Friday, July 31, 2015

The Agency of God in the Infliction of Evil (Part 1)

This and the following two posts are from an article in the August and September 1837 issues of the Reformed Presbyterian. While the primary national sin the anonymous author bewails is slavery, it takes no effort to see the applicability of the article to contemporary national sins. The full title of the article is "The Agency of God in the Infliction of Evil: and Why He Does It."

The word evil, though one of very common use, has an extensive latitude of meaning. It is used in different senses: and, like many others, its meaning in a given case, can only be ascertained by its relation to the context. In the remarks which we now lay before our readers we use the word as expressive of physical evil—external trouble, suffering, calamity. It is so used by the sacred writers as in Amos, iii. 6. "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" 

In this use of the term, evil is caused by God; and the infliction of it, forms an important part of the administration of his government of individuals and societies. This is a truth, which, perhaps more than any other, is liable to be neglected.—Indeed, men generally act, as if the evils which are endured by individuals or societies were altogether disconnected with the providence of God, when in fact they are inflicted by him. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground irrespective of his will. It is a practical forgetting of God to attribute to secondary causes the events of providence, whether evil or good; it is the very spirit of Atheism, and is followed by the most injurious consequences to religion and morality. The Almighty claims to himself the high prerogative of inflicting evil on the children of men, and of communicating good to them; and reproves them severely for despising the truth. "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." "Except the Lord do build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city the watchmen waketh but in vain." Is. xiv. 7. Ps. cxxvii. 1. 

It does not correspond with the Divine plan of government, however, to operate directly and immediately in the production of evil: the ordinary course of God, is to employ a subordinate agency of means; through the medium of such means, He inflicts evil upon individuals, cities, and nations. This is indeed the ordinary way by which God proceeds in all his providences, means are subordinated to his designs, and by these he accomplishes what he has designed. And the means as well as the end are ordained by Him. He determined to inflict evil. He determined too, the means by which it should be inflicted, and the whole train of events and circumstances that might render them operative. 

These means are numerous and exceedingly varied. Sometimes the agency of man is employed: man is made the means of bringing evil upon man, while the immediate object he has in, view is the gratification of his ambition, pride, malice, or cupidity; but the sufferings of others are the effects: and are to be seen in the desolations and horrors of war, encroachments on the rights of men, slander and reproach, and every wicked work. And here it ought to be remembered,- that however deserved the evil may be, as coming from the hand of God, and determined by him; that man often acts very sinfully as the instrument by which the evil is inflicted. 

Sometimes the beasts of the field become the instruments of evil lo those whom God would afflict. And sometimes the most insignificant insects cut off the hope of the husbandman, at one time, by destroying the precious seed; at another by devouring the fruits of harvest. "When your gardens and your vineyards, your fig-trees and your olive trees increased, the palmer-worm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me saith the Lord: that which the palmer-worm hath left, hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left, hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left, hath the caterpillar eaten," 

Sometimes, the elements of nature are the means by which God sends evil upon the sons of men. By an unseen hand, the wind that had been at rest, is awakened; and, as if aroused into anger, careers over the deep, while the stately ships with their crews and cargoes, that had been gliding onwards in apparent safety to their respective havens, are in a few hours or perhaps moments strewed as wreck upon the waters. The merchant and the ship-owner mourn over their bankrupt fortunes, and their families are reduced to poverty: widows and orphans weep over husbands and fathers lost, and their cheerless homes proclaim the reality of their experienced evils. The solar heat during the summer months has only to range above the usual warmth, and the traveller becomes exhausted and the labourer sinks under its influence: or in winter, the cold becomes intense, and the sailor is frozen before the mast, the traveller perishes on the highway and the friendless poor suffer in their wretched dwellings. The stream that moves gently onward to the ocean—and which man renders subservient to his pursuits of business or of pleasure, suddenly swells beyond its accustomed channel and desolates the neighbouring country; and thus the fruit and the toil of years are swept into destruction, while the unresisted flood pours contempt on the feeble efforts of man. 

The thunder rolls; and the lightning's streak is seen to quiver through the heavens, and the terrified animals that had crowded together under a neighbouring tree fall lifeless. Or perhaps the calamity is still more dire, the electric fluid enters the habitation of man, and the unsuspecting inmates in the midst of joy are struck dead! Or it may be, the common element of fire obtains the mastery over man, and covers with wide spread desolation whole squares and streets of buildings. The stillness of night is disturbed by the alarm and dismay of the terror-stricken inhabitants, while the irresistible conflagration leaps from house to house, and from street to street, and ma n looks on, helpless and confounded: the accumulated wealth of years—the millions that had been collected from all quarters of the globe are in one night consumed: and thousands of individuals dependent on their daily labour are reduced to want. This is no ideal picture drawn from fancy; it is one of fact; and strong as are its lineaments, they are less deeply marked than the originals furnished in frequent scenes of too recent occurrence to need particular description. 

