if it be inquired, which of these are the greatest,
* The Persons of the Trinity. Some serious persons have been
offended at these terms as unscripturai and unwarrantable. It is ac-
knowledged well to keep as much as may be to the phraseolog;y, as
well as doctrines of revelation ; but it is not always possible, unless at
least, we will talk Greek and Hebrew. As to the word Trinity, since
it implies no more than the union of Three in One, without leaning to
any particular scheme of explication, those who believe the divine and
mysterious union of Father, Son, and Spirit, in one Godhead, need
hardly scruple it, however a\ erse to human systems.
msTORV or hi;dei\iption 7
the works of creation, or the works of providence ?
I answer, the works of providence ; because God's
works of providence are the end of his works of
creation ; as the building of a house, or the forming
of an engine or machine, is for its future use. But
God's main work of providence is this great work
of redemption, as will more fully appear hereafter.
The creation of heaven was in order to the work
of redemption : it was to be an habitation for the
redeemed. Matt. xxv. 34, ' Then shall the King
say unto them on his right hand. Come ye blessed
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world.' Even the angels
were created to be employed in this work. * And
therefore the apostle calls them ' ministering spirits,
sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of
salvation,' Heb. i. 14. As to this lower world, it
was doubtless created to be a stage upon which this
great and wonderful work of redemption should be
transacted ; and therefore, as might be shewn, in
many respects this world is wisely fitted, in the
formation, for such a state of man as he is in since
the fall, under a possibility of redemption ; so that
when it is said, that the work of redemption is car-
ried on from the fall of man to the end of the world,
it is not meant, that all that ever was done in order
to redemption has been done since the fall.
Nor, is it meant that there will be no remaining
fruits of this work after the end of the world. That
glory and blessedness, which will be the sum of
them all, will remain to the saints for ever. The
* Heaven (and the Angels) created in order to the work of re-
demption. That is, this was one of the ejids God had then in view,
but the supreme end was his own glory. See Prov. xvi. 4.
This world created to be a stage for the work of redemption. This
tliought is certainly just and be?LUtiful. Those who have considered
the world as designed for only perfect creatures, have had many diffi-
culties, which this idea at once removes. What would have become
of our first parents, had they continued in a state of innocence? How
the world would have contained all its successive generations at once?
And the like inquiries are as impertinent as perplexing. God fore-
knew the fall— fore-ordained the mediator— and previously fitted the
world to his own mac-nificent designs.
ft HISTORY Ob" REDEMP'lION.
work of redemption is not a work always doing and
never accomplished ; the work has an issue : but in
the issue the end will be obtained ; which end will
never terminate. As those things that were in order
to this work before the beginning of the world, viz.
God"s electing love, and the covenant of redemption,
never had a beginning ; so the fruits of this work,
which shall be after the end of the world, will never
have an end. And therefore,
When it is said in the doctrine, that this is a
work that God is carrying on from the fall of man
to the end of the world, what I mean, is, that those
things which belong to the work itself, and are parts
of this scheme, are all this while accomplishing.
There were some things done preparatory to its
beginning, and the fruits of it will remain after it is
finished. But the work itself was begun immediately
upon the fall, and will continue to the end of the
world, and then be finished : the various dispensa-
tions of God in this space belong to the same work,
and to the same design, and have all one issue ; and
therefore are all to be reckoned but as several parts
of one w^ork, as it were, several successive motions
of one machine, to bring about, in the conclusion,
one great event.
And here also we must distinguish between the
parts of redemption itself, and the parts of that
work by which redemption is wrought out. There
is a difference between the parts of the benefits pro-
cured and bestowed, and the parts of thcit w^ork of
God by which those benefits were procured and
bestowed. As, for example, there is a difierence
between the parts of the benefit that the children of
Israel received, in their redemption out of Egypt,
and the parts of that work of God by which this
was wrought. The redemption of the children of
Israel out of Egypt, considered as the benefit which
they enjoyed, consisted of two parts, viz. their de-
liverance from their former Egyptian bondage and
misery, and their being brought into a more happy
state, as the servants of God, and heirs of Canaan.
llISTOUY OF UEDEMPTION. 9
But there are many more things which are parts of
that work of God which is called his work of re-
deeming Israel out of Egypt. To this belong his
calling of Moses, his sending him to Pharaoh, the
signs and wonders he wrought in Egypt, and his
bringing such terrible judgments on the Egyptians,
and many other things.
