« AnteriorContinuar »
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 yours, but the Great Givers. 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 farther 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
z10n's PILGRIM. fulfil in our stead the law which we had broken, and in His sacred person to endure the penalty due to the breach of it. There could have been no impeachment of the Divine justice, if God had insisted on the sinner's suffering it himself.
The soul that sinneth it shall die. And was it not then an act of free spontaneous mercy and grace in our God, to admit the substitute ?
In speaking therefore of our subject in general terms, as applicable to the church of the Lord Jesus at large, it must be confessed that the everlasting covenant is very properly called the sure mercies of David. For it is nothing else but a system of grace and mercy from the beginning to end! And I am very confident, that every humble soul in particular, who is the happy subject of such bounty by a personal interest therein, will be ready to join issue with the Apostle, and say, But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He hath loved ME, even when I was dead in sins, hath quickened me together with Christ; for by grace am I saved.
And as the original cause in conversion sprung from grace, so the preserving and carrying on the great work in the soul since, is wholly owing to the same great principle. When you call to mind, my brother, the coldness and deadness of your best affections; your wanderings and backslidings from God; the many provocations and sins wherewith your life hath been marked; (Oh! to grace how great a debtor!) will you not, with the utmost
zion's PILGRIM. humility, exclaim with the Apostle, Unto Him who doeth exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us : unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end!.
But while it thus becomes delightful to the soul under Divine teachings, to be able to see that redemption's work from the beginning to end is wholly a system of grace; it becomes doubly sweet at the same time, to have a clear apprehension, that this grace worketh and reigneth through righteousness; that these mercies of David become sure mercies, being made so by virtue of that everlasting covenant of righteousness in Christ Jesus, by which God can be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus; and the sinner, though in himself nothing but sin and iniquity, can look up and plead the righteousness of Christ as the foundation of his acceptance before God; because, in that covenant, God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
This was the second point of doctrine I proposed to prove, and which I now proceed to illustrate and explain, under a few leading particulars.
The mercies of David become sure mercies. to the Lord's people, by virtue of that everlasting covenant which occupied the Divine counsel in the annals of eternity, before the creation of the world, in which there were
mutual promises made by the high contracting parties. Jesus on His part undertook to answer all the demands of His Father's righteous law, for the objects of His and His Father's eternal love; who, it was foreseen, would subject themselves to everlasting ruin by the breach of it. And God the Father promised on His part, to remit that punishment to the person of the sinner, by inflicting it on the person of the Lord Jesus, as the sinner's surety; and, then to intitle the sinner, by virtue of the Redeemer's righteousness, to everlasting life. These were the terms by which each party guaranteed to the other the sure fulfilment of the covenant. Jesus therefore was to assume at a certain period, called the fulness of time, our nature, and in that nature to repair God's broken law, and sustain the penalty due to the breach of it. Moved with unbounded love to our fallen race, all this the Lord Jesus actually performed, when leaving that glory which He had with the Father before all worlds, He came into this world, and accomplished all those great events, which we read of in the history of His life. And when, by doing and dying, He had wrought cut and brought in an everlasting righteousness, He returned to the bosom of the Father, to make efficient the whole process of His redemption, by sending, down His Holy Spirit, to apply His merits to His people's necessities; while He Himself is exercised in the high character of our Intercessor, to'plead the efficacy of His death, and
continually to appear in the presence of God för us. These are the great outlines of the everlasting covenant, as referring to the engagement of God the Son. And the promises on the part of God the Father were, that He would anoint Christ to the work, and accept of ; Him in lieu of the sinner. And that when the Redeemer had made His soul an offering for sin, He should see His seed, He should prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in His hand. My righteous Servant (said God) shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith Jehovah, My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, .shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, said Jehovah, from henceforth and for ever.- -Such therefore being the stipulated terms between the high contracting parties, and having been fulfilled on the part of the Lord Jesus; the mercies promised on the part of God become sure mercies to all the Lord's people. Grace reigneth through righteousness. And the positive assurance of pardon and salvation is brought home to the heart, by a conviction founded in the veracity of that God which cannot lie. .
Let any man then review the ground we have hastily trodden over, in quest of the testimonies with which these mercies of David, are made sure. Let him behold an everlasting co