WILHELMUS à BRAKEL
Question #1: When was this covenant of grace initiated? Answer: Due to a misunderstanding concerning the nature of the covenant of grace, the Socinians and Arminians, who are in this respect like-minded, claim that it did not exist in the Old Testament. Although they admit that it was announced that a Savior would come at a given time, and that a covenant of grace would be established at a given time, they claim that there was no such covenant during the Old Testament dispensation. They claim that those living in that dispensation were not partakers of this covenant, did not receive any promises concerning eternal salvation, and did not receive eternal life by faith and hope in a future Savior. Instead, they received it by grace, that is, on the basis of their virtuousness. To this we respond that, although the administration of the covenant was very different in both testaments, this covenant, as far as essence is concerned, existed as well in the Old Testament — being initiated with Adam — as presently in the New Testament.
Proof #1: This is first of all confirmed by the fact that immediately after the fall this covenant was established in Paradise by way of the promise in Gen_3:15, “It (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head (the serpent).” This Seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus, who without the involvement of a man was born of the Virgin Mary. Such never has been nor ever shall be true for any man. Christ alone, and no one else, has bruised the head of the serpent, that is, the devil. “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb_2:14); “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1Jn_3:8). Christ, the Seed of the woman, who would bruise the head of the devil, is promised here, which can be deduced from the threat made to the serpent. This promise was not addressed to Adam and Eve, but only within their hearing. From this it follows that the covenant of grace was not established with Adam and Eve, and in them with all their descendants as was true for the covenant of works. Rather, Adam and Eve, hearing this promise, had to receive the promised Savior for themselves in order to be comforted, as every believer has done subsequent to the giving of this promise, which shall become evident in what follows.
Proof #2: The gospel, which is the offer of this covenant, is proclaimed in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed” (Gal_3:16. He said “in thee,” that is, in thy Seed, which is Christ. “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ” (Gal_3:16). Abraham believed this good news, not for the heathen who still would come and believe, but for himself. It was to his personal benefit, it being unto justification, which is an acquittal from guilt and punishment, and a granting of the right unto eternal life. This is confirmed in Gen_15:6, “And he believed (note: not “the Lord,” but) in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness”; “And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God” (Jam_2:23).
That the gospel was proclaimed to him was not an extraordinary privilege afforded to Abraham alone. The church of the Old Testament had the identical privilege, which is evident from Heb_4:2 a, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them.” It is proclaimed to us in order that we would receive it to our benefit, and thus likewise also to their benefit. The reason why many did not profit from this was not to be attributed to the fact that it was not offered unto them, but due to their not receiving it by faith. “But the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb_4:2 b). Thus, in the Old Testament dispensation Christ was proclaimed and offered in the gospel, and everyone was obligated by means of this gospel to believe in Christ unto justification as Abraham did. The covenant of grace therefore existed in the Old Testament.
Observe this also in reference to Moses. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Heb_11:24; Heb_11:26). Moses knew Christ, believed in Christ, esteemed Christ as being precious, and had the promises in view through Christ. This chapter enumerates an entire register of Old Testament believers, and the benefits of which they became partakers by faith in Christ.
Proof #3: The Surety of the covenant was equally efficacious in the Old Testament as in the New, and thus this covenant existed then as well as now. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever” (Heb_13:8). “Today” refers to the present time, “for ever” refers to the future, and “yesterday” refers to the past. The apostle does not merely state that Christ was, is and shall be, but he says that Christ has always been the same; that is, unto reconciliation, comfort, and help. Therefore one ought not to faint under oppression. By “yesterday” we cannot understand the time immediately prior to Paul, that is, the period of Christ’s sojourn upon earth. It is very evident that the apostle exhorts the believers to be steadfast, since Christ at all times — that is, as soon as the church came into existence and as long as the church shall exist — is the same faithful Savior. “Yesterday” therefore refers to the time prior to Christ’s incarnation, which also is confirmed by the statement that Christ has been slain before the foundation of the world. “Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev_13:8). The words “from the foundation of the world” may not be made to relate to the words “whose names are not written in the book of life.” There is no need to go back to that earlier phrase, and Christ never is said to be slain without any modifying statement. Even if one were to interpret these words as such, namely, “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb before the foundation of the world,” it remains an established fact that there was a book from before the foundation of the world in which the names of believers were written. This is the book of the Lamb, that is, of Christ, and thus Christ’s death is noted as being efficacious at that time, since no one can be written in that book except it be for the efficacy of His death by being slain. It is very simple and clear, however, that one should join the words as the apostle does: “the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.”
