Friday, May 29, 2015

The Law as a Covenant of Works at Sinai...

A View of the Covenant of Works by Thomas Boston

18             The Covenant of Works           Part I. 

1. Here is a concurrence of all that is necessary to constitute a true and proper covenant of works: The parties contracting, God and man; God requiring obedience as the condition of life; a penalty fixed in case of breaking; and man acquiescing in the proposal. The force of this cannot be evaded, by comparing it with the consent of subjects to the laws of' an absolute prince- For such a law proposed by a prince, promising a reward upon obedience to it, is indeed the proposing of a covenant, the which the subject consenting to for himself and his, and taking on him to obey, does indeed enter into a covenant with the prince, and having obeyed the law, may claim the reward by virtue of paction. And so the covenant of works is ordinarily in Scripture called the law, being in its own nature a pactional law. 

2. It is expressly called a covenant in Scripture, Gal, iv. 24. For there are the two covenants, the one from the mount Sinai, &c. This covenant from mount Sinai was the covenant of works*, as being opposed to the covenant of grace, namely, the law of the ten commandments, with promise and sanction, as before expressed. At Sinai it was renewed indeed, but that was not its first appearance the world. For there being but two ways of life to be found in Scripture, one by works, the other by grace; the latter hath no place, but where the first is rendered ineffectual: therefore the covenant of works was before - the covenant of grace in the world; yet the covenant of grace was promulgated quickly after Adam's fall; therefore the covenant of works behoved to have been made with him before. And how can one imagine a covenant of works set before poor impotent sinners, if there had not been such a covenant

* That the covenant of works was, For special ends, repeated and delivered to the Israelites on mount Sinai, our author has proved in his notes on the Marrow of modern divinity, chap. ii. sect. ii.3. The reader may also consult Witsius's Economy of the covenants, book iv. chp. 4. 47. &c.

19               a proper covenant.

with man in his state of integrity?  Hos. vi.7. But as for them, like Adam, they have transgressed the covenant. Our translators set the word Adam on the margin. But in Job xxxi. 33. they translate the very same word, as Adam. This word occurs but three times in Scripture, and still in the same sense. - Job xxxi. 3 3. If I covered my transgressions as Adam. Psalm lxxxii. 7. But ye shall die like Adam. Compare ver. 6. I have said, Ye are gods,- and all of you are children of the Most High; compared with Luke iii. 33.- Adam, which was the son of God. And also here, Hos. vi. 7. While Adam's hiding his sin, and his death are made an example, how natural is it that his transgression, that led the way to all, be made so too? This is the proper and literal sense of the words: it is so read by several, and is certainly the meaning of it.

Thomas Boston's notes in the Marrow of Modern Divinity noted in the above footnote:
[8] The transaction at Sinai or Horeb [for they are but one mountain] was a mixed dispensation; there was the promise or covenant of grace, and also the law; the one a covenant to be believed, the other a covenant to be done, and thus the apostle states, the difference betwixt these two, (Gal 3:12), "And the law is not of faith, but the man that DOETH them shall live in them." As to the former, viz: the covenant to be believed, it was given to their fathers as well as to them. Of the latter, viz: the covenant to be done, Moses speaks expressly, (Deut 4:12,13), "The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire, and he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to PERFORM [or DO] even ten commandments." And (5:3), he tells the people no less expressly, that "the Lord made not THIS COVENANT with their fathers."

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