Page images

our Mediator and surety, according to the tenor of the cover nant entered into with the Father, Essenius, formerly his scholar, and afterwards his colleague, de subjectione Christi ad legem, c. x. $ %. says, “the federal scaling of the divine promise did also really take place in Christ,” according to Isa. liii. 10, Il Dr. Owen handles this very subject at large, on Heb. T. 1. Exercit

. iv. p. 49. Nor was this doctrine up known to the popish doctors. Tirinus on Isai diä. 11. thus comments, that the prophet there explains the compact agreed on between God the Father, and Christ," by which, on account of the sufferings and death of Christ, redemption, jus tification, and glorification, were appointed to be the rewards of all those who faithfully adhere to Christ. Thus it appears, that these sentiments concerning the covenant betwcon the Farm ther and the Son, are not to be treated with contempt


[ocr errors]


The nature of the Covenant between the Father and the Son

more fully explained. 1. As the covenant between the Father and the Sow is the foundation of the whole of our salvation, it will not be impro per to stop here a little, and, in our further meditation, enquare, 1st. From whence the beginning of this covenant ought to be taken, and in what periods of time it was completed. Adly. What the law of the covenant contains, how far, and to what it binds the Son. Sdly. Whether the Son might not have engaged in this covenant, or have withdrawn himself from it, and had no more to do with it. Athly. What and how great a reward was promised to the Son, and wbich he was to obtain in virtue of the covenant,

II. I consider three periods, as it were, of this covenant. Its commencement was in the eternal counsel of the adorable Trinity: in which the Son of God was constituited by the Father, with the approbation of the Holy Spirit, the Saviout of mankind; on this condition, that in the fulness of time he should be made of a woman,

and made under the law; which the Son undertook to perform 4 Peter has a view to this he says, 1 Pet. 1. 20. chat Christmas foreordained be foundation of the world. "a To this purpose is also what the supreme Wisdom testiftes concerning itself, Provi i mous 'set 'up (anointed) from tverlasting that is,

tis, by my owa VOL. I r d 110 4

[ocr errors]

and tre will of my Father, which is one and the same, I was appointed to the performance of the mediatorial office in time. Paul likewise declares, that we were chosen in Cbrist before the foundation of the world," Epb. i. 4. And consequently, Christ himself was constituted from werlasting the head of those that rere to be saved, and they were given unto him, Juba xvii6. for whom he was to merit salvation, and in Jobo '

' whom he was to be glorified and admired. From this constitution, the Son, from everlasting, bore a peculiar relation to those that were to be saved. Hence the book of life is espe cially appropriated to the Lamb, Rev. Xüi. 8. as containing a description of the peculiar people assigned to the Lamb from all eternity. Hence also it was that God, by his amazing wis dom, so ordered many things in man's state of innocence, that the attentive remembrance of them after the fall, and the comparing them with those things which were afterwards revealed, might have reminded him of this divine counsel; as we have shewn, chap. vi. S III.

III. The second period of this covenant I place in that intercession of Christ, by which, immediately upon the fall of man, be offered himself to God, now offended, in order actually to perform those things, to which he had engaged himself from eternity, saying, thou hast given them to me, and I will make satisfaction for them: and so be made way for the word of grace to be declared to, and the covenant of grace to be made with them. Thus Christ was actually constituted Me. diator, and revealed as such immediately upon the fall; and having undertaken the suretiship, he began to act many things belonging to the offices of a Mediator. As a prophet, and the interpreter of the divine will

, he even then, by his Spirit, revealed those things relating to the salvation of the elect, and by his ministers published them, Isa. xlviii. 15. 1 Pet. i.

