[THE NEW COVENANT FREE AND UNCHANGEABLE, WHO ARE UNDER IT, AND THEIR PRIVILEGES.]
Now we are to proceed, and the things that we are to treat upon in the second place are these—First. [Besides the reasons already given.] Why is it a free and unchangeable grace? SECOND. Who they are that are actually brought into His free and unchangeable Covenant of Grace, and how they are brought in? THIRD. What are the privileges of those that are actually brought into this free and glorious grace of the glorious God of Heaven and glory?
[THE NEW COVENANT FREE AND UNCHANGEABLE BECAUSE MADE WITH CHRIST.]
FIRST. WHY IT IS A FREE AND UNCHANGEABLE GRACE.
And for the opening of this we must consider, first, How and through Whom this grace doth come to be, first, free to us, and, secondly, unchangeable? This grace is free to us through conditions in Another—that is, by way of covenant or bargain; for this grace comes by way of covenant or bargain to us, yet made with Another for us.
First. That it comes by way of covenant, contract, or bargain, though not personally with us, be pleased to consider these Scriptures, where it is said, "I have made a covenant with My Chosen: I have sworn unto David [The word David in this place signifieth Christ, as also in these Scriptures—(Eze 34:23,24; 37:24,25).] My servant" (Psa 89:3). "And as for Thee also, by the blood of Thy covenant," speaking of Christ, "I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water," (Zech 9:9-11). Again; "Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money" (Isa 52:3). "Blessed be the Lord," therefore, saith Zacharias, "for He hath visited and" also "redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy Prophets, which have been since the world began; that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant," or bargain (Luke 1:68-72). [I might give you more Scriptures; but pray consider the second thing.] And if any should be offended with the plainness of these words, as some poor souls may be through ignorance, let them be pleased to read soberly Isaiah 49:1-12, and there they may see that it runs as plain a bargain as if two would be making of a bargain between themselves, and concluding upon several conditions on both sides. But more of this hereafter. Now,
Second. This covenant, I say, was made with One, not with many, and also confirmed in the conditions of it with One, not with several. First, that the covenant was made with One (Gal 3:16). "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ" (Verse 17). "And this, I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God, in Christ," etc. The covenant was made with the Seed of Abraham; not the seeds, but the Seed, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Head and Undertaker in the things concerning the covenant.
Third. The condition was made with One, and also accomplished by Him alone, and not by several; yet in the nature, and for the everlasting deliverance of many; even by one man Jesus Christ, as it is clear from Romans 5:15-17, etc., and in Zechariah 9:11, the Lord saith to Christ, "And as for Thee"—mark, "As for Thee also, by the blood of Thy covenant," or as for Thee whose covenant was by blood; that is, the condition of the covenant was, that Thou shouldst spill Thy blood; which having been done in the account of God, saith He, I according to My condition have let go the prisoners, or sent them "out of the pit wherein is no water." Those Scriptures in Galatians 3:16,17 that are above cited, are notably to our purpose; Verse 16 saith it was made with Christ, Verse 17 saith it was also confirmed in or with God in Him. Pray read with understanding. "Now," saith Paul, "the promises were not made unto seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ." . . . . "The law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Not that the covenant was made with Abraham and Christ together, as two persons that were the undertakers of the same; the promise was made with, or to, Abraham afterwards; but the covenant with Christ before.
[Neither Abraham nor the fathers able to undertake the accomplishment of this covenant.]
Further, that the covenant was not personally made with Abraham, no, nor with any of the fathers, neither so as that they were the persons that should stand engaged to be the accomplishers thereof, either in whole or in part; which is very clear.
First. Because this covenant was not made with God and the creature; not with another poor Adam, that only stood upon the strength of natural abilities; but this covenant was made with the second Person, with the Eternal Word of God; with Him that was everyways as holy, as pure, as infinite, as powerful, and as everlasting as God (Prov 8:22-31; Isa 9:6; Zech 13:7; Phil 2:6; Heb 1; Rev 1:11-17; 22:13,17).
Second. This covenant or bargain was made in deed and in truth before man was in being. O! God thought of the salvation of man before there was any transgression of man; for then, I say, and not since then, was the Covenant of Grace made with the Undertaker thereof; for all the other sayings are to show unto us that glorious plot and contrivance that was concluded on before time between the Father and the Son, which may very well be concluded on for a truth from the Word of God, if you consider, 1. That the Scripture doth declare that the price was agreed on by the Son before time; 2. The promise was made to Him by the Father that He should have His bargain before time; 3. The choice, and who they were that should be saved was made before time, even before the world began.
1. For the first, That the price was agreed upon before the world began. Consider the word which speaketh of the price that was paid for sinners, even the precious blood of Christ; it saith of Him, "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe," etc. (1 Peter 1:20,21). Mark, it was foreordained or concluded on between the Father and the Son before the world began.
2. The promise from God to the Son was also made in the same manner, as it is clear where the Apostle saith with comfort to his soul, that he had "hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began," (Titus 1:2) which could be to none but the Mediator of the new covenant, because there was none else to whom it should be made but He.
3. The choice was also made then, even before man had a being in this world, as it is evident where he saith, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Eph 1:3,4). [Did I think this would meet with any opposition, I should be in this more large.] Nay, did I look upon it here to be necessary, I should show you very largely and clearly that God did not only make the covenant with Christ before the world began, and the conditions thereof, but I could also show you that the very saints' qualifications, as part of the covenant, was then concluded on by the Father and the Son according to these Scriptures, which, it may be, I may touch upon further anon (Eph 1:3,4; 2:10; Rom 8:28). But,
Third. This covenant was not made with any of the fathers, neither in whole nor in part, as the undertakers thereof; for then it must be also concluded that they are co-partners with Christ in our salvation, and so that Christ is not Mediator alone; but this would be blasphemy for any once to surmise. And therefore, by the way, when thou readest of the new covenant in Scripture as though it was made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, or David, thou art to consider thus with thyself—1. That God spake to them in such a way for to show or signify unto us how He did make the covenant that He did make with Christ before the world began, they being types of Him. 2. That He thereby might let them understand that He was the same then as He is now, and now as He was then; and that then it was resolved on between His Son and HIM, that in after ages His Son should in their natures, from their loins, and for their sins, be born of a woman, hanged on the Cross, etc., for them: for all along you may see that when He speaketh to them of the new covenant, He mentions their seed—their seed—still aiming at Christ; Christ, the Seed of the woman, was to break the serpent's head (Gen 3:15; 17; Psa 89:36). Now to Abraham and his Seed was the promise made; his Seed shall endure for ever, and His throne as the days of Heaven, etc.; still pointing at Christ. And, 3. To stir up their faith and expectations to be constant unto the end in waiting for that which He and His Son had concluded on before time, and what He had since the conclusion declared unto the world by the Prophets. 4. It appeareth that the heart of God was much delighted therein also, as is evident, in that He was always in every age declaring of that unto them which before He had prepared for them. O this good God of Heaven!
Objection: But you will say, perhaps, the Scriptures say plainly that the new covenant was and is made with believers, saying, "The days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I led them out of the land of Egypt," etc. (Heb 8:8-10). So that it doth not run with Christ alone, but with believers also—I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah, etc. (Jer 31:33).
Answer first: It cannot be meant that the new covenant was made with Christ, and the house of Israel and Judah as the undertakers thereof; for so it was made with Christ alone, which is clear, in that it was made long before the house of Israel and Judah had a being, as I showed before. But,
Answer second: These words here are spoken, first, to show rather the end of the ceremonies than the beginning or rise of the new covenant. Mind a little; the Apostle is labouring to beat the Jews, to whom he wrote this Epistle, off of the ceremonies of the law, of the priests, altar, offerings, temple, etc., and to bring them to the right understanding of the thing and things that they held forth, which were to come, and to put an end to those. If you do but understand the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is a discourse that showeth that the Son of God being come, there is an end put to the ceremonies; for they were to continue so long and no longer—"It," saith the Apostle, "stood in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation"; that is, until Christ did come. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come," etc., puts an end to the things and ordinances of the Levitical priesthood. Read the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Chapters of Hebrews, and you will find this true. So, then, when He saith, "The days come in which I make a new covenant," it is rather to be meant a changing of the administration, taking away the type, the shadow, the ceremonies from the house of Israel and Judah, and relieving by the birth of Christ, and the death of Christ, and the offering of the body of Him whom the shadows and types did point out to be indeed He whom God the Father had given for a ransom by covenant for the souls of the saints; and also to manifest the truth of that covenant which was made between the Father and the Son before the world began; for though the new covenant was made before the world began, and also every one in all ages was saved by the virtue of that covenant, yet that covenant was never so clearly made manifest as at the coming, death, and resurrection of Christ; and therefore, saith the Scripture, "He hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling" not according to the "works" of righteousness which we have done, "but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," there is the covenant, but it was "made MANIFEST by the APPEARING of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to LIGHT through the Gospel" (2 Tim 1:9,10). Therefore, I say, these words are therefore to discover that the time was come to change the dispensation, to take away the type, and bring in the substance, and so manifesting that more clearly which before lay hid in dark sayings and figures. And this is usual with God to speak in this manner.
