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them, certainly they ought to have been the happiest Men in the World: And yet they met with as many Troubles as any other Men, and supported themselves under all by Faith ; which is a very uncomfortable Principle to live by in this World, if there be no Life hereafter. The History of the Children of Israel in Egypt, after Joseph was dead and gone, proves them to be fo far from being the happiest, that they were the most oppressed People in the World. And yet these were the Heirs of the Promise, the peculiar People of God, and his first born, even while they were thus oppressed. And does this then look like a mere temporal Covenant ; Or, did not the Covenant and Promise of God take place all this while, that he would be the God of Abraham, and of his Seed after him?
But God in his appointed Time, at the end of four hundred Years from his making this Covenant with Abraham, own'd them visibly for his peculiar People and Inheritance; deliver'd them out of Egypt by Signs and Woniers; and punish'd their Oprefsors with grievous Plagues ; carry'd them through the Red Sea on dry Land, and drown'd the Egyptians who pursued after them : These were Marks of a peculiar Favour. But yet, when they rebelled against him in the Wilderness, he exercised great Severities towards them ; made them wander and waste their Days forty Years in the Wilderness, tili all that Generation of Men, which came out of Egypt, excepting Caleb and Joshua, were consumed. But, to pass over the Wars of Canaan, when God so visibly own’d their Cause, and by so many miraculous Victories gave them Poffeffion of the promised Land; if we consult the History of their Judges and Kings, we shall not find them so very happy and prosperous, as might be expected from a mere temporal Covenant. They were frequently oppress'd by their Heathen Neighbours ; engaged
in bloody and doubtful Wars ; consumed with Famine, and Pestilence, and Sword ; Ten Tribes carried away into a final Captivity ; and at length the City and Temple of Jerusalem burnt by the Chaldeans ; and their two remaining Tribes carried away Captive to Babylon for Seventy Years. After their Return from Captivity, they met with new Troubles, were spoiled and oppressed by the Egyptians and Asyrians, especially Antiochus, as the History of the Maccabees informs us. They were conquered and made Tributaries by the Romans ; reduced into a Roman Province under Roman Go. vernors, as it was in our Saviour's Time ; and at last their City and Temple finally destroy'd, and they dispersed into all Parts of the World, as it continues unto this Day. This is a brief Account of the publick State of that Nation; which was so checquer'd with prosperous and adverse Events ; so often oppress'd and ruin'd, and so often restor’d, and at last so miserably destroy'd; that, as to mere external Prosperity, no Man can ever pretend that the Jews were so much happier than other Nations. And that gives us little Reason to think, that God's Covenant with Abraham was merely temporal, when so many other Nations enjoy'd more temporal Prosperity without a Covenant. And, as for particular Men, there were always the same Complaints amongst them as among others, as I shew'd you before, of the Prosperity of bad Men, and the Afictions and Sufferings of the Righteous ; which ought not to have been under a Theocracy and a mere temporal Covenant. For if God's Covenant with Abraham was merely temporal, and reach'd no farther than this Life ; all good Men at least ought to have been very prosperous in this World, and the wicked miserable. So that if we will allow that God intended any peculiar Blessings to Abrahamn, in entring into Covenant with him, and that he
did perform his Covenant, we must seek for something more divine in it than mere temporal Blefsings.
