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2. Not the alteration of the national affairs to the better, but the alteration of men's hearts to the worse, made covenanting with God to be so contemned at the Restoration and Revolution.

III. That these folemn and religious covenants with God, in which all gross heresy, blasphemy, idolatry, Popery, and other abominations have been repeatedly abjured, bind not only the immediate swearers or subscribers, but all their posterity and other representees in all generations following, to a faithful performance of every thing engaged, must now be demonstrated.

1. That which is engaged in these covenants, being moral duty, commanded by the law of God, is of perpetual obligation. The whole faith and practice to which we therein engage are sttated from the oracles of God, in our excellent Standards.

If the matter in itself, were contrary to God's law, no human covenant could bind us, or any represented by us to it for a moment. We can have no power from God to bind ourselves or others to any thing finful, 2. Cor. xiii. 8. Nor can any human deed be valid in opposition to his fupreme authority. If the matter were indifferent, no vow or promiffory oath could lawfully constitute a perpetual obligation, as the alteration of circumstances might render it very unexpedient and unedifying, 1 Cor. vi. - 12. & x. 23. & xvi. 14. Rom. xiv. 19. But if that which is engaged be precisely, what every person, in every age or circumstance, is bound to, by the antecedent tie of the law of God, no man can be, in the least, abridged of any lawful liberty, by being brought under the most solemn obligation of an oath or vow.

The stricteft fulfilment of it cannot but tend to the real profit of every one concerned, both in his personal and his social capacity. Psal. xix. 11. 1. Cor. xv. 58. Isa. iii. 10. Proverbs xiv. 34.

Rom. ii.

1-10. It is therefore for the advantage of us and our posterity, to be hedged in, and bound up to the moit exact conformity to God's law, by every mean which he requires or allows, in his word, even as it is for our advantage to have our liberty bounded by the ledges of bridges.---The law of God requires us to do every thing which is calculated to promote or secure our own or our children's walking in the truth, Gen. xvii. 7. Pfal. xlv. 17. & Ixxviii, 1-9. Ifa. Xxxviii. 19. 3 John ver.4.-It represents folemn vows as a mean most effectual to answer this purpose, Psal. cxix. 106. & lxxvi. 11. & l. 14. & Ivi. 12. & lxvi. 13, 14. & lxi. 8. & cxvi. 12--19. & cxxxii. 1-5. Gen. xxviii. 20. Deut. v.

2. & xxix Josh. xxiv. 15, 24, 25. 2 Chron. xv. 12. & xxiii. 16, 17. & xxix. 10. & xxxiv. 30--32. Ezra. 3.

Nch. ix. Isa. xix. 18, 21. & xliv. 3-5. & xlv. 23, 24. Jer. 1. 4, 5. 2 Cor. viii. 5.

2. By the repeated judicial acts of both Church and State, approving and imposing these covenants, they were conftituted the adopted laws of both, proper to be acknowledged and submitted to, by all their members, in the most solemn manner, which their circumstances permitted. Several of these acts, as well as the best duties of Christians, had their sinful infirmities, particularly on the head of penalties, which I mean not to defend. But in fo far as these acts approved and authorized these cove. nants, which bound men to receive and hold fast such temporal and spiritual privileges, as God had given them, and thankfully improve them to his glory,--and required a Chriftian, regular, and seafonable taking of them, they were certainly good and valid. Being good in themfelves, and the exa&t performance of them calculated to promote the glory of God, and eminent welfare of both Church and State, these covenants, if once regular


ly adopted as laws, must remain obligatory upon the adopting focieties, while they exist. Civil rulers being ordained ministers of God for good to men, Rom. xiii. 14. and Church officers appointed by Christ for the edifying of his body, Eph. iv. 11,--14. have no power against the truth, but for the truth, 2 Corinth. xii. 8, 10. and so can no more repeal a law, which promotes only that which is morally good, any more than they can give validity to a sinful one. -These covenants must there. fore, in the view of God and conscience, continue binding, as laws divinely ratified, upon us, as subjects, and as Christians. But it is their much more folemn obligation as public Vows and Covenants with God, which I mean to establish, particularly with reference to Scotland.

