home :: site contents :: contact     

The Holy Bible (with Commentary)
The Psalms (for singing)

Scottish Gaelic Turkish

Foreign Languages
Law and Grace
Short Articles

Doctrinal Articles
Stories of Faithful Christians
Famous Letters

Summary of Bible Teaching

The Christian’s Great Interest
Gospel Mystery of Sanctification

Pilgrim’s Progress

Christian Clothing

Other Online Books













































The Promise of Temporal Benefits


From “A View of the Covenant of Grace” by Thomas Boston.


Thomas Boston (1676-1732) was a pastor of God's flock in Ettrick, Scotland, whose preaching God abundantly blessed in the saving of many souls. The son of a Presbyterian who knew the Lord and was imprisoned for non-conformity, Boston was raised in times of murderous persecution. Nevertheless, he lived to see God’s people flourish and multiply, as “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). He is perhaps best known for his part in the reprinting of “The Marrow of Modern Divinity”, a book which distinguishes the Covenant of Works from the Covenant of Grace.



In the fifth and last place, the promise of eternal life to the elect, considered in this period, comprehends a promise of temporal benefits to be conferred on them, and every one of them, being united to Christ;  and that in such measure, as God sees meet for his own glory and their good. This promise stands embodied with the spiritual promises in the covenant: Ezekiel 36:29, “I will also save you from all your uncleannesses; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it.” Hosea 2:22, “The earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.”  Indeed, this is not the principal thing contained in the promissory part of the covenant: but it is a necessary addition thereto; as the present state of the saints, while in this world, doth require, Matthew 6:33. And thus godliness, as the apostle observes, 1 Timothy 4:8, “hath promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”


When God took man into the first covenant, he made provision in it for his temporal, as well as for his spiritual and eternal welfare. He gave him a right to, and dominion over the creatures in the earth, sea, and air; giving and granting unto him full power, soberly to use them, and to dispose of them, for God’s glory and his own comfort: and this lordship to be holden of him as Sovereign Lord of all, firm and irreversible, by the tenor of that covenant, as long as he should continue in his obedience; but to be forfeited to all intents and purposes, in case he should by transgression break the covenant, Genesis 1:28, and 2:16, 17. But man continued not in this honour: he brake God’s covenant, and so fell from that his right to, and dominion over the creatures. By his transgression he forfeited life itself; and consequently lost his covenant-right to all the means and comforts of life. And in this condition are all natural men, with respect to these things. They have no covenant-right to the means and comforts of life, whatever portion of them they are possessed of. All the right that they have to them, is a mere providential, precarious right; such as a condemned man hath to his food, during the time his execution in delayed at the pleasure of the prince. This is a most uncertain and uncomfortable holding:  nevertheless it so far avails, that they are not, properly speaking, violent possessors of temporal benefits; having just the same right to them, as to their forfeited life, while it is left to them by the disposal of providence. Wherefore the worst of men may lawfully eat and drink, and take the benefit of other necessaries of life, whatever Satan may suggest to the contrary in the hour of temptation; yea, they ought to do it, and they sin against God egregiously if they do it not;  because he hath said, Thou shalt not kill.


But the second Adam having undertaken to bear the curse, and to give perfect obedience to the law, in the name of his spiritual seed; there was thereupon made a promise of restoring to them the forfeited life, with all the means thereof; and particularly, a promise of the good things requisite for the support and comfort of their temporal life in this world, till at death they be carried home to heaven. And the performance of this promise to them, is begun immediately upon their uniting with Christ: then their covenant-relation to the first Adam is found to be lawfully dissolved; the forfeiture is taken off; and a new covenant-right to the creatures is given them; 1 Corinthians 3:22 , 23. “All are yours; and ye are Christ’s.” And it goes on, all along till death;  so much of this their stock being from time to time put into their hands, as the great Administrator sees needful for them. And whether that be little or much, they do from that moment possess it by a new title:  it is theirs by covenant.