6. Those general Promises God made to Abrabam, cannot poffibly be confined to this Life, and to mere temporal Blessings. As to fhew you this particularly. Gen. 15. 1. The word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a Vision, saying, Fear not, Abraham, I am thy field, and thy exceeding great Reward. Now did any thing, that Abrahain ever enjoy'd in this world, anfwer this Promise of God's being his Shield, and his exceeding great Reward? Would God have made such a Promise as this to a Man near a hundred Years old, and ready to drop into the Grave, should he have perished there, and for ever after been as uncapable of any Reward, as that which is not ? For God to be his Shield, signifies to be his Protector and Deliverer ; which can signify but very little, if he suffer'd him to fall into Nothing. And to be his exceeding great Reward, signifies that he would bestow exceeding great Rewards on him : But there are no such exceeding great Rewards in this World ; and it is certain, Abraham receiv'd no such great Rewards while he lived ; and therefore this must relate to future Rewards. And yet this is not all: God does not merely promise hiin, that he would exceedingly reward him, but that he himself would be his exceeding great Reward ; that is, that he would exceedingly reward him in the Enjoyment of hima felf. But we know the perfect Enjoyment of God is reserved for the next World'; and must signify the immediate Presence and Vision of God. And thus the Psalmist understood it; who plainly alludes to this promise, Pfal. 16. 6, and the following v. The Lord is the Portion of uniile Inheritance, and of my Cup ; thou maintainest 1929 Lot; tharis, God is my Shield, and my exceeding gicat Reward. The Lines
are fallen unto me in a pleasant place; yea, I have a goodly Heritage ; which is a manifest Allusion to the Division of the Land of Canaan, the Land of Promise by Lot. I will bless the Lord, who hath given me Counsel ; my Reins, also instruet me in the Night Season. I have set the Lord always before me ; because be is on my right hand, I mall not be moved ; that is, God is my Shield, my Protector and Deliverer. Tberefore my Heart is glad, and my Glory rejoyceth; my Flesh also Mall rest in bope, for thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell (or in the Grave,) nor wilt thou suffer thy boly one to see Corruption. Thou wilt lew me the Path of Life : In thy Presence is the Fulness of Yoy; at thy Right Hand are Pleasures for everinore. This indeed is a Prophecy of our Saviour, and of his Resurrection from the Dead; but shews us, what it is for God to be our Shield, and our exceeding great Reward ; which extends beyond the Grave, to the eternal Vision and Fruition of God.
Much to fame purpose we find Gen, 17. 1. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be thou perfe&t. Now can we think that God encourages Abraham's Faith by his Almighty Power, merely for the Performance of some temporal Promises ; and not rather that he encouraged him to expect from his Almighty Power whatever Happiness his Nature was capable of; which must extend to immortal Life, for that Almighty Power can bestow ? v. 7. he promises, I will establish my Covenant between me and thee and thing Seed after thee in their Generations, for an everlasting Covenant ; to be a God unto thee and to thy Seed after thee. To be a God, signifies to bestow all Blessings on him that God can bestow; and an everlasting Covenant with Abraham and his Posterity to be their God, cannot merely signify, that he will be their God in all successive
Generations, as they come into the World, till they go out of it again; that he would be the God of Abraham as long as he lived, and the God of Isaac and Jacob, as long as they lived ; and after the faine manner, a God to all his Pofterity. But an everlasting Covenant with Abraham and his Seed in their several Generations, to be their God, in the full Extent of that Promise, signifies, That he will everlastingly be à God to all of them: And that must signify, that they should everlastingly be, and everlastingly be happy in the Enjoyment of him.
Put there is another Promise which God made to Abraham, that puts this Matter out of Doubt. For God promised Abraham, In thee ball all the Families of the Earth be blessed, Gen. 12. And renews this Promise with an Oath, Gen, 22. 18. And in thy Seed hall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed ; which must necessarily signify either an universal temporal Monarchy, or the spiritual Blessings of the Mefias. The first the Jews expected and hoped for, though without any sufficient Reason ; and if we may judge of the Promise by the Event, it is certain this could not be the meaning of it: For the Jews never had an universal Monarchy. But the true promised Seed of Abraham, the Blessed Jesus, their promised Mefias, hath blessed all the World ; and all the Nations of the Earth may be blessed in him. But then these are spiritual Blessings; which proves that the Covenant with Abraham was a spiritual Co. venant; that the promised Seed, and promised Land, were but Types and Figures of the Mesas and of the Heavenly Canaan : As will appear from what shall follow.
7. As a farther Confirmation of this, that God's Covenant with Abraham, to be his God, was not . M