(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 1. File 12)

(... continued from File 11)

Chapter 12. Differences between our Beholding the Glory of Christ by  
Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven - The First of them  
 "We walk" here "by faith, and not by sight," 2 Cor. 5: 7; that is,  
in the life of God, in our walking before him, in the whole of our  
obedience therein, we are under the conduct and influence of faith,  
and not of sight. Those are the two spiritual powers of our sou1s; -  
by the one whereof we are made partakers of grace, holiness, and  
obedience in this life; and by the other, of eternal blessedness and  
 Both these - namely, faith and sight, the one in this life, the  
other in that which is to come - have the same immediate object. For  
they are the abilities of the soul to go forth unto, and to embrace  
their object. Now, this object of them both is the glory of Christ,  
as has been declared, as also what that glory is, and wherein it  
does consist; wherefore my present design is to inquire into the  
difference that is between our beholding of the glory of Christ in  
this world by faith, and the vision which we shall have of the same  
glory hereafter.  
 The latter of these is peculiarly intended in that prayer of our  
Lord Jesus Christ for his disciples, John 17: 24, "Father, I will  
that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that  
they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me." But I shall not  
distinctly insist upon it, my design being another way, respecting  
principally the work of God in this life, and the privileges which  
we enjoy thereby. Yet I shall now take a short prospect of that  
also; not absolutely, but in the differences that are between faith  
and sight, or the view which we have of the glory of Christ in this  
world by faith, and that which they enjoy by vision who are above; -  
the object of them both being adequately the same.  
 But herein, also, I shall have respect only unto some of those  
things which concern our practice, or the present immediate exercise  
of faith. For I have elsewhere handled at large the state of the  
church above, or that of present glory, giving an account of the  
administration of the office of Christ in heaven, his presence among  
the glorified souls, and the adoration of God under his conduct. I  
have also declared the advantage which they have by being with him,  
and the prospect they have of his glory. Therefore these things must  
here be only touched on.  
 These differences may be referred unto two heads: - 1. Those which  
arise from the different natures and acting of those means and  
instruments whereby we apprehend this glory of Christ, - namely,  
faith and vision; and, 2. Those that arise from the different  
effects produced by them. Instances in each kind shall be given.  
 1. The view which we have of the glory of Christ by faith in this  
world is obscure, dark, inevident, reflexive. So the apostle  
declares, 1 Cor. 13: 12, "Now we see through a glass darkly," "di'  
esoptrou en aivigmati"; - "through" or by "a glass, in a riddle," a  
parable, a dark saying. There is a double figurative limitation put  
upon our view of the glory of Christ, taken from the two ways of our  
perception of what we apprehend, - namely, the sight of things, and  
the hearing of words.  
 The first is, that we have this view not directly, but reflexively  
and by way of a representation, as in a glass. For I take the grass  
here, not to be optical or a prospective, which helps the sight, but  
a speculum, or a glass which reflects an image of what we do behold.  
It is a sight like that which we have of a man in a glass, when we  
see not his person or substance, but an image or representation of  
them only, which is imperfect.  
 The shadow or image of this glory of Christ is drawn in the  
gospel, and therein we behold it as the likeness of a man  
represented unto us in a glass; and although it be obscure and  
imperfect in comparison of his own real, substantial glory, which is  
the object of vision in heaven, yet is it the only image and  
representation of himself which he has left, and given unto us in  
this world. That woeful, cursed invention of framing images of him  
out of stocks and stones, however adorned, or representations of him  
by the art of painting, are so far from presenting unto the minds of  
men any thing of his real glory, that nothing can be more effectual  
to divert their thoughts and apprehensions from it. But by this  
figurative expression of seeing in a glass, the apostle declares the  
comparative imperfection of our present view of the glory of Christ.  
 But the allusion may be taken from an optic glass or tube also,  
whereby the sight of the eye is helped in beholding things at a  
great distance. By the aid of such glasses, men will discover stars  
or heavenly lights, which, by reason of their distance from us, the  
eye of itself is no way able to discern. And those which we do see  
are more fully represented, though remote enough from being so  
perfectly. Such a glass is the gospel, without which we can make no  
discovery of Christ at all; but in the use of it we are far enough  
from beholding him in the just dimensions of his glory.  
 And he adds another intimation of this imperfection, in an  
allusion unto the way whereby things are proposed and conveyed unto  
the minds and apprehensions of men. Now this is by words. And these  
are either plain, proper, and direct, or dark, figurative, and  
parabolical. And this latter way makes the conception of things to  
be difficult and imperfect; and by reason of the imperfection of our  
view of the glory of Christ by faith in this world, the apostle says  
it is in "ainigmati", in "a riddle." These "ainigmata" the Psalmist  
calls "chidot", "dark sayings," Ps. 78: 2.  
