Benjamin Keach on the Everlasting Covenant (Complete)

Chapter 1 – Identifying The Covenant Of Grace

Beloved, This Covenant was Primarily made with Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the blessed Trinity, as Mediator, and as the Root, common Head and Representative of all the Elect, or all that the Father hath given to Christ, we read of Two Covenants, an Old, and a New, a First, and a Second, a Covenant of Works, and a Covenant of Grace.

The First Covenant was made with the First Adam, for himself and his Posterity, as the common Head of all Mankind, and so also there was a Covenant made with the Second Adam for himself, and all those chosen in him, or all his Seed; and though this Covenant (as to Revelation of it) is called the Second Covenant, yet it was made with Christ for all the Elect Seed, before the World began; God foreseeing Man would fall from his First Estate, and break his Covenant, and so plunge himself and all his Posterity under Divine Wrath and Misery.

Now that there was some Gracious Covenant Transactions, between the Father and the Son, from before all Worlds, about the bringing in and establishment of this blessed Covenant of Grace, for the Redemption of Fallen Man, appears evident from many Texts of Holy Scripture; see that in Zach 6:12,13. And speak unto him, saying, thus saith the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man called the branch, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord, ver. 12. Even he shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and he shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a Priest upon his throne, and the counsel of Peace shall be between them both, ver. 13.

I know, some understand by them both, the Kingly, and Priestly Office of Jesus Christ; First, That as our great High-Priest, he should offer the great Sacrifice to God, to make an Atonement and Reconciliation for us, and rule as King, and give Laws; and thus (say they) the Peace made for God’s People, shall rest between these two, viz. The Kingly, and Priestly Office of Christ; by his Priestly Office, he shall make their Peace with God, and by his Kingly Office, he shall deliver them from the Tyran∣ny of Sin, and Satan, &c. By Priestly Operation and Undertakings, he shall expiate Sin, and by his Kingly Office he shall subdue and extirpate Sin; as a Priest he makes Peace, and as a King he maintains that Peace he purchased as a Priest, and protects as a King; and thus say they, the Co∣venant of Peace is between them both.—I will not deny, but that this may in part, be intended in the Text,— yet I doubt not but by them both, is also meant the Persons spoken of, viz. The Father and the Son, the Lord of Hosts, and the Man called the Branch; for, by them, ’tis most Congruous certainly, to take it for the Persons, or the two Parties mentioned; and the Covenant of Peace, it is plain from other Texts of Scripture, was between the Father and the Son; although I grant the Son on his part, brings it about by his being a Priest, and as a King, sitting and ruling on his Throne, he maintains our Interest: com∣pare this with Is 49:3,4,5,6. God calls Christ forth by the name of Israel, ver. 3. Thou art my Servant O Israel, in whom I will be glorified, (the Name of the Body being given here to the Head, as sometimes the Church bears Christ’s Name, so here he bears the Name of the Church, that the Church in Union with Christ, is called Christ; see 1 Cor 12:12.) as if the Father should so say to the Son, I have fix’d my Thoughts upon thee to be the great Sponsor, and Surety for my Chosen; and I will enter into a Covenant no more with them, without thou wilt undertake for them, and in their Nature and Stead, satisfy for their Sins, and accomplish all my Pleasure; so Is 42:6. I the Lord have called thee, and will hold thy Hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a light of the Gentiles, to declare my Righteousness; or, as ’tis said, Rom 3:26. That God might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus; that I (as if God should say) may appear a Pure, Just, and Righteous God, and so magnifie the attribute of my infinite Holiness, which shines forth in my just and righteous Law, and yet appear also, as I am a merciful and gracious God; therefore I have called thee whom I long ago entered into a Covenant with, for, and in behalf of them, whether Jews or Gentiles, who are chosen; and I will give thee to be for a Covenant, or, the Angel of the Covenant, and the Mediator and Surety thereof, in and by whom the Covenant of my Grace is made and confirmed with my People. To this purpose, speaks also Reverend Mr. Pool, in his Annotations on this Place.

2dly. Also, Christ declares his Agreement and hearty Consent, to undertake in this Covenant as ’tis hinted, Heb 10:7. Then said I, lo I come (in the volume of thy book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God, thy law is in my heart; my delight (saith he) was with the Children of Men, Prov 8:31. And this, before the Mountains were settled, before the Hills were brought forth, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the Earth was. He was ordained as the Head, and great Representative of all that shall be Saved, to undertake for them, and dye for them, and to bring many Sons to Glory: he therefore said, he laid down his Life as the Father gave him Commandment; he was obedient as a Servant, willingly undertook this Work and Office upon him, and so consented, and struck hands with his Father, not for himself but for us, to dye and make an end of Sin, and bring in ever∣lasting Righteousness, Dan 9:24,26. He consented to take our Nature on him, a body hast thou prepared me, and to pay our Debts, to perform the Righteousness of the Law, and to be made a Curse for us, to deliver us from the Curse of the Law which we had broke, Gal 4:4,5. The Lord God hath opened mine Ear, and I was not Rebellious, Is 50:5. I readily did and suffered all that he enjoined upon me, I have not turned away mine Ear from any of God’s Commands, nor my Feet from going where he would send me, how difficult or hard soever my Work was; I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting, ver. 6.

Question, Is not that Covenant which was made between the Father and the Son (considered as the latter, is Mediator) called the Covenant of Redemption, made from all Eternity a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace?

