Puritan Board Sophomore
Can anybody quote any statement from the WSC "republicationists" which denies the Sinaitic Covenant as containing the grace of eternal/ultimate salvation (Thomas Boston saw the CoG as contained in the preface of the Sinaitic Covenant)?
I don't have a copy of The Law is Not of Faith but I do have Horton's 'Introducing Covenant Theology' and on page 54 he says this:
At the same time, it is also true that after the fall all covenants were founded on historical prologues that were indisputably gracious in character. As we have seen, Israel was not chosen and liberated from Egypt because of their righteousness. Even the Decalogue begins with the exodus liberation event. This is a straightforward suzerainty treaty: "I have done X. Therefore, you do Y." At the same time, what happens at Sinai itself is not gracious. This pact made by the people establishes personal obedience to every commandment as the basis for life in the land. The nation-state can break God's covenant; the land promises are temporary and conditional, as Adam's probation was. They are not the final, ultimate reality.[emphases mine]
What Horton is saying here is very different from Thomas Boston's view of the Sinaitic Covenant.
In the paragraph that I quoted, Horton is acknowledging a similarity between the Sinaitic Covenant and all the other postlapsarian covenants. The similarity is that they all begin with a historical prologue. However, the similarity ends there for, unlike Boston, Horton is NOT saying that the historical prologue contains (or evidences) a covenant of grace.
Horton is merely acknowledging its gracious character for the historical prologue is a declaration of the mighty act that God (exodus from Egypt) did for His people which is then made the basis for the conditional (breakable) Sinaitic covenant.
The most striking difference of all is that, for Horton, there was only ONE covenant delivered at Sinai and this was conditional and breakable, BUT, for Boston, there were TWO that were delivered at Sinai, not one:
Wherefore I conceive the two covenants to have been both delivered on Mount Sinai to the Israelites. First, the covenant of grace made with Abraham, contained in the preface, repeated and promulgated there unto Israel, to be believed and embraced by faith, that they might be saved; to which were annexed the Ten Commandments, given by the Mediator Christ, the head of the covenant, as a rule of life to his covenant people. Secondly, the covenant of works made with Adam, contained in the same ten commands, delivered with thunderings and lightnings, the meaning of which was afterwards cleared by Moses, describing the righteousness of the law and sanction thereof, repeated and promulgated to the Israelites there, as the original perfect rule of righteousness, to be obeyed; and yet were they no more bound hereby to seek righteousness by the law than the young man was by our Saviour's saying to him, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments - Thou shalt do no murder...' (Matt. 19:17-18). The latter was a repetition of the former.The Marrow of Modern Divinity, p. 77[emphases mine]
Horton - one covenant - conditional and breakable - not a covenant of grace. (It has accompanying elements that exhibit a gracious character but in itself it is not gracious.)
Boston - two covenants - 1) covenant of grace and 2) covenant of works (Boston qualifies this by saying "were they no more bound hereby to seek righteousness by the law than the young man was by our Saviour's saying to him, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.")