A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace
Covenant of Grace:
The graduall breakings out of Gospel-
grace from Adam to Christ are clearly discovered,
the differences betwixt the old and new Testament are
laid open, divers errours of Arminians and others are
confuted; the nature of Uprightnesse, and the way
of Christ in bringing the soul into Communion
Together with many other Points, both doctrinally and
practically profitable, are solidly handled.
By that faithfull servant of Jesus Christ, and Minister
of the Gospel, J o h n B a l l.
Published by S i m e o n A s h.
I the Lord have called thee in righteousnesse, and will hold thine hand, and will
keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light of the Gen-
tiles. Isai. 42. 6.
But ye are come unto mount Sion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to Jesus the Mediatour of the new Covenant, and to the bloud of
sprinkling, that speaketh better things then that of Abel. Heb. 12. 22, 24.
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his
Covenant. Psal. 25. 14.
L O N D O N,
Printed by G. Miller for Edward Brewster on Ludgate hill neer
Fleet-bridge at the Signe of the Bible. 1645.
To the Christian Reader.
WE doe not conceive it necessary, to give credit unto the ensuing Treatise by our Testimony, seeing the learned, and holy works of the Reverend Authour doe abundantly praise him in the gate. His Catechisme, with the exposition thereof; his Treatise of the life of Faith, together with other Books more lately published, tending to reconcile the differences of these times, doe sufficiently witnesse to the world, both his great abilities and Pietie. And if God had been pleased to lengthen his life, we believe, he might have been very serviceable, in seeking to reconcile our present sad differences about Church-Government, because (as we understand) he had thorowly studied all those Controversies. But seeing the Lord hath deprived us of his help in that kinde, we are right glad, that the Church shall have the benefit of any labours, which he hath left for publike use, and in speciall of this subject (the Covenant of Grace) so needfull and profitable. And that acquaintance which we had with this faithfull servant of Jesus Christ, doth incline us with all willingnesse, to give our approbation of this piece, although our manifold imployments have not suffered us to peruse it, so exactly, as otherwise we should have done.
We shall desire, that by thy faithfull improvement hereof, thy knowledge of the fœderall transactions betwixt God and his people, through Jesus Christ, may be much augmented, unto his honour, and thine everlasting happinesse, in him, in whom we are,
Thy faithfull Friends,
|Edward Reynolds.||||Thomas Hill.|
|Daniel Cawdrey.||||Anthony Burgess.|
To the Christian Reader.
THe worthy Authour of this Treatise (who was my very dear and much honoured friend) bequeathed unto me, as a legacie of his love, this, with the rest of his Manuscripts. This piece he prepared for the Presse, purposing the enlargement of it, if the Lord had continued his life and health: and I am confident, it would have come abroad better polished; if he having compleated it, had then survayed the whole fabrick, when set together. Although at the first I was unsatisfied in mine own thoughts, whether I should adventure the printing of it, because imperfect, yet upon the importunity of Friends, being incouraged by the judgement of some Reverend Divines, who had perused it, I have now made it publike, without any addition, diminution, or alteration. The subject of the book is excellent, profitable and necessary; even, the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations,Col. 1.26. but now is made manifest to the Saints. That blessed Apostle, who experimentally understood the utmost worth of humane learning, did yet contemne it, in comparison of that knowledge which is taught in this Treatise. I determined not 1 Cor. 2.2.(saith he) to know any thing among you (among you, knowing Corinthians,) save Jesus Christ. Yea, doubtlesse, I count all things but losse,Phil. 3.8. for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. Oh how incomparably sweet and satisfying is it unto a self-studying Christian soul, to be acquainted with the faithfull engagements of the Almighty Majestie, unto the poor penitent sinner, through that Son of his loves, in a Covenant of free, rich, everlasting grace! This Covenant being transacted betwixt Christ and God, here, here lyes the first and most firm foundation of a Christians comfort. I will give thee for a Covenant of the people,Isai. 49.8. and will establish the earth, &c. All the promises of God in him are Yea, 2 Cor. 1.20.and in him Amen, to the glory of God. Therefore the Servants of the most High (notwithstanding their own changeablenesse and unworthinesse) may hold up their hearts and hopes to enjoy all Gospell-Prerogatives