RPM, Volume 17, Number 12, March 15 to March 21, 2015

Systematic Theology

By R. L. Dabney, D. D., LL. D.

Chapter 33: The Covenant of Grace

God's Remedy.
Terms defined.
Covenant of Redemption, Proof of.
How related to the Covenant of Grace.
The Original Parties to the Covenant.
Motives of God to the Covenant.
Conditions Pledged, by Christ, by the Father.
Instrumental Condition required of Men.
Faith the only condition.
One in all Ages.
Opinion of Socinians, of Anabaptists, of Remonstrants thereon.
Two Dispensations, why?
The Gospel Preached to Adam.
The Development of Grace.
A Mediator.
Sacrificial Types.
Additional Revelations to Patriarchs, Eternal Life Promised.
Covenant of Sinai, not a Covenant of Works.
True Nature of this Covenant.
Difference of Old Dispensation from New.
No Limbus Patrum.
Old Testament Saints Redeemed at Death.
[Lectures 36 & 37 & 38]

Note: some of the "words" in the original text in unintelligible. We have left the original "words" just as they are presently found in the text.

Section Five�"God's Relationship with His People
Chapter 33: The Covenant of Grace

Syllabus for Lectures 36 & 37 & 38:

1. What are the Scriptural uses of the terms tyriB and diaqhkh? What are the theological uses of the terms, "Covenant of Redemption," "Covenant of Grace'?
See Conf. of Faith, ch. 7. Sh. Cat., Qu. 20. Larder Cat., Qu., 31. Lexicons, sub vocibus. Sampson on Heb., 9:I6. Southern Presb. Rev., Jan., 1876. Hodge's Theol., Vol. 2, ch. 2 of pt. 2. Hill's Div., bk. 5, ch. 5, 1. Turrettin, Loc. x2, Qu. 1. Dick. Lect. 48.

2. Prove the existence of a Covenant of Redemption. How related to the Covenant of Grace, and the Diaqhkai?
See Turrettin, Loc. x2, Qu. 2. Dick, Lecture 48. Hodge as above. Witsius, bk. 2, ch. 2.

3. Who are the original parties to the Covenant of Redemption? Their motives for whom is Christ surety? See same authorities.

4. What are the conditions stipulated between the Parties? Is any condition required of the believer? What? Faith? or also repentance?
Dick, Lecture 48, 49. Hodge as above. Turrettin, Qu. 3 and 2.

5. What is the date and duration of the Covenant? Explain, then, the terms "new "and "old "in Heb. 8:8, or 12:24. Turrettin and Dick as above. Hodge, Com. on 1 Cor. 15:24-28. See, on the whole, Witsius, bk. 2, ch. 2, 3.

Lectures 27 & 28:

1. Has God ever had more than one covenant with man since the fall? What is the opinion of the Socinians hereon? Of Anabaptists? Of Remonstrants?
Turrettin, Loc. x2, Qu. 5, 1—4, for statements, and 5 to end for Arguments. Racovian Catechism. Witsius, bk. i2, ch 1, 2. Hodge's Theol., pt. i2, ch. 2, 6.

2. Under how many Dispensations has the Covenant been administered And why so many?
Turrettin, Qu. 7. Witsius, bk. i2, Qu. 3. Ridgeley, Qu. 30, 33. Hodge..18 above, 7.

3. How much of the Covenant was revealed to the Antediluvians A Mediator Sacrificial Types Prove that Gen. 3:15 is a Protevangel.
Turrettin, Qu. 7, Il—17. Heb. 11:4. Witsius, bk. 4, ch. I, 2. Dick, Lect. 50. Knapp, 8991. Ridgeley, Qu. 30, 33. Discourses of Redemption Dr. S. Robinson.

4. What are some additional revelations from Abraham to Moses Prove that Abraham's was also a Covenant of Grace. Does the Pentateuch reveal a promise of Eternal Life?
Turrettin, Qu. 7, 18 to end. Calvin's Inst., bk. 2, ch. 10. Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses. Knapp and Ridgeley as above.

5. What farther developments of the Covenant of Grace were made by the Mosaic Economy?
Turrettin, Loc. x2, Qu. 7, 24—26. Witsius, bk. i2, ch. 3; bk. 4, cdl. 4, Ridgeley, Qu. 33, 34, 1. Knapp, go 91.

6. What was the true nature of the Covenant made by God with Israel at Sinai, through Moses?
Turrettin, Qu. 12. Calvin, bk 2, ch. 7, 10. Witsius as above, and bk. 4, ch. 10. Ridgeley, QU 34, 35.

7. How do the Old and New Dispensations differ inter se?
Turrettin, Qu. 7, 27 to end, and Qu; 28. Calvin, bk. 2, ch. to, 49. Witsius bk. 4, ch. 12,13. Ridgeley, Qu. 34, 35.

8. Do the Scriptures teach a limbus Patrum? And were Old Testament believers glorified at their death or not?
Turrettin, Qu. 10 11; Qu. 9, 1—11. Knapp, 150. Catech. Rom. pt., ch. 6, Qu. 1—6. Knapp, 96. Witsius, bk. 4, ch. 12 On the whole Fairbairn's Typology.

1. Covenant of Grace God's Remedy.

God having created man upright, and he having sought out many inventions, and thus fallen into sin; our next inquiry must be into the remedy which God's love and mercy found for this fall. This remedy, in its exhibition, was of course subsequent to the ruin, but when we consider it in its inception in the Divine mind, we must go back into the recesses of a past eternity. God ever foreknew all things, and all His works, unto the end, are according to His original, eternal plan. Conceiving of God's eternal decree then in parts, (the only mode of conception of it competent to our finite minds,) we must consider that part of His plan formed from eternity, which was implied in that other part of the same plan whereby He purposed to permit man's fall and ruin. This remedial part of God's decree is the thing which the more recent Calvinistic divines term the Covenant of Grace�"e. g., Dick.

Identical With Decree.

When it is thus considered, as a part of the Decree, we are enabled to condense much of the discussion and proof concerning it, given by the theologians, and to say in brief, that being such, the Covenant of Grace must of course possess those general properties which we asserted of the Decree; and for the same reasons, eternity, immutability, wisdom, freeness, absoluteness, graciousness.

When we come to the Scriptures, we find a frequent use of the words rendered in our English version, "Covenant," "Testament," applied to transactions of God with men, through their Surety, Jesus Christ. Before we can proceed farther in the connected evolution of the subject, the proper meaning of these terms must be examined; tyriB], diaqhkh. The former of these words, both by its etymology and usage, is shown to mean "covenant," or "agreement;" being often used to express theologically, God's covenants with man, and naturally, compacts between individuals. There are also cases in which it means an arrangement or disposition of matters determined on, Ex. 34:28; Jer. 33:20. It must be remarked, that the word currently used by the Septuagent to render this, is diaqhkh. This fact would naturally lead us to attribute to it in the New Testament, the same meaning of disposition or covenant. It is admitted that the meaning so often given to it by our English version of "testament," (will) is the primary etymological meaning in classic Greek. But there is only one case, (Heb. 9:16) where that meaning is supportable. Thus, when Christ is said by the English version to be "a surety of a better testament," (Heb. 7:22) there is an obvious incongruity between the office and the document. Wills do not have sureties. When the same version says, (1 Cor. 11:25) "This is my blood of the New Testament," the words, kainh" diaqhkh", imply the Old, to which the character of a testament is inappropriate. But in Heb. 9:16, 17 the meaning of "Testament" is to be retained, (against McKnight, Hill and others.) For, if their rendering be attempted, making the passage allusive to a covenant ratified by an animal sacrifice, three insuperable critical difficulties arise, that if diaqhkh" means covenant, diaqemenon should mean the "covenanter, i.e., God the Father, (Christ being the ratifying sacrifice). But the Father did not die; that nekro" cannot be properly used to describe dead animals sacrificed, and that the passage would then be made to, assert too much, for it is not universally true, that compacts were only of force anciently, after the death of a sacrifice to solemnize them (See Sampson's Com. in loco). Hence we assert that the statement of our Confession of Faith is substantially correct, that the Scripture does set forth the dispensation of God's grace to man under the idea of "a testament," though perhaps not "often," as is said there. Their assertion refers to the English version.

The terms are used then, in their general or theological sense. First, by theologians, and probably by Scripture, (Hos. 6:7) for the Covenant of works with Adam. Second, for the Abrahamic dispensation. Third, for the Mosaic dispensation. Fourth, for the new or Christian dispensation (Not covenants, but dispensations; for we shall show that there is only one covenant, besides that of works).

2. In What Respects A Covenant?

If there is any gospel remedy for sin, then there must have been, from eternity, such a remedial plan in the Divine mind. But the question is, was this part of the eternal decree, in any proper sense a covenant? Has it properly the form of an eternal compact between persons of the Trinity? This is purely a question of Revelation, to be decided not so much by finding the words, covenant, compact, agreement, applied to it in Scripture, as the substance of the thing asserted. Calvinists hold that in the one, eternal decree of the Trinity, which is one in essence and attributes, and harmonious in will and thought, this remedial purpose (or part of the plan) has from eternity held the form of a concert or agreement between the Father and the Son, for the redemption of believers. But here we must carefully avoid confusing the subject, by giving to this immanent transaction of the Trinity all the technical features of a "covenant." Thus some divines have erred, especially of the Cocceian school. Obviously, we must not conceive of it, as though the one party produced in the other a willingness to do what he had not previously purposed, by exhibiting a certain reward or compensation, not before exhibited. Nor must we conceive that the second party produces, by his fulfillment of the conditions, a fixed purpose to bestow the given compensation, the purpose to do so having been hitherto uncertain. Nor, in a word, that there is any contingency on either hand, holding the purposes of either party suspended in doubt on the promising or doings of the other party. But it has always been certain from eternity, that the conditions would be performed, and the consequent reward would be bestowed, because there has always been an ineffable and perfect accord in the persons of the Trinity on those points; an accord possessing all the absoluteness of the other parts of the decree. Our limited understandings, of course, cannot fully understand the acting of the divine, triune spirit; seeing its constitution is inscrutable to us. This is perhaps as near as we, can come to the conception designed to be given us.

Scriptural Proofs of A Covenant of Redemption.

The Scriptural proof of such an immanent, eternal transaction between the Father and Son, is the following. First, inferentially, Eternal life was not only purposed to be bestowed, but, "promised, before the world began"�"Tit. 1:2. To whom, for man did not yet exist? To Christ, for believers. Compare Eph. 1:4. Again, Christ is clearly implied to bear a federal relationship; as in 1 Cor. 15:22, 47, 45; Rom. 5:17, 18. Our first federal head entered into covenant on our behalf; we infer that our second has; He would else not fulfill the idea of a federal person at all. Again, Christ is expressly called the Surety of a diaqhkh. Heb. 7:22. But a surety is one who voluntarily enters under the obligations of a compact on behalf of another. Many other passages would ground a similar inference; the student has now had sufficient examples how to use them. Note all conditional promises. To believers, to Christ. These are of nature of covenants.

Second, many express passages describe (not always in the use of word covenant et similia, but in substance) such an eternal agreement. See Is. 13:6; 49:8; Matt 3:1; especially Ps. 40:7, 8, as quoted by Heb. 10:5. This covenant of Christ is unfolded by other Scriptures under the specific heads of His three offices�"e.g., Prophetic: Is. 61:1, 2; Priestly: Isaiah 53:10, 11; Ps. 110:4, John 10:17, 18: Kingly; Ps. 2:7, 8, 110:6, Luke 22:29, Zech. 6:13. Witsius somewhat fancifully argues also, that Christ's partaking of the Sacraments of the Old Testament could only have been to seal His covenant of redemption with His Father.

2. I hold that this subject cannot be treated intelligibly without distinguishing the covenant existing from eternity between the Father and Son, from that Gospel promise of salvation on terms of true faith offered to sinners through Christ. Many of our divines have agreed to retain this distinction, and to name the former covenant, for convenience' sake, the "Covenant of Redemption," while they call the Gospel promise to believers, "Covenant of Grace." To these I heartily accede. The Covenant of Redemption between the Father and Son, I hold to be the real covenant transaction, being a free and optional compact between two equals, containing a stipulation which turns on a proper, causative condition, and bearing no relation to time, as it includes no mutable contingency or condition dependent on the uncertain will of creatures. The Covenant of Grace (so called) is a dispensation of promise to man, arising out of and dependent on the Covenant of Redemption. Dr. John Dick seems to use the phrase Covenant of Grace, in a sense comprehensive of both transactions, and to assert that there is no use for the distinction. Turrettin, Witsius, and our Confession employ the same phrase in the sense of the Gospel promise to believing sinners, made through Christ as surety. See Confession ch. 7.; Shorter Catechism qu. 20. It is true that the Larger Catechism, qn. 31, verges nearer to the distinction and the recognition of a prior Covenant of Redemption with Christ saying. "This Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in Him."

Now, I repeat, the distinction which Dick repudiates, and which so many others obscure, is essential. It is true that the covenant with believing men is the consequence and sequel of that eternally made with Christ, and that the promises published in the former are the fruit of Christ's action in fulfilling the latter. In that sense the transactions are intimately connected. But the value and necessity of the distinction are easily evinced against Dr. Dick, by such questions as these: Is Christ a party to the Covenant of Grace? Or is man the party of the second part? Here Dr. Dick must be fatally embarrassed. In the Covenant of Grace with man Christ is not party, but surety True. But unless there is some party to the transaction less mutable, feeble and guilty than believing sinners, man's prospect of deliverance is gloomy indeed! Yet it seems inconsistent to make the same Person both principal party and surety in the same transaction! I can give the solution which Dick could not. In the eternal Covenant of Redemption, Christ is principal party, in the Covenant of Grace, He is surety. Again, is the Covenant conditioned or unconditioned? Here also, Dick is fatally entangled. Will he say it is conditioned, and thus ascribe to the sinner's faith an efficient merit? Or will he say it is unconditioned, and thus defraud us of hope with an unbought redemption? I can answer. The Covenant of Redemption was conditioned, on Christ's meritorious work. The Covenant of Grace is unconditioned and its benefits are offered to believers without price.

To my view Turrettin has given his virtual support, though in a rather inconsistent fashion. After beginning with the one definition of a Covenant of Grace, eternal and yet made with man in a surety, in Qu. 2 pg. 12, he raises the question whether this Covenant of Grace was made by the Father with Christ as the other contracting party (for man's benefit), or whether it is made with the body of believers as the second party, in Christ as a "Pars Media." His answer is, that "the debate is superfluous. because the thing comes to the same." But he adds, just after; "Certum est duplex hic pactum necessario attendendum esse vel unius ejusdemque pacti duas parses et gradus. Prius pactum est quad inter Patrem et Filium intercedit ad opus redemptionis exequendum. Posterius est. quad Deus cum electis in Christo contrahit. Witsius is more lucid, and so more consistent. After stating that God's Covenant of Grace with man is the remedy for the broken Covenant of Works, he pauses, and begins his 2nd chapter. "De pacts Dei Patris et Filii.

Ut Faederes Gratia natura penitius perspecta sit, duo imprimis distincte consideranda sunt. I. Pactum, quod enter Deum Patrem et Mediatorem Christum intercedit. II. Testamentaria illa Dispositio qua Deus salutem? electis, et omnia eo l pertintia immutabili? addicit. Prior Conventio Dei cum Mediatore est. Posterior Dei cum Electis. Haec illam supponit, et in fundatur. "

3. Original Parties To the Covenant.

The original parties to the Covenant of Redemption are the Father and the Son. It is plausibly urged by Dick, that in this transaction, the Father acted not only for Himself, as one person of the Trinity, but for the whole Godhead, as representative of the offended majesty of the three persons equally. His reason is, that all the persons being similar in attributes and dignity, must be conceived of as all alike offended by man's sin and guilt; and alike demanding the reconciling intervention of a Daysman; the Holy Spirit as much as the Father. It must be confessed that Dick cannot present any scriptural direct proof of this view, but it seems reasonable. The Father on the one part, then, acts as the representative of the Godhead, Christ as the representative of the elect. The question is raised by Dick. Is Christ surety for man to God only, or for God also to believers? He answers, not for God to believers, because this is derogatory to God, as implying that His fidelity and mercy need or admit of any higher warrant than His own word. (But see Turretin, Loc. cit. 16.) Does not God make known His fidelity as a promiser of pardon and life, and His mercy, precisely through this surety, as the prophet of the Covenant? Would man be any otherwise warranted to hope for any mercy? Further, the fact that God's goodness to us needs and admits of any certifying by a surety, results from nothing discreditable to God, but from something discreditable to us our guilty mistrust. That God, who deserves to be trusted on His mere word, should condescend to give us warranty of His fidelity in the message, death and sacraments of His Son; this is His amazing grace and goodness (see 1 Tim. 1:16). And are not the sacraments seals? Does not Christ in them act as surety for God to us?

To the question whether believers are also parties in the Covenant of Grace, no better answer can be given than that of Turrettin, 12. In the eternal sense of the Covenant, they were not parties; in the sense of its exhibitions in time, they are parties; i. e., in their surety.

4. The Covenant Eternal.

The Covenant of Redemption being, as regards the Father and the Son, but a part of the single Decree, must be as eternal as that Decree. It began in the counsels of a past eternity and in, one sense, its administration will extend (if not in the media offices of the Surety, at least in the communications of grace,) to a future eternity. In proof of its eternity, see Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:20. Hence the Covenant can only be one, and therefore it can only be spoken of as "first" and "second" (e. g., Heb. 8:7,) or "old" and "new" (Heb. 8:8; 12:24) with reference to its forms of manifestation.

Motives of God To the Covenant. The Father Not Persuaded By the Son To It.

Having considered the Godhead (represented in the Father,) and Christ, as the original parties to this covenant, the question naturally arises. What motive prompted them to this dispensation of amazing love and mercy? The only consistent answer is, their own will, moved by their own intrinsic benevolence, compassion and other attributes.

To this agree all the passages of Scripture which describe God's electing love as free and unprocured by anything in man (Rom. 9:11, 16) because our election is but the embracing of us in the Covenant of Grace, Eph. 1:4. This is equally substantiated by the argument that God could not be moved by foreseen good in us, to embrace us in this covenant, because the only foreseen good in us was that which was to result from the administration of the grace of that very covenant. It cannot be said that man's misery was more than the occasion of God's purpose in forming this Covenant of Grace, for if we supposed it the procuring, or efficient cause, the misery of nonelect men and angels ought equally to have procured a Covenant of Grace towards them also.

Some have misrepresented the truth hereupon by teaching that Christ's undertaking to satisfy the law in man's stead is the procuring cause of God's purpose of mercy towards man. The error of this view is evident from this consideration that, Christ would be originally more benevolent and merciful than the Father. But they are equal and harmonious originally, in this, as in all other excellencies. The true statement is, that Christ's promise of a vicarious righteousness was necessary to enable the Father's purpose of mercy to be effectuated consistently with other attributes: that purpose being precisely as original and uncaused in the Father as in the Son.

5. Conditions Pledged By Christ�"Just What Man Owed. 1St. Obedience.

Dick has very happily simplified the question, "What were the conditions bargained by the Son to the Godhead, on behalf of His people?" by considering Him as placed precisely in His people's room and stead. (Lec. 49) He bargained to do precisely what they should have done, to supply precisely "their lack of service." The intrinsic righteousness of the rules imposed on man in the Covenant of Works, as being exactly what they ought to have been, and the immutability of God's nature, show that whoever came forward to be their surety, must expect to have to undertake precisely what was incumbent on them in that covenant. The first part of this obligation was to a life of perfect obedience. This life Christ rendered (see, e.g., 17:5). A class of theologians has rejected the idea that Christ's active obedience was vicarious, and is imputed to His people. While this question will come up more naturally when we discuss the subjects of Satisfaction and Justification, we may briefly remark of it now, that the consideration above offered is obviously in favor of the Calvanistic view. Besides, when the Messiah is represented as saying, "A body hast thou prepared me," (Ps. 40:6, 8 quoted; Heb. 10:5, 10) it is surely a very contracted and perverse interpretation, to suppose that He was clothed with humanity only with reference to one and the last act of His humanity, and that the general phrase, "I come to do Thy will," is to be understood only of the single act of offering His flesh (see also Gal. 4:4, 5).

