[Page] THE DIFFERENCE Between the OLD and NEW COVENANT Stated and Explained: WITH An Exposition of the Covenant of Grace in the Principal Con­cernments of it.

By SAMUEL PETTO Mini­ster of the Gospel.

Isaiah 55. 3. I will make with you an ever­lasting Covenant, even the sure mercies of David.

LONDON, Printed for Eliz. Calvert, at the Sign of the Black Spred-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls. 1674.


IT is a matter of highest concernment unto the souls of men, to have a special acquaintance with the Covenant of Grace, the great Char­ter which all spiritual and eternal bles­sings are holden by, and the way and means wherein they have their convey­ance, or are derived to them.

There are many useful Treatises al­ready extant on this subject; but still there are some weighty points refer­ring to it as with Jesus Christ, and especially concerning the Old mount [Page] Sinai Covenant and also the New, which have need of farther clearing, for the unfolding of many Scriptures, the establishing the faith and promo­ting the comfort of Christians. If it might be the fruit of my present un­dertaking to contribute any thing this way, or to give light into those glori­ous mysteries so as God might be ho­noured thereby, I should have my aim.

In order to the further opening of some matters insisted on in this Trea­tise, I shall add that which follow­eth.

As the Covenant of Works was made with the first Adam and all his seed in him, promising preservation in life, upon condition of mans own perfect obedience to the will of God, Gen. 2. 17.

So, the Covenant of Grace, was made with Jesus Christ (not meerly as God, but as to be incarnate, or de­signed to be Mediator) as a second Adam, and with a Gospel seed in him, promising all spiritual blessings, even [Page] eternal life and salvation upon the condition or consideration of his under­going the curse, and yielding perfect obedience to the Law on their behalf, Isai. 53. 10, 11. Rom. 5. 6. to the end.

In this large sense, it compriseth that between the Father and the Son for our redemption which was full of grace, and did flow from the free fa­vour of God to poor sinners, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Tit. 1. 2. as well as that to or with us, viz. the New Covenant, for the application of what is promised thereupon, which some speak of, as if it only were the Covenant of Grace.

Thus its constitution was from eter­nity, Tit. 1. 2. though its revelation was in time to Adam, Abraham, David, &c. Gen. 3. 15. & 12, &c.

Now, that being the condition of the Covenant of Grace, that the righ­teousness of the Law should be perform­ed, or all the demands of it as to du­ty and penalty answered by Jesus Christ; hence it was necessary that there should be some means for his [Page] coming actually under our very obliga­tion: to that end, the Lord in infi­nite wisdom made a revival or repe­tition of the Covenant of works as to the substance of it (with a new in­tent) in the Covenant at Mount Si­nai (which did run upon Do and Live, Gal. 3. 10, 12.) not that Israel should have eternal life, by their own doing; but that Jesus Christ should be born un­der the very Law that we were obliged by, Gal. 4. 4. Not meerly to make a valuable satisfaction by something in lieu of it (for his taking our nature, and making intercession or other works of his, being of infinite merit and va­lùe, might then have served the turn without his sufferings) but as that word, Gen. 2. 17. required, to under­go the very curse, and to fulfil the ve­ry righteousness of it in our stead, which he did accordingly, and herein especially consisteth our redemption. Gal. 3. 12. Gal. 4. 4, 5.

The fulfillng the Old and confirm­ing the New Covenant are the imme­diate effects of his death. He stood [Page] therein as the Mediator not of the Old, but of the New Testament, Heb. 9. 15. therefore he died, not meerly to procure a New Covenant, or that God might with honour deal with men upon new terms, but to make good the terms or conditions of the New.

The Mount Sinai Covenant (with reference to the matter of it) may be said to express the Legal Condition of the Covenant of Grace, as to be ful­filled by Jesus Christ; even as the New Covenant holdeth forth the blessings promised unto us that condition being performed by him. These are matters so distinct, as I hope none will take of­fence, that I (as I have explained my self) speak of the Old and New as two distinct Covenants when compared each with other, as Gal. 4. 24. Heb. 8.

Seeing I do not assert, that at Sinai to be a Covenant of works for eternal life to Israel, upon their obedience to it, as some would have it, rather its reference is wholly to that of grace, though it be not the whole of it.

[Page] Neither do I assert two Covenants of Grace or ways of salvation for sub­stance distinct. But whereas it is usu­ally judged that the Old is one and the same with the New, differing from it only in some circumstances and accidents, as rigorous exaction of duty by fear, terror, &c. I on the other hand think that spiritual blessings were dispensed out by the Covenant with Abraham, and though Israels obedi­ence to the Moral Law, was on ano­ther account, a fruit of holiness and sanctification, yet as the same obedience had relation to the Mount Sinai Co­venant, so it ushered in only temporals to them: even as a child oweth obedi­ence to his Father by a natural obliga­tion, but if a Father should promise an estate upon some acts of the same obe­dience, then they would be cloathed with a double respect, or have a dou­ble use; so here.

The Mount Sinai Covenant being thus opened, many Scriptures will be explain­ed, and it will be discovered, what those works of the Law are, which we are so of­ten [Page] denied to have justification by: viz. All works performed by our selves as the least of a righteousness unto justificati­on, (or which cometh to the same) as a condition giving right and title to Salvation. Act. 15. 1. Rom. 9. 30, 31, 32. Phil. 3. 9. It is only the Obedience of Jesus Christ to the Law that availeth to these ends. The Apostle industri­ously proveth, that men have not such eternal mercies by their own works, morla or ceremonial either without or in conjunction with Jesus Christ, Rom. 3. 20. & 9. 3. Gal. 3. 11, 21. Gal. 5. 4. the seeking to be justified or saved thereby is opposite unto true sanctifica­tion; whence discourses thereof are often interwoven in the Epistle to the Romans and Galatians. It's true, the very works of the Law of Moses are most particularly opposed, because the controversie of that day with the Jews and Judaizing professors of Christia­nity was concerning these: yet if men give any other works the same place and office, by acting upon a legal ground, they become as works of the [Page] Law, and the Apostles arguments are equally forcible against them.

For, he thus reasoneth, That can­not be a justifying righteousness in our present fallen estate, 1. Which is not perfect, for the least sin is enough to condemn, Rom. 3. 20. Gal. 3. 10. Nor, 2. which is our own, of our own working out, Rom. 10. 3, 5. Nor, 3. Which leaves any place for boasting, Ephes. 2. 9. Rom. 4. 2. Nor, 4. which is opposite unto grace, Rom. 4. 4. And upon these accounts, all Evangelical Works are excluded out of Justification, for they are imper­fect, they are our own subjectively; they would leave room for some boast­ing, if acceptance to life were upon these, seeing it should be by our gi­ving unto God: also the way were op­posite to grace, for if the condition were never so small, yet being per­formed, the reward might be claim­ed upon our act, and so would be of debt, not of Gospel-grace; Rom. 4. 4. The works of Abraham and David af­ter conversion are excluded out of [Page] justification, vers. 2, 3, 6. which ar­gueth, that although Evangelical obe­dience kept in its due place, doth not derogate from the grace of God, yet it doth, and is opposite to it, if introdu­ced into justification. So that [Go­spel-grace] doth not consist in a bare abatement of the rigor of the Law, nor in making a bargain with us (for the sake of Christ) to accept of our faith, repentance and sincere obedi­ence, instead of that which is per­fect: but it standeth, in excusing us from a personal performance of that righteousness which is the condition of life and admit­ting Jesus Christ to answer the Law in our stead. For, the grand diffe­rence between the Law and the Gos­pel is, the one justifieth by our own, the other by anothers righteousness. If man himself be the Doer for life, that is the righteousness of the Law, which saith, Rom. 10. 5. the man that doth them shall live in them. In oppositi­on to it, that of the Gospel is called [the righteousness of faith] vers. 6. [Page] and of God, vers. 3. because it is to be sought out of our selves, in another, in the free promise; and that which we are the subjects of is to be disclaim­ed here, Phil. 3. 9. Rom. 10. 3. The asserting it to be by any of our perso­nal performances, giveth them the ve­ry place of works in the Covenant of Works, which is anti-evangelical and introduceth some merits as well as per­fect works would have done. The be­ing enabled by grace to them doth not hinder meriting, any more than (as one saith) my furnishing a man with my tools to work with, hinders his de­serving a reward. All ability that Adam had in innocency was from the favour of God, and what he was to do was duty. Faith it self is not the least of that righteousness; it is an act of obedience, but as such it is not said to justifie, nor as it worketh by love, al­though it doth so work, Gal. 5. 6. Nor as a condition of life (as I have else­where manifested) but only as a means for the applying Christ and his righte­ousness; much less can any works of [Page] ours be a part thereof. The new crea­ture availeth to being crucified to the world, Gal. 6. 14, 15. i. e. as a means, but it is not said that it avail­eth to justification.

To justifie, is, to declare a person to be righteous; the true God cannot pass a false sentence, therefore we cannot have justification without having a righteousness: this cannot consist in any act of ours as faith, repentance or obe­dience, as is already manifested; therefore it must be of anothers working out, the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, Rom. 5. 18, 19. 1 Cor. 1. 30. And if his obedience (being to the Law) may be called a legal righteous­ness, yet as the same is applied by faith, it is to us an evangelical righ­teousness. All the question then is, whether evangelical works are not of the same use in justification that faith is of? have they not the same place and office there, that faith hath? I answer negatively, they have not; for often we read of the righteousness of faith, never of the righteousness of love in [Page] that business. We are said to be justified by faith, not (in the same sense) to be justified by love or works.

It's true, there is a necessity of Evan­gelical works to testifie our faith, obe­dience, and thankfulness to God, but they are required, not as conditions, but as effects and declarations of our justification. Things are said to be done, when they are manifested, as, Rom. 3. 7. & 4. 15. A tree is known by the fruits. And thus not only open acts, but those that are secret (when regu­lar) have an aptitude to evidence faith, and that a person is justified, even when they are not actually seen. Paul speak­eth of being justified before God by re­ceiving or applying the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the free promise, this is only by faith. James speaketh of being justified by manifesting to a mans self or others that it is applied, this is by Evangelical works, and not by faith only. Thus by offering up Isaac, the person of Abraham was de­claratively justified, as it did shew his [Page] faith to be true, vers. 18. (Gen. 22. 12.) and not his working, but his believing is said to be imputed to righteousness, Jam. 2. 23. if this be justification in the sense of Paul, yet it is by faith [and he was called the friend of God] there is justification declared by works, as God acted kindly towards him, so he acted in a friendly way towards God. He is a vain man that content­eth himself with a faith that stand­eth in a bare assent to some propositi­ons of truth without the power of them upon his heart, vers. 14, 19, 20. That is a dead faith, which doth not profit, is not attended with salvation which remaineth without works, vers. 17, 20, 26. therefore it is not the same true faith which any are justified by, but another thing. That unfruitful faith which is blamed here, certainly was as far from justifying them as it was from saving them, and so is not the faith which Paul insisteth upon, for by that men were justified, and that in order before works, for they cannot be performed in an in­stant, [Page] though they certainly follow: but the justification and faith which they are put upon and called to declare by works, these are of a Gospel stamp.

The Lord Jesus having fully per­formed the Law as the condition of the New-Testament, hence it becometh absolute to us. If improperly a duty, a way, or means to the enjoyment of some blessings of it, be called a Condi­tion, I contend not. But a Condition properly is more than a causa sine qua non, it is a cause that hath a moral efficiency in it; for the fulfilling of it is that which giveth right, and upon which a man hath a title to what is promised, and without it none; and so it is a moral efficient cause of the en­joyment of the good promised in a Co­venant. Faith and repentance are great duties; but nothing performed by us can be such a cause or condition in the New Covenant.

There is Absoluteness, 1. In the form of the New Covenant. 2. In the actu­al admission into it. 3. In the free­dom of those under it from the curse of [Page] [Page] [Page] the Old, and in their participation of the blessings of the New.

1. Wherever the form of the New Testament is given forth, it is in an Ab­solute way [I will, and ye shall]. Heb. 10. 16, 17. Heb. 8. 8. to the end. He insisteth upon it that now Jerem. 31. 31, 32. was made good, and this purposely to draw off the Hebrews from the Old Co­venant which they did too much take up in, and to put them upon looking unto the New. Other Scriptures may discover what is our duty before and after being actually interested in the blessings of it; but the nature of the Covenant is most fully expressed here in these Texts, which speak of the great matters or pro­mises contained in it, of the Mediator and subjects of it. The tenure thereof must be fetched from these places where the Covenant is purposely insisted upon, rather than from others, where only one promise is named, and it not so much as mentioned. And here, it is not call­ed a purpose or prophecie, but a Covenant or rather Testament, and is so absolute­ly held forth, as God undertaketh all. [Page] He promiseth as well that they shall be his people, as that he will be their God He promiseth not only that he will re­member their sins and iniquities no more, but also that he will write hi [...] Laws in their hearts, i. e. give a frame of faith and new obedience these are as absolutely promised here as any other matters, and therefore be­lieving and obeying cannot properly be­causes or conditions, but are fruits and effects of the Covenant, by its being ac­complished upon them. Their duty i [...] necessarily implied, yet as it standeth here in the Covenant, the design of i [...] plainly is, to express the work of God what he will do for them, how he with furnish and capacitate them to discharge it towards him.

2. The actual admission of all that Jesus Christ stood for, into the New Covenant, or the bringing them under it is absolutely determined: he had an absolute assurance that his undertaking should take effect on all those that he de­signed therein, Isai. 53. 10, 11. He shall see his seed; all that he travelled [Page] for, and therefore they must be effectu­ally brought into Covenant with him. There was no condition that his obedi­ence had dependence upon, or upon which it was to be accepted for such souls, otherwise not. He did not suffer at any such uncertainty, but for those which were assuredly to become the heirs of promise.

Yea, the making Covenant with us, is challenged by the Lord as his work, Isai. 53. 3. & 61. 8. I will make or cut an everlasting Covenant with you, so Jer. 31. 31, 32. Jer. 22. 40. Ezek. 16. 8. Heb. 8. 10. God hath underta­ken to bring under the promise, and make an application of it. Attendance upon means is duty, but it is not said, that men do make the Covenant with God or bring themselves into it by an act of theirs, but God maketh it with them, they do but take hold of Gods Co­venant, Isai. 56. 4, 6. The will of God is not determined by any act of man. When God will work who shall lett him? what he undertaketh shall be absolutely accomplished; hence as those under the [Page] Old Covenant who were to be redeemed are represented under the name of Israel, so also are those under the New to whom all is to be applied; the same are the subjects of both.

3. Those that are actually in Covenant have an absolute freedom from the curse of the Old, and a like Promise of the blessings of the New. Jesus Christ hath not only suspended, but redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us, Gal. 3. 13. Hence we are said not to be under the Law and to be dead to it, Rom. 6. 14. & 7. 4. Gal. 2. 19. Christians then have not only a conditional freedom from the curse of the Law in this life, but such as is absolute; and if they should believe themselves to be under it, they should believe a lie. Rom. 8. 1. Yet Divine threatnings are of great use, not only to the unregenerate, but even to be­lievers, to strike them into a filial fear, so as to deter them from sin, which hath such punishment annexed to it, and this when they see themselves secu­red from it; even as an ingenuous [Page] Child will be afraid upon hearing his father threaten another for a fault and will beware of committing it. The non-elect are formally under the curse of the Law and vindictive Justice. The Elect before conversion, are not only materially under it, but the Laws sen­tence of condemnation is against them. Believers are so freed from it, as their sicknesses, death, &c. are but materially the same mentioned in the curse, and turned into blessings to them.

Also all the Promises of the New Co­venant are absolute to all that are un­der it. Heb. 8. 6, &c. No act of ours induceth an obligation upon God to vouchsafe salvation to us. That great blessing of the Covenant, Justification, is by faith, not said to be by it as a con­dition, and the same may be said of other blessings thereof; yet I deny not but figuratively that may be ascribed to faith which belongeth to Jesus Christ alone. The absoluteness of the Cove­nant is not attended with any such con­sequence, as that then man is at liber­ty, but God is not: for, such as are yet [Page] out of Covenant, or want a personal in­terest in the blessings of it, even all men are under a Divine Law, and an obliga­tion to obedience, else they could not be charged with sin, as they are, Rom. 3. 23. & 5. 12. where there is no Law there is no transgression, seeing sin is the transgression of the Law. 1 Joh. 3. 4. So then, the obligation unto duty doth not arise meerly from entring or coming into Covenant; and that is so far from taking off the tie that it su­peraddeth strength to it; but no man is at liberty, whether he be in or out of Covenant.

As to the way of the Lords entring into Covenant with men, it is thus:

He by his Spirit in the Gospel reveal­eth, and giveth Jesus Christ (for he is the first saving gift) and all the Pro­mises are vouchsafed in and with him. Coloss. 2. 6. 1 Joh. 5. 12. Rom. 8. 32. Eph. 3. 6. 2 Cor. 1. 30. 2 Pet. 1. 4. The same New Covenant or Testament hath various effects.

As the Spirit worketh effectually by the Promise of it upon the souls of men, [Page] so it is a Covenant of life and grace to them: it is by the New-Testament that the Lord saith to any souls live, and that first grace is wrought in them; Ezek. 16. 8. & 36. 26. Heb. 8. 10. 2 Cor. 3. 6.

As the Lord by giving and promulging the Promises, obligeth or putteth him­self under engagements to make them good to men, so it is a Covenant to or with them, because they obtain perso­nal interest therein so as to have a ground to claim many priviledges thereof: thus often the Covenant was renewed with Abraham after his being in it.

As by the same Covenant or Promise the Lord obligeth himself to all acts of Communion, and expressions of love, and kindness suitable to or that can be expected in a conjugal relation, so it is a Marriage Covenant with them: the same instant they are enabled to consent by faith (Heb. 8. 10. Joh. 1. 12.) to receive and enjoy the blessings promised as a necessary fruit and effect of the Covenant. It is promised there­in [Page] that they shall be his people, they shall resign up themselves to the Lord. He hath undertaken that one (i. e. one by one) shall say, I am the Lords, Isai. 44. 3, 5. A consent is promised by the Lords as well as any other mat­ter. So that our engaging our selves to God (or Covenanting with him) is not constitutive of the Covenant of grace, but executive, namely that which is produced in the execution of it, and may often be repeated or re­newed by distinct engagings. God dealing with men as reasonable crea­tures that act out of judgement and their own choice, urgeth duty (as be­lieving, repenting, &c.) by argu­ments from the advantage of coming up to it [All that believe shall be sa­ved] and the danger of neglecting it, such [shall be damned] as Mark 16 16. Rom. 10. 9. Rev. 3. 20. Such ge­neral propositions do not express the full tenure of the Covenant, but only are means towards the execution of it for, the invitations extend to all Na­tions, Matth. 28. 19. Mark. 16. 15. [Page] (since the death of Christ not before, Psal. 147. 19, 20.) Whereas the Cove­nant is only with the Israel of God, Heb. 8. 8.

I shall add no more at present to this, but that my design in all is, the right stating evangelical duty, and the assert­ing the doctrine of free grace, which as it is the most Christ-exalting, so it is the most sin-mortifying, soul­humbling and abasing, and self-empty­ing doctrine: it is not the Law of works, but of faith that excludeth boasting. Coloss. 1. 18, 19. Rom. 6. 1, 14. Tit. 2. 11, 12. Rom. 3. 27.

[Reader, the following Treatise hath been divers years prepared and not one leaf added to it since October 1672. which I mention for a special reason]. My desire is, that all which I have said for clearing up of the mind and will of God in this great matter may be weighed in the ballance of the Sanctua­ry, and received as it holdeth weight there. And that thy sharing in the [Page] blessings of the everlasting Covenant may be promoted hereby, shall be the prayer of him who is,

Thy Servant in the work of the Gospel, S. P.
Christian Reader,

THE ensuing Discourse con­taineth a sober endeavour for the declaration and true stating of the nature and difference of the two Covenants of Works and of Grace. A subject this is which, by reason of the weight and use of it in the whole business of Reli­gious Obedience, hath been attempted by many, and wherein, by reason of the difficulty of it, in conjunction with their own Prejudices, not a few have miscarried. Neither do I know of any who have yet handled it with that ful­ness and perspicuity as to shut up the way unto the diligence of others in the investigation and declaration of the [Page] Truth, or to render Labour in the same kind either useless or superfluous. The stores of heavenly wisdom, grace and truth which are treasured up in the Divine Revelations concerning Gods Covenants, are far from being fully exhausted or drawn forth by the la­bours of any in this kind, although very many have already brought to light excellent and useful instructions in the mind of God and the duty of them who do believe. But the thing it self is so excellent, the mystery of it so great, the declaration of it in the Scripture so extensive and diffused throughout the whole body of it from the first to the last, as also in its con­cernment unto the whole course of our faith and obedience, that there is a sufficient ground whereon to justifie a renewed search into the mind of God therein as revealed in his word. There is no doubt, but the greatest product of Divine Grace, Goodness and con­descension, next unto the sending of the only Son of God to take our Na­ture on him, with the direct effect [Page] and consequence thereof, is this of his entring into Covenant with the Children of men; nor hath any thing a greater tendency unto the advance­ment of his own glory. God might have dealt with mankind in a way of soveraignty or meer dominion, as he doth with the remainder of the crea­tures here below; but then it must be acknowledged that in such a way of rule and procedure there would not have been that evident demonstration of the divine excellencies, his goodness, righteousness and faithfulness, as en­sues upon the supposition of his con­descension to take mankind into cove­nant with himself. And thence it is that he never did nor ever would treat with any of that race any otherwise or on any other terms. Wherefore when the first Covenant was broken by the entrance of sin, God had no other relation unto mankind but that of a supreme Ruler and Judge, to re­ward them according to the penalty threatned, and established in the Co­venant. But as for any advantage in [Page] a way of Love, Peace and Goodness there was none remaining until he had made and established a New Cove­nant to that end and purpose. And this fully discovers how great a con­cern there is of the glory of God in the Covenant which he made with us and proposeth unto us, seeing he never declared or intimated any other way of gracious or acceptable inter­course in him; and the effects of i [...] do issue in eternity. Moreover this dispensation of God in making a Co­venant with our first Parents, was the greatest evidence of the preheminence of that nature where with in time we were endowed, and only demonstrati­on of our being capable to be brought unto eternal enjoyment of him. For God herein admitting us into an in­tercourse with him by a declared Rule of his own Goodness and faithfulness manifested that we were capable of eternal rewards which he proposed un­to us in himself. And these things make the investigation of the true na­ture of the Covenant with God first [Page] made with Adam, and the terms whereby it was made, both necessary and profitable. For although that Co­venant is ceased by the entrance of sin, as unto any spiritual or eternal ad­vantage unto us; yet is it as revealed, still instructive in the wisdom and goodness of God, as also in the excel­lency of that state and condition in which we were created, with the ho­nour that God put upon our Nature, whence directions unto due appre­hensions of God, and our selves may be taken or derived. But as to the New Covenant which is in and with us in Christ, and so is comprehensive of the whole work of his Mediation, it is the only instrument of our present relation unto God, of his communi­cating of himself in a way of Grace, Love and Mercy unto us, of our fixing faith, trust and affiance on him, and yielding obedience unto him, as also of the bringing of our souls unto the eternal enjoyment of him. The know­ledge hereof therefore is necessary to every one who thinks it necessary for [Page] him to endeavour an acquaintance with God or Christ, the present state or future condition of his own soul. It is therefore doubtless a labour worthy of acceptance in any whom God hath given light unto in this Mysterie of his Wisdom and Grace, and ability for the declaration thereof, to endeavour the direction and instruction of others in the Truth and Doctrine hereof, where in all our faith, obedience, present comfort, and future happiness do de­pend. But yet further, besides these two solemn stated Covenants, the one suited unto the preservation of the state of integrity wherein we were created, and the other to the renova­tion of the Image of God in us through Jesus Christ which we had lost by sin, there is mention in the Scripture of sun­dry particular intervening Covenants that God made with his Church, or sin­gle persons, at several seasons. Now whereas they did all partake of the Nature of a Divine Covenant in ge­neral, so were they emanations from and particular expressions or limitati­ons [Page] of one or other of the two solemn Covenants mentioned; for a Cove­nant of another kind absolutely, or more Covenants God never made with mankind. But yet under the Old Testament, while the wisdom of God was to be hid in its own mysteries; and not clearly brought forth to light, there was such a mixt dispensation, revealing for certain ends, the Notion, Sense and Power of the first Cove­nant and preparative for the introdu­ction of the full revelation and decla­ration of the latter by Jesus Christ, who was in all things to have the pre­heminence, as that it is not easie to discern and distinguish what belongs unto the one in them and what to the other, or from whether of them they are to be denominated. Here therefore is a blessed field of sacred Truth, wherein humble, sober and judicious persons may exercise themselves, to the great benefit and advantage of the Church of God. To state I say a right the Nature of a Divine Covenant in general, with its Essential Properties, [Page] which must be in every one that is so, to manifest the true difference that is between the first and second Covenant which God hath made with us, in themselves, and their Nature, with their different effects and ends, to declare what Properties, Doctrines and Ends of the first Covenant or Covenant of Works, with what of the Nature, Power and Efficacy of the second Co­venant or the Covenant of Grace God brought in and declared in that dispen­sation under the Old Testament, wherein there was a mixture of both, though one only established in power, to manifest what there was of Christ in the Law, and how the whole power and sanction of the first Covenant was through the Law conferred upon Christ, and in him fulfilled and end­ed, is a work deserving the most dili­gent travel of those who are called unto the teaching of the Mysteries of the Gospel. And in these things with sundry other of an alike importance hath this Worthy Author laboured, if I am not much mistaken, unto good [Page] success. And as his design is to extricate things which seem perplexed, to give light into the whole doctrine of the Covenants by declaring the pro­per Order and Method of the things contained in them, with their respect one unto another, that the grace of God in the Covenant of Grace may be exalted, and his faithfulness with his holiness in the Covenant of Works both in and by Jesus Christ, the end of the one and the life of the other; so the Reader will find I hope that satis­faction in these great and deep inqui­ries which he will have occasion to return praise and thanks to God for.

John Owne.


  • Chap. 1. OF a Covenant in general and the distribution of the Cove­nant into that of works and of grace. pag. 1 [...]
  • Chap. 2. Of the Oneness of the Covenant with Jesus Christ and us. p. 1 [...]
  • Chap. 3. Of Christ as the Summ of the Co­venant. p. 36.
  • Chap. 4. Of the date of Covenant mercies. p. 48.
  • Chap. 5. General Inferences from the whole p. 53
  • Chap. 6. Of the Old and New Covenant what they are, and how distinct. p. 6 [...]
  • Chap. 7. Of the Nature of the Mount Sinai Covenant. p. 10 [...]
  • Chap. 8. Of the Sinai Covenant, whether cea­sed or continuing? p. 170
  • Chap. 9. Of the good that was in the Sinai Covenant. p. 189
  • [Page] Chap. 10. Of the Differences between the Old and New Covenant, and the excellency of the later above the former. p. 195
  • Chap. 11. Of the time of first coming into Covenant. p. 262
  • Chap. 12. Of the evidences of interest in the New Covenant. p. 288
  • Chap. 13. Of the Use of Absolute Promises. p. 299
  • Chap. 14. Of those that are called Conditio­nal Promises. p. 312


Page 1. Line 7. Read vouchsafing: p. 3. l. 14. and p. 36. l. 11. add the: p. 17. l. 10. for [door,] [...] [doer] p. 34. l. 30. r. fail: p. 59. l. 24. for at­tended, r. attending: p. 69. l. 29. and 70. l. 1. r. worser p. 91. l. 6. r betterness: p. 97. l. 27. for this, r. thus p. 104. l. 27. r. 2 Tim. 1. 9. p. 155. for course, r. curses p. 171. l. 14. r. Mal. 4. 4. p. 222. l. 12. r. by his: p. 224. l. 10. r. Tact. Sacr. p. 226 l. 26. add [4] p. 230. l. 24. for it, r. in: p. 245. l. 23. blot out [to be]:



Of a Covenant in general, and the distri­bution of the Covenant, into that of Works and of Grace.

THE All-wise God that he might magnifie his loving kindness to­wards miserable man in vouch­saving him fellowship and Com­munion with himself, in all ages had this admirable contrivance of dealing with him, [Page 2] not in the way of prerogative, but in the way of Covenant. When man was in a state of innocency, there was a Covenant of Works wherein he put himself under engage­ments to him, to continue him in life, if he kept his standing and remained obedient. And also man being in a fallen estate, he chuseth still to Coverse with him in the way of a Covenant, not as made with the first Adam, but with Jesus Christ as a Se­cond Adam, and with all his Seed in him.

There are many Scriptures which give clear intimations of such a federal transacti­on between God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, in order to the recovery and ever­lasting Salvation of Sinners: even where we do not find the very notion or name of it. Thus Isa. 53. 10, 11, 12. There is a mu­tual agreement, something to be undergone by Jesus Christ, he is to make his soul an offering for sin; something promised to him thereupon, he shall see his Seed—So Isa. 42. 6. Here are the parties Covenan­ting, the Father and the Son, not men but I the Lord who cannot err in my appoint­ments, who am faithful and able, even the almighty God, I have called thee i. e. Je­sus Christ, and will give thee, the speech is turned and directed to him, thee, who art my only beloved Son. Here is the Fathers [Page 3] designation and sealing of him (John 6. 27.) to the mediatorial imployment, promising him much upon his undertaking it, and his acceptation of this office and voluntary sub­mission to the Will of the Father in it, so I come to do thy Will, &c. Heb. 5. 4, 5. Psal. 40. 7, 8. John 10. 17, 18. And these toge­ther amount to or make up a Covenant be­tween them; for what more can be necessary thereunto? Here we have the matters or things promised viz. all that conduce to the compassing the great end of salvation. Was man under alienation from God? Behold it is promised, I will give for a Covenant; no way imaginable whereby this wide breach could be made up, but by a Covenant; and that of Works being broken, man would not be trusted any more, and therefore now Jesus Christ as a Surety undertaketh all ne­cessary for the ending and making up the difference, and the retaking and restoring his Seed into Divine favour again for ever, so as he is even the Covenant of the people, all the condition of life on their part to be performed is found in him. Yea, he hath undertaken the removal of all obstacles and impediments within, that would hinder their attainment of Covenant mercy, he is given for a light of the Gentiles, he taketh away the inward blindness that is found with [Page 4] them. No sinfulness or unworthiness may be a discouragement, for behold all is in a way of free grace [I will give thee—] Christ himself the fountain of all is freely given, and the Father is upon the highest determination and resolution for bringing all to effect I will give thee—.

So there are many promises made to Jesus Christ of assistances and all requisites to the mannagement of this great work I will hold thy hand i. e. will assist and be thy hel­per, as Isa. 41. 13. and many promises of success and of his being Victorious over all his enemies, and having the Heathen for his inheritance, &c. Psal. 2. 8, 9. Zech. 9. 10. Psal. 72. 8. Dan. 7. 14. upon his obedi­ence: all which plainly argue a Covenant between the Father and the Son. It is implied also in the ascribing to him the working out of redemption; for, unto that is requisite an agreement between par­ties. The Father promiseth that upon the payment of such a price by his Son, such Souls should be ransomed and set free; Jesus Christ consenteth yea payeth it and thus be­cometh a Redeemer, this amounteth to a Co­venant.

But in order to the further clearing of this matter, I shall consider a Covenant in general, and then its distribution into that of [Page 5] Works and that of grace, the interest of Je­sus Christ in the latter, and also the date of it.

The Word [Covenant] in Hebr. [...] Berith, is taken either [properly] for a mutual contract or agreement between two parties, and is differenced from a Law which is without obligation on the Law-giver or Commander, and from a single promise, which is without stipulation from him to whom it is made. Covenant may be thus taken, when applied to the whole Covenant of grace between the Father and the Son, for therein was stipulation.

Or Covenant is taken [figuratively] in Scripture, either for a bare Divine promise, as Gen. 9. 9, 10. that was with every living Creature, many of which were uncapable of contracting with God, or of making any stipulation. So Covenant is taken for a bare sign or seal of it. Gen. 17. 10. Also for a part, as the moral Law which was but a part of the old Covenant, is called the Co­venant. Exod. 34. 28. Deut. 9. 9, 11. 15. Thus Covenant and promise may be used promiscuously, a part for the whole. Rom. 4. 13. Gal. 3. 17, 18, 19. and thus figu­ratively Jesus Christ himself is called [the Covenant] Isa. 42. 6.

The Covenant of God on the behalf of man is two-fold, and is thus distinguished.

The Covenant
  • 1. Of works; with the first Adam and his Seed.
  • 2. Of Grace.
    • 1. With Jesus Christ the Second Adam for all his, from eternity.
    • 2. With his in and with him in time, considered in its.
      • 1. Legal Condition, typical ma­nifestation, and servile tempo­rary administration at mount Sinai.
      • 2. Evange­lical dispo­sition as to matter and form. viz. Spiritual promises, free and la­sting di­spensation, and all this considered in its.
        • 1. Prima y revela­tion, and renewing with the Fathers, as Abraham, David &c. before the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Gal. 3. 14, 16, 17. under the old Testament when the Messiah was promised, and privi­ledges in him.
        • 2. Ratification, con­summation or per­fection, after the incarnation of Christ under the new Cove­nant or Testament Heb. 8. and 9. where­in the Mediator is exhibited, and privi­ledges coming and to be applied abso­lutely by him, more clearly enumerated.

Or thus, The Covenant of God on the behalf of men is two-fold, and is thus distinguished.

The Covenant.
  • 1. Of Works, with the first Adam and his Seed in him.
  • 2. Of Gracein its
    • 1. Constitution with Jesus Christ the Second Adam, and his Seed in him, from Eternity, con­sisting of Promises and agreements for their (i. e. his Seeds) recovery from a state of sin and death to a state of righteousness and life, in and by him.
    • 2. Decla­ration and manifesta­tion as with us, in and with Christ in time, and thus it is consi­dered in its.
      • 1. More pri­vate dispensa­tion whilst the Church was Domesti­cal, or in fa­milies as to its.
        • 1. Primary reve­lation and promul­gation to Adam. Gen. 3. 15.
        • 2. After Secondary renewing execution and application to the Patriarchs as Abraham, &c. Gen. 12. & 15. & 17.
      • 2. More Pu­blick dispen­sation when the Church became Con­gregational as to its.
        • 1 Legal Conditi­on, and administra­tion in the mount Sinai Covenant. Exod. 19. & 20.
        • 2. Evangelical dis­position viz. Ab­solute Promises and unchangable ad­ministration in the new Covenant Heb. 8. 8, 9, 10, 11.

[Page 8] The first part of this Division is, Generis in Species, viz. into Covenant of Works and of grace.

The Second part viz. the Division or di­stribution of the Covenant of grace is three­fold. 1. Accidentis in Subjecta, viz. with Christ as principal and with us in him. 2. Effecti in suas causas, and that extrin­secal and intrinsecal, viz. legal condition, Evangelical disposition. 3. Accidentis in accidentia, viz. primary revelation, rati­fication.

1. There was a Law or Covenant of Works made with the first Adam and his Seed be­fore the fall: in that state man was to seek eternal life in the way of his own obedience. Then God was upon those termes with man [Do and live] for that Divine threatning of death. Gen. 2. 17. In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely dye, doth strongly imply a promise of injoying life, if he were obsequious, else he might have said, if I eat or eat not, it is all one, yet I am liable to death.

Doubtless as the threatned death was in­tended purposely to deter from eating, so the hope of life, was also a perswasive to this forbearance.

Yea the tree of life confirmeth this; man was made an exile, out of Paradise. Gen. [Page 9] 3. 22. Lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever: such an act of banishment would have been needless for prevention, if it had never been intended for such an end to establish man in life in case he had kept his standing. Some Divine Law or Covenant therefore there must be this way. Some may doubt, whether this was a Covenant of Works, because here is only a threatning of death upon eating the forbidden fruit. Gen. 2. 17. upon disobedi­ence to that one positive Law or Command; and perfect obedience unto all moral Com­mands, not so much as mentioned, nor death threatned to the want of it.

I answer, Man in his first Creation was under a Natural obligation to an universal compliance with the Will of God: Eccles. 7. 29. God hath made man [upright]; this rectitude of nature imports an exact conformity to the Divine will, it is opposed here to all those inventions, evil devices, new tricks, vain and crooked Counsels, which were the inlets to all iniquity. He was created in the image of God [Gen. 1. 27.] which did not consist meerly in the faculties of the soul, as understanding, will, &c. but in gifts of illumination, righteousness, and holiness. Coloss. 3. 10. Eph. 4. 24. There was an inscription of the Divine Law upon Adams [Page 10] heart, yea even the Gentiles by nature shew the work of the Law written in their hearts Rom. 2. 14, 15. although this is exceeding­ly defaced and obliterated by the fall of man, yet not wholly raced out or extin­guished.

Now there being such original righteous­ness, a Law of nature that obliged man (as soon as created) to all moral obedience, it was needless for the Lord (in entring into Covenant with him) to make a repetition of that Law without, which was antece­daneously written in lively Characters, with a deep impression as a Law within.

All therefore that was necessary unto the making or forming of it into a Covenant of Works was, the Addition of some positive Law or Command, as a test or tryal of obedience to the whole, and this we find in that Supervenient Command of not eating of the tree of knowledge. Gen. 2. 17. under the highest penalty of death it self in case of disobedience. This is the more evident, be­cause this positive percept, was of such a nature and so intwisted with the other, as Adam could not fall by transgressing of it in eating of the forbidden fruit, without a violation or breaking of all the moral Com­mandments and involving himself in all sin and iniquity thereby. Christ himself, is [Page 11] giving the sum of the Law, in these two, of due love to God and the neighbour Mat. 22. 37, 38, 39. Now, the tryal of love is by keeping his Commandments. John 14. 21, 24. and by eating that fruit, Adam transgressed his Command. Gen. 2. 17. and gave an evident proof of his want of love to God, and to his neighbour also, there­by murthering not only himself, but all his posterity with him.

Yea though it seemed a small and indiffe­rent thing in it self, yet there was the summ of all sin, in that first transgression, which the Apostle compriseth in three things. 1 John 2. 16. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And Gen. 3. 6. The woman saw the tree was good for food, in this plea­sing of a carnal appetite, was the lust of the flesh, and pleasant to the eyes, here is the seeking to satisfie undue desires, the lust of the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise, or as the Serpent suggested verse 5. to be as Gods, that is ambition, or, pride of life.

It might be manifested, how all or most of the Commandments were broken by this act; here was infidelity, not believing the Word of God, and seeking to Deifie himself, against the first Commandment; Adam's pre­ferring the voice of his wife, yea of the [Page 12] Serpent, before the Word of God, against the Second, a conferring with Gods enemy about his word (a part of his name) without due zeal for his glory against the Third, a not resting from his own work against the Fourth, Eve out of her place in eating without her Husbands advice and consent, against the Fifth, a running under a Divine threatning of death to many thousands, yea millions of men, against the Sixth, a giving way to an inordinate sensual appetite in eating the for­biddem fruit, against the Seventh, a taking what was not his own, being reserved by God, against the Eighth, a receiving a false accusation against God. Gen. 3. 5. against the Ninth. Uncontentedness with the state and Condition God had placed him in, a­spiring to be higher than he saw it meer, against the tenth Commandment. And thus there was a Universal disobedience in Adams eating the forbidden fruit, (there is the seed of all sin in Original sin) and therefore such an exact obedience to the moral, or natural as well as to the positive Law, was required there, as rendred it a Law or Covenant of Works.

But man cannot now obtain happiness and Salvation by his own doing according to that, for it is said to be Ephes. 2. 9. Not of Works lest any man should boast. So that [Page 13] Jesus Christ is not given for the renewing that old Covenant of Works with us again, as the way to eternal life, though the matter of it is drawn into the Covenant of grace, to be performed by him for us, as may be further manifested afterward.

2. There is a Covenant of Grace, pro­vided for the recovery of some by Jesus Christ, from a state of sin and death unto a state of righteousness and eternal life. All that conduceth to Salvation, is of grace Ephes. 2. 8. By grace ye are saved. Rom. 11. 6. If by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace, other­wise work is no more work. The way of Salvation is here ascribed unto grace, the holy Spirit giveth us both the terms of the distinction, by making grace and works such opposite terms, as one excludeth the other: that therefore made with the first Adam was a Covenant of Works, that for restoration by Jesus Christ, is a Covenant of Grace, see vers. 26. 27, 28. Rom. 6. 14. The ac­cepting of Jesus Christ in our stead, to be our second Adam was as by Covenant, so of meer grace, as well as what is promised to us through him; they together make up but one Covenant of grace.

Some call the former a Covenant of amity [Page 14] or friendship, because God and man were in perfect amity, and a Covenant of nature, because natural integrity did capacitate to perform it; but these do not so fully express the nature of it, seeing the promised life therein was to be by working.

Some call the latter a Covenant of faiths and there is indeed an opposition between the Law of faith and the Law of Works, i [...] the matter of justification. Rom. 3. 27, 28. That particular priviledge of the Covenant viz. Justification, is by saith, and not by the works of the Law; but in a distribution, these are not the most distinct members o [...] the whole Covenant; seeing Faith, is but particular blessing and fruit of it, hence that cannot be expressive of the whole nature thereof: that is not the opposite Condition, or doth not take the place that works had in that Covenant with the first Adam; it is rather what was done or suffered by Jesus Christ that supplieth this. Isa. 53. 10, It is therefore improper, especially unless by faith, be meant the righteousness of Jesus Christ applyed thereby, rather than that particular grace for application.

And note, that in the Epistle to the Romans and Galatians, justification is said to be by faith in opposition only to works, not to Jesus Christ or free grace. If we should [Page 15] give faith the place that was given by the false Prophets unto works, we should be culpable and egregiously cross the mind of the Apostle in this matter as well as they did. Some Grace in that Covenant with the first Adam, do no more make it coincident with or deny that in and with Christ to be a Cove­nant of Grace, than some Works (viz. Evan­gelical) in that with Christ, doth deny that with the first Adam to be a Covenant of Works; or than some faith in God, required in the Covenant of Works (viz. the believing that word Gen. 2. 17.) doth deny that which they call the Covenant of faith to be so.

It must therefore be said, it was not Gospel grace, or faith in a Mediator that was found in the Covenant of Works, and so as properly as this may be denominated of Works, so may the other be called a Co­venant of grace, especially seeing the Gospel is called the word of grace. Act. 14. 3. Act. 20. 32.

As to the several parts following in the distribution of this Covenant of Grace, some of them carry evidence with them, as what is said of primary revelation, renovation, consummation, &c. the other will be further cleared in the sequel; yet thus much I would say here, for the clearing of them.

That the Covenant of grace was made [Page 16] with Jesus Christ, that Text doth witness, Isa. 42. 6. for the Father is contracting with him, yea all the Covenant of the people is firstly with him; he not only removeth obstacles that would hinder their fruition of federal blessings as an interested Friend (whose name is not in a Covenant) may do among men; but he is the great Cove­nanteer [a Covenant of the people]: the promises are primarily made to him on the behalf of men; and he maketh the first claim to all, as his own right, his own due by a grant or Covenant under the hand and seal of the Father to himself; this will be pro­ved in the next question.

That also the Covenant is made with us in Christ, is no less evident. Believers are of the seed of Abraham and David, and of the house of spiritual Israel to whom the promises run, they may lay claim to them in their head. Gal. 3. 9, 14, 29. Rom. 11. 27. Ezek. 20. 37. Jer. 31. 31. Heb. 8. 8.

If any doubt of the second distinction, into Legal and Evangelical; let them know, I am far from thinking that the mount Sinai dispensation was a Covenant of Works to Israel; as if the design and intendment of God therein had been to afford eternal life to Israel upon their own doing: but yet, it is called [the Law] Rom. 10. 5. Gal. 3. 10, [Page 17] 13, 17. Even in way of opposition to the promise vers. 12. Yea. vers. 8. God—preached before the Gospel to Abraham.—

Here the Covenant with Abraham is ex­presly called Gospel, and that in contradi­stinction from the very Sinai dispensation, which is called the Law; undeniably he speaketh of the Law, not as given to Adam before the fall (for then man himself must have been the door for life, and not another for him) but as given at mount Sinai 430: Years after that promise to faithful Abraham. vers. 17.

