(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 3)

(... continued from File 4)

Chapter 3. The Glory of Christ in the mysterious Constitution of his  
 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 silence of God;  
the other, having a beginning in time, finite, limited, confined  
unto a certain peace, - 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 Peter 1: 12. So  
was their desire represented by the cherubim in the most holy place  
of the tabernacle; for they were a shadow of the minister of angels  
in the church. The ark and the mercy seat were a type of Christ in  
the discharge of his office; and these cherubim 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  
power," Col. 1: 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 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 attended with everlasting shame in the discovery of  
his folly, wherein he would have contended with infinite wisdom, as  
well as misery, by the powers of the two natures united in one  
 Here lies the foundation of the church. The foundation of the  
whole old creation was laid in an act of absolute sovereign power.  
Hereby God "hanged the earth upon nothing." But the foundation of  
the church is on this mysterious, immovable rock, "Thou art the  
Christ, the Son of the living God;" - on the most intimate  
conjunction of the two natures, the divine and human, in themselves  
infinitely distant, in the same person.  
 We may name one place wherein it is gloriously represented unto  
us, Isa. 9: 6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;  
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be  
called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting  
Father, The Prince of Peace." Here must the whole church fall down  
and worship the Author of this wonderful contrivance; and,  
captivating their understandings unto the obedience of faith, humbly  
adore what they cannot comprehend.  
 This was obscurely represented unto the church of old, Exod. 3: 2-  
6, "And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire  
out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush  
burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I  
will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not  
burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called  
unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And  
he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy  
shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon 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. 33: 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.  
2: 9, - of him who was "made flesh, and dwelt among us," John 1: 14.  
The eternal fire of the divine nature dwells in the bush of our  
frail nature, yet is it 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 wondrous 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 ]earned. My present business is only to stir up the minds of  
believers unto a due contemplations 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 judgement of the great apostle, they are but "loss  
and dung," Phil. 3: 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 judgement about them, in comparison of a view of  
this glory of Christ, Ps. 4: 6, "Many say, Who will show 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 thou 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 the lusts  
thereof;" as Rom. 13: 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 meantime, 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 despise? and for what?  
 Some, of more refined parts and notional minds, do arise unto a  
sedulous meditation on the works of creation and providence. Hence  
many excellent discourses on that subject, adorned with eloquence,  
are published among us? And a work this is worthy of our nature, and  
suited unto our rational capacities; yea, the first end of our  
natural endowment with them. But in all these things, there is no  
glory in comparison of what is proposed to us in the mysterious  
constitution of the person of Christ. The sun has no glory, the moon  
and stars no beauty, the order and influence of the heavenly bodies  
have no excellency, in comparison of it.  
 This is that which the Psalmist designs to declare, Pa 8, "0 LORD  
our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set  
thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work  
of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  
what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that  
thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the  
angels and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou made him to  
have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things  
under his feet."  
 He is engaged in a contemplation of the glory of God in his works;  
and he concludes that the fabric of heaven, with the moon and stars  
therein (for it was his meditation by night, when he beheld them),  
was exceeding glorious, and greatly to be admired. This casts his  
thoughts on the poor, weak, infirm nature of man, which seems as  
nothing in comparison of those glories above; but immediately hereon  
he falls into an admiration of the wisdom, goodness, and love of  
God, exalting that nature incomparably above all the works of  
creation in the person of Jesus Christ; as the apostle expounds this  
place, Heb. 2: 5, 6.  
 This, therefore, is the highest, the best, the most useful object  
of our thoughts and affections. He who has had a real view of this  
glory, though he know himself to be a poor, sinful, dying worm of  
the earth, yet would he not be an angel in heaven, if thereby he  
should lose the sight of it; for this is the centre wherein all the  
lines of the manifestation of the divine glory do meet and rest.  
 Look unto the things of this world, - wives, children,  
possessions, estates, power, friends, and honour; how amiable are  
they! how desirable unto the thoughts of the most of men! But he who  
has obtained a view of the glory of Christ, will, in the midst of  
them all, say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on  
earth that I desire besides thee," Ps. 73: 25; "For who in the  
heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the  
mighty can be likened unto the Lord?" Ps. 89: 6.  
 He himself, out of his infinite love and ineffable condescension,  
upon the sight and view of his church, and his own graces in her,  
wherewith she is adorned, does say, "Thou hast ravished my heart, my  
sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine  
eyes, with one chain of thy neck," Cant. 4: 9. How much more ought a  
believing soul, upon a view of the glory of Christ, in whom it  
pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, to say, Thou hast  
ravished my heart, taken it away from me! "O thou whom my soul  
loveth," one glance of thy glorious beauty upon me has quite  
overcome me, - hath left no heart in me unto things here below! If  
it be not thus with us frequently, - if we value not this object of  
our minds and affections, - if we are not diligent in looking up  
unto him to behold his glory, - it is because we are carnal, and not  
in any good measure partakers of the promise, that "our eyes shall  
see the King in his beauty."  
