THE Everlasting Covenant. A Sweet CORDIAL for a drooping Soul: OR, The Blessed Nature of the Covenant of Grace Opened.
THE Solemn Occasion of this Assembly, may put us all in mind of our Mortality, Death is certain; all must dye (as the Psal∣mist says) What Man is he that liveth and shall not see Death? Can he deliver his Soul from the Hand of the Grave? Psal. 89.48.
Wicked Men dye, so do the Godly, and as do the People, so do their Ministers, The Fathers, where are they? and the Prophets, do they live for ever? Yet there is a vast Difference between the Death of the Ungodly, and the Death of the Godly, &c. But to proceed, the Text I am to speak to, was left me by our Honoured Brother deceas'd, which shews the comfor∣table Hopes he had in Death, which is that in the 2. of Sam. 23.5. Although my House be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered on all things and sure: for this is all my Salvation, and all my Desire, although he make it not to grow.
My Text contains some of David's dying Words, or Words which he ut∣tered upon the near approach of his Death, see vers. 1. Now these be the last Words of David the Son of Jesse, and the Man who was raised up on high, the Anoin∣ted of the God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel. Tho' it may be doubted, whether these Words, contained in the First verse, were uttered by David or not, but rather by the sacred Pen-man of this Book, yet the Words fol∣lowing, 'tis evident, were spoke by him, verse 2. The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his Word was in my Tongue. I utter not these Words (as if he should say) as by my own Spirit, but the Matter is dictated and given to Page [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page 1〈1 page duplicate〉Page 2 me, by God's Spirit, which is the great Teacher of his Prophets and People. vers. 3. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me; he that ruleth over Men must be Just, ruling in the Fear of God. Here are laid down the Two great and principal Parts of the Duty of Kings, and Supream Ru∣lers of People and Nations, Justice towards Men, and Piety towards God. vers. 4. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the Sun riseth, even a morning without Clouds; as the tender Grass springing out of the Earth by clear shining after Rain. These Words may be applyed to the Good and Righte∣ous Government of any Godly King, &c. but chiefly, no doubt they contain a Prediction of the blessed Effects of the Reign and Kingdom of the Messias, of whom David (but more-especially Solomon his Son and his Peaceable Kingdom) was a Type or Figure of.
And thus I hasten in order to my Text, with what speed I well could. Although my House be not so with God; a little first by way of Explication: Although my House be not so with God, how is that? i. e. 'Tis not as a Mor∣ning without Clouds, nor as the tender Grass springing out of the Earth, by clear shining after Rain; for my Morning (as if he should so say) has been over-cast, dark and dismal Clouds seem to attend my Kingdom, and my Children have not hitherto been like the tender Grass springing out of the Earth, by the sweet Influences of the Sun, and distillation of Rain, but rather like the Grass that withereth away, or is cut down before its due time: I have not so walked with God, as his infinite Mercies obligeth me to do; but have had many Weaknesses and Infirmities attending me, Yet he has made with me an everlasting Covenant. Tho' I have broke Cove∣nant with God on my part, yet God will perform his Covenant with me, my Sins (as if he should so say) he hath pardoned, his Covenant is everlasting, on his part he will keep it, and the Messiah shall come of the Fruit of my Loins, whose Kingdom shall be as a Morning without Clouds, &c. And his Covenant with me he will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his Mouth, see Psal. 89.32, 33, 34. He intimateth, that his House or Family, God had not made to grow, increase, or flourish with that Glory, Peace and Prosperity, as he expected; nor had he such clear Evidences of God's gracious Presences, and Communion with him in his Soul, as he might have had, had he not sinned, and grieved his Spirit; but tho' it was thus, yet he saw he was in Covenant with God, and in an everlasting Co∣venant, ordered in all things, for God's Glory, and for his eternal Good; and this was all his Hope, he foresaw Christ's Blessed Day, with whom this Covenant stands fast, and this was all his Desire, my Soul only hath Comfort in this Covenant, and desires to build alone upon it: For it is (saith he) all my Salvation, I expect Salvation no other ways; 'tis not a part of it, but the whole of it from First to Last; here began my Hope, and here I stay my self, and will close my Days in the Faith of a dear Re∣deemer, that shall in due time be revealed, who is my Lord as well as he, shall be, according to the Flesh, my Son, or Off-spring, and this shall be Page 3 accomplished, although it do not seem to grow, or but small Appearances are manifested as yet, either in me, or in my House or Family.
In the Words are Three Parts.
1. Something supposed, (or taken for granted) wherein is im∣plyed David's great Grief and Trouble, viz. Although my House be not so with God.
2. Something asserted, which signifies his Faith and Confidence in God, Yet he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure.
3. A comfortable Inference, or Conclusion from thence; for this is all my Salvation, and all my Desire, although he make it not to grow.
And from hence I shall observe Three Points of Doctrine,
1. Doct. That Darkness, Troubles, and Afflictions, with a decay of Grace, or spiritual Liveliness, may attend the State of Christians sometimes, while in his Life, which they cannot but acknowledge and mourn under the sight and sence of.
2. Doct. That God hath made with True Believers a blessed and well ordered Covenant.
3. Doct. That the Covenant of Grace which is made with Believers in Christ, is an everlasting Covenant, order'd in all things, and sure, and is the only Spring or Fountain of their Salvation, Hope, Desire and Consolation, both in Life and Death.
It is the last Proposition or Point of Doctrine I shall now Prosecute, (judging it may most fitly Answer that which was the chief Design and end of our Honoured Brother deceas'd, in chusing this Text to be opened at his Funeral, from whence he doubtless found so much Comfort under those grievous Afflictions and Trials in his Life, and also at the time of his Death)
Four Things I purpose to do.
First, Shew you what this Covenant is, and with whom it was primarily made, and for whom.
Secondly, Open the Excellent Nature of the Covenant of Grace.
Thirdly, Shew how all a Believer's Salvation, Hope, Desire and Consolation in Life and Death, lies in this Covenant.
Fourthly, Shall make some Application of it.
Page 4Beloved, This Covenant was Primarily made with Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the blessed Trinity, as Mediator, and as the Root, common Head and Representative of all the Elect, or all that the Father hath given to Christ, we read of Two Covenants, an Old, and a New, a First, and a Se∣cond, a Covenant of Works, and a Covenant of Grace.
The First Covenant was made with the First Adam, for himself and his Posterity, as the common Head of all Mankind, and so also there was a Covenant made with the Second Adam for himself, and all those chosen in him, or all his Seed; and though this Covenant (as to Revelation of it) is called the Second Covenant, yet it was made with Christ for all the Elect Seed, before the World began; God foreseeing Man would fall from his First Estate, and break his Covenant, and so plunge himself and all his Po∣sterity under Divine Wrath and Misery.
Now that there was some Gracious Covenant Transactions, between the Father and the Son, from before all Worlds, about the bringing in and establishment of this blessed Covenant of Grace, for the Redemption of Fallen Man, appears evident from many Texts of Holy Scripture; see that in Zach. 6.12.13. And speak unto him, saying, thus saith the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man called the branch, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord, ver. 12. Even he shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and he shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a Priest upon his throne, and the counsel of Peace shall be between them both, ver. 13.
I know, some understand by them both, the Kingly, and Priestly Office of Jesus Christ; First, That as our great High-Priest, he should offer the great Sacrifice to God, to make an Atonement and Reconciliation for us, and rule as King, and give Laws; and thus (say they) the Peace made for God's People, shall rest between these two, viz. The Kingly, and Priestly Office of Christ; by his Priestly Office, he shall make their Peace with God, and by his Kingly Office, he shall deliver them from the Tyran∣ny of Sin, and Satan, &c. By Priestly Operation and Undertakings, he shall expiate Sin, and by his Kingly Office he shall subdue and extirpate Sin; as a Priest he makes Peace, and as a King he maintains that Peace he purchased as a Priest, and protects as a King; and thus say they, the Co∣venant of Peace is between them both.—
I will not deny, but that this may in part, be intended in the Text,— yet I doubt not but by them both, is also meant the Persons spoken of, viz. The Father and the Son, the Lord of Hosts, and the Man called the Branch; for, by them, 'tis most Congruous certainly, to take it for the Persons, or the two Parties mentioned; and the Covenant of Peace, it is plain from o∣ther Texts of Scripture, was between the Father and the Son; although I grant the Son on his part, brings it about by his being a Priest, and as a King, sitting and ruling on his Throne, he maintains our Interest: com∣pare this with Isa. 49.3, 4, 5, 6. God calls Christ forth by the name of Page 5 Israel, ver. 3. Thou art my Servant O Israel, in whom I will be glorified, (the Name of the Body being given here to the Head, as sometimes the Church bears Christ's Name, so here he bears the Name of the Church, that the Church in Union with Christ, is called Christ; see 1 Cor. 12.12.) as if the Father should so say to the Son, I have fix'd my Thoughts upon thee to be the great Sponsar, and Surety for my Chosen; and I will enter into a Covenant no more with them, without thou wilt undertake for them, and in their Nature and Stead, satisfie for their Sins, and accomplish all my Pleasure; so Isa. 42.6. I the Lord have called thee, and will hold thy Hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a light of the Gentiles, to declare my Righteousness; or, as 'tis said, Rom. 3.26. That God might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus; that I (as if God should say) may appear a Pure, Just, and Righteous God, and so magnifie the attribute of my infinite Holiness, which shines forth in my just and righteous Law, and yet appear also, as I am a merciful and gracious God; therefore I have called thee whom I long ago entered into a Covenant with, for, and in behalf of them, whether Jews or Gentiles, who are chosen; and I will give thee to be for a Covenant, or, the Angel of the Covenant, and the Mediator and Surety thereof, in and by whom the Covenant of my Grace is made and confirmed with my People. To this purpose, speaks also Re∣verend Mr. Pool, in his Annotations on this Place.
2dly. Also, Christ declares his Agreement and hearty Consent, to under∣take in this Covenant as 'tis hinted, Heb. 10.7. Then said I, lo I come (in the volume of thy book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God, thy law is in my heart; my delight (saith he) was with the Children of Men, Prov. 8.31. And this, before the Mountains were settled, before the Hills were brought forth, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the Earth was. He was ordained as the Head, and great Representative of all that shall be Saved, to undertake for them, and dye for them, and to bring many Sons to Glory: he therefore said, he laid down his Life as the Father gave him Com∣mandment; he was obedient as a Servant, willingly undertook this Work and Office upon him, and so consented, and struck hands with his Father, not for himself but for us, to dye and make an end of Sin, and bring in ever∣lasting Righteousness, Dan. 9.24.26. He consented to take our Nature on him, a body hast thou prepared me, and to pay our Debts, to perform the Righteousness of the Law, and to be made a Curse for us, to deliver us from the Curse of the Law which we had broke, Gal. 4.4, 5. The Lord God hath opened mine Ear, and I was not Rebellious, Isa. 50.5. I readily did and suffered all that he enjoined upon me, I have not turned away mine Ear from any of God's Commands, nor my Feet from going where he would send me, how difficult or hard soever my Work was; I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting, ver. 6.
Page 6Question, Is not that Covenant which was made between the Father and the Son (considered as the latter, is Mediator) called the Covenant of Redemption, made from all Eternity a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace?
Answ. I Answer, The Stores of Sacred Wisdom, Grace, and Truth, which are treasured up in Divine Revelations, concerning the Nature of God's Covenant, is so mysterious and difficult for us to know, or find out, that it behoveth us to take heed how we too boldly speak, or write about it; and, yet nevertheless, though the Thing is in it self so sublime, the My∣stery of it so great, the declaration of it in the Scripture so Extensive, and diffused through the whole body of it, yet the concernment of it is such, as to our Faith and Comfort, and for the Prevention of Errors and Mistakes, none can be blamed according to their Light, to pry and search into it. I must confess, I have formerly been inclined to believe the Cove∣nant, or Holy Compact between the Father and the Son, was distinct from the Covenant of Grace; but upon farther search, by means of some great Errours sprang up among us, arising (as I conceive) from that Notion, I cannot see that they are Two distinct Covenants, but both one and the same glorious Covenant of Grace, only consisting of Two Parts, or Bran∣ches; for as that blessed Compact doth peculiarly respect Christ's Person as Mediator; and as he is so considered in the Covenant, I do not say it was a Covenant of Grace to him, for he obtains all by Desert and Merit; yet seeing God entered into that Covenant with him, for us, as our Head, Surety and Representative, and not for himself singly, considered, it cannot be any thing else but the Covenant of Grace, as well as the Foundation, or primary Spring of all that Grace, and divine Goodness, that the Elect had, or ever shall partake of, or receive from God; for 'tis (as I may so say) the opening the Sluces or Floodgates of all divine Love and Mercy, to poor lost and undone Mankind, nay, the Grace of God to us in enter∣ing into this Covenant with Christ, as our Mediator from before all Worlds, is doubtless, ground of the highest Admiration to Saints and Angels.
And therefore I see not (I say) but that they are but one and the same Covenant of Grace, yet so as that Christ has his Part, Work and Reward distinct from us; he hath all by hard Work, and Merit, that we might have the Blessings he merited freely by Grace alone; Christ in the Covenant of Grace, is the Mediator, we are those he mediates for; Christ is the Head, we are the Body, the covenanted for; Christ is the Surety, we the Poor Debtors and Criminals, he struck hands to satisfie God's Justice for; Christ is the Redeemer, we the Redeemed; Christ the Saviour, we the Saved; Christ is the Purchaser, we are the Inheritance he purchased, and that it might be thus, Christ entered into this Covenant with the Father for us, out of his infinite Grace and divine Goodness; and it was even like inconceivable Grace and Mercy in God the Father, to find out in his infi∣nite Wisdom, this way, and substitute his own Son in our stead, accept of Page 7 his Son, prepare a Body for his Son, enter into a Covenant with his Son, anoint and send his Son to redeem us from Sin, Wrath, and Hell. If this Covenant be not the Covenant of Grace, where shall we find it; God's actual taking us into Covenant, 'tis but that we might drink of this Foun∣tain, or rather, that we might have actual Interest in this Covenant, and whatsoever Christ did in time; or when the fulness of time was come, it was but to put into Execution this Covenant, and to ratifie and visibly confirm this blessed Covenant, that God had made with us in him, before the World began.
2. Where do we read in all the Holy Scripture of Three Covenants, viz. 1. A Covenant of Works, 2. A Covenant of Redemption, 3. A Covenant of Grace: Evident it is to all, that the Holy Ghost only holds forth, or speaks but of Two Covenants, a Covenant of Works, and a Covenant of Grace; the First is call'd, the Old Covenant, the Second, the New Covenant, although both these Covenants had several Revelations, Mini∣strations, or Editions; as First, the Covenant of Works was primarily made with the First Adam, and all Mankind in him; by vertue of which, he was justified by his own perfect Obedience, before he sinned: True, there was another Edition or Administration of it given to Israel, which tho' it was a Covenant of Works, i. e. Do this and live, yet it was not given by the Lord to the same End and Design, as the Covenant was given to our First Parents, viz. It was not given to justifie them, or to give them eter∣nal Life; For if Righteousness had been by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain, Gal. 2.21. And again saith Paul, For if there had been a Law given, that could have given Life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law, Gal. 3.21. But indeed, it was impossible Life, Justification, or Righteousness, could be by the Law, or by any Law, because Man hath sinned, and is now unable to answer the Law of perfect Obedience, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God: We must therefore now be justified by the Grace of God, through the Redemption which is in Jesus Christ; but tho' Man had lost his Power to obey, yet God hath not lost his Power to com∣mand.
3. That Holy Agreement or Compact between the Father and Son, was the Rise, or Spring of the Covenant of Grace, it was made with Jesus Christ, and with us in him; therefore I see no Reason to call them Two Page 9 distinct and compleat Covenants, but two Subjects (as the same Author intimates) of the same Covenant as with Jesus Christ, it had its Consti∣tution from before all Worlds, or we had a Being, tho' as with us, it has its Application in time after we exist, and are actually in Christ, as part of the promised Seed.
1. The Work of Redemption to expiate Sin, and make Reconciliation; this was Christ's Work for us.
2. For Application, this is with us by him.
3. He was chosen, Mediator, and undertook the work of Redemption, and so struck up the Covenant from Eternity; but in time he executed it, and intercedes for our Participation in it, Petto p. 21.
4. Therefore as Adam being a common Person or Head of all his Seed, and we in him fell under Sin, Death and Condemna∣tion, by vertue of the Covenant of Works: made with him; even so in Jesus Christ all the Elect partake of Grace and Justification unto Life by that one Covenant of Grace made with him; and in him with all his Seed, he being (I say) a common Person or Head to all the Father hath given to him, in the said Covenant; and indeed, whatsoever was necessary unto our Redemption and Reconciliation he agreed to work it out; they agree in their end, which was God's Glory, and our Good, (as by and by I shall, God assisting, shew) Salvation of the Seed is the grand Design of it, and therefore the highest Grace and Goodness imagi∣nable to us; and whatsoever we stood, or do stand in need of, in order to Interest by way of Application, is also contained in this Covenant, as it was made with Christ; as 1. Justification by his Knowledge (or by the Knowledge of him) shall my righteous Servant justifie many; for he shall bear their Iniquities, Isa. 53.11. and that all his Seed shall have such a know∣ledge or Faith, God saith, they shall all know me, &c. for he shall bear their Iniquities; that is, he shall satisfie the Justice and Law of God, and therefore they must be justified or acquitted, otherwise saith Mr. Pool, the same Debt should be twice required and paid: a new Heart is promised to us, Jer. 31.31. and was not this promised to Christ for us, in the Text I last mentioned, Isa. 53.11. (in knowing of God) is not a new Heart comprehended, in these words he shall see his Seed, the fruit of his travel and anguish he pass'd through; that is, they shall be made his, by Regeneration, or Renovation, &c.
5. Is not Union with Christ, the only way to the promised Blessings? and therefore I must say with some of our late worthy Writers, the Co∣venant is made joyntly with him and us, all the promises of God are in him, ye, and in him Amen, 2 Cor. 1.2. and shall infailably be made good and accomplished.
6. As Mr. Petto well observes the Covenant expressure from the begin∣ning ran first to Christ, and in him to us.Page 8〈1 page duplicate〉Page 9〈1 page duplicate〉Page 10
1. The Promise to Adam, primarily runneth to Christ, as the Woman's Seed, and so to us in him.
2. To Abraham, in thee, and again, in thy Seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed, Gen. 12.3. Gen. 22.18. that this Promise refers to Christ, see Gal. 3.16. and to us in him, see vers. 29.
3. The Covenant with David runneth to Christ, and also in him to us, Psal. 89.20.28, 29. I have found David my Servant, my Covenant shall stand fast with him; when did God find him, Was it not before the World be∣gan? Christ we know, is often called David.
But I can't further enlarge on this, I shall therefore in the next place consider what is brought in Opposition to what I have said upon this Ac∣count.
Object. 'Tis objected, First, that the Parties are distinct, in the one Cove∣nant, the Father and the Son are the covenanting Parties; in the Covenant of Grace, God and Man; in the Mediatory Covenant, there are two Per∣sons equal: in the Covenant of Grace, there is a superiour God, and an infe∣riour Man.
Answ. 1st. I would know whether all the Elect were not considered in Christ, and was it not for us that he entered into that Covenant? Is not the Debter a party with the Surety, and so the Elect a party with Christ? Did Christ enter into a Covenant for himself? tho' we say he is the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Surety, and not we; yet he entered into that Covenant for us, i. e. as our Saviour and Surety, to satisfie for our Sins, and perfect our Redemption; make us no party in the Salvation of this Covenant (tho' not the saving or satisfying party) and all our hopes are gone for ever.
Sirs, We shall find the Top Glory of the Covenant of Grace to lie here; was it not infinite Grace and Goodness that moved God to fix upon this way to redeem us, i. e. to propound, offer and accept of a Surety for us, when he might justly have exacted Satisfaction from us, the guilty Debters and Criminals? Nay, and to chuse his own Son to be our Sa∣viour and Surety, and was it not infinite Grace in Christ to accept so readily and heartily of it: 'Tis plain, here began the Covenant of Grace, i. e. God's entering into a Covenant with his Son for us, and thus is God the Father the efficient cause of our Redemption.
2. I would know whether in the Covenant of Grace God is said to enter into Covenant with Man, simply considered as in himself; or whether 'tis not with Christ, and so in him with us; if Christ be the Surety of the Co∣venant of Grace, then God doth not take Christ distinct from us into Covenant with himself: and certainly, our credit was so lost and gone with God, that he would not trust us, with any Covenant-Transaction any more without a Surety, they continued not in my Covenant, and I regarded them not saith the Lord, Heb. 8.9. I would have no more to do with them in a Co∣venant way; therefore all the Promises of Grace are in Christ, all is ma∣naged Page 11 in Christ, even all the whole Will of God, concerning our Salva∣tion; we are dead till he quickens us, blind till he opens our Eyes; have stony Hearts, and unregenerate, till he breaks our Hearts and renews us by his Spitit: and was not all this comprehended or included in that Co∣venant our Brethren call the Covenant of Redemption? how then can that be a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace; is dead Man, vile, and depraved Man, capable to enter into a Covenant with God? and is not the quick'ning and changing of his Heart one great Part of the Covenant of Grace, that God promised upon Christ's Undertakings, that he would do for us, as I have shewed.
Object. 2. The time of making these Covenants is different, the Covenant of Grace was made in time after Man had broken the Covenant of Works; but the Covenant of Redemption was made from Eternity, I was set up from E∣verlasting, &c. The Revelation of the Covenant of Redemption was in time, but the Stipulation was from Eternity, the Father and Son being actually in Be∣ing, and so Stipulators; the Decree of making the Covenant of Grace was from Eternity, but not the actual Covenant, because there was no Soul to Covenant with.
Answ. I wonder at this Expression: was not the Covenant of Grace, (as I said before) made with us in Christ, as our Head and Representative before the Foundation of the World? and was not those Covenanting Transactions as well as the Spring or Fountain of the cause of all the Grace we receive in the Covenant of Grace, upon the Account of what Christ Covenanted to do, and suffer for us, or in our room and stead: True, the Members were not actually in Being, but the Head was; and if it be not thus, what doth the Apo∣stle mean? Tit. 1.2. In hope of Eternal Life which God that cannot lie pro∣mised before the World began. It could not actually be promised to us, we (as they say) having then no Being; therefore it was promi∣sed to us in our Head: with whom the Covenant was then for us made? was not Christ set up as Mediator from Everlasting? Was not then the Covenant of Grace as Ancient? We were consider'd in him, because chosen in him; tho' Christ's Redemption was not the cause of our E∣lection, yet we were chosen in him as our Head and Redeemer; there∣fore I say, the Stipulation of the Covenant of Grace, was from Eternity, and the Revelation of it was in time, and not till Man had sinned, and broke the Covenant of Works: so that it was more then by Decree and Purpose; the Covenant of Grace in my Text, is called an Everlasting Co∣venant, and it may referr before time, as well as after all time; even from Eternity to Eternity.
For none can doubt, but David was a Type of Christ, and so repre∣sented in my Text; the Covenant here spoken of, is that they call the Covenant of Grace, and tho it was Primarily made with the True David, yet so as in him with David the Son of Jesse also; the very same thing we may see in Psal. 89. I have found David my Servant, with my Holy Oyl Page 12 have I anointed him, v. 20. he is said to be one chosen out of the People, and one that is Mighty, v. 19. and with him this Covenant is said to be made: My Mercy will I keep with him for evermore, and my Covenant shall stand fast with him; his Seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his Throne as the days of Heaven, ver. 26, 29. Now this they confess chiefly respecteth Christ, of whom David was a Figure, and also referreth to that which they call the Covenant of Redemption; if so, then say I, this Covenant must be the Covenant of Grace, because it was made with David the Son of Jesse, I mean it refers to him in Christ, and the like with all Believers also, as all their Salvation and Desire; it cannot rationally be supposed, but that David in my Text doth allude to the Covenant mention'd in this Psalm; although none are actually brought into it, until they Believe, or have actual Union with Christ; yet made with all Believers in Christ from Eternity. I cannot think they will deny that the Covenant of Grace, that Well-ordered Covenant in all things and sure, was primarily made with Christ and with us, in him as our Head; and if so, then say I, if that which they call the Covenant of Redemption be distinct and not this, when was the Covenant of Grace made with him for us? It must either be made before Time, or after Time.
Besides, 'tis evident, that 'tis by the Blood of Christ's Covenant that we are Redeemed. The Father sends out the Prisoners by the Blood of Christ's Covenant; that is, according to the Sacred Terms and Conditions agreed upon between them both, and sure I am, the Blood of Christ's Covenant, is the Blood of the New-Covenant; therefore I can∣not see that that which they call the Covenant of Redemption, is a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace.
Object. 3. The Conditions are different, Death and Satisfaction for Sin was the Condition of the Covenant of Redemption. Faith is the Condition of the Co∣venant of Grace: Death required on Christ's Part, Faith required on Man's Part; the giving Christ a Seed, and Eternal Life to that Seed, is the Condi∣tion on God's Part to Christ; the giving Eternal Life only to the Party Be∣lieveing, is the Condition on God's Part in the other. So that the Reward in that Covenant, is larger than the Reward promised to us in the Covenant of Grace. In the Covenant of Grace, the Condition runneth thus; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; in the Covenant of Redemption, the Condition runs thus: Make thy Soul an Offering for Sin, and thou shalt see thy Seed.
Answ. I wonder at the Learned Author, who makes these Distinctions, I cannot be of his Mind, I rather judge the difference in the Covenant of Grace or Covenant of Redemption lies here, viz. Christ had some great Work to do, (as the Condition of this Blessed Compact with the Father) on, and in the behalf of his Elect, which was Peculiar to him, i. e. he was to die, and make Satisfaction to offended Justice; he, in the Covenant of Grace or Gospel-Covenant, merited all for us, so that we Page 13 might have all freely given to us through the Redemption of his Blood, &c.
1. Christ work'd for Life, but we work not, but believe on him that ju∣stifies the ungodly.
2. Christ hath not what he hath by Grace, but by Desert; but tho' our Saviour had his Reward in the Covenant on meriting Conditions, viz. upon his Perfect Obedience to the Law of Works, and being made a Curse for us, and so made a plenary Satisfaction to God's Justice for our Sins: yet pray what was his Reward? Was he sure or certain of any one Soul, as the Reward of all this hard Work and Sufferings? &c. Why, this Author tells us, he shall see his Seed, or have a Seed; that is, he shall have all the Elect brought in, and united to him, viz. be sure of them, or have this certain Reward, (and not left on uncertain Condi∣tions of Faith and Obedience to be performed by the miserable, depra∣ved and wretched Creature,) which Condition we could not perform; and if this be so, then the Father must bring us in, or draw us to Christ; for except he does that, no one Soul can come to him as Christ himself positively affirms, Joh. 6.44. No man can come to me, except the Fa∣ther which sent me, draw him: and from hence I ask, whether Power to perform that, which they call the Condition of the Covenant of Grace was not included, or comprehended in the Covenant of Redemption? And if so, how could they be Two distinct Covenants? certainly, in it there was infinite Grace shewed towards us.
3. As to the other Condition in the Covenant of Redemption, it be∣ing larger to Christ, than that in the Covenant of Grace. I answer, as the Covenant was primarily made with Christ, it was made with him for all the Elect, as their Head and Surety; and therefore, it must needs be larger as well as it was a meriting Reward: but as we are concerned in the same Covenant, we have nothing as a Reward, because we work not; and as considered as particular Persons, 'tis enough our own particular Souls and Bodies shall be eternally saved, who are united to him as the Re∣ward of his Work: the Condition therefore being made to him as the Head of the whole Body, it must needs be so large and extensive; but as to the particular Members, that can't comprehend more than he or she that believes as a part of the Seed which he was to see; 'tis enough therefore, that we are the Saved, the Redeemed, and not the Saviours or Redemers of others.
But if by Vertue of the Covenant of Redemption we are not Re∣deemed, call it no more the Covenant of Redemption —therefore— 1st. I would know whether Faith which is called the Condition of the Co∣venant of Grace, was not the Fruit of Christ'd Suffering in pursuit of that Holy Compact? and is it not particularly implyed in those Words, he shall see his Seed? but if they be adult Persons, he can never see them if Faith be not given to them (unless the Holy Spirit, that great Pro∣mise Page 14 of the Father be given to them) whereby they are enabled to believe, I will put my Spirit within them, Ezek. 36.27. I will put my fear into their Hearts, a new Heart will I give them, and a new Spirit will I put within them; I will pour my Spirit upon thy Seed, Isa. 44.3. Thy Seed, Who doth he speak to? why, to his Servant, doth not these Promises referr to that Covenant made with Christ, which you call the Covenant of Redemption? and was not Christ assured by the Father, that these Promises should be made good to his Seed; and yet tis evident they belong to the Covenant of Grace, therefore I see not how they can be Two Covenants distinct from each other.
Obj. 4. Christ is the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, but not the Me∣diator of the Covenant of Redemption, but a Party; he was the Surety of the Covenant of Grace, the Covenant of Redemption had no Surety, the Father and the Son trusted one another upon the Agreement: the Covenant of Grace is con∣firmed by the Blood of Christ; but we cannot say that the Covenant of Redemp∣tion was confirmed properly by that Blood, any more than as it was a necessary Article in that Covenant.
Answ. All that can be said (as I conceive is this) viz. our Lord Christ when he first entered into the Covenant with the Father for us, to bring in, and accomplish the Covenant of Grace, agreed then to be Me∣diator and Surety of this Covenant: There are some Transactings where Suretyship is requir'd, which a Surety must do, i. e. he must accept and freely and readily agree to do all that is necessary to be done which the Creditor requires, and the Nature of the said Covenant calls for: yea, and some things that peculiarly belong to him, as Surety. And so it might be here about those glorious and gracious Transactions between the Fa∣ther and the Son, about the compleating the Covenant of Grace concer∣ning the Elect, and (indeed the greatest Expressions and Demonstration of God's Grace to us appeared in those Covenant Transactions, and all the good we receive (I say again) by he Covenant of Grace are but the Fruits and Product of the Covenant, as it was made with Christ our Head, Mediator and Surety; but among Men, those Things and Cove∣nant Transactions between the Creditor and the Surety, which peculiarly appertain to him; in which, nevertheless the poor Debtor is mainly con∣cerned▪ it being such things that must be performed by the Surety for him, or he can have no Benefit by the said Covenant) are never called a Covenant distinct in it self from that it refers to, and is a Branch of; or however there is no need of such a formal distinct Covenant, between each covenanting Parties (as primarily considered) when the Covenant which those Transactions refers to, was immediately made. For I know not of any other Covenant of Grace made with Christ for us about our Salvation, but that which they call the Covenant of Redemption, distinct from it, and to say that God entereth into a Covenant of Grace with us, as simply considered in our selves, without Christ being the Chief and Page 15 Primary Covenanting Party, in our behalf, is of a dangerous Nature to •ffirm, and must not be admitted of, as will appear hereafter. Besides, the Mediatory Covenant, or that in which Christ is Mediator, is called the New Covenant, or Covenant of Grace, as the term Mediator clearly holds forth; which Covenant to confirm, he shed his own Blood, and the Ori∣ginal making of that Covenant, was at that time, and by that Compact be∣tween the Father and the Son for us; for Christ, for himself, had no need to become a Mediator, or to enter into any Covenant with the Father; therefore, I know not what these Mens nice Distinctions signifie, unless it be to amuse the World, except it be for a worser purpose, viz. To con∣firm their new Notion of a conditional Covenant of Faith, and sincere Obedience.
3. The Distinction lies not in Two Covenants, but in the distinct Parts of the said one entire Covenant; one part as it referrs to Christ, the other as it respecteth us in the Applicatory part of it by his Grace.
2. Also, in respect of the time of the making of the Covenant, and the Revelation, Execution, and the Application thereof.
1. Christ in the Covenant, First Articled with the Father, to be a Medi∣ator, and in the Execution of the Covenant, actually discharges that Of∣fice, and the like, as a Surety.
Obj. 5. Christ performed his Part in the Covenant of Redemption: and by ver∣tue of his Mediatory Covenant, performed the Covenant of Works, but he did con∣firm, not perform, the Covenant of Grace.
Answ. This is the worst of all, and it seems to be calculated, rather to unfold Arminianism, then to establish sound Divinity.
1st. Hath Christ performed his part so in the Covenant of Redemption, that he hath no more to do, by vertue of his Mediatory Covenant? God for∣bid, he hath not yet delivered up his Kingdom to the Father. I shall now give you my Reasons (under this particular Branch) why I accept and argue against the Notion of Two distinct Covenants. What says the Arminian, viz. Christ hath performed or fulfilled the Covenant of Works, and made such a full Satisfaction for the breach of the Law, so for all the whole World, that no Man is under the Curse of it, but that all are Justified from that; and he hath put all Men into a capacity to be saved, if they perform the Condition of the Gospel, i. e. Repent, Believe, and live a godly Life to the end of their Days, which God hath given all Men Power to do, if they do but exercise that Power: Christ hath put all Men on their Feet again, and hath made the Condition possible, if not easie, for all to be saved. Christ is not to perform the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, tho' he did perform, and so take away the Law of Perfect Obedience, or is the end of the Law, for Righteousness; but let them read the whole verse, 'tis but to every one that believes, and sure they forget that all Men are dead in Sins and Trespasses, and must by Christ have a Principle of Spiritual Life insused into them, before they can live, move, or believe in him, Can Man change his own Heart? or, Page 16 Will that Grace, God affords to all Men do it? What short of Almighty Power can form the Image of God in the Soul, or create us again in Christ Jesus?
2dly, And what is it, which our new Doctrine (in opposition to the an∣tient Doctrine, on which Saints formerly built all their Hope and Salvation) doth hold forth? Why, Is not the purport of it this? i. e. Christ as Me∣diator, hath so far satisfy'd for the breach of the Law of perfect Obedi∣ence, or given to God such a valuable Recompence, that he might justly wave, and not exact or execute the Law of Works, or hath relaxed the Severity thereof, and taken it away, and hath obtained and given, as he is a Law-giver, or Govenour, a milder Law of Grace; and if Men per∣form the Conditions of Faith, and sincere Obedience, or Faith and Gos∣pel Holiness, they shall be Justified and Saved; so that our Right to Life, and the Favour of God, Peace of Conscience, and Hope of Salvation, do depend upon our Obedience to the Gospel, or New Law, and this Christ hath purchased, should be accepted as our Righteousness, by which we must be Judged. They deny not, but that the Merits of Christ are the Cause of this Gospel Law; his Righteousness imputed, is the Cause for which we are Justified (or rather, 'tis for his Sake) we are Justified and Sa∣ved, when we do answer the Rule of the Gospel. I have heard them Preach and have read their Books, and if this be not, in part, what they say, I do not understand them, 'tis such a Mystery of, &c. However, Christ hath done and performed his part in the Mediatory Covenant; the Law of perfect Obedience cannot hurt us, if we conform to the Rule of this milder Law, which Christ doth not perform for us, &c. What do they mean? Is it this? i. e. Christ doth not believe for us; Who says he doth? but
2dly, Hath not he obtained Grace for us, to enable us to believe? Is not he the Author and Finisher of our Faith? Doth not he begin the good Work in us, and will he not perform it unto the end? St. Paul affirms his Con∣fidence in him, that he would do it, Phil. 1.6. And doth not performing imply a Covenant or Promise he has made to do it? If so, then it appears Christ hath more to do for us, then only his performing the Covenant of Works, and confirming the Covenant of Grace. Doth he not say, Other Sheep I have, which are not of this fold, and them I must bring, Joh. 10.16. Must bring, Doth not that Obligation that was upon him, referr to the Co∣venant made with the Father? and again, he saith, All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me, Joh. 6.37. And that it is his Father's Will that sent him, that of all that the Father hath given him, he should lose nothing.
Is not Christ the Mediator? (as I have said before of Two) i. e. Is he not to bring us to God, as well as God to us? Who can remove that Enmity that is naturally in our Minds against God, Rom. 8.7. but he only? Why is Christ called a Quickening Spirit, and so full of Grace? Is it not that he might Quicken us, and Communicate of his Grace to us, as he is our Head Page 17 and (Mediator) and we his Members? Can we subdue the Powers of darkness, or break Satan's Chains? are we stronger than the strong Man •rmed? Math. 12.29. Must not Christ perform all these things for us? or, Doth not the Performance of all this, belong to the Covenant of Grace.
3dly, I suppose the Mistake lies here, viz. Our Authors do only insist upon, or speak of the Application of the Covenant of Grace; true, Christ as Mediator, performed the Covenant of Works for us, without us; he alone, in his own Person, did that, and I must say, he doth not so perform the Applicatory part of the Covenant of Grace, for we act with him, but how? even as we are acted and moved, like as when our Savi∣our, quickened Lazarus, he then arose and had Life and Motion, and could come out of the Grave; so when he hath quickened us, who were dead in Sin, when the dead hear the voice of the Son of God, by his Spirit they then can act and move, can believe and obey, and do for God from a Right Principle, and to a Right End. Is it not said 'tis God that worketh in us to will and to do of his own good Pleasure, Phil. 2.13. And doth not David say, he would cry to the Lord that performed all things for him, Psal. 57.2.
Pray let me here note Four Things, as touching the Covenant of Grace.
1. The Time when 'twas made with Christ for us: and that was from eternity.
2. When it was first revealed; and that was to our First Parents as soon as they fell, and broke the Covenant of Works.
3. When it was executed, confirmed, and touching the outward Dis∣pensation of it, took its rise or beginning; it was executed by Christ as our Head, when he came into the World, in part, i. e. in his Life, and ratified and confirmed by his Blood: and the rise or beginning of the out∣ward Dispensation of it, was at his Death and Resurrection, when the Old Covenant ceas'd or was abrogated.
4. When and how are we said to have it made with us, or performed to us actually and personally, so as to have real Interest in all the Blessings and Privileges thereof? (For as it respecteth us, it only contains free and absolute Promi∣ses, like the Waters of Noah: And not a Law of conditional Faith and Obedience to be performed by us) Now we have not actual Interest in it, and so personally it cannot be said to be made with us, until we have actual Union with Christ, and do believe in him: For want of these Di∣stinctions, I fear some Men run astray. For it seems as if some Men would have us believe, that the Covenant of Grace in the latitude of it, is but that merciful conditional Covenant of Faith, and Gospel Holiness, that God is pleased to enter into with us, and we with him, in our Baptism, and if we perform that Covenant to the end, we shall be Justi∣fied and Saved; nay, and so far as we do act in sincere Obedience, so far, we are already Justified; and if this be the Notion of these Men and that we must believe, as they do) then say I, we are not under Page 18 Grace, but under a Law that will keep us in Doubts and Bondage as long as we live; and if we have no other Righteousness than this, which is either within us, or wrought by us, we shall certainly drop down into Hell when we come to die.
4thly. And by making the Covenant of Redemption distinct from the Covenant of Grace, (in respect of what I am now speaking of) I fear it lay• a Foundation for those Errors which are got among us; as if we are to enter into a Covenant with God without Christ's undertaking for us, as our Surety: for say they, Christ did perform the Covenant of Works, but doth confirm, not perform the Covenant of Grace.
What is the Purport of this Doctrine, as it is improved by our new Methodists? Why, this, viz. In the Mediatory Covenant, Christ made God amends for our breach of the Law of Perfect Obedience by himself alone and for himself, that so he might be a fit Mediator, and merit a New Law of Grace of sincere Obedience; which New Law or Covenant he confirmed by his Death, (so that God now enters into a Covenant with Mankind again) and if we perform the Conditions of it, we shall thereby assuredly have Justification and Eternal Life.
Not that Christ in the Covenant of Grace hath undertaken to perform it for us, but hath left us to work out our Salvation our selves, though not without the Assistance of the Holy Spirit; and thus Christ is our legal Righteousness in his Mediatory Covenant, yet so too, that by his Merits we have all Gospel-Blessings— How is that? Why thus, i. e. he merited the New Law of Grace, by satisfying for the Law of Works, or as Media∣tor, gave God a satisfying Recompence for our breach of it: but our in∣herent Faith and Gospel-Holiness with Christ's Merits (as before) is our Evangelical Righteousness, by which we are justified.
And this is the dangerous Consequence (which I perceive) does attend the allowing of the distinction of two Covenants, which at once (in my Judgment) tends to overthrow the Nature of the Free-grace of God in the Covenant of Grace, which is ordered in all things and sure, as it was made with Christ for us.
Obj. 6. By the Covenant of Redemption, Christ could challenge his Reward upon his own Account; but in the Covenant of Grace, Believers have a Right to the Reward only upon the Account of Christ; there is an intrinsick Worth in the Obedience of Christ, whereby he merited; for there was a Proportion between it, in regard of the Dignity of his Person: but there is no intrinsick Worth in that Grace, which is the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, to merit any thing: there was a Condition of a valuable Consideration required of Christ: the Condition required of us hath no valuable Proportion to the Greatness of the Reward, the Reward was of Debt to him, &c.
1. Answ. I would know what that Reward is which Christ doth challenge, is it not Grace, Righteousness and Eternal Life for all the Elect? True, we merit nothing; but did not Christ merit all for us? Did he Page 19 merit for himself, and for us only a conditional Covenant? as I shewed before.
2. And may not Believers in Christ lay claim to Christ's reward? i. e. the Blessings purchased by him as the Fruits of his Merits in a way of Righteousness and Justice, upon the Account of Christ's Undertakings, as well as in a way of Grace and Mercy: what saith the Apostle, 1 Joh. •.9. God is faithful and just to forgive us, &c. which (saith our An∣notators) more strictly taken, permit him not to exact from us a Satisfacti∣on, Which he hath accepted in the Atonement made by his Son, in his own way ••plyed, and on his own Terms to be accounted to us, that he will not fail to forgive us our Sins, &c.
3. Still the Distinction must (as I conceive) run thus, i. e. Christ had his part in this one Covenant, by Merit he is the Savi∣our, we have our part in it freely by Grace, being the saved; and what though there is no intrinsick Worth in that Grace which we receive in the Applicatory Part of the Covenant, in order to our actual interest therein: yet there was an intrinsick Worth in his Merits that purchased that Grace for us, and doth not the intrinsick Worth and Merits of Christ appertain to the Covenant of Grace, as it was with him for us as our Mediator and Redeemer? Nay, and is it not from hence Faith and all other Grace is given to us, and cannot Christ challenge of the Father all those he became a Surety and a Redeemer for in the Covenant? The chief Grace still (say I) lies in that you call the Covenant of Redemption, and di∣stinct from the Covenant of Grace.
Obj. 7. The Mediatory Covenant respects others as well as Christ, viz. his Seed; and giving them Glory: but in the Covenant of Grace, the Promise respects only the Particular Person that believes, answering the Terms of the Covenant, &c.
Answ. 1. I see not but here they give away their Cause, and contra∣dict themselves in respect of their first Objection; it appears now they see there were more than two single Parties concerned in the Covenant of Redemption: they here assert, it respects others as well as Christ, viz. All his Seed.
2. We have shewed how none but particular Persons who believe, are concerned in the Application of the Covenant of Grace.—But
3. Doth not the Scripture say Christ is the Mediator of the New Co∣venant, viz. the Covenant of Grace? And doth not this respect as they confess, all his Seed? and can any perform the Terms of this Covenant without Christ, in the Execution of his Office as our Mediator and Sure∣ty? He is our Saviour in the Covenant of Grace, that was his Work, his Part; and so consequently he ingaged, and will quicken us, renew us, save us, and bring all the Father gave him, to Glory.
Obj. 8. If the Covenant of Grace and that of Redemption were the same, then Christ should be both the Testator and a Party: A Testator maketh not a Will to bequeath Legacies to himself.
Page 20Answ. There are divers Disparities between other Testators and the Te∣statorship of Christ.
1. A Testator among Men, cannot be a Witness to his own last Will and Testament; but so is Christ: he is given by the Father for a Witness to the People of all those Gospel or Covenant-Blessings, he himself a Testator of his own last Will and Testament bequeathed to all Believers• he witnesseth these things are his Will, as well as the Father's, and he is the true and faithful Witness.
2. A Testator among Men, cannot Enjoy or Possess that Kingdom▪ Estate or Inheritance himself after his Death, which he hath given away▪ but Christ the Spiritual Testator, tho' he hath given the Possession of Glory, &c. to Believers by his last Will and Testament; yet is he a Co•Heir of the same Glory and blessed Inheritance himself, and shall possess it joyntly with them.
A Testator among Men, can't see his own Will executed, but he leaves it to others to be Executors of it: but Christ, by his Spirit, sees his Will executed for tho' he was dead, He is alive; and behold, he liveth for evermore: he is also a Party with us, he is the Head, we are his Members; and now to close with this, consider the Covenant of Grace was first made with Christ, and with us in him; thus it runs, i. e. Christ purchases and we possess; Christ in this Covenant obtains all by his Work and Merits, we have all of meer Grace: 'Tis Grace in the Original, in the first making of it with Christ for us; 'tis of Grace in the Execution of it, Confirma∣tion, Publication, and in the Application, in order to our actual In∣terest.
From the whole, it appears that Covenant they call the Cove∣nant of Redemption, contains the whole Summ; even Matter and Form▪ Condition and Promises of the Covenant of Grace: in that Covenant is contained all the Grace God hath promised, and which we receive; all is obtained upon the Account of Christ's satisfying for our Sins, and so all the Promises of Grace and Salvation run to us in him: no Love, nor Divine Goodness is manifested to us but in and through that Covenant: therefore not two, but one and the same Covenant; so that the Covenant of Grace it appears, was made by the Holy God, in the Person of the Father, with us in the Person of the Son; mind that Text, Who hath sa∣ved us, and called us with an holy Calling, not according to our Works, but according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the Work began, 2 Tim. 1.9. But to proceed
2dly. I shall open the Excellent Nature of this Glorious and Everlasting Covenant▪
1. 'Tis, you have heard, all of Grace, as it respecteth us, tho' Jesus Christ paid dear for it; he procured all the Blessings of it for us, by his Merits▪ i. e. by his Perfect Obedience and Suffering: By Grace ye are saved through Faith, and that not of your selves, it is the Gift of God, Ephes. 2.8. not of Works; lest any man should boast: for we are his Workmanship created in Christ Page 21 Jesus to good Works, r. 10. not by Works of Righteousness that we have done, but by his Mercy he saved us, Tit. 3.5.
2. 'Tis as it appears from hence, an Absolute, and not a Conditional Covenant: not if we do this and that, viz get a new Heart, and perform the Condition of Gospel-Holiness and Obedience, we shall have pardon and •e justified; no, but otherwise: He that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his Faith is counted for Righteousness, Rom. 4.5. all is freely of Grace through Christ's Merit, I will take away the Heart of Stone, and give them a Heart of Flesh, a new Heart I will give them, and • new Spirit I will put within them: I will be their God, and they shall be my People.
Now 'tis question'd, (saith Reverend Cotton,) whether the Promise wherein the Lord giveth himself, be Absolute or Conditional? Faith to receive Christ is ever upon an Absolute Promise. If you will say, it is a Promise to a Condition, what kind of Condition was it? There is no Condition before Faith, but a Condi∣tion of Misery, a lost Condition; or if a gracious Condition, it is a Condition subsequent, not pre-existant, no Condition before it, whereby a Man can close with Christ: and if it was a Condition after Faith unto which the Promise was made, then Faith was before; and thatsoever followeth Conversion, is no ground of Faith, but a fruit and Effect of it: therefore I say, our first coming to Christ can∣not be upon a Conditional, but an Absolute Promise.
And indeed (saith he) if ever the Lord minister Comfort unto any Man, true Comfort upon good grounds, it is built upon a Promise of Free Grace, 〈…〉 be unto Justification received: it is true indeed, a gra∣cious Qu•••••tion and a Promise to it, may give a good Evidence of its Aposte∣riore: Cotton's Treatise of the New Covenant, p. 56, 57. and again (he saith) God doth give himself in working Faith, before Faith can be there; and therefore it is the Fruit of the Spirit that Faith is wrought in the Soul, and this Faith doth receive the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ himself by his Spi∣rit, and doth receive also Justification and Adoption: Again (saith he) a man is passive in his Regeneration as in Generation, only the Lord giveth us his Spirit and that doth unite us unto Christ, which is received by Faith, together with Justification; and yet by the Act of Believing we are justified, also Gal. 2.26. that is manifested to be justified in our own Consciences, p. 55. thus far Mr. Cotton.
What are we able to do, when dead in Sin and Trespasses? Can we believe before the Habit is infused from whence the Act proceedeth? or move before we have Life or are quickened?
3. It is a well ordered Covenant: for that Covenant that is or∣dered in all things, is well ordered, &c. but to make this further ma∣nifest, I shall shew you that 'tis well ordered, 1. In respect of God (I mean) for his Glory, in all his glorious Attributes. 2. 'Tis well order'd in respect of the Glory clear Revelation, and Manifestation of the Three Persons in the God-Head, that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Spirit; Page 22 these Three are One in Essence, yet three Subsistances. 3. 'Tis well order'd to confound and destroy the grand Works and Design of the Devil. 4. 'Tis well order'd in respect of God's Holy Law, that the Sanction and Honour of the Law might not be lost or suffer the least Eclipse. 5. And lastly, 'tis well order'd for our good. A little briefly to each of these.
First, His Covenant is well order'd, in respect had to the Glory of all God's Attributes.
1. The Sovereignty of God shines forth gloriously in the Contrivance and bringing in this Covenant; for God he having Absolute Dominion for ever over the Works of his Hands, to dispose and determine them as seemeth him good; and doubtless to manifest his own Sovereignty, he created both Angels and Men; And part of the first sinning against him, he leaves for ever under that Wrath and Misery they brought upon themselves; and the o∣ther he determined out of his Sovereignty to confirm in their Primitive State.
And also part of Mankind he left under that Wrath they brought upon themselves by original and actual Iniquity, and affords no eternal Redemp∣tion to; and indeed, 'tis only Sovereign Grace he afforded a Saviour for any of the Off-spring of fall'n Man: for he was not under any Ob∣ligation to enter into a Covenant for any of them, any more than he was not to redeem the fall'n Angels: he would therefore have been just, if he had let us all have perished under Sin, and his own fearful Wrath, as he dealt by them.
2dly, His infinite Wisdom shines forth in this gracious Covenant, and hence the Gospel is called the manifold Wisdom of God, Eph. 3.10. which may refer to the whole Oeconomy of our Redemption, as also to the several Forms and Manners of God's revealing of it to his Church and People: 'tis called the Wisdom of God in a Mystery, even his hidden Wisdom which was ordained before the World began to our Glory, 1 Cor. 2.7. Divine Wisdom hath admirably in this Covenant mixt all the Attributes together with un∣expressible Sweetness and exact Harmony, that Justice cannot triumph o∣ver Mercy, nor Mercy glory over Justice, but they meet together and sweetly kiss each other, and it was infinite Wisdom, (I say) that found out this way: therefore 'tis hereby wonderfully glorified in the sight of Men and Angels.
3ly. God's Divine Love, Mercy and Goodness to lost Man, to admiration is displayed hereby, God so loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son, &c. Joh. 3.16. rather than Mankind should be utterly lost, he will enter into a Covenant with his own Son, and substitute him our Mediator, Head and Surety to satisfie for our Sins; and be made a Curse for us: that so by his own Free-Grace through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, we might be reconciled, justified and eternally saved i. e. by his Merits and Righteous∣ness imputed to us: there was nothing in Man to oblige God to pity him, we were his Enemies, when Christ died for us; and he offered and pro∣pounded Page 23 this glorious Contrivance of his Wisdom to his Beloved Son in the Covenant of our Peace, out of his infinite Love and Goodness, as see∣ing us fall'n, and lying in our Blood, it was as we were in that woeful Con∣dition he first loved us, and as the Effects of that Love entered into a Covenant with the Son for us.
4thly. His Divine Justice and Infinite Holiness shines forth hereby also, that God might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, Rom. 3.26. that is, that God might appear to be Just as well as Gracious: true, God had been just if Mankind had been left for ever under his divine Wrath and Vengeance (as it is upon the fall'n Angels) but then his Mercy had for ever been veiled, and had never appeared to any of his Creatures; and yet that Justice might not suffer the least Eclipse or lose any of its Glory, Christ shall bear our Sins upon his own Body on the Tree, and suffer that Wrath that Justice denounced upon the Sinner for the Breach of the Holy Law. God can as soon cease to be God, as cease to be Just; nor could any Justice or Righteousness justifie us, but that which is Pure and Spotless, or without Sin, (Justice is not to be consider'd in God, as 'tis in Man; who can forgive, without requiring Satisfaction wherein he hath been wronged?) The Law was but a Transcript or written Im∣pression of his Holy Nature, and discovers what a Righteousness it is we must be found in, if we are ever justified in his sight.
If God had not been gracious, he had not accepted of a Substitute, and if his Justice had not been satisfyed, and his Wrath appeased, he had ne∣ver raised this Substitute from the dead.
This Crucified Redeemer (saith Reverend Charnock) only was able to effect this Work; he was an infinite Person, consisting of a divine and humane Nature, the Union of the one, gave Value to the Suffering of the other; the Word of God was past in his threatning, his Justice would demand its right of his Veracity: a Sacrifice there must be to repair the Honour of God, &c. Justice must have Satisfaction, the Sinner could not give it without Suffering eternal Punishment: Christ then puts himself into our place, to free us from the Arrest of Justice— So that now God can pardon the Sins of Believers with the Glory of his Righteousness, as well as of his Grace; and legally justifie a believing Sinner without the least impeachment of his Justice.
5thly. God's divine Power and Omnipotence also, is exalted by this Covenant; in his raising up a poor fall'n and lost Creature, sunk as low as Hell (un∣der the weight of fearful Guilt and Wrath, lying under the powers of in∣fernal Spirits) to dwell with him in the highest Heavens for ever: but God's Power, doth not only appear in respect of that glorious Conquest Christ obtain'd over Sin, Satan, and Death, at his Resurrection, in the actual Execution and Accomplishment of his holy Compact, with the Father without us; but also in working in us, by his putting forth his Almighty Power in working Faith in our Souls, after the same manner Page 24 that he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the Dead, Eph. 1.19, 20. he raised us with Christ from the Dead, when Christ was rais'd vertually, as he was our Head; and also doth actually quickens us, and raises us up by his Spirit, Eph. 2.1, 2. destroying those evil and vicious Habits, Sin and Satan had infused into us, and so bingeth us out of Darkness into Light, and from the power of Satan, unto God.
