(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 11)

(... continued from File 10)

Chapter 11. The Glory of Christ in the Recapitulation of all things  
in Him.  
 In the last place, the Lord Christ is peculiarly and eminently  
glorious in the recapitulation of all things in him, after they had  
been scattered and disordered by sin. This the apostle proposeth as  
the most signal effect of divine wisdom, and the sovereign pleasure  
of God.  
 "He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made  
known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good  
pleasure, which he has purposed in himself: that, in the  
dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in  
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on  
earth, even in him," Eph 1: 8-10.  
 For the discovery of the mind of the Holy Ghost in these words, so  
far as I am at present concerned, - namely, as unto the  
representation of the glory of Christ in them, - sundry brief  
observations must be premised; and in them it will be necessary that  
we briefly declare the original of all these things in heaven and  
earth, their primitive order, the confusion that ensued thereon,  
with their restitution in Christ, and his glory thereby.  
 1. God alone has all being in him. Hence he gives himself that  
name, "I AM," Exod. 3: 14. He was eternally All; when all things  
else that ever were, or now are, or shall be, were nothing. And when  
they are, they are no otherwise but as "they are of him, and through  
him, and to him," Rom. 11: 36. Moreover, his being and goodness are  
the same. The goodness of God is the meekness of the Divine Being to  
be communicative of itself in its effects. Hence this is the first  
notion of the divine nature, - infinite being and goodness, in a  
nature intelligent and self-subsistent. So the apostle declares it,  
"He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a  
rewarder," Heb. 11: 6.  
 2. In this state of infinite, eternal being and goodness,  
antecedent unto any act of wisdom or power without himself to give  
existence unto other things, God was, and is, eternally in himself  
all that he will be, all that he can be, unto eternity. For where  
there is infinite being and infinite goodness, there is infinite  
blessedness and happiness, whereunto nothing can be added. God is  
always the same. That is his name, "'attah hu'" - Ps. 102: 27, "Thou  
art he," - always the same. All things that are, make no addition  
unto God, no change in his state. His blessedness, happiness,  
self-satisfaction, as well as all other his infinite perfections,  
were absolutely the same before the creation of any thing, whilst  
there was nothing but himself, as they are since he has made all  
things: for the blessedness of God consists in the ineffable mutual  
in being of the three holy persons in the same nature, with the  
immanent reciprocal acting of the Father and the Son in the eternal  
love and complacency of the Spirit. Hereunto nothing can be added,  
herein no change can be made by any external work or effect of  
power. Herein does God act in the perfect knowledge and perfect love  
of his own perfections, unto an infinite acquiescence therein, -  
which is the divine blessedness. This gives us the true notion of  
the divine nature antecedent unto the manifestation of it made by  
any outward effects: - infinite being and goodness, eternally  
blessed in the knowledge and enjoyment of itself by inconceivable,  
ineffable, internal acting, answering the manner of its subsistence,  
which is in three distinct persons.  
 3. This being and goodness of God, by his own will and pleasure  
acting themselves in infinite wisdom and power, produced the  
creation of all things. Herein he communicated a finite, limited  
dependent being and goodness unto other things without himself. For  
all being and goodness being, as was said, in him alone, it was  
necessary that the first outward work and effect of the divine  
nature must be the communication of being and goodness unto other  
things. Wherefore, as when he had given unto every thing its being  
out of nothing, by the word of his power, saying, Let them be, and  
they were; so it is said, that he looked on all that he had made,  
"and, behold, they were exceeding good," Gen. 1: 31. Being and  
goodness must be the first outward effects of the divine nature,  
which, being wrought by infinite power and wisdom, do represent unto  
us the glory of God in the creation of all things. Infinite being in  
self-subsistence, which is necessary in the first cause and spring  
of all things, - infinite goodness to communicate the effect of this  
being unto that which was not, - and infinite wisdom and power in  
that communication, - are gloriously manifested therein.  
 4. In this state, all things that were made, depended immediately  
on God himself, without the interposition of any other head of  
influence or rule. They had the continuance of their being and its  
preservation from the immediate acting of these properties of the  
divine nature whereby they were made; and their dependence on God  
was by virtue of that law, which was implanted on the principles and  
powers of their several natures by God himself.  
