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A36185 The nature of the two testaments, or, The disposition of the will and estate of God to mankind for holiness and happiness by Jesus Christ ... in two volumes : the first volume, of the will of God : the second volume, of the estate of God / by Robert Dixon. Dixon, Robert, d. 1688. 1676 (1676) Wing D1748; ESTC R12215 658,778 672

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God in Christ 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 i. e. to Christ to wit to the use and benefit of Christ who is the principal Heir And the Promises of the Testament were made sure to Abraham and to his Seed which is Christ He saith not unto Seeds as unto many but as of one unto thy Seed which is Christ and so it becomes sure to all the Seed that are in Christ in whom all the Promises of God are Yea and Amen It is further said v. 19. That the Law was added because of Transgressions until the Seed should come which is Christ to whom the Promise was made And because the Promise of the Testament was made or instituted unto Christ therefore also the confirmation of it was made unto Christ that he being the Heir might receive the Inheritance ordained unto him in the Testament and Christ received it then when he was raised from the dead for then God fulfilled unto him that which he had promised and confirmed unto him Act. 13.32 as St. Paul declares it And we declare unto you glad tydings how that the Promise which was made unto the Fathers God hath fulfilled the same unto us their Children in that he hath raised up Jesus again Law no disannulling of Testament And whereas it was said That the Law which was four hundred and thirty years after could not disannul this Testament that it should make the Promise thereof of none effect By the Law is not meant Circumcision which was some years after the Testament but not so many but by the Law we understand the Law of Moses given by God upon Mount Sinai in Arabia which though considered by it self maketh up one entire Body composed of several Commandments Judgments and Statutes yet as it here standeth opposed to the word Testament and Promise so it makes but a part of that Old Testament that is the Ordinance or Decree whereof the other part is the Promise given to Abraham As therefore the Promise of the Old Testament proceeded by two Acts of God the Institution first and the Confirmation afterward so also the Law or Ordinance of the same Testament proceeded by two like Acts. For first the Law was instituted or enacted when God spake those Ten words to the Children of Israel Exod. 20.2 I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt c. And afterwards the same Law was confirmed ratified or established Exod. 24.7 When Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read in the audience of the People and they said All that the Lord hath said unto us we will do 〈◊〉 be obedient And then Moses took the Blood of the Covenant and sprinkled it on the People and said Behold the Blood of the Covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words Where we may observe first that the Promissory part of Gods Testament and the Mandatory part thereof were both confirmed by Blood or by Death as hath been intimated Secondly that the People by their acceptance of Gods Law and by their promise of Obedience thereunto advanced Gods Law into a Covenant between God and them for it was Gods will that the People should obey his Law and it was the Peoples will that they would obey So there was an agreement of Wills between God and the People and an agreement of Wills in several Parties maketh up the nature of a Covenant The Law was given to Moses 430 years after the Promise to Abraham And whereas St. Paul saith That the Law was given four hundred and thirty years after the Testament that was confirmed the Particle After must not be referred to the word Confirmed as if the Law had been instituted four hundred and thirty years after the Promise of the Testament was confirmed for such a sense cannot be warranted from the Scripture but the Particle After ought to be referred to the word Testament for the meaning of the Apostle is this That the Law was instituted four hundred and thirty years after that the Promise was instituted which Promise some few years after the Institution of it was confirmed For it is manifest that there passed some years between the Institution of the Promise and the Confirmation of it For the Promise was instituted before Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there Gen. 12.1 c. And from the time of Abrahams first sojourning in Egypt unto the time of the Israelites departure out of Egypt there passed just four hundred and thirty years to a day Exod. 12.40 Now the sojourning of the Children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt namely from the first sojourning of their Father Abraham there passed four hundred and thirty years And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years even in the self same day it came to pass that all the Host of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt If therefore the Promises were instituted the same year wherein Abraham went first to sojourn in Egypt and the Law was instituted the same year wherein the Israelites departed out of Egypt then it must follow that the Law was instituted