Chapter 10

Of all the Persons, Father, Son and Spirit considered together in the love of God to the Man Christ Jesus, and to the elect, as to Ways and Means of executing the Decrees of God into open Consummation of the Love of God from Everlasting.

Moreover, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all One in the next Decrees, the executive Decrees of God; which must be considered partly as Ante-lapsarian, or before the Fall, and principally as Sub-lapsarian, or under the fall, together with Post-lapsarian, or after the Fall. The Ante-lapsarian thoughts are the intermediate Councils of God; that is to say, such Thoughts or Councils of God as are between God’s first absolute Thoughts and Settlements, touching the personal Glory of the Man Christ Jesus, and his social, or Companion-glory in the Church’s glory, and God’s after-Accomplishments, by contrived ways and means. Now, the first of these intermediate thoughts, yet Ante-lapsarian, or before the Fall, is about the Creation of all things pure in the first means.

So it is ordained, that as both these, Christ and the Spouse, do absolutely, secretly and originally, from the first absolute thoughts of God, begin and stand in God, to God; so, that both these in their Beginning to exist, or outwardly appear, should each begin in a visible original, vastly different from the invisible. The visible original is ordered to be very mean and obscure, and to exist of a low extraction, raised from dust and ashes. Gen.2:7. Christ and they that belong to Christ’s must both appear seminally in some common Head of their own Nature, as the visible work of the Holy Ghost, yet a natural head made by and after him, and depending on him in that nature-likeness secretly and antecedently with God. But in this order, that though the Covenant-Man and his Spouse were both openly to be formed out of the dust, yet she, the spouse, is to be openly humbled and formed out of the dust first, and this spouse ordained to fall, and then the Husband to appear next from the same extraction in the flesh, to raise her fallen, and recover her to Grace and Glory.

And thus, the Sub-lapsarian, or under the fall Counsels about Ways and Means come in, for though I take Head and Members, Lord and Spouse in the Supra-lapsarian, or over-fall acceptation, as much as to say, above and before Adam’s fall in the thoughts of God, as to the persons of Head and members, Lord and spouse; yet it can’t stand so in applicatory means projected; and why means, and not the open Glory-End immediately? Why as it was the good pleasure of God, so likewise, this was to heighten and commend the love of God, Rom.5:8, and to set it off unto the utmost display towards the same persons. And now here I come down upon the Sub-lapsarian, or under-fall way, as it is more commonly received, of God’s decreeing the intermediate things of time; to wit, the Fall first, and Grace and Glory after; though I take this up only for the order of executing, not the order of first stating the things themselves. For that upper Order was glory first, before ordained, as the ultimate end; and Creation, the Fall, Grace and Restoration, the means next, to bring it to an open consummation of the Everlasting Love of God, in all his Persons, to the Human Nature of Christ Jesus, and to all the elect in Christ.

Consequently, we must, most certainly, cleave to the Sub-lapsarian way in the Execution of all God’s Counsels. For, the Grace of redeeming the elect, justifying them as fallen in Adam &c., comes in most definitely after the Decree of the Fall. For, it is only a fallen creature supposed that can be the proper object considered of Justifying Grace; yet all these Decrees and Settlements of it in Christ, were before the Foundation of the world openly existed, but everything in the Divine Order Secretly laid out. So that this Executive Decree of the Fall, and then Justifying of the elect in, by and through Christ, were to bring God’s First Purposes of Everlasting love, settled in the secret Glory, and his ultimate Purposes of the open Glory, to pass, by intermediate things. For, justifying and saving elect sinners do come in between love from Everlasting in the Secret Glory of Christ and the Church, and love ultimately breaking out into the Everlasting again by the open Glory.

