(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 2)

(... continued from File 1)

Chapter 2. The Glory of the Person of Christ, as the only  
Representative of God unto the Church.  
 The glory of Christ is the glory of the person of Christ So he  
calls it "Ten doxan ten emen", John 17: 24, "That glory which is  
mine," which belongeth to me, unto my person.  
 The person of Christ may be considered two ways: - 1. Absolutely  
in itself. 2. In the susception and discharge of his office, with  
what ensued thereon. His glory on these distinct accounts is  
distinct and different; but all equally his own. How in both  
respects we may behold it by faith, is that which we inquire into.  
 The first thing wherein we may behold the glory of the person of  
Christ, God and man, which was given him of his Father, consists in  
the representation of the nature of God, and of the divine person of  
the Father, unto the church in him; for we behold "the glory of God  
in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. 4: 6. Otherwise we know it not,  
we see it not, we see nothing of it; that is the way of seeing and  
knowing God, declared in the Scripture as our duty and blessedness.  
The glory of God comprehends both the holy properties of his nature  
and the counsels of his will; and "the light of the knowledge" of  
these things we have only "in the face" or person "of Jesus Christ."  
Whatever obscure, imperfect notions we may have of them other ways,  
we cannot have "fotismon tes gnoseos tes doxes tou Theou", "the  
light of the" illuminating, irradiating "knowledge of the glory of  
God," which may enlighten our minds and sanctify your hearts, but  
only "en prosopoi", "in the face" or person "of Jesus Christ:" for  
he is "the image of God," 2 Cor. 4: 4; "the brightness of the  
Father's glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. 1: 3;  
"the image of the invisible God," Col. 1: 15. I do here only mention  
these things because I have handled them at large in my discourse of  
the "Mystery of Godliness," or the Person of Christ; whereunto I  
refer the readers for their full declaration and vindication. Herein  
is he glorious, in that he is the great representative of the nature  
of God and his will unto us; which without him would have been  
eternally hid from us, or been invisible unto us, - we should never  
have seen God at any time, here nor hereafter, John 1: 18.  
 In his divine person absolutely considered, he is the essential  
image of God, even the Father. He is in the Father, and the Father  
in him, in the unity of the same divine essence, John 14: 10. Now he  
is with the Father, John 1: 1, in the distinction of his person, so  
is he his essential image, Col. 1: 15; Heb. 1: 3. In his incarnation  
he becomes the representative image of God unto the church, 2 Cor.  
4: 6; without whom our understandings can make no such approach unto  
the divine excellencies but that God continues to be unto us what he  
is in himself, - the "visible God." In the face of Jesus Christ we  
see his glory.  
 This is the original glory of Christ, given him by his Father, and  
which by faith we may behold. He, and he alone, declares,  
represents, and makes known, unto angels and men, the essential  
glory of the invisible God, his attributes and his will; without  
which, a perpetual comparative darkness would have been the whole  
creation, especially that part of it here below.  
 This is the foundation of our religion, the Rock whereon the  
church is built, the ground of all our hopes of salvation, of life  
and immortality: all is resolved into this, - namely, the  
representation that is made of the nature and will of God in the  
person and office of Christ. If this fail us, we are lost for ever;  
if this Rock stand firm, the church is safe here, and shall be  
triumphant hereafter.  
 Herein, then, is the Lord Christ exceedingly glorious. Those who  
cannot behold this glory of his by faith, - namely, as he is the  
great divine ordinance to represent God unto us, - they know him  
not. In their worship of him, they worship but an image of their own  
 Yea, in the ignorance and neglect hereof consists the formal  
nature of unbelief, even that which is inevitably ruinous unto the  
souls of men. He that discerns not the representation of the glory  
of God in the person of Christ unto the souls of men, is an  
unbeliever. Such was the state of the unbelieving Jews and gentiles  
of old; they did not, they would not, they could not, behold the  
glory of God in him, nor how he did represent him. That this was  
both the cause and the formal nature of their unbelief, the apostle  
declares at large, 1 Cor. 1: 21-25. Not to see the wisdom of God,  
and the power of God, and consequently all the other holy properties  
of his nature, in Christ, is to be an unbeliever.  