So that the Covenant of grace, is rightly distinguished, by legal and Evangelical, for the holy Spirit here giveth us both parts of the distinction, speaking expresly of that at mount Sinai as one member of it; yea he maketh these so opposite, as he saith vers. 12. and the Law, is not of faith, and so is not the Covenant of grace, but yet the Sinai Law appertaineth and referreth to it, viz. as holding forth the Condition thereof to be fulfilled by Jesus Christ.


Of the Oneness of the Covenant with Jesus Christ and us.

THe Covenant of grace was made or esta­blished not only with us, but joyntly with Jesus Christ and us in him so as both are within one and the same Covenant. For, the great transactions with Jesus, yea even the giving and sending of him, and his accepting the office of a Redeemer and undertaking for us, these are all of grace, as well as what is promised to us through him, therefore the Covenant of grace, must take in all that conduceth (otherwise than by a meer Decree) to our restoration and eternal Salvation. And in Isa. 42. 6. the Father is contracting with the Son, I will [give thee] for a Covenant of the people; there­fore that with the Son and with the people belong to one and the same Covenant.

Indeed as that which partaketh of the na­ture, or is a part, is put for the whole, so that with the people alone, even here, beareth the name of a Covenant, as being [Page 19] within the grand contract with Jesus Christ as a branch and parcel thereof, yet both to­gether make up that one Covenant of grace, as appeareth thus.

1. There is no Scripture Evidence for making these, two Covenants, one of Surety ship or redemption with Jesus Christ, and another of grace and reconciliation made with us: that distinction which some use, is improper, for the parts of it are coincident, seeing that as with Jesus Christ was out of meer grace also: John 3. 16. And it is pro­mised that Jesus Christ should be given for a Covenant, therefore it is of grace that we are redeemed by him, 2 Tim. 1. 9. There was grace before the World was, and that must be in the Covenant as with Jesus Christ: which was for the reconciling the World unto the Father. 2 Cor. 5. 18, 19. Coloss. 1. 20, 21.

It is true, Christ only is our surety and Redeemer, not we in our own persons; yea he is our head, our Lord, and King, and on that account of his standing in those diffe­rent capacities he hath some peculiar precepts and promises appropriated to him, which are not afforded to us in the same manner or degree; yet this hindreth not the Oneness of the Covenant with him and us: as, it is promised unto Abraham, that in him all [Page 20] the Families of the Earth should be blessed, that he should be a Father of many Nations. Gen. 12. 3. and 17. 4. Which promises are of a higher nature than are made to us (for every Believer is not the Father of many Nations) yet we are within the same Cove­nant that was made with Abraham. Rom. 4. 11, 12, 13. Gal. 3.

As in Covenants between Princes, some Ar­ticles may be concerning prerogatives or royalties that are peculiar to them in their publick capacities, which the people share not in but in them, as striking sayl, &c. other grants may concern the people in their private capacities, as Merchants, Ma­riners, &c. yet Prince and people within the same contract. So doubtless there may be diverse grants to Jesus Christ in his publick capacity in the office of a Mediator, other promises made to his Seed; yet King and Subjects, head and members, are within one and the same Covenant; as the princi­pal debtor and the surety within the same obligation. Gal. 4. 4, 5.

Indeed the same Covenant of grace, may be distinguished, as it is made with Jesus Christ, and, as with us, yet not to intimate two distinct and compleat Covenants, but two Subjects of the same Covenant. As with Jesus Christ, it had its constitution from [Page 21] eternity, before we had a being, as with us, it hath its application in time after we exist. I had rather therefore distinguish one and the same Covenant of grace into these two parts. 1. For redemption and reconciliation; this as with Jesus Christ for us. Gal. 3. 13. Tit. 1. 2. 2 For Applica­tion; this as with us in him. Heb. 8. 10.

From eternity Jesus Christ was a Me­diator undertaking the Covenant; but in time is executing and interceding for our participation of it.

2. The Covenant of grace was made with Jesus Christ as a publick person, a second Adam, and therefore with all his Seed in him: the Covenant of Works being violated, Jesus Christ was appointed as the means for restoration and recovery. He was our Da­vid, King of Saints Isa. 53. 3. Luke 1. 32. and so represented many Subjects, he was a common parent, having a great Spiri­tual Seed. Isa. 53. 10. The first Adam, was a figure of him that was to come. Rom. 5. 14. i. e. of Jesus Christ, and wherein it is specified, as the first standing for his Seed derived unto them, sin and misery, death and condemnation; So the second, standing for, and representing his Seed, deriveth unto them, righteousness, justification and eternal life. vers. 15. to the end. 1 Cor. 15. 45, 47.

[Page 22] Thus they are compared together and Je­sus Christ the Second, preferred before the first.

If the first Adam had never fallen, it is not imaginable that he should have injoyed life by one Covenant and his posterity by another; their life would have been by keeping as their death was by breaking one and the same Law of Works: So, Jesus Christ the Second Adam and all his spiritual Seed injoy justification and life by one and the same Covenant of grace, We are quicken­ed together with him, Coloss. 2. 13. i. e. as our common person standing in our stead.

3. All in the Covenant as with us is un­dertaken for and promised in the Covenant as between the Father and the Son, and so together make up but one Covenant. For, his being the Covenant of the people, implieth, that all promised to or to be performed by the people, it is secured in the contract with Jesus Christ. Whatsoever was re­quisite unto our restoration, redemption, and reconciliation, he agreed to work it out. Isa. 53. 10. there were the same ob­jects and end in that as with him, and that as with us. 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. 1 Cor. 6. 20.

Yea all necessaries also for application is in the Covenant as with him. Is Justifi­cation and the giving of a new heart promised [Page 23] to us? Jer. 31. 31. The same is promised to Jesus Christ. Isa. 53. 11. By his know­ledge (i. e. by the knowledge of him) shall my righteous Servant (i. e. Jesus Christ) justify many—and he shall see his Seed, and be a light to the Gentiles. Isa. 4. 2. 6. Which implyeth newness of heart, and having God for their God.

4. All blessings afforded in a Covenant way to us, were primarily granted to Jesus Christ, and therefore the Covenant is joyntly with him and us: as Mr. R. observeth, Christ is first justified and acquitted from the guilt of sin, and then we. Isa. 53. 11. Christ first Sanctified and filled with the Spirit and then we. Isa. 42. 1. He first glorified and then we. Heb. 1. 2. Rom. 8. 17. Jesus Christ is our great Fcosee in trust, he hath all the riches of grace and glory granted to, and vested in him to our use and behoof, both have them by the same Covenant.

Indeed he hath the precedency, he ex­celleth in dignity and power, he is the first­born among many brethren. Rom. 8. 29. the first born from the dead. Coloss. 1. 18, 19. All fulness dwelling in him; all is firstly granted into his hands and in the Second place to us. If we would obtain any Spiri­tual gists, any graces, any comforts, any glory, we must be beholden to him, bor­row [Page 24] all from his store, receive all from his hand. The Divine Spirit is from him Joh. 16. 7, 8. All grace from him. Rom. 16. 20, 24. 1 Cor. 16. 23. Repentance from him, Act. 5. 31. He is exalted to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Faith it self from him. Heb. 12. 2. Which argue that all flow from the same Covenant. The Name of Jesus Christ is in the Covenant, he is the principal party there, to whom all the pro­mises are primarily made on our behalf.

5. Union with Jesus Christ is the only way to promised blessings, and therefore the Covenant is made joyntly with him and us: 2 Cor. 1. 20. Not only [some] but [all] the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen. Twice in him; none of the promises are made immediately to us, but all invariable, unchangable, in their making, and in their performance or accomplishment, yet it is, in him.

I might argue also, from Jesus Christ his receiving the same signs with us, Baptism and the Supper, and why were they ap­plied to him, if he were under one Cove­nant, and we under another?

6. All the antient Covenant expressures run joyntly to Jesus Christ, and also to Re­lievers which are his Seed: the promises to Adam, Abraham, David, &c. were not [Page 25] so many distinct Covenants of grace; they were but various gradual discoveries of the same Covenant according to the variety of occasions in the several ages, every new one being for some new end and bringing with it a further degree of manifestation, and all run to Jesus Christ and us.

1. That gracious promise revealed to Adam primarily runneth unto Jesus Christ, as to the blessed Seed, and then to us in him: wretched man having eaten of the for­bidden fruit, what could he expect every moment but the execution of that dreadful Sentence. Gen. 2. 17. In the day thou eatest dying thou shalt die.

O what unexpressible astonishment must needs seize upon his guilty Soul on this ac­count, there being no contrivance by any Creature wisdom, no way open, either for the escaping the stroke of Divine wrath or for standing under it; for, how should a feeble Creature bear up, or avoid being crushed under the weight of an omnipotent arm?

Now, behold in the cool of the day, when the shadows of the evening were com­ming upon undone, fallen man, then was the first dawning of a day of grace, saith God Gen. 3. 15. I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy Seed [Page 26] and her Seed, it shall bruise thy head, &c. The bowels of Divine compassion did so tenderly rowle towards him, that he could not pass one day, without some intimation of his love and revealing his gracious in­tendments towards him.

Indeed this was immediately spoken, not to Adam as a promise, but to the Serpent as a threatning, yet was uttered that Adam might over-hear and Spell out Something of a promise in it. But, Jesus Christ is pri­marily this Seed of the woman which brui­seth the Serpents head; For, it is he that standeth Conquerour over all the enemies of Salvation, sin, Satan, death, and Hell, he procureth their utter overthrow, de­stroyeth the works of the Devil. 1 John 3. 8. Vanquisheth and overcometh him. Revel. 12. 9. Christ is chiefly intended by it. Believers are Victorious only in and by Jesus Christ, they overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and so the promise is joyntly to him and them.

Many matters in this first discovery of the Covenant did lie dark and were hidden, it not discovering distinctly, what Seed of the woman it should be, nor the way or means, to this or that he should be God as well as man, and how this should be brought about, which were afterward revealed.

[Page 27] 2. The Covenant with Abraham was joyntly with Jesus Christ and us: there was a gracious promise (which saith might hang upon) as early as the days of Adam; this was a promise of a blessed Seed to be given for man, but the Covenant with man con­cerning it, seemeth to be dated, not from Adam, but from Abraham. Gal. 3. be­cause the Lord was pleased to deal with Abraham in a more familiar way than with others before him, putting himself under Co­venant ingagements to him. Gen. 12. 3. In thee shall all the families of the Earth be blessed, and Gen. 17.

They must needs be at a great loss about the Seed of the woman, of whose posterity it should come, and it was the chief addi­tional excellency of this federal expres­sure to assure Abraham that the Messia should come of his Seed according to the flesh. Gen. 22. 18. In [thy Seed] shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed, and thus that which was more general in the former to Adam, is here more particular, for it is restrained to this family, and it was an advantage to know the family which he should come of. There were other pro­mises made to him, as concerning the land of Canaan, and that the Lord would be his God. Gen. 17. 7. The latter was hinted [Page 28] before, to another person Gen. 9. 26. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem. It is ob­served by some, that Shem, was the first man in all the Scripture that had this honour. It is not expresly said that he was the God of Adam, or of Noah, but the God of Shem. Now this becometh more general, he will be the God of Abraham and his Seed.

And this [Seed] expresly is Christ, Gal. 3. 16. Now to Abraham and his Seed, were the promises made, he saith not unto Seeds as of many, but as of one and to thy Seed which is Christ, So vers. 19. Whether it be taken for Christ mystical or as a publick person yet Christ is firstly that Seed, and it is as clear as the Sun, that not only Christ but Believers also are the Seed in the same Abrahamatical Covenant. Gal. 3. 7, 26. especially. vers. 29. and if ye be Christs then are ye Abrahams Seed and heirs according to promise. What can be more evident? Believers are also of the Seed, and so the Co­venant with Abraham runneth joyntly to Je­sus Christ and them.

3. The Covenant made with David run­neth joyntly to Jesus Christ and us: Psal. 89. 20, 28, 29. I have found my Servant David—my Covenant shall stand with him. Abraham was not a King, but Da­vid was, and the Covenant was made with [Page 29] him in that capacity, as the great additional excellency thereof: and it typically holdeth forth Jesus Christ in his exaltation to regal dignity. Herein are some things appliable only to Jesus Christ, as vers. 27. and often he is called the Son of David, and it is pro­mised Ezek. 34. 24, 25. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a Prince among them. This was long after David was dead, and therefore must refer to Je­sus Christ. And also this Covenant with David extended to that Seed which would break statutes and sin against the Lord. Psal. 89. 30, 31, 32. Which cannot refer to Jesus Christ, but to us; and thus that Covenant expressure did run joyntly to Je­sus Christ and us.

4. The New Covenant runneth joyntly to Jesus Christ and us; for he died as Me­diator not of the old but of the new Testa­ment. Heb. 9. 15. Which he could not have done, if he had not been under it.

As an additional excellency of the new, Jesus Christ is mentioned, not as under­taking, but as actually exhibited or come; and his being the Mediator, and the new Covenant it self whereof he is the Mediator, are distinct things, yet both within the Co­venant of grace. Indeed whatever promises there are, for application of blessings to us [Page 30] in Christ, are included in the new Cove­nant, that extendeth to all matters of his ministration, as already in that Office: bu [...] the promises are all firstly made to Jesu [...] Christ and to us in him.

Corol. 1. Hence, the Covenant of grace is very extensive; it taketh in all the pro­mises made to Jesus Christ and to us; yea all the antient promises of a blessed Seed to come, did belong to that Covenant, in lie [...] of which, we have a Mediator actually ex­hibited, and also the new Covenant. It may be questioned by some, whether all the pro­mises still in force, in the Book of God do belong to the Covenant of Grace, because so few are enumerated where it is mention­ed, as with us. Gen. 12. &. 17. Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12.?

But seeing all are made and fulfilled in Christ, hence they must all flow as living streams from that Fountain. The Covenant of grace with Jesus Christ that is the great Charter that we hold all our priviledges by; and all the promises do some way or other appertain to that.

Some Promises are Constitutive, of the Covenant, as those between the Father and the Son concerning a Seed; others are executive or referring to the execution and [Page 31] application of it. Isa. 53, 10, 11. Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12.

Some are principal and concerning the end eternal life. Heb. 8. Heb. 9. 15. Gal. 3. 8, 9, 18. Others less principal, concerning the means, internal, the Spirit and faith, or external as ordinances.

Not only Spiritual, but even promises of temporal blessings, as of succour and relief in particular cases and conditions in outward straits and distresses, yet these belong to the Covenant of grace. Psal. 105. 39, 40, 41. He spread a cloud for a covering, here is protection; a fire to give light by night, that intimateth direction; he brought quails and satisfied them with the bread of heaven, here is gracious provision; he opened the rock and the waters gushed out, this speaketh miraculous refreshment and con­solation. And whence was all this care over them? vers. 42. For he remembred his holy Covenant and Abraham his Servant. All these then were to be deemed Covenant mercies. Where had the Lord particularly promised any such extraordinary relieves un­to Abraham or his Seed? O he witnessed himself to be their God, and promised the land of Canaan, and that implyeth all mercy and means necessary for them in the pur­suance of the Call to it. So that all pro­tections, [Page 32] preservations, provisions, all for the sustaining upholding and succouring of the people of God, yea even their lowest mercies, have a tincture of Covenant-love to put quickness into them. So, returns of prayer in a day of outward affliction are in remembrance of his Covenant. Psal. 106. 44. 45. 2 King. 13. 22, 23.

Yea observe, in some places where the Covenant is mentioned, there are promises added (and so belong to it) which in other repetitions of it are left out. As Jer. 32. 38, 39, 40. One-ness of heart and way and his fear in their hearts, are promised in the Covenant, yet are omitted in the recital thereof. Jer. 31. 31, to 35. And the Word Covenant is omitted, and yet many pro­mises thereof are mentioned. Ezek. 36. 25, to the end, as appeareth by the identity of some with those expresly in it else-where. So, that, we are not to confine the Cove­nant of grace to those mentioned in the new Covenant; all the promises to us are some way comprised in it.

Corol. 2. Hence, there is infallible certainty in, and grounded consolation issuing from, the Covenant of grace, seeing it is made joyntly with Jesus Christ and us.

All the promises are his right as well as [Page 33] ours, and so can never fail. Is Jesus Christ the Seed of the woman, who hath assurance of being victorious over the Serpent? Gen. 3. 15.

So are Believers: yea they are of the Seed of Abraham and David, interested in the same promises. Gal. 3. 19, 21.

If any thing be a Condition of the Cove­nant of grace, it must be so, of the promises to Jesus Christ, as well as of those to us, that taking in all, and being joyntly with both and principally with him and with us but in him, as his Seed: and so faith cannot be it, for the promises were not made to Jesus Christ upon Condition of our believing, but upon what he himself should do and suffer; rather therein he hath a promise, assurance that we shall believe. Isa. 5 [...]. 10. he shall see his Seed. It would highly derogate from the honour of the Lord Jesus to say, that the efficacy and effect of all his undertaking had dependance upon any act of ours, as that of believing.

It is by the efficiency of the Word of the new Testament that faith is given. Rom. 10. 14, 15, 16, 17. Act. 13. 47, 48.

Yea the gift of faith is promised in that, of writing his Law in their hearts. Heb. 8. [...]0. and therefore by its Obligation; for it is a contradiction to speak of a promise with­out [Page 34] Obligation for performance unto the per­sons to whom it is made; and what matter is it, whether it be upon an Obligation to the Sinners themselves, or to another (to Jesus Christ) their Feofee in trust for them; it is by the new Covenant which is made to them, and that of grace is joyntly with Christ and them.

Believers are not only the objects for, [...] concerning whom he promiseth to Jesus Christ that he will do them good (as bruit o [...] inanimate Creatures are improperly said to be in Covenant with him) but the Subject [...] to whom he promiseth special blessings i [...] Christ, so as the promises are directed to and may be claimed by them; Jesus Christ had an interest therein; they are his right as we as theirs; and this is no damage, but [...] advantage, as giving assurance that they wi [...] be made good to a Tittle. Jer. 33. 20, 21 If you can break my Covenant of the day and my Covenant of the night—then may all so my Covenant be broken with David my servant. Long before the prophesying o [...] Jeremiah, David had been in the dust, and yet the Covenant with him holdeth still and it being made with Jesus Christ who is our David, hence the order of nature, the en­tercourse and revolutions of night and da [...] might as readily fail, as any promises mad [...] [Page 35] to him be disanulled or go unaccomplished; yea, he will sue them out for us, when by reason of inward cloudings and darkness (even about an interest in them) we cannot lay any claim unto them our selves. He should be a loser, if they should not be fulfilled, he should lose his right as well as we ours, Christ and we having a joynt in­terest therein. Had Christ assurance of be­ing Victorious over the Serpent, we also have assurance of standing Conquerours over him in Christ, by the same promise, and that under the same notion of the Seed of the woman. So that this is a bottom of ever­lasting consolation, that Jesus Christ and we, are within one and the same Covenant.


Of Christ as the sum of the Covenant.

THe Covenant of grace running prima­rily to Jesus Christ and to us in him, so as he not only maketh it with, but even is, the Covenant of the people. Isa. 42. 6. It will be necessary to inquire, What in­terest Jesus Christ hath, or how and in what place and Office he standeth in reference to the Covenant.

1. Jesus Christ is the very foundation which Evangelical Covenant is built upon; as he is our life. Coloss. 3. 3. 1 John 5. 20. the cause of it; So he is the Covenant. i. e. the very basis of it, as 1 Cor. 3. 11. For other foundation can no man lay, then the is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The Cove­nant of Works, was founded upon something in man, his concreated ability and natural strength; all the obedience of the first Adam (if he had stood) and the fruits thereof, would have been resulting from the sufficien­cy of his own power and free-will, and he failing all the fabrick fell.

[Page 37] But the Lord hath established another glo­rious Covenant, and this is built upon what is firmer and of greater strength, even Je­sus Christ; this stone that is laid in Zion, is a tried stone. Isa. 26. 16. A sure foun­dation. Now the structure of our Salvation will never fall, because it hath such a sure ground-work, able to bear up the weight and stress of all that is laid upon it; No other can be laid. He is the only founda­tion of all the promises, of all the graces, of all the obedience, of all the peace, of all the comfort, of all the glory that is pro­mised. That with Abraham before his in­carnation, was confirmed of God in Christ. Gal. 3. 17. He was the Mediator of Abra­hams Covenant, and therefore that had in it the same for substance with the new.

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the foundation of all the blessings, and special priviledges in the Covenant as with us. If the Lord be a God to any, it is in Christ, if their ini­quities be forgiven it is in the blood of Christ, if the Divine Law be written in their hearts, it is by the finger of the spirit of Christ; thus he lieth at the bottom of all, and so is the Covenant of the people.

2. Jesus Christ maketh way for our injoy­ment of all federal blessings, by standing in manifold relations to the Covenant.

[Page 38] As he standeth between God and us as a middle person to make reconciliation, so he is the Mediator of the Covenant. Heb. 9. 15. There was a wide breach that we could never have made up; yea such a variance as there was no possibility of our approaching to God to enter upon a Treaty of Peace, much less to procure our own reconciliation; sin raised such an enmity as the Lord would have been a consuming fire to us, if we had come near to him: now the Lord Jesus inter­posed and took up this case, undertook to compose and put an end to this difference There were iniquities in the way to hinder our fruition of promised mercies, but he took an effectual course for the removal of these. He is the Mediator of the new Testament; to what end? for the redemption of the trans­gressions that were under the first Testament. Satisfaction was made by him to Divine Justice to the full, he answered all the de­mands of the righteous Law, and so wrought out reconciliation for us.

As he undertook for the parties at vari­ance, so he was the surety of the Covenant. Heb. 7. 22. Jesus made a Surety of a better Testament. The Lord would not take our bond for that great debt which we had con­tracted and were never able to pay. It was now with us as with a poor man under an [Page 39] arrest for a vast sum, unless there can be procured an able sufficient man to enter bond with him, he must to prison without hope of being released any more: so the Law of the righteous God arrested us, for infinite breaches thereof; it exacted a great and yet most just debt at our hand, which we (being already bankrupts) were never able to an­swer: it required a debt of infinite suffering, the just due of our sin, which if laid upon us, would sink us for ever; for the wages of sin is death. The Lord demanded a debt of perfect obedience, universal righteousness, unto life, which we were never able to yield; and now unless one able and sufficient will undertake and be bound for us, there is no possibility of escaping the prison of Hell, the chains of infernal darkness, the ever­lasting wrath of the Omnipotent God; un­der this misery we must have layen without hope of recovery: this was our state upon the fall of our first parents, and in this strait and distress, one not of our procuring, but of his own grace offering it, even Jesus Christ stepped in, and became a surety for us to pay our ransom, to answer our debt to the utmost farthing, he put his name into our Obligation was made under the Law, to redeem those that were under the Law. Gal. 4, 4.

[Page 40] Yea he became God's surety to us, to free us from all doubtings about the fulfilling of the Covenant to us; he undertook and pro­mised that he would lose nothing that was given him. John 6. 39. But would raise in up at the last day, i. e. to everlasting Salva­tion; for others shall be raised up also unto Condemnation, but these unto eternal glory.

As he ratified and confirmed all, so he was the Testator of the Covenant. Heb. 9. 16, 17. Where there is a Testament, then must also of necessity be the death of the Testa­tor, for a Testament is of force after men be dead—Nothing less than death it self was threatned upon the first transgression (Gen. 2. 17.) that must be indured if ever Sinners be recovered unto a fruition of eter­nal life: and now behold the matchless love of Jesus Christ; saith he, I will die in their stead, to save them from eternal death, and thus he hath turned it into a Testament, a new Testament, fealing it with his own blood.

As he acteth for our obtainment of the blessings promised, so he is the Messenger of the Covenant. Mal. 3. 1. The Messenger of the Covenant whom ye delight in, behold he shall come.

We should have been without a know­ledge of this grace, altogether strangers to it [Page 41] and unacquainted with it, if he had not re­vealed it to us, and so we should not have made out after, but come short of those spi­ritual blessings of the Covenant: but now Je­sus Christ himself travelleth with these blessed tidings, he maketh a report of all the federal transactions between the Father and him in order to our Salvation, he openeth all those soul-ravishing Mysteries, and all those pre­cious promises, yea the way to our par­ticipation of those blessed priviledges, and so he is the Messenger of the Covenant.

As he seeketh to satisfie us of the reality of God in all those federal transactions, so he is the w [...]tness of the Covenant: Isa. 55. 4. Be­hold I have given him for a witness of the people—When poor sould hear the tidings of Covenant love in the heart of God to­wards them, they are ready to suspect it is too good news to be true; are apt to be in­credulous here, are hardly perswaded to be­lieve the truth thereof, at least as to them­selves; now Jesus Christ condescendeth so far as to take upon him the Office of a Wit­ness to assure of the truth of all; yea now he is in heaven he doth not throw up that Office, he continueth still in this work, and sendeth down news from heaven thereof Revel. 1. 5. & 3. 14. He is the faithful Witness still; as if he should say, I lay in the bosom of the [Page 42] Father, I have seen all transactions, all passages, I know how the heart of God standeth towards this Covenant work, if my word may have any credit with you, I testifie (saith Jesus Christ) that the Father is real herein, and the work is done, the Covenant is struck, yea ratified and sealed with my blood.

When souls are full of jealousies concer­ning the willingness of God to give enter­tainment to them, and admittance into Co­venant grace, and to deal with them in a Co­venant way, though they cannot peep into Heaven and look into the bosom of the Fa­ther, and read all things there, yet Jesus Christ stoopeth so low as to take upon him the Office of a faithful Witness, to give assu­rance thereof.

As he is our Spiritual head and the blessed Seed, so he is a party contracting in the Co­venant: he is the chief Seed of Abraham and of David, Gal. 3. To whom the promises are made. vers. 19. Matth. 15. 22. All is assured to him, as well as to us, and his stan­ding on our side as a party with us in the sme Covenant, as it is an honour, so it is a comfort to us, in that it giveth assurance of its accomplishment to a tittle, for the Lord will not fail his only Son Jesus Christ of any thing which he hath promised to him: [Page 43] and he being a party it were an injury to him, if any thing were unfulfilled.

As he is the Substance of the Covenant, so he is said to be the Covenant of the people; and well may he bear this name he standing in all these relations to it.

3. Jesus Christ was the principal promise of the Covenant: this denominates him the Covenant, his being really the chief part of it, or thing firstly promised in it, and all other things for his sake. Thus he primarily was the Seed of the woman that was promised to break the Serpents head. Gen. 3. 15. Heb. 2. 14. 1 John 3. 8. He is that Seed of Abra­ham in whom all the Nations are blessed. Gen. 22. 18. Gal. 3. 16. He is the royal Seed of David to be enthroned, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1. 32, 33.

Indeed this is a grand priviledge of Gospel times, that what was of old the great thing under promise to come viz. a blessed Seed, a Messiah, is now turned into a performance, and he now standeth actually a Mediator, in stead thereof. All the prophesies were of him. Act. 10. 43. To him give all the Pro­phets witness—Of the Scriptures he saith, Joh. 5. 39. They are they which testifie of me, as if they said nothing else but Christ, Christ, and thus he is the Covenant.

[Page 44] 4. Jesus Christ is really to us all that which under any antient Covenant was typically represented unto men; and so he is Substan­tially the Covenant of the people: as Dr. Sibs observeth, Christ is all to us which was held forth of old either in personal types, he is the Second Adam, the true Isaac, Joseph, Joshua, Solomon, Melchisedeck—Or in real types, he is the true brasen Serpent that cureth sin-stung souls which by an eye of faith are looking to him. Joh. 3. 14, 15. He is the true Manna, bread of life, to all those that believingly feed upon him. Joh. 6. 31, 33, 35. He is the true sacrifice, the Paschal Lamb; our hearts being sprinkled with his blood, the destroying Angel shall pass over us. He is our true Tabernacle, true Altar, and true Ark, all typified by these, is really fulfilled in him.

5. Jesus Christ is the excellency, mar­row and sweetness, yea the sum and Sub­stance of all that is under promise, and so he is the Covenant of the people: indeed he is the very store-house where the pro­mises are treasured up. All mercies from the Father, must have their conveyance to us through the hands of his Son. Yea Je­sus Christ is the very quintessence, the chief in, the very life of all the mercies themselves, and all come with him. Rom. 8. [Page 45] 32. How shall be not [with him] also free­ly give us all things. It is Christ that putteth fulness into other things, and addeth sweet­ness to them, they are imbittered, and as nothing if without him. The promises (though full in themselves yet) are empty to us unless taken with Christ; all priviledges empty, all injoyments empty, unless taken with him; hence he is said to be all in all. Col. 3. 11. He is all in all graces, all in all peace, in all promises, in all comforts, in all glory.

6. Jesus Christ doth all that is necessary for the procurement of all federal blessings; and so he is the Covenant of the people: as he is the resurrection. i. e. the cause of it. John 11. 25. So he is the cause and procurer of all federal blessings. Not only shall he [make] a Covenant with the people, but [be] a Covenant of the people. i. e. All that is required in a federal way from the people, that Jesus Christ shall be so them: if the Father demandeth it of them, they must not present him with any duties or performances of their own for acceptation unto life, but with Jesus Christ, he is their Covenant to perform all for them, which they are obliged to, in order to that end. Saith the Lord, I will not enter into Cove­nant or deal in an immediate way with them as with the first Adam, but I will take a [Page 46] surer course, I will give thee for that end, thou shalt undertake all the matters therein; even for thy Seed; I will look to thee for the performance thereof, and thus he is the Cove­nant of the people.

All that is promised to Jesus Christ, or to us, it is upon his obedience. Isa. 53. 10, 11, 12.

Not by the obedience of every one for him­self, but by the obedience of one. i. e. of Je­sus Christ many are made righteous. Rom. 5. 19. Justification of life, and remission of sins are procured by him. vers. 18. Rom. 3. 24. And so reconciliation or promised peace. Isa. 53. 5. The Chastisement of our peace was upon him. We must for ever have stood at enmity, if he had not stepped in for the pro­curement of our peace, hence he is our peace. Ephes. 2. 14. Not only the Author and Procurer, but even the sum of it. So the promise of propriety in, and Communion with God, hath its procurement, and taketh effect only upon the obedience of Jesus Christ: all are afar off from God, under the greatest estrangement till made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ. Ephes. 2. 12, 13. the promise of the Communica­tion of Sanctifying grace, of giving the Law into the heart, is from him. Isa. 53. 10. 1 Cor. 1. 30. Yea the promise of Sal­vation and eternal life taketh effect from [Page 47] him; his death was for this end. Heb. 9. 15. That they which are called might re­ceive the promise of the eternal inheritance. And thus he is for a Covenant of the people.


Of the date of Covenant mercies.

IF it be inquired when the Covenant of grace was made between God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son? it must be an­swered, it was from eternity, it was an eternal Covenant: indeed the actual giving him for a Covenant, was not till his incarna­tion; it is mentioned as a future thing, he was promised before, but given then; Whence Isa. 42. 1, 2, 3. &c. is applied to him when he had taken our nature. Matt. 12. 17, 18. &c.

Also the first revelation of it was. Gen. 3. 15. In the promise of his becoming the Seed of the woman, to bruise the Serpents head. That argueth a fore-agreement or consent to grapple with the Serpent, but doth not give the first date to the Covenant; So as the first declaration of the Covenant of grace was there, but the Constitution or making of it was before all time, even from eternity: this appeareth; for

1. There were mutual operations or actings [Page 49] of the will of God the Father and Son from eternity, concerning the restoration of lapsed man, which amount to a Covenant: For, what more is requisite thereunto? it is re­vealed that such a Compact was between them, Isa. 53. 10, 11, 12. Isa. 42. 1, to 8. God worketh all things after the coun­sel of his own will, Ephes. 1. 11. Therefore so great a transaction was not without it: and the Will of God is Eternal; for he doth not begin to Will or Nill that which he did not before. According to their distinct personality, the Will of the Father was, that the Son should in fulness of time, take our nature, do and suffer, all necessary to the restitution and recovery of the Elect: the Will of the Son ecchoed back and an­swered to that of the Father, accepting the Office; and this distinct acting or new habi­tude (as Dr. O. calleth it) of Will in the Father and Son toward each other, is be­yond a bare decree that the thing should be, and so it is an Eternal Covenant.

2. The designation of Jesus Christ to and his undertaking of the Mediatorial Office (which amount to a Covenant or agree­ment) was before all time: For Ephes. 1. 4. He hath chosen us in him, i. e. in Christ. And when? Before the foundation of the World. He is (though not the Cause yet) [Page 50] the Medium or means for the execution of election; that did not run upon an uncer­tain means, and therefore there was an agreement concerning it from Eternity. Yea as to his Mediatorial imployment he is said to prae-exist all creatures. Prov. 8. 23. I was set up [or anointed, i. e. to be King, Priest and Prophet] from everlasting, or eve [...] the Earth was, vers. 24, to 31.

3. Many did believe (Heb. 11.) and so Salvation was obtained in the times of the Old Testament by Jesus Christ through a Covenant of Grace: To say that they were saved by vertue of a meer decree, were to assert that their salvation was obtained one way, ours another, and would render the Covenant superfluous, vain, and needless, if some went saved without it; and it is against Rev. 13. 8. which saith he was a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; their partaking of the fr [...]its and benefits of his death (before it actually was) could be no other way but upon assurance, that Jesus Christ would in due time take our nature and suffer death: this assurance could arise from nothing but a Covenant wherein Jesus Christ promised to do it, and the Father trusted the Son for a due performance of it. This Covenant the [...] was before his incarnation, and so must be made with him personally considered, or as [Page 51] the second person in the Trinity, and con­sequently from Eternity; for no acts be­tween them as God but are eternal. The Father and the Son as so, do not begin to act towards each other what they did not before, there was therefore an eternal Co­venant,

4. There were some reciprocal or federal actions of the Fathers giving Souls, and the Sons receiving of them, antecedaneous to Faith, Joh. 17. 2, 6, 12. That he should give eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him. This deed of gift is for the same end that the Covenant of grace serveth to, viz. that they might enjoy eternal Life, Joh. 6. 37. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, i. e. shall believe, vers. 35. this free giving is first, and believing after, and therefore seemeth to be Eternal. This donation, is an act of the Divine Will, granting of per­sons to Jesus Christ that they might be ran­somed or redeemed: right to receive and take them is relative to it, and therefore (I think) differeth from Election: For, the reason of that standeth not in such a grant, but in a distinct act of the same will, viz. in Divine love with separation, severing some to sal­vation with a refusing of others. This giving then, is a sederal act from all Eter­nity.

[Page 52] 5. Some federal matters are declared to be from Eternity, Tit. 1. 2. In hope of Eter­nal Life, which God that cannot lie promised. When? before the world began. And we are saved and called, not only according to his purpose, but grace which was given us in Christ, 2 Tim. 1. 9. But when? before the world began. All promises of eternal Life, and all such grace, belong to the Co­venant of Grace, and these were then made or given not to us in our own persons (for we had no existence so early) but in Jesus Christ. As it would sound harsh to inter­pret the word promised thus decreed to pro­mise, so it were as absurd, to render either Text from the beginning of the world, the word being. [...] ante, before, not since. I ask, is it to be rendred so as to Election or Jesus Christ, Ephes. 1. 4. 1 Pet. 1. 20? if not, let us owne this truth, that in the Covenant of Grace, Eternal Life was pro­mised, and grace given in Jesus Christ from all Eternity.


General Inferences from the whole.

Corol. 1. HEnce, we may behold infinite condescention that the eternal God will deal or treat with us, in a familiar Covenant way: What an honour is this? by his prerogative and Soveraignty he could have commanded all duty from us, without promising any thing to us; but behold the Lord hath put himself under everlasting en­gagements to his people, that upon the ac­count of his faithfulness, they may expect (through Christ) all mercy needful in all estates and conditions. When they are un­der great sufferings (as Israel of old) this Covenant may be of incouraging use, Exod. 2. 23, 24. God remembred his Covenant and bad respect to them. When under tempta­tion to think that Divine wrath and displea­sure will go out against them, it is of succouring use, Isa. 54. 9, 10. As readily might the waters of Noah return, and as easily might the Mountains depart, as the Covenant of his peace be removed. When under pressing wants, it is of relieving use, [...] Chron. 6. 42. Remember the mercies of [Page 54] David thy servant. When looking Death in the face it may be of comforting use 2 Sam. 23. 5. Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant. These were the last words of David, vers. 1. So that this un­changeable Covenant may make a dying man lift up his head with rejoycing. His house was not duly ordered towards God, and yet he could bear up with this against all his failings, unworthiness, undeserv­ings.

Corol. 2. Hence, there are transcended excellencies in the Covenant of grace, far above what are found in the Covenant of Works: For, here the Father is promising unto the Son, that he should be a Covenant of the people, the excellency of this might be evinced from its properties, it is a free, gratious, holy, well regulated, sure, and an everlasting Covenant, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Luk. 1. 72. 2 Sam. 23. 5. Isa. 55. 3. These things be­ing largely handled by others, I do but touch upon them.

Also the vast difference between those Covenants of Works and of Grace clear this. This Covenant of Works was made with the first Adam, and with all his seed in him, without a Mediator, requiring perfect, per­sonal obedience, by his natural concreated [Page 55] power, with free-will to stand or fall, im­plicity, promising life upon keeping and threatising death and a forfeiture of all upon breaking of it, Gen. 2. 17. It speaketh nothing of remission of sin, upon the deepest sorrow and repentance: if Adam could have wept day and night, and even tears of blood; yet that promised nothing, not the least mercy or favour after its violation, nothing but death to be expected from it; which speaketh the misery of all who are in a natural condition, and not come under a better Covenant.

But the Covenant of Grace, is made with Jesus Christ the second Adam, and with all his seed in him, as their Mediator to make it conciliation, and work out a righteous­ness for them, so as now the promise is sure to all the Seed, 1 Tim. 2. 5. Rom. 4. 16.

The Father is Covenanting with Jesus Christ as a more glorious head than the first Adam, promising to give him to be a Covenant of the people, to stand on their side: this must argue a pacification in that he who was God, (the person offended) would be God-man, a redeemer, so as he and the people make but one party in this Covenant; yea, he wrought out that righteousness which is unto justification of life, Rom. 5. 18, 19.

[Page 56] In handling the subject of the Covenant, the clearest way is, to compare the Covenant of Works with the first Adam, and the Cove­nant of grace with Jesus Christ the second Adam together; so the two Adams are paralleled, Rom. 5.

And also to compare, the old Covenant at mount Sinai, with the new Covenant, as Jer. 31. v. 31, 32. The jumbling of these together hath occasioned darkness in many matters; these differences being rightly stated, in a secondary way any of them, might be compared, with less danger of miscarrying.

Corol. 3. Hence, it is rich grace and spe­cial favour to be in the number of the people that were Covenanted for, between the Fa­ther and the Son; seeing none are freed from the sentence of death and condemna­tion or saved, but in the way of a Covenant of grace, Ephes. 2. 8. 2 Tim. 1. 9. The being under that, is not a priviledge that betideth all; it reacheth some and not others: For, there is no Covenant ex­pressure that extendeth now to all man-kind without exception, that Gen. 3. 15. impli­eth, that some are the Seed of the Serpent, as others are the Seed of the Woman; all the world are not the Seed of Abraham or David, nor the house of Israel and Judah, [Page 57] with whom the new Covenant is made Jer. 31. 31. The Fathers act of donation was not of all without exception, Joh. 17. 9. I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me—The Antithesis or opposition, doth strongly prove, that some are of the world, and these are not given unto Jesus Christ, nor prayed for by him. It would sound harsh to say, either that he Covenanted with the Father to die for and redeem some that were never given him, or that he would not intercede and pray for some that he did redeem; and the giving act was absolute, not upon the condition of our believing. For, Job. 6. 37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me. All them that were given shall certainly believe (and so shall be saved, Mark 16. 16.) and therefore some were never given to him. Impetration and application are of equal latitude and extent, Rom. 5. 10. From re­conciliation which is by the death of his Son, the Apostle argueth unto Salvation with a much more. All those therefore that it was purchased for, shall certainly have it applied to them, and be reconciled in their own persons.

Yea in the great Charter, the Covenant as between the Father and the Son an effe­ctual application of sederal blessings is ab­solutely [Page 58] promised, Isa. 53. 10, 11. He [Shall] see his Seed, and he [Shall] see of the travail of his Soul and be satis­fied, and he [Shall] justifie many. How many [Shalls] are here, and on this ac­count, because he [Shall bear their iniqui­ties]. All then whose iniquities he did bear, he shall convert and justifie. He hath the highest assurance that he should enjoy the very Seed which he travelled for: it was not a meer conditional satisfaction that he made; upon his death all matters be­came absolute: the very persons were ap­pointed, and an unalterable determination of the Father concerning their conversion, which cannot reach unto all men without exception, for then all should certainly be saved. So Isa. 42. 6, 7. It is not only pro­mised that he should be a Covenant [of the people] the Jews, but also [a light of the Gentiles]; which importeth a removing of spiritual blindness by affording special illu­minations: not only will he be redempti­on to the Gentiles, but a light for the ap­plying of it to all that he hath redeemed. Yea, he will bring them from the Prison, from their spiritual thraldom and bondage, to sin and Satan, which denote effectual vo­cation, Acts 13. vers. 47, 48. Acts 26. 18. So that an effectual application of Covenant [Page 59] grace unto conversion is absolutely promised to be vouchsafed unto all those that Jesus Christ did undertake for; yet you see there, that the accomplishment hereof, is by waies and means of his appointment, and the Lord doth not mock or delude men, in the general invitations and calls of the Gospel, any more than he mocked Pharoah, when he (by Moses) commanded him to let Is­rael go, and yet declared that he would barden his heart, that he should not let the people go, Exod. 4. 21. 23. The Lord by his Will of Precept commandeth all where­ever the Gospel cometh to believe, and all which do believe shall certainly be Saved, Mark 16. 16. and therefore he doth not mock. The dispensation of the Gospel is the means which he sanctifieth and blesseth to that end, for the working or begetting of Faith. If any will neglect, abuse, and misimprove or make light of it, Mat. 22. v. 5. and intreat spightfully the messengers that are sent with that blessed tidings; or if they will be attended to their worldly matters, their Farms and Oxen—They sinning against the means of grace, it is a putting a slight up­on the grace and salvation tendred in the means, and this leaveth inexcusable and will expose the sinners to just condemnation. They had power to forbear such acts of sin [Page 60] against the means, though they had not po­wer to render it effectual; and who (either Speaker or Hearer) knoweth that he is not of that number, which Jesus Christ Cove­nanted for and will make it effectual to? however, the Lord is not bound to abat [...] of his demand of duty, because of mans impotency and (sinfully contracted) dis­ability to obey.

All therefore ought to give utmost atten­dance to the general call of the Gospel, as a matter of highest concernment to their souls for Eternity; and the neglecting hereof is a despising of Jesus Christ and his benefits, Luk. 10. 16. And then no wonder if the wrath of God abideth on them.

Corol. 4. Hence there were glorious tran­sactions in order to the salvation of the Elect, long before their believing: though the actu­al application of federal blessings to them, is not one moment of time before the gift of Faith, yet before that there are glorious advantages, arising from the Covenant, as between the Father and the Son on their behalf.

Vertually and ex faedere all conducing unto happiness was secured for them from Eternity; then there was not only a pas­sing such an act as they cannot eventually be damued (which is so far from proving an [Page 61] actual justification as that) a meer decree of Election, would have been sufficient un­to this, seeing that must certainly have its execution, but by a federal act, so early was the undertaking of Jesus Christ on their behalf; then was the Covenant made be­tween the Father and the Son, which had all blessedness in the womb of it, Tit. 1. 2. Indeed he had not actually our sin upon him, nor was so justified before his incar­nation, Isa. 50. 7, 8. For, his coming in the flesh had been vain and unnecessary, if he had been actually discharged before.

