Christologia
By John Owen
 
 
 
or a Declaration of the glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ--God
and Man:
 
with the infinite Wisdom, Love, and Power of God in the Contrivance
and Constitution thereof;
 
as also,
 
of the Grounds and Reasons of His Incarnation;
the Nature of His Ministry in Heaven;
the Present State of the Church above thereon; and
the Use of His Person in Religion:
 
with
 
an Account and Vindication of the Honour, Worship, Faith, Love, and
Obedience due unto Him, in and from the Church.
 
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the
loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win
Christ."--Philippians 3:8.
 
 
Table of Contents
 
Prefatory Note
The Preface
Chapter I. Peter's Confession; Matt.16:16--Conceits of the Papists
thereon--The Substance and Excellency of that Confession
Chapter II. Opposition made unto the Church as built upon the Person
of Christ
Chapter III. The Person cf Christ the most ineffable Effect of Divine
Wisdom and Goodness--Thence the next Cause of all True
Religion--In what sense it is so
Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of
God
Chapter V. The Person of Christ the great Representative of God and
his Will
Chapter VI. The Person of Christ the great Repository of Sacred Truth-
-Its Relation thereunto.
Chapter VII. Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of
Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person
Chapter VIII. The Faith of the Church under the Old Testament in and
concerning the Person of Christ
Chapter IX. Honour due to the Person of Christ--The nature and Causes
of it
Chapter X. The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the
Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; with is Faith in
Him
Chapter XI. Obedience unto Christ--The Nature and Causes of it
Chapter XII. The especial Principle of Obedience unto the Person of
Christ; which is Love--Its Truth and Reality Vindicated.
Chapter XIII. The Nature, Operations, and Causes of Divine Love, as it
respects the Person of Christ
Chapter XIV Motives unto the Love of Christ
Chapter XV. Conformity unto Christ, and Following his Example
Chapter XVI. An humble Inquiry into, and Prospect of, the infinite
Wisdom of God, in the Constitution of the Person of Christ,
and the Way of Salvation thereby
Chapter XVII Other Evidences of Divine Wisdom in the Contrivance of
the Work of Redemption in and by the Person of Christ, in
Effects Evidencing a Condecency thereunto
Chapter XVIII. The Nature of the Person of Christ, and the
Hypostatical Union of his Natures Declared
Chapter XIX. The Exaltation of Christ, with his Present state and
Condition in Glory during the Continuance of his Mediatory
Office.
Chapter XX. The Exercise of the Mediatory Office of Christ in Heaven
 
 
 
Prefatory Note
 
To object of Dr Owen in this treatise is to illustrate the mystery of
divine grace in the person of Christ. It bears the title,
"Christologia;" but it differs considerably from modern works of the
same title or character. It is not occupied with a formal induction
from Scripture in proof of the supreme Godhead of the Saviour. Owen
assumes the truth of this doctrine, and applies all his powers and
resources to expound its relations in the Christian system, and its
bearings on Christian duty and experience.
 Chapter 1 of the work is devoted to an exposition of Matt.16:16, as a
warrant and basis for his inquiry respecting the person of Christ.
Chapter 2 contains some historical references to the opposition
encountered by this doctrine in past ages. From Chapter 3 to 7
inclusive, the person of Christ is exhibited as the origin of all true
religion, the foundation of the divine counsel, the representation of
the divine nature and will, the embodiment and sum of divine truth,
and the source of divine and gracious efficacy for the salvation of
the church. The faith of the Old Testament Church respecting it is
illustrated in Chapter 8. Then follows the second leading division of
the treatise, in which the divine honours and obedience due to Christ,
and our obligation to seek conformity to him, are urged at some
length, from Chapter 9 to 15. It is followed in Chapters 16 and 17
with an inquire into the divine wisdom as manifested in the person of
Christ. The hypostatical union is explained, Chapter 18. Two more
Chapters, 19 and 20, close the work, with a dissertation on the
exaltation of Christ, and the mode in which he discharges his
mediatorial functions in heaven.
 The treatise was first published in 1679. We are not informed under
what particular circumstances Owen was led to prepare it. There is
internal evidence in the work itself that he laboured under a strong
impression of the peril in which evangelical religion would be
involved, if views of the person of Christ, either positively unsound
or simple vague and defective, obtained currency in the British
churches. His acquaintance with the early history of the church taught
him that against this doctrine the persevering assaults of Satan had
been directed; and, with sagacious foresight, he anticipated the rise
of heresy on this point in England. He speaks of "woeful contests"
respecting it,--increasing rather than abating "unto this very day;"
and intimates his conviction, in language which elucidates his main
design in this work, that the only way by which they could be
terminated was to enthrone Christ anew in the hearts and consciences
of men.
 Events ensued which justified these apprehensions of Own. A prolonged
controversy on the subject of the Trinity arose, which drew forth the
works of Bull (1686), Sherlock (1690), and South (1695). In 1710,
Whiston was expelled from Oxford for his Arianism. Dr S Clarke, in
1712, published Arian views, for which he was summoned before the
Convocation. Among the Presbyterian Dissenters Pierce and Hallet
(1717) became openly committed to Arianism. Dr Isaac Watts who
succeeded (1702) to the charge of the same congregation in London
which had been under the care of Owen, broached the "Indwelling
Schema"; according to which the Father is so united to the man Christ
Jesus, whose human soul preexisted his coming in the flesh, that,
through this indwelling of the Godhead, he became properly God.
 The Christology of Owes has always been highly valued, and will be of
use to all ages of the church:--"A work," says the late Dr M'Crie,
"which, together with its continuation, the 'Meditations on the Glory
of Christ,' of all the theological works published by individuals
since the Reformation, next to 'Calvin's Institutions', we would have
deemed it our highest honour to have produced."--Ed.
 
 
 
 
The Preface
 
It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be
given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us,
Isa.9:6,) that God would "lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a
tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation," whereon "he
that believeth shall not make haste:" Isa.28:16. Yet was it also
foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be "for
a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense, to both the houses of
Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" so
as that "many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and
be snared, and be taken:" Isa.8:14,15. According unto this promise and
prediction it has fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle
Peter declares concerning the first of them. "Wherefore also," saith
he, "it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not
be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but
unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders
disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of
stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the
word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:" 1
Pet.2:6-8.
 Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always
has been, precious--the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their
souls--every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or
unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and
eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with
everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect,
and obtain deliverance from that woeful apostasy from God, which is
accompanied with--which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously
whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which,
without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought
into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the
firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our
finite natures are capable of, and so conducted unto the eternal
enjoyment of him. For in him "shall all the seed of Israel be
justified, and shall glory;" (Isa.45:25;) for "Israel shall be saved
in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;" they "shall not be ashamed
nor confounded, world without end:" verse 17.
 On these and the like accounts, the principal design of their whole
lives unto whom he is thus precious, is to acquaint themselves with
him--the mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God, in his person
and mediation, as revealed unto us in the Scripture, which is "life
eternal;" (John 17:3;)--to trust in him, and unto him, as to all the
everlasting concernments of their souls--to love and honour him with
all their hearts--to endeavour after conformity to him, in all those
characters of divine goodness and holiness which are represented unto
them in him. In these things consist the soul, life, power, beauty,
and efficacy of the Christian religion; without which, whatever
outward ornaments may be put upon its exercise, it is but a useless,
lifeless carcass. The whole of this design is expressed in these
heavenly words of the apostle: (Phil.3:8-12:) "Yea doubtless, and I
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his
death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the
dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already
perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." This is a divine expression of
that frame of heart of that design--which is predominant and
efficacious in them unto whom Christ is precious
 But, on the other hand, (according unto the fore-mentioned
prediction,) as he has been a sure foundation unto all that believe,
so he has in like manner been "a stone of stumbling and a rock of
offense unto them that stumble at the word, being disobedient:
whereunto also they were appointed." There is nothing in him--nothing
wherein he is concerned--nothing of him, his person, his natures, his
office, his grace, his love, his power, his authority, his relation
unto the church--but it has been unto many a stone of stumbling and
rock of offense. Concerning these things have been all the woeful
contests which have fallen out and been managed among those that
outwardly have made profession of the Christian religion. And the
contentions about them do rather increase than abate, unto this very
day; the dismal fruits whereof the world groaneth under, and is no
longer able to bear. For, as the opposition unto the Lord Christ in
these things, by men of perverse minds, has ruined their own souls--as
having dashed themselves in pieces against this everlasting rock--so
in conjunction with other lusts and interests of the carnal minds of
men, it has filled the world itself with blood and confusion.
 The re-enthroning of the Person, Spirit, Grace, and authority of
Christ, in the hearts and consciences of men, is the only way whereby
an end may be put unto these woeful conflicts. But this is not to be
expected in any degree of perfection amongst them who stumble at this
stone of offense, whereunto they were appointed; though in the issue
he will herein also send forth judgment unto victory, and all the meek
of the earth shall follow after it. In the meantime, as those unto
whom he is thus a rock of offence--in his person, his spirit, his
grace, his office, and authority--are diligent and restless (in their
various ways and forms, in lesser or higher degrees, in secret
artifices, or open contradictions unto any or all of them, under
various pretences, and for divers ends, even secular advantages some
of them, which the craft of Satan has prepared for the ensnaring of
them) in all ways of opposition unto his glory; so it is the highest
duty of them unto whom he is precious, whose principal design is to be
found built on him as the sure foundation, as to hold the truth
concerning him, this person, spirit, grace, office, and authority,)
and to abound in all duties of faith, love, trust, honour, and delight
in him--so also to declare his excellency, to plead the cause of his
glory, to vindicate his honour, and to witness him the only rest and
reward of the souls of men, as they are called and have opportunity.
 This, and no other, is the design of the ensuing treatise; wherein,
as all things fall unspeakably short of the glory, excellency, and
sublimity of the subject treated of, (for no mind can conceive, no
tongue can express, the real substantial glory of them,) so there is
no doubt but that in all the parts of it there is a reflection of
failings and imperfections, from the weakness of its author. But yet I
must say with confidence, that in the whole, that eternal truth of God
concerning the mystery of his wisdom, love, grace, and power, in the
person and mediation of Christ, with our duties towards himself
therein, even the Father, Son, and eternal Spirit, is pleaded and
vindicated, which shall never be shaken by the utmost endeavours and
oppositions of the gates of hell.
 And in the acknowledgment of the truth concerning these things
consists, in an especial manner, that faith which was the life and
glory of the primitive church, which they earnestly contended for,
wherein and whereby they were victorious against all the troops of
stumbling adversaries by whom it was assaulted. In giving testimony
hereunto, they loved not their lives unto the death, but poured out
their blood like water, under all the pagan persecutions, which had no
other design but to cast them down and separate them from this
impregnable rock, this precious foundation. In the defence of these
truths did they conflict, in prayers, studies, travels, and writings,
against the swarms of seduces by whom they were opposed. And, for this
cause, I thought to have confirmed the principal passages of the
ensuing discourse with some testimonies from the most ancient writes
of the first ages of the church; but I omitted that cause, as fearing
that the interposition of such passages might obstruct instead of
promoting the edification of the common sort of readers, which I
principally intended. Yet, withal, I thought not good utterly to
neglect that design, but to give at least a specimen of their
sentiments about the principal truths pleaded for, in this preface to
the whole. But herein, also, I met with a disappointment; for the
bookseller having, unexpectedly unto me, finished the printing of the
discourse itself, I must be contented to make use of what lieth
already collected under my hand, not having leisure or time to make
any farther inquiry.
 I shall do something of this nature, the rather because I shall have
occasion thereby to give a summary account of some of the principal
parts of the discourse itself, and to clear some passages in it, which
by some may be apprehended obscure.
 
 Chap. I. The foundation of the whole is laid in the indication of
those words of our blessed Saviour, wherein he declares himself to be
the rock whereon the church is built: (Matt.16:18:) "And I say also
unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The
pretended ambiguity of these words has been wrested by the secular
interests of men, to give occasion unto that prodigious controversy
among Christian, with, whether Jesus Christ or the Pope of Rome be the
rock whereon the church is built. Those holy men of old unto whom
Christ was precious, being untainted with the desires of secular
grandeur and power, knew nothing hereof. Testimonies may be--they have
been--multiplied by other unto this purpose. I shall mention some few
of them.
 
 "Houtos estin he pros ton Patera agousa hosos, he petra, he kleis, he
poimen", &c, saith Ignatius: Epist. ad Philadelph.--"He" (that is,
Christ) "is the way leading unto the Father, the rock, the key, the
shepherd"--wherein he has respect unto this testimony. And Origin
expressly denies the words to be spoken of Peter, in Matt.16: (Tract.
1:) "Quod si super unum illum Petrum tantum existimees totam eclesiam
aedificar, quid dicturus es de Johanne, et apostolorum unoquoque? Num
audebimus dicere quod adversus Petrum unum non prevaliturae sunt
portae inferorum?"--"If you shall think that the whole church was
built on Peter alone, what shall we say of John, and each of the
apostles? What! shall we dare to say that the gates of hell shall not
prevail against Peter only?" So he [held,] according unto the common
opinion of the ancients, that there was nothing peculiar in the
confession of Peter, and the answer made thereunto as unto himself,
but that he spake and was spoken unto in the name of all the rest of
the apostles. Euseb. Preparat. Evang., lib. 1 cap. 3: "Ete onomasti
prothespistheisa ekklesia autou hesteke kata bathous erridzoomene, kai
mechris ouranioon hapsidoon euchais hosioon ka theofiloon anoroon
meteooridzomene--dia mian ekeinen, hen autos apefenato lexin, eipoon,
Epi ten petran oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian, kan pulai haidou ou
katischusousin autes". He proves the verity of divine predictions from
the glorious accomplishment of that word, and the promise of our
Saviour, that he would build his church on the rock, (that is,
himself,) so as that the gates of hell should not prevail against it.
For "Unum hoc est immobile fundamentum, una haec est felix fidei
Petra, Petri ore confessa, Tu es filius Dei vivi," says Hilary de
Trin., lib. 2--"This is the only immovable foundation, this is the
blessed rock of faith confessed by Peter, Thou art the Son of the
living God". And Epiphanius, Haer.29: "Epi tei petri tautei tes
asfalous pisteoos oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian".--"Upon this rock" of
assured faith "I will build my church". For many thought that faith
itself was metonymically called the Rock, because of its object, or
the person of Christ, which is so.
 One or two more out of Augustine shall close these testimonies:
"Super hanc Petram, quam confessus es, super meipsum filium Dei vivi,
aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Super me aedificabo te, non me super te:"
De Verbis Dom., Serm. 13.--"Upon this rock which thou hast confessed--
upon myself, the God of the living God--I will build my church I will
build thee upon myself, and not myself on thee." And he more fully
declareth his mind: (Tract. 124, in Johan.:) "Universam significabat
ecclesiam, quae in hoc seculo diversis tentationibus, velut imbribus,
fluminibus, tempestatibusque quatitur, et non cadit; quoniam fundata
est supra Petram; unde et Petrus nomen accepit. Non enim a Petro
Petra, sed Petrus a Petra; sicut non Christus a Christiano, sed
Christianus a Christo vocatur. Ideo quippe ait Dominus, 'Super hanc
Petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam', quia dixerat Petrus, 'Tu es
Christus filius Dei vivi'. 'Super hanc ergo' (inquit) 'Petram quam
confessus es, aedificabo eccleaism meam'. Petra enim erat Christus,
super quod fundamentum etiam ipse aedificatus est Petrus. Fundamentum
quippe aliud nemo potest ponere, praeter id quod positum est, quod est
Jesus Christus".--"He (Christ) meant the universal church, which in
this world is shaken with divers temptations, as with showers, floods,
and tempests, yet falleth not, because it is built on the rock (Petra)
from whence Peter took his name. For the rock is not called Petra from
Peter, but Peter is so called from Petra the rock; as Christ is not so
called from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore, said the
Lord, 'Upon this rock will I build my church;' because Peter said,
'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Upon this rock,
which thou hast confessed, will I build my church. For Christ himself
was the rock on which foundation Peter himself was built. For other
foundation can no man lay, save that which is laid which is Jesus
Christ.
 
 Chap. II. Against this rock, this foundation of the church--the
person of Christ, and the faith of the church concerning it--great
opposition has been made by the gates of hell. Not to mention the rage
of the pagan world, endeavouring by all effects of violence and
cruelty to cast the church from this foundation; all the heresies
wherewith from the beginning, and for some centuries of years ensuing,
it was pestered, consisted in direct and immediate oppositions unto
the eternal truth concerning the person of Christ. Some that are so
esteemed, indeed, never pretended unto any sobriety, but were mere
effects of delirant [raving] imaginations; yet did even they also, one
way or other, derive from an hatred unto the person of Christ, and
centred therein. Their beginning was early in the church, even before
the writing of the gospel by John, or of his Revelation, and indeed
before some of Paul's epistles. And although their beginning was but
small, and seemingly contemptible, yet, being full of the poison of
the old serpent, they diffused themselves in various shapes and forms,
until there was nothing left of Christ--nothing that related unto him,
not his natures, divine or human, not their properties nor acting, not
his person, nor the union of his natures therein--that was not opposed
and assaulted by them. Especially so soon as the gospel had subdued
the Roman empire unto Christ, and was owned by the rulers of it, the
whole world was for some ages filled with uproars, confusion, and
scandalous disorders about the person of Christ, through the cursed
oppositions made thereunto by the gates of hell. Neither had the
church any rest from these convicts for about five hundred year. But
near that period of time, the power of truth and religion beginning
universally to decay among the outward professors of them, Satan took
advantage to make that havoc and destruction of the church--by
superstition, false worship, and profaneness of life which he failed
of in his attempt against the person of Christ, or the doctrine of
truth concerning it.
 It would be a tedious work, and, it may be, not of much profit unto
them who are utterly unacquainted with things so long past and gone,
wherein they seem to have no concernment, to give a specimen of the
several heresies whereby attempts were made against this rock and
foundation of the church. Unto those who have inquired into the
records of antiquity, it would be altogether useless. For almost every
page of them, at first view, presents the reader with an account of
some one or more of them. Yet do I esteem it useful, that the very
ordinary sort of Christians should, at least in general, be acquainted
with what has passed in this great contest about the person of Christ,
from the beginning. For there are two things relating thereunto
wherein their faith is greatly concerned. First, There is evidence
given therein unto the truth of those predictions of the Scripture,
wherein this fatal apostasy from the truth, and opposition unto the
Lord Christ, are foretold: and, secondly, An eminent instance of his
power and faithfulness, in the appointment and conquest of the gates
of hell in the management of this opposition. But they have been all
reckoned up, and digested into methods of time and matter, by many
learned men, (of old and of late,) so that I shall not in this
occasional discourse represent them unto the reader again. Only I
shall give a brief account of the ways and means whereby they who
retained the profession of the truth contended for it, unto a conquest
over the pernicious heresies wherewith it was opposed.
 The defense of the truth, from the beginning, was left in charge
unto, and managed by, the guides and rulers of the church in their
several capacities. And by the Scripture it was that they discharged
their duty confirmed with apostolical tradition consonant thereunto.
This was left in charge unto them by the great apostle, (Acts
20:28-31; 1 Tim.6:13,14; 2 Tim.2:1,2,15,23,24; 4:1-5,) and wherein any
of them failed in this duty, they were reproved by Christ himself:
Rev.2:14,15,20. Nor were private believers (in their places and
capacities) either unable for this duty or exempt from it, but
discharged themselves faithfully therein, according unto commandment
given unto them: 1 John 2:20,27; 4:1-3; 2 John 8,9. All true
believers, in their several stations--by mutual watchfulness,
preaching, or writing, according unto their calls and abilities--
effectually used the outward means for the preservation and
propagation of the faith of the church. And the same means are still
sufficient unto the same ends, were they attended unto with conscience
and diligence. The pretended defense of truth with arts and arms of
another kind has been the bane of religion, and lost the peace of
Christians beyond recovery. And it may be observed, that whilst this
way alone for the preservation of the truth was insisted on and
pursued, although innumerable heresies arose one after another, and
sometimes many together, yet they never made any great progress, nor
arrived unto any such consistency as to make a stated opposition unto
the truth; but the errors themselves and their authors, were as
vagrant meteors, which appeared for a little while, and vanished away.
Afterwards it was not so, when other ways and means for the
suppression of heresies were judged convenient and needful.
 For in process of time, when the power of the Roman empire gave
countenance and protection unto the Christian religion, another way
was fixed on for this end, viz., the use of such assemblies of bishops
and others as they called General Councils, armed with a mixed power,
partly civil and partly ecclesiastical--with respect unto the
authority of the emperors and that jurisdiction in the church which
began then to be first talked of. This way was begun in the Council of
Nice, wherein, although there was a determination of the doctrine
concerning the person of Christ--then in agitation, and opposed, as
unto his divine nature therein--according unto the truth, yet sundry
evils and inconveniences ensued thereon. For thenceforth the faith of
Christians began greatly to be resolved into the authority of men, and
as much, if not more weight to be laid on what was decreed by the
fathers there assembled, than on what was clearly taught in the
Scriptures. Besides, being necessitated, as they thought, to explain
their conceptions of the divine nature of Christ in words either not
used in the Scripture, or whose signification unto that purpose was
not determined therein, occasion was given unto endless contentions
about them. The Grecians themselves could not for a long season agree
among themselves whether "ousia" and "hupostatis" were of the same
signification or no, (both of them denoting essence and substance,) or
whether they differed in their signification, or if they did, wherein
that difference lay. Athanasiu6 at first affirmed them to be the same:
Orat. 5 con. Arian., and Epist. ad African. Basil denied them so to
be, or that they were used unto the same purpose in the Council of
Nice: Epist. 78. The like difference immediately fell out between the
Grecians and Latins about "hypostasis" and "persona". For the Latins
rendered "hypostasis" by "substantia," and "prosoopon" by "persona."
Hereof Jerome complains, in his Epistle to Damasus, that they required
of him in the East to confess "tres hypostases," and he would only
acknowledge "tree personas:" Epist. 71. And Augustine gives an account
of the same difference: De Trinitate, lib 5 cap. 8, 9. Athanasius
endeavoured the composing of this difference, and in a good measure
effected it, as Gregory Nazianzen affirms in his oration concerning
his praise. It was done by him in a synod at Alexandria, in the first
year of Julian'6 reign. On this occasion many contests arose even
among them who all pleaded their adherence unto the doctrine of the
Council of Nice. And as the subtle Asians made incredible advantage
hereof at first, pretending that they opposed not the deity of Christ,
but only the expression of it by of "homo-ousios", so afterwards they
countenanced themselves in coining words and terms, to express their
minds with, which utterly reacted it. Hence were their "homoousios,
heterousios, ex ouk ontoon", and the like names of blasphemy, about
which the contests were fierce and endless. And there were yet farther
evils that ensued hereon. For the curious and serpentine wits of men,
finding themselves by this means set at liberty to think and discourse
of those mysteries of the blessed Trinity, and the person of Christ,
without much regard unto plain divine testimonies, (in such ways
wherein cunning and sophistry did much bear sway,) began to multiply
such near, curious, and false notions about them, especially about the
latter, as caused new disturbances, and those of large extent and long
continuance. For their suppression, councils were called on the neck
of one another, whereon commonly new occasions of differences did
arise, and most of them managed with great scandal unto the Christian
religion. For men began much to forego the primitive ways of opposing
errors and extinguishing heresies; retaking themselves unto their
interest, the number of their party, and their prevalence with the
present emperors. And although it so fell out--as in that at
Constantinople, the first at Ephesus, and that at Chalcedon--that the
truth (for the substance of it) did prevail, (for in many others it
happened quite otherwise,) yet did they always give occasions unto new
divisions, animosities, and even mutual hatreds, among the principal
leaders of the Christian people. And great contests there were among
some of those who pretended to believe the same truth, whether such or
such a council should be received--that is, plainly, whether the
church should resolve its faith into their authority. The strifes of
this nature about the first Ephesian Council, and that at Chalcedon,
not to mention those wherein the Asians prevailed, take up a good part
of the ecclesiastical story of those days. And it cannot be denied,
but that some of the principal persons and assemblies who adhered unto
the truth did, in the heat of opposition unto the heresies of other
men, fall into unjustifiable excess themselves.
 We may take an instance hereof with respect unto the Nestorian
heresy, condemned in the first Ephesian Council, and afterwards in
that at Chalcedon. Cyril of Alexandria, a man learned and vehement,
designed by all means to be unto it what his predecessor Athanasius
had been to the Arian; but he fell into such excesses in his
undertakings, as gave great occasion unto farther tumults. For it is
evident that he distinguisheth not between "hupostatis" and "fusis",
and therefore affirms, that the divine Word and humanity had "mian
fusin", one nature only. So he does plainly in Epist. ad Successum:
"They are ignorant," saith he, "hoti kath' aletheian esti mia fusis
tou logou sesarkoomene". Hence Eutyches the Archimandrite took
occasion to run into a contrary extreme, being a no less fierce enemy
to Nestorius than Cyril was. For to oppose him who divided the person
of Christ into two, he confounded his natures into one--his delirant
folly being confirmed by that goodly assembly, the second at Ephesus.
Besides, it is confessed that Cyril--through the vehemency of his
spirit, hatred unto Nestorius, and following the conduct of his own
mind in nice and subtle expressions of the great mystery of the person
of Christ--did utter many things exceeding the bounds of sobriety
prescribed unto us by the apostle, (Rom.12:3,) if not those of truth
itself. Hence it is come to passe that many learned men begin to think
and write that Cyril was in the wrong, and Nestorius by his means
condemned undeservedly. However, it is certain to me, that the
doctrine condemned at Ephesus and Chalcedony as the doctrine of
Nestorius, was destructive of the true person of Christ; and that
Cyril, though he missed it in sundry expressions, yet aimed at the
declaration and confirmation of the truth; as he was long since
vindicated by Theorianus: Dialog. con. Armenios.
 However, such was the watchful care of Christ over the church, as
unto the preservation of this sacred, fundamental truth, concerning
his divine person, and the union of his natures therein, retaining
their distinct properties and operations, that--notwithstanding all
the faction and disorder that were in those primitive councils, and
the scandalous contests of many of the members of them;
notwithstanding the determination contrary unto it in great and
numerous councils--the faith of it was preserved entire in the hearts
of all that truly believed, and triumphed over the gates of hell.
 I have mentioned these few things, which belong unto the promise and
prediction of our blessed Saviour in Matt.16:18, (the place insisted
on,) to show that the church, without any disadvantage to the truth,
may be preserved without such general assemblies, which, in the
following ages, proved the most pernicious engines for the corruption
of the faith, worship, and manners of it. Yea, from the beginning,
they were so far from being the only way of preserving truth, that it
was almost constantly prejudiced by the addition of their authority
unto the confirmation of it. Nor was there any one of them wherein
"the mystery of iniquity" did not work, unto the laying of some
rubbish in the foundation of that fatal apostasy which afterwards
openly ensued. The Lord Christ himself has taken it upon him to build
his church on this rock of his person, by true faith of it and in it.
He sends his Holy Spirit to bear testimony unto him, in all the
blessed effects of his power and grace. He continueth his Word, with
the faithful ministry of it, to reveal, declare, make known, and
vindicate his sacred truth, unto the conviction of gainsayers. He
keeps up that faith in him, that love unto him, in the hearts of all
his elect, as shall not be prevailed against. Wherefore, although the
oppositions unto this sacred truth, this fundamental article of the
church and the Christian religion--concerning his divine person, its
constitution, and use, as the human nature conjoined substantially
unto it, and subsisting in it--are in this Last age increased;
although they are managed under so great a variety of forms, as that
they are not reducible unto any heads of order; although they are
promoted with more subtlety and specious pretences than in former
ages; yet, if we are not wanting unto our duty, with the aids of grace
proposed unto us, we shall finally triumph in this cause, and transmit
this sacred truth inviolate unto them that succeed us in the
profession of it.
 
