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faith; as speaketh God by the prophet Isaiah, “I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off,” Isaiah xlvi. 13. This righteousness is revealed in the gospel for every believer; “ I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ;—for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith,” Rom. i. 16, 17. Faith puts this righteousness upon the poor sinner for his justification before God, as a righteousness procured by God. “ But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon
all them that believe,” Rom. iii. 21, 22.
Remember, this righteousness is given freely, therefore wo be to that man that thinks to merit it, or add something of his own thereto; which Christ calls putting a piece of new cloth upon an old garment, that will make the rent worse. I say it is given of God, and cannot either be bought or sold; as it is written, “ They which receive abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Thus, my dear hearers, Christ wrought out this righteousness for us; God the Father accepts it of Christ, and places it to our account, and imputes it freely. The gospel reveals it, the Holy Ghost applies it to the hand of an appropriating faith, and makes it manifest to the sinner's conscience; conscience enjoys it, and finds peace to be the
effect of it. Thus we are justified freely from all things from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses, Acts xiii. 39.
This righteousness too bears the same ancient date of the covenant; for “ seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness,” Dan. ix. 24.
I next proceed to shew that persevering strength is most surely promised to the elect in this covenant; or else Satan would soon throw us down, even were we as strong as Peter supposed himself to be when he promised never to forsake Christ, though all the rest did; as it is written, “ There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heavens in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." Therefore “ trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everslasting strength," Isaiah xxvi. 4.
God's elect are not to be left comfortless, though they are so much opposed and hated in the world; for this covenant secures our consolations also, and they bear the same date as the covenant does, as it is written, “ Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts,
in every good word and work," 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17.
Our joy and glory are also secured in this covenant; as it is written, “ And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” Isaiah xxxv. 10. And there is another eternal blessing beyond all these, and that is an eternal weight of glory in the presence of the Lamb; which is likewise to be enjoyed for ever and ever.
Thus, my dear hearers, you see what everlasting love has done for us. Remember that this love is to endure for ever; as saith the church, “ The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee,” Jer. xxxi. 3.
Having thus discoursed of the length of the love of God, and proved the date of it to be from everlasting to everlasting, I come now to my third general head, which is to treat of the breadth of this love.
By breadth we may understand its universal extension to all the elect, whether Jews or Gentiles.
In the antediluvian world the love of God was known but to few families, and they sprung from the loins of Seth; the family of Cain seem to have been kept quite ignorant of it. It was much
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contracted likewise in the administration of it in the days of Noah; and after the flood it seemed to flow in a very narrow channel, and confined itself chiefly to the descendants of Noah: in short, it run in one contracted channel till Jacob's family multiplied in Egypt, and then it began to extend itself, and to widen most sweetly at Israel's deliverance from bondage. And here and there a poor Gentile was pulled in by this cord of everlasting love; but the greatest part of them were left to go on in their own ways.
It continued with Israel some hundred years, and the partition wall that encompassed them seemed to stand firm for many ages; as it is written, “ You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” In the days of David it extended itself gloriously among the Jews; and after that again it fell into a narrow channel, and continued so for many years, till the golden days of the Son of Man appeared, and then it widened greatly; but was still seemingly confined to the Jewish nation; as it is written, “ These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles; and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Matt. X. 5, 6, But, though this everlasting love seemed so contracted in its administration in those ancient days, yet it was broad in the secret purposes of God. That the Gentiles should be saved, was a part of the great mystery of godliness; as it is written,
« Preached unto the Gentiles,” &c. But at last the dear Redeemer broke down the middle wall of the partition that separated between the Jewish nation and the Gentiles; and sent his servants forth to preach the gospel to every creature. On the glorious day of Pentecost this everlasting flame of divine love was wonderfully kindled in the twelve apostles, who were appointed to be the twelve ministerial foundations of the gospel church; and from them it was communicated to the uniting of many lively stones to the chief corner stone Christ Jesus; the only foundation for faith and hope to build their expectations on.
The dimensions of this love in my text were sweetly revealed to Peter in the vision of a great sheet knit at the four corners. Four of the glorious attributes of God knit the corners, and sweetly agree in letting down to the earth this sheet of everlasting love; as it is written, “ Mercy and truth are met together.” These two attributes hold two opposite corners. “ Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” And after that mutual kiss they agreed or harmonized together to hold up the other two opposite corners. Thus
mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” Psalm lxxxv. 10. In this sheet were the elect Gentiles chiefly exhibited. It contained all manner of four-footed beasts, mark that, all manner of four-footed beasts. Their species was human, but brutal by sin,