 But here it must be observed, that the description and  
representation of the Lord Christ and his glory in the gospel is not  
absolutely or in itself either dark or obscure; yea, it is  
perspicuous, plain, and direct. Christ is therein evidently set  
forth crucified, exalted, glorified. But the apostle does not here  
discourse concerning the way or means of the revelation of it unto  
us, but of the means or instrument whereby we comprehend that  
revelation. This is our faith, which, as it is in us, being weak and  
imperfect, we comprehend the representation that is made unto us of  
the glory of Christ as men do the sense of a dark saying, a riddle,  
a parable; that is, imperfectly, and with difficulty.  
 On the account hereof we may say at present, how little a portion  
is it that we know of him! as Job speaks of God, chap. 26: 14. How  
imperfect are our conceptions of him! How weak are our minds in  
their management! There is no part of his glory that we can fully  
comprehend. And what we do comprehend, - there is a comprehension in  
faith, Eph 3: 18, - we cannot abide in the steady contemplation of.  
For ever blessed be that sovereign grace, whence it is that He who  
"commanded light to shine out of darkness has shined into our  
hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his own glory in  
the face of Jesus Christ," and therein of the glory of Christ  
himself; - that he has so revealed him unto us, as that we may love  
him, admire him, and obey him: but constantly, steadily, and clearly  
to behold his glory in this life we are not able; "for we walk by  
faith, and not by sight."  
 Hence our sight of him here is as it were by glances, - liable to  
be clouded by many interpositions. "Behold, he standeth behind the  
wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing" ("metzitz",  
flourishing) "himself through the lattice," Cant. 2: 9. There is a  
great interposition between him and us, as a wall; and the means of  
the discovery of himself unto us, as through a window and lattice,  
include a great instability and imperfection in our view and  
apprehension of him. There is a wall between him and us, which yet  
he standeth behind. Our present mortal state is this wall, which  
must be demolished before we can see him as he is. In the meantime  
he looketh through the windows of the ordinances of the Gospel. He  
gives us sometimes, when he is pleased to stand in those windows, a  
view of himself; but it is imperfect, as is our sight of a man  
through a window. The appearances of him at these windows are full  
of refreshment unto the souls of them that do believe. But our view  
of them is imperfect, transient, and does not abide; - we are for  
the most part quickly left to bemoan what we have lost. And then our  
best is but to cry, "the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so  
panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for  
the living God: when shall I come and appear before thee?" When wilt  
thou again give me to see thee, though but as through the windows  
alas! what distress do we ofttimes sit down in, after these views of  
Christ and his glory! But he proceeds farther yet; and flourishes  
himself through the lattices. This displaying of the glory of  
Christ, called the flourishing of himself, is by the promises of the  
Gospel, as they are explained in the ministry of the Word. In them  
are represented unto us the desirable beauties and glories of  
Christ. How precious, how amiable is he, as represented in them! How  
are the souls of believers ravished with the views of them! Yet is  
this discovery of him also but as through a lattice. We see him but  
by parts, - unsteadily and unevenly.  
 Such, I say, is the sight of the glory of Christ which we have in  
this world by faith. It is dark, - it is but in part. It is but  
weak, transient, imperfect, partial. It is but little that we can at  
any time discover of it; it is but a little while that we can abide  
in the contemplation of what we do discover. "Rara hora, breves  
mora." Sometimes it is unto us as the sun when it is under a cloud,  
- we cannot perceive it. When he hideth his face, who then can  
behold him? As Job speaks, so may we, "Behold, I go forward, but he  
is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left  
hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself  
on the right hand, that I cannot see him," chap. 23: 8, 9. Which way  
soever we turn ourselves, and what duties soever we apply ourselves  
unto, we can obtain no distinct view of his glory. Yet, on the other  
hand, it is sometimes as the sun when it shines in its brightness,  
and we cannot bear the rays of it. In infinite condescension he says  
unto his church, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have  
overcome me," Cant. 6: 6, - as if he could not bear that overcoming  
affectionate love, which looks through the eyes of the church in its  
acting of faith on him. Ah! how much more do we find our souls  
overcome with his love, when at any time he is pleased to make any  
clear discoveries of his glory unto us!  
