« ZurückWeiter »
cation whatever. For a Pagan, a Turk, or a Jew, while such, have a right to hear the Gospel preached, for the grant is unconditional. Go preach the Gospel to every creature. And if all the privileges of the visible church of Christ were made as common, by a grant equally unconditional, a Pagan, a Turk, or a Jew, would have, as such, as good a right to baptism and the Lord's table, as to hear the Gospel preached. So now the visible church of Christ becomes invisible, being absorbed and swallowed up in the world, without any mark of distinction, according to Mr. M. It
may be observed that our author says, that in my former piece I have wholly misrepresented his sentiments,' and given his scheme the bad name of a graceless covenant.' And if he all along meant that his external covenant was a mere absloute, unconditional grant, which has no respect to a gracious state of heart, nor to any other qualification whatever, then I own I have wholly misrepresented his sentiments' in my former piece. But then he ought as frankly to own, that he has in his former piece 'wholly misrepresented' them also : and that he has carried on the same misrepresentation in this second book, in which he speaks of his external covenant, not as a mere unconditional grant, but as a mutual covenant between God and the visible church, which is to be entered into by us, and sealed on our part ; in order to which, some qualifications are absolutely necessary on our side, viz. that we come to a fixed resolution to forsake all known sin, and practise all known duty." But I subunit it to the judgment of the judicious candid reader, whether the truth of the case is not this, that Mr. M, himself does not distinctly know what his external covenant is; and however ingenious be may be, yet it is beyond his abilities to give a consistent account of this creature of his own imagination. For let his external covenant be conditional, or unconditional, it is merely a creature of his own imagination. For if it is conditional, the conditions of it are merely unholy, graceless duties; and so it is a graceless covenant, which is a' graceless phantom,' as was proved in my former piece. And if it is unconditional, it wholly destroys the visible church, as it leaves no mark of distinction between the church and the VOL. III.
world. And Philip had no right to say, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest ; for believe, or not believe, he had an equal right to baptism. And so baptism must cease to be an external badge of a Christian. Let a Pagan Indian, merely that he may be in the fashion, demand baptism for himself and his children, and unqualified as be is, we have no right to refuse him; for he has the same right to baptism as to hear the Gospel preached. But that the covenant with Abraham was really the covenant of grace, which Mr. M. owns is a conditional covenani, I have proved in my former piece. But let us hear Mr. M. speak for himself.
Mr. M.'s external covenant, represented by him as an uncondi
tional covenant, eramined in this view of it.
OUR author says, (p. 59, 60, 61, 62.) 'Whoever reads that covenant with Abraham, recorded Gen. xvii. with attention, must unavoidably see,' N. B. That although the covenant of grace is set forth in it;' for he says, (page 57.) ' the covenant of grace was contained in every dispensation of God to mankind; each of them contained promises of eternal salvation to believers.' But to proceed: Yet that covenant, as then made with Abraham, was not strictly the covenant of grace.' I grant, that besides pardon, grace, and glory, temporal good things were promised in that covenant. And so they are under the Gospel. Mat vi. 33. But God's fatherly care of believers in the world is one of the blessings of the covenant of
in the strictest sense. But this is not the thing. Mr: M. has respect to the nature of the promise, which being unconditional, is inconsistent with the covenant of grace; and therefore cannot be reconciled to it, the blessings of which are proinised only conditionally if we believe ; but the blessings of this covenant in Gen. xvii. are promised unconditionally, believe or not believe. For thus Mr. M. says, “it has soine peculiarities which are not reconcileable
with it. And this appears from that chief promise contain
' ed in the covenant: And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.' But, pray, why is not this 'chief promise reconcileable' with the covenant of grace? This is the reason Mr. M. gives, because this promise is as full, as express, as absolute and unconditional to his seed, as it was 'o Avraham.' Nay, but the apostle Paul, when preaching pure Gospel, said to the jailor, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts xvi. 30. So that the promise was as full, and express, to his seed, as it was to the jailor himself. But Mr. M. will say, that this promise to the jailor and his house was conditional; but the promise to Abraham and his seed was absolute and unconditional." ' And this being so, it not only is not the covenant of grace, but it cannot be reconciled' with it. I believe Mr. M.'s external covenant is in its very nature so inconsistent with the covenant of grace, that it cannot be reconciled with it. But the whole Christian world, the Anabaptists excepted, have till now thought that the covenant with Abraham was the very covenant of grace itself. But it seems, it is so inconsistent with it, in Mr. M.'s view of it, as' not to be reconcileable with it,' because the covenant of grace promises the heavenly Canaan to us and to our seed, and that God will be a God 10 us, and them conditionally, if we and they believe ; but the covenant in Gen. xvii. promised the earthly Canaan, and that God would be a God to Abraham and his seed 'unconditionly.'
