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gracious plan of the sinner's redemption, and each person was to get bimself glory by sustaining a distinct office in the economy of the covenant. The Father was to glorify the truth, justice and holiness of the Godhead, by demanding full satisfaction for sin. The Son covenanted to pay it, and to glorify the wisdom and love of the Godhead by satisfying all the demands of law and justice. And the Holy Spirit was to glorify the power and grace of the Godhead by raising the dead in stu to life, and quickening them together with Christ, and then enabling them to walk against all opposition in his steps, and after his example, until they attain eternal life. This is the covenant of promise. And what could induce the Holy Trinity to make it? What, but the divine love and mercy? And what can hinder the fulfilling of this covenant? Can any thing resistand defeat the will of the Almighty? No. His power will carry his will into execution. But may not the will of God change? That is impossible. The covenant is everlasting, and how then can it change? Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed no man disannulleth or addeth ihereto: and since a human covenant is not liable to change, certainly the everlasting covenant is alike ordered in all things and sure. For he that cannot lie hath said, “ my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth.”Psalm, lxxxix. 34. It cannot be broken, it cannot alter, and how then can one tittle of it ever change or fail ? All things else shall pass away; "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.”—Isaiah, liv. 10.
This is the security which God hath vouchsafed to give for the fulfilling of his promises, and it is the most full and complete evidence that any promise can have; and what then can the heirs of promise desire more? Has not God been willing more abundantly to show them the immutability of his counsel ? For
he has given them his word to rely upon, which cannot be broken, his oath, of which he will not repent, and his covenant, which he will not break nor alter. It is impossible any of these securities should fail, and why then should unbelieving doubts arise in their minds, and tempt them to think they should fail? My brethren, if you give way to those doubts, they will soon rob you of your peace and comfort; for although you be heirs to a great estate, yet it is chiefly in reversion. You have very little in possession at present, but the promises. You are heirs of promise, and if you lose your reliance upon the promises, you lose sight of the evidence of your estate, and the comfortable hope of your inheriting it. O remember then how dishonourable this is to God, after he has provided such immutable things for faith and hope to rest upon, and how hurtful this is to your own interest! and therefore, whenever doubts and fears begin to tempt you, ask yourself, “what ains going to do? Shall 1 fancy that God can lie, or be perjured, or be a covenant-breaker ? Would not this be blaspheming his word, and his oathi, and his covenant ? * O Lord, keep thy servant from this great wickedness, and strengthen my faith, that it fail not!" And if you thus go to the throne of grace for help, you shall find it in time of need. God wilt enable you not to stagger at his promises through unbelief, but will make you strong in faith, relying steadfastly upon his fulfilling them all to your souls.
Some persons, perhaps, may be thinking, “God has provided full and complete evidence for the certainty of the fulfilling his promises, and I think I could rest upon this security, if I did but know that I was an heir of promise." Rely upon the promise, and it is yours. Live upon it, and you are undoubtedly an heir of promise. But this point comes to be more particularly considered under the scripture character of the persons to whom the promises belong, which is the Second general head of discourse. When our Lord
gave his apostles a commission to preach, it was in these words, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The gospel brings the glad tidings of the covenant of promise made in Christ, and makes a free offer of all the promised blessings of the covenant. You have all an offer this day. In my master's name I stand up and invite every unpardoned sinner to come and receive of him free mercy and forgiveness. “ And the Spirit and the bride say, come, and let him that heareth say, come, and let him that is athirst, come.” Ho! every one that thirsteth for redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins, come to the blood of sprinkling, that you may be made clean from all your sins. And if you find it in your hearts to accept of this free invitation, let not the sense of your unworthiness keep you back. Jesus is able to save you, be ye ever so unworthy: for he can save to the uttermost. All is finished on his part. He is able, if you are willing; and he engages to use his almighty power for you, if you ask it. He freely offers you, without money and without price, pardon, righteousness, holiness, glory. He promises them in his word, binds it by oath, and confirms it by covenant. All he has of blessedness and glory to give his people shall be yours, if you will accept his offer, and rely upon his promise.
