« AnteriorContinuar »
those who boasted themselves to be wise among the heathen embraced and improved. They did but fluctuate in their minds, they did not transform them into the image and like. ness of God, as the saving knowledge of him doth; Col. iii. 10.
So the apostle expresseth this truth; Where is the wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Gentiles seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them that are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God;' 1 Cor. i. 20—24.
After it was evident unto all, that the world, the wise, the studious, the contemplative part of it, in the wisdom of God disposing them into that condition, wherein they were left unto themselves, in their own wisdom, their natural light and reason did not, could not, come to the saving knowledge of God, but were puffed up into a contempt of the only way of the revelation of himself, as weakness and folly; it pleased God then to manifest all their wisdom to be folly; and to establish the only means of the knowledge of himself in Christ Jesus.
The glory of Christ in the mysterious constitution of his person. The second thing wherein we may behold the glory of Christ given him of his Father, is in the mysterious constitution of his person, as he is God and man in one and the same person. There are in him, in his one single, individual person, two distinct natures; the one eternal, infinite, immense, almighty, the form and essence of God; the other having a beginning in time, finite, limited, confined unto a certain place, which is our nature, which he took on him, when he was made flesh and dwelt among us.' The declaration of the nature of this glory, is a part of my discourse of the person of Christ, whereunto I refer the reader: my present design is of another nature.
This is that glory whose beams are so illustrious, as that the blind world cannot bear the light and beauty of them. Multitudes begin openly to deny this incarnation of the Son of God, this personal union of God and man in their distinct natures. They deny that there is either glory or truth in it; and it will ere long appear, it begins already to evidence itself what greater multitudes there are, who yet do not, who yet dare not, openly reject the doctrine of it, who in truth believe it not, nor see any glory in it. Howbeit this glory is the glory of our religion, the glory of the church, the sole rock whereon it is built, the only spring of present grace, and future glory.
This is that glory which the angels themselves desire to behold, the mystery whereof they 'bow down to look into;' 1 Pet. i. 12. So was their desire represented by the cherubims in the most holy place of the tabernacle; for they were a shadow of the ministry of angels-in the church. The ark and the mercy-seat were a type of Christ in the discharge of his office; and these cherubims were made standing over them, as being in heaven above; but earnestly looking down upon them in a posture of reverence and adoration. So they did of old, and in their present contemplation of it consists no small part of their eternal blessedness.
Hereon depends the ruin of Satan and his kingdom. His sin, so far as we can conceive, consisted of two parts: 1. His pride against the person of the Son of God, by whom he was created. •For by him were all things created that are' (or were when first created)'in heaven, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers;' Col. i. 16. Against him he lifted up himself, which was the beginning of his transgression. 2. Envy against mankind made in the image of God, of the Son of God the first-born. This completed his sin; nothing was now left whereon to act his his pride and malice. Unto his eternal confusion and ruin, God in infinite wisdom unites both the natures he had sinned against, in the one person of the Son, who was the first object of his pride and malice. Hereby his destruction is
vith everlasting shame in the discovery of his folly, e would have contended with infinite wisdom, as isery, by the powers of the two natures united in in. lies the foundation of the church. The foundation hole old creation was laid in an act of absolute sopower. Hereby God hanged the earth upon no
But the foundation of the church is on this mysteomoveable rock ; thou art Christ the Son of the livd;' on the most intimate conjunction of the two s, the divine and human, in themselves infinitely disa the same person. e may name one place wherein it is gloriously repred unto us; Isa. ix. 6. For unto us a child is born, i us a Son is given, and the government shall be on his ulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of ace. Here must the whole church fall down and worship ; author of this wonderful contrivance, and captivating ir understandings unto the obedience of faith, humbly are what they cannot comprehend.
This was obscurely represented unto the church of old ; ud. iii. 2–6. ‘And the angel of the Lord appeared unto i in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush : and he ked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the h was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn de, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. :d when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God led unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, oses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh ther: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place hereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham,' &c.
This fire was a type or declaration of the presence of God in the person of the Son. For with respect unto the Father he is called an angel, the angel of the covenant; but absolutely in himself, he was Jehovah, the God of Abraham,' &c. And of his presence the fire was a proper representation. For in his nature, he is as a 'consuming fire;' and his present work was the delivery of the church out of a fiery trial. This fire placed itself in a bush, where it burned, but the bush was not consumed. And although the continuance of the fire in the bush, was but for a short season, a present appearance; yet thence was God said to dwell in the bush ; The good will of him that dwelt in the bush ;' Deut. xxxiii. 16. And this is so spoken, because the being of the fire in the bush for a season, was a type of him in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily,' and that for ever; Col. ii. 9. Of him who was made flesh and dwelt among us ;' John i. 14. The eternal fire of the divine nature, dwells in the bush of our frail nature, yet is not consumed thereby. God thus dwells in this bush, with all his good will towards sinners.
Moses looked on this sight as a marvellous and wonderous thing. And if it were so in the type, what is it in the truth, substance, and reality of it?
And by direction given unto him, to put off his shoes,' we are taught to cast away all fleshly imaginations and carnal affections, that by pure acts of faith, we may behold this glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father.
I design not here to insist on the explication, or confirmation of this glorious truth, concerning the constitution of the person of Christ, in and by his incarnation. What I can comprehend, what I do believe concerning it, I have fully declared in a large peculiar treatise. Here I take the truth itself as known, or as it may be thence learned. My present business is only to stir up the minds of believers unto a due contemplation of the glory of Christ in the sacred, mysterious constitution of his person, as God and man in one. So much as we abide herein, so much do we live by the faith of the Son of God;' and God can by a spirit of wisdom and revelation, open the eyes of our understandings, that we may behold this glory unto our ineffable consolation and joy. And unto the diligent discharge of our duty herein, I shall offer the ensuing directions.
1. Let us get it fixed on our souls and in our minds, that this glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person, is the best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object, that we can be conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave unto in our affections.
What are all other things in comparison of the "knowledge of Christ ?' In the judgment of the great apostle, they
are but loss and dung;' Phil. ii. 8-10. So they were to him, and if they are not so to us, we are carnal.
What is the world, and what are the things thereof, which most men spend their thoughts about, and fix their affections on? The psalmist gives his judgment about them, in comparison of a view of this glory of Christ, Psal. iv. 6. • Many say, Who will shew us any good ? Who will give and help us to attain so much in and of this world, as will give rest and satisfaction unto our minds? That is the good inquired after. But, saith he, Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us.? The light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, is that satisfactory good alone, which I desire and seek after.
The Scripture reproacheth the vanity and folly of the minds of men, in that they spend their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not.' They engage the vigour of their spirits about perishing things, when they have durable substance and riches proposed unto them.
How do men for the most part exercise their minds ? What are they conversant about in their thoughts ?
Some by them make provision for the flesh, to fulfil it in the lusts thereof,' as Rom. xiii. 14. They search about continually in their thoughts for objects suited unto their lusts and carnal affections, coining, framing, and stamping of them in their imaginations. They fix their eyes with delight on toads and serpents, with all noisome filthy objects; refusing in the mean time, to behold the beauty and glory of the light of the sun. So is it with all that spend their thoughts about the objects of their sinful pleasures, refusing to look up after one view of this glory of Christ.
Some keep their thoughts in continual exercise about the things of this world, as unto the advantages and emoluments which they expect from them. Hereby are they transformed into the image of the world, becoming earthly, carnal, and vain. Is it because there is no God in Israel that these applications are made unto the idol of Ekron ? That there is no glory, no desirableness in Christ for men to inquire after, and fix their minds upon ? O the blindness, the darkness, the folly of poor sinners! Whom do they de-spise, and for what?