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Hereon our duty it is, to call ourselves to an account, as unto our endeavour after a gracious view of this glory of Christ. When did we steadfastly behold it? When had we such a view of it as wherein our souls have been satisfied and refreshed? It is declared and represented unto us as one of the chief props of our faith, as a help of our joy, as an object of our hope, as a ground of our consolation, as our greatest encouragement unto obedience and suffering. Are our minds every day conversant with thoughts hereof? Or do we think ourselves not much concerned herein? Do we look upon it, as that which is without us and above us, as that which we shall have time enough to consider when we come to heaven ? So is it with many. They care neither where Christ is, nor what he is, so that one way or other they may be saved by him. They hope, as they pretend, that they shall see him and his glory in heaven, and that they suppose to be time enough; but in vain do they pretend a desire thereof; in vain are their expectations of any such thing. They who endeavour not to behold the glory of Christ in this world, as hath been often said, shall never behold him in glory hereafter unto their satisfaction; nor do they desire so to do, only they suppose it a part of that relief which they would have when they are gone out of this world. For what should beget such a desire in them? Nothing can do it, but some view of it here by faith, which they despise, or totally neglect. Every pretence of a desire of heaven, and of the presence of Christ therein, that doth not arise from, that is not resolved into, that prospect which we have of the glory of Christ in this world by faith, is mere fancy and imagination.
Our constant exercise in meditation on this glory of Christ will fill us with joy on his account, which is an effectual motive unto the duty itself. We are for the most part selfish, and look no farther than our own concernments. So we may be pardoned and saved by him, we care not much how it is with himself, but only presume it is well enough. We find not any concernment of our own therein. But this frame is directly opposite unto the genius of divine faith and love. For their principal actings consist in preferring Christ above ourselves; and our concerns in him, above all our own. Let this then stir us up unto the contemplation of this glory. Who is it that is thus exalted over all? Who is thus encompassed with glory, majesty, and power ? Who is it that sits down at the right hand of the majesty on high, all his enemies being made his footstool ? Is it not he, who in this world was poor, despised, persecuted, and slain, all for our sakes? Is it not the same Jesus who loved us, and gave himself for us, and washed us in his own blood ? So the apostle told the Jews, that the same ‘Jesus whom they slew and hanged on a tree, God had exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and the forgiveness of sins ;' Acts v. 30, 31.
30, 31. If we have any valuation of his love, if we have any concernment in what he hath done and suffered for the church, we cannot but rejoice in his present state and glory.
Let the world rage whilst it pleaseth; let it set itself with all its power and craft against every thing of Christ that is in it, which, whatever is by some otherwise pretended, proceeds from a hatred unto his person ; let men make themselves drunk with the blood of his saints, we have this to oppose unto all their attempts, unto our supportment, namely, what he says of himself; 'Fear not; I am the first and the last : he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and death ;' Rev. i. 17, 18.
Blessed Jesus! We can add nothing to thee, nothing to thy glory ; but it is a joy of heart unto us that thou art what thou art; that thou art so gloriously exalted at the right hand of God; and do long more fully and clearly to behold that glory according to thy prayer and promise.
Representations of the glory of Christ under the Old Testament. It is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, tható beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he declared unto his disciples in all the Scripture the things concerning himself;' Luke xxiv. 27. It is therefore manifest that Moses and the prophets, and all
the Scriptures, do give testimony unto him, and his glory. This is the line of life and light, which runs through the whole Old Testament; without the conduct whereof we can understand nothing aright therein: and the neglect hereof, is that which makes many as blind in reading the books of it, as are the Jews, the veil being upon their minds. It is faith alone, discovering the glory of Christ, that can remove that veil of darkness which covers the minds of men in reading the Old Testament, as the apostle declares, 2 Cor. iii. 14–16. I shall therefore consider briefly some of those ways and means whereby the glory of Christ was represented unto believers under the Old Testament.
