Benjamin Keach on the Everlasting Covenant (Complete)

Chapter 2 – Describing The Covenant Of Grace

2dly. I shall open the Excellent Nature of this Glorious and Everlasting Covenant.

1. ‘Tis, you have heard, all of Grace, as it respecteth us, tho’ Jesus Christ paid dear for it; he procured all the Blessings of it for us, by his Merits, i. e. by his Perfect Obedience and Suffering: By Grace ye are saved through Faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God, Eph. 2.8. not of Works; lest any man should boast: for we are his Workmanship created in Christ Jesus to good Works, v. 10. not by Works of Righteousness that we have done, but by his Mercy he saved us, Tit. 3.5.

2. ‘Tis as it appears from hence, an Absolute, and not a Conditional Covenant: not if we do this and that, viz get a new Heart, and perform the Condition of Gospel-Holiness and Obedience, we shall have pardon and be justified; no, but otherwise: He that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his Faith is counted for Righteousness, Rom. 4.5. all is freely of Grace through Christ’s Merit, I will take away the Heart of Stone, and give them a Heart of Flesh, a new Heart I will give them, and new Spirit I will put within them: I will be their God, and they shall be my People.

Now ’tis question’d, (saith Reverend Cotton,) whether the Promise wherein the Lord giveth himself, be Absolute or Conditional? Faith to receive Christ is ever upon an Absolute Promise. If you will say, it is a Promise to a Condition, what kind of Condition was it? There is no Condition before Faith, but a Condition of Misery, a lost Condition; or if a gracious Condition, it is a Condition subsequent, not pre-existant, no Condition before it, whereby a Man can close with Christ: and if it was a Condition after Faith unto which the Promise was made, then Faith was before; and thatsoever followeth Conversion, is no ground of Faith, but a fruit and Effect of it: therefore I say, our first coming to Christ can∣not be upon a Conditional, but an Absolute Promise.

And indeed (saith he) if ever the Lord minister Comfort unto any Man, true Comfort upon good grounds, it is built upon a Promise of Free Grace, be unto Justification received: it is true indeed, a gracious Question and a Promise to it, may give a good Evidence of its Aposteriore: Cotton’s Treatise of the New Covenant, p. 56, 57. and again (he saith) God doth give himself in working Faith, before Faith can be there; and therefore it is the Fruit of the Spirit that Faith is wrought in the Soul, and this Faith doth receive the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ himself by his Spirit, and doth receive also Justification and Adoption: Again (saith he) a man is passive in his Regeneration as in Generation, only the Lord giveth us his Spirit and that doth unite us unto Christ, which is received by Faith, together with Justification; and yet by the Act of Believing we are justified, also Gal. 2.26. that is manifested to be justified in our own Consciences, p. 55. thus far Mr. Cotton. What are we able to do, when dead in Sin and Trespasses? Can we believe before the Habit is infused from whence the Act proceedeth? or move before we have Life or are quickened?

3. It is a well ordered Covenant: for that Covenant that is ordered in all things, is well ordered, &c. but to make this further manifest, I shall shew you that ’tis well ordered, 1. In respect of God (I mean) for his Glory, in all his glorious Attributes. 2. ‘Tis well order’d in respect of the Glory clear Revelation, and Manifestation of the Three Persons in the God-Head, that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Spirit; these Three are One in Essence, yet three Subsistances. 3. ‘Tis well order’d to confound and destroy the grand Works and Design of the Devil. 4. ‘Tis well order’d in respect of God’s Holy Law, that the Sanction and Honour of the Law might not be lost or suffer the least Eclipse. 5. And lastly, ’tis well order’d for our good. A little briefly to each of these.

First, His Covenant is well order’d, in respect had to the Glory of all God’s Attributes.

1. The Sovereignty of God shines forth gloriously in the Contrivance and bringing in this Covenant; for God he having Absolute Dominion for ever over the Works of his Hands, to dispose and determine them as seemeth him good; and doubtless to manifest his own Sovereignty, he created both Angels and Men; And part of the first sinning against him, he leaves for ever under that Wrath and Misery they brought upon themselves; and the other he determined out of his Sovereignty to confirm in their Primitive State.

And also part of Mankind he left under that Wrath they brought upon themselves by original and actual Iniquity, and affords no eternal Redemption to; and indeed, ’tis only Sovereign Grace he afforded a Saviour for any of the Off-spring of fall’n Man: for he was not under any Obligation to enter into a Covenant for any of them, any more than he was not to redeem the fall’n Angels: he would therefore have been just, if he had let us all have perished under Sin, and his own fearful Wrath, as he dealt by them.