four hundred and thirty years after the institution of the Promise By which account the Scriptures fully agree in the revolution of time though the Chronologers agree not in ordering the computation and in placing the period of it And this breeds not any defect or flaw in Gods Testament that one part of it namely the Mandatory was made four hundred and thirty years after the other part namely the Promissory for if any ordinary man who hath and holdeth the faction of a Testament may continue the making of his Testament all the time of his life and to the Legacies and Promises thereof may when he pleaseth add what Conditions or Commands he will much more may the Everlasting God assume to himself a matter of four hundred and thirty years for the making and finishing of his Testament seeing that a thousand years are in his sight but as yesterday and seeing that the Mandates or Commands of a Testament are no principal or necessary parts thereof but only parts accessory accidental and conditional which may be inserted at any time or may be wholly omitted as in Absolute Testaments and yet the Testament shall be valid and good without them The Second BOOK OF A COVENANT The CONTENTS Definition Precept Penalty Promises Free Grace All hope from Covenant God our God by Covenant Covenant advances the Creature above Nature TITLE I. Of the Nature of a Covenant Transition IN the Testaments of God there are included Covenants according to the nature of both Testaments the one of Works and the other of Grace I will therefore treat concerning the nature of a Covenant as I have done of a Testament for the forms of the Laws of God in Scriptures are not only Testaments but Covenants Definition of a Covenant A Covenant is a consent or agreement of two or
is of force after men are dead otherwise it is of no strength at all while the Testatour liveth Whereupon neither the first Testament was dedicated without Blood for when Moses had spoken every Precept to all the People according to the Law he took the Blood of Calves and Goats with Water and Scarlet-wool and Hysop and sprinkled both the Book and the People saying This is the Blood of the Testament which God hath enjoyned unto you Moreover he sprinkled with Blood both the Tabernacle and all the Vessels of the Ministery And almost all things are by the Law purged with Blood v. Gen. 15.9 and without shedding of Blood there is no Remission c. Where note that here in this place and in Math. 26.28 1 Cor. 11.25 and 2 Cor. 3.6 the Translatours use the word Testament altogether but in the other places where the same word 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 is they translate it Covenant As for instance But now he hath obtained a more excellent Ministery Heb. 8.6 by how much also he is the Mediatour of a better Covenant which was established upon better Promises Brethren I speak after the manner of men If it be but a Man's Covenant yet if it be confirmed Gal. 3.15 no man disanulleth or addeth thereto Zech. 9.11 By the Blood of thy Covenant I have sent forth thy Prisoners out of the Pit wherein is no Water v. Gen. 15.9 We are Ministers of the New Testament and not of the Old c. 2 Cor. 3.6 In all which places and many more of the Old Testament the same word 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 is constantly vsed by the Septuagint and as constantly by Christ and his Apostles in the New Testament which properly amongst all Authors signifies a Testament Disposition Law Institution but most properly a Testament and most improperly a Covenant Yet I have used and shall do all along the name of Covenant Testamentary Covenant because often so translated in our Bibles and because the New Testament or Gospel doth manifestly contain in it a Covenant as all Conditional Testaments do So that I contend not about words nor do I easily differ in substantial things but readily take in every Truth that the Analogy of Truth is able to bear giving every thing its due and fulfilling all Righteousness for Truth and Peace sake So the Gospel is confessed to be a Testament and a Covenant both that is a Testamentary Covenant and all is well The CONTENTS Evidences Promises Earnest Oath Security Donation Testament a single Will A Last Will. In force alone Confirmed by Death Testament the noblest Deed. Solemn Nuncupative Declarative Witnesses Plainness Heir Finishing by Hand and Seal In giving all In dying Testament most solemn Most liberal Marriage A near Vnion Acquisition of Goods Love of God Love of Saints Communion Adoption Heir the most Beloved Definition of the Gospel Definition of a Testament Testatour Appellative name of Believers Consent Testament of Father to Children Testamentum ad pias Causas No Praeterition No inofficious Testament TITLE IV. Of a Testament the best Deed. BUT still a Testament is the best Deed rather than a Covenant for these Reasons Because a Testament is the greatest Settlement and the strongest Deed for the Conveyance or Assurance of any Estate that can be made by God or Man Evidences Other Evidences and Assurances there are and may be As Promises 1. By Promise Thus the Inheritance is said to be by Promise unto which they have a true Right that believe or accept it as it is in all Promises till which acceptation they have no effect to the Offered neither is there any obligation upon the Offerer or