CHAP. XVIII. Of the Law and the Gospell, and the agreement and difference betweene them.
NOw the last thing onely re∣maines, to wit, the description of the Law and the Gospell, and their agreement and difference. This may quickly be dispatched in few words, for their agreement and difference may easily bee discerned by those Page 160 things which have beene already de∣livered; the onely thing which is now necessarily to be touched, is the meaning of the words, and the divers significations of them. These being made plaine, it will appeare that all the agreements and differences be∣tween them have been before fully laid open and expounded.
First, for the Law, it is in the Ori∣ginall Hebrew Scriptures called (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Torah) a word derived of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Horah, which signifieth to teach, to instruct, to admonish, and also to shoot forth Arrowes and Darts; and so if wee consider it according to the true notation of the name, by Law in Scripture may be understood any Doctrine, Word, or Writing which doth teach, instruct and admonish men how they ought to live, and how to walke before God, or among men, and any Precept which as a Dart or Arrow is fastened in our hearts by our Teachers.
But in the New Testament the Law is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and is derived of Page 161 the verb 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which signifies to di∣stribute, because the Law injoyneth to distribute and give to God and men their due, and the revelation of the Word and Law is Gods distribu∣tion or dividing of his promises and his will amongst men. So then the word Law, considered according to the naturall sense of it in the Ori∣ginall Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, may signifie any Doctrine, Instruction, Law, Ordi∣nance, Custome, and Statute humane or Divine, which doth teach, direct, command or binde men to any du∣ty which they owe to God, or any of his creatures. And indeed thus far the signification of it doth extend. For in Scripture it signifies, some∣times the speciall Lawes of Heathen Nations, as of the Medes & Persians, and the statutes and customes of men according to which they live among themselves, and their doctrines and instructions; but I omit the humane significations of it, as not necessary for our present purpose; and I come to the divine which are divers in Scrip∣ture.
Page 1621 First, this word (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Torah) signifies, in a most large sense, any godly or profitable Counsell, Do∣ctrine, Instruction, or Precept which Parents give to their children, or one man to another, either by word or writing, which is not con∣trary, but according to the will of God and the rule of godlinesse, and serves to direct a man how to live or how to walke, either in his generall or particular calling. Thus the word is often used in the Booke of the Proverbes, as Chap. 3. 1 and 4. 2. and 7. 2. In which places the wise man exhorts his sonne to keepe his Law, that is, all his Precepts, Counsels, and Doctrines, and not to forget or for∣sake them.
2 Sometimes it signifies in a large sense, the whole Doctrine of the Word of God, which he hath at any time revealed, or doth reveale in the whole Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament; and so it in∣cludes the Law of Moses, the writings of the Prophets, and all the Evangeli∣call promises made unto us in Christ Page 163 from the beginning; thus it is used, Psal. 1. 2. in these words, But his de∣light is in the Law of the Lord, and Psal. 19. 7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soule, that is, Gods Word, for the Law alone with∣out the Gospell cannot convert soules, and Psal. 1 19. in divers places where the Law is said to quicken, and to be the godly mans delight, and to comfort him in trouble.
3 Sometimes this word signi∣fies onely the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as Iohn 15. 25. where our Saviour citing a speech out of the 35 Psalme 19 verse, saith it is writ∣ten in the Law, that is, the Old Testa∣ment. And the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. 21. repeating the words of Isaiah, Chap. 28. 11. saith it is written in the Law.
4 Sometimes it signifies the whole Doctrine of the five Bookes of Moses, as Iosh. 1. 7, 8. Let not the Booke of the Law depart out of thy mouth, and Luke 24. 44. where our Saviour distinguisheth the Law, that is, the writings of Moses from the Page 164Psalmes and the Prophets. Also Mat▪ 12. 5. Ioh. 7. 23. and Ioh. 8. 17. things written in the Booke of Genesis as well as things written in the other 4. books are said to be writtē in the law.
