Paradise Opened, or the Secrets, Mysteries, and Rarities of Divine Love, of Infinite Wisdom, and of Wonderful Counsel—Laid Open to Public View
By these ten scriptures it is most clear and evident that there was a covenant, a compact, and agreement between God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, concerning the work of our redemption. Christ's being called "the surety of the better covenant," Heb. 7:21, shows that there was a covenant between God the Father and him, as there is between a creditor and a surety. Christ gave bonds, as it were, to God the Father, and paid down the debt upon the nail—that breaches might be made up between God and us, and we restored to divine favor forever. But for the further clearing up of the covenant of redemption, I shall, in the second place, lay down these eight propositions.
(1.) The first is this—That the covenant of redemption differs from the covenant of grace.It is true, the covenant of redemption is a covenant of grace, but it is not properly that covenant of grace which the Scripture holds out in opposition to the covenant of works; which I shall thus evidence—
[1.]The covenant of redemption differs from the covenant of grace in regard of the parties. In the covenant of redemption, it is God the Father and Jesus Christ who mutually covenant. But in the covenant of grace the parties are God and believers.
[2.]In the covenant of redemption, God the Father requires of Jesus Christ that he should suffer, shed his blood, die, and make himself an offering for our sins. In the covenant of grace, God requires of us that we should believe and embrace the Lord Jesus.
[3.]In the covenant of redemption, God the Father has made many great, precious, and glorious promises to Jesus Christ. As, "Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool," Heb. 1:13; and, "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands," Isaiah 53; and, "Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession," Psalm 2:8; and, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son," Heb. 1:5. But in the covenant of grace, God promises to us grace and glory, holiness and happiness, both the upper and the lower springs, Psalm 84:11; Ezek. 36:26-27.
[4.]The covenant of redemption between God and Christ secures the covenant of grace between God and believers; for what God promises to us, he did, before the foundation of the world, promise to Jesus Christ, Titus 1:2. And therefore, if God the Father should not make good his promises to his saints, he would not make good his promises to his dearest Son, which for any to imagine would be high blasphemy. God will be sure to keep touch with Jesus Christ; and therefore we may rest fully assured that he will not fail to keep touch with us.
[5.]The covenant of redemption is the very basis or bottom of the covenant of grace. God made a covenant with Christ, the spiritual David, that he might make a covenant with all his elect in him, Psalm 89:3-4; Romans 11:26-27. He made this agreement with Christ, as the head, and on this is reared up the whole frame of precious promises comprised in the covenant of grace, as a goodly building upon a sure foundation. But,
(2.) The second proposition is this—God the Father, in order to man's redemption and salvation, stands stiffly and peremptorily upon complete satisfaction.Without full satisfaction, there is no remission, no salvation. God will have satisfaction to the utmost, though it cost Christ his life and blood. Man is fallen from his primitive purity, glory, and excellency; and by his fall he has provoked divine justice, transgressed God's righteous law, and cast a deep dishonor upon his name, Romans 8:32. The case standing thus, God is resolved to have ample satisfaction in the reparation of his honor, in the manifestation of his truth, and in the vindication of his holiness and justice. All the attributes of God are alike dear to him, and he stands as much upon the advance of his justice as he does upon the glory of his grace; and therefore he will not remit one sin, yes, not the least sin, without entire satisfaction. In this, God the Father is fixed, that he will have "an offering for sin," in an expiatory and propitiatory way; "a price and a ransom" he will have paid down upon the nail, or else the captive sinner shall never be released, pardoned, saved, Isaiah 53:10; 1 Tim. 2:6.
Now, lost man being wholly incapable of giving such a satisfaction to divine justice, Christ must give it—or fallen man must perish forever. Sin and sorrow, iniquity and misery—always go hand in hand. "The wages of sin is death," Romans 6:23. Every sinner is worthy of death. "Those who commit such things are worthy of death," Romans 1:32. If God is a just and righteous God, then sin cannot absolutely escape unpunished; for it is but "a just and righteous thing with God" to punish the sinner, who is worthy of punishment. "It is a righteous thing with God," says the apostle, "to recompense tribulation to those who trouble you," 2 Thes. 1:6. As God must be just--so He must be
faithful. And if He must be faithful--then He must carry out His threatenings against sin and sinners. The word has gone out of his mouth, "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die; and the soul which sins shall die," Gen. 2:17.
Look, as there is not a promise of God but shall surely take place; just so, there is not a threatening of God but shall surely take place, Ezek. 18:4. The faithfulness of God, and the honor of God, is as much concerned in making good of his dreadful threatenings, as they are concerned in making good of his precious promises, 2 Pet. 1:4. God has given it in his own hand, that "he will by no means clear the guilty;" and that "the soul that sins, shall surely die;" and that "the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him;" and that "he will render to every man according to his deeds," Exod. 34:7; Ezek. 18:20; Romans 2:6. And will God abrogate his own laws, or will he dare men to sport and play with his threatenings? Will not every wise and prudent prince look to the execution of their own laws? and shall not that God, who is wonderful in wisdom, and whose understanding is infinite, see all his laws put in execution against offenders? Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 147:5. Surely yes!
Thus you see that God stands upon full satisfaction, and will admit of no treaty of peace with fallen man without it. Now sorry man is never able, either by doing or suffering, to compensate and make God amends for the wrong and injury that he has done to God by his sin; and therefore one who is able, by doing and suffering, to give complete satisfaction, must undertake it, or else we are lost, cast out, and undone in both worlds. Concerning that full and complete satisfaction that Jesus Christ has given to God's enraged justice, I have in part discovered already, and shall say no more to it before I close up the covenant of redemption. But,
(3.) The third proposition is this—The business transacted between those two great and glorious persons, God the Father, "whose greatness is unsearchable," Psalm 145:3, and Jesus Christ, "who is the prince of the kings of the earth," Rev. 1:5, was the redemption and salvation of the elect.Our everlasting blessedness was now fresh in their eyes, and warm upon their hearts. How lost man might be found, and how fallen man might be restored, and how miserable man might be made happy, how slaves might be made sons, and how enemies might be made friends, Luke 15:30, and how those who "were afar off might be made near," Eph. 2:12-17, without the least harm to the honor, holiness, justice, wisdom, and truth of God—was the grand business, the thing of things—which lay before them. Upon the account of the covenant, compact, and agreement that was between the Father and the Son, it is that Christ is called "the second Adam," 1 Cor. 15:25; for as with the first Adam God pledged a covenant concerning him and his posterity, so also he agreed with Jesus Christ, concerning that eternal redemption, that he was to obtain and secure for his seed, Heb. 9:12. For the clearing of this, let us a little consider of the excellent properties of that redemption which we have by Jesus Christ.
[1.] First, It is a GREAT redemption.The work of redemption was a great work. The greatness of the PERSON employed in this work, speaks out the work to be a great work. This was a work too high, too hard, too great for all the angels in heaven, and all the men on earth to undertake. None but that Jesus who is "mighty to save," Isaiah 63:1, was ever able to bring about the redemption of man. Hence Christ is called the Redeemer, Romans 11:26: "And their redeemer is mighty," Proverbs 23:11; Isaiah 44:6, "And his redeemer, the Lord Almighty;" Isaiah 47:4, "As for our redeemer, the Lord Almighty is his name;" Isaiah 49:26, "And your redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob;" Jer. 50:34, "Their redeemer is strong, the Lord Almighty is his name."
Again, the great and invaluable price that was paid down for our redemption speaks it out to be a great redemption. The price that we are bought with is a price beyond all computation. 1 Pet. 1:18-19, "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," 1 Cor. 6:19-20, and 7:23. Christ was a lamb:
(1.) for harmlessness;
(2.) for patience and silence in afflictions;
(3.) for meekness and humility;
(4.) for sacrifice.
This lamb was "without blemish," Isaiah 53:7, that is, free from actual sin, and "without spot," that is, free from original sin, Jer. 11:19, (Aquinas.) That the most absolute and perfect purity of Christ—prefigured in the lambs of the Old Testament, which were to be sacrificed—might be better expressed, the apostle calls him "a lamb without blemish, and without spot," Eph. 5:27. The price that this lamb without a spot has laid down is sufficient to pay all our debts; it is a price beyond all computation. All the silver, gold, pearls, jewels in the world, are of no value—compared with this price; a price in itself infinite, and of infinite value. [Neither God nor Christ could lay down a greater price. All things in heaven and earth are not to be compared to this blood, to this price.]
Among the Romans, the goods and estates which men had gotten in the wars, with hazard of their lives, were called peculium castrense, or a field-purchase. Oh how well then may the elect be called Christ's peculium castrense, his purchase, gotten not only by the jeopardy of his life, but with the loss of his life and blood, John 10:11, 15, 17-18, and Acts 20:28.
Again, if you compare the work of redemption with other great works, you must necessarily conclude that the work of redemption is a great work.
The CREATION of the world was a great work of God, but yet that did but cost him a word of his mouth, a "let it be;" he spoke the word, and it was done; "He said, Let there be light, and there was light," etc., Gen. 1:3-6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24. But the work of redemption cost Christ's dearest blood. Much matter of admiration does the work of redemption afford us. The work of creation is many ways admirable, yet not to be compared with the work of redemption, wherein the power, wisdom, justice, mercy, and other divine attributes of God do much more shine forth; and wherein the redeemed reap much more good than Adam did by his creation, which will evidently appear by observing these particular differences:
First, In the creation God brought something out of nothing. But in the work of redemption, out of one contrary he brought another; out of death he brought life. This was a work of far greater power, wisdom, mercy. Death must first be destroyed, and then life brought forth.
Secondly, In creation there was but a word; and thereupon the work followed; in redemption there was doing and dying. But the work of redemption could be brought about by none but God. God must come down from heaven, God must be made man, God must be made sin, God must be made a curse, 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13.
Thirdly, In the creation God arrayed himself with majesty, power, and other like properties, fit for a great work. But in the work of redemption he put on weakness, he assumed a nature subject to infirmities, and the infirmities of that nature. He did as David did when he fought against Goliath, he "put off all armor, and took his staff in his hand, and drew near to the Philistine," 1 Sam. 17:39-40.
Fourthly, In the work of creation there was nothing to withstand God, to make opposition against God. But in the work of redemption there was justice against mercy, wrath against pity. Death, and he who had the power of death, was vanquished, Heb. 2:14-15; Col. 2:14-15.
Fifthly, By creation man was made after God's image, like him, Gen. 1:26-27. But by redemption, man was made a member of the same mystical body "whereof Christ is the head," Eph. 1:22, 23.
Sixthly, By creation man received a natural being. But by redemption man received a spiritual being.
Seventhly, By creation man received a possibility to stand. But by redemption man received a certainty of standing and impossibility of falling, John 10:28-31; 1 Pet. 1:5; Jer. 32:40-41.
Eighthly, By creation man was placed in an earthly paradise. But by redemption he is advanced to a heavenly paradise.
Thus you see how the work of redemption transcends the work of creation.
Again, the works of PROVIDENCE are great, very great, in the eye of God, of angels, of men; but what are the works of providence, compared to the works of redemption? For in order to the accomplishment of that great work, Christ must put off his royal robes, take a journey from heaven to earth, assume our nature, do and die, etc.
Again, the work of redemption by Christ will be found a great work, if you will but compare it with those redemptions that were but types of this. Israel's redemption from their Egyptian bondage, and from their Babylonish bondage, were very great redemptions, which were brought about by a strong hand, a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm, as the Scripture speaks. But, alas! what were those redemptions, compared to our being redeemed from the love of sin, the guilt of sin, the dominion of sin, the damnatory power of sin, and to our being redeemed from the power of Satan, the curse of the law, hell and wrath to come? 1 Thes. 1:10.
