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though visibly blessed, they were really accursed. The covenant of works was not, properly speaking, made with the Israelites, but only repeated, or delivered to them: that seeing its inexorable severity, they might the more gladly take hold of the covenant of grace. They were a mixed multitude in a moral sense, and at Sinai there was a mixed, or a twofold dispensation of law and grace. Believers were in the covenant of grace, unbelievers under that of works. The repetition of this covenant showed the one what they had escaped, the other what they might expect, if still abiding under it. The covenant of grace was offered to those who were under the covenant of works. Thus there was great beauty in dispensing these two covenants to the Israelites: and none of the embarrassments occur here, which necessarily attend the hypothesis of a third covenant, distinct from both. What some call a covenant of duties, cannot be a different covenant from that of grace. It is not one covenant which God makes with us, and another that we make with him. It is not lawful to make a covenant with him, different from that which he hath made with us.
4thly. From what has been said, it appears that the law was given at Sinai both as a covenant of works, and as a rule of righteousness to such as were under grace. The first of these has been proven at large. The other is obvious of itself. The law as a covenant bound such as were under it to take Jehovah, the God of Abraham, for their God. As a rule it obliged such as had already taken him, to continue, to increase in faith and obedience. To the one it was a covenant of works, to the other it could not be so, inasmuch as they were under another covenant. Nevertheless it could not but be a rule of obedience unto them, they being under law to a God in Christ. Since God bore a different relation to these two sorts of people, no marvel if his law did the same. To the one he was an offended judge, to the other a merciful father. Therefore to the one his law was a covenant, binding them over as transgressors to his curse; to the other it was
a rule, directing them as obedient children in his ways. This twofold consideration of the ten commandments as the law of works, and as the law of Christ, was perhaps intimated in their being twice written by Jehovah himself on tables of stone. The first tables were the work of God, Exod. xxxii. 16. which were broken in pieces, verse 19. called the tables of the covenant, Deut. ix. 9, 11, 15. The second tables were the work of Moses, the typical mediator, Exod. xxxiv. 1. and were laid up in the ark within the tabernacle, Exod. XXV. 16. xl. 20. The covering of the ark was the mercyseat, between the cherubims: whence a reconciled, a covenanted God gave responses; where he sat as on a throne, and where he met and communed with the typical mediator, Exod. xxv. 16-22. Thus the law was covered as with mercy. It was related not to the burning mount, but to the mercy-seat. No obscure intimation, I think, that it was not a covenant in the hand of an angry God, but a rule given out from the God of mercy, enthroned as on the mercy-seat t.
5thly. From what has been said, we may see the reason, I think, why the tables are called the tables of the covenant, Deut. ix. 9, 11, 15. and the command. ments, the words of the covenant, Exod. xxxiv. 28. Deut. iv. 13. They are so called, 1st. Because they contain the demands of the covenant of works. As that covenant they were delivered from mount Sinai, and as such they were given to Moses to be laid up in the ark, to signify the removing of that covenant from them, as to believers *. But 2dly. They are so
↑ It is also observable that the Decalogue, as it stands in the Hebrew Bible, has a double accentuation. The preface to the ten commandments, Exod. xx. 2. Deut. v. 6. stands both as a part of a sentence, joined to the first command, and also as an entire sentence, separated from it, and shut up by itself. (Boston on the Marrow, p. 58.) Whether this double accentuation, may intimate the twofold notion of the Decalogue as a covenant, and as a rule, I dare not say, especially as another passage of Scripture is doubly accented, viz. Gen. xxxv. 22. The true reason of this accentuation is perhaps a discovery reserved to the latter days, when knowledge shall be increased. Meanwhile I would prefer the above conjecture, to that of the Jewish Rabbies and some learned Christians. (Buxt. Thes. p. 59. Rob. Gramı. p. 53.)
* Boston on the Marrow, p. 98.
called from their relation to the covenant of 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 administration. 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 Israel, 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. e. the al
Brown's Causa Dei, vol 2. Lib. 4. Cap. 15.
mighty God to thee: and he immediately adds, walk before me, and be thou perfect, Gen. xvii. 1. The ef fectual 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 ple 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. Iša. 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
internal constitution, consists of promises only with respect to us. In its external administration and effectual 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 ciii. 18. And therefore some of the most judicious divines have called 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 sanctification. 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
* Boston's View of the Covenant of Grace, p. 283.