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up because God is thanked in prayer; or prayer be discontinued because He is adored and thanked, and presented with confession of sin, and supplications for mercies, in songs of praise. But, besides, as the Lord's supper ought not to be substituted for baptism, nor baptism for the Lord's supper, so neither ought either or both to take the place of various other specific exercises of vowing to God. The vow made on the reception of baptism is suited especially to the occasion. Other vows are not less suitable to other circumstances than that is to its own. The vow made at the Lord's table may include the sum of all duty; but where is the evidence that it ought not in other circumstances also to be made ? At that holy communion each believer swears individually to a profession of his faith with his brethren, and to specific exercises consistent with his own condition; but that is no reason why the oath to perform certain requirements of God's law should not be explicitly and openly sworn. Apart from the sacramental symbols, the exercise of explicit Covenanting may embody the making of vows to perform every duty, and include every part of religious worship. And as it was attended to under the Old Testament economy, when neither the rite of circumcision nor some other observances of the Levitical dispensation had been instituted, nay, even when that rite after its institution was not being applied, so under the
present dispensation it may be engaged in when the seals of the Covenant are or are not dispensed. The magnitude, and variety, and demands of the objects embraced by it, define the times necessary for engaging in it. Changes in providence should lead, and in some measure direct in observing it. It is in certain occurrences in providence, ordinary though they be, that we are presented with the season meet for every other religious act. The morning and evening, and the times of partaking
of the necessaries and comforts of life for the nour.
of bereavement, call for the recognition of his holy sovereignty with the deepest humility and resignation ; and not less should the changes for evil or good that take place in society, and the obvious necessities that attach to our own spiritual condition, and the wants of our fellow-creatures around us and over the habitable earth, urge us to those exercises of special solemn Covenanting with God, which are peculiarly fitted to meet their demands.
COVENANTING A DUTY.
The exercise of Covenanting with God is enjoined by Him as the Supreme Moral Governor of all. That his Covenant should be acceded to, by men in every age and condition, is ordained as a law, sanctioned by his high authority,—recorded in his law of perpetual moral obligation on men, as a statute decreed by him, and in virtue of his underived sovereignty, promulgated by his command. “ He hath commanded his covenant for ever.”!
The exercise is inculcated according to the will of God, as King and Lord of all. Being a part of his worship, it is thus urged,—“ The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” “O come, let us worship and bow down : let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To-day if ye will hear his voice.” And explicitly, in the same connection are the various observances included in it presented in precept. “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”. 6. For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.”. “ Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.'
The observance is a debt of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, as possessed of all power in heaven and in earth. He is King of Zion, the Governor among the nations, and Head over all
i Ps. cxi. 9. 2 Ps. xcv. 3, 6, 7. 3 Deut. X. 14, 17, 20.
things to the church, which is his body. As all are called to honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, the service that is due to God, as the righteous Ruler of all, is due to the Son-holding a universal mediatorial dominion which shall not pass away. The law of God is the law of Christ, and obedience to Christ is subjection to God. The Lord Jesus commands the performance as duty to himself. “ Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” In terms applicable in every age, as their Lord and Master, he said to his disciples, “ Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."5 And he having both died and risen, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living, claims the individual parts of the exercise as homage to his name. shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and
every tongue fess to God.”6
Believers engaging in personal Covenanting, act as being not without law to God, but under law to Christ. As the servants of God they thus transact with him. Jacob, as well as others who have vowed to God without being condemned, being represented as God's servant, must in such acts have served him. Addressed individually as well as collectively in these terms, “ Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen,” those yield obedience, when in their practice is fulfilled the prophecy, itself a command,
4 Ps. xlv. 10, 11. 5 Mat. x. 32, 33. See also v. 25. 6 Rom. iv. 9, 10, 11. 7| Chron. xvi. 13.
“One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” That the churches of Macedonia Covenanted with God is manifest from the words,—“ This they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their ownselves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”8 But in writing to the Thessalonians—one of those churches, an apostle describes them, as in that, and in consequent performances, serving God. “They themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.”! Nor without entertaining an enlightened apprehension that in that exercise he served God, could the Psalmist performing it say,—“O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid.” Jó Moreover, every believer is a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Each one of them is called by His authoritative command, as well as by the effectual influences of his Spirit. “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”11 Each, like the governors and people of Israel, who, on a memorable occasion, at God's command, offered themselves willingly_each made willing in a day of his power, resolving and vowing to follow the Lord fully, does obedience to the Lord of Hosts: bows to the mandate, “ Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your
soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David :"12 and dutifully engages by covenant and oath to serve him-given for a leader and commander to the people. Besides, each one who lawfully vows to God, in vowing discharges a function of a loyal subject of God's government. In 8 2 Cor. viii. 5. 91 Thess. i. 9. 10 Ps. cxvi. 16. 11 Rev. xvii. 14.
12 Isa. lv. 3, 4.