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$ 5. His Lordship says, That the idea of a covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic System. 'God was pleased, both by the law * and by the gospel, to enter into covenant with "his chosen people the Jews and Christians; i to promise reward to the obedient, and to 4 threaten punishment to the disobedient. But neither in the law nor in the gospel, does he promise certain and infallible salvation, or threaten absolute and inevitable perdition, to any number, or to any description, of persons, except as they shall or shall not comply with • the expressed conditions. Under both cove
nants, the rewards and punishments are made ' to depend upon the voluntary conduct of each • individual.—The very idea of Covenant is inconsistent with the Calvinistic system. Cove,
nant implies conditions ; absolute decrees re'ject all conditions.
A covenant says, you shall have such and such a reward, if you act ' in the manner stipulated ; absolute decrees
say, that it is irreversibly determined by the 'arbitrary will of God, that you shall or shall 'not be saved, without any respect to your con• duct.'* Now setting aside all irritation which might be excited by such a statement of Calvinism, -as our object
as our object is truth, and as the best way to it is calm investigation with
* Refut. p. 226.
meekness and fear;" let us impartially examinę this account.
$ 6. The Calvinists, as a general body, believe that the word covenant in Scripture (11992, 66cc6rxn, fædus) is used, like most other terms, in different acceptations according to the subject and connexion. It often denotes a grant of some privilege, as to Noah, Abraham and his posterity, &c.; and sometimes it signifies the sign or seal by which that grant was represented and confirmed, as the rainbow, circumcision, &c. : but most properly an agreement between two or more parties is expressed by it, an agreement which is either expressly made, or tacitly implied. In this latter sense we consider the existence of a Covenant between the Father and the Son, respecting human redemption. We think that our blessed Saviour voluntarily engaging to humble himself to become incarnate " for us men and for our salvation,” and * obedient unto death, the accursed death of the cross,” contained the nature of a federal condition, on the performance of which he acquired a right of suretyship to give eternal life to as many as the Father gave him to be redeemed, to confer“ gifts upon men, yea the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.”. By his acts of humiliation, from the womb to the grave, being in every step a
perfect character, he paid a price of redemption, in virtue of which he is invested with all power and authority in heaven and earth.
7. We also believe that a Covenant was implied between God and the first Man. The Condition of it was perseverance in that state of rectitude in which he was created. The first transgression was a breach of Covenant; and consequently the favours which depended on the condition were forfeited. The nature of the case excluded the possibility of this or a similar Covenant with man to be repeated, except with one who was originally free from sin. Hence the necessity, the conditional necessity, of the immaculate conception of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, and of his continuing "holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners:” and hence he received the Spirit without measure, not only for himself but for others. Out of his fullness, who is made head over all things to his church, all his spiritual members receive, “and grace for
$ 8. That God entered into Covenant with Abraham and his posterity the Jews, needs no formal evidence. The condition of it was willing obedience; and while the benefits of compliance were many, the threatenings for non
compliance were awful and tremendous. Merciful promises were interwoven with the whole Mosaic code, and in no instance were they exempt from performing the equitable conditions, including faith and repentance, love and obedience. The Christian church also is dealt with in the way of a Covenant, with conditions and sanctions. The basis of it, as addressed to mankind, is divine mercy testified, in virtue of our blessed Saviour's adequate price of redemption. The conditions are,-if we would obtain pardon, it must be on our unfeigned repentance; if we would be justified, it must be on our believing with the heart God's testimony concerning Jesus; if we would be saved, it must be in the way of unreserved obedience to God's revealed will; if we would be happy, it must be in the way of holiness. This is our notion of a covenant and its conditions. Now what is there in this Calvinistic system inconsistent with the idea of a covenant?' The mischief, it seems, lurks out of sight. But what is it? When all were disabled by sin to perform the conditions equitably required, we further hold, that some are enabled to perform the required conditions by special favour and purpose. God foresaw that all with one consent would fail in performing them, if left to themselves, with nothing more than promises and sanctions, or a declaration of an all-sufficient Saviour,
blessings on compliance, and misery on refusal; and therefore determined that the covenant should not be without effect. “My counsel shall stand, and I will do my pleasure." " He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.”
$ 9. That God was pleased, under different dispensations, 'to promise reward to the obe• dient, and to threaten punishment to the dis* obedient,' is so very plainly taught in scripture, that no person of common understanding is ever likely to controvert it; beside that the equity of the case carries its own evidence of propriety. Destitute as Calvinists may be of penetration in other things, and especially the moderns, the enthusiasts of the present day,'* they are very willing to admit the idea of a Covenant, and of course the conditions' which belong to it. They also can distinguish between a promise and a purpose; and that the former is never. connected, properly speaking, with ‘cer. *tain and infallible salvation' to any who'shall 'not comply with the expressed conditions.' Much less do they suppose that · absolute and inevitable perdition is threatened to any num'ber, or to any description, of persons, except as
Refut. p. 171.