Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?—Proverbs 20.6

 
David Dickson's

Truth's Victory Over Error

Chapter. VII.

Of God's Covenant with Man.

QUESTION I.

"DID all these sacrifices, and other types and ordinances, by which the covenant of grace was administered before our Saviour's incarnation, adumbrate, and foresignify Christ to come?"

Yes; Hebrews chapters 8-10. Rom. 4.11. Col. 2.11,12. 1 Cor. 5.7.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, That the legal sacrifices did not foresignify the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, neither were types nor figures of it; but that those sacrifices, which the Jews offered for sin, did really, and in very deed, purge away all the sins for which they were offered?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

There are here two parts to be considered; first, the negative, "That the legal sacrifices did not foresignify." The second, the affirmative, "That they did truly make a real expiation and atonement." The first is evidently confuted from scripture testimonies; for the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect, Heb. 10.4. The apostle calls here these legal sacrifices a shadow; and Heb. 9.9 he calls them a figure; and ver. 24. he calls them (antitypa toon alethinoon) examplaria verorum, The figures of the true; and Col. 2.17. he calls them a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ, which is nothing else, but that the thing signified is of Christ; that is to say, fulfilled in Christ. For all the shadows of the Old Testament, had a respect to Christ; and his benefits; by whose coming they also have an end. And John 1.17. it is said, That the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. By grace, understand the grace of redemption from the curse of the law, Gal. 3.13. and of adoption for children, John 1.12. Rom. 8.15. By truth, understand the fulfilling both of the promises, 2 Cor. 1.20. and of the ceremonies, and types, Col. 2.17. For this cause the apostles have always pressed the abrogation of the legal rites and ceremonies; because the truth being exhibited, by the coming of the anti-type, the shadows of the type ought deservedly to cease, and be no more; according to that of Daniel, chapter 9, verse 27.

The second part is likewise evidently confuted; namely, That the legal sacrifices did truly and really purge away all sins, for which they were offered.

1st, Because the apostle says, The blood of bulls, and goats, cannot take away sin, Heb. 10.4.

2d, Because those sacrifices were not able to make him that did the service perfect, Heb. 9.9.

3d, Because these legal sacrifices did leave the sins of such as offered unexpiated, until they were purged away by the death and blood of Christ, Heb. 9.15.

4th, Because the sins of believers, under the Old Testament, were forgiven and pardoned after the same manner that our sins under the New Testament are pardoned, Acts 15.11.

Quest. II. "Was the administration of the covenant under the Old Testament, sufficient for the time, and efficacious through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect, in the faith of the promised Messiah; by whom they had a full remission of sins, and eternal salvation?"

Yes; 1 Cor. 10.1,3,4. Heb. 11.13. John 8.56.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, That life eternal, under the Old Testament, was never promised to the believers of that time, neither had they any promise to expect it from God?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because there are promises extant in the Old Testament of life eternal, Isa. 45.17. where it is said, Israel shall be saved with an everlasting salvation, see Dan. 12.2.

2d, Because the fathers under the Old Testament, believed and expected life eternal, as Job 19.25,26. David, Psalm 17.15. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of these waited for eternal life, Heb. 11.9,10.

3d, Because some at that time were put into actual possession of it, as Enoch, Heb. 11.5. so was Elijah taken up into heaven and put into actual possession likewise, 2 Kings 2.11,5.

4th, Because the Scriptures of the Old Testament pointeth forth the way to eternal life, as Christ witnesseth; John 5.39. and Paul, 2 Tim. 3.15.

5th, Because believers under the Old Testament were most happy, Psalm 144.19.

6th, Because temporal good things were to them pledges of spiritual good things, and life eternal, Heb. 11.8,9.

Quest. III. "Are the two covenants of grace, differing in substance, or but one and the same, under various dispensations?"

One only: Gal. 3.14,16. Acts 15.11. Rom. 3.21,22,23,30. Rom. 4.3,6,16,17,23,24, Heb. 13.8.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, A substantial, and not an accidental difference between the old covenant and the new?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because in both the covenants there is the same promise of grace, concerning the remission of sin, and eternal life, freely to be given to believers for Christ's sake, Gen. 3.15. where the seed of the woman is promised to bruise the head of the serpent; and Gen 17.7. it is said, "I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee;" and Gen. 22.18. it is said, In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; and John 3.36. it is said, He that believeth hath everlasting life; and Acts 15.11. it is said, But we believe, that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved, even as they.

2d, Because one and the same faith and obedience, on both sides, required, Walk before me, and be thou perfect, Gen. 17.1. and Mark 1.15. Christ says, after he came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel."