QUESTION 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
ANSWER: God having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
Q. 1. What became of the angels that fell, by their sinning against God?
A. God left them without remedy, in that state of sin and misery into which they plunged themselves; and hath "delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement," 2 Pet. 2:4.
Q. 2. When man joined with the devil in a conspiracy against God, did God treat him the same way?
A. No; he had a purpose of grace and love towards some of Adam's race; and therefore, immediately after the fall, declares his fixed intention of assuming the human nature, in the person of the Son, that he might redeem lost man, and bruise the head of the old serpent, that had ruined him, Gen. 3:15.
Q. 3. When did God's purpose of grace and love, to wards any of Adam's family, commence or begin?
A. It never had a beginning; for he loved them from everlasting, Jer. 31:3; Eph. 1:4.
Q. 4. Can any reason be given why God has elected fallen man, rather than fallen angels, and why he elected some of Adam's race, and not others of them?
A. It is dangerous to search into the reasons of holy and adorable sovereignty; it becomes us to acquiesce in this, that God did it out of his mere good pleasure, Eph. 1:5; Matt. 11:26.
Q. 5. To what happiness did God ordain his elect from among men?
A. He ordained them to everlasting life, Acts 13:48 -- "As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed."
Q. 6. Did God make choice of any to eternal life, because of their foreseen faith and holiness?
A. No; because faith and holiness are the fruits and effects, and therefore can never be the cause of election, Eph. 1:4-6.
Q. 7. Is Christ the cause of election?
A. No; the free love of God sent Christ to redeem the elect, and therefore he could not be the cause of electing love, John 3:16.
Q. 8. Did not Christ procure God's love to an elect world?
A. No; the Father himself loved them, John 16:27.
Q. 9. If Christ is not the cause of election, why are the elect said to be chosen in him?
A. Because in one and the same decree of election, the love of God lighted both upon the head, and upon the members, considered as in him, Eph. 1:4.
Q. 10. By whom is it that God brings any of Adam's race to eternal life?
A. By a Redeemer, Rom. 11:26.
Q. 11. How are sinners of mankind to be viewed in relation to a Redeemer?
A. As lawful captives, Isa. 49:24.
Q. 12. What is it to redeem the lawful captives?
A. It is to pay down a sufficient ransom to offended justice for their deliverance, and to rescue them by mere force and power out of the hands of Satan, Isa. 49:25.
Q. 13. What ransom is laid down to offended justice for their deliverance?
A. Nothing less than "the precious blood of Christ," or his obedience unto death, 1 Pet. 1:19.
Q. 14. What right and title has the Redeemer, to take the captives by force out of the hands of Satan?
A. The demands of law and justice being satisfied, he has a lawful right, both by donation and purchase, to rescue his captives out of the hands of Satan by his divine power, John 17:2.
Q. 15. Why did the Redeemer, in dealing with justice, lay down a price; but in dealing with Satan, act by way of power?
A. Because God, being the creditor, had a right to demand a price, but Satan being only the jailer, has no law right to detain the prisoner, after the creditor is satisfied; and yet, refusing to quit hold of his captives, the Redeemer's power must be put forth for their deliverance, Luke 11:22.
Q. 16. Was there a covenant transaction entered into for their deliverance, by price and power?
A. Yes; Psalm 89:3 -- "I have made a covenant with my Chosen."
Q. 17. How is that covenant called?
A. A covenant of grace.
Q. 18. Why called a covenant of grace?
A. Because it is a covenant of eternal life and salvation to sinners, to be given them in a way of free grace and mercy, Jer. 31:33, 34.
Q. 19. Are not heaven and earth both concerned in this covenant?
A. Yes; because it is a covenant of peace between them, Isa. 54:9, 10.
Q. 20. Who is the party contractor on Heaven's side?
A. It is God himself, the proposer of the covenant, and the offended party, Psalm 89:3.
Q. 21. Whether is it God essentially considered, or as in the person of the Father, that is the party-contractor on Heaven's side?
A. God essentially considered is the party-contractor on Heaven's side, in the person of the Father.
Q. 22. Who is the party-contractor on man's side?
A. It is Christ, the chosen of God, as he is called, Luke 23:35.
Q. 23. In what does this covenant consist?
A. In the mutual agreement between God and his chosen One.
Q. 24. When was this covenant made?
A. From all eternity, or before the world began, Tit. 1:2.
Q. 25 "With whom was the covenant of grace made?"
A. "With Christ as the second or last Adam; and in him with all the elect as his seed, Gal. 3:16."
Q. 26. Why is Christ called the last Adam? 1 Cor. 15:45.?
A. Because as the first Adam was the federal head of all his natural offspring, in the covenant of works, so Christ is the last Adam, because he was the federal head of his spiritual seed in the covenant of grace; the last covenant that ever will be made about man's eternal happiness.
Q. 27. How was the covenant of grace made with Christ as the second or last Adam?
A. The Father purposed that a remnant of lost mankind should be the members of Christ's body, and gave them to him for that end; and Christ, standing as second Adam, accepted the gift, John 17:6; as also, the Father proposed to him, as the last Adam, the covenant of grace in the full tenor, condition, and promises of it, to which he consented; and thus the covenant of rich grace was concluded between them; Zech. 6:13 -- "The counsel of peace shall be between them both."
Q. 28. How are we to conceive of the covenant of grace, in respect of order and being?
A. Although the covenant of grace was the second covenant, in respect of order and manifestation to the world, yet it was first in respect of being, because it was actually made with Christ from eternity, Tit. 1:2.
Q. 29. How do you prove from scripture, that there was such a covenant made with Christ?
A. From Isa. 42:6 -- "I will give thee for a covenant of the people;" and Heb. 8:6, where Christ is called "the Mediator of a better covenant;" and from Heb. 13:20, where we read of "the blood of the everlasting covenant."
Q. 30. What was the ancient usage in making of covenants?
A. It was to cut a beast in twain, and to pass between the parts of it, Jer. 34:18.
Q. 31. What does this usage import, as applied to God's making a covenant with his Chosen?
A. It imports, that it was a "covenant by sacrifice," Psalm 50:5.
Q. 32. What was the sacrifice in this covenant?
A. It was Christ himself, the party contractor on man's side, Heb. 9:26.
Q. 33. What was the sword that cut this sacrifice asunder?
A. It was divine justice, Zech. 13:7.
Q. 34. How is Christ the party contractor on man's side, to be considered in this covenant?
A. He is to be considered as the head and representative of his spiritual seed, Isa 59:21.
Q. 35. How does it appear that Christ is the head and representative of his spiritual seed in this covenant?
A. From the making of the promises originally to him and from his being the surety of the covenant.
Q. 36. When were the promises made to him?
A. Before the world began; which, in scripture style, it the same as from eternity, Tit. 1:2 -- "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." And there was none before the world began, to whom the promise of eternal life could be made personally, but to Christ as the head and representative of his seed.
Q. 37. How do you prove, from scripture, that Christ was surety for his spiritual seed in this covenant?
A. From Heb. 7:22 -- "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."
Q. 38. In what sense was he surety for them?
A. He was their surety in a way of satisfaction for all their debt of obedience and punishment, by taking it wholly on himself, as for persons utterly insolvent.
Q. 39. How is Christ's being the surety of the covenant, an evidence of its being made with him as the representative of his seed?
A. Because by his being surety for them, he became one with them in the eye of the law: hence is Christ said, not only to be made sin for us, but we are said to be "made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 5:21.
Q. 40. Why was the covenant of grace made with Christ as the head and representative of his spiritual seed?
A. That the love of God, and the covenant of grace, might be of the same eternal date; for, as the love of God is an everlasting love, Jer. 31:3, so the covenant of grace is an everlasting covenant, Heb. 13:20.
Q. 41. Who is the party represented and contracted for in the covenant of grace?
A. The elect of mankind.
Q. 42. What do you understand by the elect of mankind?
A. A certain number of mankind chosen, from eternity, to everlasting life.
Q. 43. How does it appear, that the elect were the party represented and contracted for?
A. Because the party with whom the covenant was made is called God's CHOSEN, Psalm 89:3 -- "I have made a covenant with my Chosen;" that is, with Christ, as contracting for all the chosen, or elect of God.
Q. 44. Why are the elect called Christ's seed? Psalm 89:4.?
A. Because he begets them with the word of truth, James 1:18; and they are born again to him in their regeneration, John 3:3.
Q. 45. Why is Christ said to take on him the seed of Abraham, Heb. 2:16, and not rather the seed of Adam?
A. To show that it was the elect only, whom he represented; in as much as the seed of Abraham are but a part of Adam's seed, which includes all mankind.
Q. 46. How are the elect of God to be considered in this covenant and federal representation?
A. They are to be considered as lost sinners, and as utterly unable to help themselves in whole or in part, Hos. 13:9; and yet withal as given to Christ by the Father, as objects of eternal, sovereign, and free love, John 17:6, 9.
