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char, 1.] WITH THE ELF.C.T. 287

lighting in God. Or if we will insist upon it, to call these
things conditions : they are not so much conditions of the cove-
nant, as of the assurance that we shall continue in God's cove-
nant, and that he shall be our God. And I make no doubt,
but this was exactly the meaning of those very learned di-
vines, though all of them have not so happily expressed them-
selves. -
XV. Let us again hear our own Cloppenburg on this sub-
ject, to whose accuracy on this point I have nothing to add.
Disputat. 4. de Foeder. Thes. xxvi. 27. Nor do the condi-
tions of the new covenant, enjoined by a law adapted thereto,
as repentance, faith, and the practice of love to God and our
neighbour, destroy this evangelical display of the grace of the
new covenant, which the testamentary donation, made on ac-
count of death, demands. For, these conditions of the new
covenant are inserted in such a manner in the testament, as to
exclude the impenitent, the unbelieving, and the ungodly, from
inheriting the promises, but not as if the dispensation and do.
nation osalvation depended on these; or that by our works of
obedience to the law-giver, we obtain a right to the promise of
the inheritance.—What then P Conditions of new obedience
are inserted into the testament of the new covenant, under a
legal form, indeed, as the rule of our self-examination, and of
becoming gratitude, lest, without having the undoubted char-
acters of the sons of God, we should without any ground,
think ourselves sure of the inheritance. . However, repentance
itself, consisting in the mortification of sin, and the practice of
good works, is also promised under another form, to wit, as
the gift of God, which he himself works in us, that, by this
sign, or evidence, we may, from the time of our truly repent-
ing and believing, perfectly hope in that grace, which is
brought to us, at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. i. 13.
having eternal life already begun in ourselves, ther with
the new creation of the new spiritual life, by the Spirit of God.
Thus far Cloppenburg, the accuracy of whose dissertation
nothing can exceed. - *
XVI. We are not to think, that by this sentiment, the na-
ture of a covenant is destroyed, which consists in a stipula-
tion, and restipulation. For, there is no absurdity, should we
maintain, that that disposition of the new covenant, which
was made to the Surety, retained the proper notion of a cove-
nant, o a compact between two parties of mutual
faith; but that the other disposition made to us, comes nearer
to the form of a testament, and is rather unilateral, or appoint-
ed by one party. Nor is the word nona any obstacle, which

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288 of God's covenaNT |Book 111.

we have shewn, B.I. chap. i. § III. is of various significations,
and often denotes the same as pri, a constitution, or signifies a
certain promise, though not mutual.
XVII. Moreover, God, by a certain wonderful act of con-
descension, publishes the promises of his grace to his covenant
people, in this manner; to shew that it was his will, that they
seek for, and expect from him, what he promises, just as if it
was a promise of reward, and jo from covenant and
agreement, and was irrevocable on the account of the right of
him who sues for the performance of it. Which is indeed, an
astonishing degree of the Lord's goodness; nevertheless, we are
not to use it as an argument for conditions of the covenant of
grace, properly so called. `
XVIII. But, which is the principal thing, we imagine, the
best way to conceive of this constitution of the covenant, is as
follows: since the covenant of grace, or the Gospel, strictly so
ealled, which is the model of that covenant, consists in mere
promises, prescribes nothing properly as duty, requires
nothing, commands nothing: not even this, believe, trust,
hope in the Lord, and the like. But declares, sets forth,
and signifies to us, what God promises in Christ, what he
would have done, and what he is about to do. All prescrip-
tion of duty belongs to the law, as, after others, the ve-
nerable Voetius has very well inculcated, Disput. Tom.4 p
24. seq. And we are, by all means, to maintain this, if,
with the whole body of the Reformed, we would constantly
defend the perfection of the law, which comprehends all vir-
tues, and all the duties of holiness. But the law, adapted to
the covenant of grace, and according to it, inscribed on the
heart of the elect, enjoins to receive all those things which
are proposed in the Gospel, with an unfeigned faith, and frame
our lives suitably to that grace and glory which are promised.
When God, therefore, in the covenant of grace, promises faith,
repentance, and consequently eternal life, to an elect sinner,
then the law, whose obligation can never be dissolved, and
which extends to every duty, binds the man to assent to that
truth, highly prize, ardently desire, seek, and lay hold on
those promised blessings. Moreover, since the admirable
providence of God has ranged the promises in such order, as
that faith and repentance go before, and salvation follows after,
man is bound, by the same law, to approve of, and be in
love with this divine appointment, and assure himself of sal-
vation only according to it. But when a man accepts the
promises of the covenant, in the order they are proposed, he
does, by that acceptance, bind himself to i. duties contained


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chap. 1.] WITH THE ELECT, 289

