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house, or bought with thy money, of any stranger which is not of thy seed." This express distinction, which is not of thy seed, is nugatory, upon the supposition that the term seed is used figuratively for a spiritual seed merely. There would have been no propriety in mentioning the natural seed at all.

3. It is again objected, "that natural descendants. from Abraham, as such, cannot be intended by the seed, because Ishmael, who was from his loins, is expressly excluded from the covenant, as born after the flesh; and he and his posterity are spoken of as allegorically representing the law; and as persecuting the seed." But surely this proves directly the contrary. It confirms the idea, that by seed are meant lineal descendants from Abraham. For, why is Ishmael excluded? Why is the distinction made between him and Isaac ? Evidently, because with Isaac he was Abraham's natural son. The seed then had respect to natural descent. Had the term respected believers in general, without any respect to a descent from Abraham, there would have been no propriety in mentioning Ishmael as excluded, any more than any one of the reprobate world.

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Besides, it is by no means certain that Ishmael personally was not a subject of the covenant, so far as to have God for his God. And this might be on another principle than that of being the seed; i. e. as some of the servants of Abraham were. This principle we shall have occasion more fully to explain directly.The limitation of the seed to the line of Isaac, no more excluded Ishmael from the personal felicity of having God for his God, than it excluded Cornelius, who was by birth a Roman. Be this however as it may, the fact mentioned in the objection, evidently proves the very thing that the objection opposes.

4. It is moreover objected, "that the term seed cannot intend natural offspring' as such, because the term is confined by Paul, Romans iv. 16, to believers." The words are these, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be

sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." But the passage itself confutes the objection. For why the distinction between the seed which is of the law, and that which is of faith? Does not that which is mentioned as of the law, intend those who are Jews by nature? And does not the seed which is of faith intend believers from the Gentile world? Most evidently. For in the 11th and 12th verses, the Apostle says, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, being yet uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also, (i. e. Gentile believers) and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only; but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had, being yet uncircumcised."

By those who are not of the circumcision only, are designed lineal descendants from Abraham, They are part of the seed; and they are so under that description, as lineal descendants; of course as the natural seed. Believing Jews, and believing Gentiles are equally covenant children of Abraham, or joint heirs with Christ, of covenant blessings. And this is what is intended by the terms in the passage all the seed.-They are equivalent with all the saved. But this does not militate with the idea, that by the term seed in the covenant, is meant primarily and appropriately natural descendants. Because these belong, as a distinct class, to all the seed; or are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcised."

These objections, and there are no other, of any plausibility, which have occurred to the Author in the course of his reading, being found futile, the conclusion may be taken as questionless, that the term seed, in the covenant, intends, primarily and especially, a natural seed as such.

The promise then being to be taken as absolute, and as respecting a natural seed, another question now pre

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house, or bought with thy money, of any stranger which is not of thy seed." This express distinction, which is not of thy seed, is nugatory, upon the supposition that the term seed is used figuratively for a spiritual seed merely. There would have been no propriety in mentioning the natural seed at all.

3. It is again objected, "that natural descendants. from Abraham, as such, cannot be intended by the seed, because Ishmael, who was from his loins, is expressly excluded from the covenant, as born after the flesh; and he and his posterity are spoken of as allegorically representing the law; and as persecuting the seed." But surely this proves directly the contrary. It confirms the idea, that by seed are meant lineal descendants from Abraham. For, why is Ishmael excluded? Why is the distinction made between him and Isaac ? Evidently, because with Isaac he was Abraham's natural son. The seed then had respect to natural descent. Had the term respected believers in general, without any respect to a descent from Abraham, there would have been no propriety in mentioning Ishmael as excluded, any more than any one of the reprobate world.

Besides, it is by no means certain that Ishmael personally was not a subject of the covenant, so far as to have God for his God. And this might be on another principle than that of being the seed; i. e. as some of the servants of Abraham were. This principle we shall have occasion more fully to explain directly.-The limitation of the seed to the line of Isaac, no more excluded Ishmael from the personal felicity of having God for his God, than it excluded Cornelius, who was by birth a Roman. Be this however as it may, the fact mentioned in the objection, evidently proves the very thing that the objection opposes.

4. It is moreover objected, "that the term seed cannot intend natural offspring' as such, because the term is confined by Paul, Romans iv. 16, to believers." The words are these, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be

sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." But the passage itself confutes the objection. For why the distinction between the seed which is of the law, and that which is of faith? Does not that which is mentioned as of the law, intend those who are Jews by nature? And does not the seed which is of faith intend believers from the Gentile world? Most evidently. For in the 11th and 12th verses, the Apostle says, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, being yet uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also, (i. e. Gentile believers) and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only; but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had, being yet uncircumcised."

By those who are not of the circumcision only, are designed lineal descendants from Abraham, They are part of the seed; and they are so under that description, as lineal descendants; of course as the natural seed. Believing Jews, and believing Gentiles are equally covenant children of Abraham, or joint heirs with Christ, of covenant blessings. And this is what is intended by the terms in the passage all the seed.-They are equivalent with all the saved. But this does not militate with the idea, that by the term seed in the covenant, is meant primarily and appropriately natural descendants. Because these belong, as a distinct class, to all the seed; or are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcised."

These objections, and there are no other, of any plausibility, which have occurred to the Author in the course of his reading, being found futile, the conclusion may be taken as questionless, that the term seed, in the covenant, intends, primarily and especially, a natural seed as such.

The promise then being to be taken as absolute, and as respecting a natural seed, another question now pre

the duties it enjoined, is presented to Abraham's view. And what else can be the ground of his prayer respecting Ishmael? "O that Ishmael might live before thee !" If all the individuals of the natural posterity were embraced in the promise, there was already a certainty that Ishmael would live before God. The prayer implies that Abraham was apprehensive, that notwith. standing the promise of the covenant, Ishmael might be excluded from the divine favor.

In the 21st. verse of the chapter, the covenant is unequivocally explained to Abraham as having an exclusive reference. "But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee in the set time in the next year."

After the birth of Isaac, Sarah, prompted as it would seem by a special divine impulse, for it is quoted by Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians in that light, says to Abraham, "Cast out this bond woman, and her son, for the son of this bond woman, shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." Abraham had too much natural affection for his son Ishmael, to be pleased with this apparently severe measure. But God But God says to him, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight, because of the lad, and because of the bond woman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for, in Isaac shall thy seed be called."

This appropriation of the covenant engagement as it respects the seed, to Isaac, the Apostle Paul treats as an initial dispensation, which gave a cast to the whole divine economy respecting the seed. "Because they were the seed of Abraham, they were not all children." Some of them were. They were the children respected in the promise." For the children of the promise, are counted for the seed." Romans ix. 7, 8. These were the Israel who were of Israel. They were the remnant according to the election_of grace, the remnant as it respected Israel at large. For Romans ix. 29. "Except the Lord of Sabaoth, had left us (us Israel) a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha," i. e. we had been all

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