Such is the work by which God effects the re-
demption we are speaking of: and it is carried on
from the fall of man to the end of the world, in two
(1.) With respect to the effect wrought on the
souls of the redeemed, which is common to all ages.
This effect is the application of redemption with
respect to the souls of particular persons, in con-
verting, justifying, sanctifying, and glorifying them.
Thus sinners are actually redeemed; and receive
the benefit of the work of redemption in its effect
upon their souls. And in this sense the work of
redemption is carried on from the fall of man to the
end of the world. The work of God in converting
souls, opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears,
raising the spiritually dead to life, and rescuing
miserable captives out of the hands of Satan, was
begun soon after the fall of man, has been carried
on ever since, and will be to the end. God has
always, ever since the first erection of the church of
the redeemed after the fall, had such a church in
the world. Though oftentimes it has been reduced
to a very narrow compass, and to low circumstances ;
yet it has never wholly failed.
And as God cames on the work of converting the
souls of fallen men through all ages, so he goes on
to justify them, to blot out their sins, to accept
them as righteous in his sight, through the righteous-
ness of Christ, and adopt and receive them from
being the children of Satan, to be his own children ;
thus also he goes on to sanctify and complete the
work of his grace begun in them, to comfort them
with the consolations of his Spirit, and to bestow
upon them when their bodies die, that eternal glory
10 HISTORY or REDEMPTION.
whicli is the fruit of tlie purchase of Christ. What
is said, Rom. viii. 30, ' Whom he did predestinate,
them he also called ; and whom he called, them he
also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also
glorified ;' is applicable to all ages, from the fall, to
the end of the world.
The way that the work of redemption, with re-
spect to these effects of it on the souls of the re-
deemed, is thus carried on, is by repeating and con-
tinually effecting the same work over again, though
ii^ different persons, from age to age. But, -
(2.) The work of redemption with respect to the
grand design in general, as it respects the universal
subject and end, is carried on in a different manner,
not merely by repeating or renewing the same effect
in the different subjects of it, but by many succes-
sive works and dispensations of God, all tending to
one great end, all united as the several parts of one
scheme, and all together making up one great work.
Like as when a house or temple is built ; first,
tlie workmen are engaged, then the materials
are collected, the ground prepared, the foundation
laid, the superstructure erected, one part after ano-
ther, till at length the top-stone is laid, and all is
finished. Now the work of redemption in that ex-
tensive sense which has been explained, may be
compared to such a building. God began it imme-
diately after the fall, as may be shown hereafter,
and has proceeded, as it were, collecting materials,
and building, ever since ; and so will continue to
the end of the world ; and then shall the top-stone
be brought forth, and the whole appear complete
This work is carried on in the former respect, as
to the effect on the souls of particular persons, by
its being an effect that is common to all ages. The
work is carried on in this latter respect, as it con-
cerns the church of God, and the grand design in
general, not only by that which is common to all
ages, but by successive works, wrought in different
ages, nil parts of one great scheme. It is this carry-
f^ >• HIS^RY Olv RED'tftLPTION. * il ^^ //"
of the work of redemption that I shall chiefiy ')t^,/^' '
insist upon, though not exclusively of the former- _
for one necessarily supposes the other, -r/,>./^'\4 ^
Having thus explained what I mean by the termfs " "" ^^^
of the doctrine ; that you may the more clearly see^^^f i^.j^^
how the great design and work of redemption v^/^^fi^^J
carried on from the fall of man to the end of the /y-"^"- '
I now proceed to show what is the design of this ^^ ^' .
