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2. This covenant is called in scripture, a new and second covenant, in distinction from another and foregoing
The covenant between God the Father, and the second person of the Trinity, is a new and second covenant. The first covenant was between God and the first Adam, as representing all mankind, as their public head. That between God, and the last Adam, the Redeemer of men, the second public head, is a second covenant, and a new one. And this lays the foundation of the covenant between God and man, of which we are now speaking, and really implies it, as has been observed.
But this covenant between God the Redeemer, and those who believe in him, is expressly called a new covenant, as it is a covenant of grace, and herein distinguished from the covenant of works, under which all mankind were, antecedent to redemption by Christ : And which was brought into view, and kept most in sight under the Mosaic dispensation. The covenant made with the children of Israel was in the form of a covenant of works. The law of works was exhibited first, and brought most clearly into sight, that it might be known to be what it really is : And the covenant of grace, or the gospel, though revealed, and contained in that covenant, was not set in open light, but covered, and in a measure hid under the types and shadows of that covenant; and under the form of a covenant of works, as the nucleus or kernel is covered and hid with the husk or shell that surrounds it : So that they who were not spiritual, discerning and attentive, saw only the outside, and considered it as wholly a covenant of works; and hoped for justification by it, in that view, It is certain this was the case with the nation of the Jews in general, in the apostles' days. They sought righteousness and justification, as it were, by the works of the law. They were ignorant of God's righteousness, and attempted to establish their own righteousness, the righteousness of the law.* This form of a covenant of works is represented by the veil which Moses put over his face, when speaking to the people.
" So that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the
Rom. ix, 32. X. 3.
end of that which was to be abolished : But their minds were blinded : For even to the days of the apostles, the same veil remained in the reading of the Old Testament, (or the old covenant;) but even to that day, when Moses was read, the veil was upon their heart."'** In this view of it, and considered as exhibiting the covenant of works, St. Paul calls the giving the law from Mount Sinai, and that dispensation, “The ministration of death and condemnation, written and engraven on stones.”+ It is therefore said, “The law was given by Moses ; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”I The dispensation under Moses was a legal dispensation, exhibiting law, in the form of a covenant of works : One particular, and perhaps the principal design of it, was to reveal the divine law, in the strictness, extent and glory of it; as necessary to prepare for the clear and open manifestation of the covenant of grace ; which was then in a great measure hid, and more obscurely revealed under shadows and types, and in other ways; so that the whole was but a shadow of the good things of the covenant of grace.
Therefore, the revelation made by Moses, is called the law : And the covenant into which the children of Israel entered, is represented as a legal covenant, a cov. enant of works, to which the covenant of grace is opposed, as another and a new covenant.
A few quotations from scripture, out of many that might be mentioned, will ascertain this. “ But now he (Jesus) hath obtained a more excellent ministry, (than the high priests under the law of Moses) by how much also he is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah : Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.”] Therefore the gospel is called • 2 Cor. iii. 13, 14, 15. † 2 Cor, üi. 7,9 John i, 17
ll Heb. x, 1. S Heb. viij. 6, 7, 8, 9,
the New Testament, and the Mosaic dispensation is called the Old Testament. * " Who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament. For until this day, remaineth the same veil untaken away, in reading the Old Testament, which veil is done away in Christ.”[
3. The covenant of grace has been revealed to man, and has been administered in different forms, and by various methods, ever since the first intimation of mercy to sinners, made soon after the first apostasy ; and by it all true believers have been saved from that time to this; and none have been saved in any other way; nor will any be saved in any other way but this, to the end of the world. And in this respect it is an everlasting covenant. This covenant was made known to Adam, and was administered, to the salvation of all the truly pious from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham, and from him to Moses. And nothing but the wickedness of man, and his opposition to the things contained and implied in this covenant, has prevented the publication of it to every one of the human race, and their salvation by it. And from Moses to the coming of Christ, the covenant of grace was made known and administer ed ; and the gospel was preached to the children of Is. rael, through all that time, and all the pious were saved by it, though it was covered under the form of a covepant of works, as has been observed and explained.
The law, as a covenant of works, was not exhibited in the revelation made to the children of Israel by Moses, as it has been now explained, under the notion that any man could obtain the favour of God, and be saved by this law or covenant; for this was impossible. But this law was thus revealed and added, that it might be known what the law was, and that men might be hereby convinced, that no man can be justified by the works of the law, as by his sins he is under the curse of it ; and that under this conviction, and despairing of salvation by the covenant of works, they might be led to understand and embrace the covenant of grace, the way of salvation by faith in the Redeemer. This is the light in which this point is set by the apostle Paul.
Is the The same word, in the original, is translated testament and covenant.
# 2 Cor. iii. 6. 14,
law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.»* This was the end which the revelation of this law answered, to those who were saved under that dispensation ; and it is suited and designed to answer this same end to those who shall be saved, to the end of the world : For by the law thus revealed, is the knowledge of sin, and the curse of God, under which all men are, who do not believe in Christ. Thus St. Paul states the matter, with regard to himself.
“I had not known sin but by the law ; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet : For without the law sin was dead. I was alive without the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin re. vived, and I died.”+
Though the Redeemer had not actually performed and gone through what he had undertaken to do and suffer ; yet it being engaged and made certain, all be. lievers who lived before his incarnation, were saved by virtue of his sufferings and obedience, which were cer. tain to take place, in due time.
4. The difference and opposition between the covenant of works and the new covenant, the covenant of grace, has been particularly stated in the two preceding sections. The former requires perfect obedience, as the condition of life, as the price to recommend to the favour of God, which is the righteousness of the law of works. The latter consists in a testimony and promise on God's part, requiring nothing of man, but that belief of this testimony and promise, which implies a cordial reception of the good things, exhibited and offered in this covenant, without offering any thing as the price of them ; but receiving them as a free gift to a sinner, infinitely guilty and wretched. The condition of the first is out of the reach of man. It is impossible he should obtain righteousness by it, because he is a sinner. The last is possible to all, and saves every one who believeth, • Gal. iii. 21, 22.
Rom. vii, 7, 8, 9.
The apostle Paul states the difference and opposition between these two covenants, from the writings of Moses ; which proves that both these covenants were revealed in that dispensation. His words are these : “ Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doth those things, shall live by : them. * But the righteousness which is of faith, speak
eth on this wise : Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down) or who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to bring Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.f. That is, the word of faith which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and sealt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”I
5. In the preaching of the gospel, the covenant of grace is proposed, and the blessings it contains are of
fered to all to whom it comes, upon their believing, and :heartily approving the way of salvation therein proposed. For all who thus comply, come up to the condition of the covenant, on their part, and consequently are interested in all the promises of it.
The atonement and righteousness of Christ is sufficient for the justification and salvation of all them who believe, be they ever so many, even all the human race. Therefore the offer of salvation is made to all, without exception, and salvation is promised to all who believe, or willingly embrace the offer, to which they are invited and commanded. The direction and command is to preach the gospel to all nations, to every creature. But this cannot be done if the blessings of the covenant of
grace be not offered to all,' even pardon, justification and salvation, who are willing to receive them. For it is no gospel, no good news, to those to whom this offer and invitation cannot be made. The gospel cannot be preached to the devils, because the offer of salvation cannot be made to them, on any condition whatsoever : "And if there be any of mankind to whom this offer may not be made, the gospel can no more be preached to them, than to the fallen angels. VOL.' II.
13 See Levit. aviij. 5.
† Ses Deut. xxx. 11, 12, 13, 14. Rom, x. 5–9: