Who does not see that this renewing can only be effected from time to time, in nearly the same manner as a tree successively takes root and grows from a seed, and is perfected?
One of his earliest recollections is of his old grandmother, seated on her three-legged stool, bending over the fire, tongs in hand, renewing the fuel of gorse under the griddle.
In the upper part of these aquatic cages, the luminous atmosphere vibrated under a continual spray of transparent dust,the sea water with air injected into it that was renewing the conditions of existence for these guests of the Aquarium.
Now Christ being the way to the Father, both as to justification, in taking away the enmity, in changing our state, and removing our unrighteousness and guilt, whereby we were lying under the sentence of the law, adjudging such sinners as we are to hell; and as to sanctification, in cleansing us from all our pollutions, renewing our souls, washing away our spots and defilements, &c. He must be made use of in reference to both.
x. 28, 29, for proof thereof; and of the day in particular, that it was a day of fasting and supplication, with preaching of the word, in order to preparation for the solemnities intended, both of renewing the covenants and celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's, Supper.
x. 28, have a right and an immediate call to the duty of renewing the covenant.
Answer, Without the concurrence of church and state, a covenant cannot be taken or renewed nationally, speaking strictly; yet a few may publicly declare their adherence to their covenant-engagements by renewing them, not only without the consent and concurrence of authority, but against it; and there are several precedents for so doing, both before and since the established reformation.
The turning away of the Lord's wrath and anger from a land, or people, which covenant-breaking hath deserved, may be a motive to renewing covenant with God; this was the motive that prompted the good reforming King Hezekiah to make a covenant with the Lord, 2 Chron. xxix.
This upright renewing of covenant with the Lord is a way and mean to procure many mercies, both spiritual and temporal, from the hand of the Lord; which should be a strong inducement and motive to engage us thereunto.
Temporal mercies are also promised to this upright renewing and keeping covenant, Deut. xxix.
As for the manner of renewing covenant with God, and how the duty ought to be gone about, he propounded and opened it in the following particulars, to this effect: 1.
The want of which qualification in covenant-renewing, causes unsteadfastness and perfidy in covenant-performingPsal.
This duty of covenant-renewing requires, as a qualification towards the right performing of it, that there be a due consideration, and some suitable impression of the solemnity and weightiness of the work: which ariseth, partly from the object or party covenanted with, the holy and jealous God, Joshua xxiv.
So it was with covenant-renewing Israel and Judah, who were "weeping as they went to seek the Lord their God, and to make a covenant never to be forgotten."
This doctrine he proved and applied briefly as the time would permit, both because of its native result from the text, and because of his own, and our sincere desire to see a holy union and communion, in the way of truth and duty effected by returning to the Lord, and renewing the covenant with him, as among all the godly, so especially among those that profess their dissent from, and dislike of the corrupt courses of the times.
" Under this head of doctrine, he gave the following marks to evidence whether the present time of renewing our covenant with God was indeed to us a time of the Lord's privileging us with his gracious presence1st, That a time of God's privileging his people with his gracious presence, and with a shower of gospel grace, is a very inviting and alluring time;
First, More generally to propose some considerations which make such a great work as renewing covenant with the Lord a weighty, hard and difficult work.
A man that would lift up his face without spot in renewing covenant with God, must first "put iniquity far away, and not suffer wickedness to dwell in his tabernacles," as Zophar advises Job, chap.
vi. 9, even to that degree as to fill the soul with wonder and astonishment, that ever it should have an occasion of renewing covenant with God again.
5th, The practice of the godly in such a juncture of time, as what ours appears to be, is a call and encouraging consideration to set us upon this work: the godly usually in times of great defection from the purity and power of religion, and corruption of the ordinances of God's worship, set about renewing their covenant, thereby to prevent covenant curses, and procure covenant blessings; as we find both in scripture record, 2 Chron.
7th, The covenants themselves have, as it were, a loud voice to call us, and all who own their obligation, to set about renewing of them; they call by the justness and intrinsic goodness of the matter, which is of binding force by virtue of the law of God, prior to any covenant-tie, and by the holiness and excellency of the end, to wit, the reformation and preservation of religion.
There have been many objections made against the design, matter and form of the covenants: more against subjects covenanting to defend the purity and promote the reformation of religion, without the royal concurrence of their sovereign princes; most of all against private persons entering into covenant, or renewing thereof, for the said end without the general concurrence of the representative body of the church and state.
As also the more recent practice of the godly renewing the National Covenant, and acknowledging the breaches of it, both before they obtained the concurrence of civil authority, in the year 1638, and again, by authority, in the year 1639.
In the year 1712, at Auchensaugh, Mr. M'Millan, with the assistance of Mr. John M'Neil, licentiate, "resolved to set about this solemn and tremendous duty of renewing their national covenants with God."
" Believing these teachings of God's word, and in view of renewing solemn vows to him, we now give glory to the Lord God of Israel by making confession of our own and our fathers' sins in violating our solemn covenants.