 The essence of faith consists in a due ascription of glory to God,  
Rom. 4: 20. This we cannot attain unto without the manifestation of  
those divine excellencies unto us wherein he is glorious. This is  
done in Christ alone, so as that we may glorify God in a saving and  
acceptable manner. He who discerns not the glory of divine wisdom,  
power, goodness, love, and grace, in the person and office of  
Christ, with the way of the salvation of sinners by him, is an  
 Hence the great design of the devil, in the beginning of the  
preaching of the gospel, was to blind the eyes of men, and fill  
their minds with prejudices, that they might not behold this glory  
of his; so the apostle gives an account of his success in this  
design, 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid unto them  
that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds  
of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of  
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." By various  
ways and methods of deceit, to secure the reputation he had got of  
being "god of this world," by pretences and appearances of  
supernatural power and wisdom, he laboured to blind the eyes of men  
with prejudices against that glorious light of the gospel which  
proposed the Lord Christ as the only image of God. This blindness,  
this darkness is cured in them that believe, by the mighty power of  
God; for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has  
irradiated our hearts with the knowledge of the glory of God in the  
face of Jesus Christ, verse 6, - wherein true saving faith does  
consist. Under this darkness perished the unbelieving world of Jews  
and Gentiles: and such is the present condition of all by whom the  
divine person of Christ is denied; for no mere creature can ever  
make a perfect representation of God unto us. But we must a little  
farther inquire into this mystery.  
 I. Since men fell from God by sin, it is no small part of their  
misery and punishment, that they are covered with thick darkness and  
ignorance of the nature of God. They know him not, they have not  
seen him at any time. Hence is that promise to the church in Christ,  
Isa. 60: 2, "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and  
gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and  
his glory shall be seen upon thee."  
 The ancient philosophers made great inquiries into, and obtained  
many notions of, the Divine Being - its existence and excellencies.  
And these notions they adorned with great elegance of speech, to  
allure others unto the admiration of them. Hereon they boasted  
themselves to be the only wise men in the world, Rom. 1: 22,  
"faskontes einai sofoi", - they boasted that they were the wise. But  
we must abide in the judgement of the apostle concerning them in  
their inquiries; he assures us that the world in its wisdom - that  
is, these wise men in it by their wisdom - knew not God, 1 Cor. 1:  
21. And he calls the authors of their best notions, Atheists, or men  
"without God in the world," Eph. 2: 12. For, -  
 1. They had no certain guide, rule, nor light, which, being  
attended unto, might lead them infallibly into the knowledge of the  
divine nature. All they had of this kind was their own "logismoi",  
their reasonings or imaginations; whereby they commenced "sodzetetai  
tou aionos toutou", "the great disputes of the world;" but in them  
they "waxed vain, and their foolish heart was darkened," Rom. 1: 21.  
They did at best but endeavour "pselafain", "to feel after God," as  
men do in the dark after what they cannot clearly discern, Acts 17:  
27. Among other, Cicero's book, "De Nature Decorum," gives us an  
exact account of the intention of the apostle in that expression.  
And it is at this day not want of wit, but hatred of the mysteries  
of our religion, which makes so many prone to forego all  
supernatural revelation, and to retake themselves unto a religion  
declared, as they suppose, by reason and the light of nature; - like  
bats and owls, who, being not able to bear the light of the sun,  
retake themselves unto the twilight, to the dawnings of light and  
 2. Whatever they did attain, as unto rational notions about things  
invisible and incomprehensible, yet could they never deliver  
themselves from such principles and practices in idolatry and all  
manner of flagitious sins, as that they could be of any benefit unto  
them. This is so effectually demonstrated by the apostle in the 1st  
chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, as that we need not to insist  
upon it.  
 Men may talk what they please of a light within them, or of the  
power of reason to conduct them unto that knowledge of God whereby  
they may live unto him; but if they had nothing else, if they did  
not boast themselves of that light which has its foundation and  
original in divine revelation alone, they would not excel them who,  
in the best management of their own seasonings, "knew not God," but  
waxed vain in their imaginations  
  With respect unto this universal darkness, - that is, ignorance  
of God, with horrid confusion accompany it in the minds of men, -  
Christ is called, and is, the "light of men," the "light of the  
world;" because in and by him alone this darkness is dispelled, as  
he is the "Sun of Righteousness"  
 2. This darkness in the minds of men, this ignorance of God, his  
nature and his will, was the original of all evil unto the world,  
and yet continues so to be. For, -  
 1. Hereon did Satan erect his kingdom and throne, obtaining in his  
design until he bare himself as "the god of this world," and was so  
esteemed by the most. He exalted himself by virtue of this darkness  
(as he is the "prince of darkness") into the place and room of God,  
as the object of the religious worship of men. For the things which  
the Gentiles sacrificed they sacrificed unto devils, and not to God,  
1 Cor. 10: 20; Lev. 17: 7; Deut. 32: 17; Ps. 106: 37; Gal. 4: 8.  
This is the territory of Satan; yea, the power and sceptre of his  
kingdom in the minds of the "children of disobedience." Hereby he  
maintains his dominion unto this day in many and great nations, and  
with individual persons innumerable.  
