Page images
PDF
EPUB

tion to the covenant with Abraham, invented only for the sake of making that reconcileable to the covenant of grace. But no such clause is ever once represented as belonging to the covenant of grace, or to the covenant with Abraham.' To which we reply, that,

The assembly of divines, in their larger.chatechism, say, that the covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed." And yet, in order to enjoy the blessings of this covenant, it was necessary, on Christ's part, that he should make his soul an offering for sin; and on our part, that we should become Christ's seed by a true and living faith. If Christ had not died, or if we do not believe in him, God had not been obliged by covenant to make him heir of all things, or us to be joint heirs with him. So the covenant of grace in a shadow, was made with Abraham, who was a type of Christ, and with all his seed. And yet, in order to enjoy the blessings of this covenant, it was necessary that Abraham should renounce idolatry, and separate bimself from an idułatrous world, and walk before God, and be perfect, in the sense in which good, men are said in Scripture to be perfect. Gen. vi. 4. Job i. 1.' And that he should command his children and his household after him to follow his example. This was necessary on Abraham's part. And it was necessary that his seed should keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord MIGHT bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken. Gen. xviii. 19. If Abraham on the divine call had refused to leave Ur of the Chaldees, and to take Jehovah for his God; or had he afterwards returned to his native country and to his false gods, and persisted in idolatry, he would not have been made the heir of the holy land, the type of the heavenly inheritance. If his seed had finally refused to leave Egypt, and to give up the gods of Egypt, and to follow the Lord to the holy land, God would not have been obliged by covenant to give them the enjoyment of it. Therefore, although the covenant with Abrabans, (Gen. xvii.) was expressed in the form of an absolute and unconditional promise, to him and to his seed; yet it is manifest, that conditions were implied, both with respect to him and to them.

And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the divine conduct can be justified, in swearing, concerning that generation whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, that they should never enter into his rest ; because they did not believe his word, nor obey his roice, as their father Abraham had done. So they could not enter, because of unbelief. Whereas had God been obliged, by an absolute, unconditional promise, to bring them into the land of Canaan, he had been, what they were ready to charge him with, really guilty of a breach of covenant."- ',

And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the conduct of Moses can be justified in that speech of his to the two tribes and half tribe, in Num. xxxii. 6-15. Wherein he expressly declares, that if they should turn away from the Lord, as their fathers had done, whose carcasses were fallen in the wilderness, they would be destroyed themselves, and be the means of destroying all the congregation. For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness, and ye shall destroy all this people. Whereas, had God been obliged, by an absolute, unconditional promise, to bring them into the holy land, and put them in actual possession of it, there could have been no more danger of their destruction, than there is that the earth will be destroyed by a second general deluge, notwithstandGod's covenant with Noah. Gen. viii. 11, 12. See also Deut. vii. 12.

And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the divine conduct can be justified in the present rejection of the seed of Abraham, who have been cast off 1700 years, notwithstanding God had said, I will establish my covenant between me and ther, and thy seed after thee, for an EVERLASTING covenant : for because of unbelief they were broken off.. For there is no standing in God's church but by faith. As it is written relative to the Gentile converts, who had been grafted into the good olive; and thou standest by faith. "Rom. xi. 20. For God might consistently reject the seed of Abraham, if they refused to walk in the steps of Abraham, provided they were taken into covenant in this view. But if God had taken thein without any proviso,

con

and absolutely and unconditionally engaged to be their God in an everlasting covenant, so far as I am able to discern, he would have been obliged to keep them for his covenant people, notwithstanding their rejecting the Messiah by unbelief.

But as Mr. M.is so confident that the Abrahamic cove. nant was absolute and unconditional to him and to all his seed, and that all the blessings comprised in that chief promise of it, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, were made sure to them without this conditional clause,' if they will take heed to walk in my ways, which he says, “is a mere arbitrary addition to the covenant with Abraham, invented only for the sake of making that reconcileable with the covenant of grace :' therefore it may not be amiss to stop a few minutes, and take a view of some of the consequences which will unavoidably follow from his notion of this covenant, and from his manner of reasoning in support of it.