Again; if at any time you do find in Scripture that the Covenant of Works is spoken of as the first covenant that was manifested, and so before the second covenant, yet you must understand that it was so only as to manifestation—that is, it was first given to man, yet not made before that which was made with Christ; and indeed it was requisite that it should be given or made known first, that thereby there might be a way made for the second, by its discovering of sin, and the sad state that man was in after the Fall by reason of that. And again, that the other might be made the more welcome to the sons of men. Yet the second Adam was before the first, and also the second covenant before the first. [This is a riddle]. And in this did Christ in time most gloriously answer Adam, who was the figure of Christ, as well as of other things. Romans 5. For, Was the first covenant made with the first Adam? so was the second covenant made with the second; for these are and were the two great public persons, or representators of the whole world, as to the first and second covenants; and therefore you find God speaking on this wise in Scripture concerning the new covenant—"My covenant shall stand fast with HIM." "My mercy will I keep for HIM for evermore," saith God: "My covenant shall stand fast with HIM" (Psa 89:28,34,35); this HIM is Christ, if you compare this with Luke 1:32, "My covenant will I not break"—namely, that which was made with HIM—"nor alter the thing that is gone out of My mouth. Once I have sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David," [David here is to be understood Christ.] to whom this was spoken figuratively in the Person of Christ; for that was God's usual way to speak of the glorious things of the Gospel in the time of the Law, as I said before.
The conditions of the new covenant.
The conditions also were concluded on and agreed to be fulfilled by Him: as it is clear, if you understand His saying in the 12th of John, at the 27th verse, where He foretelleth His death, and saith, "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I" into the world "unto this hour"; as if He had said, My business is now not to shrink from My sufferings that are coming upon Me; for these are the things that are a great part of the conditions contracted in the covenant which stands between My Father and Me; therefore I shall not pray that this might be absolutely removed from Me; For, "for this cause came I" into the world; even this was the very terms of the covenant. By this you may see, "we are under grace."
Now in a covenant there are these three things to be considered—First. What it is that is covenanted for. Second. The conditions upon which the persons who are concerned in it do agree. Third. If the conditions on both sides be not according to the agreement fulfilled, then the covenant standeth not, but is made void. And this new covenant in these particulars is very exactly fulfilled and made out in Christ.
First. The thing or things covenanted for was the salvation of man, but made good in Christ—"The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. I gave My life a ransom for many. And this is the will," or covenant, "of Him that sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39).
Second. As touching the conditions agreed on, they ran thus—1. On the Mediator's side, that He should come into the world; and then on the Father's side, that He should give Him a body. This was one of the glorious conditions between the Father and Christ; "Wherefore, when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not"—that is, the old covenant must not stand, but give way to another sacrifice which Thou hast prepared, which is the giving up My Manhood to the strokes of Thy justice—"for a body Thou hast prepared Me" (Heb 10:5). This doth prove us under grace.
2. On the Mediator's side, that He should be put to death; and on God the Father's side, that He should raise Him up again; this was concluded on also to be done between God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. On Christ's side, that He should die to give the justice of His Father satisfaction, and so to take away the curse that was due to us, wretched sinners, by reason of our transgressions; and that God His Father, being every ways fully and completely satisfied, should by His mighty power revive and raise Him up again. He hath "brought again—our Lord Jesus"; that is, from death to life, through the virtue or effectual satisfaction that He received from the blood that was shed according to the terms "of the Everlasting Covenant" (Heb 13:20).
3. On the Mediator's side, that He should be made a curse; and on the Father's side, that through Him sinners should be inheritors of the blessing. What wonderful love doth there appear by this in the heart of our Lord Jesus, in suffering such things for our poor bodies and souls? (Gal 3:13,14). This is grace.
4. That on the Mediator's side there should be by Him a victory over Hell, death, and the devil, and the curse of the Law; and on the Father's side, that these should be communicated to sinners, and they set at liberty thereby—"Turn you to the stronghold," saith God, "ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee" (Zech 9:12). Why so? It is because of the blood of My Son's covenant (Verse 11); which made Paul, though sensible of a body of death, and of the sting that death did strike into the souls of all those that are found in their sins, bold to say, "O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin." That is true, and the terrible Law of God doth aggravate and set it home with insupportable torment and pain. But shall I be daunted at this? No, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ He hath given me this victory." So that now, though I be a sinner in myself, yet I can, by believing in Jesus Christ, the Mediator of this new covenant, triumph over the devil, sin, death, and Hell; and say, Do not fear, my soul, seeing the victory is obtained over all my enemies through my Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:55-57). This is the way to prove ourselves under grace.
5. That on the Mediator's side He should by thus doing bring in everlasting righteousness for saints (Dan 9:24); and that the Father for this should give them an everlasting kingdom (1 Peter 1:3-5; Eph 1:4; 2 Tim 4:18; Luke 22:28,29). But,
Third. [How the conditions are fulfilled]. In the next place, this was not all—that is, the Covenant of Grace, with the conditions thereof, was not only concluded on by both parties to be done, but Jesus Christ [Christ is put into office by the Father, to do all things contained in the new covenant]. must be authorized to do what was concluded on touching this covenant by way of office. I shall therefore speak a word or two also touching the offices, at least, some of them, that Christ Jesus did and doth still execute as the Mediator of the new covenant, which also were typed out in the Levitical law; for this is the way to prove that we are not under the law, but under grace. And,
Christ is the Surety of the new covenant.
FIRST. His first office, after the covenant was made and concluded upon, was that Jesus should become bound as a Surety, [His Suretyship]. and stand engaged upon oath to see that all the conditions of the covenant that were concluded on between Him and His Father should, according to the agreement, be accomplished by Him; and that after that, He should be the Messenger from God to the world to declare the mind of God touching the tenor and nature of both the covenants, especially of the new one. The Scripture saith, that Jesus Christ was not only made a priest by an oath, but also a Surety, or bondsman, as in Hebrews 7:21, 22. In the 21st Verse he speaketh of the priesthood of Christ, that it was with an oath; and saith, in the 22nd Verse, "By so much" also "was Jesus made a Surety of a better testament," or covenant.
Now the covenant was not only made on Jesus Christ's side with an oath, but also on God the Father's side, that it might be for the better ground of establishment to all those that are, or are to be, the children of the promise. Methinks it is wonderful to consider that the God and Father of our souls, by Jesus Christ, should be so bent upon the salvation of sinners, that He would covenant with His Son Jesus for the security of them, and also that there should pass an oath on both sides for the confirmation of Their resolution to do good. As if the Lord had said, My Son, Thou and I have here made a covenant, that I on My part should do thus and thus, and that Thou on Thy part shouldst do so and so. Now that We may give these souls the best ground of comfort that may be, there shall pass an oath on both sides, that Our children may see that We do indeed love them. "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel," in making of the covenant, "confirmed it by an oath: that we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us" (Heb 6:17,18; 7:21). Mark, the 6th Chapter saith, God confirmed His part by an oath; and the 7th saith, Christ was made or set on His office also by an oath. Again, "Once," saith God, "have I sworn by My holiness, that I will not lie unto David," "nor alter the thing that is gone out of My mouth," (Psa 89:34,35) as was before cited.
Herein you may see that God and Christ were in good earnest about the salvation of sinners; for as soon as ever the covenant was made, the next thing was, who should be bound to see all those things fulfilled which were conditioned on between the Father and the Son: the angels, they could have no hands in it; the world could not do it; the devils had rather see them damned than they would wish them the least good; thus Christ looked, and there was none to help; though the burden lay never so heavy upon His shoulder, He must bear it Himself; for there was none besides Himself to uphold, or so much as to step in to be bound, to see the conditions, before mentioned, fulfilled neither in whole nor in part (Isa 63:1-7). So that He must not be only He with whom the covenant was made, but He must also become the bondsman or surety thereof, and so stand bound to see that all and every particular thing conditioned for should be, both in manner, and matter, at the time and place, according to the agreement, duly and orderly fulfilled. Is not this grace?
