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character assumed by God, of being the God of Abraham, and of his seed, occurs in Scripture, and it is evidently connected to the promise of the everlasting covenant. Which connection seems to be the true foundation of our Saviour's argument, from this expression, to prove the resurrection of the dead; as the connection of the promise of the land of Canaan to the everlasting covenant, seems to be the reason of treating the land of Canaan as a type or sign of heaven. This character of God, thus connected to the everlasting covenant, is likewise a plain intimation, that two diftinct covenants are mentioned in this place, and not the same repeated again. Towards the close of this chapter, Abraham receives an express promise that he should have a son by Sarah his wife, within the compass of a year, and that the everlasting covenant should be established with this fon, and his feed after him. Abraham had at this time a son of thirteen years old, born of Hagar the Egyptian ; to whom the angel of the Lord had appeared when she was with child of this son, and promised to multiply her feed exceedingly, that it should not be numbered for multitude, Gen. xvi. 10. This promise therefore of a numerous pofterity flourishing in the earth, though part of the promise given to Abraham, as we have seen before, is no part of the everlasting covenant confirmed to Isaac, exclusively to all the natural sons of Abraham. This appears likewise from the very passage where this promise is limited to Isaac: Abraham, when he received the promise of a son by his wife, puts up a petition, whatever the occasion of it was, for his son Ishmael ;
that Ifmael might live before thee! To which he receives this answer; As for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly : twelve princes shall he beget; and I will make him a great nation. Immediately it follows, But my covenant will I eftablish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee, Can any thing be plainer to shew that the everlasting covenant, to be established with Isaac and his fced, was of a very different kind from the covenant given to Ishmael, of multiplying his seed, of making him father of kings and princes, and of raising him into a great nation? And yet this very covenant was given originally to Abraham ; he was to have a numerous posterity, to be father of kings, and of a great nation. Ishmael was admitted to the benefit of this
covenant as well as Isaac, and yet expressly excluded = from that which God emphatically styles MY cove.
nant, and the everlasting covenant; an undeniable evidence that God's covenant with Abraham was founded on better hopes than those of mere temporal prosperity. This distinction, of two covenants in the case of Ishmael and Isaac, made by God himself, is the foundation of St. Paul's argument to the Galatians : It is written, says he, that Abraham had two fons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants : and whoever is capable of considering what is related concerning this matter in the book of Genesis, will evidently see, that these are indeed two covenants; and two such covenants as fully justify the Apostle's reasoning upon this point.
Since then the promises of temporal prosperity, made to Abraham and his feed after him, are evidently distinct from the subject matter of the everlasting covenant, made with him, and limited to Isaac and Jacob, and afterwards to the tribe of Judah, and lastly to the family of David; it remains to be confidered, what the subject of the covenant so limited is. If we look back to the call of Abraham, and the promises which attend it, there we shall find, that, after enumerating the temporal blessings which were to descend from Abraham to his posterity, one bleffing is added, in which all the world has an interest, and which was to be conveyed to them through Abraham and his feed; In thee, says God, shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Whatever Abraham understood by this, I think verily he could not understand it as his children at this day understand it; who expect, in virtue of the promises made to the fathers, to be lords of the world, and to have domi. nion over all people. A strange blessing this to all nations, that they should fall from their natural liberty, and become subject to the dominion of one people! None but a Jew can see the happiness of such a state ; the nations of the earth, if left to their choice, would all refuse this great blessing for them. selves. But, before we inquire into the special meaning of this blessing upon all nations, we must see whether this universal blessing, to be revealed in due time, were truly the matter of God's special, his everlasting covenant with Abraham. We have seen already, that Ishmael was excluded from this special covenant, and Isaac admitted to it; we have the covenant of God with Ishmael, and the covenant of God as renewed with Isaac, both preserved in the book of Genesis; and it is observed, that the two covenants, as to worldly prosperity, are nearly the fame: but they differ in this; the covenant with Ishmael says nothing of the blesing to all nations, the covenant with Isaac expressly renews this very promise: In thy feed shall all the nations of the earth be blesed, Gen. xxvi. 4. A plain proof, surely, that the special matter of God's covenant, limited from Abraham to Isaac, exclusive of Ishmael, confifted in the promise of this universal blessing, to be conveyed through Abraham and Isaac, and their posterity, to all inankind.
We have the like evidence from a like case, which happened between the children of Isaac ; with this only difference, that Ishmael and Isaac were born, one of a bondwoman, the other of a free; but Esau and Jacob were twins of one birth, both born of a freewoman. The blessing of Abraham was limited
to Jacob, and denied to Esau: yet Efau received a · temporal blessing from his father, as well as Jacob. · The Apostle to the Hebrews accounts it profaneness
in Efau that he sold his birthright: it must be bebecause he sold the blessing of Abraham and the pro
mises of God; upon any other account there is no room for this charge, for it was never reckoned profaneness to sell mere temporal rights ; nor was Esau excluded from the benefit of the temporal promises
by this scandalous bargain. If Jacob was blessed en met with the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, ű and plenty of corn and wine, Gen. xxvii. 28; Esau's - blessing in this respect was not inferior; Thy dwell
ing, says his father, shall be the fatness of the earth,
and of the dew of heaven from above, ver. 39. If nations were to bow down to Jacob, ver. 29; Esau likewise was to live and prevail by his sword, ver. 40. If Jacob's brethren were to bow down to him, ver. 29; yet the time would come, when Esau should have dominion, and break even this yoke from of his neck, ver. 40. Thus the case stands between them, if we interpret the'whole blessing given to Jacob of temporal prosperity and dominion ; but there is great reason to limit part of it to the peculiar blessing of Abraham and Isaac, which was undoubtedly conveyed at this time to Jacob. The conveying the birthright in the family of Abraham, was conveying the special blessing of Abraham, which always attended upon the birthright. This birthright was evidently made over to Jacob, when it was said, Be lord over thy brethren. The special blessing was in tiine to be extended to all nations, as well as to the house of Abraham, for in his feed all the families of the earth were to be blessed; and therefore, in consequence of the birthright, it is said to Jacob, Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee, ver. 29. It is very evident, from the whole story of Isaac's blessing his two sons, that the chief blessing he had to bestow fell upon Jacob; and it is as plain, that there are no words to limit this particular bleffing to Jacob, but these now under consideration; and Isaac himself understood that he had passed away the blessing of Abraham to Jacob in these words, and therefore he tells Esau, that the blessing was gone beyond recovery; I have blessed him, yea, and he shall be blessed, ver. 33. But Esau pressed his father for a blessing on himself: Isaac answered and