Answ. I Answer, The Stores of Sacred Wisdom, Grace, and Truth, which are treasured up in Divine Revelations, concerning the Nature of God’s Covenant, is so mysterious and difficult for us to know, or find out, that it behoveth us to take heed how we too boldly speak, or write about it; and, yet nevertheless, though the Thing is in it self so sublime, the Mystery of it so great, the declaration of it in the Scripture so Extensive, and diffused through the whole body of it, yet the concernment of it is such, as to our Faith and Comfort, and for the Prevention of Errors and Mistakes, none can be blamed according to their Light, to pry and search into it. I must confess, I have formerly been inclined to believe the Covenant, or Holy Compact between the Father and the Son, was distinct from the Covenant of Grace; but upon farther search, by means of some great Errors sprang up among us, arising (as I conceive) from that Notion, I cannot see that they are Two distinct Covenants, but both one and the same glorious Covenant of Grace, only consisting of Two Parts, or Branches; for as that blessed Compact doth peculiarly respect Christ’s Person as Mediator; and as he is so considered in the Covenant, I do not say it was a Covenant of Grace to him, for he obtains all by Desert and Merit; yet seeing God entered into that Covenant with him, for us, as our Head, Surety and Representative, and not for himself singly, considered, it cannot be any thing else but the Covenant of Grace, as well as the Foundation, or primary Spring of all that Grace, and divine Goodness, that the Elect had, or ever shall partake of, or receive from God; for ’tis (as I may so say) the opening the Sluces or Floodgates of all divine Love and Mercy, to poor lost and undone Mankind, nay, the Grace of God to us in entering into this Covenant with Christ, as our Mediator from before all Worlds, is doubtless, ground of the highest Admiration to Saints and Angels.

And therefore I see not (I say) but that they are but one and the same Covenant of Grace, yet so as that Christ has his Part, Work and Reward distinct from us; he hath all by hard Work, and Merit, that we might have the Blessings he merited freely by Grace alone; Christ in the Covenant of Grace, is the Mediator, we are those he mediates for; Christ is the Head, we are the Body, the covenanted for; Christ is the Surety, we the Poor Debtors and Criminals, he struck hands to satisfy God’s Justice for; Christ is the Redeemer, we the Redeemed; Christ the Saviour, we the Saved; Christ is the Purchaser, we are the Inheritance he purchased, and that it might be thus, Christ entered into this Covenant with the Father for us, out of his infinite Grace and divine Goodness; and it was even like inconceivable Grace and Mercy in God the Father, to find out in his infinite Wisdom, this way, and substitute his own Son in our stead, accept of his Son, prepare a Body for his Son, enter into a Covenant with his Son, anoint and send his Son to redeem us from Sin, Wrath, and Hell. If this Covenant be not the Covenant of Grace, where shall we find it; God’s actual taking us into Covenant, ’tis but that we might drink of this Fountain, or rather, that we might have actual Interest in this Covenant, and whatsoever Christ did in time; or when the fulness of time was come, it was but to put into Execution this Covenant, and to ratifie and visibly confirm this blessed Covenant, that God had made with us in him, before the World began.

The Covenant of Grace (saith Mr. Petto) was made or established, not only with us, but jointly with 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 (saith he) must take in all that conduceth (otherwise than by a mere Decree) to our Restoration and eternal Life. Petto on the Covenant; which is recommended by Dr. Owen, Pag. 18.

2. Where do we read in all the Holy Scripture of Three Covenants, viz. 1. A Covenant of Works, 2. A Covenant of Redemption, 3. A Covenant of Grace: Evident it is to all, that the Holy Ghost only holds forth, or speaks but of Two Covenants, a Covenant of Works, and a Covenant of Grace; the First is call’d, the Old Covenant, the Second, the New Covenant, although both these Covenants had several Revelations, Ministrations, or Editions; as First, the Covenant of Works was primarily made with the First Adam, and all Mankind in him; by virtue of which, he was justified by his own perfect Obedience, before he sinned: True, there was another Edition or Administration of it given to Israel, which tho’ it was a Covenant of Works, i. e. Do this and live, yet it was not given by the Lord to the same End and Design, as the Covenant was given to our First Parents, viz. It was not given to justify them, or to give them eternal Life; For if Righteousness had been by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain, Gal 2:21. And again saith Paul, For if there had been a Law given, that could have given Life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law, Gal 3:21. But indeed, it was impossible Life, Justification, or Righteousness, could be by the Law, or by any Law, because Man hath sinned, and is now unable to answer the Law of perfect Obedience, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God: We must therefore now be justified by the Grace of God, through the Redemption which is in Jesus Christ; but tho’ Man had lost his Power to obey, yet God hath not lost his Power to command.

Therefore, as Dr. Owen shews, it (was added or) revealed in the Wisdom of God, as instructive; as also, to shew the Excellency of that State and Condition, in which we were created; with the Honour that God put upon our Nature: from whence Directions unto a due Apprehension of God and ourselves, may be taken or derived.

