Paradise Opened, or the Secrets, Mysteries, and Rarities of Divine Love, of Infinite Wisdom, and of Wonderful Counsel—Laid Open to Public View

In the last place, Let us seriously consider of the articles of the covenant on CHRIST'S part. Let us weigh well the promises that Jesus Christ has made to the Father for the bringing about the great work of our redemption, that so we may see what infinite cause we have to love the Son as we love the Father, and to honor the Son as we honor the Father, and to trust in the Son as we trust in the Father, and to glorify the Son as we glorify the Father, etc. Now there are six observable things on Christ's part, on Christ's side, that we are to take special notice of, etc.

[1.] First, Christ having consented and agreed with the Father about our redemption, accordingly he applies himself to the discharge of that great and glorious work by taking a body, by assuming our nature. Heb. 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." He who was equal with God did so far abase himself as to take on him the nature of man, and subjected himself to all manner of human frailties, so far as they are freed from sin, even such as accompany flesh and blood. This is one of the wonders of mercy and love, that Christ our head should stoop so low, who was himself full of glory, as to take part of flesh and blood, that he might suffer for flesh and blood: verse 16, "For truly he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Christ assumed the common nature of man, and not of any particular person. The apostle does here purposely use this word "seed," to show that Christ came out of the loins of man, as Jacob's children and their children are said to come out of his loins, Gen. 46:26, and as all the Jews are said to come out of the loins of Abraham, Exod. 1:5; Heb. 7:5; and as Solomon is said to come out of the loins of David, 1 Kings 8:19. In a man's loins his seed is, and it is a part of his substance. Thus it shows that Christ's human nature was of the very substance of man, and that Christ was the very same that was promised to be the Redeemer of man; for of old he was foretold under this word seed, as "the seed of the woman," "the seed of Abraham," "the seed of Isaac," "the seed of David." [Gen. 3:15; Romans 9:7; Heb. 11:18; John 8:58.]

This phrase—"he took on him," as it sets out the human nature of Christ, so it gives us a hint of his divine nature; for it presupposes that Christ existed, before he took on him the seed of Abraham. He who takes anything on him must needs be, before he do so. Is it possible for one who does not exist—to take anything on him? Therefore Christ's former being must needs be in regard of his divine nature. In that respect he ever was the eternal God. Being God, he took on him a human nature. Christ's eternal deity shines in this 16th verse, and so does his true humanity; in that he took upon him the seed of man, it is most evident that he was a true man. Seed is the matter of man's nature, and the very substance thereof. The seed of man is the root, out of which Christ assumed his human nature, Isaiah 11:1. The human nature was not created out of nothing, nor was it brought from heaven, but assumed out of the seed of man, Luke 1:35. The human nature of Christ never had an eternal subsistence in itself. At or in the very first framing or making it, it was united to the divine nature; and at or in the first uniting it, it was framed or made. Philosophers say of the uniting of the soul to the body, in creating it, it is infused, and in infusing it, it is created. Much more is this true, concerning the human nature of Christ, united to his divine. Fitly therefore is it here said, that he "took on him the seed of Abraham."

So John 1:14, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." The evangelist having proved the divinity of Jesus Christ, comes now to speak of his humanity, incarnation, and manifestation in the flesh, whereby he became God and man in one person. "Flesh" here signifies the whole man in Scripture. You all know that man consists of two parts, which are sometimes called flesh and spirit, and sometimes called soul and body. Now by a synecdoche, either of these parts may be put for the whole: and so sometimes the soul is put for the whole man, and sometimes the body is put for the whole man, as you may see by comparing these scriptures together. [Acts 27:37; Gen. 46:27; Romans 12:1, and 3:20.] Christ did assume the whole man, he did assume the soul as well as the body, and both under the term flesh. And indeed, unless he had assumed the whole man, the whole man could not have been saved. If Christ had not taken the whole man, he could not have saved the whole man. Christ took the nature of man, that he might be a fit mediator. If he had not been man, he could not have died; and if he had not been God, he could not have satisfied divine justice. So great was the difficulty of restoring the image of God in lost man, and of restoring him to God's favor, and the dignity of sonship, that no less could do it than the natural Son of God his becoming the Son of man, to suffer in our nature; and so great was the Father's love and the Son's love to fallen man, as to lay a foundation of reconciliation between God and man in the personal union of the divine and human nature of Christ. So much is imported in those words, "the Word was made flesh." [Christ put himself into a lousy, leprous suit of ours, to expiate our pride and robbery in reaching after the Deity, and to heal us of our spiritual leprosy; for if he had not assumed our flesh he had not saved us. —Gregory Nazianzen.]

The person of the godhead, who was incarnate, was neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit—but the Son, the second person, for "the Word was made flesh." There being a real distinction of the persons, that one of them is not another; and each of them having their proper manner of subsistence, the one of them might be incarnate, and not the other; and it is the Godhead, not simply considered, but the person of the Son subsisting in that Godhead, who was incarnate. And it was very convenient that the second or middle person, in order of subsistence of the blessed Trinity, should be the reconciler of God and man; and that "he, by whom all things were made," Col. 1:16-17, should be the restorer and maker of the new world; and that he who was "the express image of his Father," Heb. 1:2-3, should be the repairer of the image of God in us.

