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because we are not under the law, but under grace':" and we know that" He is faithful who hath called us, who also will do it:" and this very circumstance of its being an article in God's covenant, a blessing to be gratuitously conferred by him, and freely received by us, this, I say, it is, which makes "the promise sure to all the seedt."]
When once we view this covenant aright we shall see immediately,
II. The regard which it deserves
We should not regard it merely as an object of curious research, or even of grateful admiration; but should make it,
1. The ground of all our hopes
[Every other method of acceptance should be renounced ; and this should be deliberately and cordially embraced". We should contemplate every offer of mercy, every communication of grace, every mean of salvation as originating in the eternal counsels of Heaven: every thing should be traced up to the love of God the Father, and to the plans arranged by the sacred Three, for the magnifying of the divine perfections in the salvation of man - Even the atonement itself must
be considered as deriving all its efficacy from this covenant: for, if God the Father had not consented to accept his Son as a surety for us, and to regard his death as an atonement for our sin, however honourable to Christ his mediation for us might be, it would not have been available for our salvation. should get such a distinct view of this covenant as David had; of its duration, (from everlasting to everlasting;) its fulness, its certainty; and then should say of it as he did, "THIS is all my salvation;" except in this, I have no more hope than the fallen angels: but through the provision which this has made for me, I scarcely envy the angels who never fell: for " I know in whom I have believed, that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him*:" and "I am confident that he who hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."]
2. The source of all our joys—
[Whatever comforts we may possess in this world, we should derive our chief happiness from this: this should be
r Rom. vi. 14.
s 1 Thess. v. 23, 24. Mark the connexion of these two verses.
t Rom. iv. 16.
u 2 Tim. i. 9. enlarged.
The two members of this sentence may be greatly
x 2 Tim. iv. 8.
y 2 Tim. i. 12.
"all our desire," or, as the word imports, all our delight To this also we should have recourse in every season of affliction. David betook himself to it under all his domestic troubles, and in the near prospect of eternity. "His house, alas! was not so with God," as he could wish. And how many are there who have great trials in their families! some from their unkindness, and others from their removal by death2 -Let every one that is so circumstanced learn from David where to flee for comfort: let him contemplate the riches of divine grace as exhibited in the covenant, and the blessedness of having an interest in it, and he will soon forget his sorrows, and have a heart overflowing with the most exalted joy - If, in addition to other troubles, we are lying upon the bed of death, we may well, like David, seek comfort in this covenant, and make" the last words of Davida" our last words also. What can so effectually remove the sting of death, as to behold a covenant-God in Christ Jesus, engaged to "keep him unto the end," and to receive him to an everlasting enjoyment of his presence and glory? Study then the wonders of this covenant, that they may be familiar to your minds in a time of health; and so shall they fill you with unutterable peace and joy, when every other refuge shall fail, and your soul be summoned into the presence of its God.]
z This may be amplified so as to apply to many cases which may greatly interest the feelings of an audience. a ver. 1.
DAVID'S DESIRE FOR THE WATER OF THE Well of bethlehem. 2 Sam. xxiii. 15-17. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it.
THE best of men are liable to err: but in this they differ widely from the ungodly, that they are glad, as soon as they find out their error, to have it rectified. David inconsiderately expressed a wish for some water out of the well of Bethlehem; but when he saw what his inconsiderateness had occasioned, and especially
2. Its fulness
[It may truly be said to be "ordere is not any thing that can conduce to o this world or the next, that is not compre thing is prepared for us both in a way of grace. All our comforts, and all our trials, a for our good. All earthly things are secured they are necessary; and even afflictions ther mised, as the appointed means of fitting us f bliss. Whatever grace we stand in need of, it
Isai. liii. 10, 11. Matt, vi. 33.
d Gal. iii. 16, 17. * Jer. xxx. 11.
"all our desire," or, as the word imports, all our delight
be amplified so as to apply to many cases which may t the feelings of an audience.
only in a par considering its salvation from they been real doubt have conti standeth sure: fr let every one that iniquity 9." T and engages,
h Acts v. 31.
1 Rom. viii. 2× • 1 Tim. i. 19.
92 Tim. ii. 19.
1 Cor. xii. 5. and x.
a ver. 1.
FOR THE WATER OF THE WELL OF BETHLEHEM.
5-17. And David longed, and said, Oh that e me drink of the water of the well of Bethis by the gate! And the three mighty men brake st of the Philistines, and drew water out of the chem, that was by the gate, and took it, and avid: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, it unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from at I should do this: is not this the blood of nt in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he
en are liable to err: but in this they the ungodly, that they are glad, as out their error, to have it rectified. ely expressed a wish for some water thlehem; but when he saw what had occasioned, and especially
It is highly necessary also that those whose distresses are of a private and personal nature, should take occasion from them to inquire of God, as Job did, "Shew me, O Lord, wherefore thou contendest with me d" -]
2. We should put away whatever is displeasing to God
[The injuries which had been done to the Gibeonites could not be repaired; nor could Saul who had committed them be punished, because he was now dead. David therefore asked the Gibeonites what redress they required? They sought not any thing for themselves, either in a way of pecuniary compensation, or of freedom from the yoke which they had so long borne: but they required that seven of Saul's sons should be delivered into their hands, to be put to death. This was not a vindictive act, but an act of retributive justice: and it was approved by God, who after the execution of these persons was pacified towards the land. Such a kind of retribution would not be justifiable amongst us; because the children are not to suffer for the parents' crimes: but, as ordered of God, it was right: and, if the whole truth were known, we should probably find that the sons of Saul had aided and abetted the wicked devices of their father; and that they therefore justly suffered as partners in his crime.
But though we cannot act precisely as David or the Gibeonites did, we may, both nationally and individually, put away the evils which have displeased our God; and indeed we all without exception are bound to "crucify our flesh with its affections and lusts." It is in this way only that we can hope to avert the divine judgments from us; for, though nothing but the blood of Christ can wash away sin, it never will or can avail for the pardon of any, who do not turn unto God in newness of life.]
From hence then we may LEARN,
1. The danger of sin
[Sin, however forgotten by us, is remembered by God; yea, the whole of our sins, even from the earliest period of our existence, are as much in the immediate sight of God, as if they had been committed this very day: and there is a time when we must answer for them all. Let sin then be repented of, and put away; for it will surely bring the wrath of God on all who retain it unlamented, and unsubdued.]
2. The benefit of Christ's atonement
[The blood of Saul's sons was poured forth as a sacrifice