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limited time, suited with means unto any work, occasion, or duty, iş so called a day. And it answereth unto the description of the time of making the new covenant given in the verse foregoing ; behold the days are coming,' the time or season approacheth. It is also used in a way of eminency; a day or a signal eminent season, Mal. iii
. 2. . Who may abide the day of his coming ?' the illustrious glory and power that shall appear, and be exerted at his coming. In the day,' is, at that great eminent season so famous throughout all their generations.
2. This day or season is described from the work of it, &fiλαβομενε με της χειρος αυτων. .
that I firmly laid hold.' And sincepeomra, is to take hold of,' with a design of helping or delivering; and sundry things are intimated, as the way and manner of the deliverance of that people at that time.
1. The wofül helpless condition that they were in then in Egypt. So far were they from being able to deliver themselves out of their captivity and bondage, that like children they were not able to stand or go, unless God took them, and led them by the hand. So he speaks, Hos. xi. 3. • I taught them to go, taking them by the arms.' And certainly never were weakly froward children so awkward to stand and go of themselves, as that people were to comply with God in the work of their deliverance. Sometimes they refused to stand, or to make a trial of it. Sometimes they cast themselves down after they were set on their feet; and sometimes with all their strength they went backwards as to what God directed them ụnto. He that can read the story of their deliverance with any understanding, will easily discern what pains God war at with that people, to teach them to go when he thus took them by the hand.' It is therefore no new thing, that the church of God should be in a condition of itself neither able to stand nor go. But yet if God will take them by the hand for their help, deliverance shall ensue.
2. It expresseth the infinite condescension of God towards this people in that condition, that he would bow down to take them by the hand.' In most other places, the work which he then accomplished, is ascribed unto the lifting up, or stretching out of his hand,” Ezek. xx. 6. See the description of it, Deut. iy. 34. xxvi. 8. It was towards their enemies a work of mighty power, of the lifting up of his hand; but towards them, it was a work of infinite condescension and patience : • a bowing down to take them by the hand.' And this was the greatest work of God. For such was the frowardness and unbelief, so multiplied were the provocations and temptations of that people, that if God had not held them fast by the band, with infinite grace, patience, forbearance and condescension, they had inevitably ruined themselves. And we know in how many instances they endeavoured frowardly and obstinately te wrest themselves out of the hand of God, and to have cast themselves into utter destruction. Wherefore, this word, • when I took them by the hand,' for the end mentioned, compriseth all the grace, 'mercy and patience which God exercised towards that people, while he wrought out their deliverance, by lifting up his hand amongst and against their adversaries. And indeed, no heart can conceive, no tongue can express, that infinite condescension and patience which God exerciseth towards every one of us, whilst he holds us by the hand to lead us unto rest with himself. Our own hearts, in some measure, know with what waywardness and frowardness, with what wan. derings from him, and withdrawing from his holy conduct, we exercise, and are ready to weary his patience continually. Yet do not mercy and grace let go that hold which they have taken on us. Oh that our souls might live in a constant admiration of that divine grace and patience, which they live upon ; that the remembrance of the times and seasons wherein, if God had not strengthened his hand upon us, we had utterly destroyed ourselves, might increase that admiration daily, and enliven it with thankful obedience!
3. The power of this work intended is also included herein; not directly, but by consequence. For as was said, when God took them by the hand by his grace and patience, he lifted up the hand of his power by the mighty works which he wrought among their adversaries. What he did in Egypt at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, is all included herein. These things made the day mentioned eminent and glorious. It was a great day wherein God so magnified his name and power in the sight of all the world.
4. All these things had respect to, and issued in, that actual deliverance which God then wrought for that people. And this was the greatest mercy which that people ever were, or ever could be made partakers of, in that condition wherein they were under the old testament. And to the outward part of it, consider what they were delivered from, and what they were led into, and it will evidently appear to be as great an outward mercy as human nature is capable of. But besides, it was glo riously typical, and representative of their own and the whole church's spiritual deliverance from sin and hell, from our bondage to Satan, and a glorious traduction into the liberty of the sons of God. And therefore did God engrave the memorial of it on the tables of stone, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' For what was typified and signified thereby, is the principal motive to obedience throughout all generations. Nor is any moral obedience acceptable to God, that doth not proceed from a sense of spiritual deliverance.
And these things are here called over in this promise of giv
ing a new corenant; partly to remind the people of the mercies which they had sinned against, and partly to remind them that no concurrence of outward mercies and privileges, can secure our covenant-relation to God, without the special mercy wbich is administered in the new covenant, whereof Jesus Christ is the mediator and surety.
Thus, great on all accounts was the day, and the glory of it, wherein God made the old covenant with the people of Israel, yet had it no glory in comparison of that which doth excel. The light of the Sun of glory was on this day, “ seven fold as the light of seven days,' Isa. xxx. 26. A perfection of light and glory was to accompany that day, and all the glory of God's work and his rest therein, the light of seven days, was to issue in it.
From the things we have observed, it is fully evident both what was the covenant that God made, and who were the fathers with whom it was made. The covenant intended is none other but that made at Sinai, in the third month after the com. ing of the people out of Egypt, Exod. xix. 1. which covenant, in the nature, use and end of it, we have before described. And the fathers were those of that generation, those who came out of Egypt; and solemnly, in their own persons, they and their children entered into the covenant, and took on them to do all that was required therein, whereon they were sprinkled with the blood of it, Exod. xxiv. 3-8. Deut. v. 27, It is true all the posterity of the people to whom the promise was now given, were bound and obliged by that covenant, no less than those who first received it; but those only are intended in this place, who actually in their own persons entered into covenant with God. Which consideration will give light to what is affirmed, that they brake this covenant or continued not in it.