 Chap. III. This person of Christ, which is the foundation whereon the
church is built, whereunto all sorts of oppositions are endeavoured
and designed, is the most ineffable effect of divine goodness and
wisdom--whereof we treat in the next place. But herein, when I speak
of the constitution of the person of Christ, I intend not his person
absolutely, as he is the eternal Son of God. He was truly, really,
completely, a divine person from eternity, which is included in the
notion of his being the Son, and so distinct from the Father, which is
his complete personality. His being so was not a voluntary contrivance
or effect of divine wisdom and goodness, his eternal generation being
a necessary internal act of the divine nature in the person of the
Father.
 Of the eternal generation of the divine person of the Son, the sober
writers of the ancient church did constantly affirm that it was firmly
to be believed, but as unto the manner of it not to be inquired into.
"Scrutator majestatis absorbetur a gloria", was their rule; and the
curious disputes of Alexander and Arius about it, gave occasion unto
that many-headed monster of the Arian heresy which afterwards ensued.
For when once men of subtile heads and unsanctified hearts gave
themselves up to inquire into things infinitely above their
understanding and capacity--being vainly puffed up in their fleshly
minds--they fell into endless divisions among themselves, agreeing
only in an opposition unto the truth. But those who contented
themselves to be wise unto sobriety, repressed this impious boldness.
To this purpose speaks Lactantius:(lib.4, De Vera Sapient.:) "Quomodo
igitur procreavit? Nec sciri a quoquam possunt, nec narrari, opera
divina; sed tamen sacrae literae docent illum Dei filium, Dei esse
sermonem".----"How, therefore, did the Father beget the Son? These
divine works can be known of none, declared by none; but the holy
writings" (wherein it is determined) "teach that he is the Son of God,
that he is the Word of God." And Ambrose: (De Fide, ad Gratianum:)
"Quaero abs te, quando aut quomodo putes filium esse generatum? Mihi
enim impossibile est scire generationis secretum Mens deficit, vox
silet, non mea tantum, sed et angelorum. Supra potestates, supra
angelos, supra cherubim, supra seraphim, supra omnem sensum est. Tu
quoque manum ori admovere; scrutari non licet superna mysteria. Licet
scire quod ntus sit, non licet discutere quomodu ntus sit; illud
negare mihi non licet, hoc quaerere metus est. Nam si Paulus ea quae
audivit, raptus in tertium coelu, ineffabilia dicit, quomodo nos
exprimere possumus paternae generationis arcanum, quod nec sentire
potuimus nec audire? Quid te ista questionum tormenta delectant?"--"I
inquire of you when and how the Son was begotten? Impossible it is to
me to know the mystery of this generation. My mind faileth, my voice
is silent--and not only mine, but of the angels; it is above
principalities, above angels, above the cherubim, above the seraphim,
above all understanding. Lay thy hand on thy mouth; it is not lawful
to search into these heavenly mysteries. It is lawful to know that he
was born--it is not lawful to discuss how he was born; that it is not
lawful for me to deny--this I am afraid to inquire into. For if Paul,
when he was taken into the third heaven, affirms that the things which
he heard could not be uttered; how can we express the mystery of the
divine generation, which we can neither apprehend nor hear? Why do
such tormenting questions delight thee?"
 Ephraim Syrus wrote a book to this purpose, against those who would
search out the nature of the Son of God. Among many other things to
the same purpose are his words: (cap. 2:) "Infelix profecto, miser,
atque impudentissimus est, qui scrutari cupot Opificem suum. Millia
millium, et centies millies millena millia angelorum et archangelorum,
cum horrore glorificant, et trementes adorant; et homines lutei, pleni
peccatis, de divinitate intrepide disserunt Non illorum exhorrescit
corpus, non contremescit animus; sed securi et garruli, de Christo Dei
filio, qui pro me indigno peccatore passus est, deque ipsius utraque
generatione loquuntur; nec saltem quod in luce caecutiunt, sentiunt".-
-"He is unhappy, miserable, and most impudent, who desires to examine
or search out his Maker. Thousands of thousands, and hundreds of
thousands of millions of angels and archangels, do glorify him with
dread, and adore him with trembling; and shall men of clay, full of
sins, dispute of the Deity without fear? Horror does not shake their
bodies, their minds do not tremble, but being secure and pealing, they
speak of the Son of God, who suffered for me, unworthy sinner, and of
both his nativities or generations; at least they're not sensible how
blind they are in the light." To the same purpose. speaks Eusebius at
large: Demonstratio Evang., lib. 5 cap. 2.
 Leo well adds hereunto the consideration of his incarnation, in these
excellent words: (Serm. 9, De Nativit.:) "Quia in Christo Jesus Filio
Dei non solum ad divinam essentiam, sed etiam ad humanan spectat
naturam, quo dictum est per prophetam--'generationem ejus quis
enarrabit?'--(utramque enim substantiam in unam convenisse personam,
nisi fides credat, sermo non explicat; et ideo materia nunquam deficit
laudis; qui nunquam sufficit copia laudatoris)--gaudeamus igitur quod
ad eloquendum tantum, misericordiae sacramentum impares sumus; et cum
salutis nostrae altitudinem promere non valeamus, sentiamus nobis
bonum esse quod vincimur. Nemo enim ad cognitionem veritatis magis
propinquat, quam qui intelligit, in rebus divinis, etiamsi multum
proficiat, semper sibi superesse quod quaerat". See also Fulg., lib. 2
ad Thrasimund.
 But I speak of the person of Christ as unto the assumption of the
substantial adjunct of the human nature, not to be a part whereof his
person is composed, but as unto its subsistence therein by virtue of a
substantial union. Some of the ancients, I confess, speak freely of
the composition of the person of Christ in and by the two natures, the
divine and human. That the Son of God after his incarnation had one
nature, composed of the Deity and humanity, was the heresy of
Apollinarius, Eutyches, the Monothelites, or Monophyeites, condemned
by all. But that his most simple divine nature, and the human,
composed properly of soul and body, did compose his one person, or
that it was composed of them, they constantly affirmed. "Ton Theou
mesiten kai enthroopoon, kata tas grafas sunkeisthai famen ek te tes
kath' hemas anthroopotetos teleioos echousas kata ton idion logon, kai
ek tou pefenotos, ek Theou kata fusin huiou", saith Cyril of
Alexandria--"A sanctis patribus adunatione ex divinitate et humanitate
Christus Dominus noster compositus praedicatur:" Pet. Diacon., Lib. De
Incarnat. et Grat. Christi, ad Fulgentium. And the union which they
intended by this composition they called "enoosin fusiken", because it
was of diverse natures, and "enoosin kata sunthesin", a union by
composition.
 But because there neither was nor can be any composition, properly so
called, of the divine and human natures, and because the Son of God
was a perfect person before his incarnation, wherein he remained what
he was, and was made what he was not, the expression has been forsaken
and avoided; the union being better expressed by the assumption of a
substantial adjunct, or the human nature into personal subsistence
with the Son of God, as shall be afterwards explained. This they
constantly admire as the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and
grace: "Ho asarkos tarkoutai, ho logos pachunetai, ho aoratos horatai,
ho anafes pselafatai, ho achronos archetai, ho huios Theou huios
anthroopou ginetai", saith Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. 12,) in
admiration of this mystery. Hereby God communicates all things unto us
from his own glorious fulness, the near approaches whereof we are not
able to bear. So is it illustrated by Eusebius: (Demonst. Evang.,
lib.4 cap.5, &c.:) "Houtoo de footos heliou mia kai he aute prostole
homou kai kata to auto kataugadzei men aera, footidzei de ofthalmous,
hafen de termainei, piainei de gen, auxei de futa, k. t. l. (cap.6) Ei
goun hoos en hupothesei logou, katheis ouranothen autos heauton
pamfaes helios sun anthroopois epi ges politeuoito, oudena toon epi
tes ges meinai an adiaforon, pantoon sulletden empsuchoon homou kai
apsuchoon athroai tei tou footos prostolei dieaftharesomenoon". The
sense of which words, with some that follow in the same place, is unto
this purpose: By the beams of the sunlight, and life, and heat, unto
the procreation, sustentation, refreshment, and cherishing of all
things, are communicated. But if the sun itself should come down unto
the earth, nothing could bear its heat and lustre; our eyes would not
be enlightened but darkened by its glory, and all things be swallowed
up and consumed by its greatness; whereas, through the beams of it,
every thing is enlightened and kindly refreshed. So is it with this
eternal beam or brightness of the Father's glory. We cannot bear the
immediate approach of the Divine Being; but through him, as incarnate,
are all things communicated unto us, in a way suited unto our
reception and comprehension.
 So it is admired by Leo: (Serm. 3, De Nativit.:) "Natura humana in
Creatoris societatem assumpta est, non ut ille habitator, et illa
esset habitaculum; sed ut naturae alteri sic misceretur altera, ut
quamvis alia sit quae suscipitur, alia vero quae suscepit, in tantam
tamen unitatem conveniret utriusque diversitas, ut unus idemque sit
filius, qui se, et secundum quod verus est homo, Patre dicit minorem,
et secundum quod verus est Deus Patrise profitetur aequalem"-- "Human
nature is assumed into the society of the Creator, not that he should
be the inhabitant, and that the habitation," (that is, by an
inhabitation in the effects of his power and grace, for otherwise the
fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily,) "but that one nature
should be so mingled" (that is, conjoined) "with the other, that
although that be of one kind which assumeth, and that of another which
is assumed, yet the diversity of them both should concur in such a
unity or union, as that it is one and the same Son who, as he was a
true man, said that he was less than the Father, or the Father was
greater than he--so as he was true God, professeth himself equal unto
the Father." See also Augustinus De Fide, ad Pet. Diacon., cap. 17;
Justitianus Imperator Epist. ad Hormisdam, Romae Episcop.
 And the mystery is well expressed by Maxentius: (Biblioth. Patr. pars
prima:) "Non confundimus naturarum diversitatem; veruntamen Christum
non tu asseris Deum factum, sed Deum factum Christum confitemur. Quia
non cum pauper esset, dives factus est, sed cum dives esset, pauper
factus est, ut nos divites faceret; neque enim cum esset in forma
servi, formam Dei accepit; sed cum esset in forma Dei, formam servi
accepit; similiter etiam nec, cum esset caro, verbum est factum; sed
cum esset verbum, caro factum est".--"We do not confound the diversity
of the natures, howbeit we believe not what you affirm, that Christ
was made God; but we believe that God was made Christ. For he was not
made rich when he was poor; but being rich, he was made poor, that he
might make us rich. He did not take the form of God when he was in the
form of a servant; but being in the form of God, he took on him the
form of a servant. In like meaner, he was not made the Word when he
was flesh; but being the Word, he was made flesh."
 And Jerome, speaking of the effects of this mystery: (Comment. in
Ezekiel, cap. 46:) "Ne miretur lector si idem et Princeps est et
Sacerdos, et Vitulus, et Aries, et Agnus; cum in Scripturis sanctis
pro varietate causarum legamus eum Dominum, et Deum, et Hominem, et
Prophetam, et Virgam, et Radicem, et Florem, et Principem, et Regem
justum, et Justitiam, Apostolu, et Episcopu, Brachium, Servum,
Angelum, Pastorem, Filium, et Unigenitum, et Promogenitum, Ostium,
Viam, Sagittam, Sapientiam, et multa alia."--"Let not the reader
wonder if he find one and the same to be the Prince and Priest, the
Bullock, Ram, and Lamb; for in the Scripture, on variety of causes, we
find him called Lord, God, and Man, the Prophet, a Rod, and the Root,
the Flower, Prince, Judge, and Righteous King; Righteousness, the
Apostle and Bishop, the Arm and Servant of God, the Angel, the
Shepherd, the Son, the Only-begotten, the First-begotten, the Door,
the Way, the Arrow, Wisdom, and sundry other things." And Ennodius
has, as it were, turned this passage of Jerome into verse:--
 "Corda domat, qui cuncta videt, quem cuncta tramiscunt;
 Fons, via, dextra, lapis, vitulus, leo, lucifer, agnus;
 Janua, spes, virtus, verbum, sapientia, vates.
 Ostia, virgultum, pastor, mons, rete, columba,
 Flama, gigas, aquila, sponsus, patientia, nervus,
 Filius, excelsus, Dominus, Deus; omnia Christus."
††††††††††††††††††††††† (In natalem Papoe Epiphanii.)
 "Quod homo est esse Christus voluit; ut et homo possit esse quod
Christus est", saith Cyprian: De Idolorum Vanitate, cap. 3. And, "Quod
est Christus erimus Christiani, si Christum fuerimus imitati:" Ibid.
And he explains his mind in this expression by way of admiration:
(Lib. de Eleemosyn.:) "Christus hominis filius fieri voluit, ut nos
Dei filios faceret; humiliavit se, ut popolum qui prius jacebat,
erigeret; vulneratus est, ut vulnera nostra curaret".
 
 Chap. IV. That he was the foundation of all the holy counsels of God,
with respect unto the vocation, sanctification, justification, and
eternal salvation of the church, is, in the next place, at large
declared. And he was so on a threefold account. 1. Of the ineffable
mutual delight of the Father and the Son in those counsels from an
eternity. 2. As the only way and means of the accomplishment of all
those counsels, and the communication of their effects, unto the
eternal glory of God. 3. As he was in his own person, as incarnate,
the idea and exemplar in the mind of God of all that grace and glory
in the church which was designed unto it in those eternal counsels. As
the cause of all good unto us, he is on this account acknowledged by
the ancients. "Houtos goun ho logos ho Christos kai tou einai palai
hemas, en gar en Theooi, kai tou eu einai aitios. Nun de etefane
anthroopois, autos houtos ho logos, ho monos amfoo Theos te kai
anthroopos, hapantoon hemin aitios agatoon", saith Clemens, Adhort. ad
Gentes--"He, therefore, is the Word, the Christ, and the cause of old
of our being; for he was in God, and the cause of our well-being. But
now he has appeared unto men, the same eternal Word, who alone is both
God and man, and unto us the cause of all that is good". As he was in
God the cause of our being and well-being from eternity, he was the
foundation of the divine counsels in the way explained; and in his
incarnation, the execution of them all was committed unto him, that
through him all actual good, all the fruits of those counsels, might
be communicated unto us.
 
 Chap. V. He is also declared in the next place, as he is the image
and great representative of God, even the Father, unto the church. On
what various accounts he is so called, is fully declared in the
discourse itself. In his divine person, as he was the only begotten of
the Father from eternity, he is the essential image of the Father, by
the generation of his person, and the communication of the divine
nature unto him therein. As he is incarnate, he is both in his own
entire person God and man, and in the administration of his office,
the image or representative of the nature and will of God unto us, as
is fully proved. So speaks Clem. Alexandrin., Adhort. ad Gentes: "He
men gar tou Theou eikoon ho logos autou, kai huios tou nou gnesios, ho
Teios logos footos erchetupon foos, eikoon de tou logou ho
enthroopos".--"The image of God is his own Word, the natural Son of
the" (eternal) "Mind, the divine Word, the original Light of Light;
and the image of the Word is man." And the same author again, in his
Paedagogus: "Prosoopon tou Theou ho logos hooi footidzetai ho Theos
kai gnooridzetai"--"The Word is the face, the countenance, the
representation of God, in whom he is brought to light and made known."
As he is in his divine person his eternal, essential image; so, in his
incarnation, as the teacher of men, he is the representative image of
God unto the church, as is afterwards declared.
 So also Jerome expresseth his mind herein: (Comment. in Psal.66:)
"Illuminet vultum suum super nos; Dei facies quae est? Utique imago
ejus. Dicit enim apostolus imaginem Patris esse filium; ergo imagine
sua nos illuminet; hoc est, imaginem suam filium illuminet super nos;
ut ipse nos illuminet; lux enim Patris lux filii est."--"Let him cause
his face to shine upon us; or lift up the light of his countenance
upon us. What is the face of God? Even his image. For the apostle
says, that the Son is the image of the Father. Wherefore, let him
shine on us with his image; that is, cause his Son, which is his
image, to shine upon us, that he may illuminate us; for the light of
the Father and of the Son are the same." Christ being the image of
God, the face of God, in him is God represented unto us, and through
him are all saving benefits communicated unto them that believe.
 Eusebius also speaks often unto this purpose, as: (Demonstratio
Evangelica, lib. 4 cap. 2:) "Hothen eikotoos hoi cresmoi teologountes,
Theon geneton auton apofainousin, hoos an tes anekfrastou kai
aperinoetou theotetos monon en autooi feronta ten eikona di' hen kai
Theon einak te auton kai legesthai tes pros to prooton exomoiooseoos
charin".--"Wherefore, the holy oracles, speaking theologically, or
teaching divine things, do rightly call him God begotten," (of the
Father,) "as he who alone bears in himself the image of the ineffable
and inconceivable Deity. Wherefore, he both is, and is called God,
because of his being the character, similitude, or image of him who is
the first." The divine personality of Christ consists in this, that
the whole divine nature being communicated unto him by eternal
generation, he is the image of God, even the Father, who by him is
represented unto us. See the same book, chap. 7, to the same purpose;
also, De Ecclesiast. Theol. contra Marcell., lib. 2 cap. 17.
 Clemens abounds much in the affirmation of this truth concerning the
person of Christ, and we may yet add, from a multitude to the same
purpose, one or more testimonies from him. Treating of Christ as the
teacher of all men, his "paidagoogos", he affirms that he is "Theos en
anthroopou schemati", "God in the figure or form of man;" "achrantos,
patrikooi telemati diakonos, logos, Theos, ho en patri ho ek dexioon
tou patros, sun kai tooi schemati Theou", "impolluted, serving the
will of the Fsther, the Word, God, who is in the Father, on the right
hand of the Father, and in or with the form of God". "Houtos hemin
eikoon he akelidootos, toutooi panti sthenei peirateon exomoioun ten
psuchen".--"He is the image (of God) unto us, wherein there is no
blemish; and with all our strength are we to endeavour to render
ourselves like unto him". This is the great end of his being the
representative image of God unto us And: (Stromat., lib. 4:) "Ho men
oun Theos anapodeiktos oon, ouk estin epistemonikos. Ho de huios sofia
te esti kai episteme, kai aletheia, kai, hosa alla toutooi sungene".--
"As God" (absolutely) "falls not under demonstration," (that is,
cannot perfectly be declared,) "so he does not" (immediately) "effect
or teach us knowledge. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and
truth, unto us, and every thing which is cognate hereunto." For in and
by him does God teach us, and represent himself unto us.
 
 Chap. VII. Upon the glory of this divine person of Christ depends the
efficacy of all his offices; an especial demonstration whereof is
given in his prophetical office. So it is well expressed by Irenaeus,
"qui nil molitur inepte:" lib. 1 cap. 1. "Non enim aliter nos discere
poteramus quae sunt Dei, nisi magister noster verbum existens, homo
ffactus fuisset. Neque enim alius poterat enarrare nobis quae sunt
Patris, nisi proprium ipsius verbum. Quis enim alius cognovit sensum
Domini? Aut quis alius ejus consiliarium factus est? Neque rursus nos
aliter discere poteramus, nisi Magistrum nostrum videntes, et per
auditum nostrum vocem ejus percipientes, uti imitatores quidem operum,
factores autem sermonum ejus facti, communionem habeamus cum ipso".--
"We could not otherwise have learned the things of God, unless our
Master, being and continuing the" (eternal) "Word, had been made man.
For no other could declare unto us the things of God, but his own
proper Word. For who else has known the mind of the Lord? Or who else
has been his counsellor? Neither, on the other side, could we
otherwise have learned, unless we had seen our Master, and heard his
voice," (in his incarnation and ministry,) "whereby, following his
works, and yielding obedience unto his doctrine, we may have communion
with himself."
 I do perceive that if I should proceed with the same kind of
attestations unto the doctrine of all the chapters in the ensuing
discourse, this preface would be drawn forth unto a greater length
than was ever designed unto it, or is convenient for it. I shall
therefore choose out one or two instances more, to give a specimen of
the concurrence of the ancient church in the doctrine declared in
them, and so put a close unto it.
 
 Chap. IX. In the ninth chapter and those following, we treat of the
divine honour that is due unto the person of Christ, expressed in
adoration, invocation, and obedience, proceeding from faith and love.
And the foundation of the whole is laid in the discovery of the true
nature and causes of that honour; and three things are designed unto
confirmation herein. 1. That the divine nature, which is individually
the same in each person of the holy Trinity, is the proper formal
object of all divine worship, in adoration and invocation; wherefore,
no one person is or can be worshipped, but in the same individual act
of worship each person is equally worshipped and adored. 2. That it is
lawful to direct divine honour, worship, and invocation unto any
person, in the use of his peculiar name--the Father, Son, or Spirit --
or unto them altogether; but to make any request unto one person, and
immediately the same unto another, is not exemplified in the
Scripture, nor among the ancient writers of the church. 3. That the
person of Christ, as God-man, is the proper object of all divine
honour and worship, on the account of his divine nature; and all that
he did in his human nature are motives thereunto.
 The first of these is the constant doctrine of the whole ancient
church, viz, that whether, (for instance,) in our solemn prayers and
invocations, we call expressly on the name of the Father, or of the
Son, or of the Holy Spirit; whether we do it absolutely or relatively,
that is, with respect unto the relation of one person to the others as
calling on God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Christ as
the Son of his love, on the Holy Spirit as proceeding from them both--
we do formally invocate and call on the divine nature, and
consequently the whole Trinity, and each person therein. This truth
they principally confirmed with the form of our initiation into Christ
at baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost." For as there is contained therein the sum of
all divine honour, so it is directed unto the same name, (not the
names,) of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which is the same Deity or
divine nature alone.
 So speak the Fathers of the second General Council in their letters
unto the bishops of the west; as they are expressed in Theodoret, lib.
5 cap. 9. This form of baptism teacheth us, say they, "Pisteuein eis
to onoma tou patros, kai tou huiou, kai tou hagiou pneumatos, delade,
teotetos te kai dunameoos kai ousias mias tou patros, kai tou huiou,
kai tou hagiou pneumatos pisteuomenes, homotimou tes axias, kai
sunaidiou tes basileias, en trisi teleiais hupostasesi".--"to believe
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
seeing that the Deity, substance, and power of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, is one and the same; their dignity equal; their kingdom
coeternal, in three perfect persons." "In nomine dixit, non nominibus,
erog non aliud nomen Patris est,"&c., "quia unus Deus:" Ambrose, De
Spirit. Sanct., lib. 1 cap. 14. "Onoma de koinon toon trioon en, he
teotes".--"The one name common to the three is the Deity:" Gregor.
Nazianzen, Orat. 40. Hence Augustine gives it as a rule, in speaking
of the Holy Trinity: "Quando unus trium in aliquo opere nominatur,
universa operari trinitas intelligitur:" Enchirid., cap. 38.--"When
one person of the three is named in any work, the whole Trinity is to
be understood to effect it." "There is one Lord, one faith, one
baptism," according to the Scriptures. Wherefore, as there is one
faith in Christ, and one baptism of truth, although we are baptized
and believe in the Father, Son, and Spirit, "kata ton outon, oimai,
tropon kai logon, mia proskunesis he patros, kai enanthroopesantos
huiou, kai hagiou pneumatos;"--"so plainly, in my judgment, there is
one and the same adoration, of the Father, the Son incarnate, and the
Holy Spirit:" Cyril. Alex. De Recta Fide, cap. 32.
 And this they professed themselves to hold and believe, in that
ancient doxology which was first invented to decry the Arian heresy:
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." The
same glory, in every individual act of its assignation or ascription,
is directed unto each person jointly and distinctly, on the account of
the same divine nature in each of them. I need not produce any
testimonies in the farther confirmation hereof; for, in all their
writings against the Arians, they expressly and constantly contend
that the holy Trinity (that is, the divine nature in three persons) is
the individual object of all divine adoration, invocation, and all
religious worship; and that by whatever personal name--as the Father,
Son, or Spirit--we call on God, it is God absolutely who is adored,
and each person participant of the same nature. See August. Lib. con.
Serm. Arian. cap. 35, and Epist. 66 ad Maximum.
 For the second thing, or the invocation of God by any personal name,
or by the conjunction of the distinct names of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit together, nothing occurs more frequently among them. Yea,
it is common to find in their writings, prayers begun unto one person,
and ended in the name of another; yea, begun unto Christ, and closed
in the name of His only-begotten Son; it being one and the same divine
nature that is called on. Yea, the schoolmen do generally deny that
the persons of the holy Trinity, under the consideration of the formal
reason which is constitutive of their personality, are the formal
object and term of divine worship; but in the worship of one, they are
all worshipped as one God over all, blessed for ever. See Aquin. 22 q.
81, a. 3, ad prim., and q. 84, a. 1, ad tertium; Alexand. Alens. p. 3,
q. 30, m. 1, a. 3.
 But yet, although we may call on God in and by the name of any divine
person, or enumerate at once each person, (oo trias hagia
arithmoumene, trias en heni onomati arithmoumene", Epiphan. Ancorat.,
8 22,) it does not follow that we may make a request in our prayers
unto one person, and then immediately repeat it unto another; for it
would thence follow, that the person unto whom we make that request in
the second place, was not invocated, not called on, not equally adored
with him who was so called on in the first place, although the divine
nature is the object of all religious invocation, which is the same in
each person. Wherefore, in our divine invocation, we may name and fix
our thoughts distinctly on any person, according as our souls are
affected with the distinct operations of each person in grace towards
us.
 For what concerns, in the third place, the ascription of divine
honour, in adoration and invocation, unto the person of Christ; it is
that which they principally contended for, and argued from, in all
their writings against the Arians.
 Evidences of infinite wisdom in the constitution of the person of
Christ, and rational discoveries of the condecencies therein, unto the
exaltation of all the other glorious properties of the divine nature,
are also treated of. Herein we consider the incarnation of the Son of
God, with respect unto the recovery and salvation of the church alone.
Some have contended that he should have been incarnate, had man never
fallen or sinned. Of these are Rupertus, lib. 3, De Gloria et Honore
Filii Hominis; Albertus Magnus, in 3 distinct. 10, a 4; Petrus
Galatinus, lib.3 cap.4; as are Scotus, halensis, and others, whom
Osiander followed. The same is affirmed by Socinus concerning the
birth of that man, which alone he fancied him to be, as I have
elsewhere declared. But I have disproved this figment at large. Many
of the ancients have laboured in this argument, of the necessity of
the incarnation of the eternal Word, and the condecencies unto divine
wisdom therein. See Irenaeus, lib 3, cap. 20, 21; Eusebius, Demonst.
Evangel., lib 4 cap. 1-4, &c.; Cyril. Alexand., lib. 5 cap. 6, lib 1.
De Fide ad Regin.; Chrysostom, Homil. 10 in Johan., et in cap.8, ad
Rom. Serm. 18; Augustine, De Trinit., lib. 13 cap.13-20; Leo, Epist.
13, 18, Sermo. De Nativit. 1, 4, 10; Basil., in Psal. 48; Albinus, lib
1 in Johan. Cap.11; Damascen., lib. 3, De Fide, cap. 15, 19; Anselm.,
quod Deus Homo, lib. duo. Guil. Parisiensis, lib. Cur Deus Homo. Some
especial testimonies we may produce in confirmation of what we have
discoursed, in the places directed unto. There is one of them, one of
the most ancient, the most learned, and most holy of them, who has so
fully delivered his thoughts concerning this mystery, as that I shall
principally make use of his testimony herein.
 It belonged unto the wisdom and righteousness of God, that Satan
should be conquered and subdued in and by the same nature which he had
prevailed against, by his suggestion and temptation. To this purpose
that holy writer speaks, (lib. 3 cap. 20,) which, because his words
are cited by Theodore, (Dial. 2,) I shall transcribe them from thence,
as free from the injuries of his barbarous translator: "Henoosen oun
kathoos proefamen ton anthroopon tooi Theooi, ei gar me anthroopos
henikesen ton antipalon tou anthroopou, ouk an dikaioos henikethe ho
echthros, palin te, ei me ho Theos edooresato ten sooterian, ouk an
betaioos echoimen auten, kai ei me sunenoothe ho anthroopos tooi
Theooi ouk an edunethe metaschein tes aftharsias. Edei gar ton mesiten
tou Theou te kai anthroopoon, die tes idias pros hekaterous
oikeiotetos eis filian kai homonoian tous anfoterous sunagagein".
Words plainly divine; an illustrious testimony of the faith of the
ancient church, and expressive of the principal mystery of the gospel!
"Wherefore, as we said before, he united man unto God. For if man had
not overcome the adversary of men, the enemy had not been justly
conquered; and, on the other hand, if God had not given and granted
salvation, we could never have a firm, indefeasible possession of it;
and if man had not been united unto God, he could not have been
partaker of immortality. It behaved, therefore, the Mediator between
God and man, by his own participation of the nature of each of them,
to bring them both into friendship and agreement with each other." And
to the same purpose, speaking of the wisdom of God in our redemption
by Christ, with respect unto the conquest of the devil: (lib 5 cap.
1:) "Potens in omnibus Dei Verbum, et non deficiens in sua justitia,
juste etiam adversus ipsam conversus est apostasiam, ea quae sunt sua
redimens, ab eo, non cum vi, quemadmomdum ille initio dominabatur
nostri, ea quae non erant sua insatiabiliter rapiens ... Suo igitur
sanguine redimente nos Domino, et dante animam suam pro anima nostra,
et carnem suam pro carnibus nostris", &c. Again divinely: "The
all-powerful Word of God, no way defective in righteousness, set
himself against the apostasy justly also; redeeming from him (Satsn,
the head of the apostasy) the things which were his own--not with
force, as he bare rule over us, insatiably making rapine of what was
not his own--but he, the Lord, redeeming us with his own blood, giving
his soul for our soul, and his flesh for ours, wrought out our
deliverance." These things are at large insisted on in the ending
discourse.
 It belongs unto this great mystery, and is a fruit of divine wisdom,
that our deliverance should be wrought in and by the me nature wherein
and whereby we were ruined. The reasons hereof, and the glory of God
therein, are at large discoursed in the ensuing treatise. To the same
purpose speaks the same holy writer: (lib 5 cap. 14:) "Non in
semetipso recapitulasset haec Dominus, nisi ipse caro et sanguis
secundum principalem plasmationem factus fuisset; salvans in semetipso
in fine illud quod perierat in principio in Adam. Si autem ob aliam
quandam dispositionem Dominus incarnatus est, et ex altera substantia
carnem attulit, non ergo in semetipso recapitulatus est hominem, adhuc
etiam nec aro quidem dici potest ... Habuit ergo et ipse carnem et
sanguinem, non alteram quindam, sed ipsam principalem Patris
plasmationem in se recapitulans, exquirens id quod perierat". And to
the same purpose: (lib. 5 cap. 1:) "Neque enim vere esset sanguinem et
carnem habens, per quam nos redemit, nisi antiquam plasmationem Adae
in seipsum recapitulasset". That which these passages give testimony
unto, is what we have discoursed concerning the necessity of our
redemption in and by the nature that sinned; and yet withal, that it
should be free from all that contagion which invaded our nature by the
fall. And these things are divinely expressed. "Our Lord," saith he,
"had not gathered up these things in himself, had not he been made
flesh and blood, according unto its original creation." The reader may
observe, that none of the ancient writers do so frequently express the
fall of Adam by our apostasy from God, and our recovery by a
recapitulation in Christ, as Irenaeus--his recapitulation being
nothing but the "anakefalaioosis" mentioned by the apostle, Eph.1:10--
and he here affirms, that, unto this end, the Lord was made flesh;
"secundum principalem plasmationem", as his words are rendered; that
is plainly, the original creation of our nature in innocence,
uprightness, purity, and righteousness.) "So he saved in himself in
the end, what perished in Adam at the beginning." (The same nature, in
and by the same nature.) "For if the Lord had been incarnate for any
other disposition," (i. e., cause, reason, or end,) "and had brought
flesh from any other substance," (i. e., celestial or ethereal, as the
agnostics imagined,) "he had not recovered men, brought our nature
unto a head in himself, nor could he have been said to be flesh. He
therefore himself had flesh and blood not of any other kind; but he
took to himself that which was originally created of the Father,
seeking that which was lost." The same is observed by Augustine: (Lib.
de Fide, ad Petrum Diaconum:) "Sic igitur Christum Dei Filium, id est,
unam ex Trinitate personam, Deum verum crede, ut divinitatem ejus de
natura Patris natam esse non dubites; et sic eum verum hominem crede,
et ejus carnem, non coelestis, non aeriae, non alterius cujusquam
putes esse naturae, sed ejus coujus est omnium caro; id est, quam ipse
Deus, homini primo de terra plasmavit, et caeteris hominibus plasmat."-
-"So believe Christ the Son of God, that is, one person of the
Trinity, to be the true God, that you doubt not but that his divinity
was born" (hy eternal generation) "of the nature of the Father; and so
believe him to be a true man, that you suppose not his flesh to be
aerial, or heavenly, or of any other nature, but of that which is the
flesh of men; that is, which God himself formed in the first man of
the earth, and which he forms in all other men." That which he speaks
of one person of the Trinity, has respect unto the heretical opinion
of Hormisdas, the bishop of Rome, who contended that it was unlawful
to say that one person of the Trinity was incarnate, and persecuted
some Scythian monks, men not unlearned about it, who were strenuously
defended by Maxentius, one of them.
 It carrieth in it a great condecency unto divine wisdom, that man
should be restored unto the image of God by him who was the essential
image of the Father; (as is declared in our discourse;) and that he
was made like unto us, that we might be made like unto him, and unto
God through him. So speaks the same Irenaeus: (lib. 5 Praefat:)
"Verbum Dei Jesus Christus, qui propter immensam suam dilectionem,
factus est quod sumus nos, ut nos perficeret quod est ipse".--"Jesus
Christ, the Word of God, who, from his own infinite love, was made
what we are, that he might make us what he is;" that is, by the
restoration of the image of God in us. And again: (lib. 3 cap. 20:)
"Filius Dei existens semper apud Patrem, et homo factus, longam
hominum expositionem in seipso recapitulavit; in compendio nobis
salutem praestans, ut quod perdideramus in Adam, id est, secundum
imaginem et similitudinem esse Dei, hoc in Christo Jesus reciperemus.
Quia enim non erat ppossibile, eum hominem, qui semel victus fuerat et
elisus per inobedientiam, replasmare et obtinere brabium (brateion)
victoriae; iterum autem impossibile erat ut salutem perciperet, qui
sub peccato ceciderat. Utraque operatus est filius Verbum Dei
existens, a Patre descendens et incarnatus, et usque ad mortem
descendens, et dispensationem consummans salutis nostrae".--"Being the
Son of God always with the Father, and being made man, he reconciled
or gathered up in himself the long-continued exposing of men," (unto
sin and judgment,) "bringing in salvation in this compendious way, (in
this summary of it,) that what we had lost in Adam--that is, our being
in the image and likeness of God--we should recover in Christ. For it
was not possible that man that had been once conquered and broken by
disobedience, should by himself be reformed, and obtain the crown of
victory; nor, again, was it possible that he should recover salvation
who had fallen under sin. Both were wrought by the Son, the Word of
God, who, descending from the Father, and being incarnate, submitted
himself to death, perfecting the dispensation of our salvation."
 And Clemens Alexandrinus to the same purpose: (Adhort. ad Gentes.)
"Nai femi ho logos h tou Theou anthroopos genomenos, hina de kai su
para anthroopou matheis, te pote ara anthroopos genetai Theos".--"The
Word of God was made man, that thou mightest learn of a man how man
may become" (as) "God." And Ambrose, in Ps. 118 Octonar. decim.: [of
the authorized English version, Ps. 119 73:] "Imago, [id est, Verbum
Dei,] ad eum qui est d imaginem, [hoc est, hominem,] venit, et quaerit
imago eum qui est ad similitudinem sui, ut iterum signet, ut iterum
confirmet, quia amiseras quod accepisti."--"The image of God, that is,
the Word of God, came unto him who was after the image of God, that is
man. And this image of God seeks him who was after the image of God,
that he might seal him with it again, and confirm him, because thou
hadst lost that which thou hadst received." And Augustine in one
instance gives a rational account why it was condecent unto divine
wisdom that the Son, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit, should be
incarnate--which we also inquire into: (Lib. de Definitionibus
Orthodoxae Fidei sive de Ecclesiastica Dogmatibus, cap. 2:) "Non Pater
carnem assumpsit, neque Spiritus Sanctus, set Filius tantum; at qui
erat in divinitate Dei Patris Filius, ipse fieret in homine hominis
matris Filius; ne Filii nomen ad alterum transiret, qui non esset
eterna nativitate filius".--"The Father did not assume flesh, nor the
Holy Spirit, but the Son only; that he who in the Deity was the Son of
the Father, should be made the Son of man, in his mother of human
race; that the name of the Son should not pass unto any other, who was
not the Son by an eternal nativity."
 I shall close with one meditation of the same author, concerning the
wisdom and righteousness of God in this mystery: (Enchirid. ad
Laurent., cap. 99:) "Vide--universum genus humanum tam justo judicio
Divino in apostatica radice damnatum, ut etiam si nullus inde
liberaretur, nemo recte possit Dei vituperare justitiam; et qui
liberantur, sic oportuisse liberari, ut ex pluribus non liberatis,
atque in damnatione justissima derelictis, ostenderetur, quod
meruisset universa conspersio, et quo etiam istos debitum judicium Dei
duceret, nisi ejus indebita misericordia subveniret."---"Behold, the
whole race of mankind, by the just judgment of God, so condemned in
the apostatical root, that if no one were thence delivered, yet no man
could rightly complain of the justice of God; and that those who are
freed, ought so to be freed, that, from the greater number who are not
freed, but left under most righteous condemnation, it might be
manifest what the whole mass had deserved, and whither the judgment of
God due unto them would lead them, if his mercy, which was not due,
did not relieve them." The reader may see what is discoursed unto
these purposes: and because the great end of the description given of
the person of Christ, is that we may love him, and thereby be
transformed into his image, I shall close this preface with the words
of Jerome, concerning that divine love unto Christ which is at large
declared. "sive legas", says he, "sive scribas, sive vigiles, sive
dormias, amor tibi semper buccina in auribus sonet, hic lituus excitet
animam tuam, hoc amore furibundus; quaere in lectulo tuo, quem
desiderat anima tue:" Epist. 66 ad Pammach., cap. 10.--"Whether thou
readest or writest, whether thou watchest or sleepest, let the voice
of love (to Christ) sound in thine ears; let this trumpet stir up thy
soul: being overpowered (brought into an ecstasy) with this love, seek
Him on thy bed whom thy soul desireth and longeth for."
 
 
 
 
A Declaration of the Glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter I. Peter's Confession; Matt.16:16--Conceits of the Papists
thereon--The Substance and Excellency of that Confession
 
Our blessed Saviour, inquiring of his disciples their apprehensions
concerning his person, and their faith in him, Simon Peter--as he was
usually the forwardest on all such occasions, through his peculiar
endowments of faith and zeal--returns an answer in the name of them
all, Matt.16:16: "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God."
 Baronius, and sundry others of the Roman Church, do all affirm that
the Lord Christ did herein prescribe the form of a general council.
"For here," say they, "the principal article of our Christian faith
was declared and determined by Peter, whereunto all the rest of the
apostles, as in duty they were obliged, did give their consent and
suffrage." This was done, as they suppose, that a rule and law might
be given unto future ages, how to enact and determine articles of
faith. For it is to be done by the successors of Peter presiding in
councils, as it was now done by Peter in this assembly of Christ and
his apostles.
 But they seem to forget that Christ himself was now present, and
therefore could have no vicar, seeing he presided in his own person.
All the claim they lay unto the necessity of such a visible head of
the church on the earth, as may determine articles of faith, is from
the absence of Christ since his ascension into heaven. But that he
should also have a substitute whilst he was present, is somewhat
uncouth; and whilst they live, they shall never make the pope
president where Christ is present. The truth is, he does not propose
unto his disciples the framing of an article of truth, but inquires
after their own faith, which they expressed in this confession. Such
things as these will prejudice, carnal interest, and the prepossession
of the minds of men with corrupt imaginations, cause them to adventure
on, to the scandal, yea, ruin of religion!
 This short but illustrious confession of Peter, compriseth eminently
the whole truth concerning the person and office of Christ:--of his
person, in that although he was the Son of man, (under which
appellation he made his inquiry, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of
man, am?") yet was he not only so, but the eternal Son of the living
God:--of his office, that he was the Christ, he whom God had anointed
to be the Saviour of the church, in the discharge of his kingly,
priestly, and prophetical power. Instances of the like brief
confessions we have elsewhere in the Scripture. Rom.10:9: "If thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in
thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved" 1 John 4:2,3: "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God." And it is
manifest, that all divine truths have such a concatenation among
themselves, and do all of them so centre in the person of Christ--as
vested with his offices towards the church--that they are all
virtually comprised in this confession, and they will be so as counted
by all who destroy them not by contrary errors and imaginations
inconsistent with them, though it be the duty of all men to obtain the
express knowledge of them in particular, according unto the meana
thereof which they do enjoy. The danger of men's souls lieth not in a
disability to attain a comprehension of longer or more subtile
confessions of faith, but in embracing things contrary unto, or
inconsistent with, this foundation thereof. Whatever it be whereby men
cease to hold the Head, how small soever it seem, that alone is
pernicious: Col.2:18,19.
 This confession, therefore, as containing the sum and substance of
that faith which they were called to give testimony unto, and
concerning which their trial was approaching--is approved by our
Saviour. And not only so, but eminent privileges are granted unto him
that made it, and in him unto the whole church, that should live in
the same faith and confession: (verses 17,18:) "And Jesus answered and
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood
has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I
say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
 Two things does our Saviour consider in the answer returned unto his
inquiry. 1. The faith of Peter in this confession--the faith of him
that made it; 2. The nature and truth of the confession: both which
are required in all the disciples of Christ." For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation:" Rom.10:10.
 1. The first thing which he speaks unto is the faith of Peter, who
made this confession. Without this no outward confession is of any use
or advantage. For even the devils knew him to be the Holy One of God;
(Luke 4:34;) yet would he not permit them to speak it: Mark 1:34. That
which gives glory unto God in any confession, and which gives us an
interest in the truth confessed, is the believing of the heart, which
is unto righteousness. With respect hereunto the Lord Christ speaks:
(verse 17:) "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou,
Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but
my Father which is in heaven."
 He commends and sets forth the faith of Peter--(1.) From its effect;
(2.) From its cause. Its effect was, that it made him blessed in whom
it was. For it is not only a blessed thing to believe and know Jesus
Christ, as it is called life eternal; (John 17:3;) but it is that
which gives an immediate interest in the blessed state of adoption,
justification, and acceptance with God: John 1:12. (2.) The immediate
cause of this faith is divine revelation. It is not the effect or
product of our own abilities, the best of which are but flesh and
blood. That faith which renders them blessed in whom it is, is wrought
in them by the power of God revealing Christ unto their souls. Those
who have more abilities of their own unto this end than Peter had, we
are not concerned in.
 2. He speaks unto the confession itself, acquainting his disciples
with the nature and use of it, which, from the beginning, he
principally designed: (verse 18:) "And I say also unto thee, that thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it."
 From the speaking of these words unto Peter, there is a controversy
raised in the world, whether the Lord Christ himself, or the pope of
Rome, be the rock whereon the church is built. And unto that state are
things come in religion, among them that are called Christians, that
the greatest number are for the pope and against Christ in this
matter. And they have good reason for their choice. For if Christ be
the rock whereon the church is built, whereas he is a living stone,
those that are laid and built on him must be lively stones also, as
this apostle assures us, 1 Epist. 2:4,5; they must be like unto Christ
himself, partaking of his nature, quickened by his Spirit, so, as it
were, to be bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh: Eph.5:30. Nor
can any be built on him but by a living faith, effectual in universal
obedience. These things the generality of men like not at all; and,
therefore, the fabric of the living temple on this foundation is
usually but small, seldom conspicuous or outwardly glorious. But if
the pope be this rock, all the Papists in the world, or all that have
a mind so to be--be they ever so wicked and ungodly--may be built upon
him, and be made partakers of all that deliverance from the powers of
hell which that rock can afford them. And all this may be obtained at
a very easy rate; for the acknowledgment of the pope's sovereign
authority in the church is all that is required thereunto. How they
bring in the claim of their pope by Peter, his being at Rome, being
bishop of Rome, dying at Rome, fixing his chair at Rome, devoting and
transmitting all his right, title, power, and authority, every thing
but his faith, holiness, and labour in the ministry, unto the pope, I
shall not here inquire; I have done it elsewhere. Here is fixed the
root of the tree, which is grown great, like that in Nebuchadnezzar's
dream, until it is become a receptacle for the beasts of the field and
fowls of the air--sensual men and unclean spirits I shall, therefore,
briefly lay an axe unto the root of it, by evidencing that it is not
the person of Peter who confessed Christ, but the person of Christ
whom Peter confessed, that is the rock on which the church is built.
 1. The variation of the expressions proves undeniably that our
Saviour intended we should not understand the person of Peter to be
the rock. He takes occasion from his name to declare what he designed,
but no more: "And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter." He had given
him this name before, at his first calling; (John 1:42;) now he gives
the reason of his so doing; viz, because of the illustrious confession
that he should make of the rock of the church; as the name of God
under the Old Testament was called on persons, and things, and places,
because of some especial relation unto him. Wherefore, the expression
is varied on purpose to declare, that whatever be the signification of
the name Peter, yet the person so called was not the rock intended.
The words are, "Su ei Petros, kai epi tautei tei petrai". Had he
intended the person of Peter, he would have expressed it plainly, "Su
ei petros, kai epi soi, k.t.l."--"Thou art a rock, and on thee will I
build." At least the gender had not been altered, but he would have
said, "Epi toutooi tooi petrooi", which would have given some color to
this imagination. The exception which they lay hereunto, from the use
of Cephas in the Syriac, which was the name of Peter, and signified a
rock or a stone, lies not only against the authentic authority of the
Greek original, but of their own translation of it, which reads the
words, "To es Petrus, et super hanc petram".
 2. If the church was built on the person of Peter, then when he died
the church must utterly fail. For no building can possibly abide when
its foundation is removed and taken away. Wherefore they tell us they
do not intend by the person of Peter, that singular and individual
person alone to be this rock; but that he and his successors the
bishops of Rome are so. But this story of his successors at Rome is a
shameful fable. If the pope of Rome be a true believer, he succeeds,
in common with all other believers, unto the privileges which belong
unto this confession; if he be not, he has neither lot nor portion in
this matter. But the pretence is utterly vain on another account also.
The apostle, showing the insufficiency of the Aaronical priesthood--
wherein there was a succession of God's own appointment--affirms, that
it could not bring the church unto a perfect state, because the high
priests died one after another, and so were many: Heb.7:8,23,24. And
thereon he shows that the church cannot be consummated or perfected,
unless it rest wholly in and on him who lives forever, and was made a
priest "after the power of an endless life." And if the Holy Ghost
judged the state of the Jewish Church to be weak and imperfect--
because it rested on high priests that died one after another,
although their succession was expressly ordained of God himself--shall
we suppose that the Lord Christ, who came to consummate the church,
and to bring it unto the most perfect estate whereof in this world it
is capable, should build it on a succession of dying men, concerning
which succession there is not the least intimation that it is
appointed of God? And as unto the matter of fact, we know both what
interruptions it has received, and what monsters it has produced--both
sufficiently manifesting that it is not of God.
 3. There is but one rock, but one foundation. There is no mention in
the Scripture of two rocks of the church. In what others invent to
this purpose we are not concerned. And the rock and the foundation are
the same; for the rock is that whereon the church is built, that is
the foundation. But that the Lord Christ is this single rock and
foundation of the church, we shall prove immediately. Wherefore,
neither Peter himself, nor his pretended successors, can be this rock.
As for any other rock, it belongs not unto our religion; they that
have framed it may use it as they please. For they that make such
things are like unto the things they make; so is every one that
trusteth in them: Ps.115:8. "But their rock is not as our rock,
themselves being judges;" unless they will absolutely equal the pope
unto Jesus Christ.
 4. Immediately after this declaration of our Saviour's purpose to
build his church on the rock, he reveals unto his disciples the way
and manner how he would lay its foundation, viz., in his death and
sufferings: verse 21. And thereon this supposed rock, being a little
left unto his own stability, showed himself to be but a "reed shaken
with the wind." For he is so far from putting himself under the weight
of the building, that he attempts an obstruction of its foundation. He
began to rebuke Christ himself for mentioning his sufferings, wherein
alone the foundation of the Gospel Church was to be laid; (verse 22;)
and hereon he received the severest rebuke that ever the Lord Jesus
gave unto any of his disciples: verse 23. And so it is known that
afterward--through surprisal and temptation--he did what lay in him to
recall that confession which here he made, and whereon the church was
to be built. For, that no flesh might glory in itself, he that was
singular in this confession of Christ, was so also in the denial of
him. And if he in his own person manifested how unmeet he was to be
the foundation of the church, they must be strangely infatuated who
can suppose his pretended successors so to be. But some men will
rather have the church to be utterly without any foundation, than that
it should not be the pope.
 The vanity of this pretence being removed, the substance of the great
mystery contained in the attestation given by our Saviour unto the
confession of Peter, and the promise whereunto annexed, may be
comprised in the ensuing assertions:--
 1. The person of Christ, the Son of the living God, as vested with
his offices, whereunto he was called and anointed, is the foundation
of the church, the rock whereon it is built.
 2. The power and policy of hell will be always engaged in opposition
unto the relation of the church unto this foundation, or the building
of it on this rock.
 3. The church that is built on this rock shall never be disjoined
from it, or prevailed against by the opposition of the gates of hell.
 The two former of these I shall speak briefly unto, my principal
design being the demonstration of a truth that ariseth from the
consideration of them all.
 The foundation of the church is twofold: (1.) Real; (2.) Doctrinal.
And in both ways, Christ alone is the foundation. The real foundation
of the church he is, by virtue of the mystical union of it unto him,
with all the benefits whereof, from thence and thereby, it is made
partaker. For thence alone has it spiritual life, grace, mercy,
perfection, and glory: Eph.4:15,16; Col.2:19. And he is the doctrinal
foundation of it, in that the faith or doctrine concerning him and his
offices is that divine truth which in a peculiar manner animates and
constitutes the church of the New Testament: Eph.2:19-22. Without the
faith and confession hereof, no one person belongs unto that church. I
know not what is now believed, but I judge it will not yet be denied,
that the external formal cause of the Church of the New Testament, is
the confession of the faith concerning the person, offices, and grace
of Christ, with what is of us required thereon. In what sense we
assert these things will be afterwards fully cleared.
 That the Lord Christ is thus the foundation of the church, is
testified unto, Isa.28:16: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in
Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone,
a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make hasten. It is
among the bold inroads that in this late age have been made on the
vitals of religion, that some, in compliance with the Jews, have
attempted the application of this promise unto Hezekiah. The violence
they have offered herein to the mind of the Holy Ghost, might be
evidenced from every word of the context. But the interpretation and
application of the last words of this promise by the apostles, leaves
no pretence unto this insinuation. "He that believes on him shall not
be ashamed" or "confounded," Rom.9:33; 10:11; 1 Pet.2:6; that is, he
shall be eternally saved--which it is the highest blasphemy to apply
unto any other but Jesus Christ alone. He, therefore, is alone that
foundation which God has laid in and of the church. See Ps.118:22;
Matt.21:42; Mark.12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet.2:4; Eph.2:20-22;
Zech.3:9. But this fundamental truth--of Christ being the only
foundation of the church--is so expressly determined by the apostle
Paul, as not to need any farther confirmation, 1 Cor.3:11: "For other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter II. Opposition made unto the Church as built upon the Person
of Christ
 
There are in the words of our Saviour unto Peter concerning the
foundation of the church, a promise of its preservation, and a
prediction of the opposition that should be made thereunto. And,
accordingly, all things are come to pass, and carrying on towards a
complete accomplishment. For (that we may begin with the opposition
foretold) the power and policy of hell ever were, and ever will be,
engaged in opposition unto the church built on this foundation--that
is, the faith of it concerning his person, office, and grace, whereby
it is built on him. This, as unto what is past, concerneth matter of
fact, whereof, therefore, I must give a brief account; and then we
shall examine what evidences we have of the same endeavour at present.
 The gates of hell, as all agree, are the power and policy of it, or
the actings of Satan, both as a lion and as a serpent, by rage and by
subtlety. But whereas in these things he acts not visibly in his own
person, but by his agents, he has always had two sorts of them
employed in his service. By the one he executes his rage, and by the
other his craft; he animates the one as a lion, the other as a
serpent. In the one he acts as the dragon, in the other as the beast
that had two horns like the lamb, but spake like the dragon. The first
is the unbelieving world; the other, apostates and seducers of all
sorts. Wherefore, this work is this kind is of a double nature;--the
one, an effect of his power and rage, acted by the world in
persecution--the other, of his policy and craft, acted by heretics in
seduction. In both he designs to separate the church from its
foundation.
 The opposition of the first sort he began against the person of
Christ immediately in his human nature. Fraud first he once attempted
in his temptation, (Matt.4,) but quickly found that that way he could
male no approach unto him. The prince of this world came, but had
nothing in him. Wherefore he retook himself unto open force, and, by
all means possible, sought his destruction. So also the more at any
time the church is by faith and watchfulness secured against
seduction, the more does he rage against it in open persecution. And
(for the example and comfort of the church in its conformity unto
Christ) no means were left unattempted that might instigate and
prepare the world for his ruin. Reproaches, contempt, scorn, false and
lying accusations--by his suggestions--were heaped on him on every
hand. Hereby, in the whole course of his ministry, he "endured the
contradiction of sinners against himself: " Heb.12:3. And there is
herein blessed provision made of inestimable consolation, for all
those who are "predestinated to be conformed unto his image," when God
shall help them by faith to make use of his example. He calls them to
take up his cross and follow him; and he has showed them what is in
it, by his own bearing of it. Contempt, reproach, despiteful usage,
calumnies, false accusations, wrestings of his words, blaspheming of
his doctrine, reviling of his person, all that he said and did as to
his principles about human government and moral oonversation,
encompassed him all his days. And he has assured his followers, that
such, and no other, (at least for the most part,) shall be their lot
in this world. And some in all ages have an experience of it in an
eminent manner. But have they any reason to complain? Why should the
servant look for better measure than the Master met withal? To be made
like unto him in the worst of evils, for his sake, is the best and
most honorable condition in this world. God help some to believe it!
Hereby was way made for his death. But, in the whole, it was
manifested how infinitely, in all his subtlety and malice, Satan falls
short of the contrivances of divine wisdom and power. For all that he
attained by effecting his death, in the hour of darkness, was but the
breaking of his own head, the destruction of his works, with the ruin
of his kingdom; and what yet remains to consummate his eternal misery,
he shall himself work out in his opposition unto the church. His
restless malice and darkness will not suffer him to give over the
pursuit of his rage, until nothing remains to give him a full entrance
into endless torments--which he hasteneth every day. For when he shall
have filled up the measure of his sins, and of the sins of the world
in being instrumental unto his rage, eternal judgment shall put all
things unto their issue. Through that shall he, with the world, enter
into everlasting flames--and the whole church, built on the rock, into
rest and glory.
 No sooner did the Church of the New Testament begin to arise on this
foundation, but the whole world of Jews and gentiles set themselves
with open force to destroy it. And all that they contended with the
church about, was their faith and confession of it, that "Jesus was
the Christ, the Son of the living God." This foundation they would
cast it from, or exterminate it out of the earth. What were the
endeavours of the gates of hell in this kind--with what height of
rage, with what bloody and inhuman cruelties they were exercised and
executed--we have some obscure remembrance, in the stories that remain
from the martyrdom of Stephen unto the days of Constantine. But
although there be enough remaining on record, to give us a view of the
insatiable malice of the old murderer, and an astonishing
representation of human nature degenerating into his image in the
perpetration of all horrid, inhuman cruelties yet is it all as nothing
in comparison of that prospect which the last day will give of them,
when the earth shall disclose all the blood that it has received, and
the righteous Judge shall lay open all the contrivances for its
effusion, with the rage and malice wherewith they were attended. The
same rage continueth yet unallayed in its principles. And although God
in many places restrain and shut it up in his providence, by the
circumstances of human affairs, yet--as it has the least advantage, as
it finds any door open unto it--it endeavours to act itself in lesser
or higher degrees. But whatever dismal appearance of things there may
be in the world, we need not fear the ruin of the church by the most
bloody oppositions. Former experiences will give security against
future events. It is built on the rock, and those gates of hell shall
not prevail against it.
 The second way whereby Satan attempted the same end, and yet
continueth so to do, was by pernicious errors and heresies. For all
the heresies wherewith the church was assaulted and pestered for some
centuries of years, were oppositions unto their faith in the person of
Christ. I shall briefly reflect on the heads of this opposition,
because they are now, after a revolution of so many ages, lifting up
themselves again, though under new vizards and pretences. And they
were of three sorts:--
 1. That which introduced other doctrines and notions of divine
things, absolutely exclusive of the person and mediation of Christ.
Such was that of the Gnostic, begun as it is supposed by Simon the
magician. A sort of people they were, with whom the first churches,
after the decease of the apostles, were exceedingly pestered, and the
faith of many was overthrown. For instead of Christ and God in him
reconciling the world unto himself, and the obedience of faith thereon
according unto the Gospel, they introduced endless fables,
genealogies, and conjugations of deities, or divine powers; which
practically issued in this, that Christ was such an emanation of light
and knowledge in them as made them perfect--that is, it took away all
differences of good and evil, and gave them liberty to do what they
pleased, without sense of sin, or danger of punishment. This was the
first way that Satan attempted the faith of the church, viz., by
substituting a perfecting light and knowledge in the room of the
person of Christ. And, for aught I know, it may be one of the last
ways whereby he will endeavour the accomplishment of the same design.
Nor had I made mention of these pernicious imaginations which have
lain rotting in oblivion for so many generations, but that some again
endeavour to revive them, at least so far as they were advanced and
directed against the faith and knowledge of the person of Christ.
 2. Satan attempted the same work by them who denied his divine nature-
-that is, in effect, denied him to be the Son of the living God, on
the faith whereof the church is built. And these were of two sorts:--
 (1.) Such as plainly and openly denied him to have any preexistence
unto his conception and birth of the holy Virgin. Such were the
Ebionites, Samosatanians, and Photinians. For they all affirmed him to
be a mere man, and no more, though miraculously conceived and born of
the Virgin, as some of them granted; (though denied, as it is said, by
the Ebionites;) on which account he was called the Son of God. This
attempt lay directly against the everlasting rock, and would have
substituted sand in the room of it. For no better is the best of human
nature to make a foundation for the church, if not united unto the
divine. Many in those days followed those pernicious ways; yet the
foundation of God stood sure, nor was the church moved from it. But
yet, after a revolution of so many ages, is the same endeavour again
engaged in. The old enemy, taking advantage of the prevalence of
Atheism and profaneness among those that are called Christians, does
again employ the same engine to overthrow the faith of the church--and
that with more subtlety than formerly--in the Socinians. For their
faith, or rather unbelief, concerning the person of Christ, is the
same with those before mentioned. And what a vain, wanton generation
admire and applaud in their sophistical reasonings, is no more but
what the primitive church triumphed over through faith, in the most
subtle management of the Samosatanians, Photinians, and others. An
evidence it is that Satan is not unknowing unto the workings of that
vanity and darkness, of those corrupt affections in the minds of men,
whereby they are disposed unto a contempt of the mystery of the
Gospel. Who would have thought that the old exploded pernicious errors
of the Samosatanians, Photinians, and Pelagians, against the power and
grace of Christ, should enter on the world again with so much
ostentation and triumph as they do at this day? But many men, so far
as I can observe, are fallen into such a dislike of the Christ of God,
that every thing concerning his person, Spirit, and grace, is an
abomination unto them. It is not want of understanding to comprehend
doctrines, but hatred unto the things themselves, whereby such persons
are seduced. And there is nothing of this nature whereunto nature, as
corrupted, does not contribute its utmost assistance.
 (2.) There were such as opposed his divine nature, under pretence of
declaring it another way than the faith of the church did rest in. So
was it with the Asians, in whom the gates of hell seemed once to be
near a prevalence. For the whole professing world almost was once
surprised into that heresy. In words they acknowledged his divine
person; but added, as a limitation of that acknowledgment, that the
divine nature which he had was originally created of God, and produced
out of nothing; with a double blasphemy, denying him to be the true
God, and making a god of a mere creature. But in all these attempts,
the opposition of the gates of hell unto the church respected faith in
the person of Christ as the Son of the living God.
 (3.) By some his human nature was opposed--for no stone did Satan
leave unturned in the pursuit of his great design. And that which in
all these things he aimed at, was the substitution of a false Christ
in the room of Him who, in one person, was both the Son of man and the
Son of the living God. And herein he infected the minds of men with
endless imaginations. Some denied him to have any real human nature,
but [alleged him] to have been a phantasm, an appearance, a
dispensation, a mere cloud acted by divine power; some, that he was
made of heavenly flesh, brought from above, and which (as some also
affirmed) was a parcel of the divine nature. Some affirmed that his
body was not animated, as ours are, by a rational soul, but was
immediately acted by the power of the Divine Being, which was unto it
in the room of a living soul; some, that his body was of an ethereal
nature, and was at length turned into the sun; with many such
diabolical delusions. And there yet want not attempts, in these days,
of various sorts, to destroy the verity of his human nature; and I
know not what some late fantastical opinions about the nature of
glorified bodies may tend unto. The design of Satan, in all these
pernicious imaginations, is to break the cognation and alliance
between Christ in his human nature and the church, whereon the
salvation of it does absolutely depend.
 3. He raised a vehement opposition against the hypostatical union, or
the union of these two natures in one person. This he did in the
Nestorian heresy, which greatly, and for a long time, pestered the
church. The authors and promoters of this opinion granted the Lord
Christ to have a divine nature, to be the Son of the living God. They
also acknowledged the truth of his human nature, that he was truly a
man, even as we are. But the personal union between these two natures
they denied. A union, they said, there was between them, but such as
consisted only in love, power, and care. God did, as they imagined,
eminently and powerfully manifest himself in the man Christ Jesus--had
him in an especial regard and love, and did act in him more than in
any other. But that the Son of God assumed our nature into personal
subsistence with himself--whereby whole Christ was one person, and all
his mediatory acts were the acts of that one person, of him who was
both God and man--this they would not acknowledge. And this pernicious
imagination, though it seem to make great concessions of truth, does
no less effectually evert the foundation of the church than the
former. For, if the divine and human nature of Christ do not
constitute one individual person, all that he did for us was only as a
man--which would have been altogether insufficient for the salvation
of the church, nor had God redeemed it with his own blood. This seems
to be the opinion of some amongst us, at this day, about the person of
Christ. They acknowledge the being of the eternal Word, the Son of
God; and they allow in the like manner the verity of his human nature,
or own that man Christ Jesus. Only they say, that the eternal Word was
in him and with him, in the same kind as it is with other believes,
but in a supreme degree of manifestation and power. But, though in
these things there is a great endeavour to put a new colour and
appearance on old imaginations, the deign of Satan is one and the same
in them all, viz., to oppose the building of the church upon its
proper, sole foundation. And these things shall be afterwards
expressly spoken unto.
 I intend no more in these instances but briefly to demonstrate, that
the principal opposition of the gates of hell unto the church lay
always unto the building of it, by faith, on the person of Christ.
 It were easy also to demonstrate that Muhammadanism, which has been
so sore a stroke unto the Christian profession, in nothing but a
concurrence and combination of these two ways, of force and fraud, in
opposition unto the person of Christ.
 It is true that Satan, after all this, by another way, attempted the
doctrine of the offices and grace of Christ, with the worship of God
in him. And this he has carried so far, as that it issued in a fatal
antichristian apostasy; which is not of my present consideration.
 But we may proceed to what is of our own immediate concernment. And
the one work with that before described is still carried on. The
person of Christ, the faith of the church concerning it, the relation
of the church unto it, the building of the church on it, the life and
preservation of the church thereby, are the things that the gates of
hell are engaged in opposition unto. For,
 1. It is known with what subtlety and urgency his divine nature and
person are opposed by the Socinians. What an accession is made daily
unto their incredulity, what inclination of mind multitudes do
manifest towards their pernicious ways, are also evident unto all who
have any concernment in or for religion. But this argument I have
laboured in on other occasions.
 2. Many, who expressly deny not his divine person, yet seem to grow
weary of any concernment therein. A natural religion, or none at all,
pleaseth them better than faith in God by Jesus Christ. That any thing
more is necessary in religion, but what natural light will discover
and conduct us in, with the moral duties of righteousness and honesty
which it directs unto, there are too many that will not acknowledge.
What is beyond the line of nature and reason is rejected as
unintelligible mysteries or follies. The person and grace of Christ
are supposed to breed all the disturbance in religion. Without them,
the common notions of the Divine Being and goodness will guide men
sufficiently unto eternal blessedness. They did so before the coming
of Christ in the flesh, and may do so now he is gone to heaven.
 3. There are some who have so ordered the frame of objective
religion, as that it is very uncertain whether they leave any place
for the person of Christ in it or no. For, besides their denial of the
hypostatical union of his natures, they ascribe all that unto a light
within them which God will effect only by Christ as a mediator. What
are the internal actings of their minds, as unto faith and trust
towards him, I know not; but, from their outward profession, he seems
to be almost excluded.
 4. There are not a few who pretend high unto religion and devotion,
who declare no erroneous conceptions about the doctrine of the person
of Christ, who yet manifest themselves not to have that regard unto
him which the Gospel prescribes and requires. Hence have we so many
discourses published about religion, the practical holiness and duties
of obedience, written with great elegance of style, and seriousness in
argument, wherein we can meet with little or nothing wherein Jesus
Christ, his office, or his grace, are concerned. Yea, it is odds but
in them all we shall meet with some reflections on those who judge
them to be the life and centre of our religion. The things of Christ,
beyond the example of his conversation on the earth, are of no use
with such persons, unto the promotion of piety and gospel obedience.
Concerning many books of this nature, we may say what a teamed person
did of one of old: "There were in it many things laudable and
delectable, sed nomen Jesu non erat ibi."
 5. Suited unto these manifest inclinations of the minds of men unto a
neglect of Christ, in the religion they frame unto themselves--
dangerous and noxious insinuations concerning what our thoughts ought
to be of him, are made and tendered. As, (1.) It is scandalously
proposed and answered, "Of what use is the consideration of the person
of Christ in our religion?" Such are the novel inquiries of men who
suppose there is any thing in Christian religion wherein the person of
Christ is of no consideration--as though it were not the life and soul
that animates the whole of it, that which gives it its especial form
as Christian--as though by virtue of our religion we received any
thing from God, any benefit in mercy, grace, privilege, or glory, and
not through the person of Christ--as though any one duty or act of
religion towards God could be acceptably performed by us, without a
respect unto, or a consideration of, the person of Christ--or that
there were any lines of truth in religion as it is Christian, that did
not relate thereunto. Such bold inquiries, with futilous answers
annexed unto them, sufficiently manifest what acquaintance their
authors have either with Christ himself, which in others they despise,
or with his Gospel, which they pretend to embrace. (2.) A mock scheme
of religion is framed, to represent the folly of them who design to
learn the mind and will of God in and by him. (3.) Reproachful
reflections are made on such as plead the necessity of acquaintance
with him, or the knowledge of him, as though thereby they rejected the
use of the gospel (4.) Professed love unto the person of Christ is
traduced, as a mere fancy and vapour of distempered minds or weak
imaginations (5.) The union of the Lord Christ and his church is
asserted to be political only, with respect unto laws and rules of
government. And many other things of an alike nature are asserted,
derogatory unto his glory, and repugnant unto the faith of the church;
such as, from the foundation of Christian religion, were never vented
by any persons before, who did not openly avow some impious heresy
concerning his person. And I no way doubt but that men may, with less
guilt and scandal, fall under sundry doctrinal misapprehensions
concerning it--than, by crying hail thereunto, to despoil it of all
its glory, as unto our concernment therein, in our practical obedience
unto God. Such things have we deserved to see and hear.
 6. The very name or expression of "preaching Christ" is become a term
of reproach and contempt; nor can some, as they say, understand what
is meant thereby, unless it be an engine to drive all rational
preaching, and so all morality and honesty, out of the world.
 7. That which all these things tend unto and centre in, is that
horrible profaneness of life--that neglect of all gospel duties--that
contempt of all spiritual graces and their effects, which the
generality of them that are called Christians, in many places, are
given up unto. I know not whether it were not more for the honour of
Christ, that such persons would publicly renounce the profession of
his name, rather than practically manifest their inward disregard unto
him.
 That by these and the like means Satan does yet attempt the ruin of
the church, as unto its building on the everlasting rock, falls under
the observation of all who are concerned in its welfare. And (whatever
others may apprehend concerning this state of things in the world) how
any that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity--especially such as are
called to declare and represent him unto men in the office of the
ministry--can acquit themselves to be faithful unto him, without
giving their testimony against, and endeavouring to stop what lies in
them, the progress of this prevailing declension from the only
foundation of the church, I know not; nor will it be easy for
themselves to declare. And in that variety of conceptions which are
about him, and the opposition that is made unto him, there is nothing
more necessary than that we should renew and attest our confession of
him--as the Son of the living God--the only rock whereon the church of
them that shall be saved is founded and built.
 "Pauca ideo de Christo," as Tertullian speaks; some few things
concerning the person of Christ, with respect unto the confession of
Peter, and the promise thereunto annexed--wherein he is declared the
sole foundation of the church--will be comprised in the ensuing
discourse. And He who has ordained strength out of the mouths of babes
and sucklings, as he has given ability to express these poor, mean
contemplations of his glory, can raise by them a revenue of honour
unto himself in the hearts of them that do believe. And some few
things I must premise, in general, unto what I do design. As,
 1. The instances which I shall give concerning the use and
consideration of the person of Christ in Christian religion, or of him
as he is the foundation whereon the church is built, are but few--and
those perhaps not the most signal or eminent which the greater
spiritual wisdom and understanding of others might propose. And,
indeed, who shall undertake to declare what are the chief instances of
this incomprehensible effect of divine wisdom? "What is his name, and
what is his son's name, if thou can't tell?" Prov.30:4. See Isa.9:6.
It is enough for us to stand in a holy admiration, at the shore of
this unsearchable ocean, and to gather up some parcels of that divine
treasure wherewith the Scripture of truth is enriched.
 2. I make no pretence of searching into the bottom or depths of any
part of this "great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh".
They are altogether unsearchable, unto the line of the most
enlightened minds, in this life. What we shall farther comprehend of
them in the other world, God only knows. We cannot in these things, by
our utmost diligent search, "find out the Almighty unto perfection."
The prophets could not do so of old, nor can the angels themselves at
present, who "desire to look into these things:" 1 Pet.1:10-12. Only I
shall endeavour to represent unto the faith of them that do believe,
somewhat of what the Scripture does plainly reveal--evidencing in what
sense the person of Christ is the sole foundation of the church
 3. I shall not, herein, respect them immediately by whom the divine
person of Christ is denied and opposed. I have formerly treated
thereof, beyond their contradiction in way of reply. But it is their
conviction which I shall respect herein, who, under an outward
confession of the truth, do--either notionally or practically, either
ignorantly or designedly, God knows, I know not--endeavour to weaken
the faith of the church in its adherence unto this foundation.
Howbeit, neither the one sort nor the other has any place in my
thoughts, in comparison of the instruction and edification of others,
who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter III. The Person cf Christ the most ineffable Effect of Divine
Wisdom and Goodness--Thence the next Cause of all True Religion--In
what sense it is so
 