in the foregoing promises, before he can assure himself of
the fulfilment of the latter. And in this manner the
covenant becomes mutual. , God proposes his promises in
the Gospel in a certain order. The man, in consequence
of the law, as subservient to the covenant of grace, is bound
to receive the promises in that order. While faith does this,
the believer at the same time, binds himself to the exercise of
a new life, before ever he can presume to entertain a hope of
life eternal. And in this manner it becomes a mutual agree-
Iment. -
XIX. But let none here object, that fife is promised in the
new covenant to him that believes and ono less than
it was in the old covenant to him that worketh ; in order
thence, to conclude, that faith and repentance are now, in the
same manner, conditions of the covenant of grace, that per-
sect obedience was the condition of the covenant of works.
For when life is promised to him that doeth any thing, we
are not directly to understand a condition, properly so called,
as the cause of claiming the reward. God is pleased only to
point out the way we are to take, not to the right, but to the
possession of life. He proposes faith, as the instrument, by
which we lay hold on the Lord Jesus, and on his grace and
glory: works, as the evidences of our faith, and of our
union with Christ, and as the way to the possession of life.
XX. But we must not forget to observe, that faith has quite
a different relation with respect to the blessings of the cove-
nant of grace, from what the other works of the new life
have. In this indeed they agree, that both conjointly are the
way to the promised bliss ; but faith has something peculiar,
For, as faith is an astipulation, or assent given to the divine
truth, it includes in it acceptance of the benefit offered by
the covenant, and makes this promise firm and irrevocable.
Here is my Son, says God, and salvation in him. I offer
him to whoever desires him, and believes that he shall find
his salvation in him. Who desires him? Who believes this P
I do, says the believer, I greatly long for him. I believe my
salvation to be laid up in him. I take him as thus offered
to me. Be it so, saith the Lord. And in this manner the
promise is accepted, the truth of God sealed, the donation of
Christ, and of salvation in him, becomes irrevocable. Frona
all which it is evident, that faith has a quite different relation
in the new covenant, from what works formerly had in the
old. What the difference is between giving and receiving,
such seems to be the difference between a condition of works

290 of God's covenant, &c. [Book 111.

and of faith; which the celebrated Hoornbeck has not unhappi-
ly explained in Socin. Confut. Tom. ii. p. 280.
XXI. Let us now lastly consider the threatenings, whether
there be any such in this covenant. It cannot indeed be de-
nied, but that, in the doctrine of Christ and the apostles, we
frequently meet with very many comminations, which have
their peculiar lespect to the covenant of grace, and which
could not have thus been set before us, if there had been no
such covenant. For instance, “whoever shall not believe in
Christ, whoever shall despise the counsel of God against his
own soul, whoever shall not obey the Gospel, shall be con-
demned.” . And these threatenings seem to be distinguished
from those, which are evidently legal, such as the following:
“ cursed is he that continueth not in all things,” &c. Yet, if
we would weigh the matter narrowly, the covenant of
has no threatenings so peculiar to itself, but what may well be
referred to the law from which every curse proceeds.
XXII. Which I would explain thus: we no where hear of
any threatenings, which may, and ought not to be deduced
from that threatening, which doubtless is purely legal, “cur-
sed is every one that continueth not in all things,” &c. In
this most general threatening are included the other more par-
ticular ones. Moreover, when salvation by Christ alone is
roposed, in the covenant of grace, as the principal truth, the
w, which enjoins man to embrace every truth, made known
to him by God, with a firm faith, obliges him to receive this
truth in o: and be delighted with the glory of God,
shining forth in it, and that his own salvation is connected
with the glory of God. Should we deny, that the law lays us
under this #. we should then affirm, that the law
does not enjoin us, to acknowledge God as true, and that there
is a holy love of God, and of ourselves, which the law does
not command: all which are most absurd. I go further: when
man, as the law prescribes, receives the to of the Gospel
with a lively faith, then not the law, but the Gospel, promises
salvation to him. For the law knows of no other promise
than what depends on the condition of perfect obedience. But
should man slight, and obstinately reject that truth proposed
to him, he sins against the law, and so incurs its curse, accord-
ing to the general rule so often inculcated. And since we
have supposed the Gospel declaring, that salvation flows from
the faith of Christ alone, the law enjoins, that all, who desire
salvation, should seek it by the faith of Christ alone, and con-
sequently it cannot but thunder the curse against those who,

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chap. II.] THE oneNEss of The, &c. 291

rejecting the Gospel, believe not on Christ. As therefore, unbelief, or the rejecting the Gospel, is a sin against the law which is the only perfect rule of all virtue (it can be called a sin against the Gospel, only ...? so every threatening of the curse and of wrath against unbelievers, and the desF. of the Gospel, must come from, and be reduced to the

w, but then it is to the law as now subservien, to the covenant of grace.

XXIII. In the discourses of the prophets, Christ and his apostles, there is a certain mixture of various doctrines,' which, indeed, are closely connected, and mutually subservient; each of which ought to be reduced to their proper heads; so that the promises of grace be referred to the Gospel; all ini. of duty, and all threatenings against transgressors, to the law.

CHAP. II. Qf the Oneness of the Covenant of Grace, as to its Substance.

I. It is a matter of the greatest moment, that we learn distinctly to consider the covenant of grace, either as it is in its substance or essence, as they call it, or as it is in divers ways proposed by God, with respect to circumstantials, under different economies. If we view the substance of the covenant, it is but only one, nor is it possible it should be otherwise. There is no other way worthy of God, in which salvation can be bestowed on sinners, but that discovered in the Gospel. Whence the apostle, Gal. i. 7. has beautifully said, which is not another. And that testament, which was <onsecrated by the blood of Christ, he calls everlasting, Heb. xiii. 20. because it was settled from eternity, published immediately upon the fall of the first man, constantly handed down by the ancients, more fully explained by Christ himself and his apostles, and is to continue throughout all ages, and, in virtue of which, believers shall inherit eternal happiness. But if we attend to the circumstances of the covenant, it was dispensed at sundry times and in divers manners, under various economies, for the manifestation of the manifold wisdom of God. In considering this, we are first to discourse on those general things, which appertain to the substance of the covenant, and have jof in every age; and then explain the different economies, or dispensations, and the new' accessions made to each, which we will first do in a general and concise

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