Hebrews 8:10
For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I will put My laws in their minds, and inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Sermons
Law and Love in the New CovenantW. Jones Hebrews 8:10
Christ in Heaven, the Mediator of the New CovenantC. New Hebrews 8:6-13
The Reasons Assigned for the Introduction of the New CovenantJ.S. Bright Hebrews 8:6-13
A Glorious PositionK. Arvine.Hebrews 8:10-12
A Happy MemoryJ. Trapp.Hebrews 8:10-12
AttractionHebrews 8:10-12
Coming of the MilleniumH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 8:10-12
Commandments, not BurdensomeT. Watson.Hebrews 8:10-12
Complete ForgivenessT. Adams.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine ForgivenessB. Beddome, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine KnowledgeFrancis Goode, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine PardonBp. Huntington.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine RelationshipFrancis Goode, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine RelationshipFrancis Goode, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Divine RenewalFrancis Goode, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Forgiving MercyW. R. Bradlaugh.Hebrews 8:10-12
God's Covenant with the New Testament ChurchJohn Young, D. D.Hebrews 8:10-12
God's Law Written in the HeartG. LawsonHebrews 8:10-12
God's Non-Remembrance of SinC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 8:10-12
Inner-DevotionT. Thompson, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Justice and MercyH. R. Burton.Hebrews 8:10-12
Mercy to UnrighteousnessFrancis Goode, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
Obedience from LoveJ. Spencer.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Grand MoralityC. Clemance, D. D.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Highest Literature of ChristianityHomilistHebrews 8:10-12
The Knowledge of GodJ. H. Evans, M. A.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Law in the HeartSarah F. Smiley.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Law in the HeartAndrew Murray.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Miracle of MiraclesJ. Parker, D. D.Hebrews 8:10-12
The New Covenant -- its PromisesA. J. Parry.Hebrews 8:10-12
The New Covenant -- the Superiority of its PromisesA. J. Parry.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Religious Relations of the IntellectW. H. H. Murray.Hebrews 8:10-12
The Universal Diffusion of Scriptural KnowledgeWm. Schaw.Hebrews 8:10-12
Two Conversions NeededTheodore Monod.Hebrews 8:10-12
For this is the covenant that I will make, etc. The paragraph from which our text is taken is a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is said that the Lord "will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;" but this is spoken, not of Israel according to the flesh, but of the spiritual Israel - the spiritual seed of Abraham (cf. Romans 2:28, 29; Romans 9:6-8; Galatians 3:7-9). Notice -

I. THE REVELATION OF LAW IN THE NEW COVENANT. One of the great distinctions between the two covenants arises from the materiality of the old one and the spirituality of the new one. In nothing is this more manifest than in the matter of Law. Law is present in both of them. But in the old it was engraved upon tables of stone; in the new it is written upon the hearts of men. Under the old the people were led "by the hand," guided by visible symbols; under the new they are led by the heart, guided by spiritual influences. Our text sets forth certain aspects of Law in the new covenant.

1. Law present in the mind. "I will put my laws into their mind." It, the former dispensation Law was spoken to the outward ear, it was made visible to the bodily eye; and so given, it was often soon neglected and forgotten. But in the present dispensation, to those who have by faith entered into covenant relation with God, Law is given as a possession of their spiritual nature. It is not external to them, but is present within their minds as a rule of action and as a theme for meditation.

2. Law treasured in the heart. "And on their heart also will I write them." When a thing is highly esteemed by us, or when a cause has awakened our deep interest, we say with propriety that it lies near our heart. With greater emphasis and deeper significance do we say the same of one whom we love. So in the new covenant Law holds a high place; it is prized and loved. It is loved as being good in itself. "The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good." It is loved, also, as being the expression of our Father's will. There were instances under the old covenant in which the Law was loved and delighted in, but they were rare exceptions to the general rule. Under the new covenant the Law of the Lord will be increasingly prized and loved and obeyed.

3. Law embodied in the life. "Out of the heart are the issues of life." Writing the Law upon the heart is a pictorial way of expressing the inspiration of a disposition to obey Law. God will give his people courage to profess his laws, "and power to put them in practice; the whole habit and frame of their souls shall be a table and transcript of the Law of God." The Law which they love in their heart they will express in their lives. This is the highest revelation of Law. It is most effective in relation to the individual; it is most clear in relation to others, and most influential also. This revelation is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is he who illumines the mind, inspires the heart, etc.

II. THE EXPRESSION OF LOVE IN THE NEW COVENANT. "And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." We do not mean to imply that the giving of the Law unto the minds and hearts of God's people was not an expression of his love; for such in truth it was. But here is a brighter manifestation of his love. Notice:

1. God's relation to the Christian. "I will be to them a God." He will be to them all that they could desire and expect to find in their God. He gives himself as the chief blessing of the new covenant. He will be to his people "as great, as wise, as powerful, as good as he is in himself." We have all things in him (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). We have his wisdom for our direction, his power for our protection, his love for our spiritual satisfaction and joy, his Spirit for our instruction, consolation, and sanctification, his heaven for our abiding and blessed home. A whole library dealing with these words could not fully express the number and preciousness of the blessings which are comprehended in them - " I will be to them a God."

2. The Christian's relation to God. "And they shall be to me a people," This is set forth as our privilege; and a great one it is. But the privilege has its obligations. If by faith in Jesus Christ we have entered into this covenant relation with God, we have the right to expect its blessings from him, and we axe solemnly bound to fulfill its duties to him. Our duty to which the covenant binds us includes

(1) supreme affection to God;

(2) reverent worship of him;

(3) hearty consecration to his service;

(4) cheerful compliance with his will

May we be enabled both to perform the duties and to enjoy the privileges of this gracious covenant. - W.J.







I will put My laws into their mind.
I. WHAT IS IMPORTED GENERALLY IN THE WORDS.

1. That a covenant shall be made, and a covenant-relation shall subsist, between God and every member of the New Testament Church.

2. That both parties, so related to one another, shall behave in a due and becoming manner, agreeable to the relation in which they stand.

3. That the relation itself and the due behaviour of the relatives on both sides shall be wholly the work of God.

II. WHAT IS MORE PARTICULARLY IMPORTED IN GOD'S PROMISING TO BE OUR GOD.

1. That God will graciously bring us to have a real and saving interest in Him as our God. Now, in order to our having such an interest in God, two things are necessary; both which are secured by this promise and both are accomplished in behalf of every one who is brought within the bond of this covenant.(1) That God make a gracious grant and offer of Himself to us. declaring us welcome to claim an interest in Him, and to look for the rest and happiness of our souls in the enjoyment of Him. Without such an offer it would be impossible that ever we should be interested in Him as our God. Such a happiness is incapable of being purchased by any creature.(2) It is likewise necessary that He enable us to accept this gracious offer, and really to choose Him as our God and Portion. There can be no covenant without the consent of both parties.

2. This part of the promise imports that God will do all that for us that any people has reason to expect or usually does expect from their God. He would be ashamed to be called our God, if He were not to act up to the character. And His allowing us to claim Him in that character may be viewed as an engagement that He will do for us whatever corresponds unto it.(1) Be will set you free from all spiritual bondage, oppression, and misery of every kind, and put you in ample possession of the glorious liberty of the sons of God.(2) He will guide and conduct you through this weary wilderness in every step of your journey towards the land of promise.(3) He will lead you forth against all your enemies, and make you completely victorious over them in due time.(4) In a word, He will bring you home in the event to the possession of a plentiful and pleasant inheritance.