through him, because God hath said, Isai. 55.1,3.I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. The right understanding and the fruitfull improvement hereof, will be seasonably supporting and solacing to Gods people in these dolefull distractied times. We have, through Gods mercy, a glorious work, the work of Church-Reformation under hand, now, though difficulties, delayes, and oppositions, doe cast discouragements upon our hearts, yet from hence, we have heartning. The mountains shall depart, Isai. 220.127.116.11.and the hils be removed, but my kindnesse shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee. Oh thou afflicted, and tossed with tempests, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with faire colours, and lay the foundations with Saphires, &c. And when bloudy oppressours prevail and prosper, we may thus plead with our God, Psal. 74.20. Have respect unto the Covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. For the tenour of the Covenant which God makes with Christ and his spirituall seed, runs thus, Psal. 89.31,32.If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments: Then will I visite their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindnesse will I not utterly take from him: nor suffer my faithfulnesse to fail. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips, &c., And, Zech. 9.11.As for thee also, by the bloud of the Covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water. How pretious beyond all expressions are the treasures of Gods love in the Covenant of Promise! These mines are digged up and discovered in this discourse, many obscure Scriptures, full of rich Gospell-Grace are here interpreted from the originall languages, and by a judicious comparing of one place with another. The book (I believe) will commend it self unto the considerate Reader: and because so many godly, learned, well-approved brethren, have been pleased to honour it with their attestation, therefore my further testimony would be altogether needless and unseasonable. If the phrase of speech seeme sometimes knotty and unusuall, I desire that serious attention may take off that discouragement. A little diligence doth often conquer great-appearing difficulties, and love of truth will make laborious in searching after the knowledge of it. The Lord direct and prosper thy perusall of this Treatise, that thereby thy soul may be edified in grace and comfort, through the accomplishment of his glorious Promises in the Lord our Saviour, in whom, and for whom, I will endeavour to approve my self,
Thy faithfull Friend and Servant,
The Contents of the severall Chapters.
Of the first part.
|1.||Of the significations of the word Covenant.||pag. 1.|
|2.||Of the Cov. God made with man in the state of Innocency.||p. 6.|
|3.||Of the Covenant of grace in generall.||p. 14.|
|4.||Of the Covenant of promise.||p. 27.|
|5.||Of the Covenant of promise made with Adam immediately upon|
|his fall.||p. 36.|
|6.||Of the Covenant of grace, as it was made and manifested to|
|7.||Of the Covenant of grace under Moses till the returne of Israel|
|from the Babylonish captivity.||p. 92.|
|8.||A particular explication of the Covenant, that God made with|
|Israel and what Moses brought to the further expressure of the|
|Covenant of grace.||p. 122.|
|9.||Of the Covenant that God made with David.||p. 143.|
|10.||Of the Covenant that God made with Israell after the Babylonish captivity.||p. 156.|
|11.||Of Truth and uprightnesse.||p. 166.|
The second part
|1.||Of the New Testament, or Covenant, and how God hath revealed|
|himselfe herein.||p. 194.|
|2.||Christ the Mediatour of the New Testament, for whom he dyed|
|and rose againe.||p. 203.|
|3.||How Christ hath fulfilled the office of Mediatour, or how he is the|
|Mediatour of the New Testament.||p. 264.|
|4.||How Christ doth bring his people into Covenant, or fellowship with|
|5.||How Christians answer to the call of Christ, and so come to have|
|Fellowship with him.||p. 345.|
|Pag. 1. l. 1. marg. ברית||p. 12. l. 23 r. how that faith which the exact|
justice in the Covenant of nature presupposeth
|p. 16. l penult. r. with Christ .||p. 37. marg. τρίβοι αἰώνιοι & post. αἰσχυνή|
|p. 41. l. ult. dele is.||p. 54. mar. ἤκην ὑλώδης.|
|p. 56. marg. parvo nesciat.||p. 70. l. 26. r. challenge that.|
|p. 73. lin penult. אחר||p. 143. lin. ult. ὕψωσας.|
|p. 204. l. 30. positions.||p. 258. lin. ult. and then|
|p. 262. l. 1. believe not.||p. 268. l. 5. dele as.|
|p. 278. l. 11. surrogation.||p. 279. l. 23. כפר|
|p. 280. l. 35. dele which is penall only, not sinfull.||p. 287. l. 4. ἀντίψυχος.|
|p. 290. l. 30. payeth.||p. 301. l. 13. never.|
|p. 309. mar. ὑψηλὰ, ὑψίστοις, &c.||p. 317. l. 20. the former by reall union, that is.|
|p. 320. l. 2. or which are. l. 3. are the works.||p. 330. l. 19. deferred, l. 21. deferred no longer.|
|p. 149. l. 1. 2 Sam. 23. 5.|
Covenant of Grace.