 5. Thus "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".  
He provided himself of two distinct, rational families, that should  
depend on him according to a law of moral obedience, and thereby  
give glory to him; with two distinct habitations for them, cognate  
unto their nature and use, - heaven above, and the earth beneath.  
The earth he appointed for the habitation of man; which was every  
way suited unto the constitution of his nature, the preservation of  
his being, and the end of his creation in giving glory to God.  
Heaven he prepared for the habitation of the angels; which was  
suited unto the constitution of their nature, the preservation of  
their being, and the end of their creation, in giving glory to God.  
Wherefore, as man had power and dominion over all things here below,  
and was to use them all unto the glory of God, - by which means God  
received glory from them also, though in themselves brute and  
inanimate; so the angels had the like dominion over the celestial  
and ethereal bodies, wherewith God has fitted the place of their  
habitation, that through the contemplation and use of them God might  
have a revenue of glory and praise from them also. To suppose any  
other race of intellectual creatures, besides angels in heaven and  
men on earth, is not only without all countenance from any divine  
testimony, but it disturbs and disorders the whole representation of  
the glory of God made unto us in the Scripture, and the whole design  
of his wisdom and grace, as declared therein. Intellectual creatures  
not comprehended in that government of God and mystery of his wisdom  
in Christ which the Scripture reveals, are a chimera framed in the  
imaginations of some men, scarce duly sensible of what it is to be  
wise unto sobriety.  
 6. This order of things was beautiful and comely. Hence were they  
all said to be "exceeding good." For each of these families had  
their own immediate, distinct dependence on God. He was the  
immediate head of them. There was no other common head interposed  
between God and them. They were not a head unto one another. There  
were no communications unto them, but what were immediate from God  
himself. And their union among themselves was in this alone, that  
all their obedience did meet and centre in God. So God made the  
heavens and the earth, and two distinct families in them, for  
 7. This beautiful order in itself, this union between the two  
families of God, was disturbed, broken, dissolved by the entrance of  
sin; for hereby part of the family above, and the whole family  
below, fell off from their dependence on God; and ceasing to centre  
in him as their head, they fell into variance and enmity among  
themselves. For the centre of this union and order being removed and  
lost, nothing but enmity and confusion remained among them. Hereon,  
to show that its goodness was lost, God cursed the earth and all  
that was in it; for it was put in subjection unto man, who was now  
fallen from him. Howbeit he cursed not the heavens, which were in  
subjection unto the angels, because some of them only left their  
habitation; and the habitation of the residue was not to be cursed  
for their sakes. But mankind was wholly gone off from God.  
 8. The angels that sinned God utterly rejected for ever, as an  
example of his severity; the whole race of mankind he would not  
utterly cast off, but determined to recover and save a remnant,  
according to the election of grace; which, how he did it in a way of  
condecency unto all his divine perfections, I have elsewhere  
 9. Howbeit, he would not restore them into their former estate, so  
as to have again two distinct families, each in an immediate  
dependence on himself, though he left them in different and distinct  
habitations, Eph 3: 15; but he would gather them both into one, and  
that under a new head, in whom the one part should be preserved from  
sinning, and the other delivered from sin committed.  
 10. This, then, is that which the apostle declares in these words,  
"To gather together in one all things which are in heaven, and which  
are on earth, even in him." And so he again expresseth it, Col. 1:  
20, "To reconcile all things unto himself in him, whether they be  
things in earth, or things in heaven." All things were fallen into  
disorder and confusion by sin; they were fallen off from God into  
variance among themselves. God would not restore them into their  
first order, in an immediate dependence on his divine perfections.  
He would no longer keep them in two distinct families; but he would,  
in his infinite wisdom and goodness, gather them up into one common  
head, on whom they should have their immediate dependence, and be  
reconciled again among themselves.  
 11. This new head, wherein God has gathered up all things in  
heaven and earth into one, one body, one family, on whom is all  
their dependence, in whom they all now consist, is Jesus Christ the  
Son of God incarnate. See 1 Cor. 11: 3; Eph 1: 22, 23. This glory  
was reserved for him; none other could be meet for it or worthy of  
it. See Col. 1: 17-19.  
