John Owen, Christologia

Christologia:

or a Declaration of the glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ--God
and Man:

with the infinite Wisdom, Love, and Power of God in the Contrivance
and Constitution thereof;

as also,

of the Grounds and Reasons of His Incarnation;
the Nature of His Ministry in Heaven;
the Present State of the Church above thereon; and
the Use of His Person in Religion:

with

an Account and Vindication of the Honour, Worship, Faith, Love, and
Obedience due unto Him, in and from the Church.

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the
loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win
Christ."--Philippians 3:8.


Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
The Preface
Chapter I. Peter's Confession; Matt.16:16--Conceits of the Papists
       thereon--The Substance and Excellency of that Confession
Chapter II. Opposition made unto the Church as built upon the Person
       of Christ
Chapter III. The Person cf Christ the most ineffable Effect of Divine
       Wisdom and Goodness--Thence the next Cause of all True
       Religion--In what sense it is so
Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of
       God
Chapter V. The Person of Christ the great Representative of God and
       his Will
Chapter VI. The Person of Christ the great Repository of Sacred Truth-
       -Its Relation thereunto.
Chapter VII. Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of
       Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person
Chapter VIII. The Faith of the Church under the Old Testament in and
       concerning the Person of Christ
Chapter IX. Honour due to the Person of Christ--The nature and Causes
       of it
Chapter X. The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the
       Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; with is Faith in
       Him
Chapter XI. Obedience unto Christ--The Nature and Causes of it
Chapter XII. The especial Principle of Obedience unto the Person of
       Christ; which is Love--Its Truth and Reality Vindicated.
Chapter XIII. The Nature, Operations, and Causes of Divine Love, as it
       respects the Person of Christ
Chapter XIV Motives unto the Love of Christ
Chapter XV. Conformity unto Christ, and Following his Example
Chapter XVI. An humble Inquiry into, and Prospect of, the infinite
       Wisdom of God, in the Constitution of the Person of Christ,
       and the Way of Salvation thereby
Chapter XVII Other Evidences of Divine Wisdom in the Contrivance of
       the Work of Redemption in and by the Person of Christ, in
       Effects Evidencing a Condecency thereunto
Chapter XVIII. The Nature of the Person of Christ, and the
       Hypostatical Union of his Natures Declared
Chapter XIX. The Exaltation of Christ, with his Present state and
       Condition in Glory during the Continuance of his Mediatory
       Office.
Chapter XX. The Exercise of the Mediatory Office of Christ in Heaven








Prefatory Note

To object of Dr Owen in this treatise is to illustrate the mystery of
divine grace in the person of Christ. It bears the title,
"Christologia;" but it differs considerably from modern works of the
same title or character. It is not occupied with a formal induction
from Scripture in proof of the supreme Godhead of the Saviour. Owen
assumes the truth of this doctrine, and applies all his powers and
resources to expound its relations in the Christian system, and its
bearings on Christian duty and experience.
 Chapter 1 of the work is devoted to an exposition of Matt.16:16, as a
warrant and basis for his inquiry respecting the person of Christ.
Chapter 2 contains some historical references to the opposition
encountered by this doctrine in past ages. From Chapter 3 to 7
inclusive, the person of Christ is exhibited as the origin of all true
religion, the foundation of the divine counsel, the representation of
the divine nature and will, the embodiment and sum of divine truth,
and the source of divine and gracious efficacy for the salvation of
the church. The faith of the Old Testament Church respecting it is
illustrated in Chapter 8. Then follows the second leading division of
the treatise, in which the divine honours and obedience due to Christ,
and our obligation to seek conformity to him, are urged at some
length, from Chapter 9 to 15. It is followed in Chapters 16 and 17
with an inquire into the divine wisdom as manifested in the person of
Christ. The hypostatical union is explained, Chapter 18. Two more
Chapters, 19 and 20, close the work, with a dissertation on the
exaltation of Christ, and the mode in which he discharges his
mediatorial functions in heaven.
 The treatise was first published in 1679. We are not informed under
what particular circumstances Owen was led to prepare it. There is
internal evidence in the work itself that he laboured under a strong
impression of the peril in which evangelical religion would be
involved, if views of the person of Christ, either positively unsound
or simple vague and defective, obtained currency in the British
churches. His acquaintance with the early history of the church taught
him that against this doctrine the persevering assaults of Satan had
been directed; and, with sagacious foresight, he anticipated the rise
of heresy on this point in England. He speaks of "woeful contests"
respecting it,--increasing rather than abating "unto this very day;"
and intimates his conviction, in language which elucidates his main
design in this work, that the only way by which they could be
terminated was to enthrone Christ anew in the hearts and consciences
of men.
 Events ensued which justified these apprehensions of Own. A prolonged
controversy on the subject of the Trinity arose, which drew forth the
works of Bull (1686), Sherlock (1690), and South (1695). In 1710,
Whiston was expelled from Oxford for his Arianism. Dr S Clarke, in
1712, published Arian views, for which he was summoned before the
Convocation. Among the Presbyterian Dissenters Pierce and Hallet
(1717) became openly committed to Arianism. Dr Isaac Watts who
succeeded (1702) to the charge of the same congregation in London
which had been under the care of Owen, broached the "Indwelling
Schema"; according to which the Father is so united to the man Christ
Jesus, whose human soul preexisted his coming in the flesh, that,
through this indwelling of the Godhead, he became properly God.
 The Christology of Owes has always been highly valued, and will be of
use to all ages of the church:--"A work," says the late Dr M'Crie,
"which, together with its continuation, the 'Meditations on the Glory
of Christ,' of all the theological works published by individuals
since the Reformation, next to 'Calvin's Institutions', we would have
deemed it our highest honour to have produced."--Ed.




The Preface

It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be
given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us,
Isa.9:6,) that God would "lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a
tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation," whereon "he
that believeth shall not make haste:" Isa.28:16. Yet was it also
foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be "for
a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense, to both the houses of
Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" so
as that "many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and
be snared, and be taken:" Isa.8:14,15. According unto this promise and
prediction it has fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle
Peter declares concerning the first of them. "Wherefore also," saith
he, "it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not
be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but
unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders
disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of
stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the
word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:" 1
Pet.2:6-8.
 Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always
has been, precious--the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their
souls--every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or
unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and
eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with
everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect,
and obtain deliverance from that woeful apostasy from God, which is
accompanied with--which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously
whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which,
without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought
into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the
firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our
finite natures are capable of, and so conducted unto the eternal
enjoyment of him. For in him "shall all the seed of Israel be
justified, and shall glory;" (Isa.45:25;) for "Israel shall be saved
in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;" they "shall not be ashamed
nor confounded, world without end:" verse 17.
 On these and the like accounts, the principal design of their whole
lives unto whom he is thus precious, is to acquaint themselves with
him--the mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God, in his person
and mediation, as revealed unto us in the Scripture, which is "life
eternal;" (John 17:3;)--to trust in him, and unto him, as to all the
everlasting concernments of their souls--to love and honour him with
all their hearts--to endeavour after conformity to him, in all those
characters of divine goodness and holiness which are represented unto
them in him. In these things consist the soul, life, power, beauty,
and efficacy of the Christian religion; without which, whatever
outward ornaments may be put upon its exercise, it is but a useless,
lifeless carcass. The whole of this design is expressed in these
heavenly words of the apostle: (Phil.3:8-12:) "Yea doubtless, and I
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his
death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the
dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already
perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." This is a divine expression of
that frame of heart of that design--which is predominant and
efficacious in them unto whom Christ is precious
 But, on the other hand, (according unto the fore-mentioned
prediction,) as he has been a sure foundation unto all that believe,
so he has in like manner been "a stone of stumbling and a rock of
offense unto them that stumble at the word, being disobedient:
whereunto also they were appointed." There is nothing in him--nothing
wherein he is concerned--nothing of him, his person, his natures, his
office, his grace, his love, his power, his authority, his relation
unto the church--but it has been unto many a stone of stumbling and
rock of offense. Concerning these things have been all the woeful
contests which have fallen out and been managed among those that
outwardly have made profession of the Christian religion. And the
contentions about them do rather increase than abate, unto this very
day; the dismal fruits whereof the world groaneth under, and is no
longer able to bear. For, as the opposition unto the Lord Christ in
these things, by men of perverse minds, has ruined their own souls--as
having dashed themselves in pieces against this everlasting rock--so
in conjunction with other lusts and interests of the carnal minds of
men, it has filled the world itself with blood and confusion.
 The re-enthroning of the Person, Spirit, Grace, and authority of
Christ, in the hearts and consciences of men, is the only way whereby
an end may be put unto these woeful conflicts. But this is not to be
expected in any degree of perfection amongst them who stumble at this
stone of offense, whereunto they were appointed; though in the issue
he will herein also send forth judgment unto victory, and all the meek
of the earth shall follow after it. In the meantime, as those unto
whom he is thus a rock of offence--in his person, his spirit, his
grace, his office, and authority--are diligent and restless (in their
various ways and forms, in lesser or higher degrees, in secret
artifices, or open contradictions unto any or all of them, under
various pretences, and for divers ends, even secular advantages some
of them, which the craft of Satan has prepared for the ensnaring of
them) in all ways of opposition unto his glory; so it is the highest
duty of them unto whom he is precious, whose principal design is to be
found built on him as the sure foundation, as to hold the truth
concerning him, this person, spirit, grace, office, and authority,)
and to abound in all duties of faith, love, trust, honour, and delight
in him--so also to declare his excellency, to plead the cause of his
glory, to vindicate his honour, and to witness him the only rest and
reward of the souls of men, as they are called and have opportunity.
 This, and no other, is the design of the ensuing treatise; wherein,
as all things fall unspeakably short of the glory, excellency, and
sublimity of the subject treated of, (for no mind can conceive, no
tongue can express, the real substantial glory of them,) so there is
no doubt but that in all the parts of it there is a reflection of
failings and imperfections, from the weakness of its author. But yet I
must say with confidence, that in the whole, that eternal truth of God
concerning the mystery of his wisdom, love, grace, and power, in the
person and mediation of Christ, with our duties towards himself
therein, even the Father, Son, and eternal Spirit, is pleaded and
vindicated, which shall never be shaken by the utmost endeavours and
oppositions of the gates of hell.
 And in the acknowledgment of the truth concerning these things
consists, in an especial manner, that faith which was the life and
glory of the primitive church, which they earnestly contended for,
wherein and whereby they were victorious against all the troops of
stumbling adversaries by whom it was assaulted. In giving testimony
hereunto, they loved not their lives unto the death, but poured out
their blood like water, under all the pagan persecutions, which had no
other design but to cast them down and separate them from this
impregnable rock, this precious foundation. In the defence of these
truths did they conflict, in prayers, studies, travels, and writings,
against the swarms of seduces by whom they were opposed. And, for this
cause, I thought to have confirmed the principal passages of the
ensuing discourse with some testimonies from the most ancient writes
of the first ages of the church; but I omitted that cause, as fearing
that the interposition of such passages might obstruct instead of
promoting the edification of the common sort of readers, which I
principally intended. Yet, withal, I thought not good utterly to
neglect that design, but to give at least a specimen of their
sentiments about the principal truths pleaded for, in this preface to
the whole. But herein, also, I met with a disappointment; for the
bookseller having, unexpectedly unto me, finished the printing of the
discourse itself, I must be contented to make use of what lieth
already collected under my hand, not having leisure or time to make
any farther inquiry.
 I shall do something of this nature, the rather because I shall have
occasion thereby to give a summary account of some of the principal
parts of the discourse itself, and to clear some passages in it, which
by some may be apprehended obscure.

 Chap. I. The foundation of the whole is laid in the indication of
those words of our blessed Saviour, wherein he declares himself to be
the rock whereon the church is built: (Matt.16:18:) "And I say also
unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The
pretended ambiguity of these words has been wrested by the secular
interests of men, to give occasion unto that prodigious controversy
among Christian, with, whether Jesus Christ or the Pope of Rome be the
rock whereon the church is built. Those holy men of old unto whom
Christ was precious, being untainted with the desires of secular
grandeur and power, knew nothing hereof. Testimonies may be--they have
been--multiplied by other unto this purpose. I shall mention some few
of them.

 "Houtos estin he pros ton Patera agousa hosos, he petra, he kleis, he
poimen", &c, saith Ignatius: Epist. ad Philadelph.--"He" (that is,
Christ) "is the way leading unto the Father, the rock, the key, the
shepherd"--wherein he has respect unto this testimony. And Origin
expressly denies the words to be spoken of Peter, in Matt.16: (Tract.
1:) "Quod si super unum illum Petrum tantum existimees totam eclesiam
aedificar, quid dicturus es de Johanne, et apostolorum unoquoque? Num
audebimus dicere quod adversus Petrum unum non prevaliturae sunt
portae inferorum?"--"If you shall think that the whole church was
built on Peter alone, what shall we say of John, and each of the
apostles? What! shall we dare to say that the gates of hell shall not
prevail against Peter only?" So he [held,] according unto the common
opinion of the ancients, that there was nothing peculiar in the
confession of Peter, and the answer made thereunto as unto himself,
but that he spake and was spoken unto in the name of all the rest of
the apostles. Euseb. Preparat. Evang., lib. 1 cap. 3: "Ete onomasti
prothespistheisa ekklesia autou hesteke kata bathous erridzoomene, kai
mechris ouranioon hapsidoon euchais hosioon ka theofiloon anoroon
meteooridzomene--dia mian ekeinen, hen autos apefenato lexin, eipoon,
Epi ten petran oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian, kan pulai haidou ou
katischusousin autes". He proves the verity of divine predictions from
the glorious accomplishment of that word, and the promise of our
Saviour, that he would build his church on the rock, (that is,
himself,) so as that the gates of hell should not prevail against it.
For "Unum hoc est immobile fundamentum, una haec est felix fidei
Petra, Petri ore confessa, Tu es filius Dei vivi," says Hilary de
Trin., lib. 2--"This is the only immovable foundation, this is the
blessed rock of faith confessed by Peter, Thou art the Son of the
living God". And Epiphanius, Haer.29: "Epi tei petri tautei tes
asfalous pisteoos oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian".--"Upon this rock" of
assured faith "I will build my church". For many thought that faith
itself was metonymically called the Rock, because of its object, or
the person of Christ, which is so.
 One or two more out of Augustine shall close these testimonies:
"Super hanc Petram, quam confessus es, super meipsum filium Dei vivi,
aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Super me aedificabo te, non me super te:"
De Verbis Dom., Serm. 13.--"Upon this rock which thou hast confessed--
upon myself, the God of the living God--I will build my church I will
build thee upon myself, and not myself on thee." And he more fully
declareth his mind: (Tract. 124, in Johan.:) "Universam significabat
ecclesiam, quae in hoc seculo diversis tentationibus, velut imbribus,
fluminibus, tempestatibusque quatitur, et non cadit; quoniam fundata
est supra Petram; unde et Petrus nomen accepit. Non enim a Petro
Petra, sed Petrus a Petra; sicut non Christus a Christiano, sed
Christianus a Christo vocatur. Ideo quippe ait Dominus, 'Super hanc
Petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam', quia dixerat Petrus, 'Tu es
Christus filius Dei vivi'. 'Super hanc ergo' (inquit) 'Petram quam
confessus es, aedificabo eccleaism meam'. Petra enim erat Christus,
super quod fundamentum etiam ipse aedificatus est Petrus. Fundamentum
quippe aliud nemo potest ponere, praeter id quod positum est, quod est
Jesus Christus".--"He (Christ) meant the universal church, which in
this world is shaken with divers temptations, as with showers, floods,
and tempests, yet falleth not, because it is built on the rock (Petra)
from whence Peter took his name. For the rock is not called Petra from
Peter, but Peter is so called from Petra the rock; as Christ is not so
called from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore, said the
Lord, 'Upon this rock will I build my church;' because Peter said,
'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Upon this rock,
which thou hast confessed, will I build my church. For Christ himself
was the rock on which foundation Peter himself was built. For other
foundation can no man lay, save that which is laid which is Jesus
Christ.

 Chap. II. Against this rock, this foundation of the church--the
person of Christ, and the faith of the church concerning it--great
opposition has been made by the gates of hell. Not to mention the rage
of the pagan world, endeavouring by all effects of violence and
cruelty to cast the church from this foundation; all the heresies
wherewith from the beginning, and for some centuries of years ensuing,
it was pestered, consisted in direct and immediate oppositions unto
the eternal truth concerning the person of Christ. Some that are so
esteemed, indeed, never pretended unto any sobriety, but were mere
effects of delirant [raving] imaginations; yet did even they also, one
way or other, derive from an hatred unto the person of Christ, and
centred therein. Their beginning was early in the church, even before
the writing of the gospel by John, or of his Revelation, and indeed
before some of Paul's epistles. And although their beginning was but
small, and seemingly contemptible, yet, being full of the poison of
the old serpent, they diffused themselves in various shapes and forms,
until there was nothing left of Christ--nothing that related unto him,
not his natures, divine or human, not their properties nor acting, not
his person, nor the union of his natures therein--that was not opposed
and assaulted by them. Especially so soon as the gospel had subdued
the Roman empire unto Christ, and was owned by the rulers of it, the
whole world was for some ages filled with uproars, confusion, and
scandalous disorders about the person of Christ, through the cursed
oppositions made thereunto by the gates of hell. Neither had the
church any rest from these convicts for about five hundred year. But
near that period of time, the power of truth and religion beginning
universally to decay among the outward professors of them, Satan took
advantage to make that havoc and destruction of the church--by
superstition, false worship, and profaneness of life which he failed
of in his attempt against the person of Christ, or the doctrine of
truth concerning it.
 It would be a tedious work, and, it may be, not of much profit unto
them who are utterly unacquainted with things so long past and gone,
wherein they seem to have no concernment, to give a specimen of the
several heresies whereby attempts were made against this rock and
foundation of the church. Unto those who have inquired into the
records of antiquity, it would be altogether useless. For almost every
page of them, at first view, presents the reader with an account of
some one or more of them. Yet do I esteem it useful, that the very
ordinary sort of Christians should, at least in general, be acquainted
with what has passed in this great contest about the person of Christ,
from the beginning. For there are two things relating thereunto
wherein their faith is greatly concerned. First, There is evidence
given therein unto the truth of those predictions of the Scripture,
wherein this fatal apostasy from the truth, and opposition unto the
Lord Christ, are foretold: and, secondly, An eminent instance of his
power and faithfulness, in the appointment and conquest of the gates
of hell in the management of this opposition. But they have been all
reckoned up, and digested into methods of time and matter, by many
learned men, (of old and of late,) so that I shall not in this
occasional discourse represent them unto the reader again. Only I
shall give a brief account of the ways and means whereby they who
retained the profession of the truth contended for it, unto a conquest
over the pernicious heresies wherewith it was opposed.
 The defense of the truth, from the beginning, was left in charge
unto, and managed by, the guides and rulers of the church in their
several capacities. And by the Scripture it was that they discharged
their duty confirmed with apostolical tradition consonant thereunto.
This was left in charge unto them by the great apostle, (Acts
20:28-31; 1 Tim.6:13,14; 2 Tim.2:1,2,15,23,24; 4:1-5,) and wherein any
of them failed in this duty, they were reproved by Christ himself:
Rev.2:14,15,20. Nor were private believers (in their places and
capacities) either unable for this duty or exempt from it, but
discharged themselves faithfully therein, according unto commandment
given unto them: 1 John 2:20,27; 4:1-3; 2 John 8,9. All true
believers, in their several stations--by mutual watchfulness,
preaching, or writing, according unto their calls and abilities--
effectually used the outward means for the preservation and
propagation of the faith of the church. And the same means are still
sufficient unto the same ends, were they attended unto with conscience
and diligence. The pretended defense of truth with arts and arms of
another kind has been the bane of religion, and lost the peace of
Christians beyond recovery. And it may be observed, that whilst this
way alone for the preservation of the truth was insisted on and
pursued, although innumerable heresies arose one after another, and
sometimes many together, yet they never made any great progress, nor
arrived unto any such consistency as to make a stated opposition unto
the truth; but the errors themselves and their authors, were as
vagrant meteors, which appeared for a little while, and vanished away.
Afterwards it was not so, when other ways and means for the
suppression of heresies were judged convenient and needful.
 For in process of time, when the power of the Roman empire gave
countenance and protection unto the Christian religion, another way
was fixed on for this end, viz., the use of such assemblies of bishops
and others as they called General Councils, armed with a mixed power,
partly civil and partly ecclesiastical--with respect unto the
authority of the emperors and that jurisdiction in the church which
began then to be first talked of. This way was begun in the Council of
Nice, wherein, although there was a determination of the doctrine
concerning the person of Christ--then in agitation, and opposed, as
unto his divine nature therein--according unto the truth, yet sundry
evils and inconveniences ensued thereon. For thenceforth the faith of
Christians began greatly to be resolved into the authority of men, and
as much, if not more weight to be laid on what was decreed by the
fathers there assembled, than on what was clearly taught in the
Scriptures. Besides, being necessitated, as they thought, to explain
their conceptions of the divine nature of Christ in words either not
used in the Scripture, or whose signification unto that purpose was
not determined therein, occasion was given unto endless contentions
about them. The Grecians themselves could not for a long season agree
among themselves whether "ousia" and "hupostatis" were of the same
signification or no, (both of them denoting essence and substance,) or
whether they differed in their signification, or if they did, wherein
that difference lay. Athanasiu6 at first affirmed them to be the same:
Orat. 5 con. Arian., and Epist. ad African. Basil denied them so to
be, or that they were used unto the same purpose in the Council of
Nice: Epist. 78. The like difference immediately fell out between the
Grecians and Latins about "hypostasis" and "persona". For the Latins
rendered "hypostasis" by "substantia," and "prosoopon" by "persona."
Hereof Jerome complains, in his Epistle to Damasus, that they required
of him in the East to confess "tres hypostases," and he would only
acknowledge "tree personas:" Epist. 71. And Augustine gives an account
of the same difference: De Trinitate, lib 5 cap. 8, 9. Athanasius
endeavoured the composing of this difference, and in a good measure
effected it, as Gregory Nazianzen affirms in his oration concerning
his praise. It was done by him in a synod at Alexandria, in the first
year of Julian'6 reign. On this occasion many contests arose even
among them who all pleaded their adherence unto the doctrine of the
Council of Nice. And as the subtle Asians made incredible advantage
hereof at first, pretending that they opposed not the deity of Christ,
but only the expression of it by of "homo-ousios", so afterwards they
countenanced themselves in coining words and terms, to express their
minds with, which utterly reacted it. Hence were their "homoousios,
heterousios, ex ouk ontoon", and the like names of blasphemy, about
which the contests were fierce and endless. And there were yet farther
evils that ensued hereon. For the curious and serpentine wits of men,
finding themselves by this means set at liberty to think and discourse
of those mysteries of the blessed Trinity, and the person of Christ,
without much regard unto plain divine testimonies, (in such ways
wherein cunning and sophistry did much bear sway,) began to multiply
such near, curious, and false notions about them, especially about the
latter, as caused new disturbances, and those of large extent and long
continuance. For their suppression, councils were called on the neck
of one another, whereon commonly new occasions of differences did
arise, and most of them managed with great scandal unto the Christian
religion. For men began much to forego the primitive ways of opposing
errors and extinguishing heresies; retaking themselves unto their
interest, the number of their party, and their prevalence with the
present emperors. And although it so fell out--as in that at
Constantinople, the first at Ephesus, and that at Chalcedon--that the
truth (for the substance of it) did prevail, (for in many others it
happened quite otherwise,) yet did they always give occasions unto new
divisions, animosities, and even mutual hatreds, among the principal
leaders of the Christian people. And great contests there were among
some of those who pretended to believe the same truth, whether such or
such a council should be received--that is, plainly, whether the
church should resolve its faith into their authority. The strifes of
this nature about the first Ephesian Council, and that at Chalcedon,
not to mention those wherein the Asians prevailed, take up a good part
of the ecclesiastical story of those days. And it cannot be denied,
but that some of the principal persons and assemblies who adhered unto
the truth did, in the heat of opposition unto the heresies of other
men, fall into unjustifiable excess themselves.
 We may take an instance hereof with respect unto the Nestorian
heresy, condemned in the first Ephesian Council, and afterwards in
that at Chalcedon. Cyril of Alexandria, a man learned and vehement,
designed by all means to be unto it what his predecessor Athanasius
had been to the Arian; but he fell into such excesses in his
undertakings, as gave great occasion unto farther tumults. For it is
evident that he distinguisheth not between "hupostatis" and "fusis",
and therefore affirms, that the divine Word and humanity had "mian
fusin", one nature only. So he does plainly in Epist. ad Successum:
"They are ignorant," saith he, "hoti kath' aletheian esti mia fusis
tou logou sesarkoomene". Hence Eutyches the Archimandrite took
occasion to run into a contrary extreme, being a no less fierce enemy
to Nestorius than Cyril was. For to oppose him who divided the person
of Christ into two, he confounded his natures into one--his delirant
folly being confirmed by that goodly assembly, the second at Ephesus.
Besides, it is confessed that Cyril--through the vehemency of his
spirit, hatred unto Nestorius, and following the conduct of his own
mind in nice and subtle expressions of the great mystery of the person
of Christ--did utter many things exceeding the bounds of sobriety
prescribed unto us by the apostle, (Rom.12:3,) if not those of truth
itself. Hence it is come to passe that many learned men begin to think
and write that Cyril was in the wrong, and Nestorius by his means
condemned undeservedly. However, it is certain to me, that the
doctrine condemned at Ephesus and Chalcedony as the doctrine of
Nestorius, was destructive of the true person of Christ; and that
Cyril, though he missed it in sundry expressions, yet aimed at the
declaration and confirmation of the truth; as he was long since
vindicated by Theorianus: Dialog. con. Armenios.
 However, such was the watchful care of Christ over the church, as
unto the preservation of this sacred, fundamental truth, concerning
his divine person, and the union of his natures therein, retaining
their distinct properties and operations, that--notwithstanding all
the faction and disorder that were in those primitive councils, and
the scandalous contests of many of the members of them;
notwithstanding the determination contrary unto it in great and
numerous councils--the faith of it was preserved entire in the hearts
of all that truly believed, and triumphed over the gates of hell.
 I have mentioned these few things, which belong unto the promise and
prediction of our blessed Saviour in Matt.16:18, (the place insisted
on,) to show that the church, without any disadvantage to the truth,
may be preserved without such general assemblies, which, in the
following ages, proved the most pernicious engines for the corruption
of the faith, worship, and manners of it. Yea, from the beginning,
they were so far from being the only way of preserving truth, that it
was almost constantly prejudiced by the addition of their authority
unto the confirmation of it. Nor was there any one of them wherein
"the mystery of iniquity" did not work, unto the laying of some
rubbish in the foundation of that fatal apostasy which afterwards
openly ensued. The Lord Christ himself has taken it upon him to build
his church on this rock of his person, by true faith of it and in it.
He sends his Holy Spirit to bear testimony unto him, in all the
blessed effects of his power and grace. He continueth his Word, with
the faithful ministry of it, to reveal, declare, make known, and
vindicate his sacred truth, unto the conviction of gainsayers. He
keeps up that faith in him, that love unto him, in the hearts of all
his elect, as shall not be prevailed against. Wherefore, although the
oppositions unto this sacred truth, this fundamental article of the
church and the Christian religion--concerning his divine person, its
constitution, and use, as the human nature conjoined substantially
unto it, and subsisting in it--are in this Last age increased;
although they are managed under so great a variety of forms, as that
they are not reducible unto any heads of order; although they are
promoted with more subtlety and specious pretences than in former
ages; yet, if we are not wanting unto our duty, with the aids of grace
proposed unto us, we shall finally triumph in this cause, and transmit
this sacred truth inviolate unto them that succeed us in the
profession of it.

 Chap. III. This person of Christ, which is the foundation whereon the
church is built, whereunto all sorts of oppositions are endeavoured
and designed, is the most ineffable effect of divine goodness and
wisdom--whereof we treat in the next place. But herein, when I speak
of the constitution of the person of Christ, I intend not his person
absolutely, as he is the eternal Son of God. He was truly, really,
completely, a divine person from eternity, which is included in the
notion of his being the Son, and so distinct from the Father, which is
his complete personality. His being so was not a voluntary contrivance
or effect of divine wisdom and goodness, his eternal generation being
a necessary internal act of the divine nature in the person of the
Father.
 Of the eternal generation of the divine person of the Son, the sober
writers of the ancient church did constantly affirm that it was firmly
to be believed, but as unto the manner of it not to be inquired into.
"Scrutator majestatis absorbetur a gloria", was their rule; and the
curious disputes of Alexander and Arius about it, gave occasion unto
that many-headed monster of the Arian heresy which afterwards ensued.
For when once men of subtile heads and unsanctified hearts gave
themselves up to inquire into things infinitely above their
understanding and capacity--being vainly puffed up in their fleshly
minds--they fell into endless divisions among themselves, agreeing
only in an opposition unto the truth. But those who contented
themselves to be wise unto sobriety, repressed this impious boldness.
To this purpose speaks Lactantius:(lib.4, De Vera Sapient.:) "Quomodo
igitur procreavit? Nec sciri a quoquam possunt, nec narrari, opera
divina; sed tamen sacrae literae docent illum Dei filium, Dei esse
sermonem".----"How, therefore, did the Father beget the Son? These
divine works can be known of none, declared by none; but the holy
writings" (wherein it is determined) "teach that he is the Son of God,
that he is the Word of God." And Ambrose: (De Fide, ad Gratianum:)
"Quaero abs te, quando aut quomodo putes filium esse generatum? Mihi
enim impossibile est scire generationis secretum Mens deficit, vox
silet, non mea tantum, sed et angelorum. Supra potestates, supra
angelos, supra cherubim, supra seraphim, supra omnem sensum est. Tu
quoque manum ori admovere; scrutari non licet superna mysteria. Licet
scire quod ntus sit, non licet discutere quomodu ntus sit; illud
negare mihi non licet, hoc quaerere metus est. Nam si Paulus ea quae
audivit, raptus in tertium coelu, ineffabilia dicit, quomodo nos
exprimere possumus paternae generationis arcanum, quod nec sentire
potuimus nec audire? Quid te ista questionum tormenta delectant?"--"I
inquire of you when and how the Son was begotten? Impossible it is to
me to know the mystery of this generation. My mind faileth, my voice
is silent--and not only mine, but of the angels; it is above
principalities, above angels, above the cherubim, above the seraphim,
above all understanding. Lay thy hand on thy mouth; it is not lawful
to search into these heavenly mysteries. It is lawful to know that he
was born--it is not lawful to discuss how he was born; that it is not
lawful for me to deny--this I am afraid to inquire into. For if Paul,
when he was taken into the third heaven, affirms that the things which
he heard could not be uttered; how can we express the mystery of the
divine generation, which we can neither apprehend nor hear? Why do
such tormenting questions delight thee?"
 Ephraim Syrus wrote a book to this purpose, against those who would
search out the nature of the Son of God. Among many other things to
the same purpose are his words: (cap. 2:) "Infelix profecto, miser,
atque impudentissimus est, qui scrutari cupot Opificem suum. Millia
millium, et centies millies millena millia angelorum et archangelorum,
cum horrore glorificant, et trementes adorant; et homines lutei, pleni
peccatis, de divinitate intrepide disserunt Non illorum exhorrescit
corpus, non contremescit animus; sed securi et garruli, de Christo Dei
filio, qui pro me indigno peccatore passus est, deque ipsius utraque
generatione loquuntur; nec saltem quod in luce caecutiunt, sentiunt".-
-"He is unhappy, miserable, and most impudent, who desires to examine
or search out his Maker. Thousands of thousands, and hundreds of
thousands of millions of angels and archangels, do glorify him with
dread, and adore him with trembling; and shall men of clay, full of
sins, dispute of the Deity without fear? Horror does not shake their
bodies, their minds do not tremble, but being secure and pealing, they
speak of the Son of God, who suffered for me, unworthy sinner, and of
both his nativities or generations; at least they're not sensible how
blind they are in the light." To the same purpose. speaks Eusebius at
large: Demonstratio Evang., lib. 5 cap. 2.
 Leo well adds hereunto the consideration of his incarnation, in these
excellent words: (Serm. 9, De Nativit.:) "Quia in Christo Jesus Filio
Dei non solum ad divinam essentiam, sed etiam ad humanan spectat
naturam, quo dictum est per prophetam--'generationem ejus quis
enarrabit?'--(utramque enim substantiam in unam convenisse personam,
nisi fides credat, sermo non explicat; et ideo materia nunquam deficit
laudis; qui nunquam sufficit copia laudatoris)--gaudeamus igitur quod
ad eloquendum tantum, misericordiae sacramentum impares sumus; et cum
salutis nostrae altitudinem promere non valeamus, sentiamus nobis
bonum esse quod vincimur. Nemo enim ad cognitionem veritatis magis
propinquat, quam qui intelligit, in rebus divinis, etiamsi multum
proficiat, semper sibi superesse quod quaerat". See also Fulg., lib. 2
ad Thrasimund.
 But I speak of the person of Christ as unto the assumption of the
substantial adjunct of the human nature, not to be a part whereof his
person is composed, but as unto its subsistence therein by virtue of a
substantial union. Some of the ancients, I confess, speak freely of
the composition of the person of Christ in and by the two natures, the
divine and human. That the Son of God after his incarnation had one
nature, composed of the Deity and humanity, was the heresy of
Apollinarius, Eutyches, the Monothelites, or Monophyeites, condemned
by all. But that his most simple divine nature, and the human,
composed properly of soul and body, did compose his one person, or
that it was composed of them, they constantly affirmed. "Ton Theou
mesiten kai enthroopoon, kata tas grafas sunkeisthai famen ek te tes
kath' hemas anthroopotetos teleioos echousas kata ton idion logon, kai
ek tou pefenotos, ek Theou kata fusin huiou", saith Cyril of
Alexandria--"A sanctis patribus adunatione ex divinitate et humanitate
Christus Dominus noster compositus praedicatur:" Pet. Diacon., Lib. De
Incarnat. et Grat. Christi, ad Fulgentium. And the union which they
intended by this composition they called "enoosin fusiken", because it
was of diverse natures, and "enoosin kata sunthesin", a union by
composition.
 But because there neither was nor can be any composition, properly so
called, of the divine and human natures, and because the Son of God
was a perfect person before his incarnation, wherein he remained what
he was, and was made what he was not, the expression has been forsaken
and avoided; the union being better expressed by the assumption of a
substantial adjunct, or the human nature into personal subsistence
with the Son of God, as shall be afterwards explained. This they
constantly admire as the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and
grace: "Ho asarkos tarkoutai, ho logos pachunetai, ho aoratos horatai,
ho anafes pselafatai, ho achronos archetai, ho huios Theou huios
anthroopou ginetai", saith Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. 12,) in
admiration of this mystery. Hereby God communicates all things unto us
from his own glorious fulness, the near approaches whereof we are not
able to bear. So is it illustrated by Eusebius: (Demonst. Evang.,
lib.4 cap.5, &c.:) "Houtoo de footos heliou mia kai he aute prostole
homou kai kata to auto kataugadzei men aera, footidzei de ofthalmous,
hafen de termainei, piainei de gen, auxei de futa, k. t. l. (cap.6) Ei
goun hoos en hupothesei logou, katheis ouranothen autos heauton
pamfaes helios sun anthroopois epi ges politeuoito, oudena toon epi
tes ges meinai an adiaforon, pantoon sulletden empsuchoon homou kai
apsuchoon athroai tei tou footos prostolei dieaftharesomenoon". The
sense of which words, with some that follow in the same place, is unto
this purpose: By the beams of the sunlight, and life, and heat, unto
the procreation, sustentation, refreshment, and cherishing of all
things, are communicated. But if the sun itself should come down unto
the earth, nothing could bear its heat and lustre; our eyes would not
be enlightened but darkened by its glory, and all things be swallowed
up and consumed by its greatness; whereas, through the beams of it,
every thing is enlightened and kindly refreshed. So is it with this
eternal beam or brightness of the Father's glory. We cannot bear the
immediate approach of the Divine Being; but through him, as incarnate,
are all things communicated unto us, in a way suited unto our
reception and comprehension.
 So it is admired by Leo: (Serm. 3, De Nativit.:) "Natura humana in
Creatoris societatem assumpta est, non ut ille habitator, et illa
esset habitaculum; sed ut naturae alteri sic misceretur altera, ut
quamvis alia sit quae suscipitur, alia vero quae suscepit, in tantam
tamen unitatem conveniret utriusque diversitas, ut unus idemque sit
filius, qui se, et secundum quod verus est homo, Patre dicit minorem,
et secundum quod verus est Deus Patrise profitetur aequalem"-- "Human
nature is assumed into the society of the Creator, not that he should
be the inhabitant, and that the habitation," (that is, by an
inhabitation in the effects of his power and grace, for otherwise the
fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily,) "but that one nature
should be so mingled" (that is, conjoined) "with the other, that
although that be of one kind which assumeth, and that of another which
is assumed, yet the diversity of them both should concur in such a
unity or union, as that it is one and the same Son who, as he was a
true man, said that he was less than the Father, or the Father was
greater than he--so as he was true God, professeth himself equal unto
the Father." See also Augustinus De Fide, ad Pet. Diacon., cap. 17;
Justitianus Imperator Epist. ad Hormisdam, Romae Episcop.
 And the mystery is well expressed by Maxentius: (Biblioth. Patr. pars
prima:) "Non confundimus naturarum diversitatem; veruntamen Christum
non tu asseris Deum factum, sed Deum factum Christum confitemur. Quia
non cum pauper esset, dives factus est, sed cum dives esset, pauper
factus est, ut nos divites faceret; neque enim cum esset in forma
servi, formam Dei accepit; sed cum esset in forma Dei, formam servi
accepit; similiter etiam nec, cum esset caro, verbum est factum; sed
cum esset verbum, caro factum est".--"We do not confound the diversity
of the natures, howbeit we believe not what you affirm, that Christ
was made God; but we believe that God was made Christ. For he was not
made rich when he was poor; but being rich, he was made poor, that he
might make us rich. He did not take the form of God when he was in the
form of a servant; but being in the form of God, he took on him the
form of a servant. In like meaner, he was not made the Word when he
was flesh; but being the Word, he was made flesh."
 And Jerome, speaking of the effects of this mystery: (Comment. in
Ezekiel, cap. 46:) "Ne miretur lector si idem et Princeps est et
Sacerdos, et Vitulus, et Aries, et Agnus; cum in Scripturis sanctis
pro varietate causarum legamus eum Dominum, et Deum, et Hominem, et
Prophetam, et Virgam, et Radicem, et Florem, et Principem, et Regem
justum, et Justitiam, Apostolu, et Episcopu, Brachium, Servum,
Angelum, Pastorem, Filium, et Unigenitum, et Promogenitum, Ostium,
Viam, Sagittam, Sapientiam, et multa alia."--"Let not the reader
wonder if he find one and the same to be the Prince and Priest, the
Bullock, Ram, and Lamb; for in the Scripture, on variety of causes, we
find him called Lord, God, and Man, the Prophet, a Rod, and the Root,
the Flower, Prince, Judge, and Righteous King; Righteousness, the
Apostle and Bishop, the Arm and Servant of God, the Angel, the
Shepherd, the Son, the Only-begotten, the First-begotten, the Door,
the Way, the Arrow, Wisdom, and sundry other things." And Ennodius
has, as it were, turned this passage of Jerome into verse:--
 "Corda domat, qui cuncta videt, quem cuncta tramiscunt;
 Fons, via, dextra, lapis, vitulus, leo, lucifer, agnus;
 Janua, spes, virtus, verbum, sapientia, vates.
 Ostia, virgultum, pastor, mons, rete, columba,
 Flama, gigas, aquila, sponsus, patientia, nervus,
 Filius, excelsus, Dominus, Deus; omnia Christus."
                        (In natalem Papoe Epiphanii.)
 "Quod homo est esse Christus voluit; ut et homo possit esse quod
Christus est", saith Cyprian: De Idolorum Vanitate, cap. 3. And, "Quod
est Christus erimus Christiani, si Christum fuerimus imitati:" Ibid.
And he explains his mind in this expression by way of admiration:
(Lib. de Eleemosyn.:) "Christus hominis filius fieri voluit, ut nos
Dei filios faceret; humiliavit se, ut popolum qui prius jacebat,
erigeret; vulneratus est, ut vulnera nostra curaret".

 Chap. IV. That he was the foundation of all the holy counsels of God,
with respect unto the vocation, sanctification, justification, and
eternal salvation of the church, is, in the next place, at large
declared. And he was so on a threefold account. 1. Of the ineffable
mutual delight of the Father and the Son in those counsels from an
eternity. 2. As the only way and means of the accomplishment of all
those counsels, and the communication of their effects, unto the
eternal glory of God. 3. As he was in his own person, as incarnate,
the idea and exemplar in the mind of God of all that grace and glory
in the church which was designed unto it in those eternal counsels. As
the cause of all good unto us, he is on this account acknowledged by
the ancients. "Houtos goun ho logos ho Christos kai tou einai palai
hemas, en gar en Theooi, kai tou eu einai aitios. Nun de etefane
anthroopois, autos houtos ho logos, ho monos amfoo Theos te kai
anthroopos, hapantoon hemin aitios agatoon", saith Clemens, Adhort. ad
Gentes--"He, therefore, is the Word, the Christ, and the cause of old
of our being; for he was in God, and the cause of our well-being. But
now he has appeared unto men, the same eternal Word, who alone is both
God and man, and unto us the cause of all that is good". As he was in
God the cause of our being and well-being from eternity, he was the
foundation of the divine counsels in the way explained; and in his
incarnation, the execution of them all was committed unto him, that
through him all actual good, all the fruits of those counsels, might
be communicated unto us.

 Chap. V. He is also declared in the next place, as he is the image
and great representative of God, even the Father, unto the church. On
what various accounts he is so called, is fully declared in the
discourse itself. In his divine person, as he was the only begotten of
the Father from eternity, he is the essential image of the Father, by
the generation of his person, and the communication of the divine
nature unto him therein. As he is incarnate, he is both in his own
entire person God and man, and in the administration of his office,
the image or representative of the nature and will of God unto us, as
is fully proved. So speaks Clem. Alexandrin., Adhort. ad Gentes: "He
men gar tou Theou eikoon ho logos autou, kai huios tou nou gnesios, ho
Teios logos footos erchetupon foos, eikoon de tou logou ho
enthroopos".--"The image of God is his own Word, the natural Son of
the" (eternal) "Mind, the divine Word, the original Light of Light;
and the image of the Word is man." And the same author again, in his
Paedagogus: "Prosoopon tou Theou ho logos hooi footidzetai ho Theos
kai gnooridzetai"--"The Word is the face, the countenance, the
representation of God, in whom he is brought to light and made known."
As he is in his divine person his eternal, essential image; so, in his
incarnation, as the teacher of men, he is the representative image of
God unto the church, as is afterwards declared.
 So also Jerome expresseth his mind herein: (Comment. in Psal.66:)
"Illuminet vultum suum super nos; Dei facies quae est? Utique imago
ejus. Dicit enim apostolus imaginem Patris esse filium; ergo imagine
sua nos illuminet; hoc est, imaginem suam filium illuminet super nos;
ut ipse nos illuminet; lux enim Patris lux filii est."--"Let him cause
his face to shine upon us; or lift up the light of his countenance
upon us. What is the face of God? Even his image. For the apostle
says, that the Son is the image of the Father. Wherefore, let him
shine on us with his image; that is, cause his Son, which is his
image, to shine upon us, that he may illuminate us; for the light of
the Father and of the Son are the same." Christ being the image of
God, the face of God, in him is God represented unto us, and through
him are all saving benefits communicated unto them that believe.
 Eusebius also speaks often unto this purpose, as: (Demonstratio
Evangelica, lib. 4 cap. 2:) "Hothen eikotoos hoi cresmoi teologountes,
Theon geneton auton apofainousin, hoos an tes anekfrastou kai
aperinoetou theotetos monon en autooi feronta ten eikona di' hen kai
Theon einak te auton kai legesthai tes pros to prooton exomoiooseoos
charin".--"Wherefore, the holy oracles, speaking theologically, or
teaching divine things, do rightly call him God begotten," (of the
Father,) "as he who alone bears in himself the image of the ineffable
and inconceivable Deity. Wherefore, he both is, and is called God,
because of his being the character, similitude, or image of him who is
the first." The divine personality of Christ consists in this, that
the whole divine nature being communicated unto him by eternal
generation, he is the image of God, even the Father, who by him is
represented unto us. See the same book, chap. 7, to the same purpose;
also, De Ecclesiast. Theol. contra Marcell., lib. 2 cap. 17.
 Clemens abounds much in the affirmation of this truth concerning the
person of Christ, and we may yet add, from a multitude to the same
purpose, one or more testimonies from him. Treating of Christ as the
teacher of all men, his "paidagoogos", he affirms that he is "Theos en
anthroopou schemati", "God in the figure or form of man;" "achrantos,
patrikooi telemati diakonos, logos, Theos, ho en patri ho ek dexioon
tou patros, sun kai tooi schemati Theou", "impolluted, serving the
will of the Fsther, the Word, God, who is in the Father, on the right
hand of the Father, and in or with the form of God". "Houtos hemin
eikoon he akelidootos, toutooi panti sthenei peirateon exomoioun ten
psuchen".--"He is the image (of God) unto us, wherein there is no
blemish; and with all our strength are we to endeavour to render
ourselves like unto him". This is the great end of his being the
representative image of God unto us And: (Stromat., lib. 4:) "Ho men
oun Theos anapodeiktos oon, ouk estin epistemonikos. Ho de huios sofia
te esti kai episteme, kai aletheia, kai, hosa alla toutooi sungene".--
"As God" (absolutely) "falls not under demonstration," (that is,
cannot perfectly be declared,) "so he does not" (immediately) "effect
or teach us knowledge. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and
truth, unto us, and every thing which is cognate hereunto." For in and
by him does God teach us, and represent himself unto us.

 Chap. VII. Upon the glory of this divine person of Christ depends the
efficacy of all his offices; an especial demonstration whereof is
given in his prophetical office. So it is well expressed by Irenaeus,
"qui nil molitur inepte:" lib. 1 cap. 1. "Non enim aliter nos discere
poteramus quae sunt Dei, nisi magister noster verbum existens, homo
ffactus fuisset. Neque enim alius poterat enarrare nobis quae sunt
Patris, nisi proprium ipsius verbum. Quis enim alius cognovit sensum
Domini? Aut quis alius ejus consiliarium factus est? Neque rursus nos
aliter discere poteramus, nisi Magistrum nostrum videntes, et per
auditum nostrum vocem ejus percipientes, uti imitatores quidem operum,
factores autem sermonum ejus facti, communionem habeamus cum ipso".--
"We could not otherwise have learned the things of God, unless our
Master, being and continuing the" (eternal) "Word, had been made man.
For no other could declare unto us the things of God, but his own
proper Word. For who else has known the mind of the Lord? Or who else
has been his counsellor? Neither, on the other side, could we
otherwise have learned, unless we had seen our Master, and heard his
voice," (in his incarnation and ministry,) "whereby, following his
works, and yielding obedience unto his doctrine, we may have communion
with himself."
 I do perceive that if I should proceed with the same kind of
attestations unto the doctrine of all the chapters in the ensuing
discourse, this preface would be drawn forth unto a greater length
than was ever designed unto it, or is convenient for it. I shall
therefore choose out one or two instances more, to give a specimen of
the concurrence of the ancient church in the doctrine declared in
them, and so put a close unto it.

 Chap. IX. In the ninth chapter and those following, we treat of the
divine honour that is due unto the person of Christ, expressed in
adoration, invocation, and obedience, proceeding from faith and love.
And the foundation of the whole is laid in the discovery of the true
nature and causes of that honour; and three things are designed unto
confirmation herein. 1. That the divine nature, which is individually
the same in each person of the holy Trinity, is the proper formal
object of all divine worship, in adoration and invocation; wherefore,
no one person is or can be worshipped, but in the same individual act
of worship each person is equally worshipped and adored. 2. That it is
lawful to direct divine honour, worship, and invocation unto any
person, in the use of his peculiar name--the Father, Son, or Spirit --
or unto them altogether; but to make any request unto one person, and
immediately the same unto another, is not exemplified in the
Scripture, nor among the ancient writers of the church. 3. That the
person of Christ, as God-man, is the proper object of all divine
honour and worship, on the account of his divine nature; and all that
he did in his human nature are motives thereunto.
 The first of these is the constant doctrine of the whole ancient
church, viz, that whether, (for instance,) in our solemn prayers and
invocations, we call expressly on the name of the Father, or of the
Son, or of the Holy Spirit; whether we do it absolutely or relatively,
that is, with respect unto the relation of one person to the others as
calling on God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Christ as
the Son of his love, on the Holy Spirit as proceeding from them both--
we do formally invocate and call on the divine nature, and
consequently the whole Trinity, and each person therein. This truth
they principally confirmed with the form of our initiation into Christ
at baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost." For as there is contained therein the sum of
all divine honour, so it is directed unto the same name, (not the
names,) of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which is the same Deity or
divine nature alone.
 So speak the Fathers of the second General Council in their letters
unto the bishops of the west; as they are expressed in Theodoret, lib.
5 cap. 9. This form of baptism teacheth us, say they, "Pisteuein eis
to onoma tou patros, kai tou huiou, kai tou hagiou pneumatos, delade,
teotetos te kai dunameoos kai ousias mias tou patros, kai tou huiou,
kai tou hagiou pneumatos pisteuomenes, homotimou tes axias, kai
sunaidiou tes basileias, en trisi teleiais hupostasesi".--"to believe
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
seeing that the Deity, substance, and power of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, is one and the same; their dignity equal; their kingdom
coeternal, in three perfect persons." "In nomine dixit, non nominibus,
erog non aliud nomen Patris est,"&c., "quia unus Deus:" Ambrose, De
Spirit. Sanct., lib. 1 cap. 14. "Onoma de koinon toon trioon en, he
teotes".--"The one name common to the three is the Deity:" Gregor.
Nazianzen, Orat. 40. Hence Augustine gives it as a rule, in speaking
of the Holy Trinity: "Quando unus trium in aliquo opere nominatur,
universa operari trinitas intelligitur:" Enchirid., cap. 38.--"When
one person of the three is named in any work, the whole Trinity is to
be understood to effect it." "There is one Lord, one faith, one
baptism," according to the Scriptures. Wherefore, as there is one
faith in Christ, and one baptism of truth, although we are baptized
and believe in the Father, Son, and Spirit, "kata ton outon, oimai,
tropon kai logon, mia proskunesis he patros, kai enanthroopesantos
huiou, kai hagiou pneumatos;"--"so plainly, in my judgment, there is
one and the same adoration, of the Father, the Son incarnate, and the
Holy Spirit:" Cyril. Alex. De Recta Fide, cap. 32.
 And this they professed themselves to hold and believe, in that
ancient doxology which was first invented to decry the Arian heresy:
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." The
same glory, in every individual act of its assignation or ascription,
is directed unto each person jointly and distinctly, on the account of
the same divine nature in each of them. I need not produce any
testimonies in the farther confirmation hereof; for, in all their
writings against the Arians, they expressly and constantly contend
that the holy Trinity (that is, the divine nature in three persons) is
the individual object of all divine adoration, invocation, and all
religious worship; and that by whatever personal name--as the Father,
Son, or Spirit--we call on God, it is God absolutely who is adored,
and each person participant of the same nature. See August. Lib. con.
Serm. Arian. cap. 35, and Epist. 66 ad Maximum.
 For the second thing, or the invocation of God by any personal name,
or by the conjunction of the distinct names of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit together, nothing occurs more frequently among them. Yea,
it is common to find in their writings, prayers begun unto one person,
and ended in the name of another; yea, begun unto Christ, and closed
in the name of His only-begotten Son; it being one and the same divine
nature that is called on. Yea, the schoolmen do generally deny that
the persons of the holy Trinity, under the consideration of the formal
reason which is constitutive of their personality, are the formal
object and term of divine worship; but in the worship of one, they are
all worshipped as one God over all, blessed for ever. See Aquin. 22 q.
81, a. 3, ad prim., and q. 84, a. 1, ad tertium; Alexand. Alens. p. 3,
q. 30, m. 1, a. 3.
 But yet, although we may call on God in and by the name of any divine
person, or enumerate at once each person, (oo trias hagia
arithmoumene, trias en heni onomati arithmoumene", Epiphan. Ancorat.,
8 22,) it does not follow that we may make a request in our prayers
unto one person, and then immediately repeat it unto another; for it
would thence follow, that the person unto whom we make that request in
the second place, was not invocated, not called on, not equally adored
with him who was so called on in the first place, although the divine
nature is the object of all religious invocation, which is the same in
each person. Wherefore, in our divine invocation, we may name and fix
our thoughts distinctly on any person, according as our souls are
affected with the distinct operations of each person in grace towards
us.
 For what concerns, in the third place, the ascription of divine
honour, in adoration and invocation, unto the person of Christ; it is
that which they principally contended for, and argued from, in all
their writings against the Arians.
 Evidences of infinite wisdom in the constitution of the person of
Christ, and rational discoveries of the condecencies therein, unto the
exaltation of all the other glorious properties of the divine nature,
are also treated of. Herein we consider the incarnation of the Son of
God, with respect unto the recovery and salvation of the church alone.
Some have contended that he should have been incarnate, had man never
fallen or sinned. Of these are Rupertus, lib. 3, De Gloria et Honore
Filii Hominis; Albertus Magnus, in 3 distinct. 10, a 4; Petrus
Galatinus, lib.3 cap.4; as are Scotus, halensis, and others, whom
Osiander followed. The same is affirmed by Socinus concerning the
birth of that man, which alone he fancied him to be, as I have
elsewhere declared. But I have disproved this figment at large. Many
of the ancients have laboured in this argument, of the necessity of
the incarnation of the eternal Word, and the condecencies unto divine
wisdom therein. See Irenaeus, lib 3, cap. 20, 21; Eusebius, Demonst.
Evangel., lib 4 cap. 1-4, &c.; Cyril. Alexand., lib. 5 cap. 6, lib 1.
De Fide ad Regin.; Chrysostom, Homil. 10 in Johan., et in cap.8, ad
Rom. Serm. 18; Augustine, De Trinit., lib. 13 cap.13-20; Leo, Epist.
13, 18, Sermo. De Nativit. 1, 4, 10; Basil., in Psal. 48; Albinus, lib
1 in Johan. Cap.11; Damascen., lib. 3, De Fide, cap. 15, 19; Anselm.,
quod Deus Homo, lib. duo. Guil. Parisiensis, lib. Cur Deus Homo. Some
especial testimonies we may produce in confirmation of what we have
discoursed, in the places directed unto. There is one of them, one of
the most ancient, the most learned, and most holy of them, who has so
fully delivered his thoughts concerning this mystery, as that I shall
principally make use of his testimony herein.
 It belonged unto the wisdom and righteousness of God, that Satan
should be conquered and subdued in and by the same nature which he had
prevailed against, by his suggestion and temptation. To this purpose
that holy writer speaks, (lib. 3 cap. 20,) which, because his words
are cited by Theodore, (Dial. 2,) I shall transcribe them from thence,
as free from the injuries of his barbarous translator: "Henoosen oun
kathoos proefamen ton anthroopon tooi Theooi, ei gar me anthroopos
henikesen ton antipalon tou anthroopou, ouk an dikaioos henikethe ho
echthros, palin te, ei me ho Theos edooresato ten sooterian, ouk an
betaioos echoimen auten, kai ei me sunenoothe ho anthroopos tooi
Theooi ouk an edunethe metaschein tes aftharsias. Edei gar ton mesiten
tou Theou te kai anthroopoon, die tes idias pros hekaterous
oikeiotetos eis filian kai homonoian tous anfoterous sunagagein".
Words plainly divine; an illustrious testimony of the faith of the
ancient church, and expressive of the principal mystery of the gospel!
"Wherefore, as we said before, he united man unto God. For if man had
not overcome the adversary of men, the enemy had not been justly
conquered; and, on the other hand, if God had not given and granted
salvation, we could never have a firm, indefeasible possession of it;
and if man had not been united unto God, he could not have been
partaker of immortality. It behaved, therefore, the Mediator between
God and man, by his own participation of the nature of each of them,
to bring them both into friendship and agreement with each other." And
to the same purpose, speaking of the wisdom of God in our redemption
by Christ, with respect unto the conquest of the devil: (lib 5 cap.
1:) "Potens in omnibus Dei Verbum, et non deficiens in sua justitia,
juste etiam adversus ipsam conversus est apostasiam, ea quae sunt sua
redimens, ab eo, non cum vi, quemadmomdum ille initio dominabatur
nostri, ea quae non erant sua insatiabiliter rapiens ... Suo igitur
sanguine redimente nos Domino, et dante animam suam pro anima nostra,
et carnem suam pro carnibus nostris", &c. Again divinely: "The
all-powerful Word of God, no way defective in righteousness, set
himself against the apostasy justly also; redeeming from him (Satsn,
the head of the apostasy) the things which were his own--not with
force, as he bare rule over us, insatiably making rapine of what was
not his own--but he, the Lord, redeeming us with his own blood, giving
his soul for our soul, and his flesh for ours, wrought out our
deliverance." These things are at large insisted on in the ending
discourse.
 It belongs unto this great mystery, and is a fruit of divine wisdom,
that our deliverance should be wrought in and by the me nature wherein
and whereby we were ruined. The reasons hereof, and the glory of God
therein, are at large discoursed in the ensuing treatise. To the same
purpose speaks the same holy writer: (lib 5 cap. 14:) "Non in
semetipso recapitulasset haec Dominus, nisi ipse caro et sanguis
secundum principalem plasmationem factus fuisset; salvans in semetipso
in fine illud quod perierat in principio in Adam. Si autem ob aliam
quandam dispositionem Dominus incarnatus est, et ex altera substantia
carnem attulit, non ergo in semetipso recapitulatus est hominem, adhuc
etiam nec aro quidem dici potest ... Habuit ergo et ipse carnem et
sanguinem, non alteram quindam, sed ipsam principalem Patris
plasmationem in se recapitulans, exquirens id quod perierat". And to
the same purpose: (lib. 5 cap. 1:) "Neque enim vere esset sanguinem et
carnem habens, per quam nos redemit, nisi antiquam plasmationem Adae
in seipsum recapitulasset". That which these passages give testimony
unto, is what we have discoursed concerning the necessity of our
redemption in and by the nature that sinned; and yet withal, that it
should be free from all that contagion which invaded our nature by the
fall. And these things are divinely expressed. "Our Lord," saith he,
"had not gathered up these things in himself, had not he been made
flesh and blood, according unto its original creation." The reader may
observe, that none of the ancient writers do so frequently express the
fall of Adam by our apostasy from God, and our recovery by a
recapitulation in Christ, as Irenaeus--his recapitulation being
nothing but the "anakefalaioosis" mentioned by the apostle, Eph.1:10--
and he here affirms, that, unto this end, the Lord was made flesh;
"secundum principalem plasmationem", as his words are rendered; that
is plainly, the original creation of our nature in innocence,
uprightness, purity, and righteousness.) "So he saved in himself in
the end, what perished in Adam at the beginning." (The same nature, in
and by the same nature.) "For if the Lord had been incarnate for any
other disposition," (i. e., cause, reason, or end,) "and had brought
flesh from any other substance," (i. e., celestial or ethereal, as the
agnostics imagined,) "he had not recovered men, brought our nature
unto a head in himself, nor could he have been said to be flesh. He
therefore himself had flesh and blood not of any other kind; but he
took to himself that which was originally created of the Father,
seeking that which was lost." The same is observed by Augustine: (Lib.
de Fide, ad Petrum Diaconum:) "Sic igitur Christum Dei Filium, id est,
unam ex Trinitate personam, Deum verum crede, ut divinitatem ejus de
natura Patris natam esse non dubites; et sic eum verum hominem crede,
et ejus carnem, non coelestis, non aeriae, non alterius cujusquam
putes esse naturae, sed ejus coujus est omnium caro; id est, quam ipse
Deus, homini primo de terra plasmavit, et caeteris hominibus plasmat."-
-"So believe Christ the Son of God, that is, one person of the
Trinity, to be the true God, that you doubt not but that his divinity
was born" (hy eternal generation) "of the nature of the Father; and so
believe him to be a true man, that you suppose not his flesh to be
aerial, or heavenly, or of any other nature, but of that which is the
flesh of men; that is, which God himself formed in the first man of
the earth, and which he forms in all other men." That which he speaks
of one person of the Trinity, has respect unto the heretical opinion
of Hormisdas, the bishop of Rome, who contended that it was unlawful
to say that one person of the Trinity was incarnate, and persecuted
some Scythian monks, men not unlearned about it, who were strenuously
defended by Maxentius, one of them.
 It carrieth in it a great condecency unto divine wisdom, that man
should be restored unto the image of God by him who was the essential
image of the Father; (as is declared in our discourse;) and that he
was made like unto us, that we might be made like unto him, and unto
God through him. So speaks the same Irenaeus: (lib. 5 Praefat:)
"Verbum Dei Jesus Christus, qui propter immensam suam dilectionem,
factus est quod sumus nos, ut nos perficeret quod est ipse".--"Jesus
Christ, the Word of God, who, from his own infinite love, was made
what we are, that he might make us what he is;" that is, by the
restoration of the image of God in us. And again: (lib. 3 cap. 20:)
"Filius Dei existens semper apud Patrem, et homo factus, longam
hominum expositionem in seipso recapitulavit; in compendio nobis
salutem praestans, ut quod perdideramus in Adam, id est, secundum
imaginem et similitudinem esse Dei, hoc in Christo Jesus reciperemus.
Quia enim non erat ppossibile, eum hominem, qui semel victus fuerat et
elisus per inobedientiam, replasmare et obtinere brabium (brateion)
victoriae; iterum autem impossibile erat ut salutem perciperet, qui
sub peccato ceciderat. Utraque operatus est filius Verbum Dei
existens, a Patre descendens et incarnatus, et usque ad mortem
descendens, et dispensationem consummans salutis nostrae".--"Being the
Son of God always with the Father, and being made man, he reconciled
or gathered up in himself the long-continued exposing of men," (unto
sin and judgment,) "bringing in salvation in this compendious way, (in
this summary of it,) that what we had lost in Adam--that is, our being
in the image and likeness of God--we should recover in Christ. For it
was not possible that man that had been once conquered and broken by
disobedience, should by himself be reformed, and obtain the crown of
victory; nor, again, was it possible that he should recover salvation
who had fallen under sin. Both were wrought by the Son, the Word of
God, who, descending from the Father, and being incarnate, submitted
himself to death, perfecting the dispensation of our salvation."
 And Clemens Alexandrinus to the same purpose: (Adhort. ad Gentes.)
"Nai femi ho logos h tou Theou anthroopos genomenos, hina de kai su
para anthroopou matheis, te pote ara anthroopos genetai Theos".--"The
Word of God was made man, that thou mightest learn of a man how man
may become" (as) "God." And Ambrose, in Ps. 118 Octonar. decim.: [of
the authorized English version, Ps. 119 73:] "Imago, [id est, Verbum
Dei,] ad eum qui est d imaginem, [hoc est, hominem,] venit, et quaerit
imago eum qui est ad similitudinem sui, ut iterum signet, ut iterum
confirmet, quia amiseras quod accepisti."--"The image of God, that is,
the Word of God, came unto him who was after the image of God, that is
man. And this image of God seeks him who was after the image of God,
that he might seal him with it again, and confirm him, because thou
hadst lost that which thou hadst received." And Augustine in one
instance gives a rational account why it was condecent unto divine
wisdom that the Son, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit, should be
incarnate--which we also inquire into: (Lib. de Definitionibus
Orthodoxae Fidei sive de Ecclesiastica Dogmatibus, cap. 2:) "Non Pater
carnem assumpsit, neque Spiritus Sanctus, set Filius tantum; at qui
erat in divinitate Dei Patris Filius, ipse fieret in homine hominis
matris Filius; ne Filii nomen ad alterum transiret, qui non esset
eterna nativitate filius".--"The Father did not assume flesh, nor the
Holy Spirit, but the Son only; that he who in the Deity was the Son of
the Father, should be made the Son of man, in his mother of human
race; that the name of the Son should not pass unto any other, who was
not the Son by an eternal nativity."
 I shall close with one meditation of the same author, concerning the
wisdom and righteousness of God in this mystery: (Enchirid. ad
Laurent., cap. 99:) "Vide--universum genus humanum tam justo judicio
Divino in apostatica radice damnatum, ut etiam si nullus inde
liberaretur, nemo recte possit Dei vituperare justitiam; et qui
liberantur, sic oportuisse liberari, ut ex pluribus non liberatis,
atque in damnatione justissima derelictis, ostenderetur, quod
meruisset universa conspersio, et quo etiam istos debitum judicium Dei
duceret, nisi ejus indebita misericordia subveniret."---"Behold, the
whole race of mankind, by the just judgment of God, so condemned in
the apostatical root, that if no one were thence delivered, yet no man
could rightly complain of the justice of God; and that those who are
freed, ought so to be freed, that, from the greater number who are not
freed, but left under most righteous condemnation, it might be
manifest what the whole mass had deserved, and whither the judgment of
God due unto them would lead them, if his mercy, which was not due,
did not relieve them." The reader may see what is discoursed unto
these purposes: and because the great end of the description given of
the person of Christ, is that we may love him, and thereby be
transformed into his image, I shall close this preface with the words
of Jerome, concerning that divine love unto Christ which is at large
declared. "sive legas", says he, "sive scribas, sive vigiles, sive
dormias, amor tibi semper buccina in auribus sonet, hic lituus excitet
animam tuam, hoc amore furibundus; quaere in lectulo tuo, quem
desiderat anima tue:" Epist. 66 ad Pammach., cap. 10.--"Whether thou
readest or writest, whether thou watchest or sleepest, let the voice
of love (to Christ) sound in thine ears; let this trumpet stir up thy
soul: being overpowered (brought into an ecstasy) with this love, seek
Him on thy bed whom thy soul desireth and longeth for."




A Declaration of the Glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ





Chapter I. Peter's Confession; Matt.16:16--Conceits of the Papists
thereon--The Substance and Excellency of that Confession

Our blessed Saviour, inquiring of his disciples their apprehensions
concerning his person, and their faith in him, Simon Peter--as he was
usually the forwardest on all such occasions, through his peculiar
endowments of faith and zeal--returns an answer in the name of them
all, Matt.16:16: "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God."
 Baronius, and sundry others of the Roman Church, do all affirm that
the Lord Christ did herein prescribe the form of a general council.
"For here," say they, "the principal article of our Christian faith
was declared and determined by Peter, whereunto all the rest of the
apostles, as in duty they were obliged, did give their consent and
suffrage." This was done, as they suppose, that a rule and law might
be given unto future ages, how to enact and determine articles of
faith. For it is to be done by the successors of Peter presiding in
councils, as it was now done by Peter in this assembly of Christ and
his apostles.
 But they seem to forget that Christ himself was now present, and
therefore could have no vicar, seeing he presided in his own person.
All the claim they lay unto the necessity of such a visible head of
the church on the earth, as may determine articles of faith, is from
the absence of Christ since his ascension into heaven. But that he
should also have a substitute whilst he was present, is somewhat
uncouth; and whilst they live, they shall never make the pope
president where Christ is present. The truth is, he does not propose
unto his disciples the framing of an article of truth, but inquires
after their own faith, which they expressed in this confession. Such
things as these will prejudice, carnal interest, and the prepossession
of the minds of men with corrupt imaginations, cause them to adventure
on, to the scandal, yea, ruin of religion!
 This short but illustrious confession of Peter, compriseth eminently
the whole truth concerning the person and office of Christ:--of his
person, in that although he was the Son of man, (under which
appellation he made his inquiry, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of
man, am?") yet was he not only so, but the eternal Son of the living
God:--of his office, that he was the Christ, he whom God had anointed
to be the Saviour of the church, in the discharge of his kingly,
priestly, and prophetical power. Instances of the like brief
confessions we have elsewhere in the Scripture. Rom.10:9: "If thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in
thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved" 1 John 4:2,3: "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God." And it is
manifest, that all divine truths have such a concatenation among
themselves, and do all of them so centre in the person of Christ--as
vested with his offices towards the church--that they are all
virtually comprised in this confession, and they will be so as counted
by all who destroy them not by contrary errors and imaginations
inconsistent with them, though it be the duty of all men to obtain the
express knowledge of them in particular, according unto the meana
thereof which they do enjoy. The danger of men's souls lieth not in a
disability to attain a comprehension of longer or more subtile
confessions of faith, but in embracing things contrary unto, or
inconsistent with, this foundation thereof. Whatever it be whereby men
cease to hold the Head, how small soever it seem, that alone is
pernicious: Col.2:18,19.
 This confession, therefore, as containing the sum and substance of
that faith which they were called to give testimony unto, and
concerning which their trial was approaching--is approved by our
Saviour. And not only so, but eminent privileges are granted unto him
that made it, and in him unto the whole church, that should live in
the same faith and confession: (verses 17,18:) "And Jesus answered and
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood
has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I
say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
 Two things does our Saviour consider in the answer returned unto his
inquiry. 1. The faith of Peter in this confession--the faith of him
that made it; 2. The nature and truth of the confession: both which
are required in all the disciples of Christ." For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation:" Rom.10:10.
 1. The first thing which he speaks unto is the faith of Peter, who
made this confession. Without this no outward confession is of any use
or advantage. For even the devils knew him to be the Holy One of God;
(Luke 4:34;) yet would he not permit them to speak it: Mark 1:34. That
which gives glory unto God in any confession, and which gives us an
interest in the truth confessed, is the believing of the heart, which
is unto righteousness. With respect hereunto the Lord Christ speaks:
(verse 17:) "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou,
Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but
my Father which is in heaven."
 He commends and sets forth the faith of Peter--(1.) From its effect;
(2.) From its cause. Its effect was, that it made him blessed in whom
it was. For it is not only a blessed thing to believe and know Jesus
Christ, as it is called life eternal; (John 17:3;) but it is that
which gives an immediate interest in the blessed state of adoption,
justification, and acceptance with God: John 1:12. (2.) The immediate
cause of this faith is divine revelation. It is not the effect or
product of our own abilities, the best of which are but flesh and
blood. That faith which renders them blessed in whom it is, is wrought
in them by the power of God revealing Christ unto their souls. Those
who have more abilities of their own unto this end than Peter had, we
are not concerned in.
 2. He speaks unto the confession itself, acquainting his disciples
with the nature and use of it, which, from the beginning, he
principally designed: (verse 18:) "And I say also unto thee, that thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it."
 From the speaking of these words unto Peter, there is a controversy
raised in the world, whether the Lord Christ himself, or the pope of
Rome, be the rock whereon the church is built. And unto that state are
things come in religion, among them that are called Christians, that
the greatest number are for the pope and against Christ in this
matter. And they have good reason for their choice. For if Christ be
the rock whereon the church is built, whereas he is a living stone,
those that are laid and built on him must be lively stones also, as
this apostle assures us, 1 Epist. 2:4,5; they must be like unto Christ
himself, partaking of his nature, quickened by his Spirit, so, as it
were, to be bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh: Eph.5:30. Nor
can any be built on him but by a living faith, effectual in universal
obedience. These things the generality of men like not at all; and,
therefore, the fabric of the living temple on this foundation is
usually but small, seldom conspicuous or outwardly glorious. But if
the pope be this rock, all the Papists in the world, or all that have
a mind so to be--be they ever so wicked and ungodly--may be built upon
him, and be made partakers of all that deliverance from the powers of
hell which that rock can afford them. And all this may be obtained at
a very easy rate; for the acknowledgment of the pope's sovereign
authority in the church is all that is required thereunto. How they
bring in the claim of their pope by Peter, his being at Rome, being
bishop of Rome, dying at Rome, fixing his chair at Rome, devoting and
transmitting all his right, title, power, and authority, every thing
but his faith, holiness, and labour in the ministry, unto the pope, I
shall not here inquire; I have done it elsewhere. Here is fixed the
root of the tree, which is grown great, like that in Nebuchadnezzar's
dream, until it is become a receptacle for the beasts of the field and
fowls of the air--sensual men and unclean spirits I shall, therefore,
briefly lay an axe unto the root of it, by evidencing that it is not
the person of Peter who confessed Christ, but the person of Christ
whom Peter confessed, that is the rock on which the church is built.
 1. The variation of the expressions proves undeniably that our
Saviour intended we should not understand the person of Peter to be
the rock. He takes occasion from his name to declare what he designed,
but no more: "And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter." He had given
him this name before, at his first calling; (John 1:42;) now he gives
the reason of his so doing; viz, because of the illustrious confession
that he should make of the rock of the church; as the name of God
under the Old Testament was called on persons, and things, and places,
because of some especial relation unto him. Wherefore, the expression
is varied on purpose to declare, that whatever be the signification of
the name Peter, yet the person so called was not the rock intended.
The words are, "Su ei Petros, kai epi tautei tei petrai". Had he
intended the person of Peter, he would have expressed it plainly, "Su
ei petros, kai epi soi, k.t.l."--"Thou art a rock, and on thee will I
build." At least the gender had not been altered, but he would have
said, "Epi toutooi tooi petrooi", which would have given some color to
this imagination. The exception which they lay hereunto, from the use
of Cephas in the Syriac, which was the name of Peter, and signified a
rock or a stone, lies not only against the authentic authority of the
Greek original, but of their own translation of it, which reads the
words, "To es Petrus, et super hanc petram".
 2. If the church was built on the person of Peter, then when he died
the church must utterly fail. For no building can possibly abide when
its foundation is removed and taken away. Wherefore they tell us they
do not intend by the person of Peter, that singular and individual
person alone to be this rock; but that he and his successors the
bishops of Rome are so. But this story of his successors at Rome is a
shameful fable. If the pope of Rome be a true believer, he succeeds,
in common with all other believers, unto the privileges which belong
unto this confession; if he be not, he has neither lot nor portion in
this matter. But the pretence is utterly vain on another account also.
The apostle, showing the insufficiency of the Aaronical priesthood--
wherein there was a succession of God's own appointment--affirms, that
it could not bring the church unto a perfect state, because the high
priests died one after another, and so were many: Heb.7:8,23,24. And
thereon he shows that the church cannot be consummated or perfected,
unless it rest wholly in and on him who lives forever, and was made a
priest "after the power of an endless life." And if the Holy Ghost
judged the state of the Jewish Church to be weak and imperfect--
because it rested on high priests that died one after another,
although their succession was expressly ordained of God himself--shall
we suppose that the Lord Christ, who came to consummate the church,
and to bring it unto the most perfect estate whereof in this world it
is capable, should build it on a succession of dying men, concerning
which succession there is not the least intimation that it is
appointed of God? And as unto the matter of fact, we know both what
interruptions it has received, and what monsters it has produced--both
sufficiently manifesting that it is not of God.
 3. There is but one rock, but one foundation. There is no mention in
the Scripture of two rocks of the church. In what others invent to
this purpose we are not concerned. And the rock and the foundation are
the same; for the rock is that whereon the church is built, that is
the foundation. But that the Lord Christ is this single rock and
foundation of the church, we shall prove immediately. Wherefore,
neither Peter himself, nor his pretended successors, can be this rock.
As for any other rock, it belongs not unto our religion; they that
have framed it may use it as they please. For they that make such
things are like unto the things they make; so is every one that
trusteth in them: Ps.115:8. "But their rock is not as our rock,
themselves being judges;" unless they will absolutely equal the pope
unto Jesus Christ.
 4. Immediately after this declaration of our Saviour's purpose to
build his church on the rock, he reveals unto his disciples the way
and manner how he would lay its foundation, viz., in his death and
sufferings: verse 21. And thereon this supposed rock, being a little
left unto his own stability, showed himself to be but a "reed shaken
with the wind." For he is so far from putting himself under the weight
of the building, that he attempts an obstruction of its foundation. He
began to rebuke Christ himself for mentioning his sufferings, wherein
alone the foundation of the Gospel Church was to be laid; (verse 22;)
and hereon he received the severest rebuke that ever the Lord Jesus
gave unto any of his disciples: verse 23. And so it is known that
afterward--through surprisal and temptation--he did what lay in him to
recall that confession which here he made, and whereon the church was
to be built. For, that no flesh might glory in itself, he that was
singular in this confession of Christ, was so also in the denial of
him. And if he in his own person manifested how unmeet he was to be
the foundation of the church, they must be strangely infatuated who
can suppose his pretended successors so to be. But some men will
rather have the church to be utterly without any foundation, than that
it should not be the pope.
 The vanity of this pretence being removed, the substance of the great
mystery contained in the attestation given by our Saviour unto the
confession of Peter, and the promise whereunto annexed, may be
comprised in the ensuing assertions:--
 1. The person of Christ, the Son of the living God, as vested with
his offices, whereunto he was called and anointed, is the foundation
of the church, the rock whereon it is built.
 2. The power and policy of hell will be always engaged in opposition
unto the relation of the church unto this foundation, or the building
of it on this rock.
 3. The church that is built on this rock shall never be disjoined
from it, or prevailed against by the opposition of the gates of hell.
 The two former of these I shall speak briefly unto, my principal
design being the demonstration of a truth that ariseth from the
consideration of them all.
 The foundation of the church is twofold: (1.) Real; (2.) Doctrinal.
And in both ways, Christ alone is the foundation. The real foundation
of the church he is, by virtue of the mystical union of it unto him,
with all the benefits whereof, from thence and thereby, it is made
partaker. For thence alone has it spiritual life, grace, mercy,
perfection, and glory: Eph.4:15,16; Col.2:19. And he is the doctrinal
foundation of it, in that the faith or doctrine concerning him and his
offices is that divine truth which in a peculiar manner animates and
constitutes the church of the New Testament: Eph.2:19-22. Without the
faith and confession hereof, no one person belongs unto that church. I
know not what is now believed, but I judge it will not yet be denied,
that the external formal cause of the Church of the New Testament, is
the confession of the faith concerning the person, offices, and grace
of Christ, with what is of us required thereon. In what sense we
assert these things will be afterwards fully cleared.
 That the Lord Christ is thus the foundation of the church, is
testified unto, Isa.28:16: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in
Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone,
a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make hasten. It is
among the bold inroads that in this late age have been made on the
vitals of religion, that some, in compliance with the Jews, have
attempted the application of this promise unto Hezekiah. The violence
they have offered herein to the mind of the Holy Ghost, might be
evidenced from every word of the context. But the interpretation and
application of the last words of this promise by the apostles, leaves
no pretence unto this insinuation. "He that believes on him shall not
be ashamed" or "confounded," Rom.9:33; 10:11; 1 Pet.2:6; that is, he
shall be eternally saved--which it is the highest blasphemy to apply
unto any other but Jesus Christ alone. He, therefore, is alone that
foundation which God has laid in and of the church. See Ps.118:22;
Matt.21:42; Mark.12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet.2:4; Eph.2:20-22;
Zech.3:9. But this fundamental truth--of Christ being the only
foundation of the church--is so expressly determined by the apostle
Paul, as not to need any farther confirmation, 1 Cor.3:11: "For other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."





