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GOD IN THE COVENANT.
The Lord God has made over HIMSELF in this covenant. This is the great and comprehensive promise: "I will be their God." Jer. 31:33. I am God; and what I am is all theirs : myself, my glorious incomprehensible essence, all my glorious attributes, my omnipotence, my omniscience, my wisdom, my righteousness, my holiness, my all-sufficiency, my faithfulness. I will make over myself to them to be henceforth and for ever theirs: their Friend, their Portion, their Sun, and their Shield.
I. Their FRIEND. I was angry, but mine anger is turned away; I was an adversary, I had a controversy with them, but I am reconciled; I have found a ransom, the contest is settled, my wrath is appeased, I am their friend: “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31:34. I will take away their iniquity and receive them graciously; “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from them." Hosea 14:4. Fury is not now in me'; favor and friendship, love and good-will is all they may henceforth expect from me. “ Glory be to God on high, on earth peace, good-will towards
Sinners, what is there to be feared, what is there dreadful, but an angry God? Thence is sorrow and anguish, thence is famine, and pestilence, and sword; thence is death and hell: he does not know what the wrath of God means, who does not see in it all the plagues of earth, and all the vengeance of eternal fire. Whatever terrors or torments have seized upon thee-upon thy body, upon thy soul; whatever losses, crosses, vexations, afflictions, plague thee on this earth; whatever horror and anguish, whatever amazing, confounding torments are like to meet thee and feed upon thee in the lake beneath, thou mayest say of all, This is the wrath of God. When the Lord says to thee, Fury is not in me,
he says also, Fear shall be no more to thee. The hour the Lord saith, I am thy friend, death and hell vanish; the day is broken, the shadows flee away. This is one thing included in the promise, “I am their God”-I am their friend.
II. THEIR PORTION. Fury ceases; fears vanish; friendship, favor, life are granted. But what shall the soul have to live upon ? Man was never intended to be self-sufficient; he was created under a necessity of dependence on something without him, not only for the continuance of his being, but for the comfort of his being; he cannot live upon the air, though he hath escaped the fire: the soul of man is too big for all the world; like Noah's dove, it can find no rest below; and where shall it find it, or on what shall it subsist? Why, God will not starve his friends; he who has saved their lives will find them a livelihood; he himself will be their portion, their
maintenance, and their heritage for ever. As their deliverance is from him, so their dependence shall be on him; he is their substance, and on him is their subsistence; he writes himself “ the portion of Jacob,” Jer. 10, 16, and as such his saints accept him, “ The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance," Psa. 16:5; he is their bread and their water, their stock and their store. The Lord gives portions to his enemies : not only the young ravens, but the old lions and tigers; the worst of men seek their meat from God; they “have their portion in this life, whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure." Psa. 17:14. They have their portion : some of them have their portion in the city, others a portion in the field; to some he gives a portion of gold, to others a portion of worldly glory, to others a portion of pleasures; with all these he deals as the father of the prodigal, he gives them their portion and sends them away. But while he gives portions to these, He is the portion of his saints: he makes over and settles himself upon them, as their inheritance for ever : they shall never be in want while there is fulness in him to supply them; they shall never be in straits while there is power in him to relieve them: all their wants are
The Lord is their portion, and he is a sufficient portion. “With thee is the fountain of life.” Psa.
“In thy presence is fulness of joy." Psa. 16. The Lord God is all things to them: “In my father's house there is bread enough, and to spare.” He that has all things below God, but not God, has nothing;
he that has nothing besides God, but has God, has all things; enough and to spare; filling up, and running over: there is still more to be had, if more could be held. The soul has never enough till it has more than enough, is never full till it runs over-never full while it can contain and measure and number all that it has: this is its judgment of all. In God is enough for filling up, and running over; enough there is in him to fill up all their faculties.
Their understandings. There are infinitely beautiful perfections on which we may gaze and fill our eyes with unspeakable delight; but when we have looked the furthest into them, when the most searching eye, the most intense thoughts have searched and run their utmost, they come not near the end; they shall look, and look, and see, and see, and when they can reach no further, then they shall wonder at those treasures of light and beauty that are still beyond them. Admiration is the understanding full, and running over : when it is nonplussed, and can reach no further, then it wonders at what it perceives still beyond it. The apostle tells us that the gospel, which presents God in flesh, hath in it a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, Eph. 3:18, and I may tell you from him, it is a height without top, a depth without bottom, a length without limits, a breadth without bounds; in one word, immensity; unmeasurable, and therefore unspeakable, unsearchable glory. While the blind world deride and despise the portion of the saints, looking on God and all the things of God as shallow things that have no depth
in them, they will be found by those who search into them, to be deep things that have no bottom, “ The deep things of God." 1 Cor. 2:10. All the raptures and ecstasies of the glorious joy of the saints in the other world break in upon them from their vision of God.
There is enough to fill up their wills and affections : there is infinite goodness, incomprehensible love, marvellous loving-kindness, unspeakable delights, glorious joys. “Oh, how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee!" Psa. 31:19. "Oh, how great is thy goodness :" it is the voice of exultation, an admiring word; great beyond expression, great beyond imagination. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him :" it is the voice of a heart leaping for joy, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God which is laid up for his saints. “ Laid up; where?” Why, laid up in himself: that is the fountain, that is the treasury; there is love, there is joy, there is satisfaction; our life is hid with Christ in God. O love the Lord, all ye his saints. O bless the Lord, all ye his saints. He that is mighty has done for you great things : “ Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." Isaiah 64:4. Or, as it is in the margin, " There hath not been heard or seen a God besides thee, which doeth so for him that waiteth for him.”