(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 6)

(... continued from File 5)

Chapter 6. The Glory of Christ in the Discharge of his Mediatory  
 Secondly, As the Lord Christ was glorious in the susception of his  
office, so was he also in its discharge.  
 An unseen glory accompanied him in all that he did, in all that he  
suffered. Unseen it was unto the eyes of the world, but not in His  
who alone can judge of it. Had men seen it, they would net have  
crucified the Lord of glory. Yet to some of them it was made  
manifest. Hence they testified that, in the discharge of his office,  
they "beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the  
Father," John 1:14; and that when other could see neither "form nor  
comeliness in him that he should be desired," Isa. 53: 2. And so it  
is at this day. I shall only make some few observations; first, on  
what he did in a way of obedience; and then on what he suffered in  
the discharge of his office so undertaken by him.  
 I. What he did, what obedience he yielded unto the law of God in  
the discharge of his office (with respect whereunto he said, "Lo, I  
come to do thy will, O God; yea, thy law is in my heart"), it was  
all on his own free choice or election, and was resolved whereinto  
alone. It is our duty to endeavour after freedom, willingness, and  
cheerfulness in all our obedience. Obedience has its formal nature  
from our wills. So much as there is of our wills in what we do  
towards God, so much there is of obedience, and no more. Howbeit we  
are, antecedently unto all acts of our own wills, obliged unto all  
that is called obedience. From the very constitution of our natures  
we are necessarily subject unto the law of God. All that is left  
unto us is a voluntary compliance with unavoidable commands; with  
him it was not so. An act of his own will and choice preceded all  
obligation as unto obedience. He obeyed because he would, before  
because he ought. He said, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God,"  
before he was obliged to do that will. By his own choice, and that  
in an act of infinite condescension and love, as we have showed, he  
was "made of a woman," and thereby "made under the law." In his  
divine person he was Lord of the law, - above it, - no more  
obnoxious unto its commands than its curse. Neither was he  
afterwards in himself, on his own account, unobnoxious unto its  
curse merely because he was innocent, but also because he was every  
way above the law itself, and all its force.  
 This was the original glory of his obedience. This wisdom, the  
grace, the love, the condescension that was in this choice, animated  
every act, every duty of his obedience, - rendering it amiable in  
the sight of God, and useful unto us. So, when he went to John to be  
baptised, he, who knew he had no need of it on his own account,  
would have declined the duty of administering that ordinance unto  
him; but he replied, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh  
us to fulfil all righteousness," Matt. 3: 15. This I have undertaken  
willingly, of my own accord, without any need of it for myself, and  
therefore will discharge it. For him, who was Lord of all  
universally, thus to submit himself to universal obedience, carrieth  
along with it an evidence of glorious grace.  
 2. This obedience, as unto the use and end of it, was not for  
himself, but for us. We were obliged unto it, and could not perform  
it; - he was not obliged unto it any otherwise but by a free act of  
his own will, and did perform it. God gave him this honour, that he  
should obey for the whole church, - that by "his obedience many  
should be made righteous," Rom. 5: 19. Herein, I say, did God give  
him honour and glory, that his obedience should stand in the stead  
of the perfect obedience of the church as unto justification.  
 3. His obedience being absolutely universal, and absolutely  
perfect, was the great representative of the holiness of God in the  
law. It was represented glorious when the ten words were written by  
the finger of God in tables of stone; it appears yet more eminently  
in the spiritual transcription of it in the hearts of believers: but  
absolutely and perfectly it is exemplified only in the holiness and  
obedience of Christ, which answered it unto the utmost. And this is  
no small part of his glory in obedience, that the holiness of God in  
the law was therein, and therein alone, in that one instance, as  
unto human nature, fully represented.  
 4. He wrought out this obedience against all difficulties and  
oppositions. For although he was absolutely free from that disorder  
which in us has invaded our whole natures, which internally renders  
all obedience difficult unto us, and perfect obedience impossible;  
yet as unto opposition from without, in temptations, sufferings,  
reproaches, contradictions, he met with more than we all. Hence is  
that glorious word, "although he were a Son, yet learned he  
obedience by the things which he suffered," Heb.5: 8. See our  
exposition of that place. But, -  
 5. The glory of this obedience ariseth principally from the  
consideration of the person who thus yielded it unto God. This was  
no other but the Son of God made man, - God and man in one person.  
He who was in heaven, above all, Lord of all, at the same time lived  
in the world in a condition of no reputation, and a course of the  
strictest obedience unto the whole law of God. He unto whom prayer  
was made, prayed himself night and day. He whom all the angels of  
heaven and all creatures worshipped, was continually conversant in  
all the duties of the worship of God. He who was over the house,  
diligently observed the meanest office of the house. He that made  
all men, in whose hand they are all as clay in the hand of the  
potter, observed amongst them the strictest rules of justice, in  