Oh the admirable love and wisdom of God that shines in this, that the second person in the Trinity is set on work to procure our redemption! Ah, Christians, how well does it befit you to lose yourselves in the admiration of the wisdom of God in the contrivance of the work of our redemption! For the Son of God to take on him the nature of man, with all the essential properties thereof, and all the sinless infirmities and frailties thereof—is a wonder that may well take up our thoughts to all eternity. And Christ took the infirmities of our nature as well as the nature itself. To show the truth of his humanity he had a nature that could hunger and thirst even as ours do, and to sanctify them to us; and that so he might sympathize with us as "a merciful and faithful high priest," Heb. 16-18, and 4:15-16; and that we might confide the more in him, and have access to him with boldness. By reason of the personal union of the two natures in Christ, he is a fit mediator between God and man. His sufferings are of infinite value, being the sufferings of one who is God, Acts 20:28, and who is mighty to carry on the work of redemption, and to apply his own purchase, and repair all our losses, Isaiah 63:1; Heb. 7:25.

Oh, what an honor has Jesus Christ put upon fallen man by taking the nature of man on him! What is so near and dear to us as our own nature? and lo, our nature is highly preferred by Jesus Christ to a union in the Godhead. Christ now sits in heaven with our nature, and the same flesh that we have upon us—only glorified, Acts 1:9-11. It is that which all the world cannot give a sufficient reason, why the same word in the Hebrew, Basher, should signify both "flesh" and "good tidings." Theology will give you a reason, though grammar cannot. Christ's taking of flesh upon him was good tidings to all the whole world, therefore no wonder if one word signifies both. Abundance of comfort may be taken from hence to poor souls, when they think God has forgotten them, to consider, is it likely that Christ, who is man, should forget man, now he is at the right hand of the Father, clothed in that nature that we have? When we are troubled to think it is impossible God and man should ever be reconciled, let us consider that God and man did meet in Christ, therefore it is possible we may meet. What has been may be again. The two natures met in Christ, therefore God may be reconciled to man; yes, they therefore met, that God might be reconciled to man. He was made Emmanuel, "God with us," that he might bring God and us together.

When a man is troubled to think of the corruptions of his nature, that is so full of defilements, that it cannot be sanctified perfectly, let him also think that his nature is capable of sanctification to the full. Christ received human nature which was not polluted, his nature is the same, therefore that nature is capable of sanctification to the uttermost. O sirs! if Christ, the second person in the Trinity, did put on man, how careful should men be to put on Christ! "Put on the Lord Jesus," says the apostle, Romans 13:14. If Christ assumed our human nature, how should we wrestle with God to be made partakers of the divine nature: 2 Pet. 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature." If Christ became thus one flesh with us, how zealous should we be to become one spirit with Christ, 1 Cor. 6:17. "Even as man and wife is one flesh, so he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." Was the Word made flesh? did Christ take our nature? yes, did he take our nature at the worst, after the fall? What high cause have we to bless his name forever for this condescension of his! Should all the princes of the world have come from their thrones, and have gone a-begging from door to door, it would not amount to as much as for Christ to become man for our sakes. Christ took our nature, not in the integrity of it, as in Adam before his fall, but in the infirmities of it, which came to it by the fall. What amazing love was this! For Christ to have taken our nature as it was in Adam, while he stood clothed in his integrity, and stood right in the sight of God, had not been as much as when Adam was fallen and proclaimed traitor; as Bernard says, "Lord, you shall be so much the more dear to me, by how much the more you have been vile for me!" Here is condescension indeed—that Christ should stoop so low to take flesh, and flesh with infirmities! But,

[2.] Secondly, Jesus Christ promises to God the Father that he will freely, readily, and cheerfully accept, undertake, and faithfully discharge his mediatorial office, in order to the redemption and salvation of all his chosen ones. Consult these scriptures, [Compare Psalm 40:6-11 with Heb. 10:5-11, and Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-20; Acts 13:23, and 7:22.] they having been formerly opened, and in them you will find that Christ did not take the office of mediatorship upon himself, but first the Father calls him to it, and then the Son accepts it: "Christ glorified not himself, to be made a high-priest; but he who said unto him, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you," Heb. 10:12, 14, he called him, and then the Son answered him, "Lo, I come." God the Father promises that upon the payment of such a price by his Son, such and such souls should be ransomed and set free from the curse, from wrath, from hell, etc. Jesus Christ readily consents to the price, and pays it down upon the nail at once, and so makes good his mediatorial office.

It pleased the glorious Son of God, in obedience to the Father, to humble himself and obscure the glory of his godhead, that he might be like his brethren, and a fit mediator for sympathy and suffering, and that he might engage his life and glory for the redeeming of the elect, and lay aside his robes of majesty, and not be reassumed until he gave a good account of that work, until he was able to say, "I have finished the work that you gave me to do." Christ very freely and cheerfully undertakes to do and suffer whatever was the will of his Father that he should do or suffer, for the bringing about the redemption of mankind. Christ willingly undertakes to be his Father's servant in this great work, and accordingly he looks upon his Father as his Lord, "You are my Lord," Isaiah 50:5-7; Psalm 16:2—that is, you are he to whom I have engaged myself that I will satisfy all your demands, I will fulfill your royal law, I will bear the curse, I will satisfy your justice, I will humble myself to the death of the cross, Phil. 2:8; "I will tread the wine-press of my Father's wrath," Isaiah 63:3; I will fully discharge all the bonds, bills, and obligations which lie in open court against any of those whom by compact you have given me, Col. 2:13-15, let their debts be ever so many or ever so great, or of ever so long continuance—I will pay them all! There is no work so high, nor any work so hard, nor any work so hot, nor any work so bloody, nor any work so low—in which I am not ready to engage upon the account of my chosen people! "Lo, I come, I delight to do your will; yes, your law is in my heart." Christ freely submits, not only to the duty of the law, but also to the penalty of the law—not only to do what the law enjoins, but also to suffer what the law threatens; the former he makes good by his active obedience, and the latter by his passive obedience, Gal. 4:4-5.

This was the way wherein the Father, by an eternal agreement with his Son, would have the salvation of lost sinners brought about, and accordingly, Jesus Christ very readily complies with his Father's will and way, Titus 1:2. Christ, as mediator, had a command from his Father to die, which command he readily closes with: John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep;" verse 15, "I lay down my life for the sheep;" verse 17, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again;" verse 18, "No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself; this commandment have I received from my Father." Christ was content to be a servant by covenant, that so his sufferings might be accepted for his people; and certainly whatever God the Father put Jesus Christ upon in his whole mediatorial work—that Jesus Christ did freely, fully, and heartily comply with: "Lo, I come; and I have finished the work that you gave me to do," John 17:4. And had not Christ been free and voluntary in his active and passive obedience, his active and passive obedience would never have been acceptable, satisfactory, or meritorious. To go further to prove it, would be to light a candle to see the sun at noon. But,

[3.] Thirdly, Jesus Christ promises and engages himself that he will confide, depend, rely, and trust upon his Father for help and for assistance to go through with his work, notwithstanding all the wrath and rage, all the malice and oppositions, that he would meet with from men and devils. Heb. 2:13, "And again, I will put my trust in him." Christ's confidence in his Father was one great encouragement to him to hold out in the execution of his office; and his confidence in God speaks him out to be a true man, in that, as other men, he stood in need of God's aid and assistance; and thereupon, as others of the sons of men, his brethren, he puts his trust in God. The Greek phrase used by the apostle carries emphasis; it implies trust on a good persuasion that he shall not be disappointed. It is translated "confidence," in Phil. 1:6. Word for word it may be here thus translated, "I will be confident in him." The "him" has apparent reference to God, so as Christ himself, being man, rested on God to be supported in his works, and to be carried through all his undertakings, until the top-stone was laid, and the work of redemption accomplished.

Christ had many great and potent enemies, and was brought to very great straits; yet he fainted not, but put his trust in the Lord; yes, his greatest enemies gave him this testimony, that "he trusted in God;" and though they spoke it in scorn and derision, yet it was a real truth, Psalm 18:3-5; Isaiah 8:18; Mat. 27:43. Christ's confidence in his Father was further manifested by the many prayers which, time after time, he made to his Father, Heb. 5:7. Another proof of Christ's confidence in God's assistance, even in his greatest plunges and his sharpest sufferings, the prophet Isaiah will furnish us with: "The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me." Isaiah 50:5-9.

Christ, as mediator, trusted God the Father to carry him through all difficulties and oppositions, until he had completed the great work of his mediation. Christ strengthens and encourages himself in the execution of his office against all hardships and oppositions, from his confidence and assurance of God's aid and assistance; and by the same eye of faith, he looks upon all his oppositions as worn out and weathered by him. Christ's faith, patience, and constancy gave him victory over all wrongs and injuries; so Isaiah 49:5, "My God shall be my strength." Christ is very confident of his Father's assistance to carry him through that work that he had assigned him to. Christ, in the lack of comfort, never lacked faith to hang upon God, and to call him his God: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Mat. 27:46. Christ was never forsaken in regard of the hypostatic union; the union was not dissolved—only the beams, the influence, was restrained. [As man he cries out, "My God, my God," etc., when as God he promises paradise to the penitent thief. —Hilary.] Nor in regard of his faith; for though now he was sweltering under the wrath of God, as our surety, and left in the hands of his enemies, and deserted by his disciples and dearest friends, and under the loss of the comforting and solacing presence of his Father, yet, in the midst of all, such was the strength and power of his faith, that he could say, "My God, my God."

Christ, before the world began, having promised and engaged to the Father that, in the fullness of time, he would come into the world, assume our nature, be made under the law, tread the winepress of the Father's wrath, bear the curse, and give satisfaction to his justice; [Titus 1:2; Gal. 4:4; Isaiah 63:3; Gal. 3:13; Romans 8:3-4.] now upon the credit of this promise, upon this undertaking of Christ, God the Father takes up the patriarchs and all the old testament believers to glory. God the Father, resting upon the promise and engagement of his Son, admits many thousands into those mansions above, before Christ took flesh upon him, John 14:2-3. Now as the Father of old has rested and relied on the promise and engagement of Christ, so Jesus Christ does, to this very day, rest and stay himself upon the promise of his Father, that he shall, in due time, "see all his seed," Isaiah 53:10, and reap the full benefit of that full ransom that he has paid down upon the nail for all who have believed on him, that do believe on him, and that shall believe on him.

Christ knew God's infinite love, his tender compassions, and his matchless affections, to all those for whom he died; and he knew very well the covenant, the compact, the agreement which passed between the Father and himself; and so trusted the Father fully in the great business of their everlasting happiness and blessedness, relying upon the love and faithfulness of God, his love to the elect, and his faithfulness to keep covenant with him. As the elect are committed to Christ's charge, to give an account of them, so also is the Father engaged for their conversion, and for their preservation, after being converted; as being not only his own, given to Christ out of his love to them, but as being engaged to Christ, that he shall not be frustrated of the reward of his sufferings, but have a seed to glorify him forever, John 6:37; Isaiah 53:11. Therefore does Christ not only constantly preserve them by his Spirit, but does leave also that burden on the Father: "Father, keep those whom you have given me," John 17:11. But,

[4.] Fourthly, Jesus Christ promises and engages himself to his Father, that he would bear all and suffer all that should be laid upon him, and that he would ransom poor sinners, and fully satisfy divine justice by his blood and death. [Isaiah 50:5-6; John 10:17-18, and 15:10; Luke 24:46; Heb. 10:5-7, 10. I have opened these scriptures already.] The work of redemption could never have been effected by "silver or gold," or by prayers or tears, or by the "blood of bulls or goats," but only by the second Adam's obedience, even to the death of the cross. Remission of sin, the favor of God, the heavenly inheritance, could never have been obtained, but by the precious blood of the Son of God. The innocent Lamb of God was slain in typical prefigurations from the beginning of the world, and slain in real performance in the fullness of time, or else fallen man would have lain under guilt and wrath forever. The heart of Jesus Christ was strongly set upon all those whom his Father had given him, and he was fully resolved to secure them from hell and the curse, whatever it cost him; and seeing no price would satisfy his Father's justice below his blood, he lays down his life at his Father's feet, according to the eternal covenant and agreement, which had passed between his Father and himself. But,

[5.] Fifthly, The Lord Jesus Christ was very free, ready, willing, and careful to make good all the articles of the covenant on his side, and to discharge all the works agreed on for the redemption and salvation of the elect. John 17:4, "I have finished the work that you gave me to do," John 12:49-50, and 17:6. 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 of all their hurting and destroying power, Col. 2:14-15, and Heb. 2:14. By the covenant of redemption Christ was under an obligation to die, to satisfy to divine justice, to pay our debts, to bring in an everlasting righteousness, Dan. 9:24, to purchase our pardon, and to obtain eternal redemption for us, Heb. 9:12; all which he completed and finished before he ascended up to glory. And without all question, had not Jesus Christ kept touch with his Father, had not he made good the covenant, the compact, the agreement on his part, his Father would never have given him such a welcome to heaven as he did, nor would he ever have admitted him to "sit down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," as he did, [Heb. 1:3; Romans 8:34; Col. 3:1; Heb. 8:1, and 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22.] Acts 1:9-11. The right hand is a place of the greatest honor, dignity, and safety that any can be advanced to. But had not Jesus Christ "first purged away our sins," he would never have "sat down on the right hand of his Father." Christ's advancement is properly of his human nature. That nature wherein Christ was crucified was exalted; for God, being the Most High, needs not be exalted; yet the human nature in this exaltation, is not singly and simply considered in itself, but as united to the deity; so that it is the person, consisting of two natures, even God-man, which is thus dignified, Mat. 26:64; Acts 7:56. For as the human nature of Christ is inferior to God, and is capable of advancement, so also is the person consisting of a divine and human nature.

Christ, as the Son of God, the second person of the sacred Trinity, is, in regard of his deity, no whit inferior to his Father, but every way equal; yet he assumed our nature, and became a mediator between God and man; he humbled himself, and made himself inferior to his Father; his Father therefore has highly exalted him, and set him down on his right hand, Phil. 2:8-9; Eph. 1:20. If Christ had not expiated our sins, and completed the work of our redemption, he could never have sat down on the right hand of God: Heb. 10:12, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God." This verse is added in opposition to the former. But in the former verse it was proved that the sacrifices which were offered under the law could not take away sins. This verse proves that there is a sacrifice which has done that which they could not do. The argument is taken from that priest's ceasing to offer any more sacrifices after he had offered one; whereby is implied that there needed no other, because that one had done it to the full. Sin was taken away by Christ's sacrifice, for thereby a ransom and satisfaction were made to the justice of God, for man's sin, and thereupon sin taken away. Now sin being taken away, Christ "sits down on the right hand of his Father."

Look, as the humiliation of Christ was manifested in offering a sacrifice; so his exaltation, in sitting at God's right hand, was manifested after he had offered that sacrifice. This phrase, "sat down," is a note of dignity and authority; and this dignity and authority is amplified by the place where he is said to sit down—namely, on "the right hand of God;" and this honor and dignity is much illustrated by the eternal continuance thereof, "Forever sat down on the right hand of God." It is an eclipse of the luster of any glory to have an end. The very thought that such a glory shall one day cease, will cast a damp upon the spirit of him who enjoys that glory. Christ's constant sitting at the right hand of his Father is a clear evidence that he has finished and completed the work of our redemption. Christ could never have gone to his Father, nor ever have sat down at the right hand of his Father—if he had not first fulfilled all righteousness, and fully acquitted us of all our iniquities. John 16:10, "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father." The strength of the argument lies in this, Christ took upon him to be our surety, and he must acquit us of all our sins, and satisfy his Father's justice, before he can go to his Father, and be accepted of his Father, and sit down on the right hand of his Father. If God had not been fully satisfied, or if any part of righteousness had been to be fulfilled, Christ would have been still in the grave, and not gone to heaven; his very going to his Father argues all is done, all is finished and completed. But,

[6.] Sixthly, Christ having performed all the conditions of the covenant on his part, he now peremptorily insists upon it, that his Father should make good to him and his the conditions of the covenant on his part. Christ having finished his work, looks for his reward. "Father," says he, "I have glorified you on earth, 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," John 17:4-5. There was a most blessed transaction between God the Father and God the Son before the world began, for the everlasting good of the elect; and upon that transaction depends all the good, and all the happiness, and all the salvation of God's chosen; [This transaction between the Father and the Son is worthy of our most deep, serious, and frequent meditation.] and upon this ground, Christ pleads with his Father, that all his members may behold his glory: John 17:24, "Father, I will that those also whom you have given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory;" "Father, I will," not only I pray, I beseech, but "I will;" I ask this as my right, by virtue of the covenant between us; I have done thus and thus, and I have suffered thus and thus, and therefore I cannot but peremptorily insist upon it, that those that I have undertaken for, "be where I am, that they may behold my glory;" for though glory be a gift to us, yet it is a debt due to Christ.

It is a part of Christ's joy that we should be where he is. Christ will not be happy alone. As a tender father, he can enjoy nothing if his children may not have part with him. The greatest part of our happiness, which we shall have in heaven lies in this—that then we shall be with Christ, and have immediate communion with him. O sirs! the great end of our being in heaven is to behold and enjoy the glory of Christ. Christ is very desirous, and much taken up with his people's fellowship and company, so that before he removes his bodily presence from them, his heart is upon meeting and fellowship again, as here we see in his prayer before his departure. This he makes evident from day to day, in that until that time of meeting come, two or three are not gathered in his name but he is in the midst of them, Mat. 18:20, to eye their behavior, to hear their prayers, to guide their way, to protect their persons, to cheer their spirits, and to delight in their presence. He delights to "walk in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks," Rev. 2:1. The golden candlesticks are the churches, which are the light of the world, Mat. 5:14, 16, and excel all other societies as much as gold does other metals.

And he desires to dwell in the low and little hill of Zion, Psalm 68:16. Zion is his resting-place, his chosen place, his dwelling-place: Psalm 132:13, "For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his habitation;" verse 14, "This is my rest forever: here will I dwell, for I have desired it." Christ chose Zion for his love, and loves it for his choice; and accordingly he delights to dwell there. The Lamb stands on mount Zion, Rev. 14:1. Christ stands ready for action; and in the midst of all antichrist's persecutions he has always a watchful eye over mount Zion, and will be a sure life-guard to mount Zion, Isaiah 4:5-6; he stands readily prepared to assist mount Zion, to fight for mount Zion, to communicate to mount Zion, and to be a refuge to mount Zion; and no wonder, for he "dwells in mount Zion," Isaiah 8:18. Now if Christ take so much delight to have spiritual communion with his people in this world, it is no wonder that he can never rest satisfied until their gracious communion with him here, issues in their perfect and glorious communion with him in heaven. [2 Cor. 6:16, "I will dwell in them." The words are very significant in the original, "I will in-dwell in them." So the words are. There are two ins in the original, as if God could never have enough communion with them, 2 Thes. 1:10.]

And certainly the glory and happiness of heaven to the elect will consist much in being in Christ's company, in whom they delight so much on earth. To follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to enjoy him fully, and to be always in his presence—is the heaven of heaven, the glory of glory; it is the sparkling diamond in the ring of glory! The day is coming wherein believers shall be completely happy in a sight of Christ's glory, when he shall be conspicuously glorified and admired in all his saints, and glorified by them; and when all veils being laid aside, and they fitted for a more full fruition, shall visibly and immediately behold and enjoy him! Therefore is their condition in heaven described, as consisting in this, that they "may behold my glory which you have given me."

Thus I have glanced at Christ's solemn demand on earth for the full accomplishment of that blessed compact, covenant, agreement, and promises which were made to him when he undertook the office of a mediator. Now in heaven he appears "in the presence of God for us," Heb. 9:25, as a lawyer appears in open court for his client, opens the case, pleads the cause, and carries the day. The verb translated "to appear," signifies conspicuously "to manifest." It is sometimes taken in a good sense, namely, to appear for one as a favorite before a prince, or as an advocate or an attorney before a judge, or as the high-priests appeared once a year in the holy of holies, to make atonement for the people, Exod. 30:10. Christ is the great favorite in the court of glory, and is always at God's right hand, ready on all occasions to present our petitions to his Father, to pacify his anger, and to obtain all noble and needful favors for us, Romans 8:34. And Christ is our great advocate to plead our cause effectually for us, 1 John 2:1. Look, as in human courts there is the guilty, the accuser, the court, the judge, and the advocate; so it is here. Heaven is the court, man is the guilty person, Satan is the accuser, God is the judge, and Christ is the advocate. Now look, as the advocate appears in the court before the judge to plead for the guilty against the accuser, so does Christ appear before God in heaven, to answer all Satan's objections and accusations that he may make in the court of heaven against us.

"He ever lives to make intercession for us," Heb. 7:25. The verb translated "intercession," is a compound, and signifies "to call upon one." It is a judicial word, and imports a calling upon a judge to be heard in this or that, against another or for another; so here Christ makes intercession for them, Acts 25:24; Romans 11:2, and 8:34. The metaphor is taken from attorneys or advocates who appear for men in courts of justice; from counselors, who plead their client's cause, answer the adversary, supplicate the judge, and procure sentence to pass on their client's side. This act of making intercession may also be taken from kings' favorites, who are much in the king's presence, and ever ready to make request for their friends. But remember, though this be thus attributed to Christ, yet we may not think that in heaven Christ prostrates himself before the father, or makes actual prayers; that was a part of his humiliation which he did in the days of his flesh. But it implies a presenting of himself a sacrifice, a surety, and one who has made satisfaction for all our sins, together with manifesting of his will and desires, that such and such should partake of the virtue and benefit of his sacrifice, Heb. 5:7. So Christ's intercession consists rather in the perpetual vigor of his sacrifice and continual application thereof, than in any actual supplication. The intendment of this phrase applied to Christ, "to make intercession," is to show that Christ, being God's favorite, and our advocate, continually appears before God, to make application of that sacrifice which once he offered up for our sins. Christ appears in the presence of God for us:

(1.) To present unto his Father himself, who is the price of our redemption;

(2.) To make application of his sacrifice to his church time after time, according to the need of the several members thereof;

(3.) To make our persons, prayers, services, and all good things acceptable to God. But,

[7.] Seventhly and lastly, The whole compact and agreement between God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, about the redemption of poor sinners' souls—was really and solemnly transacted in the high court of justice above; in the presence of the great public notary of heaven—namely, the Holy Spirit; who being a third person of the glorious Trinity, of the same divine essence, and of equal power and glory, makes up a third legal witness with the Father and the Son. They being, after the manner of kings, [1 John 5:7, is a very clear proof and testimony of the Trinity of persons; in the unity of the divine essence; they are all one in essence and will. As if three lamps were lighted in one chamber, albeit the lamps are divers, yet the lights cannot be severed; so in the Godhead, as there is a distinction of persons, so a simplicity of nature.] their own witnesses also: 1 John 5:7, "For there are three who bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one." Three,

(1.) In the true and real distinction of their persons;

(2.) In their inward properties, as to beget, to be begotten, and to proceed;

(3.) In their several offices one to another, as to send and to be sent.

"And these three are one," one in nature and essence, one in power and will, one in the act of producing all such actions as, without themselves, any of them is said to act; and one in their testimony concerning the covenant of redemption which was agreed on between the Father and the Son. Consent of all parties, the allowance of the judge, and public record, is as much as can be desired to make all public contracts authentic in courts of justice; and what can we desire more, to settle, satisfy, and assure our own souls that all the articles of the covenant of redemption shall, on all hands, be certainly made good, than this—that these three heavenly witnesses, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—do all agree to the articles of the covenant, and are all witnesses to the same covenant?

Thus you see that there was a covenant of redemption made with Christ; upon the terms whereof he is constituted to be a Redeemer; "to say to the prisoners, go forth, to bring deliverance to the captives, and to proclaim the year of release, the acceptable year of the Lord," as it is, Isaiah 61:1-2. I have been the longer in opening the covenant of redemption, partly because of its grand importance to all our souls, and partly because others have spoken so little to it, to the best of my observation, and partly because I have never before handled this subject, either in the pulpit or the press, etc.

Now from the serious consideration of this compact, covenant, and agreement, which was solemnly made between God and Christ, touching the whole business of man's salvation or redemption, I may form up this tenth plea as to these ten scriptures, [Eccles. 11:9, and 12:14; Mat. 12:14, and 18:23; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27, and 13:17; 1 Pet. 4:5; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:6, 8; Gal. 2:20.] which refer to the great day of account, or to a man's particular day of account. "O blessed God! I have read over the articles of the covenant of redemption that were agreed on between yourself and your dearest Son; and I find by those articles that dear Jesus has died, and satisfied your justice, and pacified your wrath, and bore the curse, and purchased my pardon, and procured your everlasting favor: and I find by the same articles that whatever Jesus Christ acted or suffered, he acted or suffered as my surety, and in my stead and place. O Lord! when I look upon my manifold weaknesses and imperfections, though under a covenant of grace, yet I am many times not only grieved, but also stumbled and staggered; but when I look up to the covenant of redemption, I am cheered, raised, and quieted; for I am abundantly satisfied that both yourself and your dear Son are infinitely ready, able, willing, and faithful to perform whatever in that covenant is comprised, Isaiah 38:16-17. By these things men live, and in these is the life of my spirit. Men may fail, and friends may fail, and relations may fail, and trade may fail, and natural strength may fail, and my heart may fail—but the covenant of redemption can never fail, nor can the parties, who are mutually engaged in that covenant, ever fail, Psalm 73:24-25; and therefore I am safe and happy forever.

What though my sins have been great and heinous, yet they are not greater than Christ's sacrifice. He bore the curse for great sins as well as small, for sins against the gospel as well as for sins against the law, for omissions as well as for commissions. Assuredly the covenant of redemption is a mighty thing, and there are no mighty sins that can stand before that covenant. If we look upon Manasseh, in those black and ugly colors which the Holy Spirit paints him out in, we must conclude that he was a mighty sinner, a monstrous sinner, 1 Kings 21:1-16; and yet his mighty sins, his monstrous sins, could not stand before the covenant of redemption. The greatest sins are finite, but the merit of Christ's redemption is infinite. All the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea. There remained not so much as one of them; there was not one of them left alive to carry the news; the high and the low, the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the honorable and the base, were all drowned, Exod. 14:28; Psalm 106:11. The red sea of Christ's blood drowns all our sins, whether they are great or small, high or low, etc., "Though my sins be as scarlet, my Redeemer will make them as white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be as wool," Isaiah 1:18. There is not one of my sins for which Jesus Christ has not suffered and made atonement for; nor there is any one of my sins for which Jesus Christ has not purchased a pardon, and for which he has not made my peace. Though my sins are innumerable, though they are more than the hairs of my head, Psalm 40:12, or the sands on the sea-shore, yet they are not to be named in comparison with the merits of Christ, the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the covenant of redemption, is mentioned and pleaded. Be my sins ever so many; yes, though they might fill a scroll which reaches from east to west, from north to south, from earth to heaven—yet they could but bring me under the curse. "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." Ephesians 1:7.

