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“This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise.” (Isaiah xliii. 21.)
Neither is this all. For as the Lord hath raised for himself in all ages a revenue of praise from his inheritance, in the riches of his grace, and will continue to do the same during the whole time-state of the church upon earth ; so when this life is over, and the church is brought home to her eternal rest, the Lord's inheritance will be the Lord's glory in an endless succession for evermore. To this sure testimony Jehovah, in his trinity of persons, hath alike borne witness. And in proof that the inheritance in grace and the inheritance in glory is one and the same, equally the portion of the holy Three in One, the Father is expressly called “the Father of glory;" (Eph. i. 17.) the Lord Jesus Christ is called “the Lord of glory;” (James ii. 1.) and the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of glory.” (1 Pet. iv. 14.) And when Jehovah in his trinity of persons shall have translated his inheritance from earth to heaven, who shall calculate the everlasting revenue resulting from millions of glorified beings, made holy and happy to all eternity in Christ, reflected back upon the whole GODHEAD, as the inheritance of Jehovah for evermore?
We shall be the better enabled to enter into the beauties, as well as into a clearer apprehension of the marvellous love, manifested in the words of my text, if we observe with what a world of tenderness the Scripture itself is introduced. Moses the man of God had just finished a very long and most divine sermon in the ears of the Lord's people, on the Lord's love towards them, and his unremitting watchfulness over them ; and here in this chapter he closeth it with a song of praise; he even calls upon the inanimate parts of the creation to listen to the rehearsal: “Give ear, 0 ye heavens, (said Moses) and I will speak; and hear, 0 earth the words of my mouth! My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass; because I will publish the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness unto our God!” Observe, he calls the wonderful subject of Jehovah's love, a doctrine, and the receiving of it into the soul as the droppings of rain, and the distillation of the dew : these are both beautiful similitudes, and highly descriptive of the thing intended. For as the rain cometh down from above unasked, unsought for, and without any worth or preparation on the part of man, such is the grace of God which bringeth salvation. And as the dew which descends silently, unperceived as it falls, and the showers
the grass, which make the fields fertile and bring forth ; so both dispensations are received into the renewed heart, and become productive in the Lord's people, to publish the name of the Lord. And the grand and predisposing motive of the divine benignity is summed up in the words of my text, “ for the Lord's portion is his people ; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” What I propose in the farther prosecution of this subject is, in the first place, to consider how plainly it is set forth in Scripture, that while the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein," (Psalm xxiv. 1.) the Lord hath a people which he hath chosen unto himself, who are alike the objects and subjects of divine love to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When I have briefly given in before you the scriptural statement of this leading truth of our most holy faith, I shall then go on to shew you, and from the same divine authority, some few (and it can be but a few) of the very blessed consequences resulting from this sovereign grace of Jehovah in his trinity of persons, in which the whole church of God are alike
interested, being in the several members of Christ's mystical body, the one complete inheritance of Jehovah; the righteousness in which they are considered, from their union with Jesus Christ, “ being unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference.” (Rom. iii. 22.)
Let me only before I begin the subject, beg every one that hears me to take with him those observations, namely, that this inheritance of the Lord's is wholly from himself, and to himself, and for himself and his own glory. All we have, and all we are, and all we shall ever be, springs out of his own holy will and pleasure, “ according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. iii. 11.) And as the highly favoured objects and subjects of this love are altogether passive in the original ordination of this sovereign will and pleasure of Jehovah, so are they in all the after circumstances which follow. Grace hath no respect to merit or to demerit in the creature, for it would cease to be grace if it had. The language of the Lord is, “ I will love them freely !" appeal therefore to the awakened conscience of every soul who feels an earnestness to partake in such unspeakable mercies, whether any consideration can be farther necessary to endear the subject to the spiritual mind and conscience? Very blessedly the apostle follows up the argument when he saith, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen ; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor. i. 27, 28.) The Lord's teaching accompany at this time his holy word. Amen.
I now begin the subject as I proposed under the
first branch of the discourse, namely, to shew that the Lord hath a people which he hath chosen for himself and for his own inheritance; and which are the alike. portion of Jehovah in his trinity of persons, Father son, and Holy Ghost. It is very blessed when we can, and do, under divine teaching, trace our mercies to their source; and in contemplating the everlasting love of God to his church and people, as chosen in Christ before all worlds, discover the whole persons in the Godhead alike engaged in this sovereign act of grace. The Holy Ghost, by Paul, hath beautifully expressed this great truth, and at the same time comprehended the joint love of the Holy Three in One in this sovereign grace, in a short Scripture of two
“We are bound (saith he) to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord; because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,' through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. ii. 13, 14.) Here therefore we behold the gracious act of Jehovah in his trinity of persons, towards the people which from everlasting he chose for “his portion, his lot, his inheritance." And although the time-state of the church by means of the Adam-fall transgression, alienated the church from her love of God, yet not God's love to his church. Chosen as she was, originally and eternally in Christ, she was still beheld in Christ, and amidst her change " the Lord changeth not.” (Malachi ii. 6.) Sunk and degraded as she was by the fall; she was still the Lord's portion. Jehovah saith himself, “ I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) And the provision made for her recovery in the glorious person and finished salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, became the highest proof of the unchanging love of Jehovah in his trinity of persons towards the church in Christ. For so speaks Christ himself;, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John jü. 16.)
And this view of the church as Jehovah's portion, is endeared to the church, and comes home to the warmest affections of the church, from causes of the sweetest and most interesting nature. First, because it is Jacob, the distinguished Jacob and his seed, in contra-distinction to Esau and his seed. “ Jacob have I loved (saith the Lord,) Esau have I hated.” (Mal.i. 2,3. Rom. ix. 13.) Secondly. The church so chosen in Christ and the joint portion of the Holy Three in One, is so chosen from pure love, from rich, free, unmerited grace, Moses, the man of God, who in the text was instructed to tell the church this great truth, was no less instructed to tell the church the cause. “Behold (said he) the heaven, and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.” As much as to say, the Lord needed nothing from his creatures; and in the choice of one rather than another, here he manifested special distinguishing grace. Well then, if the Lord chose you, it can be referred into nothing but because the Lord would, and therefore Moses adds, “Only the Lord had a delight in thy father to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.” (Deut. x, 14-16.) Thirdly. But was there nothing in the church herself lovely? or did not God fore-see that she would do somewhat to merit God's favour? Moses hath answered these and every other question of the like kind, when saying to Israel, “ The Lord did not set his love upon you nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.” (Deut. vii. 7.) Neither was it for the church's righteousness, " for thou art a stiff-necked people.” (Deut. ix. 6.) And