Chapter II. Opposition made unto the Church as built upon the Person
of Christ

There are in the words of our Saviour unto Peter concerning the
foundation of the church, a promise of its preservation, and a
prediction of the opposition that should be made thereunto. And,
accordingly, all things are come to pass, and carrying on towards a
complete accomplishment. For (that we may begin with the opposition
foretold) the power and policy of hell ever were, and ever will be,
engaged in opposition unto the church built on this foundation--that
is, the faith of it concerning his person, office, and grace, whereby
it is built on him. This, as unto what is past, concerneth matter of
fact, whereof, therefore, I must give a brief account; and then we
shall examine what evidences we have of the same endeavour at present.
 The gates of hell, as all agree, are the power and policy of it, or
the actings of Satan, both as a lion and as a serpent, by rage and by
subtlety. But whereas in these things he acts not visibly in his own
person, but by his agents, he has always had two sorts of them
employed in his service. By the one he executes his rage, and by the
other his craft; he animates the one as a lion, the other as a
serpent. In the one he acts as the dragon, in the other as the beast
that had two horns like the lamb, but spake like the dragon. The first
is the unbelieving world; the other, apostates and seducers of all
sorts. Wherefore, this work is this kind is of a double nature;--the
one, an effect of his power and rage, acted by the world in
persecution--the other, of his policy and craft, acted by heretics in
seduction. In both he designs to separate the church from its
foundation.
 The opposition of the first sort he began against the person of
Christ immediately in his human nature. Fraud first he once attempted
in his temptation, (Matt.4,) but quickly found that that way he could
male no approach unto him. The prince of this world came, but had
nothing in him. Wherefore he retook himself unto open force, and, by
all means possible, sought his destruction. So also the more at any
time the church is by faith and watchfulness secured against
seduction, the more does he rage against it in open persecution. And
(for the example and comfort of the church in its conformity unto
Christ) no means were left unattempted that might instigate and
prepare the world for his ruin. Reproaches, contempt, scorn, false and
lying accusations--by his suggestions--were heaped on him on every
hand. Hereby, in the whole course of his ministry, he "endured the
contradiction of sinners against himself: " Heb.12:3. And there is
herein blessed provision made of inestimable consolation, for all
those who are "predestinated to be conformed unto his image," when God
shall help them by faith to make use of his example. He calls them to
take up his cross and follow him; and he has showed them what is in
it, by his own bearing of it. Contempt, reproach, despiteful usage,
calumnies, false accusations, wrestings of his words, blaspheming of
his doctrine, reviling of his person, all that he said and did as to
his principles about human government and moral oonversation,
encompassed him all his days. And he has assured his followers, that
such, and no other, (at least for the most part,) shall be their lot
in this world. And some in all ages have an experience of it in an
eminent manner. But have they any reason to complain? Why should the
servant look for better measure than the Master met withal? To be made
like unto him in the worst of evils, for his sake, is the best and
most honorable condition in this world. God help some to believe it!
Hereby was way made for his death. But, in the whole, it was
manifested how infinitely, in all his subtlety and malice, Satan falls
short of the contrivances of divine wisdom and power. For all that he
attained by effecting his death, in the hour of darkness, was but the
breaking of his own head, the destruction of his works, with the ruin
of his kingdom; and what yet remains to consummate his eternal misery,
he shall himself work out in his opposition unto the church. His
restless malice and darkness will not suffer him to give over the
pursuit of his rage, until nothing remains to give him a full entrance
into endless torments--which he hasteneth every day. For when he shall
have filled up the measure of his sins, and of the sins of the world
in being instrumental unto his rage, eternal judgment shall put all
things unto their issue. Through that shall he, with the world, enter
into everlasting flames--and the whole church, built on the rock, into
rest and glory.
 No sooner did the Church of the New Testament begin to arise on this
foundation, but the whole world of Jews and gentiles set themselves
with open force to destroy it. And all that they contended with the
church about, was their faith and confession of it, that "Jesus was
the Christ, the Son of the living God." This foundation they would
cast it from, or exterminate it out of the earth. What were the
endeavours of the gates of hell in this kind--with what height of
rage, with what bloody and inhuman cruelties they were exercised and
executed--we have some obscure remembrance, in the stories that remain
from the martyrdom of Stephen unto the days of Constantine. But
although there be enough remaining on record, to give us a view of the
insatiable malice of the old murderer, and an astonishing
representation of human nature degenerating into his image in the
perpetration of all horrid, inhuman cruelties yet is it all as nothing
in comparison of that prospect which the last day will give of them,
when the earth shall disclose all the blood that it has received, and
the righteous Judge shall lay open all the contrivances for its
effusion, with the rage and malice wherewith they were attended. The
same rage continueth yet unallayed in its principles. And although God
in many places restrain and shut it up in his providence, by the
circumstances of human affairs, yet--as it has the least advantage, as
it finds any door open unto it--it endeavours to act itself in lesser
or higher degrees. But whatever dismal appearance of things there may
be in the world, we need not fear the ruin of the church by the most
bloody oppositions. Former experiences will give security against
future events. It is built on the rock, and those gates of hell shall
not prevail against it.
 The second way whereby Satan attempted the same end, and yet
continueth so to do, was by pernicious errors and heresies. For all
the heresies wherewith the church was assaulted and pestered for some
centuries of years, were oppositions unto their faith in the person of
Christ. I shall briefly reflect on the heads of this opposition,
because they are now, after a revolution of so many ages, lifting up
themselves again, though under new vizards and pretences. And they
were of three sorts:--
 1. That which introduced other doctrines and notions of divine
things, absolutely exclusive of the person and mediation of Christ.
Such was that of the Gnostic, begun as it is supposed by Simon the
magician. A sort of people they were, with whom the first churches,
after the decease of the apostles, were exceedingly pestered, and the
faith of many was overthrown. For instead of Christ and God in him
reconciling the world unto himself, and the obedience of faith thereon
according unto the Gospel, they introduced endless fables,
genealogies, and conjugations of deities, or divine powers; which
practically issued in this, that Christ was such an emanation of light
and knowledge in them as made them perfect--that is, it took away all
differences of good and evil, and gave them liberty to do what they
pleased, without sense of sin, or danger of punishment. This was the
first way that Satan attempted the faith of the church, viz., by
substituting a perfecting light and knowledge in the room of the
person of Christ. And, for aught I know, it may be one of the last
ways whereby he will endeavour the accomplishment of the same design.
Nor had I made mention of these pernicious imaginations which have
lain rotting in oblivion for so many generations, but that some again
endeavour to revive them, at least so far as they were advanced and
directed against the faith and knowledge of the person of Christ.
 2. Satan attempted the same work by them who denied his divine nature-
-that is, in effect, denied him to be the Son of the living God, on
the faith whereof the church is built. And these were of two sorts:--
 (1.) Such as plainly and openly denied him to have any preexistence
unto his conception and birth of the holy Virgin. Such were the
Ebionites, Samosatanians, and Photinians. For they all affirmed him to
be a mere man, and no more, though miraculously conceived and born of
the Virgin, as some of them granted; (though denied, as it is said, by
the Ebionites;) on which account he was called the Son of God. This
attempt lay directly against the everlasting rock, and would have
substituted sand in the room of it. For no better is the best of human
nature to make a foundation for the church, if not united unto the
divine. Many in those days followed those pernicious ways; yet the
foundation of God stood sure, nor was the church moved from it. But
yet, after a revolution of so many ages, is the same endeavour again
engaged in. The old enemy, taking advantage of the prevalence of
Atheism and profaneness among those that are called Christians, does
again employ the same engine to overthrow the faith of the church--and
that with more subtlety than formerly--in the Socinians. For their
faith, or rather unbelief, concerning the person of Christ, is the
same with those before mentioned. And what a vain, wanton generation
admire and applaud in their sophistical reasonings, is no more but
what the primitive church triumphed over through faith, in the most
subtle management of the Samosatanians, Photinians, and others. An
evidence it is that Satan is not unknowing unto the workings of that
vanity and darkness, of those corrupt affections in the minds of men,
whereby they are disposed unto a contempt of the mystery of the
Gospel. Who would have thought that the old exploded pernicious errors
of the Samosatanians, Photinians, and Pelagians, against the power and
grace of Christ, should enter on the world again with so much
ostentation and triumph as they do at this day? But many men, so far
as I can observe, are fallen into such a dislike of the Christ of God,
that every thing concerning his person, Spirit, and grace, is an
abomination unto them. It is not want of understanding to comprehend
doctrines, but hatred unto the things themselves, whereby such persons
are seduced. And there is nothing of this nature whereunto nature, as
corrupted, does not contribute its utmost assistance.
 (2.) There were such as opposed his divine nature, under pretence of
declaring it another way than the faith of the church did rest in. So
was it with the Asians, in whom the gates of hell seemed once to be
near a prevalence. For the whole professing world almost was once
surprised into that heresy. In words they acknowledged his divine
person; but added, as a limitation of that acknowledgment, that the
divine nature which he had was originally created of God, and produced
out of nothing; with a double blasphemy, denying him to be the true
God, and making a god of a mere creature. But in all these attempts,
the opposition of the gates of hell unto the church respected faith in
the person of Christ as the Son of the living God.
 (3.) By some his human nature was opposed--for no stone did Satan
leave unturned in the pursuit of his great design. And that which in
all these things he aimed at, was the substitution of a false Christ
in the room of Him who, in one person, was both the Son of man and the
Son of the living God. And herein he infected the minds of men with
endless imaginations. Some denied him to have any real human nature,
but [alleged him] to have been a phantasm, an appearance, a
dispensation, a mere cloud acted by divine power; some, that he was
made of heavenly flesh, brought from above, and which (as some also
affirmed) was a parcel of the divine nature. Some affirmed that his
body was not animated, as ours are, by a rational soul, but was
immediately acted by the power of the Divine Being, which was unto it
in the room of a living soul; some, that his body was of an ethereal
nature, and was at length turned into the sun; with many such
diabolical delusions. And there yet want not attempts, in these days,
of various sorts, to destroy the verity of his human nature; and I
know not what some late fantastical opinions about the nature of
glorified bodies may tend unto. The design of Satan, in all these
pernicious imaginations, is to break the cognation and alliance
between Christ in his human nature and the church, whereon the
salvation of it does absolutely depend.
 3. He raised a vehement opposition against the hypostatical union, or
the union of these two natures in one person. This he did in the
Nestorian heresy, which greatly, and for a long time, pestered the
church. The authors and promoters of this opinion granted the Lord
Christ to have a divine nature, to be the Son of the living God. They
also acknowledged the truth of his human nature, that he was truly a
man, even as we are. But the personal union between these two natures
they denied. A union, they said, there was between them, but such as
consisted only in love, power, and care. God did, as they imagined,
eminently and powerfully manifest himself in the man Christ Jesus--had
him in an especial regard and love, and did act in him more than in
any other. But that the Son of God assumed our nature into personal
subsistence with himself--whereby whole Christ was one person, and all
his mediatory acts were the acts of that one person, of him who was
both God and man--this they would not acknowledge. And this pernicious
imagination, though it seem to make great concessions of truth, does
no less effectually evert the foundation of the church than the
former. For, if the divine and human nature of Christ do not
constitute one individual person, all that he did for us was only as a
man--which would have been altogether insufficient for the salvation
of the church, nor had God redeemed it with his own blood. This seems
to be the opinion of some amongst us, at this day, about the person of
Christ. They acknowledge the being of the eternal Word, the Son of
God; and they allow in the like manner the verity of his human nature,
or own that man Christ Jesus. Only they say, that the eternal Word was
in him and with him, in the same kind as it is with other believes,
but in a supreme degree of manifestation and power. But, though in
these things there is a great endeavour to put a new colour and
appearance on old imaginations, the deign of Satan is one and the same
in them all, viz., to oppose the building of the church upon its
proper, sole foundation. And these things shall be afterwards
expressly spoken unto.
 I intend no more in these instances but briefly to demonstrate, that
the principal opposition of the gates of hell unto the church lay
always unto the building of it, by faith, on the person of Christ.
 It were easy also to demonstrate that Muhammadanism, which has been
so sore a stroke unto the Christian profession, in nothing but a
concurrence and combination of these two ways, of force and fraud, in
opposition unto the person of Christ.
 It is true that Satan, after all this, by another way, attempted the
doctrine of the offices and grace of Christ, with the worship of God
in him. And this he has carried so far, as that it issued in a fatal
antichristian apostasy; which is not of my present consideration.
 But we may proceed to what is of our own immediate concernment. And
the one work with that before described is still carried on. The
person of Christ, the faith of the church concerning it, the relation
of the church unto it, the building of the church on it, the life and
preservation of the church thereby, are the things that the gates of
hell are engaged in opposition unto. For,
 1. It is known with what subtlety and urgency his divine nature and
person are opposed by the Socinians. What an accession is made daily
unto their incredulity, what inclination of mind multitudes do
manifest towards their pernicious ways, are also evident unto all who
have any concernment in or for religion. But this argument I have
laboured in on other occasions.
 2. Many, who expressly deny not his divine person, yet seem to grow
weary of any concernment therein. A natural religion, or none at all,
pleaseth them better than faith in God by Jesus Christ. That any thing
more is necessary in religion, but what natural light will discover
and conduct us in, with the moral duties of righteousness and honesty
which it directs unto, there are too many that will not acknowledge.
What is beyond the line of nature and reason is rejected as
unintelligible mysteries or follies. The person and grace of Christ
are supposed to breed all the disturbance in religion. Without them,
the common notions of the Divine Being and goodness will guide men
sufficiently unto eternal blessedness. They did so before the coming
of Christ in the flesh, and may do so now he is gone to heaven.
 3. There are some who have so ordered the frame of objective
religion, as that it is very uncertain whether they leave any place
for the person of Christ in it or no. For, besides their denial of the
hypostatical union of his natures, they ascribe all that unto a light
within them which God will effect only by Christ as a mediator. What
are the internal actings of their minds, as unto faith and trust
towards him, I know not; but, from their outward profession, he seems
to be almost excluded.
 4. There are not a few who pretend high unto religion and devotion,
who declare no erroneous conceptions about the doctrine of the person
of Christ, who yet manifest themselves not to have that regard unto
him which the Gospel prescribes and requires. Hence have we so many
discourses published about religion, the practical holiness and duties
of obedience, written with great elegance of style, and seriousness in
argument, wherein we can meet with little or nothing wherein Jesus
Christ, his office, or his grace, are concerned. Yea, it is odds but
in them all we shall meet with some reflections on those who judge
them to be the life and centre of our religion. The things of Christ,
beyond the example of his conversation on the earth, are of no use
with such persons, unto the promotion of piety and gospel obedience.
Concerning many books of this nature, we may say what a teamed person
did of one of old: "There were in it many things laudable and
delectable, sed nomen Jesu non erat ibi."
 5. Suited unto these manifest inclinations of the minds of men unto a
neglect of Christ, in the religion they frame unto themselves--
dangerous and noxious insinuations concerning what our thoughts ought
to be of him, are made and tendered. As, (1.) It is scandalously
proposed and answered, "Of what use is the consideration of the person
of Christ in our religion?" Such are the novel inquiries of men who
suppose there is any thing in Christian religion wherein the person of
Christ is of no consideration--as though it were not the life and soul
that animates the whole of it, that which gives it its especial form
as Christian--as though by virtue of our religion we received any
thing from God, any benefit in mercy, grace, privilege, or glory, and
not through the person of Christ--as though any one duty or act of
religion towards God could be acceptably performed by us, without a
respect unto, or a consideration of, the person of Christ--or that
there were any lines of truth in religion as it is Christian, that did
not relate thereunto. Such bold inquiries, with futilous answers
annexed unto them, sufficiently manifest what acquaintance their
authors have either with Christ himself, which in others they despise,
or with his Gospel, which they pretend to embrace. (2.) A mock scheme
of religion is framed, to represent the folly of them who design to
learn the mind and will of God in and by him. (3.) Reproachful
reflections are made on such as plead the necessity of acquaintance
with him, or the knowledge of him, as though thereby they rejected the
use of the gospel (4.) Professed love unto the person of Christ is
traduced, as a mere fancy and vapour of distempered minds or weak
imaginations (5.) The union of the Lord Christ and his church is
asserted to be political only, with respect unto laws and rules of
government. And many other things of an alike nature are asserted,
derogatory unto his glory, and repugnant unto the faith of the church;
such as, from the foundation of Christian religion, were never vented
by any persons before, who did not openly avow some impious heresy
concerning his person. And I no way doubt but that men may, with less
guilt and scandal, fall under sundry doctrinal misapprehensions
concerning it--than, by crying hail thereunto, to despoil it of all
its glory, as unto our concernment therein, in our practical obedience
unto God. Such things have we deserved to see and hear.
 6. The very name or expression of "preaching Christ" is become a term
of reproach and contempt; nor can some, as they say, understand what
is meant thereby, unless it be an engine to drive all rational
preaching, and so all morality and honesty, out of the world.
 7. That which all these things tend unto and centre in, is that
horrible profaneness of life--that neglect of all gospel duties--that
contempt of all spiritual graces and their effects, which the
generality of them that are called Christians, in many places, are
given up unto. I know not whether it were not more for the honour of
Christ, that such persons would publicly renounce the profession of
his name, rather than practically manifest their inward disregard unto
him.
 That by these and the like means Satan does yet attempt the ruin of
the church, as unto its building on the everlasting rock, falls under
the observation of all who are concerned in its welfare. And (whatever
others may apprehend concerning this state of things in the world) how
any that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity--especially such as are
called to declare and represent him unto men in the office of the
ministry--can acquit themselves to be faithful unto him, without
giving their testimony against, and endeavouring to stop what lies in
them, the progress of this prevailing declension from the only
foundation of the church, I know not; nor will it be easy for
themselves to declare. And in that variety of conceptions which are
about him, and the opposition that is made unto him, there is nothing
more necessary than that we should renew and attest our confession of
him--as the Son of the living God--the only rock whereon the church of
them that shall be saved is founded and built.
 "Pauca ideo de Christo," as Tertullian speaks; some few things
concerning the person of Christ, with respect unto the confession of
Peter, and the promise thereunto annexed--wherein he is declared the
sole foundation of the church--will be comprised in the ensuing
discourse. And He who has ordained strength out of the mouths of babes
and sucklings, as he has given ability to express these poor, mean
contemplations of his glory, can raise by them a revenue of honour
unto himself in the hearts of them that do believe. And some few
things I must premise, in general, unto what I do design. As,
 1. The instances which I shall give concerning the use and
consideration of the person of Christ in Christian religion, or of him
as he is the foundation whereon the church is built, are but few--and
those perhaps not the most signal or eminent which the greater
spiritual wisdom and understanding of others might propose. And,
indeed, who shall undertake to declare what are the chief instances of
this incomprehensible effect of divine wisdom? "What is his name, and
what is his son's name, if thou can't tell?" Prov.30:4. See Isa.9:6.
It is enough for us to stand in a holy admiration, at the shore of
this unsearchable ocean, and to gather up some parcels of that divine
treasure wherewith the Scripture of truth is enriched.
 2. I make no pretence of searching into the bottom or depths of any
part of this "great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh".
They are altogether unsearchable, unto the line of the most
enlightened minds, in this life. What we shall farther comprehend of
them in the other world, God only knows. We cannot in these things, by
our utmost diligent search, "find out the Almighty unto perfection."
The prophets could not do so of old, nor can the angels themselves at
present, who "desire to look into these things:" 1 Pet.1:10-12. Only I
shall endeavour to represent unto the faith of them that do believe,
somewhat of what the Scripture does plainly reveal--evidencing in what
sense the person of Christ is the sole foundation of the church
 3. I shall not, herein, respect them immediately by whom the divine
person of Christ is denied and opposed. I have formerly treated
thereof, beyond their contradiction in way of reply. But it is their
conviction which I shall respect herein, who, under an outward
confession of the truth, do--either notionally or practically, either
ignorantly or designedly, God knows, I know not--endeavour to weaken
the faith of the church in its adherence unto this foundation.
Howbeit, neither the one sort nor the other has any place in my
thoughts, in comparison of the instruction and edification of others,
who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.





Chapter III. The Person cf Christ the most ineffable Effect of Divine
Wisdom and Goodness--Thence the next Cause of all True Religion--In
what sense it is so

The person of Christ is the most glorious and ineffable effect of
divine wisdom, grace, and power; and therefore is the next foundation
of all acceptable religion and worship. The Divine Being itself is the
first formal reason, foundation, and object of all religion. It all
depends on taking God to be our God; which is the first of his
commands. For religion, and the worship performed in it, is nothing
but the due respect of rational creatures unto the divine nature, and
its infinite excellencies. It is the glorifying of God as God; the way
of expressing that respect being regulated by the revelation of his
will. Yet the divine essence is not, in itself, the next and immediate
cause of religious worship. But it is the manifestation of this Being
and its excellencies, wherewith the mind of rational creatures is
immediately affected, and whereby it is obliged to give that religious
honour and worship which is due unto that Being, and necessary from
our relation thereunto. Upon this manifestation, all creatures capable
by an intelligent nature of a sense thereof, are indispensably obliged
to give all divine honour and glory to God.
 The way alone whereby this manifestation may be made, is by outward
acts and effects. For, in itself, the divine nature is hid from all
living, and dwelleth in that light whereunto no creature can approach.
This, therefore, God first made, by the creation of all things out of
nothing. The creation of man himself--with the principles of a
rational, intelligent nature, a conscience attesting his subordination
unto God and the creation of all other things, declaring the glory of
his wisdom, goodness, and power, was the immediate ground of all
natural religion, and yet continues so to be. And the glory of it
answers the means and ways of the manifestation of the Divine Being,
existence, excellencies, and properties. And where this manifestation
is despised or neglected, there God himself is so; as the apostle
discourseth at large, Rom.1:18-22.
 But of all the effects of the divine excellencies, the constitution
of the person of Christ as the foundation of the new creation, as "the
mystery of Godliness," was the most ineffable and glorious. I speak
not of his divine person absolutely; for his distinct personality and
subsistence was by an internal and eternal act of the Divine Being in
the person of the Father, or eternal generation--which is essential
unto the divine essence--whereby nothing anew was outwardly wrought or
did exist. He was not, he is not, in that sense, the effect of the
divine wisdom and power of God, but the essential wisdom and power of
God himself. But we speak of him only as incarnate, as he assumed our
nature into personal subsistence with himself. His conception in the
womb of the Virgin, as unto the integrity of human nature, was a
miraculous operation of the divine power. But the prevention of that
nature from any subsistence of its own--by its assumption into
personal union with the Son of God, in the first instance of its
conception--is that which is above all miracles, nor can be designed
by that name. A mystery it is, so far above the order of all creating
or providential operations, that it wholly transcends the sphere of
them that are most miraculous. Herein did God glorify all the
properties of the divine nature, acting in a way of infinite wisdom,
grace, and condescension. The depths of the mystery hereof are open
only unto him whose understanding it infinite, which no created
understanding can comprehend. All other things were produced and
effected by an outward emanation of power from God. He said, "Let
there be light, and there was light." But this assumption of our
nature into hypostatical union with the Son of God, this constitution
of one and the same individual person in two natures so infinitely
distinct as those of God and man--whereby the Eternal was made in
time, the Infinite became finite, the Immortal mortal, yet continuing
eternal, infinite, immortal--is that singular expression of divine
wisdom, goodness, and power, wherein God will be admired and glorified
unto all eternity. Herein was that change introduced into the whole
first creation, whereby the blessed angels were exalted, Satan and his
works ruined, mankind recovered from a dismal apostasy, all things
made new, all things in heaven and earth reconciled and gathered into
one Head, and a revenue of eternal glory raised unto God, incomparably
above what the first constitution of all things in the order of nature
could yield unto him.
 In the expression of this mystery, the Scripture does sometimes draw
the veil over it, as that which we cannot look into. So, in his
conception of the Virgin, with respect unto this union which
accompanied it, it was told her, that "the power of the Highest should
overshadow her:" Luke 1:35. A work it was of the power of the Most
High, but hid from the eyes of men in the nature of it; and,
therefore, that holy thing which had no subsistence of its own, which
should be born of her, should "be called the Son of God," becoming one
person with him. Sometimes it expresseth the greatness of the mystery,
and leaves it as an object of our admiration, 1 Tim.3:16: "Without
controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in
the flesh." A mystery it is, and that of those dimensions as no
creature can comprehend. Sometimes it putteth things together, as that
the distance of the two natures illustrate the glory of the one
person, John 1:14: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." But
what Word was this? That which was in the beginning, which was with
God, which was God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was
not any thing made that was made; who was light and life. This Word
was made flesh, not by any change of his own nature or essence, not by
a transubstantiation of the divine nature into the human, not by
ceasing to be what he was, but by becoming what he was not, in taking
our nature to his own, to be his own, whereby he dwelt among us. This
glorious Word, which is God, and described by his eternity and
omnipotence in works of creation and providence, "was made flesh,"
which expresseth the lowest state and condition of human nature.
Without controversy, great is this mystery of godliness! And in that
state wherein he visibly appeared as so made flesh, those who had eyes
given them from above, saw "his glory, the glory as of the
only-begotten of the Father." The eternal Word being made flesh, and
manifested therein, they saw his glory, the glory of the only-begotten
of the Father. What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the
least part of the glory of this divine wisdom and grace? So also is it
proposed unto us, Isa.9:6: "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 everlasting
Father, The Prince of Peace." He is called, in the first place,
Wonderful. And that deservedly: Prov.30:4. That the mighty God should
be a child born, and the everlasting Father a son given unto us, may
well entitle him unto the name of Wonderful.
 Some amongst us say, that if there were no other way for the
redemption and salvation of the church, but this only of the
incarnation and mediation of the Son of God, there was no wisdom in
the contrivance of it. Vain man indeed would be wise, but is like the
wild ass's colt. Was there no wisdom in the contrivance of that which,
when it is effected, leaves nothing but admiration unto the utmost of
all created wisdom? Who has known the mind of the Lord in this thing,
or who has been his counsellor in this work, wherein the mighty God
became a child born to us, a son given unto us? Let all vain
imaginations cease: there is nothing left unto the sons of men, but
either to reject the divine person of Christ--as many do unto their
own destruction--or humbly to adore the mystery of infinite wisdom and
grace therein. And it will require a condescending charity, to judge
that those do really believe the incarnation of the Son of God, who
live not in the admiration of it, as the most adorable effect of
divine wisdom.
 The glory of the same mystery is elsewhere testified unto, Heb.1:1-3:
"God has spoken unto us by his Son, by whom also he made the worlds;
who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person, upholding all things by the word of his power, by himself
purged our sin." That he purged our sins by his death, and the
oblation of himself therein unto God, is acknowledged. That this
should be done by him by whom the worlds were made, who is the
essential brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of the
person of the Father therein who upholds, rules, sustains all things
by the word of his power, whereby God purchased his church with his
own blood, (Acts 20:28,) is that wherein he will be admired unto
eternity. See Phil.2:6-9.
 In Isaiah (chap. 6) there is a representation made of him as on a
throne, filling the temple with the train of his glory. The Son of God
it was who was so represented, and that as he was to fill the temple
of his human nature with divine glory, when the fulness of the godhead
dwelt in him bodily. And herein the seraphim, which administered unto
him, had six wings, with two whereof they covered their faces, as not
being able to behold or look into the glorious mystery of his
incarnation: verses 2,3; John 12:39-41; 2:19; Col.2:9. But when the
same ministering spirits, under the name of cherubim, attended the
throne of God, in the administration of his providence as unto the
disposal and government of the world, they had four wings only, and
covered not their faces, but steadily beheld the glory of it:
Ezek.1:6; 10:2,3.
 This is the glory of the Christian religion--the basis and foundation
that bears the whole superstructure--the root whereon it grows. This
is its life and soul, that wherein it differs from, and inconceivably
excels, whatever was in true religion before, or whatever any false
religion pretended unto. Religion, in its first constitution, in the
estate of pure, uncorrupted nature, was orderly, beautiful and
glorious. Man being made in the image of God, was fit and able to
glorify him as God. But whereas, whatever perfection God had
communicated unto our nature, he had not united it unto Himself in a
personal union, the fabric of it quickly fell unto the ground. Want of
this foundation made it obnoxious unto ruin. God manifested herein,
that no gracious relation between him and our nature could be stable
and permanent, unless our nature was assumed into personal union and
subsistence with himself. This is the only rock and assured foundation
of the relation of the church unto God, which, now, can never utterly
fail. Our nature is eternally secured in that union, and we ourselves
(as we shall see) thereby. "In him all things consist;" (Col.1:17,18;)
wherefore, whatever beauty and glory there was in the relation that
was between God and man, and the relation of all things unto God by
man--in the preservation whereof natural religion did consist--it had
no beauty nor glory in comparison of this which does excel, or the
manifestation of God in the flesh--the appearance and subsistence of
the divine and human natures in the same single individual person. And
whereas God in that state had given man dominion "over the fish of the
sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all
the earth," (Gen.1:26,) it was all but an obscure representation of
the exaltation of our nature in Christ--as the apostle declares, Heb.
2: 6-9.
 There was true religion in the world after the fall, both before and
after the giving of the Law; a religion built upon and resolved into
divine revelation. And as for the outward glory of it--the
administration that it was brought into under the tabernacle and
temple--it was beyond what is represented in the institutions of the
gospel. Yet is Christian religion, our evangelical profession, and the
state of the church thereon, far more glorious, beautiful, and
perfect, than that state of religion was capable of, or could attain.
And as this is evident from hence, because God in his wisdom, grace,
and love to the church, has removed *that* state, and introduced
*this* in the room thereof; so the apostle proves it--in all
considerable instances--in his Epistle to the Hebrews, written unto
that purpose. There were two things, before, in religion;--the
promise, which was the life of it; and the institutions of worship
under the Law, which were the outward glory and beauty of it. And both
these were nothing, or had nothing in them, but only what they before
proposed and represented of Christ, God manifested in the flesh. The
promise was concerning *him*, and the institutions of worship did only
represent *him*. So the apostle declares it, Col.2:17. Wherefore, as
all the religion that was in the world after the fact was built on the
promise of this work of God, in due time to be accomplished; so it is
the actual performance of it which is the foundation of the Christian
religion, and which gives it the preeminence above all that went
before it. So the apostle expresseth it: (Heb.1:1-3:) "God, who at
sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the
fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his
Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made
the worlds; who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express
image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his
power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right
hand of the Majesty on high."
 All false religion pretended always unto things that were mysterious.
And the more men could invent, or the devil suggest, that had an
appearance of that nature, as sundry things were so introduced horrid
and dreadful, the more reverence and esteem were reconciled unto it.
But the whole compass of the craft of Satan and the imaginations of
men could never extend itself unto the least resemblance of this
mystery. And it is not amiss conjectured, that the apostle, in his
description of it, 1 Tim.3:16, did reflect upon and condemn the vanity
of the Eleusinian mysteries, which were of the greatest vogue and
reputation among the gentiles.
 Take away the consideration hereof, and we despoil the Christian
religion of all its glory, debasing it unto what Muhammadanism
pretends unto, and unto what in Judaism was really enjoyed.
 The faith of this mystery enables the mind wherein it is--rendering
it spiritual and heavenly, transforming it into the image of God.
Herein consists the excellency of faith above all other powers and
acts of the soul--that it receives, assents unto, and rests in, things
in their own nature absolutely incomprehensible. It is "elegchos ou
blepomenoon", (Heb.11:1,)--"The evidence of things not seen" that
which makes evident, as by demonstration, those things which are no
way objected unto sense, and which reason cannot comprehend. The more
sublime and glorious--the more inaccessible unto sense and reason--the
things are which we believe; the more are we changed into the image of
God, in the exercise of faith upon them. Hence we find this most
glorious effect of faith, or the transformation of the mind into the
likeness of God, no less real, evident, and eminent in many, whose
rationally comprehensive abilities are weak and contemptible, in the
eye of that wisdom which is of this world, than in those of the
highest natural sagacity, enjoying the best improvements of reason.
For "God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of
the kingdom:" James 2: 5. However they may be poor, and, as another
apostle speaketh, "foolish, weak, base, and despised;" (1 Cor. 1: 27,
28;) yet that faith which enables them to assent unto and embrace
divine mysteries, renders them rich in the sight of God, in that it
makes them like unto him.
 Some would have all things that we are to believe to be levelled
absolutely unto our reason and comprehension--a principle which, at
this day, shakes the very foundations of the Christian religion. It is
not sufficient, they say, to determine that the faith or knowledge of
any thing is necessary unto our obedience and salvation, that it seems
to be fully and perspicuously revealed in the Scripture--unless the
things so revealed be obvious and comprehensible unto our reason; an
apprehension which, as it ariseth from the pride which naturally
ensues on the ignorance of God and ourselves, so it is not only an
invention suited to debase religion, but an engine to evert the faith
of the church in all the principal mysteries of the Gospel--especially
of the Trinity and the incarnation of the Son of God. But faith which
is truly divine, is never more in its proper exercise--doth never more
elevate the soul into conformity unto God--than when it acts in the
contemplation and admiration of the most incomprehensible mysteries
which are proposed unto it by divine revelation.
 Hence things philosophical, and of a deeps rational indagation, find
great acceptance in the world--as, in their proper place, they do
deserve. Men are furnished with proper measures of them, and they find
them proportionate unto the principles of their own understandings.
But as for spiritual and heavenly mysteries, the thoughts of men for
the most part recoil, upon their first proposal, nor will be
encouraged to engage in a diligent inquiry into them--yea, commonly
reject them as foolish, or at least that wherein they are not
concerned. The reason is that given in another case by the apostle:
"All men have not faith;" (2 Thess. 3: 2;) which makes them absurd and
unreasonable in the consideration of the proper objects of it. But
where this faith is, the greatness of the mysteries which it embraceth
heightens its efficacy, in all its blessed effects, upon the soul.
Such is this constitution of the person of Christ, wherein the glory
of all the holy properties and perfections of the divine nature is
manifested, and does shine forth. So speaks the apostle, 2 Cor. 3: 18:
"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into
the same image, from glory to glory." This glory which we behold, is
the glory of the face of God in Jesus Christ, (chap. 4: 6,) or the
glorious representation which is made of him in the person of Christ,
whereof we shall treat afterwards. The glass wherein this glory is
represented unto us--proposed unto our view and contemplation--is
divine revelation in the gospel. Herein we behold it, by faith alone.
And those whose view is steadfast, who most abound in that
contemplation by the exercise of faith, are thereby "changed into the
same image, from glory to glory"--or are more and more renewed and
transformed into the likeness of God, so represented unto them.
 That which shall, at last, perfectly effect our utmost conformity to
God, and, therein, our eternal blessedness--is vision, or sight. "We
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is:" 1 John 3: 2. Here
faith begins what sight shall perfect hereafter. But yet "we walk by
faith, and not by sight:" 2 Cor. 5: 7. And although the life of faith
and vision differ in degrees--or, as some think, in kind--yet have
they both the same object, and the same operations, and there is a
great cognation between them. The object of vision is the whole
mystery of the divine existence and will; and its operation is a
perfect conformity unto God--a likeness unto him--wherein our
blessedness shall consist. Faith has the same object, and the same
operations in its degree and measure. The great and incomprehensible
mysteries of the Divine Being--of the will and wisdom of God--are its
proper objects; and its operation, with respect unto us, is conformity
and likeness unto him. And this it does, in a peculiar manner, in the
contemplation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; and
herein we have our nearest approaches unto the life of vision, and the
effects of it. For therein, "beholding the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ, we are changed into the same image, from glory to
glory;" which, perfectly to consummate, is the effect of sight in
glory. The exercise of faith herein does more raise and perfect the
mind--more dispose it unto holy, heavenly frames and affections--than
any other duty whatever.
 To be nigh unto God, and to be like unto him, are the same. To be
always with him, and perfectly like him, according to the capacity of
our nature, is to be eternally blessed. To live by faith in the
contemplation of the glory of God in Christ, is that initiation into
both, whereof we are capable in this world. The endeavours of some to
contemplate and report the glory of God in nature in the works of
creation and providence--in the things of the greater and the lesser
world--do deserve their just commendation; and it is that which the
Scripture in sundry places calls us unto. But for any there to abide,
there to bound their designs--when they have a much more noble and
glorious object for their meditations, viz, the glory of God in Christ-
-is both to despise the wisdom of God in that revelation of himself,
and to come short of that transforming efficacy of faith in the
contemplation hereof, whereby we are made like unto God. For hereunto
alone does it belong, and not unto any natural knowledge, nor to any
knowledge of the most secret recesses of nature.
 I shall only say, that those who are inconversant with these objects
of faith--whose minds are not delighted in the admiration of, and
acquiescence in, things incomprehensible, such as is this constitution
of the person of Christ--who would reduce all things to the measure of
their own understandings, or else wilfully live in the neglect of what
they cannot comprehend--do not much prepare themselves for that vision
of these things in glory, wherein our blessedness does consist.
 Moreover, this constitution of the person of Christ being the most
admirable and ineffable effect of divine wisdom, grace, and power, it
is that alone which can bear the weight of the whole superstructure of
the mystery of godliness--that whereinto the whole sanctification and
salvation of the church is resolved--wherein alone faith can find rest
and peace. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which
is Jesus Christ:" 1 Cor. 3: 11. Rest and peace with God is that which
we seek after. "What shall we do to be saved?" In this inquiry, the
acts of the mediatory office of Christ are, in the Gospel, first
presented unto us--especially his oblation and intercession. Through
them is he able to save unto the uttermost those that come to God by
him. But there were oblations for sin, and intercessions for sinners,
under the Old Testament; yet of them all does the apostle affirm, that
they could not make them perfect that came unto God by them, not take
away conscience condemning for sin: Heb. 10: 1-4. Wherefore, it is not
these things in themselves that can give us rest and peace, but their
relation unto the person of Christ. The oblation and intercession of
any other would not have saved us. Hence, for the security of our
faith, we are minded that "God redeemed the church with his own
blood:" Acts 20: 28. He did so who was God, as he was manifested in
the flesh. His blood alone could purge our consciences from dead
works, who did offer himself unto God, through the eternal Spirit:
Heb. 9: 14. And when the apostle--for our relief against the guilt of
sin--calleth us unto the consideration of intercession and
propitiation, he mindeth us peculiarly of his person by whom they are
performed, 1 John 2: l,2: "If any man sin, we have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for
our sins." And we may briefly consider the order of these things.
 1. We suppose, in this case, conscience to be awakened unto a sense
of sin, and of apostasy from God thereby. These things are now
generally looked on as of no great concernment unto us--by some made a
mock of--and, by the most, thought easy to be dealt withal--at time
convenient. But when God fixeth an apprehension of his displeasure for
them on the soul--if it be not before it be too late--it will cause
men to look out for relief.
 2. This relief is proposed in the gospel. And it is the death and
mediation of Christ alone. By them peace with God must be obtained, or
it will cease for ever. But,
 3. When any person comes practically to know how great a thing it is
for an apostate sinner to obtain the remission of sins, and an
inheritance among them that are sanctified, endless objections through
the power of unbelief will arise unto his disquietment. Wherefore,
 4. That which is principally suited to give him rest, peace, and
satisfaction--and without which nothing else can so do--is the due
consideration of, and the acting of faith upon, this infinite effect
of divine wisdom and goodness, in the constitution of the person of
Christ. This at first view will reduce the mind unto that conclusion,
"If thou canst believe, all things are possible." For what end cannot
be effected hereby? What end cannot be accomplished that was designed
in it? Is any thing too hard for God? Did God ever do any thing like
this, or make use of any such means for any other end whatever?
Against this no objection can arise. On this consideration of him,
faith apprehends Christ to be-as he is indeed--the power of God, and
the wisdom of God, unto the salvation of them that do believe; and
therein does it find rest with peace.





Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of
God

Secondly, The person of Christ is the foundation of all the counsels
of God, as unto his own eternal glory in the vocation, sanctification,
and salvation of the church. That which I intend is what the apostle
expresseth, Eph. 1: 9, 10: "Having made known unto us the mystery of
his will, according to his good pleasure, which he has purposed in
himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might
gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven,
and which are on earth; even in him." The "mysteries of the will of
God, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself"--are
his counsels concerning his own eternal glory, in the sanctification
and salvation of the church here below, to be united unto that above.
The absolute original hereof was in his own good pleasure, or the
sovereign acting of his wisdom and will. But it was all to be effected
in Christ--which the apostle twice repeats: he would gather "all
things into a head in Christ, even in him" that is, in him alone.
 Thus it is said of him, with respect unto his future incarnation and
work of mediation, that the Lord possessed him in the beginning of his
way, before his works of old; that he was set up from everlasting,
from the beginning, or ever the earth was: Prov. 8: 22, 23. The
eternal personal existence of the Son of God is supposed in these
expressions, as I have elsewhere proved. Without it, none of these
things could be affirmed of him. But there is a regard in them, both
unto his future incarnation, and the accomplishment of the counsels of
God thereby. With respect thereunto, God "possessed him in the
beginning of his way, and set him up from everlasting." God possessed
him eternally as his essential wisdom--as he was always, and is
always, in the bosom of the Father, in the mutual ineffable love of
the Father and Son, in the eternal bond of the Spirit. But he signally
possessed him "in the beginning of his way "--as his wisdom, acting in
the production of all the ways and works that are outwardly of him.
The "beginning of God's ways," before his works, are his counsels
concerning them--even as our counsels are the beginning of our ways,
with respect unto future works. And he "set him up from everlasting,"
as the foundation of all the counsels of his will, in and by whom they
were to be executed and accomplished.
 So it is expressed: (verses 30, 31:) "I was by him, as one brought up
with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were
with the sons of men." And it is added, that thus it was before the
foundation of the world was laid, or the chiefest part of the dust of
the earth was made--that is, [before] man was created. Not only was
the delight of the Father in him, but his delight was in the habitable
part of the earth, and among the sons of men--before the creation of
the world. Wherefore, the eternal prospect of the work he had to do
for the children of men is intended herein. In and with him, God laid
the foundation of all his counsels concerning his love towards the
children of men. And two things may be observed herein.
 1. That the person of the Son "was set up," or exalted herein. "I was
set up," saith he, "from everlasting." This cannot be spoken
absolutely of the person of the Son himself--the Divine nature being
not capable of being so set up. But there was a peculiar glory and
honour belonging unto the person of the Son, as designed by the Father
unto the execution of all the counsels of his will. Hence was that
prayer of his upon the accomplishment of them: (John 17: 5:) "And now,
0 Father, glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had
with thee before the world was." To suppose that the Lord Christ
prayeth, in these words, for such a real communication of the
properties of the divine nature unto the human as should render it
immense, omniscient, and unconfined unto any space--is to think that
he prayed for the destruction, and not the exaltation of it. For, on
that supposition, it must necessarily lose all its own essential
properties, and consequently its being. Nor does he seem to pray only
for the manifestation of his divine nature, which was eclipsed in his
exinanition or appearance in the form of a servant. There was no need
to express this by--the "glory which he had with the Father before the
world was." For he had it not, in any especial manner, before the
world was; but equally from eternity, and in every moment of time.
Wherefore, he had a peculiar glory of his own, with the Father, before
the world was. And this was no other but that especial exaltation
which he had when he was "set up from everlasting," as the foundation
of the counsels of God, for the salvation of the church. In those
eternal transactions that were between the Father and the Son, with
respect unto his incarnation and mediation--or his undertaking to
execute and fulfill the eternal counsels of the wisdom and grace of
the Father--there was an especial glory which the Son had with him--
the "glory which he had with the Father before the world was." For the
manifestation hereof he now prays and that the glory of his goodness,
grace, and love--in his peculiar undertaking of the execution of the
counsels of God--might be made to appear. And this is the principal
design of the gospel. It is the declaration, as of the grace of God
the Father, so of the love, grace, goodness, and compassion of the
Son, in undertaking from everlasting the accomplishment of God's
counsels, in the salvation of the church. And hereby does he hold up
the pillars of the earth, or support this inferior creation, which
otherwise, with the inhabitants of it, would by sin have been
dissolved. And those by whom the eternal, divine preexistence, in the
form of God--antecedent unto his incarnation his denied, do what lies
in them expressly to despoil him of all that glory which he had with
the Father before the world was. So we have herein the whole of our
design. "In the beginning of God's ways, before his works of old" that
is, in his eternal counsels with respect unto the children of men, or
the sanctification and salvation of the church--the Lord possessed,
enjoyed the Son, as his eternal wisdom--in and with whom they were
laid, in and by whom they were to be accomplished, wherein his
delights were with the sons of men.
 2. That there was an ineffable delight between the Father and the Son
in this his setting up or exaltation. "I was," saith he, "daily his
delight, rejoicing always before him." It is not absolutely the
mutual, eternal delight of the Father and the Son--arising from the
perfection of the same divine excellencies in each person--that is
intended. But respect is plainly had unto the counsels of God
concerning the salvation of mankind by him who is his power and wisdom
unto that end. This counsel of peace was originally between Jehovah
and the Branch, (Zech. 6: 13,) or the Father and the Son --as he was
to be incarnate. For therein was he "foreordained before the
foundation of the world;" (1 Pet. 1: 20 ,) viz, to be a Saviour and a
deliverer, by whom all the counsels of God were to be accomplished;
and this by his own will, and concurrence in counsel with the Father.
And such a foundation was laid of the salvation of the church in these
counsels of God--as transacted between the Father and the Son--that it
is said, that "eternal life was promised before the world began:" Tit.
1: 2. For, although the first formal promise was given after the fall,
yet was there such a preparation of grace and eternal life in these
counsels of God, with his unchangeable purpose to communicate them
unto us, that all the faithfulness of God was engaged in them. "God,
that cannot lie, promised before the world began." There was eternal
life with the Father--that is, in his counsel treasured up in Christ,
and in him afterwards manifested unto us: 1 John 1: 2. And, to show
the stability of this purpose and counsel of God, with the infallible
consequence of his actual promise, and efficacious accomplishment
thereof, "grace" is said to be "given us in Christ Jesus before the
world began:" 2 Tim. 1: 9.
 In these counsels did God delight--or in the person of Christ, as his
eternal wisdom in their contrivance, and as the means of their
accomplishment in his future incarnation. Hence he so testifieth of
him: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul
delighteth;" (Isa.42:1;) as he also proclaims the same delight in him,
from heaven, in the days of his flesh: Matt. 3: 17; 17: 5. He was the
delight of God, as he in whom all his counsel for his own glory, in
the redemption and salvation of the church were laid and founded: "My
servant, in whom I will be glorified;" (Isa. 49: 3;) that is, "by
raising the tribes of Jacob, restoring the preserved of Israel, in
being a light unto the gentiles, and the salvation of God unto the
ends of the earth:" verse 6.
 We conceive not aright of the counsels of God, when we think of
nothing but the effect of them, and the glory that ariseth from their
accomplishment. It is certainly true that they shall all issue in his
glory, and the demonstration of it shall fill up eternity. The
manifestative glory of God unto eternity, consists in the effects and
accomplishment of his holy counsels. Heaven is the state of the actual
accomplishment of all the counsels of God, in the sanctification and
salvation of the church. But it is not with God as it is with men. Let
men's counsels be ever so wise, it must needs abate of their
satisfaction in them, because their conjectures (and more they have
not) of their effects and events are altogether uncertain. But all the
counsels of God having their entire accomplishment through revolutions
perplexing and surpassing all created understandings, enclosed in them
infallibly and immutably, the great satisfaction, complacency, and
delight of the Divine Being is in these counsels themselves.
 God does delight in the actual accomplishment of his works. He made
not this world, nor any thing in it, for its own sake. Much less did
he make this earth to be a theatre for men to act their lusts upon--
the use which it is now put to, and groans under. But he made "all
things for himself," Prov. 16: 4; he "made them for his pleasure,"
Rev. 4: 11; that is, not only by an act of sovereignty, but to his own
delight and satisfaction. And a double testimony did he give hereunto,
with respect unto the works of creation. (1.) In the approbation which
he gave of the whole upon its survey: and "God saw all that he had
made, and, behold, it was very good:" Gen. 1: 31. There was that
impression of his divine wisdom, power, and goodness upon the whole,
as manifested his glory; wherein he was well pleased. For immediately
thereon, all creatures capable of the conception and apprehension of
his glory, "sang forth his praise:" Job 38: 6, 7. (2.) In that he
rested from his works or in them, when they were finished: Gen. 2: 2.
It was not a rest of weariness from the labour of his work--but a rest
of complacency and delight in what he had wrought--that God entered
into.
 But the principal delight and complacency of God, is in his eternal
counsels. For all his delight in his works is but in the effects of
those divine properties whose primitive and principal exercise is in
the counsels themselves, from whence they proceed. Especially is it so
as unto these counsels of the Father and the Son, as to the redemption
and salvation of the church, wherein they delight, and mutually
rejoice in each other on their account. They are all eternal acts of
God's infinite wisdom, goodness, and love--a delight and complacency
wherein is no small part of the divine blessedness. These things are
absolutely inconceivable unto us, and ineffable by us; we cannot find
the Almighty out unto perfection. However, certain it is, from the
notions we have of the Divine Being and excellencies, and from the
revelation he has made of himself, that there is an infinite delight
in God--in the eternal acting of his wisdom, goodness, and love--
wherein, according to our weak and dark apprehensions of things, we
may safely place no small portion of divine blessedness.
Self-existence in its own immense being--thence self sufficiency unto
itself in all things--and thereon self satisfaction--is the principal
notion we have of divine blessedness.
 1. God delights in these his eternal counsels in Christ, as they are
acts of infinite wisdom, as they are the highest instance wherein it
will exert itself. Hence, in the accomplishment of them, Christ is
emphatically said to be the "Wisdom of God;" (1 Cor. 1: 24;) he in
whom the counsels of his wisdom were to be fulfilled. And in him is
the manifold wisdom of God made known: Eph.3:10. Infinite wisdom being
that property of the divine nature whereby all the acting of it are
disposed and regulated, suitably unto his own glory, in all his divine
excellencies--he cannot but delight in all the acts of it. Even
amongst men--whose wisdom compared with that of God is folly itself--
yet is there nothing wherein they have a real rational complacency,
suitable unto the principles of their nature, but in such acting of
that wisdom which they have (and such as it is) towards the proper
ends of their being and duty. How much more does God delight himself
in the infinite perfection of his own wisdom, and its eternal acting
for the representation of all the glorious excellencies of his nature!
Such are his counsels concerning the salvation of the church by Jesus
Christ; and because they were all laid in him and with him, therefore
is he said to be his "delight continually before the world was." This
is that which is proposed as the object of our admiration, Rom. 11: 33-
36.
 2. They are acts of infinite goodness, whereon the divine nature
cannot but be infinitely delighted in them. As wisdom is the directive
principle of all divine operations, so goodness is the communicative
principle that is effectual in them. He is good, and he does good--
yea, he does good because he is good, and for no other reason--not by
the necessity of nature, but by the intervention of a free act of his
will. His goodness is absolutely infinite, essentially perfect in
itself; which it could not be if it belonged unto it, naturally and
necessarily, to act and communicate itself unto any thing without God
himself. The divine nature is eternally satisfied in and with its own
goodness; but it is that principle which is the immediate fountain of
all the communications of good unto others, by a free act of the will
of God. So when Moses desired to see his glory, he tells him that "he
will cause all his goodness to pass before him, and would be gracious
unto whom he would be gracious:" Exod. 33: 19. All divine operations--
in the gracious communication of God himself--are from his goodness,
by the intervention of a free act of his will. And the greatest
exercise and emanation of divine goodness, was in these holy counsels
of God for the salvation of the church by Jesus Christ. For whereas in
all other effects of his goodness he gives of his own, herein he gave
himself, in taking our nature upon him. And thence, as he expresseth
the design of man in his fall, as upbraiding him with folly and
ingratitude, "Behold, the man is become as one of us," Gen. 3: 22, we
may, with all humble thankfulness, express the means of our recovery,
"Behold, God is become like one of us," as the apostle declares it at
large, Phil. 2: 6-8. It is the nature of sincere goodness--even in its
lowest degree--above all other habits or principles of nature, to give
a delight and complacency unto the mind in the exercise of itself, and
communication of its effects. A good man does both delight in doing
good, and has an abundant reward for the doing it, in the doing of it.
And what shall we conceive concerning eternal, absolute, infinite,
perfect, immixed goodness, acting itself in the highest instance (in
an effect cognate and like unto it) that it can extend unto! So was it
in the counsels of God, concerning the incarnation of his Son and the
salvation of the church thereby. No heart can conceive, no tongue can
express, the least portion of that ineffable delight of the holy,
blessed God, in these counsels, wherein he acted and expressed unto
the utmost his own essential goodness. Shall a liberal man devise
liberal things, because they are suited unto his inclination? Shall a
good man find a secret refreshment and satisfaction in the exercise of
that low, weak, imperfect, minced goodness, that his nature is inlaid
withal?--And shall not He whose goodness is essential unto him--whose
being it is, and in whom it is the immediate principle of
communicating himself unto others--be infinitely delighted in the
highest exercise of it which divine wisdom did direct?
 The effect of these eternal counsels of God in future glory is
reserved for them that do believe; and therein will there be the
nearest manifestation of the glory of God himself unto them, when he
"shall be glorified in his saints," and eternally "admired in all that
believe." But the blessed delight and satisfaction of God, was, and
is, in those counsels themselves, as they were acts of his infinite
wisdom and goodness. Herein was the Lord Christ his "delight
continually before the foundation of the world,"--in that *in* him
were all these counsels laid, and *through* him were they all to be
accomplished. The constitution of his person was the only way whereby
divine wisdom and goodness would act and communicate of themselves
unto mankind--in which acting are the eternal delight and complacency
of the Divine Being.
 3. Love and grace have the same influence into the counsels of God,
as wisdom and goodness have. And, in the Scripture notion of these
things, they superadd unto goodness this consideration--that their
object is sinners, and those that are unworthy. God does universally
communicate of his goodness unto all his creatures, though there be an
especial exercise of it towards them that believe. But as unto his
love and grace, as they are peculiar unto his elect--the church chosen
in Christ before the foundation of the world--so they respect them
primarily in a lost, undone condition by sin. "God commendeth his love
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:"
Rom 5: 8. "God is love," says the apostle. His nature is essentially
so. And the best conception of the natural internal acting of the holy
persons, is love; and all the acts of it are full of delight. This is,
as it were, the womb of all the eternal counsels of God, which renders
his complacency in them ineffable. Hence does he so wonderfully
express his delight and complacency in the acting of his love towards
the church: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will
save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he
will joy over thee with singing:" Zeph. 3: 17. The reason why, in the
salvation of the church, he rejoiceth with joy and joyeth with singing-
-the highest expression of divine complacency--is because he resteth
in his love, and so is pleased in the exercise of its effects.
 But we must return to manifest in particular how all these counsels
of God were laid in the person of Christ--to which end the things
ensuing may be distinctly considered.
 1. God made all things, in the beginning, good, exceeding good. The
whole of his work was disposed into a perfect harmony, beauty, and
order, suited unto that manifestation of his own glory which he
designed therein. And as all things had their own individual
existence, and operations suited unto their being, and capable of an
end, a rest, or a blessedness, congruous unto their natures and
operations--so, in the various respects which they had each to other,
in their mutual supplies, assistances, and cooperation, they all
tended unto that ultimate end--his eternal glory. For as, in their
beings and existence, they were effects of infinite power--so were
their mutual respects and ends disposed in infinite wisdom. Thereon
were the eternal power and wisdom of God glorified in them; the one in
their production, the other in their disposal into their order and
harmony. Man was a creature that God made, that by him he might
receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate
creation--both that below, which was for his use, and that above,
which was for his contemplation. This was the end of our nature in its
original constitution. Whereunto are we again restored in Christ:
James 1: 18; Ps. 104: 24; 136: 5; Rom. 1: 20.
 2. God was pleased to permit the entrance of sin, both in heaven
above and in earth beneath, whereby this whole order and harmony was
disturbed. There are yet characters of divine power, wisdom, and
goodness, remaining on the works of creation, and inseparable from
their beings. But the primitive glory that was to redound unto God by
them--especially as unto all things here below--was from the obedience
of man, unto whom they were put in subjection. *Their* good estate
depended on their subordination unto him in a way of natural use, as
*his* did on God in the way of moral obedience: Gen. 1: 26, 28; Ps. 8:
6-8. Man, as was said, is a creature which God made, that by him he
might receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate
creation. This was the end of our nature in its original constitution.
Whereunto are we again restored in Christ: James 1: 18. But the
entrance of sin cast all this order into confusion, and brought the
curse on all things here below. Hereby were they deprived of that
estate wherein they were declared exceeding good, and cast into that
of vanity--under the burden whereof they groan, and will do so to the
end: Gen. 3: 17,18; Rom. 8: 20, 21. And these things we must again
consider afterwards.
 3. Divine wisdom was no way surprised with this disaster. God had,
from all eternity, laid in provisions of counsels for the recovery of
all things into a better and more permanent estate than what was lost
by sin. This is the "anapsuxis", the "apokatastasis pantoon", the
revivification, the restitution of all things, Acts 3: 19, 21; the
"anakefalaioosis", or the gathering all things in heaven and earth
into a new head in Christ Jesus: Eph 1: 10. For although, it may be,
there is more of curiosity than of edification in a scrupulous inquiry
into the method or order of God's eternal decrees or counsels, and the
disposal of them into a subserviency one unto another; yet this is
necessary from the infinite wisdom, prescience, and immutability of
God--that he is surprised with nothing, that he is put unto no new
counsels, by any events in the works of creation. All things were
disposed by him into those ways and methods--and that from eternity--
which conduce unto, and certainly issue in, that glory which is
ultimately intended. For as we are careful to state the eternal
decrees of God, and the actual operations of his providence, so as
that the liberty of the will of man, as the next cause of all his
moral actions, be not infringed thereby--so ought we to be careful not
to ascribe such a sacrilegious liberty unto the wills of any
creatures, as that God should be surprised, imposed on, or changed by
any of their acting whatever. For "known unto him are all his works
from the foundation of the world," and with him there is neither
"variableness nor shadow of turning."
 4. There were, therefore, eternal counsels of God, whereby he
disposed all things into a new order, unto his own glory, in the
sanctification and salvation of the church. And of them two things may
be considered: (1.) Their original; (2.) The design of their
accomplishment.
 (1.) Their first spring or original was in the divine will and wisdom
alone, without respect unto any external moving cause. No reason can
be given, no cause be assigned, of these counsels, but the will of God
alone. Hence are they called or described, by--the "good pleasure
which he purposed in himself;" (Eph. 1: 9;) "the purpose of him who
worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will:" verse
11. "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his
counsellor? Or who has first given unto him, and it shall be
recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things:" Rom. 11: 34-36. The incarnation of Christ, and his
mediation thereon, were not the procuring cause of these eternal
counsels of God, but the effects of them, as the Scripture constantly
declares. But, (2.) The design of their accomplishment was laid in the
person of the Son alone. As he was the essential wisdom of God, all
things were at first created by him. But upon a prospect of the ruin
of all by sin, God would in and by him--as he was foreordained to be
incarnate--restore all things. The whole counsel of God unto this end
centred in him alone. Hence their foundation is rightly said to be
laid in him, and is declared so to be by the apostle: Eph 1: 4. For
the spring of the sanctification and salvation of the church lies in
election, the decree whereof compriseth the counsels of God concerning
them. Herein, God from the beginning "chooseth us unto salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit;" (2 Thess. 2: 13;) the one being
the end he designeth, the other the means and way thereof. But this he
did in Christ; "he chooseth us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;"
that is, "unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit." In him
we were not actually, nor by faith, before the foundation of the
world; yet were we then chosen in him, as the only foundation of the
execution of all the counsels of God concerning our sanctification and
salvation.
 Thus as all things were originally made and created by him, as he was
the essential wisdom of God--so all things are renewed and recovered
by him, as he is the provisional wisdom of God, in and by his
incarnation. Therefore are these things put together and compared unto
his glory. He "is the image of the invisible God, the first born of
every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven,
and that are in earth, visible and invisible; ... all things were
created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him
all things consist: and he is the head of the body, the church; who is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence:" Col. 1: 15-18.
 Two things, as the foundation of what is ascribed unto the Lord
Christ in the ensuing discourse, are asserted: verse 15.--(1.) That he
is "the image of the invisible God." (2.) That he is "the firstborn of
every creature;" things seeming very distant in themselves, but
gloriously united and centring in his person.
 (1.) He is "the image of the invisible God;" or, as it is elsewhere
expressed, he is "in the form of God"--his essential form, for other
form there is none in the divine nature--the "brightness of the glory,
and the express image of the Father's person." And he is called here
the "invisible God," not absolutely with respect unto his essence,
though it be most true--the divine essence being absolutely invisible,
and that equally, whether considered as in the Father or in the Son--
but he is called so with respect unto his counsels, his will, his
love, and his grace. For so none has seen him at any time; but the
only-begotten, which is in the bosom of the Father, he declares him:
John 1: 18. As he is thus the essential, the eternal image of the
invisible God, his wisdom and power--the efficiency of the first
creation, and its consistence being created, is ascribed unto him: "By
him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in
earth, visible and invisible:" Col. 1: 17. And because of the great
notions and apprehensions that were then in the world--especially
among the Jews, unto whom the apostle had respect in this epistle of
the greatness and glory of the invisible part of the creation in
heaven above, he mentions them in particular, under the most glorious
titles that any could, or then did, ascribe unto them--"Whether they
be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things
were created by him, and for him;" the same expression that is used of
God absolutely: Rom. 11: 36; Rev. 4: 11. Add hereunto those other
places to this purpose, John 1: 1-3; Heb. 1: 1-3; and those that are
not under the efficacy of spiritual infatuations, cannot but admire at
the power of unbelief, the blindness of the minds of men, and the
craft of Satan, in them who deny the divine nature of Jesus Christ.
For whereas the apostle plainly affirms, that the works of the
creation do demonstrate the eternal power and Godhead of him by whom
they were created; (Rom. 1: 19, 20;) and not only so, but it is
uncontrollably evident in the light of nature: it being so directly,
expressly, frequently affirmed, that all things whatever, absolutely,
and in their distributions into heaven and earth, with the things
contained respectively in them, were made and created by Christ is the
highest rebellion against the light and teachings of God, to
disbelieve his divine existence and power.
 (2.) Again it is added, that he is "the firstborn of every creature;"
which principally respects the new creation, as it is declared: (verse
18:) "He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning,
the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the
preeminence." For in him were all the counsels of God laid for the
recovery of all things unto himself--as he was to be incarnate. And
the accomplishment of these counsels of God by him the apostle
declares at large in the ensuing verses. And these things are both
conjoined and composed in this place. As God the Father did nothing in
the first Creation but by him--as his eternal wisdom; (John 1: 3; Heb.
1: 2; Prov. 8;) so he designed nothing in the new creation, or
restoration of all things unto his glory, but in him--as he was to be
incarnate. Wherefore in his person were laid all the foundation of the
counsels of God for the sanctification and salvation of the church.
Herein he is glorified, and that in a way unspeakably exceeding an
that glory which would have accrued unto him from the first creation,
had all things abode in their primitive constitution.
 His person, therefore, is the foundation of the church--the great
mystery of godliness, or the religion we profess--the entire life and
soul of all spiritual truth--in that all the counsels of the wisdom,
grace, and goodness of God, for the redemption, vocation,
sanctification, and salvation of the church, were all laid in him, and
by him were all to be accomplished.





Chapter V. The Person of Christ the great Representative of God and
his Will

What may be known of God, is,--his nature and existence, with the holy
counsels of his will. A representation of them unto us is the
foundation of all religion, and the means of our conformity unto him--
wherein our present duty and future blessedness do consist. For to
know God, so as thereby to be made like unto him, is the chief end of
man. This is done perfectly only in the person of Christ, all other
means of it being subordinate thereunto, and none of them of the same
nature therewithal. The end of the Word itself, is to instruct us in
the knowledge of God in Christ. That, therefore, which I shall now
demonstrate, is, that in the person and mediation of Christ (which are
inseparable, in all the respects of faith unto him) there is made unto
us a blessed representation of the glorious properties of the divine
nature, and of the holy counsels of the will of God. The first of
these I shall speak unto in this chapter--the other, in that which
ensues; wherein we shall manifest how all divine truths do centre in
the person of Christ and the consideration of sundry things is
necessary unto the explication hereof.
 1. God, in his own essence, being, and existence, is absolutely
incomprehensible. His nature being immense, and all his holy
properties essentially infinite, no creature can directly or perfectly
comprehend them, or any of them. He must be infinite that can
perfectly comprehend that which is infinite; wherefore God is
perfectly known unto himself only--but as for us, how little a portion
is heard of him! Hence he is called "The invisible God," and said to
dwell in "light inaccessible." The subsistence of his most single and
simple nature in three distinct persons, though it raises and ennobles
faith in its revelation, yet it amazeth reason which would trust to
itself in the contemplation of it--whence men grow giddy who will own
no other guide, and are carried out of the way of truth. "No man has
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father, he has declared him:" John 1: 18; 1 Tim. 6: 16.
 2. Therefore, we can have no direct intuitive notions or
apprehensions of the divine essence, or its properties. Such knowledge
is too wonderful for us. Whatever is pleaded for an intellectual
vision of the essence of God in the light of glory, yet none pretend
unto a possibility of an immediate, full comprehension of it. But, in
our present state, God is unto us, as he was unto Moses under all the
external manifestations of his glory, "in thick darkness.:" Exod. 20:
21. All the rational conceptions of the minds of men are swallowed up
and lost, when they would exercise themselves directly on that which
is absolutely immense, eternal, infinite. When we say it is to, we
know not what we say, but only that it is not otherwise. What we
*deny* of God, we know in some measure--but what we *affirm* we know
not; only we declare what we believe and adore. "Neque sensus est
ejus, neque phantsia, neque opinio, nec ratio, nec scientia", says
Dionys. De Divan. Nomine, 1. We have no means--no corporeal, no
intellectual instrument or power--for the comprehension of him; nor
has any other creature: "Epei auto hoper estin ho Theos, ou monon
profetai, all' oude angeloi eidon, oute archangeloi; all' ean
erooteseis autous, akousei peri men tes ousias ouden apokrinomenous;
doxa de en hupsistois monon aidontas tooi Theooi; kain para toon
Cheroubim e toon Serafim epithumeseis ti mathein, to mustikon tou
hagiasmou melos akousei, kai hoti pleres ho ouranos kai he ge tes
doxes autou.--"For that which is God" (the essence of God) "not only
have not the prophets seen, but neither the angels nor the archangels.
If thou wilt inquire of them, thou shalt hear nothing of the substance
of God, but only hear them say, 'glory to God in the highest.' If thou
askest the cherubim and seraphim, thou shalt only hear the praise of
holiness, 'The whole earth is full of his glory,'" says Chrysostom, on
John 1: 18. That God is in himself absolutely incomprehensible unto
us, is a necessary effect of our infinite distance from him. But as he
externally represents himself unto us, and by the notions which are in
generated in us by the effects of his properties, are our conceptions
of him: Ps. 19: l; Rom. 1: 20. This is declared in the answer given
unto that request of Moses: "I beseech thee, show me thy glory:" Exod.
33: 18. Moses had heard a voice speaking unto him, but he that spoke
was "in thick darkness"--he saw him not. Glorious evidences he gave of
his majestatical presence, but no appearance was made of his essence
or person. Hereon Moses desireth, for the full satisfaction of his
soul, (as the nearer any one is unto God the more ernest will be his
desire after the full fruition of him,) that he might have a sight of
his glory--not of that created glory in the tokens of his presence and
power which he had beheld, but of the untreated glory of his essence
and being. Through a transport of love to God, he would have been in
heaven while he was on the earth; yea, desired more than heaven itself
will afford, if he would have seen the essence of God with his
corporeal eyes. In answer hereunto God tells him, that he cannot see
his face and live; none can have either bodily sight or direct mental
intuition of the Divine Being. But this I will do, saith God, "I will
make my glory pass before thee, and thou shalt see my back parts:"
Exod. 33: 18-23, &c. This is all that God would grant, viz, such
external representations of himself, in the proclamation of his name,
and created appearances of his glory, as we have of a man whose back
parts only we behold as he passeth by us. But as to the being of God,
and his subsistence in the Trinity of persons, we have no direct
intuition into them, much less comprehension of them.
 3. It is evident, therefore, that our conceptions of God, and of the
glorious properties of his nature, are both in generated in us and
regulated, under the conduct of divine revelation, by reflections of
his glory on other things, and representations of his divine
excellencies in the effects of them. So the invisible things of God,
even his eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being manifested
and understood by the things that are made: Rom. 1: 20. Yet must it be
granted that no mere creature, not the angels above, not the heaven of
heavens, are meet or able to receive upon them such characters of the
divine excellencies, as to be a complete, satisfactory representation
of the being and properties of God unto us. They are all finite and
limited and so cannot properly represent that which is infinite and
immense. And this is the true reason why all worship or religious
adoration of them is idolatry. Yet are there such effects of God's
glory in them, such impressions of divine excellencies upon them, as
we cannot comprehend nor search out unto perfection. How little do we
conceive of the nature, glory, and power of angels! So remote are we
from an immediate comprehension of the untreated glory of Gods as that
we cannot fully apprehend nor conceive aright the reflection of it on
creatures in themselves finite and limited. Hence, they thought of
old, when they had seen an angels that so much of the divine
perfections had been manifested unto them that thereon they must die:
Judges 13: 21, 22. Howbeit, they [the angels] come infinitely short of
making any complete representation of God; nor is it otherwise with
any creature whatever.
 4. Mankind seem to have always had a common apprehension that there
was need of a nearer and more full representation of God unto them
than was made in any of the works of creation or providence. The
heavens indeed declared his glory, and the firmament always showed his
handy-work--the invisible things of his eternal power and godhead were
continually made known by the things that are made; but men generally
miscarried and missed it in the contemplation of them, as the apostle
declares, Rom 1. For still they were influenced by a common
presumption, that there must be a nearer and more evident
manifestation of God--that made by the works of creation and
providence being not sufficient to guide them unto him. But in the
pursuit hereof they utterly ruined themselves; they would do what God
had not done. By common consent they framed representations of God
unto themselves; and were so besotted therein, that they utterly lost
the benefit which they might have received by the manifestation of him
in the works of the creation, and took up with most foolish
imaginations. For whereas they might have learned from thence the
being of God, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness--viz., in the
impressions and characters of them on the things that were made--in
their own representations of him, they "changed the glory of the
invisible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to
birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things:" Rom. 1: 23.
Wherefore this common presumption--that there was no way to attain a
due sense of the Divine Being but by some representation of it--though
true in itself, yet, by the craft of Satan, and foolish superstitions
of the minds of men, became the occasion of all idolatry and
flagitious wickedness in the world. Hence were all those "epifaneiai",
or supposed "illustrious appearances" of their gods, which Satan
deluded the gentiles by; and hence were all the ways which they
devised to bring God into human nature, or the likeness of it.
Wherefore, in all the revelations that ever God made of himself, his
mind and will, he always laid this practice of making representations
of him under the most severe interdict and prohibition. And this he
did evidently for these two reasons:--
 (1.) Because it was a bold and foolish entrenching upon his
provisional wisdom in the case. He had taken care that there should be
a glorious image and representation of himself, infinitely above what
any created wisdom could find out. But as, when Moses went into the
mount, the Israelites would not wait for his return, but made a calf
in his stead; so mankind--refusing to wait for the actual exhibition
of that glorious image of himself which God had provided--broke in
upon his wisdom and sovereignty, to make some of their own. For this
cause was God so provoked, that he gave them up to such stupid
blindness, that in those things wherein they thought to show
themselves wise, and to bring God nearer unto them, they became
contemptibly foolish--abased their nature, and all the noble faculties
of their minds unto hell, and departed unto the utmost distance from
God, whom they sought to bring nest unto them.
 (2.) Because nothing that can fall into the invention or imagination
of men could make any other but false representations of him, and so
substitute an idol in his place. His own immediate works have great
characters of his divine excellencies upon them, though unto us
obscure and not clearly legible without the light of revelation.
Somewhat he did, of old, represent of his glorious presence--though
not of his being--in the visible institutions of his worship. But all
men's inventions to this end, which are neither divine works of
nature, nor divine institutions of worship, are all but false
representations of God, and therefore accursed by him.
 Wherefore it is granted, that God has placed many characters of his
divine excellencies upon his works of creation and providence--many
[characters] of his glorious presence upon the tabernacle and temple
of old--but none of these things ever did or could give such a
representation of him as wherein the souls of men might fully
acquiesce, or obtain such conceptions of him as might enable them to
worship and honour him in a due manner. They cannot, I say--by all
that may be seen in them, and learned from them--represent God as the
complete object of all our affections, of all the acting of our souls
in faith, trust, love, fear, obedience, in that way whereby he may be
glorified, and we may be brought unto the everlasting fruition of him.
This, therefore, is yet to be inquired after. Wherefore--
 5. A mere external doctrinal revelation of the divine nature and
properties, without any exemplification or real representation of
them, was not sufficient unto the end of God in the manifestation of
himself. This is done in the Scripture. But the whole Scripture is
built on this foundation, or proceeds on this supposition--that there
is a real representation of the divine nature unto us, which it
declares and describes. And as there was such a notion on the minds of
all men, that some representation of God, wherein he might be near
unto them, was necessary--which arose from the consideration of the
infinite distance between the divine nature and their own, which
allowed of no measures between them--so, as unto the event, God
himself has declared that, in his own way, such a representation was
needful--unto that end of the manifestation of himself which he
designed. For--
 6. All this is done in the person of Christ. He is the complete image
and perfect representation of the Divine Being and excellencies. I do
not speak of it absolutely, but as God proposeth himself as the object
of our faith, trust, and obedience. Hence it is God, as the Father,
who is so peculiarly represented in him and by him; as he says: "He
that has seen me has seen the Father:" John 14: 9.
 Unto such a representation two things are required:--(1.) That all
the properties of the divine nature--the knowledge whereof is
necessary unto our present obedience and future blessedness--be
expressed in it, and manifested unto us. (2.) That there be, therein,
the nearest approach of the divine nature made unto us, whereof it is
capable, and which we can receive. And both these are found in the
person of Christ, and therein alone.
 In the person of Christ we consider both the constitution of it in
the union of his natures, and the respect of it unto his work of
mediation, which was the end of that constitution. And--
 (1.) Therein, as so considered, is there a blessed representation
made unto us of all the holy properties of the nature of God--of his
wisdom, his power, his goodness, grace, and love, his righteousness,
truth, and holiness, his mercy and patience. As this is affirmed
concerning them all in general, or the glory of God in them, which is
seen and known only in the face of Christ, so it were easy to manifest
the same concerning every one of them in particular, by express
testimonies of Scripture. But I shall at present confine myself unto
the proofs of the whole assertion which do ensue.
 (2.) There is, therein, the most incomprehensible approach of the
divine nature made unto ours, such as all the imaginations of men did
ever infinitely fall short of--as has been before declared. In the
assumption of our nature into personal union with himself, and our
cognition unto God thereby, with the union which believers obtain with
him thereon--being one in the Father and the Son, as the Father is in
the Son, and the Son in the Father, (John 17: 20, 21,)--there is the
nearest approach of the Divine Being unto us that the nature of things
is capable of. Both these ends were designed in those representations
of God which were of human invention; but in both of them they utterly
failed. For, instead of representing any of the glorious properties of
the nature of God, they debased it, dishonoured it, and filled the
minds of men with vile conceptions of it; and instead of bringing God
nearer unto them, they put themselves at an infinite moral distance
from him. But my design is the confirmation of our assertions from the
Scripture.
 "He is the image of the invisible God:" Col. 1: 15. This title or
property of "invisible," the apostle here gives unto God, to show what
need there was of an image or representation of him unto us, as well
as of one in whom he would declare the counsels of his will. For he
intends not only the absolute invisibility of his essence, but his
being unknown unto us in himself. Wherefore, (as was before observed,)
mankind was generally prone to make visible representations of this
invisible God, that, in them, they might contemplate on him and have
him present with them, as they foolishly imagined. Unto the craft of
Satan abusing this inclination of mankind, idolatry owes its original
and progress in the world: howbeit, necessary it was that this
invisible God should be so represented unto us by some image of him,
as that we might know him, and that therein he might be worshipped
according unto his own mind and will. But this must be of his own
contrivance--an effect of his own infinite wisdom. Hence, as he
absolutely rejecteth all images and representations of him of men's
devising, (for the reasons before mentioned,) and declares that the
honour that any should think would thereby redound unto him was not
given unto him, but unto the devil; so that which he has provided
himself, unto his own holy ends and purposes, is every way approved of
him. For he will have "all men honour the Son, even as they honour the
Father;" and so as that "he who honoureth not the God, honoureth not
the Father:" John 5: 23.
 This image, therefore, is the person of Christ; "he is the image of
the invisible God." This, in the first place, respects the divine
person absolutely, as he is the essential image of the Father: which
must briefly be declared.
 1. The Son is sometimes said to be "en Patri", "in the Father," and
the Father in the Son: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father,
and the Father in me?" John 14: 10. This is from the unity or sameness
of their nature--for he and the Father are one: John 10: 30. Thence
all things that the Father has are his, (chap. 16: 15,) because their
nature is one and the same. With respect unto the divine essence
absolutely considered, wherein the Father is in the Son, and the Son
in the Father, the one cannot be said to be the image of the other.
For he and the Father are one; and one and the same thing cannot be
the image of itself, in that wherein it is one.
 2. The Son is said not only to be "en Patri", "in the Father," in the
unity of the same essence; but also "pros ton Patera" or "Theon",
"with the Father," or "with God," in the distinction of his person:
"The Word was with God, and the Word was God:" John 1: 1. "The Word
was God," in the unity of the divine essence--and "the Word was with
God," in its distinct personal subsistence. "The Word"-- that is, the
person of the Son, as distinct from the Fathers" was with God," or the
Father. And in this respect he is the essential image of the Father,
as he is called in this place, and Heb. 1: 3; and that because he
partakes of all the same divine properties with the Father.
 But although the Father, on the other side, be partaker of all the
essential divine properties of the Son, yet is not he said to be the
image of the Son. For this property of an image respects not the
things themselves, but the manner of the participation of them. Now
the Son receives all from the Father, and the Father nothing from the
Son. Whatever belongs unto the person of the Son, as the person of the
Son, he receives it all from the Father by eternal generation: "For as
the Father has life in himself, so has he given unto the Son to have
life in himself:" John 5: 26. He is therefore the essential image of
the Father, because all the properties of the divine nature are
communicated unto him together with personality --from the Father.
 3. In his incarnation, the Son was made the representative image of
God unto us--as he was, in his person, the essential image of the
Father, by eternal generation. The invisible God--Whose nature and
divine excellencies our understandings can make no approach unto--does
in him represent, exhibit, or make present unto our faith and
spiritual sense, both himself and all the glorious excellencies of his
nature.
 Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, may be considered
three ways.
 1. Merely with respect unto his divine nature. This is one and the
same with that of the Father. In this respect the one is not the image
of the other, for both are the same.
 2. With respect unto his divine person as the Son of the Father, the
only-begotten, the eternal Son of God. Thus he receives, as his
personality, so all divine excellencies, from the Father; so he is the
essential image of the Father's person.
 3. As he took our nature upon him, or in the assumption of our nature
into personal union with himself, in order unto the work of his
mediation. So is he the only representative image of God unto us--in
whom alone we see, know, and learn all the divine excellencies--so as
to live unto God, and be directed unto the enjoyment of him. All this
himself instructs us in.
 He reflects it on the Pharisees, as an effect of their blindness and
ignorance, that they had neither heard the voice of God at any time,
nor seen his shape: John 5: 37. And in opposition hereunto he tells
his disciples, that they had known the Father, and seen him: chap. 14:
7. And the reason he gives thereof is, because they that knew him,
knew the Father also. And when one of his disciples, not yet
sufficiently instructed in this mystery, replied, "Lord, show us the
Father, and it sufficeth us," (verse 8,) his answer is, "Have I been
so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me? He that has
seen me has seen the Father:" verse 9.
 Three things are required unto the justification of this assertion.
 1. That the Father and he be of the same nature, have the same
essence and being. For otherwise it would not follow that he who had
seen him had seen the Father also. This ground of it he declares in
the next verse: "The Father is in me, and I am in the Father" namely,
because they were one in nature and essence. For the divine nature
being simply the same in them all, the divine persons are in each
other, by virtue of the oneness of that nature.
 2. That he be distinct from him. For otherwise there cannot be a
seeing of the Father by the seeing of him. He is seen in the Son as
represented by him--as his image--the Word--the Son of the Father, as
he was with God. The unity of nature and the distinction of persons is
the ground of that assertion of our Saviour: "He that has seen me, has
seen the Father also."
 3. But, moreover, the Lord Christ has a respect herein unto himself,
in his entire person as he was incarnate, and therein unto the
discharge of his mediatory work. "Have I been so long time with you,
and hast thou not known me?" Whilst he was with them, dwelt among
them, conversed with them, he was the great representative of the
glory of God unto them. And, notwithstanding this particular mistake,
they did then see his glory, "the glory of the only-begotten of the
Father:" John 1: 14. And in him was manifested the glory of the
Father. He "is the image of the invisible God." In him God was, in him
he dwelt, in him is he known, in him is he worshipped according unto
his own will, in him is there a nearer approach made unto us by the
divine nature than ever could enter into the heart of man to conceive.
In the constitution of his person--of two natures, so infinitely
distinct and separate in themselves--and in the work it was designed
unto, the wisdom, power, goodness, love, grace, mercy, holiness, and
faithfulness of God, are manifested unto us. This is the one blessed
"image of the invisible God," wherein we may learn, wherein we may
contemplate and adore, all his divine perfections.
 The same truth is testified unto, Heb. 1: 3. God spoke unto us in the
Son, who is "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person." His divine nature is here included, as that without which he
could not have made a perfect representation of God unto us. For the
apostle speaks of him, as of him "by whom the worlds were made," and
who "upholdeth all things by the word of his power." Yet does he not
speak of him absolutely as he was God, but also as he who "in himself
purged our sins, and sat down at the right hand of the majesty on
high;" that is, in his whole person. Herein he is "apaugasma tes
doxes", the effulgency, the resplendency of divine glory, that wherein
the divine glory shines forth in an evident manifestation of itself
unto us. And as a farther explication of the same mystery, it is
added, that he is the character or "express image" of the person of
the Father. Such an impression of all the glorious properties of God
is on him, as that thereby they become legible unto all them that
believe.
 So the same apostle affirms again that he is the "image of God," 2
Cor. 4: 4; in what sense, and unto what end, he declares, verse 6: "We
have the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
Still it is supposed that the glory of God, as essentially in him, is
invisible unto us, and incomprehensible by us. Yet is there a
knowledge of it necessary unto us, that we may live unto him, and come
unto the enjoyment of him. This we obtain only in the face or person
of Christ--"en prosoopooi tou Christou"; for in him that glory is
represented unto us.
 This was the testimony which the apostles gave concerning him, when
he dwelt among them in the days of his flesh. They saw "his glory, the
glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth:"
John 1: 14. The divine glory was manifest in him, and in him they saw
the glory of the Father. So the same apostle witnesses again, who
recorded this testimony: "For the life was manifested, and we have
seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which
was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:" 1 John 1: 14. In the
Son incarnate, that eternal life which was originally in and with the
Father was manifest unto us.
 It may be said, that the Scripture itself is sufficient for this end
of the declaration of God unto us, so that there is no need of any
other representation of him; and [that] these things serve only to
turn the minds of men from learning the mind and will of God therein,
to seek for all in the person of Christ. But the true end of proposing
these things is, to draw men unto the diligent study of the Scripture,
wherein alone they are revealed and declared. And in its proper use,
and unto its proper end, it is perfect and most sufficient. It is
"logos tou Theou--"the word of God;" howbeit it is not "logos
ousioodes", the internal, essential Word of God--but "logos
proforikos", the external word spoken by him. It is not, therefore,
nor can be, the image of God, either essential or representative; but
is the revelation and declaration of it unto us, without which we can
know nothing of it.
 Christ is the image of the invisible God, the express image of the
person of the Father; and the principal end of the whole Scripture,
especially of the gospel, is to declare him so to be, and how he is
so. What God promised by his prophets in the holy Scriptures
concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, that is fully declared in the
Gospel: Rom. 1: 1-4. The gospel is the declaration of Christ as "the
power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. 1: 23, 24; or an evident
representation of God in his person and mediation unto us: Gal. 3: 1.
Wherefore three things are herein to be considered.
 1. "Objectum reale et formale fidei"--"the real, formal object of our
faith in this matter. This is the person of Christ, the Son of God
incarnate, the representative image of the glory of God unto us; as in
the testimonies insisted on.
 2. "Medium revelans", or "lumen deferens"--the means of its
revelation, or the objective light whereby the perception and
knowledge of it is conveyed unto our minds. This is the gospel;
compared unto a glass because of the prospect which we have of the
image of God therein: 2 Cor. 3: 18. But without it--by any other
means, and not by it--we can behold nothing of this image of God.
 3. "Lumen praeparans, elevans, disponens subjectum"--"the internal
light of the mind in the saving illumination of the Holy Spirit,
enabling us--by that means, and in the use of it--spiritually to
behold and discern the glory of God in the face of Christ: 2 Cor. 4:
6.
 Through both these, in their several ways of operation, there
proceedeth--from the real object of our faith, Christ, as the image of
God-a transforming power, whereby the soul is changed into the same
image, or is made conformable unto Christ; which is that whereunto we
are predestinated. But we may yet a little farther contemplate on
these things, in some instances wherein the glory of God and our own
duty are concerned.
 1. The glory of God's wisdom is exalted, and the pride of the
imaginations of men is proportionally debased. And in these two
consists the real foundation of all religion in our souls. This God
designed in the dispensation of himself and his will, 1 Cor. 1: 29,
31; this he calls us unto, Isa. 2: 22; Zech 2: 13. As this frame of
heart is prevalent in us, so do all other graces shine and flourish.
And it is that which influences all our duties, so far as they are
acceptable unto God. And there is no truth more instructive unto it
than that before us. It is taken for granted--and the event has
demonstrated it to be so--that some express representation should be
made of God unto us, wherein we might contemplate the glorious
excellencies of his nature, and he might draw nigh unto us, and be
present with us. This, therefore, men attempted to effect and
accomplish; and this God alone has performed, and could so do. And
their several ways for this end are herein manifest. As the way
whereby God has done it is the principal exaltation of his infinite
wisdom and goodness, (as shall be immediately more fully declared,) so
the way whereby men attempted it was the highest instance of
wickedness and folly. It is, as we have declared, in Christ alone that
God has done it. And that therein he has exalted and manifested the
riches, the treasures of his infinite wisdom and goodness, is that
which the Gospel, the Spirit, and the church, do give testimony unto.
A more glorious effect of divine wisdom and goodness, a more
illustrious manifestation of them, there never was, nor ever shall be,
than in the finding out and constitution of this way of the
representation of God unto us. The ways of men, for the same end, Were
so far from giving a right representation of the perfections of the
divine nature, that they were all of them below, beneath, and unworthy
of our own. For in nothing did the blindness, darkness, and folly of
our nature, in its depraved condition, ever so exert and evidence
themselves, as in contriving ways for the representation of God unto
us--that is, in idolatry, the worst and vilest of evils: so Ps. 115: 4-
8; Isa. 44; Rev. 9: l9, 20, &c. This pride and folly of men was that
which lost all knowledge of God in the world, and all obedience unto
him. The ten commandment are but a transcript of the light and law of
nature. The first of these required that God--the only true God--the
Creator and Governor of all--should be acknowledged, worshipped,
believed in, and obeyed. And the second was, that we should not make
unto ourselves any image or representation of him. Whatever he would
do himself, yet he strictly forbade that we should make any such unto
ourselves. And here began the apostasy of the world from God. They did
not absolutely reject him, and so cast off the *first* fundamental
precept of the law of nature--but they submitted not unto his wisdom
and authority in the *next*, which was evidently educed from it. They
would make images and representations of him unto themselves; and by
this invention of their own, they first dishonoured him, and then
forsook him, giving themselves up unto the rule and service of the
devil. Wherefore, as the way that God in infinite wisdom found out for
the representation of himself unto us, was the only means of recovery
from the first apostasy--the way found out by men, unto the same end,
was the great means of casting the generality of mankind unto the
farthest degree of a new apostasy from God whereof our nature is
capable. And of the same kind will all our contrivances be found to
begin what belongs unto his worship and glory--though, unto us, they
may appear both pious and necessary. This, therefore, should lead us
into a continual admiration of the wisdom and grace of God, with a due
sense of our own vileness and baseness by nature. For we are in
nothing better or wiser than they who fell into the utmost folly and
wickedness, in their designs for the highest end, or the
representation of God unto us. The more we dwell on such
considerations, the more fear and reverence of God, with faith, trust,
and delight in him, will be increased--as also humility in ourselves,
with a sense of divine grace and love.
 2. There is a peculiar ground of the spiritual efficacy of this
representation of God. The revelations that he has made of himself,
and of the glorious properties of his nature, in the works of creation
and providence, are, in themselves, clear, plain, and manifest: Ps.
19: l, 2; Rom. 1: 19, 20. Those which are made in Christ are sublime
and mysterious. Howbeit, the knowledge we have of him as he is
represented unto us in Christ is far more clear, certain, steady,
effectual and operative, than any we can attain in and by all other
ways of revelation. The reason hereof is, not only because there is a
more full and extensive revelation made of God, his counsels and his
will, in Christ and the gospel, than in all the works of creation and
providence; but because this revelation and representation of God is
received by faith alone, the other by reason only: and it is faith
that is the principle of spiritual light and life in us. What is
received thereby is operative and effectual, unto all the ends of the
life of God. For we live by faith here, as we shall by sight
hereafter. Reason alone--especially as it is corrupted and depraved--
can discern no glory in the representation of God by Chn6t; yes, all
that is spoken thereof, or declared in the Gospel, is foolishness unto
it. Hence many live in a profession of the faith of the letter of the
Gospel, yet--having no light, guide, nor conduct, but that of reason--
they do not, they cannot, really behold the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ; nor has the revelation of it any efficacy upon their
souls. The manifestation of him in the light of nature, by the works
of creation and providence, is suited unto their reason, and does
affect it: for that [manifestation] which is made in Christ, they say
of it, as the Israelites did of manna, that came down from heaven,
"What is it?" we know not the meaning of it. For it is made unto faith
alone, and all men hsve not faith. And where God shines into the
heart, by that faith which is of divine operation--there, with "open
face, we behold the glory of God, as in a glass;" or have the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. There is
not the meanest believer, but--in the real exercise of faith in Christ
has more glorious apprehensions of God, his wisdom, goodness, and
grace, of all his glorious excellencies, than the most learned and
wise in the world can attain unto, in the exercise of reason on the
proper objects of it. So are these things opposed by the apostle, 1
Cor. 1. Wherefore, faith in Christ is the only means of the true
knowledge of God; and the discoveries which are made of him and his
excellencies thereby are those stone which are effectual to conform us
unto his image and likeness. And this is the reason why some men are
so little affected with the Gospel--notwithstanding the continual
preaching of it unto them, and their outward profession of it. It does
not inwardly affect them, it produceth no blessed effects in them.
Some sense they have of the power of God in the works of creation and
providence, in his rule and government, and in the workings of natural
conscience. Beyond these, they have no real sense of him. The reason
is, because they have not faith--whereby alone the representation that
is made of God in Christ, and declared in the gospel, is made
effectual unto the souls of men. Wherefore--
 3. It is the highest degeneracy from the mystery of the Christian
religion, for men to satisfy themselves in natural discoveries of the
Divine Being and excellencies, without an acquaintance with that
perfect declaration and representation of them which is made in the
person of Christ, as he is revealed and declared in the Gospel. It is
confessed that there may be good use made of the evidence which reason
gives or takes from its own innate principles--with the consideration
of the external works of divine wisdom and power--concerning the being
and rule of God. But to rest herein--to esteem it the best and most
perfective knowledge of God that we can attain--not to rise up unto
the more full, perfect, and evident manifestation of himself that he
has made in Christ a declaration of our unbelief, and a virtual
renunciation of the Gospel. This is the spring of that declension unto
a mere natural religion which discovers itself in many, and usually
ends in the express denial of the divine person of Christ. For when
the proper use of it is despised, on what grounds can the note of it
be long retained? But a supposition of his divine person is the
foundation of this discourse. Were he not the essential image of the
Father in his own divine person, he could not be the representative
image of God unto us as he is incarnate. For if he were a man only--
however miraculously produced and gloriously exalted, yet the angels
above, the glorious heavens, the seat and throne of God, with other
effects of creating power and wisdom, would no less represent his
glory than it could be done in him. Yet are they nowhere, nowhere,
jointly nor separately, styled "the image of the invisible God"--"the
brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person;" nor
does God shine into our hearts to give us the knowledge of his glory
in the face of them. And it argues the woeful enmity of the carnal
mind against God and all the effects of his wisdom, that, whereas he
has granted us such a glorious image and representation of himself, we
like it not, we delight not in the contemplation of it, but either
despise it or neglect it, and please ourselves in that which is
incomparably beneath it.
 4. Because God is not thus known it is--that the knowledge of him is
so barren and fruitless in the world, as it manifests itself to be. It
were easy to produce, yea, endless to number the testimonies that
might be produced out of heathen writers, given unto the being and
existence of God, his authority, monarchy, and rule; yet what were the
effects of that knowledge which they had? Besides that wretched
idolatry wherein they were all immersed, as the apostle declares, Rom.
1, it rescued them from no kind of wickedness and villany; as he there
also manifests. And the virtues which were found among them were
evidently derived from other causes, and not from the knowledge they
had of God. The Jews have the knowledge of God by the letter of the
Old Testament; but they--not knowing him in Christ, and having lost
all sense and apprehension of those representations which were made of
his being in him, in the Law--they continue universally a people
carnal, obstinate, and wicked. They have neither the virtues of the
heathens among them, nor the power of the truth of religion. As it was
with them of old, so it, yet continueth to be; "they profess that they
now God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient,
and to every good work reprobate:" Tit. 1: 16. So is it among many
that are called Christians at this day in the world: great pretence
there is unto the knowledge of God--yet did flagitious sins and
wickedness scarce ever more abound among the heathens themselves. It
is the knowledge of "God in Christ" alone that is effectually powerful
to work the souls of men into a conformity unto him. Those alone who
behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ are changed into
the same image, from glory to glory.




Chapter VI. The Person of Christ the great Repository of Sacred Truth-
-Its Relation thereunto.

Divine supernatural truth is called by the apostle, "The truth which
is after godliness:" Tit. 1: 1. Whereas, therefore, the person of
Christ is the great mystery of godliness, we must, in the next place,
inquire--What is the relation of spiritual supernatural truth there
unto? And this I shall do, in pursuit of what was proposed in the
foregoing chapter, viz, that he is the great representative unto the
church, of God, his holy properties, and the counsels of his will.
 All divine truth may be referred unto two heads. First, that which is
essentially so; and then that which is so declaratively. The first is
God himself, the other is the counsel of his will.
 First, God himself is the first and only essential Truth, in whose
being and nature the springs of all truth do lie. Whatever is truth so
far as it is so, derives from him, is an emanation from that eternal
fountain of it. Being, truth, and goodness, is the principal notion of
God; and in him they are all the same. How this is represented in
Christ as in himself he is the essential image of the Father, and as
incarnate the representative image of him unto us --hath been
declared.
 Secondly, The counsels of God are the next spring and cause--as also
the subject-matter or substance--of all truth that is so
declaratively. Divine truth is "the declaration of the counsel of
God:" Acts 20: 27. Of them all the person of Christ is the sacred
repository and treasury--in him are they to be learned. All their
efficacy and use depend on their relation unto him. He is the centre
and circumference of all the lines of truth--that is, which is divine,
spiritual, and supernatural. And the beauty of it is presented unto us
only in his face or person. We see it not, we know it not, but as God
shines into our hearts to give us the knowledge of it therein: 2 Cor.
4: 6.
 So he testifieth of himself, "I am the truth:" John 14: 6. He is so
essentially--as he is one with the Father, the God of truth: Deut.
32:4. He is so efficiently--as by him alone it is fully and
effectually declared; for "no man has seen God at any time; the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared
him:" John 1: 18. He is so substantially--in opposition unto the types
and shadows of the Old Testament; for in him dwelt "the fulness of the
godhead bodily:" Col. 2: 9. "The body is of Christ:" verse 17. He is
so subjectively for all divine truth, relating to the saving knowledge
of God, is treasured up in him. "In him are hid all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge:" verse 3. That is, the wisdom and knowledge of
God--in his counsels concerning the vocation, sanctification, and
salvation, of the church--concerning which the apostle falls into that
holy admiration, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God!" Rom. 11: 33. And they are called "treasures" on a
twofold account, both mentioned together by the Psalmist. "How
precious are thy thoughts unto me, O Lord; how great is the sum of
them!" They are treasures, because precious and invaluable--and are
therefore usually preferred above all earthly treasures which men most
highly esteem: Prov. 3: 14,15. And they are so, because of the
greatness of the sum of them; and therefore also called "unsearchable
riches:" Eph. 3: 8. These precious, unsearchable treasures of the
wisdom and knowledge of God--that is, all divine supernatural truths--
are hid, or safely deposited, in Christ--in and from whom alone they
are to be learned and received.
 So we are said to learn the truth as it is in Jesus: Eph 4: 21. And
the knowledge of all evangelical sacred truth is, in the Scripture,
most frequently expressed by the knowledge of Him: John 8: 19; 17: 3;
2 Cor. 2: 14; 4: 5, 6; Eph. 1: 17; Phil. 3: 8, 10; 1 John 1: 1, 2; 2:
4, 13, 14; 5: 20; 2 Pet. 2: 20.
 Setting aside what we have discoursed and proved before--concerning
the laying of the foundation of all the counsels of God in the person
of Christ, and the representation of them in the ineffable
constitution thereof--I shall give some few instances of this relation
of all supernatural truths unto him--manifesting that we cannot learn
them, nor know them, but with a due respect thereunto.
 1. There are two things wherein the glory of truth does consist. (1.)
Its light. (a) Its efficacy or power. And both these do all
supernatural truths derive from this relation unto Christ.
 (1.) No truth whatever brings any spiritual light unto the mind, but
by virtue thereof. "In him is life, and the life is the light of men:"
John 1: 4. He is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that comets
into the world:" verse 9. Wherefore, as truth is the only means of
illumination, so it cannot communicate any light unto the mind, but
only as it is a beam from him, as it is an organ to convey it from
that fountain. Separated from him and its relation unto him, it will
not retain, it cannot communicate, any real spiritual light or
understanding to the souls of men. How should it, if all light be
originally in him--as the Scripture testifieth? Then alone is the mind
irradiated with heavenly truth, when it is received as proceeding
from, and leading unto, the Sun of Righteousness the blessed spring of
all spiritual light--which is Christ himself. Whatever notional
knowledge men may have of divine truths, as they are doctrinally
proposed in the Scripture, yet--if they know them not in their respect
unto the person of Christ as the foundation of the counsels of God--if
they discern not how they proceed from him, and centre in him--they
will bring no spiritual, saving light unto their understanding. For
all spiritual life and light is in him, and from him alone. An
instance hereof we have in the Jews. They have the Scriptures of the
Old Testament, wherein the substance of all divine truth is revealed
and expressed; and they are diligent in the study of them; howbeit
their minds are not at all illuminated  nor irradiated by the truths
contained in them, but they live and walk in horrible darkness. And
the only reason hereof is, because they know not, because they reject,
the relation of them unto Christ--without which they are deprived of
all enlightening power.
 (2.) Efficacy or power is the second property of divine truth. And
the end of this efficacy is to make us like unto God: Eph 4: 20-24.
The mortification of sin, the renovation of our natures, the
sanctification of our minds, hearts, and affections, the consolation
of our souls, with their edification in all the parts of the life of
God, and the like, are the things that God has designed to effect by
his truth; (John 17: 17;) whence it is able to "build us up, and give
us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified:" Acts 20:32. But
it is from their relation unto the person of Christ that they have any
thing of this power and efficacy. For they have it no otherwise but as
they are conveyances of his grace unto the souls of men. So 1 John 1:
1, 2.
 Wherefore, as professors of the truth, if separated from Christ as
unto real union, are withering branches--so truths professed, if
doctrinally separated from him, or their respect unto him, have no
living power or efficacy in the souls of men. When Christ is formed in
the heart by them, when he dwelleth plentifully in the soul through
their operation, then, and not else, do they put forth their proper
power and efficacy. Otherwise, they are as waters separated from the
fountain--they quickly dry up or become a noisome puddle; or as a beam
interrupted from its continuity unto the sun--it is immediately
deprived of light.
 2. All divine spiritual truths are declarative, either of the grace
and love of God unto us, or [of] our duty, obedience, and gratitude
unto him. But, as unto these things, Christ is all and in all; we can
have no due apprehensions of the love and grace of God, no
understanding of the divine truths of the Word--wherein they are
revealed, and whereby they are exhibited unto them that believe--but
in the exercise of faith on Christ himself. For in, by, and from him
alone, it is that they are proposed unto us, that we are made
partakers of them. It is from his fulness that all grace is received.
No truth concerning them can, by any imagination, be separated from
him. He is the life and soul of all such truths--without which, they,
as they are written in the Word, are but a dead letter, and that of
such a character as is illegible unto us, as unto any real discovery
of the grace and love of God. And as unto those of the other sort,
which are instructive unto us in our duty, obedience, and gratitude--
we cannot come unto a practical compliance with any one of them, but
by the aids of grace received from him. For without him we can do
nothing; (John 15: 5;) and he alone understands divine truth who does
it: John 7: 17. There is not, therefore, any one text of Scripture
which presseth our duty unto God, that we can so understand as to
perform that duty in an acceptable manner, without an actual regard
unto Christ, from Whom alone we receive ability for the performance of
it, and in or through whom alone it is accepted with God.
 3. All the evidence of divine spiritual truth, and all the foundation
of our real interest in the things whereof it is a declaration--as to
benefit, advantage, and comfort--depend on their relation unto Christ.
We may take an instance in one article of divine truth, which seems to
be most disengaged from any such relation, namely, the resurrection of
the dead. But there is no man who rightly believes or comprehends this
truth, who does it not upon the evidence given unto it, and example of
it, in the person of Christ rising from the dead. Nor can any man have
a comfortable expectation or faith of an especial interest in a
blessed resurrection, (which is our whole concern in that truth, Phil.
3: 11,) but by virtue of a mystical union unto him, as the head of the
church that shall be raised unto glory. Both these the apostle inserts
upon at large, 1 Cor. 15. So is it with all other truths whatever.
 Wherefore, all divine supernatural truths revealed in the Scripture,
being nothing but the declaration of these counsels of God, whose
foundation was laid in the person of Christ; and whereas they are all
of them expressive of the love, wisdom, goodness, and grace of God
unto us, or instructive in our obedience and duty to him--all the
actings of God towards us, and all ours towards him, being in and
through him alone; and whereas all the life and power of these truths,
all their beauty, symmetry, and harmony in their union and
conjunction, which is expressive of divine wisdom, is all from him,
who, as a living spirit diffused through the whole system, both acts
and animates it--all the treasures of truth, wisdom, and knowledge,
may be well said to be hid in him. And we may consider some things
that ensue hereon.
 1. Hence it is, that those who reject the divine person of Christ--
who believe it not, who discern not the wisdom, grace, love, and power
of God therein--do constantly reject or corrupt all other spiritual
truths of divine revelation. Nor can it otherwise be. For they have a
consistency only in their relation unto the mystery of godliness--"God
manifest in the flesh"--and from thence derive their sense and
meaning. This being removed--the truth, in all other articles of
religion, immediately falls to the ground. An instance hereof we have
in the Socinians. For, although they retain the common notions of the
unity and existence of the divine nature, which are indelibly fixed on
the minds of men, yet is there no one truth that belongs peculiarly
unto the Christian religion, but they either deny it or horribly
deprave it. Many things concerning God and his essential properties--
as his immutability, immensity, prescience--they have greatly
perverted. So is that fulfilled in them which was spoken by Jude the
apostle, verse 10. They "speak evil of those things which they know
not: and what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things
they corrupt themselves." So they do in the things mentioned, whereof
there are natural notions in the minds of men; but of evangelical
truths which they know not--they speak evil, and deride them. The holy
Trinity they blaspheme--the incarnation of the Son of God they scorn--
the work of his mediation in his oblation and intercession, with the
satisfaction and merit of his obedience and suffering, they reject. So
do they [reject] whatever we are taught of the depravation of our
natures by the fall, of the renovation of them by the Holy Ghost; and
unto all other articles of our faith do they offer violence, to
corrupt them. The beginning of their transgression or apostasy, is in
a disbelief of the divine person of Christ. That being rejected, all
other sacred truths are removed from their basis and centre, [from]
that which gives them their unity and harmony. Hereon they fluctuate
up and down in the minds of men, and, appearing unto them under
various deceiving colours, are easily misapprehended or disbelieved.
Yea, there can no direct, proper representation be made of them unto
the understandings of men. Dissolve the knot, centre, and harmony in
the most beautiful composition or structure--and every part will
contribute as much unto the deformity and ruin of the whole, as it did
before unto its beauty and consistency. So is it with every doctrine--
so is it with the whole system of evangelical truths. Take the person
of Christ out of them, dissolve their harmony in relation thereunto--
whereby we no longer hold the Head in the faith and profession of them-
-and the minds of men cannot deliver them from an irreconcilable
difference among themselves. Hereon some of them are immediately
rejected, and some of them corrupted; for they lose their native light
and beauty. They will neither agree nor consist any where but in
Christ. Hence it is that no instance can be given of any, who, from
the original of the Christian religion, rejected the divine person of
Christ, and preserved any one evangelical truth besides, pure and
uncorrupted. And I do freely confess, that all which we believe
concerning the holy Trinity, the eternal counsels of God, the efficacy
of the mediation of Christ, his satisfaction and merit, the way which
we own of the sanctification, justification, and salvation of the
church--are to be esteemed fables, as the Socinians contend, if what
we believe concerning the person of Christ be so also.
 2. Hence it is that the knowledge and profession of the truth, with
many, is so fruitless, inefficacious, and useless. It is not known, it
is not understood nor believed--in its relation unto Christ; on which
account alone it conveys either light or power to the soul. Men
profess they know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order,
in its harmony and use. It leads them not to Christ, it brings not
Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless. Hence, ofttimes,
none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much
notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Scripture. For they are all
of them useless, and subject to be abused, if they are not improved to
form Christ in the soul, and transform the whole person into his
likeness and image. This they will not effect where their relation
unto him is not understood--where they are not received and learned as
a revelation of him, with the mystery of the will and wisdom of God in
him. For whereas he is our life, and in our living unto God we do not
so much live as he liveth in us, and the life which we lead in the
flesh is by the faith of him so that we have neither principle nor
power of spiritual life, but in, by, and from him--whatever knowledge
we have of the truth, if it do not effect a union between him and our
souls, it will be lifeless in us, and unprofitable unto us. It is
learning the truth as it is in Jesus, which alone reneweth the image
of God in us: Eph. 4: 21-24. Where it is otherwise--where men have
notions of evangelical truths, but know not Christ in them--whatever
they profess, when they come really to examine themselves, they will
find them of no use unto them, but that all things between God and
their souls are stated on natural light and common presumptions.





Chapter VII. Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of
Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person

It is by the exercise and discharge of the office of Christ--as the
king, priest, and prophet of the church--that we are redeemed,
sanctified, and saved. Thereby does he immediately communicate all
gospel benefits unto us--give us an access unto God here by grace, and
in glory hereafter; for he saves us, as he is the mediator between God
and man. But hereon an inquiry may be made--whence it is that the acts
and duties of this office of Christ, in their exercise and discharge,
should have such a power and efficacy, with respect unto their
supernatural and eternal ends; for the things which depend upon them,
which are effected by them, are all the principal means of the glory
of God, and the only concernments of the souls of men. And this, I
say, is his holy, mysterious person; from thence alone all power and
efficacy is derived, and transfused into his offices, and into all
that is due in the discharge of them.
 A truth this is, of that importance, that the declaration and
demonstration of it is the principal design of one entire book of the
holy Scriptures, viz., of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle unto the
Hebrews. That the glorious excellency of the person of Christ does
enable him, in the discharge of his offices, to accomplish those ends,
which none other, though vested with the same offices, could, in the
exercise of them, attain unto--is the sum and substance of the
doctrinal part of that discourse. Here, therefore, we must a little
fix our meditations--and our interest calls us thereunto. For if it be
so, it is evident that we can receive no good, no benefit, by virtue
of any office of Christ, nor any fruits of their exercise, without an
actual respect of faith unto his person, whence all their life and
power is derived.
 God gave of old both kings, priests, and prophets, unto the church.
He both anointed them unto their offices, directed them in their
discharge, was present with them in their work, and accepted of their
duties; yet by none of them, nor by all of them together, was the
church supernaturally enlightened, internally ruled, or eternally
saved: nor could it so be. Some of them--as Moses in particular--had
as much power, and as great a presence of God witch him, as any mere
man could be made partaker of; yet was he not, in his ministry, the
saviour of the church--nor could he be so any otherwise than typically
and temporally. The ministry of them all was subservient unto that end
which, by its own power, it could not attain.
 It is evident, therefore, that the redemption and salvation of the
church do not depend merely on this--that God has given one to be the
king, priest, and prophet of the church, by the actings of which
offices it is redeemed and saved; but on the person of him who was so
given unto us: as is fully attested, Isa. 9: 6, 7.
 This must be declared.
 Two things were required, in general, unto the person of Christ, that
his offices might be effectual unto the salvation of the church, and
without which they could not so have been. And they are such, as that
their contrivance in the constitution of one and the same person, no
created wisdom could reach unto. Wherefore the infinite wisdom of God
is most gloriously manifested therein.
 I. The first of these is, that he should have a nature provided for
him, which originally was not his own. For in his divine nature,
singly considered, he had no such relation unto them for whom he was
to discharge his offices, as was necessary to communicate the benefit
of them, nor could he discharge their principal duties. God could not
die, nor rise again, nor be exalted to be a prince and a Saviour, in
his divine nature. Nor was there that especial alliance between it and
ours, as should give us an especial interest in what was done thereby.
 It was mankind in whose behalf he was to exercise these offices. He
was not to bear them with respect immediately unto the angels; and,
therefore, he took not their nature on him. "Ou gar depou angeloon
pilambanetai"--"He took not the nature of angels unto him;" (Heb. 2:
16;) because he was not to be a mediator for them, a saviour unto
them. Those of them who had sinned were left unto everlasting ruin;
and those who retained their original righteousness needed no
redemption. But God prepared a body for him--that is, a human nature:
Heb. 10: 5. The promise hereof--viz, that he should be of the seed of
the woman--was the foundation of the church; that is, he was made so
unto the church in and by that promise: Gen. 3: 15. In the
accomplishment thereof he was "made of a woman," that so he might be
"made under the law;" (Gal 4: 4;) and "took upon him the seed of
Abraham". For because the children were partakers of flesh and blood,
"he also himself took part of the same:" Heb. 2: 14. For "in all
things it behaved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might
be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God:"
verse 17. And this was absolutely necessary unto the discharge of his
offices, on the twofold account before mentioned. For--
 (1.) Those acts of his offices, whereon the sanctification and
salvation of the church do principally depend, could not be performed
but in and by that nature. Therein alone could he yield obedience unto
the law, that it might be fulfilled in us--without which we could not
stand in judgment before God. See Rom. 8: 3; 10: 3,4. Therein alone
could he undergo the curse of the law, or be made a curse for us, that
the blessing might come upon us: Gal. 3: 13, 14. It was necessary
that, as a priest, he should have something of his own to offer unto
God, to make atonement for sin: Heb. 8: 3. The like may be said of his
whole ministry on the earth--of all the effects of his incarnation.
 (2.) Herein that cognation and alliance between him and the church,
which were necessary to entitle it unto a participation of the
benefits of his mediation, do depend. For hereby he became our goel--
the next of kin--unto whom belonged the right of redemptions and from
whom alone we could claim relief and succour in our lost condition.
This is divinely and at large declared by the apostle, Heb. 2: 10-18.
Having at large explained this context in our exposition of that
chapter, and therein declared both the necessity and benefit of the
cognation between the church and its High Priest, I shall not here
farther insist upon it. See to the same purpose, Eph. 5: 25-27.
Wherefore, had he not been partaker of our nature, we could have
received no benefit--not that without which we must eternally perish--
by any office that he could have undertaken. This, therefore, was
necessary unto the constitution of his person, with respect unto his
offices. But--
 II. There was yet more required thereunto, or to render his offices
effectual unto their proper ends. Not one of them could have been so,
had he been no more than a man--had he had no nature but ours. This I
shall particularly demonstrate, considering them in their usual
distribution--unto the glory of his divine person, and our own
edification in believing.
 (1.) He could not have been the great and singular prophet of the
church, had he been a man only, though ever so excellent and glorious;
and that for these three reasons:--
 [1.] He was to be the prophet of the whole catholic church; that is,
of act the elect of God, of all that shall be saved in all ages and
places, from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof. He had a
personal ministry for the instruction of the church, whilst he was on
the earth; but his prophetical office was not confined thereunto. For
that was limited unto one nation, Matt.15:24; Rom.15:8, and was for a
short season only. But the church was never without a prophet--that
is, one on whom it was incumbent to reveal unto it, and instruct it
in, the will of God--nor can be so unto the consummation of all
things. This is Christ alone. For--
 1st, I take it for granted that, from the beginning, from the giving
of the first promise, the Son of God did, in an especial manner,
undertake the care of the church--as unto all the ends of the wisdom,
will, and grace of God; and I take it for granted here, because I have
proved it at large elsewhere. It evidently followeth on the eternal
compact between the Father and him unto this end. In the work which
belonged hereunto--that which concerned its instruction in the will of
God, its saving illumination and spiritual wisdom, is of such
importance, as that, without it, none can be partaker of any other
blessings whatever. In this instruction and illumination consists the
discharge of the prophetical office of Christ.
 2dly, Upon the account of his susception of his office even before
his incarnation, considered as God; he is said to act in it so as to
be sent of God unto his work, Micah 5: 2, "The Ruler of Israel, whose
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." His goings
forth are not his eternal generation, which consists in one individual
eternal act of the Father; but it is the egress, the exercise of his
power and care for the church, that is so expressed. These were from
the beginning the first foundation of the church, in answer unto his
everlasting counsels, Zech 2: 8, 9, "Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
After the glory has he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you;"
and "I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to
their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me."
He who is sent calleth himself "The Lord of hosts," and affirms that
he will destroy the nations by the shaking of his hand; who can be no
other but God himself. That is, it was the Son of God, who was to be
incarnate, as is declared in the next words: "Sing and rejoice, O
daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of
thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in
that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of
thee; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto
thee," verses 10, 11. He promiseth that he will dwell in the midst of
the people; which was accomplished when "the Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us," John 1: 14; which was the time of the calling of the
gentiles, when many nations were to be joined unto the Lord; and those
that were so called were to be his people: "They shall be my people."
And yet in all this he was sent by the Lord of hosts: "Thou shalt know
that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto thee." Wherefore, with respect
unto his susception of his offices towards the church, the Lord of
hosts in the person of the Son is said to be sent by the Lord of
hosts; that is, in the person of the Father. So was he the prophet of
the church even before his incarnation, sent or designed by the Father
to instruct it--to communicate spiritual and saving light unto it. So
he testified concerning himself unto the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I
am," John 8: 58. Which, as it invincibly proves his eternal pre-
existence unto his incarnation, so it is not only intended. He was so
before Abraham, as that the care of the church was then and always
from the beginning on him. And he discharged this office four ways:--
 (1st,) By personal appearances in the likeness of human nature, in
the shape of a man, as an indication of his future incarnation; and
under those appearances instructing the church. So he appeared unto
Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua, as I have proved elsewhere.
And those peculiar appearances of the person of the Son for the
instruction of believers, are a full demonstration that the care and
work of it were committed unto him in a peculiar manner. And I am not
without thoughts, although I see some difficulty in it, that the whole
Old Testament, wherein God perpetually treats with men by an
assumption of human affections unto himself, so to draw us with the
cords of a man, proceeded from the person of the Son, in a preparation
for, and prospect of, his future incarnation.
 (2dly,) By the ministry of angels upon his undertaking to be the
mediator for the church with God, the angels were in a peculiar manner
put into dependence on him, even as he became a new and immediate head
unto the whole creation. This belonged unto that especial glory which
he had with the Father "before the world was," whereof we have treated
before. All things were to be anew gathered into a head in him, "both
which are in heaven, and which are on earth," Eph. 1: 10. And he
became "the firstborn of every creature," Col. 1: 15, the Lord and
proprietor of them. Hence the whole ministry of angels was subordinate
unto him; and whatever instruction was thereby given unto the church
in the mind and will of God, it was immediately from him, as the great
prophet of the church
 (3dly,) By sending his Holy Spirit to inspire, act, and guide the
prophets, by whom God would reveal himself. God spoke unto them by the
"mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began,"
Luke 1: 70. But it was the Spirit of Christ that was in them that
spoke by them, that revealed the things which concerned the redemption
and salvation of the church, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12. And by this Spirit he
himself preached unto those that were disobedient in the days of Noah,
who are now in prison for their disobedience, 1 Peter 3: 19, 20. For
he was so to prophet of the church always as to tender manifold
instructions unto the perishing, unbelieving world. Hence is he said
to lighten "every man that comets into the world," John 1: 9, by one
way or other communicating to them some notices of God and his will;
for his light shineth in, or irradiates darkness itself--that darkness
which is come on the minds of men by sin--though the "darkness
comprehend it not," verse 5.
 (4thly,) By the ministry of holy men, acted and moved by his Spirit.
So he gave forth the word that was written for an everlasting rule of
faith and obedience unto the church.
 Thus were the office and work of instructing and illuminating of the
church on his hand alone from the beginning, and thus were they by him
discharged. This was not a work for him who was no more but a man. His
human nature had no existence until the fulness of time, the latter
days, and therefore could effect or operate nothing before. And
whereas the apostle distinguisheth between the speaking of God in the
Son and his speaking in the prophets, opposing the one to the other,
(Heb. 1: 1, 2,) he does it with respect unto his personal ministry
unto the Church of the Jews, and not with respect unto his being the
peculiar fountain of life and light unto the whole church in all ages.
 It is true, we have under the gospel many unspeakable advantages from
the prophetical office of Christ, above what they enjoyed under the
Old Testament; but he was the prophet of the church equally in all
ages. Only he has given out the knowledge of the mind of God in
different degrees and measures; that which was most perfect being for
many reasons reserved unto the times of the Gospel; the sum whereof
is, that God designed him unto a preeminence above all in his own
personal ministry.
 If any shall now inquire how the Lord Christ could be the prophet of
the church before he took our nature on him and dwelt among us; I
shall also ask how they suppose him to be the prophet of the church
now he has left the world and is gone to heaven, so as that we neither
see him nor hear him anymore? If they shall say that he is so by his
Spirit, his Word, and the ministry which he has ordained; I say, so
was he the prophet of the church before his incarnation also. To
confine the offices of Christ, as unto their virtue, power and
efficacy, unto the times of the Gospel only, is utterly to evacuate
the first promise, with the covenant of grace founded thereon. And
their minds are secretly influenced by a disbelief of his divine
person, who suppose that the respect of the church unto Christ, in
faith, love, trust, and instruction, commenceth from the date of his
incarnation.
 [2.] The full comprehension of the mind and will of God, of the whole
divine counsel concerning his glory in the sanctification and
salvation of the church, could not at once reside in the mind of any
mere creature. Yet was this necessary unto him who was to be the
prophet of the church; that is, the fountain of truth, life, and
knowledge unto it. Hence is his name "Wonderful, Counsellor," as he
who was participant of all the eternal counsels of God; whereon in him
as incarnate all the treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge were
hid, Col. 2: 3. In him this could be alone, in whom was life, and "the
life was the light of men," John 1: 4. God did reveal his mind and
will by angels and men. But as he did it at sundry times, so he did it
by several parts, or various parcels--not only as the church was fit
to receive it, but as they were able to communicate it. The whole of
the divine counsels could not be comprehended, and so not dewed, by
any of them. Hence the angels themselves--not withstanding their
residence in the presence of God, beholding his face, and all the
glorious messages wherein they were employed--learned more of his mind
after the personal ministry of Christ, and the revelation of the
mysteries of his counsel therein, than ever they knew before, Eph 3:
8, 9, 11; 1 Peter 1: 12. And on the account of their imperfection in
the comprehension of his counsels, it is said that "he charged his
angels with folly," Job 4: 18. And the best of the prophets not only
received divine truth by parcel, but comprehended not the depths of
the revelations made unto them, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12.
 To this purpose is that divine testimony, John 1: 18, "No man has
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father, he has declared him." It is of all the prophets concerning
whom it is affirmed, that no man has seen God at any time. So is it
evident in the antithesis between Moses the principal of them, and the
Lord Christ, in the verse foregoing: "For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Wherefore no man, no other
man or prophet whatever has seen God at any time; that is, had a
perfect comprehension of his counsels, his mind and will, as they were
to be declared unto the church. This is the privilege of the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; not only as
being his eternal delight and love, but also as one acquainted with
all his secret counsels--as his fellow and participant of all his
bosom thoughts.
 He says that "all that ever came before him were thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not hear them," John 10: 8. This some of old
impiously applied unto the prophets of the Old Testament; whereas he
intended it only of those false prophets who pretended of themselves
that they, any of them, were the Messiah, the great Shepherd of the
sheep, whom his elect sheep would not attend unto. But it is true that
all who went before him, neither separately nor jointly, had the
knowledge of God, so as to declare him fully unto the church.
 It is the most fond and wicked imagination of the Socinians, invented
to countenance their disbelief and hatred of his divine person, that
during the time of his flesh he was taken up into heaven, and there
taught the doctrine of the Gospel, as Muhammad feigned concerning
himself and his Alkoran. The reason and foundation of his perfect
knowledge of God was, his being the only-begotten Son in the bosom of
the Father, and not a fictitious rapture of his human nature.
 To this purpose have we his own testimony, John 3: 13, "And no man
has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the
Son of man which is in heaven." The matter whereof he treats is the
revelation of heavenly things; For, finding Nicodemus slow in the
understanding of the doctrine and necessity of regeneration, which yet
was plain and evident in comparison of some other heavenly mysteries,
he asks of him, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe
not," (things wrought in the earth and in your own breasts,) "how
shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" if I declare unto
you the deep counsels of the will of God above, verse 12. But hereon a
question might arise, how he should himself come to the knowledge of
these heavenly things whereof they had never heard before, and which
no other man could tell them of, especially considering what he had
said before, verse 11, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we
have seen." Hereof he gives an account in these words. Wherefore the
ascending into heaven, which he denies unto all men whatever--"No man
has ascended up to heaven"--is an entrance into all the divine,
heavenly counsels of God; no man either has or ever had a full
comprehension of these heavenly things but he himself alone. And unto
him it is ascribed on a double account: first, That he came down from
heaven; secondly, That when he did so, he yet still continued in
heaven: which two properties give us such a description of the person
of Christ as declare him a full possessor of all the counsels of God.
He descended from heaven in his incarnation, whereby he became the Son
of man; and he is and was then in heaven in the essence and glory of
his divine nature. This is the full of what we assert. In the
knowledge and revelation of heavenly mysteries, unto the calling,
sanctification, and salvation of the church, does the prophetical
office of Christ consist. This he positively affirms could not
otherwise be, but that he who came down from heaven was also at the
same instant in heaven. This is that glorious person whereof we speak.
He who, being always in heaven in the glory and essence of his divine
nature, came down from heaven, not locally, by a mutation of his
residence, but by dispensation in the assumption of our nature into
personal union with himself--he alone is meet and able to be the
prophet of the church in the revelation of the heavenly mysteries of
the counsels of the will of God. In him alone were "hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. 2: 3, because in him alone
"dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily," verse 9.
 I do not hereby ascribe the infusion of omniscience, of infinite
understanding, wisdom, and knowledge, into the human nature of Christ.
It was and is a creature, finite and limited, nor is a capable subject
of properties absolutely infinite and immense. Filled it was with
light and wisdom to the utmost capacity of a creature; but it was so,
not by being changed into a divine nature or essence, but by the
communication of the Spirit unto it without measure. The Spirit of the
LORD did rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the Lord, and made him of quick understanding in the fear of the
LORD, Isa. 11: 2, 3.
 [3.] The Spirit of God dwelling in him, in all the fullness of his
graces and gifts, gave him an understanding peculiar unto himself; as
above that of all creatures, so beneath the essential omniscience of
the divine nature. Hence some things, as he was a man, he knew not,
(Mark 13: 32,) but as they were given him by revelation, Rev. 1: 1.
But he is the prophet of the church in his whole entire person, and
revealed the counsel of God, as he was in heaven in the bosom of the
Father. Cursed be he that trusteth in man, that maketh flesh his arm,
as to the revelations of the counsels of God. Here lies the safety,
the security, the glory of the church. How deplorable is the darkness
of mankind, in their ignorance of God and heavenly things! In what
ways of vanity and misery have the generality of them wandered ever
since our first apostasy from God! Nothing but hell is more full of
horror and confusion than the minds and ways of men destitute of
heavenly light. How miserably did those among them who boasted
themselves to be wise, was foolish in their imaginations! How woefully
did all their inquiries after the nature and will of God, their own
state, duty, and happiness, issue in curiosity, uncertainty, vanity,
and falsehood! He who is infinitely good and compassionate, did from
the beginning give some relief in this woeful state, by such parcels
of divine revelations as he thought meet to communicate unto them by
the prophets of old--such as they were able to receive. By them he set
up a Light shining in a dark place, as the Light of stars in the
night. But it was the rising of the Sun of Righteousness alone that
dispelled the darkness that was on the earth, the thick darkness that
was on the people, bringing life and immortality to light by the
gospel. The divine person of the Son of God, in whom were hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who is in the bosom of the Father,
has now made known all things unto the church, giving us the perfect
idea and certainty of all sacred truth, and the full assurance of
things invisible and eternal.
 Three things are necessary, that we may have the benefit and comfort
of divine light or truth--1st, The fulness of its revelation; 2dly,
The infallibility of it; and, 3dly, The authority from whence it does
proceed. If either of these be wanting, we cannot attain unto
stability and assurance in the faith of it, or obedience unto it.
 1st, Full it must be, to free us from all attempt of fear that any
thing is detained or hidden from us that were needful for us to know.
Without this the mind of man can never come to rest in the knowledge
of truth All that he knows may be useless unto him, for the want of
that which he neither does nor can know, because not revealed.
 2dly, And it must be infallible also. For this divine truth whereof
we treat, being concerning things unseen--heavenly, eternal mysteries,
transcending the reach of human reason--nothing but the absolute
infallibility of the reviler can bring the mind of man to assurance
and acquiescency. And whereas the same truth enjoins unto us duties,
many of them contrary unto our inclinations and cross unto our several
interests--the great guides of corrupted nature--the revelation of it
must proceed from sovereign authority, that the will may comply with
the mind in the embracement of it. All these are absolutely secured in
the divine person of the great prophet of the church; His infinite
wisdom, his infinite goodness, his essential veracity, his sovereign
authority over all, give the highest assurance whereof a created
understanding is capable, that nothing is detained from us--that there
is no possibility of error or mistake in what is declared unto us, nor
any pretence left of declining obedience unto the commands of the
truth that we do receive. This gives the soul assured rest and peace
in the belief of things which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor
can enter into the heart of man to conceive." Upon the assurance of
this truth alone can it with joy prefer things invisible and eternal
above all present satisfactions and desires. In the persuasion hereof
can it forego the best of present enjoyments, and undergo the worst of
present evils; namely, in the experience of its present efficacy, and
choice of that future recompense which it does secure. And he believes
not the Gospel unto his own advantage, or the glory of God, whose
faith rests not in the divine person of Jesus Christ, the great
prophet of the church. And he who there finds rest unto his soul,
dares not admit of any copartners with him as to instruction in the
mind of God.
 3dly, It was requisite unto the office of this great prophet of the
church, and the discharge thereof, that he should have power and
authority to send the Holy Spirit to make his revelations of divine
truth effectual unto the minds of men. For the church which he was to
instruct, was not only in darkness, by reason of ignorance and want of
objective light or divine revelations, but was incapacitated to
receive spiritual things in a due manner when revealed. Wherefore, it
was the work of this prophet, not only to make known and declare the
doctrines of truth, which are our external directive light, but also
to irradiate and illuminate our minds, so that we might savingly
apprehend them. And it is no wonder if those who are otherwise minded,
who suppose themselves able to receive spiritual things, the things of
God, in a due manner, upon their external proposal unto them, are
regardless of the divine person of Christ as the prophet of the
church. But hereon they will never have experience of the life and
power of the doctrine of the Gospel, if the apostle is to be believed,
1 Cor. 2: 9-12. Now, this internal illumination of the minds of men
unto the acknowledgment of the truth can be wrought in them only by
the Holy Spirit of God, Eph. 1: 17-19; 2 Cor. 3: 18. None, therefore,
could be the prophet of the church, but he who had the power to send
the Holy Spirit to enable it to receive his doctrine by the saving
illumination of the minds of men. And this alone he could do, whose
Spirit he is, proceeding from him; whom he therefore frequently
promised so to send.
 Without a respect unto these things, we cannot really be made
partakers of the saving benefits and fruits of the prophetical office
of Christ. And this we can have only in the exercise of faith on his
divine person, which is the eternal spring from whence this office
derives all life and efficacy.
 The command of God, in respect unto him as the prophet of the church,
is, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him."
Unless we actually regard him by faith as the only begotten Son of
God, we can perform no duty aright in the hearing of him, nor shall we
learn the truth as we ought. Hence it is that those who deny his
divine person, though they pretend to attend unto him as the teacher
of the church, do yet learn no truth from him, but embrace pernicious
errors in the stead thereof. So it is with the Socinians, and all that
follow them. For whereas they scarcely own any other office of Christ
but his prophetical--looking on him as a man sent to teach the mind of
God, and to confine his doctrine by his sufferings, whereon he was
afterward highly exalted of God--they learn nothing from him in a due
manner.
 But this respect unto the person of Christ is that which will
ingenerate in us all those holy qualifications that are necessary to
enable us to know the mind and will of God. For hence do reverence,
humility, faith, delight, and assurance, arise and flow; without whose
continual exercise, in vain shall men hope to learn the will of God by
the utmost of their endeavours. And the want of these things is the
cause of much of that lifeless unsanctified knowledge of the doctrine
of the Gospel which is amongst many. They learn not the truth from
Christ, so as to expect all teachings from his divine power. Hence
they never come to know it, either in its native beauty drawing the
soul into the love and delight of what they know, or in its
transforming efficacy changing the mind into its own image and
likeness.
 (2.) The same also is the state of things with respect unto his
kingly office and power. But this I have at large treated on
elsewhere, and that much unto the same purpose; namely, in the
exposition of the 3d verse of the 1st chapter of the Epistle unto the
Hebrews. Wherefore I shall not here enlarge upon it.
 Some seem to imagine, that the kingly power of Christ towards the
church consists only in external rule by the Gospel and the laws
thereof, requiring obedience unto the officers and rulers that he has
appointed therein. It is true, that this also belongs unto his kingly
power and rule; but to suppose that it consisteth solely therein, is
an ebullition from the poisonous fountain of the denial of his divine
person. For if he be not God over all, whatever in words may be
pretended or ascribed unto him, he is capable of no other rule or
power. But indeed no one act of his kingly office can be aright
conceived or acknowledged, without a respect had unto his divine
person. I shall instance only unto this purpose in two things in
general.
 [1.] The extent of his power and rule gives evidence hereunto. It is
over the whole creation of God. "All power is given him in heaven and
earth." Matt. 28: 18. "A11 things are put under his feet, he only
excepted who put all things under him," 1 Cor. 15: 27; and he is made
"head over all things unto the church," Eph. 1: 22. Not only those who
are above the rule of external law, as the holy angels; and those who
have cast off all such rule, as the devils themselves; but all things
that in their own nature are not capable of obedience to an external
law or rule, as the whole inanimate creation, heaven, and earth, and
the sea, with all things in them and under them, (Phil. 2: 10,) with
the dead bodies of men, which he shall raise at the last day.
 For this power over the whole creation is not only a moral right to
rule and govern it; but it is also accompanied with virtue, force, or
almighty power, to act, order, and dispose of it at his pleasure. So
is it described by the apostle from the Psalmist, Heb. 1: 10-12,
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;
and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish, but
thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a
vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou
art the same, and thy years shall not fail." That power is required
unto his kingly office whereby he created all things in the beginning,
and shall change them all, as a man folds up a vesture, in the end.
Omnipotence, accompanied with eternity and immutability, are required
hereunto.
 It is a vain imagination, to suppose that this power can reside in a
mere creature, however glorified and exalted. All essential divine
properties are concurrent with it, and inseparable from it. And where
are the properties of God, there is the nature of God; for his being
and his properties are one and the same.
 If the Lord Christ, as king of the church, be only a mere man, and be
as such only to be considered, however he may be exalted and glorified-
-however he may be endowed with honour, dignity, and authority--yet he
cannot put forth or act any real physical power immediately and
directly, but where he is present. But this is in heaven only; for the
heaven must receive him "until the times of the restitution of all
things," Acts 3: 21. And hereon his rule and power would be the
greatest disadvantage unto the church that could befall it. For
suppose it immediately under the rule of God, even the Father; his
omnipotence and omnipresence, his omniscience and infinite wisdom--
whereby he could be always present with every one of them, know all
their wants, and give immediate relief according to the counsel of his
will--were a stable foundation for faith to rest upon, and an
everlasting spring of consolation. But now, whereas all power, all
judgment, all rule, is committed unto the Son, and the Father does
nothing towards the church but in and by him, if he have not the same
divine power and properties with him, the foundation of the church's
faith is cast down, and the spring of its consolation utterly stopped
up.
 I cannot believe in him as my heavenly king, who is not able by
himself, and by the virtue of his presence with me, to make what
changes and alterations he pleaseth in the minds of men, and in the
whole creation of God, to relieve, preserve, and deliver me, and to
raise my body at the last day.
 To suppose that the Lord Christ, as the king and head of the church,
has not an infinite, divine power, whereby he is able always to
relieve, succour, save, and deliver it--if it were to be done by the
alteration of the whole or any part of God's creation, so as that the
fire should not burn, nor the water overwhelm them, nor men be able to
retain their thoughts or ability one moment to afflict them; and that
their distresses are not always effects of his wisdom, and never from
the defect of his power--is utterly to overthrow all faith, hope, and
the whole of religion itself.
 Ascribe therefore unto the Lord Christ, in the exercise of his kingly
office, one a moral power, operative by rules and laws, with the help
of external instruments--deprive him of omnipresence and omniscience,
with infinite, divine power and virtue, to be acted at his pleasure in
and over the whole creation--and you rase the foundation of all
Christian faith and hope to the ground.
 There are no true believers who will part with their faith herein for
the whole world; namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is able, by his
divine power and presence, immediately to aid, assist, relieve, and
deliver them in every moment of their surprisals, fears, and dangers,
in every trial or duty they may be called unto, in every difficulty
they have to conflict withal. And to expect these things any otherwise
but by virtue of his divine nature, is woefully to deceive our own
souls. For this is the work of God.
 [2.] The rule of Christ, as king of the church, is internal and
spiritual, over the minds, souls, and consciences of all that do
believe. There is no one gracious acting of soul in any one believer,
at any time in the whole world, either in opposition unto sin or the
performance of duty, but it is influenced and under the guidance of
the kingly power of Christ. I suppose we have herein not only the
common faith, but also the common spiritual sense and experience, of
them all. They know that in their spiritual life it is he that liveth
in them as the efficient cause of all its acts and that without him
they can do nothing. Unto him they have respect in every the most
secret and retired acting of grace, not only performed as under his
eye, but by his assistance; on every occasion do they immediately, in
the internal acting of their minds, look unto him, as one more present
with their souls than they are with themselves; and have no thoughts
of the least distance of his knowledge or power. And two things are
required hereto.
 1st, That he be "kardiognoostes"--that he have an actual inspection
into all the frames, dispositions, thoughts, and internal acting, of
all believers in the whole world, at all times, and every moment.
Without this, he cannot bear that rule in their souls and consciences
which we have described, nor can they act faith in him, as their
occasions do require. No man can live by faith on Christ, no man can
depend on his sovereign power, who is not persuaded that all the
frames of his heart, all the secret groans and sighs of his spirit,
all the inward labourings of his soul against sin, and after
conformity to himself, are continually under his eye and cognizance.
Wherefore it is said, that all things are naked and opened unto his
eyes, Heb. 4: 13. And he says of himself, that he "searcheth" (that
is, knoweth) "the hearts and reins of men," Rev. 2: 23. And if these
things are not the peculiar properties of the divine nature, I know
nothing that may be so esteemed.
 2dly, There is required hereunto an influence of power into all the
acting of the souls of believers;--all intimate, efficacious operation
with them in every duty, and under every temptation. These all of them
do look for, expect, and receive from him, as the king and head of the
church. This also is an effect of divine and infinite power. And to
deny these things unto the Lord Christ, is to rase the foundation of
Christian religion. Neither faith in, nor love unto him, nor
dependence on him, nor obedience unto his authority, can be preserved
one moment, without a persuasion of his immediate intuition and
inspection into the hearts, minds, and thoughts of all men, with a
real influence into all the acting of the life of God in all them that
believe. And the want of the faith hereof is that which has disjoined
the minds of many from adherence unto him, and has produced a lifeless
carcass of the Christian religion, instead of the saving power thereof
 (3.) The same may be said concerning his sacerdotal office, and all
the acts of it. It was in and by the human nature that he offered
himself a sacrifice for us. He had somewhat of his own to offer, Heb.
8: 3; and to this end a body was prepared for him, chap. 10: 5. But it
was not the work of a man, by one offering, and that of himself, to
expiate the sins of the whole church, and forever to perfect them that
are sanctified, which he did, Heb. 10: 14. God was to purchase his
church "with his own blood," Acts 20: 28. But this also I have spoken
to at large elsewhere.
 This is the sum of what we plead for: We can have no due
consideration of the offices of Christ, can receive no benefit by
them, nor perform any act of duty with respect unto them, or any of
them, unless faith in his divine person be actually exercised as the
foundation of the whole. For that is it whence all their glory, power,
and efficacy are derived. Whatever, therefore, we do with respect unto
his rule, whatever we receive by the communication of his Spirit and
grace, whatever we learn from his Word by the teachings of his Spirit,
whatever benefit we believe, expect, and receive, by his sacrifice and
intercession on our behalf; our faith in them all, and concerning them
all, is terminated on his divine person. The church is saved by his
offices, because they are his. This is the substance of the testimony
given concerning him, by God, even the Father, 1 John 5: 10, 11. "This
is the record" that God has testified concerning his Son, "that God
has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Eternal
life is given unto us, as it was wrought out and procured by the
mediation of Christ on our behalf. But yet in him it was originally,
and from him do we receive it in the discharge of his office; for this
life is in the Son of God.
 Hence it is that all those by whom the divine person of Christ is
denied, are forced to give such a description of his offices, as that
it is utterly impossible that the church should be saved by the
discharge of them.





Chapter VIII. The Faith of the Church under the Old Testament in and
concerning the Person of Christ

A brief view of the faith of the church under the Old Testament
concerning the divine person of Christ, shall close these discourses,
and make way for those that ensue, wherein our own duty with respect
whereunto shall be declared.
 That the faith of all believers, from the foundation of the world,
had a respect unto him, I shall afterwards demonstrate; and to deny
it, is to renounce both the Old Testament and the New. But that this
faith of theirs did principally respect his person, is what shall here
be declared. Therein they knew was laid the foundation of the counsels
of God for their deliverance, sanctification, and salvation. Otherwise
it was but little they clearly understood of his office, or the way
whereby he would redeem the church.
 The apostle Peter, in the confession he made of him, (Matt.16: 16,)
exceeded the faith of the Old Testament in this, that he applied the
promise concerning the Messiah unto that individual person: "Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the living God"--he that was to be the Redeemer
and Saviour of the church. Howbeit Peter then knew little of the way
and manner whereby he was principally so to be. And therefore, when he
began to declare them unto his disciples--namely, that they should be
by his death and sufferings--he in particular was not able to comply
with it, but, saith he, "Master, that be far from thee," verse 22. As
"flesh and blood" that is, his own reason and understanding--did not
reveal or declare Him unto Peter to be the Christ, the Son of the
living God, but the Father which is in heaven; so he stood in need of
fresh assistance from the same almighty hand to believe that He should
redeem and save his church by his death. And therefore he did refuse
the external revelation and proposition of it, though made by Christ
himself, until he received internal aid from above. And to suppose
that we have faith now in Christ or his death on any other terms, is
an evidence that we have no faith at all.
 Wherefore, the faith of the saints under the Old Testament did
principally respect the person of Christ--both what it was, and what
it was to be in the fulness of time, when he was to become the seed of
the woman. What his especial work was to be, and the mystery of the
redemption of the church thereby, they referred unto his own wisdom
and grace;--only, they believed that by him they should be saved from
the hand of all their enemies, or all the evil that befell them on the
account of the first sin and apostasy from God.
 God gave them, indeed, representations and prefiguration of his
office and work also. He did so by the high priest of the law, the
tabernacle, with all the sauces and services thereunto belonging. All
that Moses did, as a faithful servant in the house of God, was but a
"testimony of those things which were to be spoken after," Heb. 3: 5.
Howbeit the apostle tells us that all those things had but a "shadow
of good things to come, and not the very image of the things
themselves," Heb. 10: 1. And although they are now to us full of light
and instruction, evidently expressing the principal works of Christ's
mediation, yet were they not so unto them. For the veil is now taken
off from them in their accomplishment, and a declaration is made of
the counsels of God in them by the gospel The meanest believer may now
find out more of the work of Christ in the types of the Old Testament,
than any prophets or wise men could have done of old. Therefore they
always earnestly longed for their accomplishment--that the day might
break, and the shadows fly away by the rising of the Sun of
Righteousness with healing in his wings. But as unto his person, they
had glorious revelations concerning it; and their faith in him was the
life of all their obedience.
 The first promise, which established a new intercourse between God
and man, was concerning his incarnation--that he should be the seed of
the woman, Gen. 3: 15; that is, that the Son of God should be "made of
a woman, made under the law," Gal. 4: 4. From the giving of that
promise the faith of the whole church was fixed on him whom God would
send in our nature, to redeem and save them. Other way of acceptance
with him there was none provided, none declared, but only by faith in
this promise. The design of God in this promise--which was to reveal
and propose the only way which in his wisdom and grace he had prepared
for the deliverance of mankind from the state of sin and apostasy
whereinto they were cast, with the nature of the faith and obedience
of the church will not admit of any other way of salvation, but only
faith in him who was thus promised to be a saviour. To suppose that
men might fall off from faith in God by the revelation of himself in
this promise, and yet be saved by attending to instructions given by
the works of creation and providence, is an imagination that will no
longer possess the minds of men than whilst they are ignorant of, or
do forget, what it is to believe and to be saved.
 The great promise made unto Abraham was, that He should take his seed
upon him, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen.
12: 3; 15: 18; 22: 18; which promise is explained by the apostle, and
applied unto Christ, Gal. 3: 8. Hereon "Abraham believed on the Lord,
and it was counted unto him for righteousness," Gen. 15: 6; for he saw
the day of Christ, and rejoiced, John 8: 56.
 The faith that Jacob instructed his sins in was--that the Shiloh
should come, and unto him should be the gathering of the nations, Gen.
49: 10. Job's faith was--that his Redeemer was the Living One, and
that he should stand on the earth in the latter day, Job 19: 25.
 The revelations made unto David principally concerned His person, and
the glory thereof. See Ps.2; 45; 68; 110; 118; especially Ps. 45 and
82 compared, which give an account of their apprehensions concerning
him.
 The faith of Daniel was, that God would show mercy, for the Lord's
sake, Dan. 9: 17; and of all the prophets that the "Redeemer should
come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,"
Isa. 59: 20.
 Of the same nature were all his personal appearances under the Old
Testament, especially that most illustrious representation made of him
unto the prophet Isaiah, chap. 6, and the glorious revelation of his
name, chap. 9: 6.
 It is true that both these and other prophets had revelations
concerning his sufferings also. For "the Spirit of Christ that was in
them testified beforehand of his sufferings, and the glory that should
follow," 1 Peter 1: 11;--an illustrious testimony whereunto we have
given us Ps. 22, and Isa. 53. Nevertheless their conceptions
concerning them were dark and obscure. It was his person that their
faith principally regarded. Thence were they filled with desires and
expectations of his coming, or his exhibition and appearance in the
flesh. With the renewed promises hereof did God continually refresh
the church in its straits and difficulties. And hereby did God call
off the body of the people from trust in themselves, or boasting in
their present privileges, which they were exceedingly prone unto.
 In process of time this faith, which wrought effectually in the
Church of Israel, degenerated into a lifeless opinion, that proved the
ruin of it. Whilst they really lived in the faith of him as the
Saviour and Redeemer of the church from all its spiritual adversaries,
as he who was to make "an end of sin, and bring in everlasting
righteousness," unto whom all their present ordinances were
subservient and directive; all grace, love, zeal, and patient waiting
for the accomplishment of the promise, flourished among them. But in
process of time, growing carnal, trusting in their own righteousness,
and the privileges which they had by the law, their faith concerning
the person of Christ degenerated into a corrupt, obstinate opinion,
that he should be only a temporal king and deliverer; but as unto
righteousness and salvation they were to trust unto themselves and the
law. And this prejudicate opinion, being indeed a renunciation of all
the grace of the promises of God, proved their utter ruin. For when he
came in the flesh, after so many ages, filled up with continued
expectations, they rejected and despised him as one that had neither
form nor comeliness for which he should be desired. So does it fall
out in other churches. That which was faith truly spiritual and
evangelical in their first planting, becomes a lifeless opinion in
succeeding ages. The same truths are still professed, but that
profession springs not from the same causes, nor does it produce the
same effects in the hearts and lives of men. Hence, in process of
time, some churches continue to have an appearance of the same body
which they were at first, but--being examined--are like a lifeless,
breathless carcass, wherein the animating Spirit of grace does not
dwell. And then is any church, as it was with that of the Jews, nigh
to destruction, when it corrupts formerly professed truths, to
accommodate them unto the present lusts and inclinations of men.





Chapter IX. Honour due to the Person of Christ--The nature and Causes
of it

Many other considerations of the same nature with those foregoing,
relating unto the glory and honour of the person of Christ, may be
taken from all the fundamental principles of religion. And our duty it
is in them all, to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our
profession"--"the Author and Finisher of our faith". I shall not
insist on more, but proceed unto those principles of truth which are
immediately directive of our duty towards him; without diligent
attendance whereunto, we do but in vain bear the name of Christians.
And the substance of what is designed may be included in the following
assertion:--

 "The glory, life, and power of Christian religion, as Christian
religion, and as seated in the souls of men, with all the acts and
duties which properly belong thereunto, and are, therefore, peculiarly
Christian, and all the benefits and privileges we receive by it, or by
virtue of it, with the whole of the honour and glory that arise unto
God thereby, have all of them their formal nature and reason from
their respect and relation unto the person of Christ; nor is he a
Christian who is otherwise minded."

 In the confirmation hereof it will appear what judgment ought to be
passed on that inquiry--which, after the uninterrupted profession of
the catholic church for so many ages of a faith unto the contrary, is
begun to be made by some amongst us--namely, Of what use is the person
of Christ in religion? For it proceeds on this supposition, and is
determined accordingly--that there is something in religion wherein
the person of Christ is of no use at all;--a vain imagination, and
such as is destructive unto the whole real intercourse between God and
man, by the one and only Mediator!
 The respect which we have in all acts of religion unto the person of
Christ may be reduced unto these four heads: I. Honour. II. Obedience.
III. Conformity. IV. The use we make of him, for the attaining and
receiving of all Gospel privileges-- all grace and glory. And hereunto
the whole of our religion, as it is Christian or evangelical, may be
reduced.

 I. The person of Christ is the object of divine honour and worship.
The formal object and reason hereof is the divine nature, and its
essential infinite excellencies. For they are nothing but that respect
unto the Divine Being which is due unto it from all rational
creatures, regulated by revelation, and enforced by divine operations.
Wherefore the person of Christ is primarily the object of divine
honour and worships upon the account of his divine nature and
excellencies. And those who, denying that nature in him, do yet
pretend to worship him with divine and religious adoration, do but
worship a golden calf of their own setting up; for a Christ who is not
over all, God blessed forever, is not better. And it implies a
contradiction, that any creature should, on any accounts be the
immediate, proper object of divine worship; unless the divine
essential excellencies be communicated unto it, or transfused into it,
whereby it would cease to be a creature. For that worship is nothing
but the ascription of divine excellencies unto what is so worshipped.
 But we now consider the Lord Christ in his whole entire person, the
Son of God incarnate, "God manifest in the flesh." His infinite
condescension, in the assumption of our nature, did no way divest him
of his divine essential excellencies. For a time, they were shadowed
and veiled thereby from the eyes of men; when "he made himself of no
reputation, and took on him the form of a servant." But he eternally
and unchangeably continued" in the form of God," and "thought it not
robbery to be equal with God," Phil. 2: 6, 7. He can no more really
and essentially, by any act of condescension or humiliation, cease to
be God, than God can cease to be. Wherefore, his being clothed with
our nature derogates nothing from the true reason of divine worship
due unto him, but adds an effectual motive unto it. He is, therefore,
the immediate object of all duties of religion, internal and external;
and in the dispensation of God towards us, none of them can be
performed in a due manner without a respect unto him.
 This, then, in the first place, is to be confirmed; namely, that all
divine honour is due unto the Son of God incarnate--that is, the
person of Christ.
 John 5: 23: It is the will of the Father, "That all men should honour
the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the
Son, honoureth not the Father which has sent him." Some considerations
on this divine testimony will confirm our position. It is of the Son
incarnate that the words are spoken--as all judgment was committed
unto him by the Father, as he was "sent" by him, verse 22--that is, of
the whole person of Christ in the exercise of his mediatory office.
And with respect hereunto it is that the mind of God is peculiarly
revealed. The way whereby God manifesteth his will, that all men
should thus honour the Son, as they honour the Father, is by
committing all power, authority, and judgment unto him, verses 20-22,
"For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that
himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye
may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth
them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth
no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son." Not that these
things are the formal reason and cause of the divine honour which is
to be given him; but they are reasons of it, and motives unto it, in
that they are evidences of his being the Son of God.
 But it may be said, What need is there that the Father should so
interpose an act of his will and sovereign pleasure as to this
honouring of the Son, seeing the sole cause and reason of this divine
honour is the divine nature, which the Son is no less partaker of than
the Father? I answer--
 (1.) He does not in this command intend the honour and worship of
Christ absolutely as God, but distinctly as the Son; which peculiar
worship was not known under the Old Testament, but was now declared
necessary in the committing all power, authority, and judgment unto
him. This is the honour whereof we speak.
 (2.) He does it, lest any should conceive that "as he was now sent of
the Father," and that in the "form of a servant," this honour should
not be due unto him. And the world was then far from thinking that it
was so; and many, I fear, are yet of the same mind.
 He is, therefore, to be honoured by us, according to the will of God,
"kathoos", "in like manner," as we honour the Father.
 [1.] With the same honour; that is, divine, sacred, religious, and
supreme. To honour the Father with other honour, is to dishonour him.
When men design to give glory and honour to God which is not truly
divine, it is idolatry; for this honour, in truth, is nothing but the
ascription of all infinite, divine excellencies unto him. Whereon,
when men ascribe unto him that which is not so, they fall into
idolatry, by the worship of their own imaginations. So was it with the
Israelites, when they thought to have given glory to God by making a
golden calf, whereon they proclaimed a feast unto Jehovah, Exod. 32:
5. And so was it with the heathen in all their images of God, and the
glory which they designed to give him thereby, as the apostle
declares, Rom. 1: 23-25. This is one kind of idolatry--as the other is
the ascribing unto creatures anything that is proper and peculiar unto
God, any divine excellency. And we do not honour God the Father with
one kind of honour, and the Son with another. That were not to honour
the Son "kathoos", "as" we honour the Father, but in a way infinitely
different from it.
 [2.] In the same manner, with the same faith, love, reverence, and
obedience, always, in all things, in all acts and duties of religion
whatever.
 This distinct honour is to be given unto the person of the Son by
virtue of this command of the Father, though originally on the account
of his oneness in nature with the Father. And our duty herein is
pressed with the highest enforcement; he that honours not the Son,
honours not the Father. He who denieth the Son (herein) "has not the
Father; [but he that acknowledgeth the Son, has the Father also,]" 1
John 2: 23. "And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal
life; and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son, has life; and
he that has not the Son of God has not life," chap. 5: 11, 12. If we
are wanting herein, whatever we pretend, we do not worship nor honour
God at all.
 And there is reason to give this caution--reason to fear that this
great fundamental principle of our religion is, if not disbelieved,
yet not much attended unto in the world. Many, who profess a respect
unto the Divine Being and the worship thereof, seem to have little
regard unto the person of the Son in all their religion; for although
they may admit of a customary interposition of his name in their
religious worship, yet the same distinct veneration of him as of the
Father, they seem not to understand, or to be exercised in. Howbeit,
all the acceptance of our persons and duties with God depends on this
one conditions--"That we honour the Son, even as we honour the
Father." To honour the Son as we ought to honour the Father, is that
which makes us Christians, and which nothing else will so do.
 This honour of the person of Christ may be considered--in the duties
of it, wherein it does consist; and in the principle, life, or spring,
of those duties.
 The duties whereby we ascribe and express divine honour unto Christ
may be reduced unto two heads, 1st, Adoration; 2dly, Invocation.
 1st, Adoration is the prostration of soul before him as God, in the
acknowledgment of his divine excellencies and the ascription of them
unto him. It is expressed in the Old Testament by "hishtachawah"; that
is, humbly to bow down ourselves or our souls unto God. The LXX render
it constantly by "proskuneoo"; which is the word used in the New
Testament unto the same purpose. The Latins expressed it usually by
adoro. And these words, though of other derivations, are of the same
signification with that in the Hebrew; and they do all of them include
some external sign of inward reverence, or a readiness thereunto.
Hence is that expression, "He bowed down his head and worshipped,"
[Gen. 24: 26;] see [also] Ps. 95: 6. And these external signs are of
two sorts (1st,) Such as are natural and occasional; (2dly,) Such as
are solemn, stated, or instituted. Of the first sort are the lifting
up of our eyes and hands towards heaven upon our thoughts of him, and
sometimes the casting down of our whole persons before him; which deep
thoughts with reverence will produce. Outward instituted signs of this
internal adoration are all the ordinances of evangelical worship. In
and by them do we solemnly profess and express our inward veneration
of him. Other ways may be invented to the same purpose, but the
Scripture knows them not, yea, condemns them. Such are the veneration
and adoration of the pretended images of him, and of the Host, as they
call it, among the Papists.
 This adoration is due continually to the person of Christ, and that--
as in the exercise of the office of mediation. It is due unto him from
the whole rational creation of God. So is it given in charge unto the
angels above. For when he brought the First-begotten into the world,
he said, "Proskunesatoosan autou pantes angeloi Theou"; that is,
"hishtachawu-lo kol-elohim", "Worship him, all ye gods," Ps. 97: 7.
"Let all the angels of God worship him," adore him, bow down before
him, Heb. 1: 6. See our exposition of that place;--the design of the
whole chapter being to express the divine honour that is due unto the
person of Christ, with the grounds thereof. This is the command given
also unto the church, "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him," Ps. 45:
11.
 A glorious representation hereof--whether in the church above, or in
that militant here on the earth--is given us, Rev. 5: 6-14, "And I
beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beast, and
in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having
seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent
forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the
right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the
book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the
Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors,
which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for
thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of
every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us
unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I
beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne,
and the beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a
loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the
earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I
saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that
sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. And the
four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and
worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."
 The especial object of divine adoration, the motives unto it, and the
nature of it, or what it consisteth in, are here declared.
 The object of it is Christ, not separately, but distinctly from the
Father, and jointly with him. And he is proposed, 1st, As having
fulfilled the work of his mediation in his incarnation and oblation--
as a Lamb slain. 2dly, In his glorious exaltation--"in the midst of
the throne of God". The principal thing that the heathen of old
observed concerning the Christian religion, was, that in it "praises
were sung to Christ as unto God."
 The motives unto this adoration are the unspeakable benefits which we
receive by his mediation, "Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and
hast redeemed us unto God," &c.
 Hereon the same glory, the same honour, is ascribed unto him as unto
God the Father: "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto
him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and
ever."
 The nature of this adoration is described to consist in three things.
1st, Solemn prostration: "And the four living creatures said, Amen.
And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that
liveth for ever and ever." So also is it described, chap. 4: 10,11.
2dly, In the ascription of all divine honour and glory, as is at large
expressed, chap. 5: 11-13. 3dly, In the way of expressing the design
of their souls in this adoration, which is by the praises: "They sung
a new song"--that is, of praise; for so are all those psalms which
have that title of a new song. And in these things--namely, solemn
prostration of soul in the acknowledgment of divine excellencies,
ascriptions of glory and honour with praise--does religious adoration
consist. And they belong not unto the great holy society of them who
worship above and here below--whose hearts are not always ready unto
this solemn adoration of the Lamb, and who are not on all occasions
exercised therein.
 And this adoration of Christ does differ from the adoration of God,
absolutely considered, and of God as the Father, not in its nature,
but merely on the account of its especial motives. The principal
motive unto the adoration of God, absolutely considered, is the work
of creation--the manifestation of his glory therein--with all the
effects of his power and goodness thereon ensuing. So it is declared,
chap. 4: 11, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour,
and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are and were created." And the principal motive unto the adoration and
worship of God as the Father, is that eternal love, grace, and
goodness, which he is the fountain of in a peculiar manner, Eph. 1: 4,
5. But the great motive unto the adoration of Christ is the work of
redemption, Rev. 5: 12, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,
and blessing." The reason whereof is given, verses 9, 10, "For thou
wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood; and made us
unto our God kings and priests." The adoration is the same, verse 13,
"Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." But the
immediate motives of it are different, as its objects are distinct.
 Herein no small part of the life of the Christian religion does
consist. The humbling of our souls before the Lord Christ, from an
apprehension of his divine excellencies--the ascription of glory,
honour, praise, with thanksgiving unto him, on the great motive of the
work of redemption with the blessed effects thereof--are things
wherein the life of faith is continually exercised; nor can we have
any evidence of an interest in that blessedness which consists in the
eternal assignation of all glory and praise unto him in heaven, if we
are not exercised unto this worship of him here on earth.
 2dly, Invocation is the second general branch of divine honour--of
that honour which is due and paid unto the Son, as unto the Father.
This is the first exercise of divine faith--the breath of the
spiritual life. And it consisteth in two things, or has two parts.
(1st,) An ascription of all divine properties and excellencies unto
him whom we invocate. This is essential unto prayer, which without it
is but vain babbling. Whoever comes unto God hereby, "must believe
that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek
him." (2dly,) There is in it also a representation of our wills,
affections, and desires of our souls, unto him on whom we call, with
an expectation of being heard and relieved, by virtue of his
infinitely divine excellencies. This is the proper acting of faith
with respect unto ourselves; and hereby it is our duty to give honour
unto the person of Christ.
 When he himself died in the flesh, he committed his departing soul by
solemn invocation into the hands of his Father, Ps. 31:5; Luke 23: 46,
"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." And to evidence that it
is the will of God that we should honour the Son, as we honour the
Father, even as the Son himself in his human nature, who is our
example, honoured the Father--he who first died in the faith of the
Gospel, bequeathed his departing soul into the hands of Jesus Christ
by solemn invocation, Acts 7: 59, "They stoned Stephen,
"epikaloumenon", solemnly invocating, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive
my spirit." And having by faith and prayer left his own soul safe in
the hands of the Lord Jesus, he adds one petition more unto him,
wherewith he died: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," verse 60.
Herein did he give divine honour unto Christ in the especial
invocation of his name, in the highest instances that can be
conceived. In his first request, wherein he committed his departing
soul into his hands, he ascribed unto him divine omniscience,
omnipresence, love, and power; and in the latter, for his enemies,
divine authority and mercy, to be exercised in the pardon of sin. In
his example is the rule established for the especial invocation of
Christ for the effects of divine power and mercy.
 Hence the apostle describeth the church, or believers, and
distinguisheth it, or them, from all others, by the charge of this
duty, 1 Cor. 1: 2, "With all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, both their Lord and ours." To call on the name of the Lord
Jesus expresseth solemn invocation in the way of religious worship.
The Jews did call on the name of God. All others in their way called
on the names of their gods. This is that whereby the church is
distinguished from them all--it calls on the Name of our Lord Jesus
Christ.
 He requires that, as we believe on God, that is, the Father, so we
should believe on him also; and therein honour the Son, as we honour
the Father, John 14: 1. The nature of this faith, and the manner how
it is exercised on Christ, we shall declare afterwards. But the
apostle, treating of the nature and efficacy of this invocation,
affirms, that we cannot call on him in whom we have not believed, Rom.
10: 14. Whence it follows, on the contrary, that he on whom we are
bound to believe, on him it is our duty to call. So the whole
Scripture is closed with a prayer of the church unto the Lord Christ,
expressing their faith in him: "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," Rev. 22:
20.
 There is not any one reason of prayer--not any one motive unto it--
not any consideration of its use or efficacy--but renders this
peculiar invocation of Christ a necessary duty. Two things in general
are required to render the duty of invocation lawful and useful.
First, That it have a proper object. Secondly, That it have prevalent
motives and encouragements unto it. These in concurrence are the
formal reason and ground of all religious worship in general, and of
prayer in particular. So are they laid down as the foundation of all
religion, Exod. 20: 2, 3, "I am the Lord thy God"--that is, the proper
object of all religious worship--"which brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage;" which being summarily and
typically representative of all divine benefits, temporal, spiritual,
and eternal, is the great motive thereunto. The want of both these in
all mere creatures, saints and angels, makes the invocation of them,
not only useless, but idolatrous. But they both eminently concur in
the person of Christ, and his acting towards us. All the perfections
of the divine nature are in him; whence he is the proper object of
religious invocation. On this account when he acted in and towards the
church as the great angel of the covenant, God instructed the people
unto all religious observance of him, and obedience unto him, Exod.23:
21, "Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will
not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him." Because the
name of God was in him--that is, the divine nature, with sovereign
authority to punish or pardon sin--therefore was all religious
obedience due unto him. And no motives are wanting hereunto. All that
the Lord Christ has done for us, and all the principles of love,
grace, compassion, and power, from whence what he has so done did
proceed, are all of this nature; and they are accompanied with the
encouragement of his relation unto us, and charge concerning us. Take
away this duty, and the peculiar advantage of the Christian religion
is destroyed.
 We have lived to see the utmost extremes that the Christian religion
can divert into. Some, with all earnestness, do press the formal
invocation of saints and angels as our duty; and some will not grant
that it is lawful for us so to call on Christ himself.
 The Socinians grant generally that it is lawful for us to call on
Christ; but they deny that it is our duty at any time so to do. But as
they own that it is not our duty, so on their principles it cannot be
lawful. Denying his divine person, they leave him not the proper
object of prayer. For prayer without an ascription of divine
excellencies--as omniscience, omnipresence, and almighty power--unto
him whom we invocate, is but vain babbling, that has nothing of the
nature of true prayer in it; and to make such ascriptions unto him who
by nature is not God, is idolatrous.
 The solemn ordinary worship of the church, and so of private
believers in their families and closets, is under an especial
directory and guidance. For the person of the Father as the eternal
fountain of power, grace, and mercy--is the formal object of our
prayers, unto whom our supplications are directed. The divine nature,
also lately considered, is the object of natural worship and
invocation; but it is the same divine nature, in the person of the
Father, that is the proper object of evangelical worship and
invocation. So our Saviour has taught us to call on God under the name
and notion of a father, Matt. 6: 9; that is, his God and our God, his
Father and our Father, John 20: 17. And this invocation is to be by
and in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, through the aid of the Holy
Ghost. He is herein considered as the mediator between God and man--as
the Holy Ghost is he by whom supplies of grace, enabling us unto the
acceptable performance of our duties are actually communicated unto
us. This is the way whereby God will be glorified. This is the mystery
of our religion, that we worship God according to the economy of his
wisdom and grace, wherein he does dispense of himself unto us, in the
persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Otherwise he will not be
honoured or worshipped by us. And those who in their worship or
invocation do attempt an approach unto the divine nature as absolutely
considered, without respect unto the dispensation of God in the
distinct persons of the holy Trinity, do reject the mystery of the
Gospel, and all the benefit of it. So is it with many. And not a few,
who pretend a great devotion unto God, do supply other things into the
room of Christ, as saints and angels--rejecting also the aids of the
Spirit to comply with imaginations of their own, whose as distance
herein they more approve of.
 But this is the nature and method of ordinary solemn evangelical
invocation. So it is declared, Eph 2:18, "Through him we have access
by one Spirit unto the Father." It is the Father unto whom we have our
access, whom we peculiarly invocate; as it is expressed, chap. 3: 14-
16, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he
would grant you," &c. But it is through him--that is, by Christ in the
exercise of his mediatory office--that we have this access unto the
Father; we ask in his name, and for his sake, John 14: 13, 14; 16: 23,
24. They did so of old, though not in that express exercise of faith
which we now attain unto. Dan. 9: 17, "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy,
for the Lord's sake in all this are we enabled unto by one Spirit--
through the aids and assistance of the Spirit of grace and
supplication, Rom. 8: 26, 27. So that prayer is our crying--"Abbe,
Father," by the Spirit of the Son, Gal. 4: 6. This is farther
declared, Heb. 4: 15, 16; 10: 19-22. Herein is the Lord Christ
considered, not absolutely with respect unto his divine person, but
with respect unto his office, that through "him our faith and hope
might be in God," 1 Peter 1:21.
 Wherefore, it being our duty, as has been proved, to invocate the
name of Christ in a particular manner, and this being the ordinary
solemn way of the worship of the church--we may consider on what
occasions, and in what seasons, this peculiar invocation of Christ,
who in his divine person is both our God and our advocate, is
necessary for us, and most acceptable unto him.

 (1st,) Times of great distresses in conscience through temptations
and desertions, are seasons requiring an application unto Christ by
especial invocation. Persons in such conditions, when their souls, as
the Psalmist speaks, are overwhelmed in them, are continually
solicitous about compassion and deliverance. Some relief, some
refreshment, they often find in pity and compassion from them who
either have been in the same condition themselves, or by Scripture
light do know the terror of the Lord in these things. When their
complaints are despised, and their troubles ascribed unto other causes
than what they are really sensible of, and feel within themselves--as
is commonly done by physicians of no value--it is an aggravation of
their distress and sorrow. And they greatly value every sincere
endeavour for relief, either by counsel or prayer. In this state and
condition the Lord Christ in the Gospel is proposed as full of tender
compassion--as he alone who is able to relieve them. In that himself
has suffered, being tempted, he is touched with a feeling of our
infirmities, and knows how to have compassion on them that are out of
the way, Heb. 2: 18; 4: 15; 5: 2. So is he also, as he alone who is
able to succour, to relieve, and to deliver them. "He is able to
succour them that are tempted," chap. 2: 18. Hereon are they drawn,
constrained, encouraged to make applications unto him by prayer, that
he would deal with them according to his compassion and power. This is
a season rendering the discharge of this duty necessary. And hereby
have innumerable souls found consolation, refreshment, and
deliverance. A time of trouble is a time of the especial exercise of
faith in Christ. So himself gives direction, John 14: 1, "Let not your
heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." Distinct
acting of faith on Christ are the great means of supportment and
relief in trouble. And it is by especial invocation, whereby they put
forth and exert themselves.
 An instance hereof, as unto temptation, and the distress wherewith it
is attended, we have in the apostle Paul. He had "a thorn in the
flesh," "a messenger of Satan to buffet" him. Both expressions declare
the deep sense he had of his temptation, and the perplexity wherewith
it was accompanied. "For this cause he besought the Lord thrice, that
it might depart from him," 2 Cor. 12: 7, 8. He applied himself
solemnly unto prayer for its removals and that frequently. And it was
the Lord--that is, the Lord Jesus Christ--unto whom he made his
application. For so the name Lord is to be interpreted--if there be
nothing contrary in the context--as the name of God is of the Father,
by virtue of that rule, 1 Cor. 8: 6, "To us there is one God, the
Father; and one Lord Jesus Christ." And it is evident also in the
context. The answer he received unto his prayer was, "My grace is
sufficient for thee; for my power [strength] is made perfect in
weakness". And whose power that was, who gave him that answer, he
declares in the next words, "Most gladly therefore will I glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," that is, the
power of him on whom he called, who gave him that answer, "My power is
made perfect in weakness".
 (2dly,) Times of gracious discoveries either of the glory of Christ
in himself, or of his love unto us, are seasons that call for this
duty. The glory of Christ in his person and offices is always the
same, and the revelation that is made of it in the Scripture varies
not; but as unto our perception and apprehension of it, whereby our
hearts and minds are affected with it in an especial manner--there are
apparent seasons of it which no believers are unacquainted withal.
Sometimes such a sense of it is attained under the dispensation of the
Word; wherein as Christ on the one hand is set forth evidently
crucified before our eyes, so on the other he is gloriously exalted.
Sometimes it is so in prayer, in meditation, in contemplation on him.
As an ability was given unto the bodily sight of Stephen, to see, upon
the opening of the heavens, "the glory of God, and Jesus standing at
his right hand," Acts 7: 55, 56--so he opens the veil sometimes, and
gives a clear, affecting discovery of his glory unto the minds and
souls of believers; and in such seasons are they drawn forth and
excited unto invocation and praise. So Thomas--being surprised with an
apprehension and evidence of his divine glory and power after his
resurrection, wherein he was declared to be the Son of God with power,
Rom. 1: 4--cried unto him, "My Lord and my God," John 20: 28. There
was in his words both a profession of his own faith and a solemn
invocation of Christ. When, therefore, we have real discoveries of the
glory of Christ, we cannot but speak to him, or of him. "These things
said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him," John 12: 41.
And Stephen, upon a view of it in the midst of his enraged enemies,
testified immediately, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man
standing on the right hand of God." And thereby was he prepared for
that solemn invocation of his name which he used presently after,
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," Acts 7: 56, 59. And so, also, upon
his appearance as the Lamb, to open the book of prophecies; wherein
there was an eminent manifestation of his glory seeing none else could
be found in heaven, or earth, or under the earth, that was able to
open the book, or so much as to look thereon," Rev. 5: 3. "The four
and twenty elders fell down before him," and presenting all the
prayers of the saints, "sang a new song" of praise unto him, verses
8-10. This is our duty, this will be our wisdom, upon affecting
discoveries of the glory of Christ; namely, to apply ourselves unto
him by invocation or praise; and thereby will the refreshment and
advantage of them abide upon our minds.
 So is it also as unto his love. The love of Christ is always the same
and equal unto the church. Howbeit there are peculiar seasons of the
manifestation and application of a sense of it unto the souls of
believers. So it is when it is witnessed unto them, or shed abroad in
their hearts by the Holy ghost. Then is it accompanied with a
constraining power, to oblige us to live unto him who died for use and
rose again, 2 Cor. 5: 14, 15. And of our spiritual life unto Christ,
invocation of him is no small portion and this sense of his love we
might enjoy more frequently than for the most part we do, were we not
so much wanting unto ourselves and our own concerns. For although it
be an act of sovereign grace in God to grant it unto us, and affect us
with it, as it seems good unto him, yet is our duty required to
dispose our hearts unto its reception. Were we diligent in casting out
all that "filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness" which corrupts
our affections, and disposes the mind to abound in vain imaginations;
were our hearts more taken off from the love of the world, which is
exclusive of a sense of divine love; did we more meditate on Christ
and his glory;--we should more frequently enjoy these constraining
visits of his love than now we do. So himself expresseth it, Rev. 3:
20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and
he with me." He makes intimation of his love and kindness unto us. But
ofttimes we neither hear his voice when he speaks, nor do open our
hearts unto him. So do we lose that gracious, refreshing sense of his
love, which he expresseth in that promise, "I will sup with him, and
he shall sup with me." No tongue can express that heavenly communion
and blessed intercourse which is intimated in this promise. The
expression is metaphorical, but the grace expressed is real, and more
valued than the whole world by all that have experience of it. This
sense of the love of Christ and the effect of it in communion with
him, by prayer and praises, is divinely set forth in the Book of
canticles. The church therein is represented as the spouse of Christ;
and, as a faithful spouse, she is always either solicitous about his
love, or rejoicing in it. And when she has attained a sense of it, she
aboundeth in invocation admiration and praise. So does the church of
the New Testament, upon an apprehension of his love, and the
unspeakable fruits of it: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from
our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God
and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen."
Rev. 1: 5, 6. This, therefore, is another season that calls for this
duty.
 (3dly;) Times of persecution for his Name's sake, and for the
profession of the gospel, are another season rendering this peculiar
invocation of Christ both comely and necessary. Two things will befall
the minds of believers in such a season;--[1st,] that their thoughts
will be neatly exercised about him, and conversant with him. They
cannot but continually think and meditate on him for whom they suffer.
None ever suffered persecution on just grounds, with sincere ends, and
in a due manner, but it was so with them. The invincible reasons they
have to suffer for him--taken from his person love, grace, and
authority--from what he is in himself, what he has done for them, and
what account of all things is to be given unto him do continually
present themselves unto their minds. Wildernesses, prisons, and
dungeons, have been filled with thoughts of Christ and his love. And
many in former and latter ages have given an account of their
communion and holy intercourse with the Lord Christ under their
restraints and sufferings. And those who at any time have made an
entrance into such a condition, will all of them give in the testimony
of their own experience in this matter. [2dly,] Such persons have deep
and fixed apprehensions of the especial concernment which the Lord
Christ has in them as unto their present condition--as also of his
power to support them, or to work out their deliverance. They know and
consider--that "in all their afflictions he is afflicted"--suffers in
all their sufferings--is persecuted in all their persecutions; that in
them all he is full of love, pity, and unspeakable compassion towards
them; that his grace is sufficient for them--that his power shall be
perfected in their weakness, to carry them through all their
sufferings, unto his and their own glory. In these circumstances, it
is impossible for them who are under the conduct of his Spirit, not to
make especial applications continually unto him for those aids of
grace--for those pledges of love and mercy--for those supplies of
consolation and spiritual refreshments, which their condition calls
for. Wherefore, in this state, the invocation of Christ is the refuge
and sheet-anchor of the souls of them who truly believe in him. So it
was unto all the holy martyrs of old, and in latter ages.
 This doctrine and duty is not for them who are at ease. The
afflicted, the tempted, the persecuted, the spiritually disconsolate,
will prize it, and be found in the practice of it. And all those holy
souls who, in most ages, on the account of the profession of the
gospel, have been reduced unto outwardly unbelievable distresses,
have, as was said, left their testimony unto this duty, and the
benefits of it. The refreshment which they found therein was a
sufficient balance against the weight of all outward calamities,
enabling them to rejoice under them with "joy unspeakable and full of
glory." This is the church's reserve against all the trials it may be
exercised withal, and all the dangers whereunto it is exposed. Whilst
believers have liberty of access unto him in their supplications, who
has all power in his hand, who is full of ineffable love and
compassion towards them, especially as suffering for his sake--they
are more than conquerors in all their tribulations.
 (4thly,) When we have a due apprehension of the eminent acting of any
grace in Christ Jesus, and withal a deep and abiding sense of our own
want of the same grace, it is a season of especial application unto
him by prayer for the increase of it. All graces as unto their habit
were equal in Christ--they were all in him in the highest degree of
perfection; and every one of them did he exercise in its due manner
and measure on all just occasions. But outward causes and
circumstances gave opportunity unto the exercise of some of them in a
way more eminent and conspicuous than others were exercised in. For
instance;--such were his unspeakable condescension, self-denial, and
patience in sufferings; which the apostle unto this purpose insists
upon, Phil. 2: 5-8. Now the great design of all believers is to be
like Jesus Christ, in all grace, and all the exercise of it. He is in
all things their pattern and example. Wherefore, when they have a view
of the glory of any grace as it was exercised in Christ, and withal a
sense of their own defect and want therein--conformity unto him being
their design--they cannot but apply themselves unto him in solemn
invocation, for a farther communication of that grace unto them, from
his stores and fulness. And these things mutually promote one another
in us, if duly attended unto. A due sense of our own defect in any
grace will farther us in the prospect of the glory of that grace in
Christ. And a view, a due contemplation, of the glorious exercise of
any grace in him, will give us light to discover our own great defect
therein, and want thereof. Under a sense of both, an immediate.
application unto Christ by prayer would be all unspeakable furtherance
of our growth in grace and conformity unto him. Nor can there be any
more effectual way or means to draw supplies of grace from him, to
draw water from the wells of salvation. When, in a holy admiration of,
and fervent love unto, any grace as eminently exercised in and by him,
with a sense of our own want of the same grace, we ask it of him in
faith--he will not deny it unto us. So the disciples, upon the
prescription of a difficult duty, unto whose due performance a good
measure of faith was required--out of a sense of the all-fulness of
him, and their own defect in that grace which was necessary unto the
peculiar duty there prescribed--immediately pray unto him, saying,
"Lord, increase our faith," Luke 17: 6. The same is the case with
respect unto any temptation that may befall us, wherewith he was
exercised, and over which he prevailed.
 (5thly,) The time of death, whether natural, or violent for his sake,
is a season of the same nature. So Stephen recommended his departing
soul into his hands with solemn prayer. "Lord Jesus," said he,
"receive my spirit." To the same purpose have been the prayers of many
of his faithful martyrs in the flames, and under the sword. In the
same manner does the faith of innumerable holy souls work in the midst
of their deathbed groans. And the more we have been in the exercise of
faith on him in our lives, the more ready will it be in the approaches
of death, to make its reset unto him in a peculiar manner.
 And it may be other instances of an alike nature may be given unto
the same purpose.
 An answer unto an inquiry which may possibly arise from what we have
insisted on, shall close this discourse. For whereas the Lord Jesus
Christ, as Mediator, does intercede with the Father for us, it may be
inquired, Whether we may pray unto him, that he would so intercede on
our behalf; whether this be comprised in the duty of invocation or
prayer unto him?
 Ans. 1. There is no precedent nor example of any such thing, of any
such prayer, in the Scripture; and it is not safe for us to venture on
duties not exemplified therein. Nor can any instance of a necessary
duty be given, of whose performance we have not an example in the
Scripture. 2. In the invocation of Christ, we "honour the Son, even as
we honour the Father." Wherefore his divine person is therein the
formal object of our faith. We consider him not therein as acting in
his mediatory office towards God for us, but as he who has the
absolute power and disposal of all the good things we pray for. And in
our invocation of him, our faith is fixed on, and terminated on his
person. But as he is in the discharge of his mediatory office--through
him "our faith and hope are in God," 1 Peter 1: 21. He who is the
Mediator, or Jesus Christ the Mediator--as God and man in one person--
is the object of all divine honour and worship. His person, and both
his natures in that person, is so the object of religious worship.
This is that which we are in the proof and demonstration of. Howbeit
it is his divine nature, and not his discharge of the office of
mediation, that is the formal reason and object of divine worship. For
it consists in an ascription of infinitely divine excellencies and
properties unto him whom we so worship. And to do this on any account
but of the divine nature, is in itself a contradiction, and in them
that do it idolatry. Had the Son of God never been incarnate, he had
been the object of all divine worship. And could there have been a
mediator between God and us who was not God also, he could never have
been the object of any divine worship or invocation. Wherefore Christ
the Mediator, God and man in one person, is in all things to be
honoured, even as we honour the Father; but it is as he is God, equal
with the Father, and not as Mediator--in which respect he is inferior
unto him. With respect unto his divine person, we ask immediately of
himself in our supplications,--as he is Mediator--we ask of the Father
in his name. The different actings of faith on him, under the same
distinction shall be declared in the next chapter.





Chapter X. The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the
Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; with is Faith in Him

The principle and spring of this assignation of divine honour unto
Christ, in both the branches of it, is faith in him. And this has been
the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world since the
entrance of sin. There are some who deny that faith in Christ was
required from the beginning, or was necessary unto the worship of God,
or the justification and salvation of them that did obey him. For,
whereas it must be granted that "without faith it is impossible to
please God," which the apostle proves by instances from the foundation
of the world, Heb. 11--they suppose it is faith in God under the
general notion of it, without any respect unto Christ, that is
intended. It is not my design to contend with any, nor expressly to
confute such ungrateful opinions--such pernicious errors. Such this
is, which--being pursued in its proper tendency--strikes at the very
foundation of Christian religion; for it at once deprives us of all
contribution of light and truth from the Old Testament. Somewhat I
have spoken before of the faith of the saints of old concerning him. I
shall now, therefore, only confirm the truth, by some principles which
are fundamental in the faith of the Gospel.
 1. The first promise, Gen. 3: 15--truly called "Prooteuangelios"--was
revealed, proposed, and given, as containing and expressing the only
means of delivery from that apostasy from God, with all the effects of
it, under which our first parents and all their posterity were cast by
sin. The destruction of Satan and his work in his introduction of the
state of sin, by a Saviour and Deliverer, was prepared and provided
for in it. This is the very foundation of the faith of the church; and
if it be denied, nothing of the economy or dispensation of God towards
it from the beginning can be understood. The whole doctrine and story
of the Old Testament must be rejected as useless, and no foundation be
left in the truth of God for the introduction of the New.
 2. It was the person of Christ, his incarnation and mediation, that
were promised under the name of the "seed of the woman," and the work
he should do in breaking the head of the serpent, with the way whereby
he should do it in suffering, by his power. The accomplishment hereof
was in God's sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the
fulness of time, made under the law, or by his manifestation in the
flesh, to destroy the works of the devil. So is this promise
interpreted, Gal. 3: 13; 4: 4; Heb. 2: 14-16; 1 John 3: 8. This cannot
be denied but upon one of these two grounds:--
 (1.) That nothing is intended in that divine revelation but only a
natural enmity that is between mankind and serpents. But this is so
foolish an imagination, that the Jews themselves, who constantly refer
this place to the Messiah, are not guilty of. All the whole truth
concerning God's displeasure on the sin of our first parents, with
what concerneth the nature and consequence of that sin, is everted
hereby. And whereas the foundation of all God's future dealing with
them and their posterity is plainly expressed herein, it is turned
into that which is ludicrous, and of very little concernment in human
life. For such is the enmity between mankind and serpents--which not
one in a million knows any thing of or is troubled with. This is but
to lay the axe of atheism unto all religion built on divine
revelation. Besides, on this supposition, there is in the words not
the least intimation of any relief that God tendered unto our parents
for their delivery from the state and condition whereinto they had
cast themselves by their sin and apostasy. Wherefore they must be
esteemed to be left absolutely under the curse, as the angels were
that fell--which is to root all religion out of the world. For amongst
them who are absolutely under the curse, without any remedy, there can
be no more than is in hell. Or--
 (2.) It must be, because some other way of deliverance and salvation,
and not that by Christ, is here proposed and promised. But, whereas
they were to be wrought by the "seed of the woman" if this were not
that Christ in whom we do believe, there was another promised, and he
is to be rejected. And this is fairly at once to blot out the whole
Scripture as a fable; for there is not a line of doctrinal truth in it
but what depends on the traduction of Christ from this first promise.
 3. This promise was confirmed, and the way of the deliverance of the
church by virtue of it declared, in the institution of expiatory
sacrifices. God in them and by them declared from the beginning, that
"without shedding of blood there was no remission;" that atonement for
sin was to be made by substitution and satisfaction. With respect unto
them, the Lord Christ was called "The Lamb of God," even as he took
away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself, John 1: 29.
For we "were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot," 1 Pet. 1: 19. Wherein the Holy
Spirit refers unto the institution and nature of sacrifices from the
beginning. And he is thence represented in heaven as a "Lamb that had
been slain," Rev. 5:6--the glory of heaven arising from the fruits and
effects of his sacrifice. And because of the representation thereof in
all the former sacrifices, is he said to be a "Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8. And it is strange to me that any
who deny not the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, should doubt whether
the original of these sacrifices were of divine institution or the
invention of men. And it is so, amongst others, for the reasons
ensuing:--
 (1.) On the supposition that they were of men's finding out and
voluntary observation, without any previous divine revelation, it must
be granted that the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world
was laid in, and resolved into, the wisdom and wills of men, and not
into the wisdom, authority, and will of God. For that the great
solemnity of religion, which was as the centre and testimony of all
its other duties, did consist in these sacrifices even before the
giving of the law, will not be denied. And in the giving of the law,
God did not, on this supposition, confirm and establish his own
institutions with additions unto them of the same kind, but set his
seal and approbation unto the inventions of men. But this is contrary
unto natural light, and the whole current of Scripture revelations.
 (2.) All expiatory sacrifices were, from the beginning, types and
representations of the sacrifice of Christ; whereon all their use,
efficacy, and benefit among men--all their acceptance with God--did
depend. Remove this consideration from them, and they were as
irrational a service, as unbecoming the divine nature, as any thing
that reasonable creatures could fix upon. They are to this day as
reasonable a service as ever they were, but that only their respect
unto thee sacrifice of Christ is taken from them. And what person of
any ordinary understanding could now suppose them a meet service
whereby to glorify the divine nature? Besides, all expiatory
sacrifices were of the same nature, and of the same use, both before
and after the giving of the law. But that all those afterwards were
typical of the sacrifice of Christ, the apostle demonstrates at large
in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. The inquiry, therefore, is, whether
this blessed prefiguration of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, as he
was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, was an effect of
the wisdom, goodness, and will of God, or of the wills and inventions
of men. And let it be considered, also, that these men, who are
supposed to be the authors of this wonderful representation of the
Lord Christ and his sacrifice, did indeed know little of them--or, as
the assertors of this opinion imagine, nothing at all. To suppose that
those who knew no more of Christ than they could learn from the first
promise which, as some think, was nothing at all--should of their own
heads find out and appoint this divine service, which consisted only
in the prefiguration of him and his sacrifice; and that God should not
only approve of it, but allow it as the principal means for the
establishment and exercise of the faith of all believers for four
thousand years; is to indulge unto thoughts deviating from all rules
of sobriety. He that sees not a divine wisdom in this institution, has
scarce seriously exercised his thoughts about it. But I have elsewhere
considered the causes and original of these sacrifices, and shall not
therefore farther insist upon them.
 4. Our first parents and all their holy posterity did believe this
promises or did embrace it as the only way and means of their
deliverance from the curse and state of sin; and were thereon
justified before God. I confess we have not infallible assurance of
any who did so in particular, but those who are mentioned by name in
Scripture, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and some others; but to question it
concerning others also, as of our first parents themselves, is foolish
and impious. This is done by the Socinians to promote another design,
namely, that none were justified before God on the belief of the first
promise, but on their walking according to the light of nature, and
their obedience unto some especial revelations about temporal things--
the vanity whereof has been before discovered. Wherefore, our first
parents and their posterity did so believe the first promise, or they
must be supposed either to have been kept under the curse, or else to
have had, and to make use of, some other way of deliverance from it.
To imagine the first is impious--for the apostle affirms that they had
this testimony, that they pleased God, Heb. 11: 5; which under the
curse none can do--for that is God's displeasure. And in the same
place he confirms their faith, and justification thereon, with a
"cloud of witnesses," chap. 12: 1. To affirm the latter is groundless;
and it includes a supposal of the relinquishment of the wisdom, grace,
and authority of God in that divine revelation, for men to retake
themselves to none knows what. For that there was in this promise the
way expressed which God in his wisdom and grace had provided for their
deliverance, we have proved before. To forsake this way, and to retake
themselves unto any other, whereof he had made no mention or
revelation unto them, was to reject his authority and grace.
 As for those who are otherwise minded, it is incumbent on them
directly to prove these three things:--
 (1.) That there is another way--that there are other means for the
justification and salvation of sinners--than that revealed, declared,
and proposed in that first promise. And when this is done, they must
show to what end--on that supposition--the promise itself was given,
seeing the end of it is evacuated.
 (2.) That upon a supposition that God had revealed in the promise the
way and means of our deliverance from the cures and state of sin, it
was lawful unto men to forsake it, and to retake themselves unto
another way, without any supernatural revelation for their guidance.
For if it was not, their relinquishment of the promise was no less
apostasy from God in the revelation of himself in a way of grace, than
the first sin was as to the revelation of himself in the works of
nature: only, the one revelation wag by inbred principles, the other
by external declaration; nor could it otherwise be. Or,--
 (3.) That there was some other way of the participation of the
benefit of this promise, besides faith in its or in him who was
promised therein; seeing the apostle has declared that no promise will
profit them by whom it is not mixed with faith, Heb. 4: 2. Unless
these things are plainly proved--which they will never be--whatever
men declaim about universal objective grace in the documents of
nature, it is but a vain imagination.
 5. The declaration of this promise, before the giving of the law,
with the nature and ends of it, as also the use of sacrifices, whereby
it was confirmed, was committed unto the ordinary ministry of our
first parents and their godly posterity, and the extraordinary
ministry of the prophets which God raised up among them. For God spake
of our redemption by Christ by the mouth of his holy prophets from the
beginning of the world, Luke 1: 70. No greater duty could be incumbent
on them, by the light of nature and the express revelation of the will
of God, than that they should, in their several capacities,
communicate the knowledge of this promise unto all in whom they were
concerned. To suppose that our first parents, who received this
promise, and those unto whom they first declared it, looking on it as
the only foundation of their acceptance with God and deliverance from
the curse, were negligent in the declaration and preaching of it, is
to render them brutish, and guilty of a second apostasy from God. And
unto this principle--which is founded in the light of nature there is
countenance given by revelation also. For Epoch did prophesy of the
things which were to accompany the accomplishment of this promise,
Jude 14; and Noah was a preacher of the righteousness to be brought in
by it, 2 Peter 2: 5--as he was an heir of the righteousness which is
by faith, in himself, Heb. 11: 7.
 6. All the promises that God gave afterwards unto the church under
the Old Testament, before and after giving the law--all the covenants
that he entered into with particular persons, or the whole
congregation of believers--were all of them declarations and
confirmations of the first promise, or the way of salvation by the
mediation of his Son, becoming the seed of the woman, to break the
head of the serpent, and to work out the deliverance of mankind. As
most of these promises were expressly concerning him, so all of them
in the counsel of God were confirmed in him, 2 Cor. 1: 20. And as
there are depths in the Scripture of the Old Testament concerning him
which we cannot fathom, and things innumerable spoken of him or in his
person which we conceive not, so the principal design of the whole is
the declaration of him and his grace. And it is unprofitable unto them
who are otherwise minded. Sundry promises concerning temporal things
were, on various occasions, super added unto this great spiritual
promise of life and grace. And the enemies of the person and mediation
of Christ do contend that men are justified by their faith and
obedience with respect unto those particular revelations, which were
only concerning temporal things But to suppose that all those
revelations and promises were not built upon and resolved into, did
not include in them, the grace and mercy of this first promise--is to
make them curses instead of blessings, and deprivations of that grace
which was infinitely better than what, on this supposition, was
contained in them. The truth is, they were all additions unto it, and
confirmations of it; nor had any thing of spiritual good in them, but
upon a supposition of it. In some of them there was an ampliation of
grace in the more full declaration of the nature of this promise, as
well as an application unto their persons unto whom they were made.
Such was the promise made unto Abraham, which had a direct respect
unto Christ, as the apostle proveth, Gal. 3 and 4.
 7. Those who voluntarily, through the contempt of God and divine
grace, fell off from the knowledge and faith of this promise, whether
at once and by choice, or gradually through the love of sin, were in
no better condition than those have been, or would be, who have so
fallen off or should so apostatize from Christian religion after its
revelation and profession. And although this proved, in process of
time, both before and after the flood, to be the condition of the
generality of mankind, yet is it in vain to seek after the means of
salvation among them who had voluntarily rejected the only way which
God had revealed and provided for that end. God thereon "suffered all
nations to walk in their own ways," Acts 14: 1 "winking at the times
of their ignorance"--not calling them to repentance, chap. 17: 30;
yea, he "gave them up unto their own hearts lust, and they walked in
their own counsels," Ps. 81: 12. And nothing can be more derogatory
unto the wisdom and holiness of God, than to imagine that he would
grant other ways of salvation unto them who had rejected that only one
which he had provided; which was by faith in Christ, as revealed in
that first promise.
 8. From these considerations, which are all of them unquestionable
principles of truth, two things are evident.
 (1.) That there was no way of the justification and salvation of
sinners revealed and proposed from the foundation of the world, but
only by Jesus Christ, as declared in the first promise.
 (2.) That there was no way for the participation of the benefits of
that promise, or of his work of mediation, but by faith in him as so
promised. There was, therefore, faith in him required from the
foundation of the world; that is, from the entrance of sin. And how
this faith respected his person has been before declared. Now, faith
in him as promised for the works and ends of his mediation, and faith
in him as actually exhibited and as having accomplished his work, are
essentially the same, and differ only with respect unto the economy of
times, which God disposed at his pleasure. Hence the efficacy of his
mediation was the same unto them who then so believed, as it is now
unto us after his actual exhibition in the flesh.
 But yet it is acknowledged, that--as unto the clearness and fulness
of the revelation of the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in him-
-as unto the constitution of his person in his incarnation, and
therein the determination of the individual person promised from the
beginning, through the actual accomplishment of the work which he was
promised for--faith in him, as the foundation of that divine honour
which it is our duty to give unto him, is far more evidently and
manifestly revealed and required in the gospel, or under the New
Testament, than it was under the Old. See Eph. 3: 8-11. The respect of
faith now unto Christ is that which renders it truly evangelical. To
believe in him, to believe on his name, is that signal especial duty
which is now required of us.
 Wherefore the ground of the actual assignation of divine honour unto
the person of Christ, in both branches of it, adoration and
invocation, is faith in him. So he said unto the blind man whose eyes
he opened, "Believest thou on the Son of God?" John 9: 35. And he
said, "Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him," verse 38. All divine
worship or adoration is a consequent effect and fruit of faith. So
also is invocation; for "How shall they call on him in whom they have
not believed?" Rom. 10: 14. Him in whom we believe, we ought to adore
and invocate. For these are the principal ways whereby divine faith
does act itself And so to adore or invocate any in whom we ought not
to believe, is idolatry.
 This faith, therefore, on the person of Christ is our duty; yea, such
a duty it is, as that our eternal condition does more peculiarly
depend on the performance or nonperformance of it than on any other
duty whatever. For constantly under those terms is it prescribed unto
us. "He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life: and he that
believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth
on him," John 3: 36. Wherefore the nature and exercise of this faith
must be inquired into.
 There is a faith which is exercised towards those by whom the mind
and will of God is revealed. So it is said of the Israelites, "They
believed the Lord and Moses," Exod. 14: 31; that is, that he was sent
of God, was no deceiver--that it was the word and will of God which he
revealed unto them. So 2 Chron. 20: 20, "Believe in the Lord your God,
so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye
prosper." It was not the persons of the prophets, but their message,
that was the object of the faith required. It was to believe what they
said, as from God--not to believe in them as if they were God. So it
is explained by the apostle, Acts 26: 27, "King Agrippa, believest
thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." He believed that they
were sent of God, and that the word they spake was from him; otherwise
there was no believing of them who were dead so many ages before.
 And this is all the faith in Christ himself which some will allow. To
believe in Christ, they say, is only to believe the doctrine of the
gospel revealed by him. Hence they deny that any could believe in him
before his coming into the world, and the declaration of the mind of
God in the gospel made by him. An assent unto the truth of the gospel,
as revealed by Christ, is with them the whole of that faith in Christ
Jesus which is required of us.
 Of all that poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men,
corrupting them from the mystery of the Gospel, there is no part that
is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to believe
in Christ is nothing at all but to believe the doctrine of the gospel;
which yet, we grant, is included therein. For as it allows the
consideration of no office in him but that of a prophet, and that not
as vested and exercised in his divine person, so it utterly overthrows
the whole foundation of the relation of the church unto him, and
salvation by him.
 That which suits my present design, is to evince that it is the
person of Christ which is the first and principal object of that faith
wherewith we are required to believe in him; and that so to do, is not
only to assent unto the truth of the doctrine reverted by him, but
also to place our trust and confidence in him for mercy, relief, and
protection--for righteousness, life, and salvation--for a blessed
resurrection and eternal reward. This I shall first manifest from some
few of those multiplied testimonies wherein this truth is declared,
and whereby it is confirmed as also with some arguments taken from
them; and then proceed to declare the ground, nature, and exercise of
this faith itself.
 As unto the testimonies confirming this truth, it must be observed of
them all in general, that wherever faith is required towards our Lord
Jesus Christ, it is still called believing "in him," or "on his name,"
according as faith in God absolutely is every where expressed. If no
more be intended but only the belief of the doctrine revealed by him,
then whose doctrine soever we are obliged to believe, we may be
rightly said to believe in them, or to believe on their name. For
instance, we are obliged to believe the doctrine of Paul the apostle,
the revelations made by him, and that on the hazard of our eternal
welfare by the unbelieving of them; yet that we should be said to
believe in Paul, is that which he did utterly detest, 1 Cor. 1: 13,
15.
 For the places themselves the reader may consult, among others John
1: 12; 3: 16,18,36; 6: 29, 35, 41; 7: 38, 39; Acts 14: 23; 16: 31; 19:
4; 24: 24; 26: 18; Rom. 3: 26; 9: 33; 10: 11; 1 Peter 2: 6; 1 John 5:
10, 13. There is not one of these but sufficiently confirms the truth.
Some few others not named may be briefly insisted on.
 John 14: 1, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." The distinction
made between God and him limits the name of God unto the person of the
Father. Faith is required in them both, and that distinctly: "Ye
believe in God, believe also in me." And it is the same faith, of the
same kind, to be exercised in the same way and manner, that is
required; as is plain in the words. They will not admit of a double
faith, of one faith in God, and of another in Christ, or of a distinct
way of their exercise.
 Wherefore, as faith divine is fixed on, and terminated in, the person
of the Father; so is it likewise distinctly in and on the person of
the Son: and it was to evidence his divine nature unto theme which is
the ground and reason of their faith--that he gave his command unto
his disciples. This he farther testifies, verses 9-11. And as unto the
exercise of this faith, it respected the relief of their souls, under
troubles, fears, and disconsolations: "Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God, believe also in me." To believe in him unto the
relief of our souls against troubles, is not to assent merely unto the
doctrine of the gospel, but also to place our trust and confidence in
him, for such supplies of grace, for such an exercise of the acts of
divine power, as whereby we may be supported and delivered. And we
have herein the whole of what we plead. Divine faith acted distinctly
in, and terminated on, the person of Christ--and that with respect
unto supplies of grace and mercy from him in a way of divine power.
 So he speaks unto Martha, John 11: 25-27, "He that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and
believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" Whereunto she
answers "Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of
God." His person was the object of her faith; and her belief in him
comprised a trust for all spiritual and eternal mercies.
 I Shall add one more, wherein not only the thing itself, but the
especial ground and reason of it, is declared, Gal. 2: 20--"The life
which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me." That faith he asserts which is
the cause of our spiritual life--that life unto God which we lead in
the flesh, or whilst we are in the body, not yet admitted unto sight
and enjoyment. Of this faith the Son of God is both the author and the
object; the latter whereof is here principally intended. And this is
evident from the reason and motive of it, which are expressed. This
faith I live by, am in the continual exercise of, because he "loved
me, and gave himself for me." For this is that which does powerfully
influence our hearts to fix our faith in him and on him. And that
person who so loved us is the same in whom we do believe. If his
person was the seat of his own love, it is the object of our faith And
this faith is not only our duty, but our life. He that has it not, is
dead in the sight of God.
 But I hope it is not yet necessary to multiply testimonies to prove
it our duty to believe in Jesus Christ--that is, to believe in the
person of the Son of God, for other faith in Christ there is none; yet
I shall add one or two considerations in the confirmation of it.
 1st, There is no more necessary hereunto--namely, to prove the person
of Christ the Son of God to be the proper and distinct object of faith
divine--than what we have already demonstrated concerning the solemn
invocation of him. For, saith the apostle, "How they call on him in
whom they have not believed" Rom. 10: 14. It holds on either side. We
cannot, we ought not, to call on him in whom we do not, we ought not
to believe. And in whom we do believe, on him we ought to call.
Wherefore, if it be our duty to call on the name of Christ, it is our
duty to believe in the person of Christ. And if to believe in Christ
be no more but to believe the doctrine of the Gospel which he has
revealed, then every one whose doctrine we are obliged to believe, on
them we ought to call also. And on this ground, we may call on the
names of the prophets and apostles, as well as on the name of Jesus
Christ, and be saved thereby. But whereas invocation or prayer
proceedeth from faith, and that prayer is for mercy, grace, life, and
eternal salvation; faith must be fixed on the person so called on, as
able to give them all unto us, or that prayer is in vain.
 2dly, Again, that we are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, and
that distinctly with the Father, is a sufficient evidence of the
necessity of faith in his person; for we are therein given up unto
universal spiritual subjection of soul unto him, and dependence on
him. Not to believe in him, on his name--that is, his person--when we
are so given up unto him, or baptized into him, is virtually to
renounce him. But to put a present close unto this contest: Faith in
Christ is that grace whereby the church is united unto him--
incorporated into one mystical body with him. It is thereby that he
dwells in them, and they in him. By this alone are all supplies of
grace derived from him unto the whole body. Deny his person to be the
proper and immediate object of this faith, and all these things are
utterly overthrown--that is, the whole spiritual life and eternal
salvation of the church
 This faith in the person of Christ, which is the foundation of all
that divine honour in sacred adoration and invocation which is
assigned unto him, may be considered two ways. First, as it respects
his person absolutely; Secondly, As he is considered in the discharge
of the office of mediation.
 First, In the first sense, faith is placed absolutely and ultimately
on the person of Christ, even as on the person of the Father. He
counts it no robbery herein to be equal with the Father. And the
reason hereof is, because the divine nature itself is the proper and
immediate object of this faith, and all the acts of it. This being one
and the same in the person of the Father and of the Son, as also of
the Holy Spirit, two things do follow thereon. 1. That each person is
equally the object of our faith, because equally participant of that
nature which is the formal reason and object of it. 2. It follows
also, that in acting faith on, and ascribing therewithal divine honour
unto, any one person, the others are not excluded; yea, they are
included therein. For by reason of the mutual inbeing of the Divine
persons in the unity of the same nature, the object of all spiritual
worship is undivided. Hence are those expressions of the Scriptures,
"He that has seen the Son, has seen the Father; he that honoureth the
Son, honoureth the Father, for he and the Father are one."
 And to clear our present design, three things may be observed from
hence; namely, that the divine nature, with all its essential
properties, is the formal reason and only ground of divine faith
 1st, That the Lord Christ is not the absolute and ultimate object of
our faith, any otherwise but under this consideration, of his being
partaker of the nature of God--of his being in the form of God, and
equal unto him. Without this, to place our faith in him would be
robbery and sacrilege; as is all the pretended faith of them who
believe not his divine person.
 2dly, There is no derogation from the honour and glory of the Father-
-not the least diversion of any one signal act of duty from him, nor
from the Holy Spirit--by the especial acting of faith on the person of
Christ; for all divine honour is given solely unto the divine nature:
and this being absolutely the same in each person, in the honouring of
one, they are all equally honoured. He that honoureth the Son, he
therein honoureth the Father also.
 3dly, Hence it appears what is that especial acting of faith on the
person of Christ which we intend, and which in the Scripture is given
in charge unto us, as indispensably necessary unto our salvation. And
there are three things to be considered in it.
 (1st,) That his divine nature is the proper formal object of this
faith, on the consideration whereof alone it is fixed on him. If you
ask a reason why I believe on the Son of God--if you intend what cause
I have for it, what motives unto it--I shall answer, It is because of
what he has done for me, whereof afterwards. So does the apostle, Gal.
2: 20. But if you intend, what is the formal reason, ground, and
warranty whereon I thus believe in him, or place my trust and
confidence in him, I say it is only this, that he is "over all, God
blessed for ever;" and were he not so, I could not believe in him. For
to believe in any, is to expect from him that to be done for me which
none but God can do.
 (2dly,) That the entire person of Christ, as God and man, is the
immediate object of our faith herein. The divine nature is the reason
of it; but his divine person is the object of it. In placing our faith
on him, we consider him as God and man in one and the same person. We
believe in him because he is God; but we believe in him as he is God
and man in one person.
 And this consideration of the person of Christ--namely, as he is God
and man--in our acting of faith on him, is that which renders it
peculiar, and limits or determines it unto his person, because he only
is so;--the Father is not, nor the Holy Spirit. That faith which has
the person of God and man for its object, is peculiarly and distinctly
placed on Christ.
 (3dly,) The motives unto this distinct acting of faith on his person
are always to be considered as those also which render this faith
peculiar. For the things which Christ has done for us, which are the
motives of our faith in him, were peculiar unto him alone; as in the
place before quoted, Gal. 2: 20. Such are all the works of his
mediation, with all the fruits of them, whereof we are made partakers.
So God, in the first command, wherein he requires all faith, love, and
obedience from the church, enforced it with the consideration of a
signal benefit which it had received, and therein a type of all
spiritual and eternal mercies, Exod. 20: 2, 3. Hence two things are
evident, which clearly state this matter.
 [1st,] That faith which we place upon and the honour which we give
thereby unto the person of Christ, is equally placed on and honour
equally given thereby unto the other persons of the Father and the
Holy Spirit, with respect unto that nature which is the formal reason
and cause of it. But it is peculiarly fixed on Christ, with respect
unto his person as God and man, and the motives unto it, in the acts
and benefits of his mediation.
 [2dly,] All of Christ is considered and glorified in this acting of
faith on him;--his divine nature, as the formal cause of it; his
divine entire person, God and man, as its proper object; and the
benefits of his mediation, as the especial motives thereunto.
 This faith in the person of Christ is the spring and fountain of our
spiritual life. We live by the faith of the Son of God. In and by the
actings hereof is it preserved, increased, and strengthened. "For he
is our life," Col. 3: 4; and all supplies of it are derived from him,
by the acting of faith in him. We receive the forgiveness of sins, and
an inheritance among them that are sanctified, "by the faith that is
in him," Acts 26: 18. Hereby do we abide in him; without which we can
do nothing, John 15: 5. Hereby is our peace with God maintained--"For
he is our peace," Eph 2: 14; and in him we have peace, according to
his promise, John 16: 33. All strength for the mortification of sin,
for the conquest of temptations--all our increase and growth in grace
depend on the constant actings of this faith in him.
 The way and method of this faith is that which we have described. A
due apprehension of the love of Christ, with the effects of it in his
whole mediatory work on our behalf--especially in his giving himself
for us, and our redemption by his blood--is the great motive
thereunto. They whose hearts are not deeply affected herewith, can
never believe in him in a due manner. "I live," saith the apostle, "by
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Unless a sense hereof be firmly implanted in our souls, unless we are
deeply affected with it, our faith in him would be weak and wavering,
or rather none at all. The due remembrance of what the blessed Lord
Jesus has done for us, of the ineffable love which was the spring,
cause, and fountain of what he so did--thoughts of the mercy, grace,
peace, and glory which he has procured thereby are the great and
unconquerable motives to fix our faith, hope, trust, and confidence in
him.
 His divine nature is the ground and warranty for our so doing. This
is that from whence he is the due and proper object of all divine
faith and worship. From the power and virtue thereof do we expect and
receive all those things which in our believing on him we seek after;
for none but God can bestow them on us, or work them in us. There is
in all the acting of our faith on him, the voice of the confession of
Thomas, "My Lord and my God."
 His divine person, wherein he is God and man, wherein he has that
nature which is the formal object of divine worship, and wherein he
wrought all those things which are the motives thereunto, is the
object of this faith; which gives its difference and distinction from
faith in God in general, and faith in the person of the Father, as the
fountain of grace, love, and power.
 Secondly, Faith is acted on Christ under the formal notion of
mediator between God and man. So it is expressed, 1 Peter 1: 21, "Who
by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave
him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." And this acting
of faith towards Christ is not contrary unto that before described,
nor inconsistent with it, though it be distinct from it. To deny the
person of Christ to fall under this double consideration--of a divine
person absolutely, wherein he is "over all, God blessed for ever,"
and, as manifested in the flesh, exercising the office of mediator
between God and man--is to renounce the gospel. And according unto the
variety of these respects, so are the acting of faith various; some on
him absolutely, on the motives of his mediation; Some on him as
mediator only. And how necessary this variety is unto the life,
supportment, and comfort of believers, they all know in some measure
who are so. See our exposition on Heb. 1: 1-3. Sometimes faith
considers him as on the throne; sometimes as standing at the right
hand of God; sometimes as the mediator between God and man, the man
Christ Jesus. Sometimes his glorious power, sometimes his infinite
condescension, is their relief.
 Wherefore, in the sense now intended, he is considered as the
ordinance, as the servant of God, "who raised him up from the dead,
and gave him glory." So our faith respects not only his person, but
all the acts of his office. It is faith in his blood, Rom. 3: 25. It
is the will of God, that we should place our faith and trust in him
and them, as the only means of our acceptance with him--of all grace
and glory from him. This is the proper notion of a mediator. So is he
not the ultimate object of our faith, wherein it rests, but God
through him. "Through him have we access by one Spirit unto the
Father," Eph. 2: 18. So he is the way whereby we go to God, John 14:
6; see Heb. 10: 19-22. And this so is faith in him; because he is the
immediate, though not the ultimate, object of it, Acts 26: 18.
 This is that which renders our faith in God evangelical. The especial
nature of it ariseth from our respect unto God in Christ, and through
him. And herein faith principally regards Christ in the discharge of
his sacerdotal office. For although it is also the principle of all
obedience unto him in his other offices, yet as unto fixing our faith
in God through him, it is his sacerdotal office and the effects of it
that we rest upon and trust unto. It is through him as the high priest
over the house of God, as he who has made for us a new and living way
into the holy place, that we draw nigh to God, Heb. 4: 14-16, 10:
19-22; 1 John 1: 3.
 No comfortable, refreshing thoughts of God, no warrantable or
acceptable boldness in an approach and access unto him, can any one
entertain or receive, but in this exercise of faith on Christ as the
mediator between God and man. And if, in the practice of religion,
this regard of faith unto him--this acting of faith on God through him-
-be not the principle whereby the whole is animated and guided,
Christianity is renounced, and the vain cloud of natural religion
embraced in the room of it. Not a verbal mention of Him, but the real
intention of heart to come unto God by him, is required of us; and
thereinto all expectation of acceptance with God, as unto our persons
or duties, is resolved.
 We have had great endeavours of late, by the Socinians, to set forth
and adorn a natural religion; as if it were sufficient unto all ends
of our living unto God. But as most of its pretended ornaments are
stolen from the gospel, or are framed in an emanation of light from
it, such as nature of itself could not rise unto; so the whole
proceeds from a dislike of the mediation of Christ, and even weariness
of the profession of faith in him. So is it with the minds of men who
were never affected with supernatural revelations, with the mystery of
the gospel, beyond the owning of some notions of truth--who never had
experience of its power in the life of God.
 But here lies the trial of faith truly evangelical Its steady
beholding of the Sun of Righteousness proves it genuine and from
above. And let them take heed who find their heart remiss or cold in
this exercise of it. When men begin to satisfy themselves with general
hopes of mercy in God, without a continual respect unto the
interposition and mediation of Christ, whereinto their hope and trust
is resolved, there is a decay in their faith, and proportionally in
all other evangelical graces also. Herein lies the mystery of
Christian religion, which the world seems to be almost weary of.





Chapter XI. Obedience unto Christ--The Nature and Causes of it

II. All holy obedience, both internal and external is that which we
proposed as the second part of our religious regard unto the person of
Christ. His great injunction unto his disciples is, "That they keep
his commandments"--without which, none are so.
 Some say the Lord Christ is to be considered as a lawgiver, and the
gospel as a new law given by him, whereby our obedience unto him is to
be regulated. Some absolutely deny it, and will not grant the gospel
in any sense to be a new law. And many dispute about these things,
whilst obedience itself is on all hands generally neglected. But this
is that wherein our principal concernment does lie. I shall not,
therefore, at present, immix myself in any needless disputations.
Those things wherein the nature and necessity of our obedience unto
him is concerned, shall be briefly declared.
 The law under the Old Testament, taken generally, had two parts,--
first, the moral preceptive part of it; and, secondly, the
institutions of worship appointed for that season. These are jointly
and distinctly called the law.
 In respect unto the first of these, the Lord Christ gave no new law,
nor was the old abrogated by him--which it must be if another were
given in the room of it, unto the same ends. For the introduction of a
new law in the place of and unto the end of a former, is an actual
abrogation of it. Neither did he add any new precepts unto it, nor
give any counsels for the performance of duties in matter or manner
beyond what it prescribed. Any such supposition is contrary to the
wisdom and holiness of God in giving the law, and inconsistent with
the nature of the law itself. For God never required less of us in the
law than all that was due unto him; and his prescription of it
included all circumstances and causes that might render any duty at
any time necessary in the nature or degree of it. Whatever at any time
may become the duty of any person towards God, in the substance or
degrees of it, it is made so by the law. All is included in that
summary of it, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and thy neighbour as thyself". Nothing can be the duty of men but what
and when it is required by the love of God or our neighbour.
Wherefore, no additions were made unto the preceptive part of the law
by our Saviour, nor counsels given by him for the performance of more
than it did require.
 In this regard the Gospel is no new law;--only the duties of the
moral and eternal law are plainly declared in the doctrine of it,
enforced in its motives, and directed as to their manner and end. Nor
in this sense did the Lord Christ ever declare himself to be a new
lawgiver; yea, he declares the contrary--that he came to confirm the
old, Matt. 5: 17.
 Secondly, The law may be considered as containing the institutions of
worship which were given in Horeb by Moses, with other statutes and
judgments. It was in this sense abolished by Christ. For the things
themselves were appointed but unto the time of reformation. And
thereon, as the supreme Lord and lawgiver of the Gospel Church, he
gave a new law of worship, consisting in several institutions and
ordinances of worship thereunto belonging. See Heb. 3: 3-6, and our
explanation of that place.
 Obedience unto the Lord Christ may be considered with respect unto
both these;--the moral law which he confirmed, and the law of
evangelical worship which he gave and appointed. And some few things
may be added to clear the nature of it.
 1. Obedience unto Christ does not consist merely in doing the things
which he requireth. So far the church under the Old Testament was
obliged to yield obedience unto Moses; and we are yet so unto the
prophets and apostles This is done, or may be so, with respect unto
any subordinate directive cause of our obedience, when it is not
formally so denominated from his authority. All obedience unto Christ
proceeds from an express subjection of our souls and consciences unto
him.
 2. No religious obedience could be due unto the Lord Christ directly,
by the rule and command of the moral law, were he not God by nature
also. The reason and foundation of all the obedience required therein
is, "I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me."
This contains the formal reason of our religious obedience. The
Socinians pretend highly unto obedience to the precepts of Christ; but
all obedience unto Christ himself they utterly overthrow. The
obedience they pretend unto him, is but obeying God the Father
according to his commands; but they take away the foundation of all
obedience unto his person, by denying his divine nature. And all
religious obedience unto any who is not God by nature, is idolatry.
Wherefore, all obedience unto God, due by the moral law, has respect
unto the person of Christ, as one God with the Father and Holy Spirit,
blessed for ever.
 3. There is a peculiar respect unto him in all moral obedience as
Mediator
 (1.) In that by the supreme authority over the church wherewith he
was vested, he has confirmed all the commands of the moral law, giving
them new enforcements; whence he calls them his commands. "This,"
saith he, "is my commandment, That ye love one another;" which yet was
the old commandment of the moral law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself." Hence the apostle calls it an old and new commandment, 1
John 2: 7, 8.
 This law was given unto the church under the Old Testament in the
hand of a mediator; that is, of Moses, Gal. 3: 19. It had an original
power of obliging all mankind unto obedience, from its first
institution or prescription in our creation; which it never lost nor
abated in. Howbeit the church was obliged to have a respect unto it,
as it was given unto them, "ordained by angels in the hand of a
mediator." See Mal. 4: 4. Hereon many things hard and difficult did
ensue, which we are now freed from. We are not obliged unto the
observance of the moral law itself, as given in the hand of that
mediator, which gave it the formal reason of a covenant unto that
people, and had other statutes and judgments inseparable from it. But
the same law continueth still in its original authority and power,
which it had from the beginning, to oblige all indispensably unto
obedience.
 Howbeit, as the Church of Israel, as such, was not obliged unto
obedience unto the moral law absolutely considered, but as it was
given unto them peculiarly in the hand of a mediator--that is, of
Moses; no more is the Evangelical Church, as such, obliged by the
original authority of that law, but as it is confirmed unto us in the
hand of our Mediator. This renders all our moral obedience
evangelical. For there is no duty of it, but we are obliged to perform
it in faith through Christ, on the motives of the love of God in him,
of the benefits of his mediation, and the grace we receive by him:
whatever is otherwise done by us is not acceptable unto God.
 They do, therefore, for the most part, but deceive themselves and
others, who talk so loudly about moral duties. I know of none that are
acceptable unto God, which are not only materially, but formally so,
and no more.
 If the obligation they own unto them be only the original power of
the moral law, or the law of our creation, and they are performed in
the strength of that law unto the end of it, they are no way accepted
of God. But if they intend the duties which the moral law requireth,
proceeding from, and performed by, faith in Christ, upon the grounds
of the love of God in him, and grace received from him--then are they
duties purely evangelical. And although the law has never lost, nor
ever can lose, its original power of obliging us unto universal
obedience, as we are reasonable creatures; yet is our obedience unto
it as Christians, as believers, immediately influenced by its
confirmation unto the Evangelical church in the hand of our Mediator.
For--
 (2.) God has given unto the Lord Christ all power in his name, to
require this obedience from all that receive the Gospel. Others are
left under the original authority of the Law, either as implanted in
our natures at their first creation, as are the Gentiles; or as
delivered by Moses, and written in tables of stone, as it was with the
Jews, Rom. 2: 12-15. But as unto them that are called unto the faith
of the Gospel, the authority of Christ does immediately affect their
minds and consciences. "He feeds" or rules his people "in the strength
of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God," Micah 5:
4. All the authority and majesty of God is in him and with him;--so of
old, as the great Angel of God's presence, he was in the church in the
wilderness with a delegated power, Exod. 23: 20-22: "Behold, I send an
Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the
place which I have prepared: beware of him, and obey his voice,
provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my
name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all
that I speak," &c. The name of God the Father is so in him--that is,
he is so partaker of the same nature with him--that his voice is the
voice of the Father: "If thou obey his voice, and do all that I
speak". Nevertheless, he acts herein as the Angel of God, with power
and authority delegated from him. So is he still immediately present
with the church, requiring obedience in the name and majesty of God.
 (3.) All judgment upon and concerning this obedience is committed
unto him by the Father: "For the Father judgeth no man," (that is,
immediately as the Father,) "but has committed all judgment unto the
Son," John 5: 22; He "has given him authority to execute judgment,
because he is the Son of man," verse 27. And his judgment is the
judgment of God; for the Father, who judgeth none immediately in his
own person, judgeth all in him, 1 Peter 1: 17: "If ye call on the
Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every
man's work." He does so in and by the Son, unto whom all judgment is
committed. And unto him are we to have regard in all our obedience,
unto whom we must give our account concerning it, and by whom we are
and must be finally judged upon it. To this purpose speaks the
apostle, Rom. 14: 10-12, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat
of Christ For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee
shall bow to me, and every tongue shall conferee to God. So then every
one of us shall glee account of himself to God." He proveth that we
shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, or be judged by
him, by a testimony of Scripture that we shall be also judged by God
himself, and give an account of ourselves unto him. And as this does
undeniably prove and confirm the divine nature of Christ, without the
faith whereof there is neither cogency in the apostle's testimony nor
force in his arguing; so he declares that God judgeth us only in and
by him. In this regard of our moral obedience unto Christ lies the way
whereby God will be gloried.
 Secondly, All things are yet more plain with respect unto
institutions of divine worship. The appointment of all divine
ordinances under the New Testament was his especial province and work,
as the Son and Lord over his own house; and obedience unto him in the
observance of them is that which he gives in especial charge unto all
his disciples, Matt. 28: 18-20 And it is nothing but a loss of that
subjection of soul and conscience unto him which is indispensably
required of all believers, that has set the minds of so many at
liberty to do and observe in divine worship what they please, without
any regard unto his institutions. It is otherwise with respect unto
moral duties; for the things of the moral law have an obligation on
our consciences antecedent unto the enforcement of them by the
authority of Christ, and there hold us fast. But as unto things of the
latter sort, our consciences can no way be affected with a sense of
them, or a necessity of obedience in them, but by the sole and
immediate authority of Christ himself. If a sense hereof be lost in
our minds, we shall not abide in the observance of his commands.





Chapter XII. The especial Principle of Obedience unto the Person of
Christ; which is Love--Its Truth and Reality Vindicated.

That which does enliven and animate the obedience whereof we have
discoursed, is love. This himself makes the foundation of all that is
acceptable unto him. "If," saith he, "ye love me, keep my
commandments," John 14: 15. As he distinguisheth between love and
obedience, so he asserts the former as the foundation of the latter.
He accepts of no obedience unto his commands that does not proceed
from love unto his person. That is no love which is not fruitful in
obedience; and that is no obedience which proceeds not from love. So
he expresseth on both sides: "If a man love me, he will keep my
words;" and, "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings," Verses
23, 24.
 In the Old Testament the love of God was the life and substance of
all obedience. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
with all thy soul, thy mind and strength," was the sum of the law.
This includes in it all obedience, and, where it is genuine, will
produce all the fruits of it; and where it was not, no multiplication
of duties was accepted with him. But this in general we do not now
treat of.
 That the person of Christ is the especial object of this divine love,
which is the fire that kindles the sacrifice of our obedience unto him-
-his is that alone which at present I design to demonstrate.
 The apostle has recorded a very severe denunciation of divine wrath
against all that love him not: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus
Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," 1 Cor. 16: 22. And what was
added unto the curse of the Law we may add unto this of the Gospel:
"And all the people shall say, Amen," Dent. 27: 26. And, on the other
hand, he prays for grace on all that "love him in sincerity," Eph 6:
24. Wherefore, none who desire to retain the name of Christian, can
deny, in words at least, but that we ought, with all our hearts, to
love the Lord Jesus Christ.
 I do not so distinguish love from obedience as though it were not
itself a part, yea, the chiefest part, of our obedience. So is faith
also; yet is it constantly distinguished from obedience, properly so
called. This alone is that which I shall demonstrate--namely, that
there is, and ought to be, in all believers, a divine, gracious love
unto the person of Christ, immediately fixed on him, whereby they are
excited unto, and acted in, all their obedience unto his authority.
Had it been only pleaded, that many who pretend love unto Christ do
yet evidence that they love him not, it is that which the Scripture
testifieth, and continual experience does proclaim. If an application
of this charge had been made unto them whose sincerity in their
profession of love unto him can be no way evidenced, it ought to be
borne with patience, amongst other reproaches of the same kind that
are cast upon them. And some things are to be premised unto the
confirmation of our assertion.
 1. It is granted that there may be a false pretence of love unto
Christ; and as this pretence is ruinous unto the souls of them in whom
it is, so it ofttimes renders them prejudicial and troublesome unto
others. There ever were, and probably ever will be, hypocrites in the
church and a false pretence of love is of the essential form of
hypocrisy. The first great act of hypocrisy, with respect unto Christ,
was treachery, veiled with a double pretence of love. He cried, "Hail,
Master! and kissed him," who betrayed him. His words and actions
proclaimed love, but deceit and treachery were in his heart. Hence the
apostle prays for grace on them who love the Lord Jesus "en
aftharsiai"--without dissimulation or doubling, without pretences and
aims at other ends, without a mixture of corrupt affections; that is,
in sincerity, Eph 6: 24. It was prophesied of him, that many who were
strangers unto his grace should lie unto him, Ps. 18: 44, "benei
nechar jechachashu-li"--feignedly submit, or yield feigned obedience
unto him. So is it with them who profess love unto him, yet are
enemies of his cross, "whose end is destruction, whose god is their
belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,"
Phil. 3: 18, 19. All that are called Christians in the world, do, by
owning that denomination, profess a love unto Jesus Christ; but
greater enemies, greater haters of him, he has not among the children
of men, than many of them are. This falsely pretended love is worse
than avowed hatred; neither will the pretence of it stand men in stead
at the last day. No other answer will be given unto the plea of it, be
it in whom it will, but "Depart from me, I never knew you, ye workers
of iniquity." Whereas, therefore, he himself has prescribed this rule
unto all who would be esteemed his disciples, "If ye love me, keep my
commandments," we may safely conclude, all who live in a neglect of
his commands, whatever they pretend or profess, they love him not. And
the satisfaction which men, through much darkness, and many corrupt
prejudices, have attained unto in the profession of Christian
religion, without an internal, sincere love unto Christ himself, is
that which ruins religion and their own souls.
 2. As there is a false pretence of love unto Christ, so there is, or
may be, a false love unto him also. The persons in whom it is may in
some measure be sincere, and yet their love unto Christ may not be
pure, nor sincere--such as answers the principles and rules of the
gospel; and as many deceive others, so some deceive themselves in this
matter. They may think that they love Christ, but indeed do not so;
and this I shall manifest in some few instances.
 (1.) That love is not sincere and incorrupt which proceedeth not from-
-which is not a fruit of faith Those who do not first really believe
on Christ, can never sincerely love him. It is faith alone that
worketh by love towards Christ and all his saints. If, therefore, any
do not believe with that faith which unites them unto Christ, which
within purifies the heart, and is outwardly effectual in duties of
obedience, whatever they may persuade themselves concerning love unto
Christ, it is but a vain delusion. Where the faith of men is dead,
their love will not be living and sincere.
 (2.) That love is not so which ariseth from false ideas and
representations that men make of Christ, or have made of him in their
minds. Men may draw images in their minds of what they most fancy, and
then dote upon them. So some think of Christ only as a glorious person
exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, without farther
apprehensions of his natures and offices. So the Roman missionaries
represented him unto some of the Indians--concealing from them his
cross and sufferings. But every false notion concerning his person or
his grace--what he is, has done, or doth-- corrupts the love that is
pretended unto him. Shall we think that they love Christ by whom his
divine nature is denied or that those do so who disbelieve the reality
of his human nature? Or those by whom the union of both in the same
person is rejected? There cannot be true evangelical love unto a false
Christ, such as these imaginations do fancy.
 (3.) So is that love which is not in all things--as to causes,
motives, measures, and ends regulated by the Scripture. This alone
gives us the nature, rules, and bounds of sincere spiritual love. We
are no more to love Christ, than to fear and worship him, according
unto our own imaginations. From the Scripture are we to derive all the
principles and motives of our love. If either the acts or effects of
it will not endure a trial thereby, they are false and counterfeit;
and many such have been pretended unto, as we shall see immediately.
 (4.) That is so, unquestionably, which fixeth itself on undue
objects, which, whatever is pretended, are neither Christ nor means of
conveying our love unto him. Such is all that love which the Romanists
express in their devotion unto images, as they fancy, of Christ;
crucifixes, pretended relics of his cross, and the nails that pierced
him, with the like superstitious representations of him, and what they
suppose he is concerned in. For although they express their devotion
with great appearance of ardent affections, under all outward signs of
them--in adorations, kissings, prostrations, with sighs and tears; yet
all this while it is not Christ which they thus cleave unto, but a
cloud of their own imaginations, wherewith their carnal minds are
pleased and affected. That is no god which a man hews out of a tree,
though he form it for that end, though he falls down unto it and
worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, "Deliver me, for thou
art my god," Isa.44: 17. The authors of this superstition, whereby the
love of innumerable poor souls is depraved and abused, do first frame
in their minds what they suppose may solicit or draw out the natural
and carnal affections of men unto it, and then outwardly represent it
as an object for them. Wherefore some of their representations of him
are glorious, and some of them dolorous, escorting as they aim to
excite affections in carnal minds. But, as I said, these things are
not Christ, nor is he any way concerned in them.
 (5.) I acknowledge there have been great pretences of such a love
unto Christ as cannot be justified. Such is that which some of the
devotionists of the Roman Church have endeavoured rather to express
out of their fancy than declare out of their experience. Raptures,
ecstasies, self-annihilations, immediate adhesions and enjoyments,
without any act of the understanding, and with a multitude of other
swelling words of vanity, they labour to set off what they fancy to be
divine love. But there wants not evidences of truth sufficient to
defeat these pretences, be they ever so specious or glorious. For--
 [1.] As it is by them described, it exceedeth all Scripture
precedents. For men to assume unto themselves an apprehension that
they love Christ in another manner and kind, in a higher degree at
least, and thence to enjoy more intimacy with him, more love from him,
than did any of the apostles--John, or Paul, or Peter, or any other of
those holy ones whose love unto him is recorded in the Scripture--is
intolerable vanity and presumption. But no such things as these
devotees pretend unto are mentioned, or in the least intimated
concerning them, and their love to their Lord and Master. No man will
pretend unto more love than they had, but such as have none at all.
 [2.] It is no way directed, warranted, approved, by any command,
promise, or rule of the Scripture. As it is without precedent, so it
is without precept. And hereby, whether we will or no, all our graces
and duties must be tried, as unto any acceptation with God. Whatever
pretends to exceed the direction of the Word may safely be rejected--
cannot safely be admitted. Whatever enthusiasms or pretended
inspirations may be pleaded for the singular practice of what is
prescribed in the Scripture, yet none can be allowed for an approved
principle of what is not so prescribed. Whatever exceeds the bounds
thereof is resolved into the testimony of every distempered
imagination. Nor will it avail that these things amongst them are
submitted unto the judgment of the church. For the church has no rule
to judge by but the Scripture; and it can pass but one judgment of
what is not warranted thereby--namely, that it is to be rejected.
 [3.] As it is described by those who applaud it, it is not suited
unto the sober, sedate actings of the rational faculties of our souls.
For whereas all that God requireth of us, is that we love him with all
our souls and all our minds, these men cry up a divine love by an
immediate adhesion of the will and the affections unto God, without
any actings of the mind and understanding at all. Love, indeed, is the
regular acting of our whole souls, by all their faculties and rational
powers, in an adherence unto God. But these men have fancied a divine
love for them whom they would admire and extol, which disturbs all
their regular acting, and renders them of little or no use in that
which, without their due exercise, is nothing but fancy. And hence it
is that, under pretence of this love, sundry persons among them--yea,
all that have pretended unto it--have fallen into such ridiculous
excesses and open delusions as sufficiently discover the vanity of the
love itself pretended by them.
 Wherefore we plead for no other love unto the person of Christ but
what the Scripture warrants as unto its nature; what the gospel
requireth of us as our duty; what the natural faculties of our minds
are suited unto and given us for; what they are enabled unto by grace;
and without which in some degree of sincerity, no man can yield
acceptable obedience unto him.
 These things being premised, that which we assert is, that there is,
and ought to be, in all believers, a religious, gracious love unto the
person of Christ, distinct from, and the reason of, their obedience
unto his commands;--that is, it is distinct from all other commands;
but is also itself commanded and required of us in a way of duty.
 That there is in the church such a love unto the person of Christ,
the Scripture testifies, both in the precepts it gives for it and the
examples of it. And all those who truly believe cannot apprehend that
they understand any thing of faith, or love of Christ, or themselves,
by whom it is called in question. If, therefore, I should enlarge on
this subject, a great part of the doctrine of the Scripture from first
to last must be represented and a transcript of the hearts of
believers, wherein this love is seated and prevalent, be made,
according to our ability. And there is no subject that I could more
willingly enlarge upon. But I must at present contract myself, in
compliance with my design. Two things only I shall demonstrate: 1.
That the person of Christ is the object of divine love; 2. What is the
nature of that love in us; what are the grounds of it, and the motives
unto it, in them that do believe.
 In reference unto the first of these, the ensuing position shall be
the subject of the remainder of this chapter.
 The person of Christ is the principal object of the love of God, and
of the whole creation participant of his image. The reason why I thus
extend the assertion will appear in the declaration of it.
 (1.) No small part of the eternal blessedness of the holy God
consisteth in the mutual love of the Father and the Son, by the
Spirit. As he is the only-begotten of the Father, he is the first,
necessary, adequate, complete object of the whole love of the Father.
Hence he says of himself, that from eternity he was "by him, as one
brought up with him: and was daily his delight, rejoicing always
before him," Prov. 8: 30--which place was opened before. In him was
the ineffable, eternal, unchangeable delight and complacency of the
Father, as the full object of his love. The same is expressed in that
description of him, John 1: 18, "The only-begotten Son, who is in the
bosom of the Father." His being the only-begotten Son declares his
eternal relation unto the person of the Father, of whom he was
begotten in the entire communication of the whole divine nature.
Hereon he is in the bosom of the Father--in the eternal embraces of
his love, as his only-begotten Son. The Father loves, and cannot but
love, his own nature and essential image in him.
 Herein originally is God love: "For God is love," 1 John 4: 8. This
is the fountain and prototype of all love, as being eternal and
necessary. All other acts of love are in God but emanations from
hence, and effects of it. As he does good because he is good, so he
loveth because he is love. He is love eternally and necessarily in
this love of the Son; and all other workings of love are but acts of
his will, whereby somewhat of it is outwardly expressed. And all love
in the creation was introduced from this fountain, to give a shadow
and resemblance of it.
 Love is that which contemplative men have always almost adored. Many
things have they spoken to evince it to be the light, life, lustre and
glory of the whole creation. But the original and pattern of it was
always hid from the wisest philosophers of old. Something they reached
after about God's love unto himself, with rest and complacency in his
own infinite excellencies; but of this ineffable mutual love of the
Father and the Son, both in and by that Spirit which proceeds from
them both, they had neither apprehension nor conjecture. Yet, as
herein does the principal part (if we may so speak) of the blessedness
of the holy God consist, so is it the only fountain and prototype of
all that is truly called love;--a blessing and glory which the
creation had never been made partaker of, but only to express,
according to the capacity of their several natures, this infinite and
eternal love of God! For God's love of himself--which is natural and
necessary unto the Divine Being--consists in the mutual complacency of
the Father and the Son by the Spirit. And it was to express himself,
that God made any thing without himself. He made the heavens and the
earth to express his being, goodness, and power. He created man "in
his own image," to express his holiness and righteousness; and he
implanted love in our natures to express this eternal mutual love of
the holy persons of the Trinity. But we must leave it under the veil
of infinite incomprehensibleness; though admiration and adoration of
it be not without the highest spiritual satisfaction.
 Again, he is the peculiar object of the love of the Father, of the
love of God, as he is incarnate--as he has taken on him, and has now
discharged, the work of mediation, or continues in the discharge of
it; that is, the person of Christ, as God-man, is the peculiar object
of the divine love of the Father. The person of Christ in his divine
nature is the adequate object of that love of the Father which is "ad
intra"--a natural necessary act of the divine essence in its distinct
personal existence; and the person of Christ as incarnate, as clothed
with human nature, is the first and full object of the love of the
Father in those acts of it which are "ad extra", or are towards
anything without himself. So he declares himself in the prospect of
his future incarnation and work, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold;
mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth," Isa. 42: 1. The delight of
the soul of God, his rest and complacency--which are the great effects
of love--are in the Lord Christ, as his elect and servant in the work
of mediation. And the testimony hereof he renewed twice from heaven
afterwards, Matt. 3: 17, "Lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" as it is again repeated,
Matt. 17: 5. All things are disposed to give a due sense unto us of
this love of God unto him. The testimony concerning it is twice
repeated in the same words from heaven. And the words of it are
emphatical unto the utmost of our comprehension: "My Son, my servant,
mine elect, my beloved Son, in whom I rest, in whom I delight, and am
well pleased." It is the will of God to leave upon our hearts a sense
of this love unto Christ; for his voice came from heaven, not for his
sake, who was always filled with a sense of this divine love, but for
ours, that we might believe it.
 This he pleaded as the foundation of all the trust reposed in him,
and all the power committed unto him. "The Father loveth the Son, and
has given all things into his hand," John 3: 35. "The Father loveth
the Son, and showeth him all things that himself does," John 5: 20.
And the sense or due apprehension of it is the foundation of Christian
religion. Hence he prays that we may know that God has loved him, John
17: 23, 26.
 In this sense, the person of Christ is the "prooton dektikon"--the
first recipient subject of all that divine love which extends itself
unto the church. It is all, the whole of it, in the first place fixed
upon him, and by and through him is communicated unto the church.
Whatever it receives in grace and glory, it is but the streams of this
fountain--love unto himself. So he prays for all his disciples, "that
the love," saith he, "wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and
I in them," John 17: 26. They can be partakers of no other love,
neither in itself nor in its fruits, but that alone wherewith the
Father first loved him. He loveth him for us all, and us no otherwise
but as in him. He makes us "accepted in the Beloved," Eph 1: 6. He is
the Beloved of the Father "kath' exochen"; as in all things he was to
have the preeminence, Col. 1: 18. The love of the body is derived unto
it from the love unto the Head; and in the love of him does God love
the whole church, and no otherwise. He loves none but as united unto
him, and participant of his nature.
 Wherefore the love of the Father unto the Son, as the only begotten,
and the essential image of his person, wherein the ineffable delight
of the divine nature does consist, was the fountain and cause of all
love in the creation, by an act of the will of God for its
representation. And the love of God the Father unto the person of
Christ as incarnate, being the first adequate object of divine love
wherein there is anything "ad extra," is the fountain and especial
cause of all gracious love towards us and in us. And our love unto
Christ being the only outward expression and representation of this
love of the Father unto him, therein consists the principal part of
our renovation into his image. Nothing renders us so like unto God as
our love unto Jesus Christ, for he is the principal object of his
love,--in him does his soul rest--in him is he always well pleased.
Wherever this is wanting, whatever there may be besides, there is
nothing of the image of God. He that loves not Jesus Christ, let him
be Anathema Maranatha; for he is unlike unto God,--his canal mind is
enmity against God.
 (2.) Among those who are in the image of God, the angels above are of
the first consideration. We are, indeed, as yet much in the dark unto
the things that are "within the veil." They are above us as unto our
present capacity, and hid from us as unto our present state; but there
is enough in the Scripture to manifest the adhesion of angels unto the
person of Christ by divine love. For love proceeding from sight is the
life of the church above; as love proceeding from faith is the life of
the church below. And this life the angels themselves do live. For--
 [1.] They were all, unto their inexpressible present advantage and
security for the future, brought into that recovery and recapitulation
of all things which God has made in him. He has "gathered together in
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on
earth, even in him," Eph 1: 10. The things in heaven, and things on
earth--angels above, and men below--were originally united in the love
of God. God's love unto them, whence springs their mutual love between
themselves, was a bond of union between them, rendering them one
complete family of God in heaven and earth, as it is called, Eph 3:
15. On the entrance of sin, whereby mankind forfeited their interest
in the love of God, and lost all love unto him, or anything for him,
this union was utterly dissolved, and mutual enmity came into the
place of its principle in love. God is pleased to gather up these
divided parts of his family into one--in one head, which is Christ
Jesus. And as there is hereby a union established again between angels
and the church in love, so their adherence unto the head, the centre,
life, and spring of this union, is by love, and no otherwise. It is
not faith, but love, that is the bond of this union between Christ and
them; and herein no small part of their blessedness and glory in
heaven does consist.
 [2.] That worship, adoration, service, and obedience, which they
yield unto him, are all in like manner animated with love and delight.
In love they cleave unto him, in love they worship and serve him. They
had a command to worship him on his nativity, Heb. 1: 6; and they did
it with joy, exultation, and praises--all effects of love and delight-
-Luke 2: 13, 14. And as they continue about the throne of God, they
say, with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,
and blessing," Rev. 5: 12. Their continual ascription of glory and
praise unto him is an effect of reverential love and delight; and from
thence also is their concernment in his gospel and grace, Eph 3: 9,
10; 1 Peter 1: 12. Nor without this love in the highest degree can it
be conceived how they should be blessed and happy in their continual
employment. For they are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to
minister for the heirs of salvation," Heb. 1: 14. Were they not acted
herein by their fervent love unto Christ, they could have no delight
in their own ministry.
 We have not, we cannot have, in this world, a full comprehension of
the nature of angelical love. Our notions are but dark and uncertain,
in things whereof we can have no experience. Wherefore, we cannot have
here a clear intuition into the nature of the love of spirits, whilst
our own is mixed with what derives from the acting of the animal
spirits of our bodies also. But the blessedness of angels does not
consist in the endowments of their nature--that they are great in
power, light, knowledge, and wisdom; for, notwithstanding these
things, many of them became devils. But the excellency and blessedness
of the angelical state consist in these two things:--1st, That they
are disposed, and able constantly, inseparably, universally,
uninterruptedly, to cleave unto God in love. And as they do so unto
God, so they do unto the person of Christ; and through him, as their
head, unto God, even the Father. 2dly, Add hereunto that gracious
reflex sense which they have of the glory, dignity, eternal sweetness,
and satisfaction, which arise from hence, and we have the sum of
angelical blessedness.
 (3.) The church of mankind is the other part of the rational creation
whereon the image of God is renewed. Love unto the person of Christ,
proceeding from faith, is their life, their joy, and glory.
 It was so unto the church under the Old Testament. The whole Book of
Canticles is designed to no other purpose, but variously to shadow
forth, to insinuate and represent, the mutual love of Christ and the
church. Blessed is he who understands the sayings of that book, and
has the experience of them in his heart. The 45th Psalm, among others,
is designed unto the same purpose. All the glorious descriptions which
are given of his person in the residue of the prophets, were only
means to excite love unto him, and desires after him. Hence is he
called "chemdat kol-hagohim", Hag.2: 7, "The Desire of all nations"--
he alone who is desirable unto, and the only beloved of the church
gathered out of all nations.
 The clear revelation of the person of Christ, so as to render him the
direct object of our love, with the causes and reasons of it, is one
of the most eminent privileges of the New Testament. And it is
variously attested in precepts, promises, instances, and solemn
approbations.
 Wherever he supposeth or requireth this love in any of his disciples,
it is not only as their duty, as that which they were obliged unto by
the precepts of the Gospel, but as that without which no other duty
whatever is accepted by him. "If," saith he "ye love me, keep my
commandments," John 14: 15. He so requires love unto himself, as not
to expect or approve of any obedience unto his commands without it. It
is a great and blessed duty to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ; yet
will not he accept of it unless it proceeds out of love unto his
person. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my lambs," John 21:
15-17. Three times did he repeat the same words to him who had failed
in his love towards him, by denying him thrice. Without this love unto
him, he requires of none to feed his sheep, nor will accept of what
they pretend to do therein. It were a blessed thing, if a due
apprehension hereof did always abide with them that are called unto
that work.
 Hereunto does he annex those blessed promises which comprise the
whole of our peace, safety, and consolation in this world. "He," saith
he, "that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him,
and manifest myself unto him," John 14: 21; and verse 23, "My Father
will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with
him." What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the glory of
these promises, or the least part of the grace that is contained in
them? Who can conceive aright of the divine condescension, love, and
grace that are expressed in them? How little a portion is it that we
know of God in these things! But if we value them not, if we labour
not for an experience of them according unto our measure, we have
neither lot nor portion in the gospel. The presence and abode of God
with us as a Father, manifesting himself to be such unto us, in the
infallible pledges and assurances of our adoption--the presence of
Christ with us, revealing himself unto us, with all those ineffable
mercies wherewith these things are accompanied--are all contained in
them. And these promises are peculiarly given unto them that love the
person of Christ, and in the exercise of love towards him.
 Hereunto are designed the Gospel Gerizim and Ebal--the denunciation
of blessings and curses. As blessings are declared to be their portion
"who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity," Eph. 6: 24,--so those who love
him not, have the substance of all curses denounced against them, even
"Anathema Maranatha," 1 Cor. 16: 22. So far shall such persons be,
whatever they may profess of outward obedience unto the Gospel, from
any blessed interest in the promises of it, as that they are justly
liable unto final excision from the church in this world, and eternal
malediction in that which is to come.
 It is evident, therefore, that the love of the church of believers
unto the person of Christ is not a distempered fancy, not a deluding
imagination, as some have blasphemed; but that which the nature of
their relation unto him makes necessary--that wherein they express
their renovation into the image of God--that which the Scripture
indispensably requires of them, and whereon all their spiritual
comfort do depend. These things being spoken in general, the
particular nature, effects, operations, and motives of this divine
love, must now be farther inquired into.




Chapter XIII. The Nature, Operations, and Causes of Divine Love, as it
respects the Person of Christ

That we may the better understand that love unto the person of Christ
which we plead for, some things must be premised concerning the nature
of divine love in general; and thereon its application unto the
particular acting and exercise of it which we inquire into will be
plain and easy.
 God has endowed our nature with a faculty and ability of fixing our
love upon himself. Many can understand nothing of love but the
adherence of their minds and souls unto things visible and sensible,
capable of a present natural enjoyment. For things unseen, especially
such as are eternal and infinite, they suppose they have a veneration,
a religious respect, a devout adoration; but how they should love
them, they cannot understand. And the apostle does grant that there is
a greater difficulty in loving things that cannot be seen, than in
loving those which are always visibly present unto us, 1 John 4: 20.
Howbeit, this divine love has a more fixed station and prevalence in
the minds of men than any other kind of love whatever. For--
 1. The principal end why God endued our natures with that great and
ruling affection, that has the most eminent and peculiar power and
interest in our souls, was, in the first place, that it might be fixed
on himself--that it might be the instrument of our adherence unto him.
He did not create this affection in us, that we might be able by it to
cast ourselves into the embraces of things natural and sensual. No
affection has such power in the soul to cause it to cleave unto its
object, and to work it into a conformity unto it. Most other
affections are transient in their operations, and work by a transport
of nature--as anger, joy, fear, and the like; but love is capable of a
constant exercise, is a spring unto all other affections, and unites
the soul with an efficacy not easy to be expressed unto its object.
And shall we think that God, who made all things for himself, did
create this ruling affection in and with our natures, merely that we
might be able to turn from him, and cleave unto other things with a
power and faculty above any we have of adherence unto him? Wherefore,
at our first creation, and in our primitive condition, love was the
very soul and quickening principle of the life of God; and on our
adherence unto him thereby the continuance of our relation unto him
did depend. The law, rule, and measure of it was, "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul." For this end did
God create this affection in us. Not only our persons in their nature
and being, but in all their powers and faculties, were fitted and
prepared unto this end, of living unto God, and coming unto the
enjoyment of him. And all their exercise on created objects was to be
directed unto this end. Wherefore, the placing of our love on anything
before God, or above him is a formal expression of our apostasy from
him.
 2. Divine excellencies are a proper, adequate object of our love. The
will, indeed, can adhere unto nothing in love, but what the
understanding apprehends as unto its truth and being; but it is not
necessary that the understanding do fully comprehend the whole nature
of that which the will does so adhere unto. Where a discovery is made
unto and by the mind of real goodness and amiableness, the will there
can close with its affections. And these are apprehended as absolutely
the most perfect in the divine nature and holy properties of it.
Whereas, therefore, not only that which is the proper object of love
is in the divine excellencies, but it is there only perfectly and
absolutely, without the mixture of anything that should give it an
alloy, as there is in all creatures, they are the most suitable and
adequate object of our love.
 There is no greater discovery of the depravation of our natures by
sin and degeneracy of our wills from their original rectitude, than
that--whereas we are so prone to the love of other things, and therein
do seek for satisfaction unto our souls where it is not to be obtained-
-it is so hard and difficult to raise our hearts unto the love of God.
Were it not for that depravation, he would always appear as the only    suitable and
satisfactory object unto our affections.
 3. The especial object of divine, gracious love, is the divine
goodness. "How great is his goodness, how great is his beauty!" Zech.
9: 17. Nothing is amiable or a proper object of love, but what is
good, and as it is so. Hence divine goodness, which is infinite, hath
an absolutely perfect amiableness accompanying it. Because his
goodness is inexpressible, his beauty is so. "How great is his
goodness, how great is his beauty?" Hence are we called to give thanks
unto the Lord, and to rejoice in him--which are the effects of love-
-because he is good, Ps. 106: l; 136: 1.
 Neither is divine goodness the especial object of our love as
absolutely considered; but we have a respect unto it as comprehensive
of all that mercy, grace, and bounty, which are suited to give us the
best relief in our present condition and an eternal future reward.
Infinite goodness, exerting itself in all that mercy, grace,
faithfulness, and bounty, which are needful unto our relief and
blessedness in our present condition, is the proper object of our
love. Whereas, therefore, this is done only in Christ, there can be no
true love of the divine goodness, but in and through him alone.
 The goodness of God, as a creator, preserver, and rewarder, was a
sufficient, yea, the adequate object of all love antecedently unto the
entrance of sin and misery. In them, in God under those
considerations, might the soul of man find full satisfaction as unto
its present and future blessedness. But since the passing of sin,
misery, and death upon us, our love can find no amiableness in any
goodness--no rest, complacency, and satisfaction in any--but what is
effectual in that grace and mercy by Christ, which we stand in need of
for our present recovery and future reward. Nor does God require of us
that we should love him otherwise but as he "is in Christ reconciling
the world unto himself." So the apostle fully declares it: "In this
was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his
only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. And we have known and
believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that
dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John 4: 9, 10,
16. God is love, of a nature infinitely good and gracious, so as to be
the only object of all divine love. But this love can no way be known,
or be so manifested unto us, as that we may and ought to love him, but
by his love in Christ, his sending of him and loving us in him. Before
this, without this, we do not, we cannot love God. For "herein is
love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to
be the propitiation for our sins." This is the cause, the spring and
fountain, of all our love to him. They are but empty notions and
imaginations, which some speculative persons please themselves withal,
about love unto the divine goodness absolutely considered. For however
infinitely amiable it may be in itself, it is not so really unto them,
it is not suited unto their state and condition, without the
consideration of the communications of it unto us in Christ.
 4. These things being premised, we may consider the especial nature
of this divine love, although I acknowledge that the least part of
what believers have an experience of in their own souls can be
expressed at least by me. Some few things I shall mention, which may
give us a shadow of it, but not the express image of the thing itself.
 (1.) Desire of union and enjoyment is the first vital act of this
love. The soul, upon the discovery of the excellencies of God,
earnestly desires to be united unto them--to be brought near unto that
enjoyment of them whereof it is capable, and wherein alone it can find
rest and satisfaction. This is essential unto all love; it unites the
mind unto its object, and rests not but in enjoyment. God's love unto
us ariseth out of the overflowing of his own immense goodness, whereof
he will communicate the fruits and effects unto us. God is love; and
herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his only-begotten Son. Yet also does this love of God tend to the
bringing of us unto him, not that he may enjoy us, but that he may be
enjoyed by us. This answers the desire of enjoyment in us, Job 14: 15:
"Thou shalt call me;" (that is, out of the dust at the last day;)
"thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." God's love will
not rest, until it has brought us unto himself. But our love unto God
ariseth from a sense of our own wants--our insufficiency to come unto
rest in ourselves, or to attain unto blessedness by our own
endeavours. In this state, seeing all in God, and expecting all from
the suitableness of his excellencies unto our rest and satisfaction,
our souls cleave unto him, with a desire of the nearest union whereof
our natures are capable. We are made for him, and cannot rest until we
come unto him.
 Our goodness extends not unto God; we cannot profit him by any thing
that we are, or can do. Wherefore, his love unto us has not respect
originally unto any good in ourselves, but is a gracious, free act of
his own. He does good for no other reason but because he is good. Nor
can his infinite perfections take any cause for their original actings
without himself. He wants nothing that he would supply by the
enjoyment of us. But we have indigence in ourselves to cause our love
to seek an object without ourselves. And so his goodness--with the
mercy, grace, and bounty included therein--is the cause, reason, and
object of our love. We love them for themselves; and because we are
wanting and indigent, we love them with a desire of union and
enjoyment--wherein we find that our satisfaction and blessedness does
consist. Love in general unites the mind unto the object--the person
loving unto the thing or person beloved. So is it expressed in an
instance of human, temporary, changeable love, namely, that of
Jonathan to David. His soul "was knit with the soul of David, and he
loved him as his own soul," 1 Sam.18: 1. Love had so effectually
united them, as that the soul of David was as his own. Hence are those
expressions of this divine love, by "cleaving unto God, following hard
after him, thirsting, panting after him," with the like intimations of
the most earnest endeavours of our nature after union and enjoyment.
 When the soul has a view by faith (which nothing else can give it) of
the goodness of God as manifested in Christ--that is of the essential
excellencies of his nature as exerting themselves in him--it reacheth
after him with its most earnest embraces, and is restless until it
comes unto perfect fruition. It sees in God the fountain of life, and
would drink of the "river of his pleasures," Ps. 36: 8, 9--that in his
"presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures for
evermore," Ps. 16: 11. It longs and pants to drink of that fountain--
to bathe itself in that river of pleasures; and wherein it comes short
of present enjoyment, it lives in hopes that when we "awake, it shall
be satisfied with his likeness," Ps. 17: 15. There is nothing grievous
unto a soul filled with this love, but what keeps it from the full
enjoyment of these excellencies of God. What does so naturally and
necessarily, it groans under. Such is our present state in the body,
wherein, in some sense, we are "absent from the Lord," 2 Cor. 5: 4, 8,
9. And what does so morally, in the deviations of its will and
affections, as sin--it hates and abhors and loathes itself for. Under
the conduct of this love, the whole tendency of the soul is unto the
enjoyment of God;--it would be lost in itself, and found in him,--
nothing in itself, and all in him. Absolute complacency herein--that
God is what he is, that he should be what he is, and nothing else, and
that as such we may be united unto him, and enjoy Him according to the
capacity of our natures is the life of divine love.
 (2.) It is a love of assimilation. It contains in it a desire and
intense endeavour to be like unto God, according unto our capacity and
measure. The soul sees all goodness, and consequently all that is
amiable and lovely, in God--the want of all which it finds in itself.
The fruition of his goodness is that which it longs for as its utmost
end, and conformity unto it as the means thereof. There is no man who
loves not God sincerely, but indeed he would have him to be somewhat
that he is not, that he might be the more like unto him. This such
persons are pleased withal whilst they can fancy it in any thing, Ps.
50: 21. They that love him, would have him be all that he is--as he
is, and nothing else; and would be themselves like unto him. And as
love has this tendency, and is that which gives disquietment unto the
soul when and wherein we are unlike unto God, so it stirs up constant
endeavours after assimilation unto him, and has a principal efficacy
unto that end. Love is the principle that actually assimilates and
conforms us unto God, as faith is the principle which originally
disposeth thereunto. In our renovation into the image of God, the
transforming power is radically seated in faith, but acts itself by
love. Love proceeding from faith gradually changeth the soul into the
likeness of God; and the more it is in exercise, the more is that
change effected.
 To labour after conformity unto God by outward actions only, is to
make an image of the living God, hewed out of the stock of a dead
tree. It is from this vital principle of love that we are not forced
into it as by engines, but naturally grow up into the likeness and
image of God. For when it is duly affected with the excellencies of
God in Christ, it fills the mind with thoughts and contemplations on
them, and excites all the affections unto a delight in them. And where
the soul acts itself constantly in the mind's contemplation, and the
delight of the affections, it will produce assimilation unto the
object of them. To love God is the only way and means to be like unto
him.
 (3.) It is a love of complacency, and therein of benevolence. Upon
that view which we have by spiritual light and faith of the divine
goodness, exerting itself in the way before described, our souls do
approve of all that is in God, applaud it, adore it, and acquiesce in
it. Hence two great duties do arise, and hereon do they depend. First,
Joyful ascriptions of glory and honour unto God. All praise and
thanksgiving, all blessing, all assignation of glory unto him, because
of his excellencies and perfections, do arise from our satisfactory
complacence in them. The righteous "rejoice in the Lord, and give
thanks at the remembrance of his holiness," Ps. 97: 12. They are so
pleased and satisfied at the remembrance of God's holiness, that it
fills their hearts with joy and causeth them to break forth in
praises. Praise is nothing but an outward expression of the inward
complacency of our hearts in the divine perfections and their
operations. And, secondly, Love herein acts itself by benevolence, as
the constant inclination of the mind unto all things wherein the glory
of God is concerned. It wills all the things wherein the name of God
may be sanctified, his praises made glorious, and his will done on
earth as it is in heaven. As God says of his own love unto us, that
"he will rest in his love, he will joy over us [thee] with singing,"
Zeph. 3: 17--as having the greatest complacency in it, rejoicing over
us with his "whole heart and his whole soul," Jer. 32: 41;--so,
according unto our measure, do we by love rest in the glorious
excellencies of God, rejoicing in them with our whole hearts and our
whole souls.
 (4.) This divine love is a love of friendship. The communion which we
have with God therein is so intimate, and accompanied with such
spiritual boldness, as gives it that denomination. So Abraham was
called "The friend of God," Isa. 41: 8; James 2: 23. And because of
that mutual trust which is between friends, "the secret of the Lord is
with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant," Ps. 25:
14. For, as our Saviour teacheth us, "servants" that is, those who are
so, and no more--"know not what their lord does;" he rules them,
commands them, or requires obedience from them; but as unto his secret-
-his design and purpose, his counsel and love--they know nothing of
it. But saith he unto his disciples, "I have called you friends, for
all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you,"
John 15: 15. He proves them to be rightly called his friends, because
of the communication of the secret of his mind unto them.
 This is the great difference between them who are only servants in
the house of God, and those who are so servants as to be friends also.
The same commands are given unto all equally, and the same duties are
required of all equally, inasmuch as they are equally servants; but
those who are no more but so, know nothing of the secret counsel,
love, and grace of God, in a due manner. For the natural man receiveth
not the things that are of God. Hence all their obedience is servile.
They know neither the principal motives unto it nor the ends of it.
But they who are so servants as to be friends also, they know what
their Lord does; the secret of the Lord is with them, and he shows
them his covenant. They are admitted into an intimate acquaintance
with the mind of Christ, ("we have the mind of Christ," 1 Cor. 2: 16,)
and are thereon encouraged to perform the obedience of servants, with
the love and delight of friends.
 The same love of friendship is expressed by that intimate converse
with, and especial residence that is between God and believers. God
dwelleth in them, and they dwell in God; for God is love, 1 John 4:
16. "If a man," saith the Lord Christ, "love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and
make our abode with him," John 14: 23; and, "If any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and
he with me," Rev. 3: 20. These are not empty sound of words;--there is
substance under them, there is truth in them. Those whose hearts are
duly exercised in and unto the love of God have experience of the
refreshing approaches both of the Father and of the Son unto their
souls, in the communications of a sense of their love, and pledges of
their abode with them.
 These things have I briefly premised, concerning the nature of divine
love, that we may the better apprehend what we understand by it, in
the application of it unto the person of Christ. For--
 1. The formal object of this love is the essential properties of the
divine nature--its infinite goodness in particular. Wherever these
are, there is the object and reason of this love. But they are all of
them in the person of the Son, no less than in the person of the
Father. As, therefore, we love the Father on this account, so are we
to love the Son also. But--
 2. The Person of Christ is to be considered as he was incarnate, or
clothed with our nature. And this takes nothing off from the formal
reason of this love, but only makes an addition unto the motives of
it. This, indeed, for a season veiled the loveliness of his divine
excellencies, and so turned aside the eyes of many from him. For when
he took on him "the form of a servant, and made himself of no
reputation," he had, unto them who looked on him with carnal eyes,
"neither form nor comeliness," that he should be desired or be loved.
Howbeit, the entire person of Christ, God and man, is the object of
this divine love, in all the acts of the whole exercise of it. That
single effect of infinite wisdom and grace, in the union of the divine
and human natures in the one person of the Son of God, renders him the
object of this love in a peculiar manner. The way whereby we may
attain this peculiar love, and the motives unto it, shall close these
considerations.
 A due consideration of, and meditation on, the proposal of the person
of Christ unto us in the Scripture, are the proper foundation of this
love. This is the formal reason of our faith in him, and love unto
him. He is so proposed unto us in the Scripture, that we may believe
in him and love him, and for that very end. And in particular with
respect unto our love, to in generate it in us, and to excite it unto
its due exercise, are those excellencies of his person--as the
principal effect of divine wisdom and goodness, which we have before
insisted on--frequently proposed unto us. To this end is he
represented as "altogether lovely," and the especial glories of his
person are delineated, yea, drawn to the life, in the holy records of
the Old and New Testaments. It is no work of fancy or imagination--it
is not the feigning images in our minds of such things as are meet to
satisfy our carnal affections, to excite and act them; but it is a due
adherence unto that object which is represented unto faith in the
proposal of the gospel. Therein, as in a glass, do we behold the glory
of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, and have our souls
filled with transforming affections unto him.
 The whole Book of Canticles is nothing but a mystical declaration of
the mutual love between Christ and the church. And it is expressed by
all such ways and means as may represent it intense, fervent, and
exceeding all other love whatever; which none, I suppose, will deny,
at least on the part of Christ. And a great part of it consists in
such descriptions of the person of Christ and his love as may render
him amiable and desirable unto our souls, even "altogether lovely." To
what end does the Holy Spirit so graphically describe and represent
unto us the beauty and desirableness of his person, if it be not to
ingenerate love in us unto him? All want of love unto him on this
proposal is the effect of prevalent unbelief. It is pretended that the
descriptions given of Christ in this book are allegorical, from whence
nothing can be gathered or concluded. But God forbid we should so
reflect on the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit unto the church--
that he has proposed unto the faith of the church an empty sound and
noise of words, without mind or sense. The expressions he uses are
figurative, and the whole nature of the discourse, as unto its outward
structure, is allegorical. But the things intended are real and
substantial; and the metaphors used in the expression of them are
suited, in a due attendance unto the analogy of faith, to convey a
spiritual understanding and sense of the things themselves proposed in
them. The church of God will not part with the unspeakable advantage
and consolation--those supports of faith and incentives of love--which
it receives by that divine proposal of the person of Christ and his
love which is made therein, because some men have no experience of
them nor understanding in them. The faith and love of believers is not
to be regulated by the ignorance and boldness of them who have neither
the one nor the other. The title of the 45th Psalm is, "shir jedidot",
"A song of loves;"--that is, of the mutual love of Christ and the
church. And unto this end--that our souls may be stirred up unto the
most ardent affection towards him--is a description given us of his
person, as "altogether lovely." To what other end is he so evidently
delineated in the whole harmony of his divine beauties by the pencil
of the Holy Spirit?
 Not to insist on particular testimonies, it is evident unto all whose
eyes are opened to discern these things, that there is no property of
the divine nature which is peculiarly amiable--such as are goodness
grace, love, and bounty, with infinite power and holiness--but it is
represented and proposed unto us in the person of the Son of God, to
this end, that we should love him above all, and cleave unto him.
There is nothing in the human nature, in that fulness of grace and
truth which dwelt therein, in that inhabitation of the Spirit which
was in him without measure, in any thing of those "all things" wherein
he has the pre-eminence--nothing in his love, condescension, grace,
and mercy--nothing in the work that he fulfilled, what he did and
suffered therein--nothing in the benefits we receive thereby--nothing
in the power and glory that he is exalted unto at the right hand of
God--but it is set forth in the Scripture and proposed unto us, that,
believing in him, we may love him with all our hearts and souls. And,
besides all this, that singular, that infinite effect of divine
wisdom, whereunto there is nothing like in all the works of God, and
wherewith none of them may be compared--namely, the constitution of
his person by the union of his natures therein, whereby he becomes
unto us the image of the invisible God, and wherein all the blessed
excellencies of his distinct natures are made most illustriously
conspicuous in becoming one entire principle of all his mediatory
operations on our behalf--is proposed unto us as the complete object
of our faith and love. This is that person whose loveliness and beauty
all the angels of God, all the holy ones above, do eternally admire
and adore. In him are the infinite treasures of divine wisdom and
goodness continually represented unto them. This is he who is the joy,
the delight, the love, the glory of the church below. "Thou whom our
souls do love," is the title whereby they know him and convene with
him, Cant. 1: 7; 3: 1, 4. This is he who is the Desire of all nations-
-the Beloved of God and men.
 The mutual intercourse on this ground of love between Christ and the
church, is the life and soul of the whole creation; for on the account
hereof all things consist in him.
 There is more glory under the eye of God, in the sighs, groans, and
mournings of poor souls filled with the love of Christ, after the
enjoyment of him according to his promises--in their fervent prayers
for his manifestation of himself unto them--in the refreshments and
unspeakable joys which they have in his gracious visits and embraces
of his love--than in the thrones and diadems of all the monarchs on
the earth. Nor will they themselves part with the ineffable
satisfactions which they have in these things, for all that this world
can do for them or unto them. "Mallem ruere cum Christo, quam regnare
cum Caesare." These things have not only rendered prisons and dungeons
more desirable unto them than the most goodly palaces, on future
accounts, but have made them really places of such refreshment and
joys as men shall seek in vain to extract out of all the comforts that
this world can afford.

O curvae in terras animae et coelestium inanes!

 Many there are who, not comprehending, not being affected with, that
divine, spiritual description of the person of Christ which is given
us by the Holy Ghost in the Scripture, do feign unto themselves false
representations of him by images and pictures, so as to excite carnal
and corrupt affections in their minds. By the help of their outward
senses, they reflect on their imaginations the shape of a human body,
cast into postures and circumstances dolorous or triumphant; and so,
by the working of their fancy, raise a commotion of mind in
themselves, which they suppose to be love unto Christ. But all these
idols are teaches of lies. The true beauty and amiableness of the
person of Christ, which is the formal object and cause of divine love,
is so far from being represented herein, as that the mind is thereby
wholly diverted from the contemplation of it. For no more can be so
pictured unto us but what may belong unto a mere man, and what is
arbitrarily referred unto Christ, not by faith, but by corrupt
imagination.
 The beauty of the person of Christ, as represented in the Scripture,
consists in things invisible unto the eyes of flesh. They are such as
no hand of man can represent or shadow. It is the eye of faith alone
that can see this King in his beauty. What else can contemplate on the
untreated glories of his divine nature? Can the hand of man represent
the union of his natures in the same person, wherein he is peculiarly
amiable? What eye can discern the mutual communications of the
properties of his different natures in the same person, which depends
thereon, whence it is that God laid down his life for us, and
purchased his church with his own blood? In these things, O vain man!
does the loveliness of the person of Christ unto the souls of
believers consist, and not in those strokes of art which fancy has
guided a skilful hand and pencil unto. And what eye of flesh can
discern the inhabitation of the Spirit in all fulness in the human
nature? Can his condescension, his love, his grace, his power, his
compassion, his offices, his fitness and ability to save sinners, be
deciphered on a tablet, or engraven on wood or stone? However such
pictures may be adorned, however beautified and enriched, they are not
that Christ which the soul of the spouse does love;--they are not any
means of representing his love unto us, or of conveying our love unto
him;--they only divert the minds of superstitious persons from the Son
of God, unto the embraces of a cloud, composed of fancy and
imagination.
 Others there are who abhor these idols, and when they have so done,
commit sacrilege. As they reject images, so they seem to do all love
unto the person of Christ, distinct from other acts of obedience, as a
fond imagination. But the most superstitious love unto Christ--that
is, love acted in ways tainted with superstition--is better than none
at all. But with what eyes do such persons read the Scriptures? With
what hearts do they consider them? What do they conceive is the
intention of the Holy Ghost in all those descriptions which he gives
us of the person of Christ as amiable and desirable above all things,
making wherewithal a proposal of him unto our affections--inciting us
to receive him by faith, and to cleave unto him in love? yea, to what
end is our nature endued with this affection--unto what end is the
power of it renewed in us by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit--if
it may not be fixed on this most proper and excellent object of it?
 This is the foundation of our love unto Christ namely, the revelation
and proposal of him unto us in the Scripture as altogether lovely. The
discovery that is made therein of the glorious excellencies and
endowments of his person--of his love, his goodness, and grace--of his
worth and work--is that which engageth the affections of believers
unto him. It may be said, that if there be such a proposal of him made
unto all promiscuously, then all would equally discern his amiableness
and be affected with it, who assent equally unto the truth of that
revelation. But it has always fallen out otherwise. In the days of his
flesh, some that looked on him could see neither "form nor comeliness"
in him wherefore he should be desired; others saw his glory--"glory as
of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth". To some
he is precious; unto others he is disallowed and rejected--a stone
which the builders refused, when others brought it forth, crying,
"Grace, grace unto it" as the head of the corner. Some can see nothing
but weakness in him; unto others the wisdom and power of God do
evidently shine forth in him. Wherefore it must be said, that
notwithstanding that open, plain representation that is made of him in
the Scripture, unless the holy Spirit gives us eyes to discern it, and
circumcise our hearts by the cutting off corrupt prejudices and all
effects of unbelief, implanting in them, by the efficacy of his grace,
this blessed affection of love unto him, all these things will make no
impression on our minds.
 As it was with the people on the giving of the law, notwithstanding
all the great and mighty works which God had wrought among them, yet
having not given them "a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears
to hear"--which he affirms that he had not done, Deut. 29: 4,--they
were not moved unto faith or obedience by them; so is it in the
preaching of the gospel. Notwithstanding all the blessed revelation
that is made of the excellencies of the person of Christ therein, yet
those into whose hearts God does not shine to give the knowledge of
his glory in his face, can discern nothing of it, nor are their hearts
affected with it.
 We do not, therefore, in these things, follow "cunningly-devised
fables." We do not indulge unto our own fancies and imaginations;--
they are not unaccountable raptures or ecstasies which are pretended
unto, nor such an artificial concatenation of thoughts as some
ignorant of these things do boast that they can give an account of.
Our love to Christ ariseth alone from the revelation that is made of
him in the Scripture is ingenerated, regulated, measured, and is to be
judged thereby.




Chapter XIV Motives unto the Love of Christ

 The motives unto this love of Christt is the last thing, on this head
of our religious respect unto him, that I shall speak unto.
 When God required of the church the first and highest act of
religion, the sole foundation of all others--namely, to take him as
their God, to own, believe, and trust in him alone as such, (which is
wholly due unto him for what he is, without any other consideration
whatever,)--yet he thought meet to add a motive unto the performance
of that duty from what he had done for them, Exod. 20: 2, 3. The sense
of the first command is, that we should take him alone for our God;
for he is so, and there is no other. But in the prescription of this
duty unto the church, he minds them of the benefits which they had
received from him in bringing them out of the house of bondage.
 God, in his wisdom and grace, ordereth all the causes and reasons of
our duty, so as that all the rational powers and faculties of our
souls may be exercised therein. Wherefore he does not only propose
himself unto us, nor is Christ merely proposed unto us as the proper
object of our affections, but he calls us also unto the consideration
of all those things that may satisfy our souls that it is the most
just, necessary, reasonable and advantageous course for us so to fix
our affections an him.
 And these considerations are taken from all that he did for us, with
the reasons and grounds why he did it. We love him principally and
ultimately for what he is; but nextly and immediately for what he did.
What he did for us is first proposed unto us, and it is that which our
souls are first affected withal. For they are originally acted in all
things by a sense of the want which they have, and a desire of the
blessedness which they have not. This directs them unto what he has
done for sinners; but that leads immediately unto the consideration of
what he is in himself. And when our love is fixed on him or his
person, then all those things wherewith, from a sense of our own wants
and desires, we were first affected, become motives unto the
confirming and increasing of that love. This is the constant method of
the Scripture; it first proposes unto us what the Lord Christ has done
for us, especially in the discharge of his sacerdotal office, in his
oblation and intercession, with the benefits which we receive thereby.
Hereby it leads us unto his person, and presseth the consideration of
all other things to engage our love unto him. See Phil. 2: 5-11, with
chap. 3: 8-11.
 Motives unto the love of Christ are so great, so many, so diffused
through the whole dispensation of God in him unto us, as that they can
by no hand be fully expressed, let it be allowed ever so much to
enlarge in the declaration of them; much less can they be represented
in that short discourse whereof but a very small part is allotted unto
their consideration--such as ours is at present. The studying, the
collection of them or so many of them as we are able, the meditation
on them and improvement of them, are among the principal duties of our
whole lives. What I shall offer is the reduction of them unto these
two heads: 1. The acts of Christ, which is the substance of them; and,
2. The spring and fountain of those acts, which is the life of them.
 1. In general they are all the acts of his mediatory office, with all
the fruits of them, whereof we are made partners. There is not any
thing that he did or does, in the discharge of his mediatory office,
from the first susception of it in his incarnation in the womb of the
blessed Virgin unto his present intercession in heaven, but is an
effectual motive unto the love of him; and as such is proposed unto us
in the Scripture. Whatever he did or does with or towards us in the
name of God, as the king and prophet of the church--whatever he did or
does with God for us, as our high priest--it all speaks this language
in the hearts of them that believe: O love the Lord Jesus in
sincerity.
 The consideration of what Christ thus did and does for us is
inseparable from that of the benefits which we receive thereby. A due
mixture of both these--of what he did for us, and what we obtain
thereby--compriseth the substance of these motives: "Who lotted me,
and gave himself for me"--"Who loved us, and washed us in his own
blood, and made us kings and priests unto God"--"For thou wast slain,
and hast bought us unto God with thy blood." And both these are of a
transcendent nature, requiring our love to be so also. Who is able to
comprehend the glory of the mediatory acting of the Son of God, in the
assumption of our nature--in what he did and suffered therein? And for
us, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can it enter into the heart
of man to conceive, what we receive thereby. The least benefit, and
that obtained by the least expense of trouble or charge, deserveth
love, and leaveth the brand of a crime where it is not so entertained.
What, then, do the greatest deserve, and thou procured by the greatest
expense even the price of the blood of the Son of God?
 If we have any faith concerning these things, it will produce love,
as that love will obedience. Whatever we profess concerning them, it
springs from tradition and opinion, and not from faith, if it engage
not our souls into the love of him. The frame of heart which ensues on
the real faith of these things is expressed, Ps. 103: 1-5, "Bless the
LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless
the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth
all thine iniquities; who health all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy
life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and
tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy
youth is renewed like the eagle's." Let men pretend what they will,
there needs no greater, no other evidence, to prove that any one does
not really believe the things that are reported in the gospel,
concerning the mediatory acting of Christ, or that he has no
experience in his own soul and conscience of the fruits and effects of
them, than this--that his heart is not engaged by them unto the most
ardent love towards his person.
 He is no Christian who lives not much in the meditation of the
mediation of Christ, and the especial acts of it. Some may more abound
in that work than others, as it is fixed, formed and regular; some may
be more able than others to dispose their thought concerning them into
method and order; some may be more diligent than others in the
observation of times for the solemn performance of this duty; some may
be able to rise to higher and clearer apprehensions of them than
others. But as for those, the bent of whose minds does not lie towards
thoughts of them--whose heath are not on all occasions retreating unto
the remembrance of them--who embrace not all opportunities to call
them over as they are able--on what grounds can they be esteemed
Christians? how do they live by the faith of the Son of God? Are the
great things of the Gospel, of the mediation of Christ, proposed unto
us, as those which we may think of when we have nothing else to do,
that we may meditate upon or neglect at our pleasure--as those wherein
our concernment is so small as that they must give place unto all
other occasions or diversions whatever? Nay; if our minds are not
filled with these things--if Christ does not dwell plentifully in our
heath by faith--if our souls are not possessed with them, and in their
whole inward frame and constitution so cut into this mould as to be
led by a natural complacency unto a converse with them--we are
strangers unto the life of faith. And if we are thus conversant about
these things, they will engage our hearts into the love of the person
of Christ. To suppose the contrary, is indeed to deny the truth and
reality of them all, and to turn the gospel into a fable.
 Take one instance from among the rest--namely, his death. Has he the
heart of a Christian, who does not often meditate on the death of his
Saviour, who does not derive his life from it? Who can look into the
Gospel and not fix on those lines which either immediately and
directly, or through some other paths of divine grace and wisdom, do
lead him thereunto? And can any have believing thoughts concerning the
death of Christ, and not have his heart affected with ardent love unto
his person? Christ in the Gospel "is evidently set forth, crucified"
before us. Can any by the eye of faith look on this bleeding, dying
Redeemer, and suppose love unto his person to be nothing but the work
of fancy or imagination? They know the contrary, who "always bear
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus," as the apostle speaks,
2 Cor. 4: 10. As his whole "name," in all that he did, is "as ointment
poured forth," for which "the virgins love him," Cant. 1: 3,--so this
precious perfume of his death is that wherewith their hearts are
ravished in a peculiar manner.
 Again: as there can be no faith in Christ where there is no love unto
him on the account of his mediatory acts; so, where it is not, the
want of it casteth persons under the highest guilt of ingratitude that
our nature is liable unto. The highest aggravation of the sin of
angels was their ingratitude unto their Maker. For why, by his mere
will and pleasure, they were stated in the highest excellency, pre-
eminence, and dignity, that he thought good to communicate unto any
creatures--or, it may be, that any mere created nature is capable of
in itself--they were unthankful for what they had so received from
undeserved goodness and bounty; and so cast themselves into
everlasting ruin. But yet the sin of men, in their ingratitude towards
Christ on the account of what he has done for them, is attended with
an aggravation above that of the angels. For although the angels were
originally instated in that condition of dignity which in this world
we cannot attain unto, yet were they not redeemed and recovered from
misery as we are.
 In all the crowd of evil and wicked men that the world is pestered
withal, there are none, by common consent, so stigmatised for unworthy
villainy, as those who are signally ungrateful for singular benefits.
If persons are unthankful unto them, if they have not the highest love
for them, who redeem them from ignominy and death, and instate them in
a plentiful inheritance, (if any such instances may be given,) and
that with the greatest expense of labour and charge,--mankind, without
any regret, does tacitly condemn them unto greater miseries than those
which they were delivered from. What, then, will be the condition of
them whose hearts are not so affected with the mediation of Christ and
the fruits of it, as to engage the best, the choicest of their
affections unto him! The gospel itself will be "a savour of death"
unto such ungrateful wretches.
 2. That which the Scripture principally insisteth on as the motive of
our love unto Christ, is his love unto us--which was the principle of
all his mediatory actings in our behalf.
 Love is that jewel of human nature which commands a valuation
wherever it is found. Let other circumstances be what they will,
whatever distances between persons may be made by them, yet real love,
where it is evidenced so to be, is not despised by any but such as
degenerate into profligate brutality. If it be so stated as that it
can produce no outward effects advantageous unto them that are
beloved, yet it commands a respect, as it were, whether we will or no,
and some return in its own kind. Especially it does so if it be
altogether undeserved, and so evidenceth itself to proceed from a
goodness of nature, and an inclination unto the good of them on whom
it is fixed. For, whereas the essential nature of love consisteth in
willing good unto them that are beloved--where the act of the will is
real, sincere, and constantly exercised, without any defect of it on
our part, no restraints can possibly be put upon our minds from going
out in some acts of love again upon its account, unless all their
faculties are utterly depraved by habits of brutish and filthy lusts.
But when this love, which is thus undeserved, does also abound in
effects troublesome and chargeable in them in whom it is, and highly
beneficial unto them on whom it is placed--if there be any such
affection left in the nature of any man, it will prevail unto a
reciprocal love. And all these things are found in the love of Christ,
unto that degree and height as nothing parallel unto it can be found
in the whole creation. I shall briefly speak of it under two general
heads.
 (1.) The sole spring of all the mediatory acting of Christ, both in
the susception of our nature and in all that he did and suffered
therein, was his own mere love and grace, working by pity and
compassion. It is true, he undertook this work principally with
respect unto the glory of God, and out of love unto him. But with
respect unto us, his only motive unto it was his abundant, overflowing
love. And this is especially remembered unto us in that instance
wherein it carried him through the greatest difficulties--namely, in
his death and the oblation of himself on our behalf, Gal. 2: 20; Eph.
5: 2, 25, 26; 1 John 3: 16; Rev. 1: 6, 6. This alone inclined the Son
of God to undertake the glorious work of our redemption, and carried
him through the death and dread which he underwent in the
accomplishment of it.
 Should I engage into the consideration of this love of Christ, which
was the great means of conveying all the effects of dine wisdom and
grace unto the church,--that glass which God chose to represent
himself and all his goodness in unto believers,--that spirit of life
in the wheel of all the motions of the person of Christ in the
redemption of the church unto the eternal glory of God, his own and
that of his redeemed also,--that mirror wherein the holy angels and
blessed saints shall for ever contemplate the divine excellencies in
their suitable operations;--I must now begin a discourse much larger
than that which I have passed through. But it is not suited unto my
present design so to do. For, considering the growing apprehensions of
many about the person of Christ, which are utterly destructive of the
whole nature of that love which we ascribe unto him, do I know how
soon a more distinct explication and defence of it may be called for.
And this cause will not be forsaken.
 They know nothing of the life and power of the gospel, nothing of the
reality of the grace of God, nor do they believe aright one article of
the Christian faith, whose hearts are not sensible of the love of
Christ herein; nor is he sensible of the love of Christ, whose
affections are not thereon drawn out unto him. I say, they make a
pageant of religion,--a fable for the theatre of the world, a business
of fancy and opinion,--whose hearts are not really affected with the
love of Christ, in the susception and discharge of the work of
mediation, so as to have real and spiritually sensible affections for
him. Men may babble things which they have learned by rote; they have
no real acquaintance with Christianity, who imagine that the placing
of the most intense affections of our souls on the person of Christ--
the loving him with all our hearts because of his love--our being
overcome thereby until we are sick of love--the constant motions of
our souls towards him with delight and adherence--are but fancies and
imaginations. I renounce that religion, be it whose it will, that
teacheth, insinuateth, or giveth countenance unto, such abominations.
That doctrine is as discrepant from the gospel as the Alkoran--as
contrary to the experience of believers as what is acted in and by the
devils which instructs men unto a contempt of the most fervent love
unto Christ, or casts reflections upon it. I had rather choose my
eternal lot and portion with the meanest believer, who, being
effectually sensible of the love of Christ, spends his days in
mourning that he can love him no more than he finds himself on his
utmost endeavours for the discharge of his duty to do, than with the
best of them, whose vain speculations and a false pretence of reason
puff them up unto a contempt of these things
 (2.) This love of Christ unto the church is singular in all those
qualifications which render love obliging unto reciprocal affections.
It is so in its reality. There can be no love amongst men, but will
derive something from that disorder which is in their affections in
their highest acting. But the love of Christ is pure and absolutely
free from any alloy. There cannot be the least suspicion of anything
of self in it. And it is absolutely undeserved. Nothing can be found
amongst men that can represent or exemplify its freedom from any
desert on our part. The most candid and ingenuous love amongst us is,
when we love another for his worth, excellency, and usefulness, though
we have no singular benefit of them ourselves; but not the least of
any of these things were found in them on whom he set his love, until
they were wrought in them, as effects of that love which he set upon
them.
 Men sometimes may rise up unto such a high degree and instance in
love, as that they will even die for one another; but then it must be
on a superlative esteem which they have of their worth and merit. It
may be, saith the apostle, treating of the love of Christ, and of God
in him, that "for a good man some would even dare to die," Rom. 5: 7.
It must be for a good man--one who is justly esteemed "commune bonum,"
a public good to mankind--one whose benignity is ready to exercise
loving-kindness on all occasions, which is the estate of a good man;--
peradventure some would even dare to die for such a man. This is the
height of what love among men can rise unto; and if it has been
instanced in any, it has been accompanied with an open mixture of
vain-glory and desire of renown. But the Lord Christ placed his love
on us, that love from whence he died for us, when we were sinners and
ungodly; that is, every thing which might render us unamiable and
undeserving. Though we were as deformed as sin could render us, and
more deeply indebted than the whole creation could pay or answer, yet
did he fix his love upon us, to free us from that condition, and to
render us meet for the most intimate society with himself. Never was
there love which had such effects--which cost him so dear in whom it
was, and proved so advantageous unto them on whom it was placed. In
the pursuit of it he underwent everything that is evil in his own
person, and we receive everything that is good in the favour of God
and eternal blessedness.
 On the account of these things, the apostle ascribes a constraining
power unto the love of Christ, 2 Cor. 5: 14. And if it constrains us
unto any return unto him, it does so unto that of love in the first
place. For no suitable return can be made for love but love, at least
not without it. As love cannot be purchased--"For if a man would give
all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be
condemned," Cant. 8: 7,--so if a man would give all the world for a
requital of love, without love it would be despised. To fancy that all
the love of Christ unto us consists in the precepts and promises of
the gospel, and all our love unto him in the observance of his
commands, without a real love in him unto our persons, like that of a
"husband unto a wife," Eph 5: 25, 26, or a holy affection in our
hearts and minds unto his person, is to overthrow the whole power of
religions to despoil it of its life and soul, leaving nothing but the
carcass of it.
 This love unto Christ, and unto God in him, because of his love unto
us, is the principal instance of divine love, the touchstone of its
reality and sincerity. Whatever men may boast of their affectionate
endearments unto the divine goodness, if it be not founded in a sense
of this love of Christ, and the love of God in him, they are but empty
notions they nourish withal, and their deceived hearts feed upon
ashes. It is in Christ alone that God is declared to be love; without
an apprehension whereof none can love him as they ought. In him alone
that infinite goodness, which is the peculiar object of divine love,
is truly represented unto us, without any such deceiving phantasm as
the workings of fancy or depravation of reason may impose upon us. And
on him does the saving communication of all the effects of it depend.
And an infinite condescension is it in the holy God, so to express his
"glory in the face of Jesus Christ," or to propose himself as the
object of our love in and through him. For considering our weakness as
to an immediate comprehension of the infinite excellencies of the
divine nature, or to bear the rays of his resplendent glory, seeing
none can see his face and live, it is the most adorable effect of
divine wisdom and grace, that we are admitted unto the contemplation
of them in the person of Jesus Christ.
 There is yet farther evidence to be given of this love unto the
person of Christ, from all those blessed effects of it which are
declared in the Scripture, and whereof believers have the experience
in themselves. But something I have spoken concerning them formerly,
in my discourse about communion with God; and the nature of the
present design will not admit of enlargement upon them.




