Christ did not procure by his death the New Covenant
or the terms thereof
††††††††† We heard what the author of the Discourse of the Two Covenants, and what John Goodwine said of this New Covenant. As the foundation of their assertion of the imputation of faith, properly taken, they tell us, that the New Covenant wherein this righteousness is required, as the condition thereof, is founded wholly in the blood of Christ, so that whatever is required of man by way of condition of his acceptation with God, becomes accepted to that end, upon account of Christís suffering, Mr. Allen, page 16, 53, 54, says, Nor doth this, that faith accompanied with obedience is imputed for righteousness, at all derogate from the obedience and sufferings of Christ, in reference to the ends, for which they serve. Because the whole covenant, and all the parts and terms of it, both the promises of benefits, and the condition on which they are promised, are all founded in Christís undertaking for us; and all the benefits of it accrue to us upon our believing and obeying, upon his account and for his sake. Mr. Baxter also tells us, in his book against D. Tully, page 66, that that which Christ did by his merits, was to procure the New Covenant. And elsewhere, page 181, that they were the meritorious cause of the forgiving covenants, and the like he says elsewhere frequently. The Arminians ground the imputation of faith upon the merits and obedience of Christ, Apol. s. 113. And Arminius himself, disp. 19. thes. 7. that justification is attributed to faith, not because it is the very righteousness, which may be proposed to Godís rigid and severe judgment, howbeit acceptable to God; but because, by the judgment of mercy triumphing over judgment, it obtains pardon for sins, and is graciously imputed unto righteousness, the cause of which is both God righteous and merciful, and Christ by his obedience, oblation and intercession. And in his epistle ad Hyppolet. he tells us that the word imputing signifies that faith is not the righteousness itself, but that it is graciously accounted for righteousness, whereby all worth is taken away from faith, except, that which is by Godís gracious estimation and that gracious estimation of God is not without Christ, but in respect of Christ, in Christ, and for Christ. Christ by his obedience is the impetrating cause, or meritorious, why God
imputes faith to us unto righteousness. And again in his Artic. perpend. de justif. What fault is it to say, that faith by free and gracious acceptation is accounted for righteousness, because of Christís obedience.
††††††††† But with this assertion, we are not satisfied, for these reasons:
††††††††† 1. The Arminians, who maintain this so confidently, make it the whole of what Christ merited by his death and satisfaction, saying that Christ by his death did so satisfy the offended party, as he would be favorable to the offender; and so say, that he acquired to the Father a jus and a will to enter into a New Covenant with men. See their confession c. 8. ß 9. collat. cum. Apolog. c. 8. ß 9. and as the learned Voetius infers, Select dispp. p. 2, 233, 234, it follows hence that Christ was not in very deed our Cautioner; that he died not in our room and stead; that he did properly obtain and acquire nothing to us; and that he did not sustain the person of the elect, while he suffered on the cross.
††††††††† 2. That Christ procured no more, but a power or liberty unto God of prescribing new conditions; and some go so far as to say that this liberty was such only, as the Lord might, if he had pleased, have appointed the old way of works again, for the condition. So said Grevinchovius ag. Amesius. But it is true, they yield more, who grant that he purchased the New Covenant. Yet by this purchase they cannot say that Christ died to redeem us from our sins, from the wrath of God, from a vain conversation, and to save us: And indeed the same person last named, says expressly that Christ died not properly to save any one. And what else can be said by such as make this the whole of what Christ purchased? And how rational is that manís consequence, when he says that it may just have well been that Christ had achieved his purpose in dying, without anyone fulfilling the New Covenant and being saved; for they will not grant that Christ did purchase faith.
††††††††† 3. Hence we see, that such as say that this was all which Christ procured by his death and merits, do manifestly spoil us of all the rich benefits which Christ hath purchased, as being no immediate fruits of his death; such as faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, grace, and glory, and thus empty the whole virtue of the death of Christ. And Mr. Allenís words import this very thing when he says, page 53, that all the benefits of the covenant accrue to us upon our believing and obeying, upon his account and for his sake: and so they do not accrue to us upon his account and for his sake immediately; but immediately upon the account and for the sake of our believing and obeying; only the relation is made for Christís sake.
††††††††† 4. Whoever asserts that Christ hath purchased the framing and constitution of this covenant, in its terms and conditions, ought to confirm their assertion out of Scripture. Till this be done, we are at liberty to deny it, how ever confidently it may be affirmed. It is certain, that such a principal point and ground article of our religion would not be darkly expressed in the Scriptures, far less, wholly passed over in silence, as for anything that yet is made to appear, it is. As for I Corinthians 1: 30 and Jeremiah 23: 6, which Mr. Allen cites, anyone may see how impertinent they are, and so we say no more.
††††††††† 5. If so, then we must say with Papists, that Christ hath procured a worth to our faith and obedience, to merit ex pacto, the good things promised unto such as are believers and obedient: Yea hereby there would be more of merit in our faith, than in Christís obedience.
††††††††† 6. We must say, that Christ hath purchased that we might be justified by an imperfect righteousness; For it is sure that our faith and obedience are not perfect even when sincere, they labor of many imperfections, and have dross and faultiness admixed: As also that he hath purchased that an imperfect righteousness should be accounted and esteemed a perfect righteousness; and consequently that the judgment of God should not be according to truth: which were blasphemous and iniquous to imagine.
