John Foreman on Duty Faith (Complete)

63 The Covenants Have Separate Natures And Must Be Kept Distinct

Fifth, the fact that the above three covenant economies are recorded and set forth in the word of God, I suppose no Bible reader will for one moment pretend to dispute; but it is their perfectly distinct and separate nature and constitution, and the fact that the Lord himself and his servants by his commission through the sacred scriptures, do on the respective premises of these covenants, use a mode of language and expression peculiar to that covenant upon the premises of which the discourse, address, or words are delivered; that as these covenants can never be made to be all one and the same thing in their nature and constitution, so the language of the one, can never in form be applied to the other; and that the things of these covenants are as different in their nature as the covenants themselves are different; which demands our particular attention, observation and care. Because all these held apart according to their nature, and in their own respective place, according to their constitution and design, the harmony of truth is duly and rightfully maintained; but to confound them, is confusion, untruth and contradiction, imposed on the word, works, and revealed character of the almighty God of truth, wisdom and order. And to shew the solemn truth of this remark, we will compare the language of these covenants.

Cain being angry, he reflected on the equity of God’s government, and by the Eden covenant the Lord said, ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?’ Gen 4:5,7, while by the heavenly covenant it is, ‘He hath made us accepted in the beloved,’ Eph 1:6; ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done,’ Titus 3:5; ‘That being Justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,’ 5:7. But we will shew the difference between the things said by the order of the Canaan covenant, and those said by the order of the heavenly covenant of eternal salvation. It is said by the Canaan, ‘I will drive them out of my house, I will love them no more,’ Hos. 9:15; by the heavenly, ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,’ Hos. 14:4; by the Canaan, ‘Call his name Loammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God,’ Hos. 1:6,9; by the heavenly, ‘And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God,’ 5:10,11. By the Canaan, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,’ Hosea 4:6: by the heavenly, ‘My people shall know my name,’ Isa 52:6, ‘1 will give them an heart to know me,’ Jer. 24:7; ‘For they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them,’ chap xxxi 34; ‘and my people shall never be ashamed,’ Joel 2:26-27. By the Canaan, ‘Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me,’ Prov. 1:28; by the heavenly, ‘They shall call on my name, and I will hear them, I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God,’ Zech 13:9; ‘Whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ Joel 2:32; ‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened,’ Matt 7:8. By the Canaan, ‘The soul that sinneth shall die,’ Ezek 18:4; by the heavenly, ‘I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish,’ John 10:28; ‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found,’ Luke 24; ‘Your life is hid with Christ in God,’ Col 3:3. By the Canaan, ‘Why will ye die?’ Ezek. 18:31; by the heavenly, ‘Ye are not your own,’ 1 Cor 6:19; ‘The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,’ John 10:11; ‘The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death,’ Rom 8:2; ‘I am come that they might have life,’ John 10:10; ‘Fear not; behold, I live for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death, ”Because I live, ye shall live also,’ Rev 1:18; John 14:19.

By the Canaan covenant the Lord says, ‘When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall die; and when the wicked man turneth from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive,’ Ezek 18:26,27; by the heavenly, ‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness without works,’ Rom 4:6; ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit,’ Rom 8:1; ‘Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord,’ Isa 54:17; ‘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 us in Christ Jesus before the world began,’ 2 Tim 1:9; ‘Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,’ 1 Pet 1:5; ‘Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus?’ Rom 8:31-39; ‘Having obtained eternal redemption for us,’ Heb 9:12. By the Canaan, ‘Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes,’ Isa 1:16; by the heavenly, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me,’ John 13:8: ‘From all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you,’ Ezek 36:25; ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his dear Son cleanseth us from all sin,’ 1 John 1:7; ‘His name shall be called JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins,’ Matt 1:21; ‘In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve,’ Jer. 1:20. By the Canaan, ‘Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,’ Jer. 4:4; by the heavenly, we are ‘circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,’ Col 2:11. By the Canaan, ‘Cast away from you all your transgressions,’ Ezek 18:31; by the heavenly, ‘He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,’ Heb 2:26. By the Canaan, ‘They shall even bear their iniquity,’ Ezek 44:10; by the heavenly, ‘His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,’ 1 Pet 2:24. By the Canaan, ‘Then I said, I have laboured in vain and spent my strength for nought,’ Isa 49:4; by the heavenly, ‘He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied,’ Isa 53:11.

By the Canaan covenant, the law was written on stones.- by the heavenly, the law is written on the heart, Heb 8:10; 2 Cor. 3:3. By the Canaan, ‘Ye will not;’ by the heavenly, ‘Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,’ Ps 110:3. By the Canaan, ‘Ye will not come unto me,’ John 5:40; by the heavenly, ‘I will draw all men unto me,’John 12:32. By the Canaan, ‘How often would I have gathered your children;’ by the heavenly, ‘I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory,’ Isa 66:18. By the Canaan, ‘Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways and live?’ Ezek 18:23; by the heavenly, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,’ Rom 9:11,15,18; Luke 4:26,27. By the Canaan, ‘Make you a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek 18:31; by the heavenly, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will put my Spirit within you,’ Ezek 36:26,27.

An Eden heart is of pure upright nature, as God first made man; a Canaan heart is one in moral accordance with the conditional covenant of the land; and a heavenly heart is by new birth and new creatureship in Christ Jesus, the spiritual workmanship of God by grace only, Eph 2:10. An Eden heart was only fit for Eden, by the law of nature; a Canaan heart, required by that covenant, was fit only for the possession of that land, and was neither fit for Eden by the law of nature, nor for heaven by grace; and a heavenly heart is not fit for Eden by the requirements of the law of nature, but for heaven by the grace and mediationship of our Lord Jesus Christ. These things are properly distinct, and if truth be our enquiry, our concern will be to know their proper nature, place, order, and design; and to understand how ‘He hath made every things beautiful in his time,’ Eccles 3:11; that truth is harmonious without a jar, and that no such thing is known in the revealed will of God, as spiritual duties devolving on natural men, by the sovereign favor, free grace, and eternal salvation of God by the mediationship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus taking truth in its proper place, order and design, according to the covenant premises upon which the same is spoken through the sacred word, perhaps it will be asked, since the greater part of the old testament scriptures was spoken to the Jews, upon the premises of the covenant of the land of Canaan, and that covenant is now for ever passed away, are those scriptures by the will of God, now of no further use? My answer to this is, that the Jews, as separated from A nations by a particular covenant, and having their all as a nation by that covenant, were an emblem of the true elect, saved and called church of God out of all nations; and that so likewise the scriptures literally spoken to them on their particular covenant premises and not to the heathen world, are spiritually applicable, not to the world as dead in sin, but to the living, spiritual, and everlasting covenant church, the true ‘Mount Zion,’ Heb 12:22-24; and that herein was the truth of the vision of God, ‘As it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel,’ Ezek 1:16; 10:10; and that so they are taken and interwoven by the apostles in their epistles to the churches and believing individuals, as so really belonging to them, saying, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,’ 2 Tim 3:16,17.

John Foreman (1792-1872) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was appointed the Pastor of Hill Street Chapel, Marylebone, serving this position for close to forty years.