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“ the apostle, speaking of Christ's righteousness) it is “ of faith, that might be by grace, to the end the “ promise might be sure to all the seed."
In this sovereign manner and style runs the covenant, and every promise in it-I WILL BE THEIR GOD, of mine own mere motion and grace, and according to the good pleasure of mine own will—AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE—my will shall make them willing in the
my power : for I will work in them both to will and to do: yea, I will be a Father unto them, and they shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. The word Father relates to his children, and expresses the unchangeable love of his heart to wards them : it is a dear covenant name, and denotes the inseparable connection between him and his children: whenever they hear it, it should always excite in them an idea of his everlasting affection. He loves his family as a Father, and loves every one of them with the same almighty love. He cannot change. He cannot cease to be a Father, and they cannot cease to be his children. His name is a security to them, that they cannot perish: for if one of them could, they all might. And then his covenant purpose to bring many sons unto glory would be defeated his relation to them as their Father would be broken-he would be a Father without children--he would deny them the promised blessings--he would forget to be gracious to them -his will concerning them would change or would be over-ruled by some opposite will--and his great plan in the covenant would come to nothing. But these things cannot possibly be. He is the Father of his children, and he has engaged, by promise and oath, to love, to bless, and to keep them for ever. Out of
perfect love he gave them to his Son, who undertook to be their Saviour: he came and was made man, Jehovah incarnate, to live and die for them. He was so delighted with them (for he has all their names written in his book) and with the work, that he was straitened till it was accomplished. Blessings on him for ever, it is finished. The royal Saviour is upon the throne, almighty to save his dear redeemed. He would lose his name, which is above every name, the honours of his salvation would fade away upon his head, and the glories of his offices would come to nothing, if one whom Jesus lived and died to save should perish. But it is not possible. Whom he loves, he loves unto the end. “ I give unto them, says he, eternal life, and they shall
never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my “ hand." They are his seed--and it was covenanted, that he should see his seed. They are the travail of his soul and he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. How can he be satisfied, if any one of them should be lost ? He prayed—“Holy Father,
keep through thine own name, those whom thou hast “ given me, that they may be one as we are one.' And the Father always heard him. He prayed, that they might be with him, where he is, to see his glory : and the Holy Spirit covenanted to bring them to it - he undertook as his name Spirit imports, to breathe life unto them, to call, to convert them, to keep them, and to give them every thing needful for their spiritual life. How can they fail of coming to glory, being thus kept for it by the power of God? The Holy Spirit would lose his name Spirit or breath of life, and his office, which is to abide with, and to dwell for ever in the elect people of God, if any one of them should die from God, and perish. Thus there is full security given by the names and offices of the Trinity, that believers shall be kept from falling away. The father cannot be without his children. The glory of Jesus would fade away, if one of his redeemed was plucked out of his hand. The divine honours of the Spirit of life would be eclipsed, if he was to forsake his charge, and to suffer any of the redeemed to fall into hell. But these things cannot be. The will of the Father, Son, and Spirit, is the same concerning the salvation of the elect, which is as secure as covenant-bonds and oaths can make it.
