« PreviousContinue »
t. It was confined to one man's family alone. It belonged to Abraham's seed and to their servants, as a part of their property, and to no other people on earth. «Ey. ery man child among you shall be circumcised."
2. Natural connexion with Abraham was the ground of claim or interest in it.
3. Its promised blessings were temporal every one temporal. 1. That they should be a Qumerous and powerful peo.
ple. 2. That they should inherit the land of Canaan for a
perpetual possession. 3. That God would stand in a particular relation to
them above all people ; in the way of reigning over them, protecting, and blessing them with the boun. ties of his providence. But that he would be a God to them in this, or any sense, was altogether tempo.
rary-or while they kept the covenant, for 4. It was conditional. The enjoyment of all these
blessings depended upon their obedience-“ If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land," and the “ uncircumcised man-child hath broken my covenant" when any covenant is broken, or can be broken, it is owing to some condition in iť.
See Gen. 17 throughout.* 5. It was a covenant in the flesh, and not in the spirito
“My covenant shall be in your flesh," Gen. 17, 13. The rite of circumcision was the seal of this cove
nant. But as I have already enlarged upon this sovenant in the preceding debate, I proceed to the next covenant, recorded Exodus 19 and 20, viz.
5. The Covenant with all Israel at Sinai.
This Covenant was made with all Israel 400 years af. ter the Covenant of Circumcision, and 1491 years before Christ. 1. It was the accomplishment of the Covenant of Cir.
cumcision in two respects ; first, Isaac's seed had
• Whatever spiritual blessings any of the Jews enjoyed under that covenant, they were enjoyed through the first promise or owenant confirmed of God in Christ.
multiplied in the family of Jacob, and in the house of bondage, to the number of 600,000 men of war, besides the children and the superannuated. Secoodly, they were about to enter into the land of Canaan, and were on their journey for that purpose. It was a developement and a more enlarged edition of the Covenant of Circumcision,
It began with a conditional particle IF. Ex. 19, 5,« Now therefore IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar people unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine." It was then CONDITIONAL. The people all consented, and acceded to whatever might be commanded them, and all the people answered together and said, “all that the Lord hath spoken will we
do." Ex. 19,8 12. This covenant was written upon two tables of stone
called by the Apostle Paul, Heb. 9, 4, “ the tables of the Covenant." Many laws besides these ten como mandments, or two tables of the covenant, weré given with them
at the same time, as appendages of the covenant. But when we speak of the Sinai cov. enant, we cannot scripturally include one word more in it, than what was written on the two tables, see. ing both Moses and Paul have so defined and restric ted it. As this is not generally attended to, I shall
be at a little pains to enforce and illustrate it. Deuteronomy 10, 4, “ And he wrote on the tables, acCording to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount"-verse 5, & And I put the tables in the ark which I had made." Now the only law ever deposited in this sacred ark was the tables of the law; and this ark is called the wark af the Covenant.” Consequently it contained the covenant; and as it contained not another word than the ten commandments, it follows, incontrovertibly, that the ten commandments were the Sinai covenant. But we have a testimony that requires not to be reasoned on, which fully proves,
that the whole covenant was written upon the tables deposited in the ark of the covenant-Ex. 34, 28, of Ard he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."
Now as the ten commandments were emphatically the Covenant which God made with Isract at Simrai, ami
which was“ prefaced by a conditionary clause, it following that there was nothing of Christ in the Sinai Covenant. The law of types aud ceremonies, which was appended to it, was all Gospel, or all emblematical of Christ and his work ; but this must ever be viewed, not as any part of that Sinai Covenant, but as the ordinances of religious yorship instituted under that covenant, and for no other people than those who were under that coverant.
4. The laws under this covenant or constitution were very namerous, and two coyenants grew out of it. Thę one respecting the mitre, in the house of Aaron ; the other respecting the sceptre, in the house of David. It was by the Sinai covenant that Israel became a holy nation, a pea çuliar people. It was then a national covenant. God formally by it became the king of Israel, and they, by consenting to the preliminaries, became, in a peculiar Bense, his people, nationally. This Covenant was then the constitution of the Jewish nation, as the constitution of these United States is the constitution of this nation, The other laws given to Israel were as distinct from the constitution or covenant, as the laws of any state are dis. tinct from the constitution of it.