Lastly, the great things that are wrapped up in the womb, in the belly, of redemption, speak out our redemption by Christ to be a very great redemption. In the womb of this redemption you shall find reconciliation, justification, adoption, eternal salvation, etc. Are not these great, very great, things? Surely yes! But,
[2.]A second excellent property of that redemption that we have by Christ is this, that it is a FREE and GRACIOUS redemption. All the rounds in this ladder of redemption are made up of free, rich, and sovereign grace. Though our redemption cost Christ dearly, as has been before hinted, yet as to us it is most free: Eph. 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" that is, according to his exceeding great and abundant grace: "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." [This word properly signifies a deliverance, which is brought to pass by paying of a ransom and price. See Mat. 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18.] Our redemption is from the free love and favor of God. It was free grace which put God the Father upon finding out a way for the redemption of lost sinners. It was free grace that put God upon providing of such a surety, as should undertake the work of redemption, as should carry on the work of redemption, and as should accomplish and complete the work of redemption; and it was free grace that moved God the Father to accept of what Christ did and suffered, in order to the bringing about of our redemption; and it is free grace that moves God to make an application of this redemption to the souls of his people. Ah, poor souls! the Lord looks not, neither for money nor money's worth from you, towards the purchase of your redemption, and therefore always look upon your redemption as the mere fruit of rich grace, Isaiah 52:3. But,
[3.]The third excellent property of that redemption that we have by Jesus Christ is this, it is a FULL and PLENTEOUS redemption: Psalm 130:7, "Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption." Christ redeems us from all sin, and from all the consequences of sin. He redeems from death, and from the power of the grave; he redeems us from the law, and from the malediction of the law. Christ took that off; he was made a curse for all that believe on him. [Hosea 13:14; Titus 2:14; Romans 7:6; Gal. 4:6, and 3:18.] He did not only stand in the place of eminent believers, but he stood in the place of all believers, and endured the wrath of God to the uttermost for everyone who believes on him. Every believer is freed from a cursed estate by the least faith. Every degree of true faith makes the condition to be a state of life, and passes us from death and condemnation: "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
And Christ redeems us from this present evil world, and from the earth, and from among men, and from wrath to come, and from "the hands of all our enemies." [Romans 8:1; Gal. 1:4; Rev. 14:3, 4; 1 Thes. 1:10; Luke 1:71, 74.] Jesus Christ has completely done the work of our redemption. Christ does not his work by halves; all his works are perfect; there is no defect or flaw in them at all. Christ does not redeem us from some of our sins, and leave us to grapple with the rest; he does not work out some part of our redemption, and leave us to work out the rest; he does not bear the heat and burden of divine wrath in part, and leave us to wrestle with other parts of divine wrath. Oh, no! Christ makes most complete work of it. He redeems us from "all our iniquities; he delivers us out of the hands of all our enemies," Heb. 7:25. He pays all debts, he cuts all scores, he delivers from all wrath, he takes off the whole curse, he saves to the uttermost, and will settle us in a state of full and perfect freedom, when grace shall be turned into glory. In heaven our redemption shall be entire and perfect.
[4.]The fourth excellent property of that redemption which we have by Jesus Christ, is this, it is an ETERNAL, a permanent, a lasting, yes, an everlasting redemption! Heb. 9:12, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Redemption is in general a freeing one out of thraldom, Exod. 6:6. Now this is done three ways—
(1.) By interceding and pacifying wrath. Thus the prophet Oded, 2 Chron. 28:9, etc., procured redemption for the captives of Judah by his intercession.
(2.) By force and might. Thus Abraham redeemed his brother Lot, and the people that were captives with him, by overcoming their enemies, Gen. 14:16.
(3.) By ransom, or paying a price. Thus a Hebrew that was sold a slave to a stranger might be redeemed by one of his brethren, Lev. 25:48-49. The last of these is most agreeable to the notation of the several words, which in the three learned languages do signify to redeem, though the last be especially intended. In that, mention is made of a price, namely, Christ's blood; yet the other two are not altogether exempted, for Christ has all those three ways redeemed his people. This will more clearly appear if we duly weigh the distinct kinds of bondage in which we were by reason of sin—
(1.) We were debtors to divine justice, Mat 6:12;
(2.) We were children of wrath, Eph. 2:3;
(3.) We were slaves to Satan, Heb. 2:14-15.
(1.) As debtors, Christ has paid a ransom for us;
(2.) As children of wrath, Christ makes intercession for us;
(3.) But though divine justice be satisfied and divine wrath pacified, yet the devil will not let his captives go; therefore Christ by a strong hand wrests us out of Satan's power, "and destroys him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," Heb. 2:14-15.
The ransom which Christ paid was the ground of man's full and eternal redemption, for by satisfaction of justice way was made to pacify wrath; both which being accomplished, the devil lost his right and power over such as he held in bondage. This redemption is a full freedom from all misery, and comprises under it— reconciliation, justification, sanctification, and salvation. By this redemption divine justice is satisfied, wrath pacified, grace procured, and all spiritual enemies vanquished. The perfection of this redemption is hinted in this word eternal. The eternity here meant has a special respect to the continual duration thereof without end, yet also it respects the time past, so as it looks backward and forward. It implies a virtue and efficacy from the beginning of the world, for Christ was "a lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8.
Christ himself is, Rev. 1:8, "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending—who is, and who was, and who is to come." Now that which is spoken of the person of Christ may very well be applied to our redemption by Christ. This epithet eternal is here added to redemption, in opposition to the legal purifications, which were momentary and temporary. They had a day, and endured no longer than the "time of reformation." On this ground, by just and necessary consequence, it follows that the redemption wrought by Christ is absolutely perfect, and that there is no need for any other. Redemption being eternal—all who have been, all who shall be redeemed, have been and shall be redeemed by it; and they who are redeemed by it need no other means. The liberty whereinto Christ Jesus brings the elect, is permanent and lasting, it abides unmoveable and unchangeable to all eternity. The Jews which had sold themselves to be servants were to be set free at the jubilee, yet the jubilee lasted but for one year; therefore the same persons might afterwards become bondmen again, Lev. 25. But this "acceptable year of the Lord's redeemed," Isaiah 61:2, and 63:4, is an everlasting year, it shall never end; therefore they shall never be subject to bondage any more.
It is observable that when the Lord would comfort the Jews with hopes of a return from Babylon, he usually annexed evangelical promises respecting the deliverance of poor sinners from the slavery of Satan, whereof that captivity was a type, some of which promises do plainly express the perpetuity of that spiritual freedom which they shall enjoy. Take a taste: [See also Jer. 32:39; Ezek. 37:25-28, and 39:29.] Isaiah 35:10, "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 51:6, "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and those who dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished." Isaiah 60:19-20, "The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but the Lord shall be unto you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended." Jer. 31:11-12, "For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all." But,
[5.]The fifth excellent property of that redemption that we have by Jesus Christ is this—namely, it is an ENRICHING redemption; it is a redemption which makes men rich in "spiritual blessings in heavenly places," Eph. 1:3. There are many choice and rare spiritual benefits which attend on redemption, which go hand in hand with redemption: as reconciliation, remission of our sins, justification of our persons, adoption, sanctification, full glorification, Romans 5:1, and 3:24-25. We have some foretastes of it in this life. Here we have the "first-fruits of the Spirit," Romans 8:23, 30; but in the morning of the resurrection, we shall reap the whole harvest of glory. It is called, by way of eminency, the salvation of our souls, 1 Pet. 1:9. Redemption, and the noble benefits attending on it, are salvation begun; but in heaven this shall be salvation consummate. Redemption is a rich mine, containing a mass of treasure which cannot be valued. Could we dig into it, could we pry into it, we might find a variety of the choicest jewels and pearls, in comparison whereof all the riches of the Indies, all the gold of Ophir, and all the precious jewels and most orient pearls that are in the world, are no better than dross.
I have read of Tiberius the emperor, that passing by a place where he saw a cross lying in the ground upon a marble stone, and causing the stone to be dug up, he found a great treasure under the cross. But what was this treasure, but a great nothing—compared to that treasure which is wrapped up in our redemption by Christ! What the Lord said once to his anointed Cyrus, a temporal deliverer of his people, the same he has spoken, and much more, to his anointed Jesus, the greater Savior and Redeemer of his church: "I will give you the treasures of darkness, the hidden riches of secret places," Isaiah 43:3. There are "unsearchable riches" in Jesus Christ. In him are riches of grace, of all grace; in him are riches of justification, and riches of sanctification, and riches of consolation, and riches of glorification. Would you share in the best of riches, would you share in the most durable riches, would you share in soul riches, would you share in heavenly riches? Oh, then, secure your interest in the redemption that is by Jesus Christ. But,
[6.]The sixth, and last, excellent property of that redemption that we have by Jesus Christ is this—namely, it is a redemption- sweetening redemption; it is such a redemption as sweetens all other redemptions. It is redemption by Christ, which sweetens our redemption out of this trouble and that, out of this affliction and that, out of this danger and that, out of this sickness and that, out of this bondage and that. Redemption by Christ is like that tree which Moses cast into the bitter waters of Marah, which made them sweet, Exod. 15:23. This water became sweet for the use and service of the Israelites for a time only, and remained not always sweet after, as appears by Pliny's Natural History, who makes mention of those bitter waters in his time. But the redemption that we have by Jesus Christ does forever sweeten all the bitter trials and afflictions that we meet with in this world. The Jewish doctors say that this tree was bitter, and they give us this note upon it, "that it is the manner of the blessed God to sweeten that which is bitter by that which is bitter." I shall not dispute about the truth of their notion; but this I may safely say, that it is the manner of the blessed God to sweeten our greatest troubles, and our sharpest trials, by that redemption that we have by Jesus Christ.
And thus you see the excellent properties of that redemption that Jesus Christ, by covenant or compact with his Father, was engaged to work for us. But,
(4.) The fourth proposition is this—That the blessed and glorious titles which are given to Jesus Christ, in the Holy Scriptures, do clearly and strongly evidence that there was a covenant of redemption passed between God the Father and Jesus Christ.He is called a "mediator of the covenant" of reconciliation, interceding for and procuring of it; and that not by a simple entreaty, but by giving himself over to the Father, calling for satisfaction to justice, that reconciliation might go on, for paying a compensatory price sufficient to satisfy divine justice for the elect. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men"—namely, God incarnate—"the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all"—that is, all his elect children—"to be testified in due time," 1 Tim. 2:5-6.
Let me glance a little upon the words, "one mediator between God and men." In the Greek, it is one mediator of God and men; which may refer either to the two parties between which he deals, pleading for God to men and for men to God, or to the two natures, mediator of God, having the divine nature, and of men, having the human nature upon him. One mediator, not of redemption only, as the papists grant, but of intercession too. We need no other master of requests in heaven, but the man Christ Jesus, who being so near us, in the matter of his incarnation, will never be strange to us in the business of intercession.
"A ransom," the Greek antilutron, is a counter-price such as we could never have paid, but must have remained and even rotted in prison, but for our all-sufficient surety and Savior. The ransom that Christ paid was a real testimony of his mediatorship between God and men, whereby he reconciled both. "The man Christ Jesus." Paul speaks this, not to exclude his divinity from this office of mediatorship, for he is "God manifested in the flesh," 1 Tim. 3:16, and "God has purchased his church by his own blood," Acts 20:28; but to show that, in his human nature, he paid the ransom for us, and that, as man, he is like unto us, Heb. 2:10; and therefore all sorts and ranks of men have a free access by faith unto him, and to his sacrifice. He is also called a Redeemer, "I know that my Redeemer lives," Job 19:25. The word redeemer in the Hebrew is very emphatic, Goel; for it signifies a kinsman, near allied unto him; one that was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. [Some read the words thus, "I know that my kinsman, or he who is near to me, lives."]
Christ is of our kindred by incarnation, and redeems us by his passion. The words are an allusion to the ceremonial law, where the nearest kinsman was to take the wife and buy the land, Ruth 3:9, 12-13, and 4:4-5. We were Satan's by nature, but Christ our brother, our kinsman, has redeemed us by the price of his own blood, and will deliver us from hell, and bring us "to the inheritance of the saints in light," John 20:17; and therefore deserves the name of a redeemer, 1 Pet. 1:3-4; Col. 1:12. Jesus Christ is near, very near, yes, nearest of kin to us, Eph. 5:30; he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, and blood of our blood: "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same," Heb. 14.
Now it is evident, by the old law of redemption, that the nearest kinsman was under a special obligation to redeem; as you may see by comparing Ruth 3:12-13 with 4:4-5. Boaz was a kinsman, and had right to redeem; yet because there was a nearer kinsman, he would not engage himself, but upon his refusal: "If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is none to redeem it besides you, and I am after you." Now Jesus Christ is nearest of kin to us, and therefore, upon the strictest terms and laws of redemption, he is Goel, our Redeemer. If we consider Jesus Christ as a kinsman, a brother, we must say, that he had not only a right to redeem us; but that he was also under the highest obligation to redeem us. There is a double way of redeeming people:
(1.) By force and power: thus when Lot was taken prisoner by those four kings that came against Sodom, "Abraham armed his servants," and by force and power redeemed them, Gen. 14:14, 16. We were all Satan's prisoners, Satan's captives, but Christ our nearest kinsman, our brother, "by spoiling principalities and powers," Col. 2:15, rescues us out of that tyrant's hand.
(2.) There is a redemption by price or ransom; to redeem is to buy again, 1 Cor. 6:20, "You are bought with a price;" 7:23, "You are bought with a price." The word price is added, to intimate the excellency and dignity of the price wherewith they were bought, which was not "silver or gold; but the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot," 1 Pet. 1:18-19. "You are bought with a price;" that is, you are dearly bought, by a price of inestimable value; but of this before.
Again, sometimes Christ is called "the surety of a better covenant." Heb. 7:22, "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant," so called from the manner of the confirmation of it—namely, by the death of Christ. Look, as Christ was our surety to God, for the discharge of our debt—the surety and debtor, in law, are reputed as one person—so he is God's surety to us, for the performance of his promises. The office of a surety being applied to Christ shows that he has so far engaged himself for us, as that he neither can, nor will, desist from his engagement. You shall as soon remove the earth, stop the sun in his course, empty the sea with a cockle-shell, make a world, and unmake yourselves—as any power on earth, or in hell, shall ever be able to hinder Christ from the performance of the office of a surety.
A perfect fulfilling of all righteousness, according to the tenor of the law, is required of man. Now Christ our surety, by a voluntary subjection of himself to the law, and by being made under the law, he has fulfilled all righteousness, Gal. 4:4; Mat. 3:15; and that he did this for us is evident by that phrase of the apostle, Romans 5:19, "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." The contents of the law must be accomplished by our surety, or else we can never escape the curse of the law, Gal. 3:10, 13; there must be a translation of the law from us in our persons, unto the person of our surety, or we are undone, and that forever. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, and has made us just by his obedience; "We are made the righteousness of God in him," Romans 10:4. Our surety became subject to the law, that he might redeem us, who were obnoxious to the law, 2 Cor. 5:21.
Again, full satisfaction for every transgression is required of man. Now Christ our surety has made satisfaction for all our sins, "he was made a curse for us," Gal. 3:13; and by that means he has redeemed us from the curse of the law. To exact a debt which is fully satisfied, is a point of injustice. Now Christ our surety having made full satisfaction for all our sins, we need not fear to stand before the face of God's justice. A debtor who has a surety that is able and willing to pay his debt, yes, who has fully paid it, need fear no charge. This title, "a surety of a better covenant," does necessarily import a blessed covenant between Jesus Christ and his dear Father, to whom he freely and readily becomes surety for us; for what is suretyship but a voluntary transferring of another's debt upon the surety, he obliging to pay the debt for which he engages as surety? Thus you see, by the blessed and glorious titles which are given to Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, that there was a covenant of redemption passed between God the Father and Jesus Christ. But,
(5.) The fifth proposition is this—That the work of our redemption and salvation, was transacted between God the Father and Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world.This federal transaction between the Father and the Son was from eternity. Upon this account the Lord Jesus is said to be "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8, because it was then agreed and covenanted between God the Father and Jesus Christ, that he should, in the fullness of time, be made flesh and die for sinners; and therefore it was said to be done from the foundation of the world. [God loved his people and provided for them, and contrived all their happiness before they were, yes, before the world was.] Though Christ was not actually slain, but when he suffered for us upon the cross, yet he was slain from the beginning, in God's purpose, in God's decrees, in God's promises, in the sacrifices, in the faith of the elect, and in the martyrs; for Abel, the first that ever died, died a martyr, he died for religion.
This compact between the Father and the Son bears date from eternity. This the apostle asserts: 2 Tim. 1:9, "Who has saved us and called us with a 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." [The grace here spoken of cannot be understood of infused grace, unless we will say that it could be infused into us before either the world was, or we were in it.] Here is grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. But what grace was it, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began? Doubtless it was the grace of redemption, which God, in his purpose and decree, had given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began. The scripture last cited does clearly show that God the Father and Jesus Christ dealt together about the redemption of souls, before the world began; and that all our everlasting concernments were agreed on and made sure between them.
Titus 1:2 gives the same sound, "In hope of eternal life; which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began." How was this life promised before the world began, but in this covenant of redemption, wherein God the Father promised and engaged to Jesus Christ that he would give eternal life to all his seed? So the apostle tells us, "He has chosen us in him," that is, in Christ, "before the foundation of the world." There was an eternal contrivance, compact, covenant, or agreement between God the Father and Jesus Christ, concerning the sanctification, holiness, and salvation of the elect. God agrees with Christ about the everlasting happiness of his chosen people, before the world began. [The whole business of our salvation was first transacted between the Father and Christ before it was revealed to us, John 6:27. The Apostle Peter, speaking of our redemption by the precious blood of Christ, says that Christ was foreordained, thereunto, before the foundation of the world," 1 Pet. 1:20.]
John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring." Why must he bring them home? how was he bound, how was he engaged to bring home his other sheep, that he puts a must upon it? "Them also I must bring." Doubtless it was from this covenant and agreement which he had made with God the Father, wherein he had engaged himself to bring home all his elect. Christ takes a great deal of pains to bring home his sheep; being bound in the covenant of redemption, to present all who are given him by charter, blameless before the Father; therefore, says he, I bring them, and "I must bring them;" the matter not being left arbitrary, even in respect of his obligation to God the Father, Col. 1:22.
Certainly the decree, covenant, and agreement between God the Father and Jesus Christ about the whole way of redemption, about all things belonging to the salvation of the elect, to be brought about in due time, was fixed and settled before the world began. [Psalm 2:7; Acts 15:18, and 2:23; Eph. 1:9; Proverbs 8:22-32.] Ponder seriously on this, it may be a loadstone to draw out your hearts more than ever, to love the Father and the Son, and to delight in the Father and the Son, and to act faith upon the Father and the Son, and to long to be with the Father and the Son, and all your days to admire at the love of the Father and the Son—who have from eternity, by compact and agreement, secured your souls and your everlasting concernments. But,
(6.) The sixth proposition is this—That God the Father had the first and chief hand in this great work of saving sinners, by virtue of this covenant of redemption, wherein he and his Son had agreed to bring "many sons to glory."Heb. 2:10. Weak Christians many times have their thoughts and apprehensions more busied and taken up with the love of the Son, than with the love of the Father; but they must remember, that in the great and glorious work of redemption, God the Father had a great hand, an eminent hand, yes, the first and chief hand. God the Father first laid the foundation-stone of all our happiness and blessedness. His head and heart was first taken up about that heaven-born project, the salvation of sinners: Isaiah 28:16, "Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation;" Heb., "I am he who founds a stone in Zion." It is God the Father, who has long since laid Christ as a sure foundation, for all his people to build their hopes of happiness upon; it is he who first laid Christ, the true corner-stone, whereby Zion is forever secured against death, hell, and wrath.
Hence it is said, "The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand," that is, God's eternal decree about the work of our redemption and salvation, shall be powerfully, faithfully, and completely executed by Jesus Christ; who, by his word and Spirit, shall communicate unto all his elect the fruit of his atoning death—to life and salvation, Romans 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6; 53:10.
Again: Job 33:24, "Deliver him from going down into the pit, for I have found a ransom!" The Hebrew word signifies a price paid to redeem a man's life or liberty, "I have found a ransom," or an atonement, a cover for man's sin. "Angels and men could never have found a ransom, but by my deep, infinite, and unsearchable wisdom," says God the Father, "I have found a ransom! I have found out a way, a means for the redeeming of mankind, from going down to the infernal pit, namely, the death and passion of my dearest Son!" But where, O blessed God, did you find a ransom? "Not in angels, not in men, not in legal sacrifices, not in gold or silver, not in tears, humblings, and meltings of my people; but in my own bosom. That Jesus, that Son of my love, who has lain in my bosom from all eternity, John 1:18, he is that ransom, that by my own matchless wisdom and singular goodness, I have found. I have not called a council to inquire where to find a ransom, that fallen man might be preserved from falling into the fatal pit of destruction; but I have found a ransom in my own heart, my own bosom; without advising or consulting with others, I have found out a way how to save sinners without injuring my honor, justice, holiness, and truth!"
Had all the angels in heaven, from the first day of their creation, to this very day, sat in serious council—to invent, contrive, or find out a way, a means, whereby lost man might be secured against the curse of the law, hell, condemnation, and wrath to come, and whereby he might have been made happy, and blessed forever; and all this without the least wrong or harm to the justice and righteousness of God, they could never have found out any way or means to have effected those great things. Our redemption, by a ransom, is God's own invention, and God's only invention. The blessed ransom which the Lord has found out for poor sinners, is the blood of his own dearest Son—a ransom which never entered into the thoughts or hearts of angels and men, until God had revealed it—which is called "the blood of the covenant," Heb. 10:29, because thereby the covenant is confirmed, and all covenant-mercies assured to us.
Again, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son," John 3:16; Hosea 14:4. This signifies the firstness of the Father's love, and the freeness of the Father's love, and the vehemency of the Father's love, and the admirableness of the Father's love, and the matchlessness of the Father's love. Oh! what kind of love is this, for God to give his Son—not his servant; his begotten Son—not his adopted Son; his only Son—and not one son of many; his only Son by eternal generation, and communication of the same essence; to be a ransom and mediator for sinners!
God the Father loving lost man, sent his Son to suffer and to do the office of a mediator, that through his mediation, he might communicate the effects of his love, in a way agreeable to his justice! for God loved the world, and that antecedently to his giving Christ, and as a cause of it. The design, the project of saving sinners, was first contrived and laid by God the Father; therefore Christ says, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do."
