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. VII.

THe New Covenant which was foretold by the Prophets, Isa. 42. 6. Ier, 31. 31. Zach. 9. 11. it is the Covenant which God hath now made by the preaching of the Page  73 Gospell in this New Testament. It is the Covenant of all happinesse, all blessings, and all salvation in Christ, plainely preached and revealed, sea∣led also and confirmed, not by Blood of Christ in Types and Figures; but by the very Blood it selfe bodily shed on the Crosse for our sinnes; and by the two plaine Sacraments of Bap∣tisme, and the Lords Supper, this is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the New Covenant, Ierem. 31. 31. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Luke 22. 20. and 2 Cor. 3. 6. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a bet∣ter Covenant, Hebr. 7. 22. For in it the Lord reveales his promises so plainley and cleerely, that all men may see and know the way to life. And howbeit in this Covenant there is nothing expressed wch was not im∣plyed and included in the general ob∣scure promises made unto Adam, and unto Abraham & David, and the rest of the Fathers in old time; And al∣though Iesus Christ the perfect Savi∣our, and Eternall Redeemer, God and Man, with all his righteousnesse, obedience, and full satisfaction, and all his benefits, blessings, gifts and Page  74 graces, which serve to bring men to perfect blessednesse and salvation; and which are fully expressed in the Covenant of the Gospell, were darkely and obscurely of∣fered unto the Fathers, and were ap∣prehended by their faith, in that Co∣venant which God made with them: Yet certainely this Covenant, as it is now renewed by the comming of Christ, and by the preaching of the Apostles and Evangelists, may justly be called a New Covenant, and is truely so called, both by the Prophets and Apostles, for divers good rea∣sons and considerations.

First, because there is as great diffe∣rence* betweene this Covenant thus revealed, and the Covenant as it was revealed before Christs incarnation, as there is betweene an old darke house builded up strong, but yet without any whiting or painting, having very few doores or windowes in it, and those either very narrow, or else shut up with boords, or stop∣ped with Bricks and Morter, that few can enter in, save such as are already Page  75 within it; and when they are there, they have but small light, and some none at all: there is (I say) as great a difference betweene the Covenant, as it was revealed to the Fathers, and the same Covenant be∣ing now renewed with us, as there is betweene such an old darke house, and the same house when it is repai∣red from the very foundation, and is all whited over within and without, all painted and beautified, and trim∣med from the roofe to the foundati∣on, and is made full of faire and wide doores on every side, for all sorts of people to enter into it; and hath many large windowes made in every roome, whereof none is stopped up; but all are glazed with pure Crystall Glasse, through which the light of the day, and the bright beames of the Sunne doe shine most comfortably. This difference will appeare most evidently to us, if wee compare the Old and New Testament together, and observe the diversity of Revela∣tion.

The Covenant which God made Page  76 with the Fathers before Christ, was a sure house builded on Christ, and founded on Gods eternall Truth. It was a safe shelter against all raine and soule weather of affliction, and all stormes of temptations, and did shrowd the Fathers from the scorch∣ing heate of an evill conscience, and the fiery flames of Hell and the De∣vills fury: but it had few doores, and those narrow ones, such as few could enter through, to wit, onely the natu∣rall Israelites, who were all included in it by the promise made to Abra∣ham, and those who were circumci∣sed Proselytes. The windowes of it were few also, and those were the darke promises of Christ, wch yeelded but little light, shadowed over with Types and Figures, as with a vaile of obscurity. It had no glorious or∣naments to allure men a farre off; It was not whited, nor painted, nor set forth with variety of pleasant pictures which might delight people: but it rather appeared all bloody with the blood of Bulls, Goates, Rammes and Lambs, like a slaughter house, and all Page  77 blacke and smoaky with the conti∣nuall offering of burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the smoaky fumes of Incense: Yea, so many were the ce∣remonies to be observed, and so heavie and intolerable was the bur∣den of them, that it appeared unto all that passed by, to be rather a Shop to worke and labour in, a Mill to grinde in, and an house of correction, then any place of rest, or pleasant and comfortable habitation. But this Co∣venant, as it is now renewed with us under the Gospell, is much altered, and made like an house repaired and renewed throughout from the top to the foundation. The Rocke Christ upon which it is built, is now set forth in all his glorious colours; all all the Mosse of ceremonies which did over-grow and cover him, is ta∣ken away; hee now shines like Ivory, Crystall and Adamant, most finely polished. The Truth of God in his promises, which is the ground of our Faith, is now made manifest and clear by the comming of CHRIST and by the fulfilling of his Word Page  78 which he spake from the beginning; and now we dare boldly relie and rest on Gods Word, in sure hope and con∣fidence that his Truth will never fail. The Ministeriall foundations, to wit, the writings of Moses and the Pro∣phets, are now by the light of the Gos∣pell changed as it were from rough and unhewen stones, and made like smooth polished Marble. The foure Gospels are, as it were, foure doores made in the foure sides of this square house, looking towards the foure winds of Heaven, ready to receive all men from all the foure corners of the earth. The many Sermons of Christ and his Apostles in the New Testa∣ment, are as so many Windowes, through which, as through Crystall Glasse, much heavenly Light is con∣veyed and derived unto us, even from heaven, from the throne of God; the sweet promises, and many and di∣vers gifts of the Spirit, as Know∣ledge, Faith, Tongues, gifts of Hea∣ling, Prophecying, Miracles, and the like, are as pleasant and delight∣some Pictures and Ornaments, able to Page  79 draw, allure, and delight the hearts of all men. And the many outward bles∣sings of peace and plenty wch follow the preaching and profession of the Gospell where it is received, are as it were a glorious painting & whiting, which doth make this house glorious a far off, and fils and enflames all that passe by with admiration and love of it. Now there is none so obstinate, nor so strict in speech, but hee will grant, that an house so altered and re∣newed throughout, (as I have before shewed) may truely be called, though not another, yet a new house; be∣cause it is repaired, renued and beauti∣fied in all parts, though the founda∣tion and substance of the walls, and the Timber be the same. And therefore none can deny but that the Covenant of Grace now under the Gospell, though it be the same in sub∣stance and matter with that made to the Fathers, and hath the same foun∣dation; yet being thus altered, renew∣ed, and beautified, may justly be cal∣led, though not another, yet a new Covenant at least, and a better Cove∣nant.

Page  80Secondly, the Covenant of Grace* which before GOD made with Abraham and his seed, and which was inforce onely among the Israe∣lites before the comming of Christ, is now by the preaching of the Apo∣stles made with all Nations, and all the people of the world are received into it, or at least have it offered unto them; and there is free accesse made unto all through the new doores which are now made in every side of the Covenant (as is before noted.) This is manifest by the very mission of the Apostles, and the Commission which our Saviour Christ gave unto them▪ Matth. 28. in these words, Goe teach all Nations.

Now experience teacheth us, that when an house is not onely repaired, but also inlarged every way, and the foundation of it is stretched out an hundred times more then before, it may truely even in respect of it selfe be called a new house. And when new inhabitants come to dwell in an house wherein they never dwelt before, though the house hath beene Page  81 long built, and is old in it selfe; yet to them it is a new habitation, and men in such cases call their houses new houses. Therefore by the same rea∣son it followes necessarily, that the Covenant of Grace which was made with the Fathers, being now by the comming of Christ, the light of the Gospell, and more plentifull gifts of the Spirit, much enlarged, and made capable of all Nations, and Christ the foundation of it being stretched out to all the world; it may even in it selfe be called a new and better Co∣venant. Also in respect of the new people which are received into it, it may be called a new Covenant, though in it selfe it were no whit al∣tered or enlarged at all.

Thirdly, where the seales of a Co∣venant* are made new, and the old are taken away, and where the manner of sealing is altered and quite inverted, there we may call it a new Covenant, though the substance be the same. Experience teacheth this; For when a man that hath a I ease of twenty yeares in an house, gives it up, and Page  82 takes another of the same terme in more full and plaine words, or when upon some defect which he findes in his deed of sale, either in the forme of conveyance, or in the sealing and the witnesses, hee gives up his former deed, and takes another of the same land sealed with other seales, and te∣stified by other witnesses; this wee call a new deed, though the land be the same, and the purchase all one in substance and true meaning. Now thus it is betweene the Covenant of Grace now under the Gospell, and the same Covenant before the com∣ming of Christ. Though this is the same in substance, and the salvation promised is the same, even that wch is onely in Christ: yet the manner of sealing is much altered and inverted, and the outward seales also. The Covenant had before many seales, as Circumcision, the Passeover, and all the Sacrifices, Ceremonies, Types and Figures of the Law: now it hath onely two, Baptisme and the Lords Supper. The old Seales were darke and obscure, and had Christs image Page  83 but dimly imprinted into them: The new have a more lively resemblance of Christ. In Baptisme there is the print of the whole Trinity, The Fa∣ther, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost. And the signes in the Lords Supper are so like unto the Body and Blood of Christ, that they are called by the same name. Before the Gospell the Covenant was first sealed typically by Christs Blood; and at last by the Blood it selfe. Now the Cove∣nant is first sealed by the Blood of Christ it selfe, and afterwards, to the end of the world, it is sealed to us by evident signes and remem∣brances of Christs death, given by himselfe as pledges to us.

The old seales were mutable; the new are unchangeable. The old sealing was much in outward shew, and very little inwardly by the spirit; The new is little in outward shew, but more by the inward worke of the spirit. The word of the covenant is now more abundantly written in mens hearts, according to the word of the Lord Ier. 31. 33. This is the new Page  84 Covenant, I will put my law in their inward parts, and will write it in their hearts. Which words are to be un∣derstood thus; not that the fathers had not the word written in their hearts, but that it was not so deeply written, nor in the hearts of so many, as now it is. Wherefore the seales and the manner of sealing being so much renewed, and inverted, we may true∣ly call this a new Covenant. Thus you see the description of the new Covenant now under the Gospel, and the true reasons why it is called the new Covenant, even when it is com∣pared with the Covenant made with the Fathers, which was the same in substance with it.

But if we compare it with the Co∣venant of Nature, which is the Cove∣nant of Works, and of the Law made with Man in the Creation; then it must of necessity be called new, be∣cause that went before it, and was in the time of mans innocency; this came in after the fall; that promised naturall life, this promiseth spirituall also; that tended to hold up the Page  85 Old Adam, this to build up the New.

So likewise, if this new Covenant of the Gospell be compared with the Covenant which God made with Israel in the Wildernesse, it may true∣ly and must necessarily be called new. For that was a mixt Covenant, mixt of the Covenant of Nature and of Grace, and contained in the Law, which is the Covenant of Workes; and the faith of the promise which is of the Gospell and of Grace (as is before shewed.) And therefore in respect of the first part of that Cove∣nant which promised life to the doers of the Law, this is truely a new Covenant, differing in substance from it; and indeed the Apostles doe call this Covenant of the Gospell a new Covenant, especially and chiefly in comparison of these two Covenants, even that of pure nature, and that mixt Covenant of the Law.