2dly, His infinite Wisdom shines forth in this gracious Covenant, and hence the Gospel is called the manifold Wisdom of God, Eph. 3.10. which may refer to the whole Economy of our Redemption, as also to the several Forms and Manners of God’s revealing of it to his Church and People: ’tis called the Wisdom of God in a Mystery, even his hidden Wisdom which was ordained before the World began to our Glory, 1 Cor. 2.7. Divine Wisdom hath admirably in this Covenant mixt all the Attributes together with unexpressible Sweetness and exact Harmony, that Justice cannot triumph o∣ver Mercy, nor Mercy glory over Justice, but they meet together and sweetly kiss each other, and it was infinite Wisdom, (I say) that found out this way: therefore ’tis hereby wonderfully glorified in the sight of Men and Angels.

3ly. God’s Divine Love, Mercy and Goodness to lost Man, to admiration is displayed hereby, God so loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son, &c. Joh. 3.16. rather than Mankind should be utterly lost, he will enter into a Covenant with his own Son, and substitute him our Mediator, Head and Surety to satisfy for our Sins; and be made a Curse for us: that so by his own Free-Grace through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, we might be reconciled, justified and eternally saved i. e. by his Merits and Righteous∣ness imputed to us: there was nothing in Man to oblige God to pity him, we were his Enemies, when Christ died for us; and he offered and propounded this glorious Contrivance of his Wisdom to his Beloved Son in the Covenant of our Peace, out of his infinite Love and Goodness, as seeing us fall’n, and lying in our Blood, it was as we were in that woeful Condition he first loved us, and as the Effects of that Love entered into a Covenant with the Son for us.

4thly. His Divine Justice and Infinite Holiness shines forth hereby also, that God might be Just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, Rom. 3.26. that is, that God might appear to be Just as well as Gracious: true, God had been just if Mankind had been left for ever under his divine Wrath and Vengeance (as it is upon the fall’n Angels) but then his Mercy had for ever been veiled, and had never appeared to any of his Creatures; and yet that Justice might not suffer the least Eclipse or lose any of its Glory, Christ shall bear our Sins upon his own Body on the Tree, and suffer that Wrath that Justice denounced upon the Sinner for the Breach of the Holy Law. God can as soon cease to be God, as cease to be Just; nor could any Justice or Righteousness justifie us, but that which is Pure and Spotless, or without Sin, (Justice is not to be consider’d in God, as ’tis in Man; who can forgive, without requiring Satisfaction wherein he hath been wronged?) The Law was but a Transcript or written Impression of his Holy Nature, and discovers what a Righteousness it is we must be found in, if we are ever justified in his sight.

If God had not been gracious, he had not accepted of a Substitute, and if his Justice had not been satisfied, and his Wrath appeased, he had never raised this Substitute from the dead.

This Crucified Redeemer (saith Reverend Charnock) only was able to effect this Work; he was an infinite Person, consisting of a divine and humane Nature, the Union of the one, gave Value to the Suffering of the other; the Word of God was past in his threatning, his Justice would demand its right of his Veracity: a Sacrifice there must be to repair the Honour of God, &c. Justice must have Satisfaction, the Sinner could not give it without Suffering eternal Punishment: Christ then puts himself into our place, to free us from the Arrest of Justice— So that now God can pardon the Sins of Believers with the Glory of his Righteousness, as well as of his Grace; and legally justifie a believing Sinner without the least impeachment of his Justice.

5thly. God’s divine Power and Omnipotence also, is exalted by this Covenant; in his raising up a poor fall’n and lost Creature, sunk as low as Hell (under the weight of fearful Guilt and Wrath, lying under the powers of infernal Spirits) to dwell with him in the highest Heavens for ever: but God’s Power, doth not only appear in respect of that glorious Conquest Christ obtain’d over Sin, Satan, and Death, at his Resurrection, in the actual Execution and Accomplishment of his holy Compact, with the Father without us; but also in working in us, by his putting forth his Almighty Power in working Faith in our Souls, after the same manner that he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the Dead, Eph. 1.19, 20. he raised us with Christ from the Dead, when Christ was rais’d virtually, as he was our Head; and also doth actually quickens us, and raises us up by his Spirit, Eph. 2.1, 2. destroying those evil and vicious Habits, Sin and Satan had infused into us, and so bringeth us out of Darkness into Light, and from the power of Satan, unto God.

