A Commentarie Upon the Book of Revelation
There is much spoken of the Glory of God in this Book [i.e., Revelation]; and no where is the distinction of the Persons of the glorious Godhead more frequently and clearly set forth. Iohn was more full in this than any who wrote before him; because that in his time Ebion and some others had arisen, who did deny the Godhead of the Son and Holy Ghost; and therefore, with a particular respect to These, he did write the more fully of this, for which he got the stile of Divine singularly, as was marked on the Title. It will not therefore be impertinent now, once for all, to touch that a little further: and although here curiosity would be restrained, full satisfaction in the up-taking of that Mysterie being peculiarly reserved to that time when we shall see Him as He is, as our Lord’s word, Ioh. 14.20. Then ye shall know that I am in the Father, doth import: and therefore we would not presume to satisfie our selves in the , or particular manner how that is; but humbly be contented to have our Faith solidly grounded in the , or being thereof: which may be done by considering these three, to wit, 1. the truth of the thing, 2. the expressions used in holding of it forth, and, 3. the necessity of the believing thereof.
For the first, we say, That as there is but one God essentially, so there are three distinct, co-equal, co-essential, and con-substantial Persons of that blessed Godhead, the Father, Son, and Spirit, who yet in a most wonderful, excellent and infinitly perfect (though an inconceivable) manner, have an order of subsisting and working amongst Themselves. It was a saying amongst the Ancients, That to speak of God, even that which was truth, was dangerous; (Etiam de Deo dicere verum, est periculosum:) and indeed here it ought to be remembered. Yet may we consider the former general Proposition in these Assertions.
1. Assert. There is but one God essentially considered: and in this the Scripture is clear, and so in this Book, chap. 1. and last; although there be a plurality of Persons mentioned, yet it is ever God spoken of as One, in the singular number; and thus He is still opposed as the One living God, to the plurality of Idols. And indeed, there can be no plurality in this: for, if that One God have in Him all perfections, There can be no perfection beside Him; and so no God beside this One true God. And, if we supposed any perfection to be beside Him, then were not He God, because not infinit in perfection; and, if infinit, then that which is infinit, in that respect, cannot be multiplied. There is no question of this, seing the most wise Heathens have been necessitated to acknowledge it.
2. Assert. Although there be but One God, yet there are Three Persons, the Father, Son, and Spirit. There is not one of these Epistles to the seven Churches, but this may be gathered from it, 1. The Father is the Sender of them all, as from ver. 1. chap. 1. may be gathered. 2. The Son is He who immediately gives Iohn Commission to write, as the Titles he taketh to himself do clear. 3. The holy Ghost is in the close of all, mentioned as a joynt speaker, Let him hear what the Spirit saith, &c. 2. More particularly, They are distinctly mentioned in the Epistle to Thyatira, chap. 2. ver. 18. These things saith the Son of God; that holds forth the Father and Son: where a son is, there is a father; and God here is personally taken as an other from the Son. And ver. 29. we have the Spirit as distinct from both. 3. They are put together, chap. 3.1. These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God: He, that is, the Son formerly mentioned; God, that is, the Father, distinctly considered as another Person; the seven Spirits, that is, the holy Ghost, in whose name Iohn saluted the Churches formerly, and who is to be heard, as the close of every Epistle sheweth. 4. The like is, ver. 12. where the Son speaketh in the first Person, I and Me. The Father is designed by the title GOD; the Spirit again, as distinct from both, ver. 13. 5. The same may be gathered from ver. 14. with 22. where the faithful Witness, God, and the Spirit, are mentioned as three that are distinct. 6. And lastly, chap. 5. we have Them most fully distinguished, First, there is the Father, on the Throne, with the Book in His hand, ver. 1. Secondly, There is the Lamb, the Son: And thirdly, The seven Spirits of God, the holy Ghost, ver. 6. all of them considered as distinct Persons.
3. Assert. These Three, Father, Son, and Spirit, are really distinct one from another; and so are Three Persons. All that is said, doth confirm this also: for, 1. They are really distinct, though not simply in respect of their essence; yet, as they are personally considered, the Father, is not the Son; and He that sits upon the Throne, is not the Lamb. The Father did not become man, nor the Spirit; but the Son, He died, was buried, &c. which can be said of none, but of a person; and yet cannot be said of either of the other Two. The holy Ghost is the Spirit of God, as the Son is the Son of God: and if that suppose a real distinct personality, this must do also; the Son sayes, so doth the holy Ghost or Spirit say to the Churches: the Father is God, the first, and last; the Son hath the same Title, chap. 2.8. even He who was dead, is the first, and the last; the Spirit hath the same authority, and is to be heard, and hath a divine omnipresence to be in all the earth, chap. 5.6. which can be said of none but of Him that is God. Now, if the Father be God, and the Son God, and the Spirit God also; and if there be but one God, and yet these Three be really distinct, then They must be distinct Persons in respect of Their personal properties, seing they are Persons, and distinct.
4. Assert. Although They be Three distinct Persons, as to Their personal properties; yet are They all Three One God, essentially considered; and all have the same infinit indivisible Essence, though we cannot conceive how. This follows on the former: for, if there be Three Persons, and each of them be God, and yet there be but One God, then each of these Persons must be the same One God, co-equal and co-essential: so the Father is alius, another from the Son, and each of Them from other; but He is not aliud, or another thing, but the same. Hence, the Son, is the Son of God, and the Spirit, the Spirit of God: They are upon one Throne, chap. 5. They concur by the same Authority and Soveraignity to write; and He that sends this Epistle to the Churches, is but One God, chap. 1.1. who therefore will avenge adding thereto, or diminishing therefrom, chap. 22. yet, that One God, is the same Three Persons, chap. 1. ver. 4.
Assert. 5. These Three blessed Persons, who are One most glorious Being, have yet an inconceivable order in their subsisting and working; which, being to be admired rather than to be searched, we shall but say, 1. They have all the same One Essence and Being, as is said. 2. They all have it eternally, equally and perfectly: none is more or lesse God, but each hath all the same Godhead at perfection: and therefore must have it equally and eternally: for, the Godhead is the same, and the Son is the first and the last, as the Father is; and the Father and Son, were never without the Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, and each of Them is God. It doth confirm all these, that They have One Throne, Name, and Authority attributed to Them. Yet, 3. The Father subsists of Himself, and doth beget the Son by an inconceivable and eternal generation: the Son doth not beget, but is begotten, and hath His subsisting, as the second Person, from the Father, So much the titles of Father and Son import here: the Spirit proceeds both from the Father (therefore He is the Spirit of the Father) and from the Son, therefore is He said also to have the seven Spirits of God: and the Spirit doth neither beget, nor is begotten, but doth thus, in an inexpressible manner, proceed from Them both.
