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SERMON IV, V.*
CHRIST the People's Covenant.
I s A i A ì xlii. 6. --I will give thee for a covenant of the people.' M Y dear friends, if your ears be open, there are
TV three things that you may hear this day. ' I. You may hear what ministers will say; but that is a matter of fmall moment; and it is but a poor errand; if you be only come to hear what a poor mortal, finful fellow-creature will say to you. Little matter what we say, if God himself do not speak in to your hearts: Therefore, il
2. You may 'hear what God says to you: this is matter of great moment, for God's speaking can make · us both hear and live, though we were as dead as stocks, or stones. He fpake the old creation out of nothing, and he can speak a new creation out of us, who are worse than nothing. Indeed it will be a wonder, if he do not” speak terrible things in righteousness unto us,
because of our sins; and really if he speak to us out of . Christ, it will be dreadful. Therefore,
3. You may come to hear what God says to Christ, and this is the greatest moment of all. To hear what ministers say to the congregation, is a little thing; to hear what God says to you, is a great thing; but to hear what God says to Christ, is one of the greatest
things that can be heard. God in his word speaks to '' the sons of men, and perhaps you have noticed that. But
* This was an Action-Sermon, preached immediately before the celebration of the Lord's supper, at Dunfermline, August 19. 1722. To which is annexed, The Substance of some Discourses, after the Sacrament, upon the same subject. The after-enlargements on this subject, were mostly placed under their relpes. sive general hacads of method,
he speaks also to the Son of God; to his eternal Son ; and perhaps that is what you have little noticed to this day. Why, what fays he to Christ? Is it any thing that we the people are concerned with ? Yes, what he says to Christ is of the greatest concern to us, and it is this, “ I will give thee for a covenant of the people.” O, might the great and eternal Father say to his great and eternal Son, who is one God with him and the eternal
Spirit, Behold there is a company of people meeting in · Dunfermline about a coinmunion-table, with a view to
the sealing of the covenant; but their work will be to little purpose, if they view not tulee, my beloved Son, to be the spring, the spirit, the life, the all of the cove. nant: their covenant will be but a poor bargain without TIIEE; and therefore, “ Behold, I will give TheE for a covenant of the people!” O a sweet saying a's ever was said in the world! and no wonder, for it is a part of a ser. mon whereof God himself is the Preacher, and Christ is the text, and the Spirit is the voice that conveys it. If we had much of this Spirit with us, we might fee how sweetly this glorious Preacher handles this wonderful text, from the beginning of the chapter: O how sweetly does he speak of him in the first four verses! and how sweetly does he speak to him from the fifth verse and downward !
1. How sweetly does he speak of him? “ Beliold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth,” etc. That Christ is the subject here treated of, you need not question, if you compare this first verse with Matth. xii. 18. where Christ exprelly applies .it to himself: and now, when the Father here speaks of Christ, every word is a word of commendation; he commends him for a good fervant in his mediatory work, “ Behold niy fervant whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my foul delig! teth:" He commends him for a well-qualified Saviour; “ I have put my spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles:" He commends him for a meek Saviour; “ He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street,” ver. 2.: He', commends him for a tender-hearted Saviour; “ A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall
he he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth,” yer. 3.: He commends him for an able Saviour, that will go through with his work, maugre all impediments; • He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth, ver. 4.; and the isles fhall wait for his law;” the isle of Britain not excepted, and not forgetting Scotland in the north end of it." called; for he was willing to the work, and voluntarily offered himself, “ Lo, I cone; -I delight to do thy will, O my God:” He was rightly called; for as God did liim no wrong, so he did himlelt right, and provided for the glory of all his perfections in this way.
2. How sweetly does he speak to him; froni ver. 5,6.! And here notice both the divine .preface to this part of the fermon, and then the divine discourse.