The constitution of any country is the supreme law of the land. To it must all the laws of the land correspond, and from it they receive their sanction. Thus all the laws of Israel corresponded to their constitution and were sanctioned by it, or by the authority that gave them & constitution.
In one point of view, the constitution and the laws of any country, may be called the law of the land. The former, the supreme law; the latter, the subordinate law; and, both together, the law of the land. Hence, the Sinai covenant and all the laws of Israel, are sometimes, in general terins, called the law, without any dis. crimination; thus the phraze the law, is used to denote the constitution and the law. In a sense, still more gen. eral, the whole Bible is called the law of God; but when the inspired penmen thought it necessary for illustration, they discriminated betwixt the covenant, and the laws enacted under 'it. For the same reason, it often becomes necessary, in modern times, to view the covenant or con. stitution of Israel, and their laws' under it, as separate and distinct.
5. The Sinaí covenabt contained both promise and
command. The promise in it was concerning temporal blessings, and was given on a condition. Itis found not in the first, but in the second table of the covenant. The fifth commandment, or first of the second table, Paul calls, 6 the first commandment with promise' it reads thus : “ Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Long life in a good land, was the promise of the national covenant, and the condition of its enjoyment obedience to parents or rendering them the honor due them. Temporal good and conditionally enjoyed, was all the promise of the covenant at Sinai-its commands are by the Apostle called 6 holy, just, and good"- the ministration of condemnation-and the ministration of death." 2 Cor. 3, 7, 14, and Rom. 7.
6. This covenant, when read in the audience of the whole Jewish nation, was dedicated or confirmed by blood_6 For when Moses had spoken every precept to the people according to the laws, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water and scarlet wool and hys. sop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, this is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined unto you."
As this article is not intended to be a treatise upon the covenants, but only to delineate the most prominent features of them, in order to ascertain one important point; I omit insisting upon the office of Moses in this transaction; and some other minor things which have no bearing upon the subject in dispute.
6. The Covenant of Peace, or concerning the
: The tribe of Levi was distinguished amongst the twelve, and honored with the office of the Priest, to the exclusion of every other tribe. The family of Aaron, of this tribe, was separated from the rest of their brethren, the Levites, to inherit the high priesthood. It was guaranteed to Aaron and his male issue, by the right of primogeniture, through all generations, by a perpetual covenant. The peculiarities of this covenant will be clearly seen from two portions of scriptures-Ex. 40, 14-15, y« And thou (Moses) shalt put upon Aaron the holy gar
ments, and anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats ; and thou shalt anoint them as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office, for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood, throughout their generations”-Numbers 25-12-13. Phineas, the son of Eliezer, the son of Aaron, is thus addressed “ Behold” saith God, “I give unto him my covenant of peace. And he shali have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood."
From these words we observe a few things—
1. It was a sovereign and unsolicited act of the Almighty to confer the high priesthood on the house of Aa
2. The Covenant of the priesthood is called “ the cove enant of peace."
3. This covenant was unconditional as respected any thing on the part of Aaron, or his posterity. Hence Annas and Caia phas, who condemned, and consented to the death of the Messiah, were high priests, and yet the spirit of God caused one of them to prophecy concerning Christ.
4. This covenant had no other confirmation than the word of God, who cannot lie.
5. It was called an everlasting priesthood, because it was to be cominensurate with the existence of the Jewish state.
6. Under this covenant or constitution of things respecting the priesthood, there were many laws regulating sacrifice and the support of the priests, which must be viewed as separate and distinct from the covenant of the priesthood.
7. Of the Covenant of Royalty with David.
This Covenant is clearly stated 2d Sam. 7-12-17, in these words, “ And when thy (David's) days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son-If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rol of