6thly. God’s Veracity and Faithfulness shines forth also hereby: his threatening is made good upon us in Christ’s undergoing Death and the Curse, due to us for our Sins; as also in making good what he sware to the True David, and promised to his Seed, in sending of his Son, when the fulness of time was come, made of a Woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, Gal. 4.4. the Woman’s Seed hath bruised the Head of the Serpent: so much as to this.— But,

Secondly, In this Covenant there is a clear Revelation or Manifestation of the Three Persons in the Deity, and their Glory doth equally and jointly shine forth: every one acting a part in it under the Old Covenant, there was but a dark Discovery of God personally considered, tho’ it was made known as soon as the Covenant of Grace was manifested to Man; in the Gospel, is a full Declaration of their distinct Personality; the Father sending the Son as a Mediator, the Son dying for our Sins, and the Spirit sanctifying our Souls: the Father by eternal Generation begetting the Son, the Son begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; yet all Three are but one and the same God. But to proceed.

1. The Glory of God the Father shines forth in the Covenant of Grace; for the Father is holden forth as the Primary, and efficient Cause, (in his Wisdom, Grace and Love) of our Salvation, and of all those Blessings of Peace and Reconciliation we have therein: All things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 5.18, 19. God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself. Tho’ the whole Trinity are concerned in our Salvation, yet (as our Protestant Writers observe) each Person acts a distinct Part in it, the Father chose and substituted Christ to do this glorious Work, and accepted him in our stead, as our Surety and Saviour; God the Father prepared him a Body, a Body hast thou prepared me, Heb. 10.5. he sent him also into the World, (as our Saviour asserts) many times in the Gospel Recorded by St. John, the Father anointed him with the Holy Spirit above his fellows, to undertake for us in this Covenant, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to Preach the Gospel to the poor, &c. Luk. 4.18. the Father calls him his Servant, whom he upheld and strengthened in doing that great Work, and he is said to be raised up from the Dead by the Power or Glory of the Father: the Father is indeed represented as the injured Person, he had therefore the only Right to offer and fix on such Terms which the Purity of his Holy Nature, and Honour of his Sovereign Majesty, required as rightful Judge and Governor; had not the Father chosen, accepted and approved of him for doing of this great Work, his undertakings could not have availed us to the Salvation of our Souls; besides the Glory of God the Father must not be eclipsed, while we exalt the eternal Son in our Redemption: all the Benefit therefore we receive by the Blood and Merits of Christ, are ascribed to the free Grace of God the Father, after that the Kindness and Love of God our Saviour appeared, Tit. 3.4. the Father chose us in Christ, as well as gave him for us, and commanded him to lay down his Life to redeem us.

2dly. This Covenant is so well ordered, that the Glory of Jesus Christ is magnified herein wonderfully.

1. In that herein he is proclaimed the Only True God, by whom the World was made the Brightness of the Father’s Glory, and express Image of his Per∣son, Heb. 1.3. and when he brought him into the World. he saith, and let all the Angels of God Worship him. Now Divine Worship appertains to none but to him that is God by Nature.

2. Christ’s Love shines forth in this Covenant, as well as his Deity, or Godhead; in his ready, gracious and voluntary Acceptation of that glorious Design of saving us miserable Creatures; it was Christ who wrought out the Garment or Robe of Righteousness for us, tho’ the Father prepared him a Body to do it: Christ kept the Law of the first Covenant, for us, and overcome all our Enemies hence he said, Be of good cheer, I have overcome the World, Joh. 16.33. why should we be of good cheer upon his overcoming the World, if it was not for us, and to assure us that we shall overcome it? Nay, and we did overcome it in him, he overcame Sin, made an end of Sin as to its killing and Soul-condemning Power, Dan. 9.24. he shed his Blood to make our Peace with God the Father; he received the Spirit without Measure, to communicate it to us. Christ loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own Blood, Rev. 1.5.

He makes Intercession for us, who is he that Condemneth, it is Christ that died; yea, or rather, that is risen again, who is even at the Right Hand of God, who also maketh Intercession for us, Rom. 8.34. He pleads his own Sacrifices with the Father for us, he presents our Persons (as the High-Priest under the Law did the Names of the Children of Israel, when he appeared before the Lord, on the Breast-Plate of Judgment) before the Father, and in him also our spiritual Services are accepted: we are justified in him, he is the Lord our Righteousness, we have pardon of sin through his Blood, he is our Bridegroom, he came from Heaven to offer his Love to us, and to espouse us for himself; he that has the Bride, is the Bridegroom; ’tis he that offers up our Prayers as sweet Incense to the Father, he is the Author and Finisher of our Faith, he is the Covenant it self, our Head, our Mediator, our Priest, our King, our Prophet, our Surety, our Shepherd, our Captain; he is made of God, unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1.30. Christ is all, and in all, in this Covenant, so that his Glory shines forth admirably in it.

3dly, The Glory of the Holy Ghost, the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity shines forth in this Covenant also.