God the Father sent his Son, and God the Father sealed his Son a commission to give life to lost sinners. "Him has God the Father sealed;" that is, made his commission authentic, as men do their deeds by their seals. It is a metaphor taken from those who ratify their authority, whom they send; that is, approve of them, as it were, by setting to their seal. Christ is to be acknowledged to be he whom the Father has authorised and furnished to be the Savior and Redeemer of lost sinners, and the storehouse from whence they are to expect all spiritual supplies.
Look! As kings give sealed warrants and commissions to their ministers of state, who are sent out or employed in great affairs, 1 Kings 21:8; Eph. 3:12, and 8:8, so Christ is the Father's great ambassador, authorised and sent out by him to bring about the redemption and salvation of lost man. And look, as a seal represents in wax, that which is engraved on it, so the Father has communicated to him his divine essence and properties, and stamped upon him all divine perfection, for carrying on the work of redemption. And look, as a seal annexed to a commission is a public evidence of the person's authority, so Christ's endowments are visible marks whereby to know him, and clear evidences that he was the true Messiah, and of the Father's installing him into that office of a Redeemer.
John 6:38, "I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me." [See John 10:17, and 16:27.] In this verse Christ declares in the general, that his errand into the world is to do his Father's will who sent him, and not his own; which is not to be understood that, as God, he has a different and contrary will to the Father's, though, as man, he has a distinct and subordinate will to his; but the meaning is, he came not to do his own will only, as the Jews alleged against him, but the Father's also; and that in this work he was the Father's commissioner, sent to do what he had entrusted him with, and not, as the Jews gave out, that he was one who did that for which he had no warrant. Christ, in entertaining those who come to him, as in verse 37, is not only led thereunto by his own mercy, and bounty, and love towards them, as the reward of all his sufferings; but does also stand obliged thereunto by virtue of a commission and trust laid upon him by the Father, and accepted and undertaken by him. Therefore he mentions "the will of him who sent him" as a reason of his fidelity in this matter.
By what has been said, it is most evident that God the Father had the first and chief hand in the great work of our redemption. It is good to look upon God the Father as the first projector of our happiness and blessedness, that we may honor the Father as we honor the Son, and love the Father as we love the Son, and value the Father as we value the Son, and admire the Father as we admire the Son, and exalt the Father as we exalt the Son, and cleave to the Father as we cleave to the Son, etc.
I have a little the longer insisted on this proposition, because commonly we more easily understand the love of the Son, than we do of the love of the Father; and that I may the more heighten your appreciation of the Father's love in the great work of redemption. Ah! what amazing love is this, that the thoughts of the Father, that the eye of the Father, that the heart of the Father, should be first fixed upon us, that he should begin the treaty with his Son, that he should make the first motion of love, that he should first propose the covenant of redemption, and thereby lay such a sure foundation for man's recovery out of his slavery and misery.
To speak after the manner of men, the business from eternity lay thus: "Here is man," says God the Father to his Son, "fallen from his primitive purity, glory, and excellency, into a most woeful gulf of sin and misery! He who was once a son—has now become a slave; he who was once our friend—has now become our enemy, Eph. 2:12-13; he who was once near us—is now afar off; he who was once in our favor—is now cast off; he who was once made in our image—has now the image of Satan stamped upon him, Gen. 1:26-27; he who had once sweet communion with us—has now fellowship with the devil and his demons. Now out of this forlorn estate he can never deliver himself, neither can all the angels in heaven deliver him. Now this being his present case and state, I make this offer to you, O my Son: If, in the fullness of time, Phil. 2:7-8, you will assume the nature of man, "tread the winepress of my wrath alone," Isaiah 63:3, bear the curse, Gal. 3:13, shed your blood, die, suffer, satisfy my justice, fulfill my royal law—then I can, upon the most honorable terms imaginable, save fallen man, and put him into a safer and happier condition than he ever was--and give you a noble reward for all your sufferings.
Upon this Jesus Christ replies: "O my Father! I am very ready and willing to do, to suffer, to die, to satisfy your justice, to comply with you in all your noble motions, and in all your gracious and favorable inclinations, that poor sinners may be sanctified and saved, made gracious and glorious, holy and happy; that poor sinners may never perish, that poor sinners may be secured from wrath to come, and be brought into a state of light, life, and love, 1 Thes. 1:10; Heb. 10:10, 14; I am willing to make myself an offering; and, "Lo, I am come to do your will, O God," Psalm 40:6-7. Thus you see how firstly, and greatly, and graciously, the thoughts of God have been set at work, that poor sinners may be forever secured and saved. But,
(7.) The seventh proposition is this—It was agreed between the Father and the Son that Jesus Christ should be incarnate, that he should take on him the nature of those whom he was to save, and for whom he was to satisfy, and to bring to glory.[Gen. 3:15; 1 John 3:8; Acts 2:30, and 3:22; Isaiah 7:14, and 9:6; Deut. 18:15-18; Gal. 4:4; Romans 8:3.] Christ's incarnation was very necessary in respect of that work of redemption, which he, by agreement with the Father, had undertaken. He had engaged himself to his Father that he would redeem lost sinners, and, as their surety, make full satisfaction. By the fall of Adam, God and man became enemies, they were at variance, at enmity, at open hostility, Romans 8:7. Because of this, all fellowship between heaven and earth was stopped, and all communion between God and us ceased. Now to remedy all this, and to make an atonement, a mediator was necessary; now this office belonged unto Jesus Christ, both by his Father's ordination and his own voluntary acquiescence, Heb. 10:5-7; and for discharge of it a human nature was very requisite.
There was an absolute necessity that Christ should suffer, partly because he was pleased to substitute himself in the sinner's stead, and partly because his sufferings alone, could be satisfactory. But now, unless Christ became incarnate, how can he suffer? The whole lies thus: without satisfaction no redemption, without suffering no satisfaction, without flesh no suffering; consequently, Christ must be incarnate. The Word must be made flesh, John 1:14: and so Heb. 2:14, 16, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; for truly he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham:" 1 Tim. 3:16, "Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." This is only applicable to the person of Christ.
He who by his office is to be Emmanuel, God with us, he must, in regard of his person, be Emmanuel also, that is, God-man in one person. He who by office is to make peace between God and man, he must be God-man; he who by office is to stand and minister between God and men, he must be God and man, that so he might not be only zealously faithful towards God's justice, but also tenderly merciful towards men's errors, Heb. 2:17-18, and 4:15-16. Look, as he must be more than man that he may be able so to suffer, that his sufferings may be meritorious, that he may be consistent with the work of redemption, and triumph over death, devils, difficulties, discouragements, curse, hell, wrath, etc., all which Christ could never have done had he been but a mere man; just so, it was requisite that he should be man, that he might be in a capacity to suffer, die, and obey; for these are not works for one who is God alone. A God only—cannot suffer; a man only—cannot merit. God cannot obey, man is bound to obey. Therefore Christ, that he might obey and suffer, he was man; and that he might merit by his obedience and suffering, he was God-man. Now such a person, and such a person alone—did the work of redemption call for.
That is a mighty scripture, Phil. 2:6-7, "Who being in the form of God thought it no robbery to be equal with God"—here is Christ's preexisting in the nature of the Godhead, and then after comes his manhood—"but emptied himself," as it were, of his divine dignity and majesty; he disrobed himself of his glory, and became a sinner, both by imputation and reputation, for our sakes, for our salvation—"and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," Isaiah 53:6, 9. All this Christ did upon his Father's prescription, and in pursuit of the great work of redemption.
The blessed Spirit fitted the God-man Christ Jesus, to be a fit mediator and redeemer for poor sinners. The Spirit formed the nature of man, from the substance of the virgin, after an extraordinary manner, Luke 1:35; he sanctified the human nature which Christ assumed, after such a perfect manner, that it was free from all sin, Gal. 4:4; Luke 1:35; in the very moment of conception he united this pure human nature with the divine nature, in the same person—the person of the Son of God, that he might be a fit head, mediator, and redeemer for us, Heb. 10:5. But,
(8.) The eighth proposition is this—That there were commandments from the Father to the Son which he must obey and submit to.God the Father put forth his paternal authority, and lay his commands upon his Son, to engage in this great work of redeeming and saving poor sinners' souls.
He had a command from the Father what to teach his people, as the prophet of the church: "For I have not spoken of myself," says Christ; "but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak," John 12:49. Christ declares that he had received a commission from the Father, who sent him, concerning his doctrine, and what to say and speak; and that he was persuaded that this doctrine delivered to him by the Father points out the true way to eternal life; and that he had exactly followed this commission in preaching, both for matter and manner.
The two words of saying and speaking may be taken comprehensively, pointing out all the ways of delivering his commission, by set and solemn preaching, or occasional conferences, and the whole subject-matter of his preaching, in precepts, promises, and threatenings; and so it will import that his commission from the Father was full, both for matter and manner, and his discharge thereof answerable. [Between saying and speaking there is this difference, says Lapide: "that to say, is to teach and publish a thing gravely; to speak, is familiarly to utter a thing.] Christ is a true prophet, who speaks neither more or less in the doctrine of the gospel than what was the Father's will should be delivered to us: "For whatever I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." Christ keeps close to his commission, without adding or diminishing; and herein Christ's practice should be every faithful minister's pattern.
Again, Christ had a command to lay down his life for those who were given him: "No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this commandment have I received of my Father," John 10:18. The Father is so well pleased with the reconciliation of lost sinners, that he loves Christ for the undertaking thereof, and is fully satisfied with his suffering for attaining that end. In both these respects it holds good: "Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life," verse 17. The Father is pleased with him, that he undertook this service, and is satisfied with his death as a sufficient ransom. Christ having laid down his life for the redemption of lost man, did take it up again, as a testimony that the Father was satisfied with his sufferings.
Now the way of the accomplishment of our redemption was agreed on between the Father and the Son before the accomplishment thereof; therefore says he, "This commandment have I received from my Father," which makes it clear that he came into the world fully instructed about carrying on the work of redemption, [Psalm 40:6-7 with Heb. 10:6-8.] It pleased Christ to suffer death, not only voluntarily, but in a way of subjection to his Father's command—in order that the merit thereof, might every way be full and acceptable to the Father: "For this commandment have I received."
He was content to be a servant by agreement—so that his sufferings might be accepted for his people. And so when Christ was going to die, he says, "That the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do: arise, let us go hence," John 14:31. As if he had said, Power is permitted to Satan and his accomplices to persecute me to death, that dying for man's redemption, the world may see the obedience and love I bear to the Father, who has thus determined the plan.
All that Christ suffered for the redemption of sinners was by the order, and at the command, of the Father, who did covenant with him concerning this work: "For as the Father gave me a commandment, even so do I." In this scripture, as in a crystal glass, you may see that Christ entered upon his sufferings—with much willingness and alacrity, with much courage and resolution, that so he might commend his love to us, and encourage us to do the like through him. Therefore, says he, "Arise, and let us go hence." I am very free and ready, by my death and sufferings, to complete the work of man's redemption, according to the covenant and agreement which long since was made between the Father and myself. If Christ should fail in complying with his Father's commands about suffering and dying for us, then not only the breach of articles, but high disobedience too, might be justly charged upon him; but from all such charges Christ has exempted himself.
There was a special law laid upon Christ as he was our mediator, which law he was willing and ready to obey, in order to effect our redemption. That Christ should die was no part of the moral law, but it was a positive special law laid upon Christ. Well, this law he obeys, he complies with: "I lay down my life for my sheep; this commandment have I received of my Father," John 10:11, 15, 17-18. Christ, as mediator, had a command from his Father to die, and he observes it; hence God calls him his servant: "Behold my servant whom I uphold," Isaiah 42:1. And in pursuance of God's royal law, will, and pleasure—he takes upon him the form of a servant; and frequently proclaims before all the world, that he "came to do the will of him who sent him," Phil. 2:6, 7.