2Nd. Penalty.

While man was still bound to perpetual obedience, he came under penalty, yet failed to render it. Therefore, our Surety conferred to bear that penalty in His people's place, as clearly stated in Isaiah 3:5, 6 and 2 Cor. 5:2. Some have supposed that there is an incompatibility between the first and second condition; that if the penalty for a neglected obedience is paid, law has no longer any claim for that obedience. This represents the relation between the law and penalty, erroneously. God does not accept the penalty as an equivalent for obedience, in the sense that either the one or the other satisfies the demands of the Law and of His nature, alike well. His relation to His rational creatures demands of them, by an inevitable and perpetual demand, perfect obedience, and if that fails, penalty also. But waiving this, does not the believer, having paid for his past delinquency owe a perpetual and perfect obedience for the future? And can he render it in the flesh? Hence his surety must render it for him, as well as pay the penalty.

3D. The Offices of Mediator.

We may say scripturally, that Christ bargained, among all other compliance's with His Father's will, to do as Mediator, all those things pertaining to His prophetic and kingly offices necessary on His part, to the salvation of the elect. He undertook their instruction, guidance, protection and conquest to Himself. Weigh John 17:12—14, for instance, where our Savior speaks of His agency in instructing and guiding His disciples as of a fulfilled compact (see also, Ps. 22:22).

Conditions Pledged By the Father.

Passing now to the other side of the compact, we may say that the Godhead, represented in the Father, engaged on His side, to the Son, to clothe Him with humanity for the fulfillment of His task, (Ps. 40:6) and to endue Christ plenteously with gifts and graces therefore, (Is. 49:2; 61:1, 2) to uphold Him under His heavy task, (Is. 13:1—7) to give Him an elect seed as the sure reward of His labors, (Is. 49:6; 53:10) and to bestow His royal exaltation, with all its features of glory. (Ps. 2:6; Phil. 2:9, 10). As there is a secondary sense, in which God, in unfolding His eternal Covenant of Grace, bargains with man, so there is a sense in which there are terms proposed between God and believers also. It may be remarked in general, that there is a sense in which a part of the benefits promised to Christ are promised through Him also to His people, and a part of the blessings covenanted to them, are honors and rewards to Him. Thus His mediatorial graces are their gain, and their redemption is His glory. Hence, this division between benefits covenanted to His people, and those covenanted to Christ, cannot be sharply carried out.

6. The Covenant of Grace; Condition Required of Men.

When we consider the covenant as between God and believers, however, it is evident that there are terms bargained between them. These may be found briefly expressed in the words so often repeated, and obviously intended to be so significant in Scriptures; Gen. 17:7; Jer. 31:33; Rev. 21:3. "I will be their God, and they shall be My people." In this covenant God briefly bargains, on His part, to be reconciled to believers, and to communicate Himself to them as their guide, light, consolation, and chief good. They, on their part, are held bound to the correlative reconciliation, grounding their weapons of rebellion and exercising the spirit of adoption, to a life of self-consecration and obedience, to separation from the world of His enemies, and conformity of heart and life to God's will. It is true, that the transaction of Gen. 17 is rather ecclesiastical than spiritual, but the spiritual is always included and represented in the outward.

The full and blessed significance of this formula will not be apprehended, unless we consider that it is not used in Scripture once, but as often as the covenant of grace proposed or renewed. Compare not only Gen. 17:7, 8, but Ex. 20:; 29:45; Deut. 5:2, 3, 6; Jer. 24:7; 30:22; 31:33; Ezek. 11:20; Zech. 13:9. And in the New Testament, 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8, 10, and Rev. 21:3. We thus see from this emphatic repetition, that these words are the summary of all the blessings and duties arising out of the gospel relation. They are common to both dispensations. They reappear as a grand "refrain," whenever the prophets sing most triumphantly the blessings of the covenant, until we hear them for the last time as the song of the ransomed and glorified Church. This relation thus expressed is to be understood then, not as the general one of Creator and creature; sovereign proprietor and servant, but as the special and gracious relation established in the Mediator by the Gospel. In it God promises to be to believers all that is implied in their redemption and eternal adoption, while the believer is held bound to all that is implied in faith and repentance.

Faith the Only Condition.

The question then arises whether all the graces and duties of the Christian life may be accounted as conditions of the Covenant of Grace. If so, is it not reduced again to another Covenant of Works? The answer is that it is only in a very slight, and improper sense, the Christian's holy life can be called a condition of his share in grace: only as in the order of sequence it is true that a holy life on earth must precede a complete redemption in heaven. So far is it from being true that this holy life is in any sense a meritorious condition of receiving grace, or a procuring cause, it is itself the fruit and result of grace. But when we examine more minutely the account of that gracious transaction in the Scriptures shadowed forth in the ecclesiastical transaction of Gen. 17, and stated first more simply in Gen. 15, we find that Abraham's faith only was imputed to him for righteousness, Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:9, 10. This effectually explains the matter. The argument in favor of the position we have assumed, is sufficiently strengthened by adding that all graces and holy living are everywhere spoken of by God, and sought by Bible saints in prayer, as God's gifts bestowed as the fruit of the Covenant of Grace. Citations are needless.

May Faith Be Properly Called A Condition?

The question has been keenly agitated between Calvinists, whether Faith itself should be spoken of as a condition of the covenant. One party has denied it, because they supposed that the language which represented man as performing a condition of his own salvation would make an inlet for human merit. But it is most manifest that there is a sense in which Faith is the condition, in all such passages as John 3:16; Acts 8:37; John 11:26; Mark 16:16. No human wit can evade the fact that here God proposes to man something for him to do, which, if done, will secure redemption; if neglected, will ensure damnation, and that something is in one sense a condition. But of what kind? Paul everywhere contrasts the condition of works, and the condition of faith. This contrast will be sufficiently established, and all danger of human merits being intruded will be obviated, if it be observed that Faith is only the appointed instrument for receiving free grace purchased by our Surety. It owes its organic virtue as such, to God's mere appointment, not to the virtue of its own nature. In the Covenant of Works, the fulfillment of the condition on man's part earned the result, justification by its proper moral merit. In the Covenant of Grace, the condition has no moral merit to earn the promised grace, being merely an act of receptivity. In the Covenant of Works, man was required to fulfill the condition in his own strength. In the Covenant of Grace, strength is given to him to believe, from God.

No Other Condition. Evasions.

The question now remains, whether, in this instrumental sense, any thing else besides faith is a condition of the Covenant of Grace. (See Cat. Ques. 33). "Received by faith alone." There are two evasions. One, that which makes repentance a condition along with faith, Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38. Contrast with John 3:16—18; Acts 16:30, 31. The other is the one common to Papists, (meritum congruum of fides formata, some classes of New England Divines (justification by faith apprehended as the generative principle of holiness, and inclusive thereof,) and the Campbellites, (justification by the "obedience of faith," viz. immersion). Here is a subtle inlet for works. These perversions have all this common mark, that they desert the scriptural doctrine, which makes faith the instrument of justification solely through its receptive agency, and they claim for faith a purchasing power, or merit of the result. Recurring to the former evasion, which makes repentance a co-condition of the covenant, along with faith, we shall do no more in this place than refer the student to the discriminating statements of Turrettin. Ques. 3, 15, 16, 17. When we come to justification, we shall resume it.

1. The Covenant One In All Ages. Opposing Views.

Has God ever had more than one Covenant of Grace with man since the fall? And is the covenant made with the Patriarchs and with Israel substantially the same spiritual covenant with that of the New Testament? The Socinians and Anabaptists give a negative answer to this question, relying on the passages of Scripture represented by John 1:17. They say that the covenant with Abraham and Israel was only national and temporal; that it promised only material good; that those of the Old Testament who were saved, were saved without a revealed promise, in virtue of that common natural religion, known, as they suppose, to good Pagans alike; by which men are taught to hope in the mercy and benevolence of a universal Father. To these views the European Arminians partly assented, teaching that the Gospel through the mediator is only involved implicitly and generally in the Old Testament, and that no special promise through a Christ is there.

Motive of the Socinians. Of the Anabaptists.

The motive of the Socinians is twofold; that they may escape this insurmountable difficulty; if Christ's redeeming work (in the New Testament) is only what they teach, that of a prophet and exemplar, and not vicarious, there is no sense in which He can have redeemed Old Testament saints. Second, that by making the difference of light and grace between the Old Testament and the New, as wide as possible, they may plausibly represent Christ as having something to do in the New Testament, dignum vindice nodum without any atoning work. The Anabaptists, whose Socinian affinities were originally strong, take the same view of the Old Testament, in order to get rid of the doctrine that a gospel Church, substantially identical with that of the New Testament, existed in the Old Testament with its infant church members.

This discussion will be found to have an equal importance, when we come to the Papal theory of sacramental grace. Rome claims for her sacraments under the New Testament an opus operatum power. She does not claim it for the sacraments of the Old Testament. for the reason that the Apostle Paul, among other inspired men, expressly contradicts it, as Rom. 2:25—29, and 1 Cor. 10:1—5. Now, if we identify the substance of the Covenant of Grace under both Testaments, we found at least a very strong probable argument for concluding that the sacraments of the two Testaments were means of grace of the same kind. Then all the explicit denials of efficiency ex opere operato uttered in Scripture as to the Old Testament sacraments, become conclusive as to the sacraments of the Christian Church.

Unity of This Covenant Appears a prior.

As to the unity of the Covenant, we have already, argued this, a priori, from its eternity. We may pursue this argument thus. If man's fall laid him necessarily obnoxious to certain immutable attributes of God, if man's sin necessarily and everywhere raises a certain definite difficulty between him and redemption in consequence of those inevitable attributes of God, we may fairly conclude, that whatever plan (if there can be any) is adopted by God to reconcile a sinner, that same plan substantially must be adopted to reconcile all other sinners of Adam's race, everywhere and always. To the Socinian indeed, this a priori consideration carries no weight, because he does not believe in God's essential, retributive justice. Let us then see from the more sure word of Scripture, whether the covenant of grace set forth in the Old Testament is not substantially identical with that in the New, in the things promised, the parties, the conditions, and the mediator; while a difference of clearness and mode is admitted.

