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unto the Eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenånt.” Hosea, vi. 7, " But they like men have transgressed the covenant.”. Maltbom, iii. l, “ Even the messenger of the covenant.” Acts, iii. 25, “ Ye are the children of the covenant.” Hebrews, ix. 15, “ And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, or covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions which were under the first testament, they which are called might recive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Surely this language, which runs through the scripture, from beginning to end, is against the idea, that God has two or more distinct gracious covenants respecting hisredeemed people, securing their salvation. Nor, as Dr. Gill correctly observes, is there one word in scripture in favor of such a distinction.*
We shall go upon the principle then, that the cove. nant, meaning by covenant, that which is equivalent with efficient promise (for the term, as it means law, token, &c. is here out of the question) is one, and shall call it God's gracious covenant.
This one covenant is the substance of that revelation which God has given to us in the Holy Scriptures. The historic and prophetic parts of the scripture are to be viewed as illustrating the manner in which God executes the promises of this covenant. The devotional parts chiefly consist in celebrating the omnipotence, the wisdom, the faithfulness and grace with which it is carried into effect. All the assurances which are there addressed to individuals, or the church at large ; all the benedictions pronounced ; all the tender names God is pleased to assume and the condescending manner in which he is pleased to declare, that he unites him. self to saints as their God; are so many illustrations of the plenitude of grace which it contains. The law is a schoolmaster to lead us to him who is the media. tor of it. The blood of Christ is the blood of this
es the promissist in cele and grace was
* But the Dr. did not perceive how this idea militates entirely with the view he has given us, and which is given us in the writings of Baptists generally, of the Abrahamic covenant, of the nature of the Hebrew community, and of exclus sive adult membership and baptism. How it does will be ecen in the sequel."
mises ngome pronade to any Joshua,
covenant solemnly sealing it. “ For,” Matthew, xxvi. 28, “ this is my blood of the New Testament."
This one covenant is the flourishing stock on which every promise to man grows, whether absolute or condi. tional, relative to one dispensation or another, to time or to eternity. On the basis of this covenant. it is proper for God to make any promise that he sees fit, to families or to individuals. Hence we find in fact, par. ticular promises made to one person, which are not made to another. Some promises were made to Abraham, which have not been made to any other of the hu. man race. And this is true of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter and Paul. A promise was made to the widow of Sarepta, which was made to no other human being. Some of these promises are absolute, some of them conditional. It cannot per. haps be strictly correct to say of one of these particular and appropriate promises, separately considered, that it is the gracious covenant of God, or the covenant of grace, any more than it can be correct to say of a branch, that it is the tree. But as the nature of a branch is determined by the tree on which it grows; so it must be safe and correct to say, that all these particular promises, shooting out from God's gracious covenant, as the parent stock, are exclusively of a gracious nature, and belong to it.
To adopt the beautiful and expressive figure of Paul, Romans, xi. the covenant is an olive tree, (a symbol of peace) planted in a bountiful soil, cultured by the hand of efficacious grace, full of fatness, shooting up to heaven, and spreading into an infinite multitude of branches. . The branches are distinguishable from each other ; but they all depend upon the tree, and belong to it. They may be perpetually multiplying; yet the tree is but one. *
* Herman Witsius, in his Economy of the Covenants, treats the Covenant of of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption as distinguishable. Yet he is constrained to speak of them as essentially the same. His words are, Vol. I. page 382, " If we view the substance of the covenant, it is but only one, nor is it possible it should be otherways.- (He means the covenant of grace.) And that Testament which was consecrated by the blood of Christ, he (Paul) calls everlasting ; because it was settled from cternity, published immediately upon the fall of the first man
Aided by this extended view of God's gracious covenant, we shall be better able to understand the nature of God's transactions with Abraham, To which therefore we will next proceed.
constantly handed down by the ancients, more fully explained by Christ him. self and his apostles and is to continue throughout an ages ; in virtue of which believers shall inherit eternal happiness.” Most undoubtedly it is the covenant of Redemption which was fixed in eternity, and in virtue of which believers inherit eternal happiness. In like manner, Dr. Samuel Hopkins says, System, 2d. Vol. page 93, * The Covenant of Grace, when understood in the most extensive sense, comprehends all the designs and transactions respecting the redemption of man by Jesus Christ. In this view, it comprehends the eternal purpose of God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to redeem man, fixing the manner of it, and every thing that relates to it, and entering into a mutual agreement or covenant, is which the part which each person should perform, as distinguished from the other, was fixed and voluntarily undertaken.” Here certainly is the covenant of Redemption. Yet, strange to tell! The Dr. a.tempts to make an entirely distinct thing of the Covenant of Grace. The reason of this confusion is, that it is impossible to give any account of the one, without comprehending the other. 1$ the Covenant of Grace simply an agreement which subsists between God and the individual believer ? Then it had its beginning in time. For the agreement could not exist before the believer himself existed. And then there are as ma. ny Covenants of Grace as there are believers. For the agreement which subsists between God and me, is not an agreement which subsists between God and another person. In short, a Covenant of Grace, distinct numerically from the Core. nant of Redemption, is an indefinable thing.
Respecting the character and relative state of Abraham, prior
to God's establishing with him that covenant which has been commonly styled the covenant of circumcision; or prior to that covenant transaction recorded in the 17th chapter of Genesis.
IT is undeniable that from a period not very femote from the first apostacy, to the calling of Abraham, there were pious persons in the world. Abel, Enoch, and Noah, were eminently of this character.Others there were who were distinguished from the idolatrous, and irreligious part of mankind, as the sons of God. But so little is said respecting their open sep. aration and union, under covenant bonds ; or as a col. lective society ; that we can scarcely discern an organized Church during that whole period.
The ealling of Abrahami was a new epoch in the history of the work of redemption. It was an event which had special respect to the Messiah ; and the establishment, increase, and perpetutity, of his kingdom in a compacted state, and before the eyes of the world. Abraham was a person of real piety. He was strong in faith, giving glory to God. He is spoken of in the scriptures, in terms of high commendation, in that light. God testifies of him, Genesis, xviii. 19. “ For I know. him, that he will command his children, and his household after him; and they shall keep the way of the Lord; to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." "He is called by way of eminence, “ ihe friend of God.” Isaiah, xli. 8. He is spoken of by Jesus Christ, as the Father of the whole body of Israel. John viii. 56. “Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.” And the whole
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body of believers, from Christ, to the end of the world, are placed in connexion with him, as his children. All who are of faith are asserted to be children of, and. to be blessed with, faithful Abraham. Believing Jews, and believing Gentiles, have one common spiritual relation to him. Galatians iii. 28, 29. " There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female ; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abra. ham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." All inferior distinctions are ultimately lost in the unity of the family state. This family is the Church ; the Church, as a collective and associated body, under im. mediate divine superintendance, and protection. In order then to obtain right ideas of the constitution and duration of the Church of God in this view, we must siv begin with this illustrious patriarch. We must en.. ha deavor to ascertain as accurately as we can, the relation der to God in which he stood, and the peculiar nature of those covenant transactions which took place between God and him.
The first thing we hear of importance respecting Abraham is his calling, or his open separation, in obe dience to the command of God, from his kindred, and the place of his accustomed habitation. Genesis, xii.
1, is Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee · out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from
thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation. And I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thée, and I will curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abraham depart. ed as the Lord had spoken unto him : And Lot went with him.' And Abraham was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abraham took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all the substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they camie.sk