Promiser 2. By Earnest Earnest Thus God gives the Earnest of his Holy Spirit for the future Inheritance In whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise which is the Earnest of our Inheritance Eph. 1.13.14 until the Redemption of the purchased Possession unto the praise of his Glory Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God Eph 4.30 whereby ye are sealed unto the day of Redemption 3. By Oath When God made a Promise to Abraham Oath Heb. 6.13 c. because he could not swear by a Greater he sware by himself And men verily swear by the Greater and an Oath for confirmation is the end of all Strife God willing more abundantly to shew unto the Heirs of Promise the immutability of his Counsel confirmed it by an Oath that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lye we might have a strong Consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us which hope we have as an Anchor of the Soul both sure and stedfast c. 1 Cor. 1.20 All the Promises of God in Christ are Yea and Amen 4. By Covenant or Convention between two Parties a League or Pact by mutual agreement upon terms 5. By Security or Satisdation Security by Pledge or Power to engage for the performance of Covenant 6. By Donation or Gift for Death's sake or otherwise Donation But still a Testament is the strongest Deed and in particular of more force than any Covenant can be SECTION I. 1. Because a Testament is the single will and pleasure of one Person Testament a single Will who is Dominus in solidum totius Patrimonii absolute Lord of the whole Patrimony who hath full right to convey without any leave or confirmation from another he being full Proprietary and having Jus Allodii dependent upon none But a Covenant is a double Will of two at the least whether Persons or Bodies Politick that have Partial or Concurrent Rights to convey to each other SECTION II. 2. Because a Testament is a Last Will A Last Will. and therefore presumed to be the best and to be of most force Non quod ultimo placuit illud amplius displicere non potest The Last Will is the true will and never to be altered So are not Covenants for they are not Last Wills but preceding Wills and are changeable every day and are as daily broken by them that made them which a Testatour cannot possibly do because being once dead he cannot disanul his Last Will which he hath confirmed by his Death Gal. 3.15 3. In force alone Because a Testament of all other Wills which were ambulatory doth only stand in force and all others repugnant thereunto do vanish and come to nothing Whereas Covenants though they be many yet all may remain in full force together SECTION III. Confirmed by Death 4. Because a Testament is confirmed by death only of the Testatour and no other way whereas Covenants are ratified by signing and sealing only before Witnesses and if Personal merely are voided by death SECTION IV. 2. Reas Testament the noblest Deed. Solemn The Scriptures are a Testament rather than a Covenant because
the Donor and Abraham the Donee for so the saying of God runs in the Praeter-Tense Unto thy Seed I have given the Land whereas before he used the Future-Tense Unto thy Seed I will give the Land But a Covenant is not made by words of the Praeter-tense as of things already done and therefore the saying here imports not a Covenant but a Feoffment a Deed of gift or rather a Testament which is the noblest and strongest Feoffment that can be made by God or Man especially when it conveyeth Land of Inheritance St. Chrysostome though he doth call this Deed of God a Testament yet he rather supposeth it to be a Covenant because the Beasts were killed as was the custome in making Covenants But with reverence due to so great a Clerk by the same reason we may the better suppose it to be a Testament Confirmation of a Testament For in the time of Abraham it doth not appear that it was the general custome to confirm Covenants by death but rather the contrary For the Covenant which Abraham made with Abimelech at Beersheba was not confirmed by the death of any Creature but only by their mutual Oaths Gen. 21.31 Therefore the place was called Beersheba i. e. the Well of Oaths The like confirmation only had the Covenant between Jacob and Laban at Galeed where Jacob sware by the Fear of his Father Isaac Gen. 31.44 53. But in all Ages and amongst all Nations it hath been the constant custome of Men to confirm their Testaments by Death and this is so confest a Truth that it needs no proof The reason why God confirmed his Testament by his passage between the pieces of the dead Beasts is because this was an act of his Quasi-dying That God who is immortal and cannot die did appoint those Beasts to be his Substitutes to die for him Gen. 15.9 The Lord said to Abraham Take me an Heifer of three years old i. e. Take for me and for my use and in my stead And by this Quasi-death of the Everliving God Abraham was assured by God after the manner of Men in their last Wills of the conveyance of the Inheritance of the Land of Canaan given him by the Will of God Heb. 9.16 And as the Promissory part so by the same reason was the Mandatory part of Gods Testament dedicated or confirmed by Blood Heb. 9.18 Neither was the first Testament dedicated without Blood for when Moses had spoken every Precept to all the People according to the Law he took the Blood of Calves and