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Testament he, in this sense remembers it no more, Heb. x. 16, 17, 18. There is no more offering for sin, no ceremonial sacrifices to upbraid the saints with the remembrance of their guilt as not yet expiated.
Though Old Testament saints were subjected to the ceremonies, and these ceremonies were related to the broken covenant of works, it will not follow that they were under the curse of that covenant. This they escaped by faith in him who was to come. Only they were held in a comparative kind of bondage, being every now and then obliged to acknowledge, as with their own hand-writing, in the blood of the sacrifices, that the broken covenant of works was not yet fulfilled. With this yoke their necks were galled, Acts xy. 10.
And therefore it was very different from that which Christ puts upon us under the New Testament, Matt. xi. 29, 30. In their sacrifices there was a remembrance of sin. In our sa. craments, especially that of the Supper, there is a remembrance of the Saviour, who has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25. Heb. ix. 26. In them there was an acknowledging of the debt: in this there is a shewing of the discharge, a shewing forth the death of the Lord. Thus while the Sinaitic dispensation of the covenant of works remained, the church was under a kind of bondage, from which she is now delivered. So our apostle teacheth, Gal. iv. 3, 4, 5. When we were children, we were in bondage under the elements of the world, but when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons: to redeem us not only from the curse, but from the ceremonies of the law. To blot out the hand-writing of ordinances, and to take it out of the way, nailing it to his triumphant cross, as part of the glorious spoil, Col. ii. 14. This, this is now part of that liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. The law can no more produce the handwriting against us. Before it can, it must draw that
nail which Christ did drive as to the head, and undo what he has done.
These things premised concerning the Sinaitic transaction in general, I now go on to show in a few particulars, how the Sinai covenant gendereth to bondage. And in the
1st Place, It gendereth to bondage, inasmuch as all who are under it, are subjected to the wrath and curse of God.
The children of that covenant are thereby the children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. thereby, for it being now a broken covenant, it can. not but adjudge all that are under it to the deserved
The curse however justly deserved by those who are in Christ, for their sins committed after union with him, does not hang over them: and that because they are not under the law, but under grace. Their sins have aggravations which cannot attend those of others: and therefore the true reason why the one class of offenders are exposed to the curse, and the other not, does not arise from the inequality of their sins, but from the very different tenour of the covenants whose children they are.
The one covenant saith, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. iii. 10.
Hence we read of the curses of the covenant, Deut. xxix. 21. The other covenant speaketh a very different language, Psalm lxxxix. 30–37. In the first covenant, a curse is denounced for every breach of the law. Such as are under the second, shall not be accursed for any, though chastised they will be. To be under the covenant of works, and not to be under the curse of God is impossible. Before that can be, either it must cease to accurse its transgressors, or they, though still abiding under
it, must find a way to evade its curse. 2dly. The Sinaitic covenant gendereth to bondage, inasmuch as all who are under it are subjected to the dominion of sin. The children of that covenant are to a man children of wickedness: slaves of sin. This we learn from that solemn saying of the apostle, Ron.. vi. 24. Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Here we are taught that the true reason why sin does not reign over a man, is because he is not under the law. And if so, then certainly all who are under it, are enslaved to sin. In this case the law has a double influence: the one proper, the other accidental: the one in respect of its curse, the other in respect of its irritation. Ву its curse it is a bar preventing the communications of sanctifying grace. Its great curse, comprehensive of every other, was death: death in being separated from God the sole source of life. A death not only for sin, in being tormented by his hand, but a death in sin, being deprived of his image. This, no less than the other, is part of the wages of the first sin. All there. fore who are under the curse, must in virtue thereof, continue under the power of sin too. The quickening, the purifying streams of the sanctuary do not run within the boundaries of the curse: at least the moment a dead sinner is quickened, he gets from under it. The law saith, Let him that is filthy be filthy still. And so indeed every sinner would remain, did not grace prevail against the law, and mercy rejoice over judgment. The law not only prevents the commimication of grace so long as its curse stands in fuil force, but it also irritates corruption. Its prohibitions have no other effect on the carnal heart than to stir up its corrupt lusts. Hearing what it forbids, sinners rush the more greedily into all manner of sin. Such the corruption of man, that the very forbidding of sin, is by him made a motive to commit it. When we were in the flesh, says the apostle, the motions of sin were by the law, Rom. vii. 5. Sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence: for without the law sin was dead: but when the commandment came, sin revived, verse 3, 9. The law is the strength of sin, 1 Cor. xv. 56. It not only gives it strength to expose the sinner to wrath, but also to reign over him, that he may conmit it more greedily.