Again, God the Father lays a special command upon Jesus Christ, to preserve and bring to glory all those that come unto him. Jesus Christ has not only permission to save the elect, but a charge to save the elect: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:37-40. Here you have Christ's commission to save the elect, etc. Christ is to be answerable for all those that are given to him, at the last day, and therefore we need not doubt but that he will certainly employ all the power of his Godhead to secure and save all those whom he must be accountable for. In this blessed scripture there are several special things that we may take notice of, which are put to our present purpose—
[1.]As first, that it is the great dignity and happiness of the elect, that they are, from eternity, given to Christ in the covenant of redemption, as the reward of his sufferings, to come to him in due time; and that they are given to him in trust, and that he must be accountable for them, as being given by the Father to him, Psalm 24:1. They were the Father's first, not only by the right of creation, but by particular election also; and being thus the Father's, they are given to Christ from eternity—to be redeemed by him, and as the reward of his sufferings.
Again, such as are elected and given to Christ, will certainly, in due time, come to him. Their being given to Christ from eternity, produces their being given and coming in time; for God is faithful, who will not frustrate Christ of what he has purchased. The power which draws them, is invincible and irresistible; therefore, says he, "All that the Father gives me, shall come to me."
Again, Christ in receiving those who come to him, is not only led thereunto by his own mercy, and bounty, and love towards them as the reward of his sufferings, but does also stand obliged thereunto by virtue of a commission and trust laid upon him by the Father, and accepted and undertaken by him; therefore does he mention "the will of him that sent me," as a reason of his fidelity in this matter.
Further, from verse 39, we may observe that the gospel contains an extract of the deep counsels of God, and of the eternal transactions between the Father and the Son concerning lost man, so far as is for our good; for he brings out and reads in the gospel his very commission, and some articles of the covenant, passed between the Father and him.
Again, the first fountain and cause of the salvation of any of lost mankind, is in the absolute and sovereign will and pleasure of God; for here he mentions the will of him that sent him, as the first original of all; from whence their giving to Christ, their coming and safety, do flow.
Again, these, whose salvation the Father wills, are given over to Christ in his eternal purpose, to be brought to him in due time; for so it is here held out. Again, such as are given to Christ by the Father, and do in time come to him, are put in his keeping, and he has a care of them, not to lose the least of them, "For this is the will of him that sent me, that of all he has given me, I should lose nothing;" herein the Father does so commit the trust to him, as that he still keeps them in his own hand also. Again, Christ's charge and care of these that are given to him, extends even to the very day of their resurrection, that there he may make a good account of them, when all perils and hazards are now over, and that he may not so much as lose their dust, but gather it together again, and raise it up in glory, to be a proof of his fidelity; for, says he, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:27-29. And so death and dissolution proves no loss.
[2.]Again, from verse 40, we may observe, that such as are given to Christ, to be under his charge, and to participate of his benefits, are drawn to believe on him: and it is the Father's will, and a part of the transaction between him and his Son, that faith is the way to partake of these benefits, and not the fulfilling of the impossible condition of the works of the law; for they who are given to Christ, are expounded to be those who believe on him; and it is the Father's will that such partake of these benefits here mentioned, as of the rest of his purchase. Albeit mortification, holiness, etc., do prepare for the possession of these benefits, and do evidence a right thereunto, and the begun possession thereof; yet it is only faith in Christ which gives the right and title, that so it may be of grace, Eph. 2:6-8.
Again, it is covenanted between the Father and the Son, that believers shall be made partakers of everlasting life; for it is explained, that not to lose them, verse 39, is "that they may have everlasting life." For the further assurance of believers of their eternal happiness, it is also covenanted that they shall have this life in present possession, in the pledge, and first fruits thereof; for they have everlasting life even here, and before their raising up. The believer stands already on the battlements of heaven, he has one foot in the porch of paradise.
Again, Christ having paid the full price of salvation—he will not allow it to be lost, by any difficulty or impediment in the way, but will carry believers through all difficulties, until he destroys death and the grave, and raises up their very dust, that in body and soul they may partake of that bliss; and that he may make it manifest, that death and rotting in the grave does not make void his interest, nor cause his affection to cease. Therefore it is added, "And I will raise him up at the last day." Thus you see that God the Father did lay his commands upon his Son, to engage in this great work of redeeming and saving poor sinners' souls, etc.
[3.]In the third place, I shall show you that the manner or quality of the transaction between God the Father and Jesus Christ, was by mutual engagements and stipulations; each person undertaking to perform his part in order to our recovery and eternal felicity. We find each person undertaking for himself by solemn promise.
The Father promises that he will hold Christ's hand and keep him, Isaiah 42:6. God the Father engages himself to direct and assist Christ, and to keep him from miscarrying; and that he will give him all necessary strength and ability for the execution of his mediatorial office, and work wonders by him and with him, according to that word, "My Father hitherto works, and I work," John 5:17.
And the Son engages himself that he will obey the Father's call, and not be rebellious: Isaiah 50:5, "I was not rebellious, neither turned away back;" that is, I did not hang back, as Moses once and again did, Exod. 3:11, 13, and 4:1, 10, 13; nor refuse to go when God sent me, as once Jonah did, chapter 1:3; but I offered myself freely and readily to my Father's call. "There was no affliction, no opposition, no persecution, no evil usage that I met with in carrying on the work of redemption, which ever startled me or discouraged me, or made me flinch or shrink back from that great and blessed work that I had undertaken. I was dutiful and obedient to the calls and commands of my Father, in all things that he required of me or set me about."
Now the Father and the Son being thus mutually engaged by promise, one to another in honor and faithfulness—it highly concerned them to keep one another close to the terms of the covenant which was made between them, and accordingly they did; for God the Father peremptorily stands upon that complete and full satisfaction that Christ had promised to give to his justice; and therefore, when the day of payment came, he would not abate Jesus Christ one penny, one farthing of the many ten thousand talents that he was to pay down upon the nail for us, Mat. 18:24: Romans 8:32, "God spared not his own Son;" that is, he abated nothing of that full price that, by agreement with his Father, he was to lay down for us. Other fathers give their all to spare their children; but the heart of God the Father is so fully and strongly set upon full payment, that he will not spare his Son, his own Son, his only Son, but give him up to death, yes, to an accursed death, that we might be spared and saved forever!
To redeem us, God would not spare—no, not his own Son; because no money nor treasure could pay the redemption price—but only the blood, yes, the heart-blood of his dear Son! 1 Pet. 1:18-19.
And as God the Father keeps Christ close to the terms of the covenant, so Jesus Christ keeps his Father close to the terms of the covenant also: John 17:4, 5, "I have glorified you on the earth," says Christ to his Father, "I have finished the work which you gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self, with the glory which I had with you before the world was." O my Father, I have finished the work of redemption; but where are the wages, where is the glory, where is the reward that you have promised me? There was nothing committed to Christ by the Father, to be done on earth for the purchasing of our redemption, but he did finish it; so that the debt is paid, justice satisfied, and sin, Satan, and death spoiled; so that nothing remains but that Christ be glorified, according to the promise of the Father to him.
The sum of Christ's petition is this—that since he had finished the work of redemption, that therefore the Father, according to his engagement, would advance him to the possession of that glory that he enjoyed from all eternity. Now for the clearing of this we must consider, that as Christ was from eternity the glorious God, so we are not to conceive of any real change in this glory of his godhead; as if by his estate of humiliation he had suffered any diminution; or by his state of exaltation any real accession were made to his glory as God. But the true meaning is this, that Christ having, according to the covenant passed between the Father and him, obscured the glory of his godhead for a time, under the veil of the form of a servant, and our sinless infirmities, Phil. 2:5-8. He now expects, according to the tenor of the same covenant, after he had done his share of the work, to be exalted and glorified, and "openly declared to be the Son of God," Romans 1:4; the veil of his estate of humiliation, though not of our nature, being taken away.
It is further to be considered that however this eternal glory be proper to him as God, yet he prays to be glorified in his whole person. "Glorify me," because not only his human nature was to be exalted to what glory finite nature was capable of, but the glory of his godhead was to shine in the person of Christ, God-man, and in the man Christ, though without confusion of his natures and properties. Christ did so faithfully discharge his trust, and perfect the work of redemption, as that the Father was engaged by covenant to glorify him; and accordingly Christ, God incarnate, is exalted with the Father in glory and majesty; so that believers may be as sure that all things necessary for their redemption are done, as it is sure that Christ is glorified. But,
[4.]In the fourth place, let us seriously consider of the articles agreed on between the Father and the Son. Let us weigh well the promises that God the Father makes to Jesus Christ, and the promises that Jesus Christ makes to the Father, for the bringing about our reconciliation and redemption, that so we may the more clearly see how greatly both the heart of the Father and the heart of the Son is engaged in the salvation of poor sinners' souls. Now there are seven things which God the Father promises to do for Jesus Christ, upon his undertaking the work of our redemption.
First, That he will give him the Spirit in an abundant measure. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord," Isaiah 11:2. God the Father fits Jesus Christ for the work of redemption, by a large effusion of the graces and gifts of the Spirit upon him. The Spirit of the Lord shall not only come upon Christ, but rest and abide with him. The Holy Spirit shall take up in a more special, yes, singular, manner his perpetual and never-interrupted or eclipsed residence with him, and in him. God the Father promises that Christ shall, in his human nature, be filled with all the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, that he may be as an everlasting treasury, and as an overflowing fountain, to all his people.
So Isaiah 42:1, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights: I have put my Spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." So Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." So John 3:34, "God gives not the Spirit by measure unto him." Christ, as mediator, is endued with the Spirit for the discharge of that office; and though Christ as man has not an infinite measure of the Spirit, though indeed in that person the fullness of the Godhead dwells, as being God also, for that were to be no more man, but God; yet the gifts and graces of the Spirit are poured out upon the man Christ in a measure far above all creatures, Col. 2:10; for though every believer is complete in him, yet, for what is inherent in him, they have but some gifts of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:4; Eph. 4:7; but Jesus Christ had all sorts of gifts. They had gifts for some particular uses; but he had gifts for all uses. They have a measure of gifts which are capable of increase, he above measure, so much as the human nature is capable of, which, though it be finite in itself, yet it cannot be measured nor comprehended by us. So much is imported in that, "God gives not the Spirit by measure to him," being understood of his manhood; though, as we said, if we speak of his person, he has the Spirit infinitely and without measure, Col. 1:19, and 2:3, 9.
This fullness befit Christ as man, that he might be a fit temple for the Godhead; and as a mediator, that he might be the universal head of his church and storehouse of his people, that from him, as from a common person, spiritual root or principle, the Holy Spirit with his gifts and graces might be communicated to us. "He received gifts for men, yes, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them," Psalm 68:18; "Of his fullness we receive grace for grace," John 1:16; "The first Adam was a living soul, but the second Adam is a quickening spirit," 1 Cor. 15:45. In the man Christ Jesus, there is a treasury and fullness of grace and glory for us! He is the lord-keeper of all our lives, of all our souls, of all our comforts, and of all our graces; and he is the lord-treasurer of all our spiritual, durable, and eternal riches, 2 Tim. 1:12. We lost our first stock by the fall of Adam, Proverbs 8:18. God put a stock into our own hands, and we soon proved bankrupts and run out of stock. Now since that fatal fall, God will trust us no more; but he has out of his great love and noble bounty, put a new stock of grace and glory for us into the hands of Jesus Christ, who is mighty, who is able to save to the uttermost, and in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Isaiah 9:6; Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:3.
