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are but 'loss and dung;' Phil. iii. 8-10. So they were to him, and if they are not so to us, we are carnal.
What is the world, and what are the things thereof, which most men spend their thoughts about, and fix their affections on? The psalmist gives his judgment about them, in comparison of a view of this glory of Christ, Psal. iv. 6. Many say, Who will shew us any good?' Who will give and help us to attain so much in and of this world, as will give rest and satisfaction unto our minds? That is the good inquired after. But, saith he, 'Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us.' The light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, is that satisfactory good alone, which I desire and seek after.
The Scripture reproacheth the vanity and folly of the minds of men, in that they spend their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not.' They engage the vigour of their spirits about perishing things, when they have durable substance and riches proposed unto them.
How do men for the most part exercise their minds? What are they conversant about in their thoughts?
Some by them make provision for the flesh, to fulfil it in the lusts thereof,' as Rom. xiii. 14. They search about continually in their thoughts for objects suited unto their lusts and carnal affections, coining, framing, and stamping of them in their imaginations. They fix their eyes with delight on toads and serpents, with all noisome filthy objects; refusing in the mean time, to behold the beauty and glory of the light of the sun. So is it with all that spend their thoughts about the objects of their sinful pleasures, refusing to look up after one view of this glory of Christ.
Some keep their thoughts in continual exercise about the things of this world, as unto the advantages and emoluments which they expect from them. Hereby are they transformed into the image of the world, becoming earthly, carnal, and vain. Is it because there is no God in Israel that these applications are made unto the idol of Ekron?' That there is no glory, no desirableness in Christ for men to inquire after, and fix their minds upon? O the blindness, the darkness, the folly of poor sinners! Whom do they despise, and for what?
Some of more refined parts and notional minds, do arise unto a sedulous meditation on the works of creation and providence. Hence many excellent discourses on that subject adorned with eloquence, are published among us. And a work this is worthy of our nature, and suited unto our rational capacities; yea, the first end of our natural endowment with them. But in all these things there is no glory in comparison of what is proposed unto us in the mysterious constitution of the person of Christ. The sun hath no glory, the moon and stars no beauty, the order and influence of the heavenly bodies have no excellency in comparison of it.
This is that which the psalmist designs to declare, Psal. viii. 'O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou hast made him to have dominion over the work of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.'
He is engaged in a contemplation of the glory of God in his works; and he concludes that the fabric of heaven, with the moon and stars, the rain (for it was his meditation by night, when he beheld them) was exceeding glorious, and greatly to be admired. This casts his thoughts on the poor, weak, infirm nature of man, which seems as nothing in comparison of those glories above: but immediately hereon falls into an admiration of the wisdom, goodness, and love of God, exalting that nature incomparably above all the works of creation in the person of Jesus Christ, as the apostle expounds this place, Heb. ii. 5, 6.
This therefore is the highest, the best, the most useful object of our thoughts and affections. He who hath had a real view of this glory, though he know himself to be a poor, sinful, dying worm of the earth, yet would he not be an angel in heaven, if thereby he should lose the sight of it; for this is the centre wherein all the lines of the manifestation of the divine glory do meet and rest.
Look unto the things of this world, wives, children, pos
sessions, estates, power, friends, and honour; how amiable are they! How desirable unto the thoughts of the most of men! But he who hath obtained a view of the glory of Christ, will in the midst of them all say, 'Whom have I in heaven but thee? There is none on earth that I desire besides thee;' Psal. lxxiii. 25. For who in the heavens can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty, can be compared unto the Lord?' Psal. lxxxix. 6.
He himself, out of his infinite love and ineffable condescension, upon the sight and view of his church, and his own graces in her, wherewith she is adorned, doth say, Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck;' Cant. iv. 8. How much more ought a believing soul, upon a view of the glory of Christ, in whom it pleased the Father, that all fulness should dwell, to say, Thou hast ravished my heart, taken it away from me. 'O thou whom my soul loveth,' one glance of thy glorious beauty upon me, hath quite overcome me, hath left no heart in me, unto things here below? If it be not thus with us frequently, if we value not this object of our minds and affections, if we are not diligent in looking up unto him, to behold his glory, it is because we are carnal, and not in any good measure partakers of the promise, that our eyes shall see the king in his beauty.'