Now as touching the nature of a surety and his work, in some things it is well known to most men; therefore I shall be very brief upon it.
First. You know a surety is at the bargain's making; and so was Christ—"Then was I beside Him" (Prov 8:30).
Second. A surety must consent to the terms of the agreement, or covenant; and so did Christ Jesus. Now that which He did engage should be done for sinners, according to the terms of the covenant; it was this—1. That there should be a complete satisfaction given to God for the sins of the world; for that was one great thing that was agreed upon when the covenant was made (Heb 10:5,17). 2. That Jesus Christ should, as aforesaid, bring in an everlasting righteousness to clothe the saints (His body) withal (Dan 9:24,25). Here is grace. 3. That He should take in charge to see all those forthcoming without spot or wrinkle at the day of His glorious appearing from Heaven in judgment, and to quit them before the Judgment-seat. Again,
Third. In the work of a surety there is required by the creditor that the surety should stand to what he is bound; and on the surety's side there is a consenting thereunto. 1. The creditor looks, that in case the debtor proves a bankrupt, that then the surety should engage the payment. Is not this grace? [However it is in other engagements, it is thus in this]. 2. The creditor looks that the surety should be an able man. Now our Surety was, and is, in this case, every way suitable; for He is heir of all things. 3. The creditor appoints the day, and also looks that the covenant should be kept, and the debt paid, according to the time appointed; and it is required of sureties, as well as stewards, that they be found faithful—namely, to pay the debt according to the bargain; and therefore it is said, "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son—made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law," (Gal 4:4,5). Thus comes grace to saints. 4. The creditor looks that his money should be brought into his house, to his own habitation. Jesus, our Surety, in this also is faithful; for by His own blood, which was the payment, He is entered into the holy place, even into Heaven itself, which is God's dwelling-place, to render the value and price that was agreed upon for the salvation of sinners. But I shall speak more of this in another head, therefore I pass it. Again,
Fourth. If the surety stands bound, the debtor is at liberty; and if the law do issue out any process to take any, it will be the surety. [Though the debtor, together with the surety, is liable to pay the debt by the law of man, yet Christ our Surety only by the Covenant of Grace]. And, O! how wonderfully true was this accomplished in that, when Christ our Surety came down from Heaven, God's Law did so seize upon the Lord Jesus, and so cruelly handle Him, and so exact upon Him, that it would never let Him alone until it had accused Him and condemned Him, executed Him, and screwed His very heart's blood out of His precious heart and side; nay, and more than this too, as I shall show hereafter. But,
Christ the Messenger of the new covenant.
SECOND. [His second office]. After that Jesus Christ had stood bound, and was become our Surety in things pertaining to this covenant, His next office was to be the Messenger of God touching His mind and the tenor of the covenant unto the poor world; and this did the Prophet foresee long before, when he saith, "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me"; speaking of John the Baptist. "And he shall prepare the way before Me." And then He speaketh of Christ to the people, saying, "And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple." Who is He? Even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, that is Christ. "Behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Mal 3:1).
Now the covenant being made before between the Father and the Son, and Jesus Christ becoming bound to see all the conditions fulfilled, this being done, He could come down from Heaven to earth, to declare to the world what God the Father and HE had concluded on before, and what was the mind of the Father towards the world concerning the salvation of their souls; and indeed, who could better come on such an errand than He that stood by when the covenant was made? than He that shook hands with the Father in making of the covenant? than He that was become a Surety in the behalf of poor sinners, according to the terms of the covenant.
Now, you know, a messenger commonly when he cometh, doth bring some errand to them to whom he is sent, either of what is done for them, or what they would have them whom they send unto do for them, or such like. Now what a glorious message was that which our Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven withal to declare unto poor sinners, and that from God His Father? I say, how glorious was it; and how sweet is it to you that have seen yourselves lost by nature? and it will also appear a glorious one to you who are a seeking after Jesus Christ, if you do but consider these following things about what He was sent—
First. Jesus Christ was sent from Heaven to declare unto the world from God the Father that He was wonderfully filled with love to poor sinners. First, in that He would forgive their sins. Secondly, in that He would save their souls. Thirdly in that He would make them heirs of His glory. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.—For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16,17).
Second. God sent Jesus Christ to tell the poor world how that He would do this for poor sinners, and yet be just, and yet do His justice no wrong; and that was to be done by Jesus Christ's dying of a cursed death in the room of poor sinners, to satisfy justice, and make way for mercy; to take away the stumbling-blocks, and set open Heaven's gates; to overcome Satan, and break off from sinners his chains (Luke 4:18) to set open the prison doors, and to let the prisoners go free (Isa 61:1-3). And this was the message that Christ was to deliver to the world by commandment from His Father; and this did He tell us when He came of His errand, where he saith, "I lay down My life for the sheep—no man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:15-18). Even this commandment hath My Father given Me, that I should both do this thing and also tell it unto you.
Third. He was not only sent as a Messenger to declare this His father's love, but also how dearly He himself loved sinners, what a heart He had to do them good, where He saith, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me"; and let me tell you, MY heart too, saith Christ—"Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). As My Father is willing to give you unto Me, even so am I as willing to receive you. As My Father is willing to give you Heaven, so am I willing to make you fit for it, by washing you with My own blood; I lay down My life that you might have life; and this I was sent to tell you of My Father.
Fourth. His message was further; He came to tell them how and which way they should come to enjoy these glorious benefits; also by laying down motives to stir them up to accept of the benefits. The way is laid down in John 3:14,15, where Christ saith, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," or caused to be hanged on the Cross, and die the death—"that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The way, therefore, that thou shalt have the benefit and comfort of that which My Father and I have covenanted for, for thee, I am come down from Heaven to earth on purpose to give thee intelligence, and to certify thee of it. Know, therefore, that as I have been born of a woman, and I have taken this Body upon Me, it is on purpose that I might offer it up upon the Cross a sacrifice to God, to give Him satisfaction for thy sins, that His mercy may be extended to thy soul, without any wrong done to justice; and this thou art to believe, and not in the notion but from thy very whole soul. Now the motives are many. 1. If they do not leave their sins, and come to Jesus Christ, that their sins may be washed away by His blood, they are sure to be damned in Hell; for the law hath condemned them already (John 3:18,19). 2. But if they do come, they shall have the bosom of Christ to lie in, the Kingdom of Heaven to dwell in, the angels and saints for their companions, shall shine there like the sun, shall be there for ever, shall sit upon the thrones of judgment, etc. Here is grace.
Methinks if I had but the time to speak fully to all things that I could speak to from these two heavenly truths, and to make application thereof, surely, with the blessing of God, I think it might persuade some vile and abominable wretch to lay down his arms that he hath taken up in defiance against God, and is marching Hellwards, post-haste with the devil; I say, methinks it should stop them, and make them willing to look back and accept of salvation for their poor condemned souls, before God's eternal vengeance is executed upon them. O, therefore! you that are upon this march, I beseech you consider a little. What! shall Christ become a drudge for you; and will you be drudges for the devil? Shall Christ covenant with God for the salvation of sinners; and shall sinners covenant with Hell, death, and the devil for the damnation of their souls? Shall Christ come down from Heaven to earth to declare this to sinners; and shall sinners stop their ears against these good tidings? Will you not hear the errand of Christ, although He telleth you tidings of peace and salvation? How, if He had come, having taken a commandment from His Father to damn you, and to send you to the devils in Hell? Sinner, hear His message; He speaketh no harm, His words are Eternal Life; all men that give ear unto them, they have eternal advantage by them; advantage, I say, that never hath an end. Besides, do but consider these two things, it is like they have some sway upon thy soul—1. When He came on His message, He came with tears in His eyes, and did even weepingly tender the terms of reconciliation to them; I say, with tears in his eyes. And when He came near the city—i.e., with His message of peace—beholding the hardness of their hearts, He wept over it, and took up a lamentation over it; because He saw they rejected His mercy, which was tidings of peace; I say, wilt thou then slight a weeping Jesus, One that so loveth thy soul that, rather than He will lose thee, He will with tears persuade with thee? 2. Not only so, but also when He came, He came all on a gore blood to proffer mercy to thee, to show thee still how dearly He did love thee; as if He had said, Sinner, here is mercy for thee; but behold My bloody sweat, My bloody wounds, My cursed death; behold and see what danger I have gone through to come unto thy soul; I am come indeed unto thee, and do bring thee tidings of salvation, but it cost Me My heart's blood before I could come at thee, to give thee the fruits of My everlasting love. But more of this anon.
