Sermon on the Two Covenants


That text reads thus: “And Moses took the blood 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.” Two palpable reasons sustain the foregoing proposition: 1. The covenant made with Israel “concerning all these words,” was the agreement which the people entered into with the Almighty, as recorded in Exodus 19 and 24, that they would keep the words spoken by him. 2. The ten commandments were the words concerning which this covenant or agreement was made. These reasons are not likely to be disputed. They establish the fact, therefore, that the covenant which was ratified or dedicated with blood by Moses was not the ten commandments. On the contrary, it is a covenant in a more extensive sense than they can be. It is an agreement between God and Israel concerning his law, and that law is elsewhere called a covenant, not because there is in it a contract between God and his people, but simply because it is the grand condition of the contract, or covenant, which Moses here dedicates with blood. It is remarkable that the people entered into formal and solemn contract to obey the voice of God before they heard it, and that having heard his voice they ratified that contract in the most solemn manner; and that to conclude all, Moses, having written the whole thing in a book, sprinkled both it and all the people, saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” Exodus 24:8. SOTC 25.3

Both parties to the controversy respecting the first covenant will here again certainly unite in saying that Moses uses the word covenant in this remarkable text, not as signifying the ten commandments, but the agreement made respecting them. Here we stand on solid ground, and our opponents will not attempt to drive us hence. And now that we are so happily agreed in this fact, let us advance to the important truth which lies directly before us. Here it is:— SOTC 26.1

The contract made in Exodus 19 and 24, relative to the ten commandments, which Moses (Exodus 24:8) calls “the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words,” is the identical first covenant concerning which we are involved in controversy. SOTC 26.2

This proposition, our opponents stoutly deny. But so certainly as they are honest men (and we are ready to award this noble quality to every one of them who has not given palpable proof that he does not possess it), they will be constrained to agree with us here also. Providentially, we have the testimony of the New Testament in so explicit and distinct an utterance as to leave no chance for dispute on this point. Paul quotes this very record in Exodus 24:8, respecting the dedication of the covenant concerning the law of God, and makes the explicit statement that this covenant thus dedicated was the first covenant. Here are his words:— SOTC 26.3

“Whereupon neither the FIRST TESTAMENT [covenant] 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 of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament [covenant] which God hath enjoined unto you.” Hebrews 9:18-20. SOTC 27.1

Here, also, we have a right to ask our opponents to agree with us. In fact, the testimony is so explicit that there is no chance for them to do otherwise. Paul settles this point in dispute, and shows that the first covenant is not the law of God, but the solemn contract between God and Israel respecting that law. And that which makes Paul’s testimony in this case very valuable is, that he writes as a commentator upon those words of Jeremiah which constitute the theme of this discourse. SOTC 27.2

And now let us return to the words of Jeremiah, to ascertain what he himself means by the covenant made with Israel when God led them out of Egypt. SOTC 27.3

When Jeremiah predicts the establishment of a new covenant with Israel and Judah, he uses the following language respecting the old covenant. Thus he says:— SOTC 28.1

“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:32. SOTC 28.2

This text sheds much light on the nature of the covenant to which Jeremiah refers. But it is remarkable that Jeremiah, in another place preceding this, has defined with great precision what he means by the covenant made when God led Israel out of Egypt. Thus we read, Jeremiah 11:3, 4:— SOTC 28.3

“Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.” SOTC 28.4

Here we have Jeremiah’s own definition of what constituted that covenant which the children of Israel had, by their disobedience, dissolved. And it identifies this covenant with the solemn contract between God and Israel, which Paul designates as the first covenant. For Jeremiah makes the essential feature of this covenant to consist in one grand stipulation on the part of God toward his people; viz., “Obey my voice; ... so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.” Now it is a remarkable fact that this is the very stipulation, and the only one, made by God in entering into solemn contract with Israel. It is a stipulation exacting obedience to the voice of God, which was about to utter the ten commandments. Thus the contract was opened by the God of Heaven: “If ye will Obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” Exodus 19:5. We cannot, therefore, fail to identify the covenant to which Jeremiah refers. It is not the ten commandments, but the solemn contract made between God and Israel respecting those commandments. SOTC 28.5