 2. This is the spring of all wickedness and confusion among men  
themselves. Hence arose that flood of abominations in the old world,  
which God took away with a flood of desolation: hence were the sins  
of Sodom and Gomorrah, which he revenged with "fire from heaven." In  
brief; all the rage, blood, confusion, desolations, cruelties,  
oppressions, villainies, which the world has been and is filled  
withal, whereby the souls of men have been and are flooded into  
eternal destruction, have all arisen from this corrupt fountain of  
the ignorance of God.  
 3. Of such as those described we are the posterity and offspring.  
Our forefathers in this nation were given up unto as brutish a  
service of the devil as any nation under the sun. It is therefore an  
effect of infinite mercy, that the day has dawned on us, poor  
Gentiles, and that the "day spring from on high has visited us" See  
the glory of this grace expressed, Eph 3: 5-10. God might have left  
us to perish in the blindness and ignorance of our forefathers; but  
of his own accord, and by his own powerful grace alone, he has  
"translated us out of darkness into his marvellous light." But,  
alas! the horrible ingratitude of men for the glorious light of the  
gospel, and the abuse of it, will issue in a sore revenge.  
 God was known under the Old Testament by the revelation of his  
Word, and the institution of his worship. This was the glory and  
privilege of Israel, as the Psalmist declares, Ps. 147: 19, 20, "He  
showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgements unto  
Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation." The church then knew  
him; yet so as that they had an apprehension that he dwelt in "thick  
darkness," where they could not have any clear views of him, Exod.  
21; Deut. 5: 22; 1 Kings 8: 12; 2 Chron. 6: 1. And the reason why  
God so represented himself in darkness unto them, was, to instruct  
them in their imperfect state, wherein they could not comprehend  
that glory which should afterward be revealed. For as he is now made  
known in Christ, we see that "he is light, and in him there is no  
darkness at all."  
 4. Hitherto darkness in general covered the earth, and gross  
darkness the people, as unto the knowledge of God; only there was a  
twilight in the church. The day did not yet dawn, the "shadows did  
not flee away," nor the "day-star shine" in the hearts of men. But  
when the "Sun of Righteousness" did arise in his strength and  
beauty, when the Son of God "appeared in the flesh," and in the  
discharge of his office, - God himself, as unto his being, and  
manner of existence in three distinct persons, with all the glorious  
properties of the divine nature, was illustriously manifested unto  
them that did believe; and the light of the knowledge of them  
dispelled all the shadows that were in the church, and shone into  
the darkness which was in the world, so as that none continued  
ignorant of God but those who would not see. See John 1: 5, 14, 17,  
18; 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4.  
 Herein is the Lord Christ glorious. And this is that which I shall  
now speak unto, - namely, how we may behold the glory of Christ in  
the representation and revelation that is made of God and his glory,  
in his person and office, unto all that do believe. For it is not so  
much the declaration of the nature of the things themselves, wherein  
the glory of Christ does consist, as our way and duty in the  
beholding of them, which at present is designed.  
 He calls unto us, saying, "Behold me, - look unto me, - and be  
saved," Isa. 45: 22. What is it that we see in Christ? what do we  
behold in him? He asketh that question concerning his church, "What  
will ye see in the Shulamite?" Whereto he answers, "As it were the  
company of two armies" Cant. 6: 13; or the two churches of the Old  
and New Testament, in order and beauty. We may inquire, What shall  
we, what do we see in him? Do we see him as "the image of the  
invisible God," representing him, his nature, properties, and will  
unto us? Do we see him as the "character," the "express image of the  
person of the Father," so that we have no need of Philips request,  
"Lords show us the Father?" because having seen him, we have seen  
the Father also, John 14: 9.  
 This is our first saving view of Christ, the first instance of our  
beholding his glory by faith. So to see him as to see God in him, is  
to behold his glory; for herein he is eternally glorious. And this  
is that glory whose view we ought to long for and labour after. And  
if we see it not, we are yet in darkness; yea, though we say we see,  
we are blind like others. So David longed and prayed for it, when  
yet he could behold it only in types and shadows, Ps. 63: 1, 2, "O  
God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for  
thee, my flesh longeth for thee; - to see thy power and thy glory,  
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." For there was in the  
sanctuary an obscure representation of the glory of God in Christ.  
How much more should we prize that view of it which we may have with  
open face, though yet "as in a glass!" 2 Cor. 3: 18.  
 Moses, when he had seen the works of God, which were great and  
marvellous, yet found not himself satisfied therewith; wherefore,  
after all, he prays that God "would show him his glory", Exod. 33:  
18. He knew that the ultimate rest, blessedness, and satisfaction of  
the soul, is not in seeing the works of God, but the glory of God  
himself. Therefore did he desire some immediate dawnings of it upon  
him in this world: "I beseech thee, show me thy glory." And if we  
have right apprehensions of the future state of blessedness, we  
cannot but have the same desire of seeing more of his glory in this  
life. But the question is, How we may attain it? If we are left unto  
ourselves in this inquiry, if we have no other way for it but the  
immediate rising of our thoughts on the immensity of the divine  
nature, we must come every one to the conclusion that Augur makes on  
the like consideration, "Surely I am more brutish than any man, and  
have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor  
have the knowledge of the holy. Who has ascended up into heaven, or  
descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the  
waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth?  
what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?"  