Now Christ my surety, that he might redeem me from the curse, has taken upon him the whole curse, Gal. 3:13. Though my debts are so many as cannot be tallied—yet Christ has paid them all. Woe had been to me forever, had Christ left but one penny upon the record for me to pay. As I have multiplied my sins, so he has multiplied his pardons, Isaiah 55:7. Christ has cancelled all bonds, and therefore it is but justice in God to give me a full acquittance, and to throw down all bonds as cancelled, saying, "Deliver him, I have found a ransom!" Col. 13-15; Job 33:24. O God, though my sins are very many, and very great, yet if you do not pardon them, the innocent blood of your dearest Son will lie upon you, and cry out against you; for he therefore died, that my sins might be pardoned; so that now, in honor and justice, you are obliged to "pardon all my transgressions, and remember my iniquities no more," Isaiah 43:25; Dan. 9:24. Now this is my plea, O holy God, which I make to all those scriptures that respect my last account—and by this plea I shall stand.

"Well," says God the Father, "I accept of this plea, I am pleased with this plea, your sins shall not be mentioned, Ezek. 18:22; "Enter into the joy of your Lord!"

I shall now make a little practical improvement of what has been said as to the covenant of redemption, and so draw to a conclusion.

(1.) This covenant of redemption, as we have opened it, looks sadly and sourly upon those that make so great a noise about the doctrine of 'universal redemption'. The covenant of redemption extends itself, not to every man in the world, but only to those that are "given by God the Father to Jesus Christ." [Mat. 24:16; Luke 12:32; Romans 9:11-2, and 11:5-8; Romans 8:39-40.]

This covenant of redemption looks sadly and sourly upon those that make so great a noise about God's choosing or electing of men, upon the account of God's foreseeing their faith, good works, obedience, holiness. Scripture everywhere teaches that our election is from God's sovereign grace and favor; and that faith, good works, holiness, sanctification, are the fruits and effects of election, as has been made evident in my opening the gracious terms of the covenant of redemption. But because I have, in another place, treated of these things more largely, a touch here may suffice. [Deut. 7:6-8, and 33:11; Romans 9:14; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4; Romans 8:29 30; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2.] But,

(2.) Secondly, How should this covenant of redemption spirit, animate, and encourage all the redeemed of God—to do anything for Christ, to suffer anything for Christ, to venture anything for Christ, to part with anything for Christ, to give up anything to Christ—who, according to the covenant of redemption, has done and suffered such great and grievous things, that he might bring us to glory—which are above all apprehensions, and beyond all expressions, Mark 8:34-35, 38; Heb. 10:34. Who can tell me what is fully wrapped up in that one expression—namely, "That he poured out his soul unto death," Heb. 2:10-11. Let us not shrink, nor faint, nor grow weary under our greatest sufferings for Christ. When sufferings multiply, when they are sharp, when they are more bitter than gall or wormwood, yes, more bitter than death itself—then remember the covenant of redemption, and how punctually Christ made good all the articles of it on his side—and then faint and give out if you can. "Well may I be afraid, but I do not therefore despair, for I think upon and remember the wounds of the Lord," says Austin. "O my God, as long as I see your wounds, I will never live without wound," says Bonaventura. "The cross of Christ is the golden key which opens paradise to us!" says Damascene. "I had rather, with the martyrs and confessors, have my Savior's cross, than, with their persecutors, the world's crown. The harder we are put to it, the greater shall be our reward in heaven," says Tertullian. Gordius the martyr hit the nail on the head, when he said, "it is to my loss if you abate me anything in my sufferings." "If you do not suffer not for Christ, you will suffer for a worse thing," says one. "Never did any man serve me better than you serve me," said Vincentius to his persecutors. "We thank you for delivering us from hard task-masters, that we may enjoy more sweetly the bosom of our Lord Jesus," said the martyr. It was a notable saying of Luther, "The church converts the whole world by blood and prayers." "They may kill me," said Socrates of his enemies, but they cannot hurt me." Just so, may the redeemed of the Lord say, "they may take away my head, but they cannot take away my crown of life, my crown of righteousness, my crown of glory, my crown of immortality!" Rev. 2:10; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:4-5.

The Lacedemonians were accustomed to say, "it is a shame for any man to flee in time of danger; but for a Lacedemonian, it is a shame for him to deliberate." Oh, what a shame is it for Christians, when they look upon the covenant of redemption, so much as to deliberate whether it were best to suffer for Christ or not. Petrus Blesensis has long since observed, that "the courtiers of his time suffered as great trouble, and as many vexations, for vanity—as good Christians did for the truth. The courtiers suffered weariness and painfulness, hunger and thirst, with all the catalogue of Paul's afflictions; and what can the best saints suffer more?" Now shall men who are strangers to the covenant of redemption, suffer such hard and great things for their lusts, for very vanity; and will not you, who are acquainted with the covenant of redemption, and who are savingly interested in the covenant of redemption, be ready and willing to suffer anything for that Jesus, who, according to the covenant of redemption, has suffered such dreadful things for you, and merited such glorious things for you? But,

