« 上一頁繼續 »
the Father and the Surety of sinners, the covenant of royalty which God made with David is also commemorated.74 In that covenant Solomon was interested, and, standing in such a relation, was the object of the promise, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son." 75 Jacob, described as the Lord's servant, and Israel as his elect, and who are represented as vowing and swearing to the Lord, are acknowledged as his sons. "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me."76 Israel, by falling into idolatry, manifestly disregarding the solemn covenant obligations that had descended upon them, were reminded of their sin, by a representation of that filial relation to God in which their fathers stood, but to which many, notwithstanding their professions, through unbelief, never attained. "When
Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images."77 In the character of his sons, will Israel be reclaimed from their apostacy, and voluntarily enter into solemn engagements with God as his covenant people.
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born." 78 In the character of children, too, they shall enjoy the benefits of God's covenant; 79 and, like them, all the chosen of God will hear his gracious invitation, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding;" and with them cheerfully com
74 Ps. lxxxix. 3-28. 23-25, 11. 77 Hos. xi. 1, 2. -37. 79 Jer. iii. 18, 19.
75 2 Sam. vii. 14. 76 Is. xlv. 4,
78 Jer. xxxi. 9; see also ver. 31
ing under obligation to serve him, they will say, Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God." 80 Both Jews and Gentiles are interested in the apostle's declaration, "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. ...And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." 81
The elect people of God are a sanctified people. "We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 82 And as a holy people they draw near to vow to him. As separated from the heathen, and called to the service of God, Israel appeared a holy people. Abstaining from certain practices in which idolaters engaged, they were ceremonially holy. Under both aspects, they appeared a symbol of the true Israel among them, and of all else who are sanctified by the Spirit, and dedicated to the Lord. The people entered into a covenant with the Lord at Sinai. But that they might be prepared for acceding to it, and for the accompanying solemnities, they, as a holy people, required to make progress in sanctification, were previously to be sanctified. "The Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow." 83 In order to wait upon God, whether making miraculous displays of his omniscience or power, or manifesting himself in the dispensation of the ordinances of his grace, the people of Israel were commanded to sanctify themselves. The place of his gracious presence, where his people, besides engaging in other exercises, sware in Covenanting with him, was his sanctuary. His covenant with his people, as that with Abraham, is a holy covenant. That his people
80 Jer. iii. 22. 81 Gal. iii. 26, 29.
83 Exod. xix. 10.
2 2 Thess. ii. 13.
may enter into covenant renewedly, the Lord himself will sanctify them. His Sabbath, the sign of his covenant, he gave them, that they might know this. 84 This they will continue to experience. Many sware by those that were no gods, but to his own people as swearing by his name he promises," Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand : for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid (sanctified) his In this, ruin may guests." 85 be threatened to his enemies; but in it, certainly, is implied his gracious procedures to his saints. By the Holy Ghost they are sanctified, that they may dedicate themselves to God, and thereafter serve him." Putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." 86 This offering up or oblation of the Gentiles, was that urged in these terms,"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." 87 And by the blood of the Everlasting Covenant are such set apart to this. "Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to (or confessing) his name. But to do good, and to communicate, forget not for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
To them belong the benefits of redemption that accompany and flow from acceptance with God. These are,
86 Rom. xv. 15, 16.
84 Exod. xxxi. 13. 85 Zeph. i. 7.
Assurance of God's love. All believers may not enjoy this blessing; few may attain to it in any comforting or satisfactory measure; yet it is attainable. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." "Ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit."90 that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him." "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."91 It is provided. It is vouchsafed as a provision of the Everlasting Covenant. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.” “2 Those who enjoy it know that to it they were elected. "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."9 And from the invitation to enter upon eternal life, that will be given to the righteous by the glorious Judge of all on his high throne, it is manifest that from the days of eternity, that blessing, preparatory for the final glory, was secured to them. He will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Among the benefits introductory to the final glory, which, not less than that glory, were laid up for them, appears the earnest of the Spirit. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance."95
Peace of conscience. It is according to the purpose of God that faith is exercised. Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,—to believe on him."96 And by that faith, through which justifi
Matt. xxv. 34.
95 Eph. i.
89] John v. 10. 90 Rom. viii. 23. 91 John xiv. 21, 23. 92 Ps. xxv. 14. 93 1 Thess. i. 4. 94 13, 14; see also 2 Cor. i, 22; v. 5.
96 Phil. i. 29.
cation, a fruit itself of the Divine counsels, is bestowed, and which is in exercise in Covenanting, peace with God is enjoyed. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."97 Righteousness and
peace and joy in the Holy Ghost are all vouchsafed to the believer; all of them are covenant blessings. The arrangements of Divine mercy secure righteousness, and therefore all of these. The new creature, born from above, ranks among the Israel of God, who are by covenant engaged to his service; and on such the peace of God is invoked. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." 98 God, in covenant, is the God of peace. Believers say concerning Christ, "He is our peace. The Covenant of God is a covenant of peace ;-peace of conscience: peace with Himself peace in all its manifestations. And that peace, which Christ came to secure, which he preached, and which he commanded, as his best blessing, to descend upon his people, proceeded from that counsel whence came all the displays of God's love-the Counsel of Peace.
Joy in the Holy Ghost. "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 100 Every one that sweareth truly by Him shall rejoice in God, and shall glory. Joy in God is essential to the exercise properly conducted. Let the saints testify from their own experience to the perfect correspondence to their feelings of these words, dictated by his own Spirit,-"I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt-offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting
97 Rom. v. 1. 98 Gal. vi. 15, 16. 99 Eph. ii. 14.
100 Rom. xiv. 17.