by Samuel Willard
Lightly modernized and reformatted
Wherein is laid the Foundation of all our HOPES and HAPPINESS. Briefly Opened and Improved. By Samuel Willard, Teacher of a Church in BOSTON.
"The Doctrine of the Covenant of Redemption" by Samuel Willard (1640–1707) is a theological treatise that explores the concept of the Covenant of Redemption and its profound implications within Christian theology. In this book, Willard explores the fundamental idea that God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, entered into a covenant with His Son, Jesus Christ, from eternity past to accomplish the salvation of the elect.
The book begins by acknowledging the sovereign authority of God over all His creations and how, in His sovereignty, God could have simply required obedience from humanity without making any promises. However, Willard asserts that God chose to engage with humanity through covenants. He emphasizes the distinction between the Covenant of Works, established with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and the Covenant of Grace, established with fallen humanity as a means of reconciliation.
The Covenant of Grace, as Willard explains, is a covenant of salvation and reconciliation with God. It is described as an act of eminent grace because it extends God's mercy and salvation to fallen and sinful humanity. Willard draws upon biblical references to support his argument that there are only two essential covenants—the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace—and that they are fundamentally different and even opposing in nature.
The author further challenges the notion that the Covenant of Grace has evolved over time, arguing that its substance has remained consistent throughout history, even in the Old Testament. He asserts that believers in both the Old and New Testaments are saved by the same Christ and the same Covenant of Grace.
Willard introduces another critical covenant—the Covenant of Redemption—upon which the Covenant of Grace is built. He contends that God the Father and God the Son entered into this eternal covenant, a divine transaction from before the foundation of the world, with the purpose of securing the salvation of the elect. This Covenant of Redemption is seen as the foundation upon which the Covenant of Grace rests.
The book explores the federal nature of these transactions between God the Father and God the Son, highlighting the role of Christ as a Surety and Expromissor, the One who undertakes the responsibility for the salvation of the elect. Willard explains that, in this covenant, the Son of God promised to lay down His life to satisfy divine justice on behalf of those chosen by the Father. This divine covenant is portrayed as having an eternal efficacy, with Christ being "slain from the foundation of the world," meaning that believers in every age are saved through faith in Christ's sacrifice, even those who lived before His earthly incarnation.
In summary, "The Doctrine of the Covenant of Redemption" by Samuel Willard is a comprehensive exploration of the Covenant of Redemption and its significance in the broader context of Christian theology. It explores theological intricacies and biblical references to provide a deeper understanding of the eternal covenant between God the Father and God the Son for the salvation of humanity. This book is an important theological work that contributes to the study of covenant theology and the doctrine of salvation in Christian thought.
Table of Contents
To the Reader
CHAPTER I: An Introduction.
CHAPTER II: The Right Notion of the Covenant of Redemption Stated
CHAPTER III: Scripture Evidence that there is such a Covenant of Redemption.
CHAPTER IV: Of the Parties in the Covenant of Redemption.
CHAPTER V: Of the Rise of this Covenant, or the Grounds of its being made.
CHAPTER VI: When this Covenant was made.
CHAPTER VII: Whether it be a Covenant of Works, or of Grace.
CHAPTER VIII: Who are Covenanted for?
CHAPTER IX: What are the Articles of the Covenant?
CHAPTER X: The necessity of this Covenant, in order to Man's Salvation.
CHAPTER XI: Influence of the Covenant of Redemption on the Covenant of Grace, which is made with us.
CHAPTER XII: The Application of this Truth by way of Information.
CHAPTER XIII: The Farther Application by Way of Exhortation, and Consolation.