Imatges de pÓgina
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"as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born. "None eye pitied thee; but thou wast cast out "in the open field to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born......And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thy "own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou "wast in thy blood, Live. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love, and I spread my skirt over "thee; yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a "covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou "becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water;


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yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from "thee, and I anointed thee with oil: I clothed "thee also," &c. It may be noted that spreading the skirt over the party was anciently a ceremony of covenanting in marriage.

How obviously, and how very essentially does this description of one taken into covenant by the Lord God differ from that given by our au thor. Here is no mention of a proposal; nothing is here said of any condition. The believing and obedient heart; the faith, fidelity and uprightness of the creature, are all here left out of view! According to this representation, Jerusalem became the Lord's, in the covenant sense, whilst she lay in her blood. This matter took place with her, antecedent to her being washed or clothed; before any thing was wrought in her, or put upon her; without any exertion on her part, by the mere sovereign act of the Lord. God, the thing was at once done.....the covenant was made and confirmed by the oath of him who cannot lie.

To confound delusion, it is sufficient to hold up truth. This proud fabric of self-righteousness, built upon the supposition of some exertion of the creature being necessary in making at least

a part of the covenant.....the whole scheme of his complying with a proposal, performing a condition and his having a ground of faith and uprightness in himself, in order to become a subject of the privileges and blessings of the covenant; I say, the whole is overthrown by one gospel word, viz. "When thou wast in thy blood, I passed by "thee, and looked upon thee, and I spread my "skirt over thee: Yea, I sware unto thee, and en"tered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine."

In these discourses, throughout, our author sets our hope in the covenant astride, with one foot upon the ground of God's proposal and condition, and the other upon the ground of our own. faith and uprightness. A man must be very strong in self-righteousness, not to stagger in such a standing.. The people of God have been wont to express themselves in relation to their hope in language like this, he is "judged faithful who "has promised." But this, according to our author, is not at all conclusive......they ought to take in the whole ground, and therefore say, God has laid down a proposal, and as far as we can judge ourselves faithful in taking it up, and performing the conditions, we may have encou ragement...

Seventhly. We remark upon the manner in which our author attempts to surmount objecti


Aware that, by the universal consent of believers, the covenant is founded in the truth of God, and its promises are yea and amen, our author attempts relief by giving to his plan the following extraordinary exposition: "It is further to be ob"served, however, that as Christ is eminently the "seed of Abraham; and as Abraham, at the time "the covenant was made with him, represented the "whole church, the promise of the covenant with

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"Abraham and his seed had respect not merely "to individuals, but also to Christ as the media"tor of the covenant, and to the whole church "as one in and with him. Hence, though in one respect the promises of the covenant are "conditional; yet in another respect they are "not. Though in respect to individual believers, the promises are not absolute, but have respect to their faith and fidelity as a conditi on; yet in respect to Christ, and the church as "one with him, the promises are yea and amen."

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This is turning the whole ground of the cove nant upside down. What! Is there a condition lying on the individuals in the covenant, but none lying upon its surety? In a covenant requiring conditions, what idea have we of a sponser, who is not bound by these conditions! "Alas! believer, child of Abraham, heir accord"to the promise, how greatly hast thou been « deceived in respect to the" covenant, as being ordered in all things and sure; when, after all, its high conditions are binding on thyself only, and not on the Mediator and Surety.

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There were conditions, doubtless, in this most holy covenant. Every thing requisite in our , coming to God must necessarily be understood. Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and e"ternal redemption," are things ever indispensable in our having an intercourse with the Lord our God. One therefore, one who could not fail, was made a sponser for the whole. Were it not so, the covenant had been a rotten thing, and cursed would be the man that should trust in it, as the conditions must rest upon an arm of flesh. If the conditions, as our author asserts, lay on the several individuals, and not on the Mediator and Surety, our case is hopeless, for "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have "turned every one to his own way." But bless

ed be God, we may spurn such idle figments, and boldly say, the Lord is our righteousness; we may trust in the Lord alone, remembering that he has already laid upon him, whom he provided, the iniquity of us all.

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To surmount this prominent difficulty, our author has recourse to another expedient. We are told that “ Abraham, at the time the cove"nant was made with him, represented the whole "church; and though in respect to individual believers, the promises are not absolute, but "have respect to their faith and fidelity as a "condition; yet in respect to Christ and the "church as one with him, the promises are yea and amen." But we have heard it said in these discourses, repeatedly, that "as a condition "on which God would establish his covenant "with Abraham, to be a God to him and his "seed after him, he was required to walk before "God and be perfect." How shall this be understood? In respect to Abraham, the covenant was conditional; and in respect to Abraham, the covenant was unconditional! Our author seems to have in his eye two Abrahams, viz. Abraham the person and Abraham the church, who were distinct parties in the covenant; with one of whom the covenant was made conditionally, but with the other unconditionally. He has not, however, pointed out the places of scripture in which these several Abrahams, in respect to the covenant, may be found.

Our author labours strong upon this ground, and improves his new discovery to great advantage, to help him over these everlasting bounds of the covenant, the yea and amen of God. For having found two Abrahams, one standing conditionally, and the other unconditionally in the covenant, He discovers also two promises standing in the same helpful manner. The one

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"was a promise to Abraham and to all believing "parents individually, on condition of their faith "and fidelity, of renewing grace, and all the blessings of the covenant to their children;" the other, "a promise to Abraham and his seed "comprising Christ and his church in union, of "such a measure of grace and faith as should preserve, in the line of the church, a holy and "faithful seed on the earth." In these two promises, we have summed up the provision contained "in the Abrahamic covenant, for the trans"mission of its blessings, and the continuance of "the church." But we are still left uninformed of the passages of scripture in which promises belonging to the covenant with Abraham, of such a different nature, are to be found.

Might not our author's discovery be of great use in settling the dispute between Arminians and Calvinists? For it is plain, that individual Abraham will make an Arminian Abraham; and Church Abraham will make a Calvinistic Abraham. Also, this conditional promise will make an Arminian Bible; and the promise made to Christ and the church as one with him, will be acknowledged to be book by the Calvinists............ According to this plan, both of these have been half right, and equally near the truth; and the whole cause of the dispute has been, unhappily, their not having hit upon our authors distinctions.

It has been understood that the exceeding great and precious promises, are all given us through the righteousness of God, and that we participate in them only as being in Christ, as branches are nourished by union with the vine. But as our author has discovered that some promises are made to Abraham, and others, in their individual capacity; the question arises, how much are these promises to be estimated? I have known people who estimated one yea and amen promise in Christ

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