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Jacob: “ I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” And it is said that they sought a country better than that which they left, namely an heavenly one, Heb. xi. 16.
Ahimaaz. But pray how is this inheritance secured to the heirs thereof? because some people say that an heir of it may fall from grace, be disinherited, and have his portion“ in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." If so, it had been better for them that they had never been made heirs.
Cushi. Men who talk at that rate do not trust in the grace
of God. If you read their writings, you will find that all their contention is for fleshly works, and in works they trust. And though the word 'grace' be often brought in, yet it is only as a deception to entangle others; hence such are said in scripture to weave the spider's web; that is, as the spider catcheth her prey
in her web, so these interweave the word 'grace' to catch souls for Satan in the net of works. And, as many a fly settles on the web to rest till it be . devoured, so many souls settle on the Arminian web of grace and works, till they are entangled in the curse of God and the jaws of the devil. Such trust in themselves, not in God; and in their own dead works they place their hopes, instead of grace. But the inheritance is not promised to our works, nor secured by them: “ For, if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise,” Gal. iii. 18. If it were to be obtained by the works of the law it would be very uncertain; man might perform his part, or he might not: and, if he did not perform the conditions, whatever such conditions might be, then Infinite Wisdom might be
frustrated in his grand designs: therefore God has secured it in a way that the end is sure to be accomplished; which will plainly appear, if you consider the following negative and positive: “ For, if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect; because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is there is no transgression,” Rom. iv. 15.
If the law worketh wrath--as it certainly does, because it reveals God's wrath against sin, and stirs up sin against God-then the everlasting inheritance cannot be obtained by works, nor can it be secured by the revelation of wrath; so far from it, that the stiffest legalist is the greatest enemy to God, and the furthest from the kingdom of God: “ The inheritance therefore is of faith which is God's gift] that it might be [bestowed] by grace [not earned by works] to the end the promise might (not miscarry, but] be sure to all the seed,” Rom. iv. 16.
Thus you see it is a blessing given us in Christ promised to faith-secured by grace-and insured to all the chosen seed. Those persons of whom you speak trust altogether in their own works, and bring in the word 'grace' as a trap, to entangle others in the works of the law: and, when their fleshly works deceive and throw them down, as they did Peter, then they cry out that such an one is fallen from grace: whereas they themselves always fight against grace. Thus the painted sepulchre wears the garland, while he is permitted to deceive, and grace bears the scandal until God fulfils his promise, “ The prating fool shall fall,” Prov. X. 8.
Ahimaaz. But there are many of these people
who talk much of legal convictions and law terrors; and you know that Paul says, it is experience that worketh hope.
Cushi. The experience of pardon, peace, and reconciliation, through Christ, and of regeneration by the Holy Ghost, worketh hope; but no other: the devils have experienced as many legal convictions, law terrors, motions of pride, workings of error, and as much desperate rebellion, as all the human race together, and yet are as far from hope as enmity and eternity can set them. But the elect are predestinated: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,” Eph. i. 11. Hence they are said to have their names inrolled in the book of life; and the book is signed by three immutable witnesses, and each witness has his name recorded in it, as appears by the Bible, and the Bible is a copy of the eternal counsel: “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one," i John v. 7. This book is "sealed with seven seals,” (Rev. v. 1) and delivered to the dear Redeemer, as God the Father's will; which will was to be obeyed by the Saviour, and made known to the chosen heirs. The conditions of it, such as magnifying the law and satisfying divine justice, were to be punctually performed, and the Father's plan fully executed by the Lord Christ; and so the inheritance was to be handed down to us by the Father's will and the Son's testament; of which will Christ is the Testator, the Executor, and the Mediator: “ And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament,
that by means of [his] death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were [committed) under the first testament (or law], they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance: for where a testament is there must also of necessity be the death of the testator,” Heb. ix. 15, 16. Our blessed Lord shewed this when he instituted the Lord's supper; which prefigured the death of himself as the Testator, and the benefits of the testament flowing to the innumerable multitude of chosen heirs: "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,” Matt. xxvi. 28.
Ahimaaz. If this be the case, pray what became of the elect that went out of the world before the death of Christ? How could the eternal inheritance be conveyed to them? For the apostle says that “a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth,” Heb. ix. 17.
· Cushi. When the Saviour revealed the Father's will, and his own testament, to Adam, saying, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, and the serpent shall bruise the Saviour's heel,” his death was implied in the promise, and clearly shewn by the sacrifice: and, when Abel embraced the same promise by faith, his lamb prefigured the Lord's death: hence Christ is said to die in the type; and is therefore called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev. xiii. 8. So that the testament was of strength as soon as the first promise was confirmed by a sacrifice. And by those legal sacrifices was the gospel preached to the children of Isreal, Heb. iv. 1-3: and those who rejected it, and trusted
in the moral law, died in unbelief, and came short of the inheritance; but those who mixed faith with the word received the benefits of the teståment; “did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; they drank of the rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ,” i Cor. x. 4.
Moses was very particular in pointing the Israelites to this blessed Testator and testament; for the tabernacle, which prefigured the church, the books likewise, and the people, were all sprinkled, to shew that the church must be washed in the blood of the antitype; that the testament must be confirmed by the blood of Christ was shewn by sprinkling the books; and that sinner's hearts must be sprinkled from an evil conscience was shewn by sprinkling the peonte: “For, when Moses had spoken every precepī to the people according to the law (he then pointed them to the blood of Christ), he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the books and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover, he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and (all this to let the sinner know that) without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these," Heb. ix. 19-23. And what sacrifices could they be but the body, blood, and soul, of the Son of God?
Ahimaaz. I am fully satisfied with the account,