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was the redemption and recovery of all God's people : our eternal happiness lay now before them, our dearest and everlasting concerns were now in their hands. The elect (though not yet in being) are here considered as existent, yea, and as fallen, miserable, forlorn creatures: how these may again be restored to happiness without prejudice to the honor, justice, and truth of God: this, this is the business that lay before them.
III. The manner, or quality of the transaction, was federal, or of the nature of a covenant; it was by mutual engagements and stipulations, each person undertaking to perform his part in order to our recovery.
IV. More particularly, we will next consider the articles to which they do both agree; or, what it is that each person doth for himself promise to the other. And, to let us see how much the Father's heart is engaged in the salvation of poor sinners, there are four things which he promiseth to do for Christ, if he will undertake that work.
1. He promiseth to invest him, and anoint him to a threefold office, answerable to the misery that lay upon the elect, as so many bars to all communion with and enjoyment of God; for, if ever man be restored to that happiness, the blindness of his mind must be cured, the guilt of sin expiated, and his captivity to sin led captive. Christ must, " of God, be made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Cor. 1:30. And he is made so to us as our Prophet, Priest, and King ; but he could not put himself into either of these ; for if so, he had acted without commission, and consequently all he did had been invalid; "Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son.” Heb. 5:5. A commission, therefore, to act authoritatively in these offices, being necessary to our recovery, the Father engages to him to seal him such a threefold commission.
He promiseth to invest him with an eternal and royal priesthood, " The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Psa. 110 :4. This Melchisedec being king of righteousness, and king of Salem, that is, Peace, had a royal priesthood; and his descent not being reckoned, it had an adumbration of eternity in it, and so was more fit to typify and shadow forth the priesthood of Christ than Aaron was. Heb. 7:17, 24, 25.
He promiseth moreover to make him a Prophet, and that an extraordinary one, even the Prince of prophets; the chief Shepherd, as much superior to all others as the sun is to the lesser stars; so it is said, "I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes,” &c. Isa. 42:6, 7.
And not only so, but to make him King also, and that of the whole empire of the world ; "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the earth for thy possession.” Psa. 2:8. Thus the Father promises to qualify and furnish the Son completely for the work, by his investiture with this threefold office.
2. He promiseth to crown his work with success, and bring it to a happy issue: "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Isa. 53 : 10. He shall not begin, and not finish; he shall not shed his invaluable blood upon hazardous terms; but shall see and reap the sweet fruits thereof; as the joyful mother forgets her sorrows when she delightfully embraces her living child.
3. The Father promiseth to accept him in his work: Surely,” saith the Son, "my work is with
God.” Isa. 49:4. And, "I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord.” Verse 5. His faith hath therein respect to this compact and promise. Accordingly, the Father mani
fests the satisfaction he had in him, and in his work, even while he was about it upon the earth, "when there came such a voice from the excellent glory, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 2 Pet. 1:17.
4. He engaged to reward him highly for his work, by exalting him to singular and super-eminent glory and honor, when he should have despatched and finished it. So you read, "I will declare the decree; the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Psa. 2:7. It is spoken of the day of his resurrection, when he had just finished his sufferings. And so the apostle expounds and applies it. Acts, 13:32, 33. For then did the Lord wipe away the reproach of his
As if the Father had said, Now thou hast again recovered thy glory, and this day is to thee as a new birth-day.
These are the encouragements and rewards proposed and promised to him by the Father. This was the joy set before him, as the apostle expresses it in Heb. 12 : 2, which made him so patiently "endure the cross, and despise the shame."
And in like manner Jesus Christ gives his engagement to the Father; that, upon these terms, he is to be made flesh, to divest, as it were, himself of his glory, to come under the obedience and malediction of the law, and not to refuse any, the hardest sufferings it should please his Father to inflict on him. So much is implied in Isa. 50:5-7. "The Lord hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded ; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” And the sense of this place is well delivered to us in
other terms, " Then said I, Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will, O God, thy law is within my heart.” Psa. 40 : 6-10. Oh see with what a full consent the heart of Christ closeth with the Father's offers and proposals ! like some echo that answers your voice twice or thrice over. So doth Christ here answer his Father's call, "I
I delight to do thy will; yea, thy law is in my heart.”
V. I will briefly show how these articles and agreements were on the part of both performed, and that precisely and punctually,
1. The Son having thus consented, accordingly he applies himself to the discharge of his work. He took a body, and in it fulfilled all righteousness, even to a tittle. Matt. 3:15. And, at last, his soul was made an offering for sin, so that he could say, "Father, I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John, 17:4. He went through all the parts of his active and passive obedience, cheerfully and faithfully.
2. The Father made good his engagements to Christ, all along, with no less faithfulness than Christ did his. He promised to assist, and hold his hand, Isa. 42: 5, and so he did ; "there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke, 22:43. In his agony in the garden, this was seasonable aid and succor. He promised to accept bim in his work, and that he should be glorious in his eyes: so he did; for he not only declared it by a voice from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Luke, 3 : 22; but it was fully declared in his resurrection and ascension, which were a full discharge and justification of him. He promised him that "He should see his seed,” Isa. 53 : 10, and so he did; for his very birth-dew was as the dew of the morning; and ever since his blood has been fruitful in the world. He promised gloriously to
reward and exalt him; and so he hath, and that highly and super-eminently, "giving him a name above every name in heaven and earth.” Phil. 2:9-11. Thus were the articles performed.
VI. When was this compact made between the Father and the Son? I answer, it bears date from eternity. Before this world was, then were his delights in us,
while as yet we had no existence, but only in the infinite mind and purpose of God, who had decreed this forous in Christ Jesus, as the apostle speaks, 2 Tim. 1: 9. What grace was that which was given us in Christ before the world began, but this grace of redemption, which was from everlasting thus contrived and designed for us, in the
way which has been here opened? Then was the counsel, or consultation of peace between them both, as some understand Zech. 6:13.
INFERENCE 1. We see the abundant security God has given his people for their salvation, and that not only in respect of the covenant of grace made with them, but also of this covenant of redemption made with Christ for them; which is indeed the foundation of the covenant of grace. God's single promise is security enough to our faith, but his covenant of grace adds further security; both these, viewed as the effects and fruits of this covenant of redemption, make all fast and sure. Happy were it, if Christians, in perplexity and distress, would turn their eyes from the defects in their obedience, to the fulness of Christ, and see themselves complete in him.
2. Moreover, hence we infer the validity and unquestionable success of Christ's intercession in heaven for believers. You read, " that he ever liveth to make intercession,” Heb. 7:25, and, that his blood speaks good things for them. Heb. 12: 24. Now, that his blood shall obtain what it pleads for in heaven, is undoubted, and that from the consideration of this covenant of redemp