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A76707 The copy of the covenant of grace With a true discovery of several false pretenders to that eternal inheritance, and of the right heir thereunto. Together with such safe instructions as will inable him to clear his title, and to make it unquestionable. Exactly evidenced by many perspicuous and unconstrained testimonies of scripture. Penned, and published upon mature deliberation, and good advise. / By Robert Bidwel, a servant, and minister of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Bidwell, Robert. 1657 (1657) Wing B2886; Thomason E2117_1; ESTC R212678 175,027 429

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3. 13. And from the penalty thereupon depending For he was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed Isa 53. 5. And moreover of guilty sinners we are become justified Saints For we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his bloud to declare his righteousnesse for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God Rom. 3. 23 24 25. In which words we finde the moving or procuring cause of our justification to be the free grace of God the meritorious cause to be Christ the Son the efficient cause to be God the Father the instrumental cause to be Faith in Christ and the final cause to be the glory of God The glory of his righteousnesse for the Remission of sins That he might be just in being the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus verse 26. For as it is just with God to punish the sins of a Reprobate that dieth in his iniquity So it is as just with him to pardon the sins of a believer for which Christ died And as the true believer is delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin by the merit of Christ So is he also preserved from the power of sin by the Spirit of Christ And this he doth By redeeming us from our vain conversation 1 Pet. 1. 18. By purging our consciences from dead works to serve the living God Heb. 9. 14. By crucifying our old man the body of sin Rom. 6. 6. By freeing us from the Law the strength of sin 1 Cor. 15. 56 57. By delivering us through grace from the dominion of sin Rom. 6. 14. By strengthening us with might in the inner man Eph. 3. 16. And by making us partakers of the Divine nature 2 Pet. 1. 4. Who will not then conclude with S. Paul In all these things we are more then conquerers through him that loved us Rom. 8. 37. And thus you see that our Lord Jesus Christ by justifying us through his merit hath freed us from the condemning guilt punishment of sin And by sanctifying us through his Spirit he hath delivered and fortified us from and against the prevailing power and insinuation of sin And 〈◊〉 this means he hath redeemed us from 〈◊〉 and destruction being the just reward and recompence of sin And all this meerly and absolutely upon the account of this eternal Covenant of grace For God so loved the world that he gave his onely begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life But have everlasting life THis is the blessed Inheritance conferred and confirmed by this Covenant according to this Copy Everlasting life or eternal salvation This is the glorious expectation and inheritance of the Children of God Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that fadeth not away reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation saith St. Peter 1 Pet. 1. 3 4 5. If in this life onely we have hope in Christ we are of all men 〈◊〉 ●iserable saith St. Paul 1. Cor. 15. 19. 〈◊〉 are troubled on every side saith he yet not ●●stressed we are perplexed but not in despair persecuted but not forsaken cast down but not destroyed Alwayes bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body 2 Cor. 4. 8 9 10. For which cause we faint not but though our outward man perish yet our inward man is renewed day by day for our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory verse 16. 17 18. Truely it is this Assurance that supports and supplies the militant Members of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout their whole warfare It removeth all difficulties sweetneth all discomforts and relieveth all distresses Verily it elevateth the Soul beyond all expectation I take pleasure in infirmities in reproches in necessities in persecutions in distresses for Christs sake saith St. Paul 2 Cor. 12. 10. Good Paul were these thy pleasant recreations Truely it is not to be denied but that they are very profitable exercises For when I am weak saith he then am I strong When I am weak in the flesh then am I strong in the faith For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are n●t worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us Rom. 8. 18. What will not a true believer do or suffer in hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie promised before the world began Tit. 1. 2. But forasmuch as there must be a temporal life before there can be an eternal life Therefore as I have formerly set forth unto you the several sorts or degrees of death So I shall here endeavour ●o shew you the several sorts or degrees of life which I conceive to be likewise four That is to say The natural life The spiritual life The peacefull life and the eternal or everlasting life And secondly I shall apply my self to prove that every one of them as a Member or passage of or to this everlasting life is part or parcel of that eternal inheritance whereunto the Son of God hath intituled us by vertue of this Covenant The first I say is the natural life or the life of Nature That which we say we receive from our Parents And it consisteth in the union of the body and the Soul or of the flesh and spirit according to the vulgar sense But in the Scripture sense that is properly called the natural life wherein a man followeth Nature for his chief or onely guide And of such a one St. Paul sayes That the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishnesse unto him neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned 1 Cor. 2. 14. Now this natural life in either of these senses may be said to be the issue of the first birth or of the fleshly generation For that which is born of the flesh is flesh saith our Lord Joh. 3. 6. And they that are after the flesh do minde the things of the flesh saith St. Paul Rom. 8. 5. Verily whosoever liveth meerly this natural life or this life of Nature onely it were better for him that he had never lived at all that he had never been born For we are all by nature the children of wrath According to that of St. Paul Eph. 2. 3. Neverthelesse though accidentally by reason of the corruption of Nature this natural life tendeth
mistaking of these or any of these infirm kindes of faith instead of the true justifying and saving faith several errours have received their original especially that uncomfortable errour of the Saints falling from Grace received through the unsteadfastnesse of their faith But I dare be bold to affirm that such Apostates did never feel the force of an effectual faith of a justifying faith This is the gift of God Rom. 12. 3. And the gifts and calling of God are without repentance Rom. 11. 29. I will not say but a man may fall grievously in it but he can never fall finally from it For the Lord hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee Heb. 13. 5. And truely I conceive this discovery to be very pertinent to our present purpose For faith being the onely condition to be performed by us in this Covenant of Grace It is very necessary that we be rightly instructed therein Least peradventure we either satisfie our selves with empty shadows instead of the true substance Or torment our selves with causelesse discomforts concerning the losse or uncertainty of that glorious inheritance which our gracious God by the purchase of Jesus Christ hath so long since estated upon a true and a lively faith according to this eternal Covenant We proceed now to consider why the Lord propoundeth faith for the Proviso or Condition of this Covenant of Grace First I conceive because he would have his gift received which would otherwise become fruitlesse and unprofitable He gave his onely begotten Son And were it not a world of pitie that such a precious gift should be neglected and not received applied and improved Well how are we to receive him Into our houses No but into our hearts By what instrument or means Verily by faith onely According to the Scriptures By faith Christ liveth in us Gal. 2. 20. And by faith Christ dwelleth in us in our hearts Eph. 3. 17. Questionlesse there is no relation between the Saviour and the souls of his Saints but what is contracted fixed and confirmed by his affection and their lively faith Secondly the Lord requireth faith That so this gift of his might be beneficial to the whole World in all places and at all times indifferently For were Christ to be received any other way then by faith All men could not have been capable of receiving him at all seasons Suppose he had come into the World in the day of the Creation and continued in the World till the day of dissolution Yet in regard of his passive Nature his humanity he could not have been received by any two persons in any two several places at one and the same time But wheresoever he abideth faith will instantly finde him out and lay hold upon him And therefore there is no cause now why any man should say in his heart who shall ascend into Heaven that is to bring down Christ from above or who shall descend into the deep that is to bring up Christ from the dead The word is nigh thee even in thy mouth and in thy heart that is the word of faith which we preach saith St. Paul Rom. 10. 6 7 8. And this word of faith which we preach if truely believed and rightly applied will do both It will bring down Christ from above with the virtue of his Resurrection and Ascention And it will bring up Christ from beneath with the virtue of his death and passion It will do all things that may concern the Remission of our sins the justification of our persons and the salvation of our Souls by Jesus Christ our Lord. So then saith the same Apostle in the same Chapter faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God But I say have they not heard Yes verily their sound went into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the world Rom. 10. 17 18. And to that very purpose the Lord Jesus Christ after his Resurrection gives his Apostles this universal Commission Go ye saith he into all the world and preach the Gospel unto ev●ry Creature Well what is the tenour or substance of that Gospel He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved That is he that receiveth Christ by faith and manifesteth the same in his Profession shall be saved as Rom. 10. 10. he that believeth not shall be damned Marc. 16. 15 16. And as this Gospel this word of faith is universal so is it likewise everlasting And I saw another Angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Cospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people saith St. John Rev. 14. 6. But why doth God require nothing else but faith We know there may be divers Provisoes in one and the same Conveyance or Covenant Truely faith by it self is enough provided that it be such a faith as apprehendeth Christ He that hath the Son hath life saith Saint John 1 John 5. 1. And it pleased the Father that in him should all fulnesse dwell saith St. Paul Col. 1. 19. Whatsoever had been required besides faith according to our apprehension either it must have proceeded from or reflected upon our own persons or performances And then it is more then probable that our corrupt nature would have mislead us to neglect this all-satisfying gift to repose our selves either wholly or partly upon our own deserts or abilities But faith comes empty-handed and by that means it takes the surer hold When a man gives liberally we say he is open-handed And truely he that will receive freely and hold firmly it is necessary that he be empty-handed Faith is very fitly called the hand of the Soul For as we use to receive an earthly gift from man by the hand so we must receive this heavenly treasure from God by faith And therefore the Evangelist in reference to this most blessed gift intimateth unto us that receiving and believing do signifie the same thing As many as received him saith he to them gave he power to become the sons of God even to soem that believe on his name John 1. 12. A place very well worthy of our consideration for the proof of this particular Verily this onely begotten Son of God is beyond all thought of exception the most satisfying solid and substantial gift the most compleat and weighty gift that either heaven or earth can possibly afford us And therefore whatsoever we have or seem to have of our own whether it be work or worthinesse suffering or satisfaction ability or possibility our faith must cast it wholly to the ground or otherwise we shall never receive the Lord Jesus Christ so as to make him our own for ever A second Reason which I conceive to be most proper in this case is this Because whatsoever had been required with or besides faith It would have been destructive of the very nature of this Covenant of Grace For if by grace then it is no more of works