For the second. If any should wrangle for the expressions that are used by Divines in this Mysterie; we confesse that many of the Schoolmen have exceeded, and have taken too much liberty in this wonderful Mysterie; yet, it is the thing that we especially should be established into, and from Scripture that is clear, that there is but One God, and yet Three, who being denominated in the concrete, must imply three different real Relations, or Subsistences, or Persons: and this Essence being infinit and communicable, there is no warrant to bound it to the rules and properties of created beings, who are but finit; and in that respect also incommunicable: And we conceive that the names here given (and elswhere in Scripture) will amount clearly to the equivalent of Essence and Persons, which are most obviously made use of in this matter: for, what is that, I am Alpha and Omega, who was, is, and is to come, but that same, Exod. 3. I AM THAT I AM, which denoteth His Being or Essence, as that which is ever a Being: and Idols, being differenced from the true. God by this, that they are by Nature no gods, Gal. 4.8. it implies on the contrary, that by Nature He is God, and so God in respect of His Essence: and therefore that God may be essentially considered, and in that respect of His Essence. Again, these expressions, that the one is called the Father, and the other the Son, and yet both One God, do clearly hold forth that there are real relations in that Godhead, subsisting in a distinct manner; and so there must be Persons, as Heb. 1. the Son, is called the expresse Image of the Fathers Person, which plainly sayes, that the Father, considered as distinguished from the Son, is a Person, and subsists; and that the Son, as distinguished from the Father, and as so lively and expresly representing His Person, must be a Person also, having this from the Father: and what is said of the Father and Son, must also be true of the holy Ghost, who is God equal with both, yet different from Them both, as They differ from each other, though not in respect of that same incommunicable property, yet he who proceedeth, must differ from those from whom he proceeds, as he who is begotten, must differ from him that begat him.
For Their operations, we may find here, that in some things They concur joyntly, yet some way differently. Some things again are attributed to one, which cannot be to another, as their personal properties; the Son is begotten, and not the Father or the Spirit: therefore He is allanerly the Son: the Father begets; and the Spirit proceeds. These are called Their personal properties, and Their works ad intra, or amongst, or in reference to Themselves: of this kind is the incarnation of the Son, which can neither be said of the Father, nor of the holy Ghost. Again, in things ad extra, or that relate to the Creatures simply, whether in making, or governing of the World, They joyntly concur: the Father createth all, so doth the Son and holy Ghost; the Son, from the Father, by the holy Ghost; the holy Ghost, from the Father and the Son, as those expressions of God, sending His Son, the Son’s sending the Spirit from the Father, &c. do declare, Ioh. 14.26. and 16.7. Gal. 4.6.
To the third. This Truth concerning the blessed and glorious Trinity, being so often insisted on here, and coming so near to the nature of God Himself, it cannot but be exceedingly necessary for Christians to be through in the faith thereof: yet it is questioned of late, whether it be to be accompted a fundamental point of Faith or not? I say, this of late is questioned by Socinus, and the favourers of a boundless untolerable Toleration: for, of old it was most sacredly received as such, amongst the Ancients, as the Creeds that are called Apostolick, Nicene, and that of Athanasius, do manifest: But this Engine the Devil drives, first, to make the most necessary Truths indifferent, that then he may the more easily engage opposers to quarrel the very Truth of them it self; but we conceive, whatever it was of old before Christ, yet now it is to be looked on, not only as a Truth, which is clear from the Word, but also as a fundamental Truth; which being shaken, would overturn Christianity, and the way of Salvation that the Lord hath revealed in His Gospel. This is not to be extended to a rigid degree of knowledge in this wonderful Mysterie, but to so much clearness in this Truth from the Word, as may be a ground to Faith in the thing it self. And that this is necessary, as a fundamental, we think ariseth clearly from these three grounds. 1. That Truth, without which the true God cannot be taken up, believed in, and worshipped, is a fundamental Truth; but, this Truth of the Trinity of Persons, and Unity of the Godhead, is such, that without it, that God, which is proposed in the Word, and is the only true God, and the object of all Worship, can neither be taken up, believed in, nor worshipped rightly: Ergo, &c. because the true God is One, and yet Three Persons; and as such, hath proposed Himself to be known and worshipped. 2. That Truth without which the work of Redemption would be overturned, is fundamental; But this is such: for, by taking away the Mysterie of the Trinity, they take away the Godhead and Personality of the Mediatour, and so do enervat His satisfaction. And, as on the former accompt, the true God is otherwise conceived than He is in Himself; so, in this respect, the Mediatour is made a quite other thing. And, can any thing be fundamental, if this be not? 3. The way that God hath laid down in His Worship, requireth this, seing in Baptism there is particular and expresse mentioning of these Three, the Father, Son and Spirit, as the Superiour, to whom they that are Christian Souldiers, should be lifted and inrolled: and so we may accompt of all after-worship; seing God requires us to honour the Son, as we honour the Father; and seing these Three equally witness from Heaven, 1 Ioh. 5. the Father, Word, and Spirit; all which Three, are One: can their Testimony be received as of Three, or can they be accompted as One God without this? And yet there can neither be one, in Faith, engaged unto in Baptism, or one, whose Testimony we may receive, but He who is God: and can any think but it’s necessary for a Christian, and that, fundamentally, to know to whom they are devoted, whom they are to worship, whose Testimony it is that they receive, whose operations they feel, whom they are to make use of, &c? And therefore it’s necessary to know the Trinity of Persons in that One Godhead.
