How Christ has stood in the Love of the Father from Everlasting in the Beginning of his Way.

God the Father Predestinated his only Begotten Son into Creature-Being, that is to say into a Mediatorial Creature–Existence; or into Christ–Wisdom, to be Christ the Wisdom of God, as the apostle styleth Christ, “the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” I Cor.1:24. He predestinated this Wisdom to subsist in God’s own Son, Rom.8:3, the Son of his Nature and Being, the Son of his Counsel and Love, even the second Glorious Person with him in the Godhead. The Father in the Trinity pitched upon Him to be in another nature, and to be the Anointed One; Psal.2:2, he chose his Son, and covenanted with his Son {which amounted to more than predestinating him} to be the Mediator, or Middle Person; for Mediator is a name suited to both his Natures, and so to his Office, to be between God and men, I Tim.2:5, fore-viewed; and this is as he is now finally revealed. Howbeit, because of the infinite contrivance of this wonder, his Name from Everlasting is Wisdom, as he is very often styled in the Proverbs of Solomon. And then at that pitching on him, or Predestinating and Choosing of him so to be, Col.1:17, this Second Person in the Godhead was, in God’s Everlasting Foreknowledge, Choice, Purpose, Counsel and Covenant with him, made the Image of the invisible God, Col.1:15, as we read another of his Gospel-Names in the New Testament. He was made in Counsel from Everlasting to be the Wisdom-Image of God. So we may read it, by putting both the places in Solomon and Paul together.

But how from everlasting? By Mediatorial Settlement, by Constitution, not by fleshly creation yet, as afterwards to be. The Man existed not in his open flesh, but subsisted, Psal.80:17 – Jn.6:62, secretly in the Second Person by God’s Covenant with the Second Person; and so the whole Mediator was in every thing considered and reputed of the Father as God–Man; that is, Mediatorially from Everlasting. Thus he was made, made the Image of the invisible God, not yet made open flesh. This is more than God’s “eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord;” Eph.3:11, or choice to make him, or mere election of him into his Wisdom-Being and Office in the Person of God the Son. This a farther act about Christ than God’s Predestinating Purpose of him. Wisdom was then set up from Everlasting as the Holy Ghost saith, Prov.8:23, to wit, in Covenant-Settlements. Hence it is, we must understand it of the Person of Two Natures, God’s Son and Wisdom in the Proverbs, as One Middle Person between God and all the elect; and all things further intended. Wisdom therefore, one of the Natures of that Person speaks; but speaks as the Person of the Son of God, Psa.102:25 – Heb.1:10, who took on Him the Wisdom-Nature, so was in both Natures united by Covenant-Settlement in the One Mediator. “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” {Jn.1:34} Wisdom carries on the speech and therefore as a Person, not separately from either nature; for it is not Wisdom without its subsisting in the Son of God, nor is it the Son of God without Wisdom subsisting in Him; “even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.” Col.1:26. And so ‘tis the same Person, though only one Nature of the Person, Wisdom, appears; for herein was to lie the mystery. And so he goes on and speaks “I, and I, and I,” through the place in a very glorious coherence, “I was set up,” verse 23; “I was brought forth,” verses 24, 25; “I was there,” verse 27; “I was by him, I was daily his delight,” verse 30.

I know the controversialists, and commentators, systematical divines, and most dogmatical writers {i.e. men who go by opinions, the opinions other good men, I Pet.1:18, for a long train and succession have gone before them with} make all this to be meant of the Second Person of God separately from the Mediator, or the Man Christ Jesus. But why such a distinct and prolonged discourse {which runs on gloriously for 8 verses together} should be made of the Second Person in the Trinity, in the Old Testament, Jn.10:30, separately from that Person in the Relation and Office of the Mediator, to distinguish him from the Father, rather than the like any where done of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost, the first and third, who are all co-equally God, the Father, Son and Spirit, I Jn.5:7, and so to distinguish the Father and the Spirit {in such a prolonged discourse of the Old Testament} from the Son, is what I could never understand by all my reading of books; whereas, if I go to the text itself, I plainly discern a reason why ‘tis so distinctly laid down of the Mediator, which to distinguish Him from the Father, and from Himself too, as the Second Person. “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” {Rev.3:14} And this besides the many reasons which arise out of those verses, why they can be applied to Christ no other ways than as Mediator; especially as those reasons in the very expressions do shine forth in the light of the New Testament.

Well, here is the Wisdom-Son of God brought forth early into the Human Nature by Covenant, {as the Covenant-language runs in Psalm 89; Isaiah 42 and chapter 49,} before his flesh appearance. Wisdom was set up in the Son of God, “set up from everlasting,” Prov.8:23, the very same Wisdom was brought forth, and in Settlement made to be; the Son of God and Wisdom commencing from thence, Rom.9:5, One Person, as we must not divide them, or separate them in our thoughts, though we must all along distinguish them. And now I come to his other early Name in the Colossians.

The Apostle calls this Wisdom the image of the invisible God. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” {Col.1:15-17} A glorious mystery of wisdom in Counsel and Transaction with the Second Person! For still we must eye Him, in whom this Wisdom-Image of the invisible God subsisted; that is, subsisted by Covenant-Settlement. We must by no means suppose that the Image of the invisible God in that text is the invisible God Himself, as if God was an image or idea; and that the Image of God in the Colossians was another image like that. No; for God is invisibility itself. “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting.” {I Tim.6:16} The invisible God in his own nature can fall under no image, under no material form, or human shape. For, God is a Spirit, so absolutely perfect in his Being, so that he cannot in any sense be an image, or represented by a created form in his Uncreated Essence. “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” {Jn.4:24} It is not the invisible image, but the Image of the invisible God.

Hence understand that text in Jn.5:37, “and the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” The meaning is not that the Father hath audibly a voice in his own Nature, that men might hear if they listened or attended with the ear; for he hath no such voice as that; nor yet, that in no sense at all he had ever uttered his Voice in the language of Scripture and Providence in any Testimony of Christ; for he had done it. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” {Mt.3:17} Again, nor is it meant that the Father hath in his own Personal Subsistence a shape, for being Spirit, he hath none. Nevertheless, in some other sense it is certainly true he hath both Voice and Shape. But says Christ to the Jews that persecuted him, Jn.5:16, “ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” Jn.5:37. He denies not that the Father had in some sense a voice that was heard, and a shape beheld. A Voice in his Covenant Counsel, a shape or idea of Wisdom-Mediator. Col.2:9. A secret voice in the Covenant, for Christ had heard the speeches, when no other creature but the Lamb could. A shape, even the resemblance of Christ with the Father before time, or the conception the Father had of him as Constituted Mediator before the world was. So then his Father’s shape was not God’s Essence, or his Father’s Subsistence, but his Father’s Contrivance; the Shape, Wisdom, contrived by Infinite thoughts of wisdom, and made Christ by Infinite Grace and Love, “according to the Revelation of the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” Rom.16:25, and to which the Jews were strangers to. Now we see in what sense Christ there speaketh of the Father’s shape! That it is not personally taken a shape in the Father, but possessively a shape of the Father in the Wisdom-Image, or Covenant-Man. Isa.42:1. As if I say an estate is the estate of such a man, it is not understood that the man is the estate, but the estate the man’s. The owner personally is not the estate itself, but possessively he hath it, as his own. So the Image of the invisible God, Col.1:15, is not the shape of the Father personally subsisting, but his shape processively contrived. And accordingly, ‘tis made out by Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22. “The LORD possessed me, {says Wisdom, or Christ there,} in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”

Speaking to those with blinded eyes, and hardened hearts; for “he hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them,” Jn.12:40, it is as if the Lord was saying to them; that the voice of his Counsel {concerning me, says Christ} the Wisdom-Image of the invisible God, which the Father had set up, Psal.8:1, and the Son taken upon Himself {that point of truth} is a secret far beyond you. His Voice concerning me before the mountains were settled, and his Shape contrived in {Christ} Wisdom set up from the beginning, is a thing hidden from you; for you never heard one syllable, nor have seen a glimpse of it; and therefore you take no more notice of me now, {in my assumption of Flesh & Blood,} the work of the Father’s hand whom you here behold. The shape of his, says he, for I am His, you never saw in Genesis, in that phrase of the Architects, “in our image, after our likeness;” Gen.1:26, you never saw his likeness, in the Man-Wisdom; nor have believed what is revealed in the Proverbs, nor have known of whom these deep things of God are spoken, God revealing them only and exclusively to the elect, who have been given the “mind of Christ,” I Cor.2:16, by his Spirit, “for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Cor.2:10. You never saw the Image-Man, the shape my Father had contrived in secret; you never imagined that all is meant of Me the Born-Man. You never saw the Man-Wisdom in all your reading of the Scriptures; or of the Human Nature of Christ which had been assumed and contracted of Old to the Son of God by Covenant. And yet all the Holy Writings have pointed unto Me, Jn.5:39, testified of Me, meant Me, spake of Me, the MAN Christ Jesus, whom you now behold. This work of my Father’s hands, this shape of mine Personally, this shape of His Possessively, you never dreamt of, you never saw by faith, and therefore now despise it in Me, while you see my Father’s shape thus, as he hath sent me forth to be beheld by sense.