great work, or what things are intended to be ac- / '^^^
complished by it. In order to see how a design is^j^^^ - ^
carried on, we must first know what it is. To know . ^
how a workman proceeds, and to understand the/^'"^*^^. ^
various steps he takes in order to accomplish a piece ^^/^ >
of work, we must be informed what he is about, , ^_7_ ■
and what it is he intends to do ; otherwise we may U ^^
stand by, and see him do one thing after another, A^^^.^/
and be quite puzzled and in the dark ; see nothing / *'^^^^^
of his scheme, and understand nothing of what ^^ % /
means by it. If an architect, with a great rnxmbev fxMjU'^
of hands, were building some great palace, and one /;^^ ^ ^
that was a stranger to such things should stand by, /
and see some men digging in the earth, others bring- . ^^^
ing timber, others hewing stones, and the like, he
might see that there was a great deal doing ; but if ., /
he knew not the design, it would all appear to himv?/^'*
confusion. And therefore, that the great works and ■ _
dispensations of God which belong to this great
affair of redemption may not appear like confusioir^'^-
to you, I shall set before you briefly the main things
designed to be accomplished in this great work, to^
accomplish which God began to work so early after J6*^,<^
the fall, and will continue working until the whole 'rvv^t^H-^^
shall be completely finished. Now the main thingsVvt©vt:i*=,
designed are these that follow. ^<^<^ >vft„,?^€ is.v4f*
(1.) To put all God's enemies under his feet, and '"'
that the goodness of God may finally triumph over
all evil. Soon after the world was created, evil
entered into the world in the fall of angels and of
man. Presently after God had made rational crea-
tures, there were enemies who rose up against him
. Cj,c( Ar^^^. ^^>^^ iuAj^ycl6r
12 IIISTOIIV OF REDEMPTION.
here. Satan rose up against God, endeavouring to
frustrate his design in the creation of this world, to
destroy his workmanship here, to wrest the govern-
ment out of his hands, to usurp the throne, and set
up himself as god of this world, instead of the God
that made it. For these ends he introduced sin into
it, and having made man God's enemy, he brought
guilt, death, and the most extreme and dreadful mi-
sery, into the world.
Now one grand design of God in the affair of
redemption was, to reduce and subdue those his
enemies till they should all be put under his feet.
1 Cor. XV. 25. ' He must reign till he hath put all
enemies under his feet.' Things were originally so
planned that he might disappoint, confound, and
triumph over Satan, and that he might be bruised
under Christ's feet. Gen iii. 15. The promise was
given, that the seed of the woman should bruise the
serpent's head. It was a part of God's original de-
sign in this work, to destroy the work of the devil,
and confound him in all his purposes. 1 John iii. 8.
* For this purpose was the Son of God manifested,
that he might destroy the works of the devil.' It
was a part of his design, to triumph over sin, and
over the corruptions of men, and to root them out
of the hearts of his people, by conforming them to
himself. He designed also, that his grace should
triumph over man's guilt, and the infinite demerit
which is in sin.* Again, it was a part of his design
to triumph over death ; and however this is the last
enemy that shall be overcome, yet that shall finally
be vanquished and destroyed.
Thus God will appear glorious above all evil.
* God designed that his grace should triumph over man's guilt.
' Though the guilt of man was like the great mountains, whose heads
are lifted up to the heavens ; yet his (Christ's) dying love, and his
merits in this, appeared as a mighty deluge that overflowed the highest
mountains ; or like a boundless ocean that swallows them up : or
like an inunense fountain of liglit, that with the fulness and redun-
dance of its brightness, swallows up mens' greatest sins, as little motes
are swallowed up and hidden in the disk of the sun.' Pres. Edwards's
Postbujiious Sorm, p. 1:58.
HISTORY OF UE^i^Ml>T10^^ 13
and triumphant over all his enemies, which was
one grand thing- intended by the work of redemp-
(2.) God's design v/as perfectly to restore the
ruins of the fall, so far as concerns the elect part of
the world, by his Son ; and therefore we read of
the restitution of all things. Acts iii. 21. ' Wiiom
the heaven must receive, until the times of the res-
titution of all things ;' and of the times of refreshing
from the presence of the Lord Jesus. Acts iii. 19.
* Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your
sins may be blotted out, when the times of refresh-
ing shall come from the presence of the Lord.'
