Monday, July 6, 2015

Part 2: A Study of The Covenant of Redemption, by Patrick Gillespie

By this time it may appear that there is no great cause to contend for the order and distinction of these eternal acts of the will of God, that concurred to the making up this eternal transaction betwixt Jehovah and the Mediator, since they are all co-ordinate acts of the counsel of his will, and means for the carrying on the glory of his mercy and justice in saving man. This much is manifest,
(1.) That the Covenant of Redemption made with Christ, doth suppose other eternal acts of the will of God, about the saving of man in the way of satisfaction to justice, etc., whereof I have spoken before, Chap.2.
(2.) That the designation, calling, and eternal mission of the Son of God to do this work, must in order be before the person designed and called, gave his actual consent, and closed the bargain from eternity. And if any will contend about the order of these eternal acts before-mentioned, I do not see why we may not fitly conceive of them in this order, designing, calling, fitting, investing, sending of Christ; these were the eternal acts of the will of God, which were entertained by the Son of God with consent and delectation.

The Properties3 of the Covenant of Redemption, are, Freedom, Graciousness, Eternity, Equality, Order, and Stability.

1.The Covenant that was transacted betwixt Jehovah and Christ, was a most free Covenant: it was an act of mere liberty and sovereign freedom. There was eminent freedom upon both sides, in both the parties Covenanting.
(1.) Upon the Father's side (abstracting from his own decrees and purposes), it was free to Jehovah to have followed a strict Law-course according to the rigour of the Covenant of works; or to follow a Gospel-way of mitigation and condescension as pleased him; it was free to him to send, or not to send a Saviour to suffer for man; to take a satisfaction by a Surety, or only in the Soul that sinned, as pleased him.
(2.) Upon Christ's part, it was as free to him to be a suffering Redeemer and Surety, or not, as pleased him; to undertake the work of our Redemption, or not to undertake it; to humble himself unto this service, or not; to go this errand, or not, as pleased him. Hence 'tis observed,4 that it was otherwise with the second Adam, than with the first; for it was not free to Adam to withdraw from, or to deny subjection to the first Covenant; neither could he withdraw himself from the Law of Nature, nor slight the promise thereof, without the violation of that Law: but the Son of God was free, and tied by no Law antecedent to his own consent.

This Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is established and confirmed,
1. From these Scriptures which attribute this transaction to the free pleasure and sovereign freedom of both parties, the Father and Christ; therefore the Scripture speaking of God's eternal transactions with Christ about our Redemption, doth so frequently call them, deeds and acts of will, and of the Father's pleasure; and that the whole procedure was according to his good pleasure, and the pleasure of his will, Eph. 1.5,9. And Col. 1.19, It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. 2 Tim. 1.9, according to his purpose and grace, etc. And upon the other part, Christ's concessions in this matter, are attributed to his mere will and liberty, Phil. 2.6,7,8, Who being in the form of God, having the very same divine essence which the father hath, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; counted it no usurpation to carry himself as God, equal with the Father; made himself of no reputation; freely, and of his own accord, he humbled himself; not using nor manifesting the glory that was competent to him, and took upon him the form of a servant; he took upon him a real service in the assumption of the human nature, for the ends he assumed it, and was made in the likeness of men; and in this service he did behave himself, as other men, and suitably to that employment, and not as equal with God, which was his natural condition; and while he was in that habit and condition, he obeyed unto the death of the Cross. All this he acted with eminent freedom in time; and consented to with like freedom from eternity, where he freely took upon him whatsoever he acted within time.

2. If it was free with God, whether he would give to man a Being, and whether he would conclude this in the counsel of his will from eternity, or not, as pleased him; sure it was also free to God whether he would send a Saviour to him when he should be lost, or not, as pleased him: Now, 'tis manifest that it was free with God, whether he would so much as give to man a being; for he was under no necessity to create the World, or Men, or Angels, all which are for his pleasure; and therefore are whatsoever they are, by his pleasure, Rev. 4.11, Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

3. If it was free to God from eternity, whether he would choose objects in Mankind, to magnify his Grace and Mercy upon, when he had purposed to create Angels and men; or whether he would let them all perish, and not take any of their natures upon him; then the Covenant of Suretyship hath this property of freedom; but it is manifest that it was free with God from eternity, whether he would recover any of the race of fallen man, or not, as pleased him; since he was no more tied to Men than to Angels, to whom he sent no Saviour when they fell, nor hath designed any of the fallen Angels unto Redemption, 2Pet. 2.4, For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto the day of Judgment. Heb. 2.16, For verily he took not on him the nature of Angels; but he took upon him the seed of Abraham. It remains therefore, that the Covenant of Redemption is an act of sovereignty and freedom upon God's part who designed a Redeemer, and upon Christ's part who consented unto this designation.

