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Containing several deductions, and addresses.
THE preceding illustrations suggest several conclusions, which will here be noticed.
I. There is undeniable evidence in what has been exhibited, that the Old Testament is equally important with the New: and that concurrently, not separately, they constitute a revelation of the divine will to mankind.
The scripture, comprising both Testaments, is to be viewed, as a dispensation of God's one, eternal coven nant, instituted for the redemption of sinners. In this} light it lays before us one entire, harmonious scheme, which originates in the purpose of God, embraces the; salvation of the whole church, progresses through ages, extends into eternity, and results in a good,worthy of unlimited benevolence. This scheme is superadded to the instructions of natural reason. It is utterly beyond the contrivance of human ingenuity.—*-The execution of it is altogether above human capacity. It has a character altogether the reverse of human attachments and pursuits. It is not calculated to subserve one purpose of selfishness, eithera)ersonal or political. It is holy in its doctrines, its institutions, its means, and its effects. All its parts are in perfect agreement with each other. Though dispensed gradually, and by a considerable number of persons, from Adam to the time when inspiration ceased, and in divers manners, by types, symbols, and characters, it is throughout,connected and harmonious. The Old Testament and the New, exhibit this one scheme. They perfectly coincide with, and support each other. They not only coincide with each other, but with the whole
series of facts. The world is precisely in that moral state of apostacy and depravity, which this schtme supposes and expressly leaches. '1 he church in fact rises, is perpetuated in- that line, and by those means, and as a subject of those spiritual blessings, which the covenant holds out to view. It is distinguished from, the world, is engaged in an unceasing warfare with it, is enlarged, caused to triumph, and proceeds on to its destined perfection, exactly as the scripture describes. The promise agrees with the purpose revealed, and is unfailingly executed. Jews and Gentiles are precisely in the situation which the scripture predicts. The blessing is extending farther and farther among the nations of the earth; and things are evidently in train," for the introduction of that splendid era, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established above the tops of the mountains, and exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. 'It would therefore seem, that he who has just apprehensions of the scheme presented in the scripture* as one and entire; and is attentive to facts, as coincident with it, "can no more question whether it be a revelation frorri 6od, than he can doubt whether the material 'world be the product of his power.
2. It is a conclusion in which the preceding illustrations result, that the faith of all the primitive saints under the Old Testament dispensation, through every period till Christ came, terminated upon the same thing,that the faith of christian believers terminates upon. THfc Savior had hot indeed appeared. His personal glory, offices, and work, were indistinctly apprehended. The nature of his salvation was less clearly understood. The eternal joys of heaven, and the insupportable miseries of hell, were not impressively described. Still the promise of an eternal inheritance, which is the essence of God's new, arid everlasting covenant, is the thing on which faith has ever relied. This promise is unalterable. It is the same to one, that it is to another. It is Of the same gracious Character. It secures the same spiritual and intermihable blessings. It secures the same obedience in every one who is a subject of it, and is a fruit of the same sanctifying agency of the Holy Spirit. The primitive saints looked forward to him who is eminently the seed, as to come. Saints in the Gospel day look back to him, as having come.
It is the opinion of .some, that life and immortality are so brought to light by the Gospel, and that the Gospel is so confined to that dispensation which followed Christ's appearing in the flesh, that ete; nal retributions were scarcely in the view of those eminent worthies who preceded Christ. An eminent writer has published four . elaborate volumes, in defence of Christianity, the scheme of which is built upon the principle, that a future and eternal existence is not a doctrine of the Old Testament. But if the covenant is one, and everlasting; if the promises of it have one uniform meaning; if they respect the same good, in kind, in degree, and in duration, as has been largely proved; then the faith of good men had precisely the same object under the former, that it has under the latter dispensation.
3. From the theory of the covenant which has been pre-» sented, we are naturally led to consider the church as wholly aneffectof divine contrivance, andof divine power. God is exclusively the builder of it. The covenant upon which it is founded was settled in eternity. The terms, the means, the subjects, and issue, were unalterably fixed by him. No one assisted him originally by counsel; nor does any one cooperate with him in aid to the execution of his design. In effectuating this darling object he is alone. The world lieth in wickedness, and are opposed to the salvation proffered.— "When Jesus comes to execute the promises of the covenant he comes to those who are lost. When he receives gifts for men, he receives them for the'rebel, lious. Those who are saved are made subjects of a special, irresistible influence,which enlightens, renews, and sanctifies them ; which keeps them from the evil that is in the world, causes them to triumph over all op position, and finally brings them to the consummation of their desires, in the sinless and perfect enjoyment of God. The same efficient grace is extended to all the members of the one body. Hence God says of Israel, Isaiah xliii. 1. "But now thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel. Fear not, for 1 have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine." And at the 7th verse. "Every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my' glory; I have formed him, yea I have made him." Hence also the same new song of thanksgiving is sung by the whole heavenly family. Revelation v. 9. "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God, kings, and priests, and we shall reign upon the earth."
4. We have liberty to conclude from the view which Tias been taken of the one gracious covenant of God, in regard to the source and extent of it, its promises, their nature, and objects, that there'is no reason to question the perpetuity of ihe church, and her final complete triumph over all opposition. The new covenant has emanated from goodness which is undiminishable. Its promises are absolute. The means are fixed. Almighty power is in operation to give them an unfrustrable effect. To strengthen our confidence, God has condescended to swear by himself, to record his oath, and to attach to it a perpetual seal. Experience for thousands of years, and in a multitude of facts, has given its unequivocal testimony to the truth, and "faithfulness of him who hath promised. Constant, and seemingly irresistible opposition, from hell and from earth, has been at work, to dam up the current of overflowing grace. Ingenuity has heen busy to disprove the reasonableness of the faith of God's elect. The bush has been in a flame, but not consumed. Zion still lives and prospers. She gods on from conquering to conquer. Her enemies are all of them fourid'liars.
Her God is in the midst of her; how can she bfi moved? His veracity is pledged, and it will bd glorified. The latter end will no doubt be altogether better than the beginning. The christian asks fot nothing but the promise of God. This we have. Let us then say with the Prophet. We have strong a city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Let us dismiss our distrust. Surely virtue will triumph. The church will stand forever ; and Jesus, her* Redeemer, will be endlessly exalted.
5. The preceding view of the plan of the covenant, and of the church, as rising upon it, as its basis, suggests the greatest possible encouragement to prayer, to personal sacrifices, and labors, to missionary establishments and efforts, and to pastoral zeal, in behalf of the interests of pure and undefiled religion. It is as far as possible from being a vain thing to pray to God, with humble and believing prayer. Prayer coincides with the nature of God's covenant. It results from feelings like his own. It is an espousal of his cause. It is required by him, as preparatory to the fulfilment of several at least,of his premises respecting the churchy Ezekiel xxxvi. 37. "Thus saith the Lord God, I will for this be enquired of by the house of Israel,- to do it for them." Isaiah lxii. 6. "Ye that make men-.' tion of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." Prayer is a covenant mean, connected, by a gracious constitution, with the end. The promises of the covenant, which are all yea and amen irt Christ, secure its efficacy. It is the inviting language^ of God to his church, "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it. He who asketh, receiveth, he who seeketh findeth, and to him who knocketh, it shall be opened." Personal sacrifices, and labors, for religion's sake, are never lost. They belong to the system of means, to which the absolute promise of God has secured a certain and most glorious effect. He who takes patiently the spoiling of his goods for Christ's sake, exchanges a portion of very inconsiderable value, for the'