Question: But in what manner has Christ been slain since that time? The apostle appears to contradict this inHeb_9:26, where we read, “For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world.”
Answer: The apostle shows that the death of Christ had to occur but once, and that this one sacrifice was efficacious from the foundation of the world. He thus forcefully confirms that this one death of Christ already was efficacious then, this being such as if He both at that time and since that time had actually suffered. He thus confirms that Christ is the same yesterday and today. Christ was not slain in actuality from the foundation of the world, but rather as far as the efficacy of His sacrifice was concerned. From that moment believers believed in Him through the sacrifices, wherein they beheld the death of the Savior to come, and received Him by faith unto justification. This was true of Abel and Enoch, for we read, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God” (Heb_11:4-5). Abel sacrificed in faith, Abel pleased God, and Abel was righteous. This expresses irrefutably that Abel saw Christ represented in his sacrifice.
Proof #4: Believers in the Old Testament had all the spiritual benefits of the covenant of grace, and thus they, as is true for us in the New Testament, had the covenant itself.
(1) God was their God and their Father. “I am the Lord thy God” (Exo_20:2); “I am thy God” (Isa_41:10); “But now, O Lord, thou art our Father” (Isa_64:8); “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, My Father?” (Jer_3:4).
(2) They had the forgiveness of sins. “As for our transgressions, Thou shalt purge them away” (Psa_65:3); “Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Psa_32:5).
(3) They had the spirit of adoption unto children, “to whom pertaineth the adoption” (Rom_9:4); “We having the same Spirit of faith” (2Co_4:13); “Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Psa_143:10).
(4) They had peace of conscience with God. “Thou hast put gladness in my heart” (Psa_4:7); “Truly my soul waiteth upon God” (Psa_62:1).
(5) They had childlike communion with God. “When I awake, I am still with Thee” (Psa_139:18); “But it is good for me to draw near to God” (Psa_73:28).
(6) They were partakers of sanctification. “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psa_119:97).
(7) After death they entered eternal bliss, for which they longed. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly” (Heb_11:10; Heb_11:16). They were the recipients of this salvation. “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Act_15:11).
The apostle neither refers here to the heathen, nor does he elevate the salvation of the heathen above the salvation of the Jews, but his reference was to the fathers who could not bear the yoke and nevertheless were saved by faith. From this he affirms that their expectation of salvation was also by faith and not by the works of the ceremonial law. From this he concludes that one must not impose the requirement of circumcision and the keeping of the ceremonial law upon the Gentiles. From all this it is evident that believers under the Old Testament enjoyed the benefits of the covenant of grace, had the covenant itself and were partakers of the same covenant with us, having all eaten the same spiritual meat and having drunk the same spiritual drink (1Co_10:3-4). Therefore the apostle Peter called the Jewish nation, “The children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Act_3:25).
Objection #1: In the Old Testament believers did not receive the promises, “not having received the promises” (Heb_11:13).
Answer: The promises to which the apostle here refers have reference to the incarnation of Christ, which they saw from afar, believed, and embraced.
Objection #2: “For the law made nothing perfect” (Heb_7:19).
Answer: The ceremonial laws to which the apostle refers here lacked efficacy of satisfaction, but did point to Christ. They were a stimulus for a better hope. By faith in a Messiah to come they were perfect in Him (Col_2:13).
Objection #3: In Heb_9:8 we read “that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”
Answer: Christ is the way (Joh_14:6). Christ consecrated the way to God and to glory through the veil, that is to say, His flesh (cf. Heb_10:19-20). The text states that as long as the ceremonies were still in effect, Christ had not yet actually paid the ransom, nor merited salvation for His own. When this occurred, however, these ceremonies no longer served a purpose. The apostle does not say that no one entered heaven during that time period, which is something most opposing parties would not dare to deny. Enoch, Elijah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would rebuke them. Neither does the apostle state that the way to heaven was not known as yet, for whoever possesses faith, hope, and love, also knows the way. He stated rather that Christ Himself — who would accomplish that which the entire tabernacle service could not bring to pass, that is, the salvation of sinners — had not yet come in the flesh.
Objection #4: The apostle stated that Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2Ti_1:10). Thus light and life were not present prior to Christ’s incarnation.
