Page images

cation of the Old Testament still maintaining its ground. Of right it was entirely abrogated, when, upon Christ's death, the vail of the temple was rent, and the holy of holies, before hid and concealed, was then set open to all ; and by the blood of a dying Christ, the New Testament was sealed. However, for some time the apostles themselves apprehended that there was a sanctity in the ceremonies, till Peter was better taught by a heavenly vision, Acts x. 11, &c. In fine, the church struggled with the observation of these ceremonies, now in pangs of death, till Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by the Romans, and the temple set on fire; together with these, all remains of the Old Testament, which were long before condemned to death, quite expired, and made way for a New Testament, then at Jast blazing forth in the full lustre of its liberty.

XIX. And here again we are to observe various periods, which are distinctly described in the prophetic writings, especially in the mystical revelation of John; the church has al. ready experienced some of them, and expects the rest with faith and patience. Periods, I say, not relating to any new worship either instituted, or to be instituted by God, after the preaching of the everlasting gospel ; but respecting very different vicissitudes in the church, and times either more adverse, or more prosperous, in which truth and piety were either oppress ed, and forced to conceal themselves in deserts, being wounded and spent by many persecutions, or then victoriously triumphed over their enemies, and were placed on an illustrious throne, which dazzled the eyes with the refulgent beams of their ligbt. Of all these we are to speak in their place.

XX. And though we imagine we have reckoned up properly enough, and agreeably to the sacred writings, the economies of the times, yet some very learned men have thought otherwise, who are better pleased with the trichotomy, or threefold division, than with the received dichotomy, or twofold distribution. They therefore consider the administration of the covenant of grace, Ist. Under the PROMISE and before the law, which they contend to have been a promise of mere grace and liberty, without any yoke, or burden of an accusing law. 2dly. Under the law, where they will have the Old Testament begin. 3dly. Under the Gospel, where the New begins. This diversity would not have been of that importance as to oblige us therefore to throw up the cause we plead for, if it consisted only in the computation of times. But seeing a vast difference is made between these economies, it will not be from the purpose more minutely to examine these thoughts.

XXI. It appears that the fathers living before thé Mosaic law, were loaded with a much lighter burden of ceremonies than the Israelites were under after Moses; yet it does not appear, that they enjoyed full liberty, without any yoke and burder of an accusing law. For, not to mention the law of nature, which, with its appendages of curses, was handed down by constant instruction, they had precepts concerning sacrifices, not in. deed binding them to a certain time and place, but yet enjoining sacrifices (which indeed were not will-worship) and distinguishing clean from the unclean beasts. This I imagine the very learned persons will not deny. At least the celebrated Cocceius finds fault with Grotius, who affirms, that the offering of Abel was made “ without

any command of God, from the dictates of reason only," and he insists, that Abel-could not have offered in faith without the word of God; and that he did not offer “ according to his own pleasure and fancy, but by the direction of the Holy Spirit, Adam doubtless being the interpreter, and setting an example here." The same thing he proves at large, in Sum de foed. § 305. on Gen. iv. § 14, 19, 20. And another of those, whose opinion we are now examining, writes to this purpose :

" the sacrifices of believers were doubtless of divine institution :" which after he had proved by various arguments, he thus concludes: “ in fine, if God made a distinction between clean and unclean animals before the deluge, which was done on account of sacrifices, doubtless God also appointed sacrifices." But in every sacrifice there was a remembrance of sins not expiated, and, as Athanasius speaks, óvsid sợimios, a reproaching of, and a handwriting against the sacrificers. For, the reproaching with sin consists not only in this, that the offering of sacrifices was limited to a certain time and place, as was done under Moses, but in the very offering of the sacrifices; for when a man slew and burnt the animals which God granted him for food, he thereby signified, that he himself deserved destruction; nay, and to perish in avenging flames for ever; and that he who by the one offering of himself was truly to expiåte the sins of all the elect, was not yet come: and that when he offered frolicsome animals, who are apt to go astray from the flock, unless kept by the shepherd, thereby were signified the guilt of sin and our going astray, as very learned men have observed from Isa. liü. 6.

XXII. It is therefore strange that a great man, in answer to this question, whether Abel's sacrifice was propitiatory, or eucharistical ? should say, that “ before Moses' time sacrifices for sins were not instituted by God, the design of which was to accuse of sin.” That this is said without proof, appears plain,


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

1st. Because, in that case no sacrifices were instituted before
Moses to be types of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. For,
as it was necessary there should be an agreement between the
type and antitype, those sacrifices which shadowed forth the
propitiatory sacrifice of Christ were also in their measure pro-
pitiatory; that is, they so expiated sin to the cleansing of the
Aesh, as at the same time to condemn sin, and to shew that they
were not sufficient for its real expiation, because they were to
be often repeated. Neither do the learned doubt, but that the
sacrifices even of the oldest patriarchs were sacraments and types
of Christ's sacrifice, for they write, in express words, that
“ the fathers offered before Moses' time the same sacrifices
with Moses, and apt to signify the same things." 2dly. It also
appears that Job, who it is probable lived before, certainly
without the Mosaic polity, offered burnt-offerings for his chil.
dren and friends, in order to expiate the sins they had commit-
ted, Job i. 5. and xlii. 8. But the end of a burnt-offering is to
“ be accepted for him that offers, to make atonement for him,"
Lev. i. 4. And by such sacrifices the believers of that time
testified, (which is the learned person's own observation) that
" they acknowledged, that such a satisfaction was due to God,
which was not possible for themselves to make:* this was a
charge of guilt and inability; which the same great man could
not conceal, when he treats of the burnt-offerings offered by
Job, at the command of God, for his friends, and expresses him-
self thus: “For though many sacrifices were slain, and the man
indecd, upon offering a beast, was no lorger deemed a sinner, but
a righteous person among men, yet CONSCIENCE WAS Accused
of sin, and consequently offerings were to be accumulated and
repeated without end." See the same author on Job ix. 28.
but especially on Job vii. 1. “ Job complains not, says be, of
that servitude whereby we obey God; but of that laid on the
fathers, which is a heavy yoke of fear, and of the terror of the
law, with the greatest incumbrance of ceremonies. But though
Job seems to have lived before the law of Moses, and not to
have been loaded with so many ceremonies as the Israelites,
yet his condition was no better than theirs." There were there-
fore in the sacrifices which God enjoined from the beginning,
a reproaching with, and an accusation of sin: and consequently
a yoke, not consistent with that liberty of the fathers, which
these learned men imagine.

XXIII. And what will they say with respect to circumcision ? Was not that also a yoke? since it was not to be performed without blood, and mixed with much pain and shame. Was there not in it an accusation of sin ? - When the new born in

[ocr errors]


fant could not enter into God's covenant without first shedding his blood. Hence this sacrament was performed on the genital member, to denote the original stain; and by the cutting off a small part of the flesh, the whole man was declared to be worthy of death.". Let the learned persons here acknowledge their own words. And what is more plain from the writings of the New Testament, than that circumcision was considered by the apostles as the principal part of the heavy yake? Acts xv. 5. compared with ver. 10. Nevertheless, it dues not appear that Moses made any addition of rigour to it; having been long before enjoined upon Abraham at first under pain of being cut off, We conclude therefore, that the condition of the ancient patriarchs is too much extolled above that of the Jewish church, when it is insisted that they.lived in liberty, without any charge of sin, without any yoke; though we readily grant, that the servitude was heightened, and the yoke made heavier by the Mosaic polity. And this is what we had to say on the first period.

XXIV. They make the law to be the second period, under which they would have the Old Testament to begin; whích they define, to be “the will and purpose of God, whereby he determined to give to some of Abraham's posterity, as his own people, the inheritance of the land of Canaan, as bis own land;" adding, that this Testament “ commenced from the Exodus out of Egypt, and from Mount Sinai.” Which a very learned person endeavours to prove by several arguments briefly joined together in the following manner. The scripture says, Jer. xxxi. 32. that God made the Old Testament with the fathers when he brought them out of Egypt; that is, called them to the inheritance of the land as of a pledge, &c. In like manner Paul, Gal. iv. 24. says, that the two Testaments were signified by Hagar and Sarah, and that the first was truly from mount Sinai. The same Paul says, Heb. ix. 18. Neither the first Testament was (instituted dedicated without blood. He has his eye on Exod. xxiv. 8. He says inzerámigait was initiated), therefore that Testament then became xaivn nero. Consequently, that Testament was then introduced. Nay, Deut. v. 2, 3. it is said, “ the Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb; the Lord made not this covenant with our fathers." How can we conceive that the fathers had that which we are told had not been intimated to them ?

XXV. We shall make the following reflections on this subject, which we submit to the examination of the learned : 1st. They seem to confine the Old Testament within too narrow bounds, who define it only by the destination of the land of Canaan as a pledge of heaven; as we shewed § II.

[ocr errors]


Doubtless according to the Old Testament, the inheritance of the land of Canaan was given to the Israelites : but this does not complete the whole substance of the Old Testament. Paul clearly enough declares, Gal. iv. and Heb. ix. without speaking any thing of the land of Canaan, that it consisted in a typical exhibition of the heavenly inheritance, and comprised every thing that imports a typical servitude, and was to be abolished

the introduction of the New Testament. XXVI. 2dly. When learned men say, that the Old Tesă tament commences from the exodus out of Egypt, and from mount Sinai, and call it the will and purpose of giving the land of Canaan, they understand not by that will, or that purpose, the counsel or decree of God from eternity; nor the execution of that decree, which was not effected at mount Sinai, but forty years after, when, under the conduct of Joshua, they were introduced into the land: but they understand the des claration of the counsel of God by an irrevocable promise. But that promise was not first made at mount Sinai, but long before, even to the patriarch Abraham, four hundred and thirty years before the giving of the law, Gen. xii. 7. Unto thy seed will I give this land. And it was confirmed by som lemn signs, and sealed by the blood of sacrifices, Gen. xv. 7. We therefore conclude, that, if the Old Testament be the de claration of the will of God about giving the land of Canaan, it did not commence from Moses, but from Abraham.

XXVII. Bdly. Hence it appears, what answer ought to be given to Jer. xxxi. 82. and Gal. iv. 24. : namely, that the first institution of the Old Testament is not treated of in these places, but the solemn renewal and confirmation of it, and the accession of many new rites, which we mentioned § XVIII. For, God himself often testified concerning that time, that he did those things in virtue of his covenant entered into with Abraham, Exod. ü. 24. “And God remembered his cove

“ nant with Abraham," &c. and chap. viii. 8. “And I will bring you into the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it you for an inheritance." It therefore remains, that the Testament, about giving the land of Canaan, was not then first published, but solemnly renewed, when God was now about to accomplish it. And this is what Jeremiah and Paul intend in the places quoted.

XXVIII. 4thly. What the apostle says, Heb. ix. 18. Nein ther the first T'estament was [initiated) dedicated without blood, is very general, and may be extended to the sacrifices, which were slain at God's coramand. The very learned

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »