John Davenant (1572–1641) on the work of the Trinity in the work of redemption


John Davenant (1572–1641) was an English academic and Anglican bishop of Salisbury from 1621. He also served as one of the British delegates to the Synod of Dort. In these two excerpts he writes beautifully in the work of the Trinity in the work of redemption:

“In many other places the work of reconciliation is ascribed to God the Father: But that remarkable one, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19, contains the sum of them all, God hath reconciled us himself: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Although, therefore, (as we shall presently shew) the work of reconciliation is attributed to Christ, as the proximate and immediate agent; yet it is proper to ascribe it to God the Father; and, by consequence, to the whole Trinity, as the primary cause: For the whole Trinity, which foresaw from eternity the fall of the human race, pre-ordained this way of effecting reconciliation by Christ, and inspired the man Christ Jesus with the will to suffer for the redemption of mankind. So it is said in Isaiah xlii. 6, I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, &c. In which place the prophet teaches us, that Jehovah himself had ordained and called Christ to this work of reconciliation, and strengthened and upheld him during his whole accomplishment of human salvation. It is evident, therefore, that God was the primary author of this reconciliation, and was induced to devise this plan of our redemption entirely from his own good pleasure, and from free love. The Apostle here employs this particular term ‘eudokese. It pleased him well. And in Jeremiah xxxi. 3, we read, I have loved thee with an everlasting love. And in all parts of Scripture, this gratuitous love of God is declared to be the cause why the Father sent his Son into the world to obtain salvation for us, John iii. 16, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. And in Ephes. ii. 4, 5, For his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us, &c.”

– John Davenant (1572–1641), An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, 1:235-236

“But here it is proper to advise by the way. That when we assert that Christ our Lord is to be extolled in hymns, we do not exclude the Father or the Holy Spirit, nay, we call them into a participation of the same honor: for he who extols Christ the Redeemer, at the same time extols both the Father, who sent him to redeem the world; and the Holy Spirit, who renders this redemption efficacious to all the elect and believers.”

– John Davenant (1572–1641), An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, 2:143