John Owen, The Glory of Christ  
Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,  
in His Person, Office, and Grace:  
The Differences between Faith and Sight;  
applied unto the use of them that believe.  
Prefatory note.  
Preface to the Reader.  
Meditations and Discourses on The Glory of Christ  
Chapter 1. The Explication of the Text.  
Chapter 2. The Glory of the Person of Christ, as the only  
           Representative of God unto the Church.  
Chapter 3. The Glory of Christ in the mysterious Constitution of his  
Chapter 4. The Glory of Christ in his Susception of the Office of a  
           Mediator -  
Chapter 5. The Glory of Christ in this Love.  
Chapter 6. The Glory of Christ in the Discharge of his Mediatory  
Chapter 7. The Glory of Christ in his Exaltation after the  
           Accomplishment of the Work of Mediation in this World.  
Chapter 8. Representations of the Glory of Christ under the Old  
Chapter 9. The Glory of Christ in his intimate Conjunction with the  
Chapter 10. The Glory of Christ in the communication of Himself unto  
Chapter 11. The Glory of Christ in the Recapitulation of all things  
            in Him.  
Chapter 12. Differences between our Beholding the Glory of Christ by  
            Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven - The First  
            of them Explained.  
Chapter 13. The Second Difference between our Beholding the Glory of 
            Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.  
Chapter 14. Other Differences between our Beholding the Glory of  
            Christ by Faith in this World and by Sight in Heaven.  
Prefatory note.  
The following treatise may be regarded as a series of Discourses on  
John 17:24. The subject is the Glory of Christ, as the  
representative of God to the church, - in the mystery of his Person,  
- in his office as Mediator, - in his exaltation on high, - in his  
relation to the church during every age of its history, - and in the  
final consummation of his work, when all things are to be gathered  
into a blessed unity, as the result of his mediation. The treatise  
is concluded by a statement of the difference between our views of  
the Glory of Christ as beheld by faith in this world, and as it  
shall be beheld by sight in heaven.  
 It is not professedly a sequel to the work of the author on the  
Person of Christ; though, from some expressions in the Preface to  
these Meditations, they may be regarded in this light. Several of  
them are evidently an expansion of certain thoughts and views, of  
which the germ will be found in the preceding work. The two works  
are, indeed, so closely connected, that they hare been often  
published together. It has been thought proper, therefore, to adhere  
to this arrangement in the present republication of Dr Owen's Works.  
 There are some facts which impart peculiar interest to these  
Mediation. They were drawn up, according to the author's own  
statement, "for the exercise of his own mind," in the first  
instance; and illustrate, accordingly, the scope and tenor of his  
Christian experience. They form, moreover, his dying testimony to  
the truth, - and to the truth, with peculiar emphasis, as it "is in  
Jesus;" for they are the substance of the last instructions which he  
delivered to his flock; and thee constitute the last work which he  
prepared for the press. It is instructive to peruse the solemn  
musings of his soul when "weakness, weariness, and the near  
approaches of death," were calling him away from his earthly  
labours; and to mark how intently his thoughts were fixed on the  
glory of the Saviour, whom he was soon to behold "face to face." On  
the day of his death, Mr Parne, who had the charge of the original  
publication of this treatise, on bidding Dr Owen farewell, said to  
him, "Doctor, I have just been putting your book on the Glory of  
Christ to the press". "I am glad," was Owen's reply, "to hear that  
that performance is put to the press; but, O brother Payne, the long  
looked-for day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in  
another manner than I have ever done yet, or was capable of doing in  
this world."  
 Mr Hervey thus expresses his admiration of this work: "To see the  
Glory of Christ is the grand blessing which our Lord solicits and  
demands for his disciples in his last solemn intercession, John 17:  
24. Should the reader desire assistance in this important work, I  
would refer him to a little treatise of Dr Owen's, entitled  
'Meditations on the Glory of Christ;' it is little in size, - not so  
in value. Were I to speak of it in the classical style, I should  
call it aureus, gemmeus, mellitus. But I would rather say, it is  
richly replenished with that unction from the Hole One which tends  
to enlighten the eyes and cheer the heart; which sweetens the  
enjoyments of life, softens the hours of death, and prepares for the  
fruitions of eternity." - Teron and Aspasio, vol. 3 p. 75.  
 The treatise was published in 1684. It was reprinted in 1696, with  
the addition of two chapters which were found among the papers of  
Owen, and in his own handwriting, though too late for insertion in  
the first edition of the work. - Ed.  
Preface to the Reader.  