giving unto every one his due; and of charity, in giving good things  
that were not so due. This is that which renders the obedience of  
Christ in the discharge of his office both mysterious and glorious.  
 II. Again, the glory of Christ is proposed unto us in what he  
suffered in the discharge of the office which he had undertaken.  
There belonged, indeed, unto his office, victory, success, and  
triumph with great glory, Isa. 63: 1-5; but there were sufferings  
also required of him antecedently thereunto: "Ought not Christ to  
suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?"  
 But such were these sufferings of Christ, as that in our thoughts  
about them our minds quickly recoil in a sense of their  
insufficiency to conceive aright of them. Never any one launched  
into this ocean with his meditations, but he quickly found himself  
unable to fathom the depths of it; nor shall I here undertake an  
inquiry into them. I shall only point at this spring of glory, and  
leave it under a veil.  
 We might here look on him as under the weight of the wrath of God,  
and the curse of the law; taking on himself, and on his whole soul,  
the utmost of evil that God had ever threatened to sin or sinners.  
We might look on him in his agony and bloody sweat, in his strong  
cries and supplications, when he was sorrowful unto the death, and  
began to be amazed, in apprehensions of the things that were coming  
on him, - of that dreadful trial which he was entering into. We  
might look upon him conflicting with all the powers of darkness, the  
rage and madness of men, suffering in his soul, his body, his name,  
his reputation, his goods, his life; some of these sufferings being  
immediate from God above, others from devils and wicked men, acting  
according to the determinate counsel of God. We might look on him  
praying, weeping, crying out, bleeding, dying, - in all things  
making his soul an offering for sin; so was he "taken from prison,  
and from judgement: and who shall declare his generation? for he was  
cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression," says  
God, "of my people was he smitten," Isa. 53: 8. But these things I  
shall not insist on in particular, but leave them under such a veil  
as may give us a prospect into them, so far as to fill our souls  
with holy admiration.  
 Lord, what is man, that thou art thus mindful of him? and the son  
of man, that thou visitest him? Who has known thy mind, or who has  
been thy counsellor? 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! What shall we say unto these things? That God  
spared not his only Son, but gave him up unto death, and all the  
evils included therein, for such poor, lost sinners as we were; -  
that for our sakes the eternal Son of God should submit himself unto  
all the evils that our natures are obnoxious unto, and that our sins  
had deserved, that we might be delivered!  
 How glorious is the Lord Christ on this account, in the eyes of  
believers! When Adam had sinned, and thereby eternally, according  
unto the sanction of the law, ruined himself and all his posterity,  
he stood ashamed, afraid, trembling, as one ready to perish for  
ever, under the displeasure of God. Death was that which he had  
deserved, and immediate death was that which he looked for. In this  
state the Lord Christ in the promise comes unto him, and says, Poor  
creature! How woeful is thy condition! how deformed is thy  
appearance! What is become of the beauty, of the glory of that image  
of God wherein thou wast created? How hast thou taken on thee the  
monstrous shape and image of Satan? And yet thy present misery, thy  
entrance into dust and darkness, is no way to be compared with what  
is to ensue. Eternal distress lies at the door. But yet look up once  
more, and behold me, that thou mayest have some glimpse of what is  
in the designs of infinite wisdom, love, and grace. Come forth from  
thy vain shelter, thy hiding-place I will put myself into thy  
condition. I will undergo and bear that burden of guilt and  
punishment which would sink thee eternally into the bottom of hell.  
I will pay that which I never took; and be made temporally a curse  
for thee, that thou mayest attain unto eternal blessedness. To the  
same purpose he speaks unto convinced sinners, in the invitation he  
gives them to come unto him.  
 Thus is the Lord Christ set forth in the Gospel, "evidently  
crucified" before our eyes, Gal. 3: 1, - namely, in the  
representation that is made of his glory, - in the sufferings he  
underwent for the discharge of the office he had undertaken. Let us,  
then, behold him as poor, despised, persecuted, reproached, reviled,  
hanged on a tree, - in all, labouring under a sense of the wrath of  
God due unto our sins. Unto this end are they recorded in the  
gospel, - read, preached, and presented unto us. But what can we see  
herein? - what glory is in these things? Are not these the things  
which all the world of Jews and gentiles stumbled and took offence  
at? - those wherein he was appointed to be a stone of stumbling and  
a rock of offence? Was it not esteemed a foolish thing, to look for  
help and deliverance by the miseries of another? - to look for life  
by his death? The apostle declares at large that such it was  
esteemed, 1 Cor. 1. So was it in the wisdom of the world. But even  
on the account of these things is he honourable, glorious, and  
precious in the sight of them that do believe, 1 Pet. 2: 6, 7. For  
even herein he was "the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor.  
1: 24. And the apostle declares at large the grounds and reasons of  
the different thoughts and apprehensions of men concerning the cross  
and sufferings of Christ, 2 Cor. 4: 3-6. 

(continued in file 7... )

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-06.txt