4. This Property of the Covenant of Redemption is further confirmed, by the negation and removal of all things contrary to sovereign freedom.
(1.) There was nothing from himself (abstracting from his own decrees, and love-designs) that could trench [encroach] upon the freedom of this eternal act of his will; for there was no necessity of nature upon Jehovah, nor upon the Son of God, that did determine God to enter in this Covenant (as is already cleared.)
(2.) There was nothing from without that could trench upon the freedom of this eternal act; as nothing could necessarily determine, so neither compel nor constrain God to lay such a service upon his own Son Christ, nor him to undertake it; For
    [1.] This transaction having been from eternity, it was a concluded bargain before the creatures had a being, Prov. 8.23, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
    [2.] Put the case they had then had a being; what could the being of Men and Angels, and all the works of his hands have trenched upon the sovereign freedom of their Maker's will and actings? for who hath resisted his will?—hath not the potter power over the clay? Rom. 9.19,21.
    [3.] The Father and the Son were not only free from all natural necessity and outward compulsion; but also from all hire, allurement or motive from any thing without their own will; there was nothing in man, no not foreseen, that could allure or move; far less hire the Father to give Christ, to engage him in this work, nor Christ to engage his name in our bond; since he well foresaw what it would cost him: It's true he values his seed as a satisfying return of his travail, Isa. 53.11, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; but beside that, there is no proportion betwixt his work, and this poor wages: was man a price for the Lord of glory to work for? or was he a reward for him to wrestle for? could he be hired for so low a wager, if the sovereign freedom of his own will had not acted him? Consider, I say, who gave this price to the Lord: did man give himself to the Lord, or did the Lord give his elect people to Christ from eternity, and afterward he is the first giver also? Now there can be no hire given by man to the Lord, unless he were the first giver, Rom. 11.35. For who hath first given to him and it shall be recompensed to him again? 1 Chron. 29.14, Of thine own have we given thee. Jer. 30.21, And I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; for who is he that engageth his heart to approach unto me, saith the Lord?

2. Another property of this Covenant is Graciousness; it is not only the Covenant transacted with us, the Gospel-Covenant, that is, pure Grace; but this also that was transacted betwixt Jehovah and Christ, even while it was yet in his purpose, and as it was the eternal act of his will, is frequently called caris & eudokia, Grace and his good pleasure, or gracious pleasure, Eph. 1.5,6,7; 2. Tim. 1.9. his purpose and grace. Now Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, in a far other sense than 'tis attributed to the Covenant of reconciliation: For,
(1.) Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Redemption, in regard of both Parties transacting; it was pure Grace that determined both the Parties, and engaged them both; the Father to send, and the Son to come; and this Grace was equally in both the Parties, and did shine equally and by way of efficiency in them both, Zech. 6.13, The counsel of peace was between them both. But graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of reconciliation; because of the shining glory and activity of the Grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is therein manifested; which Grace is in us subjectively; and though the acts thereof be ours in a vital formal manner; yet it is from God by way of efficiency, and it is his Grace, not ours, from which the Covenant hath its name of Grace, Titus 2.11; 1 Tim. 1.14;Eph. 1.6,7; And 2.5,7,8; 1 Cor. 15.10.
(2.) Graciousness is attributed to the Covenant of Reconciliation; not only in regard of God's making such a Covenant with us; but also in regard of the tenor of that Covenant, and whole dispensation; the promises, conditions, and reward therein is all pure Grace; as the same is opposed unto, and contra-distinguished from works, which signify nothing in that covenant, as it is a Court of Righteousness and Life, Eph. 2.8,9, For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. But of this Covenant of Redemption, Graciousness is a property thereof; mainly, because of the reasons following; but not because the whole tenor thereof, as well the conditions as promises were pure Grace considered as such, and contra-distinguished from works: For though pure Grace made this Covenant of Redemption; yet the condition thereof upon both sides were works.

3. See Mr. Rutherford Treatise of the Covenant. p.2. c.12.
4. Jo. Cocc. Summum Doct. de fœd. c.5. Sect. 90.

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