But the words of Jeremiah 31:32, are entitled to particular attention in determining what the prophet understood by this covenant of which he spoke. He says: “Which my covenant they brake, although I was an HUSBAND unto them.” The expression sheds great light on the nature of the covenant in question. Was that covenant simply the law of God? or was it the solemn contract between God and Israel by which the people pledged themselves to obey that law, and God pledged himself on that condition to accept them as his people, and to be their God? Surely, we cannot mistake here. The first covenant made God the husband of his people. The solemn contract between them and himself was that whereby he espoused, or married, that people. Jeremiah 2:2. There can be no mistake, therefore, that a contract was requisite, in order that God should become the husband of that people; and that contract is found in Exodus 19 and 24. He could be their lawgiver, by virtue of proclaiming his law to them; but to be their husband, he must enter into contract with them, and it is precisely this relation that he sustains to Israel by virtue of the covenant of which Jeremiah speaks. See Webster’s second definition of contract, previously quoted. SOTC 29.1

And this distinction properly introduces a further argument on the nature of this covenant, from Romans 9:4: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” Paul elsewhere informs us that there are two “covenants.” Galatians 4:24. Here he distinguishes between the giving of the law and the covenants. Our opponents claim that the giving of the law was the making of the first covenant. We say, Not so; for that covenant was the solemn contract between God and Israel which preceded and followed the “giving of the law;” and that the law of God was that which the people covenanted to obey, when it should be spoken by the voice of God. This text preserves the distinction between the law of God and each of the two covenants. SOTC 30.1

And this distinction between the law of God and the first covenant is further shown by another important fact. The new covenant was made because the first covenant had been destroyed by the sins of the people, and because God still desired to save them. The first covenant was rendered null and void by the disobedience of the people. “Because,” says Paul, “they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” Hebrews 8:9. “Which my covenant they break, should I have continued an husband unto them? saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:32, margin. If, therefore, we hold, as do many at the present day, that the covenant between God and Israel was simply the ten commandments, then we have the people of Israel weaken, and finally bring to an end, the law of God, simply by disobeying it! So that the law of God did depend for its strength upon the obedience of the people, and not upon the authority of the Lawgiver! But let us test the other view of this subject. It has been shown from Moses, from Paul, and from Jeremiah, that the first covenant was the mutual agreement between God and Israel respecting the ten commandments. This is a covenant in the primary sense of the term. This covenant it was in the power of the people to destroy, by violating its conditions, i.e., by breaking the law of God. This transgression could not in the slightest degree weaken the authority of the law of God; but it could, and did, render null and void the contract which made God a husband unto them. The truth on this point may be expressed in a word: Men could not release themselves from the obligation to obey God’s law by breaking that law; but they could release the God of Heaven from the obligation he had taken upon himself, toward them in the first covenant, by violating its conditions, and thus bringing the covenant to an end. Hence the distinction is palpable between the law of God and the solemn contract made respecting that law. One could be destroyed by a failure on the part of the people to fulfill its conditions. The other can neither be destroyed, nor even weakened, by such transgression; and it will, in due time, demand the death of all its transgressors. SOTC 30.2

The law of the Lord is perfect. Psalm 19:7-11; 111:7, 8; 119:96; James 1:25; 2:8-12. It is God’s great rule of right by which sin is shown. 1 John 3:4, 5; Romans 3:19, 20; 7:12, 13. But the first covenant is declared by Paul not to have been faultless. Hebrews 8:7. This is another palpable proof of a distinction between the moral law and the covenant which God entered into with Israel respecting it. Nor is this to be met by the statement that Paul pronounces the law itself to be faulty, and therefore the law and the covenant may be identical. For the law thus designated by Paul was not the ten commandments, but the Levitical law. And here are a few points out of many in proof of this assertion:— SOTC 32.1