 Let us now, on the other hand, take a little consideration of that  
vision which we shall have of the same glory in heaven, that we may  
compare them together.  
 Vision, or the sight which we shall have of the glory of Christ in  
heaven, is immediate, direct, intuitive; and therefore steady, even,  
and constant and it is so on a double account: - 1. Of the object  
which shall be proposed unto us; 2. Of the visive power or faculty  
wherewith we shall be endued: from the imperfection of both which in  
this world ariseth the imperfection of our view of the glory of  
Christ by faith, as has been declared.  
 1. The object of it will be real and substantial. Christ himself,  
in his own person, with all his glory, shall be continually with us,  
before us, proposed unto us. We shall no longer have an image, a  
representation of him, such as is the delineation of his glory in  
the Gospel. We "shall see him," saith the apostle, "face to face," 1  
Cor. 13: 12; which he opposeth unto our seeing him darkly as in a  
glass, which is the utmost that faith can attain to. "We shall see  
him as he is", 1 John 3: 2; - not as now, in an imperfect  
description of him. As a man sees his neighbour when they stand and  
converse together face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in  
his glory; and not as Moses, who had only a transient sight of some  
parts of the glory of God, when he caused it to pass by him.  
 There will be use herein of our bodily eyes, as shall be declared.  
For, as Job says, in our flesh shall we see our Redeemer, and our  
eyes shall behold him, chap. 19: 25-27. That corporeal sense shall  
not be restored unto us, and that glorified above what we can  
conceive, but for this great use of the eternal beholding of Christ  
and his glory. Unto whom is it not a matter of rejoicing, that with  
the same eyes wherewith they see the tokens and signs of him in the  
sacrament of the supper, they shall behold himself immediately in  
his own person? But principally, as we shall see immediately, this  
vision is intellectual. It is not, therefore, the mere human nature  
of Christ that is the object of it, but his divine person, as that  
nature subsisteth therein. What is that perfection which we shall  
have (for that which is perfect must come and do away that which is  
in part) in the comprehension of the hypostatical union, I  
understand not; but this I know, that in the immediate beholding of  
the person of Christ, we shall see a glory in it a thousand times  
above what here we can conceive. The excellencies of infinite  
wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us. And  
all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly  
and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight for evermore.  
 Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is, that "we shall  
ever be with the Lord," 1 Thess. 4: 17, - as himself prays, "that we  
may be with him where he is, to behold his glory." Here we have some  
dark views of it, - we cannot perfectly behold it, until we are with  
him where he is. Thereon our sight of him will be direct, intuitive,  
and constant.  
 There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the  
beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present  
incomprehensible. For it does not yet appear what we ourselves shall  
be, 1 John 3: 2. Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to  
behold this glory of Christ? And how excellent, then, is that glory  
of Christ itself!  
 This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God  
in this life do breathe and pant after. Hence are they willing to be  
dissolved, or "desire to depart, that they may be with Christ,"  
which is best for them, Phil. 1: 23. They choose "to be absent from  
the body, and present with the Lord," 2 Cor. 5: 8; or that they may  
enjoy the inexpressibly longed-for sight of Christ in his glory.  
Those who do not so long for it, whose souls and minds are not  
frequently visited with earnest desires after it, unto whom the  
thoughts of it are not their relief in trouble, and their chiefest  
joy, are carnal, blind, and cannot see afar off. He that is truly  
spiritual entertains and refresheth himself with thoughts hereof  
 2. It will be so from that visive power or faculty of beholding  
the glory of Christ which we shall then receive. Without this we  
cannot see him as he is. When he was transfigured in the mount, and  
had on his human nature some reflections of his divine glory, his  
disciples that were with him were rather amazed than refreshed by  
it, Matt. 17: 6. They saw his glory, but spake thereon "they knew  
not what," Luke 9: 30-33. And the reason hereof was, because no man  
in this life can have a visive power, either spiritual or corporeal,  
directly and immediately to behold the real glory of Christ.  
 Should the Lord Jesus appear now to any of us in his majesty and  
glory, it would not be unto our edification nor consolation. For we  
are not meet nor able, by the power of any light or grace that we  
have received, or can receive, to bear the immediate appearance and  
representation of them. His beloved apostle John had leaned on his  
bosom probably many a time in his life, in the intimate  
familiarities of love; but when he afterward appeared unto him in  
his glory, "he fell at his feet as dead," Rev. 1: 17. And when he  
appeared unto Paul, all the account he could give thereof we, "that  
he saw a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun;"  
whereon he, and all that were with him, "fell to the ground," Acts  
26: 13, 14.  
