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this, in relation to the divine adminiftrations in the church, is as evident, both from the theory and the scriptures, as that there is a heaven above and a drep beneath.
The Scribes and Pharisees questioned with Chrilt, seeking of him a hign from heaven, tempting him; but he answered, This is an evil generation; they seek a fign, and there fhall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was å hgn unto the Ninevites, so fhall also the Son of Man be to this generation. Woe unto them, to whom no other sign shall be given, than that of an immersion, or a burial in waters !
Section 13. The Ordinances of the Covenant,
A constitution being made, by the faith of God, and a charter given for the new world; and by his grace through faith, a family or society being established upon it; ordinances are instituted for the proper exercise and regulation of the society, agreeably to the nature of its establishment. The ordinances now instituted, together with those inftituted before and continued in this adminiftration, commonly called the pręcepts of the fons of Noah, are seven, viz. ihe Sabbath, Marriage, the Altar of Witness, Sacrifice and Offering, Family Government, Abstinence from Blood, and Inquisition for shedding of the Blood of Man.
These ordinances have the same relation
to the everlasting covenant, as right statutes or laws of civil administrations have to a ci. vil constitution. And though the breaking of such laws or statutes be an offence against the constitution, and require punishment; yet thousands may so offend and bring evil upon themselves, and be even cut off from the society, and the constitution remain unaffected, These ordinances, indeed, may be considered distinctly as a covenant of grace; as obedia ence to them, by the grace and promise of God, connects with the enjoyment of all the blessings of the redeemed world; and as difobedience not only forfeits the grace of God, but subjects the offender to the forest punishment; yet, they must be carefully distinguished from the covenant constitution, which is the source of all grace, as has been considered particularly in the iwo laft sections.
The want of clearly distinguishing the covenant of the ordinances of grace, from the immutable covenant constitution of grace, has led to innumerable errors, but they are most clearly distinguilhable; the one of these covenants exists from everlasting, and in its nature is everlasting; the other exists in time, and in its nature is temporary. The parties of the one are God and Christ; the parties of the other are Christ and men. The one canó not be broken, charged, or in the leaft vari. ed, for with enther party there is no variableness nor shadow of rurning; the other m y be broken, as one party is the mutable creature, and it requires to be varied and changed, as all flatules and laws of ad
ministration do, with the various states and dispensations of a changing world. In rela. tion to the one, the reward of obedience is reckoned of debt; but of the other; it is grace'; for the condition of the one was the manifestation of God, even the Father; but the condition of the other is merely the maniseltation of good will to the great undertaking, and of pleasure in the work, Besides pese, they are distinguishable, the one from the other, in a great variety of viewś.
The distinction last noticed, leads to the obfervation, that allthese ordinances carry us to the substance of things hoped for, the eternal fource of grace. The ordinance of the fabbath is the sign or memorial of the rest of God; which, in substance, is the rest Christ entered into, when, having finished his covenant-work, he sat down at the right hand of God. See Heb. 4th chapter. Marriage, as we are taught by the apoltle, leads to the doctrine of Christ, and allias to the discovery of the nature of the eternal covenant principle, Eph. V. 32. The altar of witness records in earth, the name and truth of God recorded in heaven. Sacrifice and offering sets forth before our eyes, the gift of Christ, and the blood of the everlasting covenani. Ecumenical government, as appointed by God, exhibits on earth the form of the administrarion of lieaven; under this
government is feen, in a pattern, the order of the family of God, the arrangement of the household of taith, and the dire&lion of the commonwealth of Israel. And the two ordinances respecting blood, its being prohibited from common use, and blood being required for the shed. ding of the blood of man, and nothing but the blood of him that Iheddeth it to be ac. cepted, which is, doubtless, to be under, Hood, that the blood of man should not be fhed, but for the blood of man. These ordi: nances, I say, are evidently designed to point out the preciousness of the blood of atone: ment. By this relation of the ordinances to the everlasting covenant, it appears that ihey are all of a sacred nature,
And as the ordinances are ylie vehicle of the exhibition of Christ in the world, they can cease only with day and night, or with the final close of every dispensation. They can no more fail of support, or of being administered in the world, than the engage. ment and truth of God, that Christ shall be exhỉbited, can fail. However generally infi, delity may abound, and men may neglect and tranfgress the ordinances; and whatever evil and vengeance shall come upon this ungod, ly world on that account, we may be sure that somewhere in the world, in some corner, cave or wilderness, or in the lonely house of the poor widow of some obscure Sarepta, the truth of God will have effect, and faith will be inviolably preserved, and a reirnant shall be saved. And though the ordinances, as to their fashion, do necelsarily change with the several dispensations or exhibitions of Christ, as contemplated in the theory, fili, the doctrine held up in them being Chrift; the fume yesterday, and to-day, und for ever,
they are in substance ever the same. Hence it is manifest, that ihe order of the priesthood of Melchisedec, being founded in the law of this altar, is unchangeable, univerfal, and perpetual.
Some brief remarks, as we have passed along, have been made upon the folemn nature of these ordinances; it may however, in this place, to notice more particularly that respecting murder; which, after the deluge, was the most deeply impreffed by the divine declarations that accompanied the ratification of the covenant. And surely your blood of your lives will I require: at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man: at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whofojhed. deth man's blood, by man Mall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Gen. ix. 5, 6.—This most folemn injunction, undoubtedly, is the origin of that law and tradition of the Avenger of Blood, which has existed immemorially among all the tribes and nations of the world.
In the natural state of society, which is, as it were, the family state, the avenger is the brother of the flain, or fome one of his nearest connexion; and he is bound to exact the forfeiture, upon the high penalty of the blood shed being imputed io himself; but in the state of civil society, this folemn and most indispenfable obligation devolves upon the magistrate, or upon the country in its organized state, in whatever form it may be embodied; the magistrate or country so organiz