C h a p. I.
Of the significations of the word Covenant.
place, Where the LXX. and Theodotio translate it διαθήκη, Symmachus and Aquila turne it συνθήκη. Psal. 25. 14. Nor is it a thing unusuall with classicall Authors of the Greeke tongue to use the word διαθήκη in the generall signification; For Camerarius citeth out of Aristophan. de Avibus, διαθεῖναι, διαθήκην, used for to make a Covenant. The Papists carpe at our Interpreters, because they render the word Covenant, rather then Testament: for they would have it to signifie a testamentary disposition. But they are deceived, for the signification of the word is more generall: and the Apostle Heb. 9. 16. argueth not from the simple signification of the word, but the circumstances of the Covenant. In a Covenant and Testament both, there is an ordination and disposition of things according to pleasure: and the Greeke phrase in the New Testament doth follow the received Interpretation of the Septuagint; although in this the Covenant of Grace is like to a Testament, that it is not established but by the death of the Mediatour as of a Testator.
The Covenant in Scripture doth sometimes signifie an absolute Promise of God, without any stipulation at all, such as was the Covenant which God made with Noah presently after the Floud, promising freely, that he would never destroy man and beasts with an universall deluge of water any more. Gen. 9. 11. Sept. στήσω την διαθήκην. And that Covenant of Peace, and everlasting Covenant which God made with Phinehas, that he and his seed after him should have the Covenant of an everlasting Priesthood. Numb. 25. 12, 13. Of this kind is the Covenant wherein God promiseth that he will give his elect faith and perseverance, Jer. 33. 20. to which promise no condition annexed can be conceived in mind, which is not comprehended in the Promise it selfe. Heb. 8. 10.
But oftentimes in holy Writ the name Covenant is so used, that in it is plainly signified a free Promise of God, but with stipulation of duty from the reasonable creature, which otherwise was due, no promise comming betwixt, Psal. 50. 16. Syr. Quid tibi & libris præceptorum mearum, quod assumpseris pactum meum.. and might have been exacted of God, and ought to have been performed of the creature, if God had so pleased, Psal. 50. 16. and 25. 10. Psal. 44. 17. For a Covenant is quiddam complexum, implying two things, distinguished either re or ratione, the one covenanting, the other restipulating or accepting. As also two parts covenanted. First, the giving of some future good. Secondly, the retribution of some performance. The first without the second, is no more then a Promise: the second without the first is no lesse then a Law, though the Apostle, Gal. 3. 22. makes another opposition of Law and Promise, nature and faith, workes and Christ, for that is from a divers acceptation of the Promise. But when two persons upon these two parts concurre, it is that we call a Covenant properly: though tropically sometimes the Promise, and sometimes the stipulation only is noted by the Covenant. Psal. 50. 5. Nehem. 1. 9. Gen. 17. 7, 9. and sometimes the seale of the Covenant is called the Covenant. Gen. 17. 10, 11.
This distinction of the Covenant depends upon a distinction of Gods love; for there is a love of God towards the creature, whence all the good that is in the creature doth flow, and there is a love of God vouchsafed to the creature, and that for those things which it hath received, not of it selfe, but of God, as it was beloved with that first love. That we may call primary or antecedent (for distinction sake) this secondary or consequent love. From that flowes both the making and fulfilling of the Absolute Covenant: on this depends the fulfilling of the Covenant, whereunto a restipulation is annexed, but not the making thereof. For in the Absolute Covenant there is nothing in the creature that might move God, either to promise, or to performe what he hath promised: but in the Covenant to which a stipulation is annexed, God fulfils what he promised, because the creature exhibits what was exacted, although this that God hath entered into such a Covenant, and promised so great things unto him that performed such and such obedience, that wholly proceeds from the antecedent love, and free pleasure of Almighty God. The essence of the Covenant properly consisteth in the Promise and stipulation: But the words of the Covenant containe obedience required of God, and promised of them in Covenant, and so by a Metonymie are called the Covenant. Exod. 34. 27, 28. Deut. 29. 1. Jer. 11. 2, 3, 4. and 34. 13, 14. The Tables of the Law were the Tables of the Covenant. The Covenant and Law differ, as friendship and tables obligatory to friendship: he that violates these, is convinced to breake this: Heb. 8. 1, 2. and the tables of the Covenant of Law are called the Covenant or Testament, and the Book of the Covenant. Exod. 24. 4, 7. 2 King. 23. 2. A Covenant is made betwixt men