Chapter 9

Of the Everlasting Love of the Spirit to the Church set forth from the Pattern-love of the Father.

Everlasting love and good will to men is the free result of all the Persons in God co-equally. To all therefore which hath been said I must add, the Spirit comes into this wonder about the Covenant-Man, the Saviour of the elect, {taking in the over-fall and under-fall Councils of God together,} and the Husband of the Church, as much as the other two Persons in the Godhead. And good reason that he should be consulted, who was to work it all over efficiently in the “fair colors,” Isa.54:11, of a Church beatified, even Zion, the perfection of beauty, from the Father and the Son, when the Spirit hath brought it up to a full exactness in the Glory, as the Counsel of God, among the Three-One, perfectly ordered in all ways and means. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” Psal.50:2.

As Christ could not have been Christ without the Holy Ghost, so the Church could not have been the Church, nor the Spouse of Christ from Everlasting without the Holy Ghost in his Everlasting Love, in raising her up unto that Glory in which she was presented of the Father! They having all foreknown, and fore-viewed her, and raised her up in their equal Thoughts and Counsels, perfectly in order to that Presentation. The Holy Ghost must be brought into this Wonder of the Everlasting Love both to Christ-Man, and to His Spouse.

When the Elohim, or Three in One, speaking to and conversing with one another among themselves, did say, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” Gen.1:26, the Spirit, our last Person {according to Divine Operations} in order of the Three cannot be excluded from the “us” and “our” in that language of the Divine. Moreover, as that Image of the “us” and “our” or of Elohim, the distinguished Subsistence of God there, cannot be meant that the Elohim, or Trinity was that Image; that the Three-One-God emanated any likeness or image after which man was to be created; but is meant of Christ-Wisdom, the Divine Pattern of all standing in God; and thus it is plain that the Spirit had a hand in that Covenant-Wonder; he being a Person in the Elohim, the “us” and the “our” there {in that Creative Act} must needs include him; and as he must be included in settling the Glory of Christ, or, the original created Glory of the Head, by co-equal Consent of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; he must be included too in all that concerns the members, in conjunction with that Head. This is most inseparably congruous to one equal in Power and Glory with the other Two; and is as inseparably congruous in the goings forth of Elohim, or the Three-One, co-equally towards the objects in God’s Thoughts and inward Operations. And so, the Holy Ghost must love the Church too, with a free and everlasting love, answerably, or correspondingly, as he loved Christ.

Besides, let us mind how our Wisdom-Mediator is called, and we may argue from the Word accordingly. For his names of unction, to wit, Messiah in the Old Testament, and God’s Anointed, as well as the Christ of God in the New Testament, do point us to the very seals of the Holy Ghost from the Father in our Mediator. Anointed, or “Christed” is expressly said to be the work of the Holy Ghost towards him, when he openly became Jesus of Nazareth. Acts 10:38. Now he is called Messiah, and God’s Anointed, before he had, to men, passed through the virgin’s womb; for he is styled so in the Old Testament, many ages before he was born, before he was openly sent of the Father, before he was anointed openly by the Holy Ghost.

Now all those things, naming him Christ, calling him Messiah, revealing him to be the Lord’s Anointed, forming his body in the womb, and anointing him in the open face of men, was all done in relation to the Church. If Christ had not had a Church given him, the Father had never sent him, the Son had never given Himself in the Incarnate Union, the Holy Ghost had never formed that flesh, nor created that reasonable, human soul, nor had anointed the Man Jesus Christ in that wonderful Union of God-Man. This evidently proves the love of the Holy Ghost to the elect for the sake of whom, Christ, under the Operations of the Third Person, is thus a Saviour, a Jesus. As the Holy Ghost reveals his Names anciently, and all as suited to the Mediatorial Office and Relation of Jesus Christ, before he was made manifest, and gives him one and the same sort of names, before, as after, it is plain the Spirit had an eye upon us, loved us in Christ before we believed, before we were born, before the New Testament began, all through the Old Testament, and then, because God, why not as well from the dates of Everlasting?

It is certainly on this account, of what Christ-Man abstractly was in the Settlements between all the Persons of God, and therefore by the Council of the Holy Ghost, that the third Glorious Person is absolutely in his Person above the Man that subsists in the Second, and before Him. For though, as Comforter to us, which is a name of his Grace-Office, and not his Nature from the Man Christ Jesus, he acts under and below the Man; yet absolutely, as the Holy Ghost is God the Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, so he did truly send the Man, our Kinsman-Redeemer, Ruth 3:12, and must in that Act, as so considered, be joined together with the Father.

