the execution of the promises of the covenant, directs the children of Israel, "And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; and shalt talk of them when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest'up.” In agreement with which the Psalmist obseryes, Psalm Ixxviii. 5. “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children, that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise, and declare them to their children, that they might set their hope in God.

15. From the preceding analysis of the Abrahamic covenant, it is evident, that this covenant made provi. sion for, and required a strict discipline. If the uncircumcised manchild was to be cut off from his people, and the visible seed was to be holy, and distinguished as such, from those who were subjects of divine exception, and from the uncovenanted world, in the execu, tion of covenant law ; then here was established, as an essential part of covenant duty, a strict, impartial, and constant discipline.

16. From what has been said, it is evident, that the females in Israel were as really subjects of the covenant as the males; and that circumcision signified ex, actly the same thing with respect to them, that it did with respect to the males, For they were equally with the males, the seed. It was the seed, as a mystical or spiritual society, rather than the individual, though the individual was comprehended, to whom circumci. sion sealed the promises of the covenant. tion then to the graciousness of the Abrahamic covenant, that it made no provision for the blessing to 'rest upon females, is entirely groundless,

17. It is an obvious conclusion from the preceding illustrations, and a conclusion which needs to be remembered, because the opposite idea is most generally advanced in treatises on this subject, that circumcis.

The objeca

ion did not initiate. It did not place the subject in covenant; but was administered, because he was in covenant already. He was so by birth. Nay, he was comprehended in the covenant before he existed.

18. And finally, we are presented with an admirable display, of the wisdom of God, in the economy of the covenant. If God had giver no absolute promise, respecting a seed, there would have been no certainty

of the appearance of a Savior, that a church would · have been perpetually preserved in the world ; or even that one soul would be saved. If his promise had ex. tended to all the natural, or the adoptive posterity, individually, and without exception, it would have oper, ated to countenance licentiousness, like the absurd, and antigovernmental doctrine, of the final salvation of all

Had there been no really sanctified seed in succession, God would have appeared as the God of a race of hypocrites only. And had the invisible and the visible seed been exactly the same persons, the judgment day would have been anticipated.

We conclude, then, this analysis of the covenant, in the adoring language of the apostle.

“O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God How 'unsearchable are his judginents, and his ways past finding out ! For of him, and through him, and to him are all things ; to whom be glory forever.





Exhibiting, a general view of the Community of Israel, from the administration of the Covenant of Circumcision, to that of the Covenant of Sinai,


IN the preceding analysis, we have ascertained the exclusively gracious nature of the covenant, established by God with Abraham ; the unconditionality of its promises ; the extent of their application ; and its perpetuity.

We have found it the basis of an organized, and indissoluble society, composed of persons who are visibly objects of the blessing. We are thence, naturally led to anticipate a series of expressions of divine care, especially directed to the conservation and elevation of this society ; miraculous displays of God's power special revelations of his will; and assurances of his favor, We are led to expect the promulgation of in. stitutions and laws, forming an interior regimen, adapted to the peculiar nature of the society, and the glorious objects to which it is to be ultimately advanced.

It will be seen that facts justify this expectation.The covenant we find carried into effect in the birth of Isaac ; in his circumcision ; in his evident personal piety ; and in the extraordinary manner in which he was made a typical representative of the Savior, when Abraham virtually offered him upon the altar. The blessings of the covenant appeared to rest upon this Patriarch, in the repeated assurances he had from God, that he was an object of his special love; in the pro. traction of his life to a very old age ; in his closing his

peace ; and having his burial in the land which the covenant gave to him.

From him, the covenant, with its blessings, was transmitted to Jacob. God avowed himself his God,

[ocr errors]

days in

by the same gracious and indissoluble bonds by which he was the God of his fathers, Abraham, and Isaac. Jacob had power with God, and prevailed. He carefully applied the token of the covenant to all his child. ren; taught them to fear and serve God, and went be. fore them in a pious example. His valedictory bles, sings had the efficacy of prophecy. He expired under the weight of years, upon the bosom of an affectionate Joseph, and his bones were carried up, in solemn pomp, and buried by the bones of his fathers, in the land of promise. His children, the heads of the tribes, succeeded in the same relation to God, and were visibly recipients of the blessing. In character, they were by no means faultless. In some instances, their conduct was cruel. Still they adhered to the worship of God, and were distinguished from the idolatrous world as his people.

Joseph-was certainly a person of singular piety: His resistance of a potent temptation ; his adherence to true religion in an idolatrous and profligate court; his filial duty ; his readiness to forgive his brethren and his great and persevering kindness to them, in opposition to all the natural dictates of pride and resentment, are decisive proofs of it.

By an extraordinary series of events, the prediction addressed to Abraham, respecting the subjection of his seed to the oppressions of a relentless government, was fulfilled. This did not express the discontinu. ance of covenant favor. Though the Egyptian monarch reduced them to slaves, and extended over them a most cruel despotism, their increase was not retard. ed. For we are told, Exodus, i. 12. The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.? The blessings of the covenant signally attended them, to counteract the designs of their oppressors ; and to prepare the way for a triumph over them, in their final deliverance.

When God interposes to accomplish this, he does it, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in remembrance of his covenant ; and he speaks of these

[ocr errors]

their descendants, as his people. Exodus, iii. 6, 7, 8. " Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Ja. cob; and the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people, which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry, by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of their land to a good land, &c." Moses, exactly according tỏ the tenor of the covenant, is directed to speak to Pharaoh, of God, as appropriately the God of the Hebrews, and to

say, “Let us go, we beseech thee, three days journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.

Language, indicating the same covenant union, is again put into the mouth of Moses, Exodus iv. 22, 23. * And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Israel is my Son ; even my first born. And I say unto thee, let my Son go, that he may serve me.This appropriate language is used throughout the whole of that in. tercourse, between God and Moses, and between Mo. ses and Pharaoh, which respects the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt.

Very remarkable was the distinction made betwen Israel and the idolatrous inhabitants of Egypt, during the course of those terrible judgments which, preceded the exodus. While the whole Country, inhabited by -the native Egyptians, was overspread with calamity, the adjoining territory, possessed by Israel, entirely escaped. The exemption of their firstborn from death, through the efficacy of the blood of the pachal lamb, when the firstborn of Egypt universally perished, was manifestative of distinguishing covenant grace. So was the manner, in which Israel, were directed to spoil the Egyptians. And so, especially, was their miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea, when the hosts of Pharaoh were drowned.

God's treatment of Israel at this time, had the character of grace, as distinguishably, as has been his treatment of Christians at any period under the New Tes

« 上一页继续 »