Christian Reader,  
 To design of the ensuing Discourse is to declare some part of that  
glory of our Lord Jesus Christ which is revealed in the Scripture,  
and proposed as the principal object of our faith, love, delight,  
and admiration. But, alas! after our utmost and most diligent  
inquiries, we must say, How little a portion is it of him that we  
can understand! His glory is incomprehensible, and his praises are  
unutterable. Some things an illuminated mind may conceive of it; but  
what we can express in comparison of what it is in itself, is even  
less than nothing. But as for those who have forsaken the only true  
guide herein, endeavouring to be wise above what is written, and to  
raise their contemplations by fancy and imagination above Scripture  
revelation (as many have done), they have darkened counsel without  
knowledge, uttering things which they understand not, which have no  
substance or spiritual food of faith in them.  
 Howbeit, that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory  
in this world by faith,--however weak and obscure that knowledge  
which we may attain of them by divine revelation, - is inexpressibly  
to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge  
whatever. So it is declared by him who will be acknowledged a  
competent judge in these things. "Yea, doubtless," saith he, "I  
count all these things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge  
of Christ Jesus my Lord." He who does not so has no part in him.  
 The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more  
excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom  
and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of  
it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge  
hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions  
and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.  
 This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best  
of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our  
future blessedness shill consist in being where he is, and beholding  
of his glory, what better preparation can there be for it than in a  
constant preview contemplation of that glory in the revelation that  
is made in the Gospel, unto this very end, that by a view of it we  
may be gradually transformed into the same glory?  
 I shall not, therefore, use any apology for the publishing of the  
ensuing Meditations, intended first for the exercise of my own mind,  
and then for the edification of a private congregation; which is  
like to be the last service I shall do them in that kind. Some may,  
by the consideration of them, be called to attend unto the same duty  
with more diligence than formerly, and receive directions for the  
discharge of it; and some may be provoked to communicate their  
greater light and knowledge unto the good of many. And that which I  
design farther in the present Discourse, is to give a brief account  
of the necessity and use, in life and death, of the duty exhorted  
 Particular motives unto the diligent discharge of this duty will  
be pressed in the Discourse itself. Here some things more general  
only shall be premised. For all persons not immersed in sensual  
pleasures, - not overdrenched in the love of this world and present  
things, - who have any generous or noble thought about their own  
nature, being, and end, - are under the highest obligation to retake  
themselves unto this contemplation of Christ and his glory. Without  
this, they shall never attain true rest or satisfaction in their own  
minds. He it is alone in whom the race of mankind may boast and  
glory, on whom all its felicities do depend. For, -  
 I. He it is in whom our nature, which was debased as low as hell  
by apostasy from God, is exalted above the whole creation. Our  
nature, in she original constitution of it, in the persons of our  
first parents, was crowned with honour and dignity. The image of  
God, wherein it was made, and the dominion over the lower world  
wherewith it was intrusted, made it the seat of excellence, of  
beauty, and of glory. But of them all it was at once divested and  
made naked by sin, and laid grovelling in the dust from whence it  
was taken. "Dust thou are, and to dust thou shalt return," was its  
righteous doom. And all its internal faculties were invaded by  
deformed lusts, - everything that might render the whole unlike unto  
God, whose image it had lose. Hence it became the contempt of  
angels, the dominion of Satan; who, being the enemy of the whole  
creation, never had any thing or place to reign in but the debased  
nature of man. Nothing was now more vile and base; its glory was  
utterly departed. It had both lost its peculiar nearness unto God,  
which was its honour, and was fallen into the greatest distance from  
him of all creatures, the devils only excepted; which was its  
ignominy and shame. And in this state, as unto anything in itself,  
it was left to perish eternally.  
 In this condition - lost, poor, base, yea, cursed - the Lord  
Christ, the Son of God, found our nature. And hereon, in infinite  
condescension and compassion, sanctifying a portion of it unto  
himself, he took it to be his own, in a holy, ineffable subsistence,  
in his own person. And herein again the same nature, so depressed  
into the utmost misery, is exalted above the whole creation of God.  
For in that very nature, God has "set him at his own right hand in  
the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and  
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this  
world, but also in that which is to come." This is that which is so  
celebrated by the Psalmist, with the highest admiration, Ps. 8: 3-8.  
