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neither penny nor pennyworth, money nor price to give, neither grace nor good works to bring to God. May I have a share in it? Yes, it is free, come buy, for just nothing, ver. 1.
2. But he may say, if it be so cheap, it may be it is of as little worth, too dear to take gratis; things of light price are often of as light use, and answer their rate, by being unprofitable—will it do me any good? O yes, it is of vast advantage; if you take pains for any thing else, you do but spend money for that which is no bread, but if you obtain gospel grace, "you eat that which is good, and your soul shall delight itself in fatness," ver. 2.
3. But again it may be said, may I have a share in these mercies? shall I not miss of them? and when I once have them, shall I not lose them again? I am but tantalized if I see such sweet morsels and cannot reach them, and I shall be more miserable if I taste such pleasant things, and have them snatched away. He answers to the first, "all shall be made over to you by a covenant," and to the second, they are the sure mercies of David," ver. 3.
4. But, alas, may a poor soul say, this is children's meat, what have dogs to do with these sure mercies? I am a sinner of the Gentiles, salvation is of the Jews, and for the Jews; is there any hope for such strangers to the commonwealth of Israel? Yes, Jesus Christ is given for a witness to the people, to all people, that is, Gentiles; "a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee, shall run unto thee," ver. 4, 5. The text falls under the third argument, and contains,
1. A double duty-hear, and come, that is, believe and obey.
Isaiah xlix. 6.
2. A double promise, of life, and a covenant.
(1.) "Your soul shall live." Life is the flower and essence of all outward mercies, but spiritual life transcends a corporeal, temporal life, which is but a dying life, or living death; "Grace is the life of the soul." Spiritual life is the seed-plot of eternal life in glory. Mankind lost life by hearing the alluring temptations of the subtle serpent. Life is recovered by hearing the gracious words of life from Jesus Christ, "Hear, and your souls shall live.
(2.) "I will make an everlasting covenant with you." The words are in Hebrew, 66 I will cut a covenant with you." * The expression hath allusion to the ancient practice of entering into covenants, which was by cutting a beast into two parts, and the parties covenanting going betwixt those parts, to denote that after that manner should that man's limbs be divided who should violate that solemn covenant.†
Now, the great contents of this covenant are expressed in these words which I have selected and pitched upon to speak fully to, "even the sure mercies of David," which contain,
1. The sum of the covenant, that is, " mercies." 2. The nature of those mercies, that is, "sure." 3. The subject of the mercies, "David."
There is not much difficulty in the words, only it is disputed what is meant by David here. Now in Scripture, David is taken, first, in a literal sense, for David the son of Jesse; and, secondly, in a mystical sense, for Jesus Christ. It way be applicable very properly both ways here.
-Percutiam vobiscum foedus, q.d. divi ואכרתה לכם ברית
dantur ejus membra qui juramentum violaverit.
+ See the Practice, in Gen. xv. 9, 10, 17, 18. Jer. xxxiv. 18.
(1.) It may be taken for the person of David, the son of Jesse, king of Israel; and then, the mercies of David are the choice promises that God made to his servant David, described in 2 Sam. vii. 13—17, and in Psalm lxxxix. Some make the first words of that Psalm to be the title of it, and render it thus, "I will sing of the mercies of David," because God's covenant with David is abundantly held forth in that Psalm. But this phrase doth rather allude to 2 Chron. vi. 42, where Solomon thus prays, "Remember the mercies of David, thy servant."
(2.) By David, is meant Jesus Christ, who is of the seed of David according to the flesh,* Rom. i. 3, and called by this name of David frequently in the Old Testament, as in Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24, xxxvii. 24, 25, Hos. iii. 5, and I conceive this to be the meaning of the words, rather than the former, for these two
[i.] Because in the New Testament, where these words are quoted, the Holy Ghost applies them to Jesus Christ, Acts xiii. 34, "I will give you the sure mercies of David." Indeed, the Greek renders it differently from the original of the Old Testament, for thus it stands in the Septuagint, τὰ ὅσια Δαβίδ τὰ πιστὰ ; in English, "the faithful, holy things of David," but all comes to the same point, for the mercies of the covenant are holy things. But observe the scope of that quotation in the Acts, which is to prove Christ's resurrection," for if Christ had not risen from the dead, the promises had not been made good," so that still it relates to Christ.
[ii.] Another consideration that moves me to conceive that by David here is meant Jesus Christ, is what follows in the fourth verse, "I have given him,” that Acts xiii. 23.
is, David, before-mentioned, or Christ," for a witness to the people," that is, a witness to testify God's veracity in performing all his promises; so, then, the words may be thus read, I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the sure mercies of David, that is, the Messiah, who is to come-the mercies before promised, and to be exhibited in and by him in the fulness of time. The words are but few, being but three, yet, they are full of sense and significancy, and are pregnant, travailing with the precious mysteries of gospel grace.
I shall only name some doctrinal observations by the way from the text, with the intention of reducing them to a single point.
Doct. 1. The covenant of grace is made up of mercies, it is a compound of mercies, the root, the branches, the top, the bottom of this chariot is love, grace, grace, all free grace.
2. Covenant mercies are sure mercies, they are not like the uncertain riches of this world, the true treasure is a sure treasure, the better part that cannot be taken away.
3. The sure mercies of the covenant are David's portion: taking David here, literally, and the saints with him, so it signifies beloved; all God's Davids, or beloved ones have a right to covenant mercies.
4. Jesus Christ alone doth make sure all the mercies of the covenant; so taking it in the latter acceptation, that David imports the Messiah.
The substance of the text and the fore-mentioned doctrines may be given in this one proposition.
Doct. That covenant mercies granted in Christ are made sure by Christ, to all the heirs of promise.
חסדי דוד הנאמנים
The mercies which the Messiah procureth and applieth are sure mercies.
That the covenant of grace is made in Christ, see, Isa. xlix. 8, "I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people," that is, "the mediator of the covenant," so the apostle expounds it, calling Jesus Christ a "surety of a better testament," or covenant; and again, he calls him the mediator of the New Testament; * and as the promises are made good in Christ, so they are made good by Christ, 2 Cor. i. 20, " for all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him, Amen, unto the glory of God, by us," that is, they are ratified, confirmed, and applied, by virtue of Christ's own meritorious undertaking. A text full to our purpose we have in Rom. xv. 8. "Now I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers;" hence it is, that he hath sealed the covenant, by his person, obedience, and sufferings, (as afterwards I shall particularly demonstrate) so that the mercies must needs be sure. David, the subject of these mercies doth acknowledge the sureness of them, even in the Old Testament, in that famous text, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, " Although my house be not so with God," that is, for outward splendour, according to the description of a magnificent family, "yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure," as if he should say, it is true indeed, God hath performed his good word to me in making me king, but alas, still my heart is full of corruptions, and my house of distractions; though the sun be risen upon me, yet I cannot say it is a morning without clouds; it is sadly eclipsed and overcast with the obscuring clouds of temptations as
* Heb. vii. 22. Heb. viii. 6. Heb. ix. 15.