A comparison being intended between the two covenants, this is the first general part of the foundation of it with respect to the old.
The second part of it is in the event of making this core. nant: and this is expressed both on the part of man and God, or in what the people did towards God, and how he carried it towards them thereon.
First, The event on the part of the people is in these words, • Because they continued not in my covenant,' óra autos 8x pelstev ev in doc. Onun fer. 728,' which, in the original, is expressed by óri, which we render, because ;' ott, as it is sometimes a relative, sometimes a redditive, which,' or because. If we follow our translation, because,' it seems to give a reason why God made a covenant with them, not like the former, namely, because they continued not in the former, or brake it. But this indeed 'was not the reason of it. The reason I say, why God made this new covenant not according to the former, was not because they abode not in the first. This could be 110 reason of it, nor any motive to it. It is therefore mentioned only to illustrate the grace of God, that he would make this new covenant, notwithstanding the sin of those who brake the former ; as also the excellency of the covenant itself, whereby those who are taken into it, shall be preserved from breaking of it by the grace which it doth administer. Wherefore I had rather render örı here by which,' as we render 70x, in the prophet,
which my covenant,' or for,' for they abode not. And if we render it because,' it respects not God's making a new covenant, but his rejecting them for breaking the old.
That which is charged on them is, that 8x evepetiver, they continued not,' they abode not in the covenant made with them. This, God calls his covenant; they continued not in my covenant;' because he was the author of it, the sole contriver and proposer of its terms and promises. 17077, “they brake,' . they rescinded,' removed it, 'made it void. The Hebrew word expresseth the matter of fact, what they did, they brake or made void the covenant: the word used by the apostle, the manner how they did it, namely, by not continuing faithful in it, not abiding by the terms of it. The use of the word uiyw, and fairw, to this purpose hath been before declared. And what is intended hereby, we must inquire.
1. God made this covenant with the people in Sinai, in the authoritative proposition of it to them, and thereon the people solemnly accepted of it, and took it on themselves to observe, do and fulfil the terms and conditions of it, Exod. xix. 8. especially chap. xxiv.3.7. • The people answered with one voice, All the words which the Lord hath said, we will do. And all that the Lord hath said, we will do and be obedient.' So Deut. v. 27. Hereupon the covenant was ratified and confirmed between God and them, and thereon the blood of the covenant was sprinkled on them, Exod. xxiv. 8. This gave that cove- .. nant its solemn ratification.
2. Having thus accepted of God's covenant, and the terms of it, Moses, ascending again into the mount, the people made the golden calf. And this fell out so suddenly after the making of the covenant, that the apostle expresseth it by, 'they continued not in it,' they made haste to break it. He expresseth the sense of the words of God hereon, Exod. xxxii. 7, S. Go, get thee down, for thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside greatly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.' For therein they brake the covenant, wherein God had in a peculiar manner assumed the glory of that deliverance to himself.
3. Wherefore the breaking of the covenant, or their not
continuing in it, was first and principally the making of the molten calf. After this indeed, that generation added many other sins and provocations, before all things proceeded so far, that God sware in his wrath that they should never enter into his rest. This fell out on their professęd unbelief, and murmuring at the return of the spies, Num. xiv. ; whereof we have treated at large on chap. iii. Wherefore this expression is not to be extended to the sins of the following generation, neither in the kingdom of Israel, nor in that of Judalı, although they variously transgressed against the covenant, disannulling it so far as it lay in them. But it is the sin of them who personally first entered into covenant with God, that is reflected on. That generation with whom God made that first covenant, immediately brake it, continued not in it. And therefore let that generation look well to themselves to whom this new covenant shall be first proposed. And it so fell out, that the unbelief of that first generation who lived in the first days of the promul. gation of the new covenant, hath proved an occasion of the ruin of their posterity to this day. And we may observe,
Obs. V. That sins have their aggravations from mercies received. This was that which rendered this first sin of that people of such a flagitious nature in itself, and so provoking to God, namely, that they who contracted personally the guilt of it, had newly received the honour, mercy and privilege of being taken into covenant with God. Hence is that threatening of God with respect hereunto, “Nevertheless in the day tbat I visit, I will visit their sin upon them,' Exod. xxxii. 34. He would have a remembrance of this provoking sin in all their following visitations. Let us therefore take heed how we sin against received mercies, especially spiritual privileges, such as we enjoy by the gospel.
Obs. VI. Nothing but effectual grace will secure our covenant-obedience one moment. Greater motives unto obedience, or stronger outward obligation thereunto, no people under heaven could have, than this people had newly received, and they had publicly and solemnly engaged themselves thereunto. But they quickly turned out of the way.' And therefore in the new covenant is this grace promised in a peculiar manner, as we shall see on the next verse.
Secondly, The acting of God towards them hereon is also expressed. Keyw furance autav, ' And I regarded them not.' There seems to be a great difference in the translation of the words of the prophet, and these of the apostle taken from them. In the former place we read, “ Although I was a husband to them, in this, • I regarded them not.' And bereby the utmost difference that can be objected against the rendering of these words by the apostle, is represented. But there was no need of ren