2. Our second direction unto the same end is, that we diligently study the Scripture, and the revelations that are made of this glory of Christ therein. To behold it, is not a work of fancy or imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the art of men without, or that of our own fancy within; but of faith exercised on divine revelations. This direction he gives us himself, John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for they are they that testify of me.' The way whereby this is done, is fully set before us in the example of the holy prophets under the Old Testament, 1 Pet. i. 11-13.
This principle is always to be retained in our minds in reading of the Scripture, namely, that the revelation and doctrine of the person of Christ and his office, is the foundation whereon all other instructions of the prophets and apostles for the edification of the church are built, and
whereinto they are resolved, as is declared, Eph. ii. 20-22. So our Lord Jesus Christ himself at large makes it manifest, Luke xxiv. 26, 27. 45, 46. Lay aside the consideration hereof, and the Scriptures are no such thing as they pretend unto; namely, a revelation of the glory of God in the salvation of the church; nor are those of the Old Testament so at this day unto the Jews, who own not this principle, 2 Cor. iii. 13-16. There are, therefore, such revelations of the person and glory of Christ treasured up in the Scripture, from the beginning unto the end of it, as may exercise the faith and contemplation of believers in this world; and shall never during this life, be fully discovered or understood; and in divine meditations of these revelations, doth much of the life of faith consist.
There are three ways whereby the glory of Christ is represented unto us in the Scripture. First, by direct descriptions of his glorious person and incarnation. among other places, Gen. iii. 15. Psal. ii. 7-9. xlv. 2-6. lxviii. 17, 18. cx. Isa. vi. 1-4. ix. 6. Zech. ii. 8. John i. 1-3. Phil. ii. 6-8. Heb. i. 1—3. ii. 14-16. Rev. i. 17, 18. Secondly, By prophecies, promises, and express instructions concerning him, all leading unto the contemplation of his glory, which are innumerable. Thirdly, By the sacred institutions of divine worship under the Old Testament: for the end of them all was to represent unto the church the glory of Christ in the discharge of his office, as we shall see afterward.
We may take notice of an instance in one kind under the Old Testament, and of one and another under the New.
His personal appearances under the Old Testament carried in them a demonstration of his glory; such was that in the vision which Isaiah had, when he saw his glory, and spake of him;' chap. vi. 1, 2. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. About it stood the seraphims,' &c. It was a representation of the glory of the divine presence of Christ filling his human nature, the temple of his body, with a train of all glorious graces. And if this typical representation of it was so glorious, as that the seraphims were not able steadfastly to behold it, but covered their faces' upon its appearance, ver. 2.
how exceeding glorious is it in itself, as it is openly revealed in the gospel!
Of the same nature are the immediate testimonies given unto him from heaven in the New Testament; so the apostle tells us, he received from God the Father, honour and glory, when there came such a voice unto him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;' 2 Pet. i. 17. The apostle intends the time of his transfiguration in the mount, for so he adds, ver. 18. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, who were with him in the holy mount.' Howbeit, at sundry other times he had the same testimony, or to the same purpose, from God, even the Father, in heaven. Herein God gave him honour and glory, which all those that believe in him should behold and admire; not only those who heard this testimony with their bodily ears, but all unto whom it is testified in the Scripture, are obliged to look after, and contemplate on the glory of Christ, as thus revealed and proposed. From the throne of his excellency by audible voices, by visible signs, by the opening of the heavens above, by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him, God testified unto him as his eternal Son, and gave him therein honour and glory. The thoughts of this divine testimony, and the glory of Christ therein, hath often filled the hearts of some with joy and delight.
This, therefore, in reading and studying the holy Scripture, we ought with all diligence to search and attend unto, as did the prophets of old, 1 Pet. xi. 12. if we intend by them to be made wise unto salvation.'
We should herein be as the merchant-man that seeks for pearls; he seeks for all sorts of them, but when he hath found one of great price,' he parts with all to make it his own; Matt. xiii. 45, 46. The Scripture is the field, the place, the mine where we search and dig for pearls; see Prov. ii. 1-5. Every sacred truth that is made effectual unto the good of our souls, is a pearl whereby we are enriched; but when we meet with, when we fall upon this pearl of price, the glory of Christ, this is that which the soul of a believer cleaves unto with joy.
Then do we find food for our souls in the word of truth, then do we taste how gracious the Lord is therein, then is