Sometimes, disease is made the means of scourging the inhabitants of the earth. God in his righteous providence frequently visits nations, by sending among them epidemical diseases, which very speedily become the means of consigning vast numbers to the grave, and of inflicting unspeakable suffering upon such as survive. "I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt, saith the Lord." Such calamities, by whatever names they ma y be known, are the servants of God in doing his pleasure among the sons of men. Modern times furnish us with an awful illustration of this kind, in the disease of Cholera. More than fifty millions of human beings (or upwards of one sixteenth part of the whole human race) are said to have been cut off by this angel of destruction, in a few years. It has passed from East to West, and scourged the nations in its course. Its deadly march through our own land is yet fresh in our memories, when the stoutest heart was appalled, and universal mourning and bereavement filled the land! 

Sometimes, the sources of national wealth are dried up; while bankruptcy and want swell the aggregate of suffering. "He that earneth wages, earnelh wages to put it into a bag with holes." "Ye looked for much and lo it came to little, and when ye brought it home I did blow upon it saith the Lord of hosts." The present mercantile crisis, in the United States, is an extraordinary example of the kind to which we have referred.—A whole nation cast down from the very "summit of an almost unexampled mercantile prosperity! And, how sudden, how rapid the change from prosperity to ruin? The work comparatively of a moment! Many, who a few months ago, could command hundreds of thousands, are now bankrupt—the most extensive chartered companies cannot meet their pecuniary obligations.—In one. word, as a commercial people we may be said to be bankrupt. Unless we are destitute of all religious impressions we will recognize the hand of God in these things.—He has blown upon our prosperity and it has come to nought.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Imprecatory Psalms

1. “Imprecatory Psalms,” is a misnomer. They are Psalms of Justice. They are what the world needs most. We have extolled the love of God to the exclusion of His justice. The justice of God must not be sacrificed on the altar of His mercy.

2. If you start deleting these so-called Imprecatory psalms, what are you going to do with the words of the "gentle" Savior in Luke 3:7 and Matthew 23:33 (in fact in this whole chapter)?

3. Something else people tend to forget, or overlook is that what is written in Psalm 109 actually came to pass. It is a prophetic description of Judas and what happened to him. It is what happens to any man who hardens himself against the Spirit of God. What do you suppose God is going to do with men like Judas? What can God do with wicked men? He lets sin take its course. "He (Judas) clothed himself with cursing." "Let it be unto him as the raiment.” Judas spurned a wedding garment, so he was clothed in God's curse against his sin. "Sin when it is finished brings forth death."

4. The poet Henry Van Dyke wrote against the Imprecatory Psalms, as did C.S. Lewis. Ironically, during World War I, when the Germans were going through Belgium, Henry Van Dyke used language against the Germans as strong as you can find in any of the Imprecatory Psalms. Yet he, like C.S. Lewis, said the spirit of these Psalms was "unchristian."

5. If we believe the Scriptures to be God's Word, then we believe that God has composed these Psalms. If God has composed a Psalm, a Christian is safe enough in singing it and praying it. If God does the thing that is predicted, a Christian should have no compunction singing about what God does.

6. Psalm 137:8 is simply in accord with what Christ Himself said: "As a man sows so shall he also reap."

If you take out the Imprecatory Psalms, you must consistently take out every passage that speaks of the justice of God in meting out punishment to sinners. You will have to take out every description of the judgment and what will you have left to preach ?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bullinger on Foreknowledge and Predestination, Part 2