To the same purpose, mind that full text in Isaiah 48:16,17, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” It is plain by the 17th verse that the whole speech is taken up in the Person of the Mediator, for the words are so laid, that to apply them otherwise, and bring them to personate another than the Mediator, is to overthrow all the strength and confidence of any such interpretation. Both these verses are an admirable instruction touching the Office of Jesus Christ, both as founded and as executed. The foundation of it lay in his Mission, his Sending, and the greatest wonder of all in it is that he was sent of the Holy Ghost, the Mediator standing so high in God as the Second Person, and the Holy Ghost in the order standing next as Third; yet not only the Lord God, but his Spirit sends the Mediator; and therefore this confirms all the exposition of it I have laid down in two or three paragraphs before. Now, I will briefly run over the gloss of these two verses, and issue it in the main proof I have here undertaken.

The Lord Christ begins with an exhortation to listen to the Instruction. This is first made to the Jews, then to the Gentiles, and therein to all the Church of God, which the elect do make up, for whose sake they are uttered. And Christ speaks here as Incarnate, and utters his Words of the thing as accomplished; for so it was in all the Sublapsarian Executions, done to God, in God’s vast thoughts secretly; though not done as it was to be done openly to God before men, according to that secret Pattern and Purpose with God in his vast Knowledge. Accordingly, he uses the heavenly style, does not borrow it of the Hebrews, to conform to their speech, and so places it in the past tense for the future, “hath sent me” for “shall send me,” as the Enemies of Union-Grace before believing will run I know, to that vain and saucy conjecture; but the Lord God, and his Spirit “hath sent me.” He was sent in all the Mediatorial Office; for here are all the branches of the expressed, Priest, Prophet and King, or the Chief, the Leader, and the Spirit hath sent me, says he, into the Execution of all.

“Come ye near unto me,” {thus he begins,} for the whole Contrivance and Execution was such a Mystery of Godliness, I Tim.3:16, that when he came openly to be “God manifest in the flesh,” there was nobody almost, comparatively in Christ’s Day, at his first appearing, and showing unto Israel, Lk.1:80, as is said of John the Baptist his forerunner, that in a manner even among the elect believed it. “Therefore come near, says he, unto me.” Be not so shy, be not such strangers, I have an errand to tell you, a message to preach, which I know, you have never heard before. And hear ye this; mind the consistence, the Agreement that there is between what I am, and what I tell you; and what I have all along in the Old Testament spoken. “I have not spoken in secret;” it was neither spoken of in the world, nor out of the Church of God, it was neither whispered to angels, nor lost in paradise. From the beginning, from the beginning of the world, from the beginning of Revelation, Sacrifices, and all instituted Worship; from the time that it was; from that very time and beginning {for time here shows us where to fix the beginning} in all these open and revealed things, I was spoken of in my Man-Nature, and I spake the very things spoken, having a far higher Nature in my Person than the Man in my Mediation. “There am I,” or, “there I,” as it may be read contractedly; there I acted, and went above you, as the Lord of Hosts; there I joined in all with Elohim, and by my Name Jehovah was known unto my people.

And now, says he further, I come under the open Work of God in the Incarnation, the Lord God; the Father, and his Spirit, the Holy Ghost hath “sent” me. The Holy Ghost, as God, hath joined with God to send me, me the MAN Incarnate; which Holy Ghost, as Comforter, I have all power in heaven and earth, Mt.28:18, to send again to you, as I am Mediator. “Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer,” thy Kinsman-Redeemer; there’s his Priestly Office under the Unction of the Holy Ghost. The Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me. I am therefore thy Redeemer by Price, I Cor.6:20, the Price of Blood in Propitiation, both as a perfect Sacrifice, and a Great High Priest over the House of God, Heb.10:21, to offer it up, and plead it. “I am thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel;” born of Israel by blood, because Israel is mine by Grace, to raise Israel unto Glory. I am the God of Israel by Being, I am the Christ of Israel by Covenant and Constitution; I am sent to Israel under the Unction; I am the Holy One sealed up to my Office by the Holy Ghost for all the Israel of God. Gal.6:16.