Prov. 30: 2-4.  
 It is in Christ alone that we may have a clear, distinct view of  
the glory of God and his excellencies. For him, and him alone, has  
he appointed the representative of himself unto us; and we shall  
take an account hereof in one or two especial instances. See John 1:  
18, 14: 7-10; 2 Cor. 4: 6; Col. 1: 15; Eph. 3: 4-10; Heb. 1: 3.  
 1. Infinite wisdom is one of the most glorious properties of the  
divine nature; it is that which is directive of all the external  
works of God, wherein the glory of all the other excellencies of God  
is manifested: wherefore the manifestation of the whole glory of God  
proceeds originally from infinite wisdom. But, as Job speaks, "Where  
shall [this] wisdom be found; and what is the place of  
understanding? chap. 28: 12. "Can we by searching find out God? can  
we find out the Almighty unto perfection?" chap. 11: 7. As it is in  
itself an essential, eternal property of the divine nature, we can  
have no comprehension of it, - we can but adore it in that infinite  
distance wherein we stand from God; but in its operations and  
effects it may be discerned, for they are designed of God for its  
manifestation. Among these, the most excellent is the contrivance of  
the great work of the salvation of the church. So it is celebrated  
by the apostle, Eph 3: 9, 10, "To make all men see what is the  
fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has  
been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the  
intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly  
places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God."  
 If we have any interest in God, if we have any hopes of  
blessedness in beholding of his glory unto eternity, we cannot but  
desire a view (such as is attainable) of this infinite, manifold  
wisdom of God in this life. But it is in Christ alone that we can  
discern anything of it; for him has the Father chosen and sealed to  
represent it unto us. All the treasures of this wisdom are hid, laid  
up, and laid out in him; - herein lies the essence and form of  
faith. Believers by it do see the wisdom of God in Christ, in his  
person and office, - Christ the wisdom of God. Unbelievers see it  
not, as the apostle argues, 1 Cor. 1: 22-24.  
 In beholding the glory of this infinite wisdom of God in Christ,  
we behold his own glory also, - the glory given him of his Father;  
for this is his glory, that in and by him, and him alone, the wisdom  
of God is manifested and represented unto us. When God appointed him  
as the great and only means of this end, he gave him honour and  
glory above the whole creation; for it is but little of divine  
wisdom which the works of it declare, in comparison of what is  
manifested in Christ Jesus. We no way deny or extenuate the  
manifestation that is made of the wisdom of God in the works of  
creation and providence. It is sufficient to detect the folly of  
atheism and idolatry; and was designed of God unto that end. But its  
comparative insufficiency with respect unto the representation of it  
in Christ as to the ends of knowing God aright and living unto him -  
the Scripture does abundantly attest. And the abuse of it was  
catholic [i. e., universal], as the apostle declares, Rom. 1: 20,  
&c. To see this wisdom clearly is our wisdom; and a due apprehension  
of it fills the souls of believers "with joy unspeakable, and full  
of glory."  
 2. We may also instance in the love of God. The apostle tells us  
that "God is love," 1 John 4: 8. Divine love is not to be considered  
only in its effects, but in its nature and essence; and be it is God  
himself, for "God is love." And a blessed revelation this is of the  
divine nature; it casts out envy, hatred, malice, revenge, with all  
their fruits, in rage, fierceness, implacability, persecution,  
murder, into the territories of Satan. They belong not unto God in  
his nature or acting; for "God is love." So the same apostle tells  
us, that he who "slew his brother was of the wicked one," 1 John 3:  
12. He was of the devil, his father, and his works did he do.  
 But the inquiry is as before, - How shall we have a view of this  
love, of God as love? by what way or means shall we behold the glory  
of it? It is hidden from all living, in God himself. The wise  
philosophers, who discoursed so much of the love of God, knew  
nothing of this, that "God is love." The most of the natural notions  
of men about it are corrupt, and the best of them weak and  
imperfect. Generally, the thoughts of men about it are, that he is  
of a facile and easy nature, one that they may make bold withal in  
all their occasions; as the Psalmist declares, Ps. 50: 21. And  
whereas it must be learned in its effects, operations, and divine  
ways of its manifestation, those who know not Christ know nothing of  
them. And many things in providence do interpose to hinder our views  
of this love; - for although, indeed, "God is love," yet "his wrath  
is revealed from heaven against the ungodliness of men;" as all  
things at this day are filled with evidences of his anger and  
displeasure. How, then, shall we know, wherein shall we behold, the  
glory of God in this, that he is love? The apostle declares it in  
the next words, 1 John 4: 9, "In this was manifested the love of God  
towards us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the  
world, that we might live through him." This is the only evidence  
given us that "God is love." Hereby alone is the divine nature as  
such made known unto us, - namely, in the mission, person, and  
office of the Son of God; without this, all is in darkness as unto  
the true nature and supreme operation of this divine love.  
 Herein do we behold the glory of Christ himself, even in this  
life. This glory was given him of the Father, - namely, that he now  
should declare and evidence that "God is love; " and he did so,  
"that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Herein we may  
see how excellent, how beautiful, how glorious and desirable he is,  
seeing in him alone we have a due representation of God as he is  
love; which is the most joyful sight of God that any creature can  
obtain. He who beholds not the glory of Christ herein is utterly  
ignorant of those heavenly mysteries; - he knoweth neither God nor  
Christ, - he has neither the Father nor the Son. He knows not God,  
because he knows not the holy properties of his nature in the  
principal way designed by infinite wisdom for their manifestation;  
he knows not Christ, because he sees not the glory of God in him.  
Wherefore, whatever notions men may have from the light of nature,  
or from the works of Providence, that there is love in God, -  
however they may adorn them in elegant, affecting expressions, - yet  
from them no man can know that "God is love." In the revelation  
hereof Christ has the pre-eminence; nor can any man comprehend  
anything of it aright but in him. It is that which the whole light  
of the creation cannot discover; for it is the spring and centre of  
the mystery of godliness.  
 These things are of the deep things of God, such as belong unto  
that wisdom of God in a mystery which they that are carnal cannot  
receive, as the apostle testifies, 1 Cor. 2: 14. But the meanest  
believer who lives in the exercise of faith, may have an  
understanding of them so far as is needful unto his love and  
obedience. The sum of the whole is this: If you would behold the  
glory of Christ as the great means of your sanctification and  
consolation, as the only preparation for the beholding of his glory  
in eternal blessedness, consider what of God is made known and  
represented unto you in him, wherein God purposed and designed to  
glorify himself in him. Now, this is all that may be known of God in  
a saving manner, especially his wisdom, his love, his goodness,  
grace, and mercy, whereon the life of our souls does depend; - and  
the Lord Christ being appointed the only way and means hereof, how  
exceeding glorious must he be in the eyes of them that do believe!  
 These things being premised, I shall close this first  
consideration of that glory of Christ which we behold by faith in  
this world, with some such observations as may excite us unto the  
practice of this great duty, and improvement of this great  
privilege, - the greatest which on this side heaven we can be made  
partakers of.  
 There are some who regard not these things at all, but rather  
despise them. They never entertain any serious thoughts of obtaining  
a view of the glory of God in Christ, - which is to be unbelievers.  
They look on him as a teacher that came forth from God to reveal his  
will, and to teach us his worship; and so indeed he was. But this  
they say was the sole use of his person in religion, - which is  
Mohammedanism. The manifestation of all the holy properties of the  
divine nature, with the representation of them unto angels above and  
the church in this world, as he is the image of the invisible God,  
in the constitution of his person and the discharge of his office,  
are things they regard not; yea, they despise and scorn what is  
professed concerning them: for pride and contempt of others were  
always the safest covert of ignorance; otherwise it would seem  
strange that men should openly boast of their own blindness. But  
these conceptions of men's minds are influenced by that unbelief of  
his divine person which maketh havoc of Christianity at this day in  
the world.  
 I speak of them whose minds are better disposed towards heavenly  
things; and unto them I say, Wherefore do you love Jesus Christ? for  
so you profess to do. Wherefore do you trust in him? wherefore do  
you honour him? wherefore do you desire to be in heaven with him?  
Can you give a reason of this hope that is in you, - an account why  
you do all or any of these things? If you cannot, all that you  
pretend towards him is but fancy and imagination; you fight  
uncertainly, as men beating the air. Or is one of your reasons  
hereof, that in him you do by faith behold that glory of God, with  
the holy properties of his nature, and their principal operations,  
in order unto your own salvation and blessedness, which otherwise  
would have been eternally hid from you? Herein is he "precious unto  
them that do believe."  
 Let us, therefore, as many as are spiritual, be thus minded. Let  
us make use of this privilege with rejoicing, and be found in the  
discharge of this duty with diligence. For thus to behold the glory  
of God is both our privilege and our duty. The duties of the Law  
were a burden and a yoke; but those of the gospel are privileges and  
 It is a promise concerning the days of the New Testament, that our  
"eyes shall see the King in his beauty," Isa. 33: 17! We shall  
behold the glory of Christ in its lustre and excellency. What is  
this beauty of the King of saints? Is it not that God is in him, and  
he is the great representative of his glory unto us? Wherefore, in  
the contemplation of this glory consists the principal exercise of  
faith. And who can declare the glory of this privilege, that we who  
are born in darkness, and deserved to be cast out into utter  
darkness, should be translated into this marvellous "light of the  
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ?"  
