Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.—Judges 20.7.

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The Ark of the Covenant Opened:

Or, A

TREATISE

Of the

COVENANT

Of

Redemption

BETWEEN

God and Chriſt, as the Foundation of the

Covenant of Grace.


Written by a Miniſter of the New-Teſtament: Patrick Gillespie.


LONDON,

Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapſide,

near Mercers Chappel, 1677.

CHAPTER II.

Of the necessity of the Covenant of Redemption.  And (1.) What kind of necessity for the being of this Covenant.  (2.) In what Respects, or to what Intents it is necessary.

WHen we speak of the necessity of the Covenant of Redemption or Suretyship, we are cautiously to understand that necessity.  The School-men distinguish a threefold necessity.[1]  1. A most perfect and absolute necessity, or a simple necessity, when a thing is so, that it cannot not be, nor be otherwise, and that by the power of any Agent whatsoever.  This necessity belongeth not to the Covenant of Redemption, nor to any other the free acts of the will of God; for if so it had pleased God, he might have not entered that Covenant with his Son; for it was not absolutely necessary that man should be redeemed: God might have passed by man as he did the Apostate Angels; which choice of objects, to be redeemed by Christ, is mentioned for aggravating [enhancing the declaration of] God’s love to man, Heb. 2.16, For verily he took not on him the nature of Angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

This necessity belongs only to the divine Nature, which is most perfect, and cannot by any Agent whatsoever, be brought not to be; or to be other, or otherwise, than he is, Jam. 1.17,—with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.    2. A natural necessity, when any thing floweth necessarily and merely from the principles of nature; and thus the fire burneth, and the stone descendeth.  Now the Covenant of Redemption is not necessary by this natural necessity; for God did not enter in Covenant with Christ as the fire burns, necessarily, and naturally; for,  1. Then it had been impossible for God not to have shewed mercy upon fallen men, and that in this very way of Redemption by Christ; for natural Agents cannot but act according to their natural properties; but it is manifest from {31} God’s passing by the fallen Angels, that he might have passed by man also in his sinful state.  2. If God had either purposed in himself, or exercised justice or mercy, or both (which is inconsistent, implicant, and impossible) by this natural necessity, then (his justice and mercy being infinite) he should have shewed mercy upon all, or exercised justice upon all; he should either have punished all that sinned to the utmost, as soon as they had sinned, or he should have shewed mercy upon all, as soon as there were qualified objects for mercy: the reason is obvious, because all natural Agents work to the utmost they can.  3. Then there should have been no Compact nor Covenant betwixt Jehovah and Christ; for supposing such a natural necessity, we destroy the free consent and agreement, which is essential to this Covenant, and is proved in the foregoing Chapter.

3. There is an hypothetical necessity which ariseth from God’s ordination and appointment; or as others call it, a necessity of consequence; when any thing is necessary upon supposition of some other thing; and this is not an absolute necessity in the things themselves, and their immutability; but a limited respective necessity, upon connexion of one thing with another.  Again, this limited respective necessity (as Mr. Anth. Burgess well observes) is sometimes from the efficient cause, because he is thus and thus disposed; as when ’tis said, there must be heresies, 1 Cor. 11.29, That is, partly in regard of the efficient cause (although the Text mentioneth there only the final cause), because there will be Ignorance and Pride always in men.  2. From the material cause: Thus death is necessary and inevitable, because we have principles of corruptibility within us.

3. From the formal cause, because that is immutable and unchangeable.  4. From the final cause supposing such an end.

When we speak of the necessity of the Covenant of Suretyship or Redemption, it is this third and last kind of necessity we mean; it was hypothetically and respectively necessary only that God should enter in Covenant with Christ; to wit, upon supposition of some other thing that God had decreed and purposed in himself.  And here let us a little enquire,

Question 1. What were these things which God’s entering in Covenant with Christ doth suppose?  2. What was the necessity of a Covenant betwixt God and Christ, supposing these things?  3. Whether this hypothetical and respective necessity {32} of a Covenant with Christ, flowed only from the final cause, from the ends which God had purposed in himself, or from the efficient cause also, that is, from God’s natural propension to Justice or Mercy?

Answer. 1. The Covenant of Redemption wherein God entered with Christ, did proceed upon supposition of these things mainly (I do not say only, nor do I determine the order of the things supposed)  1. This Covenant supposeth that God had purposed in himself, and decreed eminently to glorify himself in the way of justice and mercy, Rom. 9.22,23, What if God willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which he had afore prepared unto glory?  2. This Covenant supposeth that God had purposed and decreed, that there should be objects qualified, and fit for the glorifying of both these Attributes; and this was absolutely necessary to that purpose, both quoad exercitium & quoad specificationem actus, in respect of the exercise of the act and the specification of the manner of it.  For to some properties in God there is required no object, and to others no qualification of the object.  To God’s Omnipotency there is required no object, because it makes its objects; and to God’s Wisdom there is required no qualification in the object; for he can order everything to a glorious end.  Yet to God’s mercy and justice, ad extra, there are not only required objects, but objects so qualified, either with Grace or Sin, as Mr. Burgess observes.  Therefore the Covenant of Redemption doth suppose the purpose and decree of God[2] about the creation of man, in a blessed, but mutable state, and his fall from his Primitive blessedness and first Covenant-state, into Sin; that there might be objects and qualified objects for glorifying the Attributes of mercy and justice, upon which the Apostle in the place before-mentioned, Rom. 9.22,23, calls vessels of mercy, and vessels of wrath.  3. The Covenant of Redemption supposeth God’s purpose and free decree, so far to follow his Covenant-truth and justice upon man, as not to acquit him without a satisfaction to Justice in his own person, or by a surety of the same kind that sinned: Heb. 9.15, And for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death for the redemption of the {33} transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of the eternal Inheritance.  4. The Covenant of Redemption supposeth that God had purposed to have in Mankind the objects for glorifying both these Attributes of mercy and justice, that he would not punish all sin with eternal death; nor yet let all go unpunished; but would manifest his justice in some objects, and the riches of his Grace in others, Rom. 9.22,23.  5. The Covenant of Redemption supposeth that God had chosen Christ first to do the work of Redemption, by satisfying justice, and entreating mercy, Psalm 89.3, I have made a Covenant with my chosen.  And Heb. 2.17, Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  And that he had chosen the vessels of mercy in him, unto grace and glory, Eph. 1.4,5, 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.  Having predestinated us unto the Adoption of children, by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.  I say then, his suppositis, these and such like things being supposed, God enters in a Covenant with Christ.

Question 2.  But supposing that it is decreed, that divine justice shall be satisfied; and that the truth of the threatening of the Covenant of works, should be verified upon man offending, or upon a sufficient surety: supposing also that Christ is designed in the counsel of God unto this work of redeeming lost man, by performing a satisfaction to the justice of God: It is yet a question, What needed the Covenant of Redemption or Suretyship betwixt God and Christ?  Might not the work have been done without any Compact, Covenant, or Agreement betwixt the Father and the Son?

Answer. I shall only here give a short answer, referring the more full and particular satisfaction of this question unto the latter part of this Chapter, wherein I have purposed the handling of the particular ends and intents for which the Covenant of Redemption is necessary.  For present I say,  1. It might suffice that God decreed, and plainly revealed that the satisfaction which his justice will have for sin, and which Christ has given, was agreed betwixt them by a Covenant: and so in {34} respect of infinite wisdom, which worketh by deep counsel, and doth nothing without a reason, it was necessary; because God thought fit that it should be so, he pitched upon this way.  But beside this,  2. Whatsoever necessity was in regard of infinite wisdom, that lost man should be redeemed, sin should not be pardoned without a satisfaction, that Christ should be our Redeemer, and should come and give that satisfaction: the same necessity also requires a Covenant betwixt God and Christ, for carrying on that work in the way of Agreement; so that if a Mediator, a Saviour and Redeemer, a Surety, a ransom were necessary, in regard of infinite wisdom, which found out this Gospel-dispensation and new way of life, then was a Covenant of Suretiship and Redemption necessary also in the same respect.  3. The work of Redemption performed by Christ, was such as could not be undertaken and performed without a Covenant; for it required commanding and obeying, sending and going, asking and receiving, working and rewarding, all which import, and suppose superiority and inferiority, or subordination, which could not be betwixt the Father and the Son, who is equal with God, Phil. 2.6, unless that by Agreement, Compact, Consent and Covenant, the Son of God had humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, Phil. 2.8.  The work of Redemption unto which Christ was designed in the counsel of God, required several offices, employments, trusts, and relations to be sustained by him (whereof I hinted something in the foregoing Chapter) which not being essential to the Son of God, nor belonging to him by any natural, absolute, or immutable necessity; upon supposal of the decree of God, that the Son should do the work of Redemption, there was a necessity of Consequence, that there should be a Covenant of Redemption and Suretiship; that by the Father’s calling and command, and by the Son’s consent and agreement, making up a voluntary Compact, the Son of God might bear these offices, and trusts, and relations, which otherwise he should not have born, Isa. 42.1,6, Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth.—I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand.  Psalm 2.7, I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.  Heb. 5.5,6, So also Christ glorified not {35} himself to be made an high priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.

Question 3. Whether did this Hypothetical necessity of God’s entering in Covenant with Christ to pay a ransom; or as others speak, this necessity of consequence, flow only from a final cause; to wit, God’s ends which he purposed in himself; or from the efficient cause also; to wit, from justice in God that could not remit sin without satisfaction?

Answer 1. Concerning the necessity of God’s covenanting with Christ, in respect of the ends which he purposed in himself, there is no question: Which were,  1. The supreme end, to glorify his mercy and justice; I mean his declarative glory, that shines ad extra; not the essential glory of God, whereby he was infinitely glorious from eternity, and should eternally be essentially glorious, though neither Man nor Angel, nor any other object of his glory had been created.  This is the glory spoken of in these Scriptures, Prov. 16.4, The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.  Eph. 1.6, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  2. The subordinate end (which also is a medium or means for advancing the supreme end) the Redemption and Salvation of his elect people, to be brought about in such manner as might manifest and declare the glory of justice and mercy both, in saving some, not all, and passing by others, upon whom he had purposed to declare his justice; and in saving these whom he purposed to redeem, in such a way as justice might be satisfied, and mercy also entreated, Rom. 3.24, Being justified freely by his grace, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ.  Eph. 1.7, In whom we have Redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.  It is manifest, I say, that in regard of these great ends, the Covenant of Redemption made with Christ was necessary; God having purposed in procuring our Salvation, to glorify his mercy and justice, a Mediator and Surety behoved to be engaged; and there being (in regard of infinite wisdom which determined it) none so fit as the Son of God; he must needs be engaged by his own consent, and by a Covenant agreement with Jehovah. {36}

Q. But here is the question about the necessity of the Covenant of Suretyship in regard of the efficient cause; to wit, whether or not there was any necessity of nature or natural essential justice in God, which required this way of Suretyship and Redemption necessarily, in regard that he could not pardon sin without a satisfaction?

A. Concerning this question, two reasons mainly prevail with me to be sparing in the agitation of it.  1. The great difference of Judgment that is among the Orthodox in this point; Several Learned men holding God’s Justice in punishing and correcting sin to be so natural, that he cannot but punish it, or require satisfaction; otherwise he should deny himself, and his own nature.[3]

Again, there are others that hold, if God be considered absolutely in regard of his power, and not upon a supposition of this decree, which is de facto, to let no sin go unpunished; but to punish it either in the Person, or in his Surety: In this absolute sense they say God might freely have remitted sin without any satisfaction.[4]

Others again have followed a middle way, and by some distinctions have studied to reconcile the difference; which whether they reach the end or not, yet have shewed a good spirit in their endeavours.[5]

2. Because it seems the less useful to dispute about the possibility of another way of taking away sin; and satisfying the curse of the Law, since whatsoever God might have done, yet he hath plainly revealed that he hath decreed and pitched upon this only way, that he will not pardon sin without a price and satisfaction.

For my own poor apprehensions of this point:  1. I look upon the Socinian opinion in this matter as extreme, and of dangerous consequence; for they deny Justice and Mercy to be Properties or Attributes of God, making Justice (or as they call it, Anger) no property in God; but the mere voluntary effect of his Will; denying any such Justice in God, whereby he propends [inclines] to punish sin, and making it wholly arbitrary, to punish, or not to punish.  Upon this foundation they build, that Christ did not die by way of satisfaction; at least there was no necessity of it: The arguments used by Mr. Burgess in confutation of the Socinian opinion,[6] are thus far cogent, that {37} they conclude justice to be a natural property in God (understanding the word natural for that which floweth from nature; yet by the help of free will); and that God’s punishing of sin, is not merely from his Will.  And indeed the Scriptures which hold forth sin, as not only contrary to God’s holy Law, but also contrary to his holy Nature: I mean morally contrary to him, though not physically, Hab. 1.13, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: and which attribute the punishing of sin, not only to the justice of his Law, but to the righteousness and justice of his Nature, Psalm 11.7, For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his countenance doth behold the upright.  Rev. 16.5, And I heard the Angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord.  These also which reckon punitive justice among his attributes, when his name was proclaimed, Exod. 34.7,—and that will by no means clear the guilty;  These Scriptures and the like (I say) have weight with me to reckon justice among the properties of God, and to believe that his punishing sin is not merely from his will.

2. It is another extreme, to infer hence, that because justice is in some sense a natural property in God, and his punishing of sin is not merely from his will; therefore God punisheth sin by necessity of nature, and cannot but punish it, or require satisfaction, more than he can deny his own Nature, or cease to be God.  Against this assertion, the Reasons brought by Mr. Rutherford (to which I refer the Reader) do strongly conclude.[7]

3. I conceive that these extremes may admit of abatement, without prejudice to the Lord’s Sovereignty, and the absolute freeness of his grace, or without derogation from the satisfaction of Christ, and the respective necessity thereof.  For, 1. Supposing that God doth not punish sin by any natural necessity, and that he doth not punish sin, nor require any satisfaction by any necessity of justice; yet this can be no advantage to the Socinian superstruction, who conclude that then there was no necessity of Christ’s dying by way of satisfaction, since God hath plainly revealed that he will not pardon sin, without a satisfaction and an atonement made, and this decree of his doth infer an hypothetical necessity of Christ’s dying by way of satisfaction.  2. Supposing that justice, punitive justice, be natural to God, and among his properties, it will not necessarily {38} follow (upon supposition of the being of sin) that God punisheth sin by necessity of Nature and Justice, more than it will follow, that because ’tis natural to man to speak, to laugh, &c. therefore he speaks, he laughs from necessity of nature; for he doth these things most freely; and notwithstanding it is natural to him to laugh or speak, he might notwithstanding never laugh nor speak, as pleaseth him.  For if so,  1. Then his justice should carry him to punish sin without any moderation; that is, to punish sin as soon as ever it is committed, to punish sin to the utmost degree of punishment, to punish sin in every Soul that sinneth, without mercy shewed to any, and in the same Soul that sinneth, not in a Surety; because natural Agents work to the utmost they can.  2. Because the natural properties of God, as they are essential to him, do not so much as require any objects ad extra (though the manifestation of these do require objects), for God should have been infinitely and eternally wise, holy, good, just, &c. though there had never been any creation of Men or Angels; and if these do not necessarily require objects, then far less exercise of acts; so that it will not follow, if Justice be natural to God, then he must punish sin by necessity of Nature.  3. If we shall place justice among these properties of God, the objects whereof may be said to be necessary (which must be understood in respect of the exercise of acts about these objects; otherwise no natural property in God necessarily requires any object ad extra); yet the objects supposed, the acts are not, even then necessary by any absolute necessity of nature; but only by a hypothetical necessity; supposing the decree of God that gave these objects a being, and ordered their being, qualified objects for exercising justice or mercy upon, according to his pleasure, which worketh all things according to the counsel of his will; and if so, here is no punishing of sin by necessity of nature.  4. Supposing Justice to be natural to God in that sense that Mr. Burgess asserts it [Ibid. p. 104], and supposing objects thereof to have a being; yet sure he doth not punish sin by necessity of nature, as the fire burns; since the exercise of Justice, yea, the choice of objects upon which he will exercise it,, are subjected to his free will and sovereignty; as is manifest from Rom. 9.18, Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will, he hardeneth.  Rev. 4.11, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honour {39} and glory, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  Whereas natural necessity excludes freedom both in the principle of action, and the act itself.

Having now shewed what kind of necessity there was for the being of the Covenant of Redemption betwixt God and Christ; and that the necessity does mainly respect the final cause and ends which God had purposed in himself: Let us in the next place consider particularly to what intents and purposes it was necessary that God should enter into a Covenant of Suretiship and Redemption with his own Son Christ.

These intents and purposes may be reduced to two chief heads; supposing that God had purposed in himself to glorify his Mercy and Justice in procuring our Salvation; the Covenant of Suretiship and Redemption was necessary for both these ends and purposes:  1. For the honour of God.  2. For the salvation and good of his chosen people; both which were attained through the Covenant made betwixt God and Christ.

1. For the honour and glory of God; I mean, the declarative glory of God, that shines ad extra, or the manifestation of his glory, as the same is shewed forth and manifested in his dealings with the Creatures; whereof see Psalm 19.1, The heavens declare the glory of God.  Exod. 15.11, Who is like unto thee, O Lord, amongst the Gods! who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!  Not his essential glory that shines ad intra, whereby he was infinitely and eternally glorious, before any of the works of Creation and Providence; and should have been glorious eternally, though these had never been, Prov. 8.22-30, The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.——Then I was by him as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.

I say, the being of this Covenant of Redemption, was necessary for the declarative glory of God; whether we consider God essentially or personally.

1. For the glory of God considered essentially, or in regard of his glorious nature and essence, or his natural essential attributes; I mean, his wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, faithfulness, {40} &c.  And that,  1. For glorifying these universally, even all and every one of his attributes, all which received a new and glorious lustre, through the Covenant of Redemption, and God’s sending of Christ to do that work which should never have been known nor manifested on Earth, nor in Heaven, but in the face of Jesus Christ, and by virtue of God’s Covenant-dealings with him about our Redemption; therefore saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 4.6, For God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  Therefore also Christ is called the brightness of his glory, Heb. 1.3.  Christ Mediator is the brightness of the glory of God, in and through whom, his glorious attributes and nature was made conspicuous, and the declarative glory thereof had a more glorious lustre, than by all the works of Creation and Providence beside. Upon the same account also Christ is called the Image of the invisible God, Col. 1.15, because the glorious excellencies of God (otherwise invisible) are gloriously revealed by him, and to be seen in him.  I pass this here in a word, referring a more particular consideration thereof to that part of this subject-matter that concerns the Mediator’s person and office.  2. For the glorifying of these harmoniously, that the harmony of attributes in God might be manifested in this transaction; to wit, how sweetly mercy & justice did meet, when peace and righteousness, Law-demands and Gospel-condescensions, Law-severity and Gospel-lenity did meet together, and were made friends by this Covenant, Psalm 85.10,11, Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other, &c.  For by this means God brought forth to heaven and earth, and all the Creatures, the glorious harmony of Justice, Truth, Mercy, Power, Wisdom, Grace, Rev. 5.12,13, Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and wisdom, and riches, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.  And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing, honour, glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb for ever and ever.

2. This Covenant of Redemption was necessary for the glory of God considered personally; and that,  1. In regard of the {41} distinct subsistences and glorious persons of the blessed Trinity.  2. In regard of the distinct offices of the three persons, all which were gloriously manifested in God’s Covenant-dealings with Christ.  I say, the greatest declarative glory and clearest manifestation of the distinct subsistences and Persons of the Godhead, and of the distinct offices of these Persons in the ever-glorious and blessed Trinity, that ever the world saw or heard of, was in God’s Covenant-dealings with Christ about the work of our Redemption; for where are there any such clear discoveries of these great mysteries to be found, as in God’s fœderal dealings with Christ, and the Scriptures which reveal the same?  God was but darkly known in the distinct subsistences and offices of the Persons of the Trinity, till this light of his Covenant with Christ did break forth; but in God’s sending his Son, and the Son’s undertaking and offering himself willingly to his Father, to do this work; and the Holy Ghost’s exercising the power of the Godhead, fitting and enabling him, the man Christ Jesus, to do the work; there was a glorious manifestation of the distinction of Persons in the Godhead, and of the offices of these Persons (whereof also more particularly afterward).  See Isa. 42.1, Behold my servant whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.  Heb. 9.14, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And 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.  Psalm 2.7,8, I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  John 14.26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  Mal. 3.16,17,—And he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo, a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; and such like Scriptures.  Yea, so much was the Covenant betwixt God and Christ about our Redemption for the glory of God, even considered personally; that thereby (beside the glory {42} that was common to all the three Persons) there did accrue a peculiar glory to the distinct Persons of the Godhead, in regard of their distinct offices and working in this business of Redemption; a peculiar glory to the Father, who gave Christ, and who sent him upon this business, and blessed us in him, even a peculiar honour to the father from the Lord Mediator and Redeemer, John 8.49, But I honour my Father, saith Christ; and a peculiar honour to the Father from the ransomed and redeemed People, 1 Pet. 1.3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  A peculiar honour to the Son, to Christ the Lord Mediator, and that both upon earth and in heaven, a peculiar glory to the Lamb that wrought the Redemption, unto which his Father appointed him. John 5.22,23, For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; which the Son claimeth, John 17.1,4, These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee; I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And which is paid to him in heaven, Rev. 7.10, Saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.  And Rev. 5.9, And they sing a new song, saying, thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.  A peculiar glory unto the eternal Spirit, by whom the Son of God offered himself without spot to God, Heb. 9.14; and to whom the effectual application of the purchased Redemption by peculiar office belongs, 1 Cor. 6.11, And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.  John 6.63, It is the spirit that quickeneth.  Gal. 4.6, And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

2. The good of the ransomed and redeemed people, required that their Redemption should be transacted in a Covenant betwixt God and Christ; and to this intent, and for this end it was necessary,  1. To introduce and usher in the new way of {43} life through the Gospel dispensation, which could never have come to light, nor have appeared upon the stage to act any thing, if God had not by his eternal transactions with Christ, in whom he found a ransom, made way for the taking down the transient-time-dispensation of Law and Works, which was only to continue and stand a Court of righteousness for a short space; and so opened a door for free Grace to take the Theatre, and to act its part more nobly than the Law-dispensation that was first upon the stage.  And this, I say, was ushered in, and it was necessary that way should be made for it, by God’s Covenant-dealings with Christ, in whom his Justice had a satisfaction; else the Law-dispensation of Works and Nature had kept the Stage for ever, and there had been no Court wherein Grace sits upon the throne, and wherein Sinners might plead righteousness and life on Gospel-terms.  Christ’s saying from eternity, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, Psalm 40.6, And deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom, Job 33.24, (Which words are upon the matter, and originally true of Christ’s dealings with his Father, and by some Expositors applied to him).[8]  This, I say, ushered in, and made way for the Gospel-dispensation of a Covenant of free Grace.  Hence it is that the Apostle states the rise of life and immortality that is brought to light by the Gospel, upon the eternal fœderal dealings that were betwixt God and Christ, 2 Tim. 1.9,10, 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, before the world began: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.  Rom. 8.3,4, 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.

2. The Covenant of Redemption betwixt God and Christ was necessary for our good, that the Covenant of life and righteousness to us in the way of this Gospel-dispensation, might be pure sovereign Grace.  Now the more of Grace and God’s gracious will and heart, is in the business, and the less of the Creature’s will and acting, the better for us, the sweeter and the surer is the Covenant.  But here all is of the Lord, and of {44} his gracious will, all is transacted betwixt God and Christ, and man is not so much as present at the first transaction of the Covenant, as he was at the Covenant of works; here he is neither at the beginning, nor end of it; I mean, that end which it had in God’s fœderal dealings with Christ, where the Redemption and Salvation of the elect was a concluded business, and the conclusion tarried not, nor was suspended for man’s consent;—sure this was pure Grace, this was all Grace, eminent Grace, when there was nothing of the Creature; no, not so much as acting in a vital formal manner, as now we act under the application of this Covenant, by these gracious acts which are efficiently from God; but there, all was the gracious free will of God, without any thing of the Creature’s will; surely that was eminent signal Grace, and the better for us.  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.  Eph. 2.10, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.  Eph. 1.4,5, 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: Having predestinated us unto the Adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

3. A Covenant betwixt God and Christ about our Salvation and Redemption was necessary, that the business of our Salvation might be far advanced, ere it come to our working at it with fear and trembling: and if our working out that which is left to be done by us, for our own Salvation, be with fear and trembling, when by this Covenant of Suretyship we are set beyond the possible reach of actual perishing; O what should our working for Salvation have been without this Covenant of Suretyship, but endless, fruitless toiling, with desperation!  But by the Covenant of Redemption, our Salvation is far advanced, before our little finger be at the work; nay, it is in some respect finished, all the hard labour is over, Justice is satisfied, the strength of opposition is broken, and we have only broken forces, and a beaten adversary to deal with; we have little more to do but to stand and see him work Salvation for us, and apply his purchased Redemption; and yet we have work {45} enough to keep us in continual exercise, about the duties of holiness and faith, Psalm 2.12.  2 Cor. 7.1.  2 Pet. 1.5,10.  John 17.4, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And 16.11,—of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.  Heb. 12.2, Looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith.

4. A Covenant betwixt God and Christ about our Salvation, was necessary, that the spring and fountain of the life of Salvation to us, might lie out of our selves. By the Covenant of works, the spring of life and blessedness to man, lay in himself; all his treasure and store was in his stock of habitual Grace; but now by this Covenant of Suretyship, the water-cock is indeed within our own hearts: I mean, Faith, by which we draw life and virtue out of Christ, and through which he conveys it unto us; but the fountain and well-head lies on high: for by the Covenant of Redemption, God was carrying on a design of love to his elect people; and this was part of the contrivance, that our Covenant-state through Christ’s Suretyship might be Fountain-Love and Grace; a state of favour settled and bottomed in the fountain of life and grace, Christ: Whereas Adam’s first Covenant-state was but Cistern-Grace, that did not run continually with a spring of living waters, to afford fresh supplies; the stock of habitual Grace was to him like water in the Pitcher or Cistern; but by Christ’s Covenant of Suretyship, Grace is to us, as water in the Fountain, that can never run dry: John 1.16, And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.  4.14,—But the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  And 14.19,—because I live, ye shall live also.  2 Cor. 9.8, And God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

5. This Covenant of Suretyship was necessary for our establishment under this new dispensation, that our Rights might be in a surer hand than our own: Man is a mutable thing, and free-will is a tottering uncertain thing, as experience hath taught; but Christ is a sure foundation; and holding of him, or rather in him, is a sure tenure; the Rights and Charters that are under his custody, are well kept: And therefore God who instituted this dispensation, did for the better securing of the {47/46} believers’ interests, enter into Covenant with a mighty responsal person, even Christ; and consolidates our Covenant-right in Christ our head, and did trust to his keeping and answering all the intents of the Magna Charta, the great Charter of the Gospel covenant; hence it is that the Covenant of peace made with us, is a sure Covenant, because ’tis thus ordered; Christ acted that business in the Covenant of Redemption; there were mutual assurances given between the Father and the Son, which makes all Covenant-dealing with us sure, and holds all fast, Psalm 89.34,35, 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.  Hence ’tis, that the blessings and mercies of the Gospel-covenant, are sure mercies; because there was concluded-Articles about them in this Covenant of Suretyship, when Christ treated for his heirs and children not yet born nor created, Isa. 55.3,4,—And 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.  Heb. 2.13,—Behold I, and the children which God hath given meJohn 6.39,40, And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  O what strong and everlasting consolation hath God allowed upon his people from these immutable and everlasting grounds!  Heb. 6.17,18, Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.  2 Thess. 2.16, Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope, through grace, &c.

6. This Covenant with Christ, was necessary; not only for the ensuring our blessedness by this new Gospel-dispensation; but for the bettering of that blessedness and glorious state unto which we are advanced by this Covenant.  I say, the blessedness, the glory, the heaven of the redeemed people, of the {46/47} many Sons, who are by the force of this Covenant brought to glory, Heb. 2.10, is better than the reward and crown of blessedness which man should have enjoyed by the tenor of the Covenant of works; and this bettering, it hath from Christ’s Covenant of Suretyship with God, which was the chief cause why this Gospel-dispensation is a better Covenant than that of the Law of works; and the promises thereof are better promises, and the crown and heaven thereof a better crown; even because Christ is in this Covenant, and the foundation of it was laid in his Suretyship; by this means the blessedness and heaven of this Covenant is bettered:  For, 1. It is the glory of new heavens, created of purpose for the residence of the redeemed, in the company of him that redeemed them by his own blood, 2 Pet. 3.13, Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Rev. 21.1,5, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.  And he that sat upon the throne, said, Behold I make all things new.  John 14.2,3, In my Father’s house are many mansions, &c.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto my self; that where I am, there ye may be also.  Whereas the blessedness and glory of man by the Law-Covenant (if it was any thing beyond an immortality of blessedness and enjoyment of God in an earthly Paradise; which is questioned by some[9]) should yet have been in this old or first heavens, not in these new ones.  2. It is the glory of a Paradise wherein is the tree of life, and the river of the water of life, which were not Ingredients of the Law-glory; neither were placed in the first Paradise.  Rev. 2.7, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.  And 7.17,—and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.  And 22.1,2, And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and of either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the Nations.  3. It is a heaven and glory where the new Song is sung, and where the Musicians are all redeemed, and where the meeting of these redeemed ones to sing together, is the sweeter, that {48} they once were all lost, and that they came out of tribulation and of a Land of sighing: Isa. 35.10, And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  Rev. 5.9, And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.  But there should not have been any new Song, nor redeemed Musicians in the glory and heaven of Law-dispensation.  4. It is a heaven and glory wherein all the Inhabitants wear crowns; for Christ hath made them kings unto God, and to his Father, Rev. 1.6.  And 2.10,—Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life; but there should have been no crowns worn in the first Paradise; nor should the happiness thereof have amounted so high as a crown and a throne; there being no occasion for it, nor any promise to that effect.  5. It is a heaven and glory, where the Inhabitants are all conquerors, each hath a palm in his hand, in sign of his victory, Rev. 7.9,—clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; this Garland should not have been in the first Covenant-glory; where there was no fighting, there could be no victory, at least over the world, and sin and death.  6. It is a heaven and glory, where all the Inhabitants are clothed with long white robes, and with fine linen clean and white, Rev. 7.13,—What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?  And 19.8, And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the linen is the righteousness of Saints; but there should have been no such robes in the Law-heaven: whatsoever shining-beauty and whiteness should have been on Adam’s skin; yet there should have been there no garments of glory, no righteousness should have been worn there, but that which should have been of our own working.  7. It is a heaven wherein there is a throne for the Lamb, where the man Christ in our nature is upon the throne, where the greatest beauty of all the Kingdom, and the most highly exalted person, is the man Christ; where the Lord Mediator is the glorious light of all the Land, Rev. 3.7,—he that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.  And 21, 22, 23, And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God almighty and the lamb, are the {49} 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.  And 5.12, Worthy is the lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and glory, and honour, and blessing; there was no such glory in the first Covenant, nor in the heaven thereof; which no doubt should have made it less glorious, and speaks forth the greater glory of this latter Covenant-happiness.  8. It is a heaven that was purchased at a dear rate, that was the price of blood; for which Christ paid a condign price, 1 Pet. 1.18,19, For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot; but the Law-heaven and glory, should have been obtained at an easier rate; working, without the price of blood, should have done that business; the different price shews the different value.  9. It is a heaven wherein is a lovely and numerous assembly, a fair mystical body, whereof Christ is the head, and whereof each redeemed Soul is a member.  O so lovely a Company with the Captain of their Salvation! so glorious a body with their glorious head! so beautiful a bride with so fair a husband! such a lovely couple, such a body corporate, such a complete society, when Christ mystical is perfected, and all the members compacted together, and joined unto their glorious and blessed head!  Eph. 4.13, Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.  And 5.27, That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  Heb. 12.23, To the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; And to Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant.  Rev. 19.7, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  But there should have been no such body-corporate in the Law-heaven, no such mystical body of Christ, no marriage of the Lamb, nor any melodious rejoicing at that solemnity.  I conclude therefore, that the glory, and crown, and heaven of the Covenant of Redemption, is better, and far more glorious, than should have been the lot of man, by Law-righteousness and works, without Christ’s Suretyship. {50}