Thus, first and last things are to meet by and through the intermediate steps of Creation, the Fall, Redemption, Justification, the New Nature, Holiness of life &c., all in their Divine Order, and not one thing to be disjointed, and shut out of place. And all this to set out God’s Everlasting Love to the elect in Christ to the utmost. For otherwise, Jehovah was able to have given us, if he had pleased, the open Glory, as soon as he had given us an open Existence. But now to bring God’s first and ultimate Purposes together in a continued chain of Redemptive-Purpose, carried on by each Person of the Godhead, the links of which chain are various, some under-fall Intentions of God, some under-fall Settlements, others, under-fall Covenant, others, under-fall Executions, as Sin, Affliction, Sickness, Death; these all come in to serve God’s first, absolute Thoughts and Purposes of an open Glory of Christ-Man and the Church together. Thus, through Sin, Suffering and Grace, it should be wrought up to a full open Glory in the issue, without any intervening Sin or Cloud, to stain or darken it to all Eternity; and that out of the Pattern and Purpose of the Absolute Secret-Glory in the thoughts of God from Everlasting.

It was then ordered in those Settlements of the Everlasting Marriage Union, that though {to try her} she should be left to commit adultery with Mammon, and marry the creature, as the Jewish Church afterwards committed adultery with the Gentile-idols, though that Church had been married to the Lord, Jer.3:14, by her Sinai’s Church Covenant; who had also at last broke with the Lord, broke wedlock, played the harlot, Jer.3:1, married a stranger, Ezek.16:28, and cleaved to other gods; yet I say, though the spouse was left to marry another husband, Mammon, who was not her Maker; nevertheless, she should be called, and embrace the Call too, and return to her first Husband; and as a cause of returning to her first Husband, should know in the clear light of the Gospel, that then it was better with her than now, as he saith of Israel. Hos.2:7.

Why was the Fall Divinely Ordered and Ordained? To show it to be all of Grace, and to exclude boasting, Rom.3:27; not to exclude the righteous man, found in Christ, from making his boast in the Lord or declaring the work of God upon his soul, which is his privilege, and which the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad, Psal.34:2, while the proud and carnal shall stumble, and the self-righteous professor call it boasting, and think it such boasting too as is to be excluded. No, it is not to exclude Gospel-boasting, God designing his Grace to exclude boasting of works done in self-motion. Well, this Covenant with Christ so well ordered and sure had a subordinate Purpose or Counsel to Ordain the Fall. And why? To bring it about as a way and means in matter of the spouse’s concern; and as an occasion to prove her Husband’s love, and his utmost Faithfulness who was her Maker, joined with the utmost Mercy of God, and Power of the Most High to restore her; not to restore her to Adam, for she never fell from this Grace and Glory in Adam. My meaning is, she never fell from Grace and Glory {her Grace and Glory Standing, by virtue of her Eternal Union to Christ} when she fell from nature’s law, that is, God the Creator’s Law, the God of Nature’s Law in Adam. Her grace and glory given her in Christ Jesus before the world began, II Tim.1:9, were never put out of her Husband’s hands to Adam. Love, Faithfulness and Mercy do therefore all combine to restore her unto Christ, her Husband, out of Adam’s ruins; or to bring her back from the ruins of the fall to Christ, that kept her portion for her, in whom she partook of all from Everlasting.

Lo! The difference between her and the rest in Adam! The non-elect had all their portion put in Adam’s hands, and they lost all in him; but the elect had grace and glory kept in Christ’s hands, and only their nature-condition or natural state put into Adam’s; that now their Husband by that Grace reserved in store for them, recovers gradually her nature-losses by better things than these, Heb.12:24, or then Adam ever had in Eden. The spouse falling in and by Adam was falling in some tendency from Christ, and so far was falling {never fallen} from Grace and Glory too in him, but only as her Husband-Maker stretched out his hands and caught her before she fell to bottom! As the Greek verb used for taking on him the seed of Abraham, Heb.2:16, doth signify. “And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.” {Hos.2:19-20}

