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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith: CHAPTER 7 – OF GOD’S COVENANT WITH MAN

In 1643, the English “Long Parliament” convened an Assembly of Divines at Westminster Abbey in London. Their task was to advise Parliament on how to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland and the Continental Reformed churches. The Westminster Assembly produced documents on doctrine, church government, and worship. One chapter of the Confession follows:

CHAPTER 7

1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.

3. Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.

4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.

5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the new testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.

The Beauty Of Christ

Who or what can compare to the loveliness of Christ; the fountain of grace and of our salvation? He is the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16), the true Light (John 1:9), the Day Star (2Peter 1:19), the Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7), the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), the Truth (John 14:6), the Wisdom of God (1Corinthians 1:24), the everlasting Light (Isaiah 60:20), and the Word of Life (1John 1:1). Charles H. Spurgeon writes here of His beauty:

“Oh love the Lord all his saints.” (Psalm 31:23)

If you want beauty, look into the face of Jesus–that marred visage has more loveliness in it than in all the smiles of Cleopatra or of the fabled maidens of days of yore.

There is no beauty anywhere but in Christ! O sun, you are not fair, when once compared with him. You stars, you are not bright, if you are set side-by-side with his eyes, that burn like lamps of fire. O fair world, and grand creation of a glorious God, you are but a dim and dusky blot compared with the splendors of his face.

When you shall see Christ in glory, you will be compelled to say that you never knew what loveliness was before. When the clouds are swept away, when the curtains that hide him from your view are drawn aside, you will find that not anything you have seen will stand a moment’s comparison with him.

You will be ready to break out, “O, black sun, black moon, dark stars, as compared with my lovely Lord Jesus.”

Oh, think of the matchless character of Christ Jesus! Were there ever such perfections as meet in him? He has not the excellency of one man, but of all men, without the faults of any.

We must coin new words before we can describe the excellencies of Christ! In fact, we must be done with tongues, and go into that land where spirits utter their thoughts without the motion of lip or the expiration of breath, before we shall be able to express the surpassing beauty, the unuttered excellency of the glorious character of Christ!

Love Jesus, for there never was such beauty in the world as there is in him.

It is your privilege to love him with all the force and vehemence of your ransomed renovated nature, giving up all your spirit to be devoured by that consecrated fire of love to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Oh love the Lord all his saints.” — Psalm 31:23. (Sermon: “Constraining Love”)

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