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mystery ariseth from the consideration of the order of the holy persons of the blessed Trinity in their operations. For their order herein doth follow that of their subsistence. Unto this great work there are peculiarly required, authority, love, and power, all directed by infinite wisdom. These originally reside in the person of the Father, and the acting of them in this matter is constantly ascribed unto him. He sent the Son, as he gives the Spirit, by an act of sovereign authority. And he sent the Son from his eternal love; he loved the world, and sent his Son to die. This is constantly assigned to be the effect of the love and grace of the Father. And he wrought in Christ, and he works in us, with respect unto the end of this mystery, with the exceeding greatness of his power;' Eph. i. 18. The Son, who is the second person in the order of subsistence, in the order of operation puts the whole authority, love, and power of the Father in execution. This order of subsistence and operation thereon, is expressly declared by the apostle, 1 Cor. viii. 6. Unto us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by him.' The Father is the original fountain and spring, ou, from whom, whose original authority, love, goodness and power, are all these things. That expression of from him,' peculiarly denotes the eternal original of all things. But how are this authority, goodness, love, and power in the Father, whence all these things spring and arise, made effectual, how are their effects wrought out and accomplished? There is one Lord, even Jesus Christ,' a distinct person from the Father, di oũ, ' by whom are all things.' He works in the order of his subsistence, to execute, work, and accomplish all that originally proceedeth from the Father. By the Holy Spirit, who is the third person in order of subsistence, there is made a perfecting application of the whole unto all its proper ends.

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Wherefore this work of our redemption and recovery, being the especial effect of the authority, love, and power of the Father, it was to be executed in and by the person of the Son; as the application of it unto us is made by the Holy Ghost. Hence it became not the person of the Fa ther to assume our nature; it belonged not thereunto in the order of subsistence and operation in the blessed Trinity.

The authority, love, and power whence the whole work proceeded, were his in a peculiar manner. But the execution of what infinite wisdom designed in them and by them, be longed unto another. Nor did this belong unto the person of the Holy Spirit, who in order of divine opération following that of his subsistence, was to perfect the whole work, in making application of it unto the church when it was wrought. Wherefore it was every way suited unto divine wisdom, unto the order of the holy persons in their subsistence and operation, that this work should be undertaken and accomplished in the person of the Son. What is farther must be referred unto another world.

These are some few of those things wherein the infinite wisdom of God in this holy contrivance giveth forth some rays of itself into enlightened minds, and truly humbled souls. But how little a portion of it is heard by us? How weak, how low are our conceptions about it? We cannot herein find out the Almighty unto perfection. No small part of the glory of heaven will consist in that comprehension which we shall have of the mystery of the wisdom, love, and grace of God herein.

Howbeit we are with all diligence to inquire into it whilst we are here in the way. It is the very centre of all glorious evangelical truths; not one of them can be understood, believed, or improved as they ought, without a due comprehension of their relation hereunto; as we have shewed before.

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This is that which the prophets of old inquired into and after with all diligence, even the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, with theglory that ensued thereon; 1 Pet. i. 11. Yet had they not that light to discern it by, which we have. The least in the kingdom of God,' as to the knowledge of this mystery may be above the greatest of them. And ought we not to fear lest our sloth under the beams of the sun should be condemned by their diligence in the twi light?

This the angels bow down to look into, although their concerns therein were not equal to ours. But angels are angels, and prophets were prophets; we are a generation of poor sinful men who are little concerned in the glory of God or our own duty.

Is it not much to be lamented that many Christians content themselves with a very superficiary knowledge of these things? How are the studies, the abilities, the time, and diligence of many excellent persons engaged in, and laid out about, the works of nature, and the effects of divine wisdom and power in them, by whom any endeavour to inquire into this glorious mystery is neglected, if not despised? Alas, the light of divine wisdom in the greatest works of nature, holds not the proportion of the meanest star unto the sun in its full strength, unto that glory of it which shines in this mystery of God manifest in the flesh, and the work accomplished thereby. A little time shall put an end unto the whole subject of their inquiries, with all the concernment of God and man in them for evermore. This alone is that which fills up eternity, and which although it be now with some a nothing, yet will shortly be all.

