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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Is the sprinkling, and marking it with the sign of a cross a token to it, or to others, that it is "justified by faith, and has peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ"?

Or is it a sign of the faith of its godfathers and godmothers, or of its parents, of their being justified by faith, and circumcised of heart?

Or is it a token that the clerical administrator has faith in the covenant of promise?

Nay, rather, it is a token of the astounding ignorance of the letter and spirit of the gospel, and of the Judaism of all concerned; and a striking illustration of that "strong delusion" spread over the face of all people as a covering veil.

THE ALLEGORY.

Abraham had two sons -- Ishmael, the son of Hagar, an Egyptian handmaid; and Isaac, the son of Sarah.

Ishmael was fourteen years old when Isaac was born.

He was born in the ordinary course of things, and therefore said to be "born after the flesh"; while Isaac was born out of the usual course, Sarah being ninety and Abraham a hundred, she being also strengthened of God, according to the promise, and consequently said to be "born after the Spirit".

Hagar was a bondwoman; but Sarah was free: yet, had it been left to Abraham, he would have made Ishmael his heir as well as Isaac, for he loved them both.

But Ishmael manifested an evil spirit towards Sarah and Isaac, which he had imbibed from his mother.

Moses says he mocked Isaac, or spoke contemptuously of him; which the apostle terms persecuting him, and characteristic of those of Ishmael's class.

Sarah's indignation was fired at this; "Wherefore, she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac".

Although Abraham was exceedingly grieved at this, God approved of Sarah's decision; and informed him that Christ should descend from Isaac, and not from Ishmael, saying, "In Isaac shall try Seed be called"; nevertheless, because Ishmael was his son, he would make a nation of him also with twelve princes for its fathers.

This fragment of Abraham's history has a signification beyond what appears on the face of it.

The apostle informs us that the incidents are allegorical.

That is, that the two women and their characteristics, represent two covenants; and the two sons of Abraham by them two seeds, or classes of persons.

The covenants are "the one from Mount Sinai in Arabia," and the other the covenant confirmed of God 430 years before that of Sinai was promulgated; and which, being a matter of promise, the subject of which is Christ as the inheritor of Canaan, and its future king in Jerusalem, now at the right hand of God, is said to be "Jerusalem which is above".

The apostle says that Jerusalem is the subject of both these covenants; but in different periods of her history.

During her existence as the metropolis of the Hebrew commonwealth under its Sinaitic constitution, she was represented by Hagar the bondwoman; because the covenant from Sinai "gendered to bondage"; and in consequence the citizens of the commonwealth were in bondage with the mother city.

They were "entangled with the yoke of bondage," "under the rudiments of the world".

They were bound to keep the whole law, by which they sought to be justified, and as they could not do it owing to the weakness of the flesh, they came under the curse.

But this state of things was only provisional.

God did not intend the Hebrew commonwealth to exist perpetually under the Sinaitic constitution.