Man s soul was ruined by the fall ; the image of
God was defaced ; man's nature was corrupted, and
he became dead in sin. The design of God was, to
restore the soul of man ; to restore life, and the
image of God in conversion ; and to cnrry on this
work in sanctification, until he should perfect it in
glory. Man's body was ruined ; by the fall it be-
came subject to death. The design of God was to
restore it from this ruin, and not only to deliver it
from death, by the resurrection, but to deliver it
from mortality itself, in making it like unto Christ's
glorious body. The world was ruined, as to man,
as effectually as if it had been reduced to chaos
again ; all heaven and earth were overthrown. But
the design of God was to restore all, and as it were
to create a new heaven and a new earth. Isai. Ixv.
17. ' Behold I create new heavens, and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered, nor come
into mind.' 2 Pet. iii. 13, ' Nevertheless we, ac-
cording to his promise, look for new heavens, and a
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.'
The work by which this was to be done, was be-
gun immediately after the fall, and so is carried on
till all is finished at the end, when the whole world,
heaven and earth shall be restored ; and there shall
be as it were, new heavens and a new earth, in o
spiritual and sublime sense, at the end of the world.
Thus it is represented, TCev. xxi. 1, ' And I saw a
14 HISTORY OF REDEMPTION.
new heaven and a new earth : for the first heaven
and the first earth were passed away.'
(3.) Another great design of God in the work of
redemption was to gather together in one, all things
in Christ, both in heaven and in earth, that is, all
elect creatures, in heaven and in earth, to an union
in one body, under one head ; and to unite all toge-
ther in one body to God the Father. This was begun
soon after the fall, and is carried on throughout all
ages, andshall be finished at the end of the world.
(4.) God designs by this work to perfect and
complete the glory of all the elect of Christ. To
advance them to an exceeding pitch of glory, ' such
as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor has ever
entered into the heart of man/ He intends to bring
them to perfect excellency and beauty in his image,
and in holiness, which is the proper beauty of spi-
ritual beings ; and to advance them to a glorious
degree of honour, an ineffable height of pleasure and
joy, and thus to glorify the whole church of elect
men in soul and body ; and with them to bring the
glory of the elect angels to its hiahest elevation un-
der one head.
(5.) In all this God designed to accomplish the
glory of the blessed Trinity in an eminent degree.
God had a design from eternity to glorify each per-
son in the Godhead. The end must be considered
as first in order of nature, and then the means ; and
therefore we must conceive, that God having pro-
fessed this end, had then as it were, the means to
chuse ; and the principal mean that he pitched upon
was this great work of redemption which we are
speaking of. It was his design in this work to glo-
rify his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ ; and by
tJie Son to glorify the Father. John xiii 31, 32.
' Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glo-
rified in him. If God be glorified in him, God also
shall glorify him in himself, and shall straightway
glorify him.' It was his design that the Son should
thus be glorified, and shoukr glorify the Father by
what s:;h()v.ld be accomplished by the Spirit, to the
HISTORY OF ilKDi::\IP'lIOX. 15
glory of the Spirit; that the whole Trinity con-
junctly, and each person distinctly, might be ex-
ceedingly glorified. The work which was the ap-
pointed mean of this was begun immediately after
the fall, and is carried on to the end of the world,
when all this intended glory shall be fully accom-
Having thus explained the terms made use of in
the doctrine, and shown what things are to be ac-
complished by this great work of God, J proceed
now to the proposed History ; that is, to show how
the designs of God by the work of redemption have
been and shall be accomplished, in tlie various steps
of this work, from the fall of man to the end of the
In order to this, I shall divide this whole space
of time into three periods:— (1) From the Fall of
Man to the Incarnation of Christ ; — (2) From
Christ's Incarnation till his Resurrection;— (3) From
thence to the end of the world.
Some may be ready to think this a very unequal
division ; and it is so indeed in some respects. It
is so, because the second period is so much the
greatest: for although it be much shorter than either
of the other, (being but between thirty and forty
years, whereas both the other contain thousands;)
yet in the affair we are now upon, it is more than
both the others. I would therefore proceed to show
distinctly how the work of redemption is carried on
from the fall of man to the end of the world, through
each of these periods in their order ; which I shall
do under three propositions, one concerning each
1. From the Fall of Man to the Incarnation of
Christ, God was doing those things which were
preparatory to his Coming, and earnests of his Re-
2. That the time from Christ's Incarnation, to his
Resurrection, was employed in procuring and pur-
IG IIISTOIIV OF REDEMPTION.
