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“ Death passed
to die.” “By man came death."
for that all have sinned." All die eternally, if left in righteous judgment to the awful consequences of transgression: "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die." “Xe that believeth not, shall be damned.”
In this wretched, lost, and sinful condition, when he was without strength and without hope, Adam heard the voice of mercy.
66 The seed of the woman” was proclaimed and promised.
The new covenant was then made known; new to Adam ; and may we not hope, more delightful to his guilty, trembling soul, than all the sweet harmony of birds which had regaled his ear in the lovely groves of Eden.
At the voice of pardoning grace, hope revives ; love rekindles, and joyful admiration holds the mind in wondering meditation, on the goodness of our justly offended Creator.
The covenant of works made with Adam being broken, all hope of happiness from that covenant is done away
But the covenant of grace made with Christ, the second Adam, is immutable and everlasting
Jesus, in our nature, fulfilled all the conditions, performed all the requirements, and answered all the demands of the broken covenant of works. unsinning obedience and meritorious death, he brought in everlasting righteousness; and thus became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.
So that now, all the blessings of the covenant of grace, are made over to every fallen son and daughter of Adam, who truly believe in Jesus.
Here then is the spring of the believer's hope, and peace, and joy. Here he finds security and
By his stability. Here he reposes his soul, and smiles at every storm.
0! how rich, how full, how sovereign is the covenant of grace. This covenant, as we have seen from the
of eternal truth, was made before the world began, made from eternity. What a wide expanse for the mind to range in !
But we need a guide, or else our minds will soon be lost in wandering mazes, and dangerous speculations.
This guide is the Bible, read with prayer in a spirit of humility and faith, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost.
Where the line of revelation stops, there we must stop. Or rather, where ië enters into the unfathomable depths of eternal wisdom, there we must pause, and wonder and adore.
We must not dare to tread within the veil, or curiously to pry into those hidden mysteries, which God has wisely concealed from mortal eyes. “ Thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter," will compose and satisfy every humble, loving, obedient, grateful follower of the Lamb.
What personally concerns every believer is this : have I the spirit and character of those who are interested in the covenant of grace? If not, what will all its glories and blessings avail me? I shall only resemble a person looking over the title-deeds of a vast estate, in which he hath po interest.
How plain and express is the word of God, in describing the character of the redeemed. Here is no ambiguity-no darkness—no mystery. It is a faithful mirror, held up to all mankind. Happy indeed are they, who beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The character of God's peculiar people, is thus pourtrayed by the pen of unerring truth
They are “chosen in Christ, that they should be holy, and without blame before him in love." “ Chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” “ They are saved, and called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace." They are elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ They are predestinated unto the adoption of children.” “Predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son." “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath foreordained that they should walk in them.” “They are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that they should shew forth the praises of him, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light." "He gave himself for them, that he might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works."
Such is the spirit and character of those happy souls who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before them in the gospel: the character of all who truly believe in Jesus. To them all the promises of God in Christ Jesus, are yea and amen; sure and abiding. To them the most affectionate exhortations are addressed. " Put on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering ; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”—“Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and
given himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour.
“ Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”—“Put on charity”—and “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” clothed with humility."-"Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world.”—“Seek those things which are above."-"Set your affection on things above.”—“Let your speech be alway
“Rejoice evermore--pray without ceasing."_“Abstain from all
of evil.”_ “Fight the good fight of faith."-"Be faithful unto death."
These beautiful exhortations contain a lively portrait of the true believer. How different from the worldling, the nominal Christian, the cold-hearted adherer to the Gospel, the double-minded professor. Here, all is life and energy. Here, all is spirit, unction, and power. Here, we see, “the workmanship of God"_"“the new creation in Christ Jesus.”
Where these lineaments are found, there, grace is begun; where they are wanting, all pretensions to religion, all hope of final salvation, all self-appropriation of the promises, is delusion—a device of Satan, to lull the soul to sleep on the lap of carnal security, till it drop into the fames of hell. Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law. Change my heart by the powerful influence of thy Holy Spirit. Fill my soul with humility, love, and purity. May Christ be formed in me the hope of glory. May Christ dwell in my heart by faith. May love and every grace abound within me, till I am brought by sovereign mercy to the general assembly of the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.
How free the love, how rich the grace,
A pard'ning God bestows;
In boundless streams it flows.
What joy arises in the heart,
When Jesu's cross appears ;
Subdue my guilty fears.
Blest Saviour, speak the healing word,
Bid all my sorrows cease ;
My RIGHTEOUSNESS and PEACE.
O ! let thy precious blood divine,
Wash all my sins away;
Through heaven's eternal day.
XIII. ON THE LOVE OF GOD.
“God is love !" sweet truth.
my soul, rejoice daily in this blessed revelation : 4 God is love."
Before all worlds, before any being was formed, “God is love"-love, eternal and unchangeable. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He is love.
How inconceivably great is the love of God. All worlds rolling in the infinite expanse; all beings inhabiting those innumerable spheres, which extend far beyond the boundaries of the most excursive imagination : all the myriads of angelic spirits, which dwell for ever in the bright effulgence of upcreated light: are only the overflowings of that love, which is inexhaustible.
The immense fountain loses not one drop, though countless millions are filled by its streams. It is ever flowing, ever full. Lord, thou art love. 0! ! fill my soul with thy love. Thou canst not be di. minished, and I shall be made everlastingly blessed.