Page images
PDF
EPUB

Having now reviewed Mr. W's answers, and having shown that in then 6 there remain errors," I proceed to answer his queries. His first query is was the bles. sedness of Abraham a spiritual blessedness ?"-And his second

query is like unto this, viz. 6 When did Abraham get this blessedness that was sealed to him?”—There is, I answer, no peculiar blessedness spoken of in scripture, as belonging so remarkably to Abraham, as to be emphatically called his blessedness-perhaps Mr. W. means the righteousness of Abraham, of which the Apostle speaks. When he informs me what he means by this blessedness, I will answer his questions.

His third query is so distinctly stated, that I cannot mistake his meaning-it is this was the earthly

Canaan sealed to Ishmael in circumcision ? I answer, No-And the reason

was, he was not a specified subject of that Covenant-The proof of this is Gen. 17,18,19---Abralian prayed that Ishmael might live before God, with a refer. ence to the covenant that God had revealed to him-The Lord, verse 19th, inforined him that his covenant would be with Isaac, saying, “Sarah shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call bis name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him to be an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." The reason why circumcision did not seal all the same things to Ishmael as to Isaac, was, because he was not a specified subject of the covenant of circumcision.

Having now attended to every thing necessary at this time, Mr. W. may proceed.

Mr. W. then proceeded :

Mr. C's. fourth question is intended to clash with the answer I gave to the first he proposed. If the covenant of circumcision be the same as the new covenant, as I have said ; he asks how could the new be better than the old ? This does not interfere with the answer I have given; for two things may be essentially the same and yet soine lite tle difference. The chief, and indeed the sole difference, betwixt the old and the new, is that there were many.care nal ordinances connected with the first, that are now taken away,

and not connected with the new. But this being only an external circumstance does not affect the substantial part of the old covenant-The covenant of circumcision remains, in all its grand features and pro

same.

perties, the same. One thing may be said to be better than another, although there is not much difference or no essential difference between them.

The fifth query he has proposed, has respect unto the duties enjoined upon the respective subjects of both covenants ; he asks me, are they the same? I will answer this question very briefly they are substantially the same" --Duties have ever been very similar, moral duties are always the same. It is the duty of men to pray and praise, to be just and honest, to be virtuous and upright, and these duties were equally enjoined upon Jews and Christians under the covenant of circumcision, and under the New Covenant--So that I hesitate not to say, that the duties incumbent upon the subjects of both covenants are the

His sixth query, respecting the penalties under both covenants, was, Are the penalties threatened the same in both ? This question I will answer by saying that there are no penalties under either, consequently there can be no difference in this respect betwixt the old and the new.

I have now to propose again to Mr. C. those questions he declined answering from some alledged ambiguity iq the word blessedness" --David, as quoted by Paul, Rom, 4, describeth the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness without works.--As Abraham was said to be a partaker of that righteousness, he was doubt. less a partaker of that blessedness too. i again ask the same question.

Was that blessedness a spiritual or a temporal blessedness? And secondly, when did Abraham get that blessedness?

A 4th question I will now propose, predicated on his answer to the query respecting Ishmael, vią. What did circumcision seal to Ishmael? He affirnis that he was not a specified subject of the covenant of circumcision, and could not have an interest in Canaan: why then was he circumcised ? I think Mr. C. is got into a close place ngw;! wish to see how he will get out.

I have to object to Mr. C's. comment on my answer to his first question ; he says that the mere promise, to cir.. cumcise the heart, could not, in the utmost latitude of interpretation, mean or import so much, as all the blessings promised under the New Covenant.--Now certainly to circumcise the heart, is the work of the spirit of God.

The holy spirit is the agent or operator of all those spirit. ual changes that take place on the understanding, will and affections of the human soul. Now, it is almost uniVersally admitted, that, as the spirit is the agent of all gracious changes, so the changes which it produces are spiritual and permanent, and must imply a radical change of heart. If the human heart is then thus changed by the spiritual circumcision, it must be a meet subject for the enjoyment of spiritual blessedness, consequently prepared for Heaven. Now, as the end of all gracious operations, is to fit us for Heaven, and as the circumcision of the heart is a gracious operation, eternal life must be implied in the promise of circumcising' the heart. From these considerations it must follow, that as this gracious change was promised to the Jews under the old covenant, and as many of them doubtless enjoyed it, their privileges were as great as ours. When the promises under the Old Covenant were so great, and so spiritual, as to make men fit for Heaven, I do not see any just cause we have to glory so much over them. We can only get to Heaven with all our privileges.-I must then, under these considerations, still maintain, that the two covenants, in respect of the extent and nature of their privileges, are the same.

