(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 5)

(... continued from File 4)

Chapter 5. The Glory of Christ in this Love.  
 In the susception and discharge of the mediatory office by the Son  
of God, the Scripture does most eminently represent, -  
 II. His Love, as the sole impelling and leading cause thereof,  
Gal. 2: 20; 1 John 3: 16; Rev. 1: 5.  
 Herein is he glorious, in a way and manner incomprehensible; for  
in the glory of divine love the chief brightness of glory does  
consist. There is nothing of dread or terror accompanying it, -  
nothing but what is amiable and infinitely refreshing. Now, that we  
may take a view of the glory of Christ herein by faith, the nature  
of it must be inquired into.  
 1. The eternal disposing cause of the whole work wherein the Lord  
Christ was engaged by the susception of this office, for the  
redemption and salvation of the church, is the love of the Father.  
Hereunto it is constantly ascribed in the Scripture. And this love  
of the Father acted itself in his eternal decrees, "before the  
foundation of the world," Eph. 1: 4; and afterward in the sending of  
his Son to render it effectual, John 3: 16. Originally, it is his  
eternal election of a portion of mankind to be brought unto the  
enjoyment of himself, through the mystery of the blood of Christ,  
and the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess. 2: 13,16; Eph. 1:9; 1  
Peter 1: 2.  
 This eternal act of the will of God the Father does not contain in  
it an actual approbation of, and complacency in, the state and  
condition of those that are elected; but only designeth that for  
them on the account whereof they shall be accepted and approved. And  
it is called his love on sundry accounts.  
 (1.) Because it is an act suited unto that glorious excellency of  
his nature wherein he is love; for "God is love," 1 John 4: 8, 9.  
And the first egress of the divine properties must, therefore, be in  
an act of communicative love. And whereas this election, being an  
eternal act of the will of God, can have no moving cause but what is  
in himself, - if we could look into all the treasures of the divine  
excellencies, we should find none whereunto it could be so properly  
ascribed as unto love. Wherefore, -  
 (2.) It is styled Love, because it was free and undeserved, as  
unto anything on our part; for whatever good is done unto any  
altogether undeserved, if it be with a design of their profit and  
advantage, it is an set of love, and can have no other cause. So is  
it with us in respect of eternal election. There was nothing in us,  
nothing foreseen, as that which, from ourselves, would be in us,  
that should any way move the will of God unto this election; for  
whatever is good in the best of men is an effect of it, Eph. 1: 4.  
Whereas, therefore, it tends unto our eternal good, the spring of it  
must be love. And, -  
 (3.) The fruits or effects of it are inconceivable sets of love.  
It is by multiplied acts of love that it is made effectual; John 3:  
16; Jer. 31: 3; Eph. 1: 3-6; 1 John 4: 8, 9, 16.  
 2. This is the eternal spring which is derived unto the church  
through the mediation of Christ. Wherefore, that which put all the  
design of this eternal love of the Father into execution, and  
wrought out the accomplishment of it, was the love of the Son, which  
we inquire after; and light may be given unto it in the ensuing  
observations: -  
 (1.) The whole number or society of the elect were creatures made  
in the image of God, and thereby in a state of love with him. All  
that they were, had, or hoped for, were effects of divine goodness  
and love. And the life of their souls was love unto God. And a  
blessed state it was, preparatory for the eternal life of love in  
 (2.) From this state they fell by sin into a state of enmity with  
God; which is comprehensive of all miseries, temporal and eternal.  
 (3.) Notwithstanding this woeful catastrophe of our first state,  
yet our nature, on many accounts, was recoverable unto the enjoyment  
of God; as I have at large elsewhere declared.  
 (4.) In this condition, the first act of love in Christ towards us  
was in pity and compassion. A creature made in the image of God, and  
fallen into misery, yet capable of recovery, is the proper object of  
divine compassion. That which is so celebrated in the Scripture, as  
the bowels, the pity, the compassion of God, is the acting of divine  
love towards us on the consideration of our distress and misery. But  
all compassion ceaseth towards them whose condition is  
irrecoverable. Wherefore the Lord Christ pitied not the angels that  
fell, because their nature was not to be relieved. Of this  
compassion in Christ, see Heb. 2: 14-16; Isa. 63: 9.  
