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116

THE NEW COVENANT CONTRASTED WITH THE OLD.

the mountains of Israel; of which they are to be given possession, according to the terms of this new covenant. By this also their national councils are to be regulated, equally with their private and personal concerns. And as to the Jews, they have generally looked to the old national covenant, which they have not kept, and do not keep, and according to which they can never regain possession.

The announcement of a New Covenant is, indeed, worthy of note, first by the Jew, that he may be made to look for that which is presented in the gospel.-Its newness is to be remarked by also the outcasts of Israel: for it is not new as to individual salvation. In this respect it is older than the former national covenant made with Israel; inasmuch as it is the same which had been hundreds of years before, declared unto Abraham: who was justified by faith, as were all the children of God both before and since. They were, and are, all individually saved according to the terms of the new covenant. As to individual salvation, it therefore, is not new, in contrast to the covenant made with Israel at Mount Sinai; but it is new as a national covenant—as a covenant according to which Israel and Judah are to be received into the land, and be accepted by Him there as his nation, they taking the Lord himself as their King—the King whom all Israel rejected in the days of Samuel, four hundred and ninety years before their being outcast; and whom Judah procured to be crucified forty years before their dispersion. This King Eternal, the Jews will acknowledge as the King Immortal—and they will earnestly cry for the return of our risen Lord-And this King immortal, Israel will joyfully submit to as their Ruler, while He is yet invisible: whom having not seen they love-in whom, though now they see Him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Both Israel and Judah, repenting at length of their folly and wickedness, shall submit unto Him as the only wise God; and seek to

be saved by His grace, and directed by His truth.

There is a clear distinction drawn between this covenant and the former national one. The contrast is drawn by the Lord Himself. This is “ Not according to the 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 brake: Should I have continued an husband unto them, saith the Lord?” He had espoused Israel unto Himself, engaging, upon their submitting to Him as their Guardian and Governor, to be their God—to lead them into the land of promise, and protect them in the possession thereof. In token of their subjection to Him, certain services, as those of the ceremonial law, were to be performed by them. These they neglected; and they lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation; and at length the great body of the people sought to be relieved from what they esteemed to be a yoke too grievous to be borne; and the Lord gave them their request.—He gave Israel a bill of divorce, and sent her away. She cannot be married to Him again according to that covenant; neither does He propose that she should. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: after those days, saith the Lord.”—After the days of separation, during which both the contracting parties would have died, that so they might lawfully be united in the newness of life. He took to Him a human body, fulfilled for her the law which she had broken; died for his people's sins, and rose again for their justification. She hath passed through a national death during the predicted seven times, or until the third day of a thousand years; and He promised that on the third day He would raise us up, and we should live in his sight, be brought back to dwell before him in His own land,-in a land which is to be emphatically the land of the living; and upon which will be the eyes of the Lord from the beginning of the year unto the end of

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it. Israel will be brought forth as from their graves.

Their scattered dust will be collected into oneness. As, in spirit, risen with Christ, they will set their affections upon things above; and will look, and likewise prepare for that life of immortality, in which the consummation of the marriage is to take place. But there is a time of preparation. He hath purposed to present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.He wants not only to have individuals prepared, but his whole natiori.

And this is the preparation: “I will put my law in their inward parts:” and not merely in the ark of the covenant, in the inner temple as before; and now He will write it in their hearts, and not only upon tables of stone. We shall know the love that God hath manifested as the Redeemer of Israel, as redeeming us with his own blood, that He might accomplish his counsel of peace; and we shall love Him who first loved Thoroughly convinced of the folly of withstanding His will, and fully convinced that his will towards us is good, we shall render ourselves up wholly into his hands, that He may give us an understanding of all that He would have us to do, and also give us the ability to do it.— We should diligently inquire as to what the will of the Lord is; and what He reveals unto us of his mind, let us not merely, as heretofore, have as a book in our hands, or only as words in our mouths, upon which we seek to put the impression of our own minds: Let us have the mind of Christ: then we shall have that spirit that searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God. We shall not esteem ourselves to be wiser than He is, but submit to be taught of God: and what we are taught will be deposited in our inmost affections and it will direct our thoughts, and regulate our lives. And that which shall rule will be the royal law—the law of liberty—the law of love. An enlightened desire to act for the glory of Him who hath re

us.

deemed us, and for the good of all we have the power of benefiting, and especially for the edification of the household of faith. We shall look unto Jesus who loved us unto the death; we shall look unto Christ as exalted to the Father's right hand, and long for a full conformity to Him, and a union in glory with Him. We shall earnestly prepare for his coming, to receive us into the place He hath gone to prepare for us.—So shall the place of his feet-yea, of his throne-yea, of where he will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel, be prepared. In the prospect of reigning with Him in heaven, we shall not deny Him his sovereignty upon earth.

God by his grace will accomplish all this—and He will powerfully work for those in whom He thus works. He will direct, uphold, defend, and keep: so that although the wicked may gnash with his teeth at all the prosperity the Lord will procure for his people, he shall not be able to prevent it.--God will overrule all for the good of his people, so that even the fire of their enemies will but consume the obstacles out of the way of the heralds of the kingdom. And these, seeing the power of their God so manifestly put forth in vindication of the truth, and in defence of righteousness, will the more entirely devote themselves to the will of their King. When our God hath in the Holy Land, a holy people--a people whom, consistently with his holiness, He can defend, He will not be backward to put forth his arm of power--as in the days of old, when He made the former national covenant with Israel —Yea, his counsel shall stand-the word shall be accomplished, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” They were made, Lo-ammi, “ not my people,” as having the former national covenant dissolved; but again they are taken into national covenant with Him.He hath promised with regard to the lost house of Israel, Hos. ii. 23,“ And I will sow her unto me in the earth, and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will

118

MINISTRATION OF THE NEW COVENANT.

66

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say to Not my people;" Thou

"My people;" and they shall say, My God."*

There is a distinction also as to the ministration of this covenant. The high priest was appointed to mediate between God and his people. It was appointed that “the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he the messenger of the Lord of hosts;" but now all shall have access to God through our one Mediator, Christ Jesus. They all have access into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. They shall enjoy their privilege, “ If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” They shall know the truth of what is said, 1 John ii. 27,

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it hath taught you ye shall abide in him.” None shall be ignorant of the Lord.

“ And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord.” There shali be "One Lord, and his name one."-80 that they shall not be, every one, putting forth his own confused and contradictory views, as the knowledge of the Lord. Human coercion will not be employed to effect this. It is light that will have banished the darkness light, in which the assumption of spiritual pride, the exclusive pretensions of either an ignorant or an intelligent priesthood, can have no place: “For they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord."

The mercy-seat, upon which was the sprinkling of blood, was over the ark of the covenant, in which was deposited the law of the ten commandments, written upon tables of stone. Above the ark was the seat or throne of the Lord: “ And in those days they

shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord.It shall be the habitation of justice and judgment. The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem ; and all this shall be by the powerful application of the atoning blood, which, on Calvary, was shed for the sin of the people; and because of which, the Lord will accomplish his promise, “ For I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. It is because of this that He will manifest himself as their God, and they shall be made His people. They are redeemed and sanctified by that blood. It is through the redemption by that blood, that the law is written in their hearts, and placed in their inward parts. Each of them-yea, all of them as one, shall say, “ By the grace of God I am what I am "-" I am the Lord's."

Upon the mercy-seat, so consecrated, the Lord in his glory will visibly descend, and dwell in the midst of his people so prepared.

From what hath been said, it may be clearly seen, that God, as the God of redemption--that He who hath ratified the new covenant with the blood of atonement, is fully pledged for, not only the restoration of the Jews, but for the recovery of IsraelAnd thus also may we see that it is only according to the terms of this latter covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and not according to that which they have broken, that Judah can inherit blessing. The New Testament, although given to a people bearing the name of Gentiles, was, as we have seen, designed more particularly for Israel, whom it was to reach as being called Not His people, but who were, through grace, to become His people, according to the terms of this new covenant. And into the blessing of this covenant, not only individuals, as we have seen, are to be brought, but the whole body of the people, consisting of both Israel and Judah, who shall be given to reinhabit the land when the present desolations are accomplished.

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VER. 35, 36. The God who upholds and controls all in the Heavens and on the Earth, gives His wordi,

that, however Israel might cease from the View of Mun, they woull never cease from being a Nation before Him for ever.

“Thus saith the Lord,
Who giveth the sun for a light by day,
And the ordinances of the moon and of the stars
For a light by night,
Who divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar,
The Lord of hosts is his name.
If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel also shall cease
From being a nation before me for ever.'