1. The Holy Ghost is positively declared in the Gospel to be God: St. Peter told Annanias, He had not lied unto Men, but to God, Act. 5.3. His Sin was against the Holy Spirit; and to aggravate it, the Apostle told him, the Holy Spirit was God, to whom he had lied. Ye are the Temple of the Living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and again, Know ye not, that ye are the Temple of God. All acknowledge, God in these places, refers to the Holy Ghost; moreover, we are Baptised in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; and so we Dedicate and Devote our selves in Baptism, to serve and worship the Holy Ghost, as well as the Father and the Son. Doth not Paul close his Epistles, with a sort of Prayer, to the Holy Spirit, as well to the Father, and to the Son? The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, Amen. 2. Cor. 14.14.

2. As touching his Work and Operations, the Holy Spirit convinceth of Sin, this is his Office in this Covenant, He shall convince the World of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, John 16.8, 9. The Spirit convinces our Souls of the great Evil of Sin, (as ’tis against a Holy, Gracious, and Good God) he convinces the Soul of all Sin, of Secret and Heart Sins, and particularly of the Sin of Unbelief, He shall convince the World of Sin, because they believe not in me: The Law cannot do this, nor the Light within; al∣so, the Spirit convinceth us of that great Enmity, that is in our Hearts naturally against God, Rom. 8.7. He convinceth us of the guilt of Sin, and of the pollution of Sin; the Holy Spirit convinces Sinners of the want of God’s Image, and shews them how unlike God they are naturally, and how much like the Devil: the Holy Spirit convinceth Sinners of the Prevalency of Sin, His Servants you are, to whom you yield your selves up to Obey; he convinces of the Danger of Sin, of the Soul-killing and damn∣ing Power thereof: Also, The Holy Spirit convinceth us of the want of Righteousness in ourselves to justify us in God’s sight; and also convinceth us, That Christ’s Righteousness is able to justify and save us; because Christ thereby went to the Father, his Righteousness caried him to the Father, (as our Representative) and that Righteousness that carried him to the Father, as Mediator, will bring us thither: Who believe in him, or are of his Seed.

3. The Work and Office of the Spirit, in this Covenant, is to quicken all that the Father hath given to Christ.

4. The Spirit renews, regenerates, or renovates our Souls; ’tis the Spirit that works God’s Image in us, we are Changed from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2. Cor. 3.18.

5. The Glory of the Holy Ghost shines forth in the Covenant of Grace, as our Sanctifier; for it is the Spirit that infuses new Habits, divine and gracious Qualities in our Souls, new Thoughts, new Desires, new and holy Affections, new Delights, Joy, Peace, and Consolation; the Spirit is an Earnest of future Glory, ’tis the Spirit that is our Comforter, ’tis he that strengthens us, and bears up our Souls in Trouble.

6. The Holy Spirit puts on the Robe of Righteousness upon us, by uniting of our Souls to Jesus Christ.

7. The Holy Ghost works all Grace in us, Faith is called, the Faith of the Operation of God; (the Spirit is God) likewise, Faith is called, a Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5.22. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, also by the Holy Ghost, Rom. 5.5.

In a word, all the Graces are by, and from the Spirit; hence he is called, The Spirit of Grace: But we had never drank of this sweet Stream, had not Christ, in the Covenant, opened the Fountain. The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified, Joh. 7.39. The Spirit is promised first to Christ, and then to his Seed: Thus (and in many other Respects) the Holy Spirit is glorified, and his excellent Operations shew themselves, and shine forth in the Covenant of Grace; the ministration of the Gospel, is called, the Ministration of the Spirit. So much as to this.

3dly, I shall proceed to shew you, That the Covenant is well ordered to confound and destroy the Works and grand Design of Satan. To this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the De∣vil, 1 Joh. 3.8.

1. By this Covenant, Satan is defeated, and his Hopes overthrown; who, doubtless, thought to have trodden Mankind under his Feet for ever. How would he have Gloried and have Blasphemed God, had not this Covenant been provided? would not he have said, Where is thy Creature Man, that thou madest but a little lower than the Angels, and made a Ruler over thy nether Creation? Have not I done his Business for him? Lo! he is become my Creature, he hath cast thee off, and his Obedience to thee. Where is that Image now which thou stampt on his Soul?

2. Is it not said, The Seed of the Woman shall bruise his Head? This was one grand Cause, why God entered into this Covenant with Christ; and remarkable it is, and ever to be Remembered, that Satan entered into Judas to betray our Saviour; he concluded, doubtless, if he could bring Christ to Death, he should do his business; but that way the Devil thought to gain all, he lost all, and overthrew himself, and his Kingdom, for ever. Christ by death, destroyed death, and him that had the power of death, which is the Devil, Heb. 2.14. He hath led captivity captive, Eph. 4.8. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it, Col. 2.15.