“I am the Lord thy God that teacheth thee to profit;” and here is Christ’s Prophetical Office, still under the Holy Ghost’s Anointing. God teaches by Christ, and Christ teaches by the Holy Ghost. If God does not teach us by the Mediator, we shall remain in Babel, for there is no other Doctor that can teach our souls to profit; and the Prophetical Office of Christ, whereby we are taught of the Mediator, depends, by reason of the Covenant of Redemption-Grace, upon the Unction of the Holy Ghost, “the Spirit of the Lord God, says he, is upon me to preach the Gospel,” Isa.61:1, as he says elsewhere in this glorious prophecy of Isaiah, which leadeth thee by the way thou shouldest go. There’s his regal Office, the ruling and conducting part of his Mediation; his Office as a Leader and Commander, Isa.55:4, and the Captain of our Salvation, Heb.2:10, that still goes before us, under the same Divine Unction of the Third Person in God. For it is “the Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent me,” as he tells us.

And this of the Spirit here is that for which I produce the text to give the emphasis of all in the present matter before us. “His Spirit hath sent me,” he hath sent me for the Church’s sake, he hath sent me as Redeemer for them; he hath sent me as Teacher for them; he hath sent me as a Leader for them, to bring them up out of Great Tribulation, Rev.7:14, {“and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,”} and make way for the Spouse to bring her up out of the wilderness, “leaning on her Beloved,” Song.8:5; he hath sent me under his own anointings, to bring her up with all the “powers of the merchant,” Song.3:6, and to go before the glorious company in the Head of all the train! He hath sent me into the Execution of my whole Office, He, together with the Father, hath done it for the Church; an undeniable argument that the Holy Spirit was jointly in the Counsel and Constitution of all before the world was, or, from Everlasting; and so cogently enough prove the Everlasting Love of God the Spirit to the Church, for whose sake all the Sublapsarian, or, under-fall measures of these ways and means, were taken up with God too, before the world began.

It is to this purpose our Lord Christ hath spoken those last words of John 15:9, “continue ye in my love.” Christ had told his disciples in the foregoing words which I have opened, how the Father loved Christ, and how Christ loved his disciples, and therein and therewith the elect; for it is all the same love of One Spouse, Christ hath no divided love towards her. And here’s now how the Spirit comes in and joins the love-wonder, as he is the Bond of this Union by continuing it. “Continue ye in my love,” there’s the Spirit, the efficient Bond of this Everlasting Spouse-Union. So that “continue ye in my love” is not mere bidding them to continue, but blessing them into continuance, as the Settlements of the Grace-Union, on the Holy Ghost’s part, are provided for continuance under subordinate Councils, that work out the steadfastness of the elect after Effectual Calling, against the creatures mutability. “Continue ye in my love” is blessing them with the “receiving the Holy Ghost,” in order to continue in the Love of Christ. For, as the Spirit takes and shows us Christ’s love, Jn.16:14-15, so he holds us sweetly there.

Continue in it; it is not a direction, and so a free-will continuance, as to say, do you so of your own nature, and creature-free will; continue thus to please my Father and Me, for “I and my Father are one,” Jn.10:30, {though nevertheless it is your nature-duty so to do;} this is no direction unto self-empowerment and readiness; but it is a Donation, it is given you of my Father, and “I will send the Comforter unto you from the Father,” Jn.15:26, for that end. The Holy Ghost shall come down upon you for this Continuance, and you shall be kept faithful in your duty to me, and so by him abide in my love. Here’s my Father’s hand for it, “he hath loved you;” and here’s my own hand besides, as he hath loved me, so I have loved you, Jn.17:23, {for you see I interpret the place of the Scripture, by laying this and another text together;} and, says he, the Spirit loves you; he has a will co-equal, as the Spirit, with the Father’s will and mine, though as Comforter, Jn.16:7, I the Man Christ Jesus will send him from the Father; and when the Comforter is come he will sweetly hold you to it, and make it effectual to the end. “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” {I Pet.1:4-5}

However, the matter now of this love-wonder before me, hath especially obliged me to pursue it more at large from the Love of the Father, by the Love of the Son, to make out the position full and clear, how Christ loveth the Church, as God has loved him; with which I began upon this Wonder of Grace. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.” Jn.15:9.