 And this was one reason why, in the days of his ministry here on  
earth, his glory was veiled with the infirmities of the flesh, and  
all sorts of sufferings, as we have before related. The church in  
this life is no way meet, by the grace which it can be made partaker  
of, to converse with him in the immediate manifestations of his  
 And therefore those who dream of his personal reign on the earth  
before the day of judgement, unless they suppose that all the saints  
shall be perfectly glorified also (which is only to bring down  
heaven to the earth for awhile, to no purpose), provide not at all  
for the edification or consolation of the church. For no present  
grace, advanced unto the highest degree whereof in this world it is  
capable, can make us meet for an immediate converse with Christ in  
his unveiled glory.  
 How much more abominable is the folly of men, who would represent  
the Lord Christ in his present glory by pictures and images of him!  
When they have done their utmost with their burnished glass and  
gildings, an eye of flesh can not only behold it, but, if it be  
guided by reason, see it contemptible and foolish But the true glory  
of Christ, neither inward nor outward sight can bear the rays of it  
in this life.  
 The dispensation which we are meet for is only that of his  
presence with us by his Spirit. We know him now no more after the  
flesh, 2 Cor. 5: 16. We are advanced above that way and means of the  
knowledge at him by the fleshly, carnal ordinances of the Old  
Testament. And we know him not according unto that bodily presence  
of his which his disciples enjoyed in the days of his flesh. We have  
attained somewhat above that also. For such was the nature of his  
ministry here on earth, that there could not be the promised  
dispensation of the Spirit until that was finished. Therefore he  
tells his disciples that it was expedient for them that he should go  
away, and send the Spirit to them, John 16: 7. Hereon they had a  
clearer view of the glory of Christ than they could have by  
beholding him in the flesh. This is our spiritual posture and  
condition. We are past the knowledge of him according to the flesh,  
- we cannot attain nor receive the sight of him in glory; but the  
life which we now lead is by the faith of the Son of God.  
 I shall not here inquire into the nature of this vision, or the  
power and ability which we shall have in heaven to behold the glory  
of Christ. Some few things may be mentioned, as it relates unto our  
minds, and our bodies also, after the resurrection.  
 1. For the mind, it shall be perfectly freed from all that  
darkness, unsteadiness, and other incapacities, which here it is  
accompanied with; and whereby it is weakened, hindered, and  
obstructed, in the exercise of faith. And they are of two sorts.  
 (1.) Such as are the remainders of that depravation of our natures  
which came upon us by sin. Hereby our minds became wholly vain,  
dark, and corrupt, as the Scripture testifieth, - utterly unable to  
discern spiritual things in a due manner. This is so far cured and  
removed in this life by grace, as that those who were darkness do  
become light in the Lord, or are enabled to live unto God under the  
conduct of a new spiritual light communicated unto them. But it is  
so cured and removed in part only, it is not perfectly abolished.  
Hence are all our remaining weaknesses and incapacities in  
discerning things spiritual and eternal, which we yet groan under,  
and long for deliverance from. No footsteps, no scars or marks that  
ever it had place in our minds shall abide in glory, Eph. 5: 27.  
Nothing shall weaken, disturb, or incapacitate our souls, in acting  
all their powers, unimpeded by vanity, diversions, weakness,  
inability, upon their proper objects. The excellency hereof, in  
universal liberty and power, we cannot here comprehend; nor can we  
yet conceive the glory and beauty of those immixed spiritual actings  
of our minds which shall have no clog upon them, no encumbrance in  
them, no alloy of dross accompanying them. One pure act of spiritual  
sight in discerning the glory of Christ, - one pure act of love in  
cleaving unto God, - will bring in more blessedness and satisfaction  
into our minds than in this world we are capable of.  
 (2.) There is an incapacity in our minds, as unto their acting on  
things spiritual and eternal, that is merely natural, from the  
posture wherein they are, and the figure which they are to make in  
this life. For they are here clothed with flesh, and that debased  
and corrupted. Now, in this state, though the mind act its  
conceptions by the body as its organ and instrument, yet is it  
variously straitened, encumbered, and impeded in the exercise of its  
native powers, especially towards things heavenly, by this prison of  
the flesh, wherein it is immured. There is an angelical excellency  
in the pure acting of the soul when delivered from all material  
instruments of them, or when they are all glorified and made  
suitable helps in its utmost spiritual activity. How and by what  
degrees our minds shall be freed from these obstructions in their  
beholding the glory of Christ shall be afterward declared.  
