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ARTICLE ELEVENTH

One great point of difference between the First Covenant, or the covenant of works, which said to men, "Do this and live," and the Second Covenant, or the covenant of grace, which says, "Believe and live," is this: —The first covenant did not lead men to anything that was perfect. It showed men what was right and good; but it failed in giving them the power to fulfill what the covenant required. Men not only understood what was right and good, but they knew what was evil; but, in their love and practice of depravity, they had no longer power of themselves to flee from it.

The new or Christian covenant of grace, not only prescribes and commands, but gives also the power to fulfill. In the practical dispensations of divine grace, there are number of principles which it may be important to remember.

1. God being LOVE, it is a part of His nature to desire to communicate Himself to all moral beings, and to make Himself one with them in a perfect harmony of relations and feelings. The position of God is that of giver; the position of man is that of recipient. Harmonized with man by the blood and power of the Cross, he has once more become the infinite fullness, the original and overflowing fountain, giving and ever ready to give.

2. Such are the relations between God and man, involved in the fact of man's moral agency, that man's business is to receive.

3. Souls true to the grace given them, will never suffer any diminution of it. On the contrary, the great and unchangeable condition of continuance and of growth in grace is cooperation with what we now have. This is the law of growth, not only deducible from the Divine nature, but expressly revealed and declared in the Scriptures: —"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." (Matt. xiii. 12).

A faithful cooperation with grace, is the most effectual preparation for attracting and receiving and increasing grace. This is the great secret of advancement to those high degrees which are permitted; namely, a strict, unwavering, faithful cooperation, moment by moment.

4. It is important correctly to understand the doctrine of cooperation. A disposition to cooperate, is not more opposed to the sinful indolence which falls behind, than to the hasty and unrighteous zeal which runs before. It is in the excess of zeal, which has a good appearance, but in reality has unbelief and self at the bottom, that we run before God.

5. Cooperation, by being calm and peaceable, does not cease to be efficacious. Souls in this purified but tranquil state are souls of power; watchful and triumphant against self; resisting temptation; fighting even to blood against sin. But it is, nevertheless, a combat free from the turbulence and inconsistencies of human passion; because they contend in the presence of God, who is their strength, in the spirit of the highest faith and love, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who is always tranquil in His operations.

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