conscience, Heb. viii. 12. and is called the Spirit of adoption, 2 Cor. vi. 18. All which abundantly prove his approbation of it, and assent unto every thing contained in the covenant of grace.

II. There are many things which the holy Spirit himself undertook and engaged in covenant to do ; and nothing more strongly proves this than his doing them. i. Some things he has done, as he agreed to do, with respect to Christ; he formed the human nature of Christ; the individual of Christ's human nature was produced by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and therefore called the holy thing, born of the virgin, Psal. cxxxix. 14—16. Luke'i. 35. The Spirit filled the same human nature with his gifts and graces without measure, for the discharge of his office, Isai. xi. 1—-3. he descended upon him as a dove at his baptism ; the performance of miracles, was by the Spirit of God, Matt. xii. 28. n. There are other things he has done as he agreed to do, with respect to men in a public office and capacity; as the prophets of the old Testament, whom he inspired to speak and write as they did, 2 Pet. i. 21. and the apostles of the New, Heb. ii. 3.4. and ordinary ministers of the word in all succeeding generations, with gifts and grace suitable to their office ; and it is he that makes the word preached by them effectual to the conviction and conversion of sinners, and to the comfort and edification of saints, and whereby he conveys himself into the hearts of men, 1 Thess. i. 5, 6. He is—1. A Spirit of conviction; he convin' ces of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, John xvi. 9.—-• 2. A Spirit of regeneration and renovation ; hence we read of the reneiving of the holy Spirit, Tit. iii. 15—3. A Spirit of faith, 2 Cor. iv. 14.—4. A Comforter, under which character he is often spoked of, and promised by Christ.—5. A Sanctifier; if any are sanctified, it is by the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of strength to the saints, to enable them to exercise grace, and to perform duties.

OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

I Shall close the account of the covenant of grace, with the epithets or properties of it.

I. It is an eternal covenant; not merely as to duration, but as to the original of it ; it bears date from eternity. Nor is it any objection to it, that it is sometimes called the second and irew covenant, Heb. viii. 7, 8, 13. for it is so called, not with respect to the covenant of works, but the distinctions of first and second, respect the different administrations of the same covenant of grace in time.

II. The covenant of grace is entirely free; grace is the moving cause of it: God was not induced to make it from any motive and condition in men. The several parties entered freely into it. The act on which it proceeds is called the election of grace, Rom. xi. 5. 6.,the matter of the covenant is of grace, 2 Tim. i. 9. The end of making it is the glory of the grace of God.

III. This covenant is absolute and uncoridiiional; the covenant of works is conditional. Some, indeed, make it to be a conditional covenant, and faith and repentance to be the con. ditions of it. But if these were conditions bf the covenant, to be performed by men in their own strength, in order to be admitted into it, and receive the benefits of it} they would be as hard, and as difficult to be performed, as the condition of the covenant of works, since faith requires, to the production of it, almighty power, even such as was put forth in raising Christ from the dead, Eph. i. 19, 20. and though God may give men means, and time, and space of repentance, yet if he does not give them grace to repent, they never will.

IV. The covenant of grace is perfect and cbmplete, wanting nothing ; it is ordered in all things; and if in all things, nothing can be wanting in it, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. It is full of precious promises ; promises of all sorts, promises of things temporal, spiritual, and eternal; so that there is nothing that st

T

believer stands in need of, nor any state nor condition he can come into, but there is a promise of what he wants, and which is suitable to him, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Heb. xiii. 5, 6. It is full of rich blessings of grace ; even of all salvation, aiid all the parts of it, Sam. xxxiii. 5.

V. It is an holy covenant; so it is called, Luke i. 72. The contracting parties in this covenant are, the holy Father, and the holy Son, and the holy Spirit, with respect to whom this epithet is thrice expressed in Isai. vi. 3. see Psal. cxi. 9. the matter of it is holy ; the promises of it are holy, Psal. cv. 42. the blessings of it are holy ; they are called the sure mercies of David, Isai. Iv. 3. and the holy things of David, Acts xiii. 34. and nothing can more strongly engage to a concern for holiness of heart and life, than the promises of the covenant; see 2 Cor. vi. 18. and vii. 1. to enable us to walk in his statutes, k..ep his judgments, and do them, Jer. xxxi. 33. and xxxii. 39, 40.

VI. It is a sure covenant, firm and immovable, more immovable than rocks and mountains; they may depart, but this Covenant shall never depart, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not he unto David.

VII. It is frequently called an everlasting covenant, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isai. liv. 3. Heb. xiii. 20. It is a covenant that will never be antiquated, nor give way to, nor be succeedtd by another ; the covenant of works is broken, and has been succeeded by an administration of the covenant of grace ; and that first administration being not faultless, but deficient with respect to clearness and extensiveness, is waxed old, and vanished away, and has given place to a new administration of it; which will continue unto the end of the world.

OF THE COMPLACENCY AND DELIGHT GOD HAD IN HIMSELF, AND THE DIVINE PERSONS IN EACH OTHER, BEFORE ANY CREATURE WAS BROUGHT INTO BEING.

Having finished what I had to say concerning the internal acts of God, I thought it might be proper to observe the complacency, delight, and satisfaction God had in himself, in his own nature and perfections, before any creature existed ; and would hare had, if none had ever been brought into being ; and especially the mutual delight and complacency each divine person had in one another, when alone, in a boundless eternity, and all of them had in the chosen vessels of salvation. I. The complacency, delight and satisfaction, which ihe divine Being had in himself, in his own nature and perfections, before the existence of any creature. God is a moat perfect being, entire and wanting nothing ; he is El-shaddai, God all.sufhcient; the perfections of God are, indeed, displayed in the creatures in a glorious manner ; but then these displays are made not for his own sake, but for the sake of others; nor does he need the worship and obedience of angels or men ; nor does he receive any additional pleasure and happiness from them ; what are the highest and loudest praises of angels, to him who is exalted above all blessing and praise; or the pravers and petitions of indigent creatures.' the benefit from them is to them, and not to him ; what is all the righctousness, and what are the best works done by men to him ; Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways p rfect? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ; or what receiveth he of thine hand? Can a man by all this be psofitable to God ? No, he cannot; when the best of men have done all they can, they must own they are but unprofitable servants, with respect to him. Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again ;for of him, and through him, and to him are all things? Job xxii. 2, 3. and xxxv. 7. Luke xvii. 10. Kom. xi. 35, 36. He had infinite delight, pleasure, and complacency in himself, before any creature was made, and would have had the same, if they had never been.

II. As Jehovah took delight and pleasure in himself, in Ivs

own nature, and the perfections of it, so in the intternal nl

eternal acts of his mind ; Known unto God are all his works

from eternity, Acts xv. 18. and he delighted in them, as he ,

saw them in himself; they stood all before him in his view, as if refill) in execution; nor does the execution of them add any new joy and pleasure to him. But what 1 would chiefly attend unto is,

III. The delight and complacency which each divine Person had in one another, before any creature was in being ; with respect to two of the divine Persons, this is strongly ex. pressed in Prov. viii. 30. Then I was by him, as tne brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always befor* him: when all this was, may be learned from the proceeding verses; when there were no depths, no fountains abounding with water; before the mountains were settled, while as yet he had not made the earth, ike. verse 24—29. and the third Person is not to be excluded. I. The delight and complacency of the Father in the Son, is declared in the following expressions ; Then I was by him, from eternity, or before the world was; I, a person I, a divine Person, I Wisdom, &c. John speaks of this and much in the same Ianguage, chap. i. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word wms with God, and the Word was God ; he is said to be in the bosom »fthe Father, John i. 18. he was the dear Son of his love; partly because of his likeness to him, being, the express image of his Person ; and partly because of the same nature with him, having the same perfections: he was also his delight, considered in his office as Mediator; Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delight, eth, Isai. xlii. 1. He delighted in the foreviews of that obedience to his will his Son should yield, n. The Son of God also had he same delight and pleasure in his divine Father ; before the world was ; with what exultation does he repeat the words of his Father to him, declaring this relation; The Lord hath said unto me, and that was in eternity, Thou art my Son, tkii day have lb gotten thee Psa!. ii. 7. to accomplish the salvation of his people, which was the joy set before him; and he rejoi ed in the foreviews of his Father being glorified by it, and of his own glory upon it, John xiii. 31,32. and xvii. 1—5. in. Though the third Person, the holy Spirit, is not mentioned in the passage in Proverbs ; yet the Spirit, as he is of the same nature with the Father and the Son always took infinite delight in his own nature and perfections; and as he was privy to all the thoughts, purposes, and counsels of God which are the deep things he searches and reveals. iv. This mutual delight and complacency which each Person had in one another, lay in and arose from the perfect knowledge they had of each other ; At the Father knoweth me, says Christ, so know I the Father, John x. 15, and the Spirit knows them both, and the things that are in them, 1 Cor, ii. 10, 11. and hence arises mutual love to each other; the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, John iii. 35. and v. 20. and xiv. 31. and the Spirit proceeding from them both, loves them both. Moreover,

IV. The three divine Persons had from eternity, and before any creature was in actual being, the utmost delight and complacency in the elect of God, and in the foreviews of their salvation and happiness. The joy and delight of ihe Son iu them are strongly expressed in Prov. viii. 31. Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delightswere whh the tons of men; then was the Son of God / ejoicing 'n the habitable part of the ea th ; in the foreviews of those spots of ground, houses and cottages, where it was known the chosen vessels of mercy would dwell; as lovers express their love to the objects of their affection by saving they love the ground on which they tread; so Christ having loved his people with a love of complacency and delight, rejoiced in the foresight of those parts of the habitable world, where, he saw their habitations would be: the church of God on earth, may be called the habitable part of his earth, being the dwellingplace which he has chosen for himself as such, and where he delights to dwell, and they were from everlasting his Hephzibah and Beulah. Some respect may be had to the new earth, or the second Adam's earth ; in which only righteous persons will dwell; and where the tabernacle of God will be with men. In the views of this the Son of God was rejoicing before the world was; and in time expressed his desire of it; a> may be concluded from his frequent appearances in an human form, before his incarnation, as precludiums of it. Now not only the Son of God took delight and complacency in the elect of God, before the world was ; but the Father and Spirit also ; 2 Thess. ii. 13. Kph. i. 4. Thus we see what delight and complacency, satisfaction and happiness, God had in himself before any creature existed ; and would have continued the same, if none had ever been created ; and the whole furnishes an answer to those curious questions, if it is proper to make them ; What was God doing in eternin ? what did his thoughts chiefly run upon then ? and wherein lay his satisfaction, delight, and happiness ?