Chapter 21

Of Mr. John Hunt’s Ten Last Reflections of the Seven and Twenty upon Christ, viz., one upon his Justice, one upon his Covenant-Power, two upon his Government, four upon the Glory of his Honor, one upon his Loveliness, and the Last Reflection of the Ten upon Christ’s Fulness; and all in a few Hints.

His Eighteenth Reflection upon Christ is one upon his Justice, in this affront, “he scorns any should reward us like Him.” {Page 178} As if the Lord Christ did not in all his Rewards go by the certain Rules of Righteousness in his Word, but was put upon new measures by the Corruptions of proud and haughty men. 1. The Object of scorn is some contempt of what is apprehended mean and sordid; and though here it is his Glory to scorn the scorners, {“surely he scorneth the scorners; but he giveth grace unto the lowly,” Prov.3:34,} yet here to make what Christ contemns as sordidly mean, {below the glorious recompense, Heb.11:26,} to be the motive of his Sure Rewards, is very injurious to the Glorious Justice of Christ’s Righteous Dispensations from the Father. 2. The common Proverb ordinarily applied to a man of scorning that another man should do like him, is demeaning Christ, and making him sink below his own Glory and Exaltation at the right hand of God. Col.3:1. As Christ’s own personal rewards are given to himself by the Father, according to the measures of Unspotted Righteousness and Justice, so likewise his social rewards or companion-recompenses, to and upon his members, who shall be brought into his Open Glory-Kingdom, shall be all given in the Merit of the Lord Christ’s Obedience, and therein rewarded by the Glory to be revealed in the saints, Rom.8:18, for all the gracious works they have wrought through and under the influences of the Lord’s Own Mighty Righteousness upon them, after Application by the Spirit of our God. “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” {I Cor.6:11} 3. Scorn is founded in Pride. A plane instance whereof is found in Esther 3:6, for there it is said of Haman, that “he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone.” His pride suggested to him that a little mean-spirited man might do so, but the great Haman thought it beneath the grandeur of his post, and a reflection upon the high favor conferred on him by Ahasuerus to stoop so low, as the executing his designs upon a single man alone, and not to make the whole nation of the Jews feel his high and proud resentment. Besides, bring it up to an Indignation against vice, and the plain English of “I scorn to do such a thing” is equivalent to saying that I will not do it, for I am too proud. There are many men who scorn to do an ill action; they will not fuddle, or cheat, or scoff at the Power of Godliness, and yet ‘tis not Grace in them, but pride is the true cause thereof. Pride and Scorn are closely met, and yet are not always together on the same occasions. Now what a base reflection is it, to fetch anything out of so vile a Consideration, as man’s pride, to apply it to Jesus Christ? And yet this is the arrogant language-scorn of our author, which he here, against all show of reason, suggests. 4. Lastly, the Holy Scripture never applies the Reward of Christ and his Righteous Administrations after this fashion; for there is neither sound nor scope agrees thereto in the Holy Writings, but I dwell not on it.

The Nineteenth Reflection upon the Lord is one eclipsing of his Covenant-Power, making as if the devil, or else a man’s self were the motive of Christ’s exerting it; the calumny is worded thus, “he {Christ} thinks scorn that it should be once said, that the devil, or thou thyself, should ever have made thee so miserable, that it is not in his Power for to make thee happy.” {Page 70} Still you see that he lays it upon the unworthy supposition of Christ’s thinking scorn. Proverbial baseness tinctured his thoughts, and then viciously discolored what distilled from his pen. The motive of Exerting Christ’s Power to make thee happy is not lest it should be once said, that the devil or thou thyself have made thee more miserable, than {as is blasphemously countenanced to be said} is in his Power to make thee happy. No, for all Christ’s Power is exerted by Covenant from the Father {as I have shown} not from scorn to be outdone by the devil, or a man’s self; moreover, in this last affront he takes the liberty to contradict himself with his usual inconsistency. When he hath laid down a thing in his own way for a Truth, he’ll not abide by it afterward; he would be the more now to be commended for his present self-contradiction, if in all at page 90, he had laid down an untruth, and afterwards departed from himself. Says he here of Christ on page 70, “he thinks scorn that it should be once said, that the devil, or thou thyself, should ever have made thee so miserable, that it is not in his power for to make thee happy;” and though now he magnifies Christ more than either sin, or the devil, yea, than both put together; yet he had forgotten this, for a little later he speaks then as much of sin, as he speaks of Christ, and does not magnify Christ beyond it, in the expression I have before examined, “there is not so much spoken in Scripture to set forth the Glory and Excellency of Christ, but there is as much spoken to set forth the vileness and odiousness of sin.” Here it is plain, he contradicts himself, though in a very odd form, and tells you, Christ scorns it.

