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then nations by the faith of Christ, was revealed to, and exemplified in, their father Abraham; and that on this very view, the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Heathen through faith, did fo.
No body will blame the Apostle's attributing to the scriptures what none but an intelligent being, and one too whose understanding was perfect, could do. His business was, to convict the gainsayers by their own record; and if he could shew, that the same gospel was delivered to Abraham, and that he was justified or sustained as one who had righteousness on this prospect, it must have appeared with great evidence, that this was the way which the great Author of the record had established. And here it will be proper to observe, that though Abraham ítands there as the most eminent, and whose history is most particularly recorded ; yet he was not the first to whom the revelation was made, and who were, as the Apoftle says of Noah, made heirs of the righteousness which is by faith. So far from it, that from Adam, who first received the promise, down to Moses, there was no other way of at
taining a right to the blessing of pardon and life, and of course no other righteousness, but by believing the free gift, and regulating their conduct in a suitableness. to it; that is, in all the duties of gratitude and love to their gracious Creator and Redeemer. : That the nations of the Gentiles, that is, all the world, excepting only the comparatively small nation of the Jews, were to have a right given them to eternal life, in the fame manner Abraham had, he proves from their own record, viz. that in Abraham, that is, as the record ex plains it, in his feed all the nations of the earth mould be blessed. The original proinise of the feed of the woman, repeated and renewed as it was to Noah, had lain as it were in common among his posterity, until it was fixed in the family of Abraham, and limited to Isaac and his descendents. One would not have thought, that it could ever have entered any Christian's head, that this blessing could mean any thing else but (what only deserves the name of a blessing) that eternal life, conveyed by and in Jesus Christ, the promifed feed. But it has been explained away into no blessing at all by a very learned commentator. He had read of Jacob's blessing his grandsons, and that he said, In thee Mall Israel bless, buc. Gen. xlviii. 20. But he should have observed, that this was not the blessing, but the consequence of it; and at most was but an expression of mens faint wishes, and nothing at all to the blessing of God, secured to Abraham through faith in the promised feed, and to all who should be found in the same way of believing, as the Apostle infers, verf. 9. So then they that are of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Blessing is a very common word in e'very one's mouth, but I am afraid few have a distinct notion of the import of it. Men are said to bless God; they bless one another; and the Apostle reckons it out of doubt, that the less is blessed of the greater: And God is said to bless men. When men, parents for instance, bless their children, in ordinary cases, they can do no more than with happiness to them, or pray God to bless them; while they have but very confused notions of that blessedness they wish cr pray for, and their blessing is little more than an expression of their love and tender affection, that they would
make them quite happy, if it was in their power, and they knew how to effect it. Mens blessing God can go no further than an expression of the delight and pleasure which the fullness and all-sufficiency of God gives them. But God's blessing man is another thing in all respects, excepting only the rise and spring from whence his blessing proceeds; that favour and loving. kindness of God who is love, and of which the most sincere and tender affection found among men is but a faint shadow. His blessing never stops in words or wishes. When he blessed Abraham, he made him as blessed and as happy as man can be in this present world. Our kind creator has not left us to form our notions of such an important matter on what we affect most, and our hearts are most fet upon. Besides the many instructions given by our blessed Lord and his apostles, “to seek first the “ kingdom of God, and his righteousness,"? without which there can be no blessedness, he has put the case of Abraham on record. He was made a great man in the world's account, and had great riches given him. But these were only accessories. The blessing lay in the promised seed; and upon - VOL.III.. Bb
the belief of this he was reckoned and treated as a righteous person; and in that inheritance to which he had a right given him by the promise, his blessedness lay. He looked for a better country, and God was not ashamed to be called his God, and the God of his fellow-believers, because he had prepared for them a city, Heb. xi. 14. 15. 16. And they who are of faith, and believe God as he did, must of course be blessed with him.
Such was the case of Abraham, and such is the blessing of all his genuine children who walk in his steps, as the Galatians did when they were attacked by the Judaizing teachers, who would needs have them to submit to their law. And what were they to gain by it? The Apostle sets the folly of it in a very strong light, vers. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse. But might they not say, “ It is writ“ten, that the man that doth them, “ shall live in them.” It is fo: and could there be a man found, who continueth in all things written in the law to do them, he might have something to say ; but such a man never was, and, we may be