4. By the New Covenant, God hath greatly honoured his Holy and Righteous Law; that receives no Damage hereby, nor doth its Glory suffer the least Eclipse, but contrariwise, ’tis magnified to the wonderment of Men, and Angels, and that Two ways.

1. In respect of Christ’s perfect Conformity to it, in his holy and spotless Life, in our Nature and in our Stead; who, by Reason of Sin, could not fulfill the exact Righteousness thereof; but rather than it should lose the least Part of its Glory, the Second Person of the Trinity shall come from Heaven, and assume Man’s Nature, and discharge the whole active Obedience which it did require of us.— And then

2ly, In his cursed and bitter Death, by which he answer’d for our breach of it, and considering the Dignity of his Person, he being God, as well as Man, his Death and Suffering was a far greater Satisfaction for our Sins then if we had suffered in Hell, because we thereby should have always been a paying, but never could have paid our Debt to satisfy Divine Justice and therefore, must have lain in Prison under incensed Wrath, to the Day of Eternity: And thus he Answered the Law, and Silences the con∣demning Power thereof, and break all his strong Cords and Bands to pieces, that kept us down under Wrath; and thereby dissolv’d all its grievous Anathema’s; for Christ being made a curse for us, hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, Gal. 3.13. viz. From that amazing Sentence of the Holy God, denounced in his Law against us offending and guilty Sinners: So that now there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8. Because they are, by the Body, and Sufferings of Christ become dead to the Law (or rather, that dead to them) which was fully effected at his glorious Resurrection; it was indeed the Law, respecting the Penalty of it that brought Christ to death, whose full Sentence in the Execution of it he endured on the Cross, as he was substituted in our Place, that so we in a way of Righteousness, might be Justified, as well as be Pardoned in a way of free Grace: (because God, and not we, found out the surety, way and manner of the satisfying both the Law, and his own infinite Justice, we have all freely, without Money, or Price.) And thus God, in and by Jesus Christ, as he before purposed, did magnify his Law, and make it honourable. Do we (saith the Apostle) make void the law through faith? God for∣bid: yea, we established the Law, Rom. 3.31. God did not Repent, he gave the Law of perfect Obedience; for what could suit better with the Puri∣ty of his Holy Nature; nor could any Righteousness, short of a perfect Righteousness, Justify us: He did not therefore Design, by the Mediation and Obedience of Christ, to destroy the Law, or take any Recompense in the room of it, that every way did not Answer the Righteousness it required, and make Satisfaction for the Breach thereof: therefore, by Faith (that is) by having Christ’s perfect Righteousness imputed to us, in his exact Conformity to the Law, by his active and passive Obedience; we establish the Law, and make it honourable. If by any Law, as God is a Rector or Governor, Justification, or eternal Life, is to be had, it must be a Law of perfect Obedience, God’s Holy and Righteous Nature requiring it; and no Law of imperfect Obedience, tho’ never so Sincerely performed, can answer God’s Justice, nor be agreeable with the Purity of his Nature, infinite Wisdom and Holiness: For, if such a Law could have been consistent with the Wisdom, Holiness, and Justice of God, certainly he would never, at First, have made a Law of perfect Obedience, which, to remove out of the way, (that he might bring in the latter) must cost him the Blood of his own dear Son.

1. Therefore, it was the Law of Innocency, the Law of Works, or that Law which required perfect Obedience, given to Israel, which Jesus Christ fulfilled for us; and not a peculiar Law of his own Mediation, made up of some Moral Commands, some Jewish, and some peculiar to his own Person, (as some assert) And

2dly, That he did Obey, and suffer in Obedience to the Law, in our stead; and we are accepted by, and for that Obedience of his, (for else, the Glory of that Law is darkened) and not that his Obedience did only procure, or merit a milder Law, or easier Terms of Life, and Righteousness, and we not be dealt with, according to the Law of Works, but according to the New Law of Grace; and in the Third Place.

3dly, The Righteousness, and Benefits of Christ’s Righteousness, is made ours, when we rely, or trust to God’s free Promise, as the immediate and sole Cause of Pardon and Life, (as all true Protestants formerly affirmed) and not by Christ’s procuring a New Covenant for us to enter into with God, which if we answer the Condition thereof, i. e. repent and believe, we shall be saved. Which Faith (as Mr. Baxter, Mr. W, &c. assert) taken in the full Extent and Latitude, is nothing else but universal Obedience, and that so it is to be understood, when ’tis said, that Faith, alone Justifies, viz. Faith and all other Graces, both in Habit and Exercise, Mr. Bax∣ter’s Aph. 65. And they that thus believe and obey the Gospel, shall be saved, though their Obedience be not perfect; but if Christ fulfilled the Law for us, then (say I) that Obedience of his, must be imputed to us, as if we had wrought it, and so we, by the Application of that Righteousness, are Justified in God’s sight, from the Accusation of the Law, without any Works, or procuring Conditions, performed by us.

