Page images

verse 16. that the promise (that is, the same faith goes out of a man, and seeks righpromise mentioned here, as the threed of teousness in another. And 2. Tbe prothe dispute will evince) might be sure to all mise should be of no effect ; that is, the, the feed; and therefore we think it most promise should not be a promise, but a: fafe to take the meaning to be this: That debt; for what is procured by works is under this all the promises made to Abra debi, and not promised of mere free grace. ham are comprehended, so that the world 3. Because the law works wrath; it fenmust be taken for all the promises, for tencech all, and pronounceth God's venthis life, and for the life to come; for geance upon all, without exception; and this world, and for the world to come: fo no-body can procure any thing at God's and fo under this is comprehended God's hands, but wrath; by trusting io it. All blefling of him, promise of protection, of are obnoxious to the curse of God by nabeing his exceeding great reward, Gen. xii.. ture, and the law helps this on further;. 2. 3. and xv. 1. 5. and of being his God, And why so? Because, where there is no Gen. xvii. 7. and that he would give him law, there is no transgreffion; and fo where all the land of Canaan, which was an ear- there is law, there is transgreslion, and nest of heaven, and rest above; and so it that because of the corruption of our natakes in both grace and glory, both the tures, that cannot obey the law; and fo. promises for this life, and that which is the law worketh wrath.. to come. All which he knits together in Moreover our understanding that pro-one bundle, because they come all one way mise, that he should be the heir of the unto his own, viz. through Christ; even world thus comprehensively, seemeth not, those things touching this life, and what a little to receive confirmation and clearconcerneth grace, is fo linked to glory, as ness from a parallel place, viz. Gal. iii. it is begun glory, and glory is but grace 16. 17. 18. where the apostle is clearing perfected; so that who has the promise of the doctrine of justification by faith, and grace and glory are heirs of all the world; Thewing that the law that came so many for what is more needful in all the world? | years after, could not annul that covenant Now, then, this comprehensive promise, which God made with Abraham: where or all the promises, concerning a believer's we may consider these particulars for clear.. well-being here or hereafter, are not made ing of this. 1. This covenant made with thro' the law; that is, neither Abraham Abraham is called a promise; fo here it is nor his feed have such ample promises called so likewise. 2. As it is called a made them, because of their own righte- promise, so it is called promises, in the ousness, or obedience to the law, or any plural number, verse 16. to thew that it thing they do, or can do, but thro' the is a comprehensive promise; and so takes righteousness of fuith, that is, thro’ the in many. And 3. it is called an inheririghteousness which faith apprehenderh. tance, verse 18. as here he is called tbe.

That those promises are not through the heir. law, he confirmeth in the following verse,

OBSERVATIONS, (which also proveth the way of Abraham's justification) in that, 1. then faith 1. The covenant which God made with should be void; for, fays he, if they that Abraham was a covenant of free grace, are of the law be heirs, faith is made void; containing free and gracious" promises ; that is, If any attain to be heirs, of the therefore it is said, for the promise to promises, and of the good things promis. Abraisum or his feed; and the word rened, by the law, or his thinking to keep dired fromise, signifiéth' a free promise, a ihe law, then saith serves for no ufe; for 'pro.nise of free grace: See Gal. ii. 16.

II. This

II. This covenant, being a covenant of VII. Faith in Jesus Christ, and obedi. free grace, contained all things necessary ence to the law, in point of obtaining right for a believer's well-being here or here. unto the blessings of the new covenant, after; it had the promise of the life that are diametrically opposite, and utterly innow is, and of that, which is to come, consistent; so that to expect the privilege

I Tim. iv. 8.: for it is called the pro- of those special blessings, becaule of obe. mise, that he should be the heir of the dience to the law, is to quit the righteworld, viz. this world and the world to ousness of Christ laid hold on by faith : come.

