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sation. Till the consummation of all things, the law enjoining it will not be fulfilled; nor before that period will it pass away; and with it the exercise of Covenanting will endure. In every age there will be found those who, entering into explicit engagements with the Lord by oath, will obey his words,-“ Let him take hold of my strength,39 that may
make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."40 Finally,
Commands enjoining the exercise in all its parts. That such have been promulgated, there is distinct evidence. “ He hath commanded his Covenant for ever.”
That He delivered statutes, enjoining the keeping of his Covenant, these words imply. One of the duties of this Covenant was Covenanting. “ Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." They indicate, therefore, that this was enjoined. And of these statutes, like the foregoing, this other is explicit, “Be ye mindful always of his Covenant, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations."41
The exercise is inculcated in threatenings of Divine judgment uttered against such as disregard it.
In language peculiarly strong, it is said, “The uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant." And if it was culpable and dangerous to refuse a sign of the Covenant, is it not peculiarly so to refuse to accede to it in actually taking hold upon it? Hence, neglect of the duty has been denounced. “ The Lord said unto me, & conspiracy is found
tyn, a rad. 77y, firmus fuit. There is a striking connection between the import of this word, and that of 58,—that name of God, which literally means robur, strength, and from which comes 75x, an oath.
40 Is. xxvii. 5. 1} 1 Chron. xvi. 15.
among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them : the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant, which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.”42 Among the observances engaged to by Israel at Sinai, were those of vowing and swearing. But for disobeying the words of that Covenant, and consequently, for not observing the exercise of Covenanting, many were threatened with a curse. " Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you : so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.”43 To show that the sin of refusing to engage in this exercise is corresponding to that of breaking the Covenant of God, and consistent with it, those who have broken their vows, and those who have not in vowing sought the Lord, are classed and threatened together. "I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off ...... them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him.”44 The sin of refusing to Covenant, when found in the visible Church, is the breach of an anterior Covenant obligation to engage in the service, and is punishable as a breach of Covenant. And finally, what a powerful motive to perform the duty is afforded in the Saviour’sdenunciation,-"He that denieth me before men shall be denied before 42 Jer. xi. 9_U. 43 Jer. xi. 3, 4.
Zeph, i. 4,6.
the angels of God!" And, it is also commanded in those denunciations that are uttered against such as do not perform it aright. Were it not lawful, declarations concerning the manner of doing it would not be made. In the Scriptures there is no such thing as the condemnation of insincerity in making an evil engagement; but every such compact is forbidden. When, therefore, as in many passages, swearing falsely is denounced with a heavy curse, swearing properly is virtually enjoined, and consequently, there is in like manner enjoined, every species of Covenanting in which the oath is applicable.
Personal Covenanting is commanded. Every individual, willing or unwilling, is a moral subject of the Mediator. On every one, therefore, as an individual, obedience to his law is obligatory. To every one He says, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” These words were indeed addressed at first to the Israelites; and they imply the existence of a Covenant relation between God and them. But they address a command to engage in Covenanting to all to whom they are known. On the same principle, that the application of them would be confined to the people of God, might every precept of the moral law be reckoned obligatory on believers alone. But even as the epistles of the inspired servants of Christ, though addressed to saints, commanded the attention of all who were in the churches that received them, and invited the regard of them as under an obligation to sustain in reality the character which they professed, so those precepts which were addressed to the Church of God in every age, not merely commanded obedience to the duties inculcated in them, but enjoined all to endeavour to attain to the character of the Covenant people to whom ther were first delivered. The saints of God alone can render acceptable obedience; but all are
commanded to obey. Commands enjoining Covenanting must be obligatory on men, in an individual, or in a social capacity, or in both. But they cannot be obeyed by men in an incorporate condition, without being obeyed by each member as an individual. The whole engage, only by each giving consent. If the whole society were reduced to one, the moral duties engaged to by the whole, ought, according to his circumstances, to be engaged to by that one alone. And as the duties frequently incumbent on a given person could not be explicitly engaged to by a society, so he himself is called to Covenant to discharge these duties ; and each precept, enjoining the service in general, may be considered as addressing each one as an individual.
SOCIAL COVENANTING is commanded. The exercise is acknowledged in the Scriptures as a fact, and stands there uncondemned. And seeing that the law of God ought to be viewed as extending its authority to every exercise that may be
performed, those commands that inculcate the service in general, should be interpreted as enjoining the performance of this. Besides, though each of these commands is delivered to all individually, yet many of them are addressed to men in an incorporate relation, and cannot be understood as enjoining duty merely upon them singly. Again, social duties, not less than duties of a personal character, are sanctioned in the Divine law, and no reason can be given for vowing to perform those of the latter class, that does not countenance the exercise of socially Covenanting to discharge those of the other. And, finally, this view is beautifully illustrated by the designation of the people of God as his "witnesses.' “ Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen.”:45 Their witnessing for him is a part of his service, and is
45 Is. xliii. 10.
therefore commanded. The witness testifies not unfrequently by the oath ; and a testimony in its most general acceptation must be considered as accompanied by the use of it. The people of God testify for him in the use of the oath. It is not singly alone, but also in their social capacity, that they do so; nor is it merely in secret, but likewise before the eyes of the world. Even as the witness swears to the truth of his deposition; even as various witnesses by oath testify to the same facts observed by them; the people of God, by Covenanting, harmoniously testify to His precious truth in swearing by his name:
To this they are called by his high authority; their oath sworn in their social capacity is prescribed by his command. But particularly,
Covenanting, in an Ecclesiastical capacity, is commanded. The visible Church of Christ is a moral subject. The Redeemer “ gives it existence, organises, incorporates, and purchases it,---confers upon it interesting properties—accomplishes important ends by it—institutes its ordinances-prescribes the qualification of its members—appoints, qualifies, and invests its office-bearers—renders its administration effectual, and diffuses and perpetuates it.”46 Individual churches, sound in the faith, having a lawful and regular ministry, and enjoying the ordinances of grace properly dispensed, being Sections of the true Church, are each accordingly subject to the Mediator; and the precepts prescribed to the whole, they receive as addressed to themselves. All the laws that enjoin the exercise of Covenanting, were delivered to the Church. Her members, in an individual capacity, are bound by all these. These laws demand, too, the obedience of the whole Church in her associate capacity, and
46 See the Rev. Dr. William Symington, on “ The Mediato-, rial Dominion of Jesus Christ," chap. vii.-
.-a work of acknow. ledged high merit, which cannot, at any time, be too extensively known.