His Twentieth Reflection upon Christ the most excellent, “had his Kingdom {says he} been endless, and the extent of his Government boundless, yet if he had not ruled in Righteousness, he would have been worthy of the less Honor.” {Page 94} Abominable! To make such an impossible supposition, and all to bring in such a nasty conclusion concerning Christ Himself. And yet this is the squeamish man who tells us that “the sinner may be yet too filthy to come to Christ by Faith.” {As I may now quickly come to show you.} “Had he not ruled in Righteousness {says he} he would have been worthy of the less Honor.” What an eclipsing is this of the Glory of Christ’s Government! How does this Supposition become any man that is treating of Christ the Most Excellent? As if an endless Kingdom, and a boundless extent of Government, which can fall upon no other man, except the Man Christ Jesus, I Tim.2:5, standing in the Second Person of God, could be imagined or supposed to be in the hands of One who ruled otherwise than in Righteousness. He vilely supposeth the Lord Christ unrighteous in his Government! A horrid reflection to suppose it! And all merely to maintain the other disgraceful humor of concluding thence, “he would then have been worthy of less Honor.” Here in too he scandalously makes Unrighteousness, which Christ hates, Psal.45:7 with Heb.1:9, to compound the matter still with God for some degrees of Honor; and tells you, that this Unrighteousness which he supposeth doth but lessen his Honor, which alas; necessarily {upon the supposition} supposeth an entire exclusion of the very being of his Honor; because, as there is no Unrighteousness with God, Psal.92:15, so it is the Spirit’s work in the Gospel, to convince of judgment, or the Righteousness of Christ’s Government in Administration, as well as the Righteousness of Christ’s Obedience Mediatorially finished when he was below in the world; the reason is, he went to his Father upon it, and his disciples themselves saw him no more in it. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Jn.16:7-11. He who whilst he is putting on badges of Christ’s Honor, plucks them off again upon this supposition of Unrighteousness in his Government, and thereupon deserving less honor, deals not with Christ as the Most Excellent, and subsisting in the Perfect God, but with Christ, as if he had been but King William; who although that brave Prince governed righteously, yet it was not impossible for him to have governed otherwise; because King William was but a man, whereas it is impossible Christ should have governed otherwise, because he is God-Man. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isa.9:6-7.

His One and Twentieth Reflection is an eclipsing likewise of Christ that falls upon the Glory of his Government, and that in these words, “Christ then ye see is the sole Monarch of the world, he is a Universal Governor both in Church and State, and so exceeds all in this respect. 1. Over his Church, and here he hath a larger Dominion than any creature on earth, the Pope himself not exempted.” {Page 93} Look ye there! I thought that he who now and then would be for a Promotion of Cardinals {to agree with some flourishes of Popery which have been laid open in this writer} would in time speak something not altogether derogatory to, nor inconsistent with the setting up of the Pope of Rome. I am sure, he who now and then slides in a red hat into the Conclave, will never under such a predisposition knock down the Triple Crown. The Pope himself not exempted? Why the Pope himself will own this; go and ask Clement the Eleventh himself. What blow is this against Rome? Furthermore, he had introduced this with the text to prove the Universal Sovereignty in heaven and earth, “and Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” Mt.28:18, and then closes it with Eph.1:22, “and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” a text of the same Universal Extent. So that this very passage of Christ’s having a larger Dominion than any creature on earth, the Pope himself not exempted, implies by its dependence upon a connection of texts about the Universal Sovereignty, that the Pope is above angels, &c. It obviously seems thus, I say, by the very connection of his argument {though he contractedly recedes from the extent thereof in those intermediate, adhering words, “a larger dominion than any creature on earth,”} that in the form of expression he had studied out the most supreme creature in Heaven and Earth; and then what a formal degrading of the glorious Angels is here introduced by this universal means! For, when the Scripture sets up the Exaltation of Christ, the Angels themselves are not exempted. The Rose of Sharon is above them. He is made {says the Apostle, speaking of his Mediatorial Dignity} “so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb.1:4. ‘Tis not so mean as to say, he is made so much better than the Pope, as he hath by Inheritance obtained a more excellent name than he. No, the Angels are preferred to the whole creation, that still the rise of Christ’s Honor even above the Angels might be rendered more Conspicuous. So, I Pet.3:22, “who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” Aye, but Mr. Hunt, when he is unveiling the Glory of Christ, elevates the Headship of Christ only above the creatures on earth, and thinks he sets up Christ too at a wonderful rate, when he raises him above the Vatican, and sets out the Son of God’s Excellency with this disparagement, “the Pope himself not exempted.”

His Two and Twentieth Reflection, cast upon Christ, doth Eclipse the Glory of his Honor, as he is God’s own, and only begotten Son, in these words, “nay yet further {says he} he is called God’s only begotten Son, John 3:16, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, &c.;” mind, that whereas the Scriptures saith, “God gave his only begotten Son;” Mr. Hunt, Socinian-like minces it, and takes off all the edge of the argument we are wont to use against the blasphemous Socinians, by allowing us no more of the argument than this, he is called God’s only begotten Son. {To say of him, who is God’s Son, no more than this, that he is “called” so, is not to cut off occasion from the Socinian, who in all matters of the Deity of Christ desires occasion; to allude to Paul’s words in II Cor.11:12.} A notable champion for the Doctrine of God’s “Natural Son by Eternal Generation,” as his words are there below in the same page. But the Doctrine of the Son’s Filiation, or the Honor of his Sonship, would quickly fall to the ground, if everybody was to treat it at this rate. He goes on reflecting upon the Honor of the Son of God thus, “but because an own Son, and an only Son, may prove undutiful, and so stain his honor, saith God, Matt.3:17, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” {Page 82} What sad division is this in construction, to divide own Son and only Son, in whom God is well pleased, from beloved Son, in whom God is well pleased! As if God’s own Son, and God’s only Son to be well pleased in, was not as much as his Beloved Son to be well pleased in. Why, ‘tis all one to God; for take Christ under any of his Titles and Relations whatsoever, there is nothing can be suggested {if he had thought on it} worse than the said reflection upon Christ, to stain his Honor. For though a man’s own son, and his only son, may prove undutiful, yet does it follow that God’s Own Son, and his Only Son may prove undutiful, more than his Beloved Son may prove so? What an ugly reflection is this! I marvel he did not see it. “Own Son” too is a phrase that comes up nearer to express the Son of God’s Nature than “Beloved Son” doth. Yet our lavish author gives all away from the first, and settles all his argument and dependence on the last. When, in this matter, the poise or balance of the argument equally lies on both sides. And yet though he has torn the matter thus asunder, he cannot forbear trumpeting at his own conceit, that he has wonderfully set forth the Honor of Christ in this. “Now put these together; says he, he is – his Son – his own Son – his only Son; and now judge if he is not honorable.” {Page 82} Whereas, indeed, as he has put, and put these away, joined and disjoined, united and severed the same pairs, by tying up the matter to a creature-instance {where the thing made be so shuffled, and then dissolved again} he hath left his reader to judge {if he be one of any judgment} whether Christ this way, instead of giving him honor, {though that was not enough neither to come up to his title, Christ the Most Excellent,} is not disgraced more?

His Three and Twentieth Reflection eclipses the Glory of Christ’s honor too, in the point of imitating him, set forth by a scandalous imitation of the persons of this world, to a fault. It is in his Fifth Inference. His words are these, “is Christ such a Glorious and Excellent Person as you have heard? How worthy is he to be imitated? We find, says he, by daily experience how ready persons are to imitate great men; and the more noble, the more honorable, and wise, any are in the opinion of the world, the more striving there is to imitate such, even to a fault. How are the modes and fashions of a court observed and imitated? How much more is Christ to be followed?” {Page 174} To a fault! A fault with a witness! To bring in the following of Christ, and that with a “much more” too, under what he had indiscreetly piled together, to tumble down into a fault! Mr. Hunt does not propose here the following of persons, great or wise, in their virtues, for that would be no fault; so it must be then in their vices; and with the vice of imitation, “if it be even to a fault.” Yet he proposes an imitation of Christ by the same pattern, the same vice-pattern, or vicious exemplar; and to go on upon considerations by the same measures of instance, as men are great, or wise, and honorable in the opinion of the world. Here’s like to be a rare Imitation of Christ, is there not? What will come of it, if the imitators do no better discern the nature, rules, measures and reasons of their following Christ, than the doctor of this inference hath discerned to propose them? He forgot to render the matter honorably in a spiritual sense, and free of all scandal in the proposals, when the matter of the reflection is set in a due light to judge by. He mistook his topics in the Gospel, when he took up such common-places of Imitation in the things of God, as where there is a following of men even to a fault, and an imitating of Christ “much more,” as if the man meant more by a degree of the same kind with imitating the modes and fashions of a Court; for he makes no distinction in his comparison; but huddles it as close, as if it was matter all of one piece.

His Four and Twentieth Reflection is an Eclipsing of Christ in the Glory of his Honor. How? By carnal measures of it according to human estimation. Here he very much withers the Beauty of the Rose of Sharon, and corrupts the doctrine of the Gospel into a worldly medley, throughout divers of his explications, wherein he ought to have kept close to God’s Word, and not to have wandered into the world, and have left himself and his reader in the wilderness where the Rose of Sharon is not. The disgrace he has cast upon Christ’s Honor is in these words, very often repeated. “Honor is that which is highly esteemed among men and as honor is highly esteemed; so Christ is honorable.” {Page 75} “I shall therefore {says he} more particularly consider what those things are which render men honorable in the esteem of the world, and show you how they all meet as so many badges of honor in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {Page 78} “First badge of honor so esteemed among men.” {Page 79} “Second badge of honor so esteemed among men.” {Page 84} “Third badge of honor so esteemed among men.” {Page 87, &c.}

By all it appears, that what is esteemed as honor among men, he lays down as the rise of the highest honors that belong to Jesus Christ. I could not but take some notice before of his injustice to Christ upon these proceedings where the observation fell in very seasonally among these papers; to wit, in the close of the 12th chapter, at the end of those Scriptures there opened, towards an Unveiling of the Glory of Christ. It was brought in there inclusively, and answered in the place of quotation at that chapter; whither I refer the reader for his satisfaction. Nevertheless, being not registered there in the number {for the numeral order could not then be so distinctly observed, as now, and} therefore was reserved as a defect to be supplied here; for which cause I need no more than just place it to the account, and remark it, because of the brevity I study. Otherwise, there is argument enough to insist upon all the several parcels of the esteem, under each particular head he has laid together, and reckoned up to pass among men; and therein to have shown. 1. His confusion and running things together which ought to have been kept far asunder. 2. His alienation of the argument in other things, and insisting so much upon foreign matter, which hath nothing to do with the Glory or Honor of Christ. 3. The reasons why all he has raked together in those 30 pages {from page 75 to page 102} are wrong measures of procedure, and not adjusted to the unveiling of the Glory of Christ, which he undertook. 4. Lastly, {which is most material to observe of all,} his intolerable reflection in his first badge of honor, to fetch the Honor of Christ, as he is in the bosom of the Father, and he brings in John 1:18, for it. From descent, thereby abominably corrupting the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, as he is coequal with the Father; and from the great families of the earth, to set forth this descent, and so running out of the line of David, in the very Genealogy and Ancestors of the Man Christ; together with a total exclusion of the True Honor of the Man, has by the Hypostatical or Personal Union, the Human Nature standing in the Second Person of God. But I dismiss these matters to the comparison and private examination of the judicious reader himself, who may bring both our books together.

His Fifth and Twentieth Reflection is cast upon the Honor of Christ’s Exaltation above every name that can be named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. Eph.1:21. His words are these plausible ones, “that we might at last come to lie in Abraham’s bosom.” {Page 162} As if Christ, when he spake these words {fitting them so admirably in their distinction, to set forth a state of Blessedness in a place of Separation from the Human Nature of Christ, and so were timed to his Humiliation upon the Earth} meant they should be understood of Heaven in the strict sense, when Christ’s Human Nature was openly absent {all happiness lying in an Experience of Christ’s Presence.} Christ intended not in this expression, under the Parable of the Rich Man and Beggar, Lk.16:19-31, to describe the blessedness of the saints above, according to the Light of the Gospel, it being then no proper time for it; but as the Jews were able to receive the word, and understand things consistently with the prevailing opinion that the greatest happiness of the future state lay in being gathered to Abraham, and the soul welcomed by Abraham when it left the body. So now, inasmuch as Christ was yet on Earth, and not returned to take his Kingdom, and receive the souls of his own departed there to himself, Jn.17:24, to be where the Human Nature was to go into Open Glory, he lets the common notion of the Jews pass, and in the Parable improves it, according to the time, by making out the whole truth of it, during his own State of Humiliation. But ‘tis to be with Christ now, Phil.1:23, as it was, in Christ’s Absence, to be with Abraham then. And to think otherwise, merely because we find this is spoken in the History of the Evangelists, is therein to go back to Judaism, and so far relinquish the Glorious Gospel, I Tim.1:11, which has brought Life and Immortality to light, II Tim.1:10, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I Pet.1:3. Accordingly, we are now to think and speak of the Glory of Heaven, not as Abraham is the Most Excellent, but as Christ is the Most Excellent; and then it must be as the descriptions are given of it in John 14, upon Christ’s going to prepare a place, Jn.14:3, therefore Abraham’s bosom would not do; what though Abraham’s soul had been there? Christ’s Human Nature crucified had not been openly there; and so the place by his own entrance after the Death of the Cross comes to be fitted and prepared, for another manner of happiness, Heb.9:15, upon the admission into Heaven, then there was before it. The style does not run now to lie in Abraham’s bosom. No, it is quite another thing. A far more glorious thing at last; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. I Thes.4:17.

His Sixth and Twentieth Reflection is an eclipsing of the Loveliness of Jesus Christ. “He is altogether lovely {says he} and that perhaps is more than can be said of any of the sons or daughters of men.” {Page 109} As if all that he will allow to Christ must come off with this precarious grant, perhaps it is more than can be said of any of the sons or daughters of men! Sure, when one text expressly tells me, “he is fairer than the children of men,” Psalm.45:2, and another saith, “he is altogether lovely,” Song.5:6, who is there that shall doubt, whether this be not more than can be said of any of the sons and daughters of men? To break in upon the Holy Ghost himself with a perhaps, he has ascribed more to Christ than can be ascribed to men, in a whole coherence and chain of matter where the Holy Ghost is setting out the Excellency of Christ, and hath ascertained it beyond all peradventures, is an impudent reflection upon Christ the Most Excellent!

His Seventh and Twentieth Reflection is thrown upon the fulness of Jesus Christ, in these words. “That Christ should be our fulness is not so strange, because it has pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, but that we that are so poor and empty should be the fulness of him is matter of admiration indeed.” Page 160, 161. 1. As poor and empty, we are none of his fulness; but as filled from himself. And then have plainly does he make strange of it! As if we who are so poor and empty in our selves, yet when filled with all the fulness of God, were not still his own fulness by communicative reflectiveness through Jesus Christ. 2. Admiration indeed! As if the other was not admiration indeed, viz. Christ our fulness; and that as the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in him bodily, to be a full treasury of nature, grace and Glory, for our daily and everlasting supplies! Again, admiration indeed is admiration in truth; to apply this then so discriminately to the latter, argues as if the former was no matter of admiration in truth! When yet the Apostle sets forth the whole mystery of godliness in the former wonder, of making Christ to be our fulness. This observation therefore which he makes, is an odious reflection upon the fulness of Christ. And thus the Lord has carried me through six and 40 of his disparaging’s of Jesus Christ, whom I have vindicated against all these reproaches.