30 DECEMBER (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S EVENING 1774)
Joined to the Lord
‘They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.’ Jeremiah 50:5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 2 Timothy 1:1–14
The desire which animates and encourages them is Let us join … in a covenant. This covenant is not the creature’s engagement to the Lord, but a laying hold on the Lord’s covenant engagement to the sinner. This is established in Christ. He engaged to fulfil all righteousness for those who come to him, and to work all their works for them and in them. Our part is to consent to it, to choose it, and to venture ourselves. All promises and resolutions of our own will come to nothing without this. But when this covenant is known, it draws the soul to a willing surrender. Then the sinner gives himself away, and commits himself to the Redeemer, as the Apostle speaks in 2 Timothy 1:12. By accepting, yielding, to this covenant, the soul is joined to the Lord—in one spirit, one interest. Then Christ dwells in the sinner and puts forth his life, power, and grace in the soul, and the sinner dwells in Christ as in a strong tower of defence. This covenant shall not be forgotten. The effects and purposes of it are abiding and unchangeable. The Lord will remember it in every turn of life, at the hour of death and the day of judgement. It will not be forgotten by the soul. The hour, the place, will usually be remembered, the surrender often renewed and ratified. O that this may be the hour and this the place with some of you—that the glory of this covenant may win your hearts before you go hence.
FOR MEDITATION: The anniversary of my great deliverance in 1748 calls for my grateful acknowledgement.… I remember when I stood trembling, to appearance upon the brink of eternity, and thought it impossible I could live a quarter of an hour. Since that memorable day thou hast added twenty-eight years to my life … My time is shortening apace. O that the remainder may be spent for thee. Be my Shepherd, my Saviour, my all, and may all that I have and am be devoted to thee and employed for thee.
Diary, 21 March 1776
[anniversary of John Newton’s conversion in a storm at sea]
SERMON: JEREMIAH 50:5 [6/7] [TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE]