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28. We therefore of 28. Now we, bretbren, as Isaac was, are the children the Christian Church of promise. were figured by Isaac, and owe our spiritual Birth to the Promise and Free Grace of God.
29. Nor are the Jews 29. But as then be that was born after the flesh por. wanting to carry on the secuted bim ebat was born after the spirit, even jó it is Allegory ; but resemble the Disposition and Behaviour of Ishmael, in vexing the Chriftians, as he did Ifaac. 30. And at the last
30, Nevertheless, what saith the Scripture ? cast cut Their Fate shall be his the bond-woman and her son ; for the son of the too, to be cast out from bond-woman shall not be beir with the for of tbe freethat Inheritance they woman. would arrogate to their own Works : While We, who depend on the Promise of God, and expect to be justified by the Evangelical Covenant, not the Legal, shall be the only Heirs.
then, how 31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the these things belong to bond-woman, but of the free. us; and consequently, how far we Christians are from any Obligation to that Law of Moses, which would destroy our free Condition, and disparage the Title our Birth gives us.
COM M E N T.
latians was to root out some false Notions, infused into them by their new Teachers, concerning the Necessity of still adhering to the Law of Moses. In Confutation whereof, he first insists on several Topicks, with regard to the Nature and proper Use of that Law, and the Conditions and Privileges of the Gospel, as being far preferable to, and now inconsistent with the Observation, of it. Then he goes on, in this Portion of Scripture, to propound one Argument more, One drawn from the Writings of Moses himself; And therefore such, as ought to weigh with Them, whose intemperate and unseasonable Zeal for che Law, delivered by Him, proved them to hold his Authority in the highest Veneration.
The Strel. laid on this Argument is apparently so great, as co c'l for a more particular Explanation, than 2 Paraphrase can be supposed to allow it. My
present Endeavour shall therefore be, First, To enlarge a little upon some of the most material Passages relating to this Matter, and Then to deduce some few Inferences, agreeable to the Subject.
1. Now the Apostle here, by grounding his Argument upon a Point of History, seems plainly to imply, that, in some Facts related by Moses, the Jews ought not to rest in the Letter and Narration only. For that God intended the things then done, to be Figures of Others, which should be done hereafter; and, under the Rehearsal of some memorable Events read there, couched a mystical and very important Meaning In some particularly, wherein Abraham was concerned, his Posterity, both carnal and spiritual, had an Interest ; and might be let in to the Reasons and manner of God's Proceedings with Them, by observing how he had dealt heretofore with Him, their renowned Father, and Common Representative..
2. To this purpose the Apostle takes notice of Two Sons born to that Patriarch, as Emblems of the Law and the Gospel ; And, by some Circumstances relating to Them, applied to these Two Covenants, he forms his Reasoning, and confutes the vain Pretences of the Mofaical Institution being still obligatory, and the Gospel Terms being, either inferior to it, or insufficient for Salvation without it.
The First of these Circumstances is the different Condition of their respective Mothers. The One a Bondwoman, the Other a Free-woman: From whence follows the like Difference in their Children. For, since it was a known Maxim in Law, that the Children can have no Quality descending to them, but such as the Parent had, that bore them ; and all that were born of Servants in the Family, the Master had, by such Birth, the same Title to, and Dominion over, as he had to their Parents by Contract : It follows, that the Son of this Bond-woman must be no better than a Servant. On
the other hand, the Free-woman, being the Master's Wife, and Mistress of the Family, Her Son must, in Conformity, be born in a State of Liberty ; Such as gives him a Title to the Prerogatives of the First-born, and the Inheritance of his Father's Fortunes, exclusive of all Sons, (tho' born before in Time) begotten of any other Woman. The Bond-man born must be content with the Treatment, the Wages, the Provisions suitable to his Station ; The Heir may depend upon all the Tenderness, the Affection, the liberal Education, the free Access, the encouraging Prospects and ReverLions, due to the Quality and Succession he is born to.
3. These Mothers, in the Application, the Apostle hath acquainted us, are the Two Covenants, that is, the Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their Children consequently are the Persons living under those Covenants. The Bond-woman's, Those under the Law; the Free-woman's, We under the Gospel. How fitly so compared, will appear, by attending to the Characters given here of Each.
The Law is represented by Agar, a Mother of Servants only. This was given in Mount Sinai in Arabia, this answered to the Jerusalem that then was, and this gendereth to Bondage.
Whether the Name of that Mountain (in the Arabian Language called Hagar) were any part of the Apostle's Meaning in this Allusion or not: there is a great deal to justify it upon other Accounts. It is not without good Reason, that, after the gendring to Bondage, the Apostle takes particular notice, that Sinai, represented by such a Mother, is a Mountain in Arabia. A Place inhabited by the Posterity of Agar, but withal, a Place at some distance from the Land promised to Abraham and his Seed ; and, by the very Situation of it, intimating, that the Law issued, and the Covenant struck there, could not indent for the Blessings of Heavenly Canaan. Asa Bond-woman then could not produce
Free-children and Heirs, who her self was not free (in the literal Sense of this History) So neither (in the Mystery and typical Sense) could the Law, given without the Borders of Canaan have any Influence on, or convey a Title to, the Inheritance of Heaven; because Arabia, in which that Law was given, was not, and Canaan alone was, the Figure and Type of Heaven.
Again, this Agar answers to Jerusalem, that then was, and was in Bondage with her Children. The Defcendants of Hagar in Arabia were then under the Roman Yoke; so were the Jews in Judea. The Hagarens too observed Circumcision, as a federal Rite ; so did the Jews. In both Respects the Resemblance holds. And, if we chuse to understand him in the Latter, no wonder the Apostle charges it with Bondage. Since this is the very Yoke, which, through this whole Epistle, he exhorts his Disciples to break; and asserts, as a most valuable Instance of Christian Liberty, the Happiness of being exempted from it.
On the other hand, Sarah the Free-woman is the Gospel-Covenant, and answers to Jerusalem above. A Covenant that came down from Heaven, and intimated God'sgood-liking, hy its Promulgation, notonly from the Promised Land, but from the Place in that Land, which God delighted most in, confined his solemn Worship to, kept his peculiar Residence at, and placed his Name and all the Emblems of his Mercy there. The Persons under this Covenant are as Isaac, and his Favourite Posterity. They succeed into all the Privileges of their Mother, and to the Inheritance of their Father. A Mother, like her Type, fruitful in numerous Descendants from her, tho’it were late, e'er she begin to bear; And, notwithstanding the Law was a Dispensation antecedent to the Gospel, (as Abraham had Ishmael several Years before Isaac) yet the Profelytes to the Gospel are many more, than ever those to the Law had been. (As Ifaac's Seed was more mighty than Ishmael's.)
The Prerogatives of this Latter Issue excel those of the First ; as Ishmael's Eldership gave him no Precedence. And by the Works of the Law no Flesh is justified, but all are saved by Virtue of this Second Covenant ; as Isaac's Seed alone, but none of Ishmael's, inherited the Promised Land of Canaan.
Thus stands the Allegory, with regard to the First Branch of it, which distinguishes the Two Sons of Abrabam, according to the different Condition of their respective Mothers. Before I proceed to the Second, it will be expedient to interpose a few Observations, for the more effectual clearing and confirming some of the Differences already mentioned, between the Covenants and Persons, of which St. Paul declares those Mothers, and their Children, to have stood for Figures.
1. We shall do well, upon this Occasion, to observe, wherein that Servitude properly consisted, which the Apostle charges the Law of Mofés with keeping Men under. Or, in other Words, how that dispensation dealt
with Men, in the Quality of Servants. Sue Epift. for Sun,
Now that Charge is made good, by the after Christmas.
Nature of the Services it enjoined ; a Burthen of Ceremonies, in themselves of no value; A Number of Purifications, which reached no farther than the cleansing of the Body ; A Prohibition of gross and outwards Acts of Sin, which prevented the Scandal, but not the Guilt. As we employ our Servants in the drudgery and meanest Offices about the House; And provided our Business be dispatched, are not sollicitous, from what Principle and Disposition our Commands are executed. It is again made good, by the Nature of the Rewards and Punishments, chosen for enforcing Obedience to that Law. A Land Rowing with Milk and Honey, Victory over Enemies, Health to their Bodies, Increase to their Families, Prosperity in their Fortunes, to compensate the Trouble of their Compliance with this Law. Captivity and Exile, Scarcity and