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. XIIII.

FIrst, the agreement which is be∣tween* these two Covenants of grace, doth serve to assure us, that all the faithfull forefathers, from the be∣ginning, did partake of the same gra∣ces with us, and had fellowship and communion of the same spirit, with one and the same Iesus Christ, and were justified by his righteousnesse, and saved eternally by faith in him, even as we are at this day. If sinne in them could have hindred the worke of Gods grace, so it might doe in us; Page  123 for we are sinners as well as they, and God hath as just a quarrell against us. If our Mediator be of power to save eternally, then must they also needs be saved as well as we; for they had the same Christ. He was yesterday, is to day, and shall be the same for ever. If Gods promises be true, & if they can∣not faile; surely they had the same in substance which we have. If salvation doth rest upon the condition of righ∣teousnesse, they had the same which we have, even the righteousnesse of God in Christ, and by the same faith they did partake of it. If seales can helpe any thing at all, they had them also as well as we. And if we may judge of the power of the Covenant, by the successe and effect in some persons, we shall find, that Enoch and Eliah were by the grace of the Old Covenant saved even from bodily death, and taken up into heaven and happinesse. And there∣fore let this consideration of the uni∣ty and agreement which is betweene the new and old Covenant of grace, admonish us not to be puffed up with Page  124 pride, & a false conceipt; as if we one∣ly under the Gospel were respected of God, & saved by faith in Iesus Christ. Let this teach us to thinke reverently of the Fathers in the Old time, and love and reverence the name and re∣membrance of them as Saints glori∣fied in heaven, spirituall members of the same Christ, and partakers of the same grace with us. But above all let this enflame our hearts with a deadly hatred and detestation of all those he∣retickes, and their doctrine, as the Manicheans, Anabaptists, Antinomi∣ans, blasphemous Servetus, and the rest who have not beene ashamed to teach boldly; that the fathers did ne∣ver partake of saving grace in Christ, neither were under the same Cove∣nant of life with us; but onely were fed with temporall promises, and earthly blessings, as hoggs and calves for the slaughter. And let us count the Popish fiction of Limbus patrum a doating dreame, justly to be abhor∣red of all true Christians as a loath∣some abomination.

Secondly, the differences noted be∣tweene*Page  125 the old, and new Covenant of grace, serve to magnifie in our eyes Gods extraordinary love and boun∣ty towards us who now live in the light of the Gospel. Though the Fa∣thers were fed with the true Bread of life, yet in a small measure, and more coarse manner prepared; and though the light of life shined to them, yet it was dimly through clouds and mists. The tast and sight which they had of Christ, did in this life more increase their hunger, then satisfie their appetite, and more increase their thirst after him. They had few ex∣amples, and present patternes of holy men to follow; the number of be∣leevers was small, and so there were but few helpes and encouragements in true Religion. The gifts of the spi∣rit were rare, scarce to be found in two or three among a great multi∣tude; and those gifts of knowledge, faith, and heavenly wisedome, which those few had, were small, and not so eminent. But the Lord hath opened to us the windowes and floodgates of heaven, and rained downe more Page  126 abundantly all blessings upon our heads; he hath made the river of life, which glads the citie of God, flow a∣mong us in full streames; he hath fed us to the full with the bread of life; so that Hypocrites begin like Israel to loath his heavenly Manna: we live in the glorious light, and see Christ clearly; we have many examples of godly men on every side round about us to provoke us, many patternes to worke by; much encouragement, plenty of all gifts of learning, know∣ledge, wisedome, Faith, love and the like. Now how comes this to passe? Is it because we are better then our forefathers, or because wee have bet∣ter deserved? Surely in no case; for they were by many degrees more excellent in naturall gifts then we, lesse rebellious, and more ready to make good use of small meanes, then we are of greatest. Which of us dares compare with Ezoch, Noah, Abra∣ham, or David? As the world grows old, and we grow weake in bodily strength, and low in stature; so we still grow more and more strong Page  127 in corruption and in frowardnesse of heart; And the Lords mercy and bounty is so much greater to us then to them, because we are further from deserving any mercy then they were, and do deserve more misery. The onely thing wherein we are better then they, is this; that the Lord hath shewed more goodnesse to us then them: wherefore let us all confesse and say to the glory of God, that it is his mercy not our merit, to him belongs all the praise. It is not of him that wil∣leth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy. To him be glory and honour for ever world without end.