III. WHAT IS IMPORTED IN OUR BEING TO GOD FOR A PEOPLE.

1. That God would gather into one all the members of the New Testament Church; so that in whatever place of the world they should have their residence, from whatever nation they should spring, whatever should be their kindred, tongue, or language, they should all be closely united one to another and constituted one body mystical.

2. That this dignified people, and every particular person among them, shall, in due tree, be enabled to dedicate themselves unto God, and cheerfully to acknowledge themselves to be His property.

3. That having made such a dedication of themselves to God, the Church and her members shall be preserved from ever attempting to alienate what they have devoted.

4. That God will graciously accept the dedication that we make of ourselves to Him and all those evangelical services which we perform in consequence thereof.Lessons:

1. From what has been said, we may see one very remarkable difference between the covenant of grace as it is exhibited in the gospel and actually made with every Christian in the day of believing, a difference, I say, between this and all other covenants. In all covenants there are mutual engagements entered into by both parties respectively; and something which they become bound to perform one to another on both sides. So far this covenant agrees with all others. But the amazing difference between this and every other covenant lies in this, that here one party binds Himself for the performance of the engagements of both.

2. We may see that all true Christians are really covenanters with God, however little relish some of them may have for the name.

3. From hence we may see that neither faith, nor repentance, nor sincere obedience, nor anything else wrought in us or done by us, can be the condition of the covenant of grace.

4. We may see from this subject that real Christians are the only happy person- in the world. All the things that men value or esteem, and in which they look for happiness, riches, honours, power, pleasure, they possess in a supereminent degree. They arc the only persons who deserve to be called rich, having an interest in God Himself, an infinite and inexhaustible good as their portion and inheritance.

(John Young, D. D.)

That there is mind, and that it is superior to matter, I assume, and I have a right so to do: for assumption is not illogical where the demonstration of the thing assumed can be instantaneous and popular — that is, within the range of ordinary understandings. That our bodies are but the organs of our minds, and therefore inferior to them, and totally distinct from them, is seen in this: that the one can be destroyed, while the other remains intact. The surgeon can cut both legs of a man off near the trunk, and then he can cut both arms off at the shoulder, until a full half of his body as represented by bulk has been destroyed, and still the energies of the man's mind are in no way affected. The symmetry of the body is gone, but the symmetry of the undestroyed and the indestructible mind remains. The mind and the saw have not touched it; they cannot. Now, holding that mind is immortal, I would point out to you some of its religious relations, to the end that we may all apprehend how natural to the mind itself are those states, moods, and natures which the Bible enjoins. For religion is only nature corrected — nature perfected. When man stands in his natural powers, with all his adjustments correct, with all his instincts just, and with all his aspirations holy, he has in him the same mind that was in Christ; for in Him all religion existed organically. Reverence, obedience, affection, humility, truthfulness, and whatever other element piety includes, lived incarnate in Him. He embodied them. Hence, imitation of Him is piety in its highest phase. Hence, His life is the light of men, morally. Hence, Christian studentship is a studentship of His character.

1. Well, the first characteristic of the mind, religiously considered, is activity. Mind is motion, mind is impulse, mind is vibration, mind is only God's thought; and His thought keeps for ever thinking. Mind, therefore, in its religious connections, must be for ever active. Be not afraid, therefore, to think, young men. Let your minds go forth continually in search of facts. Knock at the door of every phenomenon; press against the door until the fastenings of it yield to your pressure, and, passing in, you stand eye to eye in presence of its long-pent mystery. Wherever there is darkness, creep into it; and when you have entered within its gloom, kindle the torch of investigation and look around you, to discover the hidden wonder. Explorations, spiritually, are for ever in order. The proof of God is found, beyond all else, in your thinking; and the thinkers of the world are the perpetual evidences of the truth of the Bible when it declares that God made man in His own image. The human intellect is the offspring of the Supreme Intelligence. No less cause than this can be assigned as able to produce such a result. There was but one orb that could throw out such a beam. The primal relation of the human mind to the Deity was filial. Of this there can be no doubt. Nature alone is sufficient evidence. And what, pray, is the peculiar characteristic of filial connection? What is the initial attitude of the child's mind into which it grows continually as it advances in years?

2. There is but one answer: the attitude is that of reverence. Well, what shall we say, then, touching the proper attitude of the human mind to its Creator, if not this, that its attitude should be reverential? This conclusion we reach, you observe, not by following the line of any dogma, but by following the line of nature. Nature alone constitutes a perfect bible from which to read the commandment of duty. Your minds are the offspring of that Supreme Intelligence which they resemble. And if your minds are not in a reverential attitude toward God, they are in a state of transgression; not as touching any verbal statute, but as touching the great ineradicable principle of natural relationship. This reverence on the part of the human mind touching God refers not only to Him as to His nature, but to Him equally as to His creations and surroundings. The mind that rightly apprehends its relationship to the Divine Being reverences not only Him, but all that He has made. It apprehends Him in His divergence, in His distributiveness, in the varieties of His expression. Like the Hebrew, it apprehends Him in the beauty of the firmament. Like the Egyptian, it sees Him in the patience, the usefulness, and the cunning of animal life. Like the Greek, it admires the divinity as seen in the symmetry of outline and the loveliness of the human figure. Like the historian, it beholds Him in the progress of events and in the succession of forces, as they have been evolved from the various attempts at government. Nor does such a mind fail to see the evidence of its Master's presence in little things. In grasses, in flowers: in shrubs, in trees, in whatever there is of growth round about, the mind which is properly constituted reverentially apprehends Deity.

3. The third characteristic of mind that has a special religious relation is humility, and the exceeding excellence of this trait will be more clearly apprehended when it is set in contrast with its opposite, arrogance. This arrogance of intellect is as old as studentship, and as offensive as human pride. Its results are beyond expression deplorable. Its tendency is to make men self-opinionated, domineering, and insulting. It has been the mother of oppression. It has dictated persecutions beyond number. It has driven the sword of war even to its hilt into the white bosom of peace, and often made the Church, which is by nature a dispenser of the mercies of God, an engine of the devil. Its culmination is seen in the assertion of infallibility. He who lays claim to such powers of judgment advertises himself as the colossal arrogance of the world. The worst phase met with to-day is the arrogance of what is known as Radicalism. There is a class of men whose whole philosophy is that of negation. Their wisdom consists in denial. They deny the existence of God, they deny the exaltation of Christ, they deny the truth of the gospel, they deny the intelligence of piety, they deny everything that faith credits or the converted soul believes. Their sole object seems to be to undermine and pull down every structure which Christian faith and hope have builded. A more self-conceited and arrogant set of men never lived. They fulminate their scepticism as if they spoke with the authority of a god. A scientific supposition is made to subserve the purpose of a fact. Their speculations arc announced as if they were demonstrations. They are all kindred in the fashion of their behaviour. Their utterances are monotonous. He who has heard one of them lecture has heard all. He who has read one volume has mastered their entire system, if such vagaries of thought can be called a system. Bring them all together, strip them of their various names and their personality, lump them in one embodiment, and they represent a solid mass of self-conceit. That such men can have any lasting influence on the thought and morals of the race is preposterous. They are simply an accident of the times. They simply represent human eccentricity. I have now discussed the relations which mental activity, the quality of reverence, and the quality of humility hold to religious development. If you desire religious growth, you must keep your bodily organs thoroughly healthy, your mind active, reverential, and humble. One more thing alone remains to be said.

