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the beauty of his law, and to the glory and all-sufficiency of Christ, take? If he will believe his sins are forgiven, when in fact they are not forgiven ; and he knows in bis conscience they are not; he inust “believe without any evidence of the thing." And to call this faith in Christ; to call this trusting wholly in the righteousness of Christ, is to put darkness for light; and to substitute in the room of Christ, a lie, and nothing but a lie, as the sole object of their faith.
Arg. 3. From the nature of that faith which was required of the Israelites; and for the want of which they could not enter into the land of Canaan. " When God
gave the child dren of Israel a promise of entering into the land of Canaan," says Mr. Wilson, I presume“ it will not be denied, that they had not only a warrant, but that it was their indispensable duty to believe that he would bring them to the possession of it, notwithstanding the difficulties they might have to encounter by the way; yet it cannot be said it was infallibly true that they should enter into the promised land whether they believed or not; for the event proved the contrary. It is evident then, that they were called to believe something that was not infallibly true, whether they believed it or not." p. 18, 19. “This is equally true of the promise of the Gospel made to sinners, of mankind indefinitely,” p. 23. For “God hath given to all who hear the Gospel, a promise of entering into his rest of heaven ; which gives every one of them sufficient warrant to believe that he shall be saved.” p. 23, 24.“ This promise is the first and immediate foundation of faith. It is only by an appropriating and fiducial persuasion thereof, that any one can commence a true believer of the Gospel, or attain to any certain knowledge of his eternal election.” p. es. However, the thing to be believed is not true before they believe it, and never will be true unless they do believe it. p. 18-26.' And therefore he concludes, that in justifying faith we believe that to be true which is not true before we believe it. To this I answer,
1. The promise which God made to Abraham, and confirmed by an oath, in Gen. xxii. 16. referred to Num. xiv. 30. (for God never did confirm by an oath his promise to that congregation who came out of Egypt; there is no such
shing on Scripture record. Therefore Num. xiv. 30. has reference to Gen. xxii. 16.) I say, the promise which God made to Abraham, and confirmed by an oath, in Gen. xxii. 16. to give the land of Canaan to his seed, was unconditional and absolute. And by it God obliged himself to give Abraham a seed, and in due time, in spite of all obstacles, whether from their own temper or the opposition of others, to bring them to, and put them in possession of the land of Canaan. And had God by any means eventually failed of doing this thing, he would have been chargeable with the breach of that promise which he made to Abraham.
Now this absolute promise to Abraham, was a shadow of that absolute promise which God the Father made to his Son, on his undertaking to offer up himself a sacrifice for the sins of men ; that he should see his seed and prolong his days; that he should see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. Isai. liii. By which promise the Father absolutely obliged biniself, that all Christ's seed should finally be brought to the heavenly Canaan, notwithstanding all opposition from their own hearts, and from every other quarter. And if by any means any one of Christ's seed should finally perish, God would be chargeable with a breach of that promise made to his Son.
But as St. Paul reasons, Rom, ix. 6. All are not Israel which are of Israel ; so not all the seed of Abrabam, according to the flesh, had an interest in the absolute promise of the earthly Canaan, in the sense in which God originally intended it, and in the sense in which he afterwards explained it. For Ishmael, who was a child of Abraham, was first cast off. And afterwards Esau was rejected. And afterwards six hundred thousand were cast off at once. And all in perfect consistence with the divine promise to Abraham. Nor was there, as Mr. Wilson insinuates, the least show or appearance of any breach of promise. This was merely the impious and blasphemous construction the wicked Israelites put upon the divine conduct. For by an appropriating act of faith, exactly of the same nature with that Mr. Wilson pleads for, they had been fully persuaded, that they in particular should come to the land of Canaan. And therefore, on their disappointment, were ready to charge God with a breach of promise. Num. xiv. 3. To which God, in great wrath, says, and ye shall know my breach of promise. As if he had said, “ This is what you impiously charge me with.
, But, unmoved to alter my determination by your impious charge, in the wilderness you shall die : and if you call this a breach of promise, you shall know I will break it thus; for assuredly your carcasses shall fall in the wilderness. And this is a lively type of the final doom which will be passed at the great day, on all impenitent sinners, who by an appropriating act of faith, have taken all the promises to themselves, while in fact not one of them ever belonged to them in the sense in which they imagined. So they shall knoto God's breach of promise, just as the wicked Israelites did.
2. The absolute proinise of the land of Canaan made to Abraham, had no respect to any who were not of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. And therefore, unless a inan could produce bis genealogy, and prove himself a descendant of Abraham, he could by that promise, claim no right or share in the land of Canaan : for without this, all the good qualifications in the world would be no weight to give a man a right to an inheritance in that land.