Thus have I spoken something concerning Christ's being the Messenger of the new covenant; but because I am not willing to cut too short of what shall come after, I shall pass by these things not half touched, and come to the other which I promised even now; which was to show you, that as there were Levitical ceremonies in or belonging to the first covenant, so these types, or Levitical ceremonies, did represent the glorious things of the new covenant. In those ceremonies you read of a sacrifice, of a priest to offer up the sacrifice, the place where, and the manner how, he was to offer it; of which I shall speak something.
Christ the sacrifice of the new covenant.
THIRD. [A third office of Christ, in reference to the new covenant, was His becoming the sacrifice]. As touching the sacrifice; you find that it was not to be offered up of all kind of beasts, as of lions, bears, wolves, tigers, dragons, serpents, or such like; to signify, that not all kind of creatures that had sinned, as devils, the fallen angels, should be saved; but the sacrifice was to be taken out of some kind of beasts and birds, to signify, that some of God's creatures that had sinned He would be pleased to reconcile them to Himself again; as poor fallen man and woman, those miserable creatures, God, the God of Heaven, had a good look for after their fall; but not for the cruel devils, though more noble creatures by creation than we. Here is grace.
Now though these sacrifices were offered, yet they were not offered to the end they should make the comers to, or offerers thereof, perfect; but the things were to represent to the world what God had in after ages for to do, which was even the salvation of His creatures by that offering of the body of Jesus Christ, of which these were a shadow and a type for the accomplishing of the second covenant. For Christ was by covenant to offer a sacrifice, and that an effectual one too, if He intended the salvation of sinners—"A body hast Thou prepared for Me; I am come to do Thy will" (Heb 10:5). I shall therefore show you, First. What was expected by God in the sacrifice in the type, and then show you how it was answered in the antitype. Second. I shall show you the manner of the offering of the type, and so answerable thereto to show you the fitness of the sacrifice of the body of Christ, by way of answering some questions.
First. For the first of these, [What was expected by God in the sacrifice in the type, and how answered in the antitype]—1. God did expect that sacrifice which He Himself had appointed, and not another, to signify, that none would serve His turn but the body and soul of His appointed Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant (John 1:29). 2. This sacrifice must not be lame nor deformed; it must have no scar, spot, or blemish; to signify, that Jesus Christ was to be a complete sacrifice by covenant (1 Peter 1:19). 3. This sacrifice was to be taken out of the flock or herd; to signify, that Jesus Christ was to come out of the race of mankind, according to covenant (Heb 10:5). But,
Second. As to the manner of it [The offering of the types, and so answerable thereto, to show the fitness of the sacrifice of the body of Christ]—1. The sacrifice, before it was offered, was to have all the sins of the children of Israel confessed over it; to signify, that Jesus Christ must bear the sins of all His children by covenant (Isa 53:4-7; 1 Peter 2:24). "As for Thee also, by the blood of Thy covenant," in His own body on the tree (Zech 9:11). 2. It must be had to the place appointed—namely, without the camp of Israel; to signify, that Jesus Christ must be led to the Mount Calvary (Luke 23:33). 3. The sacrifice was to be killed there; to signify, that Jesus Christ must and did suffer without the city of Jerusalem for our salvation. 4. The sacrifice must not only have its life taken away, but also some of its flesh burned upon the altar; to signify, that Jesus Christ was not only to die a natural death, but also that He should undergo the pains and torments of the damned in Hell. 5. Sometimes there must be a living offering and a dead offering, as the goat that was killed, and the scape-goat, the dead bird and the living bird, to signify, that Jesus Christ must die, and come to life again (Lev 19:4-6). 6. The goat that was to die was to be the sin-offering; that is, to be offered as the rest of the sin-offerings, to make an atonement as a type; and the other goat was to have all the sins of the children of Israel confessed over him, and then let go into the wilderness, never to be catched again (Lev 16:7-22). To signify, that Christ's death was to make satisfaction for sin, and His coming to life again was to bring in everlasting justification from the power, curse, and destroying nature of sin (Rom 4:25). 7. The scape-goat was to be carried by a fit man into the wilderness; to signify that Jesus Christ should both be fit and able to carry our sins quite a way from us, so as they should never be laid to our charge again. Here is grace. 8. The sacrifices under the law, commonly part of them must be eaten; to signify, that they that are saved should spiritually feed on the body and blood of Jesus Christ, or else they have no life by Him (Exo 12:5-11; John 6:51-53). 9. This sacrifice must be eaten with unleavened bread; to signify, that they which love their sins, that devilish leaven of wickedness, they do not feed upon Jesus Christ. 8
Now of what hath been spoken this is the sum, that there is a sacrifice under the new covenant, as there were sacrifices under the old; and that this sacrifice did every way answer that, or those; indeed, they did but suffer for sin in show, but He in reality; they are the shadow, but He as the substance. O! when Jesus Christ did come to make Himself a sacrifice, or to offer Himself for sin, you may understand that our sins were indeed charged to purpose upon Him. O! how they scarred his soul, how they brake His body, insomuch that they made the blood run down His blessed face and from His precious side; therefore thou must understand these following things—First, that Jesus Christ by covenant did die for sin. Secondly, that His death was not a mere natural death, but a "cursed death," even such an one as men do undergo from God for their sins, though He Himself had none, even such a death as to endure the very pains and torments of Hell. O sad pains and inexpressible torments that this our Sacrifice for sin went under! The pains of His body were not all; no, but the pains of His soul; for His soul was made an offering as well as His body, yet all but one sacrifice (Isa 53). [As Christ did not suffer in His body without suffering in soul, nor yet in soul without His suffering in body; it was because not the body without the soul, but both the body and soul of the saints should be for ever saved]. To signify, that the suffering of Christ was not only a bodily suffering, but a soul suffering; not only to suffer what man could inflict upon Him, but also to suffer soul torments that none but God can inflict, or suffer to be inflicted upon Him. O, the torments of His soul! they were the torments indeed; His soul was that that felt the wrath of God. "My soul," saith He, "is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt 26:38). "Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say?" (John 12:27). The rock was not so rent as was His precious soul; there was not such a terrible darkness on the face of the earth then as there was on His precious soul. O! the torments of Hell and the eclipsings of the Divine smiles of God were both upon Him at once; the devils assailing of Him, and God forsaking of Him, and all at once! "My God, My God," saith He, "why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt 27:46). Now in my greatest extremity; now sin is laid upon Me, the curse takes hold of Me, the pains of Hell are clasped about Me, and Thou hast forsaken Me. O sad! Sinners, this was not done in pretence, but in reality; not in show, but in very deed; otherwise Christ had dissembled, and had not spoken the truth; but the truth of it His bloody sweat declares, His mighty cries declare, the things which and for what He suffered declare. Nay, I must say thus much, that all the damned souls in Hell, with all their damnations, did never yet feel that torment and pain that did this blessed Jesus in a little time. Sinner, canst thou read that Jesus Christ was made an offering for sin, and yet go in sin? Canst thou hear that the load of thy sins did break the very heart of Christ, and spill His precious blood? and canst thou find in thy heart to labour to lay more sins upon His back? Canst thou hear that He suffered the pains, the fiery flames of Hell, and canst thou find in thy heart to add to His groans by slighting of His sufferings? O hard-hearted wretch! how canst thou deal so unkindly with such a sweet Lord Jesus?
Quest. But why did Christ offer Himself in sacrifice?
Answ. That thou shouldst not be thrown to the very devils.
Quest. But why did He spill His precious blood?
Answ. That thou mightest enjoy the joys of Heaven.
Quest. But why did He suffer the pains of Hell?
Answ. That thou mightest not fry with the devil and damned souls.
Quest. But could not we have been saved if Christ had not died?
Answ. No; for without the shedding of blood there is no remission; and besides, there was no death that could satisfy God's justice but His, which is evident, because there was none in a capacity to die, or that was able to answer an infinite God by His so suffering but He. 9
Quest. But why did God let Him die?
Answ. He standing in the room of sinners, and that in their names and natures, God's justice must fall upon Him; for justice takes vengeance for sin wheresoever it finds it, though it be on His dear Son. Nay, God favoured His Son no more, finding our sins upon Him, than He would have favoured any of us; for, should we have died? so did He. Should we have been made a curse? so was He. Should we have undergone the pains of Hell? so did He.
Quest. But did He indeed suffer the torments of Hell?
Answ. Yea, and that in such a horrible way too, that it is unspeakable.
Quest. Could He not have suffered without His so suffering? Would not His dying only of a natural death have served the turn?
Answ. No, in nowise. . The sins for which He suffered called for the torments of Hell; the conditions upon which He died did call for the torments of Hell; for Christ did not die the death of a saint, but the death of a sinner, of a cursed and damned sinner; because He stood in their room, the law to which He was subjected called for the torments of Hell; the nature of God's justice could not bate Him anything; the death which He was to suffer had not lost its sting; all these being put together do irresistibly declare unto us that He, as a sacrifice, did suffer the torments of Hell (Gal 3:13). But, 2. Had He not died and suffered the cursed death, the covenant had been made void, and His Suretyship would have been forfeited, and, besides this, the world damned in the flames of Hell-fire; therefore, His being a sacrifice was one part of the covenant; for the terms of the covenant were that He should spill His blood. O blessed Jesus! O blessed grace! (Zech 9:10,11).
Quest. But why, then, is His death so slighted by some?
Answ. Because they are enemies to Him, either through ignorance or presumption; either for want of knowledge or out of malice; for surely did they love or believe Him, they could not choose but break and bleed at heart to consider and to think of Him (Zech 12:10,11.)
Christ the High Priest of the New Covenant.
FOURTH, [A fourth office of Christ under the new covenant is His priestly]. Thus, passing this, I shall now speak something to Christ's priestly office. But, by the way, if any should think that I do spin my thread too long in distinguishing His priestly office from His being a sacrifice, the supposing that for Christ to be a priest and a sacrifice is all one and the same thing; and it may be it is, because they have not thought on this so well as they should—namely, that as He was a sacrifice He was passive, that is, led or had away as a lamb to His sufferings (Isaiah 53); but as a priest He was active—that is, He did willingly and freely give up His Body to be a sacrifice. "He hath given His life a ransom for many." This consideration being with some weight and clearness on my spirit, I was and am caused to lay them down in two particular heads.
And therefore I would speak something to is this, that as there were priests under the first covenant, so there is a Priest under this, belonging to this new covenant, a High Priest, the Chief Priest; as it is clear where it is said, We "having a high priest over the house of God" (Heb 3:1; 5:5,10; 7:24-26; 8:1, 4; 10:21).
Now the things that I shall treat upon are these—First, I shall show you the qualifications required of a priest under the Law; Second, his office; and, Third, how Jesus Christ did according to what was signified by those under the law; I say, how He did answer the types, and where He went beyond them.
First, For his qualifications:—
1. They must be called thereto of God—"No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as Aaron" (Heb 5:4). Now Aaron's being called of God to be a priest signifies that Jesus Christ is a Priest of God's appointment, such an one that God hath chosen, likes of, and hath set on work—"Called of God an High Priest," etc. (Heb 5:10).
2. The priests under the law they must be men, complete, not deformed—"Speak unto Aaron," saith God to Moses, "saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach; a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed, or crook-backt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire; he that hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God" (Lev 21:17-21). What doth all this signify but that, (1.) He must not be lame, to signify he must not go haltingly about the work of our salvation. (2.) He must not be blind, to signify that he must not go ignorantly to work, but he must be quick of understanding in the things of God. (3.) He must not be scabbed, to signify that the priest must not be corrupt of filthy in his office. (4.) In a word, he must be every way complete, to signify to us that Jesus Christ was to be, and is, most complete and most perfect in things pertaining to God in reference to His second covenant.
3. The priests under the law were not to be hard-hearted, but pitiful and compassionate, willing and ready, with abundance of bowels, to offer for the people, and to make an atonement for them (Heb 5:1,2). To signify, that Jesus Christ should be a tender-hearted High Priest, able and willing to sympathize and be affected with the infirmities of others, to pray for them, to offer up for them His precious blood; He must be such an One who can have compassion on a company of poor ignorant souls, and on them that are out of the way, to recover them, and to set them in safety (Heb 4:15). And that He might thus do, He must be a man that had experience of the disadvantages that infirmity and sin did bring unto those poor creatures (Heb 2:17).
4. The high priests under the law were not to be shy or squeamish in case there were any that had the plague or leprosy, scab or blotches; but must look on them, go to them, and offer for them (Lev 13), all which is to signify, that Jesus Christ should not refuse to take notice of the several infirmities of the poorest people, but to teach them, and to see that none of them be lost by reason of their infirmity, for want of looking to or tending of. 10
This privilege also have we under this second covenant. This is the way to make grace shine.
5. The high priests under the law they were to be anointed with very excellent oil, compounded by art (Exo 29:7; 30:30). To signify, that Jesus, the Great High Priest of this new covenant, would be in a most eminent way anointed to His priestly office by the Holy Spirit of the Lord.
6. The priest's food and livelihood in the time of his ministry was to be the consecrated and holy things (Exo 29:33). To signify, that it is the very meat and drink of Jesus Christ to do His priestly office, and to save and preserve His poor, tempted, and afflicted saints. O what a new-covenant High Priest have we!
7. The priests under the law were to be washed with water (Exo 29:4). To signify, that Jesus Christ should not go about the work of His priestly office with the filth of sin upon Him, but was without sin to appear as our High Priest in the presence of His Father, to execute His priestly office there for our advantage—"For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Heb 7:26).
8. The high priest under the law, before they went into the holy place, there were to be clothed—with a curious garment, a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle, and they were to be made of gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen; and in his garment and glorious ornaments there must be precious stones, and on those stones there must be written the names of the children of Israel (read Exodus 28), and all this was to signify what a glorious High Priest Jesus Christ should be, and how in the righteousness of God He should appear before God as our High Priest, to offer up the sacrifice that was to be offered for our salvation to God His Father. But I pass that.
Second, Now I shall speak to His office. The office of the high priest in general was twofold. 1. To offer the sacrifice without the camp. 2. To bring it within the veil—that is, into the holiest of all, which did type out Heaven.
1. [First part of the high priest's office]. (1.) It was the office of the priest to offer the sacrifice; and so did Jesus Christ; He did offer His own Body and Soul in sacrifice. I say, HE did OFFER it, and not another, as it is written, "No man taketh away My life, but I lay it down of Myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17,18). And again it is said, "When He," Jesus, "had offered up one sacrifice for sin, for ever sat down on the right hand of God" (Heb 10:12). (2.) The priests under the law must offer up the sacrifice that God had appointed, and none else, a complete one without any blemish; and so did our High Priest, where He saith, "Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body has Thou prepared Me," and that I will offer (Heb 10:5). (3.) The priest was to take of the ashes of the sacrifice, and lay them in a clean place; and this signifies, that the Body of Jesus, after it had been offered, should be laid into Joseph's sepulchre, as in a clean place, where never any man before was laid (Lev 6:11, compared with John 19:41,42).
2. [Second part of the high priest's office]. This being one part of his office, and when this was done, then in the next place he was, (1.) To put on the glorious garment, when he was to go into the holiest, and take of the blood, and carry it thither, etc., he was to put on the holy garment which signifieth the righteousness of Jesus Christ. (2.) He was in this holy garment, which hath in it the stones, and in the stones the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, to appear in the holy place. "And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth" (Exo 28:9,10). And this was to signify, that Jesus Christ was to enter into the holiest, then He was there to bear the names of His elect in the tables of His heart before the Throne of God and the Mercy-seat (Heb 12:23). (3.) With this he was to take of the blood of the sacrifices, and carry it into the holiest of all, which was a type of Heaven, and there was he to sprinkle the mercy-seat; and this was to be done by the high priest only; to signify, that none but Jesus Christ must have this office and privilege, to be the people's High Priest to offer for them. "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people" (Heb 9:7). (4.) He was there to make an atonement for the people with the blood, sprinkling of it upon the mercy-seat; but this must be done with much incense. "And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin-offering which is for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin-offering which is for himself: and he shall take a censor full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that he cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy-seat eastward, and before the mercy-seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat." (Lev 16:11-15). Now this was for the priest and the people; all which doth signify that Jesus Christ was after His death to go into Heaven itself, of which this holy place was a figure, and there to carry the sacrifice that He offered upon the Cross into the presence of God, to obtain mercy for the people in a way of justice (Heb 9). And in that he is said to take his hands full of sweet incense, it signifies that Jesus Christ was to offer up His sacrifice in the presence of His Father in a way of intercession and prayers.
