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3 But should'st thou me to judgment call,
My many sins appear'd;
I know I should be spared.
14. My full receipt should there be shew'd,
On Jesu's hands and side :
For Christ was crucify'd.
5 My bonds and bills be on the tree
From pain, and guilt, and shame;
All glory to his name!
THE BENEFITS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Heb, xii. 22, 23, 24. 1ė are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are wrillen in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men wade perfect, and lo Jesus the Mediator of the new.covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that
speaketh beller things than that of Abel. WHEN the author of this epistle had said much
of the law, and the heavy dispensation of Moses, and shewed how it made nothing perfect, nor was remission of sins to be expected under that covenant, but all was calculated and imposed on the children of Israel for a time, till the Saviour should come and establish a better testament, and founded upon better promises, and had not only set forth the unprofitableness of it, in that it could not purge the conscience, nor justify such as served under it, but had also observed how the awful manner in which it was delivered to the church in the wilderness, was with thunders and lightnings, with blackness, darkness, and a tempest, also with the sound of a trumdet, sounding louder and louder, and with a voice out of the tempest, and with an earthquake, and a strict charge that no soul might approach to the mountain, from whence it was delivered, and whereon the Lord descended with twenty thousand angels, and even if a beast should touch the mount it must be stoned, or thrust through with a dart, and which so affected the meek servant of God, Moses, that he quaked exceedingly and was afraid ; he then adds, But ye are not come to such a mountain, ye are not called to hear the fiery law, nor summoned to appear before God in so terrible majesty, but he says, “Ye are come to the mount Zion, to the city of ihe living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, &c.” he shews through the whole, what a happy difference there is between the two dispensations, that the believers in Christ, and such as hear the gospel are now brought into the nearest fellowship with the saints and family of God, and made to be near of kin to the spirits of just men, and have the glorious privileges of being written in heaven, and made free citizens of the new Jerusalem, and reckoned with the first-born sons and daughters of God, together with the enjoyment of an acquaintance with the Mediator and his Father; and all this he mentions as the present benefits of faith, and to which all come on their belief in Christ.
All the blessings rehearsed in this part of the scripture have by some been thought such as pertained to the life to come, and possessed only in heaven when our christian race is ended; but whoso considers the apostle's manner of writing, compared with other parts of the gospel, will easily see he speaks of things to which now the children of God come, and which are the real privileges of every believer, and his part of the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.
Few, who lived from the time of Moses to Christ, enjoyed this grace, or ventured to enter in behind
the veil, but now the veil is rent, a way is laid open into the inner courts, and a highway prepared into the holy place, and into the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus ; so that now the winter and storms are gone, and the shadows fled away, and nothing is heard but the voice of the Beloved, inviting sinners into his house, and calling souls to come to the feast of fat things, which he has prepared before all people, and to enjoy all the mercies and favours purchased by his death, which is the commonwealth of Israel.
Believers are now no more kept at a distance from God; no longer bound to be all their life-time in bondage, through the fear of death ; no longer obliged to walk in darkness, or kept in pain, through the thunders and curses of the law, and the pursuing of the avenger of blood; but may see their interest clear in the salvation, may approach and speak with the Lord as a man speaks with his friend; may experience the power of the blood of sprinkling, and each may know he is a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. It is of this the text treats, and must be read in the church, as a part of the will and testament of Jesus, in which is specified the rights of his people, and the liberties and freedoms unto which he has broke a way for them by his fesh, and by death put his will in force, so that now all that is mentioned in this place, are the common rights of every believer in the world, and of which I shall treat freely.
Ye are come to the mount Sion: now the mount Sion was the spot on which the temple stood, and was the shadow of that in the upper world, and where the true temple is. To this we who believe come, and are founded upon this rock, and enter the gates of this temple, when we get into the
wounds of our Saviour. He himself is the temple, even the Lord God, and the Lamb, and his nails prints and pierced side, are the everlasting doors by which the true worshippers enter, and by this door, by this new and living way, whoever enters in shall be saved. We are henceforward reckoned inbabitants of the rock, children of Zion, and such as have a right to follow the Lamb there, or whithersoever he goeth; and though we are not yet arrived in
person among the virgins, who are actually there, nor have leave to quit the world below, and lay down our staves, and put off our sandals, and dwell there intirely, and be seen here no more, yet are we there in spirit, and belong certainly thereto. We have, as it were, taken up our freedom, and are Christ's freemen; and as St. Paul says, “citizens with the saints and with the household of God," and no more strangers and foreigners there. “Ye are come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” This city John says, is the church, and shall coine down with the Lamb in the last day, like a bride adorned and ready for the bridegroom. Among this number we are admitted, and are become living stones in this building; and though we are not yet removed, and put into our right place, to go no more out, yet are we built upon Jesus, the bead corner-stone, and a part of the house of God. We belong to the Jerusalem above, as much as if we were there, nor can that church be perfect and complete, till we are with them in body and sour. This heavenly Jerusalem has many of her living stones not yet gathered out of the earth, many of her members are still in the world, and are grounded and fixed upon her rock, the rock of ages, and become one with him; so that we are numbered with the stones of this city, in the eyes of our Saviour, and we know it, and the living God, whose VOL. I.