Q. 47. How does the freedom of this electing love appear?
A. In pitching upon objects altogether unlovely, Ezek. 16:6.
Q. 48. How does the sovereignty of it appear?
A. In pitching on some such unlovely objects, and passing by others in the same condition, Rom. 9:21.
Q. 49. Was it any disparagement to the federal representation of the second Adam, that he represented only some of mankind, whereas the first Adam represented the whole of his race?
A. No; because it was unspeakably more for Christ to undertake and contract for one sinner, than for Adam to contract for a whole righteous world.
Q. 50. Is what is called by some divines, the covenant of redemption, a distinct covenant from the covenant of grace?
A. Although Christ alone engaged from eternity to pay the price of our redemption, on which account the covenant is wholly of free grace to us; yet there is no warrant from scripture, to suppose a covenant of redemption distinct from the covenant of grace.
Q. 51. How many covenants are there for life and happiness to man in scripture reckoning?
A. They are but two in number: of which the covenant of works is one, and consequently the covenant of grace must be the other.
Q. 52. How do you prove from scripture, that there are only two covenants, of which the covenant of works is one?
A. From Gal. 4:24, where it is said -- "These are the two covenants, the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage."
Q. 53. How does it appear that the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, is the covenant of works?
A. Because the generating of bond children, excluded from the inheritance, Gal. 4:30, is a distinguishing character of the covenant of works, which cannot agree to the covenant of grace under any dispensation of it.
Q. 54. Was then the covenant at Mount Sinai a covenant of works?
A. The covenant of works was only repeated at Mount Sinai, together with the covenant of grace; to show to all Israel, that the clearing of both the principal and penalty of the covenant of works was laid on Christ, as the condition of the covenant of grace.
Q. 55. Does the scripture make mention of the blood of any more than one covenant?
A. The scripture makes mention of the blood of the Covenant, in the singular number four several times, namely, Ex. 24:8; Zech. 9:11; Heb. 10:29 and 13:20; but nowhere speaks of the blood of the covenants, in the plural number.
Q. 56. What is the native consequence of the scripture's mentioning the blood of the covenant, in the singular number, and not the blood of the covenants in the plural number?
A. The consequence is, that the covenant, the blood of which the scripture mentions, and upon which our salvation depends, is but ONE covenant, and not TWO.
Q. 57. What is the received doctrine in our standards upon this head?
A. Our standards make no distinction between a covenant of redemption, and a covenant of grace.
Q. 58. Is the covenant of grace conditional, or absolutely free?
A. It was strictly conditional to the Surety, Isa. 49:3, but is absolutely free to the sinner, Jer. 31:33, 34.
Q. 59. What is the proper condition of the covenant of grace?
A. It is Christ, as representative and surety, his fulfilling all righteousness, owing to God by his spiritual seed, in virtue of the broken covenant of works, Matt. 3:15.
Q. 60. In what consists that righteousness which Christ had to fulfil, as the condition of the covenant of grace?
A. In the holiness of his human nature, perfect conformity to the law in his life, and satisfaction for sin in his death.
Q. 61. Why was holiness of nature necessary as a conditionary article of the covenant?
A. Because nothing being so opposite to God as an unholy nature, and yet the elect having their natures wholly corrupted, it was therefore necessary,
that Christ, their representative, should have a human nature perfectly pure and holy, fully answering for them the holiness and perfection of nature required by the law, Heb. 7:26.
Q. 62. Why was righteousness of life, or perfect conformity to the law, necessary as a conditionary article of the covenant?
A. Because Adam, as a public head, having failed in his obedience, there could be no entering into life for him, or any of his natural seed, without keeping the commandments by the Surety, Matt. 19:17 -- "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
Q. 63. Has Christ fulfilled this part of the condition?
A. Yes; for, "he became obedient unto death," Phil. 2:8.
Q. 64. Was satisfaction for sin any part of the condition of Adam's covenant?
A. No; holiness of nature, and righteousness of life, were the sole condition of it.
Q. 65. How then came satisfaction for sin to be a conditionary article in the new covenant?
A. Because the covenant of works being broken, and the penalty of it incurred, the holiness, justice, and veracity of God insisted, that without shedding of blood, there should be no remission, Heb. 9:22.
Q. 66. What was the conditionary article of the covenant relative to satisfaction for sin?
A. That all the sins of an elect world, being summed up as so many branches of the law, or covenant of works, Christ, as a public person, should satisfy publicly and completely for them all, Isa. 53:5, 6.