It may be the exercise of some tender soul, that they know not how to apprehend this Object rightly, when they come to worship; and that often they are disquieted, while their minds are unstable: Concerning this, there is need here to distinguish betwixt what may satisfie us as to the Object in it self, and what may be sufficient to us in directing of our Worship to that Object: If we take up God as in Himself, here is a depth that cannot be searched out to perfection: He is broader than the Sea; Who can know Him? higher than the Heaven, What can we do, Iob 11.8? But yet we have footing in His Word, how to come before this God with fear, reverence, holy admiration, &c. and such affections and qualifications as a true Worshipper that worships in spirit ought to have; and in this, the pure Worshippers, who believe this Truth of One infinit God and Three Persons, ought to be taken up, rather that they may be suitable in their worshipping, and have becoming effects on their own hearts, than to be disquieting themselves by poring too curiously on the Object worshipped; except in so far as may serve to transform the heart into a likeness to Him. And, it is not aiming to comprehend the mysteriousness and manner of these incomprehensible Mysteries, that doth work this; but the real, through and near impression of the general, which is revealed clearly in His Word. We would therefore commend these three in Worship. 1. That folks would satisfie themselves in the general with the solid faith thereof, without descending to particular conceptions or notions concerning the Persons of the blessed Godhead: this particularness, is often that which both confuses the mind, and disquiets the conscience, and cannot but do so in those who would be at the looking upon God immediately here, without making use of the expressions, Titles, Names, &c. whereby He hath manifested Himself to us, and wherein, we conceive, it’s safest to rest, and to bound all our curiositie within those: for, they must be the most solid notions of God, which Himself hath caught: Thus, Exod. 33 and 34. The Lord did answer Moses his desire of seeing His Glory, by shewing him His goodness in the proclaming of His Attributes to him that are manifested in His Word: thereby teaching men to conceive of God, according as He hath revealed Himself in His Word, in the plain and comprehensive Attributes that describe His Nature, wherein Gods goodnesse is sufficiently holden forth to sinners, which ought to be a sufficient manifestation of God to them here, without diving immediatly into His Essence, which could no otherways be manifested to Moses than by that proclamation. 2. We would beware of forming Idea’s, representations, or shapes of that One God and Three Persons in the heart, or in the head: these cannot but be derogatorie to Him, being a liknesse to Him of our own up-setting in our hearts: and cannot but diminish that Authority, which the true God should have in our hearts. We would remember therefore that He is purely Spirituall, whom no eye hath seen, nor can see: and therefore all such imaginations, are to be abandoned and abhorred. 3. We would beware of dividing the Object of Worship, or separating the Three blessed Persons in our worshipping of them, even in our imagination; as if when One is named, we were not praying unto, and worshipping both the other; and as if the Son were an other God than the Father or Spirit, &c. But still this would be remembered, that what ever Person be named, He is God, and that same One God with the other Two: and therefore the Object of Worship, is ever the same One God, Father, Son, and Spirit, that are but One God. We Worship the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; but we do not Worship the Father, or the Son, or the Spirit, as if He who is not named, were lesse worshipped than He who is named: and seing the Son and holy Ghost, are the same God with the Father (the former ground being laid) it’s all one thing what ever Person be named, though in Scripture sometimes respect is had to their order of subsisting and operating; and so the Father is only named sometimes to be the ground upon, and by which, we have accesse to God; and so, the Son, only is named.
Now, by what is said, it doth also appear that the holy Ghost may be expresly prayed unto, as the Father, and the Son, although it be not so usuall in Scripture, because of the reasons formerly hinted at: for, this will follow, He that is God, may be invocated, &c. and where petitions do especially respect the increase of Grace, which is the Work of the Spirit, we will find Him expresly mentioned with the Father and Son, as here, ver. 4. and 5. Grace be unto you, &c. And, 2 Cor. 13.14. The communion of the holy Ghost, is subjoyned, as a distinct petition, to the Love of the Father, and Grace of the Son; and these first two petitions, being directed to the Father and the Son, this third must be to the holy Ghost in like manner: and therefore to plead against the Godhead of the holy Ghost, upon this ground that he is not expresly prayed unto in Scripture, is both inconsequent, and false; and the Apostl’s taking the holy Ghost to be his witnesse, Rom. 9. cannot be done without invocating of Him: and the generall commands of glorifying God, must infer so much, supposing the Spirit to be God. There is no weight therefore to be laid on that argument.
If it be objected, against the necessity of believing this Doctrine of the Trinity, or, against the sinfulnesse of tolerating what opposeth the same, That the light of nature doth not discover it; and that the Godhead of the holy Ghost hath sometimes not so much as been heard of by Disciples, as in Act. 19. Therefore, &c.
To the first, we answer, That now nature being corrupted, it can be no good rule to try what is truth concerning God by it; it can hardly be denied, if nature be considered as in Adam at the beginning, but to him there was clearness in this mysterie, there being express mention of the blessed Trinity in his creation, as the word, Let Us make man according to Our Image, doth import: which is not for nought mentioned then, more than formerly, especially, considering that excellent knowledge that Adam was furnished with, which was a part of the Image of that One God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit. But, not to insist in this, we say, secondly, That if by nature, as it is now corrupted, what is tolerable or intolerable in the matters of Religion were to be tried, then were the whole Doctrine of the Gospel and Redemption through the Mediator, to be accounted no fundamental thing; and consequently, no Error, destroying it, were to be restrained, because nature hath not discovered that. That therefore must be an unsafe rule to walk by. And indeed if a master of a family and father, who yet, as such, is (to say so) a servant of nature, is not by that exempted from the obligation of bringing up his children and servants in the knowledge of God according to the Gospel; but is notwithstanding to exercise his authority in the restraining of every thing contrary thereunto according to his station. Can it be thought, that a Magistrate, who must count for his Authority over a people, as a master must do for his, over a family, is lesse obliged thereunto? For, Christians are to be Christians in their stations, as in their personal carriage; and so to seek the promoving [promotion] of the Gospel, and the restraining of what may marr it according to their station. Thirdly, we answer, That even this may be drawn from the Morall Law of God; wherein not only the true God is alone to be worshipped, as in the first Command; but also accordingly as he hath prescribed and revealed in His Word, which is the sum of the second Command. Now, this being true, that the Lord hath thus revealed Himself to be worshipped according to the Gospel, it becomes no lesse necessary to Worship God in that manner, than to Worship Him, who is the true God; and so, if by the first Command, and according to the light of nature, Magistrates should restrain, and not suffer what is inconsistent with the worshipping of the One true and living God, so is he, by the second Command and that same light of nature, obliged to restrain all manner of Doctrine and Worship, that is inconsistent with what he hath revealed, according to the second.
To the last part of the objection, from that instance, Act. 19. We say, first, That suppose there had been great ignorance then of the Godhead of the holy Ghost, while that mysterie of the glorious Trinity was more obscurely revealed; yet, it will not follow, that it is equally excusable and sufferable now, when it is so plainly discovered: yea, can it be said, that they had been excusable, if, after Paul’s teaching of them the true nature of Baptism and of the holy Ghost, they had continued not to believe the same, as they were before he did it; or, that we can be so now, having his lesson to them for our instruction? Yet, secondly, It seemeth, that the Person of the holy Ghost, is not intended there, but the gifts of the holy Ghost, which often get that name in the New Testament: for, the holy Ghost, which is to be understood in that place, is such as was communicated to Believers, and such as these afterward did receive, as from ver. 2. and 6. is clear. Now there is great odds betwixt the necessity of distinctnesse in the knowledge of these gifts, and of the holy Ghost Himself, who is not, nor cannot be communicated by the laying on of hands, except in respect of His gifts: this place therefore, doth not meet the conclusion formerly laid down, which was in reference to the Faith of the holy Ghost Himself, and not to the knowledge of His gifts.
