Page images

the command in Eden. It was established with Noali, and is called “the Covenant or Dispensation of day and night,” Jeremiah 33, 20-the peculiarities of wbich are as follow.

Noah, as Adam, was the father of a world, and the founder of the Post-diluvian, as Adam was of the Antidiluvian world. It was as necessary that Noah should have a guarantee of the continuation of that state, ia which he was after the deluge, for the future settlement and cultivation of the earth; as that Adam should have a guarantee of his continuance in Eden, for the enjoy. ment of it.

This Covenant we have recorded Gen. 9 14, “I establish

my covenant with you and with your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, and of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you, from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my Covenant with you: neither shall all flesh be cut off any more with the waters of a flood: neither shall there be any more a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, this is the token of a covenant which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between ine and the earth." Verse 16, 6 And the bow shall be in the cloud : and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." An intimation of this cov. enant we have in the 22d verse of the preceding chapter, on which the whole covenant is predicated, viz: " While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease." On this covenant observe the followiug particulars : 1. It was a sovereign act of the Almighty, originating

in bim, and ordained by him alone. 2. It respected the whole animal creation, as well as

the human family, and all of them without any dif

ference. 6. It was absolute and unconditional, consequently

could not be broken. 4. It was all promise and no command; also the bles

sings promised were temporal, and commensurate with time,

5. The token of it was the rainbow, whick is merely a i melnorial of it.*

This Covenant will not correspond with the opinion of Mr. Brown, nor with many of our modera definitions. There was no stipulating on the part of Noah, on the part of the birds, beasts, and fishes; and yet they were what is commonly called a party in this transaction. It was then a dispensation, or constitution of things, and possessed all the ideas coinprehended under the term Diatheke. It produced a divine confidence in the mind of Noals, which is sometimes the import of Berith, and therefore is as properly called covenant, as any of those transactions so called in the scripture.

3. The Covenant confirmed of God in Christ.

This covenant was first confirmed to Abraham in the year of the world 2083; just 427 years after the Flood, and 430 years before the giving of the law. For thus fixing the date of this transaction, I have the authority of the Apostle-Gal. 3, 8–17. In the 8th verse, he quotes Gen. 12, 3-66 In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This he calls « the Gospel preached to Abraham.". He reasons upon it to the 17th verse, shewing that the Gentiles were included in this promise, and calls it 66 the Covenant confirmed of God in (relation to Christ,” 430 years before the giving of the law. There were two promises given to Abraham at this time; the one respecting his natural offspring, “ I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and inake thy name

* Some sceptics have objected against the rainbow's being a token of any such transaction, as it is the constant effect of a natural cause, the contraposition of the Sun and a cloud; con. sequently, inust have existed previous to the flood. On this objection, I shall suggest an opinion of my own, viz, that there never was a shower of rain before the deluge, that the earth was watered by a mist ; and, therefore, the temperature of the weather was uniformly mild, and the fertility of the earth in. .comparably greater than at present. I have some slight scrip. ture authority for this opinion Gen. 2, 5-6, “ The Lord God bad not caused it to rain upon the earth, but there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” I have other documents for the above opinion, which this occasion will not permit me to suggest. Let those sceptics proye that there ras rain before the flood-I say there was not,

great:" the other, respecting the seed Christ; in whom all families of the earth, Jews and Gentiles, should be blessed. This is the promise which had respect to Christ, .which the Apostle Paul designates as I have above cited.

That this covenant was confirmed 430 years before the giving of the law, is abundantly obvious from the following facts.

Abraham was 75 years old when he departed out of Haran, Gen. 12, 4. He was 100 years old when Isaac was born unto him, and his seed was to be afflicted, or in a sojourning state, 400 years. Gen. 15, 13, compared with Acts 7, 6-6 His seed should sojourn in a strange land, that they should bring them into bondage, and evil entreat them 400 years."- We have now ascertained 425 years of the 130. Whence, then, are we to obtain the other five? I say, five years before Abraham left Haran. Perhaps I might have said before he left Ur of the Chaldees, previous to his coming into Haran-for the first verse of Gen. 12 reads thus, « Now the Lord had said unto Abraham," the things following 2 and 3 verses, The time in which these things were spoken is previous to his departure.