(3.) Thirdly, From this covenant of redemption, as we have opened it—you may see what infinite cause we have to be swallowed up in the admiration of the Father's love in entering into this covenant, and in making good all the articles of this covenant on his side. When man was fallen from his primitive purity and glory, from his holiness and happiness, from his freedom and liberty, into a most woeful gulf of sin and misery; when angels and men were all at a loss, and knew no way or means, whereby fallen man might be raised, restored and saved; that then God should firstly and freely propose this covenant, and enter into this covenant, that miserable man might be saved from wrath to come, and raised and settled in a more safe, high and happy estate than that was from which he was fallen in Adam,—oh, what wonderful, what amazing love is this! [God so loved his Son, that he gave him all the world for his possession, Psalm 2:8; but he so loved the world that he gave Son and all for its redemption.—Bernard.] Abraham manifested a great deal of love to God in offering up of his only Isaac, Gen. 22:12; but God has showed far greater love to poor sinners, in making his only Son an offering for their sins: for [1.] God loved Christ with a more transcendent love than Abraham could love Isaac; [2.] God was not bound by the commandment of a superior to do it, as Abraham was, John 10:18; [3.] God freely and voluntarily did it, which Abraham would never have done without a commandment, Heb. 10:10, 12; [4.] Isaac was to be offered after the manner of holy sacrifices, but Christ suffered an ignominious death, after the manner of thieves; [5.] Isaac was all along in the hands of a tender father, but Christ was all along in the hands of barbarous enemies; [6.] Isaac was offered but in show, but Christ was offered indeed and in very good earnest. Is not this an excess, yes, a miracle of love? It is good to be always a-musing upon this love, and delighting ourselves in this love. But,

(4.) Fourthly, From this covenant of redemption, as we have opened it, you may see what signal cause we have to be deeply affected with the love of Jesus Christ, who roundly and readily falls in with this covenant, and who has faithfully performed all the articles of this covenant. Had not Jesus Christ kept touch with his Father as to every article of the covenant of redemption, he could never have saved us, nor have satisfied divine justice, nor have been admitted into heaven. That Jesus Christ might make full satisfaction for all our sins, "he was made a curse for us, whereby he has redeemed us from the curse of the law," Gal. 3:13. All Christ's sufferings were for his people. All that can be desired of God by man is mercy and truth; mercy in regard of our misery, truth in reference to God's promises. That which moved Christ to engage himself as a surety for us was his respect to God and man: to God, for the honor of his name. Neither the mercy nor the truth nor the justice of God, would have been so conspicuously manifested, if Jesus Christ had not been our surety; to man, and that to help us in our dreadful and desperate estate. No creature either would or could discharge that debt, wherein man stood obliged to the justice of God. This is a mighty evidence of the endless love of Christ, this is an evidence of the endless and matchless love of Christ. We count it a great evidence of love for a friend to be surety for us—when we intend no damage to him thereupon; but if a man be surety for that which he knows the principal debtor is not able to pay, and thereupon purposes to pay it himself—this we look upon as an extraordinary evidence of love. But what amazing love, what matchless love is this, for a man to sacrifice his life for his friend! where as "skin for skin, and all that a man has, will he give for his life," Job 2:4; and yet, according to the covenant of redemption, Jesus Christ has done all this and much more for us, as is evident, if you will but cast your eye back upon the articles of the covenant, or consult these scriptures. [John 10:11, 15, 17, 18, 28; Romans 5:6, etc.; Eph. 5-7, etc.; Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 2:13-15.]

If a friend, to free a captive, or one condemned to death, should put himself into the state and condition of him whom he frees—that would be an evidence of love beyond all comparison. But now, if the dignity of Christ's person and our unworthiness, if the greatness of the debt and kind of payment, and if the benefit which we reap thereby, is duly weighed—we shall find these evidences of love to come as much behind the love of Christ—as the light of a candle comes short of the light of the sun.

Christ's suretyship, according to the covenant of redemption, is and ought to be a prop of props to our faith. It is as sure a ground of confidence that all is well, and shall be forever well between God and us—as any the Scriptures does afford. By virtue hereof we have a right to appeal to God's justice, for this surety has made full satisfaction; and to exact a debt which is fully satisfied is a point of injustice. Christ knew very well what the redemption of fallen man would cost him; he knew that his life and blood must go for it; he knew that he must lay by his robes of majesty, and be clothed with flesh; he knew that he must encounter men and devils; he knew that he must tread the wine-press of his Father's wrath, bear the curse, and make himself an offering for our sins, for our sakes, for our salvation! Yet, in spite of all this—he is very ready and willing to bind himself by covenant, that he will redeem us, whatever it cost him. Oh, what tongue can express, what heart can conceive, what soul can comprehend, "the heights, depths, breadths, and lengths of this love"? Eph. 3:18-19.

O blessed Jesus, what manner of love is this—that you should wash away my scarlet sins in your own blood! That you should die—that I may live! That you should be cursed—that I might be blessed! That you should undergo the pains of hell—that I might enjoy the joys of heaven! That the face of God should be clouded from you—that his everlasting favor might rest upon me! That you should be an everlasting screen between the wrath of God and my immortal soul! That you should do for me beyond all expression, and suffer for me beyond all conception, and gloriously provide for me beyond all expectation! and all this according to the covenant of redemption! What shall I say, what can I say to all this, but fall down before your grace, and spend my days in wondering at that matchless, bottomless love, which can never be fathomed by angels or men!

"O Lord Jesus," says Bernard, "I love you more than all my goods, and I love you more than all my friends, yes, I love you more than my very self!" It is good to write after this copy.