The Ark of the Covenant Opened:
God and Chriſt, as the Foundation of the
Covenant of Grace.
Written by a Miniſter of the New-Teſtament: Patrick Gillespie.
Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapſide,
near Mercers Chappel, 1677.
Of the Nature, Properties, and Parties of the Covenant of Redemption..
THE general Nature of this Covenant is common to it, with all other Covenants; whatsoever different peculiarity they have, this is essential and common to all Covenants; they are Agreements: and this is an eternal transaction and agreement betwixt Jehovah and the Mediator Christ, about the work of our Redemption.
The peculiar propriety of its nature, will appear by inquiring a little into, (1.) The various eternal acts of the will of God that concurred to make up this agreement. (2.) The distinction and order of these eternal acts of his will, and the right manner of our conceiving of them.
1. Supposing, as we have said before, that God purposed in himself not to save man without a satisfaction to his Justice: These eternal acts of the will of God, or rather the things which we conceive under these various acts, and their denominations among men (for we need not multiply acts in this matter, but for the helping our own understanding) did concur and meet together in this agreement. (1.) The designation of a Person to do this work; there must needs have been a Person set apart and designed from eternity unto the doing of the work of Redemption, and this Person was the Son only; not the Father, nor the Spirit, I Pet. 1.20, Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world; but was manifested in these last times for you. (2.) The preparation and fitting of the Person set apart to take our Law-place, and room, that Justice might smite him in our stead; which also was by an eternal act of the will of God decreed, that the Son of God should be Immanuel, God with us, or God made manifest in the flesh, Isa.7.14. I Tim.3.16, and unto this incarnation of the Son of God, his own words have reference, as unto the grand qualification whereby he was destinated before-hand, that he might be in a capacity to do this work, Heb.10.5. A body has thou prepared me. (3.) The calling of the Person designed: calling is an act different from designation, 'tis something further. Christ was by an eternal act of God's will called to this work, and that long before he came into the world, Psal.89.19, Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. And Isa. 42.6, I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. Heb.5.5, So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. (4.) The investing of the Person designed, with offices, powers and authorities, for the doing of this work, such as his Mediatory-office, and the powers and authorities thereunto belonging, which was not suspended until the time of his actual discharge of the offices of King, Priest, and Prophet; but by an eternal act of the will of God, he was set up and vested with these offices and powers from everlasting, and had the glory of the designed, called, invested Mediator; as he plainly insinuates, Prov.8.23, I was set up from everlasting, saith Wisdom; several Expositors render it, I was called, or I was anointed. Joh.17.5, And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (5.) The mission of the Son, Christ designed, fitted, called, invested for this work, was also by an eternal act in the counsel of God, sent to do this work; he had a solemn eternal authoritative mission, a command to go, and was bidden go; he had the will of God by an eternal act or commission given out to him concerning all this work, long before he was actually made under the Law; to which he hath respect, when he saith, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, Heb.10.7. even that will of God that was in the book of his eternal decrees, Joh.6.39, And this is the Father's will which hath sent me. And 10.18, This Commandment have I received of my Father: But in all these, we do not so much multiply the distinction of acts, as we take notice of the distinction and difference of Phrase used by the Holy Ghost, speaking of this mystery in the Scriptures. Upon the other part, there concurred unto this agreement, an eternal personal consent and compliance upon Christ's part, unto all these eternal acts of the will of God; for Christ God, equal with the Father, does not begin to consent and agree unto any thing in time; nor can the eternal Son of God will any thing in time, which he did not will and consent unto from eternity. But Christ was present with the Father, and did from eternity consent and agree to these eternal acts. (1.) To the designation of himself to be the person that should satisfy the Justice of God, he heartily acquiesced and offered himself; he said, Lo, I come to do thy will, Heb.10.5,7. He poured out his Soul unto death, Isa.53.12. (2.) He consented unto the putting himself in that low capacity that the working of this work required, Heb.2.7, Thou madest him a little lower than the Angels; to leave the throne of glory, and come down to his footstool, there to be in disgrace; the Lord of the Law, to be made under the Law, Gal.4.4. the holy one that knew no sin, to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh, Rom.8.3. Phil.2.6,7,8, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. (3.) He consented and agreed unto the eternal act of his calling to this work; no sooner was it his Father's will that he should travel in the business, but it was his also. He was as a ready Servant, whose ear was bored in token of his love and willingness to serve his Master, when he might have been free, Psal.40.6, Mine ears hast thou opened or bored. Isa.50.5,6, The Lord hath opened mine ears, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (4.) He consented to the taking on these offices and trusts that the work of our Redemption required; there was no force nor constraint upon, no necessity of nature that he should step in betwixt the disagreeing parties, that he should step into the fire that we had kindled, that he should make himself a Sacrifice for our sins, that he should receive a dispensatory Kingdom; but frankly and freely he consented to do all these things, John.10.18, No man taketh my life from me; but I lay it down of myself. John.17.2, As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Prov.8.23, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (5.) He consented unto his mission, his Father's sending of him, and was well content to go that errand; yea, so hearty was his consent, that he took delight in it, Psal.40.8, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy Law is within my heart. Joh.4.34, Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. And to all these things he gives a personal consent from eternity, and with so much delight, that he solaced himself, and took pleasure in the future accomplishment of these eternal acts of the will of God concerning the Sons of men, Prov.8.23,30,31, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was. Then I was by him as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the Sons of men. This is the nature of this eternal transaction, which will appear also more clearly afterward from the tenor of this Covenant, with the reciprocal engagements of the parties.
2. Concerning the distinction and order of these eternal acts of the will of God, and for preventing gross and unbecoming thoughts of them; I give these cautions. (1.) All the acts of God's will, his decrees, and eternal transaction with Christ, are in regard of God, one most simple and pure act of His will; but in regard of our conceptions of them, who cannot take up many particulars together in one; they are distinguished and expressed so in the word, that we may take them up distinctly: The Lord in his way of expressing these great mysteries of the counsel of his will, accommodating himself to our way of conceiving things: we are therefore accordingly to take heed how we conceive of the distinction of acts in the eternal counsel of God's will. (2.) When we speak of the order of these eternal acts, we mean only the order of Nature, and which of these acts are to be conceived by us antecedaneous to the rest in that respect; for there is no order of time, no priority nor posterity of that kind among the decrees of God, and acts of his will, which are all eternal.
