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better pleased, and more desirous, that his glory should be beheld by his people, than they are either willing or able to behold it. He hath a good mind to be looked upon, when he speaks so in Isa. xlv. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved; all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else; a just God and a Saviour, ver. 21. (None can save a sinner, but a God. A mere man-saviour can save no sinner: and there is no God-saviour, but our Lord Jesus Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 5.) Christ here is calling men to look on him for salvation. Look to Christ, and you will see salvation in his heart and eye, and salvation will dart in upon your heart and soul. The brazen serpent was set up to be looked on by Israel. Though it could not speak, it could heal by God's ordinance. But the antitype, Jesus Christ, can both heal and speak; and the power of his voice can, and always doth give eyes to the man, and salvation by looking. It makes the dead both to hear, and live, John v. 25. Again, in Isaiah Ixv. 1. he saith, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. Some quarrellers may say, If Christ be so willing to have his glory to be beheld by men, why doth he not display his glory, and give all men eyes to see it by? I answer, That though this cavil savours of an ungodly, unhumbled heart, yet there are a few things that may stop such mouths. 1. It is a wonder of grace that he doth so to any: and they all admire it that do partake of it. Thomas seems to admire it, John xiv, 22. It were more hopeful work, and fitter for such, to admire that
than to murmur and grumble that it passeth by so many. 2. Would you have this great blessing? have you sought it humbly and earnestly ? have you turned his gracious call and promise into an earnest prayer? He saith to you, Lock to me, and be thou saved; answer it, Lord, look on me, and save me. A better man than any of us prayed so, Psal. cxix. 132. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name : and to the same purpose more largely in Psalm cvi. 4, 5. Must not that man be both wicked and unreasonable, that quarrels with God for not giving that grace that himself is unwilling to receive, is careless to ask, and strives against with all his might?
falls on any,
But nothing will fully stop the mouths of cavillers against free grace,
but either some taste of this grace, or the judge ment of the last day, Out of their own mouth they shall be judged by the Lord, Luke xix. 22.
But even Christians themselves are apt to say, That if Christ be so willing to have his glory to be beheld by his people, why then doch he stand so far off? why doth he hide himself so long ? why do I pray, and am not heard? If he would as earnestly have it beheld, as I would fain behold it, why is this distance and darkness so long continued? We have many such complaints from eminent saints in the word, and they are too common in all times. We experience more the tremblings of unbelief in scripture-saints, than the vigour of their faith. The infirmities of saints are recorded in the word for our humbling and warning; and their graces for our imitation and encouragement. Unto such honest complainers I would say, 1. 'That this mood cometh on you from the remnants of that natural enmity to the glory of his grace; which enmity, though it was subdued in its power in you, in the day of his power on you, yet hath its roots under ground, and doth sometimes spring up and trouble you. There is no evil perfectly rooted out of a sanctified man in this life, nor no grace planted in him that is perfect. 2. That the sovereignty of his grace appears as much in the times and measures of its dispensation, as in its being given at first to the sinner that never got any before. Let all believers remember that they are still under the dominion of the same free grace that at first subdued them to Christ.
The greatest ren ceivers of Christ's grace are not masters of it, but subjects and receivers. They must not say, as Jer. ii. 31. We are brds, we will come no more unto thate. The richest saint must be, and is, a humble beggar at grace's door all his days z and Christ is the Lord of the house, and the dispenser of the alms; and as the alms is too good not to be patiently waited for, so the Lord is too good and too great to be quarrelled with: and never did a believer get any good, by complaining of him. Complain to him, and pray, and ask largely, but still with faith and patience. Knock at his door; but stay, 2014 bless him, that ever he gave you any crumb of his grace.
faith. Faith may take it up in the promise, and believe and feel
Mix your prayers for new wanted grace, with praises for his old dispensed grace. Christ loves you, and hath proved it; believe it, bless him for it, and wait for his renewing his love to you ; and in due time you will find, that he will not only answer, but outdo all your desires to him, and all your expectations from him.
