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bondage of corruption : which restitution is that glorious new state of the creation, spoken of in the text, wherein dwelleth righteousness; and which, according to this promise, the seed of the woman, which comprehends all the righteous, shall enjoy; and therefore triumph over their enemy Satan, in dominions where once he triumphed over them. This will be most emphatically setting their feet upon the serpent's head ; and thus, shortly, the Lord shall bruise Satan under their feet.
The promises made to Abraham and to his seed more particularly unfolded a future state of the world, that should be the possession and habitation of the just. God Almighty promised to give to him, and to his seed, the land of Canaan, flowing with milk and honey. The Lord said unto Abraham, “Lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward ; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
God's promising the land to Abraham, as far as his mind could reach to the utmost extent of his knowledge, is not be understood as bounding the promise there, as it respected God; for we often find, in the Scriptures, the same promise as unlimited as the earth; though, as it respected Abraham, it could go no farther. But, that his mind might be enlarged, and his ideas enriched with the largeness and richness of divine grace, God bid him look northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, and
travel far and wide, as he could not go beyond the length and the breadth of the promises.
Yet was Abraham a stranger and a pilgrim in the earth; and wherever he went, the wicked Canaanite flourished on every side; at every new stage he met with new difficulties and trials: but, as oft as his difficulties and trials were renewed and increased, the Lord God appeared unto him, and renewed and assured to him the promises, saying, the land which thou seestthe land thus and thus marked-to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever: I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. But, notwithstanding all this, Abraham died, possessed of no part of the earth, except a burying-field bought with his money,
But, being strong in faith, he staggered not at the promises, believing him faithful who had promised and therefore, though he died, the land, in which he had been a stranger, “he should after receive for an inheritance."* Wherefore, refer
* The words of Stephen are very remarkable, and we think must have been designed to convey the idea of the promises here proposed : “ And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed." If it were answered, that this promise was to be fulfilled to Abraham in his seed, we should ask, Why then was it so expressed, to him, and to his seed? For if by him was meant his seed, it is only repeating the same thing-to his seed, and to his seed. Or, if answered, that this promise was fulfilled to Abraham in money, cattle, &c.; -But, with as much propriety, may it not be said to be fulfilled to the present Hebrews, who are rich in money
ring all to future things, he looked for a holy, heavenly country, wherein no Canaanite should dwell, and “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
This better country, which Abraham desired, is plainly the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; and the city, which from the promises he looked for, which hath foundations, is plainly the holy city, new Jerusalem, which, prepared in the heavens, shall descend out of heaven from God, having twelve foundations garnished with all manner of precious stones--having the tabernacle of God, and the glory of God, the glory of the holy of holies, unveiled; and in which God will dwell with men, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and it is added, referring to the promise to Abraham, and be their God.
Thus it appears, Abraham, being not weak in faith, looked for the same things for which we now look, according to the promises, viz., new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; and that great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Also, “ Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise,” dwelt in tents, “ and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth”--their days " few and evil.”
to a proverb? Or should any say it was fulfilled to him in heaven; we again ask, Is that the land in which he was a stranger? God promised a land to Abraham for a possession, in which, to the day of his death, he had none inheritance, no, not so much as to set his foot on. Let God be true.
And when we look forward, we find their seed after them making the same confession before God. “I am,” says David, " a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were."
Thus they continued from generation to generation, distinguished from other people, by trials, distresses, wants, persecutions, captivities, and dispersions; rather than by possessions, inheritance, and rest in the earth.
But their faith failed not. David, though he confessed himself a stranger and a sojourner, as all his fathers were, exhorted his brethren to be “mindful always of his covenant, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac: and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
Some, indeed, of that chosen race, not so strong in faith, at least in some dark hours, were greatly perplexed to find an interpretation to the promises to Abraham and to his seed, that they should inherit the land and dwell therein forever : even Isaiah once uttered this complaint, " The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while : our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.”
But God continued to confirm the faith of his people, by the fullest and most express declarations, that the righteous should inherit the earth, and be blessed upon the earth ; even when they were poor and destitute-greatly oppressed, and in want of almost all the comforts, and even the necessaries of life--pilgrims and strangers
still—and still the God of truth repeating over and over his promise, that they should inherit the earth. The thirty-seventh Psalm is very remarkable--"For evil-doers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” “ For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be : yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
- The wicked plotteth against the just
, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming. The Lord knoweth the days of the upright; and their inheritance shall be forever.” “The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth."
“ The seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." “ Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the earth : when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it."
The wicked have been, and still are, the possessors of the world; but “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” “Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver;" for they shall inherit the earth.
It is evident that David got hold of this clue to the promises of a future state of the world reserved for the righteous, and that he often had in view such a new state of the creation ; particularly