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fell, and declaring, that those who apoftatize, fall into the condemnation of the Devil; it seems not unlikely that this was the case. However that may be, we are at no uncertainty when the first manifeftation of sovereign grace was made to man; and this more directly claims our attention.
The word informs us, that man was made lord of this lower creation, yet himself framed to live in abfolute dependance on his maker, as the author and giver of all things, and the sovereign of life and death; in the enjoyment of whose favor he was completely happy, and had aflurance that he should remain so, while his dependance upon, and obedience to the word of his Sovereign, was preserved inviolable. His natural knowledge of God then must give him comfort, while conscious of having done the things that were well pleasing in his fight. He did not stand in need of any different revelation of God, to complete that happiness which he was framed to enjoy; so that no intimation was, or consistently could be given him, in his state of innocence, of the purpose of grace.
But when, thro' affecting independence, he became a transgresor, and so deserving of the threatened death ;-—when defiled, and so incapable of communion with God ;-when nothing but awful, aggravated guilt flew in his face,-nothing but shame, terror, and almost despair filled and harrassed his conscience ;-when, in consequence of this, his former knowledge of God heightened, instead of allaying the storm within, so that nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment was before him ;-when emptiness, vanity, confufion, disorder, and wrath was brought upon the whole creation ;when nothing from without Jehovah could move him, to suspend the execution of the threatening, far less be a motive to manifest his goodness ;--then was the time that infinite wisdom chose, for' grace, in its rich aboundings, to make its welcome appearance ; that its true nature and design might ap
pear, and that it might be seen upon the earth, that sovereignty, wisdom, justice, and mercy were in the purpose of grace perfectly united. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her feed: it fall bruise thy head, and thou falt bruise his heel, were the blessed words that opened the grand mystery which had been hid with God.By this glorious system of grace the honor of the divine government-the wisdom of God in the permiffion of fil--the destruction of satan's kingdomthe abolishment of death--the establishment of the divine law--and the eternal salvation of the elect are infallibly secured.
The way Jehovah has been pleased to make known his designs of grace in its various stages, is declared by the apostle Paul, Heb i. 1. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners speak in t mes past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unta us by his Son--who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his perfor.--Hence we see, that though there has been but one way of salvation since the fall, and that according to the purpose of God in Chrift, yet the manifestation of it wa given at sundry times, and in divers manners. I hall not attempt here, to trace at large, the various openings of the mystery of grace, previous to the appearance of God our Saviour, but only observe, that Paul sanks them under the general naine of the old nant; by which I underland that temporary difpenfation, which God gave to the fathers, which under the veil of types, &c. represented the blessings of the divinc purpose, and were patterns of heavenly things, to remain in use until the SEED should come. Some are inclined to think the old covenant began, when the Lord took Israel by the hand, and led them forth out of Egypt; but it is plain from scripture, that it began immediately after the fall, for it appears from Gen iii. 21, and Chap. iv. 4, that sacrifices were made, which, without doubt, were intended
to fet forth the great atonement, through faith in which Abel's sacrifice was accepted, Heb. xi. 4. Not to say any thing particularly about Noah, and the manifestation of grace to him under certain signs, such as the Ark, the Rainbow, &c. it may be observed, that the nature of this covenant was more fully revealed to Abraham, and the blessings of grace which it represented, more clearly manifested to him, Gen. xii. 3. Gen. xxii. 6--19, John viii. 56, Gal. iii. 8, the Apostle Paul also confirms this thought, Heb.ix. 15. And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new teftament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgreffions that were under the first testament, they which are called, might receive the promise of eternal inheritance, seev. 26. The one atoning facrifice of Christ extended itself to the tranfgrellion of Adam, and to all their tranfgreffions, who believed in the promised feed to the time that the sacrifice was made at Cal. vary,
with as much virtue as it does to those who
grace believe in him now, as having finished his work, and received the great reward thereof. The old covenant therefore comprehends all ages, from Adam to the time that it waxed old and vanished away; tho' without doubt, under the ministry of Mofes the former signs were renewedl, greatly augmented, and formed into a complete system of ceremonial worship. The sacrifices in general-the cities of refuge-the year of jubilee-the land of Canaan--the kings, prophets, and priests in Israel the Temple, its utensils, and every part of the worfhip thereof (of which things we cannot now speak particularly) were all shadows of good things to come; but after having answered their end decayed, waxed old and then vanished away. But I have chiefly to speak of grace and truth as it came by Jesus Chrift. And indeed it is only in reference to this that we can behold grace manifested under the old covenant, for we are not to imagine that any thing pertaining thereunto could take away fin; nor
yet that the privileges of the temporary covenant gave any right to that of the new and everlasting, The promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his feed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith: for if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void and the promise (that all nations of the earth should be blessed in Chrift) made of none effect.
God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his for. And indeed only the Son could make known the mystery which lay hid with God; for no man hath seen God at any time;-the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. It will not be amiss here, to take some notice of the perfon of the Son, by whom the eternal purpose is made inanifeft. He is frequently stiled the Son of man, which points out that he is properly a man; and when this title is given him in the new. teftament, it leads us to think of him as a creature naturally inferior to the angels; and not a creature existing before any other creatures were made, as some moft absurdly suppose, Heb ii, 14. Yet under this title we are not to suppose him begotten of man; otherwise he could not have been called that HOLY THING, Concerning this important matter, the word of God thus teaches, Fear not, Mary, for thou haft found favor with God.
And behold, thou Malt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a fon—and Mary said unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest fall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which jhall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. By the Holy Ghost coming upon the virgin, &c. our attention is led to what is written in the Psalms concerning him. A body haft thou prepared me. This body was fet apart for Jehovah in the highest degree ; so that God was manifested in the flesh: for though Jesus was made a little lower than the angels,
for the suffering of death ; yet he has a name above every name, at the mention of which all the angels of God worship him. The prophet foretold, that he who should make his appearance upon the earth, in the fulness of time, was in fact no less a person than The mighty God! the everlasting Father !--the Lord God !--the God of the whole earth, &c!-Ifa. ix, 6, chap. xl, 10, chap. liv. 5. John also tells us, that the word that was in the beginning with God-was God; so that when Immanuel made his appearance, he scrupled not to say, I am the Son of God; by which he meant the same as when he said I and niy father are one. The father is in me and I in him. In this sense the Jews understood him, and counted what he said blasphemy, for which they put him to death : and in the resurrection of Christ we see the father, who was appealed to on both sides, interposing and deciding the controversy; by which he cleared Jesus from the charge of blasphemy when he made himself God. Immanuel then is a true and perfect image of the invisible God, the brightness of the father's glory, and the express image of his person. As the Christ of God, it hath pleased the father that in him all fulness should dwell, and those who knew him in the days of his flesh, beheld him full of grace and truth, John i, 14. In agreement with this we are told, that the grace of God was upon him, and grace is poured into his lips. Moses speaking of him as the great prophet who should reveal the father's grace, says, bim fall ye hear; and that he was well qualified to open the grand mystery, will appear if we collect what has been already hinted of him. He is truly and properly man, and so can hold converse with us, without his terrors making us afraid. He is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from finners, and so a fit person for Jehovah to enter into covenant with, and communicate his mind unto. He is above all, God blessed for evermore, and so pofleffed of all the treasures of wisdom