Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the divine written law, it may in effect be reduced into these nine points.

1. The dignity and worth of the law. 2. The majesty of the Lawgiver.

3. The property and peculiarity of the people receiving it.

4. The conveniency of the time in which it was given. 5. The efficacy and power thereof. -6. The difference and agreement of the Old and New Testament.

7. The end and use of the law.
8. The sense and understanding of the law.
9. The durance and continuance thereof.

1. The dignity of the law is sufficiently proved by St. Paul in these words; Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good; which three attributes are referred, as aforesaid, to the moral, ceremonial, and judicial.

2. The majesty of the Lawgiver is approved in all his creatures ; who, as he hath given all things their lives and beings, so he only gave the law who could only give the end and reward promised, to wit, the salvation of mankind: but he gave it not to Moses immediately, but by the ministry of angels, as it is said ; s And the law was ordained by angels, in the hand of a mediator; and in the Acts, He gave the law by the ordinance of angels.

3. The propriety and peculiarity of the people, receiving this law, is in three respects: first, In that they were prepared ; secondly, In that they were a nation apart and dissevered; thirdlý, In that they were the children of the promise made to Abraham. Prepared they were, because they had the knowledge of one God, when all other nations were idolaters. A nation apart and severed they were, because of God's choice and election. Children of the promise they were, for the promise was made by God unto Abraham, and his seed; not unto his seeds, as to Esau and Jacob, but to his seed, as 'to Jacob, or Israel singularly, of whom Christ. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made: he saith not, To the seeds, as speaking of many, but, To thy seed, as of one, which is Christ.

s Gal. lii. 19.

4. The conveniency of the time, in which it was given, is noted by St. Augustine; that it was about the middle time, between the law of nature and grace; the law of nature continued from Adam to Moses; the law written in the commandments, received by Moses in the world's year 2514, continued to the baptism of John; from which time begun the law of grace, which shall continue to the world's end. Other reasons for the conveniency are formerly given.

5. The fifth consideration is of the efficacy of this law, the same being a disposition to, or sign of our justification; but not by itself sufficient, but as a figure of Christ in ceremonies, and a preparation to righteousness in moral precepts. For through the passion of Christ were sins forgiven, who taketh away the sins of the world; and therefore St. Paul calleth the rudiments of the law ubeggarly and weak ; beggarly, as containing no grace; weak, as not able to forgive and justify. The blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of an heifer, could only cleanse the body; but they were figures of Christ's blood, which doth cleanse the inward soul. y For if the law could justify, then Christ died in vain.

SECT. XI.

Of the sixth point, to wit, of the difference and agreement of the

Old and New Testament. THE Old and New Testament differ in name, and in the mean and way proposed for attaining to salvation; as the Old by works, the New by grace; but in the thing itself, or object and remote end, they agree; which is, man's happiness and salvation.

The Old Testament, or law, or letter, or the witness of God's will, was called the Old, because it preceded the New Testament; which is an explication of the Old; from which the New taketh witness. Yet the New of more excellency, in that it doth more lively express, and openly and directly delineate the ways of our redemption. It is also called the Old, to shew that in part it was to be abrogated : 2 In that he saith, the New Testament, he hath abrogated the Old. For the old law, though greatly extolled by the prophets, and delivered with wonderful miracles, yet was it constituted in a policy perishable; but the New was given in a promise of an everlasting kingdom, and therefore called in the Apocalypse, a testament and gospel for ever during.

* Gal. iii. 16. u Gal. iv. * Heb. ix. y Gal. ii.

The Old Testament is called the law, because the first and chief part is the law of Moses, of which the prophets and psalms are commentaries, explicating that law.

The New Testament is called the gospel, because the first and chief part thereof is the glad tidings of our redemption; the other books, as the Epistles or letters of the apostles, and the Acts or story of the apostles, are plentiful interpreters thereof; the word eúayyéasov signifying a joyful, happy, and prosperous message, or (as Homer used it) the reward given to the messenger bringing joyful news. It is also sometimes taken for a sacrifice, offered after victory, or other pleasing success, as by Xenophon. In the scriptures it hath three significations: first, For glad tidings in general, as in Isaiah lii. 7. concerning peace ; secondly, By an excellency it is restrained to signify that most joyful message of salvation, as in Luke i. 10. whence also by figure it is taken for the history of a Christ; and so we understand the four gospels.

