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son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free.”—The two mothers, the two sons, the two births, with the two fortunes of these renowned persons are very interestingly depicted by the Apostle.
Olympas. What is an allegory, Eliza?
Eliza. A continuation of tropes or comparisons —not a single metaphor, but a series of metaphors in illustration of some important subject.
Olympas. A comparison of two subjects under a fixed imagery may, indeed, include all that rhetoricians intend by the use of this animating and impressive figure of speech. State then, Reuben, the points of comparison.
Reuben. The principal points of comparison are four:- 1st. The two mothers represent two constitutions or dispensations, usually called the Two Covenants. These are the two covenants-one from mount Sinai; the other from mount Zion, or Jerusalem. 2nd. The tendency of the two institutions is compared to the condition of the two sons
-the one a slave, the other a freeman. 3rd. The peculiar character of the birth of these two sons-one in the course of nature: the other out of, or above, the course of nature, “ born after the flesh,” “born after the Spirit.” 4th. The character of the two children indicative of the character of the subjects of the dispensations—"Him that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit.” Even so it is now.
Olympas. Any other point, William ?
William. Yes, it appears to me that the fortunes of the two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, are also contrasted.
Olympas. The fortunes of the sons only?
T'homas. The fortunes of the mothers too“ Cast out the bond-woman and her son ; for the son of the bond-woman shall not inherit with the son of the free-woman.”
Olympas. These are five great points admirably illustrative of the immense difference between a Jew and a Christian- between living“ under the law” and “under the gospel;" for that is the main subject illustrated in the allegory.
State, Thomas, the facts of the case indicated in the allegory.
Thomas. Some of the Jews in the Galatian churches were desirous of being more or less subject or conformed to the Jewish covenant. Against this amalgamation of law and gospel, of old covenant and new, the Apostle seems to have been remonstrating; and to complete the whole argument closes with the allegorizing of the whole history of the sixteenth chapter of Genesis.
Olympas. But where, Eliza, shall we find this covenant from Agar corresponding to Hagar, the hand-maid of Sarah, and the mother of Ishmael ?
Eliza. Is not the covenant of circumcision in the flesh, of which we have just now read in the seventeenth chapter?
Olympas. Not exactly: it is only a dispensation of that covenant. Can you explain, William ?
William. Mount Sinai is defined to be the place whence the covenant personated in Hagar is said to have been issued, as Jerusalem is said to be the place whence the new covenant was promulged, or that indicated by Sarah.
Olympas. True; but observe that as the promise of blessing all nations in Isaac the seed, was
developed and embodied in the form of the gospel covenant of promise; so the promise of giving to Abraham a numerous natural progeny, and the land of Canaan for inheritance, elaborated into the covenant of circumcision, became the basis of that dispensation or covenant from Mount Sinai in Arabia.
Thomas. I desire to understand this subject more fully because of some confusion in
mind occasioned by the baptismal sermon of Parson Golfather, in the Princeton Chapel, at the late christening of Elder Miller's household. Dr. Godfather is said to be a very learned man, and he affirmed that the Christian covenant, called the New Testament, was only a full dispensation ; or, as I understood him, a development of the covenant of grace, as he called it, found in the seventeenth chapter of Genesis.
Olympas. The covenant of grace in the seventeenth chapter of Genesis! There is neither a covenant of grace nor a covenant of works named in the seventeenth chapter of Genesis. Change the
will soon make Judas Iscariot out of Jude the brother of James. What, my dear Susan, does Stephen call the transaction found in Genesis seventeenth ?
Susan. “ The Covenant of Circumcision," sir.
Olympas. You are right, daughter. The Lord himself authorized it by a single expression in Genesis seventeenth. What think you is it, William ?
William. After specifying the two comprehensive items of the covenant-lst. “I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee”—2nd. “I will give to thee and to thy seed after thee the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession":
he adds, “ This is my covenant in your flesh : Every man-child among you shall be circumcised -born in thy house or bought with thy money. And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.”
Olympas. This is, indeed, a “covenant in the flesh,"
""the covenant of circumcision,” and became the basis of the Sinaic or old covenant, just as the promise or “covenant confirmed of God in reference to Christ” became the basis of the new covenant, or that from the Jerusalem above. Give us the sum of this matter, Reuben.
Reuben. Two promises made to Abraham-one filled with spiritual and eternal blessings, the other with fleshy and temporal advantages,-constitute the basis of two national institutions. The two Abrahamic covenants are denominated in in scripture, “The Covenant confirmed by God concerning Christ,” and “the Covenant of Circumcision;" from which sprang, when dispensed nationally-one from Sinai, called • The Old Covenant;" the other from Jerusalem, called “The New Covenant.”
Olympas. These are the two covenants in the allegory- the first in the flesh; the second, in the spirit; the first stipulating a wordly and temporal possession of Canaan on certain carnal conditions ; the second, stipulating a spiritual and eternal inheritance in the heavenly country on certain spiritual conditions—the one springing out of flesh, the other out of spirit--the one replete with law, the other with gospel—the one circumscribed by blood, the other by faith. Hagar and Ishmael, therefore, most aptly represent the whole fleshy state,—"covenant in the flesh,” “ born after the flesh," fleshy or carnal mind, and the earthly inheritance; while Sarah and Isaac as fitly represent the new covenant of better promises—born after the spirit, living in the spirit, and the spiritual inheritance.
Eliza. What means the seals of the covenant ?
Olympas. Circumcision is the seal of the old covenant, and a holy spirit the seal of the new.
Reuben. Doctor Godfather says, “ Circumcision and' baptism are two seals of the same covenant."
Olympas. Doctor Godfather never uttered a greater absurdity. A covenant made two thousand years before baptism, whose mark was in the flesh, to be sealed with two seals, one two thou. sand years before the other!--one made by cutting off the flesh, and the other by putting water on the face! Transubstantiation is a feasible tale compared with this. The mark on the flesh was the seal of the covenant concerning the flesh, and the mark on the spirit is the seal of the covenant concerning the spirit. There can be no outward mark of a spiritual change in heart or state. I, therefore, novel though it may seem, hazard the assertion that circumcision was adumbrative not of baptism, not a shadow of a shadow, not a figure of a figure ! but of the circumcision of the heart by the Holy Spirit-not of the wetting of the skin, not of the bedewing of the face; but of the separating and sanctifying of the spirit to God by God's own Spirit.
Circumcision was a very apposite mark of a covenant concerning flesh and blood descent, flesh and blood relation, feelings, character, and inheritance. But water is no mark of any thing; and neither sprinkling, pouring, nor dipping could be the seal or mark of a spiritual covenant. Hence