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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

New England and her Covenant

By Peter Bulkley (1583–1659)

[Born in Bedfordshire, England, 1583. Died at Concord, Mass., 1659. The Gospel-Covenant. 1646.]

AND thou, New England, which art exalted in privileges of the Gospel above many other people, know thou the time of thy visitation, and consider the great things the Lord hath done for thee. The Gospel hath free passage in all places where thou dwellest; oh that it might be glorified also by thee! Thou enjoyest many faithful witnesses, which have testified unto thee the Gospel of the grace of God. Thou hast many bright stars shining in thy firmament to give thee the knowledge of salvation from on high, to guide thy feet in the way of peace. Be not high-minded, because of thy privileges, but fear because of thy danger. The more thou hast committed unto thee, the more thou must account for. No people’s account will be heavier than thine if thou do not walk worthy of the means of thy salvation. The Lord looks for more from thee than from other people; more zeal for God, more love to his truth, more justice and equity in thy ways. Thou shouldst be a special people, an only people, none like thee in all the earth; oh, be so in loving the Gospel and Ministers of it, having them in singular love for their work’s sake. Glorify thou that word of the Lord, which hath glorified thee. Take heed lest for neglect of either God remove thy candlestick out of the midst of thee; lest being now as a city upon an hill which many seek unto, thou be left like a beacon upon the top of a mountain desolate and forsaken. If we walk unworthy of the Gospel brought unto us, the greater our mercy hath been in the enjoying of it, the greater will our judgment be for the contempt. Be instructed and take heed….

The things of the covenant are great things. Princes and monarchs when they enter into covenant with other nations, they do not make covenants about children’s toys and light matters, but such as concern the welfare of the kingdom; so when the great Monarch of heaven and earth enters into covenant with us, it is about the great things of our salvation, the great things of heaven, yea, of God himself. The covenant is full of blessings, it is a rich store-house, replenished with all manner of blessings. It is not dry nor barren, but like the fat olive or fruitful vine the fruit whereof cheers the heart of God and man. God himself is delighted in the communication of his grace to his people; and they are delighted with the participation of his grace from him. The covenant is a tree of life to those that feed upon it; they shall live forever. It is a well of salvation. It ’s a fountain of good things to satisfy every thirsty soul. It is a treasure full of goods….

Here is unsearchable riches in this covenant, which can never be emptied nor come to an end. Our finite narrow understandings can never apprehend the infinite grace this covenant contains no more than an egg-shell is able to contain the water of the whole sea. Yet it is not in vain to consider them as we are able to express them, though they be above that which we are able to speak or think. As Moses, though he could not see God’s face, nor discern his glory to the full, yet he was permitted to see his back parts; so we may take a little view of the blessings promised, though the full cannot be seen. As in a map, we have the bounds of a Lordship set forth, the rivers, woods, meadows, pastures, etc. These are seen darkly in the map, but they are nothing to that when they are seen in their own beauty and greenness: to see the silver streams in the rivers, the beautiful woods, the large meadows, fat pastures, and goodly orchards, which are far more excellent in themselves, than when they are seen in the map. So we can show you but a little map of those glorious things which the covenant contains; but by that little you do see, you may be raised up to the consideration of the things that are not seen, but are to be revealed in due time.