4. And this one thing which we need, we need beyond everything else: it is the love of the truth. Truth is the soul of form. It is the spirit which lurks in all substance. It is the genius which lives in law. It is the inspiration of love. It is the crown and glory of man's noblest effort. In seeking it men have passed their lives. To behold the brightness of its /ace, men have walked bravely into the darkness of death. In order to know truth you must first desire it — desire it with your whole heart, desire it for its own sweet sake. In order to find it you must free your mind from all prejudice, from all vanity, from all pride. You will look for it on a throne, and you will find it in a manger. You will look for it in honour, and you will find it in shame. You will look for it among the wise, and you will find it among the ignorant. You will look for it under the royalty of a crown, and you will find it on a cross. You will search the letter, and you will find that the letter does not include it. You will search for it in creeds, and after forty years of belief, you will discover that your creed does not contain it. You cannot stamp it on the pages of a pamphlet any more than you can tie the wind to the tree tops, But he who searches for it actively, reverently, humbly, and because his soul loveth it, will, somewhere, sometime, find it; not all at once, nor in the way he expected, but little by little, and in the way of surprise. As he finds it, so shall he find delight. It will be sweet to his soul. Peace, too, shall come with it — the peace which passeth understanding — the peace that makes man a marvel unto himself.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

Homilist.
I. TRUTH THUS WRITTEN IS MOST LEGIBLE. Those who know not the alphabet-children and heathens — can read characters. These life-commentaries on the Bible we want.

II. TRUTH THUS WRITTEN IS MOST INCORRUPTIBLE. Man may write his interpolations in connection with God's truth on paper or parchment, but not on souls.

III. TRUTH THUS WRITTEN IS MOST CONVINCING. The arguments of Butler, Paley, &c., are powerless compared with the argument of a true life.

IV. TRUTH THUS WRITTEN IS MOST LASTING. Paper, marble, and brass will decay, but not souls.

(Homilist.)

I. THE PROPER CHARACTER OF SANCTIFICATION. This, as it is an act of God upon the human soul, consists in the establishment in it of a divine principle of holiness, expressed, here, as the putting God's laws into the mind and writing them in the heart. This is begun in regeneration. The law of God, the principle of true holiness, is re-established in the inward parts; the man is brought into habitual conformity to it, in all its spirituality, as the one governing principle of his life. This is the proper character of sanctification, as it is a grace of the true Christian.

II. THE SEAT OF SANCTIFICATION. This is, in general, the soul of man: the mind and heart. In both these this blessed principle has its throne, and exerts its paramount, though not undisputed, dominion over the whole man. The body of the believer, itself, experiences the benefit of the sanctification (Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1). Divine grace, in the renewed mind, is a pervading principle, that, like leaven, to which it is compared, never ceases its operation, till it have assimilated to itself all with which it comes in contact. It attacks not one vice, and spares another; corrects not one evil habit, and tolerates the rest. The law of the new creation is nothing less than God's law; and whatever in thought, word, or deed, whatever in tempers, habits, and dispositions, consists not with perfect love to God and man (which is "the fulfilling of the law"), that the renewed man instantly detects, by a kind of spiritual instinct before unknown; an antipathy of nature, as true to itself, as uniform in its actings, as that of water to fire, or of darkness to light. The two cannot exist together in peace. The man now hates sin; strives against it in all its shapes — against corrupt reason and passion both. Satan and his allies in man — the lusts of the flesh and of the mind — are driven into corners; they cannot tyrannise as before; but they yield not easily. The words of the promise lead us to distinguish two parts in this great work, the sanctification of the human soul.

1. The enlightening of the understanding, expressed by putting God's laws into the mind.

2. The engagement of the affections, expressed by writing them in the heart. Both these go together when the man is born again of the Spirit. The soul is sweetly but powerfully drawn to choose what the judgment has been taught to approve. There is given, not the rule only of obedience, but the spirit of obedience; there is a taking away the stony heart out of the flesh, and giving a heart of flesh.

III. THE AUTHOR OF SANCTIFICATION. "I will put... I will write." God, then, is Himself the agent in the establishment of His law in the hearts and minds of His people. None beneath Himself is equal to this great work. The outward means which He uses as preparatory and auxiliary to this great work, are endlessly diversified.

1. The mercy which distinguishes one man from another is not the result of holiness foreseen in the subjects of it. The terms of the covenant of grace run directly counter to such a notion. Sanctification is promised in it to sinners, as a free gift.

2. Holiness is connected with mercy, as the effect with its cause. The revelation of mercy to unrighteousness is God's great means for winning the sinner from his enmity, to love and delight in Him. I will sanctify, saith He, for I will be merciful. These two can never be disjoined.

3. Sanctification is never perfect while the believer is in the body. The conflict between the flesh and the spirit continues to the end, with various success; but, upon the whole, the actings of corruption get weaker, and the habit of grace strengthens in the soul. Still, the spark of evil is not extinguished. Satan lives, and, if permitted, can easily re-kindle it into a flame.

4. The law of the Ten Commandments is still the rule of life to the believer. From the law, as a covenant, we are eternally delivered, through Christ. As a means, therefore, of meriting life, we have nothing whatever to do with the terms of it. Eternal life is given us in Christ (1 John 5:11). But we are therefore "delivered from the law," "that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:2, 4, compare Romans 7:6). The law of Christ is indeed a law of love; but still this " new commandment" is "the old commandment which ye had from the beginning" (1 John if. 7).

5. The security of the believer in Jesus. God has put His hand to the work, and who shall let it?

(Francis Goode, M. A.)

I. THE THINGS TO BE WRITTEN ARE THE LAWS OF GOD. But what laws these are may be doubted. For some will have them to be the Decalogue. Yet these are said to be written in the heart of the very heathens (Romans 2:5). Yet suppose they be already in their hearts, yet the writing of them there is very imperfect; for both the knowledge of them and the power to keep them are very imperfect, so that the love of God and our neighbour may be imprinted there more perfectly. Yet the word termed Laws signifies in the Hebrew, Doctrines. And these are the doctrines of the gospel concerning Christ's person, nature, offices, and the work of redemption; the doctrines of repentance, faith, justification, and eternal life; and these either presuppose or include the moral law. Further, they are doctrines concerning Christ, glorified, reigning, and officiating in heaven.

II. THE BOOK OR TABLES WHEREIN THEY MUST RE WRITTEN ARE THE MIND AND HEART OF MAN. There is the spring and original of all rational and moral operations, of all thoughts, affections, and inward motions. There is the directive counsel and imperial commanding power. There is the prime mover of all humane actions as such. This is the subject fit to receive not only natural but supernatural truths, and doctrines, and all laws. There divine characters may be imprinted, and made legible to the soul itself. This is the most noble and excellent book that any can write in.

III. THE SCRIBE OR PEN-MAN IS GOD; FOR IT IS SAID, I WILL GIVE OR PUT, I WILL WRITE. He that said so was the Lord. And it must be He, because the work is so curious and excellent that it is far above the sphere of created activity. He alone can immediately work upon the immortal soul to inform it, move it, alter it, and mould it anew.