 2. Again, a new light, the light of glory, shall be implanted in  
them. There is a light in nature, which is the power of a man to  
discern the things of man; - an ability to know, perceive, and judge  
of things natural. It is that "spirit of a man" which "is the candle  
of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly," Prov. 20:  
 But by the light hereof no man can discern spiritual things in a  
due manner, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. 2: 11-16. Wherefore God  
gives a superior, a supernatural light, the light of faith and  
grace, unto them whom he effectually calls unto the knowledge of  
himself by Jesus Christ. He shines into their hearts, to give them  
the knowledge of his glory in the face of his dear Son. Howbeit this  
new light does not abolish, blot out, or render useless, the other  
light of nature, as the sun, when it riseth, extinguisheth the light  
of the stars; but it directs it and rectifies it as unto its  
principle, object, and end. Yet is it in itself a light quite of  
another nature. But he who has only the former light can understand  
nothing of it, because he has no taste or experience of its power  
and operations. He may talk of it, and make inquiries about it, but  
he knows it not.  
 Now, we have received this light of faith and grace, whereby we  
discern spiritual things, and behold the glory of Christ in the  
imperfect manner before described. But in heaven there shall be a  
superadded light of glory, which shall make the mind itself "shine  
as the firmament," Dan. 12: 3. I shall only say three things of it.  
1. That as the light of grace does not destroy or abolish the light  
of nature, but rectify and improve it, so the light of glory shall  
not abolish or destroy this light of faith and grace, but, by  
incorporating with it, render it absolutely perfect. 2. That as by  
the light of nature we cannot clearly comprehend the true nature and  
efficacy of the light of grace, because it is of another kind, and  
is seen only in its own light; so by the light of grace we cannot  
absolutely comprehend this light of glory, being of a peculiar kind  
and nature, seen perfectly only by its own light. It does not appear  
what we shall be. 3. That this is the best notion we can have of  
this light of glory, - that, in the first instance of its operation,  
it perfectly transforms the soul into the image and likeness of  
 This is the progress of our nature unto its rest and blessedness.  
The principles remaining in it concerning good and evil, with its  
practical convictions, are not destroyed but improved by grace; as  
its blindness, darkness, and enmity to God are in part taken away.  
Being renewed by grace, what it receives here of spiritual life and  
light shall never be destroyed, but be perfected in glory. Grace  
renews nature; glory perfects grace; and so the whole soul is  
brought unto its rest in God. We have an image of it in the blind  
man whom our Saviour cured, Mark 8: 22-25. He was absolutely blind,  
- born so, no doubt. Upon the first touch, his eyes were opened, and  
he saw, but very obscurely; - he saw men walking like trees. But on  
the second, he saw all things clearly. Our minds in themselves are  
absolutely blind. The first visitation of them by grace gives them a  
sight of things spiritual, heavenly, and eternal; but it is obscure  
and unsteady. The sight of glory makes all things clear and evident.  
 3. The body as glorified, with its senses, shall have its use and  
peace herein. After we are clothed again with our flesh, we shall  
see our Redeemer with our eyes. We know not here what power and  
spirituality there will be in the acts of our glorified bodies. Such  
they will be as shall bear a part in eternal blessedness. Holy  
Stephen, the first martyr, took up somewhat of glory by anticipation  
before he died. For when he was brought to his trial before the  
council, all that sat therein, "looking steadfastly on him, saw his  
face as the face of an angel," Acts 6: 16. He had his  
transfiguration, escorting unto his measure, answerable unto that of  
our blessed Saviour in the mount. And by this initial beam of glory  
he received such a piercing vivacity and edge on his bodily eyes,  
that through all those inconceivable distances between the earth and  
the residence of the blessed, he looked steadfastly into heaven, and  
"saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,"  
Acts 7: 55, 56. Who, then, can declare what will be the power and  
acting of this sense of sight when perfectly glorified; or what  
sweetness and refreshment may be admitted into our souls thereby?  
 It was a privilege (who would not have longed to partake of it?)  
to have seen Him with our bodily eyes in the days of his flesh, as  
did the apostles and his other disciples. Howbeit he was not then  
glorified himself in the manifestation of his glory; nor they who  
saw him, in the change or transformation of their nature. How great  
this privilege was, himself declares unto those that so saw him,  
Matt. 13: l7, "Verily I say unto you, That many prophets and  
righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see;"  
whereunto we shall speak immediately. And if this were so excellent  
a privilege as that we cannot but congratulate them by whom it was  
enjoyed, how excellent, how glorious will it be, when with these  
eyes of ours, gloriously purified and strengthened beyond those of  
Stephen, we shall behold Christ himself immediately in the fulness  
of his glory! He alone perfectly understands the greatness and  
excellency hereof, who prayed his Father that those who "believe in  
him may be where he is, so to behold his glory."  
