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soul.” 103


covenant with them.... I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels. Supplication may be made for joy in vowing and swearing by his name. “ Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my

The Church of God, yea, many nations, are commanded to rejoice, performing this service. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion : for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people : and I will dwell in the midst of thee: and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” 104 On a solemn occasion, all Judah rejoiced at the oath which they had sworn. Promises are made, that, engaging in this exercise, many will rejoice. Those who shall take hold on the Covenant of God will be joyful in his house of prayer. 106 As he did on a former occasion, 147 when the Lord turns the captivity of Israel, and takes them into covenant with himself, he will cause them to rejoice. And the Gentile nations, in like manner, engaged as they were, shall be filled

“ Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name....Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” 108 And 102 Is. lxi. 8–10. 103 Ps. lxxxvi. 4.

104 Zech. ii. 10, 11, 105 2 Chron. xv. 15.

106 Is. Ivi. 6, 7.

107 Neh. xii. 43, 108 Rom. xv. 8, 9, 13.

with joy.

" 109

the rejoicing thus variously represented is according to Divine ordination. It is said, “Behold, my servant shall sing for joy of heart, but


shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.

And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen : for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name. That be who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes." But concerning these words, as well as others that precede them, it is said by Him whose Spirit dictated them, - Behold it is written before me. How elevated is the rejoicing of God's Covenant people! Theirs is a joy which the world cannot give nor take away. With it a stranger cannot intermeddle ; it is unspeakable and full of glory! It is the joy of the Lord !

Increase of grace. The Covenant people are a remnant according to the election of grace.110 To that grace, therefore, which comes from the free favour of God they were chosen by him. They are heirs of the grace of life ; 11 and, consequently, in God's purposes, according to his Covenant, they were set apart to the enjoyment of grace that should be progressive. They are planted in the house of God, and grow up and flourish in his courts ; and there they still bring forth fruit in old age. They are the planting of the Lord; and according to his purpose, as well as to his actual disposal of them and their own engagements to be for Him, they stand there. Passing towards the heavenly temple, they go on from strength to strength. In taking hold on him, in vowing and swearing to him, they do so, and find that the Lord indeed is their strength. And as they find thus 109 Is. Ixv. 14, 16, 6.

110 Rom. xi. 5.

111 1 Pet. iii. 7.

that the Lord ordains strength for them, they know that he had so ordained at first. To them that fear the name of the Lord, and accordingly avouch him to be their God, is made the promise, “ But unto

you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth,


grow up as calves of the stall." i12 That promise, as well as every other, is due to his immutable counsel. 113 Finally, the command is given, “ Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 114

To grow in grace is, therefore, co-ordinate with increase in the knowledge of Christ-even of that knowledge which is attained to in cleaving to his Covenant. And he himself teaches, that fitness to do so was provided according to his purpose.

66 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Perseverance in grace. God's Covenant with his people shall not be broken.

66 I will never break my covenant with you.' 66 The Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance." 117

He will give grace to cleave to it continually. “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.'

."118 Believers were given to Christ, and therefore they cannot be lost. “And I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my


" 116

115 John

xv. 16.

112 Mal. iv, 2. 113 Heb. vi. 17. 114 2 Pet. iii. 18.

116 Judg. ii. 1. 117 Ps. xciv. 14; see also Is. liv. 9, 10. 118 Jer. xxxii. 40.

Father's hand.” 119 Trusting in him, therefore, his people rejoice to say, “ Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” 120

And eternal life. This consummation unspeakable is indissolubly connected with the purpose of God, and the believer's exercises of adhering to the Covenant. On the promise of eternal life the heirs of it lay hold in Covenanting ; and to this they were chosen. They cleave to the covenant as an Everlasting Covenant, well ordered in all things and sure: that is all their salvation, and all their desire. And to that final salvation they were chosen. “ Whom he did predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” 121

Who can describe that life ? and who can sufficiently tell of the grace of Him who hath secured it to men ? And who should not feel amazed at the backwardness of sinners to prepare for it—so free and beneficently offered ? Truly the glory of God is great in his salvation ! The redeemed through eternity will find the glad work of declaring that glory undone. Would that sinners now, by accepting of the great salvation, would begin here, and finally be prepared to celebrate with all others of their race redeemed to God, that glory!

In conclusion. As in every case the purposes of God harmonize with his precepts, so the manifestation of those in reference to the keeping his Covenant, unites with express injunctions of his law in urging to discharge that duty. The law of God conspires with his revealed purposes to lead the sinner to obedience ; and his purposes revealed illustrate the import of his law. Both consist with his nature. What in his providence accords with both, at once acknowledges the high claim which 119 John x. 28, 29. 120 2 Tim. ii. 19.

121 Rom. viii. 30.

he has upon the willing exertions of men 'to serve him, and his right to appoint, independently of a specified statute, what shall be carried into effect. The law of God is the rule according to which men act; and that is illustrated by his purposes revealed. His purpose is the rule according to which he acts, and that is consistent with his law. Accompanied by the sanction of both, Covenanting is revealed; and not less than as dictated in his law, it appears, as according to his purpose, an ORDINANCE of God.

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