Page images

that disorder which in us hath invaded our whole natures, which internally renders all obedience difficult unto us, and perfect obedience impossible; yet as unto opposition from without in temptations, sufferings, reproaches, contradictions, he met with more than we all. Hence is that glorious word, ‘Although he were a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered;' Heb. v. 8. See our exposition of that place. But,

5. The glory of this obedience ariseth principally from the consideration of the person, who thus yielded it unto God. This was, no other but the Son of God made man; God and man in one person. He who was in heaven, above all, Lord of all, at the same time lived in the world in a condition of no reputation, and a course of the strictest obedience unto the whole law of God. He unto whom prayer was made, prayed himself night and day. He whom all the angels of heaven and all creatures worshipped, was continually conversant in all the duties of the worship of God. He who was over the house, diligently observed the meanest office of the house. He that made all men, in whose hand they are all as clay in the hand of the potter, observed amongst them the strictest rules of justice in giving unto every one his due, and of charity, in giving good things that were not so due. This is that which renders the obedience of Christ in the discharge of his office, both mysterious and glorious.

2. Again, the glory of Christ is proposed unto us in what he suffered in the discharge of the office which he had undertaken. There belonged indeed unto his office, victory, success, and triumph with great glory, Isa. Ixiii. 1-5. but there were sufferings also required of him antecedently thereunto. Ought not Christ to suffer and to enter into his glory?'

But such were these sufferings of Christ, as that in our thoughts about them, our minds quickly recoil in a sense of their insufficiency to conceive aright of them. Never any one launched into this ocean with his meditations, but he quickly found himself unable to fathom the depths of it; nor shall I here undertake an inquiry into them. I shall only point at this spring of glory, and leave it under a veil.

We might here look on him as under the weight of the


2 F

wrath of God, and the curse of the law; taking on himself, and on his whole soul, the utmost of evil that God had ever threatened to sin or sinners; we might look on him in his agony and bloody sweat, in bis strong cries and supplications, when he was sorrowful unto the death, and began to be amazed, in apprehensions of the things that were coming on him; of that dreadful trial which he was entering into; we might look upon him, conflicting with all the powers of darkness, the rage and madness of men, suffering in his soul, his body, his name, his reputation, his goods, his life; some of these sufferings being immediate from God above, others from devils and wicked men, acting according to the determinate counsel of God: we might look on him praying, weeping, crying out, bleeding, dying, in all things making his soul an offering for sin; so was he' taken from prison, and judgment: and who shall declare his generation for he was cut off from the land of the living : for the transgression'(saith God) of my people was he smitten ;' Isa. liii. 8. But these things I shall not insist on in particular, but leave them under such a veil as may give us a prospect into them, so far as to fill our souls with holy admiration,

Lord! What is man that thou art thus mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him? Who hath known thy mind, or who hath been thy counsellor? O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out! What shall we say unto these things ? that God spared not his only Son, but gave him up unto death, and all the evils included therein, for such poor, lost sinners as we were; that for our sakes the eternal Son of God should submit himself unto all the evils that our natures are obnoxious unto, and that our sins had deserved, that we might be delivered!

How glorious is the Lord Christ on this account in the eyes of believers! When Adam had sinned, and thereby eternally, according unto the sanction of the law, ruined himself and all his posterity, he stood ashamed, afraid, trembling, as one ready to perish for ever under the displeasure of God. Death was that which he had deserved, and immediate death was that which he looked for. In this state the Lord Christ in the promise comes unto him, and says, Poor creature ! How woful is thy condition! How deformed is thy appearance! What is become of the beauty, of the glory of that image of God wherein thou wast created? How hast thou taken on thee the monstrous shape and image of Satan! and yet thy present misery, thy entrance into dust and darkness, is no way to be compared with what is to ensue. Eternal distress lies at the door. But yet look up once more, and behold me, that thou mayest have some glimpse of what is in the designs of infinite wisdom, love, and grace. Come forth from thy vain shelter, thy hidingplace. I will put myself into thy condition. I will undergo and bear that burden of guilt and punishment, which would sink thee eternally into the bottom of hell. I will pay

that which I never took; and be made temporally a curse for thee, that thou mayest attain unto eternal blessedness. To the same purpose he speaks unto convinced sinners in the invitation he gives them to come unto him.

