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form that work, which he was engaged in, as Mediator; and his being given for a covenant of the people, signifies his being sent into the world, in pursuance of a covenant, in which the salvation of his people was contained. And there is another scripture, in which our Saviour, speaking to his disciples, says, in Luke xxii. 29. I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed me ;* or, I confer the blessings of this kingdom upon you, in a covenant way, as my Father hath appointed me to do, in that eternal covenant, which passed between him
Again, there are several rewards, which were promised to him, as the consequence of his discharging the work committed to him, some of which respected that glory which belongs to his person, as Mediator; and others, more especially, respected the salvation of his people, and therein the success of his undertaking : thus it is said, in Isa. liii. 10. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands; together with several other things relating to the event, and consequence of his performing the work he was engaged in.
Moreover, as he was called to this work, or, as it was, as we before explained it, the result of the Father's will, that he should perform it; so we have elsewhere an account of his own consent, as implying, that it was the result of his own will, as well as his Father's : thus it is said, in Psal, xl. 6–8. Mine ears hast thou opened, or bored; alluding to a custom used under the ceremonial law, by which the willing servant was signified to be obliged, by his own consent, to serve his master for ever, Exod. xxi. 5, 6. Thus God the Father, engaged Christ, if I may so express it, to perform the work of a Mediator; and then we have an account of his consent hereunto, when he says, Lo, I come, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart, and this mutual consent is farther expressed in Isa. 1. 5. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious; neither turned away back,
And he is farther represented, as making a demand, or in. sisting on the accomplishment of what was stipulated in this covenant; and this he had a warrant to do from the Father, in Psal. ii, 8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. These, and many other scriptures of the like nature, sufficiently prove this doctrine, that there was an eternal covenant between the Father and the Son, relating to the redemption and salvation of the elect; and this implies more than his being barely fore-ordained to perform the work he was engaged in, as he is said to have been, 1 Pet. i. 2. for that, alone, would
* Δαλιθεμαι υμίν, καθώς διαθετο μοι ο πατηρ με βασιλείαν.
not have proved that there was a federal transaction between the Father and him; since it may be said of any one, who is engaged in works of an inferior nature, that God, who called him to perform them, fore-ordained that he should do so; but when it is said, concerning our Saviour not only that he engaged in the work of our redemption, as the result of his Father's will, but of his own, and so consented to do whatever was incumbent on him, as Mediator, this certainly argues that there was an eternal covenant between the Father and him, with relation to this matter, so far as we may be allowed to retain any of those ideas taken from human covenants, when we speak of any transaction between two divine Persons.
There is but one scripture more that I shall mention, which, though some will not allow that it relates to this matter, yet, if we duly consider the scope and design thereof, together with its connexion with the foregoing words, may probably appear to be of some weight to confirm this doctrine; namely, in Zech. vi. 13. in which it is said, The counsel of peace shall be between them both. Some, indeed, understand these words, as referring to Joshua and Zerubbabel, and that they signify their mutual consent, to promote the peace and welfare of the church. But this cannot reasonably be concluded to be the sense of the text; for Zerubbabel is not mentioned in this chapter; nor are there any two persons spoken of therein, that it can be applied to, but Jehovah and the Branch, that is, the Father and the Son, who are mentioned in the foregoing words ; Christ, who is called the Branch, is said to build the temple of the Lord, and to be a Priest upon his throne ; and this work, which he was engaged in, and the royal dignity, which he was advanced to, are both of them said to be the result of a counsel, or federal transaction, that was between them both.
If it be objected to this, that this counsel of peace only respects the harmony that there is between Christ's priestly and kingly offices, as both of them have a reference to our salvation : this cannot well agree with the meaning of the word counsel, which implies in it a confederacy between two persons, and not the tendency of two offices, executed to bring about the same end.
And, if it be farther objected, that the grammatical construction of the words do not favour the sense which we give of them, inasmuch as they contain an account of something that was future, and not from all eternity. To this it may be replied, that it is not, in the least, disagreeable to the sense of the words, and other phrases of the like import, used in scripture, to understand them in the sense before-mentioned, since it is no uncommon thing, in scripture, for that to be said to be, that appears to be: thus it is said, Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ, Acts ii. 36. that is, he hath, by his raising him from the dead, demonstrated him to be both Lord and Christ, which, in reality, he was from all eternity; so, in this text, when it is said, that the counsel of peace shall be between them both, it signifies, that Christ's building the temple, and bearing the glory, and sitting as a Priest upon his throne, is a plain evidence, or demonstration, that there was a counsel or covenant, between the Father and him, from all eternity, relating to the peace and welfare of his people, who are the spiritual house that he builds, and the subjects whom he governs, defends, and saves. Thus concerning the federal transaction that was between the Father and the Son; and, since this is called, in this answer, The covenant of grace, it may be necessary for us to enquire,
VI. Whether this be a distinct covenant from that which God is said to enter into, or make with man. This covenant is said, indeed, to be made with Christ, as the head of his elect: but it may be enquired, whether there be not also another covenant, which is generally styled the covenant of grace, that is made with the elect, as parties concerned therein. Every one, that is conversant in the writings of those who treat on this subject, will observe, that divines often distinguish between the covenant of redemption, and that of grace; the former they suppose to be made with Christ, in the behalf of his elect; the latter, to be made with them, in which all spiritual blessings are promised, and applied to them, which are founded on Christ's mediation; and accordingly they say, the covenant of redemption was made with Christ more immediately for himself; whereas the covenant of grace is made with believers for Christ's sake, in which respect they suppose that these are two distinct covenants, and explain themselves thus.
1. In the covenant of redemption, made with Christ, there were several promises given, which more immediately respected himself; and these related, some of them, to those supports and encouragements that he should receive from the Father, which were necessary, in order to his being carried through the sufferings he was to undergo, diz. that God would hold his hand, that he should not fail, or be discouraged, Isa. xxiv. 4. and others respected that Mediatorial glory, which should be conferred upon him, when his sufferings were finished; as it is said, Ought not Christ to have suffered, and to enter into his glory? Luke xxiv. 26. and that he should have a name given him above every name, Phil. ii. 9. and many other promises to
And, besides these, there were other promises made to him, respecting his elect; as that he should have a seed to serve him, Psal. xxii. 30. and that he should see of the travail of his soul,
the like purpose.
and be satisfied; and that God would divide him a portion with the great, and he should divide the spoil with the strong, Isa. liii. 11, 12. or that his difficult undertaking should be attended with its desired success, that so it might not be said that he died in vain.
But, on the other hand, in the covenant of grace, which they suppose to be distinct from that of redemption, God promiseth forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, through Christ or that that should be restored to us by him, which we lost by our fall in Adam, with great advantage ; and that all the blessings, which we stand in need of, for the beginning, carrying on, and completing the work of grace in us, and the making us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, should be freely given us. Now, as these promises are made to the elect, the covenant, in which they are contained, is called, The covenant of grace, and so distinguished from the covenant of redemption.
2. In the covenant of redemption, as they farther explain it, the elect, on whose account it was made, were considered, as to be redeemed by Christ : But, in the covenant of grace, they are to be considered as redeemed by him ; therefore the covenant of redemption is antecedent, or subservient, to the covenant of grace.
3. They farther suppose, that the conditions of the covenant of redemption, on which the promises made therein were founded, are what Christ did and suffered in his own Person ; whereas faith, wrought in us, is generally styled by them, a condition of the covenant of grace, and as such it is variously explained, as we shall have occasion to observe, under the next answer, in which faith is said to be required, as the condition to interest believers therein; in this respect, among others, the covenant of redemption is oftentimes explained, as a distinct covenant from that of grace.
I confess, I am not desirous to offend against the generation of those who have insisted on this subject, in such a way, as that they have not advanced any doctrine derogatory to the divine perfections, or subversive of the grace of God, displayed in this covenant; and therefore I am inclined to think, as some have done, that this controversy may be compromised; or, if we duly weigh those distinctions that are necessary to be considered, it will appear to be little more than what consists in different modes of explication, used by those, who, in the main, intend the same thing. I shall therefore humbly offer my thoughts, about this matter, in the four following heads.
(1.) It is to be allowed, on all hands, that the covenant of redemption, as some style it, is a covenant of the highest grace, so far as it respects the advantages that the elect are to receive from it; for it is a wonderful instance of grace, that there should be an eternal transaction between the Father and the Son, relating to their salvation, and that herein he should promise to Christ, that, as the reward of his obedience and sufferings, he would give grace and glory to them, as it is allowed by all, who have just notions, either of the covenant of redemption, or that of
grace, that he did herein. (2.) I must be farther allowed, on both sides, whether it be supposed that the covenant of grace, and the covenant of redemption, are distinct covenants, or not, that salvation, and all the blessings, which we generally call privileges of the covenant of grace, have their first foundation in this transaction, between the Father and the Son; so that if there had not been such a covenant, which some call a covenant of redemption, we could have had no promise of these privileges made in the covenant
(3.) As there is nothing promised, or given, in the covenant of grace, but what is purchased and applied by Christ, so there is nothing promised to Christ, in the covenant of redemption, as some style it, but what, some way or other, respects the advantage of his people : thus whatever was stipulated between the Father and the Son, in that covenant, was with a peculiar regard to their salvation. Did Christ, as their surety, promise to pay that debt, which was due from them, to the justice of God? this must be considered, as redounding to their advantage. And, was there a promise given him, as was before observed, that God would hold his hand, that he should not fail, or be discouraged, till he had finished the work that he came about? this must also be supposed to redound to our advantage as hereby our salvation is secured, which it could not have been, had he sunk under the weight of that wrath, which he bore. And, was there a promise given him, that he should, after his sufferings, enter into his glory? this also redounds to the advantage of the elect; for it not only consists in his being freed from his sufferings, and having some personal glories put upon him, but in his going thither to prepare a place for them, and with this design, that they should be brought there to behold his glory; and this is also considered, as a pledge and earnest of their future happiness, to whom he says, Because I live, ye shall live also, John xiv. 19.
(4.) When we consider this covenant, as made with Christ, whether we call it the covenant of redemption, or of grace, still we must look upon it as made with him, as the Head and Representative of his elect, and consequently it was made with them, as is observed in this answer, as his seed; therefore if the question be only this, whether it be more or less proper to call this two covenants, or one, I will not contend with them, who