7. This Covenant was necessary, for having in readiness a Physician, before we should be sick; God foresaw and had decreed man’s fall, and his rising again; and he well knew that it would be a wretched hopeless condition, for man to provide a Physician to himself, and to have him to seek when his sickness should be desperate. He therefore by a foresight and providence of pure, sovereign, free, transcendent Grace, did provide one; and indeed it was necessary for our good, that it should be so; for had man fallen sick of sin, before this Covenant for sending a healer to him, he had died ere the cure could come.

8. This Covenant was necessary for cutting off all matter and occasion of self-gloriation from man in his own Redemption and Salvation; for if the business of our Redemption and Salvation was transacted, concluded, done and ended betwixt Jehovah and Christ, without our knowledge or consent, before we had a Being; what have we to boast of?  If the agreement about the price to be paid and accepted, tarried not for man; wherein can we glory that we have contributed to our own happiness?  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.  Eph. 2.10, For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.  1 John 4.10,19, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.—We love him, because he first loved us.


Footnotes:

1. Aquin. Sum 1. Part. g. 19. Art. 3.

Estius in Sentent. li. 1. d. 38. Sect. 7.

2. Doctrine of Justification, part 1, page 105. & part 2, page 105.

3. Pisc. amica col. cum vorstLubert. 99. Error Vorst. Par. in c. 2. Gen. & 9 Ad Rom. dub. 12. Broth. animad. in Vorst.  Martin de Pers. Christi Steg. Photin. p. 506, 507.

4. Aug. Serm. 3. de Sanct. Dom. & lib. 3. de Trin. 13. cap. 10.  Calv. in Joh. 15.15.  Twiss. Vind. lib. 1. de Elect. Digress. 8 Lumbard.

5. Mr. Burgess True Doctrine of Justification. p. 2. p. 104, &c.

6. Ibid. & p. 1. p. 107, &c.

7. Treat. of the Covenant of Grace. p. 1. c. 7.

8. Jo. Cocc. De fœd. c. 5. sect. 88.

9. Mr. Ball Treatise of the Covenant. c. 2. p. 10.  Camer. de tripl. fœd. Thes. 9.  Mr. Baxt. Aphorism, p. 5.