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.
(2.) Nor 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, etc. 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 [the God-man - AKU], not tw logw [the Word - AKU]. 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, etc. 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, John14.28, 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 Suretyship 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 expressed 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.