These generals being granted, there do arise, from this practice of Iohn’s, several Questions, concerning the Object of Divine Worship: which, upon this occasion, (it may be) were not unworthy to be more particularly considered, so far as the nature of the place calleth for, and doth become our scope. As first, we see in this Prayer, Iohn doth distinctly name all the Three blessed Persons, for their instruction and consolation to whom he sends this message. Secondly, When he names the Son, he doth name Him by such Titles as agree to Him only as Mediator; yea, and in this song, ver. 6. doth respect that, particularly, which is only applicable to Him as Man and as Mediator, to make them welcome it the more heartily, and thereby also the more to commend Him to them, and engage them to Him, by remembring them what He is, and what He hath done, that doth thus salute them. Thirdly, He hath a peculiar thanksgiving unto the Son, considered under such designations, as expresse His wonderful love that appears in His sufferings, which cannot be applyed to the Father or Spirit: which is indeed Divine Worship, being the same which is here given to the Father, and Spirit. All which giveth occasion to enquire in these four. 1. Concerning the Object of Divine Worship, in general. 2. In what respect it is to be given to the Mediator. 3. In what form, Petitions may be directed to Him; or, if in any peculiar form. 4. Why the Mediator Christ, is so much, and so warmly, under these considerations of His incarnation and sufferings, insisted upon in the New Testament; and what may encourage and help in the improving of those grounds. These things being deipths, are rather to be admired and believed in, in the general, (so far as we see clear in this precedent) than curiously to be pried into; yet, that they go not altogether without answer, we shall lay down some generals in reference to all these, which will yeeld some practical and comfortable conclusions. To the first, we say,
1. God is the alone Object of Divine Worship; and there is no Object thereof but God: because there is none who hath these infinit Attributes and Excellencies, which are requisite in the Object of Divine Worship, but God, such as Omnisciencie, Omnipotencie, Infinitness, supream Majesty, Glory, &c. from which (to speak so) results Adorability, an essential Attribute of the Majesty of God, as Immutability and Eternity are; He being adorable, because Infinite, Immense, Omniscient, &c. And therefore it cannot be communicate to any other, more than these incommunicable properties can be; and yet none can be worshipped who is not (so to speak) adorable.
2. There is but one kind of Divine Worship, to wit, that which is Supream, and becoming this infinite Majesty of God: and, in a word, that which is required in the first Table of the Law, as that which is competent to this glorious excellent God: and this follows on the former: for, if there be but one Object, there can be but one manner of Worship. Therefore, in Scripture, to Worship God, is alway opposed to the worshipping of any other, and to the admitting of any Worship, which is not competent to God, as Revel. 19.9, 10, and 22.9.
3. Although there be Three Persons of the glorious Godhead, and all are to be worshipped; yet, there are not three Objects of Worship, but one; nor three kinds of Worship: Not three Objects, because these Three Persons are the same One infinite God, who is the Object of Worship. For, first, Though the Three Persons, be really distinct each from other; yet, none of them is really distinct from the essence of the Godhead: Therefore, the Father, is that same Object of Worship with the Son, because that same God. And, secondly, Though the Father be infinite, and the Son infinite, &c. yet, there are not two infinitnesses, but the same infinitness and immensness, that which is the Fathers is the Sons also; because these are essential properties, and so common to all the Persons: and therefore, though their personal properties be distinct; yet, their essential Attributes being common, they are not distinct Objects, but the same one Object; seing, still, in Worship, respect must be had to their essential Attributes; and so to the Godhead, which is common to All: and therefore consequently to Them, as They are one Object, it being the Deity (which is One) that is the formal Object of Worship: And, though sometimes these Three Persons be named together, as here; yet, that is not to propose them as distinct Objects, but to shew, who this one Object God is, to wit, the Father, Son and Spirit, Three Persons of the same One indivisible Godhead. Hence, the unitie of the Godhead, is inculcated, for this end; The Lord thy God, O Israel, is One Lord.
From which it followeth, 1. That the mind of the worshipper is not to be distracted in seeking to comprehend, or order, in his thoughts, Three distinct Persons, as distinct Objects of Worship; but, to conceive reverently of One infinite God, who is Three Persons. 2. That whatever Person be named, he is not to think that the other is lesse worshipped; but that in one act he Worships that One God, and so the Father, Son and Spirit. 3. That by naming One Person after he hath named an other, (suppose he name the Father at first, and afterward the Son) he doth not vary the Object of Worship, as if he were praying to an other than formerly; but that still it is the same One God. 4. Because our imagination is ready to softer such divided conceptions, we conceive it is safest not to alter the denomination of the Persons in the same Prayer, especially, where it is in the hearing of others, who possibly may have such thoughts, though we have none: and I suppose, this way is most ordinarly taken in Scripture.
For answering to the second, to wit, how the Mediator is the Object of Divine Worship: we shall first distinguish this title Object, then answer. By Divines, there is in this case a threefold Object acknowledged (all agreeing to the Mediator in some respect.) 1. There is Objectum materiale, or, quod, that is, the Object, or Person to whom Worship is given. 2. There is Objectum formale, or, quo, that is, the account upon which it is given to that Person, or Object. 3. There is Objectum considerationis, that is, the consideration that the worshipper hath of that Object in worshipping of Him; and is as a motive thereto, or is (as the learned Voetius calls it, specificatio Objecti) the specification of the Object, whereby the heart of the worshipper, by taking up the Object worshipped under such a consideration, is warmed with love and thankfulnesse, and strengthened in his confidence, to Worship that Object. Thus, the relations that God took on Him to be the Redeemer of His people from Egypt, and from the land of the North, did give no new Object of Worship; yet, did they give some external denominations, or specifications, of that Object God to them: the consideration whereof, in their worshipping, did much qualifie the Object to them, so that with the more thankfulnesse and confidence, they might approach to him: and thus we distinguish between the Object worshipped, and the consideration which may be had of Him in our Worship. And this doth not make Him adorable simply and in Himself, because He was so naturally; but, it is the ground upon which He is accessible to us, who are sinners and enemies: from which, we may lay down a threefold distinction. 1. Betwixt the material and formal Object of Worship. 2. Betwixt the Object of the act of Worship, and of our consideration in worshipping. 3. Betwixt that which is the ground of Worship, suppose Prayer, Faith simply considered in it self, and that which is the ground of our accesse considered in our selves, to pray unto, or believe in, that Object.
To answer then the Question, we say,
1. That the Mediator is the Object of Divine Worship, is fixedly to be acknowledged; even the Man Christ, is to be honoured with Divine Worship, prayed unto, &c. as in Scripture is clear. Thus the Mediator is the material Object of Divine Worship, or, the Objectum quod: for, we worship and invocate Him who is the Mediator; and there is no question of this.
2. Christ, considered as Mediator, and in the vertue of His mediation, is the only ground, upon which we have right to expect to be accepted in any part of our worship; or, to have prayers granted, which we put up to God under what ever designation or title: for, so He is the Door and the Way, Ioh. 10.9. and 14.6. and in this respect though He be not as such, the formal Object of Divine Worship; yet, He is the foundation whereupon it is now built; the Way, by which it must be addressed to God; and He is the High Priest, Heb. 7.25. This was typified by the Temple, Ark, and High Priest under the Law: for, sinners have not accesse to God, but by Him; and this strengthens Faith to approach, that God is manifested in our nature, and that so we have, by His suffering, entry through the Vail, to the Throne of Grace, which formerly, without respect to this, was shut.
