Page images
PDF
EPUB

derful works which God has wrought in the midst of his people. The Lord said to Israel, Deut. xxix. 5, 6. “I have led you forty years in the wilder

ness: your clothes are not waxen old upon

you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy “ foot..... Ye have not eaten bread, neither have

ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord your God." But, notwithstanding all that God had said and done to shew the truth of this his glorious covenant-name, Moses, just before his death, lamented over that people, that they had not an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto that day.

Alas! it is still the lamentation, and it is not the Baptists only, who among us have not an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day, the all important truth, that Jehovah, in the covenant-sense, is our God, and the God of our children.... And it appears from the prophecies, that this dispute, some way or other, will be kept up in the church against the truth of God’scovenant-promiseto Abraham and his seed, till after the battle of that great day of God Almighty, when the great controversy will be decided and settled for ever.... “ So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day and forward,Ezek. xxxix. 22.

The foregoing may be sufficient to illustrate the truth of our second remark, viz. That our author's representation of the covenant, does not accord with the numberless instances in which the great promise of the covenant has been, by the spirit of inspiration, appropriated.

Thirdly. We remark that our author's view of the covenant of promise, is for substance that of the covenant of works

It is an essential distinction between the two covenants, that the righteousness of the one is an interest of which a inan, by the mere gift and

grace of God, at once becomes possessed; but the other is an interest, which by something bounden on him to do, he has before him to acquire.

The righteousness which is of the law is thus described: The man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the language of the promise is this, say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (i. e. to bring Christ down from above) Or who shall descend into the deep? (i. e. to bring Christ again from the dead?) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.

Our author says, “ It was on the ground of “ Abraham's faith and uprightness, that God promised to be a God to him; and it was on the same ground, that he promised to be a God to his seed. Walk before me, said God to A"braham, and be thou perfect, and I will make my ~ covenant between me and thee. To become inti

tled, then, to the blessings of the covenant, A. “ braham must walk before God and be perfect ; * must have true faith and be sincerely obedi"ent.” The ground laid down here, as the condition of Abraham and his children becoming entitled to the blessings of the covenant, is expressly that of the covenant of works; it comprises every iota of the deeds of the law; it is a ground on which no flesh living can be justified. Alas, Abraham, heir of promise, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread!

We will suppose that Abraham comes up to this rule, without a failure, still as it respected his whole life, he does not become intitled to the blessing till the condition is fulfilled, and his life of perfect obedience is finished; the inheritance, therefore could not be his; neither he, nor any one of his children could ever become intitled to it at any period short of the close of his probation. Besides, as this was the condition, a

F

failure at the last moment might balk all his hopes and labours. “ Alas! believer! child of A“ braham! how greatly hast thou been deceived “ in respect to the inheritance!” whilst thou hast supposed thyself an “heir according to the pro“ mise!"

Again, upon the supposition that Abraham was not intitled to the blessing, but upon such a condition, it could not be reckoned to him of grace, but of debt, for then it became his due by bargain ; nor could he be the subject of the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin ; for he who has walked before God, according to this rule, is not that ungodly man, quithout works, upon whom this blessedness comes, as it is written, Rom. iv. “ Now to him that worketh is the reward, not reckoned of grace, but

of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, say

ing, Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."

Further, according to our author, Abraham could not surely have been intitled to this blessedness till sometime after he was circumcised ; for it was at that time the proposal and condition was made to him, upon the ground of his compliance with which, he is supposed to have be come intitled to so great a good; but, if this were a fact, it would overthrow directly a grand argument of the Apostle upon his doctrine of grace, as may be seen, Rom. iv. 9, 10. Cometh This blessedness upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it reckoned when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumsion.

Many years before he was circumcised the Lord appeared unto Abraham in a vision, say, ing, “Fear not Abraham, I am thy shield, and " thy exceeding great reward.According to this declaration the renard was then his; he was then intitled to it. But according to our author, long after this God appeared to Abraham, and made a proposal, that he should become intitled to it, upon condition, &c. This is solemnly trifling with the Divine Character.....Should a rich man, as a free gist, bestow an house and farm upon some poor man, who should immediately set out, amidst a thousand difficulties, on a long and peri!ous journey, in order to take possession of the premises; but when far on his way, the rich man should meet him, and make him a proposal, that upon some condition, yet to be performed...... need not say, one that he could not flatter himself ever to fulfil; he should, upon that ground, become intitled to the said egtate... How mean and degraded would appear the character of such a shuffler? And can we, without indignation, hear it represented, that the God of Abraham treated him in such a manner!

But Abraham never came up to this rule which our author makes the condition of his exceeding great renard. No man but the man Christ Jesus has ever answered to this rule, Walk before me, and be thou perfect. Not only as to the whole, but in every part of our walk, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; how is Abraham then to succeed as to the promise, or rather proposal? Will our author say, that God made allowances for him? This language we know, a few years since, was in very common use in some parts of our country, but of late it has become rather obsolete....... It seems requisite that those who take this ground should invent some new way to creep out of this dilemma, that Abraham

[ocr errors]

either fulfilled the condition perfectly, or that ho was never entitled to the rervard.

The above may be sufficient to shew that our author, in relation to the covenant of promise, takes the exact position of the covenant of works, and that Abraham and all his children are viewed to be on a ground upon which no flesh can be justified.....

The Baptists stumbling upon the covenant with Abraham, have styled it a do and live covenant; yet they have acknowledged that it contained some micture of the covenant of promise, But our author has represented it as a do and live covenant without a spice of mixture.

Fourthly. We remark, that according to our author the covenant is not established by the word and promise of God, but by the righteousness, or the faith and uprightness of the creature,

What has been considered as a promise, or a covenant transaction, in which there was bestowed a gift, under the solemn pledge of eternal truth, our author considers as being no more than a proposal. But making a proposal is not making a promise, nor is it making a covenant, nor is it bestowing a gift; and when we get so far we may well conclude with our author, that, the ground on which a man becomes intitled to the blessings of the covenant lies in himself. To use his own words, for he has expressed the idea very fitly," It was on the ground of Abraham's “ faith and uprightness that God promised to be a God to him, and it was on the same general

ground that he promised to be a God to his “seed.”...... This, most assuredly is far out-doing Arminius and all his followers, in placing stress upon the creature.

In this transaction, in which God purposed his highest revenue of glory, man is here held up as performing a principal part.... The promise itself rests on the ground of his faith and uprightness.

« PreviousContinue »