I might have branched these things out into several particulars, but I would be brief. I say, therefore, the office of the priest was to carry the blood into the holy place, and there to present it before the mercy-seat, with his heart full of intercessions for the people for whom he was a priest (Luke 1:8-11). This is Jesus Christ's work now in the Kingdom of Glory, to plead His own blood, the nature and virtue of it, with a perpetual intercession to the God of Mercy on behalf of us poor miserable sinners (Heb 7:25).
[Comfortable considerations from Christ's intercession]. Now, in the intercession of this Jesus, which is part of His priestly office, there are these things to be considered for our comfort—
1. There is a pleading of the virtue of His Blood for them that are already come in, that they may be kept from the evils of heresies, delusions, temptations, pleasures, profits, or anything of this world which may be too hard for them. "Father, I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world," saith Christ, "but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15).
2. In case the devil should aspire up into the presence of God, to accuse any of the poor saints, and to plead their backslidings against them, as he will do if he can, then there is Jesus, our Lord Jesus, ready in the Court of Heaven, at the right hand of God, to plead the virtue of His Blood, not only for the great and general satisfaction that He did give when He was on the Cross, but also the virtue that is in it now for the cleansing and fresh purging of His poor saints under their several temptations and infirmities; as saith the Apostle, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life"—that is, by His intercession (Rom 5:10).
3. The maintaining of grace, also, is by Jesus Christ's intercession, being the second part of His priestly office. O, had we not a Jesus at the right hand of God making intercession for us, and to convey fresh supplies of grace unto us through the virtue of His Blood being pleaded at God's right hand, how soon would it be with us as it is with those for whom He prays not at all (John 17:9)? But the reason why thou standest while others fall, the reason why thou goest through the many temptations of the world, and shakest them off from thee, while others are ensnared and entangled therein, it is because thou hast an interceding Jesus. "I have prayed," saith He, "that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:32).
4. It is partly by the virtue of Christ's intercession that the elect are brought in. There are many that are to come to Christ which are not yet brought in to Christ: and it is one part of His work to pray for their salvation too—"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe," though as yet they do not believe "on Me," but that they may believe "through their word" (John 17:20). And let me tell thee, soul, for thy comfort, who art a-coming to Christ, panting and sighing, as if thy heart would break, I tell thee, soul, thou wouldst never have come to Christ, if He had not first, by the virtue of His blood and intercession, sent into thy heart an earnest desire after Christ; and let me tell thee also, that it is His business to make intercession for thee, not only that thou mightest come in, but that thou mightest be preserved when thou art come in (Compare Heb 7:25; Rom 8:33-39).
5. It is by the intercession of Christ that the infirmities of the saints in their holy duties are forgiven. Alas, if it were not for the priestly office of Christ Jesus, the prayers, alms, and other duties of the saints might be rejected, because of the sin that is in them; but Jesus being our High Priest, He is ready to take away the iniquities of our holy things, perfuming our prayers with the glory of His own perfections; and therefore it is that there is an answer given to the saints' prayers, and also acceptance of their holy duties (Rev 8:3,4). "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament," or covenant, "that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called," notwithstanding all their sins, "might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:11-15).
Third. The third thing now to be spoken to is, to show where and how Jesus Christ outwent and goes beyond these priests, in all their qualifications and offices, for the comfort of poor saints.
1. They that were called to the priesthood under the law were but men; but He is both God and man (Heb 7:3,28).
2. Their qualifications were in them in a very scanty way; but Jesus was every way qualified in an infinite and full way.
3. They were consecrated but for a time, but He for evermore (Heb 7:23,24).
4. They were made without an oath, but He with an oath (Verses 20,21).
5. They as servants; but He as a Son (Hebrews 3:6).
6. Their garments were but such as could be made with hands, but His the very righteousness of God (Exo 28; Rom 3:22; Phil 3:8,9).
7. Their offerings were but the body and blood of beasts, and such like, but His offering was His own body and soul (Heb 9:12,13; 10:4,5; Isa 53:10).
8. Those were at best but a shadow or type, but He the very substance and end of all those ceremonies (Heb 9:1,10,11).
9. Their holy place was but made by men, but His, or that which Jesus is entered, is into Heaven itself (Heb 9:2,3,24).
10. When they went to offer their sacrifice, they were forced to offer for themselves, as men compassed about with infirmity, but He holy, harmless, who did never commit the least transgression (Heb 7:26; 10:11).
11. They when they went to offer they were fain to do it standing, to signify that God had no satisfaction therein; but He, when "He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God," to signify that God was very well pleased with His offering (Heb 10:12).
12. They were fain to offer "oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins"; but He, "by one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb 10:11,14).
13. Their sacrifices at the best could but serve for the cleansing of the flesh, but His for cleansing both body and soul—the blood of Jesus Christ doth purge the conscience from dead works, to live a holy life (Heb 9:13,14).
14. Those high priests could not offer but once a year in the holiest of all, but our High Priest He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Heb 9:7; 12:24,25).
15. Those high priests, notwithstanding they were priests, they were not always to wear their holy garments; but Jesus never puts them off of Him, but is in them always.
16. Those high priests, death would be too hard for them, but our High Priest hath vanquished and overcome that cruel enemy of ours, and brought life and immortality to light through the glorious Gospel (Heb 7:21,23; 2:15; 2 Tim 1:10).
17. Those high priests were not able to save themselves; but this is able to save Himself, and all that come to God, by Him (Heb 7:25).
18. Those high priests' blood could not do away sin; but the blood of Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, "cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
19. Those high priests sometimes by sin caused God to reject their sacrifices; but this High Priest doth always the things that please Him.
20. Those high priests could never convey the Spirit by virtue of their sacrifices or office; but this High Priest, our Lord Jesus, He can and doth give all the gifts and graces that are given to the sons of men.
21. Those high priests could never by their sacrifices bring the soul of any sinner to glory by virtue of itself; but Jesus hath by one offering, as I said before, perfected for ever those that He did die for. Thus in brief I have showed in some particulars how and wherein Jesus our High Priest doth go beyond those high priests; and many more without question might be mentioned, but I forbear.
Christ the forerunner of the saints.
FIFTH. A fifth office of Christ in reference to the second covenant was, that He should be the forerunner to Heaven before His saints that were to follow after. First, He strikes hands in the covenant, [and then] He stands bound as a Surety to see everything in the covenant accomplished that was to be done on His part; [next] He brings the message from Heaven to the world; and before He goeth back, He offereth Himself for the same sins that He agreed to suffer for; and so soon as this was done, He goeth post-haste to Heaven again, not only to exercise the second part of His priestly office, but as our forerunner, to take possession for us, even into Heaven itself, as you may see, where it is said, "Whither the Forerunner is for us entered" (Heb 6:20).
First. He is run before to open Heaven's gates—Be ye open, ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may enter in.
Second. He is run before us to take possession of glory in our natures for us.
Third. He is run before to prepare us our places against we come after—"I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:1-3).
Fourth. He is run thither to make the way easy, in that He hath first trodden the path Himself.
Fifth. He is run thither to receive gifts for us. All spiritual and heavenly gifts had been kept from us had not Christ, so soon as the time appointed was come, run back to the Kingdom of Glory to receive them for us. But I cannot stand to enlarge upon these glorious things, the Lord enlarge them upon your hearts by meditation. [These things have I spoken to show you that saints are under grace.]
Christ completely fulfilled the conditions of the new covenant.
Here now I might begin to speak of His prophetical and kingly office, and the privileges that do and shall come thereby, but that I fear I shall be too tedious, therefore at this time I shall pass them by. Thus you may see how the Covenant of Grace doth run, and with Whom it was made, and also what were the conditions thereof.
Now, then, this grace, this everlasting grace of God, comes to be free to us through the satisfaction, according to the conditions, given by Another for us; for though it be free, and freely given to us, yet the obtaining of it did cost our Head, our public Man, a very dear price. "For ye are bought with a price," even with the precious blood of Christ. So it is by Another, I say, not by us; yet it is as surely made over to us, even to so many of us as do or shall believe, as if we had done it, and obtained the grace of God ourselves (1 Cor 6:20; 1 Peter 1:9). Nay, surer; for consider, I say, this grace is free to us, and comes upon a clear score, by virtue of the labour and purchase of Another for us; mark, that which is obtained by Another for us is not obtained for us by ourselves—No, but Christ hath, not by the blood of goats and calves, "obtained eternal redemption for us," which were things offered by men under the law, "but by His own blood," meaning Christ's, "He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb 9:12).