for if they which are of the law be heirs, III. By virtue of the covenant of grace, faith is made void; for faith goeth quite believers in Christ, the true heirs of Abra- out of a man, for something to trust to. ham, have just right and title unto all the VIII. To expect the blessings of the promises touching this life, even the tem- new covenant, in and thro' any thing in poral things thereof, in so far as may serye | ourselves, or done by us in obedience to for God's glory, and the promoting of the law, is to make the reward of debt, their fpiritual and saving interest, so as and to make the free promise of grace void all things are theirs, 1 Cor. iii. 22. 2 3.; and null; seeing that whatever is promised and are heirs of all the spiritual mercies, freely, cannot be properly merited by aas justification, adoption, fanctification, and ny thing done by us: therefore it is addat length, of glorification: for the promise ed, and the promise should be of none effect: is to Abraham and his feed, that they fall IX. Man by nature being now fallen be heirs of the world.

from the state of grace, is altogether udIV. These promises held forth in the able to keep the law, or to perform any covenant of grace, were not made upon commanded duty acceptably;, so, as in the consideration of works, as being there- know that there is a law above a man's by procured and purchased, or of obedi- head, may be ground enough to affirm ence done to the law of God; and in par that there is transgression of the law: ricular, they were not granted to Abra- This is supposed, in that he says, the ham's posterity, because of obedience law works wrath; and clearly held forth, done to the ceremonial law, and fo did where he says, where there is no law, not belong to them allenarly: for the pro- there is no transgreffion; and fo, where mise that he should be the heir of the world, there is law, there it is sure, there is was not to Abraham or his feed through transgression. the law.

X. Sin being a transgression of the law V. The only meritorious cause of all of God, 1 John iii. 4. which is holy and the rich blessings promised and held forth just, Rom vii, 12. deserveth God's curse in the covenant of grace, is the righte- and wrath, here and hereafter, Rom. vi. oufness of Jesus Christ, who only is the 23. Matth. xxv. 41. 46.; wherefore the mediator of this new covenant : for the law is said to work wrath. promise was through the righteousness of XI. The law of God being holy, jul, faith.

and good, doth not, nor cannot properly VI. Faith laying hold upon the righte- be said to work wrath, but only in refpeét ousness of Jesus Christ, is only that which of us, who cannot observe the same; and entiiles us to all the blessings and benefits fo it brings forth to light God's curse of the new covenant; therefore it is call. gainst sin: The law worketh wrath, oriy ed the righteousness of faith, to then that by holding forth God's wrath against iraniit must be laid hold on by faith, for the gressors; for where there is no law, there effect before mentioned.

is no transgreffion.


XII. It is our ignorance of what the and nature, being naurally descende:' of law binds on us, by reason of our trans- him, (and thus, of the law, rout be taken grethon, and of what we may, and should, w be the faine with, of the circumcisin, in justice expect from the law, now being verse 12. and not as it is taken, verle 14. transgressed by us, that makes us trust so since then the pro:nise lould be no ways much to our own works, and expect fo sure to such; for it is not made to such mach for what we suppose we do in obedi- as trust to their works at all, but also to ence to the law: and therefore to let believing Gentiles, who are Abraham's them see, that they could not be heirs of spiritual seed; not as descended naturally the promises by the law, as they thought, of bim, as were the Jews, but as serving he tells, that the law works wrath. themselves heirs to hiin by faith, who had VERSES 16. 17. Therefore it is of faith, had. So this seed of Abraham takes in

not the law as Abraham's natural posterity that it might be by grace; to the end both Jews and Gentiles who believe; spithe promise might be sure to all the feed, ritual promises are sure to all who believe, not to that only which is of the law, but tho’they be not Jews; and why so? he gives to that also which is of the faith of a reason thereof in these words, who is

Abraham, who is the fither of us all. (As it is written, I have made thee a fa- his Teed, but even the believin, Gentiles,

the father of us all; not only the Jews are ther of many nations,) before sim----

following the steps of Abrahan's faith, Fter he has fet down the conclusion are his feed, because he is the father of all A

which he has been proving from these. Before God whom te believed; that verse 13. as following clearly fron the is, he became a father in a spi itual manforner reasons; saying, Therefore it is of ner, and after a spiritual kindred, or in faith: le confirms it further from these rea- such a way as hath place before God; 10 fons; 1. The inheritance was to be grant that he was not father in a carnal manner; ed thro' faith that it might be of grace. It nor promised to be a father so much that was one of God's special ends, why he way, even to the Jews, but rather by purposed this way of granting the inheri promise, beyond nature, as is clear after. tance; viz. that his free grace, and rich ward, and gripped to by faith. The good-will might the more clearly shine | Lord said to hiin, now stricken in years, forth; which would be much darkened, if his wife Sarah's womb being dead, that the inheritance had been granted by the he should be the father of many nations; law, or for works done by us in obedience ană his pronite he believed agaiait hope, to the law. 2. That the promise might be and so, after this spiritual manner, which fiere. If the promise had been made only is only in accout before Go.1, he became upon the confideration of our works, it a father of many nations : and for this had been most changeable and unsure; but cause he cites the words of the promise God designed this way, that the pro'nise made to Abraha n, Gen. xvii. 5. Sɔ then, might not depend on us, frail murable being a father of his natural issue, not to creatures, but on God, and his free grace, much by nature it being rather against which is still one and the same, and cannot narụre, that Sarah, bein; without ordinary alter, for all our fins and provocations; strength of nature for conception, shou 1 and that to the whole feed, not to that only conceive) as by prɔmile, Gal. iv.


and which is of the 1:100, but to that aito lo by faith laying hold on the promile

, he which is of the faith of Arrabam; that is, might no less this same way, become the Ont to the believing Jews only, who are father of other nations, according to a divine of Abraham's feed according to Atriết law and fpiritual far erhood gained by fairki.




unsure; and so, if God's bestowing of spi

ritual blessings upon us did depend upon 1. God, in conveying the inheritance of us, or any action of ours, they would

prove grace and glory unto such as he had most uncertain, and we would hence gachosen, as he intended a demonstration of ther no ground of confidence: This ie his own glory, particularly of his rich and supposed, in that he says, it is of faith, wonderful free grace; so did he choose such that the promise might be sure. a course as might moft serve for that end: V. The benefiis of the new covenant and tho’ we could not see occafion why the being all purchased in and through Jesus Lord taketh such a course, rather than a. Christ the mediator thereof, and nothing nother; yer herein fhould we rest, that being required of us, but to go out of ourit is a way that will molt preach forth his felves, and rest apon those merits of his; free love and rich grace and good-will. they are most fure, and fo the best way And in particular, io expect any spiritual | for us to read the firmness of them, when or covenanted mercy, here or hereafter, we begin to stagger, confidering our own for any thing we can do, is to raise a milt wants and unfitness, is to look to the soto darken the glorious face of God's free lid ground, that cannot be shaken, on grace and matchless good-will; and this is which they ftand, the unchangeable goodto crofs the high and fovereign design of will of God, and the rich merits of Jelus God: all which is clear, in that he says, Chrift: it is of faith, tbut the promise It (viz. the inheritance) was of, or thro', might be sure. faith, that it might be by grace.

VI. Howbeit, during the Old TestaII. Faith, carrying a man out of him ment dilpenfation, the Lord thcught fit self, denying all merits in himself, in less to comprize within the church only the or more, and expecting all in and thro' the natural issue of Abraham, excluding all omerits of another, and resting upon these ther nations, except some few profelites, merits as every way sufficient, fays, all is that willingly came in and joined with free, and all comes from free grace and them; fo as to them pertained the adoptiundeserved love; it is of faith, that it on, the glory, and the covenants, Rom. ix. might be by grace: faith cries down self

, 4.; and at first the apostles commiflion and up free grace.

reached no further, Matth. x. s. the rest III. As God is a God of truth, and e. being aliens from the common-wealth of If very way unchangeable, James i. 17. and rael, and strangers from the covenants of one that cannot lie, Tit

