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revelation of his future purposes which God made to Abraham. “ When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by Himself, saying, Surely, blessing, I will bless thee, and multiplying, I will multiply thee. And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater : and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath : that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us.” Heb. vi. 13-20.
God does nothing in vain : and therefore, though mutual stipulation between the Divine Persons could not be necessary to secure the fulfilment of purposes formed by infinite wisdom, almighty power, and inviolable truth ; yet they were necessary to the foundation to be laid for the faith of guilty trembling convicts, whose salvation depended on the fulfilment of those purposes. Those stipulations were particularly necessary to the establishment of the awakened mind in the indulgence of hope and the enjoyment of
grace began to be fulfilled, i. e. before the incarnation of the promised Saviour ; and this accounts
clearly for the standing memorial of the covenant of redemption in “ the CHERUBIM of glory” from the time of the fall to the advent of Christ. But even now, it is not annecessary to have recourse to the record and its hieroglyphic, with a view to personal comfort, and to the ulterior objects of the Divine purpose not yet accomplished. The unbelief of our own hearts will fully justify the manner in which it has pleased God, in the riches of his grace and the plenitude of his wisdom, to confirm the designs of his mercy.
Let me, also, request my friend to remark how the blessings of the covenant are spoken of in Scripture, with respect to the manner of their conveyance to their favoured objects. They are spoken of under the notion of “a promise,” a free unfettered grant.
See Gal. iii. 17, and Heb. vi. 13, &c. They are described as the sure mercies of David,"—the mercies of David, because they were to be vested in Him who is David's Son and Lord, as the trustee for his redeemed,—the sure mercies of David, because they are secured to “ all the seed” by virtue of the autemundane covenant, of which we have been speaking; a covenant made, not between God and man, or founded on conditions to be fulfilled by man, as a guilty helpless sinner, but between the Persons of Jehovah, one of whom as man, and in the nature of man, was to fulfil the conditions required. “ It (the penalty of sin)
was exacted ; and He (the surety) was made answerable.” (Isai. liii. 7, Lowth's Translation.) The promises by which the blessings of redemption are conveyed, are said to be “all Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus.” He is the surety of the “ better covenant,” viz. than that revealed at Sinai; which better covenant is that of unmixed grace
revealed to Adam, renewed to Abraham, and perfected in Christ. Nay, Christ himself is called the “ covenant of the people,” meaning, perhaps, the sacrifice by which the covenant was sanctioned. (Comp. Gen. xv. 17, &c.)
If, my friend, we feel what all believers have felt, the baneful influence of unbelief in our own souls, we shall understand the reasons of the Divine conduct in all the various methods by which the provisions of grace have been published and confirmed. We shall not ask where was the necessity for all the ceremonial apparatus of the law, for all the diversified figures of the prophetic writings, or for the multiplied modes in which the great transaction is described in the New Testament Scriptures. We shall gladly make use of every aid afforded us for strengthening our faith and confirming our hope.
From the whole view which we have taken of redemption one comfortable inference is perfectly clear, viz. that its blessings flow freely to the lost children of men. “ We are justified freely” by the grace
of the ALEIM “ through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The meritorious conditions, on which the communication of those blessings was suspended, have been fulfilled by our Divine Alue: He bore the curse and obeyed the precept of the violated law. He is the trustee in whose hands the stupendous benefit is vested; so that “ eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Out of his fulness it is our privilege to receive grace corresponding with the grace that is vested in Him. We ask not,
May we make use of the material light which the sun sheds around us for the benefit of all ?” It would be the essence of folly to shut our eyes and refuse ourselves the use of it. We ask not, “ May we inspire the air into our lungs, which is necessary to the existence and continuance of animal life:" We cannot entertain a doubt whether it was intended for the purpose or not. Now that “ Light of life,” and that sanctifying Spirit, of whom the material light and spirit are Scriptural emblems, are benefits equally gratuitous. No question need be made whether we may believe in Christ to the salvation of our souls, or whether we may ask with confidence for Divine influence to enable us so to believe. hesitation, contemplate all that the covenant of the Aleim has provided, all that the blood of the Alue has purchased, all that we are capable of enjoying here or hereafter, as made over to us
in and with our atoning surety: we may open our hearts and inspire freely and largely that blessed influence, on which spiritual life, motion, and capacity of enjoyment, depend. In thus believing the “ testimony that God hath given of his Son," we concur in the eternal
of Jehovah ALEIM, who has declared that he willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn and live.
I am, my dear friend,