« ZurückWeiter »
will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." These promises are repeated with some little alterations by the same prophet, chap. 36: 25–28; and 37: 11-14, 21–28. But I will not conceal from you, my dear Benjamin, that whilst I believe the spirit and essence of these promises belong to every elect sinner, yet I am confident that in the literal, primary and fullest sense, they belong to both the houses of Judah and Israel, and will be faithfully accomplished in a future day, as I shall show, God willing, hereafter.
§ 11. Justification is another promised blessing. This is a precious blessing to the guilty sinner, and much spoken of by the prophets. Daniel speaks of the everlasting righteousness to be brought in by the Messiah, chap. 9: 25. Isaiah tells us that Jehovah has accepted it; and that, on account thereof, many shall be justified; chap. 42: 21, " The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake.” Again, chap. 45 : 24, 25, “Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength."-" In the Lord shall all the children of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” And chap. 53: 11, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." Hence the Messiah is emphatically called " Jehovah our Righteousness," Jer. 23: 6; 33: 16.
12. The perseverance of the elect is another precious promise in this covenant. Those that are once brought into a state of grace, shall never fall away from it totally and finally. For thus saith Jehovah: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jer. 32: 40. Here they are secured on both sides ; God will never cast them off, and they shall never desert him. Ilence Job declared that the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.” Job, 17: 9. It is true, the best of God's children, whilst in this world, are liable to be overtaken by sin, and for it they will meet with fatherly correction; yet they shall not be cast off: For thus it is written: “ If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” Ps, 89 : 30–33.
ġ 13. Another precious part of the promises of this cove nant belongs to the hour of death. At this most solemn period, when the king of terror presents his commission, when the dark grave opens her mouth; when all the channels of worldly comforts are dried up, and our nearest friends groan, and sigh, and weep, the believer says, “ Weep not for me; for though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Jehovah my Shepherd is with me, his rod and his staffthey comfort me." Ps. 23. With a smiling countenance, and eyes fixed on heaven, he exclaims, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Ps. 73: 25, 26. Having often meditated on the promise, “ He shall swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces," Isaiah, 25 : 8; he is now enabled, by faith, to exclaim triumphantly, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 15 : 55-57.
$ 14. We notice, further, that the promises of this covenant extend to the happiness, in a future world, to be enjoyed through the countless ages of eternity. Of this happiness we can indeed
but little, as it is written, eye hath not scèn, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Cor. 2.: 9. Thus much, however, we are taught to believe, that no sooner is the believing soul freed from its body, than it is immediately freed from sin and pollution, from pain and sorrow, and it is immediately taken up to heaven, to join with all the redeemed who are before the throne of God and the Lamb, saying: “ Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Hence the saints often groan, being burdened, de. sirous to depart and to be with their God and Savior, “in whose presence is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Ps. 16:11. But this part of heaven's felicity will be greatly increased, when their dead bodies shall be raised, and being changed like the glorious body of Jesus, shall be reunited with the soul, and thus be for ever with the Lord. Then shall they shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many unto righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever. This is the highest pinnacle of the saints' hopes, when in their whole man they shall enjoy the whole of eternal life in its perfection.
$ 15. In addition to the spiritual happiness of the present and future life, we might also notice the suitable temporal blessings promised in this covenant. "It is ordered in all things." When Adam, by the violation of the covenant of works, forfeited life, he, of course, forfeited the comforts of life. The sinner, therefore, before his conversion, is in a situation similar to a malefactor condemned to die. Though, during the delay of the execution of his sentence, he has a certain allowance of the necessaries of this life, he has no legal title either to life or to the enjoyments of it. So the sinner, before conversion, has neither a federal title to life, nor to any of its enjoyments; but as soon as he is interested
by faith, in this covenant, recovers what he forfeited by the violation of the covenant of works. He has many promises both of provision and protection. “He shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure. " Isa. 33:16. * The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Ps. 34: 10. " The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Ps. 84:11.
16. Thus, my dear Benjamin, I have endeavored to state, in a manner as brief as possible, the different parts of the covenant between the Father and the Son. It will, probably, strike your mind that I did not notice a penalty annexed to this covenant, as is the case with uther covenants. This was no omission. There was no penalty annexed to the condition, for there was no necessity of it. A penalty in a covenant supposes the possibility of failure, but, in this covenant, both the parties contracting were infallible, and therefore the supposition of a penalty in it must be preposterous and absurd.
$ 17. It is still more probable that you will ask, for whom did the Mediator enter into this covenant ? did he, like the first Adam, enter into covenant for all mankind, or only for a part? The answer in the Assembly's Catechism to the question, “ Did God leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery?" is as Scriptural as it is plain and decisive; the words are these : “God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer." Election bespeaks the choice and separation of a part from the whole. The Scriptures are numerous which prove a personal election, from eternity, to everlasting life. Let the following suffice : John, 6:37. 17:2, 24. Rom. 8: 29, 33. Eph. 1: 4, 5, 11. 2 Thess. 2:13. 2 Tim. 1:9. 1 Pet. 1:2. Rev. 13:8. It is the observation of an eminent divine, " As a wise master-builder makes a plan of his work before it is executed, so God formed a plan in his own mind. He had all possible worlds in view, and knew what would come to pass on every possible scheme. He saw what would take place if the world be formed as it now is. He saw what man would do, and what was fit for himself to do; to whom it would be proper
for him to give grace, and to whom to deny it. Viewing the whole, he pronounced his fiat, or complete plan, and said, thus let it be.” As it is an imperfection to act without a reason, we may be sure God had a reason why he should choose some and such of the human race, and leave others; and this reason must be consistent with his holiness, wisdom, righteousness, and goodness. It is equally certain that the reason or cause of election is not to be found in man. For what moral goodness could he foresee in fallen and corrupted man before his conversion ? Surely none; for what the apostle said of himself is true of all: “In me, i. in
my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." Nor can faith and holiness, after conversion, be the moving cause of his electing man to everlasting happiness; for their very faith and holiness are wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and are the effects and fruits of election rather than the cause. It becomes us, therefore, to adopt the language of our Savior, saying, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." Matt. 11 : 25, 26.
I will close this particular, and with it this letter, by observing, that as the apostle, in Rom. 5th, reasoned that all men have sinned in Adam, because we see that all men die; 80 I would reason on the present subject. We have seen, from the Scriptura statement in this letter, that the Father promised to his Son a seed, i. e. sinners, who shall be regenerated, adopted, justified, and finally and certainly saved; but