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individual saints, and their perfect love and praise. (9.) And in the saints as embodied in the heavenly Jerusalem, the glory of which will be the glory of God. (10.) And principally in the blessed person and work of the Redeemer. In all these will God's glory shine forth for ever.
Quest. But to whom is it that God doth thus demonstrate his glory?
Answ. 1. To the saints in this life, in that degree as is suited to a state of grace, and the condition of a traveller that lives by faith. We are apt to look upward, and long after fuller revelations of the heavenly kingdom and mystery, and marvel that God will not shew himself more fully to his saints on earth. Fain we would know more of God and Christ, and the life to come; and it is oft matter of some temptation to us, that God doth not satisfy these desires, but leaveth them in so much darkness, that are willing of his light. But this is because we do not consider how much of glory consisteth in the light; and that grace is more in the desires of it than in the possession: and if we should have as much of it as we desire, it were but to bring down heaven to earth. Means must be suited to their ends: God will discover to us so much of his glory as may quicken our desires, and keep alive our hope, and patience, and endeavours; but not so much as shall satisfy us, and answer our expectations: for heaven is not here. We must not carry our home about with us, but travel towards it, that we may reach it at the last.
2. God doth even now demonstrate the glory of his forementioned attributes, in the work of redemption, not only to his saints, but to the angels of heaven. The consideration of this hath often satisfied me, when I have been tempted to wonder at the work of redemption, that God should so far condescend as to be incarnate, and make such glorious discoveries of himself, and yet that so few in the world should take notice of it, and he should have from men so little of the honour that he seemeth by his preparations to expect. But the most part of the world did never once see the glory that shineth to them in the Redeemer. But God hath another world besides this, and other creatures besides man, in all likelihood incomparably more numerous (perhaps thousands for one) and certainly more excellent. And though Christ did assume the nature of angels, and came
not to redeem them that needed no Redeemer, yet may the lustre of this work of redemption appear to the angels more clearly than to man; and God may have a thousand-fold more glory from them that are but the spectators and admirers, than from us in our present darkness, that are yet possessors. As we that are here on earth do look upon and admire the glory of the sun, which is as it were in another world, and out of our reach; so the angels much more may gaze upon the glory of the Son of God, admire the Lord in the work of our redemption though they were not the redeemed ones so that unto them doth God shine forth by it in his excellencies.
Perhaps you will say, 'That cannot be; because this is but seeing him in a glass; when the angels see him face to face, and immediately behold his blessed essence; or else how can the saints expect that beatifical vision?' To which I answer; First, that I am uncertain whether seeing face to face be an immediate intuition of the essence of God, or only such a sight of his glory in those emanations, that are as appropriated to the place or state of bliss. God's essence is every where; but that glory is not every where and so I know not whether our present knowledge be not called enigmatical, and as in a glass, comparatively to that glory prepared for the saints. But, secondly, I answer that certain I am that God is demonstrated to his angels in the Redeemer, yea, in the church itself, which is the subject of his grace, and that they are both affected, and employed about us accordingly. He that spoiled principalities, and powers, and openly triumphed over them, and by death overcame him that had the power of death; Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. and had so much to do against the evil angels as enemies, no doubt is joyfully observed by the good angels. And he that is set so far above principalities, and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named in this world, or that which is to come;" (Ephes. i. 21.) and is "gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject to him;" (1 Pet. iii. 22.) no doubt is honoured and admired by angels. And indeed it is expressly said, "Let all the angels of God worship him;" Heb. i. 6. And what are they all but "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Heb. i. 14. And therefore sent forth
by Jesus Christ, the Lord of saints. Which makes some think that the title of angels was never given to any of these spirits, till the Mediator's undertaking, and that it was only as they were his deputed messengers, or servants, for the ends of that undertaking. Sure we are, they attended his birth with their acclamations, and his life and sufferings (as far as was meet) with their service, and that they are deputed to bear his servants in their hands, that they dash not their foot against a stone; that they are ascending, and descending, and are present with the churches in their holy worship, and that they rejoice at the conversion of one sinner; and that the least of Christ's servants, have their angels beholding the face of God; and that the law was given by their disposition or ordination, and they attend the departing souls of believers; and that they contend against evil spirits for our good, and are encamped about us, and that they shall attend the Lord at his coming to judgment, and be his glorious retinue and instruments in the work; and that they are numbered with us, as members of the same heavenly Jerusalem, and that we shall be like or equal to them; Luke Luke xxii. 43.
Matt. xiii. 39.41.
Acts x. 6, 7. 22.
xvi. 27. xxiv. Matt. xviii. 10.
Luke xvi. 22.
Luke xx. 36.
Mark xii. 25.
2 Pet. ii. 11.
Acts vii. 65.
Luke xv. 10,
ii. 14, 15. Mark iv. 11. Psal. xxxiv. 7. xci. 11. 31. xxv. 31. 2 Thess. i. 7. Gal, iii. 19. Heb. xii. 22. John i. 51... Yea, men must be either confessed or denied, owned or disowned before the angels; Luke xii. 8, 9. See Rev. xix. 18. iii! 5. But if all this seem not sufficient to persuade you that the angels are so far interested in the af fairs of God about the redeemed, as to behold and admire him in his blessed work, take notice of the express affirmations of the Scriptures ;-(1 Pet. i. 12.) "Which things the angels desire to look into." And why, but to see and admire the wisdom, and power, and goodness, and mercy, and justice of God, shining forth in the Redeemer? If this be not plain enough, mark well those words, Ephes. iii. 10. "To the intent that now unto the principalities, and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church, the ma nifold wisdom of God." You see here that the church of the redeemed is that admirable looking-glass, which God hath set up to this very intent, that his angels may in it or by it behold the manifold wisdom of God; yea, and that
upon the full revelation of Christ by the Gospel, they saw that which did more fully inform, and illuminate them. No doubt but the very work of the creation, yea, of this inferior world, that are made for the habitation and use of man, are far better known to angels than to man: for we know but little of what we daily see and use; and consequently it is by angels more than men, that God is beheld, admired, and glorified in them. And if it be so in these works of creation, we may well say it is so in the works of redemption.
3. But when we are perfected in glory, then we ourselves shall clearly see the glory of this mystery, and of God therein. As it is not till we come to heaven that we shall have the fullest benefits of redemption, so is it not till then, that we shall have the fullest understanding of it, and God have his fullest praises for it. As we are here but sowing the seed of our own glory, which we must reap in the everlasting fruition of God; so God is here but sowing those seeds of his praise and glory, which he will eternally reap by his blessed work. Do not therefore judge of the ends and fruits of Christ's undertakings, by what you see him attain on earth, but by what he shall attain in heaven, when he hath fully seen the travail of his soul to his satisfaction, and hath presented the whole church without spot unto God; and when the glorious marriage of the Lamb, with the heavenly Jerusalem is solemnized, and the kingdom delivered up to the Father; Isa. liii. 11. Eph. v. 27. Rev. xix. 7. 1 Cor. xv. 24. It will be another manner of conceiving which we shall have in heaven of this blessed work; when we see the face of our glorified Lord, and fully possess the fruits of his redemption, than this is that we have now by our weak believing. We shall then have another manner of sight of the wisdom, and power, and love, and justice that appear to man, in the face of Christ, than now we have.
4. Yea, the tormenting discoveries of the glory of redemption to the condemned rejectors of it, shall also contribute to the glory of God.
You see then that this work hath most glorious ends; which I have mentioned the more largely, both to remove their temptations that are apt to think that it was an unnecessary thing, and the less regardable, and to teach men the true value of it, by shewing them the true ends.
For the former, I say, there was no necessity that God
should make the world, and reveal his power, and wisdom, and goodness, in this excellent frame, but what did suppose the freewill of God the original cause. Will you therefore say, that the creation is vain; and undervalue God's admirable works, in which he thus revealeth himself to the intellectual creatures? So here; we confess that there could be no necessity of redemption, but what was originally derived from the will of God; (though a necessity ad finem' there was for the constitution of things, upon supposition of what went before the undertaking.) But yet shall we undervalue so glorious a work, in which the Divine perfections do so fully reveal themselves to the world?
And I say the more of this, because I do observe that it is the not apprehending the high and excellent ends of redemption, that makes it so much slighted, and consequently tempteth many to infidelity. For the ends and uses do set the value on the means. That is of little worth, that is to little purpose, and doth but little good. If men understood more the ends of redemption, and how much God doth shine forth in the world, in the person, and life, and laws, and works of the Son of God, they would then live in the admiration of it, and be always searching and prying into it, and desire to know nothing but God in Christ crucified, and account all things else but as loss and dung for this excellent knowledge. But, alas! the most do scarce discern any higher ends of Christ, or other use of him, than to save themselves from hell; and for want of faith, and through humiliation, they have but little sense of that: and therefore no wonder if the Redeemer be neglected, and God denied the honour of the work.
So much of this second point, the reasons and ends of Christ's undertaking. I shall purposely be shorter on the rest.
3. The third point to be understood concerning our Redeemer, is, What he hath done and suffered for mankind, and wherein his redeeming work consisted, both as to the general and special part. Should I stand on these at large, I must needs be voluminous; and therefore I shall but briefly recite them for your remembrance.
(1.) The first thing that Christ did for the saving of the world, was his interposing between offending man, and the wrath of God; and so preserving the world from that des