 2. Our second direction unto the same end is, that we diligently  
study the Scripture, and the revelations that are made of this glory  
of Christ therein. To behold it, is not a work of fancy or  
imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the art of  
men without, or that of our own fancy within, but of faith exercised  
on divine revelations. This direction he gives us himself, John 5:  
39, "Search the Scriptures; for they are they which testify of me."  
The way whereby this is done is fully set before us in the example  
of the holy prophets under the Old Testament, 1 Peter 1: ll-13.  
 This principle is always to be retained in our minds in reading of  
the Scripture, - namely, that the revelation and doctrine of the  
person of Christ and his office, is the foundation whereon all other  
instructions of the prophets and apostles for the edification of the  
church are built, and whereinto they are resolved; as is declared,  
Eph. 2: 20-22. So our Lord Jesus Christ himself at large makes it  
manifest, Luke 24: 26, 27, 45, 46. Lay aside the consideration  
hereof, and the Scriptures are no such thing as they pretend unto, -  
namely, a revelation of the glory of God in the salvation of the  
church; nor are those of the Old Testament so at this day unto the  
Jews, who own not this principle, 2 Cor. 3: 13-16. There are,  
therefore, such revelations of the person and glory of Christ  
treasured up in the Scripture, from the beginning unto the end of  
it, as may exercise the faith and contemplation of believers in this  
world, and shall never, during this life, be fully discovered or  
understood; and in divine meditations of these revelations does much  
of the life of faith consist.  
 There are three ways whereby the glory of Christ is represented  
unto us in the Scripture. First, By direct descriptions of his  
glorious person and incarnation. See, among other places, Gen. 3:  
15; Ps. 2: 7-9, 45: 2-6, 68: 17, 18, 110; Isa. 6: 1-4, 9: 6; Zech.  
3: 8; John 1: 1-3; Phil. 2: 6-8; Heb. 1: 1-3, 2: 14-16; Rev. 1: 17,  
18. Secondly, By prophecies, promises, and express instructions  
concerning him, all leading unto the contemplation of his glory,  
which are innumerable. Thirdly, By the sacred institutions of divine  
worship under the Old Testament: for the end of them all was to  
represent unto the church the glory of Christ in the discharge of  
his office; as we shall see afterward.  
 We may take notice of an instance in one kind under the Old  
Testament, and of one and another under the New.  
 His personal appearances under the Old Testament carried in them a  
demonstration of his glory. Such was that in the vision which Isaiah  
had, "when he saw his glory, and spake of him," chap. 6: 1, 2, "I  
saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his  
train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim," &c. It was a  
representation of the glory of the divine presence of Christ filling  
his human nature, the temple of his body, with a train of  
all-glorious graces. And if this typical representation of it was so  
glorious, as that the seraphim were not able steadfastly to behold  
it, but "covered their faces" upon its appearance, verse 2, how  
exceeding glorious is it in itself, as it is openly revealed in the  
 Of the same nature are the immediate testimonies given unto him  
from heaven in the New Testament. So the apostle tells us, "he  
received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such  
a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in  
whom I am well pleased," 2 Peter 1: 17. The apostle intends the time  
of his transfiguration in the mount; for so he adds, verse 18, "And  
this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in  
the holy mount." Howbeit, at sundry other times he had the same  
testimony, or to the same purpose, from God, even the Father, in  
heaven. Herein God gave him honour and glory, which all those that  
believe in him should behold and admire; not only those who heard  
this testimony with their bodily ears, but all unto whom it is  
testified in the Scripture, are obliged to look after, and  
contemplate on, the glory of Christ, as thus revealed and proposed.  
From the throne of his excellency, by audible voices, by visible  
signs, by the opening of the heavens above, by the descent of the  
Holy Spirit upon him, God testified unto him as his eternal Son, and  
gave him therein honour and glory. The thoughts of this divine  
testimony, and the glory of Christ therein, has often filled the  
hearts of some with Joy and delight.  
