The manifold vvisedome of God In the divers dispensation of grace by Iesus Christ, In the Old New Testament. In the covenant of faith. workes. Their agreement and difference. By G. Walker, B.D. pastor of Saint Iohn the Evangelist in Watlingstreet.
Walker, George, 1581?-1651.

CHAP. X. The difference betweene the Covenant of Nature and of Grace.

BVt as they agree in these things, so they differ divers wayes. First, though the parties are in substance the same, yet in other respects they differ.

First, in the Covenant of Nature,* the parties God & man were friends. God was the Creator, man was his Creature made after Gods image. God was mans good Lord, and man was Gods good servant. God loved man, and man loved God with all his heart; there was not any least occasi∣on of hatred or enmitie betweene them, but all causes of love. But at the making of the Covenant Page  91 of Grace, God and Man were fallen out and become enemies. God was provoked to just wrath, and his un∣changeable justice required, that man should die, and be consumed by the fire of Gods just wrath: And man was become a rebell, and an enemy, and traitor to God, and had conspired with the Devill against his Lord and King. God was to man a consuming fire, and man was as straw and stub∣ble before him, by meanes of his sin∣full corruption.

Secondly, in the Covenant of Na∣ture,* God revealed himselfe to man, as one God, Creator and Governour of all things, infinite in Power, Wise∣dome, Nature and substance. But in the Covenant of Grace God revea∣led himselfe one infinite God, and three persons distinguished, not one∣ly a Lord and Creator, but also a mercifull Redeemer, not onely in unity of essence, but also in trinity of persons.

Thirdly, in the Covenant of Na∣ture* God was one party, and man alone was another: But in the Cove∣nant Page  92 of Grace, God is on both sides. God simply considered in his essence, is the party opposite to Man. And God the second person, having taken upon him to be incarnate, and to worke mans redemption, was on mans side, and takes part with man, that he may reconcile him to God, by bearing mans sinnes, and satisfy∣ing Gods justice for them. Thus they differ in respect of the parties.

Secondly they differ in respect of mediation; for in the Covenant of nature man needed no mediatour to come betweene God and him; he was pure, upright and good, created after Gods image, the nearer he came to God, the greater was his joy and comfort, Gods presence was a de∣light unto him. But in the Cove∣nant of grace, because man by sinne, rebellion, corruption and enmity, was separated and alieuated in his mind, nature and disposition from God, therefore mā could not come unto God to enter into Covenant with him, but by a perfect, pure and holy Mediator, infinit in power and favour with Page  93 God, that he might prevaile with him, and pacifie his wrath, and yet of mans nature and substance; that in and by the nature which had sinned, satisfaction might be made for sinne. Without such a Mediatour, there could bee no Covenant made be∣tweene God and man. If man, being ever since the fall filthy and corrupt, should in his owne person come near to God, who is to him a devouring and consuming fire, he as stubble and straw should presently be consumed, and perish at the presence of God. And therefore in making this Cove∣nant, a perfect Mediatour is necessa∣rily required, both to come betweene God and man, and to make perfect satisfaction to Gods just Law in the behalfe of miserable and sinfull man, and to worke his reconciliation and attonement.

Thirdly, they differ exceedingly* in the promises and conditions. First, the promises of God in the Cove∣nant of nature, were onely naturall life, and earthly happinesse, with all blessings necessary thereunto. But in Page  94 the Covenant of grace God doth promise, over and above naturall life and felicity on earth, spirituall life and blessings by the communion of his holy and eternall spirit; not only the spirituall life of grace in this world, but also of everlasting glory in the world to come, in the presence of his glorious Majestie. Secondly, in the first Covenant God did not pro∣mise to give life, but to continue life being before already given: But in the second Covenant be promiseth to raiseman from the dust of death and eternall damnation in hell (into which he was fallen head-long by transgression) unto the light of life, and that blessednesse in heaven, of which his nature was never capable before, no not in the state of innocen∣cy. Thirdly, in the first Covenant the promised portion and possession, was of the earth and of all visible creatures which were fit to serve for mans use. But in the second Cove∣nant God promiseth heaven, and himselfe who made the heaven, to bee the God, the shield and reward of the Page  95 faithfull, and their portion and in∣heritance. Genesis 15. 1. Psalm. 16. Fourthly, in the first Covenant God promised and gave to man power over all living creatures, to have them as a Lord at his command, and to use them for his delight, and to rule, not to kill and eat them. But in the second Covenant God gave them to him for sacrifice, yea and also to serve for his food and nourishment.

