Book I: Chapter 26
- Additional Information
- Notes on the Electronic Edition
- You are currently reading the normalized version of this text. Normalized transcriptions provide a tidied-up view of the original text. Editorial interventions are applied to expand abbreviations and correct textual mistakes. Additions are silently included within the body text and deleted text is not displayed. Switching to the diplomatic view of this text will not result in any changes to this document since it does not have any additions, deletions or editorial regularizations.
- Revision History
- 20 March 2008
- Initial transcription by Elizabeth Sarah Kingston
- 30 June 2009
- Hebrew encoded by John Young
- 30 October 2010
- Updated to Newton V3.0 (TEI P5 Schema) by Michael Hawkins
- 1 October 2011
- Transcription audited by Michael Hawkins
- 20 March 2008
- Download THEM00326.xml and schema (advanced users only)
- Notes on the Electronic Edition
THE nature and process of renovation, so far as it is developed in this life, have been considered. We are now to trace its manifestation and exhibition in the covenant of grace.
The covenant of grace itself, on the part of God, is first declared Gen. iii. 15. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel;" compared with Rom. xvi. 20. "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." 1 John iii. 8. "for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." On the part of man its existence may be considered as implied from the earliest period at which it is recorded that mankind worshipped God.
The manifestation of the covenant of grace consists in its exhibition and its ratification. Both existed under the law, and both continue under the gospel.
Even under the law the existence of a Redeemer and the necessity of redemption are perceptible, though obscurely and indistinctly. Heb. ix. 8, &c. "the way into the holiest of all was not yet mademanifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing; which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances (or righteousness of the flesh), imposed on them until the time of reformation." Under the gospel both the Redeemer and the truth of his redemption are more explicitly understood. John i. 17. "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
The law of God is either written or unwritten.
The unwritten law is no other than that law of nature given originally to Adam, and of which a certain remnant, or imperfect illumination, still dwells in the hearts of all mankind; which, in the regenerate, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, is daily tending towards a renewal of its primitive brightness. Rom. i. 19. "God hath showed it unto them." v. 32. "who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." ii. 14, 15. "the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts."
Hence the law is often used for heavenly doctrine in the abstract, or the will of God, as declared under both covenants. Jer. xxxi. 33. "I will put my law in their inward parts." John x. 34. "is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" though the passagealluded to is found in the Psalms, not in the law properly so called.
The manifestation of this gratuitous covenant under the law was partly anterior to, and partly coincident with, Moses.
Even before Moses the law was already in part delivered, although not in a written form. Gen. iv. 3, 4. "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah." v. 26. "then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." vii. 1, 2. "thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation; of every clean beast," &c. viii. 20, 21, &c. "Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah." 2 Pet. ii. 5. "Noah, a preacher of righteousness." The same is said of the other patriarchs before Moses. Gen. xii. 4, 5. xiii. 18. xxv. 22. xxviii. 18. Ceremonial purification is likewise mentioned, xxxv. 2. "be clean and change your garments," Compare v. 14. Exod. xvii. 5.
A certain manifestation or shadowing forth of the covenant was exhibited under Moses, first, in the redemption from bondage by the liberation from Egypt under the guidance of Moses; secondly, in the brazen serpent, John iii. 14-16.
The symbols of expiation and redemption, both before and under Moses, were the sacrifices and the priests, Melchizedec and Aaron with his posterity. Heb. viii 5. " who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."
The Mosaic law was a written code consisting of many precepts, intended for the Israelites alone, witha promise of life to such as should keep them, and a curse on such as should be disobedient; to the end that they, being led thereby to an acknowledgment of the depravity of mankind, and consequently of their own, might have recourse to the righteousness of the promised Saviour; and that they, and in process of time all other nations, might be led under the Gospel from the weak and servile rudiments of this elementary institution to the full strength of the new creature, and a manly liberty worthy the sons of God. Heb. ix. 8, &c. as above.
