'O JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM ... HOW OFTEN WOULD I HAVE GATHERED THY CHILDREN TOGETHER... AND YE WOULD NOT'
'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not,' Matt xxiii 37. If that which is not of the truth be falsehood, and that which is not after the mind of the Spirit, the meaning and intent of the speaker, be not of the truth on a text, I should think there have been as many falsehoods told in the name of the Lord (but I should hope ignorantly) on this text by making it out to be an everlasting gospel text, in regard to eternal salvation by grace in Christ, and in saying that Christ would have saved and gathered the Jews unto eternal life, and all other sinners too *in like manner where the gospel has come, who are now lost, but that they would not be saved, and that Christ consequently could not save them, as any deceiver ever told falsehoods to deceive on any subject under the whole heavens. Burkitt says on this text, 'There is no longing like unto God's longing for a people's salvation: 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee. When shall it once be?' How very different is this to the truth which saith, 'What his soul desireth, even that he doeth,' Job xxiii 13. 'His arm shall rule for him,' Isaiah xl 10. 'He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?' Dan iv 35, saying, 'I will work, and who shall let it?' Isa xliii 13. When a witness contradicts himself, he is considered to know nothing in truth of the case in hand, and that he is a perjured wretch, who deserves to be transported for interfering as a witness in a matter he properly knows nothing of. And a very little time since, a public meeting was held at Dr A R's chapel, and it was said to be 'a time of humiliation, for that doubtless there were many lost who might have been saved if the church had done their duty.' I feel at a loss to know what sort of inefficacious corner such men really assign to the God of all grace in regard to the salvation of sinners. Is not salvation God's own property? and to whom hath he at any time committed the outlay, further than to 'declare the testimony?' 1 Cor. 11 1.
Follow those very humiliation men a little way, and when they come to our text, you would hear them as piously declare, 'That the Lord would save many who are not saved, because they will not believe and be saved, 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem!' And so at one time human duty performed, might have saved the lost, and at another time, even God himself cannot save the lost that he would save, because they will not believe and be saved. There is no part of the truth of God in either of those points; and how men can stand up and say such things in the Lord's name I cannot tell, except it is that they know not the scriptures nor the power of God. On our text let us consider,
A word to the Jewish rulers
First, that in the words of our text, our Lord speaks to one class of people concerning another, even to the heads, rulers, and teachers, concerning the general inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 'How often would I have gathered your children, and ye would not.' And did ever one class of people hinder the eternal God from saving another class by his grace with an everlasting salvation? 'Who would set the Mars and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together,' Isa xxvii 4. And where the eternal salvation of souls by the grace of God is the subject in hand, it is no where to be found, that God hath ever consulted one party of men about the salvation of another; 'For who hath known the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counselor?' Rom xi 34. The Lord hath neither lost nor cast away any of his people whom he did foreknow, and so all Israel shall be saved,' verse 26. Our Lord never said, either in our text or elsewhere, I would have taken you to heaven, but you would not go; nor, I would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but you would not be saved; nor, I would have given you eternal life, but I could not get you to have it; nor in our text, I would have gathered you: but how often, by the prophets, from various corruptions of your covenant economy, and so from various foes, invaders, and calamities at different periods, and now at last by myself, as a city and nation, from storms of judgment and from the devouring eagle, the Romans, according to the conditions of your covenant, Ex xx, xxi, xxii, xxxiii, xxiv 7,8, saying, 'Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever,' Jer. xxv 5; xvill 7,8, would I have gathered your children, under the wings of protection, and ye would not. Jesus as a Jewish Man and Prophet Second, that our Lord is not speaking 'in our text on the subject of eternal salvation at all, nor *in the language of the 'mighty to save,' nor on the subject, ground or premises of his gift of eternal life; but in the simple speech and language of a minister of the word of that truth that regarded their constituted state as a nation and people, himself being of the seed of Abraham; and in which sense as a man and minister, 'he came unto his own, and his own received him not,' John 1 11; and in which sense also, as a man, he wept over Jerusalem, Luke xix 41, hungered, thirsted, and was weary as a man; and which was no denial to his personal dignity, as 'the Lord from heaven,' nor to the almighty power and fullness of saving grace in him by the everlasting covenant, whereby 'it pleased the Father, that in him all fullness should dwell; ' but it was in due order of perfect accordance with the Jewish economy, first to be observed by him in his relation to them by the covenant of circumcision; and also as a proof that his manhood was the very same as the manhood of other men, Heb 11 14, sin only excepted, Heb iv 15: even as his servant Paul had his private feelings as a man, for 'his kinsmen according to the flesh,' Rom ix 3, and his official and public feelings as an apostle of the Lord, Acts xx 24.
