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name, that shall not be cut off. Also the 'sons of thie stranger, that join themselves 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 them. selves, 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 agreeable 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 rescued 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,
should rest upon
* Peace be to this house." And were told that if the Son of Peace were there, their peace
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 establishes, was designed to carry on this pur. pose 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, except 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 wor. ship; 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 oth
God was related to both alike as their God. The whole family, was by birth, in a state of religious unity.
3. Here, in this one general family, the seed, not on ly according to the literal
, but the figurative meaning of that term, was to be found, as one generation suc ceeded another. Proselytes were indeed to come origa inally from the idolatrous world. But the blessing which rested upon those proselytes; was the blessing of Abraham, which passed over to his offspring. He was blessed, in having a seed given to him, to whom Jehovah was à God. And sincere proselytes were heirs acccording to the promise. They were blessed with faithful Abraham. They partook of the root and fatness of the tree. They were the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.The blessing had a lineal or seminal descent, as well with respect to them, as the home born. I do not mean that the infant offspring of proselytes were the seed primarily intended in that particular clause of the covenant, “I will establish my covenant with thy seed." This would be to contradict all that has been said. But, as the promise, “and in thee shall all fami. lies of the earth be blessed,” did not respect one generation only, but every generation, the blessing involved in it was to be transmitted in a family way, or by family descent ; and by means of those instructions, and that discipline, which the covenant furnished and required. So that the infant offspring of the stranger, just like the other, though upon a different principle, were to be accounted holy, the Lord's, and joint heirs with the offspring of the natural seed, of the heavenly inheritance. The profit of circumcision extended to the one sort of offspring as really as to the other. Hence the manner in which benedictions thoughout the scriptures embrace the children of all pious parents, connectively with parents themselves. Deuteronomy, xxx. 19. “ Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Ibid xxviii. 4. “Bles, sed shalt be the fruit of thy body.” Ib. vii. 13, “And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee, he will also bless the fruit of thy womb.". Ib. xxx. 6. “ And the Lord thy God shall circun.
cise thine heart, and the heart of thy sced.” Psalm xxv. 13. “His soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the earth.” These several promises had an application to proselytes; as much as to the home boru. For they were equally of the body. Psalm cxii. 1, 2. “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delig'iteth greatly in his commandments : Hiş seed shall be mighty upon the earth; the generation of the upright shall be blessed.” Psalm xxxvii. 26. “ He is ever inerciful and lendeth, and his seed is blessed.” Proverbs xi. 21. “ Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered." Isaiah xliv. 3.“ For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring Ib. Ixi. 9. " And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed."
These declarations, as has been shewn with respect to the term seed, are to be understood, not as securing the salvation of all, individually, of the offspring of the adoption ; but as announcing the descent of the bles. sing, and the descent of it in this way, that is, seminally.
These promises certainly involve a connexion be. tween the piety of the parent and the piety and salvation of his child; or that the blessing descends seminal. ly throughout the whole Church. If there be no such connexion, then these promises are without meaning. They secure nothing. They convey no blessing like that, which, in terms, they express. There is an essential disparity between the covenant state of the natural, and the adoptive seed. The grand reason for the ap.. plication of circumcision with respect to the one, has no application to the other.
Thistheory will have a full confirmation, when we come to see how Jews and Gentiles are consolidated, with out any distinction, into one body, at the period, when the Messiah orders and establishes his kingdom forever.
The view of the covenant of circumcision which has now been taken, presents a number of important conclusions, which, because they will farther illustrate the general subject in hand, will here be noticed.
1. It is plainly a gross pervertion of the leading promise of the covenant of circumcision, when it is treated, as it often is, as meaning no more than that God would unite himself to the posterity of Abraham as a temporal sovereign ; to govern them as to their worldly state, and to bestow on them temporal rewards, upon mere external obedience. * This idea will be more largely considered and refuted, when we come to examine the Sinai covenant. Here let it be only observed, that not a word of this nature is suggested in all God's covenant transactions with Abraham ; but every thing, as we have seen, has a contrary appearancê. The preceding analysis has shewn, that God was the God of Abraham in the most gracious and spiritual sense. He was his exceeding great reward ; not upon the low ground of a civil compact, which involves no moral rectitude ; nor upon the scale of mere temporal prosperity, which involves no blessing ; but upon the principle of distinguishing and everlasting mercy. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is Jehovah's memorial throughout all generations. And he is not the God of the dead, but of the living. If Jehovah be the God of Isaac and Jacob, not as dead and reprobate men, but as eternally living in his favor ; without all doubt he is a God in the same sense to the residue of Abraham's seed. Thecovenant relation isexactly the same with respect to all. Nothing then can be more derogatory to God than such a construction of the Abrahamic covenant. It sinks him down to a level with the miserable kings of the earth. It sup
* “It is exceedingly evident that the Abrahamic covenant respected and promised blessings to Abraham's posterity, or natural descendants as such. Those blessings however, were of a mere temporal
, kind." Andrews's Vindi. cation of the Baptists, page 24.. "It is an undoubted truth, that God was the God of the posterity of Abraham in the very sense in which he promised to be. It will not be denied that God was the God of the Jewish Nam tion, in the most literal sease. He was their political lawgiver and king,” pages 43