« AnteriorContinuar »
that he had any inheritance therein: the fathers dwelt there, and confessed that they were only strangers and pilgrims in the land. And that Jesus considered that he had not so much as to set his foot on, is clear from his own words,—“ Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”* Yea, even David, who for a while bore rule in the land, knew well that it was not under those circumstances of glory, and dominion, and stability implied in the covenant; and he consequently declares himself to be a stranger and a sojourner therein, as all his fathers were.
3. In regard to the seed in general, who are to inherit it, they are to be all holy: is it sufficient to say, that this has been fulfilled in the seed who inherited from Joshua to Christ; who in the lump” were merely carnal men, complained of repeatedly as uncircumcised in heart and ears, and always resisting the Holy Ghost? +
4. Next, they were to possess the gate of their enemies; and were to be princes over other lands. But they complain that “ other lords have had dominion over them;" and they have been repeatedly oppressed and trodden down. Seven periods of servitude are reckoned in the short * Matt. ix. 20.
+ Acts vii. 51.
space from Joshua to Saul; and under their kings they were frequently tributary to neighbouring states.
5. Nor have they ever enjoyed the land to the extent covenanted; no, not even in the palmy days of Solomon. The countries between the Jordan and the Euphrates were not possessed by Israelites, they were only tributary; and other nations were similarly circumstanced; the Sidonians and Tyrians were allies, not subjects; and Rezon was an adversary to Solomon in Damascus all his life.*
6. Lastly, the land was covenanted as an everlasting possession. But Isaiah complains to the Lord, “ The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while ;”+ and, truly, during that little while, their enjoyment of it was repeatedly interrupted by others obtaining possession and mastery over them; and twice by their being altogether cast out: whereas the prophet Amos distinctly speaks of a time in which the Lord will plant them upon their land, " and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.”I It would be equally inconsistent also to call this an everlasting covenant, (as God did to Abraham,) if certain of the promises therein were to be only fulfilled for a time. But * Josh. xvi. 10; xvii. 13; 1 Kingsiv. 21, 24; ix. 20, 21; xi. 25. + Is. xiii. 18.
Amos. xi. 15.
“ He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac, and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying,-Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance."*
Such, brethren, are the instances in which the alleged fulfilment comes short of the promises. Do not think, however, from what I have advanced, on this head, that I lay any undue emphasis upon the mere land of Palestine, or attach undue importance to its possession. I consider the land nothing in itself: any other spot in the universe might equally serve as a platform for the purpose of exhibiting God's glory, whether in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath. The land of Palestine becomes important only because it is the land of promise : this it is which invests it with its peculiar interest. God is by his covenant and oath as much pledged to restore and regenerate that land, as he is to restore and regenerate his people. If these articles may be disannulled, we have no assurance of the accomplishment of any article not yet fulfilled : our own final redemption, to be consummated in a glorious resurrection, depends on no surer promise: and
* Ps. cv. 8–11.
if those for which I contend are not to be fulfilled, then have we nothing certain in God's word. Oh! it is derogatory to God to conclude that what he covenants with an oath, and ratifies with the blood of his Son, is to be taken at less than his word; it is to mistake the shadow for the substance-a meagre, inadequate, defective, temporary fulfilment, which was but an earnest and token, for the plentitude of the everlasting covenant !
No, brethren, we shall see greater things than these: we shall see Israel brought back and glorified in the manner I have stated. Then also will another article of the covenant be fulfilled with a largeness and a glory never yet witnessed; I mean, Israel's becoming a blessing unto all nations. They have already done something as witnesses for God against idolatry and infidelity, and as conservators of the Scriptures, yea, even in their unbelief; but when they shall be restored, they shall exhibit a picture, never yet beheld, of an entire nation, every individual of which will be personally holy. And this their conversion and their unity, and their subordination, together with the striking manifestation of the glory of God in fulfilling these things unto them, is declared both by prophets and apostles to be the great appointed means of
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.
bringing in the entire of the Gentiles; so that they shall prove as life from the dead to a lost and perishing world. Then they among the heathen will say, “ The Lord hath done great things for them.”* God will “ make them a name and a praise among all people of the earth;"+ 6 the nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might, they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and fear because of thee.” Yea, Israel shall then also become a great missionary nation: “ God will speak the word, and great shall be the company of them that publish it;"_" they shall declare his glory among the Gentiles; and all the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him.”
I ventured to say, brethren, that we shall see these great things; which certainly all shall, in their consummation, who have in them the great evidence of their being effectually made partakers of the new covenant, viz. the law of God so written in their hearts, that they inwardly love and delight in it. If only you have this, and are aiming to walk in the steps of the faith of your father Abraham, you shall be accounted the
* Ps. cxxvi. 2. † Zeph. iii. 20. | Micah vii. 17. $ Ps. lxviii. 11; Is. lxvi. 19; Ps. xxii. 27.