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upon him by his Father, though afterwards he was despised and rejected of men. All the while he lay in that bosom of peace and love, he never knew what it was to be assaulted with temptations, to be besieged and battered upon by unclean spirits, as he did afterwards: The Lord embraced him from eternity, but never wounded him till he stood in our place and room. There were no hidings or withdrawments of his Father from him; there was not a cloud from eternity upon the face of God till Jesus Christ had left that bosom. It was a new thing to Christ to see frowns in the face of his Father. There was never any impressions of his Father's wrath upon him, as there were afterward. There was no death to which he was subject in that bosom. All these things were new things to Christ; he was above them all, till for our sakes he voluntarily subjected himself unto them." Then, after the author has shewn how great was the intimacy, the dearness, the delight, which was between the Father and the Son, considered in their divine nature, he draws some inferences, page
"I. What an astonishing act of love was this, for the Father to give the delight, the darling of his soul out of his very bosom for poor sinners? Never did any child lie so close to a parent's heart as Christ did to his Father's, and yet he willingly parts with him, though his only one, the Son of his delight; and that to death, a cursed death, for the worst of sinners. O matchless love! a love past finding out! if the Father had not loved thee he had never parted with such a Son for thee."
"II. Adore, and be for ever astonished at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners, that ever he should consent to leave such a bosom, and the ineffable delights that were there, for such poor worms as we are. O the heights, depths, lengths. and breadths of unmeasurable love!" "It is admirable, says Mr. Burges on John xvii. that Christ should not only put himself out of comfort, but out of that manifested honour and glory he might have retained to himself." "If ever you found by experience what it is to be in the bosom of God by divine communion, would you be persuaded to leave such a bosom for all the good that is in the world? And yet Jesus Christ, who was embraced in that bosom after another manner than ever you were acquainted with, freely left it, and laid down the glory and riches he enjoyed there for your sakes. What manner of love is this? Who ever loved as Christ loves? Who ever denied himself for Christ, as Christ denied himself for us?" Then after the third inference, he adds:
IV. How worthy is Jesus Christ of all our love and delight! he that left God's bosom for you, deserves a place in your bosoms."
"Exhortation. If Christ lay eternally in this bosom of love,
and yet was content to forsake and leave it for your sakes, then be you ready to forsake and leave all the comforts you have on earth for Christ."
Again, Serinon IV. page 35. "Consider how near and dear Jesus Christ was to the Father: He was his Son, his only Son saith the text: The Son of his love: The darling of his soul: His other self; yea, one with himself: The express image of his person: The brightness of his Father's glory: In parting with him, he parted with his own heart, with his very bowels, as I may say. Yet to us a Son is given; Isa. ix. 6. And such a Son as he calls his dear Son."
Now if we suppose the human soul of our Lord Jesus Christ to have had a pre-existent state of joy and glory in the bosom of the Father through all former ages of the world, and even be fore the world was created, then these expressions are great and noble, are just and true; and have a happy aptness and propriety in them to set forth the transcendent love of God the Father in sending his Son, and the transcendent love of Christ, the Son of God, in coming from heaven, and leaving the joys and glories of his Father's immediate presence in heaven, to take on him such flesh and blood as ours is, and in that flesh and blood to sustain shame, sorrow, pain, anguish of flesh and spirit, sharp agonies, and the pangs of death.
And this love is exceedingly enhanced, while we consider that this human soul of Christ was personally united to this divine nature; so that hereby God himself is joined to flesh and blood; "God becomes manifest in the flesh." 1 Tim. iii. 16.
But on the other hand, if we suppose nothing but the pure divine nature of Christ to exist before his incarnation, then all these expressions seem to have very little justness or propriety in them; for the divine nature of Christ, how distinct soever it is supposed to be from God the Father, yet can never leave the Father's bosom, can never divest itself of any one joy or felicity that it was ever possessed of, nor lose even the least degree of it; nor could God the Father ever dismiss the divine nature of his Son from his own bosoin. Godhead must have eternal and complete beatitude, joy and glory, and can never be dispossessed of it. Godhead can sustain no real sorrow, suffering or painThe utmost that can be said concerning the deity of Christ is, that there is a relative imputation of the sorrows, sufferings and pains of the human nature, to the divine, because of the union between them; so that the sufferings acquire a sort of divine dignity and merit hereby: It is granted indeed that this relative and imputative suffering may be sufficient in a legal sense to advance the dignity of the sacrifice of Christ, to a complete and equivalent satisfaction for sin; yet the exceeding greatness of the love of the Father and the Son does not seem to be so sensibly
manifested to us hereby, for all this abasement of the godhead of Christ is merely relative and not real.
And as it is plain that the divine nature of Christ could not be separated from the bosom of his Father, when he came into this world and took flesh upon him, so neither could the human nature leave this bosom of the Father, if it had no prior existence, and was never there. Therefore in the common scheme all this glorious and pathetic representation of the love of Christ in leaving the joys and glories of heaven when he came to dwell upon earth, has no ideas belonging to it, and it can be true in no sense, since it can neither be attributed to the human nor to the divine nature of Christ, nor to his whole person. I grant that by the figure of communication of properties, what is true of one nature may be attributed to the whole person, or sometimes to the other nature; yet that which is not true concerning either nature of Christ separated, nor concerning the two natures united, cannot be attributed to him at all: So that parting with the bosom of his Father, and forsaking the joys and glories he possessed there, are, according to the common scheme, words of which we have no ideas.