Obs. 3. The beholding of Christ's glory in heaven, is the main part of the happiness of his people in it. So Christ er. presseth it, (as I głanced at it before), as if he would explain what his people should get and do, when they are where he is; they shall behold his glory. This is that true beatific vision, that happy-making sight, that so many of the schoolmen (generally better philosophers than divines) do talk and write of. But poorly must all such talk and think of it, that are unacquainted with Christ and his grace in their own hearts. But this is sure, and plainly revealed, that the happiness of the glorified stands and flourisheth to eternity in the beholding of Christ's glory. The object is most excellent. The eye which they behold him with, and the light they behold him in, are rare and singular. (No such eyes, and no such light on earthy or in the lower created heavens.) And the fruits of this beholding this his glory, in this blessed way, are inexpressible
. There are two eyes that believers behold Christ's glory with; faith and sight. It is the same glory of the same Jesus that is seen; it is the same man that seeth his glory: but how vastly different are these two eyes, and the iwo beholdings ! The one is for this life, the other for the other life. The glory of Christ, as it shineth in heaven, is not for the eye
wait for it; but the glory of Christ in heaven is far above the eye of faith, Rom. viii. 24, 25. And, on the other hand, the picha glory of Christ, as it shineth in the gospel, and as seen by faith, is not for sight, and is unspeakably below it. For as needful and useful as faith is now to believers, yet when they come to the end of their faith, the salvation of their soul, 1 Pet
. i. 9. they have no more to do with it. There is no need of the shield of faith, when the war is ended, and the soldier of faith is made more than a conqueror, through Christ that loved him, Rom. viji. 37. Pictures of Christ, and love-letters from
him, and love-tokens, (the glory of the gospel, and the necessary food of faith), are no more needed when the blessed be loved is present and enjoyed.
I. I would now come to speak of the first thing, the glory of Christ. And it is with reverence and godly fear that I should speak, and you should hear, of this great and awful theme. And what I mean to say of it, shall be under these two heads : 1. The glory of Christ as he represents God unto
2. His glory as he represents us unto God: As he is God's only true representative to his church; and as he is the only representative of his church unto God. Christ is both, and great is his glory in both. And this glory I would soberdy speak of,
To begin with the first head, that Christ is the only representative of God unto his church: And great is his glory therein. And this glory of Christ is beheld by faith now, and to eternity by sight. There are many words about this, especially in the New Testament, (where the Old Testament vail on Christ's glory is taken away; and yet the New Testa. ment light will itself evanish also, when the Lord returns in his glory, and hath his church with him where he is.) I shall name a few of them. Col. i. 15. he is called the image of the invisible God. Heb. i. 3. jhe is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. Who is the image ? He that upholdeth all things by the word of his power; who, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Whose glory's brightness is he? whose pery son's character bears he ? God the Father's, who spake in the Old Testament times by the prophets, and in the New Testament times by his Son, ver. 1, 2.
So in 2 Cor. iv. 6. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shineth in the face (or Person) of Jesus Christ. All deep words, and deep matter in them.
To prepare our way to enter on this theme, there are three things I would lay before you.
1. That a right and sound knowledge of God is simply and absolutely necessary unto true happiness, in this and in the
other world. Our Lord in this chapter, ver. 3. saith, And this is life eternal, that they might kriote thee, the only trwe Girls and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. And 1 John v. 20. speaking of Christ as known, the apostle saith, This is the true God, and eternal life. None know the true God, none can come by eternal life, but they that know Christ. No faith, love, wor. ship, or obedience can be performed and acted by him that knows not God. The Athenian inscription, To the unknown God, was ridiculous, but suitable enough for blind idolaters. This truth, of the necessity of the knowledge of God, in order to the pleasing and enjoying of him, and of his favour, is etigraven on mens hearts by nature.
2. God in himself, and absolutely considered, is unknowable by men in this life, (to carry it no further now), unless he some way manifest himself to us. To this that seems to refer in 1 Tim. vi. 16. He dwelleth in light which no man can approach unto; whom 110 inan hath seen, nor can see. Whatsaeter doth make manifest, is light, Eph. v. 13. Yet divine light is a covering of God, Psalm civ. 1, 2. that no creature can see through ; John i. 18. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the besom of the Father, he hath declared him. This truth stands on three foundations. greatness of God, and of his glory. 2. The shortness of meus reach as creatures. And, 3. The corruption of their minds as sinners: Eph. iv. 18. Having the understanding darkened
, being alienated from the life of God, through the igncrance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. A dreadful, but true picture of that dungeon that all men by nature are born in, and must live and die in, and go through it, and from it, into outer darkness. In what way God did, and doth manifest himself and his glory unto the holy angels, and how they behold him, is quite hid from us. Though our Lord tells us, that in heaven they do always bihold the face of my Father which is in heavena Matth. xviii. 10.; yet what this is, we know no more
do that in Rov. xxii. 4. of the triumphant church that shall see his face. To come a liitle lower, and to speak of the first man who was made a little lower than the angels; This also is beyond our understanding how God did manisest himself unto him, and how he did behold God's glory: Though we are sure that both