Benjamin Keach on the Everlasting Covenant (Complete)

Chapter 3 – Prioritizing The Covenant Of Grace

Thirdly, I shall shew you how this Covenant is all the Hope, Desire, Salvation and Consolation of every True Believer in Life and Death.

By what I have already said, all may perceive how, or which way, all their Salvation and Comfort lies in this Covenant, so that I need say but little to this. But to proceed.

1. ‘Tis all our Hope, Desire, Salvation and Consolation; because this Covenant was the Contrivance of the Infinite Wisdom of God, the Top Glory of all his Transactions, for, and in the behalf of Man from all Eter∣nity: Nay, such manifold Wisdom, such depth of Wisdom shines forth in it, that the glorious Angels desir’d to pry into it, 1 Pet. 1.12. the Word signifies (as our Annotators intimate) a bowing down the Head, or stoop∣ing to look into a thing; O! they behold this Mystery of Salvation by Christ, in this Covenant with holy Amazement, and are willing to learn by the Church: and this Mystery is to this end, in part, manifest by the Gospel, that they might make it the Subject of their Thoughts, Contemplation and Meditation and Wonderment (as I may so say) ’tis to affect those glorious Spirits; to the intent that now unto the Principalities and Powers in heavenly Places might be known by the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God, Eph. 3.10. Angels, Sirs, do attend our Assemblies, to know, and hear, and understand the Mysteries of this Covenant and Redemption by Christ: Is it then any wonder? ’tis all the Desire, Hope and Delight of Believers, who are so eminently concerned in this Salvation, Christ is not a Redeemer of the Angels, for they who stood needed none. Yet as our Divines shew, he is their Confirmer, he is the Head of Angels, as well as of the Church, and they Worship Him, as well as we.

2. ‘Tis the Saint’s Desire and Delight, because ’tis suited so admirably to Exalt God in all his Holy Attributes, and abase, sinful Man; to Exalt Christ, put the Crown on his Head, and lay us at his Feet: this is that Jehovah, design’d and aim’d at, and this all Believers and truly gracious Souls aim at also; this is all their Desire, and therefore they are so taken with this Covenant. O let such look to it, that any ways go about to lessen or eclipse the Glory of God’s Grace in this Covenant, or magnify and exalt sorry man in the least degree.

3. ‘Tis because ’tis a great, a full, and complete Salvation that is contained in this Covenant: This is all my Salvation, ’tis not a part of it; Christ in this Covenant did not work out a piece of it, and leave us to work out the rest: all our Salvation is of Grace, whatever we as Sinners, or as Saints do want, ’tis contain’d in this Covenant. Christ is not only given for us, but also given to us; not only the Medicine, and but a Hand also whereby ’tis applied. Faith is the Gift of the Promise, therefore not the Condition of it; they are Foederalia relata: Can a Promise or a Gift be a Condition of it self? This Exalts Christ, and abases Man; Christ hath no Coworker with him, tho’ he hath some poor Instruments (that he applies in his Hand) yet he alone is the only Agent that doth all: We have this Treasure in Earthen Vessels, that the Excellency of the Power may be of God, and not of us, 2 Cor. 4.7. The Redemption in the Covenant of Grace, is by a Price which Christ as Priest laid down to satisfy the Law and Justice of God, and which as a King, he applies by his conquering of the Power, of Sin and Satan: Can a Man be redeemed and saved from Slavery in Turkey by a Ransome paid or laid down, and yet he abides under the power of a cruel Tyrant that holds him in strong Chains, and will not let him go, until the Redeemer hath subdued his merciless Master? Now sinners are in Satan’s Chains and Fetters, and under the power of Sin, and until Christ destroys and overcomes those cruel Enemies, they are not redeemed; this Salvation therefore in this Covenant is complete, i. e. we are not only redeemed out of the Hands of Justice and Divine Wrath, but out of Satan’s Hands likewise, and from the power of Sin: nay, redeemed from a vain Conversation by Christ’s Blood, 1 Pet. 1.18. for as a Priest he purchased subduing and cleansing Grace for us, tho’ as a King he applies that Grace to us. To this very purpose, Christ gave himself i. e. to redeem us from all Iniquity, and purify’d to himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works, Tit. 2.14. Sirs, assure yourselves, all that Christ came to redeem, shall be redeemed; he cannot be said to be a Redeemer of such who never were, nor shall be redeemed by him: not one drop of his Blood was shed in vain, he will have his whole purchase. Here is Grace the Holy Spirit, A broken Spirit, a new Heart, Justification, Adoption, Regeneration, final Perseverance, and Eternal Life, and all we want is in this Covenant; therefore ’tis a complete and full Salvation, and so all our Salvation.

4thly. This Covenant is all our Desire, all our Hope and Salvation, because there is no Relief, no Justification, no Pardon, no Salvation any other ways: there is no Water of Life, but in this Fountain, no Justification, but by this Righteousness; nor Riches, but in this Treasury; no Corn; but in this Garner; no Light, but in this Sun of Righteousness that is given to us for a Covenant, and to be a Light unto the Gentiles. No pardon of sin; but by this Redemption; no Grace, but at the Throne which God hath Erected in this Covenant. No Strength, but by this Arm of the Lord: no Cure, but by the Balsom of this Covenant, and Covenant Physician: no Sanctification, no cleansing from Sin and Pollution, but by washing in this River.

