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OF GOD's COVENANT WITH MAN.
THE distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.a
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to
I. a Isa. xl. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. Job ix. 32, 33. For he is not a man as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any days-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. 1 Sam. ii. 25. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Psal. cxiii. 5, 6. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high? Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth? Psal. c. 2, 3. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Job xxii. 2, 3. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect? Job xxxv. 7, 8. If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man. Luke xvii. 10. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Acts xvii. 24, 25. God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.
II. b Gal. iii. 12. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doth them shall live in them.
his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.d
III. Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,e commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.g
c Rom. x. 5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doth those things, shall live by them. Rom. v. 12 to 20. (See Chap. vi. Sect. 3. letter f.)
d Gen. ii. 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for, in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Gal. iii. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
III. e Gal. iii. 21. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid; for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Rom. viii. 3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Rom. iii. 20, 21. Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Gen. iii. 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Isa. xlii. 6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.
f Mark xvi. 15, 16. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.^ John iii. 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Rom. x. 6, 9. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above.) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Gal. iii. 11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. g Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. And a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. John vi. 44, 45. No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw
IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.h
V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel : under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews; all fore-signifying Christ to come,k which were for that time sufficient, and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Mes
him and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto
IV. h Heb. ix. 15, 16, 17. And for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth. Heb. vii. 22. By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. Luke xxii. 20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 1 Cor. xi. 25. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
V. i 2 Cor. iii. 6, 7, 8, 9. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
k (Heb. viii. ix. x. chapters.) Rom. iv. 11. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also. Col. ii. 11, 12. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 1 Cor. v. 7. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
siah, by whom they had all full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.TM
VI. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance" was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper,° which, though fewer in number and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet in them it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,P to all na
7 1 Cor. x. 1, 2, 3, 4. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea. And did all eat the same spiritual meat. And did all drink the same spiritual drink. (For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.) Heb. xi. 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. John viii. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
m Gal. iii. 7, 8, 9, 14. Know ye, therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
VI. n Col. ii. 17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
o Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 1 Cor. xi. 23, 24, 25. For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which Is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
p Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven; and to God the Judge of all; and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that yo refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven. Whose voice then shook
tions, both Jews and Gentiles ; and is called the New Testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations."
the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more, I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
9 Mat. xxviii. 19. (See letter o immediately foregoing.) Eph. ii. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, for to make in himself, of twain, one new man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile both unto God, in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have an access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now, therefore, ye are no mere strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of
the household of God.
r Luke xxii. 20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
s Gal. iii. 14, 16. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. "He saith not, And to seeds, as of inany; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Acts xv. 11. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they. Rom. iii. 21, 22, 23, 30. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Psal. xxxii. 1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. With Rom. iv. 3, 6, 16, 17, 23, 24. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him. But for us also, to whom it