[K:NWTS 22/2 (Sep 2007) 53]

Anthony Burgess on the Law and the Gospel1

We have confuted the false differences, and now come to lay down the true, between the law and the gospel, taken in a larger sense.

And first, you must know that the difference is not essential or substantial, but accidental: so that the division of the Testament or Covenant into the Old and the New is not a division of the genus into one's opposite species; but of the subject according to its several accidental administrations, both on God's part and man's. It is true, the Lutheran divines do expressly oppose the Calvinists herein, maintaining the Covenant given by Moses to be a Covenant of works, and so directly contrary to the Covenant of grace. Indeed, they acknowledge that the fathers were justified by Christ, and had the same way of salvation with us; only they make the Covenant of Moses to be a superadded thing to the Promise, holding forth a condition of perfect righteousness unto the Jews that they might be convinced of their own folly in their self-righteousness. But I think it is already cleared that Moses' Covenant was a Covenant of grace . . . for certainly the godly Jews did not rest on sacrifices or sacraments, but by faith did really enjoy Christ in them, as well as we in ours.


1 Anthony Burgess (†1664) was a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines. His work against the Antinomians was heralded internationally. This quotation is taken from Lecture XXVI of his Vindicae Legis: or A Vindication of the Morall Law and the Covenants from the Errours of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially Antinomians (1647) 251 (sic! 253). Spelling and punctuation have been modified slightly above.