IV. THE ACT AND WORK OF THIS PENMAN IS TO WRITE, AND WRITE THESE LAWS AND WRITE THEM IN THE HEART. HOW He cloth it we know not. That He doth it is clear enough. His preparations, illuminations, impulsions, inspirations, are strange and wonderful, of great and mighty force. For in this work He doth not only represent divine objects in a clearer light, and propose high motives to incline and turn the heart, but also gives a divine perceptive and appetitive power, whereby the soul more easily and clearly apprehends, and more effectually affects heavenly things. The effect of this writing is a divine knowledge of God's laws, and a ready and willing heart to obey them, and conform unto them, a power to know and do the word of God. This is that work of the Spirit which is called vocation, renovation, regeneration, conversion actively taken, without which man cannot repent, believe, obey, and turn to God.

1. The laws. The laws of God are written in the heart, not the inventions, fancies of men, nor natural, nor mathematical, nor moral philosophy; much less the errors and blasphemies of seducers and false prophets.

2. The heart of man is by nature a very untoward and indisposed subject, and not capable of these heavenly doctrines. It is blind and perverse, and there is an antipathy between it and these laws. As it hath no true notions of the greatest good, so it hath no mind to use the means, which conduce to the attaining thereof. This defacement of so noble a substance is the work of the devil and sin.

3. Concerning God's writing His laws in the heart of man, you must know —(1) That they are not written there by nature. If they were, what need God write that which is already written?(2) He writes nothing in this heart but His laws and His saving truths. Therefore that which is not written without in the Scripture He doth not promise to write within the heart, and whosoever shall fancy any doctrine received in his heart to be written by the hand of Heaven, and yet cannot find it in the gospel, is deceived and deluded.(3) Before these divine doctrines can be written in the heart, all errors, lusts, false opinions, must be raised and rooted out of the soul, and it must be made like blank paper.(4) God doth not write His laws in our hearts by enthusiasm, rapture, and inspiration, as He wrote His word in the hearts of the prophets and apostles; but He makes use of the word, and the ministers of the gospel, and the instructions of man, as also of the outward senses, as of the eye and ear, and also of the inward, and of reason, and of all the powers He bath given man to do anything in this work. And whosoever will not use these means and exercise this power by reading, hearing, meditation, conference, prayer, let him never expect or think that God will write these things in his heart.(5) The effect of this writing of God is not only knowledge, but also a love of the truth, light, and integrity, power and dominion over sin, and the powerful sanctifications and consolations of the Spirit. And whosoever doth not find these in his heart, let him not think that God hath written His laws in his heart. For He writes with power, and leaves a permanent tincture of holiness, and a constant habitual inclination to that which is good, just, and right.(6) God doth not write these laws perfectly and fully in man's heart whilst he is in the flesh; for He proceeds in this work by degrees. Therefore seeing God hath ordained means, and commanded them to be used, no man must neglect them whilst this mortal life continues, for these truths are not written in any of our hearts further than we use these means, which were given not only for the first inscription of these laws, but for the increase and perfection of our Divine knowledge.

(G. Lawson)

It was a choice tribute that was lately rendered to a noble Christian woman, that "her natural life was so completely Christian, that her Christian life became completely natural."

(Sarah F. Smiley.)

The miracle of miracles is this — "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." To put the law in the inward parts, and to write it on the heart, is more than to fill the firmament with stars.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Cicero questions whether that can properly be called a burden which one carries with delight and pleasure. ° If a man carries a bag of money given him, it is heavy; but the delight takes oft the burden. When God gives inward joy, that makes the commandments delightful. Joy is like oil to the wheels, which makes a Christian run in the way of God's commandments, so that it is not burdensome.

(T. Watson.)

The son of a poor man, that hath not a penny to give or leave him, yields his father obedience as cheerfully as the son of a rich man that looks for a great inheritance. It is, indeed, love to the father, not wages from the father, that is the ground of a good child's obedience. If there were no heaven, God's children would obey Him; and though there was no hell, yet would they do their duty; so powerfully doth the love of the Father constrain them.

(J. Spencer.)

We all need two conversions. First of all, we need to be converted from the natural man to the spiritual man, and in the second place, we need to be converted from the spiritual man to the natural man, until the spiritual man becomes a natural life, and the burden is opportunity and the bondage is delight.

(Theodore Monod.)

If those who are in the employ of others do but meet the outward and visible engagements into which they have entered with their masters, the latter are satisfied. Let but the proper hours be kept and the day fully and diligently filled up, let but the books be accurately posted, and the articles of merchandise which are being manufactured be put together in a workmanlike way; and the wages are cheerfully and promptly paid. The majority of masters do not concern themselves with the motives of their men. The latter might profess to like other masters better than they do their own, yet if they but fulfil their tasks their employers are content. The preferences and motives of their servants most masters regard as being no concern of theirs. In this respect there exists a striking contrast between the claims of God and those of men. The Almighty will accept of no service which is not a service of love. The heart must first be given before the service is accepted. The connection subsisting between God and those employed by Him resembles rather the services rendered to each other by the members of a loving and united household.

(T. Thompson, M. A.)

Just as each plant in its growth spontaneously obeys the law put into its inmost parts by God, so the believer who accepts the new covenant promise in its fulness, walks in the power of that inner law. The spirit within frees from the law without.

(Andrew Murray.)

Just as the water naturally follows the channels which are constructed to conduct it from the mountains to the sea, so the holy heart follows the channels of Divine law, marked out by Divine law, not through compulsion, but through the power of attraction.

A noted secular paper once prophesied concerning Moody and Sankey that Professor Tyndall would do more to purify London than "these men!" Professor Tyndall may help us to purify the atmosphere of our houses and streets, but what word has he ever dropped that would purify a human heart! He may discourse eloquently of "duty," but Plato could have done that; Aristotle did that. But who has not found out before he has had many years' experience in dealing with men, that what is needed is not so much to show men their duty as to get them to do it? To show men their duty yon want light, to get them to do it you want power, and the only adequate power is love. God's clearest light, God's mightiest power is in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

(C. Clemance, D. D.)

I will be to them a God. —
I. A MUTUAL RELATION OF GOD AND MEN. "I will be to them a God." In other words, Whatever I am in Myself, that I will be to them; of that they shall have the free use and blessed experience: all My perfections will I exert for their present and everlasting welfare. How greatly do we need the increase of faith, to receive this amazing promise I to embrace it, to the comfort and joy of our souls. We shrink from appropriating it; we try to live on something less for happiness. But He who knows the souls that He has made, knows that nothing beneath Himself can ever fill their boundless desires. No gifts of nature, no, nor even the largest gifts of grace itself, can supply the place of Him who is the Author of them all. God, then, makes Himself a God to His people, communicates Himself to them by indwelling. "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God." Two things are necessary for your enjoyment of this promise.

1. Realize God as your God. Claim the relation of a child; live as if you were one; and God will so own the relation that you can hesitate no longer.

2. Live on God as a God to you — and this in two ways.

(1)Live on Him for all your need.

(2)Live on Him for all your happiness.Under this twofold aspect God revealed Himself to Abraham (Genesis 12:1) for the encouragement of His faith, in the long-continued trial of it.

(Francis Goode, M. A.)

They shall be to Me a people.
I. This relation of redeemed sinners to their GOD. "They shall be to Me a people."

1. His people owning God as theirs.

(1)They yield themselves to His authority.

(2)They separate themselves from an evil world.

(3)They devote themselves to His services.

(4)They live on Him for protection and happiness.