Chapter XV. Conformity unto Christ, and Following his Example

 III. The third thing proposed to declare the use of the person of
Christ in religion, is that conformity which is required of us unto
him. This is the great design and projection of all believers. Every
one of them has the idea or image of Christ in his mind, in the eye of
faith, as it is represented unto him in the glass of the gospel: "Ten
doxan Kuriou kataptrizomenoi k. t. l., 2 Cor. 3: 18. We behold his
glory "in a glass," which implants the image of it on our minds. And
hereby the mind is transformed into the same image, made like unto
Christ so represented unto us--which is the conformity we speak of.
Hence every true believer has his heart under the conduct of an
habitual inclination and desire to be like unto Christ. And it were
easy to demonstrate, that where this is not, there is neither faith
nor love. Faith will cast the soul into the form or frame of the thing
believed, Rom. 6: 17. And all sincere love worketh an assimilation.
Wherefore the best evidence of a real principle of the life of God in
any soul--of the sincerity of faith, love, and obedience--is an
internal cordial endeavour, operative on all occasions, after
conformity unto Jesus Christ.
 There are two parts of the duty proposed. The first respects the
internal grace and holiness of the human nature of Christ; the other,
his example in duties of obedience. And both of them--both materially
as to the things wherein they consist, and formally as they were his
or in him--belong unto the constitution of a true disciple.
 In the first place, Internal conformity unto his habitual grace and
holiness is the fundamental design of a Christian life. That which is
the best without it is a pretended imitation of his example in outward
duties of obedience. I call it pretended, because where the first
design is wanting, it is no more but so; nor is it acceptable to
Christ nor approved by him. And therefore an attempt unto that end has
often issued in formality, hypocrisy, and superstition. I shall
therefore lay down the grounds of this design, the nature of it, and
the means of its pursuit.
 1. God, in the human nature of Christ, did perfectly renew that
blessed image of his on our nature which we lost in Adam, with an
addition of many glorious endowments which Adam was not made partaker
of. God did not renew it in his nature as though that portion of it
whereof he was partaker had ever been destitute or deprived of it, as
it is with the same nature in all other persons. For he derived not
his nature from Adam in the same way that we do; nor was he ever in
Adam as the public representative of our nature, as we were. But our
nature in him had the image of God implanted in it, which was lost and
separated from the same nature in all other instances of its
subsistence. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness
dwell,"--that he should be "full of grace and truth," and "in all
things have the pre-eminence." But of these gracious endowments of the
human nature of Christ I have discoursed elsewhere.
 2. One end of God in filling the human nature of Christ with all
grace, in implanting his glorious image upon it, was, that he might in
him propose an example of what he would by the same grace renew us
unto, and what we ought in a way of duty to labour after. The fulness
of grace was necessary unto the human nature of Christ, from its
hypostatical union with the Son of God. For whereas therein the
"fulness of the godhead dwelt in him bodily," it became "to hagion", a
" holy thing," Luke 1: 35. It was also necessary unto him, as unto his
own obedience in the flesh, wherein he fulfilled all righteousness,
"did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth," 1 Peter 2: 22. And
it was so unto the discharge of the office he undertook; for "such an
high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate
from sinners," Heb. 7: 26. Howbeit, the infinite wisdom of God had
this farther design in it also,--namely, that he might be the pattern
and example of the renovation of the image of God in us, and of the
glory that does ensue thereon. He is in the eye of God as the idea of
what he intends in use in the communication of grace and glory; and he
ought to be so in ours, as unto all that we aim at in a way of duty.
 He has "predestinated us to be conformed unto the image of his Son,
that he might be the first-born among many brethren," Rom. 8: 29. In
the collation of all grace on Christ, God designed to make him "the
first born of many brethren;" that is, not only to give him the power
and authority of the firstborn, with the trust of the whole
inheritance to be communicated unto them, but also as the example of
what he would bring them unto. "For both he that sanctifieth and they
that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed
to call them brethren," Heb. 2: 11. It is Christ who sanctifieth
believers; yet is it from God, who first sanctified him, that he and
they might be of one, and so become brethren, as bearing the image of
the same Father. God designed and gave unto Christ grace and glory;
and he did it that he might be the prototype of what he designed unto
us, and would bestow upon us. Hence the apostle shows that the effect
of this predestination to conformity unto the image of the Son is the
communication of all effectual, saving grace, with the glory that
ensues thereon, Rom. 8: 30, "Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them
he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom
he justified, them he also glorified."
 The great design of God in his grace is, that as we have borne the
"image of the first Adam" in the depravation of our natures, so we
should bear the "image of the second" in their renovation. "As we have
borne the image of the earthy," so "we shall bear the image of the
heavenly," 1 Cor. 15: 49. And as he is the pattern of all our graces,
so he is of glory also. All our glory will consist in our being "made
like unto him;" which, what it is, does not as yet appear, 1 John 3:
2. For "he shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like
unto his glorious body," Phil. 3: 21. Wherefore the fulness of grace
was bestowed on the human nature of Christ, and the image of God
gloriously implanted thereon, that it might be the prototype and
example of what the church was through him to be made partaker of.
That which God intends for us in the internal communication of his
grace, and in the use of all the ordinances of the church, is, that we
may come unto the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,"
Eph 4: 13. There is a fullness of all grace in Christ. Hereunto are we
to be brought, according to the measure that is designed unto every
one of us. "For unto every one of us is given grace, according to the
measure of the gift of Christ," verse 7. He has, in his sovereign
grace, assigned different measures unto those on whom he does bestow
it. And therefore it is called "the stature", because as we grow
gradually unto it, as men do unto their just stature; so there is a
variety in what we attain unto, as there is in the statures of men,
who are yet all perfect in their proportion.
 3. This image of God in Christ is represented unto us in the Gospel.
Being lost from our nature, it was utterly impossible we should have
any just comprehension of it. There could be no steady notion of the
image of God, until it was renewed and exemplified in the human nature
of Christ. And thereon, without the knowledge of him, the wisest of
men have taken those things to render men most like unto God which
were adverse unto him. Such were the most of those things which the
heathens adored as heroic virtues. But being perfectly exemplified in
Christ, it is now plainly represented unto us in the gospel. Therein
with open face we behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and
are changed into the same image, 2 Cor. 3: 18. The veil being taken
away from divine revelations by the doctrine of the gospel and from
our hearts "by the Lord the Spirit," we behold the image of God in
Christ with open face, which is the principal means of our being
transformed into it. The gospel is the declaration of Christ unto us,
and the glory of God in him; as unto many other ends, so in especial,
that we might in him behold and contemplate that image of God we are
gradually to be renewed into. Hence, we are so therein to learn the
truth as it is in Jesus, as to be "renewed in the spirit of our mind,"
and to "put on the new man, which after God is created in
righteousness and true holiness," Eph 4: 20, 23, 24,--that is,
"renewed after the image of him who created him," Col. 3: 10.
 4. It is, therefore, evident that the life of God in us consists in
conformity unto Christ; nor is the Holy Spirit, as the principal and
efficient cause of it, given unto us for any other end but to unite us
unto him, and make us like him. Wherefore, the original gospel duty,
which animates and rectifies all others, is a design for conformity
unto Christ in all the gracious principles and qualifications of his
holy soul, wherein the image of God in him does consist. As he is the
prototype and exemplar in the eye of God for the communication of act
grace unto us, so he ought to be the great example in the eye of our
faith in all our obedience unto God, in our compliance with all that
he requireth of us.
 God himself, or the divine nature in its holy perfections, is the
ultimate object and idea of our transformation in the renewing of our
minds. And, therefore, under the Old Testament, before the incarnation
of the Son, he proposed his own holiness immediately as the pattern of
the church: "Be ye holy, for the Lord your God is holy," Lev. 11: 44;
19:2; 20:26. But the law made nothing perfect. For to complete this
great injunction, there was yet wanting an express example of the
holiness required; which is not given us but in him who is "the
first-born, the image of the invisible God."
 There was a notion, even among the philosophers, that the principal
endeavour of a wise man was to be like unto God. But in the
improvement of it, the best of them fell into foolish and proud
imaginations. Howbeit, the notion itself was the principal beam of our
primigenial light, the best relic of our natural perfections; and
those who are not some way under the power of a design to be like unto
God are every way like unto the devil. But those persons who had
nothing but the absolute essential properties of the divine nature to
contemplate on in the light of reason, failed all of them, both in the
notion itself of conformity unto God, and especially in the practical
improvement of it. Whatever men may fancy to the contrary, it is the
design of the apostle, in sundry places of his writings, to prove that
they did so, especially Rom. 1; 1 Cor. 1. Wherefore, it was an
infinite condescension of divine wisdom and grace, gloriously to
implant that image of him which we are to endeavour conformity unto in
the human nature of Christ, and then so fully to represent and propose
it unto us in the revelation of the Gospel.
 The infinite perfections of God, considered absolutely in themselves,
are accompanied with such an incomprehensible glory as it is hard to
conceive how they are the object of our imitation. But the
representation that is made of them in Christ, as the image of the
invisible God, is so suited to the renewed faculties of our souls, so
congenial unto the new creature or the gracious principle of spiritual
life in us, that the mind can dwell on the contemplation of them, and
be thereby transformed into the same image.
 Herein lies much of the life and power of Christian religion, as it
resides in the souls of men. This is the prevailing design of the
minds of them that truly believe the Gospel; they would in all things
be like unto Jesus Christ. And I shall briefly show (1.) What is
required hereunto; and, (2.) What is to be done in a way of duty for
the attaining that end.
 (1.) A spiritual light, to discern the beauty, glory, and amiableness
of grace in Christ, is required hereunto. We can have no real design
of conformity unto him, unless we have their eyes who "beheld his
glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth," John 1: 14. Nor is it enough that we seem to discern the glory
of his person, unless we see a beauty and excellency in every grace
that is in him. "Learn of me," saith he; "for I am meek and lowly in
heart," Matt. 11: 29. If we are not able to discern an excellency in
meekness and lowliness of heart, (as they are things generally
despised,) how shall we sincerely endeavour after conformity unto
Christ in them? The like may be said of all his other gracious
qualifications. His zeal, his patience, his self-denial, his readiness
for the cross, his love unto his enemies, his benignity to all
mankind, his faith and fervency in prayer, his love to God, his
compassion towards the souls of men, his unweariedness in doing good,
his purity, his universal holiness;--unless we have a spiritual light
to discern the glory and amiableness of them all, as they were in him,
we speak in vain of any design for conformity unto him. And this we
have not, unless God shine into our hearts to give us the light of the
knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. It is, I say, a
foolish thing to talk of the imitation of Christ, whilst really,
through the darkness of our minds, we discern not that there is an
excellency in the things wherein we ought to be like unto him.
 (2.) Love unto them so discovered in a beam of heavy light, is
required unto the same end. No soul can have a design of conformity
unto Christ but his who so likes and loves the graces that were in
him, as to esteem a participation of them in their power to be the
greatest advantage, to be the most invaluable privilege, that can in
this world be attained. It is the favour of his good ointments for
which the virgins love him, cleave unto him, and endeavour to be like
him. In that whereof we now discourse--namely, of conformity unto him-
-he is the representative of the image of God unto us. And, if we do
not love and prize above all things those gracious qualifications and
dispositions of mind wherein it does consist, whatever we may pretend
of the imitation of Christ in any outward acts or duties of obedience,
we have no design of conformity unto him. He who sees and admires the
glory of Christ as filled with these graces as he "was fairer than the
children of men," because "grace was poured into his lips" unto whom
nothing is so desirable as to have the same mind, the same heart, the
same spirit that was in Christ Jesus--is prepared to press after
conformity unto him. And unto such a soul the representation of all
these excellencies in the person of Christ is the great incentive,
motive, and guide, in and unto all internal obedience unto God.
 Lastly, That wherein we are to labour for this conformity may be
reduced unto two heads.
 [1.] An opposition unto all sin, in the root, principle, and most
secret springs of it, or original cleavings unto our nature. He "did
no sin, neither was there any guile found in his mouth." He "was holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners". He was the "Lamb of God,
without spot or blemish;" like unto us, yet without sin. Not the least
tincture of sin did ever make an approach unto his holy nature. He was
absolutely free from every drop of that fomes which has invaded us in
our depraved condition. Wherefore, to be freed from all sin, is the
first general part of an endeavour for conformity unto Christ. And
although we cannot perfectly attain hereunto in this life, as we have
"not already attained, nor are already perfect," yet he who groaneth
not in himself after it--who does not loathe every thing that is of
the remainder of sin in him and himself for it--who does not labour
after its absolute and universal extirpation--has no sincere design of
conformity unto Christ, nor can so have. He who endeavours to be like
him, must "purify himself, even as he is pure." Thoughts of the purity
of Christ, in his absolute freedom from the least tincture of sin,
will not suffer a believer to be negligent, at any time, for the
endeavouring the utter ruin of that which makes him unlike unto him.
And it is a blessed advantage unto faith, in the work of mortification
of sin, that we have such a pattern continually before us.
 [2] The due improvement of, and continual growth, in every grace, is
the other general part of this duty. In the exercise of his own
all-fulness of grace, both in moral duties of obedience and the
especial duties of his office, did the glory of Christ on the earth
consist. Wherefore, to abound in the exercise of every grace to grow
in the root and thrive in the fruit of them--is to be conformed unto
the image of the Son of God.
 Secondly, The following the example of Christ in all duties towards
God and men, in his whole conversation on the earth, is the second
part of the instance now given concerning the use of the person of
Christ in religion. The field is large which here lies before us, and
filled with numberless blessed instances. I cannot here enter into it;
and the mistakes that have been in a pretence unto it, require that it
should be handled distinctly and at large by itself; which, if God
will, may be done in due time. One or two general instances wherein he
was most eminently our example, shall close this discourse.
 1. His meekness, lowliness of mind, condescension unto all sorts of
persons--his love and kindness unto mankind--his readiness to do good
unto all, with patience and forbearance--are continually set before us
in his example. I place them all under one head, as proceeding all
from the same spring of divine goodness, and having effects of the
same nature. With respect unto them, it is required that "the same
mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus," Phil. 2: 6; and that we "walk
in love, as he also loved us," Eph 5: 2.
 In these things was he the great representative of the divine
goodness unto us. In the acting of these graces on all occasions did
he declare and manifest the nature of God, from whom he came. And this
was one end of his exhibition in the flesh. Sin had filled the world
with a representation of the devil and his nature, in mutual hatred,
strife, variance, envy, wrath, pride, fierceness, and rage, against
one another; all which are of the old murderer. The instances of a
cured, of a contrary frame, were obscure and weak in the best of the
saints of old. But in our Lord Jesus the light of the glory of God
herein first shone upon the world. In the exercise of these graces,
which he most abounded in, because the sins, weaknesses and
infirmities of men gave continual occasion thereunto, did he represent
the divine nature as love--as infinitely good, benign, merciful, and
patient--delighting in the exercise of these its holy properties. In
them was the Lord Christ our example in an especial manner. And they
do in vain pretend to be his disciples, to be followers of him, who
endeavour not to order the whole course of their lives in conformity
unto him in these things.
 One Christian who is meek, humble, kind, patient, and useful unto
all; that condescends to the ignorance, weaknesses and infirmities of
others; that passeth by provocations, injuries, contempt, with
patience and with silence, unless where the glory and truth of God
call for a just vindication; that pitieth all sorts of men in their
failings and miscarriages, who is free from jealousies and evil
surmises; that loveth what is good in all men, and all men even
wherein they are not good, nor do good,--doth more express the virtues
and excellencies of Christ than thousands can do with the most
magnificent works of piety or charity, where this frame is wanting in
them. For men to pretend to follow the example of Christ, and in the
meantime to be proud, wrathful envious, bitterly zealous, calling for
fire from heaven to destroy men, or fetching it themselves from hell,
is to cry, "Hail unto him," and to crucify him afresh unto their
power.
 2. Self-denial, readiness for the cross, with patience in sufferings,
are the second sort of things which he calls all his disciples to
follow his example in. It is the fundamental law of his gospel, that
if any one will be his disciple, "he must deny himself, take up his
cross, and follow him." These things in him, as they are all of them
summarily represented, Phil. 2: 5-8, by reason of the glory of his
person and the nature of his sufferings, are quite of another kind
than that we are called unto. But his grace in them all is our only
pattern in what is required of us. "Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps: who, when he
was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not,"
1 Pet. 2: 21-23. Hence are we called to look unto "Jesus, the author
and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him,
endured the cross, and despised the shame." For we are to "consider
him, who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself," that
we faint not, Heb. 12: 3. Blessed be God for this example--for the
glory of the condescension, patience, faith, and endurance, of Jesus
Christ, in the extremity of all sorts of sufferings. This has been the
pole-star of the church in all its storms; the guide, the comfort,
supportment and encouragement of all those holy souls, who, in their
several generations, have in various degrees undergone persecution for
righteousness' sake, and yet continueth so to be unto them who are in
the same condition.
 And I must say, as I have done on some other occasions in the
handling of this subject, that a discourse on this one instance of the
use of Christ in religion--from the consideration of the person who
suffered, and set us this example; of the principle from whence, and
the end for which, he did it; of the variety of evils of all sorts he
had to conflict withal; of his invincible patience under them all, and
immovableness of love and compassion unto mankind, even his
persecutors; the dolorous afflictive circumstances of his sufferings
from God and men; the blessed efficacious workings of his faith and
trust in God unto the uttermost; with the glorious issue of the whole,
and the influence of all these considerations unto the consolation and
supportment of the church--would take up more room and time than what
is allotted unto the whole of that whereof it is here the least part.
I shall leave the whole under the shade of that blessed promise, "If
so be that we suffer with him, we may be also glorified together; for
I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us," Rom. 8: 17,18.

 IV. The last thing proposed concerning the person of Christ, was the
use of it unto believers, in the whole of their relation unto God and
duty towards him. And the things belonging thereunto may be reduced
unto these general heads:--
 1. Their sanctification, which consisteth in these four things: (1.)
The mortification of sin, (2.) The gradual renovation of our natures,
(3.) Assistances in actual obedience, (4.) The same in temptations and
trials.
 2. Their justification, with its concomitants and consequent; as--
(1.) Adoption, (2.) Peace, (3.) Consolation and joy in life and death,
(4.) Spiritual gifts, unto the edification of themselves and others,
(5.) A blessed resurrection, (6.) Eternal glory.
 There are other things which also belong hereunto: as their guidance
in the course of their conversation in this world, direction unto
usefulness in all states and conditions, patient waiting for the
accomplishment of God's promises to the church, the communication of
federal blessings unto their families, and the exercise of
loving-kindness towards mankind in general, with sundry other
concernments of the life of faith of the like importance; but they may
be all reduced unto the general heads proposed.
 What should have been spoken with reference unto these things belongs
unto these three heads:--
 1st, A declaration that all these things are wrought in and
communicated unto believers, according to their various natures, by an
emanation of grace and power from the person of Jesus Christ, as the
head of the church--as he who is exalted and made a Prince and a
Saviour, to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins.
 2dly, A declaration of the way and manner how believers do live upon
Christ in the exercise of faith, whereby, according to the promise and
appointment of God, they derive from him the whole grace and mercy
whereof in this world they are made partakers, and are established in
the expectation of what they shall receive hereafter by his power. And
that two things do hence ensue: (1st,) The necessity of universal
evangelical obedience, seeing it is only in and by the duties of it
that faith is, or can be, kept in a due exercise unto the ends
mentioned. (2dly,) That believers do hereby increase continually with
the increase of God, and grow up into him who is the head, until they
become the fulness of him who fills all in all.
 3dly, A conviction that a real interest in, and participation of,
these things cannot be obtained any other way but by the actual
exercise of faith on the person of Jesus Christ.
 These things were necessary to be handled at large with reference
unto the end proposed. But, for sundry reasons, the whole of this
labour is here declined. For some of the particulars mentioned I have
already insisted on in other discourses heretofore published, and that
with respect unto the end here designed. And this argument cannot be
handled as it does deserve, unto full satisfaction, without an entire
discourse concerning the life of faith; which my present design will
not admit of.



Chapter XVI. An humble Inquiry into, and Prospect of, the infinite
Wisdom of God, in the Constitution of the Person of Christ, and the
Way of Salvation thereby

 From the consideration of the things before insisted on, we may
endeavour, according unto our measure, to take a view of, and humbly
adore, the infinite wisdom of God, in the holy contrivance of this
great "mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh." As it is a
spiritual, evangelical mystery, it is an effect of divine wisdom, in
the redemption and salvation of the church, unto the eternal glory of
God; and as it is a "great mystery," so it is the mystery of the
"manifold wisdom of God," Eph. 3: 9,--that is, of infinite wisdom
working in great variety of acting and operations, suited unto, and
expressive of, its own infinite fulness: for herein were "all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge" laid up, and laid out, Col. 2: 3.
An argument this is, in some parts whereof divers of the ancient
writes of the church have laboured, some occasionally, and some with
express design. I shall insist only on those things which Scripture
light leads us directly unto. The depths of divine wisdom in this
glorious work are hid from the eyes of all living. "God [alone]
understandeth the way thereof; and he knoweth the place thereof;" as
he speaks, Job 28: 21, 23. Yet is it so glorious in its effects, that
"destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our
ears," verse 22. The fame and report of this Divine wisdom reach even
unto hell. Those who eternally perish shall hear a fame of this
wisdom, in the glorious effects of it towards the blessed souls above,
though some of them would not believe it here in the light of the
Gospel, and none of them can understand it there, in their everlasting
darkness. Hence the report which they have of the wisdom is an
aggravation of their misery.
 These depths we may admire and adore, but we cannot comprehend: "For
who has known the mind of the Lord herein, or with whom took he
counsel?" Concerning the original causes of his counsels in this great
mystery we can only say, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his
ways past finding out." This alone is left unto us in the way of duty,
that in the effects of them we should contemplate on their excellency,
so as to give glory to God, and live in a holy admiration of his
wisdom and grace. For to give glory unto him, and admire him, is our
present duty, until he shall come eternally "to be glorified in his
saints, and to be admired in all them that believe," 2 Thess. 1:10.
 We can do no more but stand at the shore of this ocean, and adore its
unsearchable depths. What is delivered from them by divine revelation
we may receive as pearls of price, to enrich and adorn our souls. For
"the secret things belong unto the LORD our God, but those things
which are revealed belong unto us," that we may do "the words of this
law," Deut. 29: 29. We shall not, therefore, in our inquiry into this
great mystery, intrude ourselves into the things which we have not
seen, but only endeavour a right understanding of what is revealed
concerning it. For the end of all divine revelations is our knowledge
of the things revealed, with our obedience thereon; and unto this end
things revealed do belong unto us.
 Some things in general are to be premised unto our present inquiry.
 1. We can have no view or due prospect of the wisdom of God in any of
his works, much less in this of "sending his Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh," or the constitution of his person, and the work of
redemption to be accomplished thereby, unless we consider also the
interest of the other holy properties of the divine nature in them.
Such are his holiness, his righteousness, his sovereign authority, his
goodness, love, and grace.
 There are three excellencies of the divine nature principally to be
considered in all the external works of God. (1.) His Goodness, which
is the communicative property thereof. This is the eternal fountain
and spring of all divine communications. Whatever is good in and unto
any creature, is an emanation from divine goodness. "He is good, and
he does good." That which acts originally in the divine nature, unto
the communication of itself in any blessed or gracious effects unto
the creatures, is goodness. (2.) Wisdom, which is the directive power
or excellency of the divine nature. Hereby God guides, disposes,
orders, and directs all things unto his own glory, in and by their own
immediate proper ends, Prov. 16: 4; Rev. 4: 11. (3.) Power, which is
the effective excellency of the divine nature, effecting and
accomplishing what wisdom does design and order.
 Whereas wisdom, therefore, is that holy excellency or power of the
Divine Being, wherein God designs, and whereby he effects, the glory
of all the other properties of his nature, we cannot trace the paths
of it in any work of God, unless we know the interest and concernment
of those other properties in that work. For that which wisdom
principally designs, is the glorification of them. And unto this end
the effective property of the divine nature, which is almighty power,
always accompanies, or is subservient unto, the directive or infinite
wisdom, which is requisite unto perfection in operation. What infinite
goodness will communicate ad extra--what it will open the eternal
fountain of the Divine Being and all sufficiency to give forth--that
infinite wisdom designs, contrives, and directs to the glory of God;
and what wisdom so designs, infinite power effects. See Isa. 40:
13-15,17, 28.
 2. We can have no apprehensions of the interest of the other
properties of the divine nature in this great mystery of godliness,
whose glory was designed in infinite wisdom, without the consideration
of that state and condition of our own wherein they are so concerned.
That which was designed unto the eternal glory of God in this great
work of the incarnation of his Son, was the redemption of mankind, or
the recovery and salvation of the church. What has been disputed by
some concerning it, without respect unto the sin of man and the
salvation of the church, is curiosity, and indeed presumptuous folly.
The whole Scripture constantly assigneth this sole end of that effect
of divine goodness and wisdom; yea, asserts it as the only foundation
of the Gospel, John 3: 16. Wherefore, unto a due contemplation of
divine wisdom in it, it is necessary we should consider what is the
nature of sin, especially of that first sin, wherein our original
apostasy from God did consist--what was the condition of mankind
thereon--what is the concernment of the holy God therein, on the
account of the blessed properties of his nature--what way was suited
unto our recovery, that God might be glorified in them all. Without a
previous consideration of these things, we can have no due conceptions
of the wisdom of God in this glorious work which we inquire after.
Wherefore I shall so far speak of them, that, if it be the will of
God, the minds of those who read and consider them may be opened and
prepared to give admittance unto some rays of that divine wisdom in
this glorious work, the lustre of whose full light we are not able in
this world to behold.
 When there was a visible pledge of the presence of God in the "bush
that burned" and was not consumed, Moses said he "would turn aside to
see that great sight," Exod. 3: 3. And this great representation of
the glory of God being made and proposed unto us, it is certainly our
duty to divert from all other occasions unto the contemplation of it.
But as Moses was then commanded to put off his shoes, the place
whereon he stood being holy ground, so it will be the wisdom of him
that writes, and of them that read, to divest themselves of all carnal
affections and imaginations, that they may draw nigh unto this great
object of faith with due reverence and fear.
 The first thing we are to consider, in order unto the end proposed,
is--the nature of our sin and apostasy from God. For from thence we
must learn the concernment of the divine excellencies of God in this
work. And there are three things that were eminent therein:--
 (1.) A reflection on the honour of the holiness and wisdom of God, in
the rejection of his image. He had newly made man in his own image.
And this work he so expresseth as to intimate a peculiar effect of
divine wisdom in it, whereby it was distinguished from all other
external works of creation whatever, Gen. 1: 26, 27, "And God said,
Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God created he him." Nowhere is
there such an emphasis of expression concerning any work of God. And
sundry things are represented as peculiar therein.
 [1st,] That the word of consultation and that of execution are
distinct. In all other works of creation, the word of determination
and execution was the same. When he created light--which seems to be
the beauty and glory of the whole creation--he only said, "Let there
be light; and there was light," Gen. 1: 3. So was it with all other
things. But when he comes unto the creation of man, another process is
proposed unto our faith. These several words are distinct, not in
time, but in nature. "God said, Let us make man in our image and
likeness;" and thereon it is added distinctly, as the execution of
that antecedent counsel, "So God made man in his own image." This puts
a signal eminency on this work of God.
 [2dly,] A distinct, peculiar concernment of all the persons of the
holy Trinity, in their consultation and operation, is in like manner
proposed unto us: "And God said, Let us make man." The truth hereof I
have sufficiently evinced elsewhere, and discovered the vanity of all
other glosses and expositions. The properties of the divine nature
principally and originally considerable, in all external operations,
(as we have newly observed,) are goodness, wisdom, and power. In this
great work, divine goodness exerted itself eminently and effectually
in the person of the Father--the eternal fountain and spring, as of
the divine nature, so of all divine operations. Divine wisdom acted
itself peculiarly in the person of the Son; this being the principal
notion thereof--the eternal Wisdom of the Father. Divine power wrought
effectually in the person of the Holy Spirit; who is the immediate
actor of all divine operations.
 [3dly,] The proposition of the effecting this work, being by way of
consultation, represents it a signal effect of infinite wisdom. These
expressions are used to lead us unto the contemplation of that wisdom.
 Thus, "God made man in his own image;" that is, in such a rectitude
of nature as represented his righteousness and holiness--in such a
state and condition as had a reflection on it of his power and rule.
The former was the substance of it--the latter a necessary consequent
thereof. This representation, I say, of God, in power and rule, was
not that image of God wherein man was created, but a consequent of it.
So the words and their order declare: "Let us make man in our image,
and after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of
the sea," &c. Because he was made in the image of God, this dominion
and rule were granted unto him. So fond is their imagination, who
would have the image of God to consist solely in these things.
Wherefore, the loss of the image of God was not originally the loss of
power and dominion, or a right thereunto; but man was deprived of that
right, on the loss of that image which it was granted unto. Wherein it
did consist, see Eccles. 7: 29; Eph 4: 24,
 Three things God designed in this communication of his image unto our
nature, which were his principal ends in the creation of all things
here below; and therefore was divine wisdom more eminently exerted
therein than in all the other works of this inferior creation.
 The first was, that he might therein make a reprehension of his
holiness and righteousness among his creatures. This was not done in
any other of them. Characters they had on them of his goodness,
wisdom, and power. In these things the "heavens declare the glory of
God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work." His eternal power and
godhead are manifest in the things that are made; but none of them,
not the whole fabric of heaven and earth, with all their glorious
ornaments and endowments, were either fit or able to receive any
impressions of his holiness and righteousness of any of the moral
perfections or universal rectitude of his nature. Yet, in the
demonstration and representation of these things does the glory of God
principally consist. Without them, he could not be known and glorified
as God. Wherefore he would have an image and representation of them in
the creation here below. And this he will always have, so long as he
will be worshipped by any of his creatures. And therefore, when it was
lost in Adam, it was renewed in Christ, as has been declared.
 The second was, that it might be a means of rendering actual glory
unto him from all other parts of the creation. Without this, which is
as the animating life and form of the whole, the other creatures are
but as a dead thing. They could not any way declare the glory of God,
but passively and objectively. They were as an harmonious, well-tuned
instrument, which gives no sound unless there be a skilful hand to
move and act it. What is light, if there be no eye to see it? Or what
is music, if there be no ear to hear it? How glorious and beautiful
soever any of the works of creation appear to be, from impressions of
divine power, wisdom, and goodness on them; yet, without this image of
God in man, there was nothing here below to understand God in them--to
glorify God by them. This alone is that whereby, in a way of
admiration, obedience, and praise, we were enabled to render unto God
all the glory which he designed from those works of his power.
 The third was, that it might be a means to bring man unto that
eternal enjoyment of Himself, which he was fitted for and designed
unto. For this was to be done in a way of obedience;--"Do this and
live," was that rule of it which the nature of God and man, with their
mutual relation unto one another, did require. But we were made meet
for this obedience, and enabled unto it, only by virtue of this image
of God implanted in our natures. It was morally a power to live unto
God in obedience, that we might come to the enjoyment of him in glory.
 Evident it is that these were the principal ends of God in the
creation of all things. Wherefore this constitution of our nature, and
the furnishment of it with the image of God, was the most eminent
effect of infinite wisdom in all the outward works of the divine
nature.
 (2.) In the entrance of sin, and by apostasy from God, man
voluntarily rejected and defaced this blessed representation of the
righteousness and holiness of God--this great effect of his goodness
and wisdom, in its tendency unto his eternal glory, and our enjoyment
of him. No greater dishonour could be done unto him--no endeavour
could have been more pernicious in casting contempt on his counsel.
For as his holiness, which was represented in that image, was
despoiled, so we did what lay in us to defeat the contrivance of his
wisdom. This will be evident by reflecting on the ends of it now
mentioned. For--
 [1.] Hereon there remained nothing, in all the creation here below,
whereby any representation might be made of God's holiness and
righteousness, or any of the moral perfections of his nature. How
could it be done, this image being lost out of the world? The brute,
inanimate part of the creation, however stupendously great in its
matter and glorious in its outward form, was no way capable of it. The
nature of man under the loss of this image--fallen, depraved,
polluted, and corrupted--gives rather a representation and image of
Satan than of God. Hence--instead of goodness, love, righteousness,
holiness, peace, all virtues usefully communicative and effective of
the good of the whole race of mankind, which would have been effects
of this image of Gods and representatives of his nature--the whole
world, from and by the nature of man, is filled with envy, malice,
revenge, cruelty, oppression, and all engines of promoting self,
whereunto man is wholly turned, as fallen off from God. He that would
learn the divine nature, from the representation that is made of it in
the present acting of the nature of man, will be gradually led unto
the devil instead of God. Wherefore no greater indignity could be
offered unto divine wisdom and holiness, than there was in this
rejection of the image of God wherein we were created.
 [2.] There was no way left whereby glory might redound unto God from
the remainder of the creation here below. For the nature of man alone
was designed to be the way and means of it, by virtue of the image of
God implanted on it. Wherefore man by sin did not only draw off
himself from that relation unto God wherein he was made, but drew off
the whole creation here below with himself into a uselessness unto his
glory. And upon the entrance of sin, before the cure of our apostasy
was actually accomplished, the generality of mankind divided the
creatures into two sorts--those above, or the heavenly bodies, and
those here below. Those of the first sort they worshipped as their
gods; and those of the other sort they abused unto their lusts.
Wherefore God was every way dishonored in and by them all, nor was
there any glory given him on their account. What some attempted to do
of that nature, in a wisdom of their own, ended in folly and a renewed
dishonour of God; as the apostle declares, Rom. 1: 18,19, 21, 22.
 [3.] Man hereby lost all power and ability of attaining that end for
which he was made--namely, the eternal enjoyment of God. Upon the
matter, and as much as in us lay, the whole end of God in the creation
of all things here below was utterly defeated.
 But that which was the malignity and poison of this sin, was the
contempt that was cast on the holiness of God, whose representation,
and all its express characters, were utterly despised and rejected
therein. Herein, then, lay the concernment of the holiness or
righteousness of God in this sin of our nature, which we are inquiring
after. Unless some reparation be made for the indignity cast upon it
in the rejection of the image and representation of it--unless there
be some way whereby it may be more eminently exalted in the nature of
man than it was debased and despised in the same nature; it was just,
equal, righteous with God--that which becomes the rectitude and purity
of his nature that mankind should perish eternally in that condition
whereinto it was cast by sin.
 It was not, therefore, consistent with the glory of God, that mankind
should be restored, that this nature of ours should be brought unto
the enjoyment of him, unless his holiness be more exalted, be more
conspicuously represented in the same nature, than ever it was
depressed or despised thereby. The demonstration of its glory in any
other nature, as in that of angels, would not serve unto this end; as
we shall see afterward.
 We must now a little return unto what we before laid down. Wisdom
being the directive power of all divine operations, and the end of all
those operations being the glory of God himself, or the demonstration
of the excellencies of the holy properties of his nature, it was
incumbent thereon to provide for the honour and glory of divine
holiness in an exaltation answerable unto the attempt for its
debasement. Without the consideration hereof, we can have no due
prospect of the acting of infinite wisdom in this great work of our
redemption and recovery by the incarnation of the Son of God.
 (3.) Sin brought disorder and disturbance into the whole rule and
government of God. It was necessary, from the infinite wisdom of God,
that all things should be made in perfect order and harmony--all in a
direct subordination unto his glory. There could have been no original
defect in the natural or moral order of things, but it must have
proceeded from a defect in wisdom; for the disposal of all things into
their proper order belonged unto the contrivance thereof. And the
harmony of all things among themselves, with all their mutual
relations and aspects in a regular tendency unto their proper and
utmost end--whereby though every individual subsistence or being has a
peculiar end of its own, yet all their actings and all their ends tend
directly unto one utmost common end of them all--is the principal
effect of wisdom. And thus was it at the beginning, when God himself
beheld the universe, and, "lo, it was exceeding good."
 All things being thus created and stated, it belonged unto the nature
of God to be the rector and disposer of them all.
 It was not s mere free act of his will, whereby God chose to rule and
govern the creation according unto the law of the nature of all
things, and their relation unto him; but it was necessary, from his
divine being and excellences, that so he should do. Wherefore, it
concerned both the wisdom and righteousness of God to take care that
either all things should be preserved in the state wherein they were
created, and no disorder be suffered to enter into the kingdom and
rule of God, or that, in a way suited unto them, his glory should be
retrieved and re established; for God is not the God of confusions
neither the author nor approver of it--neither in his works nor in his
rule. But sin actually brought disorder into the kingdom and rule of
God. And this it did not in any one particular instance, but that
which was universal as unto all things here below. For the original
harmony and order of all things consisted in their subordination unto
the glory of God. But this they all lost, as was before declared.
Hence he who looked on them in their constitution, and, to manifest
his complacency in them, affirmed them to be "exceeding good,"
immediately on the entrance of sin, pronounced a curse on the whole
earth, and all things contained therein.
 To suffer this disorder to continue unrectified, was not consistent
with the wisdom and righteousness of God. It would make the kingdom of
God to be like that of Satan--full of darkness and confusion. Nothing
is more necessary unto the good of the universe, and without which it
were better it were annihilated, than the preservation of the honour
of God in his government. And this could no otherwise be done, but by
the infliction of a punishment proportionable in justice unto the
demerit of sin. Some think this might be done by a free dismission of
sin, or a passing it over without any punishment at all. But what
evidence should we then have that good and evil were not alike, and
almost equal unto God in his rule that he does not like sin as well as
uprightness? Nor would this supposition leave any grounds of
exercising justice among men. For if God, in misrule of all things,
dismissed the greatest sin without any penalty inflicted, what reason
have we to judge that evils among ourselves should at all be punished?
That, therefore, be far from God, that the righteous should be as the
wicked: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
 Wherefore, the order of God's rule being broken, as it consisted in
the regular obedience of the creature, and disorder with confusion
being brought thereby into the kingdom and government of God; his
righteousness, as it is the rectorial virtue and power of the divine
nature, required that his glory should be restored, by reducing the
sinning creature again into order by punishment. Justice, therefore,
must be answered and complied withal herein, according unto its
eternal and unanswerable law, in a way suited unto the glory of God,
or the sinning creature must perish eternally.
 Herein the righteousness of God, as the rectorial virtue of the
divine nature, was concerned in the sin and apostasy of men. The
vindication and glory of it--to provide that in nothing it were
eclipsed or diminished--was incumbent on infinite wisdom, according
unto the rule before laid down. That must direct and dispose of all
things anew unto the glory of the righteousness of God, or there is no
recovery of mankind. And in our inquiry after the impressions of
divine wisdom on the great and glorious means of our restoration under
consideration, this provision made thereby for the righteousness of
God, in his rule and government of all, is greatly to be attended to.
 (4.) Man by sin put himself into the power of the devil, God's
greatest adversary. The devil had newly, by rebellion and apostasy
from his first condition, cast himself under the eternal displeasure
and wrath of God. God had righteously purposed in himself not to spare
him, nor contrive any way for his deliverance unto eternity. He, on
the other side, was become obdurate in his malice and hatred of God,
designing his dishonour and the impeachment of his glory with the
utmost of his remaining abilities. In this state of things, man
voluntarily leaves the rule and conduct of God, with all his
dependence upon him, and puts himself into the power of the devil; for
he believed Satan above God--that is, placed his faith and confidence
in him, as unto the way of attaining blessedness and true happiness.
And in whom we place our trust and confidence, them do we obey,
whatever we profess. Herein did God's adversary seem for a season to
triumph against him, as if he had defeated the great design of his
goodness, wisdom, and power. So he would have continued to do, if no
way had been provided for his appointment.
 This, therefore, also belonged unto the care of divine wisdom,
namely, that the glory of God in none of the holy properties of his
nature did suffer any diminution hereby.
 All this, and inconceivable more than we are able to express, being
contained in the sin of our apostasy from God, it must needs follow
that the condition of all mankind became thereby inexpressibly evil.
As we had done all the moral evil which our nature was capable to act,
so it was meet we should receive all the penal evil which our nature
was capable to undergo; and it all issued in death temporal and
eternal, inflicted from the wrath of God.
 This is the first thing to be considered in our tracing the footsteps
of divine wisdom in our deliverance by the incarnation of the Son of
God. Without due conceptions of the nature of this sin and apostasy of
the provocation given unto God thereby, of the injury attempted to be
done unto the glory of all his properties, of his concernment in their
reparation, with the unspeakable misery that mankind was fallen into--
we cannot have the least view of the glorious acting of divine wisdom
in our deliverance by Christ; and, therefore, the most of those who
are insensible of these things, do wholly reject the principal
instances of infinite wisdom in our redemption; as we shall yet see
farther afterward. And the great reason why the glory of God in Christ
does so little irradiate the minds of many, that it is so much
neglected and despised, is because they are not acquainted nor
affected with the nature of our first sin and apostasy, neither in
itself nor its woeful effects and consequent.
 But, on the supposition of these things, a double inquiry ariseth
with reference unto the wisdom of God, and the other holy properties
of his nature immediately concerned in our sin and apostasy.
 1. Whereas man by sin had defaced the image of God, and lost it,
whereby there was no representation of his holiness and righteousness
left in the whole creation here below--no way of rendering any glory
to him, in, for, or by, any other of his works--no means to bring man
unto the enjoyment of God, for which he was made;--and whereas he had
brought confusion and disorder into the rule and kingdom of God,
which, according unto the law of creation and its sanction, could not
be rectified but by the eternal ruin of the sinner; and had, moreover,
given up himself unto the rule and conduct of Satan:--whether, I say,
hereon it was meet, with respect unto the holy properties of the
divine nature, that all mankind should be left eternally in this
condition, without remedy or relief? Or whether there were. not a
condecency and suitableness unto them, that at least our nature in
some portion of it should be restored?
 2. Upon a supposition that the granting of a recovery was suited unto
the holy perfections of the divine nature, acting themselves by
infinite wisdom, what rays of that wisdom may we discern in the
finding out and constitution of the way and means of that recovery?
 The first of these I shall speak briefly unto in this place, because
I have treated more largely concerning it in another. For there are
many things which argue a condecency unto the divine perfections
herein--namely, that mankind should not be left utterly remediless in
that guilt of misery whereinto it was plunged. I shall at present only
insist on one of them.
 God had originally created two sorts of intellectual creatures,
capable of the eternal enjoyment of himself--namely, angels and men.
That he would so make either sort or both, was a mere effect of his
sovereign wisdom and pleasure; but on a supposition that he would so
make them, they must be made for his glory. These two sorts thus
created he placed in several habitations, prepared for them, suitable
unto their natures and the present duties required of them; the angels
in heaven above, and men on earth below. Sin first invaded the nature
of angels, and cast innumerable multitudes of them out of their
primitive condition. Hereby they lost their capacity of, and right
unto, that enjoyment of God which their nature was prepared and made
meet for; neither would God ever restore them thereunto. And in the
instance of dealing with them, when he "spared them not, but shut them
up in chains of everlasting darkness unto the judgement of the great
day," he manifested how righteous it was to leave sinning, apostate
creatures in everlasting misery. If anything of relief be provided for
any of them, it is a mere effect of sovereign grace and wisdom,
whereunto God was no way obliged. Howbeit, the whole angelical nature,
that was created in a capacity for the eternal enjoyment of God,
perished not; nor does it seem consistent with the wisdom and goodness
of God, that the whole entire species or kind of create made capable
of glory in the eternal enjoyment of him, should at once immediately
be excluded from it. That such a thing should fall out as it were
accidentally, without divine provision and disposal, would argue a
defect in wisdom, and a possibility of a surprisal into the loss of
the whole glory he designed in the creation of all things; and to have
it a mere effect of divine ordination and disposal, is as little
consistent with his goodness. Wherefore, the same nature which sinned
and perished in the angels that fell, abideth in the enjoyment of God
in those myriads of blessed spirits which "left not their first
habitation."
 The nature of man was in like manner made capable of the eternal
enjoyment of God. This was the end for which it was created, unto the
glory of him by whom it was made; for it became the divine wisdom and
goodness, to give unto everything an operation and end suited unto its
capacity. And these, in this race of intellectual creatures, were to
live unto God, and to come unto the eternal enjoyment of him. This
operation and end their nature being capable of, they being suited
unto it, unto them it was designed. But sin entered them also; we also
"sinned, and came short of the glory of God." The inquiry hereon is,
whether it became the divine goodness and wisdom that this whole
nature, in all that were partakers of it, should fail and come short
of that end for which alone it was made of God? For whereas the angels
stood, in their primitive condition, every one in his own individual
person, the sin of some did not prejudice others, who did not sin
actually themselves. But the whole race of mankind stood all in one
common head and state; from whom they were to be educed and derived by
natural generation. The sin and apostasy of that one person was the
sin and apostasy of us all. In him all sinned and died. Wherefore,
unless there be a recovery made of them, or of some from among them,
that whole species of intellectual nature--the whole kind of it, in
all its individuals--which was made capable of doing the will of God,
so as to come unto the eternal fruition of him, must be eternally lost
and excluded from it. This, we may say, became not the wisdom and
goodness of God, no more than it would hays done to have suffered the
whole angelical nature, in all its individuals, to have perished for
ever. No created understanding could have been able to discern the
glory of God in such a dispensation, whereby it would have had no
glory. That the whole nature, in all the individuals of it, which was
framed by the power of God out of nothing, and made what it was for
this very end, that it might glorify him, and come unto the enjoyment
of him, should eternally perish, if any way of relief for any portion
of it were possible unto infinite wisdom, does not give an amiable
representation of the divine excellencies unto us.
 It was therefore left on the provision of infinite wisdom, that this
great effect, of recovering a portion of fallen mankind out of this
miserable estate, wherein there was a suitableness, a condecency unto
the divine excellencies, should be produced; only, it was to be done
on and by a free act of the will of God; for otherwise there was no
obligation on him from any of his properties so to do.
 But it may be yet said, on the other side, that the nature of man was
so defiled, so depraved, so corrupted, so alienated and separated from
God, so obnoxious unto the curse by its sin and apostasy, , that it
was not reparable to the glory of God; and therefore it would not
argue any defect in divine power, nor any unsuitableness unto divine
wisdom and goodness, if it were not actually repaired and restored. I
answer two things,
 (1.) The horrible nature of the first sin, and the heinousness of our
apostasy from God therein, were such and so great, as that God thereon
might righteously, and suitably unto all the holy properties of his
nature, leave mankind to perish eternally in that condition whereinto
they had cast themselves; and if he had utterly forsaken the whole
race of mankind in that condition, and left them all as remediless as
the fallen angels, there could have been no reflection on his
goodness, and an evident suitableness unto his justice and holiness.
Wherefore, wherever there is any mention in the Scripture of the
redemption or restoration of mankind, it is constantly proposed as an
effect of mere sovereign grace and mercy. See Eph 1: 3-11. And those
who pretend a great difficulty at present, in the reconciliation of
the eternal perishing of the greatest part of mankind with those
notions we have of the divine goodness, seem not to have sufficiently
considered what was contained in our original apostasy from God, nor
the righteousness of God in dealing with the angels that sinned. For
when man had voluntarily broken all the relation of love and moral
good between God and him, had defaced his image--the only
representation of his holiness and righteousness in this lower world--
and deprived him of all his glory from the works of his hands, and had
put himself into the society and under the conduct of the devil; what
dishonour could it have been unto God, what diminution would there
have been of his glory, if he had left him unto his own choice--to eat
for ever of the fruit of his own ways, and to be filled with his own
devices unto eternity? It is only infinite wisdom that could find out
a way for the salvation of any one of the whole race of mankind, so as
that it might be reconciled unto the glory of his holiness,
righteousness, and rule. Wherefore, as we ought always to admire
sovereign grace in the few that shall be saved, so we have no ground
to reflect on divine goodness in the multitudes that perish,
especially considering that they all voluntarily continue in their sin
and apostasy.
 (2.) I grant the nature of man was not reparable nor recoverable by
any such actings of the properties of God as he had exerted in the
creation and rule of all things. Were there not other properties of
the divine nature than what were discovered and revealed in the
creation of all--were not some of them so declared capable of an
exercise in another way or in higher degrees than what had as yet been
instanced in--it must be acknowledged that the reparation of mankind
could not be conceived compliant with the divine excellencies, nor to
be effected by them. I shall give one instance in each sort; namely,
first in properties of another kind than any which had been manifested
in the works of creation, and then the acting of some of them so
manifested, in another way, or farther degree than what they were
before exerted in or by.
 [1.] Of the first sort are love, grace, and mercy, which I refer unto
one head--nature being the same, as they have respect unto sinners.
For although there were none of them manifested in the works of
creation, yet are they no less essential properties of the divine
nature than either power, goodness, or wisdom. With these it was that
the reparation of our nature was compliant--unto them it had a
condecency; and the glory of them infinite wisdom designed therein.
That wisdom, on which it is incumbent to provide for the manifestation
of all the other properties of God's nature, contrived this work unto
the glory of his love, mercy, and grace; as in the gospel it is
everywhere declared.
 [2.] Of the second sort is divine goodness. This, as the
communicative property of the divine nature, had exerted itself in the
creation of all things. Howbeit, it had not done so perfectly--it had
not done so to the uttermost. But the nature of goodness being
communicative, it belongs unto its perfection to act itself unto the
uttermost. This it had not yet done in the creation. Therein "God made
man," and acted his goodness in the communication of our being unto
us, with all its endowments. But there yet remained another effect of
it; which was, that God should be made man, as the way unto, and the
means of, our recovery.
 These things being premised, we proceed to inquire more particularly
by what way and means the recovery of mankind might be wrought, so as
that God might be glorified thereby.
 If fallen man be restored and reinstated in his primitive condition,
or brought into a better, it must either be by himself, or by some
other undertaking for him; for it must be done by some means or other.
So great an alteration in the whole state of things was made by the
entrance of sin, that it was not consistent with the glory of any of
the divine excellencies that a restoration of all things should be
made by a mere act of power, without the use of any means for the
removal of the cause of that alteration. That man himself could not be
this means--that is, that he could not restore himself--is openly
evident. Two ways there were whereby he might attempt it, and neither
jointly nor severally could he do anything in them.
 1. He might do it by returning unto obedience unto God on his own
accord. He fell off from God on his own accord by disobedience,
through the suggestion of Satan; wherefore, a voluntary return unto
his former obedience would seem to reduce all things unto their first
estate. But this way was both impossible, and, upon a supposition of
it, would have been insufficient unto the end designed. For--
 (1.) This he could not do. He had, by his sin and fall, lost that
power whereby he was able to yield any acceptable obedience unto God;
and a return unto obedience is an act of greater power than a
persistency in the way and course of it, and more is required
thereunto. But all man's original power of obedience consisted in the
image of God. This he had defaced in himself, and deprived himself of.
Having, therefore, lost that power which should have enabled him to
live unto God in his primitive condition, he could not retain a
greater power in the same kind to return thereunto. This, indeed, was
that which Satan deceived and deluded him withal; namely, that by his
disobedience he should acquire new light and power, which he had not
yet received--he should be "like unto God." But he was so far from any
advantage by his apostasy, that one part of his misery consisted in
the loss of all power or ability to live to God.
 This is the folly of that Pelagian heresy, which is now a third time
attempting to impose itself on the Christian world. It supposeth that
men have a power of their own to return unto God, after they had lost
the power they had of abiding with him. It is not, indeed, as yet,
pretended by many that the first sin was a mere transient act, that no
way vitiated our nature, or impaired the power, faculty, or principle
of obedience in us. A wound, they say, a disease, a weakness, it
brought upon us, and rendered us legally obnoxious unto death
temporal, which we were naturally liable unto before. Wherefore, it is
not said that men can return unto that perfect obedience which the law
required; but that they can comply with and perform that which the
gospel requireth in the room thereof. For they seem to suppose that
the gospel is not much more but an accommodation of the rule of
obedience unto our present reason and abilities, with some motives
unto it, and an example for it in the personal obedience and suffering
of Christ. For whereas man forsook the law of obedience first
prescribed unto him, and fell into various incapacities of observing
it, God did not, as they suppose, provide, in and by the gospel, a
righteousness whereby the law might be fulfilled, and effectual grace
to raise up the nature of man unto the performance of acceptable
obedience; but only brings down the law and the rule of it into a
compliance unto our weakened, diseased, depraved nature,--than which,
if anything can be spoken more dishonourably of the Gospel, I know it
not. However, this pretended power of returning unto some kind of
obedience, but not that which was required of us in our primitive
condition, is no way sufficient unto our restoration; as is evident
unto all.
 (2.) As man could not effect his own recovery, so he would not
attempt it. For he was fallen into that condition wherein, in the
principles of all his moral operations, he was at enmity against God;
and whatever did befall him, he would choose to continue in his state
of apostasy; for he was wholly "alienated from the life of God." He
likes it not, as that which is incompliant with his dispositions,
inclinations, and desires--as inconsistent with everything wherein he
placeth his interest. And hence, as he *cannot* do what he *should*
through *impotency*, he *will* not do even what he *can* through
*obstinacy*. It may be, we know not distinctly what to ascribe unto
man's impotency, and what unto his obstinacy; but between both, he
neither can nor will return unto God. And his power unto good, though
not sufficient to bring him again unto God, yet is it not so small but
that he always chooseth not to make use of it unto that end. In brief,
there was left in man a fear of divine power--a fear of God because of
his greatness--which makes him do many things which otherwise he would
not do; but there is not left in him any love unto divine goodness,
without which he cannot choose to return unto God.
 (3.) But let us leave these things which men will dispute about,
though in express contradiction unto the Scripture and the experience
of them that are wrought upon to believe; and let us make an
impossible supposition--that man could and would return unto his
primitive obedience; yet no reparation of the glory of God, suffering
in the loss of the former state of all things, would thereon ensue.
What satisfaction would be hereby made for the injury offered unto the
holiness, righteousness, and wisdom of God, whose violation in their
blessed effects was the principal evil of sin? Notwithstanding such a
supposition, all the disorder that was brought into the rule and
government of God by sin, with the reflection of dishonour upon him,
in the rejection of his image, would still continue. And such a
restitution of things wherein no provision is made for the reparation
of the glory of God, is not to be admitted. The notion of it may
possibly please men in their apostate condition, wherein they are
wholly turned off from God, and into self--not caring what becomes of
his glory, so it may go well with themselves; but it is highly
contradictory unto all equity, justice, and the whole reason of
things, wherein the glory of God is the principal and centre of all.
 Practically, things are otherwise among many. The most profligate
sinners in the world, that have a conviction of an eternal condition,
would be saved. Tell them it is inconsistent with the glory of the
holiness, righteousness, and truth of God, to save unbelieving,
impenitent sinners--they are not concerned in it. Let them be saved
that is, eternally delivered from the evil they fear--and let God look
unto his own glory; they take no care about it. A soul that is
spiritually ingenuous, would not be saved in any way but that whereby
God may be glorified. Indeed, to be saved, and not unto the glory of
God, implies a contradiction; for our salvation is eternal
blessedness, in a participation of the glory of God.
 Secondly, It followeth, therefore, that man must make satisfaction
unto the justice of God, and thereby a reparation of his glory, that
he may be saved. This, added unto a complete return unto obedience,
would effect a restitution of all things; it would do so as unto what
was past, though it would make no new addition of glory unto God. But
this became not the nature and efficacy of divine wisdom. It became it
not merely to retrieve what was past, without a new manifestation and
exaltation of the divine excellencies. And therefore, in our
restoration by Christ, there is such a manifestation and exaltation of
the divine properties as incomparably exceeds whatever could have
ensued on, or been effected by, the law of creation, had man continued
in his original obedience. But at present it is granted that this
addition of satisfaction unto a return unto obedience, would restore
all things unto their just condition. But as that return was
impossible unto man, so was this satisfaction for the injury done by
sin much more. For suppose a mere creature, such as man is, such as
all men are, in what condition you please, and under all advantageous
circumstances, yet, whatever he can do towards God is antecedently and
absolutely due from him in that instant wherein he does it, and that
in the manner wherein it is done. They must all say, when they have
done all that they can do, "We are unprofitable servants; we have done
what was our duty." Wherefore, it is impossible that, by anything a
man can do well, he should make satisfaction for anything he has done
ill. For what he so does is due in and for itself; and to suppose that
satisfaction will be made for a former fault by that whose omission
would have been another, had the former never been committed, is
madness. An old debt cannot be discharged with ready money for new
commodities; nor can past injuries be compensated by present duties,
which we are anew obliged unto. Wherefore--mankind being indispensably
and eternally obliged unto the present performance of all duties of
obedience unto God, according to the utmost of their capacity and
ability, so as that the non-performance of them in their season, both
as unto their matter and manner, would be their sin--it is utterly
impossible that by anything, or all that they can do, they should make
the least satisfaction unto God for anything they have done against
him; much less for the horrible apostasy whereof we treat. And to
attempt the same end by any way which God has not appointed, which he
has not made their duty, is a new provocation of the highest nature.
See Micah 6:6-8.
 It is therefore evident, on all these considerations, that all
mankind, as unto any endeavours of their own, anything that can be
fancied as possible for them to design or do, must be left
irreparable, in a condition of eternal misery. And unless we have a
full conviction hereof, we can neither admire nor entertain the
mystery of the wisdom of God in our reparation. And therefore it has
been the design of Satan, in all ages, to contrive presumptuous
notions of men's spiritual abilities--to divert their minds from the
contemplation of the glory of divine wisdom and grace, as alone
exalted in our recovery.
 We are proceeding on this supposition, that there was a condecency
unto the holy perfections of the divine nature, that mankind should be
restored, or some portion of it recovered unto the enjoyment of
himself; so angelical nature was preserved unto the same end in those
that did not sin. And we have showed the general grounds whereon it is
impossible that fallen man should restore or recover himself.
Wherefore we must, in the next place, inquire what is necessary unto
such a restoration, on the account of that concernment of the divine
excellencies in the sin and apostasy of man which we have stated
before; for hereby we may obtain light, and an insight into the glory
of that wisdom whereby it was contrived and effected. And the things
following, among others, may be observed under that end:--
 1. It was required that there should be an obedience yielded unto
God, bringing more glory unto him than dishonour did arise and accrue
from the disobedience of man This was due unto the glory of divine
holiness in giving of the law. Until this was done, the excellency of
the law, as becoming the holiness of God, and as an effect thereof,
could not be made manifest. For if it were never kept in any instance,
never fulfilled by any one person in the world, how should the glory
of it be declared?--How should the holiness of God be represented by
it? How should it be evident that the transgression of it was not
rather from some defect in the law itself, than from any evil in them
that should have yielded obedience unto it? The obedience yielded by
the angels that stood and sinned not, made it manifest that the
transgression of it by them that fell and sinned was from their own
wills, and not from any unsuitableness unto their nature and state in
the law itself. But if the law given unto man should never be complied
withal in perfect obedience by any one whatever, it might be thought
that the law itself was unsuited unto our nature, and impossible to be
complied withal. Nor did it become infinite wisdom to give a law whose
equity, righteousness, and holiness, should never be exemplified in
obedience--should never be made to appear but in the punishment
inflicted on its transgressors. Wherefore the original law of personal
righteousness was not given solely nor primarily that men might suffer
justly for its transgression, but that God might be gloried in its
accomplishment. If this be not done, it is impossible that men should
be restored unto the glory of God. If the law be not fulfilled by
obedience, man must suffer evermore for his disobedience, or God must
lose the manifestation of his holiness therein. Besides, God had
represented his holiness in that image of it which was implanted on
our nature, and which was the principle enabling us unto obedience.
This also was rejected by sin, and therein the holiness of God
despised. If this be not restored in our nature, and that with
advantages above what it had in its first communication, we cannot be
recovered unto the glory of God.
 2. It was necessary that the disorder brought into the rule and
government of God by sin and rebellion should be rectified. This could
no otherwise be done but by the infliction of that punishment which,
in the unalterable rule and standard of divine justice, was due
thereunto. The dismission of sin on any other terms would leave the
rule of God under unspeakable dishonour and confusion; for where is
the righteousness of government, if the highest sin and provocation
that our nature was capable of, and which brought confusion on the
whole creation below, should for ever go unpunished? The first express
intimation that God gave of his righteousness in the government of
mankind, was his threatening a punishment equal unto the demerit of
disobedience, if man should fall into it: "In the day thou eatest
thereof thou shalt die." If he revoke and disannul this sentence, how
shall the glory of his righteousness in the rule of all be made known?
But how this punishment should be undergone, which consisted in man's
eternal ruin, and yet man be eternally saved, was a work for divine
wisdom to contrive. This, therefore, was necessary unto the honour of
God's righteousness, as he is the supreme governor and Judge of all
the earth
 3. It was necessary that Satan should be justly despoiled of his
advantage and power over mankind, unto the glory of God; for he was
not to be left to triumph in his success. And inasmuch as man was, on
his part, rightfully given up unto him, his deliverance was not to be
wrought by an act of absolute dominion and power, but in a way of
justice and lawful judgement; which things shall be afterward spoken
unto.
 Without these things the recovery of mankind into the favour and unto
the enjoyment of God was utterly impossible, on the account of the
concernment of the glory of his divine perfections in our sin and
apostasy.
 How all this might be effected--how the glory of the holiness and
righteousness of God in his law and rule, and in the punitive
constitution of our nature, might be repaired--how his goodness, love,
grace, and mercy, might be manifested and exalted in this work of the
reparation of mankind--was left unto the care and contrivance of
infinite wisdom. From the eternal springs thereof must this work
arise, or cease for ever.
 To trace some of the footsteps of divine wisdom herein, in and from
the revelation of it by its effects, is that which lieth before us.
And sundry things appear to have been necessary hereunto.
 1. That all things required unto our restoration, the whole work
wherein they consist, must be wrought in our own nature--in the nature
that had sinned, and which was to be restored and brought unto glory.
On supposition, I say, of the salvation of our nature, no satisfaction
can be made unto the glory of God for the sin of that nature, but in
the nature itself that sinned and is to be saved. For whereas God gave
the law unto man as an effect of his wisdom and holiness, which he
transgressed in his disobedience, wherein could the glory of them or
either of them be exalted, if the same law were complied withal and
fulfilled in and by a nature of another kind--suppose that of angels?
For, notwithstanding any such obedience, yet the law might be unsuited
unto the nature of man, whereunto it was originally prescribed.
Wherefore, there would be a veil drawn over the glory of God in giving
the law unto man, if it were not fulfilled by obedience in the same
nature; nor can there be any such relation between the obedience and
sufferings of one nature in the stead and for the disobedience of
another, as that glory might ensue unto the wisdom, holiness, and
justice of God, in the deliverance of that other nature thereon.
 The Scripture abounds in the declaration of the necessity hereof,
with its condecency unto divine wisdom. Speaking of the way of our
relief and recovery, "Verily," says the apostle, "he took not on him
the nature of angels," Heb. 2:16. Had it been the recovery of angels
which he designed, he would have taken their nature on him. But this
would have been no relief at all unto us, no more than the assuming of
our nature is of advantage unto the fallen angels. The obedience and
sufferings of Christ therein extended not at all unto them--nor was it
just or equal that they should be relieved thereby. What, then, was
required unto our deliverance? Why, saith he, "Forasmuch as the
children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise
took part of the same," verse 14. It was human nature (here expressed
by flesh and blood) that was to be delivered; and therefore it was
human nature wherein this deliverance was to be wrought. This the same
apostle disputes at large, Rom. 5: 12-19. The sum is, that "as by one
man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one"
(of one man, Jesus Christ, verse 15) "are many made righteous." The
same nature that sinned must work out the reparation and recovery from
sin. So he affirms again, 1 Cor. 15: 21, "For since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of the dead." No otherwise could our
ruin be retrieved, nor our deliverance from sin with all the
consequents of it be effected,--which came by man, which were
committed and deserved in and by our nature,--but by man, by one of
the same nature with us. This, therefore, in the first place, became
the wisdom of God, that the world of deliverance should be wrought in
our own nature,--in the nature that had sinned.
 2. That part of human nature wherein or whereby this work was to be
effected, as unto the essence or substance of it, was to be derived
from the common root or stock of the same nature, in our first
parents. It would not suffice hereunto that God should create a man,
out of the dust of the earth or out of nothing, of the same nature in
general with ourselves; for there would be no cognation or alliance
between him and us, so that we should be any way concerned in what he
did or suffered: for this advance depends solely hereon, that God "
has made of one blood all nations of men," Acts 17: 26. Hence it is
that the genealogy of Christ is given us in the a~-- not only from
Abraham, to declare the faithfulness of God in the promise that he
should be of his seed, but from Adam also, to manifest his relation
unto the common stock of our nature, and unto all mankind therein.
 The first discovery of the wisdom of God herein was in that primitive
revelation, that the Deliverer should be of "the seed of the woman,"
Gen. 3: 15. No other but he who was so could "break the serpent's
head," or "destroy the work of the devil," so as that we might be
delivered and restored. He was not only to be partaker of our nature,
but he was so to be, by being "the seed of the woman," Gal. 4: 4. He
was not to be created out of nothing, nor to be made of the dust of
the earth, but so "made of a woman," as that thereby be might receive
our nature from the common root and spring of it. Thus "he who
sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one," Heb. 2:11,--
"ex henos"; that is, "furamatos"--of the same mass, of one nature and
blood; whence he is not ashamed to call them brethren. This also was
to be brought forth from the treasures of infinite wisdom.
 3. This nature of ours, wherein the work of our recovery and
salvation is to be wrought and performed, was not to be so derived
from the original stock of our kind or race as to bring along with it
the same taint of sin, and the same liableness unto guilt, upon its
own account, as accompany every other individual person in the world;
for, as the apostle speaks, "such a high priest became us" (and as a
high priest was he to accomplish this work) "as was holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners." For, if this nature in him were so
defiled as it is in us--if it were under a deprivation of the image of
God, as it is in our persons before our renovation--it could do
nothing that should be acceptable unto him. And if it were subject
unto guilt on its own account, it could make no satisfaction for the
sin of others. Here, therefore, again occurs "dignus vindice nodus"--a
difficulty which nothing but divine wisdom could expedite.
 To take a little farther view hereof, we must consider on what
grounds these things (spiritual defilement and guilt) do adhere unto
our nature, as they are in all our individual persons. And the first
of these is--that our entire nature, as unto our participation of it,
was in Adam, as our head and representative. Hence his sin became the
sin of us all--justly imputed unto us and charged on us. In him we all
sinned; all did so who were in him as their common representative when
he sinned. Hereby we became the natural "children of wrath," or liable
unto the wrath of God for the common sin of our nature, in the natural
and legal head or spring of it. And the other is--that we derive our
nature from Adam by the way of natural generation. By that means alone
is the nature of our first parents, as defiled, communicated unto us;
for by this means do we become to appertain unto the stock as it was
degenerate and corrupt. Wherefore that part of our nature wherein and
whereby this great work was to be wrought, must, as unto its essence
and substance, be derived from our first parent,--yet so as never to
have been in Adam as a common representative, nor be derived from him
by natural generation.
 The bringing forth of our nature in such an instance--wherein it
should relate no less really and truly unto the first Adam than we do
ourselves, whereby there is the strictest alliance of nature between
him so partaker of it and us, yet so as not in the least to
participate of the guilt of the first sin, nor of the defilement of
our nature thereby must be an effect of infinite wisdom beyond the
conceptions of any created understanding. And this, as we know, was
done in the person of Christ; for his human nature was never in Adam
as his representative, nor was he comprised in the covenant wherein he
stood. For he derived it legally only from and after the first
promise, when Adam ceased to be a common person. Nor did it proceed
from him by natural generation--the only means of the derivation of
its depravation and pollution; for it was a "holy thing," created in
the womb of the Virgin by the power of the Most High. "O the depths of
the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
 It was necessary, therefore, on all these considerations--it was so
unto the glory of the holy properties of the divine nature, and the
reparation of the honour of his holiness and righteousness--that he by
whom the work of our recovery was to be wrought should be a man,
partaker of the nature that sinned, yet free from all sin, and all the
consequent of it. And this did divine wisdom contrive and accomplish
in the human nature of Jesus Christ.
 But yet, in the second place, on all the considerations before
mentioned, it is no less evident that this work could not be wrought
or effected by him who was no more than a mere man, who had no nature
but ours--who was a human person, and no more. There was no one act
which he was to perform, in order unto our deliverance, but did
require a divine power to render it efficacious. But herein lies that
great mystery of godliness whereunto a continual opposition has been
made by the gates of hell; as we manifested in the entrance of this
discourse. But whereas it belongs unto the foundation of our faith, we
must inquire into it, and confirm the truth of it with such
demonstrations as divine revelation does accommodate us withal. And
three things are to be spoken unto.
 First, We are to give in rational evidences that the recovery of
mankind was not to be effected by any one who was a mere man, and no
more, though it were absolutely necessary that a man he should be; he
must be God also. Secondly, We must inquire into the suitableness or
condecency unto divine wisdom in the redemption and salvation of the
church by Jesus Christ, who was God and man in one person; and thereon
give a description of the person of Christ and its constitution, which
suiteth all the ends of infinite wisdom in this glorious work. The
first of these falls under sundry plain demonstrations.
 1. That human nature might be restored, or any portion of mankind be
eternally saved unto the glory of God, it was necessary, as we proved
before, that an obedience should be yielded unto God and his law,
which should give and bring more glory and honour unto his holiness
than there was dishonour reflected on it by the disobedience of us
all. Those who are otherwise minded care not what becomes of the glory
of God, so that wicked, sinful man may be saved one way or other. But
these thoughts spring out of our apostasy, and belong not unto that
estate wherein we loved God above all, and preferred his glory above
all,--as it was with us at the first, in the original constitution of
our nature. But such an obedience could never be yielded unto God by
any mere creature whatever,--not by any one who was only a man,
however dignified and exalted in state and condition above all others.
For to suppose that God should be pleased and glorified with the
obedience of any one man, more than he was displeased and dishonored
by the disobedience of Adam and all his posterity, is to fancy things
that have no ground in reason or justice, or are any way suitable unto
divine wisdom and holiness. He who undertaketh this work must have
somewhat that is divine and infinite, to put an infinite value on his
obedience--that is, he must be God.
 2. The obedience of such a one, of a mere man, could have no
influence at all on the recovery of mankind, nor the salvation of the
church. For, whatever it were, it would be all due from him for
himself, and so could only profit or benefit himself; for what is due
from any on his own account, cannot redound or be reckoned unto the
advantage of another. But there is no mere creature, nor can there be
any such, but he is obliged for himself unto all the obedience unto
God that he is capable of the performance of in this world; as we have
before declared. Yea, universal obedience, in all possible instances,
is so absolutely necessary unto him, as a creature made in dependence
on God, and for the enjoyment of him, that the voluntary omission of
it, in any one instance, would be a criminal disobedience, ruinous
unto his own soul. Wherefore, no such obedience could be accepted as
any kind of compensation for the disobedience of others, or in their
stead. He, then, that performs this obedience must be one who was not
originally obliged thereunto, on his own account, or for himself. And
this must be a divine person, and none other; for evermore creature is
so obliged. And there is nothing more fundamental in Gospel
principles, than that the Lord Christ, in his divine person, was above
the law, and for himself owed no obedience thereunto; but by his own
condescension, as he was "made of a woman" for us, so he was "made
under the law" for us. And therefore, those by whom the divine person
of Christ is denied, do all of them contend that he yielded obedience
unto God for himself, and not for us. But herein they bid defiance
unto the principal effect of divine wisdom, wherein God will be
eternally glorified.
 3. The people to be freed, redeemed, and brought unto glory, were
great and innumerable; "a great multitude, which no man can number,"
Rev. 7: 9. The sins which they were to be delivered, ransomed, and
justified from--for which a propitiation was to be made--were next
unto absolutely infinite. They wholly surpass the comprehension of any
created understanding, or the compass of imagination. And in every one
of them there was something reductively infinite, as committed against
an infinite Majesty. The miseries which hereon all these persons were
obnoxious unto were infinite, because eternal; or all that evil which
our nature is capable to suffer was by them all eternally to be
undergone.
 By all these persons, in all these sins, there was an inroad made on
the rule and government of God, an affront given unto his justice, in
the violation of his law; nor can any of them be delivered from the
consequent hereof in eternal misery, without a compensation and
satisfaction made unto the justice of God. To assert the contrary, is
to suppose, that upon the matter it is all one to him whether he be
obeyed or disobeyed, whether he be honoured or dishonored, in and by
his creatures; and this is all one as to deny his very being, seeing
it opposeth the glory of his essential properties. Now, to suppose
that a mere man, by his temporary suffering of external pains, should
make satisfaction unto the justice of God for all the sins of all
these persons, so as it should be right and just with him not only to
save and deliver them from all the evils they were liable unto, but
also to bring them unto life and glory, is to constitute a mediation
between God and man that should consist in appearance and ostentation,
and not be an effect of divine wisdom, righteousness, and holiness,
nor have its foundation in the nature and equity of things themselves.
For the things supposed will not be reduced unto any rules of justice
or proportion, that one of them should be conceived in any sense to
answer unto the other, that is, there is nothing which answers any
rule, notions, or conceptions of justice--nothing that might be
exemplary unto men in the punishment of crimes, that the sins of an
infinite number of men, deserving every one of them eternal death,
should be expiated by the temporary sufferings of one mere man, so as
to demonstrate the righteousness of God in the punishment of sin. But
God does not do these things for show or appearance, but according
unto the real exigence of the holy properties of his nature. And on
that supposition, there must be a proportion between the things
themselves--namely, the sufferings of one and the deliverance of all.
 Nor could the faith of man ever find a stable foundation to fix upon
on the supposition before mentioned. No faith is able to conflict with
this objection, that the sufferings of one mere man should be accepted
with God as a just compensation for the sins of the whole church. Men
who, in things of this nature, satisfy themselves with notions and
fancies, may digest such suppositions; but those who make use of faith
for their own delivery from under a conviction of sin, the nature and
demerit of it, with a sense of the wrath of God, and the curse of the
law against it, can find no relief in such notions or apprehensions.
But it became the wisdom of God, in the dispensation of himself herein
unto the church, so to order things as that faith might have an
immovable rock to build upon. This alone it has in the person of
Christ, God and man, his obedience and sufferings. Wherefore, those by
whom the divine nature of the Lord Christ is denied, do all of them
absolutely deny also that he made any satisfaction unto divine justice
for sin. They will rather swallow all the absurdities which the
absolute dismission of sin without satisfaction or punishment does
bring along with it, than grant that a mere man could make any such
satisfaction by his temporary sufferings for the sins of the world.
And, on the other hand, whoever does truly and sincerely believe the
divine person of Christ namely, that he was God and man in one person,
and as such a person acted in the whole work of mediation--he cannot
shut his eyes against the glorious light of this truth, that what he
did and suffered in that work must have an intrinsic worth and
excellency in it, outbalancing all the evil in the sins of mankind--
that more honour and glory accrued unto the holiness and law of God by
his obedience than dishonour was cast on them by the disobedience of
Adam and all his posterity.
 4. The way whereby the church was to be recovered and saved, was by
such works and acting as one should take on himself to perform in the
way of an office committed unto him for that end. For whereas man
could not recover, ransom, nor save himself as we have proved, the
whole must be wrought for him by another. The undertaking hereof by
another must depend on the infinite wisdom, counsel, and pleasure of
God, with the will and consent of him who was to undertake it. So also
did the constitution of the way and means in particular whereby this
deliverance was to be wrought. Hereon it became his office to do the
things which were required unto that end. But we have before proved,
apart by itself, that no office unto this purpose could be discharged
towards God, or the whole church, by any one who was a man only. I
shall not, therefore, here farther insist upon it, although there be
good argument in it unto our present purpose.
 5. If man be recovered, he must be restored into the same state,
condition, and dignity, wherein he was placed before the fall. To
restore him with any diminution of honour and blessedness was not
suited unto divine wisdom and bounty; yea, seeing it was the infinite
grace, goodness, and mercy of God to restore him, it seems agreeable
unto the glory of divine excellencies in their operations, that he
should be brought into a better and more honourable condition than
that which he had lost. But before the fall, man was not subject nor
obedient unto any but unto God alone. Somewhat less he was in dignity
than the angels; howbeit he owed them no obedience--they were his
fellow-servants. And as for all other things here below, they were
made "subject unto him, and put under his feet," he himself being in
subjection unto God alone. But if he were deemed and restored by one
who was a mere creature, he could not be restored unto this state and
dignity; for, on all grounds of right and equity, he must owe all
service and obedience unto him by whom he was redeemed, restored, and
recovered, as the author of the state wherein he is. For when we are
"bought with a price," we are not our own, as the apostle affirms, 1
Cor. 6: 19, 20. We are therefore his who has bought us; and him are we
bound to serve in our souls and bodies, which are his. Accordingly, in
the purchase of us, the Lord Christ became our absolute Lord, unto
whom we owe all religious subjection of soul and conscience, Rom. 14:
7-9. It would follow, therefore, that if we were redeemed and
recovered by the interposition of a mere creature--if such a one were
our Redeemer, Saviour, and Deliverer--into the service of a mere
creature (that is, religious service and obedience) we should be
recovered. And so they believe who affirm the Lord Christ to be a man,
and no more. But, on this supposition, we are so far from an
advancement in state and dignity by our restoration, that we do not
recover what we were first instated in. For it belonged thereunto that
we should owe religious service and obedience unto him alone who was
God by nature over all, blessed for ever. And they bring all confusion
into Christian religion, who make a mere creature the object of our
faith, love, adoration, invocation, and all sacred worship. But in our
present restoration we are made subject anew, as unto religious
service, only unto God alone. Therefore the holy angels, the head of
the creation, do openly disclaim any such service and veneration from
us, because they are only the fellow-servants of them that have the
testimony of Jesus, Rev. 19: 10. Nor has God put the "world to come,"
the gospel state of the church, into subjection unto angels, or any
other creature, but only unto the Son, who is Lord over his own house,
even he that made all things, who is God, Heb. 3: 4-6. Wherefore, we
are restored into our primitive condition, to be in spiritual
subjection unto God alone. He, therefore, by whom we are restored,
unto whom we owe all obedience and religious service, is, and ought to
be, God also. And as they utterly overthrow the gospel who affirm that
all the obedience of it is due unto him who is a man, and no more--as
do all by whom the divine nature of Christ is denied; so they debase
themselves beneath the dignity of the state of redemption, and cast
dishonour on the mediation of Christ, who subject themselves in any
religious service to saints or angels, or any other creatures
whatever.
 On these suppositions, which are full of light and evidence, infinite
Wisdom did interpose itself, to glorify all the other concerned
excellencies of the glory of God, in such a way as might solve all
difficulties, and satisfy all the ends of God's glory, in the recovery
and redemption of mankind. The case before it was as followeth:--
 Man, by sin, had cast the most inconceivable dishonour on the
righteousness, holiness, goodness, and rule of God; and himself into
the guilt of eternal ruin. In this state it became the wisdom and
goodness of God, neither to suffer the whole race of mankind to come
short eternally of that enjoyment of himself for which it was created,
nor yet to deliver any one of them without a retrieval of the eternal
honour of his righteousness, holiness, and rule, from the diminution
and waste that was made of it by sin. As this could no way be done but
by a full satisfaction unto justice and an obedience unto the law,
bringing and yielding more honour unto the holiness and righteousness
of God than they could any way lose by the sin and disobedience of
man;--so this satisfaction must be made, and this obedience be
yielded, in and by the same nature that sinned or disobeyed, whereby
alone the residue of mankind may be interested in the benefits and
effects of that obedience and satisfaction. Yet was it necessary
hereunto, that the nature wherein all this was to be performed, though
derived from the same common stock with that whereof in all our
persons we are partakers, should be absolutely free from the contagion
and guilt which, with it and by it, are communicated unto our persons
from that common stock. Unless it were so, there could be no
undertaking in it for others--it would not be able to answer for
itself. But yet, on all these suppositions, no undertaking, no
performance of duty, in human nature, could possibly yield that
obedience unto God, or make that satisfaction for sin, whereon the
deliverance of others might ensue, unto the glory of the holiness,
righteousness, and rule of God.
 In this state of things did infinite Wisdom interpose itself, in that
glorious, ineffable contrivance of the person of Christ or of the
divine nature in the eternal Son of God and of ours in the same
individual person. Otherwise this work could not be accomplished,--at
least all other ways are hidden from the eyes of all living, no
created understanding being able to apprehend any other way whereby it
might so have been, unto the eternal glory of God. This, therefore, is
such an effect of divine wisdom as will be the object of holy
adoration and admiration unto eternity,--as unto this life, bow little
a portion is it we know of its excellency!