Goats with Water and Scarlet-wool and Hysop and sprinkled both the Book and all the People saying This is the Blood of the Testament which God hath enjoyned unto you This is the confirmation of the Preceptory part of Gods Testament once but the Promissory and Legatary part thereof was the second time confirmed by a solemn Oath Gen. 22.16 By my self have I sworn saith the Lord for because thou hast done this thing and hast not withheld thy Son thine only Son Isaac whom thou lovest that in blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy Seed as the Stars of Heaven and as the Sand which is upon the Sea-shoar A real Oath to perform that Testament which he had confirmed before by his Quasi-death Heb. 6.18 That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lye we might have a strong Consolation or full assurance who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the Hope set before us c. Objections Some Learned Writers account this a hard saying that God should make Testament who cannot die and therefore instead of the word Testament they use the word Covenant I Answer There is a Covenant in Gods Testament and therefore it is a Testamentary Covenant so we take in all truth Others rather chuse the word Instrument Obj. thinking thereby to mend the matter But that also amounts to the same sense with the former Answ for if it be an Instrument Instrument it cannot be meant of an artificial or material Tool used by any Mechanick but it must be a legal Instrument or deed And truly it is the best Instrument in Law creating the greatest settlement and assurance that can be made by God or Man Other words they cannot invent to call it by and these three Testament Covenant Instrument declare but one and the same thing The Covenant and Testament of the Law being the Covenant and Testament of Works and the Covenant and Testament of the Gospel being the Covenant and Testament of Grace and both these are Instruments 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 declared and confirmed as Gods Acts and Deeds and so delivered to the Sons of men to remain upon record as their Assurances for ever And why should not these men be offended as well at the word Heir and Inheritance as well as at the word Testament Heir wherein lieth the same cause for an Heir is a Person who hath the right to succeed in the room of a person deceased If therefore God can have no Testament because he cannot die then by the same reason he can have no Heir and so consequently neither Christ nor Believers are or can be the Heirs of God The like may be said for the word Inheritance Inheritance which is a succession unto the whole Rights which a person deceased was invested with at the time of his death If therefore God can have no Testament because he cannot die then by the same reason neither Christ nor Believers have or can have any Right in or to the Inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven But God may ordain or confirm a Testament though he cannot die When man makes a just Disposition and Decree of things to be had or done after his own death Disposition● such a Disposition or Decree of man is called a Testament yet this is but a humane Testament after the manner of Men. But when God makes a ●●st Disposition or Decree for things to be had or done after anothers death what may we call such a Disposition or Decree of God or what better name can we give it than to call it a Testament For although it be not a humane Testament after the manner of Men yet it is a divine Testament partly after the manner of men and partly otherwise as God would have it to be and to be so called and hath called it so For as Men verily swear by one that is greater Oath but God swears by himself because there is no greater than himself to swear by So God makes a Testament partly after the manner of Men and partly otherwise because we confine their Testaments by their own death because they are mortal and can die but God confirmeth his Testament by the death of another because he is immortal and cannot die Besides the Text saith The Covenant or Testament Gal. 3.17 Testament Christ was confirmed before of
the World are blessed The CONTENTS What the Old Testament contains What the New Testament contains Gospel a Testament rather than a Covenant TITLE III. Of the Gospel a Testament FOR contemplation of this New Estate leaving the Wisdom of the Gentiles take but a short view of the Glories of the Old Testament so far out-shined by the lustre and brightness of the New The Old Testament held forth these things What the Old Testament contains 1. Legacies or Gifts devised thereby which were earthly and temporal as Canaan's Land with plenty peace honour and long life therein 2. Conditions Precepts or Laws such as were the Rites or Moralities therein 3. A Mediator or Executor who was Moses who dying before he had finished his office Joshuah succeeded him and gave the People possession of the Promised Land the People being first subdued by the Sword 4. Legataries Abraham and his Seed the Israelites 5. Publishing by Angels God's Representatives declaring his Will Act. 7.53 Gal. 3.19 6. Proof by Thunderings and Lightnings and the sound of a Trumpet with many Terrours upon the burning smoaking and trembling Mount Sinai to the heart-aking of all the Spectators and Hearers Exod. 19.16 Heb. 12.18 7. Writing