Now this promise is grafted upon the promise made to Christ, of his inheriting all things. For they that are his, are joint-heirs with him, Romans 8:17. To inherit all things too, through him, Revelation 21:7. The estate and honour which the first Adam lost for himself and family, by his disobedience in breaking of the first covenant, was, in the second, made over by promise to Christ the second Adam for him and his, upon the condition of his obedience. The which obedience being performed, the whole ancient estate of the family was recovered, together with the honours thereunto belonging. The ancient dominion was restored, in the person of Christ as second Adam:  and all his mystical members partake thereof in him. This the Psalmist teacheth: Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”  verse 5, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”  Verse 6, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands : thou hast put all things under his feet:” verse 7, “All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field:” verse 8, “The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Though there is here a manifest view to the first Adam and all mankind in him, as they were happily and honourably stated at their creation;  yet we are infallibly assured by the apostle, that this passage is meant of Christ the second Adam, Hebrews 2:6–9, and his mystical members in him, verse 6. Accordingly, Abraham had the promise, that he should be the heir of the world: and he had it through the righteousness of faith, i.e. the righteousness which faith apprehends, Romans 4:13. Now, Abraham was a type of Christ, and the father of the faithful, who are all blessed as he was. Therefore this promise was primarily to Christ, through the righteousness by him wrought; secondarily to his members, through the same righteousness apprehended by faith.


This promise of temporal benefits, carries believers’ possession of the same, as far as their need in that kind doth go, Philippians 4:19. Of which need, not they themselves, but their Father is the fit judge, Matthew 6:32.  Accordingly, there are two chief branches of the promise, namely, a promise of provision, and a promise of protection.


1. A promise of provision of good things necessary for this life; upon which they may confidently trust God for them, whatever straits they are at any time reduced to:  Psalm 34:10, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing.” Their meat and drink are secured for them in the covenant: the which being perceived by faith, cannot miss to give them a peculiar relish; however mean their fare be, as to quantity or quality: Isaiah 33:16, “Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure.” They shall be fed, though they be not feasted:  Psalm 37:3, “Verily thou shalt be fed.” They shall have enough, they shall be satisfied, Joel 2:26 . And even days of famine shall not mar that their satisfaction:  Psalm 37:19, “In  the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” And as sleep for their refreshment is necessary too, the promise bears it also:  Proverbs 3:24, “Thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” They need clothing, and provision is made as to it:  Matthew 6:30 , “If God so clothe the grass of the field,––shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”  Having made them, by covenant, a new grant of life and of a body, which are more than meat and clothing, he will not refuse them these lesser things necessary for the support of the greater: verse 25, “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Thus our fallen first parents, having believed and embraced the promise of life, had, with the new grant of life, food and raiment provided for them, as is particularly taken notice of, Genesis 3:15, 18, 21. A blessing also on their labours is promised, and success in their lawful callings and affairs, Isaiah 65:21–23.  In a word, the covenant bears, that God will withhold no good thing from them that live uprightly, Psalm 84:11.


2. There is also a promise of protection from the evil things that concern this life: Psalm 91:10, “There shall no evil befall thee;” verse 11, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Together with the bread and the water provided by the covenant for them to live on, the munitions of rocks are secured to them for a place of defence, where they may safely enjoy them, Isaiah 33:16. The same Lord who is a sun to nourish them, will be a shield to protect them, Psalm 84:11. He will be a wall of fire round about them, to cherish them, and to keep off, scare, and fright away their enemies, Zechariah 2:5. The covenant yields a broad covert for the safety of believers: Psalm 91:4, “He shall cover thee with his feathers.” The covert of the covenant is stretched out over their bodies; over their health to preserve it, while it is necessary for God’s honour and their own good: Proverbs 3:7, “Fear the Lord, and depart from evil;” verse 8, “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones;” over their lives, as long as God has any service for them in this world: so in sickness they are carefully seen to:  Psalm 41:3, “Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness;” their diseases healed, and they recovered, Psalm 103:3, 4. And they are delivered from enemies that seek their life, Psalm 41:2. Yea, when death rides in triumph, having made havoc on all sides of them, as by sword or pestilence, they are found safe under the covert of the covenant, Psalm 91:6, 7. This covert is stretched over their names, credit, and reputation: Job 5:21, “Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue:” either the tongues of virulent men shall not reach them; or else if they shall be permitted to make it stick for a while, the covert of the covenant shall wipe all off at length, and their righteousness shall be brought forth as the light, and their judgement as the noon-day, Psalm 37:6. It is stretched over their houses and dwelling-places: Psalm 91:10, “Neither shall any plague come near thy dwelling.” It goes round about their substance, making a hedge about all that they have, Job 1:10. Yea, and there is a lap of it to cast over their widows and children, when they are dead and gone:  Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me.”




“A View of the Covenant of Grace” by Thomas Boston. Focus Christian Ministries Trust, 1990. pp 552-558.