Unity of the Covenant Argued Scripturally.

This Scriptural argument cannot be better collected than under the heads given by Turrettin, (Quest 5, 7—23).

(A) From Direct Testimony.

The identity of the Covenant is substantially asserted in general terms, e. g., in Luke 1:68—73; Acts 2:16, with verse 38, 39; 3:25; John 8:Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:8, 16, 17, especially the last. Remark here, that the very words in which the Covenant was formed with the seed of Abraham, Gen. 17:7; and which are so formally repeated in subsequent parts of the Old Testament, are the very terms of the compact in the new dispensation repeated as such with emphasis. See Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:3.

(B) From Sameness of Mediator.

The Mediator is the same. 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Gal. 3:16; Mal. 3:1; Acts 4:12, 10:43, 15:10, 11; Luke 24:27; 1 Pet. 1:9—12; Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15; with many passages already cited. We need not depend on such passages as Heb. 13:8; Rev. 13:8; for although their application to prove the mediatorial office of Christ under the Old Testament is probably just, plausible evasions exist.

(C) From Its Condition.

The condition assigned to man is the same in both�"e. g., faith. And it is useless for the Socinians to say, that the faith of the Old Testament was not the specific faith in the Son, the Messiah, set forth in the New, but only a general trust in God as the Universal Father. For their assertion is not true; and if true, it would still remain, that the faith of the Old Testament and that of the New, include the same substantial features. Look at the fact that Heb. xi goes for its illustrations of faith, (surely it was inculcating the Christian faith,) exclusively to the Old Testament. See also, Gen. 15:6, with Rom. 4:3; Ps. 2:12. (Is not this specifically faith in the Son?) Acts 10:43; Ps. 32:10, et passim.

(D) From Its Promise.

In the fourth place, it may be asserted that to this faith of the Old Testament saints, redemption in the true New Testament sense was held forth, with all its several parts; of justification, Ps. 32:; Is. 1. 18; Regeneration, Deut. 30:6; Ps. 51:10. Spiritual gifts�" passim e. g., Joel 2:28, 32, as expounded by Peter, Acts 2:; Isaiah 40:31; eternal life, (as we shall more fully argue under a subsequent head, now only noticing,) Heb. 4:9, 11:10; Ex. 3:6, as expounded by Christ; Matt. 22:31, 32, and this eternal life, including even the resurrection of the body, Ps. 16:10, 11, applied in Acts 13:34. Job 19:25; Dan. 12:12. In view of this array of proofs, how weak appears the idea that nothing more than the Land of Canaan and its material joys was proposed to Israel's faith? But of this more anon.

(E) From the Types.

An argument for our proposition may be constructed out of all those types under the old dispensation, which can be proved to have had an evangelical meaning. The promised land itself, the deliverance from Egypt, with its significant incidents; circumcision and the Passover, ("seals of the righteousness of faith") with the whole tabernacle ritual, are proved by several parts of the New Testament to have had this evangelical meaning. The argument is too wide to be briefly stated, but every intelligent Bible reader is familiar with its materials. In its very wideness is its strength. As one specimen of it, take the Epistle of Hebrews itself. The Apostle, in interpreting the Levitical ritual, there shows that all prefigured the gospel, and the New Testament, Messiah and redemption. During the Old Testament times, therefore, it was but a dispensation of this same Covenant of Grace.

And in general, all the gospel features sown so thickly over the Old Testament, especially over the books of Psalms and Isaiah, prove our point. Of such passages as Rom. 16:25; Gal. 4:24; 1 Pet. 1:12 we are well aware. We shall show their compatibility with the proposition above demonstrated, when we come to unfold the resemblance and differences of the two dispensations.

2. Two Dispensations Only. Objection Answered.

We conceive the familiar and established division to be correct, which makes two dispensations only, the Old Testament and the New. There seems no adequate reason for regarding the patriarchal age, from Adam to Moses, as essentially a different dispensation from that of Moses. Certainly that representation is incorrect which makes the former a free and gracious dispensation, while the latter only was burdened with the condemning weight of the moral and ritual law. For the moral law as to its substance, was already in force from Adam to Moses. Sacrifices already smoked on altars, and the knife descended in symbol of wrath, on innocent victims. And gracious promises on the other hand, are, at least, as thickly strewn over the Scriptures of the Mosaic period, as of the patriarchal. We hardly need cite cases. There are passages, such as Gal. 3:17—19; Deut. 5:2, 3, which speak of a ritual burden, and law which could minister only condemnation, as superadded at the Mosaic era. But we shall find that the elements of a moral law impossible for the depraved to fulfill, and of a ritual which typified only wrath to him who persisted in ignoring the Mediator and the Covenant of Grace, were also present in the patriarchal religion. The history of Cain too clearly establishes these traits of the patriarchal age. These elements were only reaffirmed by Moses. If it be said that they were then brought forward with far greater prominence and distinctness, I answer, so were the gospel elements brought forward, to true believers, at the same time with increased distinctness. When the Apostles bring out so prominently this condemning burden of the Mosaic law, they are dealing, for time, only one side of the subject. Because, they are dealing with Jews who persisted in looking for justification to this law, which apart from Christ, is only a ministry of condemnation; who persisted in stickling for Moses, as their authority for their self perversions of the law and gospel. In dealing with this subject, theologians perpetually forget how necessarily the Apostles had to use the argumentum ad hominem against these Jews. That the patriarchal and Mosaic form properly but one dispensation appears from this. Both exhibit the great, prevalent characteristic of types; both were prefigurative instead of being, like the New Testament, commemorative; both had sacrifice, circumcision, priests. The difference between them is only one of degree, and not of contrast. But when we come to the New Testament, there is a real contrast. Human priests, sacrifices and circumcision end. Types give place to antitypes; prefiguring to commemorative ordinances.

Why Two Dispensations of the Same Covenant? Ans.

To the question why God has administered the Covenant of Grace under two different dispensations, no complete answer can be rendered, except that of Matt. 11:26. The true difficulty of the question lies chiefly back in this prior question. Why did God see fit to postpone the incarnation of the mediator so long after the fall? For, supposing this question settled, we can see some reasons why, if the effectuating of the terms of the Covenant of Grace, was to be postponed thus, its declarations to man must be by a different dispensation before and after the surety came. Before, all was prospective. Every promise must, in the nature of things, be a prediction also, and prediction, prior to its fulfillment, must needs be, to finite minds, less plain than experience and history after the occurrence. Every symbolical ordinance (both dispensations for good reasons have such) must be a type; foreshadowing. Afterwards it is a commemoration, looking backward. May it not be, that the greater variety and number of the symbolical ordinances under the Old Testament were due to the very fact that they must be less distinct? God sought to make up in number what was lacking in distinctness. But to the question, why the mission of Christ was postponed nearly 4000 years, there is no adequate answer. The circumstances which made that era "the fullness of time "have been pointed out by the Church Historians. But the relations of influence and causation in human affairs are too intricate and numerous for man to speculate here.

The causes assigned by Turrettin (Que. 7, 2 6) do indeed indicate the existence of an analogy with God's other working herein. God performs all His grand results by gradations. Childhood and pupilage go before manhood and independence. So majestic a luminary as the Sun of Righteousness may be expected to rise gradually, and send His twilight before Him! True, but these are only palliations, not answers to the difficulty.

3. The Gospel Was Preached To Adam.

To appreciate correctly the amount of Gospel light possessed in the patriarchal, and even in the Mosaic ages, we must bear in mind a thing often overlooked, that the human race had just enjoyed, in Adam, personal communication with God, in fullest theophanies, which Adam, by the faculties of his perfect manhood, and other patriarchs, through their longevity, were admirably qualified to transmit well. Adam was contemporary with Methuselah 243 years, Methuselah with Noah 600 years (dying the year of the flood) and Noah with Abram 58 years. Thus Abraham received the revelations of paradise through only two transmissions! We must not suppose that this traditional knowledge of God was scanty because the hints of it given in earlier revelations are scanty. The purposes of the revelation to us through Moses did not require that God should give us full information as to the religious knowledge of the Antediluvians. The Bible is always a practical book, and does not wander from its aim. it concedes nothing to a merely useless curiosity. Now, the object of God in giving to the Church of later ages this brief history of primeval man was to furnish us only with the great facts, which are necessary to enable us understandingly to connect the Covenants of Works and Grace, and to construe the spiritual history of our race. We have seen how briefly and sufficiently the book of Genesis gave us the cardinal facts of man's creation in holiness, his home in paradise, his Sabbath, the institution of his family, the unity of the race, the federal constitution by which God has been pleased from the first to deal with it, the Covenant of Works, its breach, and the far reaching consequences. So, God next gives us the main facts concerning the changes in His religion, which were necessary to adapt it, as a religion for sinners. These main features are all that were needed for God's purposes, and they contain the whole substance of the Covenant of Grace.

Man's theological relation is founded primarily on the nature of God and His creature and is essentially permanent. Hence, the theistic worship of paradise, with the Sabbath rest and its necessary means, remained as before. So, the constitution of human society, under a family government founded in monogamy, remained unchanged, with the whole code of ethical duty. But man's sin and depravity had changed his attitude towards God in vital respects. Duty having been violated, the new and hitherto inoperative obligation of repentance has emerged. God teaches man this great doctrine of the religion of sinners, by converting his life from one of ease and bliss, to one of sorrow and discipline. His home is changed from a paradise to a penitentiary. Again, guilt having been contracted, there emerges, out of the moral attributes of God, a necessity of satisfaction for it, in order to the pardon of the sinner. This, the central truth of the religion of sinners, which points also to the central promise of the covenant of grace, had unhappily become the very truth, to which man, by reason of his corruption, would be most obtuse. His selfish depravity would incline him ever to forget the right of God's attributes in the question of a reconciliation, and his selfish fears would prompt him to crave impunity, instead of righteous justification. Hence, in the wisdom of God, the most notable and impressive addition made by Him to the cultus, was the one which was devised to teach the great doctrine of the necessity of propitiation, and to hold out its promise. This, indeed, is the only ritual fact which needed recording. God appointed bloody sacrifice, and required it to be the perpetual attendant of the worship of sinners. Thus He taught them, in the most impressive possible way, at once the great need, and the great promise of the Covenant of Grace?

That bloody animal sacrifice was of divine appointment at this time, we argue, first, presumptively from the fact that natural reason would not have suggested it, as a suitable offering to God. The doctrine of substitution, however honorable to God when revealed, is not, and cannot be, a deduction of the natural reason. Whether the Sovereign Creditor will be pleased to accept a substitutionary payment of penal debt, is a question which He only may answer. Again, doubtless the natural reason of Adam and his family saw the obvious truth, which is stated as self-evident in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that "the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins." The mere animal has neither the dignity, nor community of nature, which would suggest even the possibility of its life being an equivalent for an immortal soul. Left to itself, we therefore do not believe that human reason would ever have devised such a method of appeasing God, as can be illustrated by the rationalistic will worship of Cain. Not having suitable conviction of guilt, regard for God's rights as requiring satisfaction in order to pardon, nor faith in the future, apparently obscure sacrifice of the "Woman's Seed," Cain did what all other will worshippers since have done. He exercised his own rationalistic ideas of the suitable, and his own esthetic sentiments, in devising another oblation. He probably thought the bleeding and burning flesh unsuitable, because it was abhorrent to natural sensibility, and even to the instincts, and the senses of sight and smell. Does God find pleasure in the death pangs of an innocent, sentient creature? How much more appropriate the inanimate fruits of His bounty, for an oblation, the brilliant flowers, the blushing fruits, the nodding sheaf, all redolent of peace, abundance and fragrance. But it was precisely this rationalism, which, we are told in Genesis, caused the rejection of his offering. Here we find a strong proof that Abel's was not will worship, but the fulfillment of a divine ordinance.

This is strongly confirmed by the language of Heb. 11:4, which tells us, that the preferableness of Abel's offering arose from this: that he "offered it by faith." Now faith implies a revealed warrant, without this it is presumption. This text virtually tells us that animal sacrifice was by divine appointment. This conclusion is also strengthened by the truth, clearly implied in Gen. 9:3, 4, that, until after the flood, animals were not killed for food by God's people. Yet in Gen. 3:21, Adam and Eve are, by God, clad in the skins of animals, in lieu of the frail coverings of fig leaves, which they had devised for themselves, to conceal their shame. Whence came those skins? They might possibly be stripped from the corpses of those that died natural deaths, or were slain by beasts of prey. But it is much more probable, that they were the skins of the sacrifices Adam was then and there taught to offer. Man's superiority to the need of raiment in Paradise was doubtless an emblem of his present holiness and guiltlessness, as his newly born shame was an emblem of his guilt and corruption. How natural then, is the conclusion, that this first effectual clothing of man the sinner was the immediate result of sacrifice, that it was sacrificial raiment he wore, and thus we have here the natural introduction of the great idea of rp, ûo, "covering," "propitiation," so fully expanded afterwards. Once more, when Noah's family was at length authorized to eat animal food, the blood was expressly excepted, because, as God teaches, He had reserved it to make atonement for their souls. Does not this imply that the reservation was, from the first, God's express ordinance? Animal sacrifice was then, God's appointment, and it found its aim in its signification of the need of satisfaction for guilt, and the promise and foreshadowing of a worthy substitute, to be afterwards provided by God. Thus we see, that the maintenance of bloody sacrifice among the Pagans to our day is a ritual perversion precisely parallel to that we see made, by nominal Christians, of the New Testament sacraments, a reliance on the efficacy, ex opere operato, of the symbol, instead of the divine grace symbolized. Trent herself could not define her doctrine of the opus operatum more expressly than it was held by the Maori of New Zealand and the classic Pagans, as to their bloody rites. The third essential truth of the Covenant of Grace taught primeval man, (and the only remaining one) was that set forth in the protevangel of Gen. 3:15. By becoming an apostate from God, he had become the subject of Satan, who is represented by the serpent. (See Lect. 27:Qu. 3). The race was now become his kingdom, instead of the "kingdom of heaven." Already a sad experience was teaching them, that sin was now become a ruling principle, and not a mere incident, as their outward misery was now ordained to be a permanent state of chastisement. Doubtless the great question with the sinners was, "Is this final?" "Or is there to be a deliverance?" The covenant of Grace answers. "Yes, there shall be a deliverance." Satan's conquest was to be reversed, destructively for Satan, by the "Seed of the Woman." The promise is brief, but wonderfully instructive. Let only faith read it consistently, and it pointed to a Mediator, a Deliverer, human, yet more than human, miraculously reared up, who was to be the anti type to the bleeding lamb even now exhibited, who should experience, in prosecuting the work of delivery, a blood shedding at the hands of the adversary, like that of the suffering lamb, yet not destructive; inasmuch as He should survive to crush the evil angel, and to deliver the captives.

That this promise is a protevangel is argued first, presumptively, from the triviality of the alternative meaning. Did God go out of His way, on this momentous occasion, to describe merely the animal instinct, which prompts the peasant to kill a snake? Second, the "woman's seed," properly weighed, must be seen to promise something supernatural, because in Hebrew language, the seed is always elsewhere ascribed to the male, (which is physiologically accurate). Compare Gen. 21:13, where Ishmael is carefully distinguished as Abraham's "seed," while "son" "of the bond woman." Eve knew that she could only have a "seed" supernaturally. Third, the Deliverer must, from the very nature of the promised victory, be superior to Satan who was superior to Adam. Fourth, subsequent Scripture using language evidently allusive to this promise, represent this warfare as being between Satan and the Messiah. Thus, John 12."Now shall the prince of this world be cast out." Luke 10:17—19. Christ's comment on the success of His Apostles in subduing "devils" is, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven," and He then promises them further victory over "serpents and scorpions" and "over all the power of the enemy." Here we have the old warfare of Gen. 3:15, and it is between Messiah and Satan and his angels, not only symbolized by "scorpions and serpents," but expressly named. This onset of the incoming kingdom of heaven was seen by Christ to give Satan such a blow, that he appears like one dashed violently from his seat, and falling thunder smitten and blighted, to the earth. In Rom. 16:20 Paul promises God "shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." The allusion is beyond mistake. In Heb. 2:14, the woman's seed, "through death destroys him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," where we see an exact reproduction of the bruised heel and crushed head. In Rev. 12:9, and 2:2, we have the final victory of Messiah, in the chaining and imprisonment of Satan the dragon.

The short record of Genesis gives us other evidences of a gospel in the existence two classes, "sons of God," and "sons of men," Gen. 6:2. So, the preaching of repentance by Enoch and Noah, and the strivings of the Holy Spirit with carnal minds, Gen. 6:3, all imply a covenant of Grace. In conclusion, we know that the patriarchs before the flood had a gospel promise, because we are assured by Hebrews chap. 11, that they had faith.

The second dividing epoch of the old dispensation was the calling of Abraham, the history of which may be seen in Gen. chap. 12 to 17.There was now an important development. All that had been given to believers remained in force, the "Church in the house," the Sabbath, the sacrifices, the moral law, and the promise. The most notable additions made upon the calling of Abraham were, first, the separation of the "sons of God" from the mass of the world, as a peculiar people, and the organization of a visible church state in the tribe of Abraham; and next, the institution of a sealing ordinance, circumcision, as a badge of membership, and "seal of the righteousness of faith." The repeated tendency of the race, in spite of admonitions and judgments, towards apostasy and idolatry, had at length made the necessity of the visible Church separation obvious. It remained the only human means to present a seed to serve God. In that age of the world, every organized society unavoidably took the patriarchal form, hence the family, or clan of Abraham, became the visible Church, and the race limit tended approximately to be the boundary between Church and world. Abraham and his seed did indeed receive a promise of the temporal possession of Canaan, as in Gen. 12:3; 15:5; 17:7. But the spiritual and gospel feature implied is clear in some of the promises themselves, and is made plainer by subsequent Scriptures. The best exposition of the Abrahamic covenant is that given by Rom. chaps. 3 and 4 and Gal. 3. We are there expressly taught, that the seed in whom the promise was made was Christ; that the central benefit received by Abraham, was gospel salvation through faith; that the sacrament was a gospel one, a seal of the righteousness of faith; that the promise of Canaan was typical of that of heaven; that Abraham is the exemplar and head of all gospel believers; and that the society founded in his family was, and is, the visible Church of Christ, reformed and enlarged at the new dispensation.

The original meaning of the bleeding lamb was strikingly illustrated to Abraham by the proposed sacrifice of Isaac. This taught, first, that the lamb was insufficient and a more precious substitute must be found. Just at the crisis, when the patriarch was about to offer his only son, a rational victim, God arrests his hand, and substitutes the ram (again a mere type,) which He had provided. Abraham named the place, ha, r]yI hw:ohyÒ "Jehovah hath chosen," thus acknowledging that when he answered Isaac's question, in Gen., 22:8, ha, r]yI µyhila, "God will provide Himself a lamb," he had (possibly unwittingly) uttered a great, gospel truth; that the sinner's real substitute was to be one in the unknown future, which God was to provide, and not the believer. Thus, salvation is to be gratuitous, though only through a divinely constituted substitute, and man's part is to embrace it by faith.

Last, the compact with Abraham was summed up in the words, "I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee." We have seen that this was the formula of the Covenant of Grace. Such then, was God's compact with the Father of the faithful.

Eternal Life Was Revealed To the Patriarchs.

