Chapter 8

Of the Everlasting Love of the Son of God, or of Christ, to the Church; set forth from the Pattern-love of the Father.

Now let us take up the residue of the words in John 15:9, “so have I loved you;” that is, “as the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” As the Mediator was Predestinated of the Father, or God’s own Son chosen and appointed to be the Man Christ Jesus; I Tim.2:5, and his own Son Covenanted with, touching all the vast ends of his Mediation, and that Mediation manifold; also, as the spouse is ordained in the Son of God, and ordained glorious for the Man Christ Jesus, and presented of the Father as a bride unto him; so the Son of God takes her in that presentation of her by his Father from the days of Everlasting! He takes her in Union with Himself in the Covenant Man. The Foundation and Capacity of this relation of her to the Man, Psal.80:17, lay in the Son of God, in whom, Zech.6:12, the Man by Covenant subsisted, or stood, and in the Father’s Covenant with the Son, as God-Man, for her; that now, as she is fore-viewed of God, being fore-known and fore-loved, Rom.8:29, from all the rest, Rom.11:7, in the innumerable diversity of his creation, and as she is so fore-known and fore-viewed, is presented to his Son, as God-Man; so the Son of God, being co-equal with the Father, Jn.10:30, in the same Foreknowledge, accepts her, as God-Man, at the Father’s hands, in the Covenant of Presentation. Jn.17:10. The Son of God in the relation of the Wisdom Mediator received her.

For, as the Son of God had been the Nature-Mediator between God and all his creatures; so now in this act of the Father’s Presentation, Jn.17:6, together with his own Acceptation, he becomes the Grace-Mediator, and the Glory-Mediator too, in her being brought so nigh to God’s Eternal Favor secretly! And therein, as that favor of God in Christ was settled on her to last eternally, he becomes, between it all, the Redemption-Mediator, to recover her standing, who never was to lose the love and favor of God settled on her in Christ, Eph.1:11, after the decreed fall, Rom.11:33 & Psal.33:11; and so becomes at length openly therewith the Glory-Mediator, as he had been thus, secretly, the Glory-Mediator, before the world outwardly existed. In this ultimate branch of Christ’s Mediation, she shall derive and take up all the ancient, secret, settled glory, to be communicated openly before men and angels, at her abundant entrance into the Everlasting Kingdom, II Pet.1:11, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! To whom with the Father, in God the Holy Ghost be the utmost glory now and evermore. Amen! Rom.11:36.

This diversity of Mediations and Operations doth not multiply Persons in the Mediator, it multiplies the Relations of the One Mediator between God and men, I Tim.2:5, but it destroys not the true nature of the One Mediator Himself. Let it fall under illustration by a similitude, and there you shall see how a man may be a father, a brother, an uncle, a husband, and all these various relations, and yet but one in the same man still. And if you would see an instance to confirm it in the same person, let it be the same Wonderful Person, the Person of two natures, Christ, whose natures do not multiply his Person; and who has many other relations than what I named before, and all these various relations to one and the same Mystical Person, the Church; yet still without multiplying the Person of the Mediator, in whom they are all founded and secured. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa.9:6. “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” I Tim.2:5. This one Mediator in Person, God-Man, is diversely related to the Church. He is her Redeemer, Isa.41:14, as she, in all her individuals, makes up his ransomed number. He is her Shepherd, Psal.23:1, as she is made his flock. He is a Father, James 1:18, to the Church in her New Birth which he effects by the Holy Ghost. He is her King, her Lord, her Lawgiver, Isa.33:22, as she is his holy nation, Psal.33:12, he is her Bridegroom, Jn.3:29, as she is his spouse, &.

Well, the Son of God, as God-Man, received her of the Father, and therein and therewith loved her as the Father loved her; he having condescendingly agreed in Jehovah’s Covenant to be One with the work of both their hands; he immediately became one with her in the vast thoughts and ways of God, and she becomes one with him, the Covenant-Mediator-Suretyship-Representative, in the same vast thoughts and ways of God too. This Union and Oneness being settled as well as chosen of God, and made to stand fast in the Mediator, was the union before the open foundations of the world. A union delighted in of God, a union in the love of His delights, rejoicing thus through the Days of Everlasting in all his secret works. “I was daily his delight,” says Wisdom, as well before as after this confirmed Union. For he was daily Himself the Delight of God in the secret works, so when the Father comes afterwards to show him the Redemption of this fallen spouse, it no ways interrupts the delights of God, nor the joys of Christ; but he goes on expressing the highest satisfaction; “then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” Prov.8:30-31. God delighted in them, as he viewed them in him the Mediator, and the Mediator delighted in them, as he viewed them with the Father, and had received them at the Father’s hands.