 (5.) As then we lay under the eye of Christ in our misery, we were  
the objects of his pity and compassion; but as he looketh on us as  
recoverable out of that state, his love worketh in and by delight.  
It was an inconceivable delight unto him, to take a prospect of the  
deliverance of mankind unto the glory of God; which is also an act  
of love. See this divinely expressed, Prov. 8: 30, 31, as that place  
has been elsewhere explained.  
 (6.) If it be inquired, whence this compassion and delight in him  
should arise, what should be the cause of them, that he who was  
eternally blessed in his own self-sufficiency should so deeply  
concern himself in our lost, forlorn condition? I say it did so  
merely from the infinite love and goodness of his own nature,  
without the least procuring inducement from us or any thing in us,  
Tit. 3: 5.  
 (7.) In this his readiness, willingness, and delight, springing  
from love and compassion, the counsel of God concerning the way of  
our recovery is, as it were, proposed unto him. Now, this was a way  
of great difficulties and perplexities unto himself, - that is, unto  
his person as it was to be constituted. To the divine nature nothing  
is grievous, - nothing is difficult; but he was to have another  
nature, wherein he was to undergo the difficulties of this way and  
work. It was required of him that he should pity us until he had  
none left to pity himself when he stood in need of it, - that he  
should pursue his delight to save us until his own soul was heavy  
and sorrowful unto death, - that he should relieve us in our  
sufferings by suffering the same things that we should have done.  
But he was not in the least hereby deterred from undertaking this  
work of love and mercy for us; yea, his love rose on this proposal  
like the waters of a mighty stream against opposition. For hereon he  
says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God;" - it is my delight to do  
it, Heb. 10: 5-7; Isa. 50: 5-7.  
 (8.) Being thus inclined, disposed, and ready, in the eternal love  
of his divine person, to undertake the office of mediation and the  
work of our redemption, a body was prepared for him. In this body or  
human nature, made his own, he was to make this love effectual in  
all its inclinations and acting. It was provided for him unto this  
end, and filled with all grace in a way unmeasurable, especially  
with fervent love unto mankind. And hereby it became a meet  
instrument to actuate his eternal love in all the fruits of it.  
 (9.) It is hence evident, that this glorious love of Christ does  
not consist alone in the eternal acting of his divine person, or the  
divine nature in his person. Such, indeed, is the love of the  
Father, - namely, his eternal purpose for the communication of grace  
and glory, with his acquiescence therein; but there is more in the  
love of Christ. For when he exercised this love he was man also, and  
not God only. And in none of those eternal acts of love could the  
human nature of Christ have any interest or concern; yet is the love  
of the man Christ Jesus celebrated in the Scripture.  
 (10.) Wherefore this love of Christ which we inquire after is the  
love of his person, - that is, which he in his own person acts in  
and by his distinct natures, according unto their distinct essential  
properties. And the acts of love in these distinct natures are  
infinitely distinct and different; yet are they all acts of one and  
the same person. So, then, whether that act of love in Christ which  
we would at any time consider, be an eternal act of the divine  
nature in the person of the Son of God; or whether it be an act of  
the human, performed in time by the gracious faculties and powers of  
that nature, it is still the love of one and the self same person, -  
Christ Jesus.  
 It was an act of inexpressible love in him, that he assumed our  
nature, Heb. 2: 14, 17. But it was an act in and of his divine  
nature only; for it was antecedent unto the existence of his human  
nature, which could not, therefore, concur therein. His laying down  
his life for us was an act of inconceivable love, 1 John 3: 16. Yet  
was it only an act of the human nature, wherein he offered himself  
and died. But both the one and the other were acts of his divine  
person; whence it is said that God laid down his life for us, and  
purchased the church with his own blood.  
 This is that love of Christ wherein he is glorious, and wherein we  
are by faith to behold his glory. A great part of the blessedness of  
the saints in heaven, and their triumph therein, consists in their  
beholding of this glory of Christ, - in their thankful contemplation  
of the fruits of it. See Rev. 5: 9, 10, &c.  
