FIrst, the Hebrew word Berith, (as also the names of Cove∣nant, in the Greeke, and English tongue) signifies a Covenant be∣tweene God and Men.
Secondly, it signifies the Cove∣nants of men among themselves, as Gen. 21. 27. It signifies the Covenant betweene Abraham, and Abimelech,Page 50 and Gen. 31. 44. the Covenant be∣tweene Iacob and Laban. But here I have little to doe with Covenants betweene men. The Covenant which I am to insist upon, is betweene God and Men.
First, the Covenant of naturall life and blessings, which God made with Man in the creation.
Secondly, the Covenant of Grace, which God made with Man in Christ, after Mans fall. In the Cove∣nant of Nature, the parties were, God the Creator, and Man the Creature, made after Gods Image and like∣nesse, and so not contrary to God, nor at enmity with him, but like un∣to God, though farre different, and inferiour to God, in Nature and sub∣stance. The promises on Gods part were these, That Heaven and Earth, and all creatures should continue in their naturall course and order, wherein God had created and placed them, serving alwayes for mans use, and that man should have the benefit, and lordship of them all, and should live happily, and never see death. Page 51 The condition on Mans part, was obedience to Gods Law, and subje∣ction to God his Creator in all things; and this he was to expresse by obeying Gods voyce in every thing which he had already, or should at any time command, more especial∣ly in abstaining from the Tree of good and evill. The Signe and Seale which God gave to Man, for the con∣firmation of this Covenant, was the Tree of Life, which was to man a Sa∣crament, and pledge of eternall Life on earth, and of all blessings needfull to keepe man in life. The receiving of this Seale, was mans eating of the Tree of Life. The end of this Cove∣nant, was the upholding of the Crea∣tion, and of all the creatures in their pure naturall estate, for the comfort of man continually.
This was the first Covenant which God made with man, and this is called by the name Berith, Iere. 33. 20. where God saith, If you can breake my Covenant of the day and night, and that there shall not be day and night in their season, then may al∣so Page 52 my Covenant with David be bro∣ken.
In these words he speakes plainly of the promise in the creation, That day and night should keepe their course, and the Sunne, Moone, and Starres, and all creatures should serve for mans use. This though man did breake on his part, yet God, being immutable, could not breake it, nei∣ther did hee suffer his promise to faile; but, by vertue of Christ pro∣mised to man in the New Covenant, doth in some good measure conti∣nue it, so long as Mankinde hath a being on earth.
The Covenant of Grace, is that which God made with man after his fall, wherein of his owne free Grace and Mercy, hee doth promise unto Mankinde a blessed Seed of the Wo∣man, which by bruising the Serpents head, that is, destroying the power and workes of the Devill, should re∣deeme Mankinde, and restore all that beleeve in that blessed Seed Christ, to a more happy and blessed estate, then that which was lost. In Page 53 this Covenant the parties were God Almighty offended by Mans sinne, and provoked to just wrath; and man by his wilfull transgression now become a Rebell and enemy against God, and deserving eternall death; so that here is great contrariety, sepa∣ration, opposition, and cause of en∣mity betweene the two parties, and betweene them there was no possibi∣lity of peace and reconciliation, with∣out a fit and all sufficient Mediator necessarily comming betweene.
The things which God promi∣seth in this Covenant, and for his part performeth, are admirable, farre surpassing mans reason.
The first, is the All-sufficient Me∣diatour Christ, his owne eternall Sonne, whom God promised imme∣diately after mans fall, and who did then begin, actually, to mediate for man, and did undertake to become Man, and by a full satisfaction made in Mans nature, to Gods▪ infinite Iustice, and just Law, and a perfect and full ransom paid for mans Re∣demption to purchase pardon of all Page 54 mans sins; to justifie, and make him righteous, and to reconcile him to God.
The second, is the Spirit to be gi∣ven to man, and shed on him through Christ the Mediatour, Gal. 3. 14. and Tit. 3. 6.
The third, is spirituall▪ Life, derived frō Christ, & wrought in man by his quicking spirit, together with all gra∣ces and blessings thereto belonging.
The fourth, is union, and commu∣nion with Christ of all his benefits, as of his Son-ship, to make all regene∣rate men sonnes of God, and heires of eternall life, glory, and all blessings, of his satisfaction and sufferings for re∣mission of all their sins; of his righte∣ousnesse for justification.
The fift, is a true right to the na∣turall life which Adam lost, to the Creatures made for mans use, and to all earthly blessings which are given him to possesse and injoy in this life.
The sixth, is sanctification and holinesse, whereby man is fitted to see and enjoy God, Matth. 5. 8. and Hebr. 12. 14.
Page 55The last, which is the end of all, is the eternall life of glory, in the frui∣tion of God in Heaven.
In this Covenant there is not any condition or Law to bee performed on mans part by man himselfe, as in the first old Covenant, of Nature; and therefore it is called the free Cove∣nant of Grace, and not of Workes. The perfect obedience, righteous∣nesse, and satisfaction of Christ, which he performed to the whole Law, for man, in Mans nature, though it stands in the place of eve∣ry mans perfect obedience to Gods Law in his owne person, and his sub∣jection to the whole revealed will of God, which was the condition of the Old Covenant of Works, and when man is partaker of it by communion with Christ, he is more perfectly ju∣stified, and made worthy of life eter∣nall, than man in the state of nature could have beene by his owne per∣fect obedience, and personall righte∣ousnesse performed in his owne per∣son; Yet it cannot so properly bee called, A condition of the New Co∣venant Page 56 of Grace which God hath made with Mankinde (because God imposeth it not as a condition to bee performed by every man in his per∣son) but is one of the blessings pro∣mised in the New Covenant. So likewise, the Gifts, Graces, and Workes, and Fruits of the Spirit, which are required to be in man, to make him an actuall partaker of Christ, and of life and salvation in him, whether they be outward, as the word preached and heard, the Sa∣craments given and received, and the like; or inward, as Faith, by which Christ is received, and applied; Re∣pentance, Love, Hope, and other sa∣ving Graces; they are all free gifts of God, he gives them to us, and by his Spirit workes in us both to will and to doe; and without his Grace continually assisting us according to his promise, wee cannot performe any thing which is mentioned in the Gospell, as a conditionall meanes of life and Salvation in Christ. And therefore this Covenant is foedus gra∣tuitum, a most free Covenant of Page 57 Grace, wherein no condition is pro∣pounded to man, to be performed by any power of his owne, for the obtai∣ning of life: but God of his owne free Grace promiseth all blessings, and for his owne sake gives them; and also all power to receive and en∣joy them. And the end and use of this Covenant, is not any gaine which God seeketh to himselfe, nor any good which he can receive from man, or any creature, but onely the making of man perfectly blessed in the fruition of himselfe and all his goodnesse, and so gathering to himselfe all things in Christ. This Covenant is that which is called, the Covenant of Peace, and is most high∣ly extolled, and commended in all the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament. And howsoever the substance of this Covenant hath beene alwayes one and the same from the beginning, even from the se∣venth day of the world, wherein God first promised Christ the bles∣sed Seed, and so shall be for ever; yet because the circumstances are di∣vers, Page 58 and the manner of revealing the promise, and of sealing it, is far diffe∣rent in the Old, and New Testament; hereupon it comes to passe, that the Spirit of God doth distinguish it into the Old and New Covenant; and as it was revealed, and sealed to the Fa∣thers under the Law, cals it the Old Covenant; and as it is now revealed and sealed under the Gospell, cals it the new Covenant, Ier. 31. 31. & 2 Cor. 3. 6. And both these are called by the name 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the Hebrew, and by the name of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the Greeke Text.