3. Our Lord Jesus, who is God, in our worshipping of Him, may be considered as Mediator; and, upon that ground, the heart may be imboldened to approach unto God: because He that is God, is also Man and Mediator. Thus, we praise and pray to Him that died, and considering Him as once dead, in our uptaking of Him, yet so, as it is, because He is God: for, had it been possible that the Mediator could not have been God, there had not been ground for giving of this Worship unto Him; yet, this consideration warms the heart with love to Him, and gives confidence and chearfulnesse in praying to Him, or praising of Him, as in this same place, and afterward, cap. 5. because seing we have a Man to do with, who hath so experimentally felt sinlesse infirmities, of purpose to be the ground of a sympathie with His Members; and seing He hath still humane affections, by having a glorified body still united in One Person with His Divine Nature, which wants not humane feeling, though in an inconceivable manner; and seing also, that that is given in the Word, as an encouragement for us, to step forward, to expect grace and help in the time of need, Heb. 2.18. and 4.15, 16. and that even from Him: there is no question but, by the actual considering of this, a soul may, and ought to strengthen it self in its approaching unto God.
4. Yet, this Divine Worship is given to Him, as He is God, and because He is God; and so Christ-God is the Objectum formale, or, quo of this Divine Worship, because it is the Godhead that is the alone formal Object of Divine Worship, as is said; and Christ only, as God, hath these essential Attributes of Omniscience, Supream Majestie, Adorabilitie, &c. which are requisite for the Object of Divine Worship. And therefore in this place, although He be set out in what is peculiar to Him as Mediator; yet, His being reckoned with the other Two blessed Persons, doth prove that notwithstanding thereof He is considered in His Person as God. It is then thus, as we say, Christ-God died, yet as Man; so the Man Christ, is worshipped, yet as God: for, though He be one Person, yet the properties of the two Natures are distinct. Hence, as the Fathers did prove Christs Godhead against the Arrians, from this, that He was worshipped with Divine Worship; and account them Idolaters for worshipping Him thus, whom they did not esteem to be God; so do the latter Divines in reference to the Socinians.
5. Therefore this Worship that is given to Christ, the Mediator, is of the same kind that is given to God, to wit, Supream, Divine Worship: for, there are not two sorts of Divine Worship. And to give the Mediator, who is God, an inferiour kind of Worship, would, 1. wrong Him who is God: for, by taking to Himself that external relation, He hath not diminished His essential Glory and Majesty. 2. It suppones two objects of Worship, and two kinds of Divine Worship; which is false. Therefore Divines have ever censured that assertion in the Remonstrants Confession, anent giving a peculiar and middle-kind of Worship to Christ the Mediator, as of it self unsafe and as making way for the Socinian subterfuge, which is to allow a Worship to the Mediator, as Mediator, inferiour to that which is given to God; and so, that it should not follow from this, that Christ is worshipped. Therefore, He is God equal with the Father. Now, the Scripture giveth Him that same Worship, and not any other, even when it is denied to all creatures; yea, when He is worshipped in the dayes of His flesh. He is considered as the only begotten of the Father, as Lord and Almighty, having all creatures as servants under Him, &c. and yet He is stiled the Son of David, He that was to come, &c, even at that time; to shew, that both considerations have place in worshipping of the same Person, who is God, and also Mediator; and not to bring in a new Worship; for, none can be more glorious, than what is due to God; but to lay a new ground of having accesse to give Him the Worship which is due, and by a new relation to give a kindly qualification of the Object, whereby the heart may be provoked lovingly and thankfully to give the same.
6. When this Worship is given to Him, it is given to the Person who is Mediator, and that in one individual act: for, He, as God, is not worshipped one way; and, as man an other way; nor is there a division of His Natures to be conceived; but the Person, who is Man, is worshipped with this Divine Honour in the same act, because He is God: therefore there is no such precision called for in the intent of the Worshipper, as if one Nature of Christs were to be worshipped and not the other: for, it’s the Person, who is worshipped, now consisting of two Natures.
7. When the Mediator is thus worshipped, there is no distinct Object of Divine Worship worshipped: but as whatever Person be named, it’s the same God; so, however the Mediator be named, or considered, it’s the same Person: for, though the second Person of the Godhead, considered in Himself, be not unum, or, the same thing with the Mediator, (sensu sci-formali, as Divines say) yet is He Vnus, the same Person; and the second Person of the Godhead, being Vnum, to wit, the same God with the other two glorious Persons essentially considered, although He be not Vnus with the Father and Spirit, considered personally: for, the Godhead, essentially taken, is the same thing with the Father, Son and Spirit, as hath been said. Then it will follow, that even when the Mediator is worshipped, there is but still the same one formal Object of Divine Worship, to wit, God; they being still the same essential properties, which alone give ground for a creature to Worship all the Persons of the glorious Trinitie, considered in themselves; or, the Son, considered as Mediator, in the manner expressed. Again it appears thus, the Son who is Mediator, is the same Object of Worship, that the Son the second Person of the Godhead is: for, now He being One Person, cannot be conceived as two distinct Objects of Worship; but the Son, as the second Person of the Godhead, is the same Object of Worship with the Father and Spirit, as hath been said. Therefore the Son, who is Mediator, when worshipped with Divine Honour, is the same formal Object of Divine Worship also. And this also doth confirm, that Divine Worship is given to Him as God; for, so only is He the same Object with the Father and Spirit.
8. When the Son is worshipped, there is no lesse respect to be had to His Mediation, than when the Father is expressed; so that who ever be named, the Son still, as Mediator, is to be made use of, and that in the same manner: for, as there is but One God, So there is but One Mediator betwixt God and man, 1 Tim. 2.3. without whom there is no access for a sinner to approach unto, or worship acceptably, this One God. Thus, God is the formal Object of Worship; the Mediator, considered as such, is the ground upon which with confidence we may approach to that God: therefore is He the Way, and Truth and Life; there is no going to God but by Him, so that in our Worship, God and the Mediator are not to be separated; yet are they not to be confounded: for, we Worship God, in and by the Mediator: in which respect, the Mediator is called the Door, Altar, Way, &c. because it is by the vertue and efficacy of His Mediation that the sinful distance betwixt God and us is removed, and accesse made for sinners to Worship Him, as was typified by the Temple, and Tabernacle, in which the Mercy-seat was placed; and in looking to which, the people were to worship God.