1. This law was received under the Levitical priesthood. Hebrews 7:11. But the ten commandments were received before that priesthood had been appointed. Compare Exodus 20 with Exodus 28. SOTC 32.2

2. This was a law relating to priesthood, tithes, and offerings. Hebrews 7:5, 12, 28. But the ten commandments said nothing concerning this. SOTC 32.3

3. It was a law which required that the priesthood should be of the tribe of Levi, and which had to be changed in order to have a priest arise out of the tribe of Judah. Hebrews 7:12-14. But the ten commandments had no precept that related to the subject, or that needed to be changed for that reason. SOTC 32.4

Finally, with one further proof of the distinction between the moral law and the first covenant, this point of the argument shall be closed. The first covenant having waxed old and vanished away, the new covenant is made by God in its place. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-13. And now observe the grand promise of the new covenant: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Jeremiah 31:23. It is therefore certain that the dissolution of the first covenant is not the abrogation of the law of God. That which was the law of God in the days of Jeremiah, six hundred years before Christ, is the subject of this prediction. This law was not only to survive the dissolution of the first covenant, but it was to continue to exist under the new covenant, and to sustain even a more sacred relation to the people of God under the new, than under the old, covenant. Here the argument on this part of the subject is rested. It has been shown, SOTC 32.5

1. That the first, or old, covenant was not the law of God, but the contract between God and Israel concerning that law. SOTC 33.1

2. That the law of God is a covenant only in a secondary sense; viz., in that it constituted the condition of that agreement or contract by which God became a husband to Israel. SOTC 33.2

3. That when the old covenant vanishes away, the law of God remains in full force, and is ready to enter into the most sacred relations with the people of God under the new. SOTC 33.3

Let us now consider wherein the first covenant was faulty. It was not because it was so closely connected with the law of God; for the new, or better, covenant is even more intimately connected with the law of God than was the first, or old, covenant. The old covenant gave man the law of God upon tables of stone; but the new puts it in his heart. It was not because the law was faulty: for that is so perfect that even under the New Testament it is made the standard by which sin is shown. Psalm 19:7-11; Romans 3:19, 20, 31; 1 John 3:4, 5. But Paul plainly intimates wherein the new covenant is better than the old one. It is “established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6. Then it follows that the first covenant was established upon promises not so well adapted to man’s case; and this very fact is, of itself, a decisive proof that the first covenant was not simply the law of God, but a contract between God and his people. Let us now examine the nature of the promise upon which the first covenant was made. Jeremiah designates the first covenant as made when Israel came forth out of Egypt. And thus he has laid open this covenant, and the nature of that promise upon which it was established. Jeremiah 11:3, 4: “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.” The promise of the Lord that he would be their God was upon condition that they obeyed his voice. Nay, the condition was even stronger than this: “Do them according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people.” But suppose they should fail to do this? Then the promise was forfeited. Surely, fallen man needs a better promise than this. It was just in God to require a man to live in exact conformity with his perfect law of right; but it was inevitable that man would forfeit his title to the promises of God. It is true that there were in the ceremonial law ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary connected with the first covenant. Hebrews 9 and 10. But these could not take away sins. They could only point forward to Christ. The promises of the first covenant were upon condition of obedience to God’s perfect rule of right. But such promises were insufficient to meet the helpless condition of fallen man. SOTC 33.4

So the apostle says: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” Hebrews 8:7. But because the people of Israel broke the covenant of the Lord, he justly finds fault with them, and seeks to give the place to a second and better covenant, established upon better promises. And hence it is, that God, by his prophet, gives the people of Israel to understand that they have forfeited the blessings of that covenant, and that the branches of their olive tree will be broken off. Jeremiah 11. And following this announcement, a few years later, is the cheering promise of a new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34. It was about 600 years before the birth of Christ that the new covenant was thus foretold. The apostle Paul makes the following expressive comment: “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13. Thus it appears that the first covenant had in Jeremiah’s time become old, and thenceforward, to its close, it was “ready to vanish away.” And when our Lord came to do his work, he took away the first that he might “establish the second.” Hebrews 10:9. SOTC 35.1

