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CHAPTER XVII.

In what manner and order the preaching

of the law should accompany that of the gospel.

1. Il. The law, and the gospel are taken either in a strict

er, or in a larger signification. III. The law may be considered, either as the rule of duty, IV. Or as the condition of the covenant; as well of works, V. As of that which is between the Father and the Son. VI. Not so of that which is between God and the elec. VII. Yet in various respects, it is referred to the coveDant of grace. VIII. The gospel, in a larger sense, has also its law. IX. But most stridly taken, it consists of mere promises. X. Under the evangelical economy, the law should be preached, with its uses. XI. But also the gospel, with all the riches of its grace. XII. Both in the highest degree of perfection. XIII. We must not be very solicitous concerning the order, since both should be preached together. XIV. The beginning of the new life is from the preaching of the gospel. XV. But in its progress, sometimes the law takes the lead, and sometimes the gospel.

XVII.

1. INALLY

СНАР. ner and order the preaching of the law should accompany that of the gospel. To the deter- I. The mination of which question, we must first law and the

gospel are know, what is understood by the law, and taken ei

ther in a what by the gospel. The law here signifies

stricter or that part of the Divine word which consists in a larger,

significain precepts and prohibitions, with the pro- tion.

XVII.

CHAP mise of conferring a reward upon them who

obey, and a threatening of punishment to the disobedient. The gospel signifies the doctrine of grace, and of the fullest salvation in Christ Jesus, to be received of elect sinners by faith.

Therefore every prescription of virtues and duties, all exhortations and dissuasions, all reproofs and threatenings, also all the promises of a reward in recompence of perfect obedience, belong to the law. But to the gospel appertains whatever 'can give a sinner the hope of salvation, namely, the doctrine concerning the person, offices, states, and benefits of Jesus Christ, and all the promises wherein is included the pardon of sins, and the annexed possession of grace and glory, to be obtained by faith in him. This is the strictest notion of both words, to which we must attend, in the whole of this disputation. [31.]

II. Otherwise it is known to all who are acquainted with theology, that the law is sometimes used in such an extensive signification, that it contains the whole system of the doctrine of salvation, the better part of which is the gospel: Isa. ii. 3. xlii. 4. and that also the gospel sometimes signifies all that doctrine which Christ and the Apostles delivered, in which are comprehended both commandments, and prohibitions, and upbraidings, and threatenings, Mark xvi. 15.

Note (91.)

XVII.

either as

IV. Or

nant; as

compared with Matth. xxviii. 20. Rom. ii. CHAP. 16. · III. And the law in that strictest signifi

Ill. The cation, may be considered two ways; either law may be

considered, as in itself, or as subservient to some covenant. The law in elf, is the most absolute rule of the rule of

duty, all duty, to be performed by man in whatsoever state; so that the goodness or malignity of all rational actions, without exception, is to be examined by is.

IV. But it obtains another relation, when it is subservient to some Divine covenant. It as the core

dition of served the covenant of works of old: and still the coveit serves the covenant of grace. In the cove

well of nant of works it was prescribed, as the condi- works, tion, which, being perfectly performed, would give a right to the reward.

V. The covenant of grace may be considered either as it was made between Jehovah that which and the man whose name is the Branch; or as the Father it is made by God with elect sinners and and the believers. In the former consideration, it is certainly of grace, almost exceeding belief, that God should not only admit of a surety, but should also himself give him unto us; but yet it behoved the surety to satisfy according to the rigour of the law; which was greater in relation to him, than in the first covenant between God and Adam. For by it Adam was bound, either to obedience perfect in all respects, or to punishment: but our surety was bound to both at once. Pers petual life was promised to Adam, provided

V. As of

Son.

CHAP. he would obey. But the reward of his work XVII.

was not promised to our surety, execept he should at once both perform the most perfect obedience to the law, and likewise endure. the punishment due to sin. And therefore the law in all its rigour, both as to its preceptive part, and as to its penal sanction, is the condition of that (covenant which took

place between God and the surety. VI. Not VI. But if the covenant of grace be con. 80 of that

sidered as made between God and the elect, I which is between do not think that it should be said, that the God and the elect. law, as sincerely performed by us, is also the

condition of this covenant. For it has been abundantly shown above, that they are egregiously mistaken, who contend that sincere obedience, performed to the command of Christ, which may come under the name of faith, has succeeded in place of perfect obedience, which was demanded in the first co

venant. VII. Yet VII. Yet the law is, in various respects, in various

related to the covenant of grace. respects,

Ist. Inasit is refer- much as by the co-operation of the Spirit of red to the covenant grace it divests a man of all confidence in of grace. his own virtue and righteousness, and by the

knowledge of his misery, constrains him to be humble; and so leads him to Christ, exhi. bited in the gospel, Rom. x. 5. Gal. iii. 24. 2dly, Inasmuch as it enters into the promis

of the covenant, among which that is not the least, which respects the writing of the law in the hearts of the elect, Jer. xxxi. 33.

3dly, Inasmuch as it is a draught of true vir- CHAP. tue, a delineation of inward and outward

XVII. goodness, and an example of that holiness which God approves, and which we ought to follow. 4thly, Inasmuch as sincere obedience to it conduces very much to the glory of God, and to the edification of our neighbour, and to procure many advantages to ourselves. For sincere obedience to the Divine law is a proof and an evidence of unfeigned faith, of Christ dwelling in us by his Spirit, of regeneration and renovation, accord. ing to the image of God, and of our adoption to the glorious inheritance. Besides, it brings us peace of conscience, consolation against the reproaches of enemies, friendly and familiar communion with God, and the boldness of faith and hope at the very point of death; so that, in fine, it is not only useful to obtain the possession of salvation, but also so necessary,

that without it no man shall see God. Which things have been lately demonstrated more at large. And all these the law does, not from its own authority, which can admit of nothing unless perfectly pure, and condemns whatever is polluted with the least stain: but from the authority of Christ's grace, to which it is now subservient, and by whose command it declares, that the works performed by the sanctifying grace of the Spirit, though imperfect, are sincere, and so far approves of them as agreeable to it. These are the relations of the law, inasmuch

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