This is the greatest privilege we have among all our fellow-  
creatures, - this we may glory in, and value ourselves upon. Those  
who engage this nature in the service of sensual lusts and  
pleasures, who think that its felicity and utmost capacities consist  
in their satisfaction, with the accomplishment of other earthly,  
temporal desires, - are satisfied with it in its state of apostasy  
from God; but those who have received the light of faith and grace,  
so as rightly to understand the being and end of that nature whereof  
they are partakers, cannot but rejoice in its deliverance from the  
utmost debasement, into that glorious exaltation which it has  
received in the person of Christ. And this must needs make thoughts  
of him full of refreshment unto their souls. Let us take care of our  
persons, - the glory of our nature is safe in him. For, -  
 II. In him the relation of our nature unto God is eternally  
secured. We were created in a covenant relation unto God. Our nature  
was related unto him in a way of friendship, of likeness, and  
complacency. But the bond of this relation and union was quickly  
broken, by our apostasy from him. Hereon our whole nature became to  
be at the utmost moral distance from God, and enmity against him;  
which is the depth of misery. But God, in infinite wisdom and grace,  
did design once more to recover it, and take it again near unto  
himself. And he would do it in such a way as should render it  
utterly impossible that there would ever be a separation between him  
and it any more. Heaven and earth may pass away, but there shall  
never be a dissolution of the union between God and our nature any  
more. He did it, therefore, by assuming it into a substantial union  
with himself, in the person of the Son. Hereby the fulness of the  
Godhead dwelt in it bodily, or substantially, and eternally. Hereby  
is its relation unto God eternally secured. And among all the  
mysterious excellencies which relate hereunto, there are two which  
continually present themselves unto our consideration.  
 1. That this nature of ours is capable of this glorious exaltation  
and subsistence in God. No creature could conceive how omnipotent  
wisdom, power, and goodness, could actuate themselves unto the  
production of this effect. The mystery hereof is the object of the  
admiration of angels, and will be so of the whole church, unto all  
eternity. What is revealed concerning the glory, way, and manner of  
it, in the Scripture, I have declared in my treatise concerning the  
Mystery of Godliness, or the Person of Christ. What mind can  
conceive, what tongue can express, who can sufficiently admire, the  
wisdom, goodness, and condescension of God herein? And whereas he  
has proposed unto us this glorious object of our faith and  
meditation, how vile and foolish are we, if we spend our thoughts  
about other things in a neglect of it!  
 2. This is also an ineffable pledge of the love of God unto our  
nature. For although he will not take it in any other instance, save  
that of the man Christ Jesus, into this relation with himself, by  
virtue of personal union, yet therein he has given a glorious pledge  
of his love unto, and valuation of, that nature. For "verily he took  
not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of  
Abraham." And this kindness extends unto our persons, as participant  
of that nature. For he designed this glory unto the man Christ  
Jesus, that might be the firstborn of the new creation, that we  
might be made conformable unto him according to our measure; and as  
the members of that body, whereof he is the head, we are participant  
in this glory.  
 III. It is he in whom our nature has been carried successfully and  
victoriously through all the oppositions that it is liable unto, and  
even death itself. But the glory hereof I shall speak unto  
distinctly in its proper place, which follows, and therefore shall  
here pass it by.  
 IV. He it is who in himself has given us a pledge of the capacity  
of our nature to inhabit those blessed regions of light, which are  
far above these aspectable heavens. Here we dwell in tabernacles of  
clay, that are "crushed before the moth," - such as cannot be  
raised, so as to abide one foot-breadth above the earth we tread  
upon. The heavenly luminaries which we can behold appear too great  
and glorious for our cohabitation. We are as grasshoppers in our own  
eyes, in comparison of those gigantic beings; and they seem to dwell  
in places which would immediately swallow up and extinguish our  
natures. How, then, shall we entertain an apprehension of being  
carried and exalted above them all? to have an everlasting  
subsistence in places incomprehensibly more glorious than the orbs  
wherein they reside? What capacity is there in our nature of such a  
habitation? But hereof the Lord Christ has given us a pledge in  
himself. Our nature in him is passed through these aspectable  
heavens, and is exalted far above them. Its eternal habitation is in  
the blessed regions of light and glory; and he has promised that  
where he is, there we shall be, and that for ever.  
 Other encouragements there are innumerable to stir us up unto  
diligence in the discharge of the duty here proposed, - namely, a  
continual contemplation of the glory of Christ, in his person,  
office, and grace. Some of them, the principal of them which I have  
any acquaintance with, are represented in the ensuing Discourse. I  
shall therefore here add the peculiar advantage which we may obtain  
in the diligent discharge of this duty; which is, - that it will  
carry us cheerfully, comfortably, and victoriously through life and  
death, and all that we have to conflict withal in either of then.  