††††††††† 7. Thus in effect, Christ should be made the minister of sin, by changing the conditions of the old law, which were perfect and complete obedience, into an obedience far short of that, and thus he must have come either to dissolve the obligation of the law, that it should not exact now what it did of old; or to loose us from the obligation thereof; that we should in part be lawless; neither of which can be asserted; and yet this position makes clear way for either or both.
††††††††† 8. Then we must say, that Christ hath purchased such a way of justification, as leaves ground for men to glory and boast though not before God, yet before men; for hereby he is made to purchase the renewing of the Old Covenant of Works, with some mitigation, as to the terms, though with little mitigation, as to the persons; unless we say with these Arminians that man is as able to believe and obey sincerely, if he will, as Adam was to obey perfectly: But it is sure that Christ came for a far different end than to leave man any ground of boasting, or of glorying in himself for his justification and salvation, as having made himself to differ.
††††††††† 9. Then Christ hath purchased a way whereby man might hold his pardon, justification, adoption, &c. more of himself, than of Christ. For by this way, Christ cannot be said to have purchased our pardon, justification, &c. but only that we should have these favors upon our faith: or have such and such a reward of our faith and obedience; as he, who procures that a person shall have such a benefit upon condition he perform such a service, cannot be said to have procured that reward; for notwithstanding of this procurement (if it may be so called, which is at best, but a conditional uncertain thing) †the person might never have the reward.
††††††††† 10. Then the making of the New Covenant, and the making of it on these terms, should be an act of mere justice, in God, and not an act of his free grace, love, good pleasure, will and kindness: for it is justice and righteousness in God, to do that, which Christ hath purchased and procured to be done; though it is true, it may thus be accounted a mere favor, that it was of Godís free will to enter into such terms of agreement with the Mediator, and to yield to the making of such a condition, upon Christís purchase. But the Apostle tells us, Ephesians 1: 9, that God made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in himself. Which mystery of his will is the New Covenant and dispensation of
grace in the Gospel; and it is ascribed not to the merits of Christ; but to Godís good pleasure, and to the purpose, which he purposed in himself. So the saving of such as believe, flows from the love of God, as well as, and no less than the sending of Christ. John 3: 16, God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son, that every believer in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. So Ephesians 3: 9, 10, 11, the fellowship of the mystery was hid in God; and the manifold wisdom of God (which shines forth in the New Covenant) was according to the eternal purpose; which he had purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is ascribed to Godís love John 3: 16, and will John 6:40.
††††††††† 11. I grant, it may be said, that as Christ hath purchased to his own pardon, justification, adoption, and salvation; so, as a consequence of this, he hath purposed the means, or rather the application of the means, thereunto, so that the good things purchased may be actually conferred, according to the manner and method condescended upon by Jehovah and the Mediator in the Covenant of Redemption; for He hath chosen us, in himself, having predestined us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted, in the beloved, in whom we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, &c. Ephesians 1: 4, 5, 6, 7. The chosen ones are predestined both to the end, and to the means leading to the end. But this matter is not consistent with their assertion, who say, that Christ by his death hath purchased faith and new obedience to be the condition of the covenant, because by their universal redemption they leave all at an uncertainty, especially when also they will not grant, that Christ hath purchased faith itself to any person.
††††††††† 12. It must be said that Christ purchased the terms of the new Covenant and purchased that God should abolish the Law quite, and not require a conformity thereunto, as our righteousness, by virtue of the new covenant, nor exact full obedience to the law, from any, in our name; and consequently it must be said, that Christ hath purchased, that the Lawgiver should wholly pass from that established constitution, do and live, without any real accomplishment thereof, or requiring the real accomplishment thereof from any, on their behalf, to the end, the Lord might be just, when he is the justifier of him that believes in Jesus.
††††††††† 13. This assertion also strikes against Christís being the Surety of the New Covenant: for it is not the work of a Surety, as such, to purchase the making and constitution of a covenant; but to confirm and ratify the same, and to engage for the party, for whom he is a Surety, that he shall perform the conditions, accorded to in the Covenant; and so to establish the covenant or contract, already agreed unto and constituted.
††††††††† 14. Thus it should be said that Christ died rather for graces, than for persons, to wit. That faith and new obedience may be elevated beyond their ordinary sphere, and exalted to be the condition of the new covenant. But all of Scripture speaks otherwise of Christís death.
††††††††† 15. If this were the thing that Christ procured, he could not be said
to have redeemed any, nor to have died in the room and stead of any, but only for our good, as the Socinians say. To purchase a New Covenant, is not to be a propitiation, to bear our sins, or to reconcile any unto God.
††††††††† 16. Mr. Baxter himself against Mr. Cartwright, p 91, hath these words, And therefore the performer and the accepter did themselves choose, on what terms it (i.e. Christís righteousness) should be applied to us, or be made ours, quoad fructus: and the terms resolved on were the New Covenant conditions, which are now required of us to our participation hereof. These words import some other rise unto this covenant, than the purchase of Christ.