Let us now consider the excellence of the new covenant, and learn wherein it is a better covenant than the one which it supersedes. Here are the terms of this covenant: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33, 34. SOTC 36.1

Certainly, this is “the better covenant,” and these are the “better promises.” Let us enumerate them. 1. “I will put MY LAW in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” 2. “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 3. They shall teach no more every man his neighbor; ... for they shall all know me.” 4. “I will forgive their iniquity.” 5. “I will remember their sin no more.” SOTC 36.2

This is a very remarkable list of new-covenant blessings. First and foremost in this enumeration, stands a promise concerning the law of God. Surely, this is worthy of our notice. But what is this promise respecting the law? Is it, “I will abolish my law”? No. Is it, “I will change my law”? No. Is it, “I will supersede my law by a better code”? By no means. It is very different indeed from such declarations as these. This is the promise: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” He will make his law a part of their very being. He will establish it in their affections; he will engrave it upon the table of their hearts. This is wonderful indeed. The law of God is still uppermost in the mind of its Author. The first covenant required obedience to the law of God, but failed to secure it. The second covenant insures obedience by making the law a part of the very nature of those with whom the covenant is made. God does not leave his law till he has accomplished that which he has spoken, the raising up of a people who shall obey him from their hearts. The first covenant was made concerning the law of God. In a still higher sense is this true of the second. The great work of the new covenant is to take away the carnal mind, which is enmity against the law of God, so that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-7. SOTC 36.3

And so the Mediator of the new covenant lays down the immutability of the law of God, and solemnly enforces its observance as the condition of entering eternal life. Matthew 5:17-19; 7:12; 15:1-9; 19:16-19; 22:35-40; Luke 16:17. And the apostles, Paul, and James, and John, have faithfully testified to the same great truth. Romans 2:12-16; 3:19, 20, 31; 7:7-14; 8:3-7; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Ephesians 6:1-3; James 1:25; 2:8-12; 1 John 3:4, 5; Revelation 11:19; 12:17; 14:12; 22:14. SOTC 37.1

But how is it that the second covenant is so much more efficacious than the first in securing obedience to the law of God? The answer is found in the difference between Sinai and Calvary. At Sinai the law of God entered in terrible majesty, but the hard heart of sinful man is incapable of submitting to the law of God. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, and, indeed, cannot be. At Calvary enters, not the law of God, but the lamb of God, as our great sin-offering. Not the condemning law, but the sin-atoning sacrifice, is the central object upon the hill of Calvary. And yet the law was present there to strike the Son of God with the sword of divine justice. Galatians 3:13. How astonishing the events of Calvary! The new covenant is given to us in the blood of Christ. We have pardon through his blood. With his stripes we are healed. Mercy and truth meet together in the sacrifice made for us by the Son of God. SOTC 38.1

The new covenant proposes to save those who have broken the law of God. It is able to forgive their sin, the transgression of the law, and not only to pardon them for violating the law of God, but to put that law in their hearts so that it shall be their very nature to obey it. This is what the Bible means by conversion. Romans 7:7-25; 8:1-9; Acts 3:19. But the Mediator of the covenant can thus give life to the guilty, only by the sacrifice of his life. We have life from his death. We have pardon from his blood. We have grace from the fountain of his grace. The new covenant is a system of salvation wherein God is shown to be just, even in the very act of justifying the sinner, and wherein the law is shown to be established even by the doctrine of justification by faith. Romans 3:24-26, 31. SOTC 38.2

If we place the blessings of the new covenant in chronological order, they will stand thus: 1. The forgiveness of sins. 2. The writing of the law in the heart. 3. The blotting out of sins so that they shall be remembered no more. 4. God fully unites himself to his people, thenceforward forever to be their God, and they to be his people. 5. All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. SOTC 39.1

