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(4.) For his greater comfort and encouragement. By this he might clearly see what he might expect from God as a reward of his diligence and activity in his service.
(5.) That he might manifest himself to him, and deal with him the more familiarly. The dealing by way of covenant is the way of dealing betwixt man and man that hath least of distance in it, and most of familiarity, wherein parties come near to each other with greatest freedom. There is more nearness and familiarity in this than in any other way whereby God hath expressed his will. It is a more familiar way than that of commands and precepts, which imports nothing but authority and sovereignty. Yea, it is more familiar than the way of absolute promises, which might indeed set forth God's abundant goodness, but not so much God's familiar condescension, as the way of a covenant, when so great and so glorious à Majesty stoops to treat and deal by reciprocal engagements with so mean a creature as man, who is sprung of dust.
I come now to make some practical improvement of this subject.
1. See here the great and wonderful condescension of God, who was pleased to stoop so low as to enter into a covenant with his own creature. Though he is infinitely great and glorious in himself, the fountain of his own bles. sedness, the glass of his own beauty, and the throne of his own glory; yet he condescended to treat with mean man in a way of covenant. How astonishing is it that God should make a covenant with dust and ashes; and that he should bind himself to man, to give him life and happiness as the reward of his obedience, which he owed to God by the law of his creation ?
2. See what a glorious condition man was in when God entered into a covenant with him. He was placed in a pleasant and delightful place, where he was furnished with every conveniency he could desire. He was conformed to God in holiness. Light sparkled in his understanding, sanctity shined in his will, and his affections were regular and pure. He had familiar intimacy and communion with his Maker, and conversed as freely with him as a favourite with his prince. As he enjoyed the light of the sun in paradise to cherish and refreshi his body, so he had the light of God's countenance to solace and delight his soul. Thus happy was man : but, ah! he is now fallen like a star from heaven.
S. See that God is very just in all that comes on man. He set him up with a good stock, in a noble case, making him his covenant-party. He gave him the noblest undeserved encouragement to continue in his obedience, and told him his hazard if he should disobey. So that falling he is left without excuse, his misery being entirely owing to himself,
4. See the deplorable condition of all Adam's posterity by reason of the breach of this covenant. They are under the curse of the law, which is an universal curse, and discharges its thunder against every person who is naturally under that covenant, and has not changed his state. · 5. This serves to humble all flesh, and beat down the pride of all created glory, under the serious consideration of the great loss we have sustained by Adam's fall, and the sad effects thereof upon us. We have lost all that is good and valuable, the image and favour of God, and have incurred the wrath and displeasure of a holy God. 6. See the unsearchable riches of divine
providing a better covenant for the recovery and salvation of
The duty of the first covenant is now impossię ble, and the penalty of it intolerable. It admits of no repentance, nor accepts of any short endeavours; but leaves sinful man as a malefactor in the hands of the law. Blessed be God for the revelation of the covenant of
wherein life and salvation is freely provided and offered to fallen man through the obedience and satisfaction of the second Adam. Well may it be called a covenant of grace: for it came from the rịch and free grace of God, as its true spring; it is all bespangled with gracious promises, as the heavens are with stars; and all the blessings contained in it are gratuitous and free, such as men cannot plead any right or title unto by any merit or works of their own. When the angels sinned, God expelled them from heaven, and left them to perish in their misery; but he was graciously pleased to enter into a covenant with his Son, as second Adam, for the recovery of fallen
man, who by his obedience and death hath fulfilled the law, and suffered the penalty thereof, and thereby made ample provision for all the wants and miseries of
7. There is no wonder, that however little good is wrought in the world, yet working to win heaven is so frequent. We have sufficient evidence of the covenant of works being made with man as a public person, seeing it is yet natural to us to do that we may live, and to think that God will accept us for our works sake.
