(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 8)

(... continued from File 7)

Chapter 8. Representations of the Glory of Christ under the Old  
 It is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, "beginning at Moses and  
all the prophets, he declared unto his disciples in all the  
Scriptures the things concerning himself," Luke 24: 27. It is  
therefore manifest that Moses, and the Prophets, and all the  
Scriptures, do give testimony unto him and his glory. This is the  
line of life and light which runs through the whole Old Testament;  
without the conduct whereof we can understand nothing aright  
therein: and the neglect hereof is that which makes many as blind in  
reading the books of it as are the Jews, - the veil being upon their  
minds. It is faith alone, discovering the glory of Christ, that can  
remove that veil of darkness which covers the minds of men in  
reading the Old Testament, as the apostle declares, 2 Cor. 3: 14-16.  
I shall, therefore, consider briefly some of those ways and means  
whereby the glory of Christ was represented unto believers under the  
Old Testament.  
 1. It was so in the institution of the beautiful worship of the  
law, with all the means of it. Herein have they the advantage above  
all the splendid ceremonies that men can invent in the outward  
worship of God; they were designed and framed in Divine wisdom to  
represent the glory of Christ, in his person and his office. This  
nothing of human invention can do, or once pretend unto. Men cannot  
create mysteries, nor can give unto anything natural in itself a  
mystical signification. But so it was in the old divine  
institutions. What were the tabernacle and temple? What was the holy  
place with the utensil of it? What was the oracle, the ark, the  
cherubim, the mercy-seat, placed therein? What was the high priest  
in all his vestments and administrations? What were the sacrifices  
and annual sprinkling of blood in the most holy place? What was the  
whole system of their religious worship? Were they anything but  
representations of Christ in the glory of his person and his office?  
They were a shadow, and the body represented by that shadow was  
Christ. If any would see how the Lord Christ was in particular  
foresignified and represented in them, he may peruse our exposition  
on the 9th chapter of the Epistle unto the Hebrews, where it is  
handled so at large as that I shall not here again insist upon it.  
The sum is, "Moses was faithful in all the house of God, for a  
testimony of those things which were to be spoken afterward," Heb.  
3: 5. All that Moses did in the erection of the tabernacle, and the  
institution of all its services, was but to give an antecedent  
testimony by way of representation, unto the things of Christ that  
were afterward to be revealed. And that also was the substance of  
the ministry of the prophets, 1 Pet. 1: 11,12. The dark  
apprehensions of the glory of Christ, which by these means they  
obtained, were the life of the church of old.  
 2. It was represented in the mystical account which is given us of  
his communion with his church in love and grace. As this is  
intimated in many places of Scripture, so there is one entire book  
designed unto its declaration. This is the divine Song of Solomon,  
who was a type of Christ, and a penman of the Holy Ghost therein A  
gracious record it is of the divine communications of Christ in love  
and grace unto his church, with their returns of love unto him, and  
delight in him. And then may a man judge himself to have somewhat  
profited in the experience of the mystery of a blessed intercourse  
and communion with Christ, when the expressions of them in that holy  
dialogue do give light and life unto his mind, and efficaciously  
communicate unto him an experience of their power. But because these  
things are little understood by many, the book itself is much  
neglected, if not despised; yea, to such impudence have some  
arrived, in foaming out their own shame, as that they have ridiculed  
the expressions of it. But we are foretold of such mockers in the  
last days, that should walk after their own ungodly lusts; they are  
not of our present consideration.  
 The former instance of the representations of the glory of Christ  
in their institutions of outward worship, with this record of the  
inward communion they had with Christ in grace, faith, and love,  
gives us the substance of that view which they had of his glory.  
What holy strains of delight and admiration, what raptures of joy,  
what solemn and divine complacency, what ardency of affection, and  
diligence in attendance unto the means of enjoying communion with  
him, this discovery of the glory of Christ wrought in the souls of  
them that did believe, is emphatically expressed in that discourse.  
A few days, a few hours spent in the frame characterised in it, is a  
blessedness excelling all the treasures of the earth; and if we,  
whose revelations of the same glory do far exceed theirs, should be  
found to come short of them in ardency of affection unto Christ, and  
continual holy admiration of his excellencies, we shall one day be  
judged unworthy to have received them.  
 3. It was so represented and made known under the Old Testament,  
in his personal appearances on various occasions unto several  
eminent persons, leaders of the church in their generations This he  
did as a praeludium to his incarnation. He was as yet God only; but  
appeared in the assumed shape of a man, to signify what he would be.  
He did not create a human nature, and unite it unto himself for such  
a season; only by his divine power he acted the shape of a man  
composed of what ethereal substance he pleased, immediately to be  
dissolved. So he appeared to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua,  
and others; as I have at large elsewhere proved and confirmed. And  
hereon, also, because he was the divine person who dwelt in and  
dwelt with the church, under the Old Testament, from first to last,  
in so doing he constantly assumes unto himself human affections, to  
intimate that a season would come when he would immediately act in  
that nature. And, indeed, after the fall there is nothing spoken of  
God in the Old Testament, nothing of his institutions, nothing of  