It served to shew what a Righteousness Man once had, and by his Transgression lost, and also what a Righteousness ’tis, which the Holiness of God doth re∣quire, in order to our Justification in his sight; for the Law, doubtless, re∣sults not from God, as a simple act of his Sovereignty, but also as a Tran∣script of the Holiness of his Nature and Rectitude of his Will; for without a sinless, or perfect Righteousness, no Flesh can ever be justified in God’s sight; and therefore, such a Righteousness must either be inherent in us or else, according to the Wisdom and Grace of God be imputed to us and therefore, he chose his beloved Son, and entered into a gracious Co∣venant for us, with him, that he in our Nature and Stead, as our Head and Surety, might yield perfect Obedience to the Law which we had broke and for which breach, his Justice, by Christ’s Death, must be satisfied also therefore the Compact, or gracious Covenant, that was before all Worlds made between the Father and the Son, was part of the Covenant of Grace, respecting poor lost and perishing Man, since there was no Redemption without the shedding of Christ’s Blood; hence the Blood of Christ, is called The Blood of the New Covenant.

The Father (saith Mr. Petto) is Contracting with the Son, Is 41:6. I will give thee for a Covenant of the People; therefore that with the Son (saith he) and with the People, is 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, with in the grand Contract with Jesus Christ, as a Branch or 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 distinct one of Suretyship or Redemption with Christ, and another of Grace and Reconciliation with us: that distinction which some use, is improper, for the Parts of it are coincident, seeing that, as with Christ, was out of mee Grace also, Jn 3:16. And it was promised, that Jesus Christ should be given for a Covenant; and 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 reconciling the World unto the Father, 2 Cor 5:18,19, Col 1:20,21.

2. It is true, Christ 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 and degree, yet this hindreth not the oneness of the Cove∣nant with him and us, &c.

3. That Holy Agreement or Compact between the Father and Son, was the Rise, or Spring of the Covenant of Grace, it was made with Jesus Christ, and with us in him; therefore I see no Reason to call them Two distinct and complete Covenants, but two Subjects (as the same Author intimates) of the same Covenant as with Jesus Christ, it had its Constitution from before all Worlds, or we had a Being, tho’ as with us, it has its Application in time after we exist, and are actually in Christ, as part of the promised Seed.

1. The Work of Redemption to expiate Sin, and make Reconciliation; this was Christ’s Work for us.

2. For Application, this is with us by him.

3. He was chosen, Mediator, and undertook the work of Redemption, and so struck up the Covenant from Eternity; but in time he executed it, and intercedes for our Participation in it, Petto p. 21.

4. Therefore as Adam being a common Person or Head of all his Seed, and we in him fell under Sin, Death and Condemnation, by virtue of the Covenant of Works: made with him; even so in Jesus Christ all the Elect partake of Grace and Justification unto Life by that one Covenant of Grace made with him; and in him with all his Seed, he being (I say) a common Person or Head to all the Father hath given to him, in the said Covenant; and indeed, whatsoever was necessary unto our Redemption and Reconciliation he agreed to work it out; they agree in their end, which was God’s Glory, and our Good, (as by and by I shall, God assisting, shew) Salvation of the Seed is the grand Design of it, and therefore the highest Grace and Goodness imaginable to us; and whatsoever we stood, or do stand in need of, in order to Interest by way of Application, is also contained in this Covenant, as it was made with Christ; as 1. Justification by his Knowledge (or by the Knowledge of him) shall my righteous Servant justifie many; for he shall bear their Iniquities, Is 53:11. and that all his Seed shall have such a know∣ledge or Faith, God saith, they shall all know me, &c. for he shall bear their Iniquities; that is, he shall satisfy the Justice and Law of God, and therefore they must be justified or acquitted, otherwise saith Mr. Pool, the same Debt should be twice required and paid: a new Heart is promised to us, Jer 31:31. and was not this promised to Christ for us, in the Text I last mentioned, Is 53:11. (in knowing of God) is not a new Heart comprehended, in these words he shall see his Seed, the fruit of his travel and anguish he pass’d through; that is, they shall be made his, by Regeneration, or Renovation, &c.

5. Is not Union with Christ, the only way to the promised Blessings? and therefore I must say with some of our late worthy Writers, the Co∣venant is made jointly with him and us, all the promises of God are in him, ye, and in him Amen, 2 Cor 1:2. and shall infallibly be made good and accomplished.

6. As Mr. Petto well observes the Covenant expressure from the beginning ran first to Christ, and in him to us.

1. The Promise to Adam, primarily runneth to Christ, as the Woman’s Seed, and so to us in him.

2. To Abraham, in thee, and again, in thy Seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed, Gen 12:3. Gen 22:18. that this Promise refers to Christ, see Gal 3:16. and to us in him, see vers. 29.

3. The Covenant with David runneth to Christ, and also in him to us, Ps 89:20,28,29. I have found David my Servant, my Covenant shall stand fast with him; when did God find him, Was it not before the World be∣gan? Christ we know, is often called David.

But I can’t further enlarge on this, I shall therefore in the next place consider what is brought in Opposition to what I have said upon this Ac∣count.

Object. ‘Tis objected, First, that the Parties are distinct, in the one Covenant, the Father and the Son are the covenanting Parties; in the Covenant of Grace, God and Man; in the Mediatory Covenant, there are two Persons equal: in the Covenant of Grace, there is a superiour God, and an inferiour Man.

Answ. 1st. I would know whether all the Elect were not considered in Christ, and was it not for us that he entered into that Covenant? Is not the Debtor a party with the Surety, and so the Elect a party with Christ? Did Christ enter into a Covenant for himself? tho’ we say he is the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Surety, and not we; yet he entered into that Covenant for us, i. e. as our Saviour and Surety, to satisfy for our Sins, and perfect our Redemption; make us no party in the Salvation of this Covenant (tho’ not the saving or satisfying party) and all our hopes are gone for ever.