But (as one observes) when these Men speak of Faith, as a single Grace, ’tis defined to be a sincere Acceptance of Christ, as Lord and Saviour, and so it Justifies merely, as it is a consenting, to be ruled and saved by Christ; which is, (saith he) neither an Assent to the Truth of the Promises, nor Assurance or Trust in them (one, or both of which, all Men understand by Faith, both in Scripture and common Speaking) but it is an Act of Obedience, or rather a Covenant, or Promise of Obedience, whereby a Man engageth, That he will seek after Salvation, in ways of Obedience to Christ’s Commands; and indeed, they refer to the Baptismal Covenant made in Infancy: And thus Faith Justifies, (as they intimate) as it doth in part, fulfill the New Law, by engaging us to Obedience; and in all this, Christ is look’d upon as King or Rector chiefly, and not as a Saviour; for, (as Mr. Troughton notes) if Christ’s Righteousness doth not immediately Justify us, and is made ours, then he is a Saviour but remotely as the Word is usually taken, to denote his making Satisfaction for us, as a Priest, viz. As by his Death he procured a Possibility of Pardon, and makes way for a New Covenant to be made with Man; so that Christ’s main Business, as a Savour, by this Opinion, is to grant new and tolerable Terms of Salvation, to command Faith, Repentance and Obedience, and to annex a Promise of eternal Life to them, and so to justify and save us, if we fulfill these Conditions to the end of our Days; and that God, as a just and impartial Judge, will give Sentence for, or against us, according to this Law, so that we are justified by our Obedience to this Law, and saved by a King, proceeding according to his own Law; and Faith is nothing else but a submitting to this Law, and to the Terms required in it; which things, (saith he) certainly make a Covenant of Works, tho’ it differs from the First Covenant of Works; and this, if I mistake them not, is their Covenant of Grace; by which I never expect to be saved. But to proceed,

5thly, The Covenant of Grace is well ordered, in all things, for our good; for all things which we need, are contained in it, either in respect of deliverance from present and future Evil, and to our being possess’d, or invested with all true spiritual and eternal Good.

1. We were Enemies to God, by Sin, and God an Enemy to us, but by this Covenant, God is reconciled to us: Jesus Christ hath so pacified his Wrath, that now God says, Fury is not in me, Isa. 27. When we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Rom. 5.10. The Angels that first brought the Tidings of our Saviour’s Birth, cried, Peace on earth, good will to men. Christ by the Blood of this Covenant, hath made up that Breach, and Reconciled God to us; and by his Spirit, he re∣moves that Enmity, that naturally is in our Hearts against God, and so reconciled us to God; he is our Days-man, that lays his Hand upon both; he is not a Mediator of one, that is, not of God only, but of Man also; he brings God to Man, and Man to God.

2. We were the Children of Wrath, and under the Curse of the Law; but by the Grace of this well ordered Covenant, we are made the Children of God, and we are delivered from the Curse of the Law: Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us—That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ, Gal. 3.13, 4.

3. We had lost the Image of God, but by this Covenant ’tis restored to us again, and so restored, that we shall never lose it any more.

4. We were dead, blind, naked, in bonds, in prison, but by the Grace of God, in this Covenant, we are quickened, Eph. 2.1, 2. have the eyes of our understandings enlightened, Eph. 1.18. have our naked Souls clothed with the robe of righteousness, are brought out of Prison, and all our Wounds are healed, Sent out of the pit wherein was no water, by the blood of the covenant, Zech. 9.11.

5. We were guilty and filthy Creatures, but by this Covenant, we are justified and sanctified, we are acquitted, pronounced righteous, and all our Sins pardoned, and washed away in the Fountain of Christ’s Blood, 1 Cor. 6.11. Rev. 1.5.

6. We were condemned, and ready to have the Sentence executed upon us, and cast into Hell, to be burned alive for ever and ever, even there, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; but by the Grace of this Covenant, we are saved, and shall be eternally; we are not only delivered from all Evil, or from whatsoever was hurtful to us, but are invested with all true internal and eternal Good. We by this Covenant, have union with God, adoption, free access to the Father, yea all things that appertain to life and godliness, and when this Life is ended, eternal Life and Glory in Heaven; therefore, ’tis well ordered, in all things, for our good.

