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men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them the end of all strife. Wherefore God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast; and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus."*
I have ventured to assert, that the original promise to Abraham of the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and all the promises belonging to the Abrahamic covenant, properly so called, respected those heavenly blessings in a future state of being, which are promised to the faithful alone: and though an occupation of the land of Canaan by Abraham's children, in a future dispensation of the kingdom of Christ, is one of its mysteries; yet that the promise has no immediate reference to the temporal settlement of the twelve tribes in Canaan, under the conduct of Moses and Joshua. But we are to bear in mind, that there was another covenant made with Abraham, that did especially embrace this object-the bestowal of the land of Canaan, not upon the children of the promise only, but upon the whole nation of Abraham's natural descendants. This grant was not unconditional, nor pending on faith alone; neither was the grant contemplated as an everlasting possession. The particulars of this covenant may be read in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, to which I refer the reader. The reflection of the sacred writer on this transaction is, "In the same day God made
* Chap. vi. 11.
a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates."* "In the fourth generation they shall come hither and possess it." These two covenants it becomes us ever to keep distinct in our view; for though in the execution of the latter there may be seen, what may be pointed out as a type of the former, and as having a subservient connexion with it, yet they are two things perfectly separate in themselves; and we shall find in subsequent Scriptures, sometimes one covenant is referred to, and sometimes the other: and, perhaps, this distinction between the two covenants given to the family of Abraham, may enable us to discover the difference between "the birthright" and " the blessing," in the story of the two sons of Isaac. The birthright had respect to something that should be after death. He that gave the promise, must raise the dead in order to fulfil it. This the profane Esau despised, for he walked not in the footsteps of Abraham's faith. But the blessing was something more substantial in his view, the settlement of his children in the rich country of Canaan. However, both covenants were to be confirmed to Jacob. His twelve sons inherit between them, at the appointed time, the fertile region of Palestine; and to one of them, to Judah, the birthright is conveyed; and he is distinguished from the rest of his brethren by this remarkable blessing when his father blesses his children before his death:
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Until Shiloh come:
And to him shall be the gathering of the peoples.
Judah, we know, remained a distinct tribe, governed by its own laws, till the Redeemer appeared at his first advent; but "the gathering of the peoples," or " the subjection of the nations," I conceive, we must refer to his second coming. Shiloh all agree to signify the promised Saviour, and I follow Simon in interpreting the term 66 HIS OFFSPRING," or rather HER OFFSPRING."
THAT I have not exceeded the ancient interpreters in the above comment on the promises made to Abraham, will abundantly appear from the following quotations from Irenæus: "Semini tuo dabo terram hanc, a flumine Ægypti, usque ad flumen magnum Euphratem. Sic ergo hinc promisit Deus hæreditatem terræ, non accepit autem in omni suo incolatu, oportet eum accipere cum semine suo, hoc est, qui timent Deum, et credunt in eum, in resurrectione justorum," &c. And again, at the close of the chapter," Repromisit autem Deus hæreditatem terræ Abrahæ et semini ejus et neque Abraham, neque semen ejus, hoc est, qui ex fide justificantur, nunc sumunt in ea hæreditatem: accipient autem eam in resurrectione justorum. Verus enim et firmus Deus: et propter hoc beatos dicebat mites, quoniam ipsi hæreditabunt terram.” ADVERSUS HERESES, liber v. cap. xxxii.
THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE SECOND ADVENT, DELIVERED IN THE AGE OF MOSES.
In the last chapter, by the help of the comment afforded by the New Testament writers, we reviewed the promises made to Abraham, in order to see what was further revealed concerning the object of our disquisition, the second advent. And we have discovered, that in addition to what the more ancient patriarchs knew concerning the final subduing of the serpent by the woman's seed, the coming of the Lord, with his holy myriads,— and his standing upon the earth, at the last day, as the Redeemer of his people: in addition to these facts we have discovered that the promised seed, "the woman's offspring," was to appear in the family of Abraham, in the tribe of Judah. That God had covenanted to give to HIM, and in HIM, to believing Abraham, and to all who walk in the footsteps of his faith, in the character of his spiritual children, "an everlasting and a heavenly inheritance, together with the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession." That is, as the apostle has explained, that HE, the promised seed, and with him all true believers, shall be heir, lord, inheritor, or possessor of the world." Not of this world of this world, in its present state, at least, we shall not need to be told of a world to come. But how the possession of the land of Canaan forms part of these everlasting mercies, and how that land can concern Abraham, and them that sleep in Abraham's bosom, we were yet to discover.
We now proceed to review the sacred oracles that any way relate to this subject, which were delivered during the period of Moses.
At the end of the four hundred years, mentioned in the second covenant made with Abraham, Jehovah proceeded to execute that promise and oath that he had sworn to the fathers of the Jewish race, to "judge the people" who should be " oppressing them in a land which was not theirs," and "to bring them back, and settle them in the land of Canaan." This he accomplished by Moses and Aaron, by Joshua, and the judges who succeeded him; and, lastly, by the victories of Saul and David for it was not till the reign of this prince that Israel could be said, according to the words of the covenant, to possess all the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates."
We have already seen that this was not "the everlasting possession of Canaan, promised" by the first Abrahamic covenant to the children of promise, for that covenant relates to the possession of Canaan, this very Canaan, (or some heavenly residence connected with Canaan,) in a future world, or future stage of the world's existence. However, in all these transactions in the interference of God to deliver the natural Israel from Egypt, in his miraculous guidance of them through the desert, and in his settling them in the land of promise, we see types of greater things to come. These historical events are often alluded to by subsequent prophets, as affording examples of what God will do for his people in the last day. And besides we are to remember, that though "they are not all Israel that are of Israel;" yet at this era the true Israel was, probably, nearly altogether included in the "Israel after the flesh;" and therefore