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conjoined and composed in this place. As God the Father did nothing in the first creation but by him as his eternal wisdom, John i. 3. Heb. i. 2. Prov. viii. so he designed nothing in the new creation or restoration of all things unto his glory, but in him as he was to be incarnate. Wherefore in his person were laid all the foundation of the counsels of God for the sanctification and salvation of the church. Herein he is glorified, and that in a way unspeakably exceeding all that glory which would have accrued unto him from the first creation, had all things abode in their primitive constitution.
His person, therefore, is the foundation of the church, the great mystery of godliness, or the religion we profess; the entire life and soul of all spiritual truth; in that all the counsels of the wisdom, grace, and goodness of God, for the redemption, vocation, sanctification, and salvation of the church, were all laid in him, and by him were all to be accomplished.
The person of Christ the great representative of God and his will. WHAT may be known of God, is his nature and existence, with the holy counsels of his will. A representation of them unto us, is the foundation of all religion, and the means of our conformity unto him, wherein our present duty and future blessedness do consist. For to know God, so as thereby to be made like unto him, is the chief end of man. This is done perfectly only in the person of Christ, all other means of it being subordinate thereunto, and none of them of the same nature therewithal. The end of the word itself is to instruct us in the knowledge of God in Christ. That, therefore, which I shall now demonstrate, is, that in the person and mediation of Christ (which are inseparable in all the respects of faith unto him) there is made unto us a blessed representation of the glorious properties of the divine nature, and of the holy counsels of the will of God. The first of these I shall speak unto in this chapter,
1 manifest Christ. And
ary unto the
istence, is abimmense, and
no creature can
any of them. He rehend that which Known unto himself on is heard of him? ,' and said to dwell in of his most single and ons, though it raises and
it amazeth reason which plation of it; whence men other guide, and are carried man hath seen God at any who is in the bosom of the FaJohn i. 18. 1 Tim. vi. 16.
e no direct intuitive notions or essence, or its properties. Such ul for us. Whatever is pleaded of the essense of God in the light d unto a possibility of an immediate t. But in our present state, God is
Moses under all the external may, in thick darkness;' Exod. xx. 21. ptions of the minds of men are swalwhen they would exercise themselves h is absolutely immense, eternal, infiit is so, we know not what we say, but otherwise. What we deny of God, we sure, but what we affirm we know not; hat we believe and adore. Neque sene phantasia, neque opinio, nec ratio, nec onys. De Divin. Nomini. (1.) We have no real, no intellectual instrument or power for ion of him; nor hath any other creature. στιν ὁ θεὸς, οὐ μόνον οἱ Προφῆται, ἀλλ ̓ οὐδὲ ἄγ· ἀρχάγγελοι, αλλ' ἐὰν ἐρωτήσες αὐτοὺς ἀκούση
περὶ μὲν τᾶς οὐσίας οὐδὲν ἀποκρινομένους· δοξα δὲ ἐν ὑψίτοις μόνον ἁδόντες τῷ Θεῷ· κἂν παρὰ τῶν Χερουβὶμ ἤ τῶν σέραφειμ ἐπιθυμήσάς τι μαθεῖν, τὸ μυστικὸν τοῦ ἁγιασμοῦ μέλος ἀκούσῃ, καὶ ὅτι πλήρης ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ. For that which is God' (the essence of God)'not only have not the prophets seen, but neither the angels nor the archangels. If thou wilt inquire of them, thou shalt have nothing of the substance of God, but only hear them say, Glory to God on high. If thou askest the cherubims and seraphims, thou shalt only hear the praise of holiness, the whole earth is full of his glory,' says Chrysostom, in cap. 1. John v. 18. That God is in himself absolutely incomprehensible unto us, is a ne cessary effect of our infinite distance from him. But as h externally represents himself unto us, and by the notion which are ingenerated in us by the effects of his propertie are our conceptions of him; Psal. xix. 1. Rom. i. 21.