And indeed under this Provisional Reserve for the elect, man’s fall was Wisely and Indiscriminately Determined of God, together with all the Provisions of Mediation by ways and means in Christ’s fullness, Col.1:19, fit to restore Wisdom’s fallen spouse. And it was ordered that upon her fall with the rest of mankind, though she was not absolutely so great a loser by the fall as they; they losing their all by it, but she having her main stock kept still in safer hands than Adam’s! Nevertheless it was ordered to be impossible that she should be ever brought to God, I Pet.3:18, and so to Heaven to her Husband, till all the obstacles of her lapse were removed by Christ’s Particular and Effectual Mediation. God’s Everlasting Purposes were, that all his love should stop {not be broken off, for the Unchangeableness of love within God though incapable of variation, is nevertheless consistent with stopping the out-goings of love,} till Christ by his Mediation become God’s Way unto us, for the same love to reach us on this side of the Fall; for by the Fall we lost his love Communicatively, or in stoppage of Communication; though by the Fall, we lost it not Provisionally. Christ was not to come and purchase the Father’s love, but to purchase the Communications of it, to re-open all the loving expressions of that Grace; Grace of Ransom, Grace of Reconcilement of the elect to God, Grace of Renovation, Joy and Comfort, Grace of Access, and Access with boldness through the Mediator, Eph.3:12, being thus in Salvation the New and Living Way, Heb.10:20, to answer all the Executive Purposes of Grace, notwithstanding the Fall and Sin; and so open all the passages of love, which the Fall had stopped up.

It was an Unspeakable Scene of Glory laid! Nevertheless, before it opens, it is most fit the Glory should enter by the door of Grace. Glory was the utmost Purpose Settlement, and not immediately the open issue, though the secret issue of God’s Ultimate Purpose in Christ. The thing is Absolute, and without change to God; howbeit to the end, Grace might still be Grace, and that it might appear no creature could be, or be happy of its self; executive Purposes of the Fall, ordered by Father, Son and Spirit, and Restoration of the Elect by Grace, have in their Executive-Means fully demonstrated {what was needful to be laid open} that the creature could not restore its self, when defaced, though it had the advantage of a nature-holiness, before that nature-mutilation entered through the Fall. God therefore to bring all to pass for Himself, doth by executive Purposes within himself, order such Means and Ways of Accomplishment, as are to make his first and his last orderly Councils of the Everlasting Love, meet, in the same Glory; to wit, of the Man Christ Jesus, and his spouse, the Church, as it was from Everlasting, like so many lines in one center. And now it is that the secret love of God, brought forth in the open Ways and Means of its Execution, remains according to the Everlasting Preparations he had made in Christ.

God has therefore appointed that all this ancient, presented scheme of Glory shall be suspended in the Execution and Existence openly, as a full Glory Comprehensively laid and collectively given to his Son Jesus Christ; and the Spouse wrapped under a veil of darkness, even till all her members distributively converting be collectively gathered into one Body and Spouse, which slow gathering her was ordered to last for many ages, even from the beginning to the end of this world! Till then I say, her universal Glory is suspended, and she is to pass through many changes in her time-state. She must find it a hard thing to believe, and a harder to believe into the fullness of Christ steadfastly, Col.1:19, and therein to see that ever there was such a Glory Settled, when begun in secret, in Christ Jesus from Everlasting, on her. Sin has wrought such havoc now, that it is a rare thing in this dark world to find Saints, Churches, or Ministers that believe it!

Nevertheless, the Son of God condescends to be the Sun of Righteousness that comes within the same eclipse, to be stained in his External Glory with the shadow of death, when he fell under our curse! Gal.3:13. The Lord Christ, the Mediator, condescends together with the Father in a humbling wonder, they ordained that the Mediator be emptied for the sake of his spouse, and the Glory-Man put on her dust! It is ordered she must be born, and left to sin and made to die; ‘tis enacted that the Mediator must be born and die for her, and restore her! The Royal law passes by the votes of all the Three in Heaven! Accordingly, Adam is created as the first open human means, and it must be in God’s image, or after the Nature-likeness of the Glory-Man, Gen.1:26-27; not the Grace-likeness, much less the Glory-likeness of the Mediator. No, for he was still to be reserved with God, as the Head of all Communicable Grace and Glory, to be the Church’s life hid with God, Col.3:3, and to break out after nature was done and spent. He doth therefore in the preparatory works, according to these Supreme Laws of Settlement, display and break out a little at first, visibly, in the works of nature.