8. See your misery, all ye that are out of Christ. This covenant is your way to heaven, which is now impossible. Tell not of your good meanings and desires, your repentance, and your obedience, such as it is ; and think not to get life, salvation, and acceptance thereby. For the covenant ye are under admits of no repentance, no will for the deed. It requires nothing less than perfect obedience, which ye are incapable to give,
9. Lastly, Therefore give over this way of seeking life by the broken covenant of works, and come to the Lord Jesus Christ; lay hold on the better covenant, and come up to Christ's chariot, Cant. iii. 9, 10. which will drive you safely to eternal life and glory. That chariot which the first Adam drove, went not far till it was all shattered, and made unfit to carry any to heaven. It breaks with the weight of the least sin ; and so ye can never think it will drive to heaven with you,
Rom. viii. But come into the chariot of the covenant of grace, and ye will be safely carried in it to the land of eternal rest and glory *
OF THE FALL OF OUR FIRST PARENT$.
Gen. in. 6, 7.–And when the woman saw that the tree was
good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked: and they sewed fig: leaves together, and made themselves aproxis.
OD made man upright, but he sought out many inven,
tions. Man being in honour, abode not. He soon fell from the happy and holy state in which he was created,
In the text we have three things to be considered.
A more full and particular account of the covenant of works may be seen in the author's treatise on that subject, first published in 1772, being a works composed posterior to these catechetical discourses.
1. The fall of our first parents from their state of primitive integrity; It was by their both eating of the forbidden fruit, and consequently sinning against God, ver. 6. And they were immediately sensible that they were fallen from that holy and happy state, ver. 7. This appears two ways. (1.) By their knowledge of their nakedness." Some suppose, that their bodies, before their fall, had a divine glory and lustre on them, which was immediately taken away when they sinned, and they saw that this Beautiful covering was now gone, Most part of interpreters understand it of their seeing their nakedness with grief and shame, from a sense of their guilt contracted, and of that sinful concupiscence they found now working in them, Thus the eyes of their minds were opened, which Satan had blinded before. (2.) By their going about to cover their bodies with the broad leaves of the fig-tree. All this clearly holds forth their sense, though it was no holy sense, of their shameful fall.
2. That action by which they fell, their sinning against God, ver. 6. viz. by eating the forbidden fruit. They broke God's express command, forbidding them, under pain of death, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And immediately after this wicked deed they saw they were naked. 3. How they fell
. They fell of their own free-will being left to their freedom, ver. 6. The woman saw that the tree was good for food, &c. There was no force or compulsion here; all proceeded from free choice. Their eyes şaw the fruit, their hearts coveted it, their hands took it, and their mouths ate it.
The doctrinal truth deducible from the text is,
Doct. ! Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created by sinning against God.'
Two things are here to be considered.
1. Let us consider the fall of our first parents. And hcre I will shew,
). That man is fallen.
First, I am to shew that man is fallen, and that our first parents did not continue in the estate wherein they were created, but fell from it. This is clear,
1. From the express narrative of this fatal event given by Moses, Gen. iii. from which it appears, that the devil entering into a serpent, artfully tempted Eve to eat of the for, bidden fruit, in direct opposition to the express command of God, prohibiting it under a dreadful penalty; that she pre: vailed upon Adam to follow her example; that they were both immediately stung with remorse and horror for what they had done; and perceiving themselves to be naked, they fell a-sewing fig-leaves together for a covering to their bo dies; that hearing the voice of the Lord God in the garden, they did, as an evidence of their guilt, and of the privation of light in their minds, hide themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden ; that being called to account for their conduct, the woman threw the blame on the serpent, and the man on the woman ; and that both received sentence from their offended Creator and Judge, expressive of their future misery; though at the same time God was pleased to give them a revelation of the method of salvation by a Redeemer, in the promise respecting the seed of the woman bruizing the serpent's head, All this amounts to a plain proof that man has fallen from the holy and happy state he was placed in at his creation.
2. From the doleful experience of their posterity, Rom. v. 12. ' As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all man, for that all have sinned. When we see the whole race of mankind born beggars, surely we may conclude that their father became bank, rupt; for he once had a happy portion to transmit to his posterity, which he foolishly squandered away. And the inisery attending upon us now, is, that we are pursued for our father's debt as well as our own, without having a farthing to pay.
Secondly, We may inquire, How did Adam fall, or what cast him down ? It was his sinning against God. While our first parents held with God, they stood; but when they departed from him, they fell. What their sin was more par. ticularly, will fall to be shewn afterwards. They thought to rise by their sin, affecting to be as gods, Gen. iii. 5, 6. but it was their ruin. Seeking more, they lost what they had.