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. XIII. The difference betweene the Cove∣nant made with the Fathers, and the Covenant with us.

THey differ divers wayes. The* first, which is indeed the greatest difference of all, is in respect of the darknesse and obscurity of the one, and the plainnesse and perspicuity of the other. The Covenant with the Fathers was every way, and in every point more darke and obscure, in∣volved in types and shadowes of Christ. The Covenant in the Gos∣pell is plaine and perspicuous, it re∣moves the vaile, and shewes Christ the substance with open face. In the Old Covenant the severity of Gods justice, and his just wrath and enmity against sinne did not so plainely ap∣peare, because the effect of them was not made manifest upon his own dear Sonne our Mediatour, untill he came to suffer actually such ignominy, re∣proach, Page  113 agonies, and a most ignomi∣nious and cursed death for our sinnes which he tooke upon him to beare, and which were imputed to him, and punished in him our surety: Gods not sparing him, but afflicting him with all his stormes, and delivering him up to hellish paines and agonies, and to a cursed death, doe wonder∣fully shew his infinite wrath against sinne, which was but slenderly and darkely revealed to the Fathers in Types and Figures in the slaughter of Beasts, and burning of sinne-offe∣rings. So likewise, though in the Old Testament we reade of God, and some mention of his Sonne, Psalm. 2. 12. Prov. 30. 4. and of the Spirit of God, and doe finde many phrases which signifie more persons then one or two in one Iehovah: yet the Mystery of the Trinity was not so fully revealed, as now it is in the Gos∣pell, wherein wee have plaine affir∣mation of three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost, in the unity of Gods essence, and all the three are said to be one, though Page  114 by distinct properties and divers works they are described unto us se∣verally, and distinguished one from another. And hereby we see that the new Covenant of the Gospel is more plaine, and the old more darke, in re∣spect of the parties God and man be∣tweene whom the Covenants are made.

Secondly, in the old, Christ the Mediatour was darkly shadowed out to the Fathers; they had onely this knowledge of Christ, that they should be saved by a Mediator, that this Mediatour should be the seed of the woman, that he should be the Archangell or Prince of Angels, and Emanuel, God with us, yea, and* should be called the mighty God, and should make atonement for sinne, and bring in eternall righteousnesse: But how God and man should in him be∣come* one person, how God in him should be incarnate and humbled, and stand in our place, and beare our sins, how he should fulfill the law in every particular point, how he should satis∣fie Iustice, and suffer the wrath of Page  115 God; these things were not distinct∣ly, nor fully revealed unto them, on∣ly the extraordinary Prophets had some foresight of them, and did more plainely at sometimes describe some of them. But now in the Gospel wee see the person of our Saviour, and his two Natures most plainly set forth be∣fore us, the manner of his Birth and Incarnation, the personal union of his Natures, the manner of his obedi∣ence, death, and satisfaction, and the particular uses of them, as also the vertue of his resurrection and ascen∣sion. And therefore the new Cove∣nant is more plaine in respect of the Mediatour. Thirdly all the promises of eternall life and Salvation, and the condition on mans behalfe, how and after what manner it should be per∣formed; also the things signified and confirmed by the seales, were farre more darke and obscure in the old Covenant. But in the new Cove∣nant of the Gospel, all these things are so plaine, that even children may learne and understand them. And thus in all respects, and in all parts Page  116 the Old was more obscure, and the New is more plaine. And this is the first, and the maine difference. Out of this there doe arise two other, even a second and third difference be∣tweene these Covenants.

The one which is the second in* order, is a difference in the parties re∣ceived into the Covenants. The old Covenant, because of dimnesse and obscurity, did shine forth but a little, and gave light onely to them who were neare at hand; and hereupon it came to passe that it reached to a very few; sometimes but to one or two families, and when it was in greatest force, but to one Nation and people of the world. But the new Cove∣nant in brightnesse of knowledge, and plainenesse of revelation doth shine like the Sunne, and gives light farre and neere to all Nations, even to them that sate in darkenesse, and in the shadow of death. And hereupon it comes to passe, that people of all Nations are received into this Cove∣nant, and the parties which now en∣ter league with God, are not some Page  117 few men, or some one Nation, but all Nations and people of the world, God is one party, and all Nations of the earth are the other party.