6thly. God's Veracity and Faithfulness shines forth also hereby: his threatning is made good upon us in Christ's undergoing Death and the Curse, due to us for our Sins; as also in making good what he sware to the True David, and promised to his Seed, in sending of his Son, when the fulness of time was come, made of a Woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, Gal. 4.4. the Woman's Seed hath bruised the Head of the Ser∣pent: so much as to this.— But,
Secondly, In this Covenant there is a clear Revelation or Manifestation of the Three Persons in the Deity,*and their Glory doth equally and joyntly shine forth: every one acting a part in it under the Old Covenant, there was but a dark Discovery of God personally considered, tho' it was made known as soon as the Covenant of Grace was manifested to Man; in the Gospel, is a full Declaration of their distinct Personality; the Father sending the Son as a Mediator, the Son dying for our Sins, and the Spirit sanctifying our Souls: the Father by eternal Generation begetting the Son, the Son begotten of the Father, and the Spirit pro∣ceeding from the Father and the Son; yet all Three are but one and the same God. But to proceed.
1. The Glory of God the Father shines forth in the Covenant of Grace; for the Father is holden forth as the Primary, and efficient Cause, (in his Wisdom, Grace and Love) of our Salvation, and of all those Blessings of Peace and Reconciliation we have therein: All things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 5.18, 19. God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself. Tho' the whole Trinity are concerned in our Salvation, yet (as our Protestant Writers observe) each Person acts a distinct Part in it, the Father chose and substituted Christ to do this glorious Work, and accepted him in our stead, as our Surety and Sa∣viour; God the Father prepared him a Body, a Body hast thou prepared me, Heb. 10.5. he sent him also into the World, (as our Saviour asserts) many times in the Gospel Recorded by St. John, the Father anointed him with the Holy Spirit above his fellows, to undertake for us in this Covenant, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to Preach the Gospel to the poor, &c. Luk. 4.18. the Father calls him his Servant, whom he upheld and strengthened in doing that great Work, and he is said to be raised up from the Dead by the Power or Glory of the Father: the Father is in∣deed represented as the injured Person, he had therefore the only Right to offer and fix on such Terms which the Purity of his Holy Nature, and Page 25 Honour of his Sovereign Majesty, required as rightful Judge and Go∣vernour; had not the Father chosen, accepted and approved of him for doing of this great Work, his undertakings could not have availed us to the Salvation of our Souls; besides the Glory of God the Father must not be eclipsed, while we exalt the eternal Son in our Redemption: all the Benefit therefore we receive by the Blood and Merits of Christ, are ascribed to the free Grace of God the Father, after that the Kindness and Love of God our Saviour appeared, Tit. 3.4. the Father chose us in Christ, as well as gave him for us, and commanded him to lay down his Life to redeem us.
2dly. This Covenant is so well ordered, that the Glory of Jesus Christ is mag∣nified herein wonderfully.
1. In that herein he is proclaimed the Only True God, by whom the World was made the Brightness of the Father's Glory, and express Image of his Per∣son, Heb. 1.3. and when he brought him into the World. he saith, and let all the Angels of God Worship him. Now Divine Worship appertains to none but to him that is God by Nature.
2, Christ's Love shines forth in this Covenant, as well as his Deity, or God∣head; in his ready, gracious and voluntary Acceptation of that glorious Design of saving us miserable Creatures; it was Christ who wrought out the Garment or Robe of Righteousness for us, tho' the Father prepared him a Body to do it: Christ kept the Law of the first Covenant, for us, and overcome all our Enemies hence he said, Be of good chear, I have overcome the World, Joh. 16.33. why should we be of good chear upon his overcoming the World, if it was not for us, and to assure us that we shall overcome it? Nay, and we did overcome it in him, he overcame Sin, made an end of Sin as to its kil∣ling and Soul-condemning Power, Dan. 9.24. he shed his Blood to make our Peace with God the Father; he received the Spirit without Mea∣sure, to communicate it to us. Christ loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own Blood, Rev. 1.5.
He makes Intercession for us, who is he that Condemneth, it is Christ that dyed; yea, or rather, that is risen again, who is even at the Right Hand of God, who also maketh Intercession for us, Rom. 8.34. He pleads his own Sacrifices with the Father for us, he presents our Persons (as the High-Priest under the Law did the Names of the Children of Israel, when he appeared before the Lord, on the Breast-Plate of Judgment) before the Father, and in him also our spiritual Services are accepted: we are justified in him, he is the Lord our Righteousness, we have pardon of sin through his Blood, he is our Bridegroom, he came from Heaven to offer his Love to us, and to espouse us for himself; he that has the Bride, is the Bridegroom; 'tis he that offers up our Prayers as sweet Insense to the Father, he is the Author and Finisher of our Faith, he is the Covenant it self, our Head, our Mediator, our Priest, our King, our Prophet, our Surety, our Shepherd, our Captain; he is made of God, unto Page 26 us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1.30. Christ is all, and in all, in this Covenant, so that his Glory shines forth admirably in it▪
3dly, The Glory of the Holy Ghost, the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity shines forth in this Covenant also.
1. The Holy Ghost is positively declared in the Gospel to be God: St. Pe∣ter told Annanias, He had not lyed unto Men, but to God, Act. 5.3. His Sin was against the Holy Spirit; and to aggravate it, the Apostle told him, the Holy Spirit was God, to whom he had lyed. Ye are the Temple of the Living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and again, Know ye not, that ye are the Temple of God. All acknowledge, God in these places, re∣ferrs to the Holy Ghost; moreover, we are Baptised in the Name of the Fa∣ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; and so we Dedicate and De∣vote our selves in Baptism, to serve and worship the Holy Ghost, as well as the Father and the Son. Doth not Paul close his Epistles, with a sort of Prayer, to the Holy Spirit, as well to the Father, and to the Son? The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, Amen. 2. Cor. 14.14.
2. As touching his Work and Operations, the Holy Spirit convinceth of Sin, this is his Office in this Covenant, He shall convince the World of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, John 16.8, 9. The Spirit convinces our Souls of the great Evil of Sin, (as 'tis against a Holy, Gracious, and Good God) he convinces the Soul of all Sin, of Secret and Heart Sins, and par∣ticularly of the Sin of Unbelief, He shall convince the World of Sin, because they believe not in me: The Law cannot do this, nor the Light within; al∣so, the Spirit convinceth us of that great Enmity, that is in our Hearts naturally against God, Rom. 8.7. He convinceth us of the guilt of Sin, and of the pollution of Sin; the Holy Spirit convinces Sinners of the want of God's Image, and shews them how unlike God they are naturally, and how much like the Devil: the Holy Spirit convinceth Sinners of the Prevalency of Sin, His Servants you are, to whom you yield your selves up to Obey; he convinces of the Danger of Sin, of the Soul-killing and damn∣ing Power thereof: Also, The Holy Spirit convinceth us of the want of Righ∣teousness in our selves to justifie us in God's sight; and also convinceth us, That Christ's Righteousness is able to justifie and save us; because Christ thereby went to the Father, his Righteousness carryed him to the Father, (as our Representative) and that Righteousness that carried him to the Fa∣ther, as Mediator, will bring us thither: Who believe in him, or are of his Seed.
3. The Work and Office of the Spirit, in this Covenant, is to quicken all that the Father hath given to Christ.
4. The Spirit renews, regenerates, or renovates our Souls; 'tis the Spi∣rit that works God's Image in us, we are Changed from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2. Cor. 3.18.
Page 275. The Glory of the Holy Ghost shines forth in the Covenant of Grace, •s our Sanctifier; for it is the Spirit that infuses new Habits, divine and gra∣cious Qualities in our Souls, new Thoughts, new Desires, new and holy Affecti∣ons, new Delights, Joy, Peace, and Consolation; the Spirit is an Earnest of future Glory, 'tis the Spirit that is our Comforter, 'tis he that strengthens us, and bears up our Souls in Trouble.
6. The Holy Spirit puts on the Robe of Righteousness upon us, by uni∣ting of our Souls to Jesus Christ.
7. The Holy Ghost works all Grace in us, Faith is called, the Faith of the Operation of God; (the Spirit is God) likewise, Faith is called, a Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5.22. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, also by the Holy Ghost, Rom. 5.5.
In a word, all the Graces are by, and from the Spirit; hence he is cal∣led, The Spirit of Grace: But we had never drank of this sweet Stream, had not Christ, in the Covenant, opened the Fountain. The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified, Joh. 7.39. The Spirit is promi∣sed first to Christ, and then to his Seed: Thus (and in many other Re∣spects) the Holy Spirit is glorified, and his excellent Operations shew themselves, and shine forth in the Covenant of Grace; the ministra∣tion of the Gospel, is called, the Ministration of the Spirit. So much as to this.
3dly, I shall proceed to shew you, That the Covenant is well ordered to confound and destroy the Works and grand Design of Satan. To this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the De∣vil, 1 Joh. 3.8.
1. By this Covenant, Satan is defeated, and his Hopes overthrown; who, doubtless, thought to have trodden Mankind under his Feet for ever. How would he have Gloried and have Blasphemed God, had not this Covenant been provided? would not he have said, Where is thy Creature Man, that thou madest but a little lower than the Angels, and made a Ruler over thy nether Creation? Have not I done his Business for him? Lo! he is become my Creature, he hath cast thee off, and his Obedience to thee. Where is that Image now which thou stampt on his Soul?
2. Is it not said, The Seed of the Woman shall bruise his Head? This was one grand Cause, why God entered into this Covenant with Christ; and remarkable it is, and ever to be Remembred, that Satan entered into Ju∣das to betray our Saviour; he concluded, doubtless, if he could bring Christ to Death, he should do his business; but that way the Devil thought to gain all, he lost all, and overthrew himself, and his Kingdom, for ever. Christ by death, destroyed death, and him that had the power of death, which is the Devil, Heb. 2.14. He hath led captivity captive, Eph. 4.8. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, Col. 2.15.Page 26〈1 page duplicate〉Page 27〈1 page duplicate〉Page 28
4. By the New Covenant, God hath greatly honoured his Holy and Righteous Law; that receives no Damage hereby, nor doth its Glory suffer the least Eclipse, but contrarywise, 'tis magnified to the wonderment of Men, and Angels, and that Two ways.
1. In respect of Christ's perfect Conformity to it, in his holy and spotless Life, in our Nature and in our Stead; who, by Reason of Sin, could not fulfill the exact Righteousness thereof; but rather than it should lose the least Part of its Glory, the Second Person of the Trinity shall come from Heaven, and assume Man's Nature, and discharge the whole active Obedi∣ence which it did require of us.— And then
2ly, In his cursed and bitter Death, by which he answer'd for our breach of it, and considering the Dignity of his Person, he being God, as well as Man, his Death and Suffering was a far greater Satisfaction for our Sins then if we had suffered in Hell, because we thereby should have always been a paying, but never could have paid our Debt to satisfie Divine Justice and therefore, must have lain in Prison under incensed Wrath, to the Day of Eternity: And thus he Answered the Law, and Silences the con∣demning Power thereof, and break all his strong Cords and Bands to pie∣ces, that kept us down under Wrath; and thereby dissolv'd all its grievous Anathema's; for Christ being made a curse for us, hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, Gal. 3.13. viz. From that amazing Sentence of the Holy God, denounced in his Law against us offending and guilty Sinners: So that now there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8.• Because they are, by the Body, and Sufferings of Christ become dead to the Law (or rather, that dead to them) which was fully effected at his glorious Resurrection; it was indeed the Law, respecting the Penalty of it that brought Christ to death, whose full Sentence in the Execution of it he endured on the Cross, as he was substituted in our Place, that so we in a way of Righteousness, might be Justified, as well as be Pardoned in a way of free Grace: (because God, and not we, found out the surety, way and manner of the satisfying both the Law, and his own infinite Justice, we have all freely, without Money, or Price.) And thus God, in and by Jesus Christ, as he before purposed, did magnifie his Law, and make it honoura∣ble. Do we (saith the Apostle) make void the law through faith? God for∣bid: yea, we established the Law, Rom. 3.31. God did not Repent, he gave the Law of perfect Obedience; for what could suit better with the Puri∣ty of his Holy Nature; nor could any Righteousness, short of a perfect Righteousness, Justifie us: He did not therefore Design, by the Mediation and Obedience of Christ, to destroy the Law, or take any Recompence in the room of it, that every way did not Answer the Righteousness it requi∣red, and make Satisfaction for the Breach thereof: therefore, by Faith (that is) by having Christ's perfect Righteousness imputed to us, in his ex∣act Conformity to the Law, by his active and passive Obedience; we establish the Law, and make it honourable. If by any Law, as God is a Page 29 Rector or Governour, Justification, or eternal Life, is to be had, it must be a Law of perfect Obedience, God's Holy and Righteous Nature requi∣ring it; and no Law of imperfect Obedience, tho' never so Sincerely per∣formed, can answer God's Justice, nor be agreeable with the Purity of his Nature, infinite Wisdom and Holiness: For, if such a Law could have been consistent with the Wisdom, Holiness, and Justice of God, certainly he would never, at First, have made a Law of perfect Obedience, which, to remove out of the way, (that he might bring in the latter) must cost him the Blood of his own dear Son.