Sirs, We shall find the Top Glory of the Covenant of Grace to lie here; was it not infinite Grace and Goodness that moved God to fix upon this way to redeem us, i. e. to propound, offer and accept of a Surety for us, when he might justly have exacted Satisfaction from us, the guilty Debtors and Criminals? Nay, and to choose his own Son to be our Saviour and Surety, and was it not infinite Grace in Christ to accept so readily and heartily of it: ‘Tis plain, here began the Covenant of Grace, i. e. God’s entering into a Covenant with his Son for us, and thus is God the Father the efficient cause of our Redemption.

2. I would know whether in the Covenant of Grace God is said to enter into Covenant with Man, simply considered as in himself; or whether ’tis not with Christ, and so in him with us; if Christ be the Surety of the Covenant of Grace, then God doth not take Christ distinct from us into Covenant with himself: and certainly, our credit was so lost and gone with God, that he would not trust us, with any Covenant-Transaction any more without a Surety, they continued not in my Covenant, and I regarded them not saith the Lord, Heb. 8.9. I would have no more to do with them in a Covenant way; therefore all the Promises of Grace are in Christ, all is managed in Christ, even all the whole Will of God, concerning our Salvation; we are dead till he quickens us, blind till he opens our Eyes; have stony Hearts, and unregenerate, till he breaks our Hearts and renews us by his Spirit: and was not all this comprehended or included in that Covenant our Brethren call the Covenant of Redemption? how then can that be a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace; is dead Man, vile, and depraved Man, capable to enter into a Covenant with God? and is not the quick’ning and changing of his Heart one great Part of the Covenant of Grace, that God promised upon Christ’s Undertakings, that he would do for us, as I have shewed.

Object. 2. The time of making these Covenants is different, the Covenant of Grace was made in time after Man had broken the Covenant of Works; but the Covenant of Redemption was made from Eternity, I was set up from Everlasting, &c. The Revelation of the Covenant of Redemption was in time, but the Stipulation was from Eternity, the Father and Son being actually in Be∣ing, and so Stipulators; the Decree of making the Covenant of Grace was from Eternity, but not the actual Covenant, because there was no Soul to Covenant with.

Answ. I wonder at this Expression: was not the Covenant of Grace, (as I said before) made with us in Christ, as our Head and Representative before the Foundation of the World? and was not those Covenanting Transactions as well as the Spring or Fountain of the cause of all the Grace we receive in the Covenant of Grace, upon the Account of what Christ Covenanted to do, and suffer for us, or in our room and stead: True, the Members were not actually in Being, but the Head was; and if it be not thus, what doth the Apo∣stle mean? Tit. 1.2. In hope of Eternal Life which God that cannot lie promised before the World began. It could not actually be promised to us, we (as they say) having then no Being; therefore it was promised to us in our Head: with whom the Covenant was then for us made? was not Christ set up as Mediator from Everlasting? Was not then the Covenant of Grace as Ancient? We were consider’d in him, because chosen in him; tho’ Christ’s Redemption was not the cause of our Election, yet we were chosen in him as our Head and Redeemer; there∣fore I say, the Stipulation of the Covenant of Grace, was from Eternity, and the Revelation of it was in time, and not till Man had sinned, and broke the Covenant of Works: so that it was more then by Decree and Purpose; the Covenant of Grace in my Text, is called an Everlasting Co∣venant, and it may refer before time, as well as after all time; even from Eternity to Eternity.

For none can doubt, but David was a Type of Christ, and so represented in my Text; the Covenant here spoken of, is that they call the Covenant of Grace, and tho it was Primarily made with the True David, yet so as in him with David the Son of Jesse also; the very same thing we may see in Psal. 89. I have found David my Servant, with my Holy One have I anointed him, v. 20. he is said to be one chosen out of the People, and one that is Mighty, v. 19. and with him this Covenant is said to be made: My Mercy will I keep with him for evermore, and my Covenant shall stand fast with him; his Seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his Throne as the days of Heaven, ver. 26, 29. Now this they confess chiefly respecteth Christ, of whom David was a Figure, and also referreth to that which they call the Covenant of Redemption; if so, then say I, this Covenant must be the Covenant of Grace, because it was made with David the Son of Jesse, I mean it refers to him in Christ, and the like with all Believers also, as all their Salvation and Desire; it cannot rationally be supposed, but that David in my Text doth allude to the Covenant mention’d in this Psalm; although none are actually brought into it, until they Believe, or have actual Union with Christ; yet made with all Believers in Christ from Eternity. I cannot think they will deny that the Covenant of Grace, that Well-ordered Covenant in all things and sure, was primarily made with Christ and with us, in him as our Head; and if so, then say I, if that which they call the Covenant of Redemption be distinct and not this, when was the Covenant of Grace made with him for us? It must either be made before Time, or after Time.

Besides, ’tis evident, that ’tis by the Blood of Christ’s Covenant that we are Redeemed. The Father sends out the Prisoners by the Blood of Christ’s Covenant; that is, according to the Sacred Terms and Conditions agreed upon between them both, and sure I am, the Blood of Christ’s Covenant, is the Blood of the New-Covenant; therefore I cannot see that that which they call the Covenant of Redemption, is a distinct Covenant from the Covenant of Grace.

