John Owen, The Glory of Christ

Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,
in His Person, Office, and Grace:


The Differences between Faith and Sight;

applied unto the use of them that believe.


Prefatory note.
Preface to the Reader.
Meditations and Discourses on The Glory of Christ
Chapter 1. The Explication of the Text.
Chapter 2. The Glory of the Person of Christ, as the only
Representative of God unto the Church.
Chapter 3. The Glory of Christ in the mysterious Constitution of his
Chapter 4. The Glory of Christ in his Susception of the Office of a
Mediator -
Chapter 5. The Glory of Christ in this Love.
Chapter 6. The Glory of Christ in the Discharge of his Mediatory
Chapter 7. The Glory of Christ in his Exaltation after the
Accomplishment of the Work of Mediation in this World.
Chapter 8. Representations of the Glory of Christ under the Old
Chapter 9. The Glory of Christ in his intimate Conjunction with the
Chapter 10. The Glory of Christ in the communication of Himself unto
Chapter 11. The Glory of Christ in the Recapitulation of all things
in Him.
Chapter 12. Differences between our Beholding the Glory of Christ by
Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven - The First of them
Chapter 13. The Second Difference between our Beholding the Glory of
Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.
Chapter 14. Other Differences between our Beholding the Glory of
Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.

Prefatory note.

The following treatise may be regarded as a series of Discourses on
John 17:24. The subject is the Glory of Christ, as the
representative of God to the church, - in the mystery of his Person,
- in his office as Mediator, - in his exaltation on high, - in his
relation to the church during every age of its history, - and in the
final consummation of his work, when all things are to be gathered
into a blessed unity, as the result of his mediation. The treatise
is concluded by a statement of the difference between our views of
the Glory of Christ as beheld by faith in this world, and as it
shall be beheld by sight in heaven.
 It is not professedly a sequel to the work of the author on the
Person of Christ; though, from some expressions in the Preface to
these Meditations, they may be regarded in this light. Several of
them are evidently an expansion of certain thoughts and views, of
which the germ will be found in the preceding work. The two works
are, indeed, so closely connected, that they hare been often
published together. It has been thought proper, therefore, to adhere
to this arrangement in the present republication of Dr Owen's Works.
 There are some facts which impart peculiar interest to these
Mediation. They were drawn up, according to the author's own
statement, "for the exercise of his own mind," in the first
instance; and illustrate, accordingly, the scope and tenor of his
Christian experience. They form, moreover, his dying testimony to
the truth, - and to the truth, with peculiar emphasis, as it "is in
Jesus;" for they are the substance of the last instructions which he
delivered to his flock; and thee constitute the last work which he
prepared for the press. It is instructive to peruse the solemn
musings of his soul when "weakness, weariness, and the near
approaches of death," were calling him away from his earthly
labours; and to mark how intently his thoughts were fixed on the
glory of the Saviour, whom he was soon to behold "face to face." On
the day of his death, Mr Parne, who had the charge of the original
publication of this treatise, on bidding Dr Owen farewell, said to
him, "Doctor, I have just been putting your book on the Glory of
Christ to the press". "I am glad," was Owen's reply, "to hear that
that performance is put to the press; but, O brother Payne, the long
looked-for day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in
another manner than I have ever done yet, or was capable of doing in
this world."
 Mr Hervey thus expresses his admiration of this work: "To see the
Glory of Christ is the grand blessing which our Lord solicits and
demands for his disciples in his last solemn intercession, John 17:
24. Should the reader desire assistance in this important work, I
would refer him to a little treatise of Dr Owen's, entitled
'Meditations on the Glory of Christ;' it is little in size, - not so
in value. Were I to speak of it in the classical style, I should
call it aureus, gemmeus, mellitus. But I would rather say, it is
richly replenished with that unction from the Hole One which tends
to enlighten the eyes and cheer the heart; which sweetens the
enjoyments of life, softens the hours of death, and prepares for the
fruitions of eternity." - Teron and Aspasio, vol. 3 p. 75.
 The treatise was published in 1684. It was reprinted in 1696, with
the addition of two chapters which were found among the papers of
Owen, and in his own handwriting, though too late for insertion in
the first edition of the work. - Ed.

Preface to the Reader.
Christian Reader,
 To design of the ensuing Discourse is to declare some part of that
glory of our Lord Jesus Christ which is revealed in the Scripture,
and proposed as the principal object of our faith, love, delight,
and admiration. But, alas! after our utmost and most diligent
inquiries, we must say, How little a portion is it of him that we
can understand! His glory is incomprehensible, and his praises are
unutterable. Some things an illuminated mind may conceive of it; but
what we can express in comparison of what it is in itself, is even
less than nothing. But as for those who have forsaken the only true
guide herein, endeavouring to be wise above what is written, and to
raise their contemplations by fancy and imagination above Scripture
revelation (as many have done), they have darkened counsel without
knowledge, uttering things which they understand not, which have no
substance or spiritual food of faith in them.
 Howbeit, that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory
in this world by faith,--however weak and obscure that knowledge
which we may attain of them by divine revelation, - is inexpressibly
to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge
whatever. So it is declared by him who will be acknowledged a
competent judge in these things. "Yea, doubtless," saith he, "I
count all these things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord." He who does not so has no part in him.
 The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more
excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom
and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of
it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge
hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions
and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.
 This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best
of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our
future blessedness shill consist in being where he is, and beholding
of his glory, what better preparation can there be for it than in a
constant preview contemplation of that glory in the revelation that
is made in the Gospel, unto this very end, that by a view of it we
may be gradually transformed into the same glory?
 I shall not, therefore, use any apology for the publishing of the
ensuing Meditations, intended first for the exercise of my own mind,
and then for the edification of a private congregation; which is
like to be the last service I shall do them in that kind. Some may,
by the consideration of them, be called to attend unto the same duty
with more diligence than formerly, and receive directions for the
discharge of it; and some may be provoked to communicate their
greater light and knowledge unto the good of many. And that which I
design farther in the present Discourse, is to give a brief account
of the necessity and use, in life and death, of the duty exhorted
 Particular motives unto the diligent discharge of this duty will
be pressed in the Discourse itself. Here some things more general
only shall be premised. For all persons not immersed in sensual
pleasures, - not overdrenched in the love of this world and present
things, - who have any generous or noble thought about their own
nature, being, and end, - are under the highest obligation to retake
themselves unto this contemplation of Christ and his glory. Without
this, they shall never attain true rest or satisfaction in their own
minds. He it is alone in whom the race of mankind may boast and
glory, on whom all its felicities do depend. For, -
 I. He it is in whom our nature, which was debased as low as hell
by apostasy from God, is exalted above the whole creation. Our
nature, in she original constitution of it, in the persons of our
first parents, was crowned with honour and dignity. The image of
God, wherein it was made, and the dominion over the lower world
wherewith it was intrusted, made it the seat of excellence, of
beauty, and of glory. But of them all it was at once divested and
made naked by sin, and laid grovelling in the dust from whence it
was taken. "Dust thou are, and to dust thou shalt return," was its
righteous doom. And all its internal faculties were invaded by
deformed lusts, - everything that might render the whole unlike unto
God, whose image it had lose. Hence it became the contempt of
angels, the dominion of Satan; who, being the enemy of the whole
creation, never had any thing or place to reign in but the debased
nature of man. Nothing was now more vile and base; its glory was
utterly departed. It had both lost its peculiar nearness unto God,
which was its honour, and was fallen into the greatest distance from
him of all creatures, the devils only excepted; which was its
ignominy and shame. And in this state, as unto anything in itself,
it was left to perish eternally.
 In this condition - lost, poor, base, yea, cursed - the Lord
Christ, the Son of God, found our nature. And hereon, in infinite
condescension and compassion, sanctifying a portion of it unto
himself, he took it to be his own, in a holy, ineffable subsistence,
in his own person. And herein again the same nature, so depressed
into the utmost misery, is exalted above the whole creation of God.
For in that very nature, God has "set him at his own right hand in
the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
world, but also in that which is to come." This is that which is so
celebrated by the Psalmist, with the highest admiration, Ps. 8: 3-8.
This is the greatest privilege we have among all our fellow-
creatures, - this we may glory in, and value ourselves upon. Those
who engage this nature in the service of sensual lusts and
pleasures, who think that its felicity and utmost capacities consist
in their satisfaction, with the accomplishment of other earthly,
temporal desires, - are satisfied with it in its state of apostasy
from God; but those who have received the light of faith and grace,
so as rightly to understand the being and end of that nature whereof
they are partakers, cannot but rejoice in its deliverance from the
utmost debasement, into that glorious exaltation which it has
received in the person of Christ. And this must needs make thoughts
of him full of refreshment unto their souls. Let us take care of our
persons, - the glory of our nature is safe in him. For, -
 II. In him the relation of our nature unto God is eternally
secured. We were created in a covenant relation unto God. Our nature
was related unto him in a way of friendship, of likeness, and
complacency. But the bond of this relation and union was quickly
broken, by our apostasy from him. Hereon our whole nature became to
be at the utmost moral distance from God, and enmity against him;
which is the depth of misery. But God, in infinite wisdom and grace,
did design once more to recover it, and take it again near unto
himself. And he would do it in such a way as should render it
utterly impossible that there would ever be a separation between him
and it any more. Heaven and earth may pass away, but there shall
never be a dissolution of the union between God and our nature any
more. He did it, therefore, by assuming it into a substantial union
with himself, in the person of the Son. Hereby the fulness of the
Godhead dwelt in it bodily, or substantially, and eternally. Hereby
is its relation unto God eternally secured. And among all the
mysterious excellencies which relate hereunto, there are two which
continually present themselves unto our consideration.
 1. That this nature of ours is capable of this glorious exaltation
and subsistence in God. No creature could conceive how omnipotent
wisdom, power, and goodness, could actuate themselves unto the
production of this effect. The mystery hereof is the object of the
admiration of angels, and will be so of the whole church, unto all
eternity. What is revealed concerning the glory, way, and manner of
it, in the Scripture, I have declared in my treatise concerning the
Mystery of Godliness, or the Person of Christ. What mind can
conceive, what tongue can express, who can sufficiently admire, the
wisdom, goodness, and condescension of God herein? And whereas he
has proposed unto us this glorious object of our faith and
meditation, how vile and foolish are we, if we spend our thoughts
about other things in a neglect of it!
 2. This is also an ineffable pledge of the love of God unto our
nature. For although he will not take it in any other instance, save
that of the man Christ Jesus, into this relation with himself, by
virtue of personal union, yet therein he has given a glorious pledge
of his love unto, and valuation of, that nature. For "verily he took
not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of
Abraham." And this kindness extends unto our persons, as participant
of that nature. For he designed this glory unto the man Christ
Jesus, that might be the firstborn of the new creation, that we
might be made conformable unto him according to our measure; and as
the members of that body, whereof he is the head, we are participant
in this glory.
 III. It is he in whom our nature has been carried successfully and
victoriously through all the oppositions that it is liable unto, and
even death itself. But the glory hereof I shall speak unto
distinctly in its proper place, which follows, and therefore shall
here pass it by.
 IV. He it is who in himself has given us a pledge of the capacity
of our nature to inhabit those blessed regions of light, which are
far above these aspectable heavens. Here we dwell in tabernacles of
clay, that are "crushed before the moth," - such as cannot be
raised, so as to abide one foot-breadth above the earth we tread
upon. The heavenly luminaries which we can behold appear too great
and glorious for our cohabitation. We are as grasshoppers in our own
eyes, in comparison of those gigantic beings; and they seem to dwell
in places which would immediately swallow up and extinguish our
natures. How, then, shall we entertain an apprehension of being
carried and exalted above them all? to have an everlasting
subsistence in places incomprehensibly more glorious than the orbs
wherein they reside? What capacity is there in our nature of such a
habitation? But hereof the Lord Christ has given us a pledge in
himself. Our nature in him is passed through these aspectable
heavens, and is exalted far above them. Its eternal habitation is in
the blessed regions of light and glory; and he has promised that
where he is, there we shall be, and that for ever.
 Other encouragements there are innumerable to stir us up unto
diligence in the discharge of the duty here proposed, - namely, a
continual contemplation of the glory of Christ, in his person,
office, and grace. Some of them, the principal of them which I have
any acquaintance with, are represented in the ensuing Discourse. I
shall therefore here add the peculiar advantage which we may obtain
in the diligent discharge of this duty; which is, - that it will
carry us cheerfully, comfortably, and victoriously through life and
death, and all that we have to conflict withal in either of then.
 And let it be remembered, that I do here suppose what is written
on this subject in the ensuing Discourse as being designed to
prepare the minds of the readers for the due improvement of it.
 As unto this present life, it is well known what it is unto the
most of them who concern themselves in these things. Temptations,
afflictions changes, sorrows, dangers, fears, sickness, and pains,
do fill up no small part of it. And on the other hand, all our
earthly relishes, refreshments, and comfort, are uncertain,
transitory, and unsatisfactory; all things of each sort being
embittered by the remainders of sin. Hence everything wherein we are
concerned has the root of trouble and sorrow in it. Some labour
under wants, poverty, and straits all their days; and some have very
few hours free from pains and sickness. And all these things, with
others of an alike nature, are heightened at present be the
calamitous season wherein our lot is fallen. All things almost in
sit nations are filled with confusions, disorders, dangers,
distresses, and troubles; wars and rumours of wars do abound, with
tokens of farther approaching judgements; distress of nations, with
perplexity, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking
after those things which are coming on the earth. There is in many
places "no peace unto him that goes out, nor to him that comets in,
but great vexations are on the inhabitants of the world: nation is
destroyed of nation, and city of city; for God does vex them with
all adversity." [2 Chron. 15: 5,6.] And in the meantime, vexation
with the ungodly deeds of wicked men does greatly further the
troubles of life; the sufferings of many also for the testimony of
their consciences are deplorable, with the divisions and animosities
that abound amongst all sorts of Christians.
 But the shortness, the vanity, the miseries of human life, have
been the subject of the complains of all sort of considering
persons, heathens as well as Christians; nor is it my present
business to insist upon them. My inquire is only after the relief
which we may obtain against all these evils, that we faint not under
them, that we may have the victory over them.
 This in general is declared by the apostle 2 Cor. 4, "We are
troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but
not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not
destroyed." But for this cause "we faint not; but though our outward
man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day be day. For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the
things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not
seen see eternal."
 Our beholding by faith things that see not seen, things spiritual
and eternal, will alienate all our afflictions, - make their burden
light, and preserve our souls from fainting under them. Of these
things the glory of Christ, whereof we treat, is the principal, and
in due sense comprehensive of them all. For we behold the glory of
God himself "in the face of Jesus Christ." He that can at a11 times
retreat unto the contemplation of this glory, will be carried above
the perplexing prevailing sense of any of these evils, of a
confluence of them all. "Crus nil sentit in nervo, dum animus est in
 It is a woeful kind of life, when men scramble for poor perishing
reliefs in their distresses. This is the universal remedy and cure,
- the only balsam for all our diseases. Whatever presseth, urgeth,
perplexeth, if we can but retreat in our minds unto a view of this
glory, and a due consideration of our own interest therein, comfort
and supportment will be administered unto us. Wicked men, in their
distress (which sometimes overtake even them also), are like "a
troubled sea, that cannot rest." Others are heartless, and despond,
- not without secret repinings at the wise disposals of Divine
Providence, especially when thee look on the better condition (as
they suppose) of others. And the best of us all are apt to wax faint
and weary when these things press upon us in an unusual manner, or
under their long continuance, without a prospect of relief. This is
the stronghold which such prisoners of hope are to turn themselves
unto. In this contemplation of the glory of Christ they will find
rest unto their own souls. For, -
 1. It will herein, and in the discharge of this duty, be made
evident how slight and inconsiderable all these things are from
whence our troubles and distresses do arise. For they all grow on
this root of an over-valuation of temporal things. And unless we can
arrive unto a fixed judgement that all things here below are
transitory and perishing, reaching only unto the outward man, or the
body, (perhaps unto the killing of it), - that the best of them have
nothing that is truly substantial or abiding in them, - that there
are other things, wherein we have an assured interest, that are
incomparably better than they, and above them, - it is impossible
but that we must spend our lives in fears, sorrows, and
distractions. One real view of the glory of Christ, and of our own
concernment therein, will give us a full relief in this matter. For
what are all the things of this life? What is the good or evil of
them in comparison of an interest in this transcendent glory? When
we have due apprehensions hereof, - when our minds are possessed
with thoughts of it, - when our affections reach out after its
enjoyments, - let pain, and sickness, and sorrows, and fears, and
dangers, and death, say what they will. we shall have in readiness
wherewith to combat with them and overcome them; and that on this
consideration, that they are all outward, transitory, and passing
away, whereas our minds are fixed on those things which are eternal,
and filled with incomprehensible glory.
 2. The minds of men are apt by their troubles to be cast into
disorder, to be tossed up and down, and disquieted with various
affections and passions. So the Psalmist found it in himself in the
time of his distress; whence he calls himself unto that account,
'Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in
me?" And, indeed, the mind on all such occasions is its own greatest
troubler. It is apt to let loose its passions of fear and sorrow,
which act themselves in innumerable perplexing thoughts, until it is
carried utterly out of its own power. But in this state a due
contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the
mind, bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, wherein faith will be
able to say unto the winds and waves of distempered passions,
"Peace, be still;" and they shall obey it.
 3. It is the way and means of conveying a sense of God's love unto
our souls; which is that alone where ultimately we find rest in the
midst of all the troubles of this life; as the apostle declares,
Rom. 5: 2-5. It is the Spirit of God who alone communicates a sense
of this love unto our souls; it is "shed abroad in our hearts by the
Holy Ghost." Howbeit, there are ways and means to be used on our
part, whereby we may be disposed and made meet to receive these
communications of divine love. Among these the principal is the
contemplation of the glory of Christ insisted on, and of God the
Father in him. It is the season, it is the way and means, at which
and whereby the Holy Ghost will give a sense of the love of God unto
us, causing us thereon to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of
glory." This will be made evident in the ensuing Discourse. This
will lift the minds and hearts of believers above all the troubles
of this life, and is the sovereign antidote that will expel all the
poison that is in them; which otherwise might perplex and enslave
their souls.
 I have but touched on these things, as designing to enlarge
somewhat on that which does ensue. And this is the advantage we may
have in the discharge of this duty with respect unto death itself:
It is the assiduous contemplation of the glory of Christ which will
carry us cheerfully and comfortably into it, and through it. My
principal work having been now for a long season to die daily, as
living in a continual expectation of my dissolution, I shall on this
occasion acquaint the reader with some few of my thoughts and
reliefs with reference unto death itself.
 There are sundry things required of us, that we may be able to
encounter death cheerfully, constantly, and victoriously. For want
of these, or some of them, I have known gracious souls who have
lived in a kind of bondage for fear of death all their days. We know
not how God will manage any of our minds and souls in that season,
in that trial; for he acts towards us in all such things in a way of
sovereignty. But these are the things which he requireth of us in
way of duty: -
 First, Peculiar actings of faith to resign and commit our
departing souls into the hand of him who is able to receive them, to
keep and preserve them, as also to dispose of them into a state of
rest and blessedness, are required of us.
 The soul is now parting with all things here below, and that for
ever. None of all the things which it has seen, heard, or enjoyed,
be it outward senses, can be prevailed with to stay with it one
hour, or to take one step with it in the voyage wherein it is
engaged. It must alone by itself launch into eternity. It is
entering an invisible world, which it knows no more of than it has
received by faith. None has come from the dead to inform us of the
state of the other world; yea, God seems on purpose so to conceal it
from us, that we should have no evidence of it, at least as unto the
manner of things in it, but what is given unto faith By divine
revelation. Hence those who died and were raised again from the dead
unto any continuance among men, as Lazarus, probably knew nothing of
the invisible state. Their souls were preferred by the power of God
in their being, but bound up as unto present operations. This made a
great emperor cry out, on the approach of death, "O animula,
tremula, vagula, blandula; quae nunc abibis in loca horrida,
squalida", &c. - "O poor, trembling, wandering soul, into what
places of darkness and defilement art thou going?"
 How is it like to be after the few moments which, under the pangs
of death, we hare to continue in this world? Is it an annihilation
that lies at the door? Is death the destruction of our whole being,
so as that after it we shall be no more? So some would have the
state of things to be. Is it a state of subsistence in a wandering
condition, up and down the world, under the influence of other more
powerfu11 spirits that rule in the air, visiting tombs and solitary
places, and sometimes making appearances of themselves by the
impressions of those more powerful spirits; as some imagine from the
story concerning Samuel and the witch of Endor, and as it is
commonly received in the Papacy, out of a compliance with their
imagination of purgatory? Or is it a state of universal misery and
woe? A state incapable of comfort or joy? Let them pretend what they
please, who can understand no comfort or joy in this life but what
they receive by their senses; - they can look for nothing else. And
whatever be the state of this invisible world, the soul can
undertake nothing of its own conduct after its departure from the
body. It knows that it must be absolutely at the disposal of
 Wherefore no man can comfortably venture on and into this
condition, but in the exercise of that faith which enables him to
resign and give up his departing soul into the hand of God, who
alone is able to receive it, and to dispose it into a condition of
rest and blessedness. So speaks the apostle, "I am not ashamed; for
I know whom I hare believed, and am persuaded that he is able to
keep that which I have committed unto him again that day."
 Herein, as in all other graces, is our Lord Jesus Christ our great
example. He resigned his departing spirit into the hands of his
Father, to be owned and preserved by him, in its state of
separation: "Father, into thy hinds I commend my spirit," Luke
23:46; as did the Psalmist, his type, in an alike condition, Ps.
31:5. But the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ herein, - the object
and exercise of it, what he believed and trusted unto in this
resignation of his spirit into the hand of God, - is at large
expressed in the 16th Psalm. "I have," said he, "set the Lord always
before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also
shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither
wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me
the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right
hand there are pleasures for evermore." He left his soul in the hand
of God, in full assurance that it should suffer no evil in its state
of separation, but should be brought again with his body into a
blessed resurrection and eternal glory. So Stephen resigned his
soul, departing under violence, into the hands of Christ himself.
When he died he said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
 This is the last victorious act of faith, wherein its conquest
over its last enemy death itself does consist. Herein the soul says
in and unto itself, "Thou art now taking leave of time unto
eternity; all things about thee are departing as shades, and will
immediately disappear. The things which thou art entering into are
yet invisible; such as 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor will
they enter into the heart of man fully to conceive.' Now, therefore,
with quietness and confidence give up thyself unto the sovereign
power, grace, truth, and faithfulness of God, and thou shalt find
assured rest and peace."
 But Jesus Christ it is who does immediately receive the souls of
them who believe in him. So we see in the instance of Stephen. And
what can be a greater encouragement to reign them into his hands,
than a daily contemplation of his glory, in his person, his power,
his exaltation, his office, and grace? Who that believes in him,
that belongs unto him, can fear to commit his departing spirit unto
his love, power, and care? Even we also shall hereby in our dying
moments see by faith heaven opened, and Jesus standing at the right
hand of God ready to receive us. This, added unto the love which all
believers have unto the Lord Jesus, which is inflamed by
contemplation of his glory, and their desires to be with him where
he is, will strengthen and confine our minds in the resignation of
our departing souls into his hand.
 Secondly, It is required in us, unto the same end, that we be
ready and willing to part with the flesh, wherewith we are clothed,
with all things that are woeful and desirable thereunto. The
alliance, the relation, the friendship, the union that are between
the soul and the body, are the greatest, the nearest, the firmest
that are or can be among mere created beings. There is nothing like
it, - nothing equal unto it. The union of three persons in the one
single divine nature, and the union of two natures in one person of
Christ, are infinite, ineffable, and exempted from all comparison.
But among created beings, the union of these two essential parts of
the same nature in one person is most excellent. Nor is anything
equal to it, or like it, found in any other creatures. Those who
among them have most of life have either no body, as angels; or no
souls but what perish with them, as all brute creatures below.
 Angels, being pure, immaterial spirits, have nothing in them,
nothing belonging unto their essence, that can die. Beasts have
nothing in them that can live when their bodies die. The soul of a
beast cannot be preserved in a separate condition, no, not by an act
of almighty power; for it is not, and that which is not cannot live.
It is nothing but the body itself in an act of its material powers.
 Only the nature of man, in all the works of God, is capable of
this convulsion. The essential parts of it are separable by death,
the one continuing to exist and act its especial powers in a
separate state or condition. The powers of the whole entire nature,
actin gin soul and body in conjunction, are all scattered and lost
by death. But the powers of one essential part of the same nature -
that is, of the soul - are preserved after death in a more perfect
acting and exercise than before. This is peculiar unto human nature,
as a mean partaking of heaven and earth, - of the perfection of
angels above, and of the imperfection of the beasts below. Only
there is this difference in these things: - Our participation of the
heavenly, spiritual perfections of the angelical nature is for
eternity; our participation of the imperfections of the animate
creatures here below is but for a season. For God hath designed our
bodies unto such a glorious refinement at the resurrection, as that
they shall have no more alliance unto that brutish nature which
perisheth forever; for we shall be "isangeloi"- like unto angels, or
equal to them. Our bodies shall no more be capable of those acts and
operations which are now common to us with other living creatures
here below.
 This is the pre-eminence of the nature of man, as the wise man
declares. For unto that objection of atheistical Epicureans, "As the
one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so
that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast. All go unto one
place: all are of the dust, and all turn to the dust again," - he
grants that, as unto their bodies, it is for a season in them we
have a present participation of their nature; but, says he, here
lies the difference, "Who knows the spirit of a man that goes
upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the
earth?" Eccles. 3: 21. Unless we know this, unless we consider the
different state of the spirit of men and beasts, we cannot be
delivered from this atheism; but the thoughts hereof will set us at
liberty from it. They die in like manner, and their bodies go
equally to the dust for a season; but the beast hath no spirit, no
soul, but what dies with the body and goes to the dust. If they had,
their bodies also must be raised again unto a conjunction with them;
otherwise, death would produce a new race of creatures unto
eternity. But man hath an immortal soul, saith he, a heavenly
spirit, which, when the body goes in the dust for a season, ascends
to heaven (where the guilt of sin and the curse of the law interpose
not), from whence it is there to exist and to act all its native
powers in a state of blessedness.
 But, as I said, by reason of this peculiar intimate union and
relation between the soul and body, there is in the whole nature a
fixed aversion from a dissolution. The soul and body are naturally
and necessarily unwilling to fall into a state of separation,
wherein the one shall cease to be what it was, and the other knows
not clearly how it shall subsist. The body claspeth about the soul,
and the soul receiveth strange impressions from its embraces; the
entire nature, existing in the union of them both, being unalterably
averse unto a dissolution.
 Wherefore, unless we can overcome this inclination, we can never
die comfortably or cheerfully. We would, indeed, rather choose to be
"clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life," that
the clothing of glory might come on our whole nature, soul and body,
without dissolution. But if this may not be, yet then do believers
so conquer this inclination by faith and views of the glory of
Christ, as to attain a desire of this dissolution. So the apostle
testifies of himself, "I have a desire to depart, and to be with
Christ, which is far better" than to abide here, Phil. 1: 23. Saith
he, "Ten epitumian echoon", - not an ordinary desire, not that which
worketh in me now and then; but a constant, habitual inclination,
working in vehement acts and desires. And what does he so desire? It
is "analusai", - "to depart," say we, out of this body, from this
tabernacle, to leave it for a season. But it is such a departure as
consists in the dissolution of the present state of his being, that
it should not be what it is. But how is it possible that a man
should attain such an inclination unto, such a readiness for, such a
vehement desire of, a dissolution? It is from a view by faith of
Christ and his glory, whence the soul is satisfied that to be with
him is incomparably better than in its present state and condition.
 He, therefore, that would die comfortably, must be able to say
within himself and to himself, "Die, then, thou frail and sinful
flesh: 'dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' I yield
thee up unto the righteous doom of the Holy One. Yet herein also I
give thee into the hand of the great Refiner, who will hide thee in
thy grave, and by thy consumption purify thee from all thy
corruption and disposition to evil. And otherwise this will not be.
After a long sincere endeavour for the mortification of all sin, I
find it will never be absolutely perfect, but by this reduction into
the dust. Thou shalt no more be a residence for the least remnant of
sin unto eternity, nor any clog unto my soul in its acting on God.
Rest therefore in hope; for God, in his appointed season, when he
shall have a desire unto the work of his hands, will call unto thee,
and thou shalt answer him out of the dust. Then shall he, by an act
of big almighty power, not only restore thee unto thy pristine
glory, as at the first creation, when thou wast the pure workmanship
of his hands, but enrich and adorn thee with inconceivable
privileges and advantages. Be not, then, afraid; away with all
reluctance. Go into the dust, - rest in hope; 'for thou shalt stand
in thy lot at the end of the days.'"
 That which will enable us hereunto, in an eminent manner, is that
view and consideration of the glory of Christ which is the object of
the ensuing Meditation. For He who is now possessed of all that
glory underwent this dissolution of nature as truly and really as
ever we shall do.
 Thirdly, There is required hereunto a readiness to comply with the
times and seasons wherein God would have us depart and leave this
world. Many think they shall be willing to die when their time is
come; but they have many reasons, as they suppose, to desire that it
may not yet be, - which, for the most part, arise merely from fear
and aversion of death. Some desire to live that they may see more of
that glorious world of God for his church, which they believe he
will accomplish. So Moses prayed that he might not die in the
wilderness, but go over Jordan, and see the good land, and that
goodly mountain and Lebanon, the seat of the church, and of the
worship of God; which yet God thought meet to deny unto him. And
this denial of the request of Moses, made on the highest
consideration possible, is instructive unto all in the like case.
Others may judge themselves to have some work to do in the world,
wherein they suppose that the glory of God and the good of the
church are concerned; and therefore would be spared for a season.
Paul knew not clearly whether it were not best for him to abide a
while longer in the flesh on this account; and David often
deprecates the present season of death because of the work which he
had to do for God in the world. Others rise no higher than their own
private interests or concerns with respect unto their persons, their
families, their relations, and goods in this world. They would see
these things in a better or more settled condition before they die,
and then they shall be most willing so to do. But it is the love of
life that lies at the bottom of all these desires in men; which of
itself will never forsake them. But no man can die cheerfully or
comfortably who lives not in a constant resignation of the time and
season of his death unto the will of God, as well as himself with
respect unto death itself. Our times are in his hand, at his
sovereign disposal; and his will in all things must be complied
withal. Without this resolution, without this resignation, no man
can enjoy the least solid peace in this world.
 Fourthly, As the times and seasons, so the ways and means of the
approaches of death have especial trials; which, unless we are
prepared for them, will keep us under bondage, with the fear of
death itself. Long, wasting, wearing consumption, burning fevers,
strong pains of the stone, or the lice from within; or sword, fire,
tortures, with shame and reproach from without, may be in the way of
the access of death unto us. Some who have been wholly freed from
all fears of death, as a dissolution of nature, who have looked on
it as amiable and desirable in itself, have yet had great exercise
in their minds about these ways of its approach: they have earnestly
desired that this peculiar bitterness of the cup might be taken
away. To get above all perplexities on the account of these things,
is part of our wisdom in dying daily. And we are to have always in a
readiness those graces and duties which are necessary thereunto.
Such are a constant resignation of ourselves, in all events, unto
the sovereign will, pleasure, and disposal of God. "May he not do
what he will with his own?" Is it not right and meet it should be
so? Is not his will in all things infinitely holy, wise, just, and
good? Does he not know what is best for us, and what conduceth most
unto his own glory? Does not he alone do so? So is it to live in the
exercise of faith, that if God calls us unto any of those things
which are peculiarly dreadful unto our natures, he will give us such
supplies of spirited strength and patience as shall enable us to
undergo them, if not with ease and joy, yet with peace and quietness
beyond our expectation. Multitudes have had experience that those
things which, at a distance, have had an aspect of overwhelming
dread, have been far from unsupportable in their approach, when
strength has been received from above to encounter with them. And,
moreover, it is in this case required that we be frequent and steady
in comparing these things with those which are eternal both as unto
the misery which we are freed from and that blessedness which is
prepared for us. But I shall proceed no farther with these
 There is none of all the things we have insisted on - neither the
resignation of a departing soul into the hand of God, nor a
willingness to lay down this flesh in the dust, nor a readiness to
comply with the will of God, as to the times and sons, or the way
and manner of the approach of death - that can be attained unto,
without a prospect of that glory that shall give us a new state far
more excellent than what we here leave or depart from. This we
cannot have, whatever we pretend, unless we have some present views
of the glory of Christ. An apprehension of the future manifestation
of it in heaven will not relieve us, if here we know not what it is,
and wherein it does consist, - if we have not some previous
discovery of it in this life. This is that which will make all
things easy and pleasant unto us, even death itself, as it is a
means to bring us unto its full enjoyment.
 Other great and glorious advantages, which may be obtained in the
diligent discharge of the duty here proposed, might be insisted on,
but that the things themselves discoursed of will evidently discover
and direct us unto the spring and reasons of them; besides,
weakness, weariness, and the near approaches of death do call me off
from any farther labour in this kind.