. i. 2. Heb. vi. 18. promise, Eph. ii. 12. yet believing Genfo is he serious and ingenuous in all his tiles (the new covenant taking in all nations, dealings with the children of men; his Aets x. 35. Col. ii. 11, the partition-wall words are all true, and his promises firm being removed in Chrift) are taken in to and sure, standing upon a sure foundation, that same covenant which was made with that the promise might be sure: therefore Abraham, and they are part of his feed no he chose that the way of conveyance of less than if they could claim carnal kindred the inheritance should be by faith.

to him: for we hear here of the whole IV. As we are fickle and changeable, be- feed, not that only which is of the law, but ing creatures, (unchangeableness being God's that also which is of faith; that is, not prerogative royal) and most unconstant in only Jews, but Gentiles, they are served any good, our goodness being as the morning heirs to the blessings of Abraham, Gal. cloud, and as the early dew, Hos. vi. 4. ; iji. 14. being his children, verse 7. they so every thing that dependeth upon us, or are bleffed with him, verse 9. our doings, must be most uc.rtain and VIL As profeflion of the true religico


[ocr errors]

makes the Gentiles external members of ritual account; and therefore he is said to the church, and Abraham's external seed be the father of us all before God, tho' not and may fuffice to entitle them to the crdi- in man's account, who call those his childnances in God's order, and to the external ren who came naturally of him. means of salvation, and other privileges XI. As the Spirit of God, speaking in belonging to the visible church; so that the scriptures, is the Spirit of truth, and will not be enough to entitle them to sav- ought to be appealed unto in all controvering mercies, and the spiritual blessings of fies, as the final judge, in whose deterthe covenant; but there is such fincere mination we ought to rest; so ought such and lively faith required as Abraham bad, as hold forth truth to people to confirm and thereby they become his spiritual seed; all that they deliver from the scriptures: and so they are said to be his feed of faith. therefore, says Paul, as it is written.

VIII. God's promises, all of them flow- XII. As people ought to try the spirits ing from free and undeserved mercy and whether they be of God or not, 1 John iv. good-will, and being procured by the me- 1. and to search the scriptures, whether rits of Christ, which faith looks out unto, the thing which they hear be consonant and layeth hold on, do not ebb and flow thereto or not, John v. 39. Isa. viii. 20. according to believers external enjoyments, Acts xvii. 11.; so ought they to be fo whether they be many or few; but are as well versed in the scriptures, as that misure to such as want many external privi- nisters need not cite chapter and verse, leges, providing they have true and lively but the citeing of the very words may be faith, as to such as have them all: for the fufficient : for Paul says no more, but as promise is sure to all the feed, even to that it is written, I have made thee a father part which is of faith, tho' they be not of many nations. carnally in kindred to Abraham, nor his XIIÍ. Whatever improbabilities may feed by the law.

seem to lie in the way of the accomplishIX. Howbeit the covenant of

grace was

ment of God's promises; yet God being published long before Abraham's days, e- truth itself, and the fountain of all truth, ven fortly after the fall; yet was it never his promises are as sure as if they were acbefore so promulgated as in the days of complished already; for this promise, that Abraham, as for plainness and clearness, he should be the father of many nations, is the matter being formerly propounded in set down in the præter-perfect tense, to dark and cloudy terins and expreslicns; as Thew, the certainly thereof; for the Lord Gen. iii. 15.; so in this respect, that it was says, I have made thee a father of mang not made with any one single man, as the nations. head of a family, that in and thro’ bim it might be conveyed unto his issue and VERSES 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. ----Whom he feed, and so as his succession should be con- believed, even God wbo quickeneth the sidered as confederates also with himself: dead, and calleth those things which be for thus it was made with Abraham, who not as though they were : is therefore called the father of us all, and Who against hope believed in hope, that he We find none other so called.

might become the father of many nations ; X. God did not enter into covenant with according to that which was spoken, So Abraham, considered naturally as a natu- Mall thy seed be. ral father, to all his posterity, but as an And being not weak in faith, he considered honest profeffor, receiving the promise not his own body now dead, when he which was made by faith; and so he be- was about an hundred years old, neicame a father in this covenant upon a spi- ther get the deadness of Sarah's womb.


« PreviousContinue »