And this may shew that our justification doth not every way run parallel to his; For, believers under the Old Testament were actually justified before Jesus Christ was so: but so early the Elect did in some special way belong unto God, being federally made over by him to Jesus Christ for gratious ends, Job. 17. 6. Thine they were, and thou gavest them unto me.

And this was a great business, for he was appointed to be their representative, and to pay their ransom money, so as when he did it, they were virtually deemed as justi­fied, yea sanctified and glorified there, not in their own persons, but in him, Eph. 2. 5, 6. Hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit [Page 62] together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Corol. 5. Hence, there was some love in the bosom of God towards the Elect from all Eternity: Sending Christ himself (who is given for a Covenant and is the sum of it) is the fruit and effect of it, Joh. 3. 16 God so loved the world that he gave hi [...] only begotten Son—And if the Cove­nant was from everlasting, then that Di­vine love, which is the Fountain and first spring from whence it floweth, must needs be so early also.

God doth actually love the Elect before they are regenerate or can actually believe, with a love of benevolence or good will, though not with a love of complacency and delight. He beareth love, to their persons, though not to their qualities and actions, nor to their state and condition. Yea, God owneth them not only with electing but with redeeming love, Rom. 5. 8. God com­mended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This extolleth his love, and maketh it sur­mount all others, that he gave his Son to die for them, whilst they were in a state of sin and misery. There was some federal love so far as to give them unto Jesus Christ to be redeemed by him, Job. 6. 37, 39. So as to owne them as the persons which should [Page 63] share in Covenant grace afterward when others were left out. The love of God is an unchangeable and eternal act of his Will, ever one and the same, admitteth of no in­crease or decrease in him; he doth not be­gin to love any person that he hated before, be changeth not, Mal. 3. 6. But to help our weak understandings, according to his acting towards us, and to the change that is made in us, and as we partake of his benefits, so he is said to let it out to us, 1 Job. 3. 1. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God. Thus the Lord loveth not his creatures equally, or all alike, but some more than others; the regenerate more than the unregenerate, and those most, who share most in the effects of it, both for this life, and that which is to come. From Eternity, although God had not a love of approbation to the state of the Elect un­converted, yet he had a love of commisera­tion unto their persons, Psal. 103. 17. But the mercy of the Lord (which hath mise­rable creatures as the proper objects of it) is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, &c. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, he considered them as possibly miserable, and was a God of mercy. Then he had such a love of benevolence to [Page 64] them as certainly issueth in a love of bene­ficence or soul inriching bounty, Eph. 2. 4, 5. But God who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, &c. Here the first operations of Divine grace, the recovery of a soul out of a dead state unto spiritual life, the first quickenings of a soul from the death of sin are made the issues of Divine favour, they spring from mercy and rich mercy, from love and great love.

Corol. 6. Hence, the Covenant of grace as made with Jesus Christ, h [...]d the preceden­cy, was before the Covenant of works, that was first, this after: For, though there was a Divine Decree concerning the Creation and the Covenant of Works to be in time, yet that was not actually made so early, be­cause Adam (who was to be the head of it) was not then existing, had not a being for it to be made with. Whereas, Jesus Christ (who was the head of the Covenant of grace) was not only really existing but undertaking from Eternity. The Covenant of grace, (without any incongruity) may be asserted, in its constitution and making to be first, or before the Covenant of Works, though in its execution and application it cometh after, and presupposeth the breaking [Page 65] of it: As a healing balsam may be prepared, before the wound is made, and a salve be­fore there be a sore, although the applying thereof be afterward: So, the Covenant of grace was made from Eternity, not actu­ally with us in our own persons, but with Jesus Christ for us, as our great Feoffee in trust, though we then were unborn and had not a being.

Corol. 7. Hence, the whole contrivement of the Covenant of grace, must be ascribed to God alone, seeing it was from all Eternity. No creature was then existing to have any hand or stroke therein: there was none to counsel, advise, or perswade this way. It was conceived in the heart and bosome of God, and none but he had to do in the con­cluding of it, and so he is alone to be magni­fied and extolled therein. A Christian, as one transported, may cry out on this account, as Isa. 25. 1. O Lord I will exalt thee—­for thou hast done wonderful things, thy Counsels [of old] are faithfulness and truth. Now, there is no room for our boasting, nothing to be ascribed to our selves, God alone is to be admired in Cove­nant grace, seeing it was working towards as from all Eternity, 2 Tim. 1. 9. It is said to be, not according to our Works. The Eternity of our mercy is exclusive of our [Page 66] duty as any cause of his affording of it. This putteth a glory upon Covenant grace and love, that it is antient, before the world began.

Corol. 8. Hence, there is stability is Covenant mercies, seeing that compact. which giveth assurance thereof was from all Eternity Saith he, Psal. 25. 6. Remember, O Lord thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses Why? For, they have been ever of old. The antientness thereof, is a good argument to urge for the obtainment of them. We may have hope to receive, what the Lord was so early determined to give out, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The foundation of God standeth sure. The apostasie of eminent professors is a great temptation unto many sincere Christians: they are apt to say, If such glistering, shining Stars fall, good Lord how shall we stand? But to help against it, he telleth us, the foundation that is stedfast, firm, unmoveable, it standeth sure, by the Covenant of grace they are granted to Jesus Christ from all Eternity, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Such eternal acts of God are firm and stable, abiding for ever, will secure against defection or falling away; Satan shall never utterly prevail against them; grace shall never utterly be over­thrown or extinguished. [Having this Seal; the Lord knoweth them that are his.] [Page 67] He hath set his mark upon them, and where ever they be, he can distinguish them from the world; as he knoweth them by number, so also by mark, or scal, and when he maketh up his jewels, not one of them which are his shall be wanting.

Corol. 9 Hence, there is a bottom of con­solation for all that are within the Covenant of grace, in that it was established from all Eternity: O how may it fill them with comfort, that their salvation standeth by an eternal act of God, that cannot be re­vealed, altered, or changed, yea by a Co­venant act, wherein the fai hfulness of God [...]s ingaged for the affording of it, even by the Fathers gift. How often doth Jesus Christ mention them as given to him, Joh. 6. 37, 39. Joh. 17. 2, 9, 12. as if he delighted, and gloried in, or boasted of, this giving act. How may this secure them gainst all fears of everlasting miscarrying, that they are given to Jesus Christ from all Eternity? For, he will never forseit his Fa­thers gifts, nor displease him so as he should withdraw them from him; they will be gifts without Repentance. This eternal act will never be recalled, which may make for their everlasting Consolation.


Of the Old and New Covenant, what they are and how distinct?

HAving cleared the Covenant of Gr [...] as to the transactions between the Fa­ther and the Son from Eternity, & as to the first revelations of its grace to the Patriarch [...] as Abraham and David, &c. before the incarnation, wherein the great thing pro­mised, was that blessed Seed, so as al [...] blessings were to be expected only in him: We now come to consider,

First, that Dispensation which held forth the way and means whereby Jesus Christ came under our obligation, and by answer­ing of it, confirmed the Covenant of Grace and this is contained in the Old Covenant made at mount Sinai.

Secondly, that Dispensation whereby the special blessings and priviledges (which an the issue of his obedience) are imparted to us, and this is the New Covenant.

The Apostle compareth these together i [...] diverse Chapters in the Epistle to the H [...] ­brews, and saith of Jesus Christ, Heb. 8. He obtained a more excellent Ministry by b [...] [Page 69] much also he is the Mediator of a better Co­venant—Which implies, that there is another Testament, viz. that at mount Sinai, when they came out of Egypt, ver. 9. which the Aaronical Priesthood appeartained to, that is worse; but it is the excellency of Jesus Christ that his ministration is con­versant about a better Testament; that hath the pre-eminence on this account, as being established upon better promises. And the opposition is not laid between the Covenant of Works, as with the first Adam, and the New Covenant, but between that at Sinai and the New. The word for Cove­nant is [...] Testament, it noteth a dis­position or declaration by way of Will or Promise, and may be the act of one or more. Indeed the Hebrew word Berith is used, Jer. 31. 31, 32. and the same ex­pressed by [...], Heb. 8. v. 8, 9, 10. But the Apostle intimated that a Testamentary disposition is intended by it, Gal. 3. 15, 17. As if Jesus Christ by fulfilling the condition of the Covenant of grace had turned it in­to a Testament, the blessings of it being now legacies absolutely promised to us in the New.

It will be necessary here to inquire, what is the worse Covenant, and what is this better Testament which is compared with it?

[Page 70] Answ. 1. The worse Covenant is that Conditional Divine grant of blessings upon the obedience required in the Law of Moses, Or, that Old Covenant which was made a­mount Sinai: This is undoubtedly it which is compared with the other; For, it is that which the Levitical Priesthood did belong to, which the Priesthood of Christ is com­pared with, as is manifest, Heb. 7, and 8, and 9. Chapters. It is that Covenant which the Lord made with the Fathers in the day when he took them by the hand to lead them out of the Land of Egypt, Heb. 8. vers. 9. And therefore undeniably it was the Sinai Covenant, for then that was made with them, Exod. 19. vers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. &c. In the third moneth when the Children of Israel were gone out of the Land of Egypt, the same day they came to the wilderness of Sinai; and both the matter of the Cove­nant and manner of its promulgation, we see in that and the following Chapters.

It is a conditional grant, it promiseth nothing but upon the condition of obedi­ence, Exod. 19. vers. 5. [If] ye will obey my voice and keep my Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure—All is upon an [If] So Levit. 26. vers. 3, 4, &c. [If] ye walk in my Statutes and keep my Com­mandments and do them, then will I give [Page 71] you rain, &c. The like in many other places; all Promises run there upon the con­dition of keeping his Commandments.

The whole Law is generally distributed into three parts, viz. Moral, Judicial, and Ceremonial; no Precept but may be refer­red to one of these; and obedience to all of them is required as the condition of this Sinai Covenant, or all are comprised there­in.

1. The Moral Law is such a principal part of it, as it beareth the very name of the Covenant, and the Table thereof are called the Tables of the Covenant, Exod. 34. vers. 28. Deut. 9. vers. 9, 11, 15. Yea the terrible appearances of God in thundrings and lightnings, and the noise of the Trum­pet, was at the promulgation of the Moral Law, before the Ceremonial was given forth, Exod. 19. vers. 16. Exod. 20. 1, to 19.

So that the first constitution of the Sinai Covenant was only of the Moral Law; it is very observable that Moses having re­hearsed these very Commandments, Deut. 5. he closeth up thus, vers. 22. These words the Lord spake unto your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the Cloud, and of the thick darkness [and he added no more] i. e. in making this Cove­nant, he added no more than these Moral [Page 72] Precepts, although he reserved to himself a liberty to add the Coremonials afterward, yet for the present he did not; indeed vir­tually they were contained therein, but not actually before the discovery of them, any more than Gospel Institutions which Israel was not obliged to, until revealed, and after that were equally reducible thereunto. The holy God, that he might tame their rebellious Spirits, he cometh in this terri­ble way, requiring exact obedience to the Moral Commandments [and added no more] At the first hand, he revealed no way for their relief and succour, yet then, before any Ceremonials were added, it made a Covenant, vers. 2. Even when the people could see nothing but wrath and a curse before them, they were forbidden coming up into the Mount upon pain of death, and so were not admitted to familiar converses with God, must have dreadful tokens of a Divine presence, as a consuming fire, and in that respect the Sinai Covenant is opposed to the New, Heb. 12. vers. 18. to vers. 25. For ye are not come to the Mount that might be touched and that burnt with fire, &c. That is, ye are not come to Mount Sinai and the terrour of that Old Covenant, but ye are come to Mount Sion—To Jesus the Mediatour of the New Covenant.

[Page 73] 2. The Judicial Laws belong to it: these are called Judgements, Exod. 21. 1. and obedience unto them is urged there­in upon as strict terms as to the other, Levit. 18. ver. 4, 5. Ye shall therefore do my Judgements—Ye shall therefore keep my Statutes and my Judgements, which if a man do he shall live in them, I am the Lord. Here keeping his Judicial Laws is urged as necessary unto Life.

3. The Ceremonial Law also appertain­eth to the Sinai Covenant: For, the Apostle mentioneth the Levitical Priest­hood and Sacrifices, &c. as belonging to the Old Testament, and preferreth the Ministry of Jesus Christ before it, even in the Text, in that he is a Mediator not of the Old but of the New Testament, Heb. 7, and 8. Chap. Heb. 9. ver. 1, 2, 3, &c. ver. 15.

These Ceremonial Laws were called by the name of Statutes, containing Institu­tions of worship, and are urged also on as strict terms as the Moral, Lev. 18. v. 5. Ye shall therefore keep [my Statutes] and my Judgements, which if a man do [he shall live in them]. These Positive Pre­cepts [his Statutes] run upon those terms [do and live] and therefore belong to the Law in the strict sense, Rom. 10. ver. 5. Yea exact obedience to these ceremonials is [Page 74] required on pain of the Curse, Deut. 26. ver. 27. compared with Gal. 3. vers. 10. So Levit. 26. vers. 2, 3, 4, 14, 15. He in­joyneth reverencing his Sanctuary, and keeping his Statutes and Judgements, threa­tening de [...]th upon the neglect thereof; and Verse 46. These are the Satutes and Judgements and Laws which the Lord made between him and the Children of Israel in mount Sinai, by the hand of Moses: and also he closeth up the Book of Leviticus thus, Levit. 27. vers. 34. These are the Commandments which the Lord commanded Moses, for the Children of Israel in mount Sinai. By which it is evident, that those Laws contained in that Book of Leviticus (of which many are ceremonial and judici­al as well as moral) do belong to the Si­nai Covenant. So also do some contained in the Book of Numbers, compare Numb. 19. vers. 3, 4. with Heb. 9. vers. 13. and 13. vers. 11. And also some contained in the Book of Deuteronomy, for the Apostle mentioneth that as part of the Law, Gal. 3. vers. 10. which is drawn from Deut. 26. vers. 27. I do not say that all things in those Books are to be esteemed as parts of the Sinai Covenant: For, some matters are not of a federal nature, as the taking the summ of the Congregation, Numb. 1. [Page 75] the order of their Tribes, Numb. 2. the stories of their murmuring, Numb. 10. vers. 33. to the end, Numb. 11. vers. 1. &c. of Miriams case, Numb. 12. of the Spies searching the Land, Numb. 13, and 14. of the rebellion of Korah, Numb. 16. of Balaam and Balak, Chap. 23, and 24. of Israels journeys, Chap. 33. and many other stories, as Deut. 1, and 2, and 3. These are not included in it: but what­ever scattered up and down in those Books, hath the nature of such a Covenant in it, whereof obedience is the condition, that is to be deemed as belonging to the Sinai Covenant.

The Ceremonial Law came in by way of addition to the other, after an apparent in­terval, upon their desiring a Mediator, that might receive the Law for, and declare it to them, Ex [...]d. 20. 19, 24, 25, 26. and Exod. 21, and 22, and 23, Chapt. There was a solemnization and ratification of all, upon the peoples promising to fulfill it, Exod. 24.

God himself uttered the Moral Law to the people with great terrour, but the Ce­remonial (although it did after belong to the Sinai Covenant yet) was revealed to Moses in the Mount, without those thun­drings and lightenings which the other [Page 76] was attended with. I have wondred what should be the reason of these additional things.

But I consider that temporal mercies being promised by that Covenant unto Israel up­on their perfect obedience, they would have been hopeless of injoying these, if such a typical expiation and attonement had not been provided, that their sins might not hinder their arriving at them. So that Morals, Ceremonials, and Judicials did be­long to, (and with the promises and threatnings annexed, made up) the Sinai Covenant.

Answ. 2. The better Covenant, is an ab­solute Divine grant by way of Promise, of those great blessings which come in by the mediation and Ministry of Jesus Christ: as its excellency, it is said to be that where­of he is Mediator, and so it is the New Covenant or Testament, Heb. 9. 15. and 12. 24. That it runneth upon absolute terms may be seen Heb. 8. 7. to the end. And it is declared that it is not according to the Old, vers. 9. Therefore the chief scope and design of the Apostle in mentioning these promises, rather than any other, is, the discovering, wherein especially the New is differenced from, and is said to be better than, the Old.

[Page 77] Here are four grand Promises of the New Covenant instanced in, which are so com­prehensive, as all others made to us, are some way reducible to them.

1. The inscription of the Divine Law in the hearts of men, Heb. 8. vers. 10. I will put my Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts. In the state of inno­cency, the Law was found in lively Cha­racters there, but since the fall, it needeth to be transcribed or written over again. The Old Covenant had the Law written upon Tables of stone without; not abso­lutely promised, and but rarely found with­in; insomuch as the Lord even weepeth over them, Deut. 5. 29. O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me and keep all my Commandments. But in opposition to the Old, here the Lord under­taketh to write it upon better Tables, even of the heart: importing his affording an inward frame, disposition and inclination for an universal compliance with the Di­vine Will; and then no sooner is any thing offered of a Divine stamp, but all the faculties of the Soul, understanding, will, and affection, with the greatest rea­diness, stand bent for a conformity to it; yea the Soul is carried forth that way, not so much by legal external inforcements, as [Page 78] by internal powerful obligations: that whereas the Old had a large Volume of Laws, Institutions, and Ordinances, which they were commanded to yield obedience to: in the New all is comprised in a little room, and turned into Promise [I will write my Law in their Hearts]; the spi­riting for all, is assured to them. Here the Promise leadeth the way to the Obedi­ence: And O how sweet is it, when it beginneth with and is the fruit of a Divine Promise!

2. A mutual relation between God and Souls, Heb. 8. 10. I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. Here is propriety each in other. By the Old Cove­nant they were externally interested in God: but as by that with Abraham then, so by the New since, it is more absolutely promised unto some that he will be their God; which must import that they shall have more sweet converses and communi­on with him, under the New than under the Old, and have higher manifestations of their injoyment of him. And happy is that people whose God is the Lord, Psal. 144. 15. What then can they want? All Creatures are theirs, yea Christ theirs, Grace theirs, Glory theirs, all the Attri­butes of God theirs, his Wisdom, Power, [Page 79] Goodness, Faithfulness, Loving kindness, all theirs, all his Promises, yea his All-suf­ficiency theirs, and what can they desire more, than to have him who is all in all?

Also [they shall be to me a People] that is, I will own them in a clearer, more eminent and glorious way, than under the Old. There shall be a greater separa­tion in their Spirit, and in their whole course from all corruption, from Sin, Sa­tan, the World, and a greater dedication unto God, 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20. and 2 Cor. 6. 17. Zech. 14. 19, 20. In that day every Pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be ho­liness to the Lord: there shall be an Uni­versal tincture of holiness, Isa. 44. 5. and One (i. e. one by one) shall say, I am the Lords—There shall be a more vo­luntary and free self-resignation unto him; yea when they find their hearts stand off and hang back from God, it is under Pro­mise [they shall be to me a People] they may plead the Promise for enablement to make over themselves in a fuller way unto God than formerly.

3. Special illumination is Promised, Heb. 8. vers. 11. They shall all know me from the least to the greatest: There shall be an enlargement of their knowledge and [Page 80] acquaintance with God and Divine things. It would seem rather to exclude private teaching than publick [they shall not teach every man his Neighbour, and every man his Brother] but it is not absolutely exclusive of outward teachings by instru­ments and means; but comparatively, it hold­eth forth how surpassingly excellent those discoveries under the New Testament should be, above those under the Old; they far transcend and go beyond these, are more eminent and universal: not only some but all shall know me, &c. Yet publick and private teachings were to be attended to, as means conducing to this end, Mat. 28. 19, 20. Ephes. 4. 11, 12, 13. and 6. 4. Col. 3. 16. Those teachings then of the Divine Spirit, do not render the other void or unnecessary. Under the Old they had some dark, typical, shad­dowy representations of God and Jesus Christ; under the New they shall have those that are more clear and out-strip the other. Yea, it is under Promise [they shall all know me] and therefore they are to make an improvement of that, toward the gaining a more eminent measure of knowledge, than those in Old Testament times arrived at.

[Page 81] 4. Remission or Pardon of Sin is promi­sed, Heb. 8. vers. 12. For I will be merci­ful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. That particle [for] argueth it to be a reason of his affording other federal blessings: he will write his Law in their hearts, for he will forgive their sins; he will be their God, and they shall be his people, for he will pardon their iniquity. Forgiving Grace is the very spring of other mercies; that maketh way for sharing in them, and nothing without that.

There was a typical forgiveness, in the Old Covenant, Heb 9. 9, 10, 14. and 10. 1, 2, 3, &c. but there is real Remission in the New, Heb. 10. vers. 16, 17. and by this, the whole of our Justification is noted out: whence the Apostle, Rom. 4. from the way of the non-imputation of sin, proveth our Justification to be by Faith, and not by the works of the Law.

But Pardon of Sin denoteth,

1. Freedom from an obligation unto the punishment of the Law: for pardon is op­posed to guilt, which properly is obligati­on to punishment, Exod. 34. Pardon our iniquity, and our sin, that is, do not hold us as guilty. It is noted by not imputing [Page 82] sin, Psal. 32. 2. that is, do not charge it upon us. It is called a covering of it, a blotting of it out, as when a man crosseth a debt Book; and Heb. 8. 12. a remem­bring it no more, that is, he will not so remember it, as to keep it upon record, and hold the person obliged to its pe­nalty.

2. Pardon noteth impunity, or a discharge from the punishment of sin: when pardon­ing mercy is extended to a Soul, the Lord doth give a freedom from the punishment it self, that is due to sin, as well as from the obligation to it, Numb. 14. 19. Pardon I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, &c. i. e. do not inflict deserved punishment, The Lord had threatned to cast them off, to disinherit them, and kill them as one man, vers. 12, 15. M [...]ses intercedeth, and the Lord answereth, vers. 20. I have par­doned according to thy Word, that is, I will not punish, and execute the fierceness of my wrath upon them, yet he sweareth that they should not enter into the promised rest, vers. 21, 22, 23. The Lord then may pardon, so as not to deal in utmost severi­ty with a people, and yet may reserve to himself a liberty to chastise them, by with­holding some desired injoyments from them. Yea, in this sense, so far as he [Page 83] doth not chastise them, he may be said to pardon, when her (i. e. Sions) warfare is accomplished, then it is said, as Isa. 40. 2. that her iniquity is pardoned, i. e. the Lord will not visit for her iniquity as he did be­fore, [she hath received of the Lords hand double for all her sins] not that her suf­fering had given the least satisfaction to Divine justice for her sin, that belongeth to Christ alone; but she had experienced a large measure of fatherly chastisement, and now being released from this, she is said to be pardoned, Isa. 33. 24. The in­habitant shall not say I am sick, the peo­ple that dwell therein, shall be forgiven their iniquity. As there is a freedom from sick­ness, and tokens of fatherly displeasure, so in this sense, sin is said to be forgiven.

Now in the New Covenant, the Lords remembring iniquity no more, implieth this also, his not executing eternal wrath upon the sinner; nothing vindictive or sa­tisfactory to divine justice will ever be laid upon him: yea fatherly chastisements will be taken off so far as may be good for him.

And now, what a rich treasury is this New and better Covenant? it hath enough in it to supply all the wants, to answer all the grounded desires of poor Souls. If [Page 84] they want an obediential frame of heart; here it is promised [I will write my Laws in their hearts]. If they desire interest in God, as that only which will satisfic their immortal Souls; behold it is promised [I will be to them a God]. Do they find a backwardness to giving up themselves to God? here it is promised, [they shall be to me a people]. Do they find cause to complain of spiritual blindness, darkness, and ignorance? it is promised [all shall know me]. Doth sin sadly threaten? it is promised, [their sins and iniquities will I remember no more]. And O how misera­ble are all unbelievers, who want an inte­rest in this New Covenant; they have not this Law of Grace written within; are without God and a due knowledge of him, strangers to forgiving Grace; in these is the summ of all unhappiness.

Quest. Whether that better Covenant (wherein the ministration of Jesus Christ doth lie) be distinct from that at mount Sinai? Are they two Covenants, or but one?

Answ. That New or better Covenant is distinct from that at Mount Sinai: it is usually said, that they are two administra­tions or dispensations of the same Covenant: I think, they are not meerly one and the [Page 85] same Covenant diversely administred, but they are two Covenants.

Yet to prevent mistakes, I would explain my meaning herein. I grant that the Si­nai Covenant had a special relation to the Covenant of Grace, and was of great use thereabout. Also I am far from thinking, that there are two Covenants of Grace, if thereby be meant, two waies to Life and Salvation specifically and essentially diffe­rent each from other. I conclude that the Elect were saved in one and the same way, for substance and essence in all Ages, viz. by Grace, through a Mediator, by Faith in him. The grand Covenant of Grace was made with Jesus Christ, and us in him, and is essentially one in all times; so as no one of those federal expressures to Adam fallen, or to Abraham, or to David, can rightly be deemed the Covenant of Grace it self (unless summarily, or as an Epi­tome thereof) but only discoveries of some small parcels and branches thereof, and differ from it, as a part from the whole, or as a particular Article from a whole federal transaction which consisteth of many more; yea that compriseth all the Promises of furnishing Jesus Christ for the work, and rendring him prosperous and successful in it, (Isa. 53. ver. 10, 11, 12.) [Page 86] as well as Promises of what he will do for us, and one Article may be distinct enough from another: As among men, a Father by an Indenture (containing many Articles) may settle an inheritance upon his Son and his Posterity, and all make up but one Covenant in the main; yet one Article may be distinct enough from another, and any one may be called a distinct Covenant, when it is compared with another; one Covenant may be concerning some condi­tion to be performed by the Son, another Covenant for the Father to acknowledge a Fine, or give a further assurance, another to free from incumbrances; So the great God settleth an everlasting inheritance upon some of the Sons of men, by one grand Covenant of Grace made with Jesus Christ as their Head, which hath many Articles and matters belonging to it, distinct enough each from other; as, one Covenant con­cerning a condition to be performed by men in their surety Jesus Christ, this is that as Mount Sinai; another Covenant concerning the priviledges which shall be afforded by him, that condition being performed, this is the New Covenant, Jer. 31. vers. 31. Be­hold the daies come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant—Here is a Covenant to give further assurance and [Page 87] of what; and thus although the grand Covenant be but one, yet these several Ar­ticles thereof compared each with other, are clearly enough distinct, and so that at Sinai and the New are two Covenants; as may appear these wales.

1. The Sinai Covenant is denied to be made before Israels coming out of Egypt; and therefore must be distinct, or another Covenant from that which promised special blessings in Christ; For, that was made with the Patriarchs, as Abraham, Israe, and Jacob, &c. long before Israels deli­verance out of Egyptian bondage, Gen. 12. vers. 1, 2, 3, &c. Gen. 17. vers. 2, 7. The Apostle asserteth the stability of the Cove­nant with Abraham and his seed, and proveth it on this wise, Gal. 3. vers. 15, 16, 17. This I say, that the Covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the Law which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot disanul—Where he argueth thus, That which was made at Mount Sinai, coming after, could not disanul that with Abraham, which was of a more antient date or long before it. He speaketh not of the moral Law barely as a Rule of Life, for so, even before Abraham it was; immortalities were ever sinful, and exposed those that were guilty of [Page 88] them unto dreadful Judgements, as Sa­dom and Gomorrah to fire and brimstone, and the old World to a deluge of Water; therefore he must speak of the Law con­sidered as a Covenant given at Mount Si­nai, and thus it was not till four hundred and thirty years after that with Abraham, & so these must be two distinct Covenants of vastly different dates, else the Apostles ar­gument, which is built upon their diffe­rence in respect of time, is not cogent, it is of no force, if they be of the same date, one as early as the other; for the false Apostles among the Galatians might have said, the Law as a Covenant was as early as Abraham, for substance, though not for form and administration; this had been enough to elude his plea, which was grounded upon the time of it; especially seeing the Law was urged amongst the Ga­latians not meerly as to any circumstances in that new ministration, but as to the sub­stance of it; the question then being, Whether Justification and the eternal in­heritance were by the works of the Law, or by Grace, and in a way of Faith? The Apostle argueth that this federal transacti­ion at Sinai, not having a being till Moses, so long after that with Abraham; hence it could not establish another way of life [Page 89] opposite to that, viz. by works of the Law.

Also Deut. 5. vers. 2, 3. The Lord our God made a Covenant with us in Horeb, the Lord made not this Covenant with our Fa­thers, but with us. The Sinai Covenant is clearly intended here, by that at H [...]reb, (compare Deut. 4. vers. 10, 11, 12, 13. with Exod. 19. vers. 1, 8. 9.) and this is expresly denied to be made with their Fa­thers; the Sinai Covenant then was not made with the Patriarchs, not made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or with any that lived before the time of Moses; they that were alive at that day, are intimated to be the first with whom it was made, it was not with our Fathers, but with us [even with us who are all of us here alive this day]: those then, which before the times of Moses were dead, had not this Covenant made with them, and therefore it is distinct from that which was made with the Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, &c. He doth not say, the Lord made not this administration of it with our Fathers, or he made it not in this form, but the Lord stroke not this Covenant, he denyeth the Covenant it self to be cut with them. It is an adding to the word to put in (as some do) tantum, as if the [Page 90] meaning were this, not only with our Fa­thers, but also with us. This is to say, it was made with the Fathers, when the Holy Spirit expressly denieth it. Such ad­ditions admitted else-where in Scripture, would be found to be desperately dange­rou [...]; and here can by no means be al­lowed, seeing the Apostle giveth it an af­ter date, Gal. 3. 17.

2. The better Covenant and that at Sinai are contradistinguished, and so must be two distinct Covenants, else the opposition were groundless, Jer. 31. vers. 31, 32—I will make a New Covenant—Not according to the Covenant I made with their Fathers—i. e. not according to the Sinai Covenant; for that was it which was made when they were brought out of the Land of Egypt. He doth not say, I will set up a new administration of my Covenant (though that had been true) but a New Covenant; there is a plain op­position between Covenant and Covenant, and therefore the New and that at Sinai must be two distinct, and not one and the same in different forms: and the rather, because this New Covenant is not opposed to the Covenant with Abraham, and to that with David, but only to that with Moses and Israel at M [...]ent Sinai. Let any in­stance [Page 91] be given of any thing that is found contradistinguished in such a manner as these are, when only some modification and different respects of the same subject is in­tended to be signified thereby.

3. The bitterness of the Covenant were not a sufficient evidence that the ministra­tion of Jesus Christ is of greater excellen­cy than the other, if they were not two distinct Covenants: The Apostle proveth that Jesus Christ hath obtained a more ex­cellent Ministry, by this Medium, Heb. 8. vers. 6. By how much also he is a Media­tour of a better Covenant—He doth not say, Only a better administration, but a better Covenant; and much of the force of his Argument were lost, if the Ministry of those Levitical Priests and also Christs, were conversant about the same Covenant; but if they be two, then it is very forei­ble; they ministred about one Covenant and Christ about another and a better, and therefore his is the more excellent Ministry. Besides, it is taken from his being [a Me­diatour of that better Covenant] which implieth that he was not then a Mediatour of that worse Sinai Covenant (though of old typified therein) which their Ministry related to. Indeed it had been a slender proof of the excellency of his Ministry, [Page 92] if the better Covenant were the same for substance with the worse, seeing then that at Sinai must be still continuing, and so Jesus Christ not only in his Type, but in his own person must be Mediatour thereof, Ministring therein, which that Text doth not give the least countenance to, but there and also else-where Christ is called the Mediator of the New Covenant in opposition to the Old, Heb. 12. vers. 18, 19, 20, 24. Heb. 9. 15. Even in the satis­fying the Old by his death. And there­fore they must be two distinct Covenants.

4. The many Notes of distinction that are given of them, argue that they are two Co­venants: they are not only called the Old and the New (this possibly might be said of the same Subject, as we say, the Old and the New Moon, and yet one and the same Moon) but the first and the second, Heb. 8. vers. 7. If that [first Covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for [the second]. As Dr. C. saith, That it should be affirmed of one and the same Covenant, that this is the first Covenant, and that is the second, and yet those two should be but both one, that is strange.

5. They are successive, the Second cometh in the place of the First, and so they must [Page 93] two distinct Covenants, Heb. 10. vers. 9. He taketh away the First that he may establish the Second. Nothing cometh in the room and stead of it self, but of something else; now the Second better Covenant cometh in the place and stead of the First; so as the one must be removed, and taken away, that the other may be established, and so they must be two distinct Covenants: the first is Old, and Heb. 8. vers. 13. That which decayeth and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away, Heb. 7. vers. 18. There is verily a disanulling of the Commandment going before, i. e. of the first Covenant. The Old then is such as it is disanulled and va­nisheth away, whereas the New Covenant cannot be disanulled, never vanisheth away; neither is it said that one admini­stration vanisheth, is disanulled and taken away, that another might succeed (though this is true) but one, viz. a first Covenant it self is taken away, that a Second may come in the room of it.

6. They are expressly called [two Covenants or Testaments]: The Apostle mentioneth Abrahams two Sons, the one by a Bond­woman who was born after the flesh, the other by a Free-woman, who was by Pro­mise, and maketh this application of it, Gal. 4. vers. 24. Which things are an Alle­gory, [Page 94] for these are the [two Covenants or Testaments] the one from the Mount Si­nai which gendreth to bondage, which is Agar—What can be more plain? Here it is expressly affirmed, that there are two Covenants or Testaments, and neither of these two was formally (though material one might be) the Covenant of Works or of friendship made with the first Adam in his estate of Innocency, For, then man himself must have been the worker for Life; and therefore of necessity there must be two Covenants besides; and so it is no way incongruous to speak of three Cove­nants, seeing that with Adam is generally acknowledged to be One, and here the Scripture expresly speaketh of two Cove­nants, and that with Adam is none of them. It is not that signified by the Free-woman and her Son Isaac, for that in opposition to the other is said to be free, and to be by Pro­mise, v. 23, 26, 31. Neither is it signified by the Bondwoman and her Son, for after he said [these are the two Covenants] it immedi­ately followeth, vers. 24. [The One from the Mount Sinai which gendreth to bondage, which is Agar]. So then, not the Cove­nant of Works as made with Adam, but the Sinai Covenant is the other here in­tended. And plainly he speaketh of both [Page 95] according to Divine Ordination or Instituti­on, and concludeth them so to be two Co­venants: in this Allegory, he doth not mention them considered abusively accor­ding to the intention of the Judaizing Prophets, but in themselves, vers. 21, 22. Ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law, for it is written Abraham bad two Sons, &c. therefore as they war­rantably heard the Sinai Law, so it and the free Promise made two Testaments.

Yea in the times of the Old Testament these were kept very distinct: hence it is observable, that when the Children of Is­rael had sinned egregiously in making the Calf, and the Lord severely threatned even to consume them, Exod. 32. 10, 11. Moses in interceding for them doth not plead the Covenant newly made at Mount Sinai, but that with Abraham, vers. 13. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel thy servants to whom thou swarest, &c. He saw he could not ground his plea upon the Sinai Covenant already violated by them, and therefore he fleeth to another founded up­on free grace. So Deut. 9. 27. 2 King. 13. 23. The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and had respect to them; he doth not say, because of his Covenant with Moses at Mount Sinai, but because of [Page 96] his Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Ja­cob, &c. So that whilst the Sinai Cove­nant was in force, yet that with Abraham (which went before) was not swallowed up in it or mixed with it, but remained intire and distinct still, dispencing our blessings to the Subjects of it, they were not one and the same Covenant in that day.

O then let Christians beware of mixing and confounding the Old and New Co­venant which are so distinct. It is the great design of the Epistle to the Romans and Galatians to beat off from this mix­ture: both have their great use, but they must have their due place, Gal. 4. 21. Ye that desire to be under the Law, &c. there is a great aptness to legalize, or desire to be under the Law.

The false Prophets were ready to be branding Paul for an Antinomian; as if he rendred the Law unprofitable by his Preaching the Doctrine of free grace; for the taking off this aspersion he putteth the question, Gal. 3. 19. Wherefore then serveth the Law? that is, if the Law doth not, justifie, why then was it given? or what use was it of? He answereth [it was added because of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the Promise was made].

[Page 97] Where observe, how carefully the Apo­stle doth distinguish these: he doth not make the Sinai Law or Covenant one and the same with the Promise, but something added or put to it, a distinct thing; it was additional, and so not the Promise it self, but yet was of admirable use, it was ad­ded [because of transgression] say some, to reveal and discover sin, and lay restraint upon men that they run not into it; but the Law in the hand of Christ is of such use to Believers still; whereas he speaketh of such a use of it as lasteth only till the coming of the promised Seed; and there­fore I understand it thus [because or for the sake of transgression] viz. that Jesus Christ by coming under it might make full satisfaction for that transgression which man was in: it was added not for Justifica­tion, but for transgressions sake, that its curse might be indured and removed, and this additional use of the Law, was but till the promised seed came, then it ceased, having its accomplishment in him: the Law was added that he might finish trans­gression and make an end of sin, as Dan. 9. 24. And this way was made, for the Divine Promise to pass upon us.

Now there is a sinful mixing these two Co­venants, the Old and the New, which are di­stinct,

[Page 98] 1. When there is a joyning any thing of ours with Jesus Christ in the matter of acceptation unto eternal Life: this was the case of those Judaizing Prophets, Act. 15 1. they taught [except ye be circumcised after the man­ner of Moses, ye cannot be saved]. The like we have, Gal. 5. 2. If ye be circum­cised Christ shall profit you nothing. They expected advantage by Jesus Christ, else this Argument would have been of no force to them, vers. 4. Christ is of no ef­fect to you, &c. They were therefore jum­bling works of their own, and Jesus Christ together, mixing these in the matter of their acceptation unto Life, and this is in­timated to be desperately dangerous.

Christians ought to perform all duty in conformity to Jesus Christ, in the way to Salvation, but not in the least or that which justifieth or saveth. See what earnestness and vehemency the Apostle useth herein, vers. 3. I testifie again to every man that is circumcised that he is a debtor to the whole Law. Where is intimated, that an acting in any work upon a legal account, or on a legal ground, is a putting our selves under the obligati­on of, and is all one as if we sought life altogether by, the Law; For, if they were circumcised upon a principle or opini­on [Page 99] of its conducing to their Justification, they became debtors thereby to the whole Law: though they did not think other services required or themselves obliged to them, yet by one, they put themselves under the bond of the whole. Thus then, if any should act in any Gospel Institutions as Baptisme, or the Supper of the Lord upon a like account as they did take up circumcision, viz. with an opinion of their conducing to justification and accep­tation with God unto Eternal Life, they would thereby make themselves debtors to the whole Law: So if they should give Repentance, mourning for sin, self-empti­ness, yea Faith it self, the same place, and act therein upon such a ground as they did in Circumcision, Christ would be ren­dred of no effect unto such Souls.

2. When there is a living in the Spirit of the Old Covenant, in dealing with the Promises of the New; then indeed there is a mixing of the two Covenants which are so distinct: The Old Covenant car­ried with it a Spirit of bondage and terrour, Rom. 8. 15. Heb. 12. 18. And if Souls in looking to the Promise, car­ry it as if they were conversing with God upon the burning Mount; eyeing chiefly Divine wrath, dwelling more upon a [Page 100] Divine curse than upon the Grace of God in the free Promise in looking for mer­cy; here is the Spirit of the Old Cove­nant; so when souls are shie of the Pro­mise and ready to stand at a distance from it; when they carry it towards God, as if Jesus Christ had not satisfied the curse of the Law, and yet in part look to the Promise.

The Old Covenant did run upon D [...] and Live, intending that Jesus Christ should be the doer in reference to Eternal Life; but when souls are like those who were hired into the Vineyard, Mat. 20. vers. 1, 2, &c. when they are indenting with God for their penny; when they must have such incomes and such injoy­ments from God in case they act in duty; when they seek the reward upon their own doing; they may work hard and sink under their burthen and have lit­tle thank for their pains, as that Parable sheweth. When duty is not mannaged with a Gospel Spirit, when the Divine Spirit is not acting the Soul by the Promise of the New Covenant, it cometh to little.

The Old Covenant did run upon condi­tion, and so when Souls dwell upon conditions performed by or wrought [Page 111] within themselves, and build their Hope, Peace, and Comfort upon them, so as they look little or nothing to the free Grace of God in absolute Promises, make but little use of these in comparison of the other; then they are too much in the Spirit of the Old Covenant, and mix­ing with the New.


Of the nature of the Mount Sinai Covenant.

IT will now be asked, What manner of Covenant was that at mount Sinai, which is called the worse Covenant? what kind of Covenant was it?

Sol. In general it was a Covenant of Works, as to be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, but not so to Israel. Or,

It was the Covenant of Grace as to its legal condition to be performed by Jesus Christ, represented under a conditi­onal administration of it to Israel.

This is a knotty puzling Question in Divinity; for the clearer opening of it, I must answer both Negatively and Affirma­tively.


Answ. I. NEgatively in four Propositi­ons.

Prop. I. The Sinai Law was not given as a Covenant of Works to Israel. It was de­signed to be a Covenant of Works as to be accomplished by Jesus Christ, as will appear afterward, but the end of the Lord was not that it should be so to Israel. For,

1. The nature of a Covenant of Works, and also the general current of Scripture denieth the Sinai Law to be such.

[A Covenant of Works] requireth per­fect personal obedience, promising life or a reward of Justice thereupon, and threatning death upon the least violation thereof.

This is evident from the Covenant with Adam in innocency, Gen. 2. vers. 17. He obeying, it is implied he should live; he disobeying by eating the forbidden Fruit; the sentence of death passeth upon him: and apparently this is a true description of a Covenant of Works, for whatever is op­posite unto this, speaketh Grace: if Justi­fication and Eternal Life be attained by ano­thers righteousness or obedience (without [Page 104] their personal performance of it) there is Grace herein; if the reward be not of Ju­stice, it must be of Grace; if imperfections and sinful failings be not followed with death, there is Grace in that also.

Now the design or intendment of God in giving the Sinai Covenant, was not, that Israel should by their own obedience obtain Eternal Life and Salvation. Indeed the false Apostles in Gospel times did put upon personal obedience, they urged Circumcifi­on and other works of the Law as necessary unto Justification and Eternal Life; but in opposition to them the Apostle argueth in diverse Chapters in the Epistles to the Ro­mans and Galatians, proving that they come by a righteousness performed for us by Jesus Christ, Rom. 3. vers. 20. Therefore by the deeds of the Law (i. e. as perform­ed by themselves) shall no flesh be justified in his sight; it is vers. 28. Without the deeds of the Law, Gal. 2. vers. 16. Gal. 3. vers. 10. As many as are of the works of the Law (i. e. as performed by themselves) are under the curse, and vers. 11, 12. Gal. 5. vers. 2, 3. Yea, our Salvation is not of works, Ephes. 2. vers. 8, 9. 2 Tim. 2. 9. Adam forfeiting life when he might have had it on the terms of his own doing, hence the Lord would never deal with man in that [Page 105] way any more. And lest any should think that this was only since the Sinai Covenant was at an end, the Apostle proveth that our works are now excluded from the in­stances of Abraham and David, Rom. 4. vers. 2, 3. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory but not before God; and addeth, it is to him that worketh not, vers. 5. and vers. 6. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works: Where it is plainly inti­mated, that we are justified in Gospel times in the same way for substance with them of old, and he expresly saith, that this was not by works of their own per­formance; no not by such as they came up to, after they were in a state of grace, much less by any works of theirs before they did believe, else the Apostles argument were not cogent; for the false Prophets might easily have answered, that now in Gospel times we are not justified as Abraham and David were, and so they might have waved whatever is urged from these instances; seeing all that he saith is built upon this very foundation, that we are justified as they were: only this can hardly be evaded, that David (who lived under the Sinai Cove­nant) [Page 106] yet is denied to be justified by works of his own. Yea the Apostle excludeth them even from the nature of a Covenant of works; which is such a ground as denieth lapsed man in any Age to be saved by his own obedience, vers. 4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt. Therefore unless it could be said that those under the Sinai Law had Eternal Life, not of grace but of debt, it must be said that they had it not in the way of a Covenant of works.