From all which, it will follow, in reference to the third. First, That our Prayers may be directed to Jesus the Mediator expresly, as Act. 7.59. Secondly, That He may be named by Titles, agreeing only to Him as Mediator, to wit, Mediator, Iesus, Thou who died, Advocate, &c. because these, being given Him, in concreto, design the Person. Thirdly, That the heart may be in the instant stirred and affected with this, that He is Mediator, so as to specifie Him, or, to make Him the Object of our consideration as such, in that act, as hath been said. Thus a soul may pray to Jesus, who died, who made satisfaction, who interceeds, &c. and, upon that consideration, be affected with love, strengthned in hope and confidence in its Prayer, which yet is put up to Him, because He is God. Fourthly, We may ask from Him what peculiarly belongs to the Office of Mediation; as, that He may guide His Church, pour out the Spirit, gift Ministers, interceed, &c. because the Person to whom these belong, is God. And that extrinsick relation, or denomination, of being Mediator, doth not marr us to pray to Him; as his being God, hinders not but that He still executes that office by performing of such acts: but both give ground, that confidently we may pray to Him, for these things; yet, in that, still His Godhead is the formal Object of our Prayer, though the things we pray for, belong to His Mediation: for, we could not seek these from Him, were He not God; and because He is God and Man, we are imboldened to seek them and to expect them. See Psal. 45.3, 4. &c. for, the matter fought, to wit, riding prosperously, &c. belongeth to His Mediation, as the scope clears; yet, the account upon which, is, that He was God most mighty. For (as they say) it is not Mediatio, but Deietas, that is the ratio formalis of Divine Worship; or, His Mediation, as it includes His Deiety, by the wise Grace of God these two being now inseparably joyned together: for, certainly, Christ the Mediator, was to be made use of with respect to His future satisfaction, before He actually became Man; as it is since to be done, with respect to His incarnation and suffering (for He was Mediator and stood in that relation before He was Man) yet, it cannot be said, that He was then, as such, considered as the formal Object of their Worship (even when they did explicitly consider Him with respect to His Mediation) because He did not then actually exist in two Natures: and therefore, behoved to be the formal Object of Worship, in respect of that Nature, which alone did then exist. Fifthly, As any of the Persons may be named in Prayer; so, for strengthening of our Faith, may the Mediator be named and prayed unto under such titles and relations as agree only to Him, and not to any other Person; Yet, then we would beware, 1. Of conceiving that we are praying to a different Object, or that the Mediator is lesse glorious, just, holy, &c. unto whom we pray, than when God is expresly named. We would also beware of conceiving that by so doing, Christ is any way more ingaged to, or imployed by, any, than when any other Person of the Godhead is named; or, when other expressions are used, though we our selves may be more strengthened by such considerations. 2. When there is an alteration of the expression, we would beware of conceiving that we alter the Object; but, would mind that it is the continued worshipping of the same Object GOD, however he be designed: or, what ever be the expressions or different helps, which we seek to strengthen out Faith by. 3. We conceive, that in publick, especially, that change should be warily used, left it breed, or be apt to breed any such thoughts in others, the generality of people, being prone to imagine different Objects of Worship in such cases.
From what is said, we conceive, that the different expressions among Divines in this matter, may be easily agreed; for example, some call Him, as Mediator, Objectum materiale; as God, Objectum formale: some say, as Mediator, He is Objectum quod; and, as God, Objectam quo: some say, “Persona, seu is, qui est Deus, est invocandus, quia Mediator, sed qua Deus: some again say, Christus qua Mediator, est invocandus, sed quia Deus: for when some say, qua Mediator, He is not the Object of Worship, they understand the formal Object; which is that, that is understood by others, when they say, quia Deus. Again, when others say, qua Mediator, He is to be worshipped, they understand it as He is the Object of consideration which is expressed by others, when they say, quia Mediator, Christus Deus est invocandus; or, as such, He is Objectum materiale of our Worship.
It may then be asked, what may be thought of such a form of Prayer, O Mediator, or, O Advocate, plead for me, which some may be apt to put up as being comfortable to them? We answer, in these five Assertions.
Assert. 1. It cannot be simply condemned if well understood with these and such like qualifications, that is, 1. If the Mediator prayed unto, or He who is to plead or interceed, be not conceived to be any different Object of Worship, from God, with whom He interceeds; otherwise there is no keeping of the unity of the Object of Divine Worship; much lesse is He to be prayed unto as if He were inferiour to God, as easier to be dealt with, or, as if He might be spoken unto, When yet we are not praying unto the Father, and Worshipping Him, in that same act: for, as Christ-God, reconciled us to Himself, by His own satisfaction; so, is Himself prevailed with, to make the benefits purchased, forth coming to us by the vertue of His own intercession; and the Person is the same, though the consideration of Him in these, is diverse. 2. If there be a right up-taking of His intercession, that in the time while He, as God, is prayed unto, Faith be exercised on the vertue of His intercession, for attaining what is prayed for; so, that expression is but made use of for strengthening, of Faith, without any new, or different act of Faith, but such as is used with other expressions. 3. If the Object prayed unto, be distinguished from the sure or matter prayed for: for so, it is as if we prayed unto Him that is King of His Church, and hath received the government, to manage the same for His Churches behoof: because, though the thing sought, to wit, Christs intercession, be peculiar to the second Person of the Godhead, and that as Mediator; yet, He from whom it is sought, is God; and so the Object is the same. 4. It must be one in the matter, as if in different expressions by naming the Father, we should pray, O Father, make me partaker of the benefits of Christs intercession: for, if it be thought that that expression cometh more nearly to the improving of Christs intercession, (or, so to say) to the imploying of Him, than any other expression doth. Then it is not to be admitted: because it placeth the improving of His intercession, rather in words, than in faith.
Asser. 2. We grant, that sometimes, de facto, it may be used in sincerity, and accepted by God, when there is much confusion in reference to these qualifications in the Person: because it may have what is essential, to wit, an adoring of God, and an exercise of Faith in Christ, under that expression; so that their meaning is, to obtain what they seek from God, through the vertue of Christs intercession, though themselves be unworthy. Thus, no question, many Prayers of the Saints, where Faith hath been in the Mediator, have been accepted, although there hath been much indistinctnesse, as to the Object, in many things: such were Cornelius his Prayers, Acts 10. And the Apostles, no question, prayed and were accepted; yet, had defect here, Ioh. 16.24.
Assert. 3. Again, we answer, That such a form is not necessary simply to the use-making of His intercession, either as if that were limited to this expression, or, as if it were a way more proper, compendious, weighty, or acceptable, in the use-making of Christ, than another; even though all these qualifications concur: for, no question, in the Prayers that are registrated in the Scripture, Christs intercession is made use of; yet no such form is recorded therein.