1. Therefore, it was the Law of Innocency, the Law of Works, or that Law which required perfect Obedience, given to Israel, which Jesus Christ fulfilled for us; and not a peculiar Law of his own Mediation, made up of some Moral Commands, some Jewish, and some peculiar to his own Person, (as some assert) And
2dly, That he did Obey, and suffer in Obedience to the Law, in our stead; and we are accepted by, and for that Obedience of his, (for else, the Glory of that Law is darkened) and not that his Obedience did only procure, or merit a milder Law, or easier Terms of Life, and Righteousness, and we not be dealt with, according to the Law of Works, but according to the New Law of Grace; and in the Third Place.
3dly, The Righteousness, and Benefits of Christ's Righteousness, is made ours, when we relye, or trust to God's free Promise, as the immediate and sole Cause of Pardon and Life, (as all true Protestants formerly affirmed) and not by Christ's procuring a New Covenant for us to enter into with God, which if we answer the Condition thereof, i. e. repent and believe, we shall be saved▪
5thly, The Covenant of Grace is well ordered, in all things, for our good; for all things which we need, are contained in it, either in respect of deliverance from present and future Evil, and to our being possess'd, or invested with all true spiritu∣al and eternal Good.
1. We were Enemies to God, by Sin, and God an Enemy to us, but by this Covenant, God is reconciled to us: Jesus Christ hath so pacified his Wrath, that now God says, Fury is not in me, Isa. 27. When we were Ene∣mies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Rom. 5.10. The An∣gels that first brought the Tydings of our Saviour's Birth, cryed, Peace on earth, good will to men. Christ by the Blood of this Covenant, hath made up that Breach, and Reconciled God to us; and by his Spirit, he re∣moves that Enmity, that naturally is in our Hearts against God, and so re∣conciled us to God; he is our Days-man, that lays his Hand upon both; he is not a Mediator of one, that is, not of God only, but of Man also; he brings God to Man, and Man to God.
2. We were the Children of Wrath, and under the Curse of the Law; but by the Grace of this well ordered Covenant, we are made the Children of God, and we are delivered from the Curse of the Law: Christ hath delive∣red us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us— That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ, Gal. 3.13, 4.
3. We had lost the Image of God, but by this Covenant 'tis restored to us again, and so restored, that we shall never lose it any more.
4. We were dead, blind, naked, in bonds, in prison, but by the Grace of God, in this Covenant, we are quickened, Eph. 2.1, 2. have the eyes of our understandings enlightned, Eph. 1.18. have our naked Souls cloathed with Page 31 the robe of righteousness, are brought out of Prison, and all our Wounds are healed, Sent out of the pit wherein was no water, by the blood of the covenant, Zech. 9.11.
5. We were guilty and filthy Creatures, but by this Covenant, we are justified and sanctified, we are acquitted, pronounced righteous, and all our Sins pardoned, and washed away in the Fountain of Christ's Blood, 1 Cor. 6.11. Rev. 1.5.
6. We were condemned, and ready to have the Sentence executed upon us, and cast into Hell, to be burned alive for ever and ever, even there, where the worm dyeth not, and the fire is not quenched; but by the Grace of this Covenant, we are saved, and shall be eternally; we are not only delivered from all Evil, or from whatsoever was hurtful to us, but are invested with all true internal and eternal Good. We by this Covenant, have union with God, adoption, free access to the Father, yea all things that appertain to life and godliness, and when this Life is ended, eternal Life and Glory in Heaven; therefore, 'tis well ordered, in all things, for our good.
Fifthly, It is a sure Covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.
1. 'Tis a sure Covenant: because it was made in, and with our blessed Sure∣ty, Jesus Christ, the Lord would not enter into Covenant with us, any more, nor take our Bond for that great Summ of Ten thousand Talents, that vast Debt, which we had contracted, and were never able to pay; for we had nothing, no not one Farthing: And therefore, unless a Surety could be found, who was able and sufficient to enter into Bond with God, for us, we must have perished for ever; we were Arrested by the Justice of God, for breach of his Holy Law, and in Prison, and must suffer Infinite Wrath, and divine Vengeance, for the just demerit of our Sin, had not the Wise and Almighty God, sought out a Surety to pay our Debt, and undertaken this New Covenant for us: Now Jesus Christ stept in, and undertook for us, and put his Name into our Bond and Obligation. Jesus Christ was made a surety of a better covenant, Heb, 7.22. Reverend Dr. Owen, most excellently resolves this Doubt, viz. Whether Christ be a Surety to God for us, or of us to God, and shews God needs no Surety, nor is he capable of having any Surety, properly so called, neither do we need any, on his part to confirm our Faith in him.
Page 32Quest. With whom was the Covenant of Grace made?
Answ. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ, the second Adam; and in him, with all the Elect.
Thus Christ, and his Seed, are but one Party in the Covenant of Grace, as it was primarily made between the Father and Son, who was set up from everlasting, as our Head. And thus, in Christ, Grace was gave to us before the World began, as the Apostle saith, 2 Tim. 1.9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose, which was given to us in Christ, before the world began. Christ therefore became Surety for us, to make firm and sure, all Covenant Blessing, to us; indeed if Man could not, did not stand, but break Covenant with God, when he had no Sin, no depraved Nature, when he had Power to have performed his Covenant with his Maker, How unlikely was it, that we (who are so corrupted, so weak and feeble, so depraved in every Faculty, no Power to do that which is spiritual Good, that are attended with such a Body of Sin and Death, Rom. 4.24.) to un∣dertake to enter into Covenant with God any more? or, What Reason is there for us to think, God would trust us without Security, and the Surety∣ship of another Person, whom he knew well, could not fail? He said, That he would lose nothing that was given him; none of his Sheep shall perish, Joh. 10.38. and ver. 28.
2. This Covenant is made upon the unchangeable Decree and Coun∣cil of God, and his Decrees are compared to Mountains of Brass, Psal. 89.28. to the 34 My mercy will I keep with him for ever, and my covenant shall stand fast with him, his seed shall endure for ever, &c. ver. 28, 29. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth, ver. 34. If you can break my covenant of the day and night, then may also my covenant be broken with David, Jer. 33.20, 21. 'Tis the free Promise of God, like the Co∣venant of Day and Night; and this stands upon the Pass of God's eter∣nal Counsel; therefore, 'tis sure.
3. 'Tis confirmed by the highest Witnesses in Heaven and Earth.
1. God the Father is a Witness to it himself; he bore Witness to Christ, in the Gospel, and to every Precept and Promise therefore the Father himself which hath sent me, hath born witness of me, Joh. 5.37.
2. The Son also, though the Surety of the Covenant, yet he is a Wit∣ness to this Gospel-Covenant also, (tho' this is not so, cannot be so among Men, i. e. The Surety can be no Witness, but 'tis otherwise here) To this end was I born, and to this end came I into the world, that I should bear witness un∣to the truth, Joh. 18.37. That he is a King and Head of his Church; that he is Mediator, and Surety; that he is our Saviour; and, that the Cove∣nant of Salvation is made with him, and established in him. This he is a Witness of, and to these, and other great Truths of the Covenant, he was Born, and came into the World to bear Witness to, and he is called The Faithful and True Witness. Rev. 1.5. And Jesus said, Though I bear record of Page 33 my self yet my record is true, for I know whence I came, and whither I go.
3. The Holy Apostles were also Witnesses to this New Covenant, tou∣ching the Truth thereof in the execution, declaration, and publication of it; And we are witnesses of all things that he did, Act. 1.39. and again, they are called chosen witnesses, ver. 41. Whatsoever Precept or Promise is made in the Gospel, or Threatning, they Witnessed to the Truth thereof, as well as to the sufferings and resurrection of Christ; God speaking of Paul, saith, he shall be a witness unto me, Act. 26.16.
4. All those wonderful Miracles our Saviour wrought, bear Witness to Christ, and the Truth of the Gospel; and in them the Holy Spirit is a Witness also, as well as many other ways. The works that I do, they bear witness of me, Joh. 5.36.
4thly, 'Tis a sure Covenant, because it was confirmed by Blood, even ratified and confirmed by the Blood of the Testator, Jesus Christ: Cer∣tainly, that Covenant that is ratified by the Blood of Christ, must needs be sure to all the Seed. Hence we have for a Sign and Token of this Confirmati∣on, the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper: This is the Blood of the New Co∣venant that is shed for you, to make Peace for you, to procure Justification, Reconciliation, Pardon of Sin, and eternal Life for you, and 'tis Sealed to you by my Blood: This is a Sign or Token of it (as if he should so say) There is no altering a Covenant that is confirmed by the death of the Te∣stator; all the Legacies bequeathed in this Covenant, are sure to the Le∣gatees, as the Ordinances of Heaven by this means.
5thly, The Covenant of Grace is sure, and all the Blessings thereof, be∣cause the Execution of Christ's last Will and Testament, is put into the Hands of the Holy Spirit; he is the great Executioner of this Covenant. I have not time, nor room to open this.
6thly, The Covenant is sure, by vertue of the Promise of God the Fa∣ther, he promised Christ, That he should see his Seed This was Abraham's Title to the Blessings of the Covenant of Grace, Heb. 6.13. and so to David, and in them, to all the true Heirs of the same Grace, and Pro∣mise: 'tis promised by God, that cannot lie, to Christ, and to us in him; For all the Promises of God, in Jesus Christ, are not yea and nay; but yea and amen, unto the glory of God the father, 1 Cor. 1.20. God hath engaged his ve∣ry Faithfulness, as touching the Performances of them.
7thly, They are Sure, because not only made to us by the Father, but he hath confirmed them by his Oath, Heb. 6.13. Because he could not swear by no greater, he swear by himself, wherein God is willing, more abundantly, to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, ver. 17. That so, by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, ver. 18. What God promised, nay swear to give to Abraham, in the Covenant of Grace, he promised and swear to to all his believing Seed, or to all the Elect; and if this doth not make sure Page 34 the New Covenant, and all the Blessings thereof, and Eternal Life to every believing Soul, tho' he or she has but the least Dram of Grace; nothing can make any thing more sure in Heaven nor Earth; 'tis far more firm and sure than what any Man or Angels can make any Matter or Thing.
Soul, whatever Grace thou need'st, God will and must give it; how when, and in what Degree he pleases, and to Heaven thou must come at last I might add,
7thly. 'Tis sure, because we have received, who do believe the Earnest all Covenant Blessings and Eternal Life, which is the Holy Spirit, See Eph. 13.14. the Spirit is called there the Earnest of our Inheritance, until the Re∣demption of the purchased Possession unto the Praise of his Glory.
8thly. We have the Holy Spirit also to make it sure to us, as a Witness o• this Covenant, the Spirit also bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the Chil∣dren of God, and if Children, then Heirs, Heirs of God and joint, Heirs with Christ Rom 8.16.17. The Holy Spirit witnesses by it self, by an inward an secreted Per∣suasion or Suggestion, that God is our Father, and we his Children, and also by the Testimony of his Graces and powerful Operations, tho' not in the like Degree and Clearness to all Believers: yet Christ in us is our hope of Glory and if any Man hath not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his Rom. 8.9.
9thly. After all, if any thing can be added to make it yet more sure to us, God will in his abundant Grace and Goodness let us have it: and there∣fore we have this Covenant and all the Blessings of it, and Eternal Life Sealed to us also by the Holy Ghost: after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Spirit of Promise, Eph. 1.13. and again, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by which you are sealed to the day of Redemption, Eph. 4.30. God hath set his Mark, and his Seal upon us.
Sixthly. 'Tis an everlasting Covenant, he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant it shall never; can never be broke: see that in Isa. 54.9, 10. For this is as the Waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn the Waters of Noah shall no more go over the Earth, so I have sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee; for the Mountains shall depart, and the Hills shall be remov∣ed, but my loving Kindness shall not depart from thee; neither the Covenant of my Peace be removed (saith the Lord) that hath Mercy on thee: compare it with Isa. 55.3. So much to the Second general Head.
Thirdly, I shall shew you how this Covenant is all the Hope, Desire, Salva∣tion and Consolation of every True Believer in Life and Death.
By what I have already said, all may perceive how, or which way, all their Salvation and Comfort lies in this Covenant, so that I need say but little to this. But to proceed.
1. 'Tis all our Hope, Desire, Salvation and Consolation; because this Covenant was the Contrivance of the Infinite Wisdom of God, the Top Glory of all his Transactions, for, and in the behalf of Man from all Eter∣nity: Nay, such manifold Wisdom, such depth of Wisdom shines forth Page 35 in it, that the glorious Angels desir'd to pry into it, 1 Pet. 1.12. the Word signifies (as our Annotators intimate) a bowing down the Head, or stoop∣ing to look into a thing; O! they behold this Mystery of Salvation by Christ, in this Covenant with holy Amazement, and are willing to learn by the Church: and this Mystery is to this end, in part, manifest by the Gospel, that they might make it the Subject of their Thoughts, Contemplation and Meditation and VVondermenti (as I may so say) 'tis to affect those glo∣rious Spirits; to the intent that now unto the Principalities and Powers in hea∣venly Places might be known by the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God, Eph. •.10. Angels, Sirs, do attend our Assemblies, to know, and hear, and un∣derstand the Mysteries of this Covenant and Redemption by Christ: Is it then any wonder? 'tis all the Desire, Hope and Delight of Believers, who are so eminently concerned in this Salvation, Christ is not a Redeemer of the Angels, for they who stood needed none. Yet as our Divines shew, he is their Confirmer, he is the Head of Angels, as well as of the Church, and they Worship Him, as well as we.
2. 'Tis the Saint's Desire and Delight, because 'tis suited so admirably to Exalt God in all his Holy Attributes, and abase, sinfull Man; to Exalt Christ, put the Crown on his Head, and lay us at his Feet: this is that Jehovah, design'd and aim'd at, and this all Believers and truly gracious Souls aim at also; this is all their Desire, and therefore they are so taken with this Covenant. O let such look to it, that any ways go about to lessen or eclipse the Glory of God's Grace in this Covenant, or magnifie and exalt sorry man in the least degree.
3. 'Tis because 'tis a great, a full, and compleat Salvation that is contain∣ed in this Covenant: This is all my Salvation, 'tis not a part of it; Christ in this Covenant did not work out a piece of it, and leave us to work out the rest: all our Salvation is of Grace, whatever we as Sinners, or as Saints do want, 'tis contain'd in this Covenant. Christ is not only given for us, but also given to us; not only the Medicine, and but a Hand also whereby 'tis applyed. Faith is the Gift of the Promise, therefore not the Conditi∣on of it; they are Foederalia relata: Can a Promise or a Gift be a Conditi∣on of it self? This Exalts Christ, and abases Man; Christ hath no Co∣worker with him, tho' he hath some poor Instruments (that he applies in his Hand) yet he alone is the only Agent that doth all: We have this Trea∣sure in Earthen Vessels, that the Excellency of the Power may be of God, and not of us, 2 Cor. 4.7. The Redemption in the Covenant of Grace, is by a Price which Christ as Priest laid down to satisfie the Law and Justice of God, and which as a King, he applies by his conquering of the Power, of Sin and Satan: Can a Man be redeemed and saved from Slavery in Turkey by a Ransome paid or laid down, and yet he abides under the power of a cruel Ty∣rant that holds him in strong Chains, and will not let him go, untill the Redeemer hath subdued his merciless Master? Now sinners are in Satan's Chains and Fetters, and under the power of Sin, and until Christ destroys Page 36 and overcomes those cruel Enemies, they are not redeemed; this Salva∣tion therefore in this Covenant is compleat, i. e. we are not only redeemed out of the Hands of Justice and Divine Wrath, but out of Satan's Hands like∣wise, and from the power of Sin: nay, redeemed from a vain Conversati∣on by Christ's Blood, 1 Pet. 1.18. for as a Priest he purchased subduing and cleansing Grace for us, tho' as a King he applies that Grace to us. To this very purpose, Christ gave himself i. e. to redeem us from all Iniquity, and purify'd to himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works, Tit. 2.14. Sirs, assure your∣selves, all that Christ came to redeem, shall be redeemed; he cannot be said to be a Redeemer of such who never were, nor shall be redeemed by him: not one drop of his Blood was shed in vain, he will have his whole purchase. Here is Grace the Holy Spirit, A broken Spirit, a new Heart, Justification, Adoption, Regeneration, final Perseverance, and Eternal Life, and all we want is in this Covenant; therefore 'tis a compleat and full Sal∣vation, and so all our Salvation.
4thly. This Covenant is all our Desire, all our Hope and Salvation, be∣cause there is no Relief, no Justification, no Pardon, no Salvation any o∣ther ways: there is no Water of Life, but in this Fountain, no Justificati∣on, but by this Righteousness; nor Riches, but in this Treasury; no Corn; but in this Garner; no Light, but in this Sun of Righteousness that is given to us for a Covenant, and to be a Light unto the Gentiles. No pardon of sin; but by this Redemption; no Grace, but at the Throne which God hath E∣rected in this Covenant. No Strength, but by this Arm of the Lord: no Cure, but by the Balsom of this Covenant, and Covenant Physician: no Sanctification, no cleansing from Sin and Pollution, but by washing in this River.
5thly. This Covenant is all our Desire, Hope, Delight, Consolation and Salvation, because 'tis a try'd Covenant: it never failed one Man that ever laid hold of it, or applyed the Blood thereof by Faith to his own Soul; he that believeth on Christ, builds on this precious Stone, this sure Foundation, shall never be ashamed, nor confounded: he that builds on this Covenant, or doth venture his Soul thereon, must be saved, and ever were saved. Let them be never so great sinners it will not fail them; this Covenant hath provided for the chiefest of Sinners, and for the weak Saints: here is a Pardon for all manner of Sinners and Blasphemers, against both the Father and the Son: O what black, what guilty, what filthy, and what bloody sinners have been saved by the Grace of, and Blood of this Covenant. Such were some of you, what an abominable Such were they, see 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11.
6thly. This Covenant is all a Believer's Desire, Consolation and Salvation; because of those glorious and mighty Gifts that are given to them in this Covenant: nothing can the Holy God give which is greater, for he hath given us himself, and all he is, and all he has; as far forth as it is communicata∣ble, he gives himself to them by way of special Interest, (not as he was the God of the whole house of Israel, in that legal Covenant made with them as they Page 37 were the natural Seed of Abraham as such) God gives himself, and in him∣self, his Son, his Spirit, his Ordinance, his Ministers, Paul, Peter, all is •rap'd up in this Covenant: Grace here, and Glory hereafter, all is yours; • Christ in this Covenant is yours, you have God and Christ, and God for ••er, Christ for ever. You shall not lose him again, the Covenant is or∣dered in all things and sure, and so are all the Gifts and Blessings thereof, such that can't be lost, they are even the sure Mercies of David.
7thly. Because this Covenant is so comfortable in all States and Conditi∣ons a poor Child of God can be in, 'tis suited to relieve us under all outward afflictions, Tryals and Calamities we meet with here in this World: O this •ur honoured Brother deceas'd, found by sweet Experience, this was all his Hope, and all his Desire, all his Comfort under all his former sore Sufferings; when for more than Twelve Years he lay in Prison for Jesus Christ's sake, and under all his late heart-breaking Sorrows and bodily Distempers, that but a few were acquainted with, had it not been for this Covenant, he had •ainted in his Afflictions: This bore up the Spirit of poor David, he found all his Relief and Support lay in this Covenant. When Saul pursu'd him, when his Friends forsook him, and talk'd of stoning him, here, and in this Covenant, and in his God, given to him in this well ordered Covenant he comforted and encouraged himself, 1 Sam. 30.6.
8thly. And lastly, all the Desire, Hope, Consolation and Salvation of a Believer lies in this Covenant, because 'tis so well ordered and suited for our Support and Comfort, under all inward Trouble, Fears, Doubtings, Temptations and spiritual Dissertions, whatsoever.
No Cordial like what this Covenant hath provided for us, to bear up and revive our drooping Spirits; and whoever you are, that under your Fears, Doubtings, Temptations or Despondings, that seek Relief any where else, will but deceive your own poor and deluded Souls: will your own Righte∣ousness chear your Spirits? Dare you plead it at God's Bar? Will you venture your Souls upon it? Will you plead your sincere Obedience? your fervent Pray∣ers you have made, the many good Sermons you have heard, the many good Works and good Deeds you have done, will not Satan shew you not∣withstanding all your sincerity you have in your Hearts, great Hypocrisie? and for all your Faith and constant trusting in God, you have much Unbelief, and many Fears and Doubtings arising in your Spirits: tho' you have pray∣ed often, and have not fainted; yet with what Deadness, with what Cool∣ness, with what Wanderings of Heart and Vanity of Thoughts; and tho' you have done much good, will not your Consciences tell you, you might have done much more? you gave a Shilling may be to this poor, and that poor and distressed Object, when may be you ought to have given a Pound. O Sirs! your Relief lies in Christ, and in the Covenant of Grace, in Christ's perfect and compleat Righteousness in his Death, or you have none, nor never will. You must take the Directions that Anselm gave to a poor sick and tempted Soul, as I find it quoted by Reverend Dr. Owen on Just. p. 13.14.
O Soul! here's thy Relief, even in the Blood of this Covenant in Christ's Death; under all thy Fears, and Temptations of Satan, and under the sad Accusations of thy own Conscience: O! at the hour of Death, how canst thou lift up thy Hands to plead thy own sincere Obedience, when thou art just going to stand before the Tribunal of God; thy Hands will be weak and thy Heart faint, and thy Confidence will deceive thee, and fail thee: if thy Hope and Desire, thy Faith and Dependance be on any thing else, then on Christ in this Covenant; but here is Succour in his Covenant, here is a Salve for every Sore; what tho' thou hast sinned, what says God in this Covenant? I will be merciful unto their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more, Heb. 8. If thy Conscience say, thou hast backsliden from God, he says; I will heal all their backslidings, and love them freely, Hos. 14.4. If thou wants Righteousness and Strength, say, Christ is thy Righteousness, in the Lord have I Righteousness and Strength: thus there is Relief in this Covenant for poor doubting and desponding Souls in all their Troubles and Temptations.
First by way of Reprehension.
First. THIS reproves those (and may serve to convince them of their horrid Blindness and Unbelief) that look on Sin as a trivial thing, a small matter; and so go on in a wicked and ungodly course of life, who add Drunkenness to Thrist; and yet say they shall have Peace: O Souls! do you not tremble to think of the evil of sin? When you hear nothing but the Blood of the Son of God can atone for it, nor satisfie God's offended Justice and injured Law, do you think God will spare you? pardon you while you live in your sins, and make Provision for the flesh to fulfil the Lusts thereof, did he not spare his own Son, when he stood in our place, charg∣ed Page 39 with our Iniquities? but let out his Wrath upon him, and will he spare you? that have your own sins and horrid guilt and pollution charged upon your own Souls? if you refuse the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Merits of his •lood, and do not fly to him, cleave to him, imbrace him, and the tender •f God's Grace in and by him, but do neglect so great Salvation, and the means of it, down to Hell you will be brought every Soul of you with vengeance. Nothing shews the evil of sin more than the bleeding Sides, bleeding Heart, and bleeding Hands, and bleeding Feet of the Son of God: and did he suffer thus to satisfie for our sins? for your sins? and shall any Soul alive think, if they slight him, believe not in him, he shall escape Divine Wrath; how can your hands be strong in any way of Wickedness, whilst you look up and see Jesus Christ hang languishing on the Cross, and crying out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
2. This reproves all those (and may tend to convince them of their Fol∣•y and Ignorance) whose hopes lies in something else, and not in this Co∣venant.
Those whose hope lies in their sober and civil Lives, they conclude all is well with them, because they are not guilty of those immoral Impieties and greatest Wickedness which others are defiled with: Alas! what good will this do you? when one evil Thought is a breach of that Holy Law that lays you under Wrath and the fearful Curse thereof; will you trust to your honest moral Lives, and sober Conversations, and so slight and neglect the Grace of God offer'd by Jesus Christ in this Covenant: Why Sirs, do you think God sent his Son into the World? if by leading a moral and sober Life Men might be saved.
3. This reproves also those who mixt their own Inherent Holiness and E∣vangelical Obedience with Christ's Righteousness, in point of Justification and Acceptation with God, who make Faith in the large Extent, i. e. Faith withal the Concomitants of it, a Condition of Justification, who distinguish be∣tween Christ doing for us, as a Redeemer in the Flesh by dying, and ren∣der that more extensive, than what he does by the Spirit; as if he was the Head of all Mankind in dying, and all, as so consisidered, have Union with him: but that many of those he dyed for, shall never be saved by his Life; because they do not answer the Condition of Faith and sincere Obedience; intimating, that Faith is not a Fruit of Christ's Death, but is wrought out by the Creature through the help of the Spirit; tho' we have Faith for Christ's sake, for Christ's Merits (in a remote sense) as we have fair weather, Pacifick paper, p. 5. For had not Christ atoned an satisfied for sin, and the breach of the Law of Works, we could not have had any Blessings either temporal or spiritual: but if it were only thus, then the Covenant of Grace is not so well ordered and sure as we believe it is, but how do they understand that Text, Rom. 5.10. for if when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life. VVere not all the Elect, or all Christ dyed for, vertually (as Page 40 in our Head) reconciled to God by the Death of Christ? and doth not the Apostle assure us that we shall much more be saved by Christ's Life, if he reconciled us to God by his Death? was not the Gift of Christ in his death for us a greater gift than the gift of the Spirit to us? Did not we all rise from the dead with Christ, vertually when he was raised? And doth not that give us Assurance that we shall be actually quickned and raised▪ First from a death in sin, respecting our souls; and also be all raised to E∣ternal Life and Glory, at the last day respecting our Bodies. He that spa∣red not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not freely give us all things, Rom. 8 32. may it not from these two Scriptures be confident∣ly asserted, that all Christ dyed for shall be saved, i. e. shall have Grace here and Glory hereafter? doth not the Apostle argue from the greater Gift of God's Grace to the lesser Gift? and that he that gave the greater will not stick to give the lesser.
Were not all that Christ died for, chosen in him before the foundation of the World? that they should be holy, and without blame before him in love, Ephes. 1.4, 5. and did not the Father promise him that he should see his Seed and doth not Christ say, all that the Father gave to him, shall come to him; that is, shall have Faith: and can any come that were not given to him? If Faith and Repentance be given to the Elect, who are saved? Can others come to Christ who have not the like Faith and Repentance given to them? doth not Faith flow from a Principle of divine Life? and can there be such a noble Effect without the cause from whence it proceeds? Can a dead Man quicken himself? or can he refuse to live that has life infused into him? Thy People shall be willing in the day of thy Power, Psal 100.3. in the Beauty of Holiness: Is Christ a true and proper Redeemer of all? and yet a multitude are left under sin and wrath, and never redeemed, nor many of them never hear of this Saviour or Redeemer at all.
