Page images
PDF
EPUB

landed those Jews of his day in endless perdition according to an eternal purpose of God, his argument ought, in justice, to be applied to Esau, Pharoah and the house of Israel in the then past ages of the Church, with equal force as to those blinded fallen Jews of his day. But as we have already clearly seen that the Apostle directs the whole force of his argument in the 11th Chapter to the Romans, to prove that those blinded, fallen Israelites will finally be restored through the mercy of the Gentile Church, this argument ought, in justice to be applied with cqual force to Esau, Pharoah and the house of Israel in the past ages of that Church, as to those Jews who in the Apostle's day, were broken off from their own olive-tree, whom he says, God is able to graff in again. The form which the Apostle gives this argument is the following. See verse 12, of the 11th Chapter-"Now, if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness ?” This argument we apply to Esau. It was through the fall of Esau that Jacob obtained the birthright and the blessing, and if so, how much more Esau's fulness? See the account in Genesis 27, 35-40. “ And he said, thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, is not he rightly named Jacob? For he hath supplanted me these two times : he took away my birthright ; and behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" Notice this question and see the

And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, behold, I have made him thy Lord, and all his brethren have I given tu him for servants, and with corn and wine have I sustained him : and what shall I now do unto thee, my son ?” Observe the tender language of Isaac in which he acknowledges his son, and listen to the fallen diminished Esau's expostulation with his father. "And Esau said unto his father, hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless we, even me also, O my father! And Esau lifted up his voice and wept."

What does Isaac the father do, in this case, which seems sufficient to move the heart of a stone ? Does he say, No, my son, I have but one blessing and that I have granted to your brother, therefore you are reprobated forever! Such an answer would comport very well with modern notions of

event.

élection and reprobation, but Isaac answered in a very differ- . ent manner. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above ; and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother." Notice what follows. " And it shall come to pass, when thou shall have the dominion, that thou shalt brake his yoke from off thy neck.?? See again, in the 32d and 33d chapters of Genesis where Jacob acknowledges Esau to be his Lord. Notice first the presents which Jacob sends before him to his brother. Chap. 32, 14, &c. “ Two hundred she-goats, and twenty he-goats, two hundred eyes, and twenty rams, thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she-asses, and ten foals. And he divided them into the hands of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, pass over before me, and put a span betwixt drove and drove. And he commanded the fore. most, saying, when Esau my brother mceteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, whose art thou ? And whether goest thou? And whose are these before thee? Then thou shalt

say, they be thy serVANT JACOB's ; it is a present sent unto my Lord Esau : and, behold, also he is behind us. And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, on this manner shall ye speak unto Esau when you find him. And say ye, more. over, behold, TUY SERVANT JACOB is behind us.' gain Chap. 33, 1, &c. where Jacob with all his fainily prose trate themselves before Esau and find favor in his sight. " And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he di vided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost." This was a circumstance which tried Jacob's soul. 'Ail which he held dear to him, he viewed at the mercy of an injured brother, whom he supe posed, incensed against him with just vengeance.

And he did, in this case, as it is natural for men to do. In the first place, he offered his flocks and herds; secondly ; lest these should fail to appease the wrath which he dreaded, he presents his handmaids and the children they 'had borne him, that if Esau should destroy them, he might make his escape

See a

with his two wives and their children. But 3dly. Leah and her children are placed next to the handmaids, and Rachel the beloved, with Joseph is kept in what was supposed to be the greatest security.

Every circumstance thus newly arranged, the Patriarch Jacob now takes his life in his hand, and passed over before his numerous family, “and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to nis brother. And Esau ran to meet him.” But did he run to destroy? Did he meet his brother with wrath seeking for vengeance? No, he sembraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him : and they wept." Now observe, those whom Jacob supposed were in the greatest danger, were the first to witness the favour of Esau. “And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children, and said, who are those with thee? And he said, the children which God hath graciously given the SERVANT. Then the hand-maidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves : and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. And he said, these are to find grace in the sight of MY LORD. And Esau said, I HAVE ENOUGH, my brother ; keep that thou hast unto thyself. And Jacob said, nay, I pray thee: if now I found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand : tor therefore I have seen THY FACE, as though I had seen the FACE OF GOD, and thou wast pleased with me.” We here ask, according to this scripture account of these two brothers, which discovers the best character, or appears to be most favoured ? It is evident that the fullness of him who forgave his brother was greater, or much more than his, who needed forgiveness.

If the Apostle has so disposed his argument that it justly applies to Pharaoh, and the house of Israel in the past ages of that Church, we conceive it proper to allow it all its natural force, for God is able to fulfil the counsels of his will. And if the fall of Pharaoh was necessary to the deliverance of the children of Israel, from a strange land, into the promised inheritance, God is as able to recover Pharaoh as he is to graff that part of Israel who were broken off through unbelief, into their own olive-tree. And so likewise of the whole house of Israel in all different ages, the receiving of them shall be life from the dead. That as it is written, "In

Х

the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."

2dly. We conceive that an examination of those detached scriptures, by which, the before stated error is supposed to be supported, may be of use to the reader. But on account of what has been said in our last section, it may be proper to reduce this examination to a single point; which to do, we look at the particular cause of the fall and casting away of that part of Israel who were broken off from their own olive-tree.

This question is answered in the words of the Apostle which follows. “ What then? Israel hath not obtained thap which he seeketh for ; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest are blinded unto this day.” This blindness was according to David's prayer. "Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see.” Now it is evident that if these peo. ple had not been BLINDED, they would have obtained what they sought for, as well as those who were elected. And it is likewise evident that what they sought for, was the same thing which the election obtained. But for the sake of the case, suppose the doctrine of election and reprobation, as stated in the fore-part of this attempt, be true, what would those reprobates have obtained if they had not been blinded ? Again, the Apostle says, "Because of unbelief they were broken off.” Unbelief in what? Was it because they did not believe in their own eternal reprobation to endless misery ? Would they have continued in their own olive. tree, which is Christ, if they had believed that they were excluded from his grace forever, by an unalterable decree of God, from all eternity? These queries, brought in this form, show as plainly, as any thing can be shown, that the idea that those blinded Jews were predestinated to endless misery, is contrary to the very scripture on which the idea is founded.

3dly. It is of importance that the reader understands what the Apostle means by the following words. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” This will be understood the moment the reader observes, that had it not been for the unbelief of the Jews, they would not have fulfilled the scriptures in con

1

demning Christ; and if the scriptures had not been fulfilled, the Gentiles could never have been brought to believe in them,

On the other hand, it is evident according to the Apostle's argument that the conyersion of the Jews to Christianity, depends on the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles. So that through the mercy obtained by the Gentiles, through the unbelief of the Jews, the Jews will at last obtain mercy. .

4thly. It will be for the serious enquirer after truth, io compare these arguments, fairly drawn from the Apostle's statements which we now see concentrating in the Salvation of all who have sinned, with the arguments of the same Apostle in the chapters which precede those which we have examined.

On a careful examination of the two first chapters and the forepart of the 3d it is evident that the Apostle labours to show that all mankind are in the same situation of sin. See the 1st verse of the 2nd chupter. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest i for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself: for thou that judgesi doest the same things." Verse 12. "For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perisk without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law." Chap. 3, verses 9, 10. "What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise : for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin ; as it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.”

As soon as the Apostle concludes this subject, he brings the great truth, for which he was labouring, to our sight, in the following words. See verses 23, 24. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In this last quotation we find that St. Paul believed that all mankind were sioners, and that all mankind were justified freely by Gods grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This idea of Universal Justification, he labours at large in his 5th chapter, pursuant to the couclu, sion of the 4th which is in these words. “Who was deli. yered for our offences, and was raised again for our justifie tation.” These arguments in the 5th chapter are brought to a close as follows. “Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by

« PreviousContinue »