This is declared in the answer given unto that reques Moses; 'I beseech thee, shew me thy glory;' Exod. xxxiii. Moses had heard a voice speaking unto him, but he t spake was in thick darkness,' he saw him not. Glorious dences he gave of his majestatical presence, but no app ance was made of his essence or person. Hereon Mose sireth for the full satisfaction of his soul (as the neare one is unto God, the more earnest will be his desire the full fruition of him), that he might have a sight glory, not of that created glory in the tokens of hi sence and power which he had beheld, but of the unc glory of his essence and being. Through a transȚ love to God, he would have been in heaven whilst he the earth; yea, desired more than heaven itself will if he would have seen the essence of God with his co eyes. In answer hereunto God tells him, that 'he ca his face and live;' none can have either bodily direct mental intuition of the Divine Being. But th do, saith God, I will make my glory pass before t thou shalt see my back parts;' Exod. xxxiii. 18-23, is all that God would grant, namely, such exter sentations of himself in the proclamation of his 1 created appearances of his glory, as we have of a n back parts only we behold as he passeth by us. the being of God, and his subsistence in the Trin
sons, we have no direct intuition into them, much less comprehension of them.
3. It is evident therefore that our conceptions of God, and of the glorious properties of his nature, are both ingenerated in us, and regulated under the conduct of divine revelation, by reflections of his glory on other things, and representations of his divine excellencies in the effects of them. So the invisible things of God, 'even his eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being manifested and understood by the things that are made;' Rom. i. 20. Yet must it be granted, that no mere creature, not the angels above, not the heaven of heavens, are meet or able to receive upon them, such characters of the divine excellencies, as to be a complete satisfactory representation of the being and properties of God, unto us. They are all finite and limited, and so cannot properly represent that which is infinite and immense. And this is the true reason why all worship or religious adoration of them is idolatry. Yet are there such effects of God's glory in them, such impressions of divine excellencies upon them, as we cannot comprehend nor search out unto perfection. How little do we conceive of the nature, glory, and power of angels? So remote are we from an immediate comprehension of the uncreated glory of God, as that we cannot fully apprehend, nor conceive aright, the reflection of it on creatures in themselves finite and limited. Hence they thought of old when they had seen an angel, that so much of the divine perfections had been manifested unto them that thereon they must die; Judges xiii. 21, 22. Howbeit they come infinitely short of making any complete representation of God, nor is it otherwise with any creature whatever.
4. Mankind seemed to have always had a common apprehension, that there was need of a nearer and more full representation of God unto them, than was made in any of the works of creation or providence. The heavens indeed declared his glory, and the firmament always shewed his handy work. The invisible things of his eternal power and Godhead, were continually made known by the things that are made. But men generally miscarried and missed it in the contemplation of them, as the apostle declares, Rom. i. For still they were influenced by a common presumption, that
there must be a nearer and more evident manifestation of God; that made by the works of creation and providence being not sufficient to guide them unto him. But in the pursuit hereof, they utterly ruined themselves; they would do what God had not done. By common consent they framed representations of God unto themselves; and were so besotted therein, that they utterly lost the benefit which they might have received by the manifestation of him in the works of the creation, and took up with most foolish imaginations. For whereas they might have learned from thence, the being of God, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, namely, in the impressions and characters of them on the things that were made; in their own representations of him, they 'changed the glory of the invisible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things;' Rom. i. 23. Wherefore this common presumption, that there was no way to attain a due sense of the Divine Being, but by some representation of it, though true in itself, yet by the craft of Satan, and foolish superstitions of the minds of men, became the occasion of all idolatry and flagitious wickedness in the world. Hence were all those έipaveial, or supposed illustrious appearances of their gods, which Satan deluded the Gentiles by; and hence were all the ways which they devised to bring God into human nature, or the likeness of it. Wherefore in all the revelations that ever God made of himself, his mind and will, he always laid this practice of making representations of him, under the most severe interdict and prohibition. And this he did evidently for these two reasons:
(1.) Because it was a bold and foolish intrenching upon his provisional wisdom in the case. He had taken care that there should be a glorious image and representation of himself, infinitely above what any created wisdom could find out. But as when Moses went into the mount, the Israelites would not wait for his return, but made a calf in his stead; so mankind, refusing to wait for the actual exhibition of that glorious image of himself which God had provided, they broke in upon his wisdom and sovereignty, to make some of their own. For this cause was God so provoked, that he gave them up to such stupid blindness, that in those things wherein they thought to shew themselves wise, and to bring