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boast of their affectionate endearments unto the divine goodness, if it be not founded in a sense of this love of Christ and the love of God in him, they are but empty notions they flourish withal, and their deceived hearts feed upon ashes. It is in Christ alone that God is declared to be love, without an apprehension whereof, none can love him as they ought. In him alone, that infinite goodness which is the peculiar object of divine love, is truly represented unto us, without any such deceiving phantasms, as the workings of fancy, or depravation of reason may impose upon us. And on him doth the saving communication of all the effects of it depend. And an infinite condescension is it in the Holy God, so to express his 'glory in the face of Jesus Christ,' or to propose himself as the object of our love in and through him. For considering our weakness, as to an immediate comprehension of the infinite excellencies of the divine nature, or to bear the rays of his resplendent glory, seeing none can see his face and live, it is the most adorable effect of divine wisdom and grace, that we are admitted unto the contemplation of them, in the person of Jesus Christ.
There is yet farther evidence to be given unto this love unto the person of Christ, from all those blessed effects of it which are declared in the Scripture, and whereof believers have the experience in themselves. But something I have spoken concerning them formerly in my discourse about communion with God; and the nature of the present design, will not admit of enlargement upon them.
Conformity unto Christ, and following his example. The third thing proposed to declare the use of the person of Christ in religion, is that conformity which is required of us unto him. This is the great design and projection of all believers. Every one of them hath the idea or image of Christ in his mind; in the eye of faith, as it is represented unto him in the glass of the gospel. Κατοπτριζόμενοι την δόξαν κυρίου, 2 Cor. iii. 18.
· We behold his glory in a glass,' which implants the image of it on our minds. And hereby the mind is transformed into the same image, made like unto Christ so represented unto us, which is the conformity we speak of. Hence every true believer hath his heart under the conduct of an habitual inclination and desire to be like unto Christ. And it were easy to demonstrate that where this is not, there is neither faith nor love. Faith will cast the soul into the form or frame of the thing believed; Rom. vi. 17. And all sincere love worketh an assimilation. Wherefore the best evidence of a real principle of the life of God in any soul, of the sincerity of faith, love, and obedience, is an internal cordial endeavour, operative on all occasions, after conformity unto Jesus Christ.
There are two parts of the duty proposed. The first respects the internal grace and holiness of the human nature of Christ; the other his example in duties of obedience. And both of them, both materially, as to the things wherein they consist, and formally, as they were his, or in him, belong unto the constitution of a true disciple.
1. Internal conformity unto his habitual grace and holiness, is the fundamental design of a Christian life. That which is the best without it, is a pretended imitation of his example in outward duties of obedience. I call it pretended, because where the first design is wanting, it is no more but so; nor is it acceptable to Christ, nor approved by him. And therefore an attempt unto that end hath often issued in formality, hypocrisy, and superstition. I shall therefore lay down the grounds of this design, the nature of it, and the means of its pursuit.
God, in the human nature of Christ did perfectly renew that blessed image of his on our nature, which we lost in Adam, with an addition of many glorious endowments which Adam was not made partaker of. God did not renew it in his nature, as though that portion of it whereof he was partaker, had ever been destitute or deprived of it, as it is with the same nature in all other persons. For he derived not his nature from Adam in the same way that we do; nor was he ever in Adam as the public representative of our nature
But our nature in him had the image of God
which was lost and separated from the same her instances of its subsistence. It pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell, that he should be full of grace and truth, and in all things have the pre-eminence. But of these gracious endowments of the human nature of Christ, I have discoursed elsewhere.
2. One end of God in filling the human nature of Christ with all grace, in implanting his glorious image upon it, was, that he might in him propose an example of what he would by the same grace renew us unto, and what we ought in a way of duty to labour after. The fulness of grace was necessary unto the human nature of Christ, from its hypostatical union with the Son of God. For whereas therein the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily,'it became tò äyrov, a holy thing ;' Luke i. 35. It was also necessary unto him, as unto his own obedience in the flesh, wherein he fulfilled all righteousness, did no sin, “neither was guile found in his mouth; 1 Pet ii. 22. And it was so unto the discharge of the office he undertook : for such an highpriest became us, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners ;' Heb. vii. 26. Howbeit the infinite wisdom of God had this farther design in it also, namely, that he might be the pattern and example of the renovation of the image of God in us, and of the glory that doth ensue thereon. He is in the eye of God as the idea of what he intends in us, in the communication of grace and glory; and he ought to be so in ours as unto all that we aim at in a way of duty.
He hath ‘ predestinated us to be conformed unto the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren ;' Rom. viii. 30. In the collation of all grace on Christ, God designed to make him the first-born of many brethren ;' that is, not only to give him the power and authority of the first-born, with the trust of the whole inheritance to be communicated unto them, but also as the example of what he would bring them unto. • For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren;' Heb. ii. ll. It is Christ who sanctifieth believers; yet is it from God, who first sanctified him, that he and they might be of one, and so become brethren, as bearing the image of the same Father. God designed and gave unto Christ grace and glory; and he did it that he might be the prototype of what 'he designed únto us, and would bestow upon us. Hence the apostle shews that the effect of this predestination to conformity unto the image of the Son, is the communication of all effectual saving grace, with the glory that ensues thereon. Ver. 30. “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.'
The great design of God in his grace is, that as we have borne the image of the first Adam,' in the depravation of our natures, so we should bear the image of the second' in their renovation. As we have borne' the image of the earthy,' so we shall bear the image of the heavenly ;' 1 Cor. xv, 49. And as he is the pattern of all our graces, so he is of glory also. All our glory will consist in our being • made like unto him,' which what it is doth not as yet appear; 1 John iii. 2. For he shall change even our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body;' Phil. iii. 21. Wherefore the fulness of grace was bestowed on the human nature of Christ, and the image of God gloriously implanted thereon, that it might be the prototype and example of what the church was through him to be made partaker of. That which God intends for us in the internal communication of his grace, and in the use of all the ordinances of the church, is, that we may come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness which is in Christ ;' Ephes. iv. 13. There is a fulness of all grace in Christ. Hereunto are we to be brought according to the measure that is designed unto every one of us. For unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ;' ver. 7. He hath in his sovereign grace assigned different measures unto those on whom he doth bestow it. And therefore it is called the stature, because as we grow gradually unto it, as men do unto their just stature; so there is a variety in what we attain unto, as there is in the statures of men, who are yet all perfect in their proportion.
3. This image of God in Christ is represented unto us in the gospel. Being lost from our nature, it was utterly impossible we should have any just comprehension of it. There could be no steady notion of the image of God, until it was renewed and exemplified in the human nature of Christ. And thereon, without the knowledge of him, the wisest of men have taken those things to render men most like unto God which were adverse unto him. Such were the most of those things which the heathens adored as heroic virtues. But being perfectly exemplified in Christ, it is now plainly represented unto us in the gospel. Therein ' with open face we behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image;' 2 Cor. iii. 18. The veil being taken away from divine revelations by the doctrine of the gospel, and from our hearts' by the Lord the Spirit,' we behold the image of God in Christ with open face, which is the principal means of our being transformed into it. The gospel is the declaration of Christ unto us, and the glory of God in him, as unto many other ends, so in especial, that we might in him behold and contemplate that image of God we are gradually to be renewed into. Hence we are so therein to learn the truth as it is in Jesus, as to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on that new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,' Ephes, iv. 20. 23, 24. that is, ' renewed after the image of him who created him ;' Col. iii. 10.
4. It is therefore evident, that the life of God in us consists in conformity unto Christ; nor is the Holy Spirit as the principal and efficient cause of it given unto us for any other end, but to unite us unto him, and make us like him. Wherefore the original gospel duty which animates and rectifies all others, is a design for conformity unto Christ in all the gracious principles and qualifications of his holy soul, wherein the image of God in him doth consist. As he is the prototype and exemplar in the eye of God for the communication of all grace unto us; so he ought to be the great example in the eye of our faith in all our obedience unto God, in our compliance with all that he requireth of us.
God himself, or the divine nature in its holy perfections, is the ultimate object and idea of our transformation in the renewing of our minds. And therefore under the Old Testament, before the incarnation of the Son, he proposed his own holiness immediately as the pattern of the church.
Be ye holy, for the Lord your God is holy;' Lev. xi. 44. xix. 2. xx. 5. But the law made nothing perfect. For to