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Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee; and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred. I count them mine ene. mies.” He prays, Psalm cxliv. 11. “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood." He resolves, Psalm ci. “ I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set'. no wicked thing before mine eyes. I hate the work of them that turn aside ; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me: He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house : He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” If we are to take these declarations as illustrating the testimony of God, respecting the fidelity of Abraham, can we imagine, there was an entire vis- ; ible contrast between his religious state and that of his household ? .
That servants, were, according to the economy of the covenant, understood to be united with their mas. ter, in religious allegiance to God, seems to have proof in the conduct of Jacob towards his servants, when he was passing from Padan.aram to Bethel. His confid dence which heexpreses to Laban, that none of his Gods had been taken by his wives, children,' or servants; * presents the presumption, that he had taken care to extirpate idolatry, and to lead them to the acknowledgment and worship of Jehovah. Gen. xxxi. 32. “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live ; before our brethren, discern thou what is with me, and take it to thee; for Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.” Sometime afterward, when Jacob had got near to Bethel, and he had received directions from God to go to Bethel, and dwell there ; suspect. ing; or, if you choose, knowing, that the conquest of the Shechemites had brought some of their gods, and considerable spoil into his household, he undertakes to purge it entirely of the accursed thing." Gen. xxxv. 2, 3, 4. “Then Jacob said unto his houshold, and to
all that were with him, put away the strange Gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments. And let us arise and go up to Bethel ; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange Gods which were in their hands, and all their earrings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem." We cannot, tell how far this introduction of idolatry had gained ground, or whether in fact here was any thing more than spoil. For that his followers any of them worshipped these gods, is not said. Here, however was a thorough cleansing. The objects of idolatrous worship were put away, even as dangerous spoil. Jacob's servants submitted to external ablution, as a symbol of internal dedication to God; and changed their garments, as a sign of devoting themselves to his service. But why all this, if the covenant of circumcision tolerated idolatry, and its attendant impieties, in the family of Abraham ?
Those who contend that God's covenant transactions with Abraham, admitted, that subjects of visible impiety and idolatry, should be incorporated into his family, and be honored with the seal of the righteousness of faith ; must admit also, that these covenant transactions made provision for the very thing, which they were designed to counteract and extirpate. - The separation of Abraham and his seed, had the special design of preserving them from the idolatries of the world, and forming them into a society of worshippers of the true God. The holy nature of the covenant, and the subsequent laws which were given to this society, bound them, by most solemn sanctions, to avoid all connexion with idolaters. A passage, in the 34th. chapter of Exodus, claims here to be particularly noticed. “ Observe thou that which I command thee this day. Behold I drive out before thee, the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebuzite. Take to heed thyself lost thou
make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of of thee. But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves. For thou shalt worship no other God. Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whor. ing after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice. And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons ; and they go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons to go a whoring after their gods.” Abraham was undoubtedly required to be as cautious, and as pure, in this respect as his descendants were. God was as jealous with respect to him, as with respect to them. Accordingly, what notices we have respecting the character of the servants of Abraham, are clearly in favor of their visible union with Abraham, in religious faith and worship. If the evidence be not conclusive, so far as it goes, it confirms the doctrine of adoption.
A case very expressly to this point of adoption, is found in the 12th chapter of Exodus, at the 48th verse. " And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land ; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is home born, and to the stranger that sojourneth among you.”. No words could more fully warrant the adoption of proselytes, or more fully certify their equal interest in the covenant. Another passage, very express to this purpose, occurs in Isaiah lvi. 3, and on.“ Neither let the son of the stranger that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, the Lord hath utterly separated me from his people ; neither let the Eunuch say, behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the Eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant, even unto them will I give in mine house, and within my walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters : I will give them an everlasting
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name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join them clves to the Lord to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant, even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar ; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer, for all people.” After so full and explicit a testimony, all farther proof must be superfluous. The hundreds of gracious promises which run through the prophecies, respecting the ingathering of the Gentiles to Zion, are, as will be seen in the sequel, illustrative of this idea.
Here let it be carefully noticed ; that all these pros. elytes, who entered into the covenant by adoption, were required expressly, not only to be circumcised themselves, but to cause their male children to be circumcised. They must conform exactly to what was enjoined upon the natural seed. They must circumcise their male infants at eight days old. For there was one law to him that was home born, and to the stranger. “Let all his males, be circumcised." This was agree. able to the command given to Abraham. He was as careful to circumcise the infant children of his servants, as the servants themselves. Whether we can discern the reason or not, this was law, and this was fact. But the general reasons seem obvious.
1. It has ever been the manner of God's proceeding, to identify children with the parent, in the unity of a household state. Thus Noah was directed to prepare an ark for the saving of himself, and his house. The children of Lot were associated with him under one peculiarly merciful dispensation, by which they were res. cued from the destruction of Sodom. Abraham and his house were connected by covenant alliance. When Zaccheus was converted, our Lord declared, “This day is salvation come to this house." When the disciples were sent abroad to preach the kingdom of God, they were directed to say, upon their entering a house, « Peace be to this house." And were told " that if the Son of Peace were there, their peace should rest upon it.” Peter said to the trembling jailor, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Cornelius was told, that Peter should tell him words, whereby he, and his house should live. It is one of the Proverbs of Solomon, that “the house of the righteous shall stand :" And another, that "the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked.”
This provision is founded in perfect wisdom; nay, in the necessity of the case. Marriage was instituted for the propagation of a godly seed, and the family alliance which it establishęs, was designed to carry on this purpose to its ultimate issue. Unity of religious character is understood as the principle of this alliance. Upon an opposite principle, the unity of the family state is dissolved. For “How can two walk together, ex. cept they be agreed ?" Children, by the circumstance of their dependance, come naturally, and almost necessarily into the lot of their parents, and partake of their religious privileges or deprivations. They are led to join in their worship of God; or to participate in their idolatry. Even the Baptists themselves are constrained to act upon 'this principle. They require the attendance of their children in acts of family worship; and carry them up, as parts of themselves, to the sanctuary, in which God's worship is publicly celebrated.
2. The children of those who were of the adoption were born to God, in a sense which did not apply at all to the carnal world. They were as really born to God, as the natural descendants of Abraham. For their parents were subjects of the same faith ; were equally servants of God; and in the same covenant. The one sort of parents devoted their children to God, in the same manner, that the other sort of parents did. If there was one law to the stranger, and to him that was home born ; that law had the same foundation with respect to the one, that it had with respect to the other. God was related to both alike as their God. The whole family, was by birth, in a state of religious unity.