1. .If the covenant with Abraham is unconditional, and SO not reconcileable' with the covenant of grace; then the covenant of grace was not

contained in it; unless it' tained', in it something not reconcileable' with itself : i. e. unless two covenants were contained in that one covenant, in their own nature so inconsistent as not to be reconcileable' to each other. The ·Abrahamic covenant is absolute and unconditional, and therefore it is not the covenant of grace, says Mr. M. And he may as well say, therefore the covenant of grace is not implied in it at all, nor in any sense whatever,

set forth in it. For nothing is contained,' or ' set forth'in it, which is neither expressed nor implied. But the covenant of grace is neither expressed, nor implied, because there is no condition expressed nor implied. Thus Mr. M. has secluded and wholly shut the covenant of grace out of the Abrahamic covenant. For to shut out all conditions, is to shut out all conditional covenants. But,

2. If the covenant of grace was not implied in that covenant with Abraham in Gen. xvii. because that implied no condition, but was absolute and unconditional to him and to his seed'; then for the same reason the covenant of grace was not implied in the covenant with Abraham in Gen. xii, and in Gen. xiii, and in Gen. xv. For in each of these, (which

are all) the places, the promises are to Abrahain and to his seed, and are delivered in the form of absolute and unconditional promises, exactly, precisely after the same tenour of the covenant in Gen. xvii. Pray, reader, stop here, take your bible, turn to the cited chapters, and see with your own eyes. And when you have read these chapters, then,

3. Turn to the first promise made by God after the fall, Gen. iii. The seed of the woman shall bruise the seepent's head. And see, and consider, that this also was in the form of an absolute, unconditional promise, and respected their posterity as much as it did Adam and Eve. Therefore, by parity of reason, Mr. M. must say, that it was not the covenant of grace, nor reconcileable' to it. And, 4. To

say,
that
any

conditions are implied, if Mr. M.'s way of reasoning is just,' is a mere arbitrary addition to the covenant' with Adam and with Abraham, 'invented only for the sake of making it out, that there never was any covenant of grace at all, from the beginning of the world to the days of Abraham. For no "conditional clause' is ever once expressly inserted in the covenant with Adam or with Abraham, from the first revelation of it, until that in Gen. xvii. And therefore, if Mr. Mi's reasoning is just, there was no covenant of grace exhibited in all this period of two thousand years. And therefore,

5. As the covenant of grace, if these things are true, never had been revealed, from the beginning of the world to that transaction in Gen. xvii.; and as that was not the covenant of grace, nor reconcileable to it,' so circumcision, which was appoiuted as a seal of that covenant in Gen. xvii. and of no other, was not appointed to be a seal of the covenant of grace in any sense whatever. For at that day no covenant of grace had ever been exhibited. For every promise, which had been made to Adam, or to Abraham, was as absolute and unconditional as that in Gen. xvii. and respected their seed as much as themselves. And therefore,

6.- Circumcision not being, in fact, in its original, intention, a seal of the covenant of grace, the apostle Paul considering it as súch in Rom. iv. cannot make it such. It is true, hé calls it a seat of the righteousness of the faith, and goes about to illustrate and confirm his doctrine of justification by faith, a. doctrine peculiar to the covenant of grace, from God's dispensations to Abraham ; and even goes so far as to say, in so many words, that the Gospel was preached to. Abraham; but if Mr. M. is right, in all this he was mistakes. The covenant with Abraham was not the Gospel, was not the covenant of grace, nor indeed.' reconcileable to it.' Its seal, therefore, was not the seal of the covenant of grace:: it was not a seal of the righteousness of the faith. For the covenant of grace is conditional,' and wholly a personal affair;' but the covenant with Abraham was 'unconditional, and made the

seed joint-heirs with the pareni.'-Therefore, if these things are so, it will follow,

7. That the visible church originally was set up before any covenant of grace existed, upon a covenant of a different tenour,' and 'for a different purpose.': Aud as the visible church is the same now, under the Gospel dispensation, as it was under the Abrahamic, it must be considered as containing the same thing still,-a visible church built on an external, unconditional covenant. And,

8. As the visible church is thus founded merely and only on this unconditional covenant, so no qualifications at all are requisite in order to our being complete members of it, in good standing, even in the sight of God. Yea, we may be taken in' without our consent,' even in adult age... And to use Mr. M.'s own words respecting the Israelites at Mount Sinai, in application to the whole Christian 'world, Papists and Protestants, Arians, Pelagians, Sucinians, Arminians, Antinomnians, Drunkards, Adulterers Thieves, Liars, &c. &c. p. 71.; 'it is plain, God has proceeded to take us all into covenant, by mere sovereignty, even as in his covenaît with Abraham he included his ipfant seed;' no more respect being had to any qualification whatever, in the adult, than. in infants of eight days old. And therefore,

9. All our churches in New-England are wrong, even every one of them, essentially wroug; and Mr. M.'s among the rest, in obliging our people, even such as have been baptised in infancy, to make a profession of their faith, and to give their consent to some covenant or other, requiring either gra

« PreviousContinue »