2. God owning them as His people. Consider the terms of endearment under which He speaks of them. He calls them His children; the sheep of His pasture, for whom the Shepherd bled. Such is the preciousness of His purchased people in His eyes.

(1)How infatuated are the enemies of God's people! How great is the folly (to say nothing of the wickedness) of hating those whom God loves!

(2)How glorious is the character, how exalted the privileges, of the saints!

II. God's own engagement to establish this RELATION BETWEEN US AND HIM. "They shall be to Me a people." These words clearly express a resolve of God in this matter. He Has so ordered the covenant of grace, that it is a sure covenant to all who have once embraced it. "They shall be to Me a people." His word is passed for the effectual accomplishment of His grace; and, therefore, His own Divine character and glory are involved in it. If God be able to do what He has resolved to do, this relation cannot fail to be made good between Him and them. This doctrine is a precious cordial for the fainting soldier in the day of battle. It strengthens his weak hands; confirms his feeble knees; animates him under all the terribleness of conflict.

(Francis Goode, M. A.)

All shall know Me.
I. A knowledge of God covenanted under the GOSPEL. "They shall know Me." This is a knowledge little thought of, or valued, by men in general; and, which is stranger still, it is that of which all men in Christian countries think they are in possession. But to know God indeed, according to the true sense of the term, is to have such an apprehension of His infinite majesty and holiness as shall lay us low before Him, and to bow with deepest submission to His will. It is to have such a knowledge of His glorious goodness as shall fill us with holy delight in Him, intense desire after communion with Him, and enjoyment of His favour. Further, it is so to behold His glory, as to be ourselves transformed into the same image of holiness and goodness; to be ourselves "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). This knowledge of God, which is matter of promise to His covenant people, we may consider under two heads. It consists in saving acquaintance with God —

(1)As He is in Himself, in His revealed nature and character.

(2)As He is to us, in His purposes towards us, and the interest which we have in Him.

II. The universality of this knowledge of God BY HIS COVENANT PEOPLE. "All shall know Me, from the least to the greatest." There is not one true child of God under the gospel but has his measure of it. He discerns the perfections of God, as they are displayed in the work of redemption; that "mystery which, in other ages, was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His apostles and prophets (and by them to the Church) through the Spirit." The "least" of God's covenant' people, as well as the greatest, has now a satisfying, soul-quieting acquaintance with God; such an understanding of the method of peace with God, through Christ, as even prophets, and righteous men of old, the most spiritual of their day, desired in vain. Yea, often the poor and ignorant and weak in intellect of this world are, in the sovereignty of Divine grace, pre-eminently "rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him."

III. A SUPER-HUMAN SOURCE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE. "They shall not teach," &c. This is certainly not said to disparage God's appointed ordinance of public preaching, or mutual exhortation. It was under this very gospel covenant that He first gave the command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." But the believer does not so learn of man as that He receives the truth in that uncertainty, or sense of possible error, which attaches to every mere word of man. There is a revelation of God to His children, a knowledge of Himself by His Spirit, that is, like light, its own witness. The man who has it is sure that he has it, and that it is of God. Lessons:

1. Do we possess such superior light and knowledge of God to any which the saints of old enjoyed? O, then, let the superior effects of this knowledge be clearly discernible in our conduct. To see God indeed is to be like God.

2. Be satisfied with no knowledge of God to which you have yet attained. Though, like Paul, you had been caught up into the third heaven, yet should your prayer be, with Paul, "That I may know Him"; yet should your language be, as his was, "Not as though I had already attained." Still have you reason to say, "Now I know in part."

3. Learn to live on God in the use of ordinances. This is a very different thing from that pernicious conceit of living above ordinances. That is the privilege of heaven alone. God can indeed supply the place of means, and, in particular cases, He does so; acts independent of them; to teach us to trust in Him, in the dearth of them. But, ordinarily, it is otherwise.

4. This promise of the covenant, like the preceding, has its complete fulfilment only in an eternal world. The knowledge of God which the believer now has is real and delightful; all the things that can be desired are not to be compared unto it. But the sweetest part of its enjoyment is, that it is an earnest of what shall be.

(Francis Goode, M. A.)

I. In the first place, WHAT IS INTENDED IN THE TEXT BY THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. "All shall know Me." It cannot be a mere knowledge of the existence of God, for the devils believe that God is. It cannot be a mere partial acquaintance with the character of God; because we cannot for a moment doubt that the Jews were partially acquainted with God's character, and yet our Lord said to them, "Ye neither know Me nor My Father." Neither can it be a dry, uninfluential, notional knowledge of God, however accurate (2 Peter 2:20, 21). To know God includes far more than this. It implies a real, personal, experimental, sanctifying acquaintance with God.

1. It especially regards Him as a reconciled God in Christ.

2. But more than this; the knowledge of God implies a knowledge of Him as our God in covenant; a God who has pledged His very perfections to bring His people safe to glory; who will not have them to judge Him by their feelings, nor by their providences. Who can unfold the knowledge of God which springs from the consideration of Him as a pitying Father? "He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." To know God implies a knowledge of Him as a God all-sufficient; My brethren, how long you and I have been learning this lesson, and how little we know of it after all!

II. Observe, in the second place, here is a positive word of certainty THAT ALL GOD'S PEOPLE SHALL KNOW HIM, "from the least to the greatest." This was no small part of the work of our adorable Immanuel. It is sweet and pleasant to look at Him as bearing the very name of the Word of God, because He is the revealer of God. He does indeed tell us the secrets of God's heart; He brings to light those perfections in Deity which we could never conceive to have existed but for His work. The work of Jesus is glorious throughout, and there is no part of His work which ought more to endear Him to our hearts than this, inasmuch as He disclosed more of the Father, and brings us into more intimate acquaintance with the character of God, than could have been devised by any other means. But it is not this that secures the infallible teaching of all God's Israel; it was the covenant "ordered in all things and sure." But there is a point connected with this that I would not overlook, and that is, the way by which the Holy Spirit (for it is His especial work), brings the knowledge of God into the soul. "I will give them a heart that they may know Me, saith the Lord." It is not, "I will give them knowledge," but "I will give them a heart." Now this was communicated in regeneration. Oh the wonders of redeeming love, flowing out from the heart of God by Christ Jesus! Oh what a beam of light is that which the Holy Spirit brings into the conscience, developing God our Saviour in Christ Jesus!

III. But observe, WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF THIS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. I hardly know where to begin or where to end. It is true wisdom: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of Him is understanding." Here lies also the secret of peace, "They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee." Whence is it that the careworn brow marks thy countenance? If thou weft only conversant with the great secret, "Casting thy care upon Him that careth for thee," thou wouldst find out the blessed lesson, of living above the region of disappointment, and finding peace in believing, '' Acquaint thyself with Him, and be at peace." In a word, this true knowledge of God has in it the material of all holiness. Whatever there is of love, whatever there is of hope, whatever there is of obedience, whatever there is of careful walking, whatever there is of watchfulness unto prayer, whatever there is of making a conscience of one's deeds, whatever there is of walking secretly with God as in the sight of God — it is all involved in one truth, a true, real, personal, experimental knowledge of God in Christ.