Lastly, For the preaching and divulging the doctrine of Christ, as 1 Cor. ix. 14. and 2 Cor. viii. 18.

The agreement of both testaments (taken, I think, as they are divided in volumes) is by Danæus comprised in these four.

In their author.
In the substance of the covenant, or things promised.
In the foundation, to wit, Christ.
In the effects, that is, in righteousness and justification.

* Heb. viii. 13.

Acts i.

In the author they agree, because both are of God, and therefore both one testament and will of God in substance of doctrine. For as there was ever one church, so was there one covenant, one adoption, and one doctrine. As the old law doth point at Christ, so doth the new law teach Christ ; the old proposing him as to come, the new as already come; one and the same thing being promised in both, both tending to one and the same end, even the salvation of our souls; which, according to St. Peter, is the end of our faith. For although it be said, that Moses did promise by observing the law an earthly kingdom, a land flowing with milk and honey, the propagation of children, and other worldly blessings; yet all these were but figures to teach, and pledges to assure the fathers of those spiritual blessings by Christ; for by the earthly he raised their minds to the hope of heavenly. And the fathers, notwithstanding these worldly goods, did yet acknowledge themselves strangers and pilgrims, expecting the heavenly Jerusalem ; according to this place of Heb. xi. 13. All these died in faith, and received not the promises, but saw them afar off, and believed them, confessing that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. To which purpose also St. Augustine: b Omnino pauci veterem legem intelligunt, non attendentes per promissa terrena æterna promitti; “ Few,” saith he,“ do un“ derstand the old law; not attending that by things earth“ ly eternal are promised.” And St. Jerome : Noluit Deus pascere Judæos more pecorum corporalibus donis opibusque, ut Judæi somniant; “ God would not feed the “ Jews as beasts, with corporal gifts and riches, as them66 selves dream." And this may be gathered out of God's own words : Ego sum Deus tuus, et ero vobis in Deum; “ I am thy God, and I will be your God;" for the words, I will be your God, prove that it was not for the present, or for perishable things, that God gave them this promise, but in respect of the future; to wit, the safety of their souls. For as God created both body and soul, so hath he of his goodness not left the better part uncared for, which liveth ever.

b Lib. de Civitate Dei, 18. 15.

clo Sophon. 3. 9.

The agreement between the Old and New Testament in substance infers also the agreement in foundation. For Christ is called the foundation of the law, laid both by the apostles and prophets; in whom all the promises of God, in the Old and New, are assured; the fathers having eaten the same spiritual food which we eat in our sacraments.

The agreement in effects is, in that the knowledge of our sin and misery, which is taught us by the law, maketh way, and, as it were, serveth in subordination to the gospel, the proper effects whereof are mercy and salvation; to which the law serving as an introduction, (for to those which acknowledge their sin and misery God sheweth his mercy and salvation,) may be said to agree with the gospel in the effects. For otherwise, if we sever the law from subordination to the gospel, the effects are very different ; the one sheweth the way of righteousness by works, the other by faith ; the law woundeth, the gospel healeth ; the law terrifieth, the gospel allureth ; Moses accuseth, Christ defendeth; Moses condemneth, Christ pardoneth; the Old restraineth the hand, the New the mind : d Data est lex

qua non sanaret, saith St. Augustine, sed quæ ægrotantes probaret; “ The law was given, not to help, but to discover “ sickness :” and St. Chrysostom, Data est lex, ut se homo inveniret; non ut morbus sanaretur, sed ut medieus quereretur ; “ The law was given that man might find and “ know his own imperfection; not that his disease was “thereby holpen, but that he might then seek out the “ physician.” For Christ came to save the world, which the law had condemned. And as e Moses was but a servant, and Christ a son, so the greatest benefit was reserved to be brought, as by the worthiest person, saith Cyril: for this law made nothing perfect, but was an introduction of a bete ter hope.

Homil. ad Rom.

e Heb. vii,

« PreviousContinue »