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ll ages have fled for refuge, and in this ound all the consolation they could desire.
days of David were a continual scene of Sorrows. The defilement of Tamar by her nnon, the murder of Amnon by his brother the rebellion and untimely death of Absathe conspiracy and consequent destruction ah, all embittered his life: and God had that such afflictions should await him, as a nt for the horrible sins he had committed atter of Uriah. David however was not his consolations. Though he could not have piness of seeing his house walking in the God, yet he had good reason to believe od had accepted him; and in the view of the it which God had made with him, he could it rejoice. We do not apprehend that this nt related exclusively to the succession of his ty upon the throne of Israel, or even to the of the Messiah from his loins: it can be no than that covenant which God made with his Son, and with us in him; for no other covenant sponds with the description here given of it, nor David speak of any other as all his salvation all his desire. That covenant relates to the tion of a ruined world by the blood and rightness of the Lord Jesus.
he representation which David here gives us of ill lead us to shew,
The excellence of this covenant
This is set forth in a striking view in the words
before man had fallen, God, who foresaw his fall, in for his recovery and in this plan his co-equal, on concurred: "The council of peace was between says the Prophet. To this St. Paul alludes, , that he was "in hope of eternal life, which God 1 before the world began." To whom could that a Zech. vi. 13.
Tit. i. 2.
Such are the effects which the Psalmist elsewhere ascribes to Christ's government"; and such, in all ages, have invariably resulted from it1.]
1. How earnestly should we desire the universal establishment of Christ's kingdom!
[Little do men consider the import of that petition, "Thy kingdom come." In uttering this prayer, we desire that our whole souls, and the souls of all mankind, may be subjected to Christ. And truly this event would restore the golden age of paradise. Ungodly men indeed would persuade us, that an unlimited submission to Christ would be an occasion of melancholy, and a source of misery. But if once they were to experience the effects of his government upon their own souls, they would learn, that obedience to him is the truest happiness of man. Let us then take upon us his light and easy yoke, as the only, and the certain means of finding rest unto our souls.]
2. What madness is it to continue in rebellion against Christ!
[It is not at our option whether Christ shall be our ruler or not; for "God has set him upon his holy hill of Zion," and in due season, will "put all his enemies under his feet.” If we will not bow before the sceptre of his grace, he will "break us in pieces with a rod of iron." Shall we then provoke him to wrath, when we have so much to dread from his displeasure? No: rather let the truth which is here with such awful solemnity announced, be with all holy reverence received: yea, let us "kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and we perish from the way." Thus shall we now enjoy the felicity of his chosen; and, in the day when all his enemies shall be slain before him, we shall be made partners of his throne for evermore.]
h Ps. lxxii. 2-7.
i Acts ii. 41-47.
k Ps. ii. 1-12.
THE COVENANT OF GRACE.
2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.
IN all the trials and troubles of life, religion alone can afford us any effectual support. To this the
saints in all ages have fled for refuge, and in this they have found all the consolation they could desire. The latter days of David were a continual scene of domestic sorrows. The defilement of Tamar by her brother Amnon, the murder of Amnon by his brother Absalom, the rebellion and untimely death of Absalom, and the conspiracy and consequent destruction of Adonijah, all embittered his life: and God had foretold, that such afflictions should await him, as a punishment for the horrible sins he had committed in the matter of Uriah. David however was not without his consolations. Though he could not have the happiness of seeing his house walking in the ways of God, yet he had good reason to believe that God had accepted him; and in the view of the covenant which God had made with him, he could not but rejoice. We do not apprehend that this covenant related exclusively to the succession of his posterity upon the throne of Israel, or even to the advent of the Messiah from his loins: it can be no other than that covenant which God made with his own Son, and with us in him; for no other covenant corresponds with the description here given of it, nor could David speak of any other as all his salvation and all his desire. That covenant relates to the salvation of a ruined world by the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus.
The representation which David here gives us of it will lead us to shew,
I. The excellence of this covenant
This is set forth in a striking view in the words before us. We notice,
1. Its duration
[Long before man had fallen, God, who foresaw his fall, devised a plan for his recovery: and in this plan his co-equal, co-eternal Son concurred: "The council of peace was between them both," says the Prophet. To this St. Paul alludes, when he says, that he was "in hope of eternal life, which God had promised before the world began." To whom could that
promise be made, but unto the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Representative of his Church and people? Some divines have called this the covenant of Redemption, as contra-distinguished from the covenant of Grace; the one being made with Christ only, and the other with man. But this appears not founded in Scripture. There is one covenant only; and that was made with Christ personally, and with him as the federal Head and Representative of his elect people: as made with him personally, it promised him a seed, if he would lay down his life for them; and as made with him federally, it promised salvation to all who should believe in him, and become members of his mystical body.
Now this covenant is " everlasting;" it has existed from the beginning, and shall exist to all eternity. No human being ever has been saved but by virtue of it; nor shall any child of man ever be admitted into heaven, but agreeably to its provisions. We say not that no person ever has been, or shall be, saved without a distinct acquaintance with it: for we believe that many heathens who never heard of it, and millions of children who have been incapable of understanding any thing about it, have been saved; but not a single soul has ever been accepted of God the Father, but as redeemed by the blood of his only-begotten Son. And perhaps we may say, that this circumstance gives to the glorified saints an advantage over angels themselves: for angels, though confirmed, we trust, in their happiness by the power of God, do not hold that happiness by so sure a tenure as the saints hold theirs: they cannot boast of holding it by the promise and oath of Jehovah; they. cannot shew a covenant securing to them the everlasting possession of their inheritance, and that covenant confirmed and ratified with the blood of God's only dear Son: but we can refer to such a covenant, as the sure ground of all our expectations, and as the pledge that nothing shall ever separate us from the enjoyment of our God.]
2. Its fulness
[It may truly be said to be "ordered in all things." There is not any thing that can conduce to our happiness either in this world or the next, that is not comprehended in it. Every thing is prepared for us both in a way of providence and of grace. All our comforts, and all our trials, are therein adjusted for our good. All earthly things are secured to us, as far as they are necessary; and even afflictions themselves are promised, as the appointed means of fitting us for the realms of bliss. Whatever grace we stand in need of, it shall be given
c Isai. liii. 10, 11. f Matt. vi. 33.
d Gal. iii. 16, 17.
e 2 Cor. i. 20.
at such times, and in such a measure, as shall most display the glory of God. It is true that God requires of us many things, as repentance, faith, and holiness; but it is equally true that he promises all these things to us: he has "exalted his own Son to give us repentance;" he also gives us to believe in Christ; and he promises that he will, by the influence of his Spirit, cause us to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments and do them. We cannot place ourselves in any situation wherein God has not given us promises, "exceeding great and precious promises," suited to our necessities, and commensurate with our wants: nor is so small a thing as the falling of a hair of our head left to chance; it is all ordered by unerring wisdom: and though there may be some events which, separately and distinctly considered, may be regarded as evil, yet, collectively taken in all their bearings, they shall "all work together for our eternal good'."]
3. Its certainty
[It is "sure" to every one who trusts in it. In this it differs widely from the covenant of works which was made with man in innocence: for that depending on the fidelity of the creature, was violated, and annulled: whereas this, depending altogether on the fidelity of God, who undertakes to work in us all that he requires of us, and who engages not only not to depart from us, but not to suffer us to depart from himm, shall never fail in any one particular: "The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but the covenant of my peace shall not be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on us"." True it is that, as under the Jewish dispensation many were not steadfast in that covenant, which was a mixed, and national covenant, so many who profess religion do really "make shipwreck of the faith":" but they have never truly embraced the covenant of which we are speaking: they have embraced it only in a partial way, looking for its blessings without duly considering its obligations: they have been more intent on salvation from punishment, than salvation from sin. "Had they been really of us," says the Apostle, "they would no doubt have continued with usP." "The foundation of God standeth sure: the Lord knoweth them that are his. But let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." This being our indispensable duty, God promises and engages, "that sin shall not have dominion over us,
h Acts v. 31.
1 Rom. viii. 28.
• 1 Tim. i. 19.
9 2 Tim. ii. 19.
Kai should here be translated but. Compare
1 Cor. xii. 5. and xvi. 12. and 2 Tim. iii. 11. in the Greek.