Is it not much more to be lamented, that many who are called Christians do even despise these mysteries? Some oppose them directly with pernicious heresies about the person of Christ, denying his divine nature, or the personal union of his two natures, whereby the whole mystery of infinite wisdom is evacuated and rejected. And some there are who though they do not deny the truth of this mystery, yet they both despise and reproach such as with any diligence endeavour to inquire into it. I shall add the words used on a like occasion, unto them who sincerely believe the mysteries of the gospel. But ye beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.' And the due contemplation of this mystery will certainly be attended with many spiritual advantages.

[1.] It will bring in steadfastness in believing as unto the especial concerns of our own souls; so as to give unto God the glory that is his due thereon. This is the work, these are the ends of faith; Rom. v. 1-5. We see how many Christians who are sincere believers, yet fluctuate in their minds with great uncertainties as unto their own state and condition. The principal reason of it, is because they are unskilful in the word of righteousness, and so are babes in a weak condition, as the apostle speaks; Heb. v. 13.

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This is the way of spiritual peace. When the soul of a believer is able to take a view of the glory of the wisdom of God, exalting all the other holy properties of his nature in this great mystery unto our salvation, it will obviate all fears, remove all objections, and be a means of bringing in assured peace into the mind; which without a due comprehension of it, will never be attained.

[2.] The acting of faith hereon, is that which is accompanied with its great power to change and transform the soul into the image and likeness of Christ. So is it expressed by the apostle, 2 Cor. iii. 18. We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' We all beholding; KaтожTρižóμevoi, not taking a transient glance of these things, but diligently inspecting them, as those do who through a glass design a steady view of things at a distance. That which we are thus to behold by the continued actings of faith in holy contemplation, is the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ,' as it expressed, chap. iv. 6. which is nothing but that mystery of godliness, in whose explanation we have been engaged. And what is the effect of the steady contemplation of this mystery by faith? μerauoppoúμɛda, ' we are changed,' made quite other creatures than we were, cast into the form, figure, and image of Jesus Christ, the great design of all believers in this world. Would we then be like unto Christ? Would we bear the image of the heavenly, as we have borne the image of the earthy? Is nothing so detestable unto us as the deformed image of the old man, in the lusts of the mind and of the flesh? Is nothing so amiable and desirable as the image of Christ and the representation of God in him? this is the way, this is the means of attaining the end which we aim at.

[3.] Abounding in this duty is the most effectual means of freeing us in particular from the shame and bane of profession in earthly mindedness. There is nothing so unbecoming a Christian, as to have his mind always exercised about, always filled with, thoughts of earthly things. And according as men's thoughts are exercised about them, their affections are increased and inflamed towards them. These

things mutually promote one another, and there is a kind of

circulation in them. Multiplied thoughts inflame affections, and inflamed affections increase the number of thoughts concerning them, Nothing is more repugnant unto the whole life of faith, nothing more obstructive unto the exercise of all grace, than a prevalency of this frame of mind. And at this season in an especial manner it is visibly preying on the vitals of religion. To abound in the contemplation of this mystery, and in the exercise of faith about it, as it is diametrically opposed unto this frame, so it will gradually cast it out of the soul. And without this we shall labour in the fire for deliverance from this pernicious evil,

[4] And hereby are we prepared for the enjoyment of glory above. No small part of that glory consists in the eternal contemplation and adoration of the wisdom, goodness, love, and power of God in this mystery, and the effects of it, as shall afterward be declared.

And how can we better or otherwise be prepared for it, but by the implanting a sense of it on our minds by sedulous contemplation whilst we are in this world? God will not take us into heaven, into the vision and possession of heavenly glory, with our heads and hearts reeking with the thoughts and affections of earthly things. He hath appoint

ed means to make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,' before he will bring us into the enjoyment of it. And this is the principal way whereby he doth it. For hereby it is that we are changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory,' and make the nearest approaches unto the eternal fulness of it.

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The nature of the person of Christ, and the hypostatical union
of his natures declaréd.

THE nature or constitution of the person of Christ hath been commonly spoken unto, and treated of, in the writings both of the ancient and modern divines. It is not my purpose in this discourse to handle any thing that hath been so fully

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