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Kingdom of Priests, or a Royal Priesthood, or of being Kings and Priests, as the Author of the Book of the Revelations expresses the fame thing by an He'ndiadis, being ascribed to the whole Peculium in general, will imply that every individual Member of the Peculium was at least equal in Holiness to the holiest of the Gentile Priests, on that very account of his being a Member of the true Peculium. So just a Title these Patriarchal Families (with whom these Covenants in the name of the supreme Being were made) had to their being stiled a HOLY SEED.
And indeed, this seems to have been the §. vin. principal prospetf of the Patriarchs in the Cove-Gram's imnants made with the-.supreme Being, that their ^f^"^esign families might be multiplied into Nations de- n" nc -mthtbc' scended from them and that those Nations supreme Bemight beintitled to a more potent Patron than ing> f» any of their Neighbour Nations who rivalled f*^f"'"^* them. And therefore it is also very agreeable, that Goi himself should also have this prospeft in dealing with them, to answer their Expeltations from him. When G#ipromises Abraham, that He would be his great Reward, his Answer is, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless? Gen. xv. i, 2. Plainly implying, that, till he had a Son, who might, by the Divine Bleffing, be multiplied into a Nation, he had as yet no Specimen of the Favour expeUed by him. His first Faith therefore so much celebrated in the N ew Testament also, was, that he should have a Seed, notwithstanding the unlikelihood of it, as well in regard of his own , Age as that of his Consort, Rom. iv. 19. The next degree of his Yaith was, to believe such a numerousness of his Seed, info great an unlikelihood of having any, as should npt only equal,
C 3 but
but exceed any of his neighbour Rival Nations. This would approve the prudence of his Choice above that of any of his Rival Patriarchs; and die Power of the Patron chosen by him, when that very unlikely Off-faring should multiply in that wonderful proportion as to answer the Proverbial Eastern Forms for expressing great Numbers, of being like the Stars of Heaven, or the Sands of the Sea, or the Dust of the Earth, for multitude, Gen. xiii. 16. "xv. 5. xxii. 17. Rom. iv. 18. ix. 27. Heb.vS. 12. And this from so small a beginning, wherein they were the fewest of all People, Deut. vii. 7. So they were in the time of Abraham, wherein the Promise was made for their Multiplication. He had not Isaac to begin with till he and Sarah were past the natural hopes of having Children, when his Neighbouring Nations were every where so plentifully stocked, as to make his travelling Condition very uniecure if his God had not protected him. Yet within six Generations they either extirpated or subdued those Canaanitifh Nations which in Abraham's time had so out-numbered them. Then they were so signalized by Providence, that in his Seedall Nations wre blessed; that is, all Nations of the fame kind, all that were Seeds, descended from one common Patriarchal Extraction. No happier Wish could be made for such a Nation, than that it might prosper and multiply like the Posterity of Abraham. And indeed, considering the Extent and prodigious Populoufnefs of Palestine, I do not think any one Patriar-, chal Descent could compare with them. So great things are spoken of them, not only in thcearlierTimes of the Scriptures, but the later ones also of Jofephus. For we are not to compare them with those Bodies which were the
effe€ks of Conquest, and injurious Violence, and which comprehended great numbers of such patriarchal Seeds and Nations. This Form of Blejfing in the Seed of Abraham, would not be uniike the Curse spoken of by the Prophet Jeremiah: The Lord make thee like Zedekiah, and like Ahab, whom the King of Babylon roafted in the fire, Jer. xxix. 22. But thegreateftTri* ai of all was, when God demanded Isaac from this great Patriarch, who was the only hope of the numerous Posterity promised to him, to whom by name that Promise was confined, as the Apostle observes, Os whom it was said,That in Isaac stall thy Seed be called: Accounting, that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, Heb. xi. 18, 19. Thus it appears, that all the Transactions with Abraham related in .the Old Testament, and celebrated in the New, relate to this very design, That he should have an Issue which should multiply into a very great and numerous Nation. I need not now enlarge to shew, that the Covenant with the other Patriarchs was of the fame nature. AU those Covenants are reckoned for one Covenant, which is called the Old one in the Reasonings of the ~New Testament, as containing indeed nothing new in them ; and therefore being only so many Repetitions and Confirmations of the first Covenant for settling a Peculium made with Abraham, the first Head of that Peculium, that they might receive the Blejfing of Abraham, Gen. xxviii. 4. Therefore the token of this Covenant was in the fore-skin of his blest, ro signifie the relation it had to his Dependents. Therefore he makes his Servant swear, laying his Hands on his Thigh, as engaging him by all the good will he bore to his Posterity so much hoped for, Therefore the new Patron C 4 gained. gained by this Covenant, is called the God of Abraham, and the People to whom this Patronage was acquired, are called the People os the God of Abraham, Psal. xlvii. 9. -To let us fee that all that was afterwards transacted with the later Patriarchs, was only pursuant to this fame Covenant first made, with the Person of Abraham. Whence it will follow, that the Reasoning will be the fame in all these Repetitions of the fame Covenant. §. IX. Now the design of Abraham in this Covenants ajsbuoMiTMP was t0 mn^e ms Pmily, and the Nation which Posterity'^ "was to descend from ir, to the Protettion of so performance on powerful a Patron-, and to undertake for them their part by that they should perform the D#<f/>.r expected ^ Pa^ntal on ffo/r part, as Conditions of that Patronage, "V? that they might qualifie themselves to receive the Blessing of Abraham, Gen. xxviii. 4. That is, the Blessing stipulated on G^'s part in the Covenant made with Abraham, for himself and his Their Ti//? to this Blessing depended on their being his Seed. And as y#£& he was concerned to stipulate for them, according to the Power with which God had before invested Ancestors for obliging their Posterity to *vz/(/fc their Alls for the common interest of their Families for future Generations. This God expected from him. I know, fays he, that he will command his Children and his Houfholi after him, and they st:all keep the way of the Isord to do, Justice and Judgment that the hard may bring upon Abraham that which he bath spoken ofbins, Gen. xviii. 19. He plainly supposes this performance of Conditions on their part, to be the ground on which Posterity could lay any claim to the Promises made and stipulated to their Ancestor. And he sup . poses an Authority in Abraham to lay his Patriarchal
triarchal Commands on his Posterity for all suc:eeding Generations. This was a Provision God had made for the good of Societies in general long before his Covenant, relating to the Feculium. To oblige particular Members to a sense of their Obligations to their respective Societies, He had given Governours such a Rjgfo in, /fow as they had in their other Properties. The Faults therefore of Governours made their Subjects liable to capital Punishments, however otherwise innocent of the Faults, for which not so much they, as their Governours, were punished in them. As none does think it hard for Proprietors to bepunishr ed by destroy ing their 'Cattel. So the Inhabitants of Jabejh Gilead were punished univer-judg. xxi. u. sally, the married Women not excepted, because their Superiours did not bring them to the War against the Men oiGibeab. This was done by the just Israelites in cool thoughts, when the War was over, without any the least remorse for it, as a thing unfit to have been done by them. So far from that, that God himself has frequently practised it, who yet appeals to the judgment of Men for vindicating the Equity of E2clc> bislVays, even by the Rules which themselves 25,29. xxxiii. thought equal in dealing with each other. For 17,2°Acharfs Sacrilege first, the whole Body of the ^ Israelites suffered before they knew it: And after it was known by his own confession, his whole Family were punished capitally for it, by God's express order. So for Saul's breaking Faith with the Gibeonites, seven of his Family after his death, vitro, given to the Gibeonites, the Party concerned, to suffer capitally, though too young to be concerned in the Guilt. So Seventy thousand of the Israelites were de-r stroyed by God"s Angel for David's Elation,