In the debate with Mr. Walker, I chose rather to say 25 years in all those places where I spoke of the interval between this covenant and that of circumcision, because that could not be disputed, as we had the age of Abraham when leaving Haran, and when Isaac was born. I then felt as conscious as I now do, that the interval was thirty years. One thingis certain, that 430 years was the period of the sojourningExodus 12, 40, " The whole sojour. ping of the children of Israel was 430 years"- verse 41, * And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the lord went out of Egypt." Three months after they left the land of Egypt, they received the law, Ex. 19, 1. So. that Moses, Stephen the proto-martyr, and Paul the Apostle, concur in fixing the above dates. The only question that requires a moment's reflection is, Whether shall we place the five years before Abraham's leaving Haran, or say that it was 405 years from the birth of Isaac till the expiration of the 430 years. Although in the hurry of the debate I once said 405 years from the birth of Isaac till the giving of the law, and have faithfully Le corded as I spoke, But I choose rather, from the tst

verse of the 12th chapter of Genesis, to say that the five years are to be placed before Abraham's departure from Haran; and thus leave the round period of the sojourning of his seed 400 years, according to Gen. 15, 13.

Wishing to furnish the most satisfactory evidence on the date of this covenant, I just now, for the first time, on this subject, consulted the best chronological table published in Europe, which is to be found in some editions of Johnson's English dictionary. I am happy to find, that the dates I have already fixed, perfectly coincide with those in the table. The article in the table reads as fola lows-66 The covenant of God made with Abraham when he leaves Haran to go into Canaan which begins the 430 years' sojourning, was in the year 1921 before Christ," 427 years after the food. In the same table, which was made with the utmost care from the dates we liave in the scriptures, we have the following article: “ Moses per. forms a number of miracles in Egypt, and departs from that kingdom, together with 600,000 Israelites, besides children, which completed the 430 years sojourning; bien fore Christ 1491 years.

I have, then, clearly fixed the date of the confirmation of this covenant with Abraham to be 430 years before the giving of the law, and 30 years before the covenant of circumcision. “Now," saith the Apostle, in relation to this very covenant, Gal. 3, 15, “ If it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannolleth or addeth thereto." Consequently no man can, agreeable. to this scripture, add circumcision to this covenant; or suppose that circumcision was a seal or token of it. Some may enquire, why I should be at so much pains to establish the date of the confirmation of this covenantanswer, this being established, the whole system of Pedobaptists tumbles to the ground. For their arguments from circumcision are all predicated upon circumcision having been a seal of the Covenant of Grace, or of Christ; which I have now irrefragably proved to be a mistake: for the Covenant of Circumcision, and the Covenant of Christ, or new Covenant, are as distinct as any two events thirty years apart can be.

The peculiarities of this covenant were as follow:

1. It exclusively respected Gospel blessings, Paul calls it the Gospelquoting the words of the covenant Gab 13, $. It had a respect to Christ and his sced aloob

2. Men of all nations were its object. “All families of the earth : Jews and Gentiles. Paul calls it “ the blessing of Abraham coming upon the Gentiles." A blessing that is enjoyed through Christ alone.

3. The blessings of it are enjoyed by faith ; justification, pardon, sanctification, and all the graces of the spirit can only be received and enjoyed by faith. No person can inherit any of the blessings of this covenant by natural birth, the subjects of it are all born from above.

4. There is no condition in it, therefore it cannot be broken. The things proposed in it were all to be accom' plished by God and not by man; consequently, not one of them could fail of completion. “All families of the earth shall be blessed."

5. Christ was born to perform the mercy promised by the Father, and to remember bis holy covenant." Luke 1-72-The only confirmation which this covenant had at the time in which it was said to have been confirmed was the immutable promise of God. When this proinise was accomplished it was called the New CoveDant or Testament of Christ. Under the term New Cov. enant, I shall enlarge still further upon it. In the mean time I proceed to observe a few things on the 4th Coveurant in the order of Revelation, viz.


The Covenant of Circumcision.

This covenant was established immediately after the birth of Isaac. Isaac was born 30 years after the Covenant of spiritual blessings was confirmed of God in (relation to) Christ.

This was one step in the providence of God, to the accomplishment of the promise of blessing all nations in the seed of Abraham. This covenant of circumcision, so. called by Stephen, Acts 7, in consequence of that rite, grew out of the covenant confirmed 30 years before.This was designed to identify and to separate the Jews from all the world, until the promised seed should come. It was to be early stamped upon the flesh of each małc child, before he could mingle with the world, so that his peligree might bever be in dispute. The peculiarities of this covenant I shalt briefly specify.

« PreviousContinue »