2 Samuel 23:5


No. 2

preached Sunday morning 30 April 1775

2 Samuel 23:5

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure:
for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but they have a sure refuge and strong consolations provided in the Covenant of grace. This secures them so that their enemies have no reason to rejoice over them. When they seem to fall they shall rise again. This is a balance to all their sufferings. I have made some general observations on the text and propose at this time to speak more particularly of that Covenant in which David rejoiced in his last words. David was taught great things concerning the Messiah – witness the many glorious passages in the Psalms, and what he recorded by the Spirit of God for others, he was enabled to understand and feed upon for his own use. I shall:
1. Explain the doctrine of the Covenant of Grace
2. Speak of it as a matter of experience – the believer can say, He has made with me
1. In explaining the doctrine, we may consider:
  1.1 the word – A Covenant
    1.1.1 This word in common use signifies a compact or agreement in which two parties are bound to each other upon mutual conditions. Thus there is a covenant between the king and his subjects, between masters and servants, and in many concerns of common life. But this sense will not bear in a covenant wherein God and man are concerned – for we can promise or perform nothing. Therefore it is called a Covenant of grace. We have no natural claim to the benefits of it, nor can be[we] by any means perform the conditions.
    1.1.2 We must therefore abide by a scriptural sense of the word, if we consider the covenant as respecting ourselves. The expression is often when the Lord freely, and of his own mere good pleasure, engages to perform good to his people, the accomplishment of which is not suspended upon any conditions to be performed by them. Thus we read of God’s [1] covenant of day and night (Jeremiah 33:20), [2] his covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:9,10,11) [3] and a full promise of all spiritual blessings is called, his covenant (Isaiah 59:21). [4]
    1.1.3 The same word is rendered a Testament (Hebrews 9:15-18), [5] or Last Will. This sense points out the way in which the blessings of the covenant are derived to us, by the death and appointment of the great Testator. These distinctions of the word, will help us to understand:
2. The thing
  2.1 The Scripture teaches us that the first man in his state of innocence stood under a covenant of works. I confess the phrase is not expressly in Scripture but the meaning of it is plainly there. Adam was formed in the image of God, capable of serving and enjoying him. The covenant with him was, Do this and live. His duty was marked out: under the double sanction of promises and penalties he was furnished with sufficient power and motives to obey, and warned of the consequences of disobedience. Had he thus continued in the will of God, he would have acquired a right to immortality and happiness. Indeed, this in a sense was of grace likewise, for God was not bound to reward him thus, till he was pleased to bind himself. But when he had this promise, Adam had a just claim upon performance of the condition. In this covenant his posterity likewise were included, but it was of short continuance, not like the everlasting covenant in my text. Adam soon fell, broke the covenant and brought ruin and death upon himself and all his posterity.
  2.2 This event was no sudden, unexpected thing in the sight of God; he foresaw it must, it would be so, and therefore in his infinite wisdom and love he had provided the remedy before the calamity took place. He permitted it so to be, because he had determined for the manifestation of his own glory, that where sin had abounded, grace should much more abound. Upon this ground the covenant of grace became necessary. [6]  That is a dispensation of mercy to undeserving sinners, in a way suited to vindicate and illustrate all the divine perfections.
  2.3 This covenant of grace was established with and in our Lord Jesus Christ, for the recovery and salvation of all that should believe in his name. The Scripture speaks of transactions between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world. If we understand it of the divine persons in the Trinity it intends a mutual consent that the work of our redemption should be brought about in such a way. But if we understand it of the God-man Christ Jesus, the word made flesh, appearing in our nature and cause, we may say that the covenant of grace to us was to him a covenant of works, strictly speaking. He was the Mediator between God and sinners, and there was according to the first sense I gave you of the word, a compact or agreement. He engaged for men to God and for God to men.
    2.3.1 He engaged to God on the behalf of men. To vindicate the honour of his broken law, by his voluntary obedience unto death, fulfilling all the commands of God in his own person and making atonement for transgression with his own blood.
    2.3.2 He received authority on the behalf of God to bring many sons to glory, even all who should embrace the message of his love and put their trust under the shadow of his wings. John 12:30, [7] Isaiah 53:11. [8]  He is our surety, on whom our debt was charged, and having paid it, he proclaims a free discharge to every weary, wounded soul. When their hearts are pricked with a sense of those sins which caused his death, he, like another Joseph, says by his Gospel, Let it not grieve you that your sins brought sorrow and death upon me – for so God appointed, and so I readily engaged to save your lives and to preserve your souls from death. [9]
    Jesus therefore is the sum and substance of the everlasting covenant. The blessings of it are numerous: he has obtained for us everything we need. In my next, we may consider them from the properties here mentioned in my text. In the mean time, briefly:
1. Pardon of all sin.
2. Adoption which includes a right to the Spirit, promises, providences of God.
3. Eternal glory. John 17:24. [10]
1. What think you of these great truths?  We are told, these things the angels desire to look into; they learn by his dispensations to his church, more of his wisdom and glory, than from the knowledge of all his other works. Have any of you no relish for them?  How unfit then are you to join in the company and worship of heaven. If the Lord should pass by your actual sins, and take you up amongst the millions that are before his throne, what could you do there?  How would you have either will or skill to sing their song unless you learn it?  What a strange notion have you of heaven, if you think you could enjoy it without the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Could you say, Thou hast washed us, [11] if you were still in your sins?  May you be enabled to see the necessity of being born again – of having your hearts changed, and your whole souls formed anew in order to your admission into that better world. If you see this remember that Jesus is exalted to bestow this salvation. All things are ready – nothing wanting to make you happy but faith in the Lamb of God. And this he will give to them that ask. Will you go home and say, How foolish have I lived – so many years have I wasted and thought nothing of this everlasting covenant. Lord forgive me what is past and teach me that which I know not.
2. Some I doubt not have their desires to this covenant, but guilt and fear keep them. Satan says as Jehu, What hast thou [to] do with peace? [12]  If the Covenant blessings were for you, the Lord would not let you wait so long without comfort. O resist that enemy. Put yourself into the hands of Jesus, his compassions are infinite, and he shall exalt you in due time. Did you ever hear of any who trusted in him and perished?  How could you ever have had a desire towards him unless he had put it into your hearts?
3. Believers – rejoice in this covenant. Walk about this Sion, consider her foundations and all the towers thereof and mark well the bulwark. See how it is fixed upon an immoveable rock, guarded by almighty power, encompassed with infinite love, and enriched with all desirable blessings, and then with a holy indifference to all the trials of the present hour, rejoice and say, Although my house be not so with God, yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered and sure, etc.

[Note: themes above are contained in Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God!]

1. ms unclear: ‘a [inserted ‘the’] God’s’
2. Jeremiah 33:20 Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
3. Genesis 9:9,10,11 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
4. Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
5. Hebrews 9:15-18 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
6. ms: ‘became to necessary’
7. John 12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
8. Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
9. alluding to Genesis 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
10. John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
11. Revelation 1:5 … Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
12. 2 Kings 9:18 So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.

Cowper & Newton Museum, ms 714(1), N2

Marylynn Rouse, 30/04/2019