Q. 67. How was he to make this satisfaction?
A. By suffering, Luke 24:26 -- "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?"
Q. 68. What was it that he had to suffer?
A. The very same punishment the elect would have undergone, for the breach of the covenant of works; that is, death, in its fullest latitude and extent, Gen. 2:17, compared with 2 Cor. 5:14.
Q. 69. What is that death in the fullest latitude and extent which Christ had to endure, in satisfaction for sin?
A. It was both the curse, or sentence, of the broken law, binding him over, as the Surety, to suffer all that avenging wrath which sin deserved; and likewise the actual execution of this sentence upon him to the uttermost, for the full satisfaction of justice, Gal. 3:10; Ezek. 18:4.
Q. 70. Has Christ fulfilled this part of the condition?
A. Yes; he was "made a curse for us," Gal. 3:13; "and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour," Eph. 5:2.
Q. 71. How does it appear, that this righteousness of Christ is the condition of the covenant of grace?
A. Because his fulfilling all righteousness is the only ground of a sinner's right and title to eternal life, Rom. 5:21; and the sole foundation of his plea before God, Phil. 3:8, 9.
Q. 72. Why may not faith, or believing, be the condition of the covenant of grace?
A. Because faith is promised in the covenant itself, Zech. 12:10, and therefore cannot be the condition of it.
Q. 73. May not faith be the condition, when the scripture says, that Abraham's faith "was counted unto him for righteousness?" Rom. 4:3.?
A. It was the object upon which Abraham's faith terminated, namely, Christ and his righteousness, and not his faith itself, or his act of believing, that was counted to him for righteousness.
Q. 74. What place then has faith in the covenants.?
A. It has the place of an instrument and gift; and is necessary, as such, savingly to interest us in Christ, John 1:12; and to determine us to acquiesce in his fulfilling the condition of the covenant for us, Isa. 45:24.
Q. 75. What may we learn from the conditionary part of the covenant, as fulfilled by Christ?
A. That the redemption of the soul is precious, being ransomed at no less a sum than the holy birth, righteous life, and satisfactory death of the Son of God, 1 Pet. 1:19; and that the law is so far from being made void through faith, that it is established by it, Rom. 3:31.
Q. 76. Seeing in every covenant there is a promise, what are the promises of the covenant of grace?
A. They are such as have either their direct and immediate effect upon Christ himself, as the Head; or such as have their direct and immediate effect on the elect, comprehended with him in the covenant.
Q. 77. What are these promises that have their direct and immediate effect on Christ himself, as the head of the covenant?
A. The promise of assistance in his work, Psalm 89:21; of the acceptance of it, Isa. 42:21; and of a glorious reward to be conferred upon him, as the proper merit of his work done, Isa. 52:13.
Q. 78. What are those promises that have their direct and immediate effect upon the elect?
A. They are all the promises pertaining to life and godliness; the promises of grace and glory, and of every good thing; which may all be comprehended in this one, to wit, the promise of eternal life, mentioned, Tit. 1:2 -- "In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, hath promised before the world began;" and 1 John 2:25 -- "This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."
Q. 79. What is meant by the promise of eternal life?
A. It comprehends in it all true happiness, and its everlasting continuance.
Q. 80. How is it evident, that all true and eternal happiness is comprehended in the meaning of the promise of eternal life?
A. In as much as the death threatened in the covenant of works, included all misery in this world, and the world to come: so the life promised in the covenant of grace must needs comprehend all happiness in time and eternity, with all the means by which it is effected, Rom. 6:23
Q. 81. To whom was this promise of eternal life made?
A. To Christ primarily, and to the elect secondarily in and through him: as is evident from Tit. 1:2, compared with 1 John 2:25.
Q. 82. To whom are the promises of the covenant endorsed or directed?
A. To all who hear the gospel, with their seed, Acts 2:39 -- "The promise is to you, and to your children."
Q. 83. What right to the promises have all the hearers of the gospel, by this general endorsement of them?
A. A right of access to the promises, and all the good that is in them, so as to be rendered inexcusable if they believe not, John 3:18.
Q. 84. What right does faith, or believing, give to the promises?
A. A right of possession, in virtue of union with Christ, in whom all the promises are yea, and amen; John 3:36 -- "He that believeth -- HATH everlasting life."
Q. 85. What may we learn from the promissory part of the covenant?
A. That all the benefits of it are the free gifts of grace, running in the channel of the obedience and death of Christ; and are in him perfectly sure to the elect seed, Isa. 55:3.