That Holy Thing, Lk.1:35, the Human Nature of Christ {or the Man of the unction, upon which the Holy Ghost was to descend, after he had formed that Holy Thing of the substance of the Virgin in her womb, the name Christ signifying Anointed, Psal.2:2} was the habitable part of God’s Earth, which Wisdom-Mediator in the Redemption part of that Wisdom-Covenant looked down upon from Everlasting, and rejoiced in. The Son of God delighted in his Tabernacle, Jn.1:14, to be reared out of dust and ashes, Gen.2:7, and of the same clay, by the will of the Potter, Isa.64:8, of which his spouse came, in as much then as this was to come on, in the Preparations towards Glory, in a lineal descent of many Generations, Mt.1:1; Counsel therefore pitches upon a Man to be the first visible man, by whom, in nature, Christ and the Church should outwardly begin, among the world of creatures new made, and put into Order in the Creation.

Accordingly, as God had Predestinated, so he made the first visible man, to come in Eden, after the likeness, and in the Image of the invisible God, Col.1:15, which I have expounded out of the Colossians, as meant of the Lord’s Christ; meant also by that Image spoken of in Genesis, in which image, after which likeness, God in the Tri-Unity of his Person consulted to make man; as it is declared, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Gen.1:26. The truth of the matter, as it lies in Jesus, Eph.4:21, is thus. This Mediatory Person, being made the Glory-man of God’s Fellowship, Zech.13:7, in his Councils from Everlasting, is that Image and Likeness, subsisting by Covenant-union at that time in the Second Person of God, though not then subsisting by Incarnate Union, and actual Birth-union of the Flesh of Christ in the Son of God. He becomes absolutely, as the Man, the first Pattern of God’s Workmanship in the Creation, and so the first likeness or image of God. For image and likeness of God must no other ways be understood than the Representation of God, and that Representation again the Image of the Invisible God, or the Covenant-Man subsisting in the Second Person of God by Covenant-Subsistence, as distinguished from a Fleshly Subsistence. Now according to this likeness subsisting in and abiding with God, in the Son, and with the Father, God the Spirit comes down with a Creating Power, and by the Pattern of the Covenant-man, and forms that noble creature, man, or Adam, whom he raised into be Existence in the Garden of Eden, and out of whose natural loins he had ordered that the Natural Substance of that other Man, the Lord from Heaven, and of his bride too, the elect, should be taken, in the work of Creation. The Creation and Marriage of Adam with Eve, taken out of his side in the next Chapter of Genesis, being intended as a shadow of the Mystery, as is clear by the Apostle Paul’s arguing, Ephesians 5:23 and so unto Ephesians 5:32.

And thus we see even by what hath now appeared, and is opening, in the work of the Incarnation, and open Nativity of Christ, where the Holy Ghost’s work by Pattern from the Father and Son, in the body and soul of Christ, came in, that the likeness our Lord had before the world began, Jn.17:24, was the Image of the Trinity, and Covenant-likeness in the Mediator, which was equally espoused by all the Glorious Three in One God, our image, our likeness, say these Glorious Persons speaking One unto another, and conversing among themselves. For they had all counseled thus, and thus, and thus of Christ, and had all a distinct Work therein, and were in Covenant Settlement about it.