2. Moses and the Children of Israel were antecedently under a Covenant of grace, or be­fore the making that at mount Sinai, there­fore that could not be a Covenant of works: In the very Preface, he saith, Exod. 20. vers. 2, 5. I am the Lord [thy God]: the Lord did not first become their God by that, but was so before, as they were the seed of Abraham, and under that with him, Exod. 2. vers. 24. and 3. vers. 6 7. I have seen the affliction of [my people] vers. 15, 16. And Moses himself entred into the same Sinai Covenant with the people, Exod. 34. vers. 27. I have made a Covenant [with thee] and with Israel. Not only with Israel but with him also.

Now it is not imaginable that the Lord would reduce them and Moses himself, from [Page 107] Covenant of Grace, back to that of Works: Surely the Lord would advance them high­or rather than bring them lower. He is ever one and the same in his Grace and Promises unto souls; no such unconstancy and changeableness is found with him.

3. The Sinai Testament typically revealed mercy for sinful men, and therefore was not a Covenant of Works; For, that being once violated and broken, holdeth forth nothing of mercy to the smner, whatever his Re­pentance be; giveth no hope of Salvation, but denounedth Judgement, Death and ut­ter destruction against him; Adam having eaten the forbidden Fruit, that saith, Gen. 2. 17. Dying thou shalt die.

Whereas the Sinai Covenant includeth the Ceremonial Law as well as the Moral, as is plain, Heb. 9. vers. 1, 2, 3, &c. The first Testament had Ordinances of Divine Service and a worldly Sanctuary, a Tabernacle, Priests and Sacrifices, offerings for the errors of the people, &c. Although these services did not of themselves expiate sin and purge the Conscience, yet they did point out a way wherein they might have an expiation of and freedom from sin, which a Cove­nant of Works giveth not the least intima­tion of.

Yea the Sinai Covenant was ordained by [Page 108] Angels, Gal. 3. vers. 19. in the hands of Moses a typical Mediator; and this argued a variance between God and Israel, else no need of any, and there is grace in a Cove­nant that doth admit of any way for the making up of such differences; there was abundance of Grace wrapt up in many Types and Ordinances in the Sinai Cove­nant; yea it was confirmed by blood and sprinkling, called the blood of the Covenant, Exod. 24. vers. 3, 4, 5. Which typified the blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore it was no Covenant of Works, for that speaketh nothing thereof.

4. There had been an utter impossibility for Israel or any other to have attained unto Eternal Life and Salvation, if they had been under that at Sinai as a Covenant of Works: For, they could never have performed the works which were the condition of it, and so must have been hopeless of the benefit which was promised thereupon, Gal. 3. vers. 21. If there had been a Law that could have given life, righteousness had been by the Law. This clearly concludeth that righteousness did not come by the Law, i. e. as performed by us in our own persons; and also, that the Law could not give Life, no Eternal Life to be expected by it; and he speaketh of the Sinai Law as is clear, [Page 109] vers. 17. and therefore that could not be a Covenant of Works to Israel or us for Eter­nal Life, Rom. 8. 3. also proveth, the Law could not free from condemnation, in that it was weak through the flesh, and so no Eternal Life was attainable thereby.

5. That way which the Lord had establish­ed with Israel for Life and Salvation be­fore the Sinai Covenant, was utterly incon­sistent with that of Works, and therefore that could not be a Covenant of Works, Gal. 3. vers. 18. For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise. These two waies cannot stand together; if it be by one of them then it is not by the other; they carry a contradiction each to other. If Israel had the inheritance by the Law, i. e. by works performed by themselves, then it could not be by the obedience of another, of Jesus Christ for them: if it were by their own righteousness of the Law, then it could not be by the righteousness of Jesus Christ entertained in the Promise by Faith: one of these waies doth necessarily subvert, overthrow, and destroy the other, so as the same person at the same time cannot have it both waies.

Now such an opposite way of a Gospel Promise was established with Israel, long before the Sinai Covenant, Gal. 3. ver. 16, 17. [Page 110] They were the seed of Abraham; and be concludeth that the Sinai Law coming so long after, could not disanul the Abra­hamatical Covenant or Promise (wherein they had interest) which was so long be­fore it, and consequently it was no Cove­nant of Works to Israel, for then it must necessarily have disanulled the fore­going Promise, as that demonstration, vers. 18. doth evidence.


Prop. 2. THat the Sinai Law was not a mixt Covenant, for Eter­nal Life to Israel. It was not partly a Covenant of Works to them, and partly of Grace. For,

1. It is an undoubted obstacle or hin­drance in the way of Salvation, to be seeking it in a Covenant of works, by personal per­formances; and therefore that at Sinai could not be so much as in part such a one to Israel. The reason why Israel obtained not righteousness (and so life) was, be­cause they sought it not by Faith, i. e. in another, in Jesus Christ [but as it were by the Works of the Law] Rom. 9. [Page 111] vers. 31, 32. He doth not say they sought it altogether by their own Works, but af­ter a sort [as it were] and this obstruct­ed and hindred their arriving at it. Thus their coming short of Salvation is resolved into the same cause, Rom. 10. vers. 1, 3. They going about to establish their own righte­ousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. A seeking Sal­vation then by our own Works (which are our own righteousness) keepeth off from a submission unto that righteousness which is necessary unto Eternal Life; and therefore if it were a mixt Covenant, one part of it would hinder another, as if the Lord in the same dispensation should pull forward and backward, do and undo, put upon seeking Life, and yet on that which is a let in the way to it, which were an im­peachment to the wisdom of God for any to assert.

2. Legal works are excluded out of Justi­fication and Salvation, in conjunction with Jesus Christ, and therefore the Sinai Law could not be a mixed Covenant, Gal. 5. vers. 2, 3. I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcisied Christ shall profit you nothing, vers. 4. Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified (i. e. seek to be justified) by the Law ye are fallen from [Page 112] Grace (Act. 15. 1, 11. Ephes. 2. 8, 9.) This implyeth that they urged Circumcisi­on or Works of the Law, and Christ too for Justification and Life; the Argument had been insignificant to them, if they had not expected profit and advantage by Jesus Christ, and by the Works of the Law too: and the Apostle concludeth one of these to be exclusive of the other; a mixture of our own Works is a falling from the way of Grace; a taking any of our services in con­junction with Jesus Christ in that matter, is enough to shut out from all benefit and advantage by Christ; he shall profit no­thing if he alone be not owned herein.

3. After a violation of a Covenant of Works nothing less than utter ruine and destru­ction are threatned therein, Gen. 2. vers. 17. In the day thou eatest thou shalt die. There is nothing Promised by it ever after, what­ever services be performed, nothing but Death thenceforth to be expected from it, and therefore the Sinai Law could not be a mixt Covenant; in regard Israel is often accused by the Lord for breaking of it, Jer. 31. vers. 32. Which Covenant they brake, &c. no good could be reaped from that part which was supposed of Grace, the death threatned in the other part hin­dreth all good; so that, unless Israel could [Page 113] have kept it without violation (which they could not) it must have been altoge­ther unprofitable to them, for as Dr. Bol­ton saith, man was not able to stand to the lowest terms, to perform the meanest con­dition.

4. There is such an opposition between our Works and Divine Grace in relation to Eternal Life, that they are inconsistent each with other, therefore the Sinai Law could not be a mixt Covenant. There is no medium participationis, or so as to partake of both; there was an impossibility of having life both waies, this I cleared be­fore from Gal. 3. vers. 18. which is equal­ly strong here.

It is further proved, Rom. 11. vers. 4, 5. It is said to be by Grace, vers. 6. If by Grace, then it is no more of Works, other­wise Grace is no more Grace; but if it be of Works, then it is no more of Grace, otherwise Work is no more Work. Which clearly intimateth, that the way of Grace and Works are so mutually destructive one to the other, that if it be by one it can­not be by the other. If Israel had been to do any thing for Eternal Life, though ne­ver so small, it would have denied it to be of Grace. Gratia nullo modo gratia nisi om­ [...]i modo grafia, Aug. Grace is no way Grace [Page 114] unless it be every way free, and therefore seeing Israel was justified and saved as we are, Act. 15. 11. and we are justified freely by his Grace, Rom. 3. 24. and saved by Grace, Eph. 2. 8. hence the Sinai Law could not be a mixt Covenant, partly of Works, and partly of Grace; the one way being so Di­ametrically opposite to the other.


Prop. 3. THat the Sinai Law was not only a Covenant for tem­poral mercies as the Land of Canaan and such like, but did in some further way belong to the Covenant of Grace and bad the great concernment thereof, even our Eter­nal Salvation as its principal aim and end.

Temporal blessings were dispensed out (and possibly those only) by vertue of the Sinai Covenant, upon Israels perfor­mance of it; but yet as it was to be per­formed for them by Jesus Christ, so it re­spected the great matters of the Covenant of Grace, even Spirituals and Eternals, as may appear. For,

1. There are Typical representations is it, of Spiritual and Eternal blessings: [Page 115] There was abundance of the Gospel wrapt up in those legal Types and shaddows of old.

There were Priests and a High-Priest an eminent Type of Jesus Christ, who is therefore called a High-Priest also, Heb. 8. 1. and else-where.

O what an advantage was it so long be­fore the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, to have such a lively Emblem of this his glo­rious Office, which our everlasting Salvation had such a necessary dependance upon That as the Levitical High-Priest did stand and appear for the People, in many waies and for many precious ends that none else could; so they might expect that Jesus Christ would do the like for them. As the Priests did offer Sacrifice for the errours of the People, so they might look that the Lord Jesus would offer a better Sa­crifice for them. They might easily guess that the Anti-type Jesus Christ would far excel, out-strip, and go beyond the Types, the substance beyond the shaddow, so Je­sus Christ would be far more excellent than any of those figures of him: What a pri­viledge was it to have some lively resem­blance of all this so long before-hand, Heb. 9. vers. 23, 24. Those things under the Sinai first Testament are intimated to [Page 116] be patterns of things in the Heavens, and figures of the true. There was a holiest of all which the High-Priest alone went in­to once every year not without blood, sig­nifying that the holiest of all was not made manifest whilst the first Tabernacle was standing, vers. 3, 7, 8. this intimateth that Jesus Christ the great High-Priest should enter into that which was truly the holy of holies, to appear in the presence of God for us, vers. 24. and so that their holiest of all was a Type of Heaven.

A like Type thereof was the Land of Ca­nean, and therefore it beareth the very name that Heaven it self is set out to us by; it is called the rest of the Lord, Psal. 95. 11. If they shall enter into my rest, i. e. into the Land of Canaan, Deut. 12. 9. This was another Type of the rest in Hea­ven, Heb. 3. vers. the last, compared with Heb. 4. vers. 8, 9. Many other instances might be given wherein the Sinai Covenant represented matters of the Covenant of Grace, even Spirituals and Eternals to Israel.

2. Some of the same Promises of Spi­ritual and Eternal blessings which are found in other federal expressures, are un­der a conditional form in the Sinai Covenant, and therefore that appertaineth some way to [Page 117] the Covenant of Grace, and not only tempe­rals are respected therein.

In the preparation to it the Lord saith to Israel, Exod. 19. vers. 5, 6. If ye will obey my voice and keep my Covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people, and ye shall be to me a Kingdom of Priests and an holy Nation—

Indeed this cluster of Promises hath an [if] hanging upon it, or is under a condi­tion that obedience be yielded to the Sinai Covenant, and then the Wine in it may flow out, and all temporal injoyments which the world afford are nothing to one drop hereof. It is true, conditio nihil ponit in esse, therefore we must know, that the Sinai Covenant did hold forth the condition upon which not only Temporals, but Spiri­tuals and Eternals are vouchsafed, which then was unperformed, but since is fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Besides, the Apostle apply­ing it to the Saints in Gospel times, this is evidence enough that the Sinai Covenant (to which it belonged) had a notable relation to the Covenant of Grace, 1 Pet. 2. vers. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal Priest-hood, an holy Nation, a pe­culiar people—These are reckoned up among Gospel priviledges, and at­tainable only by Jesus Christ (Rev. 1. vers. [Page 118] 5, 6.) and indeed they are glorious ad­vantages; [to be a peculiar treasure] im­plieth, not only his acceptation into fa­vour above others, his claiming a special relation to and propriety in them, but his highest estimation of them, they shall have peculiar preservations, peculiar affecti­ons, peculiar influences, and peculiar con­solations [a Kingdom of Priests] i. e. they shall have an eminent separation to the highest services or imployments, and be admitted to nearest approaches unto God, yea shall partake of Spiritual anointings, the holy unction of the Di­vine Spirit for that end, and shall en­joy intimate fellowship and communion with the Lord himself [an holy Nation,] when others are left in their sin and pol­lution, under their prophaneness, they shall have the Image of God in a transparent manner found upon them, appearing in a holy profession; O how far is this be­yond temporals! There are other condi­tional Promises in the Sinai Covenant of the Lords dwelling among the Children of Israel, and being their God, Exod. 29. vers. 45, 46. with Levit. 26. vers. 3, 11, 12. and so else-where, which undoubtedly hold forth priviledges of the Covenant of Grace; but the condition was to be perform­ed by Jesus Christ.

[Page 119] 3. The nature of many services in the Sinai Covenant was such as argued its special respect to the great matters of the Covenant of Grace, and its intending high­er things than meerly temporals: there were sin-offerings in it, for the igno­rances of the Priests, of the Congrega­tion, of the Rulers, of the People, Levit. 4. and intimations of atonement and forgive­ness of sin. Not that these offerings did make atonement of themselves, but they pointed out Jesus Christ by whom we have atonement. The like might be urged from the Scape-goat, &c.

I may add, that some of those Argu­ments under the Affirmative part, to prove its containing the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace, will be equally strong to evidence that this Sinai Covenant had not temporals as its only end.


Prop. 4. THat the Sinai Law is not meerly a gradually different administration of the Covenant of Grace to Israel, from that with us in the New and better Covenant.

Many suppose that this was only a sede­ral transaction with Israel, so as that obe­dience which is the condition of the Sinai Covenant, (on which all the blessings of it do depend) is nothing else but the same which is to be yielded by us in Gos­pel times, only then it was exacted with dreadful terrours, thundrings and light­nings, now in a sweeter milder way; but certainly a higher matter, a perfect obedience is aimed at therein. It is true, Christians are obliged unto all duty, un­der the better Covenant; there is a Pro­mise in it of writing the Divine Law in their hearts for that end. All the difficul­ty then in the Sinai dispensation ariseth not meerly from its injoyning doing (all runs upon doing there, not upon be­lieving) but also from its annexing life thereunto [this do and Live] and a [Page 121] curse to the contrary. If it had contained all the Laws that are in it, even all the ceremonials, these indeed would have ren­dred it more burdensom than other dis­pensations, yet it would as manifestly have belonged to the Covenant of Grace still, as that with Abraham and others un­der which were some Sacrifices and other Typical ceremonies. If this doing had not been for Life, there had been no more difficulty in this Sinai Law than in any other sederal expressure; its running up­on [do and Live] this hath caused many to doubt of the nature of it; and therefore the great matter to be cleared is, upon what account it standeth in this form? and this will evidence, that though there was an administration of the Cove­nant of Grace in it to Israel; yet there was a higher intendment therein, viz. a performance of it by Jesus Christ for impetration or the procurement of sede­ral blessings for us; and therefore that it was not only a gradually different admi­nistration to Israel, from the other New Covenant to us. For,

1. The Sinai Covenant obliged unto such doing as maketh up a righteousness unto Life, Rom. 10. vers. 5. For Moses de­scribeth the righteousness which is of the [Page 122] Law that the man which doth these things shall live by them. He speaketh undeni­ably of the Sinai Law, for the Text here alledged, is Levit. 18. 5. and the doing injoyned the Apostle saith, is a de­scription of a righteousness unto Justifi­cation and Life. Neither is it taken here abusively, as urged by the false Prophets, but he saith [Moses] describeth the righ­teousness of the Law thus—There­fore not only according to the opinion of the false Prophets, but according to the intention of Moses, the Sinai Law did hold forth a doing as a righteousness: this was the tenor of it [do and Live]. The same may be urged from Gal. 3. vers. 12. And therefore a vastly different obe­dience (in respect of its end) was re­quired in the Sinai Covenant, from that which could be yielded by Israel then, or by Christians now under the New Covenant; For, their doing was not to work out a righteousness unto their own Justification and Life.

2. The Sinai Covenant obliged unto such doing, as stood in a contradistinction unto Faith. The Apostle, Rom. 10. having told us of the Law doing, by way of An­tithesis or opposition, he addeth, vers. 6. But the righteousness which is of Faith [Page 123] speaketh on this wise, &c. Where he plain­ly maketh the doing, which according to Moses was the righteousness of the Law, and that which is the righteousness of Faith, membra dividentia, and so they stand upon opposite terms each to other. Thus Gal. 3. vers. 12. And the Law is not of Faith but the man that doth them shall live in them. Where he speaketh of the Sinai Law, vers. 17. and giveth the same proof as before, viz. Levit. 18. vers. 5. and that doing he denieth to be of Faith. It is evident then, that the Sinai Law ob­liged to such doing, as was not of Faith, and therefore to an obedience specifically different (in its use or end) from that which was to be performed by Israel then, or by Christians now, which floweth from Faith. And this with the former particu­lar, sheweth the invalidity of what is said by some for the unfolding the meaning of [Do this and Live] as it standeth in the Sinai Covenant, as will appear especially under the sixth particular in the Affirma­tive part.


Answ. 2. AFfirmatively, the Sinai Co­venant, was a Covenant of Works as to be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, represented under an imperfect administra­tion of the Covenant of Grace to Israel. Or thus,

The Sinai Law is, the Covenant of Grace as to its legal condition (even for Eter­nals) to be performed by Jesus Christ, held forth under a servile, Typical, condi­tional administration of it for temporals un­to Israel.

It promised its blessings, especially Eter­nal Life, upon the condition of the per­fect obedience of Jesus Christ; thereby was the procurement of all.

It promised temporal mercies to the Chil­dren of Israel upon condition of their due obedience, thereby was the obtainment of them.

There were many Articles between the Father and the Son, which are not found in this Sinai dispensation, so that it was not the whole Covenant of Grace, but referred to it, viz. it is a Covenant for [Page 125] the performance of its legal condition both in respect of duty and penalty.

The Covenant of Works being broken by us in the first Adam, it was of great con­cernment to us, that satisfaction should be given to it, for unless its righteousness were performed for us, the Promised Life was un­attainable; and unless its penaliy were un­dergone for us, the threatned Death (Gen. 2. 17.) was unavoidable. All this con­dition in Moses time was unfulfilled, and so the Lord putteth Israel, (who belong­ed to the principal party guilty, viz. man­kind,) upon entering into a solemne Co­venant at mount Sinai, therein owning their just debt, and acknowledging their owing perfect obedience to God, and de­serving an Eternal Curse upon the least failure therein, and promising a full pay­ment of the whole debt: all that the Lord hath spoken, we will do, Exod. 19. vers. 8. and 20. vers. 19. Exod. 24. vers. 3, 7. Not only some of his words, but all that the Lord hath said, will we do: Yet the Lord intended that not Israel (the prin­cipal debtor) but Jesus Christ the surety should perform for them, the obedience therein required unto Life; his pay should be accepted, for what Israel had hereby Covenanted to yield, and through inabili­ty [Page 126] was never able to perform: Yea thus much is manifested in the very dispensation it self, in those many Types and other services contained in it, they all intimate, that the performance should be by Jesus Christ for them.

In one and the same Sinai Covenant, the All-wise God exacted a double obedience, for vastly different ends, viz. a perfect obe­dience to be performed by Jesus Christ, as the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace, as the principal end: and also an obedience to be performed by Israel belong­ing to the administration of it, in order to their fruition of temporal injoyments: un­der this latter the former is represented. These are so twisted into one and the same Law, as in the same breath, the Lord de­mandeth both of Israel the principal debtor, who Covenanteth universal performance; but the Lord had this intention that Jesus Christ should fulfill the former on their behalf.

I shall endeavour the clearing of this mat­ter under two Propositions.


Prop. 1. THat the Sinai Covenant did hold forth the Covenant of Grace as to its legal condition to be per­formed by Jesus Christ and so was a Co­venant of Works as to be fulfilled by him. Or,

It conditionally promised its blessings, espe­cially Eternal Life, upon the perfect obedi­ence of Jesus Christ, then (in Moses time) not fulfilled.

The Sinai Covenant did not intend only an obedience to be performed by Israel, but also a further and higher Obedience to be yielded by Jesus Christ. Indeed Israel did undertake in a federal way the yield­ing thereof, and so was obliged by that visible dispensation to perfect obedience; they being of the principal debtors, they came under the obligation to it, by their own act, yet the intendment was that the performance should be by their Surety Je­sus Christ for them; So as [Do and Live] in that Sinai Covenant, primarily had respect unto the doing which was only by Jesus Christ for us. This appeareth these

[Page 128] 1. The Sinai Covenant exacteth a perfect obedience which maketh up a righteousness unto Life, and therefore was the legal condi­tion of the Covenant of Grace to be per­formed by Jesus Christ alone; for it is im­possible that Israel or any of the Sons of men should perform such a perfect obedi­ence for themselves, Gal. 3, vers. 21. and so they must miss of Eternal Life, if he did not perform it for them.

That such a perfect obedience is indis­pensibly required in the Sinai Covenant as a condition of Life is evident, Levit. 18. vers. 5. compared with Gal. 3. vers. 10, 12. it is such as standeth upon opposite terms to Faith, and is impossible for any man to perform, as I have proved, and such as is a righteousness, Deut. 6. vers. 25. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these Commandments, before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

Also in Rom. 10. vers. 5. he evidently determineth that the Sinai Law imposeth that doing which amounteth to a righte­ousness unto Life, and must be a perfect obedience which man is utterly unable to yield for himself: and therefore admirably to our present purpose it is added, vers. 4. For Christ is the end of the Law for righte­ousness to every one that believeth.

[Page 129] This intimateth, that the Law hath an end to be attained, and that is righteous­ness; and that Jesus Christ performeth it, he becometh that end of it to believers; not only accidentally and indirectly as the Law discovereth duty impossible for any man to perform, and a necessity of looking to another for relief; but directly, Jesus Christ hath wrought out and fulfilled that righteousness which the Law exacted, and so is the end of the Law; For, it is here opposed unto that righteousness which is of a mans own working out, vers. 3.

We must know, that when Adam was in innocency, the Lord required a perfect fulfilling of the Law, in order to his pre­servation in life, and now man is in a fallen estate, the Lord will abate nothing of it; still without a righteousness specifically the some, no Eternal Life to be had. (Rom. 1. urs. 17. Rom. 4. vers. 6. and 5. vers. 18, 21. 2 Cor. 3. 9, &c.) That end of the Law, viz. righteousness, must still be come up to; only under the Covenant of Works, man was personally to perform it for himself, but now Jesus Christ is ad­mitted to work out this perfect righteous­ness of the Law for him, Rom. 5. vers. 18, 19. By the obedience of one (i. e. of Jesus Chist) many are made righteous. Hence [Page 130] he is said to be made of God to us wis­dom and righteousness, 1 Cor. 1. 30. and we are said to be the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. 5. vers. 21. It is not the righteousness of a meer man, but of one who is also God, that we must stand in.

Now the Sinai Covenant is a Platform of the legal righteousness, which was indispen­sibly necessary unto Life; there it is de­ciphered, delineated and described, more clearly than in any other federal expressurn The Sinai Covenant excelleth all other in discovering what that righteousness is, up­on which we enjoy Eternal Life.

The Promissory part of the Covenant of Grace is more fully revealed in other federal expressures, as that with Abraham, David, and the New Covenant, but the Mandator and Minatory part of it in order to Life; the duty to be performed and the Curse to be indured, is most fully set forth in that a [...] Mount Sinai. Adam was obliged to a righteousness in obedience to a Position Command of not eating of the Tree o [...] Knowledge, Gen. 2. vers. 17. as well a [...] to Moral Commands: answerably in the Sinai Law there is a righteousness required of the same kind standing in obedience to many Positive and ceremonial Commands and this was fulfilled by Jesus Christ; [...] [Page 131] did take it as his Office to fulfill not only some, but all righteousness, Mat. 3. 15.

And also the righteousness of the Moral Law, Mat. 5. vers. 17, 18. he came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it; he yield­ed obedience to the Moral Commands, yea and satisfied, (Heb. 9. 15.) even for transgressions that were under the first Te­stament.

2. The Sinai Covenant denounceth a dreadful Curse (which can be undergone by none but Jesus Christ) upon the least failing of perfect obedience, and therefore expresseth the legal condition of the Cove­nant of Grace to be performed by Christ, or is a Covenant of Works as to be fulfilled by him; for that only threatneth a Curse upon the least imperfection in point of obe­dience.

Now the Sinai Law doth that, Gal. 3. vers. 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.

The Law then runneth upon such terms, as if a man should perform never so many acts of obedience, yet if he should not come up to [all] that is written in the Book of the Law, it curseth him. If [Page 132] he should come up to all, yet if he did not continue therein, it curseth him: it exact­eth perfect obedience upon pain of a Curse.

Nothing can more fully express the na­ture of a Covenant of Works than this; that with Adam in innocency cannot be one, if this be not so; For, there is no more in that then, [if thou Eatest thou shalt Die], and there is as much here [if thou dost not all thou shalt be Cursed]: and yet the Apostle is not speaking here, of the very Covenant with Adam in inno­cency, but of one in the matter of it re­sembling that, made a long time after, even at Mount Sinai; For, he saith, it is written thus; now it is in Moses Law (long after Adam) that this was written; viz. Deut. 27. vers. 26. He speaketh of it as belonging to the Sinai Law, as expres­sing the renour of that: and he doth not mention it only as the opinion of the false Prophets amongst the Galations, but as the intention of the Divine Law it self [it is written, Cursed is every one that continu­eth not in all—]. Yea further let it be observed, the scope of the Apostle is to evidence, the impossibility of attaining Ju­stification by the Works of the Law, for saith he, [as many as are of the Works of [Page 133] the Law are under the Curse] and why? Because it is impossible that any meer man, should continue in all that is written in the Law, the best of men will have some sin­ful infirmities and imperfections, and the least transgression layeth under a Divine Curse, according to that Law, which must be undergone, either by men themselves (and that would sink and ruine them for ever) or else by Jesus Christ, and then the legal condition is performed by him for them.

3. Jesus Christ by coming under, and ful­filling the Sinai Covenant, did work out Re­demption for us, and therefore that did hold forth not only an obedience to be per­formed by Israel, but also such as was a legal condition of the Covenant of Grace to be performed by Jesus Christ: For, sure­ly that whereby we are redeemed, was not any work of Israel (they did not re­deem themselves or us) but a work of Jesus Christ, answering the demand of the Covenant of Grace which is for Redempti­on.

Now Gal. 4. vers. 4, 5. God sent his Son made of a Woman, made under the Law, to Redeem them that were under the Law—He speaketh of that Law by which they were held in bondage before the Incarnati­on [Page 134] of Jesus Christ, vers. 3. which was that at mount Sinai, vers. 24. and a great design or end of his coming is said to be [to Re­deem them that were under the Law]; how this was accomplished or brought about is declared, viz. by his being [made un­der the Law] and therefore thereby he performed the condition of Redemption.

Indeed, I think, one great end of God in bringing Israel under this Sinai Covenant, was to make way for Christ his being born or made under the Law, in order to the fulfilling of it for us. I do not see how (by any visible dispensation) Jesus Christ could have been born actually under the Law, if this Sinai Covenant had not been made; For, the Covenant of Works with the first Adam being violated, it was at an end as to the promising part, it promised nothing after once it was broken; it remained in force only as to its threatning part, it me­naced Death to all the sinful seed of Adam, but admitted no other into it who were without sin, either to perform the righte­ousness of it, or to answer the penalty; it had nothing to do with an innocent person after broken, for it was never renewed with man again as before: therefore an admit­ting an innocent person (as Jesus Christ was) into it, must be by some kind of [Page 135] repetition or renewing of it, though with other intendments than at first, viz. that the guilty persons should not fulfill it for themselves, but that another, a surety should fulfill it for them.

Some medium or means there must be, whereby this innocent person Jesus Christ might be taken into it, and come under the very same Law that was broken to ful­fil the righteousness, and satisfie or under­go the penalty, which the Lord still re­quired without substantial abatement.

Now in infinite wisdom, the Lord con­trived this way of the Sinai Covenant, where­in Israel (who were guilty) by voluntary compact and agreement, obliged themselves and their Seed to the perfect obedience which the Law required, and that under pain of the Curse; and Jesus Christ being born of their Seed, and under the Sinai dis­pensation or Covenant, was born under the same Law, which the guilty persons were in­cluded in: I see not how that could have been, though he had been born of the Seed of Adam, without this renewing of it at mount Sinai.

If he had not been born under the very Law as a Covenant of Works, he should not have satisfied it, by answering the pe­nalty or fulfilling the righteousness of it, [Page 136] but had only done and suffered something in lieu and stead thereof, it would not have been the idem for us; and this sheweth how exceedingly necessary the Sinai Covenant was.

It is true, there was an agreement between the Father and the Son from Eternity about it, the Covenant of Grace was then struck and had a being; but the Sinai Covenant was a necessary medium or means for the execution thereof.

4. Jesus Christ actually underwent the very Curse of the Sinai Law, so as thereby he hath obtained our freedom from it, and therefore that held forth the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace, to be performed by him on our behalf: how else should his undergoing the Sinai Curse, give us im­munity from it?

Now it is said, Gal. 3. vers. 13. Christ hath Redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, &c. that the blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, &c. Here is our priviledge, we are sharers in the blessings of Abraham, we are Redeemed from the Curse of the Law; of the Sinai Law, for of that he speaketh, vers. 10, 17. and in order to our fruition of this priviledge, Christ was made a Curse for us, he actually under­went [Page 137] the very Sinai Curse, that we might be delivered from it. And the scope of the Apostle here is, to discover how we attain unto Justification and Eternal Life, it is by Jesus Christ his Redeeming of us from the Curse of the Law; and there­fore his bearing of it is the condition of our Salvation as to penalty, even as his active obedience is the condition of it as to righte­ousness.

And let it be observed, these Galatians were Gentiles, and yet before their conver­sion they were under the Curse mentioned in the Sinai Covenant, and needed to be Redeemed from it by Jesus Christ, as well as Jews, though the Sinai Covenant was made only with the Jews, the Gentiles were never formally under it; that expired as a Covenant before the conversion of the Galatians, Gal. 3. vers. 13. and 14. vers. 21. and 5. vers. 1. Jesus Christ did bear the Curse, not to prevent these Gentiles coming under it, but to Redeem them from it.

And therefore in the Sinai dispensation was contained the condition of the Covenant of Grace, which Gentiles were concerned in, as well as Jews.

5. Many ceremonial Services in the Sinai Covenant, did typically point out the suffer­ings of Jesus Christ for us, and therefore [Page 138] the design of that Covenant was to hold forth the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace.

It may stumble some, that in the Sinai Covenant all seemeth to be between God and Israel, and the obedience of it to be requir­ed at the hands of Israel, not of Jesus Christ.

But let them know, that Israels obedi­ence injoyned therein, was not only about Morals, but also about ceremonial services, Levit. 18. 5. and 26. vers. 46. his Statutes or Institutions, which clearly typified Je­sus Christ, and that in his passive obedience, his shedding of his blood, which was the great requisite to our Redemption and Sal­vation, these were as much imposed upon Israel as the other, and yet Jesus Christ must be principally intended therein, so as Israel could not have any share with him in making the least satisfaction for sin by all those Sacrifices, Offerings, and sheddings of Blood; therein Christ was alone and there was none with him.

Now, if the principal condition of the Covenant of Grace for remission of sin, be undeniably wrapt up in those ceremonial services of the Sinai Covenant, why should it seem strange to any, that under the obe­dience to the Moral Commands imposed up­on Israel, should also lie wrapt up the per­fect [Page 139] obedience of Jesus Christ for our righte­ousness as the principal aim and intendment thereof?

We are not to think that those legal Sa­crifices did expiate sin realiter, but typice, they were patterns and shaddows of better things, Heb. 9. vers. 9. They offered both Gifts and Sacrifices that could not make him that did the Service perfect, as per­taining to the Conscience: those services though imposed by God himself, did not please him ex opere operato from the work wrought, they did not sanctifie the inward Man, the Conscience of the sinner, but di­rected to Jesus Christ, in whom alone they might have remission of sin and sanctifica­tion, Heb. 7. vers. 19. The Law made no­thing perfect, Heb. 9. vers. 12, 13, 14.

Israelites were obliged Typically, by their Priests to offer Sacrifices for sin and make attonement, upon pain of the Curse, and to do many such acts that did bear some relation to the passive obedience of Jesus Christ, but yet Jesus Christ alone was the real attonement. It is certain the intend­ment was not, that Israel by their own works should attain Eternal Life. And seeing both the ceremonials and morals, are in the same manner urged upon Israel in the Sinai Covenant, and seeing also, such [Page 140] an obedience to the Moral Law was unque­stionably performed by Jesus Christ as our righteousness; hence all the inconveniencies that lie against the one for expressing the condition of the Covenant of Grace, do also lie against the other, where yet it must be acknowledged.

If any will yet urge, that the Sinai Co­venant was between God and Israel, not be­tween him and Jesus Christ. Let them con­sider, that in Old Testament times, things were expressed very darkly, and seemed at the first blush to have relation only to some lower matters, these were most obvious, when other higher things were principally intended in them.

Thus, many passages to outward ap­pearance seem to relate only to David or Solomon (who indeed had their share in them) but yet they were Prophetical or Typical of Jesus Christ, and under them he was principally intended, as the inter­preting and applying of them to him doth frequently evidence, as Psal. 16. vers. 10. compared with Act. 2. vers. 31. and 13. vers. 35. Psal. 69. Psal. 22. vers. 18. with Joh. 19. vers. 24. Psal. 89. vers. 36. with Luk. 1. vers. 32, 33. So in like manner in the Sinai Covenant (which was a dispen­sation full of darkness noted by the vailing [Page 141] of the face of Moses, 2 Cor. 3. Israels obedience is required for its due and proper end, but yet under that, the perfect obedi­ence of Jesus Christ is principally intended, for a higher end, viz. Eternal Life, for it is applyed unto Christ, and the fulfilling of the Law and delivering us from it, is ascribed unto him.

6. The great difficulties about this Sinai Covenant vanish, if we understand it prima­rily of the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace to be performed by Jesus Christ, and any other way they will hardly be removed.

The tenour of it, plainly is [Do and Live, and Cursed is he that doth not] here lieth the difficult of it.

Hence, on the one hand, some account that at Sinai, a Covenant of Works to Israel, and deny it to be a Covenant of Grace or to belong to that, it requiring perfect obedience and not dispensing with one offence, Gal. 3. vers. 10. There being a Curse annexed to the breaking of it, as a blessing to the keeping of it, even to doing, vers. 10. The Seed of it being out-casts, Gal. 4. the latter end.

Now all such Objections melt away, if we understand it of the Covenant of Grace as to its legal condition, to be fulfilled by our Surely: immediately it was thus Cove­nanted by Israel, but terminatively it looked [Page 142] at a performance by Jesus Christ; that he should be the only doer for Life; and thus a perfect doing was aimed at in the Sinai Covenant, and thus it was perfectly ful­filled by Jesus Christ, no offence dispenced with, the Curse fully undergone by him, and they that crowd into the place of Jesus Christ in it, and would fulfill it for that end he did, even for Eternal Life, they are the Seed which are the out-casts.

On the other hand, some assert the Sinai dispensation to be an admistration of the Co­venant of Grace only gradually or acciden­tally, and in some circumstances differing from other federal expressures, even from the New Covenant.

Whereas, all the blessings of the New, are promised as precious Fruits and effects of a pre-supposed accomplishment of the Old by Jesus Christ.

It is easie to discover the invalidity of other interpretations of [Do and Live] in the Sinai Covenant, which confine the Doing to Israel, and do not extend it pri­marily to Jesus Christ. As,

Say some, it is not spoken of the Law abstractly and separately considered, but of the Law and the Promise joyntly, or as in­cluding the Promise.

But this doth not satisfie, for the Apostle [Page 143] saith, the Law is not of Faith, Gal. 3. vers. 12. and addeth, but the man that doth them, shall live in them.

Therefore the Law speaketh of such a doing for Life, as doth not include the Promise, for then it should be of Faith. Nay plainly it is a doing directly opposite to believing, in the matter of Justification and Life, Levit. 18. vers. 5. with Rom. 10. vers. 5, 6. Gal. 3. vers. 12. viz. if any men undertake to be the Doers.

Say others, it is not Do and Live [by Doing] but [in Doing]; Christians live in obedience, though not by obedience.

But this doth not satisfie; For, it is such a doing as maketh up a righteousness unto Life, and is contradistinguished from the righteousness of Faith, Rom. 10. vers. 5, 6. and hence it cannot be meant only of sin­cere or Evangelical obedience to be per­formed by Christians at all times, but vastly differeth therefrom.

Say others, This Do and Live hath not reference to the Moral Law only, but to the Ceremonial also.

Neither doth this satisfie, for there is no ground to exclude the Moral Law; it was such a Law as concluded all under sin, Gal. 3. 22. Besides, the difficulty is the same whether it be by one or the other. [Page 144] If in [Do and Live] a ceremonial doing were intended for Israel, that would speak as much for its being a Covenant of Works as if it were a Moral doing; even that with Adam in innocency did run upon a Posi­tive Precept concerning Eating or not Eating that Fruit, Gen. 2. vers. 17.

Neither doth the Lord here make a re­petition of the Covenant of Works to put them upon their choice, whether they would be saved by Working or Believing; For, they were already within the Covenant of Grace, and had the Lord for their God, Exod. 20. 1. And doubtless the Lord would not leave them to a liberty to go back from that Grace, much less would he enter into such a solemn Covenant (as that at Sinai was) with them, for that end to open a door for their crossing his grand design of free Grace.

Say others, If we look upon the Law separately, so it standeth upon opposite terms, but if you look upon it relatively as it hath respect to the Promise, so those opposite terms have their subservient ends to the Pro­mise and Grace, convincing of our sin and impotency, &c. The Law considered abso­lutely in it self, as Gal. 4. vers. 21, to the end, so it is nothing else but a Covenant of Works; but considered respectively and re­relatively, [Page 145] as Gal. 3. vers. 17. to Gal. 4. vers. 21. and so it is not a Covenant of Works.

Now, it is true that the Sinai Covenant was designed for the ends of the Covenant of Grace, or of the Gospel; for the Apo­stle putting the Question, Is the Law against the Promise? Gal. 3. vers. 21. He An­swereth, God forbid; we must then so understand the Sinai Law, as in respect of its design and end it may not be against the Promise, vers. 24. The Law was our School­master until Christ, yet it was for a Gospel end, not that we might be justified by the Law, but that we might be justified by Faith.

But still the difficulty remaineth, in that, separately and absolutely considered, it is the Sinai Covenant, and runneth upon Do and Live. Yea, it gendreth to bondage, Gal. 4. vers. 24. Even as it is the Sinai Covenant. It would not conduce to those ends, the convincing of sin, humbling for it, exciting to believing, &c. But by its own inability for the getting of Life, and the avoiding of the Curse, as Argu­ments that way; it is therefore presup­posed as such a Covenant before its use­fulness to these ends. Neither can we imagine that the great God would trifle [Page 146] with men in entring into such a solemn Co­venant with them on those terms [Do and live] if there must not be this very doing here intended by some or other, or else no life to be attained: and it is perfect doing that is called for, as I have proved, which could not be fulfilled by Israel, they were utterly unable for it; Gal. 3. vers. 21. and therefore it is a doing by Jesus Christ for them that is there intended.

Say others, The Law is taken largely, for the whole Doctr ine and Administration of the Sinai Covenant, and so it holdeth forth life upon believing in Christ, Rom. 10. vers. 4. Gal. 3. vers. 23, 24. and is a Covenant of faith; or it is taken strictly, as it is an ab­stracted rule of righteousness consisting in Pre­cepts, Threatnings, and Promises holding forth life upon an impossible condition to lapsed man, perfect doing; in this sense Moses gave it not, nor is it a Covenant of faith but of works.

But this doth not satisfie, for, I see no ground for that large acceptation of the Law. Rom. 10. vers. 4. speaketh of the Law for righteousness, and so is taken as strictly as vers. 5. only it is said to be per­formed by Jesus Christ, and then by belie­ving souls are interessed in his performance, and Gal. 3. vers. 12, 23, 24. he speaketh of [Page 147] the Law as a Schoolmaster to Christ, which we are not under. Besides, the Law in that strict sense (wherein this Objection granteth it to be a Covenant of Works) is that in which it was given at Sinai. Rom. 10. vers. 5. [Moses] describeth the righte­ousness of the Law—he that doth them shall live in them. Therefore the Law was given in that restrained sense by Moses.

Further, in that large acception it can­not be proved to be cloathed with the na­ture of a Covenant; whatever in that, is of a foederal nature, or can belong to it as a Covenan, trunneth upon the terms of that perfect Obedience, in that strict sense [Do and Live] and so apparently it putteth on the Nature even of a Covenant of Works, though not intended to be performed by Israel for life, but by Jesus Christ for them.


Prop. 2. THat the Sinai Covenant under a typical servile administrati­on of the Covenant of grace promised temporal mercies to Israel upon the condition of their Obedience.

Its servile and typical nature is clearly holden forth, Gal. 4. vers. 3. 24. Heb. 8. vers. 9. and will be more fully manifested elsewhere.

Its Conditional form is obvious, it pro­miseth nothing but upon the condition of obedience, and that not only to be per­formed by Jesus Christ but also by Israel, Exod. 19. vers. 5, 6. [If ye] Israel, will obey my voice and keep my Covenant, &c. Deut. 4. vers. 13. He declared unto [you] his Covenant, which he commanded [you] to perform, even ten commandments: [you] i. e. Israel (as v. 1.) is required to yield obe­dience, or commanded to perform it, and he speaketh of the same Covenant made in Horeb or at Sinai when the Lord spake to them out of the midst of the fire, vers. 10, 11, 12. yea Israel is blamed for violating that Covenant, Jer. 31. vers. 32. Which Co­venant [Page 149] they brake, &c. therefore it was their duty to keep it.

That it promised Temporal mercies to Is­rael, upon the condition of their obedience is manifest, Levit. 26. vers. 3, 4, &c. [If] ye walk in my statutes and keep my com­mandments and do them, what then? [then will I give you rain in due season, and the Land shall yield her increase, &c.] these are outward mercies: vers. 6. I will give you peace in the Land, &c. there is ano­ther temporal mercy.

And not only obedience to the judicial commands, (which respecteth them as a Commonwealth) but to all moral and ce­remonial precepts is required to these ends. The Ten Commandments are rehearsed, Deut. 5. and then Statutes and Judgements mentioned, and observing all is urged to this end, that they may live and enjoy the land of Canaan, and length of dayes therein. V. 31, 32, 33. Deut. 6. vers. 1, 2 3, 17, 18, 24. and Deut. 11. vers. 8. Therefore shall you keep all the commandments which I com­mand you this day: here a universal obe­dience is injoyned, they were to keep not only some, but all the Commands; and what will follow? Vers. 9. I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, &c. by all which it appeareth that Israels obe­dience [Page 150] to the whole Sinai Covenant, was required in order to their fruition of tem­poral blessings.

Yea, not only external, viz. that of the outward man, but cordial obedience is re­quired to this end: Deut. 11. vers. 13. If ye will hearken diligently to my command­ments which I command you this day [to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul.] Then, vers. 14. I will give you the rain of your land, &c. send grass, &c. outward mercies. So Deut. 6. 5. Conscience then was concerned even about these things, and disobedience to moral precepts (which did bind their Conscience) was given as a reason of their being excluded from their temporal mercies. Jer. 11. vers. 8, 10, &c. Jer. 44. vers. 21, 22, 23.