 This, therefore, in reading and studying the holy Scripture, we  
ought with all diligence to search and attend unto, as did the  
prophets of old (1 Peter 1: 11, 12), if we intend by them to be made  
"wise unto salvation." We should herein be as the merchant-man that  
seeks for pearls; he seeks for all sorts of them, but when he has  
found one of "great price," he parts with all to make it his own,  
Matt. 13: 46, 46. The Scripture is the field, the place, the mine  
where we search and dig for pearls. See Prov. 2: 1-6. Every sacred  
truth that is made effectual unto the good of our souls, is a pearl  
whereby we are enriched; but when we meet with, when we fall upon  
this pearl of price, the glory of Christ, - this is that which the  
soul of a believer cleaves unto with joy. Then do we find food for  
souls in the word of truth, then do we taste how gracious the Lord  
is therein, then is the Scripture full of refreshment unto us as a  
spring of living water, - when we are taken into blessed views of  
the glory of Christ therein. And we are in the best frame of duty,  
when the principal motive in our minds to contend earnestly for  
retaining the possession of the Scripture against all that would  
deprive us of it, or discourage us from a daily diligent search into  
it, is this, - that they would take from us the only glass wherein  
we may behold the glory of Christ. This is the glory of the  
Scripture, that it is the great, yea, the only, outward means of  
representing unto us the glory of Christ; and he is the sun in the  
firmament of it, which only has light in itself, and communicates it  
unto all other things besides.  
 3. Another direction unto this same end is, that having attained  
the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ from the  
Scripture, or by the dispensation of the truth in the preaching of  
the gospel, we would esteem it our duty frequently to meditate  
 Want hereof is that fundamental mistake which keeps many among us  
so low in their grace, so regardless of their privileges. They hear  
of these things, they assent unto their truth, at least they do not  
gainsay them; but they never solemnly meditate upon them. This they  
esteem a world that is above them, or are ignorant totally of it, or  
esteem themselves not much concerned in it, or dislike it as  
fanaticism. For it is that which no considerations can engage a  
canal mind to delight in. The mind must be spiritual and holy, freed  
from earthly affections and encumbrances, raised above things here  
below, that can in a due manner meditate on the glory of Christ.  
Therefore are the most strangers unto this duty, because they will  
not be at the trouble and charge of that mortification of earthly  
affections, - that extirpation of sensual inclinations, - that  
retirement from the occasions of life, which are required whereunto.  
See the treatise on Spiritual-mindedness  
 It is to be feared that there are some who profess religion with  
an appearance of strictness, who never separate themselves from all  
other occasions, to meditate on Christ and his glory; and yet, with  
a strange inconsistency of apprehensions, they will profess that  
they desire nothing more than to behold his glory in heaven for  
ever. But it is evident, even in the light of reason, that these  
things are irreconcilable. It is impossible that he who never  
meditates with delight on the glory of Christ here in this world,  
who labours not to behold it by faith as it is revealed in the  
Scripture, should ever have any real gracious desire to behold it in  
heaven. They may love and desire the fruition of their own  
imaginations; - they cannot do so of the glory of Christ, whereof  
they are ignorant, and wherewith they are unacquainted. It is,  
therefore, to be lamented that men can find time for, and have  
inclinations to think and meditate on, other things, it may be  
earthly and vain; but have neither heart, nor inclination, nor  
leisure, to meditate on this glorious object. What is the faith and  
love which such men profess? How will they find themselves deceived  
in the issue!  
 4. Let your occasional thoughts of Christ be many, and multiplied  
every day. He is not far from us; we may make a speedy address unto  
him at any time. So the apostle informs us, Rom. 10: 6-8, "Say not  
in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring  
Christ down from above;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that  
is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)" For "the word is nigh  
thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart." The things that Christ  
did were done at a distance from us, and they are long since past.  
But, saith the apostle, "The word" of the Gospel wherein these  
things are revealed, and whereby an application is made of them unto  
our souls, is nigh unto us, even in our hearts; that is, if we are  
true believers, and have mixed the word with faith, - and so it  
exhibiteth Christ and all the benefits of his mediation unto us. If,  
therefore, this word is in our hearts, Christ is nigh unto us. If we  
turn at any time into ourselves to converse with the word that  
abideth in us, there we shall find him ready to receive us into  
communion with himself; that is, in the light of the knowledge of  
Christ which we have by the word, we may have sudden, occasional  
thoughts of him continually: and where our minds and affections are  
so filled with other things that we are not ready for converse with  
him who is thus nigh unto us by the word, we are spiritually  
 So, to manifest how nigh he is unto us, it is said that "he stands  
at the door, and knocks," Rev. 3: 20, in the continual tender that  
he makes of himself and his grace unto our souls. For he is always  
accompanied with the glorious train of his graces; and if they are  
not received, he himself is not so. It is to no purpose to boast of  
Christ, if we have not an evidence of his graces in our hearts and  
lives. But unto whom he is the hope of future glory, unto them he is  
the life of present grace.  
 Sometimes it may be that He is withdrawn from us, so as that we  
cannot hear his voice, nor behold his countenance, nor obtain any  
sense of his love, though we seek him with diligence. In this state,  
all our thoughts and meditations concerning him will be barren and  
fruitless, bringing in no spiritual refreshment into our souls. And  
if we learn to be content with such lifeless, unaffecting thoughts  
of him as bring in no experience of his love, nor give us a real  
view of the glory of his person, we shall wither away as unto all  
the power of religion.  
 What is our duty in this case is so fully expressed by the spouse  
in the Canticles, as represents it plainly unto the minds of  
believers, who have any experience of these things, chap. 3: 1-4,  
"By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him,  
but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the  
streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth:  
I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the  
city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It  
was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my  
soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go." The like account  
she gives of herself, and of her behaviour on the like occasion,  
chap. 5: 2-8.  
 This is the substance of what by this example we are instructed  
unto. The Lord Christ is pleased sometimes to withdraw himself from  
the spiritual experience of believers; as to any refreshing sense of  
his love, or the fresh communications of consolatory graces. Those  
who never had experience of any such thing, who never had any  
refreshing communion with him, cannot be sensible of his absence; -  
they never were so of his presence. But those whom he has visited, -  
to whom he has given of his loves, - with whom he has made his  
abode, - whom he has refreshed, relieved, and comforted, - in whom  
he has lived in the power of his grace, - they know what it is to be  
forsaken by him, though but for a moment. And their trouble is  
increased, when they seek him with diligence in the wonted ways of  
obtaining his presence, and cannot find him. Our duty, in this case,  
is to persevere in our inquiries after him, in prayer, meditation,  
mourning, reading and hearing of the Word, in all ordinances of  
divine worship, private and public, in diligent obedience, - until  
we find him, or he return unto us, as in former days.  
 It were well if all churches and professors now would manifest the  
same diligence herein as did the church of old in this example. Many  
of them, if they are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,  
cannot but be sensible that the Lord Christ is variously withdrawn  
from them, if ever they had experience of the power of his presence.  
Yet are the generality of them far from the frame of heart here  
described in the spouse; for they are slothful, careless, negligent,  
and stir not up themselves to inquire after him, or his return unto  
their souls. So was it with Laodicea of old, so was it with Sardis,  
and so it is to be feared that it is with many at present. But to  
 Generally, Christ is nigh unto believers, and of a ready access;  
and the principal acting of the life of faith consist in the  
frequency of our thoughts concerning him; for hereby Christ liveth  
in us, as he is said to do, Gal. 2: 20. This we cannot do, unless we  
have frequent thoughts of him and converse with him. It is often  
said among men, that one lives in another; this cannot be but where  
the affections of one are so engaged unto another, that night and  
day he thinks of him, and is thereby, as it were, present with him.  
So ought it to be between Christ and believers. He dwells in them by  
faith; but the acting of this life in them (as wherever life is, it  
will be in act and exercise) are proportionable unto their thoughts  
of him, and delight in him.  
 If, therefore, we would behold the glory of Christ, the present  
direction is, that on all occasions, and frequently when there are  
no occasions for it by the performance of other duties, we would  
abound in thoughts of him and his glory. I intend not at present  
fixed and stated meditations, which were spoken unto before; but  
such thoughts as are more transient, according as our opportunities  
are. And a great rebuke it ought to be unto us, when Christ has at  
any time in a day been long out of our minds. The spouse affirms  
that, ere she was aware, her soul made her as the chariots of  
Ammi-nadib, Cant. 6: 12. It so fell out, that when she had no  
thoughts, no design or purpose, for attendance on communion with  
Christ, that she was surprised into a readiness and willingness unto  
it. So it will be with them that love him in sincerity. Their own  
souls, without previous designs or outward occasions, will  
frequently engage them in holy thoughts of him; which is the most  
eminent character of a truly spiritual Christian.  
