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this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee. For 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." It is impossible for any sophistry of man to bring in conditions, human conditions into the covenant of salvation as presented to us here. It is declared to be as the waters of Noah, the sworn covenant of God on the same conditions as God's covenant with Noah. Now if
we turn to the 8th chapter of Genesis we find that God's covenant with Noah was this, that he never would drown the world again with a flood, although man after the flood, was to be as sinful as man before the flood. It is said then in the 21st and 22nd verses, 'And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said as in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I again smite every thing living as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seed
time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Although the imagination of man's heart was evil from his youth, yet because the Lord smelled the sweet savour of Noah's sacrifice, he promised he never would again drown the earth with the waters of the flood. Let us suppose that promise and in his
some preacher were to take this earnestness for his view of holiness was to warn the world that a flood would again come upon the world, and we were to reply to him we have this promise that it shall not be and suppose he were to say it was only a
conditional promise, would any as a believer in the bible listen to him? Does not every one that believes the bible believe that that there will not be a flood to drown the world again? And if we see wickedness prevailing, do we fear that the waters of the flood will again come upon the world? Do we not rely upon this conditional promise of God?-a promise made in the foresight of man's sin, telling us for our comfort that this world shall never be drowned again with the waters of the flood. If this be the case with the waters of Noah, so is it with the covenant of God; the Lord hath said, "For this is as the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee." The token that is mentioned here is a very instructive token. The conditional promises of God are without an oath; the promises of God that have an oath are unconditional promises, unchangeable. The apostle reasons upon them in the 7th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he is comparing the Aaronic Priesthood Iwith the Melchisidec Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He declares that the priesthood that was given to Aaron's sons could be transferred from one to another and might pass away, but that the Melchisidec Priesthood that was given to the Lord Jesus Christ was never to pass away, that theirs was given to them without an oath and therefore changeable, but His was given with an oath and was therefore unchangeable. In the 19th to the 24th verses the Apostle makes this comparison between the two Priesthoods, "for the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as, not
without an oath he was made priest; (for those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, the Lord swear and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisidec :) by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death but this man because he continued ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." The oath is that which the apostle tells us makes the difference of these two promises, the sworn promises of God that are unconditional, and the unsworn promises of God that are conditional.
II. Now if we clearly see in this scripture that there is this covenant with God's people, we have with equal clearness in scripture the secret point that there is a conditional covenant with God's people. The unconditional are belonging to God's elect, the conditional are equally applicable to the whole world, it includes the elect within it for they need the moral discipline the same as the whole world. You will find in the 18th chapter of the Prophet Jeremiah, that the Lord speaking of his promises and his threatenings, says in the 7th to the 10th verses, "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and so destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will I repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them." Here is a general principle laid down by the Lord in his threatenings and his promises, that where
he threatens a judgment, although he may not express a condition it is always implied; and that where he offers a
promise, if that promise is without an oath, although the condition may not be expressed it is always implied that he will reverse this threatening and these promises, according as men are obedient or disobedient. You will find this repeated again to individuals in the 33rd chapter of the Prophet Ezekiel, where it is said in the 13th to the 16th verses, "When I shall say to the righteous that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he hath robbed, walk again the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live." Here therefore we have so plainly stated to us that we cannot mistake it, that God when he gives a promise implies this condition, that man is obedient; and that when he gives a threatening he implies this condition, that man continues sinful; but if an obedient man becomes disobedient; or if the sinful man will become obedient, the promise shall be changed into a threatening, or the threatening into a promise. A very striking example of this we have in Eli, that where Eli's sons showed themselves unfit for the priesthood which had been promised to Eli's family, the Lord said in the 2nd chapter of the 1st book of Samuel, in the 30th verse, Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I
said indeed that thy house and the house of thy father should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. thus we have the scriptures presenting to us two dealings of God, the one with his elect in the secret covenant of his love, unchangeable; the other with man's moral responsible being in the manifested providence of his grace, changeable.
III. We have in the third place to consider, whether we have any marks by which we can apply to ourselves the blessed promise that belongs to God's people. Brethren we have most blessed promises, and they may belong to every one that lays hold upon them. The predestinating love of God is not represented in scripture as the act of mere sovereignty; it proceeds not from one attribute of God, but from God. It contains all the attributes of God, his love, his bounty, as well as his sovereign power. And here is where the metaphysical system of Calvinism is wrong, in dwelling so exclusively upon the sovereign right of God as to forget that he has wisdom, bounty, goodness, and love; that he who has chosen us, has chosen us to holiness and to happiness, that it is the result of his confined attributes not merely of one. So God hath in like manner revealed his counsels to us that they cannot be known by us until he hath revealed them The election of God is a bright light behind a
in us. thick veil. The veil must be removed before that bright light is seen the veil that is upon the heart, that hinders the election of God from being seen is the thick veil of sin; and it is just as that is removed that God's electing love is seen in its holiness, and recorded in its brightness. We are all by nature, the apostle says, the children of