صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

called from their relation to the covenant of grace. We neither say nor think that the Decalogue is the formula of the covenant of grace. The absurdity of that notion has been abundantly proved by others t. Yet we judge that from its inseparable connection therewith, the tables on which it was written, were called the tables of the covenant. That covenant may be considered two ways, either as to its internal and fundamental constitution, or as to its external administration to men. In the first respect it was made with Christ the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed. In the second, it is made with all that are called, Rom. ix. 4. In the first sense it comprehends all the promises, not only the conditional, but also the absolute, as those of the new heart, of faith, of repentance, of perseverance, and new obedience. In the second, the conditional promises are chiefly to be considered, viz. those of justification and of eternal glory, faith going before.the one, and holiness before the other.

To apply these observations to our subject, it is evident that the ten commandments belong to the covenant of grace, not in its internal constitution, but in its external admini. stration. In respect of the former, they are the subject matter of promises only, For the covenant bears that they shall be written in the hearts of the elect, Heb. viii. 10. In respect of the latter, they are a rule of duty to all that are in the covenant. As soon may the promises, the absolute promises, be torn from the constitution of the new covenant, as the ten commandments from its administration. As God cannot be our God, without performing his promise; as little can we be his people, without performing his commands: and therefore in the administration of the covenant, these two are inseparably joined. While in virtue of the gracious constitution of the new covenant, he saith to Isracl, I am thy God; in its holy and wise administration, he saith, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

So to Abram he saith, I am the almighty God, i. c. the al

+ Brown's Causa Dei, vol ?. Lib. 4. Cap. 15.

mighty God to thee: and he immediately adds, walk before me, and be thou perfect, Gen. xvii. 1. The effectual application of the covenant to a person or people, is in holy scripture, called making of a covenant, Gen. xv. 18. xvii. 2. Exod. xxiv. 8. xxxiv. 10, 27.2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isa. lv. 3. That covenant which was originally made with Christ for all his elect, is said to be made with them, when it is savingly applied to them. This appears from faith being its instrument or condition. It is a condition, not in the primary making of the covenant surely, for there it was promised; but in its application to the soul. As God's applying it to his people is called his making a covenant with them, so their cordial approbation of it is called their making a covenant with him, Psalm lv. 5. Isa. lvi. 4, 6. And in both these senses, the ten commandments are inseparable from it. In that he enjoins obedience to them: in this they engage to obey. As a covenanted God he commands: as a covenanted people they obey. While they receive his grace, they also submit to his authority. The ten commandments thus belonging to the application of the covenant, and that being called a making of the covenant, it appears how justly the tables on which they were written, are called the tables of the covenant, and the ark in which they were deposited, the ark of the covenant, Numb. x. 33. Heb. ix.

Hence also it appears in what sense believers may be said to keep, or to break the covenant, viz. in as far as they obey or disobey the ten commandments. According to the Psalmist, to keep God's covenant, is the same with remembering his commandments to do them, Psalm ciii. 18. For after the tenour of these words he hath made a covenant with his people, Exod. xxxiv. 27. i. e. it is only in a course of holy obedience to these ten commandments, that they can expect the application of covenant blessings. Compare Christ's declaration, John xiv. 23. If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. To conclude this point. The covenant of grace in its

4.

internal constitution, consists of promises only with respect to us. In its external administration and effec. tual application, it has commandments also. In that sense it is a covenant of promise, Eph. ii. 12. In this it is full of commandments, Psalm ciji. 18. And therefore some of the most judicious divines have call. ed the laws of the ten commandments, the laws of the covenant *.

6thly and Lastly, on this part of the subject, we may learn the various uses and relations of the law to man in whatever state. 'There ever was since his creation, and there ever will be, some relation betwixt the law and him. As soon may he be deprived of existence, as freed from subjection to the law in some sense. It may be divested of one relation, but it never can of all. The moment it ceases to have one relation, it is clothed with another. To know these different relations, and the various powers, uses and effects issuing from them, is no contemptible attainment, worthy the attention of the Christian, and most conducive to a holy and a comfortable life. Man in innocence was under the blessing of the law: in a state of nature he is under its curse: in a state of grace he is under its direction, and will be in that of glory. It ever attends him as an inseparable companion. It not only prepares the elect-man for Christ, its plough-share tearing open the heart and fitting it for the incorruptible seed: but when regenerated by Christ, it directs him in the ways of the Lord. Before union with Christ, it was an instrument of the spirit of bondage to cast down and to bruise the man: after union it is the instrument of the Spirit of adoption to promote sanctifica. tion. Thus the law leads to Christ, and Christ leads us back to the law. It leads to him as to a Redeemer, he to it as a guide and director of life. While we kept it, we enjoyed its blessing. Having broken it, we became obnoxious to its curse. Being redeemed from its curse, we are notwithstanding subjected to its com

a

Boston's View of the Covenant of Grace, p. 283.

Nn

mands. It commands, not as a covenant to be thereby justified or condemned: but as a rule to be thereby guided into the way of peace. And while we look to the tables of the law as the rule of duty, we must look to the cross of Christ for assistance and acceptance

in duty,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth unto

bondage.

HE

The fifth and last thing proposed, was to shew how the Sinai covenant gendereth to bondage. These are the two covenants, saith the text, the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth unto bondage, viz. unto bondage of state, and bondage of spirit, Rom. viii. 2, 15. We need scarcely observe that bondage is oppo. site to liberty, as fear to boldness. Whatsoever tends to fill the mind with a forbidding fear, gendereth to bondage, because fear hath torment, 1 John iv. 18. But not to anticipate what will occur more naturally in its proper place, I beg leave to make two remark's before I show how the Sinaitic covenant gendereth to bondage. And the First is,

The very manner in which the Sinaitic covenant was given, gendereth to bondage. Every circumstance at. tending that transaction was calculated to fill the minds of the Israelites with terror. The mount was railed around by Jehovah's "express command. And whosoever touched the border of the hill, was to die, were it man or beast, Exod. xix. 12, 13. Heb. xii. 20.

« السابقةمتابعة »