over her and covered her nakednesse and sware unto her and entred into a Covenant with her and made her his own Then he washed her and anointed her he decked her with the richest Ornaments both of Jewels and Rayment he fed her with the chief est nourishment And her beauty was made perfect through his comelinesse that he had put upon her Ezek. 16. 8. to the 15. verse And in consideration of these so great so undeserved favours she crieth out with that good Prophet David O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good for his mercy endureth for ever Psal 107. 1. And so thirdly she falleth upon his mercy which she cannot but mightily commend for that so soon as she became sensible of her own lamentable condition he then appeard to her most mercifull For no sooner did she finde her self to be by nature the child of wrath Eph. 2. 3. And by sin the child of the Devil 1 Joh. 3. 8. But suddenly she perceived that he had redeemed her to God by his bloud Rev. 5. 9. That when she was yet his enemy he had reconciled her to God by his death and most assuredly saved her by his life Rom. 5. 10. And all this without the least satisfaction by or from her self For not by works of righteousnesse that she had done but according to his mercie he saved her Tit. 3. 5. And she is most confident that he will continue her in her now happy estate For he hath said I will never leave thee nor forfake thee Hebr. 13. 5. Neither can she doubt but what he hath said he will most certainly perform For she findeth Fourthly That he is full of Grace and Truth John 1. 14. Yea he is the very Truth it self John 14. 6. And therefore she sings with David Her Lord is good his mercie is everlasting and his truth endureth to all generations Psal 100. 5. Nor Fifthly is she afrighted at his Justice But rather she rejoyceth therein For albeit The wages of sin is death Rom. 6. 23. And every transgression and every disobedience must receive a just recompence of reward As Hebr. 2. 2. Yet the law of the Spirit of life in her Lord Christ Jesus hath freed her from the law of sin and of death Rom. 8. 2. And in such a case it is not the office of Justice to condemn but to acquit protect and justifie And sixthly she can never forget his wisdom who is the wisdom of God 1 Cor. 1. 24. She apprehendeth by faith that it was he which made the earth by his power which established the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heaven by his understanding As Isa 51. 15. He knoweth them that are his 2 Tim. 1. 19. And he knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished 2 Pet. 2. 9. And she doubteth not but she may most safely and savingly resign her self to his direction and disposition For in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge Colos 2 3. The soul that adds a thousand fold to these shall yet fall short a thousand thousand fold of his essentiall super-excellencies and lose her self at last in admiration Yet by these dear indearing contemplations she acts and strengthens and improves her Love and works it to a prosperous conditon For as the roote by vertue of the Sap causeth the tree to put forth fair green leaves So worketh Faith by Love and fits the soul the chast soul for a flourishing profession ANd now though somewhat bashfull yet she dares discover her affections to her friends the sweet companions of her virgin Love I charge you O daughters of Jerusalem if you finde my beloved that ye tell him that I am sick of love Saith she Cant. 5. 8. And therefore as the virgin lover first delighteth much to meditate upon the rare perfections of her Paramore So in the second place she will be talking of him very often extolling and comending his person parts and properties that so he may the better come to the knowledge and assurance of her intire affection towards him In like manner the love-sick soul that panteth after Christ will not omit the least occasion or opportunity of conference concerning her dear Lord but will evermore be magnifying his goodness loving-kindness and the like and setting forth the promises due thereto Because thy loving-kindness is better then life therefore my lips shall praise thee saith David Psal 63. 3. And to that purpose she consorts her self with his true servants his trustie friends whom she inviteth kindly to a sweet harmoneous concord and conversation O come saith she let us sing unto the Lord let us make a joyfull noise to the rock of ovr salvation Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyfull noise unto him with Psalms For the Lord is a great God c. Psal 94 to the 8. And from hence she proceedeth to a more eminent and evident Profession of her true zeal and pure integrity which will appear the more infallibly by loving that which he is known to love and hating that which he abhors and hates Resolved thus She findes he loveth righteousnesse and hateth wickednesse Psal 45. 7. And therefore she directeth her affections of love and hatred towards the same Objects In the first place she loveth righteousness whether it be the righteousness of faith which justifieth the person or the righteousness of the law which justifieth the faith of the person For she knoweth that as the one is the cause of her justification so the other is the evidence of her sanctification And this her Love appeareth very precious upon the account of these four properties First it is Cordiall secondly it is Constant thirdly it is Confident and fourthly it is Comprehensive First I say it is cordiall It is no brain-sick fancy begotten by imagination brought forth by opinion nursed by ignorance and maintained by impudence Neither is it an outward formall profession modalled by self-seeking and magnified by self-conceit These are degenerate monsters bastard brats abominable to her virgin brest She owns no other love but what proceeds from the assurance of a saving faith infused by the Spirit of her Lord into the hidden corners of her heart I sleep saith she but my heart waketh Cant. 5. 2. her loving heart is evermore in labour Neither can any thing prevent or hinder her amourous desires from running out towards the righteousness of her dear Lord Because He is the Lord her righteousnesse Jer. 23. 6. Secondly her love is constant She regardeth not the face of the times nor the course of the tide the praise of a parasite nor the partling of a Parrat Neither will she take the spirit of giddiness for her guide least by any means she should wax wanton against Christ and wed her self to some unworthy creature like the younger widows Tim. 3. 11. Profits Pleasures and preferments