And here we must pause a moment, to consider the question famously debated in the negative, for instance, by Warburton's Divine Legat. of Moses. "Whether the patriarchal ages had any revealed promise of future eternal life?" I would premise that the scantiness of the teachings on this point will not surprise us, if we remember that this fundamental truth is rather assumed than taught. It has been well remarked, that the Bible nowhere sets itself deliberately to teach the existence of God! We may well suppose the traditional religion received from Adam made the immortality of the soul and future rewards so clear that little was then needed to be said about it. The being of a God and the immortality of the soul are the two postulates essential to all religion. We assert then that the natural and proper way for inspiration to proceed in revealing a religion, is to postulate these two truths, and not to waste time in proving them. The soul's immortality is as essential to the being of a religion as the existence of God. I might prove this experimentally by the fact, that materialists are always virtually without a religion. It follows logically, for experience concurs with revelation in showing, that in this life, "the wicked flourish like the bay tree," so that, if the future life be denied, there will remain, for the denier, no room whatever for the sanctions of any religion. But let us see if this doctrine was not made sufficiently clear to the patriarchs. (It may be found acutely argued in Calvin's. Inst. bk. 2. ch. 10, which we mainly follow).

(a.) They had promises. The New Testament expressly declares these promises were the gospel. See Luke 1:69—73, 10:24; Rom. 4:13.

(b.) The patriarchs embraced the promises they had (be they what they may) with a religious faith. Who can dispute this? It is too expressly declared in Heb. ch. 11. But both Testaments tell us that faith is a principle of eternal life. Hab. 1:4; Heb. 10:38.

(c.) The Covenant made with Abraham in Gen. 17:7, to be a God to him and his seed, implies the continued existence of the patriarch. All this promise of a prosperous seed and of their continued relation to God as their patron, could have had no interest to Abraham, and could have been no boon to him, if he was doomed to extinction. Besides, as this promise is expounded in the Pentateuch itself, and more fully in subsequent Scriptures, it is the eternity of God, which makes the covenant so great a privilege. See Deut. 33:27, and Ps. 16:5 to end, and 48:14. What interest would a party doomed to early extinction have in the eternity of his benefactor?

(d.) Our Savior's argument, in Matt. 22:32—34, is founded on Ex. 3:6. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." The peculiar appropriateness of this refutation of Sadduceeism is seen in this: That they are said to have admitted only the inspiration of the Pentateuch, and hence Christ goes for His proof text to that code and not to any later revelation. Materialists as they were, they gloried professedly in the national covenant with God, (as ensuring earthly privilege). Christ therefore cites them to the familiar terms of that covenant, as of itself containing enough to show, that the doctrine of immortality is its very foundation. It is as though He said to them, that it was unnecessary to contend about the authority of the later prophets, who confessed say so much about immortality. He can find abundant refutation in that most familiar formula, which was in everybody's mouth. The subsistence in Moses' day of a covenant relation with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, implies the continued existence of those parties. And as the parties were not ghosts, but incarnate men, when the everlasting God bargained with them, it is implied that His power, of which the Sadducees had no proper idea, would restore them by a bodily resurrection to that state.

(e.) If the promise to the patriarchs were only of temporal good, it was never fulfilled, for they were strangers and pilgrims in the very land promised them.

(f.) Their dying exercises pointed to an immortality. Heb. 11:16 tells us that they sought a better country, even a heavenly. This is borne out as a fact, by such passages as Gen. 49:18, and 33, and Num. 23:10.

When we resort to the New Testament we find many believe that its writers regarded the Old Testament as containing the Covenant of Grace, and the doctrine of immortality, in all its parts. Two passages may be cited, as specimens. In John 5:39 our Lord says to the Jews, "Search the Scriptures" (the Old Testament), "for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." In Acts 24:14, 15. Paul, when pleading before Felex, declared that he believed "all things which are written in the law and in the prophets, and had hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead."

5. Additions at Sinai.

Coming now to the last stage of the old dispensation, the Covenant of Sinai, we find several marked and impressive additions to the former revelations. But they will all be found rather developments of existing features of the gospel, than new elements. These traits were, chiefly the republication of the moral Law with every adjunct of majesty and authority, the establishment of a Theocratic State Church, in place of simpler patriarchal forms, with fully detailed civic institutions, the Passover, a new sacrament, and the great development of the sacrificial ritual.

The Covenant of Sinai Not A Covenant of Works.

The Covenant of Sinai has seemed to many to wear such an aspect of legality, that they have supposed themselves constrained to regard it as a species of Covenant of Works and, therefore, a recession from the Abrahamic Covenant, which, we are expressly told (John 8:56; Gal. 3:8) contained the gospel. Now, it is one objection, that this view, making two distinct dispensations between Adam and Christ, and the first a dispensation of the Covenant of Grace, and the one which came after, of the Covenant of Works, is a priori, unreasonable. For, it is unreasonable in this, that it is a recession, instead of a progress, whereas every consistent idea of the plan of Revelation makes it progressive. It is unreasonable because both the Old and New Testaments represent the Sinai Covenant as a signal honor and privilege to Israel. But they also represent the Covenant of Works as inevitably a covenant of death to man after the Fall, so that had the transactions of Sinai been a regression from the "Gospel preached before unto Abraham," to a Covenant of Works, it would have been a most signal curse poured out on the chosen people. The attempt is made to evade this, by saying that, while eternal life to the Hebrews was now suspended on a covenant of works, they were ritual works only, in which an exact formal compliance was all that was required. This is untenable because it is inconsistent with God's spiritual and unchangeable character, and with His honor; and because the Mosaic Scriptures are as plain as the New Testament in disclaiming the sufficiency of an exact ritual righteousness, as the term of eternal life, and in requiring a perfect, spiritual obedience. If a ritual obedience was accepted instead of a spiritual one, that was an act of grace�"a remission of the claims of laws�"so that the Mosaic turns out a dispensation of grace, after all. But grace was preached to Abel, Noah, Abraham, in a prior dispensation, through a Mediator to come. Now, through what medium was this gracious remission of law given to Israel, at Sinai? The answer we give is so consistent, that it appears self evident, almost: That it was through the same Christ to come, already preached to the Patriarchs, and now typified in the Levitical sacrifices. So that the theory I combat resolves itself, in spite of itself, as it were, into the correct theory, viz. That the promise contained in the Covenant of Sinai was through the Mediator, typified in the Levitical sacrifices, and that the term for enjoying that promise was not legal, not an exact ritual obedience, but gospel faith in the antitype.

The French divines, Camero and Amgraut, proposed an ingenious modification of the legal theory of Moses' covenant: That in it a certain kind of life was proposed (as in the Covenant of Works,) as a reward for an exact obedience. But that the life was temporal, in a prosperous Canaan, and the obedience was ritual. This is true, so far as a visible church standing turned on a ritual obedience. But to the Hebrew, that temporal life in happy Canaan was a type of heaven, which was not promised to an exact moral obedience, but to faith. Were this theory modified, so as to represent this dependence of the Hebrew's church standing on his ritual obedience, as a mere type and emblem of the law's spiritual work as a "schoolmaster to lead us to Christ," it might stand.

Additions at Sinai.

But let us proceed to a more exact examination. We find that the transactions at Sinai included the following. (a) A republication of the Moral Law, with greatest majesty and authority. (b) An expansion of the Ritual of the typical service, with the addition of a second sacrament, the Passover. (c) The change of the visible Church instituted in Gen. 17, into a theocratic Commonwealth Church�"both in one. (d) The legal conditions of outward good standing were made more burdensome and exacting than they had been before. This last feature was not a novelty, (See Gen. 17.) but it was made more stringent.

Their Designs.

Can the designs of these modifications be explained consistently with our view? Yes. As to the theocratic state, this was necessitated by the numbers of the Church, which had outgrown the family state, and needed temporal institutions capable of still larger growth, even into a grand nation. The amplified ritual was designed to foreshadow the approaching Christ, and the promises of the Covenant more fully. Next, the legal conditions for retaining outward ecclesiastical privileges were made more stringent, in order to enable the Law to fulfill more energetically the purpose for which St. Paul says it was added, to be a pedagogue to lead to Christ (See Gal. 3:19, 22). For this stringency was designed to be, to the Israelite, a perpetual reminder of the law which was to Adam, the condition of life, now broken, and its wrath already incurred, thus to hedge up the awakened conscience to Christ. This greater urgency was made necessary by the sinfulness of the Church and its tendencies to apostasy, with the seductions of Paganism now general in the rest of mankind. The Passover, a peculiarly gospel sacrament, was added, to illustrate the way of salvation by faith, upon occasion of the exodus and deliverance of the first born. The captivity in Egypt was an emblem of man's bondage under the curse, and the dreadful death of the first born, of the infliction of the sentence. The Hebrews escape that doom, by substituting a sacrifice, which is a type of Christ. (See John 1:36; 1 Cor. 5:7). But the saved family then eat that victim, thus signifying the appropriating act of faith, very much as is done in the commemorative sacrament of the Supper now.

