Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

the privileges ye trample under foot, the deeper shall your damnation be. Ye shall be more miserable than those who had not the gospel in such purity and plenty as you. Such as lived in those corners of the church where the silver trumpet gave in many cases an indistinct sound, it shall be more tolerable for them than for you. Heavier shall be your chain, and hotter your furnace, than those who never heard of the new covenant at all. They shall perish by their sins against the light of nature: you, by sinning against the exceeding riches of grace: ye shall perish, not because ye did not hear of Christ, but because ye would have none of him: not because the door of the new covenant was never opened to you, but because ye would not enter in. That breath of the Lord which now blows so sweetly in the gospel-offer, shall, like a stream of brimstone, kindle Tophet's devouring fire around covenant-despising sinners. The memory of so many sermons, Sabbaths, and days of the Son of man, shall be like oil to the flame. These ministerial offers of Christ which seem now to die, soon as they have passed the preacher's lips, shall be engraven in your conscience, in characters deeper than eternity itself shall ever be able to efface. If he who despised Moses's law died without mercy, surely inconceivably sorer punishment is reserved for him who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith the Son himself was sanctified, an unholy thing; and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace, Heb. x. 28, 29. Thus, sinner, I have standing as on mount Ebal, shewed thee Thy covenant, a covenant under which thou wast born, to the curse whereof thou art exposed, and by which thou canst not possibly see heaven. I have also as from Gerizzim, shewed thee another and a better covenant which may be thine by faith, Zech. ix. 11. A covenant, by the blood of which, thou a prisoner mayest come forth of the pit where.

in is no water, mayest be justified and sanctified, and at last enter into the holy place, Heb. ix. 12. Rev. i. 5. These are the two Covenants, and as thou art subjected to the one, or interested in the other, at a dying hour, so shall be thine eternal state.

[ocr errors]

ON THE

COVENANTS OF WORKS AND GRACE.

PART IV.

GAL. iv. 24.

The-one from the mount Sinai.

HAVING shown what is meant by the two covenants, and wherein they differ; we come now to the fourth general head of discourse, which was to show which was the covenant from Sinai. These, saith the text, are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai. Having been so copious on the first head, we shall enlarge the less on this. To confirm, illustrate, and apply two propositions, shall finish what we have to say concerning it, viz. That the covenant of works was delivered on mount Sinai, and that it was delivered as subservient to the covenant of grace. As to the first proposition, viz. That the covenant of works was delivered on mount Sinai, we offer the following ar. guments.

1st. All that was adduced under the second head proves this. For if the two covenants be those of works and of grace, it follows that the one from Sinai, can be no other than the covenant of works. It is one of the two. The covenant of grace it is not, for it gendereth bond children, excluded from the in

beritance, verse 30th. Therefore it must be the covepant of works.

2dly. Life and death, blessing and cursing, good and evil, were, in the most solemn manner, set before the Israelites, Deut. xxx. 19, 20. That the life set before them was eternal life, cannot be denied, for it con. sisted in the enjoyment of God himself. He is thy life, said Moses to them. And he was so in virtue of the Abrahamic covenant only. Witness its gracios tenour, Gen. xvii. 7. I will establish my covenant be. tween me and thee, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Though the express words, eternal life, do not occur in all the Mosaic writings, yet that bears no more prejudice, to the covenantpromise of eternal life, than the word resurrection not eccuring there, does to that important doctrine. These were as truly, though not as fully, revealed to the Israelites as to us. They knew of Enoch's translation, and therefore of a better state than this present life. They knew that he in his whole man was already gone to the better country, that is an heavenly; and by parity of reason, that all the godly should at last get thither too. As often as they read Gen. v. 24. they could not but conclude that Enoch was happy in the enjoyment of the living God. Enoch walked with God, and he was not: for God took him. The last clause shews the sense of the second. He was no more among men, no more in this world: for God took him: took him to himself.

They who credited the Mosaic revelation, could not possibly believe that Enoch ceased to be, when he ceased to be seen. That would have made God not 2 rewarder, but, with reverence be it spoken, a pun. isher of them that diligently seek him. As little could they think, that one godly man should be happy, and not all, in God's own time. As Enoch was an instance of a happy state; as God covenanted to be a God to Abraham and to his seed, so the life set before them could be no less than life eternal. And of consequence that was the covenant of grace, wherein this

life was exhibited unto them. And if the life was eternal that was set before them, so also was the death. To say that it was only temporal, is blunting the edge of the threatening with a witness, confining the curse and the evil within very narrow limits. Io cut the matter short, their final disobedience to the divine law was either to be punished with eternal death, or not. If the former, then they behoved to know so much, and therefore to understand the threatening in its most extensive sense: If the latter, then they had no reason to dread eternal punishment. That would have been to fear where no fear was. Therefore we judge that the death set before them was eternal death; and consequently that the covenant of works was held up to their view. Eternal death could not belong to the covenant of grace. For nothing but grace, the purest grace reigns there, while there is nothing but justice, inexorable justice, and fiery indignation in eternal death.

Thus the two things set before the Israelites here, stand related to the two covenants mentioned in the beginning of the preceding chapter. The life and the blessing to the covenant made in the land of Moab; the death and the curse to that made in Horeb. That the life and the blessing stood related to the covenant made in the land of Moab is evident: for God becoming the God and life of poor sinners in virtue of the Abrahamic covenant only, Gen. xv. 1. xvii. 7. Psalm xlii. 8. John xvii. 3. Col. iii. 3, 4.; and the covenant in the land of Moab being the same with it, chap. xxix. 10, 13. and xxx. 6, 11, 13. compared with Rom. X. 6-9. the life and blessing must needs bear the self-same relation to both. Now if the one of the two things pertain to the one covenant, it seems liighly probable that the other pertains to the other, and that there. fore it is the covenant of works. To a covenant the curse mentioned, chap. xxix. 21. does pertain. To that made in the land of Moab it could not. For being the same with the Abrahamic, there could be no curses in it. The covenant made with Abraham consisted of bless

« ForrigeFortsett »