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1. That the counting of Abraham's faith to him for righteousness, was a promise to justify him by faith, that is, to pardon his fins on account of his faith, is evident from Rom. iv. 6. In like manner, David defcribeth the bleisedness of the man to whom the Lord counteth rigltion refs' without works. 7. Saying Blefjerd, like Abraham, are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose fins are covered.

8. Bieffed is the man to whom the Lord will not count fini.

2. That the counting of Abraham's faith to him for righteousness, was likewise a promise to reward him as a righteous person, by bestowing on him the inheritance of an heavenly country as a free gilt, is plain, I think, from the history. For we are told, that immediately after God counted Abraham's faith to him for righteousness, he proprifed to give him the land of Canaan in inheritance : by which, not the inheritance of the earthly country only was meant, but the inheritance of an hea. venly country allo; as shall be proved in fect. 3. where that promile is explained. Besides, that under the emblem of the earthly country, an hcavenly country was promised to him, Abraham himself knew : for the apostle assureth us, that he died in the firm persuasion of his being to receive a country of that fort, according to God's promise. Wherefore, the apostle hath authorised us to believe, Abraham knew that the counting of his faith to him for righteousness, implied not only the pardon of his fins, but his being rewarded as a righteous perfon, with the inheritance of heaven.

But if Abraham knew the true import of God's counting his faith to him for righteousnefs, he would confideriit either as a declaration from God, that his fins were then pardoned, and that he was immediately to be rewarded with the possession of the heavenly country: or as a promise that he would be pardoned and rewarded as the general judgment. If he considered it as a declaration, that his fins were then pardoned, and that he was immediately to be put in poffeffion of the heavenly country, he would expect to be freed from death, the punithment of fin, and to be soon translated in the body into some place fit to be the everlafling abode of righteous men, like his pious ancestor Enoch, with whose history he no doubt was acquainted. But if he considered the counting of bis faith for 'righteousness, only

as a promise that his fins were to be pardoned, and the postersion of the heavenly country to be given him at the general judgment, he would expect to be raised from the dead, with a body suited to the nature of the heavenly ountry into which he was to be introduced, and to live in that heavenly habitation in the body for ever. One or other of these, Abrahanı had reason to expect ; unless he thought God's counting his faith to him for righteousness, was nothing but a promise to give him the earthly country. However, as he did not find himself imme diately tranflated from this earth in the body; and as but one righteous person had been so translated without dying, he would think it more probable,' that in the counting of his faith to him for righteousness, the pardon of his fins and the poffeffion of the heavenly county, were only promised to him as blessings which he was to receive at the judgment. Wherefore, not doubting that he would die like other righteous men, Abraham, in consequence of his faith being counted to him for righteousness, would expect to be raised from the dead, to enjoy that life in the body, which he knew he was to be deprived of by death, and to policis the heavenly country which was promised to him as the reward of his faith.

That Abraham should have been able to reason in the manner above described, concerning God's blessing him exceedingly, and concerning his counting his faith to him for righteousness, need not be thought strange, considering the great strength of his understanding, and the just ideas of the power, veracity, and other perfections of God, which he had attained. Besides, St. Paul aflures us that he reasoned with a similar strength of understanding and faith, concerning his having a son by Sarah, notwithstanding the birth of that son was delayed, till Abraham was an hundred years old and Sarah ninety. Rom. iv. 19. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body now dead, being about on hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20. Therefore against the promise of God he did not dispute through unbelief, but was strong in fait), giving glory to God. And wis fully persuaded that what was promised, he was able certainly to perform.--Also Abraham reasoned in tire like admirable manner, concerning the command to offer up his only fon as a burnt ofering, that long expected son to whom all the promises were limited. For recollecting that they were all to be fulfilled in Isaac, and having the most exalted ideas of the veracity and power of God, he concluded, that although Isaac were burnt to ashes on the altar, God would raise him from the dead. Heb. xi. 17. By faith Abraham, when tried, offered up Ifaac ; he who had received the promises offered up even his only begotten : 18. Concerning whom it was said, Surely in Ifaac a seed fall be unto thee. 19. Agroqueros Reasoning that God was able to raise him even from the dead; from which he received him even for a parable.

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If Abraham could reason so justly concerning the birth of Isaac, and concerning the command to offer him up as a burnt offering, we may believe that he reasoned with an equal strength of understanding and faith, concerning God's blessing him, and counting his faith to him for righteousness; and indeed concerning all the other promises in the covenant.

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Sect. II. Of the second Promise in the covenant with Abraham,

This promise is recorded in the following passages. Gen. xii. 2. I will make of thee a great nation.-xiii. 16. I will make thy feed as the dust of the earth : so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy feed also be numbered.-Gen. xv. 5. Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them : and he said unto him, So ball thy seed be.--xvii. 4. Thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram ; but thy name pall be Abraham, for a father of many nations I have constituted thee. 6. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful: and I will make nations of thee : and kings fall come out of thee.-xviii. 18. Abraham Mall surely become a great and mighty nation.-xxii. 17. In multiplying I will multiply thy feed as the flars of the heaven, and as the fand which is upon the sea fhore.

On this promise the first thing to be observed is, that in the account given of it, Gen. xvii. 5,6. there is a remarkable diversity in the expression: First, Abraham was to be a father of many nations. And to fhew in what manner he was to be a father of many nations, God said to him, Tby name fball be Abraham: for a father of many nations I have made thee. In the Hebrew it is, Nathattecha, Dedi te, I have given thee : 1.xx. Teixa 6s, Pofui te; I have placed or conßituted thee. Next, Abraham

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was to be exceeding fruitful : and nations were to be made of him, and kings were to come out of him. He was to be the father of many nations by the constitution or appointment of God; and he was to be so exceedingly fruitful by procreating children, that nations were to be made of him, and kings were to come out of him. In this diversity of expression, God intimated to Abraham, that he was to have two kinds of feed; one by the constitution or appointment of God, in respect of which he was to be a father of many nations ; and another by natural descent, in respect of which he was to be exceeding fruitful in children. This account of Abraham's feed merits attention, because the promises in the covenant being made, not to Abraham alone, but to his seed; in their first or literal meaning they belonged to his natural seed, but in their second or highest meaning, they were promises to his feed by faith.

The distinction of Abraham's feed into two kinds, is inti. mated by our Lord himself, John viii. 39. where he told the Jews who fought to kill him, that notwithstanding they were the natural offspring of Abraham, they were not his children, unless they did the works of Abraham.- The fame distinction is taught ftill more plainly by the apostle Paul, who calls Abraham's natural progeny, bis feed by the law; the law of marriage: but his feed by the appointment of God, who gave believers of all nations to him for seed, That which is by the faith of Abraham. Rom. iv. 16. That the promise might be sure to all the feed; not to that only which is by the law, but to that also which is by the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.-- In like manner, the same apostle by telling us, Rom. ix. 8. The children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of promise are counted for feed, hath infinuated that Abraham had two kinds of children or feed; and that the feed by the promise, a father of many nations I have constituted thee; are the children of God to whom alone the promises in the covenant in their second and highest meanings belong.

This distinction of his feed into two sorts, I doubt not Abraham himself understood. My reasons are as follow :

1. In the promise, A father of many nations I have constituted thee; the expression I have constituted thee, must have led Abraham to expect a feed of fome kind or other, different from that which he was to have by natural descent. For he could noe imagine God would promise it as a favour, that he would consitute him the father of his natural offspring. He was their father by having begotten them, and not by any positive appointment of God whatever.

2. Seeing the seed, of which God constituted Abraham the father, was to be so numerous as to make many nations, he must have known that these nations were not to be his descendants. His descendants to whom the promises in their literal meaning belonged, were to be but one nation; as Abraham knew, from the limitation of the promises, first to Isaac to the exclusion of Ishmael ; and after that to Jacob, to the exclusion of Efau. Besides, that his descendants by Jacob were to be but one nation, Abraham must have known from the purposes for which they were chosen to be the people of God; and from their having so narrow à country as Canaan, promised to them as their habitation. For he could not but know, that Canaan, instead of containing many nations, was no more than sufficient to be the habitation of the one nation of his descendants by Jacob.

3. Although the many nations of whom Abraham was constituted the father, are called his feed, that appellation could not lead him to conclude certainly, that these nations were to spring from him by natural defcent. Anciently, not only a person's off-pring, but those who refembled him in his dispositions and actions, were called his feed. Thus, in the sentence pronounced at the fall, wicked men are called the feed of the serpent : and the devil is called by our Lord, the father of murderers and liars. Wherefore as Abraham knew that the promisus in the covenant in their first or literai meaning, were limited to the one nation of his natural descendants by Jacob, it would readily occur to him, that the many nations of whom he was constituted the father, and who as his children were to inherit the promises in their fecond or highest meaning, were nations of persons who refembled him in his faith and obedience. And the rather when he considered, that those who partook of the qualities of his mind, were more really his children, than those who were related to him only by fleflily defcent. Besides he may have known, thạt his feed by faith, being also the children of God, were better qualified than those who were his feed by natural descent, to receive

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