Assert. 4. We say further, that it may be abused, and, we are afraid, often is; and that it hath some aptnesse to softer mistakes concerning the Object of Worship, or our act in it, as, 1. That the Mediator is one Object, and the Father an other, as if we might pray to the Mediator before we pray to God, and not be in that same act worshipping the Father; or, as if the Mediator that interceeds, were an Object different from God, with whom He is to interceed. If it be said, that He is an other thing than God. Ans. Formally considered, (as is said) He is another thing than the second Person of the Godhead; but He is not any other Person, nor any other God; and so not an other Object of Worship. 2. It tendeth to propose Christ as more easie to be dealt with than God; and God, (to wit, the Father) as more rigide, and severe than the Mediator, whereas the divine Attributes are the same in both: for, if Christ-God be considered without respect to His own Mediation, there is no accesse to Him more than to the Father: and if respect be had thereto, there is no equal accesse to the Father, there being the same Covenant and Promises. And it is certain, some will think they may pray to Christ, when they dare not pray to the Father. 3. It obscures the way of the use-making of Christs intercession, which is a most sublime thing; and being the same with praying in His Name, and in Faith, must be conceived to be done Spiritually by Faith, whereas thus Christ is represented as a Mediator amongst men; to whom first adresse is made, and then by Him to the Principal Party; and so it constitutes two addresses, which brangles the unity of the Object of Worship. 4. It some way lestens the Glory of the Mediator, at least in appearance, as if He, even the Person, were not Supream, but had an other to plead with. It is true, it is so, as He is Mediator; but still it would be adverted that He is also God; and so He may, and can confer what His Mediation procures: and expressions in Prayer, would befit that, and would not be as if He were not God as to His Person, since His Incarnation? 5. It seemeth, if not to represent two Objects of Worship, yet two kinds of Worship, to wit, one to the Mediator, or to Christ, as Mediator; and an other as to God: for, who readily will think, that He who is a distinct Party, intreated to plead, is to be equally honoured, and that in the same act with Him with whom He pleads, or at least, a twofold manner of the same Worship, viz. one in this manner, and an other, when this form is not used. 6. It is hard thus to conceive rightly of Christs Person: for, when we pray to Him, we must consider Him as God, at least that must be implied: then, He is also to be interceeded with by His own Mediation, as the Father is, which, I suppose, few intend. If they take the Father Personally, and so that Christ is to interceed with the Father as a distinct Person, or a distinct Party, and so not with the Son and Spirit also, That will insinuate that the Father is not the same God with the Son, and infer a divided conception of the most simple essence of the Godhead, which is the One Object of Worship.
Assert. 5. Therefore, When all is considered, although we will not condemn it simply, yet we think it more fit to abstain from such formal expressions; or, at least, to be sparing therein, especially in publick: because, 1. So it is difficult to preserve that unity in the one Object of Worship, which should be; for, it is not easie to redd things in practice, as distinctions may be given in doctrinal debates and conclusions: and should souls hazard on what may confuse themselves. I say, especially in publick, or with others: because, if it be difficult to keep our own imaginations stayed in such expressions, it, will be more difficult to redd other mens imaginations, considering what ignorance and vanity usually doth accompany many. 2. There is no such form in Scripture, even in the New Testament, when the Mediator is prayed unto; and it is safest we should follow these that have gone before us: He is indeed prayed unto, considered as Mediator, but still so as the thing prayed for, is expected from Himself, as well as to be obtained by Him.
To close then as we began; here sobriety is called for, and curiosity is to be shunned: and in Worship the heart is rather to be occupied with Godly fear, reverence and dread, than the head to be filled with imaginations.
Having these following things fixed in our hearts by Faith (which we conceive more simply necessary to Worship, what ever the expression be,) to wit. 1. An impression of the Holinesse, Justice, Omnisciencie, and Glory of God, &c. and suitable affections with the present work, to wit, such as the worshipping of such a God doth call for. 2. A conviction that we are praying to that One glorious God, what ever our expressions be; that it is He we are worshipping, that it is our design to adore Him, and that it is from Him that we expect what we pray for, what ever the designation in the petition be, and whatsoever Person be named. 3. An impression of our own sinful dis-proportionablenesse to that work, and of the utter incapacity that we stand in of having accesse to God, or any ground of expecting any thing from Him, in respect of our selves; if it be not obtained by vertue of Christ Jesus His satisfaction and intercession. 4. An exercising of Faith on Christ the Mediator, for attaining of what is prayed for, from God, by vertue of the Mediation of the Mediator. All which are necessary; and where they are, we conceive, the soul is to silence all other questionings, and to hold here; and when doubtings arise, to put these two Queries to a point within it self. 1. To whom art thou praying? Or, was thou praying? Or, from whom expects thou what thou was seeking? Was it not to, and from God? And, 2. For whose cause, and by vertue of what, dost thou expect it from God? What gives thee confidence to put that sute to Him? is it not only through the Mediation of Christ Jesus alone? And where these two are fixedly answered by the conscience, when tentation would jumble, because of indistinctnesse in Prayer, there may be quietnesse notwithstanding: because, these two are the essentials of Worship, to wit, First, That God be approached unto and adored. Next, That in and by the Mediator, addresse only be made unto Him, and this may be where there is no such explicite expression of either; for, where God is mentioned, the Mediator is implyed as the ground upon which we approach unto Him; and when the Mediator is expressed, it is understood, that God in and by Him is worshipped; and that no other God but He who is the Father, Son, and Spirit. And if in all these a conscience were posed, that, may be, had no such explicite thoughts (nor is it possible in worshipping actually, to entertain them distinctly) it would answer, that so it intended and meaned, from one question to another, till it result to this, to wit, that he were praying to the One God, through the vertue of the Mediator Christ Jesus, which is the scope. And thus, much anxiety may be prevented.
As to the fourth Question formerly mentioned, to wit, What may be the reasons why Christ is so much infitted on in particular, in the Saints approaching to God, so as the heart is especially rejoyced at the mentioning of Him? or, what may help to improve that ground of accesse which we have by Him? Answ. To the first part: It is no marvel that this relation that Christ doth stand in, be much insisted on, in such a case; and, that thereby the heart be warmed, and made to exult.
First, Because, by that consideration, there is some staying of us in approaching to God: for, the Godhead considered in it self, is an infinit, inconceivable thing: and as there is no proportion betwixt Him and us; so not betwixt Him and our capacities of reaching Him so considered, but by this union of the Godhead with our nature in the Person of the Son; so that He who is Man, is also God, Having the fulnesse of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily, Coloss. 2.9. There is a condescendencie upon the Almighties side, shewing Himself accessible to sinners, and as appointing this (to say so) for a trysting place with them, to wit, that, He is in Christ reconciling the World to Himself, 2 Cor. 5.19. whereupon the heart fixeth, there to meet God, and find Him there; and is thereby imboldened and helped to tryst with the great and dreadful God. This was typified by the Lords placing of the Mercy-seat above the Ark, by the giving of His answers from thence, and appointing the people with respect thereto to make their addresses to him; whence we see, looking toward the Temple, Jonah 2.4. toward the holy Hill, and holy Oracle, &c. frequently mentioned in the Saints straits; which were typical of this true Tabernacle, which God pitched and not man; and also held out there in their fixing Worship, where God had by His Ordinance trysted them, though it was but in Type. And, seing they made so much of it, what wonder is it that the Saints, since Christs incarnation and suffering, make so great account of the Substance and Antitype it self?
