William Perkins On General Equity

But touching other nations and specially Christian Commonwealths in these days, the case is otherwise. Some are of the opinion that the whole judicial law is wholly abolished and some again run to the other extreme, holding that the judicial laws bind Christians as straightly as the Jews but no doubt they are both are wide and the safest course is the keep to the mean between both. Therefore the judicial laws of Moses according to the substance and scope thereof must distinguished in which respect they are of two sorts: Some of them are laws of particular equity and some of common equity. Laws of particular equity and condition of the Jews’ Commonwealth and to the circumstances thereof, time, place, persons, things, [and] actions. Of this kind was the law that the brother should raise up seed of his brother and many such like and none of them bind us because they were framed and tempered to a particular people.

Judicials of common equity are such as are made according to the law or instinct of nature common to all men and these in respect of their substance bind the consciences not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles for they were not given to the Jews as they were Jews, that is, a people received into the covenant above all other nations, brought from Egypt to the Land of Canaan, of whom the Messiah according to the flesh was to come; but they were given to them as they were mortal men subject to the order and laws of nature as other nations are. Again, judicial laws so far as they have in them the general or common equity of the law of nature are moral and therefore binding in conscience as the moral law.

William Perkins, A Discourse on Cases of Conscience in The Whole Works (London, 1631), 1.520 [spelling modernized]

One comment

  1. Dr. Clark, you may wish to delete this as soon as you get it. I wonder if you are aware of an interview of Jeff Johnson by Brandon Adams in Confessing Baptist Podcast #19 from August 13, 2013, which I just came across. It is shocking. He maintains here that God’s only purpose in preserving Isreal is that he needed them to keep his promise of the Seed to Abraham, otherwise He would have destroyed them in the dessert when they broke the law. God only delayed this until 70 AD because he needed them to produce the Seed who would save God’s people, the Church. This is huge, I think, because it means that God practically set them up for failure! He put them under covenants that were completely law and therefore impossible to keep after the fall. God was just using them as an incubator people to preserve the line from which the Savior would come, but He had no intention of establishing a means of providing the grace He promised to Adam through them. That was only available under the new covenant, which is the covenant of grace, because here Christ keeps the law for His people and provides the blood required for their forgiveness. Talk about two completely different people of God, dealt with in two completely different ways. I think it is an insult to God’s character!

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