Thus is the Lord Christ set forth in the gospel, “evidently crucified before our eyes;' Gal. iii. 1. namely, in the representation that is made of his glory, in the sufferings he underwent for the discharge of the office be had undertaken. Let us then behold him as poor, despised, persecuted, reproached, reviled, hanged on a tree; in all labouring under a sense of the wrath of God due unto our sins. Unto this end are they recorded in the gospel, read, preached, and represented unto us. But what can we see herein ? what glory is in these things? Are not these the things which all the world of Jews and Gentiles stumbled and took offence at? Those wherein he was appointed to be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence? Was it not esteemed a foolish thing to look for help and deliverance by the miseries of another? To look for life by his death? The apostle declares at large that such it was esteemed, 1 Cor. i. So was it in the wisdom of the world. But even on the account of these things is he honourable, glorious, and precious in the sight of them that do believe; 1 Pet. ii. 6,7. For even herein he was the wisdom of God and the power of God;

' 1 Cor. i. 24. And the apostle declares at large the grounds and reasons of the different thoughts and apprehensions of men concerning the cross and sufferings of Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 3-6.


The glory of Christ in his exaltation, after the accomplishment of the work

of mediation in this world. We may in the next place behold the glory of Christ with respect unto his office in the actings of God towards him, which ensued on his discharge of it in this world, in his own exaltation.

These are the two heads, whereunto all the prophecies and predictions concerning Jesus Christ under the Old Testament are referred, namely, his sufferings, and the glory that ensued thereon; 1 Pet. i. 11. ‘All the prophets testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.' So when he himself opened the Scriptures unto his disciples, he gave them this as the sum of the doctrine contained in them; Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' Luke xxiv. 26. The same is frequently expressed elsewhere; Rom. xiv. 9. Phil. ii. 5-8.

So much as we know of Christ, his sufferings, and his glory; so much do we understand of the Scripture, and no more.

These are the two heads of the mediation of Christ and his kingdom; and this is their order which they communicate unto the church ; first sufferings, and then glory. 'If we suffer, we shall also reign with him ;' 2 Tim. ii. 12. They do but deceive themselves who design any other method of these things. Some would reign here in this world; and we may say with the apostle, would you did reign, that we might reign with you.' But the members of the mystical body must be conformed unto the head. In him, sufferings went before glory; and so they must in them. The order in the kingdom of Satan and the world, is contrary hereunto. First the good things of this life, and then eternal misery, is the method of that kingdom ; Luke xvi. 25.

These are the two springs of the salvation of the church; the two anointed ones, that stand before the Lord of the whole earth ; from which all the golden oil, whereby the

church is dedicated unto God and sanctified, doth flow. This glory of Christ in his exaltation which followed on his sufferings, is that which we now inquire into. And we shall state our apprehensions of it in the ensuing observations.

1. This is peculiarly that glory which the Lord Christ prays that his disciples may be where he is, to behold it. It is not solely so, as it is considered absolutely; but it is that, wherein all the other parts of his glory are made manifest. It is the evidence, the pledge, the means of the manifestation of them all. As unto all the instances of his glory before insisted on, there was a veil drawn over them whilst he was in this world. Hence the most saw nothing of it, and the best saw it but obscurely. But in this glory that veil is taken off, whereby the whole glory of his person in itself, and in the work of mediation is most illustriously manifested. When we shall immediately behold this glory, we shall see him as he is. This is that glory whereof the Father made grant unto him before the foundation of the world, and wherewith he was actually invested upon his ascension.

2. By this glory of Christ, I do not understand the essential glory of his divine nature; or his being absolutely in his own person over all, God blessed for ever;' but the manifestation of this glory in particular, after it had been veiled in this world under the form of a servant,' belongs hereunto. The divine glory of Christ in his person belongs not unto his exaltation; but the manifestation of it doth so.

It was not given him by free donation ; but the declaration of it unto the church of angels and men after his humiliation was so.

He left it not whilst he was in this world; but the direct evidence and declaration of it he laid aside, until he was declared to be the Son of God with power,' by the resurrection from the dead.

When the sun is under a total eclipse, he loseth nothing of his native beauty, light, and glory. He is still the same that he was from the beginning; a 'great light to rule the day.' To us he appears as a dark, useless meteor ; but when he comes by his course to free himself from the lunar interposition unto his proper aspect towards us, he manifests again his native light and glory. So was it with the

« PreviousContinue »