Object. 3. The Conditions are different, Death and Satisfaction for Sin was the Condition of the Covenant of Redemption. Faith is the Condition of the Covenant of Grace: Death required on Christ’s Part, Faith required on Man’s Part; the giving Christ a Seed, and Eternal Life to that Seed, is the Condition on God’s Part to Christ; the giving Eternal Life only to the Party Believing, is the Condition on God’s Part in the other. So that the Reward in that Covenant, is larger than the Reward promised to us in the Covenant of Grace. In the Covenant of Grace, the Condition runneth thus; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; in the Covenant of Redemption, the Condition runs thus: Make thy Soul an Offering for Sin, and thou shalt see thy Seed.

Answ. I wonder at the Learned Author, who makes these Distinctions, I cannot be of his Mind, I rather judge the difference in the Covenant of Grace or Covenant of Redemption lies here, viz. Christ had some great Work to do, (as the Condition of this Blessed Compact with the Father) on, and in the behalf of his Elect, which was Peculiar to him, i. e. he was to die, and make Satisfaction to offended Justice; he, in the Covenant of Grace or Gospel-Covenant, merited all for us, so that we might have all freely given to us through the Redemption of his Blood, &c.
1. Christ work’d for Life, but we work not, but believe on him that justifies the ungodly.

2. Christ hath not what he hath by Grace, but by Desert; but tho’ our Saviour had his Reward in the Covenant on meriting Conditions, viz. upon his Perfect Obedience to the Law of Works, and being made a Curse for us, and so made a plenary Satisfaction to God’s Justice for our Sins: yet pray what was his Reward? Was he sure or certain of any one Soul, as the Reward of all this hard Work and Sufferings? &c. Why, this Author tells us, he shall see his Seed, or have a Seed; that is, he shall have all the Elect brought in, and united to him, viz. be sure of them, or have this certain Reward, (and not left on uncertain Conditions of Faith and Obedience to be performed by the miserable, depraved and wretched Creature,) which Condition we could not perform; and if this be so, then the Father must bring us in, or draw us to Christ; for except he does that, no one Soul can come to him as Christ himself positively affirms, Joh. 6.44. No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me, draw him: and from hence I ask, whether Power to perform that, which they call the Condition of the Covenant of Grace was not included, or comprehended in the Covenant of Redemption? And if so, how could they be Two distinct Covenants? certainly, in it there was infinite Grace shewed towards us.

3. As to the other Condition in the Covenant of Redemption, it being larger to Christ, than that in the Covenant of Grace. I answer, as the Covenant was primarily made with Christ, it was made with him for all the Elect, as their Head and Surety; and therefore, it must needs be larger as well as it was a meriting Reward: but as we are concerned in the same Covenant, we have nothing as a Reward, because we work not; and as considered as particular Persons, ’tis enough our own particular Souls and Bodies shall be eternally saved, who are united to him as the Reward of his Work: the Condition therefore being made to him as the Head of the whole Body, it must needs be so large and extensive; but as to the particular Members, that can’t comprehend more than he or she that believes as a part of the Seed which he was to see; ’tis enough therefore, that we are the Saved, the Redeemed, and not the Saviours or Redeemers of others.

But if by Virtue of the Covenant of Redemption we are not Redeemed, call it no more the Covenant of Redemption —therefore— 1st. I would know whether Faith which is called the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, was not the Fruit of Christ’s Suffering in pursuit of that Holy Compact? and is it not particularly implied in those Words, he shall see his Seed? but if they be adult Persons, he can never see them if Faith be not given to them (unless the Holy Spirit, that great Promise of the Father be given to them) whereby they are enabled to believe, I will put my Spirit within them, Ezek. 36.27. I will put my fear into their Hearts, a new Heart will I give them, and a new Spirit will I put within them; I will pour my Spirit upon thy Seed, Isa. 44.3. Thy Seed, Who doth he speak to? why, to his Servant, doth not these Promises refer to that Covenant made with Christ, which you call the Covenant of Redemption? and was not Christ assured by the Father, that these Promises should be made good to his Seed; and yet tis evident they belong to the Covenant of Grace, therefore I see not how they can be Two Covenants distinct from each other.

Obj. 4. Christ is the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace, but not the Mediator of the Covenant of Redemption, but a Party; he was the Surety of the Covenant of Grace, the Covenant of Redemption had no Surety, the Father and the Son trusted one another upon the Agreement: the Covenant of Grace is confirmed by the Blood of Christ; but we cannot say that the Covenant of Redemption was confirmed properly by that Blood, any more than as it was a necessary Article in that Covenant.

Answ. All that can be said (as I conceive is this) viz. our Lord Christ when he first entered into the Covenant with the Father for us, to bring in, and accomplish the Covenant of Grace, agreed then to be Mediator and Surety of this Covenant: There are some Transactings where Suretyship is requir’d, which a Surety must do, i. e. he must accept and freely and readily agree to do all that is necessary to be done which the Creditor requires, and the Nature of the said Covenant calls for: yea, and some things that peculiarly belong to him, as Surety. And so it might be here about those glorious and gracious Transactions between the Father and the Son, about the completing the Covenant of Grace concerning the Elect, and (indeed the greatest Expressions and Demonstration of God’s Grace to us appeared in those Covenant Transactions, and all the good we receive (I say again) by he Covenant of Grace are but the Fruits and Product of the Covenant, as it was made with Christ our Head, Mediator and Surety; but among Men, those Things and Covenant Transactions between the Creditor and the Surety, which peculiarly appertain to him; in which, nevertheless the poor Debtor is mainly concerned (it being such things that must be performed by the Surety for him, or he can have no Benefit by the said Covenant), are never called a Covenant distinct in it self from that it refers to, and is a Branch of; or however there is no need of such a formal distinct Covenant, between each covenanting Parties (as primarily considered) when the Covenant which those Transactions refers to, was immediately made. For I know not of any other Covenant of Grace made with Christ for us about our Salvation, but that which they call the Covenant of Redemption, distinct from it, and to say that God entereth into a Covenant of Grace with us, as simply considered in our selves, without Christ being the Chief and Primary Covenanting Party, in our behalf, is of a dangerous Nature to affirm, and must not be admitted of, as will appear hereafter. Besides, the Mediatory Covenant, or that in which Christ is Mediator, is called the New Covenant, or Covenant of Grace, as the term Mediator clearly holds forth; which Covenant to confirm, he shed his own Blood, and the Original making of that Covenant, was at that time, and by that Compact between the Father and the Son for us; for Christ, for himself, had no need to become a Mediator, or to enter into any Covenant with the Father; therefore, I know not what these Mens nice Distinctions signify, unless it be to amuse the World, except it be for a worser purpose, viz. To confirm their new Notion of a conditional Covenant of Faith, and sincere Obedience.