 These are some of the grounds of this first difference between our  
beholding the glory of Christ by faith here, and by immediate vision  
hereafter. Hence the one is weak, imperfect, obscure, reflexive; the  
other direct, immediate, even, and constant; - and we may stay a  
little in the contemplation of these things.  
 This view of the glory of Christ which we have now spoken unto is  
that which we are breathing and panting after; that which the Lord  
Christ prays that we may arrive unto; that which the apostle  
testifies to be our best; - the best thing or state which our nature  
is capable of, - that which brings eternal rest and satisfaction  
unto our souls.  
 Here our souls are burdened with innumerable infirmities, and our  
faith is clogged in its operations by ignorance and darkness. This  
makes our best estate and highest attainments to be accompanied with  
groans for deliverance: "We which have the first fruits of the  
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the  
adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body," Rom. 8: 23. Yea,  
whilst we are in this tabernacle, we groan earnestly, as being  
burdened, because we are not "absent from the body, and present with  
the Lord," 2 Cor. 5: 2, 4, 8. The more we grow in faith and  
spiritual light, the more sensible are we of our present burdens,  
and the more vehemently do we groan for deliverance into the perfect  
liberty of the sons of God. This is the posture of their minds who  
have received the first fruit of the Spirit in the most eminent  
degree. The nearer any one is to heaven, the more earnestly he  
desires to be there, because Christ is there. For the more frequent  
and steady are our views of him by faith, the more do we long and  
groan for the removal of all obstructions and interpositions in our  
so doing. Now groaning is [the expression of] a vehement desire,  
mixed with sorrow, for the present want of what is desired. The  
desire has sorrow, and that sorrow has joy and refreshment in it; -  
like a shower that falls on a man in a garden in the spring; it wets  
him, but withal refresheth him with the savour it causeth in the  
flowers and herbs of the garden where he is, and this groaning,  
which, when it is constant and habitual, is one of the choicest  
effects of faith in this life, respects what we would be delivered  
from, and what we would attain unto. The first is expressed, Rom. 7:  
24, the other in the places now mentioned. And this triune, with an  
intermixture of some sighs from weariness by the troubles, sorrows,  
pains, sicknesses of this life, is the best we can here attain unto.  
 Alas! we cannot here think of Christ, but we are quickly ashamed  
of, and troubled at, our own thoughts; so confused are they, so  
unsteady, so imperfect. Commonly they issue in a groan or a sigh:  
Oh! when shall we come unto him? when shall we be ever with him?  
when shall we see him as he is? And if at any time he begins to give  
more than ordinary evidences and intimations of his glory and love  
unto our souls, we are not able to bear them, so as to give them any  
abiding residence in our minds. But ordinarily this trouble and  
groaning is amongst our best attainments in this world, - a trouble  
which, I pray God, I may never be delivered from, until deliverance  
do come at once from this state of mortality; yea, the good Lord  
increase this trouble more and more in all that believe.  
 The heart of a believer affected with the glory of Christ, is like  
the needle touched with the loadstone. It can no longer be quiet, no  
longer be satisfied in a distance from him. It is put into a  
continual motion towards him. This motion, indeed, is weak and  
tremulous. Pantings, breathing, sighings, greenings in prayer, in  
meditations, in the secret recesses of our minds, are the life of  
it. However, it is continually pressing towards him. But it obtains  
not its point, it comes not to its centre and rest, in this world.  
 But now above, all things are clear and serene, all plain and  
evident in our beholding the glory of Christ, - we shall be ever  
with him, and see him as he is. This is heaven, this is blessedness,  
this is eternal rest.  
 The person of Christ in all his glory shall be continually before  
us; and the eyes of our understandings shall be so gloriously  
illuminated, as that we shall be able steadily to behold and  
comprehend that glory.  
 But, alas! here at present our minds recoil, our meditations fail,  
our hearts are overcome, our thoughts confused, and our eyes turn  
aside from the lustre of this glory; nor can we abide in the  
contemplation of it. But there, an immediate, constant view of it,  
will bring in everlasting refreshment and joy unto our whole souls.  
 This beholding of the glory of Christ given him by his Father, is,  
indeed, subordinate unto the ultimate vision of the essence of God.  
