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The Two Covenants.
is a murderer; and thus brings the most innocent admiring, and our own righteousness, and, as St. Paul affirms, concludes all under sin, and in unbelief, and for their lives forbids men to build up what Christ has destroyed. If any do it they risque body and soul for ever; if their pride will not stoop to Jesus, but value their thoughts more than his, and will still dare to think, “I am not like this publican, I am better than he, I will not be saved freely, I believe I have some righteousness;" such will he behold afar off and send empty away; but where the soul is upright, honest, and sincere, they will not be so cheated; let men judge of them better if they will, but they themselves know what motions of sin are in their members, and that though the wall be whited, it is daubed and built with untempered mortar; though the tomb be garnished, it is inwardly a stinking and polluted place; and though the outside of the dish be clean, within are stirrings of pride, lust, revenge, envy, covetousness, and the love of the creature more than the love of the Creator. Souls sensible of this have no hope from the law, their mouths are stopped, and they plead no more for their righteousness, but are in quest and search after a better foundation, an everlasting righteousness, and this the Lord and his
s 33 blood shall be to them.
There are others, who still think the law and covenant of works should yet be observed, because our Saviour has said, “ One jot or tittle of the law should not fail till all was fulfilled;" but such must have a mean opinion of Jesus Christ and his obedience, who do not believe he has fulfilled and paid all, in his obedience under the law, answered all
its demands, and suffered all its curses and condemnation, and this is our righteousness. I wish only some who love to plead for the law, and to make it honourable, as they say, do not come into that case St. Paul mentions in his epistles, who are teachers of the law, and do not know what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
The eternal mind of God was to save lost man freely, and this was promised to Adam, and established to Abraham, long before the law came by Moses, and as St. Paul reasons with the Galatians, “ It is impossible for the law that came afterwards to make the covenant of promise of no effect.” No man may disannul or make void a man's covenant, much less could any thing make null or void a covenavt confirmed with the oath of God, and decreed as eternal as the heavens ; and let men be offended or pleased, so it is, and shall be, that whoso hears Moses, reads, and likes to have doctrines of duties, works, and terms of acceptance preached to him, the veil is yet upon his heart untaken away, and he does not see the glories of the New Testament. What! O what would such do should God enter into judgment with them and try them by the law ?
They have not kept that covenant, what hope then have they? they would be without hope, they would bé condemned. Olet such betimes apply to the Mediator of the better Testament, and which is founded upon better promises, and experience what it is to be saved by his death from the law, sin, and everlasting misery, and they will be happy, and not till then.
Though I have in the beginning of this discourse spoken of the difference between the two covenants, yet I shall add a few words more before I conclude. The prophecy of Jeremiah, which is quoted in the eighth of the Hebrews, about the changing of the 2 A 3.
" the new covenant shall not be according to the first."
Now the first was perfected upon mount Sinai, the second upon mount Calvary. The first was all of works, the second
all of grace. The first was all, “ Thou shalt do, Thou shalt not do;" but the second was all of what God would do for us, “I will be your God, and you shall be my people: I will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters: I will be merciful to your sins, and remember your iniquities no more.” The first was written on tables of stone; the second on the heart and mind, that is, in the very nature, and is no other than making our heart and mind a copy of the law of God. The first was taught by the priests to the people, by a father to his children, by a man to his brother and 10 his neighbour; the second is taught by the Lord alone,“ Neither shall they teach every man his brother, nor every man his neighbour, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord. All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” The first covenant was for a time; the second for eternity. The promises in the first were temporal, the promises in the latter spiritual. The old covenant was good on God's part, but on our part uncertain and broken; the new covenant was good on all sides, and as the conditions of it are perfectly fulfilled in our Saviour, so is it sure, with all its blessings, to all the seed for evermore, and is a. covenant that shall not be broken, an everlasting covenant. That was sealed with the blood of beasts, and in the hands of the man Moses, but this was sealed with God's own blood, and in the hands of the man Christ Jesus. With the first God finds fault, in that none could thereby be saved; but with the second he is well pleased, because thereby a
company innumerable enter into the holiest of all, and are saved for ever.
All who were under the first testament, however strict and faithful, could obtain no grace farther than to be servants, and were in danger of being put away, like the bondmaid Hagar and her son ; but all in the New Testament are sons, and, like Isaac, to abide in the house of God alway.
Thus then it is not like the first covenant, to our great advantage and joy: for, instead of thunders, threatenings, and judgments, it is full of blessings, sweet and precious promises, glad tidings, and great comforts ; instead of cursing to hell, it brings to heaven; and instead of a bill so much owest thou unto the Lord, it brings the full receipt, God has forgiven thee all trespasses; instead of a revengeful Lord, we have a loving husband; instead of commanding us what to do, it shews what great things our dear Saviour has done for us; and from the most unhappy and miserable, it makes us the happiest creatures in the world, and ascertains to us the blessedness of the world to come.
Happy are they who, in reading the scriptures, discern the privilege of this new covenant, and who in a good conscience, and with a pure and unfeigned faith, possess them in their hearts. These read indeed the thunders of mount Sinai, and hear the threatenings of a fiery law, but they are hid in the wounds of the Lamb, and need fear no evil: They understand what the law saith to all sinners, and know how guilty and deserving of all the curses and condemnation they have been; but the blood of Jesus has saved and washed them; and as men run the file through the bills which are paid, so these behold the Lord God and the Lamb nailing all the ordinances which their sins had made to be against them, with his own body to the tree. The iron
nail, like a file, goes through all, and tears and rends the old covenant to pieces, so that one can read nothing more than “the Lord thy God” in the whole. His blood blots out every curse, and silences every accuser, so that without fear they can enter into the judgment, and stand bold as a lion: The mighty Counsellor has directed them how to escape; the Advocate with the Father has pleaded and gained their cause; the Judge of all has acquitted them, and justified them from all things from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses."
May the Lord, who dwelleth in light inaccessible, enlighten all of you in this important matter, and help the poor sinner to enter into this new covenant through faith in his blood, and teach the soul who las tired himself under the law, to stoop and learn of him righteousness, and to find freely in him grace and everlasting redemption, that they may praise him for his love, wisdom,' and great salvation for ever. Amen.
Α Ν Η Υ Μ Ν.
Sinner to the Lord I come,
Worthy that thou should'st me consume,
In pity for me paid.
And my own self defend ,