Meditations and Discourses on The Glory of Christ

Chapter 1. The Explication of the Text.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me
where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me:
for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
 The high priest under the law, when he was to enter into the holy
place on the solemn day of atonement, was to take both his hands
full of sweet incense from the golden table of incense, to carry
along with him in his entrance. He had also a censer filled with
fire, that was taken from the altar of burnt-offerings, where
atonement was made for sin with blood. Upon his actual entrance
through the veil, he put the incense on the fire in the censer until
the cloud of its smoke covered the ark, and the mercy seat. See Lev.
16: 12,13. And the end hereof was to present unto God, in the behalf
of the people, a sweet-smelling savour from the sacrifice of
propitiation. See the declaration of these things in our exposition
of Heb. 9.
 In answer unto this mystical type, the great High Priest of the
church, our Lord Jesus Christ, being to enter into the "holy place
not made with hands," did, by the glorious prayer recorded in this
chapter, influenced from the blood of his sacrifice, fill the
heavens above, the glorious place of God's residence, with a cloud
of incense, or the sweet perfume of his blessed intercession, typed
by the incense offered by the high priest of old. By the same
eternal fire wherewith he offered himself a bloody sacrifice to make
atonement for sin, he kindled in his most holy soul those desires
for the application of all its benefits unto his church which are
here expressed, and wherein his intercession does consist.
 It is only one passage in the verse above named that at present I
design an inquiry into. And this is the subject-matter of what the
Lord Christ here desires in the behalf of those given him by the
 It is evident that in this prayer the Lord Christ has respect unto
his own glory and the manifestation of it, which he had in the
entrance asked of the Father, verses 4, 5. But in this place he has
not so much respect unto it as his own, as unto the advantage,
benefit, satisfaction, and blessedness of his disciples, in the
beholding of it. For these things were the end of all that mediatory
glory which was given unto him. So Joseph charged his brethren, when
he had revealed himself unto them, that they should tell his father
of all his "glory in Egypt," Gen. 45: 13. This he did, not for an
ostentation of his own glory, but for the satisfaction which he knew
his father would take in the knowledge of it. And such a
manifestation of his glory unto his disciples does the Lord Christ
here desire, as might fill them with blessed satisfaction for
 This alone, which is here prayed for, will give them such
satisfaction, and nothing else. The hearts of believers are like the
needle touched by the loadstone, which cannot rest until it comes to
the point whereunto, by the secret virtue of it, it is directed. For
being once touched by the love of Christ, receiving therein an
impression of secret ineffable virtue, they will ever be in motion,
and restless, until they come unto him, and behold his glory. That
soul which can be satisfied without it, - that cannot be eternally
satisfied with it, - is not partaker of the efficacy of his
 I shall lay the foundation of the ensuing Meditations in this one
assertion, - namely, That one of the greatest privileges and
advancements of believers, both in this world and unto eternity,
consists in their BEHOLDING THE GLORY OF CHRIST. This, therefore, He
desires for them in this solemn intercession, as the complement of
all his other requests in their behalf; - "That they may behold my
glory," - "Hina teooroosi", - that they may see, view, behold, or
contemplate on my glory. The reasons why I assign not this glorious
privilege only unto the heavenly state, which is principally
respected in this place, but apply it unto the state of believers in
this world also, with their duties and privileges therein, shall be
immediately declared.
 All unbelievers do in their heart call Christ "Ichabod," - "Where
is the glory?" They see neither "form nor comeliness in him," that
he should be desired. They look on him as Michal, Saul's daughter,
did on David "dancing before the ark," when she despised him in her
heart. They do not, indeed (many of them), "call Jesus anathema,"
but cry, "Hail, Master!" and then crucify him.
 Hence have we so many cursed opinions advanced in derogation unto
his glory, - some of them really destructive of all that is truly
so; yea, denying the "only Lord that bought us," and substituting a
false Christ in his room. And others there are who express their
slight thoughts of him and his glory by bold, irreverent inquiries,
of what use his Person is in our religion; as though there were
anything in our religion that has either reality, substance, or
truth, but by virtue of its relation thereunto. And, by their
answers, they bring their own inquiries yet nearer unto the borders
of blasphemy.
 Never was there an age since the name of Christians was known upon
the earth, wherein there was such a direct opposition made unto the
Person and glory of Christ, as there is in that wherein we live.
There were, indeed, in the first times of the church, sums of proud,
doting, brain-sick persons, who vented many foolish imaginations
about him, which issued at length in Arianism, in whose ruins they
were buried. The gates of hell in them prevailed not against the
rock on which the church is built. But as it was said of Caesar,
"Solus accesit sobrius, ad perdendam rempublicam", - "He alone went
soberly about the destruction of the commonwealth;" so we now have
great numbers who oppose the Person and glory of Christ, under a
pretence of sobriety of reason, as they vainly plead. Yea, the
disbelief of the mysteries of the Trinity, and the incarnation of
the Son of God, - the sole foundation of Christian religion, - is so
diffused in the world, as that it has almost devoured the power and
vitals of it. And not a few, who dare not yet express their minds,
do give broad intimations of their intentions and good-will towards
him, in making them the object of their scorn and reproach who
desire to know nothing but him, and him crucified.
 God, in his appointed time, will effectually vindicate his honour
and glory from the vain attempts of men of corrupt minds against
 In the meantime, it is the duty of all those who "love the Lord
Jesus in sincerity," to give testimony in a peculiar manner unto his
divine Person and glory, according unto their several capacities,
because of the opposition that is made against them.
 I have thought myself on many accounts obliged to cast my mite
into this treasury. and I have chosen so to do, not in a way of
controversy (which formerly I have engaged in), but so as, together
with the vindication of the truth, to promote the strengthening of
the faith of true believers, their edification in the knowledge of
it; and to express the experience which they have, or may have, of
the power and reality of these things
 That which at present I design to demonstrate is, that the
beholding of the glory of Christ is one of the greatest privileges
and advancements that believers are capable of in this world, or
that which is to come. It is that whereby they are first gradually
conformed unto it, and then fixed in the eternal enjoyment of it.
For here in this life, beholding his glory, they are changed or
transformed into the likeness of it, 2 Cor. 3: 18; and hereafter
they shall be "for ever like unto him," because they "shall see him
as he is," 1 John 3: 1, 2. Hereon do our present comforts and future
blessedness depend. This is the life and reward of our souls. "He
that has seen him has seen the Father also," John 14: 9. For we
discern the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God only in the
face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. 4: 6.
 There are, therefore, two ways or degrees of beholding the glory
of Christ, which are constantly distinguished in the Scripture. The
one is by faith, in this world, - which is "the evidence of things
not seen;" the other is by sight, or immediate vision in eternity, 2
Cor. 5: 7, "We walk by faith, and not by sight." We do so whilst we
are in this world, "whilst we are present in the body, and absent
from the Lord," verse 8. But we shall live and walk by sight
hereafter. And it is the Lord Christ and his glory which are the
immediate object both of this faith and sight. For we here "behold
him darkly in a glass" (that is by faith); "but we shall see him
face to face" (by immediate vision). "Now we know him in part, but
then we shall know him as we are known," 1 Cor. 13: 12. What is the
difference between these two ways of beholding the glory of Christ
shall be afterward declared.
 It is the second way - namely, by vision in the light of glory -
that is principally included in that prayer of our blessed Saviour,
that his disciples may be where he is, to behold his glory. But I
shall not confine my inquiry thereunto; nor does our Lord Jesus
exclude from his desire that sight of his glory which we have by
faith in this world, but prays for the perfection of it in heaven.
It is therefore the first way that, in the first place, I shall
insist upon; and that for the reasons ensuing: -
 1. No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight
hereafter, who does not in some measure behold it by faith here in
this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith
for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned
with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay,
persons not disposed hereby unto it cannot desire it, whatever they
pretend; they only deceive their own souls in supposing that so they
do. Most men will say with confidence, living and dying, that they
desire to be with Christ, and to behold his glory; but they can give
no reason why they should desire any such thing, - only they think
it somewhat that is better than to be in that evil condition which
otherwise they must be cast into for ever, when they can be here no
more. If a man pretend himself to be enamoured on, or greatly to
desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented unto him, he
does but dote on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of
many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it
by faith whilst they are here in this world, are nothing but
self-deceiving imaginations.
 So do the Papists delude themselves. Their carnal affections are
excited by their outward senses to delight in images of Christ, - in
his sufferings, his resurrection, and glory above. Hereon they
satisfy themselves that they behold the glory of Christ himself and
that with love and great delight. But whereas there is not the least
true representation made of the Lord Christ or his glory in these
things, - that being confined absolutely unto the gospel alone, and
this way of attempting it being laid under a severe interdict, -
they do but sport themselves with their own deceivings.
 The apostle tells us concerning himself and other believers, when
the Lord Christ was present and conversed with them in the days of
his flesh, that they "saw his glory, the glory as of the
only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1: 14.
And we may inquire, what was this glory of Christ which they so saw,
and by what means they obtained a prospect of it. For, - l. It was
not the glory of his outward condition, as we behold the glory and
grandeur of the kings and potentates of the earth; for he made
himself of no reputation, but being in the form of a servant, he
walked in the condition of a man of low degree. The secular grandeur
of his pretended Vicar makes no representation of that glory of his
which his disciples saw. He kept no court, nor house of
entertainment, nor (though he made all things) had of his own where
to lay his head. Nor, - 2. Was it with respect to the outward form
of the flesh which he was made, wherein he took our nature on him,
as we see the glory of a comely or beautiful person; - for he had
therein neither form nor comeliness that he should be desired, "his
visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the
sons of men," Isa. 52: 14; 53: 2, 3. All things appeared in him as
became "a man of sorrows." Nor, - 3. Was it absolutely the eternal
essential glory of his divine nature that is intended; for this no
man can see in this world. What we shall attain in a view thereof
hereafter we know not. But, - 4. It was his glory, as he was "full
of grace and truth." They saw the glory of his person and his office
in the administration of grace and truth. And how or by what means
did they see this glory of Christ? It was by faith, and no
otherwise; for this privilege was granted unto them only who
"received him," and believed on his name, John 1: 12. This was that
glory which the Baptist saw, when, upon his coming unto him he said
unto all that were presents "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world!" verses 29-33.
 Wherefore let no man deceive himself; he that has no sight of the
glory of Christ here, shall never have any of it hereafter unto his
advantage. It is not, therefore, unto edification to discourse of
beholding the glory of Christ in heaven by vision, until we go
through a trial whether we see anything of it in this world by faith
or no.
 2. The beholding of Christ in glory is that which in itself is too
high, illustrious, and marvellous for us in our present condition.
It has a splendour and glory too great for our present spiritual
visible faculty; as the direct, immediate sight of the sun darkens
our sight, and does not relieve or strengthen it at all. Wherefore
we have no way to take into our minds any true spiritual
apprehensions of the nature of immediate vision, or what it is to
see the glory of Christ in heaven, but by that view which we have by
faith in this life of the same glory. Whatever otherwise falls into
our minds is but conjecture and imagination; such as are the
contemplations of most about heavenly things.
 I have seen and read somewhat of the writings of learned men
concerning the state of future glory; some of them are filled with
excellent notions of truth, and elegance of speech, whereby they
cannot but much affect the minds of them who duly consider what they
say. But I know not well whence it comes to pass, many complain
that, in reading of such discourses, they are like a man who
"beholds his natural face in a glass, and immediately forgets what
manner of man he was;" as one of old complained to the same purpose
upon his perusal of Plato's contemplations about the immortality of
the soul. The things spoken do not abide nor incorporate with our
minds. They please and refresh for a little while, like a shower of
rain in a dry season, that soaketh not unto the roots of things; the
power of them does not enter into us. Is it not all from hence, that
their notions of future things are not educed out of the experience
which we have of the beginnings of them in this world? Without which
they can make no permanent abode in our minds, nor continue any
influence upon our affections. Yea, the soul is disturbed, not
edified, in all contemplations of future glory, when things are
proposed unto it whereof in this life it has neither foretaste,
sense, experience, nor evidence. No man ought to look for anything
in heaven, but what one way or other he has some experience of in
this life. If men were fully persuaded hereof, they would be, it may
be, more in the exercise of faith and love about heavenly things
than for the most part they are. At present they know not what they
enjoy, and they look for they know not what.
 Hence is it that men, utterly strangers unto all experience of the
beginning of glory in themselves as an effect of faith, have filled
their divine worship with images, pictures, and music, to represent
unto themselves somewhat of that glory which they fancy to be above.
For into that which is truly so, they have no prospect, or can have;
because they have no experience of its power in themselves, nor do
they taste of its goodness by any of its first-fruits in their own
minds. Wherefore by that view alone, and not otherwise, which we
have of the glory of Christ by faith here in this world, we may
attain such blessed conceptions of our beholding his glory above by
immediate vision, as shall draw out our hearts unto the admiration
of it and desires of its full enjoyment.
 3. Herein, then, our present edification is principally concerned;
for in this present beholding of she glory of Christ, the life and
power of faith are most eminently acted. And from this exercise of
faith does love unto Christ principally, if not solely, arise and
spring. If, therefore, we desire to have faith in its vigour or love
in its power, giving rest, complacency, and satisfaction unto our
own souls, we are to seek for them in the diligent discharge of this
duty; - elsewhere they will not be found. Herein would I live; -
herein would I die; - hereon would I dwell in my thoughts and
affections, to the withering and consumption of all the painted
beauties of this world, unto the crucifying all things here below,
until they become unto me a dead and deformed thing, no way meet for
affectionate embraces.
 For these and the like reasons I shall first inquire into our
beholding of the glory of Christ in this world by faith; and therein
endeavour to lead the souls of them that believe into the more
retired walks of faith, love, and holy meditation, "whereby the King
is held in the galleries," Cant. 7: 5.
 But because there is no benefit in, nor advantage by, the
contemplation of this sacred truth, but what consists in an
improvement of the practice of the duty declared in it, - namely,
the constant beholding of the glory of Christ by faith, - I shalt
for the promotion of it, premise some few advantages which we may
have thereby.
 1. We shall hereby be made fit and meet for heaven. Every man is
not so who desires it, and hopes for it; for some are not only
unworthy of it, and excluded from it, by reason of sin, but they are
unmet for it, and incapable of any advantage by it. All men, indeed,
think themselves fit enough for glory (what should hinder them?) if
they could attain it; but it is because they know not what it is.
Men shall not be clothed with glory, as it were, whether they will
or no. It is to be received in that exercise of the faculties of
their souls which such persons have no ability for. Music has no
pleasure in it unto them that cannot hear; nor the most beautiful
colours, unto them that cannot see. It would be no benefit unto a
fish, to take him from the bottom of the ocean, filled with cold and
darkness, and to place him under the beams of the sun; for he is no
way meet to receive any refreshment thereby. Heaven itself would not
be more advantageous unto persons not renewed by the Spirit of grace
in this life.
 Hence the apostle gives "thanks unto the Father, who has made us
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," Col
1: 12. Indeed, the beginning here, and the fulness of glory
hereafter, are communicated unto believers, by an almighty act of
the will and grace of God. But yet he has ordained ways, and meant,
whereby they may be made meet receptive subjects of the glory so to
be communicated unto them. That this way and means is by the
beholding of the glory of Christ by faith shall be fully declared in
our progress. This, therefore, should excite us unto this duty; for
all our present glory consists, in our preparation for future glory.
 2. No man can by faith take a real view of this glory, but virtue
will proceed from it in a transforming power to change him "into the
same image," 2 Cor. 3: 18. How this is done, and how we become like
unto artist by beholding his glory, shall be fully declared in our
 3. The constant contemplation of the glory of Christ will give
rest, satisfaction, and complacency unto the souls of them who are
exercised therein. Our minds are apt to be filled with a multitude
of perplexed thoughts; - fears, cares, dangers, distresses,
passions, and lusts, do make various impressions on the minds of
men, filling them with disorder, darkness, and confusion. But where
the soul is fixed in its thoughts and contemplations on this
glorious object, it will be brought into and kept in a holy, serene,
spiritual frame. For "to be spiritually-minded is life and peace."
And this it does by taking off our hearts from all undue regard unto
all things below, in comparison of the great worth, beauty, and
glory of what we are conversant withal. See Phil. 3: 7-11. A defect
herein makes many of us strangers unto a heavenly life, and to live
beneath the spiritual refreshments and satisfactions that the gospel
does tender unto us.
 4. The sight of the glory of Christ is the spring and cause of our
everlasting blessedness. "We shall ever be with the Lord," 1 Thess.
4: 17, or "be with Christ, which is best of all, Phil. 1: 23. For
there shall we "behold his glory," John 17: 24; and by "seeing him
as he is, we shall be made like him," 1 John 3: 2; - which is our
everlasting blessedness.
 The enjoyment of God by sight is commonly called the BEATIFICAL
VISION; and it is the sole fountain of all the actings of our souls
in the state of blessedness: which the old philosophers knew nothing
of; neither do we know distinctly what they are, or what is this
sight of God. Howbeit, this we know, that God in his immense essence
is invisible unto our corporeal eyes, and will be so to eternity; as
also incomprehensible unto our minds. For nothing can perfectly
comprehend that which is infinite, but what is itself infinite.
Wherefore the blessed and blessing sight which we shall have of God
will be always "in the face of Jesus Christ." Therein will that
manifestation of the glory of God, in his infinite perfections, and
all their blessed operations, so shine into our souls, as shall
immediately fill us with peace, rest, and glory.
 These things we here admire, but cannot comprehend. We know not
well what we say when we speak of them: yet is there in true
believers a foresight and foretaste of this glorious condition.
There enters sometimes, by the Word and Spirit, into their hearts
such a sense of the untreated glory of God, shining forth in Christ,
as affects and satiates their souls with ineffable joy. Hence
ariseth that "peace of God which passeth all understanding," keeping
"our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ," Phil. 4: 7. "Christ,"
in believers, "The hope of glory," gives them to taste of the first-
fruits of it; yea, sometimes to bathe their souls in the fountain of
life, and to drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at his right
hand. Where any are utterly unacquainted with these things, they are
carnal, yes, blind, and see nothing afar off. These enjoyments,
indeed, are rare, and for the most part of short continuance. "Rara
hora, brevis mora." But it is from our own sloth and darkness that
we do not enjoy more visits of this grace, and that the dawnings of
glory do not more shine on our souls. Such things as these may
excite us to diligence in the duty proposed unto us.
 And I shall inquire, - 1. What is that glory of Christ which we do
or may behold by faith? 2. How do we behold it? 3. Wherein our doing
so differs from immediate vision in heaven? And in the whole we
shall endeavour an answer unto the inquiry made unto the spouse, by
the daughters of Jerusalem, Cant. 5: 9, "What is thy beloved more
than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy
beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?"

Chapter 2. The Glory of the Person of Christ, as the only
Representative of God unto the Church.

 The glory of Christ is the glory of the person of Christ So he
calls it "Ten doxan ten emen", John 17: 24, "That glory which is
mine," which belongeth to me, unto my person.
 The person of Christ may be considered two ways: - 1. Absolutely
in itself. 2. In the susception and discharge of his office, with
what ensued thereon. His glory on these distinct accounts is
distinct and different; but all equally his own. How in both
respects we may behold it by faith, is that which we inquire into.
 The first thing wherein we may behold the glory of the person of
Christ, God and man, which was given him of his Father, consists in
the representation of the nature of God, and of the divine person of
the Father, unto the church in him; for we behold "the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. 4: 6. Otherwise we know it not,
we see it not, we see nothing of it; that is the way of seeing and
knowing God, declared in the Scripture as our duty and blessedness.
The glory of God comprehends both the holy properties of his nature
and the counsels of his will; and "the light of the knowledge" of
these things we have only "in the face" or person "of Jesus Christ."
Whatever obscure, imperfect notions we may have of them other ways,
we cannot have "fotismon tes gnoseos tes doxes tou Theou", "the
light of the" illuminating, irradiating "knowledge of the glory of
God," which may enlighten our minds and sanctify your hearts, but
only "en prosopoi", "in the face" or person "of Jesus Christ:" for
he is "the image of God," 2 Cor. 4: 4; "the brightness of the
Father's glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. 1: 3;
"the image of the invisible God," Col. 1: 15. I do here only mention
these things because I have handled them at large in my discourse of
the "Mystery of Godliness," or the Person of Christ; whereunto I
refer the readers for their full declaration and vindication. Herein
is he glorious, in that he is the great representative of the nature
of God and his will unto us; which without him would have been
eternally hid from us, or been invisible unto us, - we should never
have seen God at any time, here nor hereafter, John 1: 18.
 In his divine person absolutely considered, he is the essential
image of God, even the Father. He is in the Father, and the Father
in him, in the unity of the same divine essence, John 14: 10. Now he
is with the Father, John 1: 1, in the distinction of his person, so
is he his essential image, Col. 1: 15; Heb. 1: 3. In his incarnation
he becomes the representative image of God unto the church, 2 Cor.
4: 6; without whom our understandings can make no such approach unto
the divine excellencies but that God continues to be unto us what he
is in himself, - the "visible God." In the face of Jesus Christ we
see his glory.
 This is the original glory of Christ, given him by his Father, and
which by faith we may behold. He, and he alone, declares,
represents, and makes known, unto angels and men, the essential
glory of the invisible God, his attributes and his will; without
which, a perpetual comparative darkness would have been the whole
creation, especially that part of it here below.
 This is the foundation of our religion, the Rock whereon the
church is built, the ground of all our hopes of salvation, of life
and immortality: all is resolved into this, - namely, the
representation that is made of the nature and will of God in the
person and office of Christ. If this fail us, we are lost for ever;
if this Rock stand firm, the church is safe here, and shall be
triumphant hereafter.
 Herein, then, is the Lord Christ exceedingly glorious. Those who
cannot behold this glory of his by faith, - namely, as he is the
great divine ordinance to represent God unto us, - they know him
not. In their worship of him, they worship but an image of their own
 Yea, in the ignorance and neglect hereof consists the formal
nature of unbelief, even that which is inevitably ruinous unto the
souls of men. He that discerns not the representation of the glory
of God in the person of Christ unto the souls of men, is an
unbeliever. Such was the state of the unbelieving Jews and gentiles
of old; they did not, they would not, they could not, behold the
glory of God in him, nor how he did represent him. That this was
both the cause and the formal nature of their unbelief, the apostle
declares at large, 1 Cor. 1: 21-25. Not to see the wisdom of God,
and the power of God, and consequently all the other holy properties
of his nature, in Christ, is to be an unbeliever.
 The essence of faith consists in a due ascription of glory to God,
Rom. 4: 20. This we cannot attain unto without the manifestation of
those divine excellencies unto us wherein he is glorious. This is
done in Christ alone, so as that we may glorify God in a saving and
acceptable manner. He who discerns not the glory of divine wisdom,
power, goodness, love, and grace, in the person and office of
Christ, with the way of the salvation of sinners by him, is an
 Hence the great design of the devil, in the beginning of the
preaching of the gospel, was to blind the eyes of men, and fill
their minds with prejudices, that they might not behold this glory
of his; so the apostle gives an account of his success in this
design, 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid unto them
that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds
of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." By various
ways and methods of deceit, to secure the reputation he had got of
being "god of this world," by pretences and appearances of
supernatural power and wisdom, he laboured to blind the eyes of men
with prejudices against that glorious light of the gospel which
proposed the Lord Christ as the only image of God. This blindness,
this darkness is cured in them that believe, by the mighty power of
God; for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has
irradiated our hearts with the knowledge of the glory of God in the
face of Jesus Christ, verse 6, - wherein true saving faith does
consist. Under this darkness perished the unbelieving world of Jews
and Gentiles: and such is the present condition of all by whom the
divine person of Christ is denied; for no mere creature can ever
make a perfect representation of God unto us. But we must a little
farther inquire into this mystery.
 I. Since men fell from God by sin, it is no small part of their
misery and punishment, that they are covered with thick darkness and
ignorance of the nature of God. They know him not, they have not
seen him at any time. Hence is that promise to the church in Christ,
Isa. 60: 2, "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and
gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and
his glory shall be seen upon thee."
 The ancient philosophers made great inquiries into, and obtained
many notions of, the Divine Being - its existence and excellencies.
And these notions they adorned with great elegance of speech, to
allure others unto the admiration of them. Hereon they boasted
themselves to be the only wise men in the world, Rom. 1: 22,
"faskontes einai sofoi", - they boasted that they were the wise. But
we must abide in the judgement of the apostle concerning them in
their inquiries; he assures us that the world in its wisdom - that
is, these wise men in it by their wisdom - knew not God, 1 Cor. 1:
21. And he calls the authors of their best notions, Atheists, or men
"without God in the world," Eph. 2: 12. For, -
 1. They had no certain guide, rule, nor light, which, being
attended unto, might lead them infallibly into the knowledge of the
divine nature. All they had of this kind was their own "logismoi",
their reasonings or imaginations; whereby they commenced "sodzetetai
tou aionos toutou", "the great disputes of the world;" but in them
they "waxed vain, and their foolish heart was darkened," Rom. 1: 21.
They did at best but endeavour "pselafain", "to feel after God," as
men do in the dark after what they cannot clearly discern, Acts 17:
27. Among other, Cicero's book, "De Nature Decorum," gives us an
exact account of the intention of the apostle in that expression.
And it is at this day not want of wit, but hatred of the mysteries
of our religion, which makes so many prone to forego all
supernatural revelation, and to retake themselves unto a religion
declared, as they suppose, by reason and the light of nature; - like
bats and owls, who, being not able to bear the light of the sun,
retake themselves unto the twilight, to the dawnings of light and
 2. Whatever they did attain, as unto rational notions about things
invisible and incomprehensible, yet could they never deliver
themselves from such principles and practices in idolatry and all
manner of flagitious sins, as that they could be of any benefit unto
them. This is so effectually demonstrated by the apostle in the 1st
chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, as that we need not to insist
upon it.
 Men may talk what they please of a light within them, or of the
power of reason to conduct them unto that knowledge of God whereby
they may live unto him; but if they had nothing else, if they did
not boast themselves of that light which has its foundation and
original in divine revelation alone, they would not excel them who,
in the best management of their own seasonings, "knew not God," but
waxed vain in their imaginations
  With respect unto this universal darkness, - that is, ignorance
of God, with horrid confusion accompany it in the minds of men, -
Christ is called, and is, the "light of men," the "light of the
world;" because in and by him alone this darkness is dispelled, as
he is the "Sun of Righteousness"
 2. This darkness in the minds of men, this ignorance of God, his
nature and his will, was the original of all evil unto the world,
and yet continues so to be. For, -
 1. Hereon did Satan erect his kingdom and throne, obtaining in his
design until he bare himself as "the god of this world," and was so
esteemed by the most. He exalted himself by virtue of this darkness
(as he is the "prince of darkness") into the place and room of God,
as the object of the religious worship of men. For the things which
the Gentiles sacrificed they sacrificed unto devils, and not to God,
1 Cor. 10: 20; Lev. 17: 7; Deut. 32: 17; Ps. 106: 37; Gal. 4: 8.
This is the territory of Satan; yea, the power and sceptre of his
kingdom in the minds of the "children of disobedience." Hereby he
maintains his dominion unto this day in many and great nations, and
with individual persons innumerable.
 2. This is the spring of all wickedness and confusion among men
themselves. Hence arose that flood of abominations in the old world,
which God took away with a flood of desolation: hence were the sins
of Sodom and Gomorrah, which he revenged with "fire from heaven." In
brief; all the rage, blood, confusion, desolations, cruelties,
oppressions, villainies, which the world has been and is filled
withal, whereby the souls of men have been and are flooded into
eternal destruction, have all arisen from this corrupt fountain of
the ignorance of God.
 3. Of such as those described we are the posterity and offspring.
Our forefathers in this nation were given up unto as brutish a
service of the devil as any nation under the sun. It is therefore an
effect of infinite mercy, that the day has dawned on us, poor
Gentiles, and that the "day spring from on high has visited us" See
the glory of this grace expressed, Eph 3: 5-10. God might have left
us to perish in the blindness and ignorance of our forefathers; but
of his own accord, and by his own powerful grace alone, he has
"translated us out of darkness into his marvellous light." But,
alas! the horrible ingratitude of men for the glorious light of the
gospel, and the abuse of it, will issue in a sore revenge.
 God was known under the Old Testament by the revelation of his
Word, and the institution of his worship. This was the glory and
privilege of Israel, as the Psalmist declares, Ps. 147: 19, 20, "He
showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgements unto
Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation." The church then knew
him; yet so as that they had an apprehension that he dwelt in "thick
darkness," where they could not have any clear views of him, Exod.
21; Deut. 5: 22; 1 Kings 8: 12; 2 Chron. 6: 1. And the reason why
God so represented himself in darkness unto them, was, to instruct
them in their imperfect state, wherein they could not comprehend
that glory which should afterward be revealed. For as he is now made
known in Christ, we see that "he is light, and in him there is no
darkness at all."
 4. Hitherto darkness in general covered the earth, and gross
darkness the people, as unto the knowledge of God; only there was a
twilight in the church. The day did not yet dawn, the "shadows did
not flee away," nor the "day-star shine" in the hearts of men. But
when the "Sun of Righteousness" did arise in his strength and
beauty, when the Son of God "appeared in the flesh," and in the
discharge of his office, - God himself, as unto his being, and
manner of existence in three distinct persons, with all the glorious
properties of the divine nature, was illustriously manifested unto
them that did believe; and the light of the knowledge of them
dispelled all the shadows that were in the church, and shone into
the darkness which was in the world, so as that none continued
ignorant of God but those who would not see. See John 1: 5, 14, 17,
18; 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4.
 Herein is the Lord Christ glorious. And this is that which I shall
now speak unto, - namely, how we may behold the glory of Christ in
the representation and revelation that is made of God and his glory,
in his person and office, unto all that do believe. For it is not so
much the declaration of the nature of the things themselves, wherein
the glory of Christ does consist, as our way and duty in the
beholding of them, which at present is designed.
 He calls unto us, saying, "Behold me, - look unto me, - and be
saved," Isa. 45: 22. What is it that we see in Christ? what do we
behold in him? He asketh that question concerning his church, "What
will ye see in the Shulamite?" Whereto he answers, "As it were the
company of two armies" Cant. 6: 13; or the two churches of the Old
and New Testament, in order and beauty. We may inquire, What shall
we, what do we see in him? Do we see him as "the image of the
invisible God," representing him, his nature, properties, and will
unto us? Do we see him as the "character," the "express image of the
person of the Father," so that we have no need of Philips request,
"Lords show us the Father?" because having seen him, we have seen
the Father also, John 14: 9.
 This is our first saving view of Christ, the first instance of our
beholding his glory by faith. So to see him as to see God in him, is
to behold his glory; for herein he is eternally glorious. And this
is that glory whose view we ought to long for and labour after. And
if we see it not, we are yet in darkness; yea, though we say we see,
we are blind like others. So David longed and prayed for it, when
yet he could behold it only in types and shadows, Ps. 63: 1, 2, "O
God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for
thee, my flesh longeth for thee; - to see thy power and thy glory,
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." For there was in the
sanctuary an obscure representation of the glory of God in Christ.
How much more should we prize that view of it which we may have with
open face, though yet "as in a glass!" 2 Cor. 3: 18.
 Moses, when he had seen the works of God, which were great and
marvellous, yet found not himself satisfied therewith; wherefore,
after all, he prays that God "would show him his glory", Exod. 33:
18. He knew that the ultimate rest, blessedness, and satisfaction of
the soul, is not in seeing the works of God, but the glory of God
himself. Therefore did he desire some immediate dawnings of it upon
him in this world: "I beseech thee, show me thy glory." And if we
have right apprehensions of the future state of blessedness, we
cannot but have the same desire of seeing more of his glory in this
life. But the question is, How we may attain it? If we are left unto
ourselves in this inquiry, if we have no other way for it but the
immediate rising of our thoughts on the immensity of the divine
nature, we must come every one to the conclusion that Augur makes on
the like consideration, "Surely I am more brutish than any man, and
have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor
have the knowledge of the holy. Who has ascended up into heaven, or
descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the
waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth?
what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?"
Prov. 30: 2-4.
 It is in Christ alone that we may have a clear, distinct view of
the glory of God and his excellencies. For him, and him alone, has
he appointed the representative of himself unto us; and we shall
take an account hereof in one or two especial instances. See John 1:
18, 14: 7-10; 2 Cor. 4: 6; Col. 1: 15; Eph. 3: 4-10; Heb. 1: 3.
 1. Infinite wisdom is one of the most glorious properties of the
divine nature; it is that which is directive of all the external
works of God, wherein the glory of all the other excellencies of God
is manifested: wherefore the manifestation of the whole glory of God
proceeds originally from infinite wisdom. But, as Job speaks, "Where
shall [this] wisdom be found; and what is the place of
understanding? chap. 28: 12. "Can we by searching find out God? can
we find out the Almighty unto perfection?" chap. 11: 7. As it is in
itself an essential, eternal property of the divine nature, we can
have no comprehension of it, - we can but adore it in that infinite
distance wherein we stand from God; but in its operations and
effects it may be discerned, for they are designed of God for its
manifestation. Among these, the most excellent is the contrivance of
the great work of the salvation of the church. So it is celebrated
by the apostle, Eph 3: 9, 10, "To make all men see what is the
fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has
been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the
intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly
places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God."
 If we have any interest in God, if we have any hopes of
blessedness in beholding of his glory unto eternity, we cannot but
desire a view (such as is attainable) of this infinite, manifold
wisdom of God in this life. But it is in Christ alone that we can
discern anything of it; for him has the Father chosen and sealed to
represent it unto us. All the treasures of this wisdom are hid, laid
up, and laid out in him; - herein lies the essence and form of
faith. Believers by it do see the wisdom of God in Christ, in his
person and office, - Christ the wisdom of God. Unbelievers see it
not, as the apostle argues, 1 Cor. 1: 22-24.
 In beholding the glory of this infinite wisdom of God in Christ,
we behold his own glory also, - the glory given him of his Father;
for this is his glory, that in and by him, and him alone, the wisdom
of God is manifested and represented unto us. When God appointed him
as the great and only means of this end, he gave him honour and
glory above the whole creation; for it is but little of divine
wisdom which the works of it declare, in comparison of what is
manifested in Christ Jesus. We no way deny or extenuate the
manifestation that is made of the wisdom of God in the works of
creation and providence. It is sufficient to detect the folly of
atheism and idolatry; and was designed of God unto that end. But its
comparative insufficiency with respect unto the representation of it
in Christ as to the ends of knowing God aright and living unto him -
the Scripture does abundantly attest. And the abuse of it was
catholic [i. e., universal], as the apostle declares, Rom. 1: 20,
&c. To see this wisdom clearly is our wisdom; and a due apprehension
of it fills the souls of believers "with joy unspeakable, and full
of glory."
 2. We may also instance in the love of God. The apostle tells us
that "God is love," 1 John 4: 8. Divine love is not to be considered
only in its effects, but in its nature and essence; and be it is God
himself, for "God is love." And a blessed revelation this is of the
divine nature; it casts out envy, hatred, malice, revenge, with all
their fruits, in rage, fierceness, implacability, persecution,
murder, into the territories of Satan. They belong not unto God in
his nature or acting; for "God is love." So the same apostle tells
us, that he who "slew his brother was of the wicked one," 1 John 3:
12. He was of the devil, his father, and his works did he do.
 But the inquiry is as before, - How shall we have a view of this
love, of God as love? by what way or means shall we behold the glory
of it? It is hidden from all living, in God himself. The wise
philosophers, who discoursed so much of the love of God, knew
nothing of this, that "God is love." The most of the natural notions
of men about it are corrupt, and the best of them weak and
imperfect. Generally, the thoughts of men about it are, that he is
of a facile and easy nature, one that they may make bold withal in
all their occasions; as the Psalmist declares, Ps. 50: 21. And
whereas it must be learned in its effects, operations, and divine
ways of its manifestation, those who know not Christ know nothing of
them. And many things in providence do interpose to hinder our views
of this love; - for although, indeed, "God is love," yet "his wrath
is revealed from heaven against the ungodliness of men;" as all
things at this day are filled with evidences of his anger and
displeasure. How, then, shall we know, wherein shall we behold, the
glory of God in this, that he is love? The apostle declares it in
the next words, 1 John 4: 9, "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." This is the only evidence
given us that "God is love." Hereby alone is the divine nature as
such made known unto us, - namely, in the mission, person, and
office of the Son of God; without this, all is in darkness as unto
the true nature and supreme operation of this divine love.
 Herein do we behold the glory of Christ himself, even in this
life. This glory was given him of the Father, - namely, that he now
should declare and evidence that "God is love; " and he did so,
"that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Herein we may
see how excellent, how beautiful, how glorious and desirable he is,
seeing in him alone we have a due representation of God as he is
love; which is the most joyful sight of God that any creature can
obtain. He who beholds not the glory of Christ herein is utterly
ignorant of those heavenly mysteries; - he knoweth neither God nor
Christ, - he has neither the Father nor the Son. He knows not God,
because he knows not the holy properties of his nature in the
principal way designed by infinite wisdom for their manifestation;
he knows not Christ, because he sees not the glory of God in him.
Wherefore, whatever notions men may have from the light of nature,
or from the works of Providence, that there is love in God, -
however they may adorn them in elegant, affecting expressions, - yet
from them no man can know that "God is love." In the revelation
hereof Christ has the pre-eminence; nor can any man comprehend
anything of it aright but in him. It is that which the whole light
of the creation cannot discover; for it is the spring and centre of
the mystery of godliness.
 These things are of the deep things of God, such as belong unto
that wisdom of God in a mystery which they that are carnal cannot
receive, as the apostle testifies, 1 Cor. 2: 14. But the meanest
believer who lives in the exercise of faith, may have an
understanding of them so far as is needful unto his love and
obedience. The sum of the whole is this: If you would behold the
glory of Christ as the great means of your sanctification and
consolation, as the only preparation for the beholding of his glory
in eternal blessedness, consider what of God is made known and
represented unto you in him, wherein God purposed and designed to
glorify himself in him. Now, this is all that may be known of God in
a saving manner, especially his wisdom, his love, his goodness,
grace, and mercy, whereon the life of our souls does depend; - and
the Lord Christ being appointed the only way and means hereof, how
exceeding glorious must he be in the eyes of them that do believe!
 These things being premised, I shall close this first
consideration of that glory of Christ which we behold by faith in
this world, with some such observations as may excite us unto the
practice of this great duty, and improvement of this great
privilege, - the greatest which on this side heaven we can be made
partakers of.
 There are some who regard not these things at all, but rather
despise them. They never entertain any serious thoughts of obtaining
a view of the glory of God in Christ, - which is to be unbelievers.
They look on him as a teacher that came forth from God to reveal his
will, and to teach us his worship; and so indeed he was. But this
they say was the sole use of his person in religion, - which is
Mohammedanism. The manifestation of all the holy properties of the
divine nature, with the representation of them unto angels above and
the church in this world, as he is the image of the invisible God,
in the constitution of his person and the discharge of his office,
are things they regard not; yea, they despise and scorn what is
professed concerning them: for pride and contempt of others were
always the safest covert of ignorance; otherwise it would seem
strange that men should openly boast of their own blindness. But
these conceptions of men's minds are influenced by that unbelief of
his divine person which maketh havoc of Christianity at this day in
the world.
 I speak of them whose minds are better disposed towards heavenly
things; and unto them I say, Wherefore do you love Jesus Christ? for
so you profess to do. Wherefore do you trust in him? wherefore do
you honour him? wherefore do you desire to be in heaven with him?
Can you give a reason of this hope that is in you, - an account why
you do all or any of these things? If you cannot, all that you
pretend towards him is but fancy and imagination; you fight
uncertainly, as men beating the air. Or is one of your reasons
hereof, that in him you do by faith behold that glory of God, with
the holy properties of his nature, and their principal operations,
in order unto your own salvation and blessedness, which otherwise
would have been eternally hid from you? Herein is he "precious unto
them that do believe."
 Let us, therefore, as many as are spiritual, be thus minded. Let
us make use of this privilege with rejoicing, and be found in the
discharge of this duty with diligence. For thus to behold the glory
of God is both our privilege and our duty. The duties of the Law
were a burden and a yoke; but those of the gospel are privileges and
 It is a promise concerning the days of the New Testament, that our
"eyes shall see the King in his beauty," Isa. 33: 17! We shall
behold the glory of Christ in its lustre and excellency. What is
this beauty of the King of saints? Is it not that God is in him, and
he is the great representative of his glory unto us? Wherefore, in
the contemplation of this glory consists the principal exercise of
faith. And who can declare the glory of this privilege, that we who
are born in darkness, and deserved to be cast out into utter
darkness, should be translated into this marvellous "light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ?"
 What are all the stained glories, the fading beauties of this
world? of all that the devil showed our Saviour from the mount? what
are they in comparison of one view of the glory of God represented
in Christ, and of the glory of Christ as his great representative?
 The most pernicious effect of unbelief under the preaching of the
gospel is, that, together with an influence of power from Satan, "it
blinds the eyes of men's minds, that they should not see this glory
of Christ;" whereon they perish eternally, 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4.
 But the most of those who at this day are called Christians are
strangers unto this duty. Our Lord Jesus Christ told the Pharisees,
that notwithstanding all their boasting of the knowledge of God,
they had not "heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape;" that
is, as Moses did. They had no real acquaintance with him, - they had
no spiritual view of his glory. And so it is amongst ourselves;
notwithstanding the general profession that is of the knowledge of
Christ, they are but few who thus behold his glory; and therefore
few who are transformed into his image and likeness.
 Some men speak much of the imitation of Christ, and following of
his example; and it were well if we could see more of it really in
effect. But no man shall ever become "like unto him" by bare
imitation of his actions, without that view or intuition of his
glory which alone is accompanied with a transforming power to change
them into the same image.
 The truth is, the best of us all are woefully defective in this
duty, and many are discouraged from it because a pretence of it in
some has degenerated into superstition; but we are loath at any time
seriously to engage in it, and come with an unwilling kind of
willingness unto the exercise of our minds in it.
 Thoughts of this glory of Christ are too high for us, or too hard
for us, such as we cannot long delight in; we turn away from them
with a kind of weariness: yet are they of the same nature in general
with our beholding of the glory of Christ in heaven, wherein there
shall be no weariness, or satiety, unto eternity. Is not the cause
of it, that we are unspiritual or carnal, having our thoughts and
affections wonted to give entertainment unto other things? For this
is the principal cause of our unreadiness and incapacity to exercise
our minds in and about the great mysteries of the Gospel, 1 Cor. 3:
1-3. And it is so with us, moreover, because we do not stir up
ourselves with watchfulness and diligence in continual acting of
faith on this blessed object. This is that which keeps many of us at
so low an ebb, as unto the powers of a heavenly life and spiritual
 Did we abound in this duty, in this exercise of faith, our life in
walking before God would be more sweet and pleasant unto us, - our
spiritual light and strength would have a daily increase, - we
should more represent the glory of Christ in our ways and walking
than usually we do, and death itself would be most welcome unto us.
 The angels themselves desire to look into the things of the glory
of Christ, 1 Peter 1: 12. There is in them matter of inquiry and
instruction for the most high and holy spirits in heaven. The
manifold wisdom of God in them is made known unto "principalities
and powers in heavenly places by the church," Eph 3: 10. And shall
we neglect that which is the object of angelical diligence to
inquire into; especially considering that we are more than they
concerned in it?
 Is Christ, then, thus glorious in our eyes? Do we see the Father
in him, or by seeing of him? Do we sedulously daily contemplate on
the wisdom, love, grace, goodness, holiness, and righteousness of
God, as revealing and manifesting themselves in him? Do we
sufficiently consider that the immediate vision of this glory in
heaven will be our everlasting blessedness? Does the imperfect view
which we have of it here increase our desires after the perfect
sight of it above? With respect unto these inquiries I shall briefly
speak unto sundry sorts of men.
 Some will say they understand not these things, nor any
concernment of their own in them. If they are true, yet are they
notions which they may safely be without the knowledge of; for, so
far as they can discern, they have no influence of Christian
practice, or duties of morality; and the preaching of them does but
take off the minds of men from more necessary duties. But "if the
gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that perish". And unto the
objection I say, -
 1. Nothing is more fully and clearly revealed in the gospel, than
that unto us Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God;" that
he is the character of the person of the Father, so as that in
seeing him we see the Father also; that we have "the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in his face alone," as has been
proved. This is the principal fundamental mystery and truth of the
Gospel; and which if it be not received, believed, owned, all other
truths are useless unto our souls. To refer all the testimonies that
are given hereunto to the doctrine which he taught, in
contradistinction unto his person as acting in the discharge of his
office, is anti-evangelical, antichristian, - turning the whole
Gospel into a fable.
 2. It is so, that the light of faith is given unto us principally
to enable us to behold the glory of God in Christ, - to contemplate
on it, as unto all the ends of its manifestation. So is it expressly
affirmed, 2 Cor. 4: 6. If we have not this light, as it is
communicated by the power of God unto them that do believe, Eph 1:
17-19, we must be strangers unto the whole mystery of the gospel, 2
Cor. 4: 3, 4.
 3. That in the beholding of the glory of God in Christ, we behold
his glory also. For herein is he infinitely glorious above the whole
creation, in that in and by him alone the glory of the invisible God
is represented unto us. Herein do our souls live. This is that
whereby the image of God is renewed in us, and we are made like unto
the first-born.
 4. This is so far from being unnecessary unto Christian practice,
and the sanctified duties of morality, that he knows not Christ, he
knows not the Gospel, he knows not the faith of the catholic church,
who imagines that they can be performed acceptably without it. Yea,
this is the root whence all other Christian duties do spring, and
whereon their grow, whereby they are distinguished from the works of
heathens. He is no Christian who believes not that faith in the
person of Christ is the spring of all evangelical obedience; or who
knows not that faith respects the revelation of the glory of God in
 If these things are so, as they are the most important truths of
the Gospel, and whose denial overthrows the foundation of faith, and
is ruinous to Christian religion, certainly it is our duty to live
in the constant exercise of faith with respect unto this glory of
Christ. And we have sufficient experience of what kind of morality
the ignorance of it has produced.
 Others there are who may be some way strangers, but are no way
enemies, unto this mystery, and to the practical exercise of faith
therein. To such I shall tender the ensuing directions: -
 1. Reckon in your minds, that this beholding of the glory of
Christ by beholding the glory of God, and all his holy properties in
him, is the greatest privilege whereof in this life we can be made
partakers. The dawning of heaven is in it, and the first-fruits of
glory; for this is life eternal, to know the Father, and Jesus
Christ whom he has sent, John 17: 3. Unless you value it, unless you
esteem it as such a privilege, you will not enjoy it; and that which
is not valued according unto its worth is despised. It is not enough
to think it a privilege, an advantage; but it is to be valued above
other things, according unto its greatness and excellency.
"Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our
ears," Job 28: 22. And if we do no more, we shall die strangers unto
it; we are to "cry after this knowledge, and lift up our voice for
this understanding," if we design to attain it.
 2. As it i6 a great privilege, which requires a due valuation; so
it is a great mystery, which requires much spiritual wisdom to the
right understanding of it, and to direct in its practice, 1 Cor. 2:
4, 5. Flesh and blood will not reveal it unto us, but we must be
taught of God to apprehend it, John 1: 12, 13; Matt. 16: 16,17. Mere
unsanctified reason will never enable us unto, nor guide us in, the
discovery of this duty. Men are not so vain as to hope for skill and
understanding in the mystery of a secular art or trade, without the
diligent use of those means whereby it may be attained; and shall we
suppose that we may be furnished with spiritual skill and wisdom in
this sacred mystery, without diligence in the use of the means
appointed of God for the attaining of it? The principal of them is
fervent prayer. Pray, then, with Moses, that God would show you this
his glory; pray with the apostle, that "the eyes of your
understanding may be enlightened to behold it;" pray that the "God
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the
spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Fill your
minds with spiritual thoughts and contrivances about them. Slothful
and lazy souls never obtain one view of this glory; the "lion in the
way" deters them from attempting it. Being carnal, they abhor all
diligence in the use of spiritual means, such as prayer and
meditation on things unto them uneasy, unpleasing, and difficult.
Unto others the way partakes of the nature of the end; the means of
obtaining a view of the glory of Christ are of the same kind, of the
same pleasantness, with that view itself in their proportion.
 3. Learn the use hereof from the acting of contrary vicious
habits. When the minds of men are vehemently fixed on the pursuit of
their lusts, they will be continually ruminating on the objects of
them, and have a thousand contrivances about them, until their "eyes
become full of adulteries, and they cannot cease from sinning," as
the apostle speaks. The objects of their lusts have framed and
raised an image of themselves in their minds, and transformed them
into their own likeness. Is this the way of them who "go down to the
chambers of death?" Do they thus frame their souls, and make them
meet for destruction, until their words, gestures, actions, proclaim
the frame of their minds unto all that look upon them? And shall we
be slothful and negligent in the contemplation of that glory which
transforms our minds into its own likeness, so as that the eyes of
our understandings shall be continually filled with it, until we see
him and behold him continually, so as never to cease from the holy
acts of delight in him end love to him?
 4. Would we, then, behold the glory of God as he manifesteth it in
and by the holy properties of his nature, with their blessed
operations and effects? - without which we have nothing of the power
of religion in us, whatever we pretend: this alone is the way of it.
so to the whole creation, and all things contained in it; they can
say no more, but, "We have heard the fame and report of these
things," and what we have heard we declare; but it is but a little
portion of them that we are acquainted withal. "The heavens,"
indeed, "declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his
handy-work." "The invisible things of God are understood by the
things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." But,
comparatively, it is but little that we can hence learn of these
things, as to that we may behold of them in Christ Jesus. How blind
herein was the best philosopher in comparison of the meanest of the
apostles; yea, of him who is least in the kingdom of heaven!
 But herein it is required that we rest not in the notion of this
truth, and a bare assent unto the doctrine of it. The affecting
power of it upon our hearts is that which we should aim at. Wherein
does the blessedness of the saints above consist? Is it not herein,
that they behold and see the glory of God in Christ? And what is the
effect of it upon those blessed souls? Does it not change them into
the same image, or make them like unto Christ? Does it not fill and
satiate them with joy, rest, delight, complacency, and ineffable
satisfaction? Do we expect, do we desire, the same state of
blessedness? It is our present view of the glory of Christ which is
our initiation thereinto, if we are exercised in it, until we have
an experience of its transforming power in our souls.
 These things are, it may be, of little use unto some. Such as are
babes in spiritual knowledge and understanding, - either because
they are carnal, 1 Cor. 3: 1, 2, or slothful in hearing, Heb. 5:
12-14, - are not capable of these divine mysteries. And therefore
the apostle did, in an especial manner, declare this wisdom of God
in a mystery unto them that were perfect, 1 Cor. 2: 6, 7; - that is,
who were more grown in spiritual knowledge, and had their "senses
exercised to discern good and evil." It is unto them who are
exercised in the contemplation of invisible things, who delight to
walk in the more retired paths of faith and love, that they are
 Some few inferences from the whole of what has been declared shall
put a close to this part of our Discourse.
 1. The holy properties of the divine nature are not only
represented unto our faith in Christ, as to their own essential
glory, but as they are in the exercise of their powers for the
salvation of the church. In him do we behold the wisdom, goodness,
love, grace, mercy, and power of God, acting themselves in the
contrivance, constitution, and efficacious accomplishment of the
great work of our redemption and salvation. This gives, as unto us,
an unutterable lustre unto the native amiableness of the divine
excellencies. The wisdom and love of God are in themselves
infinitely glorious, - infinitely amiable; - nothing can be added
unto them, - there can be no increase of their essential glory.
Howbeit, as they are eternally resident in the divine nature, and
absolutely the same with it, we cannot so comprehend them as to have
an endearing, satiating view of their glory, but as they are exerted
in the work of the redemption and salvation of the church, as they
are expressed, communicating their blessed effects unto the souls of
them that do believe, - which is done only in Christ; so the beams
of their glory shine unto us with unspeakable refreshment and joy, 2
Cor. 4: 6. Hence the apostle, on the consideration of the acting of
the holy properties of God in this blessed work, falls into that
contemplation, "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! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has
been his counsellor? or who has first given to him, and it shall be
recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen," Rom. 11: 33-36.
 2. In and through Christ we do believe in God, 1 Pet. 1: 21. This
is the life of our souls. God himself, in the infinite perfections
of his divine nature, is the ultimate object of our faith. But he is
not here the immediate object of it; but the divine way and means of
the manifestation of himself and them unto us, are so. Through
Christ we believe in God. By our belief in him we come to place our
faith ultimately in God himself; and this we can no otherwise do but
by beholding the glory of God in him, as has been declared.
 3. This is the only way whereby we may attain the saving,
sanctifying knowledge of God. Without this, every beam of divine
light that shines on us, or gleams from without (as the light
shineth into darkness when the darkness comprehendeth it not, John
1: 5), every spark that ariseth from the remainders of the light of
nature within, does rather amaze the minds of men than lead them
into the saving knowledge of God. So a glance of light in a dark
night, giving a transient view of various objects, and passing away,
does rather amaze than direct a traveller, and leave him more
exposed unto wandering than before. Such were all those notions of
the Divine Being and his excellencies, which those who boasted
themselves to be wise among the heathen embraced and improved. They
did but fluctuate in their minds; they did not transform them into
the image and likeness of God, as the saving knowledge of him does,
Col. 3: 10.
 So the apostle expresseth this truth, "Where is the wise? where is
the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made
foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that, in the wisdom of
God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews
require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach
Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the
Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. 1:
 After it was evident unto all, that the world, the wise, the
studious, the contemplative part of it, in the wisdom of God,
disposing them into that condition wherein they were left unto
themselves, in their own wisdom, their natural light and reason, did
not, could not, come to the saving knowledge of God, but were puffed
up into a contempt of the only way of the revelation of himself as
weakness and folly; - it pleased God then to manifest all their
wisdom to be folly, and to establish the only means of the knowledge
of himself in Christ Jesus.