1. Be thankful, then, for the least measure you have of the true knowledge of God.

2. Covet earnestly the most. The true secret for a heavenly walk with God is a real acquaintance with Him.

3. Do not quarrel with the way by which God makes Himself known to thee. I remember the expression of a child of God who, feeling her heart too much attached to some earthly object, prayed that God would take away the idol, whatever the idol might be. In the course of a week He took away her husband.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

These words, quoted from Jeremiah 31:34, are here applied to New Testament times. They plainly teach, that these times shall be greatly superior to all that preceded them, in the general diffusion of that knowledge which is essentially necessary to the everlasting salvation of the soul. This blessing, which is of infinite importance, belongs to a new economy, different from the ancient covenant which God made with Israel, the peculiar privileges of which were of an earthly character, were shadowy or emblematical, and were chiefly confined to one nation. But the privileges of the new economy were to be of a spiritual character, and were to extend to men of all ranks, and of all nations, on the face of the earth.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THAT KNOWLEDGE WHICH SHALL EMINENTLY DISTINGUISH THIS PERIOD.

1. It is the knowledge of God, of things divine, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

2. This knowledge is communicated to the ignorant as the fulfilment of a gracious promise by the agency of the Divine Spirit (Isaiah 54:13).

3. This knowledge of the Lord, by which the period referred to in the text shall be eminently distinguished, shall be very generally diffused among all ranks and descriptions of men.

II. THE MEANS WHICH OUGHT TO BE USED BY US FOR HASTENING THIS PERIOD. It is said in the text, that when this happy era is come, they shall not teach, or, as it is expressed in the prophecy, they shall teach no more, every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord"; which seems plainly to intimate, that certain means, which are now very properly used for advancing this period, shall then become unnecessary.

(Wm. Schaw.)

The world is preparing day by day for the millenium, but you do not see it. Every season forms itself a year in advance. The coming summer lays out her work during the autumn, and buds and roots are forespoken. Ten million roots are pumping in the streets; do you hear them? Ten million buds are forming in the axils of the leaves; do you hear the sound of the saw or the hammer? All next summer is at work in the world; but it is unseen by us. And so "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation."

(H. W. Beecher.)

I will be merciful to their unrighteousness.
I. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THIS GRACE IS COVENANTED. IS it I, will each of us inquire, whom God means to include in a promise so cheering, so all-sufficient?

II. THE CONDITION IN WHICH IT SUPPOSES THEM TO BE. Throughout this covenant no mention is made of anything in man but guilt and ruin. The promise in my text obviously assumes such to be his condition. Man is in himself all unrighteousness, as it is written, "there is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Sorely there is nothing more suited to respire hope in the breast of an awakened sinner than the consideration of this truth. My sins, such an one may say, are exceeding great; but, thanks be to God, He who best knows them speaks to me of mercy I But it is long, in general, before an awakened sinner, though again and again God discover to him the vanity of all attempts to bring any deservings of his own, can be persuaded to go quite without hope or plea of any kind but this — Lord, I am a sinner, and Thou art a free Saviour. We dare not believe that grace is indeed so free, so unbounded, to those who will go to God in Christ.

III. GOD'S ENGAGEMENTS RELATIVE TO THIS CONDITION. "I will be merciful... I will remember no more." In these words God promises the removal of all kinds and degrees of sin.

1. Freely. "I will be merciful." This is both the reason with God for blessing, and the method by which He works upon the souls of His people; winning them from their natural enmity and distrust of Himself, by the effectual revelation of His mercy to them.

2. Eternally. "I will remember no more." Guilt makes the soul of the sinner fearful; he is ever recurring to the memory of his past sins, and he fears God does the same. He has had some momentary glimpses of mercy; but when the present sense of it is gone, conscience is afraid again; he is ready to suspect God of yet harbouring some latent feeling of resentment; fears the reconciliation has been partial, and that wrath, so deeply deserved, is ready to break out afresh on fresh provocation. But oh, blessed be God, this is indeed the way of men; but His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. Those whom He forgives freely, He forgives entirely, forgives eternally.

(Francis Goode, M. A.)

Many years ago in Russia a regiment of troops mutinied. They were at some distance from the capital, and were so furious that they murdered their officers, and resolved never to submit to discipline; but the emperor, who was an exceedingly wise and sagacious man, no sooner heard of it than, all alone and unattended, he went into the barracks where the men were drawn up, and addressing them sternly, he said to them, "Soldiers! you have committed such offences against the law that every one of you deserves to be put to death. There is no hope of any mercy for one of you unless you lay down your arms immediately, and surrender at discretion to me, your emperor." They did so, there and then. The emperor said at once, "Men, I pardon you; you will be the bravest troops I ever had." And so they were. Now, this is just what God does with the sinner. The sinner has dared to rebel against God, and God says, "Now, sinner, you have done that which deserves My wrath. Ground you weapons of rebellion. I will not talk with you until you submit at discretion to My sovereign authority." And then He says, "Believe in My Son; accept Him as your Saviour. This done, you are forgiven, and henceforth you will be the most loving subjects that My hands have made."

(W. R. Bradlaugh.)

Mr. Lyford, a Puritan divine, a few days previous to his dissolution, being desired by his friends to give them some account of his hopes and comforts, he replied, "I will let you know how it is with me, and on what ground I stand. Here is the grave, the wrath of God, and devouring flames, the great punishment of sin on the one hand; and here am I, a poor sinful creature, on the other; but this is my comfort, the covenant of grace, established upon so many sure promises, hath satisfied all. The act of oblivion passed in heaven is, 'I will forgive their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more, saith the Lord.' This is the blessed privilege of all within the covenant, of whom I am one. For I find the Spirit which is promised, bestowed upon me, in the blessed effects of it upon my soul, as the pledge of God's eternal love. By this I know my interest in Christ, who is the foundation of the covenant, and therefore my sins being laid on Him, shall never be charged on me."

(K. Arvine.)

The Jews have a saying that Michael, the angel of God's justice, has but one wing and he comes slowly; but Gabriel, the angel of Divine mercy, has two wings, and is made to fly swiftly.

(H. R. Burton.)

Their sins... will I remember no more.
It will be observed that the last-named promise is pardon. But though the last mentioned, it is the first bestowed, as indicated by the conjunction for, by which it is introduced. Pardon is not only promised, but is here represented as the reason for the preceding blessings. It is evident that the author, in his enumeration of these blessings of the better covenant, presents them in the inverse order of their realisation. In them he traces the Divine process of salvation, but starts at a point where that salvation has reached its highest fruition on its moral side, that grand moral achievement, the complete surrender of the soul to the Divine will, indicated by the writing of the law in the heart, and descends by the several steps of the process to the initiatory one, the pardoning of sins. It follows, then, that in order to understand duly these truths of overwhelming interest, we must deal with them according to their logical sequence.

I. THE PARDON.

1. Its source. This is indicated by the expression, "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness." The source, then, of the promised pardon is the mercifulness of God. We mean, of course, its moral source, for its legal source is the atonement of Jesus Christ.