1 11. and iü. 19. Nay, he himself sometimes appeared in the character of an Angel, instructing his people in the counsel of God. As a King he gathered his church, and formed to bimself a people, in whom he might reign by his word and Spirit. For it was the Son of God who said to Israel, Exod. xix. 6. and

ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and who with more than royal pomp, published his law on mount Sinai, Acts vii. 88. and whom Isaiah saw sitting as king upon a throne, chap. vi. compared with John xü. 41. As a priest, he took upon bimself the sins of the elect, that he might expiate them by the sacrifice of his body, which was to be prepared for him in the fulness of time. In virtue of this, as a faithful surety,

[ocr errors]



VII. Nor is it any objection against this, that the Son, from eternity, undertook for men, and thereby came under a certain peculiar relation to those that were to be saved. For, as that engagement was nothing but the most glorious act of the di. vine will of the Son, doing what none but God could do, it implies therefore no manner of subjection: it only imports, that there should be a time, when that divine person, on assuming Aesh, would appear in the form of a servant. And by undertaking to perform this obedience, in the human nature, in its proper time, the Son, as God, did no more subject himself to the Father, than the Father with respect to the Son, to the owing that reward of debt, which he promised him a right to claim. All these things are to be conceived of in a manner becoming God.

VIII. Nor ought it to be urged, that the Son, even before his incarnation, was called the Angel, Gen. xlviii. 16. Exod. xxiii. 20. For that signifies no inferiority of the Son, before the time appointed for his incarnation; but only a form resembling the appearances of angels, and prefiguring his future mission into the world.

IX. As man, he was doubtless subject to the moral law, as it is the rule, both of the nature and actions of man. For, it is a contradiction, as we proved before, to suppose a rational creature, such as is the human nature of Christ, to be without law : and in this manner he was really bound by the law: 1st. To preserve the holiness implanted into bis nature from his first conception, unspotted and pure. Adly. To express it in the most perfect manner in his life and actions, from all his heart, all his soul, and all his strength. 8dly. Constantly to perse vere therein, without yielding to any temptations, to the end of his course.

X. And as Christ was not only a man, and a common inhabitant of the world, but also an Israelite, that is, a member of the church of the Old Testament, and a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel; he was also subject to the ceremonial and political laws, which were then still in force, according to the divine institution. By virtue of these laws, Christ made use of the Sacraments of the Old Testament, observed the festivals, repaired to the temple, and behaved as an obedient subject under a lawful magistracy. He initiated himself by circumcision to the obedience of the ceremonial law; declared his obedience to the political laws by paying tribute, Matt. xvii. 24, 25. XI. It may be objected that as to the ceremonial laws, Christ


[ocr errors]

declared himself greater than the temple, Matt. qu. 6. And Lord of the Sabbath, v. & As to the political, that being the Son of God, he was exempted from paying tribute, Matt. xvi. 26, 27. But this may be solved from the different relations

, which Christ sustained; for as God, and the Son of God, he was Lord of the law, the lawgiver himself, who, on account of his divine nature, had authority to dispense with precepts of a mutable and positive institution, and if, when he became man, he had insisted on his being the Son of God, and for that reason had acted as equal to God, in that respect peither the officers of the temple, nor the questors of the emperor, could have demanded any thing of him as an inferior. But Christ did not think proper to insist on this his right, but rather to behave as a servant of Rulers, Isa. xlix. 7.

XII. But further, as Mediator and Surety, he is under the law in another manner, and that two ways; Ist. As enjoining the condition of perfect obedience, upon which he and his were to partake of happiness. Adly. As binding to the penalty, due to the sins of the elect, which he had taken upon bimself. .

XIII. As to the former, had the Son of God been pleased to appear in our nature, but not in the quality of a Surety, he would necessarily have been a holy person, and conformed to the law of God prescribed to the human nature. For every man, as such, is bound to be subject to God, in all righteousness and boliness, which is exactly described in the divine law. But by the

personal covenant-engagement of the Mediator to that abso lute subjection of nature, which is eternally to coutinue without end, there is another obligation to subjection, limited to a certain period of time, which the apostle, Heb. v. 7. calls the days of his flesh; during which Christ when obeying the law, was meriting that happiness, which he was not in possession of; considering this law, not only as a rule of life, but also as prescribing the condition of acquiring happiness For, if we se clude the procuring of our salvation, nothing hindered him from the possession of glory and happiness, from the very beginning of his conception. For, by being the Son, he was heir of all things. But it was owing to his voluntary covenant-engagement, that though he was rich, 2 Cor. vij. 9. and might have acted as equal to God from the very beginning of his incarnation, yet for our sakes he became poor. That this subjection to the law, as enjoining the condition of happiness, is to be distin guished from that other absolute subjection to it, as the rule of holiness, appears hence, that Christ has laid aside the first, while this last continues, and will continue, to eternity.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »