by William Cooper
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat (אָכֹל חּאֹכֵל): but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Hebrew,מוֹת חָּמוּתDying thou shalt die.—Genesis 2:16, 17.
THE next head in the body of our religion, which falls this morning to be spoken to in course, is, God's covenant made with Adam before the fall, which we call "a covenant of works;" and we ground our discourse upon the text read to you.
When God would communicate his goodness to the creatures, he made the world out of nothing for his own glory, but especially man after his image. This inferior world he provided for man's house and habitation; but he dresseth and trimmeth one part for him especially, and calls it "Paradise." In the Paradise, or "pleasant garden," he was not to live idly, but must dress and keep it. In the midst of all man's enjoyments which the Lord allows him with a liberal hand, yet he lets him know withal [that] he was under subjection, though lord of all; and therefore gives him a command; obsequii examen, et obedientice quoddam rudimentum;* "a test and trial of his obedience to which God trains him up."
As lords, when they let out their lands to husbandmen, reserve somewhat to themselves which the tenants are not to meddle with, that they may have some check upon them; so God here.† That which the Lord commands Adam, was no hard matter: he grants him a vast latitude,—to eat of all freely, only one sort excepted; in which exception, as God was not envious to him, (as the envious one suggested,) so was not this commandment grievous to him.‡
OBJECTION. It may be objected from 1 Tim. 1:9, " 'The law is not made for a righteous man;' why, then, for Adam in his righteousness?"
RESOLUTION. Paul means, good men do not so need the law as bad men do; for good laws rose from evil manners: yet in a sense the law is given for righteous men; not to justify them; for it finds them justified already, and past the condemnation of the law: it finding them also sanctified, it treats them not as enemies, but leads them and delights them consenting to it.§ This serves to explode the error of antinomians and libertines. So, then, God, to declare his sovereignty and man's subjection, gave Adam, though innocent, a law. Mark how God bound man's obedience with a double fence: first, he fenced him with a free indulgence to eat of all but one; this was an argument to his ingenuity [ingenuousness]: secondly, by a severe prohibition upon pain of death. By the first, the Lord wooes him by love; by the second, he frights him by the terror of his justice, and bids him touch it if he durst.
Observe, among all the trees of the garden there are two here mentioned in a more peculiar manner,—"the tree of life," and "the tree of knowledge;" which are called by divines "two sacraments," in a large sense: in which sense, also, the ark of Noah, the fire which descended and burned the sacrifice, the baptism of the Red Sea and cloud, the manna, the water out of the rock, the pouring-out of the blood of the sacrifices, the land of Canaan, the tabernacle, temple, ark of the testimony, the propitiatory, the golden candlestick, the twelve stones taken out of Jordan, with the pool of Bethesda,—all these, I say, in a large sense are sacramental symbols of the covenant of grace, or extraordinary sacraments;* but the tree of knowledge, and tree of life, are called "sacraments of the covenant of works."
By these the Lord did signify and seal to our first parents, that they should always enjoy that happy state of life in which they were made, upon condition of obedience to his commandments; that is, in eating of the tree of life, and not eating of the tree of knowledge. For it was called "the tree of life," not because of any native property and peculiar virtue [that] it had in itself to convey life; but symbolically, morally, and sacramentally, it was a sign and obsignation to them of life natural and spiritual to be continued to them, as long as they continued in obedience unto God. In like manner "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was spoken, from the sad event and experience they had of it; as Samson had of God departed from him, when he left his Nazaritish hair by Delilah.†
Now, that a covenant of works lay in this commandment, is clear: 1. Because that was the condition of man's standing and life, as it is expressly declared. 2. Because, in the breach of that commandment given him, he lost all.
This obedience, as it was characteristical to Adam's covenant, and contradistinguished to the covenant of grace, was perfect, personal, and perpetual. In a sense, though different from the other, those three things are required in our obedience under the covenant of grace; not in reference to the covenant, nor to justification; neither is our personal righteousness perfect,—I mean, legally; yet is it perfect, though not in us, but in our Surety: neither was the covenant made primarily with us, but with him, and with us in him, and on his account; even as God made the covenant of works primarily with Adam, and with us in him, as our head, inclusively.
Now, for our better opening this doctrine to you, I shall propound and answer some QUESTIONS:—
1. What is meant by "covenant?"
2. What ground we have to call it "Adam's covenant," or "a covenant of works".
3. Wherein doth the nature and tenor of it consist?
4. Whether the covenant of works was revived and repeated to Israel.
5. How long it lasted: whether till now, unto any.
QUESTION I. What is meant by "covenant," name and thing?
ANSWER. The word in the Hebrew is בְרִיתberith; which hath a threefold derivation, very fit to be taken notice of for clearing of the nature of the covenant:—
1. From בָרָהbarah, "to choose;" because the persons are chosen, between whom the covenant or agreement is made. Indeed God's covenant with man is not only with his elect and chosen ones, but a fruit and effect of our election; yea, the Lord doth incline our wills to make choice of him and of his terms: "I have made a covenant with my chosen." (Psalm 89:3.) So again: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." (Joshua 24:15.) "Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him." (Verse 22.)
2. Or else this word berith, "covenant," may be taken from barah, "to eat;" because they were wont to eat together of the sacrifice slain and provided at the making of the covenant, at which time they had a feast.* Hence the apostle, speaking of the eucharist,—the sign and seal of the covenant, and which is a spiritual food and feast upon a covenant-account,—saith, "This cup is the new testament," or "new covenant," "in my blood." (1 Cor. 11:25.)
3. Or from בָחַרbathar, "to cut and divide asunder," by transposing a letter; for so the sacrifice was divided, and the covenanting parties were to pass between the parts. Thus Abraham entered into covenant with God: "And he took a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon; and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham." (Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18.) This cutting of the sacrifice into pieces, and passing through, was a lively and dreadful sign, that the party who should break covenant should be cut asunder and into pieces, as he well deserved, and as he, at least implicitly, imprecated upon himself. Notable to this purpose is that in the prophet Jeremy: "I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hand of their enemy, and into the hand of them that seek their life;" (Jer. 34:18–20;) that is, to be slain and cut in pieces by the sword. And herein I take the emphasis of the expression to lie: "I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant;" (Lev. 26:25;) that is, by cutting them asunder.
And this custom was conveyed to the Gentiles; they went between the fire, and carried a sword in their hands, and so took an oath; as Cyril proves out of Sophocles.* Thus Virgil, speaking of Romulus and Tatius:
—— Cæsâ jungebant fœdera poreâ.†—VIRGILIIÆneid. viii. 641.
"They cut a swine in sunder, and made a league." And, to name no more, Titus Livius, speaking of the league between the Romans and Albans, [states that] the fetialis, "herald," or minister of those ceremonies, cried, "If the Romans shall falsify by public and wicked fraud, in that day, O Jupiter, do thou so smite the Romans as I smite this swine;" and so knocked the swine on the head with a stone. By all which it appears that covenants have been ever held solemn and sacred things, and that men by breaking of them deserved dreadful punishments.
In like manner there was the shedding, dividing, and sprinkling of blood at the making of covenants; and hence it was called "the blood of the covenant." "Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words." (Exod. 24:6–8.) Note, he sprinkled the altar, instead of God; who, being incorporeal and a Spirit, could not be sprinkled, yet, being a covenant-party, would have the altar sprinkled for him.
So much shall serve for the first question, setting forth in our answer to it the name and nature of a covenant in general. The second question follows:
QUESTION II. What ground we have to speak of "God's covenant with Adam," and to call it "a covenant;" there being no mention of it here in the text, nor elsewhere in scripture do we read of "God's covenant with Adam."
ANSWER. However the name be not here, yet the thing is here and elsewhere, comparing scripture with scripture. It is a nice cavil in Socinians to call for the word "satisfaction;" others, for the word "sacrament;" others, for the word "Trinity;" others, for the words "faith alone justifying;" others, for the word "sabbath" for Lord's day, &c.; and thence to conclude against satisfaction, sacraments, Trinity, justification by faith alone, and sabbath, for want of express words, when the things themselves are lively set down in other words. So, in this case of God's covenant with Adam, we have,
1. God's command, which lays man under an obligation.
2. We have God's promise upon condition of obedience.
3. We have God's threatening upon his disobedience.
4. We have their understanding it so, as appears in Eve's words to the serpent. (Gen. 3:3.)
5. We have the two trees as signs and symbols of the covenant.
6. We have a "second covenant" and a "new covenant;" therefore there was a first and old covenant: a covenant of grace supposeth one of works.
OBJECTION. If any shall say, "By 'first and old covenant' was meant God's covenant with Israel, and not with Adam; and so, by 'covenant of works' the same is meant; namely, that which the Lord made at Mount Sinai:" (Heb. 8:7–9:)
ANSWER. Hereunto I answer, There is a repetition of the covenant of works with Adam in the law of Moses; as in that of the apostle to the Galatians: "The law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth" these things "shall live in them." (Gal. 3:12.) So likewise to the Romans: "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man who doeth those things shall live by them." (Rom. 10:5.) Thus it was with Adam principally and properly: therefore he was under a covenant of works, when God gave him that command in my text.
QUESTION III. Wherein, then, doth this covenant of works consist? What is the nature, tenor, and end of it, as such?
ANSWER I. This covenant required working on our part, as the condition of it, for justification and happiness; [and is] therefore called "a covenant of works." Thus before: "The man that doeth" these things "shall live in them." (Gal. 3:12.) Working, indeed, is also required under grace now; but, (1.) Not to justification; (2.) Not from our own power; (Eph. 2:8;) (3.) Not previous to faith, which "worketh by love," (Gal. 5:6,) and lives by working; (James 2:20;) but man lives by faith.
2. A second characteristical sign of the covenant of works is this,—that in and under it man is left to stand upon his own legs and bottom, to live upon his own stock and by his own industry; he had a power to stand, and not to have fallen. This is meant, when it is said, "God created man in his own image." (Gen. 1:27.) And again: "Lo, this only have I found, that God made man upright." (Eccles. 7:29.)
3. In the first covenant, namely, that of works, man had no need of a mediator; God did then stipulate with Adam immediately: for, seeing as yet he had not made God his enemy by sin, he needed no daysman to make friends by intercession for him. After man's creation God said, he "saw every thing which he had made, and, behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31.) And after the covenant made in Gen. 2., it is said, "They were naked, and were not ashamed:" (verse 25:) that is, they had not contracted guilt by committing of sin, from whence only ariseth shame. Therefore under the covenant [of works] there needeth no mediator. And hence Moses's law was not properly a covenant of works, because that law was given "in the hand of a mediator." (Gal. 3:19.)
4. The covenant of works once broken, God abates nothing of his justice, no, not upon repentance; but the soul that sinned, died. Mark our text: "Thou shalt die the death;" by which doubling of the words in the Hebrew idiom of speech, is meant vehemency and certainty;* which was effected, and so had continued inevitably, without the help of another covenant, hinted in that first promise, Gen. 3:15. For the first covenant gives no relief to a poor sinner, when he hath broken it; but leaves him hopeless and helpless, under "a fearful expectation of" wrath "and fiery indignation." (Heb. 10:27.)
5. The Lord in the covenant of works accepts the person for the work's sake: that is, he mainly looks at the work, how adequate it is to the command and rule; which he so exactly heeds, that upon the least failure his justice breaks out in wrath, neither can any personal excellency in the world salve the matter: "Cursed is he that continueth not in all the words of the law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen;" (Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10;) a doleful Amen! And, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10.) Note that "whosoever;" God respects no man's person in that case.
6. The covenant of works, in performance of the condition, leaves a man matter of boasting and glorying in himself, and makes God a debtor to him: "Where is boasting? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay." (Rom. 3:27.) As if he had said, "The covenant of works affords matter of boasting to him that worketh to justification by his own personal power and righteousness." "Now to him that worketh is the reward reckoned, not of grace, but of debt;" (Rom. 4:4;) that is, it obligeth God to pay it him as a due; which is the language of Pharisees and Papists; which were justly challenged and claimed, (1.) Were we indeed under a covenant of works, and not of grace; (2.) Were our works perfect; (3.) Did we not lie at God's mercy, for our guilt:—all which declare man impotent, and grace necessary; and, withal, Jews and Papists to be enemies to the cross of Christ and covenant of grace, and under a covenant of works, of which more anon.
7. The covenant of works leaves a man still in doubt while resting in it, in that state; because it is a mutable state at best. He had all in his own hands, and then Satan cunningly rooked him of all. God puts him into a good bottom, and leaves him to be his own pilot at sea: the devil assaults him, and sinks him. And therefore the second covenant takes all into God's hands, that it may continue safe under his fatherly care and custody; (1 Peter 1:4, 5; John 10:28, 29;) and so gives the soul good security against death and danger, which Adam had not while he stood: much less can any rich or honourable man, in his fool's paradise here in this world, say, his mountain is unmovable, his glory unchangeable; seeing it "passeth away" as a "pageant." (1 Cor. 7:31.) If Adam's Paradise was so mutable, much more theirs: if he stood not in his integrity, how shall they stand in their iniquity?
8. The covenant of works was made with all men in Adam, who was made and stood as a public person, head and root, in a common and comprehensive capacity; I say, It was made with him as such, and with all in him:
Quo mansit remanente, et quo pereunte peribat;
"He and all stood and fell together." For even the elect may say, "We are all by nature the children of wrath, as well as others;" and that of St. Paul: "We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." (Rom. 3:19.) But the covenant of grace is a discriminating thing; it takes-in some, and leaves out others. Christ is not a head in covenant with all, as Adam was; but of his elect only: for we find many in the world under the headship of Satan and antichrist and old Adam, who are out of Christ; not only because unconverted, as saints themselves are before regeneration; but out of Christ in the account of God's election, donation, and covenant; who have none of his special love, nor ever shall have.
Thus I have briefly opened the distinguishing characters of the covenant of works; which might have been more enlarged by those of the covenant of grace, which is easily done by way of opposition and comparison one with the other; and therefore, and for brevity's sake, I omit it, and come to the next question.
QUESTION IV. Whether this covenant of works, made with Adam, was revived and repeated to Israel in Moses's time; and if so, in what sense, and why?
ANSWER. I answer affirmatively, that in some sort the covenant of works was revived and repeated to them; which appears from these grounds:—
1. They were tied to commandments under a curse. (Gal. 3:10.)
2. Blessing is promised to obedience. They are both set down by Moses at large in Deuteronomy, (chap. 28. 1, 2, 15, 16,) and elsewhere.
3. It is expressly called "a covenant;" I mean, the giving of the law for obedience: "The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb." (Deut. 5:2.)
4. It is opposed to the covenant of grace, as another covenant, upon this very distinguishing account of obedience and faith, works and grace; as you may see at large, among other places, in that of the Hebrews. (Chap. 8. 6–13.)
Now there are four principal ends which the Lord had in so doing:—
1. That he might hereby make men know what sin is; how prone we are to it, and how averse and headstrong against all good. This is done by a law of works. (Rom. 7:7–13.) This indeed is God's clear glass by which he discovers to us the moral and penal evil of sin. So, Rom. 3:20.
2. That hereby the Lord might hold men in to obedience by a strong curb. Because we are apt to break fence, he "hedgeth up our way with thorns." (Hosea 2:5, 6.)
3. That God might "stop every mouth," and make "all guilty before him." (Rom. 3:19.)
4. That men may hereby be lashed and driven to Christ as with a schoolmaster's rod, to see an absolute need of him, and to make out hard after him. (Gal. 3:22–24.) For men care not to run to a city of refuge, unless the avenger of blood follow behind at their heels; neither do the whole need or regard the physician, but the sick and wounded.
Yet, notwithstanding all this, they were not properly under a covenant of works, neither was the law given to them as such a covenant merely:—
1. Because, as the law was to convince of sin, so it showed the expiation of sin; and therefore their sacrifices were killed, and the blood shed and sprinkled. (Heb. 9:22, 23.)
2. The covenant at Mount Sinai was not made with all without exception, as Adam's was; but only with a select people, even with Israel.
3. Because the Lord still puts them in mind of his promise to Abraham; which included Christ and faith in him, and was not null by the law. (Gal. 3:16, 17.)
QUESTION V. The last question is, How long this covenant lasted, and whether any be under a covenant of works.
ANSWER. Most strictly, it was but to the giving of the first promise; for then the covenant of grace began, but was more largely and clearly revealed, till the coming of Christ, by the law and the prophets; but was most perspicuously and fully [revealed] by Christ himself in his doctrine and death, and by the abundant pouring out of his Spirit. Howbeit, all along and to this day every natural man is under a covenant of works; because out of Christ, therefore under the law and the curse of it: for which cause the covenant of works is by some called fœdus naturæ, "the covenant of nature."
Again: all they which look for righteousness and salvation by the power of their wills, by the strength of nature, and by performance of duties; as Jews, Turks, philosophers, Papists, Socinians, Pelagians;—these are all under a covenant of works; they are not under grace. They are of Hagar, "the bondwoman," of Mount Sinai, which "answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children;" as the apostle speaks in his elegant "allegorv." (Gal. 4:24, 25.)
I come now to draw some corollaries from this doctrine of the covenant of works thus propounded, in a practical way of application; and that briefly.
COROLLARY I. It serves for admiration; to wonder with a holy astonishment at the Lord's infinite condescending love in making a covenant with poor man:—
1. Because it was a free act in him to do it; he lay under no compulsion to it; nothing of merit or profit in a despicable worm appears as a motive to it. It was a royal act of glorious grace from the King of heaven to vile creatures. (Rom. 9:15, 16.) O wonderful!
2. Because, as it was free for him to do it, so he bound his hands by it, and, as it were, lost his freedom by it; for his truth holds him fast to it, by which "it is impossible for" him to change. (Heb. 6:18.) O wonderful!
3. He made the first offer; he prevented us by his grace: "He first loved us." (1 John 4:10, 19.) All this appeared in the first covenant with us, in vouchsafing us to make any at all with him: Ineffabilis misericordiœ divinœ argumentum, quòd ipsum Numen, ipse, inquam, Deus œternus, fœdus ipsum primus offert, nullis ad hoc hominum meritis adactus, sed merâ et nativâ boniate impulsus! Nec sct an humanum ingenium hoc mysterium vel plenè concipere, vel dignis laudibus evehere, possit. "Unspeakable mercy, that the eternal God should first offer to league with us, moved to it by no merit in us, but by his own native goodness only! a mystery which the mind of man cannot conceive, nor his tongue praise to the worth of it." Thus a grave author;* which will the more enhance the love of God, if we,
4. Consider that he makes covenant upon covenant after breaches and forfeitures, renews them again, and ratifies them stronger than ever; as he did the new covenant, after the old was broken by our high and heinous provocation in the fall; and which he doth to every elect soul in the sacraments, and after gross and grievous apostasies. See Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:60–63; Hosea 2:14–23. O, admire and adore this love!
COROL. II. Seeing there are two covenants on foot,—one of works, another of grace; and very many, yea, the far greatest part of the world, are under a covenant of works; which is a most sad and doleful estate, because a state of wrath and death, a most wretched and accursed condition; O, try under what covenant thou art!—For if thou art in a state of sinful nature, a sprout of old Adam, never yet cut off from his root of bitterness, nor graffed into Christ, thou art undone; to be under such a covenant is to be an enemy to God, and to be liable to all his plagues. O make haste, then, and flee as a post, and as the young roe, into Christ's arms! For, consider, how thou canst stand before the bar of God in thy sins, in thy nakedness. Adam fled away from the presence of God, afraid and ashamed, hiding himself in the thicket, because he was naked: but where wilt thou hide thy nakedness in that dreadful day of the Lord? There will be no shelter in that day for a sinner.
COROL. III. Labour to understand and discern aright the nature, tenor, and terms of both covenants:—
1. Because they are easily mistaken, and many do mistake them. (Rom. 10:2, 3.)
2. Because the mistake is dangerous. Like a man in the dark, as he travels, finds two ways; one way is wrong, yet it seems as good and safe as the other; he goes on in the wrong, which leads him to a rock, where he falls down headlong, and breaks his neck: (Prov. 14:12:) so many a poor soul imagines he is under a covenant of grace, and in a safe way to heaven; when, alas! he is yet under a covenant of works, and in the highway to hell. Labour, then, to discern the difference: search the scriptures, and thy own heart; go to the Lord by prayer, and to his ministers; that they may show thee thy way, lest thou go on to thy destruction. (Job 33:23, 24.) And therefore,
COROL. IV. Improve the covenant of works for the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment.—For, till the Lord lets thee see what it is to be under such a state, thou wilt never see the evil of it, nor ever desire to change it.
COROL. V. Renounce thy covenants with sin, Satan, and creatures.—Or else thou wilt never be admitted into covenant with God. If thou break not with them, God will never close with thee; if thou be a covenant-servant to them, thou art no covenant-servant of the Lord's. For how canst thou serve those "two masters,—God and mammon?" (Matt. 6:24;) both which crave thy whole man and thy whole work, and which are utterly inconsistent with each other. (1 John 2:15, 16.)
COROL. VI. Labour to relieve thyself under thy greatest straits and fears by covenant-promises.—I mean, the promises of the new covenant; which are called "better promises," because absolute promises; because they work that in us and for us which God requires of us, when of ourselves we "can do nothing." (Heb. 8:6, 10–12; John 15:5.) As the new covenant is the best covenant, and the promises of it the best promises; so the mercies of it are the best mercies; for they are "the sure mercies of David." (2 Sam. 23:5; Isai. 55:3; Acts 13:34.)
COROL. VII. Bless the Lord, that ye are under the best dispensation and clearest discovery of the covenant of grace.—Better than Adam's, after the promise was made to him upon his fall; better than Noah's, after the flood; better than Israel's, in the wilderness; yea, better than the patriarchs' and prophets', who had much legality and obscurity in their administrations, in comparison of us who "behold with open face the glory of God." (2 Cor. 3:18.) [Bless the Lord] that it is the lot of us Gentiles to be brought into the knowledge and participation of the gospel in the last and best time; I mean, after Christ's appearance in the flesh. The apostle compares the church to a tree, which hath the same root, Christ, but several branches: now, that the natural branches should be cut off, to make way for the ingrafting of us wildings, (Rom. 11:16, 17,) is matter of praise to the high God for his rich grace to us Gentiles.* (Eph. 3:8.)
COROL. VIII. Labour for a spirit of self-denial and debasement.—For, as the old-covenant spirit is a spirit of pride and boasting, to advance natural abilities, to glory in our own personal endowments and performances; so a new-covenant spirit is contrary to that, and is a spirit of faith, self-denial, and debasement. (Rom. 3:27; 10:3.)
COROL. IX. Watch against Satan.—As soon as ever God and man were in covenant, he set himself to break that covenant, and prevailed; for he beguiled their simplicity by his subtilty. (Gen. 3:1–6; 2 Cor. 11:3.) Now, albeit the new covenant stands on a surer foundation, yet he will very much weaken our comforts, and increase our sorrows, by drawing us under God's displeasure by sin, forfeiting covenant-mercies by covenant-breaches; which mercies, though they are not lost finally to God's elect, yet are they often to be recovered, renewed, and secured to our souls by a clear evidence.
Besides, Satan will persuade men to slight and renounce their baptism,—as when he makes witches, and turns Christians to be Mahometans,—because thereby, he knows, they renounce their covenant with God, to make one with himself. There are that, upon fairer pretences, neglect or deny the seals of the covenant. Satan had a fair pretence also to draw away our first parents, and make them break with God; which they little thought would have cost so dear; but the sad event showed the sinfulness of that sin. Wherefore "watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." (Mark 14:38.) Be "not ignorant of Satan's devices" in these backsliding and fedifragous times. (2 Cor. 2:11.) "Remember from whence ye are fallen," (Rev. 2:5,) and walk "steadfast in God's covenant." (Psalm 78:37.) You that "stand," learn by others' falls to "take heed." (1 Cor. 10:12.)