 What are all the stained glories, the fading beauties of this  
world? of all that the devil showed our Saviour from the mount? what  
are they in comparison of one view of the glory of God represented  
in Christ, and of the glory of Christ as his great representative?  
 The most pernicious effect of unbelief under the preaching of the  
gospel is, that, together with an influence of power from Satan, "it  
blinds the eyes of men's minds, that they should not see this glory  
of Christ;" whereon they perish eternally, 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4.  
 But the most of those who at this day are called Christians are  
strangers unto this duty. Our Lord Jesus Christ told the Pharisees,  
that notwithstanding all their boasting of the knowledge of God,  
they had not "heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape;" that  
is, as Moses did. They had no real acquaintance with him, - they had  
no spiritual view of his glory. And so it is amongst ourselves;  
notwithstanding the general profession that is of the knowledge of  
Christ, they are but few who thus behold his glory; and therefore  
few who are transformed into his image and likeness.  
 Some men speak much of the imitation of Christ, and following of  
his example; and it were well if we could see more of it really in  
effect. But no man shall ever become "like unto him" by bare  
imitation of his actions, without that view or intuition of his  
glory which alone is accompanied with a transforming power to change  
them into the same image.  
 The truth is, the best of us all are woefully defective in this  
duty, and many are discouraged from it because a pretence of it in  
some has degenerated into superstition; but we are loath at any time  
seriously to engage in it, and come with an unwilling kind of  
willingness unto the exercise of our minds in it.  
 Thoughts of this glory of Christ are too high for us, or too hard  
for us, such as we cannot long delight in; we turn away from them  
with a kind of weariness: yet are they of the same nature in general  
with our beholding of the glory of Christ in heaven, wherein there  
shall be no weariness, or satiety, unto eternity. Is not the cause  
of it, that we are unspiritual or carnal, having our thoughts and  
affections wonted to give entertainment unto other things? For this  
is the principal cause of our unreadiness and incapacity to exercise  
our minds in and about the great mysteries of the Gospel, 1 Cor. 3:  
1-3. And it is so with us, moreover, because we do not stir up  
ourselves with watchfulness and diligence in continual acting of  
faith on this blessed object. This is that which keeps many of us at  
so low an ebb, as unto the powers of a heavenly life and spiritual  
 Did we abound in this duty, in this exercise of faith, our life in  
walking before God would be more sweet and pleasant unto us, - our  
spiritual light and strength would have a daily increase, - we  
should more represent the glory of Christ in our ways and walking  
than usually we do, and death itself would be most welcome unto us.  
 The angels themselves desire to look into the things of the glory  
of Christ, 1 Peter 1: 12. There is in them matter of inquiry and  
instruction for the most high and holy spirits in heaven. The  
manifold wisdom of God in them is made known unto "principalities  
and powers in heavenly places by the church," Eph 3: 10. And shall  
we neglect that which is the object of angelical diligence to  
inquire into; especially considering that we are more than they  
concerned in it?  
 Is Christ, then, thus glorious in our eyes? Do we see the Father  
in him, or by seeing of him? Do we sedulously daily contemplate on  
the wisdom, love, grace, goodness, holiness, and righteousness of  
God, as revealing and manifesting themselves in him? Do we  
sufficiently consider that the immediate vision of this glory in  
heaven will be our everlasting blessedness? Does the imperfect view  
which we have of it here increase our desires after the perfect  
sight of it above? With respect unto these inquiries I shall briefly  
speak unto sundry sorts of men.  
 Some will say they understand not these things, nor any  
concernment of their own in them. If they are true, yet are they  
notions which they may safely be without the knowledge of; for, so  
far as they can discern, they have no influence of Christian  
practice, or duties of morality; and the preaching of them does but  
take off the minds of men from more necessary duties. But "if the  
gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that perish". And unto the  
objection I say, -  
 1. Nothing is more fully and clearly revealed in the gospel, than  
that unto us Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God;" that  
he is the character of the person of the Father, so as that in  
seeing him we see the Father also; that we have "the light of the  
knowledge of the glory of God in his face alone," as has been  
proved. This is the principal fundamental mystery and truth of the  
Gospel; and which if it be not received, believed, owned, all other  
truths are useless unto our souls. To refer all the testimonies that  
are given hereunto to the doctrine which he taught, in  
contradistinction unto his person as acting in the discharge of his  
office, is anti-evangelical, antichristian, - turning the whole  
Gospel into a fable.  