The person of Christ is the most glorious and ineffable effect of
divine wisdom, grace, and power; and therefore is the next foundation
of all acceptable religion and worship. The Divine Being itself is the
first formal reason, foundation, and object of all religion. It all
depends on taking God to be our God; which is the first of his
commands. For religion, and the worship performed in it, is nothing
but the due respect of rational creatures unto the divine nature, and
its infinite excellencies. It is the glorifying of God as God; the way
of expressing that respect being regulated by the revelation of his
will. Yet the divine essence is not, in itself, the next and immediate
cause of religious worship. But it is the manifestation of this Being
and its excellencies, wherewith the mind of rational creatures is
immediately affected, and whereby it is obliged to give that religious
honour and worship which is due unto that Being, and necessary from
our relation thereunto. Upon this manifestation, all creatures capable
by an intelligent nature of a sense thereof, are indispensably obliged
to give all divine honour and glory to God.
 The way alone whereby this manifestation may be made, is by outward
acts and effects. For, in itself, the divine nature is hid from all
living, and dwelleth in that light whereunto no creature can approach.
This, therefore, God first made, by the creation of all things out of
nothing. The creation of man himself--with the principles of a
rational, intelligent nature, a conscience attesting his subordination
unto God and the creation of all other things, declaring the glory of
his wisdom, goodness, and power, was the immediate ground of all
natural religion, and yet continues so to be. And the glory of it
answers the means and ways of the manifestation of the Divine Being,
existence, excellencies, and properties. And where this manifestation
is despised or neglected, there God himself is so; as the apostle
discourseth at large, Rom.1:18-22.
 But of all the effects of the divine excellencies, the constitution
of the person of Christ as the foundation of the new creation, as "the
mystery of Godliness," was the most ineffable and glorious. I speak
not of his divine person absolutely; for his distinct personality and
subsistence was by an internal and eternal act of the Divine Being in
the person of the Father, or eternal generation--which is essential
unto the divine essence--whereby nothing anew was outwardly wrought or
did exist. He was not, he is not, in that sense, the effect of the
divine wisdom and power of God, but the essential wisdom and power of
God himself. But we speak of him only as incarnate, as he assumed our
nature into personal subsistence with himself. His conception in the
womb of the Virgin, as unto the integrity of human nature, was a
miraculous operation of the divine power. But the prevention of that
nature from any subsistence of its own--by its assumption into
personal union with the Son of God, in the first instance of its
conception--is that which is above all miracles, nor can be designed
by that name. A mystery it is, so far above the order of all creating
or providential operations, that it wholly transcends the sphere of
them that are most miraculous. Herein did God glorify all the
properties of the divine nature, acting in a way of infinite wisdom,
grace, and condescension. The depths of the mystery hereof are open
only unto him whose understanding it infinite, which no created
understanding can comprehend. All other things were produced and
effected by an outward emanation of power from God. He said, "Let
there be light, and there was light." But this assumption of our
nature into hypostatical union with the Son of God, this constitution
of one and the same individual person in two natures so infinitely
distinct as those of God and man--whereby the Eternal was made in
time, the Infinite became finite, the Immortal mortal, yet continuing
eternal, infinite, immortal--is that singular expression of divine
wisdom, goodness, and power, wherein God will be admired and glorified
unto all eternity. Herein was that change introduced into the whole
first creation, whereby the blessed angels were exalted, Satan and his
works ruined, mankind recovered from a dismal apostasy, all things
made new, all things in heaven and earth reconciled and gathered into
one Head, and a revenue of eternal glory raised unto God, incomparably
above what the first constitution of all things in the order of nature
could yield unto him.
 In the expression of this mystery, the Scripture does sometimes draw
the veil over it, as that which we cannot look into. So, in his
conception of the Virgin, with respect unto this union which
accompanied it, it was told her, that "the power of the Highest should
overshadow her:" Luke 1:35. A work it was of the power of the Most
High, but hid from the eyes of men in the nature of it; and,
therefore, that holy thing which had no subsistence of its own, which
should be born of her, should "be called the Son of God," becoming one
person with him. Sometimes it expresseth the greatness of the mystery,
and leaves it as an object of our admiration, 1 Tim.3:16: "Without
controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in
the flesh." A mystery it is, and that of those dimensions as no
creature can comprehend. Sometimes it putteth things together, as that
the distance of the two natures illustrate the glory of the one
person, John 1:14: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." But
what Word was this? That which was in the beginning, which was with
God, which was God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was
not any thing made that was made; who was light and life. This Word
was made flesh, not by any change of his own nature or essence, not by
a transubstantiation of the divine nature into the human, not by
ceasing to be what he was, but by becoming what he was not, in taking
our nature to his own, to be his own, whereby he dwelt among us. This
glorious Word, which is God, and described by his eternity and
omnipotence in works of creation and providence, "was made flesh,"
which expresseth the lowest state and condition of human nature.
Without controversy, great is this mystery of godliness! And in that
state wherein he visibly appeared as so made flesh, those who had eyes
given them from above, saw "his glory, the glory as of the
only-begotten of the Father." The eternal Word being made flesh, and
manifested therein, they saw his glory, the glory of the only-begotten
of the Father. What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the
least part of the glory of this divine wisdom and grace? So also is it
proposed unto us, Isa.9:6: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is
given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting
Father, The Prince of Peace." He is called, in the first place,
Wonderful. And that deservedly: Prov.30:4. That the mighty God should
be a child born, and the everlasting Father a son given unto us, may
well entitle him unto the name of Wonderful.
 Some amongst us say, that if there were no other way for the
redemption and salvation of the church, but this only of the
incarnation and mediation of the Son of God, there was no wisdom in
the contrivance of it. Vain man indeed would be wise, but is like the
wild ass's colt. Was there no wisdom in the contrivance of that which,
when it is effected, leaves nothing but admiration unto the utmost of
all created wisdom? Who has known the mind of the Lord in this thing,
or who has been his counsellor in this work, wherein the mighty God
became a child born to us, a son given unto us? Let all vain
imaginations cease: there is nothing left unto the sons of men, but
either to reject the divine person of Christ--as many do unto their
own destruction--or humbly to adore the mystery of infinite wisdom and
grace therein. And it will require a condescending charity, to judge
that those do really believe the incarnation of the Son of God, who
live not in the admiration of it, as the most adorable effect of
divine wisdom.
 The glory of the same mystery is elsewhere testified unto, Heb.1:1-3:
"God has spoken unto us by his Son, by whom also he made the worlds;
who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person, upholding all things by the word of his power, by himself
purged our sin." That he purged our sins by his death, and the
oblation of himself therein unto God, is acknowledged. That this
should be done by him by whom the worlds were made, who is the
essential brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of the
person of the Father therein who upholds, rules, sustains all things
by the word of his power, whereby God purchased his church with his
own blood, (Acts 20:28,) is that wherein he will be admired unto
eternity. See Phil.2:6-9.
 In Isaiah (chap. 6) there is a representation made of him as on a
throne, filling the temple with the train of his glory. The Son of God
it was who was so represented, and that as he was to fill the temple
of his human nature with divine glory, when the fulness of the godhead
dwelt in him bodily. And herein the seraphim, which administered unto
him, had six wings, with two whereof they covered their faces, as not
being able to behold or look into the glorious mystery of his
incarnation: verses 2,3; John 12:39-41; 2:19; Col.2:9. But when the
same ministering spirits, under the name of cherubim, attended the
throne of God, in the administration of his providence as unto the
disposal and government of the world, they had four wings only, and
covered not their faces, but steadily beheld the glory of it:
Ezek.1:6; 10:2,3.
 This is the glory of the Christian religion--the basis and foundation
that bears the whole superstructure--the root whereon it grows. This
is its life and soul, that wherein it differs from, and inconceivably
excels, whatever was in true religion before, or whatever any false
religion pretended unto. Religion, in its first constitution, in the
estate of pure, uncorrupted nature, was orderly, beautiful and
glorious. Man being made in the image of God, was fit and able to
glorify him as God. But whereas, whatever perfection God had
communicated unto our nature, he had not united it unto Himself in a
personal union, the fabric of it quickly fell unto the ground. Want of
this foundation made it obnoxious unto ruin. God manifested herein,
that no gracious relation between him and our nature could be stable
and permanent, unless our nature was assumed into personal union and
subsistence with himself. This is the only rock and assured foundation
of the relation of the church unto God, which, now, can never utterly
fail. Our nature is eternally secured in that union, and we ourselves
(as we shall see) thereby. "In him all things consist;" (Col.1:17,18;)
wherefore, whatever beauty and glory there was in the relation that
was between God and man, and the relation of all things unto God by
man--in the preservation whereof natural religion did consist--it had
no beauty nor glory in comparison of this which does excel, or the
manifestation of God in the flesh--the appearance and subsistence of
the divine and human natures in the same single individual person. And
whereas God in that state had given man dominion "over the fish of the
sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all
the earth," (Gen.1:26,) it was all but an obscure representation of
the exaltation of our nature in Christ--as the apostle declares, Heb.
2: 6-9.
 There was true religion in the world after the fall, both before and
after the giving of the Law; a religion built upon and resolved into
divine revelation. And as for the outward glory of it--the
administration that it was brought into under the tabernacle and
temple--it was beyond what is represented in the institutions of the
gospel. Yet is Christian religion, our evangelical profession, and the
state of the church thereon, far more glorious, beautiful, and
perfect, than that state of religion was capable of, or could attain.
And as this is evident from hence, because God in his wisdom, grace,
and love to the church, has removed *that* state, and introduced
*this* in the room thereof; so the apostle proves it--in all
considerable instances--in his Epistle to the Hebrews, written unto
that purpose. There were two things, before, in religion;--the
promise, which was the life of it; and the institutions of worship
under the Law, which were the outward glory and beauty of it. And both
these were nothing, or had nothing in them, but only what they before
proposed and represented of Christ, God manifested in the flesh. The
promise was concerning *him*, and the institutions of worship did only
represent *him*. So the apostle declares it, Col.2:17. Wherefore, as
all the religion that was in the world after the fact was built on the
promise of this work of God, in due time to be accomplished; so it is
the actual performance of it which is the foundation of the Christian
religion, and which gives it the preeminence above all that went
before it. So the apostle expresseth it: (Heb.1:1-3:) "God, who at
sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the
fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his
Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made
the worlds; who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express
image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his
power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right
hand of the Majesty on high."
 All false religion pretended always unto things that were mysterious.
And the more men could invent, or the devil suggest, that had an
appearance of that nature, as sundry things were so introduced horrid
and dreadful, the more reverence and esteem were reconciled unto it.
But the whole compass of the craft of Satan and the imaginations of
men could never extend itself unto the least resemblance of this
mystery. And it is not amiss conjectured, that the apostle, in his
description of it, 1 Tim.3:16, did reflect upon and condemn the vanity
of the Eleusinian mysteries, which were of the greatest vogue and
reputation among the gentiles.
 Take away the consideration hereof, and we despoil the Christian
religion of all its glory, debasing it unto what Muhammadanism
pretends unto, and unto what in Judaism was really enjoyed.
 The faith of this mystery enables the mind wherein it is--rendering
it spiritual and heavenly, transforming it into the image of God.
Herein consists the excellency of faith above all other powers and
acts of the soul--that it receives, assents unto, and rests in, things
in their own nature absolutely incomprehensible. It is "elegchos ou
blepomenoon", (Heb.11:1,)--"The evidence of things not seen" that
which makes evident, as by demonstration, those things which are no
way objected unto sense, and which reason cannot comprehend. The more
sublime and glorious--the more inaccessible unto sense and reason--the
things are which we believe; the more are we changed into the image of
God, in the exercise of faith upon them. Hence we find this most
glorious effect of faith, or the transformation of the mind into the
likeness of God, no less real, evident, and eminent in many, whose
rationally comprehensive abilities are weak and contemptible, in the
eye of that wisdom which is of this world, than in those of the
highest natural sagacity, enjoying the best improvements of reason.
For "God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of
the kingdom:" James 2: 5. However they may be poor, and, as another
apostle speaketh, "foolish, weak, base, and despised;" (1 Cor. 1: 27,
28;) yet that faith which enables them to assent unto and embrace
divine mysteries, renders them rich in the sight of God, in that it
makes them like unto him.
 Some would have all things that we are to believe to be levelled
absolutely unto our reason and comprehension--a principle which, at
this day, shakes the very foundations of the Christian religion. It is
not sufficient, they say, to determine that the faith or knowledge of
any thing is necessary unto our obedience and salvation, that it seems
to be fully and perspicuously revealed in the Scripture--unless the
things so revealed be obvious and comprehensible unto our reason; an
apprehension which, as it ariseth from the pride which naturally
ensues on the ignorance of God and ourselves, so it is not only an
invention suited to debase religion, but an engine to evert the faith
of the church in all the principal mysteries of the Gospel--especially
of the Trinity and the incarnation of the Son of God. But faith which
is truly divine, is never more in its proper exercise--doth never more
elevate the soul into conformity unto God--than when it acts in the
contemplation and admiration of the most incomprehensible mysteries
which are proposed unto it by divine revelation.
 Hence things philosophical, and of a deeps rational indagation, find
great acceptance in the world--as, in their proper place, they do
deserve. Men are furnished with proper measures of them, and they find
them proportionate unto the principles of their own understandings.
But as for spiritual and heavenly mysteries, the thoughts of men for
the most part recoil, upon their first proposal, nor will be
encouraged to engage in a diligent inquiry into them--yea, commonly
reject them as foolish, or at least that wherein they are not
concerned. The reason is that given in another case by the apostle:
"All men have not faith;" (2 Thess. 3: 2;) which makes them absurd and
unreasonable in the consideration of the proper objects of it. But
where this faith is, the greatness of the mysteries which it embraceth
heightens its efficacy, in all its blessed effects, upon the soul.
Such is this constitution of the person of Christ, wherein the glory
of all the holy properties and perfections of the divine nature is
manifested, and does shine forth. So speaks the apostle, 2 Cor. 3: 18:
"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into
the same image, from glory to glory." This glory which we behold, is
the glory of the face of God in Jesus Christ, (chap. 4: 6,) or the
glorious representation which is made of him in the person of Christ,
whereof we shall treat afterwards. The glass wherein this glory is
represented unto us--proposed unto our view and contemplation--is
divine revelation in the gospel. Herein we behold it, by faith alone.
And those whose view is steadfast, who most abound in that
contemplation by the exercise of faith, are thereby "changed into the
same image, from glory to glory"--or are more and more renewed and
transformed into the likeness of God, so represented unto them.
 That which shall, at last, perfectly effect our utmost conformity to
God, and, therein, our eternal blessedness--is vision, or sight. "We
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is:" 1 John 3: 2. Here
faith begins what sight shall perfect hereafter. But yet "we walk by
faith, and not by sight:" 2 Cor. 5: 7. And although the life of faith
and vision differ in degrees--or, as some think, in kind--yet have
they both the same object, and the same operations, and there is a
great cognation between them. The object of vision is the whole
mystery of the divine existence and will; and its operation is a
perfect conformity unto God--a likeness unto him--wherein our
blessedness shall consist. Faith has the same object, and the same
operations in its degree and measure. The great and incomprehensible
mysteries of the Divine Being--of the will and wisdom of God--are its
proper objects; and its operation, with respect unto us, is conformity
and likeness unto him. And this it does, in a peculiar manner, in the
contemplation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; and
herein we have our nearest approaches unto the life of vision, and the
effects of it. For therein, "beholding the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ, we are changed into the same image, from glory to
glory;" which, perfectly to consummate, is the effect of sight in
glory. The exercise of faith herein does more raise and perfect the
mind--more dispose it unto holy, heavenly frames and affections--than
any other duty whatever.
 To be nigh unto God, and to be like unto him, are the same. To be
always with him, and perfectly like him, according to the capacity of
our nature, is to be eternally blessed. To live by faith in the
contemplation of the glory of God in Christ, is that initiation into
both, whereof we are capable in this world. The endeavours of some to
contemplate and report the glory of God in nature in the works of
creation and providence--in the things of the greater and the lesser
world--do deserve their just commendation; and it is that which the
Scripture in sundry places calls us unto. But for any there to abide,
there to bound their designs--when they have a much more noble and
glorious object for their meditations, viz, the glory of God in Christ-
-is both to despise the wisdom of God in that revelation of himself,
and to come short of that transforming efficacy of faith in the
contemplation hereof, whereby we are made like unto God. For hereunto
alone does it belong, and not unto any natural knowledge, nor to any
knowledge of the most secret recesses of nature.
 I shall only say, that those who are inconversant with these objects
of faith--whose minds are not delighted in the admiration of, and
acquiescence in, things incomprehensible, such as is this constitution
of the person of Christ--who would reduce all things to the measure of
their own understandings, or else wilfully live in the neglect of what
they cannot comprehend--do not much prepare themselves for that vision
of these things in glory, wherein our blessedness does consist.
 Moreover, this constitution of the person of Christ being the most
admirable and ineffable effect of divine wisdom, grace, and power, it
is that alone which can bear the weight of the whole superstructure of
the mystery of godliness--that whereinto the whole sanctification and
salvation of the church is resolved--wherein alone faith can find rest
and peace. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which
is Jesus Christ:" 1 Cor. 3: 11. Rest and peace with God is that which
we seek after. "What shall we do to be saved?" In this inquiry, the
acts of the mediatory office of Christ are, in the Gospel, first
presented unto us--especially his oblation and intercession. Through
them is he able to save unto the uttermost those that come to God by
him. But there were oblations for sin, and intercessions for sinners,
under the Old Testament; yet of them all does the apostle affirm, that
they could not make them perfect that came unto God by them, not take
away conscience condemning for sin: Heb. 10: 1-4. Wherefore, it is not
these things in themselves that can give us rest and peace, but their
relation unto the person of Christ. The oblation and intercession of
any other would not have saved us. Hence, for the security of our
faith, we are minded that "God redeemed the church with his own
blood:" Acts 20: 28. He did so who was God, as he was manifested in
the flesh. His blood alone could purge our consciences from dead
works, who did offer himself unto God, through the eternal Spirit:
Heb. 9: 14. And when the apostle--for our relief against the guilt of
sin--calleth us unto the consideration of intercession and
propitiation, he mindeth us peculiarly of his person by whom they are
performed, 1 John 2: l,2: "If any man sin, we have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for
our sins." And we may briefly consider the order of these things.
 1. We suppose, in this case, conscience to be awakened unto a sense
of sin, and of apostasy from God thereby. These things are now
generally looked on as of no great concernment unto us--by some made a
mock of--and, by the most, thought easy to be dealt withal--at time
convenient. But when God fixeth an apprehension of his displeasure for
them on the soul--if it be not before it be too late--it will cause
men to look out for relief.
 2. This relief is proposed in the gospel. And it is the death and
mediation of Christ alone. By them peace with God must be obtained, or
it will cease for ever. But,
 3. When any person comes practically to know how great a thing it is
for an apostate sinner to obtain the remission of sins, and an
inheritance among them that are sanctified, endless objections through
the power of unbelief will arise unto his disquietment. Wherefore,
 4. That which is principally suited to give him rest, peace, and
satisfaction--and without which nothing else can so do--is the due
consideration of, and the acting of faith upon, this infinite effect
of divine wisdom and goodness, in the constitution of the person of
Christ. This at first view will reduce the mind unto that conclusion,
"If thou canst believe, all things are possible." For what end cannot
be effected hereby? What end cannot be accomplished that was designed
in it? Is any thing too hard for God? Did God ever do any thing like
this, or make use of any such means for any other end whatever?
Against this no objection can arise. On this consideration of him,
faith apprehends Christ to be-as he is indeed--the power of God, and
the wisdom of God, unto the salvation of them that do believe; and
therein does it find rest with peace.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of
God
 
