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Fourthly, The consequences attendant upon being the people of God. Hebrews viii. 10, “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Psalm cxlix. 9, “The Lord taketh pleasure in his people.” This is another blessed consequence. Psalm cx. 3, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." Isaiah Ix. 21, 22, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation : I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” Hebrews viii. 11, 12, 13, « And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for all shall know me from the least to the greatest. And I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Fifthly, and lastly, We are to consider the advantages to be derived from belonging to God. Hosea ii. 15, “I will give ber vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope : and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Zephaniah iii. 14–20, “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not ; and to Zion, Let not thy hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thce with joy. I will gather them that are sorrowful for thy solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” John xiv. 13, 14, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
These are a few of the advantages contained in that vast charter of privileges granted to the people who were created and redeemed, and who are preserved by the God of heaven ; for the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name! because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Blessed is the name of the LORD.
But, suffer me to ask, what effect these considerations should have upon us, who believe the truth as it is in Jesus ? First, The knowledge of what God hath done for our souls, should put us in possession of undisturbed repose. We should cast every spiritual care upon him who careth for us. Secondly, We should unceasingly praise the LORD, both by lip and life, for the multitude and magnitude of his mercies. We should continually and unfeignedly say, not only the LORD be praised, but Lord what wouldst thou have me to do? Thirdly, These glorious discoveries should lead us, at all times, to consult our own interest in every thing; for in no way can we more effectually glorify God. Whether we are in the characters of husbands or wives, parents or children, masters or servants, in every character it is as much our interest as it can be our duty, to conduct with propriety. The ways of wisdom, the ways of virtue, are, at every period, ways of pleasantness, and all their paths are peace.
2 SAMUEL xxiii. 1-4.
ESE, we are told, are the last words of David the son of Jessc. And what were the last words of this sweet singer of Israel? The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The Apostle Peter, Acts iv. 25, corroborates this testimony of David. “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voices to God with one accord, and said, LORD thou art God which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things ?"
Secondly, What did the spirit of God say to, or by this royal prophet? He characterized himself as the God of Israel. Exodus xx. 2, “ I am the Lord thy God.” God is the rock of
ages. Thirdly, God is the ruler over men; he is a just God. Isaiah xlv. 21, “ And there is no god else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none else beside me.”
Fourthly, Emmanuel ruled in the fear of the Lord. This is the beginning of wisdom. Jeremiah xxiii. 5,7, 8, “ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth, which brought out, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and froin all the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land."
Fifthly, And this branch shall be as the light of the morning. Proverbs iv. 18, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Yea, and he shall shine until it becomes evident, that he is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Sixthly, He shall be as a morning without clouds. Erst times our God was enveloped in clouds and darkness. Psalm xcii. 2, "Clouds and darkness are round about him ;” but so luminous, so extensive will the clear shining of this sun of righteousness become, that he shall be as a morning without clouds.
Seventhly, He shall be like the tender grass springing out of the earth, and as clear shining after rain.
My attention has been recently called to a manuscript, in which there is a remarkable variation in rendering this passage. As the morning light shall Jehovah, the sun rise. Can we ever behold the rising sun, without recurring to the God of our salva. tion? How beautiful is the sun when bursting in all its splendour from the chambers of the east. How beautiful is the verdant earth, when illumined by the rays of the sun after the gently falling shower. So, just so, will the inheritance of God appear after his renovating word shall drop as the rain on the tender herb, and the showers upon the grass. Are not songs of praise and hymns of thanksgiving due to the God of our salvation ?
First, David's house and family were not so with God. Not as described in the preceding verses.
Secondly, Neither was the house of our spiritual David so with God, for all we like sheep have gone astray. But,
Thirdly, Yet he hath made with me, saith the royal prophet, an everlasting covenant. Of this covenant God speaketh by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, xlix. 8, “ Thus saith the LORD, in an acceptable time have I heard thee : and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. Hebrews viii. 8, “For finding fault with them he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."
Fourthly, This covenant was indeed well ordered in all things. With respect to matter, manner, time and place, it was the work of the God of order: and in such infinite wisdom was it ordered, that it must be an enduring covenant. This is a most consolatory and elevating consideration : especially, when we investigate the covenant as described by Jeremiah, and by the apostle Paul. No wonder it is added :
Fifthly, And this covenant is sure. There are who give to the gospel trumpet an uncertain sound : few pretend to the faith of assurance, and indeed, as it respects the children of men, unstable in all their ways, no permanent conclusion can be drawn.
Sixthly, This, said the royal prophet, this, said that prophet of whom all the prophets have written, is all my salvation. Let us recur to the character of the speaker, the head of every man. I know, said he, the words I have received of my Father, are eternal life. This is all my salvation. The divinity is all the support of the humanity. But as this was all his salvation, so :
Seventhly, It was all his desire, Psalm lxxi. 25, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.”
Eighthly, Although he maketh it not to grow; although this covenant was in the days of the son of Jesse, apparently upon the decine : yet the God of Israel declared that this covenant should grow, and prosper, and bring forth much fruit. Isaiah xi. ~ And there shall come forth a root out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.
Psalm ix. 17.
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that
First, Who are the wicked? Upon all occasions, especially upon those which involve difficulty, the holy scripture is our unerring guide, our never failing resource. Paul emphatically saith, And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Isaiah xlviii, 22, “ There is no peace saith Jehovah, unto the wicked.” Matthew xiii. 49, " At the end of the world the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.”
Secondly, As sin is wickedness, wherever sin is found, it stamps the character of wickedness. All who are under the influence of the adversary are wicked; such were those religious characters among the people of God, who, with wicked hands, crucified the LORD of glory.