Fifthly, It is a sure Covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.

1. ‘Tis a sure Covenant: because it was made in, and with our blessed Surety, Jesus Christ, the Lord would not enter into Covenant with us, any more, nor take our Bond for that great Sum of Ten thousand Talents, that vast Debt, which we had contracted, and were never able to pay; for we had nothing, no not one Farthing: And therefore, unless a Surety could be found, who was able and sufficient to enter into Bond with God, for us, we must have perished for ever; we were Arrested by the Justice of God, for breach of his Holy Law, and in Prison, and must suffer Infinite Wrath, and divine Vengeance, for the just demerit of our Sin, had not the Wise and Almighty God, sought out a Surety to pay our Debt, and undertaken this New Covenant for us: Now Jesus Christ stept in, and undertook for us, and put his Name into our Bond and Obligation. Jesus Christ was made a surety of a better covenant, Heb, 7.22. Reverend Dr. Owen, most excellently resolves this Doubt, viz. Whether Christ be a Surety to God for us, or of us to God, and shews God needs no Surety, nor is he capable of having any Surety, properly so called, neither do we need any, on his part to confirm our Faith in him.

But we, on all Accounts, stand in need of a Surety for us, or on our behalf; neither without the interposition of such a Surety (saith he) could any Covenant, between God and us, be firm and stable; or, an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: Dr. Owen, on the Hebr. 7.22. p. 223.

God never broke at first with Man, therefore needs to give us now no Surety; but we broke and failed in our Covenant with him. The First Adam had, indeed, no Surety; and hence it was, that he failed, therefore God hath found out a way to prevent the like danger of Miscarriage on our part, any more: And evident it is, that God entered into this Covenant with us in Christ, before the World began and substituted Christ, then in the Covenant, our Surety and Mediator, &c. The Assembly, in their Catechism, confirm this blessed Doctrine: Take their Words.

Quest. With whom was the Covenant of Grace made?

Answ. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ, the second Adam; and in him, with all the Elect. Thus Christ, and his Seed, are but one Party in the Covenant of Grace, as it was primarily made between the Father and Son, who was set up from everlasting, as our Head. And thus, in Christ, Grace was gave to us before the World began, as the Apostle saith, 2 Tim. 1.9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose, which was given to us in Christ, before the world began. Christ therefore became Surety for us, to make firm and sure, all Covenant Blessing, to us; indeed if Man could not, did not stand, but break Covenant with God, when he had no Sin, no depraved Nature, when he had Power to have performed his Covenant with his Maker, How unlikely was it, that we (who are so corrupted, so weak and feeble, so depraved in every Faculty, no Power to do that which is spiritual Good, that are attended with such a Body of Sin and Death, Rom. 4.24.) to undertake to enter into Covenant with God any more? or, What Reason is there for us to think, God would trust us without Security, and the Suretyship of another Person, whom he knew well, could not fail? He said, That he would lose nothing that was given him; none of his Sheep shall perish, Joh. 10.38. and ver. 28.

2. This Covenant is made upon the unchangeable Decree and Council of God, and his Decrees are compared to Mountains of Brass, Psal. 89.28 to the 34. My mercy will I keep with him for ever, and my covenant shall stand fast with him, his seed shall endure for ever, &c. ver. 28, 29. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth, ver. 34. If you can break my covenant of the day and night, then may also my covenant be broken with David, Jer. 33.20, 21. ‘Tis the free Promise of God, like the Covenant of Day and Night; and this stands upon the Pass of God’s eternal Counsel; therefore, ’tis sure.

3. ‘Tis confirmed by the highest Witnesses in Heaven and Earth.

1. God the Father is a Witness to it himself; he bore Witness to Christ, in the Gospel, and to every Precept and Promise therefore the Father himself which hath sent me, hath born witness of me, Joh. 5.37.

2. The Son also, though the Surety of the Covenant, yet he is a Witness to this Gospel-Covenant also, (tho’ this is not so, cannot be so among Men, i. e. The Surety can be no Witness, but ’tis otherwise here) To this end was I born, and to this end came I into the world, that I should bear witness un∣to the truth, Joh. 18.37. That he is a King and Head of his Church; that he is Mediator, and Surety; that he is our Saviour; and, that the Covenant of Salvation is made with him, and established in him. This he is a Witness of, and to these, and other great Truths of the Covenant, he was Born, and came into the World to bear Witness to, and he is called The Faithful and True Witness. Rev. 1.5. And Jesus said, Though I bear record of myself yet my record is true, for I know whence I came, and whither I go.