3. We are to conceive of this order (which only agreeth to the decrees of God) according to these rules:1
1. According to the futurition of things; that is, these decrees and eternal acts of the will of God about things ad extra without, which do suppose the futurition of things about which these decrees are past; these decrees (I say) do necessarily suppose some other acts of the will of God antecedent to these in order of nature, whence the things supposed in that decree, had their futurition; for 'tis to me above question, that things which did not exist from eternity, had their futurition no where, but from the decrees of God's will, which made them future things before they existed; neither is it possible that God could foresee any thing as future, before his decree, and some act of his will gave it futurition; whatsoever the device of Scientia media [middle knowledge], tell us to the contrary. And according to this rule, we say, the decree of God's entering in Covenant with man, whether by Law or Grace, does suppose some antecedaneous act of the will of God (in order of nature) concerning the Creation of man, some decree whence man had a futurition, and existed in the prescience of God as a future thing.
2. We may conceive of the order of the decrees of God, according as he orders things in execution, by that rule so much made use of by the Learned Dr. Twiss, Quod prius est in intentione posterius est in executione & contra: that which is first in the intention of God, is last in the execution;2 and that which is last in the intent, is first in the execution; Understand this rule, as that Author doth, without subordination of the co-ordinate means whereby God intended to make himself glorious in the way of mercy and justice; and according to this rule, we say that God first decreed the glorifying of his mercy and justice upon all mankind, before he decreed any thing concerning his creation, or his fall: for the creation and fall of man, were first in execution, before justice and mercy was glorified in him.
3. Another rule (which also is a qualification of the former) is, that these eternal acts of the will of God which respiciunt finem, relate to the end, are in this kind of order before; these acts of his will which respiciunt media relate unto the means which lead unto these ends, Et illud quod habet rationem finis est prius, quod vero habet rationem medii est posterius; And that which hath the place of the end, is the first; and that which hath the place of the mean, is last in order among the eternal acts of God's will. And this rule holds not only with respect to the supreme and chief end; to wit, God's glorifying of himself in the way of manifesting his mercy and justice, which is first in order among the eternal acts of the will of God, relating to man; and all the other acts of his will, concerning the creation, fall, sending of Christ, &c. (which are co-ordinate means in respect of this supreme end, to which they are subordinate): These I say, are posterior in this kind of order, among the decrees of God, and eternal acts of his will; but this rule holds also in respect of that subordination that may be conceived among these acts of the will of God, about the creation and fall of man, and the sending of Christ (which are co-ordinate means in respect of the supreme end before-mentioned); yet because one of these may have the place of an end, with respect to another of these same co-ordinate means, which may be also a means for carrying on some next immediate end, as well as the supreme ultimate end; as the Salvation of the elect is a mean subservient to the great end of glorifying Grace, and yet may be, and is also, an end of God's sending Christ; so that the sending of Christ, is both a mean subordinate to the glory of Grace, and the Salvation of God's elect people. Now, I say, which way soever we look upon the acts of God's will about the glorifying of his justice and mercy on Mankind, we are still to conceive of the eternal acts of his will, that respect the ends which he has proposed to himself, both supreme and subordinate, as first in order; and these acts of his will, that relate to the means, as last: for God first purposed the end, then the means that lead to it.
By this time it may appear that there is no great cause to contend for the order and distinction of these eternal acts of the will of God, that concurred to the making up this eternal transaction betwixt Jehovah and the Mediator, since they are all co-ordinate acts of the counsel of his will, and means for the carrying on the glory of his mercy and justice in saving man. This much is manifest, (1.) That the Covenant of Redemption made with Christ, doth suppose other eternal acts of the will of God, about the saving of man in the way of satisfaction to justice, &c. whereof I have spoken before, Chap.2. (2.) That the designation, calling, and eternal mission of the Son of God to do this work, must in order be before the person designed and called, gave his actual consent, and closed the bargain from eternity. And if any will contend about the order of these eternal acts before-mentioned, I do not see why we may not fitly conceive of them in this order, designing, calling, fitting, investing, sending of Christ; these were the eternal acts of the will of God, which were entertained by the Son of God with consent and delectation.
The Properties3 of the Covenant of Redemption, are, Freedom, Graciousness, Eternity, Equality, Order, and Stability.
1.The Covenant that was transacted betwixt Jehovah and Christ, was a most free Covenant: it was an act of mere liberty and sovereign freedom. There was eminent freedom upon both sides, in both the parties Covenanting. (1.) Upon the Father's side (abstracting from his own decrees and purposes), it was free to Jehovah to have followed a strict Law-course according to the rigour of the Covenant of works; or to follow a Gospel-way of mitigation and condescension as pleased him; it was free to him to send, or not to send a Saviour to suffer for man; to take a satisfaction by a Surety, or only in the Soul that sinned, as pleased him. (2.) Upon Christ's part, it was as free to him to be a suffering Redeemer and Surety, or not, as pleased him; to undertake the work of our Redemption, or not to undertake it; to humble himself unto this service, or not; to go this errand, or not, as pleased him. Hence 'tis observed,4 that it was otherwise with the second Adam, than with the first; for it was not free to Adam to withdraw from, or to deny subjection to the first Covenant; neither could he withdraw himself from the Law of Nature, nor slight the promise thereof, without the violation of that Law: but the Son of God was free, and tied by no Law antecedent to his own consent.
This Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is established and confirmed,
1. From these Scriptures which attribute this transaction to the free pleasure and sovereign freedom of both parties, the Father and Christ; therefore the Scripture speaking of God's eternal transactions with Christ about our Redemption, doth so frequently call them, deeds and acts of will, and of the Father's pleasure; and that the whole procedure was according to his good pleasure, and the pleasure of his will, Eph. 1.5,9. And Col. 1.19, It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. 2 Tim. 1.9, according to his purpose and grace, &c. And upon the other part, Christ's concessions in this matter, are attributed to his mere will and liberty, Phil. 2.6,7,8, Who being in the form of God, having the very same divine essence which the father hath, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; counted it no usurpation to carry himself as God, equal with the Father; made himself of no reputation; freely, and of his own accord, he humbled himself; not using nor manifesting the glory that was competent to him, and took upon him the form of a servant; he took upon him a real service in the assumption of the human nature, for the ends he assumed it, and was made in the likeness of men; and in this service he did behave himself, as other men, and suitably to that employment, and not as equal with God, which was his natural condition; and while he was in that habit and condition, he obeyed unto the death of the Cross. All this he acted with eminent freedom in time; and consented to with like freedom from eternity, where he freely took upon him whatsoever he acted within time.
2. If it was free with God, whether he would give to man a Being, and whether he would conclude this in the counsel of his will from eternity, or not, as pleased him; sure it was also free to God whether he would send a Saviour to him when he should be lost, or not, as pleased him: Now, 'tis manifest that it was free with God, whether he would so much as give to man a being; for he was under no necessity to create the World, or Men, or Angels, all which are for his pleasure; and therefore are whatsoever they are, by his pleasure, Rev. 4.11, Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
3. If it was free to God from eternity, whether he would choose objects in Mankind, to magnify his Grace and Mercy upon, when he had purposed to create Angels and men; or whether he would let them all perish, and not take any of their natures upon him; then the Covenant of Suretyship hath this property of freedom; but it is manifest that it was free with God from eternity, whether he would recover any of the race of fallen man, or not, as pleased him; since he was no more tied to Men than to Angels, to whom he sent no Saviour when they fell, nor hath designed any of the fallen Angels unto Redemption, 2 Pet. 2.4, For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto the day of Judgment. Heb. 2.16, For verily he took not on him the nature of Angels; but he took upon him the seed of Abraham. It remains therefore, that the Covenant of Redemption is an act of sovereignty and freedom upon God's part who designed a Redeemer, and upon Christ's part who consented unto this designation.
4. This Property of the Covenant of Redemption is further confirmed, by the negation and removal of all things contrary to sovereign freedom. (1.) There was nothing from himself (abstracting from his own decrees, and love-designs) that could trench [encroach] upon the freedom of this eternal act of his will; for there was no necessity of nature upon Jehovah, nor upon the Son of God, that did determine God to enter in this Covenant (as is already cleared.) (2.) There was nothing from without that could trench upon the freedom of this eternal act; as nothing could necessarily determine, so neither compel nor constrain God to lay such a service upon his own Son Christ, nor him to undertake it; For [1.] This transaction having been from eternity, it was a concluded bargain before the creatures had a being, Prov. 8.23, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. [2.] Put the case they had then had a being; what could the being of Men and Angels, and all the works of his hands have trenched upon the sovereign freedom of their Maker's will and actings? for who hath resisted his will?hath not the potter power over the clay? Rom. 9.19,21. [3.] The Father and the Son were not only free from all natural necessity and outward compulsion; but also from all hire, allurement or motive from any thing without their own will; there was nothing in man, no not foreseen, that could allure or move; far less hire the Father to give Christ, to engage him in this work, nor Christ to engage his name in our bond; since he well foresaw what it would cost him: It's true he values his seed as a satisfying return of his travail, Isa. 53.11, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; but beside that, there is no proportion betwixt his work, and this poor wages: was man a price for the Lord of glory to work for? or was he a reward for him to wrestle for? could he be hired for so low a wager, if the sovereign freedom of his own will had not acted him? Consider, I say, who gave this price to the Lord: did man give himself to the Lord, or did the Lord give his elect people to Christ from eternity, and afterward he is the first giver also? Now there can be no hire given by man to the Lord, unless he were the first giver, Rom. 11.35. For who hath first given to him and it shall be recompensed to him again? 1 Chron. 29.14, Of thine own have we given thee. Jer. 30.21, And I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; for who is he that engageth his heart to approach unto me, saith the Lord?
2. Another property of this Covenant is Graciousness; it is not only the Covenant transacted with us, the Gospel-Covenant, that is, pure Grace; but this also that was transacted betwixt Jehovah and Christ, even while it was yet in his purpose, and as it was the eternal act of his will, is frequently called caris & eudokia, Grace and his good pleasure, or gracious pleasure, Eph. 1.5,6,7; 2. Tim. 1.9. his purpose and grace. Now Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, in a far other sense than 'tis attributed to the Covenant of reconciliation: For, (1.) Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, in regard of both Parties transacting; it was pure Grace that determined both the Parties, and engaged them both; the Father to send, and the Son to come; and this Grace was equally in both the Parties, and did shine equally and by way of efficiency in them both, Zech. 6.13, The counsel of peace was between them both. But graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of reconciliation; because of the shining glory and activity of the Grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is therein manifested; which Grace is in us subjectively; and though the acts thereof be ours in a vital formal manner; yet it is from God by way of efficiency, and it is his Grace, not ours, from which the Covenant hath its name of Grace, Titus 2.11; 1 Tim. 1.14; Eph. 1.6,7; And 2.5,7,8; 1 Cor. 15.10. (2.) Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Reconciliation; not only in regard of God's making such a Covenant with us; but also in regard of the tenor of that Covenant, and whole dispensation; the promises, conditions, and reward therein is all pure Grace; as the same is opposed unto, and contra-distinguished from works, which signify nothing in that covenant, as it is a Court of Righteousness and Life, Eph. 2.8,9, For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. But of this Covenant of Redemption, Graciousness is a property thereof; mainly, because of the reasons following; but not because the whole tenor thereof, as well the conditions as promises were pure Grace considered as such, and contra-distinguished from works: For though pure Grace made this Covenant of Redemption; yet the condition thereof upon both sides were works.
1. Christ is a doer and fulfiller of the covenant of works most exactly in all points, both the command, and the curse and penalty of the Covenant, is satisfied by him; this is works, and this was the condition required upon his part, Heb. 10.7, Then said I, lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God. Gal. 3.13, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us.
2. Christ as a doer and obedient fulfiller of the Law, hath a reward in Justice by the promise of this Covenant: For (I humbly conceive) he had his reward of debt, and merit, having paid a condign price to the Justice of God; therefore his reward is due to him, by commutative Justice, Phil. 2.7,8, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and is craved by him, John. 17.4,5, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self.
But Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption:
1. Efficiently, or in regard of the efficient cause thereof; the spring whence it came was Grace, pure Grace, and nothing else made it and gave it a being; it was not only an act of will, pleasure, freedom and sovereignty; but an act of gracious will, and the good pleasure of his will, that made it, Eph. 1.5. Col. 1.19.
2. Graciousness is attributed to this Covenant ultimately, in regard that the ultimate end and scope thereof is the manifesting the glory of the richness and freeness of Grace; tis a design of Grace that is driven and carried on in the Covenant of Redemption, Eph. 1.6, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 2 Tim. 1.9, Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
3. Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, because Grace was in it fundamentally; the whole contrivance and dispensation of Grace is bottomed upon this eternal transaction, and turns upon the hinge of this Compact betwixt Jehovah and Christ; therefore all the mercies and faithfulness of the Lord that we are made to sing of within time, are laid upon this foundation, Psalm 89.1-3, I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever, with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, mercy shall be built up for ever, thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a Covenant with my chosen.
4. Graciousness may be attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, because Grace was here originally; for here the first draughts of pure, sovereign, free Grace, and the unsearchable riches thereof, were drawn and portrayed; here is fountain-Grace, and from thence came the streams; here were the beginnings of that noble design of Grace laid, and from hence did they come forth, Col. 1.26,27, Even the mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations; but now is made manifest to his Saints. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
5. Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, because Grace is here comprehensively; even all that God hath been driving and acting upon the spirits of his people, by the Gospel-covenant and Ordinances thereof, and the work of his Spirit since the beginning of the world; and all that he shall do, until the day that the ransomed and redeemed company be perfected; even the whole plot of Grace, is all comprised in this eternal transaction with Christ, and to it are we led as the comprehension of all Covenant-grace and mercy, Isa. 55.3, Incline your ear and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make with you an everlasting Covenant, even the sure mercies of David.
6. Graciousness is attributed to this Covenant, because Grace is here eminently; and indeed if the comparison might be fitly made, pure Gospel free Grace is more in the Covenant of Redemption, than in the Covenant of Reconciliation; for 'tis in the Covenant of Redemption principally, as water is in the fountain; and in the Covenant of Reconciliation by participation, and consequentially; because God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself by that Covenant; therefore he is now in Christ reconciling the world to himself by this Covenant of reconciliation, 2 Cor. 5.19-21, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God; for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be the righteousness of God in him.
7. Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, because Grace was therein exemplarily; for hereby God did act Grace in Christ, and made him a Samplar, and the first copy of free Grace to all his brethren, seed and heirs, that they might share with him, upon whom the first acts of eternal Covenant-love, and Grace fell, and that God might shew forth in him a pattern of Covenant-dealings, and out-lettings of Covenant-favour and promises, Psalm 89.26, He shall cry unto me, thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. With Heb. 1.5. For unto which of the Angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. Gal. 4.6, And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, father. Col. 1.18, And he is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence. Rom. 8.17, And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
3. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is Eternity: For,
1. Both the Parties are eternal, the eternal God who is from everlasting to everlasting, Deut. 33.27. and the eternal Son of God, whose eternal power and Godhead, Rom. 1.20, is equal with God his Father. Phil. 2.6, And who shall declare his generation? Isa. 53.8. John 1.1,2, In the beginning the word was, and the word was with God, and the word was God, the same was in the beginning with God. Rev. 1.8, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord; which is, which was, and which is to come.
2. The union of the two natures in the Person of the Redeemer, which was transacted in this Covenant, is an eternal union; I mean, the human nature, which was from eternity designed unto a substantial union with God; being once assumed, stands in that substantial union for ever; so that it is impossible that the personal union which was transacted in the Covenant of Redemption, can be dissolved unto all eternity: for 'tis unquestionable that Christ shall stand glorified in our nature in heaven for ever; for even there is a throne for the man Christ, for the Lamb slain, for ever, Rev. 22.3, But the throne of God, and of the lamb, shall be in it, Acts 17.31.
3. The New Covenant-relations which were established betwixt Jehovah and Christ, by this Covenant of Redemption, are eternal relations, which shall never cease, Heb. 1.5, For unto which of the Angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. This Covenant-relation (I say) whereby God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and whereby he hath a new Sonship, 1 Pet. 1.3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Even this, shall stand eternally; therefore Christ speaking of the promised glorious state of his people in heaven, doth four times own that Covenant-relation to his Father, even with respect to his and their being together in his Kingdom, Rev. 3.12, Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name. And if our Covenant-relation to God which did spring out of his, shall stand, and not cease in our glorified state in heaven, much more his, Rev. 5.10, And hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the earth. There the redeemed Musicians, that have the new Song in their mouths, own their Covenant-relation to God, and the Covenant-compellation, our God, is a note in their new Song.
4. The offices which Christ did take on by this Covenant, are eternal offices, such as shall never cease, and whereof he shall never be divested; that his Mediatory-office, his Kingdom and Priesthood, are partakers of the eternity of this Covenant, is plain Scripture, Luke 1.33, And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Heb. 1.8., But unto the Son, he saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. And 5.6, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. And 7.25, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. The only question is, whether or not this Covenant shall then cease, and Christ's Mediatory- office shall then cease, when Christ shall render up the Kingdom to the Father? 1 Cor. 15.24-29.
Concerning the full answer whereof, I refer the Reader to what is written by Mr. Rutherford5 upon that question: For my part it satisfies me, that I see vestiges in the Scripture. (1.) That after the last Judgment, there shall be no use of such exercise and acts of Christ's Mediatory offices, as King, Priest, and Prophet to his Church as we are now under in this last Economy and dispensation of the Covenant of Grace; because there shall be no sin then, nor any enemy unsubdued; Christ having perfected his people, and presented them without spot to God, Eph. 5.27. and having subdued all his foes, and broken all opposition to his Kingdom, and the elect people being brought out of danger, so as they need no Temple or Ordinances, Rev. 21.4,22; 1 Cor. 15.25. (2.) That Christ Mediator shall unquestionably cease from, and leave off such acts and exercise of his Mediatory-office, as his body the Church hath no need of; he shall be no Mediator of Reconciliation then, because there shall be no sin then; no Mediator to apply his death, or to intercede for sinners, for there shall be no sinners; he shall be no Mediatory King then to beat down his foes and opposers of his offices; for there shall be none, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power, 1 Cor. 15.24. that is, all Magistracy and Government that now is, either in Church or State. (3.) It is manifest that after the last Judgment, there shall be a change of the Economic government, and that Christ shall render the kingdom Economic or dispensatory, to his father: but after what manner this change of government shall be, I do not so clearly understand: whether it shall be only by Christ's rendering an account to his Father of his deputed and delegated charge, having now saved all the elect, and subdued all rebels; or if it shall be by laying down his Commission, no more to rule in the former way of government; or whether the government shall be so changed, as the Father, Son, and Spirit, shall immediately govern the glorious Church, which seems to be insinuated, Rev. 21.22,23, And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the City had no need of the Sun, neither of the Moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 1 Cor. 15.28, that God may be all in all. (4.) That Christ shall not then leave off to reign as Mediator, even when the fore-mentioned change is made; yet he remains the substantial glorified head of his mystical glorified body for ever, who shall appear eternally for us, as a pledge of the satisfaction once given, whose presence is a speaking token of the standing Confederacy and Peace betwixt God and us, in whose righteousness we stand clothed before God; in whose transactions and acting in the work of Redemption, God is eternally well-pleased, and by whose Covenant we stand and reign with him eternally and indefectibly in a confirmed state: else, [1.] To what end shall Christ stand glorified in our nature in heaven for ever? [2.] Why is the Lamb's throne in heaven eternal? Rev. 22.3. [3.] Else what means the Lamb's servants in heaven for ever? Rev. 22.3. and the new Song that is to the Lamb in heaven for ever, Rev. 5.12. and 7.10. [4.] Else what meaneth the Lamb's being in the midst of the glorified company, his leading them, being a temple, and a light unto them? Rev. 7.17. and 21.22,23. Sure the Lord Mediator as a glorified head of his glorious body in heaven, acteth as Mediator, though not as he acteth now; and though we cannot well determine what sort of leading, and what dispensation of influences from him are there (and no wonder if his union with us and headship over us even here, be a mystery, the knowledge whereof is referred to his coming again, John 14.20, At that day ye shall know that I am in my father, and you in me, and I in you): yet the Lamb's throne there, and his leading the redeemed, and being a light and temple to them, proves his peculiar headship to them. [5.] The blessings purchased by this Covenant of Suretiship, are partakers of eternity; they are eternal blessings: the Redemption obtained by the Mediator, is eternal Redemption, Heb. 9.12. and eternal Inheritance, Heb. 9.15. and eternal life, Titus 1.2. eternal Salvation, Heb. 5.9. and eternal Glory, 1 Pet. 5.20. You see then, that eternity is a property of the Covenant of Redemption, and that many things belonging to it are partakers of eternity: In a word, it is a Covenant which was transacted from eternity, before the foundation of the world was laid; it is as old as the Ancient of days; so that we cannot reckon the beginning thereof, Prov. 8.23, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was: and which shall endure throughout eternity; for the righteousness of this Covenant, even the Surety-righteousness of Christ the Redeemer, shall be worn in glory for evermore, by all the redeemed people; and through the force and virtue of the blood thereof, shall the glorious Church stand and reign for ever, Rev. 19.8, And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints. And 5.9, And they sung a new song, saying, thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
4. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is equality: They who distinguish Covenants into equal and unequal Covenants; by equal Covenants they understand such wherein there is equality in the parties or conditions, when the parties stand in equal terms, and do agree upon equal or like conditions.
No Covenant betwixt God and mere Man, can properly and strictly be called an equal Covenant; neither the Covenant of works made with man in his integrity, nor the Covenant of Grace made with fallen man; for beside the infinite distance and inequality of the parties, there is no proportion betwixt the terms and conditions given and required in these Covenants: And upon strict examination, there are but few equal Covenants betwixt man and man; for it is rare to find the condition and affairs of Parties entering in Covenant in such and equal poise, as that the inequality of their condition, and the moment and exigent of their affairs, does not influence the terms and conditions of their Covenants, so as to render them unequal.
But sure the Covenant betwixt Jehovah and Christ, is an equal Covenant:
1. This Covenant was betwixt parties equal; I do not say that the Man Christ, or Christ Mediator was equal with God; for in this respect there was an inferiority and subordination unto which Christ humbled himself, by giving his actual consent in this Covenant unto the designation of him to be the Person that should do the work of our Redemption; but considering Christ as the eternal Son of God, and antecedently to his actual consent to humble himself; yea, and after that consent too, considering Christ the second Person as the natural Son of God, the parties transacting this Covenant (though not quatenus, as they were considered in this Covenant-transaction) were equal in Power, Greatness, Wisdom, Honour, &c. as hath been before shewed from Phil. 2.6, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. John 10.29,30, My Father which gave them me, is greater than all.I and my Father are one.
2. This Covenant was betwixt equal parties, when they stood in equal terms, and were at a perfect freedom to choose or refuse, to give consent to this Covenant or refuse it, as pleased either party; there may be sometimes equality betwixt parties covenanting; yet the inequality of the condition and freedom at the time of transacting, may render the Covenant betwixt them unequal; as when the one party is not at freedom, is concluded by some pressure or necessity that is not upon the other party; hence often the terms are unequal: but in the Covenant of Suretiship (whatsoever inequality and subordination was subsequent, by the tenor of this Covenant) at the time when it was transacted from eternity, the parties stood both on equal terms, and were at perfect freedom to transact or not, as pleased either (as I have already proved); there was nothing in the condition of either party (abstracting from the purpose of the parties own will, and the design that acted them, which was common to both) that could conclude either party to enter into such a Covenant (If I may call a transaction that had no beginning, by the name of entering a Covenant in regard of our manner of conceiving thereof); for this Covenant was not only consented to by Christ, a person equal with God; but by him being in the form of God, Phil. 2.6,7, that is, while he stood in equal terms with God, and was under no necessity to be found in the form of a servant, till he humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation, &c.
3. The design that acted both parties in this transaction, was equal; for it was one and the same, a design of love acted both the Father and the Son; the carrying on a purpose of Grace and design of love which God had laid upon his elect people, acted Jehovah in sending Christ to do this work of Redemption, and in making him Surety for his people; and the same design also acted Christ in his consenting to take our Law-place, and in his coming accordingly to act our part, John 3.16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. With Gal. 2.20,I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Even this Love-design which took up the delight and the thoughts of both the parties equally, and wherewith both parties were solacing themselves in the works without themselves; when as yet there was no world, nor Inhabitants thereof created, Prov. 8.31. Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.
4. This Covenant of Suretiship was made upon equal or like conditions and terms; there was an equality betwixt the stipulation and restipulation; the conditions promised to Christ, and these required from him by this Covenant; not that worthless man was a wager for God to work for; for he was far below the price that love put upon him. But understand it thus, (1.) There was an equality of Justice betwixt the conditions on the one part and the other; punitive Justice could exact no more of man, by the curse of the broken Covenant, than that which Christ suffered as his Surety, Gal. 3.13, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us; and remunerative Justice could give no less to his perfect obedience unto the Law of works, than the righteousness and life which he purchased, Rom. 8.4. That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us. (2.) There was an equality of proportion or merit betwixt the conditions required from, and performed by Christ, by virtue of this Covenant, and the conditions promised and performed unto Christ by this Covenant. Not a merit and satisfaction upon Christ's part de congruo (as the Schoolmen speak)6 whereby the friendship and love of the party injured doth accept of that which is not equivalent to the offence, which Vortius calleth God's Divine acceptilation (which properly had no place here, though the friendship and love betwixt God and Christ, be such as renders any thing done by him, acceptable); but a merit and satisfaction de condigno, there being a just and equal proportion betwixt the fault committed, and the satisfaction given, and betwixt the reward promised and given to Christ, and the obedience required from and performed by him, John 17.4,5, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self. Phil. 2.7,8, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, &c.
5. The advantage redounding to both parties by this Covenant is equal; I mean, the glory and honour of this transaction; for no other profit and goodness can redound unto the all-sufficient good, Job 35.7, If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Psalm 16.2,3,My goodness extendeth not unto thee: But to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. I say of the Covenant of Suretiship, that though the profit is ours, and extendeth only to the redeemed people; yet the advantage of honour and glory, doth equally reach both the parties transacting in their own order; for thereby there is a peculiar honour of our Redemption and Salvation to God, the Author thereof, who gave Christ, and sent him to work this Redemption; and a peculiar honour to Christ Mediator, to the Lamb the grand Instrument that wrought it, and whose soul travailed in it. So that the honour accruing hereby is not peculiar to any one of the parties, but parted betwixt them, John 5.23, That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. Rev. 7.10, And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation unto our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
5. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is order: that which is said of the Covenant of Reconciliation, that it's ordered in all things; is eminently true of the Covenant of Redemption: It is well-ordered Covenant; and how can it be made otherwise, since he that made it is the God of order, 1 Cor. 14.33. and God only wise, 1 Tim. 1.17. who knew well how to contrive the comely order which he designed. The order of this Covenant doth chiefly consist in these two things. (1.) In God's beautiful contriving and ordering the methods and ways of our Redemption and Salvation. (2.) In his comely ordering and adapting these Methods of Redemption to answer the ends and intents, which were purposed and proposed in this transaction. Under the first of these, I comprehend, (1.) His ordering and sending of a Saviour and Redeemer to fallen man. (2.) His ordering the things that the Person designed should do and suffer for purchasing this Redemption. (3.) His ordering the means whereby the purchased Redemption should be applied to the Redeemed people. (4.) His ordering the efficacy of means towards the ends purposed by him, that there might be no misgiving in the matter. Under the second, I comprehend God's ordering, (1.) That the satisfaction of Divine Justice shall be, by a Surety. (2.) That the satisfaction of the Surety shall meet with, and fully come up to the demands of the Law and Covenant of works, by his obeying the command, and bearing the curse. (3.) That the Surety's satisfaction shall stand for the broken man's; he taking our Law-place upon him, and acting our part. (4.) That Justice shall be so satisfied, as mercy be also entreated; that the means and methods of Redemption, may answer the intent of God, to glorify these two attributes, Justice and Mercy, in Man's Redemption. I do not say that the beautiful order of this Covenant consisted in these things only; but in these, and the like; which will appear further, when we come to speak of the subject-matter of this Covenant, and the things that were therein concluded.
6. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is stability; God's Covenant with Christ is an immutable, inviolable transaction; and all the things therein concluded are firm and unalterable, nothing thereof can fail; for,
1. It is transacted in the unchangeable counsel of God's will, where all the decrees and conclusions are unalterable, Heb. 6.17, Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Isa. 14.27, For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?
2. It must be an inviolable Covenant, being transacted betwixt two parties who have all imaginable Properties that can ensure their dealings and transactions, and render them firm: For it is, (1.) Betwixt God unchangeable, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning, James 1.17. I am the Lord, I change not, Mal. 3.6. And Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever, Heb. 13.8. (2.) It is betwixt God the strength of Israel, who is not as the son of man, that he should repent, 1 Sam. 15.29. who hath sworn to Christ, and will not repent, Heb. 7.21. and Christ Jesus, in whom all the promises of God are yea, and amen, 2 Cor. 1.20. (3.) It is betwixt the true God, Jer. 10.10. the God of truth, Deut. 32.4. and Jesus Christ, who is the truth itself, John 14.6. (4.) It is betwixt the faithful God which keepeth Covenant, Deut. 7.9. who abideth faithful, and cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. 2.13. and Jesus Christ the faithful witness, Rev. 1.6.
3. This must be a sure and inviolable Covenant, being a sworn confirmed Covenant; for God hath not only sworn and confirmed his Covenant with us, but he hath also confirmed this Covenant with an oath, and sworn to Christ, Psalm 89.35, Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. Heb. 7.21, For those Priests were made without an oath, but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent; thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. Now the Argument used by the Apostle, from the confirmation of a Covenant, to the stability thereof, holds good and firm of this Covenant also, (though it be not the thing principally intended there), Gal. 3.15. Though it be but a man's Covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereunto.
4. Stability and Inviolableness most eminently agree to that Covenant; for which, and because of which the Covenant of Reconciliation made with us is firm, sure, and inviolable. Now 'tis manifest, that the stability of that Covenant springs out of this; and the inviolableness of the one, is given by the Holy Ghost, for the ground and cause of the stability of the other; See Psalm 89.33-36, Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the Sun before me. Isa. 55.3,4, I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
5. This Covenant is above the possible reach of all causes or occasions whatsoever, that render Covenants unstable and uncertain; for here, (1.) There can be no place in either of the parties for unskillfulness nor rashness, in contriving or entering this eternal Compact, being the deed of parties, whose understanding cannot be searched out, Isa. 40.28, the depths whereof are to be admired, Rom. 11.33, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; whose foolishness is wiser than men! 1 Cor. 1.25. who doth all his matters by counsel and eternal deliberation, Eph. 1.11, who worketh all things after the counsel of his will. Nor, (2.) Is there place in either of the parties for unrighteousness, Rom. 3.5,6, Is god unrighteous? God forbid: nor for inconstancy or unfaithfulness (as is already proved) or any other thing that is contrary to Covenant-keeping. (3.) Nor is there any weakness or wearying in either of the parties to perform their undertaking, against discouragement and opposition that stands in the way of performing what is mutually engaged; no such thing is incident to Jehovah, Luke 1.37, For with God nothing shall be impossible. Isa. 40.28. The creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary. Nor can Christ Mediator be impeached of such things, Isa. 42.4. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment on the earth; and the Isles shall wait for his Law. And 63.1,traveling in the greatness of his strength: I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
The Parties in this eternal transaction about the work of Redemption, were Jehovah on the one part; and the only Son of God on the other part. That these were the parties, and these only, is generally acknowledged; and it is plain Scripture, Psalm 89.3, I have made a covenant with my chosen. Heb. 1.5, For unto which of the Angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. And 5.5,6, So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. And 10.5,7, Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not; but a body hast thou prepared me. Then said I, lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will. The only difficulty lieth in the right understanding how these parties are to be considered: for clearing whereof, I shall lay down four Assertions.
Assertion 1. Although God be on both sides of this Covenant; yet God is not to be the same way considered upon both parts of the Covenant; for upon the one part God is to be considered essentially, and it is opus essentiale, an act common to all the three Persons of the Godhead. The one party covenanting is Jehovah; God is common to all the three: upon the other part the Son of God is to be considered personally, an act peculiar to the Son of God, the second Person; else there could be no distinction of parties, no distinction of consents, and consequently no Covenant of Redemption, no compact about that work; and according to this distinction, we are to understand the Scriptures before mentioned.
Assertion 2. The Covenant of Redemption is transacted with Christ personal, not with Christ mystical, not with the elect Company, but singly with the Captain of Salvation; not with the head and body, the Church; but with the chosen head, unto whom God promised and had appointed a numerous seed, that should become a body to him. It was made with Christ, not as a public person, representing many; but as an eminent chosen person, chosen out among his brethren, Psalm 89.19, I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people. Heb. 5.1, For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifice for sin; for though the mystical body of Christ were to reap the benefit of this transaction; yet they were not parties in the transacting their own Redemption. The Covenant of peace, kindness, reconciliation and life, was indeed made with Christ mystical, head and members; with him as a public person, representing all his seed and heirs that were chosen in him; but the Covenant of Redemption was not so.
These things confirm this Assertion. (1.) The work and business transacted by this Covenant, was peculiar to Christ's person, the satisfying divine Justice, by paying a price; the act of Suretiship, and taking the broken-man's Law-place, &c. Sure this was peculiar to Christ personal. (2.) It was he to whom a seed of his own begetting, comprehending all the elect, was promised; to whom a bride and a body, whereof he should be head and husband, with whom this Covenant was transacted. Now this was Christ personal: for it could not be, that God promised this seed to the seed; he did not promise a people to themselves; but to Christ their chosen head. (3.) By this Covenant, God did promise and give the headship to Christ over that body, and did vest him with powers and authorities suitable; even with all power in Heaven and Earth: Now the headship and these great Authorities, were neither promised nor given to the head and body, to Christ mystical; but to Christ personal. (4.) Christ plainly claims the work of this Covenant to himself singly and personally considered, and leaving out all others, even his own body, as having no accession to this that he was singly engaged in, Heb. 2.10, For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things; in bringing many Sons to glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through suffering. And 5.9, And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal Salvation unto all them that obey him. John 17.4, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. Isa. 63.3, I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with me.
Assertion 3. The Covenant of Redemption which was transacted with Christ personally considered, even with the only Son of God, the second person: was not made with Christ God; but with Christ God-man; the person transacting with Jehovah, was not the Son of God, considered as God, as the natural Son of God; but considered as God-man, as Mediator; this Covenant was stricken with Christ tw qeanJrwpw, not tw logw. And
1. That it was not made with Christ God, or considered as the natural only Son of God, is manifest: For, (1.) Christ God could not be under the Law. (2.) Nor represent man, and take his Law-place. (3.) Nor can Christ God suffer and pay a price of blood. (4.) Nor could Christ God receive a Mission and Mandates; he could not be a Messenger, nor be sent, if we speak properly. (5.) Nor to Christ God could there be promises made, or any reward given, &c. These, and many such instances may serve for establishing the negative part of this Assertion; to wit, that the Covenant of Redemption was not made with Christ God: beside, that this will receive further confirmation by establishing the affirmative part of the Assertion.