 5. The next direction is, that all our thoughts concerning Christ  
and his glory should be accompanied with admiration, adoration, and  
thanksgiving. For this is such an object of our thoughts and  
affections as, in this life, we can never fully comprehend, - an  
ocean whose depths we cannot look into. If we are spiritually  
renewed, all the faculties of our souls are enabled by grace to  
exert their respective powers towards this glorious object. This  
must be done in various duties, by the exercise of various graces,  
as they are to be acted by the distinct powers of the faculties of  
our minds. This is that which is intended where we are commanded "to  
love the Lord with all our souls, with all our minds, with all our  
strength" All the distinct powers of our souls are to be acted by  
distinct graces and duties in cleaving unto God by love. In heaven,  
when we are come to our centre, that state of rest and blessedness  
which our nature is ultimately capable of, nothing but one infinite,  
invariable object of our minds and affections, received by vision,  
can render that state uninterrupted and unchangeable. But whilst we  
are here we know or see but in part, and we must also act our faith  
and love on part of that glory, which is not at once entirely  
proposed unto us, and which as yet we cannot comprehend. Wherefore  
we must act various graces in great variety about it; - some at one  
time, some at another, according unto the powers of all our renewed  
faculties. Of this sort are those mentioned of adoration,  
admiration, and thanksgiving; which are those acts of our minds  
wherein all others do issue when the object is incomprehensible. For  
unto them we are enabled by grace.  
 One end of his illustrious coming unto the judgement of the last  
day is, that he may be "admired in all them that believe," 2 Thess.  
1: 10. Even believers themselves shall be filled with an  
overwhelming admiration upon his glorious appearance. Or if the  
meaning be, not that he shall be admired by them, but admired in  
them, because of the mighty works of his grace and power in their  
redemption, sanctification, resurrection, and glory, it is to the  
same purpose, - he "comes to be admired." And, according to the  
prospect which we have of that glory ought our admiration to be.  
 And this admiration will issue in adoration and thanksgiving;  
whereof we have an eminent instance and example in the whole church  
of the redeemed, Rev. 5: 9-14, "They sung a new song, saying, Thou  
art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou  
wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every  
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto  
our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I  
beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne,  
and of the living creatures, and of the elders: and the number of  
them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of  
thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was  
slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and  
honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in  
heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in  
the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and  
honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the  
throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."  
 The design of this Discourse is no more, but that when by faith we  
have attained a view of the glory of Christ, in our contemplations  
on his person, we should not pass it over as a notion of truth which  
we assent unto, - namely, that he is thus glorious in himself, - but  
endeavour to affect our hearts with it, as that wherein our own  
principal interest does lie; wherein it will be effectual unto the  
transformation of our souls into his image.  
 But some, it may be, will say, at least I fear some may truly say,  
that these things do not belong unto them; they do not find that  
ever they had any benefit by them: they hope to be saved as well as  
others by the mediation of Christ; but as to this beholding of his  
glory by constant meditation and acting of faith therein, they know  
nothing of it, nor are concerned in it. The doctrine which they are  
taught out of the Scripture concerning the person of Christ, they  
give their assent unto; but his glory they hope they shall see in  
another world; - here they never yet inquired after it.  
 So it will be. It is well if these things be not only neglected,  
because the minds of men are carnal, and cannot discern spiritual  
things, but also despised, because they have an enmity unto them. It  
is not for all to walk in these retired paths; - not for them who  
are negligent and slothful whose minds are earthly and carnal. Nor  
can they herein sit at the feet of Christ with Mary when she chose  
the better part, who, like Martha, are cumbered about many things  
here in this world. Those whose principal design is to add unto  
their present enjoyments (in the midst of the prosecution whereof  
they are commonly taken from them, so as that their thoughts do  
perish, because not accomplished) will never understand these  
things. Much less will they do so, whose work it is to make  
provision for the flesh, to fulfil it in the lusts thereof.  
 They must make it their design to be heavenly-minded who will find  
a relish in these things. Those who are strangers unto holy  
meditation in general will be strangers unto this mystery in a  
peculiar manner.  
 Some men can think of the world, of their relations, and the  
manifold occasions of life; but as unto the things that are above,  
and within the veil, they are not concerned in them.  
 With some it is otherwise. They profess their desire to behold the  
glory of Christ by faith; but they find it, as they complain, too  
high and difficult for them. They are at a loss in their minds, and  
even overwhelmed, when they begin to view his glory. They are like  
the disciples who saw him in his transfiguration; - they were filled  
with amazement, and knew not what to say, or said they knew not  
what. And I do acknowledge, that the weakness of our minds in the  
comprehension of this eternal glory of Christ, and their instability  
in meditations thereon, whence we cannot steadfastly look on it or  
behold it, gives us an afflicting, abasing consideration of our  
present state and condition. And I shall say no more unto this case  
but this alone: When faith can no longer hold open the eyes of our  
understandings unto the beholding the Sun of Righteousness shining  
in his beauty, nor exercise orderly thoughts about this  
incomprehensible object, it will retake itself unto that holy  
admiration which we have spoken unto; and therein it will put itself  
forth in pure acts of love and complacency. 

(continued in file 4... )

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-03.txt