1. It was so in the institution of the beautiful worship of the law, with all the means of it. Herein have they the advantage above all the splendid ceremonies that men can invent, in the outward worship of God; they were designed and framed in divine wisdom to represent the glory of Christ in his person and his office. This nothing of human invention can do, or once pretend unto. Men cannot create mysteries, nor can give unto any thing natural in itself, a mystical signification. But so it was in the old divine institutions. What were the tabernacle and temple ? What was the holy place with the utensils of it? What was the oracle, the ark, the cherubims, the mercy-seat placed therein? What was the high-priest in all his vestments and administrations ? What were the sacrifices, and annual sprinkling of blood in the most holy place? What was the most whole system of their religious worship? Were they any thing but representations of Christ in the glory of his person and his office? They were a shadow, and the body represented by that shadow, was Christ. If any would see how the Lord Christ was in particular foresignified and represented in them, he may peruse our exposition on the ninth chapter of the Epistle unto the Hebrews, where it is handled so at large, as that I shall not here again insist upon it. The sum is,
Moses was faithful in all the house of God, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken afterward ;' Heb. iii. 5. All that Moses did in the erection of the tabernacle, and the institution of all its services, was but to give an antecedent testimony by way of representation, unto the things of Christ that were afterward to be revealed. And that also was the substance of the ministry of the prophets ; 1 Pet. i. 11, 12. The dark apprehensions of the glory of Christ, which by these means they obtained, were the life of the church of old.
2. It was represented in the mystical account which is given us of his communion with his church in love and grace. As this is intimated in many places of Scripture, so there is one entire book designed unto its declaration. This is the divine Song of Solomon, who was a type of Christ, and a penman of the Holy Ghost therein. A gracious record it is of the divine communications of Christ in love and grace unto his church, with their returns of love unto him, and delight in him. And then may a man judge himself to have somewhat profited in the experience of the mystery of a blessed intercourse and communion with Christ, when the expressions of them in that holy dialogue, do give light and life unto his mind, and efficaciously communicate unto him an experience of their power. But because these things are little understood by many, the book itself is much neglected if not despised. Yea, to such impudence have some arrived, in foaming out their own shame, as that they have ridiculed the expressions of it; but we are foretold of such mockers in the last days, that should walk after their own ungodly lusts; they are not of our present consideration.
The former instance of the representations of the glory of Christ in their institutions of outward worship, with this record of the inward communion, they had with Christ in grace, faith, and love, gives us the substance of that view which they had of his glory. What holy strains of delight and admiration, what raptures of joy, what solemn and divine complacency, what ardency of affection, and diligence in attendance unto the means of enjoying communion with him, this discovery of the glory of Christ wrought in the souls of them that did believe, is emphatically expressed in that discourse. A few days, a few hours spent in the frame characterized in it, is a blessedness excelling all the treasures of the earth; and if we, whose revelations of the same glory do far exceed theirs, should be found to come short of them in ardency of affection unto Christ, and continual holy admiration of his excellencies, we shall one day be judged unworthy to have received them,
3. It was so represented and made known under the Old Testament in his personal appearances on various occasions unto several eminent persons, leaders of the church in their generations. This he did as a'præludium' to his incarnation. He was as yet God only; but appeared in the assumed shape of
a man, to signify what he would be. He did not create a human nature, and unite it unto himself for such a season; only by his divine power he acted the shape of a man composed of what etherial substance he pleased, immediately to be dissolved. So he appeared to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua, and others, as I have at large elsewhere proved and confirmed. And hereon also, because he was the divine person who dwelt in, and dwelt with the church, under the Old Testament from first to last, in so doing he constantly assumes unto himself human affections, to intimate that a season would come when he would immediately act in that nature. And, indeed, after the fall there is nothing spoken of God in the Old Testament, nothing of his institutions, nothing of the way and manner of dealing with the church, but what hath respect unto the future incarnation of Christ. And it had been absurd to bring in God under perpetual anthropopathies, as grieving, repenting, being angry, well pleased, and the like, were it not but that the divine person intended, was to take on him the nature wherein such affections do dwell.
4. It was represented in prophetical visions. So the apostle affirms that the vision which Isaiah had of him, was when he saw his glory; John xii. 41. And it was a blessed representation thereof. For his divine person being exalted on a throne of glory, ‘his train filled the temple. The whole train of his glorious grace filled the temple of his body. This is the true tabernacle which God pitched, and not man. The temple which was destroyed, and which he raised again in three days, wherein dwelt the fulness of the Godhead; Col. i. 9. This glory was now presented unto the view of Isaiah, chap. vi, 1-3. which filled him with dread and astonishment. But from thence he was relieved, by an act of the ministry of that glorious one, taking away his iniquity by a coal from the altar, which typified the purifying efficacy of his sacrifice. This was food for the souls of believers : in these and on the like occasions, did the whole