Page images
PDF
EPUB

you, which you are, and must be forced to own, then this your position cannot be true; for from true premiffes, nothing but truth càn naturally and regularly follow, but I shall make it plain to you, that this your position regularly draws many false conclusions, and gross absurdities, upon you ; some of which you own exprefy, and others you as good as own, bes ing able to return nothing rational or satisfactory in your own defence against them.

(1.) From this affertion, that the Sinai.covenant was a pure covenant of works, the very fame with Adam's covenant, it - regularly and necessarily follows, that either Moses and all If. rael were damned, there being no salvation poflible to be attained by that first covenant, or else, that there was a covenant of grace at the same time running parallel with that covenant of works; and so the elect people of God were at one and the fame time under the first, as a covenant of death and condemnation; and under the second, as a covenant of grace and justification

This dilemma pinches you. To affert, that Moses, and all the elect of God, under that dispensation, were damned, you dare not; and if you had, you must have expunged the ele. yenth chapter to the Hebrews, and a great part of the New Testament, together with all your hopes of fitting down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. The latter, therefore, (seeing you cannot avoid) you are forced upon, and in plain words yield it, p. 174, 175. " That Moses, and

the whole body of the children of Israel, without exception

of any, were under, yea, absolutely under the severeft peInalties of a dreadful curse; that the covenant they were un? der, could be no other than a covenant of works, a ministra

tion of death and condemnation ; when yet it is also evident from the same hcly scriptures of truth, that at the same time both Moses and all the elect among that people, were un

der à pure covenant of gospel-grace, and that these two co? venants were just the opposite the one to the other; but to

this you have nothing to say, but with the apostle in another r case, the depth!'

Here, fir, you father a pure and perfect contradiction upon the holy scriptures, that it speaks things just opposite and contradictory one to the other, and of necessity one part or member of a contradiction must be false : this all the rațional world

reconcile them; for you say, You know not what to say to it. Just so the papists serve us in the controversy about tranfubflan

[ocr errors]

tiation, when they cannot reconcile one thing with another, they fly to the omnipotent power to do it.

But, fir, I wonder how you hold and hug a principle that runs naturally into such gross absurdities : Do you see what follows from hence by unavoidable consequence? You must, according to this principle, hold, That Mofes, and all God's peculiar elect people in Ifrael, muft, during their life, hang mid-way between justification and condemnation ; and, after death, between heaven and hell.

(1.) During life, they must hang mid-way between justification and condemnation; justified they could not be, for juftification is the soul's passing from death to life, I John iii. 14. John v. 24. This they could not possibly do, for the mini. Atration of death and condemnation hindred. He that is under condemnation by the law, cannot, during that state, pass into life. And yet to be under condemnation is as impossible on the other side ; for he that is justified, cannot at the same time be under condemnation, Rom. viii. 2. John v. 24. What remains then, but that during life they must stick mid-way betwjxt both, neither justified nor condemned ; and yet both fo and so. Juftification is our life, and condemnation our death, in law : Betwixt these two, which are privately opposed, there can be no medium of participation, and yet such a medium you here fancy. ! (2.) And then after death they must necassarily hang betwixt heaven and hell; to heaven none can go that are under the very rigour and tyranny of the law, a pure covenant of works, as you say they were. To hell they could not go, being under the pure covenant of grace: What remains then, but some third state must be alligned them ? and so at last we have found the limbus patrum, and your position leads us right to purgatory ; a conclusion which, I believe, you yourself abhor as much as I.

(2dly,) This hypothesis pinches you with another dilemma, viz. Either there was pardon or repentance in Moses's covenant, and the Sinai dispensation of the law, or there was none; if you say none, you directly contradict Lev. xxvi. 40, 46. if they were, then it cannot be Adam's covenant of works.

You answer, pag. 179. • That God promiseth pardon for the breach of Moses's covenant, and of Adam's covenant too,

but neither Adam's covenant, nor the Jewish legal covenant, 1.6 promised any pardon upon repentance, but rather threatens o and inflicts the contrary.'

Reply. Either this is a direct answer to my argument, to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

prove the law at Sinai cannot be a pure Adam's covenant, be-
cause it had a promise of pardon annexed to it, Lev. xxvi. 40.
but Adam's covenant had none. If your answer be direct,
then it is a plain contradiction in saying it had, and it had not
a promise of pardon belonging to it. Or else it is a mere eva-
fion, and an eluding of the argument; and your only mean-
ing is, that the relief I speak of is not to be found in any pro-
mise belonging to the Sinai dispensation, but in some other
gospel covenant or promise. But, fir, this will not serve your
turn; you see I cite the very promisc of grace made to the
Israelities on mount Sinai by the hand of Mofes, wherein God
promiseth upon their humiliation, to remember his covenant
for their good. Now, fir, you had as good have stood to your
first answer, which is less contradictory, as to this which is no
less fo; as will evidently appear, by a nearer and more parti.
cular view of the place, and gathering up your own concef-
fions about it. That this text, Lev, xxvi. 40. hath the nature
of a gracious gospel promise in it, no man will deny, ex-
cept he that will deny that God's remembring of his covenant,
for the relief of poor broken-hearted sinners, is no gospel-pro-
mise pertaining to the covenant of grace : That it was made
to the penitent Ifraelities upon mount Sinai, and there deliver-
ed them by the hand of Moses for their relief, is as visible and
plain as the words and syllables of the 46th verse are to him
that reads them. Let the promise then be considered both ways.
(1.) In your sense, as a plain direction to the covenant of grace
made with Abraham for their relief; for so you say it was, p.
180. or let it be considered absolutely, as that which contained
relief in itself for the penitent Israelites that should live to:

[ocr errors]

tible con izmeti

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

mile, p. lll,

[ocr errors]

all their dispersions and captivities, as you there speak, and
more fully explicate in your accommodation of a parallel pro-
mise, p. 111, 112, 113. First, let us view it in your sense, as a
relative promise to the covenant of grace made with Abraham.
Gen. xii. to which, say you, it plainly directs them; and then
this legal dispensation can never be the same with Adam's cave-
nant, for to that covenant no such promise was ever annexed,
which should guide and plainly direct them to Christ and par,
don, as that star which appeared to the wise men directed their
way to Christ. If there be any such relative promise belong
ing to Adam's covenant in paradise, as this which I plainly
Thew jou was made on mount Sinai, be pleased to produce it,
Thew
and you end the controversy ; but if you cannot, (as you know
you cannot) then never say the legal dispensation at Sinai,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

an

and the covenant of works with Adam in paradise, are the very fame covenant. Secondly, Let us consider this promise ab solutely in itself, and then I demand, was there mercy; relief and pardon contained in it for any penitent Inner present or to come? Yes, say you, it extends relief to penitents, after God shall gather them from all their captivities at the end of the world; very good. Then it is a very vigorous promise of grace, which not only reaches 430 years backward, as far as the first promise to Abraham, but also extends its reliefs and and comforts many thousand years forwards, even to the pureft times of the gospel, just before Christ coming to judgment : And can such a promise as this be denied to be in itself a gofpel-promise ? Sure it can neither be denied to be such, nor yet to be made upon mount Sinai by the hand of Mofes. This dilemma is as pinching as the former.

Perhaps you'll say, This promise did not belong to the moral law given at Sinai, but to the ceremonial law : If so; then Į should reasonably conclude, that you take the ceremonial law (of which you seem to make this a branch; pag. 181.) to be a covenant of grace, feeing one of its branches bears such a gracious promise upon it. No, that must not be for neither; for say you, p. 151. the ceremonial covenant is of the same nature with the covenant of works, or law written in tables of stone: Whither then shall we send this promise? To the covenant of grace we must not fend it, unless only as an index or finger to point to it, because it was made upon mount Sinai, and delivered to Ifrael bỳ the hand of Mofes : To the gospel-covenant we must not therefore annex it; and to the legal dispensation at Sinai you are as loth to annex it, be caufe it contains so much relief and grace in it for poor penia tents; and that will prove, that neither the moral nor ceremon nial law (place it in which you please) can be a pure covenant of works as Adam's was.

Moreover, in making this the promise which must relieve and comfort the distressed Ifraelites in the purest gospel-times; towards the end of the world, you as palpably contradi& yourself in anocher respect ; for we shall find you by and by ftoutly denying, that the gospel promises have any conditions or qualifications annexed to them; but fo hath this, which you say relates to them that shall live at the end of the world. « If their uncircumcifed hearts be humbled, and if they accept 6t the punishment of their iniquites, then will I remember my or covenant," &c. But bechis promise conditional or abfolute, two things are undeniably clear : (1.) That it is a promise full of grace, for the relief of law-transgreffors, ver. 40. (2.) That it was a mount Sinai promise, ver. 46. And such a promise as you can never shew in Adam's covenant.

Besides, it is to me an unaccountable thing, that a promise which hath a double comfortable aspect, 430 years back, and

able glance upon the penitents of the present age, when it was made, nor upon any till near the end of the world. What think you, sir, of the 3000 Jews pricked at the heart, Acts iki had they no relief from it, because their lot fell not late enough in time? Were the penitent Jews in Mofes and Peter's days all born out of due time for this promise to relieve? O what shifting and shuffling is here! Who can think a man that twists and winds every way, to avoid the dint of an argument, çan possibly have a moral assurance of the truth of his own opinion?

(3.) You say, pag. 134. "That through Christ's satisfaction there is no repugnancy, or hostile contrariety, betwixt the law 6 and promise, but an agreement betwixt them, and that they si differ only in respect of strength and weakness; the gospel is able to go through-stitch with it, which the law cannot do.

Reply.. Well then, the law, considered as a covenant of works, whose terms or condition is, “Do this and live;" and the promise or gospel, whose condition is, “ Believe and thou « fhalt be saved;" are not specifically different, but only gras dually, in point of strength and weakness: and the reason you give is as strange, that this comes to pass through the satisfaca

tion of Christ. Good fir, enlighten us in this rare notion: · Did Christ die to purchase a reconciliation betwixt the cove

nant of works as such, and the covenant of grace, as if both were now by the death of Christ agreed, and to be justified. by works and by faith, should, after Christ's death, make no odds or difference between them? If it be so, why have you, kept such a coil to prove Moses's and Adam's covenant, yea, Abraham's too, being a covenant of works, can never confift: or mingle with the gospel-covenant ? And then I say, you contradict the apostle, who so directly opposes the covenant of works as such, to the covenant of grace, Gal. iii. 18. and tells, us they are utterly inconsistent and exclusive of each other; and this he spake after Christ's death and actual satisfaction. Buty

(4.) That which more amazes me, is the strange answer you give to Mr. Sedgwick, p. 132, 133. In your return to his argument, • That if the law and the promise can conäft, then

VOL. VIII.

Abraham's coil to proveen them inter Chri

« PreviousContinue »