The Abrahamic covenant
The Jews had held their land on the tenure of the covenant made with Abraham for them, Gen xiii 15,16; xv 16; and with their fathers when the Lord brought them up out of Egypt as above noticed; but which covenant they broke, and continued to break in every perverse way. And as a farmer forfeits his good farm and his good livelihood thereon, by breaking every item of his lease, even so the Jews forfeited their night to the land of Canaan, by breaking every item of that conditional covenant, or lease, upon the tenure of which the right of possession was given them, and upon the observance of which only, their night of possession was to be secured to them. But forfeited first by the ten tribes, in a way of grievous idolatry, they were driven out of the land and scattered abroad, according to the - conditions of the covenant, Deut xi 16,17,27,28, after holding it seven hundred and thirty years, 2 Kings xvii 22,23. Judah not having then so awfully departed from the covenant of the land, continued in it about a hundred and nineteen years longer; 'Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, - Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets,' verse 13. But 'Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they had made,' verse 19. 'And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house which I said, my name shall be there,' 2 Kings xxiii 27. And the Lord's ways being equal, Ez. xviii 29, he drove them out of the land into captivity for seventy years, and then brought them again and reinstated them in the land, on the tenure of the very same covenant, with all its terms and conditions of possession exactly the same.
And the very same commands of the same kind of obedience as a nation, the same warnings and cautions against their departure from the covenant lease of their possession of the land, and the very same rebukes and threatenings on their corruptions in departing from the covenant, and the very same exhortations to the same repentance, reformation, and returning to their covenant, were as perfectly applicable to them to the very end of their polity as a nation and people, as in the early days of the prophets; without any interference whatever with another covenant, or new obligations. But, in spite of all the warnings, cautions, threatenings, and exhortations, of the prophets of their foretime, Judah departed from the covenant and increased their corruptions, until the coming of the greatest of all their prophets, of whom they were warned; saying to Moses, 'I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him,' Deut xviii 18,19. And when this greatest of all prophets came, he took his position as a minister and prophet, upon the very ground and premises of all the prophets, in regard to them as a nation, and their state in regard to their covenant of the land; and warned, cautioned, threatened, and exhorted them, on their covenant ground, and 'in the language of the very same economy, for their good as a nation, as all the prophets had done; and clothed his instructions, reproofs, warnings, threatenings, and exhortations to repent, reform, and return to an agreement with the lease of their land, and covenant economy of their life and being as a nation, with the significant solemnities, not of the power of internal eternally saving grace, which did not belong to this economy; but of miracles and signs, that in truth he was 'the Son,' and that great Prophet. And they continuing in their hardened degeneracy from the word and statutes of their covenant, and rejecting with hostility his exhortatory ministry thereto, and to their following him in external regeneration of times, customs, and dispensation, according to the word of their own prophets concerning such a new order of things, and which they themselves used to speak of as the new times, when the consolation of Israel should come, but which they now resisted; he said unto them, 'If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace,' as a nation and people; 'but now they are hid from thine eyes,' Luke xix 42-44. 'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate,' Matt xxiii 38. What house is this? Because, if this text were an eternal salvation text, this house must be heaven, now left void and desolate of them who might have inhabited it! But nay, the text is national, and the house is their city and land, and the right of possession which they had forfeited, by violating every item of their lease or covenant of it, and their ejectment was accordingly thus determined and declared by the Lord of the soil.