Now I do not see how those expositors, to whom the Supralapsarian Mystery of the Wisdom-Image of the Invisible God {or the mystery of Christ, Eph.3:9, as he stood in the love of the Father from Everlasting} hath not been made known, can {in such texts} fairly avoid some startings up of the Anthropomorphite idea of God; or else a mere repugnant thought to the spirituality of God’s Eternal and Holy Nature, and an inconsistent conception of the Image, with its being substantially the First-Born of every creature, Col.1:15, in the very next words. I am fully persuaded they do not speak safe, nor speak home to the point on that Colossian place, who expound the Image of the invisible God there only of the Second Person in God abstractly, and do not understand it of the Mediator or, as the Wisdom-Man-Image subsisting in the Son of God. {A dangerous conceit in the other way of Expositors upon Col.1:15, who make ‘image’ to be God’s Spiritual Nature and Essence in the Second Person.} The Image of the invisible God therefore is not ectypal, as to say, a form or substantial type of God the Father’s Nature, that is to say, of his substance, {for God’s Nature and Essence is never converted into another substance,} but Archerypal, the chief and first draft of all other things God designed to make. This was the first stupendous line that was ever drawn, Rev.3:14, by God’s pencil. Consequently, the Image of the invisible God is not to be understood, as the resemblance of a seal upon wax or paper, where the coat of arms, or entire form of sculpture falls just on the wax or paper, as the stamp is affixed or engraved upon the seal. This is not so in God; Isa.40:18, for we are to take heed of such gross thoughts of the Substance and Being of God. Christ is not the Image of the invisible God, in any such construction. But the Image there is God’s first draft, his prima-primitive Wisdom-Man before Adam, Gen.1:26, in the Supralapsarian pre-Fall way, the pattern and original sampler of all his noble works; to wit, Christ-Man, subsisting in the Second Person; {Christ is the First Man in the pre-Fall way, as to Persons; Adam is the first Man in the after-Fall way, as to means;} and so both, God and Man in one Mediator. It was by this Divine Exemplar, Christ-Man, the Wisdom-Image assumed, God would go alone, after this beginning of his way, to work farther and draw all other creatures by the same model; and so work all things to his own glory by Christ. Thus, the Image of the invisible God, is as much as to say, there is nothing visible in God; he is in all his Substance, the Invisible Being; I Tim.1:17, but there is a thing visible which subsists in the Son of God; and that seeing is the image Paul speaks of in the Colossians. For the word is ‘eicon’ in the original, and not ‘character,’ which they render into “Express Image,” widely enough, in Hebrews 1:3, “who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

From hence it follows of Christ in the same verse, that he is the First-Born of every creature. This is another property of him, still agreeing with him as the Image-Draft God kept of every creature by him. So it well explains how Image of God there is to be particularly and distinctly understood from the Son of God, and whom that Image, or First-born stands, as the Son is ONE with the Father, Jn.10:30; “the image of the invisible God.” It is of him, as contrived by him; by him the Father, who set Christ up; and of him, as a distinct Nature Subsisting in the Son. Thus, with very good reason, I carry all the text and coherence, in a direct reference to the Mediator. The Image of the invisible God, or the Covenant-Wisdom-Man, Christ, was assumed by the Son God; that is, the Nature was taking on the Second Person in God, and took up by him into Covenant-Union, even then from Everlasting. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” {Jn.1:14} Thus, the Son of God in love begun his Man-Union. The whole Person hereupon, by a distinction of Nature in God’s Counsel and Covenant, Psal.45:6,7, is God-Man mystically, the foundation of his becoming openly so in times of the New Testament.

Take him therefore both ways, as God, and the Wisdom-Image, how suitably doth the rest of the description follow in that Apostle? “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” {Col.1:16-17} Here are two instances of ‘by him’ which are suitably to our Lord Christ’s Two Relations. The one Personal in the Godhead, as Author of the works, the other Mediatorial in the Covenant, as Exemplar of the works; or, ‘tis twice mentioned, by him were all things created, that we might more thoughtfully observe it, and not mistake. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” {Jn.1:3}

1. By him efficiently, because the Person in whom this Image of the invisible God subsisted, was the Son of God, and so according to the Vital, Essential and Divine Nature of his Person, as co-equal with the Father, and co-eternal, he is the Creator of all things, who together with his Father, are One Invisible God. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” {Jn.5:26} “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” {Heb.1:1-2}

2. By him exemplariously, for I cannot draw it into a fitter word. And so in this place he is considered over again in his second way and relation, as the Wisdom-Image of the invisible God; so “were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” Hence angels were created of God, by him the Angel of the Covenant, and men were created by him who is the Man of God’s Right Hand, and shepherds by him who was God’s Shepherd; and so kings, fathers, husbands and the whole creation were made by him the Divine Pattern and Exemplar of them all. All thrones, dominions, principalities and powers; angels, cherubims and seraphins. “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” {Prov.8:15-16} For he, as God “maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” {Psa.104:4} Yet all of them too were created by him as the pattern of all their bright dominion! All the crowns and scepters, the states, powers and dominations of the universe, in magistracy and potentates, all were created by him, as the Glorious Pattern and Original Draft of all their high offices and stations! And all for him, Heb.1:2, upon which account it is in this Mediatory Dignity of Christ, they shall all one day fall down before the Lamb, and bow beneath his throne! “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” {Rom.14:11} “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” {Phil.2:10-11}

The Apostle continues on in verse 17, “and he is before all things.” The glorious train of beings are to come on in procession after him. Not after him, to be longer upon the stage that he; for so he is Omega, the last, and shall out-stand the entire train and all the world too; but after him, to be all in complete subjection to him. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” {Rev.1:8} Well, he is before them all as the Secret and Altogether-Glorious-One, as the Everlasting Wisdom-Image of the Father. “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” {Jn.17:5} This glorious draft is still by him, is still looked on, and consulted in all the works he made, as well as he is before them all; before them, in the latter capacity of the Wisdom-Image. Col.1:15. This Gospel Mystery stood in God before other creatures were made by him. When no depths, wisdom was brought forth; as well as before them in the former relation of being God’s own Son, Rom.8:3, who together with the Father created all.

Christ therefore still in the same capacity of Wisdom, is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending. Rev.1:8. He is the First and the Last of all God’s thoughts of the other works of his hands; because they all began, and they all conclude with him. “Fear not; I am the first and the last.” {Rev.1:17} “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” {Rev.22:13} Even as those two letters, Alpha and Omega, begin and end the Greek alphabet; there is no letter comes before Alpha, no letter comes behind Omega; so never any man or creature was taken up in God’s thoughts to be made in time before the Covenant-Image-Man subsisting in God’s own Son from the Days of Everlasting. “Out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” {Mic.5:2} As the Son of God in His Personal Relation in God’s Nature is from the Days of Eternity without beginning; so the Son of God in God’s Covenant is the Wisdom of God, I Cor.1:24, from Everlasting, that is adoptive and consequent, and hath some beginning from God; even in the Beginning of his way, before his works so old, Prov.8:22, as the Alpha, and First Work of them all. And thus the Scriptures are reconciled by their own interpretation, and by no other, when they speak of this Person, whose Name is Wonderful, Isa.9:6, sometimes in the other relation. It requires great wisdom and instruction of our minds to know the Oracles of God aright, and mistake them not in this vital matter. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” {I Jn.5:20} “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” {Jn.17:3} We must not think to answer the Socinian in the point of the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, by underclothing him in all those texts, as the Wisdom of the Father. We must be cautious, and not allow that way of maintaining the doctrine of his Filiation or the Essential Communication of Life to his Subsistence from the Father, Jn.5:26, in the First Sense {which I firmly believe, and in which the right knowledge of the Mediator is established,} I say, we must not allow the manner in which this is usually done, by giving away the other true doctrine of the Generation of Christ-Wisdom in the Everlasting Covenant, Heb.1:5-6; Psal.2:7, as to be his being the Son of God, Rom.1:4, in the Second State. I am afraid that by robbing the Mediator, we have often given the Socinian too open an advantage against the Divine Sonship of Christ, not distinguishing between the ONLY Begotten Son of God, and the FIRST Begotten, Rev.1:5, of the Dead. “He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” {Jn.3:18}

I am sorry likewise to find what is no meet custom in the education of our youths for the ministry of Christ; and that is, the training them up in a mere scholastic or creedal form of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, so as almost to necessarily render them unfavorable of retaining any due regard to that Doctrine of the Person of God, through their whole course of preaching; but preaching according to the Distinct Revelation and Cohesive Operations of God is generally despised, and laid aside. And indeed our education-knowledge of the Trinity, is for the most part so remote from the way that God hath revealed himself to us in the Mediator, Jn.14:9, that as we have chosen to wander and have left him in this, {for I am speaking of an external turning from God, which lies in every natural man’s power to prevent, or reform,} so this is a righteous thing with God, II Thes.1:6, afterwards, that as it is with the master, so it should be with the scholar. “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods; even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God; for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” {Deut.12:30-32} It is very unbecoming, that the doctoring of the Trinity in our common bodies of theology, is never tempered with some knowledge of Christ-Wisdom, Christ the Image-Man, Christ the Covenant-Son, Christ the First-Born of every creature, &c., as if the Mediator is wholly excluded in that stupendous Mystery of the Three One, I Jn.5:7, and turned over {a long while after} to another common-place. But Christ doth not stand so in God’s alphabet; for he is there the Mediator-Alpha from the beginning, and God has put him as a Christ into his own Name; however it comes to pass, that our teachers have turned us over nakedly in that dreadful Mystery of the Trinity, to a consuming, Heb.12:29, fire! {“I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation.” Psal.119:99.} And so as the angels themselves never conversed thus with God, as they covered their faces; whilst we are taught to be bare-faced before him out of Christ! “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” {Isa.6:1-3}