5 Sometimes the word Law sig∣nifies in a more strict sense, The Do∣ctrine of the Law, as it is different frō the doctrine of Grace, and is opposed to the plaine Doctrine of the Gospel; that is, the whole summe of Precepts, Morall, Ceremoniall, and Iudiciall, set downe in the Writings of Moses; thus the word is used by the Apostle in the Epistles to the Romanes and Galatians, where hee opposeth the Law and Doctrine of Workes to the Gospell and Doctrine of Faith.
6 Sometimes by law in a most strict sense is meant, either the morall Law conteined in the ten Commande∣ments, as Exod. 24. 12. or any of the Ceremoniall Lawes, as the Law of the burnt-offering, Levit. 6. 9. the Law of Sacrifice, vers. 14. the Law of the sinne-offering, vers. 24. or the Iudiciall Law, and any precept ther∣of, as Exod. 18. 16. Deut. 17. 11.
Page 1657 Sometimes the word Law sig∣nifies the Doctrine of the Gospell, which as a new Law commands us to repent of all our sins, and to be∣leeve in Iesus Christ. Thus the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used, Isa. 2. 3. where the Pro∣phet saith, That in the last dayes the Law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Ierusalem; meaning the publishing of the Gos∣pell from thence into all Nations of the world; and the Gospell as it in∣joyneth us to beleeve, is called the Law of Faith, Rom. 3. 27.
8 Sometimes the word Law sig∣nifies the power, authority, and domi∣nion, either of the flesh and the Old man of sin dwelling in our members; or of the Spirit and the New man ru∣ling in the mind, where the Apostle* saith, I see another Law in my mem∣bers, warring against the Law of my mind; that is, I see the power of sinfull corruption, and of the Old man stri∣ving against the Spirit, or part renu∣ed, and Rom. 8. 2. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Iesus hath freed me from the law of sin and death.
Page 166These are the divers significations of the word Law, which is called To∣rah in the Old, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the New Testament.
The word Gospel is in the Hebrew text in the old Testament called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Bessorah, and in the new Testament 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 they both signifie good news, glad tidings, and a joyfull message; the one is derived of the Hebrew verb (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Bissar) and the other of the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which both sig∣nifie one thing, namely to tell good news, or bring glad tydings. For the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is diversly used in Scripture, and in other Greek Authors.
Sometimes for the reward which is given to one for bringing good newes, as 2 Sam. 4. 10. where there∣ward which the man expected from David for the tydings of Sauls death is by the 70 called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and in the Hebrew Bessorah. Sometime in hea∣then writers, the sacrifices which men offered up in thankfulnesse for good newes, as in Xenophon lib. 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Isocrates Areopag.
Page 167Sometimes it signifies good newes in generall of what matter soever, as 2 Sam. 18.27. David said of Ahi∣maaz, he is a good man, he bringeth good tydings, the word is in the He∣brew Bessorah, and in the Greeke 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. But in the New Testament the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth alwayes sig∣nifie the good tydings and joyfull message of Iesus Christ the Saviour of the world, and of Redemption by him, and so we alwayes use the word Gospell in our English tongue; And when the word Gospell is thus re∣strained unto the message, and tydings of Christ, I finde it three wayes used in Scripture and in our common speech.
Sometimes it is opposed to the Doctrine of the Law which teacheth to seeke life and salvation by our owne workes, and then it signifies the whole Doctrine of salvation by Ie∣sus Christ, written in the Old and New Testament, and preached by all the ministers of Christ, unto the end of the world, as Rom. 1.9. God is my witness whom I serve with my Spirit, Page 168 in the Gospel of his sonne. and Gal. 3. 8. where the promise of Christ to Abra∣ham is called the Gospel, and Eph. 1. 13. where the doctrine of beleeving and trusting in Christ is called the Gospel of salvation. In this large sense it includes all the promises of Christ in it which were made from the beginning to the fathers, before the Law, and by the prophets under the Law,
Sometimes it is opposed to all the promises of the old Testament made to the fathers before the Law, and by the prophets before the coming of Christ, and then it signifies that joy∣full message, and word which is com∣prehended in the new Testament, which declares that Christ is already come in the flesh, and what he hath done for our redemption, and how we must be brought to communion of life, and salvation in him. Thus it is used, Mark. 1. 14. where it is said, that Iesus Christ preached in Galilee the Gospel of the Kingdome of God, and Mark. 16. 15. Goe preach the Gospel to every creature. When the Page 169 Word is thus taken, it differs, and is distinguished from the promises of Christ to come which are called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. It signifies Christ already come.