It resteth then to be proved, that the Si­nai Covenant (as to be performed by Israel) did belong to the administration of the Cove­nant of grace, or had grace in it to them.

It is true, it required of them not only sincere but perfect obedience, even in order to temporal mercies, it must be to all com­mands with all the heart as I have proved; their coming short of that was sinful; for, in that very Covenant, some Sacrifices were appointed, where sincere obedience was [Page 151] performed, for sins of infirmity as of ig­norance, &c. as well as for others. Lev. 4. vers. 26, 29, 31, 35. and 5. vers. 10, 13, 16, 18. and alsewhere.

This providing a relief, a remedy, doth imply, that Israel would fail, would sin and stand in need of that forgiveness which in many cases was here promised; yet in pursuance of these directions (which are punctually given by the Lord) in offering sacrifices exactly according to appointment they should be forgiven, that is, so far as tem­poral judgements threatned should be avert­ed, and temporal mercies promised should be afforded: these sins should not be any hin­drance in the way of them: thus far it was a real forgiveness, for if there had been no real expiation by those sacrifices and something forgiven, how could they have been typical of that forgiveness which Be­lievers have of their sins, by the true sa­crifice Jesus Christ? It was not real spiritu­al forgiveness as to the Conscience that was promised there, so the Law could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the Conscience, Heb. 9. 9.

And let it be observed, when the Apo­stle speaketh not in relation to temporals, but to eternals, then he mentioneth the te­nor of the same Sinai Law to be [Do and [Page 152] live, and cursed is he that continueth not in all things.] Gal. 3. vers. 10. Rom. 10. verf. 5. We are not to think that the righ­teousness whereby we are justified is to be performed by our selves, as if the sacrifice of Jesus Christ were intended only to ex­piate and obtain the pardon of our sins in coming short thereof: No, such a righte­ousness is exacted unto justification and eternal life, as is absolutely perfect, hath no flaws or sinful imperfections in it, no forgiveness is needed there, it is such as could not be performed by any but Jesus Christ alone, vers. 4. Rom. 5. latter end: hence if the Romans and Galatians would so much as attempt the seeking it by any works of their own performance, the Apo­stle telleth them, the least sin would lay them under the curse; yea they thereby would frustrate and make void to them­selves the whole undertaking of Jesus Christ, so as they should have no profit or advantage by him. Gal. 5. vers. 2. 4. The Lord exacted perfect obedience without any abatement in order to Eternals, it was a strict Covenant of works there.

But as to Temporals it was otherwise; although these were promised in the Sinai Covenant upon condition of Israels perfect obedience, yet when there was coming short [Page 153] of it, and so a forfeiting them, yet there was provision made for the forgiveness of many sins, so as the Lord would not take the forfeiture, or deal with them upon such strict terms as in the Covenant of Works, for in case they duly offored sacrifices, they should not lose their temporal mercies: and thus it was an administration with some grace in it unto Israel. This appeareth these ways.

1. The Laws and Ordinances for the Pub­lick worship of God among the Children of Israel were contained in the Sinai Covenant as part of its Condition, and therefore it did belong to the administration of the Co­venant of grace: there is a description of the Tabernacle which was for the worship of God Exod. 26. and in Levitieus; ma­ny sacrifices and services are required of the Children of Israel, burnt offerings, trespass offerings, peace offerings, &c. and the Rules and directions left by the Lord, must be exactly pursued by them, in their seve­ral places at their utmost peril that they die not or be not cut off. Exod. 28. vers. 35. & 30. vers. 20, 21, 33. Levit. 7. vers. 21, 25, 27. & 15. vers. 31. & 16. vers. 2, 13. & 17. vers. 4, 9. and many others.

The Lord would never so punctually have laid out the way of his worship, if he had not intended that Israel should find [Page 154] acceptation, in keeping close to him in those his appointments. The free-will offering must be brought to the door of the Taber­nacle, Lev. 1. vers. 3, 4. and it shall be accepted for him, i. e. for him that bring­eth it, he shall have acceptance with the Lord to some end; and many of those ce­remonial services are said to be [for a sweet savour unto the Lord] Lev. 4. vers. 31. & 6. vers. 15. & 23. vers. 18. which im­plyeth their acceptation with God in those acts of worship, at least to the affording promised temporals, and so speak their ap­pertaining to the administration of the Covenant of grace, for sinners cannot be accepted but in that way of grace in any service; yea the Lord owned them with eminent tokens of his presence when they duly acted therein, Lev. 9. vers. 23. The glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.

2. Israels obedience was not to be that righteousness which was the procuring cause of those temporal blessings promised in the Si­nai Covenant, and therefore that was an administration of grace: the procurement even of those was by the righteousness of another, by the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, and therefore of grace.

In the Covenant of Works, man might [Page 155] have expected blessings for his own obedi­ence, but it is otherwise in the Sinai di­spensation. Deut 9. vers. 4, 5, 6. Speak not thou in thy heart, saying, for my righ­teousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this Land, but for the wickedness of these Nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee, and again, vers. 5. Not for thy righteousness or the uprightness of thy heart, &c. and a third time, vers. 6. The sruition of Canaan was a great mercy pro­mised in the Sinai Covenant, and with what vehemency doth the Lord deny that it was afforded for the righteousness of Israel; three times over he doth inculcate this, and therefore they must needs have it in a way of grace and favour.

3. There is an intimation in the Sinai Co­venant of a provision made against the sins and transgressions of persons under it, and therefore it was an administration of grace: for a Covenant of Works revealeth no re­lief or succour in case of sinning; nothing but death and a divine course is there to be expected. Gen. 2. 17.

But it was otherwise in the Sinai Cove­nant, the Children of Israel came exceed­ingly short of the obedience required therein, yet behold divine indulgence even in the bowels of that very Covenant, there [Page 156] is pardoning mercy represented in the cere­monial Law: thus in case the Priest, the Rulers and the whole Congregation or any of the common people became guilty of sins through ignorance, against any of the Commandments of the Lord, there was a sin offering provided, Levit. 4. through­out, and pursuing the directions therein, it is said, they shall be forgiven, vers. 20, 26, 31, 35. so in case of sinning wittingly, there were trespass offerings, Levit. 6. Al­so there were days of attonement and many washings; all which intimated that the Lord would not deal with them in a way of strict justice according to the rigor of a Covenant of Works, and therefore that was to Israel a ministration of grace.

Indeed Israel had stood under an impos­sibility of reaping any temporal blessings by the Sinai Covenant, if they had been held strictly by the Lord to the condition of perfect obedience, without any way to be freed from their sin; for, Israel could never have answered the condition of it, and so would have missed and come short of all the good of it, and consequently this Covenant for temporal blessings would have been vain and useless; which were an impeachment to the wisdom of God the maker of it, to assert; there must there­fore be grace in it.

[Page 157] 4. Considerations of mercy are made great inducements to the obedience of Israel in the Sinai Covenant, and therefore it was an ad­ministration of grace to them.

A Covenant of Works runneth upon perfect obedience as the condition of it, urgeth duty in a way of Justice, as in that with Adam in innocency, the inforcement to obedience was primarily the danger of failing thereof, viz. dying thou shalt die, Gen. 2. vers. 17.

Or on the other hand the hope of a re­ward of debt; Adam perfectly obeying, the Lord in justice would be obliged to af­ford what he had promised.

Whereas in the Sinai Covenant, a grand motive and provocation to Israels obedi­ence was mercy: in the very preface to the Decalogue, Exod. 20. vers. 2. I am the Lord thy God; that noteth Covenant interest in him, a choice mercy to a sinful people; [which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage] there was mercy in their redemption, and this is mentioned to urge their observation of the following Commandments, vers. 3, 4, &c. so that covenant mercy and redeem­ing mercy are grand arguments unto Israels obedience in this Sinai Covenant; and there­fore there was grace in that ministration. [Page 158] Likewise Deut. 27. ver. 9, 10. Thou are be­come the people of the Lord thy God, here is their mercy, what improvement to be made of it? Ver. 10. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his Commandments and his Statutes which I command thee this day. Likewise Levit. 19. many Verses, Levit. 20. ver. 7, 8.

5. No violation or breaking of the Cove­nant on Israels part, deprived them of those temporal mercies promised, unless it were against the substantials of the Sinai Cove­nant; and therefore it was an administra­tion of Grace to Israel: for else every, even the least sin would have cut them short of all the benefit thereof.

Now where the Lord speaketh of break­ing the Covenant, it is in some principal matters thereof, as Levit. 26. vers. 1, 2, &c. You shall make you no Idols, nor graven Images, &c. despising his Statutes and breakng his Covenant are in connexion, ver. 15. also Jesh. 23. ver. 16. When you have trans­gressed the Covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you [and have gone and served other Gods, and bowed your selves to them]. Every sin was some breaking of that Covenant, but upon the account of the Covenant with Abraham they were only such transgressions, as serving other [Page 159] Gods and Worshipping them, that provok­ed the Lord to anger against them, so as to destroy them, see Jer. 11. ver. 10. Deut. 8. ver. 19, 20.

If we view the instances or examples of the Lords plucking away those temporal mercies from them, the Lord did not take advantage to do it upon every sin of infir­mity, but upon grosser failures against the substance of the Covenant, Deut. 4. ver. 3. The Lord destroyed them that followed Baal-Peor; there is judgement upon transgres­sors, and in opposition to them, ver. 4. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God, are alive every one of you this day, ver. 5, 6. Those that were in the firmest ad­herence unto God, yet were not sinless; but the Lord doth intimate that he would not take advantage upon leffer sins of in­firmity, to deal in such a way of severity with them, but upon greater miscarriages; they that walked in a believing, careful, conscientious obedience, were spared by the Lord as here he telleth us: so their go­ing into the Babylonish Captivity and other scatterings out of the Land of Canaan, and deprivation of their temporal mercies, were upon their crossing some main ends of that Covenant, and not otherwise, which argueth that there was Grace attending it unto Israel.

[Page 160] 6. After a violation of the Smai Covenant by Israel, yet it admitted of Repentance, and promised a return of mercy, and therefore was an administration of Grace to them: Had it been a Covenant of Works to them, then no benefit could have been expected by it after a violation, whatever Repentance had succeeded.

But it was otherwise here, Deut. 30. ver. 1, 2. when under scatterings among the Nations, then if ver. 2. thou shalt return to the Lord thy God, and obey his voice with all thy heart, &c. Ver. 3. Then the Lord thy God will turn thy Captivity, and have com­passion upon thee. Ver. 5. And will bring thee into the Land which thy Fathers possessed, and thou shalt possoss it, and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy Fathers.

When by their sin they had forfeited their temporal mercies, yet on the condi­tion of their Repentance, they might re­possess and reinjoy them; and therefore to Israel it was an administration of the Covenant of Grace.

Object. But did not the Lord dispence out Spiritual and Etennal mercies of the Cove­nant of Grace, by the Sinai Covenant, as well as temporals? if so, why is it menti­oned as if it were only an administration of it to Israel for temporals?

[Page 161] Answ. 1. Many persons under the Sinai Co­venant did obtain Spiritual and Eternal mercies I freely grant; But whether these were dispenced out by that, is questioned. Moses and other Israelites were enriched with Faith, Heb. 11. and were saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, even as we, Act. 15. ver. 11. But they might injoy those blessings by virtue of the Covenant with Abraham, and not by that at mount Sinai.

2. Under those temporal things in the Si­nai Covenant, many Spiritual priviledges were typically represented: The dealings of the Lord with Israel in that dispensation, are said to be as with an heir whilst in in­fancy, Gal. 4. ver. 1, 3. Now, Children in their minority, are led into apprehen­sions of and affections to things by the Pictures of them, and are not so capable of right conceptions thereof other waies, and therefore a great design of the Lord in this Sinai Covenant was, to Picture and point out many spiritual blessings unto Israel under these shaddows (Heb. 8. ver. 5.) for the drawing out that Faith which they had by the Covenant with Abraham to be exercised about them; so as their Faith might be raised or helped by that at Sinai, though the blessings themselves were not [Page 162] dispenced out thereby, but by that with Abraham.

3. The Sinai Covenant must be considered either as holding forth the condition of the Covenant of Grace, and so it promised no­thing but upon a perfect obedience, and this not to be performed by Israel, but by Jesus Christ; and thus as it could not give life by any obedience of Israel, Gal. 3. ver. 21. Rom. 8. ver. 2, 3. so neither did Jesus Christ dispence it out thereby, for he was the Mediatour of the New and better Co­venant and his ministration did lie there.

Or, we must consider it as it was an ad­ministration of the Covenant of Grace (though but a servile one) and the obedience thereof to be performed by Israel; and thus [it was added] Gal. 3. ver. 19. it was Additional or an Appendix to that with Abraham, con­taining many Precepts, Rules, and Ordi­nances of Divine appointment, as Sacri­fices and other ceremonial services relating to the Tabernacle, Priests, and External Worship of God, not before given forth, and so the persons who were found in a due performance of these, with an eye upon and relation to the antient Promise, had many Spiritual blessings dispenced out to them; but they might be only externally represented by the Siuai Covenant, and dis­penced [Page 163] out by their looking from thence to that with Abraham, which it was annexed to, and to be taken in conjunction with.

I cannot think that the Lord would re­quire their exercising themselves about so many acts of Worship without intending that they should injoy his Spiritual pre­sence, and have acceptance in a due observ­ance thereof.

Yea the temporal mercies themselves pro­mised and afforded to them under the Sinai dispensation, were fruits of the Cove­nant of Grace; no outward mercies can be injoyed by sinful men in a federal way, but there must needs be Grace therein: And thus the matter cometh to the same reckoning, in many respects, whether those spiritual priviledges were derived to them through the one Covenant or the other. I am far from thinking that the Israelites injoyed only temporal mercies; doubtless they had Spiritual also, though possibly by another Covenant. But for the clearing of that Sinai dispensation, and preventing some ill effects (even in practice) of mis­understanding the nature thereof, I shall add,

4. It is probable that Spiritual and Eter­nal blessings were not dispenced out to Israel, by the Old Sinai Covenant, but only were [Page 164] typically represented therein. I take the main purport and design of it to be, under that servile administration of the Cove­nant of Grace, to point out the higher and more Spiritual matters thereof; and to shew, that as upon literal Israels perform­ing the obedience which was required of them as a condition thereof, they did in­joy temporal blessings therein promised to them; so upon the performance of the main condition thereof by Jesus Christ, even perfect obedience, the true Spiritual Israel should enjoy the Spiritual blessings promised unto them. So that, Temporal blessings were afforded by the Sinai Covenant; but Spiritual blessings were not dispenced out thereby. This (with submission to better Judgements) seemeth to me to be so upon these (among other) grounds.

1. No life was attainable by Israels per­forming of the Sinai Covenant, and there­fore other Spiritual blessings were not dis­penced out to them thereby, Gal. 3. ver. 21. For if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. The great bles­sings then of the Covenant of Grace, viz. life, could not be had by their obedience to the Sinai Law, of which he there speaketh, Ver. 17. And therefore neither could other [Page 165] blessings be had thereby, which had their de­pendance upon and issued from that. As Christians are not now, so Israelites were not then to do for Life. That Moses and Aaron must not enter into the Promised Canaan, but go up to the Mount and die, may be to signifie, that the Sinai Covenant would not give an entrance into the hea­venly Canaan; Moses obtained that, not through the works of the Law, but in a way of Faith.

2. Spiritual blessings were not dispenced out upon the condition of Israels obedience to the Sinai Covenant, for they often violated that Covenant, Jer. 31. ver. 32. Which Co­venant they brake—And therefore their Spiritual mercies had been forseited and lost, if they had been dispenced out then upon the condition of their keeping that Covenant, seeing they come so much short of it; whereas there was no falling from special Grace in that day, any more than now. When they had made a for­feiture of their temporal mercies therein Promised, by breaking of it, they were forced to make another plea, Exod. 34. ver. 13. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel thy Servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, &c. When the anger of the Lord waxed hot against Israel, ver. 11. [Page 166] for committing Idolatry, by making the Calf; Moses doth not plead that made at Sinai, but fleeth from that to the Covenant with Abraham for their relief.

Indeed there was an external representa­tion of Spirituals in the Sinai Covenant: As they making attonement, and offering Sa­crifices for diverse sins, it is said they should be forgiven them, Levit. 4. ver. 26, 27, 28, 29, 31. Levit. 5. ver. 10, 13, 16, 18. Num. 15. ver. 28. But no real attonement was made thereby, for the Law made no­thing perfect (Heb. 7. ver. 19. Heb. 9. ver. 9.) No real forgiveness was afforded by these acts of obedience, unless so far as that those sins should not hinder their at­taining the temporal mercies promised in that Covenant, or that the temporal Curses of it should not be inflicted; these did but typically represent the Spiritual forgive­ness, which they by another Covenant (even that with Abraham) should attain unto.

Thus their entring into Covenant with the Lord, is said to be, that he might esta­blish them that day for a people to him­self, and that he might be unto them a God, Deut. 29. ver. 12, 13. They were thereby owned or confirmed in a federal relation unto God, but so as upon their [Page 167] miscarriages he could say to them Loammi, Hos. 1. ver. 9. Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God; and therefore it was externally only, that they were his, and he theirs by that Covenant.

3. The ceremonials which seemed most to intimate the dispencing out of Spiritual blessings, were only typical representations thereof: these were but shaddows of hea­venly things, Heb. 8. ver. 5. The forgive­ness of sin in the Sinai Covenant was such as not to have temporal punishments in­flicted, and thus it was but a shaddow of the real and true forgiveness, which in op­position thereunto is restrained unto Jesus Christ, Heb. 9, and 10. Chapters. Their acceptance was unto some end, viz. so as to be priviledged with their temporal mer­cies, and it was but a shaddow of Spiritual acceptation. Their long Life in Canaan a shaddow of Eternal Life in Heaven: Spi­ritual blessings seem not to be dispenced out, but only to be signified by these.

4. Those that look for Spiritual blessings only by the Sinai Covenant, and their per­sonal performance of it, are excluded from being sharers in them, Gal. 4. ver. 30. Cast out the Bondwoman and her Son, for the Son of the Bondwoman shall not be Heir with the Son of the Free-woman. The [Page 168] Bondwoman is expresly said to be the mount Sinai Covenant or Testament, this is Hagar, ver. 24. and that as a Covenant must be cast out, and also those that are the seed of it, begotten to a profession only in a legal way, by legal duties or terrours; those that stand upon an Old Covenant bottom, and put themselves under that, shall not inhe­rit, shall not be Heirs of the everlasting In­heritance; it is another, an opposite seed, begotten by a Gospel Promise, which shall injoy that; and therefore that Sinai Cove­nant was not intended, that Souls should have Spiritual and everlasting blessings dis­penced out by yielding obedience unto that, for then its seed should inherit as well as the other; but that by the sight of the impossibility of their keeping it, they might be provoked to become the Chil­dren of the Free-woman which are born by Promise, by a distinct Covenant. Nei­ther doth he speak in these things of the Law only taken abusively, in the sense urged and intended by the false Prophets, but really in its self, as it was established by God at mount Sinai; For, as an Argu­ment to draw them off from the errours of the false Prophets, he saith, ver. 21, 22. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law, for it is writ­ten, [Page 169] that Abraham had two Sons, one by the Bondwoman, the other by a Free-woman, &c. And further, that these were an antient Allegory, foreshewing two Covenants or Testaments, the one gendering to bondage, whose seed must be cast out, as giving no inheritance; and therefore he concludeth that the Lord himself in giving that Cove­nant at mount Sinai, never intended that it should be for communicating of the eter­nal inheritance unto the Sons of men; he telleth them that they did hear the Law, and this was the language thereof, that those who are born by it, or are the seed of it, are not of the Free Promise, and must be cast out, they are excluded even by the Law it self from the eternal inheritance; therefore it was alwaies an abuse of it, to expect the dispencing out of Spiritual bles­sings thereby: the Lord ordained another way, viz. the Free Promise for that end.


Of the Sinai Covenant, whether ceased or continuing?

IT is Questioned by some, Whether the mount Sinai Covenant be still continuing, so as Christians are laid under the obligation of it in Gospel times? I may premise, that it is called [the Law] Mal. 4. 4. Rom. 7. and [a Covenant or Testament] Exod. 34. 23. Deut. 4. 13. Jer. 31. 31, 32. Gal. 4. 24.

Answ. The moral Law which was contain­ed in the Sinai dispensation is still obliging; but consider it as a Covenant or Testament, and so it is not continuing.

Cessavit lex, ut norma est operum naturae ex formula foederis operum; manet vero iis qui in Christo sunt, ut est regula operum gratiae, saith Rolloc. de Vocat. Cap. 2.

1. The moral Law as an external Rule of obedience, is universally and perpetually obli­gatory to the Sons of men.

Some circumstances, as the coming out of Egypt, and prolonging the daies in the Land, i. e. in Canaan, Exod. 20. 2, 12. were peculiar to the Children of Israel: and [Page 171] it is union with Jesus and an internal vital principle, that all acceptable obedience no weth from, Joh. 15. 5. but the substance of the ten Commandments is still obliging. For,

1. The moral Law is a perfect rule of righ­teousness and conformity to the Will of God, and therefore is perpetual. All good is commanded and all evil forbidden there, 1 Joh. 3. ver. 4. [Sin] is the transgression of the Law. The very description of sin is fetched thence; that if we be bound not to sin, then we are to keep the Law, Mat. 4. 4. Remember the Law of Moses; and this referreth to the times of the Gos­pel, when the Sun of righteousness ariseth with healing in his wings.

Indeed it is a repetition of the Law of Nature, which is ingraven upon the hearts of those which are most barbarous, Rom. 2. 14, 15. The work of the Law is upon their hearts, and therefore so long as the Nature continueth, the obligation to the Law of it must also be continuing, Rom. 7. 13. The Law is holy and the Command­ment holy just and good; whatsoever there­fore is opposite to it, must be unholy, un­just, and evil. The same moral Law that was delivered at mount Sinai was (before and since) as it referred to the Free Promise, [Page 172] a rule of inward holiness, Sanctification and obedience, and had Spiritual injoyments attending of it: as it had relation to the Sinai Covenant and its end; so it ushered in temporal mercies unto Israel.

2. The Lord hath declared his approbation of conformity to the moral Law, and with great severity witnessed against disconformity to it in all Ages: Long before the Sinai ministration, Abel is commended for his Faith, owning and Worshipping the true God, and Cain for the contrary disap­proved, Gen. 4. 4. Heb. 11. There was a reverend use of the Name of God, Gen. 14. 19, 20. The Sabbath Instituted, Gen. 2. 3. Superiours honoured, Gen. 9. 23. and 22. 7. Murther witnessed against in Cain; Adultery and Unchastity punished in raining Fire and Brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah; Abra­ham reproved for bearing false witness, saying of Sarah, she is my Sister; Laban accused for defranding and coveting, Gen. 31. 7, 8, 9. So that though the wording of it in the formality of ten Commandments was at mount Sinai, yet immoralities were ever sinful. Yea in the times of the New Te­stament Jesus Christ declareth his observing the waies, actings, and inclinations of men; and some are blamed, others com­mended even in his Churches, Rev. 2. and 3. [Page 173] the least swarvings from the rule are sin­ful.

3. The Natural tendency of the moral Law is to promote love; Jesus Christ himself is giving the Epitome and summ of the Law, and reduceth all the ten to two great Commandments, Mat. 22. ver. 36. to 41. viz. Love to God and the Neighbour.

Doubtless men are obliged at all times to let the Streams of their Love run out to­wards God; to Love him with all their Heart, with all their Soul, with all their Mind, and to Love their Neighbours as them­selves: and upon these two hang all the Law and Prophets, ver. 40. Yea the ful­filling of these is the keeping of the Law.

4. The moral Law is explained and obe­dience to it earnestly pressed in the times of the Gospel: to free it from the false glosses of the Jewish Rabbins, Jesus Christ him­self giveth an explication of it, Mat. 5. declaring that not only grosser acts are to be avoided, but whatsoever hath a tenden­cy that way, unchast looks, unclean thoughts are sinful, ver. 28. Christians are under an obligation, not only to sincere, but to perfect obedience unto the royal Law of liber­ty, Jam. 1. 15. so as the least failing of it it sinful, though it doth not bring believers [Page 174] under condemnation. Yielding Worship to God is duty still, Mat. 4. 10. as the way to withstand Satan in his temptations, and the duties of the second Table are plainly urged, Eph. 6. 3. Rom. 13. 8. Love is undeniably a duty in Gospel times, and the fulfilling of the Law is wrapt up in it, ver. 9. Thou shalt not commit Adultery, thou shalt not Steal, thou shalt not bear false Witness, thou shalt not Covet. These Com­mandments then are in force still, and the Romans (who were Christians of the Gen­tiles) were under the obligation of them, and therefore they are perpetual. Yea, Jesus Christ owneth them as his, Joh. 15. 10. If ye keep [my Commandments] ye shall abide in my Love, &c. keeping these by be­lieving and loving one another, is the way to the manifestations of his Love: this of Love he calleth a new Commandment, Joh. 13. 34. Indeed this putteth sweetness into it, Christians are under the Law, but it is to Christ, 1 Cor. 9. 21. to their Me­diatour, who satisfied for their breaking of it: they take it not from the hand of Moses, in its terrour and rigour, but from the hand of Jesus Christ, who hath Re­deemed from the curse of it.

The first Tables which were the work of God were quickly broken, Exod. 32. [Page 175] 16, 19. but the second Tables that were to be hewed by Moses (a typical Mediatour) they were more durable, of longer con­tinuance, and then the Lord proclaimeth his pardoning Mercy, Exod. 34. 1, 4, 6. The moral Law in the hand of Jesus Christ the true Mediator, is abiding, and pardon­ing Grace and mercy experienced under it. Of old the Ark of the Covenant had only the moral Law put into it, not the ceremonial (Deut. 10. 2.) to note, this was to be abolished, but the Moral to abide with the Covenant still; on which account it is promised of the New Covenant, Heb. 8. 10. I will write my Law in their Hearts: all which argue the perpetuity thereof.

2. The Mount Sinai dispensation as a Cove­nant, is not continuing.

It is generally granted that it is abro­gated in respect of some circumstances, fruits and effects of it; as servile imbon­daging fear and such like: but I appre­hend, that none are under the obligation of it as a Covenant or Testament in Gospel times.

This may appear these waies,

1. The succession of the New Covenant in the room and stead of the Old, argue that it is not continuing: for one must be removed [Page 176] when another taketh its place, Deut. 2. vers. 12, 21, 22. & 25. vers. 6. & 19. vers. 1.

Now, the new Covenant succeedeth the old: the Hebrews were apt to be doting upon that made at Mount Sinai; to take them off from it, he telleth them of a better come in the place and stead of it, Heb. 8. vers. 8, 9. and observe the contradistinction is, between Covenant and Covenant, not barely between circumstances and accidents of the same Covenant, and vers. 13. in that he saith, a new Covenant, he hath made the first old, now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. It is the Cove­nant that is old, and the same is said to va­nish away; and therefore it must needs be, that the Sinai Covenant should cease and come to an end, as Calvin saith, because the second is of another quality. It is true that the New Covenant in the substance of it or as a Covenant, is found in that with Abraham, though not under the notion of New, for that is given it in opposition to the Old; but it could not be said to suc­ceed, until the Old expired.

2. The Ceremonial and Judicial Laws are generally granted to be abrogated, and so the old Covenant as to them (which make a considerable part of it) is not continuing: [Page 177] indeed the judicials as to their moral equity are deemed binding, but not as they are a part of that Covenant, for then they must oblige exactly as they stand in it: these had a peculiar reference to the Jews.

They are called judgements, Exod. 21. vers. 1. determining of rights between man and man, and of punishments upon transgressions with reference to the inte­rest of that people in the land of Canaan, saith Dr. O. on Hebrews pag. 275. and hence they cannot formally oblige others who have nothing in that Land.

As to Ceremonials the Apostle to evidence that they are abolished speaketh thus, Heb. 7. vers. 11, 12. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, &c. where he asserteth perfection, (viz. as to remissi­on of sin, justification, &c. Heb. 10. vers. 16, 17, 18.) was not obtained by the Leviti­cal Priesthood, or legal sacrifices and per­formances, but only by Jesus Christ who was typified therein; this he proveth thus [for under it the people received the Law] which importeth that when they arrive at evangelical perfection they are free from the Law, do not receive that, viz. as a testament, as vers. 22. and he speaketh of the moral Law as distinguished from the Ce­remonial: and if perfection were by that, [Page 178] saith he, vers. 11. what further need was there that another Priest should arise after the order of Melchisedeck, and not be called after the order of Aaron? The necessity of a new order of Priesthood argueth, the imperfection of the old, and thence he inferreth the abrogation of the Ceremo­nial Law. Vers. 12. For the Priesthood be­ing changed there is made of necessity a change of the Law: there is such a con­nexion between the Priesthood and the Law, as they stand and fall together; if one be abolished (as the Aaronical Leviti­cal Priesthood is) of necessity the Cere­monial Law (by which it stood) must be abrogated also, and he calleth it a carnal commandment, vers. 16. & vers. 18. for there is verily (not only an altering and changing, but) a disanulling of the Com­mandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

The same might also be cleared from Heb. 9. where he speaketh of Ceremonial usages, and they were till the time of re­formation, they were the patterns and fi­gures of heavenly things: the substance being come, the shaddow must vanish, the antitype Jesus Christ being come the type must cease: and O what a glorious privi­ledge is it, that we have freedom from [Page 179] that load of burdensom ceremonies requi­red in the Law. There remaineth only the moral Law, that any can suppose these promises and threatnings now to be annex­ed to, and as to that,

3. Jesus Christ hath perfectly satisfied and fulfilled the mount Sinai Moral Law, as it was a Covenant for eternal life, and there­fore as such it is not still continuing: it was impossible for us perfectly to obey the Law, by reason of the infirmity of our flesh, Rom. 8. vers. 3, 4. but whatever is demanded there,, in any of its Precepts, as the condition of life, Jesus Christ hath performed it for us, Matth. 3. vers. 15. & 5. vers. 17. and so hath brought in a perfect righteousness to be imputed to us, Rom. 10. vers. 4. 2 Corin. 5. vers. 21. yet we are not exempted from all obedience to the Moral Law, by his obeying perfectly in our stead, for his righteousness was for one end, viz. to merit eternal life for us, (Rom. 5. vers. 21.) our obedience is for other ends, as to testifie our conformity and subjection un­to God and so to glorifie him, &c. as his suf­ferings were for one end, viz. to make satis­faction for our sin, our afflictions and suffer­ings are for other ends, and not for that.

Also he satisfied all the threatnings of the Sinai Covenant, these all did meet up­on [Page 180] him, Gal. 3. vers. 13. He was made a curse for us: so that these faederal Precepts and Curses expire by satisfaction, as the Ju­dicial and Ceremonial Laws did by abroga­tion.

There remain then only the Promises of it; and upon his satisfying the other he altereth these, and turneth them from Con­ditional into absolute, as we see in the New Covenant. Hence, whereas in the Sinai Covenant, that cluster of promises, con­cerning their being a peculiar treasure, a Kingdom of Priests, a holy Nation, &c. Exod. 19. vers. 5, 6. did run upon the con­dition of obedience, [If ye will obey—] Jesus Christ having done and suffered all which that Covenant could exact, now he hath given all forth in an absolute form to believers, and expresseth all as already accomplished unto them. 1 Pet. 2. vers. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, an holy Nation, &c. a peculiar people, &c. it is not now upon an [If] as in the Sinai Covenant; but the promise is fulfilled to them, and in Christ they are such as it was conditionally promised of old they should be. Thus, Rev. 1. vers. 5, 6. hath made us Kings and Priests unto Go [...] and his Father, but how? he hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his [Page 181] own blood: it is upon his satisfying the Sinai Covenant by his sufferings unto death, as it was the condition of life: its not continuing as an administration of the Covenant of grace, will be cleared in the following particulars.

4. The Lord is not rigorously exacting du­ty from Believers now, upon the legal terms of the Sinai Covenant [cursed is he that con­tinueth not in all] therefore the Sinai Co­venant is not continuing: for such Coaction would inevitably follow a being under the obligation of it, in regard that is the very nature and tenor of it, Gal. 3. vers. 10. Deut. 27. vers. 26. and all the Promises run upon those terms. If these curses be not in force against them, then it is ceased as a Covenant; if they be in force, then they are under the same rigorous exaction of duty still as Israel was of old, for then the inforcement to it is the same.

For, we must know, that the Sinai Co­venant, was not made with Pagans, In­fidels, or professedly unbelievers; the great God would not ingage himself by Cove­nant unto such; but it was made with the Children of Israel, with those who were the people of God already, by the Covenant with Abraham, before they came at Mount Sinai; hence the preface runneth [Page 182] thus, Exod. 20. vers. 2. I am the Lord thy God, &c. not he became their God then, but was their God before: there­fore if it be continuing to any as a Cove­nant, it must be to the people of God (for it was made with none else) and they must (if any) be under the terror of it.

Whereas it is evident, that Christians are to yield obedience upon more evange­lical accounts; the Gospel urgeth upon them, duties of holiness, the avoiding apo­stasie and profaness by sweetness and love; not by legal terror, but by their freedom from it: Heb. 12. vers. 14, to the end. As if he had said, ye are not come to a legal Mount Sinai dispensation inforcing duty by terror, thundrings and lightnings; but to Mount Sion, to a dispensation of Gospel Grace, vers. 25. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, &c. now the terror is upon abusing grace.

So Rom. 7. vers. 6. Their being delive­red from the Law in its compelling and condemning power, is made the means to raise up unto new and spiritual obedience. Not so much from the wrath as the mercy of God, Rom. 12. vers. 1. from the con­straints of love, 2 Cor. 5. vers. 14. from an eying the promises of God, 2 Cor. 7 [Page 183] vers. 1. Having these promises, let us cleanse our selves from all pollution of flesh and spirit.

And here I may hint one considerable difference between the Covenant of Works, and that Covenant at Mount Sinai; the for­mer extended to all mankind, and was made with all in Adam their common head: but the later was made only with some, with Israel and Judah the people of God.

5. If the Sinai Covenant were still conti­nuing, then the people of God within it, might still be laying claim to the blessings of it, by vertue of the same promises in the ve­ry form as they are found therein; for, if the form be altered, then the claim is by another Covenant whereby such an altera­tion is made.

Whereas temporal mercies are promised in a new dialect, more absoluely, Jer. 32. vers. 36. to the end, and 31. vers. 27, 28, 31, 32. they are not afforded unto Christi­ans now upon the same conditional terms, that they were to Israel under the Sinai Covenant. By way of Analogy, those an­tient promises may intimate to Christians now, that walking circumspectly is the way to be supplied with earthly blessings that are good for them: but there is no [Page 184] such special Contract or distinct Covenant (as that made at Mount Sinai) whereby they may claim so large a portion of temporal injoyments, as Israel could by that; ra­ther we find, that those which were most obedient in the first times of the Gospel, were put upon an expectation of little in temporals (in comparison) and were to look for a plenty of troubles, losses, perseou­tions, &c. Mat. 6. vers. 31, 32, 33. Mat. 10. vers. 22. Act. 20. vers. 23. 2 Tim. 3. vers. 12. Act. 14. vers. 22. Luke 9. vers. 23.

See Mr. Bisco in his book entituled the glorious Mystery of Gods Mercy; who en­deavoureth to prove, that temporal bles­sings were made over and dispensed to the Jews under the Law in a peculiar man­ner, and as never to any People or Nati­on but they.

6. Various expressions holding forth our freedom from the Law do conclude that it is not continuing as a Covenant; as,

Rom. 6. vers. 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are [not under the Law] but under grace: Those then that are under the Law in the sense here intend­ed, cannot be under grace, and are under the dominion of sin; and therefore the di­rection of the Law for duties of holiness is not denied here; but they are not under the [Page 185] Law as a Sinai Covenant, exacting full and perfect obedience upon pain of an eternal curse; not under it as a condition of life un­performed, for that were inconsistent with grace, and would infer that sin is still ex­ercising Lordship over them.

Rom. 7. vers. 4. Ye are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that ye might be married to another, even to him who is rai­sed from the dead, &c. He speaketh, vers. 1, 2, 3. of the Law as an imperious Husband (which is by Covenant) and thus they are dead to the Law, not under the power of it; by the body of Christ, that is, by his bearing the curse of the Law on his body; and therefore they are dead to it as a Cove­nant, for so he had it on his body.

Gal. 4. vers. 21, 24, 30. The bond wo­man Hagar is expresly said, to be the Co­venant or Testament from Mount Sinai; and she and her Son, all that are of a legal birth, must be cast out, vers. 30. that Co­venant therefore from Mount Sinai, was but temporary, is cast out in Gospel times, is not continuing.

In some respect that at Mount Sinai may be called (as it is by learned Came­ron) a subservient Covenant, viz. in re­spect of Israel, as it discovered sin, and provoked to seek after a Mediator (Exod. 20. [Page 186] vers. 19.) in promising temporal mercies upon obedience, representing spirituals and eternals; but subserviency doth not fitly express its soederal nature, as it promised life upon doing or perfect obedience, threatning death and a dreadful curse up­on falling short of it. I do not call it, the Covenant of Grace, nor the Covenant of Works; but to express the formality and essential nature of it, I call it, the Covenant of Grace as to its legal condition, or a Co­venant concerning the legal condition of the Covenant of Grace, which is held forth un­der an administration of it for temporals unto Israel.

O let Christians yield utmost obedience to the royal Law of liberty, but let all be done in the strength of Christ, and in the way of the New Covenant, make use of a promise of grace, in setting about all duty.

And beware of seeking to keep up the Old Covenant, which really is not conti­nuing; we seek to keep it up

When we live in the spirit of the Old Co­venant, acting by its inforcements, terror, wrath, curse, rather than by the allurements of grace in the free promise.

Also, when there is a grounding accepta­tion with God upon our own duties and [Page 187] performances: the Old Covenant did run upon [do and live] intending a doing for eternal life which was peculiar to Jesus Christ; but our nature is prone to run our own doing into the place of his; as if we could gain acceptation unto life by our own services or do something that way. We are apt to build expectations of mercy up­on our own doing, in stead of building them upon Jesus Christ. Evangelical obe­dience may be a secondary evidence, but when we dwell more upon any thing done by us, yea or upon any inherent grace, any thing within our selves, than upon the free grace of God in Christ, we then make something of our own a ground of ac­ceptance and not an evidence only; when something within raiseth our hope of ac­ceptance, more than the grace of God in the New Covenant. The promise and Oath of God (which are both without us) are the two immutable things of Divine appoint­ment, for the raising strong consolation, Heb. 6. vers. 18. All grace within, should be improved for carrying out our souls to God and Jesus Christ therein.

Also, when there is not an improvement of our freedom from the Law, towards making out the more after Jesus, and the free grace of God in him, then we seek to keep up the [Page 188] Old Covenant still. Rom. 6. vers. 14. Being under the Law and under grace are opposites there; the less grace exerciseth Lordship over the soul, the more sin domineereth and getteth the upper hand of it, and the more it is under the Law. The greater freedom from the Law as a Covenant, the more grace is used towards freedom from the dominion of sin.

Also, when there is a looking for what is promised only in a conditional way; then there is a keeping up the Old Covenant, which did run upon Conditional Promises: when souls have acted in duty, and now are rea­dy to count the Lord ingaged to give out or afford mercy upon their performing thereof: when they look for nothing but as a fruit of some condition performed by themselves (Isa. 58. vers. 3.) and their hopes of mercy rise or fall by that rule of their own performance, rather than by the free grace and faithfulness of God, then there is a holding up the Old Covenant.


Of the good that was in the Sinai Covenant.

I Shall now shew what excellency there was in the Mount Sinai or worse Covenant.

The more good there was in this, the greater excellency will appear in the new, which is a better Covenant.

There was excellency in the matter of it; such Precepts were contained in it, as had a stamp of righteousness upon them, Deut. 4. vers. 8. such as did advance Israel above other Nations: Neh. 9. vers. 13. Psal. 147. vers. 19, 20.

It was excellent, in the manner of its ma­nifestation; there was a dreadfully glori­ous appearance of the Majesty of God in giving of it forth, Exod. 19. vers. 16, 17, 18. he revealed himself in an unwonted way, in thundring, lightning, thick dark­ness, &c. it was a stupendous dispensation to humble that rebellious people; the mountain was smoaking, the thick cloud co­vering it, the trumpet sounding, all indica­tions of his Divine Majesty, that they [Page 190] might discern him from dumb idols, vers. 22. ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven: as if the Lord himself had spoken in an immediate way. It was not altogether immediate, the ministry of An­gels was used in it, Act. 7. vers. 38. but it was by the authority of God himself, with more than ordinary demonstrations and tokens of his Almighty power, such as struck them into a marvellous consternati­on, and admiration that they were alive. Exod. 20. vers. 19. Deut. 5. vers. 26. Who is there of all flesh that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire (as we have) and yet lived? O what grace is it, that the Lord is not dealing with us in such a dismaying terri­fying dispensation, but in a milder and more familiar way in the dispensation of the Gospel!

It was excellent in the special uses and ends it served to: the two principal I have opened already, which must here be re­membred, viz. for eternals upon the obe­dience of Christ, for temporals upon the obedience of Israel. I shall now hint some other uses and ends of the Sinai Cove­nant.

1. To be a provocation unto Israel to look unto a Mediator, the Lord Jesus, to fulfil [Page 191] and accomplish it for them: both the terrible publication and the experienced impossibility of keeping it themselves were excitations this way, Exod. 20. 19. They said unto Moses, speak thou with us and we will hear, but let not God speak with us left we die. Here they asked a typical Me­diator, and therein a real one Jesus Christ, for so the Lord expoundeth their Petition and promiseth to grant it, Deut. 18. 15. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, &c. that thou desiredst at Horeb, &c. and that Prophet is said to be Jesus Christ, Acts 3. 20, 22. They were provoked by the terrour of the Sinai Law, to ask a Mediatour that he would pass into the burning Mount, to receive it for them, and give it forth as a Law of Love, and this request they are highly commend­ed for, Deut. 5. 27, 28. so that the use of that fiery dispensation was not, that Life should be attained thereby, but to impell to look out unto another Covenant for that.

2. To constrain to Duty, and restrain from Sin, Exod. 19. 9. Lo I come to thee in a thick Cloud, but to what end? That the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. It was then to startle them out of their unbelief, and win cre­dit [Page 192] to his Word. And under their affright­ment, Moses for incouragement, saith, Exod. 20. 20. Fear not, for God is come to prove you, that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. It was then one end of the Sinai Covenant to deter them from sin.

3. To be a Directory to Israel for the Worship of God: The Church had been Domestical or in Families, but the Posterity of Abraham swelling into a great number, the Lord would have them become Congre­gational; they must coalesce and become federally united together, the whole to constitute one Ecclesiastical body, by this Mosaic dispensation, which had Ordinances of Worship sutable to that new state of the Church now introduced. The Lord gave to Moses a pattern of the Tabernacle (which was for publick Worship) with a strict injunction, Heb. 8. 5. See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the Mount, Heb. 9. 1. Exod. 25. 40. And in that and the following Chapters of the Book, there are rules about the Ark, Table, Candlestick, and the in­stitution of Ministers used in the service of the Tabernacle; as Aaron and his Sons in the Priests Office; here is direction for the consecration of the Ark and Taberna­tle, [Page 193] the Altar of incense and many Ordi­nances and Institutions, which hold forth another use of the Sinai dispensation.

4. To be a Platform, model or rule for Government Ecclesiastical and Civil: Israel received righteous Laws, Statutes, and Judgements from God himself: therein they were differenced from and excelled the Nations; that they were more imme­diately under the Government of God as their only Law-giver: And not only an Eternal Curse, but many Ecclesiastical and Civil penalties, and censures are threatned upon breaking of those Divine Laws, Exod. 22. ver. 1, 4, 20. Levit. 20. Numb. 5. and 19. Deut. 13. and 25. with many others. This then was one use of it to be an instrument for the Government of the Children of Israel.