IT scems to have been supposed by many, that, although in the case of Israe) remaining to this day, and being found within hearing of the gospel, God would have fulfilled his promise, of receiving them into the enjoyment of New Testament privileges; yet, they having ceased to be a nation, having utterly passed away from the face of the earth, he has been obliged to take another people in their stead, upon whom to bestow the blessings of his first-born. The Jews seem to have been the first in this folly, — taking to themselves the name, and claiming the privileges of Israel, as if they were the only representatives of All Israel, unto whom the promises were made. And others, calling themselves Gentiles, have since excluded

the remnant of Israel: supposing the blessing to have entirely passed away from the natural branches. Both Jew and Gentile appear to have been ignorant of the mystery; and have become wise in their own conceits. They seem to have forgotten that the Mighty God who upholds creation, who directs alike the regular movements of the heavenly bodies, and controls the tumultuary heavings of the deep, is the same God who hath promised preservation and restoration

to Israel, as well as to Judah; and certainly to both Israel and Judah as such, as well as to the sons of the stranger, who may join themselves to the Lord, and lay hold upon his covenant, and so be built up in the midst of his people. See Is. lvi. These are not excluded: but neither does the extension of the blessing to the sons of the stranger exclude

the very people unto whom the New Testament blessings were especially promised. The God who hath been controlling the destiny of the sons of Jacob, and who hath promised to make with them the new covenant we have been considering, is the same God who created the heavens and the earth, and by whom all are upheld in being. It is not to be supposed that His purposes of love towards his people have been frustrated, through their dropping out of existence, or failing to be found in the countries into which He hath sent his word after them, in order to procure their recall.

This Mighty God points to the manifestation of his wisdom and power in the heavens above; and assures us that He who giveth the sun for a light by day; the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, will never allow this supposed

even

120

THE MIGHTY GOD, THE SUSTAINER OF ISRAEL.

case to happen to Israel. The stars in their regular courses move according to His bidding; and the sun which is so bright an image of his own divine power, enlightening and vivifying the inhabitants of earth, rising from the east, and proceeding in the direction in which hath proceeded his own lifegiving word, is itself given as a sign to his people that their case is not hid from Him; nor is his power put forth irrespective of them. They are the very people in relation to whom his light hath gone forth, and his power is exerted. They are the very people who have encircled the globe from the east, and whose part it is widely to diffúse his light, with all the power He hath given them, among the nations who have long sat in darkness. And now they are called to contemplate the element upon which they have been thus far borne, so as to encircle every shore; and, whilst they see in it pictured forth the apparently unmanageable tumults of the people, they are to think of Him whose path is in the mighty waters;" Who divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar. The Lord of Hosts is his name. doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand from working, nor say unto him, What doest thou? It is He who saith to the sea in its utmost fury, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. How striking are the words of this Mighty God, and how weli calculated to put to silence the surmisings of unbelief, as to the possibility of his failing to overrule all for the accomplishment of his purposes with regard to Israel: “ If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." They might

cease to exist in man's esteem. Amidst the confused conflictings of nations, they might to appearance be cast away, or be lost to the view of man; but to the eye of Omniscience they would ever be present; by the hand of Omnipotence they would ever be upheld. As through the Red Sea, a path was cleft for their fathers, so for them, we may rest assured, would a way be made, so that they might be preserved and conducted into the enjoyment of all that is promised. The laws of Providence, as constant and sure as the laws of creation, would be ever tending towards this; and undoubtedly this has been the case with regard to the people we identify with Israel. The very changes which have been for the wasting of other nations, have been for their improvement and elevation.

May they see, and acknowledge the working of the Mighty God, the God of heaven and earth, the God of Israel; and confessing that it is of his own free goodness they have been thus dealt with; that it is in Him they live, and move, and have their being, may they yield themselves up unto Him, in living faith, with a knowledge of His purposes with regard to them; daring to do whatever he appoints, whoever may gainsay“ Fear God, his saints, and you will then

Have nothing else to fear;
Make

ye
his service

your delight,
He'll make your wants his care."

The power which hath upheld the natural seed of Israel hitherto, is well able to uphold the spiritual Israel in all his whole will. And the spiritual Israel being recognised as of the natural Israel, and given their appointed position in the sight of all nations, will never cease, either before God or man, from being a nation. They will constantly live in His sight for ever.

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