 12. To answer all the ends of this new Head of God's recollected  
family, all power in heaven and earth, all fulness of grace and  
glory, is committed unto him. There is no communication from God, no  
act of rule towards this family, no supply of virtue, power, grace,  
or goodness unto angels or men, but what is immediately from this  
new head whereinto they are gathered. In him they all consist, on  
him do they depend, unto him are they subject; in their relation  
unto him doth their peace, union, and agreement among themselves  
consist. This is the recapitulation of all things intended by the  
 13. It is true that he acts distinctly and variously towards the  
two parts of the re-collected family of angels and men, according as  
their different states and conditions do require. For, - 1. We had  
need of a reparation by redemption and grace, which the angels had  
not. 2. Angels were capable of immediate confirmation in glory,  
which we are not, until we come to heaven. Therefore, - 1. He  
assumed our nature that it might be repaired, which he did not thy]  
the nature of the angels 2. He gives us union unto himself by his  
Spirit, which exalts us into a dignity and honour meet for  
fellowship with them in the same family.  
 This is a brief account of the mysterious work of divine wisdom in  
the recapitulation of all things in Jesus Christ; and herein is he  
transcendently glorious, or his glory herein is far above our  
comprehension; yet some things may be observed, to direct us in the  
view and contemplation of it. As, -  
 1. He alone was a meet and capable subject of it. He alone could  
bear the weight of this glory. No mere creature in heaven or earth  
was meet to be thus made the head of the whole new creation of God.  
In none of them could all things consist. None of them was meet to  
be thus in the place of God, to have all things depend upon him, and  
be put in subjection unto him; so as that there should be no  
communication between God and the creation but by and through him  
alone. Wherefore, when the Holy Ghost assigns this glory unto him,  
he so describes him as that we may discern his singular meekness for  
it; as, that he is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the  
express image of his person, upholding all things by the word of his  
power," Heb. 1: 3; - that he is "the image of the invisible God, the  
first born of every creature, by whom all things were created that  
are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether  
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all  
things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all  
things, and by him all things consist," Col. 1: 15-17. Such a one  
alone, and no other, was meet to bear and uphold this glory. And the  
glory of his person is such, as that it is the blessedness of all  
creatures to centre in this glory of his office.  
 2. This is that glory which God designed unto his only Son  
incarnate, and it gives us a little view into the glory of that  
mystery, the wonderful eternal design of God to glorify himself in  
the incarnation of Christ. God would have his eternal, his  
only-begotten Son to be incarnate, to take our nature on him, - to  
be made man. What is his design in this incomprehensible work of his  
wisdom, love, and power? Indeed, in the first place, it was for the  
redemption of the church, by the sacrifice of himself, and other  
acts of his mediation. But there is that which is more general and  
comprehensive, and wherein all the concerns of the glory of God do  
centre. And this was, that he might "gather all things into one" in  
him; - that the whole creation, especially that which was to be  
eternally blessed, should have a new head given unto it, for its  
sustentation, preservation, order, honour, and safety. All springs  
are in him, and all streams are unto him, and in and by him unto  
God. Who can express the divine beauty, order, and harmony of all  
things that are in this, their recapitulation in Christ? The union  
and communion between angels and men, - the order of the whole  
family in heaven and earth, - the communication of life, grace,  
power, mercy, and consolation to the church, - the rule and disposal  
of all things unto the glory of God, - do all depend hereon. This  
glory God designed unto his Son incarnate; and it was the greatest,  
the highest that could be communicated unto him. For, as the apostle  
observes, all things are put in subjection unto him, he only  
excepted who does so make them subject; that is, God the Father, 1  
Cor. 15: 27.  
 There is no contemplation of the glory of Christ that ought more  
to affect the hearts of them that do believe with delight and joy,  
than this, of the recapitulation of all things in him. One view by  
faith of him in the place of God, as the supreme head of the whole  
creation. Moving, acting, guiding, and disposing of it, will bring  
in spiritual refreshment unto a believing refreshment unto a  
believing soul.  
 And it will do so the more, in that it gives a glorious  
representation of his divine nature also. For that any mere creature  
should thus be a head of life, motion, and power, as also of  
sovereign rule and disposal, of the whole new creation, with all  
things reduced into order thereby, is not only an impious, but a  
foolish imagination.  
 Did we live more in the contemplation of this glory of Christ, and  
of the wisdom of God in this recapitulation of all things in him,  
there is not anything of our duty which it would not mind us of, nor  
anything of privilege which it would not give us a sense of, as  
might early be demonstrated.  
 3. In particular, the Lord Christ is glorious herein, in that the  
whole breach made on the glory of God in the creation, by the  
entrance of sin, is hereby repaired and made up. The beauty and  
order of the whole creation consisted in its dependence on God, by  
the obedience of the rational part of it, angels and men. Thereby  
were the being, the goodness, the wisdom, and power of God made  
manifest. But the beauty of this order was defaced, and the  
manifestation of the divine perfections unto the glory of God  
eclipsed, by the entrance of sin. But all is restored, repaired, and  
made up, in this recapitulation of all things in one new head, -  
Christ Jesus; yea, the whole curious frame of the divine creation is  
rendered more beautiful than it was before. Hence the whole of it  
groaneth for the interest of each part in this restoration of all  
things. Whatever there is of order, of beauty, of glory, in heaven  
above, or in earth beneath, it all ariseth from this new relation of  
the creation unto the Son of God. Whatever is not gathered into one,  
even in him, in its place, and according to its measure, is under  
darkness, disorder, and the curse. Hence the Jews have a saying,  
that "in the days of the messiah all things shall be healed, but the  
serpent;" that is, the devil, and wicked men, which are as his seed.  
 4. He is glorious herein, in that he is appointed as the only  
meals of exerting and expressing all the treasures of the infinite  
wisdom of God towards his creatures. The wisdom of God is  
absolutely, always, and in all things infinite. God does not, God  
cannot, act with more wisdom in one thing than in another; as in the  
creation of man, than in that of any inanimate creatures. In the  
first creation, infinite wisdom was the inseparable companion of  
infinite power: "Hove marvellous are thy works, O Lord! in wisdom  
hast thou made them all". But when the effects of this divine  
wisdom, in their principal beauty and glory, were defaced, greater  
treasures of wisdom were required unto their reparation. And in this  
recollection of all things in Christ, did God lay them forth unto  
the utmost of whatever he will do in dealing with his creatures. So  
the apostle expresseth it, Eph 3: 10, "To the intent that now, unto  
the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by  
the church the manifold wisdom of God." By the recapitulation of all  
things into this one head, the manifold, various, unsearchable  
wisdom of God was made known unto the angels themselves. They knew  
not before of the design and work of God after the entrance of sin.  
These could not comprehend the wisdom that might repair that loss.  
They knew not that divine wisdom had another way to take herein; at  
least they knew not what way that should be. But hereby the manifold  
wisdom of God, his infinite wisdom in the treasures of it, able by  
various ways to attain the ends of his glory, was made known unto  
them. Herein namely, in the re-collection of all things in Christ -  
divine wisdom has made known and represented itself in all its  
stores and treasures unto angels and men. "In him are hid," and by  
him are displayed, "all the treasures of wisdom," Col. 2: 3. Herein  
is he glorious, and will be so to eternity.  
 6. He is glorious herein, in that hereby firmness and security is  
communicated unto the whole new creation. The first creation in its  
order was a curious and glorious fabric. But every thing depending  
immediately on God, by virtue of the principles of its own nature  
and the law of its obedience, all was brought unto a loss by the sin  
of angels and men. But now every thing that belongs unto this new  
creation, even every believer in the world, as well as the angels in  
heaven, being gathered together in this one head, the whole and all,  
and every part and member of it, seen every particular believer, are  
secured from ruin, such as befell all things before. In this new  
Head they have an indissoluble consistency.  
 But manum de tabula. I shall insist on no more instances of this  
nature, which plentifully offer themselves in the Scripture unto us.  
For who can declare this glory of Christ? who can speak of these  
things as he ought? I am so far from designing to set forth the  
whole of it, that I am deeply sensible how little a portion I can  
comprehend of the least part of it. Nor can I attain unto any  
satisfaction in these Meditations, but what issues in an humble  

(continued in file 12... )

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-11.txt