Art thou then, O my soul, established in this great truth? Dost thou yield to the power of the evidence which the blessed Trinity have vouchsafed to give thee? Meditate carefully upon it for the growth of thy faith. Search the Scriptures, and observe how clearly God declares his fixed purpose to keep his people, and to hold them up unto the end. The great preacher of the gospel in the Old Testament church, speaks thus of the unchangeable will of a covenant God—“The “ mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but “my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall “ the covenant of my peace be removed,. saith the « Lord that hath mercy on thee.” A great preacher in the New Testament church, has confirmed the same precious truth. He is treating of the golden chain of salvation, and shewing how inseparable
every link of it is, and in this prospect he triumphs—“Who shall lay “any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God 66 that justifieth, who is he that condemneth ? It is “ Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who “ is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh 66 intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the “ love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or per6 secution, or famine, or nakedness, or sword ? Nay, « in all these things we are more than conquerors “ through him that loveth us." By the mouth of these two infallible witnesses the truth is established they depose, that the covenant is immutable, and that nothing can separate believers from the love wherewith God loves them in his Son. O most comfortable doctrine ! How encouraging is it in any undertaking to set about it with certain hope of success. How animating in our Christian walk, how reviving in the dark and difficult paths of it, to have God's promise, that he will keep us, and bring us to an happy end ! How pleasing is it to go on by faith in our warfare, casting all our care upon him, who careth for us! How delightful is it to trust his promise, and daily to find it made good“ Ye are kept by the power of “ God through faith unto eternal salvation.” Here, O my soul, thou art to seek for strong consolation amidst the trials and difficulties of thy walk. Thou art afraid of falling-God has engaged to hold thee up.
Thou hast been tempted to think thou shouldst fall quite away and come to nothing but God says, thou art PRESERVED in Christ Jesus- -His covenant and oath are made to confirm the faith of thy persevering. Thou standest by faith, and thy faith should lead thee to rest safely on what God says about thy standing: and for thy faith itself, its continuing, its increasing, thou hast hiš infallible faithfulness to depend upon. Thou art weak--but he keeps thee by his power.
Thine enemies are strong—but none of them shall pluck thee out of his hand. Thou art willing to join them, and to depart from the living God-but he has promised to put his fear into thy heart, and thou shalt not depart from him. He meets with thy doubts, and answers all thine objections in a word—For he hath said, I
WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE NOR FORSAKE THEE.
Be of good courage then, O my soul, and go forward, strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and he will bring thee safe to the end of thy journey: He has promised it. Put thyself into his hands, and give him the glory of keeping thee. He will hold up thy goings in his paths, that thy footsteps slip not.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. How then canst thou miscarry, safe under his guidance and keeping ? Commit thy ways unto the Lord. Do it simply. Look up by faith to his promise, and then lean on his arm. Thus going on thou mayest rejoice at every step in the Lord thy God. He has left thee a sweet hymn upon the subject; with which the weary travellers to Sion have' often refreshed their spirits. Take it up, and sing it after them. Study it. Mix faith with it: And with perfect reliance on what God, who cannot lie, has promised in it to do for thee,
sing and make melody with it in thy heart unto the Lord.
“ In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red “ wine : I the Lord' do keep it: I will water it "every moment: Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night “ and day : Fury is not in me: Who would set the “ briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go “ through them, I would burn them together. Or will “ he take hold of my strength, that he may make peace 66 with me, then he shall make
He 66 shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: “ Israel shall blossom and bud, and shall fill the face of o the world with fruit."
O my good God and faithful keeper, I do believe these precious promises; help mine unbelief. Forgive my distrusting thy faithfulness, and enable me stedfastly to rely upon it for the future. What return can I make unto thee for grafting me into the true vine ! O Lord this love surpasseth knowledge. I was fit for nothing but the fire, and thou hast brought me into the vineyard of red wine, and hast enabled me to trust in that blood of the Lamb, which cheereth God and
On this my soul lives and is refreshed. And being through grace in him, and living upon him, I bless thee, holy Father, for thy faithful promise to keep me unto the end. I am still an easy prey to all those who seek the hurt of my soul; but thou hast given me thy word, that lest any hurt me, thou wilt keep me night and day. I confess, gracious God, that I have dishonoured thee by doubting of thy love, and by questioning its unchangeableness, but now I believe that fury is not in thee to any one branch of the true vine. T'here is love, and nothing but love in all thy dealings with Christ, and with his. Forgive my guilty fears, and suspicions of thy forsaking me, arising from my weakness and from the strength of mine enemies : I now see that thou canst as easily consume them, as fire can briers and thorns. Lord increase my faith in thy promised strength, that I may lay hold of it for