Chapter 3. The Glory of Christ in the mysterious Constitution of his
 The second thing wherein we may behold the glory of Christ, given
him of his Father, is in the mysterious constitution of his Person,
as he is God and man in one and the same person. There are in him,
in his one single individual person, two distinct natures; the one,
eternal, infinite, immense, almighty, - the form and silence of God;
the other, having a beginning in time, finite, limited, confined
unto a certain peace, - which is our nature, which he took on him
when he was "made flesh, and dwelt among us." The declaration of the
nature of this glory is a part of my discourse of the Person of
Christ, whereunto I refer the reader: - my present design is of
another nature.
 This is that glory whose beams are so illustrious, as that the
blind world cannot bear the light and beauty of them. Multitudes
begin openly to deny this incarnation of the Son of God, - this
personal union of God and man in their distinct natures. They deny
that there is either glory or truth in it; and it will ere long
appear (it begins already to evidence itself) what greater
multitudes there are, who yet do not, who yet dare not, openly
reject the doctrine of it, who in truth believe it not, nor see any
glory in it. Howbeit, this glory is the glory of our religion, - the
glory of the church, - the sole Rock whereon it is built, - the only
spring of present grace and future glory.
 This is that glory which the angels themselves desire to behold,
the mystery whereof they "bow down to look into," 1 Peter 1: 12. So
was their desire represented by the cherubim in the most holy place
of the tabernacle; for they were a shadow of the minister of angels
in the church. The ark and the mercy seat were a type of Christ in
the discharge of his office; and these cherubim were made standing
over them, as being in heaven above; but earnestly looking down upon
them in a posture of reverence and adoration. So they did of old;
and in their present contemplation of it consists no small part of
their eternal blessedness.
 Hereon depends the ruin of Satan and his kingdom. His sin, so far
as we can conceive, consisted of two parts. 1. His pride against the
person of the Son of God, by whom he was created. "For by him were
all things created that are" (or were when first created) "in
heaven, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or
power," Col. 1: 16. against him he lifted up himself; - which was
the beginning of his transgression. 2. Envy against mankind, made in
the image of God, of the Son of God the first born. This completed
his sin; nothing was now left whereon to act his pride and malice.
Unto his eternal confusion and ruin, God, in infinite wisdom, unites
both the natures he had sinned against in the one person of the Son;
who was the first object of his pride and malice. Hereby his
destruction is attended with everlasting shame in the discovery of
his folly, wherein he would have contended with infinite wisdom, as
well as misery, by the powers of the two natures united in one
 Here lies the foundation of the church. The foundation of the
whole old creation was laid in an act of absolute sovereign power.
Hereby God "hanged the earth upon nothing." But the foundation of
the church is on this mysterious, immovable rock, "Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God;" - on the most intimate
conjunction of the two natures, the divine and human, in themselves
infinitely distant, in the same person.
 We may name one place wherein it is gloriously represented unto
us, Isa. 9: 6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be
called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting
Father, The Prince of Peace." Here must the whole church fall down
and worship the Author of this wonderful contrivance; and,
captivating their understandings unto the obedience of faith, humbly
adore what they cannot comprehend.
 This was obscurely represented unto the church of old, Exod. 3: 2-
6, "And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire
out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush
burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I
will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not
burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called
unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And
he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy
shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy
ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of
Abraham," &c.
 This fire was a type or declaration of the presence of God in the
person of the Son. For with respect unto the Father he is called an
Angel, the Angel of the covenant; but absolutely in himself, he was
Jehovah, the "God of Abraham," &c. And of his presence the fire was
a proper representation. For in his nature he is as a "consuming
fire;" and his present work was the delivery of the church out of a
fiery trial. This fire placed itself in a bush, where it burned; but
the bush was not consumed. And although the continuance of the fire
in the bush was but for a short season, a present appearance, yet
thence was God said to dwell in the bush: "The good-will of him that
dwelt in the bush," Deut. 33: 16. And this is so spoken, because the
being of the fire in the bush for a season was a type of him in whom
"the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily," and that for ever, Col.
2: 9, - of him who was "made flesh, and dwelt among us," John 1: 14.
The eternal fire of the divine nature dwells in the bush of our
frail nature, yet is it not consumed thereby. God thus dwells in
this bush, with all his good-will towards sinners.
 Moses looked on this sight as a marvellous and wondrous thing. And
if it were so in the type, what is it in the truth, substance, and
reality of it?
 And by direction given unto him to "put off his shoes," we are
taught to cast away all fleshly imaginations and carnal affections,
that by pure acts of faith we may behold this glory, - the glory of
the only begotten of the Father.
 I design not here to insist on the explication or confirmation of
this glorious truth, concerning the constitution of the person of
Christ in and by his incarnation. What I can comprehend, what I do
believe concerning it, I have fully declared in a large peculiar
treatise. Here I take the truth itself as known, or as it may be
thence ]earned. My present business is only to stir up the minds of
believers unto a due contemplations of the glory of Christ in the
sacred, mysterious constitution of his person, as God and man in
one. So much as we abide herein, so much do "we live by the faith of
the Son of God;" - and God can, by a spirit of wisdom and
revelation, open the eyes of our understandings, that we may behold
this glory unto our ineffable consolation and joy. And unto the
diligent discharge of our duty herein I shall offer the ensuing
directions: -
 1. Let us get it fixed on our souls and in our minds, that this
glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person is the
best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object that we can be
conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave unto in our affections.
 What are all other things in comparison of the "knowledge of
Christ?" In the judgement of the great apostle, they are but "loss
and dung," Phil. 3: 8-10. So they were to him; and if they are not
so to us we are carnal.
 What is the world, and what are the things thereof, which most men
spend their thoughts about, and fix their affections on? The
Psalmist gives his judgement about them, in comparison of a view of
this glory of Christ, Ps. 4: 6, "Many say, Who will show us any
good?" - Who will give and help us to attain so much in and of this
world as will give rest and satisfaction unto our minds? That is the
good inquired after. But, saith he, "Lord, lift thou up the light of
thy countenance upon us." The light of the glory of God in the face
of Christ Jesus is that satisfactory good alone which I desire and
seek after.
 The Scripture reproacheth the vanity and folly of the minds of
men, in that "they spend their money for that which is not bread,
and their labour for that which profiteth not." They engage the
vigour of their spirits about perishing things, when they have
durable substance and riches proposed unto them.
 How do men for the most part exercise their minds what are they
conversant about in their thoughts?
 Some by them "make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts
thereof;" as Rom. 13: 14. They search about continually in their
thoughts for objects suited unto their lusts and carnal affections,
coining, framing, and stamping of them in their imaginations. They
fix their eyes with delight on toads and serpents, with all noisome,
filthy objects, - refusing, in the meantime, to behold the beauty
and glory of the light of the sun. So is it with all that spend
their thoughts about the objects of their sinful pleasures, -
refusing to look up after one view of this glory of Christ.
 Some keep their thoughts in continual exercise about the things of
this world, as unto the advantages and emoluments which they expect
from them. Hereby are they transformed into the image of the world,
becoming earthly, carnal, and vain. Is it because there is no God in
Israel that these applications are made unto the idol of Ekron? That
there is no glory, no desirableness in Christ for men to inquire
after, and fix their minds upon? O the blindness, the darkness, the
folly of poor sinners! Whom do they despise? and for what?
 Some, of more refined parts and notional minds, do arise unto a
sedulous meditation on the works of creation and providence. Hence
many excellent discourses on that subject, adorned with eloquence,
are published among us? And a work this is worthy of our nature, and
suited unto our rational capacities; yea, the first end of our
natural endowment with them. But in all these things, there is no
glory in comparison of what is proposed to us in the mysterious
constitution of the person of Christ. The sun has no glory, the moon
and stars no beauty, the order and influence of the heavenly bodies
have no excellency, in comparison of it.
 This is that which the Psalmist designs to declare, Pa 8, "0 LORD
our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set
thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work
of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
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 made him to
have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things
under his feet."
 He is engaged in a contemplation of the glory of God in his works;
and he concludes that the fabric of heaven, with the moon and stars
therein (for it was his meditation by night, when he beheld them),
was exceeding glorious, and greatly to be admired. This casts his
thoughts on the poor, weak, infirm nature of man, which seems as
nothing in comparison of those glories above; but immediately hereon
he falls into an admiration of the wisdom, goodness, and love of
God, exalting that nature incomparably above all the works of
creation in the person of Jesus Christ; as the apostle expounds this
place, Heb. 2: 5, 6.
 This, therefore, is the highest, the best, the most useful object
of our thoughts and affections. He who has had a real view of this
glory, though he know himself to be a poor, sinful, dying worm of
the earth, yet would he not be an angel in heaven, if thereby he
should lose the sight of it; for this is the centre wherein all the
lines of the manifestation of the divine glory do meet and rest.
 Look unto the things of this world, - wives, children,
possessions, estates, power, friends, and honour; how amiable are
they! how desirable unto the thoughts of the most of men! But he who
has obtained a view of the glory of Christ, will, in the midst of
them all, say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on
earth that I desire besides thee," Ps. 73: 25; "For who in the
heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the
mighty can be likened unto the Lord?" Ps. 89: 6.
 He himself, out of his infinite love and ineffable condescension,
upon the sight and view of his church, and his own graces in her,
wherewith she is adorned, does say, "Thou hast ravished my heart, my
sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine
eyes, with one chain of thy neck," Cant. 4: 9. How much more ought a
believing soul, upon a view of the glory of Christ, in whom it
pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, to say, Thou hast
ravished my heart, taken it away from me! "O thou whom my soul
loveth," one glance of thy glorious beauty upon me has quite
overcome me, - hath left no heart in me unto things here below! If
it be not thus with us frequently, - if we value not this object of
our minds and affections, - if we are not diligent in looking up
unto him to behold his glory, - it is because we are carnal, and not
in any good measure partakers of the promise, that "our eyes shall
see the King in his beauty."
 2. Our second direction unto the same end is, that we diligently
study the Scripture, and the revelations that are made of this glory
of Christ therein. To behold it, is not a work of fancy or
imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the art of
men without, or that of our own fancy within, but of faith exercised
on divine revelations. This direction he gives us himself, John 5:
39, "Search the Scriptures; for they are they which testify of me."
The way whereby this is done is fully set before us in the example
of the holy prophets under the Old Testament, 1 Peter 1: ll-13.
 This principle is always to be retained in our minds in reading of
the Scripture, - namely, that the revelation and doctrine of the
person of Christ and his office, is the foundation whereon all other
instructions of the prophets and apostles for the edification of the
church are built, and whereinto they are resolved; as is declared,
Eph. 2: 20-22. So our Lord Jesus Christ himself at large makes it
manifest, Luke 24: 26, 27, 45, 46. Lay aside the consideration
hereof, and the Scriptures are no such thing as they pretend unto, -
namely, a revelation of the glory of God in the salvation of the
church; nor are those of the Old Testament so at this day unto the
Jews, who own not this principle, 2 Cor. 3: 13-16. There are,
therefore, such revelations of the person and glory of Christ
treasured up in the Scripture, from the beginning unto the end of
it, as may exercise the faith and contemplation of believers in this
world, and shall never, during this life, be fully discovered or
understood; and in divine meditations of these revelations does much
of the life of faith consist.
 There are three ways whereby the glory of Christ is represented
unto us in the Scripture. First, By direct descriptions of his
glorious person and incarnation. See, among other places, Gen. 3:
15; Ps. 2: 7-9, 45: 2-6, 68: 17, 18, 110; Isa. 6: 1-4, 9: 6; Zech.
3: 8; John 1: 1-3; Phil. 2: 6-8; Heb. 1: 1-3, 2: 14-16; Rev. 1: 17,
18. Secondly, By prophecies, promises, and express instructions
concerning him, all leading unto the contemplation of his glory,
which are innumerable. Thirdly, By the sacred institutions of divine
worship under the Old Testament: for the end of them all was to
represent unto the church the glory of Christ in the discharge of
his office; as we shall see afterward.
 We may take notice of an instance in one kind under the Old
Testament, and of one and another under the New.
 His personal appearances under the Old Testament carried in them a
demonstration of his glory. Such was that in the vision which Isaiah
had, "when he saw his glory, and spake of him," chap. 6: 1, 2, "I
saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his
train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim," &c. It was a
representation of the glory of the divine presence of Christ filling
his human nature, the temple of his body, with a train of
all-glorious graces. And if this typical representation of it was so
glorious, as that the seraphim were not able steadfastly to behold
it, but "covered their faces" upon its appearance, verse 2, how
exceeding glorious is it in itself, as it is openly revealed in the
 Of the same nature are the immediate testimonies given unto him
from heaven in the New Testament. So the apostle tells us, "he
received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such
a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased," 2 Peter 1: 17. The apostle intends the time
of his transfiguration in the mount; for so he adds, verse 18, "And
this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in
the holy mount." Howbeit, at sundry other times he had the same
testimony, or to the same purpose, from God, even the Father, in
heaven. Herein God gave him honour and glory, which all those that
believe in him should behold and admire; not only those who heard
this testimony with their bodily ears, but all unto whom it is
testified in the Scripture, are obliged to look after, and
contemplate on, the glory of Christ, as thus revealed and proposed.
From the throne of his excellency, by audible voices, by visible
signs, by the opening of the heavens above, by the descent of the
Holy Spirit upon him, God testified unto him as his eternal Son, and
gave him therein honour and glory. The thoughts of this divine
testimony, and the glory of Christ therein, has often filled the
hearts of some with Joy and delight.
 This, therefore, in reading and studying the holy Scripture, we
ought with all diligence to search and attend unto, as did the
prophets of old (1 Peter 1: 11, 12), if we intend by them to be made
"wise unto salvation." We should herein be as the merchant-man that
seeks for pearls; he seeks for all sorts of them, but when he has
found one of "great price," he parts with all to make it his own,
Matt. 13: 46, 46. The Scripture is the field, the place, the mine
where we search and dig for pearls. See Prov. 2: 1-6. Every sacred
truth that is made effectual unto the good of our souls, is a pearl
whereby we are enriched; but when we meet with, when we fall upon
this pearl of price, the glory of Christ, - this is that which the
soul of a believer cleaves unto with joy. Then do we find food for
souls in the word of truth, then do we taste how gracious the Lord
is therein, then is the Scripture full of refreshment unto us as a
spring of living water, - when we are taken into blessed views of
the glory of Christ therein. And we are in the best frame of duty,
when the principal motive in our minds to contend earnestly for
retaining the possession of the Scripture against all that would
deprive us of it, or discourage us from a daily diligent search into
it, is this, - that they would take from us the only glass wherein
we may behold the glory of Christ. This is the glory of the
Scripture, that it is the great, yea, the only, outward means of
representing unto us the glory of Christ; and he is the sun in the
firmament of it, which only has light in itself, and communicates it
unto all other things besides.
 3. Another direction unto this same end is, that having attained
the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ from the
Scripture, or by the dispensation of the truth in the preaching of
the gospel, we would esteem it our duty frequently to meditate
 Want hereof is that fundamental mistake which keeps many among us
so low in their grace, so regardless of their privileges. They hear
of these things, they assent unto their truth, at least they do not
gainsay them; but they never solemnly meditate upon them. This they
esteem a world that is above them, or are ignorant totally of it, or
esteem themselves not much concerned in it, or dislike it as
fanaticism. For it is that which no considerations can engage a
canal mind to delight in. The mind must be spiritual and holy, freed
from earthly affections and encumbrances, raised above things here
below, that can in a due manner meditate on the glory of Christ.
Therefore are the most strangers unto this duty, because they will
not be at the trouble and charge of that mortification of earthly
affections, - that extirpation of sensual inclinations, - that
retirement from the occasions of life, which are required whereunto.
See the treatise on Spiritual-mindedness
 It is to be feared that there are some who profess religion with
an appearance of strictness, who never separate themselves from all
other occasions, to meditate on Christ and his glory; and yet, with
a strange inconsistency of apprehensions, they will profess that
they desire nothing more than to behold his glory in heaven for
ever. But it is evident, even in the light of reason, that these
things are irreconcilable. It is impossible that he who never
meditates with delight on the glory of Christ here in this world,
who labours not to behold it by faith as it is revealed in the
Scripture, should ever have any real gracious desire to behold it in
heaven. They may love and desire the fruition of their own
imaginations; - they cannot do so of the glory of Christ, whereof
they are ignorant, and wherewith they are unacquainted. It is,
therefore, to be lamented that men can find time for, and have
inclinations to think and meditate on, other things, it may be
earthly and vain; but have neither heart, nor inclination, nor
leisure, to meditate on this glorious object. What is the faith and
love which such men profess? How will they find themselves deceived
in the issue!
 4. Let your occasional thoughts of Christ be many, and multiplied
every day. He is not far from us; we may make a speedy address unto
him at any time. So the apostle informs us, Rom. 10: 6-8, "Say not
in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring
Christ down from above;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that
is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)" For "the word is nigh
thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart." The things that Christ
did were done at a distance from us, and they are long since past.
But, saith the apostle, "The word" of the Gospel wherein these
things are revealed, and whereby an application is made of them unto
our souls, is nigh unto us, even in our hearts; that is, if we are
true believers, and have mixed the word with faith, - and so it
exhibiteth Christ and all the benefits of his mediation unto us. If,
therefore, this word is in our hearts, Christ is nigh unto us. If we
turn at any time into ourselves to converse with the word that
abideth in us, there we shall find him ready to receive us into
communion with himself; that is, in the light of the knowledge of
Christ which we have by the word, we may have sudden, occasional
thoughts of him continually: and where our minds and affections are
so filled with other things that we are not ready for converse with
him who is thus nigh unto us by the word, we are spiritually
 So, to manifest how nigh he is unto us, it is said that "he stands
at the door, and knocks," Rev. 3: 20, in the continual tender that
he makes of himself and his grace unto our souls. For he is always
accompanied with the glorious train of his graces; and if they are
not received, he himself is not so. It is to no purpose to boast of
Christ, if we have not an evidence of his graces in our hearts and
lives. But unto whom he is the hope of future glory, unto them he is
the life of present grace.
 Sometimes it may be that He is withdrawn from us, so as that we
cannot hear his voice, nor behold his countenance, nor obtain any
sense of his love, though we seek him with diligence. In this state,
all our thoughts and meditations concerning him will be barren and
fruitless, bringing in no spiritual refreshment into our souls. And
if we learn to be content with such lifeless, unaffecting thoughts
of him as bring in no experience of his love, nor give us a real
view of the glory of his person, we shall wither away as unto all
the power of religion.
 What is our duty in this case is so fully expressed by the spouse
in the Canticles, as represents it plainly unto the minds of
believers, who have any experience of these things, chap. 3: 1-4,
"By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him,
but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the
streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth:
I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the
city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It
was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my
soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go." The like account
she gives of herself, and of her behaviour on the like occasion,
chap. 5: 2-8.
 This is the substance of what by this example we are instructed
unto. The Lord Christ is pleased sometimes to withdraw himself from
the spiritual experience of believers; as to any refreshing sense of
his love, or the fresh communications of consolatory graces. Those
who never had experience of any such thing, who never had any
refreshing communion with him, cannot be sensible of his absence; -
they never were so of his presence. But those whom he has visited, -
to whom he has given of his loves, - with whom he has made his
abode, - whom he has refreshed, relieved, and comforted, - in whom
he has lived in the power of his grace, - they know what it is to be
forsaken by him, though but for a moment. And their trouble is
increased, when they seek him with diligence in the wonted ways of
obtaining his presence, and cannot find him. Our duty, in this case,
is to persevere in our inquiries after him, in prayer, meditation,
mourning, reading and hearing of the Word, in all ordinances of
divine worship, private and public, in diligent obedience, - until
we find him, or he return unto us, as in former days.
 It were well if all churches and professors now would manifest the
same diligence herein as did the church of old in this example. Many
of them, if they are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,
cannot but be sensible that the Lord Christ is variously withdrawn
from them, if ever they had experience of the power of his presence.
Yet are the generality of them far from the frame of heart here
described in the spouse; for they are slothful, careless, negligent,
and stir not up themselves to inquire after him, or his return unto
their souls. So was it with Laodicea of old, so was it with Sardis,
and so it is to be feared that it is with many at present. But to
 Generally, Christ is nigh unto believers, and of a ready access;
and the principal acting of the life of faith consist in the
frequency of our thoughts concerning him; for hereby Christ liveth
in us, as he is said to do, Gal. 2: 20. This we cannot do, unless we
have frequent thoughts of him and converse with him. It is often
said among men, that one lives in another; this cannot be but where
the affections of one are so engaged unto another, that night and
day he thinks of him, and is thereby, as it were, present with him.
So ought it to be between Christ and believers. He dwells in them by
faith; but the acting of this life in them (as wherever life is, it
will be in act and exercise) are proportionable unto their thoughts
of him, and delight in him.
 If, therefore, we would behold the glory of Christ, the present
direction is, that on all occasions, and frequently when there are
no occasions for it by the performance of other duties, we would
abound in thoughts of him and his glory. I intend not at present
fixed and stated meditations, which were spoken unto before; but
such thoughts as are more transient, according as our opportunities
are. And a great rebuke it ought to be unto us, when Christ has at
any time in a day been long out of our minds. The spouse affirms
that, ere she was aware, her soul made her as the chariots of
Ammi-nadib, Cant. 6: 12. It so fell out, that when she had no
thoughts, no design or purpose, for attendance on communion with
Christ, that she was surprised into a readiness and willingness unto
it. So it will be with them that love him in sincerity. Their own
souls, without previous designs or outward occasions, will
frequently engage them in holy thoughts of him; which is the most
eminent character of a truly spiritual Christian.
 5. The next direction is, that all our thoughts concerning Christ
and his glory should be accompanied with admiration, adoration, and
thanksgiving. For this is such an object of our thoughts and
affections as, in this life, we can never fully comprehend, - an
ocean whose depths we cannot look into. If we are spiritually
renewed, all the faculties of our souls are enabled by grace to
exert their respective powers towards this glorious object. This
must be done in various duties, by the exercise of various graces,
as they are to be acted by the distinct powers of the faculties of
our minds. This is that which is intended where we are commanded "to
love the Lord with all our souls, with all our minds, with all our
strength" All the distinct powers of our souls are to be acted by
distinct graces and duties in cleaving unto God by love. In heaven,
when we are come to our centre, that state of rest and blessedness
which our nature is ultimately capable of, nothing but one infinite,
invariable object of our minds and affections, received by vision,
can render that state uninterrupted and unchangeable. But whilst we
are here we know or see but in part, and we must also act our faith
and love on part of that glory, which is not at once entirely
proposed unto us, and which as yet we cannot comprehend. Wherefore
we must act various graces in great variety about it; - some at one
time, some at another, according unto the powers of all our renewed
faculties. Of this sort are those mentioned of adoration,
admiration, and thanksgiving; which are those acts of our minds
wherein all others do issue when the object is incomprehensible. For
unto them we are enabled by grace.
 One end of his illustrious coming unto the judgement of the last
day is, that he may be "admired in all them that believe," 2 Thess.
1: 10. Even believers themselves shall be filled with an
overwhelming admiration upon his glorious appearance. Or if the
meaning be, not that he shall be admired by them, but admired in
them, because of the mighty works of his grace and power in their
redemption, sanctification, resurrection, and glory, it is to the
same purpose, - he "comes to be admired." And, according to the
prospect which we have of that glory ought our admiration to be.
 And this admiration will issue in adoration and thanksgiving;
whereof we have an eminent instance and example in the whole church
of the redeemed, Rev. 5: 9-14, "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 of the living creatures, and of 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."
 The design of this Discourse is no more, but that when by faith we
have attained a view of the glory of Christ, in our contemplations
on his person, we should not pass it over as a notion of truth which
we assent unto, - namely, that he is thus glorious in himself, - but
endeavour to affect our hearts with it, as that wherein our own
principal interest does lie; wherein it will be effectual unto the
transformation of our souls into his image.
 But some, it may be, will say, at least I fear some may truly say,
that these things do not belong unto them; they do not find that
ever they had any benefit by them: they hope to be saved as well as
others by the mediation of Christ; but as to this beholding of his
glory by constant meditation and acting of faith therein, they know
nothing of it, nor are concerned in it. The doctrine which they are
taught out of the Scripture concerning the person of Christ, they
give their assent unto; but his glory they hope they shall see in
another world; - here they never yet inquired after it.
 So it will be. It is well if these things be not only neglected,
because the minds of men are carnal, and cannot discern spiritual
things, but also despised, because they have an enmity unto them. It
is not for all to walk in these retired paths; - not for them who
are negligent and slothful whose minds are earthly and carnal. Nor
can they herein sit at the feet of Christ with Mary when she chose
the better part, who, like Martha, are cumbered about many things
here in this world. Those whose principal design is to add unto
their present enjoyments (in the midst of the prosecution whereof
they are commonly taken from them, so as that their thoughts do
perish, because not accomplished) will never understand these
things. Much less will they do so, whose work it is to make
provision for the flesh, to fulfil it in the lusts thereof.
 They must make it their design to be heavenly-minded who will find
a relish in these things. Those who are strangers unto holy
meditation in general will be strangers unto this mystery in a
peculiar manner.
 Some men can think of the world, of their relations, and the
manifold occasions of life; but as unto the things that are above,
and within the veil, they are not concerned in them.
 With some it is otherwise. They profess their desire to behold the
glory of Christ by faith; but they find it, as they complain, too
high and difficult for them. They are at a loss in their minds, and
even overwhelmed, when they begin to view his glory. They are like
the disciples who saw him in his transfiguration; - they were filled
with amazement, and knew not what to say, or said they knew not
what. And I do acknowledge, that the weakness of our minds in the
comprehension of this eternal glory of Christ, and their instability
in meditations thereon, whence we cannot steadfastly look on it or
behold it, gives us an afflicting, abasing consideration of our
present state and condition. And I shall say no more unto this case
but this alone: When faith can no longer hold open the eyes of our
understandings unto the beholding the Sun of Righteousness shining
in his beauty, nor exercise orderly thoughts about this
incomprehensible object, it will retake itself unto that holy
admiration which we have spoken unto; and therein it will put itself
forth in pure acts of love and complacency.

Chapter 4. The Glory of Christ in his Susception of the Office of a
Mediator -
First in his Condescension.

 The things whereof we have thus far discoursed, relating
immediately unto the person of Christ in itself, may seem to have
somewhat of difficulty in them unto such whose minds are not duly
exercised in the contemplation of heavenly things. Unto others they
are evident in their own experience, and instructive unto them that
are willing to learn. That which remains will be yet more plain unto
the understanding and capacity of the meanest believer. And this is,
the glory of Christ in his office of mediator, and the discharge
 In our beholding of the glory of Christ herein does the exercise
of faith in this life principally consist; so the apostle declares
it, Phil. 3: 8, 10, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: that I may
know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of
his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death". This
therefore, we must treat of somewhat more at large.
 "There is one God," saith the apostle, "and one mediator between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. 2: 5. In that great
difference between God and man occasioned by our sin and apostasy
from him, which of itself could issue in nothing but the utter ruin
of the whole race of mankind, there was none in heaven or earth, in
their original nature and operations, who was meet or able to make
up righteous peace between them. Yet must this be done by a
mediator, or cease for ever.
 This mediator could not be God himself absolutely considered; for
"a mediator is not of one, but God is one," Gal. 3: 20. Whatever God
might do herein in a way of sovereign grace, yet he could not do it
in the way of mediation; which yet was necessary unto his own glory,
as we have at large discoursed elsewhere.
 And as for creatures, there was none in heaven or earth that was
meet to undertake this office. For "if one man sin against another,
the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the LORD, who
shall entreat for him?" 1 Sam. 2: 25. There is not "any days-man
betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both," Job 9:33.
 In this state of things the Lord Christ, as the Son of God, said,
"Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. Sacrifice and burnt-offerings
thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; and, lo, I come
to do thy will," Heb. 10: 5, 9. By the assumption of our nature into
union with himself, in his own divine person he became every way
meet for the discharge of this office, and undertakes it
 That which we inquire after at present, is, the glory of Christ
herein, and how we may behold that glory. And there are three things
wherein we may take a prospect of it.
 1. In his susception of this office.
 2. In his discharge of it.
 3. In the event and consequence thereof, or what ensued thereon.
 In the susception of this office we may behold the glory of
Christ, - I. In his condescension; II. In his love.
 I. We may behold this glory in his infinite condescension to take
this office on him, and our nature to be his own unto that end. It
did not befall him by lot or chance; - it was not imposed on him
against his will; - it belonged not unto him by any necessity of
nature or condition, he stood not in need of it; - it was no
addition unto him; but of his own mind and accord he graciously
condescended unto the susception and discharge of it.
 So the apostle expresseth it, Phil. 2: 5-8, "Let this mind be in
you which was also in Christ Jesus: 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
 It was the mind that was in Jesus Christ which is proposed unto
our consideration and imitation, - what he was inclined and disposed
unto from himself and his own mind alone. And that in general which
is ascribed unto him is "kenosis", exinanition, or self-emptying; he
emptied himself. This the ancient church called his "sungkatabasis",
as we do his condescension; an act of which kind in God is called
the "humbling of himself," Ps. 113: 6.
 Wherefore, the susception of our nature for the discharge of the
office of mediation therein was an infinite condescension in the Son
of God, wherein he is exceedingly glorious in the eyes of believers.
 And I shall do these three things: - 1. Show in general the
greatness of his condescension; 2. Declare the especial nature of
it; and, 3. Take what view we are able of the glory of Christ
 1. Such is the transcendent excellency of the divine nature, that
it is said of God that he "dwelleth on high," and "humbleth himself
to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth," Ps. 113:
5, 6. He condescends from the prerogative of his excellency to
behold, to look upon, to take notice of, the most glorious things in
heaven above, and the greatest things in the earth below. All his
respect unto the creatures, the most glorious of them, is an act of
infinite condescension. And it is so on two accounts.
 (1.) Because of the infinite distance that is between his essence,
nature, or being, and that of the creatures. Hence all nations
before him "are as the drop of a bucket, and are counted as the
small dust of the balance;" yea, that they "are as nothing, that
they are counted unto him less than nothing, and vanity." All being
is essentially in him, and in comparison thereunto all other things
are as nothing. And there are no measures, there is no proportion
between infinite being and nothing, - nothing that should induce a
regard from the one unto the other. Wherefore, the infinite,
essential greatness of the nature of God, with his infinite distance
from the nature of all creatures thereby, causeth all his dealings
with them to be in the way of condescension or humbling himself. So
it is expressed, Isa. 57: 15, "Thus saith the high and lofty One
that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell in the high and holy place, with
him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the
spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
He is so the high and lofty one, and so inhabiteth eternity, or
existeth in his own eternal being, that it is an act of mere grace
in him to take notice of things below; and therefore he does it in
an especial manner of those whom the world does most despise.
 (2.) It ariseth from his infinite self-sufficiency unto all the
acts and ends of his own eternal blessedness. What we have a regard
unto, what we respect and desire, it is that it may add unto our
satisfaction. So it is, so it must be, with every creature; no
creature is self-sufficient unto its own blessedness. The human
nature of Christ himself in heaven is not so; it lives in God, and
God in it, in a full dependence on God, and in receiving blessed and
glorious communications from him. No rational creature, angel or
man, can do, think, act any thing, but it is all to add to their
perfection and satisfaction; - they are not self-sufficient. God
alone wants nothing, stands in need of nothing; nothing can be added
unto him, seeing he "giveth unto all life, and breath, and all
things," Acts 17: 25. The whole creation, in all its excellency,
cannot contribute one mite unto the satisfaction or blessedness of
God. He has it all in infinite perfection from himself and in his
own nature. Our goodness extends not unto him. A man cannot profit
God, as he may profit his neighbour. "If thou sinnest, what does
thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest
thou unto him?" God loseth nothing of his own self-sufficiency and
blessedness therein by all this. And "if thou be righteous, what
givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?" Job 35: 6, 7.
And from hence also it follows that all God's concernment in the
creation is by an act of condescension.
 How glorious, then, is the condescension of the Son of God in his
susception of the office of mediation! For if such be the perfection
of the divine nature, and its distance so absolutely infinite from
the whole creation, - and if such be his self-sufficiency unto his
own eternal blessedness, as that nothing can be taken from him,
nothing added unto him, so that every regard in him unto any of the
creatures is an act of self-humiliation and condescension from the
prerogative of his being and state, - what heart can conceive, what
tongue can express, the glory of that condescension in the Son of
God, whereby he took our nature upon him, took it to be his own, in
order unto a discharge of the of tics of mediation on our behalf?
 2. But, that we may the better behold the glory of Christ herein,
we may briefly consider the especial nature of this condescension,
and wherein it does consist.
 But whereas not only the denial, but misapprehensions hereof, have
pestered the church of God in all ages, we must, in the first place,
reject them, and then declare the truth.
 (1.) This condescension of the Son of God did not consist in a
laying aside, or parting with, or separation from, the divine
nature, so as that he should cease to be God by being man. The
foundation of it lay in this, that he was "in the form of God, and
thought it not robbery to be equal with God," Phil. 2:6; - that is,
being really and essentially God in his divine nature, he professed
himself therein to be equal with God, or the person of the Father.
He was in the form of God, - that is, he was God, participant of the
Divine nature, for God has no form but that of his essence and
being; and hence he was equal with God, in authority, dignity, and
power. Because he was in the form of God, he must be equal with God;
for there is order in the Divine Persons, but no inequality in the
Divine Being. So the Jews understood him, that when he said, "God
was his Father, he made himself equal with God." For in his so
saying, he ascribed unto himself equal power with the Father, as
unto all divine operations. "My Father," saith he, "worketh
hitherto, and I work," John 5: 17, 18. And they by whom his divine
nature is denied do cast this condescension of Christ quite out of
our religion, as that which has no reality or substance in it. But
we shall speak of them afterward.
 Being in this state, it is said that he took on him the form of a
servant, and was found in fashion as a man, Phil. 2: 7. This is his
condescension. It is not said that he ceased to be in the form of
God; but continuing so to be, he "took upon him the form of a
servant" in our nature: he became what he was not, but he ceased not
to be what he was. So he testifieth of himself, John 3: 13, "No man
has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the
Son of man which is in heaven." Although he was then on earth as the
Son of man, yet he ceased not to be God thereby; - in his divine
nature he was then also in heaven.
 He who is God, can no more be not God, than he who is not God can
be God; and our difference with the Socinians herein is, - we
believe that Christ being God, was made man for our sakes; they say,
that being only a man, he was made a god for his own sake.
 This, then, is the foundation of the glory of Christ in this
condescension, the life and soul of all heavenly truth and
mysteries, - namely, that the Son of God becoming in time to be what
he was not, the Son of man, ceased not thereby to be what he was,
even the eternal Son of God. Wherefore, -
 (2.) Much less did this condescension consist in the conversion of
the divine nature into the human, - which was the imagination of
some of the Arians of old; and we have yet (to my own knowledge)
some that follow them in the same dotage. They say that the "Word
which was in the beginning," by which all things were made, being in
itself an effect of the divine will and power, was in the fulness of
time turned into flesh; - that is, the substance of it was so, as
the water in the miracle wrought by our Saviour was turned into
wine; for, by an act of the divine power of Christ, it ceased to be
water substantially, and was wine only, - not water mixed with wine.
So these men suppose a substantial change of the one nature into the
other, - of the divine nature into the human, - like what the
Papists imagine in their transsubstantiation. So they say God was
made man, his essence being turned into that of a man.
 But this no way belongs unto the condescension of Christ. We may
call it Ichabod, - it has no glory in it. It destroys both his
natures, and leaves him a person in whom we are not concerned. For.
according unto this imagination, that divine nature, wherein he was
in the form of God, did in its own form cease to be, yea, was
utterly destroyed, as being substantially changed into the nature of
man, as the water did cease to be when it was turned into wine; and
that human nature which was made thereof has no alliance or kindred
unto us or our nature, seeing it was not "made of a woman," but of
the substance of the Word.
 (3.) There was not in this condescension the least change or
alteration in the divine nature. Eutyches and those that followed
him of old conceived that the two natures of Christ, the divine and
human, were mixed and compounded, as it were, into one. And this
could not be without an alteration in the divine nature, for it
would be made to be essentially what it was not; - for one nature
has but one and the same essence.
 But, as we said before, although the Lord Christ himself in his
person was made to be what he was not before, in that our nature
hereby was made to be his, yet his divine nature was not so. There
is in it neither "variableness nor shadow of turning." It abode the
same in him, in all its essential properties, acting, and
blessedness, as it was from eternity. It neither did, acted, nor
suffered any thing but what is proper unto the Divine Being. The
Lord Christ did and suffered many things in life and death, in his
own person, by his human person, wherein the divine neither did nor
suffered any thing at all - although, in the doing of them, his
person be denominated from that nature; so, "God purchased his
church with his own blood," Acts 20:28.
 (4.) It may, then, be said, What did the Lord Christ, in this
condescension, with respect unto his divine nature? The apostle
tells us that he "humbled himself, and made himself of no
reputation," Phil. 2: 7, 8. He veiled the glory of his divine nature
in ours, and what he did therein, so as that there was no outward
appearance or manifestation of it. The world hereon was so far from
looking on him as the true God, that it believed him not to be a
good man. Hence they could never bear the least intimation of his
divine nature, supposing themselves secured from any such thing,
because they looked on him with their eyes to be a man, - as he was,
indeed, no less truly and really than any one of themselves.
Wherefore, on that testimony given of himself, "Before Abraham was,
I am," which asserts a pre-existence from eternity in another nature
than what they saw, - they were filled with rage, and "took up
stones to cast at him," John 8: 58,59. And they gave treason of
their madness, John 10:33, - namely, that "he, being a man, should
make himself to be God." This was such a thing, they thought, as
could never enter into the heart of a wise and sober man, - namely,
that being so, owning himself to be such, he should yet say of
himself that he was God. This is that which no reason can
comprehend, which nothing in nature can parallel or illustrate, that
one and the same person should be both God and man. And this is the
principal plea of the Socinians at this day, who, through the
Mohammedans, succeed unto the Jews in an opposition unto the divine
nature of Christ.
 But all this difficulty is solved by the glory of Christ in this
condescension; for although in himself, or his own divine person, he
was "over all, God blessed for ever," yet he humbled himself for the
salvation of the church, unto the eternal glory of God, to take our
nature upon him, and to be made man: and those who cannot see a
divine glory in his so doing, do neither know him, nor love him, nor
believe in him, nor do any way belong unto him.
 So is it with the men of these abominations. Because they cannot
behold the glory hereof, they deny the foundation of our religion, -
namely, the divine person of Christ. Seeing he would be made man, he
shall be esteemed by them no more than a man. So do they reject that
glory of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness, and grace, wherein he
is more concerned than in the whole creation. And they dig up the
root of all evangelical truths, which are nothing but branches from
 It is true, and must be confessed, that herein it is that our Lord
Jesus Christ is "a stumbling-stone and a rock of offence" unto the
world. If we should confess him only as a prophet, a man sent by
God, there would not be much contest about him, nor opposition unto
him. The Mohammedans do all acknowledge it, and the Jews would not
long deny it; for their hatred against him was, and is, solely
because he professed himself to be God, and as such was believed on
in the world. And at this day, partly through the insinuation of the
Socinians, and partly from the efficacy of their own blindness and
unbelief, multitudes are willing to grant him to be a prophet sent
of God, who do not, who will not, who cannot, believe the mystery of
this condescension in the susception of our nature, nor see the
glory of it. But take this away, and all our religion is taken away
with it. Farewell Christianity, as to the mystery, the glory, the
truth, the efficacy of it; - let a refined heathenism be established
in its room. But this is the rock on which the church is built,
against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.
 (5.) This condescension of Christ was not by a phantasm or an
appearance only. One of the first heresies that pestered the church
immediately after the days of the apostles was this, that all that
was done or suffered by Christ as a man were not the acts, doings or
sufferings of one that was truly and really a man, but an outward
representation of things, like the appearance of angels in the shape
of men, eating and drinking, under the Old Testament; and suitably
hereunto some in our days have spoken, - namely, that there was only
an appearance of Christ in the man Jesus at Jerusalem, in whom he
suffered no more than in other believers. But the ancient Christians
told those men the truth, - namely, that "as they had feigned unto
themselves an imaginary Christ, so they should have an imaginary
salvation only."
 But the true nature of this divine condescension does consist in
these three things: -
 1. That "the eternal person of the Son of God, or the divine
nature in the person of the Son, did, by an ineffable act of his
divine power and love, assume our nature into an individual
subsistence in or with himself; that is, to be his own, even as the
divine nature is his." This is the infallible foundation of faith,
even to them who can comprehend very little of these divine
mysteries. They can and do believe that the Son of God did take our
nature to be his own; so as that whatever was done therein was done
by him, as it is with every other man. Every man has human nature
appropriated unto himself by an individual subsistence, whereby he
becomes to be that man which he is and not another; or that nature
which is common unto all, becomes in him to be peculiarly his own,
as if there were none partaker of it but himself. Adam, in his first
creation, when all human nature was in him alone, was no more that
individual man which he was, than every man is now the man that he
is, by his individual subsistence. So the Lord Christ taking that
nature which is common unto all into a peculiar subsistence in his
own person, it becometh his, and he the man Christ Jesus. This was
the mind that was in him.
 2. By reason of this assumption of our nature, with his doing and
suffering therein whereby he was found in fashion as a man, the
glory of his divine person was veiled, and he made himself of no
reputation. This also belongs unto his condescension, as the first
general effect and fruit of it. But we have spoken of it before.
 3. It is also to be observed, that in the assumption of our nature
to be his own, he did not change it into a thing divine and
spiritual; but preserved it entire in all its essential properties
and actings. Hence it really did and suffered, was tried, tempted,
and forsaken, as the same nature in any other man might do and be.
That nature (as it was peculiarly his, and therefore he, or his
person therein) was exposed unto all the temporary evils which the
same nature is subject unto in any other person.
 This is a short general view of this incomprehensible
condescension of the Son of God, as it is described by the apostle,
Phil. 2: 5-8. And this is that wherein in an especial manner we are
to behold the glory of Christ by faith whilst we are in this world.
 But had we the tongue of men and angels, we were not able in any
just measure to express the glory of this condescension; for it is
the most ineffable effect of the divine wisdom of the Father and of
the love of the Son, - the highest evidence of the care of God
towards mankind. What can be equal unto it? what can be like it? It
is the glory of Christian religion, and the animating soul of all
evangelical truth. This carrieth the mystery of the wisdom of God
above the reason or understanding of men and angels, to be the
object of faith and admiration only. A mystery it is that becomes
the greatness of God, with his infinite distance from the whole
creation, - Which renders it unbecoming him that all his ways and
works should be comprehensible by any of his creatures, Job 11: 7-9;
Rom. 11: 33-36.
 He who was eternally in the form of God, - that is, was
essentially so, God by nature, equally participant of the same
divine nature with God the Father; "God over all, blessed for ever;"
who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and
earth, - he takes on him the nature of man, takes it to be his own,
whereby he was no less truly a man in time than he was truly God
from eternity. And to increase the wonder of this mystery, because
it was necessary unto the end he designed, he so humbled himself in
this assumption of our nature, as to make himself of no reputation
in this world, - yea, unto that degree, that he said of himself that
he was a worm, and no man, in comparison of them who were of any
 We speak of these things in a poor, low, broken manner, - we teach
them as they are revealed in the Scripture, - we labour by faith to
adhere unto them as revealed; but when we come into a steady, direct
view and consideration of the thing itself, our minds fail, our
hearts tremble, and we can find no rest but in a holy admiration of
what we cannot comprehend. Here we are at a loss, and know that we
shall be so whilst we are in this world; but all the ineffable
fruits and benefits of this truth are communicated unto them that do
 It is with reference hereunto that that great promise concerning
him is given unto the church, Isa. 8: 14, "He shall be for a
sanctuary" (namely, unto all that believe, as it is expounded, 1
Peter 2: 7, 8); "but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of
offence," - "even to them that stumble at the word, being
disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed."
 He is herein a sanctuary, an assured refuge unto all that betake
themselves unto him. What is it that any man in distress, who flies
whereunto, may look for in a sanctuary? A supply of all his wants, a
deliverance from all his fears, a defence against all his dangers,
is proposed unto him therein. Such is the Lord Christ herein unto
sin-distressed souls; he is a refuge unto us in all spiritual
diseases and disconsolation, Heb. 6: 18. See the exposition of the
place. Are we, or any of us, burdened with a sense of sin? are we
perplexed with temptations? are we bowed down under the oppression.
of any spiritual adversary? do we, on any of these accounts, "walk
in darkness and have no light?" One view of the glory of Christ
herein is able to support us and relieve us.
 Unto whom we retake ourselves for relief in any case, we have
regard to nothing but their will and their power. If they have both,
we are sure of relief. And what shall we fear in the will of Christ
as unto this end? What will he not do for us? He who thus emptied
and humbled himself, who so infinitely condescended from the
prerogative of his glory in his being and self sufficiency, in the
susception of our nature for the discharge of the office of a
mediator on our behalf, - will he not relieve us in all our
distresses? will he not do all for us we stand in need of, that we
may be eternally saved? will he not be a sanctuary unto us? Nor have
we hereon any ground to fear his power; for, by this infinite
condescension to be a suffering man, he lost nothing of his power as
God omnipotent, - nothing of his infinite wisdom or glorious grace.
He could still do all that he could do as God from eternity. If
there be any thing, therefore, in a coalescence of infinite power
with infinite condescension, to constitute a sanctuary for
distressed sinners, it is all in Christ Jesus. And if we see him not
glorious herein, it is because there is no light of faith in us.
 This, then, is the rest wherewith we may cause the weary to rest,
and this is the refreshment. Herein is he "a hiding-place from the
wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry
place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Hereon he
says, "I have satiated the weary soul, and have refreshed every
sorrowful soul." Under this consideration it is that, in all
evangelical promises and invitations for coming to him, he is
proposed unto distressed sinners as their only sanctuary.
 Herein is he "a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence" unto
the unbelieving and disobedient, who stumble at the word. They
cannot, they will not, see the glory of this condescension; - they
neither desire nor labour so to do, - yea, they hate it and despise
it. Christ in it is "a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence"
unto them. Wherefore they choose rather utterly to deny his divine
person than allow that he did thus abase himself for our sakes.
Rather than they will own this glory, they will allow him no glory.
A man they say he was, and no more; and this was his glory. This is
that principle of darkness and unbelief which works effectually at
this day in the minds of many. They think it an absurd thing, as the
Jews did of old, that he, being a man, should be God also; or, on
the other hand, that the Son of God should thus condescend to take
our nature on him. This they can see no glory in, no relief, no
refuge, no refreshment unto their souls in any of their distresses;
therefore do they deny his divine person. Here faith triumphs
against them; it finds that to be a glorious sanctuary which they
cannot at all discern.
 But it is not so much the declaration or vindication of this glory
of Christ which I am at present engaged in, as an exhortation unto
the practical contemplation of it in a way of believing. And I know
that among many this is too much neglected; yea, of all the evils
which I have seen in the days of my pilgrimage, now drawing to their
close, there is none so grievous as the public contempt of the
principal mysteries of the Gospel among them that are called
Christians. Religion, in the profession of some men, is withered in
its vital principles, weakened in its nerves and sinews; but thought
to be put off with outward gaiety and bravery.
 But my exhortation is unto diligence in the contemplation of this
glory of Christ, and the exercise of our thoughts about it. Unless
we are diligent herein, it is impossible we should be steady in the
principal acts of faith, or ready unto the principal duties of
obedience. The principal act of faith respects the divine person of
Christ, as all Christians must acknowledge. This we can never secure
(as has been declared) if we see not his glory in this
condescension: and whoever reduceth his notions unto experience,
will find that herein his faith stands or falls. And the principal
duty of our obedience is self-denial, with readiness for the cross.
Hereunto the consideration of this condescension of Christ is the
principal evangelical motive, and that whereinto our obedience in it
is to be resolved; as the apostle declares, Phil. 2: 5-8. And no man
does deny himself in a due manner, who does it not on the
consideration of the self-denial of the Son of God. But a prevalent
motive this is thereunto. For what are the things wherein we are to
deny ourselves, or forego what we pretend to have a right unto? It
is in our goods, our liberties, our relations, - our lives. And what
are they, any or all of them, in themselves, or unto us, considering
our condition, and the end for which we were made? Perishing things,
which, whether we will or no, within a few days death will give us
an everlasting separation from, under the power of a fever or an
asthma, &c., as unto our interest in them. But how incomparable with
respect hereunto is that condescension of Christ, whereof we have
given an account! If, therefore, we find an unwillingness in us, a
tergiversation in our minds about these things, when called unto
them in a way of duty, one view by faith of the glory of Christ in
this condescension, and what he parted from therein when he "made
himself of no reputation," will be an effectual cure of that sinful
 Herein, then, I say, we may by faith behold the glory of Christ,
as we shall do it by sight hereafter. If we see no glory in it, if
we discern not that which is matter of eternal admiration, we walk
in darkness. It is the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and
grace. Where are our hearts and minds, if we can see no glory in it?
know in the contemplation of it, it will quickly overwhelm our
reason, and bring our understanding into a loss: but unto this loss
do I desire to be brought every day; for when faith can no more act
itself in comprehension, when it finds the object it is fixed on too
great and glorious to be brought into our minds and capacities, it
will issue (as we said before) in holy admiration, humble adoration,
and joyful thanksgiving. In and by its acting in them does it fill
the soul with "joy unspeakable, and full of glory."

Chapter 5. The Glory of Christ in this Love.

 In the susception and discharge of the mediatory office by the Son
of God, the Scripture does most eminently represent, -
 II. His Love, as the sole impelling and leading cause thereof,
Gal. 2: 20; 1 John 3: 16; Rev. 1: 5.
 Herein is he glorious, in a way and manner incomprehensible; for
in the glory of divine love the chief brightness of glory does
consist. There is nothing of dread or terror accompanying it, -
nothing but what is amiable and infinitely refreshing. Now, that we
may take a view of the glory of Christ herein by faith, the nature
of it must be inquired into.
 1. The eternal disposing cause of the whole work wherein the Lord
Christ was engaged by the susception of this office, for the
redemption and salvation of the church, is the love of the Father.
Hereunto it is constantly ascribed in the Scripture. And this love
of the Father acted itself in his eternal decrees, "before the
foundation of the world," Eph. 1: 4; and afterward in the sending of
his Son to render it effectual, John 3: 16. Originally, it is his
eternal election of a portion of mankind to be brought unto the
enjoyment of himself, through the mystery of the blood of Christ,
and the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. 2: 13,16; Eph. 1:9; 1
Peter 1: 2.
 This eternal act of the will of God the Father does not contain in
it an actual approbation of, and complacency in, the state and
condition of those that are elected; but only designeth that for
them on the account whereof they shall be accepted and approved. And
it is called his love on sundry accounts.
 (1.) Because it is an act suited unto that glorious excellency of
his nature wherein he is love; for "God is love," 1 John 4: 8, 9.
And the first egress of the divine properties must, therefore, be in
an act of communicative love. And whereas this election, being an
eternal act of the will of God, can have no moving cause but what is
in himself, - if we could look into all the treasures of the divine
excellencies, we should find none whereunto it could be so properly
ascribed as unto love. Wherefore, -
 (2.) It is styled Love, because it was free and undeserved, as
unto anything on our part; for whatever good is done unto any
altogether undeserved, if it be with a design of their profit and
advantage, it is an set of love, and can have no other cause. So is
it with us in respect of eternal election. There was nothing in us,
nothing foreseen, as that which, from ourselves, would be in us,
that should any way move the will of God unto this election; for
whatever is good in the best of men is an effect of it, Eph. 1: 4.
Whereas, therefore, it tends unto our eternal good, the spring of it
must be love. And, -
 (3.) The fruits or effects of it are inconceivable sets of love.
It is by multiplied acts of love that it is made effectual; John 3:
16; Jer. 31: 3; Eph. 1: 3-6; 1 John 4: 8, 9, 16.
 2. This is the eternal spring which is derived unto the church
through the mediation of Christ. Wherefore, that which put all the
design of this eternal love of the Father into execution, and
wrought out the accomplishment of it, was the love of the Son, which
we inquire after; and light may be given unto it in the ensuing
observations: -
 (1.) The whole number or society of the elect were creatures made
in the image of God, and thereby in a state of love with him. All
that they were, had, or hoped for, were effects of divine goodness
and love. And the life of their souls was love unto God. And a
blessed state it was, preparatory for the eternal life of love in
 (2.) From this state they fell by sin into a state of enmity with
God; which is comprehensive of all miseries, temporal and eternal.
 (3.) Notwithstanding this woeful catastrophe of our first state,
yet our nature, on many accounts, was recoverable unto the enjoyment
of God; as I have at large elsewhere declared.
 (4.) In this condition, the first act of love in Christ towards us
was in pity and compassion. A creature made in the image of God, and
fallen into misery, yet capable of recovery, is the proper object of
divine compassion. That which is so celebrated in the Scripture, as
the bowels, the pity, the compassion of God, is the acting of divine
love towards us on the consideration of our distress and misery. But
all compassion ceaseth towards them whose condition is
irrecoverable. Wherefore the Lord Christ pitied not the angels that
fell, because their nature was not to be relieved. Of this
compassion in Christ, see Heb. 2: 14-16; Isa. 63: 9.
 (5.) As then we lay under the eye of Christ in our misery, we were
the objects of his pity and compassion; but as he looketh on us as
recoverable out of that state, his love worketh in and by delight.
It was an inconceivable delight unto him, to take a prospect of the
deliverance of mankind unto the glory of God; which is also an act
of love. See this divinely expressed, Prov. 8: 30, 31, as that place
has been elsewhere explained.
 (6.) If it be inquired, whence this compassion and delight in him
should arise, what should be the cause of them, that he who was
eternally blessed in his own self-sufficiency should so deeply
concern himself in our lost, forlorn condition? I say it did so
merely from the infinite love and goodness of his own nature,
without the least procuring inducement from us or any thing in us,
Tit. 3: 5.
 (7.) In this his readiness, willingness, and delight, springing
from love and compassion, the counsel of God concerning the way of
our recovery is, as it were, proposed unto him. Now, this was a way
of great difficulties and perplexities unto himself, - that is, unto
his person as it was to be constituted. To the divine nature nothing
is grievous, - nothing is difficult; but he was to have another
nature, wherein he was to undergo the difficulties of this way and
work. It was required of him that he should pity us until he had
none left to pity himself when he stood in need of it, - that he
should pursue his delight to save us until his own soul was heavy
and sorrowful unto death, - that he should relieve us in our
sufferings by suffering the same things that we should have done.
But he was not in the least hereby deterred from undertaking this
work of love and mercy for us; yea, his love rose on this proposal
like the waters of a mighty stream against opposition. For hereon he
says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God;" - it is my delight to do
it, Heb. 10: 5-7; Isa. 50: 5-7.
 (8.) Being thus inclined, disposed, and ready, in the eternal love
of his divine person, to undertake the office of mediation and the
work of our redemption, a body was prepared for him. In this body or
human nature, made his own, he was to make this love effectual in
all its inclinations and acting. It was provided for him unto this
end, and filled with all grace in a way unmeasurable, especially
with fervent love unto mankind. And hereby it became a meet
instrument to actuate his eternal love in all the fruits of it.
 (9.) It is hence evident, that this glorious love of Christ does
not consist alone in the eternal acting of his divine person, or the
divine nature in his person. Such, indeed, is the love of the
Father, - namely, his eternal purpose for the communication of grace
and glory, with his acquiescence therein; but there is more in the
love of Christ. For when he exercised this love he was man also, and
not God only. And in none of those eternal acts of love could the
human nature of Christ have any interest or concern; yet is the love
of the man Christ Jesus celebrated in the Scripture.
 (10.) Wherefore this love of Christ which we inquire after is the
love of his person, - that is, which he in his own person acts in
and by his distinct natures, according unto their distinct essential
properties. And the acts of love in these distinct natures are
infinitely distinct and different; yet are they all acts of one and
the same person. So, then, whether that act of love in Christ which
we would at any time consider, be an eternal act of the divine
nature in the person of the Son of God; or whether it be an act of
the human, performed in time by the gracious faculties and powers of
that nature, it is still the love of one and the self same person, -
Christ Jesus.
 It was an act of inexpressible love in him, that he assumed our
nature, Heb. 2: 14, 17. But it was an act in and of his divine
nature only; for it was antecedent unto the existence of his human
nature, which could not, therefore, concur therein. His laying down
his life for us was an act of inconceivable love, 1 John 3: 16. Yet
was it only an act of the human nature, wherein he offered himself
and died. But both the one and the other were acts of his divine
person; whence it is said that God laid down his life for us, and
purchased the church with his own blood.
 This is that love of Christ wherein he is glorious, and wherein we
are by faith to behold his glory. A great part of the blessedness of
the saints in heaven, and their triumph therein, consists in their
beholding of this glory of Christ, - in their thankful contemplation
of the fruits of it. See Rev. 5: 9, 10, &c.
 The illustrious brightness wherewith this glory shines in heaven,
the all-satisfying sweetness which the view of it gives unto the
souls of the saints there possessed of glory, are not by us
conceivable, nor to be expressed. Here, this love passeth knowledge,
- there, we shall comprehend the dimensions of it. Yet even here, if
we are not slothful and carnal, we may have a refreshing prospect of
it; and where comprehension fails, let admiration take place.
 My present business is, to exhort others unto the contemplation of
it, though it be but a little, a very little, a small portion of it,
that I can conceive; and less than that very little that I can
express. Yet may it be my duty to excite not only myself, but others
also, unto due inquiries after it; unto which end I offer the things
 1. Labour that your minds may continually be fitted and prepared
for such heavenly contemplations. If they are carnal and sensual, or
need with earthly things, a due sense of this love of Christ and its
glory will not abide in them. Virtue and vice, in their highest
degrees, are not more diametrically opposite and inconsistent in the
same mind, than are a habitual course of sensual, worldly thoughts
and a due contemplation of the glory of the love of Christ; yea, an
earnestness of spirit, pregnant with a multitude of thoughts about
the lawful occasions of life, is obstructive of all due communion
with the Lord Jesus Christ herein.
 Few there are whose minds are prepared in a due manner for this
duty. The actions and communications of the most evidence what is
the inward frame of their souls. They rove up and down in their
thoughts, which are continually led by their affections into the
corners of the earth. It is in vain to call such persons unto
contemplations of the glory of Christ in his love. A holy composure
of mind, by virtue of spiritual principles, an inclination to seek
after refreshment in heavenly things, and to bathe the soul in the
fountain of them, with constant apprehensions of the excellency of
this divine glory, are required hereunto.
 2. Be not satisfied with general notions concerning the love of
Christ, which represent no glory unto the mind, wherewith many
deceive themselves. All who believe his divine person, profess a
valuation of his love, - and think them not Christians who are
otherwise minded; but they have only general notions, and not any
distinct conceptions of it, and really know not what it is. To
deliver us from this snare, peculiar meditations on its principal
concerns are required of us.
 (1.) Whose love it is, - namely, of the divine person of the Son
of God. He is expressly called God, with respect unto the exercise
of this love, that we may always consider whose it is, 1 John 3: 16,
"Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life
for us."
 (2.) By what ways and means this wonderful love of the Son of God
does act itself, - namely, in the divine nature, by eternal acts of
wisdom, goodness, and grace proper thereunto; and in the human, by
temporary acts of pity or compassion, with all the fruits of them in
doing and suffering for us. See Eph 3: 19; Heb. 2: 14, 15; Rev. 1:
 (3.) What is the freedom of it, as to any desert on our part, 1
John 4: 10. It was hatred, not love, that we in ourselves deserved;
which is a consideration suited to fill the soul with
self-abasement, - the best of frames in the contemplation of the
glory of Christ.
 (4.) What is the efficacy of it in its fruits and effects, with
sundry other considerations of the like nature.
 By a distinct prospect and admiration of these things, the soul
may walk in this paradise of God, and gather here and there a
heavenly flower, conveying unto it a sweet savour of the love of
Christ. See Cant. 2: 2-4.
 Moreover, be not contented to have right notions of the love of
Christ in your minds, unless you can attain a gracious taste of it
in your hearts; no more than you would be to see a feast or banquet
richly prepared, and partake of nothing of it unto your refreshment.
It is of that nature that we may have a spiritual sensation of it in
our minds; whence it is compared by the spouse to apples and flagons
of wine. We may taste that the Lord is gracious; and if we find not
a relish of it in our hearts, we shall not long retain the notion of
it in our minds. Christ is the meat, the bread, the food of our
souls. Nothing is in him of a higher spiritual nourishment than his
love, which we should always desire.
 In this love is he glorious; for it is such as no creatures,
angels or men, could have the least conceptions of, before its
manifestation by its effects; and, after its manifestation, it is in
this world absolutely incomprehensible.

Chapter 6. The Glory of Christ in the Discharge of his Mediatory

 Secondly, As the Lord Christ was glorious in the susception of his
office, so was he also in its discharge.
 An unseen glory accompanied him in all that he did, in all that he
suffered. Unseen it was unto the eyes of the world, but not in His
who alone can judge of it. Had men seen it, they would net have
crucified the Lord of glory. Yet to some of them it was made
manifest. Hence they testified that, in the discharge of his office,
they "beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the
Father," John 1:14; and that when other could see neither "form nor
comeliness in him that he should be desired," Isa. 53: 2. And so it
is at this day. I shall only make some few observations; first, on
what he did in a way of obedience; and then on what he suffered in
the discharge of his office so undertaken by him.
 I. What he did, what obedience he yielded unto the law of God in
the discharge of his office (with respect whereunto he said, "Lo, I
come to do thy will, O God; yea, thy law is in my heart"), it was
all on his own free choice or election, and was resolved whereinto
alone. It is our duty to endeavour after freedom, willingness, and
cheerfulness in all our obedience. Obedience has its formal nature
from our wills. So much as there is of our wills in what we do
towards God, so much there is of obedience, and no more. Howbeit we
are, antecedently unto all acts of our own wills, obliged unto all
that is called obedience. From the very constitution of our natures
we are necessarily subject unto the law of God. All that is left
unto us is a voluntary compliance with unavoidable commands; with
him it was not so. An act of his own will and choice preceded all
obligation as unto obedience. He obeyed because he would, before
because he ought. He said, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God,"
before he was obliged to do that will. By his own choice, and that
in an act of infinite condescension and love, as we have showed, he
was "made of a woman," and thereby "made under the law." In his
divine person he was Lord of the law, - above it, - no more
obnoxious unto its commands than its curse. Neither was he
afterwards in himself, on his own account, unobnoxious unto its
curse merely because he was innocent, but also because he was every
way above the law itself, and all its force.
 This was the original glory of his obedience. This wisdom, the
grace, the love, the condescension that was in this choice, animated
every act, every duty of his obedience, - rendering it amiable in
the sight of God, and useful unto us. So, when he went to John to be
baptised, he, who knew he had no need of it on his own account,
would have declined the duty of administering that ordinance unto
him; but he replied, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh
us to fulfil all righteousness," Matt. 3: 15. This I have undertaken
willingly, of my own accord, without any need of it for myself, and
therefore will discharge it. For him, who was Lord of all
universally, thus to submit himself to universal obedience, carrieth
along with it an evidence of glorious grace.
 2. This obedience, as unto the use and end of it, was not for
himself, but for us. We were obliged unto it, and could not perform
it; - he was not obliged unto it any otherwise but by a free act of
his own will, and did perform it. God gave him this honour, that he
should obey for the whole church, - that by "his obedience many
should be made righteous," Rom. 5: 19. Herein, I say, did God give
him honour and glory, that his obedience should stand in the stead
of the perfect obedience of the church as unto justification.
 3. His obedience being absolutely universal, and absolutely
perfect, was the great representative of the holiness of God in the
law. It was represented glorious when the ten words were written by
the finger of God in tables of stone; it appears yet more eminently
in the spiritual transcription of it in the hearts of believers: but
absolutely and perfectly it is exemplified only in the holiness and
obedience of Christ, which answered it unto the utmost. And this is
no small part of his glory in obedience, that the holiness of God in
the law was therein, and therein alone, in that one instance, as
unto human nature, fully represented.
 4. He wrought out this obedience against all difficulties and
oppositions. For although he was absolutely free from that disorder
which in us has invaded our whole natures, which internally renders
all obedience difficult unto us, and perfect obedience impossible;
yet as unto opposition from without, in temptations, sufferings,
reproaches, contradictions, he met with more than we all. Hence is
that glorious word, "although he were a Son, yet learned he
obedience by the things which he suffered," Heb.5: 8. See our
exposition of that place. But, -
 5. The glory of this obedience ariseth principally from the
consideration of the person who thus yielded it unto God. This was
no other but the Son of God made man, - God and man in one person.
He who was in heaven, above all, Lord of all, at the same time lived
in the world in a condition of no reputation, and a course of the
strictest obedience unto the whole law of God. He unto whom prayer
was made, prayed himself night and day. He whom all the angels of
heaven and all creatures worshipped, was continually conversant in
all the duties of the worship of God. He who was over the house,
diligently observed the meanest office of the house. He that made
all men, in whose hand they are all as clay in the hand of the
potter, observed amongst them the strictest rules of justice, in
giving unto every one his due; and of charity, in giving good things
that were not so due. This is that which renders the obedience of
Christ in the discharge of his office both mysterious and glorious.
 II. Again, the glory of Christ is proposed unto us in what he
suffered in the discharge of the office which he had undertaken.
There belonged, indeed, unto his office, victory, success, and
triumph with great glory, Isa. 63: 1-5; but there were sufferings
also required of him antecedently thereunto: "Ought not Christ to
suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?"
 But such were these sufferings of Christ, as that in our thoughts
about them our minds quickly recoil in a sense of their
insufficiency to conceive aright of them. Never any one launched
into this ocean with his meditations, but he quickly found himself
unable to fathom the depths of it; nor shall I here undertake an
inquiry into them. I shall only point at this spring of glory, and
leave it under a veil.
 We might here look on him as under the weight of the wrath of God,
and the curse of the law; taking on himself, and on his whole soul,
the utmost of evil that God had ever threatened to sin or sinners.
We might look on him in his agony and bloody sweat, in his strong
cries and supplications, when he was sorrowful unto the death, and
began to be amazed, in apprehensions of the things that were coming
on him, - of that dreadful trial which he was entering into. We
might look upon him conflicting with all the powers of darkness, the
rage and madness of men, suffering in his soul, his body, his name,
his reputation, his goods, his life; some of these sufferings being
immediate from God above, others from devils and wicked men, acting
according to the determinate counsel of God. We might look on him
praying, weeping, crying out, bleeding, dying, - in all things
making his soul an offering for sin; so was he "taken from prison,
and from judgement: and who shall declare his generation? for he was
cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression," says
God, "of my people was he smitten," Isa. 53: 8. But these things I
shall not insist on in particular, but leave them under such a veil
as may give us a prospect into them, so far as to fill our souls
with holy admiration.
 Lord, what is man, that thou art thus mindful of him? and the son
of man, that thou visitest him? Who has known thy mind, or who has
been thy counsellor? 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! What shall we say unto these things? That God
spared not his only Son, but gave him up unto death, and all the
evils included therein, for such poor, lost sinners as we were; -
that for our sakes the eternal Son of God should submit himself unto
all the evils that our natures are obnoxious unto, and that our sins
had deserved, that we might be delivered!
 How glorious is the Lord Christ on this account, in the eyes of
believers! When Adam had sinned, and thereby eternally, according
unto the sanction of the law, ruined himself and all his posterity,
he stood ashamed, afraid, trembling, as one ready to perish for
ever, under the displeasure of God. Death was that which he had
deserved, and immediate death was that which he looked for. In this
state the Lord Christ in the promise comes unto him, and says, Poor
creature! How woeful is thy condition! how deformed is thy
appearance! What is become of the beauty, of the glory of that image
of God wherein thou wast created? How hast thou taken on thee the
monstrous shape and image of Satan? And yet thy present misery, thy
entrance into dust and darkness, is no way to be compared with what
is to ensue. Eternal distress lies at the door. But yet look up once
more, and behold me, that thou mayest have some glimpse of what is
in the designs of infinite wisdom, love, and grace. Come forth from
thy vain shelter, thy hiding-place I will put myself into thy
condition. I will undergo and bear that burden of guilt and
punishment which would sink thee eternally into the bottom of hell.
I will pay that which I never took; and be made temporally a curse
for thee, that thou mayest attain unto eternal blessedness. To the
same purpose he speaks unto convinced sinners, in the invitation he
gives them to come unto him.
 Thus is the Lord Christ set forth in the Gospel, "evidently
crucified" before our eyes, Gal. 3: 1, - namely, in the
representation that is made of his glory, - in the sufferings he
underwent for the discharge of the office he had undertaken. Let us,
then, behold him as poor, despised, persecuted, reproached, reviled,
hanged on a tree, - in all, labouring under a sense of the wrath of
God due unto our sins. Unto this end are they recorded in the
gospel, - read, preached, and presented unto us. But what can we see
herein? - what glory is in these things? Are not these the things
which all the world of Jews and gentiles stumbled and took offence
at? - those wherein he was appointed to be a stone of stumbling and
a rock of offence? Was it not esteemed a foolish thing, to look for
help and deliverance by the miseries of another? - to look for life
by his death? The apostle declares at large that such it was
esteemed, 1 Cor. 1. So was it in the wisdom of the world. But even
on the account of these things is he honourable, glorious, and
precious in the sight of them that do believe, 1 Pet. 2: 6, 7. For
even herein he was "the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor.
1: 24. And the apostle declares at large the grounds and reasons of
the different thoughts and apprehensions of men concerning the cross
and sufferings of Christ, 2 Cor. 4: 3-6.

Chapter 7. The Glory of Christ in his Exaltation after the
Accomplishment of the Work of Mediation in this World.

 We may, in the next place, behold the glory of Christ, with
respect unto his office, in the actings of God towards him which
ensued on his discharge of it in this world, in his own exaltation.
 These are the two heads whereunto all the prophecies and
predictions concerning Jesus Christ under the Old Testament are
referred, - namely, his sufferings, and the glory that ensued
thereon, 1 Peter 1: 11. All the prophets testified beforehand "of
the Sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." So when
he himself opened the Scriptures unto his disciples, he gave them
this as the sum of the doctrine contained in them, "Ought not Christ
to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" Luke
24: 26. The one is frequently expressed elsewhere, Rom. 14: 9; Phil.
2: 5-9.
 So much as we know of Christ, his sufferings, and his glory, so
much do we understand of the Scripture, and no more.
 These are the two heads of the mediation of Christ and his
kingdom, and this is their order which they communicate unto the
church, first sufferings, and then glory: "If we suffer, we shall
also reign with him," 2 Tim. 2: 12. They do but deceive themselves
who design any other method of these things. Some would reign here
in this world; and we may say, with the apostle, "Would you did
reign, that we might reign with you." But the members of the
mystical body must be conformed unto the Head. In him sufferings
went before glory; and so they must in them. The order in the
kingdom of Satan and the world is contrary hereunto. First the good
things of this life, and then eternal misery, is the method of that
kingdom, Luke 16: 25.
 These are the two springs of the salvation of the church, - the
two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth,
from which all the golden oil, whereby the church is dedicated unto
God and sanctified, does flow. This glory of Christ in his
exaltation, which followed on his sufferings, is that which we now
inquire into. And we shall state our apprehensions of it in the
ensuing observations: -
 1. This is peculiarly that glory which the Lord Christ prays that
his disciples may be where he is to behold it. It is not solely so,
as it is considered absolutely; but it is that wherein all the other
parts of his glory are made manifest. It is the evidence, the
pledge, the means of the manifestation of them all. As unto all the
instances of his glory before insisted on, there was a veil drawn
over them whilst he was in this world. Hence the most saw nothing of
it, and the best saw it but obscurely. But in this glory that veil
is taken off, whereby the whole glory of his person in itself and in
the work of mediation is most illustriously manifested. When we
shall immediately behold this glory, we shall see him as he is. This
is that glory whereof the Father made grant unto him before the
foundation of the world, and wherewith he was actually invested upon
his ascension.
 2. By this glory of Christ I do not understand the essential glory
of his divine nature, or his being absolutely in his own person
"over all, God blessed for ever;" but the manifestation of this
glory in particular, after it had been veiled in this world under
the "form of a servant," belongs hereunto. The divine glory of
Christ in his person belongs not unto his exaltation; but the
manifestation of it does so. It was not given him by free donation;
but the declaration of it unto the church of angels and men after
his humiliation was so. He left it not whilst he was in this world;
but the direct evidence and declaration of it he laid aside, until
he was "declared to be the Son of God with power," by the
resurrection from the dead.
 When the sun is under a total eclipse, he loseth nothing of his
native beauty, light, and glory. He is still the same that he was
from the beginning, - a "great light to rule the day." To us he
appears as a dark, useless meteor; but when he comes by his course
to free himself from the lunar interposition, unto his proper aspect
towards us, he manifests again his native light and glory. So was it
with the divine nature of Christ, as we have before declared. He
veiled the glory of it by the interposition of the flesh, or the
assumption of our nature to be his own; with this addition, that
therein he took on him the "form of a servant," of a person of mean
and low degree. But this temporary eclipse being past and over, it
now shines forth in its infinite lustre and beauty, which belongs
unto the present exaltation of his person. And when those who beheld
him here as a poor, sorrowful, persecuted man, dying on the cross,
came to see him in all the infinite, untreated glories of the divine
nature, manifesting themselves in his person, it could not but fill
their souls with transcendent joy and admiration. And this is one
reason of his prayer for them whilst he was on the earth, that they
might be where he is to behold his glory; for he knew what ineffable
satisfaction it would be unto them for evermore.
 3. I do not understand absolutely the glorification of the human
nature of Christ, - that very soul and body wherein he lived and
died, suffered and rose again, - though that also be included
herein. This also were a subject meet for our contemplation,
especially as it is the exemplar of that glory which he will bring
all those unto who believe in him. But because at present we look
somewhat farther, I shall observe only one or two things concerning
 (1.) That very nature itself which he took on him in this world,
is exalted into glory. Some under a pretence of great subtlety and
accuracy, do deny that he has either flesh or blood in heaven; that
is, as to the substance of them, however you may suppose that they
are changed, purified, glorified. The great foundation of the church
and all gospel faith, is, that he was made Flesh, that he did
partake of flesh and blood, even as did the children. That he has
forsaken that flesh and blood which he was made in the womb of the
blessed Virgin, - wherein he lived and died, which he offered unto
God in sacrifice, and wherein he rose from the dead, - is a Socinian
fiction. What is the true nature of the glorification of the
humanity of Christ, neither those who thus surmise, nor we, can
perfectly comprehend. It does not yet appear what we ourselves shall
be; much less is it evident unto us what he is, whom we shall be
like. But that he is still in the same human nature wherein he was
on the earth, that he has the same rational soul and the same body,
is a fundamental article of the Christian faith.
 (2.) This nature of the man Christ Jesus is filled with all the
divine graces and perfections whereof a limited, created nature is
capable. It is not deified, it is not made a god; - it does not in
heaven coalesce into one nature with the divine by a composition of
them, - it has not any essential property of the Deity communicated
unto it, so as subjectively to reside in it; - it is not made
omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent; but it is exalted in a fulness
of all Divine perfection ineffably above the glory of angels and
men. It is incomprehensibly nearer God than they all, - hath
communications from God, in glorious light, love, and power,
ineffably above them all; but it is still a creature.
 For the substance of this glory of the human nature of Christ,
believers shall be made partakers of it; for when we see him as he
is, we shall be like him; but as unto the degrees and measures of
it, his glory is above all that we can be made partakers of. "There
is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another
glory of the stars; and one star differeth from another in glory,"
as the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 15: 41. And if there be a difference
in glory among the stars themselves as to some degrees of the same
glory, how much more is there between the glory of the sun and that
of any star whatever! Such is the difference that is, and will be
unto eternity, between the human nature of Christ and what glorified
believers do attain unto. But yet this is not that properly wherein
the glory of Christ in his exaltation, after his humiliation and
death, does consist. The things that belong unto it may be reduced
unto the ensuing heads.
 1. It consisteth in the exaltation of the human nature, as
subsisting in the divine person, above the whole creation of God in
power, dignity, authority, and rule, with all things that the wisdom
of God has appointed to render the glory of it illustrious. I have
so largely insisted on the explication and confirmation of this part
of the present glory of Christ, in the exposition of Heb. 1: 2, 3,
that I have nothing more to add thereunto.
 2. It does so in the evidence given of the infinite love of God
the Father unto him, and his delight in him, with the eternal
approbation of his discharge of the office committed unto him. Hence
he is said "to sit at the right hand of God," or at "the right hand
of the majesty on high." That the glory and dignity of Christ in his
exaltation is singular, the highest that can be given to a creature,
incomprehensible; - that he is, with respect unto the discharge of
his office, under the eternal approbation of God; - that, as so
gloriously exalted, he is proclaimed unto the whole creation, - are
all contained in this expression.
 3. Hereunto is added the full manifestation of his own divine
wisdom, love, and grace, in the work of mediation and redemption of
the church. This glory is absolutely singular and peculiar unto him.
Neither angels nor men have the least interest in it. Here, we see
it darkly as in a glass; above, it shines forth in its brightness,
to the eternal joy of them who behold him.
 This is that glory which our Lord Jesus Christ in an especial
manner prayed that his disciples might behold. This is that whereof
we ought to endeavour a prospect by faith; - by faith, I say, and
not by imagination. Vain and foolish men, having general notions of
this glory of Christ, knowing nothing of the real nature of it, have
endeavoured to represent it in pictures and images, with all that
lustre and beauty which the art of painting, with the ornaments of
gold and jewels, can give unto them. This is that representation of
the present glory of Christ, which, being made and proposed unto the
imagination and carnal affections of superstitious persons, carrieth
such a show of devotion and veneration in the Papal Church. But they
err, not knowing the Scripture, nor the eternal glory of the Son of
 This is the sole foundation of all our meditations herein. The
glory that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the real actual possession of
in heaven can be no otherwise seen or apprehended in this world, but
in the light of faith fixing itself on divine revelation. To behold
this glory of Christ is not an act of fancy or imagination. It does
not consist in framing unto ourselves the shape of a glorious person
in heaven. But the steady exercise of faith on the revelation and
description made of this glory of Christ in the Scripture, is the
ground, rule, and measure, of all divine meditations thereon.
 Hereon our duty it is to call ourselves to an account as unto our
endeavour after a gracious view of this glory of Christ: - When did
we steadily behold it? when had we such a view of it as wherein our
souls have been satisfied and refreshed? It is declared and
represented unto us as one of the chief props of our faith, as a
help of our joy, as an object of our hope, as a ground of our
consolation, - as our greatest encouragement unto obedience and
suffering. Are our minds every day conversant with thoughts hereof?
or do we think ourselves not much concerned herein? Do we look upon
it as that which is without us and above us, - that which we shall
have time enough to consider when we come to heaven? So is it with
many. They care neither where Christ is nor what he is, so that one
way or other they may be saved by him. They hope, as they pretend,
that they shall see him and his glory in heaven, - and that they
suppose to be time enough; but in vain do they pretend a desire
thereof, - in vain are their expectations of any such thing. They
who endeavour not to behold the glory of Christ in this world, as
has been often said, shall never behold him in glory hereafter unto
their satisfaction; nor do they desire so to do, only they suppose
it a part of that relief which they would have when they are gone
out of this world. For what should beget such a desire in them?
Nothing can do it but some view of it here by faith; which they
despise, or totally neglect. Every pretence of a desire of heaven,
and of the presence of Christ therein, that does not arise from,
that is not resolved into, that prospect which we have of the glory
of Christ in this world by faith, is mere fancy and imagination.
 Our constant exercise in meditation on this glory of artist will
fill us with joy on his account; which is an effectual motive unto
the duty itself. We are for the most part selfish, and look no
farther than our own concernments. So we may be pardoned and saved
by him, we care not much how it is with himself, but only presume it
is well enough. We find not any concernment of our own therein. But
this frame is directly opposite unto the genius of divine faith and
love. For their principal actings consist preferring Christ above
ourselves, and our concerns in him above all our own. Let this,
then, stir us up unto the contemplation of this glory. Who is it
that is thus exalted over all? Who is thus encompassed with glory,
majesty, and power? Who is it that sits down at the right hand of
the Majesty on high, - all his enemies being made his footstool? Is
it not he who in this world was poor, despised, persecuted, and
slain, - all for our sakes? Is it not the same Jesus who loved us,
and gave himself for us, and washed us in his own blood? So the
apostle told the Jews that the same Jesus whom they slew and hanged
on a tree, God had exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and
Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and the forgiveness of
sins," Acts 5: 30, 31. If we have any valuation of his love, if we
have any concernment in what he has done and suffered for the
church, we cannot but rejoice in his present state and glory.
 Let the world rage whilst it pleaseth; let it set itself with all
its power and craft against every thing of Christ that is in it, -
which, whatever is by some otherwise pretended, proceeds from a
hatred unto his person; let men make themselves drunk with the blood
of his saints; we have this to oppose unto all their attempts, unto
our supportment, namely, what he says of himself: "Fear not; I am
the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and,
behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of
death," Rev. 1: 17, 18.
 Blessed Jesus! we can add nothing to thee, nothing to thy glory;
but it is a joy of heart unto us that thou art what thou art, - that
thou art so gloriously exalted at the right hand of God; and we do
long more fully and clearly to behold that glory, according to thy
prayer and promise.

Chapter 8. Representations of the Glory of Christ under the Old

 It is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, "beginning at Moses and
all the prophets, he declared unto his disciples in all the
Scriptures the things concerning himself," Luke 24: 27. It is
therefore manifest that Moses, and the Prophets, and all the
Scriptures, do give testimony unto him and his glory. This is the
line of life and light which runs through the whole Old Testament;
without the conduct whereof we can understand nothing aright
therein: and the neglect hereof is that which makes many as blind in
reading the books of it as are the Jews, - the veil being upon their
minds. It is faith alone, discovering the glory of Christ, that can
remove that veil of darkness which covers the minds of men in
reading the Old Testament, as the apostle declares, 2 Cor. 3: 14-16.
I shall, therefore, consider briefly some of those ways and means
whereby the glory of Christ was represented unto believers under the
Old Testament.
 1. It was so in the institution of the beautiful worship of the
law, with all the means of it. Herein have they the advantage above
all the splendid ceremonies that men can invent in the outward
worship of God; they were designed and framed in Divine wisdom to
represent the glory of Christ, in his person and his office. This
nothing of human invention can do, or once pretend unto. Men cannot
create mysteries, nor can give unto anything natural in itself a
mystical signification. But so it was in the old divine
institutions. What were the tabernacle and temple? What was the holy
place with the utensil of it? What was the oracle, the ark, the
cherubim, the mercy-seat, placed therein? What was the high priest
in all his vestments and administrations? What were the sacrifices
and annual sprinkling of blood in the most holy place? What was the
whole system of their religious worship? Were they anything but
representations of Christ in the glory of his person and his office?
They were a shadow, and the body represented by that shadow was
Christ. If any would see how the Lord Christ was in particular
foresignified and represented in them, he may peruse our exposition
on the 9th chapter of the Epistle unto the Hebrews, where it is
handled so at large as that I shall not here again insist upon it.
The sum is, "Moses was faithful in all the house of God, for a
testimony of those things which were to be spoken afterward," Heb.
3: 5. All that Moses did in the erection of the tabernacle, and the
institution of all its services, was but to give an antecedent
testimony by way of representation, unto the things of Christ that
were afterward to be revealed. And that also was the substance of
the ministry of the prophets, 1 Pet. 1: 11,12. The dark
apprehensions of the glory of Christ, which by these means they
obtained, were the life of the church of old.
 2. It was represented in the mystical account which is given us of
his communion with his church in love and grace. As this is
intimated in many places of Scripture, so there is one entire book
designed unto its declaration. This is the divine Song of Solomon,
who was a type of Christ, and a penman of the Holy Ghost therein A
gracious record it is of the divine communications of Christ in love
and grace unto his church, with their returns of love unto him, and
delight in him. And then may a man judge himself to have somewhat
profited in the experience of the mystery of a blessed intercourse
and communion with Christ, when the expressions of them in that holy
dialogue do give light and life unto his mind, and efficaciously
communicate unto him an experience of their power. But because these
things are little understood by many, the book itself is much
neglected, if not despised; yea, to such impudence have some
arrived, in foaming out their own shame, as that they have ridiculed
the expressions of it. But we are foretold of such mockers in the
last days, that should walk after their own ungodly lusts; they are
not of our present consideration.
 The former instance of the representations of the glory of Christ
in their institutions of outward worship, with this record of the
inward communion they had with Christ in grace, faith, and love,
gives us the substance of that view which they had of his glory.
What holy strains of delight and admiration, what raptures of joy,
what solemn and divine complacency, what ardency of affection, and
diligence in attendance unto the means of enjoying communion with
him, this discovery of the glory of Christ wrought in the souls of
them that did believe, is emphatically expressed in that discourse.
A few days, a few hours spent in the frame characterised in it, is a
blessedness excelling all the treasures of the earth; and if we,
whose revelations of the same glory do far exceed theirs, should be
found to come short of them in ardency of affection unto Christ, and
continual holy admiration of his excellencies, we shall one day be
judged unworthy to have received them.
 3. It was so represented and made known under the Old Testament,
in his personal appearances on various occasions unto several
eminent persons, leaders of the church in their generations This he
did as a praeludium to his incarnation. He was as yet God only; but
appeared in the assumed shape of a man, to signify what he would be.
He did not create a human nature, and unite it unto himself for such
a season; only by his divine power he acted the shape of a man
composed of what ethereal substance he pleased, immediately to be
dissolved. So he appeared to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua,
and others; as I have at large elsewhere proved and confirmed. And
hereon, also, because he was the divine person who dwelt in and
dwelt with the church, under the Old Testament, from first to last,
in so doing he constantly assumes unto himself human affections, to
intimate that a season would come when he would immediately act in
that nature. And, indeed, after the fall there is nothing spoken of
God in the Old Testament, nothing of his institutions, nothing of
the way and manner of dealing with the church, but what has respect
unto the future incarnation of Christ. And it had been absurd to
bring in God under perpetual anthropopathies, as grieving,
repenting, being angry, weal pleased, and the like, were it not but
that the divine person intended was to take on him the nature
wherein such affections do dwell.
 4. It was represented in prophetical visions. So the apostle
affirms that the vision which Isaiah had of him was when he saw his
glory, John 12: 41. And it was a blessed representation thereof; for
his divine person being exalted on a throne of glory, "his train
filled the temple." The whole train of his glorious grace filled the
temple of his body. This is the true tabernacle, which God pitched,
and not man; - the temple which was destroyed, and which he raised
again in three days, wherein dwelt the fulness of the Godhead, Col.
2: 9. This glory was now presented unto the view of Isaiah, chap. 6:
1-5; which filled him with dread and astonishment. But from thence
he was relieved, by an act of the ministry of that glorious one,
taking away his iniquity by a coal from the altar; which typified
the purifying efficacy of his sacrifice. This was food for the souls
of believers: in these and on the like occasions did the whole
church lift up their voice in that holy cry, "Make haste, our
Beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart, on the
mountains of spices."
 Of the same nature was his glorious appearance on mount Sinai at
the giving of the law, Exod. 19; - for the description thereof by
the Psalmist, Ps. 68: 17, 18, is applied by the apostle unto the
ascension of Christ after his resurrection, Eph. 4: 8. Only, as it
was then full of outward terror, because of the giving of the fiery
law, it was referred unto by the Psalmist as full of mercy, with
respect unto his accomplishment of the same law. His giving of it
was as death unto them concerned, because of its holiness, and the
severity of the curse wherewith it was attended; his fulfil1ing of
it was life, by the pardon and righteousness which issued from
 5. The doctrine of his incarnation, whereby he became the subject
of all that glory which we inquire after, was revealed, although not
so clearly as by the gospel, after the actual accomplishment of the
thing itself. In how many places this is done in the Old Testament I
have elsewhere declared; at least I have explained and vindicated
many of them (for no man can presume to know them all), - "Vindicae
Evangelae". One instance, therefore, shall here suffice; and this is
that of the same prophet Isaiah, chap. 9: 6, 7, "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. Of the
increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the
throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish
it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." This one testimony
is sufficient to confound all Jews, Socinians, and other enemies of
the glory of Christ. I do acknowledge that, notwithstanding this
declaration of the glory of Christ in his future incarnation and
rule, there remained much darkness in the minds of them unto whom it
was then made. For although they might and did acquiesce in the
truth of the revelation, yet they could frame to themselves no
notions of the way or manner of its accomplishment. But now, when
every word of it is explained, declared, and its mystical sense
visibly laid open unto us in the Gospel, and by the accomplishment
exactly answering every expression in it, it is judicial blindness
not to receive it. Nothing but the satanical pride of the hearts of
men, which will admit of no effects of infinite wisdom but what they
suppose they can comprehend, can shut their eyes against the light
of this truth
 6. Promises, prophecies, predictions, concerning his person, his
coming, his office, his kingdom, and his glory in them all, with the
wisdom, grace, and love of God to the church in him, are the line of
life, as was said, which runs through all the writings of the Old
Testament, and takes up a great portion of them. Those were the
things which he expounded unto his disciples out of Moses and all
the Prophets. Concerning these things he appealed to the Scriptures
against all his adversaries: "Search the Scriptures; for they are
they which testify of me." And if we find them not, if we discern
them not therein, it is because a veil of blindness is over our
minds. Nor can we read, study, or meditate on the writings of the
Old Testament unto any advantage, unless we design to find out and
behold the glory of Christ, declared and represented in them. For
want hereof they are a sealed book to many unto this day.
 7. It is usual in the Old Testament to set out the glory of Christ
under metaphorical expressions; yea, it aboundeth therein. For such
allusions are exceedingly suited to let in a sense into our minds of
those things which we cannot distinctly comprehend. And there is an
infinite condescension of divine wisdom in this way of instruction,
representing unto us the power of things spiritual in what we
naturally discern. Instances of this kind, in calling the Lord
Christ by the names of those creatures which unto our senses
represent that excellency which is spiritually in him, are
innumerable. So he is called the rose, for the sweet savor of his
love, grace, and obedience; - the lily, for his gracious beauty and
amiableness; - the pearl of price, for his worth, for to them that
believe he is precious; - the vine, for his fruitfulness; - the
lion, for his power; - the Lamb, for his meekness and fitness for
sacrifice; with other things of the like kind almost innumerable.
 These things have I mentioned, not with any design to search into
the depth of this treasury of those divine truths concerning the
glory of Christ: but only to give a little light unto the words of
the evangelist, that he opened unto his disciples out of Moses and
all the Prophets the things which concerned himself; and to stir up
our own souls unto a contemplation of them as contained therein.

Chapter 9. The Glory of Christ in his intimate Conjunction with the

 What concerns the glory of Christ in the mission of the Holy Ghost
unto the church, with all the divine truths that are branched from
it, I have at large declared in my discourse concerning the whole
dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Here, therefore, it must have no
place amongst those many other things which offer themselves unto
our contemplation as part of this glory, or intimately belonging
thereunto. I shall insist briefly on three only, which cannot be
reduced directly unto the former heads.
 And the first of these is, - That intimate conjunction that is
between Christ and the church; whence it is just and equal in the
sight of God, according unto the rules of his eternal righteousness,
that what he did and suffered in the discharge of his office, should
be esteemed, reckoned, and imputed unto us, as unto all the fruits
and benefits of it, as if we had done and suffered the same things
ourselves. For this conjunction of his with us was an act of his own
mind and will, wherein he is ineffably glorious.
 The enemies of the glory of Christ and of his cross do take this
for granted, that there ought to be such a conjunction between the
guilty person and him that suffers for him, as that in him the
guilty person may be said, in some sense, to undergo the punishment
himself. But then they affirm, on the other hand, that there was no
such conjunction between Christ and sinners, - none at all; but that
he was a man, as they were men; and otherwise, that he was at the
greatest distance from them all as it is possible for one man to be
from another, Socin. de Servant. lib. 3 cap. 3. The falseness of
this latter assertion, and the gross ignorance of the Scripture,
under a pretence of subtlety, in them that make it, will evidently
appear in our ensuing Discourse.
 The apostle tells us, 1 Peter 2: 24, that in "his own self he bare
our sins in his own body on the tree;" and, chap. 3: 18, that he
"suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us
to God." But this seems somewhat strange unto reason. Where is the
justice, where is the equity, that the just should suffer for the
unjust? Where is divine righteousness herein? For it was an act of
God: "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all," Isa. 53: 6.
The equity hereof, with the grounds of it, must be here a little
inquired into. First of all, it is certain that all the elect, the
whole church of God, fell in Adam under the curse due to the
transgression of the law. It is so also, that in this curse death,
both temporal and eternal, was contained. This curse none could
undergo and be saved. Nor was it consistent with the righteousness,
or holiness, or truth of God, that sin should go unpunished.
Wherefore there was a necessity, upon a supposition of God's decree
to save his church, of a translator of punishment, - namely, from
them who had deserved it, and could not bear it, unto one who had
not deserved it, but could bear it.
 A supposition of this translation of punishment by divine
dispensation is the foundation of Christian religion, yea, of all
supernatural revelation contained in the Scripture. This was first
intimated in the first promise; and afterward explained and
confirmed in all the institutions of the Old Testament. For although
in the sacrifices of the law, there was a revival of the greatest
and most fundamental principle of the law of nature, - name]y, that
God is to be worshipped with our best, - yet the principal end and
use of them was to represent this translation of punishment from the
offender unto another, who was to be a sacrifice in his stead.
 The reasons of the equity hereof, and the unspeakable glory of
Christ herein, is what we now inquire into. And I shall reduce what
ought to be spoken hereunto to the ensuing heads: -
 I. It is not contrary unto the nature of divine justice, it does
not interfere with the principles of natural light in man, that in
sundry cases some persons should suffer punishment for the sins and,
offences of others.
 I shall at present give this assertion no other confirmation, but
only that God has often done so, who will, who can, do no iniquity.
 So he affirms that he will do, Exod. 20: 5, "Visiting the iniquity
of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
generation." It is no exception of weight, that they also are
sinners, continuing in their fathers' sins; for the worst of sinners
must not be dealt unjustly withal: but they must be so if they are
punished for their fathers' sins, and it be absolutely unlawful that
any one should be punished for the sin of another.
 So the church affirms, "Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and
we have borne their iniquities," Lam. 5: 7. And so it was; for in
the Babylonish captivity God punished the sins of their forefathers,
especially those committed in the days of Manasseh, 2 Kings 23: 26,
27; as afterward, in the final destruction of that church and
nation, God punished in them the guilt of all bloody persecutions
from the beginning of the world, Luke 11: 50, 51.
 So Canaan was cursed for the sin of his father, Gen. 9: 25. Saul's
seven sons were put to death for their father's bloody cruelty, 2
Sam. 21:9, 14. For the sin of David, seventy thousand of the people
were destroyed by an angel, concerning whom he said, "It is I that
have sinned and done evil; these sheep, what have they done" 2 Sam.
24: 15-17. See also 1 Kings 21: 29. So was it with all the children
or infantry that perished in the flood, or in the conflagration of
Sodom and Gomorrah. And other instances of the like nature may be
 It is therefore evident that there is no inconsistency with the
nature of divine justice, nor the rules of reason among men, that in
sundry cases the sins of some may be punished on others.
 II. It is to be observed, that this administration of justice is
not promiscuous, - that any whatever may be punished for the sins of
any others. There is always a special cause and reason of it; and
this is a peculiar conjunction between them who sin and those who
are punished for their sins. And two things belong unto this
conjunction 1. Especial relation; 2. Especial mutual interest.
 1. There is an especial relation required unto this translation of
punishment; such as that between parents and children, as in most of
the instances before given; or between a king and subjects, as in
the case of David. Hereby the persons sinning and those suffering
are constituted one body, wherein if one member offend, another may
justly suffer: the back may answer for what the hand takes away.
 2. It consists in mutual interest. Those whose sins are punished
in others have such an interest in them, as that their being so is a
punishment unto themselves. Therefore are such sinners threatened
with the punishment and evils that shall befall their posterity or
children for their sakes; which is highly penal unto themselves,
Numb. 14: 33, "Your children shall wander in the wilderness forty
years, and bear your whoredoms." The punishment due to their sins is
in part transferred unto their children; and therein did the sting
of heir own punishment also consist.
 III. There is a greater, a more intimate conjunction, a nearer
relation, a higher mutual interest, between Christ and the church,
than ever was or can be between any other persons or relations in
the world, whereon it became just and equal in the sight of God that
he should suffer for us, and that what he did and suffered would be
imputed unto us; which is farther to be cleared.
 There neither is nor can be any more than a threefold conjunction
between divers distinct persons. The first is natural; the second is
moral, whereunto I refer that which is spiritual or mystical; and
the third federal, by virtue of mutual compact. In all thee ways is
Christ in conjunction with his church, and in every one of them in a
way singular and peculiar.
 1. The first conjunction of distinct periods is natural. God has
made all mankind "of one blood," Acts 17: 26, - whereby there is a
cognation and alliance between them all. Hence every man is every
man's brother or neighbour, unto whom loving-kindness is to be
showed, Luke 10: 36. And this conjunction was between Christ and the
church, as the apostle declares, Heb. 2: 14, 15, "Forasmuch then as
the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself
likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver
them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to
bondage." Hence "both he that sanctifieth and they who are
sanctified are all of one," verse 11. His infinite condescension, in
coming into this communion and conjunction of nature with us, was
before declared; but it is not common, like that between all other
men, partakers of the same nature. There are two things wherein it
was peculiar and eminent.
 (1.) This conjunction between him and the church did not arise
from a necessity of nature, but from a voluntary act of his will.
The conjunction that is between all others is necessary. Every man
is every man's brother, Whether he will or no, by being a man.
Natural generation, communicating to every one his subsistence in
the same nature, prevent all acts of their own will and choice. With
the Lord Christ it was otherwise, as the text affirms. For such
reasons as are there expressed, he did, by an act of his own will,
partake of flesh and blood, or came into this conjunction with us.
He did it of his own choice, because the children did partake of the
same. He would be what the children were. Wherefore the conjunction
of Christ in human nature with the church is ineffably distinct from
that common conjunction which is amongst all others in the same
nature. And, therefore, although it should not be meet amongst mere
men, that one should act and suffer in the stead of others, because
they are all thus related to one another, as it were, whether they
will or no; yet this could not reach the Lord Christ, who, in a
strange and wonderful manner, came into this conjunction by a mere
act of his own.
 (2.) He came into it on this design, and for this only end, -
namely, that in our nature, taken to be his own, he might do and
suffer what was to be done and suffered for the church: so it is
added in the text, "That by death he might destroy him who had the
power of death; and deliver them who through fear of death were
subject to bondage." This was the only end of his conjunction in
nature with the church; and this puts the case between him and it at
a vast distance from what is or may be between other men.
 It is a foolish thing to argue, that because a mere participation
of the same nature among men is not sufficient to warrant the
righteousness of punishing one for another, - therefore the
conjunction in the same nature betwixt Christ and the church is not
a sufficient and just foundation of his suffering for us, and in our
stead. For, by an act of his own will and choice, he did partake of
our nature, and that for this very end, that therein he might suffer
for us; as the Holy Ghost expressly declares. Amongst others, there
neither is nor can be any thing of this nature, and so no objection
from what is equal or unequal amongst them can arise against what is
equal between Christ and the church. And herein is he glorious and
precious unto them that believe, as we shall see immediately.
 2. There is a mystical conjunction between Christ and the church,
which answers all the most strict, real, or moral unions or
conjunctions between other persons or things. Such is the
conjunction between the head of a body and its members, or the tree
of the vine and its branches, which are real; or between a husband
and wife, which is moral and real also. That there is such a
conjunction between Christ and his church the Scripture plentifully
declares, as also that it is the foundation of the equity of his
suffering in its stead. So speaks the apostle, Eph 5: 25-32,
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church," -
that is, his wife, the bride, the Lamb's wife, - "and gave himself
for it," &c. Being the head and husband of the church, which was to
be sanctified and saved, and could be so no otherwise but by his
blood and sufferings, he was both meet so to suffer, and it was
righteous also that what he did and suffered should be imputed unto
them for whom he both did it and suffered. Let the adversaries of
the glory of Christ assign any one instance of such a conjunction,
union, and relation between any amongst mankind, as is between
Christ and the church, and they may give some countenance unto their
cavils against his obedience and sufferings in our stead, with the
imputation of what he did and suffered unto us. But the glory of
Christ is singular herein, and as such it appears unto them by whom
the mystery of it is, in any measure, spiritually apprehended.
 But yet it will be said, that this mystical conjunction of Christ
with his church is consequential unto what he did and suffered for
it; for it ensues on the conversion of men unto him. For it is by
faith that we are implanted into him. Until that be actually wrought
in us, we have no mystical conjunction with him. He is not a head or
a husband unto unregenerate, unsanctified unbelievers, whilst they
continue so to be; and such was the state of the whole church when
Christ suffered for us, Rom. 5: 8; Eph 2: 6. There was, therefore,
no such mystical conjunction between him and the church as to render
it meet and equal that he should suffer in its stead. Wherefore the
church is the effect of the work of redemption, - that which rose
out of it, which was made and constituted by it; and cannot be so
the object of it as that which was to be redeemed by virtue of an
antecedent conjunction with it. I answer, -
 (1.) although this mystical conjunction is not actually consummate
without an actual participation of the Spirit of Christ, yet the
church of the elect was designed antecedently unto all his
sufferings to be his spouse and wife, so as that he might love her
and suffer for her; so it is said, Hos. 12: 12, "Israel served for a
wife, and for a wife he kept sheep." Howbeit she was not his married
wife until after he had served for her, and thereby purchased her to
be his wife; yet as he served for her she is called his wife,
because of his love unto her, and because she was so designed to be,
upon his service. So was the church designed to be the spouse of
Christ in the counsel of God; whereon he loved her and gave himself
for her.
 Hence, in the work of redemption the church was the object of it,
as designed to be the spouse of Christ; and the effect of it,
inasmuch as that thereby it was made meet for the full consummation
of that alliance; as the apostle expressly declares, Eph. 5: 25-27.
 (2.) Antecedently unto all that the Lord Christ did and suffered
for the church, there was a supreme act of the will of God the
Father, giving all the elect unto him, intrusting them with him, to
be redeemed, sanctified, and saved; as himself declares, John 17:
6, 9; 10: 14-16. And on these grounds this mystical conjunction
between Christ and the church has its virtue and efficacy before it
be actually consummate.
 3. There is a federal conjunction between distinct persons: and as
this is various, according unto the variety of the interests and
ends of them that enter into it; so that is most eminent, where one,
by the common consent of all that are concerned, undertakes to be a
sponsor or surety for others, to do and answer what on their part is
required of them for attaining the ends of the covenant. So did the
Lord Christ undertake to be surety of the new covenant in behalf of
the church, Heb. 7: 22, and thereon tendered himself unto God, to do
and suffer for them, in their stead, and on their behalf, whatever
was required, that they might be sanctified and saved. These things
I have treated of at large elsewhere, as containing a great part of
the mystery of the wisdom of God in the salvation of the church
Here, therefore, I do only observe, that this is that whereby the
mystical conjunction that was between Christ and the church, whereon
it was meet, just, and equal in the sight of God, that what he did
and suffered should be imputed unto us, is completed.
 These are some of the foundations of that mystery of transmitting
the sins of the church, as to the guilt and punishment of them, from
the sinners themselves unto another, every way innocent, pure, and
righteous in himself, - which is the life, soul, and centre of all
Scripture revelations. And herein is he exceedingly glorious and
precious unto them that believe. No heart can conceive, no tongue
can express the glory of Christ herein. Now, because his infinite
condescension and love herein have been spoken to before, I shall
here only instance its greatness in some of its effects.
 1. It shines forth in the exaltation of the righteousness of God
in the forgiveness of sins. There is no more adequate conception of
the divine nature, than that of justice in rule and government.
Hereunto it belongs to punish sin according unto its desert; and
herein consisted the first actings of God as the governor of the
rational creation. They did so in the eternal punishment of the
angels that sinned, and the casting of Adam out of Paradise, - an
emblem also of everlasting ruin. Now, all the church, all the elect
of God, are sinners; - they were so in Adam, - they have been and
are so in themselves. What does become the justice of God to do
thereon? Shall it dismiss then all unpunished? Where, then, is that
justice which spared not the angels who sinned, nor Adam at the
first? Would this procedure have any consonance thereunto, - be
reconcilable unto it? Wherefore the establishment of the
righteousness of God on the one hand, and the forgiveness of sin on
the other, seem so contradictory, as that many stumble and fall at
it eternally. See Rom. 10: 3, 4.
 But in this interposition of Christ, in this translation of
punishment from the church unto him, by virtue of his conjunction
therewith, there is a blessed harmony between the righteousness of
God and the forgiveness of sins; - the exemplification whereof is
his eternal glory. "O blessed change! 0 sweet permutation!" as
Justin Martyr speaks.
 By virtue of his union with the church, which of his own accord he
entered into, and his undertaking therein to answer for it in the
sight of God, it was a righteous thing with God to lay the
punishment of all our sins upon him, so as that he might freely and
graciously pardon them all, to the honour and exaltation of his
justice, as well as of his grace and mercy, Rom. 3: 24-26.
 Herein is he glorious in the sight of God, angels, and men. In him
there is at the same time, in the same divine acting, a glorious
resplendence of justice and mercy; - of the one in punishing, of the
other in pardoning. The appearing inconsistency between the
righteousness of God and the salvation of sinners, wherewith the
consciences of convinced persons are exercised and terrified, and
which is the rock on which most of them split themselves into
eternal ruin, is herein removed and taken away. In his cross were
divine holiness and vindictive justice exercised and manifested; and
through his triumph, grace and mercy are exerted to the utmost. This
is that glory which ravisheth the hearts and satiates the souls of
them that believe. For what can they desire more, what is farther
needful unto the rest and composure of their souls, than at one view
to behold God eternally well pleased in the declaration of his
righteousness and the exercise of his mercy, in order unto their
salvation? In due apprehensions hereof let my soul live; - in the
faith hereof let me die, and let present admiration of this glory
make way for the eternal enjoyment of it in its beauty and fulness.
 2. He is glorious in that the law of God in its receptive part, or
as to the obedience which it required, was perfectly fulfilled and
accomplished. That it should be so, was absolutely necessary, from
the wisdom, holiness, and righteousness of him by whom it was given.
For what could be more remote from those divine perfections, than to
give a law which never was to be fulfilled in them unto whom it was
given, and who were to have the advantages of it? This could not be
done by us; but through the obedience of Christ, by virtue of this
his mystical conjunction with the church, the law was so fulfilled
in us by being fulfilled for us, as that the glory of God in the
giving of it, and annexing eternal rewards unto it, is exceedingly
exalted. See Rom. 8: 3, 4.
 This is that glory of Christ whereof one view by faith will
scatter all the fear, answer all the objections, and give relief
against all the despondencies, of poor, tempted, doubting souls; and
an anchor it will be unto all believers, which they may cast within
the veil, to hold them firm and steadfast in all trials, storms, and
temptations in life and death.

Chapter 10. The Glory of Christ in the communication of Himself unto

 Another instance of the glory of Christ, which we are to behold
here by faith, and hope that we shall do so by sight hereafter,
consists in the mysterious communication of himself, and all the
benefits of his mediation, unto the souls of them that do believe,
to their present happiness and future eternal blessedness.
 Hereby he becomes theirs as they are his; which is the life, the
glory, and consolation of the church, Cant. 6: 3; 2:16; 7:10, - he
and all that he is being appropriated unto them, by virtue of their
mystical union. There is, there must be, some ground, formal reason,
and cause of this relation between Christ and the church, whereby he
is theirs, and they are his; - he is in them, and they in him, so as
it is not between him and other men in the world.
 The apostle, speaking of this communication of Christ unto the
church, and the union between them which does ensue thereon, affirms
that it is "a great mystery;" for "I speak," saith he, "concerning
Christ and the church," Eph 5: 32.
 I shall very briefly inquire into the causes, ways, and means of
this mysterious communication, whereby he is made to be ours, to be
in us, to dwell with us, and all the benefits of his mediation to
belong unto us. For, as was said, it is evident that he does not
thus communicate himself unto all by natural necessity, as the sun
gives light equally unto the whole world, - nor is he present with
all by a ubiquity of his human nature, - nor, as some dream, by a
diffusion of his rational soul into all, - nor does he become ours
by a carnal eating of him in the sacrament; but this mystery
proceeds from, and depends on, other reasons and causes, as we shall
briefly declare.
 But yet, before I proceed to declare the way and manner whereby
Christ communicateth himself unto the church, I must premise
something of divine communications in general and their glory. And I
shall do this by touching a little on the harmony and correspondence
that is between the old creation and the new.
 1. All being, power, goodness, and wisdom, were originally
essentially, infinitely in God. And in them, with the other
perfections of his nature, consisted his essential glory.
 2. The old creation was a communication of being and goodness by
almighty power, directed by infinite wisdom, unto all things that
were created for the manifestation of that glory. This was the first
communication of God unto anything without himself; and it was
exceeding glorious. See Ps. 19: 1; Rom. 1: 20. And it was a curious
machine, pruned in the subordination and dependency of one thing on
another; without which they could not subsist, nor have a
continuance of their beings. All creatures below live on the earth
and the products of it; the earth, for its whole production, depends
on the sun and other heavenly bodies; as God declares, Hos. 2: 21,
22, "I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they
shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the
wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel." God has given a
subordination of things in a concatenation of causes, whereon their
subsistence does depend. Yet, -
 3. In this mutual dependency on and supplies unto one another,
they all depend on and are influenced from God himself, - the
eternal fountain of being, power, and goodness "He hears the
heavens;" and in the continuation of this order, by constant divine
communication of being, goodness, and power, unto all things, God is
no less glorified than in the first creation of them, Acts 14: 15-
17; 17: 24-29.
 4. This glory of God is visible in the matter of it, and is
obvious unto the reason of mankind; for from his works of creation
and providence they may learn his eternal power and godhead, wherein
he is essentially glorious.
 5. But by this divine communication, God did not intend only to
glorify himself in the essential properties of his nature, but his
existence also in three persons, of Father, Son, and Spirit. For
although the whole creation in its first framing, and in its
perfection, was, and is, by an emanation of power and goodness from
the divine nature, in the person of the Father, as he is the
fountain of the Trinity, whence he is said peculiarly to be the
Creator of all things; yet the immediate operation in the creation
was from the Son, the power and wisdom of the Father, John 1: 1-3;
Col. 1: 16; Heb. 1: 2. And as upon the first production of the mass
of the creation, it was under the especial care of the Spirit of
God, to preserve and cherish it unto the production of all distinct
sorts of creatures, Gen. 1: 2, - so in the continuance of the whole,
there is an especial operation of the same Spirit in all things.
nothing can subsist one moment by virtue of the dependence which all
things have on one another, without a continual emanation of power
from him. See Ps. 104: 29, 30.
 By these divine communications, in the production and preservation
of the creature, does God manifest his glory, and by them alone in
the way of nature he does so; and without them, although he would
have been for ever essentially glorious, yet was it impossible that
his glory should be known unto any but himself. Wherefore, on these
divine communications does depend the whole manifestation of the
glory of God. But this is far more eminent, though not in the
outward effects of it so visible, in the new creation; as we shall
 1. All goodness, grace, life, light, mercy, and power, which are
the springs and causes of the new creation, are all originally in
God, in the divine nature, and that infinitely and essentially. In
them is God eternally or essentially glorious; and the whole design
of the new creation was to manifest his glory in them, by external
communications of them, and from them.
 2. The first communication of and from these things is made unto
Christ, as the Head of the church. For, in the first place, it
pleased God that in him should all the fulness of these things
dwell, so as that the whole new creation might consist in him, Col.
1: 17-19. And this was the first egress of divine wisdom for the
manifestation of the glory of God in these holy properties of his
nature. For, -
 3. This communication was made unto him as a repository and
treasury of all that goodness, grace, life, light, power, and mercy,
which were necessary for the constitution and preservation of the
new creation. They were to be laid up in him, to be hid in him, to
dwell in him; and from him to be communicated unto the whole
mystical body designed unto him, - that is, the church. And this is
the first emanation of divine power and wisdom, for the
manifestation of his glory in the new creation. This constitution of
Christ as the head of it, and the treasuring up in him all that was
necessary for its production and preservation, wherein the church is
chosen and preordained in him unto grace and glory, is the spring
and fountain of divine glory, in the communications that ensue
 4. This communication unto Christ is, (1.) Unto his person; and
then, (2.) With respect unto his office. It is in the person of
Christ that all fulness does originally dwell. On the assumption of
human nature into personal union with the Son of God, all fulness
dwells in him bodily, Col. 2: 9. And thereon receiving the Spirit in
all fulness, and not by measure, all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge were hid in him, Col. 2: 3, and he was filled with the
unsearchable riches of divine grace, Eph 3: 8-11. And the office of
Christ is nothing but the way appointed in the wisdom of God for the
communication of the treasures of grace which were communicated unto
his person. This is the end of the whole office of Christ, in all
the parts of it, as he is a priest, a prophet, and a king. They are,
I say, nothing but the ways appointed by infinite wisdom for the
communication of the grace laid up in his person unto the church.
The transcendent glory hereof we have in some weak measure inquired
 5. The decree of election prepared, if I may so say, the mass of
the new creation. In the old creation, God first prepared and
created the mass or matter of the whole; which afterward, by the
power of the Holy Spirit, was formed into all the distinct beings
whereof the whole creation was to consist, and animates according to
their distinct kinds.
 And in order unto the production and perfecting of the work of the
new creation, God did from eternity, in the holy purpose of his
will, prepare, and in design set apart unto himself, that portion of
mankind whereof it was to consist. Hereby they were only the
peculiar matter that was to be wrought upon by the Holy Ghost, and
the glorious fabric of the church erected out of it. What was said,
it may be, of the natural body by the Psalmist, is true of the
mystical body of Christ, which is principally intended, Ps. 139: 15,
16, "My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes
did see my substance yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my
members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as
yet there was none of them." The substance of the church, whereof it
was to be formed, was under the eye of God, as proposed in the
decree of election; yet was it as such imperfect. It was not formed
or shaped into members of the mystical body; but they were all
written in the book of life. And in pursuance of the purpose of God,
there they are by the Holy Spirit, in the whole course and
continuance of time, in their several generations fashioned into the
shape designed for them.
 6. This, therefore, is herein the glorious order of divine
communications. From the infinite, eternal spring of wisdom, grace,
goodness and love, in the Father, - all the effects whereof unto
this end were treasured up in the person and mediation of the Son,
the Holy Spirit, unto whom the actual application of them is
committed, communicates life, light, power, grace, and mercy, unto
all that are designed parts of the new creation. Hereon does God
glorify both the essential properties of his nature, - his infinite
wisdom, power, goodness, and grace, - as the only eternal spring of
all these things, and also his ineffable glorious existence in three
persons by the order of the communication of these things unto the
church, which are originally from his nature. And herein is the
glorious truth of the blessed Trinity, - which by some is opposed,
by some neglected, by most looked on as that which is so much above
them as that it does not belong unto them, - made precious unto them
that believe, and becomes the foundation of their faith and hope. In
a view of the glorious order of those divine communications, we are
in a steady contemplation of the ineffable glory of the existence of
the nature of God in the three distinct persons of Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost.
 7. According unto this divine order, the elect in all ages are, by
the Holy Spirit moving and acting on that mass of the new creation,
formed and animated with spiritual life, light, grace, and power,
unto the glory of God. They are not called accidentally, according
unto the external occasions and causes of their convention unto God;
but in every age, at his own time and season, the Holy Spirit
communicates these things unto them in the order declared, unto the
glory of God.
 8. And in the same manner is the whole new creation preserved
every day; - every moment there is vital power and strength, mere
and grace, communicated in this divine order to all believers in the
world. There is a continual influence from the Fountain, from the
Head, into all the members, whereby they all consist in him, are
acted by him, who worketh in us both to will and to do of his own
good pleasure. And the apostle declares that the whole constitution
of church order is suited, as an external instrument, to promote
these divine communications unto all the members of the church
itself, Eph 4: 13-15.
 This in general is the order of divine communications, which is
for the substance of it continued in heaven, and shall be so unto
eternity; for God is, and ever will be, all, and in all. But at
present it is invisible unto eyes of flesh, yea, the reason of men.
Hence it is by the most despised; - they see no glory in it. But let
us consider the prayer of the apostle, that it may be otherwise with
us, Eph. 1: 16-23. For the revelation made of the glory of God in
the old creation is exceeding inferior to that which he makes of
himself in the new.
 Having premised these things in general concerning the glory of
divine communications, I shall proceed to declare, in particular,
the grounds and way whereby the Lord Christ communicates himself and
wherewithal all the benefits of his mediation, unto them that do
believe, as it was before proposed.
 We on our part are said herein to receive him, and that by faith,
John 1: 12. Now, where he is received by us, he must be tendered,
given, granted, or communicated unto us. And this he is by some
divine acts of the Father, and some of his own.
 The foundation of the whole is laid in a sovereign act of the
will, the pleasure, the grace of the Father. And this is the order
and method of all divine operations in the way and work of grace.
They originally proceed all from him; and having effected their
ends, do return, rest, and centre in him again. See Eph. 1:4-6.
Wherefore, that Christ is made ours, that he is communicated unto
us, is originally from the free act, grant, and donation, of the
Father, 1 Cor. 1: 30; Rom. 5: 15-17. And hereunto sundry things do
concur. As, - 1. His eternal purpose, which he purposed in himself,
to glorify his grace in all his elect, by this communication of
Christ and the benefits of his mediation unto them; which the
apostle declares at large, Eph.1.  2. His granting all the elect
unto Christ, to be his own, so to do and suffer for them what was
antecedaneously necessary unto the actual communication of himself
unto them: "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me," John 17: 6.
3. The giving of the promise, or the constitution of the rule and
law of the Gospel, whereby a participation of Christ, an interest in
him and all that he is, is made over and assured unto believers,
John 1: 12; 1 John 1: 1-4. 4. An act of almighty power, working and
creating faith in the souls of the elect, enabling them to receive
Christ so exhibited and communicated unto them by the gospel, Eph 1:
19, 20; 2: 5-8.
 These things, which I have but named, have an influence into the
glory of Christ herein; for this communication of him unto the
church is an effect of the eternal counsel, wisdom, grace, and power
of the Father.
 But they are the acts of Christ himself herein, which principally
we inquire into, as those which manifest the glory of his wisdom,
love, and condescension.
 And, - 1. He gives and communicates unto them his Holy Spirit; -
the Holy Spirit as peculiarly his, as granted unto him of the
Father, as inhabiting in him in all fulness. This Spirit - abiding
originally as to his person, and immeasurably as unto his effects
and operations, in himself - he gives unto all believers, to inhabit
and abide in them also, John 14: 14-20; 1 Cor. 6: 17; Rom. 8: 9.
Hence follows an ineffable union between him and them. For as in his
incarnation he took our nature into personal union with his own; so
herein he takes our persons into a mystical union with himself.
Hereby he becomes ours, and we are his.
 And herein he is unspeakably glorious. For this mystery of the
inhabitation of the same Spirit in him as the head, and the church
as his body, animating the whole, is a transcendent effect of divine
wisdom. There is nothing of this nature in the whole creation
besides, - no such union, no such mutual communication. The
strictest unions and relations in nature are but shadows of it, Eph.
5: 25-32. Herein also is the Lord Christ precious unto them that do
believe, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence unto the
disobedient. This glorious, ineffable effect of his wisdom and
grace; this rare, peculiar, singular way of the communication of
himself unto the church, is by many despised. They know, it may be,
some of them, what it is to be joined unto a harlot so as to become
one flesh; but what it is to be joined unto the Lord so as to become
one spirit, they know not. But this principle and spring of the
spiritual life of the church, and of all vital, spiritual motions
towards God and things heavenly, wherein and whereby "our life is
hid with Christ in God," is the glory, the exaltation, the honour,
the security of the church, unto the praise of the grace of God. The
understanding of it in its causes, effects, operations, and
privileges wherewith it is accompanied, is to be preferred above all
the wisdom in and of the world.
 2. He thus communicates himself unto us, by the formation of a new
nature, his own nature, in us; so as that the very same spiritual
nature is in him and in the church. Only, it is so with this
difference, that in him it is in the absolute perfection of all
those glorious graces wherein it does consist; in the church it is
in various measures and degrees, according as he is pleased to
communicate it. But the same divine nature it is that is in him and
us; for, through the precious promises of the gospel, we are made
partakers of his Divine nature. It is not enough for us that he has
taken our nature to be his, unless he gives us also his nature to be
ours; - that is, implants in our souls all those gracious
qualifications, as unto the essence and substance of them, wherewith
he himself in his human nature is endued. This is that new man, that
new creature, that divine nature, that spirit which is born of the
Spirit, that transformation into the image of Christ, that putting
of him on, that worship of God whereunto in him we are created, that
the Scripture so fully testifieth unto, John 3: 6; Rom 6: 3-8; 2
Cor. 3: 18; 5: 17; Eph 4: 20-24; 2 Peter 1:4.
 And that new heavenly nature which is thus formed in believers, as
the first vital act of that union which is between Christ and them
by the inhabitation of the same Spirit, is peculiarly his nature.
For both is it so as it is in him the idea and the exemplar of it in
us, - inasmuch as we are predestinated to be conformed unto his
image, - and as it is wrought or produced in our souls by an
emanation of power, virtue, and efficiency from him.
 This is a most heavenly way of the communication of himself unto
us, wherein of God "he is made unto us wisdom and sanctification."
Hereon he says of his church, "This is now bone of my bones, and
flesh of my flesh;" - I see myself, my own nature, in them; whence
they are comely and desirable. Hereby he makes way to "present it to
himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing; but holy and without blemish." On this communication of
Christ unto us, by the forming of his own nature in us, depends all
the purity, the beauty, the holiness, the inward glory of the
church. Hereby is it really, substantially, internally separated
from the world, and distinguished from all others, who, in the
outward form of things, in the profession and duties of religion,
seem to be the same with them. Hereby it becomes the first fruits of
the creation unto God, bearing forth the renovation of his image in
the world; - herein the Lord Christ is, and will be, glorious unto
all eternity. I only mention these things, which deserve to be far
more largely insisted on.
 3. He does the same by that actual insition or implantation into
himself which he gives us by faith, which is of his own operation.
For hereon two things do ensue; - one by the grace or power, the
other by the law or constitution, of the gospel; which have a great
influence into this mystical communication of Christ unto the
 And the first of these is, that hereby there is communicated unto
us, and we do derive, supplies of spiritual life, sustentation,
motion, strength in grace, and perseverance from him continually.
Thine is that which himself so divinely teacheth in the parable of
the vine and its branches, John 15: 1-5. Hereby is there a continual
communication from his all-fulness of grace unto the whole church
and all the members of it, unto all the ends and duties of spiritual
life. They live, nevertheless not they, but Christ liveth in them;
and the life which they lead in the flesh is by the faith of the Son
of God. And the other, - by virtue of the law and constitution of
the Gospel, - is, that hereon his righteousness and all the fruits
of his meditation are imputed unto us; the glory of which mystery
the apostle unfolds, Rom. 3-5.
 I might add hereunto the mutual inbeing that is between him and
believers by love; for - the way of the communication of his love
unto them being by the shedding of it abroad in their hearts by the
Holy Ghost, and their returns of love unto him being wrought in them
by an almighty efficiency of the same Spirit - there is that which
is deeply mysterious and glorious in it. I might mention also the
continuation of his discharge of all his offices towards us, whereon
all our receptions from him, or all the benefits of his mediation
whereof we are made partakers, do depend. But the few instances that
have been given of the glory of Christ in this mysterious
communication of himself unto his church may suffice to give us such
a view of it as to fill our hearts with holy admiration and

Chapter 11. The Glory of Christ in the Recapitulation of all things
in Him.

 In the last place, the Lord Christ is peculiarly and eminently
glorious in the recapitulation of all things in him, after they had
been scattered and disordered by sin. This the apostle proposeth as
the most signal effect of divine wisdom, and the sovereign pleasure
of God.
 "He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 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," Eph 1: 8-10.
 For the discovery of the mind of the Holy Ghost in these words, so
far as I am at present concerned, - namely, as unto the
representation of the glory of Christ in them, - sundry brief
observations must be premised; and in them it will be necessary that
we briefly declare the original of all these things in heaven and
earth, their primitive order, the confusion that ensued thereon,
with their restitution in Christ, and his glory thereby.
 1. God alone has all being in him. Hence he gives himself that
name, "I AM," Exod. 3: 14. He was eternally All; when all things
else that ever were, or now are, or shall be, were nothing. And when
they are, they are no otherwise but as "they are of him, and through
him, and to him," Rom. 11: 36. Moreover, his being and goodness are
the same. The goodness of God is the meekness of the Divine Being to
be communicative of itself in its effects. Hence this is the first
notion of the divine nature, - infinite being and goodness, in a
nature intelligent and self-subsistent. So the apostle declares it,
"He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a
rewarder," Heb. 11: 6.
 2. In this state of infinite, eternal being and goodness,
antecedent unto any act of wisdom or power without himself to give
existence unto other things, God was, and is, eternally in himself
all that he will be, all that he can be, unto eternity. For where
there is infinite being and infinite goodness, there is infinite
blessedness and happiness, whereunto nothing can be added. God is
always the same. That is his name, "'attah hu'" - Ps. 102: 27, "Thou
art he," - always the same. All things that are, make no addition
unto God, no change in his state. His blessedness, happiness,
self-satisfaction, as well as all other his infinite perfections,
were absolutely the same before the creation of any thing, whilst
there was nothing but himself, as they are since he has made all
things: for the blessedness of God consists in the ineffable mutual
in being of the three holy persons in the same nature, with the
immanent reciprocal acting of the Father and the Son in the eternal
love and complacency of the Spirit. Hereunto nothing can be added,
herein no change can be made by any external work or effect of
power. Herein does God act in the perfect knowledge and perfect love
of his own perfections, unto an infinite acquiescence therein, -
which is the divine blessedness. This gives us the true notion of
the divine nature antecedent unto the manifestation of it made by
any outward effects: - infinite being and goodness, eternally
blessed in the knowledge and enjoyment of itself by inconceivable,
ineffable, internal acting, answering the manner of its subsistence,
which is in three distinct persons.
 3. This being and goodness of God, by his own will and pleasure
acting themselves in infinite wisdom and power, produced the
creation of all things. Herein he communicated a finite, limited
dependent being and goodness unto other things without himself. For
all being and goodness being, as was said, in him alone, it was
necessary that the first outward work and effect of the divine
nature must be the communication of being and goodness unto other
things. Wherefore, as when he had given unto every thing its being
out of nothing, by the word of his power, saying, Let them be, and
they were; so it is said, that he looked on all that he had made,
"and, behold, they were exceeding good," Gen. 1: 31. Being and
goodness must be the first outward effects of the divine nature,
which, being wrought by infinite power and wisdom, do represent unto
us the glory of God in the creation of all things. Infinite being in
self-subsistence, which is necessary in the first cause and spring
of all things, - infinite goodness to communicate the effect of this
being unto that which was not, - and infinite wisdom and power in
that communication, - are gloriously manifested therein.
 4. In this state, all things that were made, depended immediately
on God himself, without the interposition of any other head of
influence or rule. They had the continuance of their being and its
preservation from the immediate acting of these properties of the
divine nature whereby they were made; and their dependence on God
was by virtue of that law, which was implanted on the principles and
powers of their several natures by God himself.
 5. Thus "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".
He provided himself of two distinct, rational families, that should
depend on him according to a law of moral obedience, and thereby
give glory to him; with two distinct habitations for them, cognate
unto their nature and use, - heaven above, and the earth beneath.
The earth he appointed for the habitation of man; which was every
way suited unto the constitution of his nature, the preservation of
his being, and the end of his creation in giving glory to God.
Heaven he prepared for the habitation of the angels; which was
suited unto the constitution of their nature, the preservation of
their being, and the end of their creation, in giving glory to God.
Wherefore, as man had power and dominion over all things here below,
and was to use them all unto the glory of God, - by which means God
received glory from them also, though in themselves brute and
inanimate; so the angels had the like dominion over the celestial
and ethereal bodies, wherewith God has fitted the place of their
habitation, that through the contemplation and use of them God might
have a revenue of glory and praise from them also. To suppose any
other race of intellectual creatures, besides angels in heaven and
men on earth, is not only without all countenance from any divine
testimony, but it disturbs and disorders the whole representation of
the glory of God made unto us in the Scripture, and the whole design
of his wisdom and grace, as declared therein. Intellectual creatures
not comprehended in that government of God and mystery of his wisdom
in Christ which the Scripture reveals, are a chimera framed in the
imaginations of some men, scarce duly sensible of what it is to be
wise unto sobriety.
 6. This order of things was beautiful and comely. Hence were they
all said to be "exceeding good." For each of these families had
their own immediate, distinct dependence on God. He was the
immediate head of them. There was no other common head interposed
between God and them. They were not a head unto one another. There
were no communications unto them, but what were immediate from God
himself. And their union among themselves was in this alone, that
all their obedience did meet and centre in God. So God made the
heavens and the earth, and two distinct families in them, for
 7. This beautiful order in itself, this union between the two
families of God, was disturbed, broken, dissolved by the entrance of
sin; for hereby part of the family above, and the whole family
below, fell off from their dependence on God; and ceasing to centre
in him as their head, they fell into variance and enmity among
themselves. For the centre of this union and order being removed and
lost, nothing but enmity and confusion remained among them. Hereon,
to show that its goodness was lost, God cursed the earth and all
that was in it; for it was put in subjection unto man, who was now
fallen from him. Howbeit he cursed not the heavens, which were in
subjection unto the angels, because some of them only left their
habitation; and the habitation of the residue was not to be cursed
for their sakes. But mankind was wholly gone off from God.
 8. The angels that sinned God utterly rejected for ever, as an
example of his severity; the whole race of mankind he would not
utterly cast off, but determined to recover and save a remnant,
according to the election of grace; which, how he did it in a way of
condecency unto all his divine perfections, I have elsewhere
 9. Howbeit, he would not restore them into their former estate, so
as to have again two distinct families, each in an immediate
dependence on himself, though he left them in different and distinct
habitations, Eph 3: 15; but he would gather them both into one, and
that under a new head, in whom the one part should be preserved from
sinning, and the other delivered from sin committed.
 10. This, then, is that which the apostle declares in these words,
"To gather together in one all things which are in heaven, and which
are on earth, even in him." And so he again expresseth it, Col. 1:
20, "To reconcile all things unto himself in him, whether they be
things in earth, or things in heaven." All things were fallen into
disorder and confusion by sin; they were fallen off from God into
variance among themselves. God would not restore them into their
first order, in an immediate dependence on his divine perfections.
He would no longer keep them in two distinct families; but he would,
in his infinite wisdom and goodness, gather them up into one common
head, on whom they should have their immediate dependence, and be
reconciled again among themselves.
 11. This new head, wherein God has gathered up all things in
heaven and earth into one, one body, one family, on whom is all
their dependence, in whom they all now consist, is Jesus Christ the
Son of God incarnate. See 1 Cor. 11: 3; Eph 1: 22, 23. This glory
was reserved for him; none other could be meet for it or worthy of
it. See Col. 1: 17-19.
 12. To answer all the ends of this new Head of God's recollected
family, all power in heaven and earth, all fulness of grace and
glory, is committed unto him. There is no communication from God, no
act of rule towards this family, no supply of virtue, power, grace,
or goodness unto angels or men, but what is immediately from this
new head whereinto they are gathered. In him they all consist, on
him do they depend, unto him are they subject; in their relation
unto him doth their peace, union, and agreement among themselves
consist. This is the recapitulation of all things intended by the
 13. It is true that he acts distinctly and variously towards the
two parts of the re-collected family of angels and men, according as
their different states and conditions do require. For, - 1. We had
need of a reparation by redemption and grace, which the angels had
not. 2. Angels were capable of immediate confirmation in glory,
which we are not, until we come to heaven. Therefore, - 1. He
assumed our nature that it might be repaired, which he did not thy]
the nature of the angels 2. He gives us union unto himself by his
Spirit, which exalts us into a dignity and honour meet for
fellowship with them in the same family.
 This is a brief account of the mysterious work of divine wisdom in
the recapitulation of all things in Jesus Christ; and herein is he
transcendently glorious, or his glory herein is far above our
comprehension; yet some things may be observed, to direct us in the
view and contemplation of it. As, -
 1. He alone was a meet and capable subject of it. He alone could
bear the weight of this glory. No mere creature in heaven or earth
was meet to be thus made the head of the whole new creation of God.
In none of them could all things consist. None of them was meet to
be thus in the place of God, to have all things depend upon him, and
be put in subjection unto him; so as that there should be no
communication between God and the creation but by and through him
alone. Wherefore, when the Holy Ghost assigns this glory unto him,
he so describes him as that we may discern his singular meekness for
it; as, that he is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the
express image of his person, upholding all things by the word of his
power," Heb. 1: 3; - that he is "the image of the invisible God, the
first born of every creature, by whom all things were created that
are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all
things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all
things, and by him all things consist," Col. 1: 15-17. Such a one
alone, and no other, was meet to bear and uphold this glory. And the
glory of his person is such, as that it is the blessedness of all
creatures to centre in this glory of his office.
 2. This is that glory which God designed unto his only Son
incarnate, and it gives us a little view into the glory of that
mystery, the wonderful eternal design of God to glorify himself in
the incarnation of Christ. God would have his eternal, his
only-begotten Son to be incarnate, to take our nature on him, - to
be made man. What is his design in this incomprehensible work of his
wisdom, love, and power? Indeed, in the first place, it was for the
redemption of the church, by the sacrifice of himself, and other
acts of his mediation. But there is that which is more general and
comprehensive, and wherein all the concerns of the glory of God do
centre. And this was, that he might "gather all things into one" in
him; - that the whole creation, especially that which was to be
eternally blessed, should have a new head given unto it, for its
sustentation, preservation, order, honour, and safety. All springs
are in him, and all streams are unto him, and in and by him unto
God. Who can express the divine beauty, order, and harmony of all
things that are in this, their recapitulation in Christ? The union
and communion between angels and men, - the order of the whole
family in heaven and earth, - the communication of life, grace,
power, mercy, and consolation to the church, - the rule and disposal
of all things unto the glory of God, - do all depend hereon. This
glory God designed unto his Son incarnate; and it was the greatest,
the highest that could be communicated unto him. For, as the apostle
observes, all things are put in subjection unto him, he only
excepted who does so make them subject; that is, God the Father, 1
Cor. 15: 27.
 There is no contemplation of the glory of Christ that ought more
to affect the hearts of them that do believe with delight and joy,
than this, of the recapitulation of all things in him. One view by
faith of him in the place of God, as the supreme head of the whole
creation. Moving, acting, guiding, and disposing of it, will bring
in spiritual refreshment unto a believing refreshment unto a
believing soul.
 And it will do so the more, in that it gives a glorious
representation of his divine nature also. For that any mere creature
should thus be a head of life, motion, and power, as also of
sovereign rule and disposal, of the whole new creation, with all
things reduced into order thereby, is not only an impious, but a
foolish imagination.
 Did we live more in the contemplation of this glory of Christ, and
of the wisdom of God in this recapitulation of all things in him,
there is not anything of our duty which it would not mind us of, nor
anything of privilege which it would not give us a sense of, as
might early be demonstrated.
 3. In particular, the Lord Christ is glorious herein, in that the
whole breach made on the glory of God in the creation, by the
entrance of sin, is hereby repaired and made up. The beauty and
order of the whole creation consisted in its dependence on God, by
the obedience of the rational part of it, angels and men. Thereby
were the being, the goodness, the wisdom, and power of God made
manifest. But the beauty of this order was defaced, and the
manifestation of the divine perfections unto the glory of God
eclipsed, by the entrance of sin. But all is restored, repaired, and
made up, in this recapitulation of all things in one new head, -
Christ Jesus; yea, the whole curious frame of the divine creation is
rendered more beautiful than it was before. Hence the whole of it
groaneth for the interest of each part in this restoration of all
things. Whatever there is of order, of beauty, of glory, in heaven
above, or in earth beneath, it all ariseth from this new relation of
the creation unto the Son of God. Whatever is not gathered into one,
even in him, in its place, and according to its measure, is under
darkness, disorder, and the curse. Hence the Jews have a saying,
that "in the days of the messiah all things shall be healed, but the
serpent;" that is, the devil, and wicked men, which are as his seed.
 4. He is glorious herein, in that he is appointed as the only
meals of exerting and expressing all the treasures of the infinite
wisdom of God towards his creatures. The wisdom of God is
absolutely, always, and in all things infinite. God does not, God
cannot, act with more wisdom in one thing than in another; as in the
creation of man, than in that of any inanimate creatures. In the
first creation, infinite wisdom was the inseparable companion of
infinite power: "Hove marvellous are thy works, O Lord! in wisdom
hast thou made them all". But when the effects of this divine
wisdom, in their principal beauty and glory, were defaced, greater
treasures of wisdom were required unto their reparation. And in this
recollection of all things in Christ, did God lay them forth unto
the utmost of whatever he will do in dealing with his creatures. So
the apostle expresseth it, Eph 3: 10, "To the intent that now, unto
the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by
the church the manifold wisdom of God." By the recapitulation of all
things into this one head, the manifold, various, unsearchable
wisdom of God was made known unto the angels themselves. They knew
not before of the design and work of God after the entrance of sin.
These could not comprehend the wisdom that might repair that loss.
They knew not that divine wisdom had another way to take herein; at
least they knew not what way that should be. But hereby the manifold
wisdom of God, his infinite wisdom in the treasures of it, able by
various ways to attain the ends of his glory, was made known unto
them. Herein namely, in the re-collection of all things in Christ -
divine wisdom has made known and represented itself in all its
stores and treasures unto angels and men. "In him are hid," and by
him are displayed, "all the treasures of wisdom," Col. 2: 3. Herein
is he glorious, and will be so to eternity.
 6. He is glorious herein, in that hereby firmness and security is
communicated unto the whole new creation. The first creation in its
order was a curious and glorious fabric. But every thing depending
immediately on God, by virtue of the principles of its own nature
and the law of its obedience, all was brought unto a loss by the sin
of angels and men. But now every thing that belongs unto this new
creation, even every believer in the world, as well as the angels in
heaven, being gathered together in this one head, the whole and all,
and every part and member of it, seen every particular believer, are
secured from ruin, such as befell all things before. In this new
Head they have an indissoluble consistency.
 But manum de tabula. I shall insist on no more instances of this
nature, which plentifully offer themselves in the Scripture unto us.
For who can declare this glory of Christ? who can speak of these
things as he ought? I am so far from designing to set forth the
whole of it, that I am deeply sensible how little a portion I can
comprehend of the least part of it. Nor can I attain unto any
satisfaction in these Meditations, but what issues in an humble

Chapter 12. Differences between our Beholding the Glory of Christ by
Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven - The First of them