of the Moralities of that Testament upon Tables of Stone by God Ex. 32.16 The Ceremonies and Penalties in a Book by Moses Ex. 24.4 8. Confirmation to be of force by the death of Calves and Goats Exod. 24.5 Heb. 9.19 For all Testaments are of force by the death of the Testator or some body for them if men should make such a Law as God did by the substitution of the blood of Beasts for that purpose The New Testament comprehends these things 1. Predestination or Purpose or good Pleasure of Will in God What the New Testament contains before the World to make a just Disposition of things to be or done in time and to be had and enjoyed to all Eternity 2. Declaration or Nuncupation to Jesus Christ the Son of God and Heir apparent of all things and sole Executor to his Father This Will I say was first Nuncupative or by Word of mouth declaring the full mind of the Testatour as a Will Parol made to Christ the Word and Wisdom of God that came from the bosom of the Father and revealed him Afterwards it was written by some of Christ's Apostles and other Divine Persons to whom he taught it on earth and from heaven as he had received it and they also preached what was revealed unto them to all the World 3. Legacy or Inheritance which is Blessedness and in order thereunto Forgiveness of sins the Gift of the Spirit and the Resurrection of the Body Which said Blessedness is a firm Estate in Heaven free from all Evil and full of all Good incorruptible reserved for us in the Heavens 4. Condition Resipiscence or Holiness possible and accepted though not perfect yet made perfect through Christ I say possible so made by God or else if the Condition had been impossible the Disposition had been void and unjust as all Impossible Conditions are and therefore such Testaments are null and void 5. Executor Jesus Christ who is a Mediatour between God and Man For every Executor mediates between the Testatour and the Legataries because the Legacies came from the Testatour first to the Heir or Executor as we now speak and by the means of the Executor they are conveyed to the Legataries who may not take them of their own accord with their own hands but must demand or sue for them from the hands of the Executor or otherwise they have no power no right to receive or enjoy them 6. Legataries instituted of God are All Believers In all Testaments for Pious causes the Legataries are instituted by appellative or common and not by their proper Names for then no Testament was able to contain them As when a Benefactour bequeaths such or such gifts to all the honest and laborious Poor in such a Town all that are honest and laborious Poor in that place may challenge their Legacies by virtue of that Devise neither can any of them so qualified be excluded or denied their dues It is therefore to be noted that this VVill of God is such a Will and that therein there is no Dereliction or Praeterition at all but that it is like an Universal Pardon proclaimed to all that will come in and accept thereof upon the Condition expressed Math. 12.18 Gal. 3.15 7. Proof by a Voice from heaven saying This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased Hear ye him Besides many and great Miracles 8. Confirmation by the Death of Christ substituted to take Flesh and die for God who could not die This is my Blood of the New Testament Math. 26.8 v. Heb. 9.15 All which Dispensations afford just matter of wonder adoration and praise of the manifold Wisdom and Grace of God Gospel a Testament rather than a Covenant The Gospel therefore appears to be a Testament to all intents and purposes much rather than a Covenant or any other Deed as may be demonstrated by these Testimonies and Reasons The very words used by Christ himself are a sufficient proof if there were no more which he uttered a little before his death Math. 26 28. This is my Blood of the New Testament which was shed for many for the Remission of sins And the repetition of the sense of them by St. Paul 1 Cor. 11.25 This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood David in the Spirit Then said I Loe I come In the volume of the Book it is written of me that I should fulfil thy will O God I am content to do it Sacrifice and Burnt offering thou wouldest not have but a Body hast thou prepared me Then said I Loe I come to do thy will O God Heb. 10.5 7 c. he taketh away the First Covenant that he may establish the second v. 29. That great Shepheard of the sheep through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 is used all along and the word 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 never in the Old or New Testament These are the two Covenants the one from the Mount Sinai which gendreth to bondage Gal. 44. c. This is the Covenant which I will make with the house of Israel I will put my Law c. In that he saith a New Covenant Heb. 8.10 c. he hath made the first Old now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away By so much was Jesus made Surety of a better Covenant Heb. 7.22 established upon better Promises Heb. 9.15 The Mediatour of the New Testament that by the means of Death for the redemption of the Transgressions that were under the first Testament they which are called might receive the Promise of Eternal Inheritance For where a Testament is there must also of necessity be the Death of the Testatour For a Testament