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PRINTED FOR WILLIAM COLLINS;
WILLIAM WHYTE & CO. AND WM. OLIPHANT, EDINBURGH;
R. M. TIMS, AND WM. CURRY, JUN. & co. DUBLIN;

AND G. B. WHITTAKER, LONDON.

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INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

There is no one term which is more frequently employed in the Bible, to denote our relationship to God, than the term covenant. But though the import of this term is sufficiently understood when it relates to the intercourse between man and man, we fear it is very indistinctly apprehended when it expresses our relation to God. A covenant is an agreement between at least two parties, and it is generally at first proposed by one of them, and then acceded to by the other.

If the former be very distinct, and absolute, and peremptory in the terms that he lays down, the latter, in the act of giving his acquiescence, feels that he is coming under very distinct and certain obligations. The engagement is just felt to be as formal upon the one side, as it is upon

the other--and when it is a contract between man and man, there is a strict and definite understanding, both with him who originated the articles, and him who complies with them.

It is thus, in any social or earthly covenant. We there see how anxiously the utmost explicitness is secured, by one clause and one stipulation after an

other, that each may know the distinct place he has to occupy, and the distinct part he has to perform. There is a certain relative position in which the one party stands to the other, so that when the one enters upon his place in the covenant, and then acts the part that is assigned to him, the other conforms to the covenant by entering upon his place, and acting the part that is assigned to him. Were there a loose or obscure understanding on the one side, then, on the other side, there might be freedom for a loose and obscure understanding also.

But a wellframed covenant does away all looseness, and admits of nothing but what is strict and determinate; so that all who are concerned may have a clear and welldefined path to walk in. The formal and

peremptory attitude of one party in the covenant, calls for a corresponding attitude from the other, and summons him to an observation just as pointed and as rigorous as the terms that are imposed. And the line of performance for each is so marked out, that each is fully aware when he keeps by it, and as fully aware when he steps aside into any track of deviation.

Now, if such be the real force and import of a covenant, what a lesson does it hold forth, when this is the very term that the Bible so often employs in expressing that transaction by which a man enters into a right relationship with God. of rebuke is conveyed by this single term, on the loose, and indefinite, and floating imaginations of almost every man, as to the right federal position which he himself should occupy, and as to the question, whether he has actually and personally entered

What a fell denunciation does this one

What a power

lipon it,

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