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ftanding by to enforce the engagement, it is plain, that the transaction of covenanting and swearing would be without solemnity and without meaning. And if it be further objected, that it is given in the divine record, that God sware by himself, it may be answered, that by this, we are not to understand that he sware by his own person, but that the authority appealed to, was a party in the Godhead; and to was himself, for this is the evident truth; and the contrary would imply an absurdity.
But it is not proper to say, in every point of view, that there could be no failure in this case; for, on the part of Christ, the engagement was not merely personal, but as a furety for a fallible creature; and, on the part
of the father, that was engaged which, of all ! things, was the most improbable to take
place, viz. That death should yield life; and that a people, whose name was The Rebellious, should be willing; and the truth of this matter was proved in the fact; for a failure, did so take place that, by the party of the suretiship, the forfeiture was incurred, and the dreadful stroke was inflicted by the sword of the Lord, which was that power, or third party, appealed to in this most folemn contract.
Again, a question may arise respecting the Holy Ghost being considered as the great interest respected in this covenant, from the circumstance that the scriptures often allude to the church, or the redeemed people of Christ, as being the interest contemplated ia
this divine transaction? The answer to this question, is found in the consideration that the church is the vehicle or temple of the Hoby Ghost; and therefore is, properly and necessarily, considered in the same view ; hence this great interest of the glory of God is fo often exhibited in the name of The Bride, The Lamb's Mie;--and the Lord calls Ifrae! his Glory. And when we reflect, that the church, first, by the spirit of obedience; and fecondly, by the spirit of glory, shall be filled with all the fullness of God; completely filled both with the fpirit of the Father and of the Son, we perceive that this elect body cannot be separated from a view of this eter. nally desired interest; and that, as it respects the manifeftation, it will be in the church, that the Holy Ghost, which is the obje&t and end of ai!, will be fully embraced, both by the Father and the Son.
The interest in a, coveriant may, or may not, be a person ; but, in the case before us, it being of the nature Itated, as that of marrying and giving in marriage, in which the interest is the Bride, it is necesfary so to consider it. Also, in the view we have taken of covenant transactions, as in their nature requiring a 'third party as the witness and authority, the Holy Ghost must of necessity be considered a person ; and indeed, for the fame reason thai the first and second parties are called persons, the third party must be considered also as being a person; for, in this relation, all that is meant by the term, is one who is concerned, and is acting a part, im
mediately, in the matter of the divine will. In this view, therefore, of the divine principle, we have a striking illustration of the truth of a trinity in unity; as three persons acting together, are necessarily contemplated in this divine economy.
2. To this divine transaction, considered as the bellowment of a gift, we have already briefly alluded. It is proved, that this real fact existed in the eternal divine will, and that grace was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began; which grace was the eternal life. Here also we have the knowledge of three things, which exilled eternally and necessarily in the divine will, viz. a giver, a receiver, and the gift bestowed and received; and in the giver, we here contemplate the character or truth of the Father; and in the receiver, the truth of Christ; and in the eternal life given, that of the Holy Ghost.
This act of giving us eternal life, which, as has been shewn, consisted in giving a commandment, embracing the divine favour, constituted the glory of the Father. In this one act of his giving a precept and a promise, or a requirement and a reward, is comprised, as in its origin, every thing which is imported by his name God and the Father. All the honour, all the high distinction, all the infinite claims of this adorable character, arise from his being the proposer, the first mover and free disposer of the unspeakable gift.
Respecting a receiver, it is requisite to obferve, that a donation may be made, though the person or persons for whom it is designed be not present; yea, though such be not in existence. Many deeds of gift have been effectually made, when the persons to whom the property is given, have been far distant and wholly unknowing to the transaction; and many legacies have been bequeathed to unborn heirs ; but, in such cases, it is required by law, and in the nature of things it is necessary, that there be appointed a trustee, who should receive charge of the property, under suitable obligations and bonds, to deliver it over, in due time, to them for whom it was designed. Such a party existed in the eternal divine will; who, as the nature of the case required, received in our name the infinite bequest; and who was laid under, and freely took upon him, the highest and most folemn obligations to preserve jt; and, in the fulness of times, to bring for. ward the legatees, and put them into full possession of the inheritance of glory and eternal life.
It will be observed, that a trustee, in the matter of the divine will, viewed as the bestowment of a gift, is the same thing as a furety, when the subject is considered as being a covenant; and in this truth of our eternal life having been at first received by a trustee, may be seen the source of the eternal fonship. Here is the high origin of the name Chrift; and of all the offices and honours which he sustains as the Lord and head of the creation all the glories of his relation, both to the Father and to the church, arise from
his being engaged and intrusted with the keeping and immediate dispensing of the eternal life and glory of his church and people, according to the Father's good pleasure.
Though our Lord received this interest as a trustee, yet the nature of the thing is fuch, that it thus necessarily became his own, together with that whole blessed body of people, for whom it was designed ;-for the receiving of a commandment, implies the keeping of it; and also the receiving of a blessing, implies the enjoying of it ;-and the filial character being constituted by the parental commandment and blessing; —it is inanifest, that he who received it immediateJy from the Father, was thereby constituted the Son of God; as all they who receive it thro’ him, are thereby also constituted his children. The living only can know what life is: I live by the Father, says Christ; and he could say, by experience dcubtless, as all his people can declare the same truth-I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The blessed Jesus ever traced his own sonship, heirship, eternal life and glory, to the same fource with that of his people, viz. His Father's commandment, in keeping of which there is great reward. He never preached the vague doc. trine held forth by modern expounders and commentators, that his eternal life is to be antedated to the commandment of the Father, which constituted him our Lord and Redeemer.
Contemplating this truth, it may be readi. ly perceived that, on the one hand, by this