Answer: The text indeed states that Christ is He who has brought life and immortality to light. It does not mention, however, that Christ did this only subsequent to His incarnation, and not prior to His coming. We have shown above that Christ, who is the same yesterday and today, was thus engaged in the Old Testament, the gospel having been proclaimed also during that time. This text, however, refers to the measure of revelation, and to the revelation of the gospel unto the Gentiles, which, prior to this, had only occurred in Israel. This is confirmed in verse 11, where we read, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” The apostle states this expressly when he says, “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed … that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs. … Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph_3:5-6; Eph_3:8). In like manner Act_16:25-26 is to be understood, where we read, “… according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” From this it is evident that there is not a distinction between the Old and the New Testament as far as the way of salvation is concerned, but the distinction is between the Jewish nation, which at that time was the only recipient of revelations, and the Gentiles who now have the very same revelation.
Objection #5: Consider the following texts. “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Heb_11:39-40); “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things” (1Pe_1:12). It is evident from these texts that they who lived during the Old Testament period did not partake of these benefits.
Answer: These texts expressly refer to the incarnation of Christ, it being evident that these promises were not received while these saints lived. They proclaimed that Christ at one time would come, but that they did not expect Him during their time. In this respect they did not minister unto themselves but unto us who live subsequent to the coming of Christ, and may behold and enjoy the fulfillment of that promise. And thus we enjoy better things than they; that is, they are better since the fulfillment of the promise is better than the promise itself. It thus follows that these texts do not refer to the enjoyment of the benefits of the covenant, for they were partakers of this as much as we are (which has already been shown); the apostle pointed to this in the text itself when he stated, “that they without us should not be made perfect.” They thus were made perfect, not by the works of the law, but through Christ, whose coming they had in the promises of which we have the fulfillment. They were therefore not saved on any different basis than we, for we and they are saved by the very same Surety. The New Testament is superior to the Old Testament only as far as administration is concerned.
The Existence of an Additional, External Covenant with Men Denied
Question #2: Did God, either in the Old or New Testament, establish a different, external covenant in addition to the covenant of grace?
Answer: Before we answer this question it is necessary to define what an external covenant is.
(1) An external covenant is a relationship between God and man; it is a friendly covenant, or association.
(2) The parties of this covenant are, on the one side, the holy God who is of purer eyes than to behold evil (Hab_1:13), who has no pleasure in wickedness, with whom evil shall not dwell, in whose sight the foolish shall not stand, who hates the workers of iniquity, who shall destroy them that speak leasing, and who abhors the bloody and deceitful man (Psa_5:5-6). The other party is the unregenerate, whose throat is an open sepulchre, whose tongue use deceit, who have the poison of asps under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, whose feet are swift to shed blood, whose ways are destruction and misery, who do not know the way of peace, and who do not have the fear of God before their eyes (Rom_3:13-18). As long as they remain in this condition, they are the children of wrath (Eph_2:3), and vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (Rom_9:22). These would have to be the parties of this covenant.
(3) The promises of such a covenant merely relate to physical blessings, be it the land of Canaan, or in addition to that, food and clothing, money, delicacies, and the delights of this world.
(4) The condition is external obedience, merely consisting in external observance of the law of the ten commandments and the ceremonies, church attendance, making profession of faith, and using the sacraments, participation being external and without the heart.
(5) Such a covenant would be without a Mediator, being immediately established between God and man.
(6) In the Old Testament this would be the national covenant established only with the seed of Abraham. This covenant would have been an exemplary covenant to typify the spiritual service in the days of the New Testament. In the New Testament it would be a covenant to establish the external church. All of this would constitute an external covenant, it being essentially different in nature than the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.
Upon closer examination of such an external covenant (even though proponents of such a covenant do not perhaps appreciate such a close examination), the question is whether there is such an external covenant? Some deny that such is the case in the New Testament, but claim it existed in the Old Testament. Others maintain that such a covenant also exists in the New Testament. We, however, make a distinction between external admissioninto the covenant of grace, and an external covenant. We maintain that there have always been those who externally have entered into the covenant of grace, and who, without faith and conversion but without giving offense, mingle among the true partakers of the covenant. Their external behavior, however, does not constitute an external covenant. God is not satisfied with such an external walk but will punish those in an extraordinary measure who flatter Him with their mouths and lie to Him with their tongue. Thus, there is an external entranceinto the covenant of grace, but not an external covenant. This we shall now demonstrate.
First, the person who joins himself to the church or ever has joined the church never has had such a covenant in view by which he would merely obtain some physical benefits. He has salvation in view. Thus, such an external covenant would be without partakers. This is not to suggest that man does not desire physical benefits, but he does not seek to obtain them by way of such a covenant. Man is neither acquainted with nor believes in such a covenant. There is no such covenant proposed to man, nor is he wooed or enticed to enter it. There is not one text in the entire Word of God supporting such a covenant. Therefore, whatever is neither offered nor pursued does not exist.
Secondly, it is inconsistent with the holiness of God that God, as we have expressly described Him to you, could enter into a covenant of friendship with man, who is as we have just portrayed him. It is inconsistent with God’s nature that He would find pleasure in external religion, without the involvement of the heart. God demands the heart, even when He promised Canaan and other external blessings. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land,” etc. (Deu_6:5; Deu_6:10). God expresses a dreadful threat to those who serve Him without the heart. “Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from me … therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder” (Isa_29:13-14). Thus, it can neither be consistent with God’s nature that He be satisfied with external obedience, nor that He by virtue of a covenant of friendship would bestow external blessings upon external obedience. Furthermore, how can it be consistent with the veracity of God to exercise external friendship and yet internally be filled with holy hatred, to bless externally by virtue of a covenant and yet inwardly be truly inclined to condemn the sinner, for the sinner to belong externally to God in a friendly relationship and yet internally be truly a child of His wrath? If men were to interact in this manner among themselves and establish covenants in this manner, would such a practice not be despised by the ungodly? “Far be it from the Almighty that He should commit iniquity” (Job_34:10). And even if it could be consistent with God’s nature, which it cannot, it would be a covenant of works and thus be imperfect. Human activity would be the condition, and the promises would relate to the physical. However, God cannot establish a covenant of works with the impotent sinner, which we shall demonstrate at the appropriate time.
Evasive Argument: God bestows external blessings upon many because of correct, external behavior. This can be observed in Ahab, the ungodly king of Israel. “seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before Me? because he humbleth himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house” (1Ki_21:29).
Answer: It is one thing to maintain that God, by His common grace and in certain situations, bestows external blessings upon the ungodly. This we readily admit, for, “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psa_145:9). However, it is another thing to maintain that God does this by virtue of an external covenant, and thus, due to a relationship with the unregenerate and the ungodly, bestows external blessings upon them on the basis of externally good behavior. This we deny vehemently. The example of Ahab is no proof whatsoever, for the blessing bestowed upon him in response to his external manifestation of humility did not proceed from an external covenant (this being the point of contention here which needs to be proven), but by virtue of God’s common grace and longsuffering.
Thirdly, if God could establish a covenant of friendship with the unregenerate without a Mediator of reconciliation, as is claimed by some, this necessarily being the proposition, there would be no need for the Surety Jesus Christ and one would be able to be saved without satisfaction of the justice of God. If God is able to establish a covenant of friendship with a sinner for the purpose of bestowing external blessings upon external obedience, doing so apart from a Mediator of reconciliation, God would likewise be able to establish a covenant unto salvation without a Mediator of reconciliation, thus promising eternal life to all the godly by virtue of their sincerity. If that were possible, there would be no need for Christ, for all of this could then transpire without Him. This, however, is impossible, as will be shown in the next chapter, and therefore it is also impossible for such an external covenant to exist. From this it is at once evident that holding to an external covenant undermines Reformed truth and gives opportunity for dissension.
Fourthly, such a covenant either has sacraments or has none. If there are none, then it is not a covenant, for God has never established a covenant without seals. If there are sacraments, which are they? Circumcision and the Passover in the Old Testament and baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament? This cannot be, for then the same sacraments would be of two essentially different covenants, which is an absurdity. Besides, the sacraments of the covenant of grace only have reference to Christ, and are signs and seals of the righteousness of faith (Rom_4:11). Since this covenant would neither have Christ as its Surety nor spiritual promises and the righteousness of faith, these seals cannot be sacraments of an external covenant. In addition to this, no one has a right to partake of the seals of the covenant of grace unless he is a true believer, since they are seals of the righteousness of faith. This position, however, maintains that the unregenerate are true members of this external covenant, who nevertheless may not partake of the sacraments. Therefore, the sacraments cannot be seals of this external covenant, from which follows that there is no such covenant.
Fifthly, whatever one proposes concerning this external covenant (such as external obedience) is comprehended in the covenant of grace. This obedience, however, proceeds from and is in harmony with an internal, holy spiritual frame. The covenant of grace includes of necessity all the external as well as the spiritual promises requisite unto salvation. Both aspects are confirmed in the following passages. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Co_6:20); “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom_12:1); “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Gen_17:8); “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1Ti_4:8).
Since the covenant of grace also obligates us to external obedience, and also has external promises, there is no need for an external covenant, which would require and promise all matters and benefits already comprehended in the covenant of grace.
Evasive Argument: One may suggest that all these reasons are not compelling since this external covenant presupposes the covenant of grace and coalesces with it.
Answer: (1) This does not confirm the matter, since this covenant must be viewed as being of an entirely different nature. It must therefore be considered independently. Thus, all these reasons remain in full force.
(2) The unregenerate, even though they externally enter into the covenant of grace, are not essentially in the covenant. With an external covenant, however, they would be actual and true members (and thus would be true partakers) of it without any reference to the covenant of grace. Thus they, not being true members of the covenant of grace and therefore without Christ and the promise, would be considered as true members of this external covenant. The covenant of grace is therefore not the issue here at all. Hence, the suggestion that an external covenant, which presupposes the covenant of grace, is established with the unregenerate holds no water. Thus, this evasive argument is without substance and our proof remains in force.
Objection #1: In the Old Testament the entire nation, head for head, the godly and the ungodly, had to enter into the covenant. They were all required to partake of the sacraments, were all in this covenant and used the sacraments, and many broke the covenant. There was thus an external covenant which in its essential nature was entirely different from the covenant of grace. For this covenant has been established with believers only and thus cannot be broken.
Answer: (1) The covenant of grace is an incomprehensible manifestation of the grace and mercy of God. When God offers this covenant to someone, it is an act of utmost wickedness to despise it, and to refuse to enter into it. Therefore everyone to whom the gospel is proclaimed is obligated to accept this offer with great desire and with all his heart, and thus to enter into this covenant. This fact is certain and irrefutable. Thus, the obligation to enter the covenant does not prove it to be an external covenant.
(2) The ungodly, being under obligation to enter into the covenant of grace, were not permitted to remain ungodly, for the promise of this covenant also pertains to sanctification. They were to be desirous for sanctification, and this desire was to motivate them to enter into the covenant. Therefore, if someone remained ungodly, it would prove that his dealings with God were not in truth — as ought to have been the case. It would confirm that he had entered into the covenant in an external sense, as a show before men, and that he was not a true partaker of the covenant.
(3) They were required to use the sacraments in faith. If they did not use them in this way, they would provoke the Lord. Neither in the Old nor New Testament do the ungodly have a right to the use of the sacraments. Unto such God says, “What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth?” (Psa_50:16).
(4) Just as the ungodly merely enter the covenant under pretext, so they likewise break it again and their faith suffers shipwreck. Thus they manifest by their deeds that they have neither part nor lot in the word of promise. Their breach of covenant was not relative to an external covenant but relative to the covenant of grace into which they entered externally. The manner whereby they entered into this covenant was thus consistent with the breach of this covenant. With all that was within them they destroyed the covenant of grace by changing it into a covenant of works.
(5) In a general sense God established this covenant with the entire nation, but not with every individual. Everyone was to truly enter into this covenant by faith.
Objection #2: In the New Testament the church consists of believers and the unregenerate, the latter being by far the majority. The unregenerate are not in the covenant of grace, and yet they are members of the covenant. Consequently, they are in an external covenant, in view of which there is also an external or visible church. Children of believers, who as they grow older manifest themselves as being ungodly, are thus called holy(1Co_7:14). This can only be the holiness of an external covenant. From this it follows that there is such an external covenant.
Answer: (1) The unregenerate are in, but not of the church. They are not true members constituting the church, but are merely parasites. All who are present in someone’s home do not necessarily belong to this home and the family members. The unregenerate have externally gained entrance into the church, but the external entrance into the covenant of grace does not constitute an external covenant.
(2) There is only an external church as far as the external congregation in its totality is concerned, but not relative to individual members where the evil intermingle with the good.
(3) The children of believers are called “holy” not in reference to an external covenant, but in reference to the covenant of grace, into which the parents, be it externally or in truth, have entered, and to which they may also entrust their children, doing so by virtue of their baptism. They also have no other covenant in view than a covenant by which they and their children can be saved. Thus, we have presented the covenant of grace in all its ramifications to you, and it is our wish that everyone would be endeared to it and truly enter into it. Amen.