 And let it be remembered, that I do here suppose what is written  
on this subject in the ensuing Discourse as being designed to  
prepare the minds of the readers for the due improvement of it.  
 As unto this present life, it is well known what it is unto the  
most of them who concern themselves in these things. Temptations,  
afflictions changes, sorrows, dangers, fears, sickness, and pains,  
do fill up no small part of it. And on the other hand, all our  
earthly relishes, refreshments, and comfort, are uncertain,  
transitory, and unsatisfactory; all things of each sort being  
embittered by the remainders of sin. Hence everything wherein we are  
concerned has the root of trouble and sorrow in it. Some labour  
under wants, poverty, and straits all their days; and some have very  
few hours free from pains and sickness. And all these things, with  
others of an alike nature, are heightened at present be the  
calamitous season wherein our lot is fallen. All things almost in  
sit nations are filled with confusions, disorders, dangers,  
distresses, and troubles; wars and rumours of wars do abound, with  
tokens of farther approaching judgements; distress of nations, with  
perplexity, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking  
after those things which are coming on the earth. There is in many  
places "no peace unto him that goes out, nor to him that comets in,  
but great vexations are on the inhabitants of the world: nation is  
destroyed of nation, and city of city; for God does vex them with  
all adversity." [2 Chron. 15: 5,6.] And in the meantime, vexation  
with the ungodly deeds of wicked men does greatly further the  
troubles of life; the sufferings of many also for the testimony of  
their consciences are deplorable, with the divisions and animosities  
that abound amongst all sorts of Christians.  
 But the shortness, the vanity, the miseries of human life, have  
been the subject of the complains of all sort of considering  
persons, heathens as well as Christians; nor is it my present  
business to insist upon them. My inquire is only after the relief  
which we may obtain against all these evils, that we faint not under  
them, that we may have the victory over them.  
 This in general is declared by the apostle 2 Cor. 4, "We are  
troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but  
not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not  
destroyed." But for this cause "we faint not; but though our outward  
man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day be day. For our light  
affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more  
exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the  
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the  
things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not  
seen see eternal."  
 Our beholding by faith things that see not seen, things spiritual  
and eternal, will alienate all our afflictions, - make their burden  
light, and preserve our souls from fainting under them. Of these  
things the glory of Christ, whereof we treat, is the principal, and  
in due sense comprehensive of them all. For we behold the glory of  
God himself "in the face of Jesus Christ." He that can at a11 times  
retreat unto the contemplation of this glory, will be carried above  
the perplexing prevailing sense of any of these evils, of a  
confluence of them all. "Crus nil sentit in nervo, dum animus est in  
 It is a woeful kind of life, when men scramble for poor perishing  
reliefs in their distresses. This is the universal remedy and cure,  
- the only balsam for all our diseases. Whatever presseth, urgeth,  
perplexeth, if we can but retreat in our minds unto a view of this  
glory, and a due consideration of our own interest therein, comfort  
and supportment will be administered unto us. Wicked men, in their  
distress (which sometimes overtake even them also), are like "a  
troubled sea, that cannot rest." Others are heartless, and despond,  
- not without secret repinings at the wise disposals of Divine  
Providence, especially when thee look on the better condition (as  
they suppose) of others. And the best of us all are apt to wax faint  
and weary when these things press upon us in an unusual manner, or  
under their long continuance, without a prospect of relief. This is  
the stronghold which such prisoners of hope are to turn themselves  
unto. In this contemplation of the glory of Christ they will find  
rest unto their own souls. For, -  
 1. It will herein, and in the discharge of this duty, be made  
evident how slight and inconsiderable all these things are from  
whence our troubles and distresses do arise. For they all grow on  
this root of an over-valuation of temporal things. And unless we can  
arrive unto a fixed judgement that all things here below are  
transitory and perishing, reaching only unto the outward man, or the  
body, (perhaps unto the killing of it), - that the best of them have  
nothing that is truly substantial or abiding in them, - that there  
are other things, wherein we have an assured interest, that are  
incomparably better than they, and above them, - it is impossible  
but that we must spend our lives in fears, sorrows, and  
distractions. One real view of the glory of Christ, and of our own  
concernment therein, will give us a full relief in this matter. For  
what are all the things of this life? What is the good or evil of  
them in comparison of an interest in this transcendent glory? When  
we have due apprehensions hereof, - when our minds are possessed  
with thoughts of it, - when our affections reach out after its  
enjoyments, - let pain, and sickness, and sorrows, and fears, and  
dangers, and death, say what they will. we shall have in readiness  
wherewith to combat with them and overcome them; and that on this  
consideration, that they are all outward, transitory, and passing  
away, whereas our minds are fixed on those things which are eternal,  
and filled with incomprehensible glory.  
