Page images
PDF
EPUB

bedience, but gave not power for it: but in virtue of the covenant of grace, which also belonged to them.

LIV. What was it then? It was a national covenant between God and Israel, whereby Israel promised to God a fincere obedience to all his precepts; especially to the ten words; God, on the other hand, promised to Israel, that such an observance would be acceptable to him, nor want its reward, both in this life, and in that which is to come, both as to soul and body. This reciprocal promise supposed a covenant of grace. For, without the alliltance of the covenant of grace, man cannot sincerely promise that obfervance; and yet that an imperfect observance should be acceptable to God is wholly owing to the covenant of grace. It also supposed the doctrine of the covenant of works, the terror of which being increased by those tremendous signs that attended it, they ought to have been excited to embrace that covenant of God. This agreement therefore is a consequent both of the covenant of grace and of works; but was formally neither the one nor the other. A like agreement and renewal of the covenant between God and the pious is frequent; both national and individual. Of the former see Josh. xxiv. 22. 2 Chron. xv. 12. 2 Kings xxiii. 3. Neh. X. 29. Of the latter, Pfal. cxix. 106. It is certain, that in the passages we have named, mention is made of some covenant between God and his people. If any should ask me, of what kind, whether of works or of grace? I shall answer, it is formally neither : but a covenant of sincere piety, which fupposes both.

LV. Hence the question, which is very much agitated at this day, may be decided : namely whether the ten words are nothing but the form of the covenant of grace? This, I apprehend, is by no means an accurate way of speaking. For, since a covenant strictly fo called, consists in a mutual agreement; what is properly the form of the covenant should contain the said mutual agreement. But the ten words contain only a prescription of duty fenced on the one hand by threatenings, taken from the covenant of works ; on the other, by promises, which belong to the covenant of grace. Hence the scripture, when it speaks properly, says that a covenant was made upon these ten words, or after the tenor of those worils, Exod. xxxiv. 27. distinguishing the covenant itself, which consists in a mutual agreement from the ten words, which contain the conditions of it. The form of the covenant is exhibited by those words, which we have already quoted from Exod. xix. 5, 6, 8. I deny not, that the ten commandments are frequently in fcripture called the covenant of God. But at the same time, no person can be ignorant, that

the

the term covenant, has various significations in the Hebrew, and often signifies nothing but a precept, as Jer. xxxiv. 13, 14. Thus Motes explains himself on this head, Deut. iv. 13. “ And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments.” They are therefore called a covenant by a Synecdoche, because they contain those precepts, which God, when he fet his covenant before them, required the Israelites to observe, and to which the said Israelites bound themselves by covenant.

. LVI. The ten words, or commandments, therefore, are not the forin of a covenant properly so called, but the rule of duty: much less are they the form of the covenant of grace : because that covenant, in its stridt signification, consists of mere promises, and, as it relates to elect persons, has the nature of a testament, or last will, rather than of a covenant strictly speaking, and depends on no condition; as we have at large explained and proved, Book III. chap. I. sect. 8. &c. And Jeremiah has Thewn us, that the form of the covenant of grace, consists in absolute promises, chap. xxxi. 33. and xxxii. 38–40. In like manner Isa. liv. 10.

LVII. Least of all can it be said, that the ten words are now thing but the form of the covenant of grace, since we may look upon them as having a relation to any covenant whatever. They may be considered in a twofold manner. "ist, Precisely, as a law. 2dly, As an instrument of the covenant. As a law, they are the rule of our nature and actions, which he has prescribed, who has a right to command. This they were from the beginning, this they still are, and this they will continue to be, under whatever covenant, or in whatever state man shall be. As an instrument of the covenant they point out the way to eternal salvation; or contain the condition of enjoying that falvation : and that both under the covenant of grace and of works. But with this difference; that under the covenant of works, this condition is required to be performed by man himself; under the covenant of grace it is proposed, as already performed, or to be performed by a mediator. Things, which those very persons, with whom we are now disputing, will not venture to deny.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I. M HE plan we formerly laid down, should now require

to speak a little of those things from Moses himself and the succeeding prophets, which they have published concerning the person, natures, states, offices, and blessings of the Messiah. And it would be easy to fhew, that nothing remarkable die befal our Jesus, nothing great was either said or done by him, which the prophets did not foretel was to come to pass. The prophets, I say, who “ prophesied of the grace that should come unto us; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,” i Pet. i. 10, 11. and who all, with one confent, “ give witness to Jesus, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remiffion of sins," Acts X. 43. The apostle Paul, who protested, “ he had not shunned to declare all the counsel of God,” Acts xx. 27. at the same time protests, “ he 1ays none other things than those which the prophets and Mofes did say should come, Acts xxvi. 22. And certainly, the body itself fhould exactly agree with the picture, that was long before presented to the view of the ancient church since it became the wisdom and goodness of God, to give such an exact description of the Melliah, with all his marks or characters, that he might be known by any thoughtful and attentive mind, and diftingushed from all manner of impostors, who should impiously pretend to, or counterfeit his name. But this fubject has been, both formerly and lately, considered by the learned, and treated with such accuracy, that I have nothing to add. If any would have a compendious view of these things,

lie may consult the preface to the New Testament, drawn up, I with great judginent, by our divines.

CH A P. VI.

Of the Types. :

I. CIUCH is the inexhaustible copiousness of the Holy Scrip.

tures, that not only the words are significative of things, but even the things, which are first signified by the words,do likewise represent other things, which they were appointed to prefigure long before they happened. Christ principally, and Paul have informed us of this, when they apply moft of the things which happened under the old dispensation to the Messiah, and to the ceconomy of a better testament. And indeed, if the old institutions of the deity had not their mystical significations, they might deservedly be accounted childish, ludicrous, and unworthy of God. These are things, which not only Christians require to be granted to them, but also were acknowledged by the ancient Jews, who besides a literal, or plain meaning, fought also a mystical sense in scripture. And it was a constant and received opinion among them, that all things were mystical in the law of Mofes, and therefore may be mystically explained.

II. Their mystical signification points to Christ, in his perfon, ftates, offices, and works, and in his spiritual body, the church : for Christ is the end of the law, Rom. X. 4. the body, or subítance of the ceremonial shadows, Col. ii. 17. and the centre of the prophecies, Acts x. 43. The doctrine of Christ is the key of knowledge, Luke xi. 42. without which nothing can be savingly understood in Moses and the prophets. As is apparent in the Pharisees of old, and the Socinians in our day; who being tainted with false notions concerning the Meffiah, pollute for the most part, all the testimonies concerning the common salvation by their impure interpretations. It was very well said by the ingenious Bifterfield, that “ the Lord Jesus Christ was the spirit and soul of the whole, both of the Old and New Testament,” de Scripturæ eminentia, §. 40.

III. It is an unquestionable truth, that the Old Testament believers, especially those who were favoured with a fuller measure of the Spirit, applied themselves with peculiar diligence, to find out the mystical meaning of the types: in which study they were very much aflisted by the prophets and divinely inspired priests. Thus David declared, that “ he had seen God in the fanctuary," Psal. Ixiii. 2. that is, that he had, by the figures of the Levitical service, searched by holy meditation, into the very truth of the things. This made believers so chearful in the acts of external worship; not that they were very much taken with those minute corporal performances, but that “ they beheld in them the beauty of Jehovah, and enquired in his temple,” Pfal. xxvii. 4. They were not put off with mere fhadows, but were “ satisfied with the goodness of God's house, even of his holy temple ;” and though it was but darkly, yet they heard him 6 speaking terrible things in righteousneis,” Pfal. lxv. 4, 5.

IV. Though Christ and the Apostles, in order to illustrate and prove the truth of the gospel, argued from the types by divine inspiration, and the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit: yet they did not lay the stress of those arguments on their own bare authority, because they were inspired, (for that authority was at times called in question, and upon supposing it, all reasoning would almost seem superfluous), but on the evident de'monstration of the truth to the conscience, which plainly discovered to an attentive perfon, that it was worthy of God to represent such a truth by such types.

V. The strength of those arguments rests on this supposition, that God was pleased to give the church at that time, in the memorable persons of the Old Testament, to whom fome remarkable things happened in an extraordinary way, and in the whole of his instituted worship, a beautiful picture, and becoming the accuracy of so great an artist, in which Christ with his mystical body might be delineated. The apostle, when he argued with the Jews in his epistles to the Galatians and Hebrew's, lays this down as a fundamental truth; and having laid that foundation, directly proceeds, with a kind of divine skill, to the application of the types. For, when there is any thing in the antitype resembling the type, it is justly affirmed, that God, who knows all things from the beginning, ordered the type in such a manner, that it might fignify beforehand that truth; which was in the antitype. Unless we would rather maintain, that the likeness of an ingenious picture to the original, was rather the effect of chance, than of the intention of the artist; which is contrary to all reason.

VI. It is not only lawful but the incumbent duty of teachers, even though not inspired, to tread in this very path, and to explain, in the same method, the types of the Old Testament. For, we must not think, either that an infallible authority is necessary to explain the types, or that all the types of the Old Testament are explained in the New. Not the former ; for, why should an infallible authority be required in interpreting the types, rather than in interpreting the prophecies and other dark expresfions in scripture ? Since it is manifeít, that it was the will of God to instruct the church by types; and the explication of the types is now oftentimes far more easy, on account of the distinct knowledge of the antitype, than of many prophecies, which it is far more difficult to determine to what they refer. Not the latter for why should we believe, that all the types of Christ were explained rather than all the prophecies concerning him ? Especially, as the apostle affirms, that he has not spoken particularly of them all, Heb. ix. 5. We are therefore to maintain, that the inspired teachers have pointed out to us the way and method, in which we ought to proceed in explaining the

types,

« PreviousContinue »