(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 10)

(... continued from File 9)

Chapter 10. The Glory of Christ in the communication of Himself unto  
 Another instance of the glory of Christ, which we are to behold  
here by faith, and hope that we shall do so by sight hereafter,  
consists in the mysterious communication of himself, and all the  
benefits of his mediation, unto the souls of them that do believe,  
to their present happiness and future eternal blessedness.  
 Hereby he becomes theirs as they are his; which is the life, the  
glory, and consolation of the church, Cant. 6: 3; 2:16; 7:10, - he  
and all that he is being appropriated unto them, by virtue of their  
mystical union. There is, there must be, some ground, formal reason,  
and cause of this relation between Christ and the church, whereby he  
is theirs, and they are his; - he is in them, and they in him, so as  
it is not between him and other men in the world.  
 The apostle, speaking of this communication of Christ unto the  
church, and the union between them which does ensue thereon, affirms  
that it is "a great mystery;" for "I speak," saith he, "concerning  
Christ and the church," Eph 5: 32.  
 I shall very briefly inquire into the causes, ways, and means of  
this mysterious communication, whereby he is made to be ours, to be  
in us, to dwell with us, and all the benefits of his mediation to  
belong unto us. For, as was said, it is evident that he does not  
thus communicate himself unto all by natural necessity, as the sun  
gives light equally unto the whole world, - nor is he present with  
all by a ubiquity of his human nature, - nor, as some dream, by a  
diffusion of his rational soul into all, - nor does he become ours  
by a carnal eating of him in the sacrament; but this mystery  
proceeds from, and depends on, other reasons and causes, as we shall  
briefly declare.  
 But yet, before I proceed to declare the way and manner whereby  
Christ communicateth himself unto the church, I must premise  
something of divine communications in general and their glory. And I  
shall do this by touching a little on the harmony and correspondence  
that is between the old creation and the new.  
 1. All being, power, goodness, and wisdom, were originally  
essentially, infinitely in God. And in them, with the other  
perfections of his nature, consisted his essential glory.  
 2. The old creation was a communication of being and goodness by  
almighty power, directed by infinite wisdom, unto all things that  
were created for the manifestation of that glory. This was the first  
communication of God unto anything without himself; and it was  
exceeding glorious. See Ps. 19: 1; Rom. 1: 20. And it was a curious  
machine, pruned in the subordination and dependency of one thing on  
another; without which they could not subsist, nor have a  
continuance of their beings. All creatures below live on the earth  
and the products of it; the earth, for its whole production, depends  
on the sun and other heavenly bodies; as God declares, Hos. 2: 21,  
22, "I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they  
shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the  
wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel." God has given a  
subordination of things in a concatenation of causes, whereon their  
subsistence does depend. Yet, -  
 3. In this mutual dependency on and supplies unto one another,  
they all depend on and are influenced from God himself, - the  
eternal fountain of being, power, and goodness "He hears the  
heavens;" and in the continuation of this order, by constant divine  
communication of being, goodness, and power, unto all things, God is  
no less glorified than in the first creation of them, Acts 14: 15-  
17; 17: 24-29.  
 4. This glory of God is visible in the matter of it, and is  
obvious unto the reason of mankind; for from his works of creation  
and providence they may learn his eternal power and godhead, wherein  
he is essentially glorious.  
 5. But by this divine communication, God did not intend only to  
glorify himself in the essential properties of his nature, but his  
existence also in three persons, of Father, Son, and Spirit. For  
although the whole creation in its first framing, and in its  
perfection, was, and is, by an emanation of power and goodness from  
the divine nature, in the person of the Father, as he is the  
fountain of the Trinity, whence he is said peculiarly to be the  
Creator of all things; yet the immediate operation in the creation  
was from the Son, the power and wisdom of the Father, John 1: 1-3;  
Col. 1: 16; Heb. 1: 2. And as upon the first production of the mass  
of the creation, it was under the especial care of the Spirit of  
God, to preserve and cherish it unto the production of all distinct  
sorts of creatures, Gen. 1: 2, - so in the continuance of the whole,  
there is an especial operation of the same Spirit in all things.  
nothing can subsist one moment by virtue of the dependence which all  
things have on one another, without a continual emanation of power  
from him. See Ps. 104: 29, 30.  
 By these divine communications, in the production and preservation  
of the creature, does God manifest his glory, and by them alone in  
the way of nature he does so; and without them, although he would  
have been for ever essentially glorious, yet was it impossible that  
his glory should be known unto any but himself. Wherefore, on these  
divine communications does depend the whole manifestation of the  
glory of God. But this is far more eminent, though not in the  
outward effects of it so visible, in the new creation; as we shall  
 1. All goodness, grace, life, light, mercy, and power, which are  
the springs and causes of the new creation, are all originally in  
God, in the divine nature, and that infinitely and essentially. In  
them is God eternally or essentially glorious; and the whole design  
of the new creation was to manifest his glory in them, by external  
communications of them, and from them.  
 2. The first communication of and from these things is made unto  
Christ, as the Head of the church. For, in the first place, it  
pleased God that in him should all the fulness of these things  
dwell, so as that the whole new creation might consist in him, Col.  
1: 17-19. And this was the first egress of divine wisdom for the  
manifestation of the glory of God in these holy properties of his  
nature. For, -  
 3. This communication was made unto him as a repository and  
treasury of all that goodness, grace, life, light, power, and mercy,  
which were necessary for the constitution and preservation of the  
new creation. They were to be laid up in him, to be hid in him, to  
dwell in him; and from him to be communicated unto the whole  
mystical body designed unto him, - that is, the church. And this is  
the first emanation of divine power and wisdom, for the  
manifestation of his glory in the new creation. This constitution of  
Christ as the head of it, and the treasuring up in him all that was  
necessary for its production and preservation, wherein the church is  
chosen and preordained in him unto grace and glory, is the spring  
and fountain of divine glory, in the communications that ensue  
 4. This communication unto Christ is, (1.) Unto his person; and  
then, (2.) With respect unto his office. It is in the person of  
Christ that all fulness does originally dwell. On the assumption of  
human nature into personal union with the Son of God, all fulness  
dwells in him bodily, Col. 2: 9. And thereon receiving the Spirit in  
all fulness, and not by measure, all the treasures of wisdom and  
knowledge were hid in him, Col. 2: 3, and he was filled with the  
unsearchable riches of divine grace, Eph 3: 8-11. And the office of  
Christ is nothing but the way appointed in the wisdom of God for the  
communication of the treasures of grace which were communicated unto  
his person. This is the end of the whole office of Christ, in all  
the parts of it, as he is a priest, a prophet, and a king. They are,  
I say, nothing but the ways appointed by infinite wisdom for the  
communication of the grace laid up in his person unto the church.  
The transcendent glory hereof we have in some weak measure inquired  
 5. The decree of election prepared, if I may so say, the mass of  
the new creation. In the old creation, God first prepared and  
created the mass or matter of the whole; which afterward, by the  
power of the Holy Spirit, was formed into all the distinct beings  
whereof the whole creation was to consist, and animates according to  
their distinct kinds.  
 And in order unto the production and perfecting of the work of the  
new creation, God did from eternity, in the holy purpose of his  
will, prepare, and in design set apart unto himself, that portion of  
mankind whereof it was to consist. Hereby they were only the  
peculiar matter that was to be wrought upon by the Holy Ghost, and  
the glorious fabric of the church erected out of it. What was said,  
it may be, of the natural body by the Psalmist, is true of the  
mystical body of Christ, which is principally intended, Ps. 139: 15,  
16, "My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,  
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes  
did see my substance yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my  
members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as  
yet there was none of them." The substance of the church, whereof it  
was to be formed, was under the eye of God, as proposed in the  
decree of election; yet was it as such imperfect. It was not formed  
or shaped into members of the mystical body; but they were all  
written in the book of life. And in pursuance of the purpose of God,  
there they are by the Holy Spirit, in the whole course and  
continuance of time, in their several generations fashioned into the  
shape designed for them.  
 6. This, therefore, is herein the glorious order of divine  
communications. From the infinite, eternal spring of wisdom, grace,  
goodness and love, in the Father, - all the effects whereof unto  
this end were treasured up in the person and mediation of the Son,  
the Holy Spirit, unto whom the actual application of them is  
committed, communicates life, light, power, grace, and mercy, unto  
all that are designed parts of the new creation. Hereon does God  
glorify both the essential properties of his nature, - his infinite  
wisdom, power, goodness, and grace, - as the only eternal spring of  
all these things, and also his ineffable glorious existence in three  
persons by the order of the communication of these things unto the  
church, which are originally from his nature. And herein is the  
glorious truth of the blessed Trinity, - which by some is opposed,  
by some neglected, by most looked on as that which is so much above  
them as that it does not belong unto them, - made precious unto them  
that believe, and becomes the foundation of their faith and hope. In  
a view of the glorious order of those divine communications, we are  
in a steady contemplation of the ineffable glory of the existence of  
the nature of God in the three distinct persons of Father, Son, and  
Holy Ghost.  
 7. According unto this divine order, the elect in all ages are, by  
the Holy Spirit moving and acting on that mass of the new creation,  
formed and animated with spiritual life, light, grace, and power,  
unto the glory of God. They are not called accidentally, according  
unto the external occasions and causes of their convention unto God;  
but in every age, at his own time and season, the Holy Spirit  
communicates these things unto them in the order declared, unto the  
glory of God.  
 8. And in the same manner is the whole new creation preserved  
every day; - every moment there is vital power and strength, mere  
and grace, communicated in this divine order to all believers in the  
world. There is a continual influence from the Fountain, from the  
Head, into all the members, whereby they all consist in him, are  
acted by him, who worketh in us both to will and to do of his own  
good pleasure. And the apostle declares that the whole constitution  
of church order is suited, as an external instrument, to promote  
these divine communications unto all the members of the church  
itself, Eph 4: 13-15.  
 This in general is the order of divine communications, which is  
for the substance of it continued in heaven, and shall be so unto  
eternity; for God is, and ever will be, all, and in all. But at  
present it is invisible unto eyes of flesh, yea, the reason of men.  
Hence it is by the most despised; - they see no glory in it. But let  
us consider the prayer of the apostle, that it may be otherwise with  
us, Eph. 1: 16-23. For the revelation made of the glory of God in  
the old creation is exceeding inferior to that which he makes of  
himself in the new.  
 Having premised these things in general concerning the glory of  
divine communications, I shall proceed to declare, in particular,  
the grounds and way whereby the Lord Christ communicates himself and  
wherewithal all the benefits of his mediation, unto them that do  
believe, as it was before proposed.  
 We on our part are said herein to receive him, and that by faith,  
John 1: 12. Now, where he is received by us, he must be tendered,  
given, granted, or communicated unto us. And this he is by some  
divine acts of the Father, and some of his own.  
 The foundation of the whole is laid in a sovereign act of the  
will, the pleasure, the grace of the Father. And this is the order  
and method of all divine operations in the way and work of grace.  
They originally proceed all from him; and having effected their  
ends, do return, rest, and centre in him again. See Eph. 1:4-6.  
Wherefore, that Christ is made ours, that he is communicated unto  
us, is originally from the free act, grant, and donation, of the  
Father, 1 Cor. 1: 30; Rom. 5: 15-17. And hereunto sundry things do  
concur. As, - 1. His eternal purpose, which he purposed in himself,  
to glorify his grace in all his elect, by this communication of  
Christ and the benefits of his mediation unto them; which the  
apostle declares at large, Eph.1.  2. His granting all the elect  
unto Christ, to be his own, so to do and suffer for them what was  
antecedaneously necessary unto the actual communication of himself  
unto them: "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me," John 17: 6.  
3. The giving of the promise, or the constitution of the rule and  
law of the Gospel, whereby a participation of Christ, an interest in  
him and all that he is, is made over and assured unto believers,  
John 1: 12; 1 John 1: 1-4. 4. An act of almighty power, working and  
creating faith in the souls of the elect, enabling them to receive  
Christ so exhibited and communicated unto them by the gospel, Eph 1:  
19, 20; 2: 5-8.  
 These things, which I have but named, have an influence into the  
glory of Christ herein; for this communication of him unto the  
church is an effect of the eternal counsel, wisdom, grace, and power  
of the Father.  
 But they are the acts of Christ himself herein, which principally  
we inquire into, as those which manifest the glory of his wisdom,  
love, and condescension.  
 And, - 1. He gives and communicates unto them his Holy Spirit; -  
the Holy Spirit as peculiarly his, as granted unto him of the  
Father, as inhabiting in him in all fulness. This Spirit - abiding  
originally as to his person, and immeasurably as unto his effects  
and operations, in himself - he gives unto all believers, to inhabit  
and abide in them also, John 14: 14-20; 1 Cor. 6: 17; Rom. 8: 9.  
Hence follows an ineffable union between him and them. For as in his  
incarnation he took our nature into personal union with his own; so  
herein he takes our persons into a mystical union with himself.  
Hereby he becomes ours, and we are his.  
 And herein he is unspeakably glorious. For this mystery of the  
inhabitation of the same Spirit in him as the head, and the church  
as his body, animating the whole, is a transcendent effect of divine  
wisdom. There is nothing of this nature in the whole creation  
besides, - no such union, no such mutual communication. The  
strictest unions and relations in nature are but shadows of it, Eph.  
5: 25-32. Herein also is the Lord Christ precious unto them that do  
believe, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence unto the  
disobedient. This glorious, ineffable effect of his wisdom and  
grace; this rare, peculiar, singular way of the communication of  
himself unto the church, is by many despised. They know, it may be,  
some of them, what it is to be joined unto a harlot so as to become  
one flesh; but what it is to be joined unto the Lord so as to become  
one spirit, they know not. But this principle and spring of the  
spiritual life of the church, and of all vital, spiritual motions  
towards God and things heavenly, wherein and whereby "our life is  
hid with Christ in God," is the glory, the exaltation, the honour,  
the security of the church, unto the praise of the grace of God. The  
understanding of it in its causes, effects, operations, and  
privileges wherewith it is accompanied, is to be preferred above all  
the wisdom in and of the world.  
 2. He thus communicates himself unto us, by the formation of a new  
nature, his own nature, in us; so as that the very same spiritual  
nature is in him and in the church. Only, it is so with this  
difference, that in him it is in the absolute perfection of all  
those glorious graces wherein it does consist; in the church it is  
in various measures and degrees, according as he is pleased to  
communicate it. But the same divine nature it is that is in him and  
us; for, through the precious promises of the gospel, we are made  
partakers of his Divine nature. It is not enough for us that he has  
taken our nature to be his, unless he gives us also his nature to be  
ours; - that is, implants in our souls all those gracious  
qualifications, as unto the essence and substance of them, wherewith  
he himself in his human nature is endued. This is that new man, that  
new creature, that divine nature, that spirit which is born of the  
Spirit, that transformation into the image of Christ, that putting  
of him on, that worship of God whereunto in him we are created, that  
the Scripture so fully testifieth unto, John 3: 6; Rom 6: 3-8; 2  
Cor. 3: 18; 5: 17; Eph 4: 20-24; 2 Peter 1:4.  
 And that new heavenly nature which is thus formed in believers, as  
the first vital act of that union which is between Christ and them  
by the inhabitation of the same Spirit, is peculiarly his nature.  
For both is it so as it is in him the idea and the exemplar of it in  
us, - inasmuch as we are predestinated to be conformed unto his  
image, - and as it is wrought or produced in our souls by an  
emanation of power, virtue, and efficiency from him.  
 This is a most heavenly way of the communication of himself unto  
us, wherein of God "he is made unto us wisdom and sanctification."  
Hereon he says of his church, "This is now bone of my bones, and  
flesh of my flesh;" - I see myself, my own nature, in them; whence  
they are comely and desirable. Hereby he makes way to "present it to  
himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such  
thing; but holy and without blemish." On this communication of  
Christ unto us, by the forming of his own nature in us, depends all  
the purity, the beauty, the holiness, the inward glory of the  
church. Hereby is it really, substantially, internally separated  
from the world, and distinguished from all others, who, in the  
outward form of things, in the profession and duties of religion,  
seem to be the same with them. Hereby it becomes the first fruits of  
the creation unto God, bearing forth the renovation of his image in  
the world; - herein the Lord Christ is, and will be, glorious unto  
all eternity. I only mention these things, which deserve to be far  
more largely insisted on.  
 3. He does the same by that actual insition or implantation into  
himself which he gives us by faith, which is of his own operation.  
For hereon two things do ensue; - one by the grace or power, the  
other by the law or constitution, of the gospel; which have a great  
influence into this mystical communication of Christ unto the  
 And the first of these is, that hereby there is communicated unto  
us, and we do derive, supplies of spiritual life, sustentation,  
motion, strength in grace, and perseverance from him continually.  
Thine is that which himself so divinely teacheth in the parable of  
the vine and its branches, John 15: 1-5. Hereby is there a continual  
communication from his all-fulness of grace unto the whole church  
and all the members of it, unto all the ends and duties of spiritual  
life. They live, nevertheless not they, but Christ liveth in them;  
and the life which they lead in the flesh is by the faith of the Son  
of God. And the other, - by virtue of the law and constitution of  
the Gospel, - is, that hereon his righteousness and all the fruits  
of his meditation are imputed unto us; the glory of which mystery  
the apostle unfolds, Rom. 3-5.  
 I might add hereunto the mutual inbeing that is between him and  
believers by love; for - the way of the communication of his love  
unto them being by the shedding of it abroad in their hearts by the  
Holy Ghost, and their returns of love unto him being wrought in them  
by an almighty efficiency of the same Spirit - there is that which  
is deeply mysterious and glorious in it. I might mention also the  
continuation of his discharge of all his offices towards us, whereon  
all our receptions from him, or all the benefits of his mediation  
whereof we are made partakers, do depend. But the few instances that  
have been given of the glory of Christ in this mysterious  
communication of himself unto his church may suffice to give us such  
a view of it as to fill our hearts with holy admiration and  

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-10.txt