Q. 86. Was there any penalty in the covenant of grace, as there was in the covenant of works?
A. Although there was a penalty in the covenant of works, because Adam, with whom it was made was a fallible creature; yet there could be none in the covenant of grace, because Christ, the party contracting on man's side, was absolutely infallible, and could not fail, Isa. 42:4.
Q. 87. Are not the elect, the party contracted for, fallible, even after they are brought to believe?
A. It is certain, that believers are fallible, in respect of their actions, as long as they are in this world, Eccl. 7:20, but not in respect of their state, Job 17:9; they can no more fail from their state of grace, than the saints in heaven can, John 13:1.
Q. 88. Can fatherly chastisements be called a penalty in the covenant of grace, with respect to believers?
A. No; because they are not vindictive, but medicinal, and really belong to the promissory part of the covenant, as is evident from Psalm 89:30-35; Isa. 27:9; Heb. 12:6,7.
Q. 89. What security have believers against any proper penalty in this covenant?
A. They have the security of Christ's performing the condition of it for them; and his doing so legally sustained in their favour, 2 Cor. 5:21.
Q. 90. On whom is the administration of the covenant of grace devolved?
A. On Christ the second Adam, alone, and that, as a reward of his work, Isa. 49:8.
Q. 91. What do you understand by the administration of the covenant?
A. The entire management of it, by which it may be rendered effectual to the end for which it was made, Psalm 89:28.
Q. 92. Who are the objects of this administration?
A. Sinners of mankind indefinitely, or any of the family of Adam, without exception, John 3:14, 15.
Q. 93. How does he administer the covenant to sinners of mankind indefinitely?
A. In the general offer of the gospel, which is "good tidings to ALL PEOPLE ," Luke 2:10; in which all, without exception, are declared welcome, Prov. 8:4; Mark 16:15.
Q. 94. What is the foundation of the unlimited administration of the covenant, in the gospel offer?
A. It is not rounded on election, but on the intrinsic sufficiency of Christ's obedience and death for the salvation of all, John 1:29.
Q. 95. For what end does he thus administer the covenant to sinners of mankind?
A. To deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, Gal. 3:21, 22.
Q. 96. How does he bring them into a state of salvation?
A. By bringing them personally and savingly into the "bond of the covenant," Ezek. 20:37, in the day of his power; when "one shall say, I am the Lord's -- and another subscribe with his hand unto the Lord," Isa. 44:5.
Q. 97. How long will he continue to be the administrator of the covenant?
A. As he dispenses all the blessings of the covenant here, John 3:35, so he will complete the happiness of the saints, in the other world, by a perfect accomplishment of all its promises to them, Eph. 5:27.
Q. 98. How does it appear that he will be the administrator of the covenant through eternity?
A. Because be is to remain the eternal bond of union, Heb. 7:25, and medium of communication, between God and the saints for ever, Rev. 7:17.
Q. 99. What is the first and fundamental act of his administration?
A. It is his disposing the all things, which he has in his hand, as the appointed trustee of the covenant, to poor sinners, by way of a TESTAMENT, Luke 22:29 -- "I appoint (or dispose) unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me."
Q. 100. What is the difference between a federal and a testamentary disposition?
A. A federal disposition is made upon a weighty cause, or proper condition; but a testamentary disposition is a deed, or conveyance, of grace and bounty, without all conditions, properly so called.
Q. 101. How is this applied to the Father's disposition and to Christ's?
A. The Father's federal disposition of all covenant-benefits to Christ, was on condition of his making "his soul an offering for sin," Isa. 53:10; but Christ's testamentary disposition to sinners, who have nothing, is "without money and without price," chap. 55:1.
Q. 102. Is Christ's testament of the same date with the covenant that was made with him?
A. The covenant of grace was made with him from eternity; but it is obvious, that his commencing testator of this covenant, being an act of his administration of it, could not take place till the covenant of works was broken.
Q. 103. At what time, then, did he make his testaments?
A. The very day in which Adam fell -- in the first promise, Gen. 3:15.
Q. 104. How could his testament be of force, (according to Heb. 9:17,) so long before his actual death?
A. He died typically, in all the sacrifices of the Old Testament; hence he is called, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8.
Q. 105. Who are the legatees, or parties in whose favour the testament was made?
A. Since Christ is authorised by the Father, to administer the covenant to mankind sinners indefinitely, John 6:37, none of these can be excepted out of his testament, as to the external revelation and exhibition of it, any more than they are out of his administration, Rev. 22:17.