3dly. The Sinai covenant gendereth to bondage, inasmuch as all who are under it, are subjected to the tyranny of Satan. Man for his offence being cast as into prison, is of course in the hands of the jailor. All the children of the broken covenant are the children of the devil, John viii. 44. Acts xii. 10. 1 John iii. 8, 9, 10, 12. Being of that evil one, in his slavery they toil all the day long. From one piece of it they may go to another, but to sordid slavery they are still subjected, and must, till they change masters. The prodigal may commence a miser, and the base libertine become a boasting legalist, but even in this case, the man becomes twofold more a child of hell than
And it is a dreadful truth, that the longer under the devil's power, the heavier are his chains. He insnares his children more and more, leading them captive at his will, 1 Tim. ii. 26. In his drudgery they are condemned to toil.
They draw iniquity with cords, and sin as with a cart rope, Isa. v. 18. And what though they boast of liberty, while bound with the chains of vice? that is only the rant of a bedlamite. Being entirely under the power of the strong man, there is an infernal peace within, Luke xi. 21. He does with them as the Philistines with Samson: puts out their eyes, and then makes sport with them, Judg. xvi. 21, 25.
4thly. The Sinaitic covenant gendereth to bondage, inasmuch as all who are under it are subject to bondage through fear of death. Death in its utmost extent is the portion of the sinner's cup. It is the threatening of the covenant, and as such it stands ready to take the covenant-breakers by the throat. . In its one hand there is a scythe to mow them down as cumberers of earth and time: in its other, a key to open the doors of eternity, to push them in, and to bolt the gates fast, fast, behind them. To them death, even the first death is a formidable foe, inasmuch as it turns them over to the second. Hence, at sight of it they cry out in anguish of soul, “ Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” They dare not think of death.
And no other refuge have they from its fear, while under the old covenant, than to flee the thoughts of it, and to work themselves into a thoughtless humour. The godly, I grant, are sometimes troubled with their doubts and fears, but still they have something to balance them. In their worst case they have some hair of hope. Having cast anchor within the vail, Heb. vi. 19. they are tossed no other ways than a ship at anchor. They are not in bondage. And generally in their case, at evening time it shall be light, Zech. xiv. 7. They have hope in their death, Prov. xiv. 32. whereas then the hope of the hypocrite shall be cut off like a spider's web, Job viii. 14. Christ came that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life. time subject to bondage, Heb. ii, 14, 15. All their lifetime, namely before their deliverance by Christ *.
5thly and Lastly. The Sinai covenant gendereth to bondage, inasmuch as all who die under it, shall suffer the most miserable bondage to eternity. Soon as they close their eyes in death, they shall lift them up in hell, among the spirits in prison, 1 Pet. iii. 19. They shalí be bound as with adamantine chains to the bottom of the burning lake. The boiling waves of unrelenting vengeance shall go over them to eternity. While there is justice in heaven, there shall be fire in hell: and while the Creator's arm is unwearied, they shall be unhappy. The sword of justice shall never return to its scabbard, never rest, nor be still. While countless ages roll on, it shall avenge the breach of the covenant.
By the covenant of works there is a twofold connection established; the one betwixt a state of sin and eternal death, the other betwixt acts of sin and eternal death. As to the latter it is dissoluble, and in the case of the believer actually dissolved: inasmuch as his sinful actions do not expose him to eternal death, howev.
Boston on the Marrow, p. (Mihi) 291,