Secondly, The person of Christ is the foundation of all the counsels
of God, as unto his own eternal glory in the vocation, sanctification,
and salvation of the church. That which I intend is what the apostle
expresseth, Eph. 1: 9, 10: "Having made known unto us the mystery of
his will, according to his good pleasure, which he has purposed in
himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might
gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven,
and which are on earth; even in him." The "mysteries of the will of
God, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself"--are
his counsels concerning his own eternal glory, in the sanctification
and salvation of the church here below, to be united unto that above.
The absolute original hereof was in his own good pleasure, or the
sovereign acting of his wisdom and will. But it was all to be effected
in Christ--which the apostle twice repeats: he would gather "all
things into a head in Christ, even in him" that is, in him alone.
 Thus it is said of him, with respect unto his future incarnation and
work of mediation, that the Lord possessed him in the beginning of his
way, before his works of old; that he was set up from everlasting,
from the beginning, or ever the earth was: Prov. 8: 22, 23. The
eternal personal existence of the Son of God is supposed in these
expressions, as I have elsewhere proved. Without it, none of these
things could be affirmed of him. But there is a regard in them, both
unto his future incarnation, and the accomplishment of the counsels of
God thereby. With respect thereunto, God "possessed him in the
beginning of his way, and set him up from everlasting." God possessed
him eternally as his essential wisdom--as he was always, and is
always, in the bosom of the Father, in the mutual ineffable love of
the Father and Son, in the eternal bond of the Spirit. But he signally
possessed him "in the beginning of his way "--as his wisdom, acting in
the production of all the ways and works that are outwardly of him.
The "beginning of God's ways," before his works, are his counsels
concerning them--even as our counsels are the beginning of our ways,
with respect unto future works. And he "set him up from everlasting,"
as the foundation of all the counsels of his will, in and by whom they
were to be executed and accomplished.
 So it is expressed: (verses 30, 31:) "I was by him, as one brought up
with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were
with the sons of men." And it is added, that thus it was before the
foundation of the world was laid, or the chiefest part of the dust of
the earth was made--that is, [before] man was created. Not only was
the delight of the Father in him, but his delight was in the habitable
part of the earth, and among the sons of men--before the creation of
the world. Wherefore, the eternal prospect of the work he had to do
for the children of men is intended herein. In and with him, God laid
the foundation of all his counsels concerning his love towards the
children of men. And two things may be observed herein.
 1. That the person of the Son "was set up," or exalted herein. "I was
set up," saith he, "from everlasting." This cannot be spoken
absolutely of the person of the Son himself--the Divine nature being
not capable of being so set up. But there was a peculiar glory and
honour belonging unto the person of the Son, as designed by the Father
unto the execution of all the counsels of his will. Hence was that
prayer of his upon the accomplishment of them: (John 17: 5:) "And now,
0 Father, glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had
with thee before the world was." To suppose that the Lord Christ
prayeth, in these words, for such a real communication of the
properties of the divine nature unto the human as should render it
immense, omniscient, and unconfined unto any space--is to think that
he prayed for the destruction, and not the exaltation of it. For, on
that supposition, it must necessarily lose all its own essential
properties, and consequently its being. Nor does he seem to pray only
for the manifestation of his divine nature, which was eclipsed in his
exinanition or appearance in the form of a servant. There was no need
to express this by--the "glory which he had with the Father before the
world was." For he had it not, in any especial manner, before the
world was; but equally from eternity, and in every moment of time.
Wherefore, he had a peculiar glory of his own, with the Father, before
the world was. And this was no other but that especial exaltation
which he had when he was "set up from everlasting," as the foundation
of the counsels of God, for the salvation of the church. In those
eternal transactions that were between the Father and the Son, with
respect unto his incarnation and mediation--or his undertaking to
execute and fulfill the eternal counsels of the wisdom and grace of
the Father--there was an especial glory which the Son had with him--
the "glory which he had with the Father before the world was." For the
manifestation hereof he now prays and that the glory of his goodness,
grace, and love--in his peculiar undertaking of the execution of the
counsels of God--might be made to appear. And this is the principal
design of the gospel. It is the declaration, as of the grace of God
the Father, so of the love, grace, goodness, and compassion of the
Son, in undertaking from everlasting the accomplishment of God's
counsels, in the salvation of the church. And hereby does he hold up
the pillars of the earth, or support this inferior creation, which
otherwise, with the inhabitants of it, would by sin have been
dissolved. And those by whom the eternal, divine preexistence, in the
form of God--antecedent unto his incarnation his denied, do what lies
in them expressly to despoil him of all that glory which he had with
the Father before the world was. So we have herein the whole of our
design. "In the beginning of God's ways, before his works of old" that
is, in his eternal counsels with respect unto the children of men, or
the sanctification and salvation of the church--the Lord possessed,
enjoyed the Son, as his eternal wisdom--in and with whom they were
laid, in and by whom they were to be accomplished, wherein his
delights were with the sons of men.
 2. That there was an ineffable delight between the Father and the Son
in this his setting up or exaltation. "I was," saith he, "daily his
delight, rejoicing always before him." It is not absolutely the
mutual, eternal delight of the Father and the Son--arising from the
perfection of the same divine excellencies in each person--that is
intended. But respect is plainly had unto the counsels of God
concerning the salvation of mankind by him who is his power and wisdom
unto that end. This counsel of peace was originally between Jehovah
and the Branch, (Zech. 6: 13,) or the Father and the Son --as he was
to be incarnate. For therein was he "foreordained before the
foundation of the world;" (1 Pet. 1: 20 ,) viz, to be a Saviour and a
deliverer, by whom all the counsels of God were to be accomplished;
and this by his own will, and concurrence in counsel with the Father.
And such a foundation was laid of the salvation of the church in these
counsels of God--as transacted between the Father and the Son--that it
is said, that "eternal life was promised before the world began:" Tit.
1: 2. For, although the first formal promise was given after the fall,
yet was there such a preparation of grace and eternal life in these
counsels of God, with his unchangeable purpose to communicate them
unto us, that all the faithfulness of God was engaged in them. "God,
that cannot lie, promised before the world began." There was eternal
life with the Father--that is, in his counsel treasured up in Christ,
and in him afterwards manifested unto us: 1 John 1: 2. And, to show
the stability of this purpose and counsel of God, with the infallible
consequence of his actual promise, and efficacious accomplishment
thereof, "grace" is said to be "given us in Christ Jesus before the
world began:" 2 Tim. 1: 9.
 In these counsels did God delight--or in the person of Christ, as his
eternal wisdom in their contrivance, and as the means of their
accomplishment in his future incarnation. Hence he so testifieth of
him: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul
delighteth;" (Isa.42:1;) as he also proclaims the same delight in him,
from heaven, in the days of his flesh: Matt. 3: 17; 17: 5. He was the
delight of God, as he in whom all his counsel for his own glory, in
the redemption and salvation of the church were laid and founded: "My
servant, in whom I will be glorified;" (Isa. 49: 3;) that is, "by
raising the tribes of Jacob, restoring the preserved of Israel, in
being a light unto the gentiles, and the salvation of God unto the
ends of the earth:" verse 6.
 We conceive not aright of the counsels of God, when we think of
nothing but the effect of them, and the glory that ariseth from their
accomplishment. It is certainly true that they shall all issue in his
glory, and the demonstration of it shall fill up eternity. The
manifestative glory of God unto eternity, consists in the effects and
accomplishment of his holy counsels. Heaven is the state of the actual
accomplishment of all the counsels of God, in the sanctification and
salvation of the church. But it is not with God as it is with men. Let
men's counsels be ever so wise, it must needs abate of their
satisfaction in them, because their conjectures (and more they have
not) of their effects and events are altogether uncertain. But all the
counsels of God having their entire accomplishment through revolutions
perplexing and surpassing all created understandings, enclosed in them
infallibly and immutably, the great satisfaction, complacency, and
delight of the Divine Being is in these counsels themselves.
 God does delight in the actual accomplishment of his works. He made
not this world, nor any thing in it, for its own sake. Much less did
he make this earth to be a theatre for men to act their lusts upon--
the use which it is now put to, and groans under. But he made "all
things for himself," Prov. 16: 4; he "made them for his pleasure,"
Rev. 4: 11; that is, not only by an act of sovereignty, but to his own
delight and satisfaction. And a double testimony did he give hereunto,
with respect unto the works of creation. (1.) In the approbation which
he gave of the whole upon its survey: and "God saw all that he had
made, and, behold, it was very good:" Gen. 1: 31. There was that
impression of his divine wisdom, power, and goodness upon the whole,
as manifested his glory; wherein he was well pleased. For immediately
thereon, all creatures capable of the conception and apprehension of
his glory, "sang forth his praise:" Job 38: 6, 7. (2.) In that he
rested from his works or in them, when they were finished: Gen. 2: 2.
It was not a rest of weariness from the labour of his work--but a rest
of complacency and delight in what he had wrought--that God entered
into.
 But the principal delight and complacency of God, is in his eternal
counsels. For all his delight in his works is but in the effects of
those divine properties whose primitive and principal exercise is in
the counsels themselves, from whence they proceed. Especially is it so
as unto these counsels of the Father and the Son, as to the redemption
and salvation of the church, wherein they delight, and mutually
rejoice in each other on their account. They are all eternal acts of
God's infinite wisdom, goodness, and love--a delight and complacency
wherein is no small part of the divine blessedness. These things are
absolutely inconceivable unto us, and ineffable by us; we cannot find
the Almighty out unto perfection. However, certain it is, from the
notions we have of the Divine Being and excellencies, and from the
revelation he has made of himself, that there is an infinite delight
in God--in the eternal acting of his wisdom, goodness, and love--
wherein, according to our weak and dark apprehensions of things, we
may safely place no small portion of divine blessedness.
Self-existence in its own immense being--thence self sufficiency unto
itself in all things--and thereon self satisfaction--is the principal
notion we have of divine blessedness.
 1. God delights in these his eternal counsels in Christ, as they are
acts of infinite wisdom, as they are the highest instance wherein it
will exert itself. Hence, in the accomplishment of them, Christ is
emphatically said to be the "Wisdom of God;" (1 Cor. 1: 24;) he in
whom the counsels of his wisdom were to be fulfilled. And in him is
the manifold wisdom of God made known: Eph.3:10. Infinite wisdom being
that property of the divine nature whereby all the acting of it are
disposed and regulated, suitably unto his own glory, in all his divine
excellencies--he cannot but delight in all the acts of it. Even
amongst men--whose wisdom compared with that of God is folly itself--
yet is there nothing wherein they have a real rational complacency,
suitable unto the principles of their nature, but in such acting of
that wisdom which they have (and such as it is) towards the proper
ends of their being and duty. How much more does God delight himself
in the infinite perfection of his own wisdom, and its eternal acting
for the representation of all the glorious excellencies of his nature!
Such are his counsels concerning the salvation of the church by Jesus
Christ; and because they were all laid in him and with him, therefore
is he said to be his "delight continually before the world was." This
is that which is proposed as the object of our admiration, Rom. 11: 33-
36.
 2. They are acts of infinite goodness, whereon the divine nature
cannot but be infinitely delighted in them. As wisdom is the directive
principle of all divine operations, so goodness is the communicative
principle that is effectual in them. He is good, and he does good--
yea, he does good because he is good, and for no other reason--not by
the necessity of nature, but by the intervention of a free act of his
will. His goodness is absolutely infinite, essentially perfect in
itself; which it could not be if it belonged unto it, naturally and
necessarily, to act and communicate itself unto any thing without God
himself. The divine nature is eternally satisfied in and with its own
goodness; but it is that principle which is the immediate fountain of
all the communications of good unto others, by a free act of the will
of God. So when Moses desired to see his glory, he tells him that "he
will cause all his goodness to pass before him, and would be gracious
unto whom he would be gracious:" Exod. 33: 19. All divine operations--
in the gracious communication of God himself--are from his goodness,
by the intervention of a free act of his will. And the greatest
exercise and emanation of divine goodness, was in these holy counsels
of God for the salvation of the church by Jesus Christ. For whereas in
all other effects of his goodness he gives of his own, herein he gave
himself, in taking our nature upon him. And thence, as he expresseth
the design of man in his fall, as upbraiding him with folly and
ingratitude, "Behold, the man is become as one of us," Gen. 3: 22, we
may, with all humble thankfulness, express the means of our recovery,
"Behold, God is become like one of us," as the apostle declares it at
large, Phil. 2: 6-8. It is the nature of sincere goodness--even in its
lowest degree--above all other habits or principles of nature, to give
a delight and complacency unto the mind in the exercise of itself, and
communication of its effects. A good man does both delight in doing
good, and has an abundant reward for the doing it, in the doing of it.
And what shall we conceive concerning eternal, absolute, infinite,
perfect, immixed goodness, acting itself in the highest instance (in
an effect cognate and like unto it) that it can extend unto! So was it
in the counsels of God, concerning the incarnation of his Son and the
salvation of the church thereby. No heart can conceive, no tongue can
express, the least portion of that ineffable delight of the holy,
blessed God, in these counsels, wherein he acted and expressed unto
the utmost his own essential goodness. Shall a liberal man devise
liberal things, because they are suited unto his inclination? Shall a
good man find a secret refreshment and satisfaction in the exercise of
that low, weak, imperfect, minced goodness, that his nature is inlaid
withal?--And shall not He whose goodness is essential unto him--whose
being it is, and in whom it is the immediate principle of
communicating himself unto others--be infinitely delighted in the
highest exercise of it which divine wisdom did direct?
 The effect of these eternal counsels of God in future glory is
reserved for them that do believe; and therein will there be the
nearest manifestation of the glory of God himself unto them, when he
"shall be glorified in his saints," and eternally "admired in all that
believe." But the blessed delight and satisfaction of God, was, and
is, in those counsels themselves, as they were acts of his infinite
wisdom and goodness. Herein was the Lord Christ his "delight
continually before the foundation of the world,"--in that *in* him
were all these counsels laid, and *through* him were they all to be
accomplished. The constitution of his person was the only way whereby
divine wisdom and goodness would act and communicate of themselves
unto mankind--in which acting are the eternal delight and complacency
of the Divine Being.
 3. Love and grace have the same influence into the counsels of God,
as wisdom and goodness have. And, in the Scripture notion of these
things, they superadd unto goodness this consideration--that their
object is sinners, and those that are unworthy. God does universally
communicate of his goodness unto all his creatures, though there be an
especial exercise of it towards them that believe. But as unto his
love and grace, as they are peculiar unto his elect--the church chosen
in Christ before the foundation of the world--so they respect them
primarily in a lost, undone condition by sin. "God commendeth his love
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:"
Rom 5: 8. "God is love," says the apostle. His nature is essentially
so. And the best conception of the natural internal acting of the holy
persons, is love; and all the acts of it are full of delight. This is,
as it were, the womb of all the eternal counsels of God, which renders
his complacency in them ineffable. Hence does he so wonderfully
express his delight and complacency in the acting of his love towards
the church: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will
save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he
will joy over thee with singing:" Zeph. 3: 17. The reason why, in the
salvation of the church, he rejoiceth with joy and joyeth with singing-
-the highest expression of divine complacency--is because he resteth
in his love, and so is pleased in the exercise of its effects.
 But we must return to manifest in particular how all these counsels
of God were laid in the person of Christ--to which end the things
ensuing may be distinctly considered.
 1. God made all things, in the beginning, good, exceeding good. The
whole of his work was disposed into a perfect harmony, beauty, and
order, suited unto that manifestation of his own glory which he
designed therein. And as all things had their own individual
existence, and operations suited unto their being, and capable of an
end, a rest, or a blessedness, congruous unto their natures and
operations--so, in the various respects which they had each to other,
in their mutual supplies, assistances, and cooperation, they all
tended unto that ultimate end--his eternal glory. For as, in their
beings and existence, they were effects of infinite power--so were
their mutual respects and ends disposed in infinite wisdom. Thereon
were the eternal power and wisdom of God glorified in them; the one in
their production, the other in their disposal into their order and
harmony. Man was a creature that God made, that by him he might
receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate
creation--both that below, which was for his use, and that above,
which was for his contemplation. This was the end of our nature in its
original constitution. Whereunto are we again restored in Christ:
James 1: 18; Ps. 104: 24; 136: 5; Rom. 1: 20.
 2. God was pleased to permit the entrance of sin, both in heaven
above and in earth beneath, whereby this whole order and harmony was
disturbed. There are yet characters of divine power, wisdom, and
goodness, remaining on the works of creation, and inseparable from
their beings. But the primitive glory that was to redound unto God by
them--especially as unto all things here below--was from the obedience
of man, unto whom they were put in subjection. *Their* good estate
depended on their subordination unto him in a way of natural use, as
*his* did on God in the way of moral obedience: Gen. 1: 26, 28; Ps. 8:
6-8. Man, as was said, is a creature which God made, that by him he
might receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate
creation. This was the end of our nature in its original constitution.
Whereunto are we again restored in Christ: James 1: 18. But the
entrance of sin cast all this order into confusion, and brought the
curse on all things here below. Hereby were they deprived of that
estate wherein they were declared exceeding good, and cast into that
of vanity--under the burden whereof they groan, and will do so to the
end: Gen. 3: 17,18; Rom. 8: 20, 21. And these things we must again
consider afterwards.
 3. Divine wisdom was no way surprised with this disaster. God had,
from all eternity, laid in provisions of counsels for the recovery of
all things into a better and more permanent estate than what was lost
by sin. This is the "anapsuxis", the "apokatastasis pantoon", the
revivification, the restitution of all things, Acts 3: 19, 21; the
"anakefalaioosis", or the gathering all things in heaven and earth
into a new head in Christ Jesus: Eph 1: 10. For although, it may be,
there is more of curiosity than of edification in a scrupulous inquiry
into the method or order of God's eternal decrees or counsels, and the
disposal of them into a subserviency one unto another; yet this is
necessary from the infinite wisdom, prescience, and immutability of
God--that he is surprised with nothing, that he is put unto no new
counsels, by any events in the works of creation. All things were
disposed by him into those ways and methods--and that from eternity--
which conduce unto, and certainly issue in, that glory which is
ultimately intended. For as we are careful to state the eternal
decrees of God, and the actual operations of his providence, so as
that the liberty of the will of man, as the next cause of all his
moral actions, be not infringed thereby--so ought we to be careful not
to ascribe such a sacrilegious liberty unto the wills of any
creatures, as that God should be surprised, imposed on, or changed by
any of their acting whatever. For "known unto him are all his works
from the foundation of the world," and with him there is neither
"variableness nor shadow of turning."
 4. There were, therefore, eternal counsels of God, whereby he
disposed all things into a new order, unto his own glory, in the
sanctification and salvation of the church. And of them two things may
be considered: (1.) Their original; (2.) The design of their
accomplishment.
 (1.) Their first spring or original was in the divine will and wisdom
alone, without respect unto any external moving cause. No reason can
be given, no cause be assigned, of these counsels, but the will of God
alone. Hence are they called or described, by--the "good pleasure
which he purposed in himself;" (Eph. 1: 9;) "the purpose of him who
worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will:" verse
11. "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his
counsellor? Or who has first given unto him, and it shall be
recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things:" Rom. 11: 34-36. The incarnation of Christ, and his
mediation thereon, were not the procuring cause of these eternal
counsels of God, but the effects of them, as the Scripture constantly
declares. But, (2.) The design of their accomplishment was laid in the
person of the Son alone. As he was the essential wisdom of God, all
things were at first created by him. But upon a prospect of the ruin
of all by sin, God would in and by him--as he was foreordained to be
incarnate--restore all things. The whole counsel of God unto this end
centred in him alone. Hence their foundation is rightly said to be
laid in him, and is declared so to be by the apostle: Eph 1: 4. For
the spring of the sanctification and salvation of the church lies in
election, the decree whereof compriseth the counsels of God concerning
them. Herein, God from the beginning "chooseth us unto salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit;" (2 Thess. 2: 13;) the one being
the end he designeth, the other the means and way thereof. But this he
did in Christ; "he chooseth us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;"
that is, "unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit." In him
we were not actually, nor by faith, before the foundation of the
world; yet were we then chosen in him, as the only foundation of the
execution of all the counsels of God concerning our sanctification and
salvation.
 Thus as all things were originally made and created by him, as he was
the essential wisdom of God--so all things are renewed and recovered
by him, as he is the provisional wisdom of God, in and by his
incarnation. Therefore are these things put together and compared unto
his glory. He "is the image of the invisible God, the first born of
every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven,
and that are in earth, visible and invisible; ... all things were
created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him
all things consist: and he is the head of the body, the church; who is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence:" Col. 1: 15-18.
 Two things, as the foundation of what is ascribed unto the Lord
Christ in the ensuing discourse, are asserted: verse 15.--(1.) That he
is "the image of the invisible God." (2.) That he is "the firstborn of
every creature;" things seeming very distant in themselves, but
gloriously united and centring in his person.
 (1.) He is "the image of the invisible God;" or, as it is elsewhere
expressed, he is "in the form of God"--his essential form, for other
form there is none in the divine nature--the "brightness of the glory,
and the express image of the Father's person." And he is called here
the "invisible God," not absolutely with respect unto his essence,
though it be most true--the divine essence being absolutely invisible,
and that equally, whether considered as in the Father or in the Son--
but he is called so with respect unto his counsels, his will, his
love, and his grace. For so none has seen him at any time; but the
only-begotten, which is in the bosom of the Father, he declares him:
John 1: 18. As he is thus the essential, the eternal image of the
invisible God, his wisdom and power--the efficiency of the first
creation, and its consistence being created, is ascribed unto him: "By
him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in
earth, visible and invisible:" Col. 1: 17. And because of the great
notions and apprehensions that were then in the world--especially
among the Jews, unto whom the apostle had respect in this epistle of
the greatness and glory of the invisible part of the creation in
heaven above, he mentions them in particular, under the most glorious
titles that any could, or then did, ascribe unto them--"Whether they
be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things
were created by him, and for him;" the same expression that is used of
God absolutely: Rom. 11: 36; Rev. 4: 11. Add hereunto those other
places to this purpose, John 1: 1-3; Heb. 1: 1-3; and those that are
not under the efficacy of spiritual infatuations, cannot but admire at
the power of unbelief, the blindness of the minds of men, and the
craft of Satan, in them who deny the divine nature of Jesus Christ.
For whereas the apostle plainly affirms, that the works of the
creation do demonstrate the eternal power and Godhead of him by whom
they were created; (Rom. 1: 19, 20;) and not only so, but it is
uncontrollably evident in the light of nature: it being so directly,
expressly, frequently affirmed, that all things whatever, absolutely,
and in their distributions into heaven and earth, with the things
contained respectively in them, were made and created by Christ is the
highest rebellion against the light and teachings of God, to
disbelieve his divine existence and power.
 (2.) Again it is added, that he is "the firstborn of every creature;"
which principally respects the new creation, as it is declared: (verse
18:) "He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning,
the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the
preeminence." For in him were all the counsels of God laid for the
recovery of all things unto himself--as he was to be incarnate. And
the accomplishment of these counsels of God by him the apostle
declares at large in the ensuing verses. And these things are both
conjoined and composed in this place. As God the Father did nothing in
the first Creation but by him--as his eternal wisdom; (John 1: 3; Heb.
1: 2; Prov. 8;) so he designed nothing in the new creation, or
restoration of all things unto his glory, but in him--as he was to be
incarnate. Wherefore in his person were laid all the foundation of the
counsels of God for the sanctification and salvation of the church.
Herein he is glorified, and that in a way unspeakably exceeding an
that glory which would have accrued unto him from the first creation,
had all things abode in their primitive constitution.
 His person, therefore, is the foundation of the church--the great
mystery of godliness, or the religion we profess--the entire life and
soul of all spiritual truth--in that all the counsels of the wisdom,
grace, and goodness of God, for the redemption, vocation,
sanctification, and salvation of the church, were all laid in him, and
by him were all to be accomplished.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter V. The Person of Christ the great Representative of God and
his Will
 
What may be known of God, is,--his nature and existence, with the holy
counsels of his will. A representation of them unto us is the
foundation of all religion, and the means of our conformity unto him--
wherein our present duty and future blessedness do consist. For to
know God, so as thereby to be made like unto him, is the chief end of
man. This is done perfectly only in the person of Christ, all other
means of it being subordinate thereunto, and none of them of the same
nature therewithal. The end of the Word itself, is to instruct us in
the knowledge of God in Christ. That, therefore, which I shall now
demonstrate, is, that in the person and mediation of Christ (which are
inseparable, in all the respects of faith unto him) there is made unto
us a blessed representation of the glorious properties of the divine
nature, and of the holy counsels of the will of God. The first of
these I shall speak unto in this chapter--the other, in that which
ensues; wherein we shall manifest how all divine truths do centre in
the person of Christ and the consideration of sundry things is
necessary unto the explication hereof.
 1. God, in his own essence, being, and existence, is absolutely
incomprehensible. His nature being immense, and all his holy
properties essentially infinite, no creature can directly or perfectly
comprehend them, or any of them. He must be infinite that can
perfectly comprehend that which is infinite; wherefore God is
perfectly known unto himself only--but as for us, how little a portion
is heard of him! Hence he is called "The invisible God," and said to
dwell in "light inaccessible." The subsistence of his most single and
simple nature in three distinct persons, though it raises and ennobles
faith in its revelation, yet it amazeth reason which would trust to
itself in the contemplation of it--whence men grow giddy who will own
no other guide, and are carried out of the way of truth. "No man has
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father, he has declared him:" John 1: 18; 1 Tim. 6: 16.
 2. Therefore, we can have no direct intuitive notions or
apprehensions of the divine essence, or its properties. Such knowledge
is too wonderful for us. Whatever is pleaded for an intellectual
vision of the essence of God in the light of glory, yet none pretend
unto a possibility of an immediate, full comprehension of it. But, in
our present state, God is unto us, as he was unto Moses under all the
external manifestations of his glory, "in thick darkness.:" Exod. 20:
21. All the rational conceptions of the minds of men are swallowed up
and lost, when they would exercise themselves directly on that which
is absolutely immense, eternal, infinite. When we say it is to, we
know not what we say, but only that it is not otherwise. What we
*deny* of God, we know in some measure--but what we *affirm* we know
not; only we declare what we believe and adore. "Neque sensus est
ejus, neque phantsia, neque opinio, nec ratio, nec scientia", says
Dionys. De Divan. Nomine, 1. We have no means--no corporeal, no
intellectual instrument or power--for the comprehension of him; nor
has any other creature: "Epei auto hoper estin ho Theos, ou monon
profetai, all' oude angeloi eidon, oute archangeloi; all' ean
erooteseis autous, akousei peri men tes ousias ouden apokrinomenous;
doxa de en hupsistois monon aidontas tooi Theooi; kain para toon
Cheroubim e toon Serafim epithumeseis ti mathein, to mustikon tou
hagiasmou melos akousei, kai hoti pleres ho ouranos kai he ge tes
doxes autou.--"For that which is God" (the essence of God) "not only
have not the prophets seen, but neither the angels nor the archangels.
If thou wilt inquire of them, thou shalt hear nothing of the substance
of God, but only hear them say, 'glory to God in the highest.' If thou
askest the cherubim and seraphim, thou shalt only hear the praise of
holiness, 'The whole earth is full of his glory,'" says Chrysostom, on
John 1: 18. That God is in himself absolutely incomprehensible unto
us, is a necessary effect of our infinite distance from him. But as he
externally represents himself unto us, and by the notions which are in
generated in us by the effects of his properties, are our conceptions
of him: Ps. 19: l; Rom. 1: 20. This is declared in the answer given
unto that request of Moses: "I beseech thee, show me thy glory:" Exod.
33: 18. Moses had heard a voice speaking unto him, but he that spoke
was "in thick darkness"--he saw him not. Glorious evidences he gave of
his majestatical presence, but no appearance was made of his essence
or person. Hereon Moses desireth, for the full satisfaction of his
soul, (as the nearer any one is unto God the more ernest will be his
desire after the full fruition of him,) that he might have a sight of
his glory--not of that created glory in the tokens of his presence and
power which he had beheld, but of the untreated glory of his essence
and being. Through a transport of love to God, he would have been in
heaven while he was on the earth; yea, desired more than heaven itself
will afford, if he would have seen the essence of God with his
corporeal eyes. In answer hereunto God tells him, that he cannot see
his face and live; none can have either bodily sight or direct mental
intuition of the Divine Being. But this I will do, saith God, "I will
make my glory pass before thee, and thou shalt see my back parts:"
Exod. 33: 18-23, &c. This is all that God would grant, viz, such
external representations of himself, in the proclamation of his name,
and created appearances of his glory, as we have of a man whose back
parts only we behold as he passeth by us. But as to the being of God,
and his subsistence in the Trinity of persons, we have no direct
intuition into them, much less comprehension of them.
 3. It is evident, therefore, that our conceptions of God, and of the
glorious properties of his nature, are both in generated in us and
regulated, under the conduct of divine revelation, by reflections of
his glory on other things, and representations of his divine
excellencies in the effects of them. So the invisible things of God,
even his eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being manifested
and understood by the things that are made: Rom. 1: 20. Yet must it be
granted that no mere creature, not the angels above, not the heaven of
heavens, are meet or able to receive upon them such characters of the
divine excellencies, as to be a complete, satisfactory representation
of the being and properties of God unto us. They are all finite and
limited and so cannot properly represent that which is infinite and
immense. And this is the true reason why all worship or religious
adoration of them is idolatry. Yet are there such effects of God's
glory in them, such impressions of divine excellencies upon them, as
we cannot comprehend nor search out unto perfection. How little do we
conceive of the nature, glory, and power of angels! So remote are we
from an immediate comprehension of the untreated glory of Gods as that
we cannot fully apprehend nor conceive aright the reflection of it on
creatures in themselves finite and limited. Hence, they thought of
old, when they had seen an angels that so much of the divine
perfections had been manifested unto them that thereon they must die:
Judges 13: 21, 22. Howbeit, they [the angels] come infinitely short of
making any complete representation of God; nor is it otherwise with
any creature whatever.
 4. Mankind seem to have always had a common apprehension that there
was need of a nearer and more full representation of God unto them
than was made in any of the works of creation or providence. The
heavens indeed declared his glory, and the firmament always showed his
handy-work--the invisible things of his eternal power and godhead were
continually made known by the things that are made; but men generally
miscarried and missed it in the contemplation of them, as the apostle
declares, Rom 1. For still they were influenced by a common
presumption, that there must be a nearer and more evident
manifestation of God--that made by the works of creation and
providence being not sufficient to guide them unto him. But in the
pursuit hereof they utterly ruined themselves; they would do what God
had not done. By common consent they framed representations of God
unto themselves; and were so besotted therein, that they utterly lost
the benefit which they might have received by the manifestation of him
in the works of the creation, and took up with most foolish
imaginations. For whereas they might have learned from thence the
being of God, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness--viz., in the
impressions and characters of them on the things that were made--in
their own representations of him, they "changed the glory of the
invisible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to
birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things:" Rom. 1: 23.
Wherefore this common presumption--that there was no way to attain a
due sense of the Divine Being but by some representation of it--though
true in itself, yet, by the craft of Satan, and foolish superstitions
of the minds of men, became the occasion of all idolatry and
flagitious wickedness in the world. Hence were all those "epifaneiai",
or supposed "illustrious appearances" of their gods, which Satan
deluded the gentiles by; and hence were all the ways which they
devised to bring God into human nature, or the likeness of it.
Wherefore, in all the revelations that ever God made of himself, his
mind and will, he always laid this practice of making representations
of him under the most severe interdict and prohibition. And this he
did evidently for these two reasons:--
 (1.) Because it was a bold and foolish entrenching upon his
provisional wisdom in the case. He had taken care that there should be
a glorious image and representation of himself, infinitely above what
any created wisdom could find out. But as, when Moses went into the
mount, the Israelites would not wait for his return, but made a calf
in his stead; so mankind--refusing to wait for the actual exhibition
of that glorious image of himself which God had provided--broke in
upon his wisdom and sovereignty, to make some of their own. For this
cause was God so provoked, that he gave them up to such stupid
blindness, that in those things wherein they thought to show
themselves wise, and to bring God nearer unto them, they became
contemptibly foolish--abased their nature, and all the noble faculties
of their minds unto hell, and departed unto the utmost distance from
God, whom they sought to bring nest unto them.
 (2.) Because nothing that can fall into the invention or imagination
of men could make any other but false representations of him, and so
substitute an idol in his place. His own immediate works have great
characters of his divine excellencies upon them, though unto us
obscure and not clearly legible without the light of revelation.
Somewhat he did, of old, represent of his glorious presence--though
not of his being--in the visible institutions of his worship. But all
men's inventions to this end, which are neither divine works of
nature, nor divine institutions of worship, are all but false
representations of God, and therefore accursed by him.
 Wherefore it is granted, that God has placed many characters of his
divine excellencies upon his works of creation and providence--many
[characters] of his glorious presence upon the tabernacle and temple
of old--but none of these things ever did or could give such a
representation of him as wherein the souls of men might fully
acquiesce, or obtain such conceptions of him as might enable them to
worship and honour him in a due manner. They cannot, I say--by all
that may be seen in them, and learned from them--represent God as the
complete object of all our affections, of all the acting of our souls
in faith, trust, love, fear, obedience, in that way whereby he may be
glorified, and we may be brought unto the everlasting fruition of him.
This, therefore, is yet to be inquired after. Wherefore--
 5. A mere external doctrinal revelation of the divine nature and
properties, without any exemplification or real representation of
them, was not sufficient unto the end of God in the manifestation of
himself. This is done in the Scripture. But the whole Scripture is
built on this foundation, or proceeds on this supposition--that there
is a real representation of the divine nature unto us, which it
declares and describes. And as there was such a notion on the minds of
all men, that some representation of God, wherein he might be near
unto them, was necessary--which arose from the consideration of the
infinite distance between the divine nature and their own, which
allowed of no measures between them--so, as unto the event, God
himself has declared that, in his own way, such a representation was
needful--unto that end of the manifestation of himself which he
designed. For--
 6. All this is done in the person of Christ. He is the complete image
and perfect representation of the Divine Being and excellencies. I do
not speak of it absolutely, but as God proposeth himself as the object
of our faith, trust, and obedience. Hence it is God, as the Father,
who is so peculiarly represented in him and by him; as he says: "He
that has seen me has seen the Father:" John 14: 9.
 Unto such a representation two things are required:--(1.) That all
the properties of the divine nature--the knowledge whereof is
necessary unto our present obedience and future blessedness--be
expressed in it, and manifested unto us. (2.) That there be, therein,
the nearest approach of the divine nature made unto us, whereof it is
capable, and which we can receive. And both these are found in the
person of Christ, and therein alone.
 In the person of Christ we consider both the constitution of it in
the union of his natures, and the respect of it unto his work of
mediation, which was the end of that constitution. And--
 (1.) Therein, as so considered, is there a blessed representation
made unto us of all the holy properties of the nature of God--of his
wisdom, his power, his goodness, grace, and love, his righteousness,
truth, and holiness, his mercy and patience. As this is affirmed
concerning them all in general, or the glory of God in them, which is
seen and known only in the face of Christ, so it were easy to manifest
the same concerning every one of them in particular, by express
testimonies of Scripture. But I shall at present confine myself unto
the proofs of the whole assertion which do ensue.
 (2.) There is, therein, the most incomprehensible approach of the
divine nature made unto ours, such as all the imaginations of men did
ever infinitely fall short of--as has been before declared. In the
assumption of our nature into personal union with himself, and our
cognition unto God thereby, with the union which believers obtain with
him thereon--being one in the Father and the Son, as the Father is in
the Son, and the Son in the Father, (John 17: 20, 21,)--there is the
nearest approach of the Divine Being unto us that the nature of things
is capable of. Both these ends were designed in those representations
of God which were of human invention; but in both of them they utterly
failed. For, instead of representing any of the glorious properties of
the nature of God, they debased it, dishonoured it, and filled the
minds of men with vile conceptions of it; and instead of bringing God
nearer unto them, they put themselves at an infinite moral distance
from him. But my design is the confirmation of our assertions from the
Scripture.
 "He is the image of the invisible God:" Col. 1: 15. This title or
property of "invisible," the apostle here gives unto God, to show what
need there was of an image or representation of him unto us, as well
as of one in whom he would declare the counsels of his will. For he
intends not only the absolute invisibility of his essence, but his
being unknown unto us in himself. Wherefore, (as was before observed,)
mankind was generally prone to make visible representations of this
invisible God, that, in them, they might contemplate on him and have
him present with them, as they foolishly imagined. Unto the craft of
Satan abusing this inclination of mankind, idolatry owes its original
and progress in the world: howbeit, necessary it was that this
invisible God should be so represented unto us by some image of him,
as that we might know him, and that therein he might be worshipped
according unto his own mind and will. But this must be of his own
contrivance--an effect of his own infinite wisdom. Hence, as he
absolutely rejecteth all images and representations of him of men's
devising, (for the reasons before mentioned,) and declares that the
honour that any should think would thereby redound unto him was not
given unto him, but unto the devil; so that which he has provided
himself, unto his own holy ends and purposes, is every way approved of
him. For he will have "all men honour the Son, even as they honour the
Father;" and so as that "he who honoureth not the God, honoureth not
the Father:" John 5: 23.
 This image, therefore, is the person of Christ; "he is the image of
the invisible God." This, in the first place, respects the divine
person absolutely, as he is the essential image of the Father: which
must briefly be declared.
 1. The Son is sometimes said to be "en Patri", "in the Father," and
the Father in the Son: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father,
and the Father in me?" John 14: 10. This is from the unity or sameness
of their nature--for he and the Father are one: John 10: 30. Thence
all things that the Father has are his, (chap. 16: 15,) because their
nature is one and the same. With respect unto the divine essence
absolutely considered, wherein the Father is in the Son, and the Son
in the Father, the one cannot be said to be the image of the other.
For he and the Father are one; and one and the same thing cannot be
the image of itself, in that wherein it is one.
 2. The Son is said not only to be "en Patri", "in the Father," in the
unity of the same essence; but also "pros ton Patera" or "Theon",
"with the Father," or "with God," in the distinction of his person:
"The Word was with God, and the Word was God:" John 1: 1. "The Word
was God," in the unity of the divine essence--and "the Word was with
God," in its distinct personal subsistence. "The Word"-- that is, the
person of the Son, as distinct from the Fathers" was with God," or the
Father. And in this respect he is the essential image of the Father,
as he is called in this place, and Heb. 1: 3; and that because he
partakes of all the same divine properties with the Father.
 But although the Father, on the other side, be partaker of all the
essential divine properties of the Son, yet is not he said to be the
image of the Son. For this property of an image respects not the
things themselves, but the manner of the participation of them. Now
the Son receives all from the Father, and the Father nothing from the
Son. Whatever belongs unto the person of the Son, as the person of the
Son, he receives it all from the Father by eternal generation: "For as
the Father has life in himself, so has he given unto the Son to have
life in himself:" John 5: 26. He is therefore the essential image of
the Father, because all the properties of the divine nature are
communicated unto him together with personality --from the Father.
 3. In his incarnation, the Son was made the representative image of
God unto us--as he was, in his person, the essential image of the
Father, by eternal generation. The invisible God--Whose nature and
divine excellencies our understandings can make no approach unto--does
in him represent, exhibit, or make present unto our faith and
spiritual sense, both himself and all the glorious excellencies of his
nature.
 Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, may be considered
three ways.
 1. Merely with respect unto his divine nature. This is one and the
same with that of the Father. In this respect the one is not the image
of the other, for both are the same.
 2. With respect unto his divine person as the Son of the Father, the
only-begotten, the eternal Son of God. Thus he receives, as his
personality, so all divine excellencies, from the Father; so he is the
essential image of the Father's person.
 3. As he took our nature upon him, or in the assumption of our nature
into personal union with himself, in order unto the work of his
mediation. So is he the only representative image of God unto us--in
whom alone we see, know, and learn all the divine excellencies--so as
to live unto God, and be directed unto the enjoyment of him. All this
himself instructs us in.
 He reflects it on the Pharisees, as an effect of their blindness and
ignorance, that they had neither heard the voice of God at any time,
nor seen his shape: John 5: 37. And in opposition hereunto he tells
his disciples, that they had known the Father, and seen him: chap. 14:
7. And the reason he gives thereof is, because they that knew him,
knew the Father also. And when one of his disciples, not yet
sufficiently instructed in this mystery, replied, "Lord, show us the
Father, and it sufficeth us," (verse 8,) his answer is, "Have I been
so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me? He that has
seen me has seen the Father:" verse 9.
 Three things are required unto the justification of this assertion.
 1. That the Father and he be of the same nature, have the same
essence and being. For otherwise it would not follow that he who had
seen him had seen the Father also. This ground of it he declares in
the next verse: "The Father is in me, and I am in the Father" namely,
because they were one in nature and essence. For the divine nature
being simply the same in them all, the divine persons are in each
other, by virtue of the oneness of that nature.
 2. That he be distinct from him. For otherwise there cannot be a
seeing of the Father by the seeing of him. He is seen in the Son as
represented by him--as his image--the Word--the Son of the Father, as
he was with God. The unity of nature and the distinction of persons is
the ground of that assertion of our Saviour: "He that has seen me, has
seen the Father also."
 3. But, moreover, the Lord Christ has a respect herein unto himself,
in his entire person as he was incarnate, and therein unto the
discharge of his mediatory work. "Have I been so long time with you,
and hast thou not known me?" Whilst he was with them, dwelt among
them, conversed with them, he was the great representative of the
glory of God unto them. And, notwithstanding this particular mistake,
they did then see his glory, "the glory of the only-begotten of the
Father:" John 1: 14. And in him was manifested the glory of the
Father. He "is the image of the invisible God." In him God was, in him
he dwelt, in him is he known, in him is he worshipped according unto
his own will, in him is there a nearer approach made unto us by the
divine nature than ever could enter into the heart of man to conceive.
In the constitution of his person--of two natures, so infinitely
distinct and separate in themselves--and in the work it was designed
unto, the wisdom, power, goodness, love, grace, mercy, holiness, and
faithfulness of God, are manifested unto us. This is the one blessed
"image of the invisible God," wherein we may learn, wherein we may
contemplate and adore, all his divine perfections.
 The same truth is testified unto, Heb. 1: 3. God spoke unto us in the
Son, who is "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person." His divine nature is here included, as that without which he
could not have made a perfect representation of God unto us. For the
apostle speaks of him, as of him "by whom the worlds were made," and
who "upholdeth all things by the word of his power." Yet does he not
speak of him absolutely as he was God, but also as he who "in himself
purged our sins, and sat down at the right hand of the majesty on
high;" that is, in his whole person. Herein he is "apaugasma tes
doxes", the effulgency, the resplendency of divine glory, that wherein
the divine glory shines forth in an evident manifestation of itself
unto us. And as a farther explication of the same mystery, it is
added, that he is the character or "express image" of the person of
the Father. Such an impression of all the glorious properties of God
is on him, as that thereby they become legible unto all them that
believe.
 So the same apostle affirms again that he is the "image of God," 2
Cor. 4: 4; in what sense, and unto what end, he declares, verse 6: "We
have the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
Still it is supposed that the glory of God, as essentially in him, is
invisible unto us, and incomprehensible by us. Yet is there a
knowledge of it necessary unto us, that we may live unto him, and come
unto the enjoyment of him. This we obtain only in the face or person
of Christ--"en prosoopooi tou Christou"; for in him that glory is
represented unto us.
 This was the testimony which the apostles gave concerning him, when
he dwelt among them in the days of his flesh. They saw "his glory, the
glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth:"
John 1: 14. The divine glory was manifest in him, and in him they saw
the glory of the Father. So the same apostle witnesses again, who
recorded this testimony: "For the life was manifested, and we have
seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which
was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:" 1 John 1: 14. In the
Son incarnate, that eternal life which was originally in and with the
Father was manifest unto us.
 It may be said, that the Scripture itself is sufficient for this end
of the declaration of God unto us, so that there is no need of any
other representation of him; and [that] these things serve only to
turn the minds of men from learning the mind and will of God therein,
to seek for all in the person of Christ. But the true end of proposing
these things is, to draw men unto the diligent study of the Scripture,
wherein alone they are revealed and declared. And in its proper use,
and unto its proper end, it is perfect and most sufficient. It is
"logos tou Theou--"the word of God;" howbeit it is not "logos
ousioodes", the internal, essential Word of God--but "logos
proforikos", the external word spoken by him. It is not, therefore,
nor can be, the image of God, either essential or representative; but
is the revelation and declaration of it unto us, without which we can
know nothing of it.
 Christ is the image of the invisible God, the express image of the
person of the Father; and the principal end of the whole Scripture,
especially of the gospel, is to declare him so to be, and how he is
so. What God promised by his prophets in the holy Scriptures
concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, that is fully declared in the
Gospel: Rom. 1: 1-4. The gospel is the declaration of Christ as "the
power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. 1: 23, 24; or an evident
representation of God in his person and mediation unto us: Gal. 3: 1.
Wherefore three things are herein to be considered.
 1. "Objectum reale et formale fidei"--"the real, formal object of our
faith in this matter. This is the person of Christ, the Son of God
incarnate, the representative image of the glory of God unto us; as in
the testimonies insisted on.
 2. "Medium revelans", or "lumen deferens"--the means of its
revelation, or the objective light whereby the perception and
knowledge of it is conveyed unto our minds. This is the gospel;
compared unto a glass because of the prospect which we have of the
image of God therein: 2 Cor. 3: 18. But without it--by any other
means, and not by it--we can behold nothing of this image of God.
 3. "Lumen praeparans, elevans, disponens subjectum"--"the internal
light of the mind in the saving illumination of the Holy Spirit,
enabling us--by that means, and in the use of it--spiritually to
behold and discern the glory of God in the face of Christ: 2 Cor. 4:
6.
 Through both these, in their several ways of operation, there
proceedeth--from the real object of our faith, Christ, as the image of
God-a transforming power, whereby the soul is changed into the same
image, or is made conformable unto Christ; which is that whereunto we
are predestinated. But we may yet a little farther contemplate on
these things, in some instances wherein the glory of God and our own
duty are concerned.
 1. The glory of God's wisdom is exalted, and the pride of the
imaginations of men is proportionally debased. And in these two
consists the real foundation of all religion in our souls. This God
designed in the dispensation of himself and his will, 1 Cor. 1: 29,
31; this he calls us unto, Isa. 2: 22; Zech 2: 13. As this frame of
heart is prevalent in us, so do all other graces shine and flourish.
And it is that which influences all our duties, so far as they are
acceptable unto God. And there is no truth more instructive unto it
than that before us. It is taken for granted--and the event has
demonstrated it to be so--that some express representation should be
made of God unto us, wherein we might contemplate the glorious
excellencies of his nature, and he might draw nigh unto us, and be
present with us. This, therefore, men attempted to effect and
accomplish; and this God alone has performed, and could so do. And
their several ways for this end are herein manifest. As the way
whereby God has done it is the principal exaltation of his infinite
wisdom and goodness, (as shall be immediately more fully declared,) so
the way whereby men attempted it was the highest instance of
wickedness and folly. It is, as we have declared, in Christ alone that
God has done it. And that therein he has exalted and manifested the
riches, the treasures of his infinite wisdom and goodness, is that
which the Gospel, the Spirit, and the church, do give testimony unto.
A more glorious effect of divine wisdom and goodness, a more
illustrious manifestation of them, there never was, nor ever shall be,
than in the finding out and constitution of this way of the
representation of God unto us. The ways of men, for the same end, Were
so far from giving a right representation of the perfections of the
divine nature, that they were all of them below, beneath, and unworthy
of our own. For in nothing did the blindness, darkness, and folly of
our nature, in its depraved condition, ever so exert and evidence
themselves, as in contriving ways for the representation of God unto
us--that is, in idolatry, the worst and vilest of evils: so Ps. 115: 4-
8; Isa. 44; Rev. 9: l9, 20, &c. This pride and folly of men was that
which lost all knowledge of God in the world, and all obedience unto
him. The ten commandment are but a transcript of the light and law of
nature. The first of these required that God--the only true God--the
Creator and Governor of all--should be acknowledged, worshipped,
believed in, and obeyed. And the second was, that we should not make
unto ourselves any image or representation of him. Whatever he would
do himself, yet he strictly forbade that we should make any such unto
ourselves. And here began the apostasy of the world from God. They did
not absolutely reject him, and so cast off the *first* fundamental
precept of the law of nature--but they submitted not unto his wisdom
and authority in the *next*, which was evidently educed from it. They
would make images and representations of him unto themselves; and by
this invention of their own, they first dishonoured him, and then
forsook him, giving themselves up unto the rule and service of the
devil. Wherefore, as the way that God in infinite wisdom found out for
the representation of himself unto us, was the only means of recovery
from the first apostasy--the way found out by men, unto the same end,
was the great means of casting the generality of mankind unto the
farthest degree of a new apostasy from God whereof our nature is
capable. And of the same kind will all our contrivances be found to
begin what belongs unto his worship and glory--though, unto us, they
may appear both pious and necessary. This, therefore, should lead us
into a continual admiration of the wisdom and grace of God, with a due
sense of our own vileness and baseness by nature. For we are in
nothing better or wiser than they who fell into the utmost folly and
wickedness, in their designs for the highest end, or the
representation of God unto us. The more we dwell on such
considerations, the more fear and reverence of God, with faith, trust,
and delight in him, will be increased--as also humility in ourselves,
with a sense of divine grace and love.
 2. There is a peculiar ground of the spiritual efficacy of this
representation of God. The revelations that he has made of himself,
and of the glorious properties of his nature, in the works of creation
and providence, are, in themselves, clear, plain, and manifest: Ps.
19: l, 2; Rom. 1: 19, 20. Those which are made in Christ are sublime
and mysterious. Howbeit, the knowledge we have of him as he is
represented unto us in Christ is far more clear, certain, steady,
effectual and operative, than any we can attain in and by all other
ways of revelation. The reason hereof is, not only because there is a
more full and extensive revelation made of God, his counsels and his
will, in Christ and the gospel, than in all the works of creation and
providence; but because this revelation and representation of God is
received by faith alone, the other by reason only: and it is faith
that is the principle of spiritual light and life in us. What is
received thereby is operative and effectual, unto all the ends of the
life of God. For we live by faith here, as we shall by sight
hereafter. Reason alone--especially as it is corrupted and depraved--
can discern no glory in the representation of God by Chn6t; yes, all
that is spoken thereof, or declared in the Gospel, is foolishness unto
it. Hence many live in a profession of the faith of the letter of the
Gospel, yet--having no light, guide, nor conduct, but that of reason--
they do not, they cannot, really behold the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ; nor has the revelation of it any efficacy upon their
souls. The manifestation of him in the light of nature, by the works
of creation and providence, is suited unto their reason, and does
affect it: for that [manifestation] which is made in Christ, they say
of it, as the Israelites did of manna, that came down from heaven,
"What is it?" we know not the meaning of it. For it is made unto faith
alone, and all men hsve not faith. And where God shines into the
heart, by that faith which is of divine operation--there, with "open
face, we behold the glory of God, as in a glass;" or have the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. There is
not the meanest believer, but--in the real exercise of faith in Christ
has more glorious apprehensions of God, his wisdom, goodness, and
grace, of all his glorious excellencies, than the most learned and
wise in the world can attain unto, in the exercise of reason on the
proper objects of it. So are these things opposed by the apostle, 1
Cor. 1. Wherefore, faith in Christ is the only means of the true
knowledge of God; and the discoveries which are made of him and his
excellencies thereby are those stone which are effectual to conform us
unto his image and likeness. And this is the reason why some men are
so little affected with the Gospel--notwithstanding the continual
preaching of it unto them, and their outward profession of it. It does
not inwardly affect them, it produceth no blessed effects in them.
Some sense they have of the power of God in the works of creation and
providence, in his rule and government, and in the workings of natural
conscience. Beyond these, they have no real sense of him. The reason
is, because they have not faith--whereby alone the representation that
is made of God in Christ, and declared in the gospel, is made
effectual unto the souls of men. Wherefore--
 3. It is the highest degeneracy from the mystery of the Christian
religion, for men to satisfy themselves in natural discoveries of the
Divine Being and excellencies, without an acquaintance with that
perfect declaration and representation of them which is made in the
person of Christ, as he is revealed and declared in the Gospel. It is
confessed that there may be good use made of the evidence which reason
gives or takes from its own innate principles--with the consideration
of the external works of divine wisdom and power--concerning the being
and rule of God. But to rest herein--to esteem it the best and most
perfective knowledge of God that we can attain--not to rise up unto
the more full, perfect, and evident manifestation of himself that he
has made in Christ a declaration of our unbelief, and a virtual
renunciation of the Gospel. This is the spring of that declension unto
a mere natural religion which discovers itself in many, and usually
ends in the express denial of the divine person of Christ. For when
the proper use of it is despised, on what grounds can the note of it
be long retained? But a supposition of his divine person is the
foundation of this discourse. Were he not the essential image of the
Father in his own divine person, he could not be the representative
image of God unto us as he is incarnate. For if he were a man only--
however miraculously produced and gloriously exalted, yet the angels
above, the glorious heavens, the seat and throne of God, with other
effects of creating power and wisdom, would no less represent his
glory than it could be done in him. Yet are they nowhere, nowhere,
jointly nor separately, styled "the image of the invisible God"--"the
brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person;" nor
does God shine into our hearts to give us the knowledge of his glory
in the face of them. And it argues the woeful enmity of the carnal
mind against God and all the effects of his wisdom, that, whereas he
has granted us such a glorious image and representation of himself, we
like it not, we delight not in the contemplation of it, but either
despise it or neglect it, and please ourselves in that which is
incomparably beneath it.
 4. Because God is not thus known it is--that the knowledge of him is
so barren and fruitless in the world, as it manifests itself to be. It
were easy to produce, yea, endless to number the testimonies that
might be produced out of heathen writers, given unto the being and
existence of God, his authority, monarchy, and rule; yet what were the
effects of that knowledge which they had? Besides that wretched
idolatry wherein they were all immersed, as the apostle declares, Rom.
1, it rescued them from no kind of wickedness and villany; as he there
also manifests. And the virtues which were found among them were
evidently derived from other causes, and not from the knowledge they
had of God. The Jews have the knowledge of God by the letter of the
Old Testament; but they--not knowing him in Christ, and having lost
all sense and apprehension of those representations which were made of
his being in him, in the Law--they continue universally a people
carnal, obstinate, and wicked. They have neither the virtues of the
heathens among them, nor the power of the truth of religion. As it was
with them of old, so it, yet continueth to be; "they profess that they
now God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient,
and to every good work reprobate:" Tit. 1: 16. So is it among many
that are called Christians at this day in the world: great pretence
there is unto the knowledge of God--yet did flagitious sins and
wickedness scarce ever more abound among the heathens themselves. It
is the knowledge of "God in Christ" alone that is effectually powerful
to work the souls of men into a conformity unto him. Those alone who
behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ are changed into
the same image, from glory to glory.
 
 
 
 
Chapter VI. The Person of Christ the great Repository of Sacred Truth-
-Its Relation thereunto.
 