Hence it comes to pass from His own Mediatorial love in choosing us, as the Father had chosen Him into the Antecedency of the Nature, that we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones, in the Covenant-Man, fore-ordained unto Glory, and by the Covenant of Jehovah settled in it; as the Apostle admirably speaks from the Holy Ghost in those amazing words, not duly considered by interpreters, which describe the spouse of Christ. The text is Ephesians 5:30. “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” We are of his body; he does not say here, as in other texts, that Christ is a member of our body. No, for, says he, he had a body before our body! Before we had our bodies in the first man of Eden; or, such a man as in the height of all his glory was but a man in the low lands; the Everlasting Man, upon the mountains of eternal thoughts, stood above him and before him! We are members of His body; he had a secret-glorious body before, as now he has an open-glorious body, Phil.3:21, before our bodies have his open likeness. Psal.17:15. So his flesh, his bones before our flesh and bones, and ours came in behind; are after, as he is the Alpha, Rev.1:11, of all the ways of God. Our bodies, flesh and bones, come into being, into favor, into nature, into grace, and into glory, by the Pattern of his body, flesh and bones before us!

We usually carry it no higher than that Christ took our nature on him. Heb.2:14. Aye, but he was ordained first into the Nature, Man; and we were ordained next, into his Man-Nature; and that exemplariously and dependently, in the Supralapsarian or over-fall Glory, the Glory settled before Adam’s Fall was Purposed. Only, in the Sublapsarian, or under-fall Executions {as I will show after} man in Adam appears first, and Christ appears next. And so, according to the appearance of Adam manifested first, and Christ manifest in the Flesh next, I Tim.3:16, Paradise-Adam is called the first man, the first man that was only man, and whose whole person was no more than human, and the Lord from Heaven the second Man. “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” I Cor.15:47. Thus also, according to the order of these two appearing, the second of them, the Lord from Heaven, the Lord of Glory {and therein absolutely the Firstborn Man} is nevertheless very properly, according to that order of their appearance in the execution of the Councils, said to take our nature, as if we had had the nature before Him. And indeed, according to this appearance, in executing the ways and thoughts of God, so we had.

And although secondarily this was true, nay, the Scriptures speaking of the Incarnation do mostly run in the secondary sense; yet never exclude the primary, nor can any from them lawfully deny the truth now laid open; and therefore let him that hath wisdom understand. Rev.13:18. Accordingly, in this Ephesians text, setting forth things from first to last and bringing the Marriage-glory of the Church into open consummation most intimately described, the matter is so laid together, as the Marriage of the Lamb was to break out, Rev.19:7, and this upon sins being absolutely done away, Dan.9:24, as if they had never been, or bred in the Church of God, or had infected one elect soul from Adam! And the Church presented by Christ unto Himself, in the glory of the Thousand Years Kingdom, Rev.20:6, “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph.5:27. And now it is, that upon the laying of the matters thus together, he comes and speaks in the language of a Glorious Husband indeed, who is first in the order of Matrimonial honor in his Headship; that as Adam was first formed, and then Eve; I Tim.2:13, so here, according to the Ancient Relation before the Foundation of the world, Eph.1:4; ‘tis not said, Christ is of our Nature, but that we exist of His. “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Eph.5:30. Here is his true Adam and Bridegroom-glory, while the human nature is expressed in us derivatively! As Eve from Adam, and so married unto Him, and now found, not only as to what we have by Grace and Glory, but even as to what we are, in the very first productions, Acts 17:28-29, of our innocent nature dependently on Himself a Husband!

Oh! Incomparable love! Not to be matched by men or angels! What love hath Christ expressed to the Church, which the Church can never express to Christ! We did not so much as come into the world in our natures by ourselves, Col.3:10; we did not appear in the human shape, nor could put on man without Him; yea, when he hath given us new natures, we cannot in our new natures come to Him, and love Him, without Himself! And yet all this, which we comprehend, flows out of his Ancient Love which we cannot comprehend!