6. Moses' Dispensation Same In Substance As Abraham's.

The followers of Cocceius and his school have texts which, we admit, bear plausibly against our identification of the Mosaic and Abrahamic dispensations. They point us, not only to the numerous places in the Pentateuch which seem to say, like Leviticus 18:5, "Do, and live," but to such passages as Jer. 31:32, which seems to say that the Covenant of Grace is "not according to the covenant made the fathers in the day God took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt." So, they urge John 1:17; Gal. 3:12; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 4:25; Heb. 8:7—13; 9:8; 2:3. (The new covenant "began to be spoken by the Lord," and so, must not antedate the Christian era), 7:18, and such like passages. But, notwithstanding this array, there are preponderating, even irresistible arguments for the other side. And first, we urge the general consideration that the Bible never speaks of more than two Covenants: that of the Law, or Works and that of Grace. The dispensations also are but two, "the first and the second," the "new and the old." But if Moses' dispensation was a legal one in essence, then we must have three, for Abraham's was doubtless a gracious one. We add, that there are but two imaginable ways and but two known to Scripture; "grace" and "works," by which a soul can win adoption of life. The latter, the Scriptures declare to be utterly impracticable after man's fall. Since the Israelites were fallen men, if their covenant was not gracious, it was only a condemning one. Its result was only their destruction. But, second, the latter conclusion is utterly inconsistent with the fact that God covenanted with them at Sinai, in mercy, and not in judicial wrath as their redeemer and deliverer, and not as their destroyer. This transaction, whatever it was, was proposed and accepted as a privilege, not a curse. Ex. 19:5; 20:2; 34:6, 7. For, third, the compact of Sinai included all the essential parties and features, and adopted the very formula, which we have seen were characteristic of the Covenant of Grace. On the one side was God, transacting with them, not as Proprietor and Judge, but, as beneficent Father. On the other side was the people, a mass chosen in their sin and unworthiness. See Ezek. 16:3—6; Ps. 109:21; Is. 37:35. Between these parties was Moses, as a Mediator, the most eminent type of Christ in the whole history. And the compact is ratified in the very terms of the covenant of Grace. "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people," (See Lev. 26:12; Jer. 11:4; 30:22). Fourth, I borrow the argument of the Apostle from Gal. 3:17; fidelity to the bond already contracted with Abraham and his seed, forbade the after formation of a different compact with them. The last testament is valid in law against the previous ones, but the first bond excludes subsequent contracts of an inconsistent tenour. This is powerfully confirmed by the fact, that Moses, in confirming the Sinai Covenant with Israel, tells them more than once, that they enter it as Abraham's seed. Deut. 7:8, 9, 12; Ex. 3:6, 7. This shows that, whatever the covenant with Abraham was, that with Israel was a renewal of it. Fifth, the very "book of the testimony," and all the utensils of the sanctuary were purified with blood, as we are taught in Heb. 9:18—23. Why all this? The Apostle says it was to foreshadow the truth, that Christ's blood must be the real propitiation carried, for sinners, into the upper sanctuary. Our opponents would agree with us, that the sacrifices of the altar were the most notable features of the Levitical dispensation. But we are taught that these all pointed to Christ, the true priest and victim. Heb. 9:23, tells us that this great feature, that "without the shedding of blood was no remission," was to hold up the grand truth of the necessity of satisfaction for guilt by Christ's blood. Thus, the more Levitical sacrifices we find, the more Gospel do we find. Sixth, men feel driven to the con. We combat, they say, by the reenactment of the law, but the law, both moral and ritual, was in force under Abraham, see Rom. 5:13, 14; Gen. 17:14.

Seventh, both the moral, and a (less burdensome) ritual law are still binding, in the same sense, under the New Testament dispensation, (See Matt. 5:17; John 3:5; Mark 16:16). Surely the New Testament is not therefore a Covenant of Works! Last, Christ expressly says, that Moses taught of Him, Luke 24:27; John 5:46. Moses must then, have taught the Gospel. And in Rom. 10:6, the inspired expositor, when he would state the plan of salvation by grace through faith, in express contrast to the Covenant of Works (as stated in Lev. 18:5, for instance) borrows the very words of Moses' Covenant with Israel from Deut. 30:11. Does he abuse the sense?

To remove the cavil founded on each text quoted against us by a detailed exposition, would consume too much space. It is not necessary. By discussing one of the strongest of them, we shall sufficiently suggest the clue to all. The most plausible objection is that drawn from Jer. 31:32, where the prophet seems to assert an express opposition between the new covenant, which Heb. Vii indisputably explains as the Covenant of Grace, and that made with Israel at the Exodus. There is unquestionably, a difference asserted here, and it is the difference between law and grace. But it is the Covenant of Sinai viewed in one of its limited aspects only, which is here set in antithesis to the Covenant of Grace. It is the secular theocratic covenant, in which political and temporal prosperity in Canaan was promised, and calamity threatened, on the conditions of theocratic obedience or rebellion. The justice and relevancy of the prophet Jeremiah's, and of the apostle's logic, in selecting this aspect of the Sinai Covenant to display, by contrast, the grace of the new covenant, are seen in this: that self righteous Jews, throwing away all the gracious features of their national compact, and thus perverting its real nature, were founding all their pride and hopes on this secular feature. The prophet points out to them that the fate of the nation, under that theocratic bond, had been disaster and ruin, and this, because the people had ever been too perverse to comply with its legal terms, especially, inasmuch as God had left them to their own strength. But the spiritual covenant was to differ (as it always had), in this vital respect; that God, while covenanting with His people for their obedience, would make it His part to write His law in their hearts. Thus He would Himself graciously ensure their continuance in faith and obedience. Witsius happily confirms this view, by remarking that, in all the places where the secular, theocratic compact is stated, as a Covenant of Works we see no pledge on God's part, that He "will circumcise their hearts," as in Deut. 30:6. There, the ensuing compact is interpreted by St. Paul (Rom. 10:6) as the Covenant of Grace. So, in Jer. 31:33, 34. God engages graciously to work in His elect people the holy affections and principles, which will embrace, and cleave to the promise. But in all such places as Leviticus 18:5; Ezek. 18, the duties required are secular, and the good gained or forfeited is national. In truth, the transaction of God with Israel was two fold. It had its shell, and its kernel; its body, and its spirit; its type, and its antitype. The corporate, theocratic, political nation was the shell and the elect seed were the kernel. See Rom. chaps. 10 and 11. The secular promise was the type the spiritual promise of redemption through Christ was the antitype. The law was added as "a schoolmaster," to bring God's true people, the spiritual seed mixed in the outward body, to Christ. This law the carnal abused, as they do now, by the attempt to establish their own righteousness under it.

7. Differences of Old Dispensation From New.

A correct view of the nature of that display made of the Covenant of Grace in the Old Dispensation, will be gained by comparing it with the New. All orthodox writers agree that there is both law and gospel in the Old Testament Scriptures. If, by the Old Testament Covenant it is understood only that legal covenant of moral and ceremonial works, then there will indeed be ground for all the strong contrast, when it is compared with the Gospel in the New Testament, which some writers draw between the severity and terror of the one, and the grace of the other. But in our comparison, we shall be understood as comparing the Old Dispensation with the New, taken with all their features, as two wholes. We find Turrettin (Quest &, 18, 25), makes them differ in their date or time, in their clearness, in their facility of observance, in their mildness, in their perfection, in their liberty, in their amplitude, and in their perpetuity. Calvin (B 2, ch. II) finds five differences; that the Old Testament promises eternal life typically under figures of Canaan, that the Old Testament is mainly typical, that it is literal (while the New Testament is spiritual) that it engendered to bondage, and that it limited its benefits to one nation.

The Old Too Much Depreciated.

I am persuaded that the strong representations which these writers (and most others following them,) and, yet more, the Cocceian school, give of the bondage, terror, literalness, and intolerable weight of the institutions under which Old Testament saints lived, will strike the attentive reader as incorrect. The experience, as recorded of those saints, does not answer to this theory, but shows them in the enjoyment of a dispensation free, spiritual, gracious, consoling. I ask emphatically, does not the New Testament Christian of all ages, go to the recorded experiences of those very Old Testament saints, for the most happy and glowing expressions in which to utter his hope, gratitude, spiritual joy? Is it said that these are the experiences of eminent saints, who had this full joy (even as compared to New Testament saints) not because the published truth was equal to that now given, but because they had higher spiritual discernment? I reply by nature they were just like "us, sinners of the gentiles; "so that if they had more spiritual discernment, it must be because there was a freer and fuller dispensation of the Holy Spirit to them than to us. (Much fuller to repair all defect of means, and more than bring them to a level.) But this overthrows Calvin's idea of the dispensation as a less liberal one. Or, is it pleaded that these are only the inspired, and therefore exceptional cases of the Old Testament Church? I answer, did not God give the inspired experiences as appropriate models for those of their brethren? These distorted representations have been produced by the seeming force of such passages as John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:6, 7; Gal. 3:19, 4:1, 4, 24—26; Heb. 8:8; Acts 15:10. But the scope and circumstances of the Apostles, in making such statements are greatly overlooked. They were arguing for the gospel plan, against self righteous Jews, who had perversely cast away the gospel significance out of the Mosaic institutions to which they clung, and who retained only the condemning features of those institutions; vainly hoping to make a righteousness out of compliance with a law, whose very intent was to remind men that they could make no righteousness for themselves. Therefore, we must always remember that the Apostles are using, to a certain extent, an argumentum ad hominem. they are speaking of the Mosaic institutions under the Jewish view of them. They are treating of that side or aspect, which alone the perverse Jew retained of them. Here is the key.

The New Testament Language As To It Explained. New Testament Also A Dispensation of Bondage To Ritualist.

The truth is, both dispensations are precisely alike, in having two sides to them: a law which condemns those who will persist in self righteous plans, and a gospel which rescues the humble believer from that condemnation. The obligation of Works (which was reenacted in the Decalogue) is perpetual, being founded on the very relations between man and God, on all except those who are exempted from it by the substitutionary righteousness of the Mediator. It is of force now, on all others. It thunders just as it did in Eden and on Sinai. Nor, I beg you to note, is the Old Testament singular, in enjoining a ritual law, which is also "the letter that killeth," a "carnal ordinance," a "ministration of death," to those who perversely refuse to be pointed by it to the Messiah, and who try to make a self righteousness out of it. The New Testament also has its sacraments; all are commanded to partake, yet he that eateth and drinketh, not discerning the Lord's body, "eateth and drinketh damnation to himself;" and he that takes the water of Baptism self righteously, only sees therein a terrible symbol of his need of a cleansing which he does not receive. Let an evangelical Christian imagine himself instructing and refuting a modern Ritualist of the school of Rome or the Tractarians. He would find himself necessarily employing an argumentum ad hominem precisely like that of Paul against the Pharisees. The evangelical believer would be forced to distinguish between the legal or condemning, and the gospel side of our own sacraments; and he would proceed to show, that by attempting to make a self righteousness out of those sacraments, the modern Pharisee was going back under a dispensation of condemnation and bondage; that he was throwing away "the spirit which giveth life," and retaining only the "letter that killeth."

The New Testament has also its sacrifice; the one sacrifice of Christ; and to him who rejects the pardon which it purchased, it is a ministry of damnation, more emphatic than all the blood of beasts could utter. Both dispensations have their "letter that killeth," as well as their "spirit that giveth life," their Sinai as well as their Zion. And in the very place alluded to, it is the killing letter of the New Testament of which Paul speaks, 2 Cor 3:6. Besides in the Old Testament no part of the ritual could be more crushing than the moral commandment "exceeding broad," is to the unrenewed. But see Matt. 5:17—20.Again, the Old Testament distinguished both as to its word, and its ordinances, between this letter that killeth and this spirit that giveth life. Deut. 12; 10:12; Prov. 21:3; 1 Samuel 15:22; Ps. 51:16, 17; Isa. 1:13—20, etc.