'S. That the space of time from the Resurrection
of Christ to the end of the world is all engaged in
bringing about the great effect, or success of that
In a particular consideration of these three pro-
positions, the great truth contained in the doctrine
may perhaps appear in a clear light, and we may
see how the work of redemption is carried on from
the fall of man to the end of the world.
FROM THE FALL TO THE INCARNATION.
My first task is, to show how the work of re-
demption is carried on from the fall of man to the in-
carnation of Christ, under the first proposition ; viz.
That from the Fall of Man to the Incarnation of Christ,
God ivas doing those things ivhich were preparatory
to his Coming, and earnests of his Redemption.
The great works of God in the world, during this
whole space of time, were all preparatory to this.
There were many great changes and revolutions in
the world, but they were only the turning of the
wheels of providence in order to make way for the
coming of Christ, and what he was to do in the
world. They were all pointed hither, and all issued
here. Hither tended, especially, all God's great
works towards his church. The church was under
various dispensations and in various circumstances,
before Christ came; but all these dispensations were
to prepare the way for his coming. God wrought
salvation for the souls of men through all that space
of time, though the number was very small to what
it was afterwards ; and all his salvation was, as it
were, by way of anticipation. All the souls that
HISTORY OF REDEMPTION. 17
were saved before Christ came, were only, as it
were, the earnests of the future harvest.
God wrought many lesser salvations and deliver-
ances for his church and people before Christ came.
These salvations were all but so many images and
forerunners of the great salvation Christ was to work
out when he should come. God revealed himself of
old, from time to time, from the fall of man to the
coming of Christ. The church during that space of
time enjoyed the light of divine revelation, and in a
degree, the light of the gospel. But all these reve-
lations were only earnests of the great light that
he should bring, who came to b e ' the light of the
world ;' that whole space of time was, as it were,
the time of night, wherein the church of God was
not indeed wholly in darkness, but it was like the
light of the moon and stars, and not to be compared
with the light of the sun. It ' had no glory, by
reason of the glory that excelleth.' 2 Cor. iii. 10.
The church had indeed the light of the sun, but it
was only as reflected from the moon and stars. The
church all that while may be considered as a minor ;
this the apostle evidently teaches in Gal. iv. 1 — 3.
' Now I say, that the heir as long as he is a child,
differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord
of all ; but is under tutors and governors, until the
time appointed of the Father. Even so we, when
we were children, were in bondage under the ele-
ments of the world.'
But here, for the greater clearness and distinct-
ness, I shall subdivide this period from the fall of
man to the coming of Chris.t into six lesser periods :
—(I) From the fall to the flood ;— (2) From the
flood to the call of Abraham;— (3) From the call of
Abraham to Moses;— (4) From Moses to David; —
(5) From David to the Babylonish captivity ; — and
(6) From thence to the Incarnation of Christ.
HISTORY OF REDEMPTION.
I. FROM THE FALL TO THE FLOOD.
This was a period farthest of all distant from
Christ's incarnation ; yet then was this great work
begun, this glorious building which will not be
finished till the end of the world ; and this is what
I am now to show you. To this purpose I woidd
I. As soon as man fell, Christ entered on his me-
diatorial work. Then it was that he first began to
execute the work and office of a mediator. He had
undertaken it before the world was made. He stood
engaged with the Father from eternity to appear as
man's Mediator, when there should be occasion :
and now the time was come. When man fell, Christ
immediately entered on his work, and actually took
upon him that office. Then Christ, the eternal Son
of God, clothed himself with the mediatorial cha-
racter, and therein presented himself before the Fa-
ther. He immediately stepped in between an holy,
infinite, offended Majesty, and offending mankind ;
and was accepted in his interposition ; and thus
wrath was prevented from going forth in the full
execution of that curse which man had brought
It is manifest that Christ began to exercise the