3. The Holy Apostles were also Witnesses to this New Covenant, touching the Truth thereof in the execution, declaration, and publication of it; And we are witnesses of all things that he did, Act. 1.39. and again, they are called chosen witnesses, ver. 41. Whatsoever Precept or Promise is made in the Gospel, or Threatening, they Witnessed to the Truth thereof, as well as to the sufferings and resurrection of Christ; God speaking of Paul, saith, he shall be a witness unto me, Act. 26.16.

4. All those wonderful Miracles our Saviour wrought, bear Witness to Christ, and the Truth of the Gospel; and in them the Holy Spirit is a Witness also, as well as many other ways. The works that I do, they bear witness of me, Joh. 5.36.

4thly, ‘Tis a sure Covenant, because it was confirmed by Blood, even ratified and confirmed by the Blood of the Testator, Jesus Christ: Certainly, that Covenant that is ratified by the Blood of Christ, must needs be sure to all the Seed. Hence we have for a Sign and Token of this Confirmati∣on, the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper: This is the Blood of the New Covenant that is shed for you, to make Peace for you, to procure Justification, Reconciliation, Pardon of Sin, and eternal Life for you, and ’tis Sealed to you by my Blood: This is a Sign or Token of it (as if he should so say) There is no altering a Covenant that is confirmed by the death of the Testator; all the Legacies bequeathed in this Covenant, are sure to the Le∣gatees, as the Ordinances of Heaven by this means.

5thly, The Covenant of Grace is sure, and all the Blessings thereof, because the Execution of Christ’s last Will and Testament, is put into the Hands of the Holy Spirit; he is the great Executioner of this Covenant. I have not time, nor room to open this.

6thly, The Covenant is sure, by virtue of the Promise of God the Father, he promised Christ, That he should see his Seed This was Abraham’s Title to the Blessings of the Covenant of Grace, Heb. 6.13. and so to David, and in them, to all the true Heirs of the same Grace, and Pro∣mise: ’tis promised by God, that cannot lie, to Christ, and to us in him; For all the Promises of God, in Jesus Christ, are not yea and nay; but yea and amen, unto the glory of God the father, 1 Cor. 1.20. God hath engaged his ve∣ry Faithfulness, as touching the Performances of them.

7thly, They are Sure, because not only made to us by the Father, but he hath confirmed them by his Oath, Heb. 6.13. Because he could not swear by no greater, he swear by himself, wherein God is willing, more abundantly, to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, ver. 17. That so, by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, ver. 18. What God promised, nay swear to give to Abraham, in the Covenant of Grace, he promised and swear to all his believing Seed, or to all the Elect; and if this doth not make sure the New Covenant, and all the Blessings thereof, and Eternal Life to every believing Soul, tho’ he or she has but the least Dram of Grace; nothing can make any thing more sure in Heaven nor Earth; ’tis far more firm and sure than what any Man or Angels can make any Matter or Thing. Soul, whatever Grace thou need’st, God will and must give it; how when, and in what Degree he pleases, and to Heaven thou must come at last I might add,

7thly. ‘Tis sure, because we have received, who do believe the Earnest all Covenant Blessings and Eternal Life, which is the Holy Spirit, See Eph. 13.14. the Spirit is called there the Earnest of our Inheritance, until the Redemption of the purchased Possession unto the Praise of his Glory.

8thly. We have the Holy Spirit also to make it sure to us, as a Witness of this Covenant, the Spirit also bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the Children of God, and if Children, then Heirs, Heirs of God and joint, Heirs with Christ Rom 8.16.17. The Holy Spirit witnesses by it self, by an inward an secreted Persuasion or Suggestion, that God is our Father, and we his Children, and also by the Testimony of his Graces and powerful Operations, tho’ not in the like Degree and Clearness to all Believers: yet Christ in us is our hope of Glory and if any Man hath not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his Rom. 8.9.

9thly. After all, if anything can be added to make it yet more sure to us, God will in his abundant Grace and Goodness let us have it: and therefore we have this Covenant and all the Blessings of it, and Eternal Life Sealed to us also by the Holy Ghost: after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Spirit of Promise, Eph. 1.13. and again, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by which you are sealed to the day of Redemption, Eph. 4.30. God hath set his Mark, and his Seal upon us.

Sixthly. ‘Tis an everlasting Covenant, he hath made with me an everlasting Covenant it shall never; can never be broke: see that in Isa. 54.9, 10. For this is as the Waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn the Waters of Noah shall no more go over the Earth, so I have sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee; for the Mountains shall depart, and the Hills shall be removed, but my loving Kindness shall not depart from thee; neither the Covenant of my Peace be removed (saith the Lord) that hath Mercy on thee: compare it with Isa. 55.3. So much to the Second general Head.

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)