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an elect seed, and inscribed their names in the book of life before the foundation of the world; if he promised him that they "should never perish,” that none should "pluck them out of shis) hand,” “that of all which he had "given” him he should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day;"* if none but the elect are regenerated, as our text expressly declares; and if the covenant made with Christians engages infallibly to keep them from apostacy; then the perseverance of the saints is secured beyond a possibility of failure.
That such a covenant was made with Christ in behalf of his elect, was proved in a former lecture,t and is confirmed by the texts just now quoted. That compact you may see more largely displayed in the eighty-ninth Psalm; under the typical form of a covenant with David. "I have made a covenant with my Chosen:—thy seed will I establish forever.-Then thou spokest in vision to thy Holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon One that is mighty; I have exalted One chosen out of the people. His seed also will I make to endure forever:if his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes and keep not my commandments; ihen will I visit their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” Such was the everlasting covenant: and one of the contracting parties, when he was on earth, (that beloved Son who never asked in vain,) did, in the most solemn and formal manner, in his official character, lodge in heaven a prayer for the safe keeping of all this elect seed to the end of the world: “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee. As thou hast given him
* John vi. 39. and x. 3–5, 11, 14,-16, 26-29. + Pages 177, 178.
power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.— I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.-Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.--I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.–Sanctify them through thy truth.-Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.—And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.-Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” In accordance with this prayer he told his disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go. and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain."
Had not a seed been secured to Christ by such an absolute covenant, he might have entirely lost the reward of his death. He had no security for a sin. gle soul unless the covenant secured the whole. Remove now the immutable purpose and promise of God, and what hinders the whole body of believers on earth from apostatizing at once?' The Church may become extinct in a single day. But if things are left thus uncertain, what mean all the promises and oaths of God respecting the future glory of Zion?
In virtue of this everlasting covenant with the Redeemer, as soon as a soul is united to him by faith, it receives a sentence of justification which
forever frees it from the condemning sentence of the law: “Ye—are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him that is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.-Now we are delivered from the law, (that being dead wherein we were held,) that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.—There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.—Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" "The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins.—Then said he, Lo I come to do thy will, O God.--By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with ther: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” Though the drift of this passage is to prove that the death of Christ, once endured, was sufficient to take away sin without being repeated, yet the argument is so constructed as strongly to imply, what is explicitly asserted in the text, that all who by a union to Christ are once justified," are forever delivered from condemnation. Further, by this union men grow to Christ as members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones:” and will he suffer his members to be torn from his bleeding side? At the time this union is formed, they are “born of God,” become “sons" and "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,” to an inheritance incorruptible,—and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for [them,] who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Henceforth their title is, "NO MORE O servant but a son."
When in pursuance of the stipulations with his Son, God came in time to enter into covenant with his people, he bound himself to them individually as their everlasting God and portion, and engaged to take upon himself the whole charge of their salvation. These promises were not conditional but absolute. "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater he swore by himself, saying, SURELY blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.-For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise THE IMMUTABILITY OF HIS COUNSEL, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail.” The covenant which was afterwards made at Sinai, (called “the law,” in distinction from the Abrahamic which is called "the promise,") was conditional, and of course was broken. It was conditional or it could not have been broken. This is the covenant alluded to in the following remarkable passage: "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel,not according to the [CONDITIONAL] covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they broke;—but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, [an ABSOLUTE one:) After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people;—for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. They Shall be my people, and I will be their God. And I WILL give them one heart and one way that they may fear me FOREVER. And I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with them that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts THAT THEY SHALL NOT DEPART FROM ME." This passage is twice quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews as comprising the tenour of the covenant established with the Christian Church, which is therefore called by the apostle a better covenant [than that of Sinai,-established upon better promises."* And from this he infers that by one offering" Christ has “perfected forever them that are • sanctified,” and that “the worshippers, once purged," have “no more conscience of sins."
The same covenant is detailed in the numerous promises to the Church which are scattered through the Bible. "The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord will give GRACE and Glory.” “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you;— and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Among these promises may be reckoned those which
* Chap. vii. and s.