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In those passages it must be severally both; and, consequently, such bring before us, not only the making of acknowledgments to men, but the making of confession, according to its most diversified character, to God. This is the case in the passage, "With the mouth confession is made to salvation."
To confess Christ signifies to Covenant. Its import is, to confess him to men, and also to confess him to God. And the passage last quoted, according to the interpretation given of it, proves that the latter is to Covenant. When confession with the mouth is made to salvation, it is Christ that is confessed. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation."66
To make confession is to confess. The form of expression occurs twice in the English version of the Old Testament, and the passages, according to what has been shown, describe at once the exercises of confessing sin, and of Covenanting. And that the former of the passages records the latter of these exercises, moreover, is manifest, from the expressed resolution of king Hezekiah, of which that passage recounts the fulfilment. He said, "Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us."67 And the accomplishment "And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praising the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord. And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord: and
66 Rom. x. 9, 10. 672 Chron. xxix. 10.
they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace-offerings, and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers."68 The other passage states the character of an exercise in which Daniel as an individual engaged, and from its very structure, independently of the conclusion to which we have otherwise come, manifests him as taking hold on God's covenant, as well as acknowledging sin. "I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments."69
The phrase TO PROFESS, is, when used in connection with godliness or true religion, in the New Testament, equivalent to that to Confess. It is a translation of one of the verbs (quohoyew), which is rendered also by the latter. To profess either the knowledge of God, or godliness, or a good profession, or faith, or subjection to the gospel, corresponds to the act of professing Christ. If performed to God, it is, according to the import of the expression confessing to him, to Covenant. If performed to men, it is to bear testimony to the truth. If not represented as performed either to him or to them, it is to be understood as being, according to their respective characters, performed to both; and, accordingly, to be interpreted as not merely to testify to the truth of God before the world, but also to engage in the solemn exercise of Covenanting. The exercise of Covenanting is accordingly to be understood as referred to in these scripture declarations:-"Whiles by the experiment of this ministration, they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ." 70 "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him."71 "Women professing godliness."
68 2 Chron. xxx. 21, 22.
71 Titus i. 16.
"And hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."73 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised." 74
The term PROFESSION, when used in the same connection, is equivalent to the term confession; and hence includes in its import the exercise of Covenanting. The proof of this which is obviously deducible from the meaning of the word confession is corroborated by the representation which is given in the epistle to the Hebrews, of Christ as the high priest of our profession. In this aspect of his character, the Redeemer was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and under this, taught the people to manifest in every possible manner their attachment to God's Covenantduties which they would not have performed, if in making confession to God they had not confessed their acquiescence in that Covenant.
Is an ACT OF ADHERENCE to God's Covenant. It is the definite exercise of giving acquiescence to that Covenant in its whole character. It is not simply acquiescing in that Covenant in the heart, but signifying that acquiescence in a positive service. The Covenanting believer, like the people of Israel with Josiah their king, in this exercise, stands to the Covenant.75 That party in this exercise takes hold upon the Covenant, and cleaves to it; that is, not merely performs other services required in the Covenant, but absolutely engages to it. And here, uses such language as the words of Jacob, "The Lord shall be my God." But particularly,
First, This is a solemn act approving of the 74 Heb. x. 23. 75 2 Kings xxiii. 3.
73 1 Tim. vi. 12.
way of salvation through Jesus Christ. In every religious exercise an approval of this method of restoration to the favour of God is implied; in this it is specially intimated. To make that approval in this act there is afforded encouragement. It was to Israel represented as about to engage in Covenanting individually, that He who described himself, "The LORD, the King of Israel, and his REDEEMER the LORD of Hosts," made the appeal, "Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God, (literally, rock.) I know not any."76 This approval has been explicitly declared in this exercise. To invite to the performance of this act, there were used the words, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." And in Covenanting individually, not less than socially, accepting the invitation, these said, “Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel." 77 The making of this approval has been commemorated. Certainly not less in taking hold on God's Covenant did David express his satisfaction in it, than in the pleasing record given by him in these words, "He hath made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure : for this is all my salvation, and all my desire."78 And in all those circumstances in which, by performing this act, the believer will declare himself to be on the Lord's side, this approval will be made. "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."79
Secondly. This is a solemn act of accepting Christ and all his benefits. It has been performed by 76 Is. xliv. 8; see v. 6. 77 Jer. iii. 22, 23. 79 John vi. 67, 68.
78 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
many who had previously known the grace of God. The nation of Israel, when about to enter the promised land, were generally a people who feared God.80 They had heard of the promise made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," and by faith must have been looking forward to the Messiah thus foretold. But on the occasion of their renovation of God's Covenant in the land of Moab, they were exhorted through Moses to make a choice of Him as their life, and of that life which comes by Him alone. "Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; (for he is thy life, and the length of thy days;) that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."81 David illustrating the practice of many, in special exercises performed this. Take his record of one of these. 66 · O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord."" Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot."82 The vow here is emphatic, being made against swearing to another god, and intimating that the Lord, being his Lord, and the portion of his inheritance and of his cup, had been received by him according to a choice to which he still adhered. When Jesus appeared in the flesh, some who had believed in a Messiah to come, and who were accordingly true believers, in acts of Covenanting received Jesus as a Saviour that was come. John, the forerunner, was sanctified from the womb; but after Jesus had commenced his public ministry, 80 Jer. ii. 2, 3. 81 Deut. xxx. 19, 20. 82 Ps. xvi. 2-4, 5.