But you are thinking still with yourselves, - the promises are indeed freely offered to all, but they be. long to none, except to the heirs of promise." That is very true; and therefore it concerns you to be assured that you are an heir of promise. Do you desire to be so? Would you willingly be an heir to the unsearchable riches of grace and glory? O, say you, from my heart I desire it; what would not I give to know that the exceeding great and precious promises in scripture belong to me.
But how caine this desire into your heart? Was it from any uneasiness in your mind about your sins? Have you been awakened to see that all the threatenings of the law belong to you, and that you have an interest in none of the promises of the gospel, and was it from hence that you waited upon God for mercy, desiring to experience his promised grace and salvation? And are you now waiting, deeply humbled under a sense of your sinfulness and helplessness? If this be your case, thus far
you are right : for this is the first work of God's Spirit upon all the heirs of promise. He begins with convincing them of sin. They are lying in the same mass of corruption with other men, under the law, under guilt for breaking it, subject to death and hell. The Holy Spirit makes them sensible of their being in this state, and apprehensive of their danger, and puts them upon seeking deliverance. They seek, but cannot find, for want of faith. They hear and read in scripture of the love and
power of Christ to save such sinners as they are, but they have no faith to rely upon the promises. This is not a 'comfortable state, but it is the way to get comfort: for none will ever ask faith of God, whose gift it is, until they know the want of it, and therefore the Holy Spirit convinces all the heirs of promise that they have no faith, and they find that without faith they cannot take comfort in any of the precious promises : upon which they look up to him, who by his mighty operation is alone able to work faith in the heart. And let every one of you, who is thus waiting upon God, seek and you shall find. He that put the desire into your heart will give you possession of the thing desired. The Spirit of God will enable you to rely upon the word of promise, and to apply it to your own soul, and thereby he will speak peace and comfort to your conscience. And by acting faith thus upon the word you will be brought to the knowledge of your union with Christ; united to him by the bond of the Spirit on his part, and by faith on yours, you will be a member of his mystical body, and will derive influence and nourishment from him for the growth of your spiritual life. And being thus one with Christ, and Christ with you, you will have an interest in all that he has. His grace shall be yours, his spirit yours, and all his promises shall be yours: for all things shall be yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all shall be yours—because ye are Christ's.
This is the experience of every beir of promise. The Spirit of God has convinced him of his sinfulness and of his misery. He has been brought to see his lost and helpless state; and in his guilty conscience he was self-condemned, finding himself to be a child of wrath, and an inheritor of everlasting torments. After the Holy Spirit had thus humbled him, he dis. covered to him the excellency of the Lord Christ, the infinite dignity of his person, and the infinite perfection of his righteousness; and then by the grace of the same good Spirit he was led to rely upon Christ for salvation; and to trust the word of promise, which engages to give free and full and eternal salvation to every one who believeth in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And after the Holy Spirit has enabled the soul to believe, and to rely upon the word of God, he carries on his work, until faith be grown exceedingly, even up to full assurance. This the scripture calls the seal of the Spirit, which he sets upon all the heirs of promise. Sealing comes after believing, and is a fresh evidence in confirmation of it. “ After that ye believed,” says the apostle, “ye were sealed with the Spirit of promise." First, he enables the soul to rest upon the promise, and to apply it in this manner-He that believeth shall be saved. I believe, therefore I shall be saved; and then he confirms this with his own testimony, and seals it to the heart: so that the sealing is for the believer's assurance, and not for God's. The Lord knoweth them that are his. Their names are written in his book. He knoweth their weakness, and how to strengthen them with might in the inner man. And when temptations are strong, and trials great, then the Holy Spirit commonly strengthens faith with his inward witness. He honours faith with his