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to be bestowed, is the righteousness of faith, a righta eousness without works. This is forgiveness of sin. Romans iv. 6. “Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” This blessedness does not come upon the circumcision only, but upon the uncircumcision also.
The reader is probably now prepared to subscribe to the idea, that the new covenant, and the covenant which God established with Abraham, are the same. Perhaps no farther evidence of this need be adduced. But to remove all doubt, let us, with the analysis which has been given of the Abrahamic covenant in our recollection, briefly retrace the leading features of each, and see, if those which apply to the one, do not apply to the other also..
The promises of the Abrahamić covenant respected a natural and adoptive seed. So do the promises of the new covenant. Members of the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, are expressly the objects. — They are objects in the proper, primitive sense, as such. And that the same covenant extends to the adopted Gentiles, is evident, from the declaration of Paul, Ephesians i. 2-6. “ If ye have heard of the dispensation of the Grace of God, which is given me to youward ; how that by, revelation he made known unto me the mystery, which, in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now re. vealed unto his holy apostles, and prophets, by the Spirit ; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ, by the Gospel.”
The promises of the Abrahamic covenant were ab: solute, securing the holiness of those on whom they terminated, and so, as we have seen, are those of the new covenant.
In the former, sovereignty, in determining the objects of mercy, was expressed ; and so it is in the latter.
tonto me own und holy les shou
The latter holds forth and secures the righteousness of faith ; 'a righteousness without works; the nonimputation of sin ; " for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more ;" so does the former. This was eminently the blessing which rested upon Abraham, by virtue of that covenant, which God established with him. For it is expressly declared to be, the righteousness of faith, which was sealed to Abraham by circumcision. Romans iv. ll. Here let the reader recollect what has been said upon the righteous, ness connected with Abraham's faith ; and especially, let him carefully notice, by an inspection of the context, that the apostle is not speaking of the righteousness of Abraham's faith, as an exercise ; i. e. of the moral qualities of his faith, but of something, which, by faith, he found.
The Abrahamic covenant was the ministration of the Spirit ; and so is the new covenant.
The former brought the person, in whom it took ef. fect, into that relation, that God was actually his God; and so does the latter. • There was no curse wrought into the Abrahamic covenant ; nor is there any into the new covenant.
The former remains, or is everlasting , and the latter has the character, that it remaineth.
The former was confirmed of God in Christ; and so is the latter.
The execution of the one, is also the execution of the other. *
We conclude therefore, with certainty, that, agreebly to all that has been said upon the Abrahamic cove. nant, that and this are the same. The promises, objects, and Mediator of the covenant are the same ; and the covenant, as it takes effect, is the same. The Abrahamic covenant was then transmitted, and executed, through successive generations of the Isrealitish peo. ple, till the Messiah. And as certain as it was, it is till the secut the Sinaiceed, the
* “ I am apprehensive, that if the matter should be accurately examined, it would be found, that the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision, and the Sinai covenant, are not so very distinct as Pædobaptists seem to suppose,” Andrews's Vindication, page 34. The reader will judge,
still in operation, and is yet to have a more extended effect, with respect both to the house of Israel, and the Gentiles, than has hitherto been experienced, * The Sinai covenant, different in all the particulars which have been mentioned, was superinduced upon the covenant which God established with Abraham ; or, as the apostle expresses it, added. “Wherefore then," he asks, Galatians iii. 19,"serveth the law ?" And answers, f“ It was added because of trangressions, till the seed should come, to whom the promises were made." -Till the seed should come. This manner of expression proves, that the Sinai covenant was to continue only till the coming of the seed, the Messiah ; and then we know it was abolished. Hebrews viii. 13. “ In that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now, that which decayeth, and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away.”.
That which is added, may be removed at pleasure, and leave that to which it is added, as it was, before the addition was made. Hence, the apostle observes, Gal. iii. 17. “And this I say, that the covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” The Sinai cov. enant was like the first tabernacle, to which it is compared, Hebrews ix, 2. This was distinguished from the holiest of all. In the latter, was the mercy, seat ; not in the former. This 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.
