صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

of the second covenant in his preface, concerning caring for the foul, fays he, "This fecond covenant was made with “Adam, and us in him, presently after the fall, and is briefly "contained in these words, Gen. iii. 15. where GOD declares, "The feed of the woman fhall break the ferpent's head;' "and this was made up, as the firft was, of fome mercies to "be afforded by GoD, and fome duties to be performed by "us." This is exceeding falle divinity: for these words are not spoken to Adam; they are directed only to the ferpent. Adam and Eve ftood by as criminals, and GOD could not treat with them, because they had broken his covenant. And it is fo far from being a covenant wherein "fome mercies are to "be afforded by GoD, and fome 'duties to be performed by us," that here is not a word looking that way; it is only a declaration of a free gift of falvation through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. GOD the Father and GOD the Son had entered into a covenant concerning the falvation of the elect from all eternity, wherein GOD the Father promised, That, if the Son would offer his foul a facrifice for fin, he should fee his feed. Now this is an open revelation of this fecret covenant, and therefore God fpeaks in the moft pofitive terms, "It fhall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruife his heel." The firft Adam, GOD had treated with before; he proved falfe: GoD therefore, to fecure the fecond covenant from being broken, puts it into the hands of the fecond Adam, the LORD from heaven. Adam, after the fall, stood no longer as our reprefentative; he and Eve were only private perfons, as we are, and were only to lay hold on the declaration of mercy contained in this promife by faith, (as they really did) and by that they were faved. I do not fay but we are to believe and obey, if we are everlastingly faved. Faith and obedience are conditions, if we only mean that they in order go before our falvation; but I deny that these are proposed by God to Adam, or that GOD treats with him in this promife, as he did before the fall under the covenant of works. For how could that be, when Adam and Eve were now prifoners at the bar, without ftrength to perform any conditions at all? The truth is this: GOD, as a reward of CHRIST's fufferings, promised to give the elect faith and repentance, in order to bring them to eternal life; and both the, and every thing elfe neceffary for

[ocr errors]

their everlasting happiness, are infallibly fecured to them in this promife; as Mr. Boston, an excellent Scots divine, clearly fhews, in a book entitled, "A view of the covenant of "grace."

This is by no means an unnecessary diftinction; it is a matter of great importance: for want of knowing this, people have been fo long mifled. They have been taught that they must do so and so, as though they were under a covenant of works, and then for DOING this, they should be faved. Whereas, on the contrary, people should be taught, That the LORD JESUS was the fecond Adam, with whom the Father entered into covenant for fallen man; That they can now do nothing of or for themfelves, and should therefore come to GOD, befeeching him to give them faith, by which they shall be enabled to lay hold on the righteoufnefs of CHRIST; and that faith they will then fhew forth by their works, out of love and gratitude to the ever-bleffed JESUS, their most glorious Redeemer, for what he has done for their fouls. This is a confiftent fcriptural scheme: without holding this, we must run into one of those two bad extremes; I mean, Antinomianifm on the one hand, or Arminianifm on the other: from both which may the good LORD deliver us!

But to proceed: By the feed of the woman, we are here to understand the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who, though very GOD of very GOD, was, for us men and our falvation, to have a a body prepared for him by the Holy Ghost, and to be born of a woman who never knew man, and by his obedience and death make an atonement for man's tranfgreffion, and bring in an everlafting righteoufnefs, work in them a new nature, and thereby bruife the ferpent's head, i. e. deftroy his power and dominion over them. By the ferpent's feed, we are to underftand the devil and all his children, who are permitted by GOD to tempt and fift his children. But, bleffed be GOD, he can reach no further than our heel.

It is not to be doubted but Adam and Eve understood this promile in this fenfe; for it is plain, in the latter part of the chapter, facrifices were inftituted. From whence fhould thofe fkins come, but from beafs flain for facrifice, of which GOD made them coats? We find Abel, as well as Cain, offering facrifice in the next chapter: and the Apoftle tells us, he did

it by faith, no doubt in this promife. And Eve, when Cain was born, said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD;" or, (as Mr. Henry obferves, it may be rendered) "I have gotten a man, the Lord, the promifed Meffiah." Some further fuppofe, that Eve was the first believer; and therefore they tranflate it thus, The feed, (not of the, but) of this woman :" which magnifies the grace of GoD fo much the more, that fhe, who was firft in the tranfgreffion, fhould be the first partaker of redemption. Adam believed alfo, and was faved: for unto Adam and his wife did the LORD GOD make coats of skins, and cloathed them which was a remarkable type of their being clothed with the righteoufnefs of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

This promife was literally fulfilled in the perfon of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Satan bruifed his heel, when he tempted him for forty days together in the wildernefs: he bruised his heel, when he raised up ftrong perfecution against him during the time of his public miniftry : he in an efpecial manner bruifed his heel, when our LORD complained, that his foul was exceeding forrowful, even unto death, and he sweat great drops of blood falling upon the ground, in the garden! He bruifed his heel, when he put it into the heart of Judas to betray him and he bruised him yet most of all, when his emiffaries nailed him to an accurfed tree, and our LORD cried out, "My GOD, my GoD, why haft thou forfaken me?" Yet, in all this, the bleffed JESUS, the feed of the woman, bruifed Satan's accurfed head: for, in that he was tempted, he was able to fuccour those that are tempted. By his stripes we are healed. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. By dying, he deftroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. He thereby fpoiled principalities and powers, and made a fhew of them openly, triumphing over them upon


the cross.