5 Another end of it was, to give a typical representation of many glorious mysterious ap­pertaining to the Covenant of Grace: these matters were not empty insignificant rites, but by Divine appointment served as shad­dows, types, and patterns of heavenly things, Heb. 8. 5, 6. and 9. 23. Even their temporal mercies were typical represen­tations of Spiritual and heavenly blessings. The Land of Canaan figured out the hea­venly rest. The Levitical or Aaronical [Page 194] Priests were eminent Types of our great High-Priest the Lord Jesus, Heb. 7. The Tabernacle a Type of his humane Nature; Whence he is said to be a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands, Heb. 9. 11. and 8. ver. 2. It might also figure out the true Church, Rev. 21. 3. The Ark, the furniture for the most holy place, which none but the High-Priest might enter into, (Heb. 9. ver. 3, 4, 7.) properly referreth to Jesus Christ, who is the great repository in whom the Divine Law is treasured up for Believers; He is their glory and direction unto eternal rest: many other Types there were of him. I might also note that Moses was below with the people, for their incouragement against fear at the promulgation of the Law, and making and confirming the Co­venant, but was called up higher towards the top of the Mount, for receiving the Tables of the Covenant, and the pattern of the Tabernacle, Exod. 19 ver. 24, 25. and 20. ver. 1, 20. and 24. ver. 12. 18. all which may typifie, that Jesus Christ standeth with us for our incouragement in receiving the fiery Law, and upon more immediate converses with God, giveth forth the frame of his solemn Worship These were the ends of the Sinai Covenant


Of the Differences between the Old and the New Covenant, and the excellency of the latter above the former.

IT may be inquired, How is the New Covenant (wherein the ministration of Jesus Christ doth lie) a better Covenant than the Old, which was made at Mount Sinai?

I would premise, that in Heb. 8. and also Jer. 31. ver. 31, 32. the opposition is not between the Covenant of Works as with the first Adam and the New, but between the Old (made when Israel came out of Egypt at Sinai) and the New Covenant: These are they which are compared, and therefore the Differences between these ei­ther in their matter or form, must hold forth the excellency and betterness of the New Covenant above the Old.

1. The New Covenant presupposeth obe­dience unto life to be performed already by Jesus Christ, and so is better than the Old, which required an after performance of it: The very tenour of the Sinai Covenant [Page 196] was [Do this and Live] Levit. 18. 5. Deut. 27. 26. Rom. 10. 5. Here Israel was ingaged in a federal way to perform the righteousness required in the unspotted Law; the very doing is injoyned which our Eternal Life hath dependance upon, even perfect doing, Gal. 3. 12. Indeed Israel in­gaged, yet they were to perform this by their Surety Jesus Christ.

But all was then undone, unfulfilled, unperformed, Jesus Christ not being then manifested, and hence the Law had then a commanding force, might exact that obe­dience at the hand of Israel, who Covenant­ed there that it should be yielded in time to come.

But the New Covenant taketh it for grant­ed, that all this doing for Life is over, al­ready past, and not to come, Jesus Christ being actually exhibited; that as the Old Covenant seemed to be made up of Precepts or Commandments, so the New is made up of Promises, consisteth of nothing else, Heb. 8. ver. 8, to the end, giving a decla­ration that all is fulfilled, there remaineth nothing to be done, either by Principal or Surety for that end, viz. Life: The Lord is so fully satisfied, as in the New he giveth a general acquittance and acknowledgeth that he hath no more to demand, all is [Page 197] turned into Promise [I will and ye shall]. Jesus Christ is said to be the Mediatour of the New Testament, ver. 6. that is, actually so; to intimate that in this short term [Mediatour] we have now in accomplish­ment the summ of all the doing required in the Old Covenant, and way is made for our receiving the Promise, Heb. 9. 15. Within the seventy weeks the Messiah came, Dan. 9. 24. To make reconciliation and [bring in everlasting righteousness]; before righteous­ness was commanded, viz. in the Sinai Co­venant, but then it was introduced. By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, Heb. 10. 14. Nothing remaineth to be done for the procurement of these Eternal blessings.

Hence in opposition to that Sinai Law which ran upon those terms [Do and Live] under the dispensation of the New, we hear so often of [Believe and be saved, and he which believeth hath everlasting Life] Mark 16. 16. Joh. 3. 16, 36. Not that [believing] now, taketh the place of [doing] in the Old Covenant; For, then it must be our righteousness unto Justification, Gal. 3. 12. Rom. 10. 5. whereas that which justifieth is called, the righteousness of Faith, ver. 6. and Phil. 3. 9. and therefore Faith is distinct from that righteousness it self, [Page 198] is not the least Atome of it: therefore not our believing, but the obedience of Jesus Christ, is that which cometh in the room and stead of that doing for Life intended in the Law, Rom. 5. 19. He is the Lord our righteousness, Jer. 23. 6. 1 Cor. 1. 30. But to note, that it lieth wholly out of our selves, that it is not by any of our per­formances, but in another, even Jesus Christ, it is said to be by Faith, i. e. as a means of application. Believe that the work is not now to do, Jesus Christ hath done all, and saith he, Joh. 8. 24. If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your Sins. Thus the Apostle, speaking not meerly of the false opinion of the Jewes concerning the meritoriousness of their good works, or their external services, be­ing perfect obedience to the Law unto Life; I say, he not insisting upon these er­rours, but having mentioned the very righteousness of the Law, Rom. 10. 5. in opposition to that, he saith, ver. 6, 9, 10. If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and [shalt believe] in thy heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be Saved. It is then a believing in him as already come, and having all righte­ousness subjected in him, yea as dead and risen, that is called for. When they were [Page 199] doting upon works of the Law as perform­ed by themselves, to take them off from this, he telleth them that all this legal do­ing for Life must be found in Christ alone: and as it followeth [for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness] that is, as a means unto righteousness. It is not his own working that will be his righteous­ness, nor his saith it self, only that is a means for the applying that righteousness which is subjected in Christ alone.

So that the Apostles aim is not, to call them off from a legal doing by natural power and ability, and instead thereof to put them upon Evangelical believing and doing as the condition, giving right to Life; but his design is, to put them upon looking wholly out of themselves and all their own doing, whether by nature or grace, unto Jesus Christ alone for righteousness unto Life. If a man should set about any Gospel ser­vice, upon a legal ground, he would be culpable as the Judaizing Professou [...]s were. It is such a doing as giveth a little unto Life (by performing the condition of it) that is rejected in the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians as dangerous. Evangelical ser­vices are required on other accounts, and to be performed to testifie conformity to the Will of God, and these may evidence [Page 200] Life in the way to it; but Faith it self (though necessary, yet) doth receive a title from Jesus Christ, doth not give one, Joh. 1. 12. That Axiom [he that believeth shall be Saved] is not expressive of the tenour of the New Covenant; we claim Salvation not in the right of any act of ours, not upon the Rent of Faith (as men hold Te­nements by the payment of a Penny, a Rose or such like) no such thing here; all is paid to the utmost Farthing by our Surety, and we hold and claim, upon the obedience of Jesus Christ alone, Rom. 5. 18, 19, 21.

2. The New Covenant representeth the Lord as dealing with his people universally in a way of Promise, and so is better than the Old, which representeth him, as treating them in a way of threatning.

The New consisteth all of Promises, Heb. 8. ver. 8, &c. as if the heart of God were so full of Love, and running over therewith, that he could express no­thing else but what he would be to, and do for his people. The Father having re­ceived full satisfaction to all demands in the Old Covenant, by the mediation of his Son; now he maketh it his business to give the fullest assurance by a constellation of Promises in the New, that he will ful­fill [Page 201] to a tittle, whatsoever on his part resteth for performance. Believers are wholly freed from the Curse, there is no condemna­tion to those that are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8. 1. Heb. 12. 18. They are under a ministration of righteousness, 2 Cor. 3. ver. 9.

But, the Old Covenant represented God as a consuming fire, denouncing Curses and threatnings against the Children of Israel, who were his own people (for with them was the Sinai Covenant made, and not with unbelievers of the Gentiles:) there were indeed some Promises sparingly scat­tered up and down in it, but they run conditionally and Israel failed of coming up to the condition, that if they had not been priviledged with the Covenant with Abra­ham, to run unto for relief, what might they think would become of them? By Divine appointment there were some to stand upon mount Ebal to Curse, as well as others upon mount Gerazim to bless, Deut. 27. 13, &c. There are about twelve curses, which they were injoyned to de­clare their assent unto [all the people shall say Amen] yea the last was a general one, ver. 26. If they continued not in all things they were liable to it, Gal. 3. 10. which sheweth that although a temporal Curse was not excluded, yet an Eternal was also some [Page 202] way intended, on which account it is called a ministration of condemnation, 2 Cor. 3. 7.

It was otherwise with them in reference to that Curse, than it is with Christians under the New. Israel by that voluntary act, the Old Covenant, passed Sentence upon themselves: yea, the Curse of the Law was not then actually undergone by Jesus Christ, it was not then satisfied, and so might be presented before them as their obligation or bond uncancelled to their great affrightment. But Jesus Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, Gal. 3. 13. Now all is discharged for us, and so the New is a better Covenant.

3. The New Covenant consisteth of abso­lute Promises, and therefore is better than the Old Sinai Covenant, which did run upon conditional Promises, yea had works as its condition.

In the times of the Old Testament, the price of our Redemption was not paid by Jesus Christ, and therefore Life was then held forth upon the condition of obe­dience, the Lord said [Do and Live] Lev. 18. 5. Rom 10. 5. Gal. 3. 12. Yea, as that which under the New, seemeth to be conditionally mentioned in one place, is absolutely promised in another; so on the contrary, what seemeth to some, to be [Page 203] absolutely propounded in the Old, in one part of it, yet is conditionally promised in another, Exod. 29. 45, 46. I will dwell among the Children of Israel, and be their God. Indeed this is not properly absolute, but (as the foregoing Verses shew) upon what Aaron (a Type of Jesus Christ) should do; however the very same is clog­ged with a condition, Levit. 26. 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

The promise of circumcising their heart and the heart of their Seed to love the Lord, Deut. 30. 6. runneth upon condition [If] thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God and keep his Commandments, &c. ver. 9.

But the New Covenant consisteth alto­gether of absolute Promises, Heb. 8. ver. 10, 11, 12, 13. [I will—and ye shall].

When the condition of any Covenant is performed, it becometh as absolute, as if there had never been any annexed to it.

Now Jesus Christ is mentioned as our great High-Priest and Mediatour, and that as having finished the work of Satisfaction, ver. 1, 2, 6. and the condition contained in the Old, being exactly and compleatly fulfilled by him, it naturally or necessarily must turn into an absolute form as in the New, because upon his performance, no­thing [Page 204] more is to be demanded of him, but all must certainly be accomplished unto us.

The Apostle in the Text, is purposely putting a difference between these; and seeing the Old Covenant was unquestionably conditional, and the New here in opposition to it or distinction from it, is as undoubt­edly absolute, must it not needs be con­cluded, that herein standeth much of the excellency of the New above the Old?

It was Prophesied of Jesus Christ, Dan. 9. ver. 27. He shall confirm the Covenant with many for one week. A great end of his coming and death was, the confirmation of the New Covenant, on the behalf of the many which he stood for, so as now it is turned into a Testament, as the word [...] (which generally it is expressed by) doth evidence, Gal. 3. 15, 16, 17. Though it be but a mans Testament, yet if it be con­firmed, no man disanulleth or addeth thereto. The Free Promise was confirmed by Oath before, and by way of Testimony since, but especially confirmed by the death of Jesus Christ, by his performing the condition of it, and therefore it can admit of no addition or alteration, Heb. 9. 16, 17. For where a Testament is, there must also of ne­cessity be, the death of the testator, for a [Page 205] Testament is of force after men are dead, &c. It beareth the name of a Testament as in relation to his death, so in such a proper sense as it hath the Laws of a Testament at­tending it, on which account he mention­eth [a necessity] of the testators death, and its being in force thereupon. Indeed a man may put some conditions into his last Will; I do not argue thus, it is a Te­stament and therefore absolute, but there­fore unalterable, and so being delivered in an absolute form [I will, and ye shall] hence it must abide in it even in its accom­plishment: and whereas some argue for conditions from the nature of a Covenant, against that it is asserted to be a last Will or Testament, which may bequeath Legacies without any condition.

There is a vast difference between the way of Jesus Christ his acting in the Work of his mediation before and since his Incar­nation, and the latter is much more glori­ous than the former. Before, he might plead, Father, thou hast promised me upon my obedience hereafter to be performed, that those Souls which I have undertaken for, should enjoy such blessings; there was a mutual trust between them, and so he might plead it in point of faithfulness: but now he hath actually performed the [Page 206] condition of the Covenant, and may plead it in point of Justice. Christ being actu­ally exhibited as a propitiation, upon that, God is said, Rom. 3. 25, 26. to declare at this time his righteousness, &c. in opposi­tion to the time of the Old Testament, he saith, [at this time] that is, at the time of the New Testament, wherein the Blood of Je­sus Christ is truly shed, now God declareth his righteousness in the justifying him that believeth in Jesus: it is an act of Grace to those who attain the remission of Sin, but an act of righteousness to Jesus Christ: he may plead, Father, I have made satis­faction to the full, for the sin of these Souls, now declare thy righteousness in par­doning of them: it is that which I have purchased for them, I have finished the Work which thou gavest me to do (Joh. 17. 4.) I have paid the full price of their Redemp­tion, now let them have what I have pro­cured for them: thus he appeareth in Hea­ven in our nature, not as a meer Intercessor but as an Advocate, 1 Joh. 2. 1. to plead that in Law, in right we are to be dis­charged; and this putteth a great excel­lency upon the New Covenant, that it is in it self, and to Jesus Christ thus absolute.

And note, if some priviledges of the Co­venant were dispenced out properly in a [Page 207] conditional way, (as suppose Justification were afforded upon Faith as a condition, or temporal mercies upon obedience) yet this would be far from proving any thing to be the condition of the Promise, or of the Covenant it self. Indeed even Faith is a particular blessing of it, and therefore cannot be the condition of the whole Cove­nant, for what shall be the condition of Faith? And there is no such special Cove­nant now extant, as the Old was, for tem­poral mercies; they are indefinitely pro­mised, and Soveraign Grace is the deter­mining rule of dispencing out these to the Saints when they are wanted, for time and measure as it is most for the glory of God and their good, Matth. 6. 32, 33. No­thing performed by us then is conditio foe­deris, the condition of the Covenant it self, Jesus Christ hath performed all required that way.

But whether any thing be conditio foedera­torum cometh now to be considered.

Object. Is the New Covenant absolute to us or conditional? Are there not conditional promises therein to us, as there were in the Old unto Israel? Can we expect any mercy but upon our performing some condition that it is promised to?

Answ. 1. If condition be taken improper­ly, [Page 208] for that which is only a connex action, or, medium fruitionis, a necessary duty, way or means in order to the injoyment of promised mercies; in this sense I acknowledge there are some promises belonging to the New Covenant which are conditional, and thus are many Scriptures to be taken which are urged this way. That this might not be a meer strife of words, I could wish men would state the Question thus, Whether some Evangelical duties be required of, and graces wrought by Jesus Christ in, all the persons that are actually interested in the New Covenant? I should Answer yea; For, in the very Covenant it self, it is promised that he will write his Laws in their hearts, Heb. 8. 10. and that implyeth Faith, Re­pentance, and every gracious frame; and those that have the Lord for their God are his people. If the accusation be, that there is a want of interest in Jesus Christ, they need not plead that they have fulfilled the condition of the Covenant, but that the Covenant it self in some promise of it (which uses to be distinct from its condi­tion) hath its accomplishment upon them therein.

And those that are altogether without those precious Graces, are strangers to the Covenant, Ephes. 2. 12. they cannot [Page 209] lay claim to the blessings of it. It is our duty earnestly to be seeking after what is promised, and one blessing may be sought as a means to another; as, the Spirit as a means to Faith, and Faith as a means to obedience, Gal. 5. 6. Believing is a great Duty in connexion with and a means of Salvation, he that believeth shall be saved, Mark. 16. 16. Joh. 3. 36. Ephes. 2. 8. 1 Pet. 1. 5, 9. There is an order in giving sorth these blessings to us, and that by Di­vine appointment, so as the neglecting to seek them therein, is highly displeasing un­to God. This is our priviledge that Di­vine promises are so conjoyned and twist­ed together, for the incouragement of Souls in seeking after them; that if one be taken, many more go along with it; like many links in a Chain that are closed into each other. The means and the end must not be severed.

Where there is such a connexion of Du­ties, Graces, and Blessings, the matters may be sometimes expressed in a conditi­nal form, with an [If] as Rom. 10. 9. [If] thou shalt confess with thy mouth be Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart—thou shalt be saved. Such [...]fs, note the verity of such propositions in their connexion; they affirm this or that [Page 210] to be a certain truth, as that he which be­lieveth shall undoubtedly be saved, yet that Grace is not properly the condition of Sal­vation; For, even believing is absolutely promised, so as nothing shall intervene to hinder it, Isa. 53. 10, 11. Heb. 8. 10. In that improper sense, some Scriptures seem to speak of conditions, viz. they intimate a connexion between Covenant blessings; some are conjoyned as means and end, yet the promises are really absolute for their performance.

There is a vast difference between the way of the Lord in the dispensation of Covenant blessings, and the tenour of the Covenant.

Or, between the New Covenant it self, and the means which the Lord useth for its execution and accomplishment.

The Covenant it self is an absolute grant, not only to Jesus Christ, but in him to the house of Israel and Judah, Heb. 8. Yet what the Lord hath absolutely promised, and is determined and resolved upon to vouchsafe to them, may be conditionally pro­pounded as a quickening means unto Souls seeking a participation of it.

As, it was absolutely determined, yea and declared by the Lord, that those very persons which were in the Ship should be preserved, Act. 27. 22. There shall not be a [Page 211] loss of any mans Life, and ver. 25. I be­lieve God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

Yet as a means to their preservation he speaketh to them conditionally, ver. 31. Ex­cept these abide in the Ship ye cannot be saved: So although the Salvation of all the Elect, and also the causing them to be­lieve is absolutely intended; yet as a means that he may urge the duty upon Souls with greater vehemency and earnestness, the Lord may speak in a conditional way [if ye believe ye shall be saved] when it is certain they shall believe.

Answ. 2. There is no such condition of the New Covenant to us, as there was in the Old to Israel: for the Apostle is comparing them together, and in opposition to the Old he giveth the New altogether in abso­lute promises and that to Israel, Heb. 8. and shewing that the New is not according to the Old, he discovereth wherein the difference lay, ver. 9. Because they continued not in my Covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord, and Jer. 31. 32. which Covenant they brake, &c.

This argueth that the condition of the Old was such as the performance of it did give them assurance of the temporal mer­cies promised and a right to them, and [Page 212] such as failed in, left them at uncertainties whether they should injoy them or not, so as it was not only in it self and its own nature uncertain, but even as to the event, I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

If their performing the condition had been as absolutely promised, as the bles­sings of the New Covenant are, then Is­rael would have continued in it (which they did not) and could not have forfeit­ed what was promised thereupon, as di­verse times they did and were excluded out of Canaan upon that account. Jurists say [a condition] is, a rate, manner or Law annexed to mens acts, staying or suspending the same and making them uncertain, whe­ther they shall take effect or no. Cowell out of West. part 1. Symb. 2. sect. 156. And thus condition is opposed to absolute.

That there is no such condition in the New Covenant to be performed by us: giving right and title to the blessings of it, and leaving at uncertainties and liability to mis­sing of them, as there was in the Old to be fulfilled by Israel, may appear,

1. If there be any, it must either be an antecedent or a subsequent condition; but neither: L. Coke upon Littleton saith of one precedent, Conditio adimpleri debet prius­quam sequatur effectus. There can be no [Page 213] such antecedent condition by the performance of which we get and gain entrance or admittance into Covenant, for till we be in it, no act put forth by us, can find any acceptation with God, Heb. 11. 6. Without Faith it is impossible to please God. And our being in Covenant is in order of nature (though not of time) before Faith, because it is a pri­viledge or benefit of the Covenant, a part of the New heart, a fruit of the Spirit, and so the Spirit (which is the worker of it and another blessing of the Covenant) is given first in order before it. Jesus Christ is the first saving gift, Rom. 8. 32. and with him he freely giveth all things. Men ought to be in the use of means, but it is the act of God that giveth admission into the Covenant, Ezek. 16. 8. I entred into Covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine. Immediately be­fore they were polluted in their blood, Ver. 6. In an utter incapacity for acting in any pleasing way, so as to get into Cove­nant.

Neither is there any subsequent condition to be fulfilled by us; the use of that is, for the continuation of a right, and upon failing thereof all is forfeited, as in the case of Adam.

Whereas there is no act of ours whereby [Page 214] our right unto Covenant blessings is con­tinued to us, upon failing whereof they may be forfeited. Our right and the ground of our claim is upon a higher ac­count than any act of our own; it is even the purchase of Jesus Christ; and they are the sure mercies of David, Isa. 55. 3. Sure to all the Seed, Rom. 4. 16. And when they are become believers, Eternal Life is absolutely promised, Joh. 3. 16, 36. 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11, 12. and it is a contradiction to say, that it is absolutely, and yet but conditio­nally promised to them.

2. The Lord hath given assurance that there shall never be an utter violation of the New Covenant, and therefore it hath no such condition as was annexed to the Old; For, the Lord declareth that they had broken his Covenant, Jer. 11. ver. 3, 4, 10. Jer. 31. ver. 32. Littleton speaking of an Estate upon condition in deed by Feoffment, saith, it is called Estate upon condition, for that the Estate of the Feoffee is defeasible if the condition be not performed. Ten. lib. 3. Cap. 4.

But the New Covenant is secured from such a violation, it cannot be disanulled so as the persons interested in it should be de­prived of the great blessings promised there­in, Jer. 32. 40. I will make an everlasting [Page 215] Covenant with them; but may there not be such a condition of it as they may come short of all its blessings? No, [I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me]. If there were any danger of forfeiting and losing these; it must be either on Gods part, by his leav­ing of them, or on their part, by their departing from him; and here the Lord hath undertaken to secure against both these, and so the matter is out of Questi­on; it was not thus in the Old Cove­nant.

Indeed what the Lord hath absolutely promised, yet he hath appointed means in order to the attaining of it, internal as Faith, and external as Ordinances; and commands utmost attendance upon him ordinarily in the use thereof; this is neces­sary as a duty, and sin ariseth upon the neg­lect of it. Thus the Lord is unalterably determined to vouchsafe a frame of obedi­ence, Ezek. 36. 25, to 30. Yet obedience is to be performed by us, we are to be the Agents and we may sin about the means in the way to the injoyment of such mercy, as is laid up in absolute promises. Faith is to be exercised in these (else what use are they of?) and we may be faulty in not at­tending to it.

[Page 216] 3. If there be any such condition of the New Covenant, it were most like to be pre­cious Faith: but that is not.

A condition properly taken, is influential into right; if performed it giveth right to the benefit promised; if not performed there is no right, and therefore is a cause; it giveth jus ad rem, which a man may have, and yet be forced after to Sue for possession. If it be only in a Mode or ac­cident, it is thus; as if a great Estate be granted upon paying a white Lilly, if a person bringeth a yellow Lilly and not a white, he hath no right, all is null and void: upon such a tickle point are they, who stand upon such conditions for Eter­nal mercies.

Now Faith giveth no right, Joh. 1. 12. To as many as received him, gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name. Jesus Christ is offered in the free Promise of the Gospel; Faith that consenteth or receiveth him, and a right and title in him, to the blessings of the Covenant, it doth not give one.

The Father offereth righteousness in a way of gift, Rom. 5. 17. Faith accepteth the offer, receiveth Jesus Christ for righte­ousness, and so conduceth to Justification Rom. 4. 3. Abraham believed God and it [Page 217] was counted to him for righteousness, i. e. it was reckoned a means unto righteousness, so ver. 5. Not that Faith it self was reckon­ed the least of that righteousness whereby we are justified, but a means for the apply­ing of. Jesus Christ who is our righteous­ness. The Covenant as to that priviledge of it, Justification, is not so absolute as to be without all means, yet may be absolute without any condition properly so called. As condemnation (without any new act of receiving) is the resultancy from the Law upon disobedience, to all under the Cove­nant of Works; so Justification is the re­sultancy of a Divine Promise, upon the obedience of Jesus Christ, to all those that are under the New Covenant. That unbe­lievers are not justified by it, is because they are not actually under it. Not be­cause they have not fulfilled the condition of it; but because they are not interested in the obediential righteousness of Jesus Christ which is the condition of it, Rom. 10. 10. The act of God in justifying is to be answered by the act of Faith, consenting to the offer of the Gospel. As the death and satisfaction of Jesus Christ is enough to answer, if the accusation be that we are sinners and deserve Eternal wrath; so, if the accusation be, that we have no interest [Page 218] or portion in this satisfaction, any thing that can evidence our interest in Christ, is a sufficient plea to answer that; be it Faith or other Graces; they may be pleaded as evidences, but not as titles: as fruits and effects of a right given, but not as causes, and conditions fulfilled by us giving us that right. It is a great mistake to think, that there is no plea in this case, but from the performance of a condition; For, an evidence may be from the effects as well as from causes: even in civils, a meer witness may carry it in such a charge, when he can testifie, I saw the person put into peaceable possession of such an Estate. Besides, if this charge he drawn up against those out of Christ, ma­ny things may make it good; if against those that are in Christ, then who draw­eth this up? Not God; for he it is that justifieth, and therefore he will not con­demn, Rom. 8. 33, 34. if Satan or their own hearts, then as gracious effects are enough to answer, so by direct acts of Faith, there ought to be a stedfast resist­ing and withstanding of Satan, and he will flee from them, 1 Pet. 5. 9. Jam. 4. 7. No necessity of pleading the performance of a condition to help against this.

[Page 219] 4. Our obedience though evangelical is no such condition of the New Covenant, as there was of the Old unto Israel: For, the Lord hath undertaken that his people shall obey, Ezek. 36. 25, to 30. I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my ways: Heb. 8. 10. obedience is as absolute­ly promised as any other blessings in the New, and therefore it cannot be the con­dition thereof. The Apostle having as­serted and largely proved, Rom. 3. that justification is by faith, not by the works of the Law, he further cleareth it from the instances of Abraham and David Rom. 4. 3. Abraham believed, &c. and vers. 4. Now to him that worketh the reward is not reckoned of grace but of debt. This strong­ly implieth, that the reward must be reckoned of grace but of debt. This strong­ly implieth, that the reward must be reckoned of grace and not of debt; the em­phasis is upon this, so as if it were other­wise, the whole force of his argument were taken away; and the stress is not up­on the word [reckoned] yet if it were, the same word [...] (being applied to both) must signifie a true judgement and just estimation (as Rom. 8. 18. & 9. 8. 1 Cor. 4. 1.) for, really and in true account the reward is of grace, and it is as firmly asserted that if it were of works it were (in the same account) of debt. Say some, [Page 220] only meritorious works would make it so: but let it be considered, that works can be meritorious only one of these two ways; either,

1. By being of such value and worth, as that in justice such a recompence is deserved by them, yea though there were no contract that way: and dare any say, that any works of men, even in innocency, could thus merit at the hands of God? is not all obedience due to God, so as when we have done all we are unprofitable servants? Luk. 17. 10. Job 22. 3. & 35. 7. If thou be righteous what givest thou him? Rom. 11. 35. Who hath first given to him and it shall be recompensed to him again? Credendum est firmiter dari nihil ab homi­nibus per modum indebiti, vel accipi à Deo per modum lucri. Tract. Sacr. Or else,

2. They merit ex pacto, by some contract or Covenant: that though the works be in­considerable in value, to the reward, yet the Lord hath promised such a reward to them: thus only and no otherwise, could the obedience of Adam in a state of innocen­cy be meritorious, for he did owe all as duty to God, even by right of creation; he might have required all, without ingaging himself to give any reward; and finite ser­vices could not merit in worth and value [Page 221] an infinite reward; but the Lord promi­sed it to his perfect unsinning works. No otherwise did any among the Romans or Galatians expect justification or eternal life in a way of works, but only falsly imagi­ning, that the Lord had made a promise of salvation unto these.

Thus a reward may be of merit and of debt, and yet of grace in some sense (though not of special Gospel grace) for all good promised or given by the Lord to his crea­ture is of grace, seeing God oweth nothing to any. Thus the making of a promise to Adam in a state of innocency for the re­warding of his works was of grace; yet the promise being made, if he had conti­nued in that state, the reward would have been of debt: and therefore upon the same ground, if the reward were now promi­sed to us upon evangelical obedience, then that were as truly meritorious (though the condition were more favourable) and life as really of debt, as it would have been to Adam upon his sinless obedience; for, only the promise must have made it so there, and the same is found here. The Text in hand, must refer either to the works of the Law, which cannot properly merit, because due even by the Law of Nature, or. else to those performed by Abraham after [Page 222] believing, and then he concludes that if the reward were of these, it were reckoned of debt: neither of these could render it so, but only by a Divine promise assuring such a reward upon the performing such works as the condition thereof; and therefore seeing he concludeth it not of debt, hence no obedience of our own can be such a condition of the New Covenant. It is difficult to understand how the reward can be a debt legally and in justice due, and yet not God a debtor, when it is only his compact or Covenant that it becometh debt; if that may be our due which ano­ther possesseth though he be not bound to us, yet where it becometh due only by promise (as in the case in hand) and that upon an act of ours as the (supposed) con­dition, it seemeth that the promiser is a debtor, though considered antecedently to his promise he was free; and in Rom. 4. 4. not only is God denied to be a debtor but the reward is denied to be a debt; there­fore, there is no promise of it upon such a condition as our works, which would make it of debt: in opposition to that, it is said to be of grace, that is, of Gospel Grace.

It's true there are Divine Promises of the reward upon Christs works; but they are [Page 223] not made immediately to us either upon our believing or obeying; but mediately and at the second hand, so as the ground of our claim is not our performing any Gospel condition upon which it is promi­sed (for then it were as really of debt as Adams) but all the Promises are immedi­ately made to Jesus Christ upon his righteous­ness and meritorious obedience, on which ac­count all become debt to him; and thus God is not a debtor to us, but to himself, to his own goodness and faithfulness and to his Son, and not our works; but faith is the means unto our being counted righ­teous in his righteousness, which only me­rited our eternal reward, 2 Cor. 1. 20. All the promises [in him] are yea and [in him] Amen, &c. We cannot claim any one promise in our own name, up­on performing any Gospel condition our selves, though by the help of grace (for then though it were never so small it were of debt to us) but our only claim is [in him] in the right of our elder brother Jesus Christ, and thus it is of debt to him, but only of grace to us. Saith Augustin, in Psal. 83. Debitorem Dominus ipse fecit se, non accipiendo sed promittendo; we can plead for nothing promised but upon the ac­count of Divine faithfulness; whereas if [Page 224] any act of ours (though never so small) were the condition of any promise, then be­ing performed, we might plead for what is promised in a way of Justice, whose formal reason Aquinas teacheth, is, ut sit ad alterum: justice consisteth in giving to another what is his due, viz. by contract, promise or otherwise. If Divine Promises pass into a debt, it is to none but himself, saith Dr. Arrowsmith in his Tract. Sacr. Ipsi etiam Deo competit duplex debitum, condecentiae unum, fidelitatis alterum. And a little after out of August. Deus sibi debitor est, ut agat condecenter & prout con­gruit bonitati suae, u [...]i seipsum negare non potest, ita non debet aliquid se indignum facere. And a little after out of Davenant, Cum Deus dat vitam aeternam Petro aut Paulo, Divina voluntas non solvit debitum creaturae, sed sibi ipsi: See more, ibid. pag. 335.

It either saith or obedience were a con­dition, then there were a suspending acts of God upon some acting of the Creature, which (saith Dr. O. of Persev. P. 53.) cannot be without subjecting eternity to time, the first cause to the second, the Creator to the Creature; yea then by our performing of it the Lord were laid under an obligati­on to afford mercy promised, even life and [Page 225] salvation to us, and we might claim these upon our own act.

In short therefore, we may have the re­compence of reward in our eye as an incou­ragement unto duty, 1 Cor. 15 last. Heb. 11. 26. & 12. 2. Yea, we may exercise faith as a means to the fruition of life and salva­tion, and yield evangelical obedience that we may shew forth the praises, or may honour him that hath called us, by such choice fruits and effects thereof, and as evidences of interest therein; Thus we may (in the strength of Christ) strive to enter in at the strait gate, conflict with and over­come spiritual enemies and work out salva­tion. 1 Cor. 9. 24, 25. Rev. 2. 7, 11, 17, 26. Phil. 2. 12. We may pray, read, hear, be­lieve, repent, as ways or means to the obtain­nent thereof, seeking the right thereunto on­ly in Jesus Christ.

But we may not believe or obey as a con­dition, for then, upon the performance thereof, we have right and title to the promised blessings even to eternal salvati­on; some act of ours then should give the [...]i [...]le to life, and we might claim it upon our own act; but such doing for life is dis­claimed and condemned in the Gospel, whatever the act be Rom. 4. 4. Eph. 2. 8, 9. Tim. 1. 9.

[Page 226] Faith it self doth but receive a right, doth not give one. It is not upon any act of ours, that the Lord is ingaged to make good his promise, and that we lay claim to it. If a Malefactor had not pe­titioned to the Prince he had died, though no promise of life was made to him up­on it, and so his petitioning was only a way or means to his being spared: had it been a condition thereof, then the Prince had been unfaithful, yea unjust if he had not granted it.

In the most absolute grants, or where there is no condition making an estate li­able to forfeiture by the non-performance, yet there may be parties and stipulation.

It is the excellency and glory of the New Covenant, that it runneth upon ab­solute promises, it doth not leave at un­certainties, no liability to a forfeiture of its special priviledges, and this with the admirable treeness of it, afford matter of great incouragement and everlasting con­solation to all under it. See more for this, in the last question, concernig the use of those called conditional Promises.

The New Covenant bringeth in a real plenary and perfect remission of sins, and so is better than the Old, which left short o [...] it: Some sins had no sacrifice provided for [Page 227] them in the Old, and were not forgiven so as they might injoy temporal blessings pro­mised. Some must be cut off, as they that did ought presumptuously were to be cut off from among the people, Numb. 15. 28, 30. yet believers in that day might be forgi­ven those very sins and injoy eternal salva­tion through the free promise in Jesus Christ, and Act. 13. 38, 39. By him (i. e. by Jesus Christ) those that believe are justi­fied from all things from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses. The ty­pical remission did not reach to all sins, as Christs doth, except to that against the ho­ly Spirit, Matth. 12. 31. 1 Joh. 1. 7.

The great design of the Epistle to the Hebrews is, to shew the excellency of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice above the Levitical; and how much better the New Covenant is than the Old, in the point of the remission of sin. There was imperfection in the legal sacrifices; the forgiveness there was only so far as temporal judgements were averted and temporal mercies afforded; they could not really take away sin, did not purge the Consci­ence, or make the comers thereunto perfect. Heb. 9. 9. Heb. 10. 1, 2, 3, 4. but in op­position hereunto, it is the glory of Jesus Christ, vers. 12, 14. by one offering he hath perfected for ever those that are san­ctified, [Page 228] i. e. the people of God, those in Covenant.

This he cleareth, from the New Cove­nant, vers. 15, to 19. which saith, their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Saith Calvin, from this we gather that sins are now pardoned in another manner than they were in old time, but this diversity con­siseth neither in the word nor in faith but in the ransom of the remission; thus he.

In the old there was a repetition and ite­ration of their sacrifices; the typical pardon of new sins was stayed and suspended till they had offered new sacrifices, and there was a yearly remembrance of their old sins, vers. 3. but in opposition to that, it is the perfection of the New Covenant, that as there will be no more offering for sin, so there will be a remembrance of the sins of believers no more, that is, they will not any more come one moment under the curse or obligation of the Law to eternal punish­ment for them: the declared discharge from this (which is that wherein [...]he pardon of sin doth properly consist as it is Gods act) is not suspended, till the putting forth new acts of saith or repentance (although these ought to follow) but is afforded to the believer, the very moment of his sin­ning, whether he then taketh notice of it or not.

[Page 229] I confess there is difficulty here on ei­ther hand, for if believers be under the Laws curse and obligation by new sins, then they are unjustified as often as they sin (which may not be admitted;) and if they be not under it, then it seemeth they are not daily pardoned, seeing pardon con­sisteth in a declared discharge from that obli­gation: this will be answered in a follow­ing objection.

It is actual pardon that is here inquired after, for, it will be granted, that at our first justification all sins past, present and to come are virtually pardoned.

That the actual remission, pardon or for­giveness of their sins who are in Covenant and already justified, is the very instant wherein the sins are committed, so as belie­vers remain not one moment under the obli­gation of the Law to eternal punishment, or the immediateness of pardon may appear thus:

1. Believers have always an actual inte­rest in Jesus Christ his righteousness and the satisfaction made by him, and therefore are not one moment so unpardoned after the commission of new sins. Eph. 1. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. It is a glorious mysterie of the Gospel, that sin is remo­ved upon a full satisfaction, and yet in a [Page 230] way of forgiveness. It was in a way of redemption to Jesus Christ, and yet in a way of pardon and free grace to us; it cost Christ dear, even his precious blood, it cost us nothing. The Elect whilst uncon­verted are not interested in that redempti­on, in their own persons, and so are un­pardoned; but [we] believers, not only shall have it hereafter, but have it already, and therein the remission of sins; they cannot one minute be without that, for there is an inseparable connexion between these, they that have the one have the other also, Christ is theirs, in whom they have redemption: there will never be an interruption of believers union with him; and Christ being theirs, his satisfaction is theirs, which answereth and dischargeth the obligation of the Law, and so they are al­ways in a state of freedom from that. Jesus Christ being theirs, they are always interest­ed in his righteousness; and the Law cannot actually oblige or curse any, that are interest­ed it its righteousness, but only those that want it: righteousness and pardon are in such connexion, that the Apostle argueth from one to the other, Rom. 4. 6, 7, 8. He proveth the blessedness of men in imputed righte­ousness from Davids saying, vers. 7. Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven; [Page 231] therefore unless believers could be disro­bed of that righteousness, and for some space lose that blessedness, they cannot be the smallest season unpardoned.

If souls were actually under the Law guilt of any sin one moment, they were then not perfectly righteous: for, these are in­consistent to be compleatly righteous, and yet to be under the Law guilt of any sin at the same time. See 2 Cor. 5. 21. [...]om. 3. 23, 25.

Yea further Jesus Christ suffered not the tantundem; something in lieu or stead of what we should have suffered, but the idem, the very same punishment of the Law that was due to us, and therefore conti­nual interest in that must needs render at all times disoblig [...]d or pardoned, Gen. 2. 17. In the day thou eatest [dying thou shalt die.] Death then was the utmost pe­nalty that was exacted; nothing more was required of us by the Law of works, and nothing less was suffered by Jesus Christ in our stead. Heb. 2. 9. That he by the grace of God should tast [death] for every man.

The very thing that was threatned, was undergone by him for us. As to the eter­nity of the death and such circumstances that we are liable to, these arise from the incapacity of our persons, that cannot bear infinite sufferings in a short time, as Je­sus [Page 232] Christ did for us; or as Mr. B. observeth; that despair and death in sin proceed not from the threatning in it self considered, but from the condition and disposition of the per­sons, upon whom the execution of the curse falls: punishment properly is satisfaction for injury done, but sin is a continuing of the injury. See Christ in Travel, pag. 71.

Gal. 3. 13. Made a curse for us; the ve­ry thing, yea all that the Law threatned was the curse, and Jesus Christ did not un­dergo something in the room of it, but the very curse of the same Law, that we were under, and therefore the idem.

Jesus Christ having undertaken the of­fice of a great high Priest, Isai. 53. 6. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all; I cannot understand how iniquity it self could be transacted upon the Lord Jesus; it is a non ens, a privation of good, if it could pass from one subject to ano­ther, yet it could not fall upon any with­out the pollution of the subject where it resteth; for it is altogether evil; any thing short of this is not sin; deny pollution and you deny sin it self to be upon any sub­ject. Jesus Christ was so infinitely pure as he could not suffer the least tincture of defilement; therefore by [iniquity] must be understood the guilt of sin, or its obli­gation [Page 233] to punishment; not a tantundem, that had not indeed been our iniquity; but it was our very guilt, whatsoever the Lord threatned against us, and might exact from us on the account of our sin, it is expressed by his being wounded for our transgression, vers. 5. by his being made an offering for sin, vers. 10. by his hearing iniquity, vers. 11. whatsoever burthen therefore was to be undergone, or man was liable to bear for his iniquity, this was laid upon Jesus Christ, and that by the Fathers hand [the Lord] laid it there; O what grace was here to us! it was the Lord that was offended, provoked, disho­noured, by sin, and yet how desirous was he that we should be discharged from it, in that he would with his own hand lay it upon his beloved Son Jesus Christ: And it is the iniquity [of us] all; it was not at an uncertainty, the persons were deter­mined, by tale, by number, by name, in whose stead he underwent all this. He was wounded for [our] transgressions, and bruised for [our] sin, and the chastise­ment of [our] peace was upon him, vers. 5. 6. 2 Cor. 5. 21.

Now, seeing Jesus Christ underwent the idem, the very same penalty that was threat­ned by the Law, and for the very persons, [Page 234] and believers are always interested there­in; hence they cannot one minute of time be unpardoned.

2. Believers are at all times actually in­terested in the general acquittance obtained by Jesus Christ, and therefore are not with­out the actual pardon of particular sins one moment after the commission of them; for that acquittance is our general pardon.

As he was charged with our sin, so he was discharged by the father from it. Isai. 50. 8. He is near that justifieth me, &c. It is spoken of Jesus Christ as appeareth, vers. 6. He had justification not for him­self (he needed none) but for us, our sin or guilt being laid upon him, and all demands of Divine justice being fully an­swered, he was justified, obtained a general acquittance for the whole body of his seed, hence it is not only said he was delivered for our offences, Rom. 4. 25. i. e. suffer­ed death, the wages due to us for sin, but also [was raised again for our justification.] If he had not made full satisfaction for us, death would have held him still; in that it could not hold him any longer, this argueth that it had no Dominion over him, but he had a compleat victory over that last enemy, and his resurrection was his general acquittance for all the Elect, [Page 235] and thus it was for their justification.

Believers have a ground to say as Rom. 8. 34. It is Christ that died, yea ra­ther that is risen again. They have then not only a continual interest in his death, but also in his resurrection, and they are put upon triumphing in faith on this account, vers. 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? it is God that justi­fieth, &c. It is the standing priviledge of all that are in a justified state, that nothing can be justly laid to their charge, and therefore none of their sins are one mo­ment actually unpardoned as to Law guilt, for then they might be laid to their charge, Colos. 2. 12, 13. Quickned toge­ther with him; He stood as a common per­son and virtually his seed might be said to die and rise at the death and resurrection of Christ himself in their room and stead; but some actual sharing with him is here in­tended, for he saith [you are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God] this priviledge is not injoyed till they attain a work of faith with power, and then the whole advantage of his re­surrection becometh theirs, in Jesus Christ they have a general acquittance and dis­charge. Believers are risen with him, it is reckoned unto them as if they had died [Page 236] and risen again in their own persons: nei­ther is this suspended until daily acts of Faith (although these are not to be neg­lected) but it is at their first conversion, at their first Faith and recovery, out of a spiritually dead condition [you being dead in your sins, both be quickened together with him]. That general Justification at his rising, becometh theirs at first believing, which will secure from all Law guilt, that it will seize upon them no more, as it fol­loweth [having forgiven you] not only [some] but [all] trespasses: they have then in their rising with Jesus Christ, a general discharge in hand, not only for sins past and present actually, but for [all] even those to come virtually; this general pardon will be ever ready; that as soon as there is an actual commission of particular sins, by that they will be immediately disobliged from them. The actual pardon will be as early as the actuality of the sin, and hence he speaketh, as if all were actually forgiven already.