But the forgiveness of sins is upon condition of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21. Repentance involves, 1. Godly sorrow for sin; 2. Confession of sin; 3. Reparation of wrong acts, when it is in our power to make it. 4. Change of conduct, so that we cease to transgress, and henceforward obey. And faith in our Lord Jesus Christ views him, 1. As our great sin-offering, and accepts his blood as our only ground of pardon; 2. As our great High Priest to plead our cause when we come to God for mercy and grace; 3. And finally it views his life as the perfect example of that obedience which the law of God requires, and the perfect model after which we must pattern. SOTC 39.2

The writing of the law of God upon the heart is not the work of a moment. When God begins the work of conversion, the first act is to forgive the sins of the past. The next is to write his law in the heart. When this work is fully wrought in men, then they are, in the highest sense, Christians; for they are like Christ. He had the law of God in his heart. Psalm 40:8. Then they love God with all the heart, and their neighbor as themselves. Then, also, they observe in truth the precepts of the law written upon their hearts, not less than upon the tables of stone. The whole gospel dispensation is devoted to the work of writing the law upon the hearts of the people of God, even as the whole period of probation with each individual is devoted to this work in each individual case. Our first ideas of God’s law are at best but poor. As the Spirit of God enlightens our minds, we have clearer conceptions of the character of the law; and as the work of conversion progresses, these elevated principles become established in our character. Whenever the minister of Christ opens to our minds new and clearer views of the principles of right, and causes us to see, as never before, the extent of God’s demands upon us in his law, then the Spirit of God, if we will co-operate, writes these principles in our hearts. And so the work progresses till the law of God is fully written in our hearts; in other words, till our characters are perfected in virtue. SOTC 39.3

But human probation does not last forever. The great work of our Lord in saving his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21), is brought to a final conclusion when all their sins are blotted out. Acts 3:19-21. Then the books of God’s remembrance will be as clean from the record of his people’s sins as though that record had never been entered therein. Their raiment having been washed in Jesus’ blood, so that not one stain of guilt remains upon them, last of all, the record of that guilt is removed from the book, and its pages are left as pure as their character has been rendered by the cleansing blood of Christ. And thus it is that the promise of the new covenant, “I will remember their sin no more,” has its perfect accomplishment. The record of their sins is washed out by the blood of Christ, and then God himself promises that he will remember their sins no more. The probation of the people of God ends in the perfect recovery of their lost innocence, never again, thank God! to be lost by them. SOTC 40.1

When the work of our High Priest is thus completed, and the saints made meet for their inheritance in light, the consummation of the new covenant hastens. The Saviour can no longer bear to have his people so far from him. It is the good pleasure of the Father to give him the kingdom. He must show them the glory that Christ had with him before the world was. John 17:24. So he sends his Son for them, to bring them to himself. 1 Thessalonians 4:14. And Jesus, having made all his saints immortal, and taken them into his Father’s presence, celebrates his marriage supper, serving his saints in person, and drinking anew, with them, the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of God, which he had not before tasted since the night when he gave them the cup representing the new covenant in his blood. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; John 14:1-3; Revelation 19:7-9; Luke 12:36, 37; 22:15-20. Then they sit with Christ in thrones of judgment while the cases of the wicked are examined (1 Corinthians 6:1-3; Revelation 20:1-4); and after the execution of the judgment, when the lake of fire has given place to the new creation, then the immortal saints shall receive the eternal inheritance in the new earth. And thus John describes this grand consummation of the new covenant when he says: “And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. SOTC 41.1

“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:34. And thus Isaiah describes this state of things when all shall know the Lord: “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his time.” Isaiah 60:19-22. And thus the grand result may be stated in one sentence: God is all in all. SOTC 42.1

The relation of the law of God to the two covenants has been, by many persons, strangely misunderstood. But, having stated the Bible doctrine of the law and covenants, let us now illustrate it. A young American visits Russia, and, by a remarkable turn of events, attracts the attention of the emperor. That monarch, becoming interested in the young man, proceeds to make a covenant with him. He says to him, “You see my wealth, my power, my greatness; and you have already formed some acquaintance with me. I propose now to take you for my special friend, and to be a special friend to you on this condition: That you obey the law of this realm.” To this, the young man gladly assents. The emperor then places in his hand the volume containing the law of the empire. This the young man carefully reads. When he has thus read the volume, the emperor calls up the whole matter anew. He says, “You have now read the volume concerning which we have entered into covenant. Do you now choose to make this a firm covenant, or do you now decline so to do?” The young man replies that, having read the volume with care, he heartily approves of all that it enjoins, and will obey all its precepts; and that he wishes to consummate the covenant which they have made concerning all its words. SOTC 42.2

The reader can see the difference between the covenant and the law. The contracting parties have made a covenant concerning all the words of the law. In the primary sense of the word covenant, the agreement between the emperor and the young man is the covenant. In the secondary sense, the law of Russia is the covenant, as being the condition on which that agreement rests. Yet, when the covenant which the parties have made concerning all the words of the law of Russia is spoken of, there is a clear, plain, and unmistakable reference to the contract, and not to the law. SOTC 43.1

We will now suppose that the young man falls under evil influences, and breaks the law of Russia in many particulars. The emperor informs him that the covenant between them is at an end, being rendered null and void by his transgression. Question: What is it that the young man has destroyed by his evil course? Is it the law of Russia? By no means. That rests upon the sovereign authority of the emperor, and not upon the obedience of this young man. But what is it, then, that is abrogated? Simply the contract which they have made concerning the law of the empire. It was in the power of either party to violate its conditions, and thus to release the other from the obligation of the covenant. This the young man had done; and thus, by his own act, he had terminated the covenant. SOTC 44.1

But we will further suppose that the emperor, out of pity for the inexperience of the young man, and in view of the great temptations which surrounded him, and moved by feelings of true benevolence, makes a second proposition to him. He says, “I will make a new covenant with you, not according to the one which you broke; for I will this time, by means of faithful instruction, put my law in your heart; and if you break it, I will give you an opportunity by genuine repentance to find forgiveness, and to prove yourself a man worthy of my favor.” SOTC 44.2

Suppose, now, that this young man is told that his violation of the first covenant had destroyed the law of Russia, and that the new covenant was framed expressly to enable him to disregard the law of that empire; who does not see that such counsel would be ruinous for him to follow? And who does not also see that great as is the care of the emperor to save that young man, his care that the law of Russia shall be obeyed is still greater? Who will say that the abrogation of the first of these covenants, or the establishment of the second one, rendered null and void the law of the empire of Russia? SOTC 44.3

With a few words concerning the allegory in Isaiah 54, and Galatians 4:21-31, this subject shall be concluded. 1. The two women, Hagar and Sarah, represent, not the law and the gospel, but old Jerusalem and Jerusalem above. For the mothers of the two families are not the covenants, but the Jerusalems. See verses 25-31. 2. The two covenants, whereby God is in his worship connected with these two Jerusalems, are represented by the relation which Abraham sustained to these two women. 3. The children of old Jerusalem are the natural descendants of Abraham. 4. Those of the new Jerusalem are those who are his children by faith and obedience. John 8:39. 5. The bondage of old Jerusalem was not caused by the law of God, but by sin. John 8:32-36. 6. The freedom of the children of the heavenly Jerusalem is not their liberty to violate the law of God, but their freedom from sin. Romans 8:1-7. 7. Those who are not under the law, but under grace, have been pardoned in consequence of faith and repentance. Romans 3:19-31. 8. Finally, our heirship is under the new covenant, not under the old. We have deliverance from sin through the blood of Christ, but not permission to violate the law of God. The design of the new covenant is to rescue us from the condemnation of the law, and not leave us till the law of God is made a part of our very being, and its righteousness fulfilled in our lives. The old Jerusalem, with its sanctuary, its ark, and its priesthood, has passed away. But Jerusalem which is above is our mother; and in its sanctuary is found, not alone our High Priest with his atoning blood, but also the ark of God, wherein is that law which the new covenant writes in our hearts. Revelation 11:19. SOTC 45.1