Not an eternal salvation text
Third. That this is not an eternal salvation text is further evident, (1) Because it is not individual as eternal salvation is; but collective, as of the whole city and nation at once. (2) Because if this text, and such like to the Jews, were eternal salvation texts, then 'their unbelief would make the faith of God to them of none effect;' but to which conclusion the apostle exclaims, 'God forbid;, and therefore this text and such like, most certainly can have no such meaning, unless the apostle's judgment and conclusion were wrong, Rom ill 3,4. (3) Because, if our text, and such like to the Jews, were eternal salvation texts, their marked unbelief and non-repentance as a body, must be of a nature correspondent thereto, and then their stumbling by their unbelief, must be to their eternal fall: but to which conclusion, also, the apostle exclaims, 'God forbid,' Rom xi 11. And no such meaning can be intended in our text and the like; for the Jews have yet the time of their fullness to come, and to be received as life from the dead, verse 12,15; and which can never be true of the once lost and cast away from God's eternal salvation. (4) Because, as eternal salvation is by the Lord's gift of eternal life, and is above all damage, as 'they shall never perish;' so the awful sentence of a once cast away state of soul from the Lord and his eternal salvation, has no remedy for ever; but the sentence of rejection here passed, is from the mouth of the Lord but periodical only, 'until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,' Luke xxi 24; and then to be graciously superseded by the everlasting life blessings of eternal salvation, but in another form, and by another covenant, Rom xi 15,25-27; as our Lord plainly declares at the end of our chapter, and following our text, saying, 'Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' And will the finally lost hereafter so see him, so delight him, so love his appearing, and so worshipfully bless him? We know they will not. And as the rejection is therefore but temporal as a nation, the gathering under the protection named would have been no more; the lines of these two points being perfectly parallel, according to the nature of both, and the above scriptures.
Re-statement of the covenants
Fourth, to make our text and many more like it plain and clear to every reader, as to the real premises they occupy, and which is the only way of coming at the truth intended by what is said, it should always be borne in mind with special regard, that there are three covenant economies which God hath set up, set forth, and declared in the sacred scriptures; as we hinted at our onset of these remarks, and which we will now notice a little further. And in the order in which I would notice them, I would call the first:
The Eden covenant of nature: which God made with Adam, and all human nature in him. This covenant was but natural, as it is written, 'The first man Adam was made a living soul, howbeit that was not first that was spiritual, but that which was natural. The first man is of the earth, earthy. as is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy,' l Cor xv 45-48. The character of Adam as natural, and not spiritual, and his posterity so likewise in him, declares such to be the nature of this economy, and by which, accordingly, as its entire and distinct extent, he had earthy Eden for his possession, on condition of his obedience. And all the power and property of the obedience hereby required was perfectly in man's own self; so that do and live, by nature's own inherent property only, or disobey and die, was the exclusive nature, order and extent of this economy. And as from its altogether separate and distinct nature and design, no help by any inwrought power of saving grace in Christ Jesus could possibly come within this economy, as any accordant part of it, even so, nothing toward the salvation of the lost can possibly come out of this economy in any way whatever; for by the law is the knowledge of sin, and death for sin, and nothing otherwise. So that if faith in our Lord Jesus Christ were of the law, and a duty of the law, it could then have nothing to do with the sinner's justification to life, because it would be but a deed of the law, and 'by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified; either causal, or evidential.
The second covenant economy is the covenant of the land of Canaan, which the Lord, concerning that land, made with Abraham for his natural seed. 'Israel after the flesh,' 1 Cor x 18; 'the natural branches of the olive tree,' by natural birth and an external adoption to all the external favors of that covenant 'which the Lord made with their fathers in the day when he took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;' and which was but a repetition, explanation, and confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham, Heb Vill 9. This covenant was written on tables of stone Only, and not on the heart, Ex xxxiv 28, and therefore it was but external and natural in its requirements of personal state or of obedience, and external only in its favors. The personal state was not required to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, nor was the obedience required of that nature; nor were the favors spiritual blessings unto eternal life. Because according to this covenant, 'they had ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary,' Heb ix 1, 'which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of the reformation,' verse 10. Now although this covenant 'was a figure for the time then present,' verse 9, and 'a shadow of good things to come,' to the elect heirs of salvation, as a help to their faith in the great reality, yet it was not the very image of the things,' chap x 1; and so it was in itself to them as a people and nation, of external and national favors only, on condition of their own free will natural and moral obedience: supernatural grace by the power of the Holy Ghost being no part of this covenant, and spiritual obedience to eternal life being no part of its requirements of them as a nation.