But Mr. M. goes on :
· This difference between the tenour of the covenant of grace and the covenant with Abraham, could not escape the Dr.'s notice; but being resolved to make out his scheme, he puts in a supplement into the covenant, which has not the least countenance from the covenant itself, or from
other place in the bible. p. 65. God speaks to the pious parent in that ordinance, (baptism,) saying, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, i. e. IF THEY WILL TAKE HEED TO WALK IN MY
This last conditional clause, is a mere arbitrary addi
tion to the covenant with Abraham, invented only for the sake of making that reconcileable to the covenant of grace. But no such clause is ever once represented as belonging to the covenant of grace, or to the covenant with Abraham.' To which we reply, that,
The assembly of divines, in their larger chatechism, say, that 'the covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed.' And yet, in order to enjoy the blessings of this covenant, it was necessary, on Christ's part, that he should make his soul an offering for sin; and on our part, that we should become Christ's seed by a true and living faith. If Christ had not died, or if we do not believe in him, God had not been obliged by covenant to make him heir of all things, or us to be joint heirs with him. So the covenant of grace in a shadow, was made with Abraham, who was a type of Christ, and with all his seed. And yet, in order to enjoy the blessings of this covenant, it was necessary that Abraham should renounce idolatry, and separate bimself from an idolatrous world, and walk before God, and be perfect, in the sense in which good men are said in Scripture to be perfect. Gen. vi. 4. Job i. 1. And that he should command his children and his household after him to follow his example. This was necessary on Abraham's part. And it was necessary that his seed should keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord MIGHT bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken. Gen. xviii. 19. If Abraham on the divine call had refused to leave Ur of the Chaldees, and to take Jehovah for his God; or had he afterwards returned to his native country and to his false gods, and persisted in idolatry, he would not have been made the heir of the holy land, the type of the heavenly inheritance. If his seed had finally refused to leave Egypt, and to give up the gods of Egypt, and to follow the Lord to the holy land, God would not bave been obliged by covenant to give them the enjoyment of it. Therefore, although the covenant with Abraham, (Gen. xvii.) was expressed in the form of an absolute and unconditional promise, to him and to his seed ; yet it is manifest, that conditions were implied, both with respect to him and to them.
And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the divine conduct can be justified, in swearing, concerning that generation whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, that they should never enter into his rest; because they did not believe his word, nor obey his roice, as their father Abraham had done. So they could not enter, because of unbelief. Whereas bad God been obliged, by an absolute, unconditional promise, to bring them into the land of Canaan, he had been, what they were ready to charge him with, really guilty of a breach of covenant.
And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the conduct of Moses can be justified in that speech of his to the two tribes and half tribe, in Num. xxxii. 6m 15. Wherein he expressly declares, that if they should turn away from the Lord, as their fathers had done, whose carcasses were fallen in the wilderness, they would be destroyed themselves, and be the means of destroying all the congregation. For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness, and ye shall destroy all this people. Whereas, had God been obliged, by an absolute, unconditional promise, to bring them into the holy land, and put them in actual possession of it, there could have been no more danger of their destruction, than there is that the earth will be destroyed by a second general deluge, notwithstandGod's covenant with Noah. Gen. viii. ll, 12. See also Deut. vii. 19.
And in this view of the Abrahamic covenant, as a conditional covenant, the divine conduct can be justified in the present rejection of the seed of Abraham, who have been cast off 1700 years, notwithstanding God had said, I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, for an EVERLASTING covenant : for because of unbelief they were broken off. For there is no standing in God's church but by faith. As it is written relative to the Gentile converts, who had been grafted into the good olive, and thou standest by faith. Rom. xi. 20. For God might consistently reject the seed of Abraham, if they refused to walk in the steps of Abraham, provided they were taken into covenant in this view. But if God had taken them without any proviso,