Wolfgangus Musculus (1497-1563) on The Difference Between Old & New Covenant

Just found a rare English copy (1578) of Musculus's Loci Communes and here are some interesting comments on the Old & New Covenant:

Of the word testament, I have spoken before.  It agrees indeed with the new covenant, because of the death of Christ, the Testator.  But it does not agree well with the old covenant, and that of the law.
Secondly, when we speak of the old testament or covenant, we must not look to the covenant of Abraham, but to the giving of Moses's law.  The same apostle calls the old bargain or the old constitution, to which belongs those things which he disputes of in the same chapter of the Old Testament.  And it is called Old, not because it is the first and most ancient, which the covenant of Abraham doth not bear withall, but in respect of the new.  For in respect of that of Abraham, both the old and new are called new, because they succeeded after them.  And these two dispensations of that perpetual and eternal covenant, have this relation between them, that the one began to be called Old in respect of this new; and the other was to be called New in respect of the old and abolished one.  For whatsoever is abolished, is there utterly ended and brought to nothing, so that nothing of it remains any more; or else it is changed into another thing, as if it were renewed.  And nothing is renewed except by the succession of that which is new.  And yet the same is not called New considered in itself, but in respect to that which was before.  If the covenant of Moses had been utterly made nothing, it could not have admitted the succession of any new.  Wherefore, that Apostle says to the Hebrews: In that he says a new testament, he has worn out the old. For that which is worn out and waxes ancient and old, is ready to vanish away, it must not be be understood that the the points of the substance of Moses covenant are utterly brought to nothing, God forbid.  But rather that the accessory points of it are abrogated by the success in of a new dispensation.  And that abrogation of which we spoke before, the Apostle calls and abolishment and decay.  


  1. That is some thick reading!

    I'll have to spend some more time re-reading this.

    But I appreciate the distinctions he is making between the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. And I appreciate his discussion of the distinction between the Old Covenant (Mosaic) and the New Covenant.

    When he wrote, "But rather that the accessory points of it [Mosaic Covanant] are abrogated by the success in of a new dispensation," what does he mean by the "accessory points"?

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