3. Believers are alwaies under Justifica­tion unto life, and therefore cannot at any time be actually under the obligation of the Law unto Eternal death: It is nothing less than a sentence of death and condemnation, a dreadful Curse that the Law denounceth [Page 237] against sinners, Gen. 2. 17. Gal. 3. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all, &c. So that if Believers were one day or moment laid under the obligation of the Law by new acts of sin, then so long they must be unjustified again, there must be an intermission of their Justification; For, condemnation is opposed to, and utterly in­consistent with present Justification, Rom. 5. 16, 18. Rom. 8. 33, 34.

Whereas it is expresly said, Rom. 8. 1. There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. There is not a bare sus­pension of the Curse, but they are diffe­renced in respect of their state from others which are out of Christ; after union with him, yea after the fullest pardon, yet every sin deserveth condemnation; pardon doth not remove the desert of sin, but the legal obligation (which is to condemnation) that is taken off, vers. 33, 34. Joh. 5. 24. He that believeth hath everlasting Life, [and shall not come into condemnation]. By daily pardons there is a continuation of a per­sons Justification, and some Faith he hath, but although the new acts of Faith may not alwaies be put forth the same moment that he sinneth, yet he is secured from condemnation, even at first believing or passing from Death to Life.

[Page 238] The same might be evinced from the declared freedom from the Law and in Curse, Rom. 6. 14. Gal. 3. 10, 13. At many as are of the works of the Law are under the Curse; this strongly implieth that others, viz. Believers are not under the Curse, so ver. 13.

And though materially the affl [...]ctions of the Elect before conversion be the same with others under the Curse, yet the least Atome of that doth not formally light up­on them; For, Jesus Christ underwent the whole of it on their behalf. They were sententially by the Law under the Curse be­fore believing, but not executively then, much less after, being united to Jesus Christ.

4. Believers are continually under the New Covenant, and therefore the very instant wherein their sins are committed they are remitted; or the persons are disobliged from the Law Curse, and so actually pardoned; For, unto this, there is requisite, only in­terest in the satisfaction of Jesus Christ (which they have in union with him and the Lords declaring their discharge there­upon, and this is by the New Testament, which was established by his blood for the re­mission of sins, Matth. 26. 28. All pardon­ing mercy is treasured up there; this is the very act of Pardon.

[Page 239] Believers are alwaies within the New Covenant, and therefore have an actual right to the pardon of all sins not only past and present, but also to come; they have it beforehand in the Promise, though not actually in possession; they have a ground of claiming after pardons, may urge the faithfulness of God in his promise for the affording of them; also the instant where­in their sin is committed, the New Testa­ment declareth it remitted, for that is a standing pardon, ever speaking on this wise to all under it [your sins and iniquities will I remember no more] Jer. 31. 31, 34. Heb 8. 12. so as they cannot be under the Laws obligation to punishment any more. Believers are under the Promise of a New Heart, and writing the Law there, which assureth that they shall further repent, be­lieve, &c. Yet such spiritual frames may not immediately be afforded, seeing these are gradually attained by a real change: but remission of sin is a relative change, made in an instant by the Promise upon all under it when they want it.

And here let it be observed, that par­don or forgiveness of sin, is a Divine grant by the Law of Grace the New Covenant, that is his act of Oblivion, Heb. 8. 12. Heb. 10. 16, 17. Rom. 11. 27. On which [Page 240] account we read of [the Law] of Works, and [the Law] of Faith, Rom. 3. 27. and this latter in reference to Justification and remission of sin. As, present condem­nation is by a Law, even by the Divine Law of Works, that passeth Sentence upon sinners; the seed of the first Adam who are under it, the very instant of their sin­ing, whether they be aware of it or not: So answerably, present Justification and remission of sin, is by the Law of Grace the New Covenant, that passeth a Sentence up­on all the seed of Jesus Christ the second Adam who are under it, the very instant of their sinning, when often at the very time they do not discern it. And as among men, o [...] may have his offences pardoned by an Act of Oblivion which he is under, though no accusation be drawn up against him to put his case upon tryal before a Judge, that may come afterward: thus it is not by a judicial Act, by an Act of God as a Judge, but as a Law-giver that he giveth present Justification and Pardons, they are the Sen­tence of his Law the New Testament, which Believers are alwaies under; accusations from Satan or their own Consciences may come afterward, and a tryal before the Judge in the great day.

[Page 241] The not understanding this, hath run into many mistakes; some asserting Justi­fication to be from Eternity; whereas they might easily understand that the Elect may, yea must be under a Sentence of the Law of Works (without the least execution of the Curse upon them by the Lord as a Judge) till by coming under the Sentence of another Law, even the New Testament they be dis­charged from it.

Others talk of pleading to a charge, and upon a plea being discharged as their Justifi­cation; whereas that is only the Sentence of one Law, declaring a discharge from the Sentence or Curse of another Law, upon their interest in the righteousness of Jesus Christ by union with him. The Lord is not dealing as a Judge there; often the Lord is mentioning Judgement as a future thing; Paul reasoned [of Judgement to come] Act. 24. 25. Matth. 11. 22, 24. and 12. 36. 2 Pet. 2. 9. Joh. 12. 47, 48. The Word will judge you at the last day.

The present work of Jesus Christ, is not to judge the World, but to save it. Now he cometh in a dispensation full of Grace, with intreaties and beseechings that he may win over Souls to a subjection unto the Law of Faith, which is a mi­nistration [Page 242] of righteousness and Life exceed­ingly glorious, 2 Cor. 3.

But he will deal in another way, when he cometh forth as a Judge, then he will come cloathed with terrour, and we must all appear before his judgement Seat, 2 Cor. 5. 10. When the times of refreshing shall come, then will their sins be blotted out, Act. 3. 19. Not as if they wanted a compleat pardon till the day of Judgement. They are now as fully and perfectly justified and pardoned, as they were condemned. It was by a Law against them that they were under condemnation, and so it is by a Law grant, viz. the New Covenant, that they are justified and have the remission of sin. Some call it a sentential Justification; there will be a repetition of its Sentence, so as they will be judicially acquitted before all the World in the great day. In what Court or by what Judge are any so pardoned here? If the Bar or Tribunal of this Judgement be a mans own Conscience, that can hardly pass Sentence without discerning and know­ing it self within the New Covenant, and pleading that against the accusation of Sa­tan; whereas a Soul may have the righte­ousness of Jesus Christ, and justifying Faith before he knoweth it, or be able to dis­cern it, and therefore Justification and Par­don [Page 243] may be before any judicial act of Con­science.

Object. If Believers be not actually under the obligation to punishment (which is guilt) then asking the removal of it, or praying for daily pardon of sin is unnecessary. Yea, if they be not obliged, they cannot be disob­liged, and so not pardoned; therefore it seem­eth that the Curse of the Law must be in force against them for some space before the new Pardon cometh.

Answ. I. Believers in their daily pardons are declared to be discharged from the very obligation and Curse of the Law it self, but not from a personal obligation to it. There is an obligation to punishment residing in the Law, but it doth not actually pass upon the persons of Believers one moment.

It must be remembred that present par­don is not a judicial act, but it is a Sentence of a Law of Grace, which declareth all under it to be discharged from the penalty of another Law.

Observe, when a violated Law hath al­ready passed Sentence upon an offender, an act of pardon coming afterward in force to him, there it dissolveth or taketh off an ob­ligation to punishment which is already passed upon the person, and this is the case of the Elect at first conversion.

[Page 244] But where an Act or Law of Pardon is in force to any persons and reacheth to offences yet to come, or not yet commit­ted, there the obligation to the penalty never passeth one moment upon the per­sons, and yet they have as much forgiven (even the whole penalty of the Law) as the other, and more Grace in it; For, it preventeth the passing of the Sentence up­on them.

Now, this is the case, Believers are al­waies under the New Covenant, which is a Divine Act of Pardon; this Law is in force to them before their Commission of new acts of sin, and declareth their dis­charge from the penalty of the Law of Works, that the instant wherein the sins are committed, they are remitted there­by.

The commanding Law is not repealed (for then they were no offences) but yet the Curse of it resteth not upon their per­sons one moment, 1 Joh. 2. 2, 3. If any one sin, we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is a pro­pitiation for our sins.

1. Pardons afforded to sinners are from Jesus Christ as an offering Priest, making satisfaction for sin; but if one of those who have fellowship with God, if Believers [Page 245] sin, their succour and relief is also by the standing Advocateship of Jesus Christ. Now, an Advocate, or Atturney pleadeth a Law in force, whereby his Client is discharged; so Jesus Christ pleadeth, Believers being already under the New Testament, where­by they have a right unto indempnity; that though the Cursing Law remaineth in force still to unbelievers, yet this new Act of Grace granteth a pardon to the Saints for all transgressions committed against it.

2. It is yet unquestionably the duty of Believers to be daily praying for pardoning mercy: Those who are taught to cry unto God [Our Father] Luk. 11. 2. yet are to say, ver. 4. Forgive us our sins. Those then which have the Spirit of Adoption, yet are to be praying daily for the pardon of Sin. There is reatus simplex as well as reatus redundans in personam; though Be­lievers are not to confess themselves to be personally (i. e. in their persons,) to be under the obligation or Curse of the Law (there is cause for highest thankful ac­knowledgement of Grace in their freedom from that) yet there is room for the deep­est acknowledgement of their own sin and guiltiness in deserving of it, and here is enough for their humiliation: though the [Page 246] person by Grace is acquitted or pardoned, yet there is a dueness of such a penalty to such an offence according to the Divine Law: and this may be owned even under the clearest evidences of pardon; for that doth not remove the desert of sin, but freeth from what is deserved thereby.

Yea, there is a great deal of work for Faith in Prayer, upon this account.

Believers are to pray for the continuati­on of the Pardon, which they do already injoy, and for the remission of those sins which shall hereafter be committed by them. The New Covenant containeth in it a Promise of future pardons, and there­fore Faith may act upon the Lord in it, and that although they know they shall be forgiven. The Promise-assurance of a mercy doth not exempt us from praying for it. Jesus Christ had assurance that he should be glorified and yet he prayeth, Joh. 17. 5. Father glorifie thou me: he knew that he should be kept and yet he prayeth for it, ver. 11. David had an ab­solute Promise of establishing his House and Kingdom for ever, 2 Sam. 7. 14, 15. 16. and yet he the rather prayeth for it; and upon that ground, even the Promise of it.

[Page 247] So we may ask future Pardons, though we certainly know we shall have them.

Also we are to ask clearer manifestati­ons of our interest in pardoning mercy.

But further, Believers in praying for par­don of Sin, are

1. To ask a fresh application of the blood of Jesus Christ in the promise of pardon: he is said to be to that very end a propitiati­on through Faith in his blood, Rom. 3. 25. not only is a manifestation of pardon to be sought after, but Faith is to be exercised in an application of the blood of Jesus Christ, as that which hath purchased and procured the pardon; that is to be eyed as the price of Redemption, as that which ratifieth the New Testament for the remission of sins, Mat. 26. 28. it is that blood which cleanseth those that have fellowship with God from all Sin, 1 Joh. 1. 3, 7, 9. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

It must be by a Word or Promise that the faithfulness of God is ingaged this way, and it is the work of Faith to own that, and the Grace of God that shineth forth therein, Act. 10. 43. whosoever be­lieveth on him shall receive the remission of sins. The Lords giving it is in order of nature first, but to be followed with mens receiving it through Faith. Gods act of [Page 248] pardon disobliging Believers, the instant of their sinning, is to be answered with a renewed act of Faith applying this to them­selves, setting their Seal to what God hath done, yea renewed acts of Repentance also are to follow. Under the Old Covenant it was not possible, that the blood of Bulls and Goats should take away sins, Heb. 10. 4. but the New Testament is better, for therein through the blessed Mediatour believers obtain real remission, Heb. 9. 15.

2. To ask impunity, or immunity and freedom from the execution of the Curse, and from other tokens of Divine displeasure: if they know they shall have it, yet they are to ask it, as I before evidenced. Though Believers know that God is a Father, and that the Eternal Curse will never seize upon them, yet they are to pray for a freedom from it, and the rather be incouraged and provoked to it, because the Lord hath promised it.

Although by the New Covenant Justifi­cation is continued, yet by gross acts of sin the Lord may be provoked so as many sweet effects of their being justified may be suspended. David who was in a state of Grace, when he had notoriously sinned, before renewed acts of Faith and Repen­tance, before confessing his sin, his bones [Page 249] waxed old through his roaring all the day long, Psal. 32. 3, 4. Day and Night the band of God was heavy upon him. By this it is evident, that although, at the instant of sinning, Believers are declared really disobliged from the Eternal Curse of the Law, yet they may not be sensibly freed from that, nor from temporal evils till af­terward. They are exempted from vin­dictive Justice, in order to the making satisfaction for sin, but not from paternal corrective dispensations to the humbling for and deterring from sin, Psal. 51. 2, 7. Wash me throughly from my sin, &c. Purge me with Hyssop, &c. He was deeply sen­sible of his pollution, defilement and un­cleanness by reason of iniquity, maketh confession, and seeketh the removal of it, Ver. 4. That he might justifie God, whom he had greatly dishonoured, and give glory to him by acknowledging his righteous­ness in all his judgements; he cryeth out, Ver. 9. Hide thy face from my sins, they were not only ever before him, but seemed to be so before the Lord also; as if he were alwaies looking on them: though he had not lost his Salvation, yet he want­ed much of the joy of it, ver. 11, 12. Na­than told him God had pardoned him his sin, (2 Sam. 12. 13, 14.) only some tokens [Page 250] of Divine displeasure must be expected; and I think he Penned this Penitentlal Psalm after, for the title sheweth that this confession was directed to the chief Mu­sician; it was for the use of the Temple; he had confessed privately before to Nathan, now he doth it more publickly, after he had told him of pardon and also of judge­ments, ver. 4.

So that after Souls are really disobliged and have pardon it self, yet they may want the sense of it, till there be a fresh applica­tion of the blood of Jesus Christ, by the Spirit to them, so as they may cry out for it, as he, ver. 9. Blot out all my iniquities. There may be inward cloudings and dark­ness, sin and guilt may lie heavy upon the Conscience, there may be throbbing there, and a dreadful sense of it, which may be enough to deterr from sin. He will visit transgressions with a Rod, though his loving kindness he will not utterly take from them, Psal. 89. 32, 33. And who is willing to see the frowning face of God a tender Father, and to have such smart rebukes not only by outward corporal afflictions, but by the withdrawing the light of his countenance, which is better than Life?

The Old Covenant did not purge the Con­science, but the New is a better Testament; [Page 251] for having mentioned the remission of sins afforded thereby, Heb. 10. 16, 17. he addeth, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of Faith [having our hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience] so Heb. 9. 15. In the way of a fresh exercise of Faith they may have freedom not only from other fatherly corrections, but from those accusations of an evil Conscience which are the usual fruits of hainous sins, till re­newed acts of Faith and Repentance.

5. The New Covenant raiseth a choice Spirit of filial Love, and so is better than the Old, which leaveth under a Spirit of servile fear: the New being made up all of Promises, must needs have a tendency to raise into the sweetest Spirit, Rom. 8. 15. For, ye have not received the Spirit of bon­dage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption whereby we cry Abba Father. There is an excellency in the Evangelical Spirit then above the other. I understand that Text of different states of the Church, or People of God; seeing in the former and following Chapters, he evidently speaketh of Believers freedom from the Law by the Lord Jesus, and the particle [again] doth intimate, that once they were under that fearing Spirit, viz. under the Old Mosaick dispensation, [Page 252] but now in the times of the New Testa­ment, were freed from it. Some by the Spirit of bondage understand operations of the Spirit, in fear and terrour in order to conversion. I cannot find, that he is treating of that, and it is more suitable to understand it of the state under the Old Testament, and the rather because it is brought in as a proof of their Sonship, as the particle [for] doth intimate; it was therefore no desirable frame to be sought af­ter, but a misery to be under it, and a mercy to be freed from it. The Old Covenant car­ried with it more of the [Spirit of a Servant] as the word signifieth, and although serving the Lord chiefly or only for reward savour­eth of a legal Spirit, and is one difference between the Spirit of a Servant, and the Spi­rit of a Son, yet here another difference is aim­ed at, for it is said, ye have not received it [again to fear]. The Sinai Covenant put them on to duty by dreadful threatnings, presented Curses before them (and that not actually undergone for them by Jesus Christ) as Arguments or inforcements thereunto, which terrifieth and filleth with such fear as is found in Servants by the severe threatning of their Masters; Israel was filled with fear and astonishment at the first promulgation of the Law. And whe­whether [Page 253] this was the proper effect of the Sinai Law, to work into servile fear and bondage, so as to make that duty then, which now is not so, and whether it were the approved effect of it in that day or not, yet it intimateth, that through the frailty of sinful man, this would certainly be the issue of it, and was even unavoid­able; hearing the Law from the mouth of an all-powerful God as a consuming fire; and there was not enough in those conditional promises to free from this ser­vile fear, and so it left them under it; and comparatively with the New Covenant, which hath more Evangelical inforcements unto duty by Grace, and the free Promise. The Sinai Law hath a tendency to work into the fear of a Servant, towards his Master, and so (as the Apostle saith) gen­dreth to bondage, rather than to the fear or love of a Son, which is the issue of Gospel Revelations.

Christians now are to act upon more Evangelical accounts, from more Love, yea and more Faith, having received the Spi­rit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father; it is by this believing Spirit that Souls have liberty of access to God with that freedom that Children use to have in going to a tender Father. The fearing [Page 254] Spirit kept them at a distance from the Lord like a Servant, that durst not come near an austere Master, but by this they may with a holy boldness and firm as­surance repair to him, and cry Abba Fa­ther.

This will appear more clearly, if we compare it with that parallel place, Gal. 4. 1, 2, &c. The Heir so long as he is a Child differeth nothing from a Servant, &c. Even so we when we were Children were in bon­dage, under the Elements of the World, &c.

Here, the state under the Old Sinai Co­venant plainly is expressed by bondage, not absolutely that of bondslaves, they were not in pure slavery, nor so in the condition of Servants; but as under Tutors and Go­vernours, and in a state of subjection, that they differed little in outward appearance to themselves or others from Servants, they seemed to have more of that Spirit (being acted by fear) than of the Spirit of Sons: but since the dispensation of the New Covenant, they are freed from the servile state, redeemed by Jesus Christ, from the rigour of the Law, and have much of the Spirit of Adoption, ver. 5, 6. there is such an alteration for the better, as if their Sonship now began, ver. 7. that is [Page 255] comparatively with the other; therefore Christians now are to act in a different way from what they did of Old; more in a free Spirit of Adoption: thus bondage and freedom are opposed, ver. 24, 25, 26, 31. not as taken for simple slavery, but for a state of less freedom, though in the same Family and House, as Hagar and Sarah were, the one expresly intending the state under the mount Sinai Covenant, the other under the Free Promise, so Gal. 3. 24. The Law was our Schoolmaster until Christ, so it is in the Original, we have not there those words [to bring us]. This Text doth not speak of a work of the Law still continuing in order to conversion, be­fore closing with Jesus Christ, for the bring­ing Souls unto him; but telleth us of the rigorous discipline of the Law of Old to Israel the people of God, like a Schoolmaster with a Rod compelling to duty, until Christ, i. e. until his Incarnation, until his satisfa­ction, it speaketh of such a use thereof which is now at an end in Gospel times, as appeareth by the Antithesis, ver. 25. but after faith is come we are no longer under a Schoolmaster, &c. that is, after Christ the object of Faith is come in the flesh, and hath satisfied the Law, hath purchased Re­demption for us, now we are no longer un­der [Page 256] the menaces and severities of the Law as a Schoolmaster; as Christ is said to be our hope, so he is our faith, that is, the object of it, the thing believed. That which is held forth here by the coming of faith, is expressed by the coming of the seed, vers. 19. which is Jesus Christ, and our present freedom from the Law as a severe Schoolmaster speaketh the betterness of our state, and so of the New Covenant.

6. The New Covenant is established upon spiritual Promises, and so is better than the old Sinai Covenant which did run upon tem­poral promises to Israel; now I speak of it as an administration to them: all the pro­mises of the New are of a spiritual nature, that promiseth to give the Law into the heart, that God will be their God, their sins shall be pardoned, Heb. 8. these spirituals are firstly promised, and temporal things are comprised in these; godliness hath the pro­mise of this life, but spirituals are mentio­ned here, that we might be taken up mostly with spiritual injoyments, grace, peace, communion with God, &c. I have wondred why the New should be made up of such promises, as if only real Christi­ans could be interested therein, but I con­sider he speaketh of it not to exclude all from visible interest, which elsewhere is [Page 257] witnessed to (Act. 8. 12.) even when the [...]al was wanted; but in opposition to the old to discover how these promises are bet­ter than those of the Old Covenant, which run upon temporal things to Israel, is long Life, the Land of Canaan, &c. Deut. 5. & 11. Levit. 26. these were most obvious there, and better things repre­sented by these; whereas the New putteth on to duty rather by spiritual promises and blessings than by temporal, and so is a bet­ter Covenant.

7. The New Covenant it self ushereth in spiritual blessings and in a more immediate way than under the Sinai Covenant, and so is established on better promises: the more immediate mercies of God the better; the more new pure, and fresh from the foun­tain of Divine Love. Immediate visions of God in Heaven, will render them sur­passingly excellent; and in this world, those that are not without all means, but com­paratively immediate, are the best mercies, as the more immediate judgements are the worst of these.

The Old Covenant did not it self di­spense out spiritual and eternal blessings, but provoked to have recourse unto the Abrahamatical Covenant for these, they must setch a greater compass in travelling [Page 258] to those injoyments than under the New; they must look from the Old for remission of sin (which was typified there) and so for such other mercies, unto the free pro­mise. In the New Covenant mercies are absolutely promised, Heb. 8. and therefore the application of them is more immedi­ate than under the Old; they may forth. with by an eye of faith look to Jesus Christ for a fruition-of them; there is not such a vail of typical institutions to in­tervene, that is a better way to the ob­tainment of those blessings, Joh. 1. 17.

Yea the dispensation is also better, the Apostle saith, Heb. 1. 1, 2. That God in the last days hath spoken to us by his Son▪ This is the excellency of Gospel discove­ries above visions, dreams, and such like afforded in old restament times, that now Jusus Christ himself speaketh to us with his own mouth, we have more immedi­ate manifestations, and on that account there is infinite danger in non-attendance to what is spoken. Heb. 12. 25. As the Gospel is more extensive, it reacheth not to Jews only, but to Gentiles also, as equal sharers in the blessings by faith, the parti­tion-wall being broken down. Eph. 1. 12, 14. Rom. 3. 22.

So there is a more open door of access to [Page 259] God, Heb. 9. 8. under the old, the way was not yet opened into the holiest; which implieth, that since, the way is open, there is a greater freedom (Eph. 2. 18. Heb. 10. 19, 22.) and better incouragements, the price is already paid, and now Christians ask mercy as already pruchased. Of old the people must not come near unto the Holiest, but only the Priests, now belie­vers are become Priests unto God (Rev. 1.) and may have more immediate converses with him than before; all which argueth this to be a better Covenant.

8. The New Covenant is full of efficacy, and so is better than the Old: in the New all is undertaken by an omnipotent God, Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12. and therefore what­ever difficulty or opposition lieth in the way, yet this word of power is enough sowards the accomplishment of it: where­as in the Old Covenant much is required of Israel, but no such absolute promises as­suring effectually of their accomplishment, there is such a difference between the Old and the New as between the letter and the spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 6. The Ministers of the New Testament are not of the letter but of the spirit [for the letter killeth, the spi­rit giveth life.] The Lord not only utter­ed the Law by lively voice, but did write [Page 260] it with his own fingers in those lasting monuments, tables of stone; and the Jews grosly mistaking did too much take up in the letter, in external literal obedience, the chief efficacy and impression they felt there­by was in the threatning part [the letter killeth] the Divine curse was a killing thing, struck into the fear of death: but the New hath more efficacious vivifying operations, vers. 6. 8. the spirit giveth life, and so that is a ministration transcendantly glorious, that is a powerful means for re­covering the heart out of the greatest spi­ritual deadness, indisposition, disconsolation, it is full of quickning, life-giving influen­ces; abundance of the spirit in the gifts and graces of it may be found there, and so it is a better Covenant.

Lastly, The New Covenant is more dura­ble and lasting, not liable to such violati­ons as the Old, and so is a better Covenant: the Lord in promising to make a New Co­venant addeth, Jer. 31. 32. Not according to the Covenant made with their Fathers, &c. which Covenant they brake, &c. So Jer 11. 4, 6, 10. Heb. 8. 9. yea the Old Cove­nant it self is said to be vanishing, vers. 13. which importeth, that this is a grand dif­ference between them; that the Ne [...] should not be subject to be broken as the [Page 261] Old was. If those that are only externally and by visible profession within the New may totally, and others who are internally and really in it, may parsially break it, yet not totally so as to cast themselves altoge­ther out of it, nor comparatively with those within the Old. The vital principles and impressions of divine love in Gospel times shall be so strong, and the Divine Law im­printed and ingraven in such lively cha­racters upon the hearts of men as shall wonderfully secure those that are really in the New, from the violation of it, far bove the other, and unsteadiness of spi­rit or want of establishment is an argu­ment that souls have but a slender par­ticipation of its blessings; and the New shall never be antiquated, there is none to succeed that, both the Mediator and the priviledges of it are eternal, the blood of Christ is the blood of the everlasting Cove­nant, Heb. 13. 20, 21. and therefore it is better Covenant than the Old.


Of the time of first coming into Covenant.

IT may be asked, When is it that any are actually and personally interested in the Spiritual benefits, or blessings of the New and better Covenant?

It is not a virtual but an actual interest that is here inquired after; and, not when they were representatively in Covenant in their common person, but when personally by an application of its blessings to their own persons?

And indeed the New Covenant is for ap­plication, and is the summ of all that is to be applyed, though it be not the whole Covenant of Grace, which taketh in all Articles between God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son, in order to our resto­ration.

And it is to be noted, That some are visibly, others are really under the Cove­nant.

Some who are branches in Jesus Christ, yet may be broken off, Joh. 15. 2, 6. Rom. 11. [Page 263] and therefore were but visibly in him. Some are sanctified with the blood of the Covenant, and yet afterward may count it an unholy thing, Heb. 10. 23. and so are but visibly under it, by an outward sepa­ration to, or profession of the name and Faith of Jesus Christ, to as to partake of com­mon priviledges belonging to its external dispensation: persons thus in Covenant and under the sign of it, may be in a perishing condition still, Act. 8. 13, 23. Outward pro­fession of Faith is not that which entituleth to the external administrations of it, but only is a character or mark of persons fit for them, as shewing a visible interest in the Promise by a possession [of the things pro­mised]; and their Seed have as sure a mark of their being visibly under [the Promise], by the Lords declaring them interested therein with their Parents, Gen. 17. 7, 9. Act. 2. 38. and this not by the Old Covenant (as some would have it) which is disanulled, but by that with Abraham, which is yet in force, Gal. 3. 17.

And besides, the same that are the sub­jects of the New Covenant, were the sub­jects of the Old, even the house of Israel and Judah, Jer. 31. 31, 32. Heb. 8.

As the Faith of Abraham was to be ex­ercised in the Promise (which was made [Page 264] to him) for his Seed; so many other Pa­rents Faith be acting for theirs. It's true all of them may not be saved, the same is to be said of adult Professours, and there­fore the Promise unto either (as to rea interest) is to be understood indefinitely not universally; even as promises attending Family instruction, yea and the publick Preaching of the Word: Christ is with his Ministers to the end of the World, though all that hear be not converted; they are the means usually blessed to such ends.

But there is a real interest in the New Covenant, such as is certainly attended with Salvation, when the special blessings of it be theirs, Heb. 8. 10. 1 Pet. 3. 9. 1 Pet. 1. 23. this is it that I would chiefly inquire after here, when it is afforded?

Real actual and personal interest in the New and better Covenant, is afforded unto Souls when they attain unto union with Jesus Christ, and the gift of Faith, not one moment of time before.

Abstractedly from Christ or till in him, not one Promise is thine; For, all the Pro­mises of God [in him] are yea, and [in him] Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20. Ephes. 3. 6. all made, treasured up, and fulfilled or accomplished in him; if Christless, then Promiseless [...], Ephes. 2. 12. Rom. 8. 32. [Page 265] Jesus Christ is the first saving gift of God; Christ and the Promises go together.

There are special marks of distinction whereby persons in Covenant are differenced from the World, which agree to none that are out of Christ, Heb. 9. 15. they are called ones that receive the Promise. Abra­ham that famous Covenanter was not actually so, till the time of his effectual calling; from thence the four hundred and thirty years do commence, which give the first date to the Covenant or Promise, as made with him, Gen. 12. Gal. 3. 17. not from the day of his Nativity, much less from Eternity, although then he was an Elect Vessel: by becoming Christs, men become Abrahams Seed and Heirs of Promise, ver. 9. 14, 26, 29.

So the New Covenant runneth to the House of Israel and Judah, Heb. 8 13. and none are the spiritual Israel for Life and Salvation till in him, Rom. 2. 28, 29. Till then they are so far from a Covenant state, which is of Life, Peace, Mercy, Salvation, Mal. 25. Isa. 54. 10. and 55. 3. Luk. 1. 71, 72. Rom. 11. 26, 27. That they are declared to be in an opposite state, they are at enmity, dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath as well as others, Ephes. 2. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 15, 16. Col. 1 21.

[Page 266] This may appear further, by an enume­ration of the principal blessings of the New Covenant: it is promised there, that he will write his Law in their hearts, and be to them a God, Heb. 8. 10. but till in Christ, they are without God in the World, Ephes. 2. 12.

The greatest difficulty is, as to the great priviledge of Pardon or Remission of sin, under which the whole of Justification is signified, Heb. 8. 10, 12. Rom. 11. 27.

Some think that we are justified from Eternity, others at the death of Christ: but actual personal Justification of a sinner before God, is at his union with Jesus Christ and the gift of Faith, not before. For,

1. None are actually interested in the righ­teousness of Jesus Christ, before union with him and the gift of Faith: it is he that is made unto us righteousness, 1 Cor. 1. 30. 2 Cor. 5. 21. if without Christ, then without his righteousness, Rom. 5. 18. By the righteousness of one upon all unto Justifi­cation of Life; none therefore ever attain Justification without a righteousness; For, it consisteth in a Divine declaration of a persons being righteous; and if he were not so, it were a false Sentence, which is in­compatible to the true God.

[Page 267] Neither will a righteousness of his own working out (though by the help of Grace) serve for this end of Justification, but of that one Jesus Christ: hence ver. 19. By the obedience of one, many are made righteous? As, his suffering and death did make satisfaction for sin, so his obedience is a righteousness meriting blessings, even Eternal Life, ver. 21. and it is called the righteousness of Faith, Phil. 3. 9. that being a means for our application of that righteousness which is given, Rom. 3. 22, 25, 26. Not that Faith is the meritorious, procuring cause of our Justification; it hath not the same causality therein, that Jesus Christ hath. No more is required to the release of our obligation it self, than what the Law (by which we are obliged) doth exact, which is satisfaction as to Du­ty and Penalty; the solution thereof was by Jesus Christ alone: but more is required partly to make way for this, viz. a compact or new Covenant concerning it, without which all sufferings by another, had been of no advantage to us; partly as a means of application, viz. Faith, Rom. 10. 10. with the heart man believeth unto (i. e. as a means unto) righteousness; and hence Justification is often said to be by Faith, Rom. 3. 28. Rom. 5. 1. And the Question [Page 268] then, was not how are men manifested and declared in their own Consciences to be justified, but how are they justified be­fore God and in his fight? and that is, not before, but by Faith, Gal. 3. 11.

The scope of the Apostle, Rom. 4. is, to prove that we are justified by Faith and the righteousness thereof, and not by works of the Law without cause of glorying, ver. 2. from the instances of Abraham and David, ver. 3. for what saith the Scripture, Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and ver. 6. Da­vid deseribeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without Works. And here note, [Pardon of sin] is not the whole of Justification, there is also necessary unto that end, a righteous­ness; if it were of our own working out, then we were justified and saved by our own works (which the Scripture general­ly denyeth) this were to confound Justifi­cation and Sanctification; as if Jesus Christ only satisfied for the sins and defects of a righteousness which we perform, so as that is accepted unto Life; whereas it is by a righteousness of Faith, which is not of our own working out, but wrought out for us by Jesus Christ. The false Pro­phets themselves from among the Jews, [Page 269] that urged these works of the Law upon the Romans and Galatians, insisted much upon the ceremonials, which plainly impli­eth an acknowledgement of sin, and argueth that they did not expect Justification with­out pardon, but carnally looked for pardon in the way of their own works; and the Apostle in opposition to them excludeth out of Justification, not only works wrought by their own natural power, but even those which were by sanctifying Grace; for the works of Abraham and David (who were believers) are here ex­cluded.

Some think the righteousness of Jesus Christ, or his active obedience in our stead needless; unless as a part of his satisfaction for sin, because (say they) the Law re­quireth not of us both suffering and obe­dience.

I Answer, The Law as a Covenant of Works, required suffering in satisfaction for sin, and as it belongeth to the Covenant of Grace, so it requireth perfect obedience (to be fulfilled by Jesus Christ) as the con­dition of the Justification and Life of sinners, and new obedience, (which re­ferreth to sanctification) is to be perform­ed by Christians as the fruit and effect of their spiritual Life. Rather it was need­less [Page 270] that Jesus Christ should fulfill righte­ousness or yield active obedience to the Law as part of a satisfaction for sin, when by his passive obedience he underwent death, which was the very same and all that the Law threatned against the sinner.

If man had never violated or broken the Covenant of Works, or had never sin­ned, then the Law would have required only righteousness of him for Life; the tenour of it being Do and Live.

When man had sinned, then the Law (at a Covenant of Works) required only suffering, and threatned death, Gen. 2. 17. but ceased in its promise of Life; that im­mediately became null and void. It is true, the Law as a natural rule of righte­ousness required still perfect obedience, that was due to God by right of Creation, and his sinning could not free him from the obligation of it. It promised nothing to a sinner; it would imply a contradicti­on that it should promise Life to him still upon perfect unsinning obedience, when he was already a sinner under the threatning of Death. Yea, if immediately after Adams sinning, satisfaction had been made, and he pardoned, yet he had been but in statu quo prius, in his former state; If the Covenant of Works had been in force again [Page 271] is at the first, he must afterward have yielded perfect obedience, else no promise of Life; and therefore there is no incon­gruity, in saying, that man sinning, the Law required satisfaction for sin, and yet also required righteousness unto Life; much more in our case; for there is another Covenant, viz. of Grace made with Jesus Christ the second Adam, wherein he hath undertaken by suffering to make satisfacti­on for our sin, without which we could never have been freed from the threatned death, there was no other way to it; the Lord might have refused a substitute, and therefore might (without any shew of injustice) put in what terms he pleased for our restoration unto Life.

If freedom from threatned death were obtained, still the Lord might have annihi­lated us, we had no promise of Eternal Life; that in the Covenant of Works be­ing null and void, upon the transgression of the first Adam.

Behold therefore, the Lord agreeth to stand to the first terms; the second Adam undertaking to do what the first should have done, to fulfill the same righteousness, the Lord doth thereupon promise Life again. Thus the Law is drawn into the Covenant of Grace, and requireth the same perfect [Page 272] righteousness as before, to be fulfilled not by our selves for Life, but by Jesus Christ the second Adam, as the aforementioned Scriptures do witness; which assert not only suffering, but also the righteousness of that one Jesus Christ to be necessary unto Justification and Life, as Rom. 5. 18, 19, &c. and hence the Sinai Covenant (which he fulfilled) did run in the first form of Do and Live.

The ground of this mistake is a false supposition, viz. that no more is needful unto Life, but satisfaction for our sin and disobedience; as if Life would naturally follow upon that, which is to say, either that we have Life without any righteousness (whereas there is no Promise of it to Adam, or to any since, that run that way) or else that we have it by a righteousness of our own working out, Christ satisfying for our sins and defects therein, and this is to affirm that we have life still by the Cove­nant of Works and in the way thereof, which to affirm is very anti-evangelical and unscriptural; For, there are many Testi­monies, that unto the pardon of sin there is needful a New Covenant, Heb. 8. 12. and that Life is by that, and the righte­ousness required to it, wrought out not by our selves, but by another for us, even Jesus Christ.

[Page 273] And thus the death of Jesus Christ was needful to our freedom from death, al­though we obeyed in him, or he obeyed in our stead, to merit for us Eternal Life, which is promised thereupon, not now by the Old Covenant of Works, but by the New Covenant of Grace.

And thus although Christ fulfilled the Law for us, so as it is imputed to us, and we made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. 5. 21. Yet it doth not follow that we should be freed altogether from the ob­ligation of the Law unto obedience; For, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, his obeying and fulfilling of the Law for us, was as the condition of Life, or that upon which the Lord hath promised Justification unto Life; but we may be (and are) ob­liged to obedience, not for that, but for other ends; not in the least for our Justifi­cation and title to Life; but as a part of our Sanctification; and we sin in not obeying, that we may glorifie God by those fruits of our being Spiritually alive. Christs obedience was for one end, ours is for another; as his sufferings were for one end, our afflictions for another, and nei­ther of them unnecessary.

2. No actual interest in the promises of the New and better Covenant before union [Page 274] with Jesus Christ and Faith: Even the Elect of God so long as unconverted and without Christ are without promises, as I have manifested, Ephes. 2. 12. 2 Cor. 1. 20. Gal. 3. 22. they were not from Eternity the Seed of Abraham, ver. 29. he had no Seed so early.

If the sinner himself had satisfied, then it had been no pardon; for he is not-par­doned that payeth his whole debt himself; but Jesus Christ interposed, he underwent the Curse, and the New Covenant or Free Promise, is Gods grant or act of Pardon, Heb. 8. 11. and 10. ver. 16, 17. This is my Covenant—Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Remission of sin then, is a glorious fruit and benefit of the New Covenant, not only manifested but conferred thereby. God justifieth, Rom. 8. 33. and this is his pardoning act. Not Faith it self or any Grace within us, is that which giveth the pardon: Faith only re­ceiveth the Remission of sins, Act. 10. 43. and the Divine gift of it is by an immu­table thing, even by the Promise of the New Covenant.

And hence, if any Object, That Jesus Christ as a Surety, had the obligation of the Elect transferred upon him, and made full satisfaction to the Law for them, and so dis­abled [Page 275] it for holding them obliged, because they cannot eventually be damned.

It is Answered, As our obligation and condemnation was by the Covenant of Works, so our declared freedom from its obligation, and our Justification, must be by the New Covenant; that is the way laid out for the giving of it forth. And though our sin was transferred upon him, and an Act passed which rendred it certain, that we should be justified (yea and sanctified too) in due season, yet not so, as that we were immediately disobliged, but in the way laid out by Divine appointment for that end.

The Covenant of Works being vio­lated, though satisfaction must be given to that, yet that contained no Promise of Life to a sinner upon anothers undergoing the very penalty threatned therein, and therefore was so far from giving ipso facto deliverance, that it would have availed no­thing towards it, without a New Covenant, because payment by a Surety was a refusable satisfaction; the Lord (without any ap­pearance of injustice) might have said, the Soul that hath sinned it shall die. Therefore the Sentence of the Law lyeth against us, till by the Covenant of Grace we be discharged from it, in the way and [Page 276] time therein appointed, which is at union with the Lord Jesus.

3. None are actually and personally the Seed of Jesus Christ as the second Adam, before union with him and Faith; therefore none are actually and personally justified till then.

They are only his Seed, such as he re­deemed that he doth justifie, Isa. 53. 10, 11. Rom. 3. 24, 25. The two Adams are pa­rallel'd, Rom. 5. 6. to the end. The day that the first Adam sinned, the Law passed a Sentence of Death upon all his Seed, ver. 12. virtually they all sinned and died there, but not actually, till they exist or have a being: and as none are the Seed of the first Adam, actually under his sin and condemnation till they be naturally born of him into the world of sinners; so none are the Seed of Jesus Christ the second Adam, actually under his righteousness to Justifi­cation of Life, till they be spiritually born of him into the World of Saints, ver. 16, 18, 19. Joh. 1. 12. Gal. 3. 16. the one Seed Christ, to whom the Promise is made, is not exclusive of infant Seed as to Ordi­nances; but of an adult Seed, which fought Justification and Eternal Life, by the Works of the Law, thus the one seed is that of Faith, ver. 26. For ye are the Children of God by Faith in Jesus Christ.

[Page 277] Indeed Representatively, we were not on­ly justified, but also sanctified and glori­fied at the Death, Resurrection, and Ascen­sion of Jesus Christ, Ephes. 2. 5, 6. He hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Not that we were the principal actors by him, and he meerly our delegate; For, then we were Self Redeemers, Self-Savi­ours, it were more properly our act than his; Jesus Christ so represented us; as he was the principal actor, and owner of all still, the Redeeming act was his, not ours, Gal. 3. 13. Revel. 5. 9. Gal. 4. 5. Rom 3. 24, 25. the righteousness his, Rom. 5. 18, 19 21. It is his subjectively, he is the S [...]b­ject of it, objectively ours, we the Objects; yea, he so represented us, as all was fede­rally ours in him, it was agreed that after­ward we should have it; all was for us in the Covenant, but we are not actually his Seed one moment of time before Faith, Rom. 5. 1.

To say, therefore, that we are justified, not in our persons, but to our persons in Christ; is to grant what is desired: For, men cannot be actually justified but in their own Persons, and that cannot be till they actually exist and have personality: and [Page 278] seeing, after their Nativity, their persons are unjustified, they cannot at the same time be said to be justified.

Indeed the persons were determined, Jesus Christ had full assurance that he should not die at uncertainties, Isa. 53. 11. But that doth not argue, the immediate­ness of their Justification, that is in the appointed season.

We must therefore carefully distinguish, between Justification it self in the abstract, (consisting in remission of sins and righte­ousness prepared) and our being justified, as Mr. Norton saith, Orthod. Evang. p. 314.

Or distinguish between Justification actually procured, and it actually applyed; the former is before Faith, the latter not so. As to the former, see Rom. 5. 8, 9, 10. Our being reconciled was at the death of his Son, not at the time of our Conversion. Justification in this sense is the Object of Faith, and may be before the act; thus Heb. 1. 3. When he had by himself purged our sins, sate down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, so Heb. 2. 17. Remission of sin then, purging and reconciliation it self, were compleat at the death of Jesus Christ, then prepared for us, but not con­ferred upon us, till union with Jesus Christ and Faith.

[Page 279] 4. All are in a state of condemnation till union with Jesus Christ by Faith, and so have no actual Justification till then; for these are opposite, Rom. 8. 33, 34. It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemn­eth? The same persons then cannot at the same time be both justified and condemned; for he proveth immunity from condemna­tion by their being justified; and they are persons [in Christ Jesus] that only have this immunity, ver. 1. None out of Christ actually injoy it, and no union with him one moment of time before regeneration and Faith; for if any man be in Christ be in a new Creature, 2 Cor. 5. 17. All unbe­lievers are condemned already, Joh. 3. 18. The wrath of God abideth on them, ver. 36. Are Children of wrath, Ephes. 2 3. Even Elect vessels before Faith, are here said to be in that state; under a Sentence of wrath and condemnation, not only naturally de jure & quoad meritum, as to desent, for so are all; the sinful actings of Saints deserve wrath; whereas here such wrath is in­tended as differenced their state in time past, from what it was since they believed; it was inconsistent with present Justificati­on unto Life. Though Jesus Christ alone made satisfaction to justice for their sin, [Page 280] and was made a Curse for them, so as not the least Atome of the Curse formally, that is, of vindictive wrath shall fall upon them in execution; yet not only materially they are under it, but the Laws Sentence of condemnation is against them: and they are obnoxious to many tokens of wrath, not only in their bodies in many sicknesses, infirmities, and painful diseases, but in their Souls, by ignorance, darkness, with ma­ny other sinful dispositions, and inclinati­ons, and in their whole man by subjection and thraldom to Satan (Col. 1. 13. Act. 26. 18. 2 Tim. 2. 26.) and deprivation of fellowship and communion with God, and liability to the terrour of such a state; and all these not in the least to make satis­faction, but for other ends, as that Grace may be the more admired in Salvation out of such a miserable state, Ephes. 2. 11, 12. to humble them, &c.

If it be Objected, That our obligation being transferred upon Jesus Christ, and he having born our sin and Curse, justice and equity requireth that the Elect should upon his death be ipso facto actually discharged; their debt being paid, it cannot afterward be charged upon principal or Surety.

[Page 281] It may be Answered, More is to be consi­dered in this case than a meer debt, for here, the person was firstly and principally under the obligation, as Dr. O. observeth, satisfacti­on by a Surety being accepted, the father might put in what terms he pleased, with­out any shew of injustice, and so there is no necessity that the discharge be ipso facto upon his death.

Also a debt may be charged upon the principal debtor, till he obtaineth an actual interest in the satisfaction of the Surety; till then, though no further satisfaction will ever be exacted from Jesus Christ or the Elect, yet the Laws obligation unto wrath may lie against them for other ends; as to quicken them to seek deliverance out of that deplorable condition they are in. The want of an immediate freedom, is not from the defectiveness of the satisfaction made by Jesus Christ, but from a present incapacity in those who are to be the sub­jects of the freedom: as a full ransom may be paid for Slaves, yet by reason of the distance, an after-day may be set for their release; So, the Elect whilst unborn are uncapable of being actually disobliged; for the subjects must exist before even a re­lative change can pass upon them; also, [Page 282] after they are born, they are at a great distance from God, without making up of that, they are uncapable of an actual pos­session of Redemption. As a common per­son Jesus Christ represented many that lived in several Ages of the World, and there­fore of necessity the actual discharge of particular persons must be at different times, not all at once, but when they be­come his Seed.

Further, A debt may be charged upon the principal debtor by an Old Law, till a New Law or Covenant declareth his discharge from the obligation: Thus the Sentence of the violated Covenant of Works may stand against men, till they be declared to be discharged by the New Covenant, Heb. 10. 16, 17. Yea observe, Jesus Christ in suffer­ing death for our Redemption, stood as Mediatour of the New Testament, Heb. 9. 15. Though therein he satisfied for our break­ing of the Covenant with the first Adam, as this was drawn into the Covenant of Grace, as the condition thereof.

Once more, A debt may be charged upon the principal debtor, after a Sureties satis­fying the obligation, in case the Sureties name was not at first in the same obligation, but is admitted afterward by voluntary con­tract, [Page 283] Covenant, and consent; For, there the Covenant is the only determining rule of all matters concerning the discharge. Why are they not sanctified and glorified immediately after their coming into the World (these being effects of the death of Christ) but because the Covenant provid­eth otherwise?

If the Name of Jesus Christ (as as Surety) had been Originally or at first in Adams obligation, then more might have been said for an immediate discharge upon his payment of our debt, and suffering death; but this was not the case, for if it had, then his suffering death had been ne­cessary and unavoidable, though no New Testament had ever been made, yea the making of it had been unnecessary, vain, and useless.

Whereas it was extreamly necessary, there could have been no transferring of our guilt to him, without it, and his submitting to death was by a voluntary contract, Joh. 10. 17, 18. And his name not being at first in our bond, hence his payment was a refusable satisfaction.

It was by an act of Free Grace that he was admitted to undertake for us, and his payment accepted in our stead, and so, [Page 284] though he paid the idem, the same that we did owe, yet there was nothing contrary to justice or equity, if the Father added other terms than before, and so no need that we should be ipso facto discharged. And the Law passeth Sentence not only up­on sinful actions, but upon the persons for them, Gen. 2. 17. Gal. 3. 22. And there­fore no Justification, till delivered out of this state, which is at union with Jesus Christ and Faith.

5. I might argue from the many absurdi­ties that attend the asserting Justification from Eternity: It would sound harsh to de­ny that Adam was an Elect vessel; and being Elected, if Eternal Justification be admit­ted, then he must be actually both under the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace at once; and so was bound at the same time to seek Life in two waies utterly inconsistent each with other, Gal. 3. 12. viz. by Works, and by Je­sus Christ through Faith. Yea, then Adam was actually justified from sin, before he had any sin to be justified from, before sin entred into the World by his F [...]ll, Rom. 5. 12. and did not become guilty by [...]his falling, being disobliged from Eternity.

[Page 285] Neither will this be evaded by say­ing, Our sin was imputed to Jesus Christ before committed, and an actual existence of sin is no more requisite unto our disob­ligation, than unto our obligation unto the punishment thereof.

I Answer, The sins of the Elect were not actually upon Jesus Christ, till he came actually under the Law, which was their very obligation, Gal. 4. 4, 5. And thus all their sin by that Law did meet upon him before committed; answer­ably, when persons do actually come un­der the New Covenant; I grant they are justified, yea even virtually from sins not yet committed: but the Old Law of Works must needs be in force against them till a New dischargeth from it, and this is not till union with Je­sus Christ and the gift of Faith.

And O how miserable then, are all they who are out of Christ! they are in an unjustified estate, seeing they have no Word or Promise to assure them that the Lord hath laid down his Sute against them; but great is the happiness of all in Christ, of all be­lievers, in that they stand justified be­fore the Lord, Rom. 4. vers. 7. Blessed [Page 286] are, they whose iniquities are forgiven, &c. it is sin alone that rendreth miserable; and now the Apostle challengeth even Earth and Hell for all such, Rom. 8, 33, 34. It is God that justifieth, who shall condemn? It was God that was injured by sin, and who hath power to discharge from it, none can reverse or disanul Gods act; who shall lay any thing to their charge? Sin, Satan, their own hearts may draw up many charges, but will be able to make none good against them, why? it is God that justifieth. It is very extensive, it reacheth to all sins, Col. 2. 13. Jesus Christ is a propitiation for the sins that are past, Rom. 3. 25. that is, for sins committed before his Incarnation; for it is spoken in opposition to those that sought to be justified by the Works of the Law, vers. 20, 21. To draw off from this, he telleth them (as Heb. 9. 15.) that the Redemption of transgres­sions that were under the first Testa­ment, or their remission, was not by legal sacrifices and observances, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. It doth not deny his being a propitiation for sins to come, his faithfulness is ingaged to af­ford [Page 287] the remission of these, 1 Joh. 1. vers. 8, 9. 1 Joh. 2. vers. 1, 2. even Believers are daily sinning, and the Lord will be extending pardoning mer­cy unto them, yea he will all their life long be magnifying this Title, or part of his Name, The Lord God par­doning iniquity, transgression, and sin, Exod. 34. 7. yea, it is his glory that he is a sin pardoning God, Mica. 7 ver. 18. Who is a God like unto thee pardoning iniquity? &c.


Of the evidences of interest in the New Covenant.

IT may be Questioned, How or by what means may a Soul know its actual Interest in, and Title to the New and bet­ter Covenant, and the better promises thereof?

For the clearing of this, I shall not insist upon the testimony of the Divine Spirit, which is the primary evidence, Rom. 8. 16. 1 Joh. 5. 8. nor upon San­ctification, as it standeth in spiritual dis­positions and inclinations for compliance with the Divine Will, either in causing an answerableness of heart, to what is commanded from us, (comprised under a writing the Law there), or work­ing into Evangelical obedience in the Life, or bringing up a self-resigna­tion to the Lord, as Isa. 44. 5. in tho Covenant it is expresly promised, [they shall be my people]. These things are [Page 289] insisted upon elsewhere; yea, frequently by others, therefore I shall pass them over at present, and mention only one evidence.

Answ. By the operations and actings of precious Faith, a Soul may have a clear knowledge of its actual interest in the New and better Covenant: That noble Grace of Faith hath such a special relation to the Covenant, (which is made up of promises), that the Gospel is called the Word of Faith, Rom. 10. 8. It is so expressive of the great matters of it, that Faith often and the Law or Old Covenant are the opposite terms of a di­stinction, Gal. 3. ver. 2, 5, 12, 23. Yea, ver. 9. they that are [of Faith] are blessed with faithful Abraham: they are sharers with him in the same Covenant, and blessed therein: the very blessings of Abraham come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, ver. 14. That we might re­ceive the Promise of the Spirit through Faith. Much is to be drawn out of the free Promise for our relief and succour in any condition, yea for the influence­ing of any other Graces, by Faith. By that, our entercouse with God here is kept up: Not that the Promise is made to beliving as a Grace in us, or as a gracious Act put forth by us, but [Page 290] to the Believer as in Christ. Faith is not magnified as a quality, but as in the Office of receiving the Promise, and of excellent use therein. Vers. 22. That the Promise through the Faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Faith is not then properly the condition of the Covenant, upon the per­formance of which, they have a right and title to it; but a choice effect of it, and a singular means for the ap­plication of the promises, and fetching in of Covenant blessings to the Soul: by that, the Promise or what is in the Promise, is given to it, and Faith having thus to do with the Promises, it must needs have an aptitude above other Graces, above Sanctification and Evangelical obedience to witness a Souls interest in the everlasting Covenant, Heb. 11. 1. It is an evidence of things not seen; and therefore it self is not as inevident as those other things.

There are various acts of Faith, that by the concurrence of the Divine Spi­rit may evidence interest in the Covenant.

1. By Faith in the Free Promise such glorious discoveries of the Grace and Lov [...] of God in Jesus Christ unto sinners ar [...] afforded, as their hearts consent to th [...] [Page 291] offer thereof: it is by the shining of Gospel light through the Free Promise into the hearts of men, that they are turned from darkness to light, Act. 26. 18. The highest natural light will leave them short of a discovery of sin, in its exceeding sinfulness, and of the riches of Grace in Jesus Christ for the recovery of lost sinners; they cannot see these aright till they be revealed by the Divine Spirit, Matth. 16. 17. 1 Cor. 2. 10, 14. Tit. 2. 11, 12. Un­believers may have a notion of these things, but when they are seen by an eye of Faith, they appear in another manner, Rom. 1 16, 17. The Gospel is the power of God to Salvation, to every one that believeth. The heart stood immediately before at an infinite distance from the Lord Jesus, and was full of opposition against him, but when there is a work of Faith upon it, then Di­ [...]ine power is exerted by the Word or Promise of the Gospel, for the draw­ing it off from all other objects to [...]itch upon Jesus Christ alone for Sal­vation in a way of Free Grace; then it [...]ccepteth of the blessed offer, when all [...]rguments in the World before would not prevail with it. The heart that [Page 292] stood off from him, is then brought over to him by the Gospel, and why? [For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from Faith to Faith]. It is in a Gospel-Glass that a Soul gaineth a right discovery of the excellency of Je­sus Christ, and that righteousness of his without which no Salvation. It is by Faith that there is a learning of the Father, so as effectually to be drawn unto the Son. This cordial consent­ing to the offer of the Gospel, in sub­mitting to the obediential righteousness of Jesus Christ alone for acceptation unto Life, this is Faith unto Justification, Rom. 10. ver. 3, 4, 6, 10. as the like consent to have him for our Lord to rule over us by his Spirit dwelling in us, is Faith unto Sanctification, Act. 15. 9. Rom. 8. ver. 9, to 16. Thus the Soul maketh out to the blood of Jesus Christ for cleansing from all sin; and the first act of closing with Jesus Christ is by Faith in a Free Promise that is the first Grace that lives in it the first breathings of Spiritual Life are thereby: such powerful and admirable alterations are found at first acquain­tance with Jesus Christ, by discoveries above sense, fetching in the heart un­to [Page 293] him beyond all other means, that they must needs be evidencing of inte­rest in the Promise or Covenant from whence all these come. Such first things have a mark upon them, and often are most discernable, the state thereupon being so vastly different from what it was, how refined so ever the nature was before.

Thus some have had their interest cleared up in such a word as that, 1 Tim. 1. 15. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all ac­ceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

By the eye of Faith a Soul gaineth such a prospect of matchless Love and Free Grace, as it is won over to Je­sus Christ thereby, through a power­ful application of the Promise to it self, 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11. He that believeth on the Son hath the witness in himself; he being inabled by Grace to entertain and cordially subscribe to the blessed record upon a Divine Testimony, viz. that God hath given to us Eternal Life, and this Life is in his Son; there­by he setteth to his Seal that God is true in the Word of his Grace, that hath a witnessing power, and the per­son hath the witness within himself, even when he sometimes doth not discern it.

[Page 294] 2. By Faith the Soul maketh out to Jesus Christ in the Free Promise, as he alone that giveth it subsistence in spiritu­al Life: Oneness with Jesus Christ can­not be without interest in the Cove­nant, 2 Pet. 1. 4. [In whom] are given to us exceeding great and precious Pro­mises, &c. Ephes. 3. 6. Partakers of the Promise in Christ. Ver. 17. That Christ may dwell in your heart by Faith. It is a promise-hold that we have of Jesus Christ here, his in-being and in­dwelling is by Faith; so he even ani­mateth the Souls of Saints, Gal. 2. 20. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, how? I live by the Faith of the Son of God. Others live by sense, they seed upon earthly comforts, but Chri­stians live by Faith; by what is laid up in Divine Promises, by these things they live; they know not how to subsist in any state or condition without a Promise: they would count themselves dead creatures without that, whatever earthly enjoyments they had in posses­sion. Neither will a Promise alone sa­tisfie without Jesus Christ in it, [Christ liveth in me], he is the very Life of their lives: without him nothing but spiritual swoonings, faintings, dyings, [Page 295] and all from the want, and failings, of Faith. That fetcheth in all influ­ences from Jesus Christ for the sup­porting, and hath the great hand and stroak in all the actings, of spiritual Life; all spiritual motions are managed thereby, Heb. 11. 6. Without Faith it is impossible to please God. And there­fore Sanctification is but a secondary or after evidence. That is not discernable till first there be a discerning Faith, which speaketh Justification. If Faith be inevident, all other Graces will be so also.

Faith may be shewed unto others by Works, Jam. 2. 18. A man may be Declaratively justified by Works, but if a man doubteth of his Faith, he will as well doubt of his Works, whether they be from a Gospel root or not? For, no Love of the right stamp (and so no due obedience) but what is the fruit and issue of Faith in the Lord Jesus; For, that worketh by Love, Gal. 5. 6.

As first acts of Faith, do not consist in believing that our sins are pardon­ed, but in a receiving Jesus Christ and his righteousness as the way to pardon, Joh. 1. 12. So, if Christians kept up in acts of Faith by outgoings of heart to him in the way of the Promise for all [Page 296] that is wanted, there would be not only sweet flowings of Love and Evan­gelical obedience issuing thence; but also they would be filled with all joy and peace in believing, Rom. 15. 13.

I have often thought, if Christians did give more attendance to such di­rect acts of Faith, and spent less time in questioning their conditions, or giving way to doubtings about them, they would find their interest in the Covenant cleared up, yea and consolation also com­ing in as by the by.

3. By Faith Souls are venturing upon the Free Grace and faithfulness of God, in his Covenant in the greatest distresses with good success: The New Covenant is made up all of Promises, and the Gospel is called the Word of Faith, because it is the Work of Faith to draw out what is vesseled up there, Heb. 10. 38. Now the Just shall live by Faith. Not only as to Justification, but as to ex­pectation of mercy promised. Many would be acting Faith in the concluding interest in Christ and Eternal Life, but they should be acting it by a cordial owning of Evangelical principles; Yea, Christians should lead their whole Life in looking to the Love and Faithfulness [Page 297] of God in his Promise for all their re­lief and succour in any condition they come into here, yea even for Eternal Mercy, Heb. 6. 18. They are pursued by spiritual enemies, corruptions, and Temptations, and are in great danger, but by hope (which floweth from Faith, and can act no higher than Faith doth) they go, yea run for refuge, to the hope, to the heavenly glory that is set before them, so as they lie as at An­chour in such stormy daies; and here are two immutable things, the Promise and the Oath of God, that by these they might have strong consolation. By Faith they realize the very things con­tained in the Promise or Covenant, and so their interest in it is experimentally witnessed to them. They can say, at such a time when we were in Soul distress, so as all the means in the World could contribute nothing towards in­ward ease, quietment and consolation; then we being inabled by Grace to bear the weight of our Souls, and our con­ditions upon the Faithfulness of God in his Covenant or Free Promise, we found relief and refreshment. It was not meerly our own fancy and imagination, but we were delivered out of our di­stresses; [Page 298] by Faith we were inabled to draw out of the Promise, the Milk of consolation, which it was beyond the power of all creatures to afford us, and thus they find that the Covenant or Pro­mise is their own.

4. By Faith in the Free Promise, there is a standing Conquerours in Jesus Christ over all spiritual enemies: it is a great matter of the Covenant, that the Seed of the Woman should break the Serpents bead, Gen. 3. 15. And therefore there is (through Grace) a vanquishing all the enemies of Salvation, Sin, and Satan, through the blessed Seed the Lord Jesus. The Promises are accomplished within the Soul, but the way is Ephes. 6. 16. Above all take the Shield of Faith.

That not only is best for descrying Sa­tan in all his Stratagems, but for the with­standing of him also, Joh. 5. 4. This is the Victory that overcometh the World, even our Faith. When the Soul hath Com­bates, or Spiritual Conflicts, and reason is foiled, cannot bear up, then Faith appear­eth as Victorious, not in its own strength, but in the strength of Christ and his con­quest, which it maketh use of in these en­counters. And thus conquering acts of Faith, as before venturing, relieving, and [Page 299] discovering acts, are useful for witnessing interest in the Covenant.

I might shew that Faith hath other acts, as, acts of assurance, drawing up conclusi­ons, he hath loved me, and given himself for me, Gal. 2. 20. But I have said enough to shew that it giveth a knowledge of be­ing within the New Covenant.


Of the Use of Absolute Promises.

THe Question will now be, What Use is there of absolute, better Promises? When or in what cases are they to be made use of?

Answ. 1. They are of Use for the manife­station of the riches of Divine Grace and Love to sinners: if there may be some Grace in promising great blessings upon a very small condition, certainly there must be more Grace and Love in promising the same absolutely, without any condition. This maketh to the magnifying of the Lord in his owning Israel above all people; that he loved be­cause he would love, Deut. 7. 6, 7, 8. not because they were greater, or more lovely than others, or had any beauty or comliness in them, but for his own sake, as is often [Page 300] intimated. Absolute Promises are high ex­pressions of Divine Love, as Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12. They proclaim rich mercy and great Love, Eph. 2. 4, 5. That the Lord should break through all unworthiness and undeservings, this may work into the greatest self-empti­ness and self-abasement. The Lord peremp­torily promised the establishing of Davids throne for ever, 2 Sam. 7. 13, 16. and this Grace melts his heart into a deep sense of his own nothingness, ver. 18, 19. Who am I, O Lord God; what is my house, &c. Thou hast spoken also of thy Servants house for a great while to come, and is this the manner of man, O Lord God?

So that absolute Promises of Divine Grace are of great efficacy to render deeply hum­bled and abased; and he breaketh forth in­to admiration of God on this account, ver. 22. Wherefore thou art great, O Lord, for there is none like thee—

And as the absoluteness of the Promises, setteth forth the excellency of the New Co­venant above the Old; and the gloriousness of this dispensation above any that was pre­ceeding: so it may help against that temp­tation to live in the Spirit of the Old Co­venant, and it is mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews for this purpose.

2. They are of use in the impartation or [Page 301] communication of first Grace unto the Souls of men: their first interest therein, is by the ef­ficacious operations of the Spirit in absolute Promises. These are called by some, Pro­mises of Grace, which presuppose a being without it, thus Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12. Im­mediately before writing the Law in the heart, another Law of sin was found in its power there. The moment before the Lords becoming their God, they were without God in the world (Eph. 2. 12.) The instant be­fore the remission of sin, the guilt of it was found there. All first Grace is comprised un­der these Promises, so that the bringing Souls over to a first close with Jesus Christ, [...]s by an absolute Promise: though they may have their eyes upon those called conditional Promises in conversion, yet if ever they ar­rive at any Drachme of especial Grace, it is in an absolute way; it is the fruit, the result and issue of an absolute Promise: for as all first Grace is contained therein, so till that be accomplished upon them, no qua­lifications or conditions are wrought in their Souls altering their state, or which are acceptable and pleasing unto God. The instant before quickening, Souls were dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2. 4. Immediate­ly before reconciliation, they stood at enmity against the Lord, Col. 1. 21. The moment [Page 302] before Sanctification they were under sin and pollution. It is groundlesly therefore, that any Souls stand off from Jesus Christ and the Free Promise, upon the account of a want of any qualifications; they should rather immediately close with him therein, as the way to gracious qualifications which are derived to them through the absolute Promise. The Lord is a free Agent, may work how he pleaseth, but hath not war­ranted any Souls to stay one moment before closing with Jesus Christ, upon the want of any qualification, or upon any account whatsoever: indeed if he had, then he must testifie his allowance of their persist­ing so long in unbelief; whereas that hateful and abominable to him.

3. They are of Use as a provocation to seek, and a direction where to find, all supplies of Grace wanted: Other Promises may referr to some particular state or condition, but there are absolute Promises that are of gene­raluse, whatever the condition or compliant be, Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12. As first Grace is promised there, so all after degrees of it, in that of writing the Law in the heart. As first interest in God is promised, in that of his being their God, so all after communion with him is included in it. As first Justifi­cation is promised, in his remembring sin no [Page 303] more, so all after remission of sin that is afforded to those in Covenant with him.

So that absolute Promises are useful at all times; when Souls are ready to say, What have we to do with other Promises, there is enough in these to help and succour in all cases, when Souls are at the greatest loss, and cannot find other Promises mentioning their particular conditions; to be sure, they must either want some Grace, or fellowship with God or pardon of sin; and the abso­lute Promises extend and reach to all these; that they are a standing relief, bread that never fail, waters that are for ever sure; all is laid up here that souls can groundedly desire at the hands of God.

And being Absolute, they are Free Pro­mises, no discouragement laid in the way of souls for closing with them. Often men do ungroundedly take discouragement for meddling with other Promises, because they cannot see that they have the qualifica­tions which they are annexed to; but to be sure those that are absolute, do not presup­pose any such qualifications as necessarily antecedaneous to the closing with them, but they promise all gracious qualifications that souls have the deepest sense of the want of. Whatever Grace or degree of it they want, it is here; they are directed to turn in hither.

[Page 304] No ground to stand off from these one moment upon the account of a want of humiliation, &c. but the rather should they repair hither for it, and for first Grace when they seem to be without it, for Evangelical sorrow, and all spiritual frames of heart desirable; when there is nothing discerned as the qualification but sinfulness, then they had the more need look to, and fasten up­on the Lord in absolute Promises, that all desirable qualifications may be wrought within them. How should they obtain these, but by looking to the Free Promise? The absolute Promises are theirs, so far as to make use of them, and venture upon the Lord in them, for the obtainment of Grace wanted; though they cannot claim an in­terest so as to conclude a good estate thence, or that Grace is injoyed, before a powerful application of them.

4. They are useful for the strengthening against, and supporting under all temptations that gracious Souls can be attended with: If it be suggested, that the Promise is none of theirs, they have nothing to do to med­dle with it. Here is enough to answer, possibly other Promises may be theirs, though at present they cannot discern it; there are such cloudings, as all experiences, all qualifications may be out of sight; they [Page 305] may thus sit in darkness and see no light, and yet may be Children of light, Isa. 50. 10. But however though they cannot claim any Promise so as to conclude interest in Salva­tion and Eternal Life thence, yet they may, so far as to seek an interest therein. The absolute Promise is theirs in the offer of it, if they should yet be without the special Grace offered therein. All, where the Gos­pel cometh, have so far a right and Title to the absolute Promise, as it is their duty to fasten upon it, for the begetting all graci­ous qualifications that they seem to be or are without, else they could not be blamed, condemned, and punished for unbelief, as many are, Mark 16. 16. Joh. 3. 18. Ro. 11. 20.

If the temptation be, that it would be presumption to meddle with the Promise which is none of thine:

It is answered, thou art to look to the Lord in the absolute Promise, that it may be thine, that Grace may be thine, that God may be thy God, that pardon of sin may be thine, though thou canst not dis­cern at present, that these are thine.

Such a looking to the Promise, as thence to take incouragement to indulge itself, or persist in sin, this indeed is presumption; but a cordial looking to the Lord in, and venturing to take hold of the absolute Pro­mises [Page 306] for the gaining a freedom from sin, and every gracious frame, this is duty, and the neglecting of it is presumption, as be­ing a standing out against a Divine Call.

There is a ground for putting forth di­rect acts of Faith upon the Lord in the abso­lute Promise for all Grace wanted. When there is not a present discerning by a re­flexive act, that gracious qualifications are injoyed, yet there may be an outgoing of heart in the Promise to God in Jesus Christ for them, or that they may be afforded. It is a great mistake, to think that we are to exercise Faith upon the Lord in the Pro­mise, only upon a sight of a condition in our selves; this were to ground our Faith rather upon something of our own, than upon the Lord in his Free Promise; it were to subject the absolute Promises and make them depend upon those that are called conditional as to their efficacy and use­fulness, whereas the truth lieth the contra­ry way; for the New Covenant is as it were the Fountain of all the Promises to us, and that runneth altogether upon absolute Promises, and therefore those which are called conditional Promises, being streams flowing thence, and branches of that Tree, they must be reducible to, and partake of the Nature of the New Covenant, and so [Page 307] are really absolute in themselves, only as a quickening means to our seeking after the blessings of them, they are represented sometimes as if they were dispenced out in a conditional way: but the Lord doth not confine himself to that way, for when Israel was destitute of commendable qualificati­ons, had failed in the worship of God, and wearied him with their sins, yet he turned their eye upon an absolute Promise, Isa. 43. 25. I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my Names sake.

5. They are of Use for the evidencing interest in Jesus Christ, and clearing up how the case stande thas to their Eternal conditions: The Lord can make a saving change (i. e. such as hath Salvation and Eternal Life, infallibly in connexion with it) in the opening of any Promise, but it is from ab­solute Grace. The begetting of Faith, or first Grace in the Souls of any, is by an absolute Promise; For, what condition can there be, in any Soul before first Grace, to have a Promise annexed to it? It were to frustrate and make void the undertaking of Jesus Christ, to assert, that the Lord hath promised Eternal Life to a work of nature, or that Souls are in a state of Salvation be­fore union with Jesus Christ, which they must be, if they had any qualification [Page 308] which had Salvation certainly promised to it. The Lord saith, Ezek. 36. 26. 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. What precedent qua­lification was here, but stonyness and hard­ness of heart, and so uncleanness before the sprinkling, ver. 25. Here then is a Pro­mise of first Grace, and it is absolute, and the operations of the Spirit herein are so supernatural and transcendently glorious as they are evidencing. The Word of the Gospel cometh in such power, for the ac­complishing the very end which the Pro­mise is appointed to, and there are such sparklings of Divine excellency in the im­pressions that are made upon the Spirits of men hereby, that without having recourse to any other promises (which are called con­ditional) they may read or see their personal interest in an absolute Promise. By its efficacious application or the fulfilling of it, by their actual injoyment of what is pro­mised, they may discern their sharing in it. And seeing all gracious qualifications are be­gotten or first wrought by an absolute Pro­mise, why should not that give evidence, as well as the after sanctified frames?

Besides, the absolute Promises are made [Page 309] to some persons, even to the house of Israel and Judah, Ezek. 36. 21, to the end, Jer. 31. 31. and being expressions of the determi­nate Will of God, hence they must needs be evidencing; For, the chief intendment of Promises, is, to give assurance how the heart of God standeth towards persons un­der them; the Lord is ever speaking to them therein after this manner, I will be your God, and your sins and iniquities will I remember no more, Ezek. 36. 28. Heb. 8. 12. This is the natural Language of the Cove­nant to them. And, though unbelievers (who are out of Covenant) may fancy the same things, and delude themselves, yet this hindreth not, but that the Lord may really speak thus to Believers, who are undoubtedly under it. So sometimes, the state or condition of a Soul is evi­denced, by such Words or Promises as these, Isa. 41. 10. Be not dismayed, for [I am thy God] Ezek. 34. 31. I am your God saith the Lord God. Isai. 44. 22. I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy trans­gressions, and as a cloud thy sins, &c.

The Divine Spirit oftentimes maketh such a powerful application of such promi­ses, and maketh such glorious discoveries, of the loving kindness and free grace of God to the soul, as he giveth it clearly to [Page 310] understand that God is speaking to it therein, and it is the voice of God and not of man or of Satan, and thus it is evidencing.

The Lord is so shining upon his own graces, as then a soul usually can discern these; yet it is not meerly a reflection up­on faith or other graces, that now give the evidence; but faith receiveth it as it were upon a Divine testimony.

6. They are of use for the filling souls with consolation in the saddest conditions, and under the most trying dispensations: Je­remiah was sent to prophesie of the Jewish captivity, procured by their sin, for the space of seventy years, yet to keep them from despair and utter despondency, and to comfort them against all their trials, he not only assureth them of a return, but prophesieth of the New Covenant, and its being put into an absolute form, Jer. 31. 31. Therefore the absolute promises are of comforting use against the saddest trials that sin it self may bring us under. The Apo­stle turneth their eye upon those two im­mutable things, the Promise and the Oath of God, Heb. 6. 18. as those which the Lord appointed on purpose to usher in strong consolation.

[Page 311] Thus we see, that when the Condition of sinners seemeth most despicable, and when the graces of Saints are most out of sight, yet then they may have recourse to the Absolute Promises, and look unto the Lord therein, for all grace and supply that is wanted.


Of those that are called Conditional Promises.

SOme may inquire what use is there, of those called Conditional Promises? Or, when and in what cases are they to be made use of?

Answ. 1. Some of them are of discover­ing use what an extensiveness there is in Di­vine grace, sutable to all the worst conditions that souls can come into: the conversion of a soul of God, ordinarily is not without a special discovery of sin, and a lost undone condition by nature, in a Gospel glass, yea a work of evangelical repentance is expe­rienced there.

Also there may be sometimes a common work, a legal conviction of sin, before and without a saving change; but that in the ordinary way of Gods dispensation there is a necessity hereof, on our part, so as if we do not find it, we must stay for it, till we have it, may not be looking to Jesus Christ, or meddle with the promise, yea as [Page 313] if it were presumption to attempt believing, that we may be (as many are) shy of Je­sus Christ and the free promise, and stand off from them, this I see no rule yet for. I think the worst of sinners (even unsensi­ble ones) are immediately under the in­vitations and calls of the Gospel, for they may be condemned for unbelief, as stand­ing out against them. Mark 16. 15, 16. Matth. 22. 3, 4, 9, 10. Rev. 3. 17, 20.

Many Scriptures alledged for the necessi­ty of such preparations before conversion, are mentioned as conditional promises; Whereas those are not restrictive, do not restrain the promises to those that are so qualified, but rather declare, that large and suitable supplies are to be had in Jesus Christ, even in such conditions when it seemeth most unlikely.

And of such use are these words, Isai. 55. 1, 2, 3. Ho every one that thirst come, &c. There thirsting, was no desirable qualifica­tion; it was for that which did not satisfie, they laboured for that which was not bread, vers. 2. and yet are invited immediately to come to him, as to one that hath a va­riety of supplies, water and wine to re­fresh, milk to nourish, and all offered free­ly, without mony, and without price.

[Page 314] Thus Matth. 11. 28. Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I give you rest. Many are ready to think, that they should seek to be thus weary, and heavy laden, and till then they may not at­tempt to come unto Jesus Christ. Whereas it doth not appear, that these were any de­sirable or commendable qualifications to be sought after; but rather are expressions of their sad conditions, and yet here is revealed sutable relief in Jesus Christ; if they be weary and heavy laden (not only by sin, but) with the yoke of the Law (though unduly imposed upon them by the Pharisees) yet coming to Jesus Christ they might have rest; and so whatever other burthen, they had sinfully pulled upon themselves. And besides, the promise is not in this or the other text, an­nexed to thirsting or weariness, but to com­ing unto Jesus Christ.

Thus Jesus Christ is said to be anointed to preach glad tidings for the meek or the poor, Isai. 61. 1. Luke 4. 18. and to heal the broken hearted, not only by a sense of sin; but broken by affliction, and distress, tem­prations, any way. His scope is not, to restrain the promise, as if it did belong only to those that are thus qualified; but to shew, that the grace of Jesus Christ [Page 315] reacheth and is suitable to those in such deplorable conditions. These are not frames to be sought after, any more than those that follow, of being Captives, blind, bruised, but consider men under whatever notion of misery you can, and here is declared, that there are those very supplies to be had in Jesus Christ that are suitable and relative thereunto; as rest for the weary, so sight for the blind, delive­rance for the captives, and these take in the worst, even unsensible sinners; he by discoveries of his grace, bringeth them into a due sense of sin.

Thus Matth. 5. 3, 4, 6. Blessed are the poor in spirit, and those that mourn, &c. Not that these note Conditions properly, upon coming up to which, they have right to promised blessedness, else not; for, among others, persecution hath the bles­sedness twice annexed to it, vers. 10, 11. and outward poverty is partly intended; Luke 6. 20, 21. as is evident by the anti­thesis or opposition, vers. 24, 25. Wo to you rich, &c. and you that are full. Yet, who will say, that poverty or persecution are desireable, and to be sought that we might injoy the blessedness, by coming un­der the condition of it? Nor can one say, I am poor, therefore blessed, more than [Page 316] persecuted therefore blessed. These are not qualifications giving right and title to the promise, and without which they have it not; but these things are spoken to the disciples, vers. 20. the promises are an­nexed to discipleship, or to the person in Christ, rather than to his qualification of mourning, &c. and whereas they (who before had a right in Christ to all the pro­mises) might be tempted to think them­selves unhappy by these things, here is a discovery that the seeming sadness of these conditions, as poverty, persecution, &c. did not exclude from the promised blessed­ness; there is suitable relief for them in the promise still. Hence in opposition to these, there are woes denounced against others in the opposite conditions, which to outward appearance seemed better, as against the rich, those that are full, &c.

And thus, these seeming conditions, in stead of being limitations of the promise, they are discoveries of the extensiveness thereof; holding forth supplied and suc­cours for souls in Christ, under their sad­dest trials and temptations, and in all the various, and worst conditions they can come into, though not upon the condition of their coming into them.

[Page 317] The following particulars are to be un­derstood when something of special grace is mentioned, as if it were a condition.

2. Some called Conditional Promises are of declarative use what a high approbation the Lord hath of the persons or things con­cerned in them: thus, speaking promiscu­ously to professors, some of which are sin­cere, others not, sometimes it is with an [if] as Heb. 3. 6. [If] we hold fast our confidence unto the end. To note, that perseverance, in holding fast, is a character of sound believers, in opposition to others who do apostatize and fall away. Thus some Scriptures contain a description of the persons who shall obtain those blessings of the Covenant, they are such as are found believing, repenting, obeying, in op­position to those which are infidels, diso­bedient, &c. as Heb. 5. 9. He became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him. Those that are in a state of salvati­on, are characterized by such effects as obe­dience, such words conclude Negatively, they that have not these in some degree, are not saved ones, but the promises are made rather to their persons in Christ, than to their qualifications (as believing, obey­ing,) though these are necessary for the persons: as it behoved the great High-Priest [Page 318] even Jesus Christ, (who had the promises made to him) to be holy, harm less, undefiled, yet they are not made to him upon the condition of his holiness, or undefiledness.

Yet I would add, that such promises do testifie how acceptable these acts are to the Lord, as being duties commanded by him, though they be not properly conditi­ons upon which Covenant mercy is promi­sed to us. Will any say, that nothing is acceptable unless it be performed under the notion of a condition upon which the Lord hath obliged himself to give our mercy?

Thus many Scriptures that seem to run in a Conditional form, are to be under­stood: as Coloss. 1. 21, 22, 23. Rom. 2. 7. they declare his approbation of faith, hope, obedience, &c.

3. They are of exciting and incouraging use to the duty of seeking in an absolute promise those gracious qualifications which the other promises are annexed to: the seeming­ly conditional expressions are not intend­ed as discouragements, but as powerful provoqations and incouragements to that duty, or seeking that grace conjoyned with the promise. Whatsoever mercy is mentioned any where either with or as a [Page 319] condition, is absolutely promised, in the New Covenant, Heb. 8. particularly the remission of sin is promised there, yet it is said, Matth. 6. 14, 15. If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you, &c.

Not as if divine pardons were suspended till we have forgiven others, that so long any were unpardoned, and so condemned who before were justified. This were to make divine acts have dependence on our actings, and so to subject (as one saith) the Creator to the creature. Our forgiving others is not properly a condition, as if a performance of ours did ingage the Lord or lay him under an obligation to forgive us; or as if we had right and might lay claim to Divine remission upon such an act of ours: but, it is expressed in a Con­ditional form as a pressing argument and a quickning spurr to so necessary a duty as the forgiving others, although the Lord hath absolute intentions to pardon us, and to cause us to forgive others.

Thus many other Scriptures are to be understood, as Matth. 18. 31. Mark 11. 26. Luk. 6. 37. thus repenting and blotting out of sins are conjoyned, Act. 3. 19.

As a Father, who is absolutely deter­mined and resolved to afford some great [Page 320] favor to his son, yet may speak of it to him with an [if,] that he may lay an aw upon him towards some duty, which yet is not in the least the condition of his afford­ing it.

4. They are of directive use unto the right way and means of seeking the mer­cies promised: the eternal decrees of God are not conditional but absolute and unal­terable, yet are not exclusive of all means in order to their execution in time. So, Divine promises which are absolute, with­out any condition properly so called, yet are not fulfilled without any means. It is a gross mistake to think, that if there be no condition to be performed by us, then we need not take any care, or trouble our selves about the matters. For, we must know, there are Divine commands putting upon the use of means in order to the exe­cution of absolute promises; and, those that are called conditional promises are of this use to declare, in what way and by what means those great favours shall be deri­ved to us: and men neglecting to seek mercy in the way of Divine appointment, may miss of it, not because they have failed of performing a condition, but have neglected a duty, and by sinning provoked God to [...]t short, Jam. 1. 6, 7. Psal. 78. 21, 22.

[Page 321] The promises of first grace, are general­ly granted to be absolute; for, if they did run upon any condition, that must be per­formed before union with Jesus Christ, yea that must be seen in the soul before it had a ground to meddle with the promise; and so it should be ascertained of salvation whilst it is in a state of nature. If faith were supposed the condition, that then must be prae existent in the soul and discerned also, before it had a ground to believe in the promise that it were the condition of; whereas faith is a grace and is the fruit of a promise as well as any other graces. In­deed, the promises of first grace (though absolute, yet) seem to be as conditionally propounded as any. Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5. Mark 16. 16. Joh. 3. 16. herein, is holden forth the way and means to the obtainment of salvation; for it is propounded and of­fered indefinitely, to all, elect and not elect; not particularly promised to any, but as it turneth into an absolute form to those persons described as the subjects of it.

Thus the Lord giveth forth a cluster of absolute promises, Ezek. 36. 25, 26, 27, &c. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean—a new heart also will I give you, &c. and yet vers. 37. [Page 322] Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them. This inquiring, is not men­tioned properly as a condition, for all was before unalterably determined, but as the way and means to the fruition of what was absolutely promised, and thus, as a means to promised mercies, we may not only be­lieve, but exercise our selves in other duties, ordinances, and appointments of the Lord Jesus, as pray that we may be pardoned, justisied, saved, that the Lord would give us a new heart, and put his spirit within us, &c. though not as conditions giving right to salvation, for no act of ours lay­eth the Lord under an obligation by pro­mise to afford these to us. All is from meer grace and good pleasure. But yet, as a man may have purchased physick that would cure a disease which he laboureth under, he may have payed for it, and so performed the condition and hath right to it, yet if he doth not make use of it, he may be uncared: so believers have a right to all even to those that are called con­ditional promises, they being in Covenant all are theirs, (2 Pet. 1. 4. 2 Cor. 1. 20.) yet if they do not make use of these, they may come short of mercies promised, not because they fail of a condition, but because [Page 323] they use not the means to the fruition thereof: like men that have a civil and ab­solute right to great estates, and yet are without the comfort thereof, because they make not use of them.

5. They are of some evidencing use, who the persons are, that are interested in the promises: though other promises are pri­mary, yet these are secondary evidences: when those gracious qualifications can be discerned, they are useful for the confirma­tion of our interest in eternal mercies. They give a description of the persons, and are so far distinguishing, as when they are seen we may measure our estates and conditions by them.

Thus, many scriptures speak of those qualifications, not as conditions, giving right, but as declarative evidences of a title to Covenant blessings, even to salvation. So Rev. 22. 14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life. Not that their keeping of them did give a right and title unto life, for none can duly keep them before belie­ving, and then they have it; but that their right to it may be evidenced by such good effects. For, these were already in a state of grace, and were before interested in Je­sus Christ unto eternal life, on which ac­count, [Page 324] they are opposed to those that are without, vers. 15. without are dogs, &c. The use of the tree of life, was the confirm­ing in life, Gen. 3. 22, 23. So, this keep­ing his Commandments (of which be­lieving is chief) is the way to a confirmation in a living state, or to give a further testimo­ny of their right to life.

So Jam. 2. 24. By works a man is justifi­ed and not by faith only. Not that love or evangelical works come in the least into justification it self, as a cause or condition thereof; the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians are full against this; but are the fruits and effects of it. They as evidences, testifie to a mans self, or to others that he is justified; as, vers. 18. I [will shew] thee my faith by my works. We are then, not properly, but only declaratively justified by works; they as precious effects do argue a lively saith which is a means unto imputed righteousness and justification, not a sylla­ble that it is a condition thereof.

So, 1 John 1. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Not that our confession is properly a conditi­on, ingaging the faithfulness and justice of God to forgive, (I proved before, that is not suspended till our confessing) but a [Page 325] way and means to our gaining a sense, a fresh application; an evidence and mani­festation of our interest in forgiving grace.

And as evidences, so they may promote comfort; only we are to take heed, that we do not ground and bottom our conso­lation, on the qualifications within, but on the promise it self (or the Lord there­in) without. Many are drawing and fetching their comfort from their faith and other graces, and lay the stress of it there, and accordingly are up and down, eb­bing and flowing therein, in stead of fetch­ing it from the Lord in the promise, an immutable thing, Heb. 6. 18. by the means of faith, and taking that and other graces only as evidences of interest in it. Some, because they are weary and heavy laden, thence take their rest and refreshment, whereas they are called out of themselves, to come for it to Jesus Christ, Matth. 11. 28. When qualifications lie most dark, or are most clearly discerned, yet we should not look so much to these, as to Jesus Christ in the promise for Consolation.

Thus I have endeavoured to open the nature of the Old and New Covenant.

As to the Mediatorial Office of Jesus Christ, it is largely handled by others, and so shall not be insisted upon by me at pre­sent. [Page 326] Only I would say thus much, when Jesus Christ was upon Earth, he perform­ed the Office of a Mediator as to satisfacti­on; and now he is in Heaven, he doth it still as to intercession, Heb. 7. 25. He presenteth his obedience continually to the Father for our obtainment of what he hath purchased. Would we have any soe­deral blessings, thè Law written in our heart in more lively characters, the Lord witnessed more fully to be our God, or sin to be pardoned? let our faith be acting up­on him as one that mediateth for our ob­tainment of all; for he is the Mediator, not of the Old, but of the New and Better Testament, which is established upon better Promises.


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THe Scripture Directory for Church Offices and People: Or, a Practical Commentary upon the whole Third Chap­ter of the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Co­rinthians. To which is annexed, The God­ly and the Natural Mans Choyce upon Psal. 4. vers. 6, 7, 8. By Anthony Burgesse, Pastor of the Church of Sutton Coldfield in Warwick-shire.

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