What that is we cannot well conceive; only we know that the "pure in  
heart shall see God." But it has such an immediate connection with  
it, and subordination unto it, as that without it we can never  
behold the face of God as the objective blessedness of our souls.  
For he is, and shall be to eternity, the only means of communication  
between God and the church.  
 And we may take some direction in our looking into and longing  
after this perfect view of the glory of Christ, from the example of  
the saints under the Old Testament. The sight which they had of the  
glory of Christ - for they also saw his glory through the obscurity  
of its revelation, and its being veiled with types and shadows - was  
weak and imperfect in the most illuminated believers; much inferior  
unto what we now have by faith, through the Gospels. Yet such it was  
as encouraged them to inquire and search diligently into what was  
revealed, 1 Peter 1: 10,11. Howbeit, their discoveries were but dark  
and confused, such as men have of things at a great distance, or "in  
a land that is very far off," as the prophet speaks, Isa. 33: 17.  
And the continuance of this veil on the revelation of the glory of  
Christ, whilst a veil of ignorance and blindness was upon their  
hearts and minds, proved the ruin of that church in its apostasy, as  
the apostle declares, 2 Cor. 3: 7, 13, 14. This double veil (the  
covering covered, the veil veiled) God promised to take away, Isa.  
25: 7; and then shall they turn to the Lord, when they shall be able  
clearly to behold the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 3: 16.  
 But this caused them who were real believers among them to desire,  
long, and pray for, the removal of these veils, the departure of  
those shadows, which made it as night unto them in comparison of  
what they knew would appear, when "the Sun of Righteousness should  
arise with healing in his wings." They thought it long ere "the day  
did break, and the shadows flee away," Cant. 2: 17; 4: 6. There was  
an "apokaradokia", as the apostle speaks, Rom. 8: 19, - a thrusting  
forth of the head with desire and expectation of the exhibition of  
the Son of God in the flesh, and the accomplishment of all divine  
promises therein. Hence he was called the Lord whom they sought and  
delighted in, Mal. 3: 1.  
 And great was the spiritual wisdom of believers in those days.  
They rejoiced and gloried in the ordinances of divine worship which  
they did enjoy. They looked on them as their chiefest privilege, and  
attended unto them with diligence, as an effect of divine wisdom and  
love, as also because they had a shadow of good things to come. But  
yet, at the same time, they longed and desired that the time of  
reformation were come, wherein they should all be removed; that so  
they might behold and enjoy the good things signified by them. And  
those who did not so, but rested in and trusted unto their present  
institutions, were not accepted with God. Those who were really  
illuminated did not so, but lived in constant desires after the  
revelation of the whole mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ; as  
did the angels themselves, 1 Peter 1: 3; Eph. 3: 9, 10.  
 In this same of heart and suitable acting of their souls there was  
more of the power of true faith and love than is found among the  
meet at this day. They saw the promises afar off, and were pervaded  
of them, and embraced them, Heb. 11: 13. They reached out the arms  
of their most intent affections to embrace the things that were  
promised. We have an instance of this frame in old Simon, who, so  
soon as he had taken the child Jesus in his arms, cried out, "Now,  
Lord, let me depart," now let me die; this is that which my soul has  
longed for, Luke 2: 28, 29.  
 Our present darkness and weakness in beholding the glory of  
Christ, is not like theirs. It is not occasioned by a veil of types  
and shadows, cast on it by the representative institutions of it, -  
it does not arise from the want of a clear doctrinal revelation of  
the person and office of Christ; but, as was before declared, it  
proceedeth from two other causes. First, From the nature of faith  
itself, in comparison with vision. It is not able to look directly  
into this excellent glory, nor fully to comprehend it. Secondly,  
From the way of its propose which is not substantial of the thing  
itself, but only of an image of it, as in a glass. But the sight,  
the view of the glory of Christ, which we shall have in heaven, is  
much more above that which we now enjoy by the gospel, than what we  
do or may so enjoy is above what they have attained under their  
types and shadows. There is a far greater distance between the  
vision of heaven and the sight which we have now by faith, than is  
between the sight which we now have and what they had under the Old  
Testament. Heaven does more excel the Gospel state than that state  
does the Law. Wherefore, if they did so pray, so long for, so desire  
the removal of their shadows and veils, that they might see what we  
now see, that they might so behold the glory of Christ as we may  
behold it in the light of the gospel; how much more should we, if we  
have the same faith with them, the same love (which neither will nor  
can be satisfied without perfect fruition), long and pray for the  
removal of all weakness, of all darkness and interposition, that we  
may come unto that immediate beholding of his glory which he so  
earnestly prayed that we might be brought unto!  