Again with respect to his commonts of the answers I gave to the second and third queries-If they are to be taken as he espresses himself, they would lead us to supe pose that he is an Old Testament Armenian and a New Testament Calvinist. He talks of so many conditions under the old covenant, that he appears to suppose that men were saved conditionally under it. And under the new, he argues an unconditional salvation ; so that, according to him, the way of salvation is diverse under the two testaments. I must, then, think, that he runs into greater extremes, than those of which he accuses me.-Allowing him an opportunity of correcting himself, I sit down.

I then observed,

That as Mr. Walker has explained his acceptation of the word “ blessedness' to mean, that blessedness which all the righteous enjoy in consequence of justifying righteousness, and of which Abraham was eminently possesse. ed, I proceed to answer his questions: and first-Was That blessedness which Abraham enjoyed as a consew

guence of his righteousness, a temporal or a spiritual blessedness ? This being the way in which the question now stands, I answer, it was a spiritual blessedness. And the second question-When did Abraham get this blessedness; in circumcision or in uncircumcision ? I answer, he obtained this blessedness through that righteousness of which he was possessed when he believed God, Gen. 12,3, and which was accounted unto him for righteousness-Abraham, then, obtained this righteousness and blessedness, 25 years before the institution of circumcision, and therefore circumcision was to him, what. it never was to any other circumcised person, “a sign and seal of that righteousness," which he had 25 years before he was circumcised. Neither these two questions nor the answers I have given them, affect the subject as it now stands. If Mr. W. could shew that Abraliam or his seed received, in, or by the covenant of circumcision, either righteousness or spiritual blessedness, it might be, in some measure, pertinent to the subject--but this is what ncither he nor any other man can do.

His fourth question, What did circumcision seal to Ishmael ? I now proceed to answer : Circumcision to all the seed of Abraham, specified in the covenant of circumcision, secured the same blessings; but Ishmael was not contemplated as interested in the covenant of circumcision, seeing the promise was, “in Isaac shall thy seed be called"-Yet circumcision was a token and seal to him, that God would make of him a great nation, because he was a son of Abraham. - On this account, and for the same reason that Abraham's slaves were circumcised, was Ishmael circumcised. The promise to Ishmael was fulfilled, and in process of time that warlike and strong nation called the Hagarens, arose from him. Esau, and his posterity, the Edomites, were rejected from the privileges of this covenant, in consequence of Esau's selling his birth-right; and as all the privileges of the old covenant were conditional, it does not interfere with the view I have taken of it, although the Jews should have been banished from Canaan, for their tenure of it depended on their good behavior. These circumstances, when clearly investigated, confirm more fully the grand difference betwixt the old covenant and the new. The grand difference betwixt them may be comprehended in a few Fords, viz: The blessings of the covenant of circumcis

ion were all temporal, and had a typical reference to the person and kingdom of the Messiah ; the blessings of the aew covenant are all spiritual and real--the fornier were enjoyed conditionally, the latter unconditionally--the foriner might be, and they were, forfeited; the latter could not be, and were never, forfeited--the subjects of the former were, as such, a carnal people; the subjects of the latter as such are a spiritual people--the subjects of the former were such by natural birth ; the subjects of the latter are such by regeneration or supernatural birth. Having now answered all Mr. Walker's queries, I proceed to remark on the brief comment he submitted on my observations on his answers to the three first questions I proposed : He has attempted to persuade you that the phrase “ to circumcise the heart," imported all the spiritual blessings of the new covenant; but why make this effort until he had proved, or attempted to prove, that this promise was a part of the covenant of circumcision. This he has prudently declined. It is no matter, for his scheme, what that promise implied, seeing I have proved that that promise was no part of the covenant of circumcision, and no man can invalidate the reasoning I have adduced on that subject. What an absurdity would it involve, if he should affirm that every promise published from the days of Moses till the Messiah's advent, was a part of the covenant of circumcision! And yet this would be as reasonable as to say that that promise, Deut. 30, 6, was a part of that covenant. It is, then, of po importance to me to disprove his comment on that promise, seeing it is altogether foreign to the subject. Yet it is no small evidence of his want of docuinents, and fondness to prove what is inadmissible; to hear him alledging that these words, “ to circumcise the heart," mean to forgive sins, to

pour out the Holy Spirit, in a new covenant sense, to bestow eternal life, and every other spiritual and eternal blessing contained in the New Testament! But as I said before, it is no matter what these words import; they are no part of the covenant of circumcision, but were spoken 4 or 500 years after its completion, and then had respect unto a time future. On my

remarks on his answers to the 2d and 3d questions, he supposes that I am an Old Testament Arminian, and a New Testament Calvinist. This may serve to obviate the difficulty of attempting to disprove my re

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »