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fessors under the Gospel fall short of heaven through unbelief; as is plain from Num. xiv. and from the 3d and 4th chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And this, beyond all dispute, is a saving faith, a faith of a holy nature, and not the faith of devils.
6. Paul understood Moses to include the covenant of grace in his law. This is so plain, that any may see it, that will read and compare Rom. x. 6-10. with Deut. xxx. 11, 12, 13.
7. Peter also understood the holiness required in the Sinai covenant to be the same kind of holiness which the Gospel requires of true saints, and without which no man shall see the Lord; as is so evident, that none will fail to see it, that will read and compare Pet. i. 15, 16. with Lev. xix. 2.
Thus it appears, that the covenant externally exhibited, and externally entered into, in the wilderness, was not a graceless, but a holy covenant.
OBJ. "It will follow that perfect and sinless obedience was what they professed;" for "nothing short of perfection comes up to the demand of loving God with all the heart. Although therefore they entered into a covenant which required them to love God with all their heart; yet the profession which they then made, cannot consistently be understood as a profession, that at that time there was such an heart in them; but that such a heart was their duty, and intended as the object of their pursuit. But that an unrenewed sinner can, in no sense, be said to seek such an heart, is what to me wants proof." p. 22, 23.
ANS. Although the Israelites did not profess a perfect compliance with the law of perfection; yet they did profess a cordial compliance with it, even with the whole of it; but the unrenewed sinner can, in no Scripture sense, be said cordially to comply with it, in the least degree. But to be more particular :
1. In this objection Mr. M. grants one main point for which we contend, viz. that the law, which was the rule of duty in the Sinai covenant, required perfect holiness. He must therefore acknowledge, that it forbid every sin, the least as well as the greatest: and that it therefore required
nothing but holiness. And that therefore his unholy graceless covenant was not required by it, or contained in it.
2. It will on the other hand be readily granted by us, that the law of God, (considered as requiring perfect holiness, and forbidding every sin, the least as well as the greatest,) is the rule of life to believers; and as such, is presupposed and implied in the covenant of grace, which is not designed to make void, but to establish the law. Rom. iii. 31. And therefore, whenever the covenant of grace is complied with in the exercise of faith, the law in the very act is cordially received as a rule of life by the believer even as Abraham received that divine injunction, walk before me and be thou perfect, in the very act of his renewing covenant with God. Gen. xvii. But I have endeavoured already to explain and prove this at large in an essay on the nature and glory of the Gospel.
3. None can consistently pretend, that Moses intended to lead the Israelites to profess sinless perfection in that covenant; because the daily sacrifice of a lamb, the great type of the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, which was to be offered, morning and evening continually, as well as a great variety of other sacrifices of atonement, were essential parts of the Sinai covenant. But these had been needless institutions, had perfect holiness been professedly expected. For it was professedly expected that they would keep covenant. For they were taken into covenant in that view. Isa. lxiii. 8. For he said, surely they are my people, children that will not lie.
4. And yet no fact can be plainer than that Moses led them to receive the whole law for the rule of their lives, and that they professed to do this. Exod. xxiv. 3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, all the words which the Lord hath said, will we do. Compared with Deut. xxvi. 17. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice. For they professed, not merely to give the assent of their understandings to this truth, viz.
that the law of God ought to be the rule of their lives; but, to use the modern phrase, they professed the consent of their wills. "All the words which the Lord hath spoken, will we do." And God declares that this was "well said." And had there been "such an heart in them," answerable to their visible profession, they would have been Israelites indeed : for their hearts would then have been right in the sight of God, and they would have been steadfast in his covenant. Num. xxxii. 11, 12. Their profession therefore was full enough, but they lied to God with their tongues. Their profession was as full as God desired: but there was not such an heart in them. Ps. lxxviii. 26, 37. For,
5. It is the peculiar character of the regenerate cordially to receive the divine law as the rule of their lives. Heb. viii. 10. But it is the universal character of the unregenerate to be in a state of total contrariety to the divine law in their hearts. Rom. viii. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. Therefore,
6. As every true believer does cordially receive the law of God for the rule of his life, so he may understandingly and honestly profess it: but one whose heart is in a state of total contrariety to the divine law, if he understands and honestly speaks the truth, must say, "I am not subject to the divine law, neither indeed can I be; yea, so far from. it, that I am at enmity against God." But,
7. None of the religious seekings and endeavours of one, in whom a total non-compliance with God's holy covenant takes place, are of the nature of a compliance with that covenant, in the least degree; as is self-evident. Therefore,
8. There is no way left for a profession of a compliance with God's holy covenant, to those who know themselves to be unconverted, (without lying,) but to deny the doctrine of total depravity. For since the covenant cannot be proved to be an unholy graceless one, we must pretend that graceless sinners have some grace, in order to obtain our end. But,
9. If unconverted sinners have that grace, which is a compliance with the covenant of grace, then they are entitled
to the blessings of the covenant of grace, to pardon, justification, and eternal life; to say which, is at once to set aside the whole New Testament. Thus stands the case.
Now what method Mr. M. will take to get along with his scheme, after time for reconsideration, is not yet known or whether a gentleman of so much good sense will not rather give it up.
OBJEC. But if these things are true, it will follow, that the covenant with Abraham, the Sinai covenant, and the Gospel covenant, are for substance one and the same covenant ; even the covenant of grace: but this does not agree with many Scripture texts. For the apostle Paul distinguishes between the Abrahamic covenant and the Sinai covenant, between the promise to Abraham and the law which was 430 years after, and calls them two covenants. Gal. 3. 16, 17, 18. and Chap. 4. 24. And he represents the Sinai covenant, which he calls the law as requiring perfect obedience on pain of the curse. Chap. iii. 10. And affirms that by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified. Rom iii. 20. Gal. ii. 16. And that Abraham was not justified by the law, but by faith. Gal. iii, 6, 7, 8, 9. And that the law is not of faith, ver. 12. but a school-master to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Ver. 24. Moreover, it is plainly intimated, that in the Sinai covenant God did not communicate sanctifying grace to those that were under it; but that in the Gospel covenant he does. At Mount Sinai God wrote the law on tables of stone, and obliged the people to keep it; but did not give them a heart to do so: but in the new covenant God writes his law on the heart, i. e. by the influences of his Spirit, gives a disposition of mind answerable to the law. Heb. viii. 8. 12. Therefore Paul calls the Sinai covenant the ministration of death and condemnation, and the letter that killeth, in distinction from the Gospel, which he calls the spirit which giveth life, the ministration of the spirit, and the ministration of righteousness. 2 Cor. iii. 6, 7, 8.
ANS. As Mr. M. maintains that the Abrahamic, the Sinai, and the Gospel covenants, are for substance one and the same covenant; so the foregoing objection cannot consistently
be made by him or by his admirers; nor has he taken any notice of it. It may suffice therefore to say,
1. That every self-righteous Jew was disposed to consider the Old Testament as a covenant of works, and every selfrighteous Christian is disposed to consider the New Testament in the same light. They attended the externals of that dispensation, and expected to find acceptance with God, by what they did. Luke xviii. 11. Rom. ix. 31. 32. And their example is closely followed by too many under the Christian dispensation neither of them understanding the true nature of the divine law. Rom. vii. 8, 9.
2. It is readily granted, that St. Paul taught that all selfrighteous sinners, be they Jews or Christians, are under a law which requires perfect obedience on pain of eternal damnation that this law is holy, just, and good; that they are in duty bound to fulfil this law themselves; that God is not bound to give them any assistance at all; and that it curses every one that continueth not in all things. And it is readily granted, that this law is a ministration of death and condemnation, and killeth. It was ordained to life, i. e. it promises life to every one that lives up to it; but it is found to be unto death to every one who makes the attempt. Rom. vii. 10.
3. It is readily granted, that this law is as different from the Abrahamic covenant, and the Gospel covenant, as the covenant of works is from the covenant of grace: and that it was the design of the apostle to set this difference in a clear and striking light, that he might kill all the self-righteous hopes of the self-righteous sinner; and convince him that there is no hope in his case, but of mere free grace through Jesus Christ. Gal. iii. 10. 24. Rom. iii. 9. 25.
4. It is also granted, that this law was one principal part of the Sinai covenant; and that every carnal Jew was under it, and held bound by it. Yea, that it is the peculiar privilege of the true believer to be delivered from it; and that by being united to and interested in Christ Jesus, the second Adam, who hath completely answered its demands; Rom. vi. 14. and chap. vii. 4, 5, 6. Gal. ii. 19, 20. and chap. iii. 10. 14. And to grant these things, is to grant all that the apostle says