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and absolutely and unconditionally engaged to be their God in an everlasting covenant, so far as I am able to discern, he would have been obliged to keep them for his covenant people, notwithstanding their rejecting the Messiah by unbelief. But as Mr. M. is so confident that the Abrahamic covenant was absolute and unconditional to him and to all his seed, and that all the blessings comprised in that chief promise of it, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, were made sure to them without this conditional clause,' if they will take heed to walk in my ways, which he says, 'is a mere arbitrary addition to the covenant with Abraham, invented only for the sake of making that reconcileable with the covenant of grace' therefore it may not be amiss to stop a few minutes, and take a view of some of the consequences which will unavoidably follow from his notion of this covenant, and from his manner of reasoning in support of it.
1. If the covenant with Abraham is unconditional,' and so 'not reconcileable' with the covenant of grace; then the covenant of grace was not contained' in it; unless it' contained' in it something not reconcileable' with itself: i. e. unless two covenants were contained in that one covenant, in their own nature so inconsistent as not to be reconcileable' to each other. The Abrahamic covenant is absolute and unconditional,' and therefore it is not the covenant of grace, says Mr. M. And he may as well say, therefore the covenant of grace is not implied in it at all, nor in any sense whatever, 'set forth' in it. For nothing is 'contained,' or 'set forth' in it, which is neither expressed nor implied. But the covenant of grace is neither expressed, nor implied; because there is no condition expressed nor implied. Thus Mr. M. has secluded and wholly shut the covenant of grace out of the Abrahamic covenant. For to shut out all conditions, is to shut out all conditional covenants. But,
2. If the covenant of grace was not implied in that covenant with Abraham in Gen. xvii. because that implied no condition, but was absolute and unconditional to him and to his seed; then for the same reason the covenant of grace was not implied in the covenant with Abraham in Gen. xii. and in Gen, xiii. and in Gen. xv. For in each of these, (which
are all) the places, the promises are to Abraham and to his seed, and are delivered in the form of absolute and unconditional promises, exactly, precisely after the same tenour of the covenant in Gen. xvii. Pray, reader, stop here, take your bible, turn to the cited chapters, and see with your own eyes. And when you have read these chapters, then,
3. Turn to the first promise made by God after the fall, Gen. iii. The seed of the woman shall bruise the seepent's head. And see, and consider, that this also was in the form of an absolute, unconditional' promise, and respected their posterity as much as it did Adam and Eve. Therefore, by parity of reason, Mr. M. must say, that it was not the covenant of grace, nor 'reconcileable' to it. And,
4. To say, that any conditions are implied, if Mr. M.'s way of reasoning is just, is a mere arbitrary addition to the covenant' with Adam and with Abraham, 'invented only for the sake of making it out,' that there never was any covenant of grace at all, from the beginning of the world to the days of Abraham. For no conditional clause' is ever once expressly inserted in the covenant with Adam or with Abraham, from the first revelation of it, until that in Gen. xvii. And therefore, if Mr. M.'s reasoning is just, there was no covenant of grace exhibited in all this period of two thousand years. And therefore,
5. As the covenant of grace, if these things are true, never had been revealed, from the beginning of the world to that transaction in Gen. xvii. ; and as that was not the covenant of grace, nor reconcileable to it,' so circumcision, which was appointed as a seal of that covenant in Gen. xvii. and of no other, was not appointed to be a seal of the covenant of grace in any sense whatever. For at that day no covenant of grace had ever been exhibited. For every promise, which had been made to Adam, or to Abraham, was as absolute and unconditional as that in Gen. xvii. and respected their seed as much as themselves. And therefore,
6. Circumcision not being, in fact, in its original intention, a seal of the covenant of grace, the apostle Paul considering it as such in Rom. iv. cannot make it such. It is true, he calls it a seal of the righteousness of the faith, and goes about
to illustrate and confirm his doctrine of justification by faith, a doctrine peculiar to the covenant of grace, from God's dispensations to Abraham; and even goes so far as to say, in so many words, that the Gospel was preached to Abraham; but if Mr. M. is right, in all this he was mistaken. The covenant with Abraham was not the Gospel, was not the covenant of grace, nor indeed reconcileable to it.' Its seal, therefore, was not the seal of the covenant of grace: it was not a seal of the righteousness of the faith. For the covenant of grace is 'conditional,' and 'wholly a personal affair;' but the covenant with Abraham was 'unconditional,' and made the 'seed joint-heirs with the parent.'-Therefore, if these things are so, it will follow,
7. That the visible church originally was set up before any covenant of grace existed, upon a covenant of a different tenour,' and 'for a different purpose.' And as the visible church is the same now, under the Gospel dispensation, as it was under the Abrahamic, it must be considered as containing the same thing still,—a visible church built on an external, unconditional covenant. And,
8. As the visible church is thus founded merely and only on this unconditional covenant, so no qualifications at all are requisite in order to our being complete members of it, in good standing, even in the sight of God. Yea, we may be taken in without our consent,' even in adult age. And to
use Mr. M.'s own words respecting the Israelites at Mount Sinai, in application to the whole Christian world, Papists and Protestants, Arians, Pelagians, Socinians, Arminians, Antinomians, Drunkards, Adulterers Thieves, Liars, &c. &c. p. 71.; ‘it is plain, God has proceeded to take us all into covenant, by mere sovereignty, even as in his covenant with Abraham he included his infant seed;' no more respect being had to any qualification whatever, in the adult, than in infants of eight days old. And therefore,
9. All our churches in New-England are wrong, even every one of them, essentially wrong; and Mr. M.'s among the rest, in obliging our people, even such as have been baptised in infancy, to make a profession of their faith, and to give their consent to some covenant or other, requiring either gra
cious, or graceless obedience: for neither the one nor the other is requisite to full communion in the visible church, because that is founded on an unconditional covenant, which requires no qualifications at all of the adult any more than of infants eight days old. And therefore,
10. As on this unconditional covenant no qualifications whatever are requisite to a complete standing in the visible church; so by necessary consequence, no crimes, how gross soever, can constitutionally expose any one to excommunication, or to be debarred from church privileges. For, if any crime whatever could regularly expose one to excommunication, then a freedom at least, from that crime, would be a qualification absolutely necessary in order to a complete standing in the visible church; which would suppose, that the church was not founded on a covenant absolutely unconditional.
If, therefore, we will come into Mr. M.'s external covenant, considered as an unconditional covenant, unless we are inconsistent with ourselves, we must give in to all these necessary consequences; and so excommunicate even excommunication itself out of the Christian world, and fling open the doors of the church to all comers, how heretical and vicious soever they be.
But, on the other hand, if we consider the covenant with Abraham, in Gen. xvii. as the covenant of grace, and so implying the conditions of that covenant, as St. Paul did, as was proved in my former piece, then not one difficulty will lie in our way. That objection relative to infants, and that relative to the Sinai covenant, and to the covenant in the plains of Moab, were answered in my former piece, in Sec. vii. and nothing new is offered by Mr. M. but what is obviated at first sight, only granting a condition to be understood in the covenant, in Gen. xvii. though not expressed. And we must be obliged to grant this with respect to every exhibition of the covenant of grace, from the beginning of the world to that day, all which were delivered in the form of absolute unconditional promises or else be driven to the dire necessity of saying, that from the beginning of the world to that day, no covenant of grace had ever been revealed.
Thus we have finished what is needful, on Mr. M.'s exter nal covenant, considered as an unconditional covenant. Should any say that it is certain, that Mr. M. cannot intend that his external covenant should be an unconditional one, the reply is ready, viz. That it is certain that no man can tell by what he has published, what he does mean. But granting he meant, as for my part I understood him to mean when I wrote my answer to his first book, that his external covenant should be a conditional covenant; then the conditions are gracious or graceless. If gracious, then no graceless man, as such, can be admitted into the visible church. If graceless, then his external covenant is a graceless covenant. This is its nature, and by this name it ought to be called, to the end its name may point out its nature, and distinguish it from every other covenant.
Indeed, it must be granted, that every man has a right to give a name to his own child. And Mr. M. has given a name to his covenant; he has called it the external covenant : but perhaps on reconsideration he may think that there is no propriety in giving it this name. 1. Because his covenant consists not in externals only, but also in internals, viz. in < a fixed resolution' to forsake all known sin, and practise all known duty for a fixed resolution' is an internal thing, as much as saving grace. 2. Because this name does not at all distinguish it from the covenant of works, or covenant of grace, which are both of them external covenants, as much as is his covenant. But it is the design of different names, to distinguish things of different natures. The covenant of works was an external covenant, as it was administered to Adam, peculiarly worded to suit his circumstances.' p. 67. There was no internal duty expressly required. The only sin expressly forbidden, was an external one, viz. Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. Eating is an external act; and this was the only action expressly mentioned in the covenant of works, as it was administered to Adam. There is therefore much more propriety in calling that an external covenant, than there is in calling Mr. M.'s covenant by this name. And so the covenant of grace, as it is administered in the Gospel, free from the shadows, rites,