Billeder på siden

without being drawn of the Father, than we can love God and obey his voice, without being drawn of the Father. And the Sinai covenant is as far from requiring sinless obedience as the Gospel covenant. Will the Gospel covenant wink at sin and pass by transgression? Will the Sinai covenant condemn for every offence? No. But each covenant has pardon in store for the penitent. And it is as easy to repent of a sin violating the Sinai covenant, as of a sin violating the Gospel covenant. Hence, the God of the Old Testament is as placable as the God of the New.

2. The Sinai covenant requires the "people of God when they fall under his rebukes, to repent in order to regain his favour." And the covenant of grace does not insure the divine favour to the backslider on easier terms. Each covenant requires the same terms of acceptance. No backslider, whether he be Jew, or Gentile, can recover the favour of God without true and sincere repentance. And there is no law or covenant of God, which will exclude the true penitent from the favour of God. The Sinai covenant inade certain the love of God to those who loved him. And the favour of God is not obtained by any covenant without love. And God has no where promised to return unto us, unless we return unto him. We find the condition of forgiveness largely stated to the people of Israel in the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus. "If then their uncircumcised heart be humble, and they accept of the punishment of their iniquity; then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac. and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land." And Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, prays for Israel, agreeably to the spirit of the Sinai covenant. He prays for the forgiveness of their sins on no other condition than their confessing the plague of their own hearts, or their returning to God by unfeigned repentance. And by nothing short of repentance, can any one obtain forgiveness, on the ground of the covenant of grace. Hence, one of the covenants cannot mate

rially differ from the other. Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, Samuel, Isaiah, and all the prophets, preached the same Gospel, which the apostle of the Gentiles preached. Ever since God said to the serpent, It, that is, the Seed of the woman shall bruise thy head, there has been but one way of salvation. Therefore,

3. "The rites and ceremonies which the Israelites were required to observe, carried in them the profession of love to God. When they presented their peace-offerings and thank-offerings, they practically professed true love to God. When they presented their sin offerings, they practically professed real repentance and godly sorrow for sin. And when the High priest confessed over the scape goat, all the sins of the whole people, and then slew the other goat in sacrifice, this was a practical profession not only of repentance but of faith in the blood of Christ. The passover was likewise a type of the divine Saviour, and could not be acceptably celebrated, without faith in the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. In fine, all the sacrifices appointed under the law, were of such a nature, that none could offer them sincerely, without professing and exercising supreme love to God."

The essential things required in the covenant of grace or the Gospel covenant, are love to God, repentance of sin, and faith in the Mediator: and all these are required in the Sinai covenant; there is therefore no essential difference between them. To the proposition under consideration, that the covenant of grace differs nothing from the Sinai covenant, there is an objection, which is stated thus: "The Sinai covenant though founded upon, yet” is “distinct from, the covenant of grace." The objector supports the objection by the following reasons or arguments:

1. "The covenant of grace existed about two thousand years before the Sinai covenant" "God proposed the covenant of grace immediately after the fall." The objector says in a certain place, that Christ's representation of the covenant of grace is this: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten

Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "Again Christ declares, He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation." And then the objector adds; "According to this infallible definition of the covenant of grace, it contains neither more nor less, than, “the promise of God to save sinners through faith in the Mediator" To this I reply.

The objector says, that God proposed the covenant of grace immediately after the fall. He cannot mean that God said in these very words, immediately after the fall, "He that believeth in the Mediator shall be saved." His meaning then must be, that God said something immediately after the fail, from which he infers that God would save those who should believe in the Mediator. But does it appear more evident from this something, that he who believeth in the Mediator shall be saved, than from what God said to Moses on the mount, that he who believeth in the Mediator shall be saved? Certainly not. Let it be then, that God made this gracious proposal immediately after the fall, that he who believeth in the Mediator shall be saved. The same proposal was made to Abraham, that is, in as plain terms as it was made immediately after the fall And in about four hundred years after Abraham, it was made to Moses on the mount: this being the case, does it follow that because the proposal was made at different times, they were different proposals? Certainly not. How then are the covenants distinct? The covenants are the same, the declaration's being made at different times that he who believeth in the Mediator shall be saved notwithstanding. The objector says, "When God makes the gracious proposal to sinners," that he who believeth shall be saved, "he requires their immediate acceptance, but so long as they refuse to accept, they have no right to the blessing offered." Very good: and was not this as evident from the Sinai covenant, as from any thing which was said two thousand years before? How then


does it appear that the Sinai covenant is not the cov enant of grace?

It is evident that the Sinai covenant promised salvation to the penitent believer. And the covenant of grace promises nothing more. Why then is it said by the objector that the covenant of grace existed about two thousand years before the Sinai covenant? and from this inferred that the Sinai covenant is distinct from the covenant of grace? The objector appears to be inconsistent; his arguments therefore are not conclusive.

2. The objector's second argument is this; "The covenant of grace has existed near two thousand years since the Sinai covenant was dissolved: But the covenant of grace has been in full force ever since as well as before the abrogation of the Sinai covenant." Hence he infers, "that the Sinai covenant was distinct from the covenant of grace. "" The Sinai covenant, says he, was calculated for a particular people, time, and place; but the covenant of grace is calculated for all nations, times and places from the fall of man to the day of judgment. To this, I reply: it is granted that the rites and ceremonies annexed to the Sinai covenant are done away. But does this abrogate the law, or covenant itself? Is not love to God and men the essential thing required in this covenant? Does not Christ say, On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets? Does not the Sinai covenant require cordial and sincere obedience? Did not God, in that covenant, say to his people, "Obey my voice, and I will be your God. and ye shall be my people? And God promised that it should be well with them, if they would walk in the way which he commanded them. In the prophecy of Jeremiah we have an explanation of the Sinai covenant. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Put your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded


I them, saying, OBEY MY VOICE, and I will be your God and ye shall be people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you." The above, the objector himself allows to be God's explanation of his own covenant." Be it so. And has God abrogated the command, Obey my voice? and the promise I will be your God? Because the right of circumcision is no longer required, does it hence follow, that the covenant, of which circumcision was a seal, is abrogated? God promises to confer the blessings of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on the penitent: And all the blessings of this covenant are comprehended in the promise, I will be thy God. The great blessings promised to those who obey God's voice, as required in the Sinai covenant, is that God will be their God. The Sinai covenant did require circumcision; but because God has abrogated the command to be circumcised, it does by no means follow that he has abrogated the command, Obey my voice. Because the Mosaic ceremonies ceased at the death of Christ, it does not hence follow that the law of ten commandments is abrogated: And this law is called God's covenant; for it is the substance of the Sinai covenant. Though circumcision and other appendages of the covenant are done away, or the particular command requiring them, is abrogated, yet the covenant itself remains the same. Removing those ceremonial appendages does not make the least alteration in the covenant itself.

I shall now conclude this reply in the words of the objector. "Thus it appears that the different dispensations of the covenant of grace are not different modes, or forms, or articles of the covenant itself; but only different duties added to it, or founded upon it, which become binding in consequence of embracing the covenant. And these duties are properly termed appendages, because they have been added to and taken from the covenant without making the least alteration in it." Therefore,

« ForrigeFortsæt »