 "We walk" here "by faith, and not by sight," 2 Cor. 5: 7; that is,
in the life of God, in our walking before him, in the whole of our
obedience therein, we are under the conduct and influence of faith,
and not of sight. Those are the two spiritual powers of our sou1s; -
by the one whereof we are made partakers of grace, holiness, and
obedience in this life; and by the other, of eternal blessedness and
 Both these - namely, faith and sight, the one in this life, the
other in that which is to come - have the same immediate object. For
they are the abilities of the soul to go forth unto, and to embrace
their object. Now, this object of them both is the glory of Christ,
as has been declared, as also what that glory is, and wherein it
does consist; wherefore my present design is to inquire into the
difference that is between our beholding of the glory of Christ in
this world by faith, and the vision which we shall have of the same
glory hereafter.
 The latter of these is peculiarly intended in that prayer of our
Lord Jesus Christ for his disciples, John 17: 24, "Father, I will
that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that
they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me." But I shall not
distinctly insist upon it, my design being another way, respecting
principally the work of God in this life, and the privileges which
we enjoy thereby. Yet I shall now take a short prospect of that
also; not absolutely, but in the differences that are between faith
and sight, or the view which we have of the glory of Christ in this
world by faith, and that which they enjoy by vision who are above; -
the object of them both being adequately the same.
 But herein, also, I shall have respect only unto some of those
things which concern our practice, or the present immediate exercise
of faith. For I have elsewhere handled at large the state of the
church above, or that of present glory, giving an account of the
administration of the office of Christ in heaven, his presence among
the glorified souls, and the adoration of God under his conduct. I
have also declared the advantage which they have by being with him,
and the prospect they have of his glory. Therefore these things must
here be only touched on.
 These differences may be referred unto two heads: - 1. Those which
arise from the different natures and acting of those means and
instruments whereby we apprehend this glory of Christ, - namely,
faith and vision; and, 2. Those that arise from the different
effects produced by them. Instances in each kind shall be given.
 1. The view which we have of the glory of Christ by faith in this
world is obscure, dark, inevident, reflexive. So the apostle
declares, 1 Cor. 13: 12, "Now we see through a glass darkly," "di'
esoptrou en aivigmati"; - "through" or by "a glass, in a riddle," a
parable, a dark saying. There is a double figurative limitation put
upon our view of the glory of Christ, taken from the two ways of our
perception of what we apprehend, - namely, the sight of things, and
the hearing of words.
 The first is, that we have this view not directly, but reflexively
and by way of a representation, as in a glass. For I take the grass
here, not to be optical or a prospective, which helps the sight, but
a speculum, or a glass which reflects an image of what we do behold.
It is a sight like that which we have of a man in a glass, when we
see not his person or substance, but an image or representation of
them only, which is imperfect.
 The shadow or image of this glory of Christ is drawn in the
gospel, and therein we behold it as the likeness of a man
represented unto us in a glass; and although it be obscure and
imperfect in comparison of his own real, substantial glory, which is
the object of vision in heaven, yet is it the only image and
representation of himself which he has left, and given unto us in
this world. That woeful, cursed invention of framing images of him
out of stocks and stones, however adorned, or representations of him
by the art of painting, are so far from presenting unto the minds of
men any thing of his real glory, that nothing can be more effectual
to divert their thoughts and apprehensions from it. But by this
figurative expression of seeing in a glass, the apostle declares the
comparative imperfection of our present view of the glory of Christ.
 But the allusion may be taken from an optic glass or tube also,
whereby the sight of the eye is helped in beholding things at a
great distance. By the aid of such glasses, men will discover stars
or heavenly lights, which, by reason of their distance from us, the
eye of itself is no way able to discern. And those which we do see
are more fully represented, though remote enough from being so
perfectly. Such a glass is the gospel, without which we can make no
discovery of Christ at all; but in the use of it we are far enough
from beholding him in the just dimensions of his glory.
 And he adds another intimation of this imperfection, in an
allusion unto the way whereby things are proposed and conveyed unto
the minds and apprehensions of men. Now this is by words. And these
are either plain, proper, and direct, or dark, figurative, and
parabolical. And this latter way makes the conception of things to
be difficult and imperfect; and by reason of the imperfection of our
view of the glory of Christ by faith in this world, the apostle says
it is in "ainigmati", in "a riddle." These "ainigmata" the Psalmist
calls "chidot", "dark sayings," Ps. 78: 2.
 But here it must be observed, that the description and
representation of the Lord Christ and his glory in the gospel is not
absolutely or in itself either dark or obscure; yea, it is
perspicuous, plain, and direct. Christ is therein evidently set
forth crucified, exalted, glorified. But the apostle does not here
discourse concerning the way or means of the revelation of it unto
us, but of the means or instrument whereby we comprehend that
revelation. This is our faith, which, as it is in us, being weak and
imperfect, we comprehend the representation that is made unto us of
the glory of Christ as men do the sense of a dark saying, a riddle,
a parable; that is, imperfectly, and with difficulty.
 On the account hereof we may say at present, how little a portion
is it that we know of him! as Job speaks of God, chap. 26: 14. How
imperfect are our conceptions of him! How weak are our minds in
their management! There is no part of his glory that we can fully
comprehend. And what we do comprehend, - there is a comprehension in
faith, Eph 3: 18, - we cannot abide in the steady contemplation of.
For ever blessed be that sovereign grace, whence it is that He who
"commanded light to shine out of darkness has shined into our
hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his own glory in
the face of Jesus Christ," and therein of the glory of Christ
himself; - that he has so revealed him unto us, as that we may love
him, admire him, and obey him: but constantly, steadily, and clearly
to behold his glory in this life we are not able; "for we walk by
faith, and not by sight."
 Hence our sight of him here is as it were by glances, - liable to
be clouded by many interpositions. "Behold, he standeth behind the
wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing" ("metzitz",
flourishing) "himself through the lattice," Cant. 2: 9. There is a
great interposition between him and us, as a wall; and the means of
the discovery of himself unto us, as through a window and lattice,
include a great instability and imperfection in our view and
apprehension of him. There is a wall between him and us, which yet
he standeth behind. Our present mortal state is this wall, which
must be demolished before we can see him as he is. In the meantime
he looketh through the windows of the ordinances of the Gospel. He
gives us sometimes, when he is pleased to stand in those windows, a
view of himself; but it is imperfect, as is our sight of a man
through a window. The appearances of him at these windows are full
of refreshment unto the souls of them that do believe. But our view
of them is imperfect, transient, and does not abide; - we are for
the most part quickly left to bemoan what we have lost. And then our
best is but to cry, "the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so
panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for
the living God: when shall I come and appear before thee?" When wilt
thou again give me to see thee, though but as through the windows
alas! what distress do we ofttimes sit down in, after these views of
Christ and his glory! But he proceeds farther yet; and flourishes
himself through the lattices. This displaying of the glory of
Christ, called the flourishing of himself, is by the promises of the
Gospel, as they are explained in the ministry of the Word. In them
are represented unto us the desirable beauties and glories of
Christ. How precious, how amiable is he, as represented in them! How
are the souls of believers ravished with the views of them! Yet is
this discovery of him also but as through a lattice. We see him but
by parts, - unsteadily and unevenly.
 Such, I say, is the sight of the glory of Christ which we have in
this world by faith. It is dark, - it is but in part. It is but
weak, transient, imperfect, partial. It is but little that we can at
any time discover of it; it is but a little while that we can abide
in the contemplation of what we do discover. "Rara hora, breves
mora." Sometimes it is unto us as the sun when it is under a cloud,
- we cannot perceive it. When he hideth his face, who then can
behold him? As Job speaks, so may we, "Behold, I go forward, but he
is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left
hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself
on the right hand, that I cannot see him," chap. 23: 8, 9. Which way
soever we turn ourselves, and what duties soever we apply ourselves
unto, we can obtain no distinct view of his glory. Yet, on the other
hand, it is sometimes as the sun when it shines in its brightness,
and we cannot bear the rays of it. In infinite condescension he says
unto his church, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have
overcome me," Cant. 6: 6, - as if he could not bear that overcoming
affectionate love, which looks through the eyes of the church in its
acting of faith on him. Ah! how much more do we find our souls
overcome with his love, when at any time he is pleased to make any
clear discoveries of his glory unto us!
 Let us now, on the other hand, take a little consideration of that
vision which we shall have of the same glory in heaven, that we may
compare them together.
 Vision, or the sight which we shall have of the glory of Christ in
heaven, is immediate, direct, intuitive; and therefore steady, even,
and constant and it is so on a double account: - 1. Of the object
which shall be proposed unto us; 2. Of the visive power or faculty
wherewith we shall be endued: from the imperfection of both which in
this world ariseth the imperfection of our view of the glory of
Christ by faith, as has been declared.
 1. The object of it will be real and substantial. Christ himself,
in his own person, with all his glory, shall be continually with us,
before us, proposed unto us. We shall no longer have an image, a
representation of him, such as is the delineation of his glory in
the Gospel. We "shall see him," saith the apostle, "face to face," 1
Cor. 13: 12; which he opposeth unto our seeing him darkly as in a
glass, which is the utmost that faith can attain to. "We shall see
him as he is", 1 John 3: 2; - not as now, in an imperfect
description of him. As a man sees his neighbour when they stand and
converse together face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in
his glory; and not as Moses, who had only a transient sight of some
parts of the glory of God, when he caused it to pass by him.
 There will be use herein of our bodily eyes, as shall be declared.
For, as Job says, in our flesh shall we see our Redeemer, and our
eyes shall behold him, chap. 19: 25-27. That corporeal sense shall
not be restored unto us, and that glorified above what we can
conceive, but for this great use of the eternal beholding of Christ
and his glory. Unto whom is it not a matter of rejoicing, that with
the same eyes wherewith they see the tokens and signs of him in the
sacrament of the supper, they shall behold himself immediately in
his own person? But principally, as we shall see immediately, this
vision is intellectual. It is not, therefore, the mere human nature
of Christ that is the object of it, but his divine person, as that
nature subsisteth therein. What is that perfection which we shall
have (for that which is perfect must come and do away that which is
in part) in the comprehension of the hypostatical union, I
understand not; but this I know, that in the immediate beholding of
the person of Christ, we shall see a glory in it a thousand times
above what here we can conceive. The excellencies of infinite
wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us. And
all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly
and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight for evermore.
 Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is, that "we shall
ever be with the Lord," 1 Thess. 4: 17, - as himself prays, "that we
may be with him where he is, to behold his glory." Here we have some
dark views of it, - we cannot perfectly behold it, until we are with
him where he is. Thereon our sight of him will be direct, intuitive,
and constant.
 There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the
beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present
incomprehensible. For it does not yet appear what we ourselves shall
be, 1 John 3: 2. Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to
behold this glory of Christ? And how excellent, then, is that glory
of Christ itself!
 This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God
in this life do breathe and pant after. Hence are they willing to be
dissolved, or "desire to depart, that they may be with Christ,"
which is best for them, Phil. 1: 23. They choose "to be absent from
the body, and present with the Lord," 2 Cor. 5: 8; or that they may
enjoy the inexpressibly longed-for sight of Christ in his glory.
Those who do not so long for it, whose souls and minds are not
frequently visited with earnest desires after it, unto whom the
thoughts of it are not their relief in trouble, and their chiefest
joy, are carnal, blind, and cannot see afar off. He that is truly
spiritual entertains and refresheth himself with thoughts hereof
 2. It will be so from that visive power or faculty of beholding
the glory of Christ which we shall then receive. Without this we
cannot see him as he is. When he was transfigured in the mount, and
had on his human nature some reflections of his divine glory, his
disciples that were with him were rather amazed than refreshed by
it, Matt. 17: 6. They saw his glory, but spake thereon "they knew
not what," Luke 9: 30-33. And the reason hereof was, because no man
in this life can have a visive power, either spiritual or corporeal,
directly and immediately to behold the real glory of Christ.
 Should the Lord Jesus appear now to any of us in his majesty and
glory, it would not be unto our edification nor consolation. For we
are not meet nor able, by the power of any light or grace that we
have received, or can receive, to bear the immediate appearance and
representation of them. His beloved apostle John had leaned on his
bosom probably many a time in his life, in the intimate
familiarities of love; but when he afterward appeared unto him in
his glory, "he fell at his feet as dead," Rev. 1: 17. And when he
appeared unto Paul, all the account he could give thereof we, "that
he saw a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun;"
whereon he, and all that were with him, "fell to the ground," Acts
26: 13, 14.
 And this was one reason why, in the days of his ministry here on
earth, his glory was veiled with the infirmities of the flesh, and
all sorts of sufferings, as we have before related. The church in
this life is no way meet, by the grace which it can be made partaker
of, to converse with him in the immediate manifestations of his
 And therefore those who dream of his personal reign on the earth
before the day of judgement, unless they suppose that all the saints
shall be perfectly glorified also (which is only to bring down
heaven to the earth for awhile, to no purpose), provide not at all
for the edification or consolation of the church. For no present
grace, advanced unto the highest degree whereof in this world it is
capable, can make us meet for an immediate converse with Christ in
his unveiled glory.
 How much more abominable is the folly of men, who would represent
the Lord Christ in his present glory by pictures and images of him!
When they have done their utmost with their burnished glass and
gildings, an eye of flesh can not only behold it, but, if it be
guided by reason, see it contemptible and foolish But the true glory
of Christ, neither inward nor outward sight can bear the rays of it
in this life.
 The dispensation which we are meet for is only that of his
presence with us by his Spirit. We know him now no more after the
flesh, 2 Cor. 5: 16. We are advanced above that way and means of the
knowledge at him by the fleshly, carnal ordinances of the Old
Testament. And we know him not according unto that bodily presence
of his which his disciples enjoyed in the days of his flesh. We have
attained somewhat above that also. For such was the nature of his
ministry here on earth, that there could not be the promised
dispensation of the Spirit until that was finished. Therefore he
tells his disciples that it was expedient for them that he should go
away, and send the Spirit to them, John 16: 7. Hereon they had a
clearer view of the glory of Christ than they could have by
beholding him in the flesh. This is our spiritual posture and
condition. We are past the knowledge of him according to the flesh,
- we cannot attain nor receive the sight of him in glory; but the
life which we now lead is by the faith of the Son of God.
 I shall not here inquire into the nature of this vision, or the
power and ability which we shall have in heaven to behold the glory
of Christ. Some few things may be mentioned, as it relates unto our
minds, and our bodies also, after the resurrection.
 1. For the mind, it shall be perfectly freed from all that
darkness, unsteadiness, and other incapacities, which here it is
accompanied with; and whereby it is weakened, hindered, and
obstructed, in the exercise of faith. And they are of two sorts.
 (1.) Such as are the remainders of that depravation of our natures
which came upon us by sin. Hereby our minds became wholly vain,
dark, and corrupt, as the Scripture testifieth, - utterly unable to
discern spiritual things in a due manner. This is so far cured and
removed in this life by grace, as that those who were darkness do
become light in the Lord, or are enabled to live unto God under the
conduct of a new spiritual light communicated unto them. But it is
so cured and removed in part only, it is not perfectly abolished.
Hence are all our remaining weaknesses and incapacities in
discerning things spiritual and eternal, which we yet groan under,
and long for deliverance from. No footsteps, no scars or marks that
ever it had place in our minds shall abide in glory, Eph. 5: 27.
Nothing shall weaken, disturb, or incapacitate our souls, in acting
all their powers, unimpeded by vanity, diversions, weakness,
inability, upon their proper objects. The excellency hereof, in
universal liberty and power, we cannot here comprehend; nor can we
yet conceive the glory and beauty of those immixed spiritual actings
of our minds which shall have no clog upon them, no encumbrance in
them, no alloy of dross accompanying them. One pure act of spiritual
sight in discerning the glory of Christ, - one pure act of love in
cleaving unto God, - will bring in more blessedness and satisfaction
into our minds than in this world we are capable of.
 (2.) There is an incapacity in our minds, as unto their acting on
things spiritual and eternal, that is merely natural, from the
posture wherein they are, and the figure which they are to make in
this life. For they are here clothed with flesh, and that debased
and corrupted. Now, in this state, though the mind act its
conceptions by the body as its organ and instrument, yet is it
variously straitened, encumbered, and impeded in the exercise of its
native powers, especially towards things heavenly, by this prison of
the flesh, wherein it is immured. There is an angelical excellency
in the pure acting of the soul when delivered from all material
instruments of them, or when they are all glorified and made
suitable helps in its utmost spiritual activity. How and by what
degrees our minds shall be freed from these obstructions in their
beholding the glory of Christ shall be afterward declared.
 2. Again, a new light, the light of glory, shall be implanted in
them. There is a light in nature, which is the power of a man to
discern the things of man; - an ability to know, perceive, and judge
of things natural. It is that "spirit of a man" which "is the candle
of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly," Prov. 20:
 But by the light hereof no man can discern spiritual things in a
due manner, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. 2: 11-16. Wherefore God
gives a superior, a supernatural light, the light of faith and
grace, unto them whom he effectually calls unto the knowledge of
himself by Jesus Christ. He shines into their hearts, to give them
the knowledge of his glory in the face of his dear Son. Howbeit this
new light does not abolish, blot out, or render useless, the other
light of nature, as the sun, when it riseth, extinguisheth the light
of the stars; but it directs it and rectifies it as unto its
principle, object, and end. Yet is it in itself a light quite of
another nature. But he who has only the former light can understand
nothing of it, because he has no taste or experience of its power
and operations. He may talk of it, and make inquiries about it, but
he knows it not.
 Now, we have received this light of faith and grace, whereby we
discern spiritual things, and behold the glory of Christ in the
imperfect manner before described. But in heaven there shall be a
superadded light of glory, which shall make the mind itself "shine
as the firmament," Dan. 12: 3. I shall only say three things of it.
1. That as the light of grace does not destroy or abolish the light
of nature, but rectify and improve it, so the light of glory shall
not abolish or destroy this light of faith and grace, but, by
incorporating with it, render it absolutely perfect. 2. That as by
the light of nature we cannot clearly comprehend the true nature and
efficacy of the light of grace, because it is of another kind, and
is seen only in its own light; so by the light of grace we cannot
absolutely comprehend this light of glory, being of a peculiar kind
and nature, seen perfectly only by its own light. It does not appear
what we shall be. 3. That this is the best notion we can have of
this light of glory, - that, in the first instance of its operation,
it perfectly transforms the soul into the image and likeness of
 This is the progress of our nature unto its rest and blessedness.
The principles remaining in it concerning good and evil, with its
practical convictions, are not destroyed but improved by grace; as
its blindness, darkness, and enmity to God are in part taken away.
Being renewed by grace, what it receives here of spiritual life and
light shall never be destroyed, but be perfected in glory. Grace
renews nature; glory perfects grace; and so the whole soul is
brought unto its rest in God. We have an image of it in the blind
man whom our Saviour cured, Mark 8: 22-25. He was absolutely blind,
- born so, no doubt. Upon the first touch, his eyes were opened, and
he saw, but very obscurely; - he saw men walking like trees. But on
the second, he saw all things clearly. Our minds in themselves are
absolutely blind. The first visitation of them by grace gives them a
sight of things spiritual, heavenly, and eternal; but it is obscure
and unsteady. The sight of glory makes all things clear and evident.
 3. The body as glorified, with its senses, shall have its use and
peace herein. After we are clothed again with our flesh, we shall
see our Redeemer with our eyes. We know not here what power and
spirituality there will be in the acts of our glorified bodies. Such
they will be as shall bear a part in eternal blessedness. Holy
Stephen, the first martyr, took up somewhat of glory by anticipation
before he died. For when he was brought to his trial before the
council, all that sat therein, "looking steadfastly on him, saw his
face as the face of an angel," Acts 6: 16. He had his
transfiguration, escorting unto his measure, answerable unto that of
our blessed Saviour in the mount. And by this initial beam of glory
he received such a piercing vivacity and edge on his bodily eyes,
that through all those inconceivable distances between the earth and
the residence of the blessed, he looked steadfastly into heaven, and
"saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,"
Acts 7: 55, 56. Who, then, can declare what will be the power and
acting of this sense of sight when perfectly glorified; or what
sweetness and refreshment may be admitted into our souls thereby?
 It was a privilege (who would not have longed to partake of it?)
to have seen Him with our bodily eyes in the days of his flesh, as
did the apostles and his other disciples. Howbeit he was not then
glorified himself in the manifestation of his glory; nor they who
saw him, in the change or transformation of their nature. How great
this privilege was, himself declares unto those that so saw him,
Matt. 13: l7, "Verily I say unto you, That many prophets and
righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see;"
whereunto we shall speak immediately. And if this were so excellent
a privilege as that we cannot but congratulate them by whom it was
enjoyed, how excellent, how glorious will it be, when with these
eyes of ours, gloriously purified and strengthened beyond those of
Stephen, we shall behold Christ himself immediately in the fulness
of his glory! He alone perfectly understands the greatness and
excellency hereof, who prayed his Father that those who "believe in
him may be where he is, so to behold his glory."
 These are some of the grounds of this first difference between our
beholding the glory of Christ by faith here, and by immediate vision
hereafter. Hence the one is weak, imperfect, obscure, reflexive; the
other direct, immediate, even, and constant; - and we may stay a
little in the contemplation of these things.
 This view of the glory of Christ which we have now spoken unto is
that which we are breathing and panting after; that which the Lord
Christ prays that we may arrive unto; that which the apostle
testifies to be our best; - the best thing or state which our nature
is capable of, - that which brings eternal rest and satisfaction
unto our souls.
 Here our souls are burdened with innumerable infirmities, and our
faith is clogged in its operations by ignorance and darkness. This
makes our best estate and highest attainments to be accompanied with
groans for deliverance: "We which have the first fruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body," Rom. 8: 23. Yea,
whilst we are in this tabernacle, we groan earnestly, as being
burdened, because we are not "absent from the body, and present with
the Lord," 2 Cor. 5: 2, 4, 8. The more we grow in faith and
spiritual light, the more sensible are we of our present burdens,
and the more vehemently do we groan for deliverance into the perfect
liberty of the sons of God. This is the posture of their minds who
have received the first fruit of the Spirit in the most eminent
degree. The nearer any one is to heaven, the more earnestly he
desires to be there, because Christ is there. For the more frequent
and steady are our views of him by faith, the more do we long and
groan for the removal of all obstructions and interpositions in our
so doing. Now groaning is [the expression of] a vehement desire,
mixed with sorrow, for the present want of what is desired. The
desire has sorrow, and that sorrow has joy and refreshment in it; -
like a shower that falls on a man in a garden in the spring; it wets
him, but withal refresheth him with the savour it causeth in the
flowers and herbs of the garden where he is, and this groaning,
which, when it is constant and habitual, is one of the choicest
effects of faith in this life, respects what we would be delivered
from, and what we would attain unto. The first is expressed, Rom. 7:
24, the other in the places now mentioned. And this triune, with an
intermixture of some sighs from weariness by the troubles, sorrows,
pains, sicknesses of this life, is the best we can here attain unto.
 Alas! we cannot here think of Christ, but we are quickly ashamed
of, and troubled at, our own thoughts; so confused are they, so
unsteady, so imperfect. Commonly they issue in a groan or a sigh:
Oh! when shall we come unto him? when shall we be ever with him?
when shall we see him as he is? And if at any time he begins to give
more than ordinary evidences and intimations of his glory and love
unto our souls, we are not able to bear them, so as to give them any
abiding residence in our minds. But ordinarily this trouble and
groaning is amongst our best attainments in this world, - a trouble
which, I pray God, I may never be delivered from, until deliverance
do come at once from this state of mortality; yea, the good Lord
increase this trouble more and more in all that believe.
 The heart of a believer affected with the glory of Christ, is like
the needle touched with the loadstone. It can no longer be quiet, no
longer be satisfied in a distance from him. It is put into a
continual motion towards him. This motion, indeed, is weak and
tremulous. Pantings, breathing, sighings, greenings in prayer, in
meditations, in the secret recesses of our minds, are the life of
it. However, it is continually pressing towards him. But it obtains
not its point, it comes not to its centre and rest, in this world.
 But now above, all things are clear and serene, all plain and
evident in our beholding the glory of Christ, - we shall be ever
with him, and see him as he is. This is heaven, this is blessedness,
this is eternal rest.
 The person of Christ in all his glory shall be continually before
us; and the eyes of our understandings shall be so gloriously
illuminated, as that we shall be able steadily to behold and
comprehend that glory.
 But, alas! here at present our minds recoil, our meditations fail,
our hearts are overcome, our thoughts confused, and our eyes turn
aside from the lustre of this glory; nor can we abide in the
contemplation of it. But there, an immediate, constant view of it,
will bring in everlasting refreshment and joy unto our whole souls.
 This beholding of the glory of Christ given him by his Father, is,
indeed, subordinate unto the ultimate vision of the essence of God.
What that is we cannot well conceive; only we know that the "pure in
heart shall see God." But it has such an immediate connection with
it, and subordination unto it, as that without it we can never
behold the face of God as the objective blessedness of our souls.
For he is, and shall be to eternity, the only means of communication
between God and the church.
 And we may take some direction in our looking into and longing
after this perfect view of the glory of Christ, from the example of
the saints under the Old Testament. The sight which they had of the
glory of Christ - for they also saw his glory through the obscurity
of its revelation, and its being veiled with types and shadows - was
weak and imperfect in the most illuminated believers; much inferior
unto what we now have by faith, through the Gospels. Yet such it was
as encouraged them to inquire and search diligently into what was
revealed, 1 Peter 1: 10,11. Howbeit, their discoveries were but dark
and confused, such as men have of things at a great distance, or "in
a land that is very far off," as the prophet speaks, Isa. 33: 17.
And the continuance of this veil on the revelation of the glory of
Christ, whilst a veil of ignorance and blindness was upon their
hearts and minds, proved the ruin of that church in its apostasy, as
the apostle declares, 2 Cor. 3: 7, 13, 14. This double veil (the
covering covered, the veil veiled) God promised to take away, Isa.
25: 7; and then shall they turn to the Lord, when they shall be able
clearly to behold the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 3: 16.
 But this caused them who were real believers among them to desire,
long, and pray for, the removal of these veils, the departure of
those shadows, which made it as night unto them in comparison of
what they knew would appear, when "the Sun of Righteousness should
arise with healing in his wings." They thought it long ere "the day
did break, and the shadows flee away," Cant. 2: 17; 4: 6. There was
an "apokaradokia", as the apostle speaks, Rom. 8: 19, - a thrusting
forth of the head with desire and expectation of the exhibition of
the Son of God in the flesh, and the accomplishment of all divine
promises therein. Hence he was called the Lord whom they sought and
delighted in, Mal. 3: 1.
 And great was the spiritual wisdom of believers in those days.
They rejoiced and gloried in the ordinances of divine worship which
they did enjoy. They looked on them as their chiefest privilege, and
attended unto them with diligence, as an effect of divine wisdom and
love, as also because they had a shadow of good things to come. But
yet, at the same time, they longed and desired that the time of
reformation were come, wherein they should all be removed; that so
they might behold and enjoy the good things signified by them. And
those who did not so, but rested in and trusted unto their present
institutions, were not accepted with God. Those who were really
illuminated did not so, but lived in constant desires after the
revelation of the whole mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ; as
did the angels themselves, 1 Peter 1: 3; Eph. 3: 9, 10.
 In this same of heart and suitable acting of their souls there was
more of the power of true faith and love than is found among the
meet at this day. They saw the promises afar off, and were pervaded
of them, and embraced them, Heb. 11: 13. They reached out the arms
of their most intent affections to embrace the things that were
promised. We have an instance of this frame in old Simon, who, so
soon as he had taken the child Jesus in his arms, cried out, "Now,
Lord, let me depart," now let me die; this is that which my soul has
longed for, Luke 2: 28, 29.
 Our present darkness and weakness in beholding the glory of
Christ, is not like theirs. It is not occasioned by a veil of types
and shadows, cast on it by the representative institutions of it, -
it does not arise from the want of a clear doctrinal revelation of
the person and office of Christ; but, as was before declared, it
proceedeth from two other causes. First, From the nature of faith
itself, in comparison with vision. It is not able to look directly
into this excellent glory, nor fully to comprehend it. Secondly,
From the way of its propose which is not substantial of the thing
itself, but only of an image of it, as in a glass. But the sight,
the view of the glory of Christ, which we shall have in heaven, is
much more above that which we now enjoy by the gospel, than what we
do or may so enjoy is above what they have attained under their
types and shadows. There is a far greater distance between the
vision of heaven and the sight which we have now by faith, than is
between the sight which we now have and what they had under the Old
Testament. Heaven does more excel the Gospel state than that state
does the Law. Wherefore, if they did so pray, so long for, so desire
the removal of their shadows and veils, that they might see what we
now see, that they might so behold the glory of Christ as we may
behold it in the light of the gospel; how much more should we, if we
have the same faith with them, the same love (which neither will nor
can be satisfied without perfect fruition), long and pray for the
removal of all weakness, of all darkness and interposition, that we
may come unto that immediate beholding of his glory which he so
earnestly prayed that we might be brought unto!
 To sum up briefly what has been spoken: There are three things to
be considered concerning the glory of Christ, three degrees in its
manifestation, - the shadow, the perfect image, and the substance
itself. Those under the Law had only the shadow of it, and of the
things that belong unto it; - they had not the perfect image of
them, Heb. 10: 1. Under the gospel we have the perfect image, which
they had not; or a clever, complete revelation and declaration of
it, presenting it unto us as in a glass: but the enjoyment of these
things in their substance is reserved for heaven; we must be "where
he is, that we may behold his glory." Now, there is a greater
difference and distance between the real substance of any thing and
the most perfect image of it, than there is between the most perfect
image and the lowest shadow of the same thing. If, then, they longed
to be freed from their state of types and shadows, to enjoy the
representation of the glory of Christ in that image of it which is
given us in the gospel; much more ought we to breathe and pant after
our deliverance from beholding it in the image of it, that we may
enjoy the substance itself. For, whatever can be manifest of Christ
on this side heaven, it is granted unto us for this end, that we may
the more fervently desire to be present with him.
 And as it was their wisdom and their grace to rejoice in the light
they had, and in those typical administrations of divine worship
which shadowed out the glory of Christ unto them, yet did always
pant after that more excellent light and full discovery of it which
was to be made by the Gospel; so it will be ours also thankfully to
use and improve the revelations which we enjoy of it, and those
institutions of worship wherein our faith is assisted in the view
thereof, - yet so as continually to breathe after that perfect, that
glorifying sight of it which is reserved for heaven above.
 And may we not a little examine ourselves by these things? Do we
esteem this pressing towards the perfect view of the glory of Christ
to be our duty? and do we abide in the performance of it? If it be
otherwise with any of us, it is a signal evidence that our
profession is hypocritical. If Christ be in us, he is the hope of
glory in us; and where that hope is, it will be active in desires of
the things hoped for. Many love the world too well, and have their
minds too much filled with the things of it, to entertain desires of
speeding through it unto a state wherein they may behold the glory
of Christ. They are at home, and are unwilling to be absent from the
body, though to be present with the Lord. They hope, it may be, that
such a season will come at one time or another, and then it will be
the best they can look for when they can be here no more. But they
have but a little sight of the glory of Christ in this world by
faith, if any at all, who so little, so faintly desire to have the
immediate sight of it above. I cannot understand how any man can
walk with God as he ought, or has that love for Jesus Christ which
true faith will produce, or does place his refreshments and joy in
spiritual things, in things above, that does not on all just
occasions so meditate on the glory of Christ in heaven as to long
for an admittance into the immediate sight of it.
 Our lord Jesus Christ alone perfectly understood wherein the
eternal blessedness of them that believe in him does consist. And
this is the sum of what he prays for with respect unto that end, -
namely, that we may be where he is, to behold his glory. And is it
not our duty to live in a continual desire of that which he prayed
so earnestly that we might attain? If in ourselves we as yet
apprehend but little of the glory, the excellency, the blessedness
of it, yet ought we to repose that confidence in the wisdom and love
of Christ, that it is our best, - infinitely better than any thing
we can enjoy here below.
 Unto those who are inured unto these contemplations, they are the
salt of their lives, whereby every thing is condited and made
savoury unto them, as we shall show afterward. And the want of
spiritual diligence herein is that which has brought forth a
negligent, careless, worldly profession of religion, which,
countenancing itself with some outward duties, has lost out of it
the power of faith and love in their principal operations. Hereby
many deceive their own souls. Goods, lands, possessions, relations,
trades, with secular interests in them, are the things whose image
is drawn on their minds, and whose characters are written on their
foreheads, as the titles whereby they may be known. As believers,
beholding the glory of Christ in the blessed glass of the gospel,
are changed into the same image and likeness by the Spirit of the
Lord; so these persons, beholding the beauty of the world and the
things that are in it in the cursed glass of self-love, are in their
minds changed into the same image. Hence perplexing fears, vain
hopes, empty embraces of perishing things, fruitless desires,
earthly, carnal designs, cursed, self-pleasing imaginations, feeding
on, and being fed by, the love of the world and self, do abide and
prevail in them. But we have not so learned Christ Jesus.

Chapter 13. The Second Difference between our Beholding the Glory of
Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.

 Faith is the light wherein we behold the glory of Christ in this
world. And this in its own nature, as unto this great end, is weak
and imperfect, like weak eyes, that cannot behold the sun in its
beauty. Hence our sight of it differs greatly from what we shall
enjoy in glory, as has been declared. But this is not all; it is
frequently hindered and interrupted in its operations, or it loses
the view of its object by one means or other. As he who sees any
thing at a great distance, sees it imperfectly, and the least
interposition or motion takes it quite out of his sight, so is it
with our faith in this matter; whence sometimes we can have little,
sometimes no sight at all of the glory of Christ by it. And this
gives us, as we sha11 see, another difference between faith and
 Now, although the consideration hereof may seem a kind of
diversion from our present argument, yet I choose to insist upon it,
that I may evidence the reasons whence it is that many have so
little experience of the things whereof we have treated, - that they
find so little of reality or power in the exercise of this grace, or
the performance of this duty. For it will appear in the issue that
the whole defect is in themselves; - the truth itself insisted on is
great and efficacious
 Whilst we are in this life, the Lord Christ is pleased, in his
sovereign wisdom, sometimes to withdraw, and, as it were, to hide
himself from us. Then do our minds fall into clouds and darkness;
faith is at a loss; we cannot behold his glory; yea, we may seek
him, but cannot find him. So Job complains, as we observed before,
"Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I
cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he does work, but I
cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I
cannot see him," chap. 23: 8, 9. Which way soever I turn myself,
whatever are my endeavours, in what way or work of his own I seek
him, I cannot find him, I cannot see him, - I cannot behold his
glory. So the church also complains, "Verily thou art a God that
hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour," Isa. 45: 15; and the
Psalmist, "How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever?" Ps. 89:
46. This hiding of the face of God is the hiding of the shining of
his glory in the face of Christ Jesus, and therefore of the glory of
Christ himself, for it is the glory of Christ to be the
representative of the glory of God. The spouse in the canticles is
often at a loss, and herein bemoans herself, that her Beloved was
withdrawn, - that she could neither find him nor see him, chap. 3:
1, 2; 5: 6.
 Men may retain their notions concerning Christ, his person and his
glory. These cannot be blotted out of their minds but by heresy or
obdurate stupidity. They may have the same doctrinal knowledge of
him with others; but the sight of his glory does not consist
therein. They may abide in the outward performance of duties towards
him as formerly; but yet all this while, as unto the especial
gracious communications of himself unto their souls, and as unto a
cheerful refreshing view of his glory, he may withdraw and hide
himself from them.
 As under the same outward dispensations of the Word he does
manifest himself unto some, and not unto others - ("how is it that
thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" John
14: 22), - whereon they to whom he does so manifest himself do see
him to be beautiful, glorious, and lovely (for "unto them that
believe, he is precious"); whilst the others see nothing hereof, but
wonder at them by whom he is admired, Cant. 5: 9; - so, in the same
dispensation of the Word he sometimes hides his face, turns away the
light of his countenance, clouds the beams of his glory unto some,
whilst others are cherished and warmed with them.
 Two things we must here speak unto.
 1. Why does the Lord Christ, at any time, thus hide himself in his
glory from the faith of believers, that they cannot behold him?
 2. How we may perceive and know that he does so withdraw himself
from us, so that, however we may please ourselves, we do not indeed
behold his glory.
 1. As unto the first of these, though what he does is supposed an
act of sovereign, unaccountable wisdom, yet there are many holy ends
of it, and consequently reasons for it. I shall mention one only. He
does it to stir us up in an eminent manner unto a diligent search
and inquiry after him. Woeful sloth and negligence are apt to
prevail in us in our meditations on heavenly things. Though our
hearts wake (as the spouse speaks, Cant. 5: 2), in a valuation of
Christ, his love, and his grace, yet we sleep as unto the due
exercise of faith and love towards him. Who is it that can justify
himself herein? - that can say, "My heart is pure, I am clean from
this sin?" Yea, it is so far otherwise with many of us, that he is
for ever to be admired in his patience, - that on the account of our
unkindness and woeful negligence herein, he has not only withdrawn
himself at seasons, but that he has not utterly departed from us.
Now, he knows that those with whom he has been graciously present, -
who have had views of his glory, although they have not valued the
mercy and privilege of it as they ought, yet can they not bear a
sense of his absence and his hiding himself from them. By this,
therefore, will he awake them unto a diligent inquiry after him.
Upon the discovery of his absence, and such a distance of his glory
from them as their faith cannot reach unto it, they become like the
doves of the valleys, all of them mourning every one for his
iniquity, and do stir up themselves to seek him early and with
diligence. See Hosea 5: 15. So wherever the spouse intimates this
withdrawing of Christ from her, she immediately gives an account of
her restless diligence and endeavours in her inquiries after him
until she have found him, chap. 3: 1-4; 5: 2-8. And in these
inquiries there is such an exercise of faith and love, though it may
be acting themselves mostly in sighs and groans, as is acceptable
and well-pleasing to him.
 We are like him in the parable of the prophet that spake unto
Ahab, who having one committed unto him to keep, affirms that whilst
he was busy here and there, he was gone. Christ commits himself unto
us, and we ought carefully to keep his presence. "I held him," saith
the church, "and would not let him go," Cant. 3: 4. But whilst we
are busy here and there, while our minds are overfilled with other
things, he withdraws himself, - we cannot find him. But even this
rebuke is a sanctified ordinance for our recovery, and his return
unto us.
 2. Our second inquiry is, how we may know when Cheat does so
withdraw himself from us, that we do not, that we cannot, behold his
 I speak herein unto them alone who make this observation of the
lively actings of faith and love in and towards Jesus Christ their
chiefest concern in all their retirements, yea, in their whole walk
before God. concerning these, our inquiry is, how they may know when
Christ does in any degree or measure withdraw from them so as that
they cannot in a due manner behold his glory.
 And the first discovery hereof is by the consequent of such
withdrawings. And what are the consequent of it we can know no
otherwise but by the effects of his presence with us, and the
manifestation of himself unto us; which, as unto some degrees, must
necessarily cease thereon.
 (1.) Now the first of these is the life, vigour, and effectual
acting of all grace in us. This is an inseparable consequent and
effect of a view of his glory. Whilst we enjoy it, we live;
nevertheless not we, but Christ lives in us, exciting and acting all
his graces in us.
 This is that which the apostle instructs us in; while "we behold
his glory as in a glass, we are transformed into the same image,
from glory to glory," 2 Cor. 3: 18; - that is, whilst by faith we
contemplate on the glory of Christ as revealed in the gospel, all
grace will thrive and flourish in us towards a perfect conformity
unto him. For whilst we abide in this view and contemplation, our
souls will be preserved in holy frames, and in a continual exercise
of love and delight, with all other spiritual affections towards
him. It is impossible, whilst Christ is in the eye of our faith as
proposed in the Gospel, but that we shall labour to be like him, and
greatly love him. Neither is there any way for us to attain unto
either of these, which are the great concernments of our souls, -
namely, to be like unto Christ, and to love him, - but by a constant
view of him and his glory by faith; which powerfully and effectually
works them in us. All the doctrinal knowledge which we have of him
is useless, all the view we have of his glory is but fancy,
imagination, or superstition, which are not accompanied with this
transforming power. And that which is wrought by it, is the increase
and vigour of all grace; for therein alone our conformity unto him
does consist. Growth in grace, holiness, and obedience, is a growing
like unto Christ; and nothing else is so.
 I cannot refrain here from a necessary short digression. This
transforming efficacy, from a spiritual view of Christ as proposed
in the Gospel, being lost, as unto an experience of it, in the minds
of men carnal and ignorant of the mystery of believing (as it is at
present by many derided, though it be the life of religion), fancy
and superstition provided various supplies in the room of it. For
they found out crucifixes and images with paintings to represent him
in his sufferings and glory. By these things, their carnal
affections being excited by their outward senses, they suppose
themselves to be affected with him, and to be like unto him. Yea,
some have proceeded so far as, either by arts diabolical, or by
other means, to make an appearance of wounds on their hands, and
feet, and sides; therein pretending to be like him, - yea, to be
wholly transformed into his image. But that which is produced by an
image is but an image. An imaginary Christ will effect nothing in
the minds of men but imaginary grace.
 Thus religion was lost, and died. When men could not obtain any
experience in their minds of the spiritual mysteries of the gospel,
nor be sensible of any spiritual change or advantage by them, they
substituted some outward duties and observances in their stead; as I
shall show, God willing, elsewhere more at large. These produced
some kind of effects on their minds and affections, but quite of
another nature than those which are the real effects of true
evangelical grace. This is openly evident in this substitution of
images instead of the representation of Christ and his glory made in
the gospel.
 However, there is a general supposition granted on all hands, -
namely, that there must be a view of Christ and his glory, to cause
us to love him, and thereby to make us conformable or like unto him.
But here lies the difference: - those of the church of Rome say that
this must be done by the beholding of crucifixes, with other images
and pictures of him; and that with our bodily eyes: we say it is by
our beholding his glory by faith, as revealed in the Gospel, and no
otherwise. And, to confess the truth, we have some who, as they
reject the use of images, so they despise that spiritual view of the
glory of Christ which we inquire after. Such persons on the first
occasion will fall on the other side; for anything is better than
 But, as we have a sure word of prophecy to secure us from these
abominations, by an express prohibition of such images unto all ends
whatever; so, unto our stability in the profession of the truth, an
experience of the efficacy of this spiritual view of Christ
transforming our souls into his own likeness, is absolutely
necessary. For if an idolater should plead, as they do all, that in
the beholding of the image of Christ, or of a crucifix, especially
if they are sedulous and constant therein, they find their
affections unto him greatly excited, increased, and inflamed (as
they will be, Isa. 57: 6); and that hereon he endeavours to be like
unto him; what shall we have to oppose thereunto? For it is certain
that such images are apt to make impressions on the minds of men;
partly from the readiness of the senses and imagination to give them
admittance into their thoughts; and partly from their natural
inclinations unto superstition, their aversion from things spiritual
and invisible, with an inclination unto things present and visible.
Hence among them who are satisfied that they ought not to be adored
with any religious veneration, yet some are apt, upon the sight of
them, to entertain a thoughtful reverence, as they would do if they
were to enter into a Pagan temple full of idols; and others are
continually making approaches towards their use and veneration, in
paintings, and altars, and such outward postures of worship as are
used in the religious service of them. But that they do sensibly
affect the minds of men carnal and superstitious, cannot be denied;
and as they suppose, it is with a love unto Christ himself. However,
certain it is in general, and confessed on all hands, that the
beholding of Christ is the most blessed means of exciting all our
graces, spiritualizing all our affections, and transforming our
minds into his likeness. And if we have not another, and that a more
excellent way of beholding him, than they have who behold him, as
they suppose, in images and crucifixes, they would seem to have the
advantage of us; for their minds will really be affected with
somewhat, ours with nothing at all. And by the pretence thereof,
they inveigle the carnal affections of men ignorant of the power of
the gospel, to become their proselytes. For having lived, it may be,
a long time without any the least experience of a sensible
impression on their minds, or a transforming power from the
representation of Christ in the gospel, upon their very first
religious, devout application unto these images, they find their
thoughts exercised, their minds affected, and some present change
made upon them.
 But there was a difference between the person of David and an
image with a bolster of goat's hair, though the one were laid in the
room and place of the other; and there is so between Christ and an
image, though the one be put into the place of the other. Neither do
these things serve unto any other end, but to divert the minds of
men from faith and love to Christ; giving them some such
satisfactions in the room of them, as that their carnal affections
do cleave unto their idols. And indeed it does belong unto the
wisdom of faith, or we stand in need of spiritual light, to discern
and judge between the working of natural affections towards
spiritual objects, on undue motives by undue means with indirect
ends, - wherein all Papal devotion consists, - and the spiritual
exercise of grace in those affections duly fixed on spiritual
 But, as was said, it is a real experience of the efficacy that
there is in the spiritual beholding of the glory of Christ by faith,
as proposed in the Gospel, to strengthen, increase, and excite all
grace unto its proper exercise, so changing and transforming the
soul gradually into his likeness, which must secure us against all
those pretences; and so I return from this digression.
 Hereby we may understand whether the Lord does so withdraw himself
as that we do not, as that we cannot, behold his glory by faith in a
due manner; - which is the thing inquired after. For if we grow weak
in our graces, unspiritual in our frames, cold in our affections, or
negligent in the exercise of them by holy meditation, it is evident
that he is at a great distance from us, so as that we do not behold
his glory as we ought. If the weather grow cold, herbs and plants do
wither, and the frost begins to bind up the earth, all men grant
that the sun is withdrawn, and makes not his wonted approach unto
us. And if it be so with our hearts, that they grow cold, frozen,
withering, lifeless, in and unto spiritual duties, it is certain
that the Lord Christ is in some sense withdrawn, and that we do not
behold his glory. We retain notions of truth concerning his person,
office, and grace; but faith is not in constant exercise as to real
views of him and his glory. For there is nothing more certain in
Christian experience than this is, that while we do really by faith
behold the glory of Christ, as proposed in the Gospel, the glory of
his person and office, as before described, and so abide in holy
thoughts and meditations thereof, especially in our private duties
and retirements, all grace will live and thrive in us in some
measure, especially love unto his person, and therein unto all that
belongs unto him. Let us but put it to the trial, and we shall
infallibly find the promised event.
 Do any of us find decays in grace prevailing in us; - deadness,
coldness, lukewarmness, a kind of spiritual stupidity and
senselessness coming upon us? Do we find an unreadiness unto the
exercise of grace in its proper season, and the vigorous acting of
it in duties of communion with God, and would we have our souls
recovered from these dangerous diseases? Let us assure ourselves
there is no better way for our healing and deliverance, yea, no
other way but this alone, - namely, the obtaining a fresh view of
the glory of Christ by faith, and a steady abiding therein. Constant
contemplation of Christ and his glory, putting forth its
transforming power unto the revival of all grace, is the only relief
in this case; as shall farther be showed afterward.
 Some will say, that this must be effected by fresh supplies and
renewed communications of the Holy Spirit. Unless he fall as dew and
showers on our dry and barren hearts, - unless he cause our graces
to spring, thrive, and bring forth fruit, - unless he revive and
increase faith, love, and holiness in our souls, - our backsliding
will not be healed, nor our spiritual state be recovered. Unto this
end is he prayed for and promised in the Scripture. See Cant. 4: 16;
Isa. 44: 3, 4; Ezek. 11: 19; 36: 26; Hos. 14: 5, 6. And so it is.
The immediate efficiency of the revival of our souls is from and by
the Holy Spirit. But the inquiry is, in what way, or by what means,
we may obtain the supplies and communications of him unto this end.
This the apostle declares in the place insisted on: We, beholding
the glory of Christ in a glass, "are changed into the same image,
from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord." It is in the
exercise of faith on Christ, in the way before described, that the
Holy Spirit puts forth his renewing, transforming power in and upon
our souls. This, therefore, is that alone which will retrieve
Christians from their present decays and deadness.
 Some complain greatly of their state and condition; none so dead,
so dull and stupid as they; - they know not whether they have any
spark of heavenly life left in them. Some make weak and faint
endeavours for a recovery, which are like the attempts of a man in a
dream, wherein he seems to use great endeavours without any success.
Some put themselves unto multiplied duties. Howbeit, the generality
of professors seem to be in a pining, thriftless condition. And the
reason of it is, because they will not sincerely and constantly make
use of the only remedy and relief; like a man that will rather
choose to pine away in his sickness with some useless, transient
refreshments, than apply himself unto a known and approved remedy,
because, it may be, the use of it is unsuited unto some of his
present occasions. Now this is, to live in the exercise of faith in
Christ Jesus. This himself assures us of, John 15: 4, 5, "Abide in
me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except
it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am
the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do
 There is a twofold coming unto Christ by believing. The first is
that we may have life; - that is, a spring and principle of
spiritual life communicated unto us from him: for he is "our life,"
Col. 3: 4, and "because he liveth, we live also," John 14: 19. Yea,
it is not so much we that live, as he liveth in us, Gal. 2: 19, 20.
And unbelief is a not coming unto him, that we may have life, John
5: 40. But, secondly, there is also a coming unto him by believers
in the actual exercise of faith, that they may "have this life more
abundantly," John 10: 10; that is, such supplies of grace as may
keep their souls in a healthy, vigorous acting of all the powers of
spiritual life. And as he reproacheth some that they would not come
unto him that they might have life, so he may justly reprove us all,
that we do not so come unto him in the actual exercise of faith, as
that we might have this life more abundantly.
 (2.) When the Lord Christ is near us, and we do behold his glory,
he will frequently communicate spiritual refreshment in peace,
consolation, and joy unto our souls. We shall not only hereby have
our graces excited with respect unto him as their object, but be
made sensible of his acting toward us in the communications of
himself and his love unto us. When the Sun of Righteousness ariseth
on any soul, or makes any near approach thereunto, it shall find
"healing under his wings;" this beams of grace shall convey by his
Spirit holy spiritual refreshment thereunto. For he is present with
us by his Spirit, and these are his fruits and effects, as he is the
Comforter, suited unto his office, as he is promised unto us.
 Many love to walk in a very careless, unwise profession. So long
as they can hold out in the performance of outward duties, they are
very regardless of the greatest evangelical privileges, - of those
things which are the marrow of divine promises, - all real
endeavours of a vital communion with Christ. Such are spiritual
peace, refreshing consolations, ineffable joys, and the blessed
composure of assurance. Without some taste and experience of these
things, profession is heartless, lifeless, useless; and religion
itself a dead carcass without an animating soul. The peace which
some enjoy is a mere stupidity. They judge not these things to be
real which are the substance of Christ's present reward; and a
renunciation whereof would deprive the church of its principal
supportments and encouragements in all its sufferings. It is a great
evidence of the power of unbelief, when we can satisfy ourselves
without an experience in our own hearts of the great things, in this
kind of joy, peace, consolation, assurance, that are promised in the
Gospels. For how can it be supposed that we do indeed relieve the
promises of things future, - namely, of heaven, immortality, and
glory, the faith whereof is the foundation of all religions, - when
we do not relieve the promises of the present reward in these
spiritual privileges? And how shall we be thought to believe them,
when we do not endeavour after an experience of the things
themselves in our own souls, but are even contented without them?
But herein men deceive themselves. They would very desirously have
evangelical joy, peace, and assurance, to countenance them in their
evil frames and careless walking. And some have attempted to
reconcile these things, unto the ruin of their souls. But it will
not be. Without the diligent exercise of the grace of obedience, we
shall never enjoy the grace of consolation. But we must speak
somewhat of these things afterward.
 It is peculiarly in the view of the glory of Christ, in his
approaches unto us, and abiding with us, that we are made partakers
of evangelical peace, consolation, joy, and assurances. These are a
part of the royal train of his graces, of the reward wherewith he is
accompanied. "His reward is with him." Wherever he is graciously
present with any, these things are never wanting in a due measure
and degree, unless it be by their own fault, or for their trial. In
these things does he give the church of his loves, Cant. 7: 12. "For
if any man," saith he, "love me, I will love him, and will manifest
myself unto him," John 14: 21; - "yea, I and the Father will come
unto him, and make our abode with him," verse 23; and that so as to
"sup with him," Rev. 3: 20; - which, on his part, can be only by the
communication of those spiritual refreshments. The only inquiry is,
by what way and means we do receive them? Now, I say this is in and
by our beholding of the glory of Christ by faith, 1 Peter 1: 8, 9.
Let that glory be rightly stated, as before laid down, - the glory
of his person, his office, his condescension, exaltation, love, and
grace; let faith be fixed in a view and contemplation of it, mix
itself with it, as represented in the glass of the gospel, meditate
upon it, embrace it, and virtue will proceed from Christ,
communicating spiritual, supernatural refreshment and joy unto our
souls. Yea, in ordinary cases, it is impossible that believers
should have a real prospect of this glory at any time, but that it
will in some measure affect their hearts with a sense of his love;
which is the spring of all consolation in them. In the exercise of
faith on the discoveries of the glory of Christ made unto us in the
Gospel, no man shall ever totally want such intimations of his love,
yea, such effusion of it in his heart, as shall be a living spring
of those spiritual refreshments, John 4: 14; Rom 5: 5. When,
therefore, we lose these things, as unto a sense of them in our
souls, it is evident that the Lord Christ is withdrawn, and that we
do not behold his glory.
 But I cannot here avoid another short digression. There are those
by whom all these things are derided as distempered fancies and
imaginations; yea, such things have been spoken and written of them
as contain a virtual renunciation of the gospel, the powers of the
world to come, and the whole work of the Holy Ghost as the comforter
of the church. And hereby all real intercourse between the person of
Christ and the souls of them that do believe is utterly overthrown;
- reducing all religion to an outward show, and a pageantry fitter
for a stage than that temple of God which is in the minds of men.
According unto the sentiments of these profane scoffers, there is no
such thing as the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost, nor as the witnessing of the Spirit of God with
our spirits that we are the children of God, from which these
spiritual joys and refreshments are inseparable as their necessary
effects; - no such thing as the lifting up of the light of God's
countenance upon us, which will put gladness into our hearts, that
gladness which compriseth all the things mentioned; - no such thing
as rejoicing upon "believing, with joy unspeakable and full of
glory;" - no such thing as Christ's showing and manifesting himself
unto us, supping with us, and giving us of his loves; - that the
divine promises of a "feast of fat things, and wine well refined,"
in gospel mercies, are empty and insignificant words; - that all
those ravishing joys and exultations of spirit that multitudes of
faithful martyrs of old and in later ages have enjoyed, by a view of
the glory of God in Christ and a sense of his love, whereunto they
gave testimony unto their last moments in the midst of their
torments, were but fancies and imaginations. But it is the height of
impudence in these profane scoffers, that they proclaim their own
ignorance of those things which are the real powers of our region.
 Others there are who will not deny the truth of these things. They
dare not rise up in contradiction unto those express testimonies of
the Scripture wherewith they are confirmed. And they do suppose that
some are partakers of them, at least there were so formerly; but as
for their parts, they have no experience of them, nor do judge it
their duty to endeavour after it. They can make a shift to live on
hopes of heaven and future glory; as unto what is present, they
desire no more, but to be found in the performance of some duties in
answer unto their convictions, - which gives them that sorry peace
which they do enjoy. So do many countenance themselves in their
spiritual sloth and unbelief, keeping themselves at liberty to seek
for refreshment and satisfaction in other things, whilst those of
the gospel are despised. And these things are inconsistent. While
men look for their chief refreshment and satisfaction in temporal
things, it is impossible they should seek after those that are
spiritual in a due manner. And it must be confessed, that when we
have a due regard unto spiritual, evangelical consolations and joys,
it will abate and take off our affections unto, and satisfaction in,
present enjoyments, Phil. 3: 8, 9.
 But there is no more sacred truth than this, that where Christ is
present with believers, - where he is not withdrawn for a season
from them, where they live in the view of his glory by faith as it
is proposed unto them in the gospel, - he will give unto them, at
his own seasons such intimations of his love, such supplies of his
Spirit, such holy joys and rejoicings, such repose of soul in
assurance, as shall refresh their souls, fill them with joy, satisfy
them with spiritual delight, and quicken them unto all acts of holy
communion with himself.
 Let no such dishonour be reflected on the gospel, that whereas the
faith of it, and obedience unto it, are usually accompanied with
outward troubles, afflictions, persecution, and reproaches, as we
are foretold they should be, - that it does not by its inward
consolations and divine refreshments, outbalance all those evils
which we may undergo upon the account of it. So to suppose, is
expressly contrary to the promise of Christ himself, who has assured
us that even "nun en toi kairoi toutoi", "even now in this life," in
this world, distinct from eternal life in the world to come, we
shall receive a hundred-fold recompense for all that we can lose or
suffer for his sake, Mark 10: 30; - as also unto the experience of
them who, in all ages, have "taken joyfully the spoiling of their
goods, as knowing in themselves" (by the experience which they have
of its first-fruits) that they "have in heaven a better and an
enduring substance," Heb. 10: 34. If we come short in a
participation of these things, if we are strangers unto them, the
blame is to be laid on ourselves alone, as it shall be immediately
 Now, the design of the Lord Christ, in thus withdrawing himself
from us, and hiding his glory from our view, being the exercise of
our grace, and to stir us up unto diligence in our inquiries after
him, here lieth our guidance and direction in this case. Do we find
ourselves lifeless in the spiritual duties of religion? Are we
strangers unto the heavenly visits of consolation and joys, - those
visitations of God whereby he preserves our souls? Do we seldom
enjoy a sense of the "shedding abroad of his love in our hearts by
the holy Ghost?" We have no way of recovery but this alone, - to
this "strong tower" must we turn ourselves as "prisoners of hope,"
unto Christ must we look, that we may be saved. It is a steady view
or contemplation of his glory by faith alone that will bring in all
these things in a lively experience into our hearts and souls.
 Again, in the second place, it is from ourselves principally, if
we lose the view of the glory of Christ, and the exercise of faith
be obstructed therein. All our spiritual disadvantages do arise from
ourselves. It is the remainder of lusts and corruptions in us,
either indulged by sloth and negligence or excited and inflamed by
Satan's temptations, that do obstruct us in this duty. Whilst they
are in any disorder or disturbance, it is in vain for us to expect
any clear view of this glory.
 That view of the glory of Christ whereof we treat consists in two
things, - namely, its especial nature, and its necessary adjunct or
effect. The first is, a ritual perception or understanding of it as
revealed in the Scriptures. For the revelation of the glory of his
person, office, and grace, is the principal subject of them, and the
principal object of our faith. And the other consists in multiplied
thoughts about him, with acting of faiths in love, trust, delight,
and longing after the full enjoyment of him, 1 Peter 1: 8. If we
satisfy ourselves in mere notions and speculations about the glory
of Christ as doctrinally revealed unto us, we shall find no
transforming power or efficacy communicated unto us thereby. But
when, under the conduct of that spiritual light, our affections do
cleave unto him with full purpose of heart, our minds are filled
with the thoughts of him and delight in him, and faith is kept up
unto its constant exercise in trust and affiance on him, - virtue
will proceed from him to purify our hearts, increase our holiness,
strengthen our graces, and to fill us sometimes "with joy
unspeakable and full of glory." This is the just temperature of a
state of spiritual health, - namely, when our light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in Christ does answer the means of it which we
enjoy, and when our affections unto Christ do hold proportion unto
that light; and this according unto the various degrees of it, - for
some have more, and some have less. Where light leaves the
affections behind, it ends in formality or atheism; and where
affections outrun light, they sink in the bog of superstition,
doting on images and pictures, or the like. But where things go not
into these excesses, it is better that our affections exceed our
light from the defect of our understandings, than that our light
exceed our affections from the corruption of our wills. In both
these is the exercise of faith frequently interrupted and obstructed
by the remainder of corruption in us, especially if not kept
constantly under the disciplines of mortification, but some way
indulged unto. For, -
 First, The steam of their disorder will cloud and darken the
understanding, that it shall not be able clearly to discern any
spiritual object,- least of all the greatest of them. There is
nothing more acknowledged, even in things natural and moral, than
that the disorder of the passions and affections will blind, darken,
and deceive the mind in its operations. And it is much more so in
things spiritual, wherein that disorder is an immediate rebellion
against its proper conducting light; that is, against the light and
rule of grace.
 There are three sorts of them unto whom the goes is preached, in
whom there are various obstructions of this view.
 1. There is in obstinate unbelievers a darkness, that is an effect
of the power of Satan on their minds, in blinding them, which makes
it impossible for them to behold any thing of the glory of Christ.
So the apostle declares it, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them
that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds
of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them," 2 Cor. 4:
3, 4. Of these we do not speak.
 2. There is in all men a corrupt, natural darkness; or such a
depravation of their minds by nature, as that they cannot discern
this glory of Christ in a due manner. Hence "the light shineth in
darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not," John 1: 5. For "the
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they
are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned," 1 Cor. 2: 14. Hence it is, that although
Christ be preached among us continually, yet there are very few who
discern any glory or beauty in him for which he should be desired,
as the prophet complaint, Isa. 53: 1, 2. But I speak not of this
natural darkness in general. But even these persons have their minds
filled with prejudices against the gospel, and darkened as unto the
glory of Christ, according as corrupt lusts and affections are
prevalent in them. See John 1: 46; 12: 43. Hence is the difference
that is among the common hearers of the Word. For although no man
can do any thing of himself for the receiving of Christ and the
beholding of his glory, without the especial aid of the grace of God
(Matt. 11: 25; John 6: 44, 45), yet some may make more opposition
unto believing, and lay more hindrances in their own way, than
others; which is done by their lusts and corruptions.
 3. There are those in whom both these evils are cured by faith,
wherein the eyes of our understandings are enlightened to perceive
and discern spiritual things, Eph. 1: 16-18. But this cure is
wrought in this life but in part, 1 Cor. 13: 12. And in this cure,
by a supply of a principle of saving light unto our minds, there are
many degrees. For some have a clearer light than others, and thereby
a more clear discerning of the mystery of the wisdom of God, and of
the glory of Christ therein. But whatever be our attainments herein,
that which obstructs this light, which hinders it from shining in a
due manner, that obstructs and hinders faith in its view of the
glory of Christ. And this is done by the remainders of corrupted
nature in us, when they act in any prevalent degree. For they darken
the mind, and weaken it in its spiritual operations. That is, where
any corrupt and inordinate affections, as love of the world, cares
about it, inclinations unto sensuality, or the like spiritual
disorders, do prevail, faith is weakened in its spiritual acts,
especially in discerning and beholding the glory of Chris. For the
mind is rendered unsteady in its inquiries after it, being
continually distracted and diverted with vain thoughts and
 Persons under the power of such distemper may have the same
doctrinal knowledge of the person of Christ, his office, and his
grace, with other men, and the same evidence of its truth fixed on
their minds; but when they endeavour a real intuition into the
things themselves, all things are dark and confused unto them, from
the uncertainty and instability of their own minds.
 This is the sum of what I do design. We have by faith a view of
the glory of Christ. This view is weak and unsteady, from the nature
of faith itself, and the way of its proposal unto us as in a glass,
in comparison of what by sight we shall attain unto. But, moreover,
where corrupt lusts or inordinate affections are indulged unto,
where they are not continually mortified, where any one sin has a
perplexing prevalence in the mind, faith will be so far weakened
thereby, as that it can neither see nor meditate upon this glory of
Christ in a due manner. This is the reason why the most are so weak
and unstable in the performance of this duty; yea, are almost
utterly unacquainted with it. The light of faith in the minds of men
being impaired, clouded, darkened, by the prevalence of unmortified
lusts, it cannot make such discoveries of this glory as otherwise it
would do. And this makes the preaching of Christ unto many so
unprofitable as it is.
 Secondly, In the view of the glory of Christ which we have by
faith, it will fill the mind with thoughts and meditations about
him, whereon the affections will cleave unto him with delight. This,
as was said, is inseparable from a spiritual view of his glory in
its due exercise. Every one that has it, must and will have many
thoughts concerning, and great affections to him. See the
description of these things, Phil. 3: 8-10. It is not possible, I
say, that we should behold the glory of his person, office, and
grace, with a due conviction of our concernment and interest
therein, but that our minds will be greatly affected with it, and be
filled with contemplations about it. Where it is not so with any, it
is to be feared that they "have not heard his voice at any time, nor
seen his shape," whatever they profess. A spiritual sight of Christ
will assuredly produce love unto him; and if any man love him not,
he never saw him, - he knows him not at all. And that is no love
which does not beget in us many thoughts of the object beloved. He,
therefore, who is partaker of this grace, will think much of what
Christ is in himself, - of what he has done for us, - of his love
and condescension, - of the manifestation of all the glorious
excellencies of the divine nature in him, exerted in a way of
infinite wisdom and goodness for the salvation of the church.
Thoughts and meditations of these things will abound in us, if we
are not wanting unto the due exercise of faith; and intense,
inflamed affections unto him will ensue thereon; at least they will
be active unto our own refreshing experience. And where these things
are not in reality (though in some they may be only in a mean and
low degree), men do but deceive their own souls in hopes of any
benefit by Christ or the gospel.
 This, therefore, is the present case: - Where there are prevailing
sinful distemper or inordinate affections in the mind, such as those
before mentioned, as self-love, love of the world, cares and fears
about it, with an excessive valuation of relations and enjoyments, -
they will so far cumber and perplex it with a multitude of thoughts
about their own objects, as shall leave no place for sedate
meditations on Christ and his glory. And where the thoughts are
engaged, the affections, which partly excite them and partly are led
by them, will be fixed also," Col. 3: 1, 2.
 This is that which, in the most, greatly promoteth that
imperfection which is in our view of the glory of Christ by faith,
in this life. According to the proportion and degree of the
prevalence of affections, corrupt, earthly, selfish, or sensual,
filling the heads and hearts of men with a multitude of thoughts
about what they are fixed on or inclined unto; so is faith
obstructed and weakened in this work and duty.
 Wherefore, whereas there is a remainder of these lusts, as to the
seeds of them, in us all, - though more mortified in some than in
others, yet having the same effects in the minds of all, according
to the degree of their remainder, - thence it is, as from an
efficacious cause of it, that our view of the glory of Christ by
faith is in many so weak, imperfect and unsteady.
 Thirdly, We have interruption given unto the work of faith herein
by the temptations of Satan. His original great design, wherever the
gospel is preached, is to blind the eyes of men, that the light of
the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should not
shine unto them, or irradiate their minds, 2 Cor. 4: 4. And herein
he prevails unto astonishment. Let the light of the gospel in the
preaching of the Word be never so glorious, yet, by various means
and artifices, he blinds the minds of the most, that they shall not
behold any thing of the glory of Christ therein. By this means he
continues his rule in the children of disobedience. With respect
unto the elect, God overpowers him herein. He shines into their
hearts, to give them the knowledge of his glory in the face of
Christ Jesus, verse 6. Yet will not Satan so give over. He will
endeavour by all ways and means to trouble, discompose, and darken
the minds even of them that believe, so as that they shall not be
able to retain clear and distinct views of this glory. And this he
does in two ways.
 1. With some he employs all his engines, uses all his methods of
serpentine subtlety, and casts in his fiery darts so to disquiet,
discompose, and deject them, as that they can retain no comfortable
views of Christ or his glory. Hence arise fears, doubts, disputes,
uncertainties, with various disconsolations. Hereon they cannot
apprehend the love of Christ, nor be sensible of any interest they
have therein, or any refreshing persuasions that they are accepted
with him. If such things sometimes shine and beam into their minds,
yet they quickly vanish and appear. Fears that they are rejected and
cast off by him, that he will not receive them here nor hereafter,
do come in their place; hence are they filled with anxieties and
despondencies, under which it is impossible they should have any
clear view of his glory.
 I know that ignorance, atheism, and obstinate security in sensual
sins, do combine to despise all these things. But it is no new thing
in the world, that men outwardly professing Christian religion, when
they find gain in that godliness, should speak evil of the things
which they know not, and corrupt themselves in what they know
naturally, as brute beasts.
 2. With others he deals after another manner. By various means he
seduceth them into a careless security, wherein they promise peace
unto themselves without any diligent search into these things.
Hereon they live in a general presumption that they shall be saved
by Christ, although they know not how. This makes the apostle so
earnest in pressings the duty of self-examination on all Christians,
2 Cor. 13: 5, "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove
your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ
is in you, except ye be reprobates?" The rule of self-judging
prescribed by him is, whether Christ be in us or no; and in us he
cannot be, unless he be received by that faith wherewith we behold
his glory. For by faith we receive him, and by faith he dwelleth in
our hearts, John 1: 12; Eph 3: 17.
 This is the principal way of his prevailing in the world.
Multitudes by his seduction live in great security under the utmost
neglect of these things. Security is granted to be an evil
destructive of the souls of men; but then it is supposed to consist
only in impenitence for great and open sins: but to be neglective of
endeavouring an experience of the power and grace of the gospel in
our own souls, under a profession of religion, is no less
destructive and pernicious than impenitence in any course of sin.
 These and the like obstructions unto faith in its operations being
added unto its own imperfections, are another cause whence our view
of the glory of Christ in this world is weak and unsteady; so that,
for the most part, it does but transiently affect our minds, and not
so fully transform them into his likeness as otherwise it would.
 It is now time to consider that sight which we shall have of the
glory of Christ in heaven, in comparison of that which we have here
below. Now this is equal, stable, always the same, - without
interruption or diversion. And this is evident, both in the causes
or means of it, as also in our perfect deliverance from every thing
that might be a hindrance in it, or an obstruction unto it.
 1. We may consider the state of our minds in glory. The faculties
of our souls shall then be made perfect, Heb 12: 23, "The spirits of
just men made perfect." (1.) Freed from all the clogs of the flesh,
and all its influence upon them, and restraint of their powers in
their operation (2.) Perfectly purified from all principles of
instability and variety, - of all inclinations unto things sensual
and carnal, and all contrivances of self-preservation or
advancement, - being wholly transformed into the image of God in
spirituality and holiness. And to take in the state of our bodies
after the resurrection; even they also, in all their powers and
senses, shall be made entirely subservient unto the most spiritual
actings of our minds in their highest elevation by the light of
glory. Hereby shall we be enabled and fitted eternally to abide in
the contemplation of the glory of Christ with joy and satisfaction.
The understanding shall be always perfected with the vision of God,
and the affections cleave inseparably to him; - which is
 The very essential faculties of our souls, in that way and manner
of working which, by their union with our bodies, they are confined
unto, are not able to comprehend and abide constantly in the
contemplation of this glory. So that, though our sight of it here be
dim and imperfect, and the proposal of it obscure; yet, from the
weakness of our minds, we are forced sometimes to turn aside from
what we do discern, as we do our bodily eyes from the beams of the
sun when it shines in its brightness. But in this perfect state they
are able to behold and delight in this glory constantly with eternal
 But "as for me," saith David, "I will behold thy face in
righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy
likeness," Ps. 17: 15. It is Christ alone who is the likeness and
image of God. When we awake in the other world, with our minds
purified and rectified, the beholding of him shall be always
satisfying unto us. There will be then no satiety, no weariness, no
indispositions; but the mind, being made perfect in all its
faculties, powers, and operations, with respect unto its utmost end,
which is the enjoyment of God, is satisfied in the beholding of him
for evermore. And where there is perfect satisfaction without
satiety, there is blessedness for ever. So the Holy Spirit affirms
of the four living creatures, in the Revelation, "They rest not day
and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," chap. 4: 8.
They are continually exercised in the admiration and praises of God
in Christ without weariness or interruption. Herein shall we be made
like unto angels.
 2. As our minds, in their essential powers and faculties, shall be
enabled to comprehend and acquiesce in this glory of Christ; so the
means or instrument of the beholding of it is much more excellent
than faith, and in its kind absolutely perfect; as has impart been
before declared. This is vision or sight. Here we walk by faith;
there, by sight. And this sight is not an external aid, like a glass
helping the weakness of the visive faculty to see things afar off;
but it is an internal power, or an act of the internal power of our
minds, where with they are endowed in a glorified state. Hereby we
shall be able to "see him face to face, - to see him as he is," in a
direct comprehension of his glory; for this sight or visive power
shall be given us for this very end, - namely, to enable us so to
do. Hereunto the whole glory of Christ is clear, perspicuous, and
evident; which will give us eternal acquiescence therein. Hence
shall our sight of the glory of Christ be invariable and always the
 3. The Lord Christ will never, in any one instance, on any
occasion, so much as one moment, withdraw himself from us, or
eclipse the proposal and manifestation of himself unto our sight.
This he does sometimes in this life; and it is needful for us that
so he should do. "We shall ever be with the Lord," 1 Thess. 4: 17, -
without end, without interruption. This is the centre of good and
evil as to the future different states of men. They shall be for
ever. Eternity makes them absolutely good on the one hand, and
absolutely evil on the other. To be in hell under the wrath of God
is in itself the greatest penal evil; but to be there for ever,
without the intermission of misery or determination of time, is that
which renders it the greatest evil unto them who shall be in that
condition. So is eternity the life of future blessedness. "We shall
ever be with the Lord," without limitation of time, without
interruption of enjoyment.
 There are no vicissitudes in the heavenly state. The new Jerusalem
has no temple in it; "for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the
temple thereof," Rev. 21: 22. There is no need of instituted means
of worship, nor of ordinances of divine service; for we shall need
neither increase of grace nor excitations unto its exercise; the
constant, immediate, uninterrupted enjoyment of God and the Lamb
supplieth all. And it has no need of the sun nor of the moon to
shine in it; for the glory of God does enlighten it, and the Lamb is
the light thereof. The light of the sun is excellent; howbeit it has
its seasons; - after it has shone in its brightest lustre, it gives
place to the night and darkness. So is the light of the moon of
great use in the night; but it has its seasons also. Such is the
light we have of the glory of God and the Lamb in this world.
Sometimes it is as the light of the sun, which, under the gospel, is
sevenfold, as the light of seven days in one in comparison of the
Law, Isa. 30: 26; sometimes as the light of the moon, which giveth
relief in the night of temptations and trials. But it is not
constant; we are under a vicissitude of light and darkness, - views
of Christ, and a loss of him. But in heaven the perpetual presence
of Christ with his saints makes it always one noon of light and
 4. This vision is not in the least liable unto any weakening from
internal defects, nor any assaults from temptations, as is the sight
of faith in this life. No doubts or fears, no disturbing darts or
injections, shall there have any place. There shall no habit, no
quality, no inclination or disposition remain in our souls, but what
shall eternally lead us unto the contemplation of the glory of
Christ with delight and complacency. Nor will there be any defect in
the gracious powers of our souls, as unto a perpetual exercise of
them; and as to all other opposing enemies, we shall be in a
perpetual triumph over them, 1 Cor. 15: 55-57. The mouth of iniquity
shall be stopped for ever, and the voice of the self-avenger shall
be heard no more.
 Wherefore, the vision which we shall have in heaven of the glory
of Christ is serene, - always the same, always new and indeficient,
wherein nothing can disturb the mind in the most perfect operations
of a blessed life. And when all the faculties of the soul can,
without any internal weakness or external hindrances, exercise their
most perfect operations on the most perfect object, - therein lies
all the blessedness which our nature is capable of.
 Wherefore, whenever in this life we attain any comfortable,
refreshing view of the glory of Christ by the exercise of faith on
the revelation of it, with a sense of our interest therein, we
cannot but long after, and desire to come unto, this more perfect,
abiding, invariable aspect of it.

Chapter 14. Other Differences between our Beholding the Glory of
Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.

 Among the many other differences which might be insisted on
(although the greatest of them are unto us at present absolutely
incomprehensible, and so not to be inquired into), I shall name two
only, and so put a close to this Discourse.
 I. In the view which we have here of the glory of Christ by faith,
we gather things, as it were, one by one, in several parts and
parcels out of the Scripture; and comparing them together in our
minds, they become the object of our present sight, - which is our
spiritual comprehension of the things themselves. We have no
proposal of the glory of Christ unto us by vision or illustrious
appearance of his person, as Isaiah had of old, chap. 6: 1-4; or as
John had in the Revelation, chap. 1: 13-16. We need it not; - it
would be of no advantage unto us. For as unto the assurance of our
faith, we have a word of prophecy more useful unto us than a voice
from heaven, 2 Peter 1: 17-19. And of those who received such
visions, though of eminent use unto the church, yet as unto
themselves, one of them cried out, "Woe is me! I am undone;" and the
other "fell as dead at his feet." We are not able in this life to
bear such glorious representations of him, unto our edification.
 And as we have no such external proposals of his glory unto us in
visions, so neither have we any new revelations of him by immediate
inspiration. We can see nothing of it, know nothing of it but what
is proposed unto us in the Scripture, and that as it is proposed.
Nor does the Scripture itself, in any one place, make an entire
proposal of the glory of Christ with all that belongs unto it; nor
is it capable of so doing, nor can there be any such representation
of it unto our capacity on this side heaven. If all the light of the
heavenly luminaries had been contracted into one, it would have been
destructive, not useful, to our sight; but being by divine wisdom
distributed into sun, moon, and stars, each giving out his own
proportion, it is suited to declare the glory of God and to
enlighten the world. So, if the whole revelation of the glory of
Christ, and all that belongs unto it, had been committed into one
series and contexture of words, it would have overwhelmed our minds
rather than enlightened us. Wherefore God has distributed the light
of it through the whole firmament of the books of the Old and New
Testament; whence it communicates itself, by various parts and
degrees, unto the proper use of the church. In one place we have a
description of his person, and the glory of it; sometimes in words
plain and proper, and sometimes in great variety of allegories,
conveying a heavenly sense of things unto the minds of them that do
believe; - in others, of his love and condescension in his office,
and his glory therein. His humiliation, exaltation, and power, are
in like manner in sundry places represented unto us. And as one star
differeth from another in glory, so it was one way whereby God
represented the glory of Christ in types and shadows under the Old
Testament, and another wherein it is declared in the New.
Illustrious testimonies unto all these things are planted up and
down in the Scripture, which we may collect as choice flowers in the
paradise of God, for the object of our faith and sight thereby.
 So the spouse in the Canticles considered every part of the person
and grace of Christ distinctly by itself, and from them all
concludes that "he is altogether lovely," chap. 5: 10-16. So ought
we to do in our study of the Scripture, to find out the revelation
of the glory of Christ which is made therein, as did the prophets of
old, as unto what they themselves received by immediate inspiration.
They "searched diligently what the Spirit of Christ which was in
them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of
Christ, and the glory that should follow," 1 Peter 1: 11. But this
seeing of Christ by parts in the revelation of him is one cause why
we see him here but in parts.
 Some suppose that by chopping, and painting, and gilding, they can
make an image of Christ that shall perfectly represent him to their
senses and carnal affections from head to foot. But they "feed on
ashes" and have "a lie in their right hand." Jesus Christ is
evidently crucified before our eyes in the Scripture, Gal 3: 1. So
also is he evidently exalted and glorified therein. And it is the
wisdom of faith to gather into one those parcelled descriptions that
are given of him, that they may be the object of its view and
 In the vision which we shall have above, the whole glory of Christ
will be at once and always represented unto us; and we shall be
enabled in one act of the light of glory to comprehend it. Here,
indeed, we are at a loss; - our minds and understandings fail us in
their contemplations. It will not yet enter into our hearts to
conceive what is the beauty, what is the glory of this complete
representation of Christ unto us. To have at once all the glory of
what he is, what he was in his outward state and condition, what he
did and suffered, what he is exalted unto, - his love and
condescension, his mystical union with the church, and the
communication of himself unto it, with the recapitulation of all
things in him, - and the glory of God, even the Father, in his
wisdom, righteousness, grace, love, goodness, power, shining forth
eternally in him, in what he is, has done, and does, all presented
unto us in one view, all comprehended by us at once, is that which
at present we cannot conceive. We can long for it, pant after it,
and have some foretastes of it, - namely, of that state and season
wherein our whole souls, in all their powers and faculties, shall
constantly, inseparably, eternally cleave by love unto whole Christ,
in the sight of the glory of his person and grace, until they are
watered, dissolved, and inebriated in the waters of life and the
rivers of pleasure that are above for evermore. So must we speak of
the things which we admire, which we adore, which we love, which we
long for, which we have some foretastes of in sweetness ineffable,
which yet we cannot comprehend.
 These are some few of those things whence ariseth the difference
between that view which we have here of the glory of Christ, and
that which is reserved for heaven, - namely, such as are taken from
the difference between the means or instruments of the one and the
other, faith and sight.
 II. In the last place, the great difference between them consists
in, and is manifested by, their effects. Hereof I shall give some
few instances, and close this Discourse.
 First, The vision which we shall have of the glory of Christ in
heaven, and of the glory of the immense God in him, is perfectly and
absolutely transforming. It does change us wholly into the image of
Christ. When we shall see him, we shall be as he is; we shall be
like him, because we shall see him, 1 John 3: 2. But although the
closing, perfecting act of this transformation be an act of sight,
or the sight of glory, yet there are many things towards it, or
degrees in it, which we may here take notice of in our way.
 1. The soul, upon its departure from the body, is immediately
freed from all the weakness, ability, darkness, uncertainties, and
fears, which were impressed on it from the flesh, wherewith it was
in the strictest union. The image of the fist Adam as fallen is then
abolished. Yea, it is not only freed from all irregular, sinful
distemper cleaving to our nature as corrupted, but from all those
sinless grievances and infirmities which belong unto the original
constitution of it. This necessarily ensues on the dissolution of
the person in order unto a blessed state. The first entrance by
mortality into immortality, is a step towards glory. The ease which
a blessed soul finds in a deliverance from this encumbrance, is a
door of entrance into eternal rest. Such a change is made in that
which in itself is the centre of all evil, - namely, death, - that
it is made a means of freeing us from all the remainders of what is
 For this does not follow absolutely on the nature of the thing
itself. A mere dissolution of our natures can bring no advantage
with it, especially as it is a part of the curse. But it is from the
sanctification of it by the death of Christ. Hereby that which was
God's ordinance for the infliction of judgement, becomes an
effectual means for the communication of mercy, 1 Cor. 15: 22, 54.
It is by virtue of the death of Christ alone, that the souls of
believers are freed by death from all impressions of sin, infirmity,
and evils, which they have had from the flesh; which were their
burden, under which they groaned all their days. No man knows in any
measure the excellency of this privilege, and the dawnings of glory
which are in it, who has not been wearied, and even worn out,
through long conflicting with the body of death. The soul hereon
being freed from all annoyances, all impressions from the flesh, is
expedite and enlarged unto the exercise of all its gracious
faculties, as we shall see immediately.
 With wicked men it is not so. Death unto them is a curse; and the
curse is the means of the conveyance of all evil, and not
deliverance from any. Wherein they have been warmed and refreshed by
the influences of the flesh, they shall be deprived of it. But their
souls in their separate state, are perpetually harassed with all the
disquieting passions which have been impressed on their minds by
their corrupt fleshly lusts. In vain do such persons look for relief
by death. If there be any thing remaining of present good and
usefulness to them, they shall be deprived of it. And their freedom
for a season from bodily pains in no way lie in the balance against
that confluence of evils which death will let in upon them.
 2. The "spirits of just men," being freed by death from the clog
of the flesh, not yet refined, - all the faculties of their souls,
and all the graces in them, as faith, love, and delight, are
immediately set at liberty, enabled constantly to exercise
themselves on God in Christ. The end for which they were created,
for which our nature was endowed with them, was, that we might
adhere unto God by them, and come unto the enjoyment of him. Being
now freed wholly from all that impotency, perverseness, and
disability unto this end, with all the effects of them, which came
upon them by the fall; they are carried with a full stream towards
God, cleaving unto him with the most intense embraces. And all their
acting towards God shall be natural, with facility, joy, delight,
and complacency. We know not yet the excellency of the operations of
our souls in divine things, when disburdened of their present weight
of the flesh. And this is a second step towards the consummation of
glory. For, -
 In the resurrection of the body, upon its full redemption, it
shall be so purified, sanctified, glorified, as to give no
obstruction unto the soul in its operations, but be a blessed organ
for its highest and most spiritual actings. The body shall never
more be a trouble, a burden unto the soul, but an assistant in its
operations, and participant of its blessedness. Our eyes were made
to see our Redeemer, and our other senses to receive impressions
from him, according unto their capacity. As the bodies of wicked men
shall be restored unto them to increase and complete their misery in
their sufferings; so shall the bodies of the just be restored unto
them, to heighten and consummate their blessedness.
 3. These things are preparatory unto glory. The complete
communication of it is by the infusion of a new heavenly light into
the mind, enabling us to see the Lord Christ as he is. The soul
shall not be brought into the immediate presence of Christ without a
new power, to behold him and the immediate representation of his
glory. Faith now does cease, as unto the manner of its operation in
this life, whilst we are absent from Christ. This light of glory
succeeds into its room, fitted for that state and all the ends of
it, as faith is for that which is present. And, -
 4. In the first operation of this light of glory, believers shall
so behold the glory of Christ, and the glory of God in him, as that
there with and thereby they shall be immediately and universally
changed into his likeness. They shall be as he is, when they shall
see him as he is. There is no growth in glory, as to parts; - there
may be as to degrees. Additions may be outwardly made unto what is
at first received as by the resurrection of the body; but the
internal light of glory and its transforming efficacy is capable of
no degrees, though new revelations may be made unto it unto
eternity. For the infinite fountain of life, and light, and
goodness, can never be fathomed, much less exhausted. And what God
spake on the entrance of sin, by the way of contempt and reproach,
"Behold, the man is become like one of us," upbraiding him with what
he had foolishly designed; - on the accomplishment of the work of
his grace, he says in love and infinite goodness, "Man is become
like one of us," in the perfect restoration of our image in him.
This is the first effect of the light of glory.
 Faith also, in beholding the glory of Christ in this life, is
accompanied with a transforming efficacy, as the apostle expressly
declares, 2 Cor. 3: 18. It is the principle from whence, and the
instrumental cause whereby, all spiritual change is wrought in us in
this life; but the work of it is imperfect; - first, because it is
gradual, and then because it is partial.
 (1.) As unto the manner of its operation, it is gradual, and does
not at once transform us into the image of Christ; yes, the degrees
of its progress therein are unto us for the most part imperceptible.
It requires much spiritual wisdom and observation to obtain an
experience of them in our own souls. "The inward man is renewed day
by day," whilst we behold these invisible things, 2 Cor. 4: 16-18.
But how? - even as the outward man decays by age, which is by
insensible degrees and alterations. Such is the transformation which
we have by faith, in its present view of the glory of Christ. And
according to our experience of its efficacy herein, is our evidence
of its truth and reality in the beholding of him. No man can have
the least ground of assurance that he has seen Christ and his glory
by faith, without some effects of it in changing him into his
likeness. For as on the touch of his garment by the woman in the
Gospel, virtue went out from him to heal her infirmity; so upon this
view of faith, an influence of transforming power will proceed from
Christ unto the soul.
 (2.) As unto the event, it is but partial. It does not bring this
work unto perfection. The change wrought by it is indeed great and
glorious; or, as the apostle speaks, it is "from glory to glory," in
a progress of glorious grace: but absolute perfection is reserved
for vision. As to divine worship, perfection was not by the law. It
did many things preparatory unto the revelation of the will of God
concerning it, but it "made nothing perfect:" so absolute perfection
in holiness, and the restoration of the image of God, is not by the
Gospel, is not by faith; - however, it gives us many preparatory
degrees unto it, as the apostle fully declares, Phil. 3: 10-14.
 Secondly, Vision is beatifical, as it is commonly called, and that
not amiss. It gives perfect rest and blessedness unto them in whom
it is. This may be a little opened in the ensuing observations.
 1. There are continual operations of God in Christ in the souls of
them that are glorified, and communications from him unto them. For
all creatures must externally live, even in heaven, in dependence on
Him who is the eternal fountain of being, life, goodness, and
blessedness unto all. As we cannot subsist one moment in our beings,
lives, souls, bodies, the inward or outward man, without the
continual acting of divine power in us, and towards us; so in the
glorified state our all shall depend eternally on divine power and
goodness, communicating themselves unto us, for all the ends of our
blessed subsistence in heaven.
 2. What is the way and manner of these communications, we cannot
comprehend. We cannot, indeed, fully understand the nature and way
of his spiritual communications unto us in this life. We know these
things by their signs, their outward means, and principally by the
effects they produce in the real change of our natures; but in
themselves we see but little of them. "The wind bloweth where it
listeth, and we hear the sound thereof, but we know not whence it
comets, and whither it goes; so is every one that is born of the
Spirit," John 3: 8. All God's real operations in heaven and earth
are incomprehensible, as being acts of infinite power; and we cannot
search them out unto perfection.
 3. All communications from the Divine Being and infinite fulness
in heaven unto glorified saints, are in and through Christ Jesus,
who shall for ever be the medium of communication between God and
the church, even in glory. All things being gathered into one head
in him, even things in heaven, and things in earth, - that head
being in immediate dependence on God, this order shall never be
dissolved, Eph. 1: 10, 11; 1 Cor. 3: 23. And on these communications
from God through Christ depends entirely our continuance in a state
of blessedness and glory. We shall no more be self-subsistent in
glory than we are in nature or grace.
 4. The way on our part whereby we shall receive these
communications from God by Christ, which are the eternal springs of
life, peace, joy, and blessedness, is this vision the sight whereof
we speak. For, as it is expressly assigned thereunto in the
Scripture, so whereas it contains the perfect operation of our minds
and souls in a perfect state, on the most perfect object, it is the
only means of our blessedness. And this is the true cause whence
there neither is nor can be any satiety or weariness in heaven, in
the eternal contemplation of the same glory. For not only the object
of our sight is absolutely infinite, which can never be searched
unto the bottom, yea, is perpetually new unto a finite
understanding; but our subjective blessedness consisting in
continual fresh communications from the infinite fulness of the
divine nature, derived unto us through vision, is always new, and
always will be so to eternity. Herein shall all the saints of God
drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at his right hand, be
satisfied with his likeness, and refresh themselves in the eternal
springs of life, light, and joy for evermore.
 This effect, - that view, which we have by faith of the glory of
Christ in this world, does not produce. It is sanctifying, not
glorifying. The best of saints are far from a perfect or glorified
state in this life; and that not only on the account of the outward
evils which in their persons they are exposed unto, but also of the
weakness and imperfection of their inward state in grace. Yet we may
observe some things unto the honour of faith in them who have
received it.
 (1.) In its due exercise on Christ, it will give unto the souls of
believers some previous participation of future glory, working in
them dispositions unto, and preparation for, the enjoyment of it.
 (2.) There is no glory, no peace, no joy, no satisfaction in this
world, to be compared with what we receive by that weak and
imperfect view which we have of the glory of Christ by faith; yea,
all the joys of the world are a thing of nought in comparison of
what we so recede.
 (3.) It is sufficient to give us such a perception, such a
foretaste of future blessedness in the enjoyment of Christ, as may
continually stir us up to breathe and pant after it. But it is not
 Other differences of an alike nature between our beholding of the
glory of Christ in this life by faith, and that vision of it which
is reserved for heaven, might be insisted on; but I shall proceed no
farther. There is nothing farther for us to do herein but that now
and always we shut up all our meditations concerning it with the
deepest self-abasement, out of a sense of our unworthiness and
insufficiency to comprehend those things, admiration of that
excellent glory which we cannot comprehend, and vehement longings
for that season when we shall see him as he is, be ever with him,
and know him even as we are known.