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phet returned an answer according to his views and feelings, that the people had become cruel, and had deviated from the path of rectitude; inasmuch as they had slain all the Lord's prophets, and sought his life also! he said, "the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy proprophets with the sword; and I only am left; and they seek my life to take it away." Yet the Lord declared to him, that it was not exactly so; for, said he, "I have yet left me seven thousand, in Israel," even seven thousand "who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
In another case this form of address has prevailed, in which the Lord spoke to his prophet Jeremiah, and said, "My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." Here the queries seem to arise in my mind, how far it is proper to consider all as the servants of God, who profess to be subject to the same discipline. We have all too much forsaken the Lord. We have turned from him and hewed out cisterns of our own, adapted to our own convenience and vain imaginations. We have contrived ways and means to get along without applying to him; and yet, in his will only is contained his law and his
covenant. To the Israelites was given an outward law and covenant, for they were an outward people. In their degenerate state, the Divine Mind was anxious to give them such law, and such rules for their government as they could bear. And so long as they kept strictly to the law and the covenant, there was no diversity of opinion among them; all their prophets were attended to. This outward covenant and plan of government was suited to their animal natures and sensual desires. This covenant had its seal, in outward miracles, wrought in their presence, which must have been an evidence to them of its having proceeded from Almighty power. This was the highest evidence they looked for, and was suited to their low views and outward dispensation. But outward miracles are no evidence to an internal spiritual covenant. God now acts upon the hearts of men without them. Were they necessary for the furtherance of his purposes, they would be continued. But they would defeat the design of the new dispensation, if they were now to be renewed; for they are not suited to the new and present covenent and law. You have read in the prophet Jeremiah, that the Lord would make a new covenant with his people. But the promise was confined to his people only; it was not new to
any other nation on the earth; nor is it to be found in history, that he gave an outward covenant to any other nation whatsoever. But it is not to be supposed because they were not included in the assurance of the Jewish covenant, that other nations were out of the notice of God; but their case was different, it was not suited to them, nor to their condition; God is an impartial being, and hence he would bestow upon them such a course of improvement and direction as should best suit their wants and situations. The old covenant was not to be admitted to any other nation than the Jews; but the new covenant was to be an everlasting covenant. It was not made liable in any wise to change, on his part; for it was to be perpetual, and as such cannot alter; for God cannot change, he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. And although the people turned away from him, and sought out their own devices, yet God followed them in their lean and lost condition; for God is love, and he would not forsake what he had created. If they had attended to their duty, they would have sought to return to their first love, and to perform the will of their Creator. At the present day all that is required of us, is to do the manifested will of God our Creator. How then is that will manifested to us? It may be
observed that the first manifestation of it is, the evidence of the spirituality of the covenant. God is a Spirit, and therefore his covenant must be internal and spiritual, and not external. This was the covenant which he gave to man in the beginning, and through this we may see what is our own condition, as well as what we mean by the term salvation. It is salvation from our sins, not in our sins, and from our own self-will and designing. As all things come from his spirit, it is manifest that we should never have a will of our own, independent of his. How presumptuous is it, then, in us to set up our will in contradiction to his, and as it were to dictate to the Almighty! Where the covenant which I have spoken of exists, what is the seal of it? Is it outward miracles? Not at all. It is superior to all external manifestations. It is as high above them, as the heavens are above the earth, as spirit is above matter. It is written in our hearts; and if we are only faithful to the law of the covenant thus written, we shall be satisfied of it, and become the offspring of God, not only by creation, but by the begettings of his Holy Spirit in our souls. God has no children but spiritual ones. But the people have not been obedient to the known will of God. They have chosen to follow their own devices, and
christendom has been employed in hewing out their own broken cisterns. We must therefore go back to the spiritual covenant-to the internal light which has been given us. Has the medium through which God spoke to his apostles ceased? By no means. Is he no longer that merciful and propitious being as formerly, when he condescended to have immediate intercourse with his creatures? His communication with them is now by the same inward light that ever it was, and not by outward miracles. But because these latter have ceased, dare you say or believe that the Almighty Being has forsaken you? It would be a heinous crime, and not to be committed without shame and confusion of face. What is it, then, that now separates us from God? The gospel tells us that it is nothing but our sins. But "is the Lord's arm shortened that he cannot save?-is his ear heavy that he cannot hear?" No, it is your iniquities that have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear; and I appeal to you all to say if this is not true by the evidence within.
Our evidence is internal, from the communications of God himself. Nothing can convict me of sin but the evidence in my own heart.