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and there they shall abide, and all this in virtue of the
Thus such as are in the covenant of grace, are delivered from the law as a covenant of works, conformed to it as a rule of life, walk in communion with God, have a blessed death, and shall have a glorious resurrection. These five are inclusive of all their other privileges. By the first they are dead to the law: by the second they are dead to sin: by the third they are alive to God: by the fourth they are totally delivered from the world: and by the fifth they are victorious over death itself. By the first they are delivered from that wrath to which they were exposed: by the second from that disease which they contracted: by the third they are brought into the banqueting house: and by the two last they enter into that inheritance which they forfeited. In the first, the guilt of sin is done away: in the second its power: in the third its dismal consequence: in the fourth its being: and in the fifth all its effects. In the first, we are covered with the righteousness of Christ: in the second filled with his Spirit: in the third honoured with his visits: in the fourth we depart to be with him: and in the fifth, our vile body shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body, Phil. iii. ult. In one, we are clothed with his robe: in another adorned with his image: in the third refreshed with the manifestations of his love: and in the two last admitted to see his blessed face. In the first, we are delivered from the arrest of Jehovah's justice: in the second assimulated to his holiness: in the third admitted to his seat: and in the two last, we enter into the enjoyment of his good. ness, which he has laid up for them that fear him. In the first, we have a title to heaven: in the second a meetness for it: in the third the earnest of it: and in the two last we go to to take possession.
And now, brethren, ye see your calling and your covenant: high and heavenly they are. Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord! Let your conversation therefore be
such as becometh. Be humble, be thankful, be holy and rejoice. Be humble under a sense of former guilt, and remaining infirmities. Remember and be ashamed, when God is pacified toward you for all that ye have done, Ezek. xvi. ult. Surely that all has not been little, and it would have been vastly more, had not grace prevented. Be thankful to him who wrought your deliverance, who became a bond-servant, that ye might be God's free-men. Bless that God whose confederates ye are honoured to be. Be holy: being delivered out of the hands of your enemies, serve the Deliverer all the days of your life. Look with loyalty. and love to him, and say, Rule thou over us, for thou hast delivered us. And finally, rejoice, rejoice for what covenant-love, and a covenant-surety have done, are doing, and will do. Much sin has been forgiven, much prevented, what remains is greatly weakened: and O blessed thought! by and by it shall be utterly destroyed. Christ has done much, much for you, but he will do better to you in the latter end than at the beginning. The man, I may say, will not be at rest till he have finished the thing. For as he is set down on the right hand of God, expecting till his enemies be made his footstool, Heb. x. 18. so he is incessantly interceding that all those whom his Father hath given him, be with him where he is, that they may behold his glory, John xvii. 24. Having then the hope that you shall see him, and be like him, let it be your unremitted care to purify yourselves, even as he is pure. Let your advances in holiness keep pace with your progress in time. For holiness is the only soil where the lily of joy can grow. How requisite. that the nearer ye approach to heaven, ye should be the fitter for it? Now is your salvation nearer than when ye believed, Rom. xiii. 11. Animating thought! It is but a little, and ye shall receive the immortal prize. Up therefore, run, run, and instead of flagging, as do many, let the swiftness of your course increase in proportion as ye approach the goal. Thus
let your path, as the shining light, shine more and more unto the perfect day, Prov. iv. 18.
10thly and Lastly. From what has been said, we may learn the misery of such as are under the covenant of works. Unpleasant as this subject may seem, yet it is absolutely necessary. It is our duty, as we would be found faithful to him that sent us, and to the souls of men, to hold the mirror of the law before their eyes, that seeing their misery, they may flee to the better covenant. We are going to attempt it, and while we do, may the Lord open the eyes of sinners. And let none dare wilfully to shut them, lest in awful judgment, they remain so, till they lift them up in hell. Many who now think that they have nothing to do with the covenant of works, will shortly find that it has awful claims upon them. For,
: 1st. Those who are under it, are bound to answer all its demands. And it has a double demand upon all such, viz. perfect obedience to its precepts, and full satisfaction to its penalty. These, like the two daughters of the horse-leach are incessantly crying, Give, give. The law comes to the sinner as with its precept in its mouth, and its penalty in its hand, takes him by the throat, and says, Pay what thou owest. He owes perfect obedience to its precept. Being born under it, he as its natural subject is bound to obey. Not only to obey, but to do so under pain of its inconceivable curse. Believers are bound to perfect obedience to the law as a rule of life, but not under the penalty of damnation. Though no less than perfection is required of them, yet through the mediation of the great High Priest, much less is accepted. Not so with such as are under the covenant of works. They are slaves, and therefore have no right to the children's privileges. It is not what they can do, but what they ought, that will be accepted. The just law will not, like the unjust steward, take fifty for an hundred, Luke xvi. 6. No, no. It asks perfection, and less it will never accept. Not feeble attempts, but the vigorous execution: not faithless promises, but
punctual performance, will please it. Not the bowed knee, or the falling tear, but love to God with all the heart, and with all the soul, with all the strength, and with all the mind. It is not perfection for a time, were even that possible, which will please: the perfection must be perpetual. For so runs the law, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. iii. 10. Therefore not paying one debt, they become liable to a second: not fulfilling the precept, they are exposed to the penalty of the law. The one they owe as creatures: the other as sinners. Man having failed in duty, the demands of the law are become higher than at the beginning. Then it asked nothing but doing: now it requires suffering too. The threatening which was once conditional only, is now become absolute, the law being broken. Sinners are obnoxious to all that wrath which Adam's first sin, together with their own actual transgressions, have deserved. And what man, what angel can declare the power and extent of Jehovah's wrath? The law is devouring fire, and sinners are dry stubble. Having violated its authority, they are justly fallen under its inexorable curse. There is but a step betwixt them and the burning lake. Nothing but the divine forbearance, which they do not deserve, keeps them from being swallowed up in its boiling waves. The law which once demanded the man's love only, lays him now under an arrest, and demands his death too: a death consisting in a total and an everlasting separation from God, the sole fountain of life; and in suffering the most excruciating torments in soul and in body for ever and ever. Therefore,
2dly. Such as are under the covenant of works, cannot possibly satisfy its high demands. Bound they are to pay what they owe, but ah, ah, they never can. As they owe a double debt, so are they under a double incapacity to pay. As sinners they cannot fulfil the precept of the law; and as creatures they cannot satisfy its penalty. The one is a contracted and moral
impotence, the other a natural and a physical. They cannot pay the one debt, because they will not; but they cannot pay the other, no not though they would. When man was in innocence his hands were sufficient for him: sufficient to do all that the covenant required, but his back was never able to bear all that it threatened. Created strength cannot bear all the weight of infinite wrath: cannot bear it away. The reason is obvious, the one is finite, the other infinite, and betwixt these there is no proportion: no not so much as between a drop and an ocean. Such the natural meanness of the creature at its best estate, that it can never satisfy for the indignity offered to the Creator by sin. And therefore let the sinner's capacity for suffering be ever so much enlarged, let the vessel of wrath be ever so much fitted to destruction, and let his punishment be continued myriads and millions of ages, still di vine justice must be unsatisfied, and cry, Give, give, as when the sinner first fell a victim into its hands.
But such is the misery of those under the covenant. of works, that they not only cannot do what they would, if by an impossible supposition they were will ing, to satisfy for their sins; but they cannot even will what they should. They cannot will to love and obey the Lord who made them. Their carnal mind is enmity against him: it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be, Rom. viii. 7. therefore they cannot please God, verse 8. In this respect they are without strength, Rom. v. 6. They cannot change their own dispositions. Their heart being enmity, can no more change itself in a moral sense, than a piece of matter can work upon itself, and change its form, and its qualities. As soon may the rough stone hewn out of the quarry, work itself into a smooth and splendid statue, as the corrupt heart sanctify itself. The one cannot oppose the statuary's hand, but the other resists the Holy Spirit of the Lord. Strong and lively is the scripture representation of the sinner's inability for any thing truly good. It calls him a servant, but such a servant who cannot provide for himself by flight, be