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Behold the blood of the Covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” (Ex. xxiv. 6-11.) This sprinkling of the blood, and this feasting before the Lord, in his immediate presence, constituted the final ratification of the Covenant, -which, from that time forth, was fully established between God and Israel.
It was in remembrance of this Covenant, that the annual feast of Pentecost was observed. It is generally said, more vaguely, that it was in commemoration of the declaration of the Law from mount Sinai ; from which mode of expression, it is not easy to discover what connexion there is between the prescribed ceremonies of the Feast, and the events to which it is referred. Neither does the day, on which it was observed, agree to that on which the Law was given : but it does to that on which the Covenant was ratified. I have no doubt, therefore, that, speaking correctly, the Feast was observed in memory of this latter event, or to commemorate the establishment of the National Covenant ; to which also the observances of the day of Pentecost agree.*
* This requires further proof and illustration
Observe, therefore, that the feast of Pentecost was always kept on the 6th day of the third month.
For the Passover was killed on the fourteenth of the first month at even, and the fifteenth was the first day of unleavened bread, or the Passover Sabbath, as it is called, Lev. xxiii. 11-15, because it was a day of rest, and an holy convocation.
On the day following, or the sixteenth, the wave sheaf, or the first-fruits of the barley harvest, was presented. (Lev. xxiii. 11.) And, from this day, fifty days were to be counted, of which (beginning with the sixteenth of the first month,) We have in the first month
15 There would then be in the second
29 And we shall want
To make up the full number.
Universal obedience required by the first Covenant.--The bless
ings promised hereupon.- The reiterated violations of that Covenant, till it was finally abolished. The inexcusableness of those violations shewn, from the riches of God's mercy, displayed in the Covenant and its attendant circumstances.The depravity of man's heart, and the blindness of his inind, hence inferred.
From the foregoing history, we plainly see the nature of the first, or Sinai Covenant. And here it is principally to be observed, that observance to all the commandmenis of God was the condition upon which its blessings depended. “ If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, Then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people. (Ex. xix. 5.) And this condition is stated again and again. “ If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, &c. &c. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.-And I will set my 'tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.-But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments ; And if ye shall despise my statútes, or if your soul abhor my judgements, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that break
my covenant: 1 also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for Which will bring us precisely to the sixth day of the third month, when the two wave loaves of fine flour, or the first-fruits of the wheat harvest, were presented, as an acknowledgement to the Lord, that He had put them into possession of the land of Canaan,—which was the immediate blessing secured by the National Covenant,-as we have already seen from Ex. xxiii. 23——31. We find also that burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were offered on the day of Pentecost, even as they were on the morning of the day on which the Covenant was confirmed (compare Lev. xxiii. 18, 19, with Ex. xxiv. 5). Moreover, it was particularly commanded, that, on that day, the people should eat and drink, and rejoice before the Lord, as the elders of Israel did in the mount. (Compare Deut. xvi. Il with Ex. xxiv. 11.)
your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, &c. And if ye will not yet, for all this, hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” (Lev. xxvi. 3, 4; 9; 11, 12; 14-18.)
66 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do ALL his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth : And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.—But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do ALL his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day ; that all these curses shall come
upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. xxviii. 1, 2, 15.)
We might multiply passages upon this point, were it necessary. But it is enough, that we only observe further, the continual repetition of that word ALL. “ Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded
that ye may live.” “It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” “If ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD, &c.” (Deut. v. 33 ; vi. 25; xi. 22.) Many more passages might be added; but these abundantly suffice to prove, that the blessings of this Covenant were only to be obtained by strict and universal obedience before the Lord. Not merely before men, who look only on the outward appearance; but before the Lord, who seeth not as man seeth, but looketh on the heart. The requirements of this Covenant, therefore, were very great, extensive, and spiritual.
It is evident that the Israelites never fulfilled those requirements. Their whole history presents but one continual series of the most flagrant violations of the Covenant. They did not even refrain from open and gross idolatry—the sin against which they were most strictly warned, and which (under their peculiar circumstances) was peculiarly aggravated and inexcusable.
The Covenant had scarcely been made forty days, when they broke it by setting up the golden calf. And though, upon the intercession of Moses, that sin was pardoned, and the Covenant renewed, -yet it was broken again and again, till the measure of the iniquities of that generation was filled up by their unbelief and rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea ; and they were condemued to perish in the wilderness, without so much as setting foot upon the Promised Land. The Covenant was renewed with their children in the plains of Moab. (Deut. v. 3; and xxvi, 16—19.) And again by Joshua at the close of his life. (Josh. xxiv. 14—28.) And, though generation after generation still rebelled and despised it, (as we find from the beginning of Judges to the end of 2 Kings,) the Lord still was gracious to the people whom he had chosen, — returning to them with mercies again and again,—and (beyond all reasonable hope and expectation) fulfilling His part of the Covenant with unwearied patience and forbearance,-with most astonishing faithfulness and mercy. But all this patience and mercy was rendered unavailing by the perverseness and wickedness of the people. This my Covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD." It was needful, therefore, for the vindication of His pure and spotless holiness, to manifest His wrath against such multiplied transgressions. His people had long walked contrary to Him: it now became Him “to walk contrary to thein also in fury." (Lev. xxvi. 28.) He brought upon them the armies of His vengeance, who burned the holy and beautiful house, in which they gloried, with fire, and made Jerusalem an heap of stones : He cast them out of the land which they had polluted with their idols, and left it desolate, as He had threatened : and thus was that Covenant finally annulled. Then might all the nations say,
“ Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land ? What meaneth the heat of this great anger ?” And no answer could be given, but that which was written in the volume of prophecy more than 900 years before : “ Because they have forsaken the Covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods
whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.” (Deut. xxix. 24-28.)
Here we must specially note, that it was the wickedness of Israel which made this Covenant void, and nothing else. The Covenant was ordered by a wise and merciful and holy God; and there was no want of condescension and goodness on His part. From first to last, He mani. fested himself, such as He is,-merciful and gracious, long-suffering, slow to anger, abundant in goodness and truth. To make this more evident, pause awhile upon the following particulars :
1. The grace and condescension of the Lord in entering into Covenant with men at all. • For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it ? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live ? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you
in Egypt before your eyes ? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else besides him.” “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.” (Deut. iv. 32–35; x. 14, 15.)
2. The excellence of the Covenant itself. Divine wisdom and mercy contrived it: nothing was contained in the commandments of the Lord, which it was not their privilege and blessedness, as well as their duty, to observe. “ Now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of