2. The Covenant of Redemption was made with Christ God-man: For, (1.) In this respect only, Christ could make a party distinct from the other party covenanting; to wit, Jehovah; it could not have been a Covenant except there had been two parties agreeing together. Now Christ God, the second person, could not constitute a party covenanting distinct from God considered essentially, as common to all the three, Father, Son and Spirit, John 10.30, I and my Father are one: It was therefore Christ God-man; that made the Covenant of Redemption. (2.) Christ had a will distinct from Jehovah's will, only as he was God-man: for as God, his will is one and the same with his Father's will, and undistinguished from it, John 1.13, Not of the will of man, but of God. Now where there is a Covenant betwixt two, there must be two wills, else how can there be any agreement or consent of two; for consent is an act of the will: It follows therefore, that the Covenant was made with Christ God-man, since in this respect only, there are two wills meeting, consenting, and agreeing on the same thing. (3.) In what respect only Christ had a will capable of bowing, yielding, and obeying, in that respect he is to be considered in the Covenant of Redemption; whereby he voluntarily yielded to do these things, which no natural necessity obliged him to, Heb. 10.7, Then said I, lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. Now, it is evident, that Christ only as he was God-man, had a will capable of bowing and yielding, Matt. 26.39, Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt; for the will of Christ as God was not capable of bowing and yielding; for who hath resisted his will? Rom. 9.19. the Covenant therefore was made with Christ God-man. (4.) In what respect Christ was inferior to God, or subordinate to him, and did receive offices, trust, mission, commands, &c. and did obey: In that respect only, was the Covenant of Redemption stricken with him; for by the tenor of that Covenant he did all these things, John 10.18, This commandment have I received of my Father. And 6.38,39, For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will that hath sent me. And it is manifest, that in this respect only, Christ, as God-man is inferior to God, John 14.28, My Father is greater than I; for Christ God is equal with his Father, Psalm 2.6. It follows therefore necessarily, that the Covenant of Redemption was made with Christ God-man. (5.) In this consideration only as Christ is God-man, the conditions and satisfaction performed by him, are performed by one party, and accepted by another; in this respect only there is sending and coming, asking and receiving, commanding and obeying, giving satisfaction and receiving it; for if Christ be considered as God, then there could be no performing and accepting of satisfaction; for so the party giving and receiving, sending and going, working and rewarding, being the same, all satisfaction is taken away; for the party the same every way, cannot be the giver and receiver of the satisfaction; so all distinction of parties is taken away, and consequently all Covenant-dealings enervated. (6.) The Covenant of Redemption must be with Christ God-man, in regard that the satisfaction required upon God's part to be performed by Christ, and undertaken by him, was such as might stand in Law for our sin. Now it is not imaginable how the satisfaction of Christ God, could meet with the curse of the Law of works that had gone forth against man, Gal. 4.4,5, But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the Adoption of Sons. It rests therefore, that it was a satisfaction undertaken by God-man in the Covenant of Redemption. (7.) In that consideration that Christ was Surety for his people, and Mediator betwixt God and man; in the same consideration was the Covenant of Suretiship and Redemption made with him; for he could not be a Surety in one respect, and act himself unto it in another; but it is plain Scripture that it was not Christ God that was Mediator and Surety; but Christ God-man, 1 Tim. 2.5, For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Heb. 7.22, By so much was Jesus made surety of a better testament. (8.) In what consideration Christ did perform the Covenant of Redemption, in the same respect he is to be considered as a party-undertaker (for no man can probably think that one party undertook, and another performed); but it is above question, that Christ God-man did perform this Covenant, and fulfill the conditions therein required, 1 Tim. 3.16, And without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness, God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Gal. 4.4. But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the Law. Rom. 8.3, For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. I conclude therefore, that with Christ God-man was the Covenant of Redemption made. Besides these arguments, many more might be framed, from the particular commands, conditions, and promises of the Covenant of Redemption, which are competent only to Christ God-man, and no ways to Christ God.
From this which hath been said of Christ considered as God and as God-man, we may answer the question, How the Justice of God can have a satisfaction from, and by a person or party who is God? Answer. (1.) If Christ God had been the party with whom the Covenant of Redemption had been transacted, then indeed the party giving, and the party receiving the satisfaction had been the same. But the Covenant being made with Christ God-man, a person different from offended God essentially considered; so it is another party that makes the satisfaction, than the party which was offended, and doth receive the satisfaction. (2.) Christ God-man in one person, having man's nature that offended, united into a personal union with the Godhead; was thereby fitted so to stand in our place, and upon our side, as a party different from God, that he might therein satisfy wrath, and therein merit by making a full and real compensation to offended Justice. (3.) Christ God-man, who makes the satisfaction as he is God, being one with the Father, while he satisfies the Father's Justice, he satisfies his own; but as he is God-man, being a party different from the Father, he is by the Sovereignty of free Grace given to be a Surety; and the satisfaction which he makes in our Nature as our Surety, is accepted by his Father, as by another party.
Assertion 4. Christ was chosen and predestinated Lord Mediator, and we are chosen in him before he is a party covenanting with Jehovah, about the work of our Redemption: I say, (1.) He is first in order, in the eternal purpose of God, designed and set apart to do this work, before he gave an actual consent unto the Covenant of Suretiship. This followeth necessarily upon the former Assertion; for if the Covenant be made with Christ God-man, with Christ Mediator betwixt God and man, then he must needs be Mediator by some eternal act of the counsel of God antecedent in order of nature to this Covenant with him, which is made with him considered as God to be made manifest in the flesh. (2.) I say, not only Christ is chosen; but we also are chosen in him, unto the fruit of that great labour and service which he was designed to undergo; for a Covenant of Suretiship and Redemption, does not only suppose a Redeemer and Surety predestinated to be undertaker for a lost people; but also a people designed to be partakers of the Redemption which he was to work. So that I say, this Covenant that was made with Christ God-man, does suppose Christ's headship, and our membership by eternal predestination, and by a co-ordination, which may be express'd in this order; first, the chosen head, and then the body; God did not first choose a body, and then had a head to seek for them; nor did he choose a head to be without a body, or as one that knew not of a body for that head; but Election, which was the first act of God's love in eternity, fell first upon Christ, whom God did choose to be the head of his body the Church, and the Captain of Salvation to all the chosen company; and having chosen him, he chose us in him, as our head, and as the first-born of the elect house and family, Rom. 8.29, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the Image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Eph. 1.4. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.
1. The reader will note that these rules provide for a thorough-going Supralapsarian doctrine of the decree in agreement with the Supralapsarianism of Samuel Rutherford and borrowing from the principles of William Twisse, another supralapsarian and the Prolocutor of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.
2. Twiss. Vind. gratiæ & potest Divin.
3. See Mr. Rutherf. Treat. of the Covenant. p.2. c.12.
4. Jo. Cocc. Summum Doct. de fd. c.5. Sect. 90.
5. Rutherf. Treat of the Covenant, p. 2. c. 12. p. 363.
6. Durand. lib. 3. dist. 21. quest. 2.