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of works, and the law of faith, chap. iii. 27t. After paying all the attention to the subject of which I am capa. ble, it appears to me with convincing evidence, that the two covenants mentioned here, are not the Old and New Testaments, but the covenants of works and
Before I offer any arguments in proof of this position, permit me to observe, 1st. That nothing for or against this opinion, can be drawn from the original word dicebyxces, used by the apostle: translated covenants in the text, and testaments in the margin. It is used in holy scripture, either for a mutual compact between two parties, or for a testamentary deed, wherein legacies are gratuitously bequeathed. The Seventy use it to express the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech, Gen. 21, 32.; between Laban and Jacob, Gen. xxxi. 44.; between Nahash and the men of Jabesh-Gilead, 1 Sam. xi. 1.; between the Lord, and the king and the people, 2 Kings xi. 17.; between Asa and Benhadad, 2 Chron. xvi. 3.; and between the rulers of Israel and death, Isa, xxviii. 15. In all which pas. sages nothing of a testamentary nature can be conceive ed: nothing but a compact purely mutual.
The Hebrew word nu which the Seventy translate by the original word used in our text, divebnun, and which in our version is rendered covenant, does not always signify an absolute promise, or a deed of a testamentary nature. Witness Deut. xxix. 21. The Lord shall separate
+ So the Dutch Annotations, Calvin and Beza in Loc. Turret. Institut. Theol. Loc. 12. Quest. 1. Thes. 5. Quest. 8. Thes. 12. Quest. 12. Thes. 7. De Satisfac. p. 222. Pictet. Theol. Chret. vol, 1. p. 521. Placette de Justif. p. 68. Pemble's Works, p. 216. Reynold's Works p. 145, 146, 261, 262, 273, 315. Dr. Preston's New Covenant, p. 315. Flavel's Works, vol. 2. p. 432. Burkit, Guyse, and Bos. ton on the place. Brown's Causa Dei, vol. 1. p. 634. vol. 2. p. 119. Gillespie's Ark of the Testament, p. 157, 181. Boston on the Covenant of Grace, p. 27. Willison, Flint, and M'Claren quoted by him in his notes on the Marrow, p. 52, 53. Burgher's Cat. p. 144. Mastricht. Theor. Prac. Theol. p. 420, 421. Mr William Strong, Minister of the Abbey at Westminster, in a Sermon on Gal. iv. 24. expresses himself in the following words, “ Some Interpreters 1 know, say, that these two covenants are not two in substance, but that it is meant of the covenant of grace diversely administered under the Old Testament and under the New: in the one they were under tutors and governors, and so in bon dage till the time of liberty came appointed by the Father.
him (the presumptuous sinner) unto evil, out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the cove. nant, that are written in the book of the law. These curses are not merely temporal: For being the portion of the presumptuous sinner, they must be understood as including eternal wrath, which is the wages of sin, Rom. vi. 23. The covenant mentioned here hath curses, and therefore is not the covenant of promise, or the testament confirmed by Christ's death. For nothing could he leave his people, but what he purchased from his Father, and therefore no curses, nothing but blessings are bequeathed there. The curses of this covenant are these mentioned in the two preceding chapters: the curses of the law from which Christ hath redeemed us, compare Deut. xxvii. 26. with Gal. iii. 10, 13. therefore the law and this covenant are one and the same. An irrefragable proof that the law was the covenant of the curse, as the promise to Abraham was the covenant of blessing: and a strong presumption already that these are the two covenants mentioned in the text.
In the New Testament the word, debnen, used in our text, is often, but not always, put for a testamentary deed. It can imply no less when used in reference to the Lord's Supper. So Matt. xxvi. 28. This is my blood of the New Testament; Luke xxii. 20. This cup is the New Testament in my blood. In other cases we must understand it of a covenant only, a testament only, or a deed ingrossing both, as the nature of the subject, and the circumstances of the context require. In the epistle to the Hebrews it generally, if not always, signifies a testament only, the apostle instituting a comparison, not between the two Adams, as in Rom. v. but between the two testaments, and their mediators typical and true. In Eph. ii. 12. it must be understood as inclusive both of a covenant and a testament. For the covenants of promise to which the Ephesians were strangers in their heathenish state, cannot but include the whole of the covenant of grace, whether consid. ered as a federal transaction between the Father and the Son, Psal. lxxxix. 3. or as a testamentary deed
of the Son in favour of the men who were given him out of the world, John xvii. 19. Heb. ix. 15, 16. The covenant considered in the former view, was purely mutual, conditions properly so called, being stipulated. But in the latter, it partakes of the nature of a testatament, wherein legacies are freely bequeathed. Both views are kept up in our Lord's own words, Luke xxii. 29. I appoint you by testament, as my Father hath appointed unto me by covenant, a kingdom. Compare Rev. ii. 26, 27. What Christ received from his Father, was not by way of testament, but upon the most onerous conditions, Isa. liii. 10. What we receive from Christ, is not in a way purely pactional, but freely, without money and without price, Isa. lv. l. Rev. xxii. 17. The Father was not to the Son, what the Son is to us, a testator.