3. The Distinction lies not in Two Covenants, but in the distinct Parts of the said one entire Covenant; one part as it refers to Christ, the other as it respecteth us in the Applicatory part of it by his Grace.

2. Also, in respect of the time of the making of the Covenant, and the Revelation, Execution, and the Application thereof.

1. Christ in the Covenant, First Articled with the Father, to be a Mediator, and in the Execution of the Covenant, actually discharges that Office, and the like, as a Surety.

Obj. 5. Christ performed his Part in the Covenant of Redemption: and by virtue of his Mediatory Covenant, performed the Covenant of Works, but he did confirm, not perform, the Covenant of Grace.

Answ. This is the worst of all, and it seems to be calculated, rather to unfold Arminianism, then to establish sound Divinity.

1st. Hath Christ performed his part so in the Covenant of Redemption, that he hath no more to do, by virtue of his Mediatory Covenant? God forbid, he hath not yet delivered up his Kingdom to the Father. I shall now give you my Reasons (under this particular Branch) why I accept and argue against the Notion of Two distinct Covenants. What says the Arminian, viz. Christ hath performed or fulfilled the Covenant of Works, and made such a full Satisfaction for the breach of the Law, so for all the whole World, that no Man is under the Curse of it, but that all are Justified from that; and he hath put all Men into a capacity to be saved, if they perform the Condition of the Gospel, i. e. Repent, Believe, and live a godly Life to the end of their Days, which God hath given all Men Power to do, if they do but exercise that Power: Christ hath put all Men on their Feet again, and hath made the Condition possible, if not easy, for all to be saved. Christ is not to perform the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, tho’ he did perform, and so take away the Law of Perfect Obedience, or is the end of the Law, for Righteousness; but let them read the whole verse, ’tis but to every one that believes, and sure they forget that all Men are dead in Sins and Trespasses, and must by Christ have a Principle of Spiritual Life infused into them, before they can live, move, or believe in him, Can Man change his own Heart? or, Will that Grace, God affords to all Men do it? What short of Almighty Power can form the Image of God in the Soul, or create us again in Christ Jesus?

2dly, And what is it, which our new Doctrine (in opposition to the ancient Doctrine, on which Saints formerly built all their Hope and Salvation) doth hold forth? Why, Is not the purport of it this? i. e. Christ as Me∣diator, hath so far satisfy’d for the breach of the Law of perfect Obedience, or given to God such a valuable Recompense, that he might justly wave, and not exact or execute the Law of Works, or hath relaxed the Severity thereof, and taken it away, and hath obtained and given, as he is a Law-giver, or Govenor, a milder Law of Grace; and if Men perform the Conditions of Faith, and sincere Obedience, or Faith and Gospel Holiness, they shall be Justified and Saved; so that our Right to Life, and the Favour of God, Peace of Conscience, and Hope of Salvation, do depend upon our Obedience to the Gospel, or New Law, and this Christ hath purchased, should be accepted as our Righteousness, by which we must be Judged. They deny not, but that the Merits of Christ are the Cause of this Gospel Law; his Righteousness imputed, is the Cause for which we are Justified (or rather, ’tis for his Sake) we are Justified and Saved, when we do answer the Rule of the Gospel. I have heard them Preach and have read their Books, and if this be not, in part, what they say, I do not understand them, ’tis such a Mystery of, &c. However, Christ hath done and performed his part in the Mediatory Covenant; the Law of perfect Obedience cannot hurt us, if we conform to the Rule of this milder Law, which Christ doth not perform for us, &c. What do they mean? Is it this? i. e. Christ doth not believe for us; Who says he doth? but

2dly, Hath not he obtained Grace for us, to enable us to believe? Is not he the Author and Finisher of our Faith? Doth not he begin the good Work in us, and will he not perform it unto the end? St. Paul affirms his Confidence in him, that he would do it, Phil. 1.6. And doth not performing imply a Covenant or Promise he has made to do it? If so, then it appears Christ hath more to do for us, then only his performing the Covenant of Works, and confirming the Covenant of Grace. Doth he not say, Other Sheep I have, which are not of this fold, and them I must bring, Joh. 10.16. Must bring, Doth not that Obligation that was upon him, refer to the Covenant made with the Father? and again, he saith, All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me, Joh. 6.37. And that it is his Father’s Will that sent him, that of all that the Father hath given him, he should lose nothing.

Is not Christ the Mediator? (as I have said before of Two) i. e. Is he not to bring us to God, as well as God to us? Who can remove that Enmity that is naturally in our Minds against God, Rom. 8.7. but he only? Why is Christ called a Quickening Spirit, and so full of Grace? Is it not that he might Quicken us, and Communicate of his Grace to us, as he is our Head and (Mediator) and we his Members? Can we subdue the Powers of darkness, or break Satan’s Chains? are we stronger than the strong Man armed? Matt. 12.29. Must not Christ perform all these things for us? or, Doth not the Performance of all this, belong to the Covenant of Grace.

3dly, I suppose the Mistake lies here, viz. Our Authors do only insist upon, or speak of the Application of the Covenant of Grace; true, Christ as Mediator, performed the Covenant of Works for us, without us; he alone, in his own Person, did that, and I must say, he doth not so perform the Applicatory part of the Covenant of Grace, for we act with him, but how? even as we are acted and moved, like as when our Saviour, quickened Lazarus, he then arose and had Life and Motion, and could come out of the Grave; so when he hath quickened us, who were dead in Sin, when the dead hear the voice of the Son of God, by his Spirit they then can act and move, can believe and obey, and do for God from a Right Principle, and to a Right End. Is it not said ’tis God that worketh in us to will and to do of his own good Pleasure, Phil. 2.13. And doth not David say, he would cry to the Lord that performed all things for him, Psal. 57.2.

Pray let me here note Four Things, as touching the Covenant of Grace.
1. The Time when ’twas made with Christ for us: and that was from eternity.

2. When it was first revealed; and that was to our First Parents as soon as they fell, and broke the Covenant of Works.

3. When it was executed, confirmed, and touching the outward Dispensation of it, took its rise or beginning; it was executed by Christ as our Head, when he came into the World, in part, i. e. in his Life, and ratified and confirmed by his Blood: and the rise or beginning of the outward Dispensation of it, was at his Death and Resurrection, when the Old Covenant ceas’d or was abrogated.

4. When and how are we said to have it made with us, or performed to us actually and personally, so as to have real Interest in all the Blessings and Privileges thereof? (For as it respecteth us, it only contains free and absolute Promises, like the Waters of Noah: And not a Law of conditional Faith and Obedience to be performed by us). Now we have not actual Interest in it, and so personally it cannot be said to be made with us, until we have actual Union with Christ, and do believe in him: For want of these Distinctions, I fear some Men run astray. For it seems as if some Men would have us believe, that the Covenant of Grace in the latitude of it, is but that merciful conditional Covenant of Faith, and Gospel Holiness, that God is pleased to enter into with us, and we with him, in our Baptism, and if we perform that Covenant to the end, we shall be Justified and Saved; nay, and so far as we do act in sincere Obedience, so far, we are already Justified; and if this be the Notion of these Men and that we must believe, as they do) then say I, we are not under Grace, but under a Law that will keep us in Doubts and Bondage as long as we live; and if we have no other Righteousness than this, which is either within us, or wrought by us, we shall certainly drop down into Hell when we come to die.

4thly. And by making the Covenant of Redemption distinct from the Covenant of Grace, (in respect of what I am now speaking of) I fear it lay a Foundation for those Errors which are got among us; as if we are to enter into a Covenant with God without Christ’s undertaking for us, as our Surety: for say they, Christ did perform the Covenant of Works, but doth confirm, not perform the Covenant of Grace.

What is the Purport of this Doctrine, as it is improved by our new Methodists? Why, this, viz. In the Mediatory Covenant, Christ made God amends for our breach of the Law of Perfect Obedience by himself alone and for himself, that so he might be a fit Mediator, and merit a New Law of Grace of sincere Obedience; which New Law or Covenant he confirmed by his Death, (so that God now enters into a Covenant with Mankind again) and if we perform the Conditions of it, we shall thereby assuredly have Justification and Eternal Life.

Not that Christ in the Covenant of Grace hath undertaken to perform it for us, but hath left us to work out our Salvation ourselves, though not without the Assistance of the Holy Spirit; and thus Christ is our legal Righteousness in his Mediatory Covenant, yet so too, that by his Merits we have all Gospel-Blessings— How is that? Why thus, i. e. he merited the New Law of Grace, by satisfying for the Law of Works, or as Media∣tor, gave God a satisfying Recompense for our breach of it: but our inherent Faith and Gospel-Holiness with Christ’s Merits (as before) is our Evangelical Righteousness, by which we are justified.

And this is the dangerous Consequence (which I perceive) does attend the allowing of the distinction of two Covenants, which at once (in my Judgment) tends to overthrow the Nature of the Free-grace of God in the Covenant of Grace, which is ordered in all things and sure, as it was made with Christ for us.

Obj. 6. By the Covenant of Redemption, Christ could challenge his Reward upon his own Account; but in the Covenant of Grace, Believers have a Right to the Reward only upon the Account of Christ; there is an intrinsic Worth in the Obedience of Christ, whereby he merited; for there was a Proportion between it, in regard of the Dignity of his Person: but there is no intrinsic Worth in that Grace, which is the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, to merit any thing: there was a Condition of a valuable Consideration required of Christ: the Condition required of us hath no valuable Proportion to the Greatness of the Reward, the Reward was of Debt to him, &c.

1. Answ. I would know what that Reward is which Christ doth challenge, is it not Grace, Righteousness and Eternal Life for all the Elect? True, we merit nothing; but did not Christ merit all for us? Did he merit for himself, and for us only a conditional Covenant? as I shewed before.