Chapter XVII Other Evidences of Divine Wisdom in the Contrivance of
the Work of Redemption in and by the Person of Christ, in Effects
Evidencing a Condecency thereunto

 That which remains of our present inquiry, is concerning those
evidences of divine condecency, or suitableness unto infinite wisdom
and goodness, which we may gather from the nature of this work, and
its effects as expressed in divine revelation. Some few instances
hereof I shall choose out from amongst many that might be insisted on.
 1. Man was made to serve God in all things. In his person--in his
soul and body--in all his faculties, powers, and senses-- all that was
given unto him or intrusted with him--he was not his own, but every
way a servant, in all that he was in all that he had, in all that he
did or was to do. This he was made for--this state and condition was
necessary unto him as a creature. It could be no otherwise with any
that was so; it was so with the angels, who were greater in dignity
and power than man. The very name of creature includes the condition
of universal subjection and service unto the Creator. This condition,
in and by his sin, Adam designed to desert and to free himself from.
He would exalt himself out of the state of service and obedience
absolute and universal, into a condition of self-sufficiency--of
domination and rule. He would be as God, like unto God; that is,
subject no more to him, be in no more dependence on him--but advance
his own will above the will of God. And there is somewhat of this in
every sin;--the sinner would advance his own will in opposition unto
and above the will of God. But what was the event hereof? Man, by
endeavouring to free himself from absolute subjection and universal
service, to invade absolute dominion, fell into absolute and eternal
ruin.
 For our recovery out of this state and condition, considering how we
cast ourselves into it, the way insisted on was found out by divine
wisdom--namely, the incarnation of the Son of God; for he was Lord of
all, had absolute dominion over all, owed no service, no obedience for
himself--being in the form of God, and equal unto him. From this state
of absolute dominion he descended into a condition of absolute
service. As Adam sinned and fell by leaving leaving that state of
absolute service which was due unto him, proper unto his nature,
inseparable from it,--to attempt a state of absolute dominion which
was not his own, not due unto him, not consistent with his nature; so
the Son of God, being made the second Adam, relieved us by descending
from a state of absolute dominion, which was his own--due to his
nature--to take on him a state of absolute service, which was not his
own, nor due unto him. And this being inconsistent with his own divine
nature, he performed it by taking our nature on him--making it his
own. He descended as much beneath himself in his self-humiliation, as
Adam designed to ascend above himself in his pride and
self-exaltation.
 The consideration of the divine grace and wisdom herein the apostle
proposeth unto us, Pail 2: 6-8, "Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no
reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in
the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Adam being in the form--that is, the state and condition--of a
servant, did by robbery attempt to take upon him the "form of God," or
to make himself equal unto him. The Lord Christ being in the "form of
God"--that is, his essential form, of the same nature with him--
accounted it no robbery to be in the state and condition of God, to be
"equal to him;" but being made in the "fashion of a man," taking on
him our nature, he also submitted unto the form or the state and
condition of a servant therein. He had dominion over all, owed service
and obedience unto none, being in the "form of God," and equal unto
him--the condition which Adam aspired unto; but he condescended unto a
state of absolute subjection and service for our recovery. This did no
more belong unto him on his own account, than it belonged unto Adam to
be like unto God, or equal to him. Wherefore it is said that he
humbled himself unto it, as Adam would have exalted himself unto a
state of dignity which was not his due.
 This submission of the Son of God unto an estate of absolute and
universal service is declared by the apostle, Heb. 10:5. For those
words of the Psalmist, "Mine ears hast thou digged," or bored, Ps.
40:6, he renders, "A body hast thou prepared me." There is an allusion
in the words of the prophecy unto him under the law who gave up
himself in absolute and perpetual service; in sign whereof his ears
were bored with an awl. So the body of Christ was prepared for him,
that therein he might be in a state of absolute service unto God. So
he became to have nothing of his own--the original state that Adam
would have forsaken; no, not [even] his life--he was obedient unto the
death.
 This way did divine wisdom find out and contrive, whereby more glory
did arise unto the holiness and righteousness of God from his
condescension unto universal service and obedience who was over all,
God blessed for ever, than dishonour was cast upon them by the self-
exaltation of him who, being in all things a servant, designed to be
like unto God.
 2. Adam was poor in himself, as a creature must be. What riches he
had in his hand or power, they were none of his own, they were only
trusted with him for especial service. In this state of poverty he
commits the robbery of attempting to be like unto God. Being poor, he
would make himself rich by the rapine of an equality with God. This
brought on him and us all, as it was meet it should, the loss of all
that we were trusted with. Hereby we lost the image of God--lost our
right unto the creatures here below--lost ourselves and our souls.
This was the issue of his attempt to be rich when he was poor.
 In this state infinite wisdom has provided for our relief, unto the
glory of God. For the Lord Jesus Christ being rich in himself, for our
sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, 2
Cor. 8: 9. He was rich in that riches which Adam designed by robbery;
for "he was in the form of God, and accounted it no robbery to be
equal with God." But he made himself poor for our sakes, with poverty
which Adam would have relinquished; yea, to that degree that "he had
not where to lay his head"--he had nothing. Hereby he made a
compensation for what he never made spoil of, or paid what he never
took. In this condescension of his, out of grace and love to mankind,
was God more glorified than he was dishonored in the sinful exaltation
of Adam out of pride and self-love.
 3. The sin of man consisted formally in disobedience; and it was the
disobedience of him who was every way and in all things obliged unto
obedience. For man--by all that he was, by all that he had received,
by all that he expected or was farther capable of, by the constitution
of his own nature, by the nature and authority of God, with his
relation thereunto--was indispensably obliged unto universal
obedience. His sin, therefore, was the disobedience of him who was
absolutely obliged unto obedience by the very constitution of his
being and necessary relation unto God. This was that which rendered it
so exceeding sinful, and the consequent of it eternally miserable; and
from this obligation his sin, in any one instance, was a total
renunciation of all obedience unto God.
 The recompense, with respect unto the glory of God, for disobedience
must be by obedience, as has been before declared. and if there be not
a full obedience yielded unto the law of God in that nature that
sinned, man cannot be saved without an eternal violation of the glory
of God therein. But the disobedience of him who was every way obliged
unto obedience could not be compensated but by his obedience who was
no way obliged thereunto; and this could be only the obedience of him
that is God, (for all creatures are obliged to obedience for
themselves,) and it could be performed only by him who was man.
Wherefore, for the accomplishment of this obedience, he who, in his
own person as God, was above the law, was in his human nature, in his
own person as man, made under the law. Had he not been made under the
law, what he did could not have been obedience; and had he not been in
himself above the law, his obedience could not have been beneficial
unto us. The sin of Adam (and the same is in the nature of every sin)
consisted in this--that he who was naturally every way under the law,
and subject unto it, would be every way above the law, and no way
obliged by it. Wherefore it was taken away, unto the glory of God, by
his obedience, who being in himself above the law, no way subject unto
it, yet submitted, humbled himself, to be "made under the law," to be
every way obliged by it. See Gal. 3: 13, 4: 4. This is the subject of
the discourse of the apostle, Rom. 5, from verse 12 to the end of the
chapter.
 Unto the glory of God in all these ends, the person of Christ, as an
effect of infinite wisdom, was meet and able to be a mediator and
undertaker between God and man. In the union of both our natures in
the same person he was so meet by his relation unto both;--unto God by
filiation, or Sonship; unto us by brotherhood, or nearness of kindred,
Heb. 2: 14. And he was able from the dignity of his person; for the
temporary sufferings of him who was eternal were a full compensation
for the eternal sufferings of them who were temporary.
 4. God made man the lord of all things here below. He was, as it
were, the heir of God, as unto the inheritance of this world in
present, and as unto a blessed state in eternal glory. But he lost all
right and title hereunto by sin. He made forfeiture of the whole by
the law of tenure whereby he held it, and God took the forfeiture.
Wherefore he designs a new heir of all, and vests the whole
inheritance of heaven and earth in him, even in his Son. He appointed
him "the heir of all things," Heb. 1: 2. This translation of God's
inheritance the apostle declares, Heb. 2: 6-9; for the words which he
cites from Ps. 8: 4-6,--"What is man, that thou art mindful of him,
and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a
little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and
honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet,"--do declare the original
condition of mankind in general. But man forfeited the dominion and
inheritance that he was intrusted withal; and God settleth it anew,
solely in the man Christ Jesus. So the apostle adds, "We see not yet
all things put under him;" but we see it all accomplished in Jesus,
verse 8. But as all other inheritances do descend with their, so did
this unto him with its burden. There was a great debt upon it--the
debt of sin. This he was to undergo, to make payment of, or
satisfaction for, or he could not rightly enter upon the inheritance.
This could no otherwise be done but by his suffering in our nature, as
has been declared. He who was the heir of all, was in himself to purge
our sins. Herein did the infinite wisdom of God manifest itself, in
that he conveyed the inheritance of all things unto him who was meet
and able so to enter upon it, so to enjoy and possess it, as that no
detriment or damage might arise unto the riches, the revenue, the
glory of God, from the waste made by the former possessor.
 5. Mankind was to be recovered unto faith and trust in God, as also
unto the love of him above all. All these things had utterly forsaken
our nature; and the reduction of them into it is a work of the
greatest difficulty. We had so provoked God, he had given such
evidences of his wrath and displeasure against us, and our minds
thereon were so alienated from him, as we stood in need of the
strongest motives and highest encouragements once to attempt to return
unto him, so as to place all our faith and trust in him, and all our
love upon him.
 Sinners generally live in a neglect and contempt of God, in an enmity
against him; but whenever they are convinced of a necessity to
endeavour a return unto him, the first thing they have to conflict
withal is fear. Beginning to understand who and what he is, as also
how things stand between him and them, they are afraid to have
anything to do with him, and judge it impossible that they should find
acceptance with him. This was the sense that Adam himself had upon his
sin, when he was afraid, and hid himself. And the sense of other
sinners is frequently expressed unto the same purpose in Scripture.
See Isa. 33:14; Micah 6: 6, 7.
 All these discouragements are absolutely provided against in that way
of our recovery which infinite wisdom has found out. It were a thing
delightful to dwell on the securities given us therein, as unto our
acceptance, in all those principles, acts, and duties wherein the
renovation of the image of God does consist. I must contract my
meditations, and shall therefore instance in some few things only unto
that purpose.
 (1.) Faith is not capable of greater encouragement or confirmation
than lieth in this one consideration--that what we are to believe unto
this end is delivered unto us by God himself in our nature. What could
confirm our faith and hope in God, what could encourage us to expect
acceptance with God, like this ineffable testimony of his goodwill
unto us? The nature of things is not capable of greater assurance,
seeing the divine nature is capable of no greater condescension.
 This the Scripture proposeth as that which gives a just expectation
that, against all fears and oppositions, we should close with divine
calls and invitations to return unto God: "Last of all he sent unto
them his son, saying, They will reverence my son," Matt. 21: 37,--they
will believe the message which I send by him. He has "spoken unto us
by his Son"--"the brightness of his glory, and the express image of
his person," Heb. 1: 1-3. The consideration hereof is sufficient to
dispel all that darkness and confusion which fear, dread, and guilt do
bring on the minds of men, when they are invited to return unto God.
That that God against whom we have sinned should speak unto us, and
treat with us, in our oven nature, about a return unto himself, is the
utmost that divine excellencies could condescend unto. And as this was
needful for us, (though proud men and senseless of sin understand it
not,) so, if it be refused, it will be attended with the sorest
destruction, Heb. 12: 25.
 (2.) This treaty principally consists in a divans declaration, that
all the causes of fear and dread upon the account of sin are removed
and taken away. This is the substance of the Gospel, as it is declared
by the apostle, 2 Cor. 5: 18-21. Wherefore, if hereon we refuse to
return unto God--to make him the object of our faith, trust, love, and
delight--it is not by reason of any old or former sin, not of that of
our original apostasy from God, nor of the effects of it against the
law, [but] by the means of a new sin, outdoing them all in guilt and
contempt of God. Such is final unbelief against the proposal of the
gospel. It has more malignity in it than all other sins whatever. But
by this way of our recovery, all cause of fear and dread is taken away-
-all pretences of a distrust of the love and good-will of God are
defeated; so that if men will not hereon be recovered unto him, it is
from their hatred of him and enmity unto him--the fruits whereof they
must feed on to eternity.
 (3.) Whereas, if we will return unto God by faith, we are also to
return unto him in love, what greater motive can there be unto it than
that infinite love of the Father and the Son unto us, which is
gloriously displayed in this way of our recovery? See 1 John 4: 9, 10
"Si amare pigebat, saltem redamare ne pigeat."
 (4.) The whole race of mankind falling into sin against God, and
apostasy from him, there was no example left unto them to manifest how
excellent, how glorious and comely a thing it is, to live unto God, to
believe and trust in him--to cleave unto him unchangeably by love; for
they were utter stranger unto what is done by angels above, nor could
be affected with their example. But without a pattern of these things,
manifesting their excellency and reward, they could not earnestly
endeavour to attain unto them. This is given us most conspicuously in
the human nature of Christ. See Heb. 12: 2, 3. Hereby, therefore,
everything needful for our encouragement to return unto God is, in
infinite wisdom, provided for and proposed unto us.
 6. Divine Wisdom, in the way of our recovery by Jesus Christ, God
manifest in the flesh, designed to glorify a state of obedience unto
God, and to cast the reproach of the most inexpressible folly on the
relinquishment of that state by sin. For, as God would recover and
restore us; so be would do it in a way of obedience on our part of
that obedience which we had forsaken. The design of man, which was
imposed on him by the craft of Satan, was to become wise like unto
God, knowing good and evil. The folly of this endeavour was quickly
discovered in its effects. Sense of nakedness, with shame, misery, and
death, immediately ensued thereon.
 But divine Wisdom thought meet to aggravate the reproach of this
folly. He would let us see wherein the true knowledge of good and evil
did consist, and how foolishly we had aspired unto it by a
relinquishment of that state of obedience wherein we were created.
 Job 28 from verse 12 unto the end of the chapter, there is an inquiry
after wisdom, and the place of its habitation. All creatures give an
account that it is not in them, that it is hid from theme only they
have heard the fame thereof. All the context is to evince that it is
essentially and originally only in God himself. But if we cannot
comprehend it in itself, yet may we not know what is wisdom unto us,
and what is required thereunto? Yes, saith he; for "unto man he said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil
is understanding," verse 28. Man, on the other hand, by the suggestion
of Satan, thought, and now of himself continues to think, otherwise;
namely, that the way to be wise is to relinquish these things. The
world will not be persuaded that "the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and
to depart from evil is understanding;" yea, there is nothing that the
most of men do more despise and scorn, than thoughts that true wisdom
does consist in faith, love, fear, and obedience unto God. See Ps. 14:
6. Whatever else may be pleaded to be in it, yet sure enough they are
that those who count it wisdom are but fools
 To cast an everlasting reproach of folly on this contrivance of the
devil and man, and uncontrollably to evince wherein alone true wisdom
does consist, God would glorify a state of obedience. He would render
it incomparably more amiable, desirable, and excellent, than ever it
could have appeared to have been in the obedience of all the angels in
heaven and men on earth, had they continued therein. This he did in
this way of our recovery,--in that his own eternal Son entered into a
state of obedience, and took upon him the "form" or condition "of a
servant" unto God.
 What more evident conviction could there be of the folly of mankind
in hearkening unto the suggestion of Satan to seek after wisdom in
another condition? How could that great maxim, which is laid down in
opposition unto all vain thoughts of man, be more eminently
exemplified--that "the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart
from evil, that is understanding?" What greater evidence could be
given, that the nature of man is not capable of a better condition
than that of service and universal obedience unto God? How could any
state be represented more amiable, desirable, and blessed? In the
obedience of Christ, of the Son of God in our nature, apostate sinners
are upbraided with their folly in relinquishing that state which, by
his susception of it, is rendered so glorious. What have we attained
by leaving that condition which the eternal Son of God delighted in?
"I delight," saith he, "to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is in
the midst of my bowels," Ps. 40:8--margin. It is the highest
demonstration that our nature is not capable of more order, more
beauty, more glory, than consists in obedience unto God. And that
state which we fell into upon our forsaking of it, we now know to be
all darkness, confusion, and misery.
 Wherefore, seeing God, in infinite grace and mercy, would recover us
unto himself; and, in his righteousness and holiness, would do this in
a way of obedience,--of that obedience which we had forsaken; it has
an eminent impression of divine wisdom upon it, that in this mystery
of God manifest in the flesh, the only means of our recovery, he would
cast the reproach of the most inexpressible folly on our apostasy from
a state of it, and render it amiable and desirable unto all who are to
return unto him.
 To bear the shame of this folly, to be deeply sensible of it, and to
live in a constant prospect and view of the glory of obedience in the
person of Christ, with a sedulous endeavour for conformity thereunto,
is the highest attainment of our wisdom in this world;--and whosoever
is otherwise minded, is so at his own utmost peril.
 7. God, in infinite wisdom, has by this means secured the whole
inheritance of this life and that which is to come from a second
forfeiture. Whatever God will bestow on the children of men, he grants
it unto them in the way of an inheritance. So the land of Canaan,
chosen out for a representative of spiritual and eternal things, was
granted unto Abraham and his seed for an inheritance. And his interest
in the promise is expressed by being "heir of the world." All the
things of this life, that are really good and useful unto us, do
belong unto this inheritance. So they did when it was vested in Adam.
All things of grace and glory do so also. And the whole of the
privilege of believers is, that they are heirs of salvation. Hence
godliness has the "promise of the life that now is, and of that which
is to come," l Tim. 4: 8. And the promise is only of the inheritance.
This inheritance, as was before intimated, was lost in Adam, and
forfeited into the hand of the great Lord, the great possessor of
heaven and earth. In his sovereign grace and goodness he was pleased
again to restore it--as unto all the benefits of it--unto the former
tenants; and that with an addition of grace, and a more exceeding
weight of glory. But withal, infinite wisdom provides that a second
forfeiture shall not be made of it. Wherefore the grant of it is not
made immediately unto any of those for whose use and benefit it is
prepared and granted. They had been once tried, and failed in their
trust, unto their own eternal beggary and ruin, had not infinite grace
interposed for their relief. And it did not become the wisdom and
glory of God to make a second grant of it, which might be frustrate in
like manner. Wherefore he would not commit it again unto any mere
creature whatever; nor would it safely have been so done with security
unto his glory. For--
 (1.) It was too great a trust--even the whole inheritance of heaven
and earth, all the riches of grace and glory--to be committed unto any
one of them. God would not give this glory unto any one creature. If
it be said it was first committed unto Adam, and therefore to have it
again is not an honour above the capacity of a creature; I say that
the nature of the inheritance is greatly changed. The whole of what
was intrusted with Adam comes exceedingly short of what God has nor
prepared as the inheritance of the church. There is grace in it, and
glory added unto it, which Adam neither had nor could have right unto.
It is now of that nature, as could neither be intrusted with, nor
communicated by, any mere crew Besides, he that has it is the object
of the faith and trust of the church; nor can any be interested in any
part of this inheritance without the exercise of those and all other
graces on him whose the inheritance is. And so to be the object of our
faith, is the prerogative of the divine nature alone.
 (2.) No mere creators could secure this inheritance that it should be
lost no more; and yet if it were so, it would be highly derogatory
unto the glory of God. For two things were required hereunto,--First,
That he in whom this trust is vested should be in himself incapable of
any such failure, as through which, by the immutable, eternal law of
obedience unto God, a forfeiture of it should be made;--Secondly, That
he undertake for them all who shall be heirs of salvation, who shall
enjoy this inheritance, that none of them should lose or forfeit their
own personal interest in it, or the terms whereon it is conveyed and
communicated unto them. But no mere creature was sufficient unto these
ends; for no one of them, in and by him in the constitution of his
nature, is absolutely free from falling from God, himself They may
receive--the angels in heaven and the glorified saints have received--
such a confirmation, in and by grace, as that they shall never
actually apostatise or fall from God; but this they have not from
themselves, nor the principles of their own nature,--which is
necessary unto him that shall receive this trust. For so when it was
first vested in Adam, he was left to preserve it by the innate
concreated abilities of his own nature. And as unto the latter, all
the angels in heaven cannot undertake to secure the obedience of any
one man, so as that the conveyance of the inheritance may be sure unto
him. Wherefore, with respect hereunto, those angels themselves though
the most holy and glorious of all the creatures of God, have no
greater trust or interest than to be "ministering spirits, sent forth
to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," Heb. 1: 14. So
unmet are they to have the whole inheritance vested in any of them.
 But all this infinite wisdom has provided for in the great "mystery
of godliness God manifest in the flesh." God herein makes his only Son
the best of all things, and vests the whole inheritance absolutely in
him. For the promise, which is the court-roll of heaven--the only
external mean and record of its conveyance--was originally made unto
Christ only. God said not, "And to seeds as of many; but as of one,
And to thy seed, which is Christ," Gal 3: 16. And we become again
heirs of God only as we are joint heirs with Christ, Rom. 8: 17; that
is by being taken into a participation of that inheritance which is
vested in him alone. For many may be partakers of the benefit of that
whose right and title is in one alone, when it is conveyed unto him
for their use. And hereby the ends before mentioned are fully provided
for. For--
 [1.] He who is thus made the "heir of all" is meet to be intrusted
with the glory of it. For where this grant is solemnly expressed, it
is declared that he is the "brightness of the Father's glory, and the
express image of his person," Heb. 1: 2, 3; and that by him the worlds
were made. He alone was meet to be this heir who is partaker of the
divine nature, and by whom all things were created; for such things
belong unto it as cannot appertain unto any other. The reader may
consult, if he please, our exposition of that place of the apostle.
 [2.] Any failure in his own person was absolutely impossible. The
subsistence of the human nature in the person of the Son of God,
rendered the least sin utterly impossible unto him; for all the moral
operations of that nature are the acts of the person of the Son of
God. And hereby not only is the inheritance secured but also an
assurance that it is so is given unto all them that do believe. This
is the life and soul of all Gospel comforts, that the whole
inheritance of grace and glory is vested in Christ, where it can never
suffer loss or damage. When we are sensible of the want of grace,
should we go unto God, and say, "Father, give us the portion of goods
that falls unto us," as the prodigal did, we should quickly consume
it, and bring ourselves unto the utmost misery, as he did also. But in
Christ the whole inheritance is secured for evermore.
 [3.] He is able to preserve all those who shall be heirs of this
inheritance, that they forfeit not their own personal interest
therein, according unto the terms of the covenant whereby it is made
over to them. He can and will, by the power of his grace, preserve
them all unto the full enjoyment of the purchased inheritance. We hold
our title by the rod at the will of the Lord; and many failures we are
liable unto, whereon we are "in misericordia Domini," and are subject
unto amercements/ But yet the whole inheritance being granted unto
Christ is eternally secured for us, and we are by his grace preserved
from such offences against the supreme Lord, or committing any such
wastes, as should cast us out of our possession. See Ps. 89: 27-32.
Thus in all things infinite wisdom has provided that no second
forfeiture should be made of the inheritance of grace and glory, which
as it would have been eternally ruinous unto mankind, so it was
inconsistent with the glory and honour of God.
 8. The wisdom of God was gloriously exalted in the righteous
destruction of Satan and his interest, by the incarnation and
mediation of the Son of God. He had prevailed against the first way of
the manifestation of divine glory; and therein both pleased and prided
himself. Nothing could ever give such satisfaction unto the malicious
murderer, as the breach he had occasioned between God and man, with
his hopes and apprehensions that it would be eternal He had no other
thoughts but that the whole race of mankind, which God had designed
unto the enjoyment of himself, should be everlastingly ruined. So he
had satisfied his envy against man in his eternal destruction with
himself, and his malice against God in depriving him of his glory.
Hereon, upon the distance that he had made between God and man, he
interposed himself, and boasted himself for a long season as "The god
of this world," who had all power over it and in it. It belonged unto
the honour of the wisdom of God that he should be defeated in this
triumph. Neither was it meet that this should be done by a mere act of
sovereign omnipotent power; for he would yet glory in his craft and
the success of it,--that there was no way to disappoint him, but by
crushing him with power, without respect unto righteousness or
demonstration of wisdom. Wherefore, it must be done in such a way as
wherein he might see, unto his eternal shame and confusion, all his
arts and subtleties defeated by infinite wisdom, and his enterprise
overthrown in a way of right and equity. The remark that the Holy
Ghost puts on the serpent, which was his instrument in drawing man
unto apostasy from God--namely, that he was "more sure than any beast
of the field"--is only to intimate wherein Satan designed his attempt,
and from whence he hoped for his success. It was not an act of power
or rage; but of craft, counsel, subtlety, and deceit. Herein he
gloried and prided himself; wherefore the way to disappoint him with
shame, must be a contrivance of infinite wisdom, turning all his
artifices into mere folly.
 This work of God, with respect unto him, is expressed in the
Scripture two ways:--First, it is called the spoiling of him, as unto
his power and the prey that he had taken. The "strong man armed" was
to be bound, and his goods spoiled. The Lord Christ, by his death,
"destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." He
"led captivity captive," spoiling principalities and powers,
triumphing over them in his cross. So Abraham, when he smote the
kings, not only delivered Lot, who was their captive, but also took
all their spoils. Again, it is expressed by the destruction of his
works: "For this cause was the Son of God manifested, that he might
destroy the works of the devil." The spoils which he had in his own
power were taken from him, and the works which he had erected in the
minds of men were demolished. The web which he had woven to clothe
himself withal, as the god of this world, was unravelled to the last
thread. And although all this seems to represent a work of power, yet
was it indeed an effect of wisdom and righteousness principally.
 For the power which Satan had over mankind was in itself unjust. For,
(1.) He obtained it by fraud and and deceit: "The serpent beguiled"
Eve. (2.) He possessed it with injustice, with respect unto God, being
an invader of his right and possession. (3.) He used and exercised it
with malice, tyranny, and rage;--so as that it was every way unjust,
both in its foundation and execution. With respect hereunto he was
justly destroyed by omnipotent power, which puts forth itself in his
eternal punishment. But, on the other side, mankind did suffer justly
under his power--being given up unto it in the righteous judgement of
God. For one may suffer justly what another does unjustly inflict; as
when one causelessly strikes an innocent man, if he strikes him again,
he who did the first injury suffereth justly, but the other does
unjustly in revenging himself. Wherefore, as man was given up unto him
in a way of punishment, he was a lawful captive, and was not to be
delivered but in a way of justice. And this was done in a way that
Satan never thought of. For, by the obedience and sufferings of the
Son of God incarnate, there was full satisfaction made unto the
justice of God for the sins of man, a reparation of his glory, and an
exaltation of the honour of his holiness, with all the other
properties of his nature, as also of his law, outbalancing all the
diminution of it by the first apostasy of mankind; as has been
declared. Immediately hereon all the charms of Satan were dissolved,
all his chains loosed, his darkness that he had brought on the
creation dispelled, his whole plot and design defeated;--whereon he
saw himself, and was exposed unto all the holy angels of heaven, in
all the counsels, craft, and power he had boasted of, to be nothing
but a congeries--a mass of darkness, malice, folly, impotency, and
rage.
 Hereon did Satan make an entrance into one of the principal parts of
his eternal torments, in that furious self-maceration which he is
given up unto on the consideration of his defeat and disappointment.
Absolute power he always feared, and what it would produce; for he
believes that, and trembles. But against any other war he thought he
had secured himself. It lies plain to every understanding, what shame,
confusion, and self-revenge, the proud apostate was cast into, upon
his holy, righteous disappointment of his design; whereas he had
always promised himself to carry his cause, or at least to put God to
act in the destruction of his dominion, by mere omnipotent power,
without regard unto any other properties of his nature To find that
which he contrived for the destruction of the glory of God--the
disappointment of his ends in the creation of all things--and the
eternal ruin of mankind, to issue in a more glorious exaltation of the
holy properties of the divine nature, and an unspeakable augmentation
of blessedness unto mankind itself, is the highest aggravation of his
eternal torments. This was a work every way becoming the infinite
wisdom of God.
 9. Whereas there are three distinct persons in the holy Trinity, it
became the wisdom of God that the Son, the second person, should
undertake this work, and be incarnate. I shall but sparingly touch on
this glorious mystery; for as unto the reason of it, it is absolutely
resolved into the infinite wisdom and sovereign counsel of the divine
will. And all such things are the objects of a holy admiration--not
curiously to be inquired into. To intrude ourselves into the things
which we have not seen--that is, which are not revealed--in those
concernments of them which are not revealed, is not unto the advantage
of faith in our edification. But as unto what is declared of them--
either immediately and directly, or by their relation unto other known
truths--we may meditate on them unto the improvement of faith and love
towards God. And some things are thus evident unto us in this mystery.
 (1.) We had by sin lost the image of God, and thereby all gracious
acceptance with him,--all interest in his love and favor. In our
recovery, as we have declared, this image is again to be restored unto
us, or we are to be renewed into the likeness of God. And there was a
condecency unto divine wisdom, that this work should, in a peculiar
manner, be effected by him who is the essential image of God--that is,
the Father. This, as we have formerly showed, was the person of the
Son. Receiving his personal subsistence, and therewithal the divine
nature, with all its essential properties, from the Father by eternal
generation, he was thereon the express image of his person, and the
brightness of his glory. Whatever is in the person of the Father is in
the person of the Son, and being all received from the Father, he is
his essential image. And one end of his incubation was, that he might
be the representative image of God unto us. Whereas, therefore, in the
work of our recovery, the image of God should be restored in us, there
was a condecency that it should be done by him who was the essential
image of God; for it consists in the communication of the effects and
likeness of the same image unto us which was essentially in himself
 (2.) We were by nature the sons of God. We stood in relation of sons
unto him by virtue of our creation--the communication of his image and
likeness--with the preparation of an inheritance for us. On the same
accounts the angels are frequently called the sons of God. This title,
this relation unto God, we utterly lost by sin, becoming aliens from
him, and enemies unto him. Without a recovery into this estate we
cannot be restored, nor brought unto the enjoyment of God. And this
cannot be done but by adoption. Now, it seems convenient unto divine
wisdom that he should recover our sonship by adoption, who was himself
the essential and eternal Son of God.
 (3.) The sum of what we can comprehend in this great mystery ariseth
from the consideration of the order of the holy persons of the blessed
Trinity in their operations; for their order herein does follow that
of their subsistence. Unto this great work there are peculiarly
required, authority, love, and power--all directed by infinite wisdom.
These originally reside in the person of the Father, and the acting of
them in this matter is constantly ascribed unto him. He sent the Son,
as he gives the Spirit, by an act of sovereign authority. And he sent
the Son from his eternal love;--he loved the world, and sent his Son
to die. This is constantly assigned to be the effect of the love and
grace of the Father. And he wrought in Christ, and he works in us,
with respect unto the end of this mystery, with the "exceeding
greatness of his power," Eph. 1: 19. The Son, who is the second person
in the order of subsistence, in the order of operation puts the whole
authority, love, and power of the Father in execution. This order of
subsistence and operation thereon is expressly declared by the
apostle, 1 Cor. 8: 6, "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom
are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are
all things, and we by him." The Father is the original fountain and
spring,; "ex hou", from whom--[from] whose original authority, love,
goodness, and power--are all these things. That expression, "from
him," peculiarly denotes the eternal original of all things. But how
are this authority, goodness, love, and power in the Father, whence
all these things spring and arise, made effectual--how are their
effects wrought out and accomplished? "There is one Lord," even Jesus
Christ, a distinct person from the Father, "di hou", "by whom are all
things." He works in the order of his subsistence, to execute, work,
and accomplish all that originally proceedeth from the Father. By the
Holy Spirit, who is the third person in order of subsistence, there is
made a perfecting application of the whole unto all its proper ends
 Wherefore, this work of our redemption and recovery being the
especial effect of the authority, love, and power of the Father--it
was to be executed in and by the person of the Son; as the application
of it unto us is made by the Holy Ghost. Hence it became not the
person of the Father to assume our nature;--it belonged not thereunto
in the order of subsistence and operation in the blessed Trinity. The
authority, love, and power whence the whole work proceeded, were his
in a peculiar manner. But the execution of what infinite wisdom
designed in them and by them belonged unto another. Nor did this
belong unto the person of the Holy Spirit, who, in order of divine
operation following that of his subsistence, was to perfect the whole
work, in making application of it unto the church when it was wrought.
Wherefore it was every way suited unto divine wisdom--unto the order
of the Holy Persons in their subsistence and operation--that this work
should be undertaken and accomplished in the person of the Son. What
is farther must be referred unto another world.
 These are some few of those things wherein the infinite wisdom of God
in this holy contrivance giveth forth some rays of itself into
enlightened minds and truly humbled souls. But how little a portion of
it is heard by us! How weak, how low are our conceptions about it! We
cannot herein find out the Almighty unto perfection. No small part of
the glory of heaven will consist in that comprehension which we shall
have of the mystery of the wisdom, love, and grace of God herein.
 Howbeit, we are with all diligence to inquire into it whilst we are
here in the way. It is the very centre of all glorious evangelical
truths. Not one of them can be understood, believed, or improved as
they ought, without a due comprehension of their relation hereunto; as
we have showed before.
 This is that which the prophets of old inquired into and after with
all diligence, even the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, with the
glory that ensued thereon, 1 Pet. 1: 11. Yet had they not that light
to discern it by which we have. The "least in the kingdom of God," as
to the knowledge of this mystery, may be above the greatest of them.
And ought we not to fear lest our sloth under the beams of the sun
should be condemned by their diligence in the twilight?
 This the angels bow down to look into, although their concerns
therein are not equal to ours. But angels are angels, and prophets
were prophets; we are a generation of poor, sinfull men, who are
little concerned in the glory of God or our own duty.
 Is it not much to be lamented that many Christians content themselves
with a very superficiary knowledge of these things? How are the
studies, the abilities, the time, and diligence of many excellent
persons engaged in, and laid out about, the works of nature, and the
effects of divine wisdom and power in them, by whom any endeavor to
inquire into this glorious mystery is neglected, if not despised!
Alas! The light of divine wisdom in the greatest works of nature holds
not the proportion of the meanest star unto the sun in its full
strength, unto that glory of it which shines in this mystery of God
manifest in the flesh, and the work accomplished thereby! A little
time shall put an end unto the whole subject of their inquiries, with
all the concernment of God and man in them for evermore. This alone is
that which fills up eternity, and which, although it be now with some
a nothing, yet will shortly be all.
 Is it not much more to be lamented, that many who are called
Christians do even despise these mysteries? Some oppose them directly
with pernicious heresies about the person of Christ, denying his
divine nature, or the personal union of his two natures whereby the
whole mystery of infinite wisdom is evacuated and rejected; and some
there are who, though they do not deny the truth of this mystery, yet
they both despise and reproach such as with any diligence endeavor to
inquire into it. I shall add the words used on a like occasion, unto
them who sincerely believe the mysteries of the Gospel: "But ye,
beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in
the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." And the due
contemplation of this mystery will certainly be attended with many
spiritual advantages.
 [1.] It will bring in steadfastness in believing, as unto the
especial concerns of our own souls; so as to give unto God the glory
that is his due thereon. This is the work, these are the ends, of
faith, Rom. 5: 1-5. We see how many Christians who are sincere
believers, yet fluctuate in their minds with great uncertainties as
unto their own state and condition. The principal reason of it is,
because they are "unskilfull in the word of righteousness," and so are
babes, in a weak condition, as the apostle speaks, Heb. 5: 13. This is
the way of spiritual peace. When the soul of a believer is able to
take a view of the glory of the wisdom of God, exalting all the other
holy properties of his nature, in this great mystery unto our
salvation, it will obviate all fears, remove all objections, and be a
means of bringing in assured peace into the mind; which without a due
comprehension of it will never be attained.
 [2.] The acting of faith hereon is that which is accompanied with its
great power to change and transform the soul into the image and
likeness of Chris. So is it expressed by the apostle, 2 Cor. 3: 18,
"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the
Spirit of the Lord"--we all beholding--"katoptizomenoi", not taking a
transient glance of these things, but diligently inspecting them, as
those do who, through a glass, design a steady view of things at a
distance. That which we are thus to behold by the continued actings of
faith in holy contemplation, is the "glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ," as it is expressed, chap. 4: 6; which is nothing but that
mystery of godliness in whose explanation we have been engaged. And
what is the effect of the steady contemplation of this mystery by
faith? "Metamorfoumetha"--"we are changed"--made quite other creatures
than we were--cast into the form, figure, and image of Jesus Christ
the great design of all believers in this world. Would we, then, be
like unto Christ? Would we bear the image of the heavenly, as we have
borne the image of the earthy? Is nothing so detestable unto us as the
deformed image of the old man, in the lusts of the mind and of the
flesh? Is nothing so amiable and desirable as the image of Christ, and
the representation of God in him? This is the way, this is the means
of attaining the end which we aim at.
 [3.] Abounding in this duty is the most effectual means of freeing
us, in particular, from the shame and bane of profession in
earthlyminded. There is nothing so unbecoming a Christian as to have
his mind always exercised about, always filled with thoughts of,
earthly things and according as men's thoughts are exercised about
them, their affections are increased and inflamed towards them. These
things mutually promote one another, and there is a kind of
circulation in them. Multiplied thoughts inflame affections, and
inflamed affections increase the number of thoughts concerning them.
Nothing is more repugnant unto the whole life of faith, nothing more
obstructive unto the exercise of all grace, than a prevalence of this
frame of mind. And at this season, in an especial manner, it is
visibly preying on the vitals of religion. To abound in the
contemplation of this mystery, and in the exercise of faith about it,
as it is diametrically opposed unto this frame, so it will gradually
cast it out of the soul. And without this we shall labour in the fire
for deliverance from this pernicious evil.
 [4.] And hereby are we prepared for the enjoyment of glory above. No
small part of that glory consists in the eternal contemplation and
adoration of the wisdom, goodness, love, and power of God in this
mystery, and the effects of it; as shall afterward be declared.
 And how can we better or otherwise be prepared for it, but by the
implanting a sense of it on our minds by sedulous contemplation whilst
we are in this world? God will not take us into heaven, into the
vision and possession of heavenly glory, with our heads and hearts
reeking with the thoughts and affections of earthly things. He has
appointed means to make us "meet for the inheritance of the saints in
light," before he will bring us into the enjoyment of it. And this is
the principal way whereby he doth it; for hereby it is that we are
"changed" into the image of Christ, "from glory to glory," and make
the nearest approaches unto the eternal fulness of it.





Chapter XVIII. The Nature of the Person of Christ, and the
Hypostatical Union of his Natures Declared

 The nature or constitution of the person of Christ hath been commonly
spoken unto and treated of in the writings both of the ancient and
modern divines. It is not my purpose, in this discourse, to handle
anything that hath been so fully already declared by others. Howbeit,
to speak something of it in this place is necessary unto the present
work; and I shall do it in answer unto a double end or design:--First,
To help those that believe, in the regulation of their thoughts about
this divine person, so far as the Scripture goes before us. It is of
great importance unto our souls that we have right conceptions
concerning him; not only in general, and in opposition unto the
pernicious heresies of them by whom his divine person or either of his
natures is denied, but also in those especial instances wherein it is
the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and grace. For although the
knowledge of him mentioned in the Gospel be not confined merely unto
his person in the constitution thereof, but extends itself unto the
whole work of his mediation, with the design of God's love and grace
therein, with our own duty thereon; yet is this knowledge of his
person the foundation of all the rest, wherein if we mistake or fail,
our whole building in the other parts of the knowledge of him will
fall unto the ground. And although the saving knowledge of him is not
to be obtained without especial divine revelation, Matt. 16: 17--or
saving illumination, 1 John 5: 20--nor can we know him perfectly until
we come where he is to behold his glory, John 17:. 24; yet are
instructions from the Scripture of use to lead us into those farther
degrees of the knowledge of him which are attainable in this life.
 Secondly, To manifest in particular how ineffably distinct the
relation between the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus is, from all
that relation and union which may be between God and believers, or
between God and any other creature. The want of a true understanding
hereof is the fundamental error of many in our days. We shall manifest
thereupon how "it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness
dwell," so that in all things "he might have the pre-eminence," Col.
1: 18, 19. And I shall herein wholly avoid the curious inquiries, bold
conjectures, and unwarrantable determinations of the schoolmen and
some others. For many of them, designing to explicate this mystery, by
exceeding the bounds of Scripture light and sacred sobriety, have
obscured it. Endeavouring to render all things plain unto reason, they
have expressed many things unsound as unto faith, and fallen into
manifold contradictions among themselves. Hence Aquinas affirms, that
three of the ways of declaring the hypostatical union which are
proposed by the Master of the Sentences, are so far from probable
opinions, as that they are downright heresies. I shall therefore
confine myself, in the explication of this mystery, unto the
propositions of divine revelation, with the just and necessary
expositions of them.
 What the Scripture represents of the wisdom of God in this great work
may be reduced unto these four heads:--I. The assumption of our nature
into personal subsistence with the Son of God. II. The union of the
two natures in that single person which is consequential thereon. III.
The mutual communication of those distinct natures, the divine and
human, by virtue of that union. IV. The enunciations or predications
concerning the person of Christ, which follow on that union and
communion.
 I. The first thing in the divine constitution of the person of Christ
as God and man, is assumption. That ineffable divine act I intend
whereby the person of the Son of God assumed our nature, or took it
into a personal subsistence with himself. This the Scripture
expresseth sometimes actively, with respect unto the divine nature
acting in the person of the Son, the nature assuming; sometimes
passively, with respect unto the human nature, the nature assumed. The
first it does, Heb. 2: 14, 16, "Forasmuch as the children are
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of
the same. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he
took on him the seed of Abraham;" Phil. 2: 6, 7, "Being in the form of
God, he took upon him the form of a servant;" and in sundry other
places. The assumption, the taking of our human nature to be his own,
by an ineffable act of his power and grace, is clearly expressed. And
to take it to be his own, his own nature, can be no otherwise but by
giving it a subsistence in his own person; otherwise his own nature it
is not, nor can be. Hence God is said to "purchase his church with his
own blood," Acts 20: 28. That relation and denomination of "his own,"
is from the single person of him whose it is. The latter is declared,
John 1: 14, "The Word was made flesh;" Rom. 8: 3, God sent "his own
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;" Gal. 4: 4, "Made of a woman,
made under the law ;" Rom. 1: 3, "Made of the seed of David according
to the flesh." The eternal Word, the Son of God, was not made flesh,
not made of a woman, nor of the seed of David, by the conversion of
his substance or nature into flesh; which implies a contradiction,--
and, besides, is absolutely destructive of the divine nature. He could
no otherwise, therefore, be made flesh, or made of a woman, but in
that our nature was made his, by his assuming of it to be his own. The
same person--who before was not flesh, was not man--was made flesh as
man, in that he took our human nature to be his own.
 This ineffable act is the foundation of the divine relation between
the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus. We can only adore the
mysterious nature of it,--"great is this mystery of godliness." Yet
may we observe sundry things to direct us in that duty.
 1. As unto original efficiency, it was the act of the divine nature,
and so, consequently, of the Father, Son, and Spirit. For so are all
outward acts of God--the divine nature being the immediate principle
of all such operations. The wisdom, power, grace, and goodness exerted
therein, are essential properties of the divine nature. Wherefore the
acting of them originally belongs equally unto each person, equally
participant of that nature. (1.) As unto authoritative designation, it
was the act of the Father. Hence is he said to send "his Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh," Rom. 8: 3; Gal. 4: 4. (2.) As unto the
formation of the human nature, it was the peculiar act of the Spirit,
Luke 1: 35. (3.) As unto the term of the assumption, or the taking of
our nature unto himself, it was the peculiar act of the person of the
Son. Herein, as Damascen observes, the other persons had no
concurrence, but only "kata boulesin kai eudokian"--"by counsel and
approbation."
 2. This assumption was the only immediate act of the divine nature on
the human in the person of the Son. All those that follow, in
subsistence, sustentation, with all others that are communicative, do
ensue thereon.
 3. This assumption and the hypostatical union are distinct and
different in the formal reason of them. (1.) Assumption is the
immediate act of the divine nature in the person of the Son on the
human; union is mediate, by virtue of that assumption. (2.) Assumption
is unto personality; it is that act whereby the Son of God and our
nature became one person. Union is an act or relation of the natures
subsisting in that one person. (3.) Assumption respects the acting of
the divine and the passion of the human nature; the one assumeth, the
other is assumed. Unions respects the mutual relation of the natures
unto each other. Hence the divine nature may be said to be united unto
the human, as well as the human unto the divine; but the divine nature
cannot be said to be assumed as the human is. Wherefore assumption
denotes the acting of the one nature and the passion of the other;
union, the mutual relation that is between them both.
 These things may be safely affirmed, and ought to be firmly believed,
as the sense of the Holy Ghost in those expressions: "He took on him
the seed of Abraham"--"He took on him the form of a servant;" and the
like. And who can conceive the condescension of divine goodness, or
the acting of divine wisdom and power therein?
    II. That which followeth hereon, is the union of the two natures
in the same person, or the hypostatical union. This is included and
asserted in a multitude of divine testimonies. Isa. 7: 14, "Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name
Emmanuel," as Matt. 1: 23. He who was conceived and born of the virgin
was Emmanuel, or God with us; that is, God manifest in the flesh, by
the union of his two natures in the same person. Isa. 9: 6, "Unto us a
child is born, unto us a son is given: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the
Prince of Peace." That the same person should be "the mighty God" and
a "child born," is neither conceivable nor possible, nor can be true,
but by the union of the divine and human natures in the same person.
So he said of himself, "Before Abraham was, I am," John 8: 58. That
he, the same person who then spake unto the Jews, and as a man was
little more than thirty years of age, should also be before Abraham,
undeniably confirms the union of another nature, in the same person
with that wherein he spoke those words, and without which they could
not be true. He had not only another nature which did exist before
Abraham, but the same individual person who then spoke in the human
nature did then exist. See to the same purpose, John 1: 14; Acts 20:
28; Rom. 9: 5; Col. 2: 9; 1 John 3: 16.
 This union the ancient church affirmed to be made "atreptoos",
"without any change" in the person of the Son of God, which the divine
nature is not subject unto;--"adiiretoos", with a distinction of
natures, but "without any division" of them by separate subsistences;-
-"asugchutoos", "without mixture" or confusion;--"achooristoos",
"without separation" or distance; and "ousioodoos", "substantially,"
because it was of two substances or essences in the same person, in
opposition unto all accidental union, as the "fulness of the Godhead
dwelt in him bodily".
 These expressions were found out and used by the ancient church to
prevent the fraud of those who corrupted the doctrine of the person of
Christ, and (as all of that Sort ever did, and yet continue so to do)
obscured their pernicious sentiments under ambiguous expressions. And
they also made use of sundry terms which they judged significant of
this great mystery, or the incarnation of the Son of God. Such are
"ensarkoosis", "incarnation;" "ensoomatoosis", "embodying,"
"enanthroopesis", "inhumanation;" "he despotike epidwmia, kai
parousia, he oikonomia", to the same purpose; "he dia sarkos homilia",
"his conversation in or by the flesh;" "he dia anthroopotetos
faneroosis", "his manifestation by humanity;" "he eleusis", "the
advent;" "he kenoosis", "the exinanition", or humiliation; "he tou
Christou epifaneia", "the appearance" or manifestation "of Christ;"
"he sugkatabasis", "the condescension". Most of these expressions are
taken from the Scripture, and are used therein with respect unto this
mystery, or some concernments of it. Wherefore, as our faith is not
confined unto any one of these words or terms, so as that we should be
obliged to believe not only the things intended, but also the manner
of its expression in them; so, in as far as they explain the thing
intended according unto the mind of the Holy Ghost in the Scripture,
and obviate the senses of men of corrupt minds, they are to be
embraced and defended as useful helps in teaching the truth
 That whereby it is most usually declared in the writings of the
ancients, is "charis henooseoos", "gratia unionis", the "grace of
union;"--which form of words some manifesting themselves strangers
unto, do declare how little conversant they are in their writings.
Now, it is not any habitual inherent grace residing subjectively in
the person or human nature of Christ that is intended, but things of
another nature.
 1. The cause of this union is expressed in it. This is the free
grace and favour of God towards the man Christ Jesus--predestinating,
designing, and taking him into actual union with the person of the
Son, without respect unto, or foresight of, any precedent dignity or
merit in him, 1 Pet. 1: 20.
 Hence is that of Austin, "Ea gratia fit ab initio fidei suae homo
quicunque Christianus, qua gratia homo ille ab initio factus est
Christus," De Praedest. Sanct., cap. xv. For whereas all the inherent
grace of the human nature of Christ, and all the holy obedience which
proceeded from it, was consequent in order of nature unto this union,
and an effect of it, they could in no sense be the meritorious or
procuring causes of it;--it was of grace.
 2. It is used also by many and designed to express the peculiar
dignity of the human nature of Christ. This is that wherein no
creature is participant, nor ever shall be unto eternity. This is the
fundamental privilege of the human nature of Christ, which all others,
even unto his eternal glory, proceed from, and are resolved into.
 3. The glorious meekness and ability of the person of Christ, for
and unto act the acts and duties of his mediatory office. For they are
all resolved into the union of his natures in the same person, without
which not one of them could be performed unto the benefit of the
church. And this is that "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ", which
renders him so glorious and amiable unto believers. Unto them "that
believe he is precious."
 The common prevalent expression of it at present in the church is
the hypostatical union; that is, the union of the divine and human
nature in the person of the Son of God, the human nature having no
personality nor subsistence of its own.
 With respect unto this union the name of Christ is called
"Wonderful," as that which hath the pre-eminence in all the effects of
divine wisdom. And it is a singular effect thereof. There is no other
union in things divine or human, in things spiritual or natural,
whether substantial or accidental, that is of the same kind with it,--
it differs specifically from them all.
 (1.) The most glorious union is that of the Divine Persons in the
same being or nature; the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father,
the Holy Spirit in them both, and both in him. But this is a union of
distinct persons in the unity of the same single nature. And this, I
confess, is more glorious than that whereof we treat; for it is in God
absolutely, it is eternal, of his nature and being. But this union we
speak of is not God;--it is a creature,--an effect of divine wisdom
and power. And it is different from it herein, inasmuch as that is of
many distinct persons in the same nature;--this is of distinct natures
in the same person. That union is natural, substantial, essential, in
the same nature;--this, as it is not accidental, as we shall show, so
it is not properly substantial, because it is not of the same nature,
but of diverse in the game person, remaining distinct in their essence
and substance, and is therefore peculiarly hypostatical or personal.
Hence Austin feared not to say, that "Homo potius est in filio Dei,
quam filius in Patre;" De Trin., lib. 1 cap 10. But that is true only
in this one respect, that the Son is not so in the Father as to become
one person with him. In all other respects it must be granted that the
in-being of the Son in the Father--the union between them, which is
natural, essential, and eternal--doth exceed this in glory, which was
a temporary, external act of divine wisdom and grace.
 (2.) The most eminent substantial union in things naturals is that
of the soul and body constituting an individual person. There is, I
confess, some kind of similitude between this union and that of the
different natures in the person of Christ; but it is not of the same
kind or nature. And the dissimilitudes that are between them are more,
and of greater importance, than those things are wherein there seems
to be an agreement between them. For,--1st, The soul and body are so
united as to constitute one entire nature. The soul is not human
nature, nor is the body, but it is the consequent of their union. Soul
and body are essential parts of human nature; but complete human
nature they are not but by virtue of their union. But the union of the
natures in the person of Christ doth not constitute a new nature, that
either was not or was not complete before. Each nature remains the
same perfect, complete nature after this union. 2dly, The union of the
soul and body doth constitute that nature which is made essentially
complete thereby,--a new individual person, with a subsistence of its
own, which neither of them was nor had before that union. But although
the person of Christ, as God and man, be constituted by this union,
yet his person absolutely, and his individual subsistence, was perfect
absolutely antecedent unto that union. He did not become a new person,
another person than he was before, by virtue of that union; only that
person assumed human nature to itself to be its own, into personal
subsistence. 3dly, Soul and body are united by an external efficient
cause, or the power of God, and not by the act of one of them upon
another. But this union is effected by that act of the divine nature
towards the human which we have before described. 4thly, Neither soul
nor body have any personal subsistence before their union; but the
sole foundation of this union was in this, that the Son of God was a
selfsubsisting person from eternity.
 (3.) There are other unions in things natural, which are by mixture
of composition. Hereon something is produced composed of various
parts, which is not what any of them are. And there is a conversion of
things, when one thing is substantially changed into another,--as the
water in the miracle that Christ wrought was turned into wine; but
this union hath no resemblance unto any of them. There is not a
"krasis", "a mixture," a contemperation of the divine and human
natures into one third nature, or the conversion of one into another.
Such notions of these things some fancied of old. Eutyches' supposed
such a composition and mixture of the two natures in the person of
Christ, as that the human nature at least should lose all its
essential properties, and have neither understanding nor will of its
own. And some of the Asians fancied a substantial change of that
created divine nature which they acknowledged, into the human. But
these imaginations, instead of professing Christ to be God and man,
would leave him indeed neither God nor man; and have been sufficiently
confuted. Wherefore the union we treat of hath no similitude unto any
such natural union as is the effect of composition or mutation.
 (4.) There is an artificial union wherewith some have illustrated
this mystery; as that of fire and iron in the same sword. The sword is
one; the nature of fire and that of iron different;--and the acts of
them distinct; the iron cuts, the fire burns;--and the effects
distinct; cutting and burning; yet is the agent or instrument but one
sword. Something of this nature may be allowed to be spoken in way of
allusion; but it is a weak and imperfect representation of this
mystery, on many accounts. For the heat in iron is rather an accident
than a substance, is separable from it, and in sundry other things
diverts the mind from due apprehensions of this mystery.
 (5.) There is a spiritual union,--namely, of Christ and believers;
or of God in Christ and believers, which is excellent and mysterious,
such as all other unions in nature are made use of in the Scripture to
illustrate and represent. This some among us do judge to be of the
same kind with that of the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus. Only
they say they differ in degrees. The eternal Word was so united unto
the man Christ Jesus, as that thereby he was exalted inconceivably
above all other men, though ever so holy, and had greater
communications from God than any of them. Wherefore he was on many
accounts the Son of God in a peculiar manner; and, by a communication
of names, is called God also. This being the opinion of Nestorius,
revived again in the days wherein we live, I shall declare wherein he
placed the conjunction or union of the two natures of Christ,--whereby
he constituted two distinct persons of the Son of God and the Son of
man, as these now do, and briefly detect the vanity of it. For the
whole of it consisted in the concession of sundry things that were
true in particular, making use of the pretence of them unto the denial
of that wherein alone the true union of the person of Christ did
consist.
 Nestorius allowed the presence of the Son of God with the man Christ
Jesus to consist in five things.
 [1.] He said he was so present with him "kata parastasin", or by
inhabitation, as a man dwells in a house or a ship to rule it. He
dwelt in him as his temple. So he dwells in all that believe, but in
him in a more especial manner. And this is true with respect unto that
fulness of the Spirit whereby God was with him and in him; as he is
with and in all believers, according unto the measures wherein they
are made partakers of him. But this answers not that divine testimony,
that in him dwelt "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2: 9.
The fulness of the Godhead is the entire divine nature. This nature is
considered in the person of the Son, or eternal Word; for it was the
Word that was made flesh. And this could no otherwise dwell in him
bodily, really, substantially, but in the assumption of that nature to
be his own. And no sense can be given unto this assertion to preserve
it from blasphemy,--that the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in any of
the saints bodily.
 [2.] He allowed an especial presence, "kata schesin", as some call
it; that is, by such a union of affections as is between intimate
friends. The soul of God rested always in that man [Christ];--in him
was he well pleased: and he was wholly given up in his affections unto
Gods. This also is true; but there is that which is no less true, that
renders it useless unto the pretensions of Nestorius. For he allowed
the divine person of the Son of God. But whatever is spoken of this
nature concerning the love of God unto the man Christ Jesus, and of
his love to God, it is the person of the Father that is intended
therein; nor can any one instance be given where it is capable of
another interpretation. For it is still spoken of with reference unto
the work that he was sent of the Father to accomplish, and his own
delight therein.
 [3.] He allowed it to be "kata axian", by way of dignity and honour.
For this conjunction is such, as that whatever honour is given unto
the Son of God is also to be given unto that Son of man. But herein,
to recompense big sacrilege in taking away the hypostatical union from
the church, he would introduce idolatry into it. For the honour that
is due unto the Son of God is divine, religious, or the owning of all
essential divine properties in him, with a due subjection of soul unto
him thereon. But to give this honour unto the man Christ Jesus,
without a supposition of the subsistence of his human nature in the
person of the Son of God, and solely on that account, is highly
idolatrous.
 [4.] He asserted it to be "kata tautoboulian", or on the account of
the consent and agreement that was between the will of God and the
will of the man Christ Jesus. But no other union will thence ensue,
but what is between God and the angels in heaven; in whom there is a
perfect compliance with the will of God in all things. Wherefore, if
this be the foundation of this union, he might be said to take on him
the nature of angels as well as the seed of Abraham; which is
expressly denied by the apostle, Heb. 2: 16, 17.
 [6.] "Kath homoovumian", by an equivocal denomination, the name of
the one person, namely, of the Son of God, being accommodated unto the
other, namely, the Son of man. So they were called gods unto whom the
word of God came. But this no way answers any one divine testimony
wherein the name of God is assigned unto the Lord Christ,--as those
wherein God is said "to lay down his life for us," and to "purchase
his church with his own blood," to come and be "manifest in the
flesh," wherein no homonyms or equivocation can take place. By all
these ways he constituted a separable accidental union, wherein
nothing in kind, but in degree only, was peculiar unto the man Christ
Jesus.
 But all these things, so far as they are true, belong unto the third
thing to be considered in his person,--namely, the communion or mutual
communication of the distinct natures therein. But his personal union
consists not in any of them, nor in all of them together; nor do they
answer any of the multiplied testimonies given by the Holy Ghost unto
this glorious mystery. Some few of them may be mentioned.
 "The Word was made flesh," John 1:14. There can be but two senses of
these words (1st,) That the Word ceased to be what it was, and was
substantially turned into flesh (2dly,) That continuing to be what it
was, it was made to be also what before it was not. The first sense is
destructive of the Divine Being and all its essential properties. The
other can be verified only herein, that the Word took that flesh--that
is, our human nature--to be his own, his own nature wherein he was
made flesh; which is that we plead for. For this assertion, that the
person of the Son took our nature to be his own, is the same with that
of the assumption of the human nature into personal subsistence with
himself. And the ways of the presence of the Son of God with the man
Christ Jesus, before mentioned, do express nothing in answer unto this
divine testimony, that "The Word was made flesh".
 "Being in the form of God, he took upon him the form of a servant,
and became obedient," Phil. 2: 6-8. That by his being "in the form of
God," his participation in and of the same divine nature with the
Father is intended, these men grant; and that herein he was a person
distinct from him Nestorius of old acknowledged, though it be by ours
denied. But they can fancy no distinction that shall bear the
denomination and relation of Father and Son; but all is inevitably
included in it which we plead for under that name. This person "took
on him the form of a servant,"--that is, the nature of man in the
condition of a servant. For it is the same with his being made of a
woman, made under the law; or taking on him the seed of Abraham. And
this person became obedient. It was in the human nature, in the form
of a servant, wherein he was obedient. Wherefore that human nature was
the nature of that person,--a nature which he took on him and made his
own, wherein he would be obedient. And that the human nature is the
nature of the person of him who was in the form of God, is that
hypostatical union which we believe and plead for.
 "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and his name shall
be called The mighty God," Isa. 9: 6. The child and the mighty God are
the same person, or he that is "born a child" cannot be rightly called
"The mighty God." And the truth of many other expressions in the
Scripture hath its sole foundation in this hypostatical union. So the
Son of God took on him "the seed of Abraham," was "made of a woman,"
did "partake of flesh and blood," was "manifest in the flesh." That he
who was born of the blessed Virgin was "before Abraham,"--that he was
made of the "seed of David according to the flesh,"--whereby God
"purchased the church with his own blood,"--are all spoken of one and
the same person, and are not true but on the account of the union of
the two natures therein. And all those who plead for the accidental
metaphorical union, consisting in the instances before mentioned, do
know well enough that the true Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ is
opposed by them.
 III. Concurrent with, and in part consequent unto, this union, is
the communion of the distinct natures of Christ hypostatically united.
And herein we may consider,--1. What is peculiar unto the Divine
nature; 2. What is common unto both.
 1. There is a threefold communication of the divine nature unto the
human in this hypostatical union. (1.) Immediate in the person of the
Son. This is subsistence. In itself it is "anupostatos",--that which
hath not a subsistence of its own, which should give it individuation
and distinction from the same nature in any other person. But it hath
its subsistence in the person of the Son, which thereby is its own.
The divine nature, as in that person, is its suppositum. (2.) By the
Holy Spirit he filled that nature with an all-fulness of habitual
grace; which I have at large explained elsewhere. (3.) In all the acts
of his office, by the divine nature, he communicated worth and dignity
unto what was acted in and by the human nature.
 For that which some have for a long season troubled the church
withal, about such a real communication of the properties of the
divine nature unto the human, which should neither be a transfusion of
them into it, so as to render it the subject of them, nor yet consist
in a reciprocal denomination from their mutual in-being in the same
subject,--it is that which neither themselves do, nor can any other
well understand.
 2. Wherefore, concerning the communion of the natures in this
personal union, three things are to be observed, which the Scripture,
reason, and the ancient church, do all concur in.
 (1.) Each nature doth preserve its own natural, essential
properties, entirely unto and in itself; without mixture, without
composition or confusion, without such a real communication of the one
unto the other, as that the one should become the subject of the
properties of the other. The Deity, in the abstract, is not made the
humanity, nor on the contrary. The divine nature is not made
temporary, finite, united, subject to passion or alteration by this
union; nor is the human nature rendered immense, infinite, omnipotent.
Unless this be granted, there will not be two natures in Christ, a
divine and a human; nor indeed either of them, but somewhat else,
composed of both.
 (2.) Each nature operates in him according unto its essential
properties. The divine nature knows all things, upholds all things,
rules all things, acts by its presence everywhere; the human nature
was born, yielded obedience, died, and rose again. But it is the same
person, the same Christ, that acts all these things,--the one nature
being his no less than the other. Wherefore,--
 (3.) The perfect, complete work of Christ, in every act of his
mediatory office,--in all that he did as the King, Priest, and Prophet
of the church,--in all that he did and suffered,--in all that he
continueth to do for us, in or by virtue of whether nature soever it
be done or wrought,--is not to be considered as the act of this or
that nature in him alone, but it is the act and work of the whole
person,--of him that is both God and man in one person. And this gives
occasion,--
 IV. Unto that variety of enunciations which is used in the Scripture
concerning him; which I shall name only, and conclude.
 1. Some things are spoken of the person of Christ, wherein the
enunciation is verified with respect unto one nature only; as--"The
Word was with God, and the Word was God," John 1: l;--"Before Abraham
was, I am," John 8: 68,--"Upholding all things by the word of his
power," Heb. 1": 3. These things are all spoken of the person of
Christ, but belong unto it on account of his divine nature. So is it
said of him, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," Isa.
9: 6;--"A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," Isa. 53: 3. They
are spoken of the person of Christ, but are verified in human nature
only, and the person on the account thereof.
 2. Sometimes that is spoken of the person which belongs not
distinctly and originally unto either nature, but doth belong unto him
on the account of their union in him,--which are the most direct
enunciations concerning the person of Christ. So is he said to be the
Head, the King, Priest, and Prophet of the church; all which offices
he bears, and performs the acts of them, not on the singular account
of this or that nature, but of the hypostatical union of them both.
 3. Sometimes his person being denominated from one nature, the
properties and acts of the other are assigned unto it. So they
"crucified the Lord of glory." He is the Lord of glory on the account
of his divine nature only; thence is his person denominated when he is
said to be crucified, which was in the human nature only. So God
purchased his church "with his own blood," Acts 20: 28. The
denomination of the person is from the divine nature only--he is God;
but the act ascribed unto it, or what he did by his own blood, was of
the human nature only. But the purchase that was made thereby was the
work of the person as both God and man. So, on the other side, "The
Son of man who is in heaven," John 3: 13. The denomination of the
person is from the human nature only,--"The Son of man." That ascribed
unto it was with respect unto the divine nature only,--"who is in
heaven."
 4. Sometimes the person being denominated from one nature, that is
ascribed unto it which is common unto both; or else being denominated
from both, that which is proper unto one only is ascribed unto him.
See Rom. 9: 5; Matt. 22: 42.
 These kinds of enunciations the ancients expressed by "enallage",
"alteration;" "alloioosis", "permutation," "koinotes", "communion;"
"tropos antidoseoos", "the manner of mutual position;" "koinoonia
idioomatoon", "the communication of properties," and other the like
expressions.
 These things I have only mentioned, because they are commonly
handled by others in their didactical and polemical discourses
concerning the person of Christ, and could not well be here utterly
omitted.
 
 

Chapter XIX. The Exaltation of Christ, with his Present state and
Condition in Glory during the Continuance of his Mediatory Office.
 
