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dom to guide, everlasting counsel to direct, everlasting strength to secure, and everlasting faithfulness to make good all its promises. Every attribute stands engaged in its establishment; and it is the consolation of the true believer in Christ, that all the perfections of Jehovah are pledged for the accomplishment of that purpose, 'which was purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began.' The 'sure mercies of David,' imply as much to make them sure. Nothing new to God can ever arise to counteract the divine purposes concerning them. . Neither can any one circumstance occur, for which provision is not already made. In the everlasting covenant, God himself is the only contracting party. Jehovah answers both for himself, and for his people. 'I will: and they shall.' Such is the language of it.
Tell me once more, my brother, doth not this consideration also very highly gratify you? You see, that as nothing of merit on your part could have given birth to a covenant which is from everlasting to everlasting: so nothing now of demerit shall arise to defeat its operation, which can owe nothing to you. The subject opened to our meditation in these words of the Prophet, leads to the most delightfill view, with which the human mind is capable of being exercised, in the present unripe state of our faculties. The text indeed contains bvttjive words, but it would furnish a sufficient subject for as many volumes. It is a text in which, as we say, every word tells. I consider it a perfectly unnecessary service, to lose time by way of pointing to His person, who is here called David. No one for a moment can imagine, that it means David the son of Jesse. For, as an apostle hath observed, this David, 'after he had served his generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was gathered to his fathers, and saw corruption.' But he of whom the prophet speaks in the text, who is David's Lord, 'saw no corruption;' but when God the Father raised him from the dead, (as if in conformation of this very subject, and to show its personal application to him,) he expressed himself in these very words, 'I will give you the sure mercies of David*.'
In the further prosecution of this subject the arrangement I propose shall be as follows: My text, in allusion to this everlasting covenant, calls it the 'sure mercies of David.' I shall first, therefore, follow up this idea, in showing, that the redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, is a system of grace and mercy from the beginning to end. I shall then, secondly, go on to prove that these mercies are 'the sure mercies of David being founded on that everlasting covenant by which' grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.' May God the Holy Ghost, who first commissioned the prophet to proclaim, now enable the preacher to explain those mercies of David; that' our Gospel may come not in word only, but in power, and in much assurance of faith!
Acts xiii. 33, 34.
My first intention is to show, that the redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ is a system of grace and mercy from beginning to end-. And nothing can more decidedly manifest the truth of the observation, than the character in which the Prophet was commissioned to promulgate it. For when it is distinguished by the property of an everlasting covenant, the very term carries with it most positive testimony, that it must be all founded in grace, unconnected with any human power, not depending upon any human merit. For what first originated in the free and unmerited mercy of God, confirmed as it was by covenant engagements between the Father and the Son before man tvas created; and is promised to be carried on in all its purposes and effects, by the same divine power, independently of man's agency after his being brought into being; can come under no other description surely than that of grace. Whatever God hath done, or is doing, in the accomplishment of his designs concerning it, must all be referredback into the eternal counsel of his own mind, by virtue of its everlasting nature. To this most evidently it is, that believers owe their being chosen, called, and regenerated. And their establishment in grace, their dependence upon the promises, and their hopes of eternal glory; all are founded on that everlasting love, wherewith God hath loved his people before the foundations of the world were laid. 'I have said, (is the language of God,) mercy shall be set up for ever.' And the reason follows: 'I have made a covenant with my chosen.'
Look, my brother, into yourself, and into your own experience, for a confirmation of this doctrine. A covenant founded in grace, can derive no aid from works. You can have nothing to give but what you have first received. And what you have first received is not in fact your's, but the great Giver's. And what He hath given may, without any impeachment of his justice, be again recalled. Neither can you have any thing to offer, but what God hath a right, as his own, to demand. Even all those sweet effusions of the soul, which appear in the worship of the faithful, when drawing near the mercy seat; as these are wholly the result of the Blessed Spirit's work, who brings them forth into exercise, as the sun by his warm beams draws forth a fragrant smell from the flower, and have their origin in God's grace, and not in man's merit; so there can be nothing of claim in them before God. The language of such a creature as man, even in his highest attainment, and among the first order of the glorified spirits of ' just men made perfect,' must still be the same: 'by the grace of God, I am what I am.' Every thing that has a reference to salvation, centers in Christ Jesus; and may be clearly traced up to its origin in that everlasting covenant, which God made with Him before this world had being.
Nay, I will advance yet one step further in the argument; and, in ascribing the 'sure mercies of David' wholly to grace, observe that it was most unmerited grace which admitted the Lord Jesus to be man's surety and sponsor, to fulfil in our stead the law which he had broken, and in his sacred person to endure the penalty