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forth or appeared-and its influences are shed on us abundantly, or poured out richly on lost mankind.* This covenant is nothing else but a compound of love and mercy.
4. They differ [efficiente] in the efficient cause, in the management of the transaction on man's part; in the former covenant there were two parties, though not without great disparity. Man was at first furnished with faculties and ability to enter into, and keep the covenant made with him; but now fallen man is spiritually dead, and though still he retains his faculties, yet he hath lost the rectitude of them, and ability to perform his part of the conditions; it is true the parties are still two, formally considered, yet if we consider the efficacy which secures the due performance of the terms, all lies on God's part; who works in us the conditions, which he requires of us, as faith, repentance, and new obedience. The agent is man, the efficient cause of that agency is God's grace; as in natural things we live and move, from God's providence; so in spiritual things our holy actions proceed from his gracious influence: as Augustin saith, there are many good things that God doth in man, that man doth not, but there is no holy action that man doth, but God doth enable him to do it. †
5. They differ [objecto] in the object. The chief object concerned in the first covenant was all mankind, (though it referred to Adam more immediately,) the first man being the root, spring, and representative head of all mankind. Adam was the first person with whom this covenant was made, yet it was not only personal, but comprehensive, and extended to all man's posterity,
Tit. iii. 4, 6.
+ Nulla bona facit Deus in homine quæ non facit homo, nulla vero facit homo quæ non facit Deus ut faciat.-Aug. Enchir.
therefore when he violated that covenant, it was imputed to us, his fault was our guilt; "for in Adam all sinned," see Rom. v. 12, 16. But this second covenant is personal, it is contracted with individual souls; it is true, the general grant is to all, the proclamation is universal, whosoever will, it is offered promiscuously, but the saving benefits of this covenant reach no further with respect to persons at age, than those that by faith apply them,* by particularly laying hold of this blessed covenant; it is only the seed, believers, heirs of the promise, children of the covenant, † that are sharers in it, Gal. iii. 22.
6. The first covenant, and this new gospel covenant differ [materia] in the matter, or good things promised, in the former God promised life only, "Do this and live;" he did not promise continuance of life absolutely, but upon condition of man's obedience, nor yet his restitution in case he fell, for fall once, and fall finally, there is no recovery by virtue of that old covenant. But now by this gospel covenant, God promiseth many rich blessings which in this our fallen state are needful for us, as pardon of sin, reconciliation, adoption, sanctification, means of grace, daily supports, perseverance, a crown of glory; God gives grace and glory by virtue of it, and what tends to both, and that immutably without failure or defectibility; see Jer. xxxi. 34 -36. xxxiii. 20, 21. Isa. liv. 9, 10.
7. They differ [conditionibus] in the conditions of both; indeed some say obedience is the condition on man's part under both covenants, but surely not the same obedience, the former required personal, perfect, absolute, and perpetual obedience to the commands, both moral and positive, without any deviation to the right-hand, or to the left, if he failed in the least puncHab. ii. 4. + Heb. vi. 17. Acts iii. 25. Rom. iv. 16.
tilio, he was under the curse, Gal. iii. 10; and this obedience must be performed by strength of grace received in his first creation; since man was able to perform it, this condition was highly reasonable. But in the gospel covenant the great condition is faith; a free acceptance of the offered grace, an unfeigned faith, which is not an antecedent condition to the making of the covenant, but subsequent, or intermediate for man's laying hold, and receiving the benefits thereof; yea, God promiseth and worketh what he requires; all faith, repentance, and new obedience, are the gifts of free grace; grace doth all, Rom. iv. 16.
8. They differ [effectis] in the effects of both. The former covenant sheweth what is just, fit, and meet to be done, but ministereth no strength, and therefore man that was under it did not actually keep it; the first covenant never brought salvation to any one soul that was under it; but now this gospel covenant is a quickening spirit, conferreth grace, assisteth all who are under it, and hath brought thousands to heaven, it never faileth of attaining the end, in its own nature it brings life and happiness, 2 Cor. iii. 6-9. Heb. vii. 19. The former is a ministration of condemnation and death,† consequentially because man cannot keep it; this other is a ministration of the Spirit, righteousness and salvation; the former never saves, the latter never finally condemns, but always saves such as are sincerely, and perseveringly within the compass of it.
9. They differ [adjuncto durationis] in the adjunct of duration. The former covenant is antiquated and superseded by the latter, and such as are within the new covenant, are "not under the law, but under grace," and so are "delivered from the curse of the law;"
⚫ Eph. ii. 8. Acts v. 31. Ezek. xi. 19, 20.
+ Rom. viii. 2.
those are dead to the law, who are married to Christ." The new covenant is perpetual and unalterable, it shall continue to the end of time, as it commenced near the beginning of time, as it was designed before all time; "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven,"† it reacheth from eternity, and to all eternity; it was laid in the eternal councils of God, before the world began, and will continue as to its efficacy, when there will be no world; God hath fixed this way of salvation, and will not repent, or retract it. ‡ 10. The old covenant and new differ [sponsore] as to the admission of a surety, the former had none, the latter hath; this indeed is the chief difference betwixt the two covenants. As to the former, the whole weight of this massy fabric of man's happiness was laid on man's shoulders, who though he was of a giant strength by creation, yet he was but a creature, and if God put no trust in his servants, yea his angels he charged with folly,|| how short must man needs be? who though he was perfect in his kind, yet not immutably perfect, and to our sorrow we feel he lost that happiness; but now God hath "laid help upon one that is mighty,"§ even the right hand of omnipotency hath strengthened him; "I will preserve thee, saith God, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to stablish the earth." This, this is the distinguishing characteristic of this glorious dispensation; this forms the Jachin and Boaz of the house of God; this only is the pearl of price that enricheth and adorneth the gold ring of the gospel covenant; this rendereth God approachable by man; this is the rainbow round about the throne;** this is what rendereth the state of cove
*Rom. vi. 14. Gal. iii. 13.
+ Psal. cxix. 86, 89.
Rom. vii. 4.
|| Job iv. 18. • Rev. iv. 3.
nanted souls safe and durable, and elevateth the second covenant so many degrees above the first: "By so much," saith the apostle, "was Jesus made a surety of a better testament," Heb vii. 22; and therefore was it better, because it is in Jesus Christ, this better surety; and now the flames of the burning mount are quenched, the piercing sword has lost its edge, the blackness, darkness, and tempests are removed; Moses may draw near, and not exceedingly fear and quake;* people may endure that which is commanded, for it is ordained in the hands of a mediator.†
Here also this question might be agitated, Whether the covenant of grace be the same under the old testament as under the new?
Answ. Divines generally conclude, that for substance they are the same.
The efficient cause, namely, God's free grace, in making a covenant with men, was the same; the condition the same, that is faith; the design was the same, God's glory, and the good of souls; yet there is a great difference in the manner of administration, consisting in several accidental, mutable circumstances.
1. The old testament exhibited and promised salvation to those who believed in a mediator yet to come, we believe in the Messiah already come.‡
2. To them the gospel was darkly, to us clearly
3. Temporal good things were more ordinarily promised them,|| our blessings are of a more spiritual nature. §
4. The seals annexed to them were circumcision and the passover, to us baptism, and the Lord's supper. T
Heb. xii. 18-24.
1 Pet. i. 11, 12. Heb. ix. 11. § Eph. i. 3. 1 Cor. x. 4.
+ Gal. iii. 19.
| Deut. xxviii.