 2. The minds of men are apt by their troubles to be cast into  
disorder, to be tossed up and down, and disquieted with various  
affections and passions. So the Psalmist found it in himself in the  
time of his distress; whence he calls himself unto that account,  
'Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in  
me?" And, indeed, the mind on all such occasions is its own greatest  
troubler. It is apt to let loose its passions of fear and sorrow,  
which act themselves in innumerable perplexing thoughts, until it is  
carried utterly out of its own power. But in this state a due  
contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the  
mind, bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, wherein faith will be  
able to say unto the winds and waves of distempered passions,  
"Peace, be still;" and they shall obey it.  
 3. It is the way and means of conveying a sense of God's love unto  
our souls; which is that alone where ultimately we find rest in the  
midst of all the troubles of this life; as the apostle declares,  
Rom. 5: 2-5. It is the Spirit of God who alone communicates a sense  
of this love unto our souls; it is "shed abroad in our hearts by the  
Holy Ghost." Howbeit, there are ways and means to be used on our  
part, whereby we may be disposed and made meet to receive these  
communications of divine love. Among these the principal is the  
contemplation of the glory of Christ insisted on, and of God the  
Father in him. It is the season, it is the way and means, at which  
and whereby the Holy Ghost will give a sense of the love of God unto  
us, causing us thereon to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of  
glory." This will be made evident in the ensuing Discourse. This  
will lift the minds and hearts of believers above all the troubles  
of this life, and is the sovereign antidote that will expel all the  
poison that is in them; which otherwise might perplex and enslave  
their souls.  
 I have but touched on these things, as designing to enlarge  
somewhat on that which does ensue. And this is the advantage we may  
have in the discharge of this duty with respect unto death itself:  
It is the assiduous contemplation of the glory of Christ which will  
carry us cheerfully and comfortably into it, and through it. My  
principal work having been now for a long season to die daily, as  
living in a continual expectation of my dissolution, I shall on this  
occasion acquaint the reader with some few of my thoughts and  
reliefs with reference unto death itself.  
 There are sundry things required of us, that we may be able to  
encounter death cheerfully, constantly, and victoriously. For want  
of these, or some of them, I have known gracious souls who have  
lived in a kind of bondage for fear of death all their days. We know  
not how God will manage any of our minds and souls in that season,  
in that trial; for he acts towards us in all such things in a way of  
sovereignty. But these are the things which he requireth of us in  
way of duty: -  
 First, Peculiar actings of faith to resign and commit our  
departing souls into the hand of him who is able to receive them, to  
keep and preserve them, as also to dispose of them into a state of  
rest and blessedness, are required of us.  
 The soul is now parting with all things here below, and that for  
ever. None of all the things which it has seen, heard, or enjoyed,  
be it outward senses, can be prevailed with to stay with it one  
hour, or to take one step with it in the voyage wherein it is  
engaged. It must alone by itself launch into eternity. It is  
entering an invisible world, which it knows no more of than it has  
received by faith. None has come from the dead to inform us of the  
state of the other world; yea, God seems on purpose so to conceal it  
from us, that we should have no evidence of it, at least as unto the  
manner of things in it, but what is given unto faith By divine  
revelation. Hence those who died and were raised again from the dead  
unto any continuance among men, as Lazarus, probably knew nothing of  
the invisible state. Their souls were preferred by the power of God  
in their being, but bound up as unto present operations. This made a  
great emperor cry out, on the approach of death, "O animula,  
tremula, vagula, blandula; quae nunc abibis in loca horrida,  
squalida", &c. - "O poor, trembling, wandering soul, into what  
places of darkness and defilement art thou going?"  
 How is it like to be after the few moments which, under the pangs  
of death, we hare to continue in this world? Is it an annihilation  
that lies at the door? Is death the destruction of our whole being,  
so as that after it we shall be no more? So some would have the  
state of things to be. Is it a state of subsistence in a wandering  
condition, up and down the world, under the influence of other more  
powerfu11 spirits that rule in the air, visiting tombs and solitary  
places, and sometimes making appearances of themselves by the  
impressions of those more powerful spirits; as some imagine from the  
story concerning Samuel and the witch of Endor, and as it is  
commonly received in the Papacy, out of a compliance with their  
imagination of purgatory? Or is it a state of universal misery and  
woe? A state incapable of comfort or joy? Let them pretend what they  
please, who can understand no comfort or joy in this life but what  
they receive by their senses; - they can look for nothing else. And  
whatever be the state of this invisible world, the soul can  
undertake nothing of its own conduct after its departure from the  
body. It knows that it must be absolutely at the disposal of  
 Wherefore no man can comfortably venture on and into this  
condition, but in the exercise of that faith which enables him to  
resign and give up his departing soul into the hand of God, who  
alone is able to receive it, and to dispose it into a condition of  
rest and blessedness. So speaks the apostle, "I am not ashamed; for  
I know whom I hare believed, and am persuaded that he is able to  
keep that which I have committed unto him again that day."  