For, as the Eternal Son of God in the Everlasting Counsel of Settlements, did assume, or take upon Him, the Covenant-man {our first human nature from which our natures flow, Gen.1:27,} into union in Himself, the Second Person; so he did take the Church presented of God unto Him in a Marriage-deed of Settlement and Covenant Contract, at the Donation of the Father, Jn.17:2, and before the Holy Ghost; consequently, Christ and the Church were both mystically one person in God’s Covenant, long before Adam; even as now long since, a man and his wife, or Twain becoming One flesh, Mt.19:5-6, are a figure of the Mystical Union between Christ and the Church. Ephesians 5:25-32.

Well, the Lord Christ equally with the Father, and with the same delight, pitched upon the Church foreknown and so fore-viewed of God, and presented unto Christ. Christ freely received the elect at the Father’s hands to become their Everlasting Husband. Aye, and she, elect, in one depending body, to be from thence his Everlasting Spouse. Thus, he consented to take her unto Himself from the Father’s hands, Jn.17:10, and have her joined unto Himself in the Love-Union by his own Man-Covenant, upon which she was ordained unto means, before she should come into possession, according to this Presentation of her unto and Acceptation of her in the Beloved. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph.1:6. Here lies the original spring of our life in this glorious mystery.

Oh! Equality of Grace and Wonder! As God pitched upon his Son to be the Man, so his Son pitched upon the same choice, and became the Mediator! And the Mediator pitched upon the Church, as the Father had pitched upon her, and had made the presentation of her! “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” Heb.2:13. Christ loved her from the Father, and chose to become her Bridegroom! And in that Relation that was kept secret till the fullness of time, {as the Holy Ghost’s phrase is about Christ’s Incarnation, Gal.4:4,} he undertook so to provide for her establishment in the same Relation to Him, that she should be secured, maintained and brought up for God, Mal.3:6, whatsoever God had farther designed, in subordinate Purposes and Counsel, in the Everlasting Covenant, II Sam.23:5, to fall out.

This was the secret glory of the Church, in her Marriage-Settlements between God and Christ. And this was the afore-preparing her unto glory; to wit, the open glory to follow, Rom.9:23; the open glory with Christ, under, by, through, and after and over various means of sin and restoration. “To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” Eph.3:9. The open glory was not from Everlasting, but reserved to the accomplishments of her great Forerunner, Heb.6:20, who was to work it out by the Pattern of her secret glory given Him by the Father for her. The beginning of the Secret Glory in thoughts of Everlasting Love, together with the consummation of it in the open glory of heaven, are for substance in these Settlements, Jn.17:24, one and the same glory to eternity! A glory settled, and then through gradual steps and advantages, a glory to be received and enjoyed! A glory awakened into secret being by Him who depends not on open vision, and to whom the open manifestation and unfolding thereof, can cause no alteration or change within Himself! “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Mal.3:6. A glory awakened into secret being with the Lord, and then a glory to be awakened, Phil.3:21, into an open being with those that are the Lord’s, to follow it. A glory at first, and a glory at last which will match! A future glory to rise up in an equality with her ancient glory to Him whose ways are Everlasting, Hab.3:6; so that she must be just such a glory, such a perfect beauty presented unto God by Christ, as she had been presented unto Christ by God; and then she shall be openly to herself, II Thes.1:10, what she had been secretly unto God and Christ, before the Foundation of the World.

Oh; what a quickening doctrine hath this been to my own poor soul! How graciously have I felt it {‘tis none of my notion or opinion, but my faith, my very life to God, Gal.2:20,} in those times of love which the Lord hath seasoned, Ezek.34:26, for beholding it! What Encouragements! What Experiences! What sweetening views of the King in his Beauty have I enjoyed through the fleeting moments of presenting it! “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off.” Isa.33:17. And that under the Gospel-seals of the Lord the Spirit! “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” II Cor.1:22. And this through Faith, Eph.2:8, receiving what was a certain thing before it. To illustrate it. Whilst the Thames runs under London Bridge, it argues there was the same river above the bridge as before it; so in Salvation, if the Forgiveness of Sins and Eternal Glory is a rich and full stream of Grace running down through Faith, it argues that this very stream lay eternally in Christ, above faith, and before it.