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covenant as an essential part of it. The covenant taught the seed, that they were to multiply into a great nation, not in the natural course of propagation only but by accessions, from time to time, of converts from the other inhabitants of the world. They were accordingly to spread their arms, to receive these converts, with the most affectionate cordiality. The gates of their city were not at all to be shut. * For they were to expect that the glory, and the honor of the nations should be brought into it. Being received, these converts were to be treated as brethren.
" One is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.”
The doctrine of adoption seems to be taught, in the order for applying circumcision to all who composed the family those who were born in the house, and those who were bought with money.
“ And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every manchild in your generations, he that is born in the house or bought with money; any stranger which is not of thy seed--and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.". In obedience to this direction, we are told, that, " Abraham, took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men, of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin, the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.” This appointment was to extend through their successive generations; and circumcision was to be the covenant of God in their flesh. All the reasons for this application, we may not be able indisputably to ascertain. But so much is evident ; that cireumcision, when applied to the stranger that was not of the seed, signified the same thing, exactly, that it did when applied to the seed. It was a token,
sign, or seal of the covenant generally ; of all the promises of it ; of those which respected the diffusion of the blessing beyond the limits of the seed, as well as of those which were appropriate to the seed ; and certified, that God would be the God of the former, in the same sense and to the same extent that he engaged to be the God of the latter. The promises
were a common interest. Hence, the Apostle, Heb. vi. 11, 12, says ;
" And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope, unto the end. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.” Could it be ascertained, conclusively, that Abraham's servants were visibly godly persons, and that circumcision was applied to them on this principle, it would be a settled point, that here was the doctrine of adoption reduced to practice. Some reasons which would induce us to form this conclusion, rather than an opposite one, we shall take the liberty to mention. God himself testified to Abraham's fidelity, in instructing and governing his household ; and expressly connected, by a gracious constitution, their piety with his fidelity.
“I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that God may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Ought it not to be presumed, that this constitution produced the effect, expressly designated ? Were the ineans secured ? Were they designed for the very purpose of forming to faith and piety, Abraham's household ; and yet were they so ineffectual, as not to gain them even to a visible subjection to the true God, and a visible acceptation of the covenant ? When Melchizedek gave the blessing to Abraham, had this blessing no respect to the family, of which Abraham was the head, and whose eternal welfare he was so engaged to promote? Was it promised, “I will bless them that bless thee ;” and yet were his own family, who were attached to him, and who followed him through all perils as their common leader, under the curse, both really and visibly? Was not Abraham probably as strict with respect to the religious character of his household, as any of his seed? Yet one of them says, Psalm cxxxix. 19.
Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God, therefore depart from me, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
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 enemies.” 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 à 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 visible 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 master, 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 confidence 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 ; suspecting; 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 gar
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 wor. shipped these gods, is not said. Here, however was a thorough cleansing. The objects of idolatrous wor. ship 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 Hi., yite, and the Jebuzite. Take to heed thyself lest 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 cụt 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 un doubtedly 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 seryants 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
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, “ Neither let the son of the stranger that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, the Lord hathi 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