3. The matter of these vows being morally good, calculated to promote the holiness and happiness of every person in every age, the immediate covenanters were such as laid every possible foundation of tranfmitting the obligation of their vow to the whole Church and nation, to all generations. The RePRESENTATIVES of both Church and State:-- the MAJORITY of the Society, and our own PARENTS, in their respective stations, took these covenants. What could transmit and extend an obligation to pofterity, if all this did not? You cannot but allow, that even in private civil deeds, the obligation is extended far beyond the immediate engagers. In bonds, respeing money or service, men bind not only themselves, but their successors, and assigns, especially, if they have the continued right to, or possession of that fund or property from which that money or service natively ariseth. The obligations contained in a call to a minifter, fix on the whole congregation, if fubscrbed by the majority, without any regular diffent,—and on such as afterwards

accede to it. The treaties of peace, traffick, &c. contracted by Kings, Parliaments, Magistrates, are held binding on their subjects, and even on their pofterity. They, who accede to any fociety, fall under the binding force of its focial engagements for debt, duty, &c. If bonds and covenants did only bind immediate contractors, nothing but the wildest disorder would ensue. If the immediate engagers; quickly after died, they who trusted to their engagement, might be totally ruined.--A minority, who had been filent during the transaction, might, in a few days, overturn a bond or contract of the majority. Subjects might, at their pleasure, render void the contracts and treaties of their rulers. To pretend, that men may not use the fame freedom, in binding their representees and poiterity to God, as in binding them to men, is highly absurd and shocking, as it represents God as more dangerous, and less honourable and useful to be dealt within than the very worst of men. Why may not a parent, in offering his child to God in baptifm; take hold of God to be his God, and the God of his feed after him to all generations,--and dedicate not only that child, but all his posterity to God, as his, honoured vassals and servants. Gen. xvii. 7. Acts ii. 39.7-Is this less dutiful, safe, or honourable, than to infeft himself and them in some earthly property, and bind them as possessors of it, to be the vafsáls of fome finful superior?

-If the majority of a fociety, especially in distress, may put the whole under the authority and protection of a man who is a great finner, why must they act either wickedly or foolishly, if, by a folemn dedication, they put it under the especial care and protection of the Great. GOD our Saviour ? Rev. xi. 15. Plal. ii. 12: & xxii. 27. If the representatives of a people, may bind them to live peaceably and trade honestly with earthly neighbours; or may, in some cases, fubject them to the power, laws, or exa&tions of other earthly fu. periors-why allow them no power to bind them to fludy peace with God, and to follow peace with all men and holiness ?-No power to surrender them to God, to be ruled by his law,-and to render him his due revenues of honour ?-Hath not God an original and fupreme right to all men as his creatures, subjects, and children ? Are they not all bound by his law to the whole of that duty, to which, we contend, any man ought to be bound by a vow of perpetual obligation? Is it not inexpressibly honourable, safe and profitable to stand under the special care of, and in relation to God in Chrift, Deut. iv. 7. & xxxiii. 29.? Why then more shy of devoting posterity, or other representees to him, than to a linful man and his service?

In covenants with men, a proper and timely dillent may frequently be well founded; and may effectually divert this obligation from the diffenters. But how there could be a lawful diffent from an engagement carefully to keep all the commandments of God and nothing elle, I know not. Had the whole, or even the body of the Hebrew nation, timely and regularly diffented from the treaty made by their princes with the Gibeonites, it might have diverted its obligation from them.-Instead of this, they appear to have agreed to the final stating of it, without a fingle murmur, Jofh. ix. But, if thefe princes had, by covenant, devoted themselves and their tribes to a careful keeping of God's commandments, I know not how the people's diffent could have diverted the obligation from themselves. In covenants with men, the nonfulfilment of some condition or fome difpenfation or remission may maken, if not perfectly annul, the obligation.

one can difpenfe with, or grant remiffions,

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