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just wrath, and if left to himself he must have perished for ever. Here, then, is manifested the boundless compassion and tender love of God. John iii, 16; 1 John iv, 10 ; Rom. v, 8. The reconciliation begins in his own infinite grace, displayed in redemption by Jesus Christ, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto his ministers the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor. v, 19.
The new covenant is administered by a MEDIATOR. A Mediator is one who goes between parties at variance. Man, being a sinper, and so at enmity with God, the plan of grace which God devised, required the interposition of a Mediator to carry it into effect. Jesus Christ, our Lord, is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises than the law of Moses. When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. But besides obtaining the blessings of this covenant, he, as Mediator, dispenses them to us.
Great as they are, and freely as they are now bestowed, if their communication were to depend on the will and endeavours of fallen man, we should never receive them. The whole administration of the Gospel dispensation is in his hands. Jesus Christ is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. He sends the ministers of the new covenant, (2 Cor. iii, 6.) to gather men into his church; he makes his people willing in the day of his power. Ps. cx, 3. He, of his own grace and love, when they were dead in sins, quickens them by his Holy Spirit, and purifies them unto himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works.
The administration of this dispensation is carried on in the hearts of men, by the secret and gracious influ.
ence of the HOLY GHOST, who is sent by Jesus Christ to convince and comfort, guide and govern, illuminate and instruct, preserve and sanctify his people while they sojourn here below, and thus prepares them for his eternal kingdom of glory above. Hence the gift of the Spirit is peculiarly promised, and much more largely dispensed under this covenant; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.
The new covenant declares a way of SALVATION, the only way of salvation, and a salvation including deliverance from the guilt and power of sin, and the gift of eternal life. All are freely bestowed. By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselres, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. ii, 8–10. distressed and anxious mind enquire, What must I do to be saved? The answer in the new covenant is plain and express-Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Acts xvi, 30. This remarkably distin guishes it from the old covenant. The tenor of that was, the man that doeth these things shall live by them. The tenor of the new is, with the heart man BELIEVETH unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. x, 5-9,
The new covenant has two leading ORDINANCES, also distinguishing it from the old-Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is the appointed ordinance for our introduction into the visible church, and the Lord's Supper manifests our continuance therein.
It is UNIVERSAL in the proposal of its blessings. Nothing can be more free, general, and unlimited than
its invitations. This is a point of the utmost importance to the comfort and hope of the burdened and afflicted conscience, and the passages shewing this are delightfully clear and express. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isa. lv, 1. Jesus stood and cried, if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. Isa. vii, 37. Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely. Rev. xxii, 17. O Christian reader let nothing tempt you to refuse so free and gracious an invitation.
Again, it contains PROMISES exactly suited to all' our wants. See Jer. xxxi, 31-34; Heb. viii, 8-12. There are the blessings of redemption for the captive, pardon for the sinful, justification for the guilty, purification for the polluted, strength for the weak, wisdom for tho ignorant, and belp for the helpless. It proposes, in short, a full remedy for all our evils. The Scriptures are the records of its benefits. Let us search them diligently, that we may have as full a knowledge as we can of all it contains for our use. The chief blessing is, indeed, eternal life. For this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son; he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. Nor are these uncertain promises; they are all Yea and Amen, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The new covenant, therefore, gives the believer great SECURITY, It is well ordered in all things, and sure. 2 Sam. xxiii, 5. While it eminently tends, by the way in which its blessings are bestowed, to manifest the divine glory, and yet to promote the happiness of man; it also most effectually provides for obedience to the holy law of God. What God, as a righteous Governor,
justly demands from us as his creatures, he now, according to the beneficent tenor of the new covenant, bestows as a gracious Benefactor. Is, for instance, obedience to his laws his command as our God, and our duty as his creatures ?-He promises in the dispensation of grace, to write his laws in our hearts. Heb. viii, 10. Is repentance equally required from us as sinful creatures ?--hegrants repentance unto life. Acts xi, 8. Is faith in his Son requisite for our salvation ? -unto us it is given to believe in his name. Phil. i, 29. Thus it is well ordered, as it guards against the weakuess and corruption of our nature, which would otherwise prevent our obtaining its blessings. The happi
ness of Adam in Paradise, depending on the fidelity 1 of the creature, failed; the national blessings granted to Israel, through their disobedience, were forfeited; but in the better covenant, the fidelity of God is concerned, and he engages to work in us all that he requires of us. He promises not only not to depart from us, but that we shall not depart from him. · 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 into their heart, that they shall not depart from me. Jer. xxxii, 40; see also Isa. liv, 9, 10, 17. True it is, that many who have had right notions of religion, and have made a fair profession, do afterwards make shipwreck of faith; and this should guard us against presumption and self-confidence, and make us watchful and humble; but the Apostle assures us on this head, they went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. 1 John ii, 19. True it is, the sincere servant of God
fall into sin, in which case his transgressions will be punished with fatherly. chastisements ;
yet the promise even in this case is, nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail; my covenant will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Ps. Ixxxix, 30–34.
O Who that knows and believes such gracious declarations, can but admire the infinite goodness and condescension of God, entering into such promises and engagements with his weak and sinful creatures ! What heart but must be touched and melted with such wonderful love! O how can we hate sin enough, and love our God enough, after all that he has done for us!
Such is the blessed nature and character of the new covenant. · We have farther to consider OUR DUTY with REFERENCE TO THIS GRACIOUS DISPENSATION; so that we may become interested in it, and partakers of its blessings. Every believer in Christ has a personal interest in the new covenant. We gain an interest in its blessings, when we seek them in the way of God's appointment. It is the divine invitation, 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 - Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isa. lv, 3-6. Our duty then plainly is, earnestly to seek, and gratefully and believingly to accept the offered salvation, to observe its ordinances, and to adorn in all things the doctrine of God our Saviour. If we are truly convinced of our lost condition, and of our sinful character; if we are truly desirous of such a salvation as that which is exhibited to us in the Gospel, God will freely grant to us the blessings of his grace, when we seek them in the name of Jesus Christ, and in