The fourth difference ariseth from* the conditions which God requires at the hands of man and on mans be∣halfe, for all these great and wonder∣full blessings. In the first Covenant God required of man perfect righte∣ousnesse and obedience to his whole law and will, so farre as it was in mans power by nature, and revealed unto him, and this he would have man to performe by himselfe in his owne person. But in the second Covenant he requires, on mans behalfe, a more excellent obedience and righteous∣nesse performed to the whole Law more plainely and fully revealed, and greatly enlarged, and that not by man Page  96 himselfe or any meere creature; but by mans Mediatour Iesus Christ, God and man in one person, who is the end of the law for righteousnesse to every one that beleeveth. Rom. 10. 4.

Now there is wonderfull differ∣ence betweene these two. The righ∣teousnesse required in the first Cove∣nant, was only the righteousnesse of a pure naturall man, and able to save him onely who performed it; but the righteousnesse of the second Co∣venant, is the righteousnesse of a per∣fect, pure and holy man filled with the holy Ghost, which Adam had not in innocency; yea the righteous∣nesse of that man, who is one person with God, and so it is the righteous∣nesse of God, as the Apostle calls it, 2 Cor. 5. 21. and is of value to justifie not onely those who have communi∣on of it, but also a whole world of men besides, if they were made parta∣kers of it. Secondly, the righteous∣nesse of the first Covenant was onely simple actuall obedience to the Law, flowing from naturall uprightnesse; But the righteousnesse of the second, Page  97 consists of habituall holinesse, and of obedience both active and passive to the precepts and penalties, com∣mands and threatnings of the Law; it hath in it both the sacrifice of righteousnesse, and also perfect satis∣faction for sinne by voluntary sub∣mission to sufferings and death.

Thirdly, the righteousnesse of the first Covenant consisted onely in obedience to the morall Law: But the righteousnesse of the second is obedience both to the morall and ceremoniall Law. For our Saviour Christ was circumcised, presented in the Temple, did eate the Passeover, and observed all the ceremoniall ordi∣nances of God, yea and was bapti∣zed by Iohn (as the Gospel testifieth), and that not for himselfe (for he was free borne, without sinne, and needed not to offer sacrifice, or to be circum∣cised or washed) but onely to fulfill all righteousnesse, and to supplie the defects of the Fathers in their obedi∣ence to Gods ceremoniall ordinances of old, and also our defects in our baptisme and other Evangelicall or∣dinances: Page  98 so much he himselfe testifi∣eth, Math. 3. 15. Rom. 15. 8.

Fourthly, in the first Covenant God did not promise unto man a righteousnesse performed to his hand by a surety and intercessour; but on∣ly gave man naturall strength and power to performe the righteousnesse which he required of him; but yet such mutable strength, that the de∣vill by sudden tempration might pre∣vent him before he was confirmed, and so pervert and supplant him: But in the second Covenant God gives both the righteousnesse per∣formed to our hands, and also his ho∣ly spirit which workes in us faith and strength of grace to receive and enjoy it; yea, by dwelling in us as Gods im∣mortall seed, doth unite us to Christ, and bring us to communion of all his benefits, as his sonship, righteousnesse, satisfaction and the rest, and all this God doth both promise and give freely, so that this is foedus gratuitum, a most free Covenant.

The fifth difference is in the seales;* for though in this, both covenants a∣gree, Page  99 that seales were annexed to them, yet they differ in the seales and man∣ner of sealing, both inward and out∣ward. The seale of the first Covenant was the tree of life: But the seales of the second Covenant were the Sab∣bath of the seventh day, sacrifices cir∣cumcision, and the passeover in old time; and now the sacraments of Baptisme, and the Lords supper. The seale of the first Covenant was but a pledge to confirme man in naturall life, and in naturall beleefe and assu∣rance. But the seals of the second have the holy Spirit of God inwardly wor∣king with them, and by them.

Lastly, they differ in successe, effect,* strength, and perpetuity. The first Covenant had no good successe, it never tooke effect to save any one of Adams sons; yea it is abolished, on∣ly the law and condition of it stands firme in the matter and substance of it (being Gods immutable will, and eter∣nall rule of righteousnesse) to wit, that without perfect obedience to Gods revealed will, man shall never come to eternall life, but is under the Page  100 jawes of death. But the second Co∣venant, being made in such a perfect Mediator, and sealed with the blood of Iesus Christ, God and man, which is of infinit and eternall value, hath had good successe from the begin∣ning, hath taken effect in all ages, and is of force and vertue for ever world without end.