Christ was more capable, by infinite degrees, of the fullness of the Holy Spirit than mere men were or could be; and his employment being also infinitely beyond the employment of men, the measure of the Holy Spirit's fullness in him must needs be accordingly beyond all measure. Hence, by way of emphasis, Christ is called "the anointed one of God," John 12:15; Acts 3:22-23. The kings, priests, and prophets among the Jews, who were anointed, were in their unction but types of Christ, who is the great king, priest, and prophet of his church, and anointed above them all, yes, and above all the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and believers under the new testament ministration. In Christ there is all kind of grace, and it is in him in the highest and utmost degree, that he might be able to manage all his offices, and finish "that work which God gave him to do," John 17:4; and God has filled him with his Spirit, that he might successfully bring about the redemption and salvation of sinners. But,
Secondly, God the Father promises to invest Jesus Christ with a threefold office, and to anoint him and furnish him with whatever was requisite for the discharge of those three offices—namely, his prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices, Isaiah 61:1-3, and 33:22. Christ never forced himself into any of these offices, he never intruded himself into any one office, he never ran before he was sent, he never assumed any office until his Father had signed and sealed his commission, John 6:17. If Jesus Christ had acted without a commission under his Father's hand, it would have been invalid and lost, and God would one day have said to him, "Who has required this at your hand?" [Melchizedek was a king and a priest; Christ was more—a priest, a prophet, and a king; Samuel was a priest and a prophet; David was a king and a prophet: but never met all three in any but in Christ alone.] Isaiah 1:12.
In order to our spiritual and eternal recovery out of sin and misery, it was absolutely necessary that whatever Christ did act as a priest, prophet, or king, he should act by the authority of his Father, by a commission under the broad seal of heaven: Heb. 5:5, "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high-priest; but he who said unto him, You are my Son." The high-priesthood was an honor; for Christ to have taken that to himself, without a commission from his Father, had been to glorify himself, by conferring glory and honor upon himself. This negative, that "Christ glorified not himself," is a clear evidence that Christ arrogated no honor to himself. Christ would not arrogate honor to himself, but rather wait upon his Father, that he might confer upon him what honor he saw fit. Christ glorified not himself to be made a high-priest; but his Father glorified him, in ordaining or commissioning him to be the high-priest. In short, to be made a high-priest is to be deputed or appointed and set apart to that function; and thus was our Lord Jesus Christ made a high-priest. He had never undertaken that office had he not been ordained to it by his Father. But, that you may see Christ's threefold commission to his threefold office, consider,
[1.] First, that God the Father promises to Jesus Christ an excellent, royal and eternal PRIESTHOOD: Heb. 7:21, "For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord swore and will not repent, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Heb. 2:17-18; Psalm 110:4. Among the Jews, in the times of the old testament, they had a high-priest, who was in all things to stand between God and them; and in case any sinned, to make an atonement for them. Now look, as the Jews had their high-priest, so the Lord Jesus Christ, he was to be, and he is, the apostle and the high-priest of our Christian profession, as Aaron was of the Jews' profession. The priestly office of Jesus Christ is erected and set up, on purpose for the relief of poor distressed sinners. [Heb. 3:1. By the way, you may take notice that the whole body of Antichristianism is but an invasion upon the priestly office of Christ. What is the popish mass, that unbloody sacrifice, but a derogation from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once upon the cross; and so a derogation from his priestly office? What are all those popish penances and satisfactions enjoined, but a derogation unto the satisfaction of Christ; and so unto the priestly office of Christ! What is all their praying to saints and angels, but a derogation unto the intercession of Christ; and so unto the priestly office? God deputes Christ to his priestly office, as God and man; yet papists say that Christ is a priest only in his human nature. God says to his Son, "You are a priest;" yet they make many priests. God makes his Son a priest forever; yet they substitute others in his room. God gave Christ to offer up but one sacrifice, and that but once; but they every day offer up many sacrifices in the mass. God gave Christ to offer up himself; but they offer up bread and wine, upon pretense that it is the body and blood of Christ. Christ's sacrifice was a bloody sacrifice; but they style theirs an unbloody sacrifice.]
The work of the high-priest, is to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. In the times of the old testament, the high-priest made an atonement for the people. In case any man had sinned, he brought a sacrifice, and his sins were laid upon the head of the sacrifice. Once every year, the high-priest entered into the Holy of holies, and with the blood of the sacrifice, sprinkled the mercy-seat, and laid the sins of the people upon the head of the scape-goat, and so made an atonement for the people, as is clear in Lev. 16:14, "He shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger, upon the mercy-seat eastward: and before the mercy-seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times;" and at verse 21, "Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, and all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness; and so he shall make an atonement." This was the work of the high-priest, in case any had sinned, to make an atonement and satisfaction, by the way of type, for the sins of the people. The main scope of the apostle in Heb. 7, is to advance Christ his priesthood above the Levitical priesthood, in order to which he premises this—that those "priests were made without an oath," verse 20.
The apostle's third argument to prove the excellency of Christ's priesthood above the Levitical, is taken from the different manner of instituting the one and the other. Christ's institution was more solemn than the Levites'; their institution was without an oath, Christ's institution was with an oath. The argument may be thus framed: that priesthood which is established by an oath, is more excellent than that which is without an oath; but Christ's priesthood is with an oath, and theirs without an oath. It is here taken for granted that Christ was most solemnly instituted a priest, even by an oath; yes, by the oath of God himself, which is the greatest and most solemn manner of institution that can be. God's oath imports two things:
(1.) An infallible certainty of that which he swears.
(2.) A solemn authority and dignity conferred upon that which he instituted by oath. Great and weighty matters of much concernment use to be established by oath. Hereby it appears that Christ's priesthood is a matter of great importance, and of much concernment. This will appear the more evident, if we consider the person who was made priest, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was the greatest person that could be; Heb. 7:28; therefore he is fitly called "a great high-priest," Heb. 4:14.
Or if we consider the ENDS of Christ's priesthood, which were very weighty, and that in reference both to God and man. To God, for the manifestation of his perfect justice, infinite mercy, almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and other divine attributes, which never were, nor ever can be so manifested, as in and by Christ's priesthood. To man, that God's wrath might be averted, his favor procured, man's sin purged, and he freed from all evil, and brought to eternal happiness. Or if we consider the benefits of Christ's priesthood, which are answerable to the foresaid ends. Jesus Christ was appointed and made by the Father, "The apostle and high-priest of the church's profession:" Heb. 3:1-2, "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to him who appointed him." Christ had a divine call to the execution of all those offices, which he sustained as our mediator, he did not run before he was sent, he did not act without a commission and warrant, he was lawfully constituted by him who had power to undertake that great charge he has over the church; this we shall find asserted of all his three offices.
As for his priestly office, he was made a priest by an immediate call and ordination from God, Heb. 5:4-6. The scope of the apostle is to set out the excellency of Christ's priesthood, by comparing it with the Levitical. His priesthood had a concurrence of all things necessary to the Levitical; and it had many excellencies above that. Now among other things required in the priesthood of Aaron, this was one—there must be a divine regular call. This was in the priesthood of Christ; "He was called of God, a high-priest, after the order of Melchisedec." [Psalm 110:4. The Hebrew is, "You a priest," etc., that is, "You shall be a priest forever;" it being the manner of the Hebrew tongue, sometimes for brevity sake, to leave out a word, which is to be understood and supplied.] Psalm 110:4 is God's sure and irrevocable promise to Christ, touching that excellent and eternal priesthood, whereby the recovery of his seed was to be meritoriously obtained. This priestly office of Christ is sure, because it is confirmed by God's oath, of which before as well as his promise. The promise makes it sure, the oath doubly sure, irrevocable; and certainly the Lord neither can nor will ever repent of this promise and oath.
The priesthood of Christ is the most noble part of all his mediation. In the priesthood of Christ, and in that especially, lies the latitude and longitude, the profundity and sublimity of God's love towards us; and in respect of this especially, is the whole mystery of our redemption by Christ called the magnificent works of God. Christ as man, and as mediator between God and man, was, by his Father, deputed unto his priestly office. Concerning the dignity and excellency of Christ's priestly office, above the Levitical priesthood, I have spoken elsewhere. But,
[2.] Secondly, God the Father promises to Jesus Christ to make him a PROPHET, a great prophet, yes, the prince of prophets. Christ is a prophet, in way of eminency and excellency, above all other prophets; he was the chief, the head of them all. Christ was made a prophet by an immediate call and ordination from God. Christ, in respect of his prophetic office, can plead the authority of his Father; he can show a commission for this office, under his Father's own hand. Deut. 18:18, "I will raise them a prophet from among their brethren like unto you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command them." [See Acts 3:22, and 7:37; Deut. 18:15; Isaiah 61:1.] Christ does not raise himself up to the prophetic office, but God the Father raises him up to this great office. He was anointed of God to preach glad tidings. Weigh Isaiah 42:6, "I will give you for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from their prison, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison-house." "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me, to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted," etc., Luke 4:18. Thus you see that this prophetic dignity of Christ, that he is the grand teacher of the church, is built upon the authority of his Father, who has authorised and commissioned him to that great office.
Isaiah 50:4, "The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones." [Christ displaces all Rabbis, by assuming this title to himself, "one is your teacher and master, even Christ," Mat. 23:8-10.] Thus you see that God the Father promises to invest Christ with a prophetic office for the opening the eyes of the blind, etc. This great prophet is richly furnished with all kinds of knowledge; "In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." They are hid in him as gold and silver are hid in the veins of the earth. "Treasures of knowledge," that is, precious knowledge, saving knowledge; "Treasures of knowledge," that is, plentiful knowledge, abundance of knowledge; "Treasures," that is, hidden and stored knowledge, was laid up in him. All the angels in heaven, and all the men on earth—do not know all that is in the heart of God; but now Jesus Christ, "who lies in the bosom of the Father," John 1:18, he knows all that is in his Father's heart. All those secret mysteries, that were laid up in the bosom of eternity, are fully known to this great prophet of the church.
John 5:20, "The Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does," by a divine and unspeakable communication. God the Father shows to Jesus Christ all things that he does. God's love is communicative, and will manifest itself in effects, according to the capacity of the party beloved; so much appears in that unspeakable love of the Father to the Son, "The Father loves the Son, and shows him all things," etc., or communicates his nature, wisdom, and power, for operation with him; which is expressed in terms taken from among men, because of our weakness: and ought to be spiritually, and not carnally conceived of. And therefore these terms of the Father's "showing," and the Son's "seeing," are made use of to prevent all carnal and gross conceptions of this inexpressible communication from the Father, and participation by the Son.
In the blessed Scripture, Jesus Christ is sometimes called "the" prophet, and "that" prophet; because he is one who came from the bosom of the Father, and lives and lies in the bosom of the Father, and understands the whole mind, will, heart, counsels, designs, ways, and workings of the Father. Jesus Christ is anointed by God the Father to be the great prophet and teacher of his elect; and accordingly Jesus Christ has taken that office upon himself. God the Father has laid a charge upon Jesus Christ, to teach and instruct all those that he has given him, in his whole mind and will, so far as is necessary to their salvation, edification, consolation, etc. "Moses was faithful as a servant, but Christ as a Son," Heb. 3:2, 5-6. Christ cannot be unfaithful in his prophetic office. Those whom God the Father has charged him to teach and instruct, he will teach and instruct, in the great things of their peace; and no wonder, for the knowledge that is communicated to Jesus Christ, the great prophet of his church, is not by dreams, or visions, or revelations of angels, as to the prophets of old—but by a clear, full, intimate view, and beholding of the Godhead, the fountain of all sacred knowledge.
Rev. 5:6, "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." [The Lamb stands, because (1.) prepared to perfect the work of redemption; (2.) to help; (3.) to judge; (4.) to intercede.] The lamb slain opens the prophecies, and foretells what shall befall the church, to the end of the world. The discovery of the secrets of God in his word, are the fruit of Christ slain, ascended, and anointed as the great prophet of the church. The lamb lacked neither power nor wisdom to open the seven seals, and therefore he is said to have "seven horns and seven eyes." Seven is a number of perfection. Horns signify power, eyes signify knowledge or wisdom; [Dan. 7:24; Isaiah 35:5; Mat. 28:18; Col. 2:3, 9.] both joined together, argue a fullness and perfection of power and wisdom in Christ; so that we have here a lively representation of the threefold office of Christ: his priestly office in the lamb as slain, his royal or kingly office in the horns, and his prophetic office in the eyes. But,
[3.] Thirdly, God the Father promises to make him a KING, yes, a mighty king also. The kingly office speaks might and power. Christ is a king above all other kings; he is a king "higher than the kings of the earth; he is the prince of the kings of the earth; he is Lord of lords, and King of kings," Psalm 89:27; Rev. 1:5, and 17:14. Theodosius the emperor and another emperor, used to call themselves the vassals of Christ; and it is most certain that all the emperors, kings, and princes of the world are but the vassals of this great king. Christ is not only "King of saints," but he is also "King of nations." "There was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom; that all people, nations, and languages should serve him," Rev. 15:3-4, and 12:5; Dan. 7:17. God, by promise, has "given him the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession," Psalm 2:8. The monarchs of the world have stretched their empires far. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom reached as far as Spain; the Persians reached farther, Alexander farther than they, and the Romans farther than them all; but none of all these has subdued the whole world, as Christ has and will. "All power is given unto him both in heaven and in earth. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand, and the Father also has put all things under his feet," Romans 10:18; Rev. 11:15; Mat. 28:18; John 3:35; 1 Cor. 15:27.
The government of all the world is given to Jesus Christ as God-man. All the nations of the earth are under the government of Christ. He is to govern them, and rule them, and judge them, and make whatever use he pleases of them, as may make most for his own glory, and the good of his chosen people. Now God the Father promises to invest Jesus Christ with his kingly office: Psalm 2:6, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." These words are spoken by God the Father, of his Son Jesus Christ. In a promissory way, God the Father anoints Jesus Christ as Zion's king; and therefore it cannot but be the highest madness, folly, and vanity, for any to seek or attempt to pull that king of saints down, whom God the Father has set up. Christ rules for his Father, and from his Father, and will so rule in despite of all the rage and wrath, malice and madness, of men and devils: "yet have I set my king"—Heb., "I have anointed"—where the sign of Christ's inauguration, or entrance into his kingdom, is put for the possession and enjoying thereof. Christ was anointed and appointed by his Father to the office and work of a mediator, and is therefore here called his king. There is an emphasis in the word "I," "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion," " I," before whom all the nations of the earth are but as a drop of a bucket, and as the small dust of the balance, Isaiah 40:15, 17; I, before whom all nations are as nothing, yes, less than nothing; I, by whom princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth, Proverbs 8:16; I, who rule the kingdoms of men, and give them to whoever I will, and who set over them the basest of men, Dan. 4:17; I, who change times and seasons, and who removes kings and sets up kings, Dan. 2:21; I, who can kill and make alive, save and damn, bring to heaven and throw down to hell, Deut. 32:39; I am he who has set up Christ as king, and therefore let me see the nation, the council, the princes, the nobles, the judges, the family, the person, that dare oppose or run counter-cross to what I have done.
Again, the Lord, in a promissory way, approves and establishes this king by a firm decree: Psalm 2:7, "I will declare the decree," not the secret decree, but the decree manifested in the word. I, the Son of God, will, by my everlasting gospel, proclaim my Father's counsel, concerning the establishment of my kingdom. I will declare that irrevocable decree of the Father, for the setting up of his Son's scepter, point-blank, opposite to that decree of theirs, verse 3. The decree of God, concerning the kingly office and authority of Christ, is immutable, and in effect as irrevocable.
Again, the Lord, in a promissory way, extends the dominion of Christ to the Gentiles, and to the uttermost parts of the earth, verse 8. So far should the enemies of Christ be from ruining his kingdom, that God the Father promises that all the inhabitants of the earth should be his, and brought into subjection to him, not only the Jews, but all the inhabitants of the earth shall be subjected to Christ's kingdom, the elect he shall save, and the refractory he shall destroy. "He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
Again, the Lord, in a promissory way, declares the power, prevalency, and victory of Christ over all his enemies: verse 9, "You shall break them with a rod of iron: you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." This signifies their utter destruction, so that there is no hope of recovery. A potter's vessel, when it is once broken, cannot be made up again. This proverb also signifies ease in destroying them. As for such that plot, bandy, and combine together against the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall as easily and as irrecoverably by his almighty, eternal, and irresistible power, dash them in pieces, as a potter breaks his vessels in pieces: Jer. 19:11, "I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again." Isaiah 30:14, "It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern." The Jews, you know, were Christ's obstinate enemies; and he has so dashed them in pieces, that they are scattered abroad all the world over.
The Lord has made another promise, that Christ shall be sovereign king, Psalm 110:1-6. And no wonder, when we consider that God the Father has called Christ to the kingly office. The scepter is given into his hand, and the crown is put upon his head, and the key of government is laid upon his shoulder by God himself. Isaiah 22:22, it is written thus of Eliakim, "The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open." Now herein was this precious soul a lively figure and type of Christ. The words of the prophecy are applied to Christ, in his letter to Philadelphia, Rev. 3:7; and the sense is this, that look, as Eliakim was made steward or treasurer under Hezekiah, that is, the next under the king in government all over the land, to command, to forbid, to permit, to reward, to punish, to do justice, and to repress all disorder; of which authority the bearing of a key on the shoulder was a badge; so Christ, as mediator under his Father, has regal power and authority over his Church, where he commands in chief, as I may say, and no man may lift up his hand or foot without him; he has the key of the house of David upon his shoulder, to prescribe, to inhibit, to call, to harden, to save, and to destroy—at his pleasure.
Such a monarch and king is Christ, neither has any such rule and sovereignty beside him. And if you look into Dan. 7:13-14, you may observe, that after the abolishing of the four monarchies, Christ's monarchy is established by the Ancient of days, giving to Jesus Christ dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall never pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed. Christ did not thrust himself into the throne, as some have done; neither did he swim to his crown through a sea of blood, as others have done; nor did he swim through a sea of sorrow to this crown, as Queen Elizabeth is said to do; no, he waited until authority was given him by his Father. But,
Thirdly, God the Father has promised, that he will give to Jesus Christ— assistance, support, protection, help, and strength to carry on the great work of redemption. God the Father promises and covenants with Jesus Christ, to carry him through all dangers, difficulties, perplexities, trials, and oppositions, etc., that he would meet with in the accomplishing our redemption; upon which accounts Jesus Christ undertakes to go through a sea of trouble, a sea of sorrow, a sea of blood, and a sea of wrath! Isaiah 42:1, "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations;" verse 4, "He will not stop until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth." Verse 6, "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you." [Christ is our Lord, but in the work of redemption he was the Father's servant.] What is that? Why, I will support, strengthen, and preserve you with my glorious power; I will so hold your hand, that you shall not be discouraged, but finish that great work of redemption, which, by agreement with me, you have undertaken.
God the Father agreed with Jesus Christ about the power, strength, success, and assistance that he would have to carry on the work of redemption, all which God the Father made good to him until he had sent forth judgment unto victory; as Christ himself acknowledges, saying, "Listen to me, all of you in far-off lands! The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. He said to me—You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory." Isaiah 49:1-3. The work of redemption was so high, so hard, so great, so difficult a work—that it would have broken the hearts, backs, and necks of all the glorious angels in heaven, and mighty men on earth, had they engaged in it; and therefore God the Father engages himself to stand close to Jesus Christ, and mightily to assist him, and to be singularly present with him, and wonderfully to strengthen him in all his mediatorial administrations, John 17:2; upon which accounts Jesus Christ despises his enemies, bears up bravely under all his sore temptations and trials, and "triumphs over principalities and powers," Mat. 4:11; Luke 22:43; Col. 2:15.
And certainly if Christ had not had singular support, and an almighty strength from the Godhead, he could never have been able to bear up under that mighty wrath, and to have drunk up that bloody cup. Now upon the account of God the Father's engaging himself to own Christ, and stand by him in the great work of our redemption, Jesus Christ acts faith against all his deepest discouragements, which he would meet with in the discharge of his mediatorial office, as the prophet tells us: "Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to oppose me now? Where are my enemies? Let them appear!" Isaiah 50:7-8. From the consideration of God's help, Jesus Christ strengthens and encourages himself, in the execution of his office, against all oppositions. God's presence and assistance made Jesus Christ victorious over all wrongs and injuries. Jesus Christ knew that God the Father would clear up his innocency and integrity, and this made him patient and constant to the last. But,
Fourthly, God the Father promises to Jesus Christ that he shall not labor in vain, and that the work of redemption shall prosper in his hand, and that he will give a blessed success to all his undertakings, and crown all his endeavors. [See Isaiah 53:10, and 49:6-12; Micah 4:3.] "He shall see his seed, and he shall see the travail of his soul." Another promise of the Father to the Son you have in that, Isaiah 55:5, "Nations that know you not, shall run unto you." The Gentiles, who never heard of Christ, nor ever were acquainted with Christ, nor ever had any notice of Christ; when Christ calls, they shall readily and speedily repair unto him and submit unto him. Christ shall one day see and reap the sweet and happy fruit of his blood, sufferings, and undertakings; "The pleasure of the Lord shall certainly prosper in his hand." Christ's sufferings were as a woman's travail, sharp though short. Now though a woman suffers many grievous pains and pangs, yet, when she sees a child brought into the world, she rejoices and is satisfied. So when nations shall run to Christ, he shall see his seed and be satisfied.
God the Father promises that Jesus Christ shall have a numerous spiritual posterity, begetting and bringing many thousands to the obedience of his Father; "Nations shall run unto you; "and this shall fill the heart of Jesus Christ with abundance of joy and comfort, contentment and satisfaction, when he shall see the fruit of his bitter sufferings, when he shall see such an abundance of poor, filthy, guilty, condemned sinners—pardoned, justified, and accepted with his Father, "his soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness," Psalm 63:5. The numerous body of believers, past, present, and to come, that God the Father had promised to Jesus Christ, was the life of his life. That is a sweet promise, Psalm 110:2, "You will rule over your enemies." Those who will not bend—must break; those who will not stoop to his government—shall feel his power. "Your people"—the people of God are Christ's five ways:
(1.) By donation;
(2.) By purchase;
(3.) By conquest;
(4.) By covenant;
(5.) By consent. "They shall be willing in the day of your power"— Heb., willingnesses, as if the Holy Spirit could not sufficiently set forth their exceeding great willingness to submit to all the royal commands of the Lord; John 17:6; 1 Pet. 2:9; Luke 1:57; 1 Cor. 3:23. All Christ's subjects are volunteers, free-hearted, like those isles which wait for God's law, Isaiah 42:4, and 56:6; Zech. 8:21, "And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord Almighty: I will go also;" "From the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth," Psalm 110:3. Here is the success of Christ's office promised, both in the victorious subduing of his enemies, and in the cheerful willingness of his subjects, and in the wonderful numerousness of his people brought over to him, even like the innumerable drops of the morning dew.
Another promise of that great and complete success that God the Father has made for Jesus Christ in his mediatorial office, you have in Isaiah 49, from the 6th verse to the 14th verse: Christ shall have a people gathered to him, and a seed to serve him, "because he has made his soul an offering for their sins." The multitude of sinners brought over to Jesus Christ, is the product of the atoning sacrifice which he has made for them, and the trophies of the victory that he has gotten by dying the death of the cross.
Thus you see that God the Father has not only engaged himself by compact to preserve Jesus Christ in his work, but he has also made to him several precious promises of preservation, protection, and success—so that the work of redemption shall be sure to prosper in his hand. And, to make these glorious promises the more valid and binding, God confirms them solemnly by an oath: Heb. 7:21, "This priest," Christ, "was made with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord swore, and will not repent, You are a priest forever." God the Father foresaw from everlasting that Jesus Christ would so infinitely satisfy him and please him by his incarnation, obedience, and death, that thereupon he swears. But,
Fifthly, God the Father promises to Jesus Christ— rule, dominion, and sovereignty, Psalm 2:8-9. This sovereignty and rule is promised to Jesus Christ in Isaiah 40:10, "His arm shall rule for him." "He shall sit in judgment in the earth, and the isles shall wait for his law," Isaiah 42:4—not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also, the people of divers countries and nations shall willingly and readily receive and embrace his doctrine, and submit to his laws, and give up themselves to his rule. Micah 4:3, "He shall judge among many nations," that is, rule, order, command, and direct as a judge and a ruler among many nations. The conquests that Christ shall gain over the nations shall not be by swords and arms, but he shall bring them to a voluntary obedience and spiritual subjection by his Spirit and Gospel: John 3:35, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand," that is, God the Father has given the rule and power over all things in heaven and earth to Jesus Christ. In carrying on the redemption of sinners, as the matter is accorded between the Father and the Son, so the redeemed are not left to themselves, but are put under Christ's charge and custody, who has "purchased them with his blood," God the Father having given him dominion over all that may contribute to help or hinder his people's happiness, that he may order them so as may be for their good. And this power he has as God with the Father, and as man and mediator by donation and gift from the Father, Mat. 28:18, and 2:3. Thus every believer's happiness is most firm and sure, all things being wisely and faithfully transacted between the Father and the Son. As long as Jesus Christ has all power to defend his people, and all wisdom and knowledge to guide and govern his people, and all dominion to curb the enemies of his people, and a commission and charge to be answerable for them, we may roundly conclude of their eternal safety, security, and felicity, Col. 1:19, and 2:1. But,
Sixthly, God the Father promises to accept of Jesus Christ, in his mediatorial office. "Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord," Isaiah 49:5; that is as if he had said, notwithstanding the infidelity, obstinacy, and impenitency of the greatest part of the Jews, yet, faithful labor and diligence in the execution of my mediatorial office is, and shall be, greatly accepted, and highly esteemed, by my heavenly Father. Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, lovingly accepted of the poor man's present of water, because his good will was in it, and put it into a golden vessel, and gave him the vessel of gold, accounting it the part of a truly noble and generous spirit to receive small presents offered with a hearty affection. Oh, how much more will God the Father kindly accept of Jesus Christ in his mediatorial office: verse 7, "The Lord, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by a nation, to the one who is the servant of rulers—Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will bow low because the Lord has chosen you. He, the faithful Lord, the Holy One of Israel, chooses you." [Jerome says that the Jews cursed Christ in their synagogues three times a day. They so greatly abhorred the name Jesus that they would not pronounce it; but if they did unawares happen to pronounce it, then they would punish themselves with a blow on their faces, etc.] God the Father, comforting of Christ, tells him that though he were contemptible to many, yes, to the nation of the Jews, and basely treated, like a servant, by their princes, Herod, Annas, Caiaphas, and Pontius Pilate, yet other kings and princes should see his dignity and glory, and submit to him, and honor him as the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
God the Father chose Jesus Christ to be his servant, and to be a mediator for his elect; he designed him to that office of being a Savior, both to the Jew and Gentile, and accordingly he accepted of him, "Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritage." Here you see that God the Father still goes on to speak more and more comfortably and encouragingly to Jesus Christ; for he tells him that he will be at hand to hear, and help, and assist him; and he tells him that he will preserve him, both in his person, and in the execution of his office; and he tells him that he will accept of his person, and of his services, and of his suits and intercession for himself and his people.
Mat. 3:17, "And, lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The voice from heaven was doubtless the voice of his Father, in that he says, This is my beloved Son," my natural Son, by eternal and incomprehensible generation, and therefore dearest to me, and most acceptable with me; my judgment is satisfied in him, my love is settled upon him, and I have an inestimable value for him; and therefore I cannot but declare my approbation and acceptance both of him and his work. I am well pleased in him, I am infinitely pleased in him, I am only pleased in him, I am at all times pleased in him, I am forever pleased in him; I am so well pleased in him, that, for his sake, I am fully appeased with all those who "I have given him, and who come unto him," John 6:37-40. [This Jerome applies to the time of Christ's hanging on the cross. He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" for God made it appear that he heard him, and forsook him not, in that he raised him from the dead, etc. See Heb. 5:7.] But,
Seventhly, God the Father promises highly to exalt Jesus Christ, and nobly to reward him, and everlastingly to glorify him. "You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Isaiah 49:4-6, and 40:10. These are the words of God the Father to his Son, promising of him to set such a crown of glory upon his head as should make the nations of the world run unto him. God the Father made Christ glorious in his birth, by the angels' doxology, "Glory be to God on high;" in his baptism, by his speaking of him from heaven, "this is my beloved Son;" in his transfiguration on the mount, in his resurrection, and in his ascension into heaven. [Luke 2:13, 14; Mat. 3:17, and 17:1-5; Romans 1:4; Acts 1:9-11.]
Isaiah 53:12, "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." The meaning is this: "I will impart," says God the Father, "to my Son, such honor, glory, renown, and riches, after his sufferings, as conquerors have; and he shall have them as a glorious reward of all his conflicts with my wrath, with temptations, with persecutions, with reproach, with contempt, with death, yes, and with hell itself!" The words are a plain allusion to conquerors in war, who are commonly exalted and greatly rewarded by their princes, for the venturing of their lives, and obtaining of conquests, as all histories will tell you. And, indeed, should the Father not reward Jesus Christ for all his hard services, and his matchless sufferings—he would express less kindness to him, than he has done to heathen princes; for he gave Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as his hire, for his service at Tyre; and to Cyrus he gave hidden treasure, Ezek. 29:18-19; Isaiah 45:1-3. But, alas, what were their services, compared to Christ's services, or their sufferings, compared to Christ's sufferings?
I have read of Cyrus, how that in a great war against his enemies, the better to encourage his soldiers to fight, in an oration that he made at the head of his army, he promised, upon the victory, to make every foot soldier, into a horseman; and every horseman, into a commander; and that no officer who fought valiantly should be unrewarded. And will God the Father let the Son of his dearest love, who has fought against all infernal powers, and conquered them, go without his reward? Surely not! Col. 2:14-15.
Psalm 2:7, "I will declare the decree; the Lord has said unto me, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you." David was God's son by adoption and acceptance; but Christ was his Son, Psalm 89:26-27, Proverbs 8, and Heb. 1:5, (1.) By eternal generation; (2.) By hypostatic union of the divine and human natures. And so God had one only Son, as Abraham had one only Isaac, though otherwise he was the father of many nations.
Some by "this day" understand the day of eternity, where there is no time past nor to come, no beginning nor ending, but always one present day. Others by "this day" understand it of the day of Christ's incarnation, and coming into the world. Some again understand it of the whole time of his manifestation in the world, when he was sent forth as a prophet to teach them, and was declared evidently to be the Son of God, both by his miracles and ministry, John 1:14, and by that voice that was heard from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Others understand it of the day of Christ's resurrection, and with them I close, for this seems to be chiefly intended; partly because it seems to be spoken of some solemn time of Christ's manifestation to be the Son of God, and "he was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead," Romans 1:4; that is, by the power and force of the Deity, sanctifying and quickening the flesh, he was raised from the dead, and so declared mightily to be the Son of God; but mainly because the apostle does clearly affirm that this was in Christ's resurrection: "He has raised up Jesus again, as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you," Acts 13:33.
In the day of Christ's resurrection he seems to tell all the world, that though from the beginning he had been hid in the bosom of his Father, John 1:18, and that though in the law he had been but darkly shadowed out; yet in the day of his resurrection they might plainly see that he had fully satisfied divine justice, finished his sufferings, and completed the redemption of his elect; and that accordingly his Father had arrayed him with that glory that was suitable to him. Before the resurrection the godhead was veiled under the infirmity of the flesh; but in the resurrection, and after the resurrection, the godhead did sparkle and shine forth very gloriously and wonderfully, 2 Cor. 13:4.
Lest the human nature of Christ, upon its assumption, should shrink at the approach of sufferings, God the Father engages himself to give Jesus Christ a full and ample reward, and to exalt him far above all principality and power, and to put all things under his feet, and to make him head over all things to the church: and to "give him a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow;" and all because, to give satisfaction to his Father, he made himself of no reputation, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;" that is, to his dying day, Eph. 1:21-22; Phil. 2:9. [Name is put for person; and bowing of the knee, a bodily ceremony, to express inward subjection.—Estius, Beza.]
Jesus went through many a little death, all his life long, and at length underwent that cursed and painful death of the cross; upon which account the Father rewards him highly by exalting him to singular glory and transcendent honor. Look, that as the assumption of the human nature is the highest instance of free mercy, so is the rewarding thereof in its state of exaltation the highest instance of remunerative justice. Oh, how highly is the human nature of Christ honored by being exalted to a personal union with the Godhead! Though vain men may dishonor Christ, yet the Father has conferred honor upon him as mediator, that it may be a testimony to us that he is infinitely pleased with the redemption of lost man. Although Christ is, in himself, God all-sufficient, "God blessed forever," and so is not capable of any access of glory; yet it pleased him to condescend so far as to obscure his own glory under the veil of his flesh, and state of humiliation, until he had perfected the work of redemption; and to account of his office of mediator, and the dignity accompanying it, as great honor conferred upon him by the Father, John 8:54.
And it is observable that Christ having finished our redemption on earth, he petitions his Father to advance him to the possession of that glory that he enjoyed from all eternity; "And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self; with the glory which I had with you before the world was," John 17:5. Now for the clearing up of this text we are to consider, that as Christ was from all eternity the glorious God, the God of glory; so we are not to conceive of any real change in this glory of his godhead; as if by his estate of humiliation he had suffered any diminution, or by his state of exaltation any real accession were made to his glory as God. But the meaning is this, that Christ having, according to the covenant passed between the Father and him, obscured the glory of his godhead for a time, under the veil of the form of a servant, and our sinless infirmities, does now expect, according to the tenor of the same covenant, that, after he has done his work as mediator, he be highly exalted and glorified in his whole person; that his human nature be exalted to the glory that his finite nature is capable of, and that the glory of his godhead might shine in the person of Christ, God-man, and in the man Christ Jesus. [Jesus Christ is true God, and was infinitely glorious from all eternity, for he had glory with his Father before the world was; and therefore he was no upstart God, and of a later standing, as the Arians and Mohammedans make of him.]
Thus you see the promises, the encouragements, and rewards that God the Father sets before Jesus Christ. And let thus much suffice concerning the articles of the covenant on God's part.