2. And may not Believers in Christ lay claim to Christ’s reward? i. e. the Blessings purchased by him as the Fruits of his Merits in a way of Righteousness and Justice, upon the Account of Christ’s Undertakings, as well as in a way of Grace and Mercy: what saith the Apostle, 1 Joh. 1.9. God is faithful and just to forgive us, &c. which (saith our Annotators) more strictly taken, permit him not to exact from us a Satisfaction, Which he hath accepted in the Atonement made by his Son, in his own way applied, and on his own Terms to be accounted to us, that he will not fail to forgive us our Sins, &c.

3. Still the Distinction must (as I conceive) run thus, i. e. Christ had his part in this one Covenant, by Merit he is the Saviour, we have our part in it freely by Grace, being the saved; and what though there is no intrinsic Worth in that Grace which we receive in the Applicatory Part of the Covenant, in order to our actual interest therein: yet there was an intrinsic Worth in his Merits that purchased that Grace for us, and doth not the intrinsic Worth and Merits of Christ appertain to the Covenant of Grace, as it was with him for us as our Mediator and Redeemer? Nay, and is it not from hence Faith and all other Grace is given to us, and cannot Christ challenge of the Father all those he became a Surety and a Redeemer for in the Covenant? The chief Grace still (say I) lies in that you call the Covenant of Redemption, and distinct from the Covenant of Grace.

Obj. 7. The Mediatory Covenant respects others as well as Christ, viz. his Seed; and giving them Glory: but in the Covenant of Grace, the Promise respects only the Particular Person that believes, answering the Terms of the Covenant, &c.

Answ. 1. I see not but here they give away their Cause, and contradict themselves in respect of their first Objection; it appears now they see there were more than two single Parties concerned in the Covenant of Redemption: they here assert, it respects others as well as Christ, viz. All his Seed.

2. We have shewed how none but particular Persons who believe, are concerned in the Application of the Covenant of Grace.—But

3. Doth not the Scripture say Christ is the Mediator of the New Co∣venant, viz. the Covenant of Grace? And doth not this respect as they confess, all his Seed? and can any perform the Terms of this Covenant without Christ, in the Execution of his Office as our Mediator and Surety? He is our Saviour in the Covenant of Grace, that was his Work, his Part; and so consequently he engaged, and will quicken us, renew us, save us, and bring all the Father gave him, to Glory.

Obj. 8. If the Covenant of Grace and that of Redemption were the same, then Christ should be both the Testator and a Party: A Testator maketh not a Will to bequeath Legacies to himself.

Answ. There are divers Disparities between other Testators and the Testatorship of Christ.

1. A Testator among Men, cannot be a Witness to his own last Will and Testament; but so is Christ: he is given by the Father for a Witness to the People of all those Gospel or Covenant-Blessings, he himself a Testator of his own last Will and Testament bequeathed to all Believers he witnesseth these things are his Will, as well as the Father’s, and he is the true and faithful Witness.

2. A Testator among Men, cannot Enjoy or Possess that Kingdom Estate or Inheritance himself after his Death, which he hath given away but Christ the Spiritual Testator, tho’ he hath given the Possession of Glory, &c. to Believers by his last Will and Testament; yet is he a Co-Heir of the same Glory and blessed Inheritance himself, and shall possess it jointly with them.

A Testator among Men, can’t see his own Will executed, but he leaves it to others to be Executors of it: but Christ, by his Spirit, sees his Will executed for tho’ he was dead, He is alive; and behold, he liveth for evermore: he is also a Party with us, he is the Head, we are his Members; and now to close with this, consider the Covenant of Grace was first made with Christ, and with us in him; thus it runs, i. e. Christ purchases and we possess; Christ in this Covenant obtains all by his Work and Merits, we have all of meer Grace: ‘Tis Grace in the Original, in the first making of it with Christ for us; ’tis of Grace in the Execution of it, Confirmation, Publication, and in the Application, in order to our actual Interest.

From the whole, it appears that Covenant they call the Covenant of Redemption, contains the whole Sum; even Matter and Form Condition and Promises of the Covenant of Grace: in that Covenant is contained all the Grace God hath promised, and which we receive; all is obtained upon the Account of Christ’s satisfying for our Sins, and so all the Promises of Grace and Salvation run to us in him: no Love, nor Divine Goodness is manifested to us but in and through that Covenant: therefore not two, but one and the same Covenant; so that the Covenant of Grace it appears, was made by the Holy God, in the Person of the Father, with us in the Person of the Son; mind that Text, Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy Calling, not according to our Works, but according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the Work began, 2 Tim. 1.9. But to proceed,

Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) was a Particular Baptist pastor and prolific writer. He was converted to Christ in his youth and in 1659 began to preach the gospel under the auspices of a free will Baptist church in Buckinghamshire. In 1664, he was arrested on charges of publishing a schismatical catechism for children. He was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment, fined twenty pounds and pilloried for several hours in Aylesbury and Winslow. In 1668, he moved to London and was appointed the Pastor at the Horsleydown congregation in Southwark. Having now come into contact with several Particular Baptist ministers, he began to nurture Calvinistic views of the gospel, becoming one of the leading Particular Baptist ministers in London. He served thirty-six years as the Pastor for the Horsleydown church, was one of the signers of the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith and was the author of more than forty books.

Benjamin Keach on the Everlasting Covenant (Complete)