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and his Apostles explained the providential occurrences which befelKthe Old Testament saints—he only tells what the faith* of these saints saw, and realized, in the glass of divine providence.'
2. The reward of grace inevitably followsthe obedience of faith. If Noah is enabled to offer an acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord, God will manifest the sweetness of its favour in his nostrils, by renewing his covenant-promise to the sacrificer. Noah's deliverance constrained him to offer a thank-offering; that offering is accepted, and rewarded by the Lord, as an evidence that the deliverance had been blesied to Noah, as well as suitably improved by him. Thus, the renewed manifestations of divine favour are frequently the reward of evangelical duties; and, whatever be their reward in this world, they (hall, in the world to come, be over paid with life eternal.
3. The Church of God is a mixed society, in her militant state. However small, or pure, she may be ; yet there is always some of the old leaven latent in her. As there was a Judas among the Disciples; so there was a Ham among the sons of Noah in the ark. There will always be wolves in stieeps clothing,—* tares among the wheat,. till the harvest of the end of the world,
ON ABRAHAM'S COVENANT.
THE dispensations of grace towards the Church have been always gradual: God proceeds, in them, from that which is less unto that which is more perfect. This has, in a particular manner, been his way of dealing widi Abraham. As the patriarch's family was an emblem of the Church; so the plan of divine conduct to it was a model of the whole plan of divine dispensations towards her. Inattention to the progress and advancement of God's promise has betrayed many, who have written concerning it, into great confusion. That we may avoid the rocks on which others have split, nve shall proceed according to the covenants transacted with him, and assign a distinct part unto each of them.
O 2 PART
VARIOUS authors, when considering God's dispensations to Abraham, have distinguished between the promise and the covenant: They style the transaction recorded in the above cited verses The Promise, and those recorded in some subsequent chapters, The Covenant: But both this and the following transactions are strictly fœderal; the latter being expressly styled covenants by the sacred historian, as is this by Paul: "And this I fay, that the Covenant which was confirmed of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul*." Now, it is only to this transaction that the date specified can agree, as we shall afterwards make appear. And the name is properly expressive of its nature, as will be clear from shewing,—I. Who are the Parties Covenanting.—II. What are the Parts belonging to each of these Parties.—III. The solemn Confirmations of this Covenant.—And,IV. The Occasions of it.
FIRST, I must consider the Parties of this Covenant; namely, the Son of God and
* Gal, jui, 17.
Abram"! An infinite dilparity! Will God in very deed deign to covenant with man, who is but du.it and allies!
1. God is the author, and hrft propofer of this covenant. Stephen informs us, that it was the God Of Glory who appeared unto the patriarch on this important occaiion *. The phrafe imports, not only his being poflefled of all glorious perfections, but alfo fome fpecial manifeftation of his glory: Perhaps fome external fplendid appearance; fuch as when the Glort Of The Lord filled the Tabernacle, or Temple "f". A Three One God, reconciled in, and revealed by the Memail, covenanted with Abram at this tune; but it was only the Son who made the viflble appearance, and fpake with the audible voice. It has not been proved, as yet, that either the Father or the Holy Ghoft ever aflumed a vilible fhapc under the ihadowy difpenfation: For no man hath /ten God at any time, but the only begotten Son, who is in the bofom of the Father, ha hath declared him. Jehovah the Son appeared, cloathed with all thofe divine perfections which beamed forth in former covenants, and made further dilcoveries of that grace which u laid up in /lore for the children of God. The manner in which he manifested himfelf evidenced at once the divinity of his pcrfon and his
* Atfts vii. 2. t Er Gstss's Pariphrafe oft Aolsrii. 2.
mission unto the mind of Abram, so as* to beget in him a divine faith*. Hence, fays the Apostle, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should afterwards receive for an inheritance, obeyed f."
2. The. other Party in this Covenant is Abram, the son of Terah, the tenth generation from Noah. Some have maintained, that he was Terah's first-born; but, for reasons to be afterwards assigned, I judge he was his second, if not his third son. It has alib been disputed, If he was an idolater prior to this call and covenant? The sacred historian leaves diis question undetermined indeed; but Jostma puts the matter beyond all possibility of doubt: "And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus faith the Lord God Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other fide of die Hood, in old time; eyen Terah, the father of Abraham, aud the father of Nahor: and they served odier Gods. And I took your father Abraham from tbe other fide of the Hood *." The Pelagians, both ancient and modern, imagine it inconsistent with the holiness of God, to call any into covenant with the Most High who have no good qualifications to recommend them to his favour, and much more so to admit an idolater. But all the supposed inconsistency would
* Zanck. de Tribus Elohiin, p. 29. f Keb. xi. 8. ^ Josli. xxiv. 2.