 Herein, as in all other graces, is our Lord Jesus Christ our great  
example. He resigned his departing spirit into the hands of his  
Father, to be owned and preserved by him, in its state of  
separation: "Father, into thy hinds I commend my spirit," Luke  
23:46; as did the Psalmist, his type, in an alike condition, Ps.  
31:5. But the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ herein, - the object  
and exercise of it, what he believed and trusted unto in this  
resignation of his spirit into the hand of God, - is at large  
expressed in the 16th Psalm. "I have," said he, "set the Lord always  
before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also  
shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither  
wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me  
the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right  
hand there are pleasures for evermore." He left his soul in the hand  
of God, in full assurance that it should suffer no evil in its state  
of separation, but should be brought again with his body into a  
blessed resurrection and eternal glory. So Stephen resigned his  
soul, departing under violence, into the hands of Christ himself.  
When he died he said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  
 This is the last victorious act of faith, wherein its conquest  
over its last enemy death itself does consist. Herein the soul says  
in and unto itself, "Thou art now taking leave of time unto  
eternity; all things about thee are departing as shades, and will  
immediately disappear. The things which thou art entering into are  
yet invisible; such as 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor will  
they enter into the heart of man fully to conceive.' Now, therefore,  
with quietness and confidence give up thyself unto the sovereign  
power, grace, truth, and faithfulness of God, and thou shalt find  
assured rest and peace."  
 But Jesus Christ it is who does immediately receive the souls of  
them who believe in him. So we see in the instance of Stephen. And  
what can be a greater encouragement to reign them into his hands,  
than a daily contemplation of his glory, in his person, his power,  
his exaltation, his office, and grace? Who that believes in him,  
that belongs unto him, can fear to commit his departing spirit unto  
his love, power, and care? Even we also shall hereby in our dying  
moments see by faith heaven opened, and Jesus standing at the right  
hand of God ready to receive us. This, added unto the love which all  
believers have unto the Lord Jesus, which is inflamed by  
contemplation of his glory, and their desires to be with him where  
he is, will strengthen and confine our minds in the resignation of  
our departing souls into his hand.  
 Secondly, It is required in us, unto the same end, that we be  
ready and willing to part with the flesh, wherewith we are clothed,  
with all things that are woeful and desirable thereunto. The  
alliance, the relation, the friendship, the union that are between  
the soul and the body, are the greatest, the nearest, the firmest  
that are or can be among mere created beings. There is nothing like  
it, - nothing equal unto it. The union of three persons in the one  
single divine nature, and the union of two natures in one person of  
Christ, are infinite, ineffable, and exempted from all comparison.  
But among created beings, the union of these two essential parts of  
the same nature in one person is most excellent. Nor is anything  
equal to it, or like it, found in any other creatures. Those who  
among them have most of life have either no body, as angels; or no  
souls but what perish with them, as all brute creatures below.  
 Angels, being pure, immaterial spirits, have nothing in them,  
nothing belonging unto their essence, that can die. Beasts have  
nothing in them that can live when their bodies die. The soul of a  
beast cannot be preserved in a separate condition, no, not by an act  
of almighty power; for it is not, and that which is not cannot live.  
It is nothing but the body itself in an act of its material powers.  
 Only the nature of man, in all the works of God, is capable of  
this convulsion. The essential parts of it are separable by death,  
the one continuing to exist and act its especial powers in a  
separate state or condition. The powers of the whole entire nature,  
actin gin soul and body in conjunction, are all scattered and lost  
by death. But the powers of one essential part of the same nature -  
that is, of the soul - are preserved after death in a more perfect  
acting and exercise than before. This is peculiar unto human nature,  
as a mean partaking of heaven and earth, - of the perfection of  
angels above, and of the imperfection of the beasts below. Only  
there is this difference in these things: - Our participation of the  
heavenly, spiritual perfections of the angelical nature is for  
eternity; our participation of the imperfections of the animate  
creatures here below is but for a season. For God hath designed our  
bodies unto such a glorious refinement at the resurrection, as that  
they shall have no more alliance unto that brutish nature which  
perisheth forever; for we shall be "isangeloi"- like unto angels, or  
equal to them. Our bodies shall no more be capable of those acts and  
operations which are now common to us with other living creatures  
here below.  