Now just as the Christian minister would argue with a nominal Christian who persisted in making a righteousness out of the sacraments, so the Apostles argued with the Jews, who persisted in making a righteousness out of their ritual. Thus abused, the ritual of the Old Testament and of the New loses its gracious side, and only retains its condemning. Peter says, Acts 15:10 the ritual was a yoke which neither Jews nor their fathers were able to bear. Did God signalize His favor to His chosen people by imposing an intolerable ritual? Is it true that well disposed Jews could not bear it? See Luke 1:6; Phil. 3:6. No. Peter has in view the ritual used in that self-righteous sense, in which the Judiazing Christians regarded it while desiring to impose it on Gentiles. As a rule of justification it would be intolerable. The decalogue (2 Cor. 3:7) would be a ministration of death to him who persisted to use it as these Jews did. But Moses gave it as only one side, one member of his dispensation, "to be a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ." Gal. 3:16 speaks of a law given 430 years after the Covenant of Grace, and seeming to be contrasted. But it "could not disannul it." Did not Abraham's Covenant of Grace survive this law, as much in the ante Christian, as in the post Christian times?

Gal. 3D And 4Th Explained.

Calvin says, as I conceive, perverting the sense of Gal. 3, that the time of bondage, in which "the heir differed nothing from the slave," was the time of the Jewish dispensation, while the time of liberation was the time of the Christian dispensation. Not so. As to the visible Church collectively, and its outward or ecclesiastical privilege, this was true, but not as to individual believers in the Church. And this distinction satisfies the Apostle's scope in Gal. 3 and 4, and Heb. 8:7, 8, and reconciles with passages about to be quoted [cf. Turrettin on Heb. 9:8, Que. 2, 14]. Was David still in bondage, "differing nothing from that of a slave," when he sung Ps. 32:1, 2, 116:16. The time of tutelage was, to each soul, the time of his self righteous, unbelieving, convicted, but not humble struggles. The time of the liberty is, when he has flown to Christ. This, whether he was Israelite or Christian. Isaac, says another, symbolized the gospel believer, Ishmael, the Hebrew. Were not Isaac and Ishmael contemporary? Interpret the allegory consistently. And was it not Isaac, who was, not allegorically, but literally and actually, the Hebrew, the subject of an Old Testament dispensation, a ritual dispensation, a typical one, only differing from the Mosaic in details? This would be to represent the Apostle as making a bungling allegory, indeed, to choose the man who was actually under the dispensation of bondage, as the type of the liberty, had St. Paul intended to prove that the Old Dispensation was a bondage. And it would be bungling logic, again, to represent the spiritual liberty to which he wished to lead his hearers, by sonship to Abraham, if Abraham were the very head, with whom the dispensation of bondage was formed! St. Paul warns the foolish Galatians who "desired to be under the law," "so ye not hear the law?" (Gal. 4:21, 10). The thing which the law says to such self righteous fools, is read in Gal. 3:10. "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse". St. Paul's allegory says that Ishmael's mother (the type of the soul in bondage) represents Sinai, and Sinai again, "The Jerusalem which now is." Sarah, then, represents what? The Jerusalem which is above, and is free. "Which of these answereth to King David's Zion the city of the great King, in whose palaces God is known as a Refuge?" (Ps. 48:3, 4). Obviously, Sarah and her children. But the Pharisees of the Apostle's day claimed to be the heirs of that very Zion, and did literally and geographically inhabit it! How is this? They were in form the free women's heirs�"in fact, bastards. And they had disinherited themselves, by casting away the gospel, and selecting the legal significance of the transactions of Sinai. The Sinai or which now answereth to the bond woman is not the Sinai of of Jehovah, and of Abraham; but the Sinai of the legalist, the Sinai which the Pharisee insisted on having.

Yet the Old Necessarily Inferior.

You will not understand me as asserting that the Old Testament dispensation was as well adapted to the purposes of redemption as the New. This would be in the teeth of Heb. 8:7. The inferior clearness, fullness, and liberality result necessarily from the fact that it preceded Christ's coming in the flesh. The visible Church, in its collective capacity, was as to its outward means and privileges, in a state of minority and pupilage. But every true believer in it looked forward by faith, through that very condition of inferiority, to the blessings covenanted to him in the coming Messiah; so that his soul, individually, was not in a state of minority or bondage; but in a state of full adoption and freedom. This state of the visible Church, however, as contrasted with that which the Church now enjoys, is illustrative of the contrast between the spiritual state of the elect soul, before conversion, while convicted and self-righteous, and after conversion while rejoicing in hope. This remark may serve to explain the language of Galatians 3 would and 4.

Real Points of Difference.

I would discard, then, those representations of the intolerable harshness, bondage, literalness, absence of spiritual blessing, in the old dispensation, and give the following modified statement.

(a.) The old dispensation preceded the actual transacting of Christ's vicarious work. The new dispensation succeeds it.

(b.) Hence, the ritual teachings, (not all the teachings) of the old dispensation were typical; those of the New Testament are commemorative symbols. A type is a symbolic prediction, and for the same reason that prophecy is less intelligible before the event, than history of it afterwards, there was less clearness and fullness of disclosure (See 1 Pet. 1:12). Again, because under the Old Testament the Divine sacrifice by which guilt was to be removed, was still to be made, the sacrificial types, (those very types which foreshadowed the pardoning grace as well as the condemning justice), presented a more prominent and repeated exhibition of guilt than now, under the gospel, when the sacrifice is completed; (Heb. 10:3) because it was harder to look to the true propitiation in the future, than it is now in the past; the voice of the law, the pedagogue who directed men's eyes to Christ, was graciously rendered louder and more frequent than it is now.

(c) Perspicuity in commemorating being easier than in predicting, the ritual teachings of the previous dispensation were more numerous, varied and laborious.

(d) God, in His inscrutable wisdom, saw fit to limit the old dispensation to one nation, so far at least, as to require that any sinner embracing it should become an Israelite, and to make the necessary ritual territorial and local. Under the New Testament all nations are received alike.

(e) The previous dispensation was temporary, the New Testament will last till the consummation of all things.

8. Old Testament Saints Redeemed at Death.

With reference to the state of the Old Testament saints in the other world, we discard the whole fable of the Papists concerning a limbus Patrum, and the postponement of the application of redemption to them till Christ's death. Christ's suretyship is such that His undertaking the believer's work, releases the believer as soon as the condition is fulfilled. He is not merely Fide jussor, but ex promissor (Turrettin), Christ being an immutable, almighty and faithful surety, when He undertook to make satisfaction to the law, it was, in the eye of that God to whom a thousand years are but as one day, as good as done. (Here, by the way, is some evidence that the chief necessity of atonement was not to make a governmental display, but to satisfy God's own attributes). See Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15; Ps. 32:1, 2; 51:2; 10—13; 102:12; Is. 44:22; Luke 16:22, 23; with Matt. 8:11; Luke 9:31; Ps. 73:24; 1 Pet. 3:; Heb. 11:16; 12:23.These texts seems to me to prove, beyond all doubt, that Christ's sacrifice was for the guilt of Old Testament believers, as well as those under the New Testament; that the anticipated satisfaction was imputed to the ancient saints when they believed, and that at their death, they went to the place of glory in God's presence. What else can we make of the translations of Enoch and Elijah, and the appearance of Moses in glory, before Christ's death?

No Limbus Patrum.

The strength of the Papists' scriptural argument is in the last two of the texts cited by me. I may add, also, Rev. 14:13, which the Papists would have us understand, as though the terminus a quo of the blessedness of the believing dead were from the date of that oracle; implying that hitherto those dying in the Lord had not been immediately blessed. It is a flagrant objection to this exposition, that the Apocalypse was a whole generation after Christ's resurrection, when, according to Papists, the dying saints began to go to heaven. The terminus is, evidently, the date of each saint's death. The testimony from Heb. 9:8, you have seen answered, by your textbook, Turrettin. The Apostle's scope here shows that his words are not to be wrested to prove that there was no application of redemption until after Christ died. The author is attempting to show that the Levitical temple and ritual were designed to be superseded. This he argues, with admirable address, from the nature of the services themselves. The priests offered continually, and the High Priest every year, by the direction of the Holy Spirit; by which God showed that that ritual was not to be permanent; for if it had been adequate, it would have done its work and ceased. Its repetition showed that the work of redemption was not done; and never would be, until another dispensation came, more efficacious than it. Such is the scope. Now, the words, "the way into the sanctuary was not yet manifested," in such a connection, are far short of an assertion, that no believing soul could, at death, be admitted to heaven. Is not the meaning rather, that until Christ finished His sacrifice, the human priest still stood between men and the mercy seat?

But the locus palmarius of the Papists for a Limbus Pa is 1 Pet. 3:19. On this obscure text you may consult, besides commentaries, (among whom see Calvin in loco) Knapp, Chr. Theol., 96; Turrettin, Loc. 12, Que. 11, 15; Loc. 13., Que. 15, 12. Here, again, our safest guide is the Apostle's scope, which is this Christ is our Exemplar in submitting patiently to undeserved suffering. For Him his own people slew, the very Savior who, so far from deserving ill at their hands, had in all ages been offering gospel mercy to them and their fathers, even to those most reprobate of all, the Antediluvians. But the same Divine Nature in which Christ had been so mercifully carrying a slighted gospel to that ancient generation, (now for their unbelief, shut up in the prison of hell,) gloriously raised Him from the dead, after their equally reprobate posterity had unjustly slain Him. Here is our encouragement while we suffer innocently after the example of our Head. For this resurrection, which glorified Him over all His ancient and recent enemies, will save us. Then we, redeemed by that grace which was symbolized to the ancient believers by the type of the ark, and to modern, by the sacrament of baptism, will emerge triumphantly from an opposing and persecuting world as Christ's little Church. Consisting then of a number contemptible in unbelievers eyes in Noah's day, came out from the world of unbelievers.

With this simple and consistent view of the Apostle's drift, the whole Adream of a descent into Hades, and a release of the souls of the patriarchs from their limbus, is superfluous, and therefore unreasonable.

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