Divine supernatural truth is called by the apostle, "The truth which
is after godliness:" Tit. 1: 1. Whereas, therefore, the person of
Christ is the great mystery of godliness, we must, in the next place,
inquire--What is the relation of spiritual supernatural truth there
unto? And this I shall do, in pursuit of what was proposed in the
foregoing chapter, viz, that he is the great representative unto the
church, of God, his holy properties, and the counsels of his will.
 All divine truth may be referred unto two heads. First, that which is
essentially so; and then that which is so declaratively. The first is
God himself, the other is the counsel of his will.
 First, God himself is the first and only essential Truth, in whose
being and nature the springs of all truth do lie. Whatever is truth so
far as it is so, derives from him, is an emanation from that eternal
fountain of it. Being, truth, and goodness, is the principal notion of
God; and in him they are all the same. How this is represented in
Christ as in himself he is the essential image of the Father, and as
incarnate the representative image of him unto us --hath been
declared.
 Secondly, The counsels of God are the next spring and cause--as also
the subject-matter or substance--of all truth that is so
declaratively. Divine truth is "the declaration of the counsel of
God:" Acts 20: 27. Of them all the person of Christ is the sacred
repository and treasury--in him are they to be learned. All their
efficacy and use depend on their relation unto him. He is the centre
and circumference of all the lines of truth--that is, which is divine,
spiritual, and supernatural. And the beauty of it is presented unto us
only in his face or person. We see it not, we know it not, but as God
shines into our hearts to give us the knowledge of it therein: 2 Cor.
4: 6.
 So he testifieth of himself, "I am the truth:" John 14: 6. He is so
essentially--as he is one with the Father, the God of truth: Deut.
32:4. He is so efficiently--as by him alone it is fully and
effectually declared; for "no man has seen God at any time; the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared
him:" John 1: 18. He is so substantially--in opposition unto the types
and shadows of the Old Testament; for in him dwelt "the fulness of the
godhead bodily:" Col. 2: 9. "The body is of Christ:" verse 17. He is
so subjectively for all divine truth, relating to the saving knowledge
of God, is treasured up in him. "In him are hid all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge:" verse 3. That is, the wisdom and knowledge of
God--in his counsels concerning the vocation, sanctification, and
salvation, of the church--concerning which the apostle falls into that
holy admiration, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God!" Rom. 11: 33. And they are called "treasures" on a
twofold account, both mentioned together by the Psalmist. "How
precious are thy thoughts unto me, O Lord; how great is the sum of
them!" They are treasures, because precious and invaluable--and are
therefore usually preferred above all earthly treasures which men most
highly esteem: Prov. 3: 14,15. And they are so, because of the
greatness of the sum of them; and therefore also called "unsearchable
riches:" Eph. 3: 8. These precious, unsearchable treasures of the
wisdom and knowledge of God--that is, all divine supernatural truths--
are hid, or safely deposited, in Christ--in and from whom alone they
are to be learned and received.
 So we are said to learn the truth as it is in Jesus: Eph 4: 21. And
the knowledge of all evangelical sacred truth is, in the Scripture,
most frequently expressed by the knowledge of Him: John 8: 19; 17: 3;
2 Cor. 2: 14; 4: 5, 6; Eph. 1: 17; Phil. 3: 8, 10; 1 John 1: 1, 2; 2:
4, 13, 14; 5: 20; 2 Pet. 2: 20.
 Setting aside what we have discoursed and proved before--concerning
the laying of the foundation of all the counsels of God in the person
of Christ, and the representation of them in the ineffable
constitution thereof--I shall give some few instances of this relation
of all supernatural truths unto him--manifesting that we cannot learn
them, nor know them, but with a due respect thereunto.
 1. There are two things wherein the glory of truth does consist. (1.)
Its light. (a) Its efficacy or power. And both these do all
supernatural truths derive from this relation unto Christ.
 (1.) No truth whatever brings any spiritual light unto the mind, but
by virtue thereof. "In him is life, and the life is the light of men:"
John 1: 4. He is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that comets
into the world:" verse 9. Wherefore, as truth is the only means of
illumination, so it cannot communicate any light unto the mind, but
only as it is a beam from him, as it is an organ to convey it from
that fountain. Separated from him and its relation unto him, it will
not retain, it cannot communicate, any real spiritual light or
understanding to the souls of men. How should it, if all light be
originally in him--as the Scripture testifieth? Then alone is the mind
irradiated with heavenly truth, when it is received as proceeding
from, and leading unto, the Sun of Righteousness the blessed spring of
all spiritual light--which is Christ himself. Whatever notional
knowledge men may have of divine truths, as they are doctrinally
proposed in the Scripture, yet--if they know them not in their respect
unto the person of Christ as the foundation of the counsels of God--if
they discern not how they proceed from him, and centre in him--they
will bring no spiritual, saving light unto their understanding. For
all spiritual life and light is in him, and from him alone. An
instance hereof we have in the Jews. They have the Scriptures of the
Old Testament, wherein the substance of all divine truth is revealed
and expressed; and they are diligent in the study of them; howbeit
their minds are not at all illuminatednor irradiated by the truths
contained in them, but they live and walk in horrible darkness. And
the only reason hereof is, because they know not, because they reject,
the relation of them unto Christ--without which they are deprived of
all enlightening power.
 (2.) Efficacy or power is the second property of divine truth. And
the end of this efficacy is to make us like unto God: Eph 4: 20-24.
The mortification of sin, the renovation of our natures, the
sanctification of our minds, hearts, and affections, the consolation
of our souls, with their edification in all the parts of the life of
God, and the like, are the things that God has designed to effect by
his truth; (John 17: 17;) whence it is able to "build us up, and give
us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified:" Acts 20:32. But
it is from their relation unto the person of Christ that they have any
thing of this power and efficacy. For they have it no otherwise but as
they are conveyances of his grace unto the souls of men. So 1 John 1:
1, 2.
 Wherefore, as professors of the truth, if separated from Christ as
unto real union, are withering branches--so truths professed, if
doctrinally separated from him, or their respect unto him, have no
living power or efficacy in the souls of men. When Christ is formed in
the heart by them, when he dwelleth plentifully in the soul through
their operation, then, and not else, do they put forth their proper
power and efficacy. Otherwise, they are as waters separated from the
fountain--they quickly dry up or become a noisome puddle; or as a beam
interrupted from its continuity unto the sun--it is immediately
deprived of light.
 2. All divine spiritual truths are declarative, either of the grace
and love of God unto us, or [of] our duty, obedience, and gratitude
unto him. But, as unto these things, Christ is all and in all; we can
have no due apprehensions of the love and grace of God, no
understanding of the divine truths of the Word--wherein they are
revealed, and whereby they are exhibited unto them that believe--but
in the exercise of faith on Christ himself. For in, by, and from him
alone, it is that they are proposed unto us, that we are made
partakers of them. It is from his fulness that all grace is received.
No truth concerning them can, by any imagination, be separated from
him. He is the life and soul of all such truths--without which, they,
as they are written in the Word, are but a dead letter, and that of
such a character as is illegible unto us, as unto any real discovery
of the grace and love of God. And as unto those of the other sort,
which are instructive unto us in our duty, obedience, and gratitude--
we cannot come unto a practical compliance with any one of them, but
by the aids of grace received from him. For without him we can do
nothing; (John 15: 5;) and he alone understands divine truth who does
it: John 7: 17. There is not, therefore, any one text of Scripture
which presseth our duty unto God, that we can so understand as to
perform that duty in an acceptable manner, without an actual regard
unto Christ, from Whom alone we receive ability for the performance of
it, and in or through whom alone it is accepted with God.
 3. All the evidence of divine spiritual truth, and all the foundation
of our real interest in the things whereof it is a declaration--as to
benefit, advantage, and comfort--depend on their relation unto Christ.
We may take an instance in one article of divine truth, which seems to
be most disengaged from any such relation, namely, the resurrection of
the dead. But there is no man who rightly believes or comprehends this
truth, who does it not upon the evidence given unto it, and example of
it, in the person of Christ rising from the dead. Nor can any man have
a comfortable expectation or faith of an especial interest in a
blessed resurrection, (which is our whole concern in that truth, Phil.
3: 11,) but by virtue of a mystical union unto him, as the head of the
church that shall be raised unto glory. Both these the apostle inserts
upon at large, 1 Cor. 15. So is it with all other truths whatever.
 Wherefore, all divine supernatural truths revealed in the Scripture,
being nothing but the declaration of these counsels of God, whose
foundation was laid in the person of Christ; and whereas they are all
of them expressive of the love, wisdom, goodness, and grace of God
unto us, or instructive in our obedience and duty to him--all the
actings of God towards us, and all ours towards him, being in and
through him alone; and whereas all the life and power of these truths,
all their beauty, symmetry, and harmony in their union and
conjunction, which is expressive of divine wisdom, is all from him,
who, as a living spirit diffused through the whole system, both acts
and animates it--all the treasures of truth, wisdom, and knowledge,
may be well said to be hid in him. And we may consider some things
that ensue hereon.
 1. Hence it is, that those who reject the divine person of Christ--
who believe it not, who discern not the wisdom, grace, love, and power
of God therein--do constantly reject or corrupt all other spiritual
truths of divine revelation. Nor can it otherwise be. For they have a
consistency only in their relation unto the mystery of godliness--"God
manifest in the flesh"--and from thence derive their sense and
meaning. This being removed--the truth, in all other articles of
religion, immediately falls to the ground. An instance hereof we have
in the Socinians. For, although they retain the common notions of the
unity and existence of the divine nature, which are indelibly fixed on
the minds of men, yet is there no one truth that belongs peculiarly
unto the Christian religion, but they either deny it or horribly
deprave it. Many things concerning God and his essential properties--
as his immutability, immensity, prescience--they have greatly
perverted. So is that fulfilled in them which was spoken by Jude the
apostle, verse 10. They "speak evil of those things which they know
not: and what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things
they corrupt themselves." So they do in the things mentioned, whereof
there are natural notions in the minds of men; but of evangelical
truths which they know not--they speak evil, and deride them. The holy
Trinity they blaspheme--the incarnation of the Son of God they scorn--
the work of his mediation in his oblation and intercession, with the
satisfaction and merit of his obedience and suffering, they reject. So
do they [reject] whatever we are taught of the depravation of our
natures by the fall, of the renovation of them by the Holy Ghost; and
unto all other articles of our faith do they offer violence, to
corrupt them. The beginning of their transgression or apostasy, is in
a disbelief of the divine person of Christ. That being rejected, all
other sacred truths are removed from their basis and centre, [from]
that which gives them their unity and harmony. Hereon they fluctuate
up and down in the minds of men, and, appearing unto them under
various deceiving colours, are easily misapprehended or disbelieved.
Yea, there can no direct, proper representation be made of them unto
the understandings of men. Dissolve the knot, centre, and harmony in
the most beautiful composition or structure--and every part will
contribute as much unto the deformity and ruin of the whole, as it did
before unto its beauty and consistency. So is it with every doctrine--
so is it with the whole system of evangelical truths. Take the person
of Christ out of them, dissolve their harmony in relation thereunto--
whereby we no longer hold the Head in the faith and profession of them-
-and the minds of men cannot deliver them from an irreconcilable
difference among themselves. Hereon some of them are immediately
rejected, and some of them corrupted; for they lose their native light
and beauty. They will neither agree nor consist any where but in
Christ. Hence it is that no instance can be given of any, who, from
the original of the Christian religion, rejected the divine person of
Christ, and preserved any one evangelical truth besides, pure and
uncorrupted. And I do freely confess, that all which we believe
concerning the holy Trinity, the eternal counsels of God, the efficacy
of the mediation of Christ, his satisfaction and merit, the way which
we own of the sanctification, justification, and salvation of the
church--are to be esteemed fables, as the Socinians contend, if what
we believe concerning the person of Christ be so also.
 2. Hence it is that the knowledge and profession of the truth, with
many, is so fruitless, inefficacious, and useless. It is not known, it
is not understood nor believed--in its relation unto Christ; on which
account alone it conveys either light or power to the soul. Men
profess they know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order,
in its harmony and use. It leads them not to Christ, it brings not
Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless. Hence, ofttimes,
none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much
notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Scripture. For they are all
of them useless, and subject to be abused, if they are not improved to
form Christ in the soul, and transform the whole person into his
likeness and image. This they will not effect where their relation
unto him is not understood--where they are not received and learned as
a revelation of him, with the mystery of the will and wisdom of God in
him. For whereas he is our life, and in our living unto God we do not
so much live as he liveth in us, and the life which we lead in the
flesh is by the faith of him so that we have neither principle nor
power of spiritual life, but in, by, and from him--whatever knowledge
we have of the truth, if it do not effect a union between him and our
souls, it will be lifeless in us, and unprofitable unto us. It is
learning the truth as it is in Jesus, which alone reneweth the image
of God in us: Eph. 4: 21-24. Where it is otherwise--where men have
notions of evangelical truths, but know not Christ in them--whatever
they profess, when they come really to examine themselves, they will
find them of no use unto them, but that all things between God and
their souls are stated on natural light and common presumptions.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter VII. Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of
Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person
 
It is by the exercise and discharge of the office of Christ--as the
king, priest, and prophet of the church--that we are redeemed,
sanctified, and saved. Thereby does he immediately communicate all
gospel benefits unto us--give us an access unto God here by grace, and
in glory hereafter; for he saves us, as he is the mediator between God
and man. But hereon an inquiry may be made--whence it is that the acts
and duties of this office of Christ, in their exercise and discharge,
should have such a power and efficacy, with respect unto their
supernatural and eternal ends; for the things which depend upon them,
which are effected by them, are all the principal means of the glory
of God, and the only concernments of the souls of men. And this, I
say, is his holy, mysterious person; from thence alone all power and
efficacy is derived, and transfused into his offices, and into all
that is due in the discharge of them.
 A truth this is, of that importance, that the declaration and
demonstration of it is the principal design of one entire book of the
holy Scriptures, viz., of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle unto the
Hebrews. That the glorious excellency of the person of Christ does
enable him, in the discharge of his offices, to accomplish those ends,
which none other, though vested with the same offices, could, in the
exercise of them, attain unto--is the sum and substance of the
doctrinal part of that discourse. Here, therefore, we must a little
fix our meditations--and our interest calls us thereunto. For if it be
so, it is evident that we can receive no good, no benefit, by virtue
of any office of Christ, nor any fruits of their exercise, without an
actual respect of faith unto his person, whence all their life and
power is derived.
 God gave of old both kings, priests, and prophets, unto the church.
He both anointed them unto their offices, directed them in their
discharge, was present with them in their work, and accepted of their
duties; yet by none of them, nor by all of them together, was the
church supernaturally enlightened, internally ruled, or eternally
saved: nor could it so be. Some of them--as Moses in particular--had
as much power, and as great a presence of God witch him, as any mere
man could be made partaker of; yet was he not, in his ministry, the
saviour of the church--nor could he be so any otherwise than typically
and temporally. The ministry of them all was subservient unto that end
which, by its own power, it could not attain.
 It is evident, therefore, that the redemption and salvation of the
church do not depend merely on this--that God has given one to be the
king, priest, and prophet of the church, by the actings of which
offices it is redeemed and saved; but on the person of him who was so
given unto us: as is fully attested, Isa. 9: 6, 7.
 This must be declared.
 Two things were required, in general, unto the person of Christ, that
his offices might be effectual unto the salvation of the church, and
without which they could not so have been. And they are such, as that
their contrivance in the constitution of one and the same person, no
created wisdom could reach unto. Wherefore the infinite wisdom of God
is most gloriously manifested therein.
 I. The first of these is, that he should have a nature provided for
him, which originally was not his own. For in his divine nature,
singly considered, he had no such relation unto them for whom he was
to discharge his offices, as was necessary to communicate the benefit
of them, nor could he discharge their principal duties. God could not
die, nor rise again, nor be exalted to be a prince and a Saviour, in
his divine nature. Nor was there that especial alliance between it and
ours, as should give us an especial interest in what was done thereby.
 It was mankind in whose behalf he was to exercise these offices. He
was not to bear them with respect immediately unto the angels; and,
therefore, he took not their nature on him. "Ou gar depou angeloon
pilambanetai"--"He took not the nature of angels unto him;" (Heb. 2:
16;) because he was not to be a mediator for them, a saviour unto
them. Those of them who had sinned were left unto everlasting ruin;
and those who retained their original righteousness needed no
redemption. But God prepared a body for him--that is, a human nature:
Heb. 10: 5. The promise hereof--viz, that he should be of the seed of
the woman--was the foundation of the church; that is, he was made so
unto the church in and by that promise: Gen. 3: 15. In the
accomplishment thereof he was "made of a woman," that so he might be
"made under the law;" (Gal 4: 4;) and "took upon him the seed of
Abraham". For because the children were partakers of flesh and blood,
"he also himself took part of the same:" Heb. 2: 14. For "in all
things it behaved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might
be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God:"
verse 17. And this was absolutely necessary unto the discharge of his
offices, on the twofold account before mentioned. For--
 (1.) Those acts of his offices, whereon the sanctification and
salvation of the church do principally depend, could not be performed
but in and by that nature. Therein alone could he yield obedience unto
the law, that it might be fulfilled in us--without which we could not
stand in judgment before God. See Rom. 8: 3; 10: 3,4. Therein alone
could he undergo the curse of the law, or be made a curse for us, that
the blessing might come upon us: Gal. 3: 13, 14. It was necessary
that, as a priest, he should have something of his own to offer unto
God, to make atonement for sin: Heb. 8: 3. The like may be said of his
whole ministry on the earth--of all the effects of his incarnation.
 (2.) Herein that cognation and alliance between him and the church,
which were necessary to entitle it unto a participation of the
benefits of his mediation, do depend. For hereby he became our goel--
the next of kin--unto whom belonged the right of redemptions and from
whom alone we could claim relief and succour in our lost condition.
This is divinely and at large declared by the apostle, Heb. 2: 10-18.
Having at large explained this context in our exposition of that
chapter, and therein declared both the necessity and benefit of the
cognation between the church and its High Priest, I shall not here
farther insist upon it. See to the same purpose, Eph. 5: 25-27.
Wherefore, had he not been partaker of our nature, we could have
received no benefit--not that without which we must eternally perish--
by any office that he could have undertaken. This, therefore, was
necessary unto the constitution of his person, with respect unto his
offices. But--
 II. There was yet more required thereunto, or to render his offices
effectual unto their proper ends. Not one of them could have been so,
had he been no more than a man--had he had no nature but ours. This I
shall particularly demonstrate, considering them in their usual
distribution--unto the glory of his divine person, and our own
edification in believing.
 (1.) He could not have been the great and singular prophet of the
church, had he been a man only, though ever so excellent and glorious;
and that for these three reasons:--
 [1.] He was to be the prophet of the whole catholic church; that is,
of act the elect of God, of all that shall be saved in all ages and
places, from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof. He had a
personal ministry for the instruction of the church, whilst he was on
the earth; but his prophetical office was not confined thereunto. For
that was limited unto one nation, Matt.15:24; Rom.15:8, and was for a
short season only. But the church was never without a prophet--that
is, one on whom it was incumbent to reveal unto it, and instruct it
in, the will of God--nor can be so unto the consummation of all
things. This is Christ alone. For--
 1st, I take it for granted that, from the beginning, from the giving
of the first promise, the Son of God did, in an especial manner,
undertake the care of the church--as unto all the ends of the wisdom,
will, and grace of God; and I take it for granted here, because I have
proved it at large elsewhere. It evidently followeth on the eternal
compact between the Father and him unto this end. In the work which
belonged hereunto--that which concerned its instruction in the will of
God, its saving illumination and spiritual wisdom, is of such
importance, as that, without it, none can be partaker of any other
blessings whatever. In this instruction and illumination consists the
discharge of the prophetical office of Christ.
 2dly, Upon the account of his susception of his office even before
his incarnation, considered as God; he is said to act in it so as to
be sent of God unto his work, Micah 5: 2, "The Ruler of Israel, whose
goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." His goings
forth are not his eternal generation, which consists in one individual
eternal act of the Father; but it is the egress, the exercise of his
power and care for the church, that is so expressed. These were from
the beginning the first foundation of the church, in answer unto his
everlasting counsels, Zech 2: 8, 9, "Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
After the glory has he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you;"
and "I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to
their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me."
He who is sent calleth himself "The Lord of hosts," and affirms that
he will destroy the nations by the shaking of his hand; who can be no
other but God himself. That is, it was the Son of God, who was to be
incarnate, as is declared in the next words: "Sing and rejoice, O
daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of
thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in
that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of
thee; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto
thee," verses 10, 11. He promiseth that he will dwell in the midst of
the people; which was accomplished when "the Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us," John 1: 14; which was the time of the calling of the
gentiles, when many nations were to be joined unto the Lord; and those
that were so called were to be his people: "They shall be my people."
And yet in all this he was sent by the Lord of hosts: "Thou shalt know
that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto thee." Wherefore, with respect
unto his susception of his offices towards the church, the Lord of
hosts in the person of the Son is said to be sent by the Lord of
hosts; that is, in the person of the Father. So was he the prophet of
the church even before his incarnation, sent or designed by the Father
to instruct it--to communicate spiritual and saving light unto it. So
he testified concerning himself unto the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I
am," John 8: 58. Which, as it invincibly proves his eternal pre-
existence unto his incarnation, so it is not only intended. He was so
before Abraham, as that the care of the church was then and always
from the beginning on him. And he discharged this office four ways:--
 (1st,) By personal appearances in the likeness of human nature, in
the shape of a man, as an indication of his future incarnation; and
under those appearances instructing the church. So he appeared unto
Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua, as I have proved elsewhere.
And those peculiar appearances of the person of the Son for the
instruction of believers, are a full demonstration that the care and
work of it were committed unto him in a peculiar manner. And I am not
without thoughts, although I see some difficulty in it, that the whole
Old Testament, wherein God perpetually treats with men by an
assumption of human affections unto himself, so to draw us with the
cords of a man, proceeded from the person of the Son, in a preparation
for, and prospect of, his future incarnation.
 (2dly,) By the ministry of angels upon his undertaking to be the
mediator for the church with God, the angels were in a peculiar manner
put into dependence on him, even as he became a new and immediate head
unto the whole creation. This belonged unto that especial glory which
he had with the Father "before the world was," whereof we have treated
before. All things were to be anew gathered into a head in him, "both
which are in heaven, and which are on earth," Eph. 1: 10. And he
became "the firstborn of every creature," Col. 1: 15, the Lord and
proprietor of them. Hence the whole ministry of angels was subordinate
unto him; and whatever instruction was thereby given unto the church
in the mind and will of God, it was immediately from him, as the great
prophet of the church
 (3dly,) By sending his Holy Spirit to inspire, act, and guide the
prophets, by whom God would reveal himself. God spoke unto them by the
"mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began,"
Luke 1: 70. But it was the Spirit of Christ that was in them that
spoke by them, that revealed the things which concerned the redemption
and salvation of the church, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12. And by this Spirit he
himself preached unto those that were disobedient in the days of Noah,
who are now in prison for their disobedience, 1 Peter 3: 19, 20. For
he was so to prophet of the church always as to tender manifold
instructions unto the perishing, unbelieving world. Hence is he said
to lighten "every man that comets into the world," John 1: 9, by one
way or other communicating to them some notices of God and his will;
for his light shineth in, or irradiates darkness itself--that darkness
which is come on the minds of men by sin--though the "darkness
comprehend it not," verse 5.
 (4thly,) By the ministry of holy men, acted and moved by his Spirit.
So he gave forth the word that was written for an everlasting rule of
faith and obedience unto the church.
 Thus were the office and work of instructing and illuminating of the
church on his hand alone from the beginning, and thus were they by him
discharged. This was not a work for him who was no more but a man. His
human nature had no existence until the fulness of time, the latter
days, and therefore could effect or operate nothing before. And
whereas the apostle distinguisheth between the speaking of God in the
Son and his speaking in the prophets, opposing the one to the other,
(Heb. 1: 1, 2,) he does it with respect unto his personal ministry
unto the Church of the Jews, and not with respect unto his being the
peculiar fountain of life and light unto the whole church in all ages.
 It is true, we have under the gospel many unspeakable advantages from
the prophetical office of Christ, above what they enjoyed under the
Old Testament; but he was the prophet of the church equally in all
ages. Only he has given out the knowledge of the mind of God in
different degrees and measures; that which was most perfect being for
many reasons reserved unto the times of the Gospel; the sum whereof
is, that God designed him unto a preeminence above all in his own
personal ministry.
 If any shall now inquire how the Lord Christ could be the prophet of
the church before he took our nature on him and dwelt among us; I
shall also ask how they suppose him to be the prophet of the church
now he has left the world and is gone to heaven, so as that we neither
see him nor hear him anymore? If they shall say that he is so by his
Spirit, his Word, and the ministry which he has ordained; I say, so
was he the prophet of the church before his incarnation also. To
confine the offices of Christ, as unto their virtue, power and
efficacy, unto the times of the Gospel only, is utterly to evacuate
the first promise, with the covenant of grace founded thereon. And
their minds are secretly influenced by a disbelief of his divine
person, who suppose that the respect of the church unto Christ, in
faith, love, trust, and instruction, commenceth from the date of his
incarnation.
 [2.] The full comprehension of the mind and will of God, of the whole
divine counsel concerning his glory in the sanctification and
salvation of the church, could not at once reside in the mind of any
mere creature. Yet was this necessary unto him who was to be the
prophet of the church; that is, the fountain of truth, life, and
knowledge unto it. Hence is his name "Wonderful, Counsellor," as he
who was participant of all the eternal counsels of God; whereon in him
as incarnate all the treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge were
hid, Col. 2: 3. In him this could be alone, in whom was life, and "the
life was the light of men," John 1: 4. God did reveal his mind and
will by angels and men. But as he did it at sundry times, so he did it
by several parts, or various parcels--not only as the church was fit
to receive it, but as they were able to communicate it. The whole of
the divine counsels could not be comprehended, and so not dewed, by
any of them. Hence the angels themselves--not withstanding their
residence in the presence of God, beholding his face, and all the
glorious messages wherein they were employed--learned more of his mind
after the personal ministry of Christ, and the revelation of the
mysteries of his counsel therein, than ever they knew before, Eph 3:
8, 9, 11; 1 Peter 1: 12. And on the account of their imperfection in
the comprehension of his counsels, it is said that "he charged his
angels with folly," Job 4: 18. And the best of the prophets not only
received divine truth by parcel, but comprehended not the depths of
the revelations made unto them, 1 Peter 1: 11, 12.
 To this purpose is that divine testimony, John 1: 18, "No man has
seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father, he has declared him." It is of all the prophets concerning
whom it is affirmed, that no man has seen God at any time. So is it
evident in the antithesis between Moses the principal of them, and the
Lord Christ, in the verse foregoing: "For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Wherefore no man, no other
man or prophet whatever has seen God at any time; that is, had a
perfect comprehension of his counsels, his mind and will, as they were
to be declared unto the church. This is the privilege of the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; not only as
being his eternal delight and love, but also as one acquainted with
all his secret counsels--as his fellow and participant of all his
bosom thoughts.
 He says that "all that ever came before him were thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not hear them," John 10: 8. This some of old
impiously applied unto the prophets of the Old Testament; whereas he
intended it only of those false prophets who pretended of themselves
that they, any of them, were the Messiah, the great Shepherd of the
sheep, whom his elect sheep would not attend unto. But it is true that
all who went before him, neither separately nor jointly, had the
knowledge of God, so as to declare him fully unto the church.
 It is the most fond and wicked imagination of the Socinians, invented
to countenance their disbelief and hatred of his divine person, that
during the time of his flesh he was taken up into heaven, and there
taught the doctrine of the Gospel, as Muhammad feigned concerning
himself and his Alkoran. The reason and foundation of his perfect
knowledge of God was, his being the only-begotten Son in the bosom of
the Father, and not a fictitious rapture of his human nature.
 To this purpose have we his own testimony, John 3: 13, "And no man
has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the
Son of man which is in heaven." The matter whereof he treats is the
revelation of heavenly things; For, finding Nicodemus slow in the
understanding of the doctrine and necessity of regeneration, which yet
was plain and evident in comparison of some other heavenly mysteries,
he asks of him, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe
not," (things wrought in the earth and in your own breasts,) "how
shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" if I declare unto
you the deep counsels of the will of God above, verse 12. But hereon a
question might arise, how he should himself come to the knowledge of
these heavenly things whereof they had never heard before, and which
no other man could tell them of, especially considering what he had
said before, verse 11, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we
have seen." Hereof he gives an account in these words. Wherefore the
ascending into heaven, which he denies unto all men whatever--"No man
has ascended up to heaven"--is an entrance into all the divine,
heavenly counsels of God; no man either has or ever had a full
comprehension of these heavenly things but he himself alone. And unto
him it is ascribed on a double account: first, That he came down from
heaven; secondly, That when he did so, he yet still continued in
heaven: which two properties give us such a description of the person
of Christ as declare him a full possessor of all the counsels of God.
He descended from heaven in his incarnation, whereby he became the Son
of man; and he is and was then in heaven in the essence and glory of
his divine nature. This is the full of what we assert. In the
knowledge and revelation of heavenly mysteries, unto the calling,
sanctification, and salvation of the church, does the prophetical
office of Christ consist. This he positively affirms could not
otherwise be, but that he who came down from heaven was also at the
same instant in heaven. This is that glorious person whereof we speak.
He who, being always in heaven in the glory and essence of his divine
nature, came down from heaven, not locally, by a mutation of his
residence, but by dispensation in the assumption of our nature into
personal union with himself--he alone is meet and able to be the
prophet of the church in the revelation of the heavenly mysteries of
the counsels of the will of God. In him alone were "hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Col. 2: 3, because in him alone
"dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily," verse 9.
 I do not hereby ascribe the infusion of omniscience, of infinite
understanding, wisdom, and knowledge, into the human nature of Christ.
It was and is a creature, finite and limited, nor is a capable subject
of properties absolutely infinite and immense. Filled it was with
light and wisdom to the utmost capacity of a creature; but it was so,
not by being changed into a divine nature or essence, but by the
communication of the Spirit unto it without measure. The Spirit of the
LORD did rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the Lord, and made him of quick understanding in the fear of the
LORD, Isa. 11: 2, 3.
 [3.] The Spirit of God dwelling in him, in all the fullness of his
graces and gifts, gave him an understanding peculiar unto himself; as
above that of all creatures, so beneath the essential omniscience of
the divine nature. Hence some things, as he was a man, he knew not,
(Mark 13: 32,) but as they were given him by revelation, Rev. 1: 1.
But he is the prophet of the church in his whole entire person, and
revealed the counsel of God, as he was in heaven in the bosom of the
Father. Cursed be he that trusteth in man, that maketh flesh his arm,
as to the revelations of the counsels of God. Here lies the safety,
the security, the glory of the church. How deplorable is the darkness
of mankind, in their ignorance of God and heavenly things! In what
ways of vanity and misery have the generality of them wandered ever
since our first apostasy from God! Nothing but hell is more full of
horror and confusion than the minds and ways of men destitute of
heavenly light. How miserably did those among them who boasted
themselves to be wise, was foolish in their imaginations! How woefully
did all their inquiries after the nature and will of God, their own
state, duty, and happiness, issue in curiosity, uncertainty, vanity,
and falsehood! He who is infinitely good and compassionate, did from
the beginning give some relief in this woeful state, by such parcels
of divine revelations as he thought meet to communicate unto them by
the prophets of old--such as they were able to receive. By them he set
up a Light shining in a dark place, as the Light of stars in the
night. But it was the rising of the Sun of Righteousness alone that
dispelled the darkness that was on the earth, the thick darkness that
was on the people, bringing life and immortality to light by the
gospel. The divine person of the Son of God, in whom were hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who is in the bosom of the Father,
has now made known all things unto the church, giving us the perfect
idea and certainty of all sacred truth, and the full assurance of
things invisible and eternal.
 Three things are necessary, that we may have the benefit and comfort
of divine light or truth--1st, The fulness of its revelation; 2dly,
The infallibility of it; and, 3dly, The authority from whence it does
proceed. If either of these be wanting, we cannot attain unto
stability and assurance in the faith of it, or obedience unto it.
 1st, Full it must be, to free us from all attempt of fear that any
thing is detained or hidden from us that were needful for us to know.
Without this the mind of man can never come to rest in the knowledge
of truth All that he knows may be useless unto him, for the want of
that which he neither does nor can know, because not revealed.
 2dly, And it must be infallible also. For this divine truth whereof
we treat, being concerning things unseen--heavenly, eternal mysteries,
transcending the reach of human reason--nothing but the absolute
infallibility of the reviler can bring the mind of man to assurance
and acquiescency. And whereas the same truth enjoins unto us duties,
many of them contrary unto our inclinations and cross unto our several
interests--the great guides of corrupted nature--the revelation of it
must proceed from sovereign authority, that the will may comply with
the mind in the embracement of it. All these are absolutely secured in
the divine person of the great prophet of the church; His infinite
wisdom, his infinite goodness, his essential veracity, his sovereign
authority over all, give the highest assurance whereof a created
understanding is capable, that nothing is detained from us--that there
is no possibility of error or mistake in what is declared unto us, nor
any pretence left of declining obedience unto the commands of the
truth that we do receive. This gives the soul assured rest and peace
in the belief of things which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor
can enter into the heart of man to conceive." Upon the assurance of
this truth alone can it with joy prefer things invisible and eternal
above all present satisfactions and desires. In the persuasion hereof
can it forego the best of present enjoyments, and undergo the worst of
present evils; namely, in the experience of its present efficacy, and
choice of that future recompense which it does secure. And he believes
not the Gospel unto his own advantage, or the glory of God, whose
faith rests not in the divine person of Jesus Christ, the great
prophet of the church. And he who there finds rest unto his soul,
dares not admit of any copartners with him as to instruction in the
mind of God.
 3dly, It was requisite unto the office of this great prophet of the
church, and the discharge thereof, that he should have power and
authority to send the Holy Spirit to make his revelations of divine
truth effectual unto the minds of men. For the church which he was to
instruct, was not only in darkness, by reason of ignorance and want of
objective light or divine revelations, but was incapacitated to
receive spiritual things in a due manner when revealed. Wherefore, it
was the work of this prophet, not only to make known and declare the
doctrines of truth, which are our external directive light, but also
to irradiate and illuminate our minds, so that we might savingly
apprehend them. And it is no wonder if those who are otherwise minded,
who suppose themselves able to receive spiritual things, the things of
God, in a due manner, upon their external proposal unto them, are
regardless of the divine person of Christ as the prophet of the
church. But hereon they will never have experience of the life and
power of the doctrine of the Gospel, if the apostle is to be believed,
1 Cor. 2: 9-12. Now, this internal illumination of the minds of men
unto the acknowledgment of the truth can be wrought in them only by
the Holy Spirit of God, Eph. 1: 17-19; 2 Cor. 3: 18. None, therefore,
could be the prophet of the church, but he who had the power to send
the Holy Spirit to enable it to receive his doctrine by the saving
illumination of the minds of men. And this alone he could do, whose
Spirit he is, proceeding from him; whom he therefore frequently
promised so to send.
 Without a respect unto these things, we cannot really be made
partakers of the saving benefits and fruits of the prophetical office
of Christ. And this we can have only in the exercise of faith on his
divine person, which is the eternal spring from whence this office
derives all life and efficacy.
 The command of God, in respect unto him as the prophet of the church,
is, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him."
Unless we actually regard him by faith as the only begotten Son of
God, we can perform no duty aright in the hearing of him, nor shall we
learn the truth as we ought. Hence it is that those who deny his
divine person, though they pretend to attend unto him as the teacher
of the church, do yet learn no truth from him, but embrace pernicious
errors in the stead thereof. So it is with the Socinians, and all that
follow them. For whereas they scarcely own any other office of Christ
but his prophetical--looking on him as a man sent to teach the mind of
God, and to confine his doctrine by his sufferings, whereon he was
afterward highly exalted of God--they learn nothing from him in a due
manner.
 But this respect unto the person of Christ is that which will
ingenerate in us all those holy qualifications that are necessary to
enable us to know the mind and will of God. For hence do reverence,
humility, faith, delight, and assurance, arise and flow; without whose
continual exercise, in vain shall men hope to learn the will of God by
the utmost of their endeavours. And the want of these things is the
cause of much of that lifeless unsanctified knowledge of the doctrine
of the Gospel which is amongst many. They learn not the truth from
Christ, so as to expect all teachings from his divine power. Hence
they never come to know it, either in its native beauty drawing the
soul into the love and delight of what they know, or in its
transforming efficacy changing the mind into its own image and
likeness.
 (2.) The same also is the state of things with respect unto his
kingly office and power. But this I have at large treated on
elsewhere, and that much unto the same purpose; namely, in the
exposition of the 3d verse of the 1st chapter of the Epistle unto the
Hebrews. Wherefore I shall not here enlarge upon it.
 Some seem to imagine, that the kingly power of Christ towards the
church consists only in external rule by the Gospel and the laws
thereof, requiring obedience unto the officers and rulers that he has
appointed therein. It is true, that this also belongs unto his kingly
power and rule; but to suppose that it consisteth solely therein, is
an ebullition from the poisonous fountain of the denial of his divine
person. For if he be not God over all, whatever in words may be
pretended or ascribed unto him, he is capable of no other rule or
power. But indeed no one act of his kingly office can be aright
conceived or acknowledged, without a respect had unto his divine
person. I shall instance only unto this purpose in two things in
general.
 [1.] The extent of his power and rule gives evidence hereunto. It is
over the whole creation of God. "All power is given him in heaven and
earth." Matt. 28: 18. "A11 things are put under his feet, he only
excepted who put all things under him," 1 Cor. 15: 27; and he is made
"head over all things unto the church," Eph. 1: 22. Not only those who
are above the rule of external law, as the holy angels; and those who
have cast off all such rule, as the devils themselves; but all things
that in their own nature are not capable of obedience to an external
law or rule, as the whole inanimate creation, heaven, and earth, and
the sea, with all things in them and under them, (Phil. 2: 10,) with
the dead bodies of men, which he shall raise at the last day.
 For this power over the whole creation is not only a moral right to
rule and govern it; but it is also accompanied with virtue, force, or
almighty power, to act, order, and dispose of it at his pleasure. So
is it described by the apostle from the Psalmist, Heb. 1: 10-12,
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;
and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish, but
thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a
vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou
art the same, and thy years shall not fail." That power is required
unto his kingly office whereby he created all things in the beginning,
and shall change them all, as a man folds up a vesture, in the end.
Omnipotence, accompanied with eternity and immutability, are required
hereunto.
 It is a vain imagination, to suppose that this power can reside in a
mere creature, however glorified and exalted. All essential divine
properties are concurrent with it, and inseparable from it. And where
are the properties of God, there is the nature of God; for his being
and his properties are one and the same.
 If the Lord Christ, as king of the church, be only a mere man, and be
as such only to be considered, however he may be exalted and glorified-
-however he may be endowed with honour, dignity, and authority--yet he
cannot put forth or act any real physical power immediately and
directly, but where he is present. But this is in heaven only; for the
heaven must receive him "until the times of the restitution of all
things," Acts 3: 21. And hereon his rule and power would be the
greatest disadvantage unto the church that could befall it. For
suppose it immediately under the rule of God, even the Father; his
omnipotence and omnipresence, his omniscience and infinite wisdom--
whereby he could be always present with every one of them, know all
their wants, and give immediate relief according to the counsel of his
will--were a stable foundation for faith to rest upon, and an
everlasting spring of consolation. But now, whereas all power, all
judgment, all rule, is committed unto the Son, and the Father does
nothing towards the church but in and by him, if he have not the same
divine power and properties with him, the foundation of the church's
faith is cast down, and the spring of its consolation utterly stopped
up.
 I cannot believe in him as my heavenly king, who is not able by
himself, and by the virtue of his presence with me, to make what
changes and alterations he pleaseth in the minds of men, and in the
whole creation of God, to relieve, preserve, and deliver me, and to
raise my body at the last day.
 To suppose that the Lord Christ, as the king and head of the church,
has not an infinite, divine power, whereby he is able always to
relieve, succour, save, and deliver it--if it were to be done by the
alteration of the whole or any part of God's creation, so as that the
fire should not burn, nor the water overwhelm them, nor men be able to
retain their thoughts or ability one moment to afflict them; and that
their distresses are not always effects of his wisdom, and never from
the defect of his power--is utterly to overthrow all faith, hope, and
the whole of religion itself.
 Ascribe therefore unto the Lord Christ, in the exercise of his kingly
office, one a moral power, operative by rules and laws, with the help
of external instruments--deprive him of omnipresence and omniscience,
with infinite, divine power and virtue, to be acted at his pleasure in
and over the whole creation--and you rase the foundation of all
Christian faith and hope to the ground.
 There are no true believers who will part with their faith herein for
the whole world; namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is able, by his
divine power and presence, immediately to aid, assist, relieve, and
deliver them in every moment of their surprisals, fears, and dangers,
in every trial or duty they may be called unto, in every difficulty
they have to conflict withal. And to expect these things any otherwise
but by virtue of his divine nature, is woefully to deceive our own
souls. For this is the work of God.
 [2.] The rule of Christ, as king of the church, is internal and
spiritual, over the minds, souls, and consciences of all that do
believe. There is no one gracious acting of soul in any one believer,
at any time in the whole world, either in opposition unto sin or the
performance of duty, but it is influenced and under the guidance of
the kingly power of Christ. I suppose we have herein not only the
common faith, but also the common spiritual sense and experience, of
them all. They know that in their spiritual life it is he that liveth
in them as the efficient cause of all its acts and that without him
they can do nothing. Unto him they have respect in every the most
secret and retired acting of grace, not only performed as under his
eye, but by his assistance; on every occasion do they immediately, in
the internal acting of their minds, look unto him, as one more present
with their souls than they are with themselves; and have no thoughts
of the least distance of his knowledge or power. And two things are
required hereto.
 1st, That he be "kardiognoostes"--that he have an actual inspection
into all the frames, dispositions, thoughts, and internal acting, of
all believers in the whole world, at all times, and every moment.
Without this, he cannot bear that rule in their souls and consciences
which we have described, nor can they act faith in him, as their
occasions do require. No man can live by faith on Christ, no man can
depend on his sovereign power, who is not persuaded that all the
frames of his heart, all the secret groans and sighs of his spirit,
all the inward labourings of his soul against sin, and after
conformity to himself, are continually under his eye and cognizance.
Wherefore it is said, that all things are naked and opened unto his
eyes, Heb. 4: 13. And he says of himself, that he "searcheth" (that
is, knoweth) "the hearts and reins of men," Rev. 2: 23. And if these
things are not the peculiar properties of the divine nature, I know
nothing that may be so esteemed.
 2dly, There is required hereunto an influence of power into all the
acting of the souls of believers;--all intimate, efficacious operation
with them in every duty, and under every temptation. These all of them
do look for, expect, and receive from him, as the king and head of the
church. This also is an effect of divine and infinite power. And to
deny these things unto the Lord Christ, is to rase the foundation of
Christian religion. Neither faith in, nor love unto him, nor
dependence on him, nor obedience unto his authority, can be preserved
one moment, without a persuasion of his immediate intuition and
inspection into the hearts, minds, and thoughts of all men, with a
real influence into all the acting of the life of God in all them that
believe. And the want of the faith hereof is that which has disjoined
the minds of many from adherence unto him, and has produced a lifeless
carcass of the Christian religion, instead of the saving power thereof
 (3.) The same may be said concerning his sacerdotal office, and all
the acts of it. It was in and by the human nature that he offered
himself a sacrifice for us. He had somewhat of his own to offer, Heb.
8: 3; and to this end a body was prepared for him, chap. 10: 5. But it
was not the work of a man, by one offering, and that of himself, to
expiate the sins of the whole church, and forever to perfect them that
are sanctified, which he did, Heb. 10: 14. God was to purchase his
church "with his own blood," Acts 20: 28. But this also I have spoken
to at large elsewhere.
 This is the sum of what we plead for: We can have no due
consideration of the offices of Christ, can receive no benefit by
them, nor perform any act of duty with respect unto them, or any of
them, unless faith in his divine person be actually exercised as the
foundation of the whole. For that is it whence all their glory, power,
and efficacy are derived. Whatever, therefore, we do with respect unto
his rule, whatever we receive by the communication of his Spirit and
grace, whatever we learn from his Word by the teachings of his Spirit,
whatever benefit we believe, expect, and receive, by his sacrifice and
intercession on our behalf; our faith in them all, and concerning them
all, is terminated on his divine person. The church is saved by his
offices, because they are his. This is the substance of the testimony
given concerning him, by God, even the Father, 1 John 5: 10, 11. "This
is the record" that God has testified concerning his Son, "that God
has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Eternal
life is given unto us, as it was wrought out and procured by the
mediation of Christ on our behalf. But yet in him it was originally,
and from him do we receive it in the discharge of his office; for this
life is in the Son of God.
 Hence it is that all those by whom the divine person of Christ is
denied, are forced to give such a description of his offices, as that
it is utterly impossible that the church should be saved by the
discharge of them.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter VIII. The Faith of the Church under the Old Testament in and
concerning the Person of Christ
 