Sometimes the word dice@nen, used in our text, may sig. nify a covenant only, as well as does the word niza in the Old Testament, Gen. xxi. 32. and xxxi. 44. 1 Sam. xi. 1. 2 Chron. xvi. 3. The law ordained in the hands of the mediator Moses, Gal. iii. 19. was a covenant, Deut. v. 2, 5. and a covenant only, nothing being there promised, but upon condition of perfect obedience, Gal. iii. 12. So, as we shall see in our progress, it is used in our text, these are the two covenants; the one, viz. the one covenant from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage. That the same word should be used in one and the same verse to express the covenants of works and grace, is no more strange than that the word law should be applied to faith, as well as to works, while we are as certain as apostolic authority can make us, that works and faith are so opposite in the matter of our justification, that boasting is excluded by the one, not by the other, Rom. iii. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Grace and works cannot stand together in the matter of our salvation, Rom. xi. 6. Eph. ii. 8; 9. And yet the word law is used in the one case, as well as in the other. And if so, why may not the word covenant?
2dly. I observe that by the covenant of works is meant that divine constitution or establishment, where in eternal life is promised upon condition of perfect obedience to the law, Rom. x. 5. and eternal death threatened in case of the least failure, Gal. iii. 10. By the covenant of grace, I understand that divine constitution or appointment whereby eternal life is freely given to sinners, on account of the obedience and sa. tisfaction of Christ received by faith, and imputed unto them, Rom. iii. 22–94, X. 6—ll. Gal. ii. 11-14. These two methods of salvation stand opposed to one another, as grace and works. There is not only a moral or a gradual difference between thein, as between the Old Testament and the New, but a specific or a real. None ever was, or can be, saved by both.
These things premised, I go on to offer some ar. guments in support of what we have asserted, viz. That the two covenants mentioned in our text, are not the Old and New Testaments, but the covenants of works and of
grace. And in the 1st. place, This appears from the character of those to whom our apostle wrote. It is very observable he does not address them in his usual manner. His other epistles are expressly directed to the saints: for instance to the saints at Rome, at Corinth, and in all Achaia, at Ephesus, at Philippi, at Colosse. No such high and honourable title is given in the beginning of this epistle. They are only called the churches of Galatia. The reason soon appears. They are characterised, chap. i. 6. As having left the grace of Christ and gone over to another gospel. They had got a new light in their own apprehension, though, alas, it was altogether darkness. “What was that other gospel which the foolish, the bewitched Galatians had embraced? Are there more gospels than one? No, there is but one only; as Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, Heb. xiii. 8. Therefore the apostle immediately adds, verses 7th and 8th, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though wey
or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
The apostle calls that new doctrine embraced by the Galatians, another gospel, inasmuch as it was contrary to the gospel which he had preached to them. He had taught them that sinners are justified not by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ, chap. ii. 16. They had rejected this doctrine for the contrary: believing that except they were circumcised, they could not be saved. On circumcision they rested, as the ground at least in part, of their justification. Though this corrupt doctrine had not leavened all, yet it had a great many. Hence our apostle was in doubt of them, chap. iv. 20. afraid lest he had bestowed upon them labour in vain, verse 11. and reminds them of the common maxim, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, chap. v. 9. He testifies that that circum. cision which they urged, and in which they placed their glory, was to them a bond of condemnation, bringing them under a debt which they could never possibly pay, viz. that of perfect obedience to the law, under pain of its heavy curse, chap. v. iii. He tells them roundly that Christ was become of no effect unto them, whosoever of them were justified by the law: that is, to them who sought to be so justified, for actually justified they neither were, nor could be by the law, Rom. iii. 20. Gal. ii. 16. He avers that they were fallen from grace, chap. v. 4. A fearful fall indeed! Their seeking to be justified by the law, was.in effect a renunciation of grace: Inasmuch as justification behoved to be entirely of the one or the other, and not partly of both, Rom. xi.,6. That law by which they sought to be justified, was contrary to Christ and his grace, and therefore beyond all doubt, it was the covenant of works. Whatever a man embraces as the portion of his soul, in conjunction with, or in opposition to the Lord, that becomes his god, his idol. In like manner, whatever a sinner rests upon, as the sole, or co-ordinate cause of his acceptance with God, that is to him a covenant