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COVENANT OF REDEMPTION.
WHEN THOU SHALT MAKE HIS SOUL AN OFFERING FOR SIN, HE
SHALL SEE HIS SEED; HE SHALL PROLONG HIS DAYS, AND THE PLEASURE OF THE LORD SHALL PROSPER IN HIS HAND. HE SHALL SEE OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL, AND SHALL BE SATISFIED; BY HIS KNOWLEDGE SHALL MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY; FOR HE SHALL BEAR THEIR INIQUITIES. THEREFORE WILL I DIVIDE HIM A PORTION WITH THE GREAT, AND HE SHALL DIVIDE THE SPOIL WITH THE STRONG; BECAUSE HE HATH POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH; AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS; AND HE BARE THE SIN OF MANY, AND MADE INTERCESSION FOR THE TRANSGRESSORS.
ISAIAH LIII. 10-12.
IF HIS SOUL SHALL MAKE A PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE, HE SHALL SEE
A SEED, WHICH SHALL PROLONG THEIR DAYS; AND THE GRACIOUS PURPOSE OF JEHOVAH SHALL PROSPER IN HIS HANDS. OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL HE SHALL SEE (THE FRUIT) AND BE SATISFIED: BY THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM SHALL MY SERVANT JUSTIFY MANY; FOR THE PUNISHMENT OF THEIR INIQUITIES HE SHALL BEAR. THEREFORE WILL I DISTRIBUTE TO HIM THE MANY FOR HIS PORTION; AND THE MIGHTY PEOPLE SHALL HE SHARE FOR HIS SPOIL; BECAUSE HE POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH, AND WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS; AND HE BARE THE SIN OF MANY; AND MADE INTERCESSION FOR THE TRANSGRESSORS."
In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul declares, that God hath chosen us in Christ, before the foundation of the world ; having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to 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.'
The manner in which this transaction took place, and in which the purposes of it were accomplished, is recorded in the text. The Person who speaks in the text is unquestionably God the Father; as is evident from the fact, that he calls Christ in the 11th verse' my Servant.' The context, as you well know, is an eminent and remarkable prophecy concerning the birth, life, and sufferings of Christ ; and has been acknowledged as such, so far as my information extends, by both the Jewish and Christian churches universally, in every age since it was written. Almost the whole of it is occupied by an account of his humiliation and sufferings, described with such a degree of minuteness and exactness, as to wear the appearance rather of a history than of a prophecy.
In the text, a covenant is made on the part of the speaker, with the Person of whom he speaks; or, on the part of God the Father with the Son. In the tenth verse, the first of the text, it is proposed, conditionally, in the following terms : · When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days; and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.' In the translation of Bishop Lowth, which differs from the common one only by being more correct and explicit, it is, “ If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice, he shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days; and the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hands." The difference lies, principally, in the second cause, “He shall see a seed which shall prolong their days.” It could not, I think, with propriety be promised, as a reward to Christ for his sufferings, that, in any sense, he should prolong his own days; but with the most perfect propriety, that he should see a seed which, in a sense hereafter to be explained, should prolong their days. The days of him, who is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever;' the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending,' could not in any sense be prolonged in consequence of his sufferings, or of any other possible event. The word his, supplied by the translators, is supplied erroneously: since in the present translation it presents a meaning which plainly cannot be admitted. The justice of these remarks will be farther evident from the repetition of the same covenant in the 11th verse: · He shall see of the
travail of his soul;' that is, as explained by Lowth, “Of the travail of his soul he shall see the fruit and be satisfied;"
By his knowledge,' or, as Lowth more correctly renders it, By the knowledge of him shall my Servant justify many." The justification of the many, here spoken of, connected with its consequences, is the very reward promised in the preceding verse, in the words, 'He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days:' and here the reward promised is no other than the justification, and consequent eternal life, of those who should become interested in his death.
Still farther is this interpretation evinced to be just by the repetition of the promise in the twelfth verse, or third of the text; • Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong ; because he hath poured out his soul unto death;' or, as more happily rendered by Bishop Lowth, " Therefore I will distribute to him the many for his portion; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil, because he poured out his soul unto death.” It is not true that Christ has a portion divided to him with the great, or a spoil divided to him with the strong. • He trod the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with him.' Nor is there any one to share with him the reward of his sufferings; but he was alone in the sufferings and the reward alike. Accordingly in the Septuagint this passage is rendered, “ For this cause shall he receive many for his inheritance, and shall share spoils of the strong.”