Intended for the Israelites alone. Exod. xix, 5, 6. "if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Deut. iv. 45. "these are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt." 1 Kings viii. 21. "I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of Jehovah, which he made with our fathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt." Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. "he showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel: he hath not dealt so with anynation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them." This wall of partition between the Gentiles and Israelites was at length broken down by the death of Christ, Eph. ii. 14 "until which time the Gentiles were aliens from the whole of the covenant, v. 12. "being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." Acts xiv. 16, 17. "who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways: nevertheless he left not himself without witness," &c. xvii. 27, 28, 30. "that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us... the times of this ignorance God winked at."
With a promise of life; namely, temporal life, as is obvious from the whole of the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus. Lev. xviii. 5. "ye shall keep my statutes, which if a man do, he shall live in them." Deut. vi. 25. "it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us." Gal. iii. 12. "the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them." Though the law, however, does not promise eternal life, this latter seems to be implied in the language of the prophets. Zech. iii. 7. "I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by". Luke x. 25-28. See also below, on the resurrection.
A curse on such as should be disobedient. Deut. xxvii. 26. "cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them." Gal. iii. 10. "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the law to do them."<80>
Acknowledging the depravity. Rom. iii. 20. "by the law is the knowledge of sin." iv. 15. "the law worketh wrath." v. 20. "moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." vii. 5. "when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin which were by the law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." v. 7-9. "I had not known sin, but by the law-: but sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." v. 12, 13. "wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good: was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid: but sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." Gal. iii. 19. "wherefore then serveth the law? it was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made." Hence to those who are not yet regenerate, the law of nature has the same obligatory force, and is intended to serve the same purposes, as the law of Moses to the Israelites." Rom. iii. 19. "we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that were under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God," compared with i. 19. "that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it them."
The righteousness of the promised Saviour. Hence Christ's invitation, Matt. xi. 28. "come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" that is, from the curse of the law. Hence also the conflict in the mind of Paul while under thecurse of the law, and the thanks which he renders to God for the atonement of Christ; Rom. vii. 24, 25. "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" x. 4. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Gal. iii. 11. "that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident, for the just shall live by faith." v. 13. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." v. 21. "if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." v. 22. "but the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe;" concluded, that is, declared all guilty of sin. v. 24. "wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." 2 Cor. iii. 6. "the letter killeth," that is, the letter of the law (elsewhere called the elements) killeth, in other words, does not promise eternal life. Col. ii. 14. "blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us." Thus the imperfection of the law was manifested in the person of Moses himself; for Moses, who was a type of the law, could not bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, that is, into eternal rest; but an entrance was given to them under Joshua, or Jesus. Hence Peter testifies that eternal salvation was through Christ alone under the law, equally as under the gospel, although he was not then revealed: Acts xv. 10, 11. "why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." Heb. xiii. 8. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." For although, under the law, as many as were able to keep all the commandments were justified, the promise extended only to happiness in this life: Deut. vi. 24, 25. "Jehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Jehovah our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive," &c...... "and it shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments." But what neither the law itself nor the observers of the law could attain, faith in God through Christ has attained, and that even to eternal life.
See page 260, note 5.
'Melchisedec... incited to do so, first, by the secret providence of God, intending him for a type of Christ and his priesthood.' The likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 357.
'It cannot be unknown by what expressions the holy apostle St. Paul spares not to explain to us the nature and condition of the law, calling those ordinances, which were the chief and essential office of the priests, the elements and rudiments of the world, both weak and beggarly.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 91. 'St. Paul comprehends both kinds alike, that is to say, both ceremony and circumstance, under one and the same contemptuous name of 'weak and beggarly rudiments'. Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, IV. 338.
..... Therefore shall not Moses, though of God
Highly belov'd, being but the minister
Of law, his people into Canaan Lead;
But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,
His name and office bearing, who shall quell
The adversary serpent, and bring back
Through the world's wilderness long-wander'd man
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. Paradise Lost, XII. 307.