Sometimes this Word is restrained to the written History of Christ, from his Conception and Birth, to his Ascension, as it is recorded by the Evangelists in the New Testa∣ment; thus the word is used, Marke 1. 1. Where the Evangelist begin∣ning his holy History, saith; The beginning of the Gospell of Iesus Christ; and thus we use the word, when wee speake of the Gospell of Saint Matthew, or of Luke, or of Iohn; meaning the History of Christ written by them.
Now having laide downe the true signification of these two words, Law and Gospell, and shewed the divers acceptions of them; It is easie▪ to gather the agreement and differences which are between them. If we take the word Law in the most large sense, for the whole word of God, then it includes all the Gospell Page 170 in it, and then they differ and agree as the whole body differs from, and agrees with a part of it selfe. The Law is the whole Word of God, and the Gospell a part of it. If wee take the Law for the Scriptures of the Old Testament, or for the writings of Moses, then it includes in it a part of the Gospell; namely, the promises of the Messiah, and the doctrine of salvation in him to come. And from the other part of the Gospell, to wit, the glad tidings of Christ already come, it differs as the Old Testament from the New, and the mixt Cove∣nant from the pure Covenant of Grace.
If we take the word Law, for the new Law the Gospell of Grace, then the new Law and the Gospell are all one and the same. But if wee take the Law for the doctrine of Commandments, Morall, Ceremoni∣all, and Iudiciall, it differs from the Gospell so farre as the first part of the Covenant of God given by Moses dif∣fers frō the pure Covenant of Grace. And lastly, if we by Law understand Page 171 the Morall, then it differs from the Gospell, so farre as the first Cove∣nant of Workes differs from the se∣cond Covenant of Grace.
But if we take the Gospell in the most common and usual sense for the glad tydings of Christ already exhi∣bited, and for the whole Doctrine of the New Testament, and by Law doe understand (as the word common∣ly signifies) the Covenant which God made with Israel by Moses, and the pure Covenant of Grace made with all Nations, doe agree and differ betweene themselves.
Now the use of these Doctrines is manifold,
First, they serve to set us in a more* sure way to salvation, and also to guide and keepe us therein to the end, in that they shew us every turning, and every by-way, both on the right hand and on the left, and how wee may avoyd them all. Many are the errours which have beene raised up in the Church of God from the first time of the publishing of the Gospell untill this day. In the time of the Page 172 apostles, some taught that the law was to be observed, together with the Gospell and the Ministery of Moses, with the Ministery of Christ, and that none could be justified or saved without circumcision and observati∣on of the Lawes of Moses. Against them the Apostle disputes in the whole Epistle to the Galatians.
Some did utterly destroy the Law and all use of good works, & taught faith alone without works of sancti∣fication at all. Against them the Apo∣stle S. Iames disputes. Some utterly rejected the Old Testament, as the Manichaeans in Old time, and now the Anabaptists. Some did set up their owne righteousnesse, as the Iewes, Rom. 10. 3. and the Papists at this day.
Now if we rightly understand the doctrines before laid downe be∣tweene the Old and New Covenant, the Law and the Gospell, wee shall easily discerne the wickednes of these errours, and shall see the right way to justification and Salvation. We shall so understand the Scriptures of the Page 173 Old and New Testament, that wee shall out of them be able to answer all Heretiques and adversaries of the truth.
And therefore whatsoever some thinke of this Discourse of the Old and New Testament; the first and the second Covenant, the Old and the New, mixt and pure Covenant of Grace; and concerning the Law and the Gospell: Yet I am sure that others of better judgement, who receive with due respect and reverence all holy doctrine, shall find infinite pro∣fit, benefit, and comfort, if they lay these things to heart, and keepe them in continuall remembrance. Which grace the Lord grant unto us all for his own mercies sake in Iesus Christ, and to this small Worke of a weake Instrument give a blessing. To whose holy Name be all praise and glory now and for ever.