Finally: The same thing is abundantly evinced in Psalm Ixxxix. where also the same covenant is recorded. • Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.' And again : · His sced also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.' It is to be observed, that in all these passages the reward promised to Christ consists in giving persons to him, as ' seed,' the many,'
the mighty people. These are undoubtedly no other than ' the general assembly and church of the first-born;' styled elsewhere ` the children of God;' little children ;'
sons and daughters. They are his own people, those in whom he has a peculiar property; persons justified in this manner have become his portion,' his spoil,' his seed. The reward of his sufferings here promised is to consist of these.
It is not, however, to consist in the persons only, but in their circumstances also. It is not promised, merely, that they shall be given to him as a possession, but that they shall be given to him in a peculiar manner; attended with one circumstance, at least, which in the eye of the Promiser was considered as materially important to the nature of the gift. · He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days; or, as in the corresponding passage, shall endure for ever.' The meaning of this phraseology is to be sought in the use of it in parallel passages, found in the Scriptures. In Psalm xv. David inquires, ' Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?' and immediately answers, . He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness.' In Psalm xlix. 12, he says of the wicked, that, being in honour, they abide not, but are like the beasts that perish. In Psalm cxxv. 1, he says, ' They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.' In John xv. 10, our Saviour saith to his disciples, · If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.' In 1 John ü. 17, it is said, ' And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' In Psalm cii. 28, it is said, “ The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.'
We are now prepared to settle the meaning of the phrase under consideration. • To prolong their days,'to endure for ever,' is to abide in the tabernacle of God," in his boly bill,' in the Heavens ;' 'to abide in the love of Christ, as he abides in his Father's love, for ever:' to abide, when the World has passed away, and the lust thereof :'.' to be established before God,' or in his presence. In a word, it is to dwell for ever in Heaven, amid the enjoyments of a happy immortality. This is what the Scriptures consider as, abiding, enduring, and being established, whenever this language is applied to men. In opposition to this, the wicked are said to be cut off, and to perish, to be as the grass, to be destroyed, to be no more ; and their candle' is said to go out. This part of the promise, then, is no other than that the seed of Christ shall enjoy a blessed eternity.
In the passages quoted from Psalm lxxxix. an additional VOL. 11.
promise is made in the same covenant. It is there said, that • his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne,' that is, his dominion over them particularly, 'as the days of heaven.' The same thing is also covenanted, in different phraseology, in Isaiah ix. 6, 7. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Father of the everlasting age, and the Prince of peace. And of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.' Here we are taught, that of the increase of the government' of Christ, that is, of its splendour and glory, ' and of the peace,' or prosperity, of his subjects accomplished by it, there shall be no end :' in other words, that the glory of his government, and the happiness of his church, shall increase for ever.
The condition on his part, to which these rewards are promised, is that he shall make his soul an offering for sin :' or ū propitiatory sacrifice. Another condition is also specified, as the procuring cause of the reward, in the last verse ; and therefore was undoubtedly included, although not expressed, in the two former verses ; this is, that he made intercession for the transgressors.'
In this passage, then, we have the substance of the Mediation of Christ drawn out in the essential particulars : his humiliation, atonement, and intercession. The reward also, that is, the great object which was his inducement to undertake this mediation, is distinctly expressed: viz. that • he should see a seed, which should prolong their days, and that the gracious purpose of Jehovah should prosper in his hands.' This in the Epistle to the Hebrews is by St. Paul styled the joy set before him ;' that is, set before him in this promise, or covenant; for which, he informs us, Christ endured the
• cross, and despised the shame.'
In the text also we are taught the means by which, on their part, mankind become his seed, expressed in the following declaration : . By the knowledge of him shall my Servant justify many. By the knowledge of Christ here we are unquestionably to understand, that knowledge of God the Father, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent, which in John xvii. 3, he declares to be life eternal; and which in the 8th verse he speaks of as being the same with evangelical faith. They