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us reverence and credence, for he saith, surely they will reverence my Son;" certainly, he declares to us the whole counsel of God, "for he was in the bosom of the Father, and came from thence for this very end to declare his Father's will."-John i. 18.
(5.) Yea, he hath raised Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a preacher sent from the grave to assure us of the truth of these high mysteries and sweet mercies; so the rich man could say in hell, if one went to them from the dead, they would repent and believe, Luke xvi. 30. Now our dear Saviour himself was dead and is alive, and as he is declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead,* so after his resurrection he declared the great things of God, confirming his disciples in the truth of things formerly delivered, and giving further testimonies and instructions, Luke xxiv. 44-49.
(6.) Still other means of manifestation are clear and crystal ordinances, in which, as in a fair glass, we may behold both the face of God, and the choicest mercies of the covenant; here you may not only hear the voice of God, but see Jesus Christ evidently set forth, crucified before your eyes.-Gal. iii. 1. In the sacrament of his holy supper, are exhibited God's grace in giving Christ, Christ's love in giving himself, his body broken for our food, his blood shed for the remission of our sins, and all the benefits of this new covenant.
(7.) Another way of the Lord's manifesting these mercies, and so making them sure is through the sanctifying and satisfying illumination of souls by his holy Spirit-by his holy unction they know all things, 1 John ii. 20, "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit," 1 Cor. ii. 10, 12. Now the Spirit comes with conviction and demonstration, answers all the * Rom. i. 4.
soul's doubts and cavils, and leaves it without dispute and hesitation; so that the believer cannot but say, they are sure mercies. He dares not deny this for a
(10.) There is yet one other way whereby God doth make sure these mercies of the covenant, and that is by a marriage contract, a mutual and matrimonial engagement in the perpetual and inviolable bond of the covenant, whereby Christ and the soul are inseparably linked together, and this relates to the particular application of these covenant mercies, and completes all the former; for, saith the poor soul, I do not question but these mercies are sure in themselves, in their own nature, and sure to some-but are they so to me? What way may I be assured of my title thereunto and interest therein? Now this, the Lord doth make good by entering into the sweet and familiar relation of marriage with his people; "thy Maker is thy husband, and I am married to you," saith the Lord. A believing soul is dead to the law, that he may be married to Christ, and our heavenly husband "hateth putting away," once married to Christ and for ever married to him, death itself breaks not this marriage contract, nay, it fastens and makes it indissoluble; here Christ and the soul are but as it were engaged, then the marriage is solemnized with the acclamations of glorious angels, and glorified saints, for, saith the apostle, 2 Cor. xi. 2, "I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Now souls are fitting for that great solemnity, "when the marriage of the Lamb shall come that the bride may be ready." || She is making herself ready in this world, she is married at the illustrious day of Christ's second appearing ;
* Isaiah liv. 5. Jer. iii. 14.
Mal. ii. 16.
+ Rom. vii. 4.
|| Rev. xix. 7.
so then this marriage contract cannot be broken since it is completed in glory. But yet more particularly consider that remarkable text in Hosea ii. 19, 20, wherein the mercies of the covenant are made over in a way of matrimonial relation, and "I will betroth thee unto me for ever," &c. in which Scripture there are four things that may assure the heart of the security of these covenant mercies.
[i.] The author and husband I, the great Jehovah, the infinite God, the creator of heaven and earth, who speaks and it is done, who works, and none can let it. It is he that saith, "I will betroth thee," and who can forbid the banns of matrimony? who is able to hinder this conjunction?
[ii.] Here is the doubling of the phrase for greater certainty and security, "I will betroth thee, yea, I will betroth thee;" fear not it shall be done; nay, the third time it is repeated, v. 20. "I will even betroth thee," what can any say more to assure a suspicious bride of a firm contract and marriage, as if he had said, do not distrust me, a marriage shall most undoubtedly take place. All this God saith to meet the incredulity of a guilty soul, that through fear desponds, and dares scarcely look upon it as possible or credible; yet,
[iii.] Here is the term and date of the marriage, it is not for a week, month, year, seven years, no nor a hundred years only, nay, it is not only during life, as other marriages are made, but it is for ever, unto "all eternity," it never fails, it lasts as long as the soul lasts, that is a long day; other marriages are temporary, terminable, failable, and "death looseth a woman from the law of her husband;"* but this is a marriage confirmed, and completed at death, and endures for evermore; and then,
* Rom. vii. 2.
[iv.] The terms, the conditions, and the manner of marriage speak the sureness of this covenant, and the mercies thereof, observe it: Loving kindness is the motive to it, and mercies are the soul's jointure-righteousness, judgment, and faithfulness, are the writings, as it were, and evidences, to assure these forementioned conditions. Individuals sometimes marry such persons as they ought not to marry, as such as are too near of kin, and contrary to consent of friends, &c. and so are divorced, "but my marrying thee shall be in righteousness." Many marry in a sudden gust of affection, and repent when they have done, but "I will marry thee in judgment." Many marry fraudulently, cheat the persons whom they marry, lead them into a snare, and then leave them, but "I will marry thee in faithfulness, integrity and fidelity ;" we shall never part, and though thou be unworthy now, and mayest transgress, yet, I will fetch thee home, pardon thee, and maintain this marriage relation with invariable constancy and fidelity. What more can be said to assure the believing soul of the sureness of covenant mercies? Besides, consider, loving kindness is the beginning middle and end of the engagement; he fetcheth arguments out of his own bosom to enter into this parley, and after he hath contracted this friendship, and intimate relation, the same loving kindness will influence him to maintain it; nay, now his truth and faithfulness are engaged, and he will be faithful in performing all his promises. Consider that notable text, Mic. vii. 20, "Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." Mark, it is mercy to Abraham because promised to him, but it is truth to Jacob, and now is a kind of debt, and must be paid, and made good. God is a "free agent," yet he binds himself by promise, and so becomes a
debtor to his creature, or rather to himself on the behalf of his creature. * Thus doth God assure to his saints and spouse the dowry and jointure of mercies that he promiseth to them, in this contract of marriage, betwixt himself and souls. +
Thus I have considered the ways which God takes to make these mercies of the covenant sure to all the heirs of promise.
THE MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID ARE CONVEYED.
IV. THE last thing in the doctrinal part by way of illustration is, to shew how these covenant mercies are made sure, in or by or through Jesus Christ.
Now for clearing of this: observe these four things with reference to Jesus Christ, whereby these mercies are made sure: first, his hypostatical union; secondly, his spiritual unction; thirdly, the covenant of redemption; and fourthly, the execution of Christ's office in the work of man's redemption.
1. Consider the mysterious and astonishing union of the two natures in Jesus Christ, whereby he is both God and man united together in one person; by the former, he hath ability-by the latter, a capacity to make the covenant sure to his people; so that now it is impossible the work should miscarry; as God he is omnipotent and cannot fail or fall short of his end-as + See Zach. viii. 8.
• Reddis debita nulli debens.