So the absolute promise of the heavenly Canaan made to Christ, has no respect to any but those who are Christ's seed : those who are in Christ. And therefore, unless a professed Christian can produce good proof that he is in Christ, he can claim no tiile to heaven by virtue of that absolute proinise. Our own righteousness, in this case, can give no title at all. But if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abruham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal. iii. 49.
When, therefore, any man who is unconscious that he is united to Christ by faith, is bold to put in a claim to the heavenly Canaan, he is guilty of the grossest presumption, and has no evidence to support his claiın “ from Scripture, sense, or reason."
3. God's promise in Exod. iii. 17. made to that congregation which died in the wilderness, of bringing thein to the land of Canaan, was not an absolute, but a conditional promise,
is plain beyond all dispute froin Numb. xxxii. 6—15.
which the reader is desired to turn to. And indeed the conditions, although not expressed in that promise, Exod. iii. 17. were plainly implied in the very nature of the thing. For if they should, from an attachment to the pleasures and manners of Egypt, and from a mean and low opinion of the land of Canaan, or from a distrust of the divine power and fidelity to conduct them safely thither, decline, and finally refuse to march for Canaan ; or if after they set out on their journey, repent they ever entered on the expedition, and desire to go back again ; neither they, nor any mortal else, would have had any reason to imagine, that God was obliged by that promise be made to them in Exod. iii. 17. to bring them there. God's promise, then, to bring that congregation to Canaan, left him at full liberty to kill them by hundreds and thousands, if they rebelled against the Lord, instead of cordially falling in with his proposal ; yea, to doom all their carcasses to fall in the wilderness. It is absolutely certain, by the divine conduet, that God viewed it in this light. -And therefore,
They had no warrant, not one single soul of them, to believe absolutely, when they left Egypt, that they should come to Canaan. It is certain Moses understood the matter thus, from Numb. xxxii. 6—15. Nor had they any warrant to believe any further than this, viz. that if they would cordially fall in with the divine proposal, and from their inmost soul bid an everlasting farewell to all the manners and pleasures of Egypt, set their whole bearts on the holy land, enlist under the banner of the God of Abraham, cleave to him with all tbeir hearts, march after him, trust his wisdom, sufficiency, and fidelity, to conduct them thither, his power to overcome all obstacles, and so courageously march after him into the holy land, and fight under him against the seven nations of Canaan, and persevere till they had obtained a complete victory; then, and in this way, and in no other, might they expect to come to the possession of that good land. He therefore, who found within himself an heart prepared and disposed to all this, miglit reasonably expect to arrive to a possession of that good land. Unless for special and wise reasons, God should think fit, instead of the earthly, to give
him an inheritance in the heavenly Canaan. And therefore, if the wicked Israelites, when they came out of Egypt, far, very far, from such a temper and disposition, did confidently believe they should come to the promised land, they bad, in fact, no warrant for their belief. Nor did God hold himself obliged to order things so that it should be unto thein according to their faith ; but thought himself at full liberty to lead them into such trying circumstances, as should effectually discover their unbelief, enmity against God, attachment to Egypt, low thoughts of Capaan; all which were consistent with that appropriating belief they had when they left Egypt, that they should get to Canaan. And when their hearts were thus discovered, God held himself at liberty, notwithstanding any promise be had made to them, to doom them all to death.
And just so it is in the present case. The Gospel promises eternal life, absolutely and unconditionally to no child of Adam : nor has any child of Adam any warrant to believe absolutely and unconditionally, that he shall be saved. But the Gospel brings the news of the glories of the heavenly Canaan, where God the supreme good is to be for ever enjoyed, and represents to our view an almighty Saviour and Conductor ; invites us to sell all for the pearl of great price; from our inmost soul bid an eternal farewell to the pleasures and manners of Egypt; lay up all our treasures and hopes in heaven, deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ to the end of our lives, placing our whole dependance on the merits of bis blood, and the influences of his spirit; and promises that all such shall Goally arrive safe to the heavenly Canaan : but denounces dainpation against all the rest. He then who is conscious that he has such an heart in him, may expect to see that good land. But if any, unconscious of this, firınly believe they shall assuredly inherit eternal life, their faith is absolutely “ without any evidence from Scripture, sense, or reason ;" just as Mr. Marshall says. And they inay depend upon it, that God does not hold himself obliged, that according to their faith so shull it be to them. For if men will believe things which God never promised, he is not obliged to answer their presumptuous expectations, how