2. We have also the fulness of this act of mercy indicated in the expression, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." This oblivion of transgression is a feature of the Divine pardon much emphasised in the Scriptures, with a view, no doubt, of duly impressing men with the fact of its absolute entirety. Nothing can be more emphatic than the prophet's declaration regarding God's dealings with the sins of Israel — "And Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). Absolute oblivion is the prominent idea of this graphic figure. That which is cast into the depths of the sea cannot be commemorated. An incident in connection with the laying of the Atlantic cable furnishes a striking illustration of the insuperable difficulty of marking spots in mid-ocean. When the first Atlantic cable was being laid it broke in mid-ocean, and the severed pieces dropped into the bottom, and the vessel was compelled to return to England to procure the means of recovering the broken end. Before, however, leaving the spot, means were adopted to mark the place, so that on their return the lost end might be found. So a suitable buoy was constructed, and every precaution taken to render its foundering or drifting impossible, as they supposed. But on the vessel's return the buoy laid down with such care was found, but, as careful astronomical observations showed, it had drifted over five hundred miles away from the spot where it had been originally moored. The broken end of the cable was never recovered. Thus is strikingly illustrated the impossibility of erecting memorials in mid-sea. God, therefore, by representing Himself as casting our sins there, would tell us how completely He forgets them, and how certain it is that He will never charge us with them again.

II. THE INTUITIONAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD ASSURED BY THE BETTER COVENANT. The knowledge of God forms a very important part in the Divine redemption. It is, so to speak, the Alpha of the whole process. Our Lord represents it so — "And this is eternal life, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). The knowledge, however, referred to here, is introductory to the blessings of salvation, whereas that of the text is the outcome of the blessing realised. We come to the blessing through the knowledge in the one case, but in the other we come to the knowledge through the blessing. In the first instance the knowledge is our schoolmaster to the blessing; in the second the blessing becomes our schoolmaster to the knowledge. The knowledge of God obtained through experience of His pardon is the grandest of all knowledge of Him. It is also the only infallible knowledge. An eminent minister, recently addressing a number of young ministers starting for the mission-field, said, "You will never lack a theme, for your mission is to tell of Him whom you know better than you know any one else besides." Never was uttered profounder thought or one more true. Those who know God know Him better than any one beside, better than they know their most intimate friends, better than husband knows his wife, or wife her husband, better than children know their parents, or parents their children. We may be deceived in our nearest and most intimate friends and relations, much as we may know respecting them. But God cannot deceive us. The nearest friend may fail us, but God cannot fail us.

III. THE DIVINE KINSHIP ASSURED BY THE NEW COVENANT. The relation to His people indicated by this expression I take to imply fatherhood. When God promises to be our. God, He promises to be our Father, and the pardoned soul apprehends Him in this light. In short, it is the pardoning act that reveals God to the soul first in this light. In this transaction he discovers God becoming his God as a father, for this act of pardon is, above all, a fatherly act. Our Lord has shown us this in that inimitable parable of the prodigal son. In nothing is God so intensely a father as when He forgives. And the child never understands his own father, never has the fatherly attribute so deeply revealed to his heart, as when he has had occasion to experience the joy of his father's forgiveness. Again, this relationship is in itself a guarantee of the fullest and most devoted service on their behalf. If the statement, "I will be to them a God," is equivalent to the statement, "I will be a Father unto them," then we know what it must mean as regards undertaking and acting for them. Some light is thrown upon this by the words already quoted — "God is not ashamed to be called their God." To this is added, "for He has prepared a city for them." This preparing of a city for them is given as a proof that He is not ashamed to own Himself as their God. As if it should be said, "He is not ashamed to avow Himself their God, for behold on how grand a scale He discharges the obligations of that relationship." We have no need to be told what the title "father" signified to the child: care, love, guidance, support, and all without stint.

IV. THE ASSURANCE WHICH THE BETTER COVENANT GIVES OF A LOVING, CHILDLIKE SUBJECTION TO THE DIVINE WILL. Parental government is by means of laws wrought in the heart; magisterial, by laws without. The parental relationship of God, fully and deeply realised by the believer, quickens the filial disposition, inducing such a humble, yet cordial, assimilation to the Divine will, comparable only to the " putting of the Divine laws into the mind and writing them upon the heart." Let us try and get at the meaning of these peculiar expressions regarding the law, "the putting it into the mind" and "the writing it in the heart." Now, the mind and the heart represents two sides of our nature, the intellectual and the emotional. Here, then, we have guaranteed to us the fact that the law, the sanctifying principle, shall take possession of these two ruling sides of our moral nature, exerting upon them an influence both subduing and formative.

(A. J. Parry.)

I. THE QUALITY OF THE BLESSINGS.

1. The greater excellence of the Christian pardon. The Jewish religion had its pardon, or something that passed for pardon; the superiority, however, of the pardon held forth by the gospel is indicated by the expression, "and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Contrast this statement with what is said respecting the method of dealing with sins under the old covenant — "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance of sins every year" (Hebrews 10:3). In the one case we have the forgetting of sins, in the other the remembrance of them. The ancient pardon, then, was not really such, but only a kind of reprieve annually renewed, a kind of suspension of the sentence, not the removal or abrogation of it. It was in the nature of a "ticket-of-leave" transaction.

2. The greater excellence of the knowledge of God assured by the new covenant. The knowledge of God acquired under the old covenant was preceptive knowledge, and, like all such knowledge, it needed constant prompting, it needed that every man should say to his neighbour, and every man to his brother, "Know the Lord," for they resembled boys learning a lesson, they continually forgot it. A prophet would arise, saying to the people, "Know the Lord," and they would learn the lesson; but no sooner did the prophet's voice cease than the people forgot the lesson, and wandered after false gods. Then another prophet would arise, and repeat the oft-taught lesson, "Know the Lord." But the more excellent knowledge of the better promise needs no such prompting. In the ease of this knowledge," they shall not teach every man his neighbour," &c., it is a knowledge in the heart, not in the memory, for the memory may fail, but the heart never.

3. The greater excellence of the relationship between God and His people. It is better in this, that it is individual and spiritual, whereas the corresponding promise of the old covenant was national and temporal. The promise as it related to Israel is given very graphically in Deuteronomy 26:17-19. There is something inexpressibly grand in the abounding sweep of this promise. If we consider it in the light of the history of God's dealings with the ancient people, we shall obtain some notion of its meaning. But rich and abounding as its meaning may be, it embraces only the nation, and that in relation to temporal things. The greater excellence of the corresponding promise of the new covenant is that it realises these blessings in a spiritual sense, and to every individual in the wide world that comes within the scope of its conditions.

4. Next, we notice the greater excellence of the formative principle of the new covenant. The superiority claimed here consists in this — that the laws are "put into the mind" and "written in the heart." There is an implied contrast with the corresponding provision of the old covenant. The latter had its laws, but they were inscribed, not in hearts, but on tables of stone. The other consists of an inward principle or motive, the subject of it animated by love, yielding willing obedience from a heart glowing with loving, grateful enthusiasm. This difference in the spheres of their respective laws involves a wide difference in their respective effects upon the course of the lives affected by them. There is a great difference between the sailing vessel and the steam-boat. The one is propelled by influences external to itself, and is, therefore, dependent upon them for the progress it makes; the other is propelled by a principle working within, and is, therefore, independent of external influences, moves without them, and often against, yea, in spite of them. The latter illustrates the method adopted in the new covenant. Hence its greater excellence. It implants the principle of action, the motive power, within, so preventing its subject from becoming a creature of circumstances, and his obedience a mechanical routine, making it rather a thing of the heart and of the affections. The gospel, in this respect, works according to the analogy of nature. In nature, the formative law of everything is within it.