Christ should not be put so far out of the way as in these matters men are wont to do. Wisdom-Christ is the Alpha, the first letter in all God’s alphabet of thoughts and ways; “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God.” Rev.3:14. As in the 24 letters, Alpha runs in a suit with the rest of those letters, and is but a letter of the four and twenty, only that it goes before them all in that number, and all the other letters belonging to the same alphabet; so it is a name of Wisdom-Christ, or of that Created-Nature which the Son of God took upon him, as it subsisted, and was all along considered to be in the Second Person by God’s Covenant; the Son of God and God’s Covenant with him being the foundations that upheld it federally in the Personal Union, even from Everlasting. “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my Servant.” {Psal.89:3} And this Wisdom-Name is suited to Christ, as Christ partakes of the same portion with his members; Eph.5:30, “as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same,” Heb.2:14; and so he was Wisdom-Mediator in all considerations of creature-ship before the Fall, though not so properly Christ-Mediator, till under the fore-views of man’s fall in the Subordinate Purposes of Jehovah. {The Son of God is Wisdom-Mediator, as to his Person in the Pre-Fall/Supralapsarian way; and is Christ-Mediator, as to ways and means, in the after-fall-way.} However, it was the same Person still in Mediatorial Honor and Advancement. And there’s another reason too why he is the Alpha, and is before all things, and that is because in these Everlasting-Thoughts and Covenant-Conferences among the Trinity in Unity he was to be the Exemplar-draft, and so was made the pattern of all things. For in wisdom has he made them all, even as all are made by and after him. It shows us still by another proof that he is the first image of God in all the works; and he comes, as he took on him to be Man, into the same relation with other works of God that follow him. And this is the first part of the 17th verse; as “he is before all things.” {Col.1:17} “O LORD, how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.” {Psal.104:24}

The rest now follows, for “by him all things consist.” That is, had it not been for this first draft and piece of God’s work in the Wisdom-Mediator, all his other works had wanted a foundation to stand. There is nothing that can stand out of God, and there was none must, or could stand in God by personal union but Christ; they {the creatures themselves} could not have stood in God’s manu-tenently or to have been upheld by his immediate Power, without the Mediator, whom he had appointed heir of all things, by whom also {by whom also, as that heir of all things} he made the worlds; “upholding all things {now he has Christ by him, as the frame to put all created things into} by the word of his power,” as the Apostle saith in Hebrews. And indeed the Holy Ghost takes notice in that place, that God did a greater thing by him, as the Appointed Heir, Psal.8:5,6, than made the world by him, so full of power was he as God, and so fitted in the Communication of this Power as he was God, by becoming Man, and the appointed Heir of all things; he takes notice, that that greater thing was the purging away of our sins, for this required an Infinite Price, whereas the Creation required not Price, but Power, and yet by himself he purged away our sins, as Mediator. Heb.1:3.

No creature however could stand without him; and therefore when it pleased God to make the trial, for illustrating the Wise and Supreme Ends of Him who giveth us not account of any of his matters, Job 33:13, that some creatures after their being and draft by him, Wisdom-Mediator, in the Nature-part of that Office and Relation, were lost, because Divinely Ordered to be left upon their creature-bottoms, and given up to their own creature-wisdom, angels and men, both falling in pieces! They could not hold it to stand, having nothing to do with that Wisdom-Mediator in the Grace-part of his Office and Evangelical Covenant of his Relation; only as many as were ordained by this pattern to stand upon Christ, God’s Wisdom-Grace, they having kept their stations, as the elect angels, I Tim.5:21, are though fallen in their natural head Adam, as the sons and daughters of men, yet are recovered by their Gracious Husband. And as for the creation, though sin hath marred it, yet in Christ, and because it consists by him, Heb.1:3, it is not fallen to pieces in Him. As to the elect part, it is as Christ stands in God, so they do stand in him. As to the rest, still Christ is the foundation of even their natural standing, I Tim.4:10, that all do not fly-to-pieces in a moment. God looked upon this Draft at first, and would hold altogether by Christ in whom he drew it, and after framed it openly.

By Christ they stand to this day, notwithstanding the Constitution of mere creature-frailty, {in all the beings of the world made by him,} and notwithstanding the entrance of sin upon the more noble parts of the creation, and the reign, Rom.5:21, of it in the lust of men! Still by him they all consist and hold together; for God doth always look upon this Glorious Pattern of his works; he evermore beholdeth this Alpha. “I was daily before him,” Prov.8:30, says Wisdom, in the Days, or Dates of Everlasting. God looks upon the Man Christ Jesus now, when other things seem out of course and order. The letter C placed before B, and T set above E; servants upon horses, aye, servants of the devil; and princes of the Most High, children of God and princes of the Lamb walking on foot to meet their Lord! Eccles.10:7. Poor weary saints, and no swift beasts to get up to Zion on, Isa.66:20, when they come forth out of the villages! So the crow upon the pinnacle of the temple, and the dove in the secret places of the stairs! Song.2:14. And yet the world under this disorder doth not fly in pieces! Why? The Alpha and the Omega is still the same that holds the other letters. “Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” {Rev.19:6}

God is provoked to wrath in the world by sin. As he early was so he always is, for “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psal.7:11. He will turn them into hell, and yet they shan’t be “cast into outer darkness,” Mt.8:12, sooner than the time, for they must continue on the earth, till a longer strength of the Mediator between God and men hath displayed its use to keep them longer out of hell, by whom alone “all things consist.” Col.1:17. The rich and poor meet here together, “the LORD is the maker of them all.” Prov.22:2. God looks upon Christ in all our upper shakings, and sees how He has underpropped the World by his Son, that he himself bears up the pillars of it as a Mediator, Psal.75:3, into whose hands all things are put, and God governs the world no other ways than by him. Thus God hath put all his works into a steady Frame by Christ; he hath brought them out of nothing for his Son, in the glorious ends he will bring about unto himself by Christ. There is mercy to his own by Christ; there’s fiery indignation to the strangers, and still by Christ, that in the utmost conclusion shall devour all adversaries. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” {Heb.10:31}

‘Tis in the sense of Providential Latitude, to provide temporal good things for, and prolong eternal evil things from the wicked, in conjunction with the Purchase and Conveyance of Eternal Salvation for and to the elect, that he is “the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe;” I Tim.4:10, and ‘tis in no other sense whatever that he is so. So that now for Christ’s sake, who is “the Image of the invisible God,” subsisting in the Son of God, God spares the world, and all things as they are, till the time of the end is come. Dan.8:17. For as God hath always looked to the end of what he hath begun by Christ; so all things are ordered by him to stand together, till the Great White Throne, Rev.20:11, of the last Judgment of all comes, and he that {in the vision} sat upon it, “from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”

And thus we see how by him all things consist. How they hold together, being made originally by and for this most noble draft of Wisdom, Christ. Hence, they do not dissolve by innumerable burdens of sin, not crumble into pieces, and so into annihilation {being reserved for the Glorifying of Mercy and Justice forever, that they can’t fall out of being into nothing again} by past and present provocations! Because the Wisdom-Image, by which they are consolidated and held together, stands in God forever! “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” {Mal.3:6} “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {II Thes.2:13-14}

Let us consider a little of the great Love of God again, wherewith the Father hath loved Christ, as I began it on John 15:9, last words, “continue ye in my love.” For though I ever now and then look down into the Sublapsarian {or after-Fall} executions, Psal.89:2, yet I am not come down {to tarry} from the Supralapsarian {or pre-Fall} Counsels. Well then, there was in Christ, this Image of the invisible God {I repeat that phrase the oftener, to take off gross ideas, or any conceptive ideas of God, that we are prone to entertain, in conceiving of the Invisible God; as if the One Invisible God, the Father, Son and Spirit, was in his own Spiritual Nature, an Image; but 'tis only Christ subsisting in God that is so. Now, in Christ this Image of the invisible God, there was from the dates of Everlasting} the Master-Piece, and Most Glorious and Amazing Wisdom-Draft, abstractly considered, of all God’s works he was ever resolved to make! He abridged them all in this Everlasting Man! Moreover, the Son of God and his Father’s Covenant with him for this Man, Heb.7:4, are the Strong Foundations upon which the Man is built in God. The Mediatorial Union stands, and can never dissolve in these. So that the Wisdom-Man is ordained and set up to be the Man that is God’s Fellow, Zech.13:7, having his Subsistence in the Second Person.

So then, look into God’s Counsels about Creation, and there you shall see this Man that continueth forever, Heb.7:24, the Wisdom-Original of them all. There you shall see Him in the natural, before the gracious works of God; Him in nature before a line of the works of God were drawn; and there you shall see him “as one brought up with him;” Prov.8:30, the Man trained up in the Councils of the Most High {for in this the Second Person was now to be so considered, because of the Covenant-Man in him} and led into the deep thoughts of God; being now transacted with as Mediator-Wisdom between God and all his works, and the Man meet to be his fellow, as his name runs in Zechariah, from the Wisdom of God to him, and because of the Contrivance of God in his Wisdom-Nature in the Personal Union. Christ is wisdom, for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in their Wisdom meet in Christ. And now God would, as we say, make a pause, when he had this Man, the Wisdom by him; for he would not go on and draw another line without him.

See how the Holy Ghost hath made it plain, Prov.8:22-26; for, after the first conceptions {that we ought to have} of the Wisdom-Mediator are laid down in 5 verses together, antecedently to all thoughts and works of Creation in the universe; {as to say, after what manner he would have things done,} there’s no other present account given but what is given of himself in this Supralapsarian Glory, or Glory of the Wisdom-Man, before the Fall of Adam, or before the Creation of the World. The words are these, “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” So that though already the LORD speaks of the works in the Form as they now lie; yet it appears they had not been then cast into that Form and Frame, or Settlement by the thoughts of God, till he had finished his Councils and Perfect Draft of all in the One Everlasting Man, to be God’s Fellow! {For why not an Orderly Succession in God’s Counsel, as well as in God’s Creation?} No, there had not been so much as an atom that now flies in the air, nor so much as one dry fume used in a stirring wind, exhaled into the lofty clouds, which seems to be meant by the highest part of the dust of the world, Prov.8:26, when Mediator-Wisdom stood by. “The LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” {Nah.1:3} No, says our Wisdom-Pattern, before any of this was done, all the first work was begun, and accomplished in Me; and then comes in the draft of every other line, which he had settled the Matter in the most stupendous Frame, and done his Master-Piece; and this was Wisdom-Christ, now brought forth, and subsisting in the Son of God.

As to the Doctrine of the Son’s being Begotten of the Father from Eternity {usually fashioned upon this text by interpreters} I dare not build so remote a truth upon words, where the expressions are so clear in the point of his Predestinated and Covenant-Mediation; for albeit I do assuredly suppose the Son’s Eternal Generation of the Essence of the Father in an unspeakable and altogether incomprehensible manner, as an Essential Foundation both of the Decree of the Father of Christ to his Mediatorial Office, and his Covenant with him about it; yet I can by no means apprehend it, that the Holy Ghost doth meddle with that point here, to reveal it in this portion of Holy Scripture. This is one of the additional discoveries of Divine Truth, {I am in this speaking of the Eternal Generation of the Son} which the New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brings forth. Christ himself hath abundantly revealed it there, and we have texts enough in the New Testament to hold it against all the Arians and Socinians in the world. Let us not then, through distrust of the cause, if we give it up in part {as to a revealing it, and showing the nature of it} out of the Old Testament, or confidence of our own abilities to carry any text father that it goes, pervert the texts of this Mediator in the Old Testament to what they will not bear forth; but let us rather see things as they are unveiled; and therein the necessity of his Mediation to be first clearly revealed as a means of understanding afterwards the Nature of his Subsistence, to be by an Act of the Father in the Eternal Generation of the Son. And let us see, by reason of the sublimity of the doctrine, that the Mediator should first openly come {as I will later attempt to show} and have it reserved exclusively as a personal honor due to Himself, and conferred upon none of the Prophets, to declare, and lay open the Nature of his Subsistence to be Begotten of the Life of the Father, and so to show us that this Life, that is in the Father, is, as to the very Nature and Being of it, in the Son too. Besides, why the Son’s Subsistence Abstractly should be meant in this place of the Proverbs, rather than that the Holy Ghost would choose to give a discovery of the Father’s Subsistence, or Person, or that he would choose to speak of his own Subsistence, as the Third Person; and why the Second Person, as the Son of God in his being Begotten of the Father from Eternity, without any thought of him as the Mediator should be expressed by being “set up,” and “brought forth,” and “brought up with God,” as after, more than the Holy Ghost’s proceeding or coming forth from the Father in his Person, Jn.15:26, is set forth by these phrases; I pray, let the learned unfold to me, who seem to put more darkness than light of exposition in all they tell me in the matter of the Son’s Eternal Generation, which they will have to be designed and meant in this text, than is safe or warranted, as I am not against the doctrine, but the opinion of being met there in Proverbs the 8th.

Well, I take it of the Mediator; and now when the Father in the “beginning of his way,” vs.22, had done his main work, see how the other lines followed by the draft, “when he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the depth, &c.,” vs.27, that is, when he said how far local space should reach for air and bodies to move up our down, forwards to backwards in the celestial and terrestrial motions; “I was with him,” before the bounds of this Decree was set! And I was by him as his Samplar when he established the bounds of darkness; {therefore the darkness can’t hurt Christ’s interest and possession,} and when he laid out the great abyss, the bottomless pit, for Hell; I was by him that still there should be bounds set, and that not all his creatures, the after-works, be swallowed up forever! He for his compass upon the face of the depth, and I the Wisdom by him, vs.30, and he goes on till he brings it down to the Christ’s full Mediation for the elect, “rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men; now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children, &c.,” vs.30-32; thus you see how the Man Christ stood with the Father, in the Son.

And afterwards upon the works made exemplariously by him in the Mediatorial Relation, as well as efficiently in his Divine Relation, God covenants with him; and so he becomes the Covenant-Man, the Man of God’s Covenant with the Son, “I have made a Covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my Servant,” Psal.89:3, he was chosen first in Union with God’s Son, and Covenanted with next in the same Union. David there was but a type in God’s choosing a shepherd out of Jesse’s family to the Throne of Israel. I Sam.16:1. Yea, by him indeed, according to this Everlasting Pattern, as has been before expounded in our Alpha, David had his throne, and was a king from, as well as a king unto him. Thou “shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” {Lk.1:31-33} Again, as Christ is the Omega, Rev.21:6, the last to come of Governments and visible Dominations, so the Lord God is to give unto him the throne of his Father, David; David being a figure of Christ that was to come, as in other things, Adam is said to be a figure, Rom.5:14, and David has his throne for Christ, as it was erected to him and for him.

Oh! Great love of the Father to Christ! How admirably is this advanced in John 17:24, “for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” This cannot be meant of the Love that each Person in the Godhead bears to one another in the same nature among themselves; because there is absolutely such a love to and among each Person in the Godhead in the Absolute Being of God. There could be no Covenant or Stipulation on the part of the Father or the Son, about it, that there should be either Glory or Love given to one another by Consent of Proposal and Decree; this being the essential due of God’s Nature, within the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and neither could he be God without it. But plainly, this is meant in a sense wherein the Father is greater than Christ, as he witnesseth, John 14:28; and so the God of Christ, Ephesians 1:17; and is meant according to that place, “the Head of Christ is God,” I Cor.11:3; and the firstborn of every creature, as I have afore expounded. Col.1:15. It is in the same sense here, that the Father loved him before the foundation of the world; as he is considered in the Proverbs and here in the Evangelist alike, not absolutely as God, Co-equal with the Father, but relatively, as God-Man, the Mediator; and so by a Co-equal Purpose, Stipulation and Covenant with, as well as from the Father, concerning his Mediatory Wisdom-Relation {chosen of the Father, and proposed to him in the Personal Union of the Divine Nature} wherein he had set himself below God, and agreed upon manifesting this unspeakable love, each Person in the Godhead bore unto the Man Christ Jesus. And it was that love of the Father in the days of Eternity he had unto the Man of the Unction {for the Holy Ghost comes into this Counsel about the Covenant-Man; and therefore Wisdom is called Christ, in regard of the future unction, as well as the Holy Spirit’s Incarnating Operation in this Wonder; he being consulted, as Co-equally Free and Sovereign; so it was that this Particular and Everlasting Love} that now in John, Christ pleads in his Intercession to the Father. The grand article of the Settlement was unalterably Love unto the Man Christ Jesus.

Mind the great Distinction between Christ’s Essence as God, and his Covenant as the Man, in God. As to what he is in his Divine Essence, he plainly founds his argument and plea on his Divine will; “Father, I will;” but as to what he asks, ‘tis as plain he founds it, being purely Intercessory, in his and his Father’s covenant; that they whom the Father has given him might be with him where he was. “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.” Where I am now in my Man-Covenant to be there forever with me in my Man-Nature, as certainly as I am there now in my Divine Essence, and Divine Glory, which can never depart from thence; and that is Heaven, whither Christ, the Man, was going. He makes it further matter of plea unto his Father, that because he was loved before the Foundation of the World, therefore he might be as he was {again} in the Openness of his Glory-Union, where he had been already in the secrecy of that Glory-Union with the Father. It is evident that he prays for the Openness of the Glory in Heaven; where I am, says he, in my Essence, as God, where I am too by thine and my Covenant to be forever as the Man.

Christ had begun in the former part of the chapter with that branch of the Intercession which was for Himself, the Head of the Church, to be glorified thus, “with thine own self,” says he to the Father, “with the Glory which I had with thee before the world was.” {verse 5} That glory was the Open Glory of the Man as he had stood in God, with the Father; and this Glory-Man, the Man Christ Jesus, the Father and the Son between themselves had Co-Equally beheld from Everlasting, or, before the world was. Before it, how was that? Why, not in the first Date of Eternity, proper only to God, as without Beginning; for the Man could not be from Everlasting in the sense God is from everlasting. God is so from everlasting within Himself, as is proper to none but to Himself. But from Everlasting, according to and After-Date of Eternity, when a thing is said to be “in the Beginning with God;” in the Beginning of his way. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” {Jn.1:1} But how long that Beginning of his way was before his Works existed, or came forth out of his mind and will into being, none can determine but Himself. The phrase is well expounded {how we are to take it} in the Proverbs, by the “beginning of his way, before his works of old;” as how he will have all his pleasure executed, and his works precisely ordered by Counsel, by Thoughts, and a Beginning of his way within Himself. And thus now it was that Christ, the Glory-Man, subsisted in God from Everlasting, or, was with God in the beginning of his way; and so Christ was not without a beginning in God, for God only is without beginning, and before Christ-Man, and Christ is after God. Nevertheless, Christ as distinguished from God, was in and with God before all his other Ways and Works. “Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” {Jn.17:24} He was in and with him, and so could not be without a Glory he must have with him before the Foundation of the World. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” {Eph.1:4}

Thus, I take up the phrases from Everlasting, before the Foundation of the World, before his Works of Old, and in the Beginning, to be spoken of Christ, standing in the second Person of God. And so Christ, as Mediator is the only Way, Jn.14:6, whereby we might come to know God; Christ having truly a Beginning in God, which therefore can be none of God’s first Nature, Essence, attributes, or the Three in One abstractly considered; for all in God beside Christ-Man is without Beginning, and before the Beginning. God himself was before any Conceptions and Thoughts which he entertained of his Works; before in the Order of Nature be sure, but how long before, the thing neither speaks, nor the Word declares. Nevertheless, as to what else he hath been pleased to reveal in his Word of that Nature it’s founded in his Sovereign and Eternal Determination; by which will he Ordained that Christ’s should stand in God. I am satisfied God hath no where revealed his Being or Perfections, or Person to us out of Christ. So that though we are to believe an Everlasting in God before Christ, yet God hath given us the account of it so, as that we must now believe of Himself in Christ, and look up to him through Christ, even in looking unto God’s own Non-Beginning.

The Trinity is not to be studied or known, but as we mingle the Doctrine of Christ with that high and glorious study, and bring along with us the Wisdom-Mediator, as the Human Nature of Christ had a secret way to stand in God, and so was the Glory-Man from the Days of Everlasting, to be between God and all his future works! It’s sad and dangerous too that men take a liberty, yea, good men, as well as others, to study to know God out of Christ! I look on it a daring adventure, though all the Socinians stood by, when a man’s zeal against these shall carry texts that speak of God in the Mediator from Everlasting, unto a forced construction, to speak of God in any Person of his out of the doctrine, and quite beside the way and interests of the Mediator. And this notion has done the Gospel a world of disservice, though the Gospel is breaking forth to obtain an everlasting victory over it.

Such a way of studying the Trinity is used, and without doubt will be rather defended by many of the learned, than laid down. Yet this way of looking into God’s Unsearchable Glory never did, or can bring any true honor to him, as we ought. The reason is, all study of God’s Nature, Attributes, and Person, and ascribing Glory to him in any, or all of these, when we do it in a way of separating Jesus Christ from him {and we are all prone to it by nature} and think it enough to make use of Jesus Christ to serve our own turns, as we are poor sinners, brings not the Evangelical Honor to God, which the Foundation of giving Honor to him hath provided for. This way which learned men have taught me of access to the study of God in a whole article of faith, especially the article of the awful Trinity, and sometimes in a whole book of it, without the Mediator to qualify the doctrine, is a blind, bold, and unwarrantable path of my access unto the Essential Glory, or full Glory of God’s Being, as he is a Most Absolutely Perfect Three One.

And God hath often spoken in my conscience, who hath required such a glorifying of me, as this is, out of Christ? “Who has required this at your hands,” Isa.1:12, as he says in another case? We cannot give unto God Creation-Honor, if we shut out the Wisdom-Mediator, no more than we can give Redemption-Honor, if we shut out the same Person as the Wisdom-Lamb of God. Jn.1:29. Therefore let us take up consistent thoughts of such sublime things; especially of God and Christ. Again, let us not measure God’s Eternity without beginning by such phrases of the Holy Ghost as set out the beginning of his way, with and by Christ.

Why should it be absurd to reason that Christ should be with the Father, in the Son, and through the Holy Ghost, a Glorious Wisdom-Mediator between God and man and all Creation-Thoughts and Ways of God towards them from Everlasting, in the explained sense of Holy Scripture? ‘Tis only in a sense that is from Everlasting before his Works of old, and before the Foundation of the world, and before the world was; ‘tis not said how long in the running on from God’s Everlasting without beginning; as to say, how long after God was, how long before the Foundation of the world, for our limited understanding could not take such thoughts in; nor how long before the world was that God Predestinated Christ to be the Mediator, and Covenanted with his Son as God-Man; as the Scriptures have nowhere opened that to our understanding. Only they have revealed it so as it is plain, that God must be still before without Beginning. Why should this thought of from Everlasting after God’s Being without Beginning be absurd to reason? God hath eternally enjoyed Himself, and in his own proper Eternity we cannot by searching find him out unto perfection. In his Person, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Conversing to and with one another, as one Self-Sufficient, All-Sufficient Being, not to be measured or shadowed by created persons {because created persons multiply of their essences with their personalities} he hath enjoyed Himself through an eternity not to be comprehended by a finite mind. Say, that which we call millions of ages, {for how many millions of millions of ages be run out in Eternity none can declare unto us,} yet millions of ages are far less than God’s Being from Everlasting within Himself. And why then should it be absurd to reasonable thoughts to make a date from another Everlasting with a Beginning of God’s Way and Works that must be later? As to say of it only before the Works, and before the Foundation of the World, though how long before is unrevealed to us; when yet we do not count it absurd to reason to believe the Creation-Works themselves commenced but with such a late beginning outwardly, as to be yet not of six thousand years outward standing?

Suppose that I say, a thing hath been from the Birth of Christ, yet if I set no terms of years, as to how long from the Birth of Christ, through any or all of the 1700 years and more run out; ‘tis plain that thing I suppose must lie somewhere in the current space from Christ’s Birth down to the time when that thing began, whether that beginning stand in the first or middle, or later centuries of that currency of time and matter. So the Birth of Christ is reckoned at so many, or so many years from the Creation of the world, it is at the Creation of the world, that time openly begins with us, and the ordinary commencement of annual measures are there set. But now the Man Christ runs up into a higher date, vastly beyond time than we are able to measure and fix; and this the Holy Ghost calls in my text “before the foundation of the world,” Jn.17:24; and this again in other Scriptures is expounded by a being from Everlasting, as parallel with what Christ saith unto the Father, “thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” Hence we see, as ‘tis Mediatorial love, ‘tis a making him every way a Mediator; a Mediator of Introduction to begin the creatures, a Mediator of Confirmation to uphold them in Nature, Grace and Glory; a Mediator of Restoration to the elect of mankind; a Mediator of Triumph and Coronation to the Church universal at last; therefore God’s loving of Christ with this Love from Everlasting must be from Everlasting current, or in that Everlasting which had been running on from God, who alone is without Beginning in his Own Everlasting.

I see no absurdity in all this to any reasonable thought, for so far is it from weakening of my faith thereof, or my faith upon Christ-Mediator, who stood in God from Everlasting, or, before the world was, or, as he stood in God between God’s Eternity and the beginning of the world. Nor does it at all puzzle my faith, or stagger it, that God had no thoughts of making the world without, or before, Christ-Man subsisting in his Son; but he purposed to make it, and then did it by Him Exemplariously, or as a Draft of Wisdom, as well as by him Efficiently, even the Second Person in whom Christ stands.

For my own part, blessed be God in Christ, I throw off the blind notions of the schools in the great matters of God and of his ways, which have taught men to shut out Jesus Christ in their study of God and his Perfections, and so have exalted their own proud wisdom above the Word of the Most High. And if man’s blind reason still thinks to bring things that are spoken of God in Christ, and speak of God in them as he is out of Christ, and before Christ, ‘tis mistaken, I have no reason to follow it. “And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said he hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open; I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” {Num.24:15-17}

Well, but man thinks it an absurdity to maintain the Eldership of Christ, as the Glory-Man in the 17th of John; that the whole Creation should be postponed to Christ, who seems to many to be only a remedy provided after Adam’s fall. This is looked upon by wise men as an absurdity enough, and to be the way of bringing in dangerous errors into Divinity.

Aye, but it is no absurdity, as hath appeared by the Scriptures for it, that cannot {as I have shown} be so consistently interpreted any way as this; besides other Scriptures behind I have not absolutely dropped, though I am yet to make use of them. As to the rest of the objection, that it’s the way to bring in dangerous errors into Divinity; I answer: 1. Dangerous enough to Popery; for it is a good argument against the Pope’s Universal Headship, as well from the antiquity of the doctrine before the world, as from the Nature of the Glory-Man; and especially the impossibility of any mere creature’s being Vicar to, or in the room of such a Glorious, Mediatorial Head of the Church. 2. It is dangerous enough to Socinianism; for it is a doctrine that so lays the Foundation of Christ in God, as the Son of God is of one Nature and Being with God the Father, that none of the Socinian arguments commencing from the Incarnation in the virgin’s womb can shake it, much less can the Socinians in their cause, that strikes at the Deity of Christ, in which the Man Personally Subsists, be strengthened by it. 3. It is dangerous enough to Arminianism; for, as it makes all the Remonstrants doctrine of Temporary Decrees fall down before it, so it Absolutely secures God’s Grace above man’s will, or man’s sin; and yet by bringing in the Holy Ghost into this wonder of the Wisdom-Unction, and all the vast ends of God in it, is so far from encouraging sin, that I know {who have felt some work of the Holy Ghost} this is the only Remedial Provision to stop the bounds of it, as well as to cure the mischief begun. 4. ‘Tis dangerous enough to scholastic systems that have looked so long upon the Trinity out of the Doctrine of the Mediator, that they are struck blind. 5. ‘Tis dangerous enough to the new schemes, that make so slight of God’s Holy Law, which God hath magnified in Christ, Isa.42:21, and made so honorable in Christ, that they post-date Christ to the Law, as they have quite shut him out of the Doctrine of the Trinity. 6. Lastly, it is dangerous enough to all the ordinary commentators and glosses pasted upon John 17, that take no more notice of Christ there, as the Glory-Man {where the Gospel-Mystery lay} before the Foundation of the world, than they do of a younger brother! Now, the more dangerous this Doctrine is in all these respects, the more we shall find it to support, or propagate and maintain the true Gospel; and so no matter for the Cavillation suggested.

Let reason know that the faith of God’s elect, Tit.1:1, will not flatter it. Reason by thinking to give us the best and brightest and most honorable Conceptions of God, hath run into the most unaccountable absurdities and inconsistencies with the best reasoning of all, and that is Divine Revelation, and all because the Holy Ghost hath not led men, Rom.8:14, even such men as have been our leaders, into this marvelous light of Christ, I Pet.2:9, as the Glory-Man standing in God before the Foundation of the world!

So then, as our Lord Christ had interceded thus for the Glory to himself he had with the Father before the world was, there in the 17th of John, so he intercedes further {towards the close of this chapter} for the members chosen in him, and given unto him. He prays for that same glory of his, Jn.17:24, as then it stood, to be beheld by those whom the Father had given unto him, and that the Glory-Union might be laid open, as Christ, that Glorious One, stood in God, and that it might be a hidden secret no more forever! When these also should come to stand in him, there in the Glory openly, and so stand with God in Christ too forever!

How admirably the Father loved Christ, in loving him into this Glory-Union in the Second Person of God, before ever the earth was, is plain in Psalms 2:7, for that also speaks of the matter of these Union-Settlements about the Mediator, as I shall attempt to set forth. “I will declare the decree; the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” I shall lay open from hence, if the Lord will, that the Counsel of God from Everlasting was taken up about the Glory of the Man Christ. ‘Tis a common and received opinion of divines against the Socinians, that these words are spoken of the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, by a Communication of the Substance, or Essence of the Father to him. I shall prove the former truth against this latter opinion by three arguments; and yet the other Doctrine of the Son’s Person, distinguished from the Father’s in the same Nature of God, can receive no loss upon the Foundation of thus interpreting it of the Mediator, as God-Man.

1. The scope of the Psalm is not about God’s Essence in any of his abstract Revelation of the Son’s Person, or Subsistence. The whole coherence speaks wide of the Eternal Generation of the Son of the Substance of the Father; the Psalm speaks as home to the Mediator as words can lay it; and though men’s interpretations wander, yet the Holy Text always keeps its own ground, speaking here directly of the matters of the Mediator, or Christ, this Anointed, Subsisting in One of the Three, in reference to God’s Nature, to wit, the Second Person. The beginning of the Psalm foretells the proceedings against Christ by Jew and Gentile, Acts 4:27, and that kings, rulers, and all the heathen, where his interest was to come, should prevail nothing against him. They have done so and so, says God, but ‘tis a vain thing. Psal.2:1. The LORD hath broken all their measures by Counsel. {For I only refer to the Executive Matters, to make the coherence plain about the Counsel of God there in the second Psalm;} yet, says the Father, verse 6 of this Psalm, “I have set my King upon my Holy Hill of Zion.” They thought they had done his business in crucifying him, and should hear no more of his interest in the world; but saith the Lord unto my Lord, I have got my King home; he was mine Anointed long before it came to this. Only I have now crowned him {for it speaks of him as after the Jews and Gentiles had struck at him, and so after his Resurrection and Exaltation;} and says God, I have openly done him Honor, not only before the angels, but in Zion too, according to the Covenant-Glory he had with me from Everlasting. ‘Tis upon this Foundation that I have set him King upon Mount Zion. The earth has been lightened with his Glory, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, I Pet.1:12, with earth, and its heathen masses, Psal.2:1, at his very footstool. This was done in the fiery tongues, Acts 2:3, that sat upon each of Christ’s Apostles; and that before the rulers, elders and scribes in the fourth of Acts, had gathered together at Jerusalem against this King, Isa.32:1, in his princes, the twelve Apostles, {for Matthias was chosen, and had filled up the vacant space of Judas.} Thus, “I have set my King, &c.,” well, then follows this King’s answer, “I will declare the decree,” verse 7, and so you have the coherence plainly for the Mediator, for Christ, and that it was the Father’s begetting him his Mediatorial Son, and putting the honor upon him that was due to the Man, in Union in the Son of God. And you cannot fairly run it on to any other sense of what is here registered or declared.

2. ‘Tis a very harsh construction of Eternity {in applying it to the Eternal Generation of the Son} to call it this day; as to say this Day of Eternity. Eternity is not expressed by a Day, but by the plural dates of duration, which are not measured by any of the period-names of time, but “from Everlasting to Everlasting thou art God,” Psal.90:2; that is, from Everlasting without Beginning to Everlasting without Ending, because spoken of God’s Essence and Existence, thou art God. And if we allowed the common interpretation of that place in Micah, “whose goings forth have been from of old, even from everlasting,” Mic.5:2, to be meant of the Everlasting, without Beginning, as all those divines do seem to imply, who also bring that place for the Son’s Eternal Generation of the Father, {which text I may briefly open afterwards,} the phrase nevertheless is plural from the Dates of Eternity; and so is not expressed by a Day. Neither will the help of any other text justify the interpretation of this Day to be meant of this Day of Eternity, as Eternity is no were said to be a Day. This Day cannot be a phrase to measure a space of duration without beginning, as must be allowed to the Father’s Begetting of the Son.

A Day begins, let the Period of the Day be a thousand years; and say it were a hundred thousand, and so on, this same Day, this long Day must still have a Beginning, but God hath no Beginning. The Father hath no Beginning, the Son hath no Beginning, the Holy Ghost hath no Beginning; and if the Son hath no Beginning, the Begetting him of the Father is without Beginning too. Therefore this Day of Begetting Zion’s King, or the Father’s King whom he has set in Zion, is not meant of the Eternal Generation, which had no Beginning, but ‘tis meant of a Day that had a Beginning. And ‘tis plain, as I have showed by the Psalm, this Day was the opening Day of Christ’s Reign, when, in spite of all the Power of Jew and Gentile, he reigned in Zion, according to the Settlements of this Decree from Everlasting, which Zion’s King, Jesus Christ himself, declares. And so it is a Day in a proper sense spoken and the Decree of it “before the Day was;” Isa.43:13, for Decrees be not temporary. Yesterday’s and today’s productions are not yesterday’s and today’s Councils with God; so that this Decree cannot be meant to declare or record the Eternal Begetting of the Second Person of the Essence of the Father; but to record the Decree of his Open Unction and Coronation-Day. The Begetting of Christ to his Throne, Psal.89:27, and so begetting him into regal Sonship upon the open placement of him upon his Throne in the Church of God!

‘Tis not giving him the Glory of his first Filiation, but the Glory of his after-Mediation, by open Inauguration, according to the secret Decree and Everlasting Settlement. {Mediatory Filiation, not Essential is meant in Psalm 2:7.} And the Record of this, set down by way of Prophecy, lay on high; for it cannot be to declare that first Sonship, which men, all along, by custom sure, more than sound judgment, one from another, understand in the common acceptation of Filiation, or Sonship, or Generation and Begetting the Son in the Trinity, as he is in that sense the only begotten of the Father. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” {Jn.1:14} What Decree, what Record, could the Psalmist profess to publish of that? He is the Son of God, which is to say, the Son of God’s Nature and Essence above a Decree, above a Record, above a Covenant-Settlement. ‘Tis therefore spoken of the Mediator, of Christ as such; “I will declare the Decree;” the pen-men of Holy Scripture declared to publish the common voice of all the Trinity, or the Three-One-God, in and among themselves, from everlasting; and what is that common voice, but that Christ should be the Father’s King upon his Holy Hill of Zion, notwithstanding all God’s and Christ’s enemies? And moreover, this Day refers to the openness of his Resurrection, in time foretold from God’s Decree and Settlement of Christ to be such a Son, as this “Faithful Witness, and the First-Begotten of the dead;” Rev.1:5, and is professedly argued by the Apostle to the same purpose. “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” {Acts 13:33} What can be plainer than to show how we are to take Son, and the begetting of this Son in that second Psalm? The same words of this Psalm are made use of again at his Exaltation and Enthronement at the right hand of the Father, Heb.1:5, for {upon his obtaining a more excellent Name than the angels, which was a Grant, a Favor obtained, a thing of Grace, and so vastly inferior to his being the Son of God, as the Apostle had argued, verse 4,} “unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” In his humiliation, as a “Man of sorrows,” Isa.53:3, he had been made a little lower than the angels; Psal.8:5, but now there’s not an Angel of them all, throughout the heavenly host, Lk.2:13, that comes even close to his Honor! Therefore, since the Apostle speaks of him so much above the angels, in respect of what he had obtained, Heb.1:4, by Donation, and then upon the same matter brings in the words again out of this second Psalm about begetting him, what can be plainer than that the same begetting him was as a Filial Mediator or a Mediatorial Son into his throne? And that this Day of so begetting him was the proper Day of his Exaltation, and open Reign in the Human Nature above the angels? And all this to come up to the Counsel and Thoughts, the Settlement and Constitution of the Father touching the Open Glory of Christ, by the Pattern of the Secret Glory of Christ in which he had stood with the Father, and been considered by him, as the Glory-Man, from Everlasting.

Thirdly, and principally; if this begetting him be taken in Psalms 2:7, for the Eternal Generation of the Son of God of the Essence of the Father, as it must be taken in his own declaring it, John 5:26, {though no man else at any time had declared that act of the Father towards the Son,} “as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself,” he would be the Son of God by a Decree or Statute; for Christ is so. But this is incompatible {as it will not stand} with his Personal subsistence. ‘Tis that which cannot fitly belong to the Existence of his Person, to depend in that Existence, as God, upon a Decree of God. For he, as necessarily the Son, as the first Person of the Trinity is God the Father. Whereas, the Son is not as necessarily Mediator, as God is the Father, and the Son of God the Son of the Father. Here in the Psalm ‘tis a Son by Decree or Statute; he must have been God in the first sense of Filiation, yet he could, if he had pleased, never have been the Mediatorial Son of God, or the Son of God in a Decreed Sense. However, ‘tis his Son by a Decree the Mediator declares, and so must be understood in a sense wherein it can be admitted without an intrinsic derogation to his first Honor as the Son of God. It is as Christ was in the secondary sense God’s Son, Wisdom-Mediator, predestinated and set up in the dates from everlasting to be between God and creatures, in the very introductory thoughts of God towards his works; and thereupon from the Pattern of setting him up from Everlasting in the Proverbs, he is here in the second Psalm declared to have been set up, upon God’s holy Hill of Zion, as his Son, Redemption-Mediator, between God and elect transgressors of the race of Adam; as he shall lastly be the Open Glory-Mediator between God and the universal Church forever? “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” {Col.1:20} And among other things, there must be the nature of angels to men, in confirming them by the Wisdom-part of his Covenant. And in both ways will be a Wonder of Grace forever! It was Wisdom-grace to confirm the standing angels by Him, that they should forever keep their station by God’s Son in our Nature, as the Foundation of their Reconcilement and Eternal Love to us! Even as it was Wisdom-Grace to recover us into the standing body of those election-creatures, when fallen in our Eden-parents!

The Decree; “thou art my Son this day have I begotten thee.” The Father did not decree this without the Son. The Son decreed it likewise, and what an incongruous thing is it that the decreed should decree, together with the ONE that ultimately and everlastingly Decrees! Whereas, take the decreed Son to be the Son of God in his Mediation, or middle Relation in the Two Natures, God and Man, or the Man standing then in God by his Covenant, though not standing till after in God by his flesh existing. Take it, I say, thus as the scope and issues of the Psalm do carry it; that is to say, the Man Christ Subsisting or Standing by Adoptive Grace in the Son of his Essence, and so chosen and decreed to be the Son of his communicative Love, in that Union-Glory in the Second Person with the Father; and all the difficulty of interpretation, and other inconsistencies vanish, and the text will stand very well too, as a good superstructure upon an infinite basis, against all Socinian underminings of the Doctrine of the Second Glorious Person in God.

As to an express Revelation of that Doctrine of the Son of God, in the first sense of his being the Son of the Father, though the Foundation of it lay firm, with the Doctrine of the Trinity, in the Old Testament, yet the light to discover it, how in any higher sense Christ was God’s Son than as Mediator, was reserved {as I look upon it} for Christ’s own Office, as a Divine Teacher, Jn.3:2, to lay open. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” {Jn.1:17-18} No man has seen God at any time so much as to declare this high mystery; as it seems to have been reserved for Christ to declare it. He hath declared him, as the Father of the Son’s Nature, and he alone, and Christ hath declared unto us, God the Father fully, and declared his Son fully to have been without beginning, of the ONE Life and Essence with the Father, of whom are all things. “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” {I Cor.8:6} The New Testament is full of the proof of this matter. Christ-God’s Essential Sonship of the Father without Beginning, being the true Foundation of his other Mediatory Sonship by Decree, as Christ-Man in the Beginning of God’s way. “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” {Rom.9:5} No man had seen God at any time to be the Father of the Son, in the Son’s Divine Nature, nor the Son to be of that same life and glory with the Father in the Nature and Being of God.

The Old Testament is so far from opening this Act and declaring the Nature of this mystery, whereby and wherein Christ is personally the Son of God in the Trinity that the wisest of the prophets looked upon the Names of God in the One Elohim to be then past finding out. Aye, it was then posing enough to all mankind to tell what was his Name, and what was the name of his Son; so far was the light of that day {till God spake in in the last days, Heb.1:1, - of the Jewish state - by his own Son} from laying open the nature of this Mystery in God; and again, as saith Isaiah, the most Evangelical of the prophets, “who shall declare his generation?” Isa.53:8. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name; what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” {Ex.3:13-14}

Now this could not have been true, if the prophets had otherwise seen and declared this, than in the secret and unknown Foundations of the doctrine, to be built on in the New Testament. “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” {I Pet.1:12} So no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; he doth not say, no man knoweth the Son of Man, for so he was known of man; but he saith, no man knoweth the Son, he must mean himself as the Son of God. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” {Mt.11:27} ‘Tis not within man’s sphere to know the Son of Man as God, to know wherein he is so, and the nature of that secret. None knoweth him this way but the Father. The Father only knows him as a Person Co-equal with himself in the same Undivided, and not to be multiplied Essence of God. There’s the proof no man had seen him so in the Foundation of his being the Covenant-Man in secret with the Father, as to declare him in this glorious sense. For which cause he declares himself, and manifested forth his Glory, Jn.2:11, the glory of his Deity, which is meant in that of John 2:11, by his mighty works, when he came into the world and was found in fashion as a Man, Phil.2:8, he adds in this place of Matthew, “neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Mt.11:27. Christ here speaks of himself, the Son of God in his Divine will, which was but one in the same will with the Father’s; for as to his Human will, it was not managed as the Man willed, Mt.26:39, being the Father’s Servant, Isa.42:1, but as God willed. Consequently, we must everywhere distinguish between his Sonship by Nature, as God, and his other Sonship by Adoption; as “made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb.1:4. And these things are so plain, that no true believer can deny them.

However, we must suppose that it will be objected out of Micah 5:2, that the prophet in those words of Christ, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” plainly means the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, that is to say, his goings forth are his being begotten of the Substance of the Father. I answer, this is a glorious truth, I once more affirm through grace, steadfastly to believe, and have not only asserted, but over and over in all my proofs of the Glory-Man {for so I have warrant to call him, by adding John 17 to I Timothy 2:5,} I have still carefully laid the Foundation of this Union-Glory of the Man, in God; or glorifying the Human Nature of Christ {by its Covenant-Subsistence} in Union in the Son of God, who himself was the Son of God, before the beginning of God’s Way. And the Foundation of this Glory I have plainly shown to be the Son of God, by Eternal Generation of the Substance of the Father. But then withal, I show that Christ taught it, and not the prophets. As there in John 5:26, “as the Father hath life in himself,” says Christ; “so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” this doctrine of the eternal Generation of the Son, of the Essence of the Father, is expressly taught us. For, the Life of the Father in himself is that Life which is proper only to the Godhead, and Incommunicable to every created nature and capacity; ‘tis life above the communicable life, or that life which is founded in the good pleasure of God to bestow, first on Christ, as the first born of every creature; and after Christ, through him, as a Mediator, upon the other works of his hands. The Incommunicable life to creatures and proper to the Elohim-Creator, is that Life the Father hath in himself, and hath given to the Son to have in himself; and is as Incommunicable from the Father to creatures; and as proper Life to and in the Son, as it is proper to and in the Father. But now, that which I take notice of and blame, is, that this doctrine has been unwarily asserted from, and built upon the phrases of the Old Testament, usually brought for it, as that of God’s begetting his King-Son in the second Psalm, and that Son’s going forth from of Old, from Everlasting, as it runs gloriously here in Micah 5:2, which I will attempt to open it in a word or two.

The phrase being an active, not a passive phrase of the Son of God; or rather, a phrase of what the Son’s Acts were, than of what the Father’s Act was {and the Eternal Generation of the Son must be the Father’s act alone} it does not seem at all to signify the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, which Eternal Generation in respect of the Son, must be to our conceptions, if we speak grammatically to understand one another, a passive thing, or a thing which the Father did towards the Son, not which the Son did towards himself. Whereas, the text distinctly expresses his own Active goings forth from of Old, from Everlasting; and what can these goings forth be, but his own Co-Equal goings along with the Father by all the Inward Operations of God, in Counsel, Predestination, Covenant-Settlements, &c., as God’s own Son into the matter of the Glory-Man, and from thence into all the fair lines and strokes of Creative Wisdom, Power and Goodness, to be wrought in Nature, Grace and Glory, for Time and for Eternity, as all things were to be Created by him and for him Mediatorially. Thus, his goings forth have been from of old, even from everlasting; and this interpretation forces nothing in the text, nor does violence to the words; nor at all weakens the point, nor gives up the Truth of that Doctrine at the root, which this text in Micah is usually brought to establish.

To proceed; another of the Glory-Names of the Fullness of Christ, as Mediator, and which he had with the Father Mediatorially, as he stood in the Love of the Father, the Glory-Man from Everlasting, is, that from the Beginning of the Word of Life; and therein again we may see him to be both Wisdom and Redemption-Mediator. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” {I Jn.1:1-2} That which was, that of, or that belonging to the Incommunicable Life, or that Human Nature which belongeth to and subsists in the Second Person, who is the Incommunicable Life; and yet again that communicable Life subsisting in the Incommunicable; for the whole text comprehends both Natures of the Mediator. So ‘tis plainly that thing, or nature, which subsists in the Second Person; a Nature in the Life, in the Incommunicable Life; which Incommunicable Life is known only, as God is manifest in the Flesh; it is not said ‘he,’ but ‘that’ which was. So it must be that ‘thing,’ that Glory-Man, which had stood in the Person of the Son of God. “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” {I Tim.3:16} It must be that Wisdom-Pattern, that Image of the invisible God, Col.1:15, and therein the Pattern-Life, or that other Life by which God would communicate Life; and so a Life from the beginning, or, as Christ, the Glory-Man, had stood in the Love of the Father before the Foundation of the World; and so he was our Eternal Life with God, through his becoming thus the Mediator, or the Word, the Word of life. Thus Christ was the very fullness and Fountain-Life of Nature, Grace and Glory to be communicated. And in this sense the Holy Ghost still retains a branch of the radical distinction, “from the beginning,” {all God’s works and ways having a beginning,} for this Pattern-Life, the Glory-Man, was from the Beginning of those ways; or at, or in the beginning of God’s Way by Counsel, Predestination, Covenant, &c., for the Acts of God’s Counsel and Predestinating must, in the nature of them, have been antecedently to their objects, which were called up into secret being with and to God, by those Acts; and so from the Beginning is an apt phrase to express how the Glory-Man was consequent upon God’s Predestinating Act, and so “from the Beginning,” and stood in the Love of God from Everlasting; but still before the Foundation of the world; and so stood with God before any of God’s works of Nature or Revelation were purposed; for they were displayed manifestly after the Purpose of them to be, and after the secret being they had with God, known only to himself; for Jesus Christ still was the Pattern-Life by and after which all of them were purposed and made, both Secretly and Openly.

That Life, says the Apostle John, was manifested unto us, by and after the Incarnation. “Unto us,” we who have heard it in the Preaching and Sermons of the Lord Jesus, and have often seen it with their eyes in his familiar conversation with us. With us the Apostles, who are all now gone to Heaven to him, but I John, left alone in the body, being the very last man surviving of all his twelve Apostles; that Life secret in the Covenant, which life “was from the beginning,” at length became an open and manifested Life, and appeared publicly in the Incarnation, and now I John am alone, of the Disciples, who saw it, to speak and write thereof. For the Apostle wrote this in his old age, to beat down the damnable, and damning errors of Ebion and Cerinthus, {Gnostics,} the two first heretics who denied the Divine Nature of the Son of God, after the other Apostles were dead. And says he, “our hands have handled of the Word of life.” We have felt him, touched him, grasped him, and had a Thomas of our number who would not believe his Resurrection from the dead, without handling him thus, corporally; that he might be sure it was his Fleshly Substance, and not an aerial body. And we have all handled him {says he} mystically in the elements of our Lord’s Supper. “That Eternal Life was with the Father;” that Incommunicable Life, without Beginning, as Second Person; this is a full expression of him without dates. Eternal with the Father; or Eternal in the same Eternal with the Father, without beginning; and so gives him the Glory of his Godhead’s Duration without Date. And then besides, as that Eternal Life was with the Father Mediatorially; the meaning, is the Communicable Pattern-Life, upon the other Foundation, was with the Father in the Man-Glory, by Covenant-Subsistence in the Son of God; even as that Life is now with him in Open Glory to the angels, and spirits of the just, Heb.12:22-23, by Incarnate and Exalted Union of rewards, for all he hath done and suffered in the Second Person of God.

Thus I have opened something of the Image of the Invisible God. I am satisfied it was the Mystery that had been kept secret since the world began; of which the Apostle Paul speaketh, Romans 16:25, for soon after the world began, this Secret, though expressed in one Word of the Creation, Gen.1:26, “let us make man in our image,” was hid in obscurity, it was not known what was meant by it, till the Revelation of the Mystery of Jesus Christ in our Nature, and the bringing it to light in our New Testament. I used to think that the Mystery kept secret from the Foundation of the World, was the Redemption by Christ upon the foot of Election-Grace; and so, that this Mystery of Gospel-Grace had once peeped out upon the world in the Old Testament, like the sun out of a cloud in the morning, which is seen no more to shine all the day following, till evening, and going down again. And so far I find I was right. But then I was wont to lay the place and text for it no higher than Genesis 3:15, not believing there had been any hint of it earlier, as now I plainly see in Genesis 1:26, “let us make Man {Jesus Christ the First Pattern-Likeness,} in our image.” From the Foundation of the world indeed! The world being not full six days standing, when the words were spoken in secret, there was no man to over-hear it among the Godhead, but the Man of the Unction, the Man Christ, even the Image of the invisible God, the Glory-Man, that had stood thus in God from everlasting, as the Pattern of all his works. I may have more occasion to make some use of that text in Genesis, when I come further on, for I am not yet come down so low as fully to open that place of Scripture in the Predestinated Means of the Incarnation, which Means is the Covenant-Man created in and having his Genealogy from Adam; only I may now remove other conceptions out of the way. For I yet keep in the Supralapsarian {or pre-fall} highway of the King Eternal, Immortal, the Invisible and only wise God, I Tim.1:17, in his Counsels about Christ, above and before Adam; yet within the bounds of sobriety, modesty and humility, not daring to venture one step in these matters, beyond what we may fairly argue from the Scriptures.

I know the common notion understood of ‘image’ in that text, “let us make man in our image,” is qualities; as knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; and this hath obtained in a manner universally; neither do I see grounds to suppose but it might be as conformable to the Sentiments of the Church of the Old Testament, as hath obtained generally since. But now, though Righteousness and true Holiness as well as Knowledge were stamped upon Man at his first Creation, yet this stamp could come no otherwise from God than by and through Christ. Christ was God’s first Image, or first Being, the only subject that such qualities of knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, capable of Communication and Stamp to and upon another Subject, could inhere in, antecedently to the transcript of them upon Adam. This Subject of their antecedency could not be God, because nothing of God’s Substance is communicable to the creature, and all that is in God is Substance. Image then spoken of in Genesis is the Substantial Image of God, or the Glory-Man Christ, subsisting in the Second Person of God, so standing in him before Adam, as to and with God, who is incapable of changeable sight; he being considered and reputed the same he was to stand for ever.

They who expound ‘image’ by Knowledge, Righteousness and True Holiness have given some advantage to others that maintain the deriving notion of qualities from the Attributes and Perfections of Elohim. But Knowledge, Righteousness and True Holiness can be no more the image of God, than Eternity, Immensity, Omniscience, &c., are his Image; and indeed, none of them all, of one sort, nor the other, are God’s Image, as his Divine Essence in no Attribute of it can be his Image. Neither will it help men to talk of Communicable Attributes distinct from the Incommunicable in God. For all that is in God is God, and there is nothing of the Divine Nature of God communicable, otherwise than as God hath first Adopted the Glory-Man to stand in his own Son, that now God and Man are one Person in the Mediator; and so much for this chapter.