* “ Though the covenant is called a new and second covenant, yet only with respect to the former administration of it under the legal dispen sation; and both administrations of it, under the law, and under the Gospel, are only so many exhibitions and manifestations of the covenant, under different forms, which was made in eternity." Gill's Reply to Clark, page 11.
The reason here given why the covenant is called a new one, is not the true reason ; for it is called new in contrast to the Sinai covenant. It might be new in this sense, and yet old as to its date in itself considered ; and there is full demonstration that it is old as eternity. This excepted, the passage accords entirely with our statement.
From what has been said, it appears, that though the Sinai covenant was law, and this law was sanc. tioned by the curse ; and though many of the reasonings of Paul, appear to have respect to it, in that light merely, it was not altogether legal, nor in any respect hostile to grace ; but, in coincidence with it, and op. erating in aid to it. Therefore, it was not the covenant of works. Such it is often yery erroneously represented to be. * Quite different is the account which Paul gives of it. Gal. iii. 21–24. “Is the law then a.
gainst the promises of God? God forbid. Wherefore, oil, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith.” To the law, as the basis of the covenant of Sinai, were appended prom. ises, altogether of a gracious nature. It is an act of great condescension and grace, for the holy God, to make promises, though they are but conditional, to guilty creatures ; especially when the promises em. brace the highest possible good, and the condition, is that obedience, which is obligatory, in itself, and prior to the annunciation of promise. t In its natural tendency, the Sinai covenant operated in aid to the Abrahamic covenant. To use the figure of the apostle, it was a schoolmaster, to lead those, to whom it was administer. ed, to Christ, who was the great confirmer of that cov. enant. The promises of it were founded in Christ's
*66 On the other hand that covenant which requires obedience, and promises blessings conditionally, is the covenannt of works." Andrews's Vindication page 37. " The truth is, that the Sinai Covenant, which was confessedly the constitution of the Jewish Church, was, in the nature of it, a covenant of works." Ib. page 69.
+ By condition, here, as it respects the Sinai covenant, is meant no more than what the apostle means, when he says, Hebrews iii. 14. “ For we are ma de partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." The legal Jews treated the Sinai covenant as conditional in a very different sense. They treated it in a manner which entirely excluded grace. But eondition, as suggested by the apostle in this passage, is perfectly evangelic. It applies to grace, as truly as to law. " Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelations iii. 20. Faith involves the in. scription of the law upon the heart. Christ is the end of the law; and he who hath Christ nath life. He who believeth shall be saved ; he who believeth not shall be damned. Jews and Gentiles must be obedient to law, or they cannot be saved. The law, though, not the principle of life, is still the narrow way. It is as much so to the Gentiles, as it ever was to the Jews. Faith does not make void the law ; yea, it establishes the law.
intervention; and grew out of that one eternal covenant, which all that is done for the salvation of the Church, in this world, does but execute. The priesthood, sacrifices, and ablutions, which this covenant ordained, were all typical of Christ, or referred to him. Hence, we are told, Hebrews iv. 2, that the Gospel was. preached unto them, as well as unto us. And hence, : Moses, with evident design to preclude the idea, that the blessing was to be expected upon a mere legal principle, expressly told the people, Deuteronomy ix. 4:“ Speak not in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out before thee, saying, For my righteousness, the Lord hath brought me to, possess this land; but for the wickedness of these nations, doth the Lord drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess this land ; but for the wicked. ness of these nations, doth the Lord thy God drive them out from before thee ; and that he may perform the word, which he sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The blessing proposed in the Si. nai covenant, if conferred at all, was to be conferred entirely by grace, and in fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant. The Sinai covenant, therefore, was very far from being the original covenant of works. The coyenant of works was wholly done away by the apostacy of the progenitors of our race. It could never be over. tured afterwards, as a foundation of hope, among any of their guilty descendants ; no, not upon the suppo. sition of their repentance. The covenant of works supposes those to whom it is proposed, to be innocent. The covenant of Sinai supposes that the objects of it are guilty. The covenant of works makes no provi. sion for pardon. The covenant of Sinai does. The covenant of works makes sinless obedience the condition of the blessing. The covenant of Sinai made provision for the forgiveness of sins, not yet committed; therefore the blessings of it were suspended upon obedience short of that which is absolutely sinless. Those who failed of entering the promised land, did not