 The illustrious brightness wherewith this glory shines in heaven,  
the all-satisfying sweetness which the view of it gives unto the  
souls of the saints there possessed of glory, are not by us  
conceivable, nor to be expressed. Here, this love passeth knowledge,  
- there, we shall comprehend the dimensions of it. Yet even here, if  
we are not slothful and carnal, we may have a refreshing prospect of  
it; and where comprehension fails, let admiration take place.  
 My present business is, to exhort others unto the contemplation of  
it, though it be but a little, a very little, a small portion of it,  
that I can conceive; and less than that very little that I can  
express. Yet may it be my duty to excite not only myself, but others  
also, unto due inquiries after it; unto which end I offer the things  
 1. Labour that your minds may continually be fitted and prepared  
for such heavenly contemplations. If they are carnal and sensual, or  
need with earthly things, a due sense of this love of Christ and its  
glory will not abide in them. Virtue and vice, in their highest  
degrees, are not more diametrically opposite and inconsistent in the  
same mind, than are a habitual course of sensual, worldly thoughts  
and a due contemplation of the glory of the love of Christ; yea, an  
earnestness of spirit, pregnant with a multitude of thoughts about  
the lawful occasions of life, is obstructive of all due communion  
with the Lord Jesus Christ herein.  
 Few there are whose minds are prepared in a due manner for this  
duty. The actions and communications of the most evidence what is  
the inward frame of their souls. They rove up and down in their  
thoughts, which are continually led by their affections into the  
corners of the earth. It is in vain to call such persons unto  
contemplations of the glory of Christ in his love. A holy composure  
of mind, by virtue of spiritual principles, an inclination to seek  
after refreshment in heavenly things, and to bathe the soul in the  
fountain of them, with constant apprehensions of the excellency of  
this divine glory, are required hereunto.  
 2. Be not satisfied with general notions concerning the love of  
Christ, which represent no glory unto the mind, wherewith many  
deceive themselves. All who believe his divine person, profess a  
valuation of his love, - and think them not Christians who are  
otherwise minded; but they have only general notions, and not any  
distinct conceptions of it, and really know not what it is. To  
deliver us from this snare, peculiar meditations on its principal  
concerns are required of us.  
 (1.) Whose love it is, - namely, of the divine person of the Son  
of God. He is expressly called God, with respect unto the exercise  
of this love, that we may always consider whose it is, 1 John 3: 16,  
"Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life  
for us."  
 (2.) By what ways and means this wonderful love of the Son of God  
does act itself, - namely, in the divine nature, by eternal acts of  
wisdom, goodness, and grace proper thereunto; and in the human, by  
temporary acts of pity or compassion, with all the fruits of them in  
doing and suffering for us. See Eph 3: 19; Heb. 2: 14, 15; Rev. 1:  
 (3.) What is the freedom of it, as to any desert on our part, 1  
John 4: 10. It was hatred, not love, that we in ourselves deserved;  
which is a consideration suited to fill the soul with  
self-abasement, - the best of frames in the contemplation of the  
glory of Christ.  
 (4.) What is the efficacy of it in its fruits and effects, with  
sundry other considerations of the like nature.  
 By a distinct prospect and admiration of these things, the soul  
may walk in this paradise of God, and gather here and there a  
heavenly flower, conveying unto it a sweet savour of the love of  
Christ. See Cant. 2: 2-4.  
 Moreover, be not contented to have right notions of the love of  
Christ in your minds, unless you can attain a gracious taste of it  
in your hearts; no more than you would be to see a feast or banquet  
richly prepared, and partake of nothing of it unto your refreshment.  
It is of that nature that we may have a spiritual sensation of it in  
our minds; whence it is compared by the spouse to apples and flagons  
of wine. We may taste that the Lord is gracious; and if we find not  
a relish of it in our hearts, we shall not long retain the notion of  
it in our minds. Christ is the meat, the bread, the food of our  
souls. Nothing is in him of a higher spiritual nourishment than his  
love, which we should always desire.  
 In this love is he glorious; for it is such as no creatures,  
angels or men, could have the least conceptions of, before its  
manifestation by its effects; and, after its manifestation, it is in  
this world absolutely incomprehensible. 

(continued in file 6... )

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-05.txt