The duty is never unsuitable. Men have frequently, improperly esteemed the exercise as one that should be had recourse to, only on some great emergency. But as it is sinful to defer religious exercises till affliction, presenting the prospect of death, constrain to attempt them, so it is wrong to imagine, that the pressure of calamity principally should constrain to make solemn vows. The exercise of personal Covenanting should be practised habitually. The patriot is a patriot still; and the covenanter is a covenanter still. |It is not enough that the heart be once given to God; when this has really been done it is a great attainment; but it must again and again be surrendered in renewed acts of self-dedication, in order to the maintenance of any thing like fidelity and steadfastness in his service. A daily recognition of our relationship to Christ, is full of comfort and encouragement, and is at the same time invaluable as a means of sanctification. How precious the privilege of being able in all difficulties and dangers, to speak of the great Jehovah in the language of Paul, -- 'God, whose I am, and whom I serve!' How powerful the argument, in applying for deliverance from evil of whatever kind, employed by the Psalmist, -- 'I am thine
, save me.'| And though the exercises of Social Covenanting are not practicable so frequently as those of that which is personal, there is no reason why they, any more than the other, should be reckoned as incumbent only on occasions of an extraordinary nature.
But special seasons do give peculiar calls to the duty in all its variety. Times of hazard and distress, by displaying in relief, the vanity of all the aids that mere creatures could afford, and finding men looking around for comfort and support, invite, with a power peculiar to themselves, to look to Him who is a present help to his people in every time of need, and cordially, by Covenanting, to respond to his invitation, -- |Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.| When religion is low, and error and vice and ungodliness prevail, the hosts of darkness are successful; but their clamour is unfit to drown the cry, so fitted to inspire with holy zeal, then urging to special devotedness to the Lord's cause, -- |Who is on the Lord's side?| In times of reviving, there are transmitted by every gale from heaven, the words of the Redeemer, inviting his Spouse -- his Church, individually and socially to the holy duty of acknowledging Him as her Lord, -- |Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.| When the friends of truth unite for its maintenance, either in an incorporate or other capacity, they are called to follow the Lord, the |Leader.| Is it said of the wicked, -- |They are confederate against thee (or, against thy Covenant they shall covenant)|? What ought to be the conduct unitedly of those, who individually are interested in the Lord's Covenant? Are they not urged, to declare most explicitly by formally taking hold upon it, that they have come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty?
|Enter into thy Closet.| By the Rev. James M'Gill, Hightae, Lochmaben. Glasgow: David Bryce, 1843; -- a most valuable work on the secret duties of religion.