 2. It is so, that the light of faith is given unto us principally  
to enable us to behold the glory of God in Christ, - to contemplate  
on it, as unto all the ends of its manifestation. So is it expressly  
affirmed, 2 Cor. 4: 6. If we have not this light, as it is  
communicated by the power of God unto them that do believe, Eph 1:  
17-19, we must be strangers unto the whole mystery of the gospel, 2  
Cor. 4: 3, 4.  
 3. That in the beholding of the glory of God in Christ, we behold  
his glory also. For herein is he infinitely glorious above the whole  
creation, in that in and by him alone the glory of the invisible God  
is represented unto us. Herein do our souls live. This is that  
whereby the image of God is renewed in us, and we are made like unto  
the first-born.  
 4. This is so far from being unnecessary unto Christian practice,  
and the sanctified duties of morality, that he knows not Christ, he  
knows not the Gospel, he knows not the faith of the catholic church,  
who imagines that they can be performed acceptably without it. Yea,  
this is the root whence all other Christian duties do spring, and  
whereon their grow, whereby they are distinguished from the works of  
heathens. He is no Christian who believes not that faith in the  
person of Christ is the spring of all evangelical obedience; or who  
knows not that faith respects the revelation of the glory of God in  
 If these things are so, as they are the most important truths of  
the Gospel, and whose denial overthrows the foundation of faith, and  
is ruinous to Christian religion, certainly it is our duty to live  
in the constant exercise of faith with respect unto this glory of  
Christ. And we have sufficient experience of what kind of morality  
the ignorance of it has produced.  
 Others there are who may be some way strangers, but are no way  
enemies, unto this mystery, and to the practical exercise of faith  
therein. To such I shall tender the ensuing directions: -  
 1. Reckon in your minds, that this beholding of the glory of  
Christ by beholding the glory of God, and all his holy properties in  
him, is the greatest privilege whereof in this life we can be made  
partakers. The dawning of heaven is in it, and the first-fruits of  
glory; for this is life eternal, to know the Father, and Jesus  
Christ whom he has sent, John 17: 3. Unless you value it, unless you  
esteem it as such a privilege, you will not enjoy it; and that which  
is not valued according unto its worth is despised. It is not enough  
to think it a privilege, an advantage; but it is to be valued above  
other things, according unto its greatness and excellency.  
"Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our  
ears," Job 28: 22. And if we do no more, we shall die strangers unto  
it; we are to "cry after this knowledge, and lift up our voice for  
this understanding," if we design to attain it.  
 2. As it i6 a great privilege, which requires a due valuation; so  
it is a great mystery, which requires much spiritual wisdom to the  
right understanding of it, and to direct in its practice, 1 Cor. 2:  
4, 5. Flesh and blood will not reveal it unto us, but we must be  
taught of God to apprehend it, John 1: 12, 13; Matt. 16: 16,17. Mere  
unsanctified reason will never enable us unto, nor guide us in, the  
discovery of this duty. Men are not so vain as to hope for skill and  
understanding in the mystery of a secular art or trade, without the  
diligent use of those means whereby it may be attained; and shall we  
suppose that we may be furnished with spiritual skill and wisdom in  
this sacred mystery, without diligence in the use of the means  
appointed of God for the attaining of it? The principal of them is  
fervent prayer. Pray, then, with Moses, that God would show you this  
his glory; pray with the apostle, that "the eyes of your  
understanding may be enlightened to behold it;" pray that the "God  
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the  
spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Fill your  
minds with spiritual thoughts and contrivances about them. Slothful  
and lazy souls never obtain one view of this glory; the "lion in the  
way" deters them from attempting it. Being carnal, they abhor all  
diligence in the use of spiritual means, such as prayer and  
meditation on things unto them uneasy, unpleasing, and difficult.  
Unto others the way partakes of the nature of the end; the means of  
obtaining a view of the glory of Christ are of the same kind, of the  
same pleasantness, with that view itself in their proportion.  
 3. Learn the use hereof from the acting of contrary vicious  
habits. When the minds of men are vehemently fixed on the pursuit of  
their lusts, they will be continually ruminating on the objects of  
them, and have a thousand contrivances about them, until their "eyes  
become full of adulteries, and they cannot cease from sinning," as  
the apostle speaks. The objects of their lusts have framed and  
raised an image of themselves in their minds, and transformed them  
into their own likeness. Is this the way of them who "go down to the  
chambers of death?" Do they thus frame their souls, and make them  
meet for destruction, until their words, gestures, actions, proclaim  
the frame of their minds unto all that look upon them? And shall we  
be slothful and negligent in the contemplation of that glory which  
transforms our minds into its own likeness, so as that the eyes of  
our understandings shall be continually filled with it, until we see  
him and behold him continually, so as never to cease from the holy  
acts of delight in him end love to him?  