5thly. This Covenant is all our Desire, Hope, Delight, Consolation and Salvation, because ’tis a tried Covenant: it never failed one Man that ever laid hold of it, or applied the Blood thereof by Faith to his own Soul; he that believeth on Christ, builds on this precious Stone, this sure Foundation, shall never be ashamed, nor confounded: he that builds on this Covenant, or doth venture his Soul thereon, must be saved, and ever were saved. Let them be never so great sinners it will not fail them; this Covenant hath provided for the chiefest of Sinners, and for the weak Saints: here is a Pardon for all manner of Sinners and Blasphemers, against both the Father and the Son: O what black, what guilty, what filthy, and what bloody sinners have been saved by the Grace of, and Blood of this Covenant. Such were some of you, what an abominable Such were they, see 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11.

6thly. This Covenant is all a Believer’s Desire, Consolation and Salvation; because of those glorious and mighty Gifts that are given to them in this Covenant: nothing can the Holy God give which is greater, for he hath given us himself, and all he is, and all he has; as far forth as it is communicable, he gives himself to them by way of special Interest, (not as he was the God of the whole house of Israel, in that legal Covenant made with them as they were the natural Seed of Abraham as such) God gives himself, and in him∣self, his Son, his Spirit, his Ordinance, his Ministers, Paul, Peter, all is rap’d up in this Covenant: Grace here, and Glory hereafter, all is yours; Christ in this Covenant is yours, you have God and Christ, and God forever, Christ forever. You shall not lose him again, the Covenant is ordered in all things and sure, and so are all the Gifts and Blessings thereof, such that can’t be lost, they are even the sure Mercies of David.

7thly. Because this Covenant is so comfortable in all States and Conditi∣ons a poor Child of God can be in, ’tis suited to relieve us under all outward afflictions, Trials and Calamities we meet with here in this World: O this our honoured Brother deceas’d, found by sweet Experience, this was all his Hope, and all his Desire, all his Comfort under all his former sore Sufferings; when for more than Twelve Years he lay in Prison for Jesus Christ’s sake, and under all his late heart-breaking Sorrows and bodily Distempers, that but a few were acquainted with, had it not been for this Covenant, he had fainted in his Afflictions: This bore up the Spirit of poor David, he found all his Relief and Support lay in this Covenant. When Saul pursu’d him, when his Friends forsook him, and talk’d of stoning him, here, and in this Covenant, and in his God, given to him in this well ordered Covenant he comforted and encouraged himself, 1 Sam. 30.6.

8thly. And lastly, all the Desire, Hope, Consolation and Salvation of a Believer lies in this Covenant, because ’tis so well ordered and suited for our Support and Comfort, under all inward Trouble, Fears, Doubtings, Temptations and spiritual Dissertions, whatsoever.

No Cordial like what this Covenant hath provided for us, to bear up and revive our drooping Spirits; and whoever you are, that under your Fears, Doubtings, Temptations or Despondings, that seek Relief any where else, will but deceive your own poor and deluded Souls: will your own Righteousness cheer your Spirits? Dare you plead it at God’s Bar? Will you venture your Souls upon it? Will you plead your sincere Obedience? your fervent Prayers you have made, the many good Sermons you have heard, the many good Works and good Deeds you have done, will not Satan shew you notwithstanding all your sincerity you have in your Hearts, great Hypocrisie? and for all your Faith and constant trusting in God, you have much Unbelief, and many Fears and Doubtings arising in your Spirits: tho’ you have prayed often, and have not fainted; yet with what Deadness, with what Coolness, with what Wanderings of Heart and Vanity of Thoughts; and tho’ you have done much good, will not your Consciences tell you, you might have done much more? you gave a Shilling may be to this poor, and that poor and distressed Object, when may be you ought to have given a Pound. O Sirs! your Relief lies in Christ, and in the Covenant of Grace, in Christ’s perfect and complete Righteousness in his Death, or you have none, nor never will. You must take the Directions that Anselm gave to a poor sick and tempted Soul, as I find it quoted by Reverend Dr. Owen on Just. p. 13.14.

Quest. Dost thou believe that thou canst not be saved, but by the Death of Jesus Christ? The sick and distressed person answered yes. Then let it be said unto thee, go to then, and whilst thy Soul abideth in thee, put all thy Confidence in this Death alone, place all thy Trust in no other thing; commit thy self wholly to this Death, cover thyself wholly with this alone, cast thy self wholly on this Death, wrap thy self wholly in this Death: and if God would judge thee, say, Lord, I place the Death of our Lord Jesus between me and thy Judgment, and other ways I will not contend with thee: And if he shall say unto thee, that thou art a sinner; say, I place the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and my sins; if he should say unto thee, that thou deservest Damnation, say, Lord, I put the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ between thee and all my sins, and I offer his Merits for my own which I should have, and have not: if he say that he is angry with thee; say, Lord, I place the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ between me and thine Anger.

O Soul! here’s thy Relief, even in the Blood of this Covenant in Christ’s Death; under all thy Fears, and Temptations of Satan, and under the sad Accusations of thy own Conscience: O! at the hour of Death, how canst thou lift up thy Hands to plead thy own sincere Obedience, when thou art just going to stand before the Tribunal of God; thy Hands will be weak and thy Heart faint, and thy Confidence will deceive thee, and fail thee: if thy Hope and Desire, thy Faith and Dependance be on any thing else, then on Christ in this Covenant; but here is Sucour in his Covenant, here is a Salve for every Sore; what tho’ thou hast sinned, what says God in this Covenant? I will be merciful unto their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more, Heb. 8. If thy Conscience say, thou hast backsliden from God, he says; I will heal all their backslidings, and love them freely, Hos. 14.4. If thou wants Righteousness and Strength, say, Christ is thy Righteousness, in the Lord have I Righteousness and Strength: thus there is Relief in this Covenant for poor doubting and desponding Souls in all their Troubles and Temptations.

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)