I cannot but again observe, how it was first mentioned at the Creation of man, as a mighty secret. For man’s reason would be presently apt to think upon hearing those words of the Trinity, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” that it is God’s Essence and Elohim were some Image and Likeness, not imagining the true secret Pattern, and original-likeness of all, the Man Christ Jesus. For it has been kept hid as Paul saith, “since the world began,” Rom.16:25, and men have entertained quite other thoughts of it than the Covenant-Man to be meant by that Image and Likeness of the Elohim. Who could ever have imagined that the Holy Ghost had any such mysterious aim in the words and phrases of man’s Creation? What! To reveal Christ before Adam! To reveal a thing meant by that same likeness, which the Father, the Son, the Spirit, all Three Persons had equally agreed should be set up in Union in the Son of God, the Son of the Father, even before the morning stars sang together, and earlier than all the sons of God that shouted for joy, Job 38:7, at the dawn and spring of the other open works! Who could ever have thought it? And that there had been a likeness which the Father had actually set up in the name of Wisdom, and loved before the Foundation of the world? Who could have seen it without the New Testament?

Thus, I am not satisfied with some preparatory observations upon this Mystery of the Creation, Jesus Christ, in Genesis; but have been further helped of the Lord to be confirmed therein, and so have suffered myself, in places where it hath more aptly fallen, to illustrate it more at large in the Creation of Adam; and how the Image of the Trinity in Adam and in Christ both agreed and differed, renewing my observation in regards to how it had been the Mystery kept secret; and in all have made a further use of it than the beginning hint thereof.

Now then, if the Holy Ghost be pleased to help the man to go to work this way with it in faith, he will see that Paul agrees with Moses; and that the Spirit of God in Moses had given the first hint unto the Apostle of the Gentiles, in Genesis, at the Creation. Yet teaches the said Apostle marvelously to improve it in that Colossian text which I have opened about the Creation of all things in Heaven and Earth by Christ, Col.1:16; even the making of all things by him and for him, as I have shown; and all hath been to set out a little of the Deep Mysteries of the Love of the Father, and the Love of Christ, under us, by the Love of the Father unto him, and the Love of the Spirit from them both; and all this conspicuously, or openly in the ways and means.

I write the more of these things, because I believe the love that God {in all the Tri-unity of his Person} has unto us, I Jn.4:16, and see it to be founded upon these Councils and Thoughts of his own Free Grace towards us. The mystery of it, notwithstanding all that Paul had revealed of it by the Holy Ghost, began to be so exceedingly withdrawn in the latter end of the Apostle John’s time, that the same Apostle found it needful to leave the seals of faith upon the testimony thereof, when reason, pride and nature had agreed to vote the love of God from Everlasting, and all ways and means as subservient to open and enhance that everlasting love of God, out of the world!

Now if it was so in and among the good men {for the cheat lies always here; the good men I say} of those days, and in the times of strict Congregational churches; why should it be thought unlikely to be worse among the good men of our times, all through the good books, the brave commentaries, the holiest Churches, that have been written, made and gathered, since Universal Popery. Blessed be God, that when the number of Israel is as the sand, a remnant shall be saved. A remnant, Rom.9:27, of those you call Church-men, a remnant of the Presbyterians, a remnant of us Congregational, a remnant of the Baptists; and I believe but a remnant of all this sea-sand number {not to go farther} in our English-Israel! And oh! What a select company will the Congregation of the saved be in heaven, where some of all these will be found picked out, and put together among the chosen of all the other nations and people and languages, where the Gospel has been efficaciously, by the empowerment of the Divine Spirit, sent forth.

There are two sorts of good men. One sort of good men we judge so, and blindly hope are so; another sort of them God judges so. Now God abides not by our judgment. All the good men God judges, such will be saved, but half the good men and ministers, and more, that we judge such, we may be everlastingly mistaken in! Oh! Let no man deceive himself.

The Apostle John hath admirably decided it, where the true goodness and the true holiness {not the counterfeit} lies, to wit, in an experienced belief and acquaintance of and with the love of God to ourselves, I Jn.4:16, “and we {says he} have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” Love is unchangeable with God, and so it is love he hath, as one love past, present, and to come, agreeing with his name I AM. God is love and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.

