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And religion continued to flourish for some time after his death. Both his doctrine and example were succeeded with the divine blessing: And religion brought to as flourishing a condition as at any time before the ministry of the Baptist. There was not only much religion aniong those whom Moles trained up by his ministry, which continued all the days of Jolhua; but it also retained its vigour all the days of those Elders who were his cotemporaries r *' The people served the Lord all the days 6f Joshua, and all the days of the Elders that outlived Joshua."
4. As all divine service is founded on the nature of God; so a special consideration or his infinite perfections is greatly requisite unto the right performance of obedience. The holiness of God marks the nature of our service: The jealousy of God excludes every, the smallest, degree of hypocrisy from it: The rectoral justice of God sets his interest and that of his rivals at eternal odds; so that none may dream of uniting them with impunity. The mercy of God encourages the miserable to approach him j and the divine plan of atonement opens a door of access unto the guilty. On the other hand, a great part of the corruption which creeps into the worship of God originates in mistaken notions of divine perfections, or inattention unto them. Defection and apoflacy
usually begins in imagining God to be such a ( one as ourselves; then it is not difficult to imagine that he will approve of what we execute or devise. Persons giving scope to then- own inventions, in the worship of God, are usually mightily pleased with them; and they conclude, that God cannot be displeased with these things which are so pleasing to themselves. At any rate, if persons do not change the glory of the incorruptible God into their own likeness; it is necessary for them to hide various divine perfections from their view, if they continue in rebellion against him; such as his jealousy, his holiness, his faithfulness and truth, as well as his righteousness and justice. Nor are sinners more disposed, by nature, to trust his mercy, for their encouragement, than to contemplate his majesty for their awakening.
COVENANT BETWEEN GOD And ISRAEL,
BY THE MINISTRY OF DAVID.
I Chron. xxviii. 8. comp, with 2 Sam. vii. 11—22. and 1 Chron. xvii. 7—27.
A DILIGENT attendance unto the peculiar circumstances of the Jewish Church is greatly requisite unto the right understanding of this Transaction. I fliall,—I. Consider the glorious Party to whom they engaged.—II. Attend unto the Character of the Party engaging III. The Covenant between God and
David.—IV. The Connection between this Covenant and that Transaction.—V. David's Ministration in this Transaction.—VI. The Matter of this Covenant.—VII. The Occasions of it.—VIII. The Confirmations of it.—And then deduce a few Inferences from the whole.
FIRST, I shall consider the glorious Party unto whom the covenanters enjrap-ed hi this Transaction. He is denominated, "Our God," and " the Lord your God." When Israel covenanted with God, in the days of Moses, he is styled, "the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;" nor was that character forgotten on this occasion: Said David, "O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the toeart of this people, and prepare their heart unto thee *." This was an intimation, not obscure, that he was a God in covenant with them previous unto their personal engagements unto him: That he was still accomplishing his promise made unto these patriarchs; saying, " I will be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." It must be observed, however, that he stood in the relation of God Unto That Congregation, when they covenanted with him at this time. The covenant between God and Israel as a conoreejation, being later than that Ijetwecn him and the patriarchs. The Spirit of God directed David to take up with that character which belonged unto the latest transaction, to shew that the Church should take up with the latest state of that testimony which belongs unto her; and prosecute the ends of it in her covenantengagements.
* i Chroh. xxviii.'8. compared with chap. xxix. 18.
SECONDLY, The various classes of covenanters are enumerated in the beginning of the chapter*. The reason why the oilicers of slate are enumerated is, because they were assembled to settle the succession unto the throne and kingdom, as well as to renew their covenant with God: But it was under the express consideration of their being the Cong R EGation Of The Lord, that they covenanted at this time; they were the Congregation of the Lord, as*they enjoyed privileges peculiar to his people,—as they observed ordinances of his appointment, and were under solemn obligations to serve him all the days of their life.
THIRDLY, I shall attend unto the Cov ENant between God and David. There are many hints concerning it in various places of Scripture j". The greater part of the difficulties which attend it may be obviated by answering the following questions :—What Character did David sustain in this Transaction ?—■
* 1 Chron. xxviii. 1. See what we have said above, Difl'ert. VI. aud VII. as to these various orders of persons specified; but Moses seems to view them in their civil, and this historian in their military charaJier. See upon the whole, Low Man on the Civil Government of the Hebrews, chap. v.
■}• 2 Sam. vii. 4—29. 1 Chron. xvii. 5—27. Psal. lxxxix. &c. See, for an explication of these, Ball on the Covenant of Grace, chap. ix. Dr Owen on Heb. i. 5.
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