 To sum up briefly what has been spoken: There are three things to  
be considered concerning the glory of Christ, three degrees in its  
manifestation, - the shadow, the perfect image, and the substance  
itself. Those under the Law had only the shadow of it, and of the  
things that belong unto it; - they had not the perfect image of  
them, Heb. 10: 1. Under the gospel we have the perfect image, which  
they had not; or a clever, complete revelation and declaration of  
it, presenting it unto us as in a glass: but the enjoyment of these  
things in their substance is reserved for heaven; we must be "where  
he is, that we may behold his glory." Now, there is a greater  
difference and distance between the real substance of any thing and  
the most perfect image of it, than there is between the most perfect  
image and the lowest shadow of the same thing. If, then, they longed  
to be freed from their state of types and shadows, to enjoy the  
representation of the glory of Christ in that image of it which is  
given us in the gospel; much more ought we to breathe and pant after  
our deliverance from beholding it in the image of it, that we may  
enjoy the substance itself. For, whatever can be manifest of Christ  
on this side heaven, it is granted unto us for this end, that we may  
the more fervently desire to be present with him.  
 And as it was their wisdom and their grace to rejoice in the light  
they had, and in those typical administrations of divine worship  
which shadowed out the glory of Christ unto them, yet did always  
pant after that more excellent light and full discovery of it which  
was to be made by the Gospel; so it will be ours also thankfully to  
use and improve the revelations which we enjoy of it, and those  
institutions of worship wherein our faith is assisted in the view  
thereof, - yet so as continually to breathe after that perfect, that  
glorifying sight of it which is reserved for heaven above.  
 And may we not a little examine ourselves by these things? Do we  
esteem this pressing towards the perfect view of the glory of Christ  
to be our duty? and do we abide in the performance of it? If it be  
otherwise with any of us, it is a signal evidence that our  
profession is hypocritical. If Christ be in us, he is the hope of  
glory in us; and where that hope is, it will be active in desires of  
the things hoped for. Many love the world too well, and have their  
minds too much filled with the things of it, to entertain desires of  
speeding through it unto a state wherein they may behold the glory  
of Christ. They are at home, and are unwilling to be absent from the  
body, though to be present with the Lord. They hope, it may be, that  
such a season will come at one time or another, and then it will be  
the best they can look for when they can be here no more. But they  
have but a little sight of the glory of Christ in this world by  
faith, if any at all, who so little, so faintly desire to have the  
immediate sight of it above. I cannot understand how any man can  
walk with God as he ought, or has that love for Jesus Christ which  
true faith will produce, or does place his refreshments and joy in  
spiritual things, in things above, that does not on all just  
occasions so meditate on the glory of Christ in heaven as to long  
for an admittance into the immediate sight of it.  
 Our lord Jesus Christ alone perfectly understood wherein the  
eternal blessedness of them that believe in him does consist. And  
this is the sum of what he prays for with respect unto that end, -  
namely, that we may be where he is, to behold his glory. And is it  
not our duty to live in a continual desire of that which he prayed  
so earnestly that we might attain? If in ourselves we as yet  
apprehend but little of the glory, the excellency, the blessedness  
of it, yet ought we to repose that confidence in the wisdom and love  
of Christ, that it is our best, - infinitely better than any thing  
we can enjoy here below.  
 Unto those who are inured unto these contemplations, they are the  
salt of their lives, whereby every thing is condited and made  
savoury unto them, as we shall show afterward. And the want of  
spiritual diligence herein is that which has brought forth a  
negligent, careless, worldly profession of religion, which,  
countenancing itself with some outward duties, has lost out of it  
the power of faith and love in their principal operations. Hereby  
many deceive their own souls. Goods, lands, possessions, relations,  
trades, with secular interests in them, are the things whose image  
is drawn on their minds, and whose characters are written on their  
foreheads, as the titles whereby they may be known. As believers,  
beholding the glory of Christ in the blessed glass of the gospel,  
are changed into the same image and likeness by the Spirit of the  
Lord; so these persons, beholding the beauty of the world and the  
things that are in it in the cursed glass of self-love, are in their  
minds changed into the same image. Hence perplexing fears, vain  
hopes, empty embraces of perishing things, fruitless desires,  
earthly, carnal designs, cursed, self-pleasing imaginations, feeding  
on, and being fed by, the love of the world and self, do abide and  
prevail in them. But we have not so learned Christ Jesus. 

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch-12.txt