Page images
[ocr errors]

you, which you are, and must be forced to own, then this your pofition cannot be true; for from true premiffes, nothing but truth can naturally and regularly follow; but I fhall make it plain to you, that this your pofition regularly draws many falfe conclufions, and gross abfurdities, upon you; fome of which you own exprefly, and others you as good as own, being able to return nothing rational or fatisfactory 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 neceffarily follows, that either Mofes and all Ifrael were damned, there being no falvation poffible to be attained by that first covenant; or elfe, that there was a covenant of grace at the fame time running parallel with that covenant of works; and fo the elect people of God were at one and the fame time under the firft, as a covenant of death and condemnation; and under the fecond, as a covenant of grace and juftification.

This dilemma pinches you. To affert, that Mofes, and all the elect of God, under that difpenfation, were damned, you dare not; and if you had, you must have expunged the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, and a great part of the New Teftament, together with all your hopes of fitting down with Abraham, Ifaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. The latter, therefore, (feeing you cannot avoid) you are forced upon, and in plain words yield it, p. 174, 175. That Mofes, and the whole body of the children of Ifrael, without exception of any, were under, yea, abfolutely under the severest pe⚫nalties of a dreadful curfe; that the covenant they were un

der, could be no other than a covenant of works, a miniftration of death and condemnation; when yet it is also evident 'from the fame holy fcriptures of truth, that at the same time both Mofes and all the elect among that people, were under a pure covenant of gospel-grace; and that these two covenants were just the oppofite the one to the other; but to this you have nothing to say, but with the apostle in another cafe, O the depth !'

Here, fir, you father a pure and perfect contradiction upon the holy fcriptures, that it speaks things juft opposite and contradictory one to the other, and of neceflity one part or member of a contradiction must be falfe: this all the rational world knows; but so it is, fay you, and fly to the infinite wisdom to reconcile them; for you fay, You know not what to say to it. Juft fo the papifts ferve 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 fuch grofs abfurdities: Do you fee what follows from hence by unavoidable confequence? You muft, according to this principle, hold, That Mofes, and all God's peculiar elect people in Ifrael, muft, during their life, hang mid-way between juftification and condemnation; and, after death, between heaven and hell.

[ocr errors]

(1.) During life, they muft hang mid-way between juftification and condemnation; juftified they could not be, for juftification is the foul's paffing from death to life, 1 John iii. 14. John v. 24. This they could not poffibly do, for the mini. ftration 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 impoffible on the other fide; for he that is juftified, cannot at the fame time be under condemnation, Rom. viii. 2. John v. 24. What remains then, but that during life they must stick mid- -way betwixt both, neither juftified nor condemned; and yet both fo and fo. 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 fuch a medium you here fancy.

(2.) And then after death they must necaffarily 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 fay they were. To hell they could not go, being under the pure covenant of grace: What remains then, but fome third state must be affigned them? and so at last we have found the limbus patrum, and your pofition leads us right to purgatory; a conclufion 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 Mofes's covenant, and the Sinai difpenfation of the law, or there was none; if you fay none, you directly contradict Lev. xxvi. 40, 46. if they were, then it cannot be Adam's covenant of works.

You anfwer, pag. 179. That God promifeth pardon for the breach of Mofes's covenant, and of Adam's covenant too, but neither Adam's covenant, nor the Jewish legal covenant, promifed any pardon upon repentance, but rather threatens and inflicts the contrary.'

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

prove the law at Sinai cannot be a pure Adam's covenant, 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 evafion, and an eluding of the argument; and your only meaning is, that the relief I speak of is not to be found in any promife belonging to the Sinai difpenfation, but in fome other gofpel covenant or promife. But, fir, this will not ferve your turn; you fee I cite the very promifc of grace made to the Ifraelities 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 lefs contradictory, as to this which is no lefs fo; as will evidently appear, by a nearer and more parti-、 cular view of the place, and gathering up your own conceffions about it. That this text, Lev. xxvi. 40. hath the nature of a gracious gospel promise in it, no man will deny, except he that will deny that God's remembring of his covenant, for the relief of poor broken-hearted finners, is no gospel-promife pertaining to the covenant of grace: That it was made to the penitent Ifraelities upon mount Sinai, and there delivered them by the hand of Mofes for their relief, is as visible and plain as the words and fyllables of the 46th verse are to him that reads them. Let the promise then be confidered both ways. (1.) In your sense, as a plain direction to the covenant of grace made with Abraham for their relief; for fo you fay it was, p. 180. or let it be confidered abfolutely, as that which contained relief in itself for the penitent Ifraelites that fhould live to wards the end of the world, after they should be gathered from all their difperfions and captivities, as you there speak, and more fully explicate in your accommodation of a parallel promife, 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, fay you, it plainly directs them; and then this legal dispensation can never be the fame with Adam's cavenant, for to that covenant no fuch promife was ever annexed, which should guide and plainly direct them to Chrift and pardon, as that star which appeared to the wife men directed their way to Chrift. If there be any fuch relative promise belonging to Adam's covenant in paradife, as this which I plainly thew you was made on mount Sinai, be pleased to produce it, and you end the controversy; but if you cannot, (as you know you cannot) then never fay the legal difpenfation at Sinai,




and the covenant of works with Adam in paradise, are the fame covenant. Secondly, Let us confider this promife abfolutely in itself, and then I demand, was there mercy, relief and pardon contained in it for any penitent finner present or to come? Yes, fay you, it extends relief to penitents, after God fhall 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 gofpel, juft before Chrift coming to judgment: And can fuch a promise as this be denied to be in itself a gofpel-promife? 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 fay, This promise did not belong to the moral law given at Sinai, but to the ceremonial law: If so, then I fhould reasonably conclude, that you take the ceremo nial law (of which you seem to make this a branch; pag. 181.) to be a covenant of grace, feeing one of its branches bears fuch a gracious promife upon it. No, that mult not be fo neither; for fay you, p. 151. the ceremonial covenant is of the fame nature with the covenant of works, or law written in tables of ftone: Whither then shall we fend 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 by the hand of Moses : To the gospel-covenant we must not therefore annex it; and to the legal difpenfation at Sinai you are as loth to annex it, be caufe it contains fo much relief and grace in it for poor peni tents; and that will prove, that neither the moral nor ceremo 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 diftreffed Ifraelites in the pureft göfpel-times, towards the end of the world, you as palpably contradict yourself in another refpect; for we fhall find you by and by ftoutly denying, that the gofpel promifes have any conditions or qualifications annexed to them; but fo hath this, which you fay relates to them that fhall live at the end of the world.

If their uncircumcifed hearts be humbled, and if they accept the punishment of their iniquites, then will I remember my "covenant," &c. But be this promife conditional or abfolute,

two things are undeniably clear: (1.) That it is a promise full of grace, for the relief of law-tranfgreffors, ver. 40. (2.) That it was a mount Sinai promise, ver. 46. And fuch a promife as you can never fhew in Adam's covenant.

Befides, it is to me an unaccountable thing, that a promise which hath a double comfortable afpect, 430 years back, and fome thoufands of years forward, should not cast one comfortable glance upon the penitents of the prefent age, when it was made, nor upon any till near the end of the world. What think you, fir, of the 3000 Jews pricked at the heart, Acts ik 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 promife to relieve? O what fhifting and shuffling is here! Who can think a man that twists and winds every way, to avoid the dint of an argument, can poffibly have a moral affurance of the truth of his own opinion? (3.) You fay, pag. 134. That through Christ's fatisfaction there is no repugnancy, or hoftile contrariety, betwixt the law ' and promife, but an agreement betwixt them, and that they "differ only in refpect of ftrength and weakness; the gospel is able to go through-ftitch with it, which the law cannot do. Reply. Well then, the law, confidered as a covenant of works, whofe terms or condition is, "Do this and live ;" and the promise or gospel, whofe condition is, "Believe and thou "fhalt be faved;" are not specifically different, but only gra dually, in point of strength and weakness: and the reafon you give is as ftrange, that this comes to pass through the fatisfaction of Chrift. Good fir, enlighten us in this rare notion. Did Chrift die to purchase a reconciliation betwixt the cove nant of works as fuch, and the covenant of grace, as if both were now by the death of Chrift agreed, and to be juftified by works and by faith, fhould, after Chrift's death, make no odds or difference between them? If it be fo, why have you, kept fuch a coil to prove Mofes'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 fay, you con tradict the apostle, who fo directly oppofes the covenant of works as fuch, to the covenant of grace, Gal. iii. 18. and tells us they are utterly inconfiftent and exclufive of each other; and this he spake after Chrift's death and actual satisfaction. But,

(4.) That which more amazes me, is the ftrange answer you give to Mr. Sedgwick, p. 132, 133. In your return to his argument, That if the law and the promife can confift, then VOL. VIII



« PreviousContinue »