From what hath been distinguished, and laid down, it will be no difficult part to lay open the rest of the Creation-Mystery of man in Ways and Means; as to say, how man was created in God’s Image, and after his Likeness, and how not. You see that image there in Genesis 1:26, being thus expounded to be meant of Jesus Christ, as the Covenant-Man, which Elohim had there in their eye, by which to make the created man, Adam, in the same image, after the same likeness, as by Pattern. It remains to lay open, how? For it is not every way in this Image, after this Likeness, that mankind began in the Earthly Paradise. Adam was made in Christ’s natural image for Adam’s natural self, and Adam’s natural posterity in and by him; but he was not made in Christ’s Evangelical Image, nor in his Transformingly Glorious Image for soul and body, II Cor.3:18, where in the Transcendency of the Image lay, and setting up Christ by God the Father’s Covenant from everlasting, above Adam.

This Transcendency of the Spiritual Image in Christ above the Natural Image in Adam, nay, above the Nature-Image in Christ too, was absolutely for Christ’s self and Christ’s seed. See two texts for it, to be compared. The one in Ephesians 4:24, the other is Colossians 3:10, “and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Mind, says he, how the Holy Ghost comes with the very Image of Christ; or so that new man is to be expounded, when you are taught, and enabled to put on a better likeness and image in your souls than you had from the old man, in verse 22, “that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”

That new man excels all natural prudence, temper and what otherwise we miscall good nature, {because fallen;} therefore that “you put on that new man, which after God,” {after this Image of the invisible God which Father, Son and Spirit have adopted;} it is Christ; and these Three espouse that likeness, and call it in the propriety of adoption, their own image; “let us make man in our image;” and so it is after God {that the Evangelical Image} that he is created {as well as a natural had been} “in righteousness and true holiness,” or rather, {as the original} in holiness of truth; i.e., holiness of Christ, who is the Truth, and the embodiment of all holiness. For all other holiness is either a shadow, such as Adam’s that is vanished; or a lie, such as ours that we do not derive from Christ, as a piece of the New Creation. And that these excellent qualities and properties have no other communicableness than as Christ is the Subject in which they originally exist for communication, the other text has sufficiently made known, by expounding in that New Man as a draught of the very Evangelical Image of Christ; and have “put on the New Man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him.” It is plain upon this foot of interpretation, that the New Man is Christ formed in the soul, Gal.4:19, according to the Grace-Part of the Wisdom-Pattern, or Christ, the Image of God, who was set up for us; the Evangelical Image being still communicable from Christ, when the natural image is lost in Adam.

In this way of Interpretation a clear answer falls to the old spiteful cavil against Everlasting Love-Union; yea, against Union before Faith; and that cavil raised from the ignorant gloss they make on Ephesians 2:1, “dead in trespasses and sins;” and Ephesians 2:3, “children of wrath,” from the relation to Adam. The cavil is, how can any man be related to two Heads at the same time? How indeed in the same way? {As a man is related in his spirit, or soul-part, to the Father of Spirits, the Creator, and at the same time in his body-part is related to gross matter; so he may as well be related to two heads at the same time without any contradiction; because it is laid in distinct things; that is to say, in my Mystical Relation to the pure Glory-Christ, and in my natural relation to the old corrupt parent, Adam. The Mystical Relation is a Relation to Grace and Glory in Christ, from which I never fell, the natural relation is nature alone committed to Adam and lost, from which alone, in the common Fall, I fell too.} As it goes in their blind way of conceiving things, by giving up all to old Adam, and making him richer in their conceits than the old man ever was? But the answer will come too soon to them upon a right distinction, or rather, too unanswerable from the right state of the matter. Adam had but the Nature-part of the Covenant, whereas the Grace and Glory parts in the Everlasting Settlements, were never put into Adam’s hands {as I have shown} but were kept fast in Christ’s. And so as to the nature-parts, we are related to Adam, who had the nature-part of the Covenant communicated to, and stamped upon him; and Adam’s nature being corrupt, ours from him is so too; thus, by the loss of nature {nature-innocency, nature-holiness and nature-communion with God by creatures which Adam had and lost, and which we had, and lost in him} we are children of wrath by nature and then again; as to the Grace and Glory parts, we are related to Christ too at the same time, who never had these things transferred out of his hands. {Hence a man is perfect and imperfect, holy and unholy at the same time, on a different account, and yet no contradiction. A room is related to the owner and the lodger at the same time; a house to the landlord and the tenant; and yet nobody counts this inconsistent.} In a word, we are children of God in Christ by Love-Adoption, and stand so, according to the Relation of the Grace and Glory-parts of the Covenant kept in Christ; and yet we are children of wrath too, at the same time, by nature, in the nature-parts of the Covenant, as we are fallen in and by our Nature-head Adam, distributively {for otherwise, collectively, Christ is the Head of Nature, Grace and Glory, as I have shown;} it is this which makes it necessary that we be all recovered, and made the children of God again by faith, Gal.3:26, in a work of the Third Person, or the Holy Ghost, through the Second, as Mediator, to bring us up to the meetness for and possession of the Inheritance, Eph.1:11, settled on us as Everlasting Children; or Children of Christ from Everlasting, by adoption of the Father; {“having predestinated us unto the Adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Eph.1:5;} upon which first Adoption, our time-adoption by the Holy Ghost, when he gives us Faith is built. And this now solves your old knot. It is how in a different way, not how in the same way, we are related to two different Heads at one and the same time. ‘Tis to the Distributive Nature-head by nature, ‘tis to the Grace-head, and to the Glory-head by Grace and Glory, given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” {II Tim.1:9}

And still in this way of interpreting, we bring it all through Christ, in the point of Nature, {as well as in Grace and Glory, which Adam-head had nothing to do with,} and thereby make it the easier to understand how Knowledge, Righteousness and Holiness of Truth, Eph.4:24, are the Image and Likeness of God; not of God’s Nature, not God Essential, not God in any Communicable Attribute {which was afore laid open and dis-proved} as men have dangerously expounded it, in their way of shutting out Christ. But they are his Image, as he had first created them in Christ Jesus for Communication, and so were created communicable, or Creature Perfections in, by and through his Christ, whom he had set up, as the Wisdom and Grace-pattern of all his ways to creatures and children {thus thought on, and provided for} from everlasting!

The natural Image of Christ transcribed upon man in Genesis, which we have spoken of in the Colossians, and which could never have been known to be so Ancient in Christ, had it not been for the Gospel light of the New Testament, was the more common image of all mankind, in which our first parents were made in Paradise. Whereas, the Evangelical Image in Christ above the Natural Image, either in Christ, or Adam, was merely for Christ’s self, and his seed, in him, and by him, and through him. In him, by Redemption-Covenant; by him, by Redemption Completed; and through him, by Redemption Conveyed. And also, as the Spiritual, or Evangelical image is crowned, finally in glory. Again, Adam was made after Christ’s Natural likeness, but was not made after Christ’s Evangelical likeness, wherein the transcendency of Christ’s Covenant-likeness still lay above Adam’s created likeness, and above the Covenant, which Adam was made under for himself, and his natural posterity.

Thus, we see how the Natural Image, even in Colossians and Genesis, is God’s Image. Also, how we are to understand those phrases in the Creation of man, “in our image, after our likeness,” which the Elohim, or Persons in God do there attribute in some sense unto themselves. Our image, our likeness; because Father, Son and Spirit counseled alike, that this Natural Image and Likeness of Christ, as a Pattern to make Adam by, should have Covenant-subsistence from Everlasting in the Second Person; and this was {as has been shown} the setting Christ up, in the 8th of Proverbs; for I have proved it was not his Eternal Generation of the Substance of the Father; and although properly, the setting him up was the act of God the Father, yet the counsel for the act belonging to them all, Father, Son and Spirit, Three Persons and one God, and so, in executing the contrivance of ways and means it is the same. For, as they counseled alike, that this natural image and likeness of Christ, should have incarnate, and birth-subsistence, in the same union in time, so they equally counseled all measures, issues and fruits thereof, and join in the open existence of all these ways and means. So that it is the voice of the Trinity, let us make man in our image.

This natural Image in which, and natural Likeness after which Adam was created, was a fit name for the first revealed appellation and title given unto the Human Nature of Christ. Though now for the better understanding of these things, we are fain to take up names for this mystery of Christ, as he was then set up, out of the other names, which his Titles and Offices run in since, viz., Christ, Mediator, the Man, the Man of the Covenant, the Covenant-Man, and many such like; and all to make out his Ancient Titles of Nature intelligibly to our thoughts; such as image of God, likeness of God, Wisdom {often mentioned in the Proverbs by one of his regal types, and by one of the wisest of mere men; so to make out his Title of Existence} the Father’s shape, which I have opened before concerning Christ, in the secret voice of the Father, or the Council-language of the Father to the other Persons speaking to, and conversing among themselves. {Likeness and Image with other Titles of Nature, also, secret Names to God, were fit Names of Christ when revealed, as existing before Adam in a way known only unto God.} He has secret Names that are not known openly; “what is his Name, and what is his Son’s Name, if thou canst tell?” Prov.30:4. And all further sets out how the Father hath loved Christ, and how he hath loved us in Christ, as he hath loved him! And how Christ hath loved us, according as he has seen the Father love us {as those most deep and mysterious texts in John, which I have been opening, speak}! Accordingly, I have brought in other difficult texts to bear their testimony to one and the same glorious Truth. Ah! Our Beloved standeth behind our wall, and we have seen him not! Song.2:9.

And why are those phrases “in our image, after our likeness,” used there in Genesis by the Father, Son and Spirit at the Creation of man, so fit to express the Human Nature of Christ in the natural image, in and after which likeness Adam was more exactly made by the Pattern and first draught, than any other created things in Heaven or in Earth, that had been made by it, angels themselves not excepted? Why? The Holy Ghost hath given us an admirable reason for it. Why the Human Nature of Christ was most fitly there at the first Revelation of the Mystery of Jesus Christ in Genesis, called by the Persons, our image, our likeness; because the Human Nature of Christ, the Glory-Man, was not a Person {as Nestorius asserted the human nature to be} but a thing; a thing standing, or subsisting in the Person of the Son of God; and both these, the Son of God, and the Covenant-Man, or Human Nature, together in the Personal Union from Everlasting, by Glory-Covenant, made up the full Person of the Mediator. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Lk.1:35. Thus it is usual by a Communication of Properties to predicate, or speak of the whole Person by the properties and names of either Nature. That holy thing only, the Human Nature, the Man, and the like, do sometimes give the denomination of the other Nature of the Mediator, the Son of God.

So that this Image and Likeness, when it came there in Luke to a Conception in Mary’s womb, and birth from her body, is now in the same Divine Subsistence, in the Son of God by Created Union, as that Image and Likeness had been in the Son of God in the Beginning with God, by Covenant-Union. “The same was in the beginning with God.” Jn.1:2. And both these, the Image of God, or, the Likeness of God, that is to say, the Human Nature of Christ, born of the virgin, and the Son of God are both One and the Same Mediator, the Son given, and the child born, whose Name shall be called Wonderful, i.e. God-Man in One Person. Isa.9:6. Hence, says the Angel to his fleshly mother; “that holy thing, which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;” because of the Hypostatical Union, or Personal Union of the Two Natures.