Eternal Life By Means of the Mosaic Covenant
Cary's view, described above, is basically my own view. This view of the Mosaic covenant, perhaps with some slight nuance, was (I believe) also held by Nehemiah Coxe, who was likely the main editor for the Second London Baptist Confession. Samuel Renihan asserts, "Coxe's position [is] that a 'remembrance' of the covenant of works was 'revived' in the Mosaic covenant[, which] is a much softer version of Cary's view of the Mosaic covenant" [ibid]. But Renihan does not actually give an explanation of the [supposed?] difference between Cary's 'edition of Adam's covenant' and Coxe's 'revived remembrance of the covenant of works.'
Yes, such is his infinite bounty that [God] has proposed no lower end to his covenant transactions with men than to bring them into a blessed state of eternal enjoyment of himself. And therefore, when one covenant (through the weakness of man in his lapsed state) has been found weak and unprofitable as to this great end of a covenant because insufficient to accomplish it, God finds fault, abolishes it, and introduces another in which full provision is made for the perfect salvation of those that have interest in it (Hebrews 8:7-8). [Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen, Covenant Theology (Palmdale, CA: Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2005),37.]
It seems, therefore, that Coxe also would have affirmed that the end of the Mosaic covenant was to bring God's people "into a blessed state of eternal enjoyment of himself," though he (like Cary) would have affirmed that no one actually could be saved by that covenant, due to our fallen state in Adam, in which we have already broken the original Covenant of Works.
Moses, who was not sinless, was not suited to be a federal head for the entire human race in the same sense as either Adam or the last Adam: our Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, it was through the Mosaic covenant that the nation of Israel was established. Christ Himself is the true Israel; He fulfilled all of the requirements placed upon Israel and earned not only "life in the land" (promises ultimately fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth), but also eternal life for all those united to Him by faith. God also made the New Covenant with the "house of Israel and the house of Judah" (Jer 31:31). It is only as we partake of the New Covenant blessings, such as the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling Holy Spirit, that we may stand as righteous in God's sight. Therefore, it is only by being in placed in true Israel (not by works, but by faith) that we may enjoy all of God's covenant blessings.
Labels: Reformation Theology