It comes to be unchangeable through the perfection of that satisfaction that was given to God through the Son of Mary for us; for whatever the Divine, infinite, and eternal justice of God did call for at the hands of man, if ever he intended to be a partaker of the grace of God, this Jesus, this one Man, this public Person, did, did completely give a satisfaction to it, even so effectually; which caused God not only to say, I am pleased, but "I am well pleased"; completely and sufficiently satisfied with Thee on their behalf; for so you must understand it (Matt 3:17). Mark therefore these following words—"And, having made peace," or completely made up the difference, "through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled," how? "in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy," mark, "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight" (Col 1:20-22). And thus it is grace, unchangeable grace to us; because it was obtained, yea, completely obtained, for us, by Jesus Christ, God-man.
Object. But some may say, How was it possible that one man Jesus, by one offering, should so completely obtain and bring in unchangeable grace for such an innumerable company of sinners as are to be saved?
Answ. First. In that He was every way fitted for such a work. And, Second. In that, as I said before, He did every way completely satisfy that which was offended by our disobedience to the former covenant.
[First. He was every way fitted for such a work]. And, for the clearing of this,
1. Consider, was it man that had offended? He was Man that gave the satisfaction—"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor 15:21).
2. Was it God that was offended? He was God that did give a satisfaction—"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.—and His name shall be called The mighty God" (Isa 9:6). "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but," for our sakes, He "made Himself of no reputation," etc. (Phil 2:6-7).
3. For the further clearing of this, to show you that in everything He was rightly qualified for this great work, see what God Himself saith of Him; He calls Him, in the first place, Man; and, secondly, He owns Him to be His Fellow, saying, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man"—mark, "the Man that is My Fellow, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zech 13:7).
So that now, let Divine and infinite justice turn itself which way it will, it finds one that can tell how to match it; for if it say, I will require the satisfaction of man, here is a Man to satisfy its cry; and if it say, But I am an infinite God, and must and will have an infinite satisfaction; here is One also that is infinite, even fellow with God, fellow in His essence and being; fellow in His power and strength; fellow in His wisdom; fellow in His mercy and grace; together with the rest of the attributes of God; so that, I say, let justice turn itself which way it will, here is a complete Person to give a complete satisfaction (Prov 8:23; 1 Cor 1:24; Titus 2:10; compared with Verse 11). Thus much of the fitness of the Person.
Second. For the completeness of the satisfaction given by Him for us. And that is discovered in these particulars—
1. Doth justice call for the blood of that nature that sinned? here is the heart-blood of Jesus Christ—"We have redemption through His blood," (Eph 1:7,14; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Zech 9:10,11).
2. Doth justice say that this blood, if it be not the blood of One that is really and naturally God, it will not give satisfaction to infinite justice? then here is God, purchasing His Church "with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).
3. Doth justice say, that it must not only have satisfaction for sinners, but they that are saved must be also washed and sanctified with this blood? then here is He that so loved us, that He "washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev 1:5).
4. Is there to be a righteousness to clothe them with that is to be presented before Divine justice? there here is the righteousness of Christ, which is "even the righteousness of God by faith" (Rom 3:22; Phil 3:8-10).
5. Are there any sins now that will fly upon this Saviour like so many lions, or raging devils, if He take in hand to redeem man? He will be content to bear them all Himself alone, even in His own body upon the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
6. Is there any law now that will curse and condemn this Saviour for standing in our persons to give satisfaction to God for the transgression of man? He will be willing to be cursed, yea, to be made a curse for sinners, rather than they shall be cursed and damned themselves (Gal 3:13).
7. Must the great and glorious God, whose eyes are so pure that He cannot behold iniquity; I say, must He not only have the blood, but the very life of Him that will take in hand to be the Deliverer and Saviour of us poor miserable sinners? He is willing to lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:11).
8. Must He not only die a natural death, but must His soul descend into hell, though it should not be left there, He will suffer that also Psalms 16:10; and Acts 2:31. 11
9. Must He not only be buried, but rise again from the dead, and overcome death, that He might be the first-fruits to God of them that sleep, which shall be saved? He will be buried, and also through the strength of His Godhead, He will raise Himself out of the grave, though death hold Him never so fast, and the Jews lay never such a great stone upon the mouth of the selpulchre, and seal it never so fast (1 Cor 15:4; Luke 24:34).
10. Must He carry that body into the presence of His Father, to take possession of Heaven, and must He appear there as a priest, as a forerunner, as an advocate, as prophet, as a treasure-house, as an interceder and pleader of the causes of His people? He will be all these, and much more, to the end the grace of God by faith in Jesus Christ might be made sure to all the seed. "Who then can condemn? It is God that justifieth; because Christ hath died, yea rather, that is risen again." Who, now seeing all this is so effectually done, shall lay anything, the least thing? who can find the least flaw, the least wrinkle, the least defect or imperfection, in this glorious satisfaction (Rom 8:33-34; Heb 6:20; 9:24; John 14:2,3; 1 John 2:1)?
Object. But is it possible that He should so soon give infinite justice a satisfaction, a complete satisfaction? for the eternal God doth require an eternal lying under the curse, to the end He may be eternally satisfied.
Answ. Indeed, that which is infinite must have an eternity to satisfy God in—that is, they that fall into the prison and pit of utter darkness must be there to all eternity, to the end the justice of God may have its full blow at them. But now He that I am speaking of is God, and so is infinite (Isa 9:6; Titus 1:16,17; Heb 1:8,9; Phil 2:4-6). Now, He which is true God is able to give in as little a time an infinite satisfaction as Adam was in giving the dissatisfaction. Adam himself might have given satisfaction for himself as soon as Christ had he been very God, as Jesus Christ was. For the reason why the posterity of Adam, even so many of them as fall short of life, must lie broiling in Hell to all eternity is this—they are not able to give the justice of God satisfaction, they being not infinite, as aforesaid. "But Christ," that is, God-man, "being come an High Priest," that is, to offer and give satisfaction, "of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own,"—mark you that, "but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." But how? "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit," who through the power and virtue of His infinite Godhead, "offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause," that is, for that He is God as well as man, and so able to give justice an infinite satisfaction, therefore, "He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:11-15). As I said before.
Object. This is much; but is God connected with this? Is He satisfied now in the behalf of sinners by this Man's thus suffering? If He is, then how doth it appear?
Answ. It is evident, yea, wonderful evident, that this hath pleased Him to the full, as appeareth by these following demonstrations.—
First. In that God did admit Him into His presence; yea, receive Him with joy and music, even with the sound of the trumpet, at His ascension into Heaven (Psa 47:5). And Christ makes it an argument to His children that His righteousness was sufficient, in that He went to His Father, and they saw Him no more, "of righteousness," saith He, "because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more" (John 16:10). As if He had said, My Spirit shall show to the world that I have brought in a sufficient righteousness to justify sinners withal, in that when I go to appear in the presence of My Father on their behalf, He shall give Me entertainment, and not throw Me down from Heaven, because I did not do it sufficiently.
Again; if you consider the high esteem that God the Father doth set on the death of His Son, you will find that He hath received good content thereby. When the Lord Jesus, by way of complaint, told His Father that He and His merits were not valued to the worth, His Father answered, It is a light thing that I should give Thee, O My Servant, to bring Jacob again; "I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth" (Isa 49:6). As if the Lord had said, "My Son, I do value Thy death at a higher rate than that Thou shouldst save the tribes of Israel only; behold the Gentiles, the barbarous heathens, they also shall be brought in as the price of Thy blood. It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant only to bring, or redeem, the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." 12
Again; you may see it also by the carriage of God the Father to all the great sinners to whom mercy was proffered. We do not find that God maketh any objection against them to come to Him for the pardon of their sins; because He did want a satisfaction suitable to the greatness of their sins. There was Manasseh, who was one that burned his children in the fire to the devil, that used witchcraft, that used to worship the host of heaven, that turned his back on the Word that God sent unto him; nay, that did worse than the very heathen that God cast out before the children of Israel (2 Chron 33:1-13). Also those that are spoken of in the Nineteenth of Acts, that did spend so much time in conjuration, and the like, for such I judge they were, that when they came to burn their books, they counted the price thereof to be fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts 19:19). Simon Magus also, that was a sorcerer, and bewitched the whole city, yet he had mercy proffered to him once and again (Acts 8). I say, it was not the greatness of the sins of these sinners; no, nor of an innumerable company of others, that made God at all to object against the salvation of their souls, which justice would have constrained Him to had He not had satisfaction sufficient by the blood of the Lord Jesus. Nay, further, I do find that because God the Father would not have the merits of His Son to be undervalued, I say, He doth therefore freely by His consent let mercy be proffered to the greatest sinners—in the first place, for the Jews, that were the worst of men in that day for blasphemy against the Gospel; yet the Apostle proffered mercy to them in the first place—"It was necessary," saith he, "that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you" (Acts 3:26; 13:46). And Christ gave them commission so to do; for, saith He, Let repentance and remission of sins be preached in My name among all nations, and begin—mark that, "beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47), Let them that but the other day had their hands up to the elbows in My heart's blood have the first proffer of My mercy. And, saith Paul, "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting" (1 Tim 1:16). As the Apostle saith, those sinners that were dead, possessed with the devil, and the children of wrath, He hath quickened, delivered, and saved. That He might, even in the very "ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us," and that "through Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:7).