Secondly, A second reason; is, Because in Christ Jesus the glory and riches of the Grace of God, in the work of Redemption, doth most eminently and palpably appear: which is both sweetest to the Saints, to insist on, and also tendeth to the advancement of the glory of God, dwelling in Him, and so furnishing Him for them. And therefore, these commendations that are given expresly to Christ the Mediator, and whereby Faith is strengthened in Him, do also set forth and commend exceedingly the Majesty of God, and His Grace condescending thus to men; and, in the same act, do serve to strengthen Faith in Him: for, honouring of God, and the Mediator, and also the speaking to the praise of God, and to the commendation of the Mediator, cannot be separated; and what strengthens Faith in the one, doth it also in the other.
Thirdly, A third is, Because there is most sensible footing and (to speak so) gripping to be gotten by looking to the Mediator, and mentioning of Him: for, He being God and also Man, there is more accesse to conceive what the affections and bowels that He as Man hath, and for this end hath taken up to Glory with Him, that sinners thereby might have confidence in approaching to, and by, an experienced high Priest, Heb. 2.18, and 4.16. than can be had to consider God abstractly in Himself: of whose divine Attributes, there can be no such apprehension. And this is not to give a new Object of our Faith, as if thereby it were surer, (for nothing can be added to the fulnesse of God) But, is to make that Object (to say so) more discernable, conceivable, suitable and accessible unto us; and to give us a new ground to strengthen our Faith, and a new way of having our necessities made sensible (to say so) to Him, that is, when not only by His Omnisciense, He knows them fully, as God, but also being acquainted thereby with the same; In respect of His humane affections, He is, in an inconceivable manner, by sympathie affected therewith: which though it adde not to the hight or degree of His love and pity; yet, doth it bring it to such a channel (to say so) that hearts are more able to conceive thereof, and are more delighted and comforted therein. And therefore it is no marvel, that the same be most frequently mentioned.
Fourthly, He is (as is frequently said) the ground upon which we have accesse: for, sin made a gulf betwixt God and man; man could not step over the same to God, but God stepped over, and hath come to mans side by being manifested in our nature, in the Person of the Son, that so He might give men accesse again to Him. Hence Christ is, in going to God, the Door, and Way; and, as it were, the bridge by which they passe, and that safely unto their former communion with God; and therefore Christ being God, so that they cannot have Him but they must have God; and, being also the Way, by which accesse is given them to God, it is no marvel that the mentioning of Him be sweet.
Fifthly, The great effects of the love of God have kythed, and have been brought about in the Person of the Son, the Mediator: and, though there be no greater love, as to its extent, degree, or freenesse in the Son, than in the Father and Spirit, (as is said) nor can be; yet, that maketh the Mediator more obviously lovely to the sinner, although indeed, in the same things, the love of the other two Persons doth appear also. And, seing this maketh the Object of our love more sensible to us, and helpeth us to understand Gods love the better, which otherwise is inconceivable: therefore, God, by proposing this as the pattern and evidence of His love, and as the Object of ours, doth even allow sinners to feed their love, and strengthen their faith on this Object, and on the immediate and explicite thoughts thereof, which yet is the delighting and feeding on the love of God so manifested, which cannot be so well read and understood, as by direct looking upon it, as it is manifested in the Mediator, who, being God, became Man, suffered, died, and is now, though glorified, yet a true Man, touched in a humane manner with our infirmities, as a mother, or friend are touched with the difficulties of a child, or one intirely beloved, though still in a manner becoming His sinlesse, glorified, and most perfect state. This is a main attractive, to make souls look to God by this open Door; and also by expressing this, which is nearest to their own comfort, and conception to expresse their Faith in God, or their love to Him.
For encouraging and clearing of us in the improving of these grounds, these things would be remembered.
1. That our blessed Lord is true Man, having these affections and properties that are natural and not sinful, truly, and really: and that therefore, there is a greater nearnesse conceivable in our approaching to Him, than to God simply considered in Himself.
2. That, as He is Man, having such properties; so He is affected suitably thereunto, that is, He hath a humane affection to, and sympathie with these He loveth; and hath the experimental ramembrance of His by-past sufferings, which also hath its own affecting influence on His soul, for awakning of such pity as is consistent with His inconceivable glorified state.
3. That He who is Man, and thus affected, is also God; and so by His Omniscience, acquainted with every need and strait of His people; and with every petition of theirs, whereby His former affections are stirred, (to say so) and His sympathie awakned, to make His divine Attributes forth-coming for their good.
4. It would be considered, that the Scripture allows these considerations of Christ to Believers, for helping them up to communion with Him, and so with God in Him; and for strengthening them to approach to Him with confidence on that ground.
5. As there is an exercising of Faith in God, and thereby, a keeping of communion with Him; so there is a proportionable sympathizing, heart-warming, and bowel-moving affection allowed us, even towards the very Man Christ, as one hath to a dear friend, or most loving husband: that so, in a word, we may love Him, who is Man; as He, who is Man, loves us. And, this kind of communion, is peculiar to the Believer, with the second Person of the Godhead, as it is peculiar to the second Person of the Godhead, as Man, by humane affections, to love Him; And thus we are not only one Spirit with Him as with the other Persons of the Godhead, 1 Cor. 6.17. but we are one body with Him; of His flesh, and of His bone, Eph. 5.30. in respect of this union and communion that is betwixt a Believer and the Man Jesus Christ.
6. Hence, 6. As we have most access to conceive of Christs love to us, who is Man; so we are in the greater capacity to vent our love on Him, and to have our bowels kindled upon the consideration of His being Man, and performing what He did in our nature for us; so the Object is most suited, to be beloved by us, in His condescending to be as a Brother to us. And this doth confirm what is said, and is a reason also why Believers vent their love to God by flowing in its expressions directly concerning Christ: Because, He is both the more sensible Object of our Faith, and love; and also because there is more possibility to conceive and mention what He in our nature hath done, than to consider God, and His operations, in Himself abstractly.
7. Hearts would always remember that He is God, and so that they love, and keep communion with Him that is God: that makes the former the more wonderfully lively; as this should make souls keep up the estimation and dignity that is due to such a Person, so condescending. And so by the Man Christ, both to love, and believe in God.
And in sum, having the excellencies of God dwelling in the Man Christ, whose affections they are more able to conceive of, whose sufferings have made His love palpable, in whom God hath condescended to deal with us: and on whom our affections and Faith also may have the more sensible footing by the consideration of His humane affections, There is no wonder that this way of adoring, praising, and loving of God, be so much insisted upon; and yet; even then when the heart is upon this consideration delighting and feeding it self upon the Mediator; still His Godhead is emplyed, and God in Him delighted in; without which, all other consolations would be defective. And so it is God, in the Mediator, who is the Object of this delight. Now, unto this One God, be praise in the Church, by Jesus Christ, for now and ever.