II. THE SUPERIOR CERTAINTY OF THE PROMISES OF THE NEW COVENANT. The utmost assurance that these promises will be fully realised in the experience of every one who accepts Christ's salvation is given us in the fact that they are called by the term "covenant." In verse 6 the promises and the covenant are referred to separately; in verse 10 there is but one word " covenant." The term promise is merged in the term covenant. This substitution of covenant for promise indicates the element of certainty belonging to the latter. But it may be asked, were not the promises of the ancient religion established upon a covenant? Certainly, they were, but those of Christianity upon "a better covenant." The promises of the ancient religion were ratified by the blood of goats and calves, but Christ ratified the better promises of the "new covenant" by the sacrifice of Himself. His own declaration on this point is, "This cup is the New Testament in my blood," that is, the new covenant ratified by the shedding of My blood. In short, we have the promises of the gospel resting upon the atonement of Christ.

(A. J. Parry.)

I. THERE IS FORGIVENESS.

1. This appears, first, in the treatment of sinners by God, inasmuch as He spares their forfeited lives.

2. Why did God institute the ceremonial law if there were no ways of pardoning transgression? Does not a type imply the existence of that which is typified?

3. If there were no forgiveness of sin why has the Lord given to sinful men exhortations to repent?

4. If you will think of it you will see that there must be pardons in the hand of God, or why the institution of religious worship among us to this day?

5. Furthermore, why did Christ institute the Christian ministry, and send forth His servants to proclaim His gospel? For what is the gospel but a declaration that Christ is exalted on high to give repentance unto Israel and remission of sins?

6. Now, you do not want any more arguments, but if you did I would venture to offer this. Why are we taught in that blessed model of prayer which our Saviour has left us, to say, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," or, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us"? It is evident that God means us to give a real, true, and hearty absolution to all who have offended us. If, then, our forgiveness is real, so is His; if ours be sincere, so is His; if ours be complete, so is His; only much more so, inasmuch as the great God of all is so much more gracious than we poor, fallen creatures ever can be.

7. The best of all arguments is this: God has actually forgiven multitudes of sinners. We have read in Holy Scripture of men who walked with God and had this testimony, that they pleased God; but they could not have pleased God if their sins still provoked Him to wrath; therefore He must have put their sins away.

II. THIS FORGIVENESS IS TANTAMOUNT TO FORGETTING SIN. This is a wonder to me, a wonder of wonders, that God should say that He will do what in some sense He cannot do; and yet that it should be strictly true as He intends it. God's pardon of sin is so complete that He Himself describes it as not remembering our iniquity and transgression. He wishes us to know that His pardon is so true and deep that it amounts to an absolute oblivion, a total forgetting of all the wrong-doing of the pardoned ones.

1. You know what we do when we exercise memory. To speak popularly, a man lays up a thing in his mind: but when sin is forgiven it is not laid up in God's mind.

2. In remembering, men also consider and meditate on things; but the Lord will not think over the sins of His people. The record of our iniquity is taken away, and the judge has no judicial memory of it.

3. Sometimes you have almost forgotten a thing, and it is quite gone out of your mind; but an event happens which recalls it so vividly that it seems as if it were perpetrated but yesterday. God will not recall the sin of the pardoned. "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." "No more!" Let those words go echoing through the chambers of despair: "No more!" Is there not music in the two syllables? God will never have His memory refreshed. The transgressions of His people are dead and buried with Christ, and they shall never have a resurrection.

4. Furthermore, this not remembering, means that God will never seek any further atonement. The apostle saith: "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." The one sacrifice of Jesus has made an end of sin.

5. Again, when it is said that God forgets our sins it signifies that He will never punish us for them. How can He when He has forgotten them?

6. He will never upbraid us with them — "He giveth liberally and upbraideth not." How can He upbraid us with what He has forgotten? He will not even lay them to our charge.

7. Once more, when the Lord says, "I will not remember their sins," what does it mean but this — that He will not treat us any the less generously on account of our having been great sinners.

III. FORGIVENESS IS TO BE HAD.

1. Through the atoning blood. Why does God forget our sin? It is not on this wise? — He looks upon His Son Jesus bearing that sin.

2. Next remember that this forgetfulness of God is caused by overflowing mercy. God is love: "His mercy endureth for ever"; and He desired vent for His love.

3. How does God forget sin? Well, it is through His everlasting love. He loved His people before they fell; and He loved His people when they fell. "I have loved thee," saith He, "with an everlasting love"; and when that great love of His had led Him to give His Son Jesus for His people's ransom, it made him also forget His people's sins.

4. Again, God forgets His people's sins because of the complacency He has in them as renewed and sanctified creatures. When He hears their cries of repentance, when He hears their declarations of faith, when He sees the love which His Spirit has wrought in them, when He beholds them growing more and more like His dear Son, He delights in them. His joy is fulfilled in them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. EXPLAIN THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE FORGIVENESS.

1. The object of Divine forgiveness, denoted by the following terms — "unrighteousness, sins, and iniquities."

2. Notice the manner in which the forgiveness of sins is here expressed, or the cause to which it is ascribed; and this is said to consist in the Lord's being "merciful" to our unrighteousness. Even our best services and most spiritual dispositions, fall so short of the Divine requirements, that they need much mercy to cover their defects; how much more our unrighteousness, sins, and iniquities.(1) The mercy of God is the origin of our forgiveness, and it is according to His abundant mercy that He saves us.(2) Divine grace extends to sin of every description and degree, and to all unrighteousness.(3) This mercy is exercised in a way perfectly consistent with the claims of justice, and the rights of moral government. There is a meritorious as well as an efficient cause of forgiveness: the former is the complete satisfaction made for sin by the death of the Redeemer, the latter the free grace of God through Him.

3. Divine forgiveness is farther expressed, by "remembering our sins and iniquities no more." The pardon of sin is not only full and free, but final and irreversible.(1) God does not remember our sins, so as to aggravate or mark them with severity; for if Thou, Lord, markest iniquity, who shall stand? On the contrary, if there be any extenuating circumstances, He kindly notices them. He knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust.(2) He does not remember our sins, so as to suffer His wrath to kindle against them. Anger there may be and must be towards sin, but not against the penitent believer.(3) He will not remember sin so as to punish for it, but will deal so mercifully with us, that it shall be as if He had utterly forgotten it. This is not a denial of His omniscience, but an expression of His unbounded goodness.

II. INQUIRE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE BLESSING OF FORGIVENESS,

1. Those and those only who have a sorrowful remembrance of sin themselves. The more sin grieves us, the less likely it is to ruin us; and that sorrow for sin which follows upon the discoveries of pardoning mercy, is the best evidence of a renewed state.

2. Those who so repent of sin as not to allow themselves in any known evil; and to whom the remembrance of sin is so bitter, that it becomes their first wish to be delivered from it.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

God neither looks to anything in the creature to wish Him to show kindness, nor yet anything in the creature to debar Him; it is neither righteousness in man that persuades God to pardon sin, nor unrighteousness in man that hinders Him from giving this pardon, and acquitting men from their transgressions. It is only and simply for His own sake that He pardons.

(Bp. Huntington.)

Of our Henry VI. it is storied that he was of that happy memory that he never forgot anything but injury.

(J. Trapp.)

God never pardons one sin but He pardons all; and we dishonour Him more by not trusting in Him for complete forgiveness than we did by sinning against Him. Christ took up all our sins and bore them in His own body on the cross; and God cannot punish twice, or demand a second satisfaction to His justice. "Nothing can pacify an offended conscience but that which satisfied an offended God," says Henry; and well may that which satisfied an offended God pacify an offended conscience.

(T. Adams.)

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