Second. It is evident that that which this Man did as a common person He did it completely and satisfactorily, as appears by the openness, as I may so call it, which was in the heart of God to Him at His resurrection and ascension—"Ask of Me," saith He, "and I shall give Thee the" very "heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psa 2:8). And this was at His resurrection (Acts 13:33). Whereas, though He had asked, yet if He had not given a full and complete satisfaction, justice would not have given Him any thing; for justice, the justice of God, is so pure, that if it be not completely satisfied in every particular, it giveth nothing but curses (Gal 3:10).
Third. It is yet far more evident that He hath indeed pleased God in the behalf of sinners, in that God hath given Him gifts to distribute to sinners, yea, the worst of sinners, as a fruit of His satisfaction, and that at His ascension (Psa 68:18). Christ hath so satisfied God, that He hath given Him all the treasures both of Heaven and earth to dispose of as He seeth good; He hath so pleased God, that He hath given Him a name above every name, a sceptre above every sceptre, a crown above every crown, a kingdom above every kingdom; He hath given Him the highest place in Heaven, even His own right hand; He hath given Him all the power of Heaven and earth, and under the earth, in His own hand, to bind whom He pleaseth, and to set free whom He thinks meet; He hath, in a word, such a high esteem in the eyes of His Father, that He hath put into His hands all things that are for the profit of His people, both in this world and that which is to come; and all this as the fruit of His faithfulness in doing of His work, as the Mediator of the new covenant (Phil 2:9; Rev 19:6). Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, Thou hast received gifts—mark, Thou hast received them—for men, even for the worst of men, for the rebellious also; and hath sent forth some, being furnished with these gifts; some, I say, for the work of the ministry, to the edifying of them that are already called, and also for the calling in of all those for whom He covenanted with His Father, till all come in the unity of faith, etc. (Eph 4:8-13).
Fourth. It doth still appear yet far more evident; for will you hear what the Father Himself saith for the showing of His well-pleasedness in these two particulars—First, in that He bids poor souls to hear and to do as Christ would have them (Matt 3:17; Luke 9:35). Secondly, in that He resolves to make them that turn their backs upon Him, that dishonour Him, which is done in a very great measure by those that lay aside His merits done by Himself for justification; I say, He that resolved to make this His footstool, where He saith, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (Psa 110:1). Are they enemies to Thee? saith God. I will be even with them. Do they slight Thy merits? Do they slight Thy groans, Thy tears, Thy blood, Thy death, Thy resurrection and intercession, Thy second coming again in heavenly glory? I will tear them and rend them; I will make them as mire in the streets; I will make Thy enemies Thy footstool (Matt 22:44; Heb 1:13; 10:13). Ay, saith He, and "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psa 2:9). Look to it you that slight the merits of the blood of Christ.
Fifth. Again further; yet God will make all the world to know that He hath been and is well pleased in His Son, in that God hath given, and will make it appear He hath given, the world to come into His hand; and that He shall raise the dead, bring them before His judgment-seat, execute judgment upon them, which He pleaseth to execute judgment on to their damnation; and to receive them to eternal life whom He doth favour, even so many as shall be found to believe in His name and merits (Heb 2). "For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:26-29). Ay, and the worst enemy that Christ hath now shall come at that day with a pale face, with a quaking heart, and bended knees, trembling before Him, confessing the glory of His merits, and the virtue there was in them to save, "to the glory of God the Father" (Rom 14:11; Phil 2:11).
Much more might be added to discover the glorious perfection of this Man's satisfaction; but for you that desire to be further satisfied concerning this, search the Scriptures, and beg of God to give you faith and understanding therein; and as for you that slight these things, and continue so doing, God hath another way to take with you, even to dash you in pieces like a potter's vessel; for this hath Christ received of His Father to do unto you (Rev 2:27).
Thus I have showed you in particular, that the Covenant of Grace of God is free and unchangeable to men—that is, in that it hath been obtained for men, and that perfectly, to the satisfying of justice, and taking all things out of the way that were any ways a hindrance to our salvation (Col 2:14).
The Covenant of Grace unchangeable; the opposers answered.
The second thing for the discovering of this freeness and constancy of the Covenant of Grace of God is manifested thus—
First. Whatsoever any man hath of the grace of God, he hath it as a free gift of God through Christ Jesus the Mediator of this covenant, even when they are in a state of enmity to Him, whether it be Christ as the foundation-stone, or faith to lay hold of Him, mark that (Rom 5:8,9; Col 1:21,22). "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves," not for anything in you, or done by you for the purchasing of it, but "it is the gift of God," (Eph 2:8) and that bestowed on you, even when ye "were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1,9). Nay, if thou hast so much as one desire that is right, it is the gift of God; for of ourselves, saith the Apostle, we are not able to speak a good word, or think a good thought (2 Cor 3:5).
Was it not grace, absolute grace, that God made promise to Adam after transgression? (Gen 3:15). Was it not free grace in God to save such a wretch as Manasseh was, who used enchantments, witchcraft, burnt his children in the fire, and wrought much evil? (2 Chron 33). Was it not free grace to save such as those were that are spoken of in the 16th of Ezekiel, which no eye pitied? Was it not free grace for Christ to give Peter a loving look after he had cursed, and swore, and denied Him? Was it not free grace that met Paul when he was agoing to Damascus to persecute, which converted him, and made him a vessel of mercy?
And what shall I say of such that are spoken of in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, speaking there of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners, the basest of sinners in the world, and yet were washed, and yet were justified; was it not freely by grace? O saints, you that are in heaven cry out, "We came hither by grace; and you that are on the earth, I am sure you cry, If ever we do go thither, it must be freely by grace!"
Second. In the next place, it appears to be unchangeable in this—1. Because justice being once satisfied doth not use to call for the debt again. No; let never such a sinner come to Jesus Christ, and so to God by Him, and justice, instead of speaking against the salvation of that sinner, it will say, I am just as well as faithful to forgive him his sins (1 John 1:9). When justice itself is pleased with a man, and speaks on his side, instead of speaking against him, we may well cry out, Who shall condemn? 2. Because there is no law to come in against the sinner that believes in Jesus Christ; for he is not under that, and that by right comes in against none but those that are under it. But believers are not under that—that is, not their Lord, therefore that hath nothing to do with them; and besides, Christ's blood hath not only taken away the curse thereof, but also He hath in His own Person completely fulfilled it as a public Person in our stead. (Rom 7:1-4). 3. The devil that accused them is destroyed (Heb 2:14,15). 4. Death, and the grave, and Hell are overcome (1 Cor 15:55; Hosea 13:14). 5. Sin, that great enemy of man's salvation, that is washed away (Rev 1:5). 6. The righteousness of God is put upon them that believe, and given to them, and they are found in it (Phil 3:8-10; Rom 3:22). 7. Christ is always in Heaven to plead for them, and to prepare a place for them (Heb 7:24; John 14:1-4). 8. He hath not only promised that He will not leave us, nor forsake us, but He hath also sworn to fulfill His promises. O rich grace! O free grace! Lord, who desired Thee to promise? who compelled Thee to swear? We use to take honest men upon their bare word, but God, "willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel," hath "confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things," His promise and His oath, "in which it was impossible for God to lie," or break either of them, "we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us" (Heb 6:17-18). I will warrant you, God will never break His oath; therefore we may well have good ground to hope from such a good foundation as this, that God will never leave us indeed. Amen.