4. This also reproves all such who render the Covenant of Grace in its nature like the Covenant of Works, i. e. if we perform the Condition we stand, if we perform it not we fall; it being made with us, and so our Co∣venant: God expects we discharge our Obligation therein, for 'tis evident, as we enter into Covenant with God, according to these men's Notions at our Baptism, (or be it before, and Baptism be but a Sign or Token of it,) there is no surety here to engage for us (unless it be as it is among some of this sort, those they call God-fathers and God-mothers) O! what a dange∣rous state are we in? if this be so, i. e. if Christ be not to perform his Obligation for us, as our Surety to God, that we may not be lost nor mis∣carry; but that all depends upon our own performances on our holy Watch∣fulness and sincere Obedience, for if Man at first did not stand, when he had no sin, no corrupt nature, no body of sin and death, how should we stand and weather the Storm, now we are so corrupted, so depraved, and have a thousand Snares laid for us in every place, that have such a de∣ceitful Heart, such a deceitful Devil, and a bewitching World to encoun∣ter Page 41•t withal: if, as Doctor Goodwin hints, Man suffered shipwrack, when he ••d so firm, so strong, and well-built Ship; and when he had so good a ••lot, as his Will was to him before he fell, and a calm Sea; who will be 〈◊〉 mad to venture to Sea now, on such a leaky and rotten Vessel? and ••ve no better a Pilot, than his own base, depraved, and corrupt Will to ••eer this ship on such tempestuous and dangerous Seas.
The truth is, the Covenant of Grace is not ordered in all things and ••e, if what these men say be true; that a Man may be a Child of God 〈◊〉 day, and a Child of the Devil to morrow; and that justified Persons •ay so fall away, as to perish for ever.
5. This reproves all such, who when convinced of their sinful and lost condition by nature, then presently set upon a Work of Reformation, and 〈◊〉 on duties of Humiliation, and then begin to see (as they think) a great change is wrought in them, and on that rest, and Hope all is well. Like 〈◊〉Herod who heard John and reformed many things, Mark 6.20. Alas Sirs! ••l this building will fall to the ground; is this to take hold of the Cove∣nant? Is this to get Union with Christ? is this Regeneration? is this to believe on the Lord Jesus, Act. 16.31. that you may be saved, •our own Works be they what they will; like Chaff they shall be bur∣•ed up. True, if you reform not your Lives (which the Terrors of the •aw, and Laws of the Land may force some of you to do, or Shame, and reproach, and Fear of Hell Torments) you shall certainly be damed: yet his you may do, and yet never be saved, 'tis so far from a bare Reforma∣•ion of Life; that will stand you in stead, that a Saint's Salvation, Hope and Desire lies not in a changed Heart, nor in inherent Grace, nor ••ncere Obedience, but in Christ, in his Righteousness, it lies in this Covenant, not in their Baptismal Covenant, not in being Church-Members, not in Praying, and hearing Sermons, and breaking of Bread, but in Christ, and in the Covenant of Grace; this is all my Salvation, and all my Desire, &c.
6. This reproves such likewise that remain under the Spirit of Bondage, and slavish Fear, after God hath graciously awakened them, convinced them of their Sins and lost Condition without Christ, and hath let out-a Spirit of burning upon them, that has burned up all their former Hopes, Faith and Confidence, which they once had in the Flesh, and are bro∣•en into pieces in the sight and sense of the evil of Sin. Souls what aileth you? what's the cause of your Disquietments and Sorrow? Is there no Help? No Relief for your Souls in this Covenant? Dare you not ven∣ture on Christ? Is there not all things that you want in Christ, and •n this Covenant? May be you will say, O! your sins are great, what tho' there is great pardoning Mercy in this Covenant, a great Saviour •or you; are you sinners, wounded sinners, sin-sick sinners, lost and un∣done sinners? then I declare, nay, proclaim Peace to you in Christ; good News, O Soul! is brought this day to your Ears; here is a Christ for you, Pardon for you in this Covenant, I will forgive their Iniquities, their Sins I will remember no more.
Will you make God a Liar? and not believe the Record he hath given of his Son? Joh. 5.10.
Page 42Secondly, By way of Exhortation, I must exhort you that lead ungodly▪ Lives to tremble, you who are condemned, and refuse the Offers of God's Grace by Christ, in this Covenant: What do you mean? will you value your base Lusts above God? above Christ, above the Salvation of your Souls; can you think God will give himself to you? or Christ espouse you, that live in, and love your sins, your dishonouring and Soul-damning Pride, Covetousness, Uncleanness, Drunkenness, &c. or any Deeds of Dark∣ness, which God's Soul loaths; be exhorted to adhere to the Truth of God's Justice, the Veracity of his Word, the Denounciations of his Wrath, which is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of Men, Rom. 2.18. Shall Christ and all Covenant Mercies be offered to you? a Feast of fat Things provided for you, and will you make light of this Offer? and gracious tender of Salvation.
2. You heart-broken Sinners be exhorted to look up to Christ, behold him whom the Father hath chosen and laid help upon, one mighty to save, look to your Physician, he is come to ease your burthened Consciences, to heal your wounded Souls, to pour in his Oyl and Wine, he will do it all free∣ly, tho' you have no Money, no Price or Mony-worth; yet in this Cove∣nant, here is Wine and Milk for you also, and your Souls shall live, and you shall be taken into his Covenant, and have Interest in the sure Mercies of Da∣vid, Isa. 55.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
3. Let such be exhorted, to lay to heart and repent, who darken the Doctrine of God's Free-grace, and eclipse the Glory of the Everlasting Covenant, that turn it into a Law of conditional Obedience, and mixt Works, done by the Creature with Christ's Merits; have they not stum∣bled many an honest Christian already, and filled others with many Fears and Doubtings, whilst they set them to seek after-Justification by their own sin∣cere Obedience and Gospel-Holiness, and join that (some way or another) with the Merits and Righteousness of Christ, and would have them not to count their own personal Holiness (as Paul did) even Dung, that they may be found in Christ not having their own Righteousness▪ but the Righteousness of God which is by Faith, whether their Doctrine tends most to promote true Gospel-Holiness, and the Honour of God, or ours; will appear at the last day. I hope they may mean well, but may they not fear they mistake? in going about to remove the Ancient Land-mark: why should that glorious Do∣ctrine of Justification, that shone forth in the days of Martin Luther, and has been the Ground of so many godly Christian's Hope; nay, Martyrs, now be struck at? and by which means, new Animosities and Divisions are let in a∣mong God's People, to the Reproach of his Holy Name, and Grief of Thousands of faithful Christians.
3. Consolation, This may be much improved in the last place, by way of Comfort and Consolation to Christians in every Condition, both in Life, and at the Hour of Death.
1. Is the Covenant of Grace made with Christ for us? and has he undertaken for our Souls as our Surety? is it ordered in all things and sure? Page 43 Then poor doubting Soul, here is a Foundation of Comfort for thee; O! how doth the Love of the Father abound towards us? as to enter into a Covenant for us, with his own Son; here's infinite Love, and Condescen∣••on: know, Christ equally engaged for all the Father gave him; Care is ••ken for the weakest Saint, as for the strongest; nay, Christ therefore ••rries his Lambs in his Arms, lays them in the Bosome of his Covenant. Souls, •emember God calls it his Covenant, where is it called our Covenant? we may break with God, but he will not break with us; Altho' my house be not 〈◊〉 with God, yet he hath made with me an Everlasting Covenant.
This Covenant stands firm, this Foundation of God is sure, it was E∣•tablished from all Eternity by an Eternal Act of God, that cannot be Re∣pealed, Altered or Changed: God is thine, Christ is thine, if thou hast Union with him, all is thine; and the Oath of God, the Truth and Faithfulness of God is engaged for the making good all the Blessings that are contained in this Covenant; God is thine, and Christ is thine for ever.
Thou art given to Christ, and Christ will not lose any one Soul the Fa∣ther gave unto him; none can pluck thee out of his hands, Joh. 10.28.
2 Art thou afflicted for thy sins? Look into this Covenant, here is a Cordial for thee, His Seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his Throne as the days of Heaven, Ps. 89.29. If his Chil∣dren forsake my Law, and walk not in my Judgments, v. 30. If they break my Statutes, and keep not my Commandments, v. 31. then will I visit their transgressions with the Rod, and their iniquities with stripes, v. 32. But my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail, v. 33. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth, v. 34. Is not here Relief for thee, if thou art afflicted? 'tis a sign thou art beloved; tis for thy profit, than thou mayest partake of his holiness, Heb. 12.10.
3. Art thou backsliden from God? see that in Hos. 14. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away from him, v. 4.
4. Art thou like a dry withered Tree? see his promise in this Covenant, I will be a dew to Israel, he shall grow as the Lilly, and cast forth his root as the Lebanon, they shall revive as the Corn, and grow as the Vine, v. 7. Tho' I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me, saith David: this he saw was in God's Covenant, Psal. 138.7.
5. Do thy sins appear grievous to thee? he has (as you heard promised in this Covenant) to be mercifull to their unrighteousness, their sins and iniquities will I remember no more, Heb. 8 12. Heb. 10.17.
6. But O the Power of them! Soul, mind his promise in this Covenant, sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. 6.14.
7. Art thou tempted? look into the Covenant, there hath no temptation taken you, but such that is common to man, and God is faithfull, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation make way to escape, that ye way be able to bear it also, 1 Cor. 10.13. Christ having suffered, being tempted, is able to succour them that are tempted, Heb. 2.18.
8. Art poor? and afraid thou shalt want Bread? either for thy Body, or for thy Soul; see that in Psal. 111.5. He hath given meat to them that fear him, he is ever mindful of his Co∣venant, he will abundantly bless her provision, and satisfie her poor with bread, Psal. 132.15.
9. Art thou afraid thou shalt sometime or another depart from God, or fall away from him? mind his Covenant, I will put my fear into their hearts, and they shall not depart from me, Jer. 32.40. Tho' they fall, they shall not utterly be cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his right hand, Psal. 37.24.
10. Dost thou fear Satan will be too hard for thee? Look into this Covenont, God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly, Rom. 16.20. O the Comfort this Covenant affords to us in every Condition, he will give Grace and Glory, and no good thing will be with-hold from them that walk uprightly.
Christians. what remains for you to do, that you may have the Comfort that is in this Covenant, but to go to God by Christ your Mediator, he pleads his own Merits and Page 44 Righteousness for us. I took flesh, O my Father, I suffered death according to thy good Pleasure; in their stead I gave my Soul a Ransome for them, I was made a Curse for them, wounded, to heal their Wounds, I bore their Sins, and carried their Sorrows; O condemn them not for their Iniquities which met in me: they are my Purchase, my Members, I have paid their Debts, and brought in everlasting Righteousness for them: he is heard all ways, O! pray in his Name, and all your wants shall be supplyed.
2. let the Fruits of God's Grace shine forth in your Lives: what shall we render to God for all his Covenant-Blessings? You are bought with a price, and are not your own, therefore glori∣fie God in your Body, and in your Spirit, which is the Lord's, 1 Cor. 1.19, 20.
Quest. But methinks I hear some poor sinner crying out, How may I come to be in this Covenant?
Answ. Soul, it is by thy being united to Christ, or by Union with him through the Spi∣rit, 'tis by Faith: O close with Christ, cry to God for his Spirit, attend on the means of Grace, see if thou canst find in thy heart to love Christ, to espouse him, enter into an Ho∣ly Contract with him, to this end he sends his Ministers. O that thou didst but see the w••t of him! and behold the Beauty that is in him, he that has the Son, has Life, he is actually in this Covenant, but know this is the Work of Christ; 'tis he must make thy heart willing, and dissolve those Bonds thou hast ty'd with other Lovers. Thou art not first to enter into a Covenant with God, or offer thy Terms of Gospel-Faith and Holiness, so as on that Condition, to oblige God to enter into a Covenant with thee: no, Christ is first given, and then God gives us to him; nay, himself with him: Christ's Love is first set on us, before we can love him, and when we were in our blood (not washed) that was the time of his Love, and then he entered into a Covenant with us, Ezek. 16. Reverend Mr. Cotton saith,
Thou art not O sinner! first to wash thy self from thy Wickedness, and get a clean heart, and then come to the Fountain of Christ's Blood; but as a poor, vile, lost sinner to come unto him: believe in him that justifies the ungodly, Rom. 4.5. Also 'tis Christ who is thy Physician, 'tis he that has undertaken thy Cure, and must apply the Remedy, and none can do it but he, and tho' thou hast no money, yet this Physician is to be had, and his Medicines too, and all freely, Isa. 55.1, 2.
But to close, Let us reflect a little on the Deceased, my Brethren, whose Corps is it we are to follow to the Grave this Evening: Sirs, 'tis the Corps of a godly Man; nay, a Minister, an ancient Minister: one who long and faithfully served Jesus Christ, under many Afflictions, great Tryals and Sufferings: O how many of late have we lost? and how few raised up in their stead? the harvest is great, but the labourers are few, one drops here, and another there; some by Distempers of Body made unable to labour before death comes, (as it was with our honoured Brother deceased) while others are taken away in their full strength: have we not cause to fear what is coming on? See that in Isa. 57.1, 2. God calls home his Ambssa∣dours, a-pace, what may we expect? O look for approaching Judgments, God hath given us divers ways warning, before Wrath breaks out upon us; the sins of the Nation are near fully ripe, and the sins of God's people tend to fill up the measure.
But tho' we must all die, as well our painful Ministers as the people, yet in this Cove∣nant death is ours, 1 Cor. 3.22. 'tis a Blessing, it is Gain, the Sting is taken away by the Lord Jesus; so that we ought not to mourn for our godly Friends that die, (as such who have no hope) for the righteous (in this Covenant) have hope in their death: This God is our God, and he will be our Guide even unto death. Thus is the Covenant of Grace, all the Desire, Hope, and Consolation of Relievers, both in Life, and Death. Our honour'd Brother is fall'n asleep in the Lord, i. e. in Union with Christ; and as Death has put an end to all his Sorrows, so now his Spirit possesses all eternal Joy and Comfort: for tho' (he as well as we) was at∣tended with weakness, and many Infirmities, yet he could say, God had made with me an ever∣lasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and this is all my Salvation, and all my Desire, altho' he makes it not to grow.