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people; but because the Lord loved you."Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."55 When Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch in Pisidia, the Jews spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. These apostles thereupon expressed their resolution to turn to the Gentiles. And their warrant they declare, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." Nor was he, who, that he might be a light of the Gentiles, was given for a covenant of the people,56 then preached in vain. "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." 57
The people of God were elected to covenant obedience. Israel were frequently represented both as his elect and as his servants. "For Jacob, my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name." 58 The elect are spoken of as formed and ordained to good works. we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." And those good works include the keeping of the covenant, by Covenanting and fulfilling the engagements made. Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenauts of promise, having no hope, and without God
54 Deut. vii. 7, 8. 55 Rom. xi. 7. 56 Is. xlii. 6.
57 Acts xiii. 45-48. 58 Is. xlv. 4; see also Is. xli. 8, 9; and Ps. cv. 6.
in the world but now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ."59 The saints are described as "elect-unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood
of Jesus Christ.” 60 As the sprinkling of blood, signifying the application of the efficacy of Christ's death by the Spirit of God, was wont to accompany the exercise of Covenanting by sacrifice, so, under the last dispensation, the obedience of the people of God, according to election, is to spring from their acceptance of Christ and his benefits, and dedication to God in the various acts of personal and social Covenanting. Finally, they are introduced at once as his witnesses, his servant, and his chosen. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." They were therefore chosen to serve him, by vowing and swearing to him in secret, by testifying to his truths by oath before the world, and by adhering faithfully to his testimony.
The people of God were elected to privileges that can be enjoyed only by those in covenant with him. Theirs is the heavenly calling; and this they enjoy, "that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth." 62" All the saints being called, and chosen, and faithful, Abraham had been a partaker of this calling when God delivered to him the command to leave his native land, which the patriarch obeyed. That effectual call led him to obey the special mandate to go forth to Canaan, and to believe the precious promise that had been made to him. When the Covenant of God was established with him by that call, he laid hold upon it, testifying to his acquiescence in it, by believing in the Lord, by sacrificing unto him, and by receiving circumcision as a covenant sign. And 60 1 Pet. i. 2. 61 Is. xliii. 10. Rom. ix. 11.
59 Eph. ii. 10, 11—13.
that, as the promise of that covenant was to the Jews who were called, so its seasonable duties, and consequently the exercise of engaging to it, were incumbent upon them, appears from the record of the specially momentous day of Pentecost. Manifestly keeping in view the Covenant, by inculcating on the people a regard to baptism-its sign, "Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." 63 Not merely to the Jews was its precious promise of the "seed," Christ, but to the Gentiles also. And faith in him, and the duty of keeping and of entering into covenant with him, under the latter dispensation, are obligatory on all. "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”64 And the gospel is preached, that men receiving the external call may be called effectually, and thus brought to receive the promise, and fulfil the duties required. Like the Israelites, who, after His manifestation in the flesh, believed in Jesus, all the people of God feel and acknowledge their covenant obligations, that they should show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. To the condition of a people keeping covenant, the seed of Jacob yet to be reclaimed, as chosen of God will be called. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Ja63 Acts ii. 38, 39. 64 Gal. iii. 8, 9.
cob for this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."65
And all whom he had before prepared unto glory, even those whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, as a people in covenant acting faith on Christ will lay hold on the covenant promise. "For this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament (covenant), they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." "966
To the elect people of God belongs the blessing of justification." Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified."67 Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. It was when, in the exercise of Covenanting, he accepted of the promise of God, that he was thus blessed. All who believe are the children of Abraham, and, being in covenant, are, by being justified, blessed with him. "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." They are those concerning whom the Lord hath sworn, saying, "Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." 68
Lord Jesus, exalted a Prince and a Saviour, is made of God unto his people, righteousness. Being justified by faith, they have the covenant blessing of peace with God, through Christ. And to the glory of the Redeemer, and to the manifestation of the solemn covenant relations to God in which 65 Rom. xi. 25-29. 66 Heb. ix. 15. 67 Rom. viii. 30. 68 Is. xlv. 25, 23, 24.
they stand, making mention of his righteousness, they will vow and swear to him. Under the auspicious reign of Messiah, seated at God's right hand, the people of Israel, restored to their own land, will do so. "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them."69 And this duty the Gentile nations also shall perform. "Thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory." 70
The Lord hath chosen his people to the adoption of sons. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."71 that character they individually, and also in a social capacity, vow to the Lord, and keep his covenant. To manifest that that relation recognises the necessity of self-dedication unto him, he says to each one called to his service, "My son, give me thine heart." 72 That Israel might be led into the wilderness, and thence to Canaan, not merely to give continual obedience to his law, but at certain seasons, as a people, to enter into solemn covenant with God, Pharaoh had addressed to him the message, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born: and I say unto thee, let my son go, that he may serve me.' "73 In terms which describe the everlasting covenant between 70 Jer. iv. 2. 71 Eph. i. 5. 73 Exod. iv. 22, 23.
69 Jer. xxiii. 6—8.