Q. 106. Who is the executor of his testament?
A. Although in testaments among men, the testator and executor are always different persons, because the testator dying, cannot live again to see his will executed; yet here the testator, who was dead, is alive for evermore, as the executor of his own testament, by his Spirit, Rev. 1:18; Rom. 4:25.
Q. 107. What are the legacies left in his testament?
A. They are all the benefits of the covenant, even HIMSELF, and ALL THINGS in and with him, Rom. 8:32; Rev 21:7.
Q. 108. By what means is it that sinners are possessed of these rich legacies?
A. By faith, or believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 16:31.
Q. 109. Why is believing on Christ the appointed means of instating sinners in the covenant and legacies thereof?
A. Because the grace of the covenant is thus preserved entire, "to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," Rom. 4:16.
Q. 110. How may persons know, if they are savingly and personally within the covenant of grace?
A. If they have found themselves unable to dwell any longer within the boundaries of the covenant of works, and "have fled for refuge," from that covenant, "to lay hold upon the hope set before them," Heb. 6:18.
Q. 111. In what respects do the covenants of works and of grace DIFFER from one another?
A. They differ in their nature, parties, contractors, properties, conditions, promises, the order of obedience, in their end and design, the manner of their administration, and in their effects.
Q. 112. How do these two covenants of works and grace differ in their nature?
A. The covenant of works was a covenant of friendship, and supposed the parties to be in a perfect amity; but the covenant of grace is a covenant of reconciliation, and supposes man to be at variance with God, and enmity against him, 2 Cor. 5:19.
Q. 113. How do they differ as to the parties contractors?
A. In the covenant of works, the parties contractors were, God and innocent Adam, representing all his natural seed; but in the covenant of grace, the parties are, God, and CHRIST the second Adam, representing all his spiritual seed, Psalm 89:3, 4.
Q. 114. How do they differ in their properties?
A. The covenant of works, as standing with the first Adam, was but short-lived; but the covenant of grace, which stands fast with the second Adam, is an everlasting covenant, Heb. 13:20:the covenant of works denounced nothing but wrath and curse upon the transgressor; but the covenant of grace is full of blessings to the sinner, in Christ, Eph. 1:3.
Q. 115. How do they differ in their conditions?
A. The condition of the covenant of works was only the perfect obedience of a mere man, bearing no proportion to the life promised; but the condition of the covenant of grace is the perfect righteousness of God-man, which is the promised reward, Jer. 23:6.
Q. 116. How do they differ in their promises?
A. The promises of the covenant of works were strictly conditional; but the promises of the covenant of grace, as respecting us, are absolutely free, Jer. 31:33, 34.
Q. 117. In what respect do they differ in the order of obedience?
A. In the covenant of works, duty, or obedience, was the foundation of privilege; acceptance first began at the work, and then went on to the person, if the work was perfectly right; but, in the covenant of grace, this order is quite inverted; for in it privilege is the foundation of duty; and acceptance first begins at the person, and then goes on to the work, because flowing from a principle of faith: Gen. 4:4, compared with Heb. 11:4.
Q. 118. How do they differ in their end and design?
A. The end of the covenant of works was to show man what he was to do towards God; but the end of the covenant of grace, is to show man what God is to do for him, and in him, Isa. 26:12.
Q. 119. How do they differ in the manner of their administration?
A. The covenant of works was dispensed by God, absolutely considered; but the covenant of grace is dispensed by a Mediator, who is himself the ALL of the covenant, Isa. 42:6.
Q. 120. How do these two covenants differ in their effects?
A. The covenant of works wounds and terrifies a guilty sinner; but the covenant of grace heals and comforts a wounded soul, Isa. 42:3:the covenant of works shuts up to hell and wrath; but the covenant of grace casts open a door of escape, John 10:9 and 14:6.
Q. 121. What may we learn from this whole doctrine of the covenant of grace?
A. That it is our duty to believe that J ESUS CHRIST is the Saviour of the world, and our Saviour in particular, by his Father's appointment, and his own offer; and that by the same appointment and offer, his righteousness, which is the condition of the covenant, and eternal life, which is the promise of it, are OURS in respect of right to it, so as that we may lawfully and warrantably take possession of the same, and use them as our own, to all the intents and purposes of salvation: John 4:42 -- "We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world;" Luke 1:47 -- "My spirit hath rejoiced in GOD, MY SAVIOUR."