(1.) The Preface, sewing the glorious dignity of the Preacher, ver. 5.“ Thus faith the Lord.” Here the glorious JEHOVAH is commending himself, as it well becomes him, and none but him to do. Who is it that is speaking? It is the Lord, the great Lord of heaven, earth, and inankind: it is the Lord of all the heavens, that is speaking; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it: it is the Lord of all man. kind that is speaking; he that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that dwell therein.Why then, he is the God that hath authority to make the following covenant with the Messiah, and give a commission to him. Therefore,
(2.) Notice the divine Discourse itself, and what he fays to Christ, ver. 6. " I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people,” etc. He had spoken sweetly of him, and here he speaks as sweetly to him: and in this speech is opened up to us the great mystery of the covenant of redemption betwixt the Father and the Son from eternity; and the opening thereof in time makes it a covenant of grace to us. And here we may see several parts of the indenture he binds and obliges himself untó. ! The firit piece of the indenture is, “ I have called thee in righteousness.” Here is the vocation; he takes not this office of being Mediator upon him, without
being called thereto; and God called him thereto in · righteousness: he was rightly called; for the right of
redemption fell into his hand: he was rightly called; for he was able for the work, and fit for it: he was rightly
The second piece of the indentire is, “ I will hold thise hand;" that is another thing he fays to him: Go, says he, and I will hold thee by the hand all the way; I will bear the expences of that hard service: Christ goes this warfare 011 God's charges; he bears equal burden in the work of our redemption. We misplace our love, if we love not the Father as well as the Søn: the three glorious persons of the adorable Trinity had all one will - to it, and they go liand in hand about it; "I will hold thine hand.”
Tire third piece of the inden!ure, or the other thing he says to Christ, is, “ I will keep thee;" 1, says the great JEHOVAH to the God-inan Mediator, I will keep thee, when the sins of an elect world shall all meet upon thee; when the curses di the larv, the terror of justice, the vengeance of heaven, and the fury of earth thall in: vade and enconpass thee, I will keep and prefèrve thee, and make all these red-leas to divide and make way for thee to pass through triunphantly:
The fourth piece of the indenture is in the words of our text, and it is one of the great and glorious thin's he says to Christ; “ I will give thee for å covenant of the people, a light to the Gentiles,” etc. Whatever be, their ni:alady, I will give thee to be a suitable remedy. Havē 'they broken covenant? I will give thee to be a better covenant. But what of that, while they are ige ñorant? Why then, “ I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles." But what though they have light,, if they have not fight too? for a blind man hath no benefit of the fun; why then, “ I will give thee to open the blind eyes.” Biit what though they have both light and light, if they be still in a dark prison; bound and fettered there? Why, I will give thee for this end, “ To bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that fit in darkness out of the prison-house.'' O but these are sweet promises made to Christ, and in him to us; and the leading one, VOL. I. - M
comprehends the reft, is in these words, “I will give thee for a covenant of the people.”. Where, without critical division, you may notice these two things. 1. The gracious designation and title that Christ bears, a covenant of the people. 2. His glorious ordinance and ap. pointment thereto, I will give thee for that end.
1. The glorious defignation and title of honour that he bears; he is called, a covenant of the people : and here he is described by his relation to the covenant, and by his relation to us by this means. His relation to the covenant is such, that he is designed, the covenant it«felf; he is the head and heart of the covenant; he is ; the foundation and cap-fone of the covenant; the bottom and top of the covenant; the Alpha and Omega of the covenant; the first and the last etter of the cove. nant; the all in all of the covenant. The first covenant. head brake and fell; and he falling, all his feed fell. The second covenant-head stands; and he standing, all his feed stand in him; “ My covenant shall stand fast in him.''-Again, his relation to us by this means. To whom is he a covenant? Even a covenant of the people, of the Gentiles. O good news to us poor Gentiles!
2. His glorious ordination and appointment unto this business; “ I will give thee:” and here also every word hath some głory in it. Here is the glorious person or. daining him, in the pronoun I; I JEHOVAH do it: here is the glorious person ordained, in the pronoun THEE ; "I will give THEE:" here is the glorious manner of the ordination, it is by way of free and gratuitous gift ; “I will give thee:” and here is the glorious reason and moy. ing cause of the whole, even the sovereign will of God; " I will give thee." But the further explication of these particulars, I refer to the prosecution of the doctrine.
Observ. That, by divine ordination, Christ is the
covenant of the people.
The only scripture I name for the confirmation, is Isa. xlix. 8. “ Thus faith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee; and in a day of salvation have I help. ed thee : and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a co.