This covenant economy was perfectly complete, uniform, and entire of itself, after its own kind, and for its own designs; and of which the Lord speaks accordingly, saying, 'And now, 0 inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard; what could I have done more for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?' Isa v 3,4. Why brought it forth idolatry, self-inventions of lies, and running after the customs of the heathen, instead of keeping to the statutes and judgments of the Lord, according to the covenant of their land? If poor mistaken dust and ashes will lift its wormy head and say from this text, that 'God hath done all that he could to save sinners by his grace in Christ Jesus, and that without effect on many souls, for that they would not be saved, and that he is disappointed of their salvation,' I envy not the ignorance, self-righteousness, nor the presumption of such; while they must hold themselves prepared to answer the question, 'Is there any thing to hard for me, saith the Lord?' Jer xxxii 27.
The Lord is not speaking here in the language of his omnipotent grace in Christ Jesus, but in the language and order of this covenant economy of external favor only; the very same as our Lord speaks in our text, saying, 'How often would I have gathered your children, and ye would not;' and the very same as it is said of our Lord on the very same covenant promises, 'And he could there do no mighty work; and he marvelled at their unbelief,' Mark vi 5,6. Their obligations were but natural and of free-will, and these were the Lord's claims on them by this covenant economy, and their disobedience and rebellion was a robbing of God, Mal ill 8. Their obedience was their life in the land, and their disobedience was their death or expulsion from it by this covenant; and Moses set these as life and death before them, for them to choose; and by their Amen, Deut xxvii, they professed to choose the path of obedience and live in the land, xxx 15,19,20; but from the days of their fathers they went away from the Lord's ordinances of this covenant and kept them not, Mal ill 7. And therefore the Lord said of them and their land, under the figure of his vineyard, 'I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned nor digged; but there shall come up briars and thorns; and I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it,' Isa v 6. The very same thing which our Lord also declared in figure, when he spoke to the fruitless 'fig tree,' saying, 'Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away,' Matt xxi 19; according to the words, 'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.'
This covenant, therefore, was not in itself a covenant of eternal salvation, being but 'a shadow,' made 'nothing perfect;' its sacrifices could 'never take away sin,' it was the 'ready to vanish away,' and was made up of those 'things which are shaken, and do not remain,' Heb xii 27 28. And consequently the removing it, and the people out of their privileges in the land for breaking it, was not a casting away any of God's people whom he did foreknow, from eternal salvation by another covenant, Rom xi 1,2.
The third covenant economy is of unconditional grace in Christ Jesus as its living head, and of internal power to the production of personal and vital godliness by the renewing of the Holy Ghost unto eternal life. According to this covenant, all the fullness, power, and property required, for the repentance unto life, faith, obedience, and the eternal life of all the interested by divine choice, of all nations, people and tongues under heaven is in Christ, and is in the sovereign dispensation of God alone, in the name and person of our Lord Jesus Christ as mediator and surety of this better covenant of sure mercies, by better promises, 'According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,' Eph iii 11. And all human conditions are as totally and entirely excluded for ever from this covenant economy, as the land of Canaan covenant was wholly and absolutely conditional only, was of external persuasion only to obedience, and was of external favour and privileges only; internal grace by the renewing power of the Holy Ghost forming no part of that covenant with them as a nation.
According to this covenant economy, (1) Christ, as head, is a quickening Spirit and quickeneth whom he will, John v 21; the spiritual Adam, the heavenly, the Lord from heaven, 1 Cor xv 4548, 'Lord of all,' 'Head over all,' 'Mighty to save,' 'The Almighty;' and we will call this the heavenly covenant, from the character of its Head, and because it is wholly and alone instituted for heaven and eternal life. (2) According to this covenant economy, all the subjects of it are children, and all the children are 'born of God,' and are of God alone 'made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;' all the people of God's eternal praise being formed for the same by himself only, Col 1 12; Isa xliii 6,7,21. (3) This everlasting new covenant economy is called God's 'new thing,' Isa xliii 19-2 1, in which, 'behold, I make all things new,' Rev xxi 5, as that of 'a new heart,' 'a new creature in Christ Jesus,' 'a new and living way.' And according to which, 'all things are of him, and through him, and to him;' of his will, through his power, and to his glory, Rom xi 36; as the good pleasure of his will is the first cause of all, the counsel of his will is the rule by which he works all, and the praise of his glory is the end to which he will infallibly bring all the things of this covenant, Eph 15,6,11; with the whole church of his 'chosen, called, and faithful,' singing and shouting aloud for joy, 'salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God; Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth,' Rev xvii 14; xix 1,6.
The covenants have separate natures and must be kept distinct
Fifth, the fact that the above three covenant economies are recorded and set forth in the word of God, I suppose no Bible reader will for one moment pretend to dispute; but it is their perfectly distinct and separate nature and constitution, and the fact that the Lord himself and his servants by his commission through the sacred scriptures, do on the respective premises of these covenants, use a mode of language and expression peculiar to that covenant upon the premises of which the discourse, address, or words are delivered; that as these covenants can never be made to be all one and the same thing in their nature and constitution, so the language of the one, can never in form be applied to the other; and that the things of these covenants are as different in their nature as the covenants themselves are different; which demands our particular attention, observation and care. Because all these held apart according to their nature, and in their own respective place, according to their constitution and design, the harmony of truth is duly and rightfully maintained; but to confound them, is confusion, untruth and contradiction, imposed on the word, works, and revealed character of the almighty God of truth, wisdom and order. And to shew the solemn truth of this remark, we will compare the language of these covenants.
Cain being angry, he reflected on the equity of God's government, and by the Eden covenant the Lord said, 'If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?' Gen iv 5,7, while by the heavenly covenant it is, 'He hath made us accepted in the beloved,' Eph 1 6; 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done,' Titus ill 5; 'That being Justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,' v 7. But we will shew the difference between the things said by the order of the Canaan covenant, and those said by the order of the heavenly covenant of eternal salvation. It is said by the Canaan, 'I will drive them out of my house, I will love them no more,' Hos. ix 15; by the heavenly, 'I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,' Hos. xiv 4; by the Canaan, 'Call his name Loammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God,' Hos. 1 6,9; by the heavenly, 'And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God,' v 10,11. By the Canaan, 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,' Hosea iv 6: by the heavenly, 'My people shall know my name,' Isa Ill 6, '1 will give them an heart to know me,' Jer. xxiv 7; 'For they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them,' chap xxxi 34; 'and my people shall never be ashamed,' Joel 11 26-27. By the Canaan, 'Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me,' Prov. 128; by the heavenly, 'They shall call on my name, and I will hear them, I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God,' Beech xiii 9; 'Whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved,' Joel ii 32; 'For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened,' Matt vii 8. By the Canaan, 'The soul that sinneth shall die,' Ezek xviii 4; by the heavenly, 'I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish,' John x 28; 'For this my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found,' Luke Rev 24; 'Your life is hid with Christ in God,' Col ill 3. By the Canaan, 'Why will ye die?' Ezek. xviii 31; by the heavenly, 'Ye are not your own,' 1 Cor vi 19; 'The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,' John x 11; 'The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death,' Rom Viii 2; '1 am come that they might have life,' John x 10; 'Fear not; behold, I live for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death, ''Because I live, ye shall live also,' Rev 1 18; John xiv 19.
By the Canaan covenant the Lord says, 'When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall die; and when the wicked man turneth from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive,' Ezek xviii 26,27; by the heavenly, 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness without works,' Rom iv 6; 'There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit,' Rom viii 1; 'Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord,' Isa liv 17; 'Who hath saved us and called us, with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,' 2 Tim 19; 'Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,' 1 Pet i 5; 'Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus?' Rom viii 31-39; 'Having obtained eternal redemption for us,' Heb ix 12. By the Canaan, 'Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes,' Isa 1 16; by the heavenly, 'If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me,' John xiii. 8: 'From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you,' Ezek xxxvi 25; 'The blood of Jesus Christ his dear Son cleanseth us from all sin,' 1 John 1 7; 'His name shall be called JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins,' Matt 1 21; 'In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve,' Jer. i 20. By the Canaan, 'Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,' Jer. iv 4; by the heavenly, we are 'circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,' Col ii 11. By the Canaan, 'Cast away from you all your transgressions,' Ezek xviii 3 1; by the heavenly, 'He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,' Heb if 26. By the Canaan, 'They shall even bear their iniquity,' Ezek xliv 10; by the heavenly, 'His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,' 1 Pet 1124. By the Canaan, 'Then I said, I have laboured in vain and spent my strength for nought,' Isa xlix 4; by the heavenly, 'He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied,' Isa liii 11.
By the Canaan covenant, the law was written on stones.- by the heavenly, the law is written on the heart, Heb viii 10; 2 Cor. iii 3. By the Canaan, 'Ye will not;' by the heavenly, 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,' Ps cx 3. By the Canaan, 'Ye will not come unto me,'John v 40; by the heavenly, 'I will draw all men unto me,'John xii 32. By the Canaan, 'How often would I have gathered your children;' by the heavenly, 'I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory,' Isa lxvi 18. By the Canaan, 'Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways and live?' Ezek xviii 23; by the heavenly, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,' Rom ix 11,15,18; Luke iv 26,27. By the Canaan, 'Make you a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek xviii 3 1; by the heavenly, 'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will put my Spirit within you,' Ezek xxxvi 26,27.
An Eden heart is of pure upright nature, as God first made man; a Canaan heart is one in moral accordance with the conditional covenant of the land; and a heavenly heart is by new birth and new creatureship in Christ Jesus, the spiritual workmanship of God by grace only, Eph 11 10. An Eden heart was only fit for Eden, by the law of nature; a Canaan heart, required by that covenant, was fit only for the possession of that land, and was neither fit for Eden by the law of nature, nor for heaven by grace; and a heavenly heart is not fit for Eden by the requirements of the law of nature, but for heaven by the grace and mediationship of our Lord Jesus Christ. These things are properly distinct, and if truth be our enquiry, our concern will be to know their proper nature, place, order, and design; and to understand how 'He hath made every things beautiful in his time,' Eccles ill 11; that truth is harmonious without a jar, and that no such thing is known in the revealed will of God, as spiritual duties devolving on natural men, by the sovereign favor, free grace, and eternal salvation of God by the mediationship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus taking truth in its proper place, order and design, according to the covenant premises upon which the same is spoken through the sacred word, perhaps it will be asked, since the greater part of the old testament scriptures was spoken to the Jews, upon the premises of the covenant of the land of Canaan, and that covenant is now for ever passed away, are those scriptures by the will of God, now of no further use? My answer to this is, that the Jews, as separated from A nations by a particular covenant, and having their all as a nation by that covenant, were an emblem of the true elect, saved and called church of God out of all nations; and that so likewise the scriptures literally spoken to them on their particular covenant premises and not to the heathen world, are spiritually applicable, not to the world as dead in sin, but to the living, spiritual, and everlasting covenant church, the true 'Mount Zion,' Heb xii 22-24; and that herein was the truth of the vision of God, 'As it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel,' Ezek 116; x 10; and that so they are taken and interwoven by the apostles in their epistles to the churches and believing individuals, as so really belonging to them, saying, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,' 2 Tim iii 16,17.