A third difference consists in the* power, efficacy, successe, and effect which is divers in these two Cove∣nants; For howbeit they agree in these generally, because both of them have had successe, taken effect, and beene of power to bring many to salvation (as is before noted:) Yet by reason of the obscurity of the old, it hath taken lesse effect, and beene of lesse power. And the new by meanes of plainenesse and light, hath brought with it more excellent gifts, and more abundance of grace to ma∣ny, and hath beene of greater force, power and efficacy, and the Spirit hath wrought more powerfully by it. For (as the Apostle saith) faith, which is, as it were, the roote of other graces, commeth by hearing, and hea∣ring by the Word: where the Word is more plainely preached and heard with understanding, there must needs be greater knowledge and faith, and Page  118 there the Spirit must needes worke more powerfully and effectually, and shew all graces more abundantly in the hearers. Hereupon it comes to passe, that the Old Covenant did worke but weakely in all, except those that were ex••aordinarily called and enlightened, because of the ob∣scurity of it, and unfitnesse to beget knowledge and faith. But by vertue of the Nw the Lord writes his Law in our hearts, and makes us all know him more fully, Ier. 31. 33. and doth poure out his Spirit with aboun∣dance of Grace upon all flesh, Ioel 2. 28

A fourth difference is in the cir∣cumstance* of the promises and gifts, The old Covenant did promise life and salvation in Christ, who then was to come. And Christ who is the foundation of all the promises, though he had then taken upon him to worke mans redemption, and his future death and obedience were ac∣tually in force from the beginning, able to save all beleevers; yet he was not actually come in the flesh, nei∣ther Page  119 had actually performed these things for man. But the new Cove nant doth promise salvation and all blessings in Christ being already come in the flesh. And Christ hath actually performed all things which were needfull for our redemption, and we are by the new Covenant made partakers of his sacrifice already offered, and his righteousnesse alrea∣dy performed for us.

A fifth difference ariseth from the* order and mixture of the promises. The old Covenant did first and chiefely promise earthly and tempo∣rall blessings, as deliverance from bo∣dily enemies and dangers, and plenty of worldly goods, as houses, lands, wealth, riches, encrease of children, length of dayes and such like, and in and under these it did signifie and promise all spirituall blessings and salvation But the new Covenant pro∣miseth Christ and his blessings spiri∣tuall in the first place, and after them earthly blessings. First it brings us to the Kingdome of God, and the righteousnesse thereof, and then it Page  120 ministers other things unto us. A∣gaine the old Covenant abounded in earthly promises of worldly bles∣sings, but had few promises of spiri∣tuall and heavenly blessednesse inter∣mingled; But the new insists almost altogether on heavenly rewards, and promises of spirituall blessings, and hath but few promises of temporall and worldly good things. And thus both the order of the pro∣mises, and the unequall mixture of earthly and heavenly blessings, doe make another difference betweene the old and new Covenant.

Sixtly, they differ in the outward* matter of the seales, the outward rites, and in the order of Sealing. The seals of the old Covenant were many, and those laborious, costly, heavy and burdensome; circumcision was pain∣full, sacrifices were costly, and the many oblations, offerings, and puri∣fications, were a burden too heavy for the fathers to beare. But the seales of* the new are few, and but two, the least number that can be, and those very easie without toyle or cost, or Page  121 paine of body or minde. The matter of the old seales were oxen, sheepe, goats, birds, incense, odours, calves, lambes, cutting of the flesh, shedding of the blood, burning, and killing of divers creatures. The matter of the new seales is onely water sprinkled, and Bread and Wine broken, pow∣red out, distributed, eaten, and drun∣ken, and this is all that the seales differ much in outward matter; also in the order of sealing: for the old was first typically sealed with shadowes, and after with the substance, Christs Bo∣dy and Blood: The new was scaled first with Christs blood and death, and is now sealed by the outward signes dayly in the Sacraments.

Lastly, they differ in perpetuity.* For though the substance of both is one and the same, eternall and un∣changable; yet the forme and manner of making and sealing is changable in the old, but is in the new perpetu∣all. The old Covenant hath new words added to it, even the new Te∣stament; and the outward seales are abolished, and new put in their place: Page  122 But to the words of the new Cove∣nant no more or plainer words shalbe added, neither shall the outward seales thereof be altered, but shall remaine till the comming of the Lord. And therefore the old is but in substance onely; but the new is in all respects perpetuall and unchangeable. Thus much both of the agreement and the difference betweene the old and new Covenant of grace.