 The apostle, describing the great mystery of godliness--"God
manifest in the flesh"--by several degrees of ascent, he carrieth it
within the veil, and leaves it there in glory--"anelefte en doxei", 1
Tim. 3: 16; God was manifest in the flesh, and "received up into
glory." This assumption of our Lord Jesus Christ into glory, or his
glorious reception in heaven, with his state and condition therein, is
a principal article of the faith of the church,--the great foundation
of its hope and consolation in this world. This, also, we must
therefore consider in our meditations on the person of Christ, and the
use of it in our religion.
 That which I especially intend herein is his present state in
heaven, in the discharge of his mediatory office, before the
consummation of all things. Hereon doth the glory of God, and the
especial concernment of the church, at present depend. For, at the end
of this dispensation, he shall give up the kingdom unto God, even the
Father, or cease from the administration of his mediatory office and
power, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. 15: 24-28, "Then cometh the
end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and
power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all
things under his feet. But when he saith, All this are put under him,
it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also
himself be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God
may be all in all."
 All things fell by sin into an enmity unto the glory of God and the
salvation of the church. The removal of this enmity, and the
destruction of all enemies, is the work that God committed unto his
Son in his incarnation and mediation, Eph. 1:10. This he was variously
to accomplish in the administration of all his offices. The enmity
between God and us immediately, he removed by the blood of his cross,
whereby he made peace, Eph. 2: 14-16; which peace he continues and
preserves by his intercession, Heb. 7: 25; 1 John 2: l. The enemies
themselves of the church's eternal welfare--namely, sin, death, the
world, Satan, and hell--he subdues by his power. In the gradual
accomplishment of this work according as the church of the elect is
brought forth in successive generations (in every one whereof the same
work is to be performed)--he is to continue unto the end and
consummation of all things. Until then the whole church will not be
saved, and therefore his work not be finished. He will not cease his
work whilst there is one of his elect to be saved, or one enemy to be
subdued. He shall not faint nor give over until he hath sent forth
judgement unto victory.
 For the discharge of this work he hath a sovereign power over all
things in heaven and earth committed unto him. Herein he does and must
reign. And so absolutely is it vested in him, that upon the ceasing of
the exercise of it, he himself is said to be made subject unto God. It
is true that the Lord Christ, in his human nature, is always less
than, or inferior unto, God, even the Father. In that sense he is in
subjection unto him now in heaven. But yet he hath an actual exercise
of divine power, wherein he is absolute and supreme. When this ceases,
he shall be subject unto the Father in that nature, and only so.
Wherefore, when this work is perfectly fulfilled and ended, then shall
all the mediatory acting of Christ cease for evermore For God will
then have completely finished the whole design of his wisdom and grace
in the constitution of his person and offices, and have raised up and
finished the whole fabric of eternal glory. Then will God "be all in
all". In his own immense nature and blessedness he shall not only be
"all" essentially and causally, but "in all" also; he shall
immediately be all in and unto us.
 This state of things--when God shall immediately "be all in all"--we
can have no just comprehension of in this life. Some refreshing
notions of it may be framed in our minds, from these apprehensions of
the divine perfections which reason can attain unto; and their
suitableness to yield eternal rest, satisfaction, and blessedness, in
that enjoyment of them whereof our nature is capable. Howbeit, of
these things in particular the Scripture is silent; however, it
testifies our eternal reward and blessedness to consist alone in the
enjoyment of God.
 But there is somewhat else proposed as the immediate object of the
faith of the saints at present, as unto what they shall enjoy upon
their departure out of this world. And Scripture revelations extend
unto the state of things unto the end of the world, and no longer.
 Wherefore heaven is now principally represented unto us as the place
of the residence and glory of Jesus Christ in the administration of
his office; and our blessedness to consist in a participation thereof,
and communion with him therein. So he prays for all them who are given
him of his Father, that they may be where he is, to behold his glory,
John 17: 24. It is not the essential glory of his divine person that
he intends, which is absolutely the same with that of the Father; but
it is a glory that is peculiarly his own,--a glory which the Father
hath given him, because he loved him: "My glory, which thou hast given
me; for thou lovedst me." Nor is it merely the gloried state of his
human nature that he intendeth; as was before declared in the
consideration of the 5th verse of this chapter, where he prayeth for
this glory. However, this is not excluded; for unto all those that
love him, it will be no small portion of their blessed refreshment, to
behold that individual nature wherein he suffered for them, undergoing
all sorts of reproaches, contempts, and miseries, have unchangeably
stated in incomprehensible glory. But the glory which God gives unto
Christ, in the phase of the Scripture, principally is the glory of his
exaltation in his mediatory office. It is the "all power" that is
given him in heaven and earth; the "name" that he hath "above every
name," as he sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high. In the
beholding and contemplation hereof with holy joy and delight, consists
no small part of that blessedness and glory which the saints above at
present enjoy, and which all others of them shall so do who depart
this life before the consummation of all things. And in the due
consideration hereof consists a great part of the exercise of that
faith which is "the evidence of things not seen," and which, by making
them present unto us, supplies the room of sight. This is the ground
whereon our hope doth anchor,--namely, the things "within the veil,"
Heb. 6: 19, which directs us unto the temple administration of the
mediatory office of Christ. And it is for the strengthening of our
faith and hope in God, through him, that we do and that we ought to
inquire into these things.
 The consideration of the present state of Christ in heaven may be
reduced unto three heads:--
 I. The glorification of his human nature; what it hath in common
with, and wherein it differs in kind from, the glory of all saints
whatever.
 II. His mediatory exaltation; or the especial glory of his person as
mediator.
 III. The exercise and discharge of his once in the state of things:
which is what at present I shall principally inquire into. I shall not
speak at all of the nature of glorified bodies, nor of anything that
is common unto the human nature of Christ and the same nature in
glorified saints; but only what is peculiar unto himself. And hereunto
I shall premise one general observation.
 All perfections whereof human nature is capable, abiding what it was
in both the essential path of it, soul and body, do belong unto the
Lord Christ in his glorified state. To ascribe unto it what is
inconsistent with its essence, is not an assignation of glory unto its
state and condition, but a destruction of its being. To affix unto the
human nature divine properties, as ubiquity or immensity, is to
deprive it of its own. The essence of his body is no more changed than
that of his soul. It is a fundamental article of faith, that he is in
the same body in heaven wherein he conversed here on earth; as well as
the faculties of his rational soul are continued the same in him. This
is that "holy thing" which was framed immediately by the Holy Ghost,
in the womb of the Virgin. This is that "Holy One" which, when it was
in the grave, saw no corruption. This is that "body  which was offered
for us, wherein he bare our sins on the tree. To fancy any such change
in or of this body, by its glorification, as that it should not
continue essentially and substantially the same that it was is to
overthrow the faith of the church in a principal article of it. We
believe that the very same body wherein he suffered for us, without
any alteration as unto its substance, essence, or integral parts, and
not another body, of an ethereal, heavenly structure, wherein is
nothing of flesh, blood, or bones, by which he so frequently testified
the faithfulness of God in his incarnation, is still that temple
wherein God dwells, and wherein he administers in the holy place not
made with hands. The body which was pierced is that which all eyes
shall see, and no other.
 I. On this foundation I willingly allow all perfections in the
glorified human nature of Christ, which are consistent with its real
form and essence. I shall, therefore, only in some instances inquire
into the present glory of the human nature of Christ, wherein it
differ either in kind or degree from the glory of all other saints
whatever. For even among them I freely allow different degrees in
glory; which the eternal order of things--that is, the will of God, in
the disposal of all things unto his own glory--doth require.
 1. There is that wherein the present glory of the human nature of
Christ differeth, in kind and nature, from that which any other of the
saints are partakes of, or shall be so after the resurrection. And
this is,--
 (1.) The eternal subsistence of that nature of his in the person of
the Son of God. As this belongs unto its dignity and honour, so it
does also unto its inherent glory. This is, and shall be, eternally
peculiar unto him, in distinction from, and exaltation above, the
whole creation of God, angels and men. Those by whom this is denied,
instead of the glorious name whereby God does call him, - "Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God," &c, - do call him "Ichabod," "Where is
the glory?" or, there is none that is peculiar unto him. But the
mystery hereof, according unto our measure, and in answer unto our
design, we have already declared. And this glory he had, indeed, in
this world, from the first instant of his incarnation, or conception
in the womb. But, as unto the demonstration of it, "he emptied
himself," and made himself of no reputation, under the form of a
servant. But now the glory of it is illustriously displayed in the
sight of all his holy ones. Some inquire, whether the saints in heaven
do perfectly comprehend the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of
God? I do not well understand what is meant by "perfectly comprehend;"
but this is certain, that what we have now by faith, we shall have
there by sight. For as we live now by faith, so shall we there by
sight. No finite creature can have an absolute comprehension of that
which is infinite. We shall never search out the almighty to
perfection, in any of his works of infinite wisdom. Wherefore this
only I shall say, there is such a satisfactory evidence in heaven, not
only of the truth, but also of the nature of this mystery, as that the
glory of Christ therein is manifest, as an eternal object of divine
adoration and honour. The enjoyment of heaven is usually called the
beatifical vision; that is, such an intellectual present view,
apprehension, and sight of God and his glory, especially as manifested
in Christ, as will make us blessed unto eternity. Wherefore, in the
contemplation of this mystery does a great part of our blessedness
consist; and farther our thoughts cannot attain. This is that wherein
the glory of the human nature of Christ does essentially excel, and
differ from that of any other blessed creature whatever. And hereon
other things do depend. For, -
 (2.) Hence the union of the human nature of Christ unto God, and the
communications of God unto it, are of another kind than those of the
blessed saints. In these things--namely, our union with God and his
communications unto us - do our blessedness and glory consist.
 In this world, believers are united unto God by faith. It is by
faith that they cleave unto him with purpose of heart. In heaven, it
shall be by love. Ardent love, with delight, complacency, and joy,
from a clear apprehension of God's infinite goodness and beauty, now
made present unto us, now enjoyed by us, shall be the principle of our
eternal adherence unto him, and union with him. His communications
unto us here are by an external efficiency of power. He communicates
of himself unto us, in the effects of his goodness, grace, and mercy,
by the operations of his Spirit in us. Of the same kind will all the
communications of the divine nature be unto us, unto all eternity. It
will be by what he worketh in us by his Spirit and power. There is no
other way of the emanation of virtue from God unto any creature. But
these things in Christ are of another nature. This union of his human
nature unto God is immediate, in the person of the Son; ours is
mediate, by the Son, as clothed with our nature. The way of the
communications of the divine nature unto the human in his person is
what we cannot comprehend; we have no notion of it, - nothing whereby
it may be illustrated. There is nothing equal to it, nothing like it,
in all the works of God. As it is a creature, it must subsist in
eternal dependence on God; neither has it anything but what it
receives from him. For this belongs essentially unto the divine
nature, to be the only independent, eternal spring and fountain of all
being and goodness. Nor can Omnipotence itself exalt a creature into
any such condition as that it should not always and in all things
depend absolutely on the Divine Being. But as unto the way of the
communications between the divine and human nature, in the personal
union, we know it not. But whether they be of life, power, light, or
glory, they are of another kind than that whereby we do or shall
receive all things. For all things are given unto us, are wrought in
us, as was said, by an external efficiency of power. The glorious
immediate emanations of virtue, from the divine unto the human nature
of Christ, we understand not. Indeed, the acting of natures of
different kinds, where both are finite, in the same person, one
towards the other, is of a difficult apprehension. Who knows how
directive power and efficacy proceeds from the soul, and is
communicated unto the body, unto every the least minute action, in
every member of it, - so as that there is no distance between the
direction and the action, or the accomplishment of its or how, on the
other hand, the soul is affected with sorrow or trouble in the moment
wherein the body feeleth pain, so as that no distinction can be made
between the body's sufferings and the soul's sorrows. How much more is
this mutual communication in the same person of diverse natures above
our comprehension, where one of them is absolutely infinite! Somewhat
will be spoken to it afterward. And herein does this eternal glory
differ from that of all other glorified creatures whatever. And, -
 (3.) Hence the human nature of Christ, in his divine person and
together with it, is the object of all divine adoration and worship,
Rev. 5: 13. All creatures whatever do forever ascribe "blessing,
honour, glory, and power, unto the Lamb," in the same manner as unto
him who sits on the throne. This we have declared before. But no other
creature either is, or ever can be, exalted into such a condition of
glory as to be the object of any divine worship, from the meanest
creature which is capable of the performance of it. Those who ascribe
divine or religious honour unto the saints or angels, as is done in
the Church of Rome, do both rob Christ of the principal flower of his
imperial crown, and sacrilegiously attempt to adorn others with it; -
which they abhor.
 (4.) The glory that God designed to accomplish in and by him, is now
made evident unto all the holy ones that are about the throne. The
great design of the wisdom and grace of God, from eternity, was to
declare and manifest all the holy, glorious properties of his nature,
in and by Jesus Christ. And this is that wherein he will acquiesce,
with which he is well pleased. When this is fully accomplished, he
will use no other way or means for the manifestation of his glory.
Herein is the end and blessedness of all.
 Wherefore the principal work of faith, whilst we are in this world,
is to behold this glory of God, as so represented unto us in Christ.
In the exercise of faith therein is our conformity unto Him carried on
unto perfection, 2 Cor. 3: 18. And unto this end, or that we may do
so, he powerfully communicates unto our minds a saving, internal
light; without which we can neither behold his glory nor give glory
unto him. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,"
shines into our hearts, to give us "the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. 4: 6. The end, I
say, why God communicates a spiritual, supernatural light unto the
minds of believers, is that they may be able to discern the
manifestation and revelation of his glory in Christ; which is hid from
the world, Eph 1: 17-19; Col. 2:2. Howbeit, whilst we are here, we see
it but "darkly as in a glass," it is not evident unto us in its own
lustre and beauty. Yea, the remainder of our darkness herein is the
cause of all our weakness, fears, and disconsolations. Want of a
steady view of this glory of God, is that which exposeth us unto
impressions from all our temptations. And the light of our minds
therein is that whereby we are changed and transformed into the
likeness of Christ.
 But in heaven this is conspicuously and gloriously manifest unto all
the blessed ones that are before the throne of God. They do not behold
it by faith in various degrees of light, as we do here below. They
have not apprehensions of some impressions of divine glory on the
person of Christ and the human nature therein, with the work which he
did perform; which is the utmost of our attainment. But they behold
openly and plainly the whole glory of God, all the characters of it,
illustriously manifesting themselves in him, in what he is, in what he
has done, in what he does. Divine wisdom, grace, goodness love, power,
do all shine forth in him unto the contemplation of all his saints, in
whom he is admired. And in the vision hereof consists no small part of
our eternal blessedness. For what can be more satisfactory, more full
of glory unto the souls of believers, than clearly to comprehend the
mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God in Christ? This is that
which the prophets, at a great distance, inquired diligently into, -
that which the angels bow down to look towards, -  that whose
declaration is the life and glory of the gospel. To behold in one view
the reality, the substance of all that was typified and represented by
the beautiful fabric of the Tabernacle, and Temple which succeeded in
the room thereof, - of all the utensils of them, and services
performed in them, all that the promises of the Old Testament did
contain, or the declarations of the New; - as it is the most
satisfactory, blessed, and glorious state, that by the present light
of faith we can desire or long for, so it evidenceth a glory in Christ
of another kind and nature than what any creature can be participant
in. I shall therefore state it unto our consideration, with some few
observations concerning it.
 [1.] Every believer sees here in this life an excellency, a glory in
the mystery of God in Christ. They do so in various degrees, unless it
be in times of temptation, when any of them walk in darkness, and have
no light. The view and prospect hereunto is far more clear, and
accompanied with more evidence, in some than in others, according unto
the various degrees of their faith and light. The spiritual sight of
some is very weak, and their views of the glory of God in Christ are
much obscured with inevidence, darkness, and instability. This in many
is occasioned by the weakness of their natural ability, in more by
spiritual sloth and negligence, - in that they have not habitually
"exercised their senses to discern good and evil," as the apostle
speaks, Heb. 5: 14. Some want instruction, and some have their minds
corrupted by false opinions. Howbeit, all true believers have the
"eyes of their understanding opened" to discern, in some measure, the
glory of God, as represented to them in the gospel. Unto others it is
foolishness; or they think there is that darkness in it whereunto they
cannot approach. But all the darkness is in themselves. This is the
distinguishing property and character of saving faith - it beholds the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; - it makes us to discern the
manifestation of the glory of God in Christ, as declared in the
Gospel.
 [2.] Our apprehension of this glory is the spring of all our
obedience, consolation, and hope in this world. Faith discovering this
manifestation of the glory of God in Christ, engageth the soul unto
universal obedience, as finding therein abundant reason for it and
encouragement unto it. Then is obedience truly evangelical, when it
arises from this acting of faith, and is thereon accompanied with
liberty and gratitude. And herein is laid all the foundation of our
consolations for the present and hope for the future. For the whole
security of our present and future condition depends on the acting of
God towards us, according as he has manifested himself in Christ.
 [3.] From the exercise of faith herein does divine love, love unto
God, proceed; therein alone it is enlivened and inflamed. On these
apprehensions does a believing soul cry out, "How great is his
goodness! how great is his beauty!" God in Christ reconciling the
world unto himself, is the only object of divine love. Under that
representation of him alone can the soul cleave unto him with ardent
love, constant delight, and intense affections. All other notions of
love unto God in sinners, as we are all, are empty fancies. Wherefore,
-
 [4.] All believers are, or should be, conversant in their minds
about these things, with longings, expectations, and desires after
nearer approaches unto them, and enjoyments of them. And if we are not
so, we are earthly, carnal, and unspiritual; yea, the want of this
frame - the neglect of this duty - is the sole cause why many
professors are so carnal in their minds, and so worldly in their
conversions. But this is the state of them who live in the due
exercise of faith, - this they pant and breathe after, - namely, that
they may be delivered from all darkness, unstable thoughts, and
imperfect apprehensions of the glory of God in Christ. After these
things do those who have received the "first fruits of the Spirit,"
groan within themselves. This glory they would behold "with open
face;" not, as at present, "in a glass," but in its own beauty. What
do we want? what would we be at? what do our souls desire? It is not
that we might have a more full, clear, stable comprehension of the
wisdom, love, grace, goodness, holiness, righteousness, and power of
God, as declared and exalted in Christ unto our redemption and eternal
salvation? To see the glory of God in Christ, to understand his love
unto him and valuation of him, to comprehend his nearness unto God, -
all evidenced in his mediation, - is that which he has promised unto
us, and which we are pressing after. See John 17: 23, 24.
 [5.] Heaven will satisfy all those desires and expectations. To have
them fully satisfied, is heaven and eternal blessedness. This fills
the souls of them who are already departed in the faith, with
admiration, joy, and praises. See Rev. 5: 9, 10. Herein is the glory
of Christ absolutely of another kind and nature than that of any other
creature whatever. And from hence it is that our glory shall
principally consist in beholding his glory, because the whole glory of
God is manifested in him.
 And, by the way, we may see hence the vanity as well as the idolatry
of them who would represent Christ in glory as the object of our
adoration in pictures and images. They fashion wood or stone into the
likeness of a man. They adorn it with colours and flourishes of art,
to set it forth unto the senses and fancies of superstitious persons
as having a resemblance of glory. And when they have done, "they
lavish gold out of the bag," as the prophet speaks, in various sorts
of supposed ornaments, - such as are so only to the vainest sort of
mankind, - and so propose it as an image or resemblance of Christ in
glory. But what is there in it that has the least respect thereunto, -
the least likeness of it? nay, is it not the most effectual means that
can be devised to divert the minds of men from true and real
apprehensions of it? Does it teach anything of the subsistence of the
human nature of Christ in the person of the Son of God? nay, does it
not obliterate all thoughts of it! What is represented thereby of the
union of it unto God, and the immediate communications of God unto it?
Does it declare the manifestation of all the glorious properties of
the divine nature in him? One thing, indeed, they ascribe unto it that
is proper unto Christ, - namely, that it is to be adored and
worshipped; whereby they add idolatry unto their folly. Persons who
know not what it is to live by faith - whose minds are never raised by
spiritual, heavenly contemplations, who have no design in religion but
to gratify their inward superstition by their outward senses--may be
pleased for a time, and ruined for ever, by these delusions. Those who
have real faith in Christ, and love unto him, have a more glorious
object for their exercise.
 And we may hereby examine both our own notions of the state of glory
and our preparations for it, and whether we are in any measure "made
meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." More grounds of this
trial will be afterward suggested; these laid down may not be passed
by. Various are the thoughts of men about the future state, - the
things which are not seen, which are eternal. Some rise no higher but
unto hopes of escaping hell, or everlasting miseries, when they die.
Yet the heathen had their Elysian fields, and Mohammed his sensual
paradise. Others have apprehensions of I know not what glistering
glory, that will please and satisfy them, they know not how, when they
can be here no longer. But this state is quite of another nature, and
the blessedness of it is spiritual and intellectual. Take an instance
in one of the things before laid down. The glory of heaven consists in
the full manifestation of divine wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, -
of all the properties of the nature of God in Christ. In the clear
perception and constant contemplation hereof consists no small part of
eternal blessedness. What, then, are our present thoughts of these
things? What joy, what satisfaction have we in the sight of them,
which we have by faith through divine revelation? What is our desire
to come unto the perfect comprehension of them? How do we like this
heaven? What do we find in ourselves that will be eternally satisfied
hereby? According as our desires are after them, such and no other are
our desires of the true heaven, - of the residence of blessedness and
glory. Neither will God bring us unto heaven whether we will or no.
If, through the ignorance and darkness of our minds, - if, through the
earthliness and sensuality of our affections, - if, through a fulness
of the world, and the occasions of it, - if, by the love of life and
our present enjoyments, we are strangers unto these things, we are not
conversant about them, we long not after them, - we are not in the way
towards their enjoyment. The present satisfaction we receive in them
by faith, is the best evidence we have of an indefeasible interest in
them. How foolish is it to lose the first fruits of these things in
our own souls, -  those entrances into blessedness which the
contemplation of them through faith would open unto us, - and hazard
our everlasting enjoyment of them by an eager pursuit of an interest
in perishing things here below! This, this is that which ruins the
souls of most, and keeps the faith of many at so low an ebb, that it
is hard to discover any genuine working of it.
 2. The glory of the human nature of Christ differs from that of the
saints after the resurrection, in things which concern the degrees of
it. For, -
 (1.) The glory of his body is the example and pattern of what they
shall be conformed unto: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may
be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working
whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself," Phil. 3:
21. Our bodies were made vile by the entrance of sin; thence they
became brothers to the worms, and sisters unto corruption. To death
and the grave, with rottenness and corruption therein, they are
designed. At the resurrection they shall be new-framed, fashioned, and
moulded. Not only all the detriment and disadvantage they received by
the entrance of sin shall be removed, but many additions of glorious
qualifications, which they had not in their primitive, natural
constitution, shall be added unto them. And this shall be done by the
almighty power of Christ, - that working or exercise of it whereby he
is able to subdue all things unto himself. But of the state whereinto
we shall be changed by the power of Christ, his own body is the
pattern and example. A similitude of it is all that we shall attain
unto. And that which is the idea and exemplar in any state, is the
rule and standard unto all others. Such is the glory of Christ; - ours
consists in conformity thereunto; which gives him the pre-eminence.
 (2.) As the state of his body is more glorious than ours shall be,
so will that of his soul in itself be made appear to be more excellent
than what we are capable of. For that fulness of the Spirit without
measure and of all grace, which his nature was capacitated for by
virtue of the hypostatical union, does now shine forth in all
excellency and glory. The grace that was in Christ in this world is
the same with that which is in him now in heaven. The nature of it was
not changed when he ceased to be viator, but is only brought into a
more glorious exercise now he is comprehensor. And all his graces are
now made manifest, the veil being taken from them, and light
communicated to discern them. As, in this world, he had unto the most
neither form nor comeliness for which he should be desired, - partly
from the veil which was cast on his inward beauty from his outward
condition, but principally from the darkness which was on their minds,
whereby they were disenabled to discern the glory of spiritual things;
(notwithstanding which, some then, in the light of faith, "beheld his
glory, as the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace
and truth;) "so now the veil is removed, and the darkness wholly taken
away from the minds of the saints, he is in the glory of his grace
altogether lovely and desirable. And although the grace which is in
believers be of the same nature with that which is in Christ Jesus,
and shall be changed into glory aver the likeness of his; yet is it,
and always shall be, incomprehensibly short of what dwells in him. And
herein also does his glory gradually [greatly?] excel that of all
other creatures whatever.
 But we must here draw a veil over what yet remains. For it does not
yet appear what we ourselves shall be; much less is it evident what
are, and what will be, the glories of the Head above all the members,
- even then when we shall "be made like unto him." But it must be
remembered, that whereas, at the entrance of this discourse, we so
proposed the consideration of the present state of the Lord Christ in
heaven, as that which should have an "end at the consummation of all
things;" what has been spoken concerning the glory of his human nature
in itself, is not of that kind but what abideth unto eternity. All the
things mentioned abide in him and unto him for evermore.
 II. The second thing to be considered in the present state and
condition of Christ is his mediatory exaltation. And two things with
respect thereunto may be inquired into: 1. The way of his entrance
into that state above; 2. The state itself, with the glory of it.
 1. The way of his entrance into the exercise of his mediatory office
in heaven is expressed, 1 Tim. 3: 16, He was "received up into glory,"
or rather gloriously; and he entered "into his glory," Luke 24: 26.
This assumption and entrance into glory was upon his ascension,
described Acts 1: 9-11. "He was taken up into heaven," "anelefthe en
doxei", by an act of divine power; and he went into heaven,
"eiselthein eis ten doxan", in his own choice and will, as that which
he was exalted unto. And this ascension of Christ in his human nature
into heaven is a fundamental article of the faith of the church. And
it falls under a double consideration: (1.) As it was triumphant, as
he was a King; (2.) As it was gracious, as he was a Priest. His
ascension, as unto change of place, from earth to heaven, and as unto
the outward manner of it, was one and the same, and at once
accomplished; but as unto the end of it, which is the exercise of all
his offices, it had various respects, various prefiguration, and is
distinctly proposed unto us with reference unto them.
 (1.) In his ascension, as it was triumphant, three things may be
considered: 1st, The manner of it, With its representation of old;
2dly, The place whereinto he ascended; 3dly, The end of it, or what
was the work which he had to do thereon.
 [1.] As unto the manner of it, it was openly triumphant and
glorious. So is it described, Eph. 4: 8, "When he ascended up on high,
he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." And respect is had
unto the prefiguration of it at the giving of the law, Ps. 68: 17, 18,
where the glory of it is more fully expressed, "The chariots of God
are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them,
as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast
led captivity captive," &c. The most glorious appearance of God upon
the earth, under the Old Testament, was that on Mount Sinai, in the
giving of the law. And as his presence was there attended with all his
glorious angels, so, when, upon the finishing of that work, he
returned or ascended into heaven, it was in the way of a triumph with
all that royal attendance. And this prefigured the ascent of Christ
into heaven, upon his fulfilling of the law, all that was required in
it, or signified by it. He ascended triumphantly after he had given
the law, as a figure of his triumphant ascent after he had fulfilled
it. Having then "spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of
them openly, triumphing over them," Col. 2: 15. So he led captivity
captive; or all the adverse powers of the salvation of the church, in
triumph at his chariot wheels I deny not but that his leading
"captivity captive" principally respects his spiritual conquest over
Satan, and the destruction of his power; yet, whereas he is also said
to "spoil principalities and powers, making a show of them openly,"
and triumphing over them, I no way doubt but Satan, the head of the
apostasy, and the chief princes of darkness, were led openly, in sight
of all the holy angels, as conquered captives, - the "seed of the
woman" having now bruised the "head of the serpent." This is that
which is so emphatically expressed, Ps. 47 throughout. The ground and
cause of all the triumphant rejoicing of the church, therein declared,
is, that God was "gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a
trumpet," verse 5; which is nothing but the glorious ascent of Christ
into heaven, said to be accompanied with shouts and the sound of a
trumpet, the expressions of triumphant rejoicing, because of the
glorious acclamations that were made thereon, by all the attendants of
the throne of God.
 [2.] The place whither he thus ascended is on high. "He ascended up
on high," Eph 4: 8, - that is, heaven. He went "into heaven," Acts 1:
11, - and the "heaven must receive him," chap. 3: 21; not these
aspectable heavens which we behold, - for in his ascension "he passed
through them," Heb. 4: 14, and is made "higher than they," chap. 7:
26, - but into the place of the residence of God in glory and majesty,
chap. 1: 3, 8: 1, 12: 2. There, on "the throne of God," Rev. 3: 21, -
"on the right hand of the Majesty on high," - he sits down in the full
possession and exercise of all power and authority. This is the palace
of this King of saints and nations. There is his royal eternal throne,
Heb. 1: 8. And "many crowns" are on his head, Rev. 19: 12, - or all
dignity and honour. And he who, in a pretended imitation of him, wears
a triple crown, has upon his own head thereby, "the name of
blasphemy," Rev. 13: 1. - There are before him his "sceptre of
righteousness," his "rod of iron," - all the regalia of his glorious
kingdom. For by these emblems of power does the Scripture represent
unto us his sovereign, divine authority in the execution of his kingly
office. Thus he ascended triumphantly, having conquered his enemies;
thus he reigneth gloriously over all.
 [3.] The end for which he thus triumphantly ascended into heaven, is
twofold: - 1st, The overturning and destruction of all his enemies in
all their remaining powers. He rules them "with a rod of iron," and in
his due time will "dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel," Ps. 2:
9; for he must "reign until all his enemies are made his footstool," 1
Cor. 15: 25, 26; Ps. 110: 1. Although at present, for the most part,
they despise his authority, yet they are all absolutely in his power,
and shall fall under his eternal displeasure. 2dly, The preservation,
continuation, and rule of his church, both as unto the internal state
of the souls of them that believe, and the external order of the
church in its worship and obedience, and its preservation under and
from all oppositions and persecutions in this world. There is in each
of these such a continual exercise of divine wisdom, power, and care,
- the effects of them are so great and marvellous, and the fruits of
them so abundant unto the glory of God, - that the world would "not
contain the books that might be written" of them; but to handle them
distinctly is not our present design.
 (2.) His ascension may be considered as gracious, as the ascent of a
High Priest. And herein the things before mentioned are of a distinct
consideration.
 [1.] As to the manner of it, and the design of it, he gives an
account of them himself, John 20: 17. His design herein was not the
taking on him the exercise of his power, kingdom, and glorious rule;
but the acting with God on the behalf of his disciples "I go," saith
he, "to my Father, and to your Father; to my God, and to your God," -
not his God and Father with respect unto eternal generation, but as he
was their God and Father also. And he was so, as he was their God and
Father in the same covenant with himself; wherein he was to procure of
God all good things for them. Through the blood of this everlasting
covenant - namely, his own blood, whereby this covenant was
established, and all the good things of it secured unto the church -
he was "brought again from the dead" that he might live ever to
communicate them unto the church, Heb. 13: 20, 21. With this design in
his ascension, and the effects of it, did he often comfort and refresh
the hearts of his disciples, when they were ready to faint on the
apprehensions of his leaving of them here below, John 14: 1, 2, 16: 5-
7. And this was typified by the ascent of the high priest unto the
temple of old. The temple was situated on a hill, high and steep, so
as that there was no approach unto it but by stairs. Hence in their
wars it was looked on as a most impregnable fortress. And the solemn
ascent of the high priest into it on the day of expiation, had a
resemblance of this ascent of Christ into heaven. For after he had
offered the sacrifices in the outward court, and made atonement for
sin, he entered into the most holy place, - a type of heaven itself,
as the apostle declares, Heb. 9: 24, - of heaven, as it was the place
whereinto our High Priest was to enter. And it was a joyful ascent,
though not triumphant. All the Psalms, from the 120th to the 134th
inclusively, whose titles are "Shirei Hama'alot", Songs of Degrees,"
or rather ascents or risings - being generally songs of praise and
exhortations to have respect unto the sanctuary - were sung to God at
the resting-places of that ascent. Especially was this represented on
the day of jubilee. The proclamation of the jubilee was on the same
day that the high priest entered into the holy place; and at the same
time, - namely, on the "tenth day of the seventh month," Lev. 16: 29,
25: 9. Then did the trumpet sound throughout the land, the whole
church; and liberty was proclaimed unto all servants, captives, and
such as had sold their possessions that they might return unto them
again. This being a great type of the spiritual deliverance of the
church, the noise of the trumpet was called "The joyful sound," Ps.
89: 15, "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall
walk, 0 Lord, in the light of thy countenance." Those who are made
partakers of spiritual deliverance, shall walk before God in a sense
of his love and grace. This is the ascent of our High Priest into his
sanctuary, when he proclaimed "the acceptable year of the Lord, and
the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint
unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the
oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness; that they might be called Trees of righteousness, The
planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified," Isa. 61: 2, 3. For
in this ascension of Christ, proclamation was made in the gospel, of
mercy, pardon, peace, joy, and everlasting refreshments, unto all that
were distressed by sin, with a communication of righteousness unto
them, to the eternal glory of God. Such was the entrance of our High
Priest into heaven, with acclamations of joy and praise unto God.
 [2.] The place whereinto he thus entered was the sanctuary above,
the "tabernacle not made with hands," Heb. 9: 11. It was into heaven
itself, not absolutely, but as it is the temple of God, as the throne
of grace and mercy-seat are in it; which must farther be spoken unto
immediately.
 [3.] The end why the Lord Christ thus ascended, and thus entered
into the holy place, was "to appear in the presence of God for us,"
and to "make intercession for all that come unto God by him," Heb. 7:
26, 27, 9: 24, 25.
 He ascended triumphantly into heaven, as Solomon ascended into his
glorious throne of judgement described 1 Kings 10: 18-20. As David was
the type of his conquest over all the enemies of his church, so was
Solomon of his glorious reign. The types were multiplied because of
their imperfection. Then came unto him the queen of Sheba, the type of
the Gentile converts and the church; when "nedivei 'amim", the
"voluntaries of the people," (those made willing in the day of his
power, Ps. 110: 3,) "gathered themselves to the people of the God of
Abraham," and were taken in his covenant, Ps. 47: 9 - margin. But he
ascended graciously, as the high priest went into the holy place; not
to rule all things gloriously with mighty power, not to use his sword
and his sceptre - but to appear as an high priest, in a garment down
to the foot, and a golden girdle about his paps, Rev. 1: 13, - as in a
tabernacle, or temple, before a throne of grace. His sitting down at
the right hand of the Majesty on high adds to the glory of his
priestly office, but belongs not unto the execution of it. So it was
prophesied of him, that he should be "a priest upon his throne," Zech.
6: 13.
 It may be added hereunto, that when he thus left this world and
ascended into glory, the great promise he made unto his disciples - as
they were to be preachers of the gospel, and in them unto all that
should succeed them in that office - was, that he would "send the Holy
Spirit unto them," to teach and guide them, to lead them into all
truth, - to declare unto them the mysteries of the will, grace, and
love of God, for the use of the whole church. This he promised to do,
and did, in the discharge of his prophetical office. And although his
giving "gifts unto men" was an act of his kingly power, yet it was for
the end of his prophetical office.
 From what has been spoken, it is evident that the Lord Christ
"ascended into heaven," or was received up into glory, with this
design, - namely, to exercise his office of mediation in the behalf of
the church, until the end should be. As this was his grace, that when
he was rich, for our sakes he became poor; so when he was made rich
again for his own sake, he lays forth all the riches of his glory and
power on our behalf.
 2. The glory of the state and condition whereinto Christ thus
entered is the next thing to be considered; for he is set down at the
right hand of the Majesty on high. And as his ascension, with the ends
of it, were twofold, or of a double consideration, so was his glory
that ensued thereon. For his present mediatory state consists either
in the glory of his power and authority, or, in the glory of his love
and grace, - his glory as a King, or his glory as a Priest. For the
first of these, or his royal glory, in sovereign power and authority
over the whole creation of God, - as in heaven and earth, persons and
things, angels and men, good and bad, alive and dead, all things
spiritual and eternal, grace, gifts, and glory; - his right and power,
or ability to dispose of all things according unto his will and
pleasure, I have so fully and distinctly declared it, in my exposition
on Heb. 1: 3, as that I shall not here again insist upon it. His
present glory, in the way of love and grace, - his glory as a Priest,
- will be manifested in what does ensue.
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter XX. The Exercise of the Mediatory Office of Christ in Heaven
 
 
 III. The third and last thing which we proposed unto consideration,
in our inquiry into the present state and condition of the person of
Christ in heaven, is the exercise and discharge of his mediatory once
in behalf of the church; especially as he continueth to be a "minister
of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched,
and not man."
 All Christians acknowledge that his present state is a state of the
highest glory, - of exaltation above the whole creation of God, above
every name that is or can be named; and hereon they esteem their own
honour and safety to depend. Neither do they doubt of his power, but
take it for granted that he can do whatever he pleaseth; which is the
ground of their placing all their confidence in him. But we must show,
moreover, that his present state is a state of officepower, work, and
duty. He leads not in heaven a life of mere glory, majesty, and
blessedness, but a life of office, love, and care also. He lives as
the Mediator of the church; as the King, Priest, and Prophet thereof.
Hereon do our present safety and our future eternal salvation depend.
Without the continual acting of the officepower and care of Christ,
the church could not be preserved one moment. And the darkness of our
faith herein is the cause of oft our disconsolations, and most of our
weaknesses in obedience. Most men have only general and confused
notions and apprehensions of the present state of Christ, with respect
unto the church. And by some, all considerations of this nature are
despised and derided. But revealed things belong unto us; especially
such as are of so great importance unto the glory of God and the
saving of our own souls, - such as this is, concerning the present
state of the person of Christ in heaven, with respect unto his
office-power and care.
 Thus he is at once represented in all his offices, Rev. 5: 6, "And I
beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living
creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been
slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits
of God sent forth into all the earth." The whole representation of the
glory of God, with all his holy attendants, is here called his
"throne;" whence Christ is said to be in the "midst" of it. And this
he is in his kingly glory; with respect also whereunto he is said to
have "seven horns," or perfect power for the accomplishment of his
will. And with respect unto his sacerdotal office, he is represented
as a "Lamb that had been slain;" it being the virtue of his oblation
that is continually effectual for the salvation of the church. For, as
the "Lamb of God," - in the offering of himself, - he "taketh away the
sin of the world." And as a prophet he is said to have "seven eyes,"
which are "the seven Spirits of God;" or a perfect fulness of all
spiritual light and wisdom in himself, with a power for the
communication of gifts and grace for the illumination of the church.
 The nature of these offices of Christ, what belongs unto them and
their charge, as was before intimated, I have declared elsewhere. I do
now no farther consider them but as they relate unto the present state
and condition of the person of Christ in heaven. And because it would
be too long a work to treat of them all distinctly, I shall confine
myself unto the consideration of his priestly office, with what
depends thereon. And with respect thereunto the things ensuing may be
observed.
 1. The Lord Christ entered into heaven, the place of the residence
of the glory of God, as into a temple, a tabernacle, a place of sacred
worship. He did so as the high priest of the church, Heb. 9: 24. He
"is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the
figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the
presence of God for us." He is entered into heaven, as it was figured
by the tabernacle of old; which was the place of all sacred and solemn
worship. And therefore is he said to enter into it "through the veil,"
Heb. 6: 19, 20, 10: 19, 20; which was the way of entrance into the
most holy place, both in the tabernacle and temple. Heaven is not only
a palace, a throne, as it is God's throne, Matt. 5: 34; but it is a
temple, wherein God dwells, not only in majesty and power, but in
grace and mercy. It is the seat of ordinances and solemn worship. So
is it represented, Rev. 7: 15, 17. It is said of the whole number of
the saints above that have passed through the tribulations of this
world, that they are "before the throne of God, and serve him day and
night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell
among them;" and "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall
feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of water." See also
chap. 8: 1-4. The worship of the church below may also be herein
comprised; but it is by virtue of communion with that above. This is
that heaven which the souls of believers do long for an entrance into.
Other apprehensions of it are but uncertain speculations.
 2. In this temple, this sanctuary, the Lord Christ continueth
gloriously to minister before the throne of grace, in the discharge of
his office. See Heb. 4: 14-16, 9: 24. As the high priest went into the
holy place to minister for the church unto God, before the ark and
mercy-seat, which were types of the throne of grace; so does our High
Priest act for us in the real presence of God. He did not enter the
holy place only to reside there in a way of glory, but to do
templework, and to give unto God all that glory, honour, and worship,
which he will receive from the church. And we may consider, both (1.)
What this work is, and (2.) How it is performed.
 (1.) In general; herein Christ exerteth and exerciseth all his love,
compassion, pity, and care towards the church, and every member of it.
This are we frequently called unto the consideration of, as the
foundation of all our consolation, as the fountain of all our
obedience. See Heb. 2: 17, 18, 4: 15, 16, 5: 2. Thoughts hereof are
the relief of believers in all their distresses and temptations; and
the effects of it are all their supplies of grace, enabling them to
persevere in their obedience. He does appear for them as the great
representative of the church, to transact all their affairs with God.
And that for three ends.
 First, To make effectual the atonement that he has made for sin. By
the continual representation of it, and of himself as a "Lamb that had
been slain," he procures the application of the virtues and benefits
of it, in reconciliation and peace with God, unto their souls and
consciences. Hence are all believers sprinkled and washed with his
blood in all generations, - in the application of the virtues of it
unto them, as shed for them.
 Secondly, To undertake their protection, and to plead their cause
against all the accusations of Satan. He yet accuseth and chargeth
them before God; but Christ is their advocate at the throne of grace,
effectually frustrating all his attempts, Rev. 12: 10; Zech. 3: 2.
 Thirdly, To intercede for them, as unto the communication of all
grace and glory, all supplies of the Spirit, the accomplishment of all
the promises of the covenant towards them, 1 John 2: 1, 2. This is the
work of Christ in heaven. In these things, as the high priest of the
church, does he continue to administer his mediatory office on their
behalf. And herein is he attended with the songs and joyful
acclamations of all the holy ones that are in the presence of God,
giving glory to God by him.
 (2.) As unto the manner of this glorious administration, sundry
things are to be considered.
 [1.] That this transaction of things in heaven, being in the temple
of God, and before the throne of grace, is a solemn instituted worship
at present, which shall cease at the end of the world. Religious
worship it is, or that wherein and whereby all the saints above do
give glory to God. And it is instituted worship, not that which is
merely natural, in that it is God's especial appointment, in and by
Christ the mediator. It is a church-state which is constituted hereby,
wherein these glorious ordinances are celebrated; and such a state as
shall not be eternal, but has its time allotted unto it. And believers
at present have, by faith, an admission into communion with this
church above, in all its divine worship. For we "are come unto mount
Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and
to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and
church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God the
Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to
Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of
sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel," Heb. 12:
22-24. A church state does the apostle most expressly represent unto
us. It is Zion, Jerusalem, the great assembly, - the names of the
church state under the Old Testament. And it is a state above, the
heavenly Jerusalem, where are all the holy angels, and the spirits of
just men made perfect in themselves, though not in their state as to
the restitution of their bodies at the resurrection. And a holy
worship is there in this great assembly; for not only is Jesus in it
as the mediator of the covenant, but there is the "blood of
sprinkling" also, in the effectual application of it unto the church.
Hereunto have we an entrance. In this holy assembly and worship have
we communion by faith whilst we are here below, Heb. 10: 19-22. O that
my soul might abide and abound in this exercise of faith! - that I
might yet enjoy a clearer prospect of this glory, and inspection into
the beauty and order of this blessed assembly! How inconceivable is
the representation that God here makes of the glory of his wisdom,
love, grace, goodness, and mercy, in Christ! How excellent is the
manifestation of the glory and honour of Christ in his person and
offices! - the glory given him by the Father! How little a portion do
we know, or can have experience in, of the refreshing, satiating
communications of divine love and goodness, unto all the members of
this assembly; or of that unchangeable delight in beholding the glory
of Christ, and of God in him, - of that ardency of affections
wherewith they cleave unto him, and continual exultation of spirit,
whereby they triumph in the praises of God, that are in all the
members of it! To enter into this assembly by faith, - to join with it
in the assignation of praises unto "him that sitteth on the throne,
and to the Lamb for evermore,"--to labour after a frame of heart in
holy affections and spiritual delight in some correspondence with that
which is in the saints above, - is the duty, and ought to be the
design, of the church of believes here below. So much as we are
furthered and assisted herein by our present ordinances, so much
benefit and advantage have we by them, and no more. A constant view of
this glory will cast contempt on all the desirable things of this
world, and deliver our minds from any dreadful apprehensions of what
is most terrible therein.
 [2.] This heavenly worship in the sanctuary above, administered by
the High Priest over the house of God, is conspicuously glorious. The
glory of God is the great end of it, as shall be immediately declared;
that is, the manifestation of it. The manifestation of the glory of
God consists really in the effects of his infinite wisdom, goodness,
grace, and power;--declaratively, in the express acknowledgement of it
with praise. Herein, therefore, does the solemn worship of God in the
sanctuary above consist, - setting aside only the immediate acting of
Christ in his intercession. It is a glorious, express acknowledgement
of the wisdom, love, goodness, grace, and power of God, in the
redemption, sanctification, and salvation of the church by Jesus
Christ, with a continual ascription of all divine honour unto him in
the way of praise. For the manner of its performance, our present
light into it is but dark and obscure. Some things have an evidence in
them. As, -
 1st, That there is nothing carnal in it, or such things as are
suited unto the fancies and imaginations of men. In the thoughts of
heaven, most persons are apt to frame images in their minds of such
carnal things as they suppose they could be delighted withal. But they
are far remote from the worship of this holy assembly. The worship of
the gospel, which is spiritually glorious, makes a nearer approach
unto it than that of the Temple, which was outwardly and carnally so.
 2dly, It is not merely mental, or transacted only in the silent
thoughts of each individual person; for, as we have showed, it is the
worship of a church assembly wherein they have all communion, and join
in the performance of it. We know not well the way and manner of
communication between angels and the spirits of just men made perfect.
It is expressed in the Scripture by voices, postures, and gestures;
which, although they are not of the same nature as absolutely ours
are, yet are they really significant of the things they would express,
and a means of mutual communication. Yea, I know not how far God may
give them the use of voice and words whereby to express his praise, as
Moses talked with Christ at his transfiguration, Matt. 17: 3. But the
manner of it is such as whereby the whole assembly above do jointly
set forth and celebrate the praises of God and the glory hereof
consisteth in three things.
 [1.] The blessed and beautiful order of all things in that
sanctuary. Job describes the grave beneath to be a "place without any
order, and where the light is as darkness," chap. 10: 22. All above is
order and light, - every person and thing in its proper place and
exercise. 1st, Heaven itself is a temple, a sanctuary, made so by the
especial presence of God, and the ministration of Christ in the
tabernacle of his human nature. 2dly, God is on the throne of grace,
gloriously exalted on the account of his grace, and for the
dispensation of it. To the saints above he is on the throne of grace,
in that they are in the full enjoyment of the effects of his grace,
and do give glory unto him on the account thereof. He is so, also with
respect unto the church here below, in the continual communications of
grace and mercy through Christ 3dly, The Lord Christ, in his human
nature, is before the throne, acting his mediatory office and power in
behalf of the church 4thly, All the holy angels, in the various orders
and degrees of their ministration, are about the throne continually.
So  - 5thly, Are the spirits of just men made perfect, in the various
measures of light and glory. And these things were obscurely
represented in the order of the church at its first erection in the
wilderness; for the ordinances of God among them were patterns or
figures of heavenly things, Heb. 9: 23. (1st,) In the midst was the
tabernacle or sanctuary, - which represented the sanctuary or temple
above. (2dly,) In the most holy place were the ark and mercy-seat, -
representatives of the throne of grace. (3dly,) The ministry of the
high priest,--a type of the ministry of Christ. (4thly,) The Levites,
who attended on the priest, did represent the ministry of angels
attending on Christ in the charge of his office. And, (5thly,) Round
about them were the tribes in their order.
 [2.] In the full, clear apprehensions which all the blessed ones
have of the glory of God in Christ, of the work and effects of his
wisdom and grace towards mankind. These are the foundation of all
divine worship. And because our conceptions and apprehensions about
them are dark, low, obscure, and inevident, our worship is weak and
imperfect also. But all is open unto the saints above. We are in the
dust, the blood, the noise of the battle; they are victoriously at
peace, and have a perfect view of what they have passed through, and
what they have attained unto. They are come to the springs of life and
light, and are filled with admiration of the grace of God in
themselves and one another. What they see in God and in Jesus Christ,
what they have experience of in themselves; what they know and learn
from others, are all of them inconceivable and inexpressible. It is
well for us, if we have so much experience of these things as to see a
real glory in the fulness and perfection of them. The apprehensions by
eight, without mixture of unsteadiness or darkness, without the alloy
of fears or temptations, with an ineffable sense of the things
themselves on their hearts or minds, are the springs or motives of the
holy worship which is in heaven.
 [3.] In the glorious manner of the performance of it. Now, whereas
it ariseth from sight and present enjoyment, it must consist in a
continual ascription of glory and praise unto God; and so it is
described in the Scripture. See Rev. 4: 9-11, with Isa. 6: 3. And how
little a portion of the glory of these things is it that we can
apprehend!
 3. In this solemn assembly before the throne of grace, the Lord
Jesus Christ--the great High Priest - does represent and render
acceptable unto God the worship of the church here below. So it is
expressed, Rev. 8: 3, 4, "And another angel came and stood at the
altar, baring a golden censer; and there was given unto him much
incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon
the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the
incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before
God out of the angel's hand." It is a representation of the high
priest burning incense on the golden altar on the day of atonement,
when he entered into the most holy place; for that altar was placed
just at the entrance of it, directly before the ark and mercy seat,
representing the throne of God. This angel, therefore, is our High
Priest; none else could approach that altar, or offer incense on it,
the smoke whereof was to enter into the holy place. And the "prayers
of all saints" is a synecdochical expression of the whole worship of
the church. And this is presented before the throne of God by this
High Priest. And it is not said that their prayers came unto the
throne of God, but the smoke of the incense out of the hand of the
angel did so; for it is the incense of the intercession of Christ
alone that gives them their acceptance with God. Without this, none of
our prayers, praises, or thanksgivings, would ever have access into
the presence of God, or unto the throne of grace. Blessed be God for
this relief, under the consideration of the weakness and imperfection
of them! Wherefore, in him and by him alone do we represent all our
desires, and prayers, and whole worship to God. And herein, in all our
worship, do we ourselves "enter into the most holy place," Heb. 10:
19. We do it not merely by faith, but by this especial exercise of it,
in putting our prayers into the hand of this High Priest.
 There are three things in all our worship that would hinder its
access unto God, and acceptance with him, as also keep off comfort and
peace from our consciences. The first is, The sin or iniquity that
cleaves unto it; secondly, The weakness or imperfection that at best
is in it; and, thirdly, The unworthiness of the persons by whom it is
performed. With reference unto these things the Law could never
consummate or perfect the consciences of them that came unto God by
the sacrifices of it. But there are three things in the sacerdotal
ministration of Christ that remove and take them all away, whereon we
have access with boldness unto God. And they are - (1.) The influence
of his oblation; (2.) The efficacy of his intercession; and, (3.) The
dignity of his person. Through the first of these he bears and takes
away all the iniquity of our holy things, as Aaron did typically of
old, by virtue of the plate of gold with the name of God (a figure of
Christ) on his forehead, Exod. 28: 36-38. He has made atonement for
them in the blood of his oblation, and they appear not in the presence
of God. Through the second, or the efficacy of his intercession, he
gives acceptance unto our prayers and holy worship, with power and
prevalence before God. For this is that incense whose smoke or sweet
perfume comes up with the prayers of all saints unto the throne of
God. Through the third, or the dignity of his person, wherein he
appears as the representative of his whole mystical body, he takes
away from our consciences that sense of our own vileness and
unworthiness which would not suffer us to approach with boldness unto
the throne of grace. In these things consists the life of the worship
of the church, - of all believers; without which, as it would not be
acceptable unto God, so we could have neither peace nor consolation in
it ourselves.
 4. Herein has the church that is triumphant communion with that
which is yet militant. The assembly above have not lost their
concernment in the church here below. As we rejoice in their glory,
safety, and happiness, that having passed through the storms and
tempests, the temptations, sufferings, and dangers, of this life and
world, they are harboured in eternal glory, unto the praise of God in
Christ; so are they full of affections towards their brethren
exercised with the same temptations, difficulties, and dangers, which
they have passed through, with earnest desires for their deliverance
and safety. Wherefore, when they behold the Lord Jesus Christ, as the
great high priest over the house of God, presenting their prayers,
with all their holy worship unto him, rendering them acceptable by the
incense of his own intercession, it fills them with satisfaction, and
continually excites them unto the assignation of praise, and glory,
and honour unto him. This is the state of the saints above, with
respect unto the church here below. This is all which may be herein
ascribed unto them; and this may safely be so. What some have fancied
about their own personal intercession, and that for particular
persons, is derogatory unto the honour of Jesus Christ, and
inconsistent with their present condition; but in these things
consists their communion with the church here below. A love they have
unto it, from their union with it in the same mystical body, Eph. 1:
10. A sense they have of its condition, from the experience they had
of it in the days of their flesh. A great concernment they have for
the glory of God in them, and a fervent desire of their eternal
salvation. They know that without them they shall not be absolutely
consummate, or made perfect in their whole persons, Rev. 6: 11. In
this state of things they continually behold the Lord Jesus Christ
presenting their prayers before the throne of grace, - making
intercession for them,--appearing to plead their cause against all
their adversaries, - transacting all their affairs in the presence of
God, - taking care of their salvation, that not one of them shall
perish. This continually fills them with a holy satisfaction and
complacency, and is a great part of the subject-matter of their
incessant praises and ascriptions of glory unto him. Herein lies the
concernment of the church above in that here below; this is the
communion that is between them, whereof the person of Christ, in the
discharge of his office, is the bond and centre.
 5. There is herein a full manifestation made of the wisdom of God,
in all the holy institutions of the tabernacle and temple of old.
Herein the veil is fully taken off from them, and that obscure
representation of heavenly things is brought forth unto light and
glory. It is true, this is done unto a great degree in the
dispensation of the Gospels. By the coming of Christ in the flesh, and
the discharge of his mediatory office in this world, the substance of
what they did prefigure is accomplished; and in the revelations of the
Gospel the nature and end of them is declared. Howbeit, they extended
their signification else unto things within the veil, or the discharge
of the priestly office of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, Heb. 9 24.
Wherefore, as we have not yet a perfection of light to understand the
depth of the mysteries contained in them; so themselves also were not
absolutely fulfilled until the Lord Christ discharged his office in
the holy place. This is the glory of the pattern which God showed unto
Moses in the mount, made conspicuous and evident unto all. Therein
especially do the saints of the Old Testament, who were exercised all
their days in those typical institutions whose end and design they
could not comprehend, see the manifold wisdom and goodness of God in
them all, rejoicing in them for evermore.
 6. All that the Lord Christ receives of the Father on the account of
this holy interposition and mediation for the church, he is endowed
with sovereign authority and almighty power in himself to execute and
accomplish. Therefore is he said, as a priest, is be "made higher than
the heavens;" and as a "priest to sit down at the right hand of the
majesty on high," Heb. 8: 1. This glorious power does not immediately
belong unto Him on the account of his sacerdotal office, but it is
that qualification of his person which is necessary unto the effectual
discharge of it. Hence it is said of him, that he should "bear the
glory," and "sit and rule upon his throne," and should be "a priest
upon his throne," Zech. 6: 13. A throne is insigne regium, and
properly belongs unto Christ with respect unto his kingly office, Heb.
1: 8, 9. Howbeit the power accompanying and belonging unto his throne
being necessary unto the effectual discharge of his priestly office,
as he sits and rules on his throne, so it is said that he is a "priest
on his throne" also.
 This is one instance of the present state of Christ in heaven, and
of the work which he does there perform, and the only instance I shall
insist upon. He was made a priest "after the power of an endless
life,"--the life which he now leads in heaven;--and "lives for ever to
make intercession for us." He was dead, but is alive, and lives for
evermore, and has the keys of hell and death, - all power over the
enemies of his church. God on a throne of grace; - Christ, the high
priest, so on his right hand in glory and power as yet to be "before
the throne" in the virtue of his sacerdotal office, with the whole
concernment of the church on his hand, transacting all things with God
for them; - all the holy angels and the "spirits of just men made
perfect" encompassing the throne with continual praises unto God, even
the Father, and him, on the account of the work of infinite wisdom,
goodness, and grace, in his incarnation, mediation, and salvation of
the church thereby; - himself continuing to manage the cause of the
whole church before God, presenting all their prayers and services
unto him perfumed with his own intercession, - is that resemblance of
heaven and its present glory which the Scripture offers unto us. But,
alas! how weak, how dark, how low, are our conceptions and
apprehensions of these heavenly things! We see yet as through a glass
darkly, and know but in part. The time is approaching when we shall
see these things "with open face," and know even as we are known. The
best improvement we can make of this prospect, whilst faith supplies
the place of future sight, is to be stirred up thereby unto holy
longings after a participation in this glory, and constant diligence
in that holy obedience whereby we may arrive thereunto.
 What remaineth yet to be spoken on this subject has respect unto
these two ensuing propositions: -
 1. All the effects of the offices of Christ, internal, spiritual,
and eternal, in grace and glory, - all external fruits of their
dispensation in providence towards the church or its enemies,--are
wrought by divine power; or are the effects of an emanation of power
from God. They are all wrought "by the exceeding greatness of his
power," even as he wrought in Christ himself when he raised him from
the dead, Eph 1: 19. For all the outward works of God, such as all
these are, which are wrought in and for the church, are necessarily
immediate effects of divine power, - nor can be of another nature.
 2. Upon supposition of the obedience of Christ in this life, and the
atonement made by his blood for sin, with his exaltation thereon,
there is nothing in any essential property of the nature of God, -
nothing in the eternal, unchangeable law of obedience, - to hinder but
that God might work all these things in us unto his own honour and
glory, in the eternal salvation of the church and the destruction of
all its enemies, without a continuance of the administration of the
offices of Christ in heaven, and all that sacred solemnity of worship
wherewith it is accompanied.
 These things being certain and evident, we may inquire thereon,
whence it is that God has ordered the continuation of all these things
in heaven above, seeing these ends might have been accomplished
without them, by immediate acts of divine power.
 The great "works of the LORD are sought out of them that have
pleasure in them," Ps. 111:2. This, therefore, being a great work of
God, which he has wrought and revealed unto us, especially in the
effect and fruit of it, and that for the manifestation of his wisdom
and grace, it is our duty to inquire into it with all humble
diligence; "for those things which are revealed belong unto us and our
children," that we may do the will of God for our good. Wherefore, -
 (1.) God would have it so, for the manifestation of his own glory.
This is the first great end of all the works of God. That it is so is
a fundamental principle of our religion. And how his works do glorify
him is our duty to inquire. The essential glory of God is always the
same, - eternal and immutable. It is the being of God, with that
respect which all creatures have unto it. For glory adds a supposition
of relation unto being. But the manifestations of his glory are
various, according to the pleasure of his will. Wherefore, that which
he chooseth to manifest his glory in and by at one time, he may cease
from using it unto that end at another; for its being a means of the
manifestation of his glory may depend on such circumstances, such a
state of things, which being removed, it ceaseth to be. So of old he
manifested and represented his glory in the tabernacle and temple, and
the holy pledges of his presence in them, and was glorified in all the
worship of the Law. But now he ceaseth so to do, nor is any more
honoured by the services and ceremonies of religion therein
prescribed. If the whole structure of the temple and all its beautiful
services were now in being on the earth, no glory would redound unto
God thereby, - he would receive none from it. To expect the glory of
God in them would be a high dishonour unto him. And God may at any
time begin to manifest his glory by such ways and means as he did not
formerly male use of unto that purpose. So is it with all Gospel
ordinances: which state will be continued unto the consummation of all
things here below, and no longer; for then shall they all cease, God
will be no more glorified in them or by them. So has God chosen to
glorify himself in heaven by this administration of all things in and
by Jesus Christ; whereunto also there is an end determined.
 And in the continuance of this holy worship in the sanctuary above,
God does manifest his glory on many accounts, and resteth thereto.
First, he does it in and unto the saints who departed this life under
the Old Testament. They came short in glory of what they now enter
into who die in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. For - not to
dispute about nor determine positively, what was their state and
condition before the ascension of Christ into heaven, or what was the
nature of the blessed receptacle of their souls--it is manifest that
they did not, they could not, behold the glory of God, and the
accomplishment of the mystery of his wisdom and will, in Jesus Christ;
nor was it perfectly made known unto them. Whatever were their rest,
refreshment, and blessedness, - whatever were their enjoyments of the
presence of God; yet was there no throne of grace erected in heaven, -
no High Priest appearing before it, - no Lamb as it had been slain, -
no joint ascription of glory unto him that sits on the throne, and the
Lamb, for ever; God "having provided some better thing for us, that
they without us should not be made perfect." See Eph 3: 9, 10.
 This was that, and this was that alone, so far as in the Scripture
it is revealed, wherein they came short of that glory which is now
enjoyed in heaven. And herein consists the advantage of the saints
above them, who now die in faith. Their state in heaven was suited
unto their faith and worship on the earth. They had no clear, distinct
knowledge of the incarnation and mediatory office of Christ by their
revelations and services; only they believed that the promise of
deliverance, of grace and mercy, should be in and by him accomplished.
Their reception into heaven - that which they were made meet and
prepared for by their faith and worship - was suited thereunto. They
had a blessed rest and happiness, above what we can comprehend; for
who knows what it is to be in the glorious presence of God, though at
the greatest distance? They were not immediately surprised with an
appearance of that glory which they had no distinct apprehensions of
in this world. Neither they nor the angels knew clearly either the
sufferings of Christ or the glory that should ensue. But they saw and
knew that there was yet something farther to be done in heaven and
earth, as yet hid in God and the counsels of his will, for the
exaltation of his glory in the complete salvation of the church. This
they continued waiting for in the holy place of their refreshment
above. Faith gave them, and it gives us, an entrance into the presence
of God, and makes us meet for it. But what they immediately enjoyed
did not in its whole kind exceed what their faith directed unto. No
more does ours. Wherefore they were not prepared for a view of the
present glory of heaven; nor did enjoy it. But the saints under the
New Testament, who are clearly instructed by the gospel in the
mysteries of the incarnation and mediation of Christ, are, by their
faith and worship, made meet for an immediate entrance into this
glory. This they long for, this they expect and are secured of, from
the prayer of our Saviour, - that they be, when they leave this world,
where he is, to behold his glory.
 But now, upon the entrance of Christ into the heavenly sanctuary,
all those holy ones were admitted into the same glory with what the
saints under the New Testament do enjoy. Hereon with open face they
behold the use and end of those typical services and ordinances
wherein these things were shadowed out unto them. No heart can
conceive that ineffable addition of glory which they received hereby.
The mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in their redemption and
salvation by Christ was now fully represented unto them; what they had
prayed for, longed for, and desired to see in the days of their flesh
on the earth, and waited for so long in heaven, was now gloriously
made manifest unto them. Hereon did glorious light and blessed
satisfaction come into and upon all those blessed souls, who died in
the faith, but had not received the promise, - only beheld it afar of.
And hereby did God greatly manifest his own glory in them and unto
them; which is the first end of the continuation of this state of
things in heaven. This makes me judge that the season of Christ's
entrance into heaven, as the holy sanctuary of God, was the greatest
instance of created glory that ever was or ever shall be, unto the
consummation of all things. And this as for other reasons, so because
all the holy souls who had departed in the faith from the foundation
of the world, were then received into the glorious light of the
counsels of God, and knowledge of the effects of his grace by Jesus
Christ.
 Want of a due apprehension of the truth herein has caused many,
especially those of the Church of Rome, to follow after vain
imaginations about the state of the souls of the faithful, departed
under the Old Testament. Generally, they shut them up in a
subterranean limbus, whence they were delivered by the descent of
Christ. But it is contrary unto all notions and revelations of the
respect of God unto his people - contrary to the life and nature of
faith - that those who have passed through their course of obedience
in this world, and finished the work given unto them, should not
enter, upon their departure, into blessed rest in the presence of God.
Take away the persuasion hereof, and the whole nature of faith is
destroyed. But into the fulness of present glory they could not be
admitted; as has been declared.
 Moreover, God hereby manifests his glory unto the holly angels
themselves. Those things wherein it does consist were hid in himself
even from them, from the foundation of the world, - hidden in the holy
counsels of his will, Eph 3: 9. Wherefore unto these "principalities
and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God was made
known by the church," verse 10. The church being redeemed by the blood
of Christ, and himself thereon exalted in this glory, they came to
know the "manifold wisdom of God" by the effects of it; which before
they earnestly desired to look into, 1 Peter 1: 12. Hereby is all the
glory of the counsels of God in Christ made conspicuous unto them; and
they receive themselves no small advancement in glory thereby. For in
the present comprehension of the mind of God, and doing of his will,
does their blessedness consist.
 Heaven itself was not what it is, before the entrance of Christ into
the sanctuary for the administration of his office. Neither the saints
departed nor the angels themselves were participant of that glory
which now they are. Neither yet does this argue any defect in heaven,
or the state thereof in its primitive constitution; for the perfection
of any state has respect unto that order of things which it is
originally suited unto. Take all things in the order of the first
creation, and with respect thereunto heaven was perfect in glory from
the beginning. Howbeit there was still a relation and regard in it
unto the church of mankind on the earth, which was to be translated
thither. But by the entrance of sin all this order was disturbed, and
all this relation was broken. And there followed thereon an
imperfection in the state of heaven itself; for it had no longer a
relation unto, or communion with, them on earth, nor was a receptacle
meet for men who were sinners to be received into. Wherefore, by the
"blood of the cross," God "reconciled all things unto himself, whether
they be things in earth, or things in heaven," Col. 1: 20, - or
gathered all things into one in him, "both which are in heaven, and
which are on earth," Eph. 1: 10. Even the things in heaven so far
stood in need of a reconciliation, as that they might be gathered
together in one with the things on earth; the glory whereof is
manifested in this heavenly ministration. And the apostle affirms that
the "heavenly things themselves" were purified by the sacrifice of
Christ, Heb. 9: 23. Not that they were actually defiled in themselves,
but without this purification they were not meet for the fellowship of
this mystery in the joint worship of the whole society in heaven and
earth, by Jesus Christ. Hence, therefore, there is a continual
manifestation of the glory of God unto the angels themselves. They
behold his manifold wisdom and grace in the blessed effects of it,
which were treasured up in the holy counsels of his will from
eternity. Hereby is their own light and blessedness advanced, and they
are filled with admiration of God, ascribing praise, honour, and glory
unto him for evermore; for the beholding of the mystery of the wisdom
of God in Christ, which is here so despised in the dispensation of the
gospel, is the principal part of the blessedness of the angels in
heaven, which fills them with eternal delight, and is the ground of
their ascribing praise and glory unto him for evermore.
 This is that manifestative glory wherewith God satisfieth himself,
until the end determined shall be. On the account hereof he does and
will bear with things in this world, unto the appointed season. For
whilst the creation is in its present posture, a revenue of glory must
be taken out of it for God; and longer than that is done it cannot be
continued. But the world is so full of darkness and confusion, of sin
and wickedness, of enmity against God, - is so given up to villany,
unto all the ways whereby God may be dishonoured, - that there is
little or no appearance of any revenue of glory unto him from it. Were
it not on the secret account of divine wisdom, it would quickly
receive the end of Sodom and Gomorra. The small remnant of the
inheritance of Christ is shut up in such obscurity, that, as unto
visible appearance and manifestation, it is no way to be laid in the
balance against the dishonour that is done unto him by the whole
world. But whilst things are in this posture here below, God has a
solemn honour, glory, and worship above, in the presence of all his
holy ones; wherein he resteth and takes pleasure. In his satisfaction
herein he will continue things in this World unto all the ends of his
wisdom, goodness, righteousness, and patience, let it rage in villainy
and wickedness as it pleaseth. And so, when any of the saints who are
wearied, and even worn out, with the state of things in this world,
and, it may be, understand not the grounds of the patience of God, do
enter into this state, they shall, unto their full satisfaction,
behold that glory which abundantly compensates the present dishonour
done to God here below.
 (2.) This state of things is continued for the glory of Christ
himself. The office of Mediator was committed by God the Father unto
his only-begotten Son, - no other being able to bear or discharge it.
See Isa. 9: 6; Rev. 5: 1-5. But in the discharge of this office it was
necessary he should condescend unto a mean and low condition, and to
undergo things difficult, hard, and terrible, Phil. 2: 6-8. Such were
the things which our Lord Jesus Christ underwent in this world; - his
undergoing of them being necessary unto the discharge of his office;
yea, it consisted therein. Herein was he exposed unto reproach,
contempt, and shame, with all the evils that Satan or the world could
bring upon him. And besides, he was, for us and in our stead, to
undergo the "curse of the law," with the greatest of terror and
sorrows in his soul, until he gave up the ghost. These things were
necessary unto the discharge of his office, nor could the salvation of
the church be wrought out without them. But do we think that God would
commit so glorious an office unto his only Son to be discharged in
this manner only? Let it be granted that after he had so accomplished
the will of God in this world, he had himself entered into glory; yet
if he should so cease the administration of his office, that must be
looked on as the most afflictive and dolorous that ever was undergone.
But it was the design of God to glorify the office itself; as an
effect of his wisdom, and himself therein; yea, so as that the very
office itself should be an everlasting honour to his Son as incarnate.
Unto this end the administration of it is continued in glory in his
hand, and he is exalted in the discharge of it. For this is that glory
which he prays that all his disciples may be brought unto him to
behold. The time between his ascension and the end of all things is
allotted unto the glory of Christ in the administration of his office
in the heavenly sanctuary. And from hence does the apostle prove him,
"as a high priest," to be far more glorious than those who were called
unto that office under the law, Heb. 8: 1-3. Herein it is manifest
unto angels and men, how glorious a thing it is to be the only king,
priest, and prophet of the church. Wherefore, as it behaved Christ, in
the discharge of his office, to suffer; so, after his sufferings in
the discharge of the same office, he was to enter into his glory, Rev.
1: 18.
 (3.) God has respect herein unto those who depart in the faith, in
their respective generations, especially those who died betimes, as
the apostles and primitive Christians. And sundry things may be herein
considered.
 [1.] There are two things which believers put a great price and
value on in this world, and which sweeten every condition unto them.
Without them the world would be a noisome dungeon unto them, nor could
they be satisfied with a continuance therein. The one is the service
of Christ. Without an opportunity of being exercised herein, they
could not abide here with any satisfaction. They who know it not so to
be, are under the power of worldly-mindedness. The meanest service of
Christ has refreshment in it. And as to those who have opportunities
and abilities for great instances of service, they do not know on just
grounds, nor are able to determine themselves, whether it be best for
them to continue in their service here below, or to enter into the
immediate service of Christ above; - so glorious, so excellent is it
to be usefully serviceable unto the Lord Jesus. So was it with the
apostle, Phil. 1: 21-26; - so may it be with others, if they serve him
in the same spirit, with the same sincerity, though their ability in
service be not like unto his. For neither had he anything but what he
received. Again, they have the enjoyment of Christ in the ordinances
of Gospel worship. By these means do they live, - in these things is
the life of their souls.
 In this state of things God will not call them hence unto their
loss; he will not put an end unto these privileges, without an
abundant recompense and advantage. Whatever we enjoy here, yet still
to depart hence and to be with Christ shall be far better, Phil. 1:
23. For, -
 1st, although service here below shall cease, and be given over unto
other hands who are to have their share herein; yet, on the
continuance of this state of things in heaven, there is also a
continuation of service unto Christ, in a way inexpressibly more
glorious than what we are in this life capable of. Upon their
admittance into this state of things above, they are before the throne
of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth
on the throne shall dwell among them, Rev. 7: 15. The whole state of
the glorious worship of God before described is here respected; and
herein is a continual service performed unto him that sits on the
throne, and unto the lamb. Wherefore it is so far from being loss, in
being called off from service here below, as that, in point of service
itself, it is an inconceivable advancement.
 2dly, The enjoyment of Christ in and by the ordinances of his
worship, is the immediate fountain and spring of all our refreshments
and consolations in this world, Ps. 87: 7; but what is it unto the
blessed immediate enjoyment of him in heaven! Hence the blessedness of
the state above is described, by being with Christ, being with Christ
forever in the presence and immediate enjoyment of him. The light of
the stars is useful and relieving in a dark night as we are on our
way; but what are they when the sun ariseth! Will any man think it a
loss that, upon the rising of the sun, they shall not enjoy their
light any more, though in the night they knew not what to have done
without it? It may be we cannot conceive how it will be best for us to
forego the use of sacraments, ministry, and the Scripture itself. But
all the virtue of the streams is in the fountain; and the immediate
enjoyment of Christ unspeakably exceeds whatever by any means we can
be made partakers of here below.
 In this blessed state have the holy apostles, all the primitive
martyrs and believers, from the time of their dissolution, enjoyed
full satisfaction and solace, in the glorious assembly above, Rev. 7:
15-17, &c
 [2.] Hereby there is a continuation of communion between the church
triumphant above and that yet militant here below. That there is such
a communion between glorified saints and believers in this world, is
an article of faith. Both societies are but one church, one mystical
body, have one Head, and a mutual concernment in each other. Yea, the
spring and means of this communion is no small part of the glory of
the gospel. For, - before the saints under the Old Testament had the
mystery of the glory of God in Christ, with our redemption thereby,
revealed unto them, in the way before declared, - the communion was
very obscure; but we are now taken into the light and glory of it, as
the apostle declares, Heb. 12: 22-24.
 I know some have perverted the notions of the communion unto
idolatrous superstition; and so have all other truths of the gospel
been abused and wrested, unto the destruction of the souls of men; -
all the Scriptures have been so dealt withal, 2 Pet. 3: 16. But they
deceived themselves in this matter, - the truth deceiveth none. Upon a
supposition of communion, they gathered that there must of necessity
be an immediate communication between them above and us below. And if
so, they knew no way for it, no means of it, but by our praying unto
them, and their prayer for us. But they were under the power of their
own deceivings. Communion does not require immediate mutual
communication, unless it be among persons in the same state, and that
in such acts as wherein they are mutually assisting and helpful unto
one another. But our different states will admit of no such
intercourse; nor do we stand in need of any relief from them, or can
be helped by any acts of their love, as we may aid and help one
another here below. Wherefore the centre of this communion is in
Christ alone and our exercise of it is upon him only, with respect
unto them.
 Yet hereon some deny that there is any such communion between the
members of the church or the mystical body of Christ in these diverse
states. And they suppose it is so declared in that of the prophet,
Isa. 63: 16, "Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be
ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not." But there is nothing
of any such importance in these words. The church, under a deep sense
of its present state, in its unworthy walking and multiplied
provocations, profess themselves to be such, as that their forefathers
in covenant could not own them as their children and posterity in the
faith. Hereupon they appeal unto the infinite mercy and faithfulness
of God, which extend themselves even unto that condition of
unworthiness which was enough to render them utterly disowned by the
best of men, however otherwise concerned in them. But to suppose the
church above, which has passed through its course of faith and
obedience in afflictions, tribulations, and persecutions, to be
ignorant of the state of the church here below in general, and
unconcerned in it, - to be without desires of its success,
deliverance, and prosperity, unto the glory of Christ, - is to lay
them asleep in a senseless state, without the exercise of any grace,
or any interest in the glory of God. And if they cry for vengeance on
the obdurate persecuting world, Rev. 6: 10, shall we suppose they have
no consideration nor knowledge of the state of the church suffering
the same things which they did themselves? And, to put it out of
question, they are minded of it in the next verse by Christ himself,
verse 11.
 But that which at present I alone intend, is the joint communion of
the whole church in the worship of God in Christ. Were all that die in
the Lord immediately received into that state wherein God "shall be
all in all,"--without any use of the mediation of Christ, or the
worship of praise and honour given unto God by him, - without being
exercised in the ascription of honour, glory, power, and dominion unto
him, on the account of the past and present discharge of his office, -
there could be no communion between them and us. But whilst they are
in the sanctuary, in the temple of God, in the holy worship of Christ
and of God in him, and we are not only employed in the same work, in
sacred ordinances suited unto our state and condition, but, in the
performance of our duties, do by faith "enter in within the veil," and
approach unto the same throne of grace in the most holy place, there
is a spiritual communion between them and us. So the apostle
expresseth it, Heb. 12: 22-24.
 [3.] It is the way that God has appointed to prepare the holy souls
above for the enjoyment of that eternal state which shall ensue at the
end of all things As we are here, in and by the Word and other
ordinances, prepared and made meet for the present state of things in
glory; so are they, by the temple-worship of heaven, fitted for that
state of things when Christ shall give up the kingdom unto the Father,
that God may be all in all.
 (4.) Respect is had herein unto the faith of the church yet militant
on the earth, and that, among others, in two things.
 1st, For the encouragement of their faith. God could, as we have
observed, upon the supposition of the atonement and reconciliation
made by the blood of Christ, have saved the church by mere sovereign
act of power. But whereas it was unto his glory that we should be
saved in the way of faith and obedience, this way was necessary unto
our encouragement therein. For it is in the nature of faith, it is a
grace suited unto that end, to seek for and receive aid, help, and
relief, from God continually, to enable us unto obedience.
 For this end the Lord Christ continueth in the discharge of his
office, whereby he is able to save us unto the uttermost, that we may
receive such supplies by and from him. The continual use that faith
makes of Christ unto this purpose, as he gloriously exerciseth his
mediatory office and power in heaven, cannot fully be declared.
Neither can any believer, who is acted by present Gospel light and
grace, conceive how the life of faith can be led or preserved without
it. No duties are we called unto, - no temptation are we exercised
withal, - no sufferings do we undergo, - no difficulties, dangers,
fears, have we to conflict withal, - nothing is there in life or
death, wherein the glory of God or our own spiritual welfare is
concerned, - but faith finds and takes relief and encouragement in the
present mediatory life and power of Christ in heaven, with the
exercise of his love, care, and compassion therein. So he proposeth
himself unto our faith, Rev. 1: 17,18.
 2dly, That our faith may be guided and directed in all our accesses
unto God in his holy worship. Were nothing proposed unto us but the
immensity of the divine essence, we should not know how to make our
approaches unto it. And thence it is that those who are unacquainted
with the glory of this dispensation, who know not how to make use of
Christ in his present state for an access unto God, are always
inventing ways of their own (as by saints, angels, images) for that
end; for an immediate access unto the divine essence they cannot
fancy. Wherefore, to end this discourse in one word, - all the present
faith and worship of God in the church here on earth, all access unto
him for grace, and all acceptable ascriptions of glory unto his divine
majesty, do all of them, in their being and exercise, wholly depend
on, and are resolved into, the continuation of the mediatory actings
of Christ in heaven and glory.
 I shall close this discourse with a little review of somewhat that
passed before. From the consideration of that place of the apostle
wherein he affirms, that at the end Christ shall give up the kingdom
unto the Father, I declared that all the state of things which we have
described shall then cease, and all things issue in the immediate
enjoyments of God himself. I would extend this no farther than as unto
what concerneth the exercise of Christ's mediatory office with respect
unto the church here below, and the enemies of it. But there are some
things which belong unto the essence of this state which shall
continue unto all eternity; as, -
 1st, I do believe that the person of Christ, in and by his human
nature, shall be for ever the immediate head of the whole glorified
creation. God having gathered all things unto a head in him, the knot
or centre of that collection shall never be dissolved. We shall never
lose our relation unto him, nor he his unto us.
 2dly, I do therefore also believe, that he shall be the means and
way of communication between God and his glorified saints for ever.
What are, what will be, the glorious communications of God unto his
saints for ever, in life, light, power, joy, rest, and ineffable
satisfaction, (as all must be from him unto eternity,) I shall not now
inquire. But this I say, they shall be all made in and through the
person of the Son, and the human nature therein. That tabernacle shall
never be folded up, never be laid aside as useless. And if it be said,
that I cannot declare the way and manner of the eternal communications
of God himself unto his saints in glory by Christ; I shall only say,
that I cannot declare the way and manner of his communications of
himself in grace by Christ unto the souls of men in this world, and
yet I do believe it. How much more must we satisfy ourselves with the
evidence of faith alone in those things which, as yet, are more
incomprehensible. And our adherence unto God, by love and delight,
shall always be through Christ. For God will be conceived of unto
eternity according to the manifestation that he has made of himself in
him, and no otherwise. This shall not be by acting faith with respect
unto the actual exercise of the mediation of Christ, as now we cleave
unto God; but it shall be by the all-satisfying acting of love unto
God, as he has manifested himself, and will manifest himself in
Christ.
 3dly, The person of Christ, and therein his human nature, shall be
the eternal object of divine glory, praise, and worship. The life of
glory is not a mere state of contemplation. Vision is the principle of
it, as faith is of the life of grace. Love is the great vital acting
of that principle, in adherence unto God with eternal delight. But
this is active in it also. It shall be exercised in the continual
ascription and assignation of glory, praise, and honour unto God, and
the glorious exercise of all sorts of grace therein; - hereof the
Lamb, the person of Christ, is the eternal object with that of the
Father and the Spirit; the human nature in the Son, admitted into the
communion of the same eternal glory.




End