 4. Would we, then, behold the glory of God as he manifesteth it in  
and by the holy properties of his nature, with their blessed  
operations and effects? - without which we have nothing of the power  
of religion in us, whatever we pretend: this alone is the way of it.  
so to the whole creation, and all things contained in it; they can  
say no more, but, "We have heard the fame and report of these  
things," and what we have heard we declare; but it is but a little  
portion of them that we are acquainted withal. "The heavens,"  
indeed, "declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his  
handy-work." "The invisible things of God are understood by the  
things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." But,  
comparatively, it is but little that we can hence learn of these  
things, as to that we may behold of them in Christ Jesus. How blind  
herein was the best philosopher in comparison of the meanest of the  
apostles; yea, of him who is least in the kingdom of heaven!  
 But herein it is required that we rest not in the notion of this  
truth, and a bare assent unto the doctrine of it. The affecting  
power of it upon our hearts is that which we should aim at. Wherein  
does the blessedness of the saints above consist? Is it not herein,  
that they behold and see the glory of God in Christ? And what is the  
effect of it upon those blessed souls? Does it not change them into  
the same image, or make them like unto Christ? Does it not fill and  
satiate them with joy, rest, delight, complacency, and ineffable  
satisfaction? Do we expect, do we desire, the same state of  
blessedness? It is our present view of the glory of Christ which is  
our initiation thereinto, if we are exercised in it, until we have  
an experience of its transforming power in our souls.  
 These things are, it may be, of little use unto some. Such as are  
babes in spiritual knowledge and understanding, - either because  
they are carnal, 1 Cor. 3: 1, 2, or slothful in hearing, Heb. 5:  
12-14, - are not capable of these divine mysteries. And therefore  
the apostle did, in an especial manner, declare this wisdom of God  
in a mystery unto them that were perfect, 1 Cor. 2: 6, 7; - that is,  
who were more grown in spiritual knowledge, and had their "senses  
exercised to discern good and evil." It is unto them who are  
exercised in the contemplation of invisible things, who delight to  
walk in the more retired paths of faith and love, that they are  
 Some few inferences from the whole of what has been declared shall  
put a close to this part of our Discourse.  
 1. The holy properties of the divine nature are not only  
represented unto our faith in Christ, as to their own essential  
glory, but as they are in the exercise of their powers for the  
salvation of the church. In him do we behold the wisdom, goodness,  
love, grace, mercy, and power of God, acting themselves in the  
contrivance, constitution, and efficacious accomplishment of the  
great work of our redemption and salvation. This gives, as unto us,  
an unutterable lustre unto the native amiableness of the divine  
excellencies. The wisdom and love of God are in themselves  
infinitely glorious, - infinitely amiable; - nothing can be added  
unto them, - there can be no increase of their essential glory.  
Howbeit, as they are eternally resident in the divine nature, and  
absolutely the same with it, we cannot so comprehend them as to have  
an endearing, satiating view of their glory, but as they are exerted  
in the work of the redemption and salvation of the church, as they  
are expressed, communicating their blessed effects unto the souls of  
them that do believe, - which is done only in Christ; so the beams  
of their glory shine unto us with unspeakable refreshment and joy, 2  
Cor. 4: 6. Hence the apostle, on the consideration of the acting of  
the holy properties of God in this blessed work, falls into that  
contemplation, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and  
knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways  
past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has  
been his counsellor? or who has first given to him, and it shall be  
recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him,  
are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen," Rom. 11: 33-36.  
 2. In and through Christ we do believe in God, 1 Pet. 1: 21. This  
is the life of our souls. God himself, in the infinite perfections  
of his divine nature, is the ultimate object of our faith. But he is  
not here the immediate object of it; but the divine way and means of  
the manifestation of himself and them unto us, are so. Through  
Christ we believe in God. By our belief in him we come to place our  
faith ultimately in God himself; and this we can no otherwise do but  
by beholding the glory of God in him, as has been declared.  
 3. This is the only way whereby we may attain the saving,  
sanctifying knowledge of God. Without this, every beam of divine  
light that shines on us, or gleams from without (as the light  
shineth into darkness when the darkness comprehendeth it not, John  
1: 5), every spark that ariseth from the remainders of the light of  
nature within, does rather amaze the minds of men than lead them  
into the saving knowledge of God. So a glance of light in a dark  
night, giving a transient view of various objects, and passing away,  
does rather amaze than direct a traveller, and leave him more  
exposed unto wandering than before. Such were all those notions of  
the Divine Being and his excellencies, which 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 likeness of God, as the saving knowledge of him does,  
Col. 3: 10.  
 So the apostle expresseth this truth, "Where is the wise? where is  
the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has 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 Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach  
Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the  
Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and  
Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. 1:  
 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.

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-02.txt