A brief view of the faith of the church under the Old Testament
concerning the divine person of Christ, shall close these discourses,
and make way for those that ensue, wherein our own duty with respect
whereunto shall be declared.
 That the faith of all believers, from the foundation of the world,
had a respect unto him, I shall afterwards demonstrate; and to deny
it, is to renounce both the Old Testament and the New. But that this
faith of theirs did principally respect his person, is what shall here
be declared. Therein they knew was laid the foundation of the counsels
of God for their deliverance, sanctification, and salvation. Otherwise
it was but little they clearly understood of his office, or the way
whereby he would redeem the church.
 The apostle Peter, in the confession he made of him, (Matt.16: 16,)
exceeded the faith of the Old Testament in this, that he applied the
promise concerning the Messiah unto that individual person: "Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the living God"--he that was to be the Redeemer
and Saviour of the church. Howbeit Peter then knew little of the way
and manner whereby he was principally so to be. And therefore, when he
began to declare them unto his disciples--namely, that they should be
by his death and sufferings--he in particular was not able to comply
with it, but, saith he, "Master, that be far from thee," verse 22. As
"flesh and blood" that is, his own reason and understanding--did not
reveal or declare Him unto Peter to be the Christ, the Son of the
living God, but the Father which is in heaven; so he stood in need of
fresh assistance from the same almighty hand to believe that He should
redeem and save his church by his death. And therefore he did refuse
the external revelation and proposition of it, though made by Christ
himself, until he received internal aid from above. And to suppose
that we have faith now in Christ or his death on any other terms, is
an evidence that we have no faith at all.
 Wherefore, the faith of the saints under the Old Testament did
principally respect the person of Christ--both what it was, and what
it was to be in the fulness of time, when he was to become the seed of
the woman. What his especial work was to be, and the mystery of the
redemption of the church thereby, they referred unto his own wisdom
and grace;--only, they believed that by him they should be saved from
the hand of all their enemies, or all the evil that befell them on the
account of the first sin and apostasy from God.
 God gave them, indeed, representations and prefiguration of his
office and work also. He did so by the high priest of the law, the
tabernacle, with all the sauces and services thereunto belonging. All
that Moses did, as a faithful servant in the house of God, was but a
"testimony of those things which were to be spoken after," Heb. 3: 5.
Howbeit the apostle tells us that all those things had but a "shadow
of good things to come, and not the very image of the things
themselves," Heb. 10: 1. And although they are now to us full of light
and instruction, evidently expressing the principal works of Christ's
mediation, yet were they not so unto them. For the veil is now taken
off from them in their accomplishment, and a declaration is made of
the counsels of God in them by the gospel The meanest believer may now
find out more of the work of Christ in the types of the Old Testament,
than any prophets or wise men could have done of old. Therefore they
always earnestly longed for their accomplishment--that the day might
break, and the shadows fly away by the rising of the Sun of
Righteousness with healing in his wings. But as unto his person, they
had glorious revelations concerning it; and their faith in him was the
life of all their obedience.
 The first promise, which established a new intercourse between God
and man, was concerning his incarnation--that he should be the seed of
the woman, Gen. 3: 15; that is, that the Son of God should be "made of
a woman, made under the law," Gal. 4: 4. From the giving of that
promise the faith of the whole church was fixed on him whom God would
send in our nature, to redeem and save them. Other way of acceptance
with him there was none provided, none declared, but only by faith in
this promise. The design of God in this promise--which was to reveal
and propose the only way which in his wisdom and grace he had prepared
for the deliverance of mankind from the state of sin and apostasy
whereinto they were cast, with the nature of the faith and obedience
of the church will not admit of any other way of salvation, but only
faith in him who was thus promised to be a saviour. To suppose that
men might fall off from faith in God by the revelation of himself in
this promise, and yet be saved by attending to instructions given by
the works of creation and providence, is an imagination that will no
longer possess the minds of men than whilst they are ignorant of, or
do forget, what it is to believe and to be saved.
 The great promise made unto Abraham was, that He should take his seed
upon him, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen.
12: 3; 15: 18; 22: 18; which promise is explained by the apostle, and
applied unto Christ, Gal. 3: 8. Hereon "Abraham believed on the Lord,
and it was counted unto him for righteousness," Gen. 15: 6; for he saw
the day of Christ, and rejoiced, John 8: 56.
 The faith that Jacob instructed his sins in was--that the Shiloh
should come, and unto him should be the gathering of the nations, Gen.
49: 10. Job's faith was--that his Redeemer was the Living One, and
that he should stand on the earth in the latter day, Job 19: 25.
 The revelations made unto David principally concerned His person, and
the glory thereof. See Ps.2; 45; 68; 110; 118; especially Ps. 45 and
82 compared, which give an account of their apprehensions concerning
him.
 The faith of Daniel was, that God would show mercy, for the Lord's
sake, Dan. 9: 17; and of all the prophets that the "Redeemer should
come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,"
Isa. 59: 20.
 Of the same nature were all his personal appearances under the Old
Testament, especially that most illustrious representation made of him
unto the prophet Isaiah, chap. 6, and the glorious revelation of his
name, chap. 9: 6.
 It is true that both these and other prophets had revelations
concerning his sufferings also. For "the Spirit of Christ that was in
them testified beforehand of his sufferings, and the glory that should
follow," 1 Peter 1: 11;--an illustrious testimony whereunto we have
given us Ps. 22, and Isa. 53. Nevertheless their conceptions
concerning them were dark and obscure. It was his person that their
faith principally regarded. Thence were they filled with desires and
expectations of his coming, or his exhibition and appearance in the
flesh. With the renewed promises hereof did God continually refresh
the church in its straits and difficulties. And hereby did God call
off the body of the people from trust in themselves, or boasting in
their present privileges, which they were exceedingly prone unto.
 In process of time this faith, which wrought effectually in the
Church of Israel, degenerated into a lifeless opinion, that proved the
ruin of it. Whilst they really lived in the faith of him as the
Saviour and Redeemer of the church from all its spiritual adversaries,
as he who was to make "an end of sin, and bring in everlasting
righteousness," unto whom all their present ordinances were
subservient and directive; all grace, love, zeal, and patient waiting
for the accomplishment of the promise, flourished among them. But in
process of time, growing carnal, trusting in their own righteousness,
and the privileges which they had by the law, their faith concerning
the person of Christ degenerated into a corrupt, obstinate opinion,
that he should be only a temporal king and deliverer; but as unto
righteousness and salvation they were to trust unto themselves and the
law. And this prejudicate opinion, being indeed a renunciation of all
the grace of the promises of God, proved their utter ruin. For when he
came in the flesh, after so many ages, filled up with continued
expectations, they rejected and despised him as one that had neither
form nor comeliness for which he should be desired. So does it fall
out in other churches. That which was faith truly spiritual and
evangelical in their first planting, becomes a lifeless opinion in
succeeding ages. The same truths are still professed, but that
profession springs not from the same causes, nor does it produce the
same effects in the hearts and lives of men. Hence, in process of
time, some churches continue to have an appearance of the same body
which they were at first, but--being examined--are like a lifeless,
breathless carcass, wherein the animating Spirit of grace does not
dwell. And then is any church, as it was with that of the Jews, nigh
to destruction, when it corrupts formerly professed truths, to
accommodate them unto the present lusts and inclinations of men.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter IX. Honour due to the Person of Christ--The nature and Causes
of it
 
Many other considerations of the same nature with those foregoing,
relating unto the glory and honour of the person of Christ, may be
taken from all the fundamental principles of religion. And our duty it
is in them all, to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our
profession"--"the Author and Finisher of our faith". I shall not
insist on more, but proceed unto those principles of truth which are
immediately directive of our duty towards him; without diligent
attendance whereunto, we do but in vain bear the name of Christians.
And the substance of what is designed may be included in the following
assertion:--
 
 "The glory, life, and power of Christian religion, as Christian
religion, and as seated in the souls of men, with all the acts and
duties which properly belong thereunto, and are, therefore, peculiarly
Christian, and all the benefits and privileges we receive by it, or by
virtue of it, with the whole of the honour and glory that arise unto
God thereby, have all of them their formal nature and reason from
their respect and relation unto the person of Christ; nor is he a
Christian who is otherwise minded."
 
 In the confirmation hereof it will appear what judgment ought to be
passed on that inquiry--which, after the uninterrupted profession of
the catholic church for so many ages of a faith unto the contrary, is
begun to be made by some amongst us--namely, Of what use is the person
of Christ in religion? For it proceeds on this supposition, and is
determined accordingly--that there is something in religion wherein
the person of Christ is of no use at all;--a vain imagination, and
such as is destructive unto the whole real intercourse between God and
man, by the one and only Mediator!
 The respect which we have in all acts of religion unto the person of
Christ may be reduced unto these four heads: I. Honour. II. Obedience.
III. Conformity. IV. The use we make of him, for the attaining and
receiving of all Gospel privileges-- all grace and glory. And hereunto
the whole of our religion, as it is Christian or evangelical, may be
reduced.
 
 I. The person of Christ is the object of divine honour and worship.
The formal object and reason hereof is the divine nature, and its
essential infinite excellencies. For they are nothing but that respect
unto the Divine Being which is due unto it from all rational
creatures, regulated by revelation, and enforced by divine operations.
Wherefore the person of Christ is primarily the object of divine
honour and worships upon the account of his divine nature and
excellencies. And those who, denying that nature in him, do yet
pretend to worship him with divine and religious adoration, do but
worship a golden calf of their own setting up; for a Christ who is not
over all, God blessed forever, is not better. And it implies a
contradiction, that any creature should, on any accounts be the
immediate, proper object of divine worship; unless the divine
essential excellencies be communicated unto it, or transfused into it,
whereby it would cease to be a creature. For that worship is nothing
but the ascription of divine excellencies unto what is so worshipped.
 But we now consider the Lord Christ in his whole entire person, the
Son of God incarnate, "God manifest in the flesh." His infinite
condescension, in the assumption of our nature, did no way divest him
of his divine essential excellencies. For a time, they were shadowed
and veiled thereby from the eyes of men; when "he made himself of no
reputation, and took on him the form of a servant." But he eternally
and unchangeably continued" in the form of God," and "thought it not
robbery to be equal with God," Phil. 2: 6, 7. He can no more really
and essentially, by any act of condescension or humiliation, cease to
be God, than God can cease to be. Wherefore, his being clothed with
our nature derogates nothing from the true reason of divine worship
due unto him, but adds an effectual motive unto it. He is, therefore,
the immediate object of all duties of religion, internal and external;
and in the dispensation of God towards us, none of them can be
performed in a due manner without a respect unto him.
 This, then, in the first place, is to be confirmed; namely, that all
divine honour is due unto the Son of God incarnate--that is, the
person of Christ.
 John 5: 23: It is the will of the Father, "That all men should honour
the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the
Son, honoureth not the Father which has sent him." Some considerations
on this divine testimony will confirm our position. It is of the Son
incarnate that the words are spoken--as all judgment was committed
unto him by the Father, as he was "sent" by him, verse 22--that is, of
the whole person of Christ in the exercise of his mediatory office.
And with respect hereunto it is that the mind of God is peculiarly
revealed. The way whereby God manifesteth his will, that all men
should thus honour the Son, as they honour the Father, is by
committing all power, authority, and judgment unto him, verses 20-22,
"For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that
himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye
may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth
them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth
no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son." Not that these
things are the formal reason and cause of the divine honour which is
to be given him; but they are reasons of it, and motives unto it, in
that they are evidences of his being the Son of God.
 But it may be said, What need is there that the Father should so
interpose an act of his will and sovereign pleasure as to this
honouring of the Son, seeing the sole cause and reason of this divine
honour is the divine nature, which the Son is no less partaker of than
the Father? I answer--
 (1.) He does not in this command intend the honour and worship of
Christ absolutely as God, but distinctly as the Son; which peculiar
worship was not known under the Old Testament, but was now declared
necessary in the committing all power, authority, and judgment unto
him. This is the honour whereof we speak.
 (2.) He does it, lest any should conceive that "as he was now sent of
the Father," and that in the "form of a servant," this honour should
not be due unto him. And the world was then far from thinking that it
was so; and many, I fear, are yet of the same mind.
 He is, therefore, to be honoured by us, according to the will of God,
"kathoos", "in like manner," as we honour the Father.
 [1.] With the same honour; that is, divine, sacred, religious, and
supreme. To honour the Father with other honour, is to dishonour him.
When men design to give glory and honour to God which is not truly
divine, it is idolatry; for this honour, in truth, is nothing but the
ascription of all infinite, divine excellencies unto him. Whereon,
when men ascribe unto him that which is not so, they fall into
idolatry, by the worship of their own imaginations. So was it with the
Israelites, when they thought to have given glory to God by making a
golden calf, whereon they proclaimed a feast unto Jehovah, Exod. 32:
5. And so was it with the heathen in all their images of God, and the
glory which they designed to give him thereby, as the apostle
declares, Rom. 1: 23-25. This is one kind of idolatry--as the other is
the ascribing unto creatures anything that is proper and peculiar unto
God, any divine excellency. And we do not honour God the Father with
one kind of honour, and the Son with another. That were not to honour
the Son "kathoos", "as" we honour the Father, but in a way infinitely
different from it.
 [2.] In the same manner, with the same faith, love, reverence, and
obedience, always, in all things, in all acts and duties of religion
whatever.
 This distinct honour is to be given unto the person of the Son by
virtue of this command of the Father, though originally on the account
of his oneness in nature with the Father. And our duty herein is
pressed with the highest enforcement; he that honours not the Son,
honours not the Father. He who denieth the Son (herein) "has not the
Father; [but he that acknowledgeth the Son, has the Father also,]" 1
John 2: 23. "And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal
life; and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son, has life; and
he that has not the Son of God has not life," chap. 5: 11, 12. If we
are wanting herein, whatever we pretend, we do not worship nor honour
God at all.
 And there is reason to give this caution--reason to fear that this
great fundamental principle of our religion is, if not disbelieved,
yet not much attended unto in the world. Many, who profess a respect
unto the Divine Being and the worship thereof, seem to have little
regard unto the person of the Son in all their religion; for although
they may admit of a customary interposition of his name in their
religious worship, yet the same distinct veneration of him as of the
Father, they seem not to understand, or to be exercised in. Howbeit,
all the acceptance of our persons and duties with God depends on this
one conditions--"That we honour the Son, even as we honour the
Father." To honour the Son as we ought to honour the Father, is that
which makes us Christians, and which nothing else will so do.
 This honour of the person of Christ may be considered--in the duties
of it, wherein it does consist; and in the principle, life, or spring,
of those duties.
 The duties whereby we ascribe and express divine honour unto Christ
may be reduced unto two heads, 1st, Adoration; 2dly, Invocation.
 1st, Adoration is the prostration of soul before him as God, in the
acknowledgment of his divine excellencies and the ascription of them
unto him. It is expressed in the Old Testament by "hishtachawah"; that
is, humbly to bow down ourselves or our souls unto God. The LXX render
it constantly by "proskuneoo"; which is the word used in the New
Testament unto the same purpose. The Latins expressed it usually by
adoro. And these words, though of other derivations, are of the same
signification with that in the Hebrew; and they do all of them include
some external sign of inward reverence, or a readiness thereunto.
Hence is that expression, "He bowed down his head and worshipped,"
[Gen. 24: 26;] see [also] Ps. 95: 6. And these external signs are of
two sorts (1st,) Such as are natural and occasional; (2dly,) Such as
are solemn, stated, or instituted. Of the first sort are the lifting
up of our eyes and hands towards heaven upon our thoughts of him, and
sometimes the casting down of our whole persons before him; which deep
thoughts with reverence will produce. Outward instituted signs of this
internal adoration are all the ordinances of evangelical worship. In
and by them do we solemnly profess and express our inward veneration
of him. Other ways may be invented to the same purpose, but the
Scripture knows them not, yea, condemns them. Such are the veneration
and adoration of the pretended images of him, and of the Host, as they
call it, among the Papists.
 This adoration is due continually to the person of Christ, and that--
as in the exercise of the office of mediation. It is due unto him from
the whole rational creation of God. So is it given in charge unto the
angels above. For when he brought the First-begotten into the world,
he said, "Proskunesatoosan autou pantes angeloi Theou"; that is,
"hishtachawu-lo kol-elohim", "Worship him, all ye gods," Ps. 97: 7.
"Let all the angels of God worship him," adore him, bow down before
him, Heb. 1: 6. See our exposition of that place;--the design of the
whole chapter being to express the divine honour that is due unto the
person of Christ, with the grounds thereof. This is the command given
also unto the church, "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him," Ps. 45:
11.
 A glorious representation hereof--whether in the church above, or in
that militant here on the earth--is given us, Rev. 5: 6-14, "And I
beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beast, and
in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having
seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent
forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the
right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the
book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the
Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors,
which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for
thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of
every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us
unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I
beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne,
and the beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a
loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the
earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I
saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that
sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. And the
four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and
worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."
 The especial object of divine adoration, the motives unto it, and the
nature of it, or what it consisteth in, are here declared.
 The object of it is Christ, not separately, but distinctly from the
Father, and jointly with him. And he is proposed, 1st, As having
fulfilled the work of his mediation in his incarnation and oblation--
as a Lamb slain. 2dly, In his glorious exaltation--"in the midst of
the throne of God". The principal thing that the heathen of old
observed concerning the Christian religion, was, that in it "praises
were sung to Christ as unto God."
 The motives unto this adoration are the unspeakable benefits which we
receive by his mediation, "Thou art worthy, for thou wast slain, and
hast redeemed us unto God," &c.
 Hereon the same glory, the same honour, is ascribed unto him as unto
God the Father: "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto
him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and
ever."
 The nature of this adoration is described to consist in three things.
1st, Solemn prostration: "And the four living creatures said, Amen.
And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that
liveth for ever and ever." So also is it described, chap. 4: 10,11.
2dly, In the ascription of all divine honour and glory, as is at large
expressed, chap. 5: 11-13. 3dly, In the way of expressing the design
of their souls in this adoration, which is by the praises: "They sung
a new song"--that is, of praise; for so are all those psalms which
have that title of a new song. And in these things--namely, solemn
prostration of soul in the acknowledgment of divine excellencies,
ascriptions of glory and honour with praise--does religious adoration
consist. And they belong not unto the great holy society of them who
worship above and here below--whose hearts are not always ready unto
this solemn adoration of the Lamb, and who are not on all occasions
exercised therein.
 And this adoration of Christ does differ from the adoration of God,
absolutely considered, and of God as the Father, not in its nature,
but merely on the account of its especial motives. The principal
motive unto the adoration of God, absolutely considered, is the work
of creation--the manifestation of his glory therein--with all the
effects of his power and goodness thereon ensuing. So it is declared,
chap. 4: 11, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour,
and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are and were created." And the principal motive unto the adoration and
worship of God as the Father, is that eternal love, grace, and
goodness, which he is the fountain of in a peculiar manner, Eph. 1: 4,
5. But the great motive unto the adoration of Christ is the work of
redemption, Rev. 5: 12, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,
and blessing." The reason whereof is given, verses 9, 10, "For thou
wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood; and made us
unto our God kings and priests." The adoration is the same, verse 13,
"Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." But the
immediate motives of it are different, as its objects are distinct.
 Herein no small part of the life of the Christian religion does
consist. The humbling of our souls before the Lord Christ, from an
apprehension of his divine excellencies--the ascription of glory,
honour, praise, with thanksgiving unto him, on the great motive of the
work of redemption with the blessed effects thereof--are things
wherein the life of faith is continually exercised; nor can we have
any evidence of an interest in that blessedness which consists in the
eternal assignation of all glory and praise unto him in heaven, if we
are not exercised unto this worship of him here on earth.
 2dly, Invocation is the second general branch of divine honour--of
that honour which is due and paid unto the Son, as unto the Father.
This is the first exercise of divine faith--the breath of the
spiritual life. And it consisteth in two things, or has two parts.
(1st,) An ascription of all divine properties and excellencies unto
him whom we invocate. This is essential unto prayer, which without it
is but vain babbling. Whoever comes unto God hereby, "must believe
that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek
him." (2dly,) There is in it also a representation of our wills,
affections, and desires of our souls, unto him on whom we call, with
an expectation of being heard and relieved, by virtue of his
infinitely divine excellencies. This is the proper acting of faith
with respect unto ourselves; and hereby it is our duty to give honour
unto the person of Christ.
 When he himself died in the flesh, he committed his departing soul by
solemn invocation into the hands of his Father, Ps. 31:5; Luke 23: 46,
"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." And to evidence that it
is the will of God that we should honour the Son, as we honour the
Father, even as the Son himself in his human nature, who is our
example, honoured the Father--he who first died in the faith of the
Gospel, bequeathed his departing soul into the hands of Jesus Christ
by solemn invocation, Acts 7: 59, "They stoned Stephen,
"epikaloumenon", solemnly in