I know what here again doth sting and grieve the minds of many. "The chosen sheep," say they, "of Christ, do know Christ's voice; and, being endued with a steadfast faith, stick in Christ inseparably, since they have felt that drawing, whereof the Lord speaketh in the gospel: 'No man cometh to me, unless my Father draw him:' as for me, as I feel no such manner of drawing, so do I not with a full and perfect faith stick in the Son of God." First of all, verily, true faith is required of the elect: for the elect are called; and being called, they receive their calling by faith, and frame themselves like him that called them. "He that believeth not is already condemned." Whereupon also Paul saith: "God is the Saviour of all men, specially of the faithful." [1 Tim. 4.] Furthermore, unless we be drawn of the heavenly Father, we cannot believe. And we must be very careful, lest we, conceiving vain opinions of that divine drawing, neglect the drawing itself. God verily drew Paul violently, but he doth not draw all unto him by the hair. [Acts 9.] There are also other ways of drawing, by which God draweth man unto him; but he doth not draw him like a stock or a block. The apostle Paul saith: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." [Rom. 10.] God therefore doth then draw thee, when he preacheth unto thee the gospel by his servants; when he toucheth thy heart; when he stirreth thee to prayer, whereby thou mayest call and cry for his grace and assistance, his enlightening and drawing. When thou feelest these things in thy mind, I would not wish thee to look for another drawing: despise not thou grace offered, but use it whiles time present serveth, and pray for the increase of grace. For to greater and perfecter things thou aspirest godlily afterwards; in the mean space, there is no cause why thou shouldest despise the lesser. In the gospel after Matthew they receive larger riches, who, having received but a few talents, occupied the same faithfully: but he that despised the talent wherewith he was put in credit, and cloaked his slothfulness with I wot not what care, is greatly accused; yea, he is spoiled of the money which was once given him, and is thrown into everlasting torments, being bound with bonds of condemnation. [Matt. 25.] For the Lord pronounceth generally: "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath." He hath, who acknowledgeth, magnifieth, and reverenceth the grace of God: to his heap of graces more is added, so that it is made more abundant. He hath not, which doth not acknowledge the gifts of God, and imagineth other, I cannot tell of what kind; in the mean time he doth not put in use the grace received, and which is present. And these are wont to use excuses, that that drawing came not to them as yet; and that it is a matter very dangerous to use occupying, or to make merchandise, of the gifts of God. But Paul, judging far otherwise, saith: "So we as workers together beseech you, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." [2 Cor. 6.] And to Timothy: "I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee." [2 Tim. 1.] Not that without God we are able to do any thing of ourselves, but that the Lord requireth our endeavour, which notwithstanding is not without his assistance and grace. For truly saith the selfsame apostle: "God worketh in us both to will and to do even of his good pleasure." [Phil. 2.] Again: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves: but all our sufficiency is of God." [2 Cor. 3.]

Furthermore, I wish not any man to despair, if by and by he feel and try not in his mind a most ripe and perfect faith. The gospel saith: "Of her own accord doth the earth bring forth fruit; first the blade, then the ear, and afterwards full corn in the ear." [Mark 4.] For so likewise hath faith her increasings; and therefore did the very apostles of the Lord pray: "Lord, increase our faith." Furthermore, in Mark truly a woeful man crieth unto our Saviour: "If thou canst do anything, Lord, have compassion upon us, and help us." [Mark 9.22. &c.] But he heard the Lord straightways saying unto him: "If thou canst believe it, all things are possible to him that believeth." And this silly soul cried out: "I believe, Lord; help mine unbelief." Lo, this woeful wretch believed, feeling in his mind faith given him of God, which notwithstanding he perceived to be so weak, that he stood in need of God's help and aid. He prayeth therefore, "help mine unbelief," that is, my faith, which, if it be compared with an absolute and perfect faith, may seem but unbelief. But hear, I beseech you, what this faith, how little soever it was, wrought and brought to pass; what an humble mind and hanging upon the only mercy of God was able to do. For straightways he healed the child of the woeful father; and, being restored unto health, and as it were raised up from the dead, giveth him again to his faithful father. If any therefore doth feel faith in his mind, let him not despair, although he know that it is weak enough, God wot, and feeble: let him cast himself wholly upon God's mercy; let him presume very little, or nothing at all, of his own merits and strength; let him pray incessantly for the increase of faith. In which purpose verily the words of our Saviour, very full of comfort, out of the gospel, may confirm and strengthen any man most wholesomely: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For whosoever asketh, receiveth: and whosoever seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Is there any man among you, who, if his son ask him bread, will give him a stone? or, if he ask fish, will give him a serpent? If you therefore, which are evil, can give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things, even the Holy Ghost itself, if you shall ask of him?" [Matt. 7; Luke 11.] These and such like sayings, set forth unto us in the holy gospel for our consolation, ought more to move and establish our minds of the good, yea, the right good-will of God towards us than the eggings of the devil, wherewith he goeth about not only to overwhelm the hope of our election, but to make us suspect and doubt of God, as though he had his creature in hatred, whom he had rather have destroyed than saved. But he is well enough known to the saints by his subtilties and trains; for so he deceived our first parents. [Gen. 3.] Let us keep it deeply printed in our breasts, that God hath chosen us in Christ, and for Christ his sake predestinate us to life; and that therefore he giveth and increaseth faith to Christ-ward in them that ask it; and that it is he that puts it in our hearts. For all things that tend to our salvation come from the grace of God; nothing is ours but reproach and shame.

These things, brethren, thus far have I laid before you concerning the marvelous and wonderful work of the creation wrought by the eternal, true, and living God, without any trouble (doubtless) or pains-taking. "For he spake the word, and they were made. He commanded, and they were created." A little we have added touching the most wise and excellent governing of all things by God's divine providence, which is always just and most righteous: likewise of God's good-will towards us; of predestination; and certain other points unto these belonging. All these things truly have we rehearsed, to beautify the glory and knowledge of God our creator; to whom both the perpetual and universal course of nature, as well of things invisible as also visible, beareth witness; whom the angels worship, the stars wonder at, the seas bless, the earth reverenceth, and all infernal things behold; whom the mind of every man feeleth, albeit it doth not express him; at whose beck all things are moved, the springs cast forth their streams, rivers decrease, the waves arise aloft, all things bring forth their increase, the winds are forced to blow, showers to fall, seas to rage, all things in all places to deliver abroad their fruitfulness; who planted a peculiar garden of felicity for our first parents, gave them a commandment, and pronounced sentence against their sin; delivered righteous Noah from the dangers of the deluge; translated Enoch into the fellowship of his friendship; did choose Abraham to himself; defended Isaac; increased Jacob; appointed Moses the captain over his people; set free from the yoke of bondage the groaning children of Israel; wrote a law; brought the offspring of the fathers into the land of promise; instructed his prophets with his Spirit, and by all these promised his only-begotten Son again; and at the same instant that he had promised to give him hath sent him; through whom also he would be acquainted and come in knowledge with us; and hath poured forth upon us all his heavenly graces.

From Bullinger's Decades: 4th Decade, Sermon 4

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bullinger on Foreknowedge and Predestination, Part 1

The doctrine of the foreknowledge and predestination of God, which hath a certain likeness with his providence, doth no less comfort the godly worshippers of God. They call foreknowledge that knowledge in God, whereby he knoweth all things before they come to pass, and seeth even present all things that are, have been, and shall be. For to the knowledge of God all things are present; nothing is past, nothing is to come. And the predestination of God is the eternal decree of God, whereby he hath ordained either to save or destroy men; a most certain end of life and death being appointed unto them. Whereupon also it is elsewhere called a fore-appointment. Touching these points some have diversely disputed; and many verily, curiously and contentiously enough; and in such sort surely, that not only the salvation of souls, but the glory of God also, with the simple sort is endangered. The religious searchers or interpreters of the scriptures confess, that here nothing is to be permitted to man's wit; but that we must simply and wholly hang upon whatsoever the scripture hath pronounced. And therefore these words of Paul are continually before their eyes and in their minds: "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable (or incomprehensible) are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who was his counsellor? or who hath given unto him first, and he shall be recompensed?" [Rom. 11.] They never forget the admonition of the most wise man, Jesus Syrach, saying: "Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee; neither search after things which are too mighty for thee: but what God hath commanded thee, think thou always thereupon, and be not too curious in many of his works; for it is not needful for thee to see with thine eyes the things that be secret." [Ecclus. 3.] In the mean time truly, they do not contemn neither yet neglect those things which it hath pleased God by the open scriptures to reveal to his servants touching this matter.

Of God's foreknowledge there are many testimonies, especially in the prophecy of Isaiah, chap. 41. and in the chapters following; whereby also the Lord doth declare that he is the true God. Furthermore, God by his eternal and unchangeable counsel hath fore-appointed who are to be saved, and who are to be condemned. Now the end or the decree of life and death is short and manifest to all the godly. The end of predestination, or fore-appointment, is Christ, the Son of God the Father. For God hath ordained and decreed to save all, how many soever have communion and fellowship with Christ, his only-begotten Son; and to destroy or condemn all, how many soever have no part in the communion or fellowship of Christ, his only Son. Now the faithful verily have fellowship with Christ, and the unfaithful are strangers from Christ. For Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians saith: "God hath chosen us in Christ, before the foundations of the world were laid, that we should be holy and without blame before him through love: who hath predestinate us into his sons through Jesus Christ into himself, according to the good pleasure of his will; that the glory of his grace may be praised, wherewith he is pleased with us in his beloved." Lo, God hath chosen us; and he hath chosen us before the foundations of the world were laid; yea, he hath chosen us, that we should be without blame, that is, to be heirs of eternal life: howbeit, in Christ, by and through Christ hath he chosen us. And yet again more plainer: he hath "predestinate us," saith he, "to adopt us into his sons," but by Christ; and that too hath he done freely, to the intent that to his divine grace glory might be given. Therefore whosoever are in Christ are chosen and elected: for John the apostle saith: "Whoso hath the Son hath life; whoso hath not the Son of God, hath not life." [1 John 5.] With the doctrine of the apostles agreeth that also of the gospel. For in the gospel the Lord saith: "This is the will of him that sent me, the Father; that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth in him, should have everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day." [John 6.] Lo, this is the will or eternal decree of God, saith he, that in the Son by faith we should be saved. Again, on the contrary part, touching those that are predestinate to death, the Lord saith: "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness more than light." [John 3.] Therefore, if thou ask me whether thou art elected to life, or predestinate to death; that is, whether thou art of the number of them that are to be damned, or that are to be saved; I answer simply out of the scripture, both of the evangelists and the apostles: If thou hast communion or fellowship with Christ, thou art predestinate to life, and thou art of the number of the elect and chosen: but if thou be a stranger from Christ, howsoever otherwise thou seem to flourish in virtues, thou art predestinate to death, and foreknowledged, as they say, to damnation. Higher and deeper I will not creep into the seat of God's counsel. And here I rehearse again the former testimonies of scripture: "God hath predestinate us, to adopt us into his sons through Jesus Christ. This is the will of God, that whoso believeth in the Son should live; and whoso believeth not should die." Faith therefore is a most assured sign that thou art elected; and whiles thou art called to the communion of Christ, and art taught faith, the most loving God declareth towards thee his election and good-will... 

God's predestination is not stayed or stirred with any worthiness or unworthiness of ours; but of the mere grace and mercy of God the Father, it respecteth Christ alone. And because our salvation doth stay only upon him, it cannot but be most certain. For they are wrong, that think those that are to be saved to life are predestinate of God for the merit's sake, or good works, which God did foresee in them. For notably saith the apostle Paul: "He hath chosen us in Christ into himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, that the glory of his grace might be praised." [Eph. 1.4-6.] And again: "It is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy." [Rom. 9.16.] Again: "God 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 unto us through Christ Jesus before the world was, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." [2 Tim. 1.9,10.] Freely therefore, of his mere mercy, not for our deserts, but for Christ's sake, and not but in Christ, hath he chosen us, and for Christ's sake doth embrace us, because he is our Father and a lover of men. Of whom also speaketh the prophet David: "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and of great kindness. And as a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him: for he knoweth whereof we be made, and remembereth that we are but dust." [Psalm 103.] Moreover, in the prophet Isaiah we read: "Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Though she should forget, yet will I not forget thee." [Isa. 49.] Truly, in Christ, the only-begotten Son of God exhibited unto us, God the Father hath declared what great store he setteth by us. Thereupon doth the apostle gather: "Who spared not his Son, but gave him for us all, how can it be that he should not also with him give us all things?" [Rom. 8.] What thing therefore should we not reckon upon and promise ourselves from so beneficial a Father? For thou canst not complain that he will not give unto thee his Son, or that he is not thine, who, as the apostle saith, was given for us all. Moreover, the Lord himself, crying out in the gospel, saith: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you." And again to his disciples: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that shall believe, and be baptized, shall be saved." Whereupon also Paul saith: "God our Saviour will that all men shall be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth." [1 Tim. 2.] In old times long ago it was said to Abraham: "In thy Seed shall all the tribes (or nations) of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22.] And Joel saith: "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." [Joel 2.] The which Peter also hath repeated in the Acts, chapter 2; and Paul to the Romans, chapter 10. Isaiah also saith: "We have all gone astray like sheep; we have turned every one to his own way: and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all." And therefore durst Paul say: "As by the offence of one the fault came on all men to condemnation; even so also by the justification of one the benefit abounded towards all men, to the justification of life." [Rom. 5.] Therefore the Lord is read in the gospel to have received sinners and publicans with outstretched arms and embracings, adding moreover these words: "I came to seek that which was lost. Neither came I to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." [Matt. 9; Luke 19.] All which sayings do hitherto belong, that, being more narrowly weighed, they might confirm and establish us of God's good-will towards us, who in Christ hath chosen us to salvation: which salvation, truly, cannot but be most certain, and by all means undoubted; especially for that the Lord himself in the gospel saith: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand," &c. [John 10.]

From Bullinger's Decades: 4th Decade, Sermon 4

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Part 5: A Study of The Covenant of Redemption, by Patrick Gillespie

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Part 4: A Study of The Covenant of Redemption, by Patrick Gillespie

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; 1Cor. 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, etc.

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 transactingin 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'sordered 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. Rutherford,  Treatise of the Covenant, p. 2. c. 12. p. 363.
6. Durand. lib. 3. dist. 21. quest. 2. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Part 3: A Study of The Covenant of Redemption, by Patrick Gillespie

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, andthe 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.

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