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The Lord adds, in the said Old Testament quotations, a sealing (if I mistake not) of these three particulars. Of salvation he gave them the seal of circumcision,' which was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, viz. of the righteousness of faith : b and as the covenant was “an everlasting covenant,” God would continue a seal of the covenant for ever ; (at least till the restitution of all things ;) substituting only the green wax of water, for the red wax of bloody circumcision. Secondly, in regard to that happy possession upon the face of the whole earth, he gave them the seven kingdoms, being the whole country of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, as a seal and pledge : for from the time they entered Canaan they were never universally and absolutely expelled out of it; and they shall continue there to dwell, till they be gloriously restored to the full possession of it. Thirdly, of their numerous blessed multiplication, God gives a seal by changing Abram's name to Abraham. He should not only be Ab-rom, that is high-father ; but Ab-romhamon, high-father of a multitude : even as he likewise changed the name of Sarai, which is my mistress,' to Sarah, “the mistress. Conformably with this change, the promises to Abraham are extended in their utmost breadth to his posterity, viz. to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, (Gen. xxvi, 4 ; xlviii, 19; xlix, 26, quoted before ;) and all these promises speak of a universal and happy dominion.
tiles.” (Rom. xi, 25.) In regard to the multiplication of Abraham's posterity, the following will afford some idea. Abraham by Agar had Ishmael, of whom there came in all “ twelve princes according to their nations." Of Abraham by Sarah, first, came Esau, also called Edom, from whom came the Edomites, or Idumeans, inhabitants mount Seir. The fourteen Dukes that sprang from Esau by his several wives are particularly named by Moses. (Gen. xxxvi, 15— 20.) Likewise, from Abraham by Sarah came Jacob, of whom came the twelve Patriarchs, and of them, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Of Abraham by Keturah came Zimram, who gave name to the Zamrians, a people of Arabia Felix ;secondly Jokshan, of whom was named Camasa, in Syria Palmyrina ;-thirdly, Medan, of whom was named the town Madiana in Arabia Felix, and the country of Madianæa, on the South of Arabia ;-fourthly, Midian, of whom came the Midianites, of Arabia Petræa: but because also some of them dwelt in the countries adjoining to the Ishmaelites, therefore they are sometimes called Ishmaelites, though of so different an original. (Compare Gen. xxxvii, 25, with v. 28: and Judges viii, 24, with v. 26.) Fifthly, there came of Keturah Ishbak, who was the founder of Laodicea Scabiosa, in Syria ;-sixthly, Shuah, of whom came the Saccai, inhabiting the east part of Syria, by Batanea ;-seventhly, Sheba, whose posterity dwelt in Arabia Deserta ;-eighthly, Dedan, of whom came the Dedaneans, who (as Jerome supposes) inhabited Æthiopia ;-ninthly, Epha, whose country is named in Isaiah lx, 6, and is situate beyond Arabia, called Saba ;-tenthly, Epher, of whom, saith Josephus, Africa had its name. (See Junius on 1 Chron. v, 19; Jerome in loco ; Ptolom. Geograph.) These are named in Gen. xxv, 146, with others whose countries are not known; only they are said to dwell eastward in the east country; that is Arabia, or Syria.
b Romans iv, 11.
Consonant to this Old Testament platform, the excellent master-builders in the New Testament rear the superstructure. Salvation is often expressed by them under the notion of the righteousness of faith,' and 'imputing faith for righteousness,' and being blessed through faith. Secondly, in regard to possession, the Apostle argues, that the patriarchs leaving Mesopotamia, their own native country, and never returning, when in their power so to do; and after that sojourning in Canaan, as strangers and pilgrims in tents and tabernacles, though it was promised to them for an inheritance,-and doing all this by faith, not seeing the promise fulfilled by sense,—did evince, that they sought a country, a heavenly one, a city that hath foundations prepared and built by God. All which cannot be more safely expounded than by Rev. xxi, which shews us the new heaven and new earth, in " the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven," where God himself will be with them, and be their God.” Thirdly, for multiplication ;-as the generality of the world, Jews and Gentiles, have according to the flesh come out of the loins of Abraham ; so the Apostle's exposition of the promises holds forth, that the generality of the world shall be the children of Abraham by faith, and blessed in that seed of him, viz. Christ ;—" that they that are of the faith of Abraham, are the children of Abraham ;"_" that God would justify the heathen through faith, according to the gospel he preached to Abraham ;”-that the sense of that promise, “ In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," is," that they that be of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham ;"- that the blessing of Abraham shall come upon the Gentiles ;' —" that
the promise to Abraham, that he should be the heir of the “ world, was not to Abraham and his seed, through the law, but " through the righteousness of faith, that it might be by grace, “ to the end the promise might be sure, to all the seed: not to " that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the
faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” d
c Heb. xi, 8--17.
d Rom, iv, 11-22 ; Gal. iii, 7-16.
