The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 2 Chapter 6

Section 15—Jeremiah 32:40.

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.


If the covenant God makes with his people is an everlasting one, interest in it indissoluble, the grace of it always sufficient, its blessings irreversible, its promises sure, and the mediator of it always the same, than which nothing is more certain; if God, the maker of this covenant, will not turn away his love and affections from them, but will do them all the good he has either purposed or promised, and if he puts his fear in their hearts,so as that they shall not depart totally from him; their final perseverance must be abundantly secured. Now, in answer to this it is said,

1. That "these[1] promises are made expressly to the whole house of Israel, and to all the children of Israel and Judah; and therefore cannot concern the elect only, or their final perseverance." I reply, that Israel and Judah were typical of God's elect, under the gospel dispensation; and supposing that they are literally intended, it is enough to secure the faithfulness of God in these promises, that they were made good to his elect among them. The apostle has taught us to answer such an objection in this manner, when he says (Rom. 9:6; 11:1, 2, 7), "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect, for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew; the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Besides, the words all and whole,are neither in the text, nor context; and were they, yet, if these promises regard the time of the Jews' conversion as this author pleads for, when all Israel shall be saved,and so appear to be elected, these must needs concern the elect only, and their final perseverance.

2. It is objected,[2] that "these promises are for ‘the good of their children after them,' who therefore must be elected also; whereas it is certain from experience, that the seed of the elect are often very wicked persons." To which may be replied, that God does not here promise to make an everlasting covenant with their children, nor that he will not turn away from their children to do them good,nor that he will put his fear in the hearts of their children that they shall not depart from him; only that he "will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear him for ever, for the good of them and of their children after them; which is true, since the religious conduct of parents towards their children, the religious examples set them, and the religious education given them, may be in many instances for their good, even though many of them may prove wicked, and without supposing them all to be elected.

3. It is excepted,[3] that "if these spiritual promises respect the elect, then the promises of temporal blessings being made to the same persons, must respect them also; and so they must all abide safely in the land of Canaan and buy there fields for money." In answer to which, it is easy to observe, that very frequently in the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, especially when God promises temporal blessings, and particularly deliverance from captivity to the people of the Jews in general, he takes the opportunity to make mention of some spiritual blessings which were peculiar to his elect among them, and who in common shared the temporal blessings with them; which spiritual ones are the same, his elect in all ages, and in all nations, partake of. Besides the temporal blessings promised to the Jews were, in many instances, figurative of spiritual ones, which God's elect among the Gentiles, as well as Jews in the times of the gospel, were to enjoy; who though they are not blessed with the temporal blessings promised to Abraham, and his natural seed, yet are "blessed with faithful Abraham," and his spiritual seed, with all spiritual blessings.

4. The promises here made are said[4] to be conditional; whereas there is not the least indication of a condition in any of them, but are expressed in the strongest and most absolute manner imaginable. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, I will not turn away from them, I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me: as are also the passages referred to, to be joined with these promises, though without any reason (as Jer. 24:7; 3:19; Isa. 55:3). The text in Jeremiah 12:16, the only conditional one mentioned, regards not the people of Israel, but their evil neighbors, as is evident both from the text and context.

5. It is urged,[5] that "the promise is not an absolute promise, that they should fear him always; but only an indication, that his kind providences should be such towards them as should lay upon them the highest obligations to continue steadfast in his fear: le and lebalti being often used, not to signify the certainty of the event, but the design and purpose of God in affording the means (so Deut. 10:13; 17:19, 20; 4:10; John 16:1; Ezek. 11:19, 20). "But, if this is not an absolute promise, I will put ray fear in their hearts, what can be called so? And surely, God's putting his fear in their hearts, is more than by kind providences to lay upon them the highest obligations to continue steadfast in his fear, or barely affording means thereof; but must intend an internal, special, powerful operation, and implantation of his grace in their hearts. Nor does the word here used, signify only God's design, and not the certainty of the event. The text should not be read that they may not depart,but, that they shall not depart from me.The Hebrew particle, ytlbl, lebilti, not lebalti, signifies the certainty of the event, as well as design; (see Lev. 26:15; Deut. 4:21; Ezek. 20:15), nor is it used,but in one of the passages referred to by the learned objector; and it is very odd that John 16:1, should stand among the instances of the sense of a Hebrew particle. Besides, admitting that it signifies here the design and purpose of God, this is not to be separated from the event, which is certain by it; since his counsel shall stand,and he will do all his pleasure.

6. Whereas it is further objected,[6] that "this text only contains a promise, that when the Jewish nation shall be converted at the close of the world, they should never fall off any more from being his people, as they had done before." This is so far from militating against the doctrine of the saints' final perseverance, that it serves to confirm it; since, when the Jews shall be converted, they shall not fall away, but "all Israel shall be saved;" so all God's elect, being converted, whether among Jews or Gentiles, shall certainly persevere to the end, and be saved; seeing they are converted by the same grace, and kept by the same power, as the Jews then will be. The Remonstrants[7] own, that this promise regards the Gentiles under the New Testament.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 288, 469; ed. 2.281, 469; Remonstr. Coll. Hag art. 5: p. 69; Limborch, p. 722.

[2] Whitby, p. 290, 291, 470; ed. 2.450.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Whitby, p. 290,291, 470; ed. 2.283, 452.

[5] Ibid., p. 472, 473; ed. 2.452; Remon. p. 70.

[6] Whitby, p. 291, 471; ed. 2.284, 451.

[7] In Coll. Hag. art. 5: p 69.


Gill Index