the way and manner of dealing with the church, but what has respect  
unto the future incarnation of Christ. And it had been absurd to  
bring in God under perpetual anthropopathies, as grieving,  
repenting, being angry, weal pleased, and the like, were it not but  
that the divine person intended was to take on him the nature  
wherein such affections do dwell.  
 4. It was represented in prophetical visions. So the apostle  
affirms that the vision which Isaiah had of him was when he saw his  
glory, John 12: 41. And it was a blessed representation thereof; for  
his divine person being exalted on a throne of glory, "his train  
filled the temple." The whole train of his glorious grace filled the  
temple of his body. This is the true tabernacle, which God pitched,  
and not man; - the temple which was destroyed, and which he raised  
again in three days, wherein dwelt the fulness of the Godhead, Col.  
2: 9. This glory was now presented unto the view of Isaiah, chap. 6:  
1-5; which filled him with dread and astonishment. But from thence  
he was relieved, by an act of the ministry of that glorious one,  
taking away his iniquity by a coal from the altar; which typified  
the purifying efficacy of his sacrifice. This was food for the souls  
of believers: in these and on the like occasions did the whole  
church lift up their voice in that holy cry, "Make haste, our  
Beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart, on the  
mountains of spices."  
 Of the same nature was his glorious appearance on mount Sinai at  
the giving of the law, Exod. 19; - for the description thereof by  
the Psalmist, Ps. 68: 17, 18, is applied by the apostle unto the  
ascension of Christ after his resurrection, Eph. 4: 8. Only, as it  
was then full of outward terror, because of the giving of the fiery  
law, it was referred unto by the Psalmist as full of mercy, with  
respect unto his accomplishment of the same law. His giving of it  
was as death unto them concerned, because of its holiness, and the  
severity of the curse wherewith it was attended; his fulfil1ing of  
it was life, by the pardon and righteousness which issued from  
 5. The doctrine of his incarnation, whereby he became the subject  
of all that glory which we inquire after, was revealed, although not  
so clearly as by the gospel, after the actual accomplishment of the  
thing itself. In how many places this is done in the Old Testament I  
have elsewhere declared; at least I have explained and vindicated  
many of them (for no man can presume to know them all), - "Vindicae  
Evangelae". One instance, therefore, shall here suffice; and this is  
that of the same prophet Isaiah, chap. 9: 6, 7, "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. Of the  
increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the  
throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish  
it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." This one testimony  
is sufficient to confound all Jews, Socinians, and other enemies of  
the glory of Christ. I do acknowledge that, notwithstanding this  
declaration of the glory of Christ in his future incarnation and  
rule, there remained much darkness in the minds of them unto whom it  
was then made. For although they might and did acquiesce in the  
truth of the revelation, yet they could frame to themselves no  
notions of the way or manner of its accomplishment. But now, when  
every word of it is explained, declared, and its mystical sense  
visibly laid open unto us in the Gospel, and by the accomplishment  
exactly answering every expression in it, it is judicial blindness  
not to receive it. Nothing but the satanical pride of the hearts of  
men, which will admit of no effects of infinite wisdom but what they  
suppose they can comprehend, can shut their eyes against the light  
of this truth  
 6. Promises, prophecies, predictions, concerning his person, his  
coming, his office, his kingdom, and his glory in them all, with the  
wisdom, grace, and love of God to the church in him, are the line of  
life, as was said, which runs through all the writings of the Old  
Testament, and takes up a great portion of them. Those were the  
things which he expounded unto his disciples out of Moses and all  
the Prophets. Concerning these things he appealed to the Scriptures  
against all his adversaries: "Search the Scriptures; for they are  
they which testify of me." And if we find them not, if we discern  
them not therein, it is because a veil of blindness is over our  
minds. Nor can we read, study, or meditate on the writings of the  
Old Testament unto any advantage, unless we design to find out and  
behold the glory of Christ, declared and represented in them. For  
want hereof they are a sealed book to many unto this day.  
 7. It is usual in the Old Testament to set out the glory of Christ  
under metaphorical expressions; yea, it aboundeth therein. For such  
allusions are exceedingly suited to let in a sense into our minds of  
those things which we cannot distinctly comprehend. And there is an  
infinite condescension of divine wisdom in this way of instruction,  
representing unto us the power of things spiritual in what we  
naturally discern. Instances of this kind, in calling the Lord  
Christ by the names of those creatures which unto our senses  
represent that excellency which is spiritually in him, are  
innumerable. So he is called the rose, for the sweet savor of his  
love, grace, and obedience; - the lily, for his gracious beauty and  
amiableness; - the pearl of price, for his worth, for to them that  
believe he is precious; - the vine, for his fruitfulness; - the  
lion, for his power; - the Lamb, for his meekness and fitness for  
sacrifice; with other things of the like kind almost innumerable.  
 These things have I mentioned, not with any design to search into  
the depth of this treasury of those divine truths concerning the  
glory of Christ: but only to give a little light unto the words of  
the evangelist, that he opened unto his disciples out of Moses and  
all the Prophets the things which concerned himself; and to stir up  
our own souls unto a contemplation of them as contained therein. 

(continued in file 9... )

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-08.txt