This promife has been fulfilled in the elect of God, confidered collectively, as well before, as fince the coming of our LORD in the fleth for they may be called, the feed of the woman. Marvel not, that all who will live godly in CHRIST JESUS, muft fuffer perfecution. In this promife, there is an eternal enmity put between the feed of the woman, and the feed of the ferpent; fo that thofe that are born after the flesh, cannot but perfecute thofe that are born after the fpirit. This VOL. V. B


[ocr errors]

enmity fhewed itfelf, foon after this promife was revealed, in Cain's bruifing the heel of Abel: it continued in the church through all ages before CHRIST came in the flesh, as the history of the Bible, and the xith chapter of the Hebrews, plainly fhew. It raged exceedingly after our LORD's afcenfion; witness the Acts of the Apoftles, and the Hiftory of the Primitive Chriftians.. It now rages, and will continue to rage and fhew itself, in a greater or lefs degree, to the end of time. But let not this difmay us; for in all this, the feed of the woman is more than conqueror, and bruifes the ferpent's head. Thus the Ifraelites, the more they were oppreffed, the more they increased. Thus it was with the Apoftles; thus it was with their immediate followers. So that Tertullian compares the church in his time to a mowed field; the more frequently it is cut, the more it grows. The blood of the martyrs was always the feed of the church. And I have often fat down with wonder and delight, and admired how God has made the very schemes which his enemies contrived, in order to hinder, become the moft effectual means to propagate his gofpel. The devil has had fo little fuccefs in perfecution, that if I did not know that he and his children, according to this verse, could not but perfecute, I fhould think he would count it his ftrength to fit ftill. What did he get by perfecuting the martyrs in Queen Mary's time? Was not the grace of GoD exceedingly glorified in their fupport? What did he get by perfecuting the good old Puritans? Did it not prove the peopling of New-England? Or, to come nearer our own times, what has he got by putting us out of the fynagogues? Hath not the word of God, fince that, mightily prevailed? My dear hearers, you must excufe me for enlarging on this head; GoD fills my foul generally, when I come to this topic. I can fay with Luther, "If it were not for per"fecution, I fhould not understand the fcripture." If Satan fhould be yet fuffered to bruife my heel further, and his fervants fhould thruft me into prifon, I doubt not, but even that would only tend to the more effectual bruifing of his head. I remember a faying of the then Lord Chancellor to the pious Bradford: "Thou hast done more hurt, faid he, by thy ex

hortations in private in prifon, than thou didft in preaching "before thou waft put in," or words to this effect. The promife of the text is my daily fupport; "I will put enmity be



tween thy feed and her feed; it fhall bruife thy head, and thou fhalt bruife his heel."

[ocr errors]


Further this promife is alfo fulfilled, not only in the church in general, but in every individual believer in 'particular. In every believer there are two feeds, the feed of the woman, and the feed of the ferpent; the flesh lufting against the fpirit, and the fpirit against the flesh. It is with the believer, when quickened with grace in his heart, as it was with Rebekah, when she had conceived Efau and Jacob in her womb; fhe felt a ftruggling, and began to be uneafy;" If it be fo, fays fhe, why am I thus?" Thus grace and nature struggle (if I may fo fpeak) in the womb of a believer's heart: but, as it was there faid, "The elder fhall ferve the younger;" so it is here,-grace in the end fhall get the better of nature; the feed of the woman fhall bruise the ferpent's head. Many of you that have believed in CHRIST, perhaps may find some particular corruption yet ftrong, fo ftrong, that you are sometimes ready to cry out with David, "I fhall fall one day by the hand of Saul." But, fear not, the promise in the text insures the perfeverance and victory of believers over fin, Satan, death, and hell. What if indwelling corruption does yet remain, and the feed of the ferpent bruife your heel, in vexing and difturbing your righteous fouls? Fear not, though faint, yet purfue you fhall yet bruife the ferpent's head. CHRIST hath died for you; and yet a little while, and he will fend death to deftroy the very being of fin in you. Which brings me

To fhew the moft extenfive manner in which the promise of the text shall be fulfilled, viz. at the final judgment, when the LORD JESUS fhall present the elect to his Father, without spot or wrinkle, or any fuch thing, glorified both in body and foul.

Then fhall the feed of the woman give the laft and fatal blow, in bruifing the ferpent's head. Satan, the accufer of the brethren, and all his accurfed feed, fhall then be cast out, and never suffered to difturb the feed of the woman any more. Then shall the righteous fhine as the fun in the kingdom of their Father, and fit with CHRIST on thrones in majefty on high.

Let us, therefore, not be weary of well-doing; for we shall reap an eternal harveft of comfort, if we faint not. Dare, dare, my dear brethren in CHRIST, to follow the Captain of your falyation; who was made perfect through fufferings. The

B 2


« السابقةمتابعة »