 This is the pre-eminence of the nature of man, as the wise man  
declares. For unto that objection of atheistical Epicureans, "As the  
one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so  
that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast. All go unto one  
place: all are of the dust, and all turn to the dust again," - he  
grants that, as unto their bodies, it is for a season in them we  
have a present participation of their nature; but, says he, here  
lies the difference, "Who knows the spirit of a man that goes  
upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the  
earth?" Eccles. 3: 21. Unless we know this, unless we consider the  
different state of the spirit of men and beasts, we cannot be  
delivered from this atheism; but the thoughts hereof will set us at  
liberty from it. They die in like manner, and their bodies go  
equally to the dust for a season; but the beast hath no spirit, no  
soul, but what dies with the body and goes to the dust. If they had,  
their bodies also must be raised again unto a conjunction with them;  
otherwise, death would produce a new race of creatures unto  
eternity. But man hath an immortal soul, saith he, a heavenly  
spirit, which, when the body goes in the dust for a season, ascends  
to heaven (where the guilt of sin and the curse of the law interpose  
not), from whence it is there to exist and to act all its native  
powers in a state of blessedness.  
 But, as I said, by reason of this peculiar intimate union and  
relation between the soul and body, there is in the whole nature a  
fixed aversion from a dissolution. The soul and body are naturally  
and necessarily unwilling to fall into a state of separation,  
wherein the one shall cease to be what it was, and the other knows  
not clearly how it shall subsist. The body claspeth about the soul,  
and the soul receiveth strange impressions from its embraces; the  
entire nature, existing in the union of them both, being unalterably  
averse unto a dissolution.  
 Wherefore, unless we can overcome this inclination, we can never  
die comfortably or cheerfully. We would, indeed, rather choose to be  
"clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life," that  
the clothing of glory might come on our whole nature, soul and body,  
without dissolution. But if this may not be, yet then do believers  
so conquer this inclination by faith and views of the glory of  
Christ, as to attain a desire of this dissolution. So the apostle  
testifies of himself, "I have a desire to depart, and to be with  
Christ, which is far better" than to abide here, Phil. 1: 23. Saith  
he, "Ten epitumian echoon", - not an ordinary desire, not that which  
worketh in me now and then; but a constant, habitual inclination,  
working in vehement acts and desires. And what does he so desire? It  
is "analusai", - "to depart," say we, out of this body, from this  
tabernacle, to leave it for a season. But it is such a departure as  
consists in the dissolution of the present state of his being, that  
it should not be what it is. But how is it possible that a man  
should attain such an inclination unto, such a readiness for, such a  
vehement desire of, a dissolution? It is from a view by faith of  
Christ and his glory, whence the soul is satisfied that to be with  
him is incomparably better than in its present state and condition.  
 He, therefore, that would die comfortably, must be able to say  
within himself and to himself, "Die, then, thou frail and sinful  
flesh: 'dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' I yield  
thee up unto the righteous doom of the Holy One. Yet herein also I  
give thee into the hand of the great Refiner, who will hide thee in  
thy grave, and by thy consumption purify thee from all thy  
corruption and disposition to evil. And otherwise this will not be.  
After a long sincere endeavour for the mortification of all sin, I  
find it will never be absolutely perfect, but by this reduction into  
the dust. Thou shalt no more be a residence for the least remnant of  
sin unto eternity, nor any clog unto my soul in its acting on God.  
Rest therefore in hope; for God, in his appointed season, when he  
shall have a desire unto the work of his hands, will call unto thee,  
and thou shalt answer him out of the dust. Then shall he, by an act  
of big almighty power, not only restore thee unto thy pristine  
glory, as at the first creation, when thou wast the pure workmanship  
of his hands, but enrich and adorn thee with inconceivable  
privileges and advantages. Be not, then, afraid; away with all  
reluctance. Go into the dust, - rest in hope; 'for thou shalt stand  
in thy lot at the end of the days.'"  
 That which will enable us hereunto, in an eminent manner, is that  
view and consideration of the glory of Christ which is the object of  
the ensuing Meditation. For He who is now possessed of all that  
glory underwent this dissolution of nature as truly and really as  
ever we shall do.  
 Thirdly, There is required hereunto a readiness to comply with the  
times and seasons wherein God would have us depart and leave this  
world. Many think they shall be willing to die when their time is  
come; but they have many reasons, as they suppose, to desire that it  
may not yet be, - which, for the most part, arise merely from fear  
and aversion of death. Some desire to live that they may see more of  
that glorious world of God for his church, which they believe he  
will accomplish. So Moses prayed that he might not die in the  
wilderness, but go over Jordan, and see the good land, and that  
goodly mountain and Lebanon, the seat of the church, and of the  
worship of God; which yet God thought meet to deny unto him. And  
this denial of the request of Moses, made on the highest  
consideration possible, is instructive unto all in the like case.  
Others may judge themselves to have some work to do in the world,  
wherein they suppose that the glory of God and the good of the  
church are concerned; and therefore would be spared for a season.  
Paul knew not clearly whether it were not best for him to abide a  
while longer in the flesh on this account; and David often  
deprecates the present season of death because of the work which he  
had to do for God in the world. Others rise no higher than their own  
private interests or concerns with respect unto their persons, their  
families, their relations, and goods in this world. They would see  
these things in a better or more settled condition before they die,  
and then they shall be most willing so to do. But it is the love of  
life that lies at the bottom of all these desires in men; which of  
itself will never forsake them. But no man can die cheerfully or  
comfortably who lives not in a constant resignation of the time and  
season of his death unto the will of God, as well as himself with  
respect unto death itself. Our times are in his hand, at his  
sovereign disposal; and his will in all things must be complied  
withal. Without this resolution, without this resignation, no man  
can enjoy the least solid peace in this world.  
 Fourthly, As the times and seasons, so the ways and means of the  
approaches of death have especial trials; which, unless we are  
prepared for them, will keep us under bondage, with the fear of  
death itself. Long, wasting, wearing consumption, burning fevers,  
strong pains of the stone, or the lice from within; or sword, fire,  
tortures, with shame and reproach from without, may be in the way of  
the access of death unto us. Some who have been wholly freed from  
all fears of death, as a dissolution of nature, who have looked on  
it as amiable and desirable in itself, have yet had great exercise  
in their minds about these ways of its approach: they have earnestly  
desired that this peculiar bitterness of the cup might be taken  
away. To get above all perplexities on the account of these things,  
is part of our wisdom in dying daily. And we are to have always in a  
readiness those graces and duties which are necessary thereunto.  
Such are a constant resignation of ourselves, in all events, unto  
the sovereign will, pleasure, and disposal of God. "May he not do  
what he will with his own?" Is it not right and meet it should be  
so? Is not his will in all things infinitely holy, wise, just, and  
good? Does he not know what is best for us, and what conduceth most  
unto his own glory? Does not he alone do so? So is it to live in the  
exercise of faith, that if God calls us unto any of those things  
which are peculiarly dreadful unto our natures, he will give us such  
supplies of spirited strength and patience as shall enable us to  
undergo them, if not with ease and joy, yet with peace and quietness  
beyond our expectation. Multitudes have had experience that those  
things which, at a distance, have had an aspect of overwhelming  
dread, have been far from unsupportable in their approach, when  
strength has been received from above to encounter with them. And,  
moreover, it is in this case required that we be frequent and steady  
in comparing these things with those which are eternal both as unto  
the misery which we are freed from and that blessedness which is  
prepared for us. But I shall proceed no farther with these  
 There is none of all the things we have insisted on - neither the  
resignation of a departing soul into the hand of God, nor a  
willingness to lay down this flesh in the dust, nor a readiness to  
comply with the will of God, as to the times and sons, or the way  
and manner of the approach of death - that can be attained unto,  
without a prospect of that glory that shall give us a new state far  
more excellent than what we here leave or depart from. This we  
cannot have, whatever we pretend, unless we have some present views  
of the glory of Christ. An apprehension of the future manifestation  
of it in heaven will not relieve us, if here we know not what it is,  
and wherein it does consist, - if we have not some previous  
discovery of it in this life. This is that which will make all  
things easy and pleasant unto us, even death itself, as it is a  
means to bring us unto its full enjoyment.  
 Other great and glorious advantages, which may be obtained in the  
diligent discharge of the duty here proposed, might be insisted on,  
but that the things themselves discoursed of will evidently discover  
and direct us unto the spring and reasons of them; besides,  
weakness, weariness, and the near approaches of death do call me off  
from any farther labour in this kind. 

(continued in file 1... )

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