But now if we conceive the soul of Christ in its pre-existent state, as the first-born of every creature, the darling of the soul of God, who, as it were, lay in the bosom of the Father, to come forth from the Father and come into this world; John xvi. 28. to part with the joys and glories it was possessed of there before the foundation of the world; John xvii. 5. to dwell in a feeble mansion of flesh and blood, pain and sorrow, to be cramped and confined in human limbs, and to sustain the pangs and punishment of a cursed death on the cross for the sake of rebellious creatures. This is amazing love indeed; this has a surpri zing and sensible reality in it, and should awaken all the powers of our souls to admire and adore both God the Father for sending his Son Jesus Christ, and Christ himself for consenting to such an abasement.
SECTION II.-It has been made evident in the foregoing section that our best divines following the track of scripture light and the sacred dictates of the word of God, have set the transendent love of God the Father in sending his Son, and the love of Christ in his incarnation and death, in a most beautiful and affecting light, if we suppose the soul of Christ to have had a pre-existent state of joy and glory with the Father before the world was. But I fear their expressions are scarce consistent with any clear or just ideas or conceptions, while they deny each part of the human nature of Christ, that is, his soul as well as his body, to exist before his incarnation.
There is yet another and a very remarkable instance wherein our protestant divines in a very just and affecting manner reVOL. VI.
present the covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son according to scripture, upon the supposition of the pre-existence of Christ's human soul: But according to the common or scholastic explication of the distinction of persons in the Trinity, and the denial of this pre-existent soul of Christ, we can have no ideas under all their glorious and affectionate representations of this transaction between the Father and the Son. Let us enquire a little into this matter.
The common or scholastic explication of the Trinity, which has been long universally received by our protestant writers, and has been called orthodox for these several hundred years, is this, viz. That God is but one simple, infinite and eternal Spirit :Thence it follows, that the divine essence, powers, and essential properties of the Father, the Son and the Spirit in the godhead, are numerically the very same essence, powers, and essential properties: That it is the same numerical consciousness, understanding, will and power which belongs to the Father that belongs also to the Son and to the holy Spirit; and that the sacred three are distinguished only by the superadded relative properties of paternity, filiation and procession; but their thoughts, ideas, volitions and agencies, according to this hypothesis, must be the very same numerical thoughts, ideas, actions, and volitions, in all the sacred three.
Now having these excellent Sermons of Mr. Flavel before me, who has well represented this doctrine of the covenant of Redemption, and the transactions between God the Father and his Son before the world was, I would cite some part of that discourse, in order to shew how well his represention of this matter agrees with the doctrine of the pre-existent soul of Christ, though it can never agree to the common explication of the Trinity without it. See Sermon III. page 23, &c.
"1. Consider the persons transacting and dealing with each other in this covenant: These are God the Father, and God the Son the former as a creditor, the latter as a surety: the Father stands upon satisfaction, the Son engages to give it."
"2. Consider the business transacted between them, and that was the redemption and recovery of all God's elect."
"3. The manner or quality of this transaction: It was federal, or in the nature of a covenant: It was by mutual engagements and stipulations, each person undertaking to perform his part in order to our recovery, The Father promiseth that he will hold his hand and keep him; Isa. xlii. 6. The Son promiseth that he will obey his Father's call to suffering, and not be rebellious; Isa. 1. 5. and having promised, each holds the other to his engagement."
4. Consider the articles to which they both agree: God the Father promises to invest him with a three-fold office, viz. to make him a Priest; Ps. cx. 4. The Lord hath sworn and will
not repent, thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Heb. v. 5. Christ glorified not himself to be made a Highpriest, but he that said unto him thou art my Son. God the Father promises to make him a Prophet; Isa. xlii. 6. I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes. And to make him a King; Ps. ii. 6, 7. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance. Further, the Father promiseth to stand by him, assist him, and strengthen him for this work: Is. xlii. 5, 6, 7. I will hold thy hand, that is, I will underprop and support thy humanity when it is ready to sink under the burden. He promiseth to crown his work with success, to accept him in his work, and to reward him for it with great exaltation; Ps. ii. 7. I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. It is spoken of the day of his resurrection when he had just finished his suffering, and so the apostle expounds and applies it; Acts xiii. 33. and in Heb. xii. 2. This was "the joy that was set before him, which encouraged him to endure the cross, and despise the shame."
"In like manner Jesus Christ re-stipulates and gives his engagement to the Father, that upon these terms he is content to be made flesh, to divest himself as it were of his glory, to come under the obedience and malediction of the law, and not to refuse any the hardest sufferings it should please the Father to inflict on him. Ps. xl. 6, 7. Then said I, lo, I come, I delight to do thy will, O God.
5. These articles were by both parties performed precisely and punctually."
"6. This compact between the Father and the Son bears date from eternity, before this world was made; while as yet we had no existence, but only in the infinite mind and purpose of God; 2 Tim. i. 9. "The grace which was given us in Christ before the world began" was this grace of redemption, which from everlasting was thus contrived and designed for us. Then was the council or consultation of peace between them both, as some take that scripture; Zech. vi. 13.
"Page 28. God the Father and God the Son do mutually rely and trust to one another in the business of our redemption. The Father relies upon the Son for the performance of his part. The Father so far trusted Christ, that upon the credit of his promise to come into the world and in the fulness of time to become a sacrifice for the elect, he saved all the Old Testament saints.And so doth Christ in like manner depend upon and trust his Father for the accomplishment of all this promise, that he shall see his seed; and that all the elect that are yet behind, yet unregenrated, as well as those already called, shall be preserved to the heavenly kingdom.”