My soul! as thou readest this scripture, do not forget to bless the great Author of it, even God the Holy Ghost, for having condescended to teach the church the sacred truths contained in it. Never would it have entered into the heart of man, untaught of God, to have conceived that the births of Ishmael and Isaac had such divine purposes connected with their history. We might have read for ever the account given of it in the book of Genesis, without once forming a thought of the spiritual tendency of the subject, had not the Holy Ghost, by his servant the apostle, told the church that it was an allegory. But, blessed with such gracious teaching, see to it, my soul, this evening, what a delightful subject it leads to. "These (saith the apostle) are the two covenants;" meaning the mother of Ishmael, and the mother of Isaac. The "bond-woman," represents the covenant of works; and the "freewoman," the covenant of grace. So that all who seek justification by their own good deeds of the law, are of the children of the bond-woman. All who are looking for salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, without the works of the law, are of the children of the free. As the son of the bond-woman was born before the son of the free, so our state of nature in this sense, is before grace. And hence believers, when renewed, are said to be born again. Yet, as the promise concerning the son of the free-woman, was before the birth of the son of the bond-woman, so the promise of the gospel was before the law; and the covenant of grace came in before the covenant of works. And as the son of the bond-woman mocked the son of the free, so is it now; they that are born after the flesh do for ever persecute them that are born after the Spirit. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture?" Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman." The law can make nothing perfect; justification can never be obtained by the deeds of the law, and therefore it is rejected. Pause now, my soul, over this sweet allegory, explained as it is by the Holy Ghost himself, and ask to which family thou belongest? To both thou canst not, for that is impossible. Whosoever seeketh justification by the deeds of the law, denies the merit and efficacy of Christ's blood and righteousness. "For if righteousness come by the law, then is Christ dead in vain." Oh! for grace to discover, and faith to enjoy, the same blessed assurance as the apostle did, when summing up the whole conclusion of this scriptural allegory; "So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free."From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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