« السابقةمتابعة »
with his most valuable packs of goods, and he has reparation from the community. O firs! fin has made a breach for the inundation of God's wrath to break in upon the whole race of Adam, and the breach was so wide, and the current of wrath fo rapid and strong, that it would have swallowed up and swept away the whole creation of angels and men, if they had been cast in to stop it. The glorious Son of God, perceiving that nothing else would do it, cast his own body into the breach; be redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Let us remember this when we remember the bow about the throne.
3. The bow of the covenant as it is set up in the heavens of the visible church, is a sign that the deluge of God's wrath is recalled, and that God is a God of peace towards sinners, through the attoning blood of the Lamb. Sirs, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, the waters of the deluge of God's wrath are so far abated and fallen, that the olive-branch is brought forth to your view by God's ministers. We preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things to you; we tell you in the name of God that he is so well pleased with the ranfom that he has found, that he declares fury is not in bim; that tho' he was angry, his anger is now turned away; and if you will not believe his word, take his oath for it, in which he has pledged his very life, Ezek. xxxiii. 11. As I live, says the Lord, I bave no pleasure in the death of the Wicked, but rather that be turn from his evil ways, and live.
4. The rainbow in the clouds is a sign of God's faithful promise, that no man shall be ruined by an universal deluge. Indeed, if a man will stand
within the fea-mark till the waters of the sea overflow him, there is no help for that; God's faithfulness in his covenant with Noab stands firm, tho the man perilh : so here the rainbow about the throne of grace, is a sign of God's faithfulness in a word of promise, that no man shall perish who will take the advantage of the dry land that stands before him in the gospel. Indeed, if a man will by unbelief, stand still within the sea-mark of God's wrath till he perish, there is no help for that; but the faithfulness of God, in the covenant of grace ftands firm, and shall not be made of none effect, through his folly : But I say, whosoever believeth or taketh hold of the faithfulness of God, pledged in his covenant, shall not perish, but have everlasting life; the deluge of wrath shall never touch him. Thus much for the first thing, namely, What this rainbow about the throne, in colour like an emerald, is a sign of?
The second thing was to enquire, What it is to improve this rainbow of the covenant? I answer, as it is well expressed in our Confession of Faith, chap. xiv. fect. 2. at the close, “ It is to believe “ in Christ, or to accept, receive, and rest upon “ him alone for justification, sanctification, and “ eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.” This is a very material expression, and I fear little obferved by the generality of people ; a reiting upon Christ by virtue of the covenant of grace. As we reft upon a man by virtue of his word or promise, so we rest upon Christ by virtue of the covenant and the promises thereof. It is observable here in the text, that the rainbow is round about the throne, and him that fits on it; so that there could be no coming to the throne, or Christ fitting on it, without coming within the rainbow; fo there is no coming to Christ, no true believing in him, but by virtue of his word of grace, and promise in a covenant of grace. And this is one main difference between true faving faith, and the prefumptuous faith of hypocrites. Hypocrites by a presumptuous faith, will indeed lay hold on Christ and salvarion ; but in the mean time, they do not receive Christ and his benefits as they lie within the rainbow, they do not receive and improve him by virtue of the covenant of grace. The covenant of grace, or the pomise of God in Christ is his teftament-bood or disposition, wherein he assigns and makes over himself, his righteousness, his spirit, his fulness, and all the blessings of his purchase : Now true faith receives and refts upon Christ by virtue of this covenant of grace. I defy you either to fasten your faith or trust upon God or man, without a word of promise to ground your faith upon. If I Tould bid you trust or believe your neighbour, or any substantial man for a sum of money that you stand in need of, you would ask me, why, what ground have I to trust him? Has he promised to give it, or lend it to me? If he has not promised to do it, there is no ground of trust; and you would think that I were but mocking you, when I bid you trust him for it, unless he had paft his word.
So here, when we bid you believe in Chrift, receive | him, or reft upon him for salvation, your eye must immediately be turned to the word of grace, or promise, and his faithfulness engaged in it: for it is by virtue of that, that we receive him, or improve and apply him to our own souls : Hence believing in Christ' is expressed by a taking hold of Christ's covenant, Ifa. Ivi. 4. Which expression plainly im
plies a fastening on the veracity or faithfulness of God pledged in the covenant. And how far the faithfulness of God is engaged in the covenant of grace, shewed in the doctrinal part of this discourse. He has subscribed it as a party, he has sealed it with his oath, and the blood of his Son; he has attested it in the capacity of a witness, he has consented to the registration, yea, has actually registred his bond, that we might * bave the more speedy diligence upon it at a throne of grace. Now, I say, faith is a taking hold of God's faithfulness thus pledged in the covenant, it is a resting upon his veracity, it is a trusting to him, that he will be as good as his word, because it is impossible for him to lie ; it is a setting to the seal that he is true, and a saying with David, God hath Spoken in his holiness, I will rejoice. O firs! faith in Christ by virtue of his word of grace and promise, is one of the plainest and clearest things in the world, if the devil and an unbelieving jealous heart, working together, did not darken and obscure the account we have of it in the word. What is plainer than to trust the word of an honest man, or to rest on him by virtue of his word? So here believing is a resting on Christ, or a trusting in him by virtue of his covenant, or word of grace: But the legal proud heart of man has such a strong bent after salvation, by doing or working for life, that nothing else than the mighty power of God can bring the finner to quit and renounce all his works and righteousness as filthy rags, and to take salvation and eternal life by trusting or believing the bare word of a promising God in Christ. But I shall not enlarge further upon this at present. The third thing proposed was to enquire what are there blessings or privileges which lie within the circuit of this rainbow of the covenant, and of which the soul comes to be poffefsed either in part or in whole, that moment that it takes hold of the covenant. The very naming of these blessings may serve as so many motives or arguments, to persuade you to take hold of the covenant, to come to a throne of grace by virtue of the rainbow that surrounds it. And here a field of matter presents itself to view, so large and copious, that 'tis impossible for the heart of man to conceive it, far less can the tongue of man tell it or express it in words, for all the blessings of heaven and eternity lie within the wide circuit of this rainbow of the covenant, which sursounds God's throne of grace. All grace whatsoever lay originally in the heart of God; but, as it lies there, it is inacceslible by finners, for who bath known the mind of the Lord? Well, because that grace that is in God's heart, is inaccessible by us, therefore he brings it yet nearer to us, by taking a piece of our nature, uniting it to the person of his eternal Son, and calls it Chrift, Meffiab, Immanuel, God-man, or God with us : And makes all the fulness of the Godhead, all the grace that is in his heart to dwell there, that fo we might not be afraid to come to one in our own nature for grace and mercy to help us. But that our faith might yet have a greater advantage, he does not rest there : But he brings all the grace that is in Christ into a promise or a covenant of grace, pledges his faithfulness in the strongest way imaginable, in the promise or covenant, that so unbelief might have nothing to object. Unbelief might be ready to say, It is true there is enough of grace in Christ, but alas he is in heaven, and he has carried all his grace to heaven with . :,' nin
are . This a law term used in Scotland.