For the sealing of these three things, Christ is called the mystery (or sacrament, as some translate) of godliness ; e because in his flesh is the glorious representation of God, and the effectual communication of the excellencies of God to us. f Christ, as testified unto from heaven, is “ the sealed one ;” i. e. the
only name under heaven whereby we must be saved." Some of his names are in this sense a seal; as Immanuel,' or God with us”; (so interpreted by Matthew and applied by the Apostles ; h) and · Jesus,'«for he shall save his people from their sins.' Secondly, by relation and union Christ is the seal or assurance of the possession ; we being set in heavenly places with him, as joint heirs :i and also by his ascension, for the disciples were assured, “ that he should so come as they had seen “ him into heaven ; whom the heavens must receive, until “the times of restitution of all things.”j Again, as He, being the anti-typical Abraham, is the everlasting Father of all to be saved ; k so is he a seal and pledge, that there shall be a multiplication of them that shall be saved by him. First, by his paternity, “ He shall see his seed,”. “ He shall see the travail of his soul,”—“He shall justify many;" L" He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all one;”—“Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.” " For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering." m And to shew that this seal, (viz. Christ's taking our nature,) is not limited to the Jews only, the Apostle calls him the second Adam, and extends it as wide as the ruin that came by Adam :-" If through the offence of one,
many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many."
As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to con“demnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift “ came upon all men unto justification of life.”n
Further, by his suffering he is also a seal of the multiplication of believers.
We see Jesus, made a little lower than angels by the suffering of “death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace
e I Tim. iii, 16. f John i, 16; xvii, 2 ; Heb. i, 2. 8 Matt, iii, 17; xvii, 5; John vi, 27. h Matt, i, 23; Rom. viii, 31. i Rom. viii, 17; Ephes. ii, 6. j Compare Acts i, 11, with iii, 21. k Is. ix, 6. 1 Is. liii, 10, 11. m Heb. ii, 10-13. n 1 Cor. xv, 45 ; Rom. v, 15, 18.
of God should taste death for every man;"—" And I, if I be lifted
up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” The Holy Spirit, baptism, and the Lord's supper, are likewise seals of these three things. The Spirit is indeed, in a general sense, a seal of all the promises, and therefore called the Spirit of promise ;' but in particular the Spirit is a seal of salvation, and of the inheritance, or possession : “ After ye heard
the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation ; in whom also " after ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of pro“mise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemp
tion of the purchased possession.”p That it is a seal of the multiplication of believers may be gathered from Joel ii, 28, for this Spirit of promise" shall be poured out upon all flesh.” That baptism is a seal of salvation we all know: it is also a seal of the possession, which that innumerable company of Jews and Gentiles, passing through the Red Sea set forth; wherein God sealed to them, among other things, that his power should be omnipotent; and his mercy, in bringing them to the land of promise, endure for ever. 9 Lastly, the Lord's supper doth not only in the elements typify our spiritual nourishment and cherishing by Christ; but, in the posture of sitting signifies our reigning and judging with Him the whole earth : for ruling and judging is oft expressed in Scripture by sitting; r—even as in Luke, eating and drinking at a table with Christ, is put as a sign of a kingdom ; and sitting on seats or thrones, a sign of judicature. (xxii, 29, 30.)
The sum of this section is, that there shall come so many out of the loins of Abraham, both of Jews and Gentiles, to whom God will be their God, and bless them over the face of the whole earth, that the generality of the world shall become believers, and be the governors of the entire universe: all which, so sure as God cannot lie, must be fulfilled. But these things have never yet been accomplished : the ten tribes remain scattered among the heathen, not having received, if ever they heard of, the Gospel of Christ; and the two tribes do not to
o Heb. ii, 9; John xii, 32. p Ephes. i, 13, 14. 38 ; xiv ; Ps. cxxxvi, 4—15 ; and 1 Cor. x, 1 &c.
9 Compare Exod. xii, 37, r Matt. xix, 28 ; Rev. iv,
this day acknowledge the New Testament: the Turks, Arabians, Tartars, Persians, Indians, &c. have no acquaintance with Christ and salvation : we see not yet all nations, numerous as the sands of the sea, blessed in Christ, the seed of Abraham. Some inhabitants of a few spots of ground are called Christians; but the most empires, and the mightiest, know not Christ. We see not yet Ephraim's posterity in as the fulness of the Gentiles;”& which phrase the Apostle interprets of the conversion of the world of Jews and Gentiles to faith in Christ. t Nor have the Hebrews, since the Apostle wrote the Epistle so named, attained any country, or city, that is heavenly, or built by God; for they are not converted to this day. And they must be in a better spiritual condition on earth (according to the tenor of the Scriptures) before they can be received into heaven : of which more hereafter.
Nor can these things be fulfilled at the last general judgment, being every way inconsistent with that time : for that is no period of conversion, or dominion of men; but of confusion of the wicked, and the subjection of all the good,-yea of Christ himself, as Christ, to God, who then is to be all in all.
The Prophecy of Balaam, Chap. xxiv, 16—25.
The man that spake this was Balaam ; but it is set down by Moses as a most sure prophecy: which shews us what a full manifestation he had from God in this matter.
It is not unusual with God, for extraordinary ends, to reveal particular prophecies to unregenerate men, at certain junctures of time. Thus it was to Caiaphas, u so also to the Sibyls, v and thus to Balaam.
s Gen. xlviii, 19, before quoted. t Rom. xi, 25. u John xi, 49–51. v As the Sibyls have been several times referred to, it may be acceptable to some Readers to be informed, that they were women, supposed in pagan antiquity to be endowed with a prophetic spirit, and held